the electronic music and hip-hop scenes in eau claire have been feeding off of each other for some time now, and there’s perhaps no better example of this than the recent collaborations between sayth (eric wells) and north house (alex tronson). after teaming up for a track on sayth’s excellent 2014 ep bad habitat, the duo plan on releasing a four-song collection of music, body pillow, together at the end of this month. the ep’s lead single, “pink pistols,” has been floating around in sayth’s live repertoire for awhile, and it feels rejuvenated by north house’s signature production that pits crisp, rapid-fire drum beats against soothing synth pads and earthy bass lines.
sayth has long been adept at crafting autobiographical narratives that have increasingly functioned as anthems for anyone disillusioned by a heteronormative mainstream society, and “pink pistols” only furthers that penchant. amidst deriding the cyclical nature of social media, name-checking the main thoroughfares in downtown eau claire, and shouting out his mom, wells again grapples with familial and societal resistance towards his sexuality, culminating in the searing finale “macklemore made a million off of gay rights / thanks bro, this is actually my real life.”
“pink pistols” dropped as a cohesive audio/visual experience yesterday, with wells’ older brother spencer directing a monochromatic clip following sayth around new york city. woven through shots of sayth riding the subway and performing shows are a sequence of dates with the same guy, bookended by a kiss. as impose noted in their premiere yesterday, this casually subverts how queerness is often portrayed in the media, integrating each kiss into the overarching storyline rather than making the act itself into a grand spectacle. there’s a lot to absorb here; spend some time with “pink pistols” below, and look for the rest of body pillow in the coming weeks.
2014 was sam ray’s year; in between a ricky eat acid full-length and ep, he found time to covertly release a new julia brown record and to resurrect a reincarnation of teen suicide. but it’s that first moniker that has excited and mystified the most, an artistic entity that can pull off footwork and post-classical soundscapes with equal aplomb. ray shows no signs of slowing down his output as ricky eat acid, and will release “context” b/w “walking around a garden at night” on january 20th via canvasclub. the a-side runs the gamut of ray’s musical pursuits as of late, navigating through white noise to busy synths all the way to a frenetic busdriver vocal sample inflated with helium. take a listen to “context” below.
a large chunk of the internet got privy to slow magic in june when the mysterious electronic artist released the pulsating single “girls.” now slow magic is back with “hold still,” a dark new offering from his upcoming record how to run away, out september 9th via downtown records. get lost in the ambiance below, courtesy of slow magic’s soundcloud page.
as ricky eat acid, sam ray has created one of the most arresting albums of 2014 with three love songs, and he’s also found time to revive teen suicide, plug away at a new julia brown record, and cuddle with plenty of cats. but ray’s meticulous output as an electronic musician continues at a steady rate; his new ep sun over hills, out for free on july 8th, was announced in a noisey feature earlier today. accompanying that feature was “angels,” an erratic and sometimes downright aggressive single that embodies the nightmarish theme attached to sun over hills. take a listen below, courtesy of ricky eat acid’s soundcloud page.
nick zanca has been making music as mister lies for awhile now, particularly capturing an audience with last year’s mowgli. a follow-up record is due out later this year via orchid tapes, but zanca has released two new tracks to tide over fans and entice newcomers. “flood you” b/w “medusa” is a frenetic nine minutes of impatient vocal samples and positively jittery electronics. you can stream the pair of songs below and download them at a pay-what-you-want rate.
*update: mister lies’ new album is called shadow and will be out in october via orchid tapes.
we’re a little bit late to the party on this new song from slow magic, but “girls” is a must-listen. the lead single from his upcoming album, out soon via downtown records, pulses slowly as if fed through a rotary speaker. it’s perfect for a summer day like today. check out “girls” below, courtesy of slow magic’s soundcloud page.
in this segment, i present my annual list of albums that were pretty great, but that i couldn’t be bothered to rank. 2013 was an enormously great year for music, and i’m still reveling in that fact during the early hours of 2014. the following handful of albums are presented in alphabetical order to save any clamoring; check them out.
keep shelly in athens – at home: the most striking aspect of at home was how dark and desolate the album was able to be. front-loaded with infectious grooves like “oostende” and “flyway,” at home slows down with tracks like “madmen love” and “sails,” creating a truly polarizing album. keep shelly in athens brought their a-game in 2013, and will continue to do so over the next year.
london grammar – if you wait: a super-arresting body of work from a trio of brits, if you wait is a sleeper album that has london grammar poised to break out in 2014. hannah reid’s voice is nothing short of lush, and the instrumentation behind tracks like “stay awake” and “strong” recalls the winning downtempo formulas of the xx. seriously, a band to watch.
radiator hospital – something wild: sam cook-parrott writes music befitting for fans of waxahatchee and swearin’, understandable since he hangs out with the crutchfield sisters on the regular. radiator hospital’s newest album is chock-full of lo-fi garage pop songs that are often insanely catchy and always incredibly well-written; “our song” will make you dance the first time you hear it and listen intently on subsequent spins.
washed out – paracosm: ernest greene’s second album as washed out is a lush exploration of organic sound. after largely using electronic elements to create his 2011 debut within & without, greene stuck with a bevy of vintage keyboards and synthesizers on paracosm, resulting in a much more psychedelic texture.
pillar point, the mysterious recent addition to the polyvinyl artist list, will release a 7″ sometime this year. we’ve already heard the a-side – “diamond mine” – and now the seattle synthpopper has shared the flip side with us. “dreamin'” is much more subdued than its predecessor, retaining a post-chillwave feel, whatever that’s supposed to mean. check it out below, courtesy of polyvinyl’s soundcloud page.