Thursday, December 24, 2009
WARP creates 2010, a baller sampler featuring some of their newly signed acts as well as older favorites. Try the tunes here, then visit their site to collect the goods.
Modular releases it's first issue of pod-mag Circa 1979, showcasing electronic artists such as Kraftwerk, Telex and Y.M.O, whose groundbreaking aesthetics changed the way we view media and music. Needless to say, I am hoping this will be the first of many, many, many.
MP3: Keenhouse - Ari-es (Grum Remix)
Check out other tracks from Binary Collective members on their blog.
Muted effects take the sincerity of Palomo's lyrics to a new level...
MP3: Neon Indian - Mind, Drips (Mirror People Remix)
Home Tapes-signed Philly artists mix honesty and intricacy, create unique sonic texture.
MP3: Pattern Is Movement - Blanched and Threshed
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
"flavors of the mid-week: because you know Wednesday is boring as hell."
MP3: Classixx - I'll Get You (Gigamesh Remix)
Crew: Michael David & Tyler Blake
Like: going shoe shopping with VEGA.
Discovery: Swing Tree
Crew: Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend), Wes Miles (Ra Ra Riot)
Like: playing nintendo with New Villager.
MP3: UltraChorus - Words Kept Talking
Crew: Chris Heidman & Jeff Lorentzen.
Like: Hot Chip and Akon's lovechild sampling Sufjan's banjo.
MP3: Truman Peyote - Sidewalk Sludging (Airbud)
Crew: Caleb Johannes & Eric Farber
From: Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts
Like: experiencing Aphex Twin while trying to hang out in a water-park wave pool.
Monday, December 21, 2009
There were a wealth of bands that arose from the Dunedin area in the early ninetees, but none with as much sparkle or potential as Chug.
I've always thought their following should be considerably higher, but perhaps it's because by now they've faded so far from the mainstream that all that remains is the work of the bands they inspired.
My quest for Chug tracks began when I accidentally rediscovered them through The Adventures of Pete and Pete (which was, and still is in my opinion one of the greatest television shows ever made). It was an "accidental" rediscovery because I never realized I'd forgotten them, which I think is a pretty typical story. You see, the Pete and Pete music catalogue featured an impressive slew of up-and-coming college radio acts including Luscious Jackson, Drop Nineteens and Miracle Legion, aka Polaris, who were featured most prominently in the title sequence as well as in the classic episode "A Hard Day's Pete". The creators of P&P, Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi, had their eye towards the scene in a big way, which was probably how they convinced the likes of Iggy Pop, LL Cool J, Michael Stipe, Gordon Gano (The Violent Femmes) and Debbie Harry to accept featured roles. Perhaps you've heard of such little known bands as, oh, The Magnetic Fields or Apples in Stereo? Their tunes got star treatment on the P&P red carpet before they were household names.
I often wonder years later if much of my generation's swing towards the sound of sun-drenched indie reverb has something to do with these bands ebbing their way into our consciousness silently and early.
But I digress.
When I heard Chug's track "Flowers" blaring out of the Krebstar radio in the episode "35 Hours", my love was rekindled. But just as young Pete tried to find his favorite song, I too was finding out that Chug tracks weren't to be found - anywhere.
With extensive internet searching, I discovered that their albums hadn't been pressed in years. Now you can hear some of their tracks on last.fm, and three of their albums are available on amazon.com. I'm sure you can find old tapes of theirs floating around in some of the better record stores. But it's like they vanished. Or split the scene right before the multi-media boom that was to prove fundamental to the success of little-known independent artists.
So it starts like this.
Originally comprised of vocalist Norma O'Malley and Alf Danielson on bass, Chug independently recorded and released their first single in '91, back when it wasn't convenient or cheap to do so. They went through a string of drummers and guitarists from varying bands in the Dunedin area, signing to Flying Nun Records in '92.
At the time Flying Nun was home to bands like The Clean, The Verlaines and Stereolab. (Pavement was a Flying Nun affiliate, and Chug later went on to tour with them). In fact, check out their old band list - it's insane.
'93 saw the release of their Kisser EP, which contained the singles "Flowers" and "Horses" and scored them some publicity in the States and the U.K. In '94 they were showcased on Pete & Pete, and hundreds of young suburbanites like myself fell in love with summer again without knowing quite why.
In '95 Sassafras was released which saw Chug adopting more of an edge, often tearing into their instruments with a Pixies-meets-Chapterhouse ferocity. A wealth of influences appear in the track "Golden Mile" - from shoegaze to late 70's punk to the burgeoning britpop scene to some kraut-like guitarwork. "Sylvia" sounds like it could be easily covered by Pavement, and "Mustang" is a gloriously catchy distortion-based track. Sassafras was their last album with Flying Nun. They signed to Alias in a ridiculous recording deal, the likes of which proved to be the demise of many bands in the late 90's. The promise was seven albums, one per year, with a tour to follow each. They received greater critical acclaim and were helped by the tour exposure, but inevitably the band began to wear creatively.
