Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Strange Weather Isn't It? out now on Warp!

Who's excited?


!!! - The Most Certain Sure
!!! - Even Judas Gave Jesus a Kiss
!!! - AM/FM

Buy now, here!!

new tracks from Celebration...

Celebration hail from Baltimore and make tribal/psychedelic music evocative of indigenous societies, notably Africa and the islands. Previously signed to 4AD, they've recently switched labels to Friends Records, and will be releasing Hello Paradise this winter, their first physical release since 2007.

Celebration - Hands Off My Gold

Celebration - Shelter

Additionally, they've started up this, the Electric Tarot project, where they pair their songs with arcane visual representations. New track = new card, so in effect, they build a new deck. According to their website, "Major Arcana will be studio recordings, Minor Arcana will be soundscape home recordings and Court cards will be Celebration videos. These virtual cards will be laid on full, new moon and high holidays". Clicking on the "deck" is an interactive, free-form divination exercise. Great concept!

More info on Celebration's myspace.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

recent discovery: John Surman

John Surman began his career in England in the late 60's, playing baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone and clarinet under jazz bandleaders. In 1968 he recorded his first solo album, and started playing with the concept of modal jazz, which is an unconventional branch of jazz utilizing improvisation to riff on standard chord changes.

In 1972 he recorded the album Westering Home, where he expanded his repertoire to include synthesizers, and where, when reading his biography, my interest piqued. Of course, in '72 synthesizers had had a good 30 years in which to evolve and become integrated into contemporary music. But it seemed such a pleasing, simple merger: jazz, which is ostensibly "American Music" and the synthesizer, a European instrument. Since he also used European folk as the basis for his earlier albums, there is an expansive aural dimension in his work, one which tangibly integrates past and present, time and timelessness, a sense of being neither here nor there...or both at once.

This track is from his 1979 album, Upon Refection, where he used overdubbing as his creative process:

Each one of Surman's songs serves as a novella, relying heavily on modal jazz principles for conveyance. Quite probably the reason why his atmospherics are so all-encompassing is because he has the freedom to improvise within his own framework. I think it has a rather existentialist feel, and this is probably why Mirrormask, Twin Peaks, and Terry Gilliam come to mind.

Here's one extra, a glimpse of his evolving stylings in his 1987 album, Private Reflections...

John Surman - Roundelay

John Surman has an extensive discography and put out an album as recently as last year. He also writes for film scores. Visit his website for more.

Monday, August 23, 2010

new track from Truman Peyote, "Turn Into Feathers"...

The new single from Truman Peyote feels like this:

Truman Peyote - Turn Into Feathers feat. Emily Reo

Compared to Truman Peyote's previous releases, "Turn Into Feathers" seems downright pop-timistic. This might have something to do with Emily Reo, whose sleepy shoegaze appears to have mellowed out the frantic, at times ominous musings of the boys from Jamaica Plain. I noticed, while perusing her myspace, that she's also recorded a track with the mysterious Philip Seymour Hoffman. Looking forward to hearing more of her work in the near, you can try this out.

previously from Truman Peyote:

Truman Peyote - New Wife, New Life
Truman Peyote - Sidewalk Sludging (Airbud)

More information on this release is available on Post Records.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

new track from Small Black, "Photojournalist"...

Small Black has upped the anti with their latest single, deviating from their standard descriptors (shoegaze, tape music) by adding hazy synths to the mix. The result is a song which packs such an atypical punch that it can hardly be considered lo-fi fare.

Small Black - Photojournalist

If you must use the moniker of chillwave to describe "Photojournalist"...well, just don't. As "chill" as chillwave has become, it implies something stylistically trite. Maybe even lazy. Or worse, to combine the aforementioned adjectives, "lite", which to me carries all the connotations of a bad beer or a child whose parents have yet to invest in Hooked on Phonics. So just start shying away from that label right now.

Small Black's charm lies in their affinity to create great beats which would be perfect for the dance floor if their fanbase wasn't so goddamn high. Their instruments might be awash in reverb, but at least it's not drowned in hiss (a style which works for about three artists out there right now, and only three), and this move of pairing reverb with a strong cadence makes them as likeable to Ghostly fans as Jagjaguwar fans. Incidentally, their forthcoming album, New Chain, is due out October 26th on Jagjaguwar, following last April's self-titled EP release. Until then, I'll be trying to insinuate new genres into the cultural lexicon, like "laxcore".

previously from Small Black:

Small Black - Despicable Dogs
Small Black - Bad Lover

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Here We Go Magic cover Neon Indian's "Terminally Chill"...

add salt can't spend too much time with you today, cause' add salt's got cake in the fridge that's overdue for eating. So I brought a snack to share with you bloglings while I enjoy mine : Here We Go Magic's cover of Neon Indian's 2009 summer jam, "Terminally Chill". Luke Temple and the gang make this track their own with acoustic guitar, organic percussion and the liberal use of keyboards which remind me a bit of Juana Molina's "folktronica" circa Son. Nom nom nom.

Here We Go Magic - Terminally Chill (Neon Indian Cover)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

new track from Dreamend, "Magnesium Light"...

