After his 2014 sci-fi treatise, Music for Robots, Tom Jenkinson returns to the past. Damogen Furies recalls ’90s acid raves where drum-and-bass was just finding a foothold, and sample rates remained at a solid 60 seconds. “Stor Eiglass,” “Baltang Ort,” and “Exjag Nives” sound like Jenkinson’s tribute to Aphex Twin, mirrored in Damogen Furies’ brain-crunching rhythms and lip-ripping tones. But always a sucker for a melancholic melody, “Baltang Ort” spins a sad tale through warlike rhythms that recall deep space dread.
SECOND HAND HEART
The title track on Yoakam’s latest makes a fascinating union between the country star’s angelic voice, love-song lyrics, and anthemic production that’s more than a bit E-Street-Band. An unexpected take on “Man of Constant Sorrow” features wailing guitars and massive rock ’n’ roll drums. Track one, “In Another World,” is blown up, too, with doo wop-ish backing vocals and extra reverb. Listeners might pump their fists to the magnificent wall of sound Yoakam has created if the lyrics weren’t so tender and sweet.
RIVINGTON NÃO RIO
TEMPORARY RESIDENCE LTD.
Producer Guillermo S. Herren debuted his Prefuse 73 alias in 2001 as a fully formed idea. His cross-stitched glitch-hop—balancing boom-bap cut-ups, loping melodies, and pixelated harmonics—is instantly recognizable. And on his first Prefuse album in four years Herren edits resolutely, tethering pastoral vibes to swarms of fractured musique concrète within his heavy weightlessness. Glacial chords, scurrying beats, and disembodied splices are just some of the occupants of Herren’s world.
PLAY IT AGAIN SAM
Ghostpoet comes across as Tricky’s comprehensible musical cousin. On Shedding Skin, live instruments back his raspy rhymes, a first for the British rapper. This is a great match for the catches in Ghostpoet’s voice, which are at their best when he’s head-to-head with the ladies. He battles lazily on “That Ring Down the Drain Kind of Feeling,” leans against the guitar sketches of “Sorry My Love It’s You Not Me,” and quivers with flair through the skittish “Off Peak.”
The Sea and Cake vocalist and guitarist Sam Prekop eschews his trademark Brasilian-styled music for a dreamy, synth-layered sea that recalls early Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, and fellow Chicagoans Tortoise’s space-wandering epic, “Dear Grandma and Grandpa.” A beautifully ambient, warm-womb world of daydream-inducing, sun-splattered synth goodness, The Republic finds its center in such luminous tracks as “Loom,” “The Ghost” and “A Geometric.” Essential.
PLAY IT AGAIN SAM
Pronounced Plus Minus, the first album from Danish progpop quartet Mew in six years opens with “Satellites,” a brocade of reverb and delay, embossed falsetto swells, and breathing, buzzing appliqués. Cascading guitars and multitracked vocals, studded with fluttering snares, throbbing bass, and furrowing synths, weave together into 10 richly decorative, high-tension patterns. The end result unfurls blazingly into an expansive, densely arranged textile riddled with melodic detail, harmonic texture, and dream-like proportions.
LIVE AT THIRD MAN RECORDS
Why release a concert album on an artist with just one studio LP? Well, why not? Booker is one of the most exciting young rock ’n’ roll performers to debut in 2014. Given his gorgeous, raw sound; tremendously musical drummer, Max Norton; and intensely compelling original songs, why not give the tracks on Booker’s self-titled debut every possible chance of reaching the audience they deserve? Must listen: Booker calls the single “Violent Shiver” his “least favorite song,” but it’s genius.