This week in Indie Basement: Tremendous Furry Animals‘ Gruff Rhys has made considered one of his best-ever albums with Looking for New Gods; Japanese band CHAI mellow out just a bit on their first album for Sub Pop; Chicago trio FACS make their greatest document but; No Pleasure go orchestral; and Soulwax brothers David & Stephen Dewaele have a good time their label DEEWEE’s fiftieth launch with an superior new compilation.
Should you want extra new document evaluations, Andrew tackles a whopping 10 (!) in Notable Releases. Different data that I like however do not write about this week embody the spare, close to ambient new Lambchop album Showtunes, and Mdou Moctar’s Afrique Victime. As for different Basement-approved stuff from this week: this new posthumous U-Roy album sounds very promising; I like the brand new LoneLady single; Arizona duo Trees Speak make cool komische-inspired instrumentals; and My Bloody Valentine‘s EPs are lastly on streaming companies.
Only a reminder that BrooklynVegan has a store and is stocked with a lot of Basement-y data, like an unique clear ambert version of A Certain Ratio’s ACR:EPR EP. We have additionally obtained the brand new urgent of My Bloody Valentine’s 2013 album m b v, and basic vinyl like Can’s Monster Movie, Japan’s A Quiet Life, Sonic Youth’s EVOL, Slowdive’s Slouvaki, and Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.
Head. beneath for this week’s evaluations.
ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Gruff Rhys – Looking for New Gods (Tough Commerce)
With songs impressed by a mountain, The Tremendous Furry Animals frontman’s new album is all peaks
“I obtained obsessed by a mountain a couple of years again,” Gruff Rhys says, talking of lively East Asian volcano Mount Paektu. Gruff was so obsessed that he initially got down to write a biography in regards to the mountain, however as he researched it, it sparked the songwriting a part of his mind. The songs turned extra private, whereas nonetheless impressed by Paektu, and took form on his 2018 North American tour the place the songs incessantly entered his setlists. On the finish of the tour, Gruff and his band (drummer Kliph Scurlock, bassist Steven “Candy Baboo” Black, keyboardist Osian Gwynedd) recorded in Joshua Tree, CA after which recorded a couple of extra songs once they obtained again to the UK. The document was all however performed on the finish of 2019, however then the pandemic hit and Gruff says he ended up mastering it three separate occasions and “reassembling it.”
Whereas rock n’ roll hardly ever improves with an prolonged prepare dinner time, it appears to have helped Looking for New Gods which is considered one of Gruff Rhys’ best-ever data (solo, Tremendous Furry Animals or different). The album’s themes are ones that Gruff has explored since at the least SFA’s “Gradual Life,” the concept that geology and terrain are everlasting fixtures that watch the earth’s inhabitants (and their gods) rise and fall, and the way it’s all intertwined with reminiscence and time. Looking for New Gods is stuffed with large concepts, however they’re all advised from a private, humanistic perspective.
Greater than something, Looking for New Gods has Gruff’s greatest batch of melodies since at the least 2011’s Lodge Shampoo. Highway-testing many of those songs earlier than recording with a terrific band helped too, however he was clearly impressed right here. The album begins off with three instantaneous classics — “Mausoleum of My Former Self,” “Cannot Carry On” and “Mortgage Your Loneliness” — which all have the type of hovering choruses you affiliate with Rhys and Tremendous Furry Animals. It is a mellow document, filled with acoustic guitars, piano and spacey synths, however it’s by no means a boring one and his distinctive concord model can nonetheless ship shivers. This mountain is virtually all peaks, from the attractive, glammy title observe, to the bouncy “Holiest of the Holy Males” (which could be very SFA), to the skronky “The Maintain.”
Probably the most transferring music comes on the finish. “Distant Snowy Peaks” takes a round piano determine and minimalist lyrics — “We ran the fields collectively / To succeed in the distant snowy peaks / In search of reality and knowledge within the snow” — and builds them right into a spiraling mantra that turns into extra hypnotic and transferring because it grows. (It might’ve gone on quarter-hour longer than it does and I might have nonetheless been entranced.) The entire of Looking for New Gods works like that, deepening on repeat. “It’s nonetheless a biography of a mountain,” Gruff writes within the album’s liner notes, “however now it’s a Mount Paektu of the thoughts. You gained’t be taught a lot about the true mountain from listening to this document however you’ll really feel one thing, hopefully.”
