Tycho – Dive
Label: Ghostly International (2011)
Genres: Electronica, Downtempo
Sounds Like: Boards of Canada, Memory Tapes
Review by TG Keas, KXUA Music Director
It’s nice to get some chill electronica that isn’t also chillwave (most of the time) or “washed-out bedroom pop”. Tycho constructs beat-driven soundscapes. Not really danceable, at least in the imaginable sense, but the percussive elements give the synths some great backing and allow the moods to shift in space. If you’re not into the mellow stuff, you might want to give this one some space. But if you want the soundtrack to a particularly gray December afternoon, Tycho has a few good cuts.
Envy Corps – It Culls You
Review by Zeek Martin
British Iowans, The Envy Corps, have a real knack at producing melodic rock songs that keep your attention both lyrically and musically. No gimmicks, just solid efforts that pay off. There is no denying the Radioheadesque expositions that do rear their heads from track to track – but it isn’t entirely annoying and it works most of the time. There are some funky tracks amidst the more mournful (“Palace on Stilts”, “Med Song”) lilting songs. Love Radiohead? You will like The Envy Corps. Don’t care for Radiohead? That’s ok, you will still like the Envy Corps.
Immortal Technique – The Martyr
Label: Viper Records (2011)
Genres: Hip-Hop, Hardcore Rap
Sounds Like: Jedi Mind Tricks, Dead Prez, Akir, Diabolic
Review by Harrison Grimwood
The Martyr is Immortal Technique’s fourth official album and it is available for free download all over the Internet (see viperrecords.com) with an express encouragement to not only take the album for free, but to burn and distribute it as well. The beauty of listening to an Immortal Technique album is that you’ll either a) learn something new that requires further reading b) hear something of historical significance rarely spoken of in hip-hop or c) a combination of both. The album is hard from start to finish and it features other well known and quality hardcore emcees like Vinnie Paz (of Jedi Mind Tricks) and Dead Prez. As well, it features a guest spot from the peaceful and spirtual emcee Brother Ali. Overall, the album is not groundbreaking for Immortal Technique, but it is a continuation of his growing legacy.
Bonnie Prince Billy – Wolfroy Goes to Town
Label: Drag City (2011)
Sound Like: Leonard Cohen, Sun Kil Moon, Red House Painters
Review by Ginny Garber
Here’s an album so subtle your ears will stretch to detect all its sound, even with headphones. Will Oldham, or Bonnie Prince Billy, delivers this album with a sense of quiet contradictions, where God is both unresponsive to our calls, and has given us a spirit of power and love. All this, blanketed by soft, opium lullabies.