dinsdag 30 augustus 2011

Weekly Froth #6 (with tracks by Mr. Intl,, Cassius, Publicist)

The weekly froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.

Track of the week: ‘Give it to Me’ by Mr. Intl
Andy Butler (aka he of Hercules and Love Affair) and Jason Kendig dish out some late house on Butler’s new label. The sound in the beginning seems quite stark, quite hard. I was actually surprised when suddenly these deep, soulful vocals came in. Very clear start as well. The instruments for the first 30 seconds are very distinguishable. After that this typical house sound comes in that you hear on all these compilations and stuff. I love when the vocals go “give it to me / give it to you”. Now, it might not be the lyrical statement of the year, but on a dance floor with all the cute kids, a thing like that should funk the place up. Just after three minutes the bass gets going, which sounds a bit softer than what could be heard at the start, which is a nice change of pace. Not sure about those sounds at about 4:30, which my ear connotes more with zombies mauling something or other than whatever it is supposed to be. Other than that, you know, just a stellar execution of a house tune. Something you can drop on the dance floor with ease and it works. Not the most innovative thing in the world, but good execution and giving all the DJs something new that simply gets people going is vital as well.
(To listen to this track or if you want to read what I have to say about five other tracks, click here)

zondag 28 augustus 2011

Crazy Zany Radio Sunday - 'Hazel' by Weekend

Every week our contributors will voice their opinion concerning one song, it’s a simple as that! The more the merrier, so people are always welcome to join in, just leave a note, eh.
Track of the week: ‘Hazel’ by Weekend (listen here)
Average grade: 5.1

Craig: I've been following this band for a bit now and am super excited about their sound.  I love the absurd amount of reverb and their use of feedback as a staple.  It's funny, because though I value good production, I think this song is lacking in Weekend's aesthetic as I've come to see it--blown out vocals set over mega-distortion.  The vocals are so prominent that they're above the amazing soundscape Weekend is so capable of building, which I think should be the focus of their music.  Check out the song 'Coma Summer' <http://grooveshark.com/s/Coma+Summer/3SgGyT?src=5> off their album 'Sports' if you want to hear their full-on noise capability.

Ilse: Some great post-punk/shoegaze vibes to this track, I'm really digging the drums and bass. Only thing bothering me is the repetitivity of the lyrics and the word/name 'Hazel'; it's rather annoying. Other than that, it's a solid track, despite that it does not seem like something that might be very memorable.

Linda: Didn't Ringo Deathstarr 'reinvent' enough noise pop for one year already? 

Stef: You know, I think this is a decent song. With that said, I’m not that sure if it stands out from other bands in this genre. For me and my untrained ears concerning this type of music, I just don’t feel them standing out.

zaterdag 27 augustus 2011

New EP Charlotte Gainsbourg

On the 6th of September Charlotte Gainsbourg will be releasing a new EP. It will be called Terrible Angels and it will be spawned by Because Music/Elektra. On this EP one will find a track written by Beck, and a track written by him from Villagers. On the EP you will also be able to find two videos.

In a recent educational report in the Catholic Journal We Know He is there But What Is His Role Exactly (and why wasn’t the dishwasher invented sooner?) professor L.P. Salnicky took a look at angels. More specifically, Salnicky looked at what makes angels the way they are. How come their halo’s always shine so brightly, how come they are impeccably dressed in white, and how come they are always well-mannered and know what to do in every situation. For angels, the report states, have the tendency to always be able to advise that what is morally right. This is so, the report concludes, because their lives all start with a Spartan upbringing and is helped by some strong parenting. In the study he puts forward several examples.

In one of these examples, a little boy angel came up to Larry Mirkowitz, who was in a bit of a pickle because he had double-booked his agenda, and he felt morally obligated to go to both occassions. The angel said, Larry, this is a dire situation. The best way to get out of this without feeling guilty is if one thing some way, somehow, gets rescheduled. So, here is what I propose. If you hit Mrs. Portudy with 80 mph then her retirement party has to be postponed and then the double booking is gone! When his custodian heard about the advice the boy angel had given he pulled him aside, said You have been a terrible Angel you naughty little boy, and as punishment he had to make sure no one would be plucking and eating any apples from Mr. Nede’s back garden for fourteen years. B-b-but I only gave advice, he did it!, the boy replied, to which his custodian responded, Yes, and that has also been taken care of, for we’ve made sure the funeral of Mrs. Portudy is on the exact same date as her retirement party would’ve been. Also, it’s easier, all her friends had kept that evening free anyway, and if you cancel the caterer this late you would still have to pay.

