Suzy Poling / Courtesy photo
Though CU’s summer semester has just started, hopefully students got to soak in the sun and getting a chance to see some live music.
For some heady hip-hop music, Radio 1190 will be presenting The Gaslamp Killer live at the Fox Theatre (1135 13th St., Boulder) Friday night. On Friday in Denver, Pictureplane will be returning to DIY venue Rhinoceropolis (3553 Brighton Blvd., Denver)and ” Tim & Eric” cast member David Libe Hart will perform live at record shop, 7th Circle Music Collective (2935 W. 7th Ave., Denver). En route to the shows, make sure that radio is tuned to 1190AM, and turn it up, because we’ll be spinning these three awesome albums.
Since the 2014 EP, Girlpool has been taking college radio and independent music audiences by storm. Out on Wichita Recordings, Before The World Was Big, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad play simple vocal, guitar and bass harmonies alongside idiosyncratic and confessional lyrics.
Unlike the self-titled EP, this full-length debut has zero fast-paced punk burners and slower ballad-esque crooners instead. The tracks depict personal and esoteric situations, as the pair talks of finding true identity. With these lyrical themes presented in high-pitched and youthful vocal ranges, the album is both youthful and mature — most notable on the slow, yet anthemic “Chinatown,” as they touch on the subject of learning to love yourself before you can love others.
Cleo and Harmony are only 18 and 19, respectively, but they are mature beyond their years. Even though the album is free of drums and has minimal distortion, the personality and ethos makes it pure punk rock and one of the best punk albums of the year. Before the World Was Big is Radio 1190’s CD of the Month for June. Full review: radio1190.org.
Holly Herndon began her career as a electronic experimentalist in Germany, but returned to San Francisco to write, record and engineer the software to create her debut album. Since her 2014 hit single “Chorus,” Herndon’s aesthetic has been unlike any other artist — and she still continues to confound audiences with last month’s debut of Platform , released on 4AD.
Her style is sporadic and choppy, but remains smooth and futuristic, with each track sounding dystopian and eerie. The album opens with “Interference,” which a straightforward track. The song has a minimal, steady beat and a deep, pulsing bass line that sounds metallic and icy — as if it could be featured on a techno track. From there, the record seesaws between electro avant-garde collages to noisy, steel-like dance beats.
One of the standout tracks is “Locker Leak,” feat. Spencer Longo, which contains strange spoken-word phrases. And though some tracks, like “Morning Sun,” have a Laurie Anderson avant-pop vibe, others veer so far left that they border on musique concrète. “Lonely at the Top” is a disturbing vocal-based art piece that utilizes themes from ASMR — a euphoric head-tingling phenomenon brought upon in response to sounds of certain physical situations (like whispers). Though the sounds are textured and interesting, the message of the record is a tad unclear.
Herndon creates artful electronic music, but her aesthetic misleads the listener in assuming she’ll convey a point, but never reaches a particular ending statement. Platform is indeed good art, but dense enough that a message is almost necessary to make sense of the madness.
Los Angeles-based Thee Oh Sees has been cranking out chuggy and grinding psychedelic garage rock for years. Since the band’s inception in 2004, it has become one of the most prolific rock acts.
The band’s 2014 effort Drop was enjoyable, but not as captivating or heady as other albums. But after a strange and brief hiatus, last month’s release Mutilator Defeated At Last is the band’s14th studio album. Though the album doesn’t stray far from the usual formula, a couple of the tracks are the band’s best to date.
The band added two synchronized drummers to the guitar/bass lineup, adding an even more grinding and pulverizing edge. “Turned Out Light” is a fun and bouncy riff-based track that showcases what Thee Oh Sees do best: create catchy, heady and heavy rock and roll. The almost seven-minute long jammer, “Sticky Hulks,” is slow paced and trippy but picks up enough speed to keep the listener entertained with an awesome organ section. If you’re looking for an album that takes Thee Oh Sees signature sound to a different world, Mutilator Defeated At Last is not it, but if you’re up to hear a band that has fully actualized its sound, this is where you should be.
James Calvet is the music director for Radio 1190.