Even more of our DJs' resolutions on personal listening habits and where music should go in 2012.
Tonic: KRS One – Rappaz R N Dainja (don lowed) via
Those years where nothing seems to happen and why they can't all be 1967, or 1984, or 1994...
I will not have my fwiends widiculed by the common soldiewy. – - Anybody else feel like a little… giggle… when I mention my fwiend… Biggus… Dickus? Dryhump Champion: Deetron – Collide (don lowed) via
The BTR Staff discusses trends they'd like to see in 2012, along with music listening habits they'd like to change.
gah. Fingerbanger 1: Her Space Holiday – Keystroke (awayTEAM mix) (don lowed) —- The worst friends are the ones that make a porn tape and then look into the camera every 15 seconds… assholes. Fingerbanger 2: Worst Friends – Pillows Of Wind (Bostro Pesopeo Remix) (don lowed) via
The young Latin songstress (whose name means “green moon” in Spanish) straddles the worlds of ethnic amour and hipster cool through both her eclectic taste in style, and her faultless musical synthesis of Baroque pop and Mexican guitar.
Dr. Renee Clauselle, a practicing psychologist and founder and clinical director of Child and Family Psychology on Long Island in New York, talks about the psychology of New Year's resolutions.
In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger. Dryhump Champion: Nick Curly – Sun City (Original Mix) (don lowed) via
Just your normal, everyday conversation with Santa Claus... BTR style.
New video from Step Panther for their song My Neck. via
A guide to keeping your holiday season affordable and sustainable this year.
Official Video for Riton’s latest single “Dark Place”, off his new EP- Ritontime, out November 1st on Dim Mak Records. via
BTR's Carly Sheilds compares the two best '90s boy band Christmas albums apples-to-oranges.
New video from Oxykitten for the track Cow Bear. via
Fox News picks a fight with the smallest state only to keep their waning 'War on Christmas' ratings franchise alive.
Holy Strays – Chief . Hands in the Dark Records has a new vinyl out featuring four bands including Holy Strays , Cankun and Je Suis le Petit Chevalier. . Get the record here. via
Gaining popularity through the television show Seinfeld, people throughout the world have begun practicing the traditions of this made-up holiday.
Canadian garage rockers, Chains of Love, make a kind of pop music they’d loosely describe as “Sixties girl group,” but only if they’re forced to put on a label on it.
The romantic, tranquil imagery of a starry night sky with a full moon looming high gets totally flipped on its head by Frank Alpine in “Night Sky” off of his forthcoming self-titled LP for Wierd Records. Instead, Alpine casts it as a relentless and oppressive force; a smoggy tyrant dooming all under his or her rule to a maddening, monotone prison. via AZ Frank Alpine comes out October 25th on Wierd Records and is available for pre-order now. via
Among 2011’s more notable headlines, the American mafia took a giant hit. Rick Porrello, a Cleveland-area police chief and author, weighs in.
Are the Illuminati the new Scientologists? A guide to the latest conspiracy theory trending in pop.
Haven't you heard? The Denver International Airport is home base for the New World Order's eventual mass genocide.
Right, justaquickonebeforeXFactor what? As I'm sure you've noticed by now Radiohead have been releasing episodes of remixes in the wake of their eighth studio album The King of Limbs. As a fitting finale, the seventh and last instalment features reworks by Jamie XX, Anstam and SBTRKT. If you somehow missed the previous six editions, take a good couple of hours out of your evening to listen to them here. If you feel you've missed out and can't be bothered to purchase each remix then it's OK, stay patient as TKOL RMX 1234567 (the entire box set if you like) wll b rlsd n 10th ctbr. Pre-order it here in mp3 form for only 9 bees. via
The case against fluoridation of the U.S. water supply, or any for that matter.
Teeth are London's answer to Crystal Castles; a scruffy, energetic band your Nan would most definitely disapprove of. Describing their sound as yeah like 'whatever' dude, they cleverly decided to name their debut album Whatever and release it on Moshi Moshi yesterday. Most of the record will make you want to yank your own teeth out with some rusty plyers, but saving further pain are tail-ending tracks 'See Space' and 'Flowers', the latter of which has been spruced up by who else but Russell Chimes. Whatevz. via
The case for investigating of those UFO sightings petitioned for by U.S. generals, governors, and above all, the American people.
Frosty, close bosom buddy to the blog and the chap who designed our logo, has a lot of free time of his hands this summer. Wisely, instead of organising his final major project for Uni, he has spent the last few days putting together an unofficial music video for Gooch favourite Amtrac. Expect a lot more from both of these artists. While we're at it, here's 'Come Along' - the lead single and title track from Amtrac's debut album which will be clearing the shelves from September 27. via
Flash mobs are the latest Internet sensation, but with recent episodes of mass theft, have these innocent pranks gone too far?
Today is Monday, which means the weekly release of vinyl pancakes, polycarbonate plastic discs, digital mp3 pulses and possibly even a few looters from the slammer. This week X-Factor's very own Geordie Joe McElderry has released his ironically titled debut album, Classic. AWESOME! Oh but wait that's not all. Hard Fi also unleashed their new arsenal of killer sounds; an album appropriately named Killer Sounds. COOL! No but seriously there was Game's eagerly anticipated release of The R.E.D. Album at the weekend too - a seriously DOPE ass record that muthafuckin blows Watch The Throne out the water like daaayum! Today, Sheffield's strongest p-funk poppers, Shake Aletti, pushed out their new EP, Inside Out, through up and coming Moda. Be careful not to shake the record too hard though as I fear only His Majesty Andre's very danceable remix would remain standing. via
From Elvis to Gaga, musical conspiracies have been around for quite some time.
Formerly a member of the short-lasted, yet well-loved duo, The Dutchess and the Duke, Case Studies began its own reign this past August, releasing his first LP on Brooklyn label, Sacred Bones Records.
On first listen, it's astounding to think this is actually 19-year-old Sydney resident Flume's debut EP. So, where has he been you might ask? Well, like all the very best electronic producers, Flume started from humble beginnings; finding a niche using no not Ableton, no not even Logic or GarageBand, but a production program that poured into a bowl with some cereal. For Flume it became an obsession; endless synthetic plug-ins, sample packs and vintage analogue hardware brought his computer to a near-standstill but all for the worthy reward of Sleepless. A kaleidoscopic box of cinnamon graham pads, coco pop synths, slow crunchy nut beats and cheerio vocals make for a very tasty debut EP - likely to excite the taste buds of Star Slinger, Baths and Flying Lotus breakfast clubs. If you're Australian or one of a billion backpacking out there right now then you'll be fortunate enough to purchase the EP off iTunes here. The rest of us, although able to download moreish title-track 'Sleepless' for free, will have to make do with the Soundcloud streams. via
For those who believe the future of entertainment belongs to gaming, the next pioneer, Zya is quickly making his way to the stage.
Legislation in Congress threatens to end BitTorrent and potentially make life a living hell for YouTube and Facebook.
As the UN Climate Conference unfolds, the future of solar power might get cloudier before it gets sunnier.
Genesis P-Orridge It’s been a while since we’ve been this excited. Obviously we’ve been grieving for Lady Jaye for the past 3 years. All things considered, we’ve been pretty productive and efficient, despite that. There’s this huge influx of energy and it’s coming from the grassroots; it’s coming from young people coming in. We’re kind of being taught at the moment by new people to reevaluate everything. Not just throw things away because we've already done them, but reassess and rebuild and extend whatever’s working. It’s a really interesting time. We’re buzzing, yeah. It’s a hotspot… And yes, we are going to get motorbikes. --Interview with Luke Carrell January 2011 via
BTR talks to the former CEO of eMusic about the quagmire over investment in new music tech companies.
With 2,175 posts in 16 months, you're bound to miss something. We've gone ahead and gathered some of our favorite tracks from now and yesteryear that didn't get much play, but deserved it. Ayshay: WARN-U Demdike Stare: “Caged in Stammheim” Devin Gary & Ross: "Four Corners" Flower Orgy: "Black Wizard" Forma: “Forma237B” Ga’an: “Servant Eye” Gunn-Truscinski Duo: “B38 Blues” Harald Grosskopf: "Synthesist (Blondes Remix)" Hubble: “Nude Ghost” Ital: “Only For Tonight (Dubout/Saviour’s Love Megamix)” The Rebel: “Prove It” Mark McGuire: "Brain Storm (For Erin)" nick nicely: "Hilly Fields (1892)" Niger: “Autotune” Shinji Masuko: “Woven Music for Silver Ocean” Stellar Om Source: "Energy" Sunflare: "Gravity Free" Ted Lucas: “Plain and Sane and Simple Melody” Tonstartssbandht: “Hymn Our Garden” Quilt: “Penobska Oakwalk” via
Comparing the worlds of American and Korean professional competitive video gaming.
The Zappa Family Trust partners with TuneSat to monitor copyrighted material shared on online services from Grooveshark to Facebook.
Dear friends, Today, the road comes to an end.  We are saying goodbye. Altered Zones was launched in July 2010 with the mission of highlighting small-scale DIY music from all over the world, and we couldn't be more proud of the work we've done together during this past year and a half. We've helped new artists on the fringes of experimental music find likeminded fans, we've thrown a series of amazing events, and most importantly, we've built a community of devoted listeners seeking new and relatable voices outside the sphere of popular independent music. This site began as a tight-knit collective of 14 music blogs with a common goal, but as many of our original contributors moved on from their blogs to start labels, run venues, create zines, and make music of their own, that original group has become increasingly splintered. We love what we've built, and the idea of it remaining as a sort of time capsule of this particular era of music feels right. We don't view Altered Zones closing as an end in itself, but rather the end of one chapter and the opening of another. AZ editors Ric Leichtung and Emilie Friedlander will contribute to Pitchfork, and will launch a new project together called Ad Hoc in 2012. In the meantime, Altered Zones will be signing off tomorrow and Friday with our favorite quotes, songs you might've missed, and albums of 2011. Thanks to everyone who counted themselves as a loyal reader of this site-- you are who we built this for. Thanks to everyone who contributed-- it could not have existed without you! And thanks to Pitchfork for creating and supporting this site since its inception, and for making it all possible in the first place. Happy 2012. We'll see you all again very soon… ▲, Altered Zones via
Why 'frontloading' is hurting our electoral process.
The musician, video artist, and perennial drifter James Ferraro first appeared in my life in the form of an idea, passed on by a college friend of mine who had spent a few months couch-surfing with him during a semester abroad in Berlin. We were sitting in his mother’s SUV, listening to a slowed down version of “We Are On The Race Track,” a minor chart hit by the ‘80s Jamaican soul diva Precious Wilson. James had gotten my friend in the habit of playing old vinyl ‘45s at 33 speed and dubbing signal onto reams of  warped cassette tape, and I remember being transfixed for the first time by the sound of a pop song in slow motion. The singer’s muscular alto had transformed into a mournful, slothful baritone; the upbeat disco instrumentals seemed to sag under their own weight. It was like uncovering a second song, a second existence, that lay dormant in the first. If he does not suddenly decide to fall off the radar completely, James Ferraro will be remembered alongside folks like Ariel Pink, R. Stevie Moore, John Maus, and Spencer Clark as one of the musicians who, at the turn of the 21st century, elevated the crackle and grain of low-fidelity recording to a field of aesthetic exploration. They claimed outmoded technologies like the 4-track and the tape deck as their own, and made the vocabulary of pop music and the preoccupations of the avant-garde seem a lot less incompatible than much of the previous century had implied. The particulars of James Ferraro’s biography escape even those who have lived and worked closely with him, and he would probably be more inclined to tell you a fiction about his own life than a couple straight facts about his working process. What we do know about James is that he was born in Rochester, NY sometime in the mid-‘80s, and was raised by a father who once ran a heavy metal radio show and worked in the legendary instrument and pedal emporium in that city called House of Guitars. According to Todd Ledford, founder of the New York label Olde English Spelling Bee, an innate affinity for travel has prompted James to settle, consecutively and for months at a time, in San Diego, San Francisco, New York, San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles, New York, Ohio, New York, San Francisco, London, Berlin, San Diego, New York, Belgium, New York, Los Angeles, New York, and Los Angeles. Explaining his most recent change in location, Ferraro told AZ's Samantha Cornwell earlier this year that he wanted to try his hand at being a Hollywood action movie star. One more plausible explanation in circulation is that he moved for reasons of the heart; another that he and Ariel Pink are working on an album together. Ferraro’s most iconic features are his short, fluffy afro and his missing front tooth, which he says he shattered with a BB gun when he was a kid. In his quarter century on this Earth, he has released some 25 albums, splits, and cassettes under his own name, 25 more as one half of The Skaters (his band with fellow sound collagist Spencer Clark), and countless others under various pseudonyms. He has no website, did not have a reliable phone number until recently, and has a bothersome habit of not showing up at his own concerts. Aside from the occasional tongue-in-cheek foray into straight-ahead pop-punk (as in 2010’s Night Dolls With Hairspray), James Ferraro’s muddy sound collages are as hybrid, unpredictable, and compassless as your typical drift down the information highway-- especially if your designated road markers are ‘80s radio rock, video game music, and campy b-movies of the Street Trash variety. What unifies his work is a consistent impression of overhearing somebody turning a static-y radio dial in the apartment next door-- of being struck by the familiarity of a strain here and there, but never being able to concretely identify any of it (I'm pretty sure Ledford once told me that Ferraro has never sampled other people's songs). I met up with "the man with the moon-lit pompadour" in late October, a few hours after he had kicked off the first night of the Neon Marshmallow Fest at Brooklyn's Public Assembly. I was there to chat with him about his recently Zoned In Far Side Virtual LP, which, as Michael McGregor explains, pretty much pulls the rug out from under any descriptions of his work like the above. Ferraro's Hippos In Tanks debut is clear as a bell, constructed greatly from what sounds like cheesy MIDI presets, and melodic to an almost comic extreme. After finishing an interview with Elle magazine, he took a walk with me down to a small manicured park at the foot of The Edge, a massive, glass-paned condo complex on the Williamsburg waterfront. As actual condo pets trotted by on designer leashes, we talked about life in Los Angeles, far side virtual reality, and what was actually going on in his head when he recorded the LP. (Hint: Far Side is a record about 2011). via
Are the days of Beatles-or-Stones, N*Sync-or-Backstreet Boys arguments over for good?
Meet Gonzalo Cordova, a 25-year old Comedy Central writer and stand-up comedian who comes across unassuming and collected in day-to-day banter; on stage or behind the guise of his pen, however, his artistic spark is flared.
[photos by Coley Brown] By Ric Leichtung MP3: Prince Rama: "Portaling" MP3: Prince Rama: "Rest In Peace" Prince Rama is a band that's widely respected in the underground for their high energy performances and inimitable sound. But even after being in the band for more than five years, songwriter and keys player Taraka Larson still feels that "people [...] often misunderstand us." One respected but in this case hilariously off-base critic called them the harbingers of "the real witch house sound" on the grounds that they actually sounded like witches (rly?). Taking a look at their artwork and press photos, you'll notice a few reoccurring motifs that would make a blog troll's mouth water: occult imagery, clearly staged photos, and maybe my personal least favorite thing ever, glitter (editor's tangent: have you ever hosted a glitter orgy and had to clean it up? Shit's impossible get rid of). There are tons of lol-worthy videos that've inspired legions of Tumblrs dedicated to making fun of things with similar imagery. Take that strong aesthetic and add lyrics delivered in an abstract, self-created language, and then pile it even higher with a self-made, epistemological philosophy called "now age." There's a lot of room for ridicule here; their idiosyncrasies walk a fine line between radically insightful and completely detached from reality. But trust me when I say that this band should not be overlooked. The key to understanding Prince Rama is faith; they will not enlighten the close-minded. AZ: Your music has a lot of Eastern elements in it-- is this a conscious choice, or more an intuitive one? Taraka: I feel like it's more like inner landscapes. To me, music is a very visual thing, and I visualize landscapes and environments for sounds to live in, and I feel that the regions that come out through the music are places that I have internalized in some way. The Eastern music even, it's like "Yes, I can see how that can be seen as like, Eastern music," but for me, it was the music I grew up with. Nimai: Growing up, our parents loved a lot of super-psychedelic stuff. We listened to a bunch of Hare Krishna music. But in Texas, we were living in such a conservative, Christian town that it wasn't conducive to psychedelic, '60s rock at all. And so my parents-- they used to be hardcore hippies-- would play that kind of stuff in the car for us and we would just think it was normal music. Eventually, we were in junior high and we decided to love Hanson, Backstreet Boys, and whatever was popular at the time. Taraka: It's weird looking back on it now; it was like these two extremes that I totally embrace now. It's like extreme Eastern/spiritual/psychedelic music and extreme pop on the other end of the spectrum and neither one discounted the other. I was really into both. Nimai: But even the pop that we were listening to still had a higher message... "MMMBop" is like a way of measuring time. In an "MMMBop," you're gone; in an "MMMBop," you're not there. Taraka: That's so mystical!! [snickers] AZ: [Laughs] Pop's always found a way like that. With 2012 around the corner, I’ve noticed how many pop songs revolve around the idea of the last chance, which sort of alludes to an apocalypse approaching. Britney Spears’ “’Til The World Ends,” Usher’s “DJ Got Us Falling In Love Again”… Taraka: It's always been there… I'm really into apocalypses. I looked up eleven different ends-of-the-world within the past 50 years, and the number-one hit songs that corresponded with each of those-- they're strangely connected. This was almost too good to be true: the number-one hit for this last one, May 21st, 2011 [the date of Harold Camping's predicted Judgement Day], was ''Til The World Ends." And some have these weird survival messages; on Y2K, the number-one was Faith Hill's "Just Breathe." Pop is a dispenser of mass consciousness. via
Fun with Alternative Histories from Winston Churchill to the Beatles.
BTR talks with the curators of a recent MoMA exhibit on Tim Burton about the director's influences.
The GOP presidential field is still murky as Obama gears up for 2012.
Photographs from the annual tree lighting ceremony in New York City.
If there are banking crises in Second Life, what's the appeal of this alternative online universe again?
From some site out there that I can't quite remember!!! The Apple Scruffs were four best friends from Glasgow that got together and began writing songs about their everyday lives and surroundings. After four months of hard work and practice the Scruffs played their first gig in Nice N Sleazy supporting the Ronelles at the end of May 2005. From then on the band built up an amazing reputation in Glasgow supporting well known bands such as Dogs and The Ludes. They then landed a single deal with Hijacked Records. the scruffs released their debut single Danielle on Vaults Recordings on November 2006. The scruffs were tireless on the Glasgow gig scene and played some all of Glasgow's famous venues. lacklustre in their performances the crowd were still right behind their fast paced guitar led tunes. Giving a final shot at breaking through the blinkered music industry they tailored a new single to a more commercial sound in Big Hearts launching this in the Apple store in Glasgow however it wasnt to be and Johnny and the boys broke up to go seperate ways in 2010. mp3 : The Apple Scruffs - Danielle mp3 : The Apple Scruffs - Car Thief mp3 : The Apple Scruffs - Lit The Candle At Both Ends via
From somewhere on the interwebby thing:- April Showers were a short-lived Glaswegian pop duo comprised of Jonathan Bernstein and Beatrice Colin. Releasing their only known single “Abandon Ship” on Big Star, a subsidiary of Chrysalis, in 1984 it quickly gained a cult following due to it’s sparkling production from Anne Dudley (Art of Noise) and string-heavy arrangements. This quality was echoed on B-side “Everytime We Say Goodbye” with the 12-inch featuring an instrumental of Abandon Ship “Abandon Ship Sing-A-Long-A-Wonder Mix”. Both records are now highly collectible. Plans to release a second single on the label Operation Twilight, and the inclusion of Abandon Ship on the compilation album “10 Years Of Marina Records” seems to be a footnote to the woefully brief story of April Showers, the perfect example of a band that has disappeared into, and whose status grows with, history. Now here's where I cheat. I don't own this's one that's near the top of those I dearly would love to get my hands on but won't pay the money demanded by the sellers...... I've the compilation LP mentioned above, and thanks to modern technology (and the generosity of folk who make the recordings available), I've picked up the other two tracks:- mp3 : April Showers - Abandon Ship mp3 : April Showers - Abandon Ship (instrumental) mp3 : April Showers - Everytime We Say Goodbye One of the great lost pop-songs of the 80s via
As NASA and Congress sideline the shuttle program, what has become of the astronaut dream?
Arab Strap were an indie rock band from Scotland that consisted of core members Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton. The band were signed to independent record label Chemikal Underground, and split in 2006. As indicated by the title of Belle and Sebastian's third record, The Boy with the Arab Strap, and by Aidan Moffat's involvement in the two Reindeer Section albums, they were a central part of Glasgow's influential late 1990s music scene. Vocalist Aidan Moffat and multi-instrumentalist Malcolm Middleton grew up in Falkirk, and bonded over their mutual love for Drag City recording artists such as Smog and Will Oldham (who at the time recorded under the name Palace Brothers). They began collaborating in 1995, and their debut album, The Week Never Starts Round Here, was released the following year. Over the course of their ten-year existence, Arab Strap worked with a number of musicians, including Jenny Reeve and Stacey Sievewright, as well as Adele Bethel and David Gow, who went on to form Sons and Daughters. Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian featured on the album Philophobia, but the Belle & Sebastian album/song "The Boy With the Arab Strap" would later create something of a feud between the two singers. Arab Strap's marked characteristics include sordid, personal, yet honest, lyrics – described by the NME as "fly on the duvet vignettes". Like fellow Scottish band The Proclaimers, their lyrics are sung in their native Scots tongue. At first essentially an electro-acoustic band with a brooding, spare sound, later albums and gigs saw them develop a fuller sound that drew deeply on both indie and dance music. Arab Strap's first two albums, The Week Never Starts Around Here (1996) and Philophobia (1998), depicted the desperate decadence of post-Thatcherite Britain. The former album's "The First Big Weekend", a five-minute piece of drunken mayhem that end with a joyous singalong, "Went out for a weekend, lasted forever / Got high with our friends, it's officially summer," which was the chorus to "Hey!Fever," one of the tracks on the EP The Girls of Summer. The 1999 live album, Mad for Sadness, demonstrated how the sometimes spare recorded sound of their early music could lift into a celebration of a sexually empty, drug- and alcohol-dependent life. After these albums, Arab Strap's music became much more musically polished, but continued to focus on drink, drugs, and existentially bereft versions of sexuality. In keeping with the theme of sexual allusion (see arab strap (sexual device)), Moffat records as a solo artist under the name Lucky Pierre (later changed to L Pierre)– slang for the man in the middle of a gay threesome. This work is also characterised by a brooding, spare sound, but is instrumental in nature. Middleton also has a solo career under his own name, releasing two albums with Chemikal Underground and three more via Full Time Hobby Records. On 9 September 2006, the band announced on their website that they were to split up. They celebrated the ten years since their first studio album with the release of a compilation record, Ten Years of Tears. They went on tour in Europe for the last time at the end of the year, and played their final show at the end of a secret tour of Japan at Shibuya O-Nest on 17 December 2006. In a 2008 interview, Middleton stated: "It was a good time to call it a day. Unless there's a definite need and desire for us to play, I don't think we should ever get back together. We always said we would [collaborate again] when we split up, but I think maybe it's still too soon. Maybe in a few years when we've got time, we'll maybe try something for a laugh. Who knows?" In December 2009, Monday at the Hug and Pint, The Red Thread and The Last Romance entered The Skinny's "Scottish Albums of the Decade" list at #7, #12 and #25 respectively. In April 2010, the Scenes of a Sexual Nature box-set was released, featuring early albums, live recordings, and a newly-recorded track. In August 2011, Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton released a cover version of Slow Club's new single, "Two Cousins", under the name "Two Cousins 1999". Moffat noted, "It’s not an Arab Strap performance as such, rather it’s the two guys who used to be Arab Strap recording their own, informed pastiche". And as regular readers know all too well, one of my all time favourite bands And I'm awfy fond of the post-band work from both of them. Thought long and hard about which single to feature and ended up going for one from the short period circa 1999-2000 when they left Chemikal Underground and signed for Go! Discs. mp3 : Arab Strap - Cherubs mp3 : Arab Strap - Motown Answer mp3 : Arab Strap - An Eventful Day mp3 : Arab Strap - Pulled via
Betting has always affected the way people watch sports. As a fan, there is never a question of which team you are cheering for—you have your team and regardless of how the odds are stacked against them, you cheer on anyway. As a gambler, it is different.
The Armoury Show was a New Wave band formed in 1983 by Richard Jobson on vocals, Russell Webb on bass guitar, John McGeoch on guitar and John Doyle on drums. Each member was known for being in a previously acclaimed band, as Jobson and Webb were in The Skids and McGeoch and Doyle in Magazine. The band was named after the Armory Show, a famous 1913 modern art exhibition in New York. They released only one album, Waiting for the Floods, in their brief existence. Previously, Richard Jobson and Russell Webb were both members of the band The Skids, while John McGeoch and John Doyle had both been in Magazine. The latter band dissolved in 1981 and the first in 1982, both after their last and unsuccessful albums (Joy and Magic, Murder And The Weather, respectively). But McGeoch departed from Magazine in 1980, before the recording of the last album, joining Siouxsie and the Banshees. By the time, he replaced Stuart Adamson in The Skids for a Peel Session in 1981, being that probably their first contact with Richard Jobson and Russell Webb. In 1986, after the releasing of the album and the next tour, McGeoch and Doyle left, with the first joining Public Image Ltd. and the latter beginning to work with the Buzzcocks singer/guitarist Pete Shelley. Jobson returned from China, where he was working as model, and reunited with Webb, calling Dave Lockwood on guitar and Ray Weston on drums for the next projects. In 1988, after some releases in 1987, they announced the band had split up. Webb pursued a solo career (according to the band's fansite) and in 1992 followed McGeoch to Public Image Ltd. Jobson returned to a solo career and became a television presenter. And here's the one single I have:- mp3 : The Armoury Show - We Can Be Brave Again mp3 : The Armoury Show - A Feeling via
The BreakThru Radio staff, along with our BTR Artist of the Week, have laid out our Fantasy Band lineups. Do you agree with our picks?
They’re called Telephoned because, like that game we all loved in Kindergarten, they find magic in sound as it’s translated through sources.
