I wanted to save hearing this until I got the opportunity to record my first thoughts on it. I was a big fan of Down There, I really loved the swampy aesthetic, the lyrical themes, and the opening and closing masterpieces of "Laughing Hieroglyphic" and "Heather in the Hospital"/"Lucky 1" I'd put on the top tier of any AnCo release.
So I'm pretty excited for this... I'm not super into the whole b-movie horror thing, but I think I'm into Avey's version of it, and Dirty Projectors is pretty sick, yeah, good stuff all over here, yay.
Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks - Enter the Slasher House
1. A Sender
Right away with the sort of sci-fi aesthetic that was all over CentiHz, I generally like this stuff, they make it feel novel... And then we get the sort of "forest" sound... um, no idea how to describe it. Haha yeah, I like this! Bouncy, fun! I really like Avey's voice. I have noooo idea what he's saying "I've got knees that you can't escape"? lol. But yeah I really like the flow of this, this is a real jam, lots of fun. The "underwater" modulation he does... not sure how to describe it, he does it a lot, I really like it. I like the relentlessness of the beat, this feels like it would be really awesome to see live. Gotta look up the lyrics later on lyricalcollective or whatever. So much fun! Feels like driving quickly out in the country. Oh, a sort of breakdown thing here around 2:50... Haha and the ol' stop/start drum bridge thing, an Avey classic. This music feels so... juicy, like, so rich, like a rainforest or something. I like how there's different drum parts that come in but they all play something straightforward OH BUT I really like these "churning drums", again, not sure how to describe well lol. But yeah the idea of a drum coming in and being just "bang bang bang bang" on rhythm, arhythmical rhythmic elements, that's cool. Overall sick jam. S+
2. Duplex Trip
Haha what this is such a strange sound... so whimsical, but oh man the depth on that one bass part is sick. Oh man some classic Avey vocal tricks here, I love them. I like the horse-hooves sorta clattering sound. And the whistling and stuff... all sorts of stuff I like here, this song is like a bag of tricks. The dynamic between the long vocal yelling etc and the staccato drums and stuff is really cool. Again no idea what the lyrics are here, "Once you feel safe"? Interesting... "You can breathe the light just fine"? Hmm... And now the whistling etc are brought back in around 2:40, this is threatening to be a really crazy jam at the end too, lol. Everything he does is on the verge of being some sort of jam, I love it. This whole track has a strange structure, it's hard to tell if it's building or just changing or what, there's so many elements. So fun! I like how the drums get a bit crazier at the end. A+
3. Blind Babe
More sci-fi sorta strangeness. And then oh man these drums, haha wow this is just exploding all over. How can it keep up this energy, even for just 3 minutes? This feels like it would make a good stepchart via speed and strange rhythms. Sweet. What's he saying? "Cause she's eating"? I feel like the whole album so far has been on this level of energy that seems totally unsustainable on paper but he's pulling it off. They're just going crazy with this. I can just see the whole band going completely crazy on this one. Oh ho, these vocals, is this uhh the Dirty Projectors person? I really really like this, effect, this mirroring. Oh oh oh oh oh oh, I like that rhythm a lot, again I'm just thinking so much about the potential stepchart. And there's a nice sort of change at the end here where he mixes up the tone, and then brings everything back for the final boss rush, sick. S
4. Little Fang
This was the lead single but I didn't listen to it because spoilers. Woah, this is like... disco sorta stuff. Wow. Is this Arcade Fire? Is this Italian? Haha oh man hearing his crazy froggie voice over this sorta deep funk beat is really surreal. This feels like someone picking him up like Daft Punk did Pandy Bear. This is really sick, though, really funky. "Little fang, little fang", is he talking about snaggletooth in anime? lol. I really like these vocal melodies, where they're sorta jagged and fragmented but there's a really clear melodious line... if that makes sense. These lyrics, from what I can make out, sound really nice and inspirational. Cool. "You're something special!" cool! "Embrace your darkness never be ashamed!", is this song about edgy otherkin or something? Whatever, I really appreciate the sort of ur-morality here. This feels so restrained and controlled compared to the previous tracks, but it still has all the sort of grindy spooky forest aesthetic, but the bass and drums are so clean and funky... I love it. Wow the ending here is going deep into the swamp, so deep I want to pronounce "swamp" like "wamp" in the Clipse song. This could make a good stepchart too, but only like a 9, lol. S