By the late-ninetees their sound had lost much of it's summer-day charm (which is what incidentally happened when we all jettisoned out of the pervasive sun-glazed nostalgia that the new hippie movement had inspired), but their sound grew rather than withered. Metalon, released under Alias in '97, has a noticably different production quality. The result is something considerably more crisp and intelligeble, without loosing any of it's grit. The album starts off with the bang of "Strangle Knot", once again channeling some Pavement instrumentation. One of my favorite later tracks of theirs is Water Torture, which is brilliant in it's refined aggression,as well as it's ability to position the listener in the scene. The title track is also beautiful- if nothing else, an appropriate, if unanticipated, sign-off to a career.
And then, ya know...Nothing. The Dunedin scene remained for several years, but Flying Nun all but dissolved, leaving behind a legacy which seemed to perfectly encapsulate a time and place. To me, the reexamination is somewhat like looking back on my childhood, feeling nostalgia for a time which might not even have existed. But then I hear those familiar chords of "Flowers" and remember that it was very, very real. More real than I can comprehend.
Chug - Flowers
Saturday, December 19, 2009
------Owen Pallet ditches the Final Fantasy moniker, claiming that he's cognizant of copyright infringement. He's the only one.
------Spencer Krug's solo side project Moonface releases a new album: Dreamland Ep: marimba and shit drums. It will be out in stores on January 26th, but you can pay what you want for a digital copy on his website.
The Daily Telegraph showcases the work of David Nordahl, who created a beautiful series of portraits commissioned by the King of Pop before his death. They are fantastically lifelike and exactly what you'd expect.
New video from Jessica 6:
Recognize those vocals? They belong to m to f vixen Nomi Ruiz, who sang for Hercules and Love Affair on the "Hercules Theme". Jessica 6 is incidentally comprised of several other H&LA members. Although gender is irrelevant to questions of talent in the world of music, Nomi's grasp on vocal as well as sexual identity is stunning, and this video (sex aside) is absolutely beautifully directed. Add cutting edge technology to the sensuality of 80's-era Madonna and En Vogue videos, and you might have something close to this.
New video from Freeway and Jake 1:
In the latest release from Rhymesayers, Freeway gives you advice on how to survive in the hood. I suggest you take notes.
The Stimulus Package will drop in stores on February 16th. See the Rhymesayers page for more info.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I wanted to wait until the year 2009 was just about up to start posting top [insert whatever here] lists, because it confused me that some sites rolled theirs out in October *cough*. it's entirely possible a stunning track might pop up in the next week, and if that's the case amendments will be made to the current list.
add salt will not be expounding on defenses for these songs, because I really don't have the energy and I assume you, like me, really just want to listen to some sweet jamz. further amorous mouth-prose will accompany my top albums list, which I will hopefully finish some time next week.
**as a sidenote, the three videos included here are my favorite videos of the year. they enhance the already beautiful themes of their respective songs.
1. Animal Collective - My Girls
2. The Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is The Move
3. Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks
4. Neon Indian - Deadbeat Summer
5. HEALTH - Die Slow
6. tUnE-YaRdS - Hatari
7. Here We Go Magic - Fangela
8. Raekwon - House of Flying Daggers
9. Animal Collective - What Would I Want? Sky
10. Basement Jaxx - Raindrops
11. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Young Adult Friction
12. The xx - Crystallized
13. El Perro Del Mar - Change Of Heart
14. Nite Jewel - What Did He Say
15. YACHT - Psychic City
16. St. Vincent - An Actor Out of Work
17. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Hysteric
18. Fever Ray - When I Grow Up
19. Washed Out - Feel It All Around Yourself
20. Grizzly Bear - While You Wait For the Others
21. Memory Cassette - Asleep At A Party
22. Bon Iver - Blood Bank
23. The Filthy Dukes - This Rhythm
24. Bear in Heaven - Lovesick Teenagers
25. Gold Panda - Quitters Raga
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
New York electro-pop duo tears it down and builds it back up again. S'got vocoder stylings like Animal Collective circa Strawberry Jam and a funk beat that Apes and Androids might have engineered. But it's neither. It's Phantogram.
Phantogram - Running From the Cops
If I had a nickle for every intrinsically "sweet" song on my iTunes, well...I wouldn't have too many nickles. London's The High Wire made the cut. In fact, I haven't heard a track from these guys that I haven't been pleased with or *gasp*, excited about. The High Wire. Not your momma's MGMT...? Or maybe so. Maybe your momma's My Bloody Valentine, with intelligible lyrics.
