Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ghost Wave: "Hippy"

The reverbed 70's punk riff that kicks off "Hippy" sounds like it wants nothing to do with the 60's, but the washed out Beach Boys harmonies kick in and it all makes sense. Ghost Wave hail from New Zealand, which just goes to show that not every Kiwi band plies that Dunedin / Flying Nun sound.
(via Pretty Much Amazing):

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Company Band: "House of Capricorn"

The Company Band - in case you don't know - is a supergroup / side project for Neil Fallon (Clutch), Brad Davis (Fu Manchu), Jess Margera (CKY), and James Rota (Fireball Ministry). Yes, it's a Viva la Bam-certified ensemble, with all the scuzz boogie implications that entail. Of all those bands they predictably sound the most like Clutch, but it's definitely a more streamlined version of the latter's stoner blues rock. Basically Company Band Clutch :: A Perfect Circle Tool, if that makes any fucking sense.
(via Antiquiet):

Fat Tony & Tom Cruz: "Double Dragon"

Nintendo Famicom vs Scott Pilgrim in this bitch. Ghetto tech style.

KILLER COVERS || Bettye LaVette: "I'm Not the One"

These lyric videos are getting visually sophisticated enough that you wonder why they don't just go ahead and produce some legit visuals. Anyway...

Bettye LaVette is looking to further establish herself as a key interpreter of modern music with an album of covers sometime later in the fall. With announced renditions by the likes of Neil Young, K.D. Lang and Bob Dylan it's good to see her stretching beyond a predictable old school R&B palette. That said, a Black Keys cover is something you'd expect her to kill effortlessly, and that she does. That she does.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Agalloch: "Faustian Echoes"

Portland black metallers Agalloch give the album teaser trend a swift kick in the nuts by streaming their entire new 21-minute EP, Faustian Echoes, a single epic track which is nominally split into two parts which run sequentially over the course of a single track. Actually it's out today although strangely you can't actually purchase it through either Bandcamp or the band's own website. Foul ball, gents.

Jimmy Edgar: "Let Yrself Be"

Jimmy Edgar is back in that ass with this kinetic, epileptic-averse video for "Let Yrself Be", an otherwise agreeable (rather old school) tech-house heater from his extant Majenta LP. He's also a photographer if ya ain't heard. Give it up or turn it loose.

RAC: "Hollywood" [feat. Penguin Prison]

Still jocking on Penguin Prison over last year's "Don't Fuck With My Money", and the RAC crew can basically do no wrong with their endless procession of high profile remixes. Here they step out with a rare original (their first?) and knock it out of the park with a mainstream pop finesse that's right in Penguin Prison's wheelhouse. Check the video for the original as well as the audio for "The Magician Remix" below.

Municipal Waste: "You're Cut Off"

We all know the three words men are reluctant to utter. But the three words we fear hearing the most are "you're cut off" (or as my local bartender more ominously puts it: "I'm gonna keep you where you're at"). Municipal Waste illustrate - literally - the consequences of making such a line-in-the-sand pronouncement. Fuck yeah.

SpaceGhostPurrp: "Osiris of the East"

So SpaceGhostPurrp is touring with hardcore punkers Trash Talk... hip hop has officially entered the Twilight Zone. Which is frankly right where I want it. Trap rap, blings and hoe stories... it all has its place in the rap pantheon, but I'm of the opinion that no artistic form truly crystallizes until it gets off on some extra-dimensional shit. With a few notable exceptions, hip hop has been too literal - too grounded - for too long, so it's good to finally witness a full blown explosion of abstract expressionism issuing forth from the genre.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Delect: "Love Song"

Well now. One might be tempted to paint the minimalism of "Love Song"'s four-on-the-floor house as a tepid excuse to back visuals of scantily clad club vixens writhing around sexually. Listen again. It could be that there's more to the insistent, charged rhythm than that. At the very least the video is worth seconds.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stars: "The Theory of Relativity"

Canuck synth-poppers Stars are back up in 2012's guts with a new hook-laden jam. "The Theory of Relativity" has kind of a blah female chorus that doesn't really aspire to the same level of catchiness as the verses - isn't it usually the other way around? - but it's not a crippling fault. The rest of the song carries the load, heightening anticipation for the September 4 release of The North.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Holograms: "Monolith"

What we have here is a bit of the old post-punk, part Killing Joke, part Joy Division, part The Cure. This could have been the anthem for the winter of 1981 if it had actually been around at the time. It's a bit darker - more martial - than the first single from their upcoming debut. Holograms sound British but are actually straight outta Stockholm.

