Tuesday, April 18, 2006

uninvited, like the clouds

Its been 25+ years, nearly 20 albums and dozens of side and solo projects that have brought the Church to where they are today. They have a more than impressive back catalog, and yet, they continue to have surprisingly strong releases year after year. How on earth do they do it?!

Today is the release of their latest, 'Uninvited, Like the Clouds' on Cooking Vinyl. And if you haven't heard them in a decade or more, not much has changed- and thats a good thing! The chiming Rickenbackers are present, the daydreamy lyricism, the soaring melodies. We are all truly lucky that there still exists a band doing this and doing it well.

While it seems ridiculous to compare a band thats been around for over two decades to anything else, its a necessary evil. The album opens with Block, a classic track that is part Floydian dream and part Spaceman hypnotic downhill acceleration to lift-off. Easy is MBV meets Maggie May. Song to Go is Tom Waits as covered by Air. Go visit a very wonderful Church fansite and learn more about all the time you've missed of this wonderful band that is still doing it.

the Church - Block
the Church - Song To Go

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

villa claustrophobia

Ardent Fevers is Jesse Poe's fourth release under the Tanakh moniker. It came out last week via Montreal's Alien8 Recordings. Recently transplanted away from Virginia, this is the fruit of his time spent living the past couple of years in Florence, Italy. A recent invitation to perform at the 6th Annual Terrastock Festival, this year in Providence, RI, brings he and a group back to my hemisphere for a two week tour, as well.

Fans of Leonard Cohen, Badly Drawn Boy, Calexico, David Sylvian, Elliott Smith, Tindersticks, Lambchop, the Church, Lee Hazelwood, Talk Talk... you get the idea. Spacious arrangements, rural roots, beautiful accents. Closing track "Take and Read" builds over 9+ minutes into a Crazy Horse jam. Understated, personal, serene.

US Dates

04/21/2006 - Terrastock 6 - Providence, RI
04/24/2006 - Cake Shop - NYC, NY
04/26/2006 - PA's Lounge - Sommerville, MA
04/27/2006 - Mezzanotte Lounge - Syracuse, NY
04/28/2006 - Mohawk Place - Buffalo, NY
04/29/2006 - Drake Hotel - Toronto Canada
04/30/2006 - Big Car - Indianapolis, IN
05/02/2006 - Lager House - Detroit, MI
05/03/2006 - Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL
05/04/2006 - Landlocked Music - Bloomington, IN
05/05/2006 - Huntington Youth Art & Music - Huntington, WV
05/06/2006 - The Velvet Lounge - Washington, DC
05/07/2006 - Knitting Factory - NYC, NY

Tanakh - Drink to Sher

Monday, April 10, 2006

photogenic, schizophrenic you

There isn't much more to say that hasn't already been said about this track many times over from others over the years.

from Wikipedia: Napoleon XIV was the pseudonym of record producer Jerry Samuels (b 1938 New York City) who had moderate success with the song "They're Coming To Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!", released in 1966 (reaching #4 UK, #3 US). The song deals with mental illness brought about by the lover of the vocalist leaving him and was controversial at the time for its willingness to confront the subject directly—albeit humorously:

"Remember when you ran away and I got on my knees and begged you not to leave because I'd go berserk? Well, you left me anyhow, and then the days got worse and worse, and now you see I've gone completely out of my mind!"

Musically, the track is significant in that it does not actually feature any musical notes being played, although a melody was, quite naturally, planned for it. Instead, the backing is provided by a combination of drums and tambourines overlaid with a siren—presumably that of the authorities' vehicle "coming to take me away". The pitch of the vocals also raise and lower throughout the performance to signify the increasing insanity of the vocalist. The vocal effect was accomplished via a tape recorder modified by Samuels himself.

from AMG: Samuels went on to a career as unpredicable as his hit smash, making his living for a time selling marijuana roach clips to head shops. For the past couple of decades he's worked the piano bars of the Philadelphia area; on the recent Napoleon XIV reissue CD, he proudly notes that "I became probably the most popular entertainer at nursing homes and senior facilities in the Philadelphia and Delaware Valley area." (Presumably he didn't play his hit single for those audiences.) That reissue CD combined the 1966 Napoleon XIV album with some additional material from the '60s and some newly recorded tracks from 1995.

