Twenty two long years after Pixies’ last album, Tromp Le Monde back in 1991, fans were treated to a brand new Pixies EP last September, and another in January. The music blogosphere was somehow caught off guard by the fact that two decades and a major lineup change managed to change the band’s songwriting voice a bit.
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In May 2012, on the 20th anniversary of the assassination of the Sicilian anti-Mafia magistrate Giovanni Falcone and his wife Francesca Morvillo (also a magistrate), the band Ipercussonici took to the streets of Catania for a video shoot/flash mob to honor those who fought the Mafia, many of whom gave their lives. In the video, local people donned masks bearing the images of anti-Mafia heroes—Falcone; Paolo Borsellino, another murdered judge; Peppino Impastato, a bold anti-Mafia activist killed in 1978; Impastato’s mother, Felicia; Rita Atria, a witness against the Mafia who committed suicide after Borsellino’s murder; labor organizer Placido Rizzotto, and several others.
It’s part chillwave, part new wave, part ‘80s, part R&B. Mirror Talk wafts through these styles effortlessly, and set against an impressive video of androgyny and homoeroticism, it’s a pretty cool and auspicious beginning for a band that has foregone the traditional band creation route. The video documents close friends, David and Iggy, navigating an endless night of psychedelic revelry and heartbreak. It’s worth checking out.
Andy Kayes, an up and coming France-based British rapper, released his indie-album, 2012’s Alone in Numbers to little notice. So it’s surprising when you take one look at the neon-saturated glow of his promo video, “The Man Without a Face”, a stylish exercise in decadent glamour and cutting street-smarts. While Kayes certainly doesn’t have the kind of major-label cash to throw around, the video’s intelligent sense of style (an ingenious use of colour, clever effects and skillful editing) easily trumps the marketing efforts of his far more financially-endowed hip-hop contemporaries. The number’s lean, stripped-to-the-bone beats on which rivers of verbal flow ride atop give ample room for Kayes and his cohort, Copywrite, to demonstrate their rhyme-technique. Sized up against Kayes anxious, nimble and textured verse, Copywrite’s no-nonsense rhymes slice like a serrated blade.
In the past several years, Dylan Ettinger has carved his place out in the electronic music world with a dark, post-punk indebted style that embraces a range of analog equipment, hacking a new path out of well-worn devices. His newest, bass-heavy, ringing “The Pale Horse”, found on a new split 7” with Goldendust, sees Ettinger yowling in borderline-Ian Curtis desperation over cut-up, static-y percussion. The song’s video consists of VHS footage from Michael Almereyda ‘s Lynchian 1994 vampire masterpiece Nadja, including a scene of David Lynch himself in a turn as a morgue receptionist, cut up into a stuttering, nauseous, color-altered smear (courtesy of the Tachyons+ Video Art Machine) that complements Ettinger’s icy electronic excursions. The same weighty, pixelated pulse drives both song and video, resulting in an claustrophobic, immersive viewing and listening experience.