Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Innercity - Untitled


1. Dada Les Apocalypses
2. The Pyramids Of Northeast Belgium

Vermont's brilliant NNA Tapes are fast becoming one of the best labels out there, following mind-melting releases such by Diamond Catalog and Laurel Halo already this year with this fractal gem from Antwerp's Innercity. The tension building panoramic drama of 'Dada Les Apocalypses' feels like the soundtrack to a 100 mile ceremonial queue lugubriously shuffling towards the titular landmark on the horizon, and when we reach the pinnacle of 'The Pyramids Of Northeast Belgium' we're washed with glittering synth magic before given access to a ritual Techno club at the structure's core and promptly evaporated by a sustained synth strobe flash. Don't miss this...www.boomkat.com

Champion - Lighter EP


1. Lighter
2. Bongoshot
3. Lighter (VIP)

Absolute massive Funky anthem from one of the scene's most deadly weapons. 'Lighter' is certfied anthem for summer 2011, figuring in the sets of all players from Marcus Nasty to Butterz and the Wifey crew. For proof of it's dynamite effect, we recommend hunting down and rinsing his recent set for the Butterz & Hardrive night over on mixcloud or the Butterz site! Additional to this 12", you'll find the shades-on roll of 'Bongoshot' and a stealthier VIP of 'Lighter' on the flip. Maximum damage. Highly recommended!!!...www.boomkat.com

Chelsea Wolfe - Apokalypsis


1. Primal / Carnal
2. Mer
3. Tracks (Tall Bodies)
4. Demons
5. Movie Screen
6. The Wasteland
7. Moses
8. Friedrichshain
9. Pale On Pale
10.To The Forest, Towards The Sea

LA's Chelsea Wolfe hounds the Goth vibe into ever more enticing alleys with her followup to 'The Grime And The Glow'. Her 2nd album, 'Apokalypsis' opens with a feral snarl before 'Mer' exhibits a startling upgrade to her sound, from 8-track tape to full studio clarity. Fittingly, this is in keeping with the album's title, translating from Greek as both "apocalypse" and "revelation", as she unveils nine songs of doomy folk guitars, slow and bellicose drums and sorrowfully atmospheric synths creating the perfectly sepulchral backing for affected, moaning and ghosted vocals...www.boomkat.com

Julia Holter - Tragedy


01. Introduction
02. Try To Make Yourself A Work Of Art
03. The Falling Age
04. Goddess Eyes
05. Interlude
06. Celebration
07. So Lillies
08. Tragedy Finale

*Quite honestly one of the best albums of any description you'll hear in 2011...* Julia Holter is one of the most singular female artists we've encountered from the current groundswell of American indies. Leaving Records is possibly an unusual home for her latest, but then again, what's "usual" about Sun Araw, Matthewdavid or Dem Hunger? Her high concept fifth release, 'Tragedy' is based on the Ancient Greek play 'Hippolytus', and mixes elements of synth work with droning neo-classical strings, cloud-like ambience and dreamily surreal vocals, almost like an amalgam of Robert Ashley, Maria Minerva and Laurie Anderson. There's very little else out there right now with this sort of ambition, and most importantly, such a shockingly effective sense of wonder. A stunning, stunning album and an absolute must regardless of the kind of music you usually listen to...www.boomkat.com

Samo Sound Boy - Shuffle Code EP


1. Shuffle Code
2. Me and You
3. Shuffle Code (Da Fresh Remix)
4. Shuffle Code (Ikonika Remix)

L.A producer Samo Sound Boy released his new “Shuffle Code” EP on NYC label Trouble & Bass. The release includes two original tracks and two remixes from Da Fresh and British producer Ikonika. Ikonika’s dark and twisted take on Shuffle Code...www.scatterblog.com

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Säkert - På Engelska


01. November
02. Honey
03. Fredrik
04. Can I
05. The Lakes We Skate On
06. The Flu
07. Dancing, Though
08. You'll Be On Your Own
09. It's Going To Lead Up To Something Bad
10. Weak Is The Flesh
11. Quiet


In 2010, we released "Facit", our second album with my band Sakert (Sakert is a band where I've sung in Swedish. I also have a band where I sing in English - Hello Saferide.) We are lucky enough to have super sweet listeners in different countries and some of them wrote me, saying they were google translating "Facit and babelfishing it and asking their grandfather with Norwegian ancestors for translation, and it all turned out very weird

"How sad", I thought, "that I can't just translate the songs Which is when I thought: "Um, why don't I just translate the songs "What if", I thought, "I translate them almost word by word, and it nearly turns into a third language, English words used in a Swedish way So I did, and we decided to record the songs
and turn them into an album. During the process, the translated songs pretty much felt like new to us. Everything seemed different when sung in another language, and
producer/guitar player Henrik Oja found some new sounds for them

About the album, then. Well, "Pa Engelska mostly contains songs from "Facit", but it
also features two tunes from our first album, Skert. The songs are about working too hard, loving too much, talking too little, growing up too slow in the northern parts of Sweden,and about fearing your country's politics in going somewhere where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. They're about crying at a wedding. They feature a lot of sad guitars and folk-ish violins. Every time I go abroad I
meet someone who asks me about the famous Scandinavian melancholia and I guess this
album pretty much embraces that. The songs are simple and sad. In a fun way, hopefully

Sakert is a project based in Umea, Sweden. On tour and on album, we have been: Annika Norlin, Henrik Oja, Daniel Berglund, Mats Hammarstrom, Jakob Nystrom, Lovisa Nystrom, Frida Johansson, and some other people who occasionally help out

We've been nominated to a lot of awards, like the Swedish Grammys, and won a few. We sold a lot of albums and we always try to make people cry when we play. Um, that's about it...www.itsatrap.com

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ganglians - Still Living


1. Call Me
2. That's What I Want
3. Evil Weave
4. Sleep
5. Jungle
6. Bradley
7. Things to Know
8. Good Times
9. The Toad
10. California Cousins
11. Faster
12. My House

Sactown janglers Ganglians conceived Still Living, their nearly hour-long third LP, as something of a clearinghouse. Working, as they put it, "with no metronome," they went into the Still Living sessions to stretch out their limber melodies, tamp down their nervous energies, and wipe away some of the murk of their earlier work. That they did; the airy Still Living brings their gently unfurling, sunlit melodies and towering blasts of harmony into sharp focus. Still Living's cross-section of Byrdsian folk-psych, loose-limbed 80s indie rock, and fizzy Beach Boys-derived harmonies in the nouveau Grizzly Bear/Fleet Foxes mold finds the quietly confident Ganglians nimbly folding in one sliver of melody after another until their songs just glimmer. With an album's worth of agile tunes at their disposal and Dirty Projectors associate Robby Moncrieff behind the boards, Still Living slips by with an elegant ease that seemed beyond them even on their two fine 2009 efforts.

