Chi-town glam rock darlings, The Smith Westernsmade one of the year’s best records with Dye it Blonde (Fat Possum) and now, thanks to filmmaker Ray Concepcion, here’s a glimpse of what making that record was like.
Die With Your Chin Up is the resulting short film, a snapshot of a band on the brink something big.”
The RUMBLE LA returns tonight at the ECHOPLEX. The event is free. I’ll be DJing between sets from the below bands.
THE RUMBLE: LOS ANGELES - APRIL 7TH @ THE ECHOPLEX - FREE!
Featuring performances from:
Vanaprasta- This LA-based five piece make soaring area ready indie rock that landed them on Pure Volume’s Top Unsigned bands of 2010 with they’re wowed at SXSW with eight shows that had Consequence of Sound touting them as one of the Top 25 to catch in Austin.
Stone Darling- This LA based quartet are serious contenders for Best Coast level stardom in 2011 with dreamy indie pop butchressed with fuzzy guitars. Infectious numbers like “All I Wanna Do” and “Can You Get to That” have been on repeat around here for a while, with classic girl group melodies that would put Spector to shame.
Polls - Comprised of Julien Bellin, David Franklin, and Chris Newcomer, this local trio are channeling 90s indie rock forefathers like Pavement and Sonic Youth with their self-titled debut EP and have LA tastemakers like Brand X and Buzzbands LA singing the praises of their fuzzy yet melodic pop numbers.
Brought to you by FUTURE SOUNDS, BMI, BUZZBANDS.LA, DIRTY LAUNDRY TV, THE PLANETARY GROUP, ORIGAMI VINYL, INDIGENOUS PROMOTIONS, MOHEAK RADIO, EVENTBRITE, VEOBA and PABST BLUE RIBBON.
Portland, OR’s Radiation City's new full length The Hands That Take You is a mellow, mixture of chamber pop textures and cold sparsity that feels right at home coming from the wooded Pacific Northwest. Grizzly Bear seems to be what some are offering up as RIYL comparison. Hear their latest from Apes Tapes below.
The Rumble returns this month with a set that features LA darling pair Kisses sharing the bill with London duo Summer Camp, Belgian band The Tellers and The Lonely Forest, who recently inked a deal with Trans, Chris Walla of Death Cab’s Atlantic-backed imprint. I will also be DJing as Hollow Eyed.
This great set of parties- held in cities all over the country (NY, IL, WA, OR, etc.)- with a chief concern of exposing the masses to new, interesting and up and coming indie acts. More info HERE.
The men responsible for two of 2010’s best electronic-stretched long players are readying the release of a coming-soon vinyl split via Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden’s Text imprint. Radio rips of the two tracks,Tet’s retro-grooving “Pinnacles” and Caribou’s Dan Snaith’s (going as Daphni) “Ye Ye,” are below.
For NY-based Dust La Rock’s newest project, the artist has tapped into his fascination with the work of experimental sound collective and multimedia pioneers Psychic TVto create an exhibition of new works entitled B.K. Scum.
Using over 30 years of the group’s sleeve art, videos and assorted propaganda as a starting point to forge a world all his own, the Mishka-presented B.K. Scum is a showcase for Dust’s mastery of symbolism, appropriation, and the power of ritual, fitting in perfectly with the ethos of Psychic TV.
For the show, he has created several new prints and paintings, as well as a fully functioning guitar in the shape of the group’s iconic Psychic Cross logo. In addition to Dust’s art, the B.K. Scum opening will also feature a live reading from Genesis P-Orridge, the founder and only constant member of Psychic TV (along with seminal industrial group Throbbing Gristle) Genesis has been a magnetic and unfailingly innovative presence in music for decades, making this an appearance that is not to be missed.
The show takes place this Friday, March 4th from 7-10pm at the Mishka space at 350 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY
To coincide with the project, Dust has teamed up with Trouble and Basser Star Eyes for a mixtape, B.K. Scum,a collection of Psychic TV material and some exclusive vocal appearances from Genesis. Download it HERE.
