Monday, November 30, 2009
There is one leaf left on the mighty Oak outside my window. Winds are humming up the East River, cutting through Greenpoint with Exacto knife precision. The sun goes down at 4:30 pm. Sick of the varying weather, we head North to a more serene destination, where the sun will melt into the horizon at 4:08 pm, the breeze out of the East will be from the Northern reaches of the Atlantic Ocean, and while conditions aren't exactly permitting, they seem more fitting than in the city, where the vital signs of season change are shrouded in concrete capes, keeping natural form at bay. The train ride to northern New England is approximately 8-9 hours from NY Penn Station. This mix will only last you through Westchester, maybe Southern Connecticut, if your lucky, either way, it'll put you in the right state of mind for Winter exploration and the enjoyment of the forthcoming season.
Bobkast #30: Northbound Train
1. The Feelies- Forces at Work
2. The Clean- Flowers
3. Lee Hazelwood- Cold Hard Times
4. Woods- Death Rattles (Daytrotter Session)
5. Warpaint- Billie Holiday
6. Taken By Trees- Cedar Trees
7. Animal Collective- Sleeper Factory (live)
8. Linda Perhacs- Porcelain Over Cast Iron Wedding
9. Shop Assistants- Somewhere in China
10. Woodsman- Sunglass.
11. Julian Lynch- Nen Vole
12. Popol Vuh- der ruf
13. Galaxie 500- Cold Night
14. Twin Sister- All My Trials
15. Dink Roberts- Old Blue
16. Sibylle Baier- I Lost Something In The Hills
17. Mountain Man- Sewee Sewee
Download Bobkast #30: Northbound Trains (PC: Right Click + Save As|Mac: Option+Click)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Molly from Mountain Man sent me a few tracks from San Francisco's Yes Please a couple days ago and they couldn't be more appropriate given the nature of tomorrows Holiday. Playful, earnest and introspective, Yes Please is the (former?) folk project of Lily from Grass Widow. While her more current act dwells in poppy girl group melodies and jangle fuzz, Yes Please is more akin to the trinkets that adorn window sills around the globe; glimpses of times spent with friends, ex-lovers, and books, the sort of intrinsically good stuff that can, for lack of a better term, turn that frown upside down. While certain songs invoke the sylvan wordplay of Joanna Newsome, Yes Please is most certainly a bedroom project, which finds Lily experimenting with anything she can get her hands on; loop pedals, toy guitars, the sounds passing by on the street. Her looping is majestic, invoking the spirit world much in the way Julianna Barwick does, though within a more traditional folk structure. Fans of Merrill Garbus, you will like this.
The tracks I were sent were unlabeled and I haven't been able to track down their titles, mostly due to the fact that Yes Please's early EPs on Bicycle Records seem to be long out of print. My guess is this track, in particular, is from the Oh La La EP, or possibly the Purple EP. In all honesty, it doesn't matter what its from, because its just plain good.
Yes Please- Track 02
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Going to be a special evening. Bring blankets, yoga mats to sit on. Baked goods will be sold on the premises. BYOB. Click here to see a large scale, beautiful rendering of the work, done by Mike Mahon.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Breaking down the walls of retransmission, it was a must to beam Julian Lynch into Monkeytown during CMJ. Fortunately, the needed technologies are embedded in laptop machines we carry in over-the-shoulder bags and so, presenting Julian Lynch live from the his bedroom floor in Madison, Wisconsin wasn't that big a deal, technically speaking. It was, if anything, essential, a must, and even more so in retrospect, as Julian's cosmic raga pixelated the air in the room until all we could see were molecules and molecules made up of molecules. This is what I imagine lucid dreaming to be.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Ray Davies played the first of 2 shows at NYC's Town Hall last night. This show was one of 3 US shows featuring a choir performing tracks from The Kinks Choral Collection.
