Friday, April 22, 2011

Review :: Armchair Telepathy :: Naked on the Vague

Naked on the Vague :: Twelve Dark Noons EP :: Sacred Bones :: Released March 29

I set out on a reconnaissance mission the other day, rescuing beaten and hogtied slabs of vinyl that might otherwise have fallen into the crippled hands of a nonbeliever. I ducked into Smash and picked up some Neil Young and Magazine records, but decided to leave behind nine copies of the same Municipal Waste album.
I passed by Crooked Beat, having had enough déjà vu for the week. Red Onion was tranquil as ever - I picked up some sounds from the Austrian woodlands, then relieved the pressure in my head by drilling a Sacred Bones-sized hole in my skull. We mentioned this release and the film of the same name back in December. The teaser gave little indication as to what the soundtrack would do to my ears, but that's why it's called a teaser. I haven't really grown up from being the butt-end of ridicule on the 4th grade four square court. Naked on the Vague knows this, told me I looked exquisitely handsome and that I must come from a wealthy family, and then pummeled me with brutal sonic vulgarities. And the sick part is that I hide the tears, put a smile on my face and continue following them.

Naked on the Vague are contributing to the legion of Australian psych bands currently turning the Outback into an obliterated wasteland. "Dracula fronting the B-52s" as male-lead Matthew Hopkins put it, and he really couldn't be more spot on. But, to be clear, Hopkins has apparently been at the necks of every other member of the band, and they're all in a gothic lock-groove throughout the EP. Like a functioning nuclear vampire family that hasn't grown tired of eachother after 400 years. Or maybe the lack of a life force negates the need for cooperation?

The Twelve Dark Noons film premiered last night in NYC, with a special performance by NOTV. Check out the music video for EP cut "Clock of 12s" below:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

News :: Sometimes We're Allowed Outdoors :: Crystal Stilts

Crystal Stilts/German Measles
Black Cat Backstage
1811 14th Street NW, Washington, DC
Friday, April 22, 2011

Crystal Stilts :: Shackles

They should be bigger than this, but then it's not the first act we've caught at the Black Cat's back stage in the past few months where we had the same thought. They should be on the mainstage: Mike Watt, Kurt Vile, Twin Shadow. Hell, with as much buzz as these guys get, and with the way they back it up, they should be selling out two nights wherever they want in town.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, tevs, what the fuck. Crystal Stilts are going to be shitting little psychedelic bricks all over the stage, and I'll be one of like 15 people to be there to smell them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Video :: Remote Viewing :: Grouper

"Alien Observer"
A.I.A. : Alien Observer (short LP)

Just in case you're in the mood for something atmospheric, or alternatively, if you thought the L Word could have used a little more black blood of the earth.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

News :: Record Store Day 2011

I think we can all agree Record Store Day has gotten a little out of hand. I'm a much bigger fan of record store day, the one where I roll out of bed every Tuesday, grab a coffee and a fresh Choco Pie, check my funds with the robotic teller, and determine how many records I can afford while still adhering to my phantom alcohol budget. You know that one. But, if the Upper-Case Annual Big Deal keeps the economy spinning during the holiday-starved month of April, so be it. Where's my Hallmark card for Record Store Day - one that spells out all the sweet nothings for me.

To make it all nice n' sleazy for you, the fine folk(s) over at Red Onion Records & Books have compiled their personal list of special releases for today, most of which will sit on the shelves for about 30 seconds before appearing on eBay for $500. But, some of these titles kick ass, so you won't want to sleep in. Grab your umbrella and your most fashionable pair of galoshes, and get in line by 11am. Doors open at noon.

