Saturday, January 31, 2009

Video: FESTIVAL - Valentine

A pretty dumb video made better by the fact that the song is pretty great. FESTIVAL's "Valentine" has lots of sweet girl harmonies and slow pianos that pick it up in the second half with hand claps and tambourines. Fun stuff. I'd give it a passing grade.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Weird Tapes - Get Religion

Weird Tapes - Home

I know I'm a bit late on this one, but only according to some. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who've never heard about Weird Tapes. But that's not even why I'm writing about them. I'm doing it because I love them and I love writing about shit that I love.

Guy, girl, both, neither, I don't really have the energy to find out much about Weird Tapes. Yes, I went to their Myspace page and blog, but a 5 second glance didn't yield much information. All I know is they got some super cheesy imagery and super awesome music.

Get Religion is... um... pretty much... it's just disco. Yeah. But, like, new disco. And good disco. Pretty straightforward, fluffy light disco with heavy beats. Kinda spacey, repetitive, minimal, and done just right.

I know everyone's not a fan of this new electro-disco nonsense and I don't blame you. I'm not all on board either. In fact I think Hercules & Love Affair is probably the most overrated band of 2008 (right next to Vampire Weekend). But Weird Tapes have something almost timeless, almost like anti-disco. It's the kind of music that you put on at a party and even if that douchebag no one likes shows up, everyone's still happy and having a great time because Get Religion can do that. It's transcendent disco. And I know you like it.

Aaaaaand it's free. From the band, not me. Head on over to their blog and download it, along with all the other stuff like More Tapes.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wolves In The Throne Room - Malevolent Grain

Wolves In The Throne Room - A Looming Resonance

If you've already heard Wolves In the Throne Room's last full length, Two Hunters, then you're obviously a fan. And if you're already a fan, then you need this. For the uninitiated, let me initiate. Wolves In The Throne Room are awesomely epic, mostly black metal. Think of them as the BM band for the non-BM-lovers.

Malevolent Grain is a vinyl only EP, kind of like a little treat before their next full length, Black Cascade, comes out in March. Each side has a single track and they're both fucking amazing.

The A side, "A Looming Resonance," is so so so beautiful. Jamie Meyers (of Hammers Of Misfortune) guests and does vocal duty on the song. Holy shit. I would not have expected this chick to sound good singing over buzzing black metal but WOW. It is unbelievably gorgeous. Almost makes me wish that WITTR would take her hostage and force her to sing on all their songs. Almost.

Then you flip the record and "Hate Crystal" comes on, reminding you why Wolves are fucking perfect the way they are. Yeah, Meyers sounded good, but you really can't let lead singer Nathan Weaver go that easily. Not that he makes the band, per se, he just completes it. He rounds out the whole epic post/black metal thing, and makes damn sure you know you're not listening to any of that pussy Pelican bullshit.

Malevolent Grain is a super sweet intro to the next album and only solidifies my love for them as one of the best USBM bands out there.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Tribute & Reformation (Or Why I Don't Like The Way I Listen To Music)

For those of you unaware, I have a music blog. On it, I write about music that I listen to and as a general rule, I try to not write about music I don't like. What's the point, right? There's so many amazing bands that I barely have enough time to write about them, let alone all the lame shit out there. And here is where the problem starts...

I listen to music the way I eat food. I scarf everything as quickly as I can. From the smallest cookie to a Thanksgiving feast, I wolf it down with no time to savor it, hardly ever going back for seconds. Each bite is merely a means to the next; I rarely enjoy the bite itself, only the whole meal. And once I'm done, I'm stuffed, simply waiting it out until it's time to eat again. Onto the next meal.

Here's the lifeline of a record in Anti-Gravity Bunny time: First, I discover a band/hear a new record. If it's good, I listen to it/them some more. If it's really good I'll try to write something about it here on AGB. If it's fucking awesome I'll probably listen to it a little bit more within the next few weeks. But then it slips away... I listen to it less and less and about 1-2 months after the post has been written, I've all but forgotten the record until the end of the year where I try my best to remember the best of the best. And that's the best possible scenario any record can hope for. Wtf?

The reason for this is obvious, though. In the world of music blogs, I'm always trying to find the next thing to write about. I don't have enough time in the day to enjoy the old and new classics while simultaneously hunting down future classics. So records get tossed aside. They get forgotten. I'm not just talking about that old Sebadoh record you were really into sophomore year. What about stuff like Asobi Seksu's Citrus? I can't remember the last time I listened to that and I fucking love it! Just because it's not the new Dan Deacon record doesn't mean I shouldn't be listening to it.

So this post is part commemoration, looking back at the ones that should still get regular playtime, and part resolution, promising myself that I will not allow them to be abandoned and refusing to let the fact that I have a music blog get in the way of listening to those that did not make the Top 10 lists.

