Friday, March 30, 2007

Mercy For The Meek: Ours to release new album…finally


After waiting for what seems to be lifetimes in the digital age, Ours fans can finally take a breath because the new Ours album, entitled Dancing For The Death Of An Imaginary Enemy, is soon to parading on all of your ear drums. Unfortunately, Dancing For The Death… doesn’t have a tentative release date at the moment. But with the album being completed, it is only a matter of time before media executives realize that they are sitting on one of the best albums of the year and unleash it on the masses. The Content had the opportunity to get a special sneak listen of the new tracks and all we can say is that Jimmy’s progression has tested our patience and we are oh-so-grateful he made us wait because this album is everything we had been hoping for.

Here’s the tracklisting for Dancing For The Death

1) Mercy
2) Worst Thing Is Beautiful
3) Ran Away
4) Black
5) The Moth
6) God Only Wants You
7) Murder
8) Live Again
9) Willing
10) Saint Down The Hall
11) Lost
12) Get Up
13) ?

Unfortunately, the Content didn’t have the opportunity to grab the last song title but to be honest it’s more of an outro for the album than an actual song. Just imagine 29 seconds of looping melody sung by the innocent voice of a child. If you listen closely you can hear the voice at the end of "Give Up" on their Myspace page. Gives you something extra to look forward to.

[mp3] OursThe Moth (Live)
[mp3] OursLost (Live)
[mp3] OursLive Again (Live)

Head over to Ours’ Myspace to listen to three new tracks from the upcoming album.



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Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Demographic of a Locust Concert

This might be a bold statement, but I think The Locust may be about ready to pack up and leave the music world. While most would assume I'm basing this prediction around the restricted nature of the band's music, I'm actually resting it solely on the crowd that attended their show last night in Hollywood.

Since I mentioned it, let me spend a second on the musical restrictions of The Locust. I have 67 songs on my itunes by The Locust, but to a virgin ear it may sound like 1 song on repeat 67 times. At the heart of every Locust song is an explosion of drums, space-alien keys and multi-toned screaming. The differences in songs lie around how they choose to compose each sonic assault. Even their latest record New Erections, which takes the band out of 30 second song land, doesn't display much musical evolution. In my own experience, I believe there is immense talent and precision packed into each "song;" however, that is doomed to always be the minority opinion - which brings me to the real issue.

The Locust have always been on the fringe of the mainstream, but at the heart of indie kids who love aggressive music. As the years have gone by, more exposure has brought the band farther and farther into the mainstream metal/hardcore scene. This proves detrimental to the running ethos of the band that states openly they don't want angry beef slabs as their fan base. The Locust are four skinny San Diegains (San Diegites?) that grew up being harassed by the same jocks that are now beating up people in the crowd at their shows. I'm basing these statements off both a long interview where Justin discussed taking a lot of abuse for being bi-sexual, and the cold and aggressive attitude of the band last night. No one in the band said a word the entire night, and every time someone crowd surfed Justin Pearson would shake his head, spit at them and even got a few kicks in. Truthfully, I was feeling about the way, and looked to Justin for some sanity in the situation.

Because this was my first Locust concert, I can't say how long they've had to deal with an apish crowd. The group of skinny gyrating kids, and long haired headbangers you'd expect at a Locust show where still around, but it was the large, violent ________s that (in my opinion) bought the show down a few notches on the evolutionary totem pole. Can The Locust be upset about an aggressive response to aggressive music? I always had that beef with At The Drive-in stopping shows to makes sure no one moshed. Of course people are going to freak out at a Locust show, but there has got to be some decency for your fellow man thrown in to make it work, and from what I saw last night that was about void.

[mp3] The Locust - Slum Service (Served on the Sly)

[mp3] The Locust - Bring Your 6.5 Italian Carbine

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Forgive me for this post


“just as long as you have love in your heart, you’ll never be alone”

Mother, please forgive me for what I am about to do. Some 40 years ago, in a Hollywood recording studio, Charlie, a disheveled and ill-tempered young man, recorded some demos that teetered on the edge of the extreme. It was during the time period just shortly after Pet Sounds had been released to lackluster sales, a sign that the American audience wasn’t ready for anything out of the ordinary. But what this young artist was working on was avant-garde, psyche folk, quite comparable to the recordings of Devendra Banhart, with a similar, eerie vibrato, vocal styling, as well as guitar strummings that could easily reside under the poorly named freak folk umbrella.

