Timothy Gabriele: Say what you will about Wham’s “Freedom” and its partial response, George Michael’s “Freedom ‘90”, but both could have only arose as a result of their time. The former, a series of bright stomping synth chords arguing against a woman’s autonomy that they somehow fashioned into a music video crying for democracy to break loose in Communist China (sadly it didn’t work, but it can be argued that China did instead “Make It Big”). The latter, a series of house vamps and slinky R&B riffs whose lyrics seem to be a rejection of music’s reliance on image that Michael somehow fashioned into an iconographic music video full of naked supermodels lip-synching the tune. !!!’s “Freedom! ‘15” could have come about from any number of recent eras. The thing that distinguishes it the most from straight-up West End/late era Prelude disco is some raw distortion. Perhaps the video’s silly but fun combo of web 1.0 and mobile ’15 technology is an attempt to rectify that.
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Having traded in her conventional singer-songwriter fare for something a little more adventurous, Los Angeles based/Oklahoma raised Sunday Lane has been slowly unveiling her modest makeover this year in anticipation of her upcoming new EP Future Tense(s). Her arrangements now have more variety, embracing electronic sounds more, but her biggest step forward so far is her new single “Go”, which dives headfirst into sparkling electropop. And as it turns out, it’s a perfect fit.
Timothy Gabriele: Animal Collective’s Centipede Hz was a bit unfairly maligned. Production-wise, the album was possessed of a unique artistry that still sounds unlike everything else. The first few songs rival anything the band ever did, but the best tracks completely frontloaded the album. “No Man’s Land” sounds the closest to Centipede Hz’s singular dynamic that I’ve heard from any of the band members since that album’s release, but it sounds like a drifting, irresolute B-side that got cut from the album’s back end. The densely layered creaking fourth world squeals and hypnotic rhythms possess multitudes that you could fall into, but the vocal feels at best half-hearted. If you’re looking for bonus Panda Bear material, you’d be better off checking Danny L. Harle’s remix of “Come to Your Senses”. It’s one of the best things released in 2015. [6/10]
Formerly from Victoria, British Columbia, the garage rock trio Babysitter now calls Montreal home, and now have a new self-titled album coming out next week. As per usual, the band cranks out the heavy guitar jams that sound reminiscent of Crazy Horse and the Stooges at the same time, the riffs massive, grating, threatening to drown out the rest of the band. “Envy” is a great example, which you can listen to below.