Starchild & the New Romantic

Starchild & the New Romantic is Bryndon Cook, a guitarist who has toured with acts like Blood Orange and Solange, and his recently released debut Crucial (on Ghostly International), bears the creative imprint of these artists. It also cannot be discussed without mentioning the obvious influence of Prince; Cook, like the recently departed purple one (RIP), plays all the parts on this album himself and sings. His sleazy electric guitar parts meld with classic slap bass lines, propelled forward by drum machine. Nothing particularly groundbreaking, just glitzy outer-space R&B at its finest, a collection of shimmering ballads bathed in swaths of warm synthetic ambience. Favorite tracks include “Slammin Manequin” and “Relax” and “New Romantic”.

Check it out below and grab the album over at Ghostly’s website.

 

 

 

ALL MY LOVERS from Starchild & The New Romantic on Vimeo.

POP.MORRIS

We’ve written about P Morris (real name Philesciono Canty) before. His glitzy hybrid of trap, chopped and screwed R&B and cavernous bass music (which he refers to as Goombawave) is characterized by lush melodic arrangements with long almost classical sounding interludes. He’s released several quality EPs (via Bandcamp) through his Bear Club Music Group over the last couple of years. He’s also a pretty active DJ, as his POP.Morris mixes attest.

Loaded with edits, bootlegs and re-fixes, these tapes encompass a wide range of pop music from various eras and sides of the Atlantic—from golden-age hip-hop to ’90s Euro-trance to the songs you’d find right now on the radio (if you still listened to the radio)—all twisted and processed through the Goomba-filter.

Vol. 3 kicks off with a Fetty Wap edit called “God Save the Trap Queen” and from there goes through obligatory stuff like Drake, D.R.A.M. and Nicki Minaj, but Annie Lenox is also there as is an extended portion about angry Frank Ocean fans (related through a broadcast news feature) reacting a hoax regarding new material from the singer.

Volume 1 & Volume 2 from earlier this year are also still available as pay-what-you-like downloads.

Maston – “Shadows”

It is almost impossible to discuss the music of Frank Maston without referencing his native Los Angeles and the psychedelic pop tradition of the 1960s. That being said, Shadows, released back in the spring via Chicago-based imprint Trouble in Mind, is not an easy record to classify. While it clearly owes some kind of debt to the production techniques of Phil Spector and the arrangements of Brian Wilson, it is hardly a neat fit within the West Coast cannon. After all, there is a certain sound one imagines when thinking of said tradition, and I’m willing to wager that descriptors like spooky, bizarre, paranoia and dread, do not generally figure into it.

frankMastonWelcome then, to Maston‘s fun house of esoteric bedroom pop! Like the name suggests, Shawdows is a far cry from the care-free sunny harmonies of the Beach Boys. Rather, this is the Los Angeles of Phillip K. Dick. Like some sort of bad trip everything is kind of familiar, but in a strange and unsettling way, a shiny veneer masking something  nebulous and vaguely sinister.

Even with a running time of just 27 minutes, there is a lot to take in, in fact this is the kind of record that demands repeat listens. The arrangements, which involve at different times: pianos, organs, guitars, various percussive instruments, horns strings and woodwinds (all of which Maston plays himself), are dense and sophisticated.  Shuffling rhythms composed largely of various shakers and bells and tambourines underlie music box piano melodies, which swirl around surf rock guitars and sit uneasily in the creepy synthetic ambiance with outlandish big band horns. Maston‘s croon, which only features on about half of the songs, has a strange hollow quality, and is processed in a way that makes his melodies sound ghostly when they might have otherwise been sweet.

This is good stuff, probably one of the best records of the year. But don’t take my word for it…

 

 

“Flutter” from Shadows

“Young Hearts” from Shadows