July 31, 2012

Give Forward: Jered Dowden

In the past year Relief In Abstract has served us some astoundingly delicious tunes, bringing us killer digital releases from the likes of XXYYXX, Grant, Fortune Howl and plenty more. This past weekend the label's founders were in a terrible car accident that left co-founder Jered Dowden with several shattered bones in both his right and left leg, as well as a broken left hand. While there was no fatal damage, Dowden is now in for the difficult process of trying to learn to walk once more, after having metal rods replace several of the shattered bones in his lower half. We are beyond excited that Jered is alive and in a position to be helped, but he has a struggle ahead of him that we can all make easier, at least financially. Dowden's insurance won't cover the full expenses for surgeries, physical therapy, and various other things he will need for his recovery process, so a Give Forward page has been set up to allow anyone with a gentle heart and an extra dollar to help Jered and his family through this unfortunate situation. Our best wishes and posivibes go out to Jered, his family, and the entire Relief In Abstract crew.

Datter / Remix

Earlier this year CHLLNGR released the Datter EP on Time No Place. The EP is a dark, almost brooding maelstrom of R&B-influenced dub. It's the kind of music I love tripping shrooms to while attempting to find myself. Today Time No Place has once more teamed with CHLLNGR to release Datter / Remix. Obviously a remix EP to compliment it's original brethren, the EP features reworkings from Yalls, Bam Spacey, Lamin Fofana, Olga Bell, Coyote Clean Up and Doctor Echo. All six tracks hold true to the bass heavy, dark stylings of CHLLNGR's tunes, with sparkling glimmers of light seemingly trying to break the darkness throughout. There's certainly a bit more energy in remix EP, making it the perfect mid-summer companion to the more somber mid-winter original.

Stream/Download: CHLLNGR - Datter / Remix
If you missed the Datter EP earlier this year, head over to Kompakt.fm to get your fix.

Fantasy

Potholes Music is back with another one! In keeping theme with there astounding collection of instrumental beauties, today brings us a new EP from Choongum. I've been in love with Choongum's music for the better part of a year now. His songs always seemingly fill the heart with warmth, using sound to instill feelings of hope and wonder, and Fantasy is no exception. All four tracks burst into life with with a childlike naivety, a feeling we've all undoubtedly longed to once again have at some point. Call it music or call it therapy; Choongum is easily my favorite audio-doctor in the game right now.

Stream/Download: Choongum - Fantasy EP

Skylines

Terracotta Blue just sent over a gorgeous new EP, released early this morning as a free download. The four tracks of Skylines run through a series of ethereal blisses over slow burning beats. Vocal loops seem to bounce from one headphone to the other, never content in one channel. It's a wonderful listen that may end too soon but doesn't seem to grow tired with repeated listens.

Stream/Download: Terracotta Blue - Skylines

Heater

I listened to the first two older tracks I'm posting here, "Shannon" and "Charlotte", on Weird Canada while I downloaded my digital copy of the album (thanks to James from Pleasance Records for including the link), so even before I started listening to this guy's music I was happily expecting to "forget drum ‘n’ bass", because "this is drum ‘n’ drum". Percussion layered on percussion layered on percussion, perfect beats working in tandem with a coterie of reserved effects and minor vocal atmospheres. More than that, I knew "this guy" went by Sexy Merlin, which my positive outlook tells me is probably a good thing. Whatever's the case in that regard, "drum 'n' drum" is certainly true of these first two tracks, taken from his self-titled 7" out on Pleasance last year. Much shorter, perhaps of necessity (if they were recorded with a 7" in mind), they're also less elaborate productions than "Heater", the first single from his new 12" EP of the same name. Ten minutes long and the equation is much more complicated. Though percussion is obviously still the emphasis, synths begin to play a much bigger part in advancing the music and the "vocal atmospheres" have been turned up.

MP3s:
Sexy Merlin - Shannon
Sexy Merlin - Charlotte
Sexy Merlin - Heater
Look for the Heater 12" from Pleasance Records in September.