The List:

  • Glenn Jones/Black Twig Pickers: Even to Win is to Fail/Mont Syrup LP
  • Mitchell and Manley: Norcal Values LP
  • Oval/Liturgy: Split LP
  • Big Star: Third LP (test pressing version)
  • Superchunk/Coliseum: split 7"
  • Vivian Girls: I Heard You Say 7"
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers/Ramones 7"
  • New Pornographers: Moves 7"
  • Kings of Leon: Holy Roller Novacaine 10"
  • Polvo: Celebrate the New Dark Age LP
  • Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin: Broom LP
  • Various Artists: Franz Ferdinand Covers 12"
  • Yeasayer: End Blood 7"
  • Pressed At Boddie (Numero Records compilation on LP)
  • Flaming Lips: Heady Nuggs 5LP box set
  • Phish: Two Soundchecks 7"
  • Built to Spill: Ripple picture disc 7"
  • Black Angels: Another Nice Pair LP
  • Deerhunter: Memory Boy 7"
  • Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues 12"
  • Fucked Up: The Town LP
  • Lower Dens: Deer Knives 7"
  • Panda Bear: Tomboy LP & t-shirt
  • Blitzen Trapper: Maybe Baby 7"
  • Quicksand: self-titled 7"
  • Burn: self-titled 7"
  • Youth of Today: self-titled 7"
  • Elliot: U.S. Songs LP
  • Black Market Baby: Potential Suicide 7"
  • Decemberists: Live at Bull Moose CD
  • AC/DC: Shoot to Thrill 7"
  • Adele: Rolling in the Deep 10"
  • Sonic Youth: Whore's Moaning 12"
  • Bruce Springsteen: Gotta Get the Feeling 7"
  • Various Artists: Follow Me Down - Vanguard's Lost Psychedelic Era 2LP
  • Television: Live at the Old Waldorf 2LP
  • Beach Boys: Good Vibrations 78
  • Deftones: Covers LP
  • Jimmy Eat World: Bleed American 3LP
  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: self-titled LP
  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: You're Gonna Get It LP
  • Caribou: Swim Remixes 12"
  • Country Joe & The Fish: Electric Music for the Mind and Body LP
  • Death Cab For Cutie: In Living Stereo 7"
  • Deerhoof: Friend Opportunity LP
  • Dom: Things Change 10"
  • Foo Fighters: Medium Rare LP
  • Grateful Dead: self-titled mono LP
  • Grinderman: Evil 12"
  • Grinderman: Palaces of Montezuma 12"
  • Jimi Hendrix: Fire 7"
  • Justin Townes Earle: Move Over Mama 7"
  • Mississippi John Hurt: The Immortal LP
  • Owen: O, Evelyn 7"
  • Piebald: Volume I-III 3LP
  • Skip James: Today LP
  • Syd Barrett: An Introduction to... LP
  • The Doors: Riders on the Storm 7"
  • Various Artists: Portable Shrines Magic Sound Theater 2LP
  • Antony & the Johnsons: Swanlights 10"
  • Architecture in Helsinki: Places Like This LP
  • Arthur Russell: World of Echo 2LP
  • Joan Of Arc: Don't Mind Control LP
  • Damien Jurado: Live at Landlocked LP
  • Queen: Keep Yourself Aive 7"
  • Wild Flag: Future Crimes 7"
  • Jimmy Eat World: Bleed American 3LP
  • Kill Rock Stars LP
  • John Fahey: Requia LP
There's a shit-ton more titles available at nearby shops like Crooked Beat, Smash, and Som Records, but my eyes are actually dripping thick, viscous, hot red sap from staring at lists in Excel format. Read the full official list here, if you think pain makes you a stronger human being. I'm a simple man, and can appreciate minimal options.

Who knew Choco Pies were made from natural Chinese pig poo?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reviews:: Electronic Voice Phenomena :: Triptides

I want you to know that I hate wintertime. Wesley Willis would say, "Fuck uh snow flake in dee ass." And I know just how he feels, because he's not just talking about snowflakes, he's really talking about man's inhumanity towards man made somehow worse by nature's inhuman unnaturality towards man.

Yuh dig?

But then every now and again some kind of good can come from entire cities boarding up for the zombie-er months of the year: first off, there's less meatheads running around, chasing skirt in Adams Morgan and Georgetown, then there's the occasional plainclothes Dirty Harry drawing down on snowball tossers (those hippies), reminding us all why it's good to make sure cops get their Xmas bonuses, and, finally, a few talented and very fucking bored individuals sit down and record some totally sweet sounds. And when spring unfolds its splendor, unfouls its lines, and dumps it shitty rain on us, we can stay inside and give those songs a listen. We can think about the sun-baked beaches where we'd rather be.