Here's a list of some stuff from the past year or three for your pleasure. Never forget.

Tristan Perich - 1-Bit Music
Sunken - Eye Electric Organ, Brain Electric Nerve
Mamaleek - Mamaleek
Citay - Little Kingdom
The Heads - Dead In The Water... (Part 1) (Part 2)
Njiqahdda - Nji. Njijn. Njiiijn. (Part 1) (Part 2)
Xasthur - Subliminal Genocide (Part 1) (Part 2)
Asobi Seksu - Citrus
Miss Violetta Beauregarde - Odi Profanum Vulgus Et Arceo
A Sunny Day In Glasgow - Scribble Mural Comic Journal
Ex Models - Zoo Psychology
Nadja - Truth Becomes Death
Have A Nice Life - Deathconsciousness (Disc 1 - The Plow That Broke The Plains)
Have A Nice Life - Deathconsciousness (Disc 2 - The Future)
An Albatross - We Are The Lazer Viking
Indian Jewelry - We Are The Wild Beast
Pyramids - Pyramids (Disc 1)
Pyramids - Pyramids (Disc 2)
Julian Fane - Special Forces
Wizardzz - Hidden City Of Taurmond
My Latest Novel - Wolves
Alcest - Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde
O.Lamm - Monolith
The Blow - Paper Television
Jesu - Silver EP
They Shoot Horses Don't They - Boo Hoo Hoo Boo
Numbers - Now You Are This

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Zola Jesus - Soeur Sewer 7"

Zola Jesus - Soeur Sewer

Zola Jesus - Odessa

Supply & demand people. You know how it works. Man, everyone was asking me to write about this after that last post. Did you see all the comments? Shit, I even got a few threats saying if I didn't post the Soeur Sewer 7" that they'd come take my bunnies away from me. No arguing with that kind of maniac. Not that it's a bad thing. I mean, I like Zola Jesus. And you do, too. Right?

Btw, today is Rabbit Hole Day. I chose to ignore it mostly because writing in "my own style" is hard enough as is. But zed=zee gave it the old college try and they're better for it. Have a look.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Zola Jesus - Poor Sons 7"

Zola Jesus - Poor Sons

Zola Jesus - The Way

Zola Jesus - Dog

Zola Jesus. Poor Sons. 7". Three tracks. Super lo-fi. Piano based. Loopy. Halfway dancey. Female vocals. Dreamy. Hazy. Lots-o-layers. Minimal. Jesus? Trash can drums. Zomesy. Nostalgic. Summery. Light hearted. Wtf is she saying. Next big thing.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bulbs - Infirmary Of Dream

Bulbs - Harper Pools

I love tapes. Not only are they fun and make me nostalgic, but sometimes there is no better medium than a tape. When you play a tape, it's lo-fi and warbly and there's always that signature tape hiss that can't (or shouldn't) be replicated. This happens with all tapes though, regardless of the type of music. You could put something recorded in the highest fidelity on a tape and this description still applies. So when a band comes around and puts out a tape with music that already sounds lo-fi and warbly and they incorporate the hiss into their aesthetic, then I just get all giddy.

Bulbs did just that. Infirmary Of Dream truly belongs on a tape. Not that it would sound wrong if they released it on a CD; other bands do that all the time. But it just makes sense to put Infirmary Of Dream on tape considering the way it sounds.

When I think of glitch music, I generally associate that with sharp, crystal clear notes. So when a band like Bulbs creates glitch music that fits so perfectly on tape, it seems almost like an oxy-moron at first. But when you hear how warped and droney this glitch is, you'll understand.

It's simultaneously spacey and deep under water. It's thick as tar and wide open. There are parts that sound so organic that they could be field recordings from a rain forest and then there's the obviously manufactured electronics. Truly mesmerizing.

Infirmary Of Dream was originally recorded as the audio part of an art installation done with Tracy Maurice. The sculpture has since been taken down but Bulbs self released this piece of magic for all to enjoy.

Video: IWRESTLEDABEARONCE - Tastes Like Kevin Bacon

A friend of mine directed me to IWRESTLEDABEARONCE and he said to me, "Holy shit. Makes sure you watch the video." So, trusting in his knowledgeable ways, I watched the video. I guess all I can say is... Holy shit. Watch this video. It's grindcore that does not take itself seriously. It's absolutely hilarious grindcore. And it's awesome.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mi Ami - Watersports

Mi Ami - The Man In Your House

Would you pronounce Mi Ami as "me-ahm-ee" or like the Floridian drug capital? I'm kinda leaning towards the former but that might just be because of the space in the name. Maybe they're trying to throw everyone off with the space, though, and they just pronounce it like the city. I don't know. These 3 Cali bros can say Mi Ami however they like, I'll still listen to Watersports.

