This week, we're spinning three fascinating records from Blood Orange, clipping. and Colder.
Our July CD of the Month is Blood Orange's "Freetown Sound." The alias of British writer/producer Dev Hynes, Blood Orange is widely regarded for his unique approach to R&B. Rather than using dubby drops and crystal-clear vocal lines, Hynes swims in a haze of '80s-inspired synthesizers and drum machines. The record is an instant throwback to the golden age of pop. Its tape compression and sidechained keyboards feel cozy and comfortable. On a pop level, "Freetown Sound" is an incredibly catchy collection of melodies and grooves. However, "Freetown Sound" is much more important due to its lyrical content and political undertones.
From LGBT rights to racial issues, "Freetown Sound" is incredibly socially conscious and politically inspiring. Powerful soundclips from Ta-Nehisi Coates and Ashlee Haze are some of the most memorable moments of the record — both are spoken-word excerpts that challenge the listener to re-examine their view on race and gender issues. Throughout "Freetown Sound," Dev Hynes highlights a cast of badass woman features. Debbie Harry, Nelly Furtado, Carly Rae Jepsen, Empress Of, Kelsey Lu and more all add to the record's ensemble performance. Just as many of us must wear masks and personas to conform with society, Blood Orange wears a cloak of popular R&B to make incredibly successful music. Make no mistake, though — the lyrics to "Freetown Sound" are powerful and strong.
"Wriggle," the new release from clipping., is an absolute banger of a hip-hop record. Much like previous release "CLPPNG," "Wriggle" begins with a NASCAR-paced poem performed by MC Daveed Diggs. The intro track sets the tone for the record: Expect dark lyrics, breakneck vocal rhythms, urban beats and minimal production. Antwon and Signor Benedick the Moor join clipping. on track "Back Up" to create a mirror-shaking track that feels absolutely murderous. If you're a longtime fan of Death Grips, Run The Jewels or Rat King, this six-song recording will get you going.
Colder is the dance project of musician Marc Nguyen Tan, who uses post-punk, krautrock and late disco sounds to create undeniable grooves. Tan hit the scene with 2003's "Again" and has since notched his belt with tons of sweet dance projects. His newest record, "Goodbye," takes Tan's formula to a darker, sexier place. The vocals are incredibly European — allusions to CAN, Kraftwerk and Neu! mark "Goodbye" with a monotone, apathetic sound. Some tracks are notably downtempo. "Inside," "So Easy" and "Some Passions" all creep along mysteriously. If you're looking to dance, check out "Sugar," "Blackhole Speedway" and "Cold Hand Bop." We'll keep these Colder grooves coming all week on Radio 1190. Check us out online or in Boulder on 1190 AM.
Jarocki is Radio 1190's music director. Read more reviews: coloradodaily.com/columnists