Shabazz PalacespresentQuazarz vs. The Jealous Machines, the group's fourth album and extra-spatial twin toQuazarz: Born on a Gangster Star. The album, featuring highlights "30 Clip Extension," "Julian's Dream (odeto a bad)" and "Effeminence" includes guest appearances fromFly Guy Daiof Chimurenga Renaissance,Amir Yaghamai,John Carroll Kirby,Thaddillac,Morgan Henderson,The Shogun Shot,Laz, andPurple Tape Nate.
Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machinesis a second, fully-realized album of new material that expands the Quazarz universe, and tells the tales of Quazarz, that sent sentient from some elsewhere. A wave warrior wielding his sonic sword. Posted to the turnt-up states of Amurderca here on the Gangster Star to chronicle, explore and enjoy as a musical emissary. He discovers a world where humankind's relationship with their tech-devices has become weirdly sensual, seducing a sedentary seamlessness with humans, while capturing and incarcerating the results of their imagination.Quazarz vs The Jealous Machinesfinds our protagonist with his dazzling cohorts rising a collective Nah to the device and the guilds that proliferate them.
Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machineswas produced by the Palaceer Lazaro and Sunny Levine, recorded in Seattle at Protect and Exalt Labs: A Black Space and in Marina Del Rey at Dror Lord Studios, and mixed by Levine and Kamal Humphrey at Kamal's House Studio.
Welcome to Quazarz
Gorgeous Sleeper Cell
Effeminence (feat. Fly Guy Dai & Chimurenga Renaissance)
Julian's Dream (ode to a bad) [feat. The Shogun Shot]
30 Clip Extension
Love in the Time of Kanye (feat. Purple Tape Nate)
Vinyl LP pressing. Imbued with the energy and ideas from all the creative embers floating in the atmosphere like fireflies, Shabazz Palaces recorded this entire album over the course of two weeks with Blood in Seattle. New gear and new equipment disintegrated comfort zones into dust and a new path appeared in the rubble. Born on a Gangster Star flirts with a pop sensibility, but through the prism of Shabazz Palaces's fire and fury. For the Palaceer, that sense is all about how the groove is moving, and the supernatural telepathy that occurs amongst his cohort. Appearing here, in body or in spirit, are Julian Casablancas, Thundercat, Darrius Willrich, Gamble and Huff, Loud Eyes Lou, Thaddillac, Ahmir, Jon Kirby, Sunny Levine, and Blood. The story belongs to Quazarz, but the air and darkness belong to us.
It remains impossible to accurately describe a Shabazz Palaces album without lapsing into cosmic tropes. Yet sometimes clichés are stand-ins for eternal truths. Therein, The Don of Diamond Dreams embodies a futuristic manifestation of ancient myth, full of robotic vocoder and warped auto-tune, Funkadelic refracted into different dimensions, weird portals and warm nocturnal joy rides alongside the coast (a reflection of it being mixed near the beach in California). The synthesizers are alien but the drums speak a universal language. It is hip-hop, dub, jazz, R&B, soul, funk, African, experimental, and occasionally even pop. But over the course of five albums, Shabazz Palaces have conceived the fluid boundaries of their own one-band genre.
Even though the construction of the album is meticulous, it's a startling masterpiece of improvisation and instinct. It's both cerebral and automatic, withIshmael Butlerjotting down phrases and ideas in his phone and eventually shaping them into amorphous abstract expressionist canvasses. If anything, their latest illustrates Butler's gift for being a conduit of sounds and experience. It's partially shaped by his own reflection on being a parent and watching his son, Jazz, become internationally renowned as the artist, Lil Tracy. If you listen closely, you can hear the interplay between father and son, as Butler does what is impossible for most veteran artists: he absorbs the sounds of today's youth, but filters it through his own fractured lens, spitting back convex poems with wild cadences, freestyling with the wisdom of age and the frenetic passion of someone still trying to show and prove. It's confident and suffused with the thing that defines almost all great art: the willingness to risk attempting something new.
There is "Ad Ventures," a shout out to Butler's crew, The Black Constellation. The beat operates like a melodic free jazz hymn, with Ish boasting about Ethiopian carats and watching lakes from a theological terrace. It's an imagistic rendering of their tours through Europe in sprinter vans, blitzing from place to place and absorbing every detail. FeaturingPurple Tape Nate, "Fast Learner" offers odd splendor, spoken word reveries and flexes that wriggle through a wrinkle in time. The synthesizers sound like New Age from the 37th century crossed with '90s R&B, the drums are slow and seething. On top of that, Butler laid a guitar line down and auto-tune harmonies that instantiate the feeling of driving along PCH at night.
