You May Have Missed...

Here are some releases you and / the general populous may or may not have missed over the course of the year. They are worthy and deserving of your attention.
Boxcutter - Glyphic (Planet-Mu)
With everyone going apeshit over the new Burial album (which is a fine album, don't get me wrong), and Pinch's Underwater Dancehall getting a lot of recognition as well, it's a shame that this Boxcutter album has been (it seems) largely ignored. Like the Burial record, Glyphic pushes dubstep past its typical boundaries, refreshing a genre that has quickly become extremely stagnant. Whereas Untrue is unique in its retoolings of r&b and trip-hop vocal tropes, these songs add splashes of jazz elements and leans a bit more heavily on traditional dub / reggae effects. The skittering, near-relentless drums on "Rusty Break" rub up against guitar and flute that sounds like it's being amputated from an old lounge / soul record. "Foxy" does the same with some organ and male croons, and punctuates the later part of the tune with some tasteful horns. "Windfall" and "J Dub" evoke ghosts of actual dub, with its snare cracks that echo like they're being played in a mineshaft. Even with a couple tracks towards the end of the record veering weirdly into the realm of Aphex acid (and this could even be seen as sort of a palate cleanser), Glyphic emerges as a studiously composed collection of smart tracks that are mindful of both the past and the future. As stodgy as I make it sound, this is really a fun, captivating thing.
Kickball - Everything is a Miracle Nothing is a Miracle Everything is (High Fives and Handshakes)
We saw this three-piece during the first night of What the Heck? Fest this year. They rocked the place and I can say with some certainty that they stole everyone's heart (all the hearts that didn't already belong to them). Very endearing ragged rock-pop that sort of reminds of Joan of Arc in its spare angularness and creaking, nervous, sometimes screaming male vocals. It's messy, not mathy. Many of the songs will have you singing along (or wanting to sing along) after one listen. "Fight" has a wonderfully insistent vocal refrain and great guitar hooks as well as clicky snappy drums. Album opener "Underground Husbands" pulls you in with a scruffily sad guitar part and harmonized whistling, and it just sighs and groans and rumbles with some sort of longing. "Pocketknife" opens up with quiet vocals that ascend into a threadbare howl. Then the drums come in and you're dancing. I wouldn't call this album "cute" but something about it is totally endearing and smile-inducing. Like a love letter written on a paper bag. Yes.
Black Mustang - Blackout (LOAF)
If all acid-disco sounded like this, the acid-disco world would be a much better acid-disco place. The mysterious Black Mustang did a remix for the mysterious Black Devil Disco Club. Now there's this mysterious 12". "Mad as Hell" is a collaboration with Luke Vibert's Kerrier District project, and bounces along steadily with an infectious, buzzy melody and hip-moving cowbells. Things get a little strange with echoey smears of sound, but it just adds more character to a song that already has a lot of 'tude. The Sleeparchive remix of "Mad as Hell" turns a track once ready for the club into a misty, throbbing drone piece that is definitely not ready to get anyone dancing. The two part "Blackout" suite follows, fully sending the dancefloor into outerspace with retro guitars and a hypnotically arpeggiating melody. Some really unique cuts that leave you wanting to know and hear more about this Black Mustang.
Bogdan Raczynski - Alright! (Rephlex)
Last we heard of Bogdan Raczynski, he was remixing Bjork (!), collecting his drum n' bass tracks under various pseudonyms, and singing songs about love and heartbreak with accordian and trumpet. That last bit, about the love songs, was 2001's Myloveilove. It's been a long time. All of a sudden, *pyow!* Bogdan bursts back onto the scene with an explosion of energy-drink fueled rave-tastic anthems. Nintendo melodies, acid blasts, hyperactive drum breaks, and general life-affirmation is what you'll find on these 8 selections. These songs don't quite have the same distinct personality and bite as found on earlier releases, but all of the melodies sound like they're coming from a Commodore64 that knows how to breakdance, which means you know it's a Bogdan Raczynski album. Join the raveolution, won't you?

Also perhaps overlooked:
  • BARR - Summary (5RC)
  • Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities - LUCAS (Ghostly)
  • Japanther - Skuffed Up My Huffy (Tapes Records)
  • Panther - Secret Lawns (Fryk Beat)
  • Rhys Chatham - A Crimson Grail (Table of the Elements)
  • Bark Bark Bark - Haunts (Retard Disco)
I'm too tired to do write ups for all this stuff. Just Google it all, will ya.

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