Thursday, August 30, 2012

Naomi Punk - Burned Body | Video Feature

Naomi Punk create anthemic music that takes as much . The press release for their most recent album The Feeling cites influences such as The Mortal Coil, Nirvana, & The Wipers which give some clue into where these kids are coming from. Yet it is not as though their regurgitating the past in their refreshing blend of punk with hints of shoegaze and undercurrents of classic gothic rock of days past. They prove to fit perfectly within this new age of punk music that includes the likes of Iceage or even The Men to name a few. 

"Burned Body" demonstrates all of this with fiery passion and immediacy. The stark black and white stop motion video which accompanies the track presents the band in a highly stylized light and consistently obscured by bouquets of flowers or their turned away from the camera as if it would eat their souls. The video created by Robin Stein, Margaret Jones, & Jesse Brown matches the angular beauty of the song and presents some rather gifted filmmakers. If this doesn't command your attention then I'm not sure much contemporary "rock" music will be able to get you going. 
Naomi Punk's "Burned Body" is available now on their sophomore album The Feeling available now via Couple Skate Records

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mighty Challenger - There Is No Other Way | Track Feature

Mighty Challenger bursts out of the opening gates with the melodic almost pop gem "There Is No Other Way." The project of Tom Gluibizzi (who some may know from his current project Hidden Fees or his previous role as a co-founder of Psychic Ills) goes out on his own with a refreshing blend of songwriting that stands out from what many folks these days seem to be up to. It is true that some reference points could be made to music of west africa as well as some classic rock moves of the 70's onwards. At the heart of this music is some fine tuned compositions break from any predefined genre placement.

There is a subtle rhythmic edge to the whole affair found in the Reggae like emphasis on the off beat & some the soft percussive shuffle that keep everything moving. It is possible that one can look at the similar groove oriented music Gluibizzi's other projects have had in the past for some reference points. "There Is No Other Way" is not dance music but it carries the beat well and has the potential to bring a little added bounce to the step of any listener. Mighty Challenger creates an ideal musical mixture that is perfect for the waning summer days.

Mighty Challenger's "There Is No Other Way" is available now on the project's debut 7" directly from the artist.

(Via the fine folks at RCRD LBL)

Monday, August 27, 2012

John Avery - Jessica In The Room Of Lights | Album Feature

I am not usually the biggest fan of albums that are essentially the soundtrack or sound component of a greater performative work.  Generalizations aside John Avery's compositional skill in Jessica In The Room Of Lights extends beyond it's original intent and forms a new life. It could be that the success of Jessica is that even in its original theatrical structure and performance the element of sound and the soundtrack held great importance. One could look towards the actors voices even being conveyed and spoken with through prerecorded tape playbacks. Either way Avery's Jessica In The Room Of Lights succeeds in its mission of creating an overarching narrative for the patient and acute  listener.

There is a foreboding nature at work here. Cryptic samples permeate through with the odd voice throw in manipulated and mutilated to the core. While the atmosphere surrounding all of the more dramatic elements are created with a skittering electronic buzz. The title track "Jessica In The Room Of Lights" is the corner stone of the album. In effect, the track becomes an integral string holding Avery's somewhat foreboding narrative in place. As dark and dramatic as the rest of the album gets the title track goes the polar opposite route. For the first time a repetitive melodic phrase enters the sonic vocabulary created by Avery's opaque and dreamy synth programming. This moment marks a rebirth or realization perhaps as what follows is a much more subdued affair.  "Zero Zero One, Zero One, Zero One" and "The Day Serenity Returned To The Ground" match silence with subtle and slow melodies that feel as though they would crumble upon realizing they being listened upon. While "Almost (1986)" ends with what is close to a piano ballad bringing a theatrical ending to the whole affair.

John Avery's album Jessica In The Room Of Lights is available now via Forced Nostalgia.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Only In My Dream | Video Feature

From underground wild card to indie rock institution Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti has come a long way since first came to the public eye with reissues of albums The Doldrums, Worn Copy, & House Arrest on Animal Collective's Paw Tracks label. Since then it appears like a whirlwind of a life for the unlikely star Ariel Pink has become. Now back with the follow up to 2010's Before Today the album Mature Themes seems to take it's title to heart.  

"Only In My Dreams" proves that Pink and co. still aren't through creating some of the most compelling "Pop music" out there today. The song takes from the spectrum of pure AM radio gold and the abstract jangle classic new wave to new heights. While the music production is considerably more hi-fidelity than earlier efforts the video created by Travis Peterson, who has also made music videos for the likes of Vivian Girls & Nite Jewel among others, harkens back to days of past. Throughout Pink's struggle to find and keep love is perfectly matched by Peterson's somewhat grainy VHS like footage. Let some nostalgic melancholy begin.