Solo album Mark McGuire

Mark McGuire is readying a solo album called Get Lost. This album will be released on the 27th of September on the Editions Mego label. McGuire is perhaps best known for his work in the drone band Emeralds. The album is comprised of six tracks, with the opening track also being the title track.

It is always a hard pill to swallow when, as a little boy, someone tells you to get lost. Especially if it is your own father, especially if it is when he is playing cards. Because you look up to your father, especially if your father is playing cards with his friends, that must be the greatest thing in the world! Look at the men there, smiling, their cigars going up and down in their mouths when they are belly laughing. The foam of the beer shooting over your mother’s beautiful rug when a can is opened (she is going to be sooo angry the next morning), and all the men hooting and hollering. Your father throwing his cards open and raking in those chips, and have you seen those chips! They are round, and they all hve different colours, you’ve got blue ones and red ones and green ones and yellow ones, wooooow, it is so colourful, this is great! Naturally, when you are older and can sit in on one of these card games you realize they laugh so hard because someone farted, cigars smell, and you keep hoping one drops on the floor so he has to throw it away (as if men laughing at fart jokes would do such a thing as throwing away a perfectly good cigar), and that the chips are worth 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents respectively, with the maximum bet being 2.15 and a pretzel from Uncle Joe’s diner.

News items in the month of August

Gathered here are the news stories written in the month of August. Music news mixed with a little something out of our strange little brains.

27 aug:
New EP Charlotte Gainsbourg
Solo Album Mark McGuire

22 aug:
Canyons announce debut
Former head honcho of Catholic TV network sees storm Pukkelpop as "sign" to condemn Pop Culture

18 aug:
David Lynch unveils tracklist
Disaster strikes at Pukkelpop

16 aug:
Plaid announce new album
Blue Daisy to release debut

10 aug:
New album The Field coming up
Feist unveils artwork, tracklist of Metals

06 Aug:
Neon Indian announces tracklist
de-Affaire to return in 2012

dinsdag 23 augustus 2011

The Weekly Froth #5 (The Babel Orchestra, International, and more)

The weekly froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.

Track of the week: ‘Babelicious’ by The Babel Orchestra
This one sure rolls through nicely I would say. It’s a completely instrumental track that starts with a simple beat. Obviously, that is expanded upon as the song progresses. The first sound that comes in after the beat forms a good core in combination with the beat itself, and together they propel this song forward. Naturally, sometimes it deviates from it for a few moments, but like any good song in this genre it always comes back to that golden basis. This is a fairly new band, but one of them is responsible for the Lullabies in the Dark project with Vito de Luca (also known as the remaining guy from Aeroplane). Releases from Lullabies in the Dark were done by the Permanent Vacation label, which includes artists like Wolfram, Kathy Diamond, 40 Thieves, Sally Shapiro, John Talabot, and they’ve also released stuff by Ilya Santana, Azari & III, Tensnake, etcetera. And that is also kind of the aesthetic that clings to this track. Really good one this, and I believe it is their first “original” song, so there’s something to look forward to.
(To listen to this and to see what I have to say about five other tracks, click here)

maandag 22 augustus 2011

Canyons announce debut

This November we will see the release of the debut album by Canyons. This will be done through Modular. The Australian duo already has some releases to its name, including ones on DFA (and including the awesome ‘Fire Eyes’). Now they are trying to see if they can put out something magnificent in album form. The album will count eleven tracks, and it will be called Keep Your Dreams

