Thursday, September 29, 2005

forever bad blues band

What if the Velvet Underground were blues cowboys from hell? What if Stereolab drove motorcycles and pick-ups and played shady bars on the Texas border?

Each song on Jonathan Kane's debut CD sounds familiar. Bluesy guitar figures over locked drums and straight ahead bass, all played by Kane. Not unlike a multitude of "drone" albums, these fragments repeat to infinity, slowly changing over time with you hardly even realising. But Kane is working in a style that is far removed from the audio wallpaper of much drone. And while it also has much in common with lockgroove kraut like Neu, its far from that as well. Its sitting on the porch and strumming one chord on your acoustic to the point of the strings breaking, and thats when the change happens. Propulsive urban dirges for modern ghost towns.

Kane has been called "Virtuosic" (NY Times), "Tireless drumming phenomenon" (Village Voice), "Magnificent, Mighty" (NY Daily News), and "Volcanic" (Rolling Stone) from his fierce 3 hour long non-stop playing with La Monte Young's Forever Bad Blues Band and with Rhys Chatham's 100 electric guitar orchestra he is the only drummer and featured soloist. How did he get to this level of ferocity? Probably by being one of the founders of legendary brutalists SWANS. And Kane's debut, February, holds some of the same spirit as M Gira's past work, too. I can easily hear Gira moaning along and strumming the same chord, eyes closed, cowboy boots on, lighting the funeral pyre with sound.

Out on Table of the Elements very soon.

Jonathan Kane - Curl

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

when the going gets weird

DMX Krew has been issuing sci-fi-electro in the vain of Moroder, Kraftwerk, Newcleus, Mantronix, Plaid, Bambaataa, et al since the mid 90s on RDJ's Rephlex imprint. The vocal tracks are Kraftwerk's robots covering the Sisters with Goblin's gear. Music for nightflights across the desertgrid in yr hovercraft. The concept behind his latest releases are too good to deny:

It's Music from the golden age of the future. This is an album based around the 'Copenhagen Interpretation' of quantum physics, which is to do with the dual wave/particle nature of reality. For instance electrons tend to act like waves and are 'smeared' out over all possible states until their location is measured. The act of making a measurement or 'observation' causes the wave function of the electron to decohere and it then occupies a particular point in spacetime. It isn't just that the electron could be in a number of places and you don't know until you look, experimental evidence has shown that, until you look, the electron really is every (possible) where. According to the Copenhagen Interpretation, any quantum system simultaneously occupies all possible states for that system until it is observed. Since we believe the quantum theory of matter to be true, and everything in the universe is made of matter (or antimatter) this holds for all systems on all scales, in fact the entire universe is a quantum system. Extrapolating from here, it is true to say that, until you remove it from its sleeve, place it on the platter and listen to it, the album you are holding in your hands contains every conceivable piece of music. Only the act of listening to the record causes the wave function of the music to collapse, allowing the listener to enjoy the mellifluous sounds therein. We believe we are the first to apply this principle to recorded sound and are therefore proud to be able to bring you an album of previously undreamed of uncertainty.

The WAVE CD contains the best tracks from the Wave Function vinyl releases volumes 3, 4 and 5, and also includes a free bonus CD "Our Most Requested Records" featuring 13 smash hits from the Rephlex vaults of the past nine years of DMX.

DMX Krew - Tonight
DMX Krew - the Fallen Kings
DMX Krew - the Pleasure Zone

Monday, September 26, 2005

slow man's dream

This internet culture that is growing bigger and bigger with every passing month has helped deliver many new concepts to the world. It has also morphed many old ideas into newer and often better things. Now with message boards, myspace/friendster, online dating, and so much more it is really easy to find people with nearly exact same interests and likes as yourself.

Whereas before you had to settle for the metal drummer dude down the street from you because he was the only one with a kit, now you can find your dream bandmates online. And before where you had to mail cassettes back and forth, now you can simply email files. This seems to be happening more and more and often the results are really quite good. The latest results of this appear to be the western Texas/northern UK group the Earlies.

Since 2002 they had been passing songs back and forth to eachother. Last year, 679 released a compilation of their singles to great reviews in the UK. This year, Secretly Canadian sees over its release in the USA.

