Jacuzzihidive Night Creatures EP (Self-Released)
Cool-local-band alert! Las Vegas’ own Jacuzzihidive takes me all the way back to my pre-teen ’80s Tampa Bay roller-skating rink days with an unabashed synth-bubblegum sound—guileless and a total guilty pleasure. Case in point: “Turn You On” possesses that whole early Madonna-era, echo-laden, boogie-funk style. Vocalist Aily Iglesias even has a sober, icy tone that recalls Ms. Ciccone, while band mastermind Aram Luc’s songwriting and production is at once effortless and perfectly realized. The dirty, searing keyboard line of the EP’s title track is the purest evil, especially as it provides a nice counterpoint to Iglesias’ ethereal, atmospheric singing. Bassist Kyler Hutchings, meanwhile, has his electro-rawk grooves down pat, especially on the killer jam “Crowded City.” But it’s the arty, fractured, indie-rock of “XO Skeleton” that suggests Jacuzzihidive has an expansive palette it doesn’t want to completely reveal just yet. I can’t wait to lace up again. ★★★☆☆
Jacuzzihidive plays E-String (2031 W. Sunset Road) March 26, Jacuzzihidive.com.
Gatto Fritto Hex (International Feel)
U.K. DJ and producer Ben Williams, a.k.a. Gatto Fritto (or “fried cat” in misspelled Spanish), is a new master of post-Balearic beat/Ibiza electronica, and his debut album on the up-and-coming Uruguayan label, International Feel, is nothing short of a masterwork in the genre. The ominous yet chillout-edged “The Curse” summarizes what makes Williams’ sonicscapes so undeniably compelling: eerie vocals and melodic lines structured upon a hypnotic yet always building rhythm. Then there’s the throbbing, thrilling “Lucifer Morning Star,” which pushes everything—Williams’ voice, synth layers, drum machine—into disintegrated territory, making you wonder at moments if what you’re hearing is an alien transmission being beamed down to Earth from a distant, imperiled galaxy. My personal favorite cut, however, is the deliciously horrific Tangerine Dream-meets-house music instrumental “Beachy Head” (the name of a suicide-jumping spot in Sussex, England). There won’t be another electronic music release as good as this one in 2011, OK? ★★★★☆
Mamiffer Mare Decendrii (Sige)
The beautiful ex-Everlovely Lightningheart pianist Faith Coloccia now composes under the name Mamiffer, and unlike her previous post-rock band’s comparatively more joyous and lighthearted experimentalisms, her new compositions are stridently apocalyptic, bordering on ambient doom. I can’t blame her. Listening to black cloud-covering-the-sun-forever instrumentals such as “As Freedom Rings” while watching Japanese nuke reactors release their poisonous plumes on CNN isn’t something I recommend. But it’s certainly an apt way to approach the marvelous Mare Decendrii, which boasts guest contributions by post-rock/indie-metal superstars Aaron Turner (Isis), Brian Cook (Russian Circles), Don McGreevy (Earth) and Sera Timms (Black Math Horseman). In fact, this hodgepodge of dark-minded musicians explains why Mamiffer’s second full-length sounds like the very last word in—nay, the last breath of—funereal drone. Indeed, the 20-minute “We Speak in the Dark” begins a groaning wound and develops into a chorus of angelic voices. Hopefully it’s Coloccia’s metaphor for human progress. ★★★★☆