It’s .WAV’s New Music Roundup Day-after-Halloween special! Here’s a list of what we listened to this week besides “Spooky Scary Skeletons”. You should listen to it too.
Magic Oneohtrix Point Never – Oneohtrix Point Never
He’s done it again, folks. Daniel Lopatin is undeniably one of the most important avant-garde artists of this generation. With releases ranging from the foundational groundwork for the vaporwave genre, to stylistic Safdie Brothers film soundtracks, to glitchy hypnagogic computer freak-outs; one would think it impossible for OPN to release an album that somehow manages to combine everything that has defined his eclectic back catalog and exceed it. On this point, one would be hilariously wrong. It’s abundantly clear that Magic Oneohtrix Point Never not only serves as an exceptional high watermark in an already staggering body of work, but also as proof that Lopatin is a true visionary, crafting the sounds that not only define the times that we live in, but the untold digital daydreams of tomorrow.
G.B.L.O – The Charities
San Luis Obispo’s favorite soul-funk band is back with their first full-length album, drawing heavily on the same sounds and themes that we’ve all grown to love. It’s all there: catchy hooks, lush vocals, funky bass lines, and fresh guitar. Slower than previous singles like “Easier To Be”, The Charities craft a blues-inspired soul album focusing on the highs and lows of love. The entire project is rife with trumpets and keyboards; it’s equally as funky as it is serenading. “Enfermo” is entirely in Spanish – and it really does sound like a track from Latin America with the nylon-sounding guitar strings and harmonizing vocals. “Piece of Pie” is fully instrumental and sounds like a cut from an older Santo & Johnny song (or maybe “Sun King” by The Beatles); the slow, deep guitar plucks create a ghostly atmosphere. G.B.L.O. is a heartwarming, upbeat soul album that the house-show-aficionados of SLO desperately needed; it embodies that lost feeling of being on Loomis or Jeffrey Street, where everything is a good time. As happy as this album is, it strikes a nostalgic chord – especially for those in the San Luis Obispo music community. On the bright side, these songs will sound great at the Warehouse on Mars in a year or two. Hopefully sooner than later.
JID004 – Azymuth, Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad
Classic Latin grooves, a distinctly modern jazz sensibility, this album is the definition of cool. Coming in with the 4th installment in their unassailable Jazz is Dead series, hip-hop giant Ali Shaheed Muhammad and LA jazz innovator Adrian Younge have come together with essential Brazilian jazz-funk outfit Azymuth to deliver another grand slam jazz record. Piling on the endlessly groovy guitar hooks, basslines that’d give even the most stoic of bassists plenty reason to stankface, and just the right amount of breathing room and fuzz to the mix to replicate the relaxed ecstasy of an intimate club show, JID004 comes together to be nothing short of a triumph. Every track is a highlight, every performance is stellar, this is the jazz record to be listening to right now. Keep a close eye on this album series. If Younge and Shaheed Muhammad have struck gold this many times in a row, there’s sure to be even more coming.
Didn’t You Hear? – Mort Garson
Plantasia lovers gather round, a previously non streamable Mort Garson record is upon us. Six years prior to his magnum opus Mother Earth’s Plantasia, Garson put his Moog to use and scored Didn’t You Hear?, an experimental film about the confused haze that is the college experience. Billed as the first electronically scored soundtrack, Didn’t You Hear is a bleepy historic feat that captures feelings of walking through campus at the wee hours of the night and the anxiety of trying to find your place in the world. If you’re into synthy sci-fi, and if you’re in the world of academia, this record will have a special place in your heart.
10 – tricot
Coming in with their second full-length release of 2020, Japanese post-rock outfit tricot are back with another satiating entry into their discography. 10 continues to cement their reputation as one of, if not the best post-rock girl groups in Japan right now. They boast trademark explosive guitar lines, driving and ever-present basslines, and nearly unmatched drumming within their scene. Opening track “Omae” grips you from the first note with its incredible energy, ensuring that you’re locked in and along for the ride over the next 36 minutes. “WARP” is another standout, with phenomenal vocals and guitar riffs that evoke the intoxicating bubblegum feel of some of the best Shibuya-kei songs. This is all bolstered by a fantastic middle section that starts with everything but the guitar and Ikkyu’s voice stripped back, giving her the opportunity to go into a more mellow, rapped section before reintroducing each part of the mix over time to build to an impeccable finale. “Hako” is similarly high-energy and very poppy, “Itazura” is likely the best example of a more traditional math/post-rock sound from this record, and closer “Karada” contains some of the best drumming on the album. If you know this scene at all, you likely already know how easy of a recommendation this band and album are, but if you’re new to Japanese post-rock, this album is an excellent, approachable, and authentic intro to the genre.
Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez – Gorillaz
Starting up back in January, Gorillaz surprised the world with their first tease into their 2020 collaborative project. This would be one of many to follow, all the way to the leadup of the album drop. By the time the album was released, six songs had already come out as singles and the remaining tracks on the album, although featuring notable artists, at points fell short in making the cut as a full on banger. Featuring a diversity of new sounds, the Gorillaz seem to be pushing what’s possible within their own Gorillaz-esque sound, much due to the contrasting influences that their artist features bring. This can be seen all throughout the album with notable contrasting artist combos, Elton John/6LACK and JPEGMAFIA/CHAI being examples. That being said, it’s exciting to speculate the collaborative direction Gorillaz is moving in, this album being only the beginning, hence the label, “Season One”. All in all, the title Strange Timez fits perfectly in both a societal and musical sense.
“Dora” – Tierra Whack
Tierra Whack’s new single “Dora” is a satirical ode to materialism, which is well within the “hip-hop surrealist” domain she has created for herself. Over a trappy beat, Whack mockingly glorifies high-life fundamentals (tanned-skin, veganism, and rolexes, to name a few) and comments on The Void luxuries fail to satisfy. With lyrics like “yes of course I’m in Dior, I think I might buy me a horse”, it’s hilariously defensive, blunt, and brilliant. If you’re a fan of Whack and you’re sick of flexes, this is the track to hold you over until her next album drop.
Something to Say – Cory Henry
Cory Henry has returned, this time with a series of messages within his new album. With song names the likes of “No Guns,” “Rise,” and “Say Their Names,” this album stands out in our current social climate, especially with its powerful lyrics. “I’m not a victim, I’m not a savage…I’m a black man, don’t be scared.” These lyrics taken from “Black Man,” the ninth song on the album, paired with Cory’s gospel organ combine to make a profound impact on the listener. One can’t help but feel the pain heard within his emotion and voice. However, the album isn’t solely somber, Cory is able to display his various forms of musicianship by having the album shift through a multitude of emotions engraved within his contrasting styles. At one moment he might take a serious gospel approach, only to completely change it up the next song by lightening the mood to an energetic funk style. Great music during not so great times.
This article was compiled by .WAV staff members Jake Davis, Robbie Baker, Colin Brunson, Delaney Faherty, and Brian Mendez. Delaney Faherty created the graphic.