Associates were a Scottish post-punk and new wave band of the early 1980s. They were known for the operatic voice and theatrical antics of singer Billy Mackenzie, who committed suicide in 1997. Mackenzie and guitarist Alan Rankine met in Dundee in 1976 and formed the cabaret duo The Ascorbic Ones. In 1979 they recorded songs under the name of Mental Torture before finally changing their name to The Associates. They then recorded their debut single, a cover of David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging". Their version attracted a good deal of attention, not least from David Bowie, as it was released in June 1979 just six weeks after Bowie's version had hit the UK Top 10 in April. A string of highly regarded singles were released and two albums The Affectionate Punch and Fourth Drawer Down. In 1981 Rankine and MacKenzie also released a version of "Kites" under the name "39 Lyon Street" with Christine Beverage on lead vocals, the b-side track "A Girl Named Property" was credited to The Associates. The band's breakthrough came in 1982 with the release of the single "Party Fears Two". Buoyed along by the popularity of synthpop at the time, the song reached number 9 on the UK Singles Chart. Two other hits soon followed, "Club Country" and "18 Carat Love Affair". That year the band released their most commercially successful album, Sulk. Martha Ladly, of Martha and the Muffins, contributed backing vocals and keyboards to this album. Rankine left the band in 1982 just before the Sulk tour. This proved disastrous in terms of the band's career, in particular as the band were being actively courted by Seymour Stein who thought they could become massive stars in the USA. Mackenzie continued to write and record music under the Associates name until 1990. The albums Perhaps, The Glamour Chase (which the record company refused to release, considering it not commercially viable) and Wild and Lonely were made during this period. However, without the guiding hand of Rankine, recordings were sporadic and subsequent Associates records failed to reach the charts in the UK and sold far fewer than their early albums. The Associates name was put to rest and Mackenzie released the electronica-influenced solo album Outernational in 1992 with limited success. In 1993 Mackenzie and Rankine began working on new material together: news of an Associates revival generated hype and speculation of a tour and the demos recorded by the two were promising. However Mackenzie was not fully committed to the reunion and especially touring with it so Associates split for a final time. Mackenzie went back to his solo work, signing a deal with Nude Records and finding a new collaborative partner in Steve Aungle. Between 1987 and 1992 Billy worked with Swiss avant-garde outfit Yello. MacKenzie wrote the lyrics of the song "The Rhythm Divine" performed by Shirley Bassey on the album One Second, with MacKenzie singing backing vocals. MacKenzie contributed to three Yello albums; One Second (1987), Flag (1988) and Baby (1991). Some tracks for The Glamour Chase and Outernational were recorded with Boris Blank at Yello's recording studio. MacKenzie committed suicide in 1997 aged 39, shortly after the death of his mother. He had been suffering from clinical depression. He was contemplating a comeback at the time with material co-written with Aungle. The albums Beyond the Sun (1997) and Eurocentric (2000) were released posthumously and re-constructed (and expanded with new unreleased songs) in 2004 into two albums: Auchtermatic and Transmission Impossible. Rankine is now a lecturer in music at Stow College in Glasgow, and worked with Belle & Sebastian on their debut album, Tigermilk in 1996. The book The Glamour Chase by Tom Doyle documented the band's career and MacKenzie's subsequent life. So many to choose from. Let's celebrate the last hit single the duo enjoyed:- mp3 : Associates - 18 Carat Love Affair mp3 : Associates - Love Hangover And as a wee bonus, here's a very different early version of the single as made available on the Double Hipness compilation.  Dig that sax!!!! mp3 : Associates - 18 Carat Love Affair (early version) via
Historically, outside of the United States dance and music have been united. Two bands are hard at work trying to make this a trend in US as well.
Forget Riverdance, BTR's Mary Kate Polanin reflects on life lessons learned dancing in feis and gillies.
West Coast punks No Statik will return to NYC to play Acheron on January 7th. Details on support are still TBA. This San Francisco band features members of great bands like Artimus Pyle, Scrotum Grinder, and Look Back And Laugh and is streaming some material below. Agoraphobic Nosebleed is streaming a new set of songs available from their forthcoming flexi in Decibel. Stream those at Soundcloud. Make sure to check out the lyrics, which diss everyone from Scion to Obituary to Kurt Ballou and everyone in between. Speaking of Obituary, I have a pair of tickets available for giveaway for their Saturday (11/19) show at Santos. Details on how to win are below. After playing a FREE show at Acheron a couple weeks ago, Seraphim will return to play with Pilgrim, Dutchguts and The Year is One on December 15th at Saint Vitus. The band is returning form a recent stint of dates with Pulling Teeth overseas. Windhand will team with NATUR and Pilgrim for a 3/1 show at Public Assembly. Windhand ripped it at Acheron in their last outing, and their new LP out soon on Forcefield is gold. Ordering details are forthcoming but doom fans, you need this one. As previously discussed, Brain Killer will lead a Nick Poot memorial show on 11/26 at Tommy's Tavern. Joining the band will be Green Beret, featuring members of the great Social Circkle. Check out their demo above and buy a cassette copy via their label. Social Circkle also recently released their Expiration Date EP via Side Two, check out "No I Won't" from that release above. Fans of 80s style hardcore take note of both. A full set of photos of Gaza at Acheron on 11/12, a Doomsday Student video, and all suggested shows are below. What did I miss? via Brooklyn Vegan
As indie dance rock's golden age seems to have passed, Jakob Schnaidt airs a scathing 'good riddance'.
After a stop in Austin for Fun Fun Fun Fest (new pictures in this post), Cloud Nothings toured to Brooklyn to play a show at Glasslands last weekend (11/12). How was that show? If you missed it, the band will be back soon. Catch them on January 26th at The Studio at Webster Hall with Reading Rainbow and more TBA. Tickets go on sale at 10:20AM on 11/19. That's a one-off show, but the band will head out on a big tour soon too. That tour runs from February through the first week of April and alternates between A Classic Education and Mr. Dream as support. There's no NYC date announced as part of that yet, but we wouldn't be surprised if at least one gets announced shortly after that 1/26 date (one at Mercury Lounge maybe even). All confirmed dates are listed below. Cloud Nothings recently released a video teaser and a new track from their forthcoming LP Attack On Memory. Check out the slow burner "No Future/No Past" from the Albini-produced effort below, and look for the LP via Car Park on January 24th (two days before the next NYC show). Car Park is also the label that is releasing a free Cloud Nothings Christmas song in December. via Brooklyn Vegan
Shake away that t(of)urkey and stuffing on the Saturday after Thanksgiving at Public Assembly (11/26) when bounce queen Big Freedia returns to Brooklyn. The $12 show will also feature appearances from Freedia's DJ Rusty Lazer, Phi Unit, and Lil Ray along with Freedia's cavalcade of rotund posterior dancers. The NYC show is one of a handful of dates that Ryan Gosling's good friend Freedia has scheduled right now. The full list is below. If YOU think you've got what it takes to be a Big Freedia dancer, then here's your chance: Are we playing in your town soon? Would you like to arrange a bounce dance class before the show to learn how to shake!? Contact Miss Altercation through either booking agent: or With that offer, there better be some experts in the house on 11/26. We last caught Freedia at Fun Fun Fun Fest (where Freedia met Gosling) and here are some more pictures from her set (which was maybe a PG-13) along with a retrospective video from the fest which includes her majesty in action. via Brooklyn Vegan
One hundred and eighty-four million, two hundred and sixty nine thousand, nine hundred and fifty two views as of November 20, 2011. When you write it out like that, or read it out loud, that number sounds even larger.
Father of two Robert McIndoe, 52, was unable to sleep for three months after going to a rock concert that left him with a permanent ringing in his ear. He was watching supergroup 'Them Crooked Vultures' at Brixton Academy. In the coming months Mr McIndoe faced an uphill struggle to to get proper treatment for the condition, Southwark Coroner's Court heard. His wife eventually received a letter of referral to a hospital ear, nose and throat specialist on November 1 last year - the day after he apparently killed himself. Shirley McIndoe told the hearing that the day after the gig last July, her husband was "cross with himself" for not taking ear plugs. She said: "When it first happened he wasn't too bothered about it because he thought it would subside, and the friend he had been with also had ringing in his ears that day. "But it was a constant irritation. "He didn't get a night of sleep after that until he went to hospital."-[Telegraph] via Brooklyn Vegan
In honor of the worldwide movement, BTR has put together a list of staff favorite dance tracks. Make a playlist and dance.
She’s as vogue as she is talented, looking more like she belongs on a runway than behind a DJ booth.
Hull is scheduled to join Eyehategod and Doomriders at Europa on 12/4 (tickets), but they'll also play another show a bit sooner. Hull will join Naam, Tournament, and Sannhet for an Acheron benefit show on 11/22 as part of Hull's return back to Brooklyn post-touring with The Fucking Wrath. The show kicks off at 6:30PM with a BBQ (FREE with entry to the show) and the whole thing will only set you back $10. Support DIY and all-ages venues, and get out to Acheron on 11/22! via Brooklyn Vegan
Moving is stressful. However, can choosing the right time of year to pack up and relocate make it easier?
On moving, losing your record collection along the way, and why that's probably a good thing.
The disappearance of Rural America is accelerating the midst of the latest housing market woes.
Deer Tick wants to make it perfectly clear – their music defies classification. More specifically, it’s not country.
Brooklyn electro-psych-pop band Papertwin is about to release "Porcelain EP", their debut. To celebrate the event they'll be throwing a party at Glasslands on Nov. 13th in collaboration with Popgun booking. Guests include Deli favorite Psychobuildings, Modern Rivals, Robotdrummer and a DJ set by the MDNR girl and DJ Momo from Slowdance. Show starts at 8:30 - sounds like a super fun party. - (as posted in The Deli's Open Blog - post your band's entries, videos, and Mp3s here). The Deli's NYC Open Blog is powered by The Music Building and APS Mastering. via The Deli
What to bring to help friends and coworkers move into their new digs.
Admittedly, I sometime search for coverage of emerging local bands I like on other (more) established music sites like Brooklynvegan, Stereogum and Pitchfork. When I do this, I secretly hope I won't find any, so that one day I'll be able to proudly say: "we were the first ones to cover these guys!" Ah, the vanity of pride... Today I decided to do the same with Pearl & The Beard, a band that's not very new, but that has been - without any doubts - one of the most interesting, entertaining and followed NYC based alt-folk acts for at least 2 or 3 years now. To my surprise, neither Pitchfork nor Stereogum ever published anything whatsoever about them, which in my book is almost a scandal. This not only makes us proud of the coverage we've been giving to them, but is also very telling about how quality is not always rewarded in the online publications perceived as the "truth holders" of indie music. Luckily there's NPR, who premiered the band's beautiful new video, check it out here. via The Deli
Efforts by NYC Mayor Bloomberg to oust the OWS protesters may have only emboldened their resolve.
We stumbled upon this NYC band called "Ego Puppets" while working on the next blog entry about The Can't Tells (with whom they'll share the Pianos' stage on 11.22) and really liked this "Vibration" song. Checkerout! via The Deli
Fair housing practices have historically been tied with the struggle for civil rights, and in a market dealt by the burden of inequity, nationwide economic downturn trickles down disproportionately.
Blaze McKenzie loves his toys. His solo project puts vocals through the meat grinder, and his production work with Sydney Wayser finds the artist surrounded in sharply resonating chimes. But for his own group, Blaze dials the textures back. He describes The Can't Tells as 'the only Non-Noise band in Brooklyn.' But one could reasonably disagree. On their self-titled debut, the song 'You're Not Listening' taunts the listener with the lyrics: 'You're not listening, cuz I'm not saying it right' for the last half of the tune, sandwiched between layers of feedback that build to frenzy, whether he's saying 'it' right or not. Similarly, listen to the desperate lover portrayed in 'Whipping Boy' fall down a well of jagged guitar sounds, never quite reaching the bottom before the song abruptly ends, and you'll start to get the picture... this is some well-thought out stuff, noise and all. A lo-fi tinkerer cut from the fabric of Atlas Sound, Blaze never reaches the bottom of his toolbox; placing mellotron, chimes and violins on the same team. But while he's tinkering away in the background, he's waxing poetic in the foreground. Blaze possesses an unassuming voice made to deal with a lot of these moving parts, always placing texture in service of testimonial. There's a lot going on here, and the way the three-piece is able to bring it all to bear in this cohesive and well-rounded effort, makes me more than happy to play in their sandbox a little while. See them play Piano's Nov 22nd with Fete and Ego Puppets. - Mike Levine (@goldnuggets) via The Deli
Mat Scheiner, a member of neo-pop collectives Oberhofer and Mon Kymer, has begun his third venture in the music business, a pop-meets-dance music project by the name, Tropic Of Pisces.
A look at gentrification in NYC and areas, like Westbeth, which are being preserved.
Sheila Sobolewski's brainchild, LUFF, is a Brooklyn based band that fills the gap between shoegazer and post rock with its mid tempo, moody tracks featuring Sheila's pensive vocals and electric guitar arrangements that range from the intricate and slightly dissonant to the full on, power-chord-fueled wall of sound. They are going to celebrate the release of a new EP tonight (11.11) at Union Pool; if you are into luscious noise and (truly proficient) all female bands, don't miss this one. via The Deli
Blessing Offor, a blind musician currently based in New York, prefers not to dwell on any privation associated with his impediment. Rather he uses his music as a vision of life.
Italians Do It Better will release Chromatics’ new album Kill For Love in January 2012, but the Alberto Rossini video for the title track is here now. The single is available on iTunes, or you can stream the track via Soundcloud below. CHROMATICS – Kill For Love 67 Minutes 37 Seconds Track Listing Into The Black Kill For Love Back From The Grave These Streets Will Never Look The Same At Your Door Lady Flashback Running From The Sun Dust To Dust Birds Of Paradise Electricity Baby The River via The Sky Report
Summer Camp get in the Halloween spirit with their new video for the single “Down”. The duo’s debut full-length Welcome to Condale is out digitally on November 8 and physically on November 22. via The Sky Report
mp3: Carter Tanton – Fake Pretend (ft. Marissa Nadler) mp3: Papertwin – Sleeptalk mp3: Night Shining – Faces mp3: Small Black – Moon Killer mp3: Dempsey – Late Night mp3: Evan Voytas – Nothing Compares 2 U (Prince Cover) mp3: Tennis – Tell Her No (The Zombies cover) mp3: Carter Tanton – Horrorscope mp3: Julian Wass – Red mp3: Giraffage – LUV mp3: Korallreven – Sa Sa Samosa (ft. Julianna Barwick) via The Sky Report
“Glass Candy’s sinister homage to the John Carpenter classic. A Candy coated gift for all the Ghouls & Goblins in Candyland. Trick Or Treat? Another teaser from ///BODY WORK///. Disorienting walls of synthesizers grasping for their last breath accompanied by Rossini’s most disturbing work to date. Unforgiving arpeggios slash at us like tiny knives in the darkest night, while Ida channels messages from a ouija board…” “It’s Halloween For The Last Time” -Ida & Johnny of Glass Candy via The Sky Report
A humorous editorial on celebrity in the midst of civil unrest, after Kanye and Michael Moore visit Occupy Wall Street.
Get to know Prayers For Atheists, a punk-driven rock band from Providence, Rhode Island.
Formerly Christian AIDS, Stay+ are the Manchester production team behind “Stay Positive”, one of our favorite electronic tracks of the year. In November they return with a 12″ release of “Fever”. Watch the video for the new single below. The “Fever” 12″ is available in very limited edition at RAMP. via The Sky Report
Thompkins Square Park in Manhattan celebrates its 21st Annual Halloween Dog Parade. BTR's Lauren Hawker took photos.
I had the pleasure of watching and interviewing Vancouver 3-piece Shimmering Stars last night who are over on their first trip to the UK / Europe right now. They’ve got one more date in London, Friday August 26 at the Shacklewell Arms – PLEASE GO if you are in London. They’re the nicest dudes and their music is so dreamy and full of wonderful hooks and melodies. I have a soft spot for the band, being originally from Vancouver myself. The video above has got to be one of the saddest videos I’ve ever seen, I almost wanted to cry at the end, but I love the fact it’s shot in Strathcona and around East Vancouver. They also have a song called East Van Girls with references to the Value Village on Hastings Street. Even if you’ve never been to Vancouver, you’ll appreciate this band. Trust me. Constantly referenced to the Everly Brothers (who I love) you can’t go wrong really… via Rock Over London
I have been busy and not getting enough sleep which means I’ve been neglecting to “blog” about my life. I went to Latitude, ATP and Cardiff in the past 2 weeks. It was my 5th Latitude to date. I only missed the first one (they’ve had 6). It’s kind of my favourite festival but this year had their lamest line up to date. Paul Nutini!?! Still I went, I partied, I enjoyed. I think my highlight was definitely seeing Adam Ant. Been a fan for years and years, and though he may be 56 and have man boobs now, he was still the best. I have to say I think he’s sleeping with one of his backing singers as they had WAY too much chemistry on stage – lots of grabbing, winks and smiles. Haha. Prove me wrong! He didn’t play my favourite songs but he did play LOTS of hits, so it was perfect. I went with my buddy Jen Long and her fellow BBC Introducing buddy Ally McCrae from Glasgow. He was the tallest/skinniest man ever. Look how funny we look together! via Rock Over London
Our staff is proud to introduce to you the latest addition to the BTR landing page.
The initial thought of a ‘Green Halloween’ sounds a tad anticlimactic or even smug.
Right, so on Friday I made my way for the first time to Knebworth for the Sonisphere festival. The Big 4 were playing – Anthrax, Megadeath, Slayer and Metallica. I convinced Stacey we should leave “early” and get a 1pm train (even though the bands weren’t starting til 3pm). Lucky I did or we wouldn’t have seen ANYTHING !! We got to Stevenage station at 1:30pmish and there was a massive queue for the free shuttle bus and a shorter taxi queue. The guy warned us the shuttle bus queue would take over an hour so we were like “oh let’s get a taxi for sure then” – BAD idea. We queued for over an hour for a taxi. They were soooo slow! Finally we got to site and it was another 30 min walk to the other side of the site to the guest list box office. We got there and yet again there was a massive long queue. We queued for another 1.5 hours and finally at 5pm – 4 hours after we left London we had our wristbands to the festival. Woooo! via Rock Over London
Are you trying to figure out what to do with all of your Halloween Candy? From donating it to American troops overseas to making it into a full-fledged dessert, we've got lots of options.
It finally happened. I finally saw the wonder that is Rich Aucoin live, a bicycling enthusiast, stobe-light loving, dancing music machine. All the things about Rich Aucoin I had heard were true. His set starts with an instrumental track along with video projected slogans across the back wall, slogans like “London is the best!” “The Old Queen’s Head is gonna rock tonight” etc but then it got weird and the slogans got more personal like “Mar Sellars is the woman” and I was like wtf!?! How did he make a video with MY name in it?? But it goes on and he used all the promoters names, people on his guest list and other bands involved in the show. It’s a really cool personal way to start the show and gives props to the people involved in the show and who’ve helped Rich. Hell it made me smile seeing my name and blog’s name up there! Rock Over London got mentioned about 3 times. With live drummer PEI native Joel Waddell, Rich launched into his assault (aka live show) on the crowd. He had a portable strobe light, confetti, videos, crowd participation (he gets everyone to sing the choruses to all his songs) but the best was the parachute. “Do you remember playing parachute in elementary school?” he says. “Hell yeah” I think, that was one of my favourite memories ever from school. Rich brings out a rainbow coloured parachute and gets the crowd to hold on to it in a circle we all raise it up and get underneath it making a multi-coloured tent with him dancing in the middle with his strobe. I was exhausted by the end of his set (he does make you jump up and down quite a bit!!). One of the most open and friendliest things I’d seen in a while was at the very end Rich puts up his personal mobile number on the projection and says if you like his music text him and he will send you a zip file of it all for free. This man isn’t even trying to sell a product. He’s giving away music, good vibes, confetti and a party. So worth it. I’d recommend booking him for any party or club night. via Rock Over London
It had been about 8 years since I last saw the Weakerthans. They had a different bass player, it was somewhere in Canada and I was probably there for work. They are what I would call a “truly Canadian” band, they sing about curling, bleak Prairie scenes, hockey and their hometown Winnipeg. Describing their sound is difficult, it’s a bit folk, a bit punk (John K was once in Propaghandi), poetic and political at the same time. They began their career in 1997, 4 studio albums later, a live album, full length documentary and 14 years of live shows they are still in a good place. Having sold out the Garage (600 capacity) I was quite surprised with how many fans the band has in this city and it wasn’t all ex-Canadians. There were actual British people in the audience who could sing along to all the songs and with about 3 encores it was a successful night. My friend Rusty was even along as 5th Weakerthan playing trumpet, extra guitar and keyboard. I have a thing about friends having “cool” (e.g. geeky and Canadian) tattoos. My friend Scott Ingram (the original Scott Pilgrim) has the “CA” = Chartered Accountant logo tattooed on his arm with flames coming off of it. I used to think it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Well to add to my collection of friends with ace tattoos here is Rusty’s Manitoba province outline with a heart where Winnipeg is (can you guess where he lives??) via Rock Over London
Even in the age of Internet radio and virtual downloads, the war between artist and salesman wages on.
So Luke from Sex Beet (aforegushed here) has temporarily moved to Stockholm and started up a zonky little side project named Teenhäze (pronounced, apparently, ‘tea-en-hah-za’.  They’re part lounge-bar, part skunk pinnacle, part DIY doolally.  Listening is an enjoyably disperse, impromptu experience, like walking around with only part of a map and trying to guess the bits inbetween; like having a perfect night with a perfect girl/boy, forgetting their phone number and unexpectedly not minding a bit – it was all about the experience you think, sagely.  (NB: unfortunately, My Girl is not a cover of the Soul classic.  That truly would be something.) Teenhäze - Sea You (mp3) via
I’ve only just discovered The Irrepressibles, a highly theatrical chamber-pop tenpiece so well-established they already have a Wikipedia page.  Theirs is a world of pulled faces and cabaret melodrama, of  barnstorming, rat-a-tat highs and sudden, inconsolable lows.  The temptation is to let all this circus-style, Anthony-and-the-Johnsons-on-speed highfalutin obscure the band’s genuine, captivating talent. Mirror Mirror by The Irrepressibles via
Today I moved, leaving behind six months of misery in West Hampstead.  I’ll spare you the long story, but suffice to say I moved there to be nearer to the love of my life, we promptly split up and I couldn’t but be constantly reminded of her every time I trooped home.  But now, in lovely Canonbury, I feel anew: staring at people and smiling; gazing up mysterious lanes with kidlike curiosity; thrilling at every neat-looking shop or building.  It’s like life just got louder and more visceral, as though I’ve re-awakened after a period when I didn’t know I was asleep.  The fresh, frank rock of new London act Parties chimes with my mood – they’re noisy, but not in a needlessly-ear-bashing way. Black Budgets by Parties via
It all started with the cassette mixtape: flimsy, lightweight, delicate and accompanied by that tiny piece of lined paper etched with a hastily scribbled tracklisting.
Beloved duo Victoria & Jacob have finally returned, with a snoozy, duvet-diving potion of a song.  If Thomas Cook made music, it would sound like this: soft vocals lapping over a picturesque electronic cove, the promise of unstinting future happiness implicit in the glazed horizon. Festival by Victoria & Jacob via
Making music into a social experience has been one of the slower advancements in new media and entertainment, but with the launch this year of Turntable.FM, the movement has, at last, made a breakthrough.
In my favourite book, ‘The Colour of Memory’ by Geoff Dyer, one of the characters, Freddie, says of his own book: “Oh there’s no plot.  I hate plots.  Plots are what get people killed.  Generally the plots are the worst things about books.  Plots are what you get on television; there’s no need for them these days.”  Dyer adopts that notion in his novel, and I mention it because a similar structurelessness underwrites Keaton Henson‘s debut single.  Bitterly questioning an ex-lover (or perhaps a complete stranger) and her new partner about the validity of their relationship, the Londoner seems to permanently be building to a break-out chorus, like so many slow-singers do.  Guitars and drums, plus his own corrosive resentment, conspire to drive him on, to whip up the storm.  And yet the peak never comes; eventually the song just finishes, without sentiment or fanfare.  And because of that it feels brilliantly personal and genuine, rather than a by-the-numbers ballad from an expert, veteran crooner.  (More on via
Our BTR Co-Editor on Rob Sheffield (pictured), finding the Best way to kill a four-hour bus trip, and wondering where feminism went?
As Borders falls victim to the latest e-readers, the future for independent book stores could be looking brighter.
At New York's latest Comic-Con, BTR finds that definitions for graphic novel and comic book are more widely debated than you'd think.
Beautiful Anupa Madawela produced video for A Grave With No Name’s recent ‘Crows’ 7” (buy here) - a 3 track release of Alexander Shields’ piano led songs which trace delicate fissures in the emotional radiography of loss and longing. via No Pain In Pop
A list of recommendations for the best fitting "soundtracks" for the best books.
When emcees reach their performance expiration date, they start writing books.
Treasure Island Music Festival Review – October 15 and 16 – San Francisco, CA
Orwell in popular imagination: I thought I'd be spending this weekend in jail, thanks to Bloomberg's near-decision to evict the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park, now more correctly known as Liberty Plaza...
‘Geidi Primes’ by Grimes – aka 22 year old Montréaler Claire Boucher - was originally released by Arbutus Records as a free download and cassette in early 2010. We’re now very happy to say the debut record will be available through No Pain In Pop from 8th August 2011 on CD and vinyl. via No Pain In Pop
Kory French, host of Book Talk here on BreakThru Radio, introduces our latest theme week on BTR.
Introducing: Quilt. The best underground band about to be tossed into the spotlight. They write “disco music for trees” and perform in inner city basement parties. Get to know this unique band.
Fans of Oasis have avidly followed the turmoil between the band's two brothers, taking notes and taking sides. It has always been Team Liam versus Team Noel in the ongoing assertions to ownership and title of a group founded by one brother, and soon snatched up by the other.
What middle kid doesn't grow up with some form of Jan Brady Syndrome?
Occupy Wall Street, the Koch Brothers, and the Supreme Court decision that created the new American oligarchy.
