Words by Scott Lucey
If you frequent Wednesday morning 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. on WMSE you might be well aware there’s going to be electronics, beats, and sometimes bands. I’m surely guilty here for favoring the electronically-produced side of music, but I just can’t help myself. Here are four albums that are fresh for the season and I’m highly recommending them. Look into these albums for your own knowledge, but let me tell you what’s hooking me.
Baths – Cerulean
This album is definitely one to let go beginning to end (all of these are actually – I won’t repeat this, so keep it in mind). The album starts right out with harmonic vocals in the back; in the front, someone’s cashing in $1,000,000 on Mario. I wish the second track was play-able on air — “Lovely Bloodflow” has a great video to accompany the song floating around on the web. It’s super fitting as it takes place in an enchanted forest with ninjas and ghosts. Moving through the rest of the album, I either get ethereal beat driven energy with fun samples or misty-but-refreshing relaxed pulses of tone, nature and in all, some type of exhale.
The Books – The Way Out
Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong are pure genius. Masters of the sample game. This album (The Way Out) isn’t in any way short of classic nor dramatically different than other Books’ albums, but it is different and new, and every track certainly has its story. After you’re done reading this post, track down The Books’ blog. The album starts with a classic intro, rolls into “IDKT” which is merely serving as a classical introduction of its own to the next song “I Didn’t Know That” – fueled by percussive energy that kind of makes me want to run. After thinking about ways to summarize, I think it’s safe to say this is a great album if you like things changed up often. Overall pace stays the same, but as for things said, emotions delivered, and tempos felt, there are plenty of ups and downs contributing to a great adventure.
Matthew Dear – Black City
Andy Kellman of allmusic.com says some things about this album I thought funny: “Slippery, sleazy, murky sound-substance — knotted rhythms with irregular gaits … suggestive lyrics and wordless, droning background vocals.” To sum it up, he says “it will probably make you feel like you could use a shower.” I laughed, but have to admit I see the truth. My solution is to simply not get dirty while listening to this album, although some may not be able to help themselves. Track three, ‘Slowdance’, is just that, and probably the culprit of aforementioned irregular gaits, knotted rhythms, possessing a pace and feel (similar to many others on the albums) that is a great slow-mo “take a second and just look close” kind of thing. I might even bet you’ll sing along. With Black City you’ll gyrate, stretch out, and bob, and surely enjoy what you hear if you like danceable electronic pop.
Clutchy Hopkins – The Story Teller
Such a great album, and a great way to close out this post. The Story Teller is instrumental beats and rhythms guaranteed to class up most every environment. There’s a vintage sound, a classic feel created by antique effects/instruments. Depending on the track you select it may feel as though you’ve transformed your room into a library; globes, velvet chairs, taxidermy, and perhaps cigars (no pool table though). Otherwise with tracks like “Ninja” it’s clear to hear the inspiration might come from creeping up behind an enemy or even tracking them from a rooftop above. Tracks like “Drunken Socks” however, more fitting to a contemplative game of chess. However you choose to interpret this album, I’m sure it’s likely to pair with whatever the situation at hand, even if that’s you sitting in your chair thinking just how silly this is.