Their sound is reminiscent to updated psychy experiments of oldies like the Byrds, Beach Boys, Band, Beatles and probably other 'B' bands as well. A more modern list could also read like Grandaddy, Spiritualized, and many others from the new-found organic/electronic bend such as Manitoba. When NME says, "This music is the electronic, Warp-inspired answer to Brian Wilson's 'Smile.' - 10/10", you've gotta listen. Check out these as well as several others over at their official website until the album comes out stateside next month.

the Earlies - Morning Wonder
the Earlies - the Devil's Country

Thursday, September 22, 2005

rhizomatic baby

When digging around on my desk the other day I found a Printer CD. Not the kind from HP with all the drivers for your computer, rather the electronic band Printer, from Roskilde, Denmark. And thank goodness I did, ever since then this disc has been spinning non-stop and making my ears happy.

Not unlike the touches of bliss I got when first hearing Múm, Notwist, and the Junior Boys- Printer make electronic music, but not necc for the dance floor. They got their start as a traditional band line-up but quickly ditched their normal instruments and stuck to keys and laptop. Not to say the CD, Rhizomatic Baby, isn't dancy, cuz it has a handful of great catchy pop tracks as well, but there is so much more as well. And the dancy songs are not what will keep you coming back time and time again to this album.

Throwbacks to turn of the 80s analogue synth sounds and feel are present but this is not a nü-wave record or revisit. There are squishy glitch beats, sad electronic shoegazing (Champagne), and great arrangements everywhere. Its everything the Postal Service should be. Praise to Statler & Waldorf for putting this gem out. Get it from Forced Exposure and lay back and daydream.

Printer - Don't Expect
Printer - Erased by the Swans
Printer - Champagne

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

bosnian pillow jamz

New York's Alex Delivery are part of the rapidly growing weird underground noise/groove scene that remains unnamed and mostly unknown. Consisting of a sound that is equal parts overdriven experimental electronics and lockgroove psych-jamz, this up and coming band promises to be the type of act whose future looks bright and who we will all be hearing more from in the near future.

Similar in scope to some of the roster of The Social Registry (Gang Gang Dance, Artanker Convoy), but yet unsigned so far, Komad mixes eastern synth lines with kraut rhythms and distorted electronic components. Other songs from their website link cd-skip glitch textures with downright heartfelt lyrics and broken percussion kit before exiting into a lurching throb of transistors on their last breath.

Alex Delivery - Komad

Monday, September 19, 2005

an argument between the brain and the feet

When I first heard Hot IQs, I was surprised to read that they were from Colorado and not some indie mecca from yesteryear like Chapel Hill, NC or Washington, DC. However, I guess in this day and age geography really isn't that big of a deal, regardless of how PFM try to make it happen by talking about the red hot Brooklyn scene or the amazing Scandinavian underground-- or wait, was that last year, shit I can't keep up.

Now, the Hot IQs are quickly becoming indie darlings with their new album, An Argument Between the Brain and the Feet, on Morning After Records. College radio is loving it, they've opened for tons of the "hot indie underground" such as the Walkmen, Hot Hot Heat, Louis XIV, the Thermals, AC Newman, Rogue Wave, etc. And now they are going to be opening shows for Tegan and Sarah later this fall after they finish their current tour. Things are looking up!

Take a bite out of this catchy as all hell indie-pop-trio and I challenge you to not like it. Firecracker is Kinks meets Merge Recs. Getting Old somehow reminds me of the Dambuilders. Someone please tell me how that is. Pure fuzzy satisfaction, dig in.

Hot IQs - Firecracker
Hot IQs - Getting Old

Friday, September 16, 2005

jealous of the stars

Dan Loves Patti is one of the best 1 cent CDs (lots of them on Amazon right now) you will never hear. The album is by Chris Holmes aka Yum Yum. I remember seeing his group open for Low in Chicago in what I think was 1996. Perhaps on Valentine's Day. I had no idea who they were but they had beautiful string arrangements along with sweet and gentle pop songs that pulled on heartstrings. Like bubblegum from yesteryear updated for the indie set.

