The best music of March 2012

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Well, what do we have here. Three chanteuses; two Queens rap projects; two Vermont freaky-deaky cassette heads; two records named Jewelry; a record where Sufjan Stevens raps; some of the murkiest gutter soul out there. Might as well have a partridge in a pear tree up in here. But, if we're not mistaken, this is exactly why you came: Impose isn't fixated on a certain stream. We input new recordings into our decision-making diodes, and we are able to identify the correct ones from the mass and give you the matrix-printed report. Luckily for us, there has never been a better time to be open to all kinds of inputs.

The best record of March 2012

Julia Holter, Ekstasis (RVNG Intl)

Within the three staggering opening pieces, “Marienbad,” “Our Sorrows,” and “In the Same Room,” Julia Holter's adventurous arrangements electrify the conservatory into an electronic pop playground; by the time you reach the back end in “Goddess Eyes,” “Four Gardens,” and “This is Ekstasis,” she's letting loose and vamping ambitiously in worlds more in common with psychedelic rock and jazz. Amongst a scene rife with internet-fueled eclecticism, Holter's perfected an even more sophisticated form of sampling: orchestrating happy marriages between musical odd couples from scratch.

The best music of March 2012

Xander Harris, Chrysalid (Pour Le Corps)

We last made contact with Xander Harris (aka Justin Sweatt) when he played the fourth night of our Austin Imposition two weeks ago. The opening track “Atrocity Museum”, begins with a sparse twitch, but quickly moves into chunkier science-fiction synths, coalescing into a track that would sit just right on top of a lazer-gun collection montage or a dark club full of LED-wear. We are talking some top shelf electro here.

FIDLAR, No Waves/No Ass 7″ (Mom + Pop)

Anti-hero, wave-busting rock. Brandon, Elvis Max, and Zac also use a series of “I feel” statements that are part confessional, part sentimental exploration and part wasted but we dig it anyways.

Each Other, Taking Trips (Prison Art)

Taking Trips harnesses psychedelic melodies to a lean post-punk framework that opts for aligning simple melodies against one another in ways that are tight enough to play off finely-drawn dissonances and harmonies on alternating notes. The guitar parts are thoroughly percussive, with garage twang rather than grunge clang, and the drums fill the rhythmic gaps, allowing the dual vocals to add complexity and emphasis as needed. It’s a jarring and smart approach that’s both enterprising and accessible.

Horse Head, Jewelery (AMDISCS)

For fans of Chris Thorne's Tan Dollar and Dreamless comes an EP release from his other project that sees Thorne tapping into that same BEST BEHAVIOR that Dinowalrus has been experimenting with for the SoCal skate punk set totrip out to in between kick flips and grindage on the civic steps.

Georgia Anne Muldrow, Seeds (SomeOthaShip Connect)

Our friend Thundercat warned us about the future soul of Ms. Muldrow and with Madlib at the production helm the beats come from a found sound time machine coupled with the best recipe for a solid bond foundation to withstand the tests of the world and life'stribulations. The title track presents Madlib's handiwork behind the wheels of steel, concocting a timeless blend of dizzying vintage vocals, big arrangements and a mural of sound for Ms. Muldrow's conscious lyrics of universal maternal care and concerns “for all the unborn trees.”

s/s/s, Beak & Claw (Anticon)

From the moment that this four-song E.P. opens with “Museum Day,” listeners will either be intrigued or terrified. It’s one thing to find out that Sufjan Stevens joined forces with Son Lux and Serengeti for an Anticon release, but it’s quite another to hear his vocals wrapped up in Auto-Tune.

Son of Salami, Deli Days (Night-People)

A Vermonter who goes by the name Joey Pizza Slice who records on a weird tape recorder with the eraserhead removed so he can overdub, but only by sacrificing the ability to hear his own playback. At least he has a reason for being off-time that has creative merit — process matters! – but this record is just the right combo of addled infantilism and lonely love-song: awe-inspiring.

