Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review :: The KVB :: Subjection/Subordination

From the UK's Clan Destine Records comes a new tape release for the KVB. Short for Klaus von Barrel. As in barrel of whiskey, double-barrel shotgun, barrel over the falls.

On first listen you're going to pigeonhole this band all wrong. Pu-pu-puh-please let me tell you about your mistake. First thing's first: you gotta dig into the psych, man. Don't think of it as black nail polish disco. Consider the drums, the photon blasting synth sound. This is speed metal for the toxic waste crowd, sludgecore for treadmills. Songs like "Burning World" and "Slow Death" owe more to Wooden Shjips than they do to, I don't know, pick some band that looks like the Cure but sounds like Men at Work. Klaus brings the burning grooves the way that soothes that itch. The one where you find yourself at work and you just gotta jump outta yer skin if you don't shadowbox your way to the greatest fire-able offense story the water cooler ever told. About to freakout, my man? Slut up to the Klaus. You know you like to wear your pants tight for a reason, am I right?

You want my opinion? I say these guys belong on Thrill Jockey if they come stateside (aka the correct side). Which isn't to say that Clan Destine hasn't done right by these guys. The label that's also a second home to Ela Orleans is one to watch with your ears open wide enough to see your brain.

So, yeah, bandcamp's been treating us well these days. Too bad you can't buy a shot and a beer for a computer. The tape's limited to 100 copies cause that's how you keep em begging for more. And good luck converting the change in your pocket into pounds if you want to pick up a copy. Guess you gotta better chance of making your cursor click play down below for all of zero dollars.

I wish I had the right setup to be able to slow these tracks down to a gurgle. Is it possible to improve your listening experience by sprawling limp on the floor and groaning? Cause I'm giving it a try. Gotta swutt it out. Swutt! Spelled with two t's cause that's what's upp.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

News :: Crystal Stilts :: Radiant Door

Well, tickle my giblets and call me Butterball, it looks like Crystal Stilts are letting a little light into their rooms. The crumpled-up Twister mat above is the new digs for the Brooklyn psychmongers, who've apparently discovered color and displayed it for us in neat little circles. Gaze into them, lick them. The second one from the left tastes like a hybrid of cranberry sauce and blood. It's five songs short, it's called Radiant Door, and Sacred Bones will have it just in time for the locked-bedroom refuge some people call Thanksgiving. I'd tell you the necessity of playing it at full volume, but you already knew that.

Crystal Stilts :: Dark Eyes

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Video :: X-Ray Eyeballs :: Deja Vu

Well, The Walking Dead is finally back on television, but already I can safely say I much prefer these girl(and guy)s' version of the zombpocalypse. What I really want in my zombie dramas are the banal details of a zombie's quieter moments - gnawing on deer carcases, tripping over tombstones, hanging out with other zombies, moaning out of sheer boredom. Something I can really relate to.

Xray Eyeballs - Deja Vu

This track is the b-side from their recent 7" on Hardly Art. Brains.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Review :: Roedelius :: Velvet Lounge 10.12.11

I've attended so many damn shows over the past several weeks that live music has become some sort of gross ritual, separate venues have bled into one sticky auditory sex club that I cannot pull myself together enough to keep out of. From flute-driven quivercore at DC9, protest singers in Baltimore, cavernous freakouts at Subterranean A, to John Maus in the fucking wilderness, I've had to pawn my roommate's electric razor and dumpster dive from my own employer to continue the habit. But, I'm not complaining; within this recent fertile patch of performances, I had the genuinely unique opportunity to witness Hans-Joachim Roedelius lay down some piano meditations on the incredibly unlikely stage of The Velvet Lounge. We've discussed Mr. Roedelius before, upon the reissue of his Self Portrait series, so no need to dive into his patent-pending invention of ambient music and his generous permission for others to call it their own. The real epiphany is that I thought this man was flat-out dead. Kicked the binary bucket. Bought the frequency farm. Gone to wherever synth-lords go to meet their monophonic maker. Nope, the geriatric German drone-generator is definitely alive, and he owns an iPhone. He sat on a cold cinder block for 45 languid minutes and busted out the dopest piano sonatas this side of the Rhine. Admittedly different from what I expected (exposed brain floating in a glass pod overseeing the proper integration of six patch bays being supported by nothing but mindpower), it became clear to me over the course of the brief set that Roedelius' musical signature remains completely intact. The heavily-treated oscillations may be absent, and the Moebius-supported space-drift of their Cluster collaboration is a thing of the past. But the heart of Roedelius' work was and remains to be a tribute to the pastoral quality of nature. All evidence suggests that he's no more than a fantastic space hippie with an effortlessly mature sense of melody. What we saw on this particular evening was a man at a piano, doing what he's always done, and with a gracefulness that could only come from knowingly handing off the reigns.

