Wednesday, December 30, 2009

photo: Church Show with Mountain Man, Alex Bleeker, ETC

It's been a few weeks since the show at the Church in McGolrick Park. Nevertheless, it's an event that I'm more than happy to take a look back at. It helps even more when you've got photographers like Rez Avissar to remind you how special of an evening it was. His shots in this phenomenal set that truly captures the cozy, communal spirit of the evening. Hats off to Rez.

No Demons Here







Lux Perpetua








Liam the Younger







Alex Bleeker and the Mountain Man Singers









Mountain Man
















Tuesday, December 29, 2009

mp3: KGB Man "Touch of Slime" & Mix

"I'll Put Out A Fucking CDR"
Eating moon rocks for breakfast and drinking syzurp for lunch may not be listed in the food pyramid as a balanced diet, but don't tell KGB Man, the subterranean alter ego of Dan Lopatin from Oneohtrix Point Never. Where OPN dwells in digital frequencies and the space station hum, KGB Man is right up in the club, shaking his dick on whoever the hell is next to him, probably pouring tranquilized cocktails down your girlfriend's ass crack. Think I'm kidding? Peep this mix KGB Man recently did for LIST. Not just a remix fiend, KGB Man produces his own brand of tweak yr brain club pop, and "Touch of Slime" is sure to do that. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, December 28, 2009

mp3: No Demons Here "Cradles"

"So Pretty, Pretty Dumb"
While I've mentioned a few highlights from the Chocolate Bobka Church show a few weeks back, I've failed to mention No Demons Here's opening set, which set the tone for an amazing evening of acoustic slumber punk and hymnal folk. Luka Usmiani, the guy behind the moniker, has been crafting slow burning songs more akin to chemical fires than pop songs under the name No Demons Here for a while, all while playing bass in the live incarnations of Fluffy Lumbers and Big Troubles. His tape Boy Eaten By Thing In Water is one of three that I picked up this summer at the UP Showcase, and has been in consistently high rotation on the night stand cassette deck ever since. "Ten songs of not knowing what to do" and a side long sound collage find NDH dwelling in a burnt out bedroom in the bunker of an old fallout shelter. (Picture a charcoaled version of the home from the Brendan Frasier/ Christopher Walken movie Blast from the Past.)

No Demons Here has been busy lately, releasing a new EP on his blog while also playing in the new noise project Maids with Sam from Fluffy Lumbers. "Cradles", a standout on Boy Eaten By Thing in Water, is one of those tunes you hum for months without knowing where it came from, as if he plucked its chorus from a balloon charting its way toward the heavens. While the lo-fi fragility of the version on Boy Eaten By Thing in Water sounds like a bemoaning transmission from a submarine lost at sea, the live acoustic version is a sheer revelation. It's so brittle you just want to save it before it crumbles into dust.

You can pick up No Demons Here releases from Luka directly, or download them for free at his blog. Highly recommended for cassette enthusiasts. This is music made for the tape deck. It just doesn't sound as good on shitty computer speakers.

No Demons Here- Cradles
No Demons Here set at the Church 12/11/09 (Courtesy of Goddamn Cobras)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

new: Marissa Nadler Covers & Demos

"I Heard You Cry"
A holiday gift from Marissa Nadler came in the form of a few bundled and attached mp3's, each from a recent recording session with Daniel Nicholas Daskivich at his studio in Somerville, MA. The songs, while still rough, are only demos, however, a boding sense of finality graces the tunes, which sit gracefully alongside classics from Nadler's ever growing, and always wondrous, oeuvre. A noted standout is Marissa's cover of Townes Van Zandt's "Poncho & Lefty," which I believe she has performed live a few times. Hopefully all this demoing means the fifth Marissa Nadler studio album isn't too far off.

