Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bjork-Biophilia (2011)

Björk - Hollow (Original 7 Minute Version) - Japanese bonus by La 3e heure!

Ok so here goes. My history with Bjork; a brief discography overview. Debut-had promise never really got too into it. Post-Brilliant. Homogenic-Even more brilliant. Vespertine-Less brilliant but like a cold surgical knife it could due some beautiful damage. Medulla-pretty farty. Volta-Fucking garbage. There, that wasn't so bad was it?

Now onto the new album. This album is a beautiful, expansive, warm and cold album. The music on most of it is very minimal, lots of organs and harps and minimal electronic beats. She produced 90% of the album herself this time, which is a rarity for Bjork and you can kind of tell but not really since I have never heard her self production before. The album seems to want to envelop the listener in a warm blanket of repetition and I would have to say the highlight throughout the whole album is that of voice and atmosphere. This thing is thick with atmosphere and is downright creepy in parts. The choirs of Bjork's are creeptown but it also has a certain sense of familiarity.

Lyrically the album seems to be a lot about the creation of life in the universe and all these huge themes of things that are bigger than all of our petty problems as humans. It's as if she has given up being aggressive(Volta) and decided to look into and out of herself at the same time. She is seeing the beauty of the world even though at first glance it feels like the world is in a constant state of strife. So in a way this album to me represents escapism at it's best. At it's best because it's not true idiot escapism, it's escapism to the country or just into the beautiful places of your mind and finding a way to return to that in reality. She seems to be yearning to teach people to just chill the fuck out and to look at our ancestors and realize all their mistakes and accomplishments. I could be reading way too much into this but it really does feel like a plea for people to settle down and shut their mouths, it's very meditative.
The best tracks here are the "ballad" "Cosmogony" which is based on choir vocals and a soaring lead vocal and slight instrumentation. The number 1 highlight on the album by far though is the song "Hollow". It begins with a throbbing organ that is repeated faster and faster over and over again until Bjork kicks in. The whole thing feels like a dark demented Jon Brion production and you can feel the room these instruments are being recorded in. The whole song is basically voice and organ and it easily ranks as one of the best things she has ever recorded. It hits everything out of the park.
This album is completely indebted to 20th century modern classical music as well as voice music of the Avant Garde and just good ol fashioned Bjork perfection. I am ranking this album of hers probably just below Post in the greatness category. So lets recap Debut-B, Post-A, Homogenic-A+, Vespertine-B+, Medulla-C-, Volta-D, Biophilia-A-

go listen to this

oh and yeah this was released as an APP album with a bunch of extra shit but i dont own an Iphone or an Ipad and I dont give a fuck about Steve Jobs.....IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hanni El Khatib-Will the Guns Come Out (2011)

Hanni El Khatib- Dead Wrong by davefranklin

Hanni El Khatib - "Build-Destroy-Rebuild" by brooklynvegan

Sad about the White Stripes breaking up? Even sadder that Dead Moon broke up in 2006? No need to fear Hanni El Khatib is here! If you need a nice shot of kick ass garage rock with a bit of a 50s twang then this is defintely not to be missed. It's like taking all those things mentioned and adding restraint where it is needed and letting the fuck loose when needed. These songs are not very complicated, they never needed to be. This is pure dirty, soulful classic rock n roll! This has punch and it is easily one of the most ass kicking debuts i have heard in years. Lyrically he is very direct, which perfectly matches the directness of the music. He curses when he needs to, cries when he wants to and lays down sick riff after sick riff, hell in the opening track he even throws down some weird ass experimental acapella shit. If you don't like this album you are probably dead downstairs. So far this is thee party record of 2011 and i hope to hear this blasting from peoples cars this fall(i know it wont happen). By some miracle I hope this guy takes off because he totally deserves it!

oh yeah and that cover art is fucking KILLER!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dirty Beaches-Badlands (2011)

What happens when you take rockabilly and boil it down to it's core? What happens if you add Elvis vocals to that kick ass Dymaxion album? What happens when you throw all that in a undersea canister and let it seep out slowly over time? Dirty Beaches is what you get. It's like the 50s on major amounts of opiates and it ends up coming out sounding like a lo-fi version of Suicide. Apparently this guy made this album for his parents because they weren't down with the weird stuff he was already doing. His parents were rockabilly parents in the 50s and 60s so he decided to put his own spin on the music they loved. This is the result. One of the best hangover albums I have ever heard. It is perfect for your brain if all your brain wants is to chill the fuck out. You don't have to put too much mental effort into enjoying this kind of thing but that's not to say it's dumb by any means. It just flows very well in a simplistic fashion, but I mean, an idiot isnt gonna sample Les Rallizes Dénudés anytime soon. So sit back and enjoy the wonderfully dark psychotic hangover sounds of Dirty Beaches and forget about your troubles.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Renaldo & The Loaf-The Elbow Is Taboo (1987)

