Magik Markers Prep Boss

magik markers
I usually don't do this -- post about a forthcoming album without providing any music from the actual record -- but Magik Markers are a merited exception.

The Hartford, Connecticut duo was recently signed to Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label, and will release a new album, titled BOSS, on September 25. The No Wave-influenced band is one of my favorites in the noise genre right now, and from what I understand, BOSS will be the best release so far!

Imagine a revived Lydia Lunch on vocals, Theoretical Girls backing her, with a little bit of Sonic Youth in there, too. Abrupt and disjointed, abbrasive and sharp, noisy and distorted ... Magik Marker are far from being anything pleasant.
I guess it's just really exciting to see a band so eagerly embrace the ideals that made Sonic Youth and the original No Wave artists -- Glenn Branca, James Chance -- so exciting: an initiative to experiment the hell out of every instrument they touched, every idea that popped into their mind ...

And Lee Ranaldo agrees!

Check out a couple tracks from their self-titled 2005 release and get pumped for BOSS!
Magik Markers - My Sweet
Magik Markers - Fuck You

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The Millioners

the millioners
The Millioners (MySpace) are a friggin' killer electro-pop dance group from Helsinki, Finland. I'm hooked hooked hooked on these four.

The band was formed in 2003, but didn't reach its current dance-y sound until a year or so back. Dance music with this spacey, disco-infused twist to it. There's this air of sleaze to this music that makes it's otherwise rather straightforward funky disco beats, bass lines, and synth melodies stick out all the more.
I can imagine James Murphy/DFA signing these guys ... they've the potential to really work the dance floor -- and from a new and exciting angle -- all over the world.

The Millioners had some difficulty creating and releasing the album, Most Sexiest Music (the follow-up to the first 12", "Up to You") ... one of the members was stuck in Japan for seven months while the guitarist decided to move to the country for a year. (Uh ... bizarre!) But the wait was more than worth it ... the album, co-produced by Ercola (well known for helping Annie out in the studio, too), is dripping with sexy space disco tracks. A little bit New Order, a little Black Devil Disco Club, a bit Daft Punk ... they'll provide absolutely everything you're looking for in dance music.
Gah ... I want more, more, more already and I've just gotten through the albuma couple times!
the Millioners - Body Into Use
the Millioners - We Come From Womb
the Millioners - Most Sexiest Music

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New Lions At Your Door

The Sydney-based dance-punk group, Lions At Your Door blew us all away with their first track, "LAYD" (read about it here), and now they're back with a new tune!

This one, "Glass Bottle," is a little less raw and forceful, switching out the harsh synths from before for a more melodic keyboard sound. The singer still sounds sort of like the Pretty Girls Make Graves chick, but hey -- that's a good thing, right!? Towards the end do they sort of ... take a guitar solo!? Indeed, this song is not a normal dance-punk one, which is a relief and good to hear: Lions At Your Door is a band interested in moving forward from dance-punk as opposed to just swooning over the forgotten genre.

So check out "Glass Bottle"! Go on!
Lions At Your Door - Glass Bottle

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Clare & the Reasons

clare & the reasons
Orchestral pop is an ambiguous term, but I'm certain that Clare & the Reasons (MySpace) fit the bill perfectly.

The Reasons are fronted by Clare Munchon, a Brooklynite endowed with a tremendously sultry, gorgeous voice. The album, The Movie, a ornately arranged and composed ... the first single, "Pluto," is a serene and simple strings-led jazzy pop tune that grabs you with the first harmonies and pulls you in further with the cute piano line and sparse, lounge-y drumming.

Quite a few awesome musicians helped in the creation of this record, too! From Van Dyke Parks to Sufjan Stevens to Gregoire Maret, The Movie features an all-star lineup! Keep an eye out for the record at Frog Stand Records, the label that's releasing the LP.
Clare & the Reasons - Pluto

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WZT Hearts

wzt hearts
I love how smaller cities can be identified by musical style. Los Angeles, NYC, Chicago ... for the most part, forget it! The metropolises tend to be amalgamations of dozens -- no, hundreds -- of musical styles, genres, tastes, aesthetics, whatever.

For some reason, though, "smaller" cities -- like Detroit, Portland, Austin, etc. -- and their music subcultures can be defined more succinctly and aptly with just a few broad categories and keywords.
Baltimore for me will continue to be the experimental noise capital of the U.S. (aside from maybe Rhode Island or something).

WZT Hearts (MySpace), along with acts like Ecstatic Sunshine, Dan Deacon, and -- if you wanna get technical -- Panda Bear/Animal Collective, is front lining a new noise movement. WZT Hearts in particular sounds like this majestic merging of Black Dice and Thurston Moore/Sonic Youth. Noisey, gritty, jagged, awkward, and unstable at times, but simultaneously ambient, atmospheric, and distant, calming even ...

It's as though the noise and feedback and all that crap becomes so massive, so overbearing, that it ceases to be paid attention to actively, that it just slowly dissolves into the background -- whatever that is for you specifically -- and adds to your whole world ...

Maybe that's too ethereal and spooky an assertion. Buy some stuff from Carpark Records. Awesome.
WZT Hearts - 2
WZT Hearts - 4

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Charles de Goal

charles de goal
I decided to do a bit of a throwback post, this one featuring the not-so-infamous Charles de Goal. The French band was formed in 1980 and was pretty prolific between the years 1980 and 1989. For some reason, they decided to resurface in the late 1990s and are now currently touring around a bit, but I've no clue as to why they made this move ... they're far from being on demand and don't have much new to offer. I sort of wish we could just remember them for being one of the best Parisian post-punk groups (which doesn't sound like much, but these guys were good!) ...

