Thursday, December 20, 2012

Philipp Gorbachev: "Montana Blues"

Last song of 2012, folks. "Montana Blues" has that disco hi hat-driven, late night end of the world feel to it, I think. Or maybe I'm just trying to shoehorn it into a preconceived context so that I can wrap this up and get my holiday drink on already. Well, shit, if you're going to be that way about it maybe I shouldn't say anything at all. Merry fuckin' Xmas, arsehole.

Get this jimmy jam on Musica Comeme.

96wrld: "Pirmas Rudeninis"

"Pirmas Rudeninis" comes to us via the Renegades of Bump imprint's Ritmo Kovos vol. III comp. Bump is about as good a word as any for what 96wrld is getting himself up, gurgling bass splashes on a roller coaster ride with acid stabs as their conductor. Check out dude's Soundcloud page if you like his m.o.... he's been keeping busy.
(via XLR8R):

Kriget: "Holy Mountain"

Ever since Richard D. James retreated underground, there's been a dearth of experimental acts that are just so innovative that no one else seems to be able to successfully cop their steez. "Holy Mountain" is the first thing I've heard from Swedes Kriget, so I'm not ready to anoint them yet, but check out the way this track jumps unapologetically off the rails at the 2:00 mark, rattling about as if it's trying to find its mark again, but then settling on an entirely different path altogether. With only highly processed bass, drums and sax to their credit, they're not quite no wave, definitely not new wave... call it neu wave if you must. Definitely some krautrock in there.

You can get the 7" digitally here, with physical copies coming February 5 via The Control Group.

Parquet Courts: "Stoned and Starving"

"Stoned and Starving" is some ragged ass shit. The lead singer and the backups don't sound like they're even in the same time signature, but somehow it works. But goddammit, this is the last Texans-move-to-Brooklyn guitar act I'm posting on WKMR. Shit must cease.

The Presets: "Promises"

"Promises" brings back that Northern Soul-influenced synthpop of the early 80s, sort of a middle ground between Spandau Ballet and Level 42.

Othello Woolf: "Keep On"

Last round and then we're off until the first of the year. My NY resolution for 2013 is going to be getting back into the habit of posting daily, something I already needed to get back into the swing of, so it's kind of like a resolution freebie. Let's get this over with...

Othello Woolf sounds like the name of a really studied, possibly even stuffy singer-songwriter type with too many dusted off sonnets rattling around in his head. Nope, straight up cloud soul for that ass. Grab a free album + EP over at homeboy's website. Unfortunately the freebies do not feature "Keep On"... look for that track on a new album early next year.

Monday, December 10, 2012

How to Dress Well: "& It Was U"

The congregation in this video looks like an overdressed, underperforming aerobics class. Necessary to make sure no one missed the obvious gospel inspiration in the song itself, I suppose.

Much like The Weeknd, How to Dress Well is another one man experimental R&B producer masquerading under a group moniker. His sophomore "slump" doubled as his breakthrough album, with Total Loss being anything but a salvage job. That was dumb; I apologize.

The Invisible Hand: "Psychic Cat"

When I think Virginia I think Lamb of God and that's about it. The Invisible Hand are trying to change all that with the bubblegum garage of "Psychic Cat". The band members have a pleasantly non-trendy look about them while pounding out some convincing if lightweight power pop, so I'm naturally inclined to be on their side.

Get their Steely Dan-referencing Aja EP via Funny/Not Funny Records.
(via Stereogum):

Thursday, December 6, 2012

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: "Muckraker"

Garage rock is one of those things that spent a good chunk of the late 70s/early 80s dominating punk rock before going largely dormant by the mid-80s, slumbering Cthulu-like deep beneath the surface world for years until it made a resounding comeback around the turn of the millennium with The Strokes, White Stripes, Hives, etc. Since then it's never been in any danger of going away, particularly in Australia, which now blesses us with the amazingly named King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. 12 Bar Bruise was self released on the band's own Flightless label back on September 7, but WKMR has been doing a lot of pre-holiday drinking over the last 90 days so we seem to have overlooked it up until now.

Pillowfight: "Get Your Shit Together"

Where do I recognize that cinematic backing track? Ah, I'm pretty sure I heard it on a Tarantino soundtrack which means he in turn stole it from someone else. Double down on my research? Fuck that. Pillowfight is a new project by Dan the Automator and the somewhat lesser known Emily Wells. Wells' vocals strongly recall the trip hop era of the late 90s, which seems to be the next big era to be revisited wholesale.