Here is WFMU's excellent post about the 21 Variations on the hit single. Included in this is Lard's version, which makes total sense to me since the vocals seem reminiscient of Jello Biafra in the first place.

Napoleon XIV - They're Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa
Napoleon XIV - Doin' the Napoleon
Napolean XIV - The Place Where The Nuts Hunt The Squirrels

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

letter from the past

Its probably been enough time that "folktronica" can now officially be the new "post-rock". Except that term is already dead. Now the new rage is "ambient pop"? Whereas "post-rock" incorporated loosened "jazz" structures into "rock", kinda, the others bring acoustic instrumentation and "pop songs" into the "electronica" world. Whoopdeedoo!? The list of bands recording their acoustic guitars into their laptops and adding glitchy beats behind it is growing ever longer these days. Too long.

However, City Centre Offices in Germany is doing a great job about choosing tasty ones to release. And their fancy new website has transfixed me nearly as long as their recent releases. Warm and spacious. The result of hours of daydreams. Lovely. They are quickly becoming one of my favorite labels to watch.

I'm Not a Gun's new album, 'We Think As Instruments' is the third album for this duo. John Tejada is one of the most prolific DJs and producers in the Techno world. His remixes and DJ-sets are well sought after, his label ”Palette“ is pumping out 12“ after 12“ of quality electronic music. Takeshi Nishimoto, classically trained guitarist and sarod player has been a long-time member in the jazz/improv scene in Los Angeles. He recently re-located to Berlin.

Their Venn Diagram is the spot where these bands circles cross: Bark Psychosis, Album Leaf, Dntel, Lali Puna, Notwist, To Rococo Rot, Bows, Oval, Remote Viewer, Múm, Tarwater, Mountains, Pole. In 2004, Iʼm Not a Gun was nominated for Best Instrumental Band by L.A. Weekly Music Awards. While they are often classified as the next step past Chicago's post-past, they are more than just a German version of the Hefty roster. Out on April 17th via Forced Exposure.

I'm Not a Gun - Move

Friday, March 31, 2006

argyle cardigan

When you open your album with a drum solo, the listener knows they are in for some fun. And Flin Flon have been having fun for a number of years now, releasing their long-awaited third album this year on Teenbeat.

Flin Flon started in 1997 with Teenbeat honcho Mark Robinson, whose name should be synonymous by now with smart, well-crafted American pop music. He has been releasing it since the mid-80s on his label under the names Unrest, Grenadine, Air Miami and beyond. Flin Flon's trio is filled out by True Love Always' Matt Datesman on drums and ex-Cold Cold Hearts bassist Nattles. Their new album, Dixie, has absolutely no southern feel to it whatsoever. It is precise Factory Records worship with Robinson's in your ear vocals and a locked-in rhythm secion.

The vinyl version of the new album will be released soon, with exclusive remixed versions, just as previously they did for their preceeding record, Boo Boo. Fill the dance floor.

Flin Flon - Cardigan

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

back from the tomb

While I was stumbling around Boomkat yesterday my eyes nearly popped out of their head when I saw that Egyptian Lover had a new album. I am always a little skeptical when new albums come out from older performers, especially when they take a ten year break in between. But this has really caught my ear.

Los Angeles-based producer Greg Broussard was the man behind pioneering hip-hop/electro fusion artist the Egyptian Lover. Comparable in influence to Soul Sonic Force's "Planet Rock", Man Parrish's "Hip-Hop Be Bop (Don't Stop)" and Pretty Tony's "Jam theBox", Egyptian Lover singles such as "Egypt, Egypt", "My Beat Goes Boom", "Dance" and "What is a DJ If He Can't Scratch?" combined the abstract electronics of Kraftwerk and the Art of Noise with the emerging beat-heavy sound of electro and the vocal approach of rap. - Global Darkness

The sound is not at all far away from his songs from 20 years ago. Strong, hard 808s, vocoders and a darker feel with sexy whispered vocals that make Ying Yang Twins sound like they need some Viagra to keep up with the grown-ups. Coming to you from Egyptian Empire Records.