So I have been noticing a nice trend in music from present to past. The trend in question is that of "brother bands" or "brother" bands. The first is a band with either brothers in it or the members are only brothers. The second is bands that pretend to be brothers. Some examples of the first one are The Sun City girls and The Frogs. Examples of the second are bands like Ween, Barnes and Barnes and these guys right here...Renaldo and the Loaf. Now the common thread between all these bands is, they are weird. Something about them is off, whether it be their lyrical content, their music, or both. In the case of Renaldo and the Loaf it's definitely both. The story of Renaldo and the Loaf goes as such; they were making a lot of lo-fi 4 track recordings in Bristol, which is in the south coast of England. After making a few singles they got noticed by none other than The Residents! They were immediately signed to Ralph Records the record label run by The Residents. They gained some notoriety for being just as weird as The Residents and their mission in the music world seemed to be to alienate as many people as possible. There is always an awkward feeling to every song they have ever made. Yes it is annoying, yes it is weird, yes it doesnt make sense and believe it or not these are all positives to their cause. This music is not made for mass consumption and in the process they made some groundbreaking strides in the evolution of music and this album in question is their final and probably best album.
This album distills early electronic music, hip hopish beats, world music, world tunings, childlike humor and dark disturbing lyrics(sometimes not even real words but more like a madeup language). The songs are consistent and you can hear tons of other bands in the cracks these guys have made. This music is fun, disturbing and very very smart. It sounds a bit childish in parts but its all part of their package. These guys carry my so called "brother band" aesthetic perfectly and I think this stems from(when its blood brothers) a mutual understanding of letting your guard down and just being as fucked up as possible, because, that other brother will always be there in case of rejection. The same goes for the "brother" bands, most of these bands seem so connected in a best friend kind of way that they really dont care at all what the outside world thinks about their music or it gives them the strength to confront the world with some truly out their ideas. To me this is great and I try to have this flow through everything I have done musically to varying degrees of success. Anyways this band is not to be ignored, missed forgotten. Keep their legacy alive and listen to this shit on a daily basis. Sure most of it's ridiculous, but isn't fuck it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Winter Family-Red Sugar (2011)

winter family - red sugar (album preview) by experimedia

Imagine for about an hour you are in some foreign land and you come across a temple/church/some type of place of worship. You are not religious. You are not searching for yourself. What is real is the organ music wafting through the front doors of this temple. It beckons you inside and when you walk inside you see people from all walks of life. no one turns their heads to greet you when you step inside. No ill will is found in this place. You take a seat and look forward just as a woman takes the pulpit and begins chanting in a language you cant recognize. This chanting and talking takes you out of the world and places you firmly in your seat in this darkened cathedral. Once that woman steps off the pulpit another woman takes her place. This time she is American and is telling a story of rape and self discovery. This doesnt depress you instead it fills you with a sense of your own purpose or something or other. Outside you can hear a political protest going on. It first starts civil then quickly devolves into a mob tearing at the walls and screaming for everyone inside to come out so they may either join or die. You have to make this choice. Not right now but soon.
Right now you are actually in your bedroom listening to Winter Family's Red Sugar and wondering where you went for the past hour hoping to get there once again and never again at the same time. Imagine if you will Nico fronting a peace rally in Israel. Then imagine it is the most uplifting and depressing thing you have heard all year. This is what great albums are made of.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs - "Garden"

really loving this one. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (TEED) is a sort of electronic danceable pop project by London, UK artist Orlando Higginbottom, though described by Orlando himself as "just dance music" with no genre associations (which as a sort of anti-genre person myself i can totally support). much of what i've heard online from his other EPs sounds more less like what you'll hear in "Garden", albeit a little weirder/less directly dancey and pop-oriented. "Garden" is really the standout track for me, and for many others as it's been generally received as such. it's that kind of track where you can just feel all the gears turning that an artist is trying to employ, the kind of track where it all just clicks. but really, i think what puts this track over the edge (compared to most of his other work) is the guest vocals by Luisa of Lulu and The Lampshades (a kind of funky-alt Micachu-esque indie-pop group). her voice is just beautiful. was really bummed when i realized she wasn't an actual member of TEED.

anyway, check it out. it's on Greco-Roman, a label i have yet to explore, but totally will after hearing this. oh and also, this and most of his other videos have great production values and a cool, vaguely avant-garde kind of style and feel to them. refreshing to see someone put some good work into music videos nowadays.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

lumerians - transmalinnia (2011)

