Friday, March 30, 2012

Natch Series | Album Feature

Black Dirt Studio have been offering up some heady jams as of late via their collaborative series Natch. They have been releasing a steady stream the past few months & only seem to be picking up steam. That's really saying something for a series whose first start out of the gate was the recently featured Black Twig Pickers & Steve Gunn. Now with the addition of three more solid entries in the bag, including folks like Pigeons, Rahdunes, & Stellar Om Source Natch has been able to firmly cultivate a solid vibe & keep me guessing who will show up to jam next. 

The latest entry into the catalogue, Natch 3,  sees Aaron Moore & Carter Thornton two dudes I'm not too familiar with. The duo bring some pretty damaged electronic noise squall to the table that has been relatively absent from the series thus far. I wouldn't say noise rock is what's going here as there is something that feels somewhat premeditated & sculpted anchoring it down contrary to the more free wielding almost punk nature that I somewhat identify with the genre. The promo video's occult night-time vibes go a long way in saying what's going on here. 

I must say that the latest entry in the series is quite a treat & in my opinion may be the apex of the catalogue thus far. Natch 0 sees Dave Nuss, Rahdunes, Stellar Om Source, & Aswara meet up for a 1 time sound excursion sure to leave a few brains fried. It works as a prequel, if you will, to the Natch series recorded before the series really got off the ground floor. As such it's our lucky stars that the series was started so these jams can reach some anxious & possibly otherworldly eardrums. 

Back on the chronological track (kind of... oh wait I started with 3!) Natch 2 features Pigeons, Dave Shuford, & Margot Bianca. This collaboration does a fantastic job of blending the unique voices of each musician. It seems as if it were the product of a solid band lineup rather than a artists who just happened to be in the same place at the same time. The movements & styles of each compliment & play off one another in a way that seems to imply a deep musical bond. A bond which is lost within it's own bubble of existence in no hurry to jump on any passing notion letting each thought & action they express seep into your bones.

Black Dirt Studios Natch series is available for FREE via the Natch Tumblr. No limited, editioned, exclusive bull waggery here to distract just some solid jams by a bunch of cats striving towards their third eye (ear).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Men - "A Minor" | Track Feature

Kids, Record Store Day is fast approaching. You know what that means...tons of new tracks and rarities from some of your favorite bands. Like this one, taken from Sacred Bones' upcoming compilation
Todo Muere Vol. 2.

"A Minor" finds The Men exploring some slightly different musical terrain, channeling Crazy Horse circa 1971. It's a good fit for the group, who seem to be able to shift from energetic slop-pop to psychedelic sludge without batting an eyelash. Another triumph from a band who seem to be able to do no wrong these days. Peep it above.

Todo Muere Vol. 2 is out on National Record Store Day, April 21st, via Sacred Bones.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Yek Koo / LA Lakers / Purple Pilgrims - Tour US | Artist Feature

I was recently hipped to this US tour of yek koo, LA Lakers, & Purple Pilgrims that for those of you who can sit still for a couple minutes will totally fall for, it doesn't hurt if you dig the sound of air conditioners as well though. If you haven't heard of these groups before I'm sure it's no fault of yours either as even the completely thorough & inexhaustible internet barely brings me any info on any of them.

Regardless what I do know is that yek koo (lower cases are important here) hangs with some of the best of them when it comes to some serious overdriven drone-related underground goop, or now that I think about I'm not wholly satisfied with that word goop as this tuff is way to put together than that implies. It is also the project of Helga Fassonaki, also of Metal Rouge & who outside of the sonic underground works as a visual artist.

Purple Pilgrims blend of subdued ambience & altogether foggy sonics really sits just right. Created by a sister duo currently based out of New Zealand / Hong Kong the short video leaves me wanting more. They have recently released an 8" lathe on Pseudo Arcana.

