Thursday, December 1, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Even though the first time I heard this record was in the listless void that is an Alaskan winter, I immediately understood that this album is a love letter to the greatest summer of your entire life. A summer that was far more exciting in the rear view that it was while unfolding. The content of the album offers unlimited opportunity for tasteless irony and cliched nostalgia, but this record is unpretentious and honest, leaving little room for humor. Loving girls, and quitting girls and being left by girls, boys leaving small towns to realize and actualize the seemingly infinite opportunity of the universe, cheap beer, impossibly good friends and french kissing for hours, help vaguely define our "better time" of youthful innocence and ignorance. For a two piece band these songs are fantastically full bodied.
Be prepared to Facebook stalk your first girlfriend.
We'll leave tonight and
We'll leave together
They'll say that ain't right and I'll say whatever
Leave all our friends back home
No talk of sons and all talk of daughters
We'll find a little place by the water
Forget all our friends back home
I'll do the talking, you'll write the letters
I'll sing the beatles and you'll sing them better
Forget all our friends back home
It's raining in Vancouver
But I don't give a fuck
Cuz I'm far from home tonight
It's raining in Vancouver
But i don't give a fuck
Cuz i'm in love with you tonight....
These guys create brutal, heavily distorted, minimalist garage. Their music might leave you with the implication that there are 4 or 5 people on stage but these incoherent genius's of violence are brilliant in their ability to create a sonic wall that could match a thrash-punk orchestra. If you put this on at a party, be prepared to clean the house up not with a broom, but with a shovel and a wheel barrow.
Grab your power tools before you download: GB City
Monday, August 22, 2011
The debut full-length from Balam Acab that officially releases on August 30th on CD and LP through Tri Angle Records is finally here. Yet another gloomy electro artist who has been thrown in with the ever-booming "witch house" genre. Honestly the most he has in common with all of these other artists like Salem and oOoOO is the lurky down-tempo drum machine. His first EP didn't really even have any vocal tracks and the feel although still super druggy was a lot more melancholic and dreamier than his more sinister and gothy peers and apparently this new full-length continues to set him apart. I'm really excited to hear it. His first EP See Birds is incredible and I'm itching to hear what he does with Wander/Wonder.
My job is to bring forth outstanding albums from the classic past. Albums that the likes of our generation have unintentionally glazed over, because there is just too much going on today to pay attention to an album that came out 40 years ago.
Something that has always set The Rolling Stones aside from the transcendent likes of The Beatles, Hendrix and Zeppelin is that they always had the strength to make you feel that both we, and they are hemmed and torn by similar walls, frustrations and tragedies. They are tied to earthly corporeal issues while others dance wildly in other dimensions and heights that feel unattainable to mere mortals. That was truly the breakthrough of Exile on Main Street. Despite an absence of the band's best-known songs, the sweaty, grimy Exile on Main St. has grown into the Rolling Stones' most universally acclaimed record. Despite dozens of hits, putting together a cohesive album often seemed to be beyond the Stones. Exile is built not on hits but on vibrations, space and the united act of beautifully sleazy, gritty, basement noise. Exile is dense enough to be compulsive: hard to hear, at first, the precision and fury behind the murk and depth ensures that you'll come back. Hearing more with each playing. What you hear sooner or later is two things: an intuition for nonstop get down bang-outs, perhaps unmatched by anything in their catalog to date besides The Rolling Stones self-titled freshman release; and a strange kind of humility, love and pain emerging from a dazed and confused indulgence fiasco. Exile is about physical and spiritual casualties, and partying in the face of them. The party is obvious. The casualties are inevitable.
Sticky Fingers was the flashy, dishonest picture of a multitude of slow deaths. A beautiful album, but an ugly, dishonest space in the lives of the band members. But it's the search for alternatives, something to do, something worthwhile even, that unite us with the Stones continuously. They are masters without competition at rendering the boredom and desperation of living comfortably in this society. On tracks like "Sway" most of us don't get the real words, because at their most vulnerably crucial moments they were slurred and buried in the panache of sexuality. Jagger had to sign it that way, in "Sway" and again in much of Exile, because thats the way his pride and works. Besides, anything else would make it all too concise and clear, like putting the lyrics on an album cover, which is the most impersonal thing any rock'n'roller can possibly do.
Exile on Main Street was the great step forward, an amplification of the tough insights of "Gimme Shelter" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want." A brilliant projection of nerve-torn nights that follow all the arrogant celebrations of self-destruction, a work of love and fear and humanity. The plot charts a rough path from drunken late-night revelry to next-day regret, and there's a profound need for redemption here unique to the Stones, an odd moment of guilt for a band known for consequence-free sexual/drug debauchery. The last complete sentence of the album screams this very angst, "You're gonna be the death of me." Even such a piece of seeming filler as "Casino Boogie" reveals itself, once the words come through, to be a picture of the chaotic, draining, scramble of life on the road. "Rocks Off" and "Shine a Light" present the essential picture. The latter addressing the half-phased-out but still desperately alive person who speaks in the first. This music has a capacity to chill where "Dead Flowers" and "Sway" tended to come off as a shallow attempt at nihilism.
I always hear those voices
on the street
I want to shout
but I can hardly speak
I was makin' love this time
To a dancer friend of mine.
I can't seem to stay in step...
And I only get my rocks off
when I'm dremin'
Headin' for the overload
Stranded on a dirty road
Kick me like you kicked before
I can't even feel the pain no more.
