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macedonia on 06/12/2010 at 01:06PM

With Regards To Richmond...

Mark Herbkersman, the core of Friends Or Whatever.

Those who dig through Creative Commons crates on the regular probably are familiar with blocSonic releases, all of which have been hip-hop or downtempo up until now.  However, to get hung up on that fact is to ignore their genre-busting netBloc series, which has consistently schooled us on choice netaudio selections from around the world, no matter what musical category they get filed under.  It is this series that sets the stage for blocSonic's latest release, the self-titled debut album from Friends or Whatever.

Clearly something wonderful is happening in Richmond, Virginia.  It's from out of this region that producer Just Plain Ant was called upon to deliver blocSonic's first original release, the sensational Dig Deep album.  Guitarist/producer Mark Herbkersman is another product of Richmond and the sole member of Friends or Whatever, writing and performing all the songs.  Both singles, "The Burns We Earn" and "Stuck In My Soul," have already seen remix support from the likes of Just Plain Ant, Tha Silent Partner, and a host of others.

If you like the rock/electronica hybrid that Phantogram presented us with last year, you're sure to appreciate this album.  The abrasive guitars and jaded lyrical contemplations of "Piss Test" and "Shattered" ride alongside the synth-driven hypnosis of "Everybody Stopped Calling Me," its percussive accents sounding like digital cicadas.  There's even a brief moment set aside for the futuristic beats of "Smoke Floats" and the ironic lounge of "Richmond Is Killing Us All."  It's an auspicious debut that wouldn't sound out of place on Warp Records or Ghostly International. 

Respect is due to Mark for sharing his FoW album with the world through Creative Commons means and thanks to blocSonic for making this one available through the Free Music Archive.  The attached songs below, "If Everybody Here Knew Me" and "The Terminal Replies," further explore the guitar-driven and keyboard-laden terrain that this release resides within...

pop, electronic, indie-rock


blocsonic on 06/12/10 at 04:54PM
Thanks for the review, Jason! Just a heads up, I've also uploaded the latest Friends or Whatever maxi-single "Stuck In My Soul" here at the FMA:
macedonia on 06/12/10 at 07:36PM
Cool. Just updated the post with a direct link to the new single...
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