Re: David Lowery vs. Emily White, Pt. 1

A few months ago I stared at the cover of The 78th Morningtide by B.R. Garm and in the fine print I read, "FOR LYRICS SEND S.A.S.E. TO: "BR" c/o STRANGE MAINE 578 CONGRESS ST. PORTLAND, ME." So I did. Last week my S.A.S.E. arrived with drawings on it -- a skull melted around the return address, crescent moons and upside down pentagrams, "(FRM U 2 U)" on the back. I opened it and out fell a punk rock flyer torn in fourths and covered with lyrics, and a green sheet of paper folded in half lengthwise, like a brochure. A man named Brandon had written in ballpoint pen across the top:
Dear Joe Miller -
When I wrote 'send SASE for lyrics' I hadn't planned on including this lyric sheet, but I did, so you are the only one who wrote for lyrics. Just in case you didn't get this, here it is, plus the complete lyrics for 'The 78th Morningtime' song - know you don't have that!
This lyric sheet has a title page, like a libretto. It's the only one that exists on earth. I put it in the envelope and slid it into the record I bought off Etsy


My parents gave me my first record when I was four, along with a record player shaped like a ladybug, and from that day forward music defined me, gave my life ever-changing shape and purpose, and over the years I amassed and disposed of several large and very different collections—first records and tapes, then CDs and tapes, then MP3s that I stole and stole until music lost all its value. 


Yesterday the UPS man brought me a great big box full of records. My record store friend picked them out for me after I sent him an email that read:
I'm wondering if you'd be up for looking for used stuff that you'd recommend in:
I'd never heard a single note of any of the records in this box. I separated them into three piles, one for folkiness, another for 70s weirdness, and the third for contemporary stuff and jazz, and the new Can box set, and I put them in chronological order. Last night I listened to side one of each of the weird 70s ones. This morning I started to do the same with the folk, until my wife went into the other room and closed both doors behind her, then I put on Can. She was into it last night, though, even Hawkwind; said she wanted to lick the red vinyl. My lizard brain loves colored vinyl. It loves to listen to music it's never heard before, and my mammal mind feels happy, too, knowing that it's going to listen to it many times again, and love it, and both brains agree that it's best on great big circles that you pull out of great big squares covered with beautiful art, that you paid for, that you clean with a velvet brush and a spritz of homemade spray, and the lamplight glows in the grooves, and the diamond tip, the fleshy grooves, the dogs sprawled out and yawning, and all of that. It makes life worth living. I took a video of my fingers flipping through the stacks and sent it to my friend who picked out the records and he wrote back, "gave me chills to watch it."

July 30, 2012

Comic: Deus #10

"Looks like we made it", I intone to the tune of the Barry Manilow song of the same name... or maybe it's that Shania Twain song, "You're Still the One". For what it's worth, I know neither by choice. Having said that, Deus #10 is here! We've made it this far and we still can't even begin to imagine the scope of the universe that ever-talented Craig Howrie is building for us.

The Hopscotch Games

Last week Hopscotch Fest started up the Hopscotch Games, an Olympics tie-in that will feature tons of giveaways over the next two weeks, including free passes galore. Check out the very awesome video kick-off of the Hopscotch Games with Michael Phelps above. If you're in Wilmington today you can join today's Royal Wave event by showing up to the world's best record store, Gravity Records, and giving them your best "Royal Wave", before 2pm. They'll pick the best wave to receive two all-show passes for the weekend.

Greetings From... Spring Break Tapes!

New Year's Eve, 2011, we introduced y'all to Spring Break Tapes in one of my last posts to Get Off the Coast, recommending their cassette with Don Cash (here's the original post). While they prepare a tape with composer Ali Helnwein, who scored the New York Times' Emmy-nominated short film series Touch of Evil, they're pushing a gorgeous beat-tape: Greetings From Spring Break Tapes!, each one a lavishly custom-made package with ten individual illustrations for every contributor from label proprietor and meister collagist Joe McKay. Incidentally, some of you may be surprised to recognize that McKay's work is not entirely unfamiliar - he did the album artwork for Broken Social Scene's album Forgiveness Rock RecordThough the notion of a beat-tape predates the contributions, they started coming together after McKay was introduced to Lazloh's soon-to-be contribution "Laz" via soundcloud; he resolved immediately to have a reason to release the track. Spring Break alums Junior Pande and Don Cash were quickly introduced to the project, supplemented by a track from West Widows while he prepares a tape with the label, two from Junior Pande's fellow Toronto natives Elaquent and Sunclef, and a few others that fans of Geweih Ritual Documents may recognize from their diverse going-ons; they connected McKay with Jah Connery, Amable, and Dr. Quandary. According to McKay, getting the music together for the tape was the easiest part of this project...
"That all happened in about a week I'd say. Getting 10 guys was way easier than I thought. So then I started working on the art while they worked on tracks. It took quite a while because I made an original piece for each of them & also the cassette cover. Once that was done & I got the tapes, I decided last minute to make these envelopes by hand to package it all up in. That's proving to take the most time. The first batch of orders is going out tomorrow though." -Joe McKay
It's a steal at $7 and even then McKay says the project will run at a loss. Don't sleep on this one!


