May 31, 2012

Lifetime of Romance

[video by Melissa Cha]
Dylan Ettinger has always had a way of creating sonic offerings that somehow describe in full detail beautiful alien landscapes, set in galaxies far, far away. On Lifetime of Romance, however, his latest 12" release with Not Not Fun has gone far beyond just creating soundscapes. The album's opener, "Wintermute" is an absolute pop gem. It's so much more than anything we've ever come to expect from him, with him even singing a few lines at the beginning before letting it churn off into a thrillingly dark dance floor banger. Picture glitching androids twisting in loop mode on a glowing blue dance floor. And that's only the first track. From there we see Ettinger exploring his sound and instruments like never before, witnessing an intimate relationship blossom between the man and the machine. This is certainly his most fully realized release yet, leaving me just as excited for the next record as I was for this one. You can peep the video for the album opener above, and stream the closing track below. 

Stream: Dylan Ettinger - Blue and Blue Pick up a copy of Lifetime of Romance now via the fine folks at Not Not Fun.

Mixtape: Space Toast

I've been spending a lot of time on Potholes In My Blog the past few weeks, and it's definitely one of my favorite blogs out there right now. Today they posted the second in their series of instrumental mixtapes, titled Space Toast. If you're wondering if the whole mix is as lovely as that cover art above, yes it is. Bangers from the likes of Keyboard Kid, Silky Johnson, Skywlkr, Javis FauX, MF Love & more. It's a killer mix full of artists I'll be digging more into, so just go ahead, press play and enjoy.

Download: Potholes Presents: Space Toast


Though Lumens was "originally conceived as a project based around healing frequencies", their self-titled debut, the fourth release on newly founded Austin tape and vinyl imprint Holodeck Records, clearly took them elsewhere entirely - music that is ambient and generically comparable to the original concept, in some ways, but too hefty with the appearance of its own motive and meaning to be purely therapeutic. Even so, its persistent simple rhythm and the dry ringing of brass, which at times sounds so delicate as to be the result of gentle breathing through a horn, avoids the inevitable plunge into anxiety. The album's B-Side has an even more interesting complexion, with more varied instrumentation and a heavier dramatic reliance on the manipulation of specific tones, perhaps feeling a little bit more like a "healing frequency" or at least a range of frequencies abstract enough to attract unrestricted association. Either way, it's a beautiful tape with a more compositional orientation than I'd recently gotten used to with more free form ambient - a conceptual divergence that Holodeck's catalog to date and projected releases seem to underscore. 

Download the album for $2.99 at the Holodeck bandcamp or grab it on tape here. Check out some more Lumens at the band's soundcloud.

Get It Off (JSHIH's Barcelona '92 Remix)

I don't consider myself too much a fan of remixes, but every now and then there's an artist that really pushes the idea of what a remix can be. JSHIH is one such homie, having started to craft a rather incredible collection of late '90s/early 2000s R&B remixes (i.e. his amazing rework of R. Kelly's "I Wish"). His takes do more than just apply a more dance-style step or some wobble to an already complete track. JSHIH breaks down the pieces and does something more along the lines of turning every bit into samples ready to be use before injecting his own flavor on top. The most recent in this line of remixes is the hyperactive Barcelona '92 remix to Monica's "Get It Off". I think JSHIH's take on the production would make original producer Missy Elliott glow with approval, and maybe this is just the breath of life Monica needs for her comeback.

MP3: Monica - Get It Off (JSHIH's Barcelona '92 Remix)

Forest Flower Mix

I'm a fan of Ghibli. Now that we've gotten what you already know out of the way, let's talk about the less known in this killer mini-mix that Tommy Mikey just dropped on us. Ghibli spent the last month traveling to Poland, Germany and Morocco just to prove that he's got it like that. These travels inspired Forest Flower Mix; six highly danceable songs clocking in at exactly twenty-six minutes from arguably one of the most knowledgeable minds on dance music out there. But seriously, fuck arguing and let's all dance. Tracklist after the jump.

Stream/Download: Ghibli - Forest Flower Mix

Love Nest

The folks at Hands In The Dark recently teamed with NNA to drop a new jawn from Co La. Soft Power Memento continues a pattern of loop based drones that Co La has created, while also blending in a variety of new ingredients. Most notably is the bluesy horns that have been included. There are also some juked up moments to keep the Baltimore roots in tact. Our first peek at the record is the track "Love Nest", a song that somehow perfectly captures it's title. It's easy to envision champagne pouring slowly from the bottle, slowly filling the glass of an attractive woman eating take-out Chinese in a silk robe. It's easy to see a charming gentleman, all sharpened up in his finest blazer/turtleneck combo, attempting to work up the courage to so much as kiss her. Regardless of what you see, this is an easy one to fall in love with.

Stream: Co La - Love Nest
Soft Power Memento drops June 5; grab the tape via NNA or the CD via Hands In the Dark.

