What happens when two worshiped San Francisco garage kings get together to make music? They produce a song that is both retro and modern fuzzy garage rock excellence at the same time. That's the case with "I Am Not a Game", the first song from the collaberation album Hair of Ty Segall and White Fence. It's wonderful combination of the paisley garage styling of White Fence mixed with the jagged surf riffs of Segall. "I Am Not A Game" really has the feel of two friends goofing of each other, just having fun making music (see Ty Segall's previous collaboration of Reverse Shark Attack for proof). The thing is Segall and White Fence are such good musicians, that even their improves come together in a strangely cohesive. This is a song that has no real structure, jumping from instrumentation to verse, the instrumentation in between going in a million different places, and starts as a organ driven jangly garage tune and ends with a psych organ and raging guitar duel freak-out. And while still manages to be one of the best garage songs of the year.
It's a pity that this song is coming out now. There is nothing quite like new Mount Eerie to soundtrack the cold months. However, due to the scientific fact of the world becoming a ever so slightly better place whenever more music by Mr. Phil Elvrum comes to be, this is a very minor complaint.
It's hard to just say "House Shape" is stunning/beautiful because that feels like an apt. description for everything Elvrum has put out within practically his entire musical career. However, for lack of better words, that is exactly what "House Shape" is. Stripping away the crushing heaviness that came with his black metal influenced Wind's Poem, but still keeping the forbidding atmosphere of those songs, Mount Eerie merges it perfectly with his own usual style to some dark but memorizing. The whole song has a "organic electronic" sound to it, like Elvrum carved the computer tone like organ sounds of the intro that sound like synths and the clacking drum work that sound like a machine out of wood and nature and somehow breathed them to work. Then the vocals kick into half way through, and all the separate elements that were played out in the beginning come together ever more perfectly than before hand. Hard to believe that we're are not only getting one Mount Eerie album this year, but two. If "House Shape" is proof anything, it will be that those albums will be some of the best music of the year.
As completely obvious as it seems, it's rather perfect that Broken Shoulder named his newest release The Tape of Disquiet. Disquiet is a much better description of the style of of ambient music that Broken Shoulder makes rather than say "noisy". The band (even though it's just one man) personifies this with the massively sprawling A-side/opening track "Oak & Mirrors" Really encapsulates everything Broken Shoulders is as an artist, mainly their/his ability to meld abstract guitar lines in conjunction with the non sequential but not random workings of the analog synths, here mashing them together so seamlessly that it just envelopes the listener in a warm fuzz. The fact that the song manages to be twenty minutes long, and not seem overlong, is a testament to the band.
The B-side, handles in darker territory, probably best exemplified by the cassettes art work. "Other Tropisms" is the closets the band is has come to pulsating with one their tracks, though it does emerge at it's end in the same warm synth bath as to fit together nicely in Broken Shoulder's discography. "Marry in Haste" is the shortest song and a very lovely track, sparkling almost, especially the way Broken Shoulder uses his guitar work in the second half of the song to raise it to substantial heights, creating the audio version of watching the sunrise. Then the tape ends so not quietly with the dusk evoking "Mirah", at once a mixture of rising and dropping synth lines and feed back guitar lines, all dropped under water.
I would kick myself if I didn't bring this up as well. My buddies over at Audio Anti-Hero put out a wonderful split EP a little while ago between Broken Shoulder and the band he played (plays) in before he broke his shoulder and started creating his solo material. The Broken Shoulder's side is more in the style of crafting waves of fuzzy synth and guitar-lines-that-sound-like-screams that crash over you again and again. Here Broken Shoulder truly solidifies that he is the UK's answer to Kevin Greenspon. The Fighting Kites side is very cool though. It's instrumental indie music that is neither post rock nor ambient. Instead the band has crafted four quiet excellent instrumental indie rock tracks. Just perfect Pavement with touches of math rock-esque jams without the vocals. And if you don't think it would work, take one listen to "Wojtek the Bear" to be proven wrong. A great EP, go and get it.
I haven't payed much attention to AU over the years as I should. I know they are beloved in their native Portland, and have put out two albums of experimental, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink baroque pop-esque music. However, they went into what appeared to be a hiatus, so my ADD addled blogger brain pushed them out mind. Until now, as AU have reappeared with a new label, a new album, and the stellar new single "Get Alive". The track is truly representative of its name, easily the brightest track I've heard all year. Peppy horn blasts sync in the most perfectly off-kilter way with the banjo sounding piano (or is it both?) that is the song's core. And that is just the beginning, as the crashing symbols of the drumming and the female vocals of Holland Andrews pick the song up even higher, evocative of the sense of drifting into the sky. The song still has the constructed hodge-podge feel of their earlier, but paradox it also seems more focused here, forming the perfect concoction that is "Get Alive".
This is the world's saddest 7". Not because of the lyrical content, but because of situation. These songs were made by Grabbel and the Final Cut more than twenty years ago in Germany, and were heard by practically no one there and& absolutely no one anywhere else. I have no idea how Captured Tracks project label the Shoegaze Archives managed to dig up this beyond obscure band, but more than props to them for brings there mini classics to the rest of the world.
Despite the label that puts this out, Grabbel and the Final Cut are much more on the noise pop side than shoegaze. Look no further than the A-side "Psycho Popsong". The name alone gives away the band was trying more to create distortion filed pop than harsh feedback infused bliss. However, that's fine because "Psycho Popsong" happens to be a fucking incredible noise pop classic. Pure post Psychocandy eraJesus and Mary Chain excellence oozes from the speaker. The most perfect earworm of a ringing riff is layered with beautiful distortion as singer Stefan Zachau utters in pitch perfect English morbid metaphores abou life and death better than most of the band's UK counter parts could at the time. The song hits right in that part of the chest that tells you "I am listening to something truly incredible".
