dinsdag 27 september 2011

James Ferraro announces details new album

On the 25th of October James Ferraro will be releasing his new album Far Side Virtual. This will be done via the Hippos in Tanks label, which is touting the album as taking the listener “on a dance through some enigmatic modern metropolis, through the spaces of our consumerism…”. Good that they come up with that stuff so we don’t have to. According to Fact Mag the album is less lo-fi than what James Ferraro usually comes up with, and they also state that it seems it is going to be one of his best albums yet. So here’s hoping. The album will consist of eleven tracks, including ones named ‘Tomorrow’s Baby of the Year’ and ‘Starbucks, Dr. Seussism, And While Your Mac Is Sleeping’.

In the reputable magazine Everything You Wanted To Know About Computers but were Too Afraid To Think Even Possible Lindsay Rochenbach published her intriguing study concerning the contradiction of what you think is happening while your Mac is sleeping and what actually is going on. She proposes that we erroneously presume that once we shut down our Mac, everything stops. She equates that to thinking that the moment we shut our eyes, the world stops spinning until we open them again. In fact, she insists, what happens in the Mac when it is closed is kind of akin to our day/night cycle. When it is open and you are working on it the Mac is labouring to whatever its superior, the user, wants it to do. However, when the superior is out of their lives, in other words during our night time when we return home to do what we personally want to do, the Mac too stops catering to its boss’s every whim and instead does what one wants to do in its spare time. Think about that when you as superior come in again and a program is temporarily not functioning properly anymore.

She & Him to release Christmas album in October, unveil cover art

She & Him are one step ahead of everyone when they will release a Christmas themed album in the month of October. The precise release date is the 25th of October, and it will come out via Merge. The album will contain twelve tracks, including ones called ‘Silver Bells’, ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’, and ‘Little Saint Nick’. Now, how Christmassy is that?

So whatever happened to little Saint Nick, was the question everyone was asking during the reunion of the class of 68. Remember, one said, you are talking about the boy who once released a nine point plan to evenly distribute lunch money amongst 6th and 7th graders (a plan that despite its good intentions failed to materialize, although he did succeed in getting a wedgie out of it). Janine told me she couldn’t help but have visions of little Saint Nick (for that is what we called him) in that Annie Hall sequence where boys and girls announce that their future selves are into leather or drugs. I knew better, however. But I kept my mouth shut. A decent man always does. What could I say? That Nick had, for years, been a dedicated member to a governmental advice group concerning education and environment, like everyone always thought he would end up? All the stories make for a way better night than this sobering truth, for who likes someone to end up exactly as people had always expected them to, except for parents?

Weekly Froth #10 (with tracks by Paradis, Canyons, Zola Jesus, 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: ‘Parfait Tirage’ by Paradis
A new band from France, being introduced in Beats in Space by I think Tim Sweeney actually. From the get go, this has my attention. Just a very nice beat, very hypnotic, love those vocal sounds. Then those whispery French vocals come in (let the Americans boom, let the French whisper), and they flow perfectly along with the music. There is enough variety, enough elements coming in and then leaving again, to keep it fresh throughout its running time (you always make me happy with handclaps). Just a totally awesome track. Love the vibe of it as well, would love to hear this being played as closer to a set on a summery night, you know. If this is their first release then we’ve got something new to look forward to, because this is stellar.
(If you want to listen to this track and read and listen to five others, click here)

Crazy Zany Radio Sunday - 'Thankless Thing' by Wild Beasts

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: ‘Thankless Thing’ by Wild Beasts (listen here)
Average grade: 5

Craig: Talk about a band that doesn't live up to their name!  This song way too slow-paced and pretty to be considered 'wild.'  The singer's voice is tame, yet quite beautiful; also very similar to the Arcade Fire's singer.  In fact, this song is very comparable to the Arcade Fire except it lacks their dynamics, interesting instrumental arrangements, roundness of sound...  Uh oh--

Anna: As I once again bask in the fuzzy ball of wonderfulness the Wild Beasts are, I feel it's my obligation to let you know that if you haven't let these lads bring their melodic uniqueness into your life yet, you need to do it NOWNOWNOW.
Grade: 7 (not 'curmudgeonly')

Ilse: Wild Beasts appear to continue on their trail of mellow indie pop mixed with something that is somehow always reminiscent to yodeling. Apart from a marginal selection of their songs, I'm not too fond of this band and after a couple of listens it does not seem that this new track is going to end among those few... It's not a terrible track, just incredibly dull.