"Wet" is a freestyle of sorts with Ish offering his own twist on contemporary rap cadences but making it sound like an underwater Atlantis symphony. There are Based God shoutouts and fuzzy guitars that wouldn't sound out of place on an Ariel Pink album. "Chocolate Souffle" is some god-level shit-talking in the way that only Butler could do: replete with Maurice Chevalier allusions and admissions of being an "elitist at the zenith of slick demeanor." While "Thanking the Girls" might be the most poignant song in the Shabazz catalog, a song that acknowledges the myriad positive ways in which women have shaped Butler's life. The second verse is dedicated to his two daughters and the pride which they engender. Of course, this is aShabazz Palacessong so the beat sounds like a riff on Panda Bear distilled through a bent futuristic boom-bap prism.
In some respects, it's difficult to consider the possibility that this might be the bestShabazz Palacesalbum yet. Very few musicians have ever peaked in their fifth decade on earth, but whoever said they were actually from earth? It's wrong to say thatShabazz Palaceshave gone beyond the looking glass. This time they've shattered it entirely and created a brilliant new universe in each one of the shards. The Don of Diamond Dreams was recorded throughout 2019 and produced by Shabazz Palaces at Protect and Exalt: A Black Space in Seattle, mixed and engineered by Erik Blood with mixing assistance from Andy Kravitz at Studio 4 Labs in Venice, California, and mastered by Scott Sedillo at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles.
Vinyl LP pressing includes digital download. Consider the urgency with which Protomartyr has approached everything, three albums in three years, each more extraordinary and rewarding than the last. This music is inherently, unassumingly high stakes. This October marks the release of The Agent Intellect, their third and finest work to date. Named after an ancient philosophical questioning of how the mind operates in relation to the self, it's an elegant and often devastating display of all that makes Protomartyr so vital and singularly visceral an outfit.
Enter Networker, the new album by Omni and first with indie giant Sub Pop Records. Their sound is still defined by sparse drums, locked-in bass, blistering guitar, and nonchalant, yet assured vocals, but from the first notes of "Sincerely Yours" you'll immediately notice that Networker sounds much cleaner and more "HI-FI" than their prior two albums, Deluxe (2016) and Multi-task (2017). The departure in fidelity suits the new record and allows the listener to enjoy the nuances of their meticulous arrangements. Don't worry, the riffs of Gang of Four and Wire are still present, but the production is more lush and the harmony is even more expansive. Despite nods to the sounds of the '70s and '80s what comes through is a record fully rooted in the here and now. Thematically, this is apparent on the title track "Networker" taking a candid snapshot of the "digital you" aspect of life in the age of the internet. The otherwise fun romp "Skeleton Key" also acknowledges the "direct message and obsessive" side of social media with lines like "if you don't like what you see, the pretty face on the screen, scroll on by..." Networker was written half between tours and half during recording sessions.
Rave Tapesis the eighth studio album byMogwaiand their second forSub Pop. Since their formation in 1995, the Scottish quintet has established itself internationally through a prolific recorded output and a commitment to touring that few of their peers can match. WithRave Tapes,Mogwai’smastery of sound and space is firmly at its apex. The album is a lustrous collection mined from the same quarry as its predecessors, wreathed in painterly textures underpinned by increasingly electronic beats.
The haunted strains of “Deesh” channel the slow-burning ecstasy of their 2006 song “Auto Rock” (a key presence in the denouement of Michael Mann’s film of Miami Vice that year), while the guitars on whichMogwaibuilt their reputation remain, if less overtly belligerent this time round, as evidenced by the somnambulant opener “Heard About You Last Night” and the sonic scowl of “Hexon Bogon.”
In the past year, the band has broadened their reach with the soundtrack to the acclaimed Canal+ supernatural drama series Les Revenants (retitled The Returned when broadcast on Channel 4 in the summer of 2013, averaging 1.8 million viewers a week; the show is now broadcasting in the US on the Sundance Channel, and being remade for A&E). As the show reached its climax on UK TV screens in July, Mogwai returned to their predecessor to Les Revenants, the 2007 soundtrack to Douglas Gordon and Philippe Pareno’s film Zidane: A 21st-century Portrait, in sell-out performances with the band playing live while the film was projected above them.
Having barely had time to draw breath, the ever-restless band kicked off 2013 with the release of theLes RevenantsEP, and wrote and recordedRave Tapesat the band’s Castle Of Doom studio in Glasgow, Scotland.Rave Tapeswas recorded withPaul Savage, who also worked with the band on their 2011Sub Popalbum,Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will. The release ofRave Tapeswill signal the beginning of a frantic year of live activity, including the group’s maiden foray into Africa. Fasten your seatbelts.