For all its musical poise, Still Living stumbles right out of the gate and-- vocally, anyway-- occasionally struggles to regain its footing. "This is a sad sad song for all you sad sad people," Ryan Grubbs lets go at the album's onset, and this overeager announcement proves memorable in all the ways they didn't intend. What follows is, thankfully, a tad subtler, as Grubbs' lyrics recede more often than they pop, often buried in a sea of enunciation-divebombing harmony. Ganglians aren't alone in their fondness for the swelling, Beach Boys-derived vocal pileup, as filtered through the aforementioned animal bands. They're fine enough singers, but after a while, Still Living's reliance on ornate vocal kumbayas seem to weigh down its willowy music. The chorus of "whoah-oh-ohs" that sets off "Jungle" is close kin to Fleet Foxes' "Ragged Wood", and "Evil Weave" isn't the only number that breaks into a round; lovely stuff, but brought out this frequently, the distinctions between songs-- and, occasionally, syllables-- begin to blur

But if you can accuse Ganglians of anything after Still Living's opening salvo, it's drowning in their own loveliness; not the worst problem to have, really. Though they may nick liberally from fairly familiar sources-- the clear-eyed but slightly sneaky melodies of the Feelies, R.E.M., and Galaxie 500, ornate symphonic-pop vocalisms of past and present greats, and an indie-popper's low-key mentality-- their crosshatching of influences has enough finesse to make easy comparisons seem beside the point. Ornate but never ostentatious, Moncrieff's production brings clarity and fluidity to the proceedings; even the occasional overreach does better on coherence than their earlier, more scattershot stuff. Even Still Living's wealth of straight-up guitar-pop isn't quite so straight-up after a handful of listens, the bends in the road ahead becoming clear as day after a few passes. Though they could still stand to pull back on the vocal fanfares, brushing away some of the gunk that mottled up their earlier records and doubling down on melody each open up new avenues in their sound, and Still Living finds Ganglians delivering on their early promise while stepping confidently toward whatever's next...www.pitchfork.com

Active Child - You Are All I See


1. You Are All I See
2. Hanging On
3. Playing House (featuring How To Dress Well)
4. See Thru Eyes
5. High Priestess
6. Ivy
7. Way Too Fast
8. Ancient Eye
9. Shield & Sword
10. Johnny Belinda

Though no sound suits every taste, the harp has to be one of the most inoffensive instruments in existence, which is why we aren't greeted in heaven by angels with marimbas. Active Child's Pat Grossi makes free with the harp's transfiguring power on his new album, and it's not the only thing stacking the deck in his favor. You Are All I Seeis full of stuff that almost everybody likes, or seems to, right now: epic electronic landscapes, monastically minimal R&B, and currents of rumbling post-dubstep sound design. Grossi's strong yet ethereal voice-- its corners neatly squared by a childhood spent in choirs-- masses and hovers, imparting an elevated piety to the music. The slick, timely aesthetic is appealing, but works at slight odds with the timelessness Grossi cultivates.

If you enjoyed how harps and beats entwined in a glittery haze on Active Child's Curtis LaneEP, you'll enjoy You Are All I See, which is similar but runs on finer gears. The EP's fairly rigid boundary between dance numbers and atmospheric ones has become much more porous, creating a subtler flow that carries us smoothly from the frosty soul and coiled percussion of "Hanging On" to the expansive art-pop of "High Priestess" and "See Thru Eyes", where jagged but spare synthetic drums and holographic tone colors make Grossi's voice seem to tower even higher. It all sounds like the work of someone whose computer expertise is catching up with his instrumental chops.

With this welcome refinement of style comes a minor downside, namely, that it feels overly familiar. This isn't to say that Grossi is ripping anyone off-- at a time when music is so instantly responsive to its own immediate context, his recombinant approach is routine. But on You Are All I See, craft edges out personality. The allusions to modern trends are so well-realized that it at least creates a slightly numbing impression of opportunistic pastiche, even if the similarities were unintentional. If you enjoyed the experimental soft-pop moods of Bon Iver's recent album and are looking for more spiritually glamorous music, step right up. Pacesetter How to Dress Well, who mines a vein similar to Grossi's but more ghostly, guests on the excellent "Playing House", while "Hanging On" sounds like a heartfelt synthesis of "Lady Luck", "The Boy Is Mine", and "Pony". To top it off, "Way Too Fast" and "Shield & Sword" both have the prayerful, hollowed out turbulence of James Blake. With a figurative dugout like that, it's hard to go wrong in 2011.

Nothing wrong with a low-stakes success if it sounds this good. But it's odd when a record that puts such a high premium on the personal feels so formal and emotionally opaque. Grossi's lyrics about longing and engulfing isolation have been polished to the point where they are immaculately vague, and sometimes, precious. They project plenty of emotional grandiosity. What's missed are more specific details, which might have led to something more relatable. As it stands, the sound of Grossi's voice is much more eloquent and moving than his words. Taken together, You Are All I See still can't help but feel like an old cathedral-- easy to admire in awe, but somehow cold and remote; hard to really make your own...www.pitchfork.com

Nick Diamonds - I Am an Attic


01 Attic
02 Gone Bananas
03 Used to Be Funny
04 Word Was Swords
05 Don't Do Us Any Favours
06 In Dust We Trust
07 The Vaccine
08 You Must Be Choking
09 (untitled instrumental)
10 Dream, Dream, Dream
11 Fade Out

Nick Diamonds never takes a break. He started out fronting the psych-pop the Unicorns, moved on to the more ambitious and less combustible Islands, and then came Th' Corn Gangg, his much maligned hip-hop project. After that, we received records from side projects including Reefer and Human Highway. At the moment he's headlining for Mister Heavenly, a recently announced supergroup that also includes members of Modest Mouse and Man Man, and Diamonds just released I Am an Attic, a solo album, by way of his Bandcamp page for a price of your choosing.

While it doesn't come with the pre-packaged, stylistic framework of, say, Human Highway (read: Young, Neil; 1970s folk and country), I Am An Attic does scan like pure Diamonds: whether he's trafficking in serpentine guitar licks or screwballing sound effects and synths, there's an unmistakable sneer to it all. That said, you're also hearing him here at his most muted and still, which doesn't make for as compelling a listen as that might promise on paper. This is an unusually reined-in record, one whose spartan arrangements tend to register more as scraps or free-floating ruminations than exercises in restraint. Take opener "Attic", with its plumes of Theremin, crystalline guitar work, croaked-up vocals, lightly-applied layers of keys and synth: It all seems to appear and then dissolve in just two very forgettable minutes. Diamonds, as it turns out, is most effective when spontaneous. Here, he's sleepwalking.

When he does work up some energy, the results are terrific. "You Must Be Choking" is an at-times majestic and unsettling highlight that, despite cribbing the vocal melody from "Silent Night", does well by working in a few unexpected jolts of volume. "Used to Be Funny" flirts with a "Stairway to Heaven" reference before erupting into a stormy mess of industrial oompah. Interestingly, the recording quality throughout is quite good, forsaking the sort of raw, flash-fried (see also: lo-fi) qualities that you might expect from a potentially free solo record. And though closer "Fade Out" plays into to its title, what's there is ripe: a set of high-arching guitar melodies fan out over a creamy organ track, a sprinkling of bells that mirror at times the sound of Diamond harmonizing with himself. It sounds like an idea that could segue into something great...www.pitchfork.com

The Weeknd - Thursday


01 Lonely Star
02 Life of the Party
03 Thursday
04 The Zone
05 The Birds Part 1
06 The Birds Part 2
07 Gone
08 Rolling Stone
09 Heaven or Las Vegas

It sounds a bit ridiculous to say that the Weeknd avoid the sophomore slump with Thursday, given that the Toronto crew's first release arrived just five months ago. But not many artists, especially in the Internet era, show up with such a well-developed aesthetic (a very foggy, of-the-moment variation on mainstream radio's slow jams) and something as self-assured as the House of Balloons mixtape. And those that do probably don't have a Drake co-sign and such a carefully managed cloak of anonymity. Months later, all we really know about the Weeknd is that there's a singer named Abel Tesfaye with an earthy The-Dream-like voice and a lecherous persona that's both repellent and compelling. We've seen a few smoky, black and white photos disseminated via Tumblr that perfectly fit the music's bad vibes; there have been a couple of live dates; and apparently, the project has two associated producers helping to craft a sprawling, drugged-up R&B sound: Doc McKinney, best known for Esthero's Breath From Another and another guy named Illangelo. Beyond that and a handful of "unofficial" but suspiciously high-budget videos, we have the music on these two mixtapes.

