June 28, 2012

Mandola Jayebe

In the past half year Mandola Jayebe has released four EPs, and in those four EPs is an incredible amount of variety, growth and display of raw talent. It becomes even more fascinating when you realize that Mandola and Jayebe are two contrasting alternate personas for Dallas-by-way-of-Kansas-City MC Jordan Brown. Mandola is his calmer, more pensive side; while Jayebe is that dude who just goes hyphy the second he's let loose on a beat. Seventeen-year-old Brown is also the son of rapper Bub from the short-lived legendary southern hip-hop group Mass 187, which also featured Lil' Troy and may ring a bell with the track "Gangsta Strut", in case merit and background are the kind of thing you use to pick what you listen to. Regardless of what gets you to listen, however; it'll be easy to hear the brilliant promise in this young rapper's constantly varying flow (versatility and adaptation show willingness to expand) and the creativity behind the interweaving of his two rap personalities. I've picked a few mp3s to preview below, but his entire catalog is available to listen and download for free at his bandcamp if you wanna go deeper down the rabbit hole. Maybe pack some loud first.

MP3:
Mandola Jayebe - Cream (prod by Chris Calor)
Mandola Jayebe - Pornication (prod by Prograham)
from the GRADual takeOVER EP
Mandola Jayebe - F.I.S.H. (prod by Bitoy Beatz)
from the Hype EP
Mandola Jayebe - Blast (prod by Stuntin Steve Austin)
from the Stay Tuned EP
Jayebe - Ancient Nebulas & Pink Dolphins
from the Heir Jordan [Banned EP]

To The Floor

I don't really know much about Birthday Sex. I know I love that poodle artwork gracing their new single. I have gathered from their facebook page that they are two people living in London. I think one is female via the vocals. I know that "To The Floor" is one of my favorite shimmery pop tracks of the year so far and will be spinning all summer long. I know my birthday is in exactly one week. I think that's enough knowing though, so let's get to listening now.

MP3: Birthday Sex - To The Floor

Tin Foiled

Halasan Bazar was one of the bands included on the very first mixtape I made for our blog, back when it was still called Get Off The Coast; suffice it to say, I'm a big fan of these here dudes and was really excited to hear that they're releasing their next album, How To Be Ever Happy, on cassette via Moon Glyph (one of our favorite tape label chums) this August. "Tin Foiled" is the first single off the album, and it's another wonderful psych-folk tapestry from the Danish quintet. Somewhere there's a large open field  it's evening, warm, and this song is playing. A couple is lying on a thick tasseled blanket in the tall weeds, surrounded by lightning bugs moving slowly through the air; they watch the sun sink and night begins to move in with just the slightest chill.

You can also check out the video for "Tin Foiled" here; it's the first in a series of 13 (one for each track on the album). 

Rust Parhelion

Szilárd is Jeremy Young, whom we found in an email, sharing his new album Rust Parhelion, recently released on Palaver Music. The concept and execution on this release are gorgeous...
"Rust Parhelion is a continuation of Szilárd's "colourpalette" loop series, featuring two side-length pieces composed for rotating loop-cycles, which adhere to strict compositional limitations, specifically 2 loops of guitar and 4 loops of field recordings each. Parhelia are phantom images of the sun, light refractions in the frozen air of the Arctic Circle. In other words, they are natural images representing what is both there and not there simultaneously. This piece depicts two temperatures of this phenomenon by utilizing the concept of rotating loop cycles. As several loops of varying length are set in motion they give the impression that the piece is moving forward, creating phantom changes in what we hear, when in fact everything is just repeating.
Despite the description of endless abortions, Rust Parhelion's is effectively a rotating sequence of engaging still-lives, rising and becoming diffuse as new repetitions anxiously jostle for preeminence, but perhaps my and the label's language risks being misleading. The jostle is delicate and the endless failing to materialize will probably tend to be unnoticed, in favor of a pleasant soak in what really is a gorgeous atmosphere, windswept and become the site of entropy, evoked by the well-shrouded sounds of metallic decay.

Buy the cassette from Palaver Press.

Magic Carpet Ride cs

A few weeks ago Heuby turned us all on to Scammers' beautiful album Magic Carpet Ride. While he mentions that the album is full of Aladdin references, he does neglect to mention that the album starts with a horn melody of "A Whole New World" on the track "Blue Satin", and not on the second track, titled "A Whole New World". You still with me? Hearing that alone is like a call to us to stick with Scammers while he shows us this new world, pulling hard at our sentimental heart strings. So now you're wondering why the hell I'm telling you about this record all over again? Well as it just so happens, the beautiful folks at Lillerne Tapes have just released the album on cassette! Celebrate and peep the opening two tracks below.

Stream/Download:
Scammers - Blue Satin
Scammers - A Whole New World
Magic Carpet Ride is available now on cassette via Lillerne, or digitally via Scammers' bandcamp.

Volfe

Thick bass and the tense staggering of drums are a constant companion on San Gabriel's Volfe EP for Los Angeles label Time No Place, though the meat of his latest is the incredible range of sounds that he manages to make cohere; the label says that Gabriel has taken a "globalist perspective . . . roping in elements of cumbia, moombahton and South African house" to make his warped and sometimes bizarre club music. Listening to this soundcloud reel of samples may make the experience even more disjointing, but you'll get a good sense of where Gabriel goes for his samples and just how much sound he's packed onto Volfe.

