An hour commute to work and back each day gives me a lot of time to myself; to think, to sleep, to mutter about the cold, to do Snapchat selfies and get caught by disapproving old men. But mostly, it gives me time and excuse to listen to a shit ton of new music.
Here’s what I’ve been vibing to/using to get psyched up for work lately:
Touche Amore, ‘Touche Amore/Casket Lottery split’
TA are more or less my favourite band, and I couldn’t be more stoked for their new album coming out in September. It’s been a while between new music for the guys, as they continued their regular method of releasing a few split 7″ records between records. They teamed up for one with Pianos Become The Teeth that I didn’t particularly care for (just because PBTT’s lyrics are so ridiculously heartbreaking that I can’t even read the lyrics, let alone listen to the actual songs themselves, without becoming manically depressed), but their split with The Casket Lottery was one that somehow passed by me without much notice. I went back to revisit it, and woah nelly was that worth it. A cover of ‘Unsatisfied’ by The Replacements, and the ball-tearing fury of ‘Whale Belly’ make up Touche Amore’s half of the record, and for me, the two tracks are the strongest and most assured they’ve sounded on tape yet. I feel about ten feet tall and bulletproof when I blast ‘Whale Belly,’ which I must have spun about 50 times in the last week or so. Fark.
Run The Jewels, ‘Run The Jewels’
Just the whole damn album, hey. Killer Mike and El-P are two of my favourite dudes in dat rap game right now anyway, and when they team up, you just know shit is going to go down. DOWN. In a month where Kanye and Jay-Z dropped two polarising and – at times – plain ordinary albums that filled 95% of column inches in the music world, some of the smartest, most forward-thinking and plain fun hip-hop you’ll hear this side of ‘Yeezus’ went largely unnoticed. The title track, the Big Boi-featuring ‘Banana Clipper,’ ‘Sea Legs’ and ‘Job Well Done’ have been on repeat for me since release. El-P is a fine rapper, but Killer Mike takes centre stage with maybe some of the lines of the year (“It’s like Tyson in the ’80s/n*gga snap and punch your lights out/It’s like Tyson in the ’90s/if I’m losing take a bite out” on ‘Job Well Done,’ “Your idols all are my rivals/I rival all of your idols/I stand on towers like Eiffel/I rifle down all your idols” on ‘Sea Legs’). Get the whole damn thing for free right here.
Balance and Composure, ‘Reflection’
Behind Touche Amore, there’s no album I’m more excited for in the rest of 2013 than Balance and Composure’s. Their second LP ‘”The Things We Think We’re Missing’ is out in September as well. The first new tune, ‘Reflection,’ dropped last night; and contrary to whatever Pitchfork tells you, it’s nothing like Linkin Park. The opening reeks of Title Fight’s ‘Head In The Ceiling Fan’ from their acclaimed ‘Floral Green’ album, but once the chorus drops in, it’s classic B&C – emo-tinged grungy riffs and crashing drums in a swirling, atmospheric cauldron. Heavy and heartfelt, it’s getting me a little hot under the collar.