April 30, 2013

Spinning Singles | Clams Casino and Doom, Disclosure, The National, Wild Nothing

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Clams Casino and Doom, “Bookfiend”

Clams Casino and Doom team up on “Bookfiend,” an eccentric collaboration that features both musicians at their finest.  A rapper known for his boundless virtuosity, Doom typically spits flow with rapid-fire dexterity.  On this track, presumably a single from his forthcoming project, he slows down, adapting to Clams’ trademark atmospheric feel.

The pairing is unexpected but effective.  Doom puts his versatility on display, demonstrating his ability to shift gears genre-wise while still maintaining a signature sound. Though rapping over a signature Clams beat, which is no easy task, he commands attention with a strong, confident presence.

The song plays out like a riddle, as referenced in the song’s hook, “Answer to a riddle, more hidden than a crook / The only way they find it is if it’s spittin in a hook.”  The theme represents a commonality between the two artists. Clams’ beat offers a peaceful, yet mysterious tone and Doom is known for his affinity for all things shadowy — the rapper uses a masked persona to disguise his true identity.  The result is pretty and worth a listen. — Scott Goldberg ’16

Disclosure, “You and Me”

Sometimes I hate writing about dance music because I’m forced to use increasingly esoteric genre names — electroclash, trap, post-dubstep, 2-step, downtempo, etc. — that leave 90 percent of readers (and, on occasion, me) out in the cold. However, British duo Disclosure, who first came to the Internet’s collective attention with their barn-burning AlunaGeorge collaboration “White Noise,” synthesize so many scenes into their songs that it becomes impossible not to geekily spot them all. The Eliza Doolittle-assisted “You and Me” incorporates ’90s garage’s sludgy bass synths, footwork’s skittering snares and a Burial-style dubstep atmosphere with a steamroller of a chorus. From a pair of brothers who admitted that they “didn’t know anything about dance music or where it came from” when they started, this assemblage of assorted sounds makes for an intriguing vision free from the restraints of trying to “authentically” portray a specific scene’s sound. Disclosure has  become a bonafide pop sensation in the U.K. and, if they can keep on recreating the romantic longing and propulsive percussion in “You and Me,” it shouldn’t be long before they are tearing it up stateside. — James Rainis ’14

The National, “Sea of Love”

Back in 2010, The New York Times wrote about indie rock band the National’s songwriting process. Brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner come up with hundreds of ideas and run them through vocalist Matt Berninger, who accepts or shoots them down. Those ideas get filtered out into some “heavy metal thing,” at which point the other band members push back and dismiss it as “Berninger black-fantasy guitar.” The resulting consensus is the National’s unique sound, which although constantly evolving, maintains elements of garage rock and blues mixed with an ironic and masculine emotional heaviness.

“Sea of Love,” from The National’s upcoming album Trouble Will Find Me, hints at a move from High Violet’s stadium rock to a grittier garage rock aesthetic. Their performance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, exhibited the National’s suave clothes that hardly convey “rock band,” but, more importantly, their outstanding performance shows hints of their high-art sensibility falling apart. Beyond the glasses and fading hairlines, Berninger’s voice yelps in the climax, a dramatic shift from his usual brooding baritone. “I see you rushing now,” he cries over the brooding guitars, delivering honest anguish, not irony, in the end. They might be getting old, but “Sea of Love” proves that these dads have still got it. — Kai Sam Ng ’14

Wild Nothing, “A Dancing Shell”

Wild Nothing is known for calm, intricate textures, dreamy electronic washes and lofty vocals. “A Dancing Shell,” the new single from Jack Tatum’s band’s upcoming E.P., Empty Estate, attempts to change that. Everything from the single’s neon patterned album art to its sparkly lead bucks the modern chillwave trend and hearkens back to the genre’s ’80s new wave roots. Multi-tracked talking in the verses and the phaser-laden synth solo are direct nods to the era of the Talking Heads. Combined with the funky, driving bass line, this single is actually danceable, something completely unheard of for Wild Nothing.

Despite changing his influences this time around, “A Dancing Shell” is still very obviously Tatum. He accompanies the disco march with creative synthesizer fills and an ethereal chorus, creating a new wave dance track with distinctive touches and a notably Wild Nothing structure. Although Tatum sings, “Just a dancing shell here to make you happy. I have no feelings, I have no thoughts,” the single manages to elevate mindless dance pop into something more emotional and intelligent. — Mike Sosnick ’16

Original Author: Sun Staff