Lumerians - Black Tusk by speedglueandmusic_aw
Lumerians - Hashshashin by speedglueandmusic_aw

Oakland, California, USA
Transmalinnia (Partisan, 2011)
RIYL: Can, Wooden Shjips, Dead Meadow

Despite this being easily one of my favorite albums this year, I never got an simple handle on how to describe their sound and I never got around to writing a proper review of this.  Lumerians' sound is usually referred to as "space rock" or "druid rock" in the reviews I've seen, and while neither of those terms are bad, I don't think that "space rock" really captures the groove and rhythm that Lumerians bring in their cosmic psychedelia.  Taking psychedelic rock as a template, most songs on Transmalinnia are built around looping and catchy bass melodies with hypnotic, krautrock-inspired drumming.  While your body is locked into the groove, the chiming guitars, squelchy keyboards, percussive flourishes and occasional dripping watery vocals hijack your brain and plot a course for alternate dimensions.  There's a certain amount of funk and catchiness that 70's psych and krautrock bands possessed from their rock n' roll roots that many modern psych bands lack, and I think Lumerians bring this back more successfully than any of their contemporaries.  It's the combination transporting your body and mind at the same time that makes Trasmalinnia such an exceptional record.  Lumerians' live show (which adds projected visuals and sometimes costumes) is just as remarkable and captivating; when I saw them play at aQuarius Record's anniversary show last year, I went in with no expectations and ended up feeling that Lumerians blew all the other bands off the stage (including Date Palms, who upstaged Godspeed! You Black Emperor at Great American Music Hall later last year).  While I think this album should certainly be a favorite of anyone who considers themselves a fan of psychedelic music, I also believe that this is rocking and catchy enough to appeal to even more mainstream music fans.  I can't say if this band is going to blow up, but I think they've definitely got a sound and a live show that ought to bring them wide success.  Definitely check out this record and see them live if you can.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thunder and Lightning-Kangaroo Court (2011)

So this might be the dorkiest record I have ever heard. This, my friends, is a good thing. This album harkens back to a time when "Indie Rock" was still innocent. I would say pre-2005 before the shit got all tied up in pop and the mainstream. This album exudes a sense of innocence that I haven't heard in a while.
This is the drummer of a band I have never heard before called the Harlem Shakes, they came out with an album in 2009 and have since broken up. The drummer decided he would throw his hat into the ring and the results are pretty awesome. Now i must preface this by saying not everyone will like this album, hell I think most people would hate it these days. People might write it off as too cute or something but it really does have some teeth. The lyrics especially all tell little mini stories with tons of details that beg you to follow them. He sings about haunted places, girls, san francisco, love, loss, happiness, you know the staple indie pop shit but it's done with such a precise pen that you can but stand up and take notice.
Musically I would say the music is most similar to a blend of Quasi, They Might Be Giants, Ben Folds Five and the Ovens.
So fans of super nerdy piano based indie pop all done by one guy than this is definitely your bag. While this might not be for everyone I have to shed some notice on this record before the year is through just so people know the shit exists, no doubt this will go on some your year end lists

have some nerdy fun!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Braids-Native Speaker (2011)

Braids - Lemonade by neontapedeck
BRAIDS - 'Plath Heart' by SpunkRecords

At first, for some reason or another, i wrote this band off as kind of a "Animal Collective with a girl" type scenario. While it does have elements of those guys I feel that this band is in fact definitely doing their own thing. The music is very warm and it feels like it is expansive yet also very intimate. This band has a lot in common with the overall Cocteau Twins sound, as well as a lot of the shoegaze bands from the 90s. This album though has less, less wall of sound, more sparse electronics, and above all the beautiful vocals carry this music from something average to something way above average.
If you are not a fan of somewhat new agey stuff or female vocalists like Elizabeth Frasier or Kate Bush, then this might not be your cup of tea, but for those of us that yearn for the shoegaze and dream pop days of yore, this is something you will want to consume immediately.

oh yeah and this came out i believe the first week of 2011 yet it perfectly fits the hot summer mood.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

prurient - bermuda drain (2011)

PRURIENT - A Meal Can Be Made by Hydra Head Records
PRURIENT - Palm Tree Corpse by Hydra Head Records

New York City, New York, USA
Bermuda Drain (Hydra Head, 2011)
RIYL: Genghis Tron, Xinlisupreme, Xiu Xiu

