Come Monday night, things are about to get pretty effing loud north of Chinatown. Portland,...
Published: 08/15/2013 | 0 Comments Posted
The Horse’s Ha — the intermittent folk concern of Chicago-based multitaskers Janet Bean (Freakwater) and James Elkington (The Zincs, Brokeback) — pack its second full-length with more than enough curious tales and anthropomorphic diversions to make good on their funny-sounding moniker. But Waterdrawn (Fluff & Gravy), which flits between British and American idioms, jovial and haunting overtones, is best when the duo’s spry whimsy is countered by a stark, fragile beauty.
—K. Ross Hoffman
How to contextualize Arca’s &&&&& (free at earmilk.com) aurally? The hip-hop production’s enthralled to The Glitch. The electronica’s so widely sourced and deeply transmuted that its origins can’t be divined. With a nearly indistinguishable (not because they’re not distinct, but because they don’t pause) 14 tracks in just over 25 minutes, it’s even more compressed and mysterious than last year’s Stretch 2. How to conceptualize it sonically? This is dystopian beat music for a future where people have forgotten how to dance, but not how to move.
Over eight years and four proper albums, No Age blended aggression, angst, pop and art into a singular, often fuzzed-out force. But with An Object (Sup Pop), the best things about the L.A. duo stand out where once they may have stayed hidden in the mix. Dean Spunt’s melodic everyman vocals rise above the distortion, but the fierce and occasionally accusatory lyrics warrant some serious analysis. Still, the base of these songs is rhythm, and most of the album’s cracks are filled with a stamping beat.
The title of wrestling-obsessed London/Berlin party crew/de facto record label Greco-Roman’s first compilation offers a (longish) shorthand for the sort of good-natured house and sparkly tech-pop they typically favor. We Make Colourful Music Because We Dance in the Dark fills two bulging discs (hits and remixes) with spine-loosening goodies, encompassing Disclosure’s divafied neo-garage, Hackman’s cheeky, twitchy R&B retweaks and Grovesnor’s joyriding yacht-soul. Fittingly, many highlights come from Hot Chipper Joe Goddard, including 2011’s still-epic “Gabriel” and Four Tet’s playfully sweeping overhaul of “Apple Bobbing.”
—K. Ross Hoffman