October 31, 2012

Catamaran's Chainsaw Mix

Today, Vincent Brunetto, aka Catamaran, had some time on his hands waiting for recovery in post-"weather" New York, so he's gone and made a Halloween mix to celebrate... presumably not his having the free time. Animated by a driving beat and four-on-the-floor rhythms, this mix is best paired with some supplemental atmospheres if you're planning to use it in any Protestant revels or Hebrew rites, but here in Morgantown - where the city re-situated Halloween to this Thursday - it's still a fun addition to the wet and wind.

Stream/Download: Catamaran's Chainsaw Mix

October 30, 2012

All Gone

Coca Cola is pop. So is Dr. Pepper. And Sprite. And all the diet colas, they're pop too. When you get right down to the sugary core, these beverages vary little. But sometimes they taste unlike anything you've ever tasted before, better, like when you drink them with popcorn, or when it's hot and you're tired, or with rum. This morning I listened to Pop Singles' new cassette, All Gone, as I drove to work. The sun was shining and the music made me happy, ready to teach college kids how to write. The moment was perfect for pop. What's new here? What's unique? The vocals are gentle and friendly, the drums enthusiastic, the guitars sound warm. Shawn Reed at Night People writes that the songs are "full of heart and hope while also capturing something both melancholic and fun all at once." True dat. Pop Singles are from Melbourne, Australia. This cassette is a simultaneous release of an LP released by Vacant Valley in Australia. I'm going to listen to side two on my drive home tonight. It'll make me happy to do the dishes and grade papers.

Pick up a copy from Night People, who are offering a sale through the end of November: buy four, get one free, or buy six, get two. They'll mail them anywhere in the world.

Nouveaux Gymnastes

"Suaves Figures is a brand new project by Piotr Kurek from Poland (well-known as PIĘTNASTKA) and Sylvia Monnier from France. Their debut album consists of seven short but brilliant synth compositions. Limited edition of 100 copies."
I love reading blurbs from Polish experimental label Sangoplasmo Records - chances are I learn something and how else is anyone supposed to see words like "Piętnastka"? As an American, I'm starved for odd accents and little tails on my vowels. How else would I have found out that Warsaw based abstract composer and artist Piotr Kurek is an absolute genius? His previous Piętnastka release with Sangoplasmo, Dalia, is a sprawling and epic synthesis of experimental composition with the traditional melodies of eastern Europe. Sylvia Monnier, who also records as Sunny Dune, is an equally excellent composer of drone music. As I discover his work in turn (the previous names are aliases of Mika Perez), the distinctiveness of their collaboration reveals its greatest extent in the sense of a common animus, dynamic melodies with a similar obliqueness; Kurek in the sounds of his exotic library-music and Sylvia Monnier in the collaging of landscapes and moments behind their dry ringing. Their debut collaboration as Suaves Figures, Nouveauux Gymnastes, is on its surface a very enjoyable synthesis of the two sensibilities, though the character of its synths might seem to overstate Kurek's influence; a stirring hammer against the anvil of what might be reasonably called Monnier's drone.

MP3: Suave Figures - Figure 1
Purchase Nouveaux Gymnastes here.

October 29, 2012

Opal Vol I & II

Tracks 2-4 from the first volume of Moon Glyph's new Opal sampler are, in order, contributions from: the New Lines, Velvet Davenport, and Halasan Bazar. If you've observed in any way Moon Glyph's equestrian cultivation of the perfect psych-stables, these three bands will be familiar as representing some of the label's best stock in retro psych-pop. The three tracks are preceded by Tara King th., an unfamiliar name to me, but a band that clearly shares a similar sensibility, jangly guitars and organs akimbo; an exciting expansion of the label's interests in Europe. I say exciting because like opals themselves, Moon Glyph has proven itself a pristine nexus in which the disparate shades of psychadelia can be united in full apprehension of their shared meaning and significance. Few labels have done it better. I expect Moon Glyph biographies from major, as opposed to niche, publishers well within the confines of my middle-adulthood. Probably while I'm still fresh faced enough to write a rebuttal, sharing my own lucky perspective on the label's development. & I've only talked up the first four tracks of his highness' sampler, most radiant, that I woke to this morning (I reckon with a start and hasty obeisance). The lazy meandering of a distorted, echoing synth across Non-Travellin' Band's dry guitar jam launches the sampler into the full range of Moon Glyph's interests, anchored midway by more pop from Magic Castles and later by a guitar oriented meditation from Jennifer Baron's project the Garment District, underpinned by distorted samples and the sounds of a looping storm. 

MP3:
Halasan Bazar - Everyone Dies
The Garment District - When Raven Claws the Sky
Download Opal Vol. I & II direct from Moon Glyph.

