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Dystopian Dub Discotheque: The Sound System at the End of the World

Dystopian Dub Discotheque image

I originally stumbled across this gem trying to find a way to download Helix Resonator, a dub artist from–I want to say–Waterville, Washington, who would sometimes play the Tonasket Barter Fair, back when I was a little drugged out hoodlum. Now that I am a fully-grown drugged-out hoodlum…er, respectable member of society, I still crave the choice dub-riddims of my youth. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find more than a song or two of Helix Resonator, but I found a whole weird label/movement that, while I can’t vouch for it having any actual ties to Jamaica or the Caribbean, satisfies the exact requirements of what I look for in dub music.

I’ll level with all of you, just in case any of my old rapper friends are reading this and decide to call bullshit, for a long time I hated reggae. Dub fell into that category, too, so I wouldn’t touch it. I’d listen to The Orb, or Meat Beat Manifesto–electronic music with heavy dub influences–but I wouldn’t fuck with the originals. Not King Tubby, not Sly and Robbie, not Augustus Pablo, and definitely not The Scientist. What changed in me, who’s to say (it was reefer), but the person I am today absolutely loves dub and I can tolerate some reggae as long as it’s not the Bob Marley Legend album. Shit, I even named my cat King Tubby.

So what makes Dystopian Dub Discotheque so special? It delivers what the name suggests. Many of the recordings are gritty, live concoctions of improvised downstrokes, key stabs and delayed drum machine. There is a science fiction feeling of bong tokes in zero-g and aliens with natty tentacle hair. While their Nonja Tune compilations include artists from all over the world, really exploring the concept of dubnihilism, there is a core collective that produces the vast majority of releases on DDD. These all-stars were an ensemble that would show up at the Viennese bar, Dondrine and record improvisational music laden with dub techniques. From that monthly jam session, a record label was born. The philosophy behind dubnihilism is pretty fantastic, as well, but my words can’t do it justice, so, here’s a link to one of the members of Dystopian Dub Developments’s manifesto: IN THEORY.

A caveat: There are two cringey songs, buried somewhere in the mix on the album Live Cuts. One is a bad re-imagining of The Doors’s “Whiskey Bar,” the other is kind of a mash up of Geezer Butler-esque fuzz guitar and Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams”. Everything else on these albums is gravy, though.

Cyrillic Post-Punk and Beyond!

I have been geeking out hard on this YouTube channel. I’m mostly into the wealth of Russian Goth music, but, really, I’ve just scraped the tip of the bling-berg. The band, Молчат Дома(Molchat Doma), was what initially attracted me to the channel. Something about the unbalanced modern architecture on the album cover gave me the feeling that the music attached to it might be nihilistic and depressing so I gave it a shot. My assumption was pleasantly confirmed and I keep coming back for more. Molchat Doma is a newish band, but they could pass as straight out of the eighties. They do the genre of Post-Punk justice, although I don’t speak Russian, so I have to assume that their lyrics are as legit as I think they are.

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The other three bands I’ve discovered on this channel are: Конец Электроники (Konets Elektroniki), Morwan, both Post-Punk, and ШТАДТ (Stadt), Industrial. Harikari Diat has a wide range of underground punk music from all over the world, so if that’s your thing I recommend losing an evening or two pouring through their collection. It has brought me nothing but unbridled joy and tears. May you find whatever emotional stimulus you’re looking for, as well.

