Formed at the tail-end of 2008 as a bedroom recording project, Small Black first made waves with their eponymous debut EP. Recorded in the attic of singer Josh’s uncle’s remote Long Island beach-house/surfboard workshop, it served as an ideal introduction to the group with its pulsing patchwork synths and addictive, stay-gold hooks that seemed to unfurl themselves gradually over repeated listens. Slightly more immediate and polished than its predecessor, Small Black’s debut LP New Chain remained a continuation of this contrasting ethos – a delirious smudging of the lines between melancholy and nostalgia, tension and celebration, unabashed pop music and experimentation. Next, the band wanted to combine their aesthetic with overt sampling, inspired by legendary beatsmiths like RZA, DJ Premier and J Dilla. Enter the Moon Killer mixtape. A free full-length release through Small Black’s website, Moon Killer not only openly borrows from sources as rich and diverse as Nas, Pere Ubu, Drake and the Carpenters, but features multiple drop-ins from Das Racist MC Heems, as well as remixes from Star Slinger and Phonetag. What truly stands out is the ease with which Small Black folds their source material into their own inimitable sound. It’s a legitimate step forward for the band—a sizeable stride closer to what they’ve been hearing in their heads this whole time. Currently, the band is hard at work on a new full-length for Jagjaguwar, to be released sometime in 2012.
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