Dennis Wilson, drummer for the Beach Boys, had become acquainted with the young artist who desired to break out into the LA music scene. Dennis had promised Charlie, a talented songwriter with a great voice, the chance for the Beach Boys to record some of his original pieces in return for the sex and drugs that Charlie seemed to have at his beck and call. It was a tense relationship that ended poorly after Dennis had introduced Charlie to record executive Terry Melcher, who, though in agreement of the young songwriters talent, would end up passing on pursuing a project with Charlie.

In the coming months and years, Charlie would
be immortalized as the poster boy for the anti-social and psychotic, imprisoned for the heinous and infamous Tate-LaBianca murders. With all the darkness that has revolved around the name Manson in subsequent years, the most disturbing thing is that something so beautiful, and at times uplifting, could escape out of the soul of someone deemed to be absent of one. And yes, though I in no way condone the actions or the murders of Charles Manson, I do have to say that these following songs, off his Lie album, are in the simplest terms, brilliant.

You can all go take a warm shower now. Forgive me.

[mp3] Charles MansonLook At Your Game Girl
[mp3] Charles MansonHome Is Where You’re Happy
[mp3] Charles MansonCease To Exist
BONUS [mp3] The Beach BoysNever Learn Not To Love (previously titled Cease To Exist)



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Monday, March 26, 2007

RC's Spring Break Mixtape

Two things are wrong with this post's subject matter, given my current situation: It's cold and rainy outside, and since I am no longer a student - I have no spring break. However, this doesn't mean I can't throw you a hip shaking, pool party playlist.

Das Boot!

The Playlist (for maximum enjoyment please keep in order):
[mp3] DJ Mehdi (feat. Chromeo) - I am Somebody
[mp3] Justin Timberlake - My Love (DFA mix)
[mp3] The Rapture - Notes...
[mp3] Klaxons - Gravity's Rainbow
[mp3] Sebastien Grainger - When You Go Out
[mp3] CSS - Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above (Spank Rock remix)
[mp3] Panda Bear - Bros
[mp3] Crystal Castles - Lovers Who Uncover
[mp3] New Young Pony Club - Ice Cream (remix)
[mp3] !!! - Hearts

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Eluvium lets us rest in Copia


I have made it through another finals week relatively unscathed and my ego fractured to only a minor extent. Locking myself away into tombs where social excursions are bedded for intellectual wordings, I always find myself putting together mixtapes of the instrumental pedigree. The rise and fall of string arrangements and punch and pounce of horns has always seemed to be the perfect background sounds to help reduce my 10th week stress level before it peaks out and sends me over the edge.

My favorite addition to my study music has been Eluvium’s new album of intelligent, instrumental ambience, Copia. I have long been a fan of the piano balladry of Eluvium’s multi-instrumentalist and only true member, Matthew Cooper. Initially being introduced to the band a few years back as he opened for Temporary Residence label mates, Explosions In The Sky, Eluvium’s piano based orchestrations have always reminded me of a slow drifting winter’s sky, the kind of scene that makes it impossible to not stay calm despite whatever pressures lay beyond the horizon or back in the confines of any lecture hall.

[mp3] EluviumRadio Ballet
[mp3] EluviumGenius And The Theives (from An Accidental Memory In The Case Of Death)


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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Link Love

Gorilla Vs. Bear gives the few people that didn't make it to Austin last week (unfortunately that includes me) a thorough recap of all that was happening at SXSW.

I Guess I'm Floating points out all the great LPs that were released this week. It's so strange to think that Panda Bear is just now hitting the (digital) shelves, since basically everyone I know already has it. It seems like the old system of record release dates is in need of a major overhaul.

Radio Free Silver Lake is turning 1, and has invited everyone to come celebrate March 27th @ Boardner. RC favorites, The Deadly Syndrome will be there, as well as The Happy Hollows and The Lights From Here. Come support great music and a great blog!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Photos: Bloc Party @ The Wiltern

Just got these great photos in from Braedon. He told me that Bloc Party put on a great show, but that they should stick with their faster songs. I can second that notion based around my favorite songs on Silent Alarm and A Weekend in the City. So here's to high energy Bloc Party songs!

[mp3] Bloc Party - Songs For Clay (Disappear Here)
This song takes a bit to speed up, but it's worth the wait.