Faris Badwan, frontman of UK gloomers The Horrorshas hooked up with a Canadian-bred, London-based opera soprano/multi-instrumentalist Rachel Zeffira for a new project called Cat Eyes. Track “Not a Friend” is a billowing, late night hymn of retro reminisce that certainly will take some fans of The Horrors herky-jerk-roots and post-punk density aback. All of the pair’s artwork/photogrpahy is thanks to artist Chris Cunningham.
I love Tim Sweeney’s radio show, Beats in Space. The dude’s been going at it for years having featured some of the best electronic acts in his WNYU studio. Joined by Italians Do It Better honcho Mike Simonetti, this Friday, the pair are DJing in Brooklyn for a One Hand Clapping-presents show at Cameo. I was invited, but seeing as how I am in LA, you, shivering Brooklynite (comparatively) should go in my stead.
One Hand Clapping Presents Tim Sweeney + Mike Simonetti 12$ cover
Cameo Gallery- 93 North Sixth St. Brooklyn, NY 12111
Brooklyn’s blistering death metal thrashers Liturgy are set to release their new album, Aesthethica, via Thrill Jockey on May 10th. Renihilation, their debut was easily one of my favorite releases from 2009.
The first song to come out from Aesthethica is “High Gold,” which you can snag below.
South Carolina’s Chaz Bundick has found the funky and smeared it all over his sophomore effort Underneath The Pine. Coming this month for Carpark, the onetime chillwaver has stepped out from of the haze for a surprising set of jazzy, retro pop.
Members of Dum Dum Girls, Woods, Blank Dogs and Crystal Stilts come together as the Zodiacs. Their first track, the wonderfully lazy “Faraway Friend” is below. For all upcoming orders over $10 through Captured Tracks, this limited (1000 copy) 7” will come free.
An LP is in the works.
Vocals: Dee Dee (Dum Dum Girls) Guitar: Jarvis Taveniere (Woods) Guitar: JB Townsend (Crystal Stilts) Bass/backing vocals: Mike Sniper (Blank Dogs) Drums: Jeremy Earl (Woods)
In related news, Dum Dum Girls are teasing the refined, “He Gets Me High” from their upcoming, 4-track Sub Pop EP— complete with Smiths cover— coming March 1st. The band is asking for photo submissions on “what gets you high” to be sent to ddgLUV@gmail.com with a chance to have your photo be featured in the EP’s booklet.
The new song is available below for the price of an email.
Let’s be real and dust off a dirty word: emo heroes The Get Up Kids produced a lasting impact on teenage ears the world over for more than a decade. In 2005, citing member tensions, the Kansas City quintet went and called it quits. After farewell shows and a few side project/solo releases, the band got saddled up again in 2008 for an anniversary tour of their most-successful album, ‘99’s Something to Write Home About. As these creative fluids are ever-flowing, in-studio Twitpics soon surfaced, a new set of dates was announced and as it was, TGUK was back again with new music with 2010’s four-song Simple Science EP.
Of the first to get announced and played out, the plunky throb of “Keith Case” saw the band going after a more extended and spikier shade than most of what came with the bouncy pop on the Guilt Show release. Here we are now then with the 12-song There Are Rules, the first new album from the Kansas City act in 7 years. Working again with producer Bob Weston (Mission of Burma), Rules strives to be one of the band’s biggest departures yet, (remember when they up and dropped the dusty sleeper On a Wire?) and after its first bite,“Tithe,” the immediate question for Rules seems to be whether or not TGUK 2.0 goes down smooth. The answer is a stern almost.
As they have constantly sought to distance themselves from their emo blemish during the days of the Chris Carrabbas, Hot Topic flocks and suffix additions like “core” got haphazardly tossed around, this release proves evidence for the band’s exertion into something grander and much more fashionable. Entwined by two approaches, Rules is swaddled at dusk by the very spiky, drag-and-release ilk of the aforementioned “Keith Case” and the lobbing of a Hot Hot Heat sound (take the far-too-rhyme-y ”Automatic”) that, though obviously appreciative, quickly falls flat on a second take.
The problem here is that this hearty reunion album of theirs pulls from a notably narrow set of paths, leaving its listener with something that quickly runs together. Matt Pryor and Co. haven’t made a bad album I’d say— “Better Lie” is too friendly to hate and “Shatter Your Lungs” is a shimmery surprise— it’s just a not-quite-yet sort of one. There’s evidence here of a band looking for crossover appeal (pending another departure that is) and I’d imagine most longtime fans of the group won’t mind the bridge, it’s just, seeing as they’re still around after 10+ years, the current set of Rules they’ve imposed makes me wonder if the Kansas Kids will continue to be only ever be just alright?
Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum must have not been the most popular guy in high school and his music has said low status index rating to applaud. Oozing with the best of 80s and 90s guitar-led dreampop nostalgia, Tatum continues his glo-fi skill as a home studio tunesmith on this three-song follow-up to his recently luminous Gemini LP. Just shy of the twelve-minute mark the Evertide EP, is a delicately sweet and texturally rich trio of blissful and surfing bouts of adolescent melancholy.
Carefree jangling guitar evokes staples like My Bloody Valentine or Cocteau Twins but the lyrics, true to meditative form, take a diaristic ode to something of a John Hughes nature. “It was the hungriest night for you,” sings Tatum on opener “Your Rabbit Feet”, whereas on “Golden Haze” it’s a breezy, aptly titled ode to his “beautiful one” and [wanting to know] “where you are.”
The best part about Evertide is it exists solely on its own abounding level from the LP-land of Gemimi. More often then not, EPs play the extended player card too literally; filling them with material that must exist as a mere complement to the ‘better’ and more involved album entrée. These tracks shine with a freshly expressive and intriguing nature that begs their listener to actually go back, find Gemini and listen as it were new.
"Everything had to be slower and creamier,” say Games about their February relocation to a Bushwick space- a move with the purpose of putting their debut EP to tape. Birthed out of a “severe internet writing frenzy” between since-grade-school musical friends Joel Ford (Tigercity) and Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never), their That We Can Play release is a damn dazzling effort to say the least. Barely 20 minutes, this NY production pair deliver a collection that’s as assessable and playful as its name implies.
With That You Can Play, Games don’t seem concerned with reinventing, err, the game. They keep in the mind that we’ve (and they) all heard or grown up on blissful pop tunes like this already. Molds seemingly intact, these longtime friends have instead created a surprising collection that’s left me on the edge of my seat waiting for what follows. Staring in the face of 2010’s chillwave explosion, Games’ nostalgia-sourced effort comes out sporting excitingly heavy staying power.
At its core, 6 Songs can very well can be considered just a pensive punk record with song lyrics like “I don’t want to die,” but British Columbia-based foursome Sex Church have managed to wrap the thing in such a genre-nodding cloud of reverb, flair and energy (Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Black Lips) that in reality it’s not even an easy record to find your way into or out of unless you give it a few solid chances to really let the thing open up. A collection about “bummers” rarely sounds this alive.
With See Birds, Balam Acab (Alec Koone) has managed to make us all slow down and take a minute. Like a dazed cocktail of Animal Collective sedatives and liquid chillwave, the work of this 19-year-old student from upstate New York is downright lovely.
Limited to 500 physical copies, the debut EP from Brooklyn’s Dream Affair hits on all cylinders toward the intersection of Goth and Post Punk. Five tracks that remind you that people are still very much in love with the 1980s.
UK producer James Blake should be excited. His EP work in 2010 (by most accounts) was praised to the rafters and his debut S/T LP comes in February. WIth the UK’s dubstep explosion still burning, this 21-year-old is spearheading the post-dub sound of which silence and delicacy are key. The colorful (ha) CMYK hits harder whereas Klavierwerke serves to slow things down and ready listeners for the coming debut. I’m ready James.
8) Girls- Broken Dreams Club (True Panther Sounds)
A weighty composition for six songs, the thirty-minute Broken Dreams Club builds upon this SF act’s brand of introspective pop endeared by its overwhelmingly retro citation (Buddy Holly, Beach Boys, Orbison and Costello). Feeling as it’s wafting out from some Hawaiian poolside cabana, opener “Thee Oh So Protective One” and Owens’ introductory line feels spot on. “Oh little girl they just don’t know, about the weight you carry in your soul,” he sings. The song serves as a jovial welcoming party to this Club of theirs, supported by bubbly horns, strummed grace, pumped organ and twee-like sensibility.
