Friday, July 27, 2012

Bucky Covington & Shooter Jennings: "Drinking Side of Country"

Bucky Covington made his bones on American Idol, and likely as not this will be the first and last WKMR entry anyone from that show will ever get. Two things though: 1) he's got Shooter Jennings along for the ride, and 2) Covington wrote the song with his brother, so he deserves the lion's share of credit for this being a legit beer swiggin' tune (one of these days I fully intend to post a country song that isn't about getting drunk).

"Drinking Side of Country" will feature on Covington's sophomore album Good Guys - out September 11 - but I'm not vouching for the rest of that shit until I hear it.

Slug Guts: "Scum"

You don't often hear Western sounding guitar licks thrown into a noise rock song, but Aussies Slug Guts are not your average cacophonous post-punk band. Already on their third album but still largely unknown outside Oz, this is one band content to (not so) quietly skulk in the shadowy corners of the blogosphere. Of which WKMR is grudgingly shadowy as fuck.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Pass: "Without Warning"

The Pass are Louisville's answer to Hot Chip and Passion Pit, deliriously poppy neu wave (sorry) advocates with a hook burning a hole in their pocket. They apparently debuted with an album in 2010 that I must have slept on, but I shan't make the same mistake when Melt is delivered later this year.

Tame Impala: "Elephant"

Gotta love that Beatles "Revolution" fuzz draping itself over the bouncy guitar riff. The chill vocals and lilting, flute-like synths that pop up later belie the sheer SEX at the heart of that boogie. "Elephant" is a reference quality fuck song. Is Lonerism seriously only the second Tame Impala LP? It is, and it's out October 9 on Modular.

[UPDATE: added official music vid; lyric video retained below]:

Arca: "Self Defense"

This one percolates malevolently, coiled and ready to spring but never quite breaking the tension. It's about eight minutes too short by my standards, but I'm a notoriously hard sell. This is supposedly coming out on UNO NYC but their website doesn't list Arca in anything other than a tour date capacity. Check out his Soundcloud page in the meantime.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cubic Zirconia: "Darko" [Tommy Trash Remix]

Last night I left the club in a k-hole stupor and soon thereafter a jet engine fell through the dance floor.

Photek: "Levitation" [Altered Natives Remix]

Altered Natives droppin' a gem on 'em. In his own words:

"It was a great honour to get the opportunity to remix one of my musical heroes, Photek's drum arrangements and sense of percussion always inspired me when I was younger so it only seemed right in my mind that I remixed his work in my own percussive style. I chose to follow his song's original structure as I loved the classical feel and progression of the original version plus his use of more organic sound, so I chose to rewrite using less of the original's parts instead replaying it all with sounds organic/inorganic more familiar to this end of my own production spectrum. I hope you enjoy the reworking"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chelsea Wolfe: "The Way We Used To"

Ever wonder what kind of direction Norah Jones might have gone in if she hadn't been warmly embraced by the establishment? Nothing about Chelsea Wolfe's previous album Apokalypsis would have prompted that comparison, but something about the muted sighs and the bluesy percussion on new single "The Way We Used To" makes a cogent argument for more chanteuses to go the demonic torch song route.

Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs is out October 16 on Sargent House, and should represent a long form change of pace for the so called "death folk" singer (didn't Current 93 already lay dibs on that nomenclature anyway?).

Black Moth Super Rainbow: "Windshield Smasher"

I have mixed feelings about Kickstarter - when Bret Easton Ellis and Paul Schrader want the public to fund their next movie they can kiss my ass - but the intent is well meaning: what it's intended for is to help leftfield artists put out the work they want everyone to hear without having to rely on the corrupting influence of the corporate teat. Apparently there are enough Black Moth Super Rainbow fans out there that the band was able to double down on the recording budget for their new album, Cobra Juicy (out October 9). "Windshield Smasher" is the first taste of what your money has bought you. Or, let's be honest, what other people's money has bought the rest of us.

[UPDATE 8/7/12: added music video]:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Jacques Greene: "Ready"

This is the last of my post-Portland vacation catch up tunes. Coincidentally, there's a lot in this video to remind one of the PDX: cable cars, wrought iron bridges, funhouse escalators... actually the latter probably just seems like something every Portland mall would have. At this point I'm really just burnt out riffing on artist bios and label release dates. Chew your food and STFU.

TNGHT: "Higher Ground"

Today is the day: the self-titled EP from the Hudson Mohawke / Lunice collaboration TNGHT is finally out on Warp. Has it really been two and a half months since we posted previous leak "Bugg'n"? Seems somehow longer than that.

