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.