Nguzunguzu: "Smoke Alarm"

Hippos in Tanks is putting out some of the best sideways/bent techno in an era dominated by arena friendly dubstep and glossy house. "Smoke Alarm" has the backbone of an accessible trance tune but the formlessness of the song's structure stakes its claim deep in the leftfield frontier.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Beach Fossils: "Careless"

With the success of both DIIV and Heavenly Beat, things were looking pretty questionable just how quickly members of those bands would reconvene into Beach Fossils, the mothership. Well fuck me runnin' there's a new BF due February 19 on Captured Tracks. First single "Careless" is already pimping earholes worldwide, and you can peep that oh-so-Lou-Reed album art above.

Shout Out Louds: "Blue Ice"

For all the obtuse artists skewing the sounds of 80's new wave into something dense and impermeable, occasionally there comes along an act that plays it basically straight while still managing to showcase pop smarts of their own. Shout Out Louds are from Sweden, so that helps; "Blue Ice" occupies a middle spot equidistant between the Mexican standoff trio of Level 42, Simply Red and Chris Rea. You could substitute dozens of other acts but one gets the idea I presume.

Optica is out February 26 on Merge.

Eels: "Peach Blossom"

Eels are one of those bands that have been kicking around for years, yet are still largely considered a one hit wonder by the public at large on the back of their 1996 smash "Novocaine for the Soul". Well shit y'all, the upcoming Wonderful, Glorious is actually the group's ninth album since the "Novocaine"-boasting Beautiful Freak sixteen years ago. First single "Peach Blossom" strongly recalls the minimalist riffing of both Spoon and vintage Weezer, which probably won't hurt anyone's feelings. It definitely harks back to that 90s heyday.

Homeboy Sandman: "Richardsun"

Yep, another Homeboy Sandman cut up in this WKMR shit. I'd actually post a lot more of dude's stuff except I'm actually kind of self-conscious of giving any particular artist preferential treatment (the vast majority of artists covered here have exactly one entry apiece to their name).

"Richardsun" may go down as one of the man's more obscure tracks, being released in an edition of a mere 300 7" singles to celebrate the 10th anniversary of some German record store I've never even heard of ( So you might want to exorcise your desire to score a copy posthaste. Oh ho ho, I see what I did there.

Slackk: "Shogun Assassin"

This would have made an apropos inclusion to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill soundtrack, but it stands alone as a bombastic techno tune with a martial underscore.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

MPIA3: "Crusty Juice"

Gabber-like in intensity but in a slower, more juggernaut sense, MPIA3 debuts on R&S Records with a freight train of an old school techno track called "Crusty Juice". That unwieldy handle masks the identity of Perc Trax producer Truss, who I frankly need to familiarize myself with pronto. "Acid Badger" has just gotta be a fucking monster, right?

(via FACT):

Flying Lotus: "Tiny Tortures"

So... secret's out. Turns out Flying Lotus is not only the producer behind the elusive rapper Captain Murphy but is actually the rapper himself (at least he was the only one that showed up to Murphy's debut live gig in LA last week... I still maintain that there are at least two or three distinct voices in most of the songs released so far). That doesn't mean he's done recording under his bread-and-butter nom de plume, as we get a Frodo-starring video for "Tiny Tortures". It's all very Tetsuo: The Iron Man.

Chromatics: "Cherry"

Mexican Summer may have chillwave on lock, but if anyone can crack the safe it's Italians Do It Better. Label co-founder Johnny Jewel's band Chromatics are one of the best dream pop acts out there, an argument for which the relative throwaway nature of "Cherry" - it's set to be dumped off on the label sampler After Dark II in a hot minute - attests to the depth of the young band's catalog.

Diamond Version: "Shift the Future"

Never heard of Byetone but Alva Noto is one of my favorite minimalist beatmakers (and, if I haven't made that clear by now, minimalist, grimey techno with a simmering mean streak is my preferred form of electronica). The two hook up in new project Diamond Version after having co-run the Raster-Noton label for several years. EP2 is the second (duh) of a projected five EPs the duo plan to release on Mute over the next year, with a full length emerging sometime in 2013 as well.

Octover: "Satisfy"

Still mystifying to me that garbage like Gaga and Bieber are considered the state of the art in pop, while the likes of Octover, Van She and Icona Pop are routinely ignored for recording far superior takes on similar styles of dance pop. Just as well, I suppose. If David Guetta got his hands on a song like "Satisfy" he'd no doubt want to ruin the slinky, booty call vibe with a bunch of unnecessary wub wub's, and why isn't there a 2 Chainz verse halfway through the song? I want him dead just thinking about it.

