Available last week to their PledgeMusic campaign supporters only, the new one from Late Cambrian is finally out worldwide. Sweet Cambrian High Vol. I & II is the first new collection from the Brooklyn band since 2015, and it reflects the metamorphosis of Late Cambrian into purveyors of tight, sophisticated electro/alternative pop. Sweet Cambrian High fulfills the promise of the handful of irresistible singles and intriguing videos released during the extended production of the album (and while Late Cambrian songwriter and singer John Wlaysewski produced Tracy Bonham‘s Modern Burdens, recently named one of the 50 best albums of 2017 by Rolling Stone). It’s their strongest set yet, reflecting a confident and original new direction, and you can get it here.
We are reveling in all the fresh music for 2018, after a long, year-end lull. Witness “Don’t Take It Personal,” the chillest of new jams from TJ Crisp (aka TJ The Unknown). Revolving on simple piano figure, “Don’t Take It Personal” is a slow burn, growing increasingly unsettling as it evolves. TJ’s flow gets more rapid, the pitch shifts into subtly wobbly territory, and the lines begin to repeat in an almost obsessive cycle. The beat abandons him and he’s left to fade out, “I just be doin’ my thing / I just be doin’ my thing…” Very cool (and probably NSFW):
Our favorite Australian rock and rollers (well, just this side of You Am I, that is), Royal Chant are back with a new album and a new video. The album, Pride & Poverty, won’t be here until Friday, but we’ve got a great DIY clip for the opener, “Power Pose.” Hard hitting drums (despite what you might see in the video), thick and crunchy guitars, and a killer melody typical of Royal Chant make this a promising lead for the LP. BONUS: A second clip, below, for the delightfully Guided By Voices-y “Cargo Cults.” Enjoy:
One of Atlanta’s very best hip-hop artists, Se’von is back with a new full length album, Stadium of Hearts. It’s truly a tour de force, with Se’von not just declaring his supremacy, but also proving it on a barrage of assertive anthems. He builds a modern pop masterwork upon the foundation of classic rap and hip-hop. Look no further than the opener, “Bang Bang,” in which he traces a lineage from LL Cool J to Kanye before shouting out, nationwide, his own booming voice. Se’von has good-sized clips of every song on the LP here. and you can listen to some full tracks below.
The closest analog we could think of while enjoying the new album from Beecher’s Fault, The Easiest Drug To Sell, was Talking Heads. Immediately, the mechanized groove of the opening track, “Moneymouth,” mirrors that of the Heads’ classic “Once In A Lifetime.” The rest of the song and album (at seven songs and just over 26 minutes, it’s technically an EP) is wholly original, but Beecher’s Fault’s meshing of electronic and precisely processed sounds with natural instrumentation, warm lead vocals and tight male-female harmonies (from vocalists Ben Taylor and Lauren Hunt) follows a blueprint created by that seminal NYC art rock band. The Easiest Drug To Sell feels carefully sequenced to invite in the listener, from that somewhat clinical intro through a flat-out rocking and gospel-tinged closer, “Life In This Light” (and doesn’t that title also just evoke the Talking Heads?), which we wrote about when it was released last summer. The lyrics match this flow, beginning with the despairing “Moneymouth” to that final song’s grand zen-like acceptance, via some ebb and flow anxiety and uncertainty on tracks like “Last Disaster.” You can hear the entire record at the Soundcloud link at the bottom:
L.S.C. (aka Light Sweet Crude) has our latest video of the month, “Buddy.” It’s a beautiful clip, shot in black and white, part band performance, part performance art. The group themselves describe it best:
“Buddy” is a story about loneliness and the desperation it foments. With our hero (played by singer Dan Aden), we see a man shunned by society, doomed to live his life all alone.
To help maintain a semblance of sanity, our hero creates an artificial friend—a buddy, if you will. He brings her to life with a lullaby, and she starts taking in everything around her. Things are going well, though the buddy has not yet formed an attachment to her maker. Creating a true bond with his buddy is the maker’s last goal in life—again, his sanity depends on it.
Before their bond has formed, however, misfortune strikes in the form of a newcomer (played by saxophone player Stephen Chen), who promptly begins to seduce the buddy away from her maker. Obviously, the maker does not like this turn of events. So he pulls his buddy back to him, and tells her his secret: A bond with her is all that matters; it is a matter of life and death.
For the very first time, she begins to experience sympathy. But as the buddy reaches out to touch her maker’s face, the newcomer blasts our hero away, and she is nearly helpless to the newcomer’s means of temptation. In a last-ditch effort, the maker tries to win his buddy back by singing the lullaby he originally used to rouse her.
The buddy becomes overwhelmed, reacting to too many stimuli at once. She finally snaps. Preferring to end his own creation than have it be lost to another, the maker puts her back to sleep forever, dooming himself.