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All the Other Rad Music That Came Out in 2020

Nothing Has Changed [Explicit]

For those readers looking for more than 20 measly albums, I have good news/bad news. There were a bunch of other albums that deserve a listen, maybe do a kung fu workout, and I’ll list them, but I’m not including much in the way of description or links. I feel very romantically towards this list of artists and I wish they had been in the tippy, but at least they’re in the toppy. First, some Rap and R&B albums that I bump whenever I practice my spinning flying back kicks: Varsi – Nothing Has Changed, Tkay Maidza -Last Year Was Weird Vol. 2, Megan Thee Stallion – Suga, The Weeknd – After Hours, Hash Adams – afterthoughts, and Dose One – G is for JOB. Bohren and the Club Der Gore – Patchouli Blue is a fine specimen of Doom Jazz, if you fancy slow dystopian lounge music. Sylvan Esso released a new LP as well as a live album, WITH and Free Love. Nine Inch Nails tacked on numbers V (Together) and VI (Locusts)to the Ghosts instrumentals series, . I didn’t know that I was into Cyrillic Post-Punk until I heard Molchat Doma and their new album, Monument, is conducive to learning the knife hand strike as well as the spinning back fist. Electronica is my jam-bag. Some of my favorite flavors for 2020 are: Yaeji – What We Drew, WMD – Saudade, Willdabeast – Still Standing EP, Sufjan Stevens – The Ascension, Squarepusher – Be Up A Hello, The Orb – Abolition of the Royal Familia, Health – DISCO 4 :: Part 1, and Caribou – Suddenly. I’ve been looking through everybody else’s lists, and so far all I’ve got to say is Moses Sumney, Moses Sumney…Moses Sumney!

Top 20 of 2020

For a year that was globally agreed upon as the worst goshdang 365 days in Earth’s history, there sure was a lot of great music released. This is an abridged list of my favorites, with a special focus on all the sweet queer/trans music that came out, as well as a bum-load (shopping-cart-ful) of awesome Bellingham and Whatcom County affiliates that released. I even put out a couple albums, but, to be fair, they both sucked so I’m not including them. Now, to the glorious tunage…

Click on album covers for links to the music

Dorian Electra – My Agenda

File:My agenda dorian electra.jpg

Dorian cranked this one out with a swiftness. Their follow up album to the incredible Flamboyant, My Agenda continues in the strain of comedic Electro Pop, while rolling around in some grittier more experimental sound-gravel. The artist-collaborations are mostly unknown to me with the exception of her tour-mate, Mood Killer, a sample from the Village People and, for some bizarre reason, Rebecca Black (Partying, Partying…Yeah!).

IC3PEAK – До Свидания (Goodbye)

This was my favorite Youtube discovery of the year (sometimes the algorithm works!). Take a healthy dose of Witch House and make it noisier; get some Matroyshka dolls and bring the tiny one in the middle to life; teach it to mumble rap and Presto! You have IC3PEAK. I over-simplify. Goodbye is less shrieky and buttressed by feedback than some of their earlier work, but songs, like TRRST, still slap you in pills and ship you off to a Siberian prison without blinking an eye.

Desire Marea – Desire

Sometimes beautiful and haunting and, sometimes ugly and aggressive, Desire is reminiscent of Queer Core artists, like Lotic and Arca, who weave their lyrical narrative into the barbwire threads of Leftfield Bass. It’s remarkably chill music considering the ominous, dystopian themes that crawl beneath the soundscape’s surface.

HEIRZ – 2029 EP

It makes me happy that such quality Bass Music is being produced out of Bellingham. HEIRZ’s cuts stand up to any of the festival favorites circulating the rave warehouses and desert parties of the world. In the wake of 2020, he picked an appropriate concept for this particular EP. The Space Needle is still standing, but Democracy is holding on by its fingertips. I’m looking forward to more music from this guy…

Bronson – s/t

I’m always quick to remind people that, though both members of ODESZA are from Spokane and live in Seattle, the band started in Bellingham while they were attending WWU. BRONSON is a collaboration with Australian producer, Golden Features. It’s darker and heavier than the other ODESZA stuff. I like it more. It’s like they’ve been listening to a lot of Burial (Everybody should listen to a lot of Burial). Don’t get me wrong, the duo knows how to produce EDM pop with a ferocity, I just prefer the goth-ier jams. It’s my inner Cthulu.