Buy Greetings From Spring Break Tapes! on limited edition cassette right here ("I sure did, son!").

July 27, 2012

Untogether

Last year, the atmospheric L.A. dreampop act Letting Up Despite Great Faults released what was easily one of my favorite EP's of 2011, the sugary sweet and upbeat Paper Crush EP. After a year in which primary songwriter Mike Lee relocated to Austin, TX from L.A to work on new music, the band is back with a new track to tickle our ears. "Visions" is the first single from the upcoming record Untogether (out October 9th) and brings much of what I loved about their last EP: hooky guitars and Blackbird Blackbird-esque sunshower vocals over propulsive drums and twee synth. Check out the track below, it's sure to soothe any existential worries you might have today.

Stream: Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Visions

Untogether is out October 9th.

I was browsing twitter this morning when I noticed a picture Venus X had posted of her in a stellar  tank-dress, featuring a more feminine version of the Misfits logo, from Gerlan Jeans. It was my first time hearing of the fashion label, so I scoped the website and almost immediately began drooling. According to Venus, Gerlan Marcel used to design for Jeremy Scott; Rye Rye can be seen rocking her designs in Rolling Stone; and she's been featured in Nylon, Teen Vogue, Elle, The Fader and more. But enough about her many merits, let's get to some designs. Check out some images from Gerlan Jeans' fall/winter 2012 lookbook below and after the jump, and pop over here to check out more from this eclectic design visionary.

July 26, 2012

Video: Living Every Dream

Late summer is near, but that doesn't mean that you need to stop compiling super rad songs for your ongoing summer mixtape. So in that spirit, peep the 90's-inspired breezy vibes (and suitably lo-fi companion video) of "Live Every Dream" from Bay Area rapper Antwon. Dude's been working with many a dope producer lately (including Decoder favorite Ryan Hemsworth) and this track, produced by BK-via-Denver producer Pictureplane, is equally worthy. The song skewers up the DNA remix of Suzanne Vega's famous pop tune "Tom's Diner," into a verified Miami 1994 cruise jam. And the Brandon Tauszik-directed video, which premiered over at Spin today, is pitch-perfect as well; all the stylistic quirks of the 90's are all at work in delicious ways here. Amusement park footage with wide pans? Check. Slow-mo choreographed dancing in urban areas? Check. Antwon rapping in the passenger's seat of a convertible while a rich white girl drives? Check check check.

Video: Antwon - Live Every Dream

Dream, Interrupted / Cosmic Island

The dudes at Potholes Music are keeping busy this week. On Tuesday they issued the first digital distribution of 2007 Grammy nominee Danny Swain's Dream, Interupted, a 23-track wonder that was previously only given a limited release in the UK. Dream, Interrupted is a smooth, soulful record of glistening beats atop warm vocal samples and orchestral samples that will make the heart swoon.

Stream: Danny Swain - Dream, Interrupted
Purchase the entire album digitally for $5 at bandcamp.

Just today Potholes dropped their third instrumental compilation. Cosmic Island is absolutely as warm and lush as the title sounds. It's the perfect compilation to bump at 3am as you blaze blunt after blunt riding up and down the boulevard. I've admittedly not heard of most of the producers on the mix, but that makes it all the more exciting how fantastic every beat is. It's also nice to see the homie Ryan Hemsworth closing things out with a woozy tribute to his broken SNES.

Stream/Download: Cosmic Island, a Potholes Music Compilation

Peak Twins / Scott and Charlene's Wedding split 12"

Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop is the lamest noun in the pop music lexicon. I see it everywhere and when I see it I know right away what it is without knowing what it is, really. A quick deep troll of the cyber pond would dredge up a "pop" in 90 percent of the posts about the new split LP by Peak Twins and Scott and Charlene's Wedding. Three pops pop up in the label's blurb alone. But I bought it anyway. It's pop. It's songy songs that make you go la la la. It's what makes you realize and understand that they feel happy sad when the sun goes down in Australia, too. I played the Scott and Charlene's Wedding side while I washed the dishes, and it was still playing when I sit back in my zero-gravity chair to write this. My wife has dashed off for a six-pack of beer and a jug of pop, so I got it going good and loud, because it's got a pinch of punk. The other side, the Peak Twins side, is heavier on the syrup, not in the sweetness sense, but in viscosity, as though the peppy poppy-ness of it is all caught up and slowed down in gloppy goo. They cover "Needles and Pins" and it's transcendent and droll all at the same time. They do the la la la part with just one la. 

If you give $16.75 to Night People, they will send you a limited edition Australian-Iowan pop art print.