Leo Engelstein was a man devoid of much fantasy. He rather stuck to the facts and to things you can measure, and for that he loved cooking as he could measure sugar and the chocolate cake would turn out perfectly every time. But from his childhood on everyone always told him, Follow your dreams Leo Engelstein! He had none, but the pleas for him to do this were so persistent he thought that life must be without merit if you don't follow your dreams. In order to acquire dreams, he decided to steal those of others and follow those. The fulfillment was not completely there however, when Engelstein was finally able to buy the Thighmaster 3000 and to drop to 90 kilos (for which he had to gain a good 25 of them, which left him not very amused and with a donut bill of over 100 dollars per month). When he looked in the mirror and a self-hatred welled up unrivalled since 1834 (General Mordani, oi…) he smashed the mirror, yelled, Keep your dreams Maggie Portaritz!, and then he immediately went to the shop to buy some Slimfast.

According to former Catholic Network Honcho Storm at Pukkelpop a “Sign” to do something against Pop Culture

Okay, so this is in Dutch. Sorry for that. The reason is that this is a reaction to a column by a man who used to be a director of a Catholic television network. He stated that perhaps the storm that caused the loss of five lives at the Pukkelpop Festival was a sign to start condemning this pop culture so induced with drugs, porn, booze, and criminal behaviour. As the Bible states they should do. So what I did is, I used his words and altered a few to, obviously, turn the tables. Perhaps not the most complex literary trick in the book, but it serves the purpose. Sorry for it being in Dutch! The original can be read (in Dutch) here.

In Madrid raasde een harde wind en waren er stortbuien waar te nemen op een Katholieke bijeenkomst met 100.000 jongeren. Een aanslag moest voorkomen worden zodat er geen dode vielen. Wat heeft het ons te zeggen. Hoe zijn bekrompenheid, onderdrukking van emotie en mens, kortzichtigheid, en de stem van de massa als wet niet verweven met de hele normatieve cultuur. Is dit ook niet een teken om eindelijk ons gezond verstand te gebruiken en onze kinderen vrij te waren van normatieve, louter op traditie gebouwde idealen waardoor zij opgroeien als verwoestende invloeden jegens hen die niet passen in de normatieve denkbeelden. Er zijn nu toch wel genoeg slachtoffers gevallen! De bijbel zegt dat het oordeel bij het huis Gods begint, wat niet geheel waar is, want de Kerkelijke macht in Duitsland wil wat betreft misbruik van jongetjes eigenlijk geen onderzoek. Als wij onze kinderen niet behoeden voor bekrompenheid en het niet accepteren van waarden en normen anders dan die traditioneel geleerd worden dan gaat de verkettering, het onderdrukken van medemensen en eigen emoties door, oftewel de dingen die jongeren tot (zelf)moord aanzet.

vrijdag 19 augustus 2011

Psychologist – Propeller EP

Propeller EP by Psychologist - EP Review

To listen to a first or second EP by a relatively young band is always exciting to me. Mainly because you can see a band developing into what they want their album to sound like and because they are still finding their bearings and are trying to mold their talents into structured end products – end products that are in line with the aesthetic that they want to exhume under that moniker. Propeller is the second EP by the band/artist Psychologist, which comes hot on the heels of the Waves OK EP he released earlier this year. It consists of five tracks, cold electronic sounds, emotionally charged vocals, and product placement for Fox Searchlight.
(to read the full review, check here)

donderdag 18 augustus 2011

David Lynch unveils tracklist

Director David Lynch, probably best known for his cult series Twin Peaks and movies like Mulholland Drive, has set his sights on making music. The fruits of his labour are about to be unleashed onto the world. This will happen on the 8th of November. The title of the album is going to be Crazy Clown Time. Luckily for Lynch he didn't have to go at it alone, and for the song 'Pinky's Dream' Karen O was so kind as to lend her talents to the project. Another track of the album is entitled 'Strange and Unproductive Thinking'.