In an environment where ‘pop’ has undergone an exhaustively splintered style, Owens still wants much the same as before: compassion, peace of mind for his heavy heart, and yes, drugs. Broken Dreams Club helps advance Album’s straightforward affection with decorative instrumental support and layered production techniques, while keeping its feet hovering in the lulling, retro world they grew from. With the inclusion of Album-similar tracks like the gazy “Heartbreaker,” I wouldn’t fully dub Girls changed ‘teenagers,’ but instead, as Owens says, Broken Dreams Club serves to merely send us a “snapshot of the horizon.”
The Montreal-based 20 something Michael Silver releases a six-song mixture of soothing soft rock and downtempo breeze for New York imprint RVNG. The included trio of remixes (Jacques Renault, Games and Coyote) help in then lifting you from the daze with added pace or a disco-tinged drive.
Australia’s lanky Nick Cave purveyor (real name Tim Rogers) gave me this EP during his few-month stay in Los Angeles. On this brief collection, a complement to his Spunk Records albums, Rogers manages to come out from the darkness, head-bowed, guitar in hand to deliver one of the most arresting songwriter croons on the scene today. Why this name hasn’t hit the North American shores with more force is beyond me.
"I Was Thinking" is shines as one of my favorite songs of 2010. Add this to the fact that bands this exciting never came from Colorado when I lived there and you’ve got a reason outside of skiing for the Rocky Mountain State to be in the spotlight come time GH’s Mexican Summer debut drops later this year.
12) Forest Swords- Dagger Paths (Olde English Spelling Bee / No Pain in Pop)
Named for Jim Thompson’s desolate 1964 crime novel, New York quartet Pop. 1280 make vertiginous cyberpunk crawling with a sort of agitated contagion utterly ripe for soundtracking the throes of wild social crumble. Recorded in the echoing basement of a Catholic school, The Grid’s nine songs sordidly shadow the austere future world—called of course, The Grid— that these four band members formed. Itchy and droning, you’re welcomed in with the anthemic churn of “Step into the Grid,” which serves to crash open the gates of said urban, pulp noir underbelly— remarked, on “Data Dump” as being that of a “cockroach lying on it’s back”— by hosting an introduction to some of its smuttiest street crawlers.
Rooted more in the cyclonic basement sharpness of the hugely influential, though continuously tumbled No Wave scene that proliferated throughout New York City during the 70s and early 80s, it’s names like DNA (take “Data Dump” here), Mars, Glenn Branca/Theoretical Girls, Suicide and (though not directly lumped with No Wave), the post punk of Nick Cave’s Birthday Party that Pop. 1280 find most affinity toward.
All of Popdrone ▲’s music is available for free over at his blog, Favorite Internet. See the left side under “archive.” NOTE: as this EP lacks official artwork; the above image was pulled from Favorite Internet.
San Francisco’s unsigned Skeletal System make arresting, gazing popwave. Back in November they Bandcamped (we’re all going to get used to that) a new digital single, "Small Talk" / "Static Eyes" to follow their self-titled EP from January.
It’s on standout “Static Eyes” that the duo pull the dimmer switch down, swaying along with OMD synth pop and an Abe Vigoda-like boyish croon.
Friends, the LA (by way of San Diego) trio Tapedeck Mountain, are set to release their Secret Surf EP on January 11th. This will mark the first new set of material since their solid, Lefse-released debut Ghost from 2009. The band follows with a West Coast tour, that kicks off Jan. 18th in LA with (other friends) Hands as support.
As a gift, the indie gazers offer up Christmas Was a Total Bummer, a fittingly hazy pair of holiday standards.
Check Yo Ponytail, Franki Chan’s long-running bi-weekly LA party recently returned with a new home at the Echoplex and a bevy of support. After the kick-off in late November with Midnight Juggernauts and last month’s set with Big Freedia, CYP2 celebrates Christmas this Tuesday with sets from Dum Dum Girls, Abe Vigoda and Glass Actor.
See you there.
Photos from the night (my last DDGs shots came out terribly) will be up on Holloweyed immediately following the show.
You can still buy tickets for the show ($12) HERE.
Furthermore, you can stuff your stocking with Miss You Loko, a CYP2 mixtape from Glass Actor, which you can download/read through below.