I met Nika Roza Danilova outside a decidedly spooky looking house. The young female musician from Wisconsin, known musically as Zola Jesus, appeared from an anonymous, shadowy basement and we proceeded to walk into a gloriously sunny Finsbury Park. Similar juxtapositions can be found in and around Nika’s new album, Conatus. Exploding drones drench emotive melodies, stirring acoustic instruments accompany pounding programmed beats, and hushed, private anxieties are yelled out to an inestimable audience. Songs of social withdrawal are no longer withdrawn but brought to light, whilst their darkness stays stalwart. Conatus means endeavour and the will to move forward. As musicians endeavour to create, music is constantly moving forward technologically. What can you say about the way you choose to include and exclude technology in your work? For this record it was a lot of just that. Previously, I was making electronic music but no one really identified it as that, so I became interested in trying to figure out what electronic music was and why I hadn’t been making it when I’d been doing everything electronically. So I started adapting new programs and learning new software, wanting to create something both really forwardly electronic and also acoustic and organic. Whilst music becomes evermore a virtual medium, how important is it for you to show your face as an artist? It’s important that people have a face to what they’re hearing because it makes it more human and it’s easier to make a connection. And I think when you can make that sort of human connection with music you get a lot more out of it. It’s something I think about. You’ve spoken before about art as something you can live. Would you ever consider presenting your music in a gallery context? Yeah that’s something I’d be really excited by. The thing about a gallery is, when you have an exhibition, it’s all very cohesive and everything bounces off each other and so it’s a really interesting way to present sonic ideas… or a record. With regard to musical influences, you’ve cited noise bands as inspiration but certain tracks on Conatus, notably Seekir, would fit within a dance genre. Do you have any particular influences from dance music? I don’t know if I have any specific influences but as a style of music its something that interests me. When I perform live I can’t stand still but my music isn’t really the type to run around to. And so Seekir is my way of trying to translate that live energy I always have with a song I can finally have that sort of unity with. I never used to like dance music much because I always thought it was a form that didn’t really have anything to say, but then I realized I was being kind of ignorant because you have the power to do whatever you want with any style of music. So this is my attempt at making a dance song, one that I would make. Your work seems somewhat high concept and idiosyncratic. Do you ever worry that the larger design of what you’re doing might overshadow the individual tracks? I don’t think so. I’m a musician first. The music can be communicated through different forms but if my project ever became about something that’s not the music primarily, I think I would have to re-evaluate what I’m doing. Everything that I make outside of music has to relate, its just another way of explaining the songs. One of the songs off your record is titled Hikikomori, a Japanese term for ‘acute social withdrawal’. By definition, someone suffering from the syndrome might not have developed a sense of one’s true self and then one’s public façade; something that’s necessary to cope with the paradoxes of adulthood. Do you consider adopting an alias as necessary to cope with the paradoxes of the music industry? Not necessarily. I think sometimes my music allows me to be braver than I am and in a sense that helps me to cope with my own anxieties. The song Hikikomori is about the problem I have with interacting with people on a normal basis, which should be inherent to everyone, and struggling with having to be out in public when its something I would really rather not have to do. But with Zola Jesus I’m so forced to be out in public that I have to come to terms with it. The music allows me to become stronger. Under the spotlight, her darkness stays stalwart. Conatus is out now on Souterrain Transmissions via Off Modern
BTR's Audrey Nyarko reflects on growing up as the youngest in a family of five that grew up in West Africa, and how that affected her taste in music.
Matthew Herbert’s new project One Pig is an album made exclusively from sound recordings made during a pig’s life, from birth to plate. Herbert was there, microphone in hand, as the animal was born. Continuing to visit it through its life, Herbert then documented its death, butchery and consumption, before making an album from the results. He also commissioned a series of unusual objects from the animal, including a pig skin drum, dye, paint, candelabra, and an instrument which plays the animal’s blood. This is a remix by Micachu of the track ‘December’. Watch a short documentary made by Herbert about the album here download via Off Modern
A word with a pair of siblings from Pennsylvanian indie rock trio Donora.
Heavy electronics from New York duo White Ring. download via Off Modern
Happy Felabration Week everyone! From the 10th to the 16th (the 15th being Fela Kuti’s birthday), celebrations worldwide will be held honoring the legacy of the Nigerian Afrobeat legend of political and spiritual self-sufficiency, Fela Kuti.
Free download of Thank You’s ‘The Whale’, taken from the sessions of their last album, Golden Worry. download via Off Modern
They've been compared to legends like Iggy & the Stooges and the New York Dolls. And, they have one of the best stories of coming together to date (it involves fellatio).
It's only appropriate that we kick of Sibling Week with an article written by half of BTR's favorite sibling-duo. John Knefel (of John & Molly) reflects on Birth Order and Psychology.
Free download of Eternal Tapestry’s ‘Doorways in the Sand’, from their album Beyond the 4th Door. Catch them live at Corsica Studios on the 24th October. download via Off Modern
On the trouble with being labeled (or not being labeled) as the landmark artist of a hated musical genre.
How the collision course between a musical genre and mainstream culture is usually arrived at in fashion and advertisements.
The signifiers are all lined up—the skullscaps and the forties and the c-low game in the grimy alley.  The stiff cap with FUNERAL spelled out in stark block letters is balanced just so on a pair of tight braids.  The jeans are pressed and cuffed, sagging right into the swollen tongues of a fresh pair of kicks.  Even the throwback visuals in the video are primed: a slow motion shot of a trawling squad car, a lone kid on a basketball court, the posse flexing and posing in the background.  The image is perfectly executed, sure, but can ASAP Rocky rap?  Some braggadocio, some luxury brand shilling, some mild misogyny.  But then this: School of hard-knocks, I can show you my degrees Couple A, B, C’s, bad bitch double D’s Popping E, I don’t give a F, told you I’m a G Uh huh.  So conceptually tight that you would swear the you once heard Jay freestyle this at a show in 2001.  You could easily claim that it was a small show.  In 2001.  With a small audience.  Before the tour.  No video exists.  You know because you’ve looked for it.  After this moment, the whole of “Peso” comes into focus: a confidently talented man playing with rap signifiers in a way that doesn’t feel corny or reductive or naively nostalgic.  In other words, the image charms but it’s the substance that wins you over. via No Genre
September 30 – October 2, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Featuring a vast array of high caliber talent, including Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Patty Griffin, Bright Eyes, and M. Ward.
How form not only resembles content but environment, especially when it comes to forming an identity for a genre.
Nirvana’s Nevermind was not released in a vacuum.  The year also saw Primal Scream’s druggy masterpiece Screamadelica, Pixies’ widely misunderstood Trompe Le Monde, A Tribe Called Quest’s boom-bap blowout The Low End Theory, Bikini Kill’s radical manifesto Revolution Girl Style Now!, Massive Attack’s ultra-sophisticated dance party Blue Lines, R.E.M.’s stately Out of Time, My Bloody Valentine’s feedback symphony Loveless, Smashing Pumpkins’ neo-psychedelic Gish, Guns N’ Roses’ operatic Use Your Illusion I & II, The Jesus Lizard’s uncomfortably aggressive Goat, The Orb’s dub update The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld, De La Soul’s forceful De La Soul Is Dead, N.W.A.’s cartoonish Efil4zaggin, Jodeci’s supersmooth Forever My Lady, not to mention Achtung Baby or Blood Sugar Sex Magic or Spiderland or Kill Uncle or Breaking Atoms or Mighty Like a Rose or Mr. Hood or Laughing Stock or Foxbase Alpha or The Black Album or Ten.  The conspicuous awesomeness of the class of 1991 in unquestionable:  more stone-cold classics came out that year than in any other year of the decade.  But what makes Nevermind different from these albums?  Why is Kurt Cobain on the cover of Spin (again!) and not Kathleen Hanna or Q-Tip or Kevin Shields or Eddie Vedder?  Why has a slick Pixies knockoff with a major label’s backing captured the public imagination when a dozen other infinitely more progressive records have become cult classics? Some answers, of course, are a little discomforting.  Because Kurt Cobain was a white man with the backing of corporate label with all their fiduciary resources.  Because we were all 16 years old at one point in our lives.  Because Nevermind safely operates in known punk rock idioms.  Because the album is more immediately palatable than Loveless or Spiderland or Goat.  Because Nevermind is the best symbol for what most rock kids want to remember about the 90s.  Because rockism as a critical posture has a frustrating amount of staying power.  Because we keep telling ourselves that rock n roll will never die.  Because we stubbornly refuse to believe that any other album released in that decade tells a better story about our culture than the triumphant story of a nasty little punk record blowing everyone’s minds.  Because Kurt Cobain martyred himself with a shotgun blast to the face. Other answers, of course, are exactly what we want to hear about Nevermind.  That it is a great punk pop record brimming with piss and vinegar.  That it is the most singular statement by one of the foremost songwriters of his generation.  That “Drain You” is still among the most underrated album tracks in the band’s catalog.  That the polish on the Grohl’s kit for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is still breathtaking.  That the tubular riff of “Come as You Are” is still sounds as deep and blue as the pool water of the album’s iconic cover.  That the mammoth riffage of “In Bloom” is still best encapsulates teen hormonal rage at every meathead with a locker full of football equipment.  That “Lithium” might still be the best single the band ever released because the Pixies never perfected the quiet-loud-quiet dynamic with such Euclidian precision as Cobain and company.  That while Nevermind certainly isn’t the best album of the 90s by a long shot—Ok Computer, Endtroducing…, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, Exile in Guyville, The Low End Theory, Homogenic, The Soft Bulletin, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea all easily best Nirvana’s grandest statement—it is still a searing document of punk rage and rock pathos and outcast wit. And all of these answers are undoubtedly true in some way.  But one of the larger points I want to make is that talking intelligently about Nevermind is kind of impossible because all the shit that attends this record—the superstardom, the punk mythology, the punk revisionist history, the fuck-all followup, the voice-of-a-generation bullabaloo, the waxing alt rock nation and the waning of cock rock, the misguided acolytes, the world-ending suicide—all of it prevents us from actually hearing the record anymore.  I mean this is a pretty literal sense, too:  actually hearing Nevermind is nearly impossible as actually watching Star Wars. The parallel here, I think, is obvious:  these cultural artifacts, for all intents and purposes, do not exist as anything other than a repository of all our feelings about them.  In other words, Nevermind exists only insofar as we continue to praise it.  And as long as we keep telling ourselves stories about its greatness, the less we actually hear what we are praising in the first place.  This is a problem because it’s ultimately an exercise in solipsism, telling us more about ourselves than about the subject of study itself. I doubt many will agree with that Baudrillardean assertion that the album no longer exists in any recognizable form.  And, in a way, it doesn’t really matter whether or not it’s true because, uh, here we are, celebrating Nevermind at a time when records like Nevermind are hopelessly unpopular.  There’s still a nagging outstanding question on the table:  why do we do this every five years? The cynical take is this is simply what we do as a culture.  We troop into the cemetery of pop culture and exhume our lost loves, propping them against their crypts, looking them dead in the eye and asking in all seriousness if they—the dead!—still speak to us in the way that they did when they fell.  The dead don’t speak.  We simply make the dead speak, and the voices coming out of Nevermind for the last 20 years have become increasingly unrecognizable. The more optimistic view, I guess, is that we can still occasionally hear a note of it that registers loud enough to tower over the cultural hagiography that has surrounded Nirvana from the second that Kurt Loder appeared on MTV News, grave and grim, with news of Cobain’s death.  Like any other cultural artifact whose legacy dwarfs its achievement, Nevermind can still find ways to speak to us above all the noise.  By escaping near constant rotation on mainstream rock radio, songs like “Drain You” and “Lounge Act” have retained enough pop power to remind us that rock was once a viable prime mover.  Moreover, these twelve songs stand head and shoulders above the work of contemporaries like Mudhoney and The Jesus Lizard.  And Nirvana certainly outshines the pale imitators that would spontaneously generate for years to come. If responsible criticism is a dialectic, then I’d like to propose a synthesis of the cynical thesis and the optimistic antithesis.  There is a great record somewhere within the tangled mythology of Nevermind.  Somewhere in there is a pop/punk hybrid that sounds slicker (and more mainstream) than most are comfortable admitting.  Somewhere in there is a great record that would shine through if we just shut the fuck up about it.  Somewhere in there is a great record that cannot be ignored because we refused to ignore it. via No Genre
People are going to tell you that the star-studded remix for Mr. Muthafuckin’ Exquire’s “Huzzah!” is kind of a toss up.  Some will argue that Heems turns in a terrific (and weirdly humble) performance, and others will point to Kool A.D.’s hyper-referential verse as the clear winner (“But let’s get into a battle and see who sons who/I’m reading Sun-Tzu”).  Though I’m warming up to Danny Brown, I don’t think there’s much of a case to be made for him here: his verse is strangely awkward, breathless and disjointed, lacking in even his reliably crude punchlines.  And some purists will tell you that Mr. Muthafuckin’ Exquire himself is the star.  Fine, it is his track.  But for my money, El-P’s phenomenally tight verse clearly stands head and shoulders above everyone else.  The breathtaking flow, the numerical conceit, the devastating final lines.  Presented without commentary: Straight shots of the Sterno Plus Wick stuck in the bottle empty. Three blocks to the target we light it and lob it hard at sentry. Four pigs of the oinking variety guard the market entry. Five minutes of flames and then aim the whistle my father lent me. Six o’clock we meet up and divi the shells among the youngins, Seven continents in the shit and smoke like it’s fuckin’ London Just before they ate up the funds, our harmony love was bumpin’ Now government issue 9′s are pointed where your blood is pumped in. Tend to mop up these muttering zombies talker pieces. El’ll vent on you harder than Fukashima breezes. In the end when a dozen or so adjourn to reason You’ll find the verdict return, corrupted in murderous seasons, With inverted 31′s and other unlucky omens. That’s why I chug 7 and 7′s till I’m fuckin’ homeless, And every time you think my 15 minutes of fame are up, I spit another 16 and prove to the world I fuckin’ own it. Lyrics’ source. via No Genre
The gore factor in horror films seems to be escalating with every decade that passes.
At barely two-and-a-half minutes, Jamie XX’s rework of Radiohead’s “Bloom” is a surprisingly modest affair. With its exotic metallophonic beat and lush vocal sample from Yorke, the remix is lush and ethereal but suspiciously short. And it might be a disappointment if you ignore that there is a carefully built dramatic arc underneath the ostensible prettiness. Vague synth figures materialize from somewhere beyond the song itself and form enough of a melodic arc that the song feels strangely complete. But the catch is that Jamie XX does everything in two minutes that it would take most producers to do in eight: establish, one-by-one, the fundamental stems of the track; introduce some kind of complication in the form of a tonally or metrically different element; lock down for an extended groove with everything playing off one another; bring it all to a heated climax that angles the song up a steeper melodic grade, and slow it all way down with an extended denouement. This is artistic transcendental enlightenment for those in places to be. via No Genre
Born as a countercultural movement, hip hop was a culture before it was a form of music.
Poking around Rostam Batmanglij’s Tumblr, one gets the sense that he leads a terrifically casual life.  Afternoons wasted daydreaming in his scenic window sill, painting on his iPad.  Evenings dining as casually expensive vegetarian restaurants before heading out to Japanese costume parties with a camera and a buzz.  His life seems to resemble one of Wes Andersonian privilege and nostalgia where he hops from one moment of whimsically staged transcendence to the next.  And this has always been present in his greatest contributions to Vampire Weekend:  ”Campus,” “I Think U R a Contra,” “M79.”  Batmanglij’s sense of melody and rhythm and their impact on the emotional tenor of a song is extraordinary.  He moves from cooly relaxed to beautifully melancholy with the slightest touches.  And no where is this more evident than on “Wood,” his latest one-off single.  Incorporating an colorful menagerie of percussion instruments and a stately string section, “Wood” is an exoticized Wilsonian pocket symphony that finds transcendence in the quietest moments (“Sunlight on your back, you’re dreaming”).  By the soaring conclusion of “Wood,” Batmanglij has conjured up a sense of longing so potent and visceral that it’s pretty easy to begrudge his Instagrammatically  ideal lifestyle. via No Genre
BTR talks to Joe Ciarallo of Buddy Media about how music collections are changing and how stars like Gaga are paving the way.
Why the first Blackberry president can't connect with his audience through social media town halls.
Back when Metallica's Load and Reload came out I kept hearing people say two things. Number one: They're great if you just take them for what they are - heavy rock albums. Expecting thrash metal or even just metal will only set you up for disappointment. Number two (tee hee): They're too uneven and everyone would've been much happier had they just gotten rid of the filler and put the best songs on one disc. I always agreed with number one. I never agreed with number two, because I never tried it out myself. So I did. I took what I consider to be the best songs off of the two albums and stacked 'em all together and called the whole thing Unload. Because I'm clever like that. I now agree with number two as well. Oh I'm sorry, what did you say? Your favorite Load/Reload songs are not on here? Wow, thanks for letting me know. I'll go give a shit right away. (zip) Metallica - Unload 1. Ain't my bitch 2. Fuel 3. 2 x 4 4. The memory remains 5. Devil's dance 6. The house Jack built 7. Until it sleeps 8. King nothing 9. Hero of the day 10. Bleeding me 11. Cure 12. Where the wild things are 13. The outlaw torn Pay for your music, chulo. via Metal Bastard
A word with social media guru Antonello Di Domenico about on how even the most technologically inept musicians can still have a presence on the web.
All three great, though I'm saving anything more elaborate than that for my Best of 2011 list. I'll say this though: the DVD bonus material on Heritage pwns the shit out of the other two. It's an hour long, and while I have never seen Mikael Akerfeldt look so bored and annoyed with being on camera, it was highly enjoyable. Seeing Alex Acuña work his voodoo magic was ace, and the two bonus tracks were fine additions. Mastodon had excellent behind-the-scenes-making-of material for both Blood Mountain and Crack the Skye, and all we get here is five minutes? Lame stain. Nice to hear Brann talk about each individual track, but not a single word from any other band member? Not a word from the producer? Not a word from AJ Fosik, the woodworker who created the cover art? No video from the recording sessions? Fucking lame stain. There's an "alternate reality" featured which I have seen demonstrated on YouTube, but I can't get it to work. Machine Head's was a bit better, with a 22 minute documentary about the recording of Unto the Locust. Nice, but still too brief. Makes you wonder why Machine Head and Mastodon even bothered to make bonus DVDs in the first place. Learn from Opeth, kids. via Metal Bastard
Does a new social media platform developed by NYU students have a prayer against the all-mighty Facebook?
(zip) Trippin' Balls Vol. 12 - The winter palace (80 mb) 1. Casua Sui - Where the streams collide (2005) 2. Megaton Leviathan - Guns and LSD (2010) 3. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats - Witches garden II (2010) 4. Hypnos 69 - The empty hourglass (2010) 5. Queen of the Stone Age - Better living through chemistry (2000) 6. Alonzo - Red giant (2009) 7. The Afghan Rug - Sun goddess (2007) 8. Queen Elephantine - The battle of Massacoit (2006) Pay for your music, hombre. via Metal Bastard
Following the irreverent code of the meme-generator, this article will be written in a style that mocks a trollish article published on in 2008. The aforementioned piece attempts to encourage writers to condescend to their readers by formatting their articles to look like children's books and infographics.
You like Coheed And Cambria? I do, though it saddens me that they are so painfully uneven. For every amazing track there's at least two I could live without. So I did what I usually do - I took the best tracks and put them together to make one fucking excellent mix of awesomeness. And that means no songs from the first two albums, because they're both balls. 57 minutes of 45 seconds of some of the best progressive, lofty, high faluting, intergalactic sci-fi comic book rock you can imagine, topped with the most underrated vocals known to man. If I had a buck for every person who has said they'd be into this band if they only had a different singer I would have... uhm, lots of bucks. Ka-ching! (zip) Coheed And Cambria galore (80 mb) 1. No world for tomorrow 2. The hound (of blood and rank) 3. Welcome home 4. Feathers 5. Here we are juggernaut 6. Ten speed (of god's blood & burial) 7. The running free 8. Mother superior 9. World of lines 10. Made out of nothing (all that I am) 11. Wake up 12. The suffering 13. The lying lies & the dirty secrets of miss Erica Court Pay for your music. via Metal Bastard
Live at The Warfield in San Francisco, California on Friday, September 23, 2011.
We have entered the age of recommendations; social media is dominating marketing practices, and your best friend is a better endorsement for any product than even the savviest trailer.
(mp3) Dripping Slits - Mischief Available on Short Skirts & Long Nights (2011) (mp3) Bitch Boys - Impopulär Available on Hela Mitt Liv/Impopulär (1979) (mp3) Alchemist - Older than the ancients Available on Austral Alien (2003) (mp3) Fair To Midland - A wolf descends upon the Spanish sahara Available on Fables from a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True (2007) (mp3) Fear Factory - Timelessness Available on Obsolete (1998) via Metal Bastard
Channel 101, based in New York City is the latest online television craze for the niche market of TV non-purists. It is unique, clever and a breath of fresh air.
Given Reality TV's unrelenting success over the last ten years, is it ready-made for the tablet age?
New track from Totoro Cheeba, loving the natural feel to it, supremely chilled out track. Steady beat like a heart pulsing, the soft feminine vocals, and the ambient water flowing by. Excellent track. Enjoy! Somewhere by Totoro Cheeba // トトロ千葉 via Fresh and Noble
Whatever happened to the Crackberry? Smartphone experts weigh in to the debate.
Eclecticism #30 feat. Coherx by The Confused Eclectic on Mixcloud On wednesday on Space Invader Radio, Eclecticism show (every 2nd & 4th wednesday of the month) we had a man like Coherx with his selection. Diverse as it was wonderful it featured Captain Beefheart, Bonobo, John Frusciante, Peverelist, Joy – O and Four tet. One of his latest offerings, Ode, I love the cinematic dark atmosphere. Also there is a vocal sample somewhere in the track, that simmers below, like a breath, not the obvious one, but something underneath that just shows the amount of detail that goes into Coherx’s productions. Ode by Coherx Many of you will not know, that beside Coherx producing excellent music. He is also the promoter/organiser of the cork electronic exploration night, Modulation.  This event gives electronic producers the opportunity to play live to crowd of interested people developing a sense of community within the scene. With this in mind Coherx selected a number of tracks of what he sees as some of the best local talent. I have stuck a few links below so you can find out more about those artists if you like. LINKS via Fresh and Noble
How on-demand is soaking up the market cultivated by illegal downloading and copyright infringement.
Id heard of Sampha before on tracks with SBTRKT. I saw Sampha with SBTRKT in this open sided tent at glastonbury, and I left a little dissappointed, more with the soundsystem, and atmosphere (I was too far to the back I think) than anything else.. but this track has restored me. Sampha’s voice on this track is calming, soulful yet has this playful feel to it, love it. Sampha-Indecision by samphamusic via Fresh and Noble
Research Associate Professor Steven McGee, of Northwestern University, offers some insight into the world of iPad and tablet technology in education.
New track from Russian producer Ssekk. Dont know a huge amount about this guy, bu this is a wicked track. Slight feel of Amon Tobin to it with the chopped vocals, and the rising and falling synths. Enjoy! Oqua by ssekk via Fresh and Noble
In the past few years, there has been a revolution in the small screen world. Now, we're putting all the features from your favorite small gadgets into one small, portable slate we lovingly call the tablet. But, which tablet is right for you?
“She understands that character is just as important as technical skill – real singers talk loud and say something. Amenta’s got us on our knees!”This quote from the RBMA captures this EP excellently.‘Stormy Weather’ shows one side of this character. The simplicity of the production on the track, that focuses attention on the voice, that perfect pace, pronunciation, the feeling, emotion of Amenta is magnificent on this track. Amenta – Stormy Weather by fresh & noble The other side, the darker, pacy, bass filled, more dancefloor orientated production ‘Eleutherios’ wraps up the EP. This track evokes a different emotion to ‘Stormy Weather’ and therein is the brilliance. Within 5 songs, start to finish of this EP, there is a number of different styles. Throughout the different styles of track, Amenta‘s voice works perfectly. Eleutherios by fresh & noble Featuring production from Kidkanevil, Om Unit, Clinic, Lost Twin and Throwing Snow. Realeased September 12th on First Word Records. You will be able to buy it here. via Fresh and Noble
BreakThru Radio's Lauren Hawker attended the Tour De Fashion where 30 bicycles were crafted by top New York designers including Rebecca Taylor, Diane Von Furstenberg, Juicy Couture and Betsey Johnson.
How social media accounts and mobile devices became fashion statements.
A reaction to the hilarious YouTube Video of the 'listening party' for Tom Waits's latest record.
Ahhhhh nice warm wooden quality all around, clean parquet floors and rustic looking blocks making the limbs of the drawers and panels. My concern of entering a shit hole have been assuaged. Nightmare Express - Kookoo4Koelie (mp3) (and you should download this album) via Don't Die Wondering
Learn from the masters of living. Ancient Language - While She Stands In The Doorway via Don't Die Wondering
A fashion-conscious perspective on the legendary album cover.
Bad Temple - Submission (mp3 go here) via Don't Die Wondering
Trends reflect the whole as much as the part, thus personal image becomes a work of art, influenced by a range of societal factors including the omnipresent force of music.
Greenhorse - Hidden Love (mp3) via Don't Die Wondering
Born, raised, and currently broadcasting live out of Bushwick, the new emcee has been in the game for years, yet this is his first foray as a performing artist.
Nothing is as quintessentially vogue as music, and its power to create change through sheer fascination is boundless. And, celebrity stylist Ashton Hirota is one of the leaders in molding the industry.
Dane - Can’t Say via Don't Die Wondering
Dust off the LA Gears, pull the Body Glove shirt out of the closet and take a walk to the corner of Divisadero and Fell. The dance party begins there.
Party movies like Old School The Hangover cater to older audiences, begging the question: Does the college keg party ever end?
NTS is a new radio station based in Dalston. In its short lifespan it’s had shows from the likes of Young Turks, Get Me and Off Modern, interviews from Photomachine, cuts from Plastic People and yes, mixes from the likes of Joy Orbison. The Doldrums head joined Paddy (Honest Jon’s) on his Friday last week to present teases of unreleased track ‘GR Etiquette’ and Scuba’s new track ‘Adrenalin’. via Abeano
An almost-nonprofit in Brooklyn is fostering the most interesting and diverse DIY shows in an already sprawling and eclectic scene.
Iceage will be playing a free show at the Stag’s Head (Orsman Rd, Dalston) on Tuesday September 6th to celebrate the UK release of their brilliant debut LP. ‘New Brigade’, out on Abeano Records on September 5th. This show will be the last chance to see Denmark’s finest disillusioned teens on this tour. Capacity is limited so arrive early to avoid disapointment and catch the awesome Boneyards are in support. Read all about the release here. via Abeano
Few truly idolize the cast of Jersey Shore, but who wouldn't want to be paid thousands to appear at night clubs?
Hot on the heels of his recent booming EP ‘Satin Panthers’, Hudson Mohawke revisits his love of R&B reworks. Forming part of a series of releases going under the name ‘Pleasure Principle’, this limited edition release comes from an “imaginary world where The Dream, Morris Day and Alexander O’Neal headline illegal raves and Timabland never fell off” and features unofficial remixes of tracks by Janet Jackson, Aaliyah, Jodeci and R Kelly. For more info and to get involved visit Mohawke’s pink paradise at via Abeano
Pop’s place is in the club, advertising itself as if it’s afraid of a takeover by some encroaching genre, giving partiers a place to call home and a soundtrack that matches their experience. According to the charts, this is a party, this is a disco, and we most definitely are fooling around.
