Knxledge

There are a lot of guys that try to make this kind of music. Legions of MPC (er-Fruity Loops)-wielding crate diggers trying to find that perfect obscure soul sample to flip into a beat. And everyone inevitably evokes J Dilla or Madlib when describing this sort of endeavor. Press releases want you to know this is like a Jay Dee track, or that is Madlib-inspired. Music writers are probably even worse with the lazy comparisons. And the producers themselves? Well most would probably welcome being called the next Dilla or the next Beat Konductor.

So, at a certain point, one just get kind of desensitized to it all. I used to be really into “beats,” but it all got so eff-ing predictable—just a copy of a copy of a copy of someone raiding J Dilla‘s vinyl collection.

Enter the Knxledge.

Pronounced Knowledge (the ex is actually an oh), this guy has been on the scene for a while now, but this year he’s really blowing up with a slew of high profile production credits (including Kendrick Lamar’s opus To Pimp a Butterfly) and an absurdly dope long-player called Hud Dreams released via Stones Throw Records.

He’s got a ton of stuff out—srsly, a metric shit-ton of stuff—but let’s just talk about that album. It’s laid out like a mixtape with the beats (usually under 2 minutes) running into each other. There aren’t a lot of crazy production tricks or studio gimmicks here, just a really good ear for sampling and a (obviously) deep crate digger with an intuitive flare for rhythm. These tracks sound effortless, sloppy even, but in the right way if you get me? They’re busting at the seems with the DNA of obscure soul, doo wop and jazz, all chopped into swaggering boom-bap that recalls the golden days of yore.

One final point to consider, because I am going to place this in it’s rightful lineage: How many of knock off Dillas can say they signed to Stones Throw, the label that actually put out all that seminal Dilla and Madlib? Exactly.

But, why take my word for it, give it a listen yourself:

Here’s a sick video of him jamming some beats live in the basement:

And here’s the first single from the man’s R&B project titled Nx Worries.

Also, dude is putting up new beats on his Soundcloud like daily, check it out:

Kero Kero Bonito

Kero Kero Bonito, which translates roughly to “ribbit ribbit fish” in Japanese, is something like the logical conclusion of a problem involving Hello Kitty, Beenie Man, Chrono Trigger and, uh, England.

The London-based trio, consisting of producers Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled and vocalist Sarah Midori Perry, first appeared on the DECIBELity radar last year; their tune “Flamingo” was one of the highlights of Ryan Hemsworth’s excellent Secret Songs compilation, which we posted.

Anchored by Perry’s infectious singsongy hooks, their hybridized, post-globalization style of pop music, incorporates cartoonish imagery, Internet neologisms, Nintendo-esque sound effects, dancehall riddims and elements of UK rave culture and J-Pop

KKB’s debut mixtape Intro Bonito, self-released late last year, was like nothing we had really heard before. 

And given the quality of the two singles they’ve released in 2015 (see below), we’re pretty excited to see what’s next from these guys.

And definitely check out this fire “mixtape” they dropped last week, should  be perfect for the warm weather.

Damaged Bug – Cold Hot Plumbs

John Dwyer’s (Thee Oh Sees) synth heavy side project (Damaged Bug) has a follow up to last years Hubba Bubba and I can not fucking wait! Its called Cold Hot Plumbs and drops June 1st on Dwyer’s Castle Face Records. The first two singles are a beautiful glimpse into the evolution of his solo electronica. Hubba Bubba was a good record but overall was too obvious a starting point unrealized. Jet In Jungle (one of two singles off the new record) proves this is no half assed thing, this is pure Dwyer energy boiled down and crystallized, this is hard wired brutal noise that penetrates, this is not to be fucked with.

check this space for a pre order link as one becomes available

Tess Parks & Anton Newcombe – “I Declare Nothing”

Anton Newcombe, Brian Jonestown Massacre ring leader and talent scout for his Berlin based record label, A Recordings Ltd has been collaborating with Toronto born singer/songwriter Tess Parks over the last year or so and has prepped a full length record, I Declare Nothing available June 29th via A Recordings Ltd.

Tess Parks is responsible for all the lyrics and when delivered through her evocatively stirring, cracked vocals, at only 24, she’s proving to be a true force. One reviewer describes her as “Patti Smith on Quaaludes”…sounds about right.

Scope the first two singles below and check this space for a pre-order link (as one becomes available) for I Declare Nothing

 

 

 

Death and Vanilla – “To Where The Wild Things Are”

 The Swedish psychedelic dream pop trio, Death and Vanilla drop their latest effort      To Where The Wild Things Are May 4th via Fire Records. Story is they recorded this whole thing with a single vintage mic…also “We found an old library record where one of the tracks was just someone playing single notes on a harpsichord and we sampled each note and built melodies from that. The notes were slightly out of tune, but we thought it sounded good anyway.” yeah…I think it sounds good too.

pre-order To Where the Wild Things Are here

 

Following videos are pulled from their 2012 s/t full length.

