iji “Eastern Beach”
Let’s call iji’s new album Whatever Will Happen dinghy rock because its relaxed, saxed-out and strings-smoothed style is scaled down from yachty schmaltz into something more sonically modest, emotionally complex and wholly unexpected. Props to bandleader Zach Burba for forging his own weird, wonderful sound.
Gyasi Ross “Marlon Brando”
Thank you Gyasi Ross: I had no idea Brando declined his Best Actor Oscar for The Godfather to protest the depiction of Native Americans in Hollywood cinema. Ross’ debut album Isskootsik (Before Here Was Here)—out now on Cabin Games/K Records—is full of similar revelations about Native life in modern America, as Ross, a member of the Blackfeet nation, booms with KRS-One-style oratory over industrial hip-hop beats by Hightek Lowlives’ Kjell Nelson.
“St. John’s Black, White and Red Reprise”
The eight-minute finale of Otis Calvin’s latest album Color Wheel is a microcosm of the versatile musician’s entire oeuvre. The electro-boogie first half rides a percussion-driven, b-boys-in-space jam that segues into an elegant, elegiac farewell on solo piano. Sublime.
Seapony “I Saw the Light”
“I saw the light/go on for miles,” sings Jen Weidl, and I’ve never heard a more poetic couplet about Seattle’s seemingly eternal summer days. Glimmering and all too short-lived, this tune from Seapony’s upcoming Hardly Art release A Vision is certified seasonally appropriate.
“Bulletin of the International
String Figure Association”
Patience, young one—this instrumental epic builds delicious tension over 12 exploratory minutes. Electric piano initiates a candle-lit lounge vibe that slowly peels away into guitar-driven incandescence. Now into their 15th year and seventh LP (the just-released 7 (or 8)), Kinski remain masters of musical dynamics.