Though there's less breathing space on Thursday, and fewer melodic hooks, it still feels of a piece with House of Balloons. There's the same ineffably skeezy vibe and a genuine sense of the album-as-journey, brought upon by smart sequencing and Tesfaye's willingness to complicate his devilish, drug-addled Lothario persona. The production is slightly harsher and streaked with violence, befitting the lyrical content-- "Life of the Party", the best and most disturbing song here, is based around doom-like guitar riffs that suggest something truly terrible about to happen. The guitars burst forth during Tesfaye's mocking chorus ("you're the life of the party"), sung as he casually convinces a girl into a group-sex situation. Other songs are tinged with similarly abrasive sounds: drill'n'bass noises rattle around in the background of opening track "Lonely Star"; "Rolling Stone" begins with a blustery chunk of heavily processed guitar; and the final track, "Heaven or Las Vegas" (not a Cocteau Twins cover) features a late-song interruption by screeching effects and heavy echo. For contrast , the only jarring touch to the production on the fairly one-note House of Balloons is the title track's Siouxsie and the Banshees sample. So the world here, in addition to being more sonically varied, feels just a little darker and a little more dangerous.

Oh yeah-- and Drake shows up on this one. He delivers an end-of-song verse on "The Zone", very much in his "I'm on One" mode. Which means he's full of confidence and rapping in a manner that lurches forward and then slows-up, teasing his melodic, every-dude croon but never giving into those R&B impulses. The Weeknd and Drake have been linked for a while now, first through a series of blog and Twitter co-signs and now as proper collaborators, so it's interesting to finally hear the superstar step into this far more debauched world. Surprisingly, he remains himself, talking about not having fun at a strip club ("Whoa, all these broken hearts on that pole") and later on, advising a groupie to "be you." Even when Drake seemingly stumbles into an encounter in which he does indeed, fuck "your girlfriend," he isn't devilishly smiling about it, and there's no question of consent as there often is on many of the Weeknd's drug-fueled seduction songs. The introduction of anything resembling an ethical point of view is jarring and underlines the stark differences between these collaborators.

Drake gets mileage out of being conflicted and in over his head, while Tesfaye sings from the perspective of an unabashed creep who doesn't care what people think, and waits for the moment when everything's at a tipping point and people's guards are down. Part of the odd appeal to the Weeknd's music is that by spending this much time with a predator, the vulnerable inconsistencies in an image trying hard to armor itself with coke, pills, and cynicism start to show through. Repeating the days of the week on "Thursday" slowly comes off as pretty pathetic, even a tad OCD, and "Gone", a hypnotic, purposefully stagnant epic, feels a lot like being at a party near a guy content to tell you how fucked up he is, over and over again. The gorgeous "Rolling Stone" contains meta references to Tesfaye "smoking til' [he] can't hit another note" and concerns that his mystery is fading. It's almost sympathetic, though it's just as likely that this is some new, more nefarious form of seduction by way of self-deprecation; after all, the last words crooned on the album are, "I am God."

When Thursday comes to an end, you have to wonder where the Weeknd go from here. This is the danger of anonymity and telling of the way Internet hype programs our cheapest impulses: We're ready to ask about the next thing before this other thing, even though it's quite good and rewarding, has come to an end. The Weeknd, however, know what they're doing, and so, in a few months, another new release, Echoes of Silence, is due to arrive, and our strange, dysfunctional relationship with their damaged R&B will start all over again...www.pitchfork.com

Razika - Program 91


01. Youth
02. Why Have We To Wait
03. Vondt i hjertet
04. Taste My Dream
05. Aldri
06. Nytt på nytt
07. Eg vetsje
08. Above All
09. Hvem skal ha tro på deg nå
10. Middelalder
11. Walk In The Park

The first song on Norwegian indie-pop outfit Razika's debut, Program 91, is titled "Youth". It's an exercise in writing what you know. The band is made up of 19-year-old girls who have known each other since they were six and have been making music together since they were 14. Razika recorded Program 91 over the course of one year on weekends, to work around their school schedule. They've had the privilege not only of being compared to the Slits, but also of pointing out that the comparison's kind of sexist, since they sound nothing like the Slits. If you're the type who wonders why you weren't more proactive when you were younger, avoid this album.

Program 91's basic makeup is spiky, sharp, post-punk-inflected pop, executed with laser-precise accuracy (and a re-contextualized cover of "Why We Have to Wait", a song by 1960s Norwegian pop group the Pussycats). In the record's back half, slight dub touches and ska-worthy rhythmic figures enter the mix; the former is squint-your-eyes noticeable, while the latter explicitly serves the band's unassailable sense of time-keeping. The interlocking syncopation is strong enough to suspect that Gorilla Glue plays a part in holding everything together-- that, or lead singer Marie Amdam, who hugs her syllables tightly and with added zest (on "Vondt I Hjertet", you can practically feel the spit from her inflected accent hitting your face).

Like a lot of indie-pop albums, Program 91 is relatively quick and dirty. But despite its brevity, the album's second side drags a bit, as the skanked rhythms begin to bleed into each other with a lack of individual distinction. Stick around, though, for the album's gorgeous, windswept closer "Walk in the Park", an airy slice of melancholia that addresses an open-book relationship while closing out this band's first chapter. After all the peppy guitar lines and young-at-love-and-life razmatazz that one's heart could handle, Program 91 melts down to gentle strums and layered "ba-da-da"s, saying farewell in the "we'll meet again" way that only the best of friends do...www.pitchfork.com

Psychic Babble – My Brother’s Ears/My Sister’s Eyes


01. Five Fold Kiss (Don’t Sleep)
02. Nothing Familiar
03. Samantha
04. Radio Songs
05. You Said It
06. Crocodile Tears
07. Boulevard
08. Let Me Change
09. Follow Your Bliss
10. Harper

Far from the EBM act you might imagine based on the name alone, Psychic Babble is the solo alter ego of Circa Survive guitarist Colin Frangicetto, who serves up 10 tracks of lush indie-electronica. Self-produced and released on his own label, it’s a consistently dreamy affair in the likes of opener ‘Five Fold Kiss (Don’t Sleep)’ and ‘Samantha’, but avoids becoming too languid through the strength and stylistic diversity of tunes like ‘Radio Songs’ and ‘Follow Your Bliss’. The concept of background ‘chillout music’ rightly leaves many people cold; Psychic Babble’s debut is proof that being chilled does not equate to being dull...www.rocksound.tv

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts - Ubiquitous Gaze


1. Ubiquitous Gaze
2. Youre the One
3. Ubiquitous Gaze (Stringapella)

The first from Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts since last year’s critically acclaimed album, Breaking The Fourth Wall, continues in a similar style. So that’s a rolling stream of percussion, summer afternoon jazz-tinged melodies and lengthy samples of legendary musicians, making it all quite Moodymann to say the least.