Polymorph – Tenuous Phenomena, Flicker Rate

On the one hand, I can’t say too much about Polymorph. He is my local hero, producing vast tracts of tracks every year and all of them great. My radio show is literally a trillion percent Polymorph. His brand of Drum & Bass sometimes reminds me of classic producers like Meat Beat Manifesto and Squarepusher, but there is this undeniable cinematic quality to his music. Think John Carpenter. Sam Raimi. Dario Argento.

On the other hand, I need to limit my panegyric about Polymorph because I’ve already reviewed Tenuous Phenomena and I have an interview with him that just needs to be typed up. So, for now, all you need to know is that this dude is rad as balls and you should get real high and dance your buns off to his tunes (especially the BF Knowhere remix!).

Spine Readers – Recorded Instruments

I got into Spine Readers because I love everything Christopher Stainback and Todd Smith put their hands to. This particular iteration includes Bellingham Renaissance-Man, Sean Meyer, and two other dudes that I don’t know. Spine Readers incorporates so many different styles and genres in each song that their debut album sounds more like Mr. Bungle than the new Mr. Bungle album (which is, ironically, a remake of their high school demo).

Arca – KiCk i, @@@@@


Ok, so I have a crush on Arca. No big deal. She’s hot, her music is extremely weird and her music videos and album art creep me the fuck out! This is what I look for in creators, something entirely original that is danceable when its danceable and breaks my brain the rest of the time. The song “Time” is one of my top two favorite tracks of the year and “Afterwards” is also quite nice, as Bjork finally lends her voice to one of Arca’s songs (Arca has worked on Bjork’s last three albums).

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@@@@@ was released as a DJ mix, but it’s all Arca cuts, so I’m not really sure what separates this from a regular album. Either way, it’s the only album that I gave 10 stars to this year (if you go in for star ratings). This batch of songs does lend itself more for the dance floor than the operatic crooning on her self-titled release. Maybe, that’s why I dig it so hard.

Tokimonsta – Oasis Nocturno

TOKiMONSTA: Oasis Nocturno Album Review | Pitchfork

I like the entire Tokimonsta catalogue but Oasis Nocturno holds a special place in my heart. It is the favorite, deserving constant replays and internet hyping. She embodies modern Trip Hop better than anyone else. While her previous work seems to alternate between jazzy break beats and hard techno, Oasis Nocturno blends the two together more than ever before. The vocal features on this album give it a smooth finish that will either lively up your cocktail party or chill out your backyard birthday bash.

Ital Tek – Outland

Outland | Ital Tek

I love Bass Music. I love Ital Tek. This album is some of his best work and I swear by it my house, in my car, in the kitchen, in the bar. Yes, I do like Ital Tek – Outland. Yes, I like it, B.F. Knowhereperson-I-am!

Cocorosie – Put The Shine On

CocoRosie: Put the Shine On Album Review | Pitchfork

I’m pretty die hard when it comes to CocoRosie. Every one of their albums is distinctly wonderful. Their latest musical edifice maintains their incongruous juxtaposing of Boom Bap and lullabies; Beatboxing and opera; roller rinks and Christian symbolism. It hasn’t replaced Tales of a Grass Widow in my heart, but it’s snuggled up in there next to my spleen.

Zheani – The Zheani Sparkes EP

Artist & Rapper ZHEANI Releases Autobiographical Project THE ZHEANI SPARKES  EP -

Zheani is an Australian Trap Metal artist. Trap Metal, you say? That sounds…interesting. It is 100% as gratuitous and self-indulgent as you imagine. I don’t know why I love shit like this, but I do. She takes what a lot of these cheese-dick American Soundcloud rappers are teasing in their mumbly-joe raps and injecting steroids straight into the heart. Her other three albums sport covers that are mild-to-extremely-pornographic, making the Zheani Sparkes EP‘s black and white photo of her as a teenager even more unsettling. I recommend the song, “Dirtbike” as a good point of entry.

