decker. – Long Days (2010)
The line that distinguishes art from life is, at its most distinct, faint and dotted. There are always voices, melodies, and fleeting moments of musical poetics that can blur those distinctions further by lingering with memories and recreating moments passed.
The horns on ‘Song #5’ latch onto the precise moment at which you first hear them and recreate that particular instant every time the song is played. For me, ‘Judas Kiss’ will forever recreate the dark saguaro-lined highway between Tucson and Phoenix. ‘Princess of Cups’ is intricately linked with a bottle of red wine and a conversation between wonderful people. There is a bizarre circuitry between the instrumentation and my mind that recreates whole worlds that are either instantly familiar or already existing somewhere on the timeline of my own personal narrative. I’ve shared this album with family and friends, and all have said the same. The worlds and memories change with each person, but the impact remains the same. Listening to decker., one feels invited into their lives. An exchange takes place that can’t ever be fully explained.
Just last week, I read that the band experienced a terrible car accident while on tour in California. My heart sunk. Members of the band suffered injuries and much of their equipment was damaged or destroyed, but, thankfully, everyone survived. This comes shortly after they started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for their fourth album. Those funds, naturally, are more needed now than before.
After listening to Long Days, it’s easy to understand just how worthwhile it is to support another project from these artists. – Jeremy Schaefer
Various Artists – Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac (2012)
How many cover versions of ‘Landslide’ does this world need? The answer is one more, and Antony Hegarty provides it on this perfectly assembled tribute record. Ranging from the dirty blues of Billy Gibbons (‘Oh Well’) to the robotic weirdness of MGMT (‘Future Games’), the record stretches the Fleetwood Mac catalog in new directions without losing touch with the band’s soul. Best Coast doesn’t tamper with much on ‘Rhiannon’ and the result is just as exciting — leave it to a California girl to nail a Fleetwood Mac song.
Starting with exceptional songs and adding talented artists should always yield such results, but more often than not, tribute records fail to deliver. Not here. The New Pornographers keep their sound intact with a spirited ‘Think About Me’ and The Kills cast their clouds over ‘Dreams’ with intoxicating results. Lykke Li’s emotional reading of ‘Silver Springs’ steals the record with a wall of sound that leaves you frozen in time.
Assembled by the same production team that gave us the notable Rave On Buddy Holly last year, Just Tell Me You Want Me pays tribute to an iconic band while adding beautiful new angles to classic songs. – Jason Lent
Lapalux – When You’re Gone EP (2012)
When You’re Gone marks Lapalux’s (Stuart Howard) first effort on the Flying Lotus label, Brainfeeder, and thankfully Flylo has an eye for timely talent. A lot of electronica today is considered forward-thinking or groundbreaking, which is fine, but everyone cannot constantly be busting down creative barriers. While Howard’s effort isn’t necessarily innovative, that is not to say it isn’t creative and imaginative. He weaves elements of hip hop, dubstep, and lo-fi to develop a layered sound which plays heavily on various emotions.
‘Moments’ begins with an oddly startling sample which states “I keep moments of you trapped in film”, and as the song progresses, Howard contorts the sound, resulting in a gratifyingly disorientating effect. ‘Gutter Glitter’ is a lighter take which is sure to attract the IDM crowd in search of effervescent beats.
Whatever your personal poison, When You’re Gone has got it covered and then some. – Joe Mateo
Ali Hassan Kuban – Walk Like A Nubian (1992)
Felicity has slipped onto our lap and sent our slog reeling. Who knows how long we’ll be graced with its dumb grin? Who knows how long we’ll muster the impervious nerve to sport one of our own? We’re committing to this sudden spell of exaltation to the fullest degree. There isn’t a millisecond to waste on what-ifs, everyone in the pool: swingin’ sax, velvety bass, jumpy keyboards, seesawing accordion, and every percussive permutation known to man. Kuban’s voice is perhaps not as cock-a-hoop as that of its counterparts, but that restraint is worn specifically to fan their flames. Instead of whooshing by and departing the room as though they had never been there, these grainy pipes spray an army of micelles in the air, dangling about in no-man’s land, just begging for the rhythmic rhapsody to illuminate their path and electrify their person.
Seed to shoot, the freewheeling swarm nourishes our roseate bubble by orchestrating a tide that cannot be stemmed, the sort of unyielding, unassailable anthems that could last for days or erode their very concept altogether. We’re staving off the prickly needles of time to dwell in this idyll for good and all.
Not only do these jams ooze of a verve for life from start to finish, their kinetic energy radiates ceremonial loft. There’s a weight to the welter. An import to the inferno. It’s hardly a surprise, then, that some folks actually tie the knot to these bracing numbers. They swing, they swashbuckle, they shout of their faith in beaming possibility from every rooftop Egypt has on offer. It’s afrobeat for those who would prefer to shake their rump than pump their fists in anger. It’s a marriage of groove and clangor on abiding cycle. It’s sweating our ills so far into the ground that the pushback vaults us to heights we couldn’t have fathomed prior.
This is meeting a change of seasons head-on, for our body and soul are too bewitched to notice the perils that lie ahead. For now, only joy. Pure and simple.
Despite summer winding to a close, we’ve found a spring in our step. – Vinh Cao