mp3: Sidewalk Kal – Champagne Forever / Taxin

It’s been a pretty good week for hip-hop.  We got some new Chance, Wu-Tang, Ratking and most importantly two new tracks from Deity Gang member and Up-Turn favorite Sidewalk Kal.  What’s most exciting is that the two new tracks are the first taste of Kal’s upcoming Champagne Forever EP.  I’ve been waiting for a Kal release for a few years now and can’t wait to see how he tackles a more formal release.  ”Taxin”, the shorter of the two new tracks, is a lyrical beast that has Kal locked into an unstoppable flow for the entire 3 minutes.  The beat courtesy of Grimm Doza hums and stutters underneath Kal’s unstable and constantly exciting verse.  As the name might suggest, “Champagne Forever” is a bigger affair with Kal strutting confidently over Kalo’s 808s heavy beat.  Unlike “Taxin”, “Champagne Forever” shows off the more party-ready side of Kal.  It definitely won’t soundtrack your next frat party (do frat bros ever read The Up-Turn anyway?) but it’s nice to hear Kal take a track on as a victory lap of sorts.  Champagne Forever EP drops April via Tar Records.

-PK

EP: acab rocky – sara

After dropping their new single a few weeks back, we’ve finally had the pleasure of listening through acab rocky’s newest sara.  As the album art suggests, sara is a dark, gothic tinged ride through the home recordings of acab rocky who possess a maturity in song writing well beyond their years while remaining an album that could have only been produced by musicians their age.  ”delusions” is probably one of the best punk songs that will be put out all year and on tracks like “intermission” and “interlude” they demonstrate that they have an ear for composition that reaches beyond their lo-fi aesthetic.  Sam Wells also shows off just how adept of a  singer and lyricist he is, pushing into lower registers on the emotionally charged “mother” (I can’t get the lyric “she never learned not to breath in smoke” out of my head).  I honestly didn’t expect how fully developed acab rocky would sound on sara.  The way they effortlessly blow through thrashing punk tracks to orchestrally adorned lo-fi puts them leagues above several of their emo-revivalist peers.  Stream two of my favorite tracks below and the entire EP after the jump.

-PK

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EP: Zoo Brother – Gemini Girl

I don’t know if chillwave or bedroom-pop are still dirty words on the blogosphere but it’s really hard to care when Zoo Brother’s newest EP is this blissfully good.  Taking a page from TV Girl, Zoo Brother works with short bursts of sampled joy to construct his beats and layers his vocals over the beats for hypnotizingly gorgeous effect.  ”Psychic Whatever” speeds up a carnival medley for an off-kilter and dreamy romp that stretches beyond the 4-minute mark.  On tracks like “Dreamwalking” and “If I Could (You Would Know)”, Zoo Brother demonstrate that they have evolved to become more than just the bedroom project of William Karmish.  While many bedroom projects suffer when making the leap to the live stage, Gemini Girl shows off how ready Zoo Brother are.  They’re definitely more than just another TV Girl (seriously, what happened to TV Girl anyway?).

-PK

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EP: Slam Skillet – Ecotone

It’s been a little while since we’ve heard a new release from Slam Skillet but his new EP Ecotone gives us plenty for the wait.  For me, Slam Skillet has always been an expert at crafting amazing sounds and Ecotone is no exception.  Opener “Sable” may be one of the prettiest non-ambient pieces of electronic music you’ve ever heard.  Even when he moves into darker alleys on “Rusine”, his tracks never veer away from sounding clean and incredibly well constructed.  Although Slam Skillet keeps his tracks sounding mechanical instead of organic, that doesn’t mean he drains his productions of fun.  While not straightforwardly danceable, tracks like “Sambar” and “Auroch” demonstrate that he knows a lot more about how to make people grove than he may initially let on.  The later half of “Sambar” especially sounds like the soundtrack to some ultra hip rooftop party (which will probably be thrown by The Up-Turn) ten years from now.

-PK

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EP: Walrus – Glam Returns

Walrus have come a long way since their first release.  Glam Returns hardly sounds like the same band that was making fun Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah! channeling indie-rock tunes back in 2012.  While “Banger” may not be what they’re playing in that club that’s too cool for you right now, it is an unexpected blast of garage-rock from the brothers that opens up Glam Returns with a catchy bang.  ”Bulash” keeps the high energy with albeit trippier and more psychedelic leaning instrumentation.  The title track is probably the boldest track from Walrus yet as it approaches Of Montreal or Foxygen level flirtations with british psychedelic music.  Despite the clearly higher level of seriousness that Walrus demonstrate throughout the 4-track EP things never get bogged down in that seriousness.  They’re still just two brothers having a good time which makes it pretty fun to listen to.

-PK

EP: Jalal Salaam – ETHICS

Ethics is 27 tracks long, a bold choice for the up and coming rapper Jalal Salaam.  What makes Ethics more impressive than obnoxious however is just how consistent and exciting it remains across it’s 27 songs.  It is a culmination of work that Jalal has been working on for the past 3 years and it demonstrates that he is a rapper with his own thoughts, opinions, style and has a whole lot to say.  There are only two features on the entire mixtape and while they are both great, Ethics never seems to be in desperate need of another voice aside from Jalal’s.  After listening to Ethics the closest comparison I can make to Jalal is Chris Villa.  To be honest they don’t sound very similar at all, Villa is a souther rapper to the bone while Jalal is a strong presence in the burgeoning psychadelic-rap movement, however they both possess an eyes-forward, head-down, no-nonsense attitude that makes it impossible not to respect their craft.  Just stop reading my article and listen to this entire thing, aiiight.

-PK

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EP: Nvthlss – Lifetime vol 1

A lot of promising beatmakers have come and faded since the time we’ve been covering Nvthlss and it was starting to look like Nvthlss would never fade but would be content to release new music at a dizzying pace.  He’s constructed his own world of music without ever seeming to look back.  His growth has been charted with a lot more zig-zags and left turns than anything traditionally linear.  ”only me this time, this one is longer, very important for me,” Nvthlss explained upon sending us over a link.  Nvthlss has an incredible back catalog of music to build from, Lifetime vol 1 seems to be his first time acknowledging his foundation.  As a result, Lifetime vol 1 seems to be the most focused he’s been since EP6 (my personal favorite of his large collection) with the sounds more contained and traditionally hip-hop and jazz.  Of course it’s all about the loop and Nvthlss weaves some gorgeousness here from the stuttering “Bill murray is the man” to the FlyLo-channeling “Brian II”.  Things can definitely get weird (“Booker” or “Shout out”) but, as Nvthlss says himself, it’s all feelings.

-PK

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