Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekend's Red

My weekend was more white than red. We got about a foot of snow, to be specific, which is at least a month early by historical standards. Anyway, it's all showeled and we got home from Manchester okay. (My son Sean's state meet was Saturday, really nail-biting drive back, then I'd let him go back on the bus with his friends, so I had to go out in the worst of the storm with no snow tires to pick him up in town...but as I said, all's well that ends well).

Anyway, that was my's someone else's, Slumberland's to be's a five-song EP from the San Francisco noise-drone-rock outfit, and actually, a pretty good one, though Veronica Falls is still my favorite Slumberland this year, and after that Gold-Bears, and maybe this third.

Stereogum has the sing,e "Hazel", up for grabs.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I freaking love this new Beets album

It's called Let the Poison Out and it's just as goofy, just as loveable, but way, way, way more clean and listenable than anything they've done before. I see them as the East Coast version of Nodzzz, sloppy but smart.

The record is out now on Hardly Art, which, I don't know if you've noticed, this, is releasing a whole lot of really fun records.

Here's "Doing As I Do"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kiran Ahluwalia

Odd but interesting collaboration between an Indo-Canadian classicist and the Tuareg blues band Tinariwen, reviewed yesterday at Blurt.

Kiran Ahluwalia
Aam Zameen: Common Ground
(Avokado Artist)

Kiran Ahluwalia is an upper class Punjabi who grew up mostly in Toronto, fascinated at an early age with the ghazal, a form of poetry (and singing) fascinated with love and loss, but couched in sophisticated, literary written language. Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, by contrast, grew up in the deserts of Northern Mali, watched his father killed by rebels at the age of 4, drifted in and out of refugee camps, fought for Quaddafi's Libyan army as a young man and broke finally out of the most abject poverty into international stardom with the desert blues band Tinariwen. You could hardly imagine two life stories more different, and yet, the two meet here in sinuous hand-drummed rhythms and droning, hypnotic textures. Aam Zameen: Common Ground finds an unlikely meeting place between Malian proto-blues and Indian classical traditions.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Noveller's Glacial Glow

A really wonderful experimental guitar album from Sarah Lipstate who has, among other tihngs, played guitar in Parts & Labor.

Glacial Glow
Weird Forest

Guitarist Sarah Lipstate started out in the noisy environs of the not-fun crowd, crafting her first couple of solo works out of feedback, rather than guitar. She has focused more and more, over the course of four albums, on the guitar itself. In Glacial Glow, she filters her tones through an array of pedals, loops and effects, creating ghostly, luminescent textures of sound, but they are recognizably guitar sounds, however altered.


There's a good bit of Noveller at the Free Music Archive.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I went to see Grass Widow last week

My write-up went live today at Blurt.

"It's a pretty good night for girl power at the Flywheel. Grass Widow, maybe the best of the current crop of female-centric post-punkers, is here from San Francisco to headline, while Coasting, a guitar-and-drums duo from Brooklyn and Nashville that is just starting to make a splash, has the #2 slot. The locals on the bill are more gender neutral - with jazz-rock-fusionists Troop of Echoes holding down for the boys, and shout punk Outdates two-thirds male, but with a long-haired and ethereal looking girl bass player thumping out a Wipers-esque low-end."

The rest

There's a whole bunch of Grass Widow at the Free Music Archive

And also one from Coasting

Mark Sultan's Whatever/Whenever

Had an entertaining troll through Mark Sultan's blog to write this review of the one-CD summary of two vinyl records, all of it out now on In the Red. I concluded: There’s a powerful, surprisingly complicated interplay of emotional currents in these songs, so that even in the most overt party anthems (the Jay Reatard-ish “Let Me Freeze,” for instance) have a raw and wounded underbelly. That’s probably what makes them interesting, in a way that most 1960s-referencing garage rock is not. Mark Sultan breathes fire into genres that, in most hands, only gather dust. He’s learned to embrace his anger, and if that doesn’t save rock ‘n’ roll, it does at least make for a gripping take on it.

