'YAML' has a long history... nearly 10 years of it in fact! Bottin produced most of the instrumental almost a decade ago when he had a bedroom studio and his girlfriend at the time came up with the "You are my love" (hence the title 'YAML') hook and the first notes of the melody. It’s a song about a somewhat destructive yet playful relationship: the girl is willingly submissive and mixes reality with her dreams – she portraits her lover as dominant while she's in fact leading the game. Finally Bottin enlisted his friend Lavinia Claws who helped out with the final lyrics and recorded the vocals in Berlin. Lavinia will also be starring in the forthcoming music video of the song. The flipside of the record 'Roulez Jeunesse' is Bottin's soundtrack to an imaginary amusement park. We don't know the exact origin of the French saying Roulez Jeunesse but the person in charge to set you up and start the ride would yell 'Roulez jeunesse!' when everyone was locked in. The expression is now commonly used to mean that you’re all set to go, which seems fitting given the propulsive space disco vibe of the track.
The Caddywhompus idioverse - the shared, invented language, subtle and unspoken gestures, thoughts and quirks wrought from close bonds and experience - is one unique to Chris Rehm and Sean Hart. From growing up only a short bike ride from one another in Houston to nearly a decade of performance together as a guitar and drum duo in New Orleans, their years-in-the-making style consists of distorted walls of sound with lightspeed melodic U-turns and waves of brilliant noise, a dynamic that only could be learned by the two players on Odd Hours, their latest album out April 14, 2017 on Inflated Records.
Is the mind not influenced by emotion constantly? How do emotions change the way one imagines, and/or perceives reality? Is it the seas that are tumultuous, or is it me? Chris Bathgate's "Dizzy Seas", is inspired by these kinds of questions, and is sonically laid out to insight and allow daydream by the listener.
Before Green Day, Operation Ivy, and Lookout Records put the East Bay's burgeoning punk scene on the map, a trio of Berkeley kids were reinventing the genre with music that was melodic but full of feedback, and a singer who sounded like he gargled glass. Crimpshrine's debut EP was Lookout's fourth release, followed by an album, a second EP, and a slew of split singles and compilation tracks before the band imploded in 1989 after a ridiculous two-and-a-half-month tour in a Ford Pinto hatchback. Formed around teenage binary stars Jeff Ott and Aaron Cometbus Crimpshrine went through a series of lineups in their four-year run, utilizing future Tilt and Go Sailor bassists Pete Rypins and Paul Curran, and briefly including second guitarist Idon Bryant. Not overtly political, their fiery brand of introspective punk touched on homelessness, teenage pregnancy, drug use, friendship, isolation, and a grimy sort of romance. Two collections have emerged posthumously: 1992's Duct Tape Soup and 1998's The Sound Of A New World Being Born, both falling out of print in 2002. Ott went on to form Fifteen and author two books; Cometbus founded Pinhead Gunpowder with Billie Joe Armstrong and continues to edit his long-running fanzine.
Before Green Day, Operation Ivy, and Lookout Records put the East Bay's burgeoning punk scene on the map, a trio of Berkeley kids were reinventing the genre with music that was melodic but full of feedback, and a singer who sounded like he gargled glass. Crimpshrine's debut EP was Lookout's fourth release, followed by an album, a second EP, and a slew of split singles and compilation tracks before the band imploded in 1989 after a ridiculous two-and-a-half-month tour in a Ford Pinto hatchback. Formed around teenage binary stars Jeff Ott and Aaron Cometbus, Crimpshrine went through a series of lineups in their four-year run, utilizing future Tilt and Go Sailor bassists Pete Rypins and Paul Curran, and briefly including second guitarist Idon Bryant. Not overtly political, their fiery brand of introspective punk touched on homelessness, teenage pregnancy, drug use, friendship, isolation, and a grimy sort of romance. Two collections have emerged posthumously: 1992's Duct Tape Soup and 1998's The Sound Of A New World Being Born, both falling out of print in 2002. Ott went on to form Fifteen and author two books; Cometbus founded Pinhead Gunpowder with Billie Joe Armstrong and continues to edit his long-running fanzine.