May 30, 2012

Premiere: Nitemoves - Tertre Rouge

Last Fall I got to see Active Child and Com Truise play my favorite show in recent memory. I also got to hang out with the two groups for a short while after the show, which  is when I first got to know Com Truise & Tycho drummer Rory O'Connor. Since then I've kept up constant contact with Rory through weed photos on Instagram, random images on Facebook, and an agreement that Decoder's photographer, Audrey, could totally be the chick from The Ring (we love you Audrey!) Rory also has a solo project called Nitemoves, though, that I want to share with you now. Last week Moodgadget released Longlines, the debut full-length from Nitemoves. It is every bit the sci-fi odyssey I expected from Rory; but also so much more, with roaring drums loops and moody winding samples that seem to branch into various realms of dance and hip hop throughout the album. Still, despite the variety, everything works tremendously as a whole, making Longlines an early front runner on my favorite albums of 2012 list and proving Nitemoves to be a true "sound designer."

MP3: Nitemoves - Tertre Rouge
You can stream Longlines in full and snag it digitally via Moodgadget.

Untitled Rose Column #2: Suzi Analogue

It was a little over a year ago that I first stumbled upon the enigma that is Suzi Analogue and after one listen to her incredible NNXTAPE, I was hooked.  Her choices of samples for that tape were fantastic, from Lone and Black Milk to P.U.D.G.E. and Prefuse 73. The range was impressive enough, but the way she put everything together and added her own tricks and style to make such a massive, cohesive statement was what really sang. Well, that and her incredible voice. It's shocking to me that this 24 year-old Philly producer's name isn't on everyone's lips right now.

Digitally digging through Analogue's back catalog is like time traveling through space on a fluorescent rocketship. There's a million stars to pluck out of the ether, but it all comes together to paint the picture of an incredibly talented artist whose voice and focus is incredibly singular and dialed in.  Touchstones include the afrofuturism of Sun Ra or Parliament, but also the smoothness of Sade and rhythm of DJ Spooky cooked up in her own cybernetic cauldron. She's also collaborated with the likes of TOKiMONSTA (another incredibly underrated producer) and has connections to chief Afrikan Space Program Cosmonaut, Ras G.  Whether it's sub-busting synth basslines (see "Make Et (Like Sunday Morningg)"), hypnotic, swirling vocal melodies (see "Feeling That Eye"), or squashed beat exorcisms (see "Elle Dorado") - she is always adept at peeling back layer after layer, finding the most vulnerable spot for this music to infect you. It's fitting that her latest dose of Raw&B, (R)OSE (A)LWAYS (W)INS, carries the acronymn RAW with it. The robotic female voice in the title track sums it up perfectly when she says "Original music by Suzi Analogue. Tight." For sure.

For an artist who flew out of the gates with a set as great as the NNXTAPE, followed that up with her Analogue Monsta collab mixtape with TOKi, and has cemented her status in my mind as one of the most exciting hip-hop/soul/whatever producers around with (R)OSE (A)LWAYS (W)INS, I am dying to see and hear what's next because it's going to be unexpected, surely, but definitely exquisite.

Stream: Suzi Analogue - (R)OSE (A)LWAYS (W)INS

Stream: Uziklip - Jump Rope

Watch: Analogue Monsta - Time To

Hoarding Disorder

I recently fell in love with the tunes of Bristol-based dream-drone producer Ellen Davies, bka /please/. She describes her songs as "super angsty bedroom pop," and there's no denying the layers of angst and anxiety that seem to craft the tracks. The tricky thing is it doesn't come across as dark or angry, despite covering peers like Salem. Layers upon fuzzy layers build through the tracks creating a warmth that counteracts the downtrodden feeling of the performer. It's as if /please/ wants us to glimpse her thoughts, but also seeks to protect us from feeling the thoughts by burying them under luminescent sand. /please/ recently released a self-titled EP via Sewage Tapes. It's pretty short, so I'm gonna put some non-EP tracks from her soundcloud below, and you can pop over to bandcamp to listen to and download the EP for free.

/please/ - Hoarding Disorder
/please/ - Get Away  Getaway
/please/ - Skullcrush (Salem Cover)

Premiere: Man Eating Sloth - Smacked By Monkeys

Man Eating Sloth is producer Gabe McFarland; a native Virginian and a longtime bedroom producer, he's currently studying at Radford University. Considering that he's chosen to name his first proper release Schitzengigz, I'm confident that Radford is in good hands. Having said that, Schitzengigz justifies itself in more than one ways. Constructed almost entirely out of sounds manipulated from samples or made from scratch, McFarland layers elaborate looped rhythms over synths, deliberately cultivating what he calls a "jungle on the moon" vibe. It comes via Virginian label and DIY arts collective Furious Hooves, who specialize in handmade and limited edition releases - by way of illustration, their tumblr documents how they homemade a stamp for the label's logo by whittling a pair of rubber hoof prints and encircling them with ink pressed by a roller skate wheel. Good people!

MP3: Man Eating Sloth - Smacked By Monkeys
Download Schitzengigz from the Furious Hooves bandcamp.

