Kamasi Washington: The Epic
Tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington has performed with the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Lauryn Hill and many more renowned acts (his first national tour was with Snoop Dogg); recently, he was a key collaborator on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. Washington’s debut album The Epic lives up to its name, featuring a 32-piece orchestra, 20-person choir and 10-piece band. It may very well take months, if not years, to internalize fully the album’s wild, wonderful ambition regarding the future of jazz—which is why we’re still listening to it on repeat far after its spring release. Washington and his crew were one of nine acts who performed at BRIC JazzFest Marathon this past Thursday, an ideal close to the inaugural Brooklyn jazz festival.
Indie-pop duo Chairlift is back with fiery new material—leaving their nostalgic, chill synth vibes behind. Their single “Ch-Ching” is our first preview of their album Moth, two years in the works and due out January. The lyrics take inspiration from when Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek had the opportunity to write music for Beyoncé’s eponymously titled 2013 album, which became the track “No Angel.” The very danceable “Ch-Ching” is infectious—as are the moves featured in the music video—but more excitingly, it signals a transformation for Chairlift as they experiment with new sound and production. Call it the Beyoncé effect.
Deerhunter: Living My Life
Deerhunter released visuals to accompany their warm, ruminative track “Living My Life,” drumming up even more anticipation for their seventh album Fading Frontier (out 16 October 2015). The album is gearing up to be the band’s most approachable (and potentially catchiest) yet. Brushing away any sort of narrative for a collage of images and moments, the video shifts from humans and dogs to what feels like watercolors frolicking under a microscope; frontman Bradford Cox calls it “liquid fantasia.” It’s photographed and edited by Cox (with additional photography from bandmate Lockett Pundt), who dedicates the video to Miles Davis.
Weyes Blood: In the Beginning
Natalie Mering has the uncanny ability to bewitch any listener into a trance with her forthrightly beautiful voice. It might surprise some to learn that Mering spent years playing noise rock in Philadelphia with an instrument she built herself; however, it’s in the mournful folk songs she composes under the name Weyes Blood that something true emerges. Still, her music feels less nostalgic and more forward-looking within the genre, thanks to her experimentation with tape manipulation, pedal delays and other effects. Check out the music video for her song “In the Beginning,” where she hikes and swims alone in nature, offering the camera a knowing glance every so often. It’s one of four tracks on her just released EP Cardamom Times off of Mexican Summer.
Greenpoint: Runnin’ Away
Greenpoint is the latest project from Zach Seman and Roger Kleinman, a NYC-based production and songwriting duo signed to Warner/Chappell (they make their bread and butter by working with artists like Joey Bada$$, ASAP Rocky, Fabolous, 2 Chainz, Raury and many more). Having mysteriously set up a website with three indie-pop songs—including a cover of Sia’s “Chandelier”—the two explain that they consider Greenpoint a much-needed side creative outlet. “We both come from very musical backgrounds, and have put gigging on hold for a few years and we miss it terribly. Creating this music gives us a chance to get back to the stage,” Kleinman tells CH. The impeccably produced tracks attest to their studio prowess, but their unique personalities still manage to pierce through all that dazzle. Visit Greenpoint’s non-embeddable website to hear.