I’m one of the most open-minded listeners around when it comes to music. I can find something to like in everything – from classical to jazz to country to late 19th century Panamanian bordello jingles. So given that this was another “Release Tuesday” in which absolutely nothing piqued my interest, I decided to go way out there. I narrowed it down to Mastodon‘s new album ‘Crack the Skye’ – a progressive metal concept album about tsarist Russia – and the new one from Dan Deacon, a NYC-based experimental electronic indie rocker. After a couple listens to each, I settled on Deacon’s new album, Bromst.
The All Music review had some interesting buzz words that attracted me to the album – “Noise pop” and the “slowly burgeoning indie rock fetish of voices”, a la Fleet Foxes and Animal Collective. So I took some listens, and I realized this: if I was left locked in a room with this album playing over and over, I would quickly turn clinically insane. All due respect to Deacon and the people who enjoy this music, but this is clearly not for me.
The song that most leans toward the “fetish of voices” is “Wet Wings”, which brings to mind a creepy hospital ward full of Nurse Ratchetts rambling psychotically in the night.
There are some interesting moments, when a cool groove takes hold, and you feel yourself getting pulled in. But you quickly realize that surrendering yourself to this music is a sure trip to the funny farm. At least for me. This is some intense shizz… Dan, you’re a mega-talented dude, but you scare me.
Got headphones? Close your eyes, turn this up, and pee your pants…
Dan Deacon - Padding Ghost (mp3)
Links: Official Site | MySpace
I took some time this past weekend to dive into some old school hip hop sites, and uncovered some gems. Don’t even get me started about Original Underground Hip-Hop, where S.O.U.L. posts a staggering amount of old school mixes (two a day since I subscribed). Go over and take a look, you’ll be blown away.
But tonight I have to share a mix I found on DJ Dee-Ville’s blog, Ain’t It Good To You. I’m a little nutty about 80′s electro, particularly artists like Egyptian Lover, the Soulsonic Force, and Man Parrish. So stumbling across an hour and 20 minute long mix dedicated to electro was like strikin’ gold, people. Someone out there has to be feeling this too!
DJ Dee-Ville’s It’s Electro!! Mix (mp3)
Here’s the track listing…
Two great sites to get your old school fix: Ain’t It Good To You and Original Underground Hip-Hop. Have fun…
Editor’s Note: The sheer volume of new music that I get every day is overwhelming at best so in an effort to get the best of it out to you I’ve decided to start the “Now Hear This: Best of the Inbox” series. I’m not sure what the frequency will be yet, but I’ll make every attempt to get a couple of these up a month. Enjoy! – Michael
The Hush Now
Recalling the lush reverb drenched textures of early 90′s shoegaze and retrofitting it with the power pop sensibilities The Hush Now‘s self-titled debut is a solid listen and a must for fans of Guided By Voices. My current favorite track ,the appropriately titled “Subtle Like Bombs”, lulls you in with rich vocal harmonies and mesmerizing guitars only to abruptly end in transition.
Full Album Download: The Hush Now
Links: Official Site | on Last.fm | on MySpace
The Deer Tracks
Swedish duo The Deer Tracks brings quirky electronic pop influenced post rock to the table on their latest release Aurora. The single “127sexfyra” bubbles along over various plinking and plucked chimes and horn beds with whispered vocals.
“127sexfyra” (mp3) by The Deer Tracks
Buy Aurora: Amazon | iTunes
Links: on Last.fm | on MySpace
If shaking my ass is a crime then lock me UP!
Cut Copy – Lights & Music (YouTube)
Did I get that right?
MIT! No, not the Mass. Institute of Technology or our favorite Mormon former Mass. governor (*cough* *wheeze*), but a trio of electro-heads from Cologne, Germany (my ancestral homeland, by the way).
I don’t listen to a whole lot from the realm of dance/trance/electronic/techno (besides Groove Salad when I’m reading), but I do enjoy it when I hear it.
Something about these “Rauch” versions appealed to me when they hit my inbox. I like the vibe. Especially the Luke Abbott remix.
Ich hoffe es gefällt euch (courtesy of Google Translate, I hope I ‘m not saying “I wear a crotchless leopard skin thong.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
MIT - Rauch (mp3)
Rauch (Luke Abbott Remix) [mp3]
Rauch (Coma Remix) [mp3]
MIT’s Official Site | MySpace
→ BUY MIT’s debut album, Coda.
Falling on the right side of fine line between contrived and convincing, Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist Alan Wilkis brings an indie sensibility to the electro-pop sound of the 80’s with a huge dollop of soul on his solo debut Babies Dream Big. From ABBA to Zappa the entire lexicon of pop is well represented and feels so, so good. Among the 10 cuts you’d be hard pressed to find a moment that is not crafted with the utmost respect for it’s influences which range from the Stevie Wonder-esque funk of “It’s Been Great” to the 50’s Motown of the tender “I Wanna Know” with nods to Prince, ELO and Nintendo along the way. This is a must-have for all fans of all things 80’s. Don’t just take my word for it, check out my favorite track “It’s Been Great” below and hop aboard yourself.