The whole review

Monday, October 24, 2011


Really beautiful, serene, down-tempo electronic music from Tycho, who is known in real life as Scott Hansen. I've been listening for a couple of weeks, off and on, and Dive is a grower, fairly minimal sounding if you're not paying attention but gaining depth and nuance and variety as you go on. It reminds me a little bit of Oneohtrix Point Zero, but a bit more anchored in beats. It's on Ghostly.

Anyway, you can check out "Hours" here.
Tycho - Hours [Dive LP - Nov. 2011] by Tycho

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My lost Ty Segall story

So, I wrote this for the Quietus, and they must not have liked it, because it never ran. I thought I'd share it with the 5-10 people who read my blog anyway.

Ty Segall: All Alone No More
SF’s one-man punk phenomenon Ty Segall has grown up quickly, collaborating with most of the Bay Area’s psych garage mainstays and churning out a series of increasingly melodic, psychedelic albums, but these days Segall says he can feel the aggression coming back.

“You can literally hit a drum and sing and it’s a great song,” say Ty Segall, the Bay Area garage rocker who has evolved, in less than five years, from a frenetic one-man punk band to one of his generation’s best psychedelic songwriters . His latest album, Goodbye Bread, swirls blues-based 1960s-influenced romps with Beatle-esque multi-colours, slows things down and ponders looming questions like whether or not to purchase a couch. It’s a far cry from the fuzzy mania of early records like “Horn the Unicorn” or the ramped-up, amped up raves of the 2008 self-titled LP, but Segall shrugs off the differences. “I don’t think there are any rules about what makes a good song good.”

Segall, raised blocks from the shore in Orange County, first found punk rock through skate-boarding videos, latching on, as an early teenager, to Minor Threat and Bad Brain, the Dead Kennedys and the Misfits. He knew right away, he says, that he was going to be more than a bystander. “The thing about punk rock is that anybody can do it,” he observes. “It’s kind of understood that from the beginning, you just have to want to do it.”

Segall formed Epsilons while still in high school, playing guitar and singing in a band that released three full-lengths before he packed off to college in San Francisco. There he hooked up with the Traditional Fools, whose lo-fi and primitive take on Nuggets-era rock caught the attention of Eric Butterworth at Make a Mess records. Butterworth, who is also in Nodzzz, asked Segall if the Traditional Fools could play a show in San Francisco sometime in 2007, and Segall agreed. Then he forgot to tell his bandmates about it, they couldn’t make the show at the last minute, and, just like that, a solo career was launched.

“Instead of cancelling it, I asked if I could just come and play. I had some songs I was working on – the songs that ended up on the first record -- so I was just going to show up and play the guitar,” says Segall. “Then I got there, and I saw a kick drum and a high hat, and I said, ‘Man, can I borrow a kick drum and a high hat and try to make some noise with my feet?’ I had never done that before. “

The show went well enough that Segall began performing by himself, one foot on the bass drum, one on the high hat, a guitar cradled in his lap and a tambourine within swatting distance. His high-energy stage show won some key fans. In a spring 2008 Listed feature at the online magazine Dusted, John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees included Ty Segall and The Traditional Fools in his ten favorite bands of the moment, saying “Ty has started doing a one-man band thing that is ridiculously killer.”

Mike Donovan of Sic Alps remembers an Oh Sees, Sic Alps, Ty Segall tour through the south in the fall of 2008, where, he says, Segall impressed him as “supremely talented and a great singer.” Afterwards, Sic Alps invited Segall to join the band, and he and Donovan played a series of East Coast shows with Eric Bauer shortly after. (Donovan also penned Segall’s Goodbye Bread bio, as a joke signing it Andrew Loog Oldham.)

Dwyer’s Castleface Records released Segall’s self-titled album, the record that documented Segall’s one-man band phase, late in 2008. “I recorded that first record live in a buddy’s basement,” says Segall, adding that, as at the live shows, he played all the instruments and sang, sometimes all at the same time.

