Monday, October 31, 2011

The Soft Moon: "Total Decay"

Musically, San Francisco is more akin to Austin than it is to Brooklyn or Portland:  there isn't the flood of breaking talent that comes out of the latter two areas, but what does emerge into the nationwide indie consciousness from the likes of SF and Austin are a small handful of forward thinking bands diverse in nature, with geography the only common selling point.  Try, for instance, comparing The Soft Moon to Girls and let me know how many wpm you've rattled off before coming to a standstill.

The Soft Moon - "Total Decay" from Life or Death PR on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kendrick Lamar: "Rigamortis"

The gestation period in modern hip hop is not a long one.  After toiling in obscurity for most of the 90's, Kendrick Lamar released the O(verly) D(edicated) mixtape in September 2010 to his first real taste of acclaim... barely a year later, he's already worked with Snoop and Dre, J. Cole and Game as well as appearing on the cover of XXL.  As he states in "Rigamortis":  "don't ask for ya favorite rapper, he dead... I killed him".  Lamar has the flow of an alt-hip hopper but the lyrical predilections of a hardcore gangsta rapper, sometimes - as here - bordering on a horrorcore level of violence.

11/27/11 UPDATE:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

N.O.R.E.: "Finito" [feat. Pharrell & Lil Wayne]

Kind of fucked up that a video featuring N.O.R.E. (that's a bitch to type multiple times, by the way), Lil Wayne and Pharrell only merits a TV-PG.  Guess even a gangsta rapper has to go after that lucrative tween demographic.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble: "Pretend"

That's a heady name for a band.  I guess when you're talking a band that combines chamber pop with dance rock a little pretense isn't entirely out of line.  The incongruous imagery in this video was lensed by band member Daniel Brandt, presumably in a well-financed id douche.  Let's hope the experience was purifying for him, because I'm pretty sure his manager is horrified.

The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble - "Pretend" from Cluster 1 on Vimeo.

Friends: "I'm His Girl"

A little 70's disco funk, a bit of early 80's white girl rap... what could go wrong?  The answer is nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ohbijou: "Niagara"

I originally discovered this band through my weekly comprehensive scouring of Spotify's new release list.  Yeah, not the most legit indie street cred but sometimes you run across amazing bands under the shadiest of circumstances. Plus I follow so many music blogs through RSS that it's rare I stumble across a band live or without being sent a promo without having at least heard the band's name first.

Based on the strength of Ohbijou's third album, Metal Meets, there's no reason we shouldn't be hearing a lot more from these guys... and girls.  Plus they're from Canada, which I hear is the next Brooklyn.

Ohbijou Niagara Music Video from OHBIJOU on Vimeo.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Liveblogging "Ladies' Night" on TCM

No music posts today, instead I'm going to jump into the uber-trendy liveblogging waters by posting thoughts on three films I haven't seen before.  TCM is screening three Hammer historical epics (or, in the case of She, ahistoric) from the mid-60s tonight, and I plan to watch every last damn one of them.  "What kind of lamer does such a thing on a Friday night?"  Don't you worry about me, I like my weekends backloaded... like my women.

Starts here in 15 minutes at 7:00 PM CST...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dirty Beaches: "Lone Runner"

Second beach-related video of the day, but not really.  The only thing sunny or beach-worthy about "Lone Runner" is the Wall of Sound girl group handclaps underpinning the otherwise grim, Nick Cave smothered drone of the Dirty Beaches palette.  Nick Cave is a bit of a stretch as a comparison, but one edge I'll give to Cave is that the man usually has good videos.  I think they were going for harrowing here but the only thing troubling to my own sense of ease is the paroxysms of boredom I get watching this dullardry.  Still, I'll post a bad video for a good song, I just won't post a good video for a bad song.
DIRTY BEACHES /// LONE RUNNER from Kevin Luna on Vimeo.

