My name is Alex Cameron and I won't waste your time. When you're talking about me and my business partner, Roy Molloy, you're talking about the online cowboys in the wild-west days of the World Wide Web. And if you want to know what we're really about just look at all the things you wish you'd done differently. All the things you stopped yourself from doing on account of the fear of failure, or rejection. Weigh that up against your ambitions. Think about your work ethic. We're reclaiming failure as an act of progress. An act of learning. Something to celebrate.
A word's meaning can change depending on who utters the thing; and so we present characters - shapes are morphed and stories are delivered. This is a collection of 4-minute tales written to provide you with insight into the inner workings of failed ambitions and self-destruction. Unedited, uncensored, and without inhibition. I've learned to reveal what I want to unlearn. I cast a light on the darkness and in doing so understand love and compassion. Fear is to be confronted, and to learn strictly requires failure - over and over. Celebrate failure with Jumping The Shark.
By late May of 1989, Cleaners from Venus man Martin Newell and Peter Nice a/k/a Nelson finished their first album, Lizardland, and handed it over to upstart indie Deltic Records. Though there is a fair amount of Cleaners from Venus DNA in the mix due to the charms of the definitely lo-fi recording methods, the music of the Brotherhood of Lizards has a sharp sound all its own. And, the story doesn't stop there.
Towards the end of 1989, label head Andy McQueen, who knew Newell's aversion to touring, asked if there was any possibility that the duo might go on a promotional tour. Newell replied, "Only by bicycle." Soon after, whilst studying a map of England and its regional radio stations, it struck Newell that a bicycle tour might be a real possibility. Thus, amazingly, in early October, the two set off on bicycles, instruments on backs, tiny amps in front carriers, for a 600-mile busking tour of the entire southern half of England. The media became unexpectedly interested. More through sheer eccentricity than eco-activism, at the turn of a turbulent decade, the Lizards had unwittingly hitched a ride on a brand new zeitgeist. They were called "The First Eco Rock Band" and the tour became the subject of a number of news items.
As 1990 rolled around, however, there was one big problem, for Newell at least: while the Lizards cycled and busked, an EMI employee saw Nelson on TV and thought he would be great replacement bass player for New Model Army. Nelson attended and passed the New Model Army audition and stayed with that band for well over two decades, although it spelled the end of the Brotherhood of Lizards. In spring of 1990, almost two years after they had begun, it was all over. They travelled over a thousand miles on bikes, busked their way around England and made all of the music contained here in this collection.
Being in a band can be like being in a marriage, for better or for worse. Dumb Numbers is more like an open relationship. There is no definitive lineup. I have an amazingly talented bunch of friends from all across the world who contribute to recordings, but there is no commitment beyond that. This makes live performances a rare occurrence. Basically if My Bloody Valentine want us to open we'll be there! But otherwise Dumb Numbers is mostly a recording project. With that being said, The new album from DUMB NUMBERS features ADAM HARDING with LOU BARLOW (Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr), DALE CROVER (Melvins), DAVID YOW (the Jesus Lizard/Scratch Acid), MURPH (Dinosaur Jr), KEVIN RUTMANIS (Cows/Melvins) ALEXANDER HACKE (Einstürzende Neubauten), BOBB BRUNO (Best Coast), BONNIE MERCER (Grey Daturas) and STEVE PATRICK (Useless Children).
Exploded View is a new collaborative project helmed by the UK-born, Berlin-based political-journalist-turned-musician Anika (Invada Records / Stones Throw). After playing a string of 2014 solo shows in Mexico with a backing lineup composed of local producers Martin Thulin, Hugo Quezada and Amon Melgarejo, Anika and her new bandmates discovered a chemistry that they simply had to capture on tape.
Following their inspired collaboration for Prince Avalanche - the understated, underrated 2013 film directed by David Gordon Green - iconic experimental rock band, Explosions In The Sky, and renowned film composer David Wingo return with the score to another Green film, Manglehorn. Written by longtime friend, Paul Logan - and starring Al Pacino and Holly Hunter - Manglehorn is beautifully crafted and steeped in symbolism. The performances are subtle and charming, the scenery is eclectic, and the cinematography is strikingly beautiful. The soundtrack reflects that same spirit, shaping abstract sounds into playful and poignant score. With barely a hint of guitar on the entire soundtrack, Explosions In The Sky forego the primary instrument in which their stirring scores for Friday Night Lights and Lone Survivor were built upon, opting to harness that same emotional resonance from an array of percussive instruments. Wingo brings the same mercurial magic to Manglehorn that made his scores to Mud and Take Shelter soprofoundly affecting. EITS and Wingo are inspired collaborators, composers whose music is so perfectly suited to the soundtrack format that listening to them makes your own life feel like a film unfolding in front of your eyes. In Manglehorn, it backs the story of an old man coming to terms with his past and slowly resolving his deep-seated anger and discontent. It could just as effectively add a sense of wonder and grandeur to your commute to work, impromptu road trip, or lazy Sunday stroll.
Factory Floor return to DFA with their sonically striking sophomore album, "25 25". What was once a trio is now a duo, with members Gabe Gurnsey and Nik Void holding it down and co-writing and recording the new LP together.
Their debut self-titled album (2013) embraced "industrial, post-punk, disco, acid, avant-garde minimalism, electro, dub and - most crucially - the dancefloor, without being beholden to any one genre". (Pitchfork)
"25 25" certainly does not forego any of these genres. What it adds to it is a new level of intricate detail in the production and mixing, with hyper-attention paid to drums & percussion. Mixing was completed by David Wrench (Caribou, FKA Twigs) was emphasizing their love of classic & modern dub. Nik Void's hypnotic / robotic vocals also take a new-found center stage on many tracks. This artificial and human adding an extra layer of alienation with barely discernible lyrics on top of rock-steady time keeping and the arpeggiated squelching synths Factory Floor became initially known for.
