Trainwreck 1979 (single) Death From Above 1979 The Physical World (September 2014)
Look a deadset canon, Trainwreck 1979 takes a cue from the band’s greatest single “Romantic Rights” and deviates some of the classic familiar but making Trainwreck a bulkier, heavier groove. The Toronto Dancepunk duo are back, with heavier sonic layers and denser instrumental elements. Ominous, drudging backbeats and the signature swap of a distorted guitar for a bass are accented with keys, meandering electronics and measured shifts from bloody glory to stretches of vulnerability, feathery vocals. The uncharacteristic vocal approach of latter appears most prominently in a misdirecting interlude featuring even more uncharacteristic behavior featuring meditated and vaguely existential lyrics with weight.
Intresting adjustments and flairs, but the order of the day remains crunchy, rhythmic punk.
The song gathers momentum every time you listen to it, you’ll be picking up on little details that with each successive listen. A decade ago, DFA 1979’s debut was a concussive, sucker punch that proved to be one of the most invigorating and original debuts of the 00s. A decade on, with purpose and wisdom, the band’s been searching, searching to reignite the flame. If Trainwreck is any indication, they’re about to set the world on fire again.
Shoegaze has ebbed and flowed since it’s moderate english explosion in the early 90s. From synonymous labels like Creation records and noise visionaries like My Blood Valentine to the Nugaze revivalists like Diiv in recent years, shoegaze never really disappeared, it simply retreated into its introspection indefinitely by carving out a revolving niche in the ever ambiguous “indie” subspace. ASDIG has been kicking around for some years, creating wide swaths of ghostly discordant soundscapes but Sea Was Absent sees the band reaching for the ground more than ever. What results is 2014’s biggest gust of fresh air, an album that gains a bit of clarity in it’s aural diction and grafts it on to what the band does best in their best effort yet.
ASDIG’s latest is best enjoyed with a bit of confusion or ignorance. Catch a taste of lyrics here, baroque twinkles there, aerosol fuzz guitars fading in and out. It’s a journey of mysterious emotional prompts and influences but compelling for that very reason. Deciphering the subject matter of a song entitled “In Love with Useless (The Timeless Geometry in the Tradition of Passing)” is either exceedingly specific or too ethereal to leave a footprint. With it’s dizzying reverb, shifting multidirectional vocal dubs and looming pop melodies, this is one song in a sea of several other sonic texture colossi.
Sea Was Absent is an album that teases, misdirects and soars.”The Things They do to Me” crashes in with a junkyard guitar riff only to give way to a simmering stretch of tranquility, “The Body, It Bends” plays straightforward softrock verses which abruptly shoot into the orbit of a synth stratosphere. ASDIG’s latest is an intricate and obsessively considered body of work that comes from an otherworldly sense of creative euphoria. Sea Was Absent is likely the first neoshoegaze album to truly deconstruct what was so brilliant about Loveless and produce something new and invigorating.
Beatboxer, DJ, producer, newcomer Taylor Mcferrin obviously lives for the beat, but on his debut album “Early Riser” he also casts his eyes toward the natural groove of a song, it’s pace and resonance. As “Pospartum” gradually with full textures, Mcferrin’s approach to the entire album is revealed, ever present backbeats clustered by fluttery electronics through a jazz filter. It’s a winning formula, that is attacked in different ways. With Nai Palm’s assistance on “The Antidote”, the cadence of her flow (vocals and sneaky bars), there’s an offense or forward momentum to the album’s passive shimmer. There is also a strong influence from modern RnB, but not from it’s current staple star in Frank Ocean, but actually Musiq Soulchild. “Floraisa” has the same delicate approach Soulchild blessed ears with a decade ago.
Early doesn’t stray from the formula foreshadowed on it’s opener, but that’s fine. With each song produced with lush cohesion, tossing between strong percussion and evocative jazz numbers, the bar of quality is enormously high. Maybe he gets it from his composer father, but Taylor delivers an impressive first attempt with an appreciation of musical nuance well beyond his career’s years.
Chew’s 10 Favourite Debut Albums 1.The Velvet Underground-The Velvet Underground and Nico
The first Velvet album is essentially the birth of alternative rock; the definition of an album with an everlasting tail. The Velvet Underground and Nico is the mutated fallout of flower power euphoria. The drugs, the lurid sexual orgies and the racial lines of New York’s lower east side marks this 60s classic as a product post -summer of love. The urban bohemia of Warhol’s curated world comes to life on this album, as Lou Reed&co. inadvertently forge the path of taboo/alternative rock that the likes of the Talking Heads, Pixies and Nirvana would be directly drawing from decades later. David Byrne’s indirectness, Kurt Cobain’s fervor for the weird, The Pixies discordant ear piercing guitar leads, The Velvet Underground were the progenitor all these things. On the band’s seminal release, The Velvet Underground gave life to a subculture that would only grow as their career faded.
Chew’s 10 Favourite Debut Albums 2.Arcade Fire-Funeral
Arcade Fire’s debut is quite frankly the pinnacle of new millennium indie. Flying higher than the glitzy Killers arena post punk, more salient than the neo-joy division blade edge guitars of Interpol's dark step into the spotlight, Arcade Fire's debut is so full of heart and emotion that it's humanistic anthems carry beautiful and unscathed a decade later. Be it the beautiful titanic ode to lost innocence of childhood in “Wake Up”, or the sandy retrospect of Regine's ties to Haiti in the song by the same name, every track on Funeral is overflowing with earnest lyrics and granular instrumental pieces and textures which carry evocative resonance in themselves. Most artists never make an album this good in their entire career(s), Arcade Fire did it on the first shot.
To this day, there is yet to be such a masterful hip hop debut. Cast in the fires of gritty 90s east coast boom-bap, Nas’ debut is almost in a league of its own. Nas’s debut is a ten-track tornado of vivid concrete jungle imagery and controlled intensity, like a sustained burst of an automatic adjective AK. Having just celebrating it’s 20th anniversary, the Illmatic remains one of the finest records of the 90s ever produced and the toughest act Nas himself has yet to surpass.
Chew’s 10 Favourite Debut Albums: 4.Led Zeppelin-Zeppelin I
Good times indeed. Zeppelin’s debut is perfectly conveyed through its album art. The awestricking capture of the Heisenberg exemplifies the cheeky irony/oxymoronic clout of Zeppelin’s massive metal-cross-Chicago blues classic. From the stadium flooding choruses of “Your Time is Gonna Come” to the pepped up crunchy jolt of “Communication Breakdown”, Zeppelin I stands as an evergreen standard/blueprint of a capital R rock album. As huge and flashy as an exploding zeppelin, as salient a whale-sized airship, heavy as led.