Monday, April 30, 2012

Marcia Bassett & Samara Lubelski - Sunday Night, Sunday Afternoon | Album Feature

Marcia Bassett & Samara Lubelski are some of the brightest stars in the contemporary underground. Maybe they are not the most mentioned names but their reach & light affect many corners of the musical universe. I'm not even sure where to start in the long list of names that these women have worked with. But more importantly to this discussion is that they have been frequent collaborators for years & have only now come together for a proper duo release titled Sunday Evening, Sunday Afternoon.

This excerpt from the full-length album essentially highlight what the two do best manipulate bits of droning white noise into moving compositions of beauty. Neither attempt to take center stage & really stick their thumbs out. That doesn't seem to be the point here. It is the subtle elapsing layers of ambient noise that Bassett & Lubelski are skillfully coaxing out of their guitar & violin. A sublime pairing to say the least.

Marcia Bassett & Samara Lubelski's Sunday Night, Sunday Afternoon is available now via Kye.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sedition Ensemble - Tax | Track Feature

Occupying that fine cross section of politically motivated groove music that seems to bear hallmarks from every corner of NYC's late 70's early 80's underground. Sedition Ensemble's Regeneration Report has classic written all over it yet for some reasons feel through the cracks of above ground (even if marginally so) history. The group was founded by Ed Montgomery, a San Francisco transplant living in New York City, & included Hector Lavoe, Larry Harlow, & Bern Nix (Ornette Coleman's Prime Time & The Contortions) to name a few.

If the lead track "Tax" is any indication of what else is to come on this album then we can expect a quintessential mix of underground political ideologies & cultural fusion. The latin influence in particular is hard at play here. I'm not sure if Montgomery's latin influence came before or after his move from San Francisco to New York but would wager a pretty penny (that is if I gambled) on the latter as the big apple had it's own thriving Latino music scene at the time. It's a great blend of radical post-hippie politics made music.

Sedition Ensemble's Regeneration Report is available now via Sol Re Sol Records.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Led Er Est - Turritopsis Blues | Video Feature

Led Er Est are back bringing with them a bit of icy detachment for this unusually warm spring. The group have announced a new full-length titled The Diver & releasing a limited single which is the soundtrack to the video above. I'm not sure much has necessarily changed since their last outing in 2009 but it's possible they gave the rest of the world time to catch up a little.

"Turritopsis Blues" is a largely instrumental affair which is full to the brim with mystery & occult vibes. At times feeling like the theme song to some long lost sci-fi classic. The accompanying video by House Plants brings an equally surreal & unusually cinematic vision to the plate. It is partly a contemplative look in urban life as it is death. The main protagonists working through partly choreographed movements that manipulate time and physics in their occult like symbology. All the while shot in clear stark takes the weave in & out of each other dancing to the music.

With their lead track "Kaiyo Maru" from The Diver Led Er Est are back where they left off on the previous LP Dust On Common (released on Wierd records). They're not leading us in a new direction here but they have refined it. They have their figure on the pulse though & did with this type of thing before a lot of other seemed to have jumped on board.

Led Er Est's Turritopsis Blues is available now on a fancy single sided 12" w/ silkscreened b-sde on Monofonus Press & their full-length will be available via Sacred Bones this May 8th.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ed Schrader's Music Beat - Jazz Mind | Album Feature

I saw Ed Schrader's Music Beat perform a few years ago and was immediately blown away. All he had at his disposal was a single drum & his own twisted musical vision which he milked for all they were worth  It was one of those moments where it seemed like everything could & possibly should go wrong. It didn't. I was wrong and it is now one of those performances I have held onto over the years.

Ed Schrader's Music Beat's most recent album Jazz Mind follows a similar line of logic. The main difference here is the expansion of the project into a duo with the addition of bassist Devlin Rice (of Nuclear Power Pants) whose subtle contributions really help propel Schrader's vision into the outer realms.  They explode out of the gates with "Sermon" a tune that immediately grabs a listeners attention with it's punk aesthetics before letting us know what's really going on here.

The mood over the rest of the album drastically changes from the hard-edged punk of the aforementioned track to more open ended vocal music that seems to searching for some sort of spiritual transcendence through odd-ball mantra's & weirdo associative logic. Ed Schrader's Music Beat are really doing their own thing here delving into a sound and musical philosophy few are willing or able to pursue.