Charles de Goal filled the void that crummy French New Wave acts -- like Plastic Bertrant and Lio -- had created. Instead of schlocky New Wave wannabe Duran Duran, Charles de Goal became a sort of French Bauhaus. Their effort to give the country some more riveting and exciting music -- with the album Double Face in particular -- was bold and significant.
So check some of their older stuff out! You'll be surprised, I'm sure ...
Charles de Goal - Vent de Sable
Charles de Goal - (Retour au) Dancing
Charles de Goal - Nuit Noire

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I always feel a tad dumb when I find a band new to myself that's actually been around for a while ... how did I miss something I'm digging so much currently!?
In the case of Marmoset -- a group that's been signed to Secretly Canadian for literally ten years now -- I feel especially dumb because I really love what I've heard of theirs so far.

Enough lamenting.
The group is prepping its fifth release, Florist Fired, for release on July 24. The sixteen track CD took five years to complete, but it's truly a wonderful piece ... a lovely mix between the lackadaisical lo-fi punk styles of Swell Maps and more refined, poppy groups like the Beatles and some mildly psychedelic music. The sound is uniquely Marmoset's, and that's all the more excellent ... I need these guys not only because they're so compelling and appealing, but also because they're the only ones who will provide me with music like this.

They've also released a "greatest hits" sort of compilation up for grabs here.
Really, really awesome ...
Marmoset - Missing Man

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Motocade (MySpace) is, as far as I'm concerned, the New Zealand version of Bloc Party ... from the angular guitar work to the heavy bass to the high falsetto ... these guys will whet the appetite of any U.K. indie rock fan.

That being said, Motocade is a pretty solid four piece. The "hit" -- "My Friends" -- is a perfect summer tune ... catchy, easy to hum, cute lyrics; exactly what everyone's digging around for right now.

And the group's got an array of styles ... quicker songs like "Bomb Squad" mesh well with slower, contemplative ones like "Into the Fall." Overall, they've tapped into a sound that's easy to play with and get deep in peoples heads, and they do it very, very well.

So give 'em lots of cred, listen to the track below, and buy the thing, too!
Motocade - My Friends
Motocade - BBC Blues

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Carrion Squared

carrion squared
The other new Mordant Music< release is Carrion Squred, a compilation of drone based pieces -- forty in total actually! -- and is described by the label as, " ... the sound of myriad life forms thriving in the otherwise stagnant dead pools of commerce ... the distorted sonic malaise lying dormant in the air conditioning unit of a Kent logistics firm ... the gaseous chime of an unchecked bacteria breeding in the foyer of a plastics division in Hull ... "

I can't write a better description, but just know that this is absolutely amazing drone music ... like a darker, more contrived, and eerier Bian Eno. Instead of Music for Airports, this should be seen as Music for Graveyards or something of that nature.
I love stuff like this ... music that you actively ingest and hear, but that fades from the mind once it's over; that fades from memory one milisecond after the song's done. Truly, works like these are few and far between. Think of how laborious a process it must be to make something that's so deep, so complex, layered, and though out, but still nothing that anyone will really pay attention to.

Below are only four tracks -- just a tenth of the entire CD! -- so be sure to buy the thing, too!
Deportivo Suppressant
Fading Font
Keep Whacking Me

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Mordant Music is just about one of the most esoteric record labels out there. The company is headed by Baron Mordant, Lord Klattr, and Admiral Greyscale (what awesome pseudonyms!), and maintains a very secretive and oblique style and presence for every one of its releases.

One of the two most recent Mordant Music CDs is the Tower's Parts VIII - XVIII, a follow-up to Parts I - VII ("seven movements of mock-Tudor menace which failed to trouble a cellbound Burzum").
Through all the confusing and mysterious story lines, what you really need to take is that Parts VIII - XVIII is an investigation into the medium of "black metal electronics" (symbolic of the dismal and foreboding brick tower on the cover of the album).

If it's all too conceptual and bizarre for you, then just enjoy the music, anyway. Tower's LP is wonderful ... a sublime exploration into the dark, cavernous world of drone electronics, psychedelic repetition, and enchanting atmospheric soundscapes. Parts VIII - XVIII has me enamored ... the nonchalant complexity that is exuded by the seemingly chaotic works of Tower will draw you in and not let you go until the full record is over with ...

Buy the album! Highly recommended!
Tower - Part IX/Gaining Mmomentum
Tower - Part X/Black Advance
Tower - Part XII/On Cracked Hooves

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Lapin(MySpace) is an electronic artist working out of Tokyo ... he's also unfortunately not getting the attention he deserves.

This guy combines the abrupt, sharp nature of current French electro with something funkier and more smooth, suave even. I can't get enough of "Galaxie" (which is reminiscent of something Mr. Oizo would do to me) ...
On top of doing his own stellar tracks and spectacular remixes, he's quite the mash-up artist (MySpace dedicated to Lapin's mash-ups) ... I love "Zdar Guitar Pogo" -- a mash-up of the Chemical Brothers and Digitalism -- and the Van She vs. Tiga mash-up ("Kelly Far From Home") is pretty stellar, too.

Now ... why does this dude live so far away? Clearly, from the live mixes he's posted on his site, he can do some amazing live shows, and he's got the material to hype up on the internet for further support of his act ...
We'll just keep him secret for the time being.
Lapin - Galaxie (2007 Mix)
Lapin - Galaxie (Blaze Remix)
Lapin - Galaxie

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It seems as though there's an even newer wave of French electro artists approaching our shores now: the acts who finally built up the courage and stamina to brave the crossover from France to the U.S. after Justice and the rest of the Ed Banger crew did it so well.

From Breakbot to Teenage Bad Girl and now ... DatA, a sort of hybrid of Kavinsky and Justice ... abbrasive, speedy, driven electronic dance music with climaxes and developments that are terribly predictable, but too much fun and excitement to ignore.

The Parisian is signed to Ekler'o'shock records -- a rather new label that focuses on pretty heavy techno-leaning music -- and released Aerius Light E.P. on May 27. It features the original track, two other tunes, and a Breakbot remix of "Aerius Light." Nice package!

