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Artist of the Month
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February 2016
Jo Kusy
"You Break Me
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Jo Kusy (Far-Out Fangtooth, The Whips) cultivates an eclectic, lo-fi daydream on his new full-length album, You Break Me. The record is currently available for purchase/download, and will be found on limited cassette on February 12 via Kusy’s own imprint Kooze Kontrol.
 
The album’s opener “Long Gone Angel” establishes the LP’s loose-moving atmosphere, as guitar trickles into a percussive/bass-oriented roll. The instrumentation briefly drops out, giving way to an a cappella moment and then a sax solo, before falling back into form. The bass-forward nature of “Only a Night,” coupled with its synth, thrusts one into a danceable framework. Background vocals soften the lead. In the insta-funky “All Go To Heaven,” Kusy proclaims, “Get down, hear the sound, boogie-woogie shake your claim…”
 
“Before You Opened Your Mouth” shifts into a light youthful disposition, reflected in its humorous lyrics - “Old people acting young, it’s ok cause its only fun/young people acting old, they sound stupid…” “Ghost Funk Lesson” drops into a sly island vibration - reminiscent of The Police, while “1st Place (But They Told Me 5th) develops a eerie tone with its heavy-footed thump and the mysterious whisper of the vocals. “All the creeps come out from the woodwork, as the sun begins to rise.”
 
With its sinister stir, “New Devil Beat” perpetuates a throbbing pulse, and “Cherry Pickin’ Baby” rides a thick bass-line to accentuate its heavier playful spin on rockabilly. Shedding some weight, “Silk Paradise” gently glides, paced by the clean snap of drums and unobtrusive guitar runs. Closing with its title-track “You Break Me,” the tail end of the LP rides a steady, floating wave; a heady trip punctuated by a stealthy stretch of guitar work, throwing some fire into the meditative calm.
 
You Break Me is a fun, unpretentious album that easily gets the head bobbing and toes tapping with its minimalist approach. It’s a sleeper that you definitely shouldn’t sleep on. - Michael Colavita

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Album Review: Exorcism - Power Animal

Album Review: Exorcism - Power Animal

The words of Power Animal may be obscured by a boatload of studio manipulation, but what they’re communicating is always clear: This is Feel-Good Music. Evident from Power Animal’s major-key synth hooks and disco percussions is a love of the kind of nostalgic sentimentality bands like M83 and Passion Pit maximize with unrelenting waves of keyboard and second-wave British invasion bands like The Kooks channel into plain-spoken love narratives. But unlike these late-aught champions of electronic-indie, Power Animal don’t do “pleasant” by blending every pleasant thing they could think of into an overwhelming pastiche. Instead of indulging dream-pop’s natural affinity for cheese and excess, Power Animal strip it down into the grimy, humble Exorcism, an EP that, with its bare-bones approach and subtle use of hooks, aims to reclaim the genre’s humanity. 
 
There’s no denying that Exorcism presents itself as “quirky.” The jerky keyboard lines and garbled vocals sound as if they’re culled from records warped by years of sitting in an attic (an image also brought to you by the record’s hazy, Mono production), and the wonky structure of its opening suite “Better Water” suggests the hippie-warbling excess Exorcism could’ve easily devolved into. But as the EP progresses, these cracks begin to reveal the sincere, very real character hiding underneath the saccharine signifiers. The little winks that pepper Exorcism’s excellent second half make it practically interactive. “Mold Spores” was already assured its place as the album’s best tune before the chuckle that slips through its second verse makes its glee infectious, as if we’re being let in on whatever great time Power Animal are scoring. By Exorcism’s eponymous closer, we’re sharing the record’s smile.
 
It could be a more “conventionally” pretty record, but it’d be worse for it. This ambitious kind of pop has a tendency to become weightless in its nostalgia-bating, and while Power Animal certainly capture the comfort nostalgia offers, they also capture its insubstantiality. Built from bits and fragments of pop-eras past, Exorcism sounds as if it could break apart at any moment. It holds together, of course, but as music that sounds like it wants to save the world through sheer positivity goes, Exorcism accomplishes something far more impressive: It actually manages to inspire the feelings it evokes.
 
You can purchase the album HERE, and all profits from digital sales will be donated to Philabundance, a local charity organization that provides food to the needy in the Philly area. - Adam Downer
 

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