Ed Schrader's Music Beat's Jazz Mind is available now via Load Records.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hiro Kone - Fever | Video Feature

What can I say, Hiro Kone mixes a lot of classic elements from kosmiche to bedroom synth wanderings as elegantly as just about anyone around. Combine this with some other worldly & striking visual accompaniment (created by Anna Gustav) and you have the harmonious pairing that haev resulted in this video for "Fever" by Hiro Kone featured on a 12" released with Perfect Wave Magazine #002.  

Actually I suppose accompaniment isn't the right word for what Gustav has created. Rather the pairing of the two work towards propelling each other in new directions. Just as I am settling down with the instrumental groove that has been set in place enters some detached vocals who let the synths express the meaning of what Nicki Mao (aka Hiro Kone) is saying.  An icy cool that will help this increasingly hot spring.

Hiro Kone's track "Fever is available now on Perfect Wave #002.

Monday, April 16, 2012

T.R. Mahalingam - Portrait Of A Prodigy | Album Feature


Whenever I come across an album of international music that carries a tag that reads something like "first time released outside of place non-western country name here" I admittedly get rather excited. Even after years of full of some primo disappointments I always dive head first. Luckily T.R. Mahalingam deserves all the excitement my anticipation can muster. It's also the second album EM Records has released of his work so people must be digging in.

India's T.R. Mahalingam has left behind a legacy & influence over Carnatic music that no other flautist has been able to match since his death in 1986. His technical & melodic abilities were acclaimed throughout  during Mahalingam's lifetime, shortly before his death in 1986 India awarded him the Padma Bhushan.

This compilation of recordings dating from the 1940's - 50's find Mahalingam, accompanied by T. Chowdiah (on violin) and Palghat Mani Iver (on mridangam), in fine form. "Suki Evaro pt. 1" is a frenetic composition that utilizes a constantly moving flute melody that does much to cement Mahalingam's unique flute styling, that many have compared to being almost as expressive as the human voice, with clusters of notes flowing to & fro. "Paramaathmudo pt. 1" is a more subdued affair where Mahalingam mixes extended tones & drones without sacrificing the melody he is unfolding.

There is a definite air of playfulness to this music as well that is totally unique. Mahalingam never lets virtuosity trump the expressiveness & spiritual nature of this music. If only every international reissue taunted with such honors was so rich & moving.

T.R. Mahalingam's Portrait Of A Prodigy is available on LP & CD now via EM Records.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ashley Paul - Slow Boat | Album Feature

People seem to be generally afraid of silence in the context of music. Silence can feel fragile. We're the bull in a glass house. Ashley Paul seems to understand this. Maybe I'm projecting, or possibly coming from more of a "rock" background where this type of thing rarely exists. Except for the realm of Mayo Thompson & his Red Krayola, someone whom Paul at times reminds me quiet a lot of, or should I reverse that.

Either way this video a collaboration of sorts with audio from Ashley Paul & animation from Gretta Johnson. I'm not sure which came first. The chicken or the egg. I'm not sure which is the chicken or the egg. I'm not sure it matters. If it does let me know & I'll email someone. But really this is a fine pairing at any rate. The slow building motifs & movements of each artist fully compliment the other. 

Paul's use of voice is something that really brings this all together in my perspective. Her precise compositions walk a fine line of too controlled but the human voice enters to relieve the cool detachment with a instrument more primal & immediate. Even when drawn out to the last gasp & whisper it is enough to satisfy this urge I feel for something that does not feel fabricated.

Ashley Paul's Slow Boat is available now via Orange Milk Records.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nude Beach - II | Album Feature

In a city whose streets are increasingly filled with the sounds of bleeps and bloops, it's a breath of fresh air to discover some good ol' boys with guitars flying under the radar. Meet Nude Beach, a power trio out of Brooklyn whose penchant for chiming guitars and herky-jerky rhythms recall a host of artists from yesteryear, yet feels as fresh as Spring's first blooming daisies.

