Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cold Cave - Life Magazine

Cold Cave...hmm, how have I not done a post on these guys yet? They were one of my favourite bands of last year, and released one of my favourite albums of last year, and one of my favourite singles last year. Get all that? The single I'm referring to is Life Magazine, which actually served as my intro to this great band which features Caralee McElroy of Xiu-Xiu infamy. Boomkat, who are seldom wrong about anything, described Love Comes Close as one of the best darkwave albums ever. That's high praise, considering the source. And I have to agree that the album was one of last years strongest, if not a little short (and what is with all these short albums people release these days? ceo, Memory Tapes, etc.). i highly suggest you give this album a shot if you like anything darkwave, new wave,..anything with a wave at the end really. Check out ALL their stuff though because they can get pretty experimental and it fits them just as well this more pop-y stuff does.

Cold Cave "Life Magazine" from Focus Creeps on Vimeo.

And those dudes in Delorean did a (as per usual for Delorean) killer remix of the track for the Life Magazine remix EP!

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Gaslamp Killer

Well, I was reminded today that I had yet to do a post on the great GLK aka The Gaslamp Killer. I've heard him referred to as the new DJ Shadow and I get that comparison. To be clear, the original writer was referring to the fact that both artists are incredibly good at drawing samples from very weird places to make really hooky stuff. I remember when my friends and I realized Shadow's Organ Donor was built around a sample from the original Phantasm soundtrack. GLK seems like he's got a love of horror films himself, or at least very obscure film scores.

I guess from a genre standpoint he fits in with the Wonky scene as the UK kids like to call it, and I have to admit as a genre label it is a pretty good attempt to label a genre. All that skewed sampling and angular beats actually feels, well, wonky. So there we have it. Of all the GLK releases so far My Troubled Mind is the one I keep returning to of late. If you love Madlib or Flying Lotus and you haven't explored the world of GLK, get on it; dude's only going to get more and more massive.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jamie Harley Videos

A lot of people cropping up these days doing the video editing thing. It's interesting to see people who are not 'professionals' doing their own thing and finding their own voice. It's also interesting to see old footage re-contextualized. Jamie Harley has definitely stood out and, well, here's why:

Memory Tapes - "Bicycle" from Jamie Harley on Vimeo.

I have to say I far prefer this video to the proper video for said Memoryhouse track. In fact, I think it's one of the best audio-meets-visual displays I've seen in quite some time.

Memoryhouse - Lately (Deuxième) from Jamie Harley on Vimeo.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Sun Through A Telescope - Glowing Hallow'een Eyes

If it scared you the first time this may be a better way to ease you into the world of The Sun Through a Telescope. This one is a little more straight up metal at points but it's still got that experimental edge that I think could draw even those non-metallers into this world. Really, if you like drone in any form, there's probably something here for you.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Little Loud Remixes HEALTH

Here's what I know about Little Loud: he's damn good on the remix front. That's it. So, let's let the music do the talking and keep all else a mystery. Enjoy.

Forest Swords - Rattling Cage

Another Forest Swords hit.

buy the 7" via No Pain In Pop.

Forest Swords - Rattling Cage from ///NO PAIN IN POP\\\ on Vimeo.

Monday, June 21, 2010

4 Underrated Female Artists

1) Robyn - She should be the biggest pop star on the planet. She always creates pop with a soul and there is a genuine sense of meaning and purpose behind it all. She's not that far removed from many other pop stars on the planet at first glance, but the subtle differences make her a rare gem. There's a genuine music vocabulary with her that her contemporaries lack.

2) Alela Diane - Sure, Iron&Wine and Bon Iver sell loads of records, but what of Alela, dammit?... Alela is incredible and one day her moment will come. Incredible songwriting with a genuine sense of urgency to her songs make her a rare find.

3) Santigold - She should have had the best selling album of 2008. But the world wasn't ready for her yet. She'll get us all with album number two. Again, an artist that shows the potential of what pop music could be.

4) Dominique Young Unique - I didn't think hip hop would sound like this until 2018, but Dominique's here now. This track is pure schizoid stuff. There are hints of metal, techno, 80s synth pop all in this one track. She WILL be a huge star in the future, but like I said, she may be so far ahead of the game the world may need a minute to catch up.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blonde Redhead

Hints of things to come perhaps?

Porcelain Raft

Porcelain Raft are getting a lot of blog love lately. I'll be totally honest, these guys are hit and miss with me. Sometimes they are really good, and sometimes it just doesn't click for me. These are two examples of when it does click for me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My favourite band of the last 3 years

Air France, easily.