Vermont Sampler


After I wondered how a town as small as Brattleboro, Vermont (12,000) could be home to such strange bands as the Happy Jawbone Family Band, Son of Salami and Blanche Blanche Blanche, Zach Phillips from BBB posted a message to inform me that in fact Son of Salami cuts his meat a few hours to the north, in Burlington. What's more, Zach said, there are a ton of weird-ass artists in his little burg, and to drop a line if I wanted to know more. So I did. He replied: 
re: Brattleboro... ~12000 people. small town. but I come back here from NYC rehearsing the new BBB band and it seems bigger than the city. I call it "the biggest little city in town" 
got a lot of bands and composers who are working super hard and making incredible, challenging, lighthearted & diverse music 
but it's not New York so things take a lot longer to get around, and many amazing recordists around here would prefer to stay in and make a new song than to practice a set and play it for 25 people with no pay... 
  • no cultural capital
  • plenty of musical capital
  • when content and form come back, people are gonna be looking at Brattleboro 
bunch of things are starting to percolate business-wise: the Happy Jawbone Family Band just signed a record deal w/ Mexican Summer, BBB is inching its way up the totem pole working with labels with better distribution etc. (3 LPs will drop in the next year). 
many have already percolated: Merrill "tUnEyArDs" Garbus, Kyle "King Tuff" Thomas, briefly Merrill's sister Ruth + Chris Weisman in the KT vehicle Happy Birthday, a glimpse of Chris's brother Kurt Weisman in Feathers, J.P. Harris... 
yeah Matt & Erika live a few miles out in another town. I don't know em too well. they are part of what I'd call the old guard, along w/ my friend Ron Schneiderman (Sunburned, Spirit of Orr records, etc.), Dredd Foole and the psych folk contingent. 
some are waiting in the wings: Chris Weisman's amazing & numerous solo recordings, John Levin, Danny Bissette, Atlatl, the Great Valley, Christina Schneider, the Goochi Boiz, Jeremy Latch, again Ruth Garbus, again Kurt Weisman... just writing and sometimes recording amazing shit and sitting on it or recording it and sitting on it... 
up north in Burlington we have Ryan Power and Joey Pizza Slice aka Son of Salami, Greg Davis, Lawrence Welks & Our Bear to Cross, tooth ache, numerous others I'm not privy to... 
these people are my daily bread. Brattleboro is a town of 12,000.

A few days later, he sent me a sampler of sounds from the region.* For physical representations of some of the artists, check out Zach's label, OSR Tapes.

*The opening track is by Hartley C. White, a friend from Corona, NY, but Zach thought his song "Under the Radar" worked pretty good as an epigraph.

October 26, 2012

Premiere: Vacation Dad - L I V I N (Pregant Mashup)

Earlier this month Vacation Dad released a new EP, much to our surprise and excitement since last year he had announced that he would be retiring from the moniker. With L I V I N comes an EP of the first new tracks from Vacation Dad since 2010. Three original tracks (two of which include Little Spoon on the "weird little samples") and a handful of remixes comprise the album, but Vacation Dad is still adding remixes to keep us hooked. The most recent addition is killer edit from Pregnant that applies a chop and screw aesthetic in an excitingly fresh format. The remix is mostly of the track "Grande Gordo", but also features samples from the other two tracks, hence it being labeled as a mashup of the entire release. There are still a couple more remixes to drop via Kynan and Justin Depth, though I'm told if you buy the album now it comes with both tracks for your early listening pleasure.

Stream: Vacation Dad - L I V I N (Pregant Mashup)
L I V I N is available now via MJMJ, so give it a listen and maybe buy a digital copy with that gorgeous photobook of tour shots from across the globe.

October 24, 2012

The Meets - Even When The Time Comes


Here's another stellar treat from Johnstown, PA's rising My Idea of Fun gang (itself a thrilling associate of our pals over at Living Room Visions). The Meets is the latest outlet for mastermind/mad genius producer Brandon Locher. Here, he commands a merry, crazed orchestra through graceful, wobbly trip-hop ("Even When The Time Comes", mastered by the great Nick Zammuto), woozy psych noise-collage ("16 Hours Of This") and even wackier jazz noise ("Disappear Here", and props for the Bret Easton Ellis reference). Things grow to a delectably frightening head on "Disorient", possibly the most aptly named song in history, before chilling deliciously out on insanely-danceable closer "Motion Studies". If you like your saxophones melted like a Dali clock and your electronics all squiggly like an 8-bit NES game set in a haunted house, The Meets are glad to, uh, meet you. Check it out on Bandcamp for NAME YOUR PRICE, hoss, and keep your eyes on Johnstown, as this endearing little Rust Belt city is host to all sorts of wonderful weirdness as of late. Also, feast on some space-a-delica in this video for "Motion Studies", if you please.


Letter of Intent: Moogfest '12

What are you doing for halloween? For the last few years, Halloweentime has seemed more like Christmas morning to East Coast electronic music junkies, thanks to a event held deep in the mountains of NC called Moogfest. Moog (pronounced how you would "Vogue") is a multi-day electronic music festival, held every Halloween weekend since 2010 in the town of Asheville, North Carolina. The city is home to Moog Music HQ and has always kept it's grizzled mountain hands firmly on the arts, both classical and weird, which makes it a natural setting for an event like Moog. (And as Claire Boucher of Grimes once eloquently endorsed: "every restaurant is good in Asheville.") While the organizers this year have sliced the fest from three days to two for 2012, this matters surprisingly little, as the festival is still chock-filled with enough beats and blissful synthetic sounds to split apart an Akai MPC-2500 at the screws. In just a few days, our dapper photographer Giancarlo D'Alessandro and myself will be making the journey to the Asheville to report everything fun and synthy and sticky from this fest. (with BMSR and Primus on the bill what else would you expect?) Below is our scheduled itinerary and a smattering of photos I snapped from Moog last year, including M83, Baths, Grimes, Tobacco, and many others. Asheville, we're ready to party with you again.