Every Prurient release I'd heard prior to this album was harsh, aggressive, dissonant, deeply in the red noise.  Earlier this year I found out that the man behind Prurient, Dominic Fernow, had joined Cold Cave for their newest incarnation as boring synth goth rockers, and I was puzzled as to how someone known for such destructive noise could find a home in a very middle-of-the-road leather and sunglasses group.  Add those two facts together, and somehow this very bizarre and schizophrenic newest Prurient album makes sense.  Bermuda Drain sounds very much like the budget, equipment, and some of the melodicism of Cold Cave crossed with Prurient's deeply fucked up sonic assault.  The tracks here are split between Fernow narrating disturbing and sometimes grotesquely sexual images over unsettling keyboard washes (the lyrics make the name Prurient seem all the more fitting), and more upbeat and rocking tracks that could almost pass for The Faint if it weren't for Fernow screaming his guts out over them.  It sounds a lot like if Xiu Xiu were way more aggressive, and also obsessed with 80s synth horror soundtracks, or like if Genghis Tron were less metal but way more disturbing.  Personally, I have a pretty low threshold for ear bleeding experimental noise, so this direction is way more interesting and a step up in my opinion.  It is still a very bold and uneven album, and I wouldn't call it an unqualified success- but it is still one of the more interesting and original albums I've heard recently, and I'd say one of the better albums this year.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shabazz Palaces-Black Up (2011)

Shabazz Palaces - Swerve... by subpop

Shabazz Palaces - An Echo From The Hosts That Profess Infinitum by subpop

This year feels like it's really trying to have a good hip hop run. Some might be fooled with some of the subpar crap coming out that looks good on paper and in the press(odd future youngins im looking at you!) For the most part this year has some ok stuff coming out. Lil B came out with something decent, the Ghostface/Doom collaboration dropped their first single today and thats pretty solid. Death Grips made a very divisive album( i loved it). Then there is this. Shabazz Palaces feels like effort, it oozes creativity. It doesn't fall into the usual tropes most hip hop falls into. There is very little bravado present, very little cliche on this album. Thats just the words. The musical side of this album is even more dense and "new" sounding. There are twists and turns at every corner with new ideas cropping up here and there. A neat little trick they employ is that of completely changing the entire structure of a song in its final 2 minutes, they do this on more than half the album and it still feels like a surprise anytime. It kind of reminds me of way Skinny Puppy structured their album Last Rights on cd, where the beginning of the next track actually begins at the end of the track that precedes it. It creates a disorienting feeling that is addictive as hell.
This is a very solid hip hop release and so far the best thing hip hop has had to offer so far for 2011.
I guess it takes a veteran from Digible Planets to show all the new(and some of the old) cats how to do shit right.
Everyone should take note, this is the way to make a hip hop album, you know how they used to make em...

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Men-Leave Home (2011)

01 If You Leave by sean.taylor106

It starts with a hum that is vaguely Middle Eastern in origin. The beginning of man. The beginning of The Men. Slowly building with tiny pieces of feedback from both the bass and guitar. Little electrical hums flicker about. Then shitty harmonics play above a feedback drenched bass line. Then the shit opens up, wide fucking open and now it sounds like Harvey Milk jamming with Spacemen 3. Who could ask for anything more?? It is beauty through chaos and then the drums come in and its a kick ass rock song and ladies and gentlemen we are no longer floating in space but now very grounded. "Die, I would die!" gets repeated over and over, and i would die to in a shallow grave in the middle of a seedy bar in downtown LA with these heavy notes and waves of distorted guitar, i could just die!
Back to Earth we are allowed to listen to these recorded sounds over and over, while wearing a pair of pissed jeans and remembering why you liked heavy music to begin with. This is the culmination of collections filled with amrep records, touch and go singles, and just that special amount of 80s weirdness. apparently this is hardcore but i beg to differ, this is just rock, rock at its most confrontational and cerebral. It's albums like these that remind me why i started listening to music in the first place.
Another modern masterpiece to place next to my Jesus Lizard and Big Black records.

LONG LIVE THE RAWK!!!!!!!!!!!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

RIP brain dead dave, owner of force of habit records

I woke up tonight trying to remember what 90's emo band we were talking about that time you came on my radio show, when we had been at the bar earlier and then on the radio you played a ("pre-nazi") Skrewdriver song and wouldn't stop cussing on air (I believe your parting words to the audience were something along the lines of "goodnight you motherfuckers!").  You were a funny guy, and one who cared deeply about music.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

mysterious black metal: mamaleek - kurdaitcha (2010) & murmuüre - murmuüre (2010)

Black metal is a genre becoming more and more crowded everyday, making the effort to find acts doing something interesting and original with the sound that much harder. Recent trends like an overt shoegaze influence were astonishing when they arrived, and have now become commonplace and BORING. The problem of searching for new sounds is compounded by the fact that trying new things is always risky, and the bands out there making genuine efforts to push black metal forward don't always succeed in making something that's actually good.

