Nine Inch Nails: Hesitation Marks Chelsea Wolfe: Pain Is Beauty Gorguts: Colored Sands Neko Case: The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight; the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You Volcano Choir: Repave Modern Life Is War: Fever Hunting King Khan & The Shrines: Idle No More
Last month ALARM presented its 50 favorite albums of 2012, an eclectic, rock-heavy selection of discs that were in steady rotation in our downtown-Chicago premises. Now, to give some love to tunes that were left out, we have our 50 (+5) favorite songs of last year — singles, B-sides, EP standouts, soundtrack cuts, and more.
Though fans may be satiated by a new Doomtree album and a bevy of side projects, it’s been three-and-a-half years since any solo output from Stefon Alexander, a.k.a. P.O.S, the punk-spirited rapper/producer and cofounder of the aforementioned hip-hop collective.
Doomtree emcee P.O.S (born Stefon Alexander) has announced the fall release of his first LP since 2009, and he’s enlisted a slew of artists to back him up. We Don’t Even Live Here boasts, among others, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Ryan Olson (Gayngs), Boys Noize, and fellow Doomtree talents.
October’s far away. Whet your whistle with this new video for the album’s first single, “Fuck Your Stuff,” which features P.O.S & Co. creating totally un-sponsored havoc (note Mike Mictlan’s blurred-out GWAR tee) in the streets to an insanely danceable beat.
Minnesota rapper/producer and punk-hardcore musician P.O.S returns this October with the follow-up to his acclaimed crossover album Never Better, and the Doomtree co-founder likens the electronically infused album to an “anarchist dance party.”
Tomorrow is the third Saturday in April, which means that independent record stores across the world will face an influx of limited-edition vinyl, avid fans, and rabid audiophiles. With myriad releases hitting shelves, we’ve provided you with some of our most anticipated picks to make Saturday’s shopping (relatively) quick and painless.
My Brightest Diamond: “Reaching Through to the Other Side”
[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/my_brightest_diamond_-_all_things_will_unwind_-_reaching_through_to_the_other_side.mp3|titles=My Brightest Diamond: “Reaching Through to the Other Side”]
Detroit-based singer/songwriter Shara Worden has long made a career as an indie-pop mercenary. Over the past decade or so, she has lent her talents to Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoisemakers, collaborated with The Decemberists, covered Radiohead for an OK Computer tribute album, appeared on numerous compilations (including her excellent cut on Dark Was the Night), and contributed to the chamber ensemble yMusic (which also includes Bon Iver, Antony & the Johnsons, the New York Philharmonic, and Rufus Wainwright).
Clearly, Worden has no problem keeping busy. But even in the midst of her many endeavors, Worden has found time for her indie-pop pet project, My Brightest Diamond, without ever skimping on musical quality or integrity.
Such is the case on All Things Will Unwind, My Brightest Diamond’s third effort on Asthmatic Kitty, as Worden’s talents are as focused and as strong as ever. Indeed, the most engaging aspect of My Brightest Diamond is undoubtedly Worden’s voice. With such grace and skill in tow, it’s no wonder that so many acts enlist Worden as a hired hand. Her voice is so pure, so strong yet delicate, so confident and dynamic, that there is no denying the presence of an immense talent. Swaying between sweet, soft-edged crooning (“She Does Not Brave the War”) to full-on, forceful belt-outs (the latter half of “Be Brave”), Worden knows exactly what she’s doing. The songs swell and sway, kept adrift — and often take flight — thanks to Worden’s cosmic vocal work.
Ever since his loop-based beginnings, Bryan Charles Hollan — known better as experimental hip-hop artist Boom Bip — has been on the search for his optimal live-band incarnation. He seems to have found it.
In 2002, Seed to Sun demonstrated Hollan’s ability to make compelling organic and instrumental hip hop. On his recordings since that time, nearly everything has been performed by hand, and the results have been admirable — but nothing has clicked quite like his newest effort, Zig Zaj.
Now Hollan is armed with a permanent live band, consisting of Josh Klinghoffer (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Eric Gardner (Gnarls Barkley, Charlotte Gainsbourg), and Josiah Steinbrick. Their chemistry is immediately evident on Zig Zaj, which also sports standout guest spots from Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand (for one very Depeche Mode track), Money Mark, Luke Steele (Empire of the Sun), Cate Le Bon, and Mikey Noyce (Bon Iver).
Partly because of the guests, the new material takes a poppier and more rock-driven direction. But there’s still plenty of the old Bip underneath, as synths and electronics commingle with the bass grooves and delicate acoustic riffs. ALARM caught up with Hollan to find out more about the evolution of his band and what projects he has in the works.
Tell us about the evolution of the live band. How has that affected or led to what we’re hearing on Zig Zaj?
The evolution of the live band has been like creating a new breed of dog. I’ve constantly been trying to fine-tune it to something enjoyable for me. This time, though, I got it right. The current live band is fantastic. With Zig Zaj, I certainly had the live show in mind when constructing the tracks. As a result, intensity became part of the equation, and you can hear that in the tone of the songs.
Coming out of the collaboration with Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals (as Neon Neon), what made you decide to scale back the dance elements for the new album?
The Boom Bip albums have always been more about the moment and trying to not have any limitations or concern for genre. I just let whatever comes out come out. I don’t really think, “What genre does this fit into and what bin will this sit in at the record store?” Although it has become a game for me to see where it is placed. I’ve seen my album in everything from rap to avant-garde.