Monday, December 19, 2011

Queue the Crickets (not the Buddy Holly band)

Things have been quiet here the past week.  There are two things at work there: a) December is by far the slowest month for new releases, so there just hasn't been a huge amount of noteworthy singles this past week, and b) I'd initially planned on using the downtown to play catch up on overlooked albums, singles, etc with the motive of putting together an obligatory top 50 list or whatever.  Can't do it.  I tried, bince I didn't repurpose WKMR into a new release blog until halfway through 2011 there's just too much stuff I didn't get around listening to in order to feasibly cram it all in at the last minute.  Any such list I might put together, then, would be woefully incomplete to the point of sheer uselessness, so I'm not even going to bother.  We'll make it a regular thing in 2012, but until then hopefully you've gotten enough unanimous Adele and Drake recommendations to guide your listening preferences for the next few calendar months.

For the rest of this week I'm just going to be clearing out my back log of singles and videos to post, then it's off to Redneck Purgatory in East Texas (a.k.a. my dad's) for the last week of the month.  There is no internet out in his (literal) neck of the woods - I can't even get a fucking cell phone signal within 20 miles of his house - so WKMR will be AWOL from Xmas through New Years.

Not so you'll notice.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fucked Up: "Turn the Season"

This has been out for awhile but we're just now getting a video.  It's been amazing to me how few year end lists this has reached the upper echelons of.  As far as punk concept albums go David Comes to Life says everything that can possibly be said about why American Idiot is the overrated piece of shit that it is.

Sinkane: "Jeeper Creeper"

Ahmad Gallab, Yeasayer drummer here.  Not quite Balearic, not quite Reggae, "Jeeper Creeper" slinks along over a multi-ethnic panoply of worldbeat influences.  The vocals bring it all back stateside.  There's been a lot of this belatedly sunny indie pop coming out so far this winter.  Hopefully spring won't invoke another Joy Division revival for sheer congruence if nothing else.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Guards: "Do It Again"

I'm going to assume you already know about the Cults connection and just move on.  No sign of a full length album on the way, but depending on who you ask these days singles are the future, long players are dead, so instead we'll just scramble to keep track of these scattered, under-the-radar singles.  "Do It Again" is the latest, and this one should catapult Richie Follin into the upper echelon of indie pop songwriters.  Faultlessly catchy and instantly memorable, this one would have made a top notch summer anthem if Follin hadn't inexplicably chosen to release it in the grey midst of winter.

[EDIT 2/8/12: adding official music video]:

School of Seven Bells: "The Night"

Interestingly, the whole 80's synthpop revival has taken us nearly chronologically from the stripped down, Gary Numan-cum-post punk circa 1980 to the more ornate, borderline mainstream pop of the mid-to-late 1980's.  School of Seven Bells definitely fit into the latter category, although upcoming LP Ghostory will be their third.

School of Seven Bells - The Night by Consequence of Sound

The Jameses: "5th Dimension"

This is 60's psych-pop rendered as modern dance music, a deft touch on the editing console turning a simple carousel melody into an oscillating kaleidoscope of refracted arpeggios.  Or something of that sort.

"5th Dimension" - not a Byrds cover, by the way - is the b-side of The Jameses' new single, "Caribou", their sophomore 7" on Captured Tracks, home of Heavenly Beat and Thieves Like Us among other indie contenders.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

KILLER COVERS || Holy Ghost!: "I Wanted to Tell Her"

Cheekily paying homage to cheesy movies of the 80s has become a trend in music videos the past few years - I still like to watch that J-Lo Flashdance one on mute - so hey, what about Rad?  Holy Ghost got you.  The throwback aesthetic is all the more appropriate considering this is a cover of the early Ministry jam "I Wanted to Tell Her" from their synth pop/pre-industrial period.

Major Lazer: "Original Don"

If you're ever unclear on what you should be doing in your band's music video, it's easy to fall back on synchronized dancing featuring bladed armaments.  Throw in a Betty White substitute and, voila, your meme cake is ready to be adorned with celebratory candles.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pontiak: "Lions of Least"

I somehow overlooked these guys at SXSW last year, but they push the same kind of bluesy, boogie down buttons that Black Keys push without really sounding much like them.  If you're willing to content yourself with loose analogies you could also characterize this as White Stripes with more balls.  Whatever, "Lions of Least" is the distilled essence of all that was great about post-Zeppelin 70's hard rock.  Get your horns in the air and shut the fuck up.

Echo Ono will be out on 2/21/2012.