Linda: Oh, ehm, Wild Beast track, yeah, sorry, I drifted off there. It's not really an attention-grabbing track though, is it? Not that Wild Beasts are known for their indie anthems, but I just don't see what all the fuss is about with this one. 

Stef: I think this is a pretty accomplished effort actually, and I certainly haven’t been a Wild Beasts’ supporter of the first hour. This though, it has got good atmosphere, it is nice and clean, and the voice fits the music. A well crafted song this.

News Archive - September

Yessir, the news archive, with all the news items we wrote during the month of September. Just so you know, yes, the news is factual, the stories obviously come from our little minds and have nothing to do with the actual news (most of the time).

27 sep:
James Ferraro announces details coming album
She & Him to come with Christmas album in October, unveil cover art

22 sep:
R.E.M. Call it a Day
Incubate deemed a success by organization

19 sep:
Gold Panda to mix new DJ-Kicks
The Juan MacLean to release digital album

17 sep:
Brian Eno to come with EP
Florence and the Machine announce new album

15 sep:
New Look to release debut later this month
Kate Bush to come out with new album this year

10 sep:
Stream CANT album available
Los Campesinos! to come with album in November

donderdag 22 september 2011

R.E.M. Call it a Day

The successful band R.E.M. have called it quits. They were especially popular in the Eighties, and in the early Nineties they skyrocketed towards star status with their albums Out of Time and Automatic for the People. Some of their songs have entered the mainstream canon, like ‘Everbody Hurts’, ‘Losing My Religion’, and ‘Man on the Moon’. They stayed popular throughout their entire career, despite their more recent outings not being as well-received as their work in their heyday. To illustrate, in recent years they headlined an American stadium tour with The National and Modest Mouse. R.E.M. will go down in history as a very influential indie rock band, one that went on to also have a lot of mainstream success. My personal favourite album of theirs is Document, which includes the song ‘Disturbance at the Heron House’.

Though various stories go round about what exactly entailed the disturbance at the Heron House, in his new book L. Levarious points out that it might all be about an argument between several husbands and spouses at a party thrown by one gentleman called Jay. A reconstruction:

Two wives putting on their coats in the hallway.
- Whenever he sees I’m having a good time he wants to go home
- Never heard anything so selfish in my life
-We’re always the first ones to leave
- So are we!
Enter husband 1
- Well, we’re almost the last to-night. The orchestra left half an hour ago.
Thanks to the wives’ agreement that such malevolence was beyond credibility, the dispute ended in a short struggle, and both wives cleft their husband in twain, hollowed them out, and mounted them in the cloak room.

Incubate deemed a success

According to the organization the Incubate Festival in Tilburg has been a successful one this year. They are happy with the many visitors who came their way, and they are also very pleased with how they have presented themselves and the city of Tilburg to both national and foreign press. They were also happy to receive so many positive reactions on the Play Me, I’m Yours project. For this project the organization had placed 103 piano’s in the city of Tilburg to be used by whomever.

I’ve stated it multiple times here, but I do applaud especially the inventiveness of the Incubate festival. I really like all the projects they come up with and how to get social media be a part of it and so on. Not to mention the actual artists (both in art as in music) who come to strut their stuff. I think they are doing a very good job there, and I wish I would’ve been able to go there for more than just the one Sunday evening. Congratulations to the organization and everyone involved, and can’t wait to see what they come up with for next year.

woensdag 21 september 2011

Live at Incubate - Motor City Drum Ensemble and others

Live Report of Incubate Sunday - Motor City Drum Ensemble, Julio Bashmore, Space Dimension Controller

In the category what is good for me might not be good for them, the time slot of XLR8R’s residency at Tilburg’s Incubate festival might be good for me  as it makes sure I can actually attend and get home, however a house party from 16:00 until 22:00 in a city that is not known for its lively dance community is not something a lot of people are anxious about attending. Apparently. Despite having a couple of amazing DJs (Rem Koolhaus, Space Dimension Controller, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Julio Bashmore, and Jackmaster, in that order) the venue remained at a steady twenty-five percent of its capacity. Which means that A) the atmosphere wasn’t particularly joyous, and B) a lot of people missed a couple of great sets.