Holograms is out July 10 on Captured Tracks.

Simian Mobile Disco: "Your Love Ain't Fair"

Apparently Simian Mobile Disco are determined to put out a video for every song on their brilliant new album, Unpatterns. There's not a tune that's not worth hearing, I'll tell you that. "Your Love Ain't Fair" is probably the most accessible one of the bunch, a more or less straight up house tune aimed at the dance floor.

Om: "State of Non-Return"

Al Cisneros is back after moonlighting with Shrinebuilder and a Sleep reunion with a return to his day job with Om. "State of Non-Return" wields elements of the Middle Eastern drone used to heavy effect on 2009's God is Good, but it primarily represents what many fans will embrace with open arms: the fuzzy stoner doom that Cisneros cut his teeth on.

Advaitic Songs is out July 24 on Drag City.
[UPDATE 11/1/12: added music video]:

Videoing: "Crimson Wave"

One of the saddest days recently in the Austin music scene was when Single Frame broke up. It often seems like local faves either break up or move to NY/Portland before they hit their peak, leaving a lot of people to wonder aloud if the self-professed "Live Music Capital of the World" isn't wildly overrated.

Terror Danjah: "Dark Crawler" [feat. Riko Dan]

This video ought to come with an epilepsy warning. Riko Dan postures through superimposed fractals that will throw spots up in front of your eyes. That's actually all I can type right now. I don't know much else about this release anyway. Enjoy.

KILLER COVERS || The New Pornographers: "Think About Me"

Are we bringing back the covers album already? As long as it doesn't come off as too obligatory I'm OK with that, but make your purchases count... everything is being tagged, flagged, and bagged these days, so if y'all spill ducats on too many duds all you're gonna get is more duds.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lemonade: "Softkiss"

There are two kinds of plush neo-synthpop revivalists: the ones that focus on creating dense, impenetrable sounds and the bands who focus on accessible, melodic hooks. Lemonade don't even attempt to have it both ways, sticking resolutely to the latter approach. That's not to say that they don't have some sweet synth pads pounding out assertive chords, but "Softkiss" is more about recapturing the pop sensibilities of the 80s, where even the more obtuse tunes were still required to stick in your craw.

Diver is out now on True Panther Sounds.

[UPDATE 8/6/12: added Hyetal remix]:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Vinny Cha$e: "Ball"

This one is getting a post not for its brilliant lyrics but for the insistent bass line, which is what really tells baby girl you're gonna ball. Get that Survival of the Swag mixtape for free right hurr.

Debo Band: "And Lay"

Boston vs NYC has always been a classic rivalry. Boston's Debo Band utilizes a lot of the same pan-African influences that Brooklyn MVP's Vampire Weekend draw from, though they're obviously going for more of an authentic, unretouched variation. Who's better, who's best?

Debo Band is out July 10 on Sub Pop.
(via Okayfrica):

XV: "AaaHH! Real Monsters" [feat, ScHoolboy Q]

Been looking for something new worth posting from Wichita's own XV and here it is. "AaaHH! Real Monsters" is a collaboration with ScHoolboy Q from the due-any-minute Popular Culture mixtape. Gotta love the cover art, a sly cross between Sgt Pepper and The Simpsons. Fuck it. 

KILLER COVERS || Iron & Wine: "One More Try"

I've always kind of thought George Michael got a bad rap. OK, Wham had some of the gayest songs ever heard outside of a Wednesday-night disco, but the schism rendered by the poofy hair and yacht club attire unfairly transferred to his solo career as well. Well, dammit, both Faith and Listen Without Prejudice has some downright fantastic tunes to their credit (1990 is about the point I stopped paying attention, so I can't vouch for his later stuff).

