Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Underground music spotlight: February 2016

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(Chris Hoyle/ Flickr)

(Chris Hoyle/ Flickr)

So much music is readily available that it is just as easy to miss out on new music as it is to discover it. This regular series aims to help remedy that by recommending five superb releases in hip hop, metal, punk, indie and the avant-garde that likely flew under the radar of many. Whether feeling overwhelmed by the amount of music the Internet allows access to or simply looking for something new that has not been buzzed about, allow these lists to make choosing what to listen to an easier process.

drew the architect – “lèiyll”

Of the numerous in-house producers within the roster for the TeamSESH label/collective, few have been as adventurous as drew the architect has within the space of the very moody cloud rap niche sound that the artists are associated with. The latest in his series of many EPs, “lèiyll,” sees drew the architect expanding his regularly consistent atmospheric trap beats into fully realized ambient soundscapes that evoke the sullen, hazy and oftentimes sentimental vibes that are unique to TeamSESH’s enlisted production crew. While he does gain some additional production from fellow producer drip-133 on “dial flower,” as well as verses from frequent collaborators Bones and Dylan Ross on subsequent tracks, it is clear that drew the architect is striving to push the pre-established barriers of his music’s specific aesthetic inch by inch.

Listen here.

New Golden – “New Golden”

Hailing from Berlin, this first self-titled release from German punk rockers New Golden comes roaring out of the gate as an incredibly ferocious blast from the golden age of emotive hardcore. “New Golden” blends the fierce vigor of melodic hardcore, gloomy self-loathing of post-punk, and the unbridled speed and aggression of post-hardcore to achieve a potent hybrid sound that recalls the roots of emo through a very nostalgic and vintage lens. This mini-album perfectly captures the best elements of the genres it emulates in a streamlined and cohesive tribute without overstaying its welcome, and this makes it fit in quite well among the love letters of other contemporary hardcore bands attempting to revive the sounds of underground punk from the turn of the century.

Listen here.

Submotion Orchestra – “Colour Theory”

Further distancing itself from the futuristic rendition of electronic-laced smooth jazz that they initially gained buzz for within U.K.’s vast electronica spectrum, Leeds-based group Submotion Orchestra have returned with their fourth album of trip hop-informed downtempo music, “Colour Theory,” that instead opts to lean more in favor of their dubstep and house influences in order to produce a refined and cool slice of modernistic and mature chill out-inspired dub. This more focused and direct approach to displaying their core influences subtracts from the blatant experimentation present within their debut and sophomore albums, but enhances this newfound sound’s effectiveness by honing in on the palpability of the subdued lounge inspirations. This is a lush and sensational album with crisp textures and music with gorgeous emotional quality.

Listen here.

Mahtowa Death March – “Self Invasive Thought Chemistry”

Following up on its debut 2014 record, “MANSORROW,” Mahtowa Death March has come barreling through the snow of Minnesota once again to deliver one of the most creative and unique takes on metal music in the past five years with their album, “Self Invasive Thought Chemistry.” This album consists of insanely wild and over-the-top guitar riffs and solos set to the blistering and breakneck pacing of crust punk percussion, tied together by chaotic noise rock production and accompanied by the vile hissing and guttural rasp of lo-fi-recorded harsh vocals in the style of black metal. The guitar techniques here are as versatile as they are heavy, as wailing solos that recall the frantic chord progressions of traditional heavy metal share the same space with excessively downtuned and caustically sludgy rhythm guitar; an uncommon feat that Mahtowa Death March managed to pull off.

Listen here.

Saito Koji – “Mu”

While his earlier projects have focused on tape loops, white noise and meditative drone music in the same vein as composer William Basinski’s work, Koji’s latest offering, “Mu,” appears to be an experiment in backmasking sound to create coherent and highly spiritual music. The musical content of “Mu” is rife with delicate and soothing ambiance achieved by the lulling effect of backmasking the gentle strumming of acoustic guitar chords that suspends the minds of listeners into an entranced state. A good handful of the tracks on “Mu” are expansive walls of whirring and humming ambient loops that make willing listeners feel as though they are adrift in an infinite sea of sound. In most straightforward terms, “Mu” is music to gracefully lose yourself within.

Listen here.

Alexander Beebe can be reached at [email protected]

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