Pressed in a quantity of 500 and available to Bay Area stores only is the Berkeley Sampler, a vinyl reissue of the original Cometbus-issued 1987 cassette. The A-Side is Crimpshrine's first demo, while the B-side is the Rosetta Stone of Berkeley punk, with members of Operation Ivy, Samiam, Rancid, Tilt, and Wynona Riders in their earlier, teenage bands.
Do Make Say Think has been widely celebrated as one of the preeminent instrumental rock bands of the 90s-00s. Stubborn Persistent Illusions is the group's first album in eight years - and a brilliant addition to one of the most consistently inventive and critically praised discographies in the 'post-rock' canon. The band has been acclaimed as "the supernova in Constellation's stellar network...arguably the finest back catalogue of any currently operating instrumental rock band" (Drowned In Sound), creating "some of the most honest, unpretentious, group-oriented rock of their time" (Popmatters). Among the band's strengths is an ineffable naturalism that avoids anything too woolly, proggy, purist or clichéd, while remaining a fundamentally guitar-driven group whose ornate four-and six-string interplay uniquely balances rockism, pastoralism, and electronic-influenced post-production. Stubborn Persistent Illusions is at once familiar and as fresh as anything DMST has committed to tape; produced and mixed as always by the band itself - a continuing affirmation of the group's DIY ethos and their singular self-production acumen and aesthetic. Do Make Say Think enter their third decade with a new album that reaffirms their promise of genuinely expressive, narrative and restorative instrumental rock music - an one that will surely rank among their best.
Aaron Burr's attempt to seize the Texas Territory for his own dominion has beguiled composers 'n bands for ages. Allegedly Aaron Copeland's 'Appalachian Spring' was originally entitled 'Blennerhassett Spring' til Martha Graham had a snit & threatened to tell his socialist pals he was active in the Lavender Maa, the fuckin' witch. But hey, it went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. Lowell George supposedly had a concept album in the can (aka, 'Carolina Parakeet') what was all about it, then Neon Park said he refused to draw a bird sportin Burr's noggin, so George ended up makin 'Thanks I'll Eat It Here' instead. Then died not long after. Now that's just a damn shame! And so this fascinatin' tale of (alleged) treasonous expansion would end up in limbo until Endless Boogie took up the quill & recorded this new, inspired masterpiece entitled, 'Vibe Killer'. It's like a history lesson plundered deep outta the archives of Straight/Bizarre.
Our story opens w/a jowly narrative enunciated by Top Dollar (as Aaron Burr) callin’ out all them sissy Dem-Rep blaggards, letting 'em know he's on his own path. Naturally what follows is some tasty sun zoom riage a’tween TD 'n The Governor and the wiley Sweenhound, backed solidly by the Razo/Druzd rhythm union. In fact, through the whole of this opus, Druzd eortlessly marshals through the sonic undertow while Razo rudders his bass like a brilliant pulse in a spasmodic vortex. Top Dollar, the aforementioned Herr Sween & The Governor gnash, morph, crystallize while the jams ow it's 'Mirror Man' bum-rushin’ 'Pretties For You'. Before ya know it, we're at track 5 ('Back In '74') where the plot ostensibly takes us to a memory've Burr enterin' college, but is surreptitiously more about the year Top Dollar gave up on Grand Funk in favor of Josefus. You're followin' all of this, right So as we amble into the ether of this brilliant opus, we can surmise by title 6 ('Jeerson County') the end is near. Burr (aka, Top Dollar) reects on everything from Wilkinson's betrayal to the excellent meals while in captivity at Fort Stodden, then suddenly, NO, it's him, Top Dollar-with full Endless Boogie heft-soarin' high above the hobo res that icker along the bank've the Ouachita River, drownin' out forever the simperin' harmonica bleats've tyranny. It's almost enough to make you wanna smoke a ham. Friends & collectors, Endless Boogie have never not occupied the Catbird Seat.Winners gonna win, yo. They, like Aaron Burr himself, understand manifest destiny & no amount of port nor Madeira will take them down. Shit, might as well bring the sherry too. Who knows, maybe your mom's a fan.Roland Seward WoodbeBurr, Texas (Wharton County)2017
GT Ultra is the second full length album by Guerilla Toss on DFA Records. The album demonstrates a remarkable shift in sound, musicianship and songwriting, without ever giving up the unhinged quality that made their earlier recordings so exciting. It is a dream state record for sure, filled with an insistence to "hydrate, gyrate, think straight, no weight", all the while under the influence of golden beams of orange sunshine, glimmering glitter and kaleidoscopic bursts.