May 29, 2012

Kickin Out Windows

For the past five-or-so months I've been stuck on the pairing of Nacho Picasso's truly DGAF, say anything for a chuckle lyrical stylings and production duo Blue Sky Black Death's mix of futuristic synths and traptastic beats and samples. In September the trio dropped For The Glory, and then in January of this year they followed it up with Lord Of The Fly. Now the third in their series of mixtapes, Exalted, has finally arrived. Oh, and it delivers. Nacho's every word hangs on him essentially doing whatever he wants and truly not caring one bit what anyone thinks. He does such a good job of it that I've become enamored with his words time and time again. I often find myself saying rappers need more features on their albums, but Exalted has only one feature (Jeremy Cross on the chorus of "4th Of July") yet I never manage to get tired of it. Part of this is due to Nacho's infectious flow, but there's no denying that BSBD's production keeps it fresher than your fridge's crisper drawer. The duo have expanded on their sound  more with Exalted, creating something that feels just bit more tremendous than the previous two releases. The samples they choose help add some organic touches to their sci-fi synth patterns. The end result is something that impresses just as much as its predecessors and manages to go off just a little harder.

MP3: Nacho Picasso - Kickin Out Windows
Head over to bandcamp to stream the whole record and cop the digital for a mere $5.


The homies at The FADER just premiered another joint from Haleek Maul's upcoming Oxyconteen EP, along with a pretty rad interview that finally reveals some aspects of where Maul's raps come from. This is probably the most intriguing track on the record, with The-Drum's production creating such a heady atmosphere that it almost feels like Maul has taken up residence in your skull and is now demanding you evacuate. I don't need to say much more on how I think this kid is the future of rap, but it's definitely cool to see The FADER recognizing such a tremendous talent too. 

MP3: Haleek Maul - 88 (prod. The-Drum)

Celebration Rock

Point anyone you know looking for life-affirming art over to Vancouver noise rock duo Japandroids, they'll love you for it. In just 36 minutes on their new album Celebration Rock, Brian King and David Prowse cut through the lethargy of indie rock in favor of something more loud and immediate. ("Celebration Rock" is an accurate title) A fantastic followup to 2009's spotty-in-places Post-Nothing, this disc is 8 tracks of the most joyous, skyward rock anthems imaginable. Album opener "The Nights of Wine and Roses" starts with literal firework smolders and bursts into life with noisy delayed guitar and survival-filled lines like "do we have anything to live for/well of course we do", with near-athletic drumming throughout. The record keeps up this grueling pace, closing with the slightly reserved "Continuous Thunder", which ends fittingly on the same fireworks the album began with. Most bands who possess the audacity to name their songs things like "Adrenaline Nightshift" and "The House That Heaven Built" could never back such grand labels up sonically; Japandroids match their track names 1:1.

Stream: Japandroids - The House That Heaven Built

Celebration Rock is out 6/5 on Polyvinyl Records.

Beatsfromthesoul / A Cold Night In Osaka

A couple of months back Detroit producer Wyldlyf dropped a brief but stellar beat tape titled Beatsfromthesoul. Had he not accidentally messaged me on facebook last night, instead of whoever the message was originally for, I'd still not know. We talked music a little and as soon as he linked me to his beats I was in love. The way the tracks build and swell with their own life almost lends to an idea that the tape should've been called Beatswithsoul. Each track is around two minutes or less, so with only four tracks on board, Beatsfromthesoul will just be seeing numerous plays from me. Somehow that just doesn't seem like enough, though; does it? Fortunately only a month prior he dropped A Cold Night In Osaka. While it's essentially no longer, the beats are just as infectious and now we've doubled out listening time. Couple that with the killer non-album release snagged from his soundcloud and we're off to a great start in listening to a killer beatsmith.

MP3: Wyldlyf - Make It

Stream/Download: Wyldlyf - Beatsfromthesoul

Stream: Wyldlyf - A Cold Night In Osaka

Video: Pusha T - Exodus 23:1

The recent uprising of beef between Pusha T and Lil Wayne is amusing to me, as I believe money might fuel this one a little more than real anger. I understand for some five years the Wayne and Pusha have had scuffles, but who cares? What can I say, I'm a skeptic. It's even more fun to look at it as "that guy guy from Clipse arguing with one of the dudes from Hot Boys." If there is a current winner at the moment, however, I'd say it's Pusha. Last Wednesday he dropped "Exodus 23:1" on us, seeming like a hit on all of Young Money's roster, and now he's dropped this dark video depicting drug and gun use in some run down neighborhoods in VA. The best part is how artistically the video stands on its own. I had to watch it a few times, but when you're done hitting 'play again,' check Wayne's lackluster response in all its less than two minutes of glory below.

Stream/Download: Lil Wayne - Goulish (prod. Swizz Beats)

In slightly related news, YMCMB's DJ Stevie J dropped the fourth in his The Appreciation mixtape series. The tape features drops from Wayne, Birdman, Tyga, Nicki Minaj and various other Young Money stars, as well as several appearances from MMG's Rick Ross, Meek Mill & Wale. A couple of killer Chief Keef remixes made the cut as well. Oh, and did I mention Mystikal even pops up on this joint? No Limit for life. Pop on over to DatPiff to grab The Appreciation Vol. 4 now.