Mamaleek - The Hypocrite & The Concubine by speedglueandmusic_aw
Mamaleek - My Body Rock Long Fever by speedglueandmusic_aw

Kurdaitcha is Mamaleek's third album, but it is my first encounter with them. I first heard this album a few months ago, and have been trying and failing to put into words what it sounds like ever since. They are a pair of brothers from San Francisco, but beyond that not much is known about them. It USED to be standard practice for black metal musicians to be "mysterious" and not very press-savvy, but in recent times certain black metallers have embraced press coverage with open arms (hello LITURGY), so it's actually pretty refreshing that I'm not staring at glossy photos of these dudes while writing this. It makes it a lot easier to focus on the music, which is good since this music is AWESOME. Mamaleek's approach to black metal reminds me a lot of Lifelover or Joyless, in that they incorporate many disparate and unusual styles into an overal black metal vibe. On top of the black-metal-appropriate buzzing guitars and pounding drum machine, Mamaleek incorporate sampled pan flutes, unnerving disembodied voices and other unexpected elements. These unusual ingredients are not just garnishes on top of meat-and-potatoes black metal however, as Mamaleek's music is as much industrial, noise and shoegaze as it is black metal. I know I mentioned earlier that I thought shoegaze and black metal was a played-out combination, but it's done here in a less clumsy and more original way, so I don't feel like I'm listening to some trend-hoppers. In fact, despite the reckless mish-mash of genres happening on Kurdaitcha, the album is incredibly listenable. While it might not be sufficiently grim for black metal purists, and too harsh for those not open to metal, I imagine that there is a pretty sizable group of people like me who have been starving for something new that is as WEIRD and RAD as this record is.

Murmuüre - Amethyst by speedglueandmusic_aw
Murmuüre - Disincarnate by speedglueandmusic_aw

While Kurdaitcha is an album I've been turning over for months, attempting to unlock its secrets and mysteries, Murmuüre's debut self-titled album from last year is one that I've only recently come across (despite hearing some very high praise from the always reliable aQuarius records last year). Hailing from France, Murmuüre's approach to black metal is as bizarre, adventurous and psychedelic as Mamaleek, but the end result is very different.  Murmuüre's music is more open-ended, mostly layers upon layers of thick and threatening atmosphere, only occasionally punctuated by a beat and a few howled vocals. Although not as immediately catchy as Mamaleek, Murmuüre have just as much happening on this album- it is a record both sonically busy yet also subdued.  I admit that I haven't listened to too many dark ambient records, but this is probably the most appealing approach to that idea that I've come across, and I suspect I'll be continuing to find interesting and new details the more I listen to this.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2011 & 1/2

2011 is now more than half over, and summer's finally arrived (although if you are in San Francisco you wouldn't know it from the rain).  Any excuse to make a list of albums is a good excuse, but "2011 so far" is an extra good excuse.  Here's lists from me (aw), destroythescene and R.A.Williams; MRT will be posting his list tomorrow.

These are the albums I've been digging the most so far this year- I took a few albums off the list at the last second (ducktails, tim cohen, a few others) because I wasn't sure if I liked them THAT much.  The ones I like best are in bold.

battles - gloss drop (warp)
black devil disco club - circus (lo)
burzum - fallen (back on black)
   Burzum - Jeg Faller (Fallen) by metalassault

clams casino - b-sides instrumental & remixes (self-released)

lumerians - transmalinnia (partisan)
   Atlanta Brook by Lumerians

moon duo - mazes (sacred bones)
peaking lights - 936 (not not fun)

vetiver - the errant charm (sub pop)
   Vetiver - Worse For Wear by wattesnl


These are in order from best to last

Psychedelic Horseshit - Laced (Fat Cat)
Psychedelic Horseshit - French Countryside by TheDiscoverialist

Ponytail - Do Whatever You Want All the Time (We Are Free)
Ponytail - Honey Touches by FBi Radio

Death Grips - Exmilitary (Self-released)
Death Grips - Exmilitary - 3 - Spread Eagle Cross the Block by deathgrips

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)
Fleet Foxes - Montezuma by gypsysphere

Tuneyards - Whokill (4AD)
Tune-Yards - Bizness by snipelondon

Akron Family - S/T II The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT (Dead Oceans)
Akron Family - Silly Bears by Pretty Much Amazing

