With the technology behind electronic instruments changing rapidly, many electronic artists have given their own sonic takes in the age-old argument of analog vs digital. Brooklyn's own Flash Trading belong to the camp of electronic musicians that seek to pay homage to classic analog sounds while pushing forward the genre through their bold songwriting. Their newest video for "Acceleration," off their upcoming EP The Golden Mile, which AdHoc is premiering today, plays with the line between the retro and modern by utilizing not only analog instruments, but also old webcams and video effects to film the music video. The video itself plays even further with this divide between the modern and the nostalgic through its depictions of the song lyrics written out on social media posts and text messages. In this way, even as the filtered bass, syncopated claps, and classic synth sounds that make up the track calls back to 80s and 90s electronica, Flash Trading reveals that through reproduction, all sound is ultimately timeless.
Today, AdHoc is premiering HDLSS's newest track "What Comes Next" from their forthcoming LP, Selections from DUMB, out 8/4. The track tackles minority othering, American secularism/anti-religiosity, and political/artistic responsibility. Masquerading as a dance song, the song's driving beat is clearly capable of moving one's body, but the HDLSS's lyrics are focused far more on moving one's mind. HDLSS's Fareed Sajan had this to say on the track:
"This song was born out of the incongruity of your insides not matching your outsides. That universal feeling that the way you look does not represent who you actually are. As a brown person, stereotypes have always followed me, and now, when Muslims are being demonized every day, it is even harder to escape. Hindus are perceived as Muslims. All Muslims are perceived on the same axis as extremists. Nuances get lost. It’s an issue any minority confronts, where an individual is forced to represent a swath of people, the Other, since most people do not know many South Asian, Latino, Black, LGBTQ etc. people... This puts people who have critiques of their own culture in a precarious position. And what does this do to a person within a faith who has doubts, or is still developing a faith, yet at the same time they are perceived to be a spokesperson? How does that affect his/her natural spiritual development? 'What Comes Next?' addresses that question by taking the perspective of someone grappling with being born into Islam, and fighting to understand religion in a nihilistic/narcissistic/consumer driven society."
When Danish Singer and Producer Anders Rhedin, better known as Dinner, began writing the tracks on his upcoming album, New Work, he looked to his favorite topic for inspiration: nonduality. New Work, out 9/8 via Captured Tracks, meditates on the spiritual concept through the influence of William Blake's Proverbs of Hell and his own change in lifestyle. Dinner decided that producing New Work required that he uproot himself and go to LA where he would work on the album with co-producer Josh da Costa (Regal Degal, Ducktails) and a host of American collaborators: Andy White (Tonstartssbandht), Charlie Hilton (Blouse), Rori McCarthy (Infinite Bisous, Connan Moccasin), Staz Lindes (Paranoyds), and Sean Nicholas Savage.
Of the new tracks on New Work, Dinner said, “A lot of my favorite music is American. I thought it would be fun to go a little bit less Euro on this one. I’m plenty Euro by myself, some might say. I wanted to add a different color.” But in the spirit of nonduality, "Un-American Woman," which we are premiering today, plays sonically with the apparent disconnect between the European and American pop sounds while ultimately revealing an underlying unity that exists between them both. Of the track, Dinner said, "Un-American Woman' is a song I wrote just before I stopped going out, just before I stopped sleeping around with women. The song seems to be about disillusionment and a fear of being stuck in a certain lifestyle. But it also touches upon the potential transformational aspects of suffering (or ‘Duhkha’ as the Buddhists say). Nothing’s black or white, good or bad. There is just life force moving. A constant movement. 'The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom,’ in the words of Blake. I lifted that line for the song, of course.”
On the video and it's choice of dreamy locales, Dinner said, “the director and I just got in a car and drove through the desert, from LA to Las Vegas, to meet with the ballet dancer Hank DeMarco (Mac Demarco’s younger brother) and a group of his dancer-friends at a motel room. And then we documented our little journey as we went along. We just followed our intuition…Vegas is a very special place. I feel it is a nexus of dark, dark energy, to me. It was very important that we go there of all places. Ballet and vegas - it had to be that combination for this song. We drank milk and smoked cigarettes with the dancers. That seemed very important to do, too."
Couch Slut made a name for themselves on their debut, My Life as a Woman, through their bone-shattering riffs and the exorcising vocals of singer Megan Osztrosits. Now, on sophomore album Contempt (out 7/28 via Gilead Media), the band seems to have crystallized, or perhaps cemented, into a being that is as hauntingly beautiful as it is abrasive and sludgy.
New single "Snake In The Grass" showcases an effortless mix of both visceral noise rock and haunting ambiance, a sound that is as angelic as it is satanic and which was only hinted at on tracks like "Rape Kit" off MLaaW. The track has all the hallmarks of Couch Slut as we know them, the same brute militancy of drummer Theo Nobel and bassist Kevin Hall's rhythm section, the controlled chaos of guitarist Kevin Wunderlich, the piercing wails of Osztrosits, even the band's masterful use of feedback to produce the white noise that bookends the track. But what stands out about "Snake In The Grass" in particular is Wunderlich's guitar solo after the 3-minute mark. Just as Osztrosits' voice has been rightly praised for its ability to cut through the gargantuan sound of her bandmates, Wunderlich's guitar solo, with its airiness and reverberation that would be more suited to ambient guitar music or arena rock, stands as a moment unheard in Couch Slut's discography thus far. It Wunderlich's work here that elevates the track from a discrete focus on the dark conditions of the earthly to a view that encompasses both heaven and hell.
We can't wait to hear what other surprises lurk, waiting to be let loose on Contempt.
RIPS' self-titled debut packs the kind of fervent rock energy that used to define New York City's music scene. It's impossible not to see the influence of bands such as Television, The Velvet Underground, and The Feelies on RIPS' sound, which puts them in a similar NYC rock revivalist territory to Parquet Courts (it is no surprise to see that Austin Brown of Parquet Courts produced RIPS' self-titled debut on Faux Discx). Yet, while the band wears their influences like signs for CBGB around their necks, their playlist below highlights a diversity of influences that lies well beyond those easy comparisons to early 70s and 80s NYC rock mainstays.
Listen to some of the band's favorite tracks below and come see them play Baby's All Right on July 1 for their record release show.