‘Eclectic‘ is one of those overused words that musos love to hate, but it would be hard to describe Mulato Pintado’s new album without letting that pesky adjective sneak in here and there.
Ranging from Hip Hop to Indie to Garage Rock with Pop overtones and Electronica, the rather awkwardly named ‘336 W 17th ST‘ is as multifaceted as it’s hard to describe – a musical journey through New York City‘s underbelly, peppered with potholes, traffic jams and U-turns.
It’s as if Lemon Jelly and The Pixies moved to the ghetto and gave birth to a multiheaded baby doped up on anxiety medication.
Mutado Pintado, AKA Clams Baker, is a mystery man of many talents, with fingers in many pies – he’s the vocalist in vinyl-only word-of-mouth electro success story Paranoid London, frontman in Warmduscher alongside Saul and Jack of Fat White Family, and vocalist in Save – his collaboration with Colder‘s Marc Nguyen Tan.
Scuzzy walls of sound crescendo into a soundtrack for a panic attack, but on the flipside we get moments of real heart, as you can seein the video for ‘The Tick‘ here:
This album is so fluid it’s probably a music marketeer’s worst nightmare. ‘Eclectic‘. And it doesn’t really seem like Pintado gives a flying fuck.
Officially out on March 2nd, it’s already up for streaming in full on Soundcloud. If I were you, I’d go and have a listen, the opening track, ‘King of the Worker Bees‘, is a great place to start.
I have loved Angel Haze‘s ever since she was dropping mixtapes and rapping on Eminem beats. Dropping her debut album while the credits where already rolling on 2013 meant she missed out on all those year end lists which is a shame because ‘Black Gold‘ was full of great moments.
If you have been keeping up with her on social media recently you will know she has been hinting at some new music for a few weeks now. Finally she’s released new track “CANDLXS” yesterday. Kicking off with a display of her rapping prowess the Troy Noka produced track then gives way to an eery indian flute sample which allow Haze to showcase her singing skills as well.
“CANDLXS” is the lead off track from Angel Haze’s new EP ‘In The Winter Of Wet Years‘, can’t wait to hear more!
Mac DeMarco‘s 3rd album reflects back on the ‘Salad Days‘ of his youth. This nostalgia for the past, combined with the experience that came from it, allows the bittersweet nature of being a slacker to be portrayed better than ever whilst also showing off his undeniable talent.
Having been 14 years without an album, D’Angelo was not rushing to get back into the industry unless he really had something to say. Recent developments in Ferguson incensed him to release the album early, with songs about the ingrained racism of a lot of Americas subconscious. Yet ‘Black Messiah‘ explores these tensions not simply by complaining about them but instead with a view to solving these problems through the pursuit of love and it is in this way that D’Angelo is truly prophetic.
Lana Del Rey‘s ‘Ultraviolence‘ told the tale of the further demise of the Hollywood dreamers fate. In beautiful and powerful ballads, the characters tale of failed romance and crushed dreams is melancholic yet almost a reinforcement on the themes of ‘Born to Die‘. One more album in this vein could show Lana Del Rey is not a character but a true reflection on Lizzy Grant.
I don’t often sing the praises of modern popular music, since in general my musical tastes scurry back through the decades at the slightest hint of auto-tune. But if I have any praise for our current musical landscape, it’s that there seems now to be more and more room in the mainstream for the sonically odd, the unconventional, the offbeat – those indefinable genre-benders who choose instrumentation we don’t expect and eccentric vocals that Simon Cowell wouldn’t let anywhere near the X Factor stage. Future Islands catapulted themselves to the top of that list with their March 2014 performance on Letterman.
The clip went semi-viral, which is when most of us met this oddball band from Baltimore – they performed “Seasons (Waiting On You),” the first single from their 2014 release, ‘Singles‘. Watching frontman Samuel T. Herring for the first time is equal parts exciting and unsettling, because he matches his raw vocals with fierce, stage-actor delivery in both gesture and facial expression. And all this while dancing frenetically, with perhaps the most aggressive step-touch ever attempted. Is it camp? Is it musical theatre? Is that Henry Rollins? Letterman and I were both a little speechless after.
I was slightly skeptical that Herring’s stage presence would translate well on the album, but his vocal eccentricities, and the almost uncanny range of voices he uses throughout, capture that kinetic, roiling energy perfectly. Herring experiments with his voice in unexpected ways through every track, occasionally layering vocals but not at all in a heavy-handed way. That growl he showed off on Letterman surfaces on several songs, and builds to near-metal scream levels in “Fall From Grace,” a slow-burner that also features gravelly speak-singing in the style of Leonard Cohen.
Though it’s officially synthpop, ‘Singles‘ touches on elements from well outside that niche. With heavy emphasis on dynamic basslines that first push rhythmically and then ramble melodically through each song, the album avoids that sugar-coated video-killed-the-radio-star synth style that hasn’t aged well for most. There’s brass and strings to swell the songs where needed, and to me it feels like The Killers, if they were less glam and Brandon Flowers a little darker.
Every song is very much its own animal, which could feel disjointed – but the clever track sequencing is smooth perfection, moving seamlessly between lighter, more lyrical tunes like “Sun in the Morning” through the first half of the album, and resolving with slightly darker, more driven tracks in the latter half. And then cap it all off with a soft and subtle slice of heaven, the band’s just-released second single, “A Dream of You and Me.”
I’m not often grateful for social media clickbait, and rarely does a viral video turn out to be anything worth watching with the sound on. But I will reluctantly admit it’s not all that bad if it occasionally leads my cynical pop music ears to something as redeeming as ‘Singles‘.