Anyway ... check out the A-side and dig around for some more goodies!
DatA - Aerius Light

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Best Fwends

best fwends
The Ft. Worth/Austin-based duo comprised of best friends, Best Fwends, has officially blown me away! I heard some discussion of these two a while back since they're signed to Moshi Moshi Records -- one of my favorites English labels -- but I never got around to hearing the debut album, Alphabetically Arranged (yes the 34 tracks are indeed alphabetically arranged), until ... now!

Boy it's bizarre. Equal parts punk, hardcore (happy hardcore?), hyperactive dance music, and something sort of glam rock-ish. Most of the time, it sounds like they're just screwing around with a drum machine and a Fisher Price keyboard (although I'm sure that's not true), so it's the attitude that's so invaluable to me. These two have the heart of an arena rock band. They sound like they're trying to make real hot music that you'd listen to when you're a pissed-off kid ("god! the world doesn't understand me!" and listen to Best Fwends). I like that approach. It's genuine and real, and can't wait to see what's next for them!
Best Fwends - Aaww-some
Best Fwends - Bedroom Music
Best Fwends - Skate or Live (Goto80 Remix)

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Rumble Strips Remix

sportsday megaphone
I still don't quite understand why the word "remix" has recently become replaced by full on non-sequitur phrases, although I guess they're fun to make. Here's one I just did: "Marco's wild happy-slappy party stopper remixxx." Try doing one yourself ...
The remix I just got in my inbox now is ... "Alarm Clock (Sports Day Megaphone's Stereo Adventure Remix)." Weird.

Enough with the rant. Sportsday Megaphone, a UK artist's whose wardrobe resembles something from Sesame Street, with a style and aesthetic that pretty much matches what you'd expect from the clothes.
Fun, speedy, hyperactive pop nuggets with sing-along-esque vocals assisting in the formation of the melody.

In addition to his own stuff, Sportsday Megaphone also does remixes, looks like, and he most recently did a remix for the UK indie-pop band, the Rumble Strips. The remix is for the group's pseudo hit, "Alarm Clock," but doesn't resemble the original too much! Quicker, glitchier, bouncier, and all around stranger ... and, unfortunately, rejected by Island records.
SO it's up for grabs now! Check it out, yeah?
the Rumble Strips - Alarm Clock (Sports Day Megaphone's Stereo Adventure Remix)

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The Second Band

the second band
Man, it's great how modest and earnest Swedish groups tend to be. Take this new find, the Second Band, for example. The five-piece was formed on a drunken whim; an accidental stroke of genius in the studio.

After realizing that people really liked their stuff, the group got a bit more serious, shed the folk-pop specific style, got some horns and a better drummer, and returned to the studio.
During this session in the studio, the Second Band churned out the spectacular seven-song EP, What's Up, Tiger Lilly, and all I can say is they must, must, must make more music.

The palette of styles the group draws from is wide and varied and all so fun and accessible: from big band oriented indie-pop tunes to a little bit of country pop to the more ballad-y, the Second Band provides music for any sort of situation, any event, and will never stop you from movin' your feet or -- to be terribly cheesy -- moving you ...
the Second Band - Wild Is the Wind
the Second Band - The Modern Age

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Architecture In Helsinki @ the Fonda, 6.19.07

architecture in helsinki live
Two things: summer shows still are always the most fun and why don't more bands make a bigger effort to replicate their live sound on CD (or at least release more live albums)!?

I came to the AIH show expecting a restrained, quirky group of Australians plinking around on synths and guitars and hopping around a little here and there. Because ... listening to either of the group's albums -- or even the single for "Heart It Races" -- you get the impression that they're rather modest performers ... they shy away from any sort of overly energetic performance (whether it's vocally, arrangement-wise, instrumentally ... it's all very quiet).
But I liked that sound a lot. Very twee, very endearing.

But I liked the live sound much, much more. It was AIH trying to do arena rock. It was Talking Heads filtered through the lo-fi fun and off-beat aesthetics of the Unicorns. It was climactic, start-stop, bass driven, insanely dancey, and just overall, just one hell of a fun show.

The band was up and at 'em from the minute their arrived on stage. No one exactly mimicked their actual studio performances -- they guitar soloed on "Wishbone"! -- and they added a new level of funk and dance to every tune that I never imagined was there!
There were a few new songs the group played, but for the most part, it was hard for me to recognize any songs since they were so spectacularly revamped! That's very exciting to me: not knowing what the hell you'll get at a show.
But anyway ... they should still try to do this on an album. Or release a live record, yeah?
Check out some photos here!
Architecture In Helsinki - It'5! (live)
Architecture In Helsinki - Heart It Races (live)

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Elk City Remix

elk city
This was something I was -- to say the least -- not expecting, but now that it's hit, I'm very surprised, very pleased, and very excited to announce that ... Elk City (the Pixies-esque Friendly Fire Recordings band) has been remixed by Pocket (MySpace)!

Pokcet is a Brookly-based DJ specializing in more refined, atmospheric house and electro dance music. He's done some really spectacular remixes for groups like Of Montreal, Joanna Newsom, Dirty On Purpose, and Cut Power! Obviously, he's not your usual DJ, remixing rockier tracks that one would normally not expect to be dance floor fodder.

However, it works every single time, and the remix of "Cherries In the Snow" he just completed is no exception!
Pocket preserves the darkness and sharp post-punk flavor of the original track, while seamlessly integrating a bouncy, electro beat, hand claps, and a funky synth line. I like it a lot, and I'm sure you're all dig it, too! Check it out!
Elk City - Cherries In the Snow (Pocket Remix)

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New Dirty Projectors

dirty projectors
Well, from the sound of "No More," off the forthcoming Dirty Projectors (MySpace) album, Rise Above (due out on September 11 on Dead Oceans), Dave Longstreth -- the "musical director" -- has been listening to a lot of gospel. This makes everything so interesting! "No More" sounds like a seamless integration of what you think when someone mentions the band -- noisy, noodling, experimental, start-stop, jazzy rock music -- with, well ... soul! Longstrth's vocals have become more confident; he's got more control over his high warble, and a whole slew of gospel-esque backing singers help him out.