5. Catchy (Was Contagious)
So far everything has been pretty catchy, yes. This intro is truly bizarre, pretty horrific in the right circumstances. Such cool sounds, wow, how does he make them? And this drumming is just so on point... I really like these sustained vocal parts, and Avey's rapid delivery. Wow yeah, we're deep into something now, lol. The little patterns here are so sweet. And then there's a whole new thing around 1:20, the two vocal parts just racing around each other, crazy. Again the structure of the song I just cannot get my head around, it just feels like stuff keeps happening. It's rollicking and stuff, that's cool. Haha wow the effect at 2:20ish, this really reminds me of Unicorns for some reason, not sure why. The lyrics too? Although I barely understand them. Again I just have to point out how sick the drumming is, really on point and exciting. S-
6. That It Won't Grow
Oh god wow this is so abrasive, just SLAM, SLAM SLAM SLAM. Feels like he's really maxing out the dynamic response, lol. That in itself is a sort of aesthetic. This is so swampy. And then it backs off nicely... it feels like the track is "lurking" now, I like it. Avey sounds like he's totally swooning here. Wow the bass on this thing really fills out, so low and rumbly. Really dredging through the mud and moss now. I love it. The really buzzy synth feels so novel to me. And now we're back to the slamming sort of rhythm. This is so full of emotion but I honestly have no idea what emotion it is lol. I love the synth in the background that's just churning along in an almost churchy range. "When you go and say it won't grow"... he sounds angry, I guess. I wonder if there's like a narrative to the album or something, that'd be cool to check out... Down There kinda did and it was real neat. I like the vocal effect, the "metal" one at the end, like, chrome metal, not the genre. A
7. "The Outlaw"
That sounded like the same thing sampled as on Down There, lol. And now we have... some sort of like... man, I don't even know how to describe this... it sounds suspenseful, but in a sort of grotesque way, like something gross will eat you. The sort of "swirling" on the vocals is pretty cool. And now there's a sort of instrumental climaxing jam thing, is this post-rock? No idea what he's saying here. I love these little drum flourishes, they're so precise and such that it feels like an essential foundation, but when you focus on them they're actually really intricate, it's cool. The song keeps building up and retreating, I hope at the end it just goes nuts. And now there's almost a strange spy sort of aesthetic... I don't know how to describe it... just some sort of feeling of "intrigue". Lol. We're in some sort of loop type structure now, not sure what to make of it. I think he's shouting "the outlaw is the future" and I have no idea what he could mean by that. There's owl noises AND OH MAN THESE DRUMS, he's just going crazy on them, I love it. This is a really strange song. I feel like a lot of the elements are really close to what they'd be on a traditional rock song but this is like one of the strangest arrangements yet. It feels like it's ended at 4:45, what's gonna happen? Pure tone sorta stuff coming in, just a sort of... sound collage ending thing... sure. A
8. "Roses On The Window"
Ooh, smooth transition, and train noises, I love those. And then boom straight in with these crazy drum patterns, this crazy synth sound, I love this bass line, good stuff. I like this sort of swaying beat, not really sure how to describe that. "Roses on the window, roses on the window", not sure how I feel about this sort of imagery... feels too "real" for AnCo... Avey really seems to like it, though. And now a sort of slower, more scattered beat, that's cool. I like this sort of gradual picking up feel, things just getting livelier and livelier. Woah yeah I really like the transition at 3:30, sometimes these bass lines are just so slick but heavy, I like it. Back to the roses on the window thing, I like the vocal effect though. Mainly I'm just focusing on the drums tbh. They're just so excellent, all the time. This ending is nice, good little jam, it just keeps pulling back though, I dunno. "Be careful, oh be careful", sure. A+
