How do you write about the new words? I mean, especially after spending one’s youth listening to the Beastie Boys, Run DMC or Wu-Tang? After all is said and done, though, I hope I have come upon a voice that is as elusively descriptive as the works upon which I now comment. But I still feel like a lot of what came out last year is either overly influenced by pop R&B—autotune included—or highly derivative of mid-’90s classsic old school. That’s what I thought about whilst listening to this album, especially as the first track, “Grey Skys,” portended such. But when I got to track two, the superlatively syncopated “Dopeness,” I knew I was joyfully wrong. That shit is hot, even if it resembles ODB and Coolio at points on a compass that is otherwise perpetually spinning.
Svea LyonSvea Lyon Live at The Mint(Self-Released)
For some reason which resists precise interpretation, singer-songwriters drift through my life. Sometimes they are like large flighty white sea birds who claim freedom in each melodic interpretation. Other times, they take the form of those purloined, taxidermic cats who have been made to hold a tiny guitar in their lapsed paws—with attached signage that proclaims their proclivity to find the truth in repeated performances of—wait for it—Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire” or whatever Beatles tune for which they can find a ukulele transposition. On the other hand of such potential proscriptives are works like this. Though mostly delicate, Lyon’s piano playing is informed—think Ladies of the Canyon informed—and supports a lush, smoky voice that is mostly (mostly) unencumbered by vibrato. Favorite tracks: “Home” and “Sugar Crash.”
AtomonautInner Space Vol. 2(Self-Released)
Lets pray for rocanrol with universal referents, an eye for the stars above and a heart that embraces distortion, funk and laconically told narratives—while rattling with rhythms that are transgressively familiar and obsessively memorable. By repeating that admittedly convoluted sentence while staring at the New Mexican sunrise, I can guarantee that if there is any decent management in la jauja, this album is going to come back as answer and accommodation. I am jamming to this as I write and it fucking rocks! It’s got a sort of south New Mexico/west Texas-style groove to it with plenty of hot shit solos and killer keyboards too. There is no filler, damn it! “Cicadas” slays. “Ery One Knows” will destroy your brain when played at high volumes. Fuck, I’m listening to this on repeat for the rest of the week!