Now, I don't know if the whole LP will be like this track, but I sure hope "No More" is a good representation!
This little bit was in the press info ... "On the album, Longstreth re-imagines songs from one of the most beloved albums of his youth, Black Flag's Damaged." Mind, the LP will not be a covers album, but still ...
Very, very excited over here ... this seems like a perfect "next step" for the Brooklynites ...
Dirty Projectors - No More

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Tack! Tack! Tack! Presents the Tough Alliance!

t!t!t! + tta + the honeydrips
It's a little strange for me, an LA resident, to be writing about a concert that will take place in London and showcase Swedish music, but hey, there's a first for everything (and I know that quite a few of you are reading in London anyway!)

Tack! Tack! Tack! is curating a Tough Alliance (with support from the Honeydrips) concert that will be held at The Social in London on July 2.
I'm new to T!T!T!, too, so forgive me, but it's "London’s only truly international club night promoting and playing exclusively Swedish artists and music. It is the longest running Swedish club night in the world ... " and seems terribly, terribly awesome.
If you've a Facebook account, join the T!T!T! group and see what they've been up to and what they've already done!

The show on July 2 will be amazing, I'm sure, and would some fly me over to the UK, I would certainly attend! Smoke machines, crazy lights, an amazing atmosphere, I'm sure, and -- of course -- the awe-inspiring performance that is the Tough Alliance. The Swedish duo is changing the form and expectations of pop music today, and that should be enough for you all to decide to go ...
So buy some tickets (right now there are 17 left!)

And if you're still not convinced, listen to some TTA ... your jaw is expected to drop, your hips are expected to bounce around like crazy, your head's supposed to bob, bob, bob ...
the Tough Alliance - Miami
the Tough Alliance - My Hood

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I've these absolutely misguided, idiotic biases against certain styles of music, certain locations, certain vocals styles. I try to justify them with some lame excuse about how I listen to a lot of music, and therefore need some sort of filtering system.
Yeah, it's stupid.
Traditionally, I don't really like music from "the South." But then bands like the Flaming Lips and White Denim and Spoon and all those come along and I'm just left feeling doubly idiotic for thinking music from down there can't be all that great.
So I apologize. I'll try my best to stop.

Because listen to how great Harlan (MySpace) is! The Baton Rouge quartet is friggin' spectacular ... an amazing blend of this sort of psychedelic pop music and experimental-twinged folksier stuff. And the group's all about the details ... whether it's a quirky synth line or warble-y guitar hook or concise, organic drumming, Harlan's complete sound is awe-inspiring.
At times the band sounds like the Flaming Lips, at others, there's a bit of Grandaddy there, but throughout, the album, The Still Beat, is just plain unique and original ... a genuine and heartfelt work that, in the end, is comparable only to ... itself!

Another aspect to the band I like is their conceptual nature: lyrically, these guys are deep, even though I'm still struggling to figure out the meaning of all the songs (and titles for that matter! From "Foam Core" to "The Ill-Matched Unknowns," these guys are hard to read!)
Check out the music video for "Computer Games Under the Sun" here, and be further confused, but still impressed. I can't quite place these four, I can't quite figure them out, I can't quite understand where they're coming from or what they're about, but maybe that's why Harlan's so compelling and fun.
Harlan - Days of Delirium
Harlan - Computer Games Under the Sun

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Coyote Bones

coyote bones
Remember when "wolf" was the hot word to put in any band name? From Wold Parade to Wolf Eyes to We Are Wolves ... everyone was doin' it.
I've this weird feeling that "bones" will be the next over-used one, which we actually only make Coyote Bones (>MySpace) all the more memorable and original!

The Omaha, Nebraska five-piece has a lot in common with other Omaha groups like Tilly & the Wall, Bright Eyes, and even the Fain, I'd say. There's this modesty to their style, a twee backbone to an otherwise bold and confident sound. What's different and exciting about Coyote Bones, though, is their grungier sensibilities ... indeed, at times, the group's style parallels that of ealry-90s classics such as Dinosaur Jr. and even Pavement. The drumming is precise, but laid back, totally unhindered. The vocals are loose and summery and sincere, so easy to digest and mellow to take in, yet forceful, sharp. And it's hard for me to resist that Violent Femmes-esque rhythm guitar layered beneath or atop thick, but simple bass lines and shimmery keyboard lines.

Oh yeah! And the group made a music video for "Living Breathing Demons" which features a Tilly & the Wall gal assistance from a Bright Eyes collaborator! Those Omahaians are a tightly knit crowd!
Coyote Cones - 39 Forever
Coyote Bones - Grand Eclipse

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New DJ Never Forget: Down & Out at the Rooftop Hang

dj never forget
DJ Never Forget, the most rockin'-est laptop DJ around, has just made another killer mix ... this time the theme's ... partyin' it up in Brooklyn this summer!
The sweltering hot and humid NYC summer season has finally hit, and DJ NF has compiled fourteen sweet tracks -- from Digitalism to Mr. Oizo to Cut Copy -- perfect for any parties and events that you'll all be hitting up right about now ... whether you're in New York, LA, or somewhere in between.

Here's the tracklist ... enjoy!