Or that’s what the A-side could be described as. Flip it to find You’re The One‘s staggering, bumbling bassline and stabbed synths melded together in some broken, acidic electro kind of way, with the production cementing any reference to the early days of warehouse music while a Wurlitzer adds an element of madness to the background. Oh, and you get the titler’s harmonies in a Stringapella...www.plainandsimple.tv

Gem Club - Breakers


01. Twins
02. Breakers
03. Lands
04. Red Arrow
05. I Heard The Party
06. Black Ships
07. Tanager
08. 252
09. In Wavelengths

“Breakers” is the glorious new lo-fi number courtesy of Somervile duo Gem Club, and has already been featured on Pitchfork earlier in the week. With their debut LP of the same title set to be released later in the year via Hardly Art, and a rapidly expanding following eagerly anticipating it’s arrival; it’s set to be a hectic year for Gem Club. The piano driven “Breakers” is hauntingly heartwrenching, nervously shuffling in somewhere between Youth Lagoon and Perfume Genius, and expertly utilizing the soft yet piercing vocals of Christopher Barnes. Being the first new material since last year’s EP Acid and Everything, this melancholic track has been met with stunning reviews, cementing the two-piece as a real talent to watch out for...www.crackintheroad.com

Distal - Angry Acid / French Science


01. Angry Acid
02. French Science

Rogue Acid and House romps from Atlanta's rising Bass music star. Assisted by R. Ellis aka Pinch on the A-side, 'Angry Acid' is a lampin' 4/4 juggernaut fuelled by concussive kicks and floor-chewing 303 sequence, done simple but effective with a nice touch of haunting pads hovering over the thing. On a more laidback flex, 'French Science' leans into a deeper, crooked modern House groove dipping on the halfstep and layered with breezy chords...www.boomkat.com

DJ Rum - Mountains EP


1. Undercoat
2. Mountains Pt. 1
3. Mountains Pt. 2 & 3
4. Turiya

Strong and diverse single from DJ Rum, following a killer remix of LV and Message To Bears with a mixture of hi-Tech Rollers, Juke and emo Garage with detailed compositional flourishes. 'Undercoat' sets the tone with low-lit pads and vocals giving way to sleek stepping rhythms, finely balanced for club or home play. The centrepiece 'Mountains' shows a keener Technoid vocabulary, with Part 1 exhibiting flash, fluid Techno steppers programming with warm, jazz touches hitting the mark between Scuba and Shifted, while Parts 2 & 3 merge loping HipHop into quickstepping Juke momentum with swirling atmospheres, kinda like Blue Daisy jacked up on meth. 'Turiya' is sweeter cool-out 2-step joint with textured Burial-esque finish applied to crisp, classic-referencing 2-step Rave...www.boomkat.com

Orwell - Continental


01. continental
02. lonely ride
03. on this brightful day
04. the wife, the battlefield
05. follow me, boy
06. eastern
07. always
08. anytime is now
09. them
10. secret movies
11. a long way to the start
12. following...
13. every time the world is too loud

Jerome Diderot hails from Nancy, France. Recording as Orwell he follows in the footsteps of compatriots such as Air and Tahiti 80 and other synth-loving dream-poppers.

He’s stuffed his album full of tinkling and beeping keyboards, electronic beats, jingling bells, plucked guitar and strings (synthetic or otherwise), all of which make an appearance on the title track that kicks off the multilingual ‘Continental’, which comes out sounding like a twee Kraftwerk.

‘Lonely Ride’ with its strummed guitar in the forefront, hammered percussion (once again, possibly synthetic) and string-laden background has a more organic feel and could be a limpid cousin to the works of the Divine Comedy.

‘On This Brightful Day’ takes a more electronic turn, and starts out as a somewhat conventional electropop tune before being enlivened by some female vocals and a burst of strings. ‘The Wife, The Battlefield’ takes a similar tack, though the contrast between the story away from his loved ones, makes a strange contrast to the music behind it.

‘Follow Me, Boy’ layers some melodica over mournful piano pop and unfortunately backs them with a singular pathetic electronic beat in slow time. ‘Easter’ makes the same error, creating an unnecessary distraction to the listener, though the rest of the tune, with its wordless vocals, sounds a bit like something from David Bowie’s Berlin period, but without the guitar muscle of Robert Fripp to back it up.

The drifting dreampop of ‘Always’ makes a stronger showing, with Diderot playing multitracked vocals off each other.

‘Anytime Is Now’ kicks off with some bounce, like a less muscular early-XTC and features an extra-squiggly electronica break. It’s followed by ‘Them’, which incorporates a number of kooky electronic sounds - it seems to be trying for an Esquivel feel but doesn’t quite succeed. The album takes a downturn from then, with the piano-pop-electro hybrid ‘Secret Movies’ going in one ear and out the other and ‘A Long Way to the Start‘ burrowing the strings that gave its first few bars such promise. The album ends with ‘Everytime The World is Too Loud’, which brings things to a peaceful close.

Although it’s a hit and miss effort, there’s enough on ‘Continental’ to appeal to hardcore electropop devotees...www.pennyblackmusic.co.uk

TWR72 - Paradox EP


1. Paradox
2. Impulse
3. Simple (Toms Version)
4. Simple (Rogers Version)

Rogerseventytwo has a new collab coming out with The Walk under their TWR72 moniker. The “Paradox” EP is another quirky gem in the Sound Pellegrino catalog, featuring the title track alongside “Impulse” and “Simple” (on the latter, each member of the duo takes turns crafting a signature mix)...www.foolsgoldrecs.com

Dark Sky - Radius EP


1. Speeding Blue
2. Neon
3. The Lick
4. Be Myself

Smart new 4-track EP from Dark Sky on Modeselektor's increasingly hyperactive 50 Weapons imprint. 'Speeding Blue' is a nice 'n oily little number, delicately ravey chords bending around galloping, post-UKF snares and rising subs - swung house perfection, basically. Neon is on a techier tip, slinky 'Show Me Love'-style riffage colliding with distant diva strains across a broken 4/4 superbly styled for the steppers. On 'The Lick' teams almost sino-grimey licks over a lean breakbeat house riddim, and 'Be Myself' comes over like a more tracky, Continental-friendly answer to Swamp81's raw 808 bangers. This is really a top-notch EP, and if like us you've been biding your time waiting for Dark Sky to properly deliver the goods, you'll be pleased to know the wait is over. Lean, mean dancefloor hybrids, emphatically 2011-style, and highly recommended...www.boomkat.com

Chicago Skyway & Dcook - Lager EP


1. Bad Driver (Aroy Edit)
2. Lager Nord
3. Lager (Obsolete Music Technology Remix)

Real raw hardware House excursions. MOS label head and Dutch Techno legend Aroy Dee edits the squirming acid synths, arcing pads and jakk beats of 'Bad Driver' for that proper MOS effect, while Chicago Skyway & Dcook's original 'Lager Nord' is a must for fans of Legowelt or Morphosis. Steven Tang aka Obsolete Music Technology chimes in with a lush remix of 'Lager', layered with emotive, Detroit-style synthlines...www.boomkat.com

Hrdvsion - I Can't Exist


1. I Can't Exist
2. Disappearing Act
3. I Can't Exist Vs Disappering Act (Ada Remix)

Tormented IDM/Electro-disco from Hrdvsion, the weirder of the brothers Jonson (Wagon Repair's Mathew is his bro). 'I Can't Exist' is a slightly disturbing dancefloor groover revolving around a lingering vocal refrain intonign the title, and powered by crooked electro synths. 'Disappearing Act' is a more succinct take on shredded autotune vox and jerky Electro programming. Ada cannily fuses the two in a dynamically twisted fusion, liek a darker verison of something from her excellent recent album 'Meine Zarten Pfoten' for Koze's Pampa label...www.boomkat.com

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dom - Blakelock EP


1. Blakelock
2. Blakelock (Grievous Angel Remix)
3. Blakelock (Donga & Blake Dub Mix)

Crafty Dubstep from Dom on the freshly minted 877 label, backed with remixes by Grievous Angel and Donga & Blake. There's a definite hint of Timbaland to the original 'Blakelock', squashing a squirmy bass under fragrant vocals sample and sparse, shoulder-rolling rhythm to cool effect. On the flip Grievous Angel steps up for a meaner, meatier version with louder, ruffed-up percussion, and Donga & Blake run a slickly dubbed Garage House sound...www.boomkat.com