Triptides take me there.

Out in the winter wasteland of Bloomington, IN (go fig), these dudes put down one, two, three, no wait, four tracks of the smoothest possible surf pop instead of going outside and facing certain death. The arrangements here are so goddamn natural, you'd swear you wrote them yourself. I'm listening to them now with the last of my bourbon balanced on my chest, and I'm pretty damn sure I'm not awake because I keep falling for the charms of a winking crab, gesturing for me to lie down, take a load off on his stretched out towel. There's no where to go, and no where to be, anyway. So just embrace the sandy tranquility offered by the Maryland Blue with the caviar eyeballs and the simpleton grin. What say you, Triptides: Now that we're looking summer straight in the mean-eyed face, how about you get out and take a trip down the coast?

Must be some kind of record since this is the second Indiana band to be mentioned here this week. Should I be getting paid for this? Nah, I don't have to be here. I could be in Florida, basking in the sun. This is just a hobby for me, yuh hear? A HOBBY!

Ripped from their Bandcamp page:
Glenn Brigman - vox/guitar/drums/keys
Josh Menashe - vox/bass/guitar

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Review :: Psychotronic Wiretap :: Craft Spells

Craft Spells
Idle Labor
Captured Tracks

Craft Spells :: After the Moment

Spring's in the air and pretty soon it'll be time for a bunch of navel-gazing kids to rent their tuxes, hire a limo, and convince the toothless dude on the curb at Snappy Mart to buy half a dozen bottles of the Boone's. But, wait, you don't need the sweet, sweet shitty taste of Strawberry Hill to make you feel like you belong, little man. Got some prom rock right here for you. Bonus: it won't puke on the pool table or knock you up the week after you get your admission letter. Just don't stare at the album cover for too long.

Idle Labor is diced, strained and canned nostalgia, sure, and I like it. Who needs drums when you've got a drum machine? And who needs actual memories from high school when you can just buy Idle Labor?  Vallesteros will hold your hair back, rock you gently to sleep, and not even muss that Country Kwencher stache you've been working on. Remember: it's just a different, far less satisfying brand of manhood you've attained there.

Like Wild Nothing and Washed Out before them, this Stockton, CA band seems to lurk in the same morose, wall-papered attic world with only a laptop and a stack of Thoreau novels to keep them from going all Emily Dickinson on the neighborhood cats. In case you slept through American Lit: Emily Dickinson didn't do anything to cats.  Led by singer/guitarist Justin Vallesteros, Craft Spells are out on the road now, and they're sure to be hitting mixtapes nation-wide by summertime.

When you finally check the Rock and Roll Hotel's page to figure out that a venue smaller than the backseat of your girlfriend's Prius managed to pack the house for Toro y Moi/Adventure, crack open a High Life or stub out a smoke on your arm, whichever one helps you feel like an achiever, then roll downhill to DC9 for the doubleheader: Craft Spells open and label mates Beach Fossils close.

Hear/here most of the brand new album at this blue/then gray word. Now I just can't wait to hear their G.G. Allin cover.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Video :: Remote Viewing :: Julianna Barwick

Julianna Barwick
"The Magic Place"
The Magic Place


For me, the loop-heavy veneration perfected here is what the lesser, more frustrated lads in Animal Collective could have accomplished had they not been too preoccupied with The Jungle Book.

Congratulations, Julianna Barwick, for actually making me feel something both weightless and profoundly sexual - in other words - music.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Review :: Armchair Telepathy :: Apache Dropout

Apache Dropout
Family Vineyard Records

Apache Dropout :: It's a Nightmare
Apache Dropout :: Sam Phillips Rising

I'm supposed to say that the Nava-joe Deadbeats are a gravelly, neo-psych garage outfit with a lot in common with someone else from the same sub-Great Lakes dead zone, only nuanced or hyperbolized in some way that's not really worth stopping to consider.  The Arapaho Louts got the Motor City scene by the balls, crippling the Stax-style sounds they rode in on, onomatopoeically drawing life and fire from their instruments.

