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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Anticon's Why? to Release New Album Alopecia 3/11

Posted By on Tue, Jan 8, 2008 at 4:02 PM


Our very own local indie rock/hip-hop dudes have announced their new album, Alopecia, set to hit the streets in March. Until then, download the mp3 for "The Hollows." You can also catch them at The Onion's post-holiday party this weekend. Read the following release for the track list and more info on the new funky joint:

Two years after wooing critics with their beloved Elephant Eyelash, WHY?

return, third LP in hand (out 3/11 on anticon). In short, Alopecia is a collection of

hard rhymes and raw-spun songs forced through the stubborn smile of a life-lover

scorned and reborn. In long, this is an album of bone-dry jokes, suicides played

out in poem, musings on final moments written inside of restrooms, begrudging

self-affirmation, and the grit and glories of every day living. Yoni Wolf has returned

with the Art of Songcraft tucked under his arm. Inspired as much by MF Doom

and Lil’ Wayne as J. Newsom and Big Dylan, his words roll out bent and

beautiful, not unlike the musical architecture that sends those words skyward.


As expected, the WHY? band—Yoni, Josiah Wolf, Doug McDiarmid—

continue their calculated blitzkrieg on that self-made jangle-rap, indie pop ’n’ roll

genre, but the stakes are raised. The boys returned to their Midwest roots for

Alopecia, hunkering down in Minneapolis’ Third Ear studio and inducting a pair

of venerable big guns into the band: Fog mastermind Andrew Broder and bassist

Mark “Bear” Erickson. Throwing their samplers to the wind (mostly), WHY?

recorded live as a five-piece. By the time the core trio returned to Oakland

(where Thee More Shallows’ D. Kessler engineered a final session), they’d

amassed their most immediate and cohesive batch of songs to date.

Alopecia begins dark and triumphant: On “The Vowels Pt. 2,” Yoni’s voice

comes in strong, sweetly soured like a curdling milkshake. The band lays back

for the verse—weaving feedback, paced drums and bass, simian beat-boxing and

bent guitar—then goes cosmic for the close. Conversely, “Good Friday” rolls

forward on a simple live beat that showcases Yoni’s rappin’est cadence in years

as he wears his lowest lows like a badge: “It feels exciting/Touching your

handwriting/Getting horny by reading it/And repeating, ‘Poor me.’” “These Few

Presidents” marks a return to the sing-song style over an alternately bubbly and

tempestuous sound, before lead single “The Hollows”—an outsider anthem

featuring the ethereal oohs of Nedelle Torissi and beyond-the-grave revelations

from Dose One—touches down like a twister.

Throughout Alopecia, WHY? further push the edges of their sound, mastering

mood on the time-shifting “The Song of the Sad Assassin,” going ghostly with

Kessler on a textured death rattle called “Gnashville,” and inflating the warped

buoyancy of Elephant Eyelash via “Fatalist Palmistry.” Likewise, Yoni has

honed his poems, evidenced by “The Fall of Mr. Fifths”—a twisted rap hinting at

an inner Mr. Hyde—the sleepy existentialism of “Brook & Waxing,” the oral

illustration offered by “A Sky for Shoeing Horses Under” and the complex

cadences found in “Twenty-Eight.”

It all comes to a blistering crescendo in the album’s final triptych. On

“Simeon’s Dilemma,” Yoni croons to his frequent female muse/antagonizer:

“Stalker’s my whole style/And if I get caught I’ll/Deny, deny, deny.” He tests the

limits of his voice and the extremes of his own character over a note-for-note

combination of vibes, harpsichord and piano. And before Alopecia is brought to

its eerie end (the suicide-probing outro, “Exegesis”) we’re given one more

offering of reverse rap braggadocio. “By Torpedo or Crohn’s” grooves like a

mid-nineties gangsta BBQ jam and peaks with a recurring line from Alopecia:

“While I’m alive/I’ll feel alive.” It’s a fitting final thought, even for an album as

complex as this—that the perfect antithesis to the blunt finality of death is

nothing more than claiming the lifeblood that is already yours.

WHY? - Alopecia track list:

1.The Vowels, Pt. 2

2.Good Friday

3.These Few Presidents

4.The Hollows

5.Song of the Sad Assassin


7.Fatalist Palmistry

8.The Fall of Mr. Fifths

9.Brook & Waxing

10.A Sky For Shoeing Horses Under

11.Twenty Eight

12.Simeon's Dilemma

13.By Torpedo or Crohn's



01/12/08 San Francisco, CA The Mighty (The Onion’s Holiday Party)

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