Damu - Mermaid EP


1. Mermaid
2. Beat Of Zen
3. Sequinny
4. Beat Of Zen (DJ Rashad & DJ Earl Remix)

Hyper-fruity House moves from Manchester's Damu, backed up with a swift but deadly Footwork remix by Chicago's Rashad and Earl. After establishing status as one-to-watch with his Silverback debut and some healthy hype from Fact magazine, Local Action present what is sure to be Damu's calling card for some time. From the ecstatic arpeggios and infectious roll of the title track, through the kinetic programming on 'Beat Of Zen' or the rainbow squirting synths colours on 'Sequinny' this is every bit the hottest new sh*t in circulation and totally ripe for fans of Brenmar, Jacques Greene, Julio Bashmore and that. On a more ruthless and shark-eyed tip, the Jukin' remix from Rashad and Earl is just immensely fierce and surely one of the finest Footwork bits we've encountered this year so far. Tip!...www.boomkat.com

Jack Dixon & Robin Card - Decade EP


01. Adrian
02. Leave
03. Keith
04. Alone

With all the interzones being explored between dubstep, house and techno of late, it's especially pleasurable to find a newcomer with a wholly different, but congruent, angle. For one thing, Berlin-London duo Jack Dixon & Robin Cardfix pile on the rolling breaks, haunted vocal science and thrill-ride darkness of mid-'90s drum & bass. There's a measured, flickering-machine dub techno dryness to their production as well, and it helps make Dixon & Card's debut energetic without being frazzled.

The jungle feel is especially pronounced on the first three tracks. On "Keith," an echo-drenched, Jamaican-tinged male "ey-ey-ey-aye" that makes up half the vocal hook (the other is a woman's wordless coo) comes out of a collective memory of mid-'90s ragga jungle as much as Dixon & Card's galloping snare work. But the track moves with a lightly carnival hip-sway that's closer to what 2-step garage brought to the continuum—and it's followed by "Alone," on which that skipping quality guides the beat, though it's closer to recent toybox-IDM dubstep than anything Groove Chronicles would have done. But even when the tone (and bass) gets dark, as on "Leave," the beats step too lively and the synths gleam too brightly to leave you in the lurch.

The remixes are a mixed bag. Colo's slurry version of "Alone" is arty and pretty but doesn't stick too much. Eliphino's "Keith" remix layers on the synth glide and punches up the bass hits to good, spirit-of-'95 effect. James Fox's "Leave" attaches a straight-four to the chassis and rides it through some pleasant whooshes...www.boomkat.com

Instra:mental / Trevino - Pyramid / Chip


01. Instra:mental - Pyramid
02. Trevino - Chip

Heavy fresh Electro-steppers from Instra:mental and the incognito Trevino on Martyn's 3024 label. 'Pyramids' finds Damon Kirkham, fresh from his dope Jon Convex 12", reunited with Al Green aka Boddika, for their first new material since the album. It's about as powerful as you'd expect, working to a 124bpm schematic and swinging off crunching snares and national grid synth jolts with the meanest rave intent. Flipside, Trevino is a new alias for a much resected D&B figurehead who's got an more Technoid 134bpm itch to satisfy, coming off like a cybertronic Jam City in the process of 'Chip'.www.boomkat.com

Friday, August 26, 2011

Apparat - The Devil’s Walk


01. Sweet Unrest
02. Song of Los
03. Black Water
04. Goodbye
05. Candil De La Calle
06. The Soft Voices Die
07. Escape
08. Ash/Black Veil
09. A Bang in the Void
10. Your House Is My World


The album will be Apparat's first solo full-length since 2007's Walls. Since then, the Berlin-based artist has spent most of his time working with Modeselektor as Moderat, putting out an acclaimed LP in 2009 and touring the world with a visually-enhanced live show. The album first took shape last year during an extended stay in Mexico: working in a studio in the town of Sayulita, Apparat wrote much of it with the help of Fredo Noguerira and Telefon Tel Aviv member Joshua Eustis. Upon returning to Europe, he finished the album with Patrick Christensen, of the Shitkatapult group Warren Suicide.

The Devil's Walk will be Apparat's debut on the seminal electronic label Mute Records. Two of the tracks have already been released as free downloads: "Black Water" and "Ash/Black Veil."...www.residentadvisor.net

Nurses - Dracula


01. Fever Dreams
02. You Lookin’ Twice
03. Extra Fast
04. Through The Window
05. So Sweet
06. Trying To Reach You
07. New Feelings
08. Wouldn’t Tell
09. Dancing Grass
10. Gold Jordan
11. Eternal Thrills

Nurses return with Dracula, the follow-up to their 2009 homemade psych gem Apple's Acre. Dracula is steeped in the strange pop brew that bore Apple's Acre, with the band's unmistakable elastic melodies, heady pop hooks and unconventional knack for catchy songwriting that gets under your skin. But where Apple's Acre was an insular album, recorded primarily in an attic in Idaho using just an internal Macbook microphone and primitive recording software, Dracula is bursting. It's bolder, heavier, with deep grooves, dubby basslines and a focus on rhythm. It's an album with pure physical qualities...www.musicdirect.com

Planetary Assault Systems - The Messenger


01. Railer (Further Exploration)
02. Beauty In The Fear
03. Human Like Us
04. Bell Blocker
05. Wriss
06. Movement 12
07. Call From The East
08. Kray Squid
09. Rip The Cut
10. Motif
11. Cold Bolster
12. BlackTea

Luke Slater will return to Ostgut Ton under his Planetary Assault Systems moniker with a new album, entitled The Messenger, due out in October.

Slater has already released one PAS album, Temporary Suspension, through Ostgut Ton in 2009, which saw him incorporate recent trends in European techno into his own style. With The Messenger, Slater promises to “create new sounds which are not otherwise present in club music at this time”.

The press release promises a strongly club focused album, with Slater reportedly carefully testing all of the tracks and subsequently editing them for maximum impact. Beginning with the track “Railer (Further Exploration)” which supposedly eases the listener in with a “bubbling ether”, it moves on to the kind of dark and furious techno we would come to expect from Slater, with tracks like the deliciously named “Kray Squid” promising to pulse with magnetic energy, whilst the drum barrage of “Rip The Cut” supposedly offers the most rhythmically intense moment of the album.

In keeping with this club focus, the album will be available on DJ friendly 2×12″ as well as CD and presumably digital formats. For those lucky enough to be in Berlin, the album’s release will be celebrated with a party at Berghain on October 29, featuring a live performance from Planetary Assault Systems, as well as Shifted, James Ruskin and Norman Nodge...www.junodownload.com

Thursday, August 25, 2011

DJ Jus-Ed - Vision Dance


01. A Little Deeper
02. Acid Techno
03. Emotion
04. Ice 592
05. Project 1 London
06. Project 2 London
07. Stuck In A Train To Berlin
08. The Truth
09. This Shit Is Hot Re-Scrub
10. Train Ride To Offenbach


Jus-Ed is surely the most prolific component in the current wave of US Deep House producers. For his 2nd album this year he teams up with Japan's Mule Electronic for a standardly robust yet soulful journey into his sound. That sound has been shaped by a lifetime involved with dance music. He graduated from his studies in percussion at the University of Bridgeport in '82 and went on to DJ earliest House, '80s funk and R&B, before years of caning it took over and he returned at the start of the last decade with a tougher but more spiritual sound. The closest comparison we could make, aesthetically and productively, is Omar-S, but Ed has definitely got his own groove and identity within the scene. 'Vision Dance' is brimming with that restless soul, cutting across the floor between the sultry shuffle of 'A Little Deeper', to the rugged throb of 'Acid Techno', abstract jacks like 'Ice 592' and the two 'Project London' joints. But he's at his best when working with synths pads on the floating optimism of 'Stuck In A Train To Berlin', the hypnotic swing of 'This Shit Is Hot' or 'Train Ride To Offenbach'...www.boomkat.com