The first set was mostly acoustic renditions of Kinks classics. The second set featured the Dessoff Chamber Choir, who not having performed any of this material before, did a splendid job. The crowd was mostly older, but what they lacked in youth they made up in devotion. While many argue Ray Davies live is nothing more than Ray singing Kinks karaoke, the choral arrangements offered his fans a new (and mostly effective) spin on Kinks classics. Likewise with the acoustic numbers. Ray's knack for storytelling was evident, and it's easy to see how his Storyteller disc inspired the VH1 series. Highlights included "A Long Way From Home" (dedicated to his brother Dave), a haunting "See My Friends" (which Ray explained was written on a beach in India when he was taking too much "lemonade"), "Picture Book", "Do You Remember Walter?" and "Days".
New York City
(Ray and guitarist Bill Shandley, accoustic)
I Need You
I'm Not Like Everybody Else
In A Moment
Dedicated Follower of Fashion
Hymn For A New Age
A Long Way From Home*
(w/ full band)
After The Fall
Till The End of the Day
Where Have All The Good Times Gone
(w/ full band & 32 person Dessoff Chamber Choir)
See My Friends
You Really Got Me
Do You Remember Walter?
Village Green Preservation Society
All Day And All Of The Night
(w/ full band)
* w/ Karin Forsman on vocals, Bill Shandley on guitar, and on accordion
The Kinks Choral Collection - Shangri-La
EDIT: In the midst of a massive hangover, I mistyped "Sunny Afternoon" as "In the Summertime". Thanks davidp for noticing. Before starting the song, Ray explained how he locked himself in his room for weeks while his band toured without him. Bright sunlight would pour into his room but he couldn't muster the strength to go outside. Instead he wrote "Sunny Afternoon".
Thursday, November 19, 2009
As November drifts away, the days get shorter, the nights longer and the streets more barren every night. It's funny how once the temperature chills out, and the sun starts going to bed after the early bird buffet, everyone retreats to home base preferring the comforts of the couch to the park or the roof or some quaint garden. My guess is that Kevin Greenspon, ambient auteur, is a couch dweller, however, rather than plant himself in front of the boob tube with a few seasons worth of M*A*S*H*, Greenspon sits lotus position on his bed, peering out the window on the shadowy streets below. There is probably a tree in his backyard that rustles against his window when the wind picks up. Often its howl billows through, as if a ghost crept out of the radiator. It's at once warm and comforting, yet, bleak and atmospheric, sort of like Christina's World. Either way, its ripe for days like today. Thanks to the folks at Rose Quartz for the heads up.
Greenspon will release Bracing on CD-R in a DVD package on Family Time (same label as Norse Horse) shortly, with a cassette tape on Obeast Tapes, as well. Be sure to check out Family Time's releases, as they've got some great packaging.
Kevin Greenspon- Softened
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Yesterday Todd from OESB sent over this exclusive Ducktails outtake from the Landscapes sessions. This one takes a particular detour from the Departmentstore Santa's cover GvB posted, and a lot of the Ducktails catalog, and finds Mondanile channeling minimal techno, mechanical krautrock riddims and a sort of ambient wash that'll clear your sinuses, sort of like a neti pot. Oh, yeah, and its called "McGuire in the Ocean," which sounds about right to me. Thinking about heading to Mantoloking tomorrow, anybody wanna join?
Buy Landscapes, and all other OESB releases, here.
Ducktails- McGuire in the Ocean
Monday, November 16, 2009
Eleven days before it hits shelves, we feel like a proud mama in getting to introduce to you the cover of Alex Bleeker & the Freaks self-titled debut. Since Sawyer introduced the band via YouTube Vid Chat/Bald Eagles soaring over the vast American landscape, I've fallen head over heels for the Freaks, so much so that I may or may not have held up a lighter while swaying during "Common Sense" the last time I saw them. The first long player in the Underwater Peoples catalog, the Freaks record contains some of the most unabashedly blessed rock n roll I've heard in a long time, recalling a time when meandering solo's were as wistful as a strong wind blowing hard as you speed across I-80 towards the unknown. It's unwavering in its timelessness, and yes, will, at times, remind you of the archival Neil Young releases. While much of the record is based around Alex Bleeker's solemn, road weary songwriting, a welcomed move away from all the idiosyncratic indie stuff, it wouldn't be the Freaks without Julian Lynch's surreal shredding, which will drive even the most apathetic of listeners into an absurdly O-faced air guitar solo. Example, "Dead On," which, yes, hits its stride just as GD did in '77. This 1:06 selection is probably an excerpt from a "Fire on the Mountain" jam, and, well, that's alright with us.
