Album Review: Un Blonde, “Water The Next Day”

Un Blonde Water The Next Day
(Egg Paper Factory – April 21, 2015)
(R&B, Experimental, Devotional)
Review by Rob Leonard

Un Blonde is Jean-Sebastien Audet, a musician with many leanings and a propensity towards deconstructing familiar sounds to their most abstract form. His tastes and influences vary from the post punk work of Faux Fur to Zouk Fuck’s hip/hop and the jangly rock n roll of The You Are Minez. Audet spends the majority of his time, at least recently, on tunes for his Un Blonde moniker – Un Blonde in retrospect has engagingly transformed in a short period of time, elaborating on the B-Side/Auxiliary sounds created by Audet during the recording of 2014’s Tenent. Tenent is in contrast a constructed odyssey that is Un Blonde’s version of straight forward, taking elements from Talking Heads and the much more recent Body Parts On Purpose EP.  Continue reading

Album Review: Hiatus Kaiyote, “Choose Your Weapon”

Hiatus Kaiyote Choose Your Weapon
(Sony – May 1, 2015)
(Alternative, Soul)
Review by Brandon Foster

Hiatus Kaiyote list as a “future soul” band by most mainstream services, but that might be limiting them unfairly. According to their website, they describe their music more as “Multi-Dimensional, Polyrhythmic Gangster Shit”. Truth be told, that is really the only way to describe the musicians from Melbourne, Australia. In more tame terms, one could call them a fusion combo band. The group is a gumbo pot of sound. Hiatus Kaiyote have been around since 2011, but still seem to be an enigma. When they released their debut album Tawk Tomahawk, they dropped it and then faded away. But the interest was still there for more material. Last year, they came back to life releasing their By Fire EP. Continue reading

Album Review: Tuxedo, ‘Tuxedo’

Tuxedo Tuxedo
(Stones Throw Records – March 3, 2015)
(R&B, Soul, Electronic)
Review by Brandon Foster

It took a minute to get to this point in time where Tuxedo could release their self-titled debut album in this musical realm. By the middle of the 2000s, funk in contemporary music had faded. Dr. Dre focusing on headphones, D’Angelo’s drifting into oblivion for nearly 15 years, and OutKast pretty much being done; there were no torch bearers to carry the funk to the future. Over the years, we have drifted more into standard pop melodies with electro infusions. But since 2013, the funk is making a comeback. Most notabley, Tuxedo’s Stones Throw contemporary Dam-Funk. His joint album with Snoop Dogg “7 Days of Funk,” to say nothing of his extensive solo material, was a definite highlight of 2013. In the same year, electronica revolutionaries Daft Punk took their futuristic sound and put it in a disco and funk time capsule with “Random Access Memories”. After the release of these two albums, there is a gradual incline. The funky prodigal son D’Angelo came back in our consciousness late last year and dropped a damn near long lost Parliament/Funkadelic, Prince, and Sly and The Family Stone album in “Black Messiah”. The momentum of D’Angelo’s album carried us into this year with two more releases dripping in funk influences with Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Special” and the most polarizing album of the year so far “To Pimp a Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar. Continue reading

Album Review: Ava Luna, ‘Infinite House’

Ava Luna Infinite House
(Western Vinyl- April 14, 2015)
(Neo-Soul, Indie, Alternative)
Review by Jack Hartley

Ava Luna’s newest long player, Infinite House, is a diverse and densely packed affair. The opening track, “Company”, is a knuckleball of a song. After starting with a groove that could be right at home on any Stereolab record, it suddenly switches into a noise rock rave-up with weird harmonies circling around a strained refrain of, “Do you appreciate my company?!”

If the company he is speaking of is the multitudinous influences that pop up throughout this record, the answer is a resounding, “Yes.” Ava Luna has an uncanny ability to blend disparate sounds and styles in a seamless fashion, not just across the album, but from movement to movement within a song, all the while maintaining a playful nature that hides the precision and severity of this band’s execution.

Continue reading

Review–A la Post-Mode: A Lesson Unlearnt by Until the Ribbon Breaks

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Until the Ribbon Breaks, A Lesson Unlearnt

Reviewer: Rob Bockman

Label: Kobalt

The heat went out in my house this weekend—instantly dropping the temperature twenty degrees and making the whole house an icebox. I could see my breath in every room, and kept outerwear by the door to pull on as I entered, since it was colder inside than out. I’m relaying this not just for sympathy (or at least not solely), but because it made a great environment for listening to A Lesson Unlearnt, an album so chilly and teched out you can taste the freon.

The group’s CV prior to A Lesson Unlearnt (their first full-length) is suspicious initially—all remixes of hyperexposed pop—but it’s that fusion of honeydripper pop and deconstructionist tendencies that makes Until the Ribbon Breaks fascinating as an act who are just as likely to release a remix of a Billboard Top single as they are to write a hook for Run the Jewels. “Romeo,” which marries clichés to a draggy synth line, is a major misstep, but its presence is balanced out by the welcome edge of “Revolution Indifference,” where Killer Mike and El-P casually barge in like emcee Kramers, and the flawless combo of “Pressure” and “Goldfish,” whose paired evolution is the entire album in microcosm—shifting and shiftless but somehow ascending. This may not be music as statement, but is certainly music as syntax—something more focused on how the music operates than on what it has to say—although the bass-heavy “Perspective” drops a thick and worldly spine into the trio’s slinkiness, with a verse from Homeboy Sandman cutting in with perfect surety.

We’ve become rapidly acclimated to synth-soaked retrowave in the last few years, so A Lesson Unlearnt is all the more impressive in its refreshing and stripped-down simplicity. It’s the sort of thing to make you want to coin new genres—Decrepit House, Drum and Waste—and, honestly, it may be the most 20-teens record I’ve heard since the decade rolled over.

Tracks to Watch: “A Taste of Silver,” “Persia,” “Pressure,” “Goldfish”

Tracks to Avoid: “Romeo,” “Spark”

Setting: That one nervous and bleary moment where you’re trying to figure out which is the better idea—to stop drinking, or get bottle service