Greatest Hits: "Girls on the Beach"

I'm a little reluctant to post something like this, since I'm attempting to build something of archival value here and ten years from now the whole kitschy, 8-bit retro thing is likely to seem like an overindulged nightmare, but even if the song "Girls on the Beach" itself doesn't hold up a decade from now I'm pretty sure the video will.

GREATEST HITS - GIRLS ON THE BEACH from Gunk TV Records on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

HTRK: "Synthetik"

HTRK - as in Hate Rock - returns with an icier, more ethereal slant on their disembodied synth rock.  Now without deceased bassist/programmer Sean Stewart, the remaining duo of Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang make up for the missing instrumentation Stewart provided with additional layers of distant plinks and multitracked droning.  The visuals accompanying "Synthetik" remind me of a punk rock version of THX-1138.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Stepkids: "Legend In My Own Mind"

What's up my man, I got that hip hop for ya!

I never like to see whitey co-opt or embarrass black culture, but when they do it up proper with full respect from where it came from then sure, I can dig it.  Not like either party asked my fuckin' permission anyway.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tyler, the Creator: "Bitch Suck Dick"

Hard to believe Tyler, the Creator and Frank Ocean came up out the same clique.  Frank's croon might in other circumstances be a perfect counterpoint to another rapper's bark, but no one can appreciably offset Tyler's hate-filled invective.  Homeboy was born to be a solo act, so realistically Odd Future is no future at all.  Ugly motherfucker, too.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wolfgang Voigt: "Kafkatrax 2.1"

Wolfgang Voigt is best known as the founder of Kompakt, one of the leading minimalist electronic labels in the world.  In his spare time he also produces under a variety of monikers, amongst them Gas, M:I:5 and Wasserman.  Occasionally he releases music under his own name.  This paranoid, bubbling synth track accompanies a (presumably unauthorized) video scored to clips from an early Stephen Soderberg film... Kafka, of course.

Asva: "Birds"

Already sang my praises for this album recently so I'll make this brief.  This is a much more minimal video than 2009's masterfully animated "A Game in Hell, Hard Work in Heaven" but the ethereal vocals and sparse backing track sells it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Toby Keith: "Red Solo Cup"

We all know Toby Keith is an insufferable douche, but occasionally he stops talking politics and turns his attention to getting wasted, and it's on these occasions that he often pulls a gem out of his ass.

Girls: "Honey Bunny"

San Francisco has long been a hotbed of musical talent, from the Dead and Janis Joplin to Metallica and Deerhoof.  Girls are a fairly recent phenomenon, but they made waves right out of the gate with 2009's Album, which received a 9.1/10 rating from Pitchfork, not to mention ranking #10 on their Top 50 Albums of 2009 list.  Their second joint, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, has a diverse palette ranging from bubblegum 60s pop to lengthy psych-prog.  "Honey Bunny" is the most accessible song on the album, a Beach Boys homage through and through.  This has been out for a couple weeks now so I'm gonna shut up and let it roll.

Colin Stetson: "Those Who Didn't Run"

Colin Stetson is best known as the touring sax player for Arcade Fire, but earlier this year he dropped his second solo album, New History Warfare Part 2: Judges (three guesses what the first one was called).  That album was shortlisted (top ten candidate) for Canada's 2011 Polaris Prize, which inevitably went to Arcade Fire's Suburbs album.  There's really no reason for me to be posting this this late, but in all frankness I just got hip to it.  I do like when a solo project has an individualistic tinge to it, and isn't just a minor derivation of the mother band.  In those cases I always get the impression that someone is going for a bigger payday by hiring low paid scab musicians, oblivious to the chemistry that made their main band a player in the music scene to begin with.

[EDIT 1/6/12: updating with offiial video.  Apparently I wasn't so late on the ball after all.  Shit, that just rhymed, didn't it?]

Colin Stetson "Those Who Didn't Run" from Isaac Gale on Vimeo.