[TV On The Radio @ Moogfest 2011]
[Grimes @ Moogfest 2011]
[Atlas Sound @ Moogfest 2011]

Thursday: We're driving down Thursday night to catch the smash French EDM duo Justice play a gig at the ExploreAsheville.com arena. The show is structurally not a part of Moogfest itself, but is still being billed as an "unofficial" launch event for the fest. They'll slay, of course. We don't even have to like Justice, because as you know if you've ever met someone really really into those dudes, the fans tend to guard their Franco gods from criticism with a near-religious zeal.

[Tobacco @ Moogfest 2011]
[St Vincent @ Moogfest 2011]
[Battles @ Moogfest 2011]
Friday: I'll be cutting my official Moogfest teeth with the affectionate pop of Bear in Heaven at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, then bounce over to see some new up-and-coming, no-name rapper called Nas at the arena. I'll bounce over afterwards to catch a little bit of the upbeat theatrics of Miike Snow and the Primus "3D" set (Going into this one blind, but Giac assures me Primus is rad live) then head over to the Orange Peel (a venue after my own heart, and a wonderful place to see any show) to see the experimental hip-hop of El-P. Then we'll be baptized by Black Moth Super Rainbow, heads fully dunked in the water of their gooey slosh of electronic pop. Plan on closing out the night with the beautiful crescendos of post-rock darlings Explosions in The Sky, nooch.

[M83 @ Moogfest 2011]
[Baths @ Moogfest 2011]
Saturday: I expect to wake up semi-hung over. But I'll have recovered by the night! And that night, I'm very excited to see a few different acts. I'mma head over to the arena to catch the indie-tinged rock-and-roll of  Divine Fits, after which I will bounce over to Thomas Wolfe to see the legendary Magnetic Fields. I'll probably end up catching some of Santigold's set, then go over to Orange Peel to wait for the noise rap act (and internet darlings) Death Grips to play. I was supposed to see them at Hopscotch Music festival in September before they canceled, so I'm very excited to get to actually see them this time. I hate that their set inteferes with the introspective, colorfully droning event that will be the Daniel Lopatin/Tim Hecker set though. Might try to see if I can catch a bit of both. Afterwards, gonna bounce over to the arena to catch the cyberpunk vibes (or Mortal Kombat vibes if you were a deprived kid) of Orbital. Gonna close out the night with a mix of Four Tet's reserved electronica at the auditorium and then Detroit techno pioneer Carl Craig's low end-heavy set at Orange Peel. Last year Gold Panda's warm festival-closing set there filled the venue to capacity, so I'm gonna be watching my time, for sure.

[Gold Panda @ Moogfest 2011]
Moog is once again going to be quite the party this year. Join us?

October 23, 2012

Cobra Juicy

It's going to be a filthy, crunchy, teeth grinding Halloween thanks to the kind collective of Black Moth Super Rainbow. For a few weeks now I have been listening to their newest release, Cobra Juicy. With this album, front man Thomas Fec, aka Tobacco, seems to have convinced the rest of his band to leave the peaceful lullabies that filled their previous works and to don the black Sith cloaks of his darker side. BMSR was one of the first electronic bands I really got into back in 'da day, when I first started smoking weed and felt a little too young to be playing Dark Side of the Moon as I got high. There were two amazing albums I was introduced to that forever changed my perception of the music that I wanted to hear. The first one was Boards of Canada's The Campfire Headphase, and the second one was Black Moth's Start A People. No matter what state I'm in, where I am, or what is going on, listening to Start A People still melts me away and wraps me up in a hypnotic cloak of peace. Between that record and the later Dandelion Gum, they became the soundtrack for several of my hallucinogen trips in the following years, and it was easy to call myself a fan for life. Then in 2008, I stumbled onto Tobacco's first solo effort, called Fucked Up Friends. The edgier sound of it seemed like more than just a side project, but a premonition of things to come for the band as a whole. As BMSR dropped Eating Us the following year, Tobacco's influential solo popularity had become more evident in their work as a group. Still steeped in a dream-like psychedelic pop embrace, the unmistakable vocals had begun to sink into a world of face-melting and heartbreak. I was skeptical of it, dreading that their new level of popularity could cause the romantic notion I had built with them would be shattered by this fierce, new sound. While my assessment was more-or-less correct, I was more pleased with the results than I would have imagined. Once again Tobacco prophesied Black Moth's future with Maniac Meat. Two years after his latest solo effort, Tobacco and the rest of BMSR have returned with Cobra Juicy, a record that is determined to let out your inner Halloween monster. The album even places me in the same nostalgic high that captivated me the first time I'd heard the collective. What surprised me most was that I enjoyed Cobra Juicy not only for beats, but even more so; the lyrics. Black Moth has always had haunting, almost robotic vocals, like a poltergeist crawling out of a television to reach out; but this record has taken it to a new level. It hypnotizes me, and figures me out before I know what is going on. Their singles are spot on to what you would expect from BMSR, but "Hairspray Heart" is definitely my favorite. Now that I've given you a rundown of their entire discography, catch your breath a moment while I talk about how amazing they are live. What I like most about them is that no matter what, they really seem to care about their audience. During this whole musical metamorphosis, they have always been asking people what they think of their music; often posting unfinished works and rough edits of newer songs. Black Moth Super Rainbow wants you to have a good time listening to their music. When I finally got to seem them last year in Asheville, NC at Moog, I was caught having too good a time, leading me into one of my favorite anecdotes: "I got kicked out of Tobacco for smoking a joint in the venue." But from what little I gathered when I was there, it was one of the funnest shows I saw that weekend, from their outstanding visuals, to their creepy Halloween costumes they wore to hide their identities. The band will once more be at Moogfest this year, which I'll be catching this weekend with David, and then next weekend in Austin, TX for Fun Fun Fun Fest, which I'll also be hitting up, this time with Jheri. Make sure you keep it tuned to Decoder this week for our full letters of intent to both festivals!