Stream: San Gabriel, Volfe EP (Preview) Grab the EP on Beatport.

June 27, 2012

Premiere: Fast Planet - I Want Out

Fast Planet is gearing up for their debut self-released record, Jes. While this may be their debut, the members have been playing music together for nearly ten years; though until now it's always been rock music. Now they have given in to a damp dark form of beat production, leaving the only inklings of a rock band in the vocals and at times song structure. The combination of their spacious production and highly emotional vocals creates a record that will tug hard at the heart strings and come across as refreshing all at once. It's a slow grower, letting you pick out new pieces of subtle intricacy with each listen. They've hooked us up with the premiere of "I Want Out," a song that comes across just as tragic as its title might sound. It's tough to go through that stage of realizing a relationship is coming to an end, and Fast Planet manages to fully capture that feeling without it completely breaking our hearts.

MP3: Fast Planet - I Want Out
Jes drops July 31, and you can pre-order it now via Fast Planet's bandcamp.

Paradise Shadow

Prolific French artist Jérémie Grandsenne's Paradise Shadow is a sixteen minute long continuous and beautifully spare piano composition; to relate it to another pianist we've recently covered, FAVRTSM, this work is much less spontaneous, composed along classical lines. Released on a 3" CD-R, Paradise Shadow is unfortunately sold out, but you can still check out some of the music. Here's what Tennessee psych-label Kimberly Dawn had to say about it...
Accomplished French artist Jérémie Grandsenne presents this brief piece of introspective solo piano music to get lost in. His understated playing leaves room for the listener to settle into a mood of existential wandering and reflection. No accompaniment or embellishment is needed - this is a pure statement of singularity. Presented in a numbered edition of 50 hand stamped 3" cdrs.
Update: All of Paradise Shadow is now available to stream on  Jérémie's bandcamp page.

Stream: Jérémie Grandsenne - Paradise Shadow (Excerpt)

Burger's Kitten Comp

If anyone deserves a reality show, it's the happy freaks at Burger Records. How many of us would have done the right thing if we'd found this poor kitten lost on the freeway? That is to say, gotten her the surgery she needed and worked to offset the costs by releasing a benefit mix on cassette. But indeed, if you "like" Burger on facebook, that's some of the news that may have greeted you this morning:
"BURGER'S KITTY COMP BENEFIT CASSETTE IS IN THE WORKS!!! OVER 50 UNRELEASED SONGS FROM 50 BURGER BANDS!!! We found a kitten on the freeway and she needed expensive surgery so our friends are contributing to help!!! Bands like... Beachwood Sparks, Mikal Cronin, BURNT ONES, White Mystery, The Coathangers, The Audacity, Dead Ghosts, The Resonars, Peach Kelli Pop, The Cleaners From Venus, Part Time, Devon Williams, Young Guv, Apache, Nick Nicely, John Wesley Coleman, Sea Lions, Lovely Bad Things, The Vomettes, The Pizazz, Lenguas Largas, Crystal Antlers, Ryan Adams AND WAY MORE!!!!!!! Out very soon!!!" -Burger Facebook Demon
With the expansion of Burger's catalog to its most prodigious proportions this year, the label is almost a meme for various disparate international cassette communities, with their range of offerings running the gamut from reissues with the Cleaners From Venus to the Pharcyde, an endless stream of new albums from the California punk and pop scene to editions of nearly every work from northwestern producer Beaunoise. Having said that, this isn't even the first time the label's been seen to do something really nice. Scroll down to the lower right corner of their website and you'll see that they've been supporting a Zambian child from record sales for years. Long story short, Burger rules.

Keep their website open and like them on facebook if you want to find out when this beast is ready. 

Dråpe

As a longtime shoegazer, I'm consistently on the hunt for bands that really stretch and recontextualize the sounds of the genre. Yet in 2012 when I can't kick a rock without finding someone's fuzzy bedroom jangle project, it really takes something interesting to grab my attention. Flashes of brilliance will still occasionally find me though, like an excellent discovery I recently made in the amazing Norwegian shoegaze band Dråpe. I was linked via email to the song "By Heart" from their 2011 self-titled E.P. and was looking for the full record within a minute; I literally fell in love with this at first listen. Their sunny, highly combustible take on familiar shoegaze tropes is refreshingly upbeat and reminds me a hell of a lot of one of my personal favorite E.P.'s of all time, LSD and The Search For God's wonderful self-titled 2006 release. And while that outfit may have gone the way of the dinosaur, the members of Dråpe are currently very active and have big things planned for the rest of 2012. They will be re-releasing their EP this August on Pad and Pen Records, as they continue to ready more material for an upcoming new release. If the material is anything near as good as the songs on this release, well kid, you might just end up staring some holes right through your Chuck Taylors.

Stream: Dråpe - By Heart

Dråpe will be re-released 8/27 on Pad and Pen Records.