Ahleuchatistas: "Wisp"

Been hearing good things about Ashville, NC for awhile now. With Williamsburg, Austin and Portland having overstayed their welcome at the apex of the hipster hierarchy - and LA seeming to fizzle out fairly early on in their once promising renaissance - the internet has been looking for a new town to dub Next Big Thing for awhile now. I've heard the likes of Baltimore, Pittsburgh (???) and Fayetteville, AR (?????) bandied about, but Ashville seems to be simmering up beneath the surface as well. To hear tell, it's got the mountains and natural beauty of Portland along with the youth-oriented college vibe of Austin and... nothing at all to do with Brooklyn, as near as I can make out. Ahleuchatistas sport a pretty advanced set of avant-garde musical chops, so I'd definitely be interested in checking out a scene capable of nurturing this kind of talent.

Heads Full of Poison is out now on Cuneiform.

Wild Belle: "Keep You"

I feel like back in the 80's and 90's (plus much of the 00's) if your band managed to score an appearance on the late night talk show circuit - Leno, Letterman, etc - you either had a hit single in the can already, or that break was the thing that scored it for you. In 2012 the talk show circuit has definitely gotten hipper (you often get the impression that Letterman has absolutely no idea what to make of the bands on his show) but at the same time the perceived value of these bookings has dropped way, way off.

To wit: Wild Belle have been all over late night recently and yet they don't have a fucking Wikipedia page to their name yet. For that matter they have yet to release a full length, with only a handful of songs to their credit. Still, one listen to "Keep You" and it's hard not to think that this would have been an instant hit on 1990's radio.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Amtrac: "How Can She" [Original Mix]

Some old school, no frills 80s-style house right here... from Kentucky, no less. Keep Louisville weird? Actually there's nothing too obtuse about "How Can She"; if anything it has a certain naive charm to it, as if Caleb Cornett (a.k.a. Amtrac) lives in a distant suburb for which Chicago house music is just now becoming available. With this song's prominent (and probably unpaid for) "Being With You" sample I wouldn't look for this to show up in any official capacity anytime soon, but through the magic of Soundcloud you can score it for free.

Para One: "When the Night" [feat. Jaw]

Does it speak ill of me that I recognize without prompting that most - if not all - of these NSFW images were culled from a series of softcore videos Penthouse magazine put out back in the 1990s? I feel like I've said too much already.

KILLER COVERS || Jessie Ware: "If You Love Me"

I make no secret of the fact that I've never been the world's biggest consumer of 90's R&B. Post-New Jack Swing I think there was an unwelcome (to me, anyway) shift toward the beat rather than the soul in the music, and as far as I was concerned we already had hip for that shit.

Nothing: "Downward Years to Come"

Nothing going on here except some serious vintage shoegaze. Don't know much about these guys aside from what's on their (mostly photo-centric) website but this interview from the cleverly titled Blog That Celebrates Itself shows the band's Domenic Palermo wearing his influences on his sleeve: Slowdive, Lush, Cocteau Twins, Swirlies... at least the guy isn't trying to pretend he invented all of this shit.

You can download the Downward Years to Come EP for a fiver via Bandcamp.

Scott Walker: "Epizootics!"

That does it. Tom Waits and Scott Walker need to collaborate. Walker in later years has taken on a lot of similar Tin Pan Alley-meets-junkyard influences, and holy shit is "Epizootics!" a fantastic example of what I'm talking about. Here we have a 10-minute suite of schizophrenic, percussive vignettes with Walker's Brechtian  warble chewing scenery over top. Why can't the Stones age this gracefully? If you're unfortunate enough to be hearing Scott Walker's name for the first time, do yourself a favor and dig up his backstory: one of the great anti-sellouts in R&R history.

Altered Boys: "Reality Check"

Altered Boys are from Jersey, but their style of hardcore owes as much (if not more) to early 80's UK HC than it does to their neighborly NY brethren. They recently debuted with a self-titled 7" on Katorga Works, but little else is known about their background... for now, anyway, I expect to be hearing more from these motherfuckers forthright.

The Octopus Project: "Whitby"

As far as Austin-based retro synth bands go, Ghostland Observatory gets all the love (and a lot of backlash to go with it), to the extent that fellow townies The Octopus Project have been quietly playing wallflower to Ghostland's raging kegger for years now. A lot of that probably has to do with O.P.'s sound oscillating wildly between eclectic genres of synth-friendly tuneage. "Whitby" is about as accessible as the band get, with the lion's share of the quartet's more esoteric energy apparently being funneled into this maniac music video.