Alex Bleeker & the Freaks- Dead On
Contest: First person to name all of the Freaks on the cover will gain free entrance to the Mountain Man, Alex Bleeker, Liam the Younger, No Demons Here show at the Church of the Messiah on December 11th. Do so in the comment section.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
For various reasons (stage fright, lack of funds, schizophrenia) some bands don't tour. Candy Claws, the Ft. Collins, Colorado collective, fall into that category, but I think it's because some of them are working on completing their studies, which is hard to knock, cause you know, you gots to be smart to dominate the game. (OK, I've officially been watching The Wire way too much.) While Candy Claws usually dabble in the sort of bedroom tomfuckery that can be extremely difficult to translate live, this live tour video finds the group stripping down, bringing a whispy, acoustic dream vibe to the transformative "Catamaran." Truth is, Candy Claws are in the midst of a virtual tour. In their own words:
This tour shall happen online, in the form of videos posted to music blogs of different cities and towns across the entire planet. The first ten dates will feature live footage of acoustic versions of each song on the album. The last ten dates will debut brand new music videos for each song.The band was nice enough to "fly" cross country in the middle of the night, losing sleep in the time zones, to play at Bobka Headquarters in Greenpoint, BK this morning. In all honesty, the acoustic version of "Catamaran" is exactly what I wanted to wake up to this morning. All the coy, LSD-25 saccharine sheen one could ask for on a cold, windy Thursday morning. Double exposure never felt so good at 9am. Candy Claws virtual tour continues tomorrow in Boston, when they "play" OnAFriday.com.
Young fuzz devotees and Geocities enthusiasts Big Troubles have only played a handful of shows since their inception in late July, yet they've managed to damage the ear canal's of at least two dozen attendees, which, I guess, is sort of the point. These guys don't know the definition of "too loud," and if the sound guy at Cameo Gallery had known this he probably wouldn't have said "the guitars are still too loud." Everyone in the room could've agreed, but instead, they laughed it off, popped in ear plugs and let Alex Craig and Ian Drennen, backed by Luka Usmani and Sam Franklin, speed up our inevitable deafness. No saxophone solos or doo-wop vocal arrangements here, just delectable melodies ensconced in enough distortion to blow all the wax out your ears.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
A month from today Chocolate Bobka will host another show in our concert series, and this one, in all honesty, may be the best yet. On Friday December 11th, Mountain Man, Alex Bleeker (accompanied by the Mountain Man singers), Liam the Younger and Luka (No Demons Here) will descend upon the majestic Lutheran Church of the Messiah in sleepy Greenpoint, Brooklyn for a night of quiet, unamplified ballads and hymns. It's a real pleasure to host this show in the amazing Church, which has previously been host to performances by Mt. Eerie, Marissa Nadler, Calvin Johnson, and Kria Brekkan, among others. The intimate venue, along with a heaping of blankets, should make the Church basement feel more like a coffee house, or house show, which, in my opinion, is the only way to absorb real, honest to god Folk music. Details will trickle out in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled. Also, if anyone is interested in volunteering at the show, shoot me an email at mcgregor [at] me.com. See ya in a month.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
News about the "in the works for a while" split between Andrew Cedermark and Family Portrait broke today and the disc is currently available for pre-sale. Like the 3-D imagery suggests, there is a certain duality to the release; the "down-and-out but will rise again nature" of Cedermark's work, and the chilling in the ether vibe Family Portrait owns. The obvious talk will be of "Mega Secrets" and "Hard Livin,'" two standouts from the Underwater Peoples Summer Showcase comp. But, for me, the real nugget here is "Super Cool," a kaleidoscopic travel diary of an instrumental, as easily indigestible as the drug for which its named, and as digestible as a PB&J with the crust cut off. The glue? Mr. Julian Lynch, whose clarinet is like a snake charmer wrapping your mind around some really interstellar shit, and making it seem, well, totally normal. And such is the wonder of "Super Cool," an instrumental oddball as capable of soundtracking a backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, as it is a Sunday morning, reading the paper with Mom and Dad on the porch.