Azealia Banks: "Liquorice"

1991 is not only the name of Azealia Banks' new EP - itself an explication of her DOB - but it's also the club era evoked by the Bizarre Inc. / T-99 hoover sound underpinning "Liquorice". Azealia is supposedly done with rap but hopefully that's a red herring; God knows the hip hop world could use some more femme alt talent to counter that Gaga wannabe bullshit that Nicki Minaj is stressin'.

KILLER COVERS || Joss Stone: "(For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People"

With everyone from Duffy to Adele evoking the 60's, Joss Stone is back to remind her fellow UK singers and the world at large that she was there first. Her debut album consisted entirely of soul and funk covers from the 60's and early 70's - save for a rendition of the White Stripes' then-recent "Fell in Love with a [Boy]" - and now she's back to her roots with Soul Sessions Vol. 2. First single out the box is "(For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People", a dusty Chi-Lites barnburner from the early Black Power days. Look for the record July 31 on Stone'd / S-Curve Records.

Kone: "Power Came to Them"

If Chemical Brothers had actually progressed over the years instead of isolating themselves in a big beat cocoon, their hard rock beats and scuzzy basslines might have evolved into something like "Power Came to Them" by LA's Kone. The fact that this video (by California Pastoral) could be transposed onto a Fu Manchu song with very little editing is a mark in the song's favor. The Legend Days EP is out now on Alpha Pup.

Eternal Summers: "Wonder"

With all the 80's-via-60's revivalism going on in 2012 it's nice to hear a band that hark back to the Elastica-friendly sounds of the 90's... which was itself largely a tribute to the 70's. Think we have the majority of the rock era covered.

Tall Black Guy: "Sparkling Adventure"

Tomorrow sees the release of Tempo Dreams Vol. 1, a compilation on Bastard Jazz Recordings produced by Tall Black Guy full of artists I'm not familiar with but will be eagerly checking into. As a preview of the album's release Bastard Jazz has gifted us with the lone contribution from Tall Black Guy a.k.a Terrel Wallace himself, the jazz funk-y "Sparkling Adventure".
(via URB):

Best Coast: "The Only One"

I found the new Best Coast album to be one of the more disappointing of 2012 - the 66% rating on Metacritic making clear that I'm not alone in that - but a) "The Only One" is one of the few songs on the album that can stand up to the brilliance of the band's debut, and b) the video for the song features an entire fridge full of Sriracha. Maybe we haven't parted ways quite yet.

Weird Dreams: "House of Secrets"

London's Weird Dreams walk an accessible line between dream pop and shoegaze, at least from the couple of singles we've heard from them so far: "Little Girls" and now "House of Secrets", a slow burn track that emphasizes easily made out vocals and chiming hooks. "House of Secrets" will be Weird Dreams' side of a split 7" with Girls Names, out June 25 on Slumberland.
(via Stereogum):

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hatriot: "Blood Stained Wings"

THIS is what I want my Exodus to sound like. With all due respect to the Rob Dukes incarnation of the band, I can't listen to any of it without thinking how much better it would be if Steve "Zetro" Souza was still fronting the band (Paul Baloff is dead and gone, so don't counter me with any unworkable scenarios). Hatriot is Souza's new band - named after the Exodus song "Scar Spangled Banner" - and until Dukes is out and the rest of the band can get their reunion on this will have to do... and frankly this four song demo sounds like a pretty killer audition to get Souza back in the band.

Oh yeah, he's also got another Dublin Death Patrol album in the works, so apparently he's squashed whatever beef he had with those guys. Look, I'm willing to entertain the idea that Souza is just a bitch to work with, all I'm saying is maybe it's worth the effort.

LTD: "You Must Be Dreaming"

A lot of these 80's throwback groups could virtually pass for OMD or the Thompson Twins if they didn't slather on the production grime so thickly. Witness this tune by New Images signee LTD, which has a pop sensibility buried somewhere deep within that chillgaze facade.