Stream:
Black Moth Super Rainbow - Windshield Smasher Black Moth Super Rainbow - Spraypaint Black Moth Super Rainbow - Gangs in the Garden Cobra Juicy was released independently today (October 23), funded this summer via Kickstarter. Even if you weren't a part of the funding, you can still get yourself a copy at their webstore.

Stream: Sumsun Live in The Boiler Room

In preparation for our coverage of Asheville's third annual Moogfest creeping up, a lot of North Carolina love has been swelling up in my heart lately. Judson Rogers, aka Sumsun, holds the title for being one of the most fantastic up and coming musicians to look out for. Originally from Florida, Judson has spent many summers composing in his mountain retreat near Asheville. I first met him with Jheri at Moog two years ago, where we got to stay with him and see his inspirational workspace, over looking a majestic lake.  This last summer, he released a new EP, simply titled 2012 EP, while working his day job as a farm hand at a local apple orchard. It became the soundtrack of my summer, and it is definitely on my list for one of the best works I have heard this year. Now, before we have a chance to get out our fall jackets, Judson has been on tour with Sleigh Bells, and before that happened to be touring on his own all the way out in California. Earlier today, I listened to a 45-minute set he played back in August at The Boiler Room in LA, and it fills me with envy that I have yet to actually see him play live. Available for stream and/or download, Sumsun can once again set the mood of the season as a time for suddenly seeing how beautiful everything in the world is.

October 18, 2012

Can't You See

Over the past two years Steph Thompson, bka Steffaloo, has absolutely enchanted us with her misty vocal prowess over a variety of music ranging from ambient elecronic to a more sparse, almost tribal folk aesthetic. "Can't You See" falls into the latter category, showing Steffaloo take the all-too-familiar sound of an airy voiced songstress over folk music and pushing it just enough to give the song a feel completely unique to her. The track comes from her upcoming label-debut, Would You Stay; set to drop this Tuesday via Mush Records.

MP3: Steffaloo - Can't You See

Crystal Aquarium

Between You And Me, the soul-clenching production project of Miami's Jonathan Abramson, is all set to drop his new EP this Monday; but in the meantime he's opened it up early for us to stream in all it's glory. Crystal Aquarium is every bit of what the title might lend to the imagination. The delicate synth work hinges on the bubbly, reflective atmosphere of the ocean while blurring the same reflections in the marred, beautiful surface of gems embedded along the reef. Abramson explained in a recent Storytellers feature at Portals the full inspiration of the EP. I'll go ahead and tell you it was a near-death experience, so now you have to read the article or you're gonna be wondering all day. Just go ahead and press play on the stream before you pop over there.

Stream: Between You And Me - Crystal Aquarium

Polaroid Full Of Kisses

Here's a pair of great recent cuts from multi-faceted Japanese producer Azusa Suga, a.k.a. Shortcake Collage Tape. He records beachy, shoegaze-inspired pop music under a few names at this point, but regardless of the moniker the guy shines on every track. "Polaroid Full of Kisses" bubbles with atmospheric sax and buried samples under a wave of VHS scuzziness, and "Empire Beach" is just classic coma summer beach bliss in the vein of "High Times" era Washed Out. Channel these vibes below.

MP3: Shortcake Collage Tape - Polaroid Full of Kisses

MP3: Shortcake Collage Tape - Empire Beach

October 16, 2012

Photos: How To Dress Well, o F F Love & Libraries

[All photos © Giancarlo D'Alessandro]
Last Friday night Wilmington had the awesome pleasure of How To Dress Well performing at the Soapbox along with o F F Love and Wilmington favorites Libraries. I could go on for days about how poor promotion lead to only 30 or so people showing up, but it would be futile and instead I'd rather highlight the better moments of the evening.