San Francisco's Houses of Heaven is the latest project of Keven Tecon, Adam Beck and Nick Ott. Mixing drum machines, analog synths, ambient guitars and live percussion the band blends their musical love of shoegaze, dub, krautrock and electronic music into their debut EP, Remnant.
The EP was recorded at Ruminator Studios by producer Monte Vallier (Weekend, Soft Moon, Wax Idols). Remnant will be released on felte records May 19th.
Do With Me What U Will is the second album by Melbourne noir pop artist Jessica Says. Jessica's debut album We Need To Talk was released in 2009, but the following year Jessica fractured her spine and pelvis falling from a first-floor hotel window. Do With Me What U Will is Jessica's first new album after her long recovery. Inspired by her treatment in hospital, Jessica also spent the last years studying to become a nurse, and now works in a Melbourne hospital. The album was recorded with longtime collaborator Geoffrey O'Connor (Crayon Fields Summer Flake, Sarah Mary Chadwick) and features production on key tracks from Travis Cook of Collar- bones and Melbourne electronic auteur Darcy Baylis. A classically trained cellist, Jessica moves seamlessly between hi-sheen pop and dark, string-driven confessionals."The songs are about girlhood, mental illness and desire, mostly at the same time," Jessica says.Do With Me What U Will is a vivid account of the progression from fiery pubescent longing, through adolescent anxiety/self loathing and emotional numbness, before discovering the possibility of a sexuality driven by desire rather than low self opinion."The music is inspired by the women who guided me through the strange passage of adolescence," says Jessica. "The sublime candy pop of Britney Spears and the emotional intensity of Dory Previn."Languorous first single Fairest Of Them All, produced by Baylis, was released in late 2016 and premiered on I-D. The video, channeling Picnic At Hanging Rock and Lolita, was premiered by US site CLRVYNT.
What does a daydream sound like? Is it an audible confidence boost, a concentrated dose of caffeine shot straight into the bloodstream of dancing feet, a blue so overwhelmingly electric its field stretches as far as the eye can see? On Amadeus, the newest Ghostly effort from New York's Lord RAJA, the shapeshifting producer answers his own question with a cunning, childlike purity not felt since he started tinkering with Fruity Loops aged six. Though his means of music-making have matured since then—on Amadeus he utilizes an arsenal of drum machines along with synthesizers and an Allen & Heath analog mixer slammed through for extra crunch—RAJA describes a deliberate return to youthful experimentation and immediacy, clearing the way for a "vista to his childhood."Having produced 2015's PARA full-length in the confines of his parents' home in upstate New York, he moved to Brooklyn after its release and found himself in a basement studio, isolated from the influence of knowingness, wide-eyed once more. Soon after, he joined Ghostly labelmates Shigeto and Heathered Pearls for an extensive European tour, finding inspiration in the continent's techno culture—albeit in an unexpected way. "When I would go out, I would see techno DJs, but it didn’t really speak to me," he says. "It was unnecessarily pristine. So I wanted to make the shit I would want to hear."Returning to the basement armed with this self-challenge and an intentional naîvété, RAJA composed a flurry of one-take productions, often making tracks over the course of an evening and road testing them with walks to the waterfront when the rest of Brooklyn had gone to sleep. Imbued in them all is what he describes as "micro-choices" —the practice of very simple effects and subtle sonic decisions—in a nod to longtime influence from the nuance and subconscious innovation of Stanley Kubrick's filmmaking.Longtime fans of the producer may be accustomed to productions more directly aligned with hip-hop and leftfield beats, but his swagger hasn't gone anywhere despite the decidedly dancier change of form. The release is bookended by an exuberant and naturally collaborative piece with Acemo—a fellow New Yorker whom RAJA describes as his favorite producer—and bonus track "Fox Den," an eight-minute cosmic meander released as part of the Adult Swim singles series last year. On standout "O.K" his customary percussive potpourri mingles with vocal chops and an electro bounce even the most humorless club patron couldn’t resist. "Black Coffee," another highlight, features synth lines so darkly acidic they should come with toxic warnings. RAJA describes the track title as a literal take - a soundtrack to jolt first date jitters, a call to cool courage.Amadeus, meanwhile, he suggests is a cheeky nod to the complex richness of his musical heritage. He says, "I think it’s kinda funny to flip an idea of western imperialism and how it proliferated. It’s playful as an Indian man to call yourself Amadeus, knowing how much composers borrowed from eastern classical influences."
