Brooklyn’s Andee Blacksugar is a guitarist/songwriter/singer/producer who helms a “highly destructive electro-rock” outfit called Black Sugar Transmission. Equal parts jagged new wave, power pop harmony, metallic muscle, glammy swagger and techno-gasmic sound design, BST lives on its own singular piece of musical real estate. Black Sugar Transmission has released five albums prior to its latest, Violent Muses – brand new as of February 2015 – including a full 2012 reworking of Madonna’s classic debut long-player from 1983.
Although Andee tends to do the lion’s share of the writing and recording, BST has become a fluid umbrella project that has welcomed a colorful variety of contributions by guest instrumentalists and singers, including Dug Pinnick and Jerry Gaskill (King’s X), Patti Rothberg and New York guitar icon Vernon Reid (Living Colour), among many others Andee is also is the touring guitarist for postpunk/goth legend Peter Murphy (Bauhaus), with whom he has performed around the world. Here are five albums he’s loving right now…
1 – Little Dragon, Nabuma Rubberband: One of my favorite platters of 2014. Masterful pop songwriting and unbelievable R&B-informed singing (courtesy of the phenomenal, elastic-voiced Yukimi Nagano, who demonstrates her virtuosity with nary a whiff of American Idol-style caterwauling) couched in lush, wide-screen electro-sonics. In other words, music that pushes almost all of my buttons at once.
2 – GusGus, Mexico: This Icelandic techno-soul collective have been on an unbelievable streak in recent years – their last three albums (24/7, Arabian Horse and Mexico) combine minimal house with actual songs, performed by an array of first-rate vocalists. I had a good time remixing the single Airwaves.
3 – Dum Dum Girls, Too True: Although it breaks no new stylistic ground, Too True is probably my favorite and most-listened-to album of 2014. Their simple, uncluttered and understated pop is completely derivative (of early 80s Paisley Underground sounds – think Bangles, Plimsouls, a little Pretenders – and a dash of 90s shoegaze), but the absolutely fresh songwriting (and performances) obliterate all cynicism.
4 – Deerhoof, La Isla Bonita: I won’t say this album blew my doors in like their previous long-player (2012’s incredible Breakup Song), but it’s still Deerhoof, which means there’s 10x more irresistible charm and flat-out frightening musicianship here than you’ll get from most albums. One of the best things I can say about them is that it’s almost impossible to pinpoint their influences.
5 – Sunn O))), Monoliths And Dimensions: An overwhelming sonic experience, Monoliths And Dimensions slowly reveals rich orchestral textures beneath the band’s patented glacial slabs of deep, droning and detuned fuzz guitar as the album unfolds. Added vocal textures fall somewhere between death metal growl and didgeridoo-like throat singing. There’s no instant gratification in Sunn O))) – their music requires patience and undivided attention, but the rewards are worth it.