July 25, 2012

The Way We Used To

Chelsea Wolfe has announced a new album titled Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs, due out October 16 on Sargent House. Yesterday NPR premiered "The Way We Used To", a track that shows us Wolfe sounding the warmest we've heard from her yet, while still retaining the beautifully haunting emotion that her voice carries. Chelsea Wolfe's music has consistently thrilled me, so I'm pretty excited to hear more from Unknown Rooms. Chelsea is hitting the road in a couple of weeks for a North American tour, which includes an August 15 stop at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro. You can catch the full list of dates after the jump.

Stream: Chelsea Wolfe - The Way We Used To
Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs drops October 16 via Sargent House.

Danny Brown to tour w/ A$AP Rocky & Schoolboy Q

[video by ScionAV]
One of my more anticipated shows for this years' Hopscotch Fest is Danny Brown. The rapper always sounds off in attack-mode and puts out such great energy that I imagine he puts on a pretty awesome show, so it's even more rad to find out he'll be back in NC two months later at The Fillmore in Charlotte while on tour with A$AP Rocky and Schoolboy Q for the LongLiveA$AP Tour. Above is Brown's video for "Grown Up", which does a whole lot better what those creepy Subway commercials try to do. You can also check out the video for the Schoolboy Q track "Hands On The Wheel" featuring A$AP Rocky below. After the jump you can catch a NSFW (why are you reading music blogs at work?) video for The Alchemist production "Flight Confirmation", featuring Danny Brown and Schoolboy Q on the verses, and a full list of tour dates (spanning two months).


Fake Flamingo Releases Stems

Fake Flamingo Recordings, a weekly-singles pseudonym imprint that releases two track bandcamp albums for free from musicians working under assumed names, recently announced a new undertaking; to make the stem files for all their releases available, encouraging fans and bands alike to remix their catalog. Here's their message in its entirety:
We are interrupting our normal release schedule this week to announce an ongoing project to make the stems for tracks released on Fake Flamingo Recordings widely available. Using a Creative Commons license, these stems will be made publicly available on our Soundcloud account. We invite artists (both anonymous and established) to remix our tracks or use the sounds in their own work. Please submit remixes to us at fakeflamingorecs@gmail.com so we can share them with the community. We will be updating the available stem sets continuously. You can access the first batch NOW!
[FFR001] Puerto Pobre - "Everyone Distorts" (original) (stems)
[FFR001] Puerto Pobre - "Thank You" (original) (stems)
[FFR003] VBZ - "Quasicrystals" (original) (stems)
[FFR003] VBZ - "RGB" (original) (stems)
[FFR005] Muir Moor - "Gliding" (original) (stems)
[FFR006] Southbound Barriers - "Miami Peach" (original) (stems)
Check out Fake Flamingo on bandcamp and listen to their most recent single here.

Finale

Drew Smith runs a small music blog called MTYMNHKA (Music That You May Not Have Known About) and a small imprint of Adenine Records called Sarcastic Magician, all in addition to his personal recording project, Theo's Mystic Robot Orchestra. He's also 13 years old. Not to make a thing of it, but I think most of us can agree that warrants a hardy "fuck yea", or whatever genteel equivalent suits you. Smith does all this from his bedroom in Lawrence, KS, affectionately known as the "Analog Room", an intensely managed studio that's most recently produced Finale, a series of drone and feedback recordings named and composed in such ways as to give the distinct impression that the he knows the writings of Luigi Russolo, the Italian futurist and pioneering musical aesthetician whose output some consider to be the first real laboratory for noise music. "Low End Frequencies Being Blown From The Speakers of Doom" is matter of fact enough, and a tremendously accurate description, in as much as "Fuzzy Beard" describes Smith's warped meanderings and the warm bed of fuzz that formed their foundation. The album ends appropriately with "Finale", a more melodic guitar raga, but Smith reserved his most penetrating noise for a ten minute discursion named simply (and quite charmingly) "Id". We like Drew Smith, indeed indeed.

Download Finale for free or purchase it on limited edition CD here, but we highly recommend checking out Drew's work as the headman at Sarcastic Magician.

Plague

Alice Glass is back, you guys. The brutal yet delicate dark Toronto synth act Crystal Castles have revealed a new track, "Plague," presumably off their upcoming as-yet-untitled album, which is scheduled for release sometime this fall. It's CC, so I know you know what to expect. It's loud. It's intense. It'll make your eyes roll back in your head. I would normally advise you to wear your dirtiest clothes and dance to a strobelight while swinging a bottle of Jack to this track, but what am I saying, you already know.

