Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pure X: "Things In My Head"

Maybe they're done moving to Brooklyn. Pure X is one of the first bands from Austin I've heard in awhile that seems like a finished product rather than mere kinetic promise (for a city that calls itself the Live Music Capital of the World we've been borrowing our A-list talent from the road in recent years). Album #2 for these boys, Crawling Up the Stairs, seems almost polished compared to their 2011 debut, Pleasure, but that seems to have more to do with an increased comfort in letting the songs speak for themselves than any kind of crass grab for the brass ring.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Randy Rogers Band: "Trouble Knows My Name"

A couple years ago I was in Vegas, not specifically because the rodeo was in town but... the rodeo was in town. I ran into the fiddle player from the Randy Rogers Band in an Irish bar on Fremont St with his parents in tow. At one point the fiddle player's mom asked for a shot of Irish whisky. Impressed that she could toss it back with the aplomb of 25-year old man, the bartender comped the cost of the shot out of respect. Fast forward a half hour and the bartender asks me "did the group beside you leave already?" Turns out the fiddle player's partents settled their tab but (allegedly, always "allegedly") didn't leave the bartender a single cent for a tip, in spite of his buying the old lady a shot.

This being Mother's Day, seems the perfect time to post this new RRB tune featuring the incomparable Willie. Hopefully this album goes multi-platinum so their folks don't have to keep stiffing bartenders.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Butterclock: "Hologram"

In contrast to the previous two posts this morning, this synthpop jam from Berlin upstarts Butterclock is sweet effervescence with no trace of cynicism or doom. The beat has a beat of that 80's freestyle (a.k.a Latin hip-hop) vibe, also reminiscent of cracker-rap classic "Genius of Love", which I guess had kind of a Krautrock engine driving it as well now that I think about it. Full circle, then, carry on...

Lemonade: "Perfect Blue"

"Perfect Blue" is like vintage Erasure, putting full stock in a minimal synth line with only skeletal beats adorning the framework, with a lilting vocal line taking center stage. Lemonade also share that band's penchant for huge choruses to provide contrast to the more intimate verses. When done well there's always room for more of this.

Soft Metals: "Tell Me"

Pretty snazzy Kraftwerk beat you're rocking there, Soft Metals. What epitomized 80's post-punk and synthpop so well was the combination of icy, detached riffs and potent, repressed vocals and "Tell Me" captures that effortlessly. It also frankly adds nothing new to the now 30-year old dynamic, but I'm not sure that we really exhausted the formula back in the day before neutering it with dreams of pop stardom, so a little vintage authenticity is always welcome.

[EDIT 7/20/13: added music video]:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO: "Space Speed Suicide"

When you think of preternaturally prolific, acid-drenched bands from Japan one of two names is likely to come to mind: Boris, of course, and Acid Mothers Temple. The latter records so much, so often, that they've released material under at least eight different variations of the Acid Mother template, each slightly different band name meant to tip the listener off to the general contents... which could be anything from psychedelia to space rock to free jazz, so long as it's 70's-damaged.

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO is the "Mother brand", so to speak, with the overall majority of the collective's recordings existing under that label. In Search of the Lost Divine Arc, their latest, is out May 28 on Important Records.

Hooded Fang: "Graves"

Ty Segall would be proud to have written "Graves", a garage stomp by Toronto act Hooded Fang. The 60's production values are there, the distant refrain on the chorus... gold star on each band member's forehead.

The band's upcoming album, confusingly spelled Gravez, is out May 27 on Full Time Hobby.

Deafheaven: "Dream House"

Roads to Judah came out almost exactly two years ago, helping to establish Deafheaven (I keep wanting to call them Deaf"haven"... sounds more metal) as preeminent blackened experimentalists. The oh-so-Mexican-Summerish cover of their upcoming sophomore album, Sunbather, might lead you to think they've gone full on shoegaze (chillwave, even) but nope... one listen to "Dream House" proves that their black metal affiliation is no mere historical marker but an active presence in their sound. Yeah, there's plenty of shoegaze affectation there, but isn't that the case with most experimental black metal these days? Then again if Liturgy is officially kicked out of the "kvlt" playhouse then Deafheaven don't stand a chance.

Twigs: "How's That"

The music video really has reclaimed its perch as a premier format for experimental short films, this after a couple decades of purely functional eye candy being de rigueur for the form (note that there remains plenty of dull, obligatory visuals, particularly in the hip hop and indie rock categories). Twigs' "How's That" matches baby girl's haunting vocals with production by Arca and a clip by Jesse Kanda. How's that for matching talent with talent?

Astari Nite: "Pyramids"

Astari Nite! Get it? Shit, that wore off fast, didn't it? "Pyramids" the single ought to have a much longer shelf life than that ill-fated pun of a moniker, Mychael Ghost's vocals a cool mix of Peter Murphy and vintage Bowie. This Miami band has been around since 2010 but is just now getting around to releasing their first full length album this Spring. Maybe it's not so much that the album format is "dead" as it is just transitioning back to the early purpose of the original albums, which were literally just a collection of 78 RPM singles packaged together in a binder.

(via Off the Radar)