The CD featured a photograph on the cover of an amazing guitar that was too good to be true. The previous owner supposedly being so in love with his lady to carve her name into his guitar. Then when love went sour carving the next lover's name into it. And then the next. And the next. And another. You get the idea. Marla, Judy, Heide, Susan, Kimme and finally Patti. Dan loved them all.

What came to light afterwards is a weird tale indeed. Supposedly Holmes didn't like pop music at all and made this whole album as an ironic gesture of how mindless pop could easily get exposure and sell units. Or maybe he really did like the pop music but didn't want people to really know this so he said it was ironic to save his scene cred as a guy who played space-rock with his friends. It's all so confusing and who really cares?! All that matters is that it really is a good album- and some people really do think so (myself included) and aren't ashamed to admit it.

Yum-Yum - Apiary
Yum-Yum - I'm Not Telling
Yum-Yum - Doot-Doot

Thursday, September 15, 2005

killer eyes

Being from Indiana, when I read the name Violet Indiana, I get a much different soundtrack in my mind than Robin Guthrie does, apparently. I really don't hear anything Indiana about them whatsoever, and I guess that's a good thing.

For the entirity of the 80s and early 90s Guthrie and his band mates reigned supreme over the ethereal music tag as the Cocteau Twins, nearly single-handedly defining the genre and helped put 4AD on the map. Echoed and blissed out guitar washes over underwater basslines, simple drum patterns and the glossolia of Liz Fraser.

The new band combines the previous guitar textures of Guthrie with the bluesy vocals of ex-Mono chanteuse Siobhan de Mare. Sounding a bit of Portishead and a bit like a dream from David Lynch. Bella Union, the label offshoot of the Twins, releases their albums overseas and Instinct released a couple in the states.

Violet Indiana - Sundance
Violet Indiana - Air Kissing
Violet Indiana - New Girl

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

everything, all at once forever

Th' Faith Healers played regularly at a club called the Sausage Machine during the early 90s in their hometown of Hampstead, England. When the club's owners, Paul Cox and Richard Roberts, formed a new indie label, called Too Pure, Th' Faith Healers were their first signing. Their song "Jesus Freak" led off Too Pure's first release, the compilation "Now That's Digusting Music", in May of 1990.

"When Th Faith Healers came out with their first record, Lido, some of us thought we'd finally received this generation's answer to the Velvet Underground. They seemed to be taking rock back to its primal urge - to just pick up a Telecaster and strum the same chord forever. They played impossibly simple progressions that stuck in your head for days." (AP)

"While often lumped in with the concurrent shoegazer movement, the group's sound is far darker and grittier, their guitars churning instead of shimmering and their attitude menacing instead of blissful. Songs often spring from simple, hypnotic riffs and rhythms which inevitably swerve out of control, screeching with peals of feedback and shooting off sparks." (AMG)

Kinda like Brad Laner's pink noize pop act Medicine jamming with early Sonic Youth after several bong hits and Faust IV track 1 on repeat engrained into the cerebral cortex. That is not necc equal to Diamond Sea but maybe a manic Bardo Pond.

Th' Faith Healers - The People
Th' Faith Healers - Oh Baby
Th' Faith Healers - Delores

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

grow up or sleep in

The big story behind Lawrence, Kansas born Ghosty is their hook-up with Flaming Lips mastermind Wayne Coyne. It all started because the band got bumped from Mike Mogis' studio in favor of platinum selling Saddle Creek acts. So the band packed up and moved their recording operation to Trent Bell's Oklahoma studio where the Lips frequently document their ideas. Unbeknownst to the band, Wayne was there laying down some tracks for the Lips' annual Xmas fanclub single and eavesdropped on their session. So impressed by what he heard from them, he asked them to help him on the single and then offered up his own help for their album. How could they possibly say no?

Now the album is out, thanks to Future Farmer Recordings. Big Surrender is a slice of pure indie pop perfection. An instantly catchy and slightly Mangumian vocal delivery (Neutral Milk Hotel) elevates this song to the next level. Hear what I mean:

Ghosty - Big Surrender

Monday, September 12, 2005

if your bed could cry

Porn Sword Tobacco. Those words instantly draw three strong mental representations. Together you might imagine them to be a very badass sludge-metal band from Japan who don't quite understand the combining of the three words. But you couldn't be farther from the truth. How's about Swedish experimental electro-ambient?

