'In Return' is the new sophomore album from Seattle electronic duo Odesza. The incredible second album more than delivers on the promise of the duo's previous work: a record with a precocious maturity and coherence, it's a start-to-finish stunner of pop-infused, electronic wonder, littered with infectious hooks and potent atmosphere. Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight began recording while they were students at West Washington University. They are now Seattle based. Their signature sound of glitched-out vocals, soaring, visceral melodies and ear-gripping drums quickly amassed a huge fan base.
The indomitable ODESZA have owned summer 2015 drawing some of the largest crowds around at every major music festival including Coachella, Outside Lands, Bonnaroo, Governors Ball and Lollapalooza, where they recently performed with members of the Chicago Bulls’ drum line. With an enduring live performance and a break neck production schedule that has resulted in recent remixes for Hayden James and Emancipator, Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight continue to refine their craft and outshine their peers. The genesis for “Light” begins in 2014. Little Dragon asked ODESZA to do a remix of a song off their last album, Nabuma Rubberband, but their label accidentally sent ODESZA the stems for a new song that was not on that album. In the midst of a sold out 2014 North American headline tour in support of In Return, ODESZA was too busy to complete a remix. Months after the remix idea was shelved, ODESZA and Little Dragon played a co-headline show in Boston, inspiring an idea to write a new ODESZA track and build it around the Little Dragon vocal stem. Little Dragon’s distinct vocal and ODESZA’s expert production combine to create a late contender for song of the summer, “Light.”
Pional’s latest EP, and his first for Counter Records, marks something of a breakthrough for the young Spanish producer. After a productive few years, which have seen him tour with frequent production collaborator John Talabot, which won a slot in Resident Advisor’s coveted Best 20 Live Acts. He also toured with musical like-minds The XX & released an EP with Young Turks. When Love Hurts arrives as not only his most personal work to date, but his best. Inspired by love and loss, this four track collection is the result of Pional finding the confidence to add pop melodies and his own vocals to his deep, compulsive electronics. The result brings to mind New Order reimagined by Zomby, or some of Metronomy’s finest moments. ‘Casualty,’ ‘Of My Mind’ and ‘As Time Was Passing By,’ all vocalled by the young Madrid musician, play out as the anatomy of a breakup. When ‘The Way You Like’ closes out the collection, Empress Of’s featuring vocal provides a startling epilogue to this brilliant EP.
The Heavy have toured the world and, where the first record was sample-based, the new one is much more a product of working as a band. Like the early rock 'n' roll, blues and rhythm and blues which have influenced it, The House That Dirt Built is larger than life, funny, terrifying and occasionally beautiful. “Oh No! Not You Again” starts things off, hitting like the garage-punk monster it is, Shingae Shoniwa of The Noisettes offering up the backing vox on a tune which sounds like Little Richard possessed by the devil and turned up to 11. Main single, “How You Like Me Now” is pure voodoo-funk. “Sixteen” channels the ghost of Screamin’ Jay into a tawdry tale of Satan and his young bride. “Short Change Hero” is an epic Spaghetti Western love song calling on the youth to drop their tools. “No Time” combines a filthy break with thundering riffing about losing the love that was supposed to be forever. “Long Way From Home” is punk-blues of genuine yearning. “Cause For Alarm” is a reggae/2 Tone stepper, all crunched up and beaten-up for size. “Love Like That” is King Jammy's updated Final tune. "What You Want Me To Do” combines the intensity of Hendrix with an obia ceremony. “Stuck,” shows that for all the wide-eyed madness, The Heavy can also come out with the most affecting love songs which effortlessly combine their many influences into something both completely new and timeless. Mixed and produced by Jim Abiss (best known for his work on the first Arctic Monkeys, Adele and Kasabian) and with Noisettes input on three tracks (The Heavy toured with them and have all became firm friends), The House That Dirt Built represents a huge step forward from an already fantastic debut in Great Vengeance & Furious Fire.
Having amassed a legion of loyal fans with his signature blend of electronic, psychedelic and rock influences, the artist known as Yppah (pronounced “yip-ah”) is back with perhaps his most intimate work to date. Tiny Pause finds Yppah adopting an enormous technical shift in his writing process, moving away from largely software-based production and live instrumentation to modular synthesizers and samplers. Tiny Pause is informed in large part by shifts in Yppah’s life since his last work, 2012’s Eighty One (Ninja Tune). Having toured the album, moved from Texas to Southern California and transitioned into more ambitious commercial work (for trailers, sound design and music libraries), Yppah soon found himself embracing hardware in a big way, buying and selling gear constantly while writing to find the best-suited combination for his workflow. The addition of two dogs to his home and a newfound hobby of surfing round out Yppah’s biggest influencers for the direction of the new record. And it all shows - the celestial dips and rises in “Occasional Magic,” the cascade of drums in “Little Dreamer,” the fractured ascent of “Spider Hands,” and the human-tinged glitches of “Neighborhoods” all point to an artist matured not only in sound but in perspective.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
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