Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar, "Never Catch Me"
2014 has flooded us with images of nonsense death and mayhem. In our musical lives, it's at a point where the idea of escaping it is just as useless as an artist trying to confront the horror head on. You're Dead! is the name of Flying Lotus's upcoming fourth studio album. The title proclamation seemed goading when the producer began to solicit his fans' favourite video game death title cards. It was depressing: any triviality would surely be swept away by the oceans of gore the past eight months has amassed.
But the album's announcement came with a trailer full of bodies filleted fantastically, and an album cover featuring Lotus himself, a perfect circle shearing through his face as he summons the dreadful energy. This is Shintaro Kago and his "ero guro," a type of manga that pushes violence into the impossible realms of fairy tales, but ones you could never show your kids: heads exploding into eyeballs, or sliced into perfect cubes.
No matter how much or how little we hear about death, we'll never escape it. With You're Dead!'s visual direction FlyLo intuited our exhaustion without patronizing our awareness of mortality. He asks us to imagine our fear of dying existing elsewhere. On Earth, it's dulled and processed by YouTube compression, Twitter pics and talking heads. You're Dead! actually gives the wrecked body agency. It's overkill without passing on.
"Never Catch Me" functions similarly. We get both what we expected and what we didn't know we needed. Kendrick hits the crowd-pleasing, rapper killing "Rigamortis" highs and sprinkling in mystical allusions, all while matching Thundercat's blazing fretwork. The effect is like witnessing the sweet spot of a live jazz trio jamming it out till they begin to see that light at the end of the tunnel. This is Death as you've never seen it before.
Flying Lotus' You're Dead is out October 7 on Warp. Pre-order it here.
Foxygen, "Cosmic Vibrations"
Following "How Can You Really," Foxygen have officially entered the "dosed up halcyon" phase of their continued evocation of soft psych tropes. "You can have me but I'm all used up," Sam France mumbles like he's trapped in the cover of some inky London gossip zine, his voice flattened by flashbulbs.
Foxygen's ...And Star Power is out October 14 on Jagjaguwar. Pre-order here.
Dark dubsmith The Bug (aka Buggington Bugsworth IV aka Kevin Martin) just released his Angels & Devils LP, pretty excellent for how much its title made me think of Dan Brown. Exit is an EP of leftovers from those sessions, and features two surprisingly sensible collaborations with ambient folk artist Grouper. The first, "Black Wasp," is above.
The Bug's new Exit EP is out October 6 on Ninja Tune. Pre-order here.
Sleater-Kinney, "An Abbreviated Beginner's Guide"
Expect a complete catalogue reissue of the legendary rock band's catalogue to hit you painfully in the wallet this October. (That's seven albums on vinyl, plus a 44 page book with newly uncovered photos. Totally limited edition, chaps.) Not sure who or why? Sub Pop has assembled a helpful PRIMER.