Tuxedo

That old adage about it being better to do one thing well, holds true with music in that its pretty much always preferable to pick a simple idea and nail the fucking shit out of it than to try to “push the envelope” with a bunch of half-cooked ideas.

Tuxedo, a collaborative project from vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mayer Hawthorne and hip-hop producer Jake One (who has produced for everyone from G Unit to MF Doom to Brother Ali) is definitely not breaking any new ground, but with songs that are this fun, who cares.

The duo’s eponymous debut, released last month via Stones Throw Records, is a homage to the late-‘70s/early-‘80s heyday of the West Coast funk—that same influential sound that informed a generation of G-funk ‘90s gangsta rap.

Basically it’s a smoothed out collection of electrified disco boogie, full of synthetic melodies, squiggly Funkadelic sounds and ridiculously, get-stuck-all-in-your-head hooks, that fans of Chromeo and Dam-Funk will be all over, and a soundtrack that will surely heat up some parties/dance floors as the weather gets nice.

And here we have some Christmas boogie for that ass

Also, there are a bunch of killer DJ mixes over at the Souncloud page if that is your kind of thing.

Get it here

POND – “Man It Feels Like Space Again”

Australia based psych wizards Pond, released their 6th studio record, Man It Feels Like Space Again Jan 27th via Caroline Records. Ok, it’s early April and Im gonna go ahead and call it… this is the best record of the year, not the first quarter…the whole fucking year!! It’s Pond fully realized. The band features a few crossover alliances with Tame Impala  Nick Allbrook (lead vocals/guitar/former bassist of Tame Impala) Jay Watson (drums/vocals/current guitarist vocals of Tame Impala) Joseph Ryan (Guitar/Bass/Vocals) Jamie Terry (Keys) and mixed by Kevin Walker (Tame Impala).

Pond formed in 2008 in Perth Australia with the idea of creating “an all inclusive, ego-free collaborative” and have evolved with every record into the dynamic psych driven machine they are today. The record is a cohesive piece of sonic brilliance, so extracting independent standouts proved a chore albeit below you’ll find a couple tasters along with a handful of videos including a short interview.

Pond – Medicine Hat

Pond – Zond

Pond – Holding Out For You

purchase the new record here

 

 

John Andrews & the Yawns – “Bit by the Fang”

John Andrews of Woods(keys) and Quilt(drums) and his imaginary backing band, The Yawns will release the first solo record, Bit By The Fang, April 14th via Woodsist. The record is a drop from the same psych/folk vein. Everything on Bit By The Fang was performed and recorded by Andrews in his Grandfathers living room in Yardville, NJ.

Pre-Order Bit by the Fang here

 

Shana Cleveland & The Sandcastles – “Oh Man, Cover The Ground”

Shana Cleveland, leader of the ultra radical Seattle based all girl doo-wop surf band La Luz has had a side project in the works for going on 6 years and has finally prepped its debut.  Shana Cleveland & The Sandwiches features a steady rotation of musicians to assist in Cleveland’s acoustic folk wanderings. Oh Man, Cover The Ground gets a May 26th release via Suicide Squeeze Records.

Pre-order Oh Man, Cover The Ground here

Anthony Naples – “Body Pill”

22-year-old Anthony Naples first landed on the scene a few years back igniting New York’s nigh life with the track-y euphoric bump of his sublimely simple “Mad-Disrespect” 12”—a nod to the classic American garage/house sounds of the late ’80s and early ’90s. His production had a raw, impromptu kind of feel that was a perfect antidote to a glut of clinical and over-produced dance music. And on the strength of that, his first ever track, he was picked up by the esteemed club night/ record label Mister Saturday Night.

For his debut, he’s taken somewhat of an abrupt left turn. Body Pill, released last month via Four Tet’s Text Records imprint is an understated almost meditative offering—more after hours than peak time—that barely clears the 30 minute mark. It’s obvious pretty much right away, in fact, that things are going to be different as the first song “Ris” begins with a bleary elongated wash of synthesizer and slowly builds to something  resembling melancholic indie synth-pop. When the thump does drop in “Abrazo” it’s backing a much more intricately melodic framework, something that is right in line with  Four Tet or Caribou-style of dance music.  Naples’ melodies always tended to veer toward the etherial, but they were very much relegated to minor supporting roles, here they splay out in all directions weaving in and out of his syncopated rhythmic concoctions.

Album closer “Miles” , with its cowbell, handclaps and subdued keys,  is probably the closest thing to the classic Naples sound, but the rhythm is short lived as the track fades into contemplative ambiance that drifts across the final few minutes into a bleepy disembodied synthesizer line. It’s actually kind of a strange way to end a record, but who really cares, this guy can clearly do what the fuck he wants.

Get Body Pill here

A couple of cuts from the album:

The aforementioned “Mad-Disrespect”