Don't watch the video below unless you want to fully absorb what I mean by "handing off the reigns."

Hans-Joachim Roedelius mit Albin Paulus und Stefan Steiner - Lunz/See 2010

Monday, October 17, 2011

Video :: Dirty Beaches :: Lone Runner

The director, Kevin Luna, has produced one of the most compelling narratives of any music video so far this year, a perfect match for Dirty Beaches, one of the most engaging performers currently touring.  This video may be the first time I've been so keenly aware as my voyeurism developed into self-hatred that tapered finally into an apparently unanswerable moral ambiguity, umm...more or less like drinking alone at a children's toy store during the Friday night closing shift.

Alex Hungtai is currently on tour in Europe--great job if you can get it--and you can track his progress over on his blog. His new 7" (b/w Electric Chair) is out tomorrow on Suicide Squeeze.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review :: Tunnels :: The Blackout

Okay, so I know I'm not setting off any metal detectors here with this review, considering this tape's been floating out there for a few months now, but...

The fact that this is a solo project is what really gets me excited. Beyond feeding my delusion that I could put something together like this given enough time in a closet with no food, the Tunnels project points to another spoke on the creative wheel surrounding the members of Eternal Tapestry, a phenomenal psych band with multiple recordings this year that are all quickly reaching our year end top ten list. Nick Bindeman's the dude's name behind Tunnels. Remember it. From the Thrill Jockey page:
In the spring of 2008, Bindeman began playing live sets singing over a four track recorder. His initial output, like a dirtier, playful Suicide, with backing tracks acting as vehicles for live exploration. Bindeman would often go into a frenzied state, mumbling and slurring through slapdash songs. These performances gradually evolved into more cohesive and clean music and recording became the focus of the project, writing material through the recording process and eventually falling victim to the lure of pop.
Tunnels sounds like some kraut-y version of flightsuitwave, a brand new subgenre I just made up so that I can feel better about the fact that my collar's flipped up while I write this. And The Blackout could have been the soundtrack to some East Berlin bootleg version of Top Gun if the cold war had been fought purely over cultural differences like it should have been--wait a sec, that's right, I found a German dub of Top Gun on Youtube, for you, and then I slathered Berlin's video on top. Now you can't possibly claim I don't love you. Shh. I said, shhh, now. Let me just brush back your bangs.

Back to the Blackout: there's plenty of bedroom tape aesthetic smeared across this release, but the production's got a poppier, hookier, and less abrasive sound than that might lead you to believe. Even if Bindeman's purpose hadn't been to set a bunch of assholes loose in the clubs windmilling with a stiff posture and a gold-rimmed pair of aviator's on,  that's exactly what Tunnels has done for us (Urban dictionary def: 2. I was at the club the other day and this one guy totally showed me up when he started windmilling. He got like, nine chicks). It's mechanical music, but it's not macho. There's a dancefloor backbone to it that makes this the right shit to kick at parties, and I dare you to resist pumping the keg with a more perfect efficiency.

You can listen to the entire damn thing on Soundcloud, or you can do what I did and get suckered in by the prospect of engaging with some sweet, sweet 20th century tech by buying the tape from Thrill Jockey (originally available on Troubleman Unlimited).

I'd call my band Chunnels, by the way. Anglophile-style. Fuck, it's past noon on Saturday. Time to starch some turtlenecks.

  Tunnels - The Blackout CS by sweatingtapes

Instagram :: Grave Babies :: Deathface

view full image

Finally had some luck. Listening to newly purchased Grave Babies and by some fucking miracle, I'm not hungover.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review :: The Servants :: Youth Club Disco

The Servants :: Loggerheads

A photocopied clipping on the back cover of this Servants reissue advises that the best way to dig for the next big thing is to always show up for the opening act. It's at once pleasingly familiar and profoundly fresh for a nearly 30-year-old comment. A no-brainer, sure, but the fact that this has been a tradition for so long in an art form rather young justifies all the hardcore fandom and cult folklore. I'm somewhat skeptical of Captured Tracks on this release, having to ignore a growing sense that perhaps they were scraping the C-86 landscape (literally, the compilation's original tracklist) for something, anything, that their legion of fans hadn't heard. It's also noteworthy that the aforementioned clipping was in reference to a show that Felt headlined, whose (largely un-reissued) decade-long catalog dwarfs The Servants paisley-chain of mid-80s EPs.

