WVAU Top Music of 2013: #10By Eli Fosl and Michael Young
King Krule, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon
Before 2013, Archy Marshall (better known now by his stage name, King Krule) had not much more than a single EP, a two-song 7”, and some demos released under his name. 2013 brought Marshall to the center stage with not just his collaborations with experimental/hip-hop acts such as Mount Kimbie and Ratking, but his debut full-length album, Six Feet Beneath the Moon as well. While 2013 brought much excitement in the forms of comebacks, surprise albums, and forward-thinking music all around, it is safe to say that the freshman LP from this 19-year-old British singer/songwriter swept me off my feet more than any other.
The album begins with “Easy Easy,” the first single released before the album’s drop and probably the most successful song Marshall has released yet, and with good reason. From the very first, definitive line Archy slurs onto the track: “same old bobby same old beat,” I was hooked. The positively –not only technically but emotionally— deep voice Marshall sings with coupled with the sharp, quick guitar patterns he uses create a captivating sound. While these elements create powerful songs on their own, Marshall –pulling tactics from his lesser-known career as a producer and rapper—also incorporates many electronic elements such as vocal samples and drum loops on different songs.
While they become disjointed at points, overall Marshall’s lyrics paint a strikingly human image of the emotional range of one struggling with love and companionship. Whether it’s the inspirational positivity of “Easy Easy,” the despondence of tracks like “Has This Hit” and “Baby Blue,” or the angst-ridden total anger of “A Lizard State,” all of the lyrics portray an honest and raw range of emotions and imagery.
While Marshall has yet to impress a name for himself in the highly regarded circles of modern music, I believe his glory days are still ahead. Few artists are able to release a debut album that is both gripping and emotive as well as being well-produced and technically tactful. If any album released this year may some day make it to my list of favorites, it’s this one.
“If you’re going through hell, just keep going.”
By Eli Fosl
Toro Y Moi, “Rose Quartz”
In “Rose Quartz,” Toro y Moi releases groovy chaos that finds its way into danceable control with comfy synths and the soothing vocal interjections. The song, which was one of the singles released for this year’s full-length album Anything in Return, sets the bar high for an already far-out record.
“Rose Quartz” demonstrates a departure from the highly funky stylings heard on 2011‘s Freaking Out EP, while continuing along the same theme. Instead, Toro y Moi ventures deeper into the territory of that subtle mode of driving house music that now experiences a major revival across the board. The song starts with reverb-laden synth arpeggios reminiscent of high-school science videos filmed sometime in the 80s. A warm organ adds a layer of cushiony chords for the fragmented vocal blips to sink into. When the familiar house drum line enters the melange, the piece ties itself together, sending its listeners into some heavy dance territory.
Also worth checking out is the Impressionistic music video for the song, which features an animated portrait of a smiling Chaz Bundick grooving to his own rhythm. The heavy, brightly colored paints used in the video create a sense of “sensual abstraction,” which could be used to describe the song as well as Anything in Return as a whole.
There is something seductive and ecstatic in the cry, “I feel weak, uh-huh,” which steadily rides throughout the track, placing listeners in a mood of blissful helplessness. The lines “And if I fall, into the sea./ Don’t let me go, because I feel weak” contribute to the sense of amorous convalescence experienced by the singer. Just as Toro y Moi faces a crippling lack of agency in “Rose Quartz,” many listeners will lose their ability to refrain from dancing when this track finds its way on air.
By Michael Young