100 Gecs – 1000 Gecs And The Tree Of Clues

100 gecs: 1000 gecs & The Tree of Clues Album Review | Pitchfork

So, this is just the album they released last year, but with a who’s-who-in-Queer-Core roster of collaborators. It’s beefy and delicious like a hearty stew. I don’t usually want to listen to multiple remixes of the same song on an album, but Tree of Clues is my exception. I love love love what Dylan and Laura are doing with Electro Pop. It’s as endearing as it is irreverent, which, to me, is as inspiring as it is daunting.

Grimes – Miss Anthropocene Grimes (Miss Anthropocene) New 2019 Poster 12"x12" Album Cover:  Posters & Prints

What a year for Grimes: She had a baby, released a pretty good album (it’s not Art Angels) and her boyfriend/baby-daddy became the richest man on the planet. Miss Anthropocene corresponds thematically with the baby X Æ A-Xii–it is somewhere between the kingdom of the fae and Elon Musk’s favorite jet–apocalyptic and magical and more than a little pretentious.

Purity Ring – WOMB

Purity Ring: WOMB Album Review | Pitchfork

This duo never fails to knock my socks into a blackhole (well, one of my socks, anyway). If you are in the market for sultry bangers, WOMB will not disappoint you. But alongside these bassy boomers and boomy bassers, there are tracks that showcase the pair’s masterful songwriting skills. As per usual, this whole album is frosted in spun sugar and sprinkles of MDMA.

Armand Hammer – Shrines

Shrines | Armand Hammer

I didn’t include any other rap albums, not because Hip Hop was snoozing during 2020, but because this album just straight up dominated (and maybe I haven’t listened to Aesop Rock’s new album, yet). With Doom gone (R.I.P.) Billy Woods is probably my new favorite rapper. Elucid has always come correct, so the combo is frickin’ foolproof. I like their other albums, too, but Shrines just hits like a Gangrene album or Run The Jewels–it’s got cojones, like, at least quatro.

Four Tet – Sixteen Oceans

Four Tet: Sixteen Oceans Album Review | Pitchfork

I’m so stoked that Four Tet is still making tunes that are this solid. Sixteen Oceans is my favorite record from them to date. It’s a pleasant listen for a relaxing morning or, perhaps, a soundtrack to bedtime.

Sharp Veins – Armor Your Actions Up In Quest

Armor Your Actions Up In Quest | Sharp Veins

Sharp Veins is not afraid to take risks. He is calling this his debut album, but there are multiple Bandcamp pages that suggest otherwise. So what makes Armor Your Actions Up In Quest the official debut? Each song is assembled from the disparate elements showcased in his earlier work. Vocal harmonies layered over droning synths suddenly give way to overdriven blasts of kick drums and screams saturated with shimmering reverb only to conclude with audio collages of found samples. This is easily one of the most interesting albums of the last year.

Polica – When We Stay Alive

Poliça: When We Stay Alive Album Review | Pitchfork

I’ve listened to this album (and the whole Polica discography) uncountable nights this year. The first song gets me every time, like, I feel it tucked in my solar plexus, or traveling up the vertebrae in my spine. Her mellow take on Electro Pop shows teeth and tongue. The brooding moments are ample, but so are the instances of brilliant rock majesty.

Sevdaliza – Shabrang

Sevdaliza: Shabrang Album Review | Pitchfork

I’ve described Sevdaliza before using the lens of her ethnicity/nationality because I feel like her music effectively expresses the vast cultural differences between Iran and Holland. Her songs tell the story of escaping oppression in liberal Europe, while preserving the ghostly memories and traditions of her homeland. The beats on this record are sexy as hell, even with a black eye.

The last song I wanted to mention is so block-rocking amazing that even though I didn’t include the album in the top 20, this is officially my favorite song of the year. It’s perfect. Prove me wrong.