Space Dimension Controller has the unenviable task of starting at 17:30, which by all accounts is the point where many start cooking dinner. For about twenty or so people he starts with what seems as a bit of a lark, for throwing in a couple of Eighties tunes is always a great idea, but not many DJs would be throwing in Phil Collins' ‘In The Air Tonight’. However, it doesn’t take long for him to start grooving it up in a set that surprises me in the sense that he has always seemed so very instrumental to me, as in not using vocals a lot. And I like my vocals. But the middle part of his ninety minute set was quite excellent, a standard he maintained until he went hip-hop the last twenty or so minutes.

Motor City Drum Ensemble is steadily becoming more and more of a player in the DJ scene. I saw him play at Merleyn in Nijmegen, and since he has also played in Amsterdam and released a critically acclaimed installment of the DJ-Kicks series. His set has a bit of Jazz and African influences, with some spoken word bits thrown in there. However the emphasis lies on house music. Some vintage house finds its way onto the turntables, but also some modern aces like Storm Queen’s ‘Look Right Through’, which is an ace track on all accounts. He hits the right balance between keeping it danceable and not making it a straight-up set by only using old bangers and straight beats. He is on stage for about an hour, and it might just have been the quickest hour you’ve ever seen. His track selection and his mixing is such high quality you are constantly wondering what he is going to gently slide into next. It is a bit surprising he doesn’t pull his own song ‘L.O.V.E.’ out of the bag (it is one of the highlights on his DJ Kicks album), but I will happily listen to him spin some records any time he is playing near me.

Julio Bashmore is next, and he too gets about an hour to strut his stuff. If I had expected a little bit of hip-hop in any set, it would’ve been this one, but instead he goes down the track Motor City Drum Ensemble had paved for him, which means some nice disco and house tunes there. Some with some vintage vocals even, and a nice remix of Classixx's track ‘Into the Valley’. The last ten minutes Bashmore suddenly goes techno with a record that has those kind of spoken vocals from hell on it, which seems like a rather abrupt departure of what he has been playing the previous fifty minutes. Not to say that whenever you shift from what you are doing you are in the wrong, but this shift was perhaps a bit too sudden and a bit too much towards something we hadn’t heard for the entire evening before that (nor would we elect to chose it).

In terms of music, the evening was very good. Those three DJs played good sets, and the one by Motor City Drum Ensemble was just excellent and so cohesive. The atmosphere inside the venue was not that great, because it simply lacked the crowd. Now I’m dancing no matter what, but there wasn’t a real party vibe going on. The atmosphere outside, I mean, when it was dry I loved hearing people plunking away at those piano’s. That they brought that idea to The Netherlands, that was a smart move right there. But it was pouring about the whole day through, so kind of unfortunate. However, I’ve heard the festival was a success, and that is good to hear. That this particular event (due to the time schedule, the Sunday, the weather, being the last day, being in a city not known for dance, etc) wasn’t rapturous belies the fact that there was outstanding music being played, and hopefully next year more people will realize they are missing some outstanding young DJs playing fab sets. So hopefully the organization behind this doesn’t get deterred, for if it is about quality music, sure they delivered, and quality is what it is all about.

Weekly Froth #9 (With tracks by The Juan MacLean, Los Campesinos!, Max Essa 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: ‘Everybody Get Close’ by The Juan MacLean
I do love The Juan MacLean, I really do. Their live version of ‘Happy House’ is just the most awesome thing ever. For this, The Juan MacLean get the vocoder out and  they pull some nostalgic futuristic sounds (follow?) out of the bag. The Juan MacLean has always been very futuristic and space oriented, and this even seems to take that a step further. It’s a bit like two androids fucking to be honest, for between all the robotic vibes there is also this sensual groove going on. This is a track that you can be grinding on in the club, something you can get down and dirty to. I love that sometimes he speeds it up, so that from the getting low suddenly you feel your body propelled to get dancing again. It is just another stellar track by The Juan MacLean. Not a house anthem like ‘Happy House’ or ‘Feel So Good’, which were these very dancey ten minute things. This is a bit slower, a bit more sexual than danceable perhaps. And as I type this, suddenly I understand the lure of the title. There’s a duh moment for ya.
(If you want to listen to this track or see what I have to say about five other tunes, click here)