blisters is the critically acclaimed debut EP by serpentwithfeet, and his first release on Tri Angle Records. Given that he credits both Brandy and Bjork as inspirations, it's not surprising that serpentwithfeet treads a fine line between emotive gospel and more left-of-centre stylings. With his own gloriously outré personal style and penchant for the dramatic, it also makes sense that the music Wise makes would be so remarkably unclassifiable. "It feels very free because I also feel very free," he says. Making music has always been about making a space for myself in the world. My theory has always been that if you walk into a room and say, 'This is my room'—it’s your room. The End."Tracks like 'penance' and 'redemption' vacillate between hushed intimacy and huge emotional swells. On the EP's title track, Wise's multi-tracked voice plays against gently-plucked harp and syncopated handclaps, the record’s gospel affectations and slinky R&B tropes fusing into something unique, exotic, and strangely beautiful. Meanwhile, surrounded by strings, subtle electronics and Wise's restrained piano playing the EP's first single, 'flickering,' is the perfect showcase for Wise's powerhouse voice. "I'm starting to feel the cord connecting us two is made of gossamer," he sings. "I'm starting to feel there's no cord between us two / are we made of gossamer?" The track unspools with a kind of hushed intimacy, the tone and tenor of Wise's voice rising and falling like a breath until the song itself crests and flutters before disappearing completely.
If She-Devils is an art project, then Audrey Ann Boucher and Kyle Jukka's hauntingly brilliant self-titled debut is a bright, impressionist painting. Swapping oils and brushes for primitive gear and heart-swelling vocals, the album constructs a bleary-eyed world of beautiful chaos, one driven by Dee-Lite-meets-Suicide sonics, and the romantic longing of '60s girl groups.
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With Matt Douglas fully on board as woodwinds-and-kitchen-sink guy, we're now a four-piece, and to record this album, our fourth for Merge and the one to which you're presumably about to listen, we went to Blackbird Studio in Nashville, as top-shelf a facility as any on the planet. They have the board Aja was recorded on. When Jon asked about snares, he was told, "We have 200 of them." We had sixteen people from the Nashville Symphony Chorus skip out on a Mahler rehearsal to come in and sing on a song. Sixteen!
The theme this time around is goth, a subject closer to my heart perhaps than that of any Mountain Goats album previous. And while John writes the songs, as he always has, it feels more than ever like he's speaking for all of us in the band, erstwhile goths (raises hand) or otherwise, for these are songs that approach an identity most often associated with youth from a perspective that is inescapably adult. Anyone old enough to have had the experience of finding oneself at sea in a cultural landscape that’s suddenly indecipherable will empathize with Pat Travers showing up to a Bauhaus show looking to jam, for example.
—Peter HughesFebruary 2017Charlotte, NC
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A monumental career in pop music isn't easy when the system is built against you. But South African songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist "Om" Alec Khaoli managed to do just that with his band Umoja. As apartheid reached its violent peak, Khaoli pursued an escapist form of dance music that resonated across his complicated country, influencing countless legends and releasing recordings across the world.
Umoja, which means oneness or unity in Swahili, was clear in its message to the public. "Oriented towards society, advocating uniting of people. Race was the big thing," Khaoli says. "We wanted people to come together and unite and just form a oneness." Indeed the band's fanbase was mixed among black, colored and white fans. However, their lyrics were not overtly political. "If you wrote songs about apartheid, we would disguise them. If we used language as it was, we would get arrested."