[Libraries' Justin & Tommy say based prayers with their live VJ, Jacob]
Libraries kicked things off with their highly-danceable electronic soul jams. As always, hearing "The Sky" live warms my soul a bit, especially when noticing new additions to the song as the duo continue to ready their debut LP with Grip Tapes. Every time I catch these guys live I'm reminded that Wilmington certainly does have it diamonds in the rough.

Next on the stage was o F F Love. He began his set with hardly and ado, confusing a few of the 10 people who had bothered to gather around the stage at this point. As his sparse, piano driven, robotic R&B kicked into full gear some folks started to pay attention. Maybe the yin yang mask scared some of 'em though, as about half the attendees remained about 20 feet from the stage, hovering near the bar. I am without doubt that his off-kilter way of presenting emotion left many in awe by the end of his set however, as afterward I heard several folks talking of how uncomfortably touching the songs were.

Last to take the stage was How To Dress Well. I've been talking to Tom Krell on the internet for over three years now, and it was only after o F F Love's set that we actually got our first real face-to-face encounter. It was great to finally chat IRL for a moment with a guy who released one the most touching records I've heard in 2010. After chatting I went downstairs for a cigarette, and then came back upstairs to hear Tom telling the crowd he'd begin as soon as I got back. I let him know I was there and he gave some silly excuses about being sick before launching into a song with his voice as full and beautiful as ever. Chills went through my spine as he moved through singles from both Love Remains and the recently released Total Loss. He also shifted at one point into his rendition of R. Kelly's "I Wish", breaking the hearts of the aware and dropping the jaws of every person in the building. Everyone in attendance had completely melted by the end of the set, and as the night winded down and folks finished scooping up merch, we headed back home for a bit of bowling before bed.

Video: The ACBs - Ocean



I'm so hungry for pop music I can believe in.

This is a running theme in any pop-related post I've ever made on Decoder, as well as virtually every conversation I've had about music in the last five years. Something about my specific tastes and individual critical faculties dismisses most songs and leaves a large part of my music listening occupied with dance and electronic experimentations, despite having an overgrown pop heart.

This is all context to illustrate my personal thrill of hearing "Ocean" this weekend. The ACBs are from my hometown of Kansas City, and include members of Ghosty (their new LP is wonderful) and The Shy Boys (more on them later). "Ocean" is from their upcoming full-length Little Leaves; the stop-motion video depicts several small leaves. Join me in the thrill.

Free download of "Ocean" via Bandcamp.

Premiere: You'll Never Get to Heaven - S/t LP Stream

You'll Never Get to Heaven is the London, Ontario-based pairing of Chuck Blazevic and Alice Hansen. Tomorrow the folks at Divorce Records will be releasing the duo's debut, self-titled LP. Using samples from early 1900's classical music as well as '70s dub records, Blazevic manages to create sparkling and exciting compositions that are lifted even higher by the swollen, distorted textures bubbling beneath. Floating higher still above it all are Hansen's enchanting vocals, beautiful enough to leave me weak in the knees and yet fragile enough allow a connection for those of us with a less than stellar confidence. The entire project speaks to me in particular, as it seems to hoist lonely moods and attempts to transform them in a feeling of contentment.

Stream: You'll Never Get to Heaven - You'll Never Get to Heaven
You'll Never Get to Heaven officially drops tomorrow, but you can go ahead and order your copy now from the folks at Divorce.

October 15, 2012

So Many Details

When we last heard from Toro y Moi frontman Chaz Bundick, he was back in June 2009 mining his catalog (via a re-release in April 2012) and since then, the reformed chillwaver been working on new tunes for people to get weird to. We got a live rip of a song called Rose Quartz (which was, unfortunately, not about ROSE QUARTZ) and today Chazzy has shared the first single "So Many Details" from his upcoming record Anything In Return, out early next year on Carpark. Digging the spareness of this new track a lot, as Chaz said, this record is his effort “to make sincere pop music that’s not all processed and bubblegum", and I think it shows. He's certainly not hiding behind lo-fi tricks or reverb waterfalls anymore. Peep the track below and judge for yourself.

MP3: Toro Y Moi - So Many Details
Anything in Return drops January 22, 2013 on Carpark Records.

October 12, 2012

A Long Way To Fall

Here's a moody one for your Friday morning. I was first put onto the worlds of Ulrich Schnauss back in the day when he collaborated with Chicago shoegazers Airiel on the track "Sugar Crystals" which I loved, and which propelled me to feverishly search out information on who the dude was. The German producer and member of English shoegaze act Engineers has been making textured sound vistas for many years now; after a lengthy stay of collaboration releases and remix projects, he's back with his first solo album in six years, A Long Way To Fall, and has shared the first transmission from that album with us, the prismatic title track "A Long Way To Fall." While not a huge sound departure from previous work, (although Schnauss recently told XlR8R that this album will be just that, saying "throughout the last decade, I recorded three albums that were trying to translate the early '90s shoegaze aesthetic into an electronic context...I felt a need for a change of direction") long time fans of the Schnauss should dig the tune right well, this delicate track emits light in all the right ways.