Porn Sword Tobacco might be the modern version of Budd and Eno’s ”The Pearl“. It just draws you in, does not let go. Every track tells a very specific story, assembles sketches, drifts off, picks up again, re-adjusts itself all the time, levels noise, piano, guitar, organ, bass, thinks of new chords.

PST (aka Henrik Jonsson of Göteborg, Sweden) creates this music you hear stranded on a slowly sinking ship in the middle of the ocean with only a transistor radio. Every channel is different but all share the same static melancholy of radio noise and ambience of your dire surroundings. Every couple of minutes the signal fades and you scan to the next selection. Rain, wind, and insects blend into the mix. While soaking in a scandinavian hot spring at dusk, or is it dawn, listening to electronic re-interpretations of trois Gymnopedies and other schizophrenic ambient mix tapes through a Victrola.

City Centre Offices release this in late september.

mp3s removed at the request of CCO.

Friday, September 09, 2005

garden of the weaver

In the early 90s, Wayne Magruder studied design at the University of North Texas, where he met Aurelio Valle and Peter Gannon and joined The Factory Press (ND Records) as drummer. When the band relocated to NYC in 1995, The Factory Press recorded and released their final LP "The Smoky Ends of a Burnt Out Day" with Kid Congo Powers producing. In the meantime Magruder joined Bowery Electric as a live drummer. Subsequent Bowery touring with E.A.R. and Main followed, as well as drums with Windsor for the Derby. In 1997, desiring to integrate electronics, triggers, and samples in a rock format, Magruder formed Calla with Sean Donovan and Aurelio Valle. Since, Calla have released a grip of LPs and have a new one coming out this autumn. But as an addendum to all of this, Wayne has decided to take on a new project. "Night of the Hunter" is Magruder's solo full length debut under his own name and coming out on Quatermass soon.

Part hi-fi electronics, part lo-fi acoustic pickin', Wayne's new album has hints to all sorts of influences. With vocalists Jana Plewa and Daphne Gannon, the songs lay somewhere amongst the wreckage of Four Tet, Dntel, Telefon Tel Aviv and the rest of the lap-pop generation of experimentalists. Souvenir, the obvious single, positively booms out of the speakers but still remains gentle. It could very well mix into the late 90s triphop of a Hooverphonic ilk, too. Garden of the Weaver takes what could be a psych folk number and rearranges it into something nearly hip-hop in nature. Elsewhere, Langor Train recalls the ghosts of outerspace drone demigods Labradford with giant slow-moving bass glaciers echoing into the cosmos over a simple acoustic guitar pattern.

Wayne B - Souvenir
Wayne B - Langor Train

Thursday, September 08, 2005

battle brigades

You don't hear of much coming out of Columbia, Missouri, but that might all change with Foundry Field Recordings and the Emergency Umbrella collective.

Ten years ago, Foundry Field Recordings could have masqueraded as the only Elephant 6 band that didn't dig The Beach Boys. In 2003 the band released their debut EP. It was a quick but resonating introduction to the band's straightforward melodic sojourns that infiltrate your brain like a gorgeous musical sedative. The songs ranged from building, atmospheric slowcore to more moderate tempo shoegaze, tied together with a touch of twang and homespun charm. Today, the smartly dressed quartet continues to straddle the space between dream pop and indie rock with Battle Brigades, their new single.

Steeped in experimental pop, a smidgen of americana and a pinch of british gauze, FFR write truly imaginative and catchy tunes in a mode that is rare these days. On tour now on their way out to CMJ. As an added treat, their entire debut EP is available for download from their website, and I highly recommend it.

Foundry Field Recordings - Battle Brigades
Foundry Field Recordings - Archery Bots

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

pirate prude

In the summer of 1990, four ladies in DC formed Autoclave. A year later they had already broken up with one member (Christina Billotte) going on to Slant 6 and Mary Timony going to Helium. In the mid-90s, Helium released a couple of albums and a fistful of EPs and singles on Matador Records. Into the 2000s, Matador also released Mary's first two solo albums, Mountains and the Golden Dove. Now here we are in 2005 and Lookout is Mary's new home and label.