The band helped refine a commercially powerful emergent style, bubblegum, with the album 707 in 1988. "Bubblegum music was about escape," according to Khaoli. "If you had grown up in South Africa at the time, there was nothing more in your life than oppression. It was even in your dreams. Anything that was a way out was welcome... When this music was playing everyone just wanted to dance, just have a good time."
The word 'brat' has followed Nathan Williams around for almost a decade, but at the age of 30, with a fully-fledged business to his name, as well as the ongoing success of band Wavves, his rebellious streak has proven not just purposeful but pretty damn inspiring. 'You're Welcome' is the soundtrack to this new lease of freedom. It's Williams' tongue-in-cheek rebirth as a self-released, self-actualized, self-promoting punk kingpin, and despite putting his money where his uncensored mouth is, he's emerged not just unscathed but with the upper hand.
Williams took himself into producer Dennis Herring's ['King Of The Beach'] studio in Downtown LA, and for the first time since the early records worked regular office hours and almost entirely alone. 'You're Welcome' is mostly comprised of Williams' oddball, sample-led brainstorms. He came up with 40 tracks, now whittled down to twelve, fat-free punk zingers. A sample nerd, Williams delved into his obsession with 1950s doo-wop and - surprisingly - international folk, including Cambodian pop and '70's psychedelia from South America.
The results make for one of the most diverse and intricate Wavves records yet. 'Come To The Valley' contains a Phil Spector meets Beach Boys '60s High School dance vibe, whereas title track 'You're Welcome' riffs on sound effects that could almost originate from Bizarro World, never mind Cambodia. Nathan Williams never went away, but now he's made sure he's here to stay far longer. And for that, girls and boys, you're welcome.
Young Pioneers - Dusting off their spurs, poised to release their long awaited debut LP High Again on K. Veterans of the NW underground, Young Pioneers formed in Olympia's nascent punk scene during the early '80s. They've not lost their gift as masters of the dark art of post-punk pop psychedelia, welding wicked melody into pop hooks. They beat a mean tambourine. Leather jackets and a pompadour; studs and eye make up; Young Pioneers have created a massive sound layering the guitar organ drumbeat.
Horse Follows Darkness is the second record by Delia Gonzalez, her follow up to the album "In Remembrance".
The title is taken from a werewolf genre film her 8 year old son Wolfgang had created. At this time, Wolfgang also turned Delia onto a genre of cinema she had always resisted - the American Western.
Delia explains that what she observed "was all relevant - the album is based on our personal experience of moving back to America (from Berlin) and the journey that followed. The record is a manifestation of that, and what one creates for themselves under the given circumstances. Coming back to America, I felt like a foreigner and NYC / America felt like the Wild West. Most Westerns from the 1960s to the present have revisionist themes. Many were made by emerging major filmmakers who saw the Western as an opportunity to expand their criticism of American society and values into a new genre."
Horse Follows Darkness is essentially a modern electronic soundtrack for the Revisionist Western.
Massachusetts songwriter Doug Tuttle returns with his third solo album, "Peace Potato", once again on Chicago label Trouble In Mind Records. His 2013 solo debut (after fronting his longtime psychedelic band, MMOSS) was an insular and foggy psychedelic masterpiece punctuated by Tuttle's stinging guitar leads, accented by flashes of bedroom Fairport /Crazy Horse brilliance, towing the line nimbly between elegance and ragged assurance. We last saw Tuttle on "It Calls On Me", his 2015 sophomore album, which pushed his songwriting towards further clarity and melody "Peace Potato" shakes it all down with Tuttle's strongest batch of songs yet.