The High Wire - Leave Me In Love
agreeable, aromatic, delectable, full-flavored, tasty. these are all synonyms for the word "savory". they are also, interestingly enough, synonyms for Small Black, lo-fi purveyors from Brooklyn. all i really know about them is that several of the bandmates play in several other bands and somehow they got Ernest Greene to remix this track. and you know how i love Ernest Greene. savor it.
Small Black - Despicable Dogs (Washed Out Remix)
we're going to the beeeaach again!
that's pretty much the best way to describe "Time". cut/print.
Beach Fossils - Time
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
last month we heard from MillionYoung (Mike Diaz)after the release of his undeniably chill single "Chlorophyl", which had something of a Radiohead flavor to it. his new offering, "Cynthia", relays a shimmery optimism which pairs it with similar no-fi/glo-fi year-end offerings.
download MillionYoung's Sunndreamm EP here for free!
MillionYoung - Cynthia
Elliott Smith is the new Tupac, as far as posthumous releases go. this "new" track from Smith, "Cecilia/Amanda" was recorded in 1997, sounds like it was mastered around 2005, and celebrates the re-release of Roman Candle and Basement on a Hill on Kill Rock Stars (who will subsequently have his entire catalog sans XO and Figure 8). check out all the details on the KRS site.
Elliott Smith - Cecilia/Amanda
I know that this is the aesthetic nowadays (see Nite Jewel's video for "Artificial Intelligence"), but this video could probably benefit from being a little less apparently artsy. the resulting feel is more public access television than vintage. nevertheless, "Belong" is a beautiful song. check out the vid below and see what you think.
Monday, December 14, 2009
"Coastal Brake", the newest single from San-Francisco electronic manipulator Tycho, is a day walking along the beach...a starry night beneath palm trees...the sounds of the tide and a soft breeze.
what strikes me about this track is it's consistency. there are layers, to be sure, but an acknowledgment of the concrete as well as the intangible remains. like watching the ocean floor ripple from above the surface of the waves.
Tycho will release his first full length album for Ghostly International next year.
Tycho - Coastal Brake
Lindstrøm & Christabelle (formerly Solale) dropped a new album that I can't wait to get my hands on. Real Life Is No Cool will be released on January 19th, 2010 by Smalltown Supersound. check out their first single, "Baby Can't Stop", below. remember that sick Mylo remix "Doctor Pressure"? this is a bit like that, but more awesome.
Lindstrøm & Christabelle - Baby Can't Stop
Sasquatch! - The Gorge Amphitheatre, George, Washington
long-time indie music darlings Pavement have been confirmed for one of Sasquatch!'s headlining spots, the first piece of concrete buzz circulating the interwebs. Pavement's reunion tour will include Europe and New York, although I think a west-coast tour is presumably inevitable.
the Sasquatch! complete line-up is slated to be released on February 16th and special discount three-day passes for the event are already on sale on Sasquatch's website.
Coachella - The Empire Polo Fields, Indio, California
although no bands have been confirmed by coachella.com as of yet, it's widely rumored that Muse will headline for one of the three days. the Coachella 2004 veterans have been scheduling dates for a U.S. tour in spring and European tour in summer which will include two Wembley Stadium performances.
other headlining rumors include Pavement and the rather odd suggestion of The Rolling Stones. my predictions (,and these are only predictions,) for other acts include The xx, Girls and The Antlers (because they just put out new albums) and Yeasayer, Panda Bear and Hot Chip (because they'll be putting out new albums before the festival).
layaway tickets are available on Coachella's website.
Bonnaroo - Great Stage Park, Manchester, Tennessee
the summer festival has yet to announce any definite acts, and already first-tier tickets are sold out! but don't panic, there are still regularly priced presale tickets that you can buy until December 31st. then...the tickets are still normal, but...more expensive? i'm not sure what their website was talking about, but you can try to decipher it here, if you dare.
Lollapallooza - Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois
it's too early to talk about you Lolla. way too early. it's December. if you really want some details on a festival that won't be around for 8 months...i don't know. check here regularly, i guess. i'll be back in May.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
"Bits and Pieces" hails from the album Begone Dull Care, which premiered last April. the single itself marks the first video release for the Junior Boys in two years.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
figured I'd backtrack a couple of days to make note of the fabulous mix Ernest Greene produced for Platform. clocking in at a little over 20 minutes, the work is titled "The Fantastic Symphony" and is intended to walk the listener through the various stages of dreaming.
there's no appearance of the Washed Out frontman himself, but he includes a track from fellow South Carolinians Toro y Moi. other notables include the electronically adept Koushik and The Khalsa String Band, an early 70's psych-folk unit whose beautiful work is damn near impossible to find. throw in some snazzy artwork from Mark Weaver and we've got a winner.