Dr. Liberstein was a vehement opponent of Freud. Freud saw in dreams the essence of life, Liberstein thought that dreams were nothing but strange and unproductive thinking that do nothing but make people wake up and wonder, Did a green lizard really just destroy my office? Can I stay home and watch the game? The rivalry started out with attacking each other's ideas through scientific journals, but eventually the two resorted into more petty actions. Liberstein, par example, once picked up Freud's laundry and donated it to the Salvation Army. He was seen sniffling in front of Freud's house when Freud read a note by the Salvation Army thanking him for the generous donation, and what nice a quality that silk suit was! Freud immediately retaliated by, disguising himself as a door-to-door merchant, selling Liberstein a Meat Ravioli saying it was Funghi. The strictly vegetarian Liberstein found this out only after he had eaten them and his face had started to resemble Jabba the Hut. Liberstein called an end to the feud when he wanted to surprise Freud by taking all the gnomes from Freud's impeccable garden, which prompted Freud to win the "Best Garden of the Year" award. He edged out Lily Mortati by not having hideous ornaments obstructing the growth of flowers, so the judges decided in their wisdom. Liberstein was so dismayed after he failed to get back at Freud (and landing him 10.000 dollars worth of cash and a subscription to Plants and Such) that he moved to Canada and started a bakery specializing in Challah bread.

Disaster strikes at Pukkelpop

So, what should be a great time for music in Belgium and The Netherlands with two major festivals this weekend has already turned into something of a downer. Whereas the people coming to Lowlands a day early for the full camping experience (...) probably are pretty soaking wet by now, disaster has struck at the Pukkelpop festival where the weather has taken at least one casualty. At the time of writing everything is still pretty much up in the air, but it seems that at least one person has died. Some news outlets talk about six people who saw their lives slip away. There are also at least a few people who have been seriously injured.

The next question also is whether or not the festival will continu. Bands had to stop playing, there is quite a bit of material damage, not to mention that what I typed in the previous paragraph. It is a serious downer to what for some should've been the best part of their vacation period. Hope the ones injured get well and get well soon, and hope that not much more harm has been done by that moody bitch Mother Nature. My thoughts go out to all involved.

dinsdag 16 augustus 2011

Plaid readying new album

Scinitili is the title of the upcoming album of the band Plaid. Warp Records will be releasing this on the 26th of September, and it is the first album release of the band since 2003. Their European tour will start on the 1st of October in Amsterdam.

An evangelist of nature’s beauty came up to me with a plea as heartfelt as it was ferocious. How a simple thing like asking directions can awaken the kind of fervour with which he clung to me like an octopus (I barely escaped). At the end of his passionate plea concerning his raison d’etre the man tried to lure me into buying a piece of African Woods. For, according to him, with care -- and a in my eyes rather primitive defense mechanism to scare away the local farmers (it included chopping off ones hands with an object that I can only describe as crude and quite unpractical) -- we could let the African woods improve to a glorious state! He fully expected an urbanite like me to decline the offer and he was all ready to spout obscenities (one sees it in ones eye when that is about to happen), but instead I graciously accepted his proposal. That his “glorious state” and mine differed quite a bit became apparent when he lunged at me when I laid down my idea of a tenement building at my recently purchased spot. Things didn’t get any better when I announced my backing for the newest form of asphalt to enhance the driving pleasure of these poor Africans who so long had had to endure sand roads.

Blue Daisy to release debut

UK producer Blue Daisy is gearing up to release his debut, entitled The Sunday Gift. It will see the light of day on the 3rd of October through Black Acre Records. The album will be comprised of twelve tracks, with the last track fittingly titled ‘The End’.

And thus the sermon began with the eloquent Priest, who days earlier had evocatively spoken at h opening of a Wall-Mart, stating that God, indeed, was a forward-looking man. For life in the earlier years might have been simple, he already installed for mankind the Sunday Gift. A day of rest, a day of peace. For he knew that as mankind evolved (and it would) that life for everyone would become busier and restless (and so it did) and so God, at the very conception of the earth, made sure that everyone would have a day where it could breathe in, breathe out. A day where one could sit on the couch (and what is more marvellous than sitting on the couch after a week of hard work? Unless it is pinewood, than one is advised to go elsewhere, or at the very least buy cushions). God, however, in his benevolence had not taken into account one thing; mankind itself. And so man itself squandered God’s Sunday Gift in favour of working on Sunday, going out on Saturday so that Sunday was more a recovery than a resting period, and Sunday’s in line with the car waiting for a parking spot at the local Ikea. When God came to earth to rectify he also was dismayed that in his name people were forced to come together in buildings to listen to boring speeches all the while looking thoughtful and thinking, Oi, next time I’m bringing a cushion, for this pinewood bench, not that comfortable to be frank. One would think they would be able to purchase something better with my weekly donation.

