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More Eaze Explores Ambient Emotionality With New Album “yearn”

More so than any other Austin musician, More Eaze (solo project of Mari Maurice) effortlessly navigates the contemporary experimental music landscape. More Eaze is a prolific anti-composer whose unending stream of bafflingly diverse releases over the years has explored the fluidity between seemingly contradictory elements—primarily pop, minimalism and noise. In addition to her impressive solo oeuvre, she is a familiar face in the Orange Milk Records extended universe who also works in various capacities as a producer/multi-instrumentalist with a multitude of other artists: Claire Rousay, Fibril, The Octopus Project, Slomo Drags and Thor & Friends, just to name a few.

 

Keeping track of More Eaze lore can be intimidating, but lucky for you, “yearn” is her most soothing album in recent memory and is an excellent introduction to the more pastoral side of her unquestionably unique sound. Whereas last year’s “Mari” was a confessional epic, channeling influences as disparate as 100 gecs and Robert Ashley, “yearn” provides a concise set of ethereal soundscapes that are as melancholically comfy as the album title suggests. This is music for rainy days and dog walks, vulnerability and contemplation, maybe for when you’re a little worried about everything, but not anxious about much. It’s very pretty.

 

While each track is distinct enough to stand out individually, they function more so as movements of a broader composition. The first track “galv” begins with a subtle room tone reminiscent of the audio quality of an iPhone memo. A modulated synth warbles into the mix and is soon interpolated by hushed autotune whispers, then accompanied by gentle synth pad arpeggios throughout the latter half of the track. Delicate kalimba plucks on “in dreams” lay a new age-y groundwork for understated electroacoustics and deceptively complex synth counterpoint, and the captivating “priority” features ambient artist Ben Bondy, whose synth washes and wistful vocal harmonies beautifully compliment More Eaze’s American primitivist acoustic guitar stylings. 

 

The aptly titled “leave” serves as “yearn”’s clear-headed conclusion. On this track, More Eaze’s signature autotuned vocals carry the same gravitas as some of Frank Ocean’s most sensitive moments, and her masterful violin drones are as cinematic as something you might hear in the iconic film scores of a later Paul Thomas Anderson movie. However as soon as you’ve become fully immersed in these rich textures, an aquatic field recording takes over and you suddenly realize that you’ve been submerged the whole time. Another spacial pivot, and you are now eavesdropping on a domestic scene as dishes and silverware clank from across the room. Mari can be heard asking someone, presumably her partner (who illustrated the lovely album art), “do you want a cherry?” to a muffled reply. I think they're making cocktails. It’s a deeply charming moment which almost makes you forget how fearful of playfulness most “Art Music'' can be, and it acts as an effective transition for the listener back into the world of everyday life. 

 

Chicago’s Lillerne Tapes released “yearn” on Bandcamp Friday, a monthly event which gives artists the opportunity to receive 100% of proceeds from album purchases. While this is a very welcome practice, it’s ultimately a small consolation for musicians whose industry is systematically dominated by the value-sucking poverty royalties of Spotify. It’s an industry crisis and, without glossing over it or downplaying the enormity of this broader social situation, More Eaze’s music chooses to channel a monastic aura, suggesting a less alienated world where artistic practice is allowed to explore itself more freely. “yearn” is a simple release, but it’s an important moment in a thrilling career.

 

- Blake Robbins

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USA/Mexico Summons Texas Heat With New Album “Del Rio”

With admirable consistency, USA/Mexico makes music inspired by the border. “Del Rio” is their third album to take its name from a southern border town—the first two being “Matamoros” and “Laredo”—and consists of three extremely loud extended tracks which will appeal to some of adventurous music’s less pretentious fans. Having never visited Del Rio myself, I asked my thoroughly Texan father what he thought of the place. He replied “Beautiful lake, nice drive, right across from Acuña, Mexico, friendly people,” and “Pretty remote. Lots of caliche and cactus”. This geographical context is hardly superficialthe music evokes a few of these images on its own, and firsthand descriptions seem to confirm them as more than hallucination.