Watersports falls under the "I never thought I'd like this" category. Something about it just feels so right, though; I feel so good when I listen to it. I guess it's possible my tastes are shifting because I didn't think I'd like El Guincho and I ended up loving Alegranza! The whole tropical infused thing might be persuading my otherwise winter loving sensibilities.

Watersports has a bit of the hot climate sound but instead of creating straight up dance jams like El Guincho, Mi Ami take the funky noise punk approach. Kind of like if Ponytail were from California (or Miami) instead of Baltimore. Not to say this isn't danceable, though, far from it. Watersports is Animal Collective dancey, in a super primal way. The songs are full of rhythmic energy, with No Wave guitars, tribal drums, and borderline-annoying whiny vocals. It's totally chaotic and all over the place schizo. Screaming, yelping, funky bass grooves, nasty guitar shredding, some chill moments coupled with complete mayhem.

Each listen of Watersports yields more desire to listen to it again. It's definitely a grower, but not so much in the way that it takes a while to enjoy but that I love it more every time I hear it. Mi Ami have a really fun aesthetic that ensures I will not miss them when they come to PA's Lounge on February 13th. You can just tell that they put on a killer live show.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Avsolutized - Towards... You There

Avsolutized - Towards...

Avsolutized - The Ensemble Reign

OH sweet Jesus. This is some seriously fucked black metal. Japan's Avsolutized made this little tape and it's fucking intense.

Towards... You There opens with the craziest falsetto shrieks like some sort of ape is fronting the band. Then it drops into some super gravelly demon vocals, kicks it back up to the high end once more, then all hell breaks loose. This is blasting, buzzing, and furious black metal and I love every minute of it.

The music itself isn't the most original I've heard but that doesn't make it bad. It's still totally amazing and the singer just takes it over the edge. And it's just so ferocious. The end of "Towards..." and the start of "The Ensemble Reign" are fucking unstoppable.

I just wish there were more than these two songs. A one sided tape makes me feel a little cheated, even when it's as densely packed with awesomeness as Towards... You There is. But it's cheap as shit and totally worth it... if it's not already sold out. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Late Young - Nativity

Late Young - Suez Canal

Late Young are a San Franciscan trio consisting of two dudes I know nothing about (Olivier and Gaiser) and one dude who I kinda sorta would like to maybe marry a little bit. That would be Andrew from super awesome, totally blown out, one man metal pop machine The Mausoleums. He's the recently acquired drummer for Late Young and that absolutely ensures I will listen to their records at the very least until he's no longer a member.

Late Young definitely don't fit into any one specific sound style, they have something all their own. Nativity sounds like an indie rock, industrial, psychedelic, punk, black metal band made it. The guitars buzz like some of the best BM records and it's dark, haunting, melancholic, and pretty darn scary. But then there's some stuff that throws you off, like the drumming. Sometimes it kind of sounds like what you'd hear on an Animal Collective album. And do I sense some New Wave? Yeah, I think I do. The vocals are far away and tired, but intensely passionate. Throw it all together and you have yourself one killer fucking record.

Nativity is pretty rad. It receives my praise with the only criticism being that it's too goddamn short. 4 songs? Really? And not even like 4 long songs. No, we're talking shit that doesn't even total 15 minutes. But it's all they got for now, so I'll take it. You can download the entirety of Nativity at Late Young's website. I still recommend buying it, though, because the packaging is boss and it's wicked cheap. So you don't really have an excuse.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Ain't Perfect

So 2008 is gone and my Top 10 list has been made. But I never stop listening to music. Just because something came out 2 weeks ago doesn't mean I'm never gonna listen to it. I'm a fucking colossal squid, man. Always probing the depths of the music ocean. But contrary to how it may seem, just because I have a music blog doesn't mean I get to listen to everything ever recorded ever. So sometimes things slip by me and '08 is no exception. There were some solid records that may (or may not) have made it onto my Top 10 list had I heard them in time. If, like me, for some bizarre reason you slept on some of these, now's the time to get off your ass and listen because they're totally fucking worth it.

Zomes - Crowning Orbs

Zomes is a fucking given. Did you see my "review?" This obviously would've made my Top 10 list.

Fennesz - Perfume For Winter
Link removed.
Black Sea by Fennesz is another one that clearly should have made my list. This record is so epically beautiful and possibly my favorite Fennesz record yet. Although, this is also an album that I probably would desecrate by trying to review it. So that's the bright side.

El Guincho - Fata Morgana

El Guincho was something I thought I'd never like so I just kinda ignored Alegranza! I mean, it's crazy tropicalia that you'd see silly hipsters jumping around to in gigantic club that never has any good shows. Not exactly up my alley. But, uh, it's actually really good. Not sure if it would've made my list, but maybe if it'd had more time to simmer... you never know.