Stream: Crystal Castles - Plague

Slow Listening

Mike Norris, aka Fort Romeau, recently wrote a feature for FACT Magazine "on the need to rethink our approach to music consumption", which is a subject close to our heart. Though I think Norris once again falls prey to the notion that internet engagement does not have analogs in the experience of "analogues"; vinyl, cassettes, etc. I think what he describes as "slow listening" can be achieved in effect by a more active engagement with your music; vinyl offers some avenues for that and so does digital music. They're different; the internet allows direct contact and the physical format allows a personal experience. Ultimately, the personal experience is the yield from both experiences, so to that extent I think discussions of "vinyl" are unnecessarily skewed. Nonetheless, Norris shares a significant perspective:
"Listening to vinyl records on a turntable gives you a fuller, richer and more enjoyable relationship with Music. Just as Facebook has made it easier to catch up with people anywhere, anytime, few of us want to forego physical interaction completely, just for the sake of convenience. It may require more effort, but it is more rewarding by virtue of requiring more from us as people." -Mike Norris
Our contention is simply that the effort for one is not greater, just that the vectors for effort in the one case have not been adequately explored, categorized, and integrated into our collective experience. It's all about communities - one day a group of cyborgs with instantaneous recall will wonder at the shallow experience of information codified in books and vinyl, but we aren't crafted that way, and so for most of us vinyl and books do force an experience that when sought through the internet is still ambiguous. In any event, read Norris' lovely essay here.

July 24, 2012

Interview: Bloody Knives

There's something completely, unmistakably urgent about the music of Bloody Knives. Every track from the Austin, TX noise-pop trio seems to radiate with immediate chaos and confusion. Imagine a nightmare where you're running without end from some great, unknown thing. And in the stupor of dream, you're also floating above the scene, assuring yourself it's not happening at all. Like a submarine rapidly filling with torrents of water while the crew lie blissed out and unaware, Bloody Knives make beautiful, spacious melodies over torrential walls of 8-bit electronics and noise. And, excluding the bass, they do it with without a single guitar.

The band, consisting of Preston Maddox (bass/vocals/programming), Jake McCown (drums/programming), and recent addition Jim Moon (sample manipulation), just released a new album, Blood, in May on what is slowly becoming one of the best outlets for new shoegaze and dreampop, Saint Marie Records. The record has attracted good reviews (even Spin gave it the nod in their very particular way) and I was lucky enough to recently talk to Preston of the band about the new record, about why Austin's local music scene needs more respect from it's own city, and other things. Read on.

How did Bloody Knives start? I understand some of you were in a shoegaze band called The Joy Bus prior to this group's formation?

Bloody Knives started as a two piece with Jake and myself after Joy Bus broke up. Joy Bus broke up after our second tour. The band had lived together, so there was a period of time where we had to find new places to live, new place to rehearse/record. I wanted to play live as soon as we could so I started writing the songs that became the Bloody Knives EP. Jake got back in town, we found a place to practice and record. Our first show was in San Antonio and we scared off the audience, who were these hippy kids having a really nice bouncy shroom trip. We sent them on the wrong direction and out the door. It was a proper first show for us.

Windshield Smasher

Enigmatic Pennsylvania producer Tom Fec (aka Tobacco) has been putting the finishing (read: sticky, oozing) touches on a new record, Cobra Juicy, with his psychedelic synth band Black Moth Super Rainbow for some time now. You might have seen him in the news recently with coverage of with his extensive Kickstarter campaign to finance said album (which at this writing is a mere $3000 away from $90,000, nearly double the requested amount). Today we got to hear a bit more, with the first dispatch from that record, the bouncy track "Windshield Smasher." As a long-time admirer of Tobacco's production style, I can say this track is another BMSR classic, with everything we've come to love from the man: the loud, twisted synths, upbeat basslines, and a layer of sticky-sweet vocal honey slowly oozing down it all. Careful, this one's gonna leave a stain in your speakers. 

Stream: Black Moth Super Rainbow - Windshield Smasher

Cobra Juicy will be out 10/9 via the Cobra Juicy Kickstarter page.

Premiere: SEEKERSINTERNATIONAL - InVoiceDub

SEEKERSINTERNATIONAL is the filmic dub division of musical holding company TRANSMOLECULAR, a one-man conglomerate & large shareholder of BETAWAVE X and MX7 among others. Though the multiple and stylistically-diverse entities may suggest a certain schizophrenic fractured vision, SKRS (the preferred diminutive) is solid evidence of a distinctly personal sound-narrative.