Pontiak - "Lions Of Least" from stereogum on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Young Dro: "Maserati"

...and just I get finished praising Aleon Craft for not falling into that typical bling/frat boy trap that too many rappers from the ATL fall into, here I go posting a bling-happy frat boy track from Bankhead, GA who is actually signed to T.I.'s Grand Hustle record label (also: getting real hard to take you seriously as an MC when you have "Young" or "Lil" preceding your chosen nom de plume).

Fuck it, though, this shit is catchy as hell and one counter-example doesn't disprove that, for all the Outkasts and Goodie Mobs, Atlanta is still largely rapping at an 8th grade level.

Young Dro - Maserati from Tamarcus Brown on Vimeo.

Aleon Craft: "Make It Out" [feat. George Clinton]

As near as I can figure that's a heavily syrupy George Clinton on the chorus, but otherwise this track is all about Aleon Craft, an up and coming Atlanta rapper who fortunately eschews the Luda/T.I. blueprint and is instead in more of the Outkast alterna-rap mold.  "Make It Out" is off of his second album, Mothership Decatur, which can be digitally downloaded here.

Willie Evans Jr.: "Introducin'"

Kanye's not the only one that can produce his own tracks while also being a showcase rapper (although I would argue his MC skills aren't for shit to begin with):  enter Willie Evans Jr.  His beats may not aspire to the same Mt. Olympus heights as Ye's but at least he can string a clever couplet together.  Plus have you ever heard an album with crayon & magic marker cover art that out-and-out sucked?  Such things just do not happen.

Danny Brown: "Blunt After Blunt"

I don't know why I've never gotten into weed.  I don't get the creative/imaginative vibe going when I toke up, it just numbs me out, not dissimilar to popping pain pills but without the drowsiness.

Oh, who are we kidding?  WKMR has never inhaled.

[UPDATE: 4/24/12: added 3:33 Remix (see below)]:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

THROWBACK 2010 || Shockproof: "Satisfied" [Rough Mix]

Credit where credit's due:  I came across this via West Norwood's Fact mix, which you should check into if this strikes your fancy at all.  I can't really find any definitive date on when it was released, but I found this standalone post on Soundcloud that appears to be artist uploaded, so I'll take the time frame at face value and go with 2010.

When hearing this mix of old bluesy/gospel field recordings combined with electronic dance music, most people are probably going to think of Moby's Play album, but actually there's at least one known example predating that album that Sir Richard Melville Hall definitely would have been aware of.  I'm just gonna leave that little teaser dangling, though, as the song in question is actually worthy of a post in its own right.  Look for that a bit later this week.

 Shocko - Satisfied Rough Mix by shockproof

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Niceguys: "Ari Gold (Remix)" [feat. Bun B]

Bun B is showing up everywhere these days.  That's hip hop in general in 2011: sharks don't sleep, you sleep ya get slept on.  Non-stop releases are the norm, endless mixtapes... I don't know how anyone is making any money off this shit anymore.  Anyway, The Niceguys are a new group out of Houston - not that you need that Texas connection to get Bun on your cut - and I assume "Ari Gold" is off some up-and-coming album or mixtape, because it's not on their sole release so far, 2010's The Show.

I'm also damned if I can place that guitar sample, even though it's intimately familiar and on the tip of my brain.  If anyone knows what it is serve me up a comment.

[EDIT 1/7/12: updating with official video]:

 The Niceguys Feat. Bun B - "Ari Gold" Remix by TheWellVersed

The Weeknd: "The Knowing"

The Weeknd - one guy, Abel Tesfaye, for those keeping score - broke out in 2011 with his free album House of Baloons (nominated for the Polaris prize in Canada) but has since signed with Drake's label, so we'll see whether he continues to pioneer an indie alternative to R&B or whether his success leads him the mainstream route.  In the meantime here's a freaky ass video for the album's closing track, "The Knowing", which presumably has a linear plot but I'll be damned if I can figure out what it is.

The Weeknd - The Knowing (Official Video) from xoxxxoooxo on Vimeo.

Caveman: "Easy Water"

More syrupy, murky shoegaze from Brooklyn.  Are we reaching the saturation point where this kind of somber, hazy tone starts to wear thin and backlash begins?  Perhaps, but if that's the case this is one worth slipping in at the deadline.  Last one, promise...

Lambchop: "If Not I'll Just Die"

I've liked Lambchop every since I heard "Your Fucking Sunny Day" nearly a decade ago.  I can't really say I've kept up with them diligently over the years, though.  Good to hear they're still ripping off easy listening slow jams with aplomb.