Weekly Froth #4 (78 Edits, Cut Copy, The Revenge, and more!)

The weekly froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.

Track of the week: ‘Let Me Down Easy’ by 78 Edits
Pure disco this one. Starts old school disco with the instrumentals, and then after a minute it gets going with a few horns to announce the coming of the vocals and the slow bass groove. “Let me down easy / you say your love for me is gone”, she sings. Very composed in the beginning, but slowly she is going to let the emotions free and she goes all out. This is so pure, so nice. She really owns this song, with she being Bettye Lavette. The original is kind of more Motown soul mixed with a country vibe. So what they of 78 Edits do very well is giving it a disco bass and beat to make it suitable for the dancefloor. But it never, ever tries to outshine Bettye, as it is almost an ode to her vocals. Smooth, emotional vocal disco, and on the slow paced side of what you can do on the dancefloor (Between 100 and 110 bpm I reckon). Mighty fine edit this one.
(Listen to this track and see what I have to say about five more songs here)

maandag 15 augustus 2011

Crazy Zany Radio Sunday - 'It Feels Good To Be Around You' by Air France

Every week our contributors will voice their opinion concerning one song, it’s a simple as that! The more the merrier, so people are always welcome to join in, just leave a note, eh.

Track: ‘It Feels Good to be Around You’ by Air France (listen here)
Average Grade: 4.4

Ilse: A bit too smooth for my taste/mood at the moment, and I'm not too fond of the continuously in and out focus singing.

Anna: That was pretty pointless pop. Not pretty *and* pointless, just pretty pointless. And I'm not even going to get into how much I loathe steel drums.
Grade: 3

Linda: As with everything Air France has managed to produce over the years, you can file this one in 'background music'. It's very pleasant background music, but still not something I'd consciously want to listen to.

Craig: With all the glitchy-type sound, Starslinger's hand in the production makes itself known.  Still, the sonorous electronica of Air France hovers uncomfortably between danceable and 'easy listening.'  The one potential salvation--possibly subversive, mixed-up lyrics--doesn't do much to prevent this from being a middle-of-the-road sound that doesn't excite me in the slightest.

Stef: Is it me or does that start sound very muddled? And there are more moments that sound more cluttered than a track like this should be. At other times I do enjoy the juxtaposition of the female and male vocals.

Field Day London - Live Report (Matthew Dear, James Blake, Born Ruffians, more)

Live Report of Field Day London - by Linda Wijlaars

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably know that we are no fans of the type of festival that requires one to bring their own roof to sleep under at night. Not to mention the sleeping bag, air mattress and pump – though I can safely say, following a rather disastrous encounter at a recent Lowlands festival, that our hate versus pumps is wholly reciprocated. Luckily, there is another type of festival in existence that doesn’t require one to queue to shower (and if you are not an avid reader of this blog, you might be able to take a wild guess at which we prefer at this point).

London’s Field Day is definitely a festival from the latter category. It is held in the beautiful Victoria Park, located in Hipster Central, better known as East London. If you approach it right, it’s really a sight to be seen. The park is situated right next to the newly constructed Olympic Park, so if you’re one of the estimated 1,5 million people that missed out on tickets for the opening next year, you now know where you’ll need to be to not miss out on the fireworks. When you come at the park from a different angle, you’ll get to see a whole different kind of fireworks. As the ‘Lympics are still a year away, things aren’t entirely up to speed yet in the area surrounding the stadium. For one thing, there’s Hackney, a lovely neighbourhood as long as you know where to be, and maybe more importantly, where not to be. Hackney Wick station, which is closest to the entrance to the Field Day site is definitely a place not to be. It’s the kind of place where you have a can of pepper spray at the ready and your finger on your phone with the alarm number under speed dial (a feat which I told the main writer of this blog last Sunday – and boy, how true did those words turn out to be less than 24 hours later).