Excavations, Object Permanence (Weird Forest)

From the threatening bliss explosion of “Sine” to the rockist roar of “The Jumble Book”, Excavations proves his moniker's worth. The record leaves few nooks unexplored. By letting the pop trickle into the fold, Excavations seek a balance between being the stand-off-ish dude of noise and a coffeehouse strummer with some woes to share. Both extremes can be intolerable, but when they are handled with care and an evened scale it perks the ear.

Matthewdavid, Jewelry (Leaving Records)

If the Rakim-third-eye-vision album art is not enough to encourage your download (even though it very well should be!), then let the Rolling Stones “Miss You” on syzzzrup sample on “Gold Rope (Stones flip)” do the persuading.While Jewelry isn't pushing beat music into new territory, it is a fun exercise in screwed samples and traditional LA vibes that would be worth the cost of a cassette. Getting it for zero stones makes it all the more enjoyable.

Chilren of the Night, Queens… Revisited (Mishka)

Queens… Revisited aims to pull interest back towards the forgotten/silent Borough by celebrating its many faces over the course of 14 tracks. Black Noi$e commands the sound, enfusing a balance between the grimey street themes and the lush low end jazz aesthetic. Dark and noisey, Queens… Revisited lurks through the group's native streets.

Child Bite, Monomania (Joyful Noise)

The faces of Child Bite have twisted into a wry, crooked smile on single “Begin The Hiss”, which is fittingly menacing title. Leading up to now the sea changes were child-like elation from 8-bit meddlings, wide-mouth yelps riding soaring guitar riffs down the side of a mountain and the jazzy cool of sax-skronk. The Michigan boys have never sought trend, nor mass appeal, but stuck to their guns, unless a strange new gun came along to test fire. Child Bite is a band that never says no to creative input either internally or welcoming a new member.

Nite Jewel, One Second of Love (Secretly Canadian)

Like many of her colleagues, Nite Jewel returns to sounds previously forbidden by their lack of cred to the untrained ear (it's sad how hard we're trying to avoid saying “80s”). Ramona reveres the aspects of culture that, in her mind, were thrown away too quickly, or were misunderstood.

PC Worship, Toxic Love (Evil Weevil)

PC Worship's Toxic Love begins with an almost sub-dermal groaning, the scritch-scritch of a stringed instrument being bowed against its will. It lasts for 30 seconds, but once the creaky moans launch into the rotting country-fried steak of a guitar melody, it's clear PC Worship made a record that will bury itself under your skin like a leech's tongue. PC Worship seem to say that sometimes getting dark and evil is necessary for your personal growth – anyone who can't see the full-spectrum of their own emotion is hiding behind a mask. We all need a record to tell us this, once in a while, and this is the best one we've heard in ages.

Blanche Blanche Blanche/Bruce Hart, 2wice 2wins (OSR Tapes)

Blanche Blanche Blanche and Bruce Hart are both projects of the many-monikered Vermont mountain man Zach Phillips. Phillips and his partner in Blanche Blanche Blanche, Sarah Smith, play almost-cheesy and very broad-soundng '80s synths with a good hit of funky bass, and write really intriguing pop-melodies over them. Sarah's voice is deadpan in a really perfect way. The last song on the BBB-side is an epic and exceedingly accurate cover of T'Pau's “Heart and Soul”, if that gives you an idea.

Big Baby Ghandi, No 1 2 Look Up 2 (Greedhead)

No 1 2 Look Up 2 is impressive in its ability to be entirely in its own world. He's down with Das, but raps nothing like the homies. Gandhi's sound is a weird carnival of disco lights, east Indian bounce, 80's pop warpings and the grimiest sounds from Queens. Much like Danny Brown, he's got a multi-faceted delivery that can be difficult to digest at its most animated, but let it sink in. Do not let Gandhi's screaming enthusiasm stand in the way of his finest moments, which are in abundance.