the Egyptian Lover - Party
the Egyptian Lover - Sintropolis

Monday, March 27, 2006

stay bruised, stay forever beautiful

We're incredibly sad to report that our friend NIKKI SUDDEN passed away Sunday, March 26, age 49, in New York City after performing the prior night at the Knitting Factory. He wrote hundreds of songs and made over 20 albums as a solo artist and with his bands SWELL MAPS, THE JACOBITES, THE LAST BANDITS and his band with ROWLAND S. HOWARD, among others. He was an inspiration to watch at work, working ceaselessly as a musician, writer and actor. Just prior to heading out for this last US tour, he completed his latest album "The Truth Doesn't Matter" and was putting the finishing touches on his autobiography.

It was a great honor to work with such a legendary figure, and his warmth and generosity of spirit will not be forgotten. He was a good man in endless pursuit of his artistic dreams. We extend our deepest sympathies to his friends and family, and rest easily knowing that he has joined his brother Epic Soundtracks, who passed away in 1997. We're seeking solace in Nikki's timeless records and we feel blessed to have known Nikki and to have his voice sing on. - Secretly Canadian

The one time I saw Nikki play, at the Cellar Lounge in Bloomington, it was a flashback to yesteryear. Scarves and paisley silk and leather boots. A true showman and character, I feel lucky to have experienced it. Enjoy over a dozen songs over at SC and at his official website. Read fan comments on his Myspace profile. NY Times obit.

Friday, March 24, 2006

the exchange session

In early 2005 two guys from two generations and two different scenes came together and something magic happened. I would never expect a duo between a drummer and laptop to be so spiritual, but it is. Three long improvisations captured live in studio, uncut, one-take, start to finish. The document is in two parts, with Exchange Session - Volume 1 out now via the always tasty Domino.

Steve Reid is well heard but unknown by name. You've heard his drumming on everything from James Brown's Popcorn to Dancing in the Street by Martha and the Vandellas to Fela Kuti's Africa One to a long stint in the Sun Ra Arkestra and Miles Davis. His style is heavily influenced by African rhythms and modal harmonics of twelve tone explorations of John Coltrane. Kieran is better known under his current electronic moniker, Four Tet or previously with Fridge. Now together, they have a strikingly fresh sound that is equal parts Nonesuch Explorer and Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, all the while remaining modern and both jazzy and electronic at the same time. A tall order indeed. Volume 2 comes out later this year. Also be sure to check out the Steve Reid Ensemble's Spirit Walk which also features Kieren with a larger group and just as breathtaking results.

Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid - Morning Prayer

Thursday, March 23, 2006

sniper at the gates of heaven

the Black Angels conjure up the same ghost that many bands have, they're one of those thousands of bands influenced by the Velvet Underground (even named after their Black Angel's Death Song), or perhaps even moreso by the followers of the VU like Spacemen 3. Big hollow guitars, reverbed into the cosmos, organ droning on and on and on. Hit the distortion, lift off, starry eyed and stoned.

Seattle's Light in the Attic label, who is more well known for their amazing reissues of the Free Design, Last Poets, Deep Throat OST and more is moving into the modern band realm with this and the hip hop duo Blue Scholars.

The Black Angels' debut album Passover comes out on April 11th on CD & deluxe gatefold double-vinyl. And they bleed their Texas roots... with love for the 13th Floor Elevators, Bubble Puppy, and beyond. Dim the lights, light it up and zone out.

the Black Angels - Black Grease
the Black Angels - Bloodhounds on My Trail

Sunday, March 19, 2006

black satin amazon fire engine cry baby

Found this CD reissue the other day at a local music store and dropped it into the system to check it out over the loudspeakers. While it was totally badass, I quickly felt like I got caught listening to Richard Pryor in church as Kain was dropping F-Bombs all over the place. Heads definitely turned.