Hauschka - Rode Null

Hauschka totally caught me off guard. With a name like that, I was kinda expecting Ferndorf to be mostly electronic based. Hardly. This is acousticky stuff. Pianos, violins, and other stringy things. Totally awesome. Now I know why Eluvium put it on his Top 10 Everything list for 2008. It's wonderful music to be productive to. Cleaning, cooking, all those chores just seem so much more fun when listening to Hauschka.

Max Richter - Lullaby From The West Coast

Just like Fennesz, I have no real excuse for showing up late to Max Richter's 24 Postcards In Full Colour. I love Richter's previous albums, (I'd certainly consider The Blue Notebooks a Staple) and I knew he had a new one out. What happened? Slacking off, I guess. 24 Postcards is to Richter what Miniatures is to Eluvium: fantastic little bits of beauty that showcase a different side of the respective creator.

The Music Tapes - Freeing Song By Reindeer

I knew I'd like the new Music Tapes album, For Clouds And Tornadoes. I mean shit, I even saw Koster play some MT stuff in a mansion. It's as great as I expected it to be (I fuckin love "Freeing Song By Reindeer," which he ended his set with when I saw him) but for some reason I just didn't have it in my top priorities last year. So sad.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Video: Ten Kens - Bearfight

Ten Kens made one fucked up video. First of all, it's called "Bearfight" so I'm sure you can use your imagination with that. But that's just the beginning. Literally, the bear fight happens at the start of the video and it just gets more and more fucked up from there. And there are some parts that are seriously disturbing. Like the moaning dead deer? Fucking terrifying. I think I'm gonna go pet my bunnies for a little bit to cheer me up.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cannibal Frequencies - Untitled

Cannibal Frequencies - Untitled 2

This was supposed to be one of those "mysterious" tapes. The kind of thing that, for whatever reason, has an obviously fake story about it's origins. Label Gods Of Tundra said, "I found this master buried underneath the dirt in the woods next to my building. It was covered in mud and mostly rotted. Turns out Mike Shiflet recorded this, dug a hole and threw it in there 2 years ago. Now its been unearthed and its time to for the rot to soak into your stereos." So, yeah, this is a tape by Mike Shiflet under the moniker Cannibal Frequencies and it's fucking brutal.

Two sides, 15 minutes each, both consisting of an almost totally unwavering static buzz. They're absolutely relentless. I had two co-workers come in and hear this tape and they ended up being spot on with their descriptions. One of them side of the A side, "This sounds like something from Close Encounters, you know with the UFO." I kind of doubt a real spacecraft would sound like this, but a Hollywood UFO? Definitely. I think this is more like what the radio would sound like if a UFO was flying by, disrupting the frequencies.

The other friend said the B side sounded like "the stampede of a thousand horses." So true. If you just close your eyes and imagine yourself trapped in a canyon with a herd of horses (bulls might be a more appropriate animal), I'm pretty sure this is what you'd hear. Completely static, the sound only wavering as much as a stampede would. Amazing.

This isn't really the kind of stuff I'd recommend listening to at work. My colleagues seemed a bit weirded out by it, giving me some strange looks, but they were for the most part OK with it. My guess is not all people would be as forgiving. Most might ask you to turn it off. And in this particular case, you probably don't have a really good case for keeping it on.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Nathan Bell - @2640

Nathan Bell - Moonsblood

I must be on a Lungfish member solo album kick or something (see Zomes). The weird thing is, I've never really listened to Lungfish. I've heard them in passing but I don't have any of their albums. And I kinda don't think I could possibly like Lungfish as much as I like these solo "side projects."

Nathan Bell is the bassist for Lungfish, but @2640 doesn't have a single bass in site. In fact, there's only one instrument played on the whole record: the mighty banjo. Bell turns out to be an expert banjo plucker.

@2640 was recorded live in a Baltimore church, so the open space really allows the lo-fi banjo to reverberate out all over the place. But just because this is a banjo affair doesn't mean it's a country record. Far from it. It's more of a... I dunno. It's a banjo record. The banjo has a sound all it's own and @2640 captures it.

I don't think it helps that I'm kind of a sucker for banjos (and organs) but regardless, Nathan Bell really managed to take a common instrument and make magical hypnotic music with it. @2640 is a great little album (key word there being little, it's just over 12 minutes long) that has earned it's place in my collection as one of my favorite "single instrument" records.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Millipede / Brian Grainger - Play Ancient Hylian Folk Songs

Millipede - Kotake

Brian Grainger - Skullkid

Hylian... isn't that the race of people in The Legend Of Zelda? Wasn't Link Hylian? You're goddamn right he was! Millipede is that amazing noise dude who did the album Hyrule I wrote about a few months ago. Well since then, he's put out a full length CD on Install called Death Mountain (fucking genius) and this little split tape with Brian Grainger on Milieu Music.

