Aphex Twin: Syro
13 years since his last album Drukqs, contemporary electronic music pioneer Aphex Twin officially released the new full-length Syro to the world this week. While the electronic music scene has significantly changed (making its way into the mainstream) since Richard James was last active, he continues to inspire awe with his collage-like compositions which resemble living, breathing organisms that aren’t restricted to four-on-the-floor or bass drops. The album packaging even reveals every single piece of equipment used on the record—a total of 138. Indie and major publications alike haven’t been this excited since Daft Punk dropped Random Access Memories.
Otis Brown III: The Way (Truth & Life)
Drummers—we often forget—make some of the most interesting composers, especially in the realm of jazz, as they write from a fresh perspective that might not put such an emphasis on harmonies and melodies. Otis Brown III’s “The Way (Truth & Life)”—the opening track off his debut album The Thought of You—is a great example of such new energy, especially as it’s co-written with Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist Robert Glasper, known for his group The Robert Glasper Experiment which leans toward electronic, hip-hop, R&B and many other genres. Keep an ear out for the drums and cymbals in this piece to fully appreciate the artist’s talent and setup.
Melvins: Brass Cupcake
Influential American heavy metal band Melvins haven’t slowed down since forming in 1983, but perhaps their genre is less loved than in decades past. For their 20th studio album, Hold It In, the band is injecting some new blood into the mix by tapping Butthole Surfers bassist Jeff Pinkus and guitarist Paul Leary. The Quietus offers up two tracks from the album, and while “Sesame Street Meat” is unmistakably (if not delightfully) hardcore, “Brass Cupcake” is the perfect song for easing out of the widespread electronic sound and into something with a little—OK, a lot—more grit.
Tweedy: Low Key
Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and his son Spencer had us at “directed by Nick Offerman” with their new video for “Low Key,” a song off their debut album Sukierae. For the visual narrative, the “Parks and Recreation” actor sends the duo on the road as traveling salesmen (peddling their album) who—despite holding precious cats—are rejected by the likes of Conan O’Brien, Chance The Rapper and other celebs. While some musicians may lean on famous faces to bolster an average song, this isn’t the case; “Low Key” is perfectly low key and full of welcome whoo-hoos that “dad rock” Jeff is known and loved for in his own right, and now with his son.
Thom Yorke: Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes
Thom Yorke has long been disenchanted by the greedy antics of the modern music industry, so it comes as no surprise that he’s distributing his new eight-track album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, via the internet through a new version of BitTorrent. Yorke explains in a press release, they are “bypassing the self-elected gatekeepers” because the torrent is “a self-contained embeddable shop front. The network not only carries the traffic, it also hosts the file. The file is in the network.” Logistics aside, the music is very characteristic of his beloved style, and fans will certainly adore the album and the fact they can easily download it for a mere $6.
ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that takes a deeper look at the music we tweeted throughout the week. Often we’ll include a musician or notable fan’s personal favorite in a song or album dubbed #PrivateJam.