The songs on their second release, appropriately titled II, run the gamut from straight ahead pop jams to lyrical, anthemic bursts of fist-pumping rock; ripping guitar leads intact. Case in point: mid-album track "Love Can't Wait," a lovely bit of earnest, yearning rock n' roll, perfected by the likes of Springsteen and Co., has you obediently bopping along until a Mascis sized guitar solo comes in to steal the show. The guitar work on this record deserves special praise for accomplishing a feat many an axeman struggles with, combining proficiency with melody and purpose. Each guitar figure is carefully constructed to serve the song it's anchoring, not a note wasted.

Guitar geek-outs aside, the album is a no-frills excursion into the back catalogue of rock n' roll as we know and love it. Influences such as the aforementioned Springsteen, The Replacements, and The Attractions are payed unabashed tribute. "Walkin' Down My Street" sounds like a long forgotten b-side from Costello's first record, while the whole affair is slathered in the slop-pop aesthetics of The 'Mats. This is not to detract from Nude Beach's songs in the slightest; these are the types of loving homages that make you smile rather than cringe. Bottom line: this is some of the most fun you'll have listening to guitar pop this upcoming season. While the group may keep a low profile, their only internet presence being a Bandcamp and bare-bones Angelfire site, I have a feeling it's only a matter of time until that luxury escapes Nude Beach. Here's to 'em. Raise your glasses.

II is out now via the band's own Nude Beach Records. They're currently doing a full album stream and a "pay-what-you-wish" type of deal over at their Bandcamp, so get it while it's hot.

Monday, April 9, 2012

White Suns - Footprints Filled | Track Feature

This is some serious punk/noise rock here. I think that the tag of being released via Load Records kind of cements this fact but for those not convinced we have "Footprints Filled" & shortly the full length release of White Suns album Sinews this April. They are walking a fine line of technical proficiency & fuck it punk-rock attitude. The kind where life & concepts usually lead towards all or nothing scenarios. White Suns work well in this landscape.

Maybe that's just some pretty words but I did see this youtube clip of a motorized percussion piece they performed. I don't think a bunch of total scuzz balls would do this, well maybe they would think about doing it but doing it... that's another thing. So they're definitely nerds. That's cool though. I dig that. Noise nerds. Actually who am I to pigeonhole them. Maybe they'll make a prog record. I hope not. I don't think they will. That'd probably be too off putting. 

White Suns Sinews will be available April 17th via Load Records. Be sure to check below for the group's upcoming national tour as there's a good chance they'll be heading your way.

sun may 6 - baltimore, md @ ottobar w/ friend collector, cursed
mon may 7 - richmond, va @ strange matter
tues may 8 - chapel hill, nc @ meadows of dan w/ hitherdaxodes
weds may 9 - atlanta, ga @ drunken unicorn
thurs may 10 - macon, ga @ TBA w/ national dairy
fri may 11 - pensacola, fl @ sluggo's
sat may 12 - new orleans, la @ TBA
sun may 13 - houston, tx @ mango's w/ cop warmth
mon may 14 - austin, tx @ 29th street ballroom w/ expensive shit, lechuguillas, coma in algiers
tues may 15 - las cruces, nm @ the trainyard
weds may 16 - phoenix/tempe, az @ TBA w/ marshstepper, drainbow
thurs may 17 - los angeles, ca @ beauty is pain w/ nasa space universe, low places, sheepshead, surplus killing, w.h.i.t.e.
fri may 18 - san francisco, ca @ hemlock tavern w/ high castle, ccr headcleaner
sat may 19 - oakland, ca @ TBA w/ stillsuit (x-coughs), cubicle
sun may 20 - sacramento, ca @ boiz house w/ darling chemicalia, ennui trust
tues may 22 - portland, or @ TBA
weds may 23 - olympia, wa @ swamp house
thurs may 24 - vancouver, bc @ zoo zhop w/ yellow thief, stamina mantis
fri may 25 - seattle, wa @ the in w/ white coward, mountainsss
sat may 26 - missoula, mt @ ole beck vfw post 209
mon may 28 - fargo, nd @ the aquarium
tues  may 29 - minneapolis, mn @ madame of the arts
weds may 30 - chicago, il @ TBA
thurs may 31 - columbus, oh @ bourbon st cafe
fri june 1 - pittsburgh, pa @ TBA
sat june 2 - philadelphia, pa @ level room w/ hot guts