Through carefully arranged bass humps, understated neo-noir synth melodies, textures & dancehall excerpts, forthcoming debut The Call From Below offers something that's as deep emotionally as aurally; this is the core of my impressions when listening to this record: deep is clearly the operative word. I've always detected a satisfyingly complex emotional quality to reggae music, a uniquely rolled spliff of dark and light vibe-blends, and SKRS captures and bends it perfectly into new forms. This is a very easy album to imagine a narrative to - not just sonic landscapes but developed characters within them - and it's one of the reasons this is among my favorite records from this year.

Stream: SEEKERSINTERNATIONAL "InVoiceDub"

The Call From Below is out on Digitalis Recordings (vinyl/digital) in August.

Yalls II

Our fandom of Dan Casey and his Yalls moniker are no secret. We've covered his music extensively and featured him on several Crash Symbols releases. He recently released Yalls II, a mixtape of sorts that covers various works from 2011 and 2012. That fact actually makes the album a wonder of sorts, as it's a bit stunning how well the record flows, even the few times we switch over to Casey's alternate moniker, Daniel Sex Jr. The album is well paced, a smooth listen, and full of some absolutely phenomenal samples. On the off chance that you've somehow missed out on Yalls before, this is a perfect little introduction; and if you're already acquainted with the brilliance of Dan Casey, just enjoy the reintroduction.

Stream/Download: Yalls - Yalls II

July 23, 2012

Premiere: Paw Paw - Sleep Sweet or Dont

Paw Paw is the solo moniker of Eston Lathrop, whom I know best as one of the two incredible drummers from the band Woodsman. Throughout the summer he has slipper out various beautiful drones, and now he is readying his first physical release on Fire Talk. Lay Down In The Flower Bed will "drop" digitally tomorrow, with a cassette version to drop more literally on August 21. On "Sleep Sweet or Dont" Paw Paw creates vibrant textures of ambiance laced with tribal drums and sparse, well placed synth warbles that seem to paint a desert landscape washed in light reds and faded purples. Flower Bed is filled with tracks that play out like detailed paintings of different sceneries, creating a brilliant collection of out-of-this-world drones that create a mood of their own.

Stream/Download: Paw Paw - Sleep Sweet or Dont
Lay Down In The Flower Bed is out digitally tomorrow (July 24), with a cassette release to follow on August 21.

Premiere: The Hand to Man Band - Before Our Eyes Arrived

The Hand to Man Band is a unique entity, as you might have gathered from the sporting earthworm-riders on the cover of their debut album, You Are Always On Our Minds. The band was formed specifically to make this album, gathering a team around "Thollem Electric", whose prolific collaborations have yielded years of composition and dozens of releases. So, the Hand to the Man Band naturally draws also on the talents of others; John Dieterich (guitartist for Deerhoof), Mike Watt (who the band's label elaborates well on: "Mike Watt is Mike Watt. Currently touring the European festival circuit with Iggy and the Stooges and cruising the US with his backing band The Missingmen."), and experimental percussionist Tim Barnes (who "worked the skins with notables such as Jim O'Rourke, Silver Jews, and Wooden Wand"). You Are Always On Our Minds feels like a particularly self-conscious record, offering numerous little laboratories for sounds significant to its respective recorders; its very name is a shared declaration and track titles are similarly observation or suggest the willful projection of an order or understanding on whatever world it is they've created. Parts impenetrable, shambolic jazz and others more muted and susceptible to free association, You Are Always On Our Minds nonetheless has a feel of artifice in its design, protecting the exact parameters of the whole group's "ego" and making their bold ragas into cherished mysteries to be savored (and who knows what of the solution). 

Thollem speaks for us...
"Someone who thinks, thinks that, thinks this, is this, is that. Came to town, kicked a rock, nothing will never be the same. In between it all people lived, people died, some thought everything happened, others did some more. invitations and intrusions, confusing conclusions. Before our eyesarrived it was here, made in our mind. Forces conspired a second ago, yesterday, stands on two feet. Animals, us, consciousness, conscience, senses awoke, being born, evolution, big bang, singularities. We learned the unreasoning, I made I. Do be true we who. Faces are faces of forever now racing towards faces of tomorrow. Now is what I said before. Before is what we wait for never for. Existence fees will be met whether or not You want the service." -Thollem Electric
MP3: The Hand to Man Band - Before Our Eyes Arrived
Order You Are Always On Our Minds from Post-Consumer.

The band's home label has also got a video circulating the album's twelfth track, "The Down Moveables", combining the song's anxious jazz and instrumental discursiveness with a whimsical assemblage of found footage clips, lightly modified with some beautiful rotoscoping.