Sharp Veins: Armor Your Actions Up in Quest

Treat Yourself to a Crispy Challenge, You’re Worth it!

It’s almost hard for me to write about Sharp Veins without getting all goose-fleshed and squirmy. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered another producer who is afflicted/blessed with the same sadomasochistic fascination with uncomfortable, challenging sounds-the smae fascination that is the spinal column of Knowhereland. Harrison (Sharp Veins) has an expansive collection of Bandcamp releases (and a brand new page for the really free stuff,, so imagine my astonishment when I receive a very politely worded email announcing this, his first “official” release. Many, many listens later, I understand what sets this album apart. But before we even get to the music, let’s talk about this album cover…like, what epic computer game or RPG manual spawned this image? The border looks like it has been rendered into indistinguishable shapes and colors through pixelation effects. The words, “Sharp Veins,” are formed from globs of greasy liquid and “armor up your actions in quest” seems to reflect an inner darkness upon the light-blue nobility of its Lucida-Blackletter-font soul. I feel a severe combination of Wow and Yikes. It holds me in thrall and I can’t look away.

While my Sharp Veins obsession stems from the range of experiments on previous releases. Armor Your Actions Up in Quest is the fruits of all of these earlier experiments, composed exquisitely into polished songs, replete with singing and lyrics. And such songs! Songs with names like, “Suspended Crayonimation” and “Nipple Pierced Dog Walks Itself.” Most of the drums sound like circuit bent Casio keyboards; the vocals are lo-fi and over-produced at the same time. Harrison harmonizes with himself on most tracks. Sometimes he screams and shrieks. I really can’t stress the vast range of emotion and style that is encapsulated into this campaign. Emo vibes come right on the heels of aggressive kick rolls and distorted bass blasts. Moments of electro-pastoral emerge from the wreckage of detuned synth castles. Yet, I feel like I’m describing Armor Your Actions Up in Quest as hotter and messier than is fair. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hot like my three-chili reaper sauce, but all of the warps and squanches that pepper this album are masterfully laid, like a sound mosaic of glitches and broken tech. This is one of the most defiantly original albums of this millennia. One would have to have porridge for brains to suggest otherwise.

I am fond of the song, “2nd 1st Date With Destiny” and the bass on “Therapist Wrestle” bangs like boomerangs. 9.5 stars

Willdabeast: Still Standing EP

Back to the Return of Future Funk!

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting this album to bang quite as hard as it does. I don’t mean that as a slight to Will Glazier or Daniel de Lisle–these boys never fail to show up to work with their knives sharp–it’s just that the past several releases from Willdabeast have followed the basic future funk formulas set in place by Griz and they don’t tend to stray much from that path. Still Standing, however, goes hard in the muthafunkin’ paint and gets pretty goddamn trappy, too! There are moments, too, where I can’t help but imagine myself naked in the river at Summer Meltdown, that jammy Snug Harbor vibe sneaking in underneath the subs and claps.

Although this EP is missing the usual roster of Bham vocal talent, I can’t help but love the pants off of it. I feel like Will has finally transcended future-funk and created something brand new. His and Daniel’s horns have always added such a brash bravado to each song, but now the other instruments are given equal footing and the result is revolutionary. I miss hearing Sinclair Hucke and there could be 1000% more local rappers featured (LOL), but the truth is Still Standing will have you knocking your head till you snap your neck off, if your not careful. Fingers crossed that this dubstep/trap aesthetic that is the foundation of this album is the direction Willdabeast is headed in the future. If so, you’ve got my vote for the Super Bowl.