“After we did that, I was like, ‘Cool, that sounds good, but I don’t really know if I want to do another one-man band record, ‘ “ he adds, “That’s the one man band record. It’s pretty unique.”

Segall was also just plain worn out from his madly-energized live show. “It’s definitely tiring,” he says. “If I haven’t done it for a while, I have to take a week or two to get back into it. It’s really hard for me to just jump back into it. And my legs…it’s just kind of a full-on feeling. You have to get back into it.”
He adds, “It’s fun now, when I haven’t done it for a long time, but I was doing it for two years straight. I realized it was just too much pressure. If stuff gets screwed up, it can go downhill. It really sucks because everything is you.”

So, with his first album finished and his body aching from night after night of constant thrashing, Segall began to think about forming a band. He went first to his college friend, Emily Epstein, a drummer. “I had to convince her to play with me, because she hadn’t played drums in a band for a long time,” he says. “I was like ‘dude, come on, please, please!’ and it took a month or two of trying to convince her to play. I think she was just shy or something.”

He also began working with a succession of bass players, Shayde Sartin of the Fresh & Onlys, then Mikal Cronin (with whom he later recorded Reverse Shark Attack in 2009), then Tim Hellman, then a girlfriend named Renee and then back to Cronin.

With a full band in place, Segall was able to push his songwriting in different directions, evolving towards a slower, more melodic, trippier sound in Lemons , Melted and, finally, Goodbye Bread, his first on Drag City. “I guess I’m just trying to make things sound a little different than they have in the past,” says Segall, struggling to articulate a process that is, clearly, at least for him, mostly intuitive. “It’s just experimenting with how to write a song, with tunes or whatever…I’m just trying to get better. I don’t know how to explain how I’m doing it.”

One thing that has changed is Segall’s mix of influences, which has broadened considerably since his skate-punking days. “For sure, back when I did that first record, I was mostly into garage rock. But now lately I’m into glam and pop and softer music and weirder music, like noise music and really crazy psych music and krautrock and stuff like that. Definitely I think that me being interested in types of music than in the past probably has gone into my songs. I’m sure that has a lot to do with it.”

As a result, like Melted, Goodbye Bread has a definite downtempo vibe, its sounds winding hazily through folky guitar cadences, Segall’s voice slowed to a codeine-sticky crawl. If the self-title edged evoked the Ramones and Dexter Romweber, Goodbye Bread sounds like late Beatles psych, though a bit unstrung and more casually delivered. Segall acknowledges the change in pace, but says he might be almost done with this particular phase. “I did kind of mellow out for a while, but the aggression is coming back,” he comments. “What I want to do is to make music like Goodbye Bread but with more aggression. I want to do that for the next record.”

Meanwhile, Segall is living the life of a working musician, spending 40% or more of his time on the road and re-acclimating grudgingly, in his rare time off, to mundane tasks like paying rent or buying groceries. You can hear some of his reservations – about the 9 to 5 and, conversely, about its more bohemian alternative – in Goodbye Bread. In “Comfortable Home,” for instance, he struggles to understand why a girlfriend wants to buy a couch. “I Am With You,” later on, lists a litany of things that Segall has had enough of: trumpets, kids, hats, dresses, the man and home or, as he puts it, “the place with the fuckin’ fog.” The dog on the cover of Goodbye Bread is not Segall’s dog. There’s no way he could have a pet given the way he lives right now.

Both on the record and over the phone, Segall sounds like a man who hasn’t wholly decided whether a regular life is preferable to touring, or vice versa. “That’s definitely part of the record, “ he says, when asked about the tension between home and the road. “but it’s not just about wanting that [settled] lifestyle because part of me doesn’t want that. There are things that I miss having but there are also things that I’m thankful for being able to do.”

