Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Video :: Remote Viewing :: Jeans Wilder

Jeans Wilder
Nice Trash
La Station Radar

San Diego's Jeans Wilder released this jaunty little number a few weeks ago, and by jaunty I mean that it sounds like something you'd hear in a horror movie. You know: needle scraping along well-worn grooves while the killer chases a woman through her house, eventually bumping into the turntable so that the music comes to an abrupt stop. So, yeah, "Sparkler" sounds to me like getting chased by a knife-wielding maniac who's wearing a potato sack over his head with a couple of eye-holes cut out. The various footage that's cobbled together for the video (overlaid with an appropriate amount of overheated film, bubbling and ripping) resides safely in the drawer labeled "Nice Trash." 

Go, Burlap-faced Stalker, kill kill!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review :: Paleoacoustics :: Human Switchboard

Human Switchboard
Who's Landing In My Hangar?
Faulty Products (IRS Records)

I was first turned on to Human Switchboard by my friend Nick over at Ghostcapital (well-worth checking out, by the way) and found their one-and-only full-length at Som Records here in DC. I really had no idea what I was in for, but the cover photo was right, the year was right (1981), and the IRS connection was right. Upon further research, their background story is the quintessential American post-punk dream... formed in 1977 on a college campus (Syracuse), cemented with a demo mixed by a member of Pere Ubu, debut performance in the basement of a Columbus, OH record store called Magnolia Thunderpussy... and I could stop there. But then, the band opened up their own used-record store to support their own record label. Hot damn, Ohio doesn't get much cooler than that.

There's a lot here that reminds me of The Modern Lovers, both pulling from the Lou Reed book of sing-speak. The female-male-garage-Farfisa thing also reminds me of Os Mutantes a good bit, albeit a much more meat n potatoes version. Either way, this is a bunch of dorks making fucking fantastic pop-noise that everyone else that you know personally would never dare even thinking about, much less channel it through a microphone. Elsewhere on the record, I'm astonished by the cringing sexual honesty, and for that alone, I encourage you to seek this one out. Check this cut from the b-side to hear for yourself.

Human Switchboard :: (I Used To) Believe In You

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Features :: Best Music :: 2010

Bear in mind that we're narrow-minded. We like what we like, and we just don't have the time and energy to give every new sound a chance. Our self-esteem is so unbelievably bloated that we're among the lucky few who can be absolutely confident that there was no other worthwhile music out there this year. Also, we only have so much Photoshop stamina, which once depleted means our best music of 2010 post must end, and we'll have to return to the world-forsaking shelter of our sunscreen and velveteen gloves. So if you didn't buy a single one of these albums, you're probably listening to total shit. And, let's face it, you're probably an asshole, too. What the do you think of that, big boy?

Happy holidays, scabs.

Twin Shadow :: Forget
Twin Shadow :: Forget
Terrible Records
Tyrant Destroyed

This one almost didn't make the list. I wanted to make this list noisy, I wanted the bands represented here to feel like they were grating against your skin, bearing away invaluable brain tissue with each listen. But here it is: we like the eighties at Machine Dream. And the sweet sounds of Twin Shadow satisfy some younger part of ourselves.

The Mantles :: Pink Information
The Mantles :: Pink Information
Mexican Summer

I'd like to get this San Francisco act out to the east coast a little more often. Their songs take on great span, which sort of classes them out of the more narrow garage genre. On last year's full length album, they converted us. "Don't Lie" sounded plaintive and honest without losing any of the edgy High Plains-masculinity that steers my waking dreams. For the Pink Information EP, the song that hollows me out, revealing the walls of my core has to be "Situations." At 2:46, the song comes on like an old western, poncho draped across the face, cigar clutched in the cheek. The space they give to the drums and guitar really speaks to the breaking of the waves when the drifters reach the west coast and find out they must turn back if they're going to continue.

The Young :: Voyagers of Legend
The Young :: Voyagers of Legend
Mexican Summer
Smiling God

I couldn't have been happier to find out about these guys. They don't sound at all like how I remember Austin bands from the years I spent there. I only wish they hadn't skipped over touring through DC in favor of Baltimore and Richmond (even though I can't say I blame them). It just would have been a good show, under-attended or not. I'm sure I would have had too much to drink, and at some point, I probably would have clasped the lead singer by the shoulders, shaken him, and thank him for not fucking around.