When Ryan Graveface isn't running the Chicago-based Graveface Records or playing guitar for Black Moth Super Rainbow, he's crafting songs for Dreamend, a largely solo effort featuring a rotating cast of musicians. On Dreamend's latest album, So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite, Graveface worked with The Appleseed Cast to produce a manic though queerly uplifting concept album about the thoughts and deeds of a serial killer. It's fabulous. Largely banjo-centric, but featuring appearances from the glockenspiel, bells, piano and organ, SIAMBBB's composition lends itself to a walk through the forest, and its honest lyricism to a night of soul-searching. Check out "Magnesium Light" to see what I mean..

Dreamend - Magnesium Light

So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite is out now. More information at Graveface Records.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

...Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a pseudo review...

Let's talk a little bit about Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Edgar Wright's film adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novel series, which manages to capture and condense all of my pop-culture loves into one glorious package.

Last week I verbalized that cinema had yet to accurately capture the excitement and scope of contemporary music. Barring documentaries, I was skeptical that a script could be written about music without smart-ass dialogue and self-important posturing. That being said, Scott Pilgrim is not solely about music, and it helps that the plot is more complex than a few record-store douchebags naming their top tens and bitching about how hard love is (if you caught the references you win the prize).

What else is there then, you ask? Well, there's an authentic love story reinforcing the bulk of the film: one which showcases adolescent mistakes and triumphs in all of their idiocy. Everyone shares a little bit of the blame and everyone learns a little something in the end, which is generally how love goes, excepting, perhaps, the cathartic experience of pulling a flaming sword out of your chest while an announcer proclaims that you've achieved the "Power of Self-Respect".

Which brings me to the second part of the awesome: ubiquitous 8-bit video game references. This is great for anyone who's ever played an 8-bit video game, or anyone who's ever viewed their life as an evolving organism in tandem with technology, or anyone who's ever felt nostalgic about anything. I'm guessing that's about 98% us. The idea of film-as-gaming-platform allows for a slew of clever battle sequences that any joy-stick user would appreciate, meshing kung fu and dance-offs to entertain Street Fighter and DDR fans alike.

So, no, Scott Pilgrim is not only about music. But music plays an integral role, and it is showcased as its own entity. Scott is part of a band called Sex Bob-omb. Of the 7 Evil Exes he must challenge to win his love, 2 exes (really 1 ex and 2 twins considered as 1) are in bands, and still another is an industry mogul. As you can imagine, there are quite a few songs being performed throughout the duration, and with all the opportunities for tasty jams it was important that the soundtrack composers knew what they were doing. This is probably why half the soundtrack was written or performed by Broken Social Scene and Beck, a move which puts the project on good footing immediately.

All of Sex Bob-oms' guitar-driven thrash anthems were written by Beck, lending legitimacy to their on-screen personas. He also contributes "Ramona", a string-laden ballad which - and I'm sure I'm the upteenth person to say it now - rings of a lost Sea Change outtake.

Beck - Ramona

Broken Social Scene - Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl

Broken Social Scene provide their own ballad, "Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl" (beautiful, listed above), and composed two others for Crash and The Boys entitled "I Am So Sad, So Very, Very Sad" and "We Hate You Please Die". These songs please me.

Crash and the Boys (Broken Social Scene)- "I'm So Sad, So Very, Very, Sad"

"We Hate You Please Die" clocks in at 59 seconds, in case you were interested.

Probably the album's most widely publicized track was written by Metric. "Black Sheep" didn't make the cut on Fantasies, but provides the perfect ambiance for Scott Pilgrim, reving up the intensity with a high octane alt-pop number.

Metric - Black Sheep

The soundtrack also features Frank Black, Blood Red Shoes (thought they were extinct), T.Rex and The Black Lips. The whole project, from visual to aural, rocks hard, which is the entire point.

If you haven't seen it already, go do. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is now in theatres. To stream the soundtrack, go here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

new track from Ducktails, "Hamilton Road"...

Matthew Mondanile, better known to the world as Ducktails, is slated for a fall release of his latest album, Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics. The LP will include this gem of a track, "Hamilton Road", which showcases Mondanile's vocals and country-inspired composition. It still sounds like a Ducktails piece, but it's one that lilts rather than thrashes, concretizing out of an ambient shell.

Ducktails - Hamilton Road

More information is available at Woodsist Records.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

new discovery: Com Truise

Com Truise is a Jersey-based artist who describes his sound as "mid-fi synth-wave, slow-motion funk". I stumbled upon his Pyragony/Tripyra EP today, completely by accident, and was quite impressed. Also impressed that his cover art features what appears to be a floppy disc.

Com Truise - Pyragony

Com Truise - Tripyra

The EP is available as a free download here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

new tracks from Miami Nights 1984...

Check these tracks from Miami Nights 1984:

Elevator Of Love

Early Summer

Miami Nights 1984 are part of the Rosso Corsa collective, which, according to their website, has one goal:

"to bring back the feeling and emotion of the 80s in a fast driven sports car"...

It might not be the cure for world hunger, polio or the hantavirus, but I think that's a pretty reasonable objective. Cause who else is gonna help? Don Johnson? He hasn't done shit since Nash Bridges.

Early Summer is out now and available here. Put on your finest white suit jacket and give it a listen.

Friday, August 6, 2010

great summer mix from Violens...

add salt is out of commission with a ridiculously asinine neck injury. Now I have the perfect excuse to listen to Violens' Summer Mixtape, which deserves such rigorous head-bobbing as is currently beyond my capacity. The free download features reworkings of Nite Jewel, Washed Out and Chairlift (their bit is fabulous), among others. It's well-worth the listen.

For more information on tracklisting and tours, visit Violens' website.