Neither Millipede nor Grainger play anything that sounds like your traditional Pete Seeger folk songs on this album. Instead they reinterpret the customary songs of the Hylian race as loud as fuck, ear bleeding, shoegaze jams (Millipede) or subtle, rumbly, fuzzy guitar melodies (Brian Grainger).

Millipede's side of Play Ancient Hylian Folks Songs is much like the rest of his work. Zelda inspired beauty noise. Take the sheets of guitar noise from Skullflower, mix in some end-of-their-career Yellow Swans and the most screeching moments of My Bloody Valentine and you're in the field of Millipede. The feedback he dispenses is so coarse it feels like it's scrubbing the inside of your ears. But rather than coming away with crystal clean hearing, you can't even hear yourself think. But the abrasion walks hand in hand with the elegance, serenading you with dreamy sweet lullabies. So so sooo awesome.

I discovered Brian Grainger through this split and thank god. Grainger's take on Hylian folk music is just as engaging as Millipede's. Millipede has an amazing contrast of delicate majesty but Grainger takes the middle road, making music that never quite makes it to either extreme while still retaining the qualities of both. He makes sure the foundation of his songs are covered in thick rumbling bass and then he goes to town on his guitar. It's neither loud nor quiet but it's both delicate and severe. I couldn't think of a better person to complement Millipede on this split.

As with Hyrule, the music on Play Ancient Hylian Folk Songs isn't inherently about Zelda, Link, Hyrule, or anything else related to the video game series. The songs are inspired by and spawned from themes, characters, and places found in The Legend Of Zelda and all of it's sequels. The only indication that anything on Folk Songs is Zelda related comes from the titles. "Skullkid," "Goron's Ruby," "Lost Woods," and obviously the album name all have their origins from the video games. Which is fucking awesome. But take all of that away and what are you left with? Some of the best noise music you've ever heard.

And for extra cool (geeky) points? Each side of the tape has words written in Modern Hylian Script, which I transcribed for you using this site as a translator. Millipede's side says Zuzejijizebegogego and Grainger's side says Gibezegade Jibegadejigobe. I like to think those are their names in Hylian. I fuckin love these guys.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Zomes - Zomes

Zomes - Crowning Orbs

I've been waiting for a while to write something about this Zomes record. I was afraid that my words wouldn't be able to describe just how masterful this fucking masterpiece is. But you know what? Fuck it. I'll just get it off my chest and profess my love for this bitch. The lo-fi looped broken record melodies on Zomes are exquisite and I want to have their babies. If somewhere down the line I ever come up with some better words for Zomes, maybe I'll let you know.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Video: Bars & Tones

I think I just fell in love with a video. Wtf.

Bars & Tones from André F. Chocron via basic_sounds.

V/A - (Triskaidekaphobia) 13,000.00 Milliseconds

Animal Machine / Yellow Crystal Star - Ball Gagged And Used / IxChelAscent

Insects With Tits / Wenapta - Untitled / Mama Toxic Apocalypse

Fruss / I Can't Read - Missing Teeth / Ofu

Richard Devine / Suck My Beatles / The New Jedi Order - 13 / I Am A Walrus / MV17669copy.aif

Reviewing this record is like reviewing the radio. Yeah, the whole thing, not just one station. It just doesn't make any sense. Every song (aka station) has it's own sound. Some are blasting grindcore, or glitchy electronics, some are just bits of dialogue or speeches, and some are sheer noise. The only running theme is everything is 13 seconds, hence the phobia. Each of the 99 tracks has 2 or 3 songs, each from a different band, totaling over 200 bands. I assume it makes it easier to navigate. Or maybe there's a 99 track limit on CDs. I have no idea. Whatever the reason, I'm sure it's a good one.

Nothing ever really develops into a traditional song but there are pieces on here that definitely stand on their own. Just because everything is wicked short and gets lumped together into a massive bizarre sound collage doesn't mean the individual parts aren't special. In fact, just the opposite. There are some real winners on here.

Songs by big(ish) names like Matmos, Venetian Snares, Cock E.S.P., Two Dead Sluts One Good Fuck, AIDS Wolf, Otto Von Schirach, Wildildlife, White Mice, Eats Tapes, and they're all really solid but the fun part is discovering all of these brilliant bands with the craziest fucking names. Cum Sock, James Brown Hands, Testicular Manslaughter, Insects With Tits, Batman Vs Predator, Alienslang, Super Pizza Party, and my personal favorite, Fag Muscle (click here for a full tracklisting as a JPG). It's hard to get an idea of what these bands sound like, especially since there's no reason to assume these little snippets represent the "true" sound of the band, but I'm sure they're all as awesome as they seem.

