ARTIST: Broken Bells
ALBUM: Meyrin Fields
RIYL: The Shins, Danger Mouse
Short but sweet, the four-song EP Meyrin Fields furthers the complex musicality of Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton and James Mercer as they work together through the two-piece band Broken Bells. Danger Mouse, member of Gnarls Barkley and producer of such albums as Gorillaz’ Demon Days, seems to have no limits to where creative beats and creative people can take him. Teaming up with James Mercer of The Shins makes for an interesting combination that stretches both artists in directions their other bands might not have been able.
Meyrin Fields takes you further into the mind of these artists as you hear the outtakes and B-sides of their self-titled LP. While that one seems almost happy-go-lucky, Meyrin Fields is slower with more complex sounds that fill the speakers. The impossibly high harmonies of James Mercer that jump out in “Windows” and “Meyrin Fields” could easily be the light intro into an intense dubstep drop. Given that these four songs were recorded at the same time as Broken Bells, my deep respect for these musicians has grown in hearing the variety of music they are capable of performing. This is an album you could loop through and through. However, “An Easy Life” will remain my favorite of the four. —Ashley Sarver
ARTIST: Team Teamwork
ALBUM: Super Nintendo Sega Genesis
RIYL: Super Mash Bros., Easter Egg, E-603, Speaky
For all the video game fans out there that are into music as well, I have the album for you: Team Teamwork’s latest Super Nintendo Sega Genesis. What Team Teamwork does best is mix popular songs with popular video game melodies. It’s the best of both worlds! In Super Nintendo Sega Genesis, Team Teamwork mashes notable songs such as Ludacris’ “Roll Out” and Kanye West’s “Touch the Sky” together with video game tracks found in games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. Most of these songs are great. “Big Boi & Cutty – Shutterbugg (Super Metroid)” and “Bonecrusher, Killer Mike & T.I. — Never Scared (A Link to the Past)” are two of the ones that stand out because of the intricate way the songs in the mash-ups seem to work together. While the album has its ups, it also has one downfall: Some of the songs are too simple. But overall, it’s a good album. —Jeremy Lin
ARTIST: Panda Bear
RIYL: Animal Collective, Deerhunter, The Ruby Suns
Some describe him as having an ability to tell the future, but the more likely explanation for Noah Lennox’s ahead-of-the-curve sound is his unconventional independence in the making of music. He is well known for being a major part of Animal Collective. Lennox is also a solo artist known by the name of Panda Bear. He has released four albums solo — the fourth, Tomboy, officially came out on April 12 after much anticipation.
The sound of this artist is categorized as “chillwave.” It is notable that his sound was chillwave before there was such a thing, hence the “psychic” claims. Tomboy does indeed feel like you’re riding along on a very chill wave. It’s soothing and electronic at the same time, and it makes use of synthesizers and repetition to round out the sound wave.
Several singles were released prior to the album’s official debut, including the track sharing the album’s name, “Tomboy.” The song that has been getting the most attention though is “Down by the Jetty,” one of the album’s more optimistic tracks. The echo-y vocals sound as if they are sung by a chorus; it feels as though Panda Bear is playing for you at the opposite side of an airplane hangar. The whole album builds an isolating experience, encompassing the listener in its own time and space, wrapping around the listener with its eerie deep sounds. —Alex Gunko