Saturday, May 18, 2013
Teddybears & Weed, Home Alone's completely self-define debut cassette, caught me completely by surprise with its simple bedroom-pop splendor and sound. So it's exciting that such a self-described stoner is already making more music. "Blunts" picks up right where Teddybears & Weed left off, being another nugget of pure, dream-pop bliss. The production has been nicely polished; not so much that the song loses its internal charm, but so that sadness in Tom Polska's vocals are a little more audible, and notched-up beats sound perfectly woozy rather than airy. All of Home Alone's tiny sounds meld a tiny bit more on "Blunts", the swirl of synths, über-reverbed guitar, and cheap beats not as compressed as before. Home Alone may make weed music, but it's wonderful gooey weed music, and "Blunts" shows the emotional spirit that is there.
Home Alone's Tumblr
Pre-order Crumbs EP here, from Bad Pop
Thursday, May 16, 2013
For some reason that Deafheaven track has started opening musical path ways I have been unaware of or ignoring for far too long. Here I have stumbled upon the new album by Surachai and loved every minute of its three track, 34 minute glory. Surachai is the work of Surachai Sutthisasanakul, one guy who has been making experimental black metal for almost three years now. He has just released his new album Embraced, his first working with a full band to help create it, and it is aboslutly killer. The album is intense, but not overwhelming. I don't know if it's mixing or Surachai's own style, but he's not trying to bludgeon the listener with his music, but more present the music in it's own inherit intensity.
Opener "Ancestral" pretends to be a traditional black metal song, all blast beats and blurred guitar lines, along Sutthisasanakul's destroyed throat screech for vocals. Yet it doesn't take long for the experimental tendencies of Surachai to come into play. The song drops immediately suddenly into the this brief, warped, burst of industrial effects that shifts the song to a slightly more uplifting mood for the rest of the song. The ambient coda at the end of the song is one of the weirdest I've heard attached to any type of song, like a field recording of an abandoned factory littered with thousands of robotic bugs all hissing at once. "Sentinel" is more of a "pure" black metal song, but it's more meditative as well, getting all of its intensity out of the way early into the song before spending the rest of the track following the guitars down an expanding spiral of increasingly blackened despair.
Closer "Surrender" is the most experimental album on here, beginning with an eerie amount of static and dark electro-beats, before launching into the song. That tone of the intro manifests in the rest of the song, with "Surrender" having a real sense of evil to it, especially due to Sutthisasanakul dropping his vocals an octave so they sound more piercing and menacing. The song really explodes for the final of the album, it feels as if your running away from a monster that is chasing you throw a midnight forest. I am more then will to admit my inexperience in properly perceiving metal, but Embraced is an smart album, with Surachai knowing just when to incorporate something different to their already great songs that pushes it to something even better.
Buy Embraced here, from Surachi's Bandcamp
Dance music is going to be on everyone's mind for the next six months or so thanks to the new Daft Punk album. With that comes the effect that every artist who makes even vaguely similar music to them (read: anything with a keyboard or beep in it) will automatically have to suffer with their presence hanging over them. So before that effect goes into full effect, be blown away by Holy Ghost!'s newest song "Dumb Disco Ideas". Like LCD Soundsystem's "Drunk Girl", it is actually a very smart song disguised as a stupid one. The first half of the song is evocative of the song title, a gorgeous, spaced-out, über-modern disco track, thick bass lines and a steady, never flinching beat well in tack. The song's lyrics are full of desire and the synth line from David Bryne's "Big Business" holds the track steady. Then the track drops for just the right few seconds before slowly building over the song's remaining four minutes. The line "Wait, and put it off, at least for another day" repeated over and over again so that it and "Dumb Disco Ideas" itself become almost anthemic. By Holy Ghost!'s standards, "Dumb Disco Ideas" may be just that, but everyone else, it is an complete, electro-pop heaven in every sense.