[mp3] Bloc Party - Two More Years (MSTRKRFT Remix)
The original is great as well, but I just can't deny MSTRKRFT's brilliant touch
All photography by: Braedon

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Elvis Perkins - Ash Wednesday


It seems that Elvis Perkins has been plagued with tragedy for some part of his life. I can only imagine what it must have been like on the playground, so many years ago, when the other children found out that little Elvis’ father was the Norman Bates. But I am sure those childhood teasings and haunted, midnight nightmares of good old pop dressing up like grandmother were nothing compared to the loss of his mother. On September 11, 2001, Elvis’ mother happened to be on one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center towers. Struggling with the pain of a mother’s unfortunate death and the aftermath of scar tissue in the American heart must be seen as a catalyst to the formation of Elvis’ recent release Ash Wednesday.

A collection of sorrowful tunes, Ash Wednesday, is an album filled with character of a man choosing to live through life despite being bombarded by reminders of past sadness. Sometimes teetering on an Americana version of Devotchka, Elvis hides his voice in verse and lyric until he releases into a controlled emotional reaction and the audience loses focus on what is being said and is only attune to how the song is being sung. During those moments, most prominent on the title track, no one even cares that he is the son of a famous father and the music takes center stage.

[mp3] Elvis PerkinsAsh Wednesday

3/23/07 – Los Angeles @ Jensen RecCenter Studio (tix)
3/24/07 – Los Angeles @ Largo (tix)

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Bradford Cox's Solo Daydream

In honor of Deerhunter's impending visit to Los Angeles, I want to share some songs any Deerhunter fan might enjoy. Bradford Cox is (as you might already know) the lead singer of Deerhunter - the band responsible for Cryptograms, one of 2007's most interesting albums. I recently came across his solo work, and while I don't know the context surrounding the recordings (dates etc), the handful of songs evoke a similar cathartic mood found in Cryptograms.

In a search for more information on Bradford, I (just this second) ran into his "Guest List" at Pitchfork. I found a couple of revealing things in his list, including one that makes me look like a plagiarist. When asked to name a few of his favorite songs, Bradford chose Pavement's "Fight this Generation" and The Velvet Underground's "Heroin." My best description of "After Class" is:
Pavement covering a Velvet Underground song. The song is stripped almost bare, but contains elements of Malkmus' stylized vocal delivery. The part where I sound like a plagiarist comes when Bradford describes "Heroin" as being "cathartic" - a sentence I read about ten minutes after using the same word in the paragraph above. Guess it just means that everyone is on the same page.

April is the "Support Deerhunter" month, with Flourescent Grey EP coming out April 9th, and Deerhunter playing The Echo on April 14th w/ The Ponys.

[mp3] Bradford Cox - After Class
[mp3] Bradford Cox - Cover Me Slowly

Bonus Track:

[mp3] Deerhunter - Tech School (off Turn it up Faggot)

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Friday, March 16, 2007

New Spartan Fidelity EP + Help Cambodian Children


Some bands make it so difficult for me to let go of them despite their practice of not releasing anything on a consistent basis. Cinjun and Shelby Tate of Spartan Fidelity have made an art form out of this, releasing b-sides and taste testers of new material on what seems a regular, bi-annual basis. This sparse release effort has been just enough to keep me tide over in hope that someday they will release their second installment in the Excava trilogy.

But when Cinjun was joined on stage last July with other members of Remy Zero it seemed as though Spartan Fidelity had been put on the back burner indefinitely. Fortunately, it looks as though fans of the brothers Tate are getting the best of both worlds as some new studio demos have emerged from Remy Zero onto the playlists at KCRW as well as a new EP from Spartan Fidelity that appear to be excerpts from the future release of Excava-22. We can't share with you the new tunes but with thought we put up some rarities to hopefully get you to go and buy the new 3-song EP.

