Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Twins was the project of the guy behind Featureless Ghosts, before he started listening to Ariel Pink and James Ferraro, or more likely before that became the specific sound he started to make. Apparently Twins had only a few releases, a self released CD and a collaboration tape with Luke Perry seems to be the limit to it. However, Matt Weiner recently released My Body, an apparently aborted four song EP, each one a different perspective on the body in contrast to some other idea. It's a bit hard to know, due to the vocals (if there actually are any in the music) being incredibly buried in the mix. Twins crafts a strange mixture of warped synth and guitar, utilizing feedback from both and heavy use of drum beats. It's sounds like the end of a really long Sonic Youth song, played on synth, trying to to be pretty and artistic instead of noise and artistic.
Twins on Bandcamp
Monday, April 25, 2011
That all being said, virgin Panda Bear ears or not, Tomboy is a minimalist yet gorgeous album. Where my love of this album comes from is hard to fathom though. Everything that makes up this album, from the sprawling electronics to the use of vocals almost completely as an instrument is the obvious precursor (or now with this album, antithesis) of a genre I don't really like (chillwave). The album is also built on slow, stark, and simply beauty, something I rarely enjoy or appreciate in music I listen to. When I do, it's from the painful, quiet, organic side of music, i.e.Bon Iver or the Microphones circa The Glow Pt.2, not in the synth washed land of Tomboy. Yet, Panda Bear works these pieces into the glory of Tomboy, making everything I would normally run away from into something engaging and lovely with each passing listen.
In a general sense, every song on Tomboy has the same skeletal sound to it. A simply, yet intuitive piece of electronica looped over and over again while bombastic (but not intense) vocals come in win a mix between a one man gospel and one man Beach Boys. It's how each song is approached differently that creates the separation and in turn the expansion of the album. From the slow sprawl of "You Can Count on Me", it's like being transported the inside of a bleak dreamscape. Hollow and barren, punctuated only by the bursts of sound created by Panda Bear. "Slow Motion" a shimmer marvel of deconstructed pop song, electronic dream pop at it's finest.
The album can viewed almost like a wave, building with songs like "Surfer's Hymn" and "Last Night at the Jetty", before crashing into the drone of well..."Drone". The album peaks with "Alsatian Darn", the album's obvious center piece, as well as its catchiest and brightest moment. Despite being the point were Panda Bear sounds quite a lot like Animal Collective, "Alsatian Darn" is still completely a Panda Bear song, with drum beats that sound like claps and twinkling synth lines layered over beautiful vocals and cascade like a waterfall one on top of another. The album concludes with a trifecta of quiet, bleak ambient influenced tunes, ending in with the albums longest song "Afterburner", who's ending creates a spiral of music that keeps going and going and going...until the needle pops off suddenly and Tomboy is over in the blink of an eye.
(mp3) Panda Bear-Last Night at the Jetty
Panda Bear's Facebook
Buy Tomboy here, from Paw Tracks
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
No words. Just South By Southwest.
Owen Pallet @ The Mohawk
I haven't seen Owen Pallet perform in about two and half years, in 2008 when I saw him at my very first Fun Fun Fun Fest when he was still calling himself Final Fantasy. Since 2008, I have not listened to any of Final Fantasy/Own Pallet's music (outside of his "Game of Pricks" cover) for absolutely any good reason, so many that was what drew me to catching his set at the Mohawk. It still blows my mind how one man with only a violin, keyboard, laptop and loop petal can produce the plethora of sounds Pallet manages on stage. It was...entrancing, the only thing that shattered it being the many tiny technical problems that begun to sprout up as the set continued. The entire thing was the definition of what a typical South by Southwest showcase is, but it was a really good South by Southwest showcase.