Vinyl LP pressing. 2020 release. "Change is inevitable if you're lucky," says guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins while talking about Atlas Vending, the fourth full-length album by Toronto's METZ. "Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We've always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we've accomplished something that pushes us forward." The music made by Edkins and his compatriots Hayden Menzies (drums) and Chris Slorach (bass) has always been a little difficult to pin down. Their earliest recordings contained nods to the teeming energy of early '90s DIY hardcore, the aggravated angularities of This Heat, and the noisy riffing of AmRep's quintessential guitar manglers, but there was never a moment where METZ sounded like they were paying tribute to the heroes of their youth.
Before 2007's The Shepherd's Dog, the last we heard from Iron and Winewas the six songs comprisingWoman Kingreleased in 2005. What distinguishedWoman Kingfrom its predecessors was the deepening integration of spiraling, dense opuses ("Gray Stables,” "Evening on the Ground (Lilith's Song)") with intimate confessionals ("Jezebel,” "My Lady's House"). OnThe Shepherd's Dog,this integration is complete. Compositionally, it isIron and Wine's most ambitious and accomplished recording to date. It’s also the most satisfying.
While many of us learned ofIron and Wineby way ofSam Beam's tender and spare rendering ofThe Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" on theGarden Statesoundtrack, those who dug deeper discovered a classic American tunesmith with a precocious musical signature. Songs like "Lion's Mane” and "Naked as We Came" are remarkable demonstrations of craft: musically memorable, lyrically evocative, and casually atmospheric.
The whole album breathes. Its seductive rhythms percolate and undulate, from the psych-pop of "Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car" to the album's last dance—a waltz—"Flightless Bird, American Mouth.” And there's nary a trapkit on the whole album.
Iron and WineThe Shepherd's Dog Track Listing:
1. Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car 2. White Tooth Man 3. Lovesong of the Buzzard 4. Carousel 5. House by the Sea 6. Innocent Bones 7. Wolves (Song of the Shepherd’s Dog) 8. Resurrection Fern 9. Boy with a Coin 10. The Devil Never Sleeps 11. Peace Beneath the City 12. Flightless Bird, American Mouth
lue Cathedral is the third album from Comets on Fire and their first for Sub Pop. It is also the Bay area band’s most varied and richly textured album yet. With their first two albums, (2001’s self-titled debut/self-released and 2002’s Field Recordings from the Sunon Ba Da Bing!) they established themselves as flag-bearers of modern psychedelia. However, where their previous efforts are full-tilt psychedelic affairs, Blue Cathedral is harder to pin down (which elusiveness we heartily support). Their trademark sound is here enriched by more structured, keyboard-driven jams, churning Blue Oyster Cult-ish chooglers and slow burners reminiscent of Harvest-era Pink Floyd. They recently opened a string of dates for Sonic Youth and have also played shows with Rocket From The Tombs, Dead Meadow AND Dead Moon, Sunburned Hand of the Man and more. They also made a BIG fan outta Lord Head on High, Julian Cope, who said of them: “Comets on Fire deserve our gratitude…for their distillation of all the best rock riffs since High Rise’s take on Blue Cheer…” Naturally, we agree.
The follow-up to "Blue Cathedral" is an earthy, more accessible, and downright beautiful album. "Avatar" veers from swinging, bluesy explorations to piano-laced, progressive power balladry to pure tribalism, evoking everyone from the Allmans to Quicksilver to Procol Harem to some insane Fela/Sun Ra/Crazy Horse hybrid, yet remains wholly Comets on Fire. Though they play cleaner and clearer, their firepower is evident and abundant.
1. Dogwood Rust 2. Jaybird 3. Lucifer's Memory 4. The Swallow's Eye 5. Holy Teeth 6. Sour Smoke 7. Hatched Upon the Age
Experimental hip-hop group Clipping’s “The Deep” is a dark sci-fi tale about the underwater-dwelling descendants of African women thrown off slave ships, based on the mythology of Detroit electronic group Drexciya. The song was originally commissioned for a This American Life about Afrofuturism in 2017. The track earned Clipping a nomination for a 2018 Hugo award, and the band constructed a sound installation based on “The Deep” at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. This release comes on the heels of the November 5th release of The Deep, a novella by Rivers Solomon (with Clipping credited as co-authors) inspired by the title track and published by Saga Press. The vinyl and digital versions include two otherwise-unreleased extra tracks – including “Aquacode Databreaks,” which features Shabazz Palaces – and the vinyl edition includes instrumental versions of all three tracks.
he 2021 edition of Wriggle features new artwork, guests, and previously unreleased remixes. Included are the original versions of the title track, “Shooter,” “Hot Fuck No Love” (Feat. Cakes Da Killa & Maxi Wild), “Our Time” (Feat. Nailah Middleton), along with “Back Up 2021” featuring SB The Moor and a new verse fromindustrial-rap experimentalistDebby Friday. Wriggle also features remixes of the title track from Drum & Bass/Breakbeat act Homemade Weapons and Classicworks label co-founder Cardopusher, a rework of “Back Up” by Fade To Mind producer Dave Quam (formerly Massacooramaan), and Chicago footwork producer Jana Rush delivers both the “Hot Fuck No Love (Naughty Bitch Remix)” for the vinyl version, and “Shooter (Face Rearranged Remix)” for the digital release.