June 26, 2012

Ancient Thing 7"

That magnificent bit of transparent matter is the Ancient Thing 7", a limited edition accompaniment to San Francisco duo Exray's' new album Trust a Robot (sorry to bombard you with apostrophes), out today on Howell's Transmitter. Here's what I said about Exray's and "Ancient Thing" when I covered them this past April...
They're so cool their band name - "Exray's" - has an apostrophe even when they're not doing something (vis a vis, an implied ellipsis) or possessing something. They're description on facebook is "with an apostrophe". Love it. To some extent, I like to connect that deliberate dissonance, this "thing" without a "thing" in spite of the apostrophe's implication, with the dystopain themes of their new album Trust a Robot and the incredible juxtaposition of experimental beats, synths that variously crunch and move songs along in symbiotic instrumental arrangements, with Bernson's almost trademark vocal tempo. Howells' description of the album references Philip K. Dick and a whole sequence of connected humanists who wrote sympathetically about darker worlds suffering in stagnant social structures. That is the disconnect; between reality and irreality, good and bad structures, and the robot they exhort you to trust - is it "Exray's" or someone else's? A free agent?
Of course in Exray's fashion the whole 7" package had to further clarify elements of that dissonance. Here a novelty format slips, square into square; it's even probably some kind of magic recycled cardboard, with eye-catchingly gorgeous cover art from San Francisco resident and snaggle-toothed genius, Richard Colman.

Stream/Download: Exray's - Ancient Thing
Grab this lathe-cut, silkscreened gem from Howell's Transmitter.

U8

Back when GOTC was just a fledgling and I was barely into my first year of blogging, I stumbled upon a blog called Chocolate Bobka. The blog, run by Michael McGregor, helped to evolve my ideals of experimental music and turned me on to some of my all-time favorites. For example, it was thanks to Bobka that I discovered Dylan Ettinger, a man who has musically and personally influenced me positively in so many ways. Over time I've gotten to know McGregor and he still constantly amazes me with his forward thinking approaches to experimentalism, seemingly willing to try anything he's unfamiliar with to know the experience. Over the past couple of years McGregor has let go of Chocolate Bobka and at the same time moved into his own musical venture under the moniker Meadowlands. Crafting  longform synthesizer based ambiance, he is essentially perfecting the genre he taught me to love. Last Fall McGregor spent a week in Neukölln, the eighth borough of Berlin, at 43 Mainzer Straße. While there he crafted thirty minutes of beautiful ambiance that he has now titled Music From Mainzer Straße, available as of today on Moon Glyph. Here we have the opening track from the tape, "U8".

Stream:
Music From Mainzer Straße is available now on cassette via Moon Glyph.

Meadowlands also had two other tapes released earlier this month; The Sounds of Skyline Blvd on Patient Sounds and Cross-sectional Studies on Exo Tapes. Cross-sectional Studies is already sold out, but I just got word that Patient Sounds still has one copy of The Sounds of Skyline Blvd left, and Tomentosa has a few copies as well. Peep the stunning full visual accompaniments for both releases below.


Video: Sharkbite Sessions - Shortcircles


Shortcircles is Matt Tammariello, a California Oaklander in good standing registered with all relevant authorities, and a recurring feature on area blog Mapzzz and in the East Bay's developing electronic scene. He's the subject of Mapzzz's most recent Sharkbite Session, a series of collaborative studio videos curated by Mapzzz editor Glenn Jackson (who you may know from James & Evander) and shot by Signal Flow, a group of Lucas Arts employees with generous hearts and top shelf equipment, so you know the values on this particular studio session series will be high. In this session, Tammariello reprises a song that appeared on both his EP with Mapzzz's own digital imprint and later on his self-titled debut with Plug Research, "Meatballs in Space", though the session doubles as an introduction to some of the most important and supportive partisans of electronic music in Oakland, with the video's shooting supported by...
a talented supporting cast including Forest Floor’s Geoff Saba on piano, Empty Pocket’s Adam Myatt on theremin and guitar, and Mapzzz’s own Glenn Jackson pushing organ chords, this video also serves as a peaceful introduction to the core of the Mapzzz crew."
Check out more Sharkbite Sessions at Mapzzz

June 25, 2012

Comic: Deus #1-5

Finally we get to present all of Craig's Deus comics so far in a real spread - a nice preview for when we print all of the things together, God willing. Thanks to Jheri, we've got everything situated in this slideshow. We're already delighted with the universe Craig is building here and we hope you've been enjoying the weekly installments we've posted so far. We've decided to keep ourselves open to different formats for posting the comics, so if you'd prefer to see larger monthly installments or an alternate presentation, we'd love your input... particularly if you like the slideshow style. In the meantime, here are the first four Deus comics as well as his latest, #5, arranged for your sequential viewing.

Deus

Tired Ghostly Town

I stole Al Scorch's hamburger down in Alabama. We were drunk, or I was, and that damned thing was just sitting for there for hours and hours in a styrofoam box. I kept looking at it, wanting it. I figured somebody ordered it when they were stoned and then they forgot. I grabbed the bag of chips when nobody was looking. All night there were these two women sitting right by the hamburger, talking. Finally they took off. I left the bun and ate the meat on the back patio of the Bottletree, greatest backstage on earth. Later, Scorch complained that someone stole it, and I confessed. He said that's the kind of thing that leads to fistfights on tour. But he would've done the same thing, he said.  