DJ Shadow: "Border Crossing"

Wow, did Robert Rodriquez commission this?  It's a little more straight faced than something like Machete but no more provocative, really. The question is whether anyone will be paying attention, what with DJ Shadow's latest, The Less You Know, The Better, getting middling reviews. Ain't nuthin' wrong with this.  It's better than Apollo 440 circa 1999 and no one minded that shit.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nas: "Nasty"

You know how all of your friends post something pathetically mundane on Facebook and follow it up with "life is good", sounding for all their lives like they're trying to convince themselves as much as anyone else?  Well, shit, Life Is Good is what Nas chose as the title of his upcoming album, like it or not (why not Life Is Hood?).  However, "Nasty" has all the self assured dick swinging that your FB homies lack.  The video is typical "I may be rich but I'm still loved in my old hood" bullshit but the beat and the rhymes are where it's at.

Krumbsnatcha: "W.R.R." [feat. Guru & Sonic]

Krumbsnatcha cut his teeth back in the 90's as part of Gangstarr Foundation.  Though a little slow to rise up through the ranks, 'snatcha has now shifted allegiances to the Wu Tang crew after the death of Guru last year.  So obviously Guru's contributions here are culled from the vault.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Behemoth: "Lucifer"

As if proof were needed that blackened death metal is becoming respectable (or Final Cut Pro cheaper) witness this high budget, NSFW FX-laden new video from Behemoth off their not-even-remotely-new Evangelion album (which came out in 2009).  I really have no idea why we're just now getting a video for this two year old song, except that it's intended to highlight the sanguine future of the band in light of singer Nergal's recent battle with leukemia.  Said battle required a bone marrow transplant, which has necessarily decommissioned Nergal as a touring musician while he rides out the lengthy recovery process.  Here's to wishing the dude well, not to mention whatever heroic, anonymous soul it was that agreed to donate bone marrow in order to make all of this possible.

Behemoth "Lucifer" (OFFICIAL VIDEO | Uncensored) from Metal Blade Records on Vimeo.

Justice: "Canon"

Wild.  This shit sounds like Daft Punk broke out their Emerson, Lake and Palmer albums and started taking notes.  I'm sure Justice is tired of getting compared to Daft Punk just because they're both French, but that's actually not why at all: there is a movement afoot in Gaul of which DP is the de facto ringleader, and Justice is a part of it.  Doesn't mean they don't have their own identity, but the last time I checked a spade is still a spade... unless it's a hoe, but then we'd be talking about Nicki Minaj, wouldn't we?

Justice - Canon by oiki_oiki

SALEM: "King Night"

Much of the backlash surrounding Salem - whoops, SALEM - seems to stem from their abysmal live performances, or more specifically a 2010 SXSW showcase, video of which went viral to catastrophic effect.  Some music just wasn't meant to be played live, though, and SALEM's brand of methadone electronica (which has unfortunately been embedded in the public consciousness as the regretfully named "witch house" genre) is without a doubt a studio concoction.  It's very effective for what it is, a sort of screwed & chopped trip hop crossed with blackened chillwave... not that either of those genres actually exist, which is the beauty of it.

SALEM - KING NIGHT from Theo Wenner on Vimeo.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Trash Talk: "Burn Alive"

In light of all the Occupy Wall Street protests, this seems timely.  Trash Talk have a new EP, Awake, coming out October 11 on True Panther Sounds.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dum Dum Girls: "Bedroom Eyes"

Ever since "Such Great Heights" and The Shins went mainstream in terms annoying to the average hipster consumer, people have been lining up left and right to take potshots at every new Next Big Thing that Sub Pop deems to sign.  Dum Dum Girls are no exception, getting accolades from Pitchfork and Spin but with many of the second tier indie review sites remaining nonplussed.  Judge for yourself: are they just another generic girl group pretender following in the played out steps of The Raveonettes and The Pipettes, or something more substantial?  They're not too shabby on the eyes, that's fo' sho'.