Happy Home

Here's a great new one from rising producer Dorian Duvall, aka Onuinu. His particular brand of electro-disco hearkens to many recent influences one could mention; the woozy disco beats here remind me a bit of Starfucker as well as last year's excellent Toro y Moi record. In anticipation of his upcoming release Mirror Gazer, (as well as a sweet spot opening on tour for YACHT)  he's released "Happy Home", a bouncy, warm jam perfectly suited for the summer weather currently upon us. Relax on the porch with a mason jar of your favorite drink and vibe.

Mirror Gazer is out 8/21 on Bladen County Records.

Comic: Deus #1

Craig Howrie is a cartoonist "born and bred in the Canadian Prairie, where he remains to this day". When he's not working the ol' day job, he curates regular surrealist visual jaunts through the medium of his web comic, Cannibal Priest, so it's a particular honor for us to include him in the recent expansion we've been pulling off for Decoder. Beginning this week, expect weekly (hell yea) installments of his new comic Deus, exclusively at Decoder (though we aren't specifically trying to push the whole "branded content" kind of thing). Who knows where he'll go with this thing, but considering the impeccable layout, subject matter (sci-fi and music, oh my!), and that my wife and I got to make a cameo... well, that's probably not much enticement for you guys, but we were pretty flabbergasted. So, without further ado, the first comi-... oh, you've already seen the comic and decided to read this afterward? Case closed. Or... case open again. Maybe we can make these segments of text more about pithy synopsis. For example, "Looks like Deus broke out of captivity and we're getting some foreshadowing in a way that kind of references the focus of Decoder, ie, music. Interconnected layers of thematic influence, you ask? Damn straight. Craig could do no less." That'll do!

Normally, new comics will appear on Monday, so look for the next installment on June 4.

The Ice Choir

One of my favorite bands of the last few years was a little shoegaze/dreampop act called The Depreciation Guild. In five years they released released two stellar albums, 2006's chiptune-heavy In Her Gentle Jaws and 2011's more straight ahead Spirit Youth. While frontman Kurt Feldman dissolved the band in 2011 to focus on his gig as drummer in The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, he's back in 2012 with a new equally swooning and dreamy 80's inspired band The Ice Choir. The first single from their upcoming album Afar (out 7/31 on Underwater Peoples) is "Teletrips", a lush cut that demonstrates everything we've come to love from his oeuvre: lovely Cocteau Twins-esque melodies, production sheen and a refusal to sound "cool". With the Ice Choir, dude is once again making music that is both heartfelt and possible to share with your dad.

Stream: The Ice Choir - Teletrips:

Afar will be out July 31 on Underwater Peoples.

May 28, 2012


Shah Marg is a 22 year old producer from Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. One of the more economically productive regions of India, with its own nationally-branded film industry, which may to some extent explain the young producer's heavy interest in film music, drawing heavily on soundtracks for the guitar and drums on his Desert EP. The short four song suite is a meditation on desert-things, guitar flourishes and repetitious melodies, with their constant accompaniment - an array of percussion samples seeming to mirror the progress of a lone pilgrim in a diverse landscape, baked to a sense of false, meditative sameness by repetition and the dry gloss of distant vibrations.

MP3: Shah Marg - Ashram
Download the entire Desert EP for free via Shah Marg's bandcamp.

Yesodic Helices

Leave it to enigmatic imprint Brave Mysteries to release an experimental folk album with a pretty heavy Kabbalah reference in it - the name of the band's sixth album "Yesodic Helices" is a reference to Yesod, one of the enumerations of the divine, and a critical part of the sephirot, a visualization of those enumerations resemble a helix. Yesod, the moon, acts as a lens through which the other enumerations are reflected upon Malkuth, the character of the divine as manifest in the works of the divine. It all makes me wish I knew if the name "Rain Drinkers" hadsany comparable significance. Brave Mysteries offers some insight into the duo and their temperament:
Xavier Kraal (aka Troy Schafer, in one of his numerous musical disguises) has moved out to the country, withdrawing into family life and a myriad of solo projects and many collaborations. Joe Taylor [unknown outside of Rain Drinkers] musically focuses exclusively on Rain Drinkers and, though he has lived in the Madison [WI] area for many years now, none but Kraal have actually met him.
So the impression of a nomadic Jew (if Kraal is as much an indicator as my own name, Pavlovic, is not), synthesizing some novel mid-West Kabbalah, is perhaps not entirely unfair. Musically, Yesodic Helices is a two part sound collage, "Helix I" and "Helix II", mating guitars and drone with heavily textured backdrops, particularly organic and dynamic feeling on the second.

You can grab the album from Brave Mysteries.

Contest: Zac Nelson - Sound a Sleep Sound

Zac Nelson's whimsical ambient masterpiece Sound a Sleep Sound was released last year in a notable series of vinyl offerings from Asheville, NC's Bathetic Records, letting it slide pleasantly under the radar, waiting for everyone to finally honor their BF's advice to get that "weird album with the swan heads and four nipples". Well, we got it alright; in time for it to be one of our faves in 2011. Now, we've come by a spare copy and want to give it away. So, go like Bathetic and Decoder on facebook (here and here, respectively) and comment on this post with your email address to enter. We'll pick a winner on Friday, June 1st and ship it off as soon as we get an address - your package will probably also include a miscellaneous smattering of other vinyl we've got on hand, so get ready to groove.