USA/Mexico’s massive sludge metal simulates the feeling of burning in the hot Texas sun while surrounded by cicadas, hopefully a body of water nearby. There is a lineage in Texas music which can be characterized by a certain auditory heat, from the dehydrated lethargy of Townes Van Zandt and Blaze Foley, to the ghostly reprieves of Blind Willie Johnson, to the warped haze of DJ Screw, to the blistering 80s/90s Austin noise rock scene (Scratch Acid, Butthole Surfers, Cherubs) from which USA/Mexico directly descends—drummer King Coffey was a core member of Butthole Surfers.

 

But whereas that weirdly successful band eventually traded their noise rock deconstructions for a dated 90’s wackiness, this project translates their early spirit of cowboy derangement into a contemporary setting, finding itself at home with international trends in drone music and outsider metal. Guitarist Craig Clouse of the avant-freak project Shit and Shine has proved himself over the years to be more than capable of keeping up aesthetically, which is no easy task for a modern rock musician. Filling out the ensemble is Nate Cross, whose dense bass textures provide an essential wave of noise and ensure a consistent depth to each jam. 

 

While the overwhelmingly heavy “Del Rio” unleashes a geographically unique cosmic horror, it’s important to note that it’s also funny. Tracks with titles like “Chorizo” and “Soft Taco” ironically poke at the more banal elements of a shared culture, but are ultimately rendered absurd by the noise they signify: heavily processed walls of distortion guided by monolithic drums and eerie howls which are hardly reminiscent of Tex-Mex. If you let the soundscapes take over, the border itself might seem a little silly too, and Texas becomes a landscape that could have just as easily been called Northern Mexico in a slightly different timeline.

 

But the album isn’t purely conceptual—it could just as well be something someone puts on in the middle of an acid trip while you and your friends make your way through a second case of Lone Star. It’s USA/Mexico’s most focused album yet, and I look forward to letting them ruin my eardrums when it’s safe again for live music. 

 

- Blake Robbins

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Teen Blush "Extra Ordinary"

Teen Blush recently released a new single called "Extra Ordinary". This single is accompanied by a Noah Keckler directed.

This is the Vapor Wave of Kenneth Voss and this is the first new music from him since 2020's EP, "Between My Teeth".

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Angelo Hart "In The Groove"

Jazz Pianist Angelo Hart has released the title track of his forthcoming album, In The Groove. This is the first new music from Hart since 2017's debut album Storyteller. The album blends Jazz, Funk, Hip Hop, Ambient, and Pop to create a sound that is fun, welcoming, and memorable.

Below is the promotional video for the new album which will be released on March 1st.

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Palberta launch Palberta5000 upgrade

There’s a certain frisson that happens when a talented collage artist juxtaposes a number of disparate elements and makes you see all the individual parts anew as a result, which serves as a kind of an expressway to the center of your skull aka the unconscious mind. 

On their fifth full-length unveiled today by Wharf Cat Records titled Palberta5000, Palberta has installed a system upgrade to the art-damaged post-punk haikus heard on previous releases. Self-reportedly digging into a buffet of Gen X alt rock and Millennial Disney pop ranging from Liz Phair to Avril Lavigne for inspiration, this instrument-rotating three-piece has written a bunch of punchdrunk new numbers that occasionally break their usual one-to-two-minute time limit and that place a new emphasis on their exquisitely shaggy girl group harmonies. 

The result is an album full of misshapen pearls of avant-rock-pop that fills the void of there being no existing No Wave Meghan Trainor or Justin Beefheart or Taylor Shaggs (please stop me before someone gets hurt) in the world up until now. Take a listen and consider your void filled.

In this blogger's modest appraisal other standout tracks include album-opener “No Way,” “Summer Sun,” and the Arthur Russell/Loose Joints quoting “All Over My Face” which is nearly five minutes (!) long. (Jason Lee)

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