Monday, September 27, 2010

How to Dress Well - Love Remains

A new generation of indie-minded musicians are emerging who wantonly tout their love for 90s R&B but for numerous obvious reasons, don't fit the profile of your typical pop star.  Last year a group of pale and not particularly attractive art students named the xx became an omnipresent enterprise thanks to their pleasant brand of easy-to-swallow pop, and though their masterful cover of Aaliyah's "Hot Like Fire" wasn't included on their debut LP, it was a prime example of where their song-writing sensibilities came from.  As the lines between amateur and professional recording become more and more blurred by accessible home recording technology, even a traditionally slick genre like R&B has become fair game for music geeks who operate outside the conservative hit-making machine.  This innovation allows individuals to redefine what facets of a song they believe are worth being accentuated.  

How to Dress Well's debut LP Love Remains is a collection of new material and songs that had previously  been released on the blog of philosophy student Tom Krell.  There's a distinctively somber tone throughout the entire record which nimbly erodes the superficial gestures of R&B lust and enraptures the listener into the haunting solitude of irretrievable longing.   Lyrically, the album is pretty unintelligible but this fact doesn't hinder it whatsoever in communicating the creator's ethereal state.  Instead of allowing his gripping melodies to shimmer, each apex is drenched in thick flux of reverb and distortion which is both elevating and upsetting.  By bravely wearing this humanity on his sleeve, we are invited to imagine the humble settings in which these songs were made and appreciate the grandeur in devotionally seeking a temporary escape from the ineluctable gravity of our own mortality.  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Salem - King Night

For every action there is a reaction.  In the past two years, a torrent of bands have appeared which revolve around the intimate allure of beach imagery to create a shelter away from the required doldrums of modern life.  Having been stretched to its extremes, "chill wave" now represents a spectrum of musical styles which adhere to a common aesthetic doctrine in which songs must unobtrusively glide without ever placing any displeasure onto the listener.  The emerging 'witch house'/'drag' genre directly clashes with this docile philosophy in that, though it incorporates similar syrupy texturing, rhythms are purposely slowed down to create an eerie and perplexing semblance.  Genre forefathers Salem mangles what could have formally been a robotic southern hip-hop beat into a majestically triumphant assault of "O Holy Night".  Imagine club music pulled away from the dance floor and thrown into a cathedral.

Salem - King Night by DISCODUST