In the meantime, Gruff has teamed with the BBC to create an immersive version of Looking for New Gods that enables your streaming units to hyperlink as much as play the album in a brand new method. The BBC says it really works greatest with at the least 4 units, and the extra you may have the extra distinctive it will likely be. This is Kliph Scurlock on its creation: “I had loads of enjoyable remixing the album for a number of units and taking part in round with the inserting of the varied devices and voices. I’m a baby of the ‘70s, so I bear in mind when quadrophonic methods had been form of a factor, and I sought to form of emulate that type of expertise…If I’ve performed what I got down to do, some songs will simply sound such as you’re within the room whereas the band was recording (we did, actually, document the album all taking part in collectively in the identical room) and a few songs will make those that are susceptible to movement illness fairly dizzy with the motion of various issues. All of it type of varies relying on the music. I needed to honor the songs in the beginning and play with the format second. You might have cottoned on to the truth that I’m a giant fan of Gruff’s. Effectively, that every one started by me being a fan of his music, in order that’s what stays most vital to me. Should you discover that the drums are too loud in any music, properly, you’ll know whose ego obtained one of the best of them whereas mixing.” Sure, it does sound a bit like The Flaming Lips Zaireeka however for our present age. Nevertheless it additionally sounds fairly cool. Study extra here.
CHAI – WINK (SUB POP)
Japanese band sit back only a bit on their first album for Sub Pop
Up till this level, Japan’s CHAI have been recognized for hypercolor sensory overload. Their album’s PINK and PUNK, stylized in capital letters, are filled with enjoyable, in-your-face pop that current the group’s signature indefatigable neo-kawaii (“new cute”) model. Having made a reputation for themselves with their colourful, choreographed and energetic reside exhibits, CHAI could properly have continued on that path for his or her third album, their first for Sub Pop, if it hadn’t been for the pandemic. (This can be a theme in Indie Basement this week.) Unable to tour, the band started exploring extra studio oriented sounds, experimenting with hip hop beats, and permitting themselves to relax out just a bit. The result’s WINK, a document that also sounds solely like CHAI however that could be very completely different from their first two albums.
WINK opens with “Donuts Thoughts if I Do,” a synthy jam (jelly?) clearly impressed by ’90s R&B (they’ve cited TLC as an affect on this album) that is an ode to their love of sweets. Meals has all the time been a giant a part of CHAI’s world and reaches Cibo Matto ranges this time round. One other of their extra sultry, psychedelic numbers, “Perhaps Chocolate Chips,” follows instantly after, imagining their moles because the sweet of the title, whereas “Karaage” is a love music for Japanese model fried hen, sung from the angle of the dish (“Please eat earlier than I quiet down / Do not put an excessive amount of chili sauce”). The very best of those is “Vitamin C,” a gleaming, jazzy dance quantity about good vitamin that acknowledges “Some days we do get somewhat bit loopy and make errors / Nevertheless it’s okay if you happen to’re wholesome.”
CHAI nonetheless work greatest with somewhat extra ahead momentum: “ACTION” is a housey jam that embraces new sounds however nonetheless provides you that amped-up vitality, as does “END” that feels like an early-’90s membership observe with its breakbeat rhythm and fuzzy bass. Better of all, although, is “PING PONG!” which sounds prefer it’s straight out of a Sega Genesis recreation that mixes 8-bit sounds with a clubby 2-step beat. It is a world that you can think about CHAI being birthed from, their origin story. Perhaps their fourth album can even be a online game.