Then the band goes and places two equally worthy B-sides to boot. "The Finest thing" is a simple & much faster paced song about failing at confronting feelings of longing, while the song itself sound like Dinosaur Jr covering a C-86 band. That comparison is meant in the best way possible. "Out of Work and on the Dole" is almost a combination of the previous two songs, an equal parts love and apathy fulled anthem as galloping drum work pushes the song along. Easily the noisiest song of the bunch, the feedback from the guitar and noise in general of the song help to perfectly cement the tone of the song: the sense of being engulfed by life.
It's astonishing to me that something this excellent not only sounds so modern, but could have been stored away for so long. Thankfully, since this release the band has started playing live shows again too. We can only hope that these sparks of attention lead to more Grabbel and the Final Cut material to come to light. The world deserves more music this good.
After the majesty that was their debut album Palace Pier, it's understandable that Heidi Klum's Bangs would take a step back for a second before diving into more music. Thankfully the wait was worth it and the Beck brother's have returned with two more wonderful songs in the form of a nice and neat digital single. Heidi Klum's Bangs are touching on a bit more of their folk influences with this release. "Breathe in the Lamplight" really brings this to the forefront. It's the little things about the song, with the guitar and drum work more to the front and the marimba more of a background helper than on their previous tunes, the song is more of mini-interpersonal sprawl of a indie folk song than the pure post-E6 obsession of their album's songs. Just with the way the title manages to evoke dusk, the song is ever so dreamy, if you can call it that.
Where that E6 sound really shines is on the 'b-side', "The Lanes". Its first part is very similar to that of "Breathe in the Lamplight", a very bittersweet tale of longing for love. Then fore going the traditional route of indulging in instrumental despair to better personify the song, the band jumps into an extremely satisfying build up with glockenspiel, trumpets, and crashing drum work that make the ending perfect, and make the rest of the song along with it.
Kevin Greenspon is just great. In between setting up the mini community/outstanding label that is Bridgetown Records and setting up various tours across the country, Greenspon manages to craft his own unique ambient music at an outstandingly prolific rate that I have a hard time keeping up. Like for instance his new album, Maroon Bells. The title track is an especial stunner, mostly because it's still so hard to believe he's crafting music this delicate with only a guitar and effects. Forgoing the usual guitar tones and mild fuzz that made up most of his tracks, here Greenspon manages to create something that sound like it was made on a synth. It's beautiful and shimmering track before it cascades into snippets of harsh noise (a mixture of crashing waves and crinkling metal paper) that has never seemed better put.
Kevin Greenspon-Maroon Bells
If you need to be caught up to speed, Kevin Greenspon just recently put together an expansive collection of most of his work for the entire Internet to enjoy. Download the entire collection here. You won't be disappointed.
I know so little about dance music. Electronic music in general. I don't have any rare 12" with white labels. I don't know the difference between a producer and a beat maker is, or if they are even in the same category. I don't have any digital mixtapes of any sort. I don't listen to bass music, dubstep, or post dubstep. I think James Blake's music is nice, but I don't truly understand what's so great about.
Know all that lack of knowledge is on me only, and not at all an insult to any of the listeners of that music. However, I do like to think in the three years I have been doing this blog, I have learn to find quality music. And that's what "Nova" is. Its gorgeous, stunning, and trance inducing, but in a good way. It's striking how simple the song is, building up a little bit before just propelling itself over a twitchy beat and ghostly and glitchy piano lines. It's subtle in great ways, with drops that disappear before they begin, and the a beautiful ambient synth that sinks in near the end. I know this isn't the first time Burial and Four Tet have collaborated, but this the first time I've really payed attention and I am so grateful I did. "Nova" truly is stunning.
COLOURS has been slowly trickling out some of my favorite guitar jams for about a year now. What started as a one man shoegaze band has deformed and morphed into something more elegant. “In the Summer” is a very harrowing new track from COLOURS, a wonderfully sad song of longing over the beautiful dream pop COLOURS is now crafting. Coupled with the imagery of the video, frantic colors (hey...) swirling around as COLOURS front man Tom Crandles stands stark playing his guitar, “In the Summer” emerges into something that will be sound-tracking dreams to come. The fact that COLOURS manages to do this in just under two minutes is just startling, and a testament to their ability to craft stunning guitar pop.
Jason Pierce is baiting everyone so much right now to make Velvet Underground comparisons. Calling the first single "Hey Jane" off an album called Sweet Heart Sweet Light, coupled with the repetitive, drone influenced, and excellent guitar riff at the core of "Hey Jane" that eventually builds into a noisy breakdown? This is beyond tempting. However, if Pierce is indulging in unabashed VU love, then it is the the best kind of VU love and Pierce makes VU influence in one's music feel like an original concept. "Hey Jane" is a monster of a song in every sense. It's sprawling in every sense from it's near nine minute length to the way that it seems the song could go on forever. Best of all of the way the song manages to effortlessly switch gears midway through, from being a perfectly produced, swagger filled garage number to morphing into a glorious, hymn like, distorted perfectly garage number. It's staggering and captivating all at once, glorious in only the way Spiritualized manages to be.
The Creative Intersection is an Austin based music blog, dedicated to the music I discover and love. Feel free to email me about bands I should cover and your band's mp3 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also feel free to use the same email to contact me about sending me your CD, vinyl, cassette, 8-Track, or zine for review. Long live the physical format!
I post mp3s for the sole reason of promoting the bands they are used for. I don't really like mp3s and if you like what you hear, buy their albums. Despite what Steve Albini says, it does help the band. Any band/label who doesn't want thier mp3 to be posted can contact me at email@example.com