S.F.'s Papercuts Make a Stunning, Dreamy Sub Pop Debut:
On Papercuts' Sub Pop debut, Fading Parade
, Quever's vision of atmospheric, world-weary indie-pop is expanded to a stunning degree. Not only is it by far the best thing Papercuts has yet recorded, but the album actually puts the band within striking distance of Beach House -- an outfit that has set the contemporary standard for burying its grandly downbeat songs beneath massive curtains of reverb.
But whereas Beach House's 2010 triumph, Teen Dream, seems to obsess over moving as slowly as possible, Fading Parade sees Papercuts exploring different moods and speeds. Quever's dragging, piano-laden tearjerkers are still there, of course, but album opener "Do You Wanna Know" is a delightfully uptempo bit of twee flirtation, complete with a chorus that seems to spiral ever skyward. "Marie Says You've Changed" races forward over unsettling piano arpeggios, as Quever reflects on the strangeness of returning home after a long time away. None of these 10 songs really rocks -- that's the idea -- but they never feel stuck in a rut, either.
Killer Mike's Fury Blends Southern and Conscious Rap: Best known as a member of the Dungeon Family (the Atlanta-based crew that also features OutKast and Goodie Mob), Killer Mike has soldiered on as those groups have ground to a halt. Expectations were once sky-high for the rapper, whose given name is Michael Render: he won a 2003 Grammy for his appearance on OutKast's "The Whole World," but his career has not subsequently taken off the way he and his fans hoped. He seeks to change that with his latest album, PL3DGE, out May 17, which is radio-friendly and chock-full of bold-name guest stars. But in the meantime he is working on an artsy, defiantly noncommercial project with noncommercial project with venerated New York producer El-P, the former head of erstwhile label Definitive Jux. And so he finds himself straddling the mainstream and underground worlds. "This takes me totally out of the box," he says. Then again, Killer Mike has long delighted in confounding people's expectations -- or even pissing them off.