Texan band Sleep Over now have an official video for their track, Casual Diamond. Directed by Christine Aprile (who you may remember from our Silent Diane post earlier this week), it’s set in colourful, light filled dream world. The album ‘Forever’ is due on September 27th 2011 via Hippos in Tanks and can be preordered here. via Abeano
Everyone deserves a night of rock star proportions once in a while, and it doesn’t have to cost you a month’s rent to rage as hard as they do.
Syd tha Kyd’s warm up set for the rest of Odd Future at Reading Festival went down a treat, so it’s good to hear her stepping out solo on this rework of Little Dragon’s ‘Seconds’. She gives the track a trip-hop makeover (so on trend?), that’s completely at odds with the rap group’s sound, but a perfect fit for the original. Little Dragon tour the UK in November 11-25 London, England – Rough Trade East 11-26 Brixton, England – O2 Academy Brixton ^ 11-27 Manchester, England – Ruby Lounge 11-29 Dublin, Ireland – Crawdaddy 11-30 Glasgow, Scotland – The Arches 12-02 Bristol, England – Thekla 12-03 Brighton, England – Concorde 2 Little Dragon – Seconds via Abeano
Lush Estonian sound-scape from Maria Minerva. Out on always awesome Not Not Fun. via Weekly Tape Deck
It’s been a while since we heard Angel Olsen‘s splendid vocal-work, a voice that is at once tragic, anxious but sweet and posh. A voice you may fall for with each listen. Luckily her songwriting ability is also notable, the combination of the two plays like a heartbroken Judy Garland consoling herself by singing Tom Waits songs.  This song “In The Morning” comes courtesy of the TwoSyllable Records Chicago Compilation, and you guessed it, all artists are from Chi-town. TwoSyllable actually refers to this as a “mixtape” but it has passion-project written all over it; there is an intimate write-up from one of the owners of the label, if you do anything, make sure you read it. Its also available for purchase via cassette and digitally. Also if you’ve never seen Yours Truly‘s private musical portrait of Angel Olsen, please watch, note how reticent she is at first but blooms through the song. Angel Olsen – In The Morning previously: Angel Olsen – Creator, Destroyer via Weekly Tape Deck
Yours Truly pointed this out via a tweet a few min ago, and I had to post it regardless of the fact that it is now 2am. Crazy progression through the song–milk chocolate-smooth vocals surrounded by blocks of snare and synth. Deptford Goth is about one superstar producer and a cognac bottle away from R&B stardom. via Weekly Tape Deck
Everyone deserves a chance to reinvent themselves, including your favorite band. But, that doesn't mean it will always be received with open arms.
When I saw Mississippi oddity Cole Furlow at SXSW this year with a new lineup, an added guitar and a full year of releasing music on the Dead Gaze moniker I was completely blown away. He had found his sound. He had grown incredibly since he played our unofficial SXSW show in 2010. With this new release on record-makers Group Tightener, Furlow displays mature songwriting and further fine-tunage of his gonzo-pop. Check out the 2nd track on the 10″ below titled “It’s Not Real”. Pre-order Dead Gaze 10″ over at Group Tightener via Weekly Tape Deck
27 is a magical age to make an exit because of the unspoken potential a person possesses in their youth.
Molasses-bubbling third-coast beat and dope-slow rhymes from a Harlem-born kid who is showing up all over the place these days. ASAP Rocky – Purple Swag via Weekly Tape Deck
This month, four Latin jazz musicians filed a class action suit against the GRAMMYs for revoking the award category from their list of eligible nominations. Announced in the spring, the Academy removed Latin Jazz along with a number of other genres including Zydeco/Cajun, contemporary R&B, and traditional folk from consideration, thus reducing 109 notable fields to 78.
How America came to accept the visionary designer and why art from nearly identical western societies can still induce a culture-shock.
Behold this slice of hyper-surrealism that exists somewhere between creepy eroticism and a mind-bending, nightmarish acid trip from Oakland’s industrial paisley psych warriors Lumerians. Both the song and video take inspiration from the 1970 cult film Eden and After, an abstract, dream-like film packed with the type of drug-induced hallucinations evocative of Czech cinema at the time. “After Eden” is a brand new jam following up their debut full-length released earlier this year, Transmalinnia-- a refreshingly stripped down collection of trippy garage rock and punchy, slow-burning ambience. Lumerians undoubtedly have more tricks in their arsenal, so keep these guys on your radar. Additionally, should you find yourself in the mild climate of the Pacific Northwest, you can catch them Friday night at Vancouver’s The Media Club, Saturday in Portland at Doug Fir, or Sunday during Seattle’s massive street festival, Capitol Hill Block Party. via The Decibel Tolls
On discovering ethnic blues and jazz subgenres in Grenada, Spain.
Los Angeles-based sound architect Cameron Stallones, better known as Sun Araw, makes the kind of music that appeals equally to people on a spiritual quest and kids in need of a really wicked soundtrack for ripping that homemade gravity bong. Since 2007, he has ruled over his psychedelic sound kingdom with a sharp spear, and released a steady torrent of EPs, LPs, remixes, and singles unto the world. Stallones’ forthcoming Ancient Romans, his fifth album and first for Drag City (via his Sun Ark imprint), feels palpably cinematic compared to his previous work. With nearly 80 minutes of high impact cosmic riddim from the outer reaches of the observable universe, Stallones makes his grandiose intentions clear. Adopting Latin and referencing archeological sites, Stallones offers a loose concept album that traverses time and space. Antiquated mysticism wrestles with foggy electronic futurism across the LP’s eight long tracks, yielding an eclectic cauldron of scorched ambient dub and psychotropic transmissions. Stallones dives headfirst into hypnosis on album opener “Lucretius,” evoking space age environs while knodding to Roman times via a synthesized harp. As Ancient Romans progresses, its M.O. is revealed: masterful repetition, tension, and release, split evenly between minimal ambience and dense synth grooves. “At Delphi“ blends ritualistic drones with pulsing signals for over 11 minutes, and would make for a perfect accompaniment to a ”birth of the universe” sequence in the upcoming Cosmos remake. Stallones knows when to employ murky, aquatic tones when he needs to– and when a song’s movement demands colorful, crystalline rhythms and sharply focused bliss treatments. His growth as a producer is hard to deny, especially when paired with the dynamic mastering skills of Sonic Boom. ”Crown Shell” and “Crete” offer up a more expansive exploration of the dub-revisionist Scratch Perry-meets-Ummagumma space voyages that Sun Araw hinted at in the past– but this time in crystal clear stereo. Likewise, the playful, carnivalesque joyride of “Lute and Lyre” lets Sun Araw’s resplendent sonic palette shine though, rather than bury it under static-laden washes. Toward Ancient Romans‘ conclusion, Stallones brings Djmbes, trumpets, saxophones, and live drums into his aresenal, building to a grand culmination on closer “Impluvium,” a quarter-hour of tectonic bass and broken worldbeat rhythms that could soundtrack a subterranean Morlock rave. While Ancient Romans preserves the grainy and galactic analog dub sound of Sun Araw’s own brief history, the concept and expanded instrumentation demonstrates exciting new directions, maturity, and ambition. Ancient Romans is out August 23rd, and is available for pre-order from Drag City MP3 ::: Sun Araw – Lute and Lyre via The Decibel Tolls
I have often wondered: What if the Internet was a physical place? What would it look like?
I never went through the quintessential American punk rock phase that so many of my peers did during our storied teenage years. I liked punk, particularly rotten sludge acts like Flipper, but I was never that guy. I had friends that sported all black with studded belts and Circle Jerks T-shirts. Me, I was a classic rock kid at heart, cuttin’ class and making mischief in only my most badass Hendrix and Floyd threads. At the same time, though, I discovered the heavy hitters in more experimental realms – My Bloody Valentine, Boredoms, Mogwai, etc. – not a usual trajectory for music discovery, as most kids who get into the weird stuff seemingly came from the punk underground. It’s this transitional period for me that parallels the aesthetic of Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs. It feels like Adam Granduciel and company traveled along a similar path, and as such, Slave Ambient appeals to me in a significant fashion. While their 2008 debut full-length Wagonwheel Blues was a noteworthy effort, Kurt Vile’s rise to “buzzy” prominence via his signing to Matador had the unfortunate side effect of relegating The War on Drugs to “the band Kurt Vile used to be in.” Not entirely fair. Fortunately those days are no more, as Slave Ambient is a heavy-hittin’ sonofabitch – possibly the finest record of the year. Their 2010 EP Future Weather was a primer, but the maturation and adventurousness displayed on Slave Ambient was unpredictable. This here’s a curveball, fellas. Slave Ambient kicks off with a trifecta of steadily mid-tempo, supremely psychedelic Americana scorchers – “Best Night,” “Brothers,” and “I Was There.” All consist of straightforward electric folk  rife with soaring choruses caked in tape echo and a sonic space deeper than an Oceanic trench — borrowing equally from The Notorious Byrd Brothers, West Coast neo-psych, and the best of the Creation artists. If you think you’ve ascertained the album’s overarching groove at this point, you find yourself mistaken four tracks deep with “Your Love is Calling My Name.” This is a song that separates the men from the boys. This is a song that saw Under the Radar coin a new descriptor – Bossgaze. The reverberated, metronomic drum beat that could send armies to war evokes The Boss at his most bombastic, but it’s the layers of lush swirling textures is what launches this vehicle past the sound barrier. This is a song that should make The Arcade Fire feel like assholes. This is a song that’s so simple, yet so abundant with subtle melodies, you’ll notice a new tone, hell, a new song, every time you drop in. This is a song that reaches out across solar systems and down into the deepest caverns of the earth. It’s fucking devastating. “Your Love is Calling My Name” builds a palpable tension that collapses into an ambient breather “The Animator.” As this is an artist informed by the classics, they treat Slave Ambient as a cohesive work, summoning the art of the LP listening experience, by herein offering the first of multiple inter-song segues. The distant transmissions over the horizon line of “The Animator” are then pulled into the blissful “Come to the City,” the second ‘holy shit’ moment on Slave Ambient. “Come to the City” follows the steadfast, borderline-apache rhythm showcased previously on the album, allowing the tremolo-saturated guitars, silky synths, and call-to-arms troubadour meets Alan Vega vocal melodies to explosively launch into orbit. It’s not aurally dynamic – the ascent is subtle and demands attention… and it’s goddamn gorgeous. Those resplendent flourishes return in instrumental form on “City Reprise,” the more cinematic counterpart to “Come to the City.” Inter-album dichotomies – I dig that shit. Such a nice touch. The album format is not dead, folks. The “Bossgaze” (though thinking about it, maybe I prefer the term “fist pump catalyst”) returns in full force on “Baby Missiles” – The War on Drug’s classic rock swagger banger. And like the “Come to the City” vs. “City Reprise” complement, “Original Slave” farms sounds from “Baby Missiles,” morphs the timbre, and slows down the tempo a notch to create a krautrock meditation that evokes Can at their most aggressive. At this point, Slave Ambient’s pop facets have referenced full-on heartland rock, while its interstellar leanings show shades of no wave, krautrock, and shoegaze – not an easy feat to pull off. The War on Drugs do it flawlessly. Slave Ambient comes full circle with closer “Blackwater,” meshing bar band piano and active acoustic strumming with an intergalactic, monolithic wall of sound as the backdrop, congruent to the album’s opening triad. While Slave Ambient generally dives into three aforementioned distinct approaches on each song – dusty folk, triumphant cosmic rock, and light speed ambience – all three ebb and flow throughout. It’s this deceptive heaviness and aural malleability that act as The War on Drugs’ weapon of choice for Slave Ambient‘s 47 minutes of sprawling, unadulterated sonic density. Overall, Slave Ambient is a grandiose statement of aesthetic juxtaposition, ambition, gravitas, and craft. More importantly, Slave Ambient is a timeless record – as familiar as it is wholly new, as vintage as it is modern. The other War on Drugs originated in ’70s, a decade the band has proven an affinity for, while this War on Drugs appropriates this name for a psychedelic band in an ironic fashion that captures the zeitgeist of the Internet age. This symbolic conflict best encapsulates their vibe, because honestly, The War on Drugs represent no scene. Rather, they are purveyors of a cross-genre pastiche that celebrates attitude and sound architecture with equal reverence, and with Slave Ambient, they’ve released the definitive recorded statement that bridges the sensibilities of stadium rock with the experimental thrash of Basement Show U.S.A. Slave Ambient is out everywhere in all formats today via Secretly Canadian. MP3 ::: The War on Drugs – Come to the City via The Decibel Tolls
The Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra was conceived with one genuine intention in mind: to “have fun.”
“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days.  An old day passes, a new day arrives.  The important thing is the make it meaningful: a meaningful friend or a meaningful day. – Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama” reads the inside sleeve of The Red Plastic Buddha‘s new record, All Out Revolution. Reading this passage as the opening track Running on Empty builds on the phrase “This could be the day, dear”, I’m struck with thoughts of a band who are clearly making the music that they truly feel, the type of music that they find meaningful in some way in their lives.  Not worried by the whoring of the music industry or the perversion of a band needing an “image”,  The Red Plastic Buddha present a modernized, pop infused, rock n’ roll, slightly tinged with a U.K. hue that is simply really solid.  The only words that ring through my head as the album moves on is “flower power”.  Hailing from Chicago, they put a Midwestern twist on psych-pop grabbing comparisons from modern groups such as the Koolaid Electric Company, The Quarter After, Asteroid #4, and The High Dials.  Released on the self start-up Space Cat Records, the album clocks in at a lengthy 50 minutes of blissful and thoughtfully crafted pop rock songs.  With such brutal honesty in their music, The Red Plastic Buddha have created a solid record to lay back to, light up, and float away.  Check them out on Bandcamp. MP3 ::: The Red Plastic Buddha – Daisy Love via The Decibel Tolls
Tinariwen’s music fashions a unique blend of African folk with American blues. Despite the incorporation of multiple origins and inspirations, all the band’s songs are distinctly and foremost African.
During Melting Pot Week, we at BTR won’t be investigating the thermodynamics of marijuana, but rather the dynamic cultural exchanges taking place in our world and in this article specifically, the world of music discovery.
For his 2009 debut under the Amen Dunes moniker, Dia, Damon McMahon followed in the great hermetic tradition of Thoreau — holing out in a cabin in the woods, later returning to civilization with a thick beard and a cathartic experience under his belt. Dia‘s murky color, arboreal soundscapes, insular lyricism, and sometimes frantic mood swings fit the archetype of a creative mind exorcising demons amongst nature’s splendor. On the forthcoming Through Donkey Jaw, McMahon again wears his shroud of mystery well, this time concealing a subtly dynamic sound that bolsters broader instrumentation and songs free of tension. Dia felt claustrophobic and confined at times, rumbling with the sounds of kinetic psychedelia attempting to bubble through the cracks in the walls of McMahon’s Catskill retreat. In contrast, Through Donkey Jaw offers ample breathing room, showcasing McMahon’s sparse and cosmic guitar melodies as they float gently above deep pockets of muffled distortion and dusty trails. The breezy, hummable hooks within the peyote-fueled album closer “Christopher” feel rollicking and freewheeling, yet still exist within the shadows around Amen Dunes’ trademark foreboding ambience. The resplendent sonic palette of Amen Dunes’ grainy acid folk parallels the mind-bending songwriting of Skip Spence and Roky Erickson, though McMahon carves out his own niche. A monumental and articulate effort throughout, Through Donkey Jaw proves Amen Dunes will continue his vision quest, albeit less overtly. Through Donkey Jaw is available August 16th from the musically cohesive, graphically distinct, all around solid label Sacred Bones. POSSIBLY RELEVANT ::: Amen Dunes – Dia [SXSW] Amen Dunes – Longbranch Inn, Austin – 3.17.11 MP3 ::: Amen Dunes: “Christopher” via The Decibel Tolls
Leaking music is now deemed by many to be an acceptable practice, as a growing number of artists are actively embracing the technique for marketing ventures. Still many are working hard to keep their tracks under wraps.
Why stealing on the Internet has become our favorite pastime.
Private equity, commoditized learning, and the rise of the buyer’s market as the perfect cheater’s lube.
I don’t have a way to upload music anymore and have no money to pay for hosting, but I’d like to share a “final” song with you before I go. One of my favorite artists, Teen Daze, made this special christmas blend of “Holy, Holy, Holy,” “Christmas At Sea,” and “Goodnight/Sleep Tight” for The Line of Best Fit’s christmas compilation. It arrived just in time and it couldn’t be any better. I’ll try to come back someday soon. If I don’t post before, merry Christmas, and thank you for staying true. Sincerely yours, Cameron [Download] Teen Daze - Medley in D via The Road Goes Ever On
Cheating, bad behavior, and the animal kingdom. Carolina Rommel discusses lessons learned from this season's fashion trends
While the cold winds flush out all faces to dry, red portraits, the crackling of Chicago’s Campfires is a sight for frost-glazed eyes — the toasty jangle pop warming the hearts of anyone who stumbles upon its distant flickering. “Chasing Planets” is the first song to burst from the flames, which should be fully fledged in early 2011 when Jeff Walls releases his full-length album. [Altered Zones co-premiere//photo] [mp3] Campfires - Chasing Planets via The Road Goes Ever On
Retaliation between hacker groups raises questions as to if the practice bares any sense of social responsibility, and to whom?
Houses just released a cover of Dustin Kensrue’s “This is War” on Alternative Apparel’s blog. Like Dexter said on their Facebook page, it “involves no synthesizers whatsoever,” and it’s quite elegant. Dexter also helped make the above video for the track. A holiday miracle from one of my favorite acts of the year. [mp3] Houses - This is War (Dustin Kensrue cover) via The Road Goes Ever On
The press, generally considered a primary source of conventional news, has always ridden a fine line between public knowledge and confidentiality, but lately has been plagued by scandal and questionable motivations.
I’m going home in a few weeks. It’s been a long vacation here doing work. I forgot as much as I learned, but maybe can find some contentment in finding the “origin” of something I discovered a year ago today. Jules and Jim, the foundation of what we today call jj. There were three. Three. via The Road Goes Ever On
Musicians rarely think about money while they’re recording (unless you’re Scott Storch), and the courts are pretty understanding of this. But, when and where do they draw the line?
This week's BreakThru Radio Discovery Artist is bringing back honest, emotion fueled, radio ready pop punk! Get to know Allison Weiss.
jj’s upcoming mixtape, Kills, is due out on Christmas Eve. No word if “No More You” will appear. via The Road Goes Ever On
There are some famous rock bands that, without a doubt, recognize one band member as their leader over the others. But, is it always so transparent?
In the age of social media and mobile devices, politicians are their own publicists.
Remembering numerous great leaders whom the history books hopefully won't forget.
Is the classic rock star persona–smashing guitars on stage, destroying hotel rooms, and over-indulging in “recreational” back stage activities–still alive? Leave it to the newbies to go and mess it all up in a string of very pubic and downright amateur meltdowns.
Whether it’s due to lack of funds or desperation, many bands these days have to do the grunt work of a manager and publicist all on their own. But is this the best method?
He's appeared on numerous BTR shows and we're really diggin' his work. Get to know Michael Che, an NYC Comedian and our BTR Discovery Artist of the week.
College grads hoping to delay the inevitable are taking up residence back home, relinquishing financial responsibility until they’re gainfully employed and out of debt.
Crossover fiction, while not a new genre by any means, is bringing bookworms of all ages together more than ever ever before.
On idolizing artists across several pop eras who just so happened to be 24 years old when they hit their creative peak.
Sore Eros have already laid a beautiful, pastoral psych release on us this year (or right at the tip of last, rather) and now they've followed in suit with an EP of five more shimmering gems. Just Fuzz, which is a rather misleading title since fuzz is about the furthest thing from the pristine clarity of these tracks, was recorded while the band was snowed in early in 2011 and it seems that rather than cabin fever the boys must have been pretty content with their containment. The tracks twinkle with opalescent tones and their usual mix of harmonious voices and billowy strums. The EP lands via Blackburn who released their pre-LP single "Taal Compass." Download: [MP3] Sore Eros - Stacy Support the artist. Buy it: HERE via Raven Sings The Blues
Guitarist Michael Dion of Hot Day at the Zoo talks to BTR about balancing a double life between teaching and being a musician.
Snapper - Shotgun Blossom The Flying Nun label brought forth many great bands in the 80's and 90's with few household names among them. True to form Snapper have gained more acclaim in retrospect than in action, mostly for Stereolab comparisons that traced the English band's sound back to this Kiwi crew; though more accurate comparisons might be made to heavier bands like Wooden Shjips and their offspring Moon Duo. Snapper had none of the soft-impact coo of Laetitia Sadier, instead supporting their motirik fuzz with a bit of a buried rasp that grew to a growl in places. The band included members of The Clean, The Chills and This Kind of Punishment at times though they often seem to fall out of the discussions that revolve around those particular players in Flying Nun scene. This classic was released in '91 and by about '94 the band had lost a few players, ostensibly being reduced to a duo for their last album ADM before finally calling it quits. However, this stands as one of the great albums forged by time and place and always condemned to second tier status. Download: [MP3] Snapper - Hot Sun Support the artist. Buy it: HERE via Raven Sings The Blues
A catchy phrase from a 1992 movie rings truer than ever: "Adults are just kids who owe money."
Sam Goldberg (head of Pizza Night Tapes and member of Mist) returns with a new Radio People album, Hazel for Mexican Summer. Through a busy patch of releases; including a Mist full length and a solo LP for Arbor, Sam hasn't left himself dry for the Radio People follow-up. The analog tones bubble with grime-coated neon light fit for the most dystopian settings and with emphasis on the shorter end of the synth-drone spectrum, Radio People remains one of Goldberg's most accessible projects. Fans of fellow Cleveland sonic pioneers Emeralds will most likely want to snap this one up right away. Support the artist. Buy it: HERE (available August 23rd) via Raven Sings The Blues
Many people just don’t want to grow up. That being said, it is fair to ask, why would they? Being a kid is fun. Being a teenager is arguably more fun. And being a college student, well, isn’t that the most fun anyone could ever have?
Damon McMahon's past recordings have come with an air of the solitary hermit. His 2009 release DIA was recorded four years prior and never intended for wide release, but its quiet psychedelic charm proved to be too good to keep on the shelf. Last year's Murder Dull Mind kept a similar bedroom vibe under its mostly acoustic charms. As such I approached McMahon's second full length Through Donkey Jaw with similar expectations, hunkering down with headphones and listening for that same quiet countenance. However, it wasn't until I put the record through speakers that I realized how much of a "big" record this is and a turning point for McMahon. It's not big in a stadium sense, or a rock sense; it's still an almost reverent psychedelic record, but it hangs on the air with a reverberation that's only felt out loud. Where some of DIA felt like a diary, this feels like a bolder statement. Its the record that McMahon's been promising to make since he first pressed record all those years ago. Download: [MP3] Amen Dunes - Lower Mind Support the artist. Buy it: HERE via Raven Sings The Blues
Is adulthood even an accomplishment any more, or has its reputation taken a bit of a hit? What’s my age again and how can I tell that I’m an adult?
Live at The Independent in San Francisco, California
In Erik Gundel’s latest EP, You Brought Joy, life appears to find greater resonance in the light emitted by a very special person, a moment of utopia in an otherwise ritualistic day.
It's always nice when smart, capable musicians find each other and amplify their already impressive impulses. Such is the case with Torlesse Super Group, the duo of New Zealand musicians Roy Mongomery and Nick Guy. Montomery's name may be familiar to some through his collaborations with Liz Harris of Grouper and he brings his deft string work to this project aided ably by Mr. Guy's rumbling tones. Guy will certainly be less familiar to most, with his roots as a sound archivist for Radio New Zealand and the National Library of New Zealand. He's also an accomplished electronic musician in his own right and here the two minds explore territory that wanders from wasteland ambience to high plateau guitar meditations and into the wake of shuddering bass beats. The album moves between modes fluidly and snaking from the last aching tones of drone into a hammered beat before twisting it all away in oscillating waves of sonar. Definitely not a release for the timid but a rewarding listen for those with the right set of ears. Download: [MP3] Torlesse Super Group - Strata Speak Support the artist. Buy it: HERE via Raven Sings The Blues
A casual list of recommendations for keeping summer easy and breezy while still banking a paycheck.
I first got down to business listening to Dynooo after one Dem Hunger let me know he had remixed Dynooo's track "Boothbay" from the ridiculously named free bandcamp download album I Feel Like Playing Sim City Straight From The Floppy And Run A Tornado All Over My Perfectly Functioning Town After I Put The Fire Department Way Too Far So They Wont Be Able To Help My Sim City People‏. Fastforward a few weeks and the Belgian producer's new Surf Kill record Vvideo Hair is available for bandcamp stream and download with vinyl due in mid August. The new record is a huge step forward for Dynooo, turning the strewn about 25-to-75-second bits and pieces of grooved out electronics on Sim City into full-fledged jams. The new record is way more dance-oriented, showing off his affinity for bangers on pounding opener "Tropical Thighs." Dude gets a bit darker on "Northwest Noir" before diving into raver territory with "Huge Apple," which he offers for free download. Fellow Belgian Cupp Cave makes an appearance this time around, jacking up the perspiration factor with his remix of "Espirit Sweat." Might I also mention this dude's knack for song titles. From "Bj Hair" to "Girl Abs" dude straight kills it. Dynooo - Huge Apple via Friendship Bracelet
The brief history on the "outdated" summer break from classes and its effect on American education.
Fact Magazine posted a preview of the new one-sided Lone single on Wigflex. It is called "All Those Weird Things" and the 76 second clip offered up by the label sounds sick, some warped-up psychedelic techno to get you rolling without any pills at all. Lone "All those weird things" (clip) by Wigflex This was the first time I heard of Nottingham label Wigflex. The Lone single will be their fifth release, following last year's HZA EP by Hizatron a.k.a. Joshua Harvey, also from Nottingham. The entire EP is streaming from Soundcloud and I'm really digging it in the same way as I dig the newer Lone material -- psychedelic and relentless pulsed out techno that hits me in a weird way cos I'm not too well-versed in techno in general but I know I like this. Anyway, here's my favorite track from that EP followed by one newer beat from his Soundcloud. Hizatron "Klondyke" by Wigflex Oblong by Hizatron via Friendship Bracelet
How the Ford Amphitheatre in LA is fostering its local music scene, plus the best outdoor venues in the US.