Telekinesis @ The Mohawk
Telekinesis can write a catchy pop song. Scratch that. Telekinesis do write sugar coated, grin inducing, power-pop, and on the cramped stage of the Mohawk, the band managed to send that music out through the speakers to the equally cramped mass of people who came to see them. What makes them stand out in the mind is a bit hard to say, though for a band that probably would be playing six more shows through out South By Southwest, and had probably played quite a few before this one, you would have thought this was their first show. The guitarist was hopping all around in one place, and the bombast that came from front man's Michael Benjamin Lerner drum kit spread a warm glow through out the body. Hearing "Coast of Carolina" at that point, in the middle of day with a few (but just enough) people singing along was perfect, one of those small SXSW moments.
Matt and Kim @ MTV Garage
Say whatever you want about Matt and Kim's music, for those who want to call it just pop music. Or talk about the venue which was the top of a parking garage that MTV had rented out, and in turn caused a massive line to build up, which in turn caused people to begin scaling the walls. Say whatever you want because I was there, and it was fun! For the 35 minutes they were onstage, the various levels of hipsterism that encodes so many South by Southwest events eroded. People danced and pogoed so hard the cement floor began to rock up and down. A man in a green suit crowd surfed, and balloons were released into the air by the audience in a cliche, but a joyous cliche at that. No one should give shit to a band this fun, and I pity anyone who does not love them.
Tog @ Red 7
Tog was my "see whatever band is playing next at the venue your at" band of the day, and I wished I had liked them more. The seven piece flew in from Norway just to perform to the small mass of people at Red 7, yet their typical Swedish (yes I know where they're from) style dance pop just didn't grab. The hooks weren't there, it didn't make the body move like it should, something was not working. I will not blame the band, for they were one of the few where the front man braved from the stage to the ground (several times at that) to dance with the few drunks who were dancing along. It should have been a lot better, but to their credit, the spark of better music was there without a doubt.
Grass Widow @ Red 7
First and foremost, Grass Widow's set was too short. Period. And there was no good reason for this. Unless they set up late (which I don't think they did), the band only got to play about seven to eight songs in less than thirty minutes. For someone who had been waiting all the festival to finally see them, it was a true crime. However, those less than thirty minutes were stellar. As one would expect, with a band who's every music element from the call and response vocals to the instrumentation is so intertwined, the band was the tightest band I have ever seen. Nothing was out of step, every guitar line meeting the delayed vocal delivery hitting the rubber base lines. The band started, were ungodly incredible, and in the blink of an eye packing up to leave.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
A long time ago, I discovered the music of Guilty Ghosts. It was this wonderfully expanding and flowing music, obviously based upon ambient music of yore, it also nicely balanced new elements as well. With mechanized drum beats, and fine tuned guitar riffs, the music was perfectly built around the lines of atmosphere, ambiene, and instrumental. It was wonderful, yet for whatever reason, I never got around to digging the rest of Guilty Ghost's discography. Fast foward to now, and sitting in my inbox is an email from Tristan, the man behind Guilty Ghosts with both news of an upcoming new album called VEILS and a song off it called "Tinted Windows". Expanding his sound in the only logical way, "Tinted Windows" brings in vocals to the mix, and along with it a lot heavier emphesis of the R&B influence that lingered on his other songs (though that just might be due to guest work by Guerre). Strangly comparing "Tinted Windows" to the work of other R&B-esque bands doesn't exactly work because while that dreamy, soul element is there, it sounds nothing like jj or How to Dress Well. The echos of tension and guitar lines are what seperate it.
Guilty Ghosts' Website
Friday, April 8, 2011
Note that the song "Fuck Her Tears" can also be heard in the Soundcloud widget above. Please listen to because not only is it possibly my favorite titled song ever, it is also the top contender for my favorite song off the new album as well. Truly, that song is two minutes of pure speaker damaging/rattling bliss.