One of the rawest, hardest-hitting albums of soul poetry of the 70s! Kain -- aka Gylan Kain -- was a member of the original Last Poets, a group who emerged in New York during the late 60s, but were eclipsed by the second (more famous) ensemble sharing the name who recorded for Douglas Records. Kain's anger and passion is incredible -- far stronger than anything you'd hear on any of the better-known Last Poets records of the early 70s -- and this solo record is completely over the top, both politically and performance-wise. The record has a hard hard hard sound -- with over-the-top spoken bits that almost make the other Last Poets seem like they're kind of mellow. Cuts include "Silly Shit", "Harlem Preacher", "I Ain't Black", and "Constipated Monkey". Juggy Murray produced -- and the album's a wild wild trip! - Dusty Groove

Gylan has the kind of natural flow that most MCs would kill for. Silky smooth delivery over a smoky hashish fog from the red-lit underground speakeasy. Recently, Kain has been performing with Electric Barbarian. At a recent show he "came out into the audience and recited in the face of an audience member who was moved to get up and leave, but not before Kain followed the poor man up the aisle. "Kicking Mickey Mouse in his house". Left End of the Dial has more to say.

This man makes the Last Poets he left behind sound like schoolboys trying to sound pissed off. Kain would make Gil Scott-Heron run away for fear of being exposed as the effete he became before he turned into an out-and-out drug addict. There aren't any other records like this; this is the sound of the apocalypse...

Kain - Harlem Preacher

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

singing with ghosts

Sometimes you just meet the nicest people. And the other day was like that- two bands from opposite sides of the continent (Vancouver and Boston) came together in the middle to play a cozy in-store in my dead college town on the monday of spring break.

Ok, Tiger Saw aren't from Boston exactly but near enough that its the geographic landmark to be based upon. Newburyport Mass re-pruh-zent. Dylan Metrano has been the one constant in the band for years. Sometimes it is just he strolling through the audience singing with acoustic guitar in hand. Other times the group expands to as many as a dozen performers. For this touring version, they were guitar, bass, drums and a rotating guitar / accordion / flute player. Their songs and spirit were truly gentle and kind. Before they began they encouraged the crowd to take out their ear plugs, have a seat and get cozy. This campfire vibe is intentional and works well for them and grew out of a previous tour.

The tour, which crossed the United States and Great Britain, found the band performing at a myriad of unorthodox venues, from suburban basements and theaters to beaches, forests, and bonfires. These intimate settings led to impromptu singalongs with the audience, and night after night of unforgettable communal experiences.

By the end of the set, everyone was all smiles from their pure genuine-ness and charm. Sonically, one might file them near to Low or Yo La Tengo. Kimchee Records released their latest CD and catch them on tour now with the wonderful art and folk songs of Dan Blakeslee.

Tigersaw - Love Will Kill
Tigersaw - Are You Courageous

Monday, March 13, 2006

the midnight year

this is the first post from our hopeful new crony, chris. show him some love.

Does the most potent release of 2005 keep its cool as the dawn of '06 sheds light on my record-strewn bedroom window? Indeed. I'd say Hudson Bell's "When the Sun Is the Moon" (Monitor Records) is only growing in potency as I hear it in more and different locales, taking it beyond my office boombox, out of my home stereo, and bigger than my Ipod universe. I reckon my favorite surprise encounter yet with this record was last week in the warehouse at my workplace. On a particularly stressful day, on my way to the Coke machine, preoccupied with carving out a little personal space so that I could get some much needed work done, I stumble upon the album as it filled the 8000-square foot aluminum room, just as its pinnacle track "Strange Lands" was starting to build. Wow. It was one of those magical moments when you realize that a song is only growing richer as you're hearing it for the 50th time. (For me, to maintain interest in a song after a dozen listens is a rarity, and this fella is turning on me like the Misfits or Dwight Yoakam.)

San Francisco -based, yet Southern bred, Hudson Bell occupies a musical world I've loved well - most immediately reminiscent of early '90s electric guitar-based indie rock, delivered with a poetic slacker's delivery a la Dinosaur Jr., Pavement, Screaming Trees and Teenage Fanclub. Like those bands, Hudson Bell makes his electric guitar heave with distorted bliss, while he sings plaintively along with it of getting stoned on a rooftop with friends and wondering where to go next with his life (as though he has a choice). There's a wonderful androgyny as the masculine guitar and the almost feminine voice form a unified whole. And it feels so fresh to rummage through this world again. Could this be the '90s resurgence begun? I don't want to make too much of the timeliness of this record, as it feels like one of those genuinely timeless ones.