Intro | Terry Diabolik
Beeper (Shake It Down) | Sinden & Count Of Monte Cristal / Blaqstarr
The Party feat. Uffie (LA Riots Remix) | Justice (EXCLUSICE)
Ce Jeu (them jeans edit) | Yelle
Thou Shalt Always Kill | Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip
patrick122 | Mr. Oizo
Yea Yeah (Flosstradamus Remix Final) | Matt & Kim
D.A.N.C.E (mstrkrft Remix) | Justice
Hearts On Fire | Cut Copy
Sea Lion (Chromeo Remix) | Feist
Running Up that Hill (Vocal Club Mix) | Prax Paris
New York (Teenager South of Houston Mix) | Eskimo Joe
Thunderous Bumps (Back from Japan Edit) | Spank Rock + Justice/Thunderous Olympians Remix
Pogo | Digitalism
Pro Nails | Kid Sister feat. Kanye West

DJ Never Forget - Down & Out at the Rooftop Hang Mix

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Hot Chip 12"

hot chip
So ... I had to get my hands on the Hot Chip 12" for "My Piano" after that friggin' amazing, phenomenal show a few days back.

The release unfortunately does not have any new material, per se, but it does include an awesome dub version of the track. Danicer, sharper, a little tenser than the original ... it's pretty rad.

Get down.
Hot Chip - My Piano (Dub)

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"The grotty little brainchild of six losers from Maidstone Kent" is how Yeborobo describes themselves. I think it's accurate, although how can I really say much about these guys as I've genuinely ... never heard anything like it before. They edge on too arty for me -- pulling such stunts as wandering around their hometown with tribal paint all over their faces and generally just hanging with a group of squatters -- but I think I would like them live ... they use all sorts of fun and interesting props, like a blow-up pirate ship, for example.

Or so they say. Yeborobo is one of those bands I just can't trust. Everything I hear I assume to be false until I see it for myself. I'm not sure why, but that's the image they project. Like the Unicorns or something ... bizarrely shrouded in a mystery that was completely public and open. Mind boggling I tell ya ...

Anyway. Their sound is what initially led me to believe that these six are working on a completely different level than anyone else in music today. It's like listening to Liars and Half Japanese's bastard child try to play the drums with AC/DC wannabes on guitar and bass and an absolute lunatic who reminds me of Vivian from The Young Ones.
But I feel like there's some conceptual background here. Am I delusional?
Does that make sense? I hope it doesn't. Just listen already.
Yeborobo - X-Ray Go
Yeborobo - I'm Magic, Gimme a Fiver
Yeborobo - SOS
Yeborobo - Hail Mary and the Fleece of Alladin
Yeborobo - Troublescotch

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Clique Talk

clique talk
Clique Talk is a friggin' rad trio from Chicago. On first listen, it's a little difficult to spot the uniqueness of the group ... they sound a little trendy -- abbrasive synth lines, howling vocals, whacked out lyrics, super rhythmic edging-on-tribal drumming -- but once you dig a little below the surface, that's where their true colors are exposed, and man are they stunning.

Imagine a more demonic version of Liars without all the chanting, or like, a more industrial version of Wire. Maybe I'm being delusional, but some of these melodies sound like Eurythmics/80s synth-pop group lines that have been seriously dubbed and warped. Maybe that's a good way to put Clique Talk's style, though ... it's as though they've collected all the leftover fragments of the post-punk and early New Wave stuff as well as DFA disco-twinged stuff, blended them all together, and heated the concoction up, making it sludgier, thicker, and completely new.

I see they're friends with Chromatics on their MySpace page. That makes sense.
Clique Talk - Tight Like A Nun
Clique Talk - Androgynous Misogynist

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Hot Chip @ the Fonda, 6.13.07

hot chip
Damn it. Right when I think I "understand" Hot Chip, I have to find myself at their LA show and it blows all those perceptions -- and my mind! -- away.
But no need for complaints here ... if anything, the UK sextet has only gone up several notches in my book.

Since I've this unexplainable penchant for using musical metaphors to describe a group's sound and style, I'll try my hand at it again to illustrate what Hot Chip sounded like. They were the robotic, cold beat technicians of Kraftwerk smoothly intertwined with the utter addictive danciness of those throbbing New Order tracks from their heyday in the mid- to late-80s (with some Happy Mondays craziness on top). Certainly, Hot Chip does not have the ability to mimic New Order's spectacular bass hooks, but they make up for it with their insane rhythmic capabilities, quirky, mystifying, and hypnotic synth and filtered guitar melodies, and their tendency to throw in absolutely random musical ideas that span across many decades, many countries, and many categories. (For example, before the curtain even opened, the group was playing this death metal/electro hybrid to prep the scene ... spectacular!)

My one complaint about the night was that Hot Chip made too large of a leap from their studio stuff to the live. The show was -- in very liberal terms -- a rave. I've never sweat so much and been jolted about so violently before. Not that that's a bad thing. (Of course not!)

So the band proved themselves fully: they pumped every bit of dance out of every single audience member with reworked oldies and punchier newbies. Truly a magical concert ... one in which I never knew what the next twist or turn would be, but once it came, it was so familiar, and only more and more pleasing than I would have anticipated. Did they deliberately make the albums and EPs and singles more low key than their live shows to knock the socks off the crowd? Beats me, man, but regardless ... one hell of a job there.

Check out some pictures from the show here! Don't miss these guys for anything.
Hot Chip - Shake A Fist (live on KEXP)

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New Bitchee Bitchee Ya Ya Ya

bitchee bitchee ya ya ya
Bitchee Bitchee Ya Ya Ya are back (not that they were gone for very long ... ), recording in Paris, and hammering out a *secret* record deal.
Bitchee Bitchee (half of the duo/partner in crime with Ya Ya Ya) sent me a new track the two just recorded and it's rad rad rad!

The track, "Before," is another perfect blend of super-abrasive hardcore-based thrasyness and electronic dance music. These hooks don't have sharp, clean, crisp edges ... rather, they're blunt and jagged. SO while I can't get the song out of my head, it's certainly far from uh ... pleasing.
And I think that's what they're going for! Lo-fi, but loud! drums, jerky synth lines, hokey keyboard melodies ... this stuff is so much fun, but for all the most bizarre and offbeat reasons.

