Test Spin: Beach House

Cocktail-lounge keyboards never sounded so gorgeous. Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand transpose their reverie-like sound onto a cleaner, highly produced foundation in Devotion. Each track stands as its own distinctive orchestration, making more than due with sparse drums, floating guitars and uniquely archaic yet eerily relevant synths. Victoria’s divine, urbanely operatic vocals emerge from the depths of the band’s heavily ambient debut to become a rare and invaluable gem in the independent music scene.

Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

Take a moment. Bend over. Adjust the short, taught laces on your Sperry Topsiders, fix your collar so it caresses that soft camel-hair sweater, slide on your Wayfarers and lay back on the coarse yet comfortable canvas deck of the carabineer that is currently floating in the East River. Feel that Tri-State area sun on your face. The newly installed speaker system echoes the enchanting Afro-Latino intonations of Tabu Ley Rocherau as they dance the samba atop his transcendent, eerily relevant high-register guitar pickings. Something seems to be digging into your back, what is this intrusive object? Why, it’s your thesis on the ethnomusicological impact of Post-Colonial imperialism in sub-Saharan Africa from Columbia University — magna cum laude to boot! Strange.

Record Review: Cat Power

Chan Marshall’s sweetly morose drawl never fails to lull me into a temporary infatuation –– one that fills the body with an airy high that is always succinctly knocked back out. Jukebox embodies this sensory sine wave, rising up in moments of Cat Power’s brilliant interpretation and then dipping into a mediocrity and dreariness that seeps from her catalogue.

Record Review: Grizzly Bear

Trying to understand why Grizzly Bear’s music beckons the remix/cover is a bit perplexing. Why have countless artists taken their own swing at such a deeply melodic, subdued and extremely successful catalogue? Does that question really need to be answered? Probably not. What’s more interesting is the way that the band itself has transformed its work analogous to those big name cover artists; picking out certain tracks that have potential for growth and nurturing them into something grand.

Record Review: Spank Rock and Benny Blanco

In a time rampant with controversy over the racial and sexual implications of hip-hop lyrics, Spank Rock and Benny Blanco only know how to compensate with an album chock full o’ asses, bitches and “Pu$$y.” Spank Rock and Blanco decided to put aside a Nintendo beat scheme as they took on the personas of Bangers and Cash, exploring deeper bass loops, sizzurp distortions and floating synths. Crisp and bombastic production enhances the tongue and cheek lyrics, which bring out the ironic and disconcertingly accurate portrayal of pseudo-chauvinism.

Record Review: M.I.A.

Maya Arulpagasm is the nice Sri Lankan girl from next door.
Releasing a series of short videos on VBS.tv, Spike Jonze creates a surprisingly intimate portrait of the biggest little MC in the world. For six episodes, the squeaky voiced Jonze follows Maya as she trots around London town, visits various friends, gets her hair done and simply radiates star power — watching the woman is absolutely fascinating. Whether she is slouching in the back of her luxury escort or dancing around in her bedroom with a giant teddy bear in hand, the lady knows how to command the attention of everyone around her.

Mystery and Intrigue

Noah Lennox, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee? Who knows. What is certain, however, is that Lennox’s uncanny stream of creative and explorative energy is embedded throughout Person Pitch. The album plays as a sonic journey, a textured portrait of harmonies, instrumentation, looping and random sound sampling that all come out as a wholly gorgeous and enlightening piece. Each track conjures a unique mental and spiritual landscape, taking the discordance of Noah Lennox to a whole new, gorgeous level. The fluidity of the album, along with each track’s clear independence from the whole, creates utterly playable and accessible art.

Test Spin: Grinderman

It’s almost too easy to imagine a dank, smoky bar filled with mustachioed gents and tattooed women when listening to Grinderman. That being said, Grinderman manages to pull a little farther beyond those immediate images.Tracks range from the, for lack of a better word, grinding to the static and settled.