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti's new album Mature Themes is available now via 4AD.

Last Nights Presents: Drainolith, SSPS, United Waters, & Colour Bük at Death By Audio

Sunday September 9th, 2012 
Death By Audio
49 S. 2nd Street Brooklyn, NY
Doors 8pm | $7 | All Ages

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hobo Sonn - Weeping From Eyes Three, Four and Five | Track Feature

Hobo Sonn's "Weeping from Eyes Three, Four and Five" is a satisfyingly creepy ambient brew. At some indistinct moment repetitive loops, drum rhythms, & electronic pulses begin to become ritualistic in their effect. The side turns into something of a key, summoning the beyond,  almost resembling a shaman's magic. But what else is the general listening public going to expect when seeing that this is one half of a split LP with the incredibly prolific Decimus (Pat Murano of No Neck Blues Band etc).

Throughout "Weeping from Eyes Three, Four and Five" Ian Murphy carefully mixes samples taken from the entire spectrum of . The slow churn of the tide & backward voices reciting incantations sit alongside subtle washes of synths and some overarching atmospheric murk. This is perfect for the next Ouija board party you have.

Hobo Sonn's track "Weeping From Eyes Three, Four and Five" is available now on a split LP with Decimus on Kellipah Records.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Black Pus - Pus Mortem | Album Feature

Brian Chippendale returns with Pus Mortem his latest album as Black Pus. The noise artist / drummer extraordinaire has been exploring the one band form of Black Pus for some time outside of his main gig as one half of Lightning Bolt.  Chippendale has been hammering away at Black Pus since 2005 and during this time has been continuously fine tuning his own unique brand of noise rock / art rock to stunning effects up in his hometown of Providence, RI.

Pus Mortem brings out some of Black Pus's most accessible material to date interweaved throughout the album. Three tracks into the album "Play God" could quite possibly get some people swaying and dancing with it's simple yet powerful drum rhythm combined with some melodic samples and off-kilter approach. This may have been present in past work but have never been so front and center or as confidently executed. The rest of then jumps back into traditional swing with noise-rock zest with Chippendale's drums pound away like a war call on tracks like "Why Must It End?" and "So Sensational" to great effect while multiple walls of fuzz build and swell around everything before collapsing in. But that is what Black Pus does best.

Black Pus's album Pus Mortem is available now directly from the artist at bandcamp webpage now.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gregg Kowalsky - Electronic Music for Square and Sine Waves | Track Feature

Things are often lost or rather transformed in translation. It is almost analogous to a cut-up by Brian Gysin or William Burroughs or even a collage by Max Ernst through their transformation of a pre-exisitng entity. The same may be said of what happens when a work that employs the use of multiple sensations. In the case of Gregg Kowalsky's "Electronic Music for Square and Sine Wave" the work is grounded in the interaction of sound and space, something not readily transferable to purely audio recordings. Yet Kowalsky makes it work and beautifully at that.

In this format it seems like the emphasis of "music" as stated in the title "Electronic Music for Square and Sine Wave" comes to the forefront. As the releases press release states it is composed of multiple layers of sound sources and processing including "tuned an AM radio to random interference between channels, static abstractions that bookend the work." Beyond this  for "the core of the piece, Kowalsky used contact mics to process this, and other, sound source(s) as he moved around the performance space." The space in which the composition was performed and recorded is removed from the listeners vision and perception. It is a mortal separation between how the composition was originally received and what it now is.

But is this is not a bad thing. Separated from space and movement the overarching aesthetic nuances of sound manipulation are more readily revealed. It is at the heart of the audio work that deep listening practices can begin to work. Kowalsky creates a web of overtones and subtly moving harmonics to great effect, tones that gently wash over ones surroundings and possibly reactive their sense of time & sound in space.

Gregg Kowalsky and Jozef Van Wissem's album Movements in Marble and Stone will be available via Amish Records as an entry into the largely fantastic Required Wreckers Series this September 4th.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Zaïmph - Imagine Yourself Here | Album Feature

Marcia Bassett has worn many hats over the years, contributing to a large number of seminal underground groups whose names seems to pop up everywhere. These groups range from the classic Siltbreeze group Un, Double Leopards, GHQ, & Hototogisu to name a few. Yet it is under her solo moniker Zaïmph that it seems like Bassett gets into the thick of it. This may be an obvious statement though as every single other project previously mentioned have been group efforts, when left alone to examine the exact precipice of where one will take their own work is a wholly different matter.  

The sounds and movements that reveal themselves throughout Imagine Yourself Here feel thoughtful in their approach. It would be somewhat of an injustice to tag Bassett's work as drone, especially in these current times where that word has become something of an accessary. The weight of genre looms large but there is something altogether more serious and personal in what results in this work an understanding that slowly comes to light in the unhurried recesses of time. 