Royal Baths :: Litanies
Royal Baths :: Litanies
I Detest

We've written enough about this song, but we didn't mean to mask the fact that the rest of the album holds up magnificently on its own. From the opening chords of "After Death" to the humming exit on "Pleasant Feeling," this is a psych album that sounds like it's being played from the other end of a drain pipe, and it convinces you to strain your neck and head further into the sink to listen.

Future Islands :: In Evening Air
Future Islands :: In Evening Air
Thrill Jockey
Tin Man

Singer Sam Herring runs the game here. Out of the whole Baltimore scene his band is the most likely to draw me out to a show even if it's just to watch the cool kids dance in the corner by themselves. But what's most worthwhile in attending is the chance to hear the sound of Herring when he finds a pressure point in his soul that he's willing to press down on publicly, pushing harder and harder with his thumb until he comes out of the chorus growling, sweating and curling his lip despite what's ostensibly a dance-synth act. These are hometown heroes, and when they pass through DC, they can't leave without triggering some compulsion in us to follow them back to Baltimore. Needless to say, we find ourselves forlorn in the parking lot. Curse you, Mr. Herring, we hope you never find your salve.

Flight :: The Lead Riders
Flight :: The Lead Riders
Zoo Music
Turns to Blood

Fuck subject/verb agreement. Hands down the coolest album of the year. Past by the mailbox on the way to meet a friend for morning beers and eggs. Slipped it from the Zoo Music cardboard package and set it on the bar. Marveled at the feather-masked character in the chair. Dropped it on the turntable during the after-beers, pre-video games nap. Shit, I feel bad pressing this guy between so many other gutless acts. Every track stings. Every track puts me in a back alley fight with my better angels. Knowing that what people want to hear and what I want to hear are two completely different things and finding someone out there who's completely unapologetic about releasing the latter into the wild. I hope the pretty boys and girls of Oxford, MS in their pastel Polos and sheer summer dresses get mildly creeped out by this man when they catch sight of him in the square.

Deerhunter :: Halcyon Digest
Deerhunter :: Halcyon Digest

Pulling the bone-white slab of wax from the grayscale sleeve of this album was a great pleasure for us this October. Bradford Cox seems to make a point of releasing new material during holiday seasons (see: Thanksgiving Week Atlas Sound demos, new Christmas songs this week, etc...) and the haunted vibe of this record could only logically surface for the Halloween season. Take the phrase "victorian vampires" (from 2008's Microcastle), put the needle down on Side A, shut yer eyes real tight-like, and the term Southern Gothic immediately makes sense.

Wild Nothing :: Gemini
Wild Nothing :: Gemini
Captured Tracks

Jack Tatum's girlfriend is pretty damn cute, or she was after I drank 18 Schlitz at the Wild Nothing show at DC9 last summer. She took my $15 for the limited pressing of Gemini on clear vinyl, but she didn't take my dribbling come-ons, at all. After one listen to this record, it's clear that she has plenty of hazy compliments to sift through already. Something about lightning storms and innocent lust... girls love that shit. Apparently, so do most music bloggers at the end of 2010.

Ty Segall :: Melted
Ty Segall :: Melted
Goner Records

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Ty Segall is the cackling messiah of garage rock. He's impolite, he's noisy, and you just get the sense that he's telling it like it is. After he met all of our expectations at a frighteningly loud Comet Ping-Pong show, I felt at ease with this over-the-top opinion. Hell, I felt in awe of my burgeoning psychic powers, like my third eye was about to burn a hole through my forehead. There's nothing better after a rough day hacking a living than to come home and piss your neighbors off with this record on your turntable.That's right, motherfucker, my stereo goes to eleven, and you'll eat every last decibel like the guard slid it under the door.

Beach House :: Teen Dream
Beach House :: Teen Dream
Real Love

No surprise here. The third record from this Baltimore duo feels like a re-introduction, embracing the abyss of their previous two records while pulling the guts to the fore-front. Fortunately, the seance remains intact and provides a communion from past to present. Teen Dream arrived in DC last February during a blizzard that saw my liquor cabinet grow exponentially -- from zero bottles to one gigantic bottle of Jameson. I drank the entire thing before the snow could stick, listened to "Real Love" thirteen times in a row, and told all of my roommates that I was deeply in love with them, individually, in private, and completely naked. I was fired from my job the next day, and replaying this record now reminds me of unemployment and humiliating desperation in equal measure. Congratulations, Victoria Legrand, you win.