Crystal Antlers - Two-Way Mirror


1. Jules' Story
2. Seance
3. Summer Solstice
4. By The Sawkill
5. Two-Way Mirror
6. Way Out
7. Fortune Telling
8. Always Afraid
9. Knee Deep
10. Sun-Bleached
11. Dog Days


After a couple seconds of light feedback, drum adjustments, and general milling about, "Jules' Story" roars to life and assures us that Crystal Antlers are still a band of volcanic force maintaining the long-haired spirit of 1968 on their second LP. There's enough hurtling Echoplex riffs and organ squall to freak out the squares, but it's all wrapped in three-minute chunks, with verses, choruses, and bridges, prog-psych with all the boring parts sucked out. But despite that opening, just about everything else surrounding the band has changed, and not necessarily for the better. After inking a deal to legendary indie label Touch and Go on the strength of their scalding EP, most listeners caught up with them on 2009's Tentacles. That record was far from a flop, but it was nonetheless a mild letdown, an album saddled by unsteady direction and brittle production. But even if it delivered the goods, it might not have mattered: due to an assortment of financial troubles and a subsequent "drastic downsizing," Tentacles stands as the last new record released by Touch and Go.

And while there are times here when Crystal Antlers forego their whiplash unpredictability and seem almost too in control of their sound on Two-Way Mirror, they're clearly reinvigorated. The most noticeable changes are almost completely cosmetic: though they'll never be pretty, Mirror is far easier to face head-on, dialing back the trebly sizzle of its predecessor into a more comfortable, analog warmth. But the major point is how they've managed to fully integrate slivers of gentler sounds-- hints of surf-rock, lo-fi folk, and drone-- and it feels like growth as opposed to acquiescence. Though Crystal Antlers took steps towards accessibility on Tentacles, bassist/vocalist Jonny Bell went along for the ride kicking and screaming. Not sure when the "On" switch got hit, but Bell finally can be described as a "singer" more than a mere "vocalist," and the lyrics feel like the product of a point of view rather than placeholders.

The success of Two-Way Mirror as a whole is mostly borne of fine-tuning, but "Summer Solstice" is the keeper on account of its
being the most stunning display of ambition here. It's a near-total stylistic dismantling proving the distance between Comets on Fire and The Photo Album-era Death Cab For Cutie could be traversed in three minutes. A churning, distorted bassline cuts through chimes; vigorous tom-rolls and an ascending chorus of halting sighs are very much in the style of Ben Gibbard, albeit far chestier. Even without the video, there's still an undercurrent of vulnerability that you never really got from these guys before, and it's a legitimately new and exciting direction. Previous singles "Andrew" and "Little Sister" were nice enough on their own in terms of pushing Crystal Antlers to something more melodic, but sliding into black-lit blooze rock felt like an otherwise restless band taking the path of least resistance.

It's a triumph of novelty meeting execution, and the best moments here are when they go the furthest lengths not to repeat themselves. I'm sure it'll slay live-- most Crystal Antlers songs do anyway-- but clearly experimental tracks like the drone-and-bongo instrumental "Way Out" and the self-explanatory acid-folk of "Sun-Bleached" serve as chances to let the surrounding assault sink in. In addition to being a strong return to form, Two-Way Mirror gives Crystal Antlers some much needed momentum after an unfortunate run of bad timing and bad luck. Though they're from Long Beach, they do offer some sort of peripheral artistic brotherhood with the teeming retro movement going on in San Francisco. Sure, they might not have the classicist songwriting chops of the Fresh & Onlys or Sonny and the Sunsets, but none of those bands rock this hard either. That stuff is for summer BBQs and backyard parties; Two-Way Mirror is what to spin at the point when you stop caring about noise complaints...www.pitchfork.com

Sanso-Xtro - Fountain Fountain Joyous Mountain


1. Fountain Fountain
2. The Origin Of Birds
3. Wood Owl Wings A Rush, Rush
4. Golden Hour
5. Hello Night Crow
6. Light Come, Light Go, Ghost
7. Goodnight Thylacine
8. Observes Shadows
9. Exit: Joyous Mountain

Sanso-Xtro's long awaited follow-up to her 2005 debut for Type finally arrives, and sees an amazing development of sound. It's a gentle, fragile collection of songs and instrumentals that remind us at one moment of Talk Talk, at others of old Alan Lomax recordings, with Gamelan and Kosmische experiments dropped in-between the gaps. In the time that has passed since 'Sentimentalist' Melissa Agate removed herself from the UK to South Australia near Adelaide. Living in relative "hibernation" gives some explanation to the more intimate and sublime new sound she's put together, revealing sugared and reduced glosolalia applied to an array of synths, accordion, melodion, kalimba, guitar and custom-made percussion contraptions which fold into her exquisite and fragile blend of Kosmische, electronica and avant-pop. With 'Fountain Fountain Joyous Mountain' she builds on the ideas of her first record with ornate detailing and a blissfully attuned sense of arrangement, making her multi-dimensional songs seem playfully effortless. After catching us by the hairs of the neck with hypnotic, alien gamelan tones in 'Fountain Fountain' her layered vocal unexpectedly closes the track with a blissful flourish. Following this, her background as a drummer soon becomes evident in the tingling percussion of 'The Origin Of Birds' coupled with daubs of dizzying melody, which, in its fragile balance of microcosmic chaos refracts into the natural world themes of 'Wood Owl Wings A Rush, Rush' and the album's literal and figurative centrepoint 'Hello Night Crow' where her vocals make another poignant intimation. Like all good things, Agate uses her voice sparingly - they don't return until the album's closing strokes after the refracted Jazz tumble of 'Goodnight Thylacine' and the suspenseful acoustic guitar piece 'Light Come, Light Go, Ghost'. When 'Exit: Joyous Mountain' arrives it feel like an old Alan Lomax gem dug up from a creek bed, wheezing melodica/harmonica in systolic synchronization with tantalising vox...www.boomkat.com

Ezekiel Honig - Folding In On Itself


01. Material Wrinkle
02. Subverting The Memory Of Your Surroundings
03. Between Bridges
04. Drafting Foresight
05. Folding Us In On Itselft
06. High & Low
07. A Closed Loop That Opens Everywhere
08. Ancestry Revisiting Each Other
09. Tradition Is The Illusion Of Permanence
10. Distant Breakfast Highway

Manhattan's Ezekiel Honig makes a welcome appearance on Type with the beautifully melancholy 'Folding In On Itself'. The frayed, spectral layers of ambient sound and dusty pulses within recall the works of jan Jelinek, The Remote Viewer or even elements of the first MvO Trio LP, but his serene, almost sorrowful palette of tones comes from somewhere more private and personal. While those artists are all defined by a sense of intimacy in wide open space, Ezekiel's location in one of the most densely populated areas on the planet perhaps gives it a more introverted insularity, as though he's cosily enveloped by his memories while the world scurries about on the outside. Those memories and their corruption or decay are at the core of this record, like the overlaid family photos on the sleeve, capturing a sense of entropy in his quickly disintegrating city. Locally made field recordings are placed as rhythmic and textural clues to the shape of his environment, and when they happen to fall in sync with his instrumentation the effect is lush, creating and effortless illusion of everyday aleatory syncopation. This beautifully measured sense of drifting, stigmergic arrangement with programmed elements makes for a captivating narrative as varied as a walk through the city itself, but subtly enhanced like some sort of moody augmented reality app or wandering blindfolded through some vivid sound art installation. If anything, it's as softly spoken and moving as anything Type have put out to date, so handle with care...www.boomkat.com