tracklist and backstory here.
here's "Lewis Takes Action":
Hot Chip - One Life Stand (MySpace Exclusive)
Hot Chip | MySpace Music Videos
while I enjoyed their last two albums, I often find myself reminiscing about Hot Chip's awkward-sexy days of yore, circa Coming On Strong. they seem to have been captured by the nu-rave craze since, and subsequently their jams have become increasingly dancehall, an intentional move which Joe Goddard and Alexis Taylor have admitted to in interviews. but "One Life Stand" makes me rescind my longings, pleased at their progress and thankful for their continued presence in the world of music.
their fourth album, One Life Stand, is due out on Astralwerks on February 9th, 2010. fans will be pleased that European and U.S. tour dates will follow.
i assume this in an aughties-era homage to old-school funk outfits like Newcleus, so hey, welcome back to '82.
visit Stones Throw Records for more great ish.
"Chase the Tear" expresses the same brand of socially conscious songwriting that Portishead exhibited in Third, particularly in tracks like "Machine Gun", but here their trance-inducing synthwork seems to resemble something closer to krautrock than trip-hop. it would not be a stretch to mention that you could, if so inclined, dance to it.
visit the Amnesty International website for more information on making a contribution. or Portishead's site to get the goods directly.
Friday, December 11, 2009
this is what you get when Johnny Jewel and Nate Walker (of Chromatics fame) find singer Megan Louise in Montreal. they've recently released an EP, II, under the name Desire. call it what you want - lazy electro-disco...italo-funk...another chick with a roland. i dig.
while we're on the subject of how much better Italians can do it, let's talk Pink Stallone, who just released a 12" called The Six.
you can check out the s/t single from that 12" on their myspace. it reminds me of a grittier Laughing Light of Plenty infused with the Ghostbusters movie soundtrack.
can't find any you-tubage from them yet. but here's a remix of "Obsessions" they did for Marina & The Diamonds. appropriate. classy.
buy work from both artists here.
you know. like the Crocodiles is doin.
i won't define it. either way we're going surfing.
this is "The Sun is Out":
In the wake of The Mars Volta's disappointing release, Octahedron, earlier this year, the always prolific Omar Rodriguez-Lopez debuts yet another solo album. Unlike the often down-tempo Se Dice Bisonte, No Buffalo, the sounds of which conjured an image of a well-worn Mars Volta cassette warping after frequent play, Xenophanes sounds like a matter-of-fact Volta release: some extra tracks that might have gotten lost in the move between Deloused and Frances.
That being said, Xenophanes is neither Deloused nor Frances. I wouldn't include it in my top 5 Rodriguez-Lopez efforts, as his production, generally crisp, seems cloudy at intervals. And if you aren't the same caliber of Mars Volta taste-saveror that I am (that is, a lover of space noises and extensive psychedelia), I would steer clear altogether. For you, (that hater of space noises and extensive psychedelia) your only saving grace may be that the jams you loathe so much hover around the 4 minute mark on this album.
The reasons for Bixler-Zavala Rodriguez-Lopez cult fandom has presumably as much to do with their musical sensibility as it does with their penchant to weave into their albums garnered knowledge of the obscure and arcane. Here the album title is presumably a reference to Xenophanes, the Greek poet who famously denounced the polytheistic culture of his age and state in favor of the idea of God as the earth. Interestingly, he also criticized the idea of a heavenly transference of attributes from God to man, attesting that humans narcissistically transposed their own cultural and physical characteristics onto their deities.
As for the relateability of Xenophanes' pantheistic assertions to Rodriguez-Lopez's work, I can only guess, for the rather annoying reason that I don't speak enough Spanish to decipher most of the album's lyrics. That may also be why I was less absorbed into the end product, and less enamored with an artist who I'm often quite enamored with.
Hey, love your art workz tho.
Notable tracks: "Ojo al Cristo de Plata", "Desarraigo"
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
this is one of the best effing things i've seen in awhile: XLR8R's documentation of collaberative savvy. Nite Jewel and Dam-Funk meet up, chat about the L.A. skyline and proceed to produce a stellar jam in what appears to be two days. cameos include...Peanut Butter Wolf? yeah.
check out the finished product here.
so let's get to it.
today's featured artist is Barcelona-based Al Lindrum & His Magic Hat. "Come Together" produces a vibe that's true to it's name, conjuring montages of shared adventures with strangers in locales both rural and urban. the "Hide & Seek" remix by Unkle Ho is a winner - high potential for heavy dance floor rotation with that bass-infused jazz i know you heavy cats dig so much.
Al Lindrum & His Magic Hat - Come Together / Hide & Seek EP by UrbanWorld Records
the Come Together/Hide & Seek EP is out NOW on UrbanWorld Records. buy here.