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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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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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