FACS – Current Tense (Bother in Thoughts)
Chicago trio deftly steadiness groove, energy, melody and dread on their greatest document but
Like with Brian Case’s former band Disappears, FACS evolve with each document they make. I known as their bleak 2018 debut Negative Houses‘ “a black gap” of a document, after which the group’s lineup solidified with powerhouse drummer (and Disappears member) Noah Leger and new bassist Alianna Kalaba. You possibly can really feel their bond develop on 2019’s Lifelike, and on final 12 months’s Void Moments that gave the impression of the superbly paranoid soundtrack to the oppressive doom that was 2020. Current Tense, which is a superb, subtly intelligent title that additionally works as a descriptor for the band, finds FACS constructing off Void Moments’ greatest moments, creating their most compelling realized work but. They’re masters of ambiance, particularly dread, and that ambiance can fill a room like sooty smoke. From the opening drum rumbles of “XOUT,” you are set on edge, however this time it is extra of an alluring vibe, drawing you in however protecting you at arm’s size. A sultry groove permeates tracks like “Strawberry Cough,” “The best way to See within the Darkish” and the title observe, and the entire album is mostly extra hooky than something Case has performed since The Ponys. Recorded at Electrical Audio, the album sounds large with the rhythm part persevering with to energy issues, whereas Case’s guitar is used primarily for atmospherics. (His voice, in the meantime, is extra ahead within the combine than on earlier albums, however nonetheless obscured with distortion and results.) Nobody would name Current Tense a pop document and it is as unrelenting as the remainder of their catalogue — “Alone With out” and “Mirrored” are among the many most intense issues they’ve ever performed — however extra issues seize you from the shadows this time, and do not let go.
Numerous Artists – DEEWEE 50: FOUNDATIONS (DEEWEE)
The fiftieth launch from the label run by Soulwax’s David & Stephen Dewaele is a portal into their dance aesthetic
Brothers David & Stephen Dewaele, aka Soulwax aka 2 Many DJs, launched their very own label, DEEWEE, in 2015 as an extension of their studio in Ghent, Belgium. They really take it somewhat additional, calling DEEWEE “a constructing, a studio, a label, a document assortment and a publishing home.” Along with releasing their very own music, DEEWEE has launched data from Charlotte Adigéry, onetime Klaxons frontman James Righton, and extra, all of that are produced by the Dewaeles. For his or her fiftieth DEEWEE launch, they’ve put out a compilation titled FOUNDATIONS that serves a form of Biggest Hits for the label in addition to an incredible illustration of David & Stephen’s ethos to bop music — and magnificence (the packaging is attractive) — that performs out like a two-hour DJ set (despite the fact that the songs aren’t combined collectively).
FOUNDATIONS additionally options three new songs, one of the best of which is Charlotte Adigéry‘s nice “Bear With Me (and I am going to stand naked earlier than you)” that’s hopefully a whistle-wetter for her debut album. Slinky, with disco strings that dart in dramatically, “Bear with Me” takes its time however works up a beautiful head of steam. Additionally new: James Righton’s “Launch Social gathering” which channels early Prince, and the quirky, “Go away” by Future Sound Of Antwerp’s Movulango. The Dewaeles have a particular model — spare, with large analogue synths, cracking drums, and preparations with a lot of headroom that layer-up as they go — that you could hear, whether or not it is a observe from Soulwax (like “Heaven Scent” that includes Chloe Sevigny), or Charlotte, or her musical associate Boris Pupil, ASA MOTO‘s afrobeat-ish “Wanowan Efem,” the area disco of Phillipi‘s “9000,” or the remainder of the artists throughout these 27 songs. Dance music tastes and kinds morph each day; the Dewaeles transfer with it whereas staying with their evergreen dancefloor (ideally ringed by eight McIntosh stacks).
No Pleasure – Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven EP (Joyful Noise / Hand Drawn Dracula)
Born out of lockdown, No Pleasure go orchestral, taking inspiration from Bjork, Portishead and, uh, Korn
When she could not tour for No Pleasure‘s nice, indescribable 2020 album Motherhood, Jasamine White-Gluz missed the way in which her studio creations took on new life within the reside setting, so she got down to scratch that itch in a brand new method. Impressed by reside movies of Bjork, Portishead, Large Assault, Korn (sure, Korn, she is unapologetic of her nu metallic roots), and others, Jasamine reimagined a couple of of the Motherhood songs with new, orchestral recordings. Not a remix document, not an “unplugged document,” Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven stands by itself as a largely chill, extra natural companion to the whacked-out world of Motherhood. The “From Heaven” variations of “Kidder” and “Fish” are notably impressed, lush with harp, harmonies and operatic vocals. “4” and “Dream Rats,” in the meantime, are heavy but in addition grand, sounding like what No Pleasure might’ve been as a giant, mid-’00s model Canadian collective. Then there is a cowl of Deftones’ “Teenager” which takes the unique’s Cocteau Twins influences and actually goes with it. This is probably not a mode No Pleasure ever experiments with once more, however its creation is one small silver lining to 2020.
In search of extra? Browse the Indie Basement archives.
And take a look at what’s new in our shop.