David Bowie “Black Star” and New Album 2016

Bowie is a musical beacon for me. A chameleon of sound, capable of creating exquisite pop, rock or even one of my favorites, 1977’s Low. His forthcoming Black Star album sounds promising. A return to the eastern rhythms and analog synth work explored on past tracks like “Warzawa” while pushing himself and his art further out.

In “Black Star” Bowie utilizes bits of broken pop in the interludes to connect the darker elements of the song, juxtaposing his pitch-shifted (at least an octave – and an octave +) vocals to great effect. At nearly 10 minutes TRT the song swings and slips, serpentine-like,  shifting into MoTown-like chorus, alleviated tension created in the verse. Flute & saxophone interweave through the track and seemingly collide near the end as the drums breakapart.

In the era of the ephemeral, “Blackstar” shines bright in substance and forethought.

Check out the gorgeously shot video for “Blackstar” below. Directed by Breaking Bad director Johan Renck.

Look, if you’re a fan of Bowie and know his work well enough, the provocative elements of the video won’t be anything new. In fact, it’s one of the best visual accommodations to a Bowie track I’ve seen in a long time.

David Bowie “Blackstar” from 2016’s Black Star

David Bowie “Warzawa” from 1977’s Low

Greyhouds “What’s On Your Mind” – Modern Soul Classic

Take a Michael McDonald-esque vocalist, 2 parts The Swampers, 1 part Funk Brothers and you’ve got a little bit of an idea of what Greyhounds are doing, aside from making incredibly beautiful songs. Keyboardist Anthony Farrell and guitarist Anthony Trube are the brains behind the group and their album, Accumulator (Ardent Records) is an album that keeps on getting better with each subsequent listen.

Doomtree “Final Boss”

The seven member Minneapolis MN collective comprised of rappers P.O.S, Dessa, Cecil Otter, Sims and Mike Mictlan, and producers Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger are known as Doomtree. Mi compañero  McG hipped me to their impressive KEXP performance and ever since I’ve been in the rabbit hole mining flows, beats and melodies. Their 2015 album, All Hands is a high water mark in the groups decade of activity. I know, I know, I’m late to the party, but I’m glad I’m here and am having an excellent time. 

This head bobbing first track “Final Boss” from All Hands is an epic, Konami code ode to the last battle — the one that demands something more than sufficient — where the “you” as the character in the song draws the strength necessary to throw the winning punch. The production by Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger is moody and progressive, gradually building through the verses and choruses. On “Final Boss,” as well as other songs on All Hands, there are nods to gaming soundtracks like the work of Yamashita (Classic Konami composer), and hard-hitting drum and bass cuts with sirens and squalls channeling Bombsquad’s Hank Shocklee.

The video is beautifully shot. Director/Editor Maria Juranic knows how to use tension, humor and subtlety to emphasize the darker moments in the video.

Director/Editor: Maria Juranic
Video Producer: Aaron Richey
Director of Photography: Andre Durand
AC: Brian Suerth
Art Director: Scott Nordhausen
Gaffer: David Underhill
Grip: Brad Lokkesmoe
Grip: Matt Kane
Sound: Owen Brafford
Make Up/FX/Wardrobe: Kristen Leigh
Craft Services: Marina Delneri
Post FX: Matthew Sattler

Tour, Merch and More at www.doomtree.net

Ka and Preservation “Days with Dr Yen Lo”

Brooklyn emcee Ka and producer Preservation’s excellently executed collab album, Days with Dr Yen Lo was released May 2015. I’m deep into these cuts now, a few months later and they’re hitting every criteria for album of the year. Expert, tasteful production. Thoughtful and artful lyrics and delivery by Brooklyn rapper Ka.

This is for heads and minimalist hip hop fans.

Flipping out for the vocal hooks and bin digging melodies like the vocal, “assassin in the window…” that hits at just the right time on the track Day 22.

Vinyl is available via http://brownsvilleka.com/

Scoop the vinyl up before everyone else finds out about it.

More in depth review coming soon. As soon as the vinyl arrives at my doorstep.

Savages “The Answer” and new Record “Adore Life”

London-based musical collective, Savages are preparing to unleash Adore Life, their follow up to their critically acclaimed (rightfully so) debut, Silence Yourself.

Seeing them this summer at the Casbah was like a gift. Their urgency and musicianship are transformative. Presence, immediate. I can’t help but fall madly in love with their magnetic and dynamic energy.

The manifestos of the past become the vapor ware in the fight for the present.

To be present. That is the appeal of Savages.

Turn off your screen. Turn up the volume.

Eternity is now.


GIRL BAND “Lawman”

Girl Band is from Dublin.

They’re courting equal parts dissonance and repetition in much of their music, using noise to chisel and forcibly remove songs from the ether. This sordid sonic penetration is born of post punk and industrial grind while the groove can be construed as mechanistic, there is something more organic at play. A bit of motorik spliced with a wry nod to the groaning ambivalence to a world without promise of a future.

They’re playing the Soda Bar on Nov. 28

More stuff about them at their website https://girlbanddublin.bandcamp.com/music

Genracion Suicida “Flexi Para Latinoamerica” E.P.

This new two song release by LA punk band, Generacion Suicida is stellar. I love how clean it is. In the spirit of The Zeros with a nod to “Night Time” era Killing Joke — mostly the chorused guitar effect — and the immediacy of Los Crudos. Their full-length, “Con La Muerte a Tu Lado,” released a year ago, is also available at their bandcamp page. There is a significant evolution in  the execution and production of the songs on their full length and their latest effort. You can hear the band growing as song writers. Hope they come down to San Diego soon.