I like to think to myself that I'll listen to 13,000 Milliseconds a lot. You know, for those times when I'm either completely ambivalent to what I listen to or when I'm so torn between different genres/moods/whatever that I can't make a decision. This will be perfect for those times. Except I get the feeling that maybe I'll never listen to Triskaidekaphobia because it's so fucking brutal and chaotic that I'll have to be in a very specific mood to enjoy it. Either way, it's a ferocious adventure that's cool as shit and I know it's here when I need it.

By the way, if you get this CD and you pop it into your computer, the internet won't magically get all of the information. Because of the anal archivist in me, I had to manually (and painstakingly) input the artist and song title info by the hundreds but once I did it, I wasn't able to "Submit CD Track Names" so... if you have any ideas how I can do that, lemme know and I can lend a helping hand so no one else has to go through what I went through.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Blogs Hate Weekends + I Like Muse

Wtf is up with blogs not posting anything on weekends? Do you guys have a life or something? I need shit to read at work people. Gimme a hand here. I know you're all just pretending to have a social life when you're really just sitting in your living room playing Double Dragon with your bros. And that makes me jealous.

When did I become a fan of Muse? I remember hearing "Time Is Running Out" back when I was a wee thing and guiltily enjoying it. But I never really paid much attention to them. I think it started with Guitar Hero and the ridiculously hard "Knights Of Cydonia" and solidified itself when I saw the Watchmen trailer. That shit is cheesy and epic in all the right places.

Suishou No Fune - The Light Of Dark Night

Suishou No Fune - Till We Meet Again (You Returned Home To The Heavens) / A Rose Bloomed / You Look At The Night Sea

I started to write about this awhile ago but then got distracted and wrote about Sun Circle instead. Totally forgiveable, right? Especially because I'm doin' it now. I mean, it's not like I totally forgot about it or anything...

I've never heard Suishou No Fune until The Light Of Dark Night. It was my first proper introduction to them and I suggest, if you've never been introduced, this is where you should start. "But Justin..." you may ask. "How can you tell me where to start if you've only heard one of their records?" Valid question, I suppose. Although that sort of thing is not encouraged here on AGB. My word is law. No questions allowed.

I'd say start with Dark Night because it's fucking awesome, that's why. It's a live set recorded in Philly, one 42 minute track broken up into 3 songs (all new material, I think) that flow seamlessly into each other. I'm pretty sure there's no percussion whatsoever, making this all about the guitar drones, drifts, and waves.

The first song starts out with a dreamy soft guitar that is actually pretty unnerving. There's this weird tension, even when some guy comes in and throws out his soothing echoing voice. I feel like it should give me this nice and chill feeling but it does the exact opposite. It's kinda like mellow Boris just without the peace.

Throughout the set, the tension builds and it goes from a loud crunchy wall of distorted guitar fuzz, then receding back to the bizarro serene uneasiness. It is so so fucking cool. This is rock doom drone at it's best and I love it.

Like all things released on aRCHIVE, the packaging on this is super sweet. It's limited to 600 copies but there are still some available at various places if you look hard enough. I totally recommend Dark Night and it ensures that I will further explore Suishou's back catalogue.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Daniel Striped Tiger

Daniel Striped Tiger - Slalom (from Condition)

Update (1-11-09): Somehow the song that was originally posted with this was not Daniel Striped Tiger. I don't even know who it was. It might have been Melt Banana or something. My apologies. The stream and mp3 link are now correctly "Slalom" by DST.

It's not very often I write a post about something as vague as "a band." Usually it's an individual record or a song or a concert or pretty much anything more specific than just a band. But I'll make an exception today because... just because. I don't need to justify myself to you.

The last time I tried to see Daniel Striped Tiger play a show, it got shut down by the cops. And for no reason, either. They had permission to play and it was total bullshit that the cops came at all. And that was like a year ago. But last night I got to see them play at Front Street, a local coffee shop. It's a place that doesn't exactly fit a lot of people, nor does it allow for easy maneuverability but it was pretty packed for some dinky place in Salem. I'd guess about 80+ people showed up to a place that is maybe slightly larger than your average cafe. It just goes to show you how eagerly kids north of Boston crave good shows.

DST are technically a local band but similar to Big Bear and Neptune, they're actually making a name for themselves outside of Boston. And with good reason. They have a unique sound that, at the risk of sounding dorky, is really contemporary. What I mean is they have a sound that is really new and fresh but isn't so different as to turn you off. It's kinda mathy, with a lot of stop-start drumming, and the singer doesn't sing so much as talk loudly and monotonously (in a good way), and they have some catchy as shit riffs. Not necessarily the most unique description of a band but their sound is totally their own.

