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The Cougar Chronicle

The Audio Scout

Antonio Pequeño IV, A&E Editor

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Mac DeMarco:

The Canadian singer-songwriter, Mac DeMarco is set to release his third full-length album This Old Dog on Friday, May 5. The catch is, the album has been leaked online. In Demarco’s signature easy-going nature, he addressed the leak at his Coachella performance and happily encouraged that all of his audience pirate the album. Based off the three tracks that have been officially released so far, it sounds as DeMarco improved upon his core sound. The bright toned “My Old Man,” and the smoother “This Old Dog” both focus on the theme of time and recollection. “On the Level” is reminiscent of DeMarco’s 2014 song, “Chamber of Reflection” with its 1-2 synth rhythm and simple hook. DeMarco will be on a joint tour with The Flaming Lips from Sept. 17 to Oct. 5.

Royal Blood:

The English rock duo are making a return after their 2014 self-titled debut album, Royal Blood. Their new single “Lights Out” off of their upcoming album How Did We Get So Dark, pulls no punches and shows the duo is ready for their comeback. The track features a high-octane bridge and outro that is sure to leave fans anticipating the album’s June 16 release date. The band is holding their North American tour from June 6 to Aug. 16 and will perform locally at The Observatory North Park on Aug. 15.

The Black Angels:

The ominously named Death Song is the title of The Black Angels’ fifth studio album. Released Friday, April 21, the album seems to be taking a turn from the normal, as some of the tracks tackle current issues with our country, something the band hasn’t done in past albums. An archetype for their topical approach is found in the album’s first track, “Currency.” The song’s howling chorus compliments shrill guitar riffs, as lead vocalist Alex Mass sings “I can see currency how it always sanctions us, all these paper lives you’ve sold, there’s no God in who you trust.” The Black Angels are touring until fall and will perform at the House of Blues, San Diego on Oct. 17.

Sampha:

After collaborating with the likes of other music artists such as Drake, Kanye and Solange, Sampha’s Process is his first full length album. As recording artist for the Young Turks record label, this singer, songwriter and producer released two EP’s (extended plays), one in 2010 and 2013. Process is a testament to the Sampha’s ability to synthesize multiple genres into a record. The album explores everything from neo soul to R&B and electronica. “Plastic 100’C” engages background vocal harmonies and a significant use of melodic harps/strings to display a significant extent of Sampha’s vocal range throughout the track, beaming back and forth between soft and grand rhythms. On the other side of the album, “Incomplete Kisses” plays with a light electronic sound on top of its simplistic hook and flamboyant pads.

The xx:

After three months since the release of The xx’s third studio album, I See You, it’s safe to say it received a positive reception from both critics and fans. A must hear for followers of the alternative genre,  I See You builds upon the group’s previous sound and explores new creative areas. “Performance” utilizes echoey strings and organic instrumentation as a backdrop for fluid vocals from Romy Croft, one of The xx’s vocalists. Meanwhile, “Dangerous” parades a lively bass and kick pattern alongside a horn laced duet from Croft and Oliver Smith. The band is currently on their I See You tour.

Kamasi Washington:

Kamasi Washington set the bar for modern jazz musicians everywhere with his triple-album release of The Epic back in 2015. On top of that, he was one of the most prominent collaborators on Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album, To Pimp a Butterfly. On April 12, Washington released a single titled, “Truth” which is part of his upcoming EP Harmony of Difference which is planned to release this summer. “Truth” is a 14 minute song which is broken into three acts. The first act brings drums, bass, piano and a booming chorus. While the second act throws Washington’s unique saxophone sound into the mix. The final act is a grand crescendo of everything that was used in the past two acts along with some sharp guitar strings added in.

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