On July 26 Leaving Records will release SWEDISH FISH, a split cassette of ambient music from Odd Nosdam (co-founder Anticon Records) and LR guru Matthewdavid. Most of the A-side is "Swedish Tapes," a live recording of Odd Nosdam opening for Fennesz at San Francisco's Swedish-American Hall. The B-side is Matthewdavid's, featuring four extended droners including "Reunited," a wispy piece of mulched tape which has received Miko Revereza's psychedelic analog visual treatment. This time Revereza pairs the sounds with a rotating wheel of rainbow colors that'll make you start seeing things if you stare long enough. As with most all of Revereza's work we see him manipulating raw film, but this time he chose to forge the edit in real time along with the music, bringing the audio and the visual closer in a couple ways. For one, according to Revereza, Matthewdavid edits some of his dronier material in real time, analogous to how the visuals were created. Miko goes a step further, likening the open-ended nature of his abstract video feedback to ambient music in general. "Just like ambient music [the video] is not the kind of thing to make one feel happy or sad or to give an opinion," which allows viewers "to experience the film as an individual." Grab a tape next week from Leaving Records. In the meantime check a download of "Reunited" below. Matthewdavid - Reunited via Friendship Bracelet
This summer marks a milestone in the history of both seasonal couture and progressive women’s fashion. July commemorates the 65th anniversary of the bikini in American culture.
Not Not Fun imprint 100% Silk is about to do it again with I Can Feel The Heat, a new 12" record from Magic Touch a.k.a. Damon Palermo from Mi Ami and Jonas Reinhardt, whose NNF record from this year Music For The Tactile Dome kills it on the spaced-out, Tangerine synthesizer tip. On this project Palermo take his turn embodying the diva spirit, pumping some serious piano-stabbed house nods on "Clubhouse" which features Miracles Club's Honey Owens. The teaser video reveals the project's already obvious influences -- aerobic power ballet, shirtless black men and neon silhouettes. Fading this right in between Cupp Cave's Dice Pool EP and the new Lone? You've convinced me to attend your party. via Friendship Bracelet
Chief Trud sent me over his Cruise Forever EP, five slow-burning house cuts fresh off the hydro-steam conveyor belt and into your ear. Chief Trud is the recording project of Austin Cesear from San Francisco. Dude's tracks are long, between 7.5 and 9.5 minutes in length, giving the tunes a draining, raved-out quality. It takes "Shut In," the longest track, nearly 2.5 minutes to kick into gear then works that gear out for a grueling seven minutes til the close. My favorite track is probably "The Beast," the most frantic and pounding cut. Check em out then check the whole EP and hope there's more where that came from. Chief Trud - Shut In Chief Trud - The Beast via Friendship Bracelet
This week, we had the opportunity to speak with John Mondanaro, Clinical Director of The Louis & Lucille Armstrong Music Therapy Program at New York's Beth Israel Medical Center, about the work of music therapy and the incredible healing power it offers.
Sometimes the hardest part of starting a fitness regimen is getting out the door.
Our boy down south Deptford Goth returns briefly ahead of his debut EP for Merok (slated for later this year) in order to drop about a million ideas on the chirpy, cut and paste electro-pop of “The End Of Time” by Computer Magic. Proving himself almost as good and intriguing a remixer as he is a songwriter, here the Goth pitch-twists the pretty but straight-up vocals of the original until they’re sinister in their pixie-like innocence before dipping them deep in a dream — glacial synth strobes, mysterious low-end rumble, bracing thunderclap drum snaps and some lost harp twills coming together with an unlikely and ultimately very beautiful seemlessness. Computer Magic – The End Of Time [Deptford Goth Remix] “The End Of Time” by Computer Magic is out now on Roundtable. Look for Deptford Goth’s debut EP on Merok soon. (Altered Zones co-premiere) via Transparent
An editorial on the difference between being fit and being skinny in today's society.
What better way to gently stroll our way into the sunshine daybreak than with some early-morning “Rocket Fuel” provided by London’s compulsively listenable Fanzine. This is a classic two minute pop song stripped back to its wonderfully simple, fragile core with soothing, unshakably intimate vocals laid over glimmering, floating guitar chimes. Tune into Abeano, Double Denim and TLOBF for three other Fanzine premieres today and check out the band’s newly internet enabled Fanzine zine in PDF form. via Transparent
A conversation with tri-athlete-turned-health-guru Kelly Famiglietti on the benefits of 'the clense.'
Overjoyed to have Transparent alumni Psychobuildings back in our lives with exciting news of a forthcoming EP release. As frontman and rubber-limbed dancing virtuoso Peter LaBier stands alongside band members Juan Pieczanski and Peter Schuette, with a helping hand from producer Peter Wade (of MNDR), to drop six fractured tracks of hot and heavy, nocturnal/narcotic new-wave transmissions wrapped in an unmistakeable analogue aesthetic. The ‘Psychobuildings’ EP is released on July 12 and can be ordered digitally/CD/vinyl via All Hands Electric. Psychobuildings – Terminal Phase via Transparent
Running a marathon takes more than just endurance and training. This article gives you tips and tricks including gummy bears and beer!
Brighton based upstart Sam McGarrigle is the precocious, enfant-terrible axeman behind Gross Magic and he’s already got us by the scruff of the neck with “Sweetest Touch”, a staggering, grunge-glam anthem laced with bruised but blue-eyed romance. “Sweetest Touch” is part of the Teen Jamz EP to be released through our friends at The Sounds Of Sweet Nothing and can be purchased here. If you’re feeling particularly brain-crazed today you can also check out the Webstarts page Sam has made. Gross Magic – Sweetest Touch via Transparent
Rustie concocts perplexing beats to send his audience into a trance, not merely with their structural shifts and pulsating rhythms, but the complex use of repetition and breakpoints.
Overcome with excitement to be able to finally pull back the rest of the curtain and shine a light on more of our forthcoming 7” single from London’s Disclosure. We revealed lead track “Carnival” in all it’s melodramatic garage glory a few weeks back to much fanfare and subsequently squeezed it for even more fulfilment courtesy of a brilliant edit by Little Black Ant. Ahead of the vinyl dropping onto welcome mats and hitting store shelves next Monday check out the record’s soulful pitch-shifting, underwater electro rhythm from flipside cut “I Love… That You Know”: “Carnival” b/w “I Love… That You Know” is released physically on June 13th – available to order in the UK through Pure Groove or Rough Trade and in the US through Plastic in Paper. Disclosure – Carnival Disclosure – I Love… That You Know via Transparent
A phone hasn’t been just a phone in awhile. Now, a host of new musical opportunities on iPads, iPhones, and other smart devices, enabling users to play instruments and record music in lieu of obtaining organic skill.
The 'indie classical' composer talks growing up in front of 80s TV and how it inspired his latest record.
In the long history of flex masculinity, starting with Adam and ending with a baby boy born just this second, countless aberrations have been recorded from the original blueprint. So many in fact that it’s hard to get a clear mental image of the original hunter-gatherer today without imagining him draped in some kind of cloak to dwarf and mitigate his manliness. Looking at the distance travelled between Michelangelo’s robust athlete saints sitting across the table from each other with their dicks dangling besides them as naturally as their legs, to the pale, aggressive shadows spinelessly stooped against the urinal, there’s an irrepressible feeling that a great heritage has been reduced to a whole lot of nothing. Why just yesterday I came across the transparent glass skull of a mannequin the sexuality of which I myself could not determine. The sense of companionship has been spiked with an irreversible droplet of distant mistrust in ones fellow. Sitting across the bar table from a dude, a dude takes a moment to examine the face of the dude in front of him and for the fucking life of him can’t tell if he is a man at all in his heart. A dude looking casually into another dudes eyes and not sure if in his heart of hearts if he himself is a man at all, or a reflection of the dude in front of him. A dude grazing against another dudes arm during a game and feeling an inescapable guilt about it. A bitter-sweet despair in that clandestine knowledge that it is a bond no woman would ever come near. Guys - Ladies (Step Aside) (mp3) via Don't Die Wondering
In the age of the iPad band, Toubab Krewe parade their arsenal of acoustic instruments.
Magic City - She’s Gone via Don't Die Wondering
One-man band Zach Deputy talks loop pedals and why it's a bad idea to call him a "faker" at shows.
It is my belief that if you replace that carpet with a chaise lounge then this room will make much more sense. Shore -  Lover (mp3) via Don't Die Wondering
If you can make sound, rhythm and music with it... Is it an instrument? Kory French explores this topic.
Polizei - Turn The Lights Down via Don't Die Wondering
BTR's interview with Rob Schwimmer (a real live theremin player) will make you want to take up the unique instrument yourself!
Recalling Jamaican life in a London setting might at first seem a paradoxical task, but Gappy Ranks’ has withstood the test of geography and time in his music, handling both the past and the present in a pretty and rhythmically hard-hitting way.
(image via Kanye East) Let’s drink it in parallel so it’s fair. tallulahrendall - Colourblind (Actress Remix) via Don't Die Wondering
If you're not sure what super PACs are, but you have the sneaking suspicion that they may very well ruin what's left of our democracy, you're not alone.
“I've got big balls,” sung Phish drummer Jon Fishman, “Some balls are held for charity, and some for fancy dresses, but when they're held for pleasure, they're the balls that I like best!” While I suppose there's a slight chance he was referencing an engorged scrotum, though what he was really talking about (in singing the AC/DC cover, “Big Balls”) was the Biggest Ball Ever, the jam band's 9th festival since 1996.
Libertarian Party Chairman Mark Hinkle talks about leading the oldest and largest third party in America.
Saying Mikey B–aka UK’S Waskerley Way–sounds a mess on his new EP, Wind Shear, can only be meant in the most endearing way possible. This nine minute title-track giddily prances around a seemingly endless barrage of disparate sounds held loosely together by a keystone guitar riff and an unrelenting drum beat. The enduring riff-beat combination steadily marches through the length of the song while he piles more and more sonic ingredients on top of the heap. Swirling electronics, thick feedback, and a healthy dose of reverb all collaborate here; coming together in an aural hurricane that rips apart in a climax fit with an otherworldly burst of strings. It may be cliche to call this song a “beautiful mess”, but if the shoe fits, shouldn’t we be wearing it? Waskerly Way, “Wind Shear”(Wind Shear, Self-Released) Words: Marc Picciolo You can stream/download Wind Shear over at Bandcamp. via Visitation Rites
Florida’s Space Ghost Purrp makes hip hop with a Sci-Fi slant. His samples include everything from Mortal Kombat sound effects, to the peppy “Hello!” that is often blared from ice cream trucks. In the oh-so-slow “Fish”, Purrp explores a sinister mechanical realm. The low tempo vocals sound as though they are coming from a long dead dinosaur who was resurrected by a machine. The roars and somber piano tappings give the track a gothic funhouse effect. Like his West Coast contemporaries OFWGKTA, Purrp’s lyrics often deal with the uglier things in life. One of the most memorable lyrical moments is when the speaker warns us against a fisherman who is committing mass rape in a swimming pool. As problematic as this content is, it seems as though it has been beamed down from a sadistic alternate universe. Words: Samantha Cornwell via Visitation Rites
Iowa City duo Goldendust seem to have found a happy home on Night People.  At the end of last year, Rose Quartz brought the band to our attention in spotlighting the label owner’s year-end list. “After The Smoke Grew Thick” is a cut from their upcoming Night People LP, slated for release this summer. We enter a bleak, immersive atmosphere suffocated by thick clouds of smoke. Distant, sorrowful vocals might bring comparisons to ’80s dark wave bands, or even the affectedness of fellow lo-fi experimental pop Midwesterner John Maus.  The contrast between the light, melodic portamento synth of the foreground and the heavy, analog synth beat of the background is well suited to the storyline, which describes a haze of confusion.  It’s the perfect soundtrack for oppressively hot summer nights when the air becomes nearly too thick to bear, yet too enticing to avoid. Goldendust, “After The Smoke Grew Thick” Words: Mary Katherine Youngblood “After The Smoke Grew Thick” also appears label’s recent, freely downloadable Deluxe Double Fold Compilation. Grab Goldendust’s recent Digital Skiescassette from Night People via Visitation Rites
With a lobbying group of former law enforcement officers calling for a system of "regulation and control," what's keeping us?
Ekoplekz: Uncanny Riddim from Jade Boyd While video artists utilize high definition for a crisp and clean look, those who work with analog technology often basque in exactly the opposite. Although people often highlight the “warmth” of analog video, what often makes it notable to me is the sense of the sublime– the possibility of some unexpected energy or presence infiltrating your footage. Jade Boyd’s video for Ekoplekz’s “Uncanny Riddim” explores the darker dimensions of this. Through video feedback, we are introduced to several shadowy presences. One is a female figure, who is shot from a high side angle; another is a man whose features are blurred, and the the other is a more ambiguous face that we see in extreme close-up. Although there isn’t much action, there is an overriding sense of something sinister about to occur. Ekoplekz’s repetitive, noise laden dark techno drives this haunting semi-narrative. His trembling synth tones go off like paranormal cries. Words: Samantha Cornwell via Visitation Rites
photo from Wikimedia On this Fourth of July, let us turn our attention to what is quite possibly the most American of freedoms: speech. Without a doubt, patriots take pride in their unique liberties to have opinions and make them known, free of political or religious persecution. We’re well into the summer, and you may have already forgotten your history lessons, so here’s a refresher on the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law…. abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” Short and simple, the First Amendment guarantees Americans the freedom to say, print, or express what they want, with few exceptions. For example, freedom of speech does not give you the right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded movie theatre when there is no fire. So, for the protection of those around you (in the theatre) your speech will be censored (not saying “fire” in a crowded movie theatre). As simple as the First Amendment may seem, it continues to be a hotly debated piece of legislature, especially when children are involved. Only days ago, a California law brought before the Supreme Court would have made it illegal to sell violent video games to minors. However, the court decided in defense of free speech and struck down the California law, citing that there was “no tradition in this country of specially restricting children's access to depictions of violence. … Grimm's Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed.” By this logic, the court decision determines that video games are entitled to the same constitutional protection given to other forms of expression, like classic literature and film. While the law can shield children from pornographic content, violence does not fall under the category of “obscenity” the way pornography does. This case in particular raises a few questions when it comes to media censorship for the protection of children. Naturally, those most concerned with controlling that content are the parents of said children, but for the parents who don’t want their kids to play violent video games, the ruling has led to polarizing conclusions. The president of the Entertainment Software Association, Michael Gallagher, reportedly affirmed that the ruling empowers parents to be the decision-makers for their children. “They [parents] are to be in control, not the state, of the content that is used, consumed and enjoyed in the home.” Yet others, like Tim Winter, were also reported countering that the ruling has taken power away from parents by constitutionally protecting the rights of video game makers. As president of the Parents Television Council in Los Angeles, Winter contended that it “replaces the authority of parents with the economic interests of the video game industry.” As with the first example of shouting “fire!’ in a movie theatre, defenders of the California law deemed the violence in certain video games to be just as potentially harmful and dangerous to young children. However, Dan Hewitt, Vide President of Media Relations and Event Management at Entertainment Software Association, pointed out that fears of the dangerous effects of simulated violence in video games are unfounded. “If you look at the decision, the Supreme Court specifically looked at the science surrounding video games and found that it wasn’t compelling,” Hewitt told BTR. “In fact, there are numerous social scientists and medical professionals who believe strongly that there is no connection between video games and real-life violence—a point that even the State of California conceded.” Even if there is yet to be a proven connection between simulated violence and children replicating it in real life, it is not outside the realm of understanding that parents would find such violence offensive enough to want to keep away from their kids. Which is precisely why there are ratings clearly and concisely labeled on the packaging for computer and video games. The same way consumers read the nutritional value information printed on food products, parents can read the labels on video games in order to know exactly what their kids are taking in. Hewitt directed BTR to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, the organization responsible for ensuring that the games bear these labels. Their mission echoes the same sentiment of empowering parents that Gallagher of the ESA expressed when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of video game makers. It is clear by the parents still dissatisfied by the Supreme Court ruling that the tug of war between parents and game developers over content control will continue. Still, there are those, like co-founder of development studio Eat Sleep Play, David Jaffe, that think the issue of violent video games does not merit such continued consideration. For Jaffe, there is a time and a place for defending the First Amendment, but video games are not the arena for such a fight, nor should the Supreme Court be its referee. “There are times to get angry and shout from the rooftops and fight for the ground breaking, life changing freedoms our countrymen have died for, but this was never one of those times. Not even close.” The issue is that when it comes to children, parents will get angry and shout from the rooftops if they feel like their rights as parents are being undermined by the “mass media.” Video games, like all progressive media that came before them, are new and therefore subject to scrutiny. Parents hated rock and roll, yet now rock music is recognized for its influential role as an art form. The idea is that with time will come acceptance and understanding of the medium. However, if and when video games receive the same retrospective credit that literary classics like the Brothers Grimm have now attained, remains to be seen. Written by: Mary Kate Polanin
If you’ve seen Sun Araw recently, then you have seen and heard Barret Avner, the tall Shahi Baaja player with long blond hair. Sadistic Candle is Barret’s solo adventure. “Last Holiday”, his most recent track, treads on some very proggy ground. After being greeted by a thick wall of feedback, we are pulled further into the mix by some high toned guitar wailing. Imagine Yes filtered through vintage Casio electronics, and you will be on the right track. On his cassette on Sun Ark Records, which was simply titled Sadistic Candle, Barrett explored the aesthetics of the heavy rock giants of the 70s and 80s. “Last Holiday” continues down that path, by making what might be the most short winded prog rock ever. Sadistic Candle, “Last Holiday” Last Holiday by Sadistic Candle Words: Samantha Cornwell Sadistic Candle’s self titled cassette is available now from Sun Ark via Visitation Rites
BreakThru Radio sits down for a conversation with Pulizer Prize-winning political cartoonist Tom Toles of The Washington Post.
Why the cartoons in The New Yorker magazine maybe more essential than the articles.
In 1905, Winsor McCay created the comic strip, Little Nemo in Slumberland, the story of a young boy and his ferocious adventures in a dream world. The cartoon ran for a decade in the New York American newspapers, and later inspired the wonderful world of Walt Disney.
Though they don't quite hit the same level of fiery abandon as their similarly named American brethren White Hills, these Swedish psych rangers do share quite a few things in common with the NYC noisemakers. Germinating from the same love of the Space Rock-Krautrock axis that brought forth Wooden Shjips, Expo '70, and forefathers like Hawkwind and German Oak, Hills inhabit a low gravity, groove-oriented plateau of guitar-heavy psych that at times ventures into the same Eastern territories that UK guitar-slinger Rick Tomlinson's explores in his Voice of the Seven Thunders project. Hills' S/T debut sold out in a quick run of 300 and was a worthy piece to get your hands on; this will surely go just as quickly, and is just as much fun as its predecessor. --Andy French, Raven Sings The Blues MP3: Hills: "Rise Again" Master Sleeps LP is out now on Intergalactic Tactics, and is available from Fusetron via Altered Zones
By Ric Leichtung and Emilie Friedlander John Maus is first and foremost a thinker. A PhD candidate in political theory with degrees from CalArts and The European Graduate School, he makes more references in conversation to philosophers like Hegel, Heidegger, and Marx than to other musicians, and lifted the title of his third album from Badiou's "Fifteen Theses on Contemporary Art". Like many great romantic thinkers of the modern era, he lives in a world of travesties, tortured by moral crises and a yearning for emancipation. We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves, his debut with Domino-affiliate Ribbon Music, brings us, on the one hand, into a world of apocalyptic "dead zones" and imprisonment, of never-ending rain and dead bodies discarded in the gutter. On the other, it is brimming with optimism and calls for change, shot through with liberation anthems with titles like "Quantum Leap," "We Can Breakthrough," and "Believer." While seductively hopeful on the surface level, mantras like "Keep pushing on… Pushing on…" and "We can breakthrough this!" are hackneyed and cliché, rendering the sentiment behind them not only impotent and pathetic, but also tragic. His undeniably cheesy choruses channel limp pop songs and poorly written blockbusters; lyrics and melodies alike are chained to the language of a world from which he is trying to break free. But Maus' songs are more than illustrations of his political and philosophical agenda; they sound good, too. He serves pop to audiences in an accessible, synth-revivalist fashion, without falling back on the potentially alienating experimental music clichés that one might expect from such an ideologically charged album. Whether he is conscious of it or not, John Maus appears alongside Ariel Pink at the forefront of a militantly low-fidelity, retro-centric practice that is rapidly becoming one the most popular musical languages in our millennial counterculture; we've called it hypnagogic pop for the lack of a better term, but its true identity has probably yet to be fully realized. While his work with timbre and texture is reminiscent of the Blitz Kids' new romanticism, he takes a good majority of his cues from Medieval modes and Baroque counterpoint, evoking anything from the divine transcendence of Bach's divine sewing machine to the freshness of note combinations that have gone hundreds of years unheard. His songs are harmonically vertical and rigidly adheres to predefined song structure, which is the complete opposite approach of his leading contemporaries like Pink, Puro Instinct, and James Ferraro, whose work is compositionally horizontal and guided by the ever abstract notion of "vibe." At the end of the day, the album would fall seriously short without a harmonious synthesis of both his political and pop musings. Cerebral listeners will revel in the album's enigmatic ideology and structured, theory-based compositions, while casual indie rock consumers will be wooed by its lush sense of harmony and chic '80s sheen. Perhaps its most significant accomplishment will be to cause people from each end to dip their toes into the opposite pool, and in this, We Must Become... presents the perfect recipe for an excellent gateway album. While we doubt it's his goal, it's taken years of studying across multiple mediums for Maus to create an album with the potential to be embraced on such a large level. And whether he wants to or not, Maus could become an antihero for the masses. John Maus: We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves is available now from Domino and Upset The Rhythm via Altered Zones
Meet Austin's spazz-mongering soothsayers, Zorch. Formed in 2009 by Berklee College alum Zac Traeger and a gentlemen known simply as Shmu, the duo was already a devastating live force when it exited the womb, winning hearts and crushing minds in and around an already fertile music scene. Boasting shimmering sci-fi sounds, percussive acrobatics, and a strong inclination toward solid hooks, Zorch's noise-pop places equal emphasis on the noise and the pop sides of the spectrum. Their new two-song single Cosmic Gloss/E.M.F., their first batch of recordings since their early demos, showcases the more nuanced side of Zorch's supersonic garage rock-damaged prog. Fans of Boredoms, Holy Fuck, and Hella would do well to visit their music page for some free downloads. --Kenny Bloggins, The Decibel Tolls Zorch: "Cosmic Gloss" Zorch's Cosmic Gloss/E.M.F. CS EP is available now but limited to 100 copies from Texas label (iN)Sect Records via Altered Zones
Steve Moore of Zombi and Lovelock fame recently took a dip into a collection of old synth demos he had lying around, and landed upon a batch that he put to tape just before the release of the former project's debut full-length, Cosmos. Though Moore says he "never gave any thought to releasing them," and "liked the idea of keeping them for [himself]," he handed six of them over to Minneapolis' Moon Glyph, who've gone and released them in the form of Demo 2004. Earlier this week, Tiny Mix Tapes posted this galactic mini-epic from the limited edition cassette, and it's got a lot more high drama than your average arpeggiation spree. Cinema-ready synth melodies nest into that delightful intermediate space between solemnity and cheeze, while deep bass explosions make us wonder whether we haven't crashlanded onto the set of Ridley Scott's Gladiator, final showdown-style. --Emilie Friedlander, Altered Zones MP3: Steve Moore: "High Fantasy" Demo 2004 cassette is available now via Moon Glyph (limited to 150) via Altered Zones
I can't think of too many artists that could honor Gang Gang Dance's trademark peripatetic musical experimentation when cutting a remix from their recent stand-out LP, Eye Contact. The eccentric maelstrom of form and content at the heart of GGD's ethic is itself almost a crazy interpretation of the history of world music; anyone who attempts a remix has to either embrace this chaos, or risk diluting its central energy. No one could really rise to this challenge better than dub and dancehall pioneer Lee Scratch Perry, who has used "MindKilla" as a point of departure for his own cracking groove. LSP uses Lizzi Bougatsos' vocals almost as a backing-singer's response to his own infectious calls about overweight cops and the sort, while Brian DeGraw's propulsive synths, responsible for the anxiety and childhood fears of the original, are all smiles and good cheer here. The tinkle of the keys, the sync of the guitars, and the ceaseless sway of LSP's touch makes this one trip you won't mind taking to a song about the mind's countless neuroses. --Daniel Gottlieb, Altered Zones MP3: Gang Gang Dance: "MindKilla (Lee Scratch Perry Remix)" Gang Gang Dance's Eye Contact is out on 4AD now. Below, the official video for "MindKilla," directed by Shoji Goto from Japanese experimental noise act Boredoms: via Altered Zones
Father's day has come and gone, and you, like everyone, bought your father another tie. Or maybe you didn't buy him one, but you thought about it. The ubiquitous tie, that most cliched father's day gift, has become synonymous with lazy gift-giving. The history of this Platonic ideal of boredom, however, is written in the blood of Chinese warriors and Croatian mercenaries, and is quite interesting indeed.
The songwriter and session musician talks to BTR about balancing the music business and raising a family.
Take a listen to the wonderfully lush, swirling new Echo Lake tune Another Day, perfectly shoegazey dream-pop from one of our favorite London outfits. The track is the a-side from Echo Lake’s forthcoming 7 inch on No Pain In Pop. The single is due July 18 and should be up for pre-orders pretty soon over here, but you may get lost in the splendid wash of echo and reverb just as well right now: via No Fear Of Pop
Over-the-hill dads anxious to step away from fatherhood to pursue their own inner-child usually do so in either music and sports.
After playing a show which left the festival audience of Huset Ved Sjøen in Oslo last week with wide eyes and even more frequent jaw drops, Norway’s upcoming pop queen Bendik aka Silje Halstensen is breaking barriers with her slightly new, fine-polished sound. I could do nothing but to gasp while witnessing what used to be a hidden gem at Urørt, explode and turn the heavens upside down — a power I’m quite sure many of the fellow musicians around me at the narrow pier in front of the stage felt a twinge of envy for not possessing themselves. Naturally, the track Blåsar Vekk taken from her recent release Stille is one of my own favourites from the EP. Almost exactly four minutes into the song, Bendik and her loyal band takes an unexpected turn, evolving from that particular sonorous and almost innocent sound into a huge, atmospheric composition in the veins of post-rock, which truly shows us the strongest side of Siljes beautiful voice. Even though you might not understand the words, I strongly advise you to spend six of your valuable minutes to listen to the whole thing (preferably on some good speakers, too). One thing is quite certain, however: Bendik needs to be experienced live. Check out our photos from the beautifully located Huset Ved Sjøen festival here. Photo (above) taken in Nepal. Bendik – Blåsar Vekk Bendik – Igjen via No Fear Of Pop
'The Tree of Life,' a new film by Terrence Malick staring Brad Pitt, uniquely uses music to tell a story about fatherhood and life itself.
