Thursday, February 25, 2010

album reviews | 2.25.10

Wolf People | Tidings

Remember back in 2005 when the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club put out Howl, and you were all "Holy shit! That's like, so authentic". And then someone handed you a copy of the Black Keys' Thickfreakness from a couple years before and you were super embarrassed because it was way bluesier, and this whole internal dialogue started and you had to wrestle with yourself about questions of authenticity and intent?

That is so weird because the same thing happened to me.

The problem, I realize in retrospect, is that "Shuffle Your Feet" and "Ain't no Easy Way" were in actuality really fun, well-written songs, regardless of their authenticity. I'm gonna say the same thing about Wolf People's Tidings. There's about a zillion throwbacks to a psychedelic culture these guys had no legitimate connection with, but the album is enjoyable enough that I'm not going to dampen the mood by bothering with the logistics. More on Jagjaguwar.

Wolf People - October Fires
Wolf People - Empty Heart

+ + + + +

Phantogram | Eyelid Movies

The much anticipated debut album from the New York duo features sweet but oft-lackluster vocals highlighted by ingeniously textured, hypnotic beats. Sounds like nothing you've heard and seems influenced by everything, and thus could be easily forgotten or three years ahead of its' time. More on Barsuk Records.

Phantogram - Turn It Off
Phantogram - As Far As I Can See

+ + + + +

Brilliant Colors | Introducing

Of all the questions I've ever asked aloud to the universe, "I wonder what would happen if the Eternal Summers adopted a Pains of Being Pure of Heart approach to songwriting?" was never one of them. And now it never will be, because Brilliant Colors beat me to the punch. And what a punch - an album filled with unabashed urgency, a fever I haven't seen from an all-girl band since Bikini Kill. The tracks are self-contained and consistent but compelling. The urge: to thrash, to be thrown into the danger of a mosh immediately. The release: a clean exit, as the tracks hover around the two minute mark. The result: a dynamic which I think will make for interesting live shows. Considering that their most prominent flaw seems to lie in borrowing a chuck of "99 Luftballons" for their song "Absolutely Everything" (note post-publish: I've just noticed that Pitchfork said the same thing), I'm interested to see where Brilliant Colors will take us after their introduction. It's an album that gives its' all, without giving it all away. More on Slumberland Records.

Brilliant Colors - English Cities
Brilliant Colors - Short Sleeves at Night

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Have One on Me out today...

Joanna Newsom's latest effort deserves a serious listen. That's not to imply that it's arduous material to digest, in fact, it's her most accessible album to date without sacrificing discourse or emotion. And voila! She has also learned to sing! Stream Have One On Me on NPR, or visit Drag City to buy. Tracklist below...

Disc 1
1. Easy
2. Have One On Me
3. 81
4. Good Intentions Paving Company
5. No Provenance
6. Baby Birch

Disc 2
1. On a Good Day
2. You And Me, Bess
3. In California
4. Jackrabbits
5. Go Long
6. Occident

Disc 3
1. Soft As Chalk
2. Esme
3. Autumn
4. Ribbon Bows
5. Kingfisher
6. Does Not Suffice

Monday, February 22, 2010

yet another iamamiwhoami vid...

...chick and a tree, yelling, ah! falling shit! more tree yelling! shack and a... barking dog! strawberries?

This iamamiwhoami case is forcing me to read alot more about flora than I had anticipated. Today's code read "Officianarum.56155" . Add that to the "Mandragora" of the last code and we get the genus and species name of a plant that you can read about here. The Mandragora officianarum is a hermaphroditic plant which, um..."prefers well drained soil". I'm not sure how much of this the artist wants us to investigate and how much we should write off as a permaculture lesson. But if it's hallucinogenics you want, just watch the video.

I thought this was Christina initially, and I suppose I'm sticking to that, mostly because everyone else in the blogosphere has been hastily changing their minds after every new post. I try to be "hip" and "with it", but I haven't seen anything yet that has altered my guess.

CAN interview, 1971

"because, to say it in a trendier way, they are progressive".