Ritual Howls are industrial rock meets cinematic country goth. Entering a vast nothingness of everything, exploring the unknown, baptizing, cleansing yourself, actually putting something or someone into water, like an act of murder, hiding something. "Look into the water at your Francis Bacon face. Are your lies that easy to erase?" Welcome to the trio's third album, Into The Water.
Detroit's Paul Bancell (vocals/guitars), Ben Saginaw (bass) and Chris Samuels (synths, samples, drum machines) are Ritual Howls. They collect samples of the physical world and feed them with guitar, vox, bass, synth and drum machines to create an aura of darkness over a pop sensibility. Paul Bancell provides lyrics that Poe or Lovecraft would approve of while Chris Samuels and Ben Saginaw provide sounds that bring his macabre tales lurching into the world of the living. Collaboratively, Ritual Howls create a surreal, introspective gloom that could fuel a disco in hell, a soundtrack to your favorite nightmares and most grisly fantasies.
The preceding years have been extraordinary for Ryley Walker. In March, his second album, Primrose Green, emerged to critical hosannas from the likes of NPR, Village Voice, Uncut, and Mojo - in the process, earning admiration of musicians who had chalked up no shortage of turntable miles in Walker's life. Robert Plant declared himself a fan - as did double-bass legend Danny Thompson, with whom Ryley would later embark on a British tour. A sprawling tour of the USA around Primrose Green presented a perfect chance to workshop ideas for what would eventually become his third studio album, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung.
On the album, "The Roundabout" represents a symbolic return to Chicago, while other songs are directly wedded to Ryley's actual return there. Perhaps more than any other song on the record, the somnambulant sun-dappled intimacies of opening track "The Halfwit In Me" most audibly bear the imprint of Ryley's improvisational sessions with Wilco multi-instrumentalist, Chicagoan and producer Leroy Bach, while "Funny Thing She Said" is an unflinching study of separation set to a shimmeringly supple ensemble performance.
Soft, slo-mo explosions of melody intermittently burst through the distant thunder of the verses on "A Choir Apart". Intriguing, surreal images are meted out by "I Will Ask You Twice", like a malfunctioning slide projector; and, perhaps best of all, the stunning finale, "Age Old Tale", which spiders out from an Alice Coltrane-inspired reverie into a sustained rapture that very few artists have managed to achieve.
Sam Coomes is probably best known as one half of the long running underground pop duo Quasi, who've managed to release 9 or 10 albums on labels such as Up, Domino and Touch & Go. Coomes has also toured and/or recorded with numerous other artists such as: Elliott Smith, Built To Spill, Jandek and many other less recognizable names. Bugger Me is his first solo album, and it was recently described as "Suicide meets Plastic Ono era John Lennon." "I'll take that!" says Coomes, "but actually it's probably a little more accurate to call it Suicide meets the Beach Boys. Not the sophisticated Pet Sounds Beach Boys, but more like "Surfer Girl" type stuff."
Kaleidoscope World is not just the starting point for The Chills, but a story of how it all began and an insight into the world of New Zealand guitar-pop and the 'Dunedin Sound' - an influence which carries on to indie-pop bands around the world today.
Originally released in 1986, the compilation captures the best of the magical early period recordings of The Chills and simply oozes excitement and possibility. The zany brightness of the cover art against the black background only hints at the wonder contained within. Now re-issued again on a deluxe 2xLP and CD set, featuring six bonus, b-sides, demos and live tracks plus an expanded gatefold cover with photos, posters and liner notes from journalist Martin Aston.
As Flying Nun label founder Roger Shepherd put it - Kaleidoscope World is "complex, varied but simple and direct. Musically sophisticated but joyous, poppy and accessible. Essential."
With a sound that was swampy, primal and modern-urban all at once - as much in the tradition of rock n' roll and punk rock as it was a rejection of those things, the Scientists' formula was as universal as it was specific to their own experience. The themes of getting wasted, driving around in hotted-up cars, being trapped in crap jobs, and paranoia were their subject matter. Machine throb bass and drums with jagged car-wreck guitars were their modus operandi. Fitting into no place or time they spurned all but the most rudimentary and elemental of rock structures to create a sound all their own.
"The Scientists proved to me that rock 'n' roll could be played by gentlemen in fine silk shirts half unbuttoned and still be dirty, cool and real." —Thurston Moore
"They wrote fantastic singles and looked like they just crawled out of the ooze. What more could you ask for?" —Warren Ellis
"The Scientists turned my head around and made a man out of me! They grew hair on my palms and made my socks stink!" —Jon Spencer
It's been almost two decades since baby TOBACCO first plugged in a tape deck, popped the top, and found the dark magic that's fueled so many sonic forays into his genreless bog of beat-blasted hypnagogia and otherworldly-yet-earthen pop. The Pennsylvanian experimentalist has since helmed countless Black Moth Super Rainbow releases, remixed outsiders as offbeat as HEALTH and unexpected as White Zombie, and produced MCs ranging from Aesop Rock to Beck. But it's on his fourth solo album that TOBACCO winds up coining an apt name for his vast empire of moldering electro-fied dirt: Sweatbox Dynasty. The new LP - his second for Ghostly International - finds the rural recluse resurrecting an old approach to hack a new path through the muck. This may be his most unintentionally psychedelic and left-field creation yet, full of rhythms that start and stop like a tractor on its last piston, resonating melodies made to fuel transcendental meltdowns, and vocals that hiss, gurgle, and growl.