Xiu Xiu Remixes 7"

The folks at Bad Paintings recently released a new 7" and cassette with Xiu Xiu, featuring remixes from Deerhoof and Kid 606 to tracks from this years' Always LP on Bella Union and Polyvinyl. The tape was limited to 50 copies and sold quickly, but it looks like the 7" is still in stock. Deerhoof took on the uncomfortably named "I Luv Abortion", allowing the track to retain it's squirmy uncomfortable vibes while amping up the sci-fi oscillations and starting an all-out space war. Kid 606 goes the club-mix route for "Joey's Song". Choral vocals are chopped and splashed across the thudding beat and whirling synths while the track avoids the original's somber nature almost entirely. While the a-side track's name is a bit goofy, Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart is also readying a 7" with Graveface for their Charity Subscription Series, with the proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. Since I'm a male and can't give birth, I don't believe I have any right to say if a woman can have an abortion or not, but regardless of my feelings it's great to see Stewart doing what he knows he can to make a difference, and PP do more than just hand out abortions.

Stream: Xiu Xiu - Remixes 7"
You can order the Remix 7" now via Bad Paintings.

Comic: Deus #9

I wish I could do such things with a marker. I don't know if y'all have been noticing the different little ways that Craig identifies each installment, but this one is particularly fun, made from the little balls that seem to be the Deus universe's unit of "vomit".

Give Your Light Off

If you want to get a quick sense of how far Woods have come over the last three years listen to their last five seven inches, starting with "Sunlit" b/w "The Dark" and ending with "Cali in a Cup" b/w "Give Your Light Off." It's like hanging a master painter's masterpiece next to something they did during their last year of grad school. Their skills have skyrocketed. Fortunately, their weirdness hasn't been cast aside like some burnt-out power booster. The B side of the new single is just as weirdo friendly as the A-side of "I Was Gone," but it doesn't sound "sloppy and hoarse," as my old-man-record-store-owner friend has been known to say of my favorite contemporary band. It's a song like smoke curling out the top of a bong, sonic ghosts fin Sad-and-Wondrous Land, then a breathy chant g i v e   y o u r   l i g h t   o f f   all drawn out and euphoric, then a slow-lopey island beat, and a pinch of wah-wah at the end. It's masterly weird, and it calms the canines.

Pre-order at Woodsist.

July 20, 2012

Amanecer

Last week, gauzy Florida electronic musician Mike Diaz a.k.a. Millionyoung quietly released a "new" record, Amanecer, on Old Flame Records. New in quotations because the record is technically a compliation of older material. Tracks such as "Cynthia" and "Hammock" from previous EP's Be So True and Sunndreamm are collected here onto a single disc, with three previously unreleased bonus tracks, "Recess," "Albo," and "Mien (Revisited)" added to the mix. As Mike himself puts it:

"I see Amanecer as a chance to share all of my early work. At the beginning, I was pretty much just writing song after song and never gave a thought to them all being on a record, but I look back at it all now, and they do fit in a certain way, even if just to me. It's called Amanecer, meaning "to wake", cause that's what I felt at the time. Those songs exist in that space where you're in bed debating whether that dream was real or not. I think the upcoming record finds itself in a more lucid state. Yeah, it's reverbed, delayed, and familiar a lot of ways, but it's driven more by the finding of real love than an abstract dream of it."

In addition to the record, Diaz has announced that a new Millionyoung record will be out sometime in the fall. In the meantime, check out Amanecer, available on iTunes, as well as his (underrated) album Replicants, the cassette version of which was lovingly released by our associated label Crash Symbols back in '11. You can stream his very Millionyoung-ish version of Erik Satie's famous chillwave classical piece Gymnopedie No. 1 below.

Stream: Millionyoung - Gymnopedie No 1

Afterburner (Intro)

Between his recent absolute banger of a release Love Distance/Glow Fam on White Iris (which we wrote about earlier in the year) as well as touring stints in Japan and elsewhere, Sean Bowie of Teams has been killing it in 2012 so far. Today we got a new production from him, Afterburner (Intro). The suddenly released track, according to our friends over at No Fear of Pop, was originally made by Bowie "for a show last weekend". It's a typically juicy production, filled with energetic percussion and inventive sampling guaranteed to drive crowds mad, but did you honestly expect anything but excelllence from Teams at this point? Take this one to the gym with you.

