Kae Astra "Fortune EP (Modern Outsider)"
Apropos of nothing-but I must talk about kale an awful lot because my auto-correct refuses to allow me to type Kae Astra’s first name without changing it to a cerian leafy green vegetable that Misfit Market LOVES to send me in every box. So anyway, I had to “teach” my computer Kae as a spelling before writing this. Otherwise, it would have been a comedy of errors. Anyway… back to the music! Fortune (Modern Outsider), the new EP from Kae Astra is as artful a collection of pop-leaning music as your bound to hear. Her hushed, haunting vocals mixing with a swirl of synths, Eno-esque sound design, soaring melodies, minimal percussion tracks, and occasional choral arrangements. Full of dramatic turns and dreaminess, the whole thing sounds like if someone was recreating Spandau Ballet from memory. I hope you think that sounds as good as I mean it to. Give the lead-off track “Howl” a listen and see what I mean!
Rachel Grimes "The Way Forth (Temporary Residence)"
Composer/pianist extraordinaire Rachel Grimes is back with a heady, rousing concept of an album. The Way Forth (Temporary Residence) is a folk opera steeped in American history. The source of this history comes from 18th and 19th-century letters, documents, and photos from Kentucky. But as with everything Rachel does, the music is the main attraction here. Though there are tracks featuring spoken word and choral arrangements, it is all in service of Rachel’s beautiful music–here piano mixed with an Americana-esque chamber ensemble. Check out the first track from the album “Got Ahold of Me.”
Anamanaguchi "[USA] (Polyvinyl)"
Like a cyborg, it is difficult to separate the technology and the humanity when it comes to the exciting music of Anamanaguchi. The four-piece band is intrinsically connected to video games. They have scored games in the past. They have released chiptune albums distributed on Nintendo cartridges. So it is not surprising that the sound of their polyvinyl debut [USA] (Polyvinyl) is something akin to video game/anime sounding. Which, honestly, is as timely a genre of sounds as is out there. These tunes are vital, exciting, and otherworldly. Imagine a mixture of video game music, j-pop, k-pop, anime opening credit sequences, and… you know what? Instead of imagining, why not just give a listen to the moving “On My Own.”
Larry Gus "Subservient (DFA)"
If you are familiar with Larry Gus’ past releases on DFA, then you know you are about to hear some exciting, experimental electronic music. Though that is all true, this is a different kind of record for Larry Gus (whose real name is Panagiotis Meldis). This are slightly less weird this time around, and a little more pop-oriented. This is also the first album in which Gus, er… Meldis doesn’t use any samples. Every instrument played on the album is played by him. Lyrics are sung in both Greek and in English, which gives the whole album a sort of jet-setting party-disco pop feel. Whew! Is that enough adjectives for you? It’s not? Well, sorry, but I’m out. So give a listen to the bubbly fun of “Taped Hands Here” or the danceable “Total Diseases (Subservience)” and come up with some of your own! Or you could just cheat and grab “This Is fourth-world power pop, as if Alex Chilton was produced by Eno and Hassell” from the DFA PR like I just did 🙂