Alexander Von Mehren is a 29-year-old Norwegian who is on the verge of releasing a five-years-in-the-making LP titled Aéropop. He’s the slash type: singer/songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist/human. On Aéropop, he’s credited with playing upright piano, Rhodes, Moog, vibraphone, bass, guitars, drums, and singing. “La Chanson de Douche” is the record’s first single, and rather indie-Francophilic at that, sung in French and registering as a deft blend of Serge and Stereolab. Aéropop was mixed by Chicago post-rock hero John McEntire (with Von Mehren), and features a member of Jaga Jazzist, and I mention these things to help you further situate this track’s dapper lounge-fusion je ne sais quoi. Listen:
Carrie Brownstein spent years as one third of Sleater-Kinney, arguably the greatest punk band in the world. During that time, it would’ve been a real head-exploder to imagine her in a credit card commercial. But Brownstein is now a sketch-comedy celebrity thanks to Portlandia, and in a new American Express ad, she plays a succession of goofy characters that would’ve been right at home on the show. Watch it below.
There were many strong music videos this week, and a couple that I loved, from actual adults. But no grown-up is going to beat a charged-up mob of Minneapolis children rapping about bikes and school uniforms. I’m sorry. It’s just not ever going to happen. Our picks for the week are below.
For months now, the great gauzy-synthpop label Italians Do It Better has been promising a new label compilation called After Dark 2, the sequel to 2007′s After Dark. This is the rare case where a label compilation is a thing worth anticipating, since, acts on Italians Do It Better tend to share not just an aesthetic (slowly unfolding streaked-windshield nighttime Italo-disco) but an actual production visionary, Johnny Jewel. And today, the compilation — which features new music from Chromatics, Glass Candy, Mirage, Symmetry, Desire, and others — is out; you can cop it at iTunes. Check the tracklist below.
Behold, the Weeknd in a state of growth. “Kiss Land” is the title track to Abel Tesfaye’s forthcoming LP — his first LP made specifically for the format, since Trilogy is just those first three mixtapes compiled — and he’s stretching out here and there! Not radically, mind you: Over the first half of its seven minutes, “Kiss Land” checks the standard Weeknd box of being about sex (he starts with oral, which is a good pro tip), sung directly to his prey (“Because the only thing you’re taking / is your clothes off”). But the vibe during this movement is lighter, more celebratory, less wrapped in a self-loathing narcotic gauze than his past sexual conquests. So that’s growth point #1. Growth point #2 comes at around 4:00: The production dives back toward the murky sonic anxiety that’s become the Weeknd’s calling card, but at that point it’s the lyrics that bring something new, albeit an entirely conventional sophomore LP trope: Started from the bottom (“Went from staring at the same four walls for 21 years”) now we’re here (“got a brand new place … I can’t picture how it looks inside so you can imagine how my life’s been”). This back-half is also where the lyric “This ain’t nothing to relate to” comes in to play, which you may remember as being on loop for the teaser Abel posted the other day to a song apparently titled “John Carpenter.” Which means this song/embed is actually “Kiss Land” / “John Carpenter,” or John Carpenter was just a stray reference Abel put into that last teaser’s video title field when uploading to YouTube. All of these answers will be yours, eventually. “Kiss Land” is here, now:
Gunplay, Maybach Music’s resident knuckle-throwing knucklehead, is both one of the most fearsomely unhinged rappers on the current rap landscape and straight-up one of the most gifted rappers out right now. One of the man’s crowning achievements is “Bible On The Dash,” a track from last year’s 601 & Snort mixtape that gives some emotive context to all the fire-breathing that Gunplay does on other tracks. It’s now got a video, one that Gunplay co-directed with Ryan Snyder, and it’s mostly shots of Gunplay driving around and looking contemplative. Watch it below.
Tweens are a young Cincinnati, Ohio trio coming to prominence both for their crisp and kinetic lo-fi garage-pop jams and for the fact that the Breeders plucked the heretofore obscure locals to open a bunch of their recent tour dates. Dream city. Below you can hear why the Deals gave the kids a break: Songs like “Be Mean” and “Rattle&Rollin’” are compressed, peppy, and fuzzy — adroitly sunny and snotty in equal measure — then there’s “Don’t Wait Up,” the demo they uploaded just this week, which introduces the slightest touch of melancholy to the equation. The tempo’s just a few ticks slower, and the title of the track is addressed at “mama,” hence the drama. Otherwise, the component parts are the same. Precocious stuff, which you can keep up with at Facebook, and which you can listen to listen:
There is so much to consider with Gorgeous Children’s “Liberace Gems” that I have spent way too much time trying to suss out some kind of epic thesis statement to introduce these beasts to you, lovely Stereogum readers. I could wax eternally about the customs and culture of regional rap and how because of guys like them the Internet is one unto itself. There’s also a mess of blogspace that Denver-based producer and one half of GC Gila Monsta’s totally masterful SoundCloud deserves. But more important than a treatise on the ever-evolving rapscape or how Gila’s steely and quivering remix of “Make The Trap Say Aye” is this track. It’s maudlin, yet ethereal. Syrupy horns roll over a wavy bass and a cold shroud looms atop it. Other half of Gorgeous Children, rapper Face Vega of Seattle, maws across the dark space, but his delivery swells with bravado despite its pace. It will make you want to punch someone, but in slow motion. They’ll make their New York debut this weekend at 285 Kent this Saturday, opening for Evian Christ. I’ll be there, lighting the already-destroyed couches on fire when they play this cut.