So check out the Londoners' latest and get ready for a -- fingers crossed -- September release of ... something! Until then ...
Bitchee Bitchee Ya Ya Ya - Before

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Beck Covered by Mansfield

This is old, but I love it for what it is, and think it's a wonderful cover and all of you should hear it.
Mansfield -- a Readymade Records artist -- released an EP a while back (maybe 2001 or something), and it featured one of the strangest, most bizarre covers I've ever heard: a cover of Beck's "The New Pollution" with Yukari Fresh on vocals.

Mansfield is a lounge-y, jazzy, yet dance-y producer and DJ. Like a lot of his label mates and musician colleagues, his palette of musical pieces and parts infinite ... an amazing musical creativity that's based upon off-kilter sound bites and not-quite-formed ideas.
Mansfield - The New Pollution (ft. Yukari Fresh)

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Hypo (MySpace) has blown me away. It's as simple as that.
The Parisian is -- simply put -- an experimental electronic artist, but man he's so much more ...
I'd compare this guy to Momus or some exceptionally ethereal, oblique, and heavily concept-oriented musician. Listening to this stuff -- which is sort of a combination of light dance electronic dance music, world music, and robot lounge trax from the future -- you can't help but be totally enamored with the pure thought and knowledge that went into every note.

"Naughty Place" -- from The Correct Use of Pets -- sounds like a demonic clone of an older Air track with a uniquely Japanese and/or industrial edge to spice up the mix. I cannot get enough of this guy's stuff ... it's all so driven -- take "La Heim" for example -- but by what?! It's clear that Hypo focuses heavily on rhythms to create and foster musical ideas throughout every song ... but the layering and textures that go over those rather avant garde drum patterns is ... mind-boggling.

Check out his discography and be prepared to be further blown away.
Hypo - Plastic Bag
Hypo - Naughty Place
Hypo - La Heim

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The Pipettes @ the Troubadour, 6.11.07

the pipettes
What a strange pairing of concerts for me: Sunday, I saw LCD Soundsystem, and yesterday I saw the Pipettes! Both groups were great in their own right, though, so I couldn't ask for more!

One of my concerns about seeing the Pipettes live was that, since they tend to not play any instruments on stage (they save that for a cute, v-neck sweater wearing backup band), they would just sing exactly what's on the album/EPs/singles and that would be that. While neither the girls nor the backup crew strayed from the studio material much, they were so energetic, so charismatic, and so ... *lovely* (a word the three couldn't stop saying!) that they completely made up for the lack of live experimentation and change.

I also expected them to dance in complete unison, and while they made a very good effort to do so, I think they buckled a little under the combination of playing for one of their first US crowds and the strength of their drinks.
But, in the end, they pulled through with the choreography and did quite a *lovely* job. Hey -- I've never seen the Troubadour crowd dance like they did for the Pipettes ... if that's not saying something ...

The set was a pretty good length ... around an hour, including the two encore songs. I could have sworn that I'd heard everything the Pipettes released, but after last night's show, I doubt that a bit more: at least 10 songs were new to my ear, but they only said one was actually "new." Hmm. Regardless, they played all the hits except for -- strangely -- "I Like A Boy In Uniform (School Uniform)." So they skipped one song. I could care less because man did they deliver the other 30 others fantastically! Check out the concert picture here!

And listen to some of those pitch-perfect live harmonies below!
the Pipettes - Dirty Mind (live)

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I finally got to listening to the new Shout Out Louds album, Our Ill Wills (which has been hyped quite a lot for being produced by PB&J), and the accompanying EP, Tonight I Have to Leave It.
And they're both quite good, although this post do not pertain specifically to the Shout Out Louds, but rather ... Kleerup.

The guy's from Stockholm and is quite a good disco-fused dance producer. His first single, "With Every Heartbeat" is a little too techno for me, but hey -- it features Robyn on vocals!
Kleerup, it seems, is a classic example of a producer who is better at remixing than creating his own stuff (think Van She's own music vs. their amazing remixes). But I'll give him a bit more of a chance ... a few more singles and then we'll see.

Anyway ... Kleerup remixed "Tomorrow I Have to Leave It" for the Shout Out Louds, and it's pretty good! It's bouncey and very techno-y, which works when it's all offset with the Swedish-pop qualities of the Shout Out Louds. To begin with, anyway, the track has quite a rhytmic foundation to it, and that's why this remix works so well.
So check it out, listen to some of Kleerup's own stuff on his MySpace page, and enjoy!
the Shout Out Louds - Tonight I Have to Leave It (Kleerup Remix)

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LCD Soundsystem @ the El Rey, 6.10.07

lcd soundsystem
LCD Soundsystem's show at the beautifully restored and renovated El Rey was not the band's first show of the tour (which is always really exciting to see!), but it was close ... aside from a performance in Philadelphia and S.F., LCD Soundsystem was just starting the tour ball rolling!

And what a tour this one will be!
The band -- which comprised of ... seven, maybe eight people including James Murphy -- was phenomenally tight: it was almost as though they'd all be assembled from the studio musician circuit. One of the guitarists/bassist looked as though he'd come from the Hold Steady's backup band, the keyboardist/guitarist/dude in the back appeared to be a Scissor Sister's member (not really, though!), and I've no idea where the hell the drummer came from. He only wore boxers on stage and looked as though he'd just been pulled off the road as a hitchhiker (a super hip one at that, though!)
Appearance aside, everyone played perfectly. The ensemble was tighter than I would have ever imagined and recreated classic LCD Soundsystem tracks with the utmost vigor and energy.

Some of the tunes were like the hyperactive twins of the album versions ... "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House," for example, was sped up a little too much for my tastes, but damn did they rock it hard, hard, hard! up there!
There was a strong and steady buildup throughout the set ... every song was danicer and more robust than the previous ones, and I've never seen a crowd react in such an awesome way before. Not only was the front of the venue pumping their fists and chanting along with the songs, but the whole of the crowd, too! Amazing.