This clip of CAN in a 1971 interview on German television reeks of "progressive"; the howling, almost wounded intro, quick zoom-ins on instruments in a dusty attic (oh! is this a metaphor for the creative potential in the attic of the mind?!), even, perhaps, playing foosball in a room that looks vaguely like a mental-facility ward.

Also progressive: the band's hesitancy to "interpret their music with words". So I leave it up to you, the reader, to interpret whether the interview is badly translated, or if Irmin Schmidt is hiiiigh as a kite. My guess is, both.

new track from The New Pornographers...

...reunites the gang for a power-pop anthem which encourages you to do exactly as the title suggests.

The New Pornographers - Your Hands (Together)

From their upcoming album, Together, due May 4th on Matador.

Friday, February 19, 2010

new video for Caribou's "Odessa"...

...narrates one chicks' hazy memories utilizing David Lynch-ian imagery.

+ Caribou - Odessa

Directed By: Video Marsh
Details: Caribou's new album, Swim is due April 20th on Merge.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

new Michoacan video...

...speaks to lovers of subwoofers and e.

+Michoacan - In the Dark of the Night

Directed By: Alison Childs

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sasquatch! lineup announced

...Pavement, Massive Attack and My Morning Jacket to headline!

Full Lineup in alphabetical order:

A-Trak | Avi Buffalo | Band of Horses | Booka Shade | Boys Noize | Broken Social Scene | Brother Ali | Camera Obscura | Caribou | City and Colour | Craig Ronbinson | Cymbals Eat Guitars | Dam-Funk | Deadmau5 | Dirty Projectors | Dr. Dog | Drive-By Truckers | Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros | Fool’s Gold | Freelance Whales | Fresh Espresso | Fruit Bats | Garfunkel & Oates | Girls | The Hold Steady | Hudson Mohawke | Japandroids | Jets Overhead | Kid Cudi | Laura Marling | LCD Soundsystem | Local Natives | The Lonely Forest | The Long Winters | The Low Anthem | Luke Burbank | Massive Attack | Mayer Hawthorne | MGMT | Midlake | The Middle East | Miike Snow | Minus the Bear | Morning Teleportation | The Mountain Goats | Mumford & Sons | My Morning Jacket | Nada Surf | The National | Neon Indian | The New Pornographers | No Age | Nurses | OK Go | Passion Pit | Past Lives | Patrick Watson | Pavement | Phantogram | Portugal. The Man | Public Enemy | Quasi | Rob Riggle | Shabazz Palaces | She & Him | Simian Mobile Disco | The Tallest Man On Earth | Tegan & Sara | Telekinesis | The Temper Trap | tUnE-YaRdS | Vampire Weekend | The Very Best | Vetiver | Wale | Ween | WHY? | The xx | YACHT | Yes Giantess | DJ Z-Trip

If I seem considerably more excited about the Sasquatch! lineup than Bonnaroo or Coachella, it's because this is the festival add salt is planning to visit, and I must say, I think that Northwesterners got a better end of the deal. More acts will be added as time draws near. Visit the Sasquatch! site (which is down at the moment) for more details on tickets and etcetera.

Some trax from the artists add salt is most pumped to check out...

+LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge
+Pavement - Rattled By the Rush
+Ween - Roses Are Free
+New Pornographers - The Laws Have Changed
+Neon Indian - Terminally Chill
+Vetiver - Amerilie
+tUnE-YaRdS - Real Live Flesh
+YACHT - The Afterlife
+Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - 40 Day Dream
+Dâm-Funk - Mirrors
+Dirty Projectors - Cannibal Resource

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Entrepreneurs remix Marina & the Diamonds

Here is an Entrepreneurs remix of Marina & the Diamonds' "Mowgli's Road". You remember Marina? She's basically an alternate-reality version of Regina Spektor who isn't afraid of growing up.

But Entrepreneurs? It was the first I'd heard of them. And now that my ears are bleeding from this track it might be the last. Not. Just the beginning of a long love affair...

This is dedicated to my homegirl Monet, alias "Mowgli", whose birthday is today...

Marina & the Diamonds - Mowgli's Road (Entrepreneurs Space-Hopper Remix)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

the iamamiwhoami mystery continues...

Yet another clip has emerged...



