by Jeff Milo
And I'm listening to three deliciously divergent musical works - two from some locals, one from a California group buzzing across the various Internet/satellite channels with notable bombast.
First: On Friday, the Kodaks, agents of the town's new wave of propulsive, fuzzed-up-n-wound-up indie-pop - are releasing their first proper full-length album Night Surfing on May 11th at the Magic Stick.
--> They have Marco Polio and the New Vaccines opening up for them, along with the HandGrenades and Ancient Language.
Second: Mr. Doc Waffles... Known properly as Doc Waffles (or, when he's not onstage rapping, as antiquarian/absurdist-philosophic-rare-book-dealer Ben Ness) --or, as he may or may not be known this week, Doc Wraffles... (silent 'r' -watch it). Waffles put out his fourth album How to Shoot Quail -stream it here, if you haven't yet been exposed to his zestful splay of ornate, literate lyrics and thesaurus-scanning, Wiki-reaching references to obscure Victorian-age culture and writings - then I recommend it, specifically this week, as he's just a couple weeks away from releasing his fifth work, to be titled Ambulance Chaser - which features a poetic rap piece on falling asleep to VHS tapes of hockey fights.
And since my parents just got back from the movies, this weekend, seeing that debachle with John Cusack playing Edgar Allen Poe...and since the Edgar Awards were very recently handed out for best literary works in the Mystery genre, I'll feature Waffles song named for the father of macabre/surrealist/detective tales:
It's funny to me - I heard the single from this album, "I've Seen Footage" spill across my Sirius in the car the other day and was amazed how...it suddenly felt hip. Like, just another flutter of hot hip new indie-accreditted music to stream across the college-rock station. Whereas before, listening to their full length album, as a whole, front to back, you regard their music as this dark, eletrical storm of ultraviolence and impassioned rails against societal ills, ripped and roared over clanging beats and growling synthesizers.
Taken as just a single though, that winding-hooky synth wail, it just felt weird to have it slip right in there between the Shins and Black Keys. But I'd recommend listening beyond the single. The band's been tagged around InternetWorld, on a few posts and zines, with that horror-esque, confrontational shock-rap that Odd Future - but I hear something deeper - and not necessarily so dark and scary. I’ve listened to this on sunny days when I was in a happy mood – and I can attest that it didn’t get me pissed, didn’t bring me down to brooding, didn’t scare the shit out of me – but I'd still say to tread warily.
This is the most cerebral and enticing nightmarish vision of an album I’ve heard in a while, rendered with haunted-grooves of oscillating hellish helicopter-engine synths, drums like girders avalanching through bombed out coliseums, vocals so impassioned, ranging from declarative anthem to vitriolic harangues, evocatively captured with raw poetry. Read the lyrics and you’ll feel the ire and things might go dark and those wailing banshee tones soaring in the background might unsettle you – but their sense for groove saves it, a techno-tinged tear for post-apocalyptic ponderous pounds...
They'll be here on June 18th at the Magic Stick.