Marissa Nadler- Poncho & Lefty (Townes Van Zandt cover)
Marissa Nadler- Amber (demo)

Friday, December 25, 2009

mix: Underwater Peoples Winter Review

"Sun to the Moon"
A quarter pound of green beans, six candy canes and enough beers consumed for my parents to reconsider "creating" me, I came home last night, the eve of the birth of the little baby Jesus, to find the Underwater Peoples Winter Review nestled in my cozy inbox. It was drapped in swaddling clothes...whatever the fuck those are.

In the spirit of giving, it is my pleasure to share this with you, fine citizens of the world, this wonderful compilation. Download it, upload it to your iPizzles, burn a CD, dub a tape, or, if your really cool, copy that shit to 8-track, you'll be the only kid in America with an 8-track of, well, anything worth listening to. Enough of the bullshit, though, as there was lots of hard work put into this hand crafted Christmas gift for you. The UP crew, who is, like, hella International right now, doesn't care if the economy left you delivering papers, they just want you to enjoy whats left of 2009, to roll into the next decade with the momentum of a freight train powered by a vat of Red Bull and an Intervention's worth of crystal meth. Ok, maybe not the meth part, but the full force, straight on til morning vibe is still relevant. Like Sawyer said, 2010 is all about Love. And friends. Think about that while you aurally devour the Winter Review. Also think about how goddamn adorable the infant version of Michael Mimoun was (thats him on the gracing the album art). Goddamn that kid was/is a cutie pie. Hope Santa was good to you. Peace be with you.

Underwater Peoples Winter Review
1. Julian Lynch - Es's
2. Pill Wonder - Restless
3. Ducktails - Apple Walk
4. Fluffy Lumbers - Adoration
5. Big Troubles - Former Selves
6. Andrew Cedermark - Ad Infinitum
7. Frat Dad - Totally Afraid
8. Dana Jewell - My T-Train Girl
9. Air Waves - Sweetness
10. Family Portrait - Killer Statements
11. Alex Bleeker - These Days
12. Mountain Man - Dog Song
13. Real Estate - Orchard
14. Rainbow Bridge - Rain Nair
15. Liam the Younger - Please See

Download Underwater Peoples Winter Review (direct download)

UPDATE: Underwater Peoples Sawyer Live from Vietnam:
video

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

video: Mountain Man at the Church

"Lay Your Head"


Ray Concepcion capturing Mountain Man at the Chocolate Bobka Church show two weeks ago. Amazing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

live: Kurt Vile DNA Fest 4/28/09

"He's Alright"
2009 was a big year for Kurt Vile. While shredding out with the Violators seems to be his prerogative these days, lately I've been returning to a live set captured by guys at Fan Death Records this past April at the label's annual DNA Fest in Washington DC. The Fan Death guys, who know a thing or two about Kurt Vile, said "as far as live recordings go, this is the holy grail..(so far...)." After four months of listening to this set over and over, I can wholeheartedly agree. It's a must own, and finds Kurt playing solo acoustic versions of soon-to-be-classics from Constant Hitmaker, God is Saying This to You and Childish Prodigy. In twenty years, your going to lie and tell your kids you were at this show.

Kurt Vile Live at DNA Fest 4/28/09 Velvet Lounge, Washington DC

Monday, December 21, 2009

mix: Happy Family/Run DMT Amanda Huggankiss

"Loogie"
Bogged down by a debilitating head cold, radioactive loogies jumping from out my throat, my head space is more than a bit congested. Sort of like when your flying and the pressure makes your ears pop, and then hep-C yellow goo starts flowing from your nasal cavity. It's nasty. Last night, hunkering down with There Will Be Blood, b-more buds and sound collagists Happy Family and Run DMT sent over a new mix they've been collaborating on. Less stoner QVC samples, more guitar droners eventually leading to chopped and screwed pulses and rhythmic spurts of fluttering songs played a million miles away. Going really well with a diet of bee pollen, tea, vitamin-C and the good herb. Sort of like Big Troubles "Sick Days", this one's got NyQuil in its veins.