For instance, when we speak, Segall is just back from Australia, where he played shows with Melbourne’s UV Race, hung with Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s Mikey Young and absorbed a scene that is very much like the one that surrounds him at home. “It’s maybe the combination of the surfing, having the ocean near by, and the music scene,” he says. Punk rock, obviously, doesn’t require sun and surf, Segall says, and some of its greatest bands have come out of snowy, landlocked cities like Cleveland and Detroit. Still, there’s something about the combination of garage-rock energy and sunniness that sets San Francisco’s current scene apart from the others.
“It’s hard to say whether there’s a San Francisco sound,” says Segall. “There’s a psychedelic element and a pop element that everybody shares – well, not everybody, but bands like Thee Ohsees, Sic Alps and Kelley Stoltz.”

“I’m definitely influenced by my friends,” he adds. “It’s not like I pick up something from John Dwyer, or learn something. It’s more like I say, ‘Oh shit, this new Oh Sees album is amazing. Damn, I’ve got to make a good record, too.’”

Friday, October 21, 2011

Supreme Dicks reissue...Breathing and Not Breathing

Pretty awesome stuff from the vaults...Jagjaguwar is re-releasing the complete catalog of Western Mass's Supreme Dicks, a band whose flexible line-up occasionally included Lou Barlow. This reminds me of Gira's Angels of Light, based in folk, but proceeding from those roots in really dangerous, violent directions. Anyway, I like it a lot, and notwithstanding the fact that we're practically neighbors, I had never heard of this band until the promo came in the mail.

Mine is another one of those sampler thingies, but if you buy this, it's a four-box set including: The Unexamined Life, The Emotional Plague, Workingman’s Dick (a collection of early archival recordings) and the EP This Is Not A Dick, plus some unreleased tracks.

Fuck yeah, happy Friday.

"In a Sweet Song"

Human Switchboard

Another forgotten post-punk band getting the reissue treatment, this time from Bar/None...It's well worth checking out if you like this sort of thing.

Human Switchboard
Who's Landing in My Hangar: Anthology 1977-1984

“In this town, a third can’t find work. Another third drink to go to sleep, but everything, everything still seems possible.” Bob Pfeifer murmured into the mic in a tremulous baritone remarkably like Lou Reed’s, his guitar alternating between jangle and brutal stabs, his partner Myrna Macarian throwing up a keening, reeling swell of organ behind him. It was 1981, perhaps the bleakest year of the Rust Belt recession. Cleveland’s Human Switchboard was recording what would be its one and only studio album, a nervy, sexually fixated jitter along the peripheries of post-punk, girl-group and new wave. Who’s Landing in My Hangar?, released on IRS’s Faulty Products imprint, turned out to be Human Switchboard’s commercial and artistic highpoint, and by 1985, after a deal with Polydor fell through, the band broke up.


(Say No To) Saturday's Girl by Human Switchboard by BarNoneRecords

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dreamers of the Ghetto

think about it. How long has it been since you've heard anyone use the word "ghetto"? It's like a 1960s word, isn't it? You could only use it if you lived pretty far from any actual inner city in, say, Bloomington, Indiana, for instance.

That's where Dreamers of the Ghetto comes from and, to be honest, I have a soft spot for Indiana bands. but not this one. It's that kind of big rock Coldplay-into-U2 anthemry (and yes, I know U2 ranks really high in my playlists, but that's my son's fault, not mine) that died out, mostly, a decade or two ago.

I gave them a four out of ten. (Pitchfork.liked the album a lot more and even remarked on the strength of the songs, which kind of blew me away.)

I said, "The sonics are undeniably impressive, ragged-cornered soul longing and technologically enhanced guitar trickery. Yet the songs, over repeat listens, never develop past this impressive facade. The drama becomes bombast as you realize no tunes are actually is actually holding up these enormous gestures."

You can read the whole thing here.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Paul Hiraga has been doing this understated alt.folkish Downpilot project long enough to have a Splendid review in the file (which is a long time now), and his latest, New Great Lakes is his fourth album. Noel Murray of the AVClub gave it a B-, but noted that, "Hiraga’s lovely vocals—and the way he uses those vocals to keep pushing his melodies upward—never fails to enchant. And when Downpilot has all its pieces in place, as on the woozy, hypnotic title track, the band rivals Dolorean and The Low Anthem in the 'achingly gorgeous Americana' game." You can read the whole review here. I like it at least B, maybe B+ personally.