Al Scorch is from Chicago. He's been making music and touring ever since he was 18, about eight years. He spilled gravy all over himself in my car and said, "This isn't the first time I've been covered with gravy in Alabama." The left earpiece on his glasses was broken off, so his glasses sat crooked on his face. He wore a beard. In Memphis, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and in Birmingham, he stepped out on stage and stood alone and played banjo and sang with a lot of passion. Sometimes he played fast, sometimes slow and quiet. The beer was free all weekend. I thought I understood the words Scorch was singing, but then, at the end of the tour, I gave him one of my books, and he gave me a record, and I took it home and listened to it and realized I had the lyrics all wrong. The song I thought was about cancer was about a whole lot more than that. It's got a killer melody and it goes, "If there ever comes comes a great reckoning, the world will burn a dollar at a time."

Tired Ghostly Town went right into heavy rotation, an early contender for best album of the year. It's not solo like the shows I saw down in Alabama. Eleven musicians on washboard, shakers, bass, mandolin, spoons, violin, acoustic guitar, clarinet, accordion, trumpet, Hammond organ and lots of pretty singing. Scorch used to play in punk bands and you can hear that some big-city anger and muscle in this record, too. He spends a few months a year in the Deep South, writing songs. All weekend he wore a wife beater with a light blue shirt over it, sleeves rolled up. Says he's been making a living off nothing but music for the better part of the last year, though that includes a little church work. He's funny as fuck.

I spun this biscuit for my wife last night and she made me play it again. Snag it from Al Scorch his self. 

Premiere: Krusht - Everything is Beautiful

Over the past year Krusht has given to us a handful of killer EPs that always share the quality of living deep within the eternal ether. The self-titled EP was an introduction to Krusht, while the Back to the Forest EP seemed to take a more hip-hop lean to keep your trunk rattling. He just recently gave us By the Pool, an infectiously danceable EP spanning only three tracks but leaving us begging for more. So more is what Krusht gives us. As he finishes up his debut LP for AMDISCS, due out this September and titled HYPERCHILL, he has hooked us up with the album's first single. The gorgeous track art above was done by Samantha Rehark, who will also be designing the LP's art. "Everything is Beautiful" couldn't possibly have a better title. I first heard the track last week around 1am and sprung from my bed to dance around in my Batman boxers. It's just that good. The track was apparently written just after Krusht saw Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time, a movie that certainly bent and expanded my mind the first time I saw it. I guess this is our new platform to have the film shown in music schools everywhere.

Stream/Download: Krusht - Everything is Beautiful
HYPERCHILL drops this September via the stay rad homies at AMDISCS.

June 23, 2012

MSG Vinyl


You might remember Tim Wenzel from his tape as White Glove on Field Hymns Records, a ten song album of variously angsty, hilarious, and surreal pop-punk that we reviewed shortly before Get Off the Coast done got its face lifted and took the Decoder name. "Angsty, hilarious, and surreal" seem to be Tim's watchwords, as evinced by the snippet of his mullet-inducing "hip hop" in the guise of MSG that you can catch near the end of his amazing kickstarter pitch video, raising funds for an album on vinyl. His beautiful couch also seems worth mentioning. 

Here's what Wenzel says of the project...
"I was at a friends house a while ago and we started talking about things we wanted to do before we were dead. Sounds silly maybe but the first thing that came out of my mouth was this: 'I'd really like to put out a vinyl record someday'. He said 'well why don't you?' 'That's a good question', I said and it really got me thinking and determined to make it happen . . . I am super proud of the MSG record, Songs from a Gated Community, as well as the DVD 'Peak of Excitement'. I would love to have your help and support to make this goal of mine possible; putting out the recording on vinyl and releasing the DVD, both of which I have worked very long and hard on and am super, super stoked on! I feel very confident that you'll feel the same way..."
Sounds like fun. Give of your love and give of your wealth on Tim's kickstarter page.

June 22, 2012

Bleeding Gold Silkscreen

From the silkscreeners at Kaizen Collective, a commemorative 11"x14" hand silkscreened poster celebrating our friends at Bleeding Gold Records and their roster. From Bleeding Gold...
"comes with an exclusively mastered download featuring Bleeding Gold artists the notes, Tim Chaplin, ALEXROSSI (featuring a remix by Canadian shoegazers Indoor Voices), Former Babies and BG newcomers FLOWERS and SEX DREAM. Edition of 46, hand numbered by the artists. Includes digital download at purchase. Poster will be shipped in a flat, rigid mailer."
Get it from the Bleeding Gold bandcamp, where $5 will get you the digital mixtape and $10 will get you a download and the poster.

Herby Tahini Sauce

I thought we'd share a tidbit from the world of novelty homemade condiments, because how often does that get to happen on a music blog? This morning experimental lo-fi musician Kamal Rasool, aka Flamingods, wrote about his Tahini based herb sauce on food blog I'm Not a Fiend, introducing fans to the first in a small line of craft sauces called Flaming Goods. Here are the ingredients...