The Whitby EP is already out on Peek-A-Boo.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Prince Rama: "Those Who Live For Love Will Live Forever"

Much of today's retro-synthpop is less outright homage than drugged out, misremembered pastiche. Nowhere is there a better example than Prince Rama, a well-hyped piss take whose Top Ten Hits of the End of the World was released recently to universal acclaim (and threats of year end top 10 placements) on Animal Collective's Paw Tracks label. These fuzzy, weathered, VHS-reminiscent videos are a dime a dozen these days, but few bands pull off the sound to go with them quite as successfully as this lysergic, ersatz aerobics anthem which is zero percent grounded in reality (or even pathos). This Beantown duo has done nothing less but disappear down their own K(-Tel) holes and want to bring us all to the party. Rendezvous with Rama, but pack a heavy lunch... you're gonna be gone awhile.

Adrian Sherwood: "Semistoned"

If your favorite form of electronic music has a strong dub influence in it, you've got Adrian Sherwood to thank. With his On-U Sound Records in the 80's he and a plethora of handpicked luminaries were largely responsible for bringing dub into the house/techno world. Now it's 2012 and, strangely enough, he's peddling material that sounds like neither era, but rather somewhere between those two bookends: "Semistoned" is ripped fresh out of 1992, with its minimalist, filthy slur of a synthline and a vintage breakbeat from back before they decided "drum & bass" was less racist than "jungle".

The Recovery Time EP is due November 26 on On-U Sound.

(via FACT):

Foals: "Inhaler"

That plucky opening riff may scream "instrumental math rock" at first, but negatory: Foals effectively split the difference between 90s modern rock and the new wave revival which has taken the aughts by storm. The intent is less important than the end result, and if there was still a legit radio industry around to break these guys they could easily be the biggest thing since Sponge.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Majical Cloudz: "Turns Turns Turns"

This cat Devon Walsh collaborates with Grimes but a bit, which you can kinda tell from his washed out, chill room ambient pop style, but the vocals turn an already laid back affair into a somber, introspective slice of affecting soul.

The Turns Turns Turns EP will be released December 3 on Arbutus (US/Canada) and Merok (UK).

FIDLAR: "Cheap Beer"

If Red Fang was a street punk group instead of a stoner rock one they would be FIDLAR. Never apologize for that Busch Light in your hand ever again.

Lockah: "Please Lockah, Don't Hurt 'Em"

Rave is making a comeback, and if you couldn't tell check out the title track of Lockah's new EP, Please Lockah, Don't Hurt 'Em. The MC Hammer and TMNT references scream 1990, right at that acid house apex before Rave 1.0 peaked and crashed.

Stream all five tracks on Soundcloud.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Melody's Echo Chamber: "You Won't Be Missing That Part of Me"

If you're looking to parlay in the psych-pop conversation you could do worse than nab Tame Impala's Kevin Parker as your personal translator. Parker produced the self-titled debut by Melody's Echo Chamber, kind of a surprisingly cohesive/accessible cross between La Sera and Tame Impala itself. Melody Prochet's prior band, My Bee's Garden, opened for TI on a previous tour. It's kind of unclear whether MBG is still on an ongoing concern with MEC being a side project for both "members" or what, but you almost need a degree in fluid dynamics to keep track of what's what in the indiesphere these days.

My Education: "Homunculus"

In spite of being from the same town as Explosions in the Sky, Austin's own My Education eschew the wind chime bombast of that band - who are possibly the most well known of the so called "post-rock" groups in spite of being relative latecomers to the party - for a sax-driven, surf-inflected instrumental groove on "Homunculus". I don't know, maybe these post-rock bands are starting to get a little self-conscious over mainstream acts such as Coldplay co-opting their twinkletoes steez and are heading the opposite direction, toward more of a Jesus Lizard caco-scuzz.

A Drink for All My Friends is out November 27 on Haute Magie.

Tamaryn: "The Garden"

Dusted MBV worship is all the rage right now, but there is arguably no one that does Loveless-era shoegaze better in 2012 than SF-via-NZ chanteuse Tamaryn. Signed to (where else?) Mexican Summer since 2010, Tamaryn and semi-anonymous guitar player Rex Shelverton play it a smidge less obtuse than Kevin Shields and co. but their hearts are clearly in that 88-91 halcyon sweet spot.

Tender New Signs is already out. Yeah, WKMR is playing catch up... sue us.