[mp3] Spartan FidelityThe Hollows (Version 2)
[mp3] Remy ZeroCardonelet (Unreleased)

In other news, the virtuous Shelby Tate has moved to Cambodia to live on the beach and has started a website that sells paintings created by Cambodian children to raise money for their well being. On the SF message board he explained it as such:

shelby here.i now live in cambodia,on the beach.i made a website to sell the paintings by the impoverished kids who live on the beach.the money all goes for food,medicine,supplies for them.they love to paint and they're great!!!!
look!!!
buy!!!
tell people!!!
serendipart.net
s
(remy)

Go and do a good deed today and buy one of these great little paintings. They are some of the cutest things ever and some are down right artistic. Most run for around $25 and $5 for shipping and all the money goes to helping children in need.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Three, Three Song EPs From Three Countries

Tokyo Police Club
Tokyo Police Club deliver first with the mini EP, Smith. Canada's next great hope already have one EP on the shelves, and even though everyone is frothing for a debut LP, this three song snack is further justification of the hype. "A Lesson In Crime" is a slow, melodic piano tune that feels like it was written off a few bottles of red wine. A perfect exit song for the one-two punch of "Box" and "Cut Cut Paste."

[mp3] Tokyo Police Club - A Lesson In Crime

Help She Can't Swim
Next up is Help She Can't Swim's, Midnight Garden EP, which displays the band's continued assault on the senses, but also shows HSCS's maturing approach to songwriting. The first songs I heard from the UK five piece, were rough demos that consisted of wails, screams and a great sense of humor. "Midnight Garden" holds true to the boy-girl cries, but has a more focused direction. It's no wonder why they have become UK tour buddies with The Blood Brothers on multiple occasions.

[mp3] Help She Can't Swim - Midnight Garden

Bonnie Prince Billy
The American mystic, Will Oldham, strikes again with the Lay & Love release. While the title track is recognizable from The Letting Go, the two additional tracks are sparse, beautiful Bob Dylan covers. Will Oldham is writing the soundtrack for America, the same way Dylan did four decades ago. I'm not calling Oldham the new Dylan, I'm just saying he approaches his music with the same ethos.

[mp3] Bonnie Prince Billy - Senor

All these EPs are available at everyone's new home for affordable music- Emusic.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Voices In My Head


They keep on talking. I keep them company. When my days run long and my nights run late I hear these voices in my head. Everyday in everyway they’re there singing their praise for a brighter day, a better way, the next best thing. I have temporarily been assigned to a halogen buzzing room, lined with books penned by prophets, to write papers upon linoleum pressed tabletops.

These are the short and sweet voices that have been keeping me company while I create fiction about the failing democracy in the Russian state. Wish me luck. I'll be back with more new music as soon as I prove that Putin is an autocrat.

The ‘421 Second’ Mixtape
[mp3] Animal CollectiveCollege
[mp3] The Beach BoysOur Prayer
[mp3] Spartan Fidelity 1st Sun
[mp3] Brian WilsonOne For The Boys
[mp3] RadioheadI Will (No Man’s Land)

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Six years later Bright Eyes returns to the El Rey

(photo cred: P-fork)
"Sometimes I love country music, and other times I fucking hate it. It doesn't matter though, because I'm going for a surfer look now."
- Conor Oberst

There are two truths in the statement above: Country music has a tendency to be polarized between beautifully iconic and painfully nauseating; Conor Oberst can achieve anything he puts his heart and mind into - if he wants to be a surfer, he'll end up a surfer. I spoke of a similar love/hate for country in my Four Winds review, and said that Conor seemed to be moving towards alt-country. Now I'd just say that Bright Eyes holds a genre unto his own. The justification for my latter statement took shape after witnessing Bright Eyes play what might be the best show of 2007 (until the Cassadaga tour of course). The 90 minute, air tight, arena ready, all out assault showcased a batch of new songs, old songs, b-sides and a cover that left my jaw on the floor and my ears in the sky. Hyperbole? These are just the plain facts.

I was a bit nervous coming into the show, after reading Pitchfork's mediocre review of his performance in Chicago. They spoke of a "lumber(ing)" 15 song set, where "everybody settled comfortably into a languid country-rock pace." Whether that was true or not in Chicago, Bright Eyes delivered nothing but overflowing energy at the El Rey. I knew there was nothing to worry about after only the first song, "I Must Belong Somewhere" - a favorite of mine from the I'm Wide Awake tour. Lyrically, the song is a high water mark in Conor's career: "Leave the old town drunk on his wooden stool /Leave the autumn leaves in the swimming pool / Leave the poor black child in his crumbling school today." Even the b-sides off Four Winds EP gained new life on stage.