"Peace Potato" introduces itself with the horn-laden, honeydripper,"Bait The Sun", a classic Tuttle tune; downer pop melodies coloring a hypnagogic landscape. It is indeed that state of lucid dreaming, somewhere between the onset of sleep is where Tuttle firmly plants the seeds of "Peace Potato". Songs stutter to life and grind to a halt, to calculated effect, stitched together into a patchwork of full tunes, song fragments and waves of melodic euphoria.Throughout all, Tuttle's guitar picking and soloing echoes the greats of decades prior, Harrison, Thompson, Clarence White, with a conscious eye to the unsung bedroom and basement weird pop genius of sung and unsung artists like Harumi, Sixth Station, The Bachs and Jim Sullivan. Tuttle played every instrument and recorded the entirety of "Peace Potato" in his Somerville bedroom studio; a ubiquitous location in these modern times, but the ease at which Tuttle's songs fold and unfold, suggests something more than your usual home-recorded musings.
"Peace Potato" is released on black (and limited color) vinyl, compact disc and available via all the usual digital platforms.
The brainchild of Amelia Murray, Fazerdaze began as a string of bedroom recordings created late in the night, emerging fully-formed in 2014 as her debut eponymous EP. NME described it as 'elegant dream pop', while US blog HillyDilly exclaimed how 'Fazerdaze transports us to a warm, optimistic sonic space with her glistening synths and mellow acoustic guitar strums'. NZ's Sunday Star Times listed it in their 'Best of 2014' spread, hailing it as a 'versatile collection of near-perfect pop songs...'.
Since the EP release, Fazerdaze and her band have shifted to another level. Opening the 2015 New Zealand Silver Scroll Awards with her cover of Marlon Williams' Dark Child as well as supporting and touring with international acts like Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Connan Mockasin. This year Fazerdaze toured the UK, became a genuine highlight at Australia's BIGSOUND music conference and recently took part in the the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy in Montreal.
Exploring the expressivity within intense states of being, Latinx identity, and pluralistic sensibilities, Helado Negro's Private Energy is an engrossing statement achieved through lyrically personal and political avant pop music. Private Energy will be re-introduced to the public via RVNG Intl. in expanded form on May 5, 2017, appearing on vinyl for the first time alongside new CD and digital editions. Supplemented with three brand new "versions," this iteration of Private Energy will continue the strong narrative of Helado Negro's spectral opus.
After the success of their second album Activity, Sydney wonky house trio Holy Balm return with a remix EP, featuring Activity tracks reworked by Moon B, Andras and Zanzibar Chanel. Melbourne house monsters Zanzibar Chanel contribute possibly their recorded swan-song, with a squelching, grunting, irresistible take on Circumstance. US boogie funk magician Moon B, known for releases on Peoples Potential Unlimited and 1080P, draws out the brittle dreaminess of All Night Long. The album’s undeniable single Fashion (recently spotted in an episode of UK reality series Made In Chelsea) is disassembled twice by Melbourne celeb Andras, whose 2016 releases under the names House Of Dad and Wilson/Tanner have populated endless DJ best of lists. Andras also tackles Hot Cold, taking it even further into club minimalism. Holy Balm’s second album Activity was released by Chapter in August 2016, earning raves from the likes of Thump, KEXP, All Music, Brooklyn Vegan, I-D and Rolling Stone Australia. The Activity Mixes 12” is limited to a one-off vinyl pressing of 500 copies.
“Danceable, charmingly off kilter and refreshingly not tied to any era” - Brooklyn Vegan
“Evocative of something smooth and blissful, while coercing out of you that restless desire to dance” - Thump
Following the widespread critical acclaim of his recent 'Centres' album (July 2016), Vancouver-based vocalist / composer Ian William Craig returns with 'Slow Vessels', an album-length EP which both extends and radically re-imagines 'Centres', rendering six of its tracks in a stunning new light. While not quite an "unplugged" version, it is fundamentally stripped back, raw and predominantly acoustic, the songs included have been returned to their point of origin.
'Slow Vessels' sees Ian paring back the dense, billowing layers and heavily distressed textures that dominated the album and re-playing these tracks on a borrowed acoustic guitar and piano. While four of the tracks also feature some minimal tape manipulation, it's a move that foregrounds the strength of the songs, imbuing them with a heightened sense of nearness and intimacy and briefly reframing their author in the more traditional mantle of singer-songwriter. Deeply affecting and almost devotional in character, this utterly gorgeous re-setting of the songs sees them bathed in a warm, golden glow and throws a brilliant new slant on Ian's prodigious creativity.