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

Categories: Music


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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