Motion Sickness Of Time Travel - Luminaries & Synastry


01 Luminaries
02 Synastry
03 Late Day Sun Silhouettes
04 Ascendant
05 Athame
06 Day Glow
07 Moving Backward Through The Constellations
08 Eight Nineteen
09 The Walls Were Dripping With Stars
10 Like Dunes
11 Night

Rachel Evans left many listeners stunned with her debut album 'Seeping Through The Veil Of The Unconscious', released on tape and vinyl to pretty much universal acclaim at the end of last year. Her follow-up proper, 'Luminaries & Synastry' is a divine, subtly dizzying descent from the heights of that album, catching Rachel cocooned in a feather-like freefall to more pastoral climes without ever actually touching down to solid ground. The simplicity of instinctively layered, ethereal vocals and seemingly infinite arpeggios make for a mesmerising take on pop music, where the atmospheric composition contains far more nitrous oxide in a lower pressure system, and duly everyone floats about dazed in a state of post-rave/orgasmic bliss. This suspended sensation is unmistakable on opener 'Luminaries', those whispered vocals condensing around beads of glinting machine rhythms and convective synth swirls, precipitating the mood of things to come. Following this, 'Synastry' provides a poignant moment of clarity where you can almost make out whole phrases through the pillow of gaseous drones, slowing the systolic rate for the twilight glide of 'Late Day Sun Silhouettes' and the lambent organ glow of 'Ascendant' or 'Athame'. Entering the kosmische vortex of 'Day Glow' and ''Moving Backward Through The Constellations' the mood turns less blissed and more viscerally tactile, where creeping arpeggios envelope Rachel's haloed vocal in a tangle of bittersweet dissonance, before the gaseous glades of 'Eight Nineteen' opens out, eyelids fluttering, to the scenery of 'The Walls Were Dripping With Stars'. Sublime...www.boomkat.com

Balam Acab - Wander / Wonder


Cd 1
1. Welcome
2. Apart
3. Motion
4. Expect
5. Now Time
6. Oh, Why
7. Await
8. Fragile Hope

Cd 2
1. Heavy Living Things
2. Long
3. Still
4. Under

*Much anticipated album from the elusive Balam Acab for the Tri Angle label* Following last year's extraordinary See Birds EP - a record that has inspired legion imitators but to our knowledge no credible equals - Balam serves up his debut full-length proper on Tri Angle. From opening track 'Welcome' on in, you know you're in good hands: disembodied vocal fragments swirl like ghosts around the chambers of a sunken galleon before a sudden loop of life-affirming strings bursts brightly and alters your perspective. The American artist's brilliance lies in his ability to coax an almost liturgical drama out of loosely speaking R&B tropes, and to locate a timeless pastoral sublime in the glassy surfaces of fragmented contemporary pop: 'Expect' sounds like Virginia Astley gone hip-hop while 'Now Time' could be The Neptunes re-scored for Gavin Bryars and a chamber orchestra. Field recordings and crackle add to the sense of natural beauty, variously recalling The Caretaker, Pole, Broadcast and Boards of Canada, and even the canonical chill-out of Global Communication and The KLF. Sumptuous, psychedelic, richly melodic: Wander/Wonder is a joy to listen to, and confirms Balam Acab as a singular, exacting artist who exists in spite of, not because of, contemporary trends. Highly recommended...www.boomkat.com

Marsen Jules - Nostalgia


1 A Moment Of Grace
2 Nostalgia
3 Through Blood And Fire
4 Endless Whisper Of The Old Brigade
5 Shadows / Waltz
6 Sweet Sweet Longing
7 Kunderas Dream
8 Sleep My Brother, Sleep

Marsen Jules’ 2005 release “Herbstlaub” for prestigious label City Centre Offices is regarded by many to be a defining moment in the fledgling field of ‘neo-classical’ music. After performing and recording as the Marsen Jules Trio with Anwar and Jan-Phillip Alam on violin and piano, Jules returns with a new release for his own label Oktaf, entitled “Nostalgia”.

The opening drone of the album recalls the deep, solid boom of a colossal pipe organ, thundering through some dark Gothic cathedral. I use the word “recalls”, first because it is actually a low string sound, and second because no pipe organ in the world could ever sound like that. But isn’t that precisely what nostalgia is — the yearning for the return of a lost original that never really existed? Ripples without a pebble, if you will.

At the end of his short novel Amulet, Roberto Bolaño describes literature as the endless march of youth into the abyss. By doing so, he defines it as both a work of memory and as the repetition of an event for which there is no original. So it is with our organ blast, echoing throughout the centuries. A sound that never really happened, but continues to haunt nonetheless. Not a placid, melancholy ghost, but a strident, defiant one, capable of shaking ancient walls to their foundations. Bolaño’s marching youth burn with rebellion.

Jules’ music too is haunted and shaken by this ghost. Each track is an excerpt from the endless showreel of history, relentless images of marching soldiers and seething, throbbing crowds, slow-motion footage stuck on repeat. It is Jules’ extensive use of drone, delay and reverberation — in other words, the tools of repetition — that summons this ghost so effectively in tracks such as Through Blood and Fire and Endless Whisper of The Old Brigade. The delicate, flickering harp of Kundera’s Dream creates the more intimate, personal world of a recurring dream, one that comes back to confound again and again without ever giving up its puzzle. The gentle relief of album closer Sleep My Brother, Sleep pierces the darkness like a shaft of sunlight through a stained glass window, a moment of peace at the end of a sometimes harrowing liturgical cycle...www.fluid-radio.co.uk

Gotye - Making Mirrors


01. Making Mirrors
02. Easy Way Out
03. Somebody That I Used To Know
04. Eyes Wide Open
05. Smoke and Mirrors
06. I Feel Better
07. In Your Light
08. State of the Art
09. Don't Worry, We'll Be Watching You
10. Giving Me A Chance
11. Save Me
12. Bronte

De Backer has been pushing a unique blend of sample-based production and live instrumentation for almost a decade. Having cut his musical teeth as part of The Basics, a three-piece rock band formed in Melbourne in 2002, the Belgian-born multi-instrumentalist proved he could make it on his own with a series of solo albums, most notably 2006's Like Drawing Blood. De Backer's upcoming release will be his fourth solo full-length, and will be released via Eleven: A Music Company. Stylistically, the new album is a continuation of the sounds he's been crafting since his solo debut, thick with references to retro psychedelica, traditional R&B and pop...www.residentadvisor.net

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Angus And Julia Stone - Memories Of An Old Friend


01. Private Lawns
02. Babylon
03. Paper Aeroplane
04. Take You Away
05. My Malakai
06. Lonely Hands
07. Little Bird
08. Chocolates And Cigarettes
09. Old Friend
10. Choking
11. Mango Tree
12. Heart Full Of Wine
13. All Of Me

Memories Of An Old Friend is a selection of songs from the original EP’s, B-Sides and so on. 2010 has been an amazing year for Angus & Julia Stone,with stand out performances at Splendour In The Grass,5 ARIA wins including Album Of The Year & Single Of The Year, Platinum Awards for ‘Down The Way’, & sales in excess of 70,000 units in France! In 2011 the journey continues-headlining the BDO, WOMAD & another European tour.