Friday, December 18, 2009

mix: Run DMT "Get Ripped or Die Trying"

"One"

Run DMT's sublime frequencies, zonk'd found sounds and celestial drones are becoming quite the staple over here. While much of his previous work, especially Bong Voyage, summons cable TV ghosts of yore, his latest, sent over late last night, dwells in half-conscious zones, a sort of pre-, post- amble into the R.E.M. state. The first half of Get Ripped or Die Trying is the sort of cosmic lullaby crafted to hypnotize future cult members into a weary dream state. Once entranced, Run DMT let's loose, rewinding the tape and tapping into the tribal dreamcatcher world, and, all of the sudden, things aren't quite the same. Yes, your still sleeping, but you've gotten out of bed, sleepwalking, in search of the paranormal beings who dwell in realms and spats of disguised consciousness. One second your in Africa in the midst of a holy celebration, the next, a murky bayou searching for the ghost orchid, or, maybe your volcano luging somewhere in Hawaii. It's a twenty minute trek through the subconscious, to places one can only travel to while drifting through their own mind.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

mp3: Rambutan Broken Infinity

"Returning to the Entrance"

Mining Rose Quartz excellent tape list yesterday, I was reminded of the superior output this year from Stunned Records, Portland's finest purveyors of limited release ambient psychedelia. It would literally be impossible for me to give you a thorough run down of the Stunned catalog (they released 48 albums this year alone, and most of them sell out instantly), save to say that everything is really heavvvy, in a cosmic way. One of my favorite's is Rambutan's Broken Infinity, a five track droner record chronicling the psychic metamorphosis one undertakes in the dream state. Stunned notes, "It’s relieving to find compositions willing to breathe like this, balancing dark and dominant outer forces with the levity of an inner infinite impulse, broken as it may temporarily be." Double truth, Ruth. Any doubts, Foxy Digitalis gave it 10/10, so, yeah, Google that shit asap.

Rambutan- Cloudy Vision

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

live: Alex Bleeker & Mountain Man "Oh Boy"

"Dreaming Of You"
First off, I want to thank everyone who came out to the Church on Friday for what was an extremely memorable evening, to say the least. From No Demons Here to Mountain Man, it really could not have been a better night. While highlights seem to be endless (the entire Liam the Younger set was out of this world), but Alex Bleeker covering the Girls song "Oh, Boy" with Molly from Mountain Man stands on a particularly high peak, gazing at the people below, contemplating existence, reality. The pain and frustration ingrained in the Christopher Owns song is shed on by Bleeker and Molly, however, rather than dwelling in its sadness, the two seem to lift it up by the shoulders, as if to say, "You will be OK. We will be OK." A tear-jerker/goose-bumper/feel-gooder if ever was.

Alex Bleeker & Mountain Man- Oh, Boy (Girls cover)

Monday, December 14, 2009

old: Iasos- Jeweled Space

"The Valley of Enchimed Peace"

With so much happening in the Peace Age realm right now, its only fitting to look back into the annals of history in order to understand how cosmic ethereal music, branded "new age," for better or worse, had an impact on musics of today. Surely one can hear the celestial chiming of Steve Hillage's Rainbow Dome Music, the beaming rainbow vibes of the early Popol Vuh records and the drifting mid-eastern droning psych of Ash Ra Temple coming through on James Ferraro's Clear, some of the Ducktails material, and Luke Perry, each of whom have taken from, and added to their inter-gallactic forefathers sound. While Luke Perry's alien frequencies often dwell in a more club druggy realm, the dude gives props to Iasos on his MySpace, giving one of the inventors of ethereal vibe music a nod in his top friends list. Often credited as the father of New Age, Iasos's music was described by the psych department at Plymouth State "as being closest to the music heard by people who have had near death experiences." While that migh be frightening, it's actually the opposite. Pure rainbow vibes, crystal beams and crystalline waterfalls, Iasos's Jewelled Space tape was recently featured on Crystal Vibrations, and is exactly what you think a website named Cyrstal Vibrations would post. Enchanting, lush & ultra-ribbed for your listening pleasure, Jewelled Space is the sort of dream catcher chill out that epitomized new age, and subsequently made it cliche. Well worth a listen for anyone dabbling in the spirit realm.

