Sonic Reducer: Micro Reviews Of Vulpes Vulpes, Faces And Down Iv, Pt. Ii

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I wonder if Lady Uranium visualizes scenes as she writes, composes and sings. The reason I wonder? Her new EP, Vulpes Vulpes, is definitely visible listening. Opening track “Wild Night” evokes images of a forest engulfed in moonlight. “(Your Mouth Holds the) HUM (of a Million Bees)” conjures a landscape of lonely highways and headlights illuminating a drifting doe as her spirit is carried away by the elements. Lady U kicks it up a notch on “Blue Flowers,” a folky, whimsical number she’ll probably play for her grandchildren. “Voice 7,” an unsettling electronic ditty that could soundtrack an intense bout between holographic gladiators, brings a sense of urgency. And the last track, a live recording of “Dustland II,” is Uranium’s warrior call, a complete release of inhibition surrounded by a tribal ritual gone astray. If this varied EP is an indicator of anything, it’s that this artist inhabits an unusual world. Consider yourself lucky to have a window in. (Mark Lopez)

Mac Miller Faces (Self-released)

“I’m the worst, yeaaauh,” Mac Miller sings to his love, “You the worst, yeaaauh.” Mac Miller is the kind of dude who smokes menthol cigarettes in his house. Sometimes he raps like A$AP Rocky featuring Asthma, and other times he raps like he has a numb philtrum. Years after riding the frat-rap wave to a Pitchfork 1.0 and a #1 debut on the Billboard chart, here Miller takes off on a psilocybin mushroom dragging an ankh from a Reyner Banham living room. He rinses the stench of college ephemeridae with embalming fluid and flips Drake’s latest punchlines into an insomniac anthem—asking “What are you afraid of?” on “Angel Dust” and “Who put spiders in the applesauce?” on a song about unlicensed taxis—all while scattering intricate flows developed with partner-in-crime Earl Sweatshirt. Production varies from Clams Casino to “Canal Street”-era Dilla. Dissociation never sounded so country club. (Elliot Pearson)

Down Down IV, Pt. II (Self-released)

Here are my notes on Down IV, Pt. II. There’s a photo of a ruined gothic cathedral, shrouded in fog no less, on this EP’s cover; it’s heavy goddamned metal after all. The best environment for listening to this collection of brutal, head-banging ear-stompers is probably deep underground, while toiling in the sulfurous mines of Hades. Failing that, you can have the verisimilitude of a hellish experience by engaging the play button on your listening device while this recording resides therein. Chief growler Phil Anselmo wastes no time lamenting this earthly coil and rousing demons from their deep slumbers with his rumbling rasp on “We Knew Him Well…” and “Sufferer’s Years.” Bobby Landgraf’s guitar work remains wickedly precise, providing a compelling counterpoint to Bower and Bruders’ rhythm section, like on the fourth track of this six-track outing, “Conjure.” Buy this album but only if you seek eternal damnation … or like to rock the fuck out. (August March)

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