Black Taxi: "Tightrope"

Shit, I just can't seem to leave these Brooklyn bands alone.  Black Taxi is new on my radar, but their first album dropped only two years ago so I'm still 1 for 2 and, hey, that's batting .500 by any standard.  Every bio you will read - including their own, from which all else seems to be cribbed - makes a big whoop about the surf rock influences, and, sure, they're there, but that belies the fact that they mostly seem to be studying the same 80s new wave bands that TV on the Radio are hip to.  "Tightrope" is good stuff, whatever the era.

Black Taxi "Tightrope" by Reybee

Okkervil River: "Your Past Life As a Blast"

Still a little pissed at Will Sheff for abandoning Austin for trendy Brooklyn, but by and by I'll get over it.  In the meantime I offer this grudging coverage from Okkervil River's latest, I Am Very Far.  Sheff used his father's own 8mm footage to put together this video.  It's supposed to tie into the theme of the song's lyrics - "Your Past Life As a Blast" - but really I think the grainy, washed out footage is meant to evoke the ridiculously trendy aesthetic, which I hear is very, very popular in Williamsburg right now.

Your Past Life As A Blast from Okkervil River on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Icarus Himself: "On Your Side"

Another video director lobbying for those indie film bids, Ryan Heraly runs Manic Eye Media and would probably love you to give him a directorial assignment. Imagine this meet cute Tarantino-esque microfiction expanded to feature length with Zooey Deschanel starring!  Oh yeah, there's a band in there somewhere as well.  They have an album called Career Culture - their second - coming out on October 11th.  I couldn't tell you whether it's a sophomore slump or not because I haven't heard the first one, but "On Your Side" is pretty promising.

ICARUS HIMSELF "On Your Side" (OFFICIAL) from Ryan Heraly, Manic Eye Media on Vimeo.

Ford and Lopatin: "Too Much Midi (Please Forgive Me)" [Alan Braxe Remix]

There's a certain genre I like to think of as Alamo Drafthouse music.  For those non-Austinites, the Alamo Drafthouse is a movie theater chain based in Austin, Texas that programs a lot of cult and niche films, particularly at their flagship downtown location.  They also show a lot of clips and ephemera prior to the movie for early arrivals, and these clip sequences tend to be capped off by a highlight reel of upcoming "event" programming.  These highlights themselves are underscored by some kind of upbeat electronic track almost without fail, and the only thing I have to say about Alan Braxe's remix of Ford & Lopatin's "Too Much Midi (Please Forgive Me)" is that it's the most perfect Alamo Drafthouse song I've ever heard.

Ford & Lopatin -Too Much Midi (Please Forgive Me) (Alan Braxe Remix) by ALAN BRAXE

Com Truise: "Brokendate"

Posting this just so I can use the word Spoonerism.

Com Truise is Seth Haley, who, appropriately enough in his thus far brief career, had a remix featured on the Tron: Legacy Reconfigured album, because both his visual aesthetic as well as his audio palette seem heavily influenced by the minimalist direction of recent Daft Punk.  In fact, this video looks like a Daft Punk parody of the old Golden Earring video for "Twilight Zone".

Com Truise - "Brokendate" from stereogum on Vimeo.

Das Racist: "Michael Jackson"

How weird is this?  A multi-ethnic rap group whose members are neither black nor white parodying the video "Black or White" by Michael Jackson, who was both black AND white!  It's like a mystery wrapped in an enigma scattered, smothered and covered by complete bullshit.  Just watch.

The Rapture: "How Deep Is Your Love?" [A-Trak Remix]

A Bee Gees cover from The Rapture?  Not so fast.  We may live in a post-racial world but it's not quite perfect yet.  In the meantime do settle for this delightful A-Trak remix of "How Deep Is Your Love", arguably the most club-/radio-friendly Rapture cut since "House of Jealous Lovers" all the way back in the pre-hashtag era.  The album version may need a little extra juice in getting over on the mainstream, but it has definite remix potential, as witnessed below.