Pixel Memory

Sometimes, when life gets to the rough and tough, you just need to dance. And next time you bust a groove, you might consider doing your thing to the new track "Night Colors" from atmospheric San Francisco synth-pop act Pixel Memory. While the name might suggest chiptune flights of fancy or glitched out electronica, what we have here is less bitpop and more 80's-inspired ambient electronica. Cyberpunkish synths cascade down while vocalist Lisa Greyson floats above them, singing in a sexy, cool register that brings to mind the lush, ambient sounds of Karmacoda and other similarly chilled-out Bay Area electronic acts. With a self-titled EP set for release soon, (co-produced by Mark Pistel, best known for his work with NYC electronic project Hercules and Love Affair, as well as unmeasureably influential group Meat Beat Manifesto) we're definitely excited to hear more music from the group in the future.

Premiere: Minden - New Age

Portland's Minden should start turning a lot of heads any minute now. Having recently relocated from Kansas City, the sextet (only a quintet on their new record) has certainly found their stride. Headed by should-be-legendary-frontman Casey Burge, Minden are like a time machine and I'm not sure if they've been transported from the future or the past. They write songs that are timeless, highlighted by Burge's incredible melodies and lyrics and Evan Houston's soul-infused basslines. Don't get me wrong, everyone involved plays a key role in what makes Minden great, but it's those bass hooks and Burge's overwhelming presence that put it over the top.

"New Age" kicks off their forthcoming self-released LP, Exotic Cakes, and couldn't be better at setting the mood.  It just reeks of debauchery in the best way (just like Burge's solo single, Dangerous, from earlier this year). You know that you're being schmoozed, but it doesn't matter. This music is so smooth, so intoxicating that as soon as you take that first sip, you know how the night is going to end. When Burge belts out " I could tell that the end was coming in on what I've been into," you can't help but get ready to take the next ride.

Few albums can be tagged with "money" (as Exotic Cakes is on Minden's bandcamp) and be 100% spot on. Let this soundtrack your drunken escapes this fall. And be sure to check the bandcamp page (and the album when it's out) for a full lyrical rundown. It's persuasive poetry on a waterbed perspiring from all the electric bodies in motion.

MagicHour

I've been sitting on this post for long enough that the two tracks we're streaming, "Light Falls" and "White Sun Re-Vision" have been superseded by a single from a new album, but maybe that's too much without any back story. MagicHour is Colin Yarck, the producer behind electro-pop band Walter Meego, put out the two tracks as a brief introduction to his solo recordings and is now moving forward promoting "My Kind", the first single from a debut full length. Here's that...

Stream: MagicHour - "My Kind"

By all reports, the last couple of years have been weird for Yarck, but no less productive for having been otherwise complicated; his upcoming first album in the guise of his new, Remember Harder, collects some of those songs.
"I wanted to group a selection of the slew of music I've been making lately in the traditional album form to capture the sounds that are uniquely my own, as well as translate the mood of the ups and downs of the past couple years. Walter Meego fans will recognize some of the flavors, heavily synthesized, beat-driven music with a melodic sensibility, but with slightly less emphasis on straight electronic pop and some further exploration into the busy sonic environment I really enjoy crafting." -Colin Yarck
Not surprisingly, Yarck's music sounds more produced than his collaborative output as Walter Meego, not least because of the new vocal duties he seems to be holding down well on his own, deprived of Justin Sconza's distinctive vocals. IDM is the easiest way to describe where Yarck's gone, though he cautions that these two tracks have "a more straight dance-y vibe than most MagicHour stuff" and explains the pairing; "they are musical cousins". I'm tempted to say I like that direction better, but "My Kind" is pretty gripping in spite of the more complex balance Yarck is shooting for with it.

Stream: Magic Hour - "Light Falls" & "White Sun Re-Vision"
Click through to soundcloud where you'll find a link to download the two songs for free. Remember Harder will be released in August 2012.

July 19, 2012

Video: Le1f - Wut

I've been pretty intrigued by producer/rapper Le1f lately, though his recent Dark York mixtape on Greedhead admittedly managed to slip by me until today, when The Fader premiered his debut video. For such an obviously creative artist, I'm surprised that this is Le1f's first video, but this first one is almost certain to get a smile out of you. Also what other dude can make wearing Мишка's Keep Watch leggings look so tough? The video maintains the awesome energy of 5kinAndBone5 killer production and is a fun watch.

Stream/Download: Le1f - Dark York (mediafire)

Video: J. Fernandez - Jewelry Watches Gold

Who is J Fernandez?
I really don't know, it's a mystery to me, but watch this video and listen to the song below. Both suggest this upcoming tape on Teen River / Pretty All Right - titled No Luck - will be a satisfying pop-document, balancing melody and songwriting with aesthetic. I want to highlight this quality, because it seems so rare. The more I alternate between these two tracks, the more intrigued I become of this release; let's all pick this one up together and see if it becomes part of our memories.

Stream: J Fernandez "No Luck"