Alan Wilkis – It’s Been Great (MP3)
Buy Babies Dream Big: CDBaby | iTunes
Links: on Last.fm | on MySpace
A few months ago I caught some buzz on Santogold as someone to check out. At the time, her record wasn’t out, and I simply forgot about it. This week I found a slip of paper (amongst many) on my desk that said simply ‘Santogold.’ Coincidentally, her album dropped in the US this week.
This might be my pick for 2008 so far.
A knee jerk reaction would be to compare her to M.I.A. However, that comparison is unfair to both parties. Sure, there might be some stylistic similarities in some of Santogold’s tracks, but she’s hardly “this year’s M.I.A.” Rather, Santogold is straddling the fence between indie rock and hip-hop/dance. The current single, “L.E.S. Artistes,” is very much in the rock idiom. Check out the video (she also performed this tune on Conan recently):
[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=Y9JI0GXkARQ 336 278]
Other parts of the album are more in a hip hop/dance vein, and are executed equally well. For example:
Santogold – You’ll Find a Way (mp3)
Give the album a spin. This along with the new Roots and Jamie Lidell albums are basically all I’ve been listening to all week. Three hot releases in one week – score!
I saw the Blind Boys of Alabama open for Tom Petty many years back. I wish I was at the Knitting Factory in LA a few nights ago to catch the purple one jumping on stage to jam with them on “I’m a Soldier in the Army of the Lord”.
[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=Uzv62BolLMk 336 259]
So a few years ago, British electronic duo 7 Hurtz hooked up with Bitch Lap Lap and Peaches for a version of Prince’s “Sexy Dancer”. Bitch Lap Lap? That’s indie queen Leslie Feist. I guess she used to lurk on stage at Peaches shows back in the day and called herself Bitch Lap Lap (they lived together in Toronto for a spell). I did not know that until tonight. You see, I was doing some exhaustive research trying to figure out who was acting out the Brenda part to Peaches’ Apollonia in the song (the banter mimics an inter-song segue on the Apollonia 6 album. Pre-”Ooo She She Wa Wa” to be exact. Yes, I am a 37 year old married father of two, and I know that.). I searched 7 Hurtz’s MySpace page and the only picture of a female I could find was this one…
After another minute of research, I discovered that the mystery voice was Feist. I hope you don’t mind, though, that I intend to picture the young lady above when listening to this version. In fact, I’ll picture her in both roles…. as twins. Antennaed twins.
The song appears on an album of Prince covers called ‘Controversy: A Tribute to Prince‘. It’s got some interesting versions from some artists I’d never heard of (except for D’Angelo, who does “She’s Always in My Hair”): Blue States, Stina Nordenstam, Kode Nine and Space Ape, to name a few. A reggae version of “Girls & Boys”? This album’s got it.
So give it a listen. Picture the antennaed twins, and go with them to Prince’s house.
7 Hurtz w/ Peaches & Bitch Lap Lap – Sexy Dancer (mp3)
Buy: Controversy: A Tribute to Prince (UK Amazon)
Links: Peaches.com | 7 Hurtz | Feist
I realize that I’m about a week or two behind the curve of the blogosphere in gushing over the new Hot Chip record. Much like their last record I needed to listen to it a couple of times before forming my opinion. It’s not a bad thing, but I find that with many of these ‘hyped’ acts there is not much to sustain the hysteria past the initial listen. That aside, Made in the Dark merits more than the casual listen and is clearly deserving of every bit of hype. Running the gamut from full-on electronica to the soul bearing solo piano ballad, the record delivers on many levels. And I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that the track “Wrestlers” will end up on more than a few Valentine’s Day mix tapes. Check it out and let us know what quirky tune you’ll be singing to your Valentine.
Hot Chip – Wrestlers (MP3)
You can also check out the entire album at Last.fm.
Buy Made in the Dark: Amazon | iTunes
Links: Official Site | on Last.fm | on MySpace
I respectfully defer to Wayne when I say: “Schwingg!”
Her follow up to her very successful debut, Arular, was released a couple weeks ago. It’s called Kala, and I have to say, I’m enjoying it even more than her first. I love cool sounds. This album has ‘em. She had originally planned to get in the studio with Timbaland for this album, but problems with her visa blocked her for a few months (he did end up producing one of the tracks: “Come Around”.
So, she took the label’s money and did some globe trotting to pull in some tasty sounds. One of my favorites is her collaboration with Australian aborigine hip-hop group Wilcannia Mob, who are barely in their teens (if even that). That one’s called “Mango Pickle Down River”, and features a wicked didgeridoo.
She’s also cool enough to incorporate the Clash into a song. “Straight to Hell” sets the tone on the Diplo-produced “Paper Planes”.
Here’s the album opener. “M.I.A.’s coming back with Power Power!” Crank it up and enjoy. Great album… tasty beats, bangs, and zooms. And she’s hot to boot.
I’ll be checking her out live in two weeks at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Who’s in?
M.I.A. - Bamboo Banger (mp3)
Buy: Kala (Amazon) |
Links: Her Seizure-Inducing Official Site | MySpace