Ingredients
1. 7ish tablespoons Tahini
2. Juice of 3 lemons
3. 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
4. Za’atar
5. Parsley
6. Salt & pepper
7. Chili flakes
8. A few sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
9. Splash of cider vinegar
While you imagine the wonders of band-made Mediterranean foods (unfortunately this one's only selling at his shows, which are restricted to the UK for now), check out Flamingods' most recent release, Away, a free album's worth of jams available on his bandcamp.

Interview: Groundislava

Sometime last year in coastal NC, I was eating at a diner and chatting with my friend John Rinka about music. And while not much of this particular conversation sticks out to me now, one thing I clearly remember was John's insistence that day that I check out this crazy L.A. producer called Groundislava. Fast forward to now and I'm really happy to say I took him up on it, because i've been stoked on this dude since first listen all those months ago. The stage name of Jasper Patterson, Groundislava blends 8-bit retro swagger with spaced out next world synths in a layered, danceable and compulsively listenable swirl of elements and style. No doubt others in the know have noticed; the quality (and slow evolution) of his music has led to some tight associations within the electronic music scene. He currently records with the excellent Friends of Friends label alongside many great artists, including fellow up-and-comer and close friend Henry Laufer, a.k.a. Shlohmo. The two are also part of the WEDIDIT collective, which includes other recent buzzed-about electronic acts such as R.L. Grime and Jonwayne.

Groundislava has a new EP, TV Dream coming out on June 26, and the short release is already starting to build a steady buzz: sites like XLR8R are giving him the nod and he was even given (albeit under a discarded EP title) a coveted shoutout in Pitchfork's Summer 2012 release guide. I recently got to talk with Jasper himself for a small chat about his new single, the (apparently ongoing) mystery of Clive Tanaka, and other things.

Critics tend to like to pigeonhole producers who use 8-bit instruments with words like "videogame" or "chiptune". Describe your musical aesthetic/style in your own words
.
I'm not a big fan this. It bugs me when I get labeled solely as an 8-bit producer. In Book of Tech and my self-titled LP I definitely used sounds that fit into that category very easily but for the most part that wasn't necessarily the intention. I more so just liked the sound of raw square and saw waves. My focus has been on powerful melody and song structure. When you work with synthesizers, soft or hardware, you can basically give that melody whatever sound you want. My new EP sounds completely different from my stuff from last year, and my LP (drops later this summer) sounds completely different from that, but the melodic characteristics and concepts are consistent throughout. I don't want to deny the influence that video games have on my music, though. Video game soundtracks in the 90s were incredible.

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

June 21, 2012

Fash Fwd: Das Monk

For the second installment of Fash Fwd I'd like to introduce you to Das Monk, an artist collective and clothing label based out of Sydney, Australia. Drawing inspiration from their "eclectic taste in music, film noir, old record covers, tribal motifs, ancient art, alchemy, the surreal and the dreamy," I've been obsessed with this label's designs for about a year now. One of the coolest things about Das Monk is that they frequently collaborate with new artists from all over the world, which in turn keeps their designs pretty fresh. Another rad factor worth checking out is their blog, which is constantly updated with great new visual and audible arts. Check out their June 2012 lookbook below and pop over here to check out all of the killer styles.

Gloss & Moss

About every other month or so the crazy Australians at New Weird Australia release a mixtape highlighting the incredible, generically focused output of the New South Wales electronic community that the group was established to champion. For their most recent aural offering, Gloss & Moss, they've partnered with their fellow nationals at Fallopian Tunes to curate a stunning and more varied compilation than typical. The first eleven tracks come from New Weird Australia's orbit and is itself one of the most compelling documents of minimal electronica I've ever heard. Fallopian Tunes picked tracks 12-22, forming a textural, no-wave contrapposto to NWA's more tightly structured offerings, though the two sets of music are inexorably bound by the bug of experimental production first expressed more formally and then unbound by the weird rhapsodies of Fallopian's partisans, like the mix's hauntingly disjointed second-to-last track from some blessed person who chose to go by the name The Roost of Auteurs Soon Eligible For Parody. Can't recommend this enough.


Update: Looks like I misread some of the release info and New Weird Australia actually selected tracks 12-22, and Fallopian Tunes 1-11. Sorry about the mix-up and thanks for pointing it out, Fano!


Download this bad boy from Fallopian Tunes, New Weird Australia, or even the Free Music Archive if you're feeling really nuts.

Pyramids

Frank Ocean has, without doubt, proven to be one of the more talented artists to make it out of the Odd Future camp. I can debate all day on how Tyler is falling off and Hodgy really is getting better, but few will argue that Frank's R&B chops are already well honed and ready for the spotlight. I'm still walking around humming "Thinking About You" daily and now Frank has dropped the nearly 10-minute epic, "Pyramids", from his upcoming debut LP with Def Jam titled Channel Orange (catch the album trailer above.) The first half of the track is packed with a dance step built on head spinning synths and neck breaking snaps & kicks. The second half is what really gets me though, as the synth lines begin to stretch out wider while Frank slows things down. Then hi-hats and a single snare drop in with a winding synth that sounds like time slowing down. My suggestion is you blast the first half just before you hit the club, party or wherever it is you go tonight, and then just put it on repeat to turn down the rest of the night when those post-2am blues come on. Frank will be on tour throughout North America next month, so stay tuned after the jump for a list of dates.