For her new LP, she teamed up with drummer Devin Ocampo (of Dischord's Medications) and producer Brendan Canty aka the drummer for Fugazi. Timony's vocals are as warm and welcoming as ever and any fan of her past work is sure to quickly identify with the new material just as easily. The Washington Post (they are from DC after all) said it well: With spiral-staircase chord progressions and lyrical snippets that evoked mystic spells ... the resulting sound suggested a pool of art-garage rock with withered flowers floating on its surface.

On tour now and soon to be opening for Spoon. Here is the focus track from her new album, Ex Hex and a classic Helium track that I had on constant repeat back in my college radio daze.

Mary Timony - Friend to J.C.
Helium - Superball

Friday, September 02, 2005

fallen from the fray

The more I read about the happenings in New Orleans and the rest of the south the more depressed I get. Luckily I know that times of strife somehow bring good things. I remember reading some line about how Bush getting elected might bring a whole new era of great political music and art. I am not sure if that has happened yet or not? Regardless, here is hoping that some poor souls that are trapped somewhere at least have a lonely harmonica or guitar to keep them company while they wait for food and water to arrive. Similarly, but not nearly as tragically, during the summer of 2003, the Reverend Vince Anderson and his Love Choir were headed to the studio to record their second full-length album. As they were preparing to record, the great power outage that hit the northeast and midwest took over and the session was cancelled.

Torbitt Schwartz, the Love Choir’s drummer, suggested that a generator be procurred and some attempt at recording be made. The result is the Rev’s second solo album; “The Blackout Sessions.” The album is recorded and produced by Mr. Schwartz, with the Reverend singing and backing himself up with a primitive drum machine and several vintage organs in varied states of dis-repair. It features unique covers from the Rev.’s live set, including Paul Simon’s “Graceland”, Abba’s “Dancing Queen”, and an emotional version of Bob Dylan’s “Hard Rain”. These covers are balanced with original songs such as the audience favorite, “Satan Hates Me”, and the haunting ode to the interent, “Empty Road”. The album closes with a beautiful rendition of the hymn, “Abide With Me”, sung by the Salvation Army congregation in Brooklyn, NY, where the Rev. Vince serves as music director.

Vince plays around NYC all the time, so if you live in the city he is easy to catch. He has a weekly show at Black Betty in Brooklyn. Pour a stiff drink and get saved! And tell them hello from me. Last time I saw Vince was as he ran nude laps around a near empty bar in my town, personally saving every person there with a drunken baptism.

Reverend Vince Anderson - Satan Hates Me
Reverend Vince Anderson - Fallen from the Fray

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Hurricane Katrina is affecting all of us in one way or another, either from friends and family who live in the south or the ever-escalating gasoline prices. Then there is the sheer anarchy that appears to be happening with all the looting and completely unhuman acts that are happening down there. Its pretty crazy to say the least. You don't need my blog telling you that, there are some amazing ones out there of people writing from there, you should seek them out and read them.

I have also read reports about musicians in the south and what has happened to them- Fats Domino, Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint were all a little worse for the wear, but were all found eventually. Fats was floating around in a boat like thousands of others. And I heard rumor that maestro of the underground organ tune and drum buddy inventor, Quintron, has had much damage done to his house and equipment that he shares with his wife, Miss Pussycat. According to one message board, his entire collection of drum buddies was destroyed in his basement as the city flooded. And of course he had no insurance. It doesn't compare to the loss of human life all around the city and region but it is still tragic. Please keep all these people in your thoughts.

This is from Skin Graft's website: Quintron and Miss Pussycat did make it out of New Orleans before the hurricane hit. The van was loaded up with their instruments and puppets - but their house, the Spellcaster Lodge and their belongings are most likely casualties of Hurricane Katrina. Pretty much all Q and P have is what they need to tour. As of this writing, M.C Trachiotomy, StrangeBone and other familiar 9th Ward artists are stuck in New Orleans to the best of Quintron's knowledge.

Q Electronics - Drum Buddy Intro
Quintron - Scary Office