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Battles

Who? New York City’s Battles features John Stanier (drums), Ian Williams (guitar, keys), Dave Konopka (guitar, bass), and Tyondai Braxton (vocals, keys, guitar). The eccentric foursome, which delivers a brash mix of math rock aesthetic and post rock appeal, is currently touring North America in support of their debut LP, Mirrored.

What’s the Deal? On Mirrored, out now via Warp, Battles’ textured synthesizers churn alongside squealing guitars, and unsettlingly-eerie chipmunk-like vocals for a jumbled, experimental mindfuck of avant-tinged rock. On “Tij,” heavy, gasping breaths puncture an underbelly of frantic keys and guitar picking. Braxton’s vocals on “Ddiamondd” sound like a tinny Freddie Mercury before falling into a trippy sequence that sounds like a deranged children’s choir. Album closer, “Race: Out” has an ominous, orchestral aura that is gradually broken apart by booming drumbeats and cheeky guitar snarling.

Fun Fact: Battles features a skilled combo of four seasoned musicians: Stanier used to play drums for metal stalwarts Helmet, and Tomahawk. Konopka is a former member of Lynx, while Williams recorded three albums with Don Caballero. Braxton, who’s recorded with Parts & Labor on top of nurturing a solo career, is the son of famed experimental jazz man Anthony Braxton. TRICIA SUMMERS

Now Hear This: Battles – “Atlas” DOWNLOAD MP3>

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