Long in gestation, the full-length debut from Los Angeles-based composer/producer Johnathan Cooper’s lovelesslust is at hand. Steeped in darkwave, post-punk, industrial, and art rock, The Car Crash That Ended Her Life Came as No Surprise is a riveting, pensive work that seems to emanate from a nocturnal dimension. It lacerates in all directions, focusing ire inwardly and outwardly.
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Vandoliers’ “Wildflower” is largely based in straightforward country music, a touch of shout-along folk-punk contouring its edges. Instrumentally, it’s a very complex song, horns trading off with strings and banjo under vocalist Joshua Fleming’s strained yell. Its instrumental complications and genre tropes fit its subject matter appropriately — it’s about the lost and broken, those from whom we’ve had to move on. It’s a dark song with a touch of brightness and hope, a tone kept consistent by the way it occasionally soars far above its gloomy guitar spine.
Beginners’ “Stereo”, as the title’s connotations might suggest, takes a few cues from the ‘80s. Big, watery snares are the most noticeable, with cheeky synths and schlocky strings adding to the effect. It’s very much a modern song, though — the arpeggiation, distorted bassline, and vocal chops are straight out of radio pop-house. It’s a laid-back tune as ready for blasting from a Camaro system as from Spotify, and that timelessness is a wonderful thing.
Paige Calico‘s “The Hard Way” is pristinely loopy Americana, a gorgeous arrangement warped just a touch by a layer of sand and dirt. Calico sings dreamily over lolling guitar and choral backdrop, a touch of chamber pop influencing the song’s hazy make. Given that it’s a song about the strength and enigmatic nature of love, its semi-lucid atmosphere fits it like a glove.
Chris Ingalls: Judging from the deadened delivery, GAIKA is seemingly numbed by what’s happening to his city. The brutality and violence is palpable in the track, with music stabs and samples that seem to bring to life the unrest. Musically, it’s diverse yet danceable (although the starts and stops create the requisite drama). Yet another reason why, when looking for new voices in hip-hop, you need to cross the pond. [7/10]