Just eat the words and move down the buffet line.

Instead I'll say something equally meaningless: these pigeon shit mongers buzz, hum, and click just like they're supposed tuh. Got some organish happenins, some samples of other people's voices to make you feel a little more likely to let these strangers into your homes. There's some wailing here, some stomping about, some sense of plucking or strumming. The sneaky natives put a thing in my head, a whirring device, much like a 2-barrel carburetor with the same pipe fittings and welds. It thrombs loudly in my ears when I swing from the ceiling fan. Bitter maidens dump their buckets of milk and come on out to the fields where the tribal bird-callers wait, hand to mouth, flapping the loose air expelled from their lungs, manipulating the flow to imitate water over pebbles. Riverbed. Bedrock. Asphalt. Gravel. Warbling pigeon shit punk rock.

Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be talking about the band. Instead I tug at words. Fuh-fuh-fuck that.

You can actually get your slippery hands on the entire A-side of the new album over at Apache Dropout's Bandcamp page.  Makes you wonder why it's even worth going to work to make money anymore. As drafty as the Midwest plains they strike out from, this Indiana band ride into town to play Comet Ping Pong on 5/7. That's the first Saturday in May for those of you who don't savvy numbers and symbols suh-suh-so well. Stop staring and mop it up, my man.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review :: Paleoacoustics :: The Chills

The Chills
Heavenly Pop Hits
Flying Nun

I belong to four
mix CD clubs. I don't recognize 95% of the names that appear on the bubble-protected return address. Sometimes the senders will include tracklists, sometimes not. Sometimes they enclose their deepest sentiments about the month in which their soul-defying mix was crafted, sometimes not. Sometimes I actually listen to their ego-enforcing mix, but usually I don't. That's because I'm an asshole, and my iTunes battleship will sink yours any day, without even looking over the lame-ass barrier that barely obscures your fleet of New Order b-sides -- which I love, and could be the downfall of my belligerent confidence. I'm a softy, see. That's why I write this blog.

The upside of being on the receiving end of so many personalized musical shrines is that, every so often, it just clicks. Consider this: to be a part of a snail-mail mix CD club is to participate in the flesh and blood of what a music blog strives to be, but so often falls flat in achieving -- at least these people have the fucking balls to show up at my front door and make their demons known. There's no waiting for the page to refresh, or for the stream to load, or for the application to mount, or for me to sit here and give a shit. Their carefully-positioned tastes invade my home and I have to find a way to deal with them, on an individual basis.

Somehow this entire Chills album showed up on the floor of my foyer, just below the mail drop (sorry DC friends -- none of you). These songs not only reaffirm my fervor for Flying Nun; they forgive me my melodic sins, and make the case for forgoing a mix CD and just sending a fully-formed, ready-made album. Why not? This one also acts as a mix CD of sorts, compiling about a decade's worth of singles and album cuts firmly rooted in the instantly-catchy yet wholly-original songwriting of the New Zealand indie scene. The songs roll along in a range of styles that never drift too far from the sort of psych that could only come from being outnumbered by goats 2-to-1 every waking day. The Chills haven't received the credit they deserve, probably because it's not actually a band so to speak (over 20 line-up changes with songwriter Martin Phillips as the only constant), but this compilation serves as a required piece in the labyrinthine Dunedin Sound.

The Chills :: Kaleidoscope World

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Review :: Armchair Telepathy :: Toro y Moi/Cloud Nothings

Toro y Moi/Cloud Nothings
"I Will Talk To You" b/w "For No Reason"
Carpark Records

Quick on the heels of both acts' recent long-players, Carpark bundles Toro y Moi's Chaz Bundick and Cloud Nothing's Dylan Baldi for a double-header. Musically speaking, of course... though I'd love to see those two cuddlebugs together in swaddling clothes. It's a smart choice though, with both sides pleasing my attention-depleted mind.

