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On Air Next

On Air Next 7.30.15

Dan Burney

Radio 1190 KVCU

James Calvet

After many months of waiting, the new Tame Impala record, Currents finally here. After a few singles that confused, delighted and infuriated fans it is obvious that the group is not going to release another Lonerism. Instead of the cerebral, guitar-based group they have presented themselves to be, this newest record is focused more on dance-grooves rather than a trip into psychedelic space. The first track "Let It Happen", compared to other Tame Impala openers is relatively subdued and mellow. Rather than dragging the listener down a trippy rabbit hole, some kind synthesizers and mellow drumbeats are presented and toyed with for about seven minutes. With a lack of real climax or any experimentation at all, the group is obviously more focused on the dance floor than the depths of your mind. 

With all this psuedo-psychedelic studio trickery the album as a whole sounds like a 21st century interpretation of Supertramp. In an interview with frontman/spokesperson Kevin Parker he stated that he did not want the track "The Less I Know The Better" to appear on the record because it sounds like "dorky, white disco funk" and sadly that's exactly how the whole record sounds. Each track has an incredibly repetitive four-on-the-floor drum beats and cheesy 80's prom ballad synthesizers that are in no way offensive but just incredibly underwhelming compared to their past records. Even in the track "Past Lives" has a really silly pitch-shifted spoken word performance throughout the whole song recalling a past love that is unnecessary and incredibly embarrassing to listen to. Overall, even though Currents isn't an unpleasant experience, it is just an album that was not made to further their sound but to reaffirm themselves as the background noise to your next music festival experience. 

Out of nowhere on a Wednesday evening Wilco surprise-released their new album Star Wars. Though this is not a new concept for bands in the slightest, this album is indeed an interesting addition to their huge, diverse discography. Though the first track "EKG" is a bombardment of tones and noises, the track seamlessly transitions into the good old Wilco sound on the second song "More...". In true Wilco fashion, the group meshes mid-90's alt-country with canonical early 00's indie rock. Though the track is nothing new for the group in terms of sonic experimentation, the mixing and panning of vocals and instruments is simultaneously soothing and perplexing. Near the end of the track walls of noise cover up Tweedy and company as they still play as if they don't even know the drones are present. 

The rest of the tracks on Star Wars follow this formula very closely with some variation from here to there but bring up enough variety to keep the die-hard fans satisfied. After multiple listens it's apparent that Jeff Tweedy and his band aren't going to make a deep emotional impact on the listener as they have done before on Sky Blue Sky or Yankee Hotel Foxtrot but it seems that the group is actually just looking to have some fun. The mood is loose and light hearted, but Wilco being such a well-seasoned band don't sound sloppy or amateurish in the slightest. This collection of eleven track seem more focused on musicianship rather than substance, which does not inherently make it a bad album, just not a great way for first time listeners to get into the band. With this taken into consideration, the fact that this album is completely free of charge makes all the more sense. Though Wilco's Star Wars wont be making many year-end lists, it's an immensely enjoyable and satisfying release from one of America's best bands.

Off the heels of their debut EP, northwest trio Strange Wilds has released their debut album Subjective Concepts. Though the group plays noise rock close to their label mates and Metz or Pissed Jeans, their sound is much more youthful and hardcore-driven. On tracks such as "Autothysis" and "Lost" a more drab and gloomy mood is presented that is strangely reminiscent of Nirvana during the Bleach-era but sound just as fresh as acts such as Speedy Ortiz. Though the group can get a little slow at times, they prove that they can be incredibly dynamic in tracks like "Disdain" where they sound closer to 1980's Los Angeles hardcore than Northwest grunge. At the end of the album, Strange Wilds have proved that they are a conglomeration of the Northwest sound and have made it their own .

On Air Next for July 23rd 2015

James Calvet

Yonatan Gat - "Director"

Yonatan Gat - "Director"

We at Radio 1190 love this weather! It has come just in time for the Underground Music Showcase that starts today in Denver! So many awesome local and national acts are performing including DIIV and STRFKR and some 1190 affiliates will be down there to partake in the festivities! Though we encourage you to see the headliners but we also urge you to check out our friends Bollywood Life, Male Blonding, Shady Elders, Inner Oceans, Hair Cult and so many more awesome local acts. We guarantee you'll have a great time! But in between bands and during your commute from Boulder to Denver we hope you tune into Radio 1190 to hear some sweet tunes from these new albums spinning in our rotation right now.