Both groups are on tour now with LA Lakers, another NZ native, who helps solidify the countries experimental exports. The tour is currently in progress & you can check the remaining dates below. Those on the east coast won't have to wait long as the tour will pick up where it left off May 2nd

Remaining Dates

3/27 - Davis, CA @ The Villanova House
3/28 -  Portland, OR @ Little Axe Records w/ Polyps
3/29 - Olympia, WA @ Olyphant w/ Brother Raven, Skrill Meadow
3/30 - Arcata, CA @ Mex N Wow w/ Ensemble Economique
4/2 - Los Angeles, CA @ Dems Passwords w/ Peter Kolovos
5/2 - Brooklyn, NY @ Zebulon w/ Zaimph
5/5 - Boston, MA @ White Haus
5/6 - Northampton, MA @ Media Mansion w/ Bill Nace
5/7 - Albany, NY @ Helderberg House w/ Burnt Hills

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lower Dens - "Propagation" | Track Feature

The line musical groups walk between maturation and stagnation is indeed a thin one; many fans beg of them to keep churning out the same beloved product over and over again, while others expect a natural progression in aesthetics with each new release. Somehow, Baltimore hometown heroes Lower Dens have managed to straddle this line with ease; their sound drifting in a natural direction while not straying too far from the elements which made 2010's Twin-Hand Movement one of the most enjoyable records of that year.

Having already released the excellent motorik epic “Brains,” Ribbon Music has decided to treat us to a second taste from their upcoming album Nootropics; “Propagation.” Dreamy, chorus laden guitars float over an air-tight rhythm section with Jana Hunter's trademark vocal smoke front and center. The track is a return to form for the band, echoing some of the best aesthetic elements from their previous work yet demonstrating true musical progression. Check it out above. Sometimes, the middle feels just right.

Nootropics is out May 1st via Domino affiliates Ribbon Music.

Friday, March 23, 2012

No Neck Blues Band - CINo 51 | Album Feature

No Neck Blues Band return with another new album, CINo 51, & are pretty much doing what they do best. The release follows on the heals of  the success of their previous album YTIU, also released by member Pat Murano's Kelippah Records.  I have to say that their music as of late of seem to veer away from the more acoustic friendly, almost hippie jams they once cranked out. Maybe time has taken it's toll during their 20 year journey. It kind of sounds like they'd rather be at home watching some totally bonkers euro-art house film, or at least creating the soundtrack.

The first excerpt leans towards a sound that Murano himself has been mining as of late with his own project Decimus. A heavy emphasis on keys & a more general horror score vibe.  The second excerpt from CINo 51 really livens things up. It showcases an immediate stone(d) age rock vibe, albeit one free of restrictions & let loose to discover it's own path in this world. Then again I suppose that's what NNCK do best.

No Neck Blues Band's CIN0 51 is available now via Kelippah Records.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Weird Dreams | Artist Feature

Weird Dreams are an East London based guitar-pop outfit that plays, well, classic English guitar pop. Surprising? No, not really. Rad? You betcha. Being from an area of the city famous for its innovations in the dance and electronica scenes, the music of Weird Dreams couldn't be more at odds with the neighborhood's claims to fame. Equally as influenced by 60's psychedelia and the C86 sound of mid-eighties Britain, the group creates breezy, ebullient nuggets of otherworldly pop sure to vibrate your eardrums in delight.

The four piece psych-pop crew have been garnering quite a bit of attention here in the states, being chosen as UK tour support by indie-rock luminaries (Stephen Malkmus) and rising stars (The War on Drugs) alike. Awash in reverb, sugar-sweet vocal melodies, and catchy-as-hell guitar lines, it's no wonder why tracks like “666.66” and “Little Girl” have got the band some big time buzz.

“Little Girl,” one of the first tastes off their upcoming debut album, Choreography, is a lovely lilting little ditty destined to impress. With beautiful guitar work and delicate vocals drenched in lush swashes of effected goodness, Weird Dreams might just be everyone's favorite new dream-pop band.