Bundick further distances himself from his chill contemporaries here; in fact, he may be pioneering a new subgenre I'll coin at this particular moment as lukewarmwave. There it is, I said it, and it will be completely out of fashion by next week, replaced by heatwave or maybe blazewave even. For the time being, his contribution to this split could be the soundtrack to an alternate Bond universe where international espionage is replaced by the much more tangible enemy of hipster nonchalance, and that is grounds for a gripping screenplay.

Dylan Baldi's guitar tone is the star of this split, sounding like my rainbow-striped sweater if it could shred. Warm and colorful, a little scratchy and not washed, ever. It smells like shit, but I wear it almost every day. You get the picture. The guitar tone is matched with a caffeinated vocal that's trapped in a radiator and drums that sound like empty beer cans in a trash compactor. It all makes for a damn hummable tune.

Carpark came up roses with this one. Fortunately, both acts are visiting DC in April. Unfortunately, this one isn't a bundle.
Cloud Nothings at DC9 4/11 and Toro y Moi at RnR Hotel 4/14. Don't miss em.

Cloud Nothings :: For No Reason

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

News :: Upcoming Releases :: April

 Record Store Day's this month and there's a lot of hotly anticipated, sweet shit rolling downhill. Hot, sweet shit sliding down the grassy slope headed straight for your eager, virgin ear drums. 

Bill Callahan :: Apocalypse :: Drag City :: LP

Bass Drum of Death :: GB City :: Fat Possum :: LP
Crystal Stilts :: In Love with Oblivion :: Slumberland :: LP
Dirty Beaches :: True Blue :: Zoo City :: 7"
Ty Segall :: Ty Rex :: Goner :: LP
Mazes :: A Thousand Heys :: Fatcat :: LP
Sonny and the Sunsets :: Hit After Hit :: Fat Possum :: LP
Vivian Girls :: Share the Joy :: Polyvinyl :: LP

4/16 :: Record Store Day
Wild Nothing/Beach Fossils :: A Tribute to the Wake :: Captured Tracks :: 7"
The Black Angels :: Another Nice Pair and Phosgene Dream ::  Light in the Attic :: remixed singles
Fucked Up :: David's Town :: Matador :: LP
Grinderman :: Palaces of Montezuma and Evil :: Anti :: remixed singles
And a shit ton more that I didn't want to bother listing here. 

tUnE-yArDs :: w h o k i l l :: 4AD :: LP
James Pants :: James Pants :: Stones Throw :: LP

Blank Dogs :: Collected by Itself: 2006 - 2009 :: Captured Tracks :: 2xLP
Led Er Est :: May :: Captured Tracks :: EP

Julian Lynch :: Terra :: Underwater Peoples :: LP
Girls Names :: Dead to Me :: Slumberland :: LP
Cass McCombs :: Wit's End :: Domino :: LP
Fresh and Onlys :: Secret Walls :: Sacred Bones :: EP

Monday, April 4, 2011

Video :: Remote Viewing :: Xander Harris

Xander Harris
"Tanned Skin Dress"
Urban Gothic

Finally, when I thought my fantasies were too twisted for public consumption, somebody comes along and mainstreams the most fringe sectors of my imagination. I feel completely absorbed by normality, human, oneness with.  This giallo inspired video ties hipster stereotypes to a stake and releases a knife-wielding stalker from its pen at the edge of the forest.

I should say that I'm drinking a new tequila right now, El Ultimo Agave, which I was persuaded by the clerk (?) at Metro Wine & Liquors to buy over the Cuervo Especial Silver, not because it's better but because "it costs three dollars more." So my bloodstream's full of unicorns battling kittens for dominance of teardrop island.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Features :: Black Angels/Suuns (9:30 Club) :: Ticket Giveaway

You could view Austin-based Black Angels in a couple of ways: as a groove-heavy version of college rock that collectively bought a copy of VU's White Light/White Heat at Urban Outfitters, or as a generous merchant of the murky depths of a much more frightening and toxic pool we'll refer to very loosely here as neo-psych. A marriage of those two perspectives is probably more on the money: here you've got a band that simultaneously shines a light on the monoliths of yesterdays psych heroes while still appealing to the masses. And there is absolutely no harm in that. The Black Angels are smart enough (and tasteful enough) to understand their place in this lineage, as privileged torch-bearers holding your hand as they lead you into the emptiness. I see tomorrow night's show at the 9:30 Club as a sort of recruitment campaign. The Black Angels cordially invite you, with open arms, to finally let go of your dance-pop records and never look back. It's tough, I know... but the grass is always greener, or in this case, scorched and more the color of raw umber.