Download this seemingly obscure and long forgotten tape at Crystal Vibrations.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Post-SXSW Festival in Monterrey Mexico?

"ToddPNYC"

Yesterday some interesting pictures of an abandoned drive-in movie theater turned up on Facebook. BK DIY scene leader Todd P posted them. Later I came to learn that the pictures are of the potential grounds for a post-SXSW festival in the Mexican city of Monterrey, roughly four hours south of Austin. Rumor has it 200 bands (Correction: more like 40-80 bands) will be playing the three day festival, which will reportedly kick off the Saturday March 20th, and will overlap with SXSW for a couple days. If the lineup is anything like Todd's SXSW shows of the past, his legendary beach BBQs, or CMJ shows under the Bridge, 80 bands over three days is probably an accurate, maybe even conservative, take on the amount of music that could be blasted from the base of the Sierra Madre's one late weekend in March. Fingers crossed. See ya in Mexico.

mp3: Noveller "Rainbows"

"Tunnels"

Charcoal waves rolling across the the decrepit North Brooklyn Industrial Zone are too glacial to be real, to visible not to be. Uneasy, at best, anxiety confounds, or, rather, frightens. Noveller's Red Rainbow, recently released on No Fun Productions, dwells in this sort of submerged heaven, where fractals of light engulf entire regions, blanketing the spirit realm in a foreboding slate mist reminiscent of the sky over Mt St Helens. A sort of lethal snow, or mystical asbestos. I haven't seen The Road yet, and while Warren Ellis and Nick Cave's score is probably fantastic, I sort of wish Noveller had been given the task, as "Rainbows" and "Brilliant Colors," both from Red Rainbows, could aptly soundtrack the impending doom of the apocalypse and life thereafter.

Noveller- Rainbows

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

video: Grippers Nother Onesers

"Costco Zones"

Deep inside the freak labs at Olde English Spelling Bee some serious Frankenstonian tweaker shit is going down. Besides expanding its web presence/digital footprint to its new blog/site, the higher ups at the perpetually zonked label are also set to issue another set of killer records this week, specifically a limited edition vinyl reissue of Grippers Nother Onesers (At Slimer Beach), which you may recognize as Lamborghini Crystal's 1992 Cool Runnings Holiday, which you may attribute to a certain dude who releases about 15 albums a year. Dedicated to Richard Ramirez, the vibe on Grippers is transmitted via a possessed transistor radio hell bent on scoring premium laced Sherm and hitting the town in search of the best Ice Cream-Pizza combo deal around, or as Lamborghini Crystal puts it, "I wanted the record to have the feeling of when you find a half empty bottle of anti-psychotics and just see the name of the owner and you wonder where that person is now." Tweak on.

Friday, December 4, 2009

live: Pure Ecstasy

"Pressure Drop, Yeah Pressure Baby"

Been jamming hard on Pure Ecstasy for a few months now and couldn't be happier to report that Nate Grace's psychedelic machine will be headed north to play a weekend's worth of shows in Brooklyn January 29th & 30th. The first is a straight up stunna shades show at Bruar Falls with B-More typnotist Run-DMT and an assortment of special guests (stay tuned). The next night Pure Ecstasy will play a small loft show (details to come) with Twin Sister, who've been churning out some of the most zen arcade scores I've heard in a while. Pure Ecstasy's maiden voyage to the Big Apple comes a few weeks after the bands first west coast tour, so expect them to be in tip top, or shall I say, super loose shape.

As many of you know, Pure Ecstasy's released a few things this year; a self-released super limited 7-inch (50 copies, art above), the self-released SEVN DAZE tape and the Future Nostalgia tape on Leftist Nautical Antiques. Still reeling in it, the band has three upcoming releases, including a new 7-inch on Light Loge, a tape on Bum Tapes, and another 7-inch on Acephale. Probably the most productive stoner band I've ever encountered, and that's saying a lot. In addition, a couple weeks ago Pure Ecstasy "phoned in" a live performance for, um, Phoning It In, in which they play a large portion of their recorded output over a phone. Inherently lo-fi, the session actually sounds pretty damn good and makes me extremely excited to be presenting their Brooklyn debut next month. Stick around for more info in the coming week.

