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A Will Cleveland Pop-Ed: New Music Discoveries for 2014


Strangely enough, 2014 seems to be the year of the list for me. I am trying to get more organized in both my everyday life and also my music listening. In order to accomplish this, I am organizing my thoughts in lists. With that in mind, here is a list I came up with today, here is some of the music that I have discovered in the first few weeks of 2014 …



MADSLO
This Canadian beat-maker released his Burn/Mia project last year on cassette. His work really reminds me of early DJ Shadow. The A-side Burn is breathtaking and is truly beyond words (though I am going to attempt to categorize it). The samples and the drums are perfect. It’s awesome background music that will really sit in the foreground. The music is the work of a dark, brooding, beat-driven genius. It’s abstract hip hop at its finest as Madslo creates some alluring soundscapes. The first side even includes a wonderfully selected Michael Caine as Alfred sample that provides a perfect lens through which to experience the music. The B-side Mia tones down the booming drums in favor of subtle rhythms, while focusing more on atmosphere and mood. I just love how the Bandcamp page advertises that, “ANY DRUM/VOCAL/SPOKEN WORD SAMPLE USED WITHOUT PERMISSION.” 



Sleep
Wikipedia (my favorite academic resource and my go-to for unbiased, complete information) informs me that Sleep is a “stoner death metal” band from San Jose, Calif. I only discovered this fact during the last week when I was beer shopping at my favorite neighborhood spot in the South Wedge of Rochester, N.Y. Droning over the speakers was this sludge-y, riff-y awesomeness that immediately grabbed me. I asked my favorite beer clerk and he informed me that we were listening to Bay Area stoner metal outfit Sleep. After some research (and with some advice from some musically-inclined friends), I was told to check out Holy Mountain and Dopesmoker. The former is considered to be “a seminal album in the evolution of stoner metal.” (Citation: Thanks, Wikipedia!) The latter is a batshit crazy mega-epic. It’s one song, three distinct movements, that totals 63 minutes.



The Stooges
Serendipitously, I was re-introduced to the Stooges at this same hipster beer mecca in the South Wedge of Rochester. (And yes, I do buy a lot of beer, but I consider it to be a worthwhile hobby, not a distraction that masks my many issues.) I was told to start with the band’s third album, Raw Power, so I did. It’s just a great 70s hard rock album that obviously had a profound influence on the punk music that would follow in its wake. And from Wikipedia, I learn that “the album's volume and ferocity became benchmarks against which later albums were measured.” (properly formatted in-text citations goes here.)
A Will Cleveland Pop-Ed: New Music Discoveries for 2014 Reviewed by Will Cleveland on 2/14/2014 Rating: 5

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