Posted by: Dominic Umile | 02/15/2010

February Commutes: Whitefield Brothers, Parenthetical Girls, Terror Danjah

Whitefield BrothersWe checked out The Wolfman over the weekend. While I knew it wasn’t going to be Citizen Kane, I definitely didn’t consider that horror films can no longer be made without an overindulgence in gore. It’s definitely stylish — the set design, costuming, acting, and cinematography are all brilliantly executed — but the concept of “less is more” is lost on the team behind the cameras. A fun trip, but it moves really fast, and is pretty bloody. I know audiences are supposed to be unintelligent, but we’re not all idiots, right? Here are a couple of records that I’ve enjoyed in between gory films recently…downloads and details below.

EarthologyBeen digging the funk and psyche sounds of Earthology, the sophomore full-length album from The Whitefield Brothers on Now Again Records. While it punches as frequently as their In The Raw material does, it doesn’t swing as hard. Earthology is airy, loose, and scattered — there isn’t any organ-lined, floor-ready grooves like “Yakuba” here. Instead, there are Japanese string instruments and wah pedals that twirl through tracks like “Taisho,” and spooky brass powering potential film noir scores in “Sem Yelesh.” True to its name, some of Earthology projects more of a shoeless summer day vibe, with no shortage of mixed percussion. Boston’s Edan & Mr. Lif guest on “The Gift,” a barnstormer of a track that leads-in with tuba from Wolfi Schlick, who eventually picks up flute here, too. Watch them on German TV, and  grab “The Gift” now.

Acid/Pro PlusFor one reason or another, I didn’t find myself constantly checking out Planet Mu’s Gremlinz collection from revered East London grime producer Terror Danjah last year after it came my way. Blame it on one too many things I was hearing at once, because listening to it now, it’s absolutely fierce, and it’s pretty much exactly the kind of thing I dig with respect to this stuff — gritty synths, tunneling atmospherics, and hard, relentlessly resonant beats (produced between 2003 and 2009). The screeching rave synths on “Acid,” the A-side on Terror’s new Hyperdub twelve, are set atop frenetic garage drums that build toward a double-time bridge, only to collapse back on the front end’s spiraling framework. It only takes just under four minutes to get that far, but it feels longer, and it’s completely disorienting. ‘Kind of like how I felt when I first heard his “Cock Back,” which opened Vice’s essential Run the Road six years ago. Check the KISS FM mix and Sonic Router interview here, and use the Googles for Terror’s solid 2009 Fact mix.

PrivilegeTurning about as far away from grime as we can get…With quivering falsettos, a surge in melodrama, and maybe even a little calypso, Portland’s Parenthetical Girls are issuing their new full-length in five reluctant increments that won’t be found in stores, only via their label (member Zac Pennington has more here). Sounds like an odd maneuver, but I’ve got Privilege, Pt. 1: On Death & Endearments on repeat. Its whimsical songwriting — sections of these pieces seem to appear and vaporize at the drop of a flowery Easter hat — are enough to make you queasy, if Pennington’s perhaps unintended Marc Bolan impressions don’t knock you over. Between string accompaniment and sporadic keyboard blurts, “tacky trysts on that lawn” and “We’ll be stars just the way that we are” are among the personal letter-type sentiments that roll off his tongue for the excessively showy “Evelyn McHale” — it’s like an unexpectedly satisfying one-act play. Get that one here.

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