Panda Bear - Tomboy (Paw Tracks)
Panda Bear - Last Night At The Jetty by bigasslens

Rabbits - Lower Forms (Relapse)
Rabbits - A Tale Of Tales (Lower Forms) by metalassault

Liturgy - Aesthethica (Thrill Jockey)
Liturgy - High Gold by deadcomedian


tim hecker - ravedeath 1972 (kranky)

egyptrixx - bible eyes (night slugs)

clams casino - instrumental mixtape (self-released)

asc - stutter/leviathan 12" (exit records)

bok bok - southside ep (night slugs)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bon Iver-Bon Iver, Bon Iver(2011)

Bon Iver - "Calgary" by blatanti




RIYL: Phil Collins' Genesis, Bad TV on the Radio, Circa 1999 Dave Matthews, Overblown Garbage.

also there is a really horrible song on this album, it's the closing song called "Beth/Rest" that is beyond words horrible, unfortuneatly due to Bon Iver's label or himself being a tight ass almost none of the songs are available anywhere on the internet legally. i will update this review if i find something though, but in the meantime download that shit if you want to make your ears bleed.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cam Connor-Fitter Happiest(2011)

03 Good a$$ Job by sean.taylor106

06 Indie Soap Opera (Feat. Jeremy P) by sean.taylor106

The art of sampling. I personally think it's brilliant, some people think it's shit but i think there is a great art to picking out samples, changing them or leaving them intact but arranging them in such a way where you create a brand new piece of art. Doing this takes time and effort and this Cam Connor person has succeeded in creating some new art.
Some of you may be rolling your eyes thinking this is gonna be just like girl talk, but the difference is this guy or girl doesnt give a shit about making dance tracks out of this music instead he creates a truly ridiculous mash up with interesting turns everywhere. A lot of this is somewhat blasphemous which is great because i feel a lot of people are wearing velvet gloves when they "approach the greats". This is ugly, awful, annoying but ultimately completely engaging.
I mean this is shitty but great at the same time. it is trash, it is disposable but it is also exciting as all hell. whether or not you see what i see is totally in your head but to me this is the sound of someone who cant decide what to play so they just play everything at once and never pick up an instrument aside from their trusty sampler.


oh and i think this may be thom yorke

Monday, June 6, 2011

Death Grips-Exmilitary(2011)

Death Grips - Exmilitary by deathgrips

So this is a bit of a weird one and to be honest kind of a great one. This project is a hip hop group from Sacramento. It involves Zach Hill and two other mystery people. I dont hear too much of Zach's drumming, but i suspect i am hearing his beats. He hinted at stuff like this throughout his solo career but until now his noise/pop sensibilities had never been paired with hip hop. I think it's a great mix and he isn't afraid to take risks with this music, a lot of it sounds like it's not going to work but i havent heard a misstep on this album.
The general mood of this album is very confrontational, aggressive yet at the same time really playful. There are a ton of 60s samples ranging from girl group to arthur brown and a bunch of other stuff, bowie gets a sample too. This truly is melting pot hip hop, pulling from many genres twisting them and then using them as a jumping off point to launch this music straight into your brain.
As far as i can tell, this stuff is still pretty "under the radar" and they are offering this mixtape for free on their website right here!

This kind of has a Odd Future feeling to it, but it feels more mature, maybe thats because it is made by an older crowd. It also has a heavy Food For Animals vibe but it's not as focused on abstract IDM, instead you could throw this on at a party and i think people would be down.
This is forward thinking hip hop that i hope turns some heads, this needs to be heard and at that price why not just give it a try it's fucking free!

a few notes: Mike Leisz turned me onto this one...thanks bud! and i highly recommend the songs guillotine and spread eagle across the block...but i mean just download the whole thing!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fleet Foxes-Helplessness Blues(2011)

Fleet Foxes - Montezuma by gypsysphere

02 - Bedouin Dress by chrisdeets

Sometimes i write off a band, sometimes it's for a good reason and i never want to listen to them ever again. Sometimes it's for a bad reason like the "scene" surrounding such music, people who like it, etc.. and i usually regret it sometimes. This one i am regretting bigtime. It's not like i am gonna run out and buy their first ep or album, but this, this thing right here i am listening to is making me regret writing them off.