Holy Ghosts!'s Website
Pre-order the "Dumb Disco Ideas" 12" here, from DFA Records
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
When a band describes themselves as "noise pop" these days, that doesn't always lead to the wonderful expectations it sets itself up to be. Some bands think that hitting a single distortion pedal suddenly get's them in the same class as a Slumberland band or their ilk. However, Look Vibrant call themselves a noise-pop band and mean it in the most glorious way. Drawing from the same sort of hyper-constrated blasts of noise that DSTVV use to craft their music, Look Vibrant don't sound like the organic lo-fi clang of old, but the harsh, blistering assault on the ears of now. "Plateau", off the their debut cassingle of the same name, is four minutes of the most tinfoil like guitar chords enhanced by a demented computer's take on static blasts. Yet all the while, buried under this earsplitting blend of distortion is an actual, catchy piece of indie rock. It sort of reminds of Sleigh Bells, if they had cracked it up to 12, and had tried to make songs rather than cheerleader chants. B-side "Stranger Kind" is a small breather, a slightly loopy track that feels more attune to an Animal Collective song pulled from an hell portal. Plateau is two very twisted, headache inducing nuggets that are just the right amount of beyond saturated noise-pop to be gems in their own right. A decisively modern take on the sound, but one that is still glorious in its own right.
Download the Plateau cassingle here, from Look Vibrant's Bandcamp
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
How it that Whirr, of all bands, doesn't have a song called "Swoon" already? As possibly cliché as it might be for a shoegaze band to have a song named "Swoon", there are few better titles that could suit a song like this one. "Swoon" is just that, an ever ebbing and flowing cascade of Kristina Esfandiari's pillowy vocals and the vortex of guitars created from all three of Whirr's guitarists attacking their instruments at once over the song's near six minutes. The track nicely parallels Pipe Dreams opening cut "Reverse"; a pick up of noise before falling into a stretch of humming guitar ambiance before exploding into pure, shoegaze bliss. The added length of "Swoon", though, gives Whirr time to expand upon their sound, letting it build and swell to greater heights than they were able to previously. Sergio Miranda's drum work really glues the track together, the only instrument that doesn't blur on "Swoon", but instead confidently pounds and crashes to give the song the final piece to make it the shoegaze epic it is. I am bias in my approach to Whirr (I mean, I thought Pipe Dreams was the third best album of last year), but I don't care. Whirr are one of the best shoegaze bands out there, and "Swoon" only serves to confirm that fact.
Pre-order Around EP here, from Graveface Records
Also, Whirr recently got a bunch of their amps and pedals stolen due to a recent robbery. They put some T-Shirts for sale raise money, so if you want/can support them, do it here.
Monday, May 13, 2013
I've been sitting on the back burner on Lust for Youth for far too long. First exposed to them along side Vår (back when they were still WAR), Lust for Youth seemed like a less interesting take on that style of murky, lo-fi synth work. However, after repeated listening, and Lust for Youth's gradual shift to a more solidly darker, danceable, and clearer synth style I have grown very fond of Hannes Norrvide's productions. The "Chasing the Light" 12" from earlier this year help cement their new, reduced Cold Cave like sound to great effects.
Now they are taking that sound and pushing it even further with "Breaking Silence". A more then likely foreshadowing for how their new album Perfect View will turn out, "Breaking Silence" is even shinier then "Chasing the Light" was. There is not a scrap of murk left to Lust for Youth's sound; it is now fully entrenched in a European synth-pop sound, full of warbling synths, '80s keyboard lines, and Norrvide's ditached vocals, which in the best ways do feel like they come from the same place Vår's electronic work comes from. More so, while "Breaking Silence" and Lust for Youth have not completely shed their dreary astetic, there is some part of "Breaking Silence" that makes it feel like a sliver of brightness has been placed inside of it. And that speck is all that it takes to make "Breaking Silence" fell all that much more powerful.
Lust For Youth's Facebook
Pre-order Perfect View here, from Sacred Bones Records
Sunday, May 12, 2013
So far, every exposure one's gotten to Vår has been the gist of some form of electronica; almost always a warped or twisted take the genre, but in some form of that genre none the less. However, "Into Distance" suggests that with their first proper album, No One Dances Quite Like My Brother, Vår are not just preconceived notions or styles. The song features no audible synth or electronic work at all; instead the track is built around rapid snare hits and matched by frantic, rhythmic, acoustic guitar strumming. Guitar riffs and mechanical drum work pop in and out of the song, but Elias Bender Rønnenfelt's vocals, a mix between a sad wail and intense, strained prose, hold the track steady. Then, of all things, trumpets kick in during the song's last third, giving "Into Distance" both a more dire and uplifting tone. Nothing about this song is like anything Vår has done before in any sense, and yet "Into Distance" works so well in every way for the band. At its core, Vår's music is built on complimenting contrast, and "Into Distance" manages that in spades.