Pure Ecstasy- Phoning It In Session (Live)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Best of: Loved in 2009

"War Is Over, If You Want It"

Everyones coming out with their end of the year/end of the decade top whatevers, and while they're always interesting, and often insightful as to things I may have overlooked, I like to do things a little different around here. For one thing, I have a really hard time ranking albums, to me, its sort of silly to say that one thing is "better" than another, mostly because, well, its all completely subjective. Instead, I'd rather give out deserved praise to everybody, noting exactly what they're best at, ya know, personalize it a little, sort of like we did last year.

Artist(s) of the Year:
Ridgewood Crew
(Ducktails, Alex Bleeker & the Freaks, Julian Lynch, Real Estate)
Last year it was Bradford Cox who consistently blew us away with a boatload of quality releases and live shows, the year before James Murphy. This year it'd be hard to deny that anyone put out more killer shit than these kids. Mondanile's solo output alone (two Ducktails LPs, Parasails, Predator Vision and a bunch of singles, splits, etc) would've been enough to put him at the top of the list. Throw in an exceptional string of Real Estate releases (three killer 7-inches, two EPs, and one of the best full length albums of the year), the out-of-nowhere release of the year (Alex Bleeker and the Freaks), Julian Lynch's absolutely stellar Born 2 Run tape (may have been 2008 but 2009 to me), Orange You Glad LP on OESB/Future Sounds, as well as his Michael Jackson/Cindy Lauper covers, and it's really hard to deny that anybody had a bigger impact on independent music this year than these guys from North Jersey. Of course, anybody whose been reading this website for the past year probably already knows this. As far as I'm concerned, these are all essential releases from 2009.

Favorite Album (to Blaze OG Kush to):
Ganglians- Monster Head Room

Great Record That Couldn't Possibly Live Up to My Inflated Expectations:
Girls-Album

Best Album to Dream To/With:
Julianna Barwick- Florine EP

Best Avant-Pop That Even Your Lil Bro in College Digs:
Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavillion

I'd Break Up W/ Someone Over & Over Again to Fully Understand This Record:
Marissa Nadler- Little Hells

The Real "Soundtrack to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea":
Dolphins into the Future- ...On Sea-Faring Isolation

Sounds Like Its Being Played Directly In Front of You:
Alex Bleeker & the Freaks- s/t

Most Surprised NPR Didn't Blow Up/Ruin:
Alela Diane- To Be Still

Best Pop Record by Ivy League Kids Co-Opting African Music:
Dirty Projectors- Bitte Orca

Record That I Really Wish More People Would Hear:
Sharon Van Etten- Because I was in Love

Great EPs Uncaptured by Full-Length:
Kurt Vile- God is Saying This to You
Kurt Vile & the Violators- Hunchback EP

Best Singles:
Crystal Stilts- "Love is A Wave" b/w "Sugar Baby"

Best Tape:
Pure Ecstasy- Future Nostalgia

Best World Comp:
Siamese Soul: Thai Pop Spectacular Vol.2 (Sublime Frequencies)

Best Collection of (Almost) Entirely New (to me) Tunes:
Underwater Peoples Summer Comp

Best Live Act You Won't Hear If You're Too Busy Chatting:
Mountain Man

Best Show of the Year:
Beach Fossils/Real Estate/Girls/Kurt Vile at Monster Island

Best Big Show:
Animal Collective 1/20/09 MPP Release Show at Grand Ballroom

Best One Time Only:
Caribou Vibration Ensemble at ATPNY

Most Overused Word of the Year (Myself included):
Chill (and variations of)

Worst/Most Cliche Music Terms/Genres of 2009 (Myself included):
Glo-fi, Chillwave, Beach music