There's no real good reason for me to do this post. Air France does not have new material soon to be released or any such pressing news. I just wanted to get that in writing. My friend Shawn posted an Air France video to his facebook page in 2006. I had never heard of them. I listened. Quite frankly I didn't get it. The music sounded tropical but almost adult contemporary. Then in 2008 when they dropped their second EP No Way Down suddenly every online music publication was calling it one of the best releases of that year. So I listened again. And still did not get it. Then one day it all clicked and I was hooked. I was drawn into their world of balearic haze.

Air France are Joel and Henrik. They are from Sweden. They are on one of the best labels in the world (Sincerely Yours). They have two EPs and a handful of remixes to their credit thus far. But everything they've touched has been solid gold. Now usually you'd think overcast, gray days when you think Sweden (or so I've heard) yet Air France's music is incredibly sunny and somehow evokes images of tropicalia and beach life. Air France are often considered a 'balearic' band. I've used the word balearic in reference to a few bands (ie Korallreven, Houses, Bathcrones) and I just want to draw attention to that genre label for a minute. There is a great definition of Balearic Beat via Wikipedia, but I want to draw attention to something Tim Finney writes: "For me Balearic is shorthand for a special brand of dance music eclecticism, where the self-conscious diversity and obscurantism is somehow dissolved into a “don’t fight it, feel it” love of house as some sort of universal panacea, the beat that your heart makes". And that I think is key to a band like Air France in particular: it doesn't apologize for not trying to re-invent the wheel. This is music you succumb too. It's 'pop' music as pop music should be in the sense that it really can appeal to everyone, not in that pop music as it is, 'let's appeal to the lowest common denominator and treat people like their idiots' way that seems to be on display more and more. There are two sorts of resistances you find to this music: 1) I like pop music, this is too complex 2) I like indie music, this is too accessible. That's why I say this is music you succumb too.

That being said Air France make very intelligent music that is richly textured and has an emotionally evocative quality to it. In No excuses from the 'No Way Down' EP one line is sung again and again " No more excuses left/ waiting to fail/ but not quite yet". Although the fourth of six tracks from the 'No Way Down' EP it is the last line to be sung on the whole of the record. But it sums up Air France quite nicely: it's optimism as a sort of resistance. Or take Collapsing at your Doorsteps sampled refrain; "sort of like a dream/No...better". Again, this line seems so well selected to capture the spirit of the music, as if this is bliss to the nth degree, better than the sweetest of dreams.

This band rewarded repeat listens for me and years later I still find layers of musical as well as emotional depth to these tracks, so I can't suggest enough you have a little patience with this stuff. Sometimes it takes a while to learn a new language.

Truest Faith Music Video

One of the songs of the summer...

Korallreven - The Truest Faith from Sebastian Rozenberg on Vimeo.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Perfume Genius - Learning

Well, my most anticipated album of 2010 is finally here. I've spoke of my love of Perfume Genius before and I hope a lot of people embrace this music. It's been a long time coming for this record (for me), but what's great is that for the people that get this record cold they are getting a debut album that wreaks of maturity and sure footing. It's like if Cat Power had begun her career with You Are Free. I sincerely believe that somewhere in the world there is going to be some kid who kind of likes music and they are going to hear this album and suddenly realize that music is even more powerful than they had first thought. This is a rare example of an artist who is at once extremely vulnerable but somehow wears that vulnerability like a bulletproof vest- there's strength in it. Not enough words to describe how lovely this work is. This is where words fail and only music can speak. It's human emotions that we still don't have words for - but the melodies cut through straight to the heart and speak to us in a far more pressing language. Really, if you can hear this album and not one single song moves you in a way you haven't been moved in a long time, either a) you're not listening b) you're already dead.

This is a stream of the whole album. It will only be up for five days.
Perfume Genius - Learning by TurnstileMusic

This is where you can buy the CD/LP/download. And seriously: buy this record.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Com Truise - Cyanide Sisters EP

I like all this free stuff that people give away in the days of this here internet. We deserve free stuff (isn't there an apocalypse coming soon?). However, with a lot of these free EPs I come across I do find you get some quality lag. With Com Truise that is not the case; this whole EP is rock solid. Com Truise makes synthy music and by that I mean he does everything you can think of when it comes to synth music: Boards Of Canada minimalism, Goblin's weird take on italo-disco, Cure style synth drones, and Beverly Hills Cop pop-dramatics. His music has this sort of ominous feel to it and it's very layered as well. At times it feels like each layer to a song is drawing from a particular influence or genre and he builds it all up, in the end creating something uniquely his own. Take Sundriped for example, it sounds like Boards of Canada with a Cure-ish bassline and some over the top 80's synth theatrics thrown in for good measure. Overall, it's richly textured stuff that's completely absorbing. It's like being dragged off to another planet.

