New Music: Friday Roll Out! With Fawns Of Love, Malibu Ken (Aesop Rock & TOBACCO)

The new year offers much and it also takes away. Death is never an anomaly, it’s something we always expect to happen at some point. When it comes early on, you’re never prepared. If you’re left without answers, confusion ensues. But the candle still needs to burn bright or else you end up wallowing in misery. A bit darker than usual to start of the year but this intro is as much bit of therapy and leads into what will follow. Music is sometimes a detriment, unlocking unwanted feelings but there are moments it can be as therapeutic as jotting your thoughts down. Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury to pick and choose but at least I can journey into directions I haven’t been in a while.

Maybe I’m left in the dystopian headspace here listening to the new Fawns Of Love because the songs the band revolves their career around are melancholic and exhausting at the moment. Please, you may be interpreting my words here in a different manner so let me explain. The California husband/wife duo Joseph & Jenny Andreotti have pieced together a clever album in Permanent (Test Pattern Records), their sophomore release. While the band owes much to 80s Pretty In Pink stylings of electro-pop, and others may believe the band is only capable of pigeonholing themselves into a corner, there’s so much the band has to offer. Here, the duo explores an array of emotion within many of its songs, eschewing any trivialities anyone may think the band brings to table. In fact, I welcome the melancholy mood swings I find myself in here, pushed along by those Peter Hook influenced basslines, and dreamy keyboard washes. “December” captures the mood of the month itself; cold, yet wondrous, lonely, yet full of life. It’s an exploration propelled by mechanical drum beats with Jenny’s cooing and inviting vocals. But it’s “Horoscope” that doesn’t feel so bleak as a semblance of percussion over the drumbeat allows it to be much more inviting as Jenny raises her voice above a whisper and instruments cohesively fall into place. It’s difficult to not fall in love with the band’s music since the music crosses genres ever so slightly, easily influenced by more than just one decade of found sounds around them.

With “Mournful Eyes,” it seems the group takes a different approach, programming its drum pattern with a bit more freneticism where it sounds like Joseph Andreotti takes the reigns on this one vocally. I could be wrong but I’m probably right. Regardless, it works all too well as the groove is punchier and a bit more aggressive. It seems no matter where your headspace may be at any given moment, it’s easy to fall in love with the group of songs here. “Wasted Days” is a scorcher of a track and closes out Permanent perfectly. Me and the Fawns Of Love, we’re the same. >GB<

By now, everyone knows Malibu Ken (Rhymesayers) moniker is one seemingly applied tongue-in-cheek for the new collaborative project with Aesop Rock and beatsmith TOBACCO (also a member of psychedelian Black Moth Super Rainbow). With the duo’s new self-titled release, what may have started on a whim has actually morphed into concise and well-thought out progression in sound and fury. Aes has already established himself, with 7 albums of his own, a couple of collaborative albums with Rob Sonic as Hail Mary Mallon, his Unincluded project with Kimya Dawson, Film work, and a plethora of singles. While TOBACCO (Thomas Fec) has just as many releases under his belt, both solo and with his respective group, if not more, we all should know his music. He’s worked with BEANS, Beck, Serengeti, Doseone, and others but for this project here, he’s found a singular identity for Malibu Ken’s starting point.

They open the self-titled release with “Corn Maze,” a clever play on words for the title alone but I don’t think anything less could be expected here. The song bounces and slides with clear direction where instrumentation and melodies are distinct with TOBACCO’s own influences, which one can hear an array of here. Aesop wraps his words all around the track and every pause allows the track to breathe. Musically, the album’s musical vision flows seamlessly from track to track and one would be hard pressed to pick up the pace hitting that fast forward button because yeah, the songs are literally bangers that create a mood of comfortability refuting blandness or stagnation. But that’s not to say Aesop Rock should be ignored because it’s his capable storytelling skills that just may enthrall listeners. On “Tuesday” he begins with a story about a neighbor and then waxes poetic throughout.

The appeal Aesop Rock holds is held in high regard amongst diehard Hip-Hop heads, intellectuals, and the everyman.  I myself probably fall into the latter because while he may become verbose, there are moments his own lyrics and raps are relatable “1+1=13” touches on 2019 political climate simply with “Leader of the free world blowing on dice” over a backdrop that easily laid back, dreaming of better. “Purple Moss” though treads through cityscapes and lost dreams mashed through reality hitting like scalding waters. Where does this leave us all though? Well, with an album showing Malibu Ken is clawing away, but Aesop Rock and TOBACCO provide the soundtrack to that life. As soundtracks go, this one’s pretty bad ass.