Release Date: Jul 8, 2016
Record label: DFA
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
As is often the way with producers in the age of the instant, Michael Vope aka Clams Casino has already created serious waves well before the release of his debut album. Simply from a compilation of instrumental pieces sent around MySpace (remember that?!), the New Jersey-native soon found himself collaborating with the likes of A$AP Rocky and featuring on records from FKA twigs and The Weeknd. It isn’t a surprise, then, that his first full-length is littered with the names of hip-hop’s hottest, all the while backed by some of the most innovative beats a rapper could wish for.
Eric Copeland – a man with an associated discography that’s terrifying in its scope, be it as a member of Black Dice or under his own name – has never shied away from the extremes. But Black Bubblegum, if the blurb’s to be believed, was never even intended to see the light of day, and as such it’s more direct, less bastardised and certainly the most instant thing he’s ever put his name to. There’s a sense of liberation at play, albeit one densely packed beneath layers of reverb, dub sonics and a childhood mischief.
DFA stalwart Eric Copeland isn’t exactly known for producing radio friendly pop bangers. Sometimes it’s challenging to untangle Copeland’s solo material from that of his day job as one third of electro-psych noisemakers Black Dice, because the two entities exist in a shared sonic space of sample-heavy rushes and disjointed, nebulous soundscapes. Of course, this material is the mainstay of James Murphy’s DFA label and Copeland has found safe shelter under its wing for over a decade.
The inspirations behind Black Dice co-founder Eric Copeland's new album are as follows: glam holes, glitter dreams, money troubles, apocalypse paranoia, one hit wonders, manifest destiny, my family's westward migration, body troubles (was passing kidney stones almost the entire time), LGBT disco parties, Jonathan Richman, Missing Foundation, Neil Diamond, New Orleans, poverty, getting pushed out of another Brooklyn neighborhood... No Beach Boys, no Beatles, no Buddha... More Bad News Bears.
Pop has always bubbled up between the cracks of Eric Copeland's musical concoctions, but his love of catchy melodies is clearer than ever on Black Bubblegum. He still approaches everything from left-field, tripping out with giddy playfulness. But the ten tracks here are more song-like than anything he's done before, mixing pop hooks—and even a few choruses and bridges—with the repetition of dub.
Eric Copeland writes slippery, chameleonic songs. Sifting through the accrued, multi-format bric-a-brac of this Black Dice member’s voluminous solo catalogue can feel unnervingly magical, like turning over the acorn cupped in your palm and discovering it was always a quarter. Merry hooks are conked far beyond delirium, gnawed upon by effects, reshuffled mercilessly to accommodate inappropriate tempos.
Following releases for labels like Underwater Peoples and L.I.E.S. that found Eric Copeland simultaneously adding more pop elements to his sound as well as maximizing the weirdness, the Black Dice leader released his most accessible work by far with 2016's Black Bubblegum (DFA). Compared to the stretched-out sample collages and mutant techno of releases like Joke in the Hole and Jesus Freak, Black Bubblegum feels like an intimate acoustic session recorded at a coffee shop.
Róisín Murphy, “Take Her Up to Monto” (Play It Again Sam). Last year this Irish artist earned a Mercury Prize nomination for “Hairless Toys,” which served as a reminder of the former vocalist for trip-hop duo Moloko’s power and aesthetic. Her new album is even better, a curious ….