My Mom used to drive a Volvo, I think it was the most unspectacular car one could ever imagine. But on the other hand, it wasn’t such a rad eighties type like the one in the picture above. So anyway, totally loving this shattered radio-sampling day-glo snippet by North Carolina producer Dreams West. Cop Volvo along with another rather new-ish track named EMC Corporation, both splendidly hazy daydream nostalgia pieces slightly reminiscent of those ancient times when we still were excited about, eh, “chillwave”, i.e. 2009. Check the dude’s Soundcloud for more sampled bedroom glory. Dreams West – Volvo Dreams West – EMC Corporation via No Fear Of Pop
Many are of the opinion that dad rock has some specific era attached to it, namely the 70s, which personifies all that is daddy-ish about rock. But daddies weren’t all born in the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
A couple of weeks ago, Georgia resident Exact Index (aka Diego Deleon) finally released his third and incredibly catchy EP Desire via Double Phantom Digital, stacked with 80-s synths and funky guitar riffs. Have a first look at the video for Ready To Know below. via No Fear Of Pop
Last year, we were very much into both Si Faustine (OESB) and Liasons (Soft Abuse), so the news that our favorite Bronx-based bedroom folk outfit Pigeons is up for a new release pretty soon has sparked some serious excitement among these realms. No Shore will be out on cassette via Tokyo’s Sixteen Tambourines in early July, featuring eight brand new tracks. Below, take a listen to b-side track Both Youths, an utterly beautiful, slow-burning ballade that exposes singer Wednesday Knudsen’s dreamy vocals over the swirling, gently off-kilter synth and guitar play by husband Clark Griffin. Pre-order the tape now right here. via No Fear Of Pop
The GRAMMY's aren't just a gathering for music's most celebrated artists. They've also got some charity initiatives preserving and furthering the legacy of music.
Though Charity Navigator enjoys popular trust and name-recognition, upcoming changes to the site may persuade it's premier critics.
I was fortunate enough to get to tag along on a photo shoot for the band Herbert Bail Orchestra. I shot a bit behind the scenes, and this is what I came up with. . . Also, I am posting a tour blog from the Cerebral Ballzy + Black Lips tour I am currently on. You can read it over on Noisey's blog. MP3: • Herbert Bail Orchestra - Where I May Breathe Band, sweet band. via Sucka Pants
The utility of the benefit concert and which ones not to miss out on this summer.
Photos from Big Freedia's performance at the Sugar Hill Supper Club. via Sucka Pants
Every musician has a favorite charity. How musicians besides Bono are doing their part to give back.
Wall Street's obscene profits continue to rise to record levels but nonprofits are finding themselves targets for states attempting to balance their budgets.
Photos from the start of touring with Cerebral Ballzy. MP3: - The Men - Gates Of Steel A band's place at last. via Sucka Pants
It's hard not to draw comparisons between this week's Discovery Artist, Dynasty, and the talented Lauryn Hill. However, her unique exuberance is what makes Dynasty's stardom not out of the realm of possibility.
Just like exercise, developing the habit of giving requires effort and is the result of self-discipline, thought and time. Enter the brilliance of… charitable shopping!
Photos from a recent Ritualistic Sacrifice. MP3: • Ninjasonik - Mosh Pit A band's place at last. via Sucka Pants
Once thought of as an anachronism, the cassette has recently made a comeback reminiscent of the resurgence of vinyl circa ten years ago.
In another expectedly dismal year for the music business, vinyl sales continue to report record numbers.
I was recently turned on to a Philadelphia-based band named Sharkula, who recently debuted with an EP titled Bicentennial Jam. Not my usual style, this post-punk, post-rock, concept jam revolves around the idea of actor Robin Williams, which is relevant through the album art, song titles (e.g. “Throbbin’ Williams”), and the chanting during “Robbing Williams”. I honestly can’t help but laugh at the idea of a rock album devoted to Robin Williams, but that’s not to say that I think Sharkula did something wrong with this release. The album brings about feelings of humor, uneasiness, contemplation, and rocking coated in an empty garage shell. You won’t hear much better production on an album in this genre – artistic when it’s called for and raw when it needs to be. Plus I really dig the album art and their Bandcamp design. Below are my two favorite songs in succession, and I hope you see why I’m big on Sharkula’s experimental rock sound right now. mp3: Sharkula: “Sobbin’ Williams” mp3: Sharkula: “Good Will Frightening” via Zen Tapes
As album art is reduced to miniature JPEGs on iPod screens, artistic think tanks are trying to devise a way to bring the form to the digital age.
Purging memories by reliving them sonically. Grass Mirror seems to have this in mind while constructing an often ambient, yet always curious collage from a hodgepodge of household and hometown samples. Grass Mirror reflects the deep past of curious noises ranging from spinning coins to old radio programs atop the progression of lax hip hop beats. Homey and haunting, Pocatello feels like a wash of snapshots and feelings viewed in the ever-melancholy guise of retrospect. Although I don’t even know where it is, I feel that I know Grass Mirror‘s hometown but not as myself. Rather, an eternal resident- someone who has lived and died in one tragically familiar place. See Pocatello through Grass Mirror, shared for free on their bandcamp. mp3: Grass Mirror:”Rituals” mp3: Grass Mirror: “Murial” via Zen Tapes
With the growing influence of Millennials in the digital age, the music biz finds itself adjusting on their terms.
I was randomly followed on Twitter by Exeter, the musical pseudonym of Toronto beatmachine Evan Doyle. I like checking out the music of the people who follow me – most of the time it’s really not my style or just awful. This, however, was not the case. I heard “OTT” first on Exeter’s Soundcloud page and was immediately in love with the choppy tune. Everything seems choked, but still finds a way to express its inner groove. Prepare to be syncopated. mp3: Exeter: “OTT” via Zen Tapes
Photoshop is the modern day darkroom. But, is it threatening the art of photojournalism?
Without so much as a blink, his eyes channeled all of his frustration and detachment into one stream- a poignant dead gaze. A pulsating stream of tempting negativity, “Tired Pt. II” is Oakland-based Spaceghost‘s glimmering counterpart to “Tired” on last year’s FSCK EP. Unlike its upbeat, rhythmic counterpart, Spaceghost’s latest work is a haunting drone- an overwhelmingly melancholy vibe that manifests itself as quivering synths, elusive melodies, and the pounding of a deep kick drum. It is dark and cavernous- a fine place to lay down for 4 minutes and embrace apathy. mp3: Spaceghost: “Tired Pt. II” mp3: Spaceghost: “Tired” via Zen Tapes
R-Tronika isn't a band, it's a philosophical movement. Photo by Fabiola Galindo
An intro to our latest theme week here on BTR and a breakdown of Digital and Analog technologies.
Maybe it’s because summer has finally revealed itself here in Ann Arbor, and I can lay in bed listening to birds and trees with the windows open without becoming iced over. Or maybe it’s my predisposition towards soft hazy textures in music (and I suppose other media as well). Proclivities aside, it didn’t take me long to fall in love with this new EP by Geotic, the “minimal / ambient music project of Will Wiesenfeld”, known also for his successful releases as Baths. Evocative, gentle and maybe even nostalgic to the right person, Bless the Self is a consistent unfolding of beautiful melodies comparable to ISAN or early múm. Go ahead and preview some tracks below, but I really recommend listening to it all the way through. The album is (relatively) short, and seamless, and sounds best when all songs are contextually sound. Download the whole thing here. Highly recommended. mp3: Geotic: “Illusory Body” mp3: Geotic: “Clear Light” via Zen Tapes
A word with an army veteran and musicians about balancing life between service and art.
On July 15, while much of the planet was still recovering from World Cup fever, the news came from Dakar that Yande Codou Sene, one of Senegal’s greatest traditional singers, had passed away. Known for her long association with the late President Leopold Sedar Senghor and for her commitment to Serere culture, Yande Codou was 78 years old. In commemoration, I thought I would share a few tracks from her final cassette ‘Hommage a L.S. Senghor’, a 2003 release that was itself a tribute to her longtime patron. Yande Codou Sene was born in 1932 in the small village of Somb, located in the middle of the Serere heartland, roughly 80km south of Dakar and 10km southeast of Diakhao, which was the first capital of the Siin kingdom. Born into a family of griots, Yande Codou started singing in the late 1940s accompanying her mother Amadjigene Gning to ritual ceremonies in neighboring villages. As the story goes, one day back in 1947, having accepted two invitations to perform for the same afternoon, Amadjigene sent Yande Codou to sing in her place in the village of Boof Poupouye. As the young initiates in the village prepared themselves for circumcision their spirits were lifted by the young Yande Codou Sene’s surprisingly powerful voice, and the legend of the ‘voice of the Serere’ had begun. By the time she met Leopold Sedar Senghor a dozen or so years later, Yande Codou had the confidence of a veteran performer. With the passing of the years this first meeting between the president and the griotte, which took place in the town of Gossas just before Senegalese independence, has become wrapped in a mystical shroud. The politician-poet, and future president, heard Yande Codou sing at a traditional ceremony and was deeply moved by her voice. At some point during this event Senghor asked the young singer for a drink. Yande Codou presented Senghor with a calabash of water. And once he had quenched his thirst, she dipped her hands into the calabash and washed her face with the remaining water, before sealing their fateful meeting by drinking the last drops. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, especially in the Serere heartland, Yande Codou was dispatched to work the crowd at most of Senghor’s political rallies, extolling his virtues and singing his praises before the President arrived. Her most famous melodies were in regular rotation on the national radio and one, in particular, was adopted as the theme of a popular program. Her loyalty and efforts were also rewarded with the house in the town of Gandiaye, located on the road between Fatick and Kaolack, where she would live for the rest of her life, and where she passed away last month. When President Senghor stepped down in 1980 Yande’s national reputation soon dissipated, and for the next fifteen years she would perform mostly at Serere weddings and funerals. In 1995, Youssou N’Dour, whose father was Serere, resuscitated Yande Codou’s career when he invited her into his Dakar studio to record a series of duos. Simultaneously released in Senegal and Europe, this CD introduced her to a new generation of fans and ultimately led to Yande Codou’s first internationally released CD with her own group, 1997s ‘Night Sky in Sine Saloum’ released on the Shanachie label. After a few years of renewed attention, however, Yande Codou returned once again to her schedule of ritual ceremonies in the villages around Gandiaye, appearing infrequently at the Theatre National Daniel Sorano in Dakar. Living modestly, and surrounded by her large family, Yande Codou Sene passed away in the house that Senghor built for her a little before one in the afternoon on Thursday July 15, 2010. According to her wishes, she was buried in Somb. Yande Codou Sene’s last release ‘Hommage a L.S. Senghor’ was recorded in 2003 in guitarist Jimi Mbaye’s Studio Dogo, located in the Nord Foire neighborhood of Dakar, not far from the Leopold Sedar Senghor international airport. She is accompanied by her regular ensemble featuring her daughter and musical successor Aida Mbaye, her son ‘Commissaire’ Birama Mbaye leading the percussion section, and the popular Serere bandleader Mbaye Ndiaye on the Riti, a one-string fiddle. The eight songs on the cassette all pay tribute to Yande Codou’s Presidential patron who had passed away in December 2001. The cassette opens with ‘Leo corr Dior’, a great example of the ‘A Kim No Kawoul’ or ‘Songs of the Griot’ that made Yande famous. In this song, that she composed soon after he passed away, Yande sings, ‘Leo you are the king of the Serere, you have come home to your family’. Singing to Senghor’s spirit in intimate terms-notice the use of the informal Leo, as opposed to the presidential Leopold-Yande Codou continues, ‘You always said that you wanted to rejoin Philippe. Leo you have joined your family’. (Philippe Maguilien Senghor was Leopold’s only son, born to his second wife Colette Hubert. He died in a car accident in Dakar in 1981, and according to his wishes, Leopold Sedar was buried next to Philippe in Dakar). Yande Codou Sene ‘Leo corr Dior’ In ‘Mbirayana’, Yandé Codou uses a melody associated with circumcision rituals, called ‘kasak’, to again praise Senghor. She sings, ‘Our champion has fallen to the ground, our leader has left us’. Yandé Codou Sène ‘Mbirayana’ ‘Botade Nelawal’ is a praise song that Yande Codou had composed for Senghor while he was still president. ‘You can sleep easy’, she sings, ‘because under your watch all is well. You have accomplished great things’. In this song she alternates between Wolof and Serere. Yande Codou Sene ‘Botade Nelawal’ This last track starts with a few verses of praise for Senghor before going on to sing the praises of one of the most famous Serere families. Throughout her career Yande Codou not only sang Senghor’s praises but also lavished glory on the scions of the Siin region’s most noble families, the descendents of the rulers of the pre-colonial Siin and Saloum kingdoms. Up until her death, she always refused to allow her daughter to negotiate a payment before they performed for a noble family. According to her guiding values she could not put a price on the relationships that tied her as a griotte to the Siin’s royal lineages, and her noble patrons were in turn expected to demonstrate that they appreciated the true value of Yande Codou Sene’s art. In ‘Bour Sine Maya Kor’ Yande Codou sings the praises of Maya Kor, the last king of the Siin who passed away in 1969. She also honors the Diouf family, who were always loyal to the king. Yande Codou Sene ‘Bour Sine Maya Kor’ Thanks to Babacar Diouf and Remi Dioh for their insights, memories of Yande Codou Sene and help with translations. via African Music Treasures
Are Veterans at war with a country that doesn’t provide them with all the assistance they need?
I am one of those suckers who love massive box sets stuffed full of twelve versions of the same song, of endless alternate takes, and mumbled studio chatter. I am particularly fond of false starts, missed cues, flubbed notes and botched recordings. Listening to these by-products of the recording process makes it possible to isolate the cells, muscles, and organs that sustain the creative spirit of a piece of music. There are, however, frustratingly few examples of this kind of audio ephemera available to feed the curiosity of the detail oriented African music lover. In most cases audio tape was simply too expensive to be wasted on false takes; the reel was re-wound and the botched take recorded over by the following take. (In some studios on the Continent, master recordings were also often scrubbed and the tape recycled). At some point in the late 1960s-probably around 1967/68- S.E. Rogie, the late Sierra Leonean palmwine highlife star, spent an afternoon in the VOA studios in Monrovia, Liberia. As Leo remembers it, S.E. Rogie reached out to him, and asked if he could come into the studio to record a song he had composed for Liberian President Willam Tubman’s birthday (given the subject of the song, it seems more likely that this recording session was organized for Rogie rather than for the VOA). Rogie’s composition, ‘President Tubman’s Birthday Melody’, is the kind of song that I imagine he could crank out by the dozen; a sunny melody light enough to float off like a butterfly. Rogie sings: President Tubman-warmest congratulations to you I wish you a happy Birthday May you live longer Healthy and wiser I wish you many more Birthday To reign over Liberia. This is one of the few reels we have that includes all of the session’s takes: Leo, in keeping with the frugality of the times, usually erased ‘unusable’ takes. Here then, for your inquisitive ears, are the eight takes of S.E. Rogie’s ‘President Tubman’s Birthday Melody’. S.E. Rogie ‘President Tubman’s Birthday Melody’ Take One S.E. Rogie ‘President Tubman’s Birthday Melody’ Takes Two & Three S.E. Rogie ‘President Tubman’s Birthday Melody’ Take Four S.E. Rogie ‘President Tubman’s Birthday Melody’ Take Five S.E. Rogie ‘President Tubman’s Birthday Melody’ Take Six S.E. Rogie ‘President Tubman’s Birthday Melody’ Take Seven S.E. Rogie ‘President Tubman’s Birthday Melody’ Take Eight I think that Rogie intended to release this song as a 45-rpm single.  (Does anyone know if ‘President Tubman’s Birthday Melody’ was ever released?  I know that Rogie did release at least one other tribute to President Tubman.)  At these same sessions, Rogie and his group also recorded a second song, that I imagine he intended to use as the B-side to ‘President Tubman’s Birthday Melody’.  I will post the different takes of this second song shortly. via African Music Treasures
The effect of armed conflict on slang and unequivocal speech.
I first heard the music of Khadija al Bidaouia back in the mid 1990s and I soon became obsessed with her strident voice and the rhythmic punch of her music. Fifteen years later my love for her music has not diminished. I have just returned from a trip to Morocco, and am pleased to report that few artists in the Kingdom hit as hard as the queen of Casablanca. After many years of trying I was recently able to interview Khadija and I will be devoting a more lengthy post to her in the near future, but I could not wait to share the opening track off her latest cassette. Everything that I love about her music is contained in these twelve magical minutes. Khadija al Bidaouia ‘Harbousha/Hamza wa Khmiss’ via African Music Treasures
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Virtual Reality therapy.
Most articles on Senegalese music identify Youssou N’Dour as the man who put the mbalax rhythm on the map, who created an internationally identifiable Senegalese musical ‘brand’. And while Youssou’s many accomplishments can never be underestimated, his music remains somewhat atypical, more soigné than the ‘hard mbalax’ that packs Dakar’s dance floors weekend after weekend. Stripped of the sophisticated arrangements and catchy hooks of Youssou N’Dour’s cosmopolitan repertoire, ‘hard mbalax’ is a rawer music highlighting the relentless rhythms of the sabar drums, the tama and the ‘marimba’. One of my favorite ‘hard mbalax’ singers is also one of the founding members, along with Youssou N’Dour, of the Super Etoile de Dakar. Ouzin Ndiaye was born on June 20, 1953 in the city of Thies, which is located 60 km east of Dakar and is the junction of the Dakar, Bamako and St. Louis rail lines. His father Bame Ndiaye and his mother Mbouba Ndiaye were both Gawlo or Pulaar griots and Ouzin grew up to the sounds of his father’s hoddu (the Fulani lute). Ouzin joined his first music group, the ‘Diamono 1′, in 1973. Sponsored by the businessman Charles Diop and based in the Colobane neighborhood of Dakar, the ‘Diamono 1′ also included Ouzin’s second cousin Youssou N’Dour, who was only fourteen at the time, and an equally young Mbaye Dieye Faye (who would later become the Super Etoile’s percussionist). The group had a regular weekend gig at the ‘Lagem’ nightclub in Kaolack, a city located 170 km southeast of Dakar, but only stayed together for a year. When the ‘Diamono 1′ broke up, Youssou went to the ‘Etoile de Dakar’ and Ouzin joined the ‘Dagu Danu’, a group that was based in the Dakar suburb of Pikine. In 1977, after two years with the ‘Dagu Danu’, Ouzin moved to the ‘Super Xam Xam’, an orchestra then based in Guediawaye, another bustling Dakar suburb. And then two years after that, in 1979, Ouzin moved again, this time to the ‘Orchestre Takernassé’, a group that had a regular gig at the ‘Baobab’ nightclub, which was located in downtown Dakar at 10 Rue Macouda Ndiaye, in the shadow of the marché Kermel. All of these groups performed what Ouzin calls ‘la variété’, a mix of Cuban covers, interpretations of soul classics, and proto-mbalax. Then in 1979, Youssou asked Ouzin to leave the Takernassé and join him in the ‘Etoile de Dakar’, which had a regular gig at the ‘Jandeer’ nightclub, located on the western Corniche (the club still exists under the name ‘Le Kilimanjaro’). When, in 1981, Youssou decided to leave the Etoile de Dakar and start his own group, Ouzin followed and became one of the founding members of the Super Etoile de Dakar (along with guitar player Jimi Mbaye, and percussionists Assane Thiam and Mbaye Dieye Faye, who are all still in the group). Over the next ten years Youssou N’Dour and Le Super Etoile de Dakar would become Senegal’s most popular musical team. And although there may be more virtuosic guitar players in Senegal than Jimi Mbaye, or more creative percussionists than Mbaye Dieye Faye, there is no tighter band in Senegal, or in Africa I would argue, than the Super Etoile de Dakar. Without the Super Etoile behind him, Youssou would still be one of the continent’s greatest vocalists, but I doubt he would have had the extraordinary success that he has known over the last three decades. One of the reasons that the Super Etoile, unlike so many other groups throughout Africa, has stayed together so long is that individual members have always had the freedom to pursue solo projects. Over the years percussionists Assane Thiam and Mbaye Dieye Faye, bassist Habib Faye, and guitarist Jimi Mbaye have all released material under their own names. Ouzin Ndiaye has released five solo cassettes, four with the backing of the Super Etoile de Dakar, and one LP. He also, from 1973 to 1987, held down a day job as a civil servant at the E.N.A.M. (l’Ecole Nationale d’Administration et de Magistrature). Ouzin has a raw, gravelly voice that is in the same register as the great Wolof griots ‘Ndiaga M’baye’ or ‘Boucounta N’diaye’; a voice that if he were Cuban would be called ‘tipico’. One of the great joys of hearing the Super Etoile de Dakar perform back in the 1980s and 1990s was the beautiful contrast between Ouzin’s sandpapery vocals and Youssou’s high clear voice. I first saw the Super Etoile perform on a Friday night in early September of 1993 and it is an evening of music that I will never forget. I showed up at the Soumbedioune (one of the several incarnations of the Jandeer/Kilimanjaro) at around midnight and walked into an empty nightclub. About an hour and half later, most of the members of the Super Etoile ambled onto the stage and started to grease their musical gears with a series of jazz standards (think ‘Take Five’) and Cuban classics. Towards the end of one of these songs, the remaining percussionists walked onto the stage, took their places and started to knock their drums into shape. I was unprepared for what happened next. Mbaye Dieye Faye stepped up to his rack of Sabar drums, cocked his head to the right and ripped into the opening ‘bak’, the rhythmic call or introduction, to ‘Baye Waly’. The keyboard marimba (the rhythmic ostinato that anchors the group) and the rhythm guitar fell into place, and then Ouzin stepped up to the microphone, kicking off three hours of vintage Super Etoile. (I can still picture Youssou leaning into the microphone during a slow version of ‘Diamono’ with the full moon, reflecting off the bay of Soumbedioune, shining through a small window behind the stage). ‘Baye Waly’ is Ouzin Ndiaye’s ‘morceau fetiche’ or ‘theme song’. The first version of this song was released in 1988 on Ouzin’s only lp, ‘Autorail’. He composed it for his good friend Waly Mody Ndiaye. Ouzin sings, ‘stand up. Waly Ndiaye, you are here in the room, answer me. Senegal thanks you. The citizens of Rufisque thank you,Waly Mody Ndiaye’. The cassette ‘Fecc’ was released in 1993 and is, I think, Ouzin’s strongest release. Ouzin Ndiaye & le Super Etoile de Dakar ‘Baye Waly’ Like many other Senegalese artists, Ouzin has recorded several versions of his favorite compositions. The song ‘Jirim’ first appeared on Ouzin’s cassette ‘Xew Xew’, released back in the mid 1980s. Ten years later Ouzin recorded this punchier version of the song. ‘Why are you crying?’ he asks. ‘The young orphan is crying. He has lost his mother and father. Don’t cry you are in God’s hands. If you believe, you must not cry. He is the creator and we all belong to him. We have to submit to his will. Orphan, you are in God’s hands. If he has taken your mother and your father, he will not abandon you. You will not be alone’. Ouzin Ndiaye & le Super Etoile de Dakar ‘Jirim’ Ouzin released ‘Gao’, his first cassette, in the early 1980s: this cassette has been released with two different covers and under two different names, but Ouzin refers to it as ‘Gao’ (it has also appeared under the name Apollo). These are the only recordings that Ouzin has made without the Super Etoile de Dakar. The tracks were laid down at the old Studio 2000, which was located in a house owned by El Hadj Ibrahima Ndiaye in the Yoff neighborhood of Dakar, not far from the airport. Today, El Hadj Ndiaye owns a modern studio, performance space, and multimedia complex in the heart of downtown Dakar. Ouzin is accompanied by what was then the Studio 2000 ‘house band’, Cheikh Tidiane Tall on guitars, bass and keyboards, Abdul Aziz Dieng programming the drum machine and Midi synthesizers, Thio Mbaye on percussion, Robert Lahoud on rhythm guitar, and Cheikh Lo on backing vocals. ‘Apollo’ is Ouzin’s interpretation of the late 1960s Guinean song of the same name. He slips in the praises of a good friend, singing ‘your mother Ndeye Maguette Diagne, son-in-law of Aissa Agne, I sing for you’. Ouzin Ndiaye ‘Apollo’ One of the distinguishing characteristics of ‘hard mbalax’ is the prevalence of praise songs. Just as the musical foundation of the genre is built on the griot rhythms of the sabar and tama, the thematic content of many songs reflects the griot heritage of ‘hard mbalax’ singers: other prominent masters of the style are Thione Seck, Mapenda Seck, Assane Ndiaye, Fatou Guewwel, and Kine Lam. In ‘Mbelelane’, Ouzin’s rearrangement of the traditional melody ‘Jali’, he sings the praises of his friend ‘Ndiogou’, who is buried in the ‘Mbelelane’ cemetery. ‘You are a good man. You were always hospitable, your mother can be proud of you.’ Ouzin Ndiaye ‘Mbelelane’ ‘Xew-Xew’, released in 1986, is the first cassette Ouzin recorded with the backing of the Super Etoile. One of the best tracks on ‘Xew-Xew’ is ‘Doomi Baay’, another one of his original compositions that Ouzin has recorded several times; the first version was released on ‘Gao’. The title translates as ‘Father’s son’ and Ouzin sings, ‘we have the same blood, nothing should come between us. We have the same father, all that we are, we owe to our father’. Youssou joins Ouzin on backing vocals for the last several verses. Ouzin Ndiaye & le Super Etoile de Dakar ‘Doomi Baay’ This cassette also features the first version of ‘Jirim’, which Ouzin has recorded three times over the years. Ouzin Ndiaye & le Super Etoile de Dakar ‘Jirim’ Ouzin’s fifth cassette is ‘Wor’, released in 2000, and again featuring the Super Etoile de Dakar. ‘Wor’ opens with a duo between Ouzin and Youssou N’Dour. In ‘Serigne Mansour’ they sing the praises of Serigne Mansour Sy, known as ‘Borom Daaraji’, who is the current Khalife of the branch of the Tijanniya Sufi brotherhood located in Tivaouane, Senegal. Ouzin Ndiaye, Youssou N’Dour & le Super Etoile de Dakar ‘Serigne Mansour’ ‘Natta’ is a praise song that Ouzin recorded for his friend Natta Mbaye. He draws on the proverbs of Kocc Barma, a 17th century Wolof philosopher, to sing her glory. This track highlights many of the elements that make the Super Etoile such a great band, Jimi Mbaye’s melodic guitar leads, Pape Oumar Ngom’s unflagging rhythm guitar, Assane Thiam’s sharp Tama, Habib Faye’s tight bass playing and the solid rhythmic core laid down by Mbaye Dieye Faye on percussion. Ouzin Ndiaye & le Super Etoile de Dakar ‘Natta’ In recent years Ouzin Ndiaye has had some health problems that have forced him to curtail his appearances with the Super Etoile, but when we spoke several weeks he was looking forward to returning to the stage with the Super Etoile de Dakar. Ouzin’s fifth cassette is ‘Sama Yene’, released in 1997. I don’t have it, and am still trying to find a copy. Special thanks to Idriss Fall for his help with song translations! via African Music Treasures
Wild Beasts, England’s latest vibe-raters, are one of a kind, and they’d absolutely like to keep it that way.