CHECK YO MIXTAPE:
East Flatbush Project - Tried By 12 Glass Actor - Gimme Money Musumi - Look Down at Your Feet Below Glass Actor - Distraction Midnight Star - Midas Touch Steve Bug - My Sweet Morning Angel Kingdom - Hottest In America (dub) Marcello Napoletano - House Class Moodyman - Ol Dirty Vinyl Braiden - The Alps Depressed Buttons - Superstructure (LOL Boys Remix) Glass Actor - Komodo A Made Up Sound - Rear Window LOL Boys & Art Nouveau - Air France 2 Glass Actor - Star Stairs / Jam City - Magic Drops / Aaliyah - R U That Somebody
The folks at Mishka just released their Bloglin’s Top 100 LPs of 2010. It was a collective effort, sourced from the individual reviewers and editorial staff and I am honored to have contributed. For those wondering, I am sucking every last morsel of 2010 out on listening and re-listening for my “personal” list. Too much music. Expect a finalized list (almost there) next week.
"Everything had to be slower and creamier,” say Games about their February relocation to a Bushwick space- a move with the purpose of putting their debut EP to tape. Birthed out of a “severe internet writing frenzy” between since-grade-school musical friends Joel Ford (Tigercity) and Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never), their That We Can Play release is a damn dazzling effort to say the least. Barely 20 minutes, this NY production pair deliver a collection for imprint Hippos in Tanks that’s as assessable and playful as its name implies. Knowing each member’s work with projects Tigercity and OPH (though more mesmerizing than this) it’s Games’ “creamier” aim that drives the duo’s introductorily release so magnificently.
Like their cover art—various former ‘dead’ nation flags—Games are focused on the recollection of sonic techniques and (largely analog) instruments from the 1980s. Having already amassed their own varied collection of old synths, the pair worked That We Can Play out in the (apparently) well-stocked studio of one Jan Hammer, the man responsible for the period-classic television theme from Miami Vice. Apart from capitalizing on just the known pop tune format of an already well-sourced period, Games produce a more sweeping approach including things as indicative as studio production techniques or advertising (a recent video for “Summer Bloom” compiles vintage airline industry ads for visuals).
Opening That We Can Play, is the ethereal, afro-tinged “Strawberry Skies.” Singer/producer and label mate, Laurel Halo takes vocal duties and it’s an addition that ultimately helps to perfect the song to throwback sweetness. It’s on the EP’s shortest track though, the aforementioned “Summer Bloom,” that Games’ nostalgia is fragrantly palpable. The two-and-a-half-minute cut marries Duran Duran vocalisms over layered club-ready pace and a melodic pluck that’s strikingly similar to the guitar on “Every Breath You Take,” (or Puffy, Faith Evans and 112’s Biggie ode, “I’ll Be Missing You” if you rather) to come out as a clear winner for the EP standout title.
Moving through the others, there’s the smoother, square-wave-synth heavy “Midi Drift” that plays to the shape of driving-into-the-sunset movie montage music. For other highpoint “Planet Party,” you’ll hear Phil Collins, Mantronix and some scene that may or may not have come from Top Gun glistening atop gooey, synth-bent shine. That We Can Play’s remaining material is a pair of remixes, one of Games by (gloomier) NY pair Gatekeeper and the other by Games for Montreal-based CFCF’s breezy “It Was Never Meant to Be This Way” - a remix that’s easily proved it’s got (sturdy and beat-y) legs of it’s own to stand on.
With That You Can Play, Games don’t seem concerned with reinventing, err, the game. They keep in the mind that we’ve (and they) all heard or grown up on blissful pop tunes like this already. Molds seemingly intact, these longtime friends have instead created a surprising collection that’s left both myself—and the Bloglin staff—on the edge of our seats waiting for what follows. Games have produced not only an easy contender for a near-the-top EP listing credential because of it’s nostalgia-sourced effort—staring in the face of 2010’s chillwave explosion I might add— but one that comes out sporting excitingly heavy staying power.
I imagine 2011 should be bigger for Games, hopefully supported by tours and more remix work. Facing legal issues, they might return under a new guise though as the pair are currently “taking suggestions” over Twitter for a new name. The LP—also apparently recorded in Jan Hammer’s upstate New York studio this December— should be released sometime next year.