Churches: "Lies"

For all the talk of 80's revivalism, there are a few bands that are definitely pimping the 90's (particularly in the vocal arrangements). Metric come to mind, and now here are female-fronted Glaswegian band Churches ringing in that EBM crossover rock as well. If this band have an album out you wouldn't know it from the FIVE links (!) on their Facebook page, and that's about as much clicking as an unpaid writer like me is willing to put into it. I mean, I'm my own intern for fuck's sake.

Crocodiles: "Endless Flowers"

For all I know Crocodiles were actually named after the debut album by Echo & the Bunnymen, but they do manage to shoehorn a few other post-punk / new wave influences in there as well: Psychedelic Furs, for one. Maybe early (really early) Human League? I don't know, but the familiarity merely provides a back drop for the band's solid, accessible songwriting.

Endless Flowers the album is out now on Frenchkiss.

Vessel: "Court of Lions"

This one opens like a heavy breather beat boxing into a muffled analog phone line with a hurricane brewing in the background, and it never gets less sinister than that. Tri Angle doesn't really fuck around when it comes to damaged, deconstructed house music so no surprise to see Vessel's Order of Noise full length dropping on that label September 24.

Sam Flax: "Fire Doesn't Burn Itself"

The late 70's + early 80's were a golden era of unapologetic camp, a veritable treasure trove of unvarnished, un-self conscious WTF moments. It's good to have guys like Sam Flax representing for the modern era; kids from 2040 are going to need their own retro-bizarre schtick to look back on for inspiration (and also to wonder why things were so white).

Age Waves is out on vinyl September 17 on Burger (US) and/or Sounds of Sweet Nothing (Europe), or you could just download it digitally right now over at Bandcamp.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fore: "Don't Have a Clue"

Nothing particularly compelling about the rapped verses - they're heartfelt yet average - but the soaring chorus is what sets Zimbabwe artist Fore's "Don't Have a Clue" apart. With that falsetto reminiscent of old British New Romantic bands this is one of the premier chill jams of the summer.

You can get the entire Going Back is Not the Same as Staying on Fore's Tumblr.

Teengirl Fantasy: "End"

Tangerine Dream-y new goods from Teengirl Fantasy. "End" seems to go for that 80's-laced electronic vibe that's so prevalent in 2012 but takes a sharp veer toward instrumental soundtrack music (hence the TM reference). Even that artwork looks like a riff on the nature-based minimalism of a lot of old Dream cover art.

Tracer is out August 21 on True Panther.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dan Deacon: "True Thrush"

"True Thrash" is a little more focused, less fragmented, than a lot of Dan Deacon's usual work, but that doesn't mean there aren't a ton of grace notes flickering around playfully in the background. Deacon is one of the more prominent members of Baltimore's revived music scene, with his Wham City collective representing a pretty health chunk of that tight knit community.

America is out 8/27 on Domino.

The Raveonettes: "She Owns the Streets"

Of all the current bands that could be considered reasonably young, The Raveonettes have been doing the hazy, surf pop thing for about as long as anyone. Listening to "She Owns the Streets" it seems straight up retarded that they aren't played on every Top 40 station in the country. Even to the bottom feeding American Idol generation this shit just isn't that difficult.

[EDIT 7/23/12: added music video]:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

XYX: "Simulador"

We're running out of band names. Soon a government regulated entity will hand out randomized sequences of letters and numbers to prospective new groups the same way the post office hands out phone numbers (ie.  only the select few will even have the option of choosing from an existing pool of unused character strings; presumably you will need major label backing to achieve this honor, similar to how most telephone companies reserve this privilege for deep pocketed businesses). If "Simulador" is any indication, XYX are both confused and perturbed about their lot in life.

Teatro Negro is already out on the decidedly non-major Monofonus Press (ie. it's apparently based in WKMR's hometown of Austin and we've never heard of it; good works, boys and/or girls).

Lawrence Black: "All Day"

A pretty quiet few days, what with Independence Day dropping in the US, but Lawrence Black has a nice summer's eve house track to douche out your frazzled earholes. "All Day" has that filtered disco effect that all the Frenchies seem to love (not to mention a fair handful of us Americans). Black's Soundcloud mentions forthcoming releases from The Stem, Amadeus and Sccucci Manucci, so good luck figuring out where this tune is set to appear.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Inga Copeland: "BMW"

Fresh off the Ebony project with partner Dean Blunt, Inga Copeland rolls out an old school Massive Attack-reminiscent trip hop jam. Not sure whether this is intended to be released under the moniker Cplnd - whether it's intended for an official release at all, really - or whether she named her Soundcloud page that just to be obtuse. Frankly I'm kinda tired of the whole Hebrew-ized "let's remove the vowels to be cool" trend anyway so I'm going with Inga Copeland for the post title. If someone wants to get one last inch of mileage out of the no vowel thing, how about coming up with a name that could actually be multiple words depending on which vowels you plugged in between the consonants? Y'all are too obvious.