9. "Modern Days E"
Is this referring to ecstasy or is it "modern daisy", or both? I like this sort of muffled voice thing. This is cool, very energetic. Little firecrackers sorta feel, just stuff popping all over the place. I wonder what he's talking about, lol. Again wow the drums, the drum line here is so great, I just keep thinking "stepchart, stepchart". The buildup type pattern coming in again around 2:00 is really well structured. And the ending is really great too, really good energy, "good hustle". S-
10. "Strange Colores"
Hmm... what is happening? What is going on? Woah haha that caught me off guard. Again I have no idea how he made this noise, it's pretty interesting. Haha I like the layering of vocals here, this whole thing has this sort of overarching tone that's pretty cool, it has a sort of sense of "distance" from the track that's cool. I like this rhythm, too. Very funky. I like that he hasn't let up with that weird-ass sound on the bada-buum pattern throughout the whole thing. A+
11. "Your Card"
Weird samples here... very sonically interesting. Please wear headphones for this album. This is a really cool feel, very intriguing. Woah, this vocal effect, pretty cool. It's like he's... projecting ghosts, or something, idk, lol. Yeah this is really groovy, I can "groove out" to this. This breakdown sorta thing around 1:00 is nice too 'cause it keeps the same sort of underlying flow, it doesn't get too jagged. "Some people get naked, some people get ???", lol, these lyrics are really strange, ok. Oh there's a buildup sort of thing happening. Again the drums, man, the drums. And then wow another complete breakdown sorta thing, the structure of this one is pretty nuts. I really like the "bass line" here too and I love this sort of croaking sound around 2:50, it's really subtle, it sounds sorta like a frog or a door. Woah yeah I like this, this sort of breakdown/breaking up sort of feeling... And wow yeah this big swooping sounds, so sonically powerful. There's a really high register synth that's playing a really interesting, haunting melody. This is pretty beautiful, in a lot of ways. I love these cymbal rushes. This ending is pretty cool, drifting into a nebula sort of feeling. Cool. S
Great big shout out to Jeremy Hyman on drums
I remember reading that the Ponytail drummer was gonna be on this and thinking "whatever" and forgetting how much I loved the drums on Ponytail. The drums on here were so, so cool. He was given such an arsenal of cool drum tones, plus really classic almost-breakbeat sort of simple sounds, and he just went in, again and again and again.
But yeah, I dunno. This was pretty alright. I don't think I liked it nearly as much as Down There or Centipede Hz... I feel weird, 'cause one of my favorite aspects of AnCo stuff is always the "jams", which I guess I haven't really explained that well. I picked up saying stuff was a "jam", specifically AnCo stuff, after this meme that was really popular on /mu/ around when Merriweather Post Pavilion was coming out, where people would point out (accurately) that "Brothersport" was the "jam of a lifetime"... Basically just the part in the song where repetition takes over, the whole band just starts jamming on one thing over and over, intensifying and stuff... AnCo does it really well. I presume what people call "jam bands", like Phish, are all about this, but I don't listen to that sorta stuff.
Anyways this album probably has the highest percentage of "jams" since Strawberry Jam, or maybe even more than that... but I dunno, some of them I just wasn't feeling. Like, they can be really hit and miss. Especially when they go for stuff like, where they have a line with a certain sort of rhythm, and after a few repetitions, they make all the instruments stop and go with that rhythm... like, that sort of effect only works if you're feeling it, and if you're not, it takes you right out. So I dunno. "A Sender" was great, but I think almost all the other tracks had at least one spot where I wasn't "feeling it". I dunno. There was a lot to like here, too. Some of the lyrics were really interesting, a lot of the noises and stuff were just mindblowing, sonically, cool aesthetics and stuff... hmm... I dunno, I'll have to think about it some more.