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Monday, May 02 2011 | 13:16 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

The story of James Pants is an unlikely one. The son of two Presbyterian ministers from an American backwater called Spokane, he went from being the goofy white teenage DJ for a black nationalist rap group to a much-loved multi-instrumentalist who can count on fans as diverse as Flying Lotus, Zane Lowe, Erol Alkan and XL’s new teen hip-hop internet sensation Tyler The Creator, who calls James “one of the most creative fucking people to walk this earth”.

Along the way James met Stones Throw Records head honcho Peanut Butter Wolf after his high school prom and dropped a debut album in 2008, “Welcome,” which told the tale of a lone music obsessive who synthesised a staggeringly broad record collection into a coherent LP in a style he dubbed “fresh beat”, taking in ’80s boogie, synth experiments, garage rock and much more.

Since then James has toured the globe, released “Seven Seals” (a tribute to his beloved ’70s cult and New Age records), pressed mixtapes with names like “Psychik Almanack Vol. 1” and, perhaps most significantly, uprooted from Colorado to Cologne, where he works as a studio engineer.

While most of “James Pants” was recorded in a Colorado basement, listening to the album suggests the relocation to the home of Krautrock luminaries such as Can, Faust and Neu! is a serendipitous one. “Strange Girl” matches a motorik rhythm with a smattering of Jarvis Cocker-like vocals, while “Darlin'” could be East Germany’s take on Joe Meek. While James’ characteristic humour is less in evidence here, there’s still plenty of light with the shade: “A Little Bit Closer” might open with washes of distortion and reverbed vocals but a slapped bass and bright synths provide a magical and unexpected counterpoint. This is the sound of a record collector-turned-musician finally outstripping his source material and finding a sound all of his own.

Indeed, while you might point to contemporaries such as Best Coast or Girls, it’s as hard to pinpoint a style here as it was with his debut. James Pants might nod to shoegaze and wink at surf- and garage rock, and his love affair with Silver Apples is still in full bloom, but this album inhabits a world of its own.


01. Beta
02. Every Night
03. Clouds Over The Pacific
04. A Little Bit Closer
05. Strange Girl
06. Screams Of Passion
07. Incantation
08. Kathleen
09. Body On Elevator
10. Darlin’
11. Alone
12. These Girls
13. Dreamboat
14. Epilogue

The album James PantsJames Pants” (Stones Throw) has been released April 29, 2011.

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