Radical Old Stuff I Discovered this Year:
Popol Vuh Soundtracks for Werner Herzog (Herz Aus Glas & Coeur De Verre)
'Auhea 'oe e Sanoe: Field Recordings of Hawaii
Ain't Gonna Rain No More: Blue and Pre-Bues from Piedmont, North Carolina

R.I.P. (You'll Be Missed):
Pocahaunted (original lineup)
Silver Jews

Poised for Big Things in 2010:
Big Troubles
Fluffy Lumbers
Mountain Man
Run DMT
Pure Ecstasy

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

old: A to Austr Musics from Holyground

"Judy"

Released in a limited batch of 99 in 1970, A to Austr's one-off masterwork Musics from Holyground takes the psych-pop aesthetic to an entirely new level. A behemoth (and fun) journey through psychedelia, Musics from Holyground touches on everything from psych-pop and eastern influenced folk to pub ready saxophone jams and vaudevillian break downs, with a ton of other sounds I have no business describing thrown in the mix. The Penguin Guide to Rare Records calls A to Austr's only record "the most sacred UK LP there is," which sort of makes sense considering only 99 folks in the world have an original copy, and it wasn't given the reissue treatment until 1989. Apparently the initial goal was "to write about King Arthur who lies sleeping with his knights of the Round Table until England needs him." This was news to me, as the record in no way, shape or form feels like a treaty on Renaissance knights, rather an exploration of an entire genre, gleaming back and forth from the nuanced psych pop of "Birds" to "Hawaiian War Chant" (which sounds exactly like its title suggests) to "It's Alright", which is basically the Incredible String Band-Love-Zombies collaboration I've been dreaming about for years. I could go on and on about this record, but it wouldn't do any good, mostly because its impossible to describe. Even after listening to it about twenty five times over the past six months, I still have trouble wrapping my head around it, as if its not supposed to be chewed on, merely experienced, over and over again, sort of like life (and psychedelic experiences in general). If this spiked your interest, even just a little bit, I highly recommend heading over to Holy Ground's website and peeping their extremely thorough and insightful history of the recording session, the album itself, and its little known legacy.

A to Austr- Bird
A to Austr- It's Alright

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

video: Oneohtrix Point Never "Time Decanted"

"Actual Air"

Wafting digital sound waves in the dark are Oneohtrix Point Never's specialty. OPN reigns over the sci-fi fantasy realm of dark places and dark planets, crafting the sort of digitized mechanical hum I'd expect to hear coming from the control room on a spaceship docked just east of Neptune. Appropriately, the video, directed by Olde English Spelling Bee mastermind, and renowned man of mystery, Todd Ledford, compliments the song so much that together the two feel more like the pre-roll credits for a Blade Runner prequel than a music video, which I'm pretty sure is exactly what OPN (and Todd) were going for. "Time Decanted" can be found on the Russian Mind LP on No Fun Productions, as well as the Rifts 2xCD on No Fun Productions, where it's titled "Actual Air."

video: Marissa Nadler "Dying Breed"

"Summer of Love is Over"

By now its apparent how much I love the songs of Marissa Nadler. Little Hells, her latest record on Kemado, seems criminally overlooked this year, despite great reviews, extensive touring and a masterful step forward in both her songwriting and production. Sort of makes me wonder, What if P4K had bundled that 8.1 with a BNM? Either way, like most of Nadler's output, its a daunting affair, one that resonates strongly with grey skies and dead leaves. There aren't too many records this year that I'd say are must owns, but this is one of them. Grab her entire back catalog, if you can, it's well worth it.

Anyway, a few weekends ago, on a cold dreary night in Brooklyn, Ray Concepcion headed down to the haunting Union Hall to capture Nadler in all her haunting beauty. The audio from this intimate set is extraordinary, as Concepcion bottles the essence of the Union Hall basement, filled with flora and fauna, taxidermy, and the piercing eyes of Grandmothers long since gone, through soft focus and a peephole perspective, sort of the visual equivalent of the way Willa Cather paints her novella A Lost Lady.