Definitely get down to “Endangered Minds” and “Pound Sand.” “Forgive Me” kinda reminds me of that TNGHT song, “Higher Ground,” so, yeah, bump that one, too. 7.0 stars

ODESZA & Golden Features: Bronson

Shortcut Through the Dark

Cuz I’m a big dork, I have to explain my connection to ODESZA. For those who are not die hard fans (like myself) you might not know that the duo formed in Bellingham by way of Spokane during their time attending Western Washington University (where I’m about to snag a couple Bachelor’s degrees). But they weren’t the only Spokomptonites to move to Bedlamhurst. Oh no, they brought their buddy, Brian with them. And where does Brian end up working? Why, none other than the good, ol’ Fountain Bistro & Drive Thru, where I cooked for three miserable years. Of course, by then ODESZA had already blown up and toured with Pretty Lights, was dominating Pandora and all the other streaming services, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re Bellinghampsters, just like the rest of us. They even let Jenni Potts have some of the action, once or twice. Anyway, I played a show with Brian and he lived with them back in the day so, by that logic, I’m essentially besties with Catacombkid and BeachesBeaches.

Like I said, I am an ODESZA super-fan to the core. We listened to three of their albums on repeat while my first daughter (Helen) was being born and both kids continue to request “Say My Name” at every dance party they attend. I have enjoyed their progression from basement trap to Diplo-esque EDM-Pop and Symphonic Electronica (symphonica?). I like it all and would have been satisfied if they stayed the course till morning, but the new turn they have taken with Bronson is like aurora borealis in an acid peak. It has all of their pop rationale, but with an added layer of gloom and melancholy. Tracks, like “Know Me,” almost bum me out with their simple evocative synth stabs and emo vocals, but the effect is more like listening to a Burial album. I find myself swaying around the room trying to dance with inanimate objects and being spurned for my warm blood. I guess what I’m slitting at is that Bronson is goth as fuck! I hear hints of Telafon Tel Aviv and Lorn and Amon Tobin and, all throughout, the spine of ODESZA bends but never breaks!

It is important to acknowledge that this album is a collaboration with Australian producer Golden Features, who I know nothing about, but was able to find on Wikipedia, so consider him vetted. From the album’s apocalyptic tension and dystopian sense of impending doom, dude has definitely got salt. I’m really curious to see what other projects he has worked on. Bronson is without a doubt my favorite ODESZA album. It’s gritty on the teeth and makes me want to drive into a night that never finds a dawn.

You’re gonna want to bump “Know Me” and “Keep Moving” as loud as your stereo can go. 9.5 stars

Polymorph: Tenuous Phenomena

Polyamorous? Part 1

After the 7+ albums that Polymorph released in 2019, it’s no surprise that he has continued his relentless aural bombardment throughout 2020. Despite a slew of EPs and Singles, Tenuous Phenomena is the only full length album from Bryar Herrick, AKA Polymorph, this year (so far. There are still a few month’s left, so anything is possible). Bryar has birthed yet another litter of drum and bass puppies. Cute and cuddly as these songs are, they already have teeth and claws, so beware!

I first stumbled across Polymorph on a group for Whatcom County Electronic Musicians. This group is fantastic for the radio version of Knowhereland because I can connect directly with the artists in my area, of all ranges of experience and access. Strangely enough, no one besides Bryar really hits me up with their new tracks so I have made it a point to play at least one Polymorph song every show. With their prolixity and consistent quality, not to mention their freshness, I never have to repeat a song (unless it’s Videodrome or birdy!). The last thing I want to say before tackling the album is that Polymorph is a multimedia experience. Many of the songs have video-collage accompaniment featuring many of my clips from my favorite movies.

Okay. First, Tenuous Phenomena is like Polymorph’s other releases in the sense that it is mostly Drum and Bass with plenty of high hat trills and modulating detuned synth. Samples elbow their way to the forefront, uncannily familiar and drenched in effects. One of my favorite cuts, “untitled,” stands out with a pumping drum line and moody synthwave pads. A twinkling arpeggio flies down the deserted street of a dying metropolis and pulls up to a balcony. A robot gets exits the vehicle.