Mandragora is a record label, though I'm skeptical as to whether it has any affiliation with this artist. It is more likely to assume that the artist has a connection to the mandrake plant, of which mandragora is its' genus name. The mystery continues...

short Kraftwerk documentary

"we know we are doing the soundtrack of the information society..."

Excellent short Kraftwerk documentary from 2001, directed by Malik Bendjelloul for Swedish TV's Pop i fokus.

"So The Tears Run Like Wine"

Interesting little clip taken from the mini-doc on the Acid Symphony Orchestra titled "So The Tears Run Like Wine". Talks a bit about the 303 (the Roland TB-303 bassline synth), of which the band uses ten.

new discovery: Baby Monster

now your beauty's upon me/ if the city spoke it would taunt me

Baby Monster is a Eugene-based duo who craft dream-pop balladry a la Washed Out and Millionyoung, cut with a bit of MGMT.

Baby Monster - Ultra Violence and Beethoven

Borrowed this track from electrorash, in a congratulatory post for Big Stereo, who is starting a 7" series and celebrating Baby Monster as its first release. You can check them out and buy here.

Baby Monster - She Comes Alive

Bonnaroo 2010 lineup announced

Dave Matthews, Stevie Wonder, Jay Z and Kings of Leon to headline...

The eclectic and somewhat schizophrenic lineup for this year's Bonnaroo contains some obvious acts (Phoenix, Damien Marley, the xx), some perplexing (the combination of Daryl Hall & Chromeo: I'm seeing a mash-up of "Rich Girl" and "Needy Girl") and some that you will no doubt remember from the Billboard Top 100 charts of 1998 (Blues Traveler, They Might Be Giants).

Check out the full lineup here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stereogum shares new video for Evan Voytas' "I Run With You, Spirit Animal"

Aptly described as "a more clean-cut Ariel Pink", Evan Voytas crafts synthy pop that no doubt shares the 8-track recording techniques of the aforementioned. See his new video for "I Run With You, Spirit Animal on Stereogum.

+Evan Voytas - I Run With You, Spirit Animal
+Evan Voytas - ASTRO

Flying Lotus, new single: Quakes

In the new single from his upcoming Cosmogramma, Flying Lotus genre-blends elements of Burial, MONO/POLY and Nintendo to make something quintessentially "L.A".

+Flying Lotus - Quakes

Cosmogramma, will be released May 4th on Warp.

Pink Stallone remix HEALTH

Here's something I missed entirely in the late months of '09: Pink Stallone's STELLAR remix of HEALTH's "Die Slow".

"Great!" you say. "Two remixes just weren't enough!"

The original, awash with epileptic seizure-inspiring guitars and a purposeful, danceable beat seems to parallel My Bloody Valentine's "Soon", and might be the closest thing to emulate that particular niche since the 80's. I have to imagine this has a hand in why so many crazy-talented, relatively unknown artists have been inspired to craft and re-craft it. Whether it's funk, electroclash or tribal you crave, there's a "Die Slow" for you.

And I've already hyped up (or at least I'm trying my very hardest to hype up) Pink Stallone. Jersey** italo-disco slash space-funk purveyors, they'll no doubt have a hand in teaching countless persons how to groove again.

+HEALTH - Die Slow (Pink Stallone Remix)

Why not check these out while you're at it?

+HEALTH - Die Slow (add salt's #5 top track of 2009!)
+HEALTH - Die Slow (Tobacco Remix)
+HEALTH - HEALTH - Die Slow (Pictureplane Remix)

**a reminder for add salt to complete it's homework...

Monday, February 8, 2010

new discovery: Bakers at Dawn

I like it sometimes, I mean it's good for a change...

Stumbled across Bakers at Dawn earlier today and fell in love with his track "Lester". There are obvious parallels to Elliott Smith's work here; lo-fi guitar work and introspective lyricism being the choicest comparisons. You should friend him on Myspace.

+Bakers at Dawn - Lester

Listen to You Must Hide Your Love Forever here.