Conor talked about how he played the El Rey in 2001, solo, and didn't say a word to the audience the entire set. Now in 2007, Conor is the leader of one of the most talented six/seven piece bands around, is able to keep the audience in awe of every note he plays, and has a captivating fire that keeps him striving. The worst part about it, is that he's only three years older than me. God I hate that guy. Well, not really.


[mp3] Bright Eyes - I Must Belong Somewhere (live)

[mp3] Bright Eyes - Four Winds (EP version)


Cassadaga is being released on April 10th, and Bright Eyes will be on tour for the next few months:


03/16 London, England - Koko
03/18 Oxford, England - Brookes University Student Union
03/22 Oslo, Norway - Cosmopolite
03/24 Stockholm, Sweden - Debaser
03/26 Berlin, Germany - Columbia Club
03/27 Cologne, Germany - Gloria
03/30 Paris, France - Cafe de la Danse
03/31 Amsterdam, the Netherlands - Melkweg
04/22 Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theatre
04/23 Chicago, IL - Riviera Theatre
04/24 Chicago, IL - Riviera Theatre
04/25 Minneapolis, MN - State Theatre
04/26 Omaha, NE - Holland Performing Arts Center
04/28 Denver, CO - Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre
04/29 Salt Lake City, UT - Kingsbury Hall
05/01 Seattle, WA - Paramount Theatre
05/02 Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
05/04 Berkeley, CA - Greek Theatre
05/05 Santa Barbara, CA - Arlington Theatre
05/06 Los Angeles, CA - Walt Disney Concert Hall
05/08 San Diego, CA - SOMA
05/09 Tempe, AZ - Mesa Amphitheatre
05/11 Dallas, TX - Palladium Ballroom
05/12 Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom
05/13 Austin, TX - Bass Concert Hall
05/14 New Orleans, LA - Republic
05/16 Tampa, FL - Tampa Theatre
05/17 Orlando, FL - Hard Rock Live
05/18 Atlanta, GA - Fox Theatre
05/19 Nashville, TN - Ryman Audiotorium
05/20 Columbus, OH - Wexner Center for the Arts
05/21 Detroit, MI - Royal Oak Music Theatre
05/22 Toronto, Ontario - Massey Hall
05/24 Boston, MA - Wang Center for the Performing Arts
05/25 New York, NY - Town Hall
05/26 New York, NY - Town Hall
05/28 New York, NY - Town Hall
05/29 New York, NY - Town Hall
05/30 New York, NY - Town Hall
05/31 New York, NY - Town Hall
06/01 New York, NY - Town Hall

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Friday, March 09, 2007

My Coworker, The Dreamer, The Opera Singer


I heard my coworker singing the other day. Her door was shut but I could hear her voice resonating out of that cavern beneath her desk, the spot where we used to find the last temp sleeping during the slow season. It was a hollow hole that we had never attempted to close off since it kept the office cool during the summer months and brought in the sweet scent of dirt and moisture during the day, a smell that brought with it memories of dirt filled fingernails, childhood places and times we would have much rather of found ourselves in during these busy business days.

It was last Wednesday that I called on Marissa for a signature on a such-and-such for so-and-so. It was last Wednesday when I followed her down into that hole where I could hear her making those sounds that always kept my eyes off my desk and my head up in Neverland. Opening her office door I brushed away her red-healed shoes, appropriately placed at the entrance to that hole in the ground. I dropped to my knees and pushed forward into the crawlspace, sliding passed underground wires and forgotten, tear-filled tissues. I could see lights as I approached Marissa’s voice echoing off the inner chamber walls, a room that I had never known existed. There, flickering flames filled in around Marissa, as she played through her own renditions of her hidden talent that none of the other coworkers had known about. There I sat Indian style, like a child once again, and wasted away the rest of the work day till we crawled out together and went our separate ways.

Marissa Nadler’s new album Songs III: Bird On The Water is out March 15. Check out Stereogum’s "Quit Your Day Job" feature with Marissa here.

[mp3]
Marissa NadlerDying Breed (from Songs III: Bird On The Water)
[mp3] Marissa NadlerDiamond Heart

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Link Love

I Guess I'm Floating saved everyone a podcast listen, by listing the "leaked" partial line-up for Pitchfork Festival 2007. As you may know RC went last year and had a (somewhat) sub-par experience. However, I might have felt the same way about Coachella if I'd flown four hours to get there. Point being, I might not fly to the fest again, but if I lived within driving distance - I'd be there.

