BACK TO SCHOOL MUSIC
By Eric Markovits (KSPC Music Director, Summer ’13)
We listen to a whole ton of music here at KSPC in our endless pursuit of bringing you, the listener, the best sounds we can find. And while the summer might be winding down, there’s a lot of 2013 left and a lot more music to be heard. These albums are all KSPC approved and guaranteed to get you through the dreary months of autumn and hours of schoolwork awaiting us all.
No Age has been at the forefront of punk music since they formed back in 2005. One of a slew of bands that developed together at the Smell, a DIY concert space in Downtown LA, No Age have never been too beholden to punk’s unwritten codes. They’ve experimented with delicate ambient passages as well as straight up noise on their past three records, and the upcoming An Object (Sub Pop) promises to feature more of that grab-bag approach to songwriting. They’ve shared two songs so far, the up-tempo “C’mon Stimmung” and the slower, but no less attention grabbing “An Impression,” but the wildly disparate sounds leaves no real impression of what An Object will sound like. Except of course that it will be great and like nothing else you’ll hear this year.
Equally experimental but in a much different vein, LA artist Julia Holter is set to release her newest album Loud City Song on Domino Records this fall. Holter has already released two albums, recorded alone in her bedroom, on Leaving Records and RVNG Intl. But LCS represents not just a bump up in attention and label size, it’s also her first album recorded in a studio with other musicians. The added horns and strings give her art-pop a much fuller sound and Holter has taken advantage of that to imbue her songs with an extra emotional heft. Fans of Kate Bush and Joanna Newsom will find something familiar to grab on to but the album still sounds uniquely like Julia Holter. Come away with her on a journey to the outer regions of pop music.
Last year OC garage rocker Ty Segall put out three increasingly awesome albums which is why it’s something of a surprise that he’s made it this far into 2013 with only an EP of T. Rex covers to his name. That’s about to change with new album SLEEPER out soon on Drag City. Perhaps even more exciting though is the upcoming self-titled debut album from Ty’s new band FUZZ (In the Red), which features him on drums, frequent collaborator Charlie Mootheart on guitar, and Roland Cosio on bass. The trio sounds most similar to the album credited to Ty Segall Band, last year’s Slaughterhouse, playing a mix of heavy psych rock and proto-metal. This time though the songs are more spacey and stoney, and based on the trippy space monster cover art it seems like FUZZ are ready to get “out there.”
The Underachievers might hail from Brooklyn but they’re one of the most exciting acts on Flying Lotus’ LA based label, Brainfeeder. They put out one mixtape already this year on Brainfeeder, February’s Indigoism, and they’ve got two more projects due out by year’s end: a shorter EP in August titled Lords of Flatbush, and another full length called Chapter 23. The Underachievers, made up of members Issa Gold and AK, peddle their own brand of new age spirituality over hazy, spacey beats, along with, of course, stories of enough drug use to take down a small elephant. More important though is the fact that both Issa and AK can rap really, really well. AK’s got a tight double-time flow that’s reminiscent of Twista at times, while Issa Gold tends to sound a little more direct. That difference in styles is huge when they trade short verses back and forth, which they do frequently, because once AK’s speed raps get too fast to keep up, Issa’s always there to grab you and demand you pay attention to them. You should.
Lastly, this EP may have already come out but I’d be remiss to not mention one of my favorite releases of the summer, You Me & Us’ Stay Inside, which the group self-released in July. The Palm Springs based trio make classic sounding indie-pop, mixing sugar sweet vocal melodies with fuzzed out guitars, a combo that I at least say is always welcome. With a style that’d be right at home on K Records or Slumberland’s ’90s rosters, You Me & Us show that great pop song is a timeless delight.