New Young Pony Club unleashes "Chaos", not really

If four years seems like quite awhile ago to you, you're not alone. I had some trouble reconciling the reemergence of the New Young Pony Club, reminding myself that they are indeed, still quite new, despite riding that Nu Rave rainbow to fame along with such multicolored acts as The Klaxons and CSS. Their new single "Chaos", doesn't sound chaotic. The formula hasn't changed, despite the band's split from Modular. But this is a comfort: "Chaos" displays the same fun-loving nature of the NYPC you remember, and has been remixed by Rory Phillips, for extra verve. The Optimist, their follow-up to Fantastic Playroom is due March 1st. Visit their site to learn more.

+New Young Pony Club - Chaos

new track from The Radio Dept.

The second single off The Radio Dept.'s upcoming Clinging to a Scheme finds the Swedes crafting sunshine pop reminiscent of The Embassy. Naturally, the tendency to coat music with layers of sugar is nothing new these days, nor is it particularly genre-defying to sing as sweetly as possible while peppering your track with funk-lite, shoegaze-lite and even...brass section-lite? "Heaven's on Fire" seems to be curiously in sync with the "bogus capitalist process" it seeks to identify and presumably counter (not to mention the fact that it shares it's name with a KISS song which is, if not less bogus, considerably more sincere).

Catchy? Of course. Will you return for repeated listens? I did. But it's about as satisfying as an ice cream cone on the beach. That is to say, deceptively concrete. And sticky. And not nearly as filling as you hoped it would be.

+The Radio Dept - Heaven's On Fire

Clinging to a Scheme is out April 21st on Labrador.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hockey's Mind Chaos reviewed in Pitchfork...

...former members of the Johnston Center for Integrated Studies, and my fellow dorm-mates, Hockey has come a long way since playing shows around campus. They were a major catalyst in my desire to pursue music journalism, when at an early gig (the Water Polo house, for those who were there,) the crowd was so eager to dance that they broke through the floorboards. Hockey presented me with my first tangible sonic experiences, and so it was a real treat to see Pitchfork's favorable review. They will be playing Coachella this year and those in the area are strongly advised to check them out!

Here's to many more years of broken floorboards...
Hockey - Too Fake
Hockey - Song Away

Buy Mind Chaos here.

"send me out on my way, yes and open up my mind..."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

new tracks | 2.3.10

new tracks

+Malakai - Snowflake
...from the album Ugly Side of Love, available now on Domino.

+The Seven Fields of Aphelion - Grown
...from the album Periphery, out February 16th on Graveface .

+Frog Eyes - A Flower in a Glove
...from the album Paul's Tomb: A Triumph, out April 26th (UK) or 27th (US) on Dead Oceans.

+Nite Jewel - The Kamera Song, a cover of a pre-Can song? Yes.

news and newz | 2.3.10


+ Definitive Jux...hiatus...

After a decade producing and distributing fantastic fucking albums, Def Jux co-founder El-P has announced that he's stepping down from the position of Artistic Director, begging the obvious question:

What will happen to the label?

In a letter to the fans and concerned parties, El-P writes that Def Jux will be on hiatus after the completion of several upcoming projects (a remix compilation being one). His primary concerns stem from the fact that a "traditional" label in 2010 is not practically sound anymore, and he is right. Def Jux has always been unusually self-aware, and so they will close their doors, presumably until El-P revamps their mission statement or hands over creative control.

This news was personally sad for me, as Def Jux is not just my favorite hip-hop label but my favorite label period (sorry Rhymesayers). It has stood for creative integrity and diverse and credible artistry. It has produced a phenomenal body of work in a short amount of time that is generally regarded as thought provoking and a challenge to the status quo, while still decently incorporating the 5 elements.

Luckily, for now, El-P is still at the helm. In his letter to Def Jux fans he states, "I...see newer, smarter, more interesting things on the horizon for the way art and commerce intersect, and as an artist and an entrepreneur, I'm eager to see them unfold. The evolution of this industry is, in my opinion, exciting, inevitable and it would be nice to see the DEFINITIVE JUX brand be a part of it. In other words, maybe we can turn this hoopty in to a hovercraft".

His production choices being what they are (that is to say, consistent in their ingenuity), I trust Def Jux will pull a phoenix and rise out of this a more beautiful enterprise.

+ Chapterhouse to reunite for US tour...