Tapete Records has short versions of three songs at SOundcloud.
Downpilot - New Great Lakes by Tapete Records

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bitch Magnet reissues

Temporary Residence is reissuing all three of Bitch Magnet's late 1980s/early 1990s full-lengths -- Star Booty, Umber and Ben Hur (which had David Grubbs from Squirrel Bait on it). They were all remixed by John Congleton and with some bonus, previously unrecorded tracks. I got a nine-song sampler, three from each record, and though I seem to have missed the Bitch Magnet phenomenon the first time, the sound is very recognizably late Reagan era, hard-core-into-post-rock, with crashing waves of guitars and, inside the din, a bit of angry tune-ful-ness. I've been enjoying the sampler a whole lot.

Here they are in Berlin in 1989

Monday, October 17, 2011

Letting Up Despite Great Faults

Wow...these band names are getting so long now.

Letting Up Despite Great Faults makes a kind of quietly shoe-gazey, guitar-fuzzed, synthesizer assisted pop, with the vocals (that's Michael Lee, the band's sole member, so it's all him) buried under a eider-down quilt of soft noise. There's an EP out now on Old Flame Records called Paper Crush which I like a whole lot. It reminds me of Maps' EP from a few years ago, which was so much better than the full-length. But anyway.

Here's the best song.
Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Teenage Tide by lettingup

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Na Hawa Doumbia
La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol. 3
(Awesome Tapes from Africa)

Na Hawa Doumbia was just beginning a four-decade long career as one of Mali's foremost female singers when she recorded the four songs on La Grande Cantatrice: Vol. 3. This particular recording was one of three made in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 1982, released in vinyl and for many years unavailable. It is the first physical release from Awesome Tapes from Africa, an mp3 blog which uncovers and disseminates music from rare cassette tapes from the African continent. [Crucial stuff at that. - Afrocentric Collector Ed.]

In 1982, Doumbia was just two years past her first public performance at the 1980 Youth Week in Bamako, where she won first prize for her song "Tinye De Be Laban". She had, only recently broken free of the caste restrictions that forbid people outside the Manding tribe from becoming musicians. A young woman, by the photo hardly more than a teenager, she was just beginning to win recognition for her warm, soulful interpretation of the Wassoulou tradition.


This video is from much later

Friday, October 14, 2011

Shayna Zaid & the Catch

Kind of a nice, jazz-into-earthy-Americana debut from Shayna Zaid, a Malaysian-born, New York-based singer. I like the quicker songs from the album's first half the best and "Lighthouse" maybe most of all. Later album ballads like "It's You" drift uncomfortably into "My Heart Will Go On" territory. Still, she's a strong singer, almost a belter, with enough taste to pull back when warranted, and her band is excellent.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A preliminary stab at best-of

So Ian got me thinking about best of 2011 yesterday, and I've made my usual stab at irrelevance...all records that I enjoyed quite a lot, the top ten is pretty solid (by which I mean that I am personally solidly behind them). The second 10 gets a little goofy, I guess...anyway.

1. Skull Defekts, Peer Amid (Thrill Jockey)
2. Psychic Paramount, II (Important)
3. David Kilgour, Left by Soft (Merge)
4. King Creosote and Jon Hopkins, Diamond Mine (Domino)
5. Dirtbombs, Party Store (In the Red)
6. Gem Club, Breakers (Hardly Art)
7. Mogwai, Hard Core Will Never Die But You Will (Sub Pop)
8. Sidi Toure, Sahel Folk (Thrill Jockey)
9. UV Race, Homo (In the Red)
10. Veronica Falls, Veronica Falls (Slumberland)
11. Sole and the Skyrider Band, Hello Cruel World (Fake Four)
12. Demdike Stare, Tryptych (Modern Love)
13. Get Help, The Good Green Earth (Midriff)
14. Sam Phillips, Solid State (Littlebox)
15. Bad Sports, Kings of the Weekend (Dirtnap)
16. Obits, Moody Standard and Poors (Sub Pop)
17. Arrica Rose and the Dot, Dot Dots, Let Alone Sea (Poprock)
18. Faust, Something Dirty (Tapete)
19. Emperor X, Western Transport (Bar/None)
20. Washed Out, Within and Without (Sub Pop)