Many of the most interesting recordings in our archives are frustratingly mysterious; they have no track listings, no recording dates, no recording location, and no list of band members. One of the more enigmatic tapes in our collection is a reel sent to us from the United States Information Service Officer in Brazzaville back in 1961. This reel is part of a set of two that the accompanying memorandum, dated October 25, 1961, calls ‘Congolese town music’. The first reel, which I posted back in 2007, features the great Orchestre Bantous de la Capitale. Its’ twin, is a recording of the elusive Orchestre Novelty, described in the USIS memorandum as ‘a somewhat younger organization with plenty of swing’. The memorandum helpfully adds, ‘Congolese town musicians play cha-cha-cha’s, merengues, rhumbas, and some tangos with a beat that is unmistakably Congolese. The rhythms of these dances which originated in Africa returned to Africa to be reinterpreted. The sample we are forwarding reflects the hybrid yet unique character of African town life today’. Not much useful information for the hungry musical archaeologist to sink his teeth into. What is the story of the Orchestre Novelty? What became of them? These are questions, that over the last couple of years, whenever I had a few spare moments, I have tried to answer. With the help of generous colleagues in Brazzaville and Kinshasa I have been able to piece together an outline of the story of the Orchestre Novelty. I usually won’t post a feature until I have exhausted every possible lead and shaken every bush that crosses my path but, even though I am still on the trail of the Orchestre Novelty, I thought, given the great interest in Congolese music in the blogosphere, that I would share my skeletal outline in the hopes that you can help me flesh out the story of the Orchestre Novelty. The Orchestre Novelty was founded in Brazzaville in 1959 by the bass player Montou Typoa and the saxophonist Paul Ngombe aka ‘Penki’. The guitar chair was held down by Joseph Samba ‘Mascott’, who went on to play with the Orchestre Bantous, and the vocal frontline featured Toussaint Mobenga, a singer remembered by his nickname ‘Batanga’-who it was said was so short that he had to stand on two stacked beer cases to reach the microphone- and Yano, whose last name no one seems to recall. After a few years in Brazzaville, the group moved down to the port city of Pointe Noire. In 1966, the group split apart, with Samba Mascott going to the Orchestre Bantous, Toussaint Mobenga starting a new group ‘Africa Mode Matata’, and Penki launching the ‘Orchestre Mentha Lokoka’. Most of the members of the Orchestre Novelty seem to have passed away, but I have heard that Penki is alive, and hopefully well, still living in Pointe Noire. I am trying to track down his phone number and remain optimistic that he will be able to share the story of the Orchestre Novelty with us. This recording, which was provided to the USIS officer in Brazzaville by the director of Radio Congo, was, I imagine, made in the studios of Radio Congo. The opening track is an instrumental rave-up with a very nice percussion break and some tasteful guitar playing by Samba Mascott. Orchestre Novelty ‘instrumental’ The Orchestre Novelty appears to have benefited from the support and the patronage of the ‘Bana Nova’, a mutual-aid society in Brazza (these societies provided crucial support to many Orchestras of the era). In this track Toussaint Mobenga (?) sings, ‘It was not yet time for me to leave. Every since I left people have been begging me to return. Those who are against Nova were rejoicing. But I am back, once again within the warm embrace of the Bana Nova’. Orchestre Novelty ‘Bana Nova’ This next track is a more conventional love song. ‘I am still a bachelor. I am not going to get married. Think of me Josephine, you have no regrets, you don’t think of your family. Falling in love with someone is a mistake, after you my heart is not the same’. Orchestre Novelty ‘Josephine’ The fourth track on the reel is an instrumental dedicated to the ‘Bana Nova’. The refrain goes ‘Orchestra Nova, Novelty a fashionable orchestra’. Orchestre Novelty ‘Bana Nova # 2′ This track is another romantic tearjerker. ‘Think of me, think of what you are doing. There is no illness more virulent than love’. Orchestre Novelty ‘Bolingo’ The final track on the reel is a slow shuffle, a love song featuring some ripe clarinet playing by Paul Ngombe aka Penki: another wistful melody that nostalgically evokes the optimistic years of African independence. Orchestre Novelty ‘Slow’ Thanks to Fatouma Kalala for help with the translations and to Maitre Pierre Kalala, Maman Eugenie Lutula, and Buké Georges in Kinshasa. In Brazzaville, Adrien Wayi and especially Médard Miloundou provided most of the detailed information I have been able to pull together. via African Music Treasures
About a year ago, I posted a rare example of Albanian dance music (closely related to Epirotic music from Greece) recorded in the United States by Albanian-Americans. Now it’s time for some music from the same period, this time recorded in Albania ca. 1929. If you are unfamiliar with this particular type of Albanian music, it could turn out to be one of the most powerful musical experiences you may have – it certainly was for me. Many have written about how the landscape of Albania must have contributed to the preservation of such a varied and musically unique (sometimes even jarring) group of folk musics. The word “isolated” is often used to describe the country, largely because of the rugged mountain ranges that surround it (such as the Bjeshkët e Namuna, or “The Accursed Alps”). To this day, the majority of the Albania’s mostly Muslim population live in rural areas – quite the opposite of other European nations. The music of Albania, however, is so spectacularly different than the rest of Europe (with the possible exception of Epirus in Greece, where there is considerable overlap), that it seems to an outsider to be born of a different age altogether. Rodney Gallop, reviewing several 1930 Albanian discs for the Gramophone Company, called the music “uncouth” overall, yet was completely captivated enough, at that early date, to write positively about a series of discs with pressing numbers as low as 200 copies! A year before the Gramophone Company recorded in Tirana and Shkoder, the Columbia Graphophone Company made nearly 300 recordings across Albania, and had already recorded many Albanian discs in Istanbul in 1928. Some of these records – a total of 49 to be exact – were pressed in very small amounts in the United States, specifically for the Albanian immigrant population (in 1920, the Albanian-speaking population of the United States numbered a mere 6,000). This is one of those discs. This is the music of the Tosks, in southern Albania, and this piece was performed by an ensemble that appears to have been from the city of Fier in the southwest of the country. The most obvious (or maybe captivating) element of the music of the Tosks is the drone-like polyphony of the male vocalists in the background, who augment the lead singer with extended, nasal accompaniment on syllables such as “ay” or “e.” Another standout element is the halting and seemingly erratic rhythm of the string intrument (possibly the çiftelia) and the everpresent Albanian-style qernëte (clarinet), which sometimes seems to push the very limits of the instrument. In terms of the group, I could find nothing about them, though I believe the “Z.” in the title indicates that it is some kind of ensemble (all other Columbias of this type I have seen have “Z.” in front of the group name) and that ”Kjuj” may be a different transliteration of the name “Gjergj.” Further information is always welcome. At any rate, I hope this rates high. via Excavated Shellac
For our fourth and final African test pressing in this little series, we’ll end with a bang. It’s both a favorite record of mine and a type of music that I find powerful - that is, Hausa praise music from Nigeria. The recording of Hausa music began in the mid- to late 1920s. Some of the earliest were recorded by a man named John Barbour-James, from then-British Guiana, for the Duophone label, normally a company that issued British dance band tunes. A few years later, more songs in Hausa were recorded in London and issued on the Zonophone West African “EZ” series – a series that has been culled by reissuers repeatedly, with a total of 6 available CDs exclusively featuring Zonophone West African tracks.* The Germans appear to have been the first to record on-site in West Africa. They were in Nigeria ca. 1930-1931, and issued discs on the Parlophon label, which are now very scarce (although some excellent examples were reissued on the American Decca label 12+ years later). The late 1930s saw a little more activity. When Parlophon became Parlophone, after being purchased by the Gramophone Company, they recorded approximately 145 particularly excellent discs from West Africa in the mid- to late 1930s. How many Hausa recordings were released in that series? A grand total of five. However, they were all Hausa praise singers. I’m not sure precisely when labels began recording and selling Hausa music with more fervor, but by the 1950s, dozens of Hausa tunes were available, and were being issued by Parlophone, Decca, HMV, as well as by local independent labels like Tabansi. Unfortunately, I have no idea when this record was made. Its stamped matrix number matches no Parlophone series that I know of, and the number itself was stamped around the center hole, which was not a common practice used for issued discs. Judging by the erratic appearance of Hausa music until the 1950s, the chances are strong it’s from that decade, but I can’t be sure. The Hausa, a Muslim people, primarily live in northern Nigeria and southeastern Niger. Hausa praise singing, known as roko, is a method of eulogizing and expressing adulation. It’s an art form that is everpresent, at weddings and celebrations, yet the practioners themselves, known as maroka, are often of low social status. There are different types of roko performance, but the roko on this record features a lead singer, the one-stringed stick fiddle known as the goje (or one of its variants, such as the kukuma), percussion, and a “praise cryer” or kwando, who intersperses the lead singer’s melodic singing with shouts and recitation. If you’ve never heard it before, you are in for a treat! African Test Pressing, Number 4 via Excavated Shellac
It’s about that time to examine another unidentified disc from Africa. If the photo looks a little different, it’s because this disc is a “metal mother” – a one-sided 12″ disc with a positive image that was used to create what is known as a “stamper,” or the negative impression that created one side of a 78rpm disc that you would see in a gramophone store. It’s one step away from the master recording. Like the previous entries, because of the matrix number stamped into the disc, I was able to determine the original label for whom this disc was pressed. And, this one is special – the J2172 number indicates clears as day that it’s an original recording for the independent Ngoma label, based in Kinshasa from the late 1940s to the early 60s, in the present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo (Belgian Congo when this disc was pressed). While I’ve written about Ngoma and their musicians in previous entries, to me the history of recording in that part of the world remains a fascinating story. There was little to no recording made in what is now the two Congos, until after World War II – a full four decades after recording had begun in other parts of the continent (Egypt being the first recording market in Africa). For a lot of 78rpm and early music historians, that might seem strange – collectors and scholars are often looking for the “earliest example of” this, or “pre-war” that. But there was no “pre-war” anything in this region, save for perhaps some ethnographic recording. The fact remains that the recording industry, while very active on the continent, didn’t really get to much of Sub-Saharan Africa until after WWII. The hundreds of West African recordings made in the late 1920s for Zonophone remain the first serious foray into recording Sub-Saharan music. But, those were all done in London. From ca. 1930 on, things got more serious – the Germans and French began recording in earnest in West and East Africa, and South African recording began with the Gallo labels (Singer at first, then Gallotone). Yet, Gallo aside, the recording by the multinationals was quite spotty until after WWII, and by then, independent labels were cropping up in many major African cities. Situated on the Congo River, and with navigable access to many parts of the Congo River Basin, Kinshasa was a natural spot for the humble beginnings of independent Congolese music  recording and production. Where the multinationals were absent, independent labels filled the void. Olympia from Belgium was the first, beginning ca. 1946. They hold the title for the first releases of Congolese, Latin-influenced popular music, and the first to issue records by Camille Feruzi and the great Wendo. The Ngoma label was next to appear – begun by two Greek brothers originally from Alexandria, Egypt, named Alexandros and Nicolas Jeronimidis. In a very short amount of time, a musical revolution took place. Ngoma’s releases of music by Feruzi, Leon Bukasa, and Henri Bowane (also Ngoma’s A&R man, so to speak), were huge sellers - and what was continuing to develop and formulate was the Latin-influenced rumba lingala. The story of rumba in Congo, it’s practitioners, it’s influences, and it’s effect on music throughout Africa has been studied by many others more learned than I. It simply flew off the shelves. In Kinshasa alone, by the late 50s, when the political situation during the rise to independence became difficult to say the least, the music scene was flourishing. There were so many 78 labels! Olympia, Ngoma, Loningisa, Opika (formerly Kina), Elengi, Lomeka and Kongo Bina (apparently affiliated with Olympia), Esengo, CEFA, African Jazz, Surboum…they were so popular that the European companies began to license the music on those independents! But, what about the music that these labels recorded that was not rumba, not guitar music, and not pop? Hugh Tracey would make many recordings of local music in Congo in 1950, 1952, and beyond. But Ngoma, and to a lesser degree (it seems to me) Opika, appear to be the only Kinshasa-based labels that went beyond popular music to record music from other neighboring regions and cultures. The four main languages that Congolese popular music was performed in were Lingala, Kikongo, Swahili, and Luba dialects. Ngoma actually seemed to travel to record regional music in the Kele language, the Ngbandi language, and the Ngombe language among others. They also recorded local Cameroonian music in Bamiléké languages. They distributed their recordings in stores outside of Kinshasa, including Kisangani, Katanga province, Bukavu, and in Douala, Cameroon. So, what is this track, exactly? Well, I don’t know. It’s a drum and vocal piece, and probably regional, that’s for sure. While I know there are Ngoma catalogs that exist, I doubt they list matrix numbers, so we probably couldn’t trace our J2172 number unless there’s someone out there who actually has the disc. Ngoma’s catalog numbers start at number 1. Judging by other Ngoma records that I have, I am guessing that it was released somewhere between 1020 and 1100 in their catalog….in the early 1950s, I’d say. African Test Pressing, Number 3 Technical Notes Matrix Number: J2172 Additionally: Dave Murray (of Haji Maji) has a fantastic new LP out on Parlortone, featuring his 78s of luk-thung music from Thailand. You can buy it here. Peter Doolan of Monrakplengthai wrote the liner notes, Michael Graves of Osiris Studios did the mastering and audio work, and I helped out a little bit, too. Be sure and check it out. And in the scholarly department, the Centre for African Studies in Basel has digitized a considerable collection of Nigerian recordings originally issued on the Parlophone label in the early 1950s. There’s some wonderful music here and the original series is fairly obscure – you can listen and read transcripts here. Thanks to Zim for the heads-up. via Excavated Shellac
And here we go with another mysterious African test pressing. The last test pressing, although not yet officially identified, brought about some thoughtful conversation in the comments section, especially from well-known author and scholar Professor John Collins, who graciously found time to stop by. This time, we’re moving to another part of the continent. One listen to this wonderfully easygoing track with its marabi feel, its percussion, piano, and concertina accompaniment, and it is clear that we’re in Southern Africa. However, as with the last test pressing, we’re left with very little to identify the record. Yet, I believe we can get very close to this one – it may all come down to that terribly arcane study of the matrix number. Think of the matrix number as the “unique identifier” for each side of a record, stamped in the dead wax of the 78. As I described in the last post, each matrix number generally refers back to a one-sided master recording - or at least, a stamper. As you can see from the photo, the matrix number of this record also happens to be written in pen on the blank label: ABC10319. There’s one major African record company that used the “ABC” prefix on an abundance of their recordings and that was Gallotone (and its subsidiary label, Trek), the most well-known African independent label, which was based in Johannesburg and founded by Eric Gallo. What’s also interesting is that the “ABC” number series was frequently used by famed African ethnomusicologist and recordist Hugh Tracey - a name that pops up frequently on Excavated Shellac - when recording artists for Gallotone/Trek. Thankfully, both Tracey’s International Library of African Music (ILAM), as well as the South African Music Archive Project are both online, and one can search matrix numbers – even those matrices that were not issued on commercial recordings (as far as I can tell). Unfortunately, this matrix is NOT found in either place. What is tantalizing, however, is that in the ILAM you can find matrix numbers that are very close in range to this one, and they appear to indeed be Hugh Tracey masters, possibly unissued. For instance, ABC10316 is a recording by legendary Zimbabwean guitarist George Sibanda. ABC10323 is by Mozambican guitarist Feliciano Gomes. And ABC10320 – just one number above this record – is an untitled piece simply credited to “Zulu Men.” Could this record be from the same session? Was it ever issued? Of course, it’s important to remember that these questions should have no bearing on our enjoyment of the music. In fact, perhaps they even bog us down. Perhaps they say more about our need for mystery than anything else, or our need to compartmentalize various musical styles. Or, our need to equate a recording with a price tag on the open market, enabling future collectors to fetishize it. Part of what I enjoy about these anonymous (for now) recordings, is that they have the potential to challenge our assumptions about their origins, language, style, and worth. It’s a flat disc with a scribbled number on it – and yet it can be so much more. African Test Pressing, Number 2 via Excavated Shellac
For the next few weeks I thought it would be enjoyable to post some of my one-sided, African test pressings. By their very nature and format, these recordings are mysterious. There is no artist or title information on them. There is no African 78rpm music discography to consult for further information, and I would not hold your breath for one either as such an effort, no matter how worthy, would take at least a decade of full-time, backbreaking (some might say “thankless”) transcribing, research, and collaboration. So, in order to attempt to identify the music and artists on these records we have only what we can see – such as the paper label and the stamped matrix numbers in the shellac – and most importantly, what we can hear. So, what exactly is a 78rpm test pressing, anyway? It’s the same as a vinyl test pressing, except the process to make a 78rpm record is a bit different. There are many complicated steps in that process, but the Cliff’s Notes version goes something like this: the life of a 78rpm record on shellac began, before the use of magnetic tape, with the creation of a one-sided wax or lacquer master created by a cutting stylus. The master was then copper-plated and the wax removed, leaving a “metal master.” These metal masters were negative impressions. The metal master was then electroplated in order to create a “metal mother,” which was a positive impression of the master. These metal mothers were used to create “stampers.” A stamper was also a negative impression, but was coated with chromium, enabling it to be strong enough to be used in a pressing machine and create a score of duplicates. These impressions made from the stampers were the 78s that were sold to the public – several steps removed from the original recording, as you can see. Very often, the first few discs from a new stamper were made as test pressings. They tend to sound better than your average 78 because the stamper was brand new, and hadn’t been overused in the creation of duplicates (a source of many a noisy shellac record). Collectors of early jazz, blues, pop, and country records have the benefit of well-researched discographies notating primary and alternate takes of recordings – in other words, if you found a test pressing of an American jazz record from the 1920s, chances are high that you could ID that performer, artist, and song title simply from the matrix number on the record, if you had nothing else to go by. You might get incredibly lucky and find that hypothetical test pressing was a hitherto unknown take of a well-known performance. It’s not quite the same with recordings made outside the US, alas – far from it, in fact. Most of the time we are right back where we started, using our eyes and ears. I’m gonna get a little nerdy here (if I haven’t already). Starting with the most obvious clue, it’s clear this record was made by the Gramophone Company in England. The second clue is the number impressed in the shellac: 0AB-70007-1A. I know that the company used the prefix 0AB- for His Master’s Voice recordings made in West Africa, beginning in the 1930s. However, checking all of my West African HMVs, I don’t have anything that goes as high as 70007, even up through the late-1950s. What does that mean? Well, this record, if it ever was released publicly, was likely issued on a series that I don’t have any examples of. It also could have been a private pressing, or a disc pressed by the Gramophone Company for a different label, or it may never have been issued to the public at all. The music? Well, it’s clear as day to me that it’s definitely West African, and probably from Nigeria. The tell-tale signs are the percussion and rhythm style, and the addition of the pennywhistle, which was used frequently by highlife bands in Nigeria, such as the Jolly Orchestra and other groups that I have examples by. If I had to guess, I would say that it’s Yoruba, and from the late 1940s – mid-1950s. But, I could very well be wrong on both counts. It’s possible that this piece can be identified, either by another intrepid collector or by a trip to the EMI Archive. It’s possible that it may remain a mystery. But the music is here, for now… Update 1/27/11 Following the comments on this thread, we seem to have narrowed things down a little – judging simply by the music, it seems this could be the band Congo Abana Club, from Sierra Leone (recording in Nigeria, perhaps) and their soloist “Piccolo Pete.” Thanks to all who have participated in the discussion here and on the Excavated Shellac Facebook page! Update 1/30/11 Enlightening things further: we now have confirmation that the language is NOT Yoruba (admittedly, things were heading in that direction). Further, in the comments section, the well-known African music scholar John Collins has graciously stepped in, illuminating us with more important detail. African Test Pressing, Number 1 via Excavated Shellac
Tips for making the most of your summer festival excursion.
DJ Camilo gives BTR the low down on NYC's premier hip-hop festival, Hot 97's Summer Jam.
Baba Ndongo l'Album Acoustique Pulaar Face A Kali Alfa Baccili Bojal Danniyanke Jam Jam Fanay Ndooro Face B Hammadi Gaynaako Teddungal Abdul Aata Meer Biige Mbelamma Nammarel Yeewti So it turns out Paris is a mecca for Awesome Tapes from Africa. There are shops selling North and West African music all over the place. It also turns out I didn't need to go all the way to France to find this tape for sale: you can purchase it at iTunes. Considering how bananas this recording of laid back, exquisitely performed Pulaar instrumental ensemble music is.... Playing African tapes in Germany and France last couple weeks was great fun, I met so many enthusiastic and knowledge people. And many of them fucking dance. Thanks to everyone for helping make it a big success. Awesome Tapes From Africa
Don’t be fooled by the title—Burning Man is not your average festival. There are no stages, no rave tents, no veggie burritos or fried dough to buy at vendors.
Professor Jay Machozi Jasho Na Damu Side A Ndio Mzee Jay Jr. Interlude Jina Langu Bongo Dar Interlude Bongo Dar es Salaam Yataka Moyo Nawakilisha Side B Intro Machozi Jasho na Damu Piga Makofi Niamini Salamu Bibi na Babu Tathimini Interlude Tathimini Na Bado Outro Man, I love Tanzanian bongo flava genius Professor Jay. This tape from 2001—his first album—is so good it makes the one I previously posted seem almost dull now. This must be the most awesome African hip-hop I've heard since Baloji tore the roof off Joe's Pub that one time. Thanks to Peter in Berlin for this. Awesome Tapes From Africa
The European music festivals that might actually be worth the airline ticket and week off from work.
Ninie Tsara Olo Be Face A Tsara Olo Be Maro Lehilahy Samy Mizaha Ny Tiany Akory Ataoko Anao [Efa Janga not included in this tape??] Face B Mandiniha Hely Allo Allo Ataonao Adala Zaho Zanahary If you like fast-paced dance jams from Madagascar, have a look-see here. Track 4 is rough though, proceed with caution there. via Awesome Tapes From Africa
Koji Kondo admirers and 8-bit chip lovers come together this weekend at Eyebeam for the fifth annual Blip Festival, a giant three-day long music and performance arts event sponsored by music collective 8bitpeoples and non-profit arts organization The Tank.
Kiné Lam Sunu Thiossane 2 Face A Mame Thierno MBaarmi Kor Leer Lebu Face B Deuram Sourang MBeri Wakh Baakhoul Souma Sagnone Whoa, thanks to Christian for this idyllic journey into the complexity of mbalax. It can be a bit off-putting to some listeners. But spend a little time with recordings like this and you'll see why mbalax causes intensely thoughtful disturbances across Dakar and the rest of Senegal. The forceful rhythmic precision, the effusive vocal outbursts and the brilliant lilt of it all reveal layers of meaning amidst the seeming-chaos. I for one am looking forward to unearthing further swagged out moments on this tape. There appear to be many. via Awesome Tapes From Africa
Point Reyes are a wild trio who don't play folk, damn it.
Tianjama Face 1 Soanada Donia Regarega Atero Amy Babana Sanga Sirana Sabina Dady Ropilany Face 2 Zegny Vaovao Tsiakafara Tody Vola Parata Doudou Fini Zaho Tanora + Iadan'i Toto Eka Lemarijy (1ere partie) Dance the night away like you're in Tananarive, Madagascar. This tape is from 1991. Thanks to Jon for the hook up. via Awesome Tapes From Africa
One of the most interesting evolutions of this superpower of the Internet happened when someone started searching for instructions rather than for notions, and so, the online DIY movement began.
From recording to shameless self-promotion, Doing-It-Yourself is a mainstay career ethic for the Internet age musician. However, for 59-year-old songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and legendary lo-fi auteur R. Stevie Moore, it has been way of life for over four decades.
As cigarette prices sky rocket and anti-smoking legislation tightens its grip, we offer a guide to growing your own tobacco.
A short cd run of Malian centric field recordings that I put together for the USC Africa Health Initiative fundraiser. The image is inspired (and lifted) from the photographs of Seydou Keita, Malian studio photographer renowned for his use of African fabrics in the compositions. download here via sahelsounds
How social media is impacting DIY culture, and vice versa.
The trans-cultural exchange in musical phenomena, peripheral to the song as it may be is often at the forefront of discussion. Understandably so. The story of the creation of a style can read like an epic — it appeals to the old folk concept of the passage of music with people, minstrels or migrants. As the world approaches an informatic singularity, the door is thrown open to a barrage of influences. But preferred sound still follows those familiar well trodden tracks, like the one that leads from Mumbai to Kano. Hausa Hip Hop Ziriums (myspace), a hip hop artist at the forefront of the Kano movement (and whose political lyrics have gotten many of the songs banned) explains the Indian sound: “The number one influence is Indian movies in Northern Nigeria….our parents, our grandparents grew up watching them. In Northern Nigeria all cinemas, play ONLY Indian movies….even now if you go there, they know everything going on in Bollywood..…you know when you listen to something, no matter how much you avoid it and you try to be creative, it’s going to have the feeling of what you were listening to…” Kano’s Hip Hop is undoubtedly influenced by the massive output from the West. Such that there is a prominent rivalry between the rappers and the Bollywood influenced Nanaye. Even so, the hip hop bears the stylistic signature of Hausa music, never far from India. Ziriums samples include much of the Indian music popular in Kano — including this track, Yanchi Na, which was created from the instrumental of a popular Indian film, Ta Ra Rum Pum and it’s title track “Hey Shona”. Ziriums – Yanchi Na 0:00 / 0:00DownloadRight-click and save as to download. Sunidhi Chauhan and Shaan – Hey Shona 0:00 / 0:00DownloadRight-click and save as to download. More about Ziriums via this brief segment (CNN!) and much much more at A Tunanina… via sahelsounds
Quirky is a new Website connecting aspiring inventors with "influencers" who give feedback on their ideas. Their policy on copyright protection? Funny you should ask...
Trading some laptop tunes with a government employee in Mali, I copied a folder called Mali Rap — featuring a few more tracks from Malian rapper Iba One. While Iba may not technically be from the Sahel, his digital version is. Iba One – Alhamdoulilaye 0:00 / 0:00DownloadRight-click and save as to download. Iba One – Yerefo 0:00 / 0:00DownloadRight-click and save as to download. Iba One – Fousco via sahelsounds
Are you craving a delicious meal from your favorite restaurant? Well, why not do it yourself, have some fun and save some money while you're at it.