Stream: Zac Nelson - Sound a Sleep Sound Preview   
If contests aren't your style, get it from Experimedia or direct from Bathetic Records.


Tryst Haunt

Tryst Haunt is a series of twelve seven-inch records that were released in seasonal sets of three over the course of a year, and it’s one of my most prized possessions. It’s like having an art fair in my record stack. A good art fair, not a kitschy one. Most of the Tryst Haunt releases are by artists from in and around Portland, Maine, some of whom have only recorded once, all of whom are too freaky and brilliant to be from a snowy town of 55,000. A few are by visiting artists, like Brooklyn’s GHQ (through which ranneth Pete Nolan of Spectre Folk and Steve Gunn of Steve Gunn) and Vollmar from the middle of Indiana, and they give the whole series a nice national context. All the packaging is handmade and numbered, each one totally unique, some covered with silkscreens of crows and giant mammals and chairs, some painted with watercolors, some with tempera, a couple have photos glued to them, another is sewn from scraps of fabric, and there’s a milky clear one with a green record inside. The music is weird and full of acoustic guitars and a wide range of vibrations. It’s fun to get wasted and listen to seven-inches. All that standing up and flipping and cleaning and sitting down intensifies the listening experience. Makes the evening feel like a three-day weekend. Tryst Haunt is night-of-the-45s as 2XLP concept comp. It’s even got a pair of locked grooves.

The Tryst Haunt gods have generously scattered out into the soundcloud a star or two from each spinner, and we’re passing that dust along to you. And way below is a video of all the covers and one of the little records going round and round. Twenty-five full sets exist on the free market. Pick one up at L’Animaux Tryst.

Stream: L'Animaux Tryst 7" Series Sampler

May 26, 2012

Turmoil in Mali

Last year, Tall Corn Music released Sababou, an incredible set of recordings from Malian musicians Jah Youssouf and his wife Bintou Coulibaly, orchestrated at the prompting of Brad Loving, aka Lobisomem. We were able to help out by premiering a track from the album on Altered Zones, way back when. Thanks to that release, Tall Corn was able to send the two and their family some proceeds from sales, but apparently the political situation in Mali has undercut their gains. Loving explains in an email he sent us this afternoon:
As many of you may know, there has been a military coup in Mali and things have gotten quite chaotic and treacherous there. Making ends meet as a musician in Mali is difficult in the best of times so you can imagine how trying things might become when the basic fabric of society starts to breaks down . . . I spoke to Jah today, and he asked if I could help him financially to try and get his family out of Mali due to the political turmoil there. I really want to believe in the power of music to help directly in people's lives so I am making a special plea to you all to raise some additional funds through the purchase his album.
To that end, Loving and Tall Corn Music are planning to divert funds from sales in order to help the family. Loving says that Tall Corn's financial portals are well established and secure ways of getting money directly to Jah, Bintou, and their family in Mali.

Jah Youssouf & Bintou Coulibaly - Faco
Jah Youssouf & Bintou Coulibaly - Folkan
Sababou is available digitally from Tall Corn's bandcamp and on vinyl from their bigcartel page. Once again, proceeds from sales are going to help Jah and his family. If you can't help, consider showing this to someone who might like their music.

Video: Samaritan - Heaven

I make it pretty obvious that I love Samuel Johnson's eye for design. I'm a long time fan and collaborator for Forty Ounce Clothing, the t-shirt label that Johnson started a few years back with fellow Londoner Dean Khalil. Johnson constantly strives to better himself and push his artwork to new limits, so I about jumped for joy when he sent over a video he recently put together for Samaritan's recent single "Heaven". The song is moody and heavy, but instead of going for immediately dark imagery Sam gives us vaguely unsettling shots that add new life to the track without losing subtlety. It's a stunningly beautiful clip for equally lovely track.

Premiere: Jukeboxer - Parenthetical Items In a Series Indicating Separation Between Units of Coordination

Before we had Brooklyn musician Noah Wall going solo as Noah Wall, he'd been doing just about the same for Absolutely Kosher Records as Jukeboxer in the early 2000s. Primarily a recording project, Jukeboxer has been kept even more obscure in the intervening years because of the infrastructure for digital distribution that Absolutely Kosher and many labels had not developed by that time. In order to have those earlier releases circulated, Wall assembled just about his entire Jukeboxer discography into a mammoth hour-and-twenty minute long and long "Box Set", which contains all of his Absolutely Kosher releases and a total of 27 tracks, all in their original order. The first album it reproduces, Learns the Alphabet, seems to explain the name. It opens with four instrumental tracks that with their "tiny guitars" and "polite beats" - as Allmusic describes his later album, In the Food Chain - leave no immediate sense of human artifice, already a departure from Héloïse, his first album as Noah Wall. Longtime collaborator Amy Jones and Noah begin singing by the fifth track, but a sense of what Wall may have had in mind remains and the frequent appearance of short acoustic instrumental segues is evocative. Though Parenthetical only claims two tracks on the collection, they are two of its longest (one appears to be a double track) and even tend to exhibit a noticeably different tone. Their sensibility is more confidently instrumental than Learns the Alphabet, with vocal samples looped in for the standout "Parenthetical Items In a Series Indicating Separation Between Units of Coordination". In the Food Chain is at once more experimental and understandably easier to connect to Noah's more recent output. It sounds like a more intellectually oblique take on Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, or Elephant Six, with headier psych-pop orchestras and huge segues into the experimentalism that animated some of their notable recordings. In any event, having said all that, we've got a couple tracks for ya.