New Zealand indie quartet Surf City just released their shimmery debut Kudos for Fire/Konkurrent. Here’s the track “Kudos.” Think a more stoned- and therefore less snarling- Crocodiles on a hearty Spaceman 3 kick.
Real Estate guitarist Matthew Mondonile is set to release a new LP for his loopy lo-fi Ducktails project, Ducktails: III, Arcade Dynamics January 18th via Woodsist. The third album will include guest appearances Woods’ Jarvis Taveniere and Panda Bear.
There’s a scene from Roger Corman’s 1967 cult film The Trip, in which dealer Max (Dennis Hopper), dressed like some tribal cleric, questions an appropriately drug-induced Paul (Peter Fonda). Calmly confused, Fonda sits in a chair and examines his colorful, glittered surroundings. It’s a cut-rate exotic carnival of sorts, bedecked with mirrors, ornaments, cultural signifiers, colored foil and an off-kilter carousel, slowly spinning in the center. “Everything’s familiar, but I feel separate,” Fonda utters. I’d like to imagine if The Trip existed now, instead set to the tone of some heroin proclivity, it’s this scene where Royal Baths would excel as perfect soundtrack accompaniment.
Once The Baths—changed due to Anticon beat-maker, Baths—this San Francisco quartet amass a definite throbbing psych-garage resonance on Litanies, their Woodsist debut. A reissue of their Wizard Mountain-released cassette, Royal Baths play supplement to the current bouncy 60s revival by delivering homage to its darker, more ‘freaked-out’ side. There’s Spaceman 3’s spiraling daze and overtly heavy doses of The Velvet Underground’s ominous force (this quartet’s entire guitar sound feels plucked from VU’s ode to BDSM, “Venus in Furs”) oozing from Litanies. It’s buried flower-power jangles (“Sinister Sunrise”) and reverb-heavy smatterings of chilling nocturnal despair (“After Death”) that allows this album to echo the The Trip’s aforementioned sentiment of everything being familiar, though coming out feeling totally separate.
Competing in a city where artistic resurgence is seemingly ongoing, Royal Baths—buddies with slackier acts like Ty Seagull and Thee Oh Sees—have made an album all about bummers- drugs and demise afoot. From opener “After Death” and it’s “you’ve got to stand the test” chorus rhyme through “Pleasant Evening,” an album-closer that feels birthed from the walls of an underground opium den, Litanies drones on like a glassy-eyed dance set to faint jingles. Apart from shades of pop delicacy bobbing beneath its nine songs, Litanies is a dance Royal Baths are doing largely with the lights turned way down low.
Internationally-known producer and DJ Lauren Flax joins forces with Lauren Dillard for Creep, a Brooklyn duo making ethereal chilling shoe/gothgazes for Young Turks. Fittingly, vocals from the XX’s Romy Madley are featured.
Their debut single, “Days” drops Jan. 25th, following with an album in 2011.
"The Crystal Ark, featuring Gavin Russom from LCD Soundsystem, premiered their psychedelic new video for “The City Never Sleeps” today. After five weeks of performing and traveling around Brazil, long-term DFA stalwart Gavin Russom returned home with not only a love for the music he’d discovered there, but also a newfound source of inspiration for his own meticulously crafted recordings. The Brazilian music driving Russom’s sonic explorations included forms as eclectic and varied as Carioca Funk, atabaque drumming, Tropicalia and South American style rave." - Girlie Action
"The City Never Sleeps," The Crystal Ark’s first 12" release and is out on DFA.
Emerald Fantasy Tracks is the stunning collection of funky throw-back techno breeze from UK bedroom producer Matt Culter, aka Lone, released for his Magic Wire imprint. Give it a try below. “Cloud 909” is easily one of my favorite tracks this year.
LA-based gloomers IO ECHO just released.. err.. found on YouTube their new video for “When the Lilies Die,” a song that posseses a certain Bow Wow Wow meets Siouxsie Sioux shine. This follows the vinyl release of “While You Were Sleeping” from friends IAMSOUND.
As La Femme prepares to for their first U.S. gigs, the band remains an enigma. Hailing from Paris, the group walks the line between erotic avant-pop and lo-fi surf rock. Their music can be flippantly light-hearted or aggressively dark depending on their mood.
Their first US show will be in Hollywood at Bardot next week.