Weird Dreams Choreography is due out April 2nd via Tough Love Records.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chicago Underground Duo - Age of Energy | Album Feature

Taking some serious cues from the worlds of free jazz, world, & ambient musics Chicago Underground Duo are a rare bread of of musician these days. In fact it is their musicianship itself that stands out the most, or sets them apart from a many musicians/composers working with non-traditional & often times electronic methods & tools. This is not to say that Chad Tayler & Rob Mazurek stick to any strict concept of jazz as they incorporate electronic elements & synthesis throughout with a deft touch.

I recently had the pleasure of seeing these guys in the live setting where they come at the listener with the same engaging improv I've witnessed in a while. Chad Taylor in particular seemed to have more wiggle room on his drum kit in the live setting & providing some highly intricate rhythms that left me consistently wondering where he will go next. A friend who I met up with at the show said it was the most enjoyable jazz performance he'd seen in five years. It's hard to argue even as bold a statement as that while watching these two musicians play together, they must formed a symbiotic relationship over the years.

Chicago Underground Duo's Age of Energy is available now via Northern Spy Records.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tall Firs- Out Of It and Into It | Album Feature

Veteran Brooklyn psych-rockers Tall Firs, not known as one of NYC's quietest bands, may have just made the most achingly beautiful folk record of the Spring with their latest release Out of it and Into It. After parting ways with longtime drummer Ryan Sawyer and returning to their original incarnation as a duo, the group has radically pushed their sound towards more pastoral realms.

While not ditching their electric guitars wholesale, this time they're used in a far more textural, delicate fashion; where there was once overdriven grit there is now clean canyon echo. Opener “Suffer So Long” is a languid, melancholy ode to the tougher parts of life we all must naturally go through. Single "Crooked Smiles" preserves a bit of the band's bite though, with driving percussion and a wonderfully overdriven guitar break, complete with hedonistic lyrics about how we should just "get high," just "get evil."

Listen, I would be lying if I said it wasn't a relatively somber affair. Not somber in a negative way, in fact there is much, much beauty in its melancholy, just don't expect to put this one on at your first BBQ this Spring; it's not that type of record. This is a record to listen to in the wee hours, laying in bed and reflecting upon the past. Not a very bad thing at all.

Tall Firs album Out of It and Into It is out now via All Tomorrow's Parties.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spiritualized - Hey Jane | Video Feature


Whoah. I'm pretty sure that would be any sensible human's reaction after seeing "Hey Jane," the epic latest clip from old school indie-psych progenitors Spiritualized. After a heart wrenching eight minutes in the life of a transgender prostitute, a fittingly epic happy ending wipes you emotionally clean so you don't have to have your day ruined. I really don't want to say much, because watching the full video is an experience any fan of the band, or cinema in general, would really, really enjoy. So go 'head, dive on in.

Nymph - U.F.O. Over Dome Rock | Track Feature

Nymph dropped this track on the world back in January but as the weather warms I'm guessing it may become more relevant than ever. Those that know the group or have seen them in the live setting where their membership reaches seven members or more will understand the avalanche of propulsive music. The group's fusion of world-new age inspirations bridges a terrific gap that can easily go awry.

Ascending to some heady peaks, Nymph bring the listener along their journey towards spiritual awakening within the deep grooves of "U.F.O Over Dome Rock". Bits & pieces of ethno-forgery squirm throughout the mix. The most prevalent to my ears is the introduction of the Saharan guitar sounds of Tinariwen, Group Doueh, & Group Inerane to name but a few of the groups from the region.

Nymph's "U.F.O. Over Dome Rock" is available now directly from the group's bandcamp.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fingered Media - Videos for Blues Control & Psychic Ills | Video Feature

Fingered Media, Harrison Owen, has been creating some exciting & tripped out videos in conjunction with artists across a variety of mediums for quite a bit now. Releasing the results via youtube & vimeo streams to his own dvd-zine. Owen recently let loose a new trio of videos for Blues Control + Laraaji & Psychic Ills respectively that seem to represent a new stripped back method that verges on tripped out minimalist introspection.