Sascha Dive - Jam Session 1


01. The Jam (Alix Alvarez Remix)
02. Drums Of The Jungle (Franck Roger Remix)
03. Jus Groove (Dub Version)

Here are the long awaited remixes of Sascha Dive’s “Restless Nights” album. “Jam Sessions #1″ is the first out of two 12″s that will be released on Deep Vibes. On A1 french Deep House Grandeur Frank Roger comes up with a supreme dark but warm remix of “Drums Of The Jungle". A2 features a remix by NYC’s Sole Channel Boss Alix Alvarez. His Remix of “The Jam” is sexy as hell and works perfectly on the dance floor. On B1 Sascha Dive gave his 2010 ueber-hit “Jus Groove” a treatment. The new “Dub Version” is just as catchy as the original and works with full effect...www.phonicarecords.com

The Coathangers - Larceny & Old Lace


01. Hurricane
02. Trailer Park Boneyard
03. Go Away
04. Sicker
05. Call To Nothing
06. Jaybird
07. Johnny
08. My Baby
09. Chicken:30
10. Well Alright
11. Tabbacco Rd.

When the Coathangers formed five years ago, as something of a party joke, the band's four members had little musical education to speak of. But they're no joke now, having since released a pair of riotous albums, plus about a half-dozen trashy, cheeky, shrieking 7" singles. They're also grizzled road warriors, headlining bars from Fargo, N.D., to Allston, Mass., in between supporting gigs with the likes of the Thermals, Mika Miko, and These Arms Are Snakes.

Somewhere in all that, the Coathangers must've learned how to play. Larceny & Old Lace, the quartet's third album and second for Seattle-based Suicide Squeeze, carries over the chaotically hooky vitality of their previous records. But here, they've added more varied songwriting, (relatively) tighter instrumentation, and-- for the first time-- a real studio, the Living Room in Atlanta, where the band reunited with producer Ed Rawls (Deerhunter, Black Lips, Zoroaster). Named after a Mickey Rooney-guesting "Golden Girls" episode that was itself named after playwright Joseph Kesselring's screwball comedy Arsenic and Old Lace, the Coathangers' latest finds a notorious must-see live band finally capturing some of the energy of its shows on record.

Just because the Coathangers are taking their game more seriously doesn't mean it isn't still a game. With all four members trading off idiosyncratic vocals-- ranging from guitarist Julia Kugel's Victoria Jackson chirp to drummer Stephanie Luke's full-throated roar-- there's still plenty of jagged, playful aggression, whether that involves damning the titular jerk of "Johnny" over gloomy post-punk or tearing off faces between stabbing guitar and whirligig keyboard on "Chicken: 30". But the Coathangers now pay more attention to detail, starting with first single "Hurricane", which veers from raspy shouts and brittle guitar riffs to zombie-apocalypse cheerleader chants and ominous whispers shaded by clacking drumsticks. They also try on more styles: Where "Call to Nothing" pledges ill-fated devotion through scratchy guitar and heavy bass recalling the Slits, "Well Alright" rides a demented roadhouse blues and "My Baby" slows down to a loping love groove-- for stalkers. These might not be the furthest-out ideas, but they're new for the Coathangers, and they're executed with badass charisma.

Still, from the band behind such shrill yawps as "Don't Touch My Shit" and "Gettin' Mad and Pumpin' Iron", there's no bigger left turn than a soft, sentimental ballad. "Tabbacco Rd." sees the Coathangers making the shift with surprising ease, poignantly following a relationship from its first Tom Collins to the wedding chapel, and finally to the last goodbye. Speaking of goodbyes, the kitschy-scary keyboard and cathartic howls of "Jaybird" make it a fine memorial even if you don't recognize the lyrical reference to the Coathangers' former tourmate, the late Jay Reatard. Most impressive of all, though, and a should-be single, is "Go Away", a perfectly structured midtempo rocker that turns the tables on every dude who ever sang a whiny song about wanting to be more than just friends. It may have started as a simple gag-- "Hey, I like you/ Go away"-- but it's as serious as you want it to be...www.pitchfork.com

Pallers - The Sea Of Memories


01. Another Heaven
02. Humdrum
03. Come Rain, Come Shine
04. Tropical Fishbowl
05. Years Go, Days Pass
06. The Kiss
07. Sound Of Silence
08. Wired
09. Wicked
10. Nights


With the aim of a three-dimensional sound Pallers have created the monumental ”The Sea of Memories”. Ten tracks where every influence finds it’s place in an ever shimmering mosaic. The wealth of details, the ever growing melodies and epic soundscapes transforms the listening experience into a space voyage of emotional discoveries.

After three years spent in apartments, basements, villas and cabins in Pallers, La mar, Stockholm, Miami and Cape Town the duo has completed their debut album ”The Sea of Memories” (out Sept. 27). The massive single ”Come Rain, Come Sunshine” was released on July 26th, and achieved Top 2 on The Hype Machine and rave reviews from Nylon, AOL Spinner, and NME among others.

“The pair continue to display a preternatural gift for electronic pop, and while they may prefer to remain ensconced in the studio and avoid the limelight, the expansive ‘Come Rain, Come Sunshine’ stands as a sky-scrapingly grand gesture.” NME

“Leeds producer Youandewan has turned Pallers’ blog hit (#2 on Hypem) “Come Rain, Come Sunshine” into a hazy, dub trip with clacking 2-step percussion.

“Youandewan transform Pallers’ synth-pop sunshine into a Burial-esque lament.” XLR8R...www.mvremix.com

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fruit Bats - Tripper


1. Tony the Tripper
2. So Long
3. Tangie and Ray
4. Shivering Fawn
5. You're Too Weird
6. Heart Like an Orange
7. Dolly
8. The Banishment Song
9. The Fen
10. Wild Honey
11. Picture of a Bird

For a minute there, Fruit Bats rocked. On 2009's The Ruminant Band, the quartet, lead by seasoned indie sideman Eric D. Johnson (Califone, Vetiver, the Shins), eked up the tempo-- sidelining folksier impulses in favor of gently driving guitar pop that channeled Rumors-era Fleetwood Mac. Two years later, they're back to being mellow.

With Tripper, the group's fifth album, Johnson dials Fruit Bats' pulse back down, favoring spacious and spacey songwriting that sets the lyrics front and center. It's a record full of stories, with Johnson centering most of the tunes around simple narratives and offbeat characters. On the record's opening track, "Tony the Tripper", Johnson dreams up a Kerouac-style road trip with a companion who comes across as one part railroad lifer and one part Burning Man refugee. There are troubles along the way-- schizoid episodes and punker crash pads-- but by the chorus, Johnson and his imagined companion usually have things sorted out: "We was all under the date palm tree/ They left the rolling of one up to me/ Knowing the world might end tomorrow anyway."

The only problem is that Johnson's tales aren't all that hooky. At least, not enough to buoy Tripper's soft and moody music. Conflict, resolution, and character development often slip by unnoticed, eased in their passage by the woozy synths and atmospherics that function as the album's rough-spot-smoothing sonic hand lotion. On the reverb-soaked "Wild Honey", Johnson's lyrics are placed prominently in the mix-- "Each empire who inherits the sea, rises and retreats into foam/ In the ash there stirs a seed, empty between what's unseen and unknown"-- but get lost in the woozy ambience. The imagery is rich but abstract, and there's not enough muscle in Johnson's plinking guitar to prop it up.

Johnson fares better when he takes a more casual tone, as on "Tangie and Ray", which follows a pair of hippies as they flee society for nature and, by the sound of it, certain doom. "Now they're one with the dirt, and the mouldering bones and litter leaves," he yelps. It's one of Tripper's more upbeat tunes, benefiting from the full band accompaniment and a driving drum beat. But while the rhythm section makes a difference, it helps that Johnson is keeping a straightforward narrative. He's better with rogues and riffs than heady prose...www.pitchfork.com