The sense of helplessness and impotence is not particularly pleasant, but that's the way it was and still is for too many. Such withering personal honesty was certainly a departure and evolution for the Stones. "Kick me like you kicked before..." the Stones talking to their audience, the audience talking back. They certainly don't yearn like Nancy's to get back to where they "once belonged" but they do recognize the loss of all sense of wonder, the absence of love, the staleness and sometimes frightening inhumanity of this "new" culture. It is the drive for new priorities.
When too many people are working so hard at believing that nothing exists besides their own worlds and perspectives, the Stones define the unhealthy state, attest to how far they are submerged in it, and wail at the breakdown with the weapons they have: noise, anger and utter frankness. It's what we've always loved them for. And it took a lot more guts to cut this than "Street Fighting Man," even though the impulse is similiar: an intense yearning to merge coupled with the realization that to truly merge may be only to submerge once more. The end of the line and depths of the despair are reached in "Shine a Light," a visit to one or every one of the friends you finally know is not gonna pull through. A love song of a far different kind:
When you're drunk in the alley baby
With your clothes all torn
And when your late night friends
all leave you
In the cold gray dawn
Oh, the Scene threw
so many flies on you
I just can't brush 'em off...
When Mick says he can't brush off the flies, it's not some bit of macho misogyny, but a simple admission that applies to himself as well. "Soul Survivor" follows immediately with necessity, carrying the album out strong and fierce because the Rolling Stones are about nothing if not struggle. They finally met the 70's in its totality. What Exile is about, past the party roar, is absorption. Inclusion. Or the recognition of exclusion coupled with the yearning for inclusion: "Let me in! I wanna drink/ from your loving cup!"
Exile on Main Street
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
White Hills are an up and coming 3-piece krautrock/space/psychedelic rock band from New York that just keeps getting exponentially better with every release. Their new album "H-p1" is a conceptual album releasing their frustrations with government and corporation controlled society in a 'nut shell' and thus is their most realized and darkest record to date. They've conquered the entire being of psychedelic rock from the droney spaced out jam drifts, to the wah-wah infused melodic soloing, the gritty catchy bluesy chugging riffs, dynamic drumming, all swirling together through the hazy wall of fuzz, synths and even some glitchy electronics here and there. This record blows my mind every time I put it on. Check it out. It's unbelievable start to finish, but for me the strongest tracks are in it's opener and closer, although I have a hard time leaving out "Upon Arrival" which carries this great Stooges-esque riff that I can never get out of my head...So effing good. This is the righteous reincarnation of the old greats ala Hawkwind and Circle with a modern edge. Try it out. For a full review and a good read check out the Aquarius low-down.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Flower Travellin' Band - "Satori" - 1971
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Jamie Woon - "Lady Luck"
I've already talked about Burial, who, at heart, really is just a massive R&B fan and goes so far as to show that by sampling Ray J and Christina fucking Aguilera. “Lady Luck” is about as close as you'll get to a Burial pop production; it's a less low-fi How to Dress Well, a less twisted Weeknd, but still something fresh and unique in the sense that it would still never be found on American airwaves that shy away from anything that has even a trace of an avant-garde trait. Burial's shit can be pretty terrifying, and while the song's minimal dubstep-like production is where his style really is found, that initial double-tracked burst of hyperventilation over what sounds like the distant march of an oncoming army of undead soldiers sets the tone. Like Burial's tunes themselves, the first few seconds give the track a personality that's soulfully seductive but with a profoundly darker underlining. But either way, Woon knows his voice is the only instrument that really matters here, his silky falsetto jetting to some alternate reality where Justin Timberlake frequently collaborates with James Blake.
Luck be a lady tonight. This song is fire.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
The debut full-length by heavy rock duo Tweak Bird slays all. Their first EP Reservations I was quite fond of but nothing on that compares to this monster they released last fall. They have the heavy gritty dancey nature of Death From Above 1979, but instead of the synthy electro-ness of that band they take their twist towards spacey psychedelic rock.
Caleb Bird on baritone guitar lays down the bone crushing guitar riffage while his brother Ashton is pummeling you with drums. (If you see them live, guard yourself from the shrapnel of drum sticks spraying at you as Ashton will surely break a dozen with how powerful he hits them skins.) As you could lazily throw them in with 'stoner rock' these guys are sooooo much more. The powerful rhythm is matched by sweet guitar melodies, spaced out psychedelic freakouts, saxophone solos, flute, the list goes on, and their high-pitched vocal harmonies just soar throughout-mostly babbling about fantastical journeys and aliens and awesome. They are really in a league of their own and are quite difficult to compare. DFA meets Torche meets Sleepy Sun? How does that work you ask? It does. And it'll conquer the world if the public ever decides what good music is. Check out this video for track two, download the album and then buy it.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Lo-fi psychedelic funk with eastern influenced surfy guitars, sax solos, all fronted by the beautiful Chhom Nimol who is a Cambodian goddess singing mostly in her native Khmer tongue with a 60s pop vibe. The mix is perfect. A lot of their earlier stuff is a lot more lo-fi and surfy and although it's still a huge part in this new one, the production soars over anything else they've ever done in the past and I love it. If you dig classy Indian and Southeast-Asian pop and you also like to funk it up, this is for you. Their grooves are massive, and even if she's not singing in English you'll be singing along the top of your lungs. I love love love Dengue Fever and I want you to too. This is a glimpse of one of my favorite tunes from the one that came out earlier this year, although you need to hear more to get a grasp on their entire sound. So download it. It's there for you.