"City of Love" by Blues Control & Laraaji, a highlight on their recent collaborative album, essentially covers the entire gamut of the current state of contemporary underground (dare I say alternative / experimental) music in about 9 minutes. And very well at that. That may be an exaggeration but many of the hallmarks are here pulsing kraut beats, overtones droning, & surreal sense of underwater acoustics bending & blurring every which way in accordance with the water. Owen's Warholian tribute to Philadelphia (or at least I'm assuming) is a fantastic reference to what the trio have created musically in that their improvised & organically formed compositions are matched by the slowly evolving pace of emptiness full of movement found in the footage.

The second video for Blues Control & Laraaji & their track "Awakening Day" appears to center around more obvious themes of mankind's relationship with nature & organic processes disassembled through creation. Images of trees recently cut down or ones left hacked from their base & left to rot. It's an interesting counter point to how I perceive this collaboration & artistic process of improvisation leading the way to unplanned sonic landscapes. Perhaps the title leads the way on this one providing a not too cool day to wake to.

Blues Control & Laraaji's released their collaborative album back in November but it's good to get a visual accompaniment for some of the grooves these 3 create. The album has been released as part of label/promotional team RVNG's Freakways series which have thus far featured younger musicians & groups teaming up with their forefathers for remix 12" singles or direct collaboration, such as this.

"I'll Follow You Through The Floor", Psychic Ills burnt-out jam from their most recent album Hazed Dream , is perhaps the most cinematic of this batch of videos. The track title again pretty much epitomizes what is to follow sonically & visually in Owens hands. Taking cues from classic American road trip films & the US's West's association with lawlessness & open terrain. Yet it also conjures up the theme of personal introspection present in all three of these videos. Developed visual concepts that do not rely on narrative forms or immediately eye catching & exotic elements. Rather we are given the familiar, the natural, the seemingly mundane allowed to breath free of their normal restrictions & given a rebirth partly in thanks to their new soundtracks partly on their simple yet thoughtful pace & framing.

Blues Control & Laraaji's Freakways album is available now via RVNG INTL, while Psychic Ills Hazed Dream is available via Sacred Bones. Check out more by video artist Harrison Owen at Fingered Media.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mac DeMarco - Rock and Roll Night Club | Featured Artist

Waaay back in November, Scott hipped us to a new kid on the glam-rock block: Mac DeMarco. Back then, he was armed with only an EP and a destined-to-be-iconic photo (above) of him smearing his lips in cherry red. Now, he's inked a deal with Brooklyn tastemakers Captured Tracks, with a full length album to be released this Tuesday titled, fittingly; Rock And Roll Nightclub.

The record is a murky journey into just that: the seedy underworld of urban life, a space previously inhabited by the likes of Bowie, Lou Reed, and Johnny Thunders. When DeMarco croons about having to “head downtown” to “look for some fast girls,” on the title track, you believe him. You guys are gonna have a good time tonight. No matter what.

What strikes me most about DeMarco is the pure star power he possesses. With a voice reminiscient of Dirty Beaches' Alex Zhang Hungtai and the recording aesthetics of a younger Ariel Pink, DeMarco has managed to tap into the zeitgeist of today's bedroom pop auteurs; to create a world unique in its sense of space and time. Sounding both completely of the moment and like you could find the record in the dollar bin along other lost 70's/80's classics, this one's gonna be big. Trust me, y'all.

Mac DeMarco's Rock and Roll Night Club drops this Tuesday via Captured Tracks. According to CT, this is just a taste of DeMarco's talents, as he already has another full length in the works. Get psyched!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chrome Wings - Coast To Coast | Video Feature

Chrome Wings are back contributing 1/2 of a new split cassette on Deep Tapes. I have to say I've been digging what these have been up to more & more with each release. The pair offer up a haze of wonky electronic soundscapes mixed with the tight & rhythmic flare "Coast to Coast" probably epitomizes some of their best moments in a condensed package.

