Febueder, “Sloppiness Tank”
It seems like every bit of press on English group Febueder wastes no time in comparing them to their fellow countrymen, Alt-J. “Alligator,” the lead single from Febueder’s upcoming debut EP, appeared to be plucked straight from theirs Leeds-based peers. Everything from the song’s mathy beats to its multi-tracked vocals is clearly riding the Awesome Wave (pun completely intended). Instead of contently remaining an Alt-J carbon copy, though, Febueder is breaking some new ground with “Sloppiness Tank,” also from their Soap Carv EP, due next week.
The track’s shimmering guitar riff and reverb-drenched vocals still unmistakably channel “Matilda,” but “Sloppiness Tank” is Febeuder’s first nudge away from the Alt-J mold. Its tight, clever percussion and persistent bass lines are reminiscent of Foals, with a wide, airy sense of space à la Wild Beasts. Errant clangs, clacks and crashes bounce around and collide with echoes and shouts in beautifully organized three-dimensional chaos, lending “Sloppiness Tank” an alluring level of unpredictability. Whether Febueder ends up breaking exciting new ground or fizzling out with the first round of many Alt-J clones to come remains to be seen, but for now they’re making quirky and thoughtful cuts with unabashedly British swagger. — Mike Sosnick
Painted Palms, “Forever”
A Hype Machine Top 10 track is hard to follow, but the duo known as Painted Palms have done brilliantly with “Forever,” the title track of their LP due in January. Hot on the heels of “Spinning Signs,” which reached 70,000 listens on Soundcloud in just two weeks, the Louisiana-born, San Francisco-based cousins have released another cut of their signature retro electro-psych groove. Following 2011’s Canopy EP, Painted Palms have expanded upon their formula, which meshes modern electronic themes with kaleidoscopic ’60s melodies in the framework of classic pop structures.
“Forever” is Painted Palms’ next step to perfecting this recipe, as familiar synth chord progressions effortlessly combine with a bouncy Sgt. Pepper-esque chorus. Nostalgic psychedelic revivals have a tendency to feel bland and stale, but by mixing in healthy doses of contemporary synth-pop, “Forever” sounds extra fresh. While Painted Palms clearly take their musicianship and songwriting seriously, their latest track is refreshingly light, making it yet another compelling pop tune to build anticipation for the duo’s forthcoming LP.
R.L. Grime and Baauer, “Infinite Daps”
In honor of the completion of their nation-wide “Infinite Daps” tour with friends and openers Jim-E Stack and Ryan Hemsworth, R.L. Grime and Baauer have released a track co-produced over the course of this tour’s run. The song, also named “Infinite Daps,” is top-class. High-pitched, popping percussion contrasts with the thudding trap bass. The build-up and breakdown are simple, with rolling snares and a reused vocal sample, but the track has an energetic tempo and drop that are sure to get booties shaking. To see even more of these DJs, check out Vice’s documentary of the tour. Their personalities really shine through in candid, off-stage moments and the performance footage is absolutely wild. Check out the single on SoundCloud and catch the documentary on Thump, Vice’s new electronic music and culture channel.