Our friends over at New & Used Records just started a record label and signed Passionistas as their first act. I've listened to their debut LP several times through, and am really enjoying it. A proper review will be up soon.

Pitchfork got word of a Lightning Bolt tour, and shared the dates, which include two days in LA!!! I just saw The Power of Salad last month, and got excited for a LB tour I figured would never happen. I love being wrong.

Brooklyn Vegan has a great "this week in Dance" post for all of you ready for the weekend. Simian Mobile Disco, Holy Fuck, Crystal Castles... he's covers it all.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Video: Panda Bear - Bro's

Here's your first taste of Panda Bear's Person Pitch set to film. The video was directed by Excepter's Jeff Ryan and his friend Frank (JFR/DfG). It looks like Excpeter and sounds like Panda Bear - if that makes any sense.

Don't forget to buy Person Pitch on 3/20.

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Holy Fuck Are the Computers

How I've somehow overlooked a band like Holy Fuck for two years is beyond me. Their name alone should have branded itself to my frontal lobe (is that where memories are stored?), but somehow I only got my first taste of their self titled LP two months back. I quickly added it to my words and notes post, pairing it up with William Gaddis' final work, Agape Agape. The book deals with the mechanization of the arts, specifically the birth of the player piano, and how it diminished the need for artist talent. What I felt was interesting about Holy Fuck, was that although their songs feel conceived from a laptop, they play everything manually. A perfect final chapter to the story of mechanization. Post-Techno, if you will. Because of this hands-on approach, every notes sounds fuller and freer than if delivered from a Pro Tools plug-in. This fact also makes live performances much more interesting - I Guess I'm Floating confirms this notion.

The new Holy Fuck EP speaks volumes for the growth of a band between releases. While I really enjoyed the recklessness of their debut LP, this limited print EP is an incredible display of Holy Fuck's talent. They've become skilled composers.The lead off track,"Lovely Allen" is a soaring, triumphant piece that reminds me of a Godspeed track. "The Pulse" (IGIF's got it) seamlessly begins where the prior track left off. The song is more melodically subdued, but again it feels crafted from veteran hands. While some may miss Holy Fuck's older style, something I understand because I loved their full length, this new direction is less a new path, but more a refining of their musical skills - and who can dismiss that.

Hey Holy Fuck, please come to Los Angeles soon.

[mp3] Holy Fuck - Lovely Allen
[mp3] Holy Fuck - Tone Bank Jungle (s/t LP)


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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

You Gotta Give To Get


She makes me feel like there are things in life worthy of feeling regret over. Her open handed realizations on her self titled debut, El Perro Del Mar, made me wish I could relive those bad days better and smile even when the sun went down. “You gotta give to get” could have possibly been inscribed across the top of my front door so that every time I made way onto the streets of my city I could be reminded of the law of comeuppance and and the blessings of sacrifice. My love affair with Spector and his obsession over the layering chamber choral sounds of the Crystals and the Ronettes made my introduction to El Perro Del Mar that much more enticing.

Since its more than apparent that the Content is deeply in love with the calm suffering of El Perro Del Mar, it is only appropriate that we relay the info of an additional show in the LA area this month at the intimate Hotel Café. And since we understand the “gotta give to get” gospel we are going to offer up two b-sides for the receiving.

And here is the oh-so-cute animated video for "God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get)" that 3hive double dog dares us not to like. The Content is going to back them on that bet.



3/13/07 – The Echo (w/ Rosie Thomas) (tix)
3/14/07 – Hotel Café (w/ The One AM Radio) (tix)

[mp3] El Perro Del MarSad (from Look! It’s El Perro Del Mar)
[mp3]
El Perro Del MarSay (from You Gotta Give To Get)

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Monday, March 05, 2007

MSTRKRFT @ The VNGRD

As my mock drug scene (of flour and Excedrin) conveys, MSTRKRFT is a walking party machine. Side note, there's nothing like cutting lines of flour with you drivers license at 10am on a Sunday morning - really gets you ready for the day.

Walking into the Vanguard is always a bizarre, drugged out experience, but when it's Saturday night and people are there to dance, the whole scene jumps one step closer to an anti-drug advertisement. The crowd captured a wide-spectrum sprinkling of Hollywood veterans, lost indie kids and computeristas in baseball caps. The result was a good amount of dancing, some wandering and a few cross-armed statues. I'd say Natalie and I fell somewhere in the middle, with our modest, beat swaying stance. As you may have guessed, the DJ duo MSTRKRFT wants nothing to do with concerts. Jesse Keller and Al-P want to be the Paul Oakenfold of the indie music scene, and for the most part they pulled it off.