By the way, I have close to 4000 tracks from 2011 on my iTunes this year, so I may not have been listening to the right stuff, but I haven't been lazy.

Still Corners...and Twin Peaks

My review of British dream pop outfit Still Corners' first album (Creature of an Hour) includes an extended, possibly overextended, comparison to Julee Cruise...Read all about it at Dusted by following the jump.

Still Corners
Creature of an Hour
Sub Pop

Still Corners lives in a shadowy, twilight world, the band’s melodies fogged in with ambiguities, but sharpened by an indefinable sense of threat. The core duo, songwriter Greg Hughes and singer Tessa Murray, work in the most delicate shades of noire, creating something like a Sam Spade novel realized in film by Jean Cocteau.



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One More for the Owl...returning to Gabriel Miller Phillips

This probably the best self-release I've had all year.

Gabriel Miller Phillips
One For the Owl

Gabriel Miller Phillips' debut is a collection of ghostly, melancholy songs, begun, it seems on acoustic guitar, but fleshed out at times with spectral guitar effects. The sometime ballet dancer, sidelined with a tibial bone inflection, turned to songwriting at a dark intersection in his life, a period when he could hardly walk for pain.

That era produced his first EP Shoot the Moon, yet even now, a couple of years later, you get the sense of persistence through trouble, epiphany through disappointment and discomfort. These songs track lonely, late-night snow-trails through wintery Boston ("Memorial Drive") and diffident, unsuccessful attempts at connection ("Last Dance") with elegiac grace.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shimmering Stars

Slumberland has been on a bit of a roll lately with that Gold-Bears record, and then Veronica Falls. They've got another good one in Shimmering Stars' Violent Heart, which came out maybe a month ago, and I am just catching up. The disc is, per the fashion, heavily reverbed, fuzz-dusted pop, indebted to Phil Spector and Brian Wilson and all their latter day followers (Panda Bear comes to mind).

I'm especially liking the track "I'm Gonna Try," and mostly the moment in "I'm Gonna Try" where the singer pauses, steels himself up for the confession, and says, "In my a violence." I'm not doing justice to it, but there's something there that cuts through the confectionery sweetness of pop, right to its desperate core...and I like that a lot.

Anyway, they're giving the single away on Bandcamp so you can listen to it yourself and tell me how full of it I am...

Benjamin Ewing reviewed it for Dusted, and said, "Violent Hearts occasionally plods, as on 'No One,' 'Other Girls,' and the opener 'Believe,' (at least before its delightfully messy climax). But more often it quietly impresses, revealing new melodic and harmonic strands with each subsequent listen. Put differently: male anxiety, swagger and romance slowly make their way out of the abyss of echo, and they are once again in harmony."

You can read the rest here, if you want.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Veronica Falls

Possibly a guilty pleasure, but even so, a late year highlight, this debut album from London's Veronica Falls...named, I think, after a place, not a clumsy Archie character. Anyway, my review, which doesn't begin to convey how much fun this record it, ran late last week at Blurt.

Veronica Falls
Veronica Falls

Had enough of drone-y, dissonant, reverb-drenched R ‘N R? Too bad. It's time to suck it up and make room for one more band with bright-and-shadows harmonies, rackety riffs and a thing for guitar effects. Veronica Falls, out of London, runs way ahead of the Pains-of-Being-Dum-as-a-Vivian Girl pack with a bittersweet debut. They nod to all the usual influences - Jesus & Mary Chain, VU, Orange Juice etc. - but in fresh and unaffected ways. "Found Love in a Graveyard" may explore a nexus of death and teen love as old as, say, Wayne Cochran's "The Last Kiss," but it sounds unencumbered by history, as if these four had just cottoned onto the scary idea of mortality.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Side Toure live

My review of the Sidi Toure show went up yesterday at Blurt.