Sometimes I feel unqualified to write about artists who belong to such vast genres like Drum & Bass. It’s not exactly my wheelhouse, but some of my favorite musicians dabble in it and I have seen the depth of its spectrum. For me to compare Tenuous Phenomena to Squarepusher’s new Be Up a Hello, would be in the same ocean, but on completely different beaches. In this latest release there is almost more in common with the dark fringe of EDM, like Sweet Valley or Sharp Veins. There is much more urgency in Polymorph’s breaks. There is a relentless pulse that hails back to the heyday of rave music, but is punctuated by a punk nonchalance that comes from producing dance music in the cold void of the Pacific Northwest. The point where “track nine” drops into a flat hiphop break for a few bars before rushing back to the original frantic bpm is indicative of the kind of swagger one finds programmed all over this album in spades and diamonds.

Stand out jams are the updated version of “tee bee controller,” “lung butter” and “untitled.”

8.0 stars

Arca: @@@@@,

Rainforests of Glitching Fire

Whenever I introduce a new initiate to Arca, I make it a point to emphasize their contribution to the Kanye West’s album, Yeezus, alongside their ongoing work producing with Bjork. This kind of amphibious ability to straddle the ultra-mainstream, as well as the uber-leftfield manifests in their solo work as an unparalleled dynamic range where one second you are assaulted with a glitching vocal grunt and the next you’re stretched out on a droning hammock and the next you’re bludgeoned with a beautiful, fuzzy bass staccato. There is no predicting what lies beyond the next hill, but chances are it will be unlike anything you have ever heard before.

This isn’t the first time Arca has given an album a repeating symbol as its name. Before @@@@@, there was &&&&&. And, though the sound isn’t exactly a throwback to the early record, there is a return to the grittier, noisier Arca of Mutant. Tracks, like “Predator” contain some singing, but it is vaporous, flowing in and out of the song and never assuming the prominence of the self-titled album. As much as I enjoy s/t and as impressed as I am with their Bjork collaborations, what really captivates me about Arca is their ability to combine many abstruse elements into songs that morph between moments of detuned discomfort and soporific euphoria. The stuff in between gets me nodding my head and moshing along to the beat, but it’s the freaky shit that keeps me coming back for more.

The whole 1:06 minutes of this megalith are buttered honey, but some tasty draughts to whet your beak on are “Monstrua,” “Mujere,” and the colossal “Amantes.” 10.0 stars

Cocorosie: Put the Shine On, The Original Gothboi Folkgirls

Talk about a band that subverts and transcends at every curve! I encourage people to listen to Cocorosie for a purely musical experience, if that’s what you’re into, but, also, as a challenge. My mind can’t stay focused on any one aspect without wandering tangentially through labyrinthine hedge mazes; meditations on gender roles, commercial agendas, American family values, and DIY folk aesthetics in queer hip-hop.

Their reliance on stripped down drums (beatboxing and keyboard drum machines), children’s instruments, and left field sampling, though innovative, runs the risk of exhausting the originality of their compositions and becoming self-cannibalistic and self-derivative. It’s true that many of Bianca’s lyrical themes (crows and depricating sexual encounters) resurface on a few tracks, but, overall, Put the Shine On is a stand alone masterpiece, just like every other album they’ve made.

Let’s spend a second talking about the song “Restless”. They released a video for it before the album dropped that takes place in a roller rink. Amid the distorted bass slides and Wu-Tang-esque Boom Bap ,Bianca and Ciera skate their way through a cheap, nostalgic 80’s wasteland of long forgotten Americana. The raps feel a little strained, but I don’t really care. Nobody else can pull this shit off. Each new album strikes oil. The portamento synths slide harder than ever before and the squeaky, mushy baby-talk only serves to lull you further into the fog; will-o-the-wisps drawing you to the swamp bottom, where snakes sing vaudeville tunes while they casually wrap their coils around your neck.

Definitely peep “Restless”, “Smash My Head” and for sure, for sure, FOR SURE “Burning Down the House”. 8 stars