Techno music suffers from both deep, public misunderstanding, and a metric-ton of terrible musicians. With every mechanically based, potentially simple art form (be it photography or film) comes a lot of impostors and a few geniuses. When photography was first developed into an artist expression, people sneered at the possible merit of pushing a button. Where's the talent or human touch? However, eventually the public discovered that the art of photography is in the timing and framing of the image. The ability to capture a moment. To create an image saturated in the smell, touch and taste of that sliver in time. Techno falls int
o the same category of criticism, but finds it's merit through a different criteria.

While most computer literate kids can make a looping, bomp-bomp-bomp-indss dance beat, the challenge of any great DJ/producer is to carve an emotional narrative out of the beats. Absorbing the MSTRKRFT experience on Saturday gave me some thoughts on what makes for a great DJ set.

Much like the creation of a mixtape, the music must have a proper emotional trajectory. Any skilled DJ (which includes MSTRKRFT) avoids firing at too steep a trajectory, which resu
lts in a set that will soar high, but is doomed to fall short. Conversely, taking a shallow approach risks the set never getting off the ground. MSTRKRFT created a near perfect musical arc, by holding their cards close and sporadically revealing them as the night progressed. This ties into another key element of techno (and noise): builds and releases.

Since MSTRKRFT has more structure to their songs than most house music, they used simple beats and loops between songs to build tension before the next track. It's in their use of Korg melodies and vocoder that MSTRKRFT build their indie audience. Each song sounds like an 80's workout video, and what's more fun to dance to than an 80's workout video? These terribly awesome melody lines kept the sleaze levels high, and avoided a sterile House beats vibe.

If DJing is about controlling the pulse of an audience, then MSTRKRFT had their stethoscopes out all night. Warning: that is a Trademarked phrase of Rewriteable Content.

[www] MSTRKRFT - Community Revolution in Progress
[www] MSTRKRFT - Easy Love (Casanova Remix)


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Friday, March 02, 2007

Tear Down The Workhorse


I fell in love with Shara Worden long after I had learned she was the voice sneaking up behind Sufjan to fill in the nooks and crannies. This past year, emerging as My Brightest Diamond, Shara Worden powerfully cast her spells singing chants with the ability to freeze time momentarily. The end results were dark and gorgeous, reminiscent of the beauty similar to those final lilting notes during Jeff Buckley’s “Lilac Wine” and “Corpus Christi Carol.” But with My Brightest Diamond’s new remix album, Tear It Down, being released next week, a very different result is achieved. On this effort, Shara employed some close friends and new finds via Myspace to have their go at redefining the controlled efforts that she had released on last year’s Bring Me The Workhorse.

For me personally, demo versions, live recordings, and remixes are all special experiences for the listener. It is nearly impossible to take part in the journey of song crafting but with these outlets it is possible to further understand the art that has affected us so greatly. Tear It Down is an opportunity to see Workhorse in a new light and under the influence of interpreters that can only help us in our own examination of these songs.

Enjoy the album and be sure to catch My Brightest Diamond at the Troubadour come this April. Tear It Down looks something like this:

1. Alias - "Golden Star"

2. Lusine - "Workhorse"

3. Gold Chains - "Freak Out (Panique mix)"

4. Stakka - "Disappear"

5. Murcof - "Dragonfly"

6. Alfred Brown - "Magic Rabbit"

7. DJ Kenny Mitchell [ft. Nimnomadic] - "Freak Out (REWIND 93 REMIX)"

8. Haruki - "We Were Sparkling"

9. David Keith - "Something of an End"

10. David Michael Stith - "Gone Away"

11. Siamese Sisters - "The Good and the Bad Guy"

12. Strings of Consciousness - "Gone Away"

13. Cedar AV - "Disappear (Wheat to Whiskey mix)"

[mp3] My Brightest Diamond Golden Star (Alias Remix)
[mp3]
My Brightest Diamond Freak Out (Gold Chains Remix)
[www] Stream Tear It Down here

4/30/07 – Troubadour (w/ Pedestrian) (tix on sale TODAY)


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Continue reading "Tear Down The Workhorse"