The tune really just floats by with some melodic synth lines that really hit the spot. I don't think this is miles away from what I've heard from a good bunch of folks from the North West US & beyond recently but has a more refined take that sets these guys apart from the pack. I think that the melodic aspects up front & present here is what does it. I mean Chrome Wings get out there sometimes but always bring it back into some warped yet structured instrumental which providing a counter point to the more exploratory sections. Maybe it is to satisfy some sort of pop urge, maybe it just feels right.

The Chrome Wings / Ladyshapes Split Tape is available now via Deep Tapes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pond - Beard, Wives, Denim | ALBUM REVIEW

Even the most casual reader of Last Nights should be well versed in the myriad permutations psychedelic music has spawned since its inception in the mid-to-late-sixties. Filtered, percolated, and filtered through the decades, the landscape of psychedelic music as we know it today is vast, overwhelming, and at times; daunting. With so much experimentation and envelope-pushing occurring within the genre, it can be quite refreshing to hear a psych-rock band whose only goal seems to be having a great time re-interpreting all of their favorite records, all while scorching your face clean off . If this sounds like a good ol' time to you, Pond are your band.

The story begins within the rural confines of a Western Australian farmhouse, with three friends (Nik Albrook, Joseph Orion, and Jay Watson) converting the old place into a home studio. Over two weeks of what sound like debauchery filled evenings; Pond somehow managed to lay to tape a blistering yet lovely collection of 13 tunes recalling an array of beloved psych and hard rock bands, ranging from Floyd, The Dead, and The Beatles, to Sabbath, Pink Fairies, and even a fair dose of Zeppelin. Though they've released three albums in the past, their latest, Beard Wives and Denim is the first to gain the band true exposure, thanks to the success of two-thirds of Pond's other project, Tame Impala, whose 2010 debut InnerSpeaker just happened to take home the coveted J Award in their native Australia.

Beard, Wives, and Denim is chock full of highlights. The first half of the record brims with the playful genre bending Pond is so adept at. “Fantastic Explosion of Time,” is one of my favorite opening tracks in recent memory. Beginning with a casual, charming bit of studio chatter before barreling into a grnarly overdriven guitar riff (that wouldn't sound strange on a Tame Impala track.) The song is a brilliantly fun psych romp, complete with spastic Syd Barrett style vocals frenetic drum breaks. Then comes “When it Explodes,” a soaring slide-guitar led tune that transforms from an overdriven country-rock banger into a synth-laden noise jam that is sure to scare your mother off from ever enjoying this record. That is, unless your mother enjoys noisy, effect driven noodling in which case, you've got a very hip mama. Following this one-two punch is a little psych-pop nugget entitled “Elegant Design,” in which the band's hard-rocking guitar sound and 60's pop sensibilities meet beautifully in the middle, rounding out the brilliant attack of the record's first three tracks. “Sorry I was Under the Sky” is a trance inducing floater, showcasing the band's Floyd-ian tendencies, likely to seduce you into forgetting what you were just doing.

Unfortunately, the record does have its flaws and missed marks. For starters, it feels extremely front-heavy, as many records do these days. It's almost as if in sequencing the record, the band knew most folks would only make it through side A, so they loaded it with the album's best cuts. This doesn't mean there aren't gems to be found within the album's latter half, as out-and-out rocker “Leisure Pony” deomstrates, it's just that one finds their attention span being stretched thin. Which brings me to the only other glaring flaw on Beard, Wives, Denim; it's running time. Though sixty minutes may not seem over the top for a modern psych-rock record, the album certainly seems to drag in spots.