MP3 - Ulrich Schnauss - A Long Way To Fall

A Long Way To Fall will be available early 2013 via Domino.

October 11, 2012

I Owe You This (Feat. Twin Shadow)

Back in August, we shared the floating, Glasser-featuring track "Fall 4 U" from Oxford producer Hugo Manuel's eternally pining pop alter ego, Chad Valley. His new record Young Hunger finally hits the streets later this month, and in anticipation of this banger, we're happy to share another track from the record, the stargazing cut "I Owe You This" featuring beloved blogcore Prince doppelganger Twin Shadow. Be sure to cop this hotness when it drops via Cascine on the 30th.

MP3 - Chad Valley - I Owe You This (Feat. Twin Shadow)
Young Hunger is out October 30th via Cascine.

Belispeak II (ft. Danny Brown)

Since seeing him in person and in my face at Hopscotch, it feels as if Detroit rapper Danny Brown's energy has been pumping nonstop through my own blood. Apparently our friends in Purity Ring have also gotten this same deadly blood transfusion. Announced via their Twitter, Purity Ring have completely remade 'Belispeak' to include a revamped version  of the song's beat and some of that great Danny Brown lava flavor. Calling the new masterpiece 'Belispeak II', they originally said it was a sequel, but a recent tweet even goes so far as saying they "actually like this new version of Belispeak so much that we're getting rid of the old one entirely.” You can hear the song above and download it on their website, where they've also announced some US tour dates for early 2013 that leave me hoping I'll hear this version live in Asheville come January.

October 10, 2012

Pokémon Black and Blue

PETA has developed a nasty reputation of graphic and excessive acts of protest against all forms animal cruelty. Everyone at one point has forced themselves to awkwardly squirm through a graphic video about underground investigations into factory farming or animal testing. It is no coincidence that their ideals of animal liberation have also been mimicked in latest Pokémon games, where the antagonist gang Team Plasma vows to separate Pokémon from the humans who steal them away from their natural habitats, cramming them into little balls to fight to the death. Shortly following the recent American release of Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, PETA returned the favor, letting loose a shocking parody called Pokémon Black and Blue: Gotta Free 'Em All! Play as Pikachu as he and his friends escape from their abusive masters to teach their world about animal rights, bringing light to the real life horrors of animals who are maimed, mistreated and killed for the sake of sport. When I first heard about this through my buddy Joe at Fuck Yeah Pokémon, I was shocked and a bit offended. Pokémon and me go way back, with many childhood hours locked away on my Game Boy Color. Doing a little research, this is not nearly the first time PETA took aim at propagandizing to children with Flash games, teaming up with game developer This Is Pop, who seem to make a lot of addictive games with an outlandish sense of humor, including a few hilarious games for Adult Swim. After playing Black and Blue myself, I do not fully criticize Peta for it. It’s a pretty great game that embraced PETA’s original mission that all animals have a right not be exploited for the personal gain of man. I am far from a full supporter of the organization's much more radical agenda, but I would much rather play this over watching another traumatic video. You can check it out for yourself over at PETA's website.

October 9, 2012

Premiere: Fuck Off (Mikey Young Mix)

We're happy to share a new video today for a breezy remix of the track "Fuck Off" from Seattle gravewavers (and associates of the cuties over at Hardly Art) Grave Babies recent release, Gothdammit. The remix, done by Mikey Young (of Melbourne synth-punkers Total Control) incorporates starry-eyed synth and cleans some of the fuzz from the O.G. track, and the video, comprised of a flurry of space race footage, suits it accordingly. This one should fill your cold war monkey-in-space vibes quota for the week nicely.

Video - Fuck Off (Total Control remix)
Grave Babies will be heading out on a a tour of the West Coast of the U.S. starting this week, peep all the sultry dates after the jump.

Studio Apartment #4: The Turtle Shell


Studio Apartment is Jon Bernson's effort to document the interaction between musicians and their recording spaces. Jon is the prolific multimedia artist behind Exray's, Window Twins, THEMAYS, Ray's Vast Basement and numerous soundtracks for theater and film.

After releasing a winning streak of albums in recent years, Glenn Jackson, Adam Myatt and Matt Tammareillo have established themselves as central voices in the Bay Area electronic pop scene. They channel their music through a variety of monikers: James & Evander, Shortcircles, Hoodcats, Empty Pockets, etc. Each outlet has a distinctive voice, but all share a love of studio experimentation, synth worship and expansive musicality. The rich collaboration that exists between them is undeniable; a rare example of three artists living under one harmonious roof. They call it "the Turtle Shell".


Video: Diva - Inverted Image

Since Pocahaunted's dissolution in 2010 (causing months of grief and heartache on my end), I feel like former member Diva Dompé has done a fantastic job of moving on from the groups sound while still retaining their earthy atmosphere that I've always been in love with. Her newest record, Moon Moods, just dropped today via Critical Heights. Above is a stark-yet-beautiful clip for the seven-plus minute spellbinding "Inverted Image". You can download the track below, as well as the somewhat sassier and certainly flirtatious album opener, "Wanna Get To Know You". If your interests are peaked as much as mine you can stream Moon Moods in full over at The Fader, and of course you can always buy a copy of the LP.

