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Artist of the Month
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July 2016
The Retinas
"chaba
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Post-garage rockers The Retinas' new EP chaba is an unexpected essential for surviving the dog days of summer. Chock-full of lo-fi backbeats and skull-buzzing riffs, the five track stunner transforms the grit and grime of urban summers, late nights, and complicated feelings into memorably evocative songs worth dancing to alone or with friends.

 

Opening with the trippy hiss of “Accident,” chaba’s first track is seeped in xanax-coated romance and the sort of self-awareness that made great’s like Daniel Johnston iconic. The song's lyricism hums with recognizable disenchantment that is bound to resonate at an instant with listeners. Tom Mchugh’s diction brings to mind the cinematic apprehension of Andrew Bujalski’s mumblecore masterpiece Mutual Appreciation meshed with the emotional imprint of “Tame the Sun” by Male Bonding. “Accident,” much like it’s namesake, ends abruptly without warning, leaving its listener to cope with its passing before “Aries” begins.

 

chaba’s second anthem paints a familiar portrait of the post-adolescent malaise of cynical dreamers with earnest hearts. Lo-fi in all the right ways, “Aries,” like a mirror, reflects reality without pretense. Like the less anxious version of Happy Birthday’s “2 Shy,” the charm of “Aries” is undeniably sincere. The oscillating intro of “Cheesepuffs” quickly evolves into a surf-pop banger - reminiscent of The Jacuzzi Boys; the track’s fervent riffs and fuzzed-out screams serve as the perfect preface to the notably catchy “Beat It Out”. The energy of the song doesn’t falter, keeping the momentum of chaba as cymbals crash and Mchugh croons - “Cause you chew my bones, acid soul/I've been off time with myself, I don't mind” - a sentiment that is echoed in the EP’s final track “Hey Julia.”

 

After listening to The Retinas' latest record, you will find yourself hungry for more. - Dianca London

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scene blog

The Deli Philly’s April Album of the Month: Dope Boy Magick - PO PO

The Deli Philly’s April Album of the Month: Dope Boy Magick - PO PO

The fuzz is strong with this one.

PO PO’s Dope Boy Magick sounds as if it’s being transmitted through a cloud. The debut full-length of once brother trio-turned-solo project of lone remaining bro Zeb Malik is a collage of outcast-rock past, with influences culled from goth, punk, and even witch house, but as its grungy bass crunch and oodles of reverb blur the borders between styles, the record becomes a sort of “Variations on Alienation for Drum Machine and Distorted Guitar."

I swear this is a good thing. For one, the murky hiss covering each track makes the jumps between creeping electro and squalling garage seamless, not to mention exciting. Malik is an expert appropriator, casually flipping between riff-heavy acid sludge (“Dnt Wnt U, Jst Wnt It All”), raucous surf (“Bummer Summer”), and pristine electro bliss (the phenomenal “Let’s Get Away”), making the record lively and unpredictable, like a mixtape for the counterculture.

It’s also mesmerizing; the reverb on these tracks distorts Malik’s whine to the point where he’s not communicating in words but in a wash of vowel sounds, and the dejection he’s able to convey with a sigh recalls the perpetual disaffection of Bradford Cox. Like Cox, Malik is able to settle comfortably over a noise record’s various faces, flying over Magick’s more interactive first half and becoming another texture on its subtler but-no-less excellent second. He almost disappears in the hypnotic rhythms of the final four tracks, adding the haunting echoes in “Sik Sik Sik” and becoming a droning hook for “POPONGZU.” This section ends the record on a baffling but tantalizing note. These tracks are some of the album’s most realized, and when “Teen Dreamz” slyly slinks away, it feels like a fitting end to such an elusive record.

I say elusive because Dope Boy Magick keeps its audience at a distance. There’s a tangible apathy here. On “Dnt Wnt U, Jst, Wnt It All,” Malik sings, “I fuckin’ love you,” but he doesn’t sound like he’s going to do anything about it. He’s not interested in action. His record’s bare-bones, catch-all ethos encourages thoughtful, meditative listening, and all that haze he provides seems to lend itself to smoky, dimly lit rooms where everyone’s on too many substances to do anything but gaze blankly and bop along. My advice? “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” You can purchase Dope Boy Magick via Mad Decent. - Adam Downer

PO PO - "Teen Dreamz / Let's Get Away" from stereogum

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