These are merely minor defects on an overall extremely charming, lovable record. Any musician should feel right at home listening to it. It's the boisterously joyful sound of your and your friends' first band, drunken laughs and chatter left intact. It's an incredibly endearing record in that respect. Though all members of Pond are seaseoned veterans of the Western Australian psych-rock scene (as mentioned, two thirds play in the also excellent Tame Impala, with main Impala Kevin Barker hitting the skins with Pond on tour,) Beard, Wives, Denim sounds wholly unpretentious and without reserve, it's just the wicked noise of three buddies getting stoned in a rural farmhouse, having the time of their lives.

Pond's self-titled album is available via Modular. Pond is currently on an appropriately massive 70's style world tour, you can find those dates here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weird Forest - Winter Cassette Releases: Smegma, Colour Bük, & Monterey Babe Aquarium | Album Reviews

Weird Forest have unleashed a new batch of tapes upon the world, including a sweet mix of sounds from Smegma, Colour Bük, & Monterey Babe Aquarium. There's something ot be said for eclecticism I would say. After all variety is the spice of life, & these two tapes really demonstrate that.

Smegma do what they do best here & show they live up to their reputation in the live setting as well. Rambling compositions that somehow end leaving the listener (or at least myself) with a feeling & a thought. I think you can name drop a lot of folks who have subsequently taken on a similar attitude to this now legendary crew & this performance from 2010 sees Smegma outlasting even their younger imitators.

Colour Bük are no strangers in these parts & in some respects are children of Smegma, if not literally then at least philosophically. A train of thought that sees a total disregard for cultural norms while bathing in them all the same. CB's side is as usual all over the place yet maybe the most refined approach they've yet taken. "The Good Memoir", above, is the final track on this split & is quite an eye (read ear) opener. After being led through some sonic guitar/drone sludge we are left with some moronic (read punk / child star) turntable-isms that bring a surprising bit of humanity into the whole.

Monterey Babe Aquarium were probably the brightest shining of this batch, or should I say most readily accessible, or hmm never mind it was a fun listen. "Yoyo Loach" definitely stand as one of the highlights & most immediately satisfying track on the tape. The track incorporates a drum machine workout that propels & provides structure here, while vocals & synths swarm and cascade about. I think the blown out oceanic cover art gives you a glimpse of what's to come. Do people still use the tag "chillwave"? I never understood that personally, but maybe it was just me.

The Monterey Babe Aquarium & Smegma/Colour Büktapes are out now & available via Weird Forest, along with a third split by Sagan Genesis & Waxy Tomb.

Friday, March 9, 2012

United Waters - Live at Shea Stadium | Last Nights Presents Live

United Waters - Live @ Shea Stadium by LiveatSheaStadium

Back in early December 2011 Last Nights curated a fantastic lineup of musicians at Shea Stadium that included Decimus, Zaimph, New Monuments, & United Waters. I was unable to attend for reason out of my control. I was bummed, for various reasons.

Luckily Shea has come to my rescue & those of you who weren't, but I know desperately wanted to be there (is that stretching it?). United Waters entire set is up & ready to be streamed. A ram shackled Rock, check out Brian Sullivan's (of Mouthus) deep punk croon man. Who would have known? Some primal energy here, perfect for soundtrack for a beer.

United Water's debut album is available now via Arbitrary Signs.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Poetry Out Loud Series | Album Feature

It would appear to me that resurrection has been something of a constant within the historical narrative of both the arts and the spiritual. A mixture of undiscovered gems & reinterpreted messages, or possibly the original intent and acceptance of such concepts only arise at later dates. One thing is for sure though and that is De Stijl's reintroduction of the Poety Out Loud series plays into each of these possibilities while while bringing to back to light some of the experimental art worlds most under recognized recordings.

"Ocean" possibly best represents the set and the intensely hypnotic performance. The strongly rhythmic vocal workout builds itself in a whirling drone of crashing voices. Each bringing with it their own sonic momentum which sways in the give and take that never really fully relieves the tension. Even at it's most forceful there are always moments of intimacy and perhaps personal fears. "You're too old byyyy the ocean."

