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Monday July 28th 2014

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Ears & Fingers 1/30/14

by Jason Leger

Warpaint-Warpaint
Warpaint have carved out a niche for themselves across the span of the past several years. While not being increasingly forceful at pushing themselves onto a common audience, they have still crept into the ears and collective consciousness of audiences in much of the same way the majority of their songs play out — in a creeping, building and slow-burning manner.

In 2008, the band entered many a radar with the very promising “Exquisite Corpse EP,” which included mega jam ‘Elephants,’ followed by the release of 2010’s full length, “The Fool.”

Now the band has given us another full-length album titled “Warpaint.” This album says a lot about a group who only want to be what they are and make the music they feel the need to.

The band has endured several lineup changes since its inception, and the current lineup set out to make an album that was fully their own from beginning to end. They are not trying to distance themselves from older work, but to show a way forward. “Warpaint” accomplishes just this, and it is able to stand on its own in the present, while still relating to the band’s past. This effort is hazy, and at times even bordering on tribal. For the most part, it’s very low-key, minimal and definitely a cohesive piece of work.

There are many high points on the album, not least of which is the strong lead single, ‘Biggy,’ but it’s Warpaint’s acoustic driven numbers that stick out, such as ‘Baby’ from “The Fool.” On “Warpaint,” the song ‘Teese’ immediately stuck with its laid back feel, layered vocals and haunting approach, which carries throughout the feel and scope of the whole album. “Warpaint” is out now via Rough Trade Records.

If You Haven’t Heard: Mac DeMarco
All too often in the world we live in, artists act on their impulses to do whatever they like and end up with a finished product that is either uninteresting or so confusing it can’t be deciphered by the common public. We then have that general audience split in two groups: people who don’t get it and stop caring, and the people who also don’t get it, but pretend to for the sake of identity.

Mac DeMarco only fits into this niche because he does whatever he wants to do. He remains notable because what he produces ends up being listenable, coherent and interesting, while wholly his. People have tried to pigeonhole him with many titles, mostly landing near surf-rock or jangle-pop, but the only real way to define DeMarco would be as genre all of his own.

Only 23, DeMarco already has a full-length album and an EP behind him, and has just released word of “Salad Days,” his second long player as a solo artist. Last week, along with the album announcement, DeMarco shared the lead track ‘Passing out Pieces.’ It’s a hazy, honest song that dances around being very open and introspective, something a bit out of character for someone as unconcerned as DeMarco has been known to be. This song has me very excited to hear the rest of the album, and Mac DeMarco is someone I strongly recommend acclimating yourself with. “Salad Days” is out April 1 via Captured Tracks.