 

For many bands, it seems that song structure and tiresome rehearsal can be a double-edged sword. Though sounding tight as a group is key, you also want to sound natural, organic and human. But for New York-based guitar experimentalist Yonatan Gat, improvisation is where the best results come from. On their newest collection of live-recorded jams Director, a bassist and a drummer accompany Gat where the trio gives the record a more jazz-oriented feeling despite the rock instrumentation. The record opens with what sounds like a punk drummer sitting in with a jazz outfit. The rhythm is steady and constant even though the snare and cymbal hits are frantic and jittery. Each track lending itself to center around a different instrument, whether it is guitar, drums or even bass, each track sounds like each musician either step forward or back to let each other lead equally rather than every track being led by Yonatan Gat. What's most surprising about this album is that though the songs are jam-esque, the song lengths are short enough to not sound overblown or obnoxious. Each track, most notably "Casino Cafe", has a sunny and almost tropical feel to them where the guitars are watery and reverb soaked and the drums are strangely reminiscent of Afro-Cuban jazz. The grooves on every track are incredibly entertaining but thankfully the trio is not afraid to get a little bit strange. The vocal performance on "North to South" is in an indistinguishable language and dialect where call and response phrases slowly overlap and fall over one another, which is highly reminiscent of the spiritual jazz of Pharaoh Sanders. Not to mention, the nylon guitar on a few tracks including "Boxwood" is a very nice and soothing break of all the jazz punk madness. But at the end of the day, these tracks are just a collection of improvised sketches that would probably be better experienced in a live setting rather than on a recording. None the less this is a perfect example of a group of talented musicians that have played with each other many times and have put down some of their best jams on to a record.

 

California-based producer Lee Bannon rose to indie fame by releasing a slew of beat tapes that subsequently gained him attention from Joey Bada$$ and the Roots which landed him alongside them both on an appearance on the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon. After this big leap in popularity, Lee Bannon began releasing solo records that were less hip-hop focused, but more 'so electronic experiments. Following a small EP, his full-length Pattern of Excel is a soothing, yet unnerving journey into electronic sounds. Though Lee Bannon has a background in IDM, Glitch and Jungle Pattern of Excel is a dense and fluid ambient-based record. Tracks such as "Kanu" are so liquid and formless that they sound almost underwater but have enough going on that they sound almost like Aphex Twin's Ambient Works Vol. 2 or even Radiohead's "Treefingers". Undoubtedly, Pattern of Excel is a sad, emotional and personal record that deals heavily with the emotion that music conveys without vocals, yet the message of this album is so unclear that it is almost disenchanting. The sounds are beautiful and well though out, but there is not enough going on to make it captivating. But maybe this album is some sort of cathartic release for Lee Bannon in which he needed to get out his emotions to further be further creative in his endeavors. Now, after Lee Bannon's second release, there is hope that he is an artist that is not afraid to create and release what is really on his mind even if the results may not please everyone all of the time.

 

Brooklyn outfit EZTV is a young group but is not a stranger to the dream-pop scene fronted by Captured Tracks records. Though this is mainly the side-project of front man Ezra Tenenbaum, the group also features Michael from the group Widowspeak. Much like most of the other bands on Captured Tracks, EZTV specializes in a jangly style of indie pop but with an apathetic and carefree demeanor. Unlike label-mates DIIV or Mac Demarco, EZTV borrow more from 80's and 90's jangle pop from the UK. Not only does their sound like a less dramatic version of The Smiths, but also are highly reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian or even the Go-Betweens. Each track on their debut Calling Out is mellow and jangly but would fit easily in a scene from an 80's movie about love and kissing. Undoubtedly the record is smooth and wistful but the lack of mood and hooks that their contemporaries’ posses is where they fall short. It's easy to say that bands DIIV and Mac Demarco are chock full of personality and style but when a group such as EZTV tries to mimic their ways, it comes off as contrite and unoriginal. But even though this may be a flop for the Captured Tracks catalogue, EZTV is a young band full of promise that have plenty of years to hit a stride.