I know you hear about a lot of bands and just kind of glaze over them unless they really catch your attention for whatever reason. And it's difficult to make DST stand out without giving them a listen so I guess I'm saying you just gotta trust me on this one. They have two full lengths out, one of which (Condition) I would consider a Staple, and a bunch of various splits and 7"s and such. They're playing some shows in the area within the next few days and are in the process of planning an Australian tour. See them and buy shit from them.

Friday, January 9, 2009

First Listen: Pink And Brown - Shame Fantasy II

Pink And Brown - Puddles Of Acid Part 1 & 2

Inspired by The Decibel Tolls and his review of the new Animal Collective in real time, I thought I'd give that a whirl with the recently acquired Pink And Brown Shame Fantasy II LP. Basically, the idea is to do a live commentary on a record you've never listened to before. If this goes well, I might do it again in the future.

I have the vinyl version of Shame Fantasy II, which means it's only 5 songs. They were recorded after Pink And Brown officially broke up. The CD version contains every track they've ever put out (including these 5 new ones) but the vinyl is just the newest. OK... hitting play... now....

This isn't exactly what I was expecting from Pink And Brown. This is on Load Records, home of the Lightning Bolt monsters, and I'd heard P&B get lumped in with LB a lot. I guess I was expecting a little more LBness. The vocals are definitely in line with Chippendale's, ie low in the mix, garbled, and totally indecipherable. The music, however, is much more garage punk than noise punk.

It's high energy but not completely spastic. And, at least compared to the other kinds of music I listen to, this isn't very noisey. It's comparable to a psych rock band freakout jam, where they just go nuts for 10 minutes before returning the the chorus. Think more White Hills and less Wolf Eyes.

Side B starts out with "Puddles Of Acid Part 1 & 2" and the riff is just fucking nasty. I love it. It's like something from Melt Banana if they made a psych record (which is not totally out of the question, you know).

I like it when I get taken aback like this. I expected this to be something that I would never be able to listen to in the company of Elise but I'm pretty sure this would be (at the very least) tolerable to her. It's not as off the wall as I'd hoped it would be but it still a tight, albeit short, record. Makes me kinda want the CD version...

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Today is my 8 year anniversary with Elise and our first while being married. We'll be out doing stuff, so this is the only post you get today. Probably. Enjoy it.

This is Peaches. Sooo.... it's pretty NSFW. And hilarious.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Catch Of The Week: Cool Kids Edition

Here's some good dancey electronic music that the cool kids like. And, coincidentally, is also very catchy and delicious.

Salem - Whenusleep

Salem is kinda blowing up. At least on the P4K, GvB, and Stereogums. But you know what? I don't mind. 'Cause this shit is awesome. Dark, fuzzy, echoey, and the name of the city I live in. It actually feels kinda lame listening to Salem while living in Salem but hey. Let's face it. I'm kinda lame.

Fan Death - The Constellations

Fan Death sounds a little bit like The Knife. Thankfully, it's not like they're a Knife rip off or anything. They just have a female singer and do the dark electro thing, except Fan Death is much more focused on the disco.

Human People - Just Like Honey

In case you couldn't guess from the title, this is Human People covering The Jesus & Mary Chain classic. Normally this isn't my kinda thing but you know what? This is actually a really solid cover. I'm not saying it's better than the original or anything. But sometimes certain shoegaze songs need to be vamped up and made into awesome dance jams. Thanks Human People!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Video: Fever Ray - If I Had A Heart

Normally I don't like taking things right from Pitchfork. Nor do I like writing about the same band repeatedly. But the video for Fever Ray's (aka Karin Dreijer Andersson, aka the woman half of The Knife) "If I Had A Heart" is amazing. It's dark and fucking creepy as hell. Are all those people dead? Did the freaky forest people with masks do it? Or was it the skull faced woman? I don't know! But it looks like those kids made it through OK. Thank GOD.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cat & Bird Hospital - Noise Thriller

Cat & Bird Hospital - The Lady In My Life
Link removed.

Cat & Bird Hospital - secret track
Link removed.

Cat & Bird Hospital is Greg Greg Nixon and Jacob Bird Hospital (aka the Staplefied Jacob Berendes). Noise Thriller is a Thriller cover record. The main difference between this and other cover records is that this one is god awful.

This is a really weird record. For the most part, these are songs I won't ever listen to more than once or twice. "The Lady In My Life" is a solid song, as is "Human Nature," "Baby Be Mine," and "P.Y.T." Not much else, though. It's similar to Bronson's Waste Creeps in that they're both purposefully bad and funny because of it but Creeps actually has songs that you might enjoy listening too repeatedly. Thriller is the exact opposite.