"All Of My Friends" momentarily calmed things down, but by the end, the group was back on track to getting everyone to sweat and jump around as much as is humanly possible. Everything added up and added up and gained more and more steam until ... "Yeah" which ended the read set in one hell of a bang. LA cheered so friggin' hard, though, that Murphy & co. came back out from backstage, and put up with the exhaustion from three more songs including -- much to my great, great pleasure -- their cover of Joy Division's "No Love Lost." I tell ya, LCD Soundsystem is truly a great band; a seminal group that will never be forgotten or left behind in the dregs of rock history. This show set that all in stone.

Check out the picture here!
LCD Soundsystem - Daft Punk Is Playing At My House (live)

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Lykke Li

lykke li
I was tipped off about the serene Lykke Li's existence and output over the weekend, and am forever indebted. This girl is good.

There's not much about the Stockholm-based singer/songwriter, but sometimes that's the best way to be introduced to an artist: completely pure and free of outside influence, bias, and opinion. Everything this girl does sounds like it's coming straight out of her bedroom, which is incredibly sweet and endearing, and priceless.
"Everybody But Me" is a sad, ubser lo-fi funk track that showcases Lykke's airy, yet confident and pretty vocal talen.
"Tonight" is a more serious, voice and piano piece. Li harmonizes with herself -- which is really cool -- and sings with vindication and a unique sort of diction that really draws me in.
So check some of this girl's stuff out. She's unsigned now, yeah, but how long will that remain ... ?
Lykke Li - Tonight
Lykke Li - Everybody But Me

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Speaker Bite Me Remixes

speaker bite me
The Danish group, Speaker Bite Me (MySpace), just released a bunch of remixes of songs from their album, Action Painting (which was released on the great Morningside Records (the same folks who brought us I Am Bones and Oh No Ono to name a few).

The band's own sound is reminiscent of Talking Heads with a more eerily experimental edge. There's something very dark and mysterious about the group, and that's not just because they're from Copenhagen. They sing like possessed zombies or something, and to me that's ... very cool, very hip, very seductive.

Anyway, the remixes. While I've yet to listen to them all, I picked out a few gems so far ... first, "Bongo Bizarre" was remixed by Junior Senior, and it's friggin' awesome! Funkier and brighter than the original, it'll keep you going! Oh No Ono did a remix of "Belle de Boskoop" and it, too, is very well done. A little more start-stop than the original, a little tenser and jerkier, but very nice overall as well.
So check out those two tracks at least, but get the whole thing here!
Speaker Bite Me - Belle de Boskoop (Oh No Ono Remix)
Speaker Bite Me - Bongo Bizarre (Junior Senior Remix)

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Franz & Shape

franz & shape
I've never heard of Franz & Shape before, but I'm glad I was notified of their existence this morning.

The Italian producer and sound engineer duo creates pretty heavy ... rave-y sort of music. Hey, their MySpace slogan is, "Nu Rave?It's Real Rave!" ... maybe that explains something.
While I'm not much of a rave guy, I do like some of the remixes ... the Riot In Belgium remix of "The Man Who Paid Before" in particular. Franz & Shape share the same label -- Relish Recordings -- with Riot In Belgium, so I'm assuming that's how they got them to remix the track. It's good ... sounds a little like MSTRKRFT or something ... heavier, grittier, dirtier dance music with strong electro beats and thick bass lines.
Pretty cool stuff. This stuff will be all over dance floors this summer, so get it now!
Franz & Shape - The Man Who Paid Before (Riot In Belgium's Bedroom Remix)

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It's ashame that Fridge (MySpace), Kieran Hebden's "other" project aside from Four Tet, has faded into the background since the three-piece's last full-length, Happiness, which was released in 2001.

But the group is back in action with its fifth LP, entitled The Sun, and that is good news indeed.
Certainly, I need something different from Hebden ... not sure how much Four Tet and this "folktronica" stuff I can handle. What's most interesting to me about the ensemble is that Hebden is on guitar duties although he's known for his awesome rhythmic sense and style because of his Four Tet work. Even on guitar, though, Hebden's rhythm shines through ... frantic, time-keeping plucking and experimental noodling make this very apparent.
Fridge - Clocks
Fridge - Our Place In This

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French people ... I swear, how much more superficial can you be, Plastiscines?
Let me get the rant out of the way and then I'll tell you how much I love these girls.

Okay. Plastiscines are from Paris, and it sounds and looks to me like the four girls used to be models -- or still are? -- and then, one day, some Prada designer saw them and thought, "WOW! Those girls would look so much hotter playing guitars, bass, and drums!"
Sure enough, the foursome are now clad not only with super sleek and sexy instruments but matching $300 jeans, mini skirts, beautiful leather jackets, and ridiculously pricey haircuts.
And they've got me. This is a girl group at it's most appealing for me; a completely produced entity at it's most worthwhile and compelling.

The music itself isn't incredible, but it's fun and rough and those are things that -- by today's standards -- have sexy and "must-have" written all over them.
It's punky, it's New Wave-y, and it's oh-so French. Remember Plastic Bertrand? Remember how they were French? Remember how they flopped? Plastiscines are like: the most genuine of efforts, but the country's still so damn indecisive and in constant revolution.
Hey, I love it. Check some of this out. (Indie my ass ... these girls are signed to bloody Virgin.)
Plastiscines - La Regle Du Jeu
Plastiscines - Loser

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Clinic Collection

This came to my attention a little late, but Clinic (MySpace) is releasing a b-sides collection called Funf on the 18th.
Listening to the twelve tracks -- which span across the band's entire history (they formed in 1997!) -- has reminded me why I love these guys so much.