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland - Black Is Beautiful & The Attitude Era | Album Feature


Hype Williams, or rather Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland, have been a busy pair the past couple of years and only seem to be gaining moment. Not only have they announced the release of their next full length Black is Beautiful, out this April 17th, but each have been busy releasing the odd solo release or two along with well you know the usual kind of stuff like being accused in a court of law of going on a robbing spree of raccoons from taxidermists

The duo have also recently graced the pages of The Guardian as well for an in-depth article and interview with the artists. As a special treat they also released an exclusive download titled "The Attitude Era" to go along with the article which will be available for 2 weeks after it's original publish date (4/5/12).

Such a move seems to be almost counter active as the tracks contained found on the download album can stand up there with any of the Copeland & Blunt's work. A feature that has occurred over and over again in their career where high profile releases receive no special attention. It handled as what is available at the time naturally evolving and sharing along the way. In a way it enables further growth, yet at the speed they are going at how long will it be able to last. 

Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland's Black is Beautiful will be available April 17th via Hyperdub.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Trumpet Trumpet Synthesizer - Trumpet Trumpet Synthesizer | Album Feature

First off I would like to make a point in mentioning that this should be listened to some sort of decent speakers. You just won't be able to hear everything coming through crummy computer speakers or earbuds. This happens. It's ok. We shall prevail. 

Anyway Trumpet Trumpet Synthesizer works within a heady conceptual realm of contemporary compositions. Something which roughly translates to is "music for those who like to think in the post-noise, post-minimalist, post-new music kinda world." You know one where digital freedom allows for vast histories & futures to unfold before our eyes.

The trio roughly inhabit a interzone or contradictory place within the musical landscape. Performing group leader Weston Minissali's compositions on one hand allude towards more traditional forms of academic music, while their freeform / improv based structures & fact that each were written for the specific players begets another answer. At moments the sound like a more straight laced Jon Hassell while at others mixing in elements of classic electronic music of the past like Karl Stockhausen or a myriad contemporary noise/sound artists put in the room with a jazz band.

Trumpet Trumpet Synthesizer's self-titled debut album is available now via Prom Night Records.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

BI - "Tuf Jak" | Track Feature

Eric Copeland, a man not usually known for this sort of thing, has just released an accessible pop jammer for your aural consumption. It comes courtesy of his new project BI, a collaboration with ex Haunted Graffiti and Beachwood Sparks drummer Jimi Hey. Aesthetically similar to his recent solo work, yet more polished, Copeland seems to have struck gold here. Slathered in weird vibes, “Tuf Jak” sounds like a summer day spent basking in the glow of lysergia with your back to the grass and eyes to the sky. Modulated guitar dominates the track, hammering home a classic garage beat filtered through god knows how many effects. By the time the close harmonized vocals and fuzz bass come in, you're already sold. Grab some headphones and get weird y'all.

"Tuf Jak" will be released on BI's debut 7 inch, out 4/17 via Mexican Summer.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Key of Shame - Live at Death By Audio | Artist Feature

This past February I found myself smack dab in the middle of a heady set by Key of Shame where my ears & mind were essentially melted by the duo's grey-matter dirge. It is a sound embedded with the sounds of a dystopian electronic future wherein they are constantly reconfiguring the concept many have that synthesis & electronics provide the golden opening towards some unforeseen future of leisure & bliss. Totally cracked guitars, synth textures that warp in & out of the mix, & the constant squeal  moaning of what sounds like the World's Fair running out of batteries. 

Considering the dudes behind KoS, Pat Murano (Decimus, NNCK) + Mark Morgan (Sightings), the overall sound isn't so surprising as it follows upon some similar aesthetic elements both members other projects, bits of screeching guitars, soundtrack vibes, industrial murk as a result of urban living. What is surprising is the ease in translating the recorded sound into the live environment and vice-versa. Needless to say that fans of any project Murano & Morgan are in will find much to love here. 

For those in the NYC are May 15th be sure to come catch a special collaboration between  Decimus + Tom Carter at Death By Audio. The show will also feature an exclusive US performance by Charalambides and locals Pigeons as part of another Last Nights Presents event.