MP3:
Diva - Inverted Image
Diva - Wanna Get To Know You
Moon Moods is available now on CD or 12" vinyl via Critical Heights.

Lonerism

I first heard Tame Impala on an absolutely stellar mix composed by Tycho and Heathered Pearls and was completely blown away by them. Today the Aussie psychedelic band released their sophomore album, Lonerism, which continues to compliment the mellow, smooth moves of their debut, Innerspeaker. The first thing that drew me in was not only the artwork, but also the photos and design inside the album’s booklet that features frontman Kevin Parker collaborating with Leif Podhajsky, one of my favorite artists as of late. Reading some early reviews about the album, there are a lot of notions that they sound a lot like The Beatles in their experimental prime, which I see as a positive thing, but as much as I enjoy Revolver, nothing seems to diminish an artist’s credibility more than being compared to the sounds of ancient rock gods. Tame Impala captures the foundation of 60s and 70s rock while maintaining a current and fresh sound, making it a perfect album to walk through downtown as the first fall chill comes in. Stream Lonerism in it's entirety below, courtesy of NPR.

Stream: Tame Impala - Lonerism

October 4, 2012

Hopscotch Music Festival 2012: Day 3

The short and sweet: if you haven't checked out the rest of our coverage of this year's Hopscotch Fest, make sure you check out Day 1 and Day 2 first, or the whole story will be spoiled. David is in blue and Jheri is in green, so keep up.

[Pancakes through the rabbit hole]
[Roomrunner @ White Collar Crime; © David Smith]
Saturday, we groggily woke up at my apartment and met Sam at her place for a pancake breakfast, which was lovely and quite heavily instagrammed. Energized by syrup and ready for a new day, we drove with Aaron downtown to catch the distorted folk stylings of Old Bricks at Kings, after which Sam and I bounced over to White Collar Crime's day show to catch the Nirvana-channeling noise assault of Roomrunner, easily one of my favorite sets of the weekend. Frontman Denny Bowen quipped amusingly between songs about the oversized artist wristband he was wearing, saying "I feel like an anime character with a tail coming from their wrist."

[Jane Jane Pollock @ Kings; © Giancarlo D'Alessandro]
[Museum Mouth @ Sadlacks; © Giancarlo D'Alessandro]
I woke up Saturday feeling like a mess, and I knew immediately that the next day I'd be feeling worse, so I decided that I'd go as hard as I could the whole day. I'll kill the suspense for you and go ahead and tell you it put me under the weather for a week, but was completely worth it. After David, Giancarlo and I groggily moped about the living room for thirty minutes, Aaron picked us up and we headed to Sam's place. Sam had made pancakes for all of us. David, Giancarlo and I have been having fun lately posting pictures of each other posting pictures to instagram, so we circle jerked that madness for a minute before finally heading to downtown Raleigh for the final day of Hopscotch Fest. Our first stop when we made it downtown was a coffee shop that was very pleasant and a name that I've forgotten entirely. Afterward we met up with our pals in Hundred Waters (whom I'd first met last year when they were touring with Levek as part of his band.) After chatting for a while and catching up on life, we headed over to Kings to catch Jane Jane Pollock's thrilling live show. I saw JJP last year at Total Bummer and fell in love, and once more my eyes filled with hears as the band began their exuberant pop. As soon as the set finished I made my way to Sadlack's with Giancarlo and Aaron to see Museum Mouth. As usual those cuties killed it with a short-but-sweet set. The best thing I can say about the band is that they play Wilmington frequently and I still will go out of my way in other cities to see them.

[Woodsman @ The Hive; © Audrey Melton]
[Woodsman @ The Hive; © Giancarlo D'Alessandro]
After Museum Mouth finished I chugged the rest of a second coffee I'd ordered and we headed to The Hive to catch Woodsman shred the stage at the Phuzz Phest day show. On the way we saw Audrey and absorbed her into our group. After Woodsman finished up I helped them get their gear to their van because a meter maid was getting fussy about where they'd park for just a few minutes. I also ran into Hank from Grip Tapes, who introduced me to Toon, a Durham-based MC who played Thursday night with fellow Durham rapper The Real Laww. Toon was a really cool dude, and I was glad to meet him because I'd really wanted to catch his set but was still in Wilmington when he played. Next Giancarlo, Audrey, Aaron and I headed to a "Chinese food" place called City Wok (isn't that a Southpark joke?), where I ate the worst fried rice I've ever had and some General Tso's chicken that wasn't spicy at all. Then it started raining, while we were eating outside, because that meal didn't quite suck enough. Thanks to the rain we were forced to hang out for a little over an hour in the Sheraton lobby while killing time until the night shows began. David, Giancarlo and I passed the time by loudly singing a number of Soulja Boy songs.