Intricate, staccato sounds drift out onto the street on a warm, October night, the plink of something like banjo pattering against ringing lattice work of guitar and an insistent percussive sound halfway between slap and pop bass and blues guitar. It's hard to believe that there aren't any drums in play, as Malian guitarist Sidi Touré holds court, flanked by two musicians, the one on his left Jambala Maiga, playing a small gourd-shaped instrument called a kuntigui, the one on his left, Douma Maiga, a pair of elongated one- and two-stringed kurbus, and he, in the middle, wielding a traditional guitar, though one bent to some strange, evocative desert sounds.


"Bon Kum"

Friday, October 7, 2011

Silver Tongues

I've got a review up today at Dusted of an odd but intriguing debut CD from the Louisville (KY) based Silver Tongues.

Silver Tongues
Black Kite
Karate Body

The members of Louisville’s Silver Tongues haven’t quite settled on what kind of band they want to be. The band’s first entry into the blogosphere came in the form of the single “Ketchup,” a blistering, burst of fuzz-radiant guitar rock that sounds like Japandroids crossed with Joshua Tree era-U2. Yet its first album, Black Kite, is mostly radically different from “Ketchup,” built on ghostly country blues melodies and only touched with the textures of rock and pop. The title track is far more representative than the single, a slow-moving mesh of strummed guitars and David Cronin’s spectral, echoing voice, braced by occasional booming drums and a blare of amp feedback. Here and elsewhere, you get the sense of backwoods introspection that has been given the sheen and glare of mid-1980s arena rock, of porch folk ballads glowing with radioactive tones of synthesizer.



Thursday, October 6, 2011

OBN Ills

So, the only things I know about OBN IIIs is that the band shares at least one member with Bad Sports, they're out of Texas and they absolutely kill on this one track, "New Innocence" that I found on Raven Sings the Blues.

Isn't that enough?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

This new Megafaun is extremely good...

...much better and certainly more interesting than hyped-to-the-gills Bon Iver.

"Life's not fair," I say (in my Jeremy Irons doing Scar the lion voice), but it's kind of a trip, anyway. Here's a bit from my review, up today at Blurt.

"Megafaun's self-titled album seamlessly integrates an easy-going tuneful-ness with a nearly mystical devotion to tone and texture. Better recording quality helps. These are tunes that have a lot of parts, and the extreme clarity of sound allows you to hear them all at once, separately and together. It's like peering to the bottom of a very deep, very clear pond. But more than that, the Cook brothers, Phil and Brad, and Joe Westerlund, seem to have found a balance between the warmth and purity of their country rock influences and the intellectual challenge of continuing experimentation. This is the album that pulls it together, their best yet, and who knows, maybe the one that will get people to say, '"Justin Vernon? Isn't he the guy that left Megafaun just before they hit it big?'"



I went to see Sidi Toure last night and had a pretty good time. More on that later.

The great Bert Jansch dead at 67...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


The Danish electronic artist Trentemøller has a new album of remixes coming out the day after my birthday (on November 8th...I turn the clock over on November 7th, and yes, flowers are a nice touch).

It's two discs worth of a) other people like Modeselektor, Efterklang and Andrew Weatherall remixing tracks from his last album Into the Great Wild Yonder and b) Trentemøller remixing other people...including, ahem, Depeche Mode, Franz Ferdinand and typographically linked electronica artist the Dø. (See how they both put a cross through their vowels, as if to say "absolutely no Os permitted!)

Anyway, it's good stuff, and I am surprisingly taken by Trentemøller's revisitation of Depeche Mode's "Wrong." I never liked them, except for that one song, "Your Own Personal Jesus" which probably seemed more subversive to me than most people, having grown up in the Bible Belt, but it's good, weirdly, to hear those voices again.