Jukeboxer - Parenthetical Items In a Series Indicating Separation Between Units of Coordination
Jukeboxer - Banj
Download the entire collection for $3 right here.

May 25, 2012

Tape I

I'm going to describe what I'm tentatively calling the "Fuck Sam Ray" rule; anyone that covers Ricky Eat Acid has cool equivalent to that song's relative importance in Sam's discography. Rafael Grafals, who goes by FAVRTSM, covered "Sitting by the Church with Dan" and because I think I might know the Dan the song title mentions, I'm going to say FAVRTSM is really cool. Check that out here, but we're more particularly concerned with his latest, Tape I, a gripping set of eleven piano improvisations delicately laid over a delicate bed of fuzz, occasionally thundering into moments of disconsolate hiss as Grafals' activity picks up. He claims that he is "not good at piano" and "not a good song writer", but evidentally he knows enough about A) pianos and B) songs to make eleven good instances of the latter by improvising on the former, so consider this your first lo-fi piano album of the year.

FAVRTSM - Where'd it Go?
Download Tape I for free here.

Video: Golden Birthday - Start Swimming

Simply rendered 3D models always remind me of when Odo would shape shift on Deep Space Nine, reverting periodically into a reflective fluidic blob. Golden Birthday's production techniques easily evoke that era of special effects and genre of creative realization, so the reminder, sandwiched between kaleidoscoping textures, colors, and "simply rendered" scenes, is appropriate enough. The video for the band's song "Start Swimming", off their upcoming album Blue Island, comes courtesy of hyper-talented artist Ben Driggs, otherwise known for his incredible multimedia installations, and a variety of photographic and sculptural work - check out a couple pics below.

Grab Blue Island from Rainbow Body Records on June 28.

Premiere: Ditt Inre - En Värld I Brand (full EP stream)

I love Sweden. I mean, sure I've never been there, but I am so constantly smitten with the music that comes from Sweden that how could I not just love the entire country. Ditt Inre are all set to drop their debut EP, En Värld I Brand (which translates to "A World On Fire") this Tuesday via Cascine, but we've been lucky enough to snag an early stream of the whole EP just for you. Last October the duo released a video for their first single, "Jorden", and have since continued to thrill us with their brilliant brand of dreamy tunes. The easiest comparison I can think to make is that if Millionyoung had gone for dream pop over chillwave, this might've be what we'd gotten with Replicants. Bouncing synth notes flitter playfully around each other as deliberate, drawn out percussion guides some of the most soothing vocals I've heard in quite some time. The lyrics are entirely in Swedish but that doesn't stop them from warming my heart any less than normal. In a recent interview with Fake DIY the duo does mention, however, that most of their lyrics come from nostalgia; "often about social interactions and relations." It's no wonder then that the music has such a strong effect, given my obsession with not only nostalgic feelings but also with understanding nostalgia as others perceive it.

Stream: Ditt Inre - En Värld I Brand EP

MP3: Ditt Inre - Månljus (saknad)

Pre-order the En Värld I Brand EP now via iTunes.

I'm Sitting in the Room, Light is Changing

Earlier this year, we reported on a new video from the studio of electronic composer Piotr Matkowski and experimental media artist Jaga Slowinska for their project HOV, a collaborative multimedia endeavor explicitly geared towards producing videos and songs as complete realizations of their shared creative vision - that first track was called "COCO" and you can check it out here. The duo is in the midst of completing an EP, but in the meantime have conceptualized and constructed a site-specific multimedia exhibit called "I'm Sitting in the Room, Light is Changing".  For the exhebition, Matkowski and Slowinska created two rooms. The first  is kept completely dark and contains touch sensitive floors that trigger field recordings, while the second appears to be overflowing with nature, pictured below (if you didn't see it on your own). Long story short, can't wait for the EP. Get some more info on the exhibition in the interim at their website.

May 24, 2012

Close. to. you. duet

I've sang the praises of o F F Love quite a bit this year already, having become absolutely smitten with his debut LP Probably Love. Still, he continually puts out new material and I'm continually thrilled by it. He recently teamed with Butterclock to form Fantasy Music, a label/collective project that features both parties working together, though not yet as a single unit. They did come together over a stunning remix of sorts to Probably Love stand-out "Close To U, I'm Not" on Fantasy Music Mixtape #1, however. Butterclock has breathed extra energy into the track, charging up the beat and adding her own vocals to make the track more of a collaboration than anything else. The rest of the tape features some rare tracks from the two individual artists as well as another killer remix to "Close To U" from Holy Strays.

Stream: Fantasy Music - Close. to. you. duet
Order a copy of the limited edition cassette straight from the source.