Hudson Bell - Atlantis Nights
Hudson Bell - Slow Burn

Monday, February 13, 2006

keep on doin' it

Sorry for the week off folks, Eric and I each had birthdays and needed some R&R. Backatcha...

People constantly question the coolness of the Hoosier state that I reside in. What little they know. While we might not have the constant abundance of the huge cities on the coast or Chicago, we have our own thing going on. One man that has been helping document the goodness from the heartland for years is Jason over at Indiana 45s.

He has built the world's largest repository of information on Indiana recordings and it is growing bigger every day. Perhaps you've already dug some of our lost grooves on Stones Throw's excellent Funky 16 Corners comp, which is heavily-tipped with home cooked goodness. Jason was kind enough to recently forward me a mix of more hot IN cuts and allowed me to share with all. Dig in:

Hamilton Movement - She's Gone
Presidents - Shoe Shine
Mr Gee and the Fifth Generation - We've Got a Funky Feeling
Soul Authority Unlimited - Get Up Off it Baby
Little Murray and the Mantics - Goddess Above
Rhythm Machine - Freakish Love
Allison and Calvin Turner - Keep On Doing It
Black Conspirators - Got To Be Free
Hamilton Movement - Love Circuit
Amnesty - Oh Lord, Help Me

VA - Indiana Funk Mix

Friday, February 03, 2006

the devil lives in my husbands body

Pulsallama was a short-lived, yet legendary, 12 piece all-girl percussion band who ruled Manhattan nightlife for a brief period in 1981 and 1982. Their sound has been described as "13 girls fighting over a cowbell."

In early 1982 they were asked by Elliot Sharpe to contribute a song for a flexidisc to be distributed in a magazine. Since it was a freebie, they decided to give him their most retarded song, May. With portable tape recorder in hand, he came to their rehearsal studio to record May for posterity, but as soon as he arrived, the gals started brawling. The fighting became so intense it disturbed the derelicts outside, who began screaming and pounding on the door. The band snapped out of it and settled down to do the song. During the song, the drunks started banging and screaming again, or so it sounds. It's hard to tell; it might just be Pulsallama.

In May 1982 the band went to Intergalactic Studios, where Planet Rock was recorded, to cut their first single. While they waited hours for the engineer to show up, they were treated to the Planet Rock show tape hundreds of times, which rattled the battle prone babes' nerves. The resulting brawl nearly got them thrown out of the studio. A couple days later they were off to Asbury Park to open for the Clash, where an adoring audience of 6000 showered them with coins and cups of beer. Pulsallama's single, Devil Lives in My Husband's Body (released on Y Records) became a minor college radio and cult hit.

Text taken from Dyxploitation's awesome Girls of the 80's East Village Sound Gallery.

Pulsallama - Ungawa pt. 2 from NY Noise 2
Pulsallama - Oui Oui
Pulsallama - Pulsallama on the Rag

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

burnin a roach

Why am I such a sucker for shoegazin'? Ever since I first set my ears upon the first wave of the wall of noise back in high school, I couldn't get enough. Maybe I just keep trying to recapture my youth again and again, which is weird cuz the teenage years weren't all that.

These very cosmic psych-waves hit North America around the same time and we got a scene all our own, as well. The fertile New England scene housed our own version of noise-pop: Mercury Rev, Yo La Tengo, Swirlies, Lilys... the stuff was everywhere. And now it seems I keep reading that people think that the ole shoegazin is going to be making a come back. I say its been here the whole time, its just been ignored.

And now the same Richmond, Virgina soil that birthed the reverb drenched and haze influenced "post-rock" of Labradford and minimalism of South and Patrick Phelan has now begat Gregor Samsa. Their new full length, 55:12 is set for release on March 6th from Kora Records. Boy/Girl vocals that are sometimes over stark arrangements a la Low and other times over the shimmering crescendos of GYBE or Explosions.