Strange that even with something like a high profile feature in Rolling Stone Peter & Patricia B McGarry (Harleman), the two principle factors of the "magazine", have not been acknowledged with reissue status sooner. "Turn Me" in particular resonates with the particular moment far too well. Suddenly appearing as a precursor to a group such as Excepter whose futuristic poetry dance-rants reached marathon proportions. The thematic element of psycho-domesticity is another shared element between the two groups as evidence in lyrical & visual content.

Then again perhaps "no written words are going to prepare you for the experience of hearing" these recordings, as the series press release will have us believe. Maybe they are right for doing so, after all resurrection in both artistic and spiritual cases happen for a reason.

Poetry Out Loud is available digitally now via De Stijl Records.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Unicycle Loves You | Featured Band

There has been talk, in the Web-O-Sphere as of late, of a so-called “90's revivalism” trend amongst newer, up-and-coming bands. Names like Sebadoh, Guided By Voices, Pavement, and Dinosaur Jr. are popping up within writings on music like weeds in an unkempt yard, and the term “slacker” has never been so overused. I myself have been guilty of said offense. Is the issue simply chronological? The music-making core of those aged 20-30 now would have grown up smack in the middle of the decade or at least remember it enough to be able to nostalgically channel it. Does it matter?

Unicycle Loves You doesn't seem to care much either way. They just seem to be having a damn good time doing what they're doing, which, while not being revolutionary, is certainly refreshing in today's deadly serious musical climate. The Chicago trio play a noisy brand of indie pop sure to please fans of the above bands, and countless others too. In other words, the band wears its “classic indie rock” tag proudly, yet their influences are surprisingly tough to pin down. And that's a good good thing.

On “Garbage Dump,” the opening track of their most recent album, Failure, the band wastes little time showcasing their sound. As delay warping and noise loops subside, out of the ether emerges their classic indie-rock attack; a catchy bassline bounces, fuzzed out guitars rip, and crisp, tambourine heavy drums seal it all together. The songs that fill out the rest of this collection, their third, are wonderful exercises in the arts of balance and moderation. The songs are noisy, but never go into the red. They're sugary, but never saccharine. They're well produced, yet never feel too slick.

Lead single “Sun Comes Out (And I Don't Care)” is a stellar example of this balance. The bass is fuzzy and loping, yet clear and rhythmic. The vocals are drenched in reverb and overdrive, yet cut through the mix and manage to be melodious. The guitar lines are simple and repetitive, yet never become boring or tiresome. This thought could be applied to Unicycle Loves You, and Failure in particular, as a whole. What they do may be pretty familiar, but I dare you not to have fun while listening. Go ahead. I triple-dog-dare ya.

Unicycle Loves You's Failure is out now. You can stream/purchase the album via the group's Bandcamp.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ben Vida - "Zizzlers" | Video

Ben Vida (Town & Country, Bird Show) is back with his latest solo album titled Esstends-Esstends-Esstends. The full-length sees Vida present a heady mix compositions for "Computer Controlled Modular Synthesizer and Digital Signal Processing" something that hints towards the forward thinking electronics he employs in tracks such as "Zizzlers" and "Qweek Plus Enner (outro too)." As the press release will tell us the compositions on the album are an attempt to "escape the stereo image" for an expanded auditory listening space.

"Zizzlers", & it's accompanying video A fantastic collaborative spree has emerged between Ben Vida & Hisham Bharoocha that this video seems to only highlight. Collaboratively the whole is a strangely moving testament, contemplative in a way more generally acknowledged in the gallery arts world. Something which makes perfect sense as both contributors seems to bee spending increasing amounts of time in such environments. In the previous year alone Vida was recipient of various prestigious awards & opportunities inside & outside of the fine arts world including Composer in Residency at Diapason Space, NYC and at EMS Studios, Stockholm and was awarded a Swedish Arts Committee Travel Grant, ISSUE Project Room Emerging Artists Commission and Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona "Composing with Process" Exclusive Works Commission.

Ben Vida's Esstends-Esstends-Esstends is available on LP via Pan.