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Coming off the heels of his fantastic 2012 album, Until the Quiet Come, Flying Lotus is back with his newest effort You’re Dead. Still keeping with his signature style of spazzy bebop-infused electronics, Flying Lotus churns out his most jazz and hip-hop centered album to date. While the fast and technical jazz instrumentation are tight, it seems to overpower the eclectic electronics that Flying Lotus is known for. While this may not be a bad thing, it makes Flylo look more like a composer or bandleader, rather than an electronic producer.
With rapping contributions from Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, his other moniker Captain Murphy — and even an appearance from jazz legend Herbie Hancock — the album switches between hazy-jazz interludes to more underwhelming hip-hop numbers. Overall, You’re Dead is a one of the more superior electronic, jazz and hip-hop albums this year, but pales in comparison to Flying Lotus’ previous efforts.
Also under the monikers Daphni and Manitoba, Canadian beat-maker Caribou is back with one of the most colorful electronic records of the year. Drawing from the sub-genres of folktronica, deep house and neo-psychedelia, Caribou is no stranger to underground electronic music and willing to put his own spin on it. On his latest release, Our Love, Caribou manages to not only put together a set of well-thought beats, but electronic music that has some heart. With nuanced production, along with Jessy Lanza and Owen Pallett contributing, Our Love is simultaneously hushed and orchestral. Each track is packed with heart-hitting beats that have a confessional sense to them. Though the tracks would feel at home in a house party, they also seem as if they were made in an honest state of self-reflection.
In 2013 Portland-based psych-rock outfit Wampire released their debut album Curiosity, that became a smash hit with 1190 listeners and staff. But the tag “psych-rock” doesn’t seem to do the sound justice, as the duo pulls influence from garage rock, ’80s synth-pop, as well as chillwave. A year later they released 2014’s Bazaar, that brings a spookier side to the fuzzy brand of rock. On the first track, the duo incorporates an intro of maniacal laughing that seems appropriate for the Halloween season. But what’s so great about Wampire is that they cater not only to synth-rock crowd, but also the lovers of surf and garage rock. Undeniably, Bazaar is a fun and bizarre listen.
Note: Our spring 2014 Pledge Drive is officially over. Radio 1190 would like to personally thank all who donated. Donations not only go towards the betterment of our non-profit radio station, but it also helps independent bands, musicians, businesses and education in the Boulder and Denver area.
James Calvet is the music director at CU-Boulder’s Radio 1190.