This is pure indie folk/pop shit you would assume these days is a dime a dozen but the pure talent going into these songs cant be ignored. The harmonies alone could carry this band but underneath it lies a great sense of tension within the instrumentation. this band likes to ebb and flow and swell up and down just like a sea and the boat is carrying the melodies and harmonies. it all accompanies everything around it and back again. every song is a highlight and a joy to listen to.

the main touchstones i can find here are of course crosby stills and nash. but also, more importantly, and this might seem weird but the absolute best melodies from James Taylor. i hear a ton of him in this album, this album reminds me of an afternoon looking out on a beach and just not having shit to do and being able to totally appreciate the things around you. I'm normally not this sappy but this album makes me feel good, i cant really explain it but every element wrenches an emotional reaction from me and it's great.

who knew this would be the year of being blown away by simple well done indie releases, im diggin it

Monday, May 23, 2011

video: performances from "our band could be your life" tribute

Our Band Could Be Your Life tribute at Bowery Ballroom (Stereogum review)
Our Concert Could Be Your Life (streaming on NPR)

When this show was first announced, my reaction was pretty negative (I think my exact words were "fuck everything about this").  It seemed like a personal affront to me that the man who had written a book about some my favorite bands, and some of the most important bands of the 80's, was putting on a tribute show featuring performances by bands that sounded NOTHING like the groups they were covering.  How could it be showing respect to groups like Blag Flag, Big Black, Butthole Surfers and others by staging performances by bands that are not in any way connected to the sounds of those original bands?  I understood that The Dirty Projectors had released an album that was at least conceptually connected to Black Flag, even if sonically it had virtually nothing to do with them.  But the selection of St Vincent to cover Big Black I could not understand.   Oh lord how it made me mad- I had visions in my head of her taking the stage, whipping out a violin, and winking and laughing through a set of ironic Big Black covers.  In fact it was such an outrage to me that I tried my hardest to forget the whole thing was happening at all.  But yesterday the show did happen, and today my blood pressure spiked when I saw reviews of it popping up on music websites.  I almost decided to ignore the reviews for the sake of my happiness and mental health, not wanting to spend the rest of the day fuming about the desecration of music I hold dear.  But I took the plunge and watched a few videos, and to my immense relief my expectations were totally wrong about this show.  St Vincent's performance of Kerosene not cutesy or fake or ironic, its a performance that actually respects the original.  And it's a shock to see the Dirty Projectors playing Black Flag songs not as Dirty Projector songs, but instead more like they originally sounded, with a now long-haired Dave Longstreth forgoing his vocal acrobatics for guttural barking.  These were the two performances I was most personally interested in, so I can't really say if the rest of the show was as good as these two, but you can check out the whole concert streaming at NPR, or check out loopyvid's youtube channel for other performances from the show.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

LA weekly interviews Steve Albini about food

I love Steve Albini, I love food, and here he talks about cooking, as well as eating in LA. I don't really think anything more than that needs to be said really, other than that I'm kind of bummed he doesn't like Martha Stewart as much as I do.

Friday, May 20, 2011

tUnE-yArDs-w h o k i l l (2011)

no more soundcloud...those fuckers have denied my uploads about 10 times in a row now, so fuck em, you tube "videos" instead

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Merril is performing at the..." and thats how the album begins and if that isn't a perfect rev up for an album I don't know what is. She really is performing "at the..." she is everywhere on this album. Combining elements of Indie Rock, African Music, synth pop, punk, and even soul(mostly in the vocals). This reminds me of what would happen if Nina Simone fronted a punk band. This album is somewhat hard for the explain. It's much better than the first one, which was recorded on a 4 track. This one is split between 4 track/field recordings/and a nice studio or two. She seems to thrive in this environment, employing her lo-fi aesthetic while also taking full advantage of the studio time. Every song here practically bursts with creativity. A lot of the creativity on display here can at times be awkward but that just adds to the excitement, she knows the perfect moment to be shitty to compliment the greatness. By making some parts dirty and somewhat stupid at times it gives the album a very up and down feel. It's like someone grabbing your hand and whipping you through a crowd without telling you where you are going.
This album is exciting, forward thinking, a bit annoying but you couldnt call yourself an adventurous music listener without acknowledging that something interesting is going on here. Oh and it definitely reminds me of that first Micachu album which is awesome!
I highly recommend this to pretty much anyone.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

video: cold cave - villains of the moon

Some interesting facts about Cold Cave that you may not know (or maybe you do genius, jeez):
- Singer/songwriter Wesley Eisold was the vocalist for hardcore bands XO Skeletons and Some Girls (and on an unrelated but somewhat interesting sidenote, he has only one hand)
- The band used to feature Caralee McElroy of Xiu Xiu
- The band currently features Dominic Fernow of Prurient/Ash Pool and Jennifer Clavin of Mika Miko
- All of these facts should add up to an awesome band and yet somehow this, from their latest album, sucks really hard.