Three from Ailanthus

Last week, Ailanthus Recordings dropped a few new albums, again affirming the success of their effort "to place the sound of the internet directly into your hands" - what that means in terms of the recent outpouring of "internet music", whose form suggests a particular kind of social milieu, is even a little unclear to me. Ailanthus emphasizes artistry and independence, so the flare and swagger of their latest efforts is a reminder of just how good a label whose only ambition is quality can be. 

~ Ǥ õ § ƪ õ ŵ ~ is a "self-proclaimed internet musician", according to our friend Scott at Ailanthus Recordings, who goes on to say that his "music focuses on the benefits of marijuana and how 'going slow' and taking things easy are the keys to happiness". That manifesto is tangible in his slowed and screwed computer beats and lyrical, cloud rap influenced hip-hop, full of exhortations to the lifestyle. The video above, based on "D r o w n i n g" from his new album, C☮☯L, is a good testament and is definitely going to be one of my favorite rap videos for a while. Incidentally, C☮☯L follows his album #WeedMusic. So, yea - if you have any affinity for rap, you'll want to check this out. Ailanthus assures us this is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.

Ailanthus' handling of Hleger's latest album Musical Close Encounters of a 3rd Kind (with the nose, sitting down???) is their third project with the South African solo home recorder, who has released in total fourteen full lengths in the last three years. Although this is the first time I've come across any of his material and I can't really speak to how it fits with his entire output, he's been getting some underground press for years and people talk about him in so many different ways - Ailanthus calls him a "one man vision quest" - that it's hard to get a beat on him without surveying the discography better. I'm pretty sure he made a bandcamp at some point, but there's not much help there. He's got a pretty new-ish looking soundcloud and apparently he's done a concept album based loosely around a single sample called Hleger Takes the Case!, which is enchanting and can be downloaded here. He seems to exemplify an old school punk aesthetic, which seems to be at the root of problems with how he's discussed; there's plenty of lo-fi, lyrical punk-pop on Musical Close Encounters, but even the name of the album suggests intersections and cross-connectivity, easily explaining the diversity of sounds it contains. A pop band with an incredibly abstract heart. Through an effective and sincere sounding combination of live instrumentation, loops, and samples, Hleger's music quickly has you thinking it the magical thing that his most devoted fans describe, so expansive and unique as to justify a whole mythology.

Stream: Hleger - Become a Man Like Me

Stream/Download: Hleger - Madgascar

The third, and actually the most recent, release in Ailanthus' catalog comes from Navajo punk-rockers the Discotays. Ailanthus founder Scott Michael dscribes the circumstances behind their partnering for the band's Dried Meat Jewel EP...

This one was pretty cool because we did something really special for this release. See, Discotays were going on a US Tour and were planning on coming through Pennsylvania, so since I've been throwing shows in the Johnstown and Pittsburgh area for the past 8 years, I jumped at the opportunity to bring a band I dug through the area. Just about simultaneously they let me know they wanted to get involved with Ailanthus and that they had a new EP ready. Seeing the golden opportunity in front of us, I told them yes and yes, and we set the "Discotays CD Release Show" for May 11th live in Johnstown, PA. So Ailanthus Recordings handmade several very limited and very exclusive CDRs each in brown paper cases with individualized collaging. The guys loved them and we set the digital release so that we dropped it online during their set, using a photo  taken during their set at VOMA in Johnstown, PA.
Hailing for tiny Sanostee, New Mexico, though from what I've read elsewhere I think they may have technically grown up in the confines of the Navajo Nation or very close by to it. Like me, I'm sure you've heard it's the best place to live. Ever. Bar nothing. There's nothing about their music that pegs them as particularly anything, except capable with their instruments, though I have to admit I'm more and more curious to know better how that area marks the passage of culture, its own and the rest of America's. New Mexico and the Southwest continues to produce some of the most interesting punk music I've ever heard, undoubtedly owing to its being the place to live ever. In spite of that, Discotays' no-wave tinged electronic punk is catchy and fun, but functions more interestingly as a gently angular document of the area's rich underground. 

Check out all of these releases and more over at the Ailanthus bandcamp.

I'll Adjust / ST()NE

Around the same time that Dwight, Liz and I first launched Crash Symbols, I had just stumbled on to a dark R&B act called Magic Fades that I was dying to release a tape with. I talked with them about it for a bit, but when they were ready we were just running into financial issues and things didn't pan out. The idea hasn't been re-conjured, but I still hold out hope we'll get to release with the duo. They recently dropped a split single with Veracom on Madrid-base net label Young Latitudes that has completely renewed my love for their churning syth work constantly bubbling behind heavy dance beats and soothing R&B vocals. Veracom's contribution is just as enjoyable, holding down a more ambient vibe' what you'd typically expect from the ghost of a failed technology corporation that was trapped in a keyboard.