And now that we've got that all out of the way, we'll be retreating to the familial estate where we'll likely return to our hobby of mail-ordering rare animals and plants only to discover that they all disgust us. Eh, ignore the babble: we hate ourselves more than we hate you. But do yourself a favor and give these albums a chance.

Monday, December 20, 2010

News :: Our Machine Watches Your Machine :: Gorilla vs Bear

This past week GvsB posted a new winter track from one of our favorite 2010 bands. Somehow this is all I want to hear right now. It's the same light-streaked, yet bleak fare we've come to expect from the Baltimore duo (if it ain't broke, right?), and it's perfect for listening to while coaxing the last drop out from the bottom of the bottle. But then again, I'm also living out of a box right now, and I push a cart for a living, so maybe my opinion's not to be trusted.

Beach House :: I Do Not Care for the Winter Sun

Friday, December 17, 2010

Video :: Remote Viewing :: Crystal Stilts

"Blood Barons"
Crystal Stilts
live at Brooklyn Bowl

I'm legitimately excited about Crystal Stilts. The hype surrounding their 2008 debut, Alight of the Night, kicked my inherent sense of bullshit into high-gear, and, very fortunately, my instinct proved me wrong. Dead wrong. Their recent single "Shake the Shackles" is my most-played tune, not only according to my iTunes flying-machine, but also my left-brain that can never make sense of the lyrics.

Crystal Stilts are among the lineage of bands that obsess over alliteration, and they make every song-title, album-title, band-name, lyric-aside count... full-force, mang. Fuck FUCK yes. Here's "Blood Barons," (from Brooklyn Bowl, no less), and it reminds me of riding a carousel. Only, on the brass-cast pony behind me rides Jack the Ripper, and his reach is just-too-short to pierce my back. Over and Over.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Features :: Machine Dream Winter Mix 2010

320 kpbs
135 mb

East of the Appalachians: high of 29 degrees today, 80% chance of snow, winds 7mph out of the SW. Board up your windows and doors, lock up your sons and daughters, it's time for our winter mix, and this shit is coming to you LOUD. We're so happy, we're breaking out the bourbon and the Rudolph sweaters.

Download or stream below. Stay frosty.


01. Goodbye Horses (Flight)
02. Heart Attack Kid (Bass Drum of Death)
03. Funeral Baby (The Liminanas)
04. Eating Babies (Grave Babies)
05. Private Dick (Monochrome Set)
06. Captive Chains (The Young)
07. Mutant Beach Theme (Ancient Crux)
08. In Here The World Begins (Broadcast)
09. Cementerio (Los Saicos)
10. Lightening Strikes (Chuck Persons)
11. Eclipse of the Moon (Tony, Caro, and John)
12. Couch ft Ace Creator (Earl Sweatshirt)
13. Where You From (The Samps)
14. In The Garden of the Pharoahs (Wet Hair)
15. IxX999 (White Ring)
16. Love in Outer Space (Sun Ra)
17. End Times (Weekend)

MDtape 01 by Machine Dream

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

News :: Third Eye Laser Surgery :: Reading Rainbow/Coasting

5037 Connecticut Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C.

There's a show tonight featuring two promising new bands. Reading Rainbow's new LP just arrived in the mail yesterday along with a four other Hozac 7 inches (which I'll try to get around to reviewing soon).  First things first, though: I've gotta unpack my turntable at my new place. Shit's going to be waking up the new neighbors. Reading Rainbow reels out the pop tunes--they're pretty much the polar opposite of fellow Philly act, Purling Hiss.

If you're looking for something to buy at the record stores this week, see if you can pick up the new 7" split with RR and Coasting out now on Atelier Ciseaux. And if you haven't been to a show yet at Comet--which has quickly become my favorite DC venue--make sure you check out their lineup. The calendar is sparse, but it's updated regularly.

$10 cover
all ages

Coasting :: Kids

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Video :: Remote Viewing :: Shabazz Palaces

"Belhaven Meridian"
Shabazz Palaces

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review :: Paleoacoustics :: Sven Libaek

Sven Libaek
Inner Space
Trunk Records

I love the 1987 sci-fi-rom-coming-of-age classic film Innerspace, starring Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan
. Especially the part when Martin Short makes out with Meg Ryan and the tiny Dennis Quaid jets himself in his little circulatory buggy from one open mouth to the next like some mechanical STD. To this day, when I make out with a girl I imagine tiny little spaceships are trafficking through our passion. Which means I've imagined it exactly one time.