Gregor Samsa - Young and Old from forthcoming 55:12 LP
Gregor Samsa - Three from 27:36 EP
Gregor Samsa - Two from untitled EP

Thursday, January 26, 2006

ok, alright, fine

The Beautiful New Born Children write short and frenetic songs. This is nothing new, people have been doing it for years, from the garages of british invasion straight through Supergrass and into the now. But TBNBC do it well and recklessly with the pedal to the metal. They're all in other bands and all play different instruments in those bands, so this is obviously their "sweet fuck all lets get ripped and make some fun songs and noise" project.

And apparently sending unsolicited demos really does sometimes pay off, because they sent one to Domino, obviously thinking that nothing would become of it because there was no contact information on it. Eventually they were found and we are all better for it. And for once, a description written by the label is surprisingly accurate: Imagine The Sonics recording Slanted And Enchanted in 1966 for In The Red Records and you're in the neighbourhood.

I'd also add that if you toss in some Unrest pop smarts and hyperactivity and you are downright locked in. This CD should come with a warning on the label if you are caffeinated, whoa man you'll hurt yourself flailing along!

the Beautiful New Born Children - Do the Do
the Beautiful New Born Children - Up And Down And Round And Round

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

word in your belly

Mira and Laurent met in Paris. She was a Finnish model and he was writing film music. They instantly fell in love and soon chose to move into a cabin together deep in the woods of Finland, completely isolated. Intent to learn about each other and make music. Together they make stark, spacious arrangements of acoustic guitar and vocals. Their debut CD (out now on Young God was recorded in Finland, and then back in New York, M. Gira, who co-produced the record brought in friends such as Akron/Family and Julia Kent of Antony & the Johnsons to occasionally enhance with strings and sounds. Mi's sound reminds me of Nico or the intimacy of Lisa Germano, who put out many amazing records for 4AD in the 90s and has also recently signed with Young God Records. L'au is more of a Nick Drake or Neil Halstead. A simple, plain and solid record that isn't trying to be weird or challenging. Check them on their current, incredibly long tour which has already started:

Tue 1/24 - Andy's Denton TX w/ Akron Family
Wed 1/25 - Emo's Austin TX w/ Akron Family
Thu 1/26 - Opolis - Norman OK
Fri 1/27 - The Pistol Gallery - Kansas City - MO
Sat 1/28 - The Mill Iowa City IA
Sun 1/29 - Iron Post - Urbana IL
Mon 1/30 - Boxcar Books - Bloomington - IN
Tue 1/31 - Viper Room - Cincinnati OH
Thu 2/2 - Mac's - Lansing MI
Fri 2/3 - Urban Institute for Contemporary Art Grand Rapids  MI
Sat 2/4 - Empty Bottle - Chicago IL
Sun 2/5 - Cafe Montmartre - Madison WI
Tue 2/7 - Onopa Brewing Company - Milwaukee WI
Wed 2/8 - Turf Club St. Paul MN
Thu 2/9 - Triple Rock Social Club - Minneapolis - MN
Fri 2/10 - O'leavers - Omaha, NE
Sat 2/11 - Larimer Lounge Denver CO w/ Born Heller
Mon 2/13 - Urban Lounge Salt Lake City UT w/ Born Heller
Tue 2/14 - Neurolux Boise, ID w/ Born Heller
Wed 2/15 - Towne Lounge Portland OR w/ Born Heller
Thu 2/16 - Sunset Tavern Seattle WA w/ Born Heller
Fri 2/17 - 321 Kennewick WA w/ Born Heller
Sat 2/18 - Eagle's Hall Olympia WA w/ Born Heller
Mon 2/20 - Delta of Venus Davis - Ca w/ Born Heller
Tue 2/21 - Cafe Du Nord San Francisco - CA w/ Born Heller
Wed 2/22 - The Attic Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Ca w/ Born Heller
Thu 2/23 - The Mainzer Theater Merced CA w/ Born Heller
Fri 2/24 - The Monday Club San Luis Obispo CA w/ Born Heller
Sat 2/25 - Arthurball Los Angeles CA w/ Born Heller
Mon 2/27 - Casbah San Diego CA w/ Born Heller
Tue 2/28 - Plush Tucson AZ w/ Born Heller
Thu 3/2 - La Zona Rosa - Austin TX
Sat 3/4 - Jack Pot Saloon - Lawrence KS
Mon 3/6 - High Five - Columbus OH
Tue 3/7 - Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland OH
Wed 3/8 - Garfield Artworks - Pittsburgh PA
Thu 3/9 - Valentine's - Albany NY
Fri 3/10 - Tonic - New York NY

