CURRENT: My Morning Jacket – “Spring (Among The Living)”

Even at their best, My Morning Jacket recalled classic southern rock sounds of the 1970s. At Dawn perhaps best showcased this side of the band, while and Evil Urges pushed the band’s sounds to sometimes thrilling, sometimes frustrating, places. Now comes a new album, The Waterfall, and after the relatively quiet lead single “Big Decisions,” MMJ have unleashed the great “Spring (Among The Living).” The song is right in the band’s wheelhouse, meant to be blasted with the windows down in 90-degree heat a la “One Big Holiday.” The song also features the fluidity of the band’s later discography, with Jim James ghostly howling until the sun finally sets. While the jury is still out on the rest of The Waterfall, at least on “Spring” the band is able to expertly synthesize their two warring sides to create another crowning jewel in their stellar repertoire.

The Waterfall is out 4 May.


CLASSIC CUTS: Frank Ocean – “Crack Rock”

Classic Cuts will take a look at deep-cuts from numerous great albums. This week, I am reminded of the smaller moments that populate Frank Ocean’s breathtaking 2012 major label debut channel ORANGE. Continue reading “CLASSIC CUTS: Frank Ocean – “Crack Rock””

CURRENT: Jamie xx – “Gosh” / “Loud Places” [ft. Romy Madley-Croft]

In Colour will be the debut solo LP from the xx member, producer Jamie Smith, and after delivering the sleek “Girl”/”Sleep Sound” single last year, he’s unleashed two more tracks from the album.

“Gosh” squirms and burrows through the ground, featuring some off-kilter rhythms that recall his brilliant work on his edit of Gil Scott-Heron’s fantastic I’m Still Here LP (titled We’re Still Here.)

“Loud Places” could be misconstrued for an xx single, but there are some subtle, significant differences to the structure of this song to the band’s output. The kinetic drum loop hints at this change, while a backing chorus helps Madley-Croft revisit the peaks of her former relationship.

With these two tracks, Jamie xx is taking bits and pieces of his recordings up until this point and transferring them into a new, highly potent specimen. He’s got the whole color wheel at his disposal now, and he’s using it to craft some breathtaking things.

CURRENT: Torres – “Sprinter”

The title-track from Torres’ second LP is among the most sonically upbeat songs in Torres’ growing discography, featuring a riff that recalls “Dani California”‘s recalling of “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” When she reaches the chorus, Torres slowly delivers her words: “I was a sprinter then,” reiterating her slower approach now. The washed out, electric second half is punctuated by one of Torres’ best moments to date. She quietly sings, “there’s freedom to, and freedom from / freedom to run from everyone,” before confessing to running away from things in her own life, and hoping to right any wrongs. Life’s a marathon, not a sprint.

CURRENT: Le1f – “Ooh”

“Truffle Butter” is one of Nicki Minaj’s best singles in a minute, with its bubbly, strutting beat offering the perfect template for boasts from Nicki, Drake, and whatever Lil Wayne is doing with his leg on the toilet. For rising, unapologetically queer rapper Le1f, rapping over “Butter” makes a ton of sense, even on paper. He’s carved out his own lane in a genre with a tricky relationship with alternative male sexualities, with the only thing the rapper not conquering being urban and top 40 radio.

On the remix, Le1f delivers full-bodied verses that assert his proud, brave persona. But, it’s when the beat gets chopped & screwed that Le1f really begins his lyrical assault. He delivers a message to any homophobic rapper still worried about a dude’s sexuality in 2015. “I rap about dicks like you rap about clits,” he pointedly raps. “I’m turning down niggas cause I’m so legit,” he later boasts, flexing his muscles. “Ooh” finds Le1f operating within his own space, unconcerned with toning down his image for a larger audience. But, more and more, he’s forcing audiences to come to him.

CURRENT: Moon Diagrams – “Scratch The Snow”

Moses Archuleta, most prominently known as the drummer in Deerhunter, innocuously steps out as Moon Diagrams on Geographic North’s winter cassette tape series’ final installment. “Scratch The Snow” is an extended, sprawling slice of electronica that features the consistent hypnotic pulse of some of Deerhunter’s most startling moments. While not as essential as his band’s formidable discography, “Scratch The Snow” is as good a reminder as any that the upcoming thaw from winter’s frost is fast approaching and will be here to stay.

CURRENT: Django Django – “Reflections”

On “Reflections,” Django Django’s second single from the forthcoming Born Under Saturn (out 5 May via Ribbon Music), the band’s art rock sound is consumed by a steady pulse, house-inspired piano, and one of their most expansive choruses to date. There are traces of Beta Band, Jagwar Ma and Tame Impala, yet Django Django’s influences are strictly entry points, rather than the end result of the composition. As familiar as the song sounds with its production and vocal melody, taken together it signals a subtle yet significant shift in the band, as they attempt a certain directness in “Reflections” unheard in previous recordings. They aren’t trying to challenge or confuse listeners. The answers are right in front of us.