A singer-songwriter in a room with an acoustic guitar, a microphone and a songbook full of emotion is fine and dandy. But after a while you're ready for a little adrenaline — some drums, maybe a piano. And no one knows this better than Swedish indie-folk singer José González. He's made collaborating with a band somewhat of a habit with his ongoing Junip project. With Elias Araya (drums) and Tobias Winterkorn (organ/synthesizer), González first experimented with the psychedelic trio back in 2005 on the EP, Black Refuge.
It took five years before they reemerged with 2010's Rope and Summit
EP, and then their debut album, Fields
. In the meantime, González got busy making a name for himself with a pair of solid indie folk albums. But three years later, Junip is back with a self-titled album — but this time the group misses the mark. Despite hopeful lyricism against melancholy arrangements, González relies too much on his standard songwriting recipe instead of using Araya and Winterkorn to their full capacity. Junip
is nothing more than a chill album that suffers from a lack of dynamics. Even its most epic moments yield blunt climaxes. Listeners with the ear and patience for González’s subtleties will be able to appreciate these moments as quiet victories, but the album fails to chart new territory, and it might not even be unique or energetic enough to tide over fans until the next one. — MATTHEW BRUNER
A conversation with New York City hip hop duo Triple Double
. Comprised of Triple C and Too Deep, the two have been prominent members of the city's underground hip hop scene for years before joining forces to record Triple Double's debut album, "Red Tooth Rap" (2012). Per their own mantra, we talk "Wine, Weed and Women," but we also explore how the group effortlessly combines this irreverence with sophisticated production and lyrical introspection.
Electronic music has always struggled to overcome its own inherent inexpressiveness. While it can sonically copy and manipulate sound to a nearly infinite degree of precision and style, its obvious achilles heel is that the feeling is the opposite of organic. It is always produced as a derivative of something that came before it — something human. Therefore, it is a copy. And most of the time it is a copy of a copy of a copy. Within that infinite digital recurrence something is lost. For proof, just look at the criticism that the chillwave genre — a mesmerizing, but somewhat souless sound
— has suffered the last few years. And that's really what it comes down to: soul. Is this a machine making the music or is there some human emotion behind it? Sometimes it can be hard to tell, but when it come to Evenings the answer is obvious. Evenings is Nathan Broadus, an actual human with a heartbeat. But what makes Yore
— his debut full length — stand apart from his peers is that the music carries itself as if it is tilled from the Earth. Of course, this is sample based music. But instead of using broad, enthralling stokes of noise to create grandiose atmosphere, the focus is spent on sculpting the finer points of its source material, which in this case ranges from gently strummed guitars and layered female vocals to African percussion and smooth jazz bass lines. This stripped down ethos produces subtle experiences within the body of each track, and as a whole it becomes an enthralling experience. This isn't nod-to-the-beat music, but it also isn't "nod off" music. Broadus creates within Yore
distinct worlds that evoke limitless contemplation. Much like an artisanal wine, it reveals itself slowly and repeatedly to unearth various shapes, colors and feelings. But that isn't to say that the record is simply "spa music." Its doesn't offer itself that way, although the album certainly is relaxing. Evenings is about the journey and the tiny moments that eventually equate into a memory. And then after time its just a dream. — MFB