The Rapture - How Deep Is Your Love (A-Trak Remix) by A-Trak

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Deerhoof: "Secret Mobilization"

Deerhoof vs. Evil is actually getting quite old now, so I'm willing to bet this is the last promo they'll bother to shoot before moving on to the next studio lock in.  Another in a long line of bewildering plot driven videos of late, "Secret Mobilization" seemingly takes after the album title, with the white chick representing Deerhoof and the alien down with Evil... but in the end isn't it really just an indictment of carpool culture?

Deerhoof - Secret Mobilization [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO] from Polyvinyl Record Co. on Vimeo.

Twin Sister: "Kimmi in a Rice Field"

Twin Sister, a Long Island band that oh-so-predictably relocated to Brooklyn once their career began to take off, is a relatively new arrival on the scene.  First forming in 2008, they put out two EPs spanning the same number of years before releasing their debut full length, In Heaven, last week.  Despite the album title, Twin Sister is not a power pop band in the Cheap Trick vein, but rather a combination of indie rock and dream pop that loosely circles the chillwave drain.  Ignore my snark.  They're actually quite good, and this insane horror themed video will skullfuck the ghosts of your distant relatives.  It's like a cross between Hausu and Jean Rollin.  Not really but I have to say something.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Jacuzzi Boys: "Automatic Jail"

Jacuzzi Boys sounds like the worst kind of handbag club garbage.  Hell, they're even from Miami, home of some of the worst bass music of all time. And yet somehow Jacuzzi Boys turns out to be a sunny indie rock band who list amongst their interests "old Florida ghosts".  Weird shit abounds in the video for "Automatic Jail", the entirety of which is shot from a dog's point of view... except for the part when it laps up some radioactive detergent and morphs into a human!  You take it from there.

Jacuzzi Boys - Automatic Jail from Hardly Art on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Captain Ahab: "The Kingdom of Light"

Jesus Christ.  This is not safe for work, this is not safe for any goddamn thing.  If you can get past the ingestion and expulsion of bodily fluids and flash-cut nudity, there are some interesting inoffensive visuals, but Captain Ahab and mad genius video director Lawrence Klein are not afraid to galvanize their audience.  You're either down for whatever or you should stick with Fleet Foxes camera phone clips.

Klein appears to have done most if not all of Captain Ahab's videos thus far.  They're all pretty madcap and NSFW, but unless I've overlooked something I'd say "The Kingdom of Light" is their collaborative magnum opus of gross out sleaze.  Judge for yourself, but you've been warned.
The Kingdom of Light from Captain Ahab on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ladytron: "White Elephant"

Blame it on Daft Punk's Tron: Legacy soundtrack if you want, but 80's minimalist electro is all the rage these days.  Ladytron have been doing it longer than just about anybody, so with any luck "White Elephant" will put them over the hump.  No idea what this video is about, but it's got a definite Last Year at Marienbad feel to it, which would be apt considering Marienbad centered around the unreliable nature of memory - or did it? - and everyone knows elephants never forget.

Dentata: "Earwig"

Much gratitude to Collapse Board for turning me on - literally - to this band, an obscuro-dirtpunk outfit from Ontario, but I'm not getting the Runaways vibe they do, aside from maybe the general 70s glam/sleaze look. If anything, these gals (and out-of-place dude) seem to be taking musical cues from early 90s girlpunk - think Babes in Toyland, L7, etc - except with the Black Flag/Sabbath influences stripped from the grunge template and recycled through a modern stoner rock filter.  It's hard to place, but readily identifiable once you hear it.

"Earwig" was directed by Richard Kern, a legendary filmmaker and photographer who is best known for photographing and directing videos for the likes of Sonic Youth, Lydia Lunch and Marilyn Manson as well being part of the Cinema of Transgression in 1980's NYC.

Dentata "Earwig" (2011) from Richard Kern on Vimeo.