Zac Brown Band: "The Wind"

99% of country music videos seem to feature either spliced together performance footage or the singer standing next to his weathered pickup out in an open field somewhere. Bo-ring. So how awesome is it that the Zac Brown Band got Mike Judge of Beavis & Butthead / King of the Hill fame to animate their video for new single "The Wind"? Actually it looks like Judge has even stepped up his game on this one, both conceptually as well as stylistically.

JEFF the Brotherhood: "Sixpack"

Red Fang would approve of this one. With all the scuzzed out garage shit coming out of Tennessee these days, you'd think there would be more of a stoner rock scene going on there. Until one emerges, JEFF the Brotherhood at least tackles sympathetic subject matter. Also, their current EP Hypnotic Knights features a faintly metallic band logo. I may be stretching to make a point here.

Fang Island: "Seek Out"

For some reason the name Fang Island sounds like a stoner rock band name to me, and damned if "Asunder" doesn't come close to fulfilling that stereotype with the opening riff. The dream is soon rendered dead, however, as the song quickly reveals itself for the catchy indie rock ditty it really is.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Toadies: "Summer of the Strange"

I hate to say it, but I've often considered Todd Lewis a bit of a squandered talent. After unleashing one of the greatest mainstream rock records of the 90's (ToadiesRubberneck), Lewis and company had their follow up album straight up rejected by their record label, which resulted in a seven year wait for the underwhelming Hell Below/Stars Above (which stubbornly rehashed most of the shit that had been rejected in the first place; in 2010 Lewis actually had the gall to re-record that rejected LP - Feeler - when the label opted to spare the citizens of Earth by not releasing the old master tapes).

Testament: "True American Hate"

Testament had some lean years in the late 90's - death metal experimentation and here-today-gone-tomorrow record labels didn't help - but the band improbably rebounded in 2008 with one of the strongest albums of their career, The Formation of Damnation. The returns of Alex Skolnick and Greg Christian seemed to make all the difference in the world, and "True American Hate" seems to continue in that tradition of quality and a willingness to focus on the band's strengths rather than trend chasing.

Dark Roots of Earth comes out July 27. Word.

Filterwolf: "Brooklyn Via Montmartre" [Altered Natives Remix]

The original mix was pretty tight but Altered Natives made a smooth ass road trip out of the motherfucker. The differences are subtle yet notable: the virtually unprocessed analog piano of the original has been compressed into a more suitable deep house thrum, the bass accentuated and the jazziness made more dancefloor friendly. Filterwolf's third LP - in a genre that almost openly disdains the long play format - is regrettably entitled Viva La Rave and there doesn't seem to be a release date, but the single is available on Beatport.

Wu-Block: "Union Square"

This is some of that bouncy boom bap stomp that only NY hip hop crews seem to be able to pull off. In this case we have an album length collaboration between Wu-Tang and D-Block coming up. "Union Square" showcases Ghostface Killah and Sheek Louch, the duo of which apparently masterminded the project, although representation from both crews is expected to make the album (it's unclear whether "representation" includes such Wu heavy hitters as Method Man or RZA).

The Presets: "Youth in Trouble"

I grow increasingly confused by these impossible-to-watch music videos even as I become more and more enamored of the songs behind them. In this case you wouldn't want to fuck with the snaky, mesmerizing bass groove at the heart of "Youth in Trouble" anyway, so if these visuals were intended as some kind of warning they're certainly superfluous.
(via The Color Awesome):

96Wrld: "Clark"

Don't let the name 96Wrld fool you. There's nothing retro about "Clark", a next level bleeps and blips track this new blood from Lithuania put up for the Workers #1 compilation for Mondayjazz. This is some of that stubbornly unclassifiable, antagonistic avant-garde shit. Catchy, accessible, but too restless to pin down.

No idea who "Clark" is but in an ideal world it would be a Griswold reference.
(via XLR8R):

Disclosure: "What's In Your Head"

Fan made videos are usually well meaning but ultimately shite. This one for "What's In Your Head" strikes a chord with me because there's a Last Night's Party photo shoot going on in my dome 24/7. Needless to say, horrifically unsafe for work.