Unfortunately, this post has nothing to do with that movie, but a record of the same name that I picked up a while back at Academy Records in Brooklyn. This was a pure impulse buy... the one that I casually place under my arm to make myself feel better about approaching a record clerk. Needless to say, I had no fucking clue who Sven Libaek was, nor the $20 to walk out with it. Fortunately, some Brooklyn record clerks have compassion, and he took my $15 and let me go. I've been thanking him ever since. Inner Space has become, without a doubt, one of the most-spun records in my collection. I want vibraphones on everything I hear. If the District replaced every brick in this city with perfectly-pitched wood blocks and forced every resident to attach mallets on the soles of their shoes, I would cease to look for cheaper rent in Baltimore.

Hats off to Trunk Records for providing thorough background info as well. This collection (subtitled The Lost Film Music of Sven Libaek) compiles music from four films (one drama, three documentaries) composed by Libaek during his time in Australia from 1965 to 1974. It's fitting that two of the documentaries are water-themed... the aforementioned vibraphone drips and ripples throughout, while wah-ed guitars bob along the current. I strongly recommend checking out the Trunk website, not only for their fixation on topless women, but also for the catalog, especially The Wicker Man soundtrack.

Sven Libaek :: Dark World

Friday, December 10, 2010

Video :: Twelve Dark Noons

Twelve Dark Noons (Teaser)
Future Primitive Films
Sacred Bones

I have no idea what this is or will turn out to be. But it looks fucking awesome. That's all it takes these days. Maybe it's the picture quality... start feeding film through a Super 8, point the camera at water dripping from a faucet and I'll watch until the entire planet collapses into a sinkhole. Maybe it's the editing... the slow-then-fast zooms remind me of 1970 Czech cult classic Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, a personal favorite. Maybe it's the associated sound-collage... from what I understand, Aussie psych band and Sacred Bones associates Naked on the Vague has provided an appropriate sonic ritual to accompany the proceedings.

Maybe it's none of these things. Maybe it looks fucking awesome because, within a brief 30 seconds, I feel sunburned, late, panicked, and afraid of women, exactly in that order. I'm glad someone else takes the term "psychedelic" to mean the same thing, and equally happy to promote the associated Kickstarter page dedicated to raising funds to accomplish the film. Though, by this posting, I'm approximately $1,346 too late. Late, as in the psychedelic sense.

Much, much more info here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Reviews :: Psychotronic Wiretap :: Anika

Any news of Geoff Barrow dabbling in new projects brings to mind what he's not doing with Portishead, but it also forces me to dig out my Silver Apples LPs to get back on his wavelength. Which is by no means a chore. That floating, droning, buzzing and generally busted vibe found its way all over Barrow's recent Beak> debut (not to mention Portishead's mega-gestated Third), so it's not entirely surprising to hear it resurface on his newest adventure.

Political journalist-turned-avant chanteuse Anika met Barrow while living between Bristol and Berlin. It's tough to determine how much of Anika's self-titled debut (out this week on Stones Throw) is actually hers and how much is a Beak> record fronted by a female vocalist. Either way, the results make me want to pump my fist for the revolution while coolly reclined in my comfy swivel-chair. Anika is a call to arms by a legion of spaced-out record geeks. And that's precisely why I'm able to get on board. Much better than watching Monday Night Football.

Anika :: Yang Yang

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reviews :: Armchair Telepathy :: Wild Nothing

Wild Nothing
Golden Haze
Captured Tracks

12" EP 

It can't just be some strange coincidence that the lead-off track on the Golden Haze EP (the title track in this case) shares a common fade-in technique as the first cut on its immediate predecessor in the Wild Nothing catalogue, Gemini. There are very few records in my collection that use a fade-in as the first track. While I hope they don't spoil it by repeating that choice again, it works to great effect as an introduction to this rapidly successful Virginia band. Think "Hand in Glove" from The Smiths' 1984 Hatful of Hollow fade-in. "Golden Haze" isn't a performance as much as it's a sneak peak into a band not playing for anyone but themselves. And that's not to say they're selfish. Jack Tatum and company give us an appropriate sequel to the smeared nostalgia of Gemini, full of twilight guitar and synth-lines that seem to wobble on a saw blade above the hypnotic beat. These songs casually drift in one ear and, upon some chemical process (which I attribute to a cocktail of freezing weather, childhood nostalgia, and, yes, alcohol) can't be bothered to leave the other.

It's cold as an unloving mother outside, and here's a song about it that's not really about either.