Stream/Download: Magic Fades / Veracom split single

Elävänä Planeetalla

I can’t find any reviews of Tomutonttu’s Elävänä Planeetalla, and I’m stunned. How did this one slip by? It got a blip right before it came out, a few three-line posts about how it’s the first release from Matt Mondanile’s new label New Images, along with a stormy little Soundcloud. “Tomutonttu is a creature who looks after all the dust,” says Jan Anderzen, the Finnish man behind Tomutonttu. Shit is freaky. The cover’s a checkerboard quilt of geometric patterns drawn with colored markers on grid paper, and squares and triangles of blobular space interspersed. They pulsate on Tomutonttu’s website in perfect sync with the music, especially the info page, because it has two animations going at the same time, at slightly different speeds. I spent thirty minutes of my life listening and staring into that vortex, and it was worth double time.

Buy it now at New Images.

No Songs Tomorrow

In 1983, I went to my mom's liquor cabinet and poured a couple shots from every bottle into a glass jar, and I hid the jar on the top shelf in my closet. After dinner, when Mom was zoning out on Dallas, I would put on Killing Joke’s Fire Dances, drape a red T-shirt over my lamp, and sit with my back up against a pillow, sipping. I had no idea about U.V. Pop. This was before I discovered the Butthole Surfers, before I figured out how to inhale. It’s impossible to say for sure, but I think I would’ve liked it. I was young, and prone to closed mindedness. Yet that’s when I discovered Another Green World. If I’d heard it on one of those nights, I think I would’ve locked in. It’s softer than Killing Joke. There are acoustic guitars, and the beats seem made by machine, not a man in a sleeveless shirt with big sweaty arms. While we listened to side one my wife said “I love this” five times. She didn’t say it once while during No New York. But it’s got an edge to it, and it captures the quality of light of the 80s, that sort of neon and cathode ray, as seen through amber liquid and clear glass.

Go back and live a life you never lived at Sacred Bones.

Interview: Roomrunner

Growing up in the late 90’s/early 00’s, I flew the flag of dissonant 90’s rock. Partially because it was most of what our local rock station had to offer, and partially because all the non-Weird Al CD’s my best friend owned were noisy grunge staples like the Pumpkins and Alice in Chains. So when I first got to hear ROOMRUNNER, the loud new project from former Double Dagger/Dan Deacon Ensemble percussionist Denny Bowen, naturally I was completely stoked on them. On their fantastic new EP Super Vague, the band (comprising Bowen, guitarist Sam Garrett, drummer Bret Lanahan, and bassist Dan Frome, who produced this as well as their first S/T EP release) treat the FX-treated riff as god; over four tracks they take the screeching guitars and fuzzily jagged melodies of Clinton-era noise rock to task in a modern setting, with delicious results. Because Roomrunner exists and you can go see them live (they are playing the wonderful Hopscotch Music Festival here in NC in September) you can stop daydreaming about that 'Bleach'-era Nirvana bar gig you didn't attend in 1990.

I recently spoke with frontman Bowen about Cobainiacs, music piracy, and his upcoming beef with the Foo Fighters.

What is the origin story of Roomrunner, and what is the significance of the name itself?
I was sitting on a bunch of songs and riffs and stuff that I was "saving" for years for no real reason. After a while,it seemed to make sense to materialize these songs. I had been so busy with Double Dagger and playing in the Dan Deacon Ensemble, I never really had time. In 2010, I started to demo all these songs and gave copies to some friends to try to play. We did a few shows early in 2011 and then and have been playing out a lot more for about a year. Once Double Dagger started to slow down and eventually split, the opportunity presented itself to pursue Roomrunner as a legit band.

The word "Roomrunner" is the wasei Japanese word for "treadmill." We're all just running in place anyway.

Pop on over past the jump to read the full interview with Roomrunner.

May 23, 2012

Cascade Records Podcast #20: Stephen Farris

While we've been dealing with a stream of mixed happy and surprised reactions to our (Crash Symbols) reissue of Stephen Farris' album VHS Vision, done in 2010 under his now defunct Cosmic Sound moniker. In the spirit of bringing things up from the murky depths of the past (what will we do without 2010), we wanted to showcase another under-appreciated gem from the early stages of Farris' development, an untitled mixtape he made for the twentieth installment in French electronic label Cascade Records' ongoing podcast series. In a short accompanying interview, Farris says the mix... "is a good sketch of the things that I likes about music. Whether it's style or technical aspect, [the mix] is a short demo of tracks that have gotten me psyched within the last year or so". Its connection to the mind that made VHS Vision is immediately tangible in a whole range of VHS-friendly sounds and effects, though it's unclear exactly how much manipulation Farris submitted these tracks to. Nevertheless, the whole reportoire of hip hop and experimental approaches to beat-making that inform his music are an overwhelming presence, giving the mix an inestimably greater sense of unity and focus, unto itself, but more importantly, easy context in the sweep of Farris' whole output. So, if you're looking for a narrative explanation of VHS Vision and further insight into Farris as a producer, this will be invaluable. Moreover, it's dope. Though hip hop has to share the stage, it's also probably a bigger presence than you'd imagine, co-existing surprisingly well with frequent synth excursions, so this thing really does have something for every sensibility. Another one of the aging and exceedingly rare "one off promotional mixes" worthy of resuscitation, like the Shlohmo mix for XLR8R we were talking about earlier this month.

Download the whole mix right here.