I'm just as surprised as you, but there ya go. XLR8R broke the news that the shoegazers will be heading stateside in May, after a couple gigs in London and Japan. More info on that when more info happens...

+ Bonobo to release new album...

...Black Sands will be out March 23rd on Ninja Tune. Check out the video for "The Keeper", featuring Andreya Triana, below.

Ahh, but will Bajka make an appearance? Only time will tell.


new videos:

+ Pixeltan - Yamerarena-i


Directed By: Devin Flynn
From the album: Pixeltan EP

+ Massive Attack - Splitting the Atom

Tired of watching that promotional toreador video?

From the album: Heligoland, due out February 9th

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

news and newz | 2.2.10


+ 2 new Joanna Newsom songs stream on Drag City...

Listen to "81" and now "Good Intentions Paving Company" from Newsom's upcoming triple-album Have One on Me, due out February 23rd on Drag City. The exciting & soulful tunes showcase the lady broadening her repertoire to include more than just Renaissance fare. Stream them now.

+ required reading...

Modular's Circa 1979: Signal to Noise podmag Issue #5 - Stephen Mallinder

new albums from...

+ AFCGT | s/t
....AFCGT - Two-Legged Dog

+ Surfer Blood | Astro Coast
....Surfer Blood - Swim (To Reach the End)

+ The Magnetic Fields | Realism
....The Magnetic Fields - You Must Be Out of Your Mind

+ Beach House | Teen Dream
....Beach House - Norway

+ Delphic | Acolyte
....Delphic - Doubt


Keep yourself occupied with this for awhile. <-Psst, it's the Ghostly International Podcast Player. And it's sicccckkk.


new videos

+ Classixx - Cold Act ILL

Directed By: Tim K

+ Phantogram - Mouth Full of Diamonds

From the album: Eyelid Movies
Details: Live on KEXP in New York, The Cutting Room Studios

+ U.S. Girls - Red Ford Radio

Directed By: Jacqueline Castel & Preston Spurlock
From the album: Go Grey

Monday, February 1, 2010

brief Grammy performance recap

Performance Recap

+ Taylor Swift's piece sounded like a Miley Cyrus song performed by Hilary Duff...And then Stevie Nicks showed up, which was...weird. No disrespect to Swift intended. She did take home 4 awards, awards dictated by sales and mass advertising. It's not her fault that she's a replica of about 5 other pseudo-talented people, perfectly fitting an exploitable marketing niche. But rarely have Grammy handouts seemed so blatantly shallow.

+ Beyonce made "history" by garnering 6 awards - the most ever for a female vocalist in a Grammy sitting. And these were somewhat more deserved, in my opinion, but still displayed the ignorance of Grammy voters, who either didn't know the names of any other musicians or wanted to make up for lost time. A lot like watching Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King rape the Oscars in 2004.

+ P!nk (when did she get that exclamation point made official?) sang a yawn-tastic number wearing a trapeze outfit, flying around in what can only be described as a rudimentary Cirque de Soleil excercise. Possible WTF award winner of the night...

+It's fairly common knowledge that I don't "get" Lady Gaga, and not because she's necessarily overhyped. I just fail to see what is more remarkable about her schtick than any other big-label artist's. But I must say her Grammy performance proved to be kinda awesome, not because of the half-naked backup dancers and pyrotechnics that have become staples in most stateside award shows, but because she had the humility to sit down at a piano and share the stage with one of rock's famed showmen, and look perfectly comfortable. This soulful clip is probably the only footage of the Grammys you should be expected to sit through:

...then again, you could just as well say that songs shouldn't need spectacle to be great. And by "you" I mean "me". I say that songs shouldn't need spectacle to be great. But that's also why I don't consider the Grammys a serious indicator of anything relevant. Kept waiting for Kanye to show up and say "Ima let ya'll finish, but really, CBS in 1998 had the best Grammys OF ALL TIME."

Other winners included The Zac Brown Band (?), Jason Mraz (...), The Black Eyed Peas (%#$), Kings of Leon (!), Jay Z (fair) and the obligatory appearances by Bruce Springsteen and AC/DC.

Already bored, signing off.