DJ Rashad: "45 Fifty Four"

You can tell by the mismatched 2X4 look of that waveform below that Rashad is on some take-no-prisoners shit here. "45 Fifty Four" didn't make it onto his TEKLIFE Vol. 1: Welcome to the Chi but you need to peep both if you haven't already. TEKLIFE is one of the most vital album / comps to come out of Chicago in decades.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Superchunk: "This Summer"

Bit of a different sound for Superchunk, airy and light, almost a trifle. Freed from the confines of formal albums, every band nowadays has to get in on the summer party jam tip, and that's basically what "This Summer" is all about. This is the A-side to a new 7" single on Merge, the B-side of which is a cover of Bananarama's immortal "Cruel Summer".

Monday, June 11, 2012

Charli XCX: "You're the One"

Thing about Charli XCX: her vocals usually flirt a little too closely to cookie cutter mainstream dance pop for my tastes, but it always seems to get redeemed by a stellar backing track. "You're the One" is no different; replace the mean wall of sound production with something that, say, The-Dream might cook up and you've got a wannabe Katy Perry song instantly.

But that's as much a statement on how close the likes of Perry, Gaga, etc. are to currying favor with me than it is a slight on Charli XCX. If top 40 pop didn't insist on half assing every single aspect of its tunes all it would take is one unique thing about it that I could latch onto and I'd be on board in a second (see: Robyn). Until then, I've got enough shit on my plate as it is without beating myself up for not acknowledging an obligatory "no snob here!" nod to some mega-selling dance pop act. Life's too short for insincere stabs at peer acceptance. Shite is shite no matter how you Instagram it.

[UPDATE 7/3/12: added music video]:

Perc: "A New Brutality"

No one has benefited from advances in cheap music technology more than electronic artists, but it often seems that the majority of house and techno producers are gravitating toward spacious, bubbling effervescence or narco-hazy downtempo gems. Perc isn't having that shit. "A New Brutality" steers clear of flat out industrial / EBM but the acid is smeared liberally over the pinging bassline like a flock of geese kissing an oncoming 747.

Peaking Lights: "Beautiful Son"

I'm not a big fan of gushing new parent tracks, but I do like a mellow, deceptively simple tune to chill to. "Beautiful Son" doesn't really have a beat to speak of, but the noodly, recurrent synth lines make a sensible backdrop for the piano-and-Hawaiian guitar that drive the track. Also if you don't try too hard you won't even be able to make out Indra Dunis exclaiming why her new baby is more special than your old one.

[UPDATE 7/10/12: added official music video]:

Illa Ghee: "Rap Wizardry"

This is my first taste of Illa Ghee right here (at least that I can recall). In spite of the title "Rap Wizardry" Ghee's flow doesn't nearly aspire to Rakim heights, but he's got personality and sometimes that's more important. The beat by Dom Dirtee is equally as important, analog drums and 80s synths putting out a chill vibe which contrasts nicely with Ghee's declarative rhymes.

Pet Shop Boys: "Invisible"

I'm sure I'm not the only one that was a huge fan of Pet Shop Boys back in the day but have long since kind of lost them on the ol' musical radar. There were the hits in the 80's, of course, but it was their 1990 album Behaviour that drove me to dig a little deeper into the band's catalog, becoming an obsessive b-side and remix hunter somewhere along the way (other new wave era synth poppers who "matured" in the early 90s, inspiring similar die hard fandom, include Depeche Mode and Erasure).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

THROWBACK 2008 || Four Tet: "Crawl, End Crawl"

This may be one of the most obscure things I ever post by a major artist. It's associated with the soundtrack of a major film, but it doesn't appear on the OST to that film and only appears buried at the very finale of the end credits. The only reason I'm aware of its existence is because I fell asleep watching Quantum of Solace a few years ago and wake up to this mesmerizing, jazzy beat. The most impressive thing about "Crawl, End Crawl" is the careful restraint balancing an immaculate construction. I'd like to see Four Tet reclaim / repurpose this at some point. It's too compelling to be relegated to footnote status.

Autoerotique: "Roll the Drums"

Found footage music vids are getting stale as fuck, but that doesn't mean a little extra effort can't redeem the format. "Roll the Drums" is a carefully edited compilation of elaborately curated film clips - the majority of them after the 1:00 mark ridiculously NSFW - that seem to mount (no pun intended) to the cadence of the music. As long as you're not nested in your cubicle this makes for a pretty awesome game of "name that movie" (I could sadly only get Eric Stoltz in Some Kind of Wonderful).

