Upon initial listen, it’s evident that Baltimore-based Dungeon Kids can deliver a stable stream of catchy indie rock riffs. Listen for a little longer, and it’s also evident that lead singer Dan Windsor is not the most stable. This is by no means an insult, I don’t even know Dan personally and I can only assume he is the nicest of dudes. Rather, I find it admirable and bold of him to expose so much of himself, and I wouldn’t hesitate to compare it to an Elliott Smith level of honesty.
On Twin Ebb Tide, the band’s fourth release in just a year’s time, I find feelings of vulnerability that many can relate to. Going to bed and waking up as a different person. Feeling rejected by someone you wholly trusted, but trying really hard to give off the “I-give-zero-fucks” attitude. It’s enough to make someone explode, and Dungeon Kids do.
Dungeon Kids’ material is available for download on their Bandcamp, and Twin Ebb Tide will be released on cassette soon.
BEHIND THE TRACKS: RICKY EAT ACID
As the month comes to a close, we caught up with Maryland’s ambient wonder, Sam Ray aka Ricky Eat Acid, to discuss his favorite releases of the year (so far), along with his Orchid Tapes debut, Three Love Songs, and the influences behind his ever growing sound.
I emailed Sam some questions and he was super nice.
Slow Magic // Hold Still
“I died.” “hoooly shit.” “That was cool.” “You killed me.”
The comments above from Soundcloud do a pretty good job of summing up “Hold Still”, the latest single from Slow Magic. The song starts out as a small brush fire, spreading and growing about halfway through the song. It’s a pretty chill IDM track, definitely fitting the fog-machine aesthetic that Slow Magic has built around himself. Once the song builds up, it doesn’t even hit the zenith until the very end, with a drop so entrancing that it (apparently) kills the listener. Then when it’s over, you can repeat and ascend with the track all over again.
Spazzkid // Goodbye
The title of future-pop wunderkind Spazzkid’s new EP seems like an affirmation of the future, and surely nothing can go wrong in his sparkly world of synths and J-Pop. With Promise, what I heard was the full cycle of a failed relationship, fizzing out like slow-burning incense. There’s still something lingering even after anything material has fully disintegrated.
That sounds heavy, but over the course of four songs Spazzkid explores many different electronic themes, looking for something to latch onto without ever making a solid decision. He has the rare gift of making indecision sound intentional, while inciting a mixture of emotions in every major synth chord that he hits.
Ryn Weaver // OctaHate
Artists like Charli XCX and Jessie Ware are at the forefront of what I would call “future R&B,” a movement that has slowly bubbled up to the mainstream over the last two years. Add the recent entrance of BANKS to the mix, and you’d be right to assume that the budding movement seems to go hand in hand with snatching up producer heavy hitters actively working right now (i.e. SOHN, Snakehips, Kaytranada, Shlohmo, etc etc.).
Less than a week ago, New York’s Ryn Weaver appeared out of nowhere with nothing more than a single song produced by Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos and not long after, the buzz poured in from every angle.
At it’s very core, “OctaHate" is a song with immensely sporadic, bright production that goes and goes and goes with lyrics seemingly lifted from some poet’s iPhone notes. From the outside looking in, I feel like Weaver’s team has been prepping for this for a couple months now, but does it actually matter to me that this praise for the song feels planned, almost artificial? That it pulls directly from other creative producers work to garner it’s success? Perhaps it does, but the power of a (really really) catchy song has the power to make you forget all that.
A wild Ryn Weaver appeared!
TEEN // Not For Long (SAINT PEPSI Remix)
The #summerofpepsi has now commenced, and the once king of the internet underground remix scene (yes, such a scene exists) has quote-unquote “gone legit”. Saint Pepsi’s recent signing with Carpark Records places him in the company of Toro y Moi, Dan Deacon, Class Actress, and Dog Bite to name a few. Hopefully, this also means we will blessed with a proper St. Pep LP near the tail-end of the summer.
To tide us over, Saint Pepsi has blessed us with an underwater, spaced-out version of a song from his labelmates TEEN. The original version of “Not For Long” is pretty spacey already (see video), but Pepsi makes it an appropriate jam for any sangria-slinging summer BBQ. Just make sure you serve that shit in a fucking mason jar, all you hip boys and girls.
MAXO // H o n e y b e l l
MAXO cropped up on my radar when my obsession with internet label PC Music started (who, at the rate they’re pumping material, deserve a retrospective piece). They published “Snow Other” (shortly after this song created a stir online) via their web-1.0-style website and I was suddenly transported back to 2007 where somebody has majorly hacked my myspace page.
I’m normally not a big proprietor of the chiptune scene, but MAXO is making me wish I was. When I listen to “Honeybell”, I can’t help but to strut like I just picked my starter and am making my way through Viridian Forest. All videogame/ anime references aside, this new one from MAXO really soars. I mean it really fucking takes me somewhere I’ve never been, and every time I hit play I have to take in a giant gulp of air. It’s like I’m a little baby turtle crawling on the sand and he’s the seagull that swoops me up and drops me from great heights trying to crack my shell and eat my insides. Confusing and exhilarating, the song doesn’t give me time to even decide how I feel about it, so just assume that I love it.
Rebel Kind // Baby Baby Baby
Girl-group sensibilities under a thick blanket of fuzz. Produced by Fred Thomas (of Saturday Looks Good To Me fame), Rebel Kind’s new tape, Today, wrestles surf-rock to ground and holds in a headlock until it admits that it got whooped by a girl. This song really hits the doo-wop button hard, but after listening to all 25 minutes of Today, Autumn Wetli covers the entire spectrum from bubblegum to badassery.
Skate on over to their bandcamp page and click your heels along to the whole album.
Will be crushing on this album all summer.
Jonah Baseball - Love Shower
So the truth is, in the future everything will be more technologically advanced. Your fridge will talk to you, Amazon will deliver your groceries daily, and your Apple headgear will seamlessly convert your outgoing thoughts to iMessage. Then there’s my shower. Dude’s seen me at my most vulnerable, day in day out, naked and barely awake. Enveloped in perfectly warmed neon water, Jonah Baseballplaying softly in the background….
“Man… I think I’m falling in love with my shower”
Jonah Baseball makes other songs, not all about showers, that you can check over on his soundcloud. If you liked this, he said “some day [soon] i’m gonna put out some music i worked really hard on”. Nice!
naps. - for sale
Hydrate, the debut album from Australia’s naps., sounds like a beat-centric, hip-hop tape made by somebody who just got way too high somewhere along the way. The end result comes off as a sound collage with waves of psychedelia slowly rolling over it, while bursts of intricate digital manipulation steadily move to keep the album bright, complex, noisy, and fun.
“For Sale” transports the listener to another world where New Age electronics are still very popular and hip-hop beats are rotting and festering at the bottom of a deep, dark ocean. It’s all quite pleasant, really.
Hydrate is now available digitally and on tape via This Thing.