Time New Viking's Website
Pre-Order Dance Equired here, from Merge Records
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Reading Rainbow's released one of my favorite records of last year, Prism Eyes, and while I never got around to talking about it, I can say that I spun that record many, many times and "Wasting Time" should have been on everyone's year end top songs. Anyway, the band is back with a new single, a one-side seven inch for the Italian label Hell Yes!, who increasingly seems to grab hold of some great artists (Dum Dum Girls, Crocodiles). The more dreamy "Cover The Sky" would have fit perfectly on Prism Eyes, a mixture of airy, dream-pop build up to a perfect post Galaxie 500 style guitar breakdown, of course filtered through Reading Rainbow's Moe Tucker style playing on guitar. It makes sense when you hear it.
Reading Rainbow's blog
Pre-order Reading Rainbow's seven inch here, from Hell Yes!
The ever prolific Fucked Up have finally released the details of their upcoming third album David Comes to Life. The long time in the works rock opera is finally set to come out on June 7, and the band is doing a spree of releases to go along with it. The first is "The Other Shoe" an incredibly contrasting song, layering lead singer Pink Eye's evil growl of a vocal delivery coupled with incredibly apathetic lyrics, against soaring guitar lines and angelic female vocals. Yes, there have been about zero incidents where having "punk" and "rock opera" in the same description of anything turns out to be good, and that "The Other Shoe" probably forever removes Fucked Up from the hardcore roots they came from. However, if their is any band that can possibly pull of a project as ambitious as this one, it's Fucked Up. Please remember that this is the same band that is putting out 12" that corresponds with every year of the Zodiac, and all their members are in some form of a side project. Oh and the band plans to release three more songs in the lead up the albums release as well.
(mp3) Fucked Up-The Other Shoe
Speaking of ambitious Fucked Up projects, the band is releasing a special 12" compilation for Record Store Day. The compilation is actually a collection of the bands that band believes would exist within the story on David Comes to Life, so the band, along with a bunch of guest artists, record a bunch of different songs within a bunch of different musical genres. As insane as this sounds, they actually manage to pull it off, case in point with the '77 era style song "Do You Feed" by the "band" Animal Man, which wouldn't have been out of place on the Sex Pistol's album. As stated before, the David's Bands comp. will only be available on Record Store Day, so start getting in line.
(mp3) Animal Man-Do You Feed?
David Comes to Life Website
Fucked Up's Blog
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
These days it can be easier to view Animal Collective as well, a collective than a full band. With solo albums by Avey Tare and Panda Bear having emerged within the past year, and another by Deacon to come out soon too, every individual in the band want their moment (and style) to shine, as opposed to appearing only in the homoginized greatness of Animal Collective. Now, as if to expand even further on that concept, comes this cassette of four separate, almost demo songs from each of Animal Collective band members. The most incredible part of the whole release (though probably not surprising to many)is that despite what seems to be minimal effort into the everything, every single song is just fucking great. The two songs by the two members that haven't heard from are quite excellent with Geologists "Jailhouse " being a nice sprawling ambient soundscape, while Deakin's "Country Report" might just be the greatest one of the bunch, a drony, Merriweather Post Pavilion style piece of music that was infinitely better than anything he did back at Fun Fun Fun Fest. Panda Bear's "The Preakness" is a simple, yet elegant and classic Panda Bear song very much in the vein of what has been heard on Tomboy and sounding a lot like "You Can Count on Me". Avey Tare's "Call Home (Buy Grapes)" is probably the only odd one out, a strange, subdued, slightly pulsating song with even more bizarre vocals layered on top of it. However, viewed as a experiment in style, the song actually works quite well.
(mp3) Geologist-Jailhouse (via ANDTHATSHOWITSDONE)
(mp3) Avey Tare-Call Home (Buy Grapes) (via ANDTHATSHOWITSDONE)
(mp3) Deakin-Country Report (via ANDTHATSHOWITSDONE)
(mp3) Panda Bear-The Preakness (via ANDTHATSHOWITSDONE)
While the cassette itself is long gone, the shoes and charity it was part of are still on sale. Check here for more details.