Hear some songs over at Songs:Illinois and Aquarium Drunkard and here:

Mi & L'au - A Word in Your Belly

Friday, January 20, 2006

teenage freak girls

Boston's The Mules blew through my little town the other week and caused my drunken feet to moooove. I had no idea what was going on- I was expecting some unexciting punk bands and what I got was a wild mix of the Contortions + Cramps + Os Mutantes and some serious Sonic Youth skreeech. Psychedelic experimental garage rock for the next generation.

Their Myspace page claims soft machine, the monks, the pretty things, the mothers of invention, the doors, james chance, glenn branca, red crayola, os mutantes, amon duul (I+II), goblin, b52s, sonic youth, minutemen as influences and for once its kind of right. It also promises the world's fastest freak out! (no hippys, no young vulgarians, the sound of a black leather glove) - and I think if the club had been as packed as it should have been it could have easily of happened.

They just finished up a tour w/ labelmates Wildlife, who both have newish releases on Bodies of Water Arts and Crafts. The Mules 7inch is so new, in fact, that the artwork wasn't even available yet, but I bought one anyway. Have your own freakout and check out the other track over at their webpage.

the Mules - Electrocution

Thursday, January 19, 2006

minimalist jukebox

Never before in my life have I wished I lived in Los Angeles until I read the information about the upcoming minimalism music festival set to happen in late March. Over the course of two weeks time, festival director and composer John Adams will touch on and perform works from just about every major figure in the movement. From African and Gamelan music to Glenn Branca's electric guitar orchestra to the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing pieces by Terry Riley, Steve Reich, John Cage, Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass, Michael Gordon's Decasia film score, and much much more. Sure, in order to go to all these performances you might break your own bank in the process, but it'd be worth it.

In a groundbreaking first by a major orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic presents a wide-ranging survey of Minimalism. Under the watchful ear of Festival Director John Adams, Minimalist Jukebox reflects on where we've been, the current state of the art, and things to come. Run Minimalism's musical gamut from African drums to Branca’s electric guitars, from Riley, Glass and Reich to Andriessen, Pärt and Adams himself. Open your ears and expand your mind.

Steve Reich - Nagoya Marimbas
Steve Reich - Music For 18 Musicians: Section VIII

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

last ride together

Austin's I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness has their bags packed and ticket stamped, ready to board the hype train. They have a hip underground sound of today (dark, indie & retro), they're on a hip, now label (Secretly Canadian) and they have a ridiculously long and silly name (like Crap Your Pants and Say Waaah! (thanks Brainwashed)). But don't let these things deter you. If you are a fan of the icy post-post-punk movement, the genre has not yet died a horrible death.

Fear Is On Our Side is set for release March 7th. Much darker than the previous EP, produced by Spoon's Britt Daniel, this was put down by Paul Barker (Blackouts, Ministry, Revolting Cocks). According to Plan is the obvious single, a warmer Colder, ripe for a strobostrophic remix. I eagerly await the 12" extended mix, thank you...

Elsewhere they channel Lonely Is An Eyesore outtake material into "the Owl". "Today" starts with an infinite guitar loop that slowly builds into the buoyant "We Choose Faces", crescendoing into some serious MBV swirlpool. "At Last Is All" is the inevitable collision of the Cure and early U2. "Long Walk" lopes along, a slow e-bowed train ride through tunnels. The untitled track probably had a name previously, but had to be ditched when they realised Thom Yorke had the same song title. (I mean this in a good way, I still like Radiohead, for now.)

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - According to Plan

other 2 mp3s removed at request of label, sorry folks.