Pre-order No One Dances Quite Like My Brother here, from Sacred Bones Records
Thursday, May 9, 2013
I usually try to shy as far away as possible from releases like this. Corporate created labels diving into the indie world to extract bands into a release that will give the brand a degree of hipness, complete with another corporate sponsor in it as well. See everything within the Scion Audio/Visual spectrum. However, Garage Swim is far too great a release to be ignored by me in anyway. Put together by the folks at Williams Street, Adult Swim's inhouse label, Garage Swim is fifteen tracks of some of the best garage rockers out there in one tight, digital, and completely free package.
The most outstanding thing about this though, might be the outstanding degree of quality of it though. It's like every artist decided to hold onto one of their best songs just for this release. Thee Oh Sees' "Devil Again" is them at their catchiest, all nervous energy, popping keyboards, and hidden darkness underneath. Mikal Cronin's "Better Man" feels like the the lost gap between his new album and previous one, pure sunshine power-pop and noise guitar roar on top of one another. Mind Spiders are all dark punk glory, JEFF the Brotherhood channel Black Sabbath, and King Tuff's song with Gap Dream sounds absolutely nothing like a King Tuff (it's super slow! It has '80s synths in it!), but it still sounds awesome. The Gories have a new(?!) song on here that feels like a tribute to the older garage styles, and yet works just as well as anything else on here. The release closes with a mini-epic from Weekend, who should be completely out of place on an release like this, but the spacey psychedelia of "Teal Kia" is instead ends Garage Swim on a surprisingly uplifting note. Corporate or not, Garage Swim is 15 very awesome songs, and should be promptly shoved in the face of the next person who says guitar rock is dead.
Download Garage Swim here, from Williams Street Records
Monday, May 6, 2013
Is the reason I think "Outside Amore" is so great because it feels so removed from modern dance music? It's not a banger, it is not at all bass heavy, there's no grime, no bleakness. Instead, "Outside Amore" feels bright and shinny, from the squeek that runs through the songs core, to the lovely and soft vocals that semi-crone the song's lyrics. Not to mention the post-disco groove that is both askew but keeps the song afloat during its entire 9 minute run. If it were to be played in a club, it wouldn't be a modern club, all darkness with stark neon light. It feels like it would soundtrack the end of a movie; cheesy & up-lifting enough to go along with the credits, but not cheesy & up-lifting enough to be over bearing. Above all, "Outside Amore" is just a wonderful pop song, the type of modern electronic dance music that DFA is so good at discovering and putting onto 12"s that will be spun at parties for people to hear for the first time and go crazy for.
Buy the "Outside Amore" 12" here, from DFA Records
Sunday, May 5, 2013
I know nothing about black metal. Absolutely nothing. Hell, if I'm being honest, I really know nothing about metal as a genre at all, outside of thinking that a few Boris and Black Sabbath tracks are really cool. However, despite that lack of knowledge, I do think I am aware of some big things in Deafheaven's new song "Dream House". That black metal is not normally suppose to sound this uplifting and cinematic. That there should not be this sense of empowering, or have a such a sense of victory during the song's second half. And that if you are a "black" metal band, you should not release a song called "Dream House", or title your new album Sunbather and color it sunburnt pink. But Deafheaven did all that, and I am left with one undeniable fact; "Dream House" is absolutely fucking incredible. "Dream House" is nine minutes of utterly overwhelming fury, with the bass and drums blurring into this mass that just shakes one's entire body, and the guitar being the precision tool that stabs the song into the brain. And yet as overpowering as the track is, it never feels brutal in a negative way. It just feels powerful, as if Deafheaven wanted to create the most intense post-rock song ever created. Frontman George Clarke evolve past being just tormented screams to actual three dimmensional howls of anguish, then then later triumph. The song's second half, right after the much needed interlude, might be even more climatic then the previous half as the pace drops, the guitars become unabashedly souring, and Clarke's vocals give way in both relief and euphoria. True black metal or not, I don't care; "Dream House" is a glorious in every way imaginable, and one of the greatest sonic furies I have ever heard.
Pre-order Sunbather here, from Deathwish Inc.