Stream/Download: Frank Ocean - Pyramids
Channel Orange drops July 17 via Def Jam Recordings.

Running

I don't think I was ever a particularly big fan of Damon Gough's music as Badly Drawn Boy, though I find myself knowing the word Bewilderbeast from the name of his well loved LP The Hour of Bewilderbeast, originally released in 2000. In this case however, Bewilderbeast is UK producer Gus Beamish-Cock, an avid and intelligent consumer of science fiction who has for the last several years released mostly tongue in cheek music (ex., Chalice of the Past), "mediated by silly concepts like gangs on second life or habbo hotel", as he puts it. His most recent release as Bewilderbeast, Running, is a more sincere concept EP, rife with the effects and tropical electronic sounds you'd expect from a sci-fi fan whose past music was "mediated by silly concepts like gangs on second life or habbo hotel" and who had just set himself to making an album about a future man's slowly dawning realization that the perfect beach he's lived on for years is actually a virtual reality pleasure world.

 
Buy Running on limited edition cassette from Airline Tapes and check out some more Bewilderbeast songs on his soundcloud.

June 20, 2012

Duchovny

MADDEN is an often-dark hip-hop/dance producer with a knack for heady, atmospheric tracks that seem to absorb the listener. He also raps, though only live audiences have had the privilege to hear it as of yet. Rory Kane is an auto-tuned R&B crooner/producer with a knack for down tempo pop in the vein of R. Kelly and auto-tune brethren T-Pain. Now the two have teamed up to form Duchovny, a project that if nothing else draws obvious influence from X-Files and Californication star David Duchovny. They just dropped their first two tracks today; remixes of Usher's "Climax" and Purity Ring's "Belispeak". And by remix I mean they basically made entirely new tracks featuring the two artists' vocals. Both tracks will likely make every dance mix I make this summer. The duo are working on an EP of original material to be released this Fall, but in the meantime have promised a string of remixes just as gorgeous as these two.

MP3:
Usher - Climax (Duchovny Remix)
Purity Ring - Belispeak (Duchovny Remix)
MADDEN - A Day oFF
MADDEN - BloodofmyBlood
Stream: Rory Kane - GOLD

Tipoff

A few months back we turned you on to the Xander Harris split 7" with Dylan Ettinger, released by Moon Glyph. Harris' track set up the explosive car chase that seemingly themes the 7", but Ettinger's track seems to take on the panicked nature of an onlooker witnessing such fiery mayhem. The frantic tones of the dizzying synths, especially when his sparse vocals warble thorugh, generate the true sense of chaos that comes with reporting such an incident. Of course, this could all just be me reading too much into that cover art. The simple fact of the matter is both tracks are amazing and it's exciting to finally get to share Ettinger's half of the split.

Stream: Dylan Ettinger - Tipoff
Previously: Xander Harris - The Driver
The Driver/Tipoff 7" is available now via Moon Glyph (at only $3 + s/h!).

Competing Paradigms Create Self-Perpetuating Myths

"...fairness for musicians is a problem that requires each of us to individually look at our own actions, values and choices and try to anticipate the consequences of our choices. I would suggest to you that, like so many other policies in our society, it is up to us individually to put pressure on our governments and private corporations to act ethically and fairly when it comes to artists rights. Not the other way around. "
So wrote University of Georgia professor David Lowery, formerly of the band Camper Van Beethoven, in response to a post on NPR's All Songs Considered blog in which a recent intern for the show attempted to illustrate from experience how little influence physical devices for encoding media had in her life. Her short post and his response emphasize once again that debates about physical vs. digital media are less about aesthetics and more about the economic models that each facilitates. Lowery is exhorting a more holistic, moral treatment of our decision-making, though I don't think the format of his response was justified by the specifics of the NPR blog post or that it was the best possible expiation he could have made for his ideas... but I'll say more about that in a second. Getting back to the economics; making digital media as gainful for musicians and artists as physical medias were able to in their heydays is still proving problematic. So, society reels at having to accommodate consumers who are unaccustomed to wealth and have been shown how to eat their cake without having to pay for it, while still dabbling in baking on the side. Today's society seems more complex than previous iterations, or is at least less apprehended for the moment, and so the needs and moralities that industry has to codify in order to survive are proportionately more complex, leaving us to linger in intellectual dissonance until the right horse gets backed by enough cash or sympathetic voices.