Bigups to No Modest Bear for putting this stuff up, he does consistently wonderful posts so check his page out if you haven't yet.

Download the Cyanide Sisters EP for FREE via AMDISCS

Friday, June 11, 2010


Natureboy is the work of Sara Kermanshahi and she's someone you're going to want to keep an eye on. I don't really know what to say about this. I love discovering an artist that you have a sense is on the verge of a great career, and that's the case here. Sara's music is a must for fans of Bright Eyes/Cat Power/Heather Woods Broderick/Bon Iver. Now, below you can hear her WHOLE album, and I hate to tell you what to do, but I have a suggestion: hit play and then do other things. Listen to a few songs to get the big picture. This is music that has to soak into your pores, so sitting in front of this page will do you naught. But trust me, once it soaks in there will be no denying the power of this material.

Sara's album drops July 7 via Own Records.
<a href="http://ownrecords.bandcamp.com/album/natureboy">Curses Fired by Own Records</a>

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Washed Out New+Old

Last summer Washed Out came out of nowhere with the massive track 'Feel It All Around' and with his arrival was the birth of a new sub-genre being labeled 'Chillwave' and 'Glo'fi', all in reference to a bunch of artists who were making very sun-tinged pop. Included among these artists were people like Memory Cassette (and subsequently Memory Tapes), Best Coast and Toro Y Moi. So shortly after that there were a few uber-snobby internet writers who denounced it as a fad and said all of these artists were overhyped and their music was trite. Washed Out has taken the brunt of the slander. Well, first off Best Coast, Memory Cassette and Toro Y Moi sound absolutely nothing like each other except for the fact their music has a 'sunny' quality to it. This brings me to a point: one of the funny things about the current state of pop culture and the internet is that people can now exist in their own little bubble. No matter what your interests there are groups on the internet interested in the same thing. As a result pop culture has become a little fragmented in that there are not really films/movies/books that people really rally around. (Tangentally: I recently saw an interview with a man who has worked in the fashion industry for 40 years; his job is to predict trends and report them to designers. He recently gave it up saying 'there's no point, there are no such thing as trends anymore') Think of how many more radio stations and television channels there are now compared to even ten years ago. You have options. As a result what happens is people tend to call things overhyped and trite even though as far as 'mainstream culture' (which still exists, but is a much weaker designation) goes, those things don't even end up on their wavelength. My point is that the majority of people that listen to Washed Out are bloggers or VERY savvy music listeners. I have to laugh when I see bloggers say an artist is overhyped due to the fact they exist in their own little bubble of fellow bloggers and that very small group keep talking about an artist. And to put it in perspective, as far as PHYSICAL formats of his music, Washed Out has: 1 tape (Ltd. to 200 copies), 1 Vinyl EP (Ltd to 1000 copies w/ 1000 copy repress), 1 7" (Ltd to 500 copies), 1 split 7" (Ltd to 500 copies). All told that's only 3200 physical copies of ALL his music in existence.

My point in all this is to say one thing: Washed Out is actually really damn good. Yes, there were some spotty tracks on his cassette release last year, but his EP is rock-solid. And the funny thing is when he came out it seemed almost natural that people fall in love with his music even though there was little about it that was obvious or spoke to any trends in music. I think he should be applauded for taping into a zeitgeist...of people who exist in a particular bubble. This week Washed Out has released a new track called You and I and it's a stunner. This one reminds me of New Theory, a song I thought stole the show on his EP and showed a still-sunny-yet-somehow-melancholy side to his music. The other great thing about 'You and I' is that it is the sound of an artist growing. I always love to hear artists develop their sound and continue to challenge themselves. So here's You and I and a whole bunch of Washed Out gems for all you non-blog-nerds... and, yes, to silence you haters too.

Get the song You and I as part of Adult Swim's 8 singles in 8 weeks collection here.

FEEL IT ALL AROUND from Northern Lights on Vimeo.

Washed Out - Olivia from vision quest on Vimeo.

Washed Out - New Theory from quatuorlindsay on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kate Bush - Hounds of Love

Kate Bush's 'Hounds of Love' is one of my all-time favourite albums. Check it, if you've never heard it, but in the meantime you can check this doc on pitchfork.tv for the next three days (ends on Friday, June 11. Highly recommended for fans and non-fans alike. Can't tell you how much this album has influenced my creative endeavours.