Anyway, the man's touring the U.S. and Canada later this month:
10/12 Boston, MA - Royale
10/13 Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of the Living Arts
10/14 New York, NY - Webster Hall
10/15 Montreal, QC - Metropolis
10/16 Toronto, ON - Phoenix
10/18 Chicago, IL - Metro
10/19 Lawrence, KS - Liberty Hall
10/21 Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
10/22 Salt Lake City, UT - Complex
10/25 Tempe, AZ - Marquee
10/26 Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern
10/27 Los Angeles, CA - The Music Box
10/29 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
10/31 Portland, OR - Roseland Theater
11/1 Seattle, WA - Showbox at the Market
11/2 Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom

Let's see, live Trentemøller, what would that be like? Like this.
Trentemøller: Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider Go!!! – The Video

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Youth Lagoon is a soggy mess

Okay, so after PFK gave Youth Lagoon's new album Year of Hibernation an 8.4 and "best new music", I listened to it again, and it still blows. None of these songs have any definition to them. They just kind of lie there in a pool of reverb and maybe towards the end, there's a big blocky drum beat that, at least, allows a listener to decode what time signature they're in. But mostly they just sit there, the singer's voice high and chirpy and irritating in an mush of echo, refusing to develop in any way, or even proceed in a linear fashion. This is not best new music, or even good new music or possibly even music, just trendy stupid shit.

I feel like maybe I don't like music anymore.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Roedelius on the road

Hans-Joachim Roedelius, founder of Cluster and Harmonia, and one of the true forefathers of electronic music, is kicking off a rare tour of the U.S. today at the ATP Festival (which sounds very cool). He's not coming within 200 miles of here, so I won't be going personally, but it sure would be interesting.

Here are dates:
Oct 1. - Roedelius with Simeon of Silver Apples as 'Silver Qluster' at All Tomorrow's Parties Asbury Park, NJ
Oct. 2 - Roedelius / XAMBUCA / PAK Big Band at Littlefield Performance + Art Space Brooklyn, NYC, NY
Oct. 4 - Roedelius / XAMBUCA at the Thunderbird Cafe Pittsburgh, PA
Oct. 5 - Roedelius / XAMBUCA / Head Molt, visuals by VJ Megan McKissack at Strange Matter, Richmond, VA
Oct. 7 - Roedelius / XAMBUCA and The Drunks of MAMA / DJ Chris Ballard at The Grey Eagle, Asheville, NC
Oct. 8 - Roedelius / XAMBUCA at The Eyedrum, Atlanta, GA
Oct 9 - Roedelius / XAMBUCA at The Pilot Light, Knoxville, TN
Oct 12 - Roedelius / XAMBUCA at Velvet Lounge, Washington D.C.
Oct 13 - Roedelius / XAMBUCA at M. Room, Philadelphia, PA
Oct. 15 - Roedelius / XAMBUCA at 1000 Pulses, Woodcliff Lake, NJ
Oct. 17 - Roedelius / XAMBUCA at The Garrison, Toronto, Ontario CANADA
Oct. 20 - Roedelius / XAMBUCA at The Mockbee, Cincinatti, OH
Oct. 23 - Roedelius / XAMBUCA at Mt. Tabor Theater, Portland, OR
Oct 26 - Roedelius / XAMBUCA and The Monks of DADA at Cafe Du Nord, San Francisco, CA
Oct. 27 - Roedelius / XAMBUCA at The Echo, Los Angeles, CA
Oct. 28 - Roedelius / Lunzproject w/ Tim Story at Moogfest, Asheville, NC*
Oct. 29 - Roedelius / Lunzproject w/ Tim Story at Moogfest, Asheville, NC*
Oct. 30 - Roedelius / Lunzproject w/ Tim Story at Moogfest, Asheville, NC*

Roedelius has a really beautiful new record called Stunden out on the Bureau B label with Stefan Schneider (as Roedelius Schneider).