Amen Dunes, the energetic and hypnotic American band led by Damon McMahon, are back in Barcelona to present their latest album, ‘Freedom’ (2018), which comes four years after its predecessor, ‘Love’ (2014)
The past decade has been a time of transformation for Damon McMahon, the man behind the project Amen Dunes. For years, the New York artist actively avoid the spotlight, preferring to be something of a mysterious, globe-trotting figure who sporadically dropped abstract folk albums.
His new record, aptly titled Freedom, is a collection of his most accessible and personal songs yet. McMahon began recording it shortly after his mother was diagnosed with a terminal cancer; his most recent single, “Believe,” is a hallucinatory folk meditation that tackles this subject directly, concluding with the simple, but intensely intimate, mantra: “When things go black, I got you.” Tonight in concert at Razzmatazz.
The cover of Those Who Throw Objects at the Crocodiles Will Be Asked to Retrieve Them (2016), the second album by Lisbon-born Bruno Pernadas (Julie & The Carjackers, Real Combo Lisbon, When We Left Paris), with an image that reminds us of a cocktail at the end of the Fifties or start of the Sixties, surrealistically invaded by half a dozen lovebirds, might give us an idea of the sound this jazz graduate uses in his solo project. He crafts an exquisite pop between The High Flames and Stereolab, leading to Baroque pop and the easy listening of the Sixties, but with a tropical touch. It’s as if Harpers Bizarre or The Free Design had heard Mulatu Astatke’s Ethio-jazz or the hypnotic music melodies of Mali, and had allowed themselves to be seduced by the repetitions of Steve Reich’s minimalism. Saturday night in concert at BAM Festival.
They are a bit over 20 years old, but this Valencian quintet evokes the dark synth pop of the 1980s “new wave”, the exact starting point of Valencian scene that would put the Mediterranean coast on the map of avant-garde pop and international club culture, before paellas in car parks and all the other clichés from the bakalao route. La Plata take that baggage in Diego Escriche’s songs, increase the revolutions and crush it with intense guitars not unlike those of Triángulo de Amor Bizarro, with whom they share the producer Carlos Hernández, who worked with them on their EP Un atasco (2017) and debut LP Desorden(2018). Teenage angst from twenty years ago with one of the sensations of the season’s peninsular indie pop.
Formed in 2010, Turnstile quickly became the most visible band in hardcore, seemingly without trying to be. The group’s groove-heavy take on New York hardcore saw the band routinely compared to 311, the kind of backhanded endorsement that could have derailed them but, instead, vocalist Brendan Yates kind of leaned into it,
Since the release of Turnstile’s debut, Nonstop Feeling, the Baltimore group toured for months on end both in the hardcore scene. Their latest musical statement, Time & Space, speaks to their expanding audience in ways that are primarily infectious.
Dunedin-based four piece Mild Orange have dropped their debut full length record Foreplay. The collection is chock full of mid-paced, optimistic but introspective guitar-driven tunes such as standout tunes ‘Stranger‘ and ‘Some Feeling’, the latter of which features excellently smooth spoken words from guest artist Bena Simanu. According to the band from New Zealand they created ‘melting melodies.’
A Beacon School is the first solo effort from Brooklyn-based Patrick J. Smith, a composer who’s played in Perfect Strangers, BLUFFING, and Fiasco. His debut LP Cola is out March 23 on Grind Select. On “Algernon,” premiering on The FADER today, Smith adds layers of soothing guitars and vocals with ease, reaching a build-up that feels natural, without ever fully peaking.
The grass still hasn’t grown back around the stages where Odd Future used to play. Among that wild gang one voice stood out from the rest: Tyler, The Creator was the most menacing, the most magnetic and the most promising of the OFWGKTA collective. A few years later, that promising, magnetic and dangerous artist is a reality. Tyler Gregory Okonma barks and bites like no other MC, and here we are not only speaking about the Odd Future gang. In each and every one of his verses he lights a fuse that explodes in the final rhyme. In these times in which hyper-connection ends up condemning us to non-communication, fury, angst, indignation and the truth will be rapped by Tyler, The Creator or it won’t be.