Gary Clark Jr.: "Numb" / "Ain't Messin' Round"

If "Numb" happens to be your first taste of Gary Clark Jr. you might be inclined to write the lad off as a late-to-the-party Black Keys knock off. Big mistake. "Ain't Messin' Round" - actually the first single off Clark's new album, Blak and Blu - shows the guitar slinger people have referred to as the "next Jimi Hendrix" in more of a modern soul vein, sort of a classy cross between 90's Lenny Kravitz and fellow Austinite Black Joe Lewis.


"Ain't Messin' Round":

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Lions: "This Generation"

In most important ways, reggae has accumulated all of the major drawbacks modern blues finds itself saddled with: namely, a reductionist calcification of overplayed cliches offered up in the name of tradition and respect but having the unfortunate side effect of rendering the music it's paying tribute to obsolete... you need an infusion of new blood, not the bloodless twelfth generation photocopy most reggae/blues "aspires" to.

The Lions realize the tradition never would have been shit without the actual songs, and "This Generation" is one of the more promising island-infused jams since the third wave ska breakthrough all those years ago. This LA semi-supergroup is composed of two guys from Hepcat, crooner Malik Moore and DJ Black Shakespeare (couse of Sly & Robbie's Robbie Shakespeare).

CSS: "I've Seen You Drunk Gurl"

Self-consciously clumsy 80's era rhymes, lo-tech clunky beats, corny party chic lyrics... it was only a matter of time before someone decided to do a white, indie rock version of vintage Salt N Pepa... thank God someone competent got to it first.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Vitalic: "Stamina"

Hey, a hard hitting, peak hour club banger with absolutely no trace of bro wobble? Fuck's sake, I'd almost start to think there's life left in this here techno thing after all!

Head over to Urb for an exclusive, downloadable remix by Le Castle Vania.

Egyptian Hip Hop: "Yoro Diallo"

A friend of mine was complaining the other day that for all he'd know from reading music blogs the only styles currently being recorded were folk, hip hop and electronic. "Not far off", was my somewhat oversimplified reply (texting is not the place for nuanced arguments).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rwake: "It Was Beautiful But Now It's Sour"


The Sword: "Apocryphon"

Out today - and apparently up early on Spotify as of at least yesterday - Apocryphon is more of the same from Austin's own The Sword. This band has pretty much established themselves by now as Mr. Dependability... those other bands might change but The Sword never will. They're like the Motorhead of uptempo stoner doom. Fuck yeah.

Meshuggah: "Demiurge"

Almost feels like the rise of the lyric video is already starting to make these performance clips obsolete - in an expense vs reward kinda way - but with Scion A/V footing the bill Meshuggah went ahead and knocked out this belated single from an album that's been out since March. Isn't it already time to start thinking follow up?

Deftones: "Tempest"

Long hard road out of Hell for Cali's Deftones lately, bassist Chi Cheng climbing that slow hill to recovery while Sergio Vega respectfully fills his duties. Koi No Yokan (out November 13) isn't exactly a comeback record - the first post-Cheng product, Diamond Eyes, came out two years ago - but it's the first that can be taken at face value without the story of Cheng's accident being front and center.

"Tempest" isn't the 'tones' most challenging song musically, but it's a reliably catchy number that proves they can still hit that infectious 90's groove when they need to.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

DJ Shadow: "Listen" [feat. Terry Reid]

Remember back when Moby blew everyone's minds by releasing a techno album steeped in old school folk blues? Yep, 1999's Play was not only the Mob-ster's high water mark, but it also marked the last time anyone gave a shit about him. Needless to say his breakthrough was absorbed into the zeitgeist but those innovations have rarely been regurgitated in the decade since.

Perhaps taking note of recent successes such as Bobby Womack's The Bravest Man in the Universe and/or Norah Jones' ...Little Broken Hearts, both of which saw the artists updating their palette with minimalist, tasteful electronic touches, DJ Shadow enlisted semi-obscure UK blues singer Terry Reid to guest on "Listen", one of two new tracks on his newReconstructed: The Best of DJ Shadow comp. Shadow's production takes a back seat to the catchy, traditionalist verse-chorus-verse structure of Reid's singing. Hopefully this will spark a resurgence in the blues great's career. He's fucking great on this.

Xosar: "Night Jam"

"Night Jam" is that late night afterparty come down for when the chick you've been stalking through back alleys manages to escape and you have to return home empty handed. Even sociopaths need something to relax to. For the well adjusted among you Xosar's malevolent bassline means you'll probably have a bad time.