Zaïmph's Imagine Yourself Here is available now via Bassett's own Yew Records.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Test House - Love is Not Enough | Video Feature

To quote the late great Sonny Bono "and the beat goes on."  The same can be said for Peter Schuette and James Elliot who find themselves under the moniker Test House. The duo find themselves working within a familiar territory that each have explored in previous projects (Schuette in Silk Flowers, Peter's House Music, & for a time Psychobuildings, while Elliot has been involved with Bear in Heaven & School of Seven Bells) some sleek and retro electronic dance music.

A quirkiness and humor permeates throughout "Love Is Not Enough" something that the video renders loud and clear. It is not even a bad thing. People take themselves all too seriously sometimes,  which results in an overall blandness in the scheme of things. Here Test House sound like a self-conscious and relatively lo-fi New Order. Peter Schuette and James Elliot don't even sound pretentious in the process.

Test House's Bite Marks is available now via All Hands Electric.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Colour Bük - Dethkill | Album Feature

The gruesome twosome are back with some more totally left-field out of this world, scene-less onslaught that continues to lay their claim as being one of the most perverse bands operating on the east coast. It's not like they even mean to be this way. It's only nature. True outsiders living in an insiders posing as outsiders kind of world. Colour Bük bring to light a whole new side of their reality with Dethkill, a concept album for the modern age of noise-punk-underground.

I've personally been championing these guys for years and I still don't even know where they're coming from. The band recently toured the west coast with similar genre freaks Smegma, something which is some sort of testament. "Bastard Earth" may be the catchiest track they have recorded yet, to say nothing of the new found clarity in production and intent.

"Wake up you're getting fucked / you're just a machine / you don't even cry / the world's on a string /  and it's a bastard earth / a bastard earth / a bastard earth/ a bastard earth / a bastard earth" these are men of many words. The rest of Dethkill follows this path so if any of the aforementioned appeals to you I would begin listening now.

Colour Bük's Dethkill is available now straight from the duo & their imprint Wir Wollen Wulle.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Golden Retriever - Canopy | Video Feature

As a new rover lands on Mars and mankind continues our inexhaustible search a new video also drops for Golden Retriever. It's not that the duo of Jonathan Sielaff & Matt Carlson are constant space explorers (in a literal or figurative sense) but similarities remain. Sielaff and Carlson's compositional techniques revolve heavily around their use of technology with traditional instrumentation, as evidence in their primary instruments being the modular synth and bass clarinet. It is as if one is needed to expand the knowledge of the other and allow for a more fruitful and relationship of coexistence.

For all of the spaced out nature of Golden Retriever's work it can perhaps be said that even down to their name the duo are truly interested in and capable of exploring the depths of the human condition. The video for "Canopy" itself can be read as a directed effort towards living in this world we can Earth.  Filmmaker Jeff Guay presents a beautifully rendered environment full of organic life in the Columbia Gorge located in the northwestern United States.  It's subtle narrative follows a lone individual making his way down and through this forest environment down to the river's clear and dark water. 

This is not to say it's a straight shot as the camera rests for long moments to gaze into the rhythms of the natural world.  Guay matches the evolving complexities of Golden Retriever's music and provides instants of meditative relaxation, or depending on the viewers state of being I could saying realization, clarity even. It is as if Sielaff and Carlson have come full circle and with the help of Guay are offering up a means of coexistence, one both stunning in it's subtlety and moving in it's simplicity. 

Golden Retriever's album Occupied with the Unspoken is available now via Thrill Jockey

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Black Past - Pitch Black | Album Feature

Upon my first listen to the lead track off of Black Past's debut album Pitch Black I knew that I needed to get ready for a scenic adventure down the motorik highways of the mind. The album harkens back to the classics of this sound from around the world (Can, Neu!, Hawkwind, Tony Conrad and Faust et al.). It could be because I know better or just possibly that there is something inherently embedded in the music but the solo project of Gregory Boyd has a distinct american feel that's hard to shake. 

It's really no surprise that the album's alternative title is A Soundtrack For A Deranged Motorcyclist. 
The groove sets in immediately after the needle drops and doesn't let up. The non-stop action is well summed up with tracks "Girls" & "EG&S (Mood Ring)" which blends the minimal experimentations of the music's fore-bears with an updated twist of synth's and hooks. The analogy of the open road comes quite freely in association to what Boyd is creating here. It's driving music, it's psychedelic in the music's subtlety, it's mind and body music to the fullest bringing that metaphor of the open road full circle into something more slightly more meaningful. 

Black Past's album Pitch Black is available now and is the debut release via Dangerous Age Records.