We caught Wild Nothing playing DC9 back in June(ish), performing for a small crowd and sounding much richer with a full band. Then they came back a short time ago, opening for Stars at 9:30 Club, but we skipped that shit, because we can't get it up for Stars. Now they're scheduled for a not-to-be-missed show at Rock and Roll Hotel with Abe Vigoda opening, flipping calendar, on Feb. 12. And it will probably still be as cold out as a handshake with your enemy.

Wild Nothing :: Golden Haze

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

News :: Upcoming Releases :: December

Artist :: Album :: Label :: Format

Bardo Pond :: S/T :: Fire :: LP
Pains of Being Pure at Heart :: Heart in Your Heartbreak :: Slumberland :: 7"

Celebration :: Hello Paradise :: Friends Records :: LP
Air Waves :: Dungeon Dots :: Underwater Peoples :: LP

Jeans Wilder :: Nice Trash :: Atelier Ciseaux/La Station Radar :: LP
Reading Rainbow/Coastings :: untitled :: Atelier Ciseaux :: split 7"

Unknown Mortal Orchestra :: The Sounds of Sweet Nothing :: 7"

Lower Dens :: Batman :: Gnomonsong :: 7"

Ride :: Nowhere :: Rhino :: Vinyl Reissue

face it: december's a slow month
we'll update this post as new information comes in
and after we figure out how to fit one cat inside of another cat and have them both continue to breathe

Monday, December 6, 2010

Video :: Remote Viewing :: Cheveu

"Quattro Stagioni"
Kill Shaman Records

Cheveu is finally putting out some new material next month courtesy of Kill Shaman. This shit was overdue starting as soon as the final track closed on their self-titled debut. For a pack of Frenchman, Cheveu crank out a beautifully crass version of budget rock that's unafraid to be masculine. If the video feels like it's got a Jarmusch, senseless-but-cool thing going on, that's because it features some of the cast and crew (along with a couple edited clips) from the film "Robert Mitchum is Dead," which rolled out at Cannes this year. The title of the movie alone is enough to get me out to see it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review :: Armchair Telepathy :: Catwalk

(Please) Don't Break Me
b/w "No Room for Love"
Captured Tracks

 Here's an easy-going pop band with a 60s sound you could introduce to mom and dad sometime, maybe bring 'em over for Sunday supper. Catwalk hails from Oxnard, California (which doesn't mean shit to me), but they sound like they could be playing a back room in Liverpool. They keep the bassline and drumbeat as sweet and simple as their sentiment. And for those of you who like tambourine, this track has plenty of that sweet ass tambourine to spare. This is where the band really gets gritty. They turn the tambourine out like a budget prostitute, walk it around the JC Penney's parking lot so the johns can peek at some leg, and drop it back in the passenger seat of the Firebird for the ride home. And just when you expect them to peel out, spin those sweet radials, instead they flip on their blinker and merge carefully with the traffic.

//This is not metaphor. I plan to pay Catwalk's tambourine for sex.

They've got one more EP scheduled for February before Captured Tracks releases their debut LP in the spring. Buy them as they're released right over here.

Catwalk :: Please Don't Break Me

Thursday, December 2, 2010

News :: Our Machine Watches Your Machine :: MBV

I'm phoning this shit in. My mind was wiped today and now, because it's ringing in my head, I'm going to intentionally misspell the word for a big building full of books: libary. I sat in a chair all day while beams of light were projected at my cerebral cortex. Faceless voices kept mumbling rumors of my inadequacies. And now there's not enough beer in the house to get me drunk. So here's a preview of an EP coming out this month from the UK label, The Sounds of Sweet Nothing. Mucho grasshats, MBV, for the heads up. Right now my favorite track from this guy is "Nerve Damage," which you can hear over at the label's band camp page along with a few other sweet, hot shots of nothing. 

I need a few hours in the sensory deprivation tube, the sleep suck chamber, the babyhead coffin with the motherfuck lid.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra :: Thought Ballune

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

News :: Upcoming Shows :: December

12/2: Killing Joke @ Black Cat

12/3: Walkmen/Tennis @ 9:30

12/4: The Antlers @ Black Cat
         Warpaint @ Rock and Roll Hotel

12/7: Jeff Tweedy @ Lincoln Theater
         Diamond Rings @ Red Palace

12/11: Government Issue @ Black Cat

12/15: The Young @ Golden West (Baltimore)
           Reading Rainbow/Coastings @ Comet

12/16: Ex-Humans/The Shirks @ Comet