That said, the brevity of the David Westlake-led Servants allowed for a concentrated and streamlined statement so cultish that even Stuart Murdoch couldn't track it down. The folks at Captured Tracks have realigned the band's sessions and singles previously released by Cherry Red (see: Monochrome Set, another Captured favorite) to flesh out their tastemaking hitlist. And I commend them. So much of what we've heard from the Brooklyn label over the past year and change has the unmistakeable echo of bands such as these. Present, melodic bass, trebly and for fuuuucks-sake jangly (how about tastefully pluck-strummed?) guitars, 4/4 time, and detached vocal delivery. It's reassuring to know that a growing label is looking out for what came before, allowing for rediscovery that translates fluently to where the fans already stand.

But really, this isn't a review of the state of boutique record labels. Youth Club Disco paints a pocket-masterpiece of 80s guitar-pop reflection, one that's more noir and cosmopolitan than some of their drifting and arch contemporaries. Witty but not condescending, spacious yet concise. And really just refreshing. Nowhere have I read comparisons to fellow Creation-mates The Loft, which is unseemly and baffling, but telling: they're not considered precious for nothing. Everyone wants a band to call their own, and the best of them fit the bill timelessly. This is the cult that Murdoch was referring to in 1996.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Features :: Left-Coast Luminol :: Debacle Records

"Records" in a looser definition here, like "recordings," as in the event of capturing a sound intended for replay to a pair of impatient ears. Those vulgar and mysterious funnels on the sides of your head which too often get plugged up by peculiar Apple-white nodes of diminished sound quality. People still buy vinyl? Get on with it - that is so absofuckinglutely 2007. Cassettes? Early 2011, best. The sooner we agree that CD-Rs not only sound amazing, but put the entire coaster industry out of business as if by afterthought, the sooner music will finally divorce format from fashion-statement. Universal sigh of relief, time to pull out your Case Logic suitcases again. Debacle Records is blazing the trail on this front, organizing a wide swath of the Seattle drone scene under one donut-shaped silver saucer. No hate here - founder Samuel Melancon is a fantastic citizen of the American West, and we could all learn a lot from him. Since starting a subscription series in 2004, Debacle has expanded to international artists, and continues to act as an effective siphon to bigger labels. He sucks those artists right up into that mouth of his, swishes them around a bit, and with puckered lips, squirts those little guys right out. And everyone's happier in the end.

Two of the more recent finds are Karnak Temples and the fairly-flippantly-named Brain Fruit. The former is drone via Lara Croft OD'ing on medpacks, the latter is drone via Ralf Hutter getting stuck in traffic. After a heavy night of drinking.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Video :: The New Lines :: Voyager Program 1977

The New Lines - Voyager Program 1977

Not much to say about my absence on here other than that my new bionic blogging hand has been successfully installed and I'm still out to murder my father. Mainlined a shit-ton of metachlorians, kissed my sister, and I'm good to go. She even bought me a new lightsaber. I asked for coral, but it turned out more salmon. Apparently no one updated her Pantone chart. Here to propel us to the outer reaches of cool nonchalance is The New Lines from Princeton. It doesn't take long for this one to lift-off, and it never lands. Can't seem to dig up a release date, but their debut is due out on The Great Pop Supplement sometime in the next few weeks. Fasten your re-entry helmet and enjoy this video for the time being, you jerk.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

News :: Upcoming Shows :: October

10/1 :: Pissed Jeans :: Golden West

10/4 :: Lands & Peoples :: Red Onion (6pm in-store)

10/7 :: Trans Am/Les Savy Fav/The Psychic Paramount :: 9:30 Club

10/11 :: Dinosaur Feathers/Lonnie Walker :: DC9

10/12  :: Yuck :: Black Cat

10/13 :: Acid Baby Jesus/Black Mamba Beat/JJ Damage and the Bandits/Beach Bloods :: Asefu's

10/15 :: Moss of Aura/La Big Vic/Family Portrait/Future Shuttle :: Subterranean A

10/17 :: John Maus/Young Prisms :: Black Cat

10/19 :: Double Dagger/Imperial China :: Black Cat

10/21 :: Zola Jesus :: Black Cat

10/22 :: Dum Dum Girls/Crocodiles/Royal Baths :: Black Cat
Weatherbox/Sainthood Reps/Buildings :: Subterranean A

10/24 :: Jacuzzi Boys :: Talking Head

10/25 :: Future Islands :: Black Cat

10/27 :: We Were Promised Jetpacks :: Black Cat

10/29 :: Boris/Asobi Seksu/Liturgy :: Black Cat
             Foul Swoops/Wax Idols/Terry Malts :: Comet Ping Pong

10/31  :: Dead Meadow :: DC9