Listen to the studio version here. Live version above.
Monday, November 9, 2009
I'd always known Trail Magic as little gifts left to hikers, by other hikers, as a way of enlightening the path. Granola, pints of Whiskey, roaches, just a couple things to make somebody elses day a little better. In the city we call them ground scores, or street scores. The deluge of sounds from Trail Magic, who you may recognize from the Butter X Face Chum Onah: A Michael Jackson Tribute comp, are, ostensibly, similar. Bits of pre-recorded, digital fuck and synthetic tweak gaze surrender to a natural force, sort of like when cows can't help but lay down when a storm starts rolling in...but different. Animal Collective, in all their varied bits, are an obvious reference point, and that's not a bad thing, as Trail Magic successfully tap as many genre's as AnCo (hip hop, sample 8-bit, acoustic psych, folk, fuzz pop, etc), yet never fall into the trappings of a single sound. To be honest, I'm not too sure what to make of Yooooth as a whole, but, on the strength of the new EP and "Childhood Foreverand," I'm excited to hear what Trail Magic conjures up next.
Trail Magic- Don't Grow Up
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Recently came across this short mix Oneohtrix Point Never, who may have the hardest name to remember/spell, did for Rare Frequency a few months back. As is usually the case with the hyper dimensional composer, the mix seamlessly moves like a mystic space explorer's vehicle through inter-gallactic nothingness, slowly progressing towards its final destination, a place where time is infinite. It's a bit new age-y, at times, but then again, all true synthesizer music, cosmic in its form, could be tagged as yoga music. What's most stellar about the nearly 11 minute mix is how OPN's progression is so organic, it's hard to pin point exactly where the movement is coming from. Minimalist, yet deep and dense at the same time, the live set is the cosmic embodiment of lone space travel. You see the stars, the Milky Way and the sun, but all you can hear are the sounds of your own thoughts in the back of your head and the infinite hum of space.
Oneohpoint Trix Never will release two records this month, the Russian Mind LP on No Fun and the Rifts double CD also on No Fun.
Oneohpoint Trix Never- Live on Rare Frequency July 23rd, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
A rainy Saturday afternoon can be tough, especially after 4 days of non-stop showcases, free booze and incessant running around. Around 5 pm or so, I was beat. Everyone was beat. Sick of music. Sick of bars. Sick of bad sound guys. Then Alex Bleeker rolled into the Lovin' Cup. There were about 25-30 acquaintances, friends, admirers waiting for him to arrive with Mountain Man. When he crossed the threshold of the tavern, the place exploded in applause. Physically taken back, shocked even, Bleeker laughed and did the Kool Aid Man walk out the door, before returning a few seconds later to grace our weary heads with an acoustic, unamplified set accompanied by Alex and Molly from Mountain Man, and whomever else felt compelled to sing along. Serious coffee shop vibes. One of the most magical moments from this year's CMJ. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for news announcing a similar event in the near future.
Monday, November 2, 2009
A week ago I hadn't heard of Boneless. However, this morning I awoke to an email from the artist, a glowing post on Friendship Bracelet, and a mornings worth of blissed out chill-ish so warm and gooey I've forgotten all about the giant bump/gash on my forehead. An Uncontrollable Urge called it "sweet acid magic," while Ian at FB.US likened it to being lost at sea, the magical part, not the scary "hungry sharks are surrounding me" part. I'd agree with both, while also noting that "Better," my personal favorite of the Boneless cuts (so far), reminds me of the duality of getting stoned for the first time in the backyard with friends. Stuff warbles, ya can't stop coughing, tree's sway a bit differently, you wanna laugh but your also feeling really introspective, a car cruises by and it feels like fate. And then it's over, and fades, sort of like a dream that your trying to remember, but can't seem to put into words. It's in that mystique that Boneless shines, as "Better" literally just made me forget what I've been doing this morning.
Listen to it here, then use whatever you kids use these days to rip song tunes from MySpace.