With so many releases flying at you, here are recommended vetted listens from Nialler9 for you this week, as collated in the Nialler9 New Releases Spotify playlist, updated weekly.
Hailing from Syndey, Australia are honest to goodness indie-trio Phantastic Ferniture. Their self-titled debut album has been playing on repeat here in the office all week. Lead singer and primary songwriter Julia Jacklin seems to have a real knack for translating the more awkward aspects of everyday life into powerful indie guitar bon mots, the sort that can’t help but win you over.
The tone throughout the album changes from youthful and listless, best heard on the wonderful ‘Bad Timing’, to the overtly anxious ‘Fuckin’N’Rollin’. Musically, the group bring plenty of memorable guitar riffs and vocal hooks to the table. There’s something captivating in the pairing of Jacklin’s droning vocal lead over the distorted chords on a song like ‘Gap Year’. Signed to Polyvinyl records and more than likely about to absolutely blow up, be sure to treat yourself to Phantastic Ferniture’s debut this week.
Miami native and full time member of Raider Klan, the rap crew founded by SpaceGhostPurrp, Denzel Curry has come through on TA1300 with one of the most distinctive and expressive hip-hop releases of year. With a foundation in poetry and production ethos centred around funk trap fusion, Curry’s best momentes on TA1300 transcend his chosen genre and spill into the realm of great art.
The third full studio release from the 23-year-old finds the artist delving deep into his own psyche. There seems to be a running duality throughout the release, the struggle between humanity and ego appeasement. Split into three ‘discs’, the opening disc stands as the most reflective. Tracks like ‘CASH MANIAC|CAZH MAN1AC’ & the album’s title track showcase a vulnerability rarely awarded to Curry’s contemporaries. Unfortunately, the album falls down on its second act, the most overtly trap inspired tracks and overall the most uninspired. Album highlight ‘PERCS|PERCZ’ helps bring the project to an adrenaline filled close, easily one of the hardest hitting tracks of the year.
Ross From Friends
Felix Clary Weatherall, aka Ross From Friends, has clearly been doing his homework on old-school house music. His new self-titled album, his first LP release on Brainfeeder Records, is a hybrid of those well-loved sounds and a modernist sensibility. What’s immediately striking about Family Portrait is just how alien it is to his previous releases. Take the Aphelion EP, which came out on Brainfeeder earlier this year. That project bordered on ambient, with spacious synth textures filling the mix. Tracks like ‘Project Cybersyn’ and ‘Thank God I’m A Lizard’ off this new album are the total antithesis to that ambiance. There’s an urgency about the tunes on Family Portrait, like the music is constantly rushing ahead of itself.
Certain filler tracks are to the detriment of the album’s overall quality. Tracks like ‘The Knife’ and ‘Parallel Sequence’ have no real business being among the rest of the material on Family Portait. Perhaps it’s because of the experimental nature of the production throughout the album, but sometimes the mix can sound washed out, as if you were hearing it from a cheap speaker in a porcelain dish. Thankfully, on Family Portrait these moments are few and far between and the album easily establishes Ross From Friends as one of the finest electronic producers out there right now.
Kill The Lights
Tony Molina’s 10 track and 14-minute long Kill The Lights album is the Indie and sometimes hardcore artist’s strongest work to date. Coming out of the Bay area, Molina’s music is characteristic of long, lazy sun-bleached days. A baroque indie album at heart, via Ariel Pink, Kill The Lights is fully aware it has no time to waste, hooks and contagious chord progressions are bashed over the listers head from the opening bars of opener ‘Nothing I can Say’ and refuse to let up until the closing of ‘Outro’.
Highlights include ‘Look Inside Your Mind/Losin’ Touch’, which features the best guitar solo of the year, ‘Now That She’s Gone’ and the melancholy ‘Before You Go’. The album’s brevity is both its greatest strength and weakness. The creative restrictions a ninety-second song places upon Molina results in music comprised of the absolute essential parts, with everything functioning in service of the album as a whole. On the other hand, 14 minutes makes for a very short album and Kill The Lights can feel a little bit more like a sketchbook than the finished product.
The Internet’s progress as group has been slightly warped. Founding members Syd and Matt Martians were originally paired through the Odd Future supergroup. The duo’s early efforts under the title of the Internet were spotty at best. Syd’s vocal lines could leave much to be desired (check out ‘Cocaine’ from their debut album) and the group’s instrumentals could feel more than a little directionless.
Thankfully, things have considerably improved for the group. 2015’s Ego Death was a cut above its peers and Hive Mind is the product of a group at last fully sure of what they’re about. They’ve added Steve Lacy to the songwriting team since. A listen to album opener ‘Come Together’ showcases just how far Syd’s vocal performances have come. Album highlight ‘She Knows’ offers some justification for the massive hype surrounding the group. When they get it right, few combine electronica, R&B and hip-hop as well as The Internet. Thankfully the group gets it right more often than not on Hive Mind.