Their new album, "Cherish the Light Years", is full of songs with brainless hooks and high-school emotions like this one.  At best, this comes off as an insincere "sell-out" ploy; at worst, it just makes them seem like terrible songwriters (you are free to reverse the "best" and "worst" in this scenario, but I'd rather think they are trying to "make it" rather than to believe they are just this awful of a band).  I'll let this video review serve in lieu of an album review, because this is pretty representative of what the album is like and I don't have any interest in listening to it in its entirety again.  I'm hopeful that they take their sound in a different direction, because there's way too much talent in this band to make music this fake and simplistic.

This, by the way, is what they sounded like on their last album, which to me sounds perfectly mainstream without sounding completely dumbed down:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

video: liturgy - returner

Liturgy are one of those bands that make it almost impossible to listen to the music without wondering what it all "means": in this case, the "meaning" at hand being the appropriation of outsider music (black metal) by clean-cut pretty boys in v-necks.  However, questions about intentions, appropriateness and the legitimacy of the people behind the music should always come second to the music itself.  Trying to put my reaction to concepts about black metal and indie "identities" is pretty difficult to do in this case, but I think Liturgy are doing something legitimately unique and sincere.  It may come from a sincerely stupid philosophy, but again I feel like its an important personal challenge to reconcile good or interesting music made by people I find obnoxious or repulsive.  If I can honestly appreciate Burzum without buying into his white supremacist ideology, I can certainly enjoy black metal made by poser douchebags right?  And then, there's an undeniable humor to see black metallers reacting to these guys with the same self-righteous horror with which the cultural mainstream reacts to black metal.  In the end, it wouldn't matter at all if the music wasn't any good, and here I think it is.  I have yet to hear the new Liturgy album in its entirety, and what snippets I've heard I don't feel are as good as their previous work, but I'm hoping to go in to it with an open mind at the very least.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

video: reality 86'd (Black Flag's last tour)

Click here to go watch the movie

Filmmaker David Markey is so cool that he released his documentary about Black Flag's last tour for free for all to watch on Vimeo, yet strangely he is not cool enough to let me embed it here. Oh well, can't win them all I guess. I've gotta go eat crazy-ass Chinese food with my lil' bro so I don't have time to watch this right now, but maybe I'll add my thoughts tomorrow. Or maybe you should add yours in the comment section.

In the meantime, here's a Black Flag video that will actual embed!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tyler, The Creator-Goblin(2011)

1-01 Goblin by sean.taylor106

Oh Tyler, you have managed to write and record the most self aware, self conscience and schizophrenic albums I have ever heard. Most of the time this would be a good thing, hell even a great thing. Many artists have done this, especially in hip hop. I have liked albums by egotistical weirdos for a while, the most recent album in memory was the last Kanye album. That album was made by a self aware egotist and it turned out to be concise and expertly produced. Even though it was self aware it still kept the most important thing in the forefront, Kanye let the music seep through everything above all else, his message was a moot point when those choral vocals and crazy song arrangements poured through the headphones. It was good, pure and simple.

The difference between that album and this one, i find, is extreme immaturity. Tyler really seems extremely cautious of every word he laid down to tape. He knew this album could make or break him but he seems so concerned with this that it gets in the way of the album. It's as if he was looking over his shoulder at all times when writing these tracks, second guessing himself until he made this. What is this? One of the biggest convoluted messes of an album I have heard in years. The music resides somewhere between Anticon and Def Jux and somewhere between the years 2001 and 2004, except this is 2011 and Madvillain happened and mainstream hip hop stepped up to create equal pop/critical hits. The landscape changed and El-P already made Fantastic Damage. In fact, this album sounds like a sloppy codeine fueled version of that album. In my eyes that makes this album completely unnecessary for the times.
It's painful to listen to this for many reasons, it feels like I stumbled upon some angry teenagers livejournal from a few years back. It reminds me of the bullshit rebellion that I let go after age 18. It's ugly but it's calculated ugly, it's fine tuned to a disgusting degree, and we havent even touched the lyrical content yet.

Lyrically this album is both successful and a failure at the same time. It succeeds because it does "go there". It really is, on first listen, dangerous and full of menace but after a few spins it really shows that this is just the product of an angry young teenager who is so concerned with his self image that he ends up not having an image of his own and ends up becoming a cheap, immature version of what he wants to be; a true dark creative genius. He is not, not even close because he thinks about it too much. No amount of pitched down and up vocal techniques could save this album, no amount of minimal production could save this album. Instead, Tyler buries this album with his monumental ego and his desire to be loved and hated by everyone.

Oh well..."Yonkers" was alright.