The original, digital-only Wriggle was six tracks that weren’t finished in time to make it onto the group’s 2014 Sub Pop debut, CLPPNG. For “Shooter,” Clipping recorded themselves firing fifteen different guns, the sounds of which exclusively constituted the beat’s drums, augmented only by a synthesized tone-row. The verses referenced the well-worn technique of “hashtag rap,” but instead of using it to boast about the rapper’s personal wealth and masculine prowess, Clipping put forth imagistic narratives of three violent encounters. True to much of the group’s music, “Shooter” was an attempt to reframe a familiar style and test the limits of its formal capabilities. “Hot Fuck No Love” contains what might be the most explicit verse to date from Clipping’s favorite New Jersey rapper Cakes Da Killa. The EP’s title track, “Wriggle,” was built around a sample of the influential power-electronics song “Wriggle Like a Fucking Eel” by Whitehouse, transforming William Bennett’s torturous imperative into a instructional dance-floor banger. “Wriggle” and “Shooter” have become classic Clipping tracks and staples of their live show.
A1. Shooter A2. Back Up 2021 (Feat. Debby Friday & SB The Moor) A3. Wriggle A4. Hot Fuck No Love (Feat. Cakes Da Killa & Maxi Wild) A5. Our Time (Feat. Nailah Middleton)
B1. Wriggle (Homemade Weapons Remix) B2. Back Up (Dave Quam Remix) B3. Hot Fuck No Love (Jana Rush's Naughty Bitch Remix) B4. Wriggle (Cardopusher's EBM Remix)
WhileBully's2013 debutFeels Liketumbled headlong into the precarious nature ofAlicia Bognanno'syoung adult life, its follow-upLosingis their first for Sub Pop (Bully'ssound is an outgrowth of the bands the label championed in the late ‘80s and ‘90s).Losingis a document of the complexity of growth: navigating breakups with sensitivity, learning not to flee from your troubles but to face them down no matter how messy they may be. Written as the group slowed down from touring constantly and Bognanno attempted to adjust to how different a home schedule is from a road schedule, her songwriting has matured from the quick one-two punches of Feels Like to tracks that contemplate the necessity of space in both song structure and emotion.
Bognanno's gruff yet dynamic voice is allowed to bloom, and it has a tenderness and openness to it here that's new. The group returned to Electrical Audio in Chicago, another home for Bognanno, to record Losing. Their core – Bognanno, guitarist Clayton Parker and bassist Reece Lazarus – truly solidified during the process, a detail-oriented push for perfection in which each moving part was labored over and polished. Emily Lazar's mastering adds the perfect cap to Bognanno's engineering; this is a record that has both shimmer and heft. There's power in the guitar attack, delicacy and toughness in the melodic hooks, precision in the drums, and backbone in the bass.
While Bognanno wouldn't call this a political record, she doesn't deny that the current political atmosphere and its urgency and tension haven't shaped some of her ideas on this record, too – though she does not want that to be its focus. Mostly, this is an internal record, a universalized diary and an exorcism – not of any one specific demon, but of the host of them that characterize contemporary anxieties.Bullyare growing up, sure, but their fire is in no way diminishing.
Vinyl LP pressing. 2020 release. Sugaregg roars from the speakers and jumpstarts both heart and mind. The third Bully album, Sugaregg, may not ever have come to fruition had Alice Bognanno not navigated every kind of upheaval imaginable and completely overhauled her working process along the way. The artist admits that finding the proper treatment for bipolar 2 disorder radically altered her mindset, freeing her from a cycle of paranoia and insecurity about her work. "Being able to finally navigate that opened the door for me to write about it," she says, pointing to the sweet, swirly "Like Fire" and slower, more contemplative songs such as "Prism" and "Come Down" as having been born of this new headspace. Even small changes like listening to music instead of the news first thing in the morning "made me want to write and bring that pleasure to other people." Ultimately, Sugaregg is a testament that profound change can yield profound results - in this case, the most expressive and powerful music of Bognanno's career. "This is me longing to see the bigger picture, motivated and eager for contentment in the best way," she says. "I hope the happy go lucky/f***-it-all attitude shines through some of these songs because I really did feel like I was reentering a place I hadn't been to in a while and was excited to be back there."