Black Lips: "Raw Meat"

Hey, dude from The Wire!  Yup, but that's not the only thing this vid has going for it.  In addition to a tremendous garage rock tune - brevity like a muhfucka - the quartet that is Black Lips get to play Bad Lieutenant all up in this bitch.

Black Lips - "Raw Meat" from Urban Outfitters on Vimeo.

Vas Deferens Organization: "Defenestration at the Gravy Pit"

I usually think of Dallas as home to bullshit, corporate acts like the Simpson sisters, Ryan Cabrera and Bowling for Soup, but every now and then the most superficial, yuppie ass city in Texas produces something real like Erykah Badu or Freddie King.  I'm just now hearing about Vas Deferens Organization but apparently they have a wide and varied discography.  First taste is on me.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

KILLER COVERS || Jimmy Cliff: "Ruby Soho"

Yep, that "Ruby Soho".  I'm actually kind of surprised this song hasn't been covered more often before, it being well known to just about everybody but not overplayed by radio to the extent that, say, "Santeria" or "Smells Like Teen Spirit" have been over the years.

VCMG: "Spock"

VCMG is the new project with the unimaginitive name from Vince Clarke and Martin Gore, both former compadres in Depeche Mode before Clarke bailed to continue making squeaky clean synthpop in Yazoo and Erasure while DM went all gloomy and sour.

When I first heard about this project a couple weeks ago it surprised me a bit.  Clarke has collaborated outside of Erasure quite often over the years, but never with any of his former Depeche band mates.  In fact, I've never seen any indication that he was still in touch with any of the lads.  In a perfect world, a collaboration between Vince Clarke and his successor in Depeche Mode, Alan Wilder, would have been a perfect match up, but until then...

Gore has also stepped outside his main band's fold occasionally, mostly remix work, but listening to "Spock" - the first track off the duo's upcoming EP - I hear the hand of Vince Clarke more so than Martin Gore here.

VCMG - Spock [Pitchfork Exclusive] by Mute UK

KILLER COVERS || Salem: "Better Off Alone"

That's right, this is a loose adaptation of the Alice Deejay classic from 1999, "Better Off Alone".  I didn't realize it until now - probably because I don't listen to most of these bands - but apparently there have been prior covers by the likes of Paulson, The Secret Handshake and Matt and Kim (not to mention an aborted studio session by Weezer intended for their Maladroit album... which I daresay could have used a few non-originals).

I don't care, this is the only version of this you need.  Hopefully it will become the definitive arrangement a la Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" or Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help from My Friends", although we arguably don't need any more covers of a tune that was admittedly huge but not particularly all that great to be begin with.

Loops Haunt: "Ark"

It's getting harder and harder to relegate electronic music into definable genres these days.  There's a kind of bouillabaisse aesthetic going on in all corners of the dance market where even micro-genres have become obsolete, the overlap becoming so all-encompassing as to defy even the most liberal of pigeon-holing.

The best stuff is coming out of the noobs, and it doesn't get much fresher than Loops Haunt.  Lifted directly from his FB page:
"Just for the books- ARk is NOT a DUBSTEP release--(i have never made any dubstep). ARks main melody was made in 09 and inspired from jamming on the same rick wakemnan solo i used in my electronic explorations mix. YESSONGS was the first record i ever owned as a kid."

Loops Haunt - Ark by Black Acre Records

Swing Ting: "Creepin' / Hold Your Corner"

Swing Ting is Platt & Samrai, a pair of Manchester DJ's mix-and-matching genres via their club residency of the same name.  "Creepin' / Hold Your Corner" is their first release on the Fat City Recordings label, but you can stream both songs on Soundcloud.  If you want a physical copy of the 12" it'll cost you five pounds... don't ask me how many quid that is, I'm American.  We can't even be bothered to figure out the metric system.

Swing Ting - Creepin / Hold Your Corner 12" (Fat City FC12041) by swingting

DJ Rashad & DJ Manny: "Ooh Babby"

This isn't the best footwork I've seen in a video, but the song is pretty tolerable.  Since Chicago is ground zero for the footwork movement in the US I can only assume that's frigid Lake Michigan we're gazing upon in the background... which kind of raises the question on whether footwork might not have evolved out of attempts to stay warm without looking too ridiculous.  OK, maybe not.

PS.  You have no idea how much I'd like to be able to edit the title of this Youtube video with a "[sic]" disclaimer.