MONDAY: BORN RUFFIANS
RUFF, the newest album from Born Ruffians, is an exploration into self and aesthetics. It’s a collection of scrubbed raw anthems that are defiantly optimistic, imaginatively arranged, and performed with a sense of bloodlust. In contrast to previous records from this Canada-based quartet, RUFF is simultaneously a return to form and a departure from convention. It is at once a culmination and a disassembly of the band’s history and dynamics. RUFF took shape from a singular focus on the work itself, and exploration into the relation of candor, immediacy and art. “We had one overarching goal this time out: to make the album we wanted to make. We took nothing else into consideration,” says bassist Mitch Derosier. Over four albums, Born Ruffians have developed a signature aesthetic that encompasses tightly wound, trapezoidal songs frothing over with hooks and wryly cathartic lyrics. The group has garnered favourable comparisons to such quirky pop infiltrators as the Talking Heads, The Pixies and The Strokes. Onstage, the band is arousing and assaulting, coming off somewhere between a riot and a soul revue. Born Ruffians are Luke Lalonde (guitar/vocals), Mitch Derosier (bass), Andy Lloyd (guitar/keyboard) and Adam Hindle (drums). RUFF stands as a poignant marriage of form, content and process that is without a doubt Born Ruffians’ most focused and mature work to date.
Sounds like: Tokyo Police Club, Harlem Shakes, Islands
TUESDAY: KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS
Athens-based duo Keep Shelly In Athens have been churning out their idiosyncratic take on pop music since 2010, but 2015’s Now I’m Ready is only their second official LP. At eight songs and 45 minutes, the album strikes a concise, yet imposing figure, each individual effort comprised of enough peaks and valleys to bring the listener to the edge and back again. Lifted off by lead single “Fractals”, Now I’m Ready is not your typical indie effort, un-beholden to tempo and style, the album skips across genre tropes with ease, each track guided by producer RΠЯ’s singular aesthetic and vocalist Myrtha’s unmistakable crescendos. And whether you’re locked into a long road trip, careening around a city or looking over the Mediterranean, Keep Shelly In Athens bring an arresting pathos to the proceedings, felt everywhere from the breakbeat-led madness of “Hollow Man” to the ever-building, hypnotic vocal qualities of “Now I’m Ready”. It’s only the duo’s second official LP, but considering their release history on outlets as diverse as Cascine, Forest Family and Planet Mu, it’s no surprise that their arrival on Friends of Friends is such an unabated success.
Sounds like: Teen Daze, Memoryhouse, Brothertiger
Milwaukee rapper Ish Darr is quickly making a name for himself. Darr’s first major release, The Better Life EP, came out April of 2014, when he was only seventeen. On August 25th, Darr released a video compliation that features parts of all songs from The Better Life EP. It also features many notable Milwaukee scenes. "I learned how to stop limiting myself to try new things and voice tones," he told Complex over email. "It's to the point now where if I want to do it all myself—rap, sing, produce, everything—I had no boundaries on this tape." Growing up in the Milwaukee scene has given him inspiration over the years, but he says, it's been progressing too slowly—with the exception of Webster X and Job Jetson. But today, it's his time to shine with the debut of his album, Old Soul Young Spirit. Taking inspiration from Wu-Tang to TDE, Chance the Rapper, and more, IshDARR showcases seemingly effortless technical abilities over shimmering, soulful production throughout the full tape. His favorite song on the project, "For You," kicks things off with one of his most impressive songs to date, something he says came about naturally within minutes. [Complex]
Sounds like: Goodbye Tomorrow, tshawntrusst, Baby E
FRIDAY: DRAKE NITE 2
We know you couldn't get enough last time, so we've brought Drake Nite back! Come shake your butts to the freshest remixes of your favorite current and throwback rap jams by Greenery and then a 2-hour Drake set from DJ Bach starting at midnight. Visuals by ☁ (CLOUD) and featuring a Drake Photo Booth by DKoch Creations. Quit runnin' through the 6 with your woes and come turn up!
SATURDAY: BEAT CONNECTION
Beat Connection exists in the intersection of 21st century art and artifice. Theirs is a sound space less traveled, a convergence of disparate sonic avenues and forward-thinking ideas, a crossbreed of unfettered shine and calculated edge. It is at once pop music in disguise and art music indisposed. It is, in a phrase, music for, about, and in complicit understanding of these modern times. Comprised of the Seattle-based Reed Juenger, Jarred Katz, Tom Eddy, and Mark Hunter, Beat Connection has evolved from its origin as a duo to the current and complete status as quartet. And as its compositional evolution has emerged, so too has the group’s mentality, relying on a laser focus and sharp eye for detail to help shape its big-picture worldview. And so, set this fall to release Product 3, the band’s third offering, second full-length album, and US label debut on ANTI- Records, it’s clear that Beat Connection is intent to toe that line simultaneously as auteur and entrepreneur, with enough skill, vision, and dedication to its craft to transcend either side. [Fortune Sound Club]
Sounds like: Chad Valley, Kisses, Brothertiger
SUNDAY: JARED & THE MILL
Howdy, We are Jared & The Mill. All of us were born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and we still call it home today. When we first got started in the summer of 2011 we just wanted to play some music with our best buds, have a few shows, and have a good time. Jared and Michael had been buddies and playing music together since they were kids, and after they met up with another childhood musical duo, Josh Morin and Larry Gast III, they realized they needed a bass player, so along came Larry’s pal Chuck Morris III. Some months later, Jared ran into Gabe Hall Rodrigues, a local accordion and keys player at a coffee shop. Gabe joined, and as it goes we were soon hammering along in the local scene, playing alongside the bands of new friends and old throughout Arizona. The wheels kept turning, and before we knew it we had over two years of touring under our boots; playing in the living rooms, dive bars, venues, theaters, and even arenas of this big ol’ country of our’s alongside fellow upcoming bands, and with some of the biggest acts we had always looked up to. Playing for fifty people one night in a smokey bar, and the very next night opening up and playing for eighteen thousand in an arena was inspiring and eye opening to say the least. Opening up for the likes of Zac Brown Band, Barry Gibb, Boy & Bear, Run River North, Della Mae, Cake, Joe Pug, Horse Feathers, Flogging Molly, The Killers, Allen Stone and others while touring alongside bands just getting their start like us was a real honor. We certainly gained invaluable experience from all those shows and all those trials, but something else happened out there on the road for us, something we have a hard time explaining, but anyone who’s spent some time out there on the interstate understands; we became not just friends, but family. [...] It ain’t blues and it ain’t country. It ain’t bluegrass and it ain’t indie rock. It’s something in-between like most things here in the Southwest, and that’s just the way we like it.
Sounds like: Run River North, Cereus Bright, The National Parks
Blog by Gina Reis