The video for Aphty Khea‘s “Onyx Glitz”, shot by videographer Benjamin Brookes, features body parts snapping together and apart under an eerie ultraviolet light. It’s appropriate imagery for the song itself, a sinewy piece of dubstep which undulates lethargically under piano and massive bass. It’s at times the pristine jazz vibes of Submotion Orchestra, at times the unsettling wormholes of Hyperdub’s formative years, and always everything which made the genre compelling to begin with. Menacingly spacious and elegantly caustic, it shows there’s yet life in the bassy half-time world.
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The electropop of Nashville’s Chaos Emeralds is a maximalist version of the genre, everything within their grasp ballooning to massive size. “Untied”, with its gigantic toms, neon arpeggios, and buzzing bass, rams it home: if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing big. And it’s nice that things are, indeed, this big: the song is a delectable slice of hyper-sugary cake, white-boy R&B if the genre had injected approximately seven liters of Pepsi intravenously before performing. It’s brash and loud, and it’s all the better for it.
Money Chicha, as you might guess from the name, make chicha (or Peruvian cumbia, depending on your preferred nomenclature). It’s a style of music influenced by both traditional Suramericana music and guitar-drenched surf and psychedelic rock from the ‘60s. If you’re looking for a psychedelic trip to top off your end of week, look no further. Here’s an hour-odd collection of instrumental scuzz, percussive glory, and monumental guitar. It’s a wonderful mezcla of two fields which are incredible on their own, and Echo en Mexico proves that they sound great when combined.
Expect rock on “First Mistakes”, because rock is what you’ll get on this new video from the Dead Ships. It’s a straightforward guitar-driven song, loud tambourine and thumping bass pushing it forward. And, if the mold ain’t broke, there’s no reason to fix it — its simplicity, as always belying a more complex undercurrent of sadness and exhaustion, works wonders. Straight-up rock — the guitars! the four-by-four beat! the wailing tenor! — has been king for a very long time, and “First Mistakes” is proof that it continues to survive.
I’m firmly of the belief that a certain brand of nostalgia — that ever-present nag that music stopped being good when the ‘rents stopped being young enough to enjoy the new stuff — is toxic and has no place in our music community. Thankfully, Chris Robley’s “1973” is of the more pleasant sort, genially sepia-toned instead of acid-stained. It’s a self-admitted “fantasy”, a pleasant scene of how two folks met and made a kid that doesn’t actually exist in Robley’s true life, but oftentimes fantasy is compelling too. And “1973” certainly is compelling, charming wordless harmonies preceding a folk-rock stomp and killer psychedelic guitar solo. It might be a fictionalized portrait of the year it attempts to illustrate, but that fiction is a genuine joy—if a slightly depressing one—nonetheless.