The four stringed African lute (previously) known by a variety of names across West Africa: Xalam in Wolof, Ngoni in Bambara, Tidnit in Hassaniya, Tehardine in Tamashek, Hoddu in Pulaar, and so on… The general construction and concept is the same. The resonator is made of wood from the Commiphora Africana (adres in Arabic, adearas in Tamashek). The four strings are historically horse hair, today more commonly fishing line or bicycle cables. Aghaly Ag Moumine, Thardine – Timbouctou, Mali DownloadRight-click and save as to download. Ahmed “Imbend”, Tidnit – Chinguetti, Mauritania DownloadRight-click and save as to download. Cheikh, Thardine – Kidal, Mali DownloadRight-click and save as to download. The instrument still carries a stigma — and the inference of belonging to a non-mobile lower class. Lute musicians do not simply play but are also luthiers, constructing their own instruments for hundreds of years. But the ubiquity of the instrument across W. Africa has set the stage for a replacement, in the form of the guitar. The contemporary difference being that the latter carries none of the social baggage. The exception being those that can innovate and redefine themselves in the midst of rapid cultural shifts… Bassekou Kouyate, Ngoni – Timbouctou, Mali via sahelsounds
DIY has risen from starting out as a revolutionary idea to now becoming the norm for bands to conduct themselves.
Not many people could challenge legendary Afro-beat musician Fela Kuti. However, one of Fela’s own comrades did. Let us introduce you to Pax Nicholas our BTR Discovery Artist of the week.
Music from Saharan Cellphones Vol. 2 — more of the same, if not an increased selection of sounds from Mauritania (referred to as “Jagwa” collectively east of Shinqit). Again, all mp3s collected in the town of Kidal, the quintessential desert crossroad. Some of the track titles are lost to the id3 dustbin of history, but the tracklist is best replicated here, with a few creative flourishes: Side A: Mdou – Niger Mouma Bob – Imidi Amanar – Alghafiat Fenomenal – Mix Polisario Jagwa Side B: Pekele – Decale علي سيدح عبدي فون Yalah Lalal-Kanaye – Soul Tamasheq Mauritanie Nouakchott 48 hours Bayta – Aicha download link via sahelsounds
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, iPhone Apps, eCards, and more... the Internet and Social Media are changing the way we honor our moms on Mother's Day!
Are teen mothers being glorified or vilified by the media?
DOWNLOAD Rashad definitely tore down the walls at the infamous the other day, with a continuous two-hour set comprised of new material and rehashed classics. Definitely a good day for the radio in England, now if only we had decent radio in Chicago. Rashad’s been pushing his tracks on local Kiss and Power 92 DJs so we can only hope this stuff gets radio play locally like it used to. via IT'S AFTER THE END OF THE WORLD
An interview with the legendary bassist of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club about being a mother and musician at the same time.
Along with his cousins Shaun-D and Master-D, Deschuurman was one of the first DJs that I heard making what I jokingly called Future Bubbling. It wasn’t old school chipmunk battle tracks, and it wasn’t quite Dutch House. It was a fresh sound that put the Caribbean drums that I loved over eager Fruity Loops synths, sounding like and update of what DJ Chuckie used to make. Deschuurman took the time to talk to me about this sound, simply called Bubbling House, as well as clear up some of my own confusion about the current state of dance music in The Netherlands. Me: Who are you, and what is your role in dance music in the Netherlands? Deschuurman: My name is Guillermo Schuurman (it’s a Spanish name), I was born and raised in The Hague and I’m 19 years old right now. The type of music that people know me for is bubbling, all over Holland. I think I’m kinda an underdog but still all the people know who I am. I don’t have a role, it’s just, it’s a hype type sound, and next to house music I think it’s never gonna leave. M: How did you get you get your start DJing? D: I was already making music on my own, but all of my cousins where DJing. I always told myself that I was a DJ, but they told me “no…you’re not a DJ you’re a producer, so I kinda wanted to finish the job. That’s when I seriously started. M: For those that don’t know, who are your cousins? D: Haha, I have a very big family in this bubbling, house industry. Well: DJ Daycard, DJ Shaun-D (a cousin of his was married to a family member of mine), DJ Master-D, Stiko Jnr, and DJ Justme. And DJ Chippie (the founder of bubbling music, together with DJ Moortje) is the father of Justme, so he’s my uncle. M: You were basically born into bubbling then really. How does bubbling fit into the culture of the Netherlands? D: Well…DUTCH people aren’t that familiar with this genre. They dance to it though, but that doesn’t make the party. I think it’s the erotic way Surinamese, Latin, and Antillean people dance it: A guy, grinding a girl from the back or the front on the beat. It made the party scene here for black and Latin people. Bubbling is a must have for every DJ. M: When I ask a lot of people from Holland about Bubbling these days, they kind of laugh at me and claim it’s been dead for years, why is that? D:  Because in the olden days, the artists where all about the party. Now it’s all about the money and house music is taking over. A bubbling DJ will never make the kinda money a house DJ will, and it’s seen as a music style for kids around 14 or 16 years old now. House music is more mature and bubbling is not. In the olden days EVERYBODY was listening to bubbling. It’s different now. M: So what are the bubbling parties like these days that you play, as opposed to parties when bubbling was more popular? D: Well..all over Holland there are different bubbling parties, but they play urban music, number 1 radio hip-hop, and r&b music. The only bubbling track that you will hear is Party Crasher from (DJ) Chuckie (he bought that beat from my cousin Stiko Jnr).  And the old school bubbling riddims? Yeah a little bit but only the familiar ones. M: Which riddims do you still hear? D: Bam Bam and the Fever Pitch riddims. That song of DJ Chippie also, “In de Zomer Zie Je Ze” (you see them in the summer). Those are actually the only ones. M: When did house music take over the parties in Holland, and what were the big tracks that made it happen? D: Umm…I think it was 2007 or 2008, when Vato Gonzales started to show up with a different type of sound. It wasn’t house…we were calling it Dirty House, and in those days you had these big parties in Holland called “Nope is Dope”. It was so different too…uplifting, and FOR EVERYONE. Black people and white people could listen to it together, because in the remixes they mixed hip-hop tracks and Jamaican sounds. The track that made it happen was I think Vato Gonzales – Badman Riddim, one of the biggest ones! I think that is the biggest Dirty House tune that really took over the music scene. M: Now what DJs like you, Daycard, Shaun-D, and Master-D do is a meeting of house and bubbling, where you still have the bubbling drums but the synths of Dutch House. Does this work well together because it has rhythms that people from Surinam and the Antilles are familiar with, but at the same time the uplifting qualities of house? D: Yes! I think this is the most successful type of sound out here, because like I said, bubbling will never “completely” disappear. So by combining these different genres, it’s  a take over. The newest hits are all bubbling house tracks, especially those with Baile Funk acapellas from Brazil to get that tropical sound. I think that’s the new type of sound, it’s only a matter of time. M: With the Netherlands having such huge mix of immigrant cultures from all over the world it makes sense that it would work that way. Where do you see local music going in the future? D: I think it’s always gonna be a world where music is chosen by people who own the TV stations, but we will always try to take that and combine it with something else, like with bubbling house. Maybe bubbling house will have a chance, but who knows? M: Have you had many people contact with you with interest in your music through the internet? Who from elsewhere would you like to work with? D: Nah, I guess you’re the only one who is interested in my bubbling stuff, but my rap beats are out of this world #NotHuman. I already had some contact with English rap groups on my Soundcloud page, but with bubbling and house, nobody. In rap, I really want to work with somebody from Young Money. It seems unlikely but is think it’s possible. I think they can do something with house! In the house scene or bubbling house scene I think that Black Eyed Peas are a good candidate for me . M: Well Lil Wayne’s favorite place in the world is Amsterdam, so you might have a chance. DM: Haha yeah that’s right. Let’s hope that I will get that one chance! M: Who are some artists out of the Netherlands that those of us in other countries should keep an eye out for that we might not know? DM: Marciano Mauritio, he’s a beginner, a family member of mine too haha. He saw how me and Daycard were doing it, and he wanted in too. M: Is there anything else you would like to add? D: If anyone would like to contact me for any info, just email me at If you wanna hear house, bubbling or rap beats (on a high level), visit and maybe we can do business. Wrekonize Agency! via IT'S AFTER THE END OF THE WORLD
The pros and cons of your mother joining everyone's favorite social network.
DJ Leikers vs DJ Doll – Kaliyon Ka Chaman (bubbling remix) From the rats nest I call my bubbling collection. Not a surprising find or anything, just nice. Not even much novelty value in this, the drums sound pretty natural to me. The Autotune is a plus too. via IT'S AFTER THE END OF THE WORLD
I wrote the liner notes for this, which you can read here. The album is out June 6th on CD, double vinyl, and digital. Seems like only yesterday that I stumbled upon him trolling through Dutch social networking sites. In other writing news, I also penned a review on the Trax reissues for the new issue of The Wire, which comes with an awesome photo of Phuture. It’s not so much sappy nostalgia for the golden years of House, but more about why those records are still relevant today. via IT'S AFTER THE END OF THE WORLD
The BreakThru Radio staff honors dear ol' mom with a rundown of tracks the remind us of our mothers! Mr. T's "Treat Your Mother Right" is obviously a classic!
Thornwood High School staff member Boylan’s Mystery EP is out on Ghettophiles today, which has been on heavy rotation lately and is definitely one of my favorite releases of 2011. I’ve always been keen on his ear for samples, whether they be Spaghetti Western guitars or classic Crucial Conflict grabs, and his knack for creating lofty sci-fi situations within the framework of a footwork track is only getting stronger. While he might be viewed as an outsider to the genre, his position is unique. Not only does he teach Chemistry at the same institution many of the founding fathers of this music schooled at, but he’s secretly been making tracks in his little closet studio for years. Well, secretly if you missed his releases on Juke Trax the first time around that is. As a little treat, Boylan is allowing me to put up EOG, an oldie but goodie from those days, another one that channels Ennio Morricone and the Man With No Name to the circle.  Boylan – EOG via IT'S AFTER THE END OF THE WORLD
As we wrap up Entrepreneur Week on BreakThru Radio, it’s time to explore how to get a loan for starting a small business.
Music industry insiders and entrepreneurs weigh in on whether or not Myspace has truly "died."
window (previously mentioned) sent over this dj set he recently did and allowed me to post it up online for all of you to hear. Full of 14 banging tracks (along with a window track I previously blogged about), it is an ideal set for a night out on the town - universe dancing - with your best bud. window dj set tracklist: pictureplane - no eyes window - rokkdaboatyrluvrrrmx silk flowers - frozen moments (nite jewel remix) teeth - see spaces (visions of trees remix) ciara - deuces (nguzunguzu remix) girl unit - wut zomby - where were u in ‘92 nike7up - a world of my own megalith mix nguzunguzu - strut hollagramz - spectral crush shock diamond - wild boys teengirl fantasy - azz klapz hollagramz - retrograde britney spears - inside out Get it here. via Unholy Rhythms
How Kickstarter campaigns are helping artists and entrepreneurs find funding for their wildest ideas.
Underneath the blood-red, copper laden sky, we set out to right our wrongs. Gripping your skeletal frame in my hands, I was holding to an era that no longer existed. I could feel your life, your glorious spirit, slipping from me - unrecognizable and frail. A small shadow - succumbing and receding. We became unfocused and unsure, afraid of our destiny. You were the one that we all strive to follow - the one whose dreams were large and uncontainable. Our goals, unattainable and unrecognized, were merged with yours - your dreams were our own. Detoured - restrained and tortured - you were unable to face your new exterior. Tainted prestige, shattered eminence - decrepit duke - weakly and woful. Party Trash’s “Alone” is a soundtrack for caliginous, vexing somnambulant visits. With brooding, slow-climbing climaxes often accompanied by staccato drum beats - it is a realization of a fading dream. Haunting, apparitional bard - conjuring playful, lingering spirits. A limited edition cassette will be out via Clan Destine Records. In the meantime, get the album here for a mere $5. via Unholy Rhythms
That sneaking temptation - tumultuous enrapture - swallows my countenance whole. With every banishment, my desire to no longer be yours grows frail. My heart, which once beat for no one, now only beats for you. Angered by this realization, I seek solace in self surgery - stitches in the name of solitude. Convinced my new contraption would allow me to perform this solo, I set aside some time for this inner body exploration. Sharpening the surgical instruments, I giggle giddily at the thought of this withdrawal. An uprooting of ardency - this diseased, blackened cavity. The first cut stings and radiates through out my body yet I cannot look away. This extraction was what I desired, no, what I need to survive. A flick of the scalpel, a crack of the rib cage - my beating, pulsating heart is now exposed. Cast out and shining - pounding rhythmically. Heartless and unveiled. Flaunting, fickle femme. Imagine a world where instead of Chris Isaak, some Bauhaus-ian, new wave, dark, goths grab a hold of “Wicked Game”. Adam Parkinson, Man With Feathers, releases such a track - a pining for an atramentous dystopia. Dark synth heavy, crooning, moaning - near insanity. A craving so intense, so angered - accompanied occasional feedback - overcome by a deep, warbling bass. A wobble - a thump - like the shaking of heart; your countenance disturbed by your unfamiliar actions. You can hear more at soundcloud and download the set, “Dark Crimes and Ley Lines” in its entirety. Man With Feathers - Wicked Game via Unholy Rhythms
Movers and shakers of this generation are a more fascinating breed than political leaders or celebrities alone. Today's rising entrepreneurs are entering the game younger--some not out of college even--and succeeding at a rate surpassing their predecessors.
As the clouds broke, and the darkness vanished, we could tell things would not remain the same. You, clandestine and transformed, were undergoing an unspeakable metamorphosis, one we could not foresee. Your true intentions, once unrealized, were now on display. Hellish and brutal, you were to eschew benevolence - encouraging gore, mayhem, and vicious, visceral, violence. From afar, I could see the corner of your upper lip curl - forming a sinister, sardonical smile. Screams and pleas filled the air as this demonic nightmare became reality. If I were to close my eyes, I could feel you tugging at my flesh - reminding me that you desired to own me. Repulsed and determined, I tore through as much flesh and bone as possible - granting me my freedom. Impetuous intentions - savage soulmate - a maelstrom of malice. More brilliant, trance inducing witch house from Melbourne’s GOSTS (previously mentioned). With perfectly, spine tingling, undulating synths, accent heavy claps, and well-placed vocals samples, “MAGIA” is a promising look towards the future. Ethereal and bewitching. Get it here for $5. You won’t be sorry. Via Unholy Rhythms
Learn about our genre-bending, Bay Area based Discovery Artist of the Week, Exray's.
In the name of vengeance, I would journey far and wide. My eyes, bloodshot and stinging, were dyed a copper-red with anger. I would scour the land side, searching in spots that were at once familiar at unfamiliar, knowing that you were once there. Those little clues you left behind for me, were my personal vendetta treasures - trinkets of turbulence. At night, I would dream of your demise, hoping to feel you expire at my hands. In the morning, I would awake - rested and restored with repulsive rancor. When your hiding place was revealed, I could not help but giggle with delight. The time was now upon us - your lovely, brutal demise. Gruesome, grisly finale - morbid madam - scholar of slaughter. Every so often there is an artist that I feel makes music JUST for me - Exeter is one of them. Taking bits and pieces from old horror film soundtracks, 80s pop tunes, and blending them together in a mixture of chopped and sampled mastery, Exeter is truly one amazing artist. Bombastic, buzzing beats weave in and out of a lush tapestry of samples to create fresh and exciting tracks. Jaw droppingly, head bobbingly, good. Exeter - Cathode Drama Exeter - OTT (huge nudge to Tripp) Via Unholy Rhythms
Happy Easter to all those celebrating. And, congratulations to anyone who participated in Lent- you made it! Time to get back on the wagon with one of the most popular vices... candy! And, there is not better place to get it than Dewey's!
How Fat Tuesday has turned into big business over the centuries.
The desire to improve oneself is an impulse that teeters between virtue and vice. It’s one thing to take the elevator instead of the stairs, or resist eating that extra Girl Scout Cookie in order to shed a few pounds.
I played Santigold’s debut LP harder than Jimi Hendrix played his first guitar, albeit without loads of legendary artistic results to show for it. It was this time in 2008 when Santigold busted onto the scene with ear tickling track after track, producing a record that played more like a collection of smash singles than a comprehensive piece of artwork. And that’s great, it works perfectly for her and I hope her latest track “Go” – featuring the shrilling vocals of Karen O – is the first domino to fall in a long line of summertime sizzlers: Karen is the ying to Santi’s yang, mixing a forceful head-bobbing voice with the dynamic chords of Ms. O. She’s picking up right where she left off a few years ago and adding taking the fire from the bellies of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is never a bad idea, I just wish Karen O had a more prominent part in the song. But hey, the Santi lines up and Karen O knocks ‘em down approach works for me. via I Guess I'm Floating
Guilty pleasures-- we all have them. BTR recently polled their staff on the songs, artists, and albums that make their hearts soar and everyone else cringe.
A closer look at the debates surrounding the decriminalization and medicinal use of marijuana in America.
When you sit in an office chair all day, ergonomic or not, you become pretty adept at moving your body in weird gyrations.. but only from the waist up. The only thing worthwhile south of the torso is tapping your feet, and I’ve mastered that so heavily I’m like a stationary version of friggin’ Riverdance or an extra from that annoying Volkswagen commercial. However, Chicago is at it yet again with another new band that will force you out of your chair and most likely on top of it, grooving along to the futuristic R&B sounds of Supreme Cuts. “Issues” is a head bobbing, foot thumping, torso twirling jam (featuring what sounds like a whirly tube) pushing us closer to the weekend – a place where these songs will thrive! A mixture of samples, creative chopped verses, and original musicianship allow Supreme Cuts to create some spectacular music. If How To Dress Well’s balls dropped and he made a love child with James Blake while tripping acid in the back of hazy, laser light infested club, Supreme Cuts would be said child. Oh, and Mary J Blige would totally be the fairy godmother in this scenario and Supreme Cuts.. they’re not messing around with a pumpkin, Deloreans only. I can dig future R&B; it’s gritty yet sexy, careless yet smooth, and makes for one hell of a listen. [MP3] Supreme Cuts – Amnesia This Chicago duo is hard at work on an EP, so future R&B might not be so far off in the future after all. We’ll keep you posted on details as they develop, dig into some more tunes til then. via I Guess I'm Floating
The Queens-via-Brooklyn MC and DJ talks to BTR about where he came from and his feelings on the current state of hip hop.
“I need some summer sun to come and wake me up!” Sometimes I wish I hadn’t grown up with a healthy dosage of all four seasons, blindly trudging through the years without the peaks and valleys of blistering summers and frigid winters. Oblivious to the various temperatures, percentages of precipitation, and fickle weeks of in-between weather lurking around the corner of any given calendar month. Yes, while I’ve grown up with Mother Nature the hyperactive, indecisive puppy those living in Southern California have been hanging with Mother Nature the mellow, steadfast dog. Both have their benefits, but I doubt Dirty Gold would sound this good without perpetual sunlight fueling their sound. [MP3] Dirty Gold – California Sunrise This outfit is charming, like catching sun-rays through fluffy white lo-fi clouds or sitting around a campfire on the beach watching this percussion heavy group get through a song in such alluring fashion you forget you’re even holding a cold beer. Connor featured this group briefly with TV Girl last week but they deserve some proper love, especially with a stellar debut EP coming out via Aquarium Drunkard’s lovely little label Autumn Tone. via I Guess I'm Floating
Girl Scout Cookies are an American tradition that date back as far as 1917 and their is more to them than meets the eye... errr, stomach.
I hope nasty-weathered Tuesdays make you want to dance! No? Well this vibrant slice of thumping electro funk from Ireland of all places, as Prop Joe would say, might could do, courtesy of Bantum: [MP3] Bantum – Slide “Slide” takes off with that Ratatat-patented lighting bolt guitar slide and builds into a different beast, no less electrifying and spastic than what you might have expected. It doesn’t take much meddling, a slight key change and a simple medley of notes and beats, that sets a template for the track’s explosion around the 4:10 mark, bringing it all back for round two. I hope y’all dig this as much as I do — there’s another pair of tracks from the Slide EP (as well as a few older releases) at Bantum’s bandcamp page, all for free consumption. via I Guess I'm Floating
Queens DJ and MC has a subtle but telling twist on the game.
A study of 200 college students who were required to refrain from Internet and phone usage for 24 hours, prompts many to surmise they were suffering bouts of depression stemming from “isolation” or lack of socialization. Really? Have we become that hooked on the Internet?
Last night Animal Collective debuted a swarm of new material (ten new/unreleased songs) on the crowd at Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, CA. They’ve been known to frequently try out new material on tour and adapt it as they go, so if anything it’s a good sign and perhaps points to a release in the late-2011 early-2012 months. These new cuts are really the first bulk of post-MPP material we’ve got from them collectively, and listening to the bootleg arouses some interesting speculation how their sound has transformed since then and where it might end up on the new album. Here’s a pair of untitled new songs, the first a Panda-lead jam and a second that’s more in Avey’s neck of the woods: [MP3] Animal Collective – Untitled #5 [MP3] Animal Collective – Untitled #8 When “What Would I Want Sky?” came out on the Fall Be Kind EP it showcased a shift from the music we’re used to hearing from these guys: drum and bass heavy, Grateful Dead sampling, and submerged further into dub than they’d ever sought to go. It was remarkably different than anything else out in 2010, and needless to say it was pretty fantastic (one of my favorite’s of theirs, for what it’s worth). I’d hoped that Animal Collective would venture down this path a bit more, a new realm of sound for them to pervert and exploit in ways sometimes only they seem capable of doing. The two tracks above, likely loose shells of what they one day might become, offer hope that “WWIWS” wasn’t merely an epic flash in the pan. You can download the entire live bootleg, featuring 10 new songs alongside “Brothersport”, “Did You See The Words” and a new rendition of “We Tigers”, here (courtesy of Collected Animals). PS: It’s great to have Deakin back. via I Guess I'm Floating
Animal rights causes are one of the fastest-growing segments of American philanthropy.
An examination into different cultural approaches to animals.
The recent PETA ad campaign featuring Glee star, Lea Michelle, reignites a controversy over whether or not horse carriages should be allowed to operate in NYC.
Living in a city as big as New York can be lonely for those without a cohort, prompting many Manhattanites to seek companionship in a pet.
Famous pets like Lassie and Rin Tin Tin depict heroes of the four-legged variety with the ability to rescue their owners from mortal peril. However, can owning a pet really save your life?
Lush and nocturnal, yet bizarre and unsettling. I still haven’t been able to pinpoint why exactly I can’t stop listening to The Weeknd’s “House of Balloons” mixtape. It’s on the one hand groovy R&B and at the same time sonic downtempo that should be played at 6 am after a long night. And the lyrics: full of pain, intensity, violence, and sex. It’s an incredible sound and a fantastic mixtape, available free for download here. If not just listen to this song: The Weeknd – “What You Need”  (Download) via
Fear Week means facing your fears, doing something you’re scared to do and trying to expand your capacity for all things frightening. With that in mind...
Jerry Seinfeld once observed that more people were afraid to speak on a stage in front of a room full of people than were afraid of death. Ending the bit with the perfect Seinfeldian timing, he noted, “That means, more people in this room right now would rather be dead, than me.”
London electro-pop duo Echoes recently contacted us with a bunch of great material including a remix for Martin Solveig/Dragonette's track "Hello", a DJ Mix, videos and some original tracks including "Love Won't Save You Now". Digging them all! They definitely show a lot of potential. Here's some of the good's to get you better acquainted with the boys. If you like what you hear they have more on their soundcloud that you should check out. MP3: Love Won't Save You Now - Echoes MP3: Hello (Echoes Remix) - Martin Solveig & Dragonette via
Of the countless gifts I received from my parents over years, surprisingly the most beneficial was a severe anxiety disorder. A personal account of the curse... or blessing of anxiety.
In keeping with the London theme of today here is another London band called Strangers that recently contacted us. They have a dark electro-pop sound and were influenced by a lot of the same bands that I was like Depeche Mode. They have a new EP called EP1 that is available on iTunes. They sent the soundcloud for the first track "In Chaos" that you can stream below. They've also sent us a Paper Crows remix of the track which is track #4 on the EP that has been cleared for posting. In addition here is their video for the track that was filmed using only 2 iPhones. Nice! STRANGERS - IN CHAOS (Taken from [STRANGERS] E.P 1) by [STRANGERS] MP3: In Chaos (Paper Crows Remix) - Strangers via
Proponents of nuclear energy are breathing a sigh of relief as recent poll numbers indicate that Americans’ attitudes towards nuclear power have not changed significantly since before the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster.
Another album that has been leaked for quite awhile is the new Peter Bjorn and John record 'Gimme Some'. This one's been leaked since like January. Wanted to wait till we were closer to the release date March 29th before I posted about it. For some reason I haven't listened to it much, not because it's not good, it is, more like I felt guilty that I had it so early so was kinda pretending I didn't have it, haha. Anyways I think we are good now. The album is classic Peter Bjorn and John! You will not be disappointed with this record. It has a little of everything, some rocking tracks "Black Book", "Breaker Breaker" to indie pop tunes like first single "Second Chance" and "May Seem Macabre" that they do so well, but there's really no bad tracks here. Get this baby as soon as you can. I think it's safe now. In addition here is their messy video for "Second Chance". Enjoy! MP3: Second Chance - Peter Bjorn and John MP3: May Seem Macabre - Peter Bjorn and John via
As a child growing up in Mount Vernon, New York, I’d been thoroughly exposed to mice and garden snakes. I stood by peacefully while house spiders spun fine, silky webs inches before my face. I relished the summertime when, more often than not, bumblebees would slip through a hole in our screen door, buzzing and beating their buxom bodies against the walls—I couldn’t resist emptying full jars of jam to study one up close. Grasshoppers and earthworms were held in the same high esteem.
Guitarist, vocalist, and lyricist Sam Cohen (Apollo Sunshine) has taken a break from the art of collaboration to work on his solo band Yellowbirds and recently released The Color, his first album under the moniker.
Being superstitious is a lot of work. There are black cats to avoid, ladders to walk around (not under!), and if you spill the salt, don’t forget to shake some over your left shoulder. Performers especially are notorious for their superstitions to the point where they believe that following certain rituals will ensure a successful show.
South Florida's own/friend Millionyoung who we've written about a few times before most recently here just played this past Friday in Miami for WMC. Unfortunatly I missed his set cause I was spinning in the other room, but I've seen him a few times before to know he always puts on an entertaining show. He recently put out this cool stop motion video for the title track to his latest album Replicants using footage from two short films "Hoola Boola" (1941) and "South Sea Sweethearts" 1938 by George Pal. Cool video for a great track! If you haven't already heard the album, you should. Good stuff! Here's the video/mp3. You can get "Calrissian" (also from the new album) in the post I linked above. MP3: Replicants - Millionyoung via
A look at what's at stake when a great comic dies young in this day in age.