Having said that, I think Lowery's response was a little heavy-handed in linking his premise to the evidence. His piece plays on the idea that most of White's library was pirated, but in my experience an "11,000+" song iTunes library could fairly easily derive most of its bulk from free albums. You may have noticed a recent proliferation. NPR's intern even indicated a background in college radio, and I don't think anyone would suggest that music she acquired in that venue could be called into question. I for instance, have been a poor music writer, so I show my support how I can and some folks graciously share their music. The connection is more important, so long as it's sincere. In the context of Lowery's response to NPR, I think the dissonance comes from talking about "music" and talking about the "music industry", the latter explicitly being a regulated arena for monetizing the former. In this "day and age", as they say, the presumption should not be that any "industry" is the exclusive source for its genre of product. Music as an endeavor has a complex economy, but it only sometimes involves money. So, there should be no fundamental stigma associated with huge playlists you didn't pay for, but we tend to think that the emphasis should always be on individual agency - artists decided whether or not to join their respective "industry" and conscientious consumers that strive to support what they love happening in the industry should also be pro-active enough to support what happens outside of it. When our personal aesthetics are so neatly monetized and the "industry" becomes our primary source for aesthetic gratifaction, we end up with competing paradigms that blindly subsume real discourse into their respective narratives. The real risk is a status quo perpetuating our contemporary caricatures; pirates and hooligans, doddering executives and fresh faced start-ups. Nothing is so simple and everything is at risk, because those caricatures function as loop-holes for marketeers. The symbols and repertoire of those figures are easy to appropriate, particularly as the banality of the most lucrative pockets of the industry manage a brief standardization. 
"On a personal level, I have witnessed the impoverishment of many critically acclaimed but marginally commercial artists. In particular, two dear friends: Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse) and Vic Chestnutt. Both of these artists, despite growing global popularity, saw their incomes collapse in the last decade. There is no other explanation except for the fact that 'fans' made the unethical choice to take their music without compensating these artists."
Lowery underscores the tension between old and new paradigms by discussing two recently popular figures of famously marginal means. Their deaths were truly and profoundly tragic, but they are also graphic illustrations of a generational gap regarding the expectations that one can reasonably have of society. While a past generation saw music as a career and vocation, I have noticed members of my own generation begin to perceive their efforts as gently compromising themselves in order to advance in the industry that most prolifically represents the artistic endeavor they find most resonance in. The flipside seems to be that the old paradigm understands the new one's utility about as well as the new can identify faults in the old. Thanks to a trenchant establishment and rapid social change, philosophical and personal divergences start to fall along generational lines. One generation's learned behaviors are inhibiting the ability of the new to experiment with novel forms, because each looks to different theoretical models for composing their lives and their projects. Their is a superficial incompatibility because bad narratives construe that distinction  as "freeloaders" and "diamonds in the rough" or "exploitable outsiders". Most of the people I know with huge playlists of free music got it in exchange for other forms of advocacy.

Having said all of that, Lowery's thesis is clearly correct. Artists do deserve to be compensated for their work and music-appreciator's everywhere should consider it at least in part their responsibility to help precipitate a situation where that happens morally and efficiently. Even more critically, it should be a reminder to all of us - if one of us wins the lottery, let's leverage our winnings against the system. Man. In the meantime let's just remember, the format's aren't broken - our lives are just trying to figure out what behaviors they want to integrate, with very little external help or input. Love and be loved.

Read Lowery's original article here and the NPR post that precipitated it here.

Royal Horticultural Society

When I read the title of Dutch producer David Douglas' debut EP Royal Horticultural Society I imagine the google image search results for "royal horticultural society" gradually being thinned out by repetitions of the cover graphic above at various sizes. Names like that, you have to wonder whether or not Douglas will give the charity a run for its web metrics. That sounds too confrontational though, given Douglas' inspiration; the Scottish botanist and explorer of the same name (for whom the Douglas-fir is also named, incidentally) so the reference comes off as a pleasant sort of bourgeois allusion to the structures suggested by the RHS itself; it's order more than its purview seems to resonate in Royal Horticultural Society. Douglas himself calls it "electronic music for the mind", though the notes for the release suggest that "the greatness of nature - sublime mountain landscapes, Icelandic lupine fields, arctic coastlines, Californian fir forests" invigorates "his music", so the connection is two fold and more or less palpable in the way the release has been handled. The EP's strong conceptual link to nature themes emerges in snippets; stark drones on "Lupin Interlude", followed by the moody atmospheres of "Mauna Kea", named for the Hawaiian volcano where Douglas, the Scot, was found dead. A beautiful first release.


Stream: David Douglas, Royal Horticultural Society

Buy the album from Douglas' label Atomnation.

Video Premiere: Deep Time album teaser

A couple of years ago we were given a formal introduction to YellowFever with a self-titled 12" that collected EPs and singles dating back to 2006, released on Vivian Girls' Wild World Records. Since then the duo have decided to drop the pneumonia-influenced name for something perhaps more fitting, Deep Time, and prepped a self-titled full-length debut, due out July 10 on Hardly Art. Jennifer Moore's vocals sooth and haunt the listener all at once as she peels away pop-drenched guitar licks and beautiful organ leads. All the while drummer Adam Jones is bopping away, filling every moment with foot-moving thuds that seem to soften at times, but never wholly drop out of the track. Jones provides, hands down, some of the best drumming I've heard on any release in quite some time. The duo create infectious pop jams that never cease to impress. Check out previews of each track as well as some gorgeous graphics of the wondrous Earth in red and blue. Gorilla vs Bear recently premiered the LP's first single, so check that out below as well. In slightly related news, Deep Time's Jennifer Moore recently wrote a passionate response on Impose to an obnoxiously sexist review of Grass Widow's Internal Logic over at Vice. It's a great read and perhaps an eye opener, so check that out over here.

MP3: Deep Time - Clouds
Deep Time drops July 10 on CD & LP. Go ahead and order your copy now via Hardly Art.