But the riots have been written about enough, so I’ll just get back to Field Day. With a start at noon on a Saturday, and a preference for sleeping late on my side, I’ve already missed 36 bands (yes, I counted them) by the time I finally managed to make my way to the East End, through the masses, and onto the festival site. But I’m still right on time for Matthew Dear and his live band. As it is for me, it’s also a tiny bit too early for Matthew and his men as the early hour, and abundance of sunshine, seem to castrate his stage presence. Dear’s electro might not be resistant to direct sunlight but he manages to steer clear from total disaster on character (and the fact that ‘Slowdance’ is just an amazing track might also have helped a bit).

Villagers are next up on what is officially known as the main stage, though the crowds gather en masse for James Blake. A rather unfortunate mistake by the organisers is that they’ve put Blake up in too small a tent with. A mistake as the tent has an awesome sound system, with the only setback being that it stops being awesome exactly where the tent ends (and who would have thought that tents could actually influence sound levels – no one who’s ever tried to sleep in one at a festival, I can tell ya). The set-up of the festival and the remarkably low sound levels at the main stage allow the few people, or picnickers rather, at the main stage to observe all of this mayhem while enjoying a surprisingly good set by Villagers.

From there it is onwards and upwards as next on the bill are the recently reformed Electrelane. The all girl outfit seem to have some trouble setting up, delaying the already surprisingly tight schedule. However, they are worth the wait – be it the delay at the festival or the years after they initially split up. Their set has the perfect build-up: they’re really easing their audience into their back catalogue, though ‘The Power Out’, perhaps their best album, gets the most air time. A look at their set list might reveal a rather surprising addition in their Bronski Beat cover. However, the live version of ‘Small Town Boy’ is as Electrelane as it gets and even gets the crowds moving (a notoriously hard thing to achieve in Top Man land).

As the time schedule and the delays are running all out of hand at this point, Twin Shadow is already playing his last notes by the time Electrelane have finished, while the stage where Actress is supposed to appear is running so far behind that no one has a clue anymore what time he will be one. So main stage it is again, for Warpaint this time. ‘Undertow’ is a really great track, but for me personally, that’s all they have to offer. Frankly, they are a tad bit boring live.

Then it’s on to find another band to see, which is turning out to be a real quest as each and every stage seems to be running at a different schedule. The tent where Jamie XX is playing is filled to the brim, and the second James Blake set of the day befalls the same faith. So on it is to the smallest tent of the festival where Born Ruffians are due to make an appearance. And I’m just in time as a short but heavy downpour precedes their set. Everyone in the vicinity flees towards the shelter, making sure the tent is packed to capacity for the Canadians. And what do you know, everyone, even the part of the audience who are just there because of the rain, can sing along to the band. ‘I need a life’ is met with a massive sing-along and after just three seconds of ‘Hummingbird’ the crowd is turned into more of mess than Hackney High Street would be the next Monday. The band does try and play a track from their second album, but realise only too soon that it’s not what the audience is after. Thus they return to more of the indie goodness of ‘Red, Yellow & Blue’. If anything, their set is too short, but that seems to be the trend at Field Day.

It’s up to the ‘headliners’ after this, but with names like Wild Beasts, The Horrors, and Gruff Rhys, (all of whom have played more London venues this summer than I’ve counted riot vans down my street this) I went for Born Ruffians as my personal headliner and left for the hills – or maybe speed bumps would be more accurate as we are talking London here. Field Day is still a relatively new festival, with its fifth and largest rendition this year. But despite its great line-up (certainly when taking the tiny price tag that goes with it into account), it still suffers from quite some problems. There are huge lines everywhere, the stages are either too big or too small for the bands that are playing them, and the sound is abysmal at times. The great atmosphere and the guy who makes a falafel wrap faster than you can say ‘Field Day’ (seriously) make the day a success though. Let’s just hope the co-occurrence of a certain other East London event doesn’t thwart the festival’s existence next year.