Today’s Sounds: Example

The oddly fissioned popstep of Example, a reputedly unbalanced young chav from the U.K., plus another in a series of surprisingly earnest Christmas songs by Portland indie pop act Parenthetical Girls and an eyeful of candy via a video by ’90s-indie-rock-evoking Boston trio Fat Creeps.


Example, The Evolution of Man (Ministry of Sound)

Finding that perfect crossover dubstep song has proven to be a largely fruitless search thus far, but it’s not because people aren’t trying their hardest. If you listen to BBC Radio these days, pretty much everything they play sounds like it was designed with vast, muddy fields of drunken, dancing revellers in mind: drops are being haphazardly dumped onto R&B songs, rock songs have computerized twitching going on the background, pop tarts are shaving half of their heads for no good reason. None of it, though, tastes like peanut butter and jelly just yet.

Dubstep/brostep remains viscous and resistant to mixing, although solid pop tunes like Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” and Bruno Mars’s “Locked Out of Heaven” are imbued with minor strands of dubstep DNA. That would suggest experts are close to perfecting the popstep A-bomb.

And that brings us to Example, a reputedly unbalanced young chav with a bowl cut, mild Asperger’s and the ability to both sing and rap with minimal charisma. The music, though, is frenetic club fare, and while his sound was previously more tailored toward Ibiza hedonism, this latest record finds the astonishingly popular Brit in a dour mood, recuperating from a broken heart.

The Evolution of Man is a goldmine for popstep attempts, and even some big names — Calvin Harris, Graham Coxon, Dirty South — lend a hand. It’s an odd juxtaposition to have a genteel singer (and rapper on the bridges) preside over club beats and dubstep wub-wubbing, and it doesn’t always work, but the results are intriguing nonetheless. “Close Enemies” has a steely synth line, a memorable vocal hook, acoustic guitars and drops, but it flows naturally and never feels cluttered. “Say Nothing” is pure club cheese for your next dancefloor makeout session. “Crying Out for Help” and “Perfect Replacement” can either be considered aggressive or grating, depending on how much dubstep you can ingest in one sitting. The weak songs (“Come Taste the Rainbow,” the dance remix of Godsmack’s “Voodoo” you never wanted) sound a bit too much like discarded Fat of the Land outtakes.

The album isn’t even out in Canada, but if you’re curious about oddly fissioned popstep, check out “Close Enemies” if you’d prefer just a sample.


Parenthetical Girls, “Rejoice! Rejoice!”

Portland’s Parenthetical Girls love Christmas so much, they’ve released another yuletide EP, Good Christian Men Rejoice! They’re the kind of band you’d imagine approaching the holiday with a heavy shield of hipster irony, but that wouldn’t appear to be the game they’re playing here. So, gentile, Jew, Muslim, atheist or whatever, the invitation is open. Rejoice!



Fat Creeps, “Daydreaming”

Boston trio Fat Creeps, who released their debut EP entirely independently earlier this year, are back with a song set to appear in the new year on a split 12-inch with ZEBU! on Feeding Tube Records. Dig their catchy ’90s stylings and scenes of their hometown (Lynn, MA), as directed by Avi Paul Weinstein.

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