June 19, 2012

Window and Wall

Back in February Mickey Davis, bka Olsen Twinns, dropped his debut EP, It's Ok Because Some People Still Love Each Other. Using constantly brilliant real instrument samples and a utility belt full of ethereal loops Olsen Twinns crafts sample-based drone that at times will have you dancing and other times will have you simply swaying with eyes closed and visions of new worlds. A full range of emotion encompasses Davis' music. He just announced his debut full-length, a limited 300 edition CD with hand screen printed covers titled Found Things, on Forged Artifacts. The first track from the album, as well as the first single released, "Window and Wall" is a dizzying number that uses hard panned loops to force your head into a side-to-side bop. When your shoulders start bouncing too, you've finally got it.

Stream: Olsen Twinns - Window and Wall

Stream/Download: Olsen Twinns - It's Ok Because Some People Still Love Each Other EP

Found Things drops July 23, but you can go ahead and pre-order your copy now via Forged Artifacts.

June 18, 2012

Oxyconteen

I've said more than enough in praises for Haleek Maul over the past several months. It's pretty obvious that I'm obsessed with the young rappers flow and lyrical prowess, not to mention his production abilities (he co-produced "Inebriated" and "Forever" and oversaw production on the rest of his EP). So it's with much excitement that we finally see the release of his debut EP, Oxyconteen, via the always rad homies at Merok. You can stream it below, or just grab the free download over here.

Stream: Haleek Maul - Oxyconteen EP

Ghostman on Second

Stroll On Records have announced their newest release, a self-titled EP from Andy Molholt, bka Laser Background, due out July 15. Heavily laced with psychedelic elements, these classic-feeling pop gems are sure to permeate right to the center of the brain. Opening track "We Trust" has managed to already be stuck in my head after only a few listens, and I'd have it no other way. The track "Pinwheels" even manages to slow things down a moment, getting a little fuzzier and more emotion bent at the same time, revealing Molholt to be as fragile as any of the rest of us. It's "Ghostman on Second", the first single released from the EP, that really gets me. The rolling percussion on building groove of the bass keep me bopping along as if my life depended on it, all the while frantically building energy. The plain and simple of it is that while Laser Background dabbles in a few genres very familiar to the blogosphere, his music constantly sounds fresh and fun. Don't sleep on this EP.

MP3: Laser Background - Ghostman on Second
The Laser Background EP is available July 15 digitally and on ltd. 100 quantity cassette. You can go ahead and grab the pre-order via Stroll On to make sure you don't miss out.

Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde

Last week Fullerton, CA record store and label Burger Records issued a 20th Anniversary Edition of The Pharcyde's debut album Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde on cassette, simultaneously with a vinyl reissue on the band's Los Angeles home-label Delicious Vinyl. I like to imagine someone at Delicious Vinyl proposed the collaboration on the spot, after walking into the shop and finding out that they were still regularly pressing tapes in batches of 250 to 500. Unfortunately now sold out, Delicious Vinyl's limited edition box set version included seven different colored 7"s in sleeves and an honest-to-God "box", a double CD, a 21" x 28", and a 120 piece jigsaw puzzle featuring the original album art.

Grab the cassette from Burger or hold out for a new run of the boxed sets from Delicious Vinyl. If you're interested in some more reading on the re-issue and the Pharcyde, check out an interview that Delicious Vinyl did with former Pharcyde-member Fatlip here

Comic: Deus #4

Now that Craig's hinted at multiple story arcs in Deus, we're going to experiment with our format a bit. Next week, expect a "recap" of the last five comics. Beginning next Monday every fifth installment will include the fifth and previous four comics in a full spread, as opposed to the hyperlink index we're including with every other installment. In this way, every fifth issue will constitute one volume. A link to the most recent volume will eventually be displayed on the right sidebar, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

In the meantime, navigate through the previous three installments with the links below...

#1 | #2 | #3

June 15, 2012

Why Are We Here?

Los Jardines de Bruselas is the recording moniker of Buenos Aires musician Ezequiel de la Parra, through which, as his label Bad Pop points out, he works heavily in the framework of pop, with some heavy production that they rightly indicate falls short of the insipidness that some "electropop" risks. That overarching pop structure, a driving beat, with Parra's freewheeling composition easily justify his name, "the Gardens of Brussels"; a huge network of famously elaborate and organized but intensely varied local parks. His new single "Why Are We Here?" comes via Bad Pop, making it Parra's first release since his debut album Floating in Dreams from early 2011.

Download Why Are We Here? from Bad Pop's bandcamp, with a remix of Floating in Dreams standout "Diamonds" by The Crystal Ship.

The Brinksman

We like English label African Apparel so much that we've got a huge interview with the company's founder in the first print issue of Decoder, where you'll be able to find out a little more about what's to like about them and discover a set of humorous, surreal t-shirts without parallel. Their newest takes its name and graphic from LA artist Cleon Peterson's show The Brinksman, shown last March through April at Guerrero Gallery in San Francisco. Peterson's recent work and the works displayed at the show depict people in states of extreme violence and breakdown. A series of black and white drawings show the "Struggle of Will" in weakness and power, these same half-naked men all colored black by mud and executing bourgeois men and ladies all in white, while a pile of furniture burns. Despite the polarizing nature of this imagery, Peterson's t-shirt for African Apparel is certainly one of their best looking. Buy them here.