I guess it's possible that it's supposed to be more of a "comedy" record than a "music" record. In that case, Noise Thriller is damn funny. Especially the "secret track" which is just Berendes laughing his ass off as he attempts to cover "Billie Jean." Also funny? The descriptions given before each track saying what the song is about. "Thriller is a scary song, but it's not that scary."

Everyone has at some point gotten together with a friend or two and made some stupid silly songs. Then maybe they'll throw it up online for others to listen to and laugh at. Cat & Bird Hospital aren't charging anything for Noise Thriller, you can download it for free on the Fujichia website. So is it really that bad? It's free, it's funny, and it's Jacob Berendes singing Michael Jackson songs. And strangely enough, despite all of the negativity in this review, I really like Noise Thriller.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Jonas Reinhardt - Jonas Reinhardt

Jonas Reinhardt - How To Adjust People

Kranky is a unique record label. They're big but still "indie" and they release some pretty experimental stuff. Everyone knows 'em and there a a handful of bands on Kranky that get a ton of attention. I'm talking about bands like Deerhunter, Windy & Carl, Stars Of The Lid, all those major stars. But Kranky releases a lot of records and I know a bunch of them get overlooked because everyone's so excited about the new ______ record. Well, Jonas Reinhardt's self titled debut is the newest Kranky release to slip under the radar that deserves some praise.

Jonas Reinhardt
is stuffed full of analog synth soundscapes. Every song has it's own different mood, some are like Tangerine Dream or Cluster and others are more like Goblin. But it all fits together nicely in a solid and cohesive album that's entirely it's own sound, despite the strong influences. To cite the obvious but very relevant cliche, there are many songs on here that not only would fit well in a film soundtrack, but remind me of very specific soundtracks. The problem is, I just can't remember which soundtracks they remind me of. No matter. You understand what I'm trying to say. Don't you?

Regardless of your understanding of whatever it is I'm trying to tell you, know this: you should add Jonas Reinhardt to your collection and put his name on the list of future Kranky releases to get excited about.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Celebrity Bros

This has been bugging me. Like, forever. I knew Dan Friel, aka Mr. Parts & Labor man, author of the Ghost Town, electronic mayhem wizard, looked familiar. Lo and behold, a late night viewing of the comedy classic about highway shenanigans Super Troopers brought to my attention just who Friel reminded me of. Paul Soter. The one who gets with the hot cop. So here's my theory. These guys are real life bros. I'm not talking identical twins or nothing (that's gay), I'm just saying Soter's mom and dad were also Friel's mom and dad. Come on guys, back me up on this one.

Soter photo via The Sampler, Friel photo via Pooneh

Stars Of The Lid Teaser

Yeah, there's gonna be a Stars Of The Lid movie. No, there's no information about it. Except this. This is gonna be epic.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Neil Young - Dead Man Soundtrack

Neil Young - Guitar Solo, No. 1

Neil Young - Do You Know How To Use This Weapon?

The first time I watched Jim Jarmusch's masterpiece Dead Man, I remember being totally infatuated with the soundtrack. And like, immediately, too. It wasn't like the movie finished and upon contemplation I thought to myself, "That was a good movie. And it had a decent soundtrack, too." No. Right after the opening scene (<3 Crispin Glover) I declared, "I love this soundtrack!" But like most things I get excited about, I completely forgot about it in a matter of time. Then thanks to the wonderful internet, I stumbled upon it recently and have once again renewed my love for this soundtrack, never again to be forgotten.

The Dead Man Soundtrack is done by Neil Young. Never in a million years did I think I would be this impressed by a Neil Young record. I mean, it's not that I hate the guy or anything, it's just that I don't think about him. At all.

The music from Dead Man is almost entirely guitar based. It's intensely thick with reverb, echoing all over itself. It's hot, dusty, dry, and full of the outdoors. Now I don't just say that because the film is hot and dry and I'm just trying to cheat out by describing the movie instead of the music. But because the music melds so seamlessly with the imagery from Dead Man that the qualities of the two are almost synonymous.

There are other pieces on the soundtrack that are quotes and dialogue from the movie. It's not a cop-out, though. It's poetic and still (I assume) meaningful to people who haven't seen the movie. You get to hear Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Iggy Pop, and Billy Bob Thorton go all existential, everything they say complementing the wide open guitar perfectly.

Everything about this soundtrack is amazing. I rank it up in the Top 5 Best Soundtracks along with 28 Days Later, Lost In Translation, Snatch, and Marie Antionette. For maximum mind-fuckling, I recommend you try listening to this while trudging through a snow storm. There's nothing quite like it.