The Black Angels are killing it in a few weeks with the 4th annual Psych Fest in Austin. These guys are pulling together some great sounds as they curate and taste-make the best three day line-up we've seen at a music festival in years: Lumerians, Beach Fossils, Crystal Stilts, No Joy, Fresh and Onlys, Crocodiles, Bass Drum of Fucking Death. Shitting yourself yet?

Now for the main event: we've got one ticket to the show tomorrow night that we're giving away for free - or, as Dorothy Moskowitz sang in 1968: "the price of one admission is your mind." Just say something, anything, in this here comments section, and the ticket is potentially yours, if we like the way you say "please." Or, hell, if you like rules, then answer this one, smartass: who really shot JFK? You out the assassin, and we'll either send you to a show or put one to the back of your head. Fair is fair.

(We probably shouldn't have to say it, but leave us some way to get in touch with you in your post if you want to be able to claim the ticket: facebook link, twitter account, whatever floats your 21st century ego.)

WINNERS CHOSEN BY NOON TOMORROW, or really whenever I can wake up and peel my face off the lime and tequila-stained cutting board on my coffee table.

And you'd be a fool to miss out on opener Suuns, especially if you missed Clinic last year (watch/agree below).

Friday, April 1, 2011

Review :: Armchair Telepathy :: Dam Mantle

Dam Mantle
Purple Arrow EP
Wichita Recordings

This electronic noise artist's experiments make me want to feed legos to my cat--wait for it--digitally. How's that even possible, you ask? Eat a lego and find out for yourself, motherfucker, cause you ain't getting your hands on my cat.  Dam Mantle's at its best when it's channeling Nintendo games, bearing more than a striking resemblance to Baltimore's Adventure, whose last record I remember waking up to in the middle of a listen cradling the break-slackened neck of a ninja slash home invader in my arms.

Tom Marshallsay's Dam Mantle project just released the Purple Arrow EP on Wichita Recordings this month, which includes a few tracks in support of his long-player, First Wave, from the same label. And he'll be at the Red Palace tonight with Gold Panda, a great match from a booker's perspective.

Judging from the Red Palace's website and various posters around town, they're expecting some dude named Dan Mantle to show up. Maybe he'll tell a few jokes, pull a post-grunge acoustic act out of his ass, shouting lyrics about how bad it felt to have his girlfriend leave him for some guy who has a job. But the the real Marshallsay's as Glaswegian as they come. He's as Glaswegian as a wedge salad. He's probably going to wear a fur-lined hoodie, hit play on his laptop, and sit back sipping on the Smirnoff. Wut.

Dam Mantle :: Theatre

News :: Upcoming Shows :: April


4/1: Pains of Being Pure at Heart/Twin Shadow @ Black Cat

4/2: Warpaint @ Black Cat

4/3: Black Angels/Suuns @ 9:30 Club

4/5: Destroyer/War on Drugs @ Black Cat
       Bare Wires @ Comet Ping Pong

4/7: Wire/Weekend @ Black Cat

4/8: Black Lips/Vivian Girls @ Black Cat

4/11: Cloud Nothings @ DC9

4/12: Greenhornes @ Rock and Roll Hotel

4/14: Beach Fossils/Craft Spells @ DC9
         Toro y Moi/Adventure @ Rock and Roll Hotel

4/17: Sharon Van Etten @ Red Palace
         K-Holes (Hozac)/Heavy Breathing (ex-Apes) @ Comet Ping Pong

4/19: Mogwai @ 9:30 Club

4/24: Davila 666/Bass Drum of Death @ Black Cat

4/25: Fresh and Onlys/Crocodiles/Young Prisms @ Red Palace

4/26: Zola Jesus/Naked on the Vague @ Red Palace

4/27: Titus Andronicus/Double Dagger @ Black Cat