Shlohmo plays release show Friday, premieres 'Seriously'
Music blogging has become akin to prospect scouting in minor league baseball. Even Pitchfork, the online magazine generally regarded as the era's preeminent tastemaker, begat Altered Zones, the Baseball America of music blogs, a compendium of largely anonymous and outré bedroom musicians.
So Shlohmo was something of a blue chip recruit when he debuted last year with his "Shlohmoshun Deluxe." Released by local imprint Friends of Friends and tabbed for one of the prestigious slots on a Low End Theory podcast, West L.A.-raised Henry Laufer vaulted to the top of those myopic lists that music writers make about "ones to watch."
It showed plenty of promise, but often came off exactly as what is was: a record from a gifted 19-year-old art school student who was just learning how to make music. All the intangibles, but lacking the craft of a veteran.
In the last 18 months, that's changed. Flipping everything from remixes of Waka Flocka and Soulja Boy to Burial and Drake, Shlohmo has been running the gamut between punch-drunk party bangers and ashen, autumnal melancholy. The title track of his "Places" EP, released earlier this year, features filtered gray-green guitars and falsetto vocals that read like D'Angelo as produced by Mount Kimbie.
The track is also included on "Bad Vibes," Shlohmo's first Official (capital letters) record, which feels like a complete collection. Full of damaged 4 a.m. depression and audible regret, it strings together everything from slide guitars and minor keys to Laufer's own looped vocals. Although it bears a certain resemblance to the ambient experimental wing of the Low End Theory world (Asura, Teebs and Matthewdavid), Shlohmo has built a realm unto himself, a suffocating summer break-up electronic record that has more in common with the blues than dance music.
On Friday night at the Downtown Independent, Laufer is celebrating the album's release alongside Matthewdavid, Teebs, Groundislava and D33J. Today, he's premiering "Seriously" on Pop & Hiss, a track full of head-nodding unorthodox percussion and filtered guitars that rivals Fennesz for sun-damaged beauty.
-- Jeff Weiss
Photo: Shlohmo. Credit: Friends of Friends