The ESG EP is out June 12 on Dim Mak.

Tumblr and shit.

Again, NSFW as fuck... you're warned:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

KILLER COVERS || Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: "Baby"

As much as any number of current bands are doing retro sounds like 60s girl pop and 70s soul right, there's a certain amount of modernization that slips in during the songwriting process; they never really sound like a song that was both written and recorded in the era indie-band-du-jour is going for... they may get the latter correct, but it's hard to shake off all the influences that have emerged in the 30-40 years since.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Calexico: "Para"

Calexico are back after an extended break with a new track that manages to squeeze a helluva lot of epic into less than four minutes. Aside from 2010's Circo soundtrack the band haven't put out a proper studio album since 2008's Carried to Dust. "Para" finds them right back on track with a lot of tread on the tires.

Algiers will be released September 11 on Quarterstick.

Ean: "AulderKincher"

Essentially footwork with a bit of the ol' echo chamber sinister-ness dubstep is known for, "AulderKincher" is the lead off track from Ean's upcoming five track EP Darknet. Out July 2 on Cosmic Bridge.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Grizzly Bear: "Sleeping Ute"

A bit of a 60's prog guitar riff backboning this one. There is some well-produced instrumental wanking going on in the middle that would make Mars Volta proud, but there's no shame in wanking in spite of what people will tell you. The title for this here new Grizzly Bear opus is non-existent at present, but we can tell you it will be out September 8 on Warp.
(via Stereogum):

KILLER COVERS || St. Vincent: "Some of Them Are Old"

Apparently this was recorded live at a house party with Annie Clark and Steve Nieve (keyboard player for Elvis Costello) contributing. It's not a new St. Vincent song but rather a cover of a pre-ambient Brian Eno track from 1973.
(via Listen Before You Buy):

Vorheez: "Place to Be" [feat. El da Sensei & Homeboy Sandman]

Loud horns - as in marching band loud - are ultra common in commercial rap these days, but Vorheez brings more of a simmering, cinematic vibe to "Place to Be". As much as I like to pretend I know everything there is to know about music I'm afraid I can't place the sample. Leave a comment if you recognize it. Also can we just go ahead and recognize that Homeboy Sandman may just be the most compelling rapper out there right now?

Merchandise: "Time"

Flux capacitor set to 1981. Floridians Merchandise aren't bringing a lot of modernity to the table here, mostly content to ride the Joy Division / New Order template, but when the results are this inspired who cares? To top it off, you can download the album for free here.

[UPDATE 7/20/12: added music video]:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

FAY: "Shadows I"

One trend that I wholeheartedly loathe is the prevalence of "snippet" tracks on Soundcloud. This is where an artists - usually in the electronic/DJ purview - doesn't feel like giving up a whole song, even streaming only, so he or she will either stitch together a single Soundcloud upload containing snippets of several new songs, or else they will just upload a minute or two of a longer track as a single file, and it's up to you to read the fine print to see if that was the whole song or if there's more to be had.

It's aggravating, like I say.

Sunless '97: "Azul"

"Azul" means "blue" but Sunless '97 don't get too downer on this track, it's more of an upbeat melancholia, if that makes sense. There's a lot of disparate elements here that could have taken this in a wrong direction - the squalling sax, the breathy French porn theme vocals - but it's the perfect example of sum > parts.

The "Body Weather" / "Azul" single is out July 2 on Moshi Moshi.
(via ABEANO):

Fantastic Mr. Fox: "Pascal's Chorus" [feat. Alby Daniels]

Being largely based around metronomic rhythms intended for dancing, electronic music has historically been pretty repetitive, a predictable beat necessary for keeping the dancefloor full. In latter years production has largely shifted to the bedroom, and producers in turn have been increasingly turning toward headphone-friendly jams. "Pascal's Chorus" isn't too schizophrenic... it rides basically the same beat and melody throughout, but it encourages you to ignore all that and listen for the grace notes instead. At seven minutes long there are a lot of them.

The San'en EP is out now on Black Acre. Limited vinyl box set available here.