[David & Danny Brown; © David's P.O.3GS.]
While walking back, we passed the folk band Megafaun, who were playing in the middle of the street to an adoring crowd, so we stuck around for a bit while Sam shot photos and interviewed people. After snagging some food, we hung around the city plaza to catch The Roots, until the second huge rainstorm of the weekend rolled in and we were forced inside the Sheraton, awaiting word on when the Roots would take the stage. This was fun though, I got to meet Danny Brown, and Jheri, Giac, and I went in on an impromptu rendition of Soulja Boy's "Pretty Boy Swag" in the lobby, which had people around us smiling. Soon the rain passed and we went outside to see the Roots. I met up with some friends in the crowd who smoked me up as the Roots played, and I was loving the universe.

[The Toddlers @ The Hive; © Giancarlo D'Alessandro]
Amidst the storming outside, I became certain that this would be the fourth time I'd almost gotten to see the Roots before some random circumstance prevented it in the last minute, so I headed over to The Hive to catch Toddlers' set. I was there for five or six fantastic tracks before Andrew from Potholes In My Blog shot me a text message to let me know The Roots were finally going on soon. I met up with Andrew and his ladyfriend, Mallory, to enjoy the set and finally see the group I'd been trying to see for five years. Due to the whole rain mixup none of our photographers were at that set, so I'll never be able to prove that happened.

[Nobunny @ CAM; © Giancarlo D'Alessandro]
After that set, we ran over to CAM to catch Nobunny, which was wild. I had never even heard of dude before that night, and proceeded to get my introduction by fire via a huge mosh pit in the center of an art museum.

[Nobunny @ CAM; © Giancarlo D'Alessandro]
After the Roots I headed to CAM for Nobunny's set, one of my most anticipated of the weekend. For the past few years I've been digging Nobunny's jams thanks to being introduced to him by Eric (of Gravity Recs), so as soon as the set began I sent Eric a text saying simply "I HOPE YOU'RE HERE!" Moments later he grabbed my shoulder from behind, spun me around, and we hugged excitedly. Then for about thirty minutes we geeked out as Nobunny pumped energy into the crowd, getting everyone moving around while he pranced about in his tighty (used to be) whiteys and leather jacket.

[Danny Brown @ CAM; © Audrey Melton]
[Danny Brown @ CAM; © Giancarlo D'Alessandro]
After Nobunny's set I began to make my way outside, but before I could get to the doors I was stopped by a guy who looked vaguely familiar. As an expression of confusion moved to excitement on my face, I realized that standing in front of me was Konstantin Kazmierski, Deniro Farrar's manager and a friend I'd only interacted with online before now. Deniro was also there, and I met and chatted with him for a bit before none other than Toon showed up and we realized we all knew each other. I also ran into my buddy Dylan from Persona La Ave, whom I hadn't seen in about two years. At this point Danny Brown's set was staring, so we headed back into CAM, where I also met back up with Andrew and Mallory. Danny Brown was definitely a highlight of the weekend for me, as I've been listening to XXX a lot this summer. The energy of the show was every bit as massive as his recordings would make you think.

[Laurel Halo @ Kings; © Aaron Ellis]
[Sunn O))) @ Memorial Auditorium; © Aaron Ellis]
I stuck around for a few songs of Danny Brown, then went over to meet Aaron at Gorilla vs Bear headquarters aka Laurel Halo's set, which was.... odd. I enjoyed it but her set was maybe a little abstract for my tastes, or I just wasn't stoned enough. We stuck around for a bit and then bounced over to Sunn O))) at the auditorium. A show that was audible from far outside the venue, the set was less a concert than an existential meditation. I was sitting there holding a balloon I had brought from Danny Brown's set (which I ended up flinging from the balcony at Wye Oak) and the thing was in danger of popping from the sheer soundwaves. I stared into the smoke that covered the stage and I swear I saw human history and a Lovecraftian story playing out in the billows, real talk. Their music is that emotional.

[Crowd at CAM for Danny Brown & Flosstradamus; © Aaron Ellis]
[Konstantin, Deniro Farrar & Jheri]
After Danny Brown's set I got to go hang out backstage, as Flosstradamus were up next and are friends of Deniro and Konstantin. I didn't really say much to anyone as I'm secretly pretty bashful, but it was still a great time and an awesome way to close out the weekend. During Flosstradamus' set I was at the side of the stage dancing like my life depended on it while Danny Brown and Deniro Farrar were doing the same thing (though they both had found some girls to join them) only feet away. I once more didn't have a photographer with me, so instead enjoy a picture of Deniro, Kon and myself. Whoa whoa whoa, don't enjoy it that much! Anyway, after the show I met back up with Aaron outside of the venue and we made our way to the Sheraton lobby to meet up with the rest of our crew. After collecting everyone we ma our way to our sleeping buildings. The next morning Giancarlo and I would meet up with Eric to head back to Wilmington and discuss all the finer points of our respective weekends over a few bowl packs.

We left Sunn O))) to go to indie qt's Wye Oak at Lincoln down the street, and proceeded to close our Hopscotch out in style on the balcony upstairs. This was my second year of this festival, and I can say   pretty accurately this event gets better every year.