DOM remixes Tokyo Police Club

....and the results are awesome.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Ghostape has some killer remixes to his credit of late. The Ghostape sound is very driven by a World music feel that is built around layers of percussion. That itself is enough to make his sound unique, but he also has an incredible sense of melody that makes his work extra special. First up is his remix of what is sure to be on repeat all summer long for me, Koralleven's The Truest Faith. I actually heard this remix before I heard the original and I really love the way the track slowly builds through layers and layers of thick percussion to this lovely melody that doesn't quite sound like the original track, but captures the rich melody of the song so well. In fact that really cut n' paste approach where you break the melody down to it's barest parts reminds me of SebastiAn in some ways, and that's about as big a compliment as you can dole out when it comes to the world of electronic music.

Now, the Sinner DC is a nice contrast as it sounds so ominous in some ways but you still see a few of the same staples: heavy on the percussion, very 'World' feeling, and melodies broken to the barest essentials. And yet it all sounds so full and rich. Needless to say, Ghostape is someone to keep an eye on for the future. He's been previewing some works in progress on fairtilizer and they sound really damn good, so look for those to be posted in the near future.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Taken By Trees - Anna (CFCF Rrmix)

Wow. This is and that Anoraak song I posted a few days ago have been on repeat the past few days. Both songs are among the loveliest things I've heard so far this year. CFCF is consistently great, and in a day and age where you don't have to be consistently great - just fire off hit singles - it is something to be praised. CFCF just draws from such a rich template of sounds that his music really brings together a wide variety of sounds. Taken by Trees original song was a standout track from their last record, so the fact that CFCF comes along and somehow manages to take it to any even higher level is pretty amazing. I remember CFCF at one point had Boredoms and Goblin listed as his influences, somehow that makes complete sense. As for 'the Anna', well, just wow...I hope you've never been in love with a girl named Anna because hearing this one might just reduce you to tears. It's ethereal, it's nostalgic, it gets under your skin, and, whatever your musical tastes, it's a hard one to forget. CFCF has done a lot of great remixes before, but this for me confirms his status as among the upper echelons. When you can strip away a track rather than build it up, to me, that shows that as an artist you have a profound understanding of the source material. The best remixes are in a way tributes to their source material, and I can't imagine a more loving tribute than this.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Olde English Spelling Bee

Well, today's post is on a label and not a band. For those of you that love weird and wonderful, I think you'll dig this one. OESBee make what people would refer to as 'Music-concret'. All their releases up to this point have been strictly LPs, and they release gorgeous vinyl. All the albums do have a lo-fi pastiched sound that I suppose could be categorized as music concret, but that seems too limiting for the scope of what OESBee does. All the videos released to coincide with the OESBee releases have a strange quality that reminds me of TV Carnage. Somehow, random clips from weird/awful movies seem oddly appropriate for this music. Take Rangers, whose album Suburban Tours has been a stand out in recent months. The song 'Out Past Curfew' has a very eerie quality to it. Once you add the video footage, it sort of completes the package, and the song becomes what I imagine taking acid late at night in 1985 would feel like. Two things to note: I was six in 1985, and I have never taken acid. But that one night I was up too late in 1985 I remember a weird show that was shot through the POV of a taxi cab driver. There was no audio and all you did was drift aimlessly as passengers entered and left, the whole damn thing on mute. It was sort of sickening and instilled a phobia of cabs in my 6 yr old brain. That's 'Out Past Curfew' for you: a semi-remembered waking nightmare from long ago. I've added a few extra videos just to give you a proper taste for this great label.



Forest Swords - Visits from OESB // FUTURE SOUND on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Anoraak - Above Your Head

I really like Anoraak. They remind me of 80s music that I thought was terrible during the actual period in time known as 'THE 80s'. Usually when people reference 80s music it's bands like The Cure, The Smiths, New Order, Echo and The Bunnymen, Psychadelic Furs, but with Anoraak it's more like one-hit-wonders they reference. However, their strength is that they make what was boring and forgettable from that time seem new and interesting. I'm not sure I'm being complimentary so far, but to be clear: Anoraak takes something that few people can make work and they make it work. Truly. 'Above Your Head' is completely bubbly, like you'd slow dance to in '88, but they give it an emotional weight that lends the song some power. Had this one on repeat the past few days, can't get enough.

Download it for free here.
Anoraak - Above Your Head by valeriecollective