Follow Friday 2.21.14

We got a bit preoccupied this week, but hopefully these recommended listens arrive in time for full enjoyment over the weekend. Here’s what we can’t get enough of this week:

Angel Haze – Dirty Gold

After listening to hip-hop quite a bit in high school and college, I’ve more or less lost the thread in recent years and my interest has waned. I’ve always gravitated to skillful lyricism with a story to tell (such as Kanye on College Dropout or Kendrick on Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City), and Angel Haze’s debut is at least a partial delivery on the promise of her lead-up track releases on Soundcloud. There’s a narrative here as Haze grapples with her childhood growing up in a cult, sexuality, and improbable rise to fame as a musician (she claims she heard her first record at the age of 16). Haze clearly has a lot to say and, luckily for us, employs some interesting trap-oriented productions while destroying the microphone. -Jeff

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Kiven – Kiven

I honestly had a difficult time deciding which album to recommend this week. My mind circled around a few. I combed through this self-titled debut from Los Angeles quartet Kiven a few times before deciding to pull the trigger. You will find a little bit of everything here. I would describe the majority of the record as ethereal rock (best illustrated in album’s closing track, “Canyon Bridge”). But you will also find guitar-laden Rush-inspired rock anthems (“In The Fire”) and melodic treats that straddle the indie pop rock fence (“A Winding Tightrope”). -Jeremy

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Larry Gus – Years Not Living

This week, my selection is not a new release — it actually came out 6 months ago, but I was unaware of it until recently. I bought this album on vinyl from the DFA Records table at a record fair on a whim because I like the label’s roster of artists in general, and I figured $10 wasn’t too spendy for a gamble, especially if it came with MP3s.

I’m enjoying the album, which is all over the place with a variety of sounds. I heard shades of The Avalanches, Caribou, Dan Deacon, Hot Chip, TV on the Radio, all jumbled up with samples and elements of acid jazz — to wit, it cannot be characterized too neatly. There aren’t hooks or catchy lyrics to pull you in right off the bat, but I found myself really grooving on the individual tracks, like “The Night Patrols (A Man Asleep),” “The Sun Plagues” and “Merely Today.”

Go on an aural adventure and listen to this album! -Qbertplaya

Coicidentally, Larry Gus this week released his remix of the Cut Copy track, “We Are Explorers.”

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Lotte Kestner – The Bluebird of Happiness

This album appeared on my radar earlier this week when someone put her cover of Beyonce’s “Halo” on a mix CD for me. The whole album is beautiful. Perfect for a rainy day. -Christine

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Meg Myers – Make a Shadow

Sometimes you want to go back to the 90’s with the fun yet dark production values. Perhaps a female singer that isn’t singing about smoking weed like it’s something sooooo edgy or candy-like exploding fireworks. Someone that isn’t fulfilling some kind of bullshit narrative that was determined around a table. You want to listen to the kinda scary one. So listen to Meg Myers’ and her newest EP, Make A Shadow. -Faith

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Morgan Delt – Morgan Delt

This week was a battle. A fierce duel between legitimate 60’s acid psych in Morgan Delt’s self titled release and psych-pop chameleons, Of Montreal’s Lousy with Sylvanbriar (2013). After several midnight seances with Delt I found myself locked inter-dimensionaly. Delt’s true psych sound was both refreshing and nostalgic as I was flooded with many memories brought on by Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma from my hazy-hideout days. As for Of Montreal, I found this album to be a welcomed surprise as I completely ignored it last year. This was a very deliberate choice I made. Of Montreal can be rough, off-putting and absurd. I have had a love/ hate relationship with them since the early 2000s. At times they nail the safe psych-pop sound we enjoy from the Elephant 6 collective and draws an unfamiliar listener closer to their flame, where other encounters leave one cringing at Barnes’ incoherent song structure and eccentric lyricism. So as the battle waged on, it was clear that Delt would stand victorious. His inter-weaving instrumentation and honest production echoed resonantly with me, where Lousy with Sylvanbriar was more of a midday quickie we all can enjoy, but are swiftly reminded there is work to be done and more than likely requires the wearing of pants. I would like to thank my Very Tall Goyim Friend in his recommendations this week and it is always a pleasure to trade music with you. Get hype. -Rocky

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Noah Gundersen – Ledges

Noah Gundersen has given us a folk album that can cut all the way to the bone. His smokey, faded western aesthetic is coats the songs of Ledges, and the album easily transports you to a world of wide skies and worn leather. His gracious and insightful songwriting is often carried simply by gorgeous harmonies and guitar picking. Standouts include “Cigarettes”, “Isaiah”, and “Liberator”. -Scotland

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St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Half the City

Call me a sucker for all of the resurgence of soul music. No, seriously, “Call Me”. From Har Mar Superstar to Charles Bradley to resurrection of Bobby Womack – this new music epitomizes McDonald’s tagline for me – ‘I’m lovin’ it.’ Now, I can add St. Paul & the Broken Bones to the mix. Their single “Call Me” was released over 7 months ago; I listened to it, and – honestly – promptly forgot about it. It’s a great track, but it did not entice me to search for more. Now, with the release of Half the City, I’ve realized I was sorely mistaken. “Call Me” was simply a piece in a fantastic ensemble of tracks. This album has a life of its own, exhibiting a full spectrum of emotions. From the melancholy “I’m Torn Up” to the upbeat and exiting “Super Dyed”, there is no mistaking – Half the City proudly reflects the genre it represents – it has soul. -Christopher

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