While I was a fan of Visitations, I do feel like the group has been treading water for a few years now. They created a novel sound -- cold, harsh, post-punk psychedelica that revitalized English music in my eyes -- with Internal Wrangler and other early output, but once the sound was "settled," they did little to refresh it. Bands tend to go through an archetypal pattern of creativity: first comes the LP that blows you away, then the album that provides minor updates of the familiar sound, then comes the third effort which is the most experimental and bizarre to date.
Clinic had no such history. That was a little disappointing to me.

However ... the band's sound is still timeless and Funf reinforces that. Check out these two tracks and get the thing! "The Castle" is a cut from the Internal Wrangler days (late 2001) while "Magic Boots" is a punkier Clinic tune from late 1999. Why does that seem so ... old now!?
Clinic - The Castle
Clinic - Magic Boots

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Taken By Trees

taken by trees
Victoria Bergsman, of "Young Folks" vocals and the Concretes fame, is now prepping the release of Open Field her solo debut under the moniker, Taken By Trees (MySpace).

The LP will be release everywhere but the U.S. on June 18, and I cannot wait to hear the thing! It's uber-minimal folksy stuff with Victoria's sweet, yet mildly shaky and reserved voice floating through the arrangements so magically.

It's always incredibly impressive to me when I found an artist who can just emote so much emotion, style, and messages through such sparse songwriting and craftsmanship.
I hate to say it, but ... was it best for Bergsman to leave the Concretes, then? (Yes.)
Here're two demo tracks that will whet your appetite for the record!
Taken By Trees - Lost & Found
Taken By Trees - Hours Pass Like Centuries

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I've got internet once again! Regular posting resumes tomorrow!
Until then ...
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I'm almost giving up on France ... Ed Banger/Justice/Daft Punk/Kitsune overload. (Not that anything's bad, per se -- I can't get enough of the new Kitsune compilation, for example -- but I've just seen too many live gigs, heard too many remixes, read about it all in too many places ... )

Now my interested has been reinvigorated, though, thanks to Breakbot, a spectacular Moshi Moshi Records artist.
This guy has the funkiness of Daft Punk and the Ed Banger crew with a robotic edge and more melodic side.
While writing this post, I've literally listened to "Summer Party" five times in a row. It's fun, just glitchy and dancey enough to get you going when you're dancing the night away, but not too severe that you can't hear it when you're just relaxing or chilling out.

Not only is Breakbot's Thibaut Berland a fantastic groove-master, but he also posses a degree in computer graphics ... I tell ya ... it's always the multi-talented dudes who churn out the best tunes.
Breakbot - Summer Party

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Metronomy Remixes Dntel!

This is an exciting one, so I decided to lay down my packing tape and boxes for a few minutes and post it up!
Metronomy (MySpace), the off-kilter London electronic artist, just remixed Dntel's "The Distance" (the track which features Arthur & Yu). I love it. It's been too long since Metronomy released his stellar album that kept me jerkily dancing for months ... actually it's been to long, in fact, since he's released anything!

This remix is great, though! It's that lopsided funky robotic sound he adds to everything that makes Metronomy so much fun. So check out the remix track ... I'll be back soon!
Dntel - The Distance (Metronomy Remix)

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Bear In Heaven

bear in heaven
Home Tapes is the stellar label that released material by such bands as Feathers, the Caribbean, Shedding, and, one of my favorites, Slaraffenland.
The label officially announced on June 1 it's latest signing: Bear In Heaven (MySpace)). The Brookly-based group has been around for a while now -- already having one EP under their belt -- but they've revamped their image, sound, and line-up for the Hometapes stint. Their first album, Red Bloom of the Boom, will be released in October (quite a ways off, unfortunately!), and will include the track, "Bag of Bags."

Now ... for the groups sound.
The band's style has been carefully crafted by Jon Philpot, the frontman and creator of Bear In Heaven. He clearly has a penchant for psychedelica and drugged-out meandering melodies. It's like Pink Floyd, 2007, but with a little something else ... maybe it's the atmospheric qualities (a little shoegaze?) or the start-stop structure of some of the songs that makes the sound overall more accessible and poppy than one would imagine.

Regardless, Bear In Heaven's got a sound that works and that pulls you in. Whet your appetite with "Bag of Bags" until the album drops!
Bear In Heaven - Bag of Bags

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Starting today, 6.1.07, I will be moving from my current abode to a more central downtown L.A. loft.
I've prepared a post for tomorrow, so hopefully that'll hold you all over until Monday or Tuesday, but I will most likely be M.I.A. from the internet until then.
Hope you all have a good weekend!
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Antena, Revived

isabelle antena
Antena, the seminal French bossa nova act from the early 1980s, has been given the remix treatment countless times. Most recently, the music of Isabelle Antena has been remixed, reworked, even 're-rubbed' by a whole slew of interesting and excellent artists and DJs for a release, Versions Speciales. Camino del Sol, on Permanent Vacation.

For those of you who are new to Permanent Vacation, it's the German label that also was behind the phenomenal Kathy Diamond album, Miss Diamond To You (which was produced by Maurice Foulton, AKA Mu's producer). Diamond's album is minimalist funk at it's finest ... contemplative, beautifully composed, layered, and produced dark disco that is topped off with Miss Diamond's strong, deliberate, and seductive voice.

But enough of her. This remix album is driving me crazy!
I'm posting two tracks from the original Camino del Sol, so you can get a good idea/refreshing of the superb, mystical bossa nova sounds of Antena. The other tracks are remixes from the Permanent Vacation release ... my favorites are the remix of "Camino del Sol" and the re-rub of "Joppo + Eno." But man ... that Chromatics mix is spectacular. When I popped this disc in, I immediately thought, "wow ... now I see where Chromatics get some of their inspiration from!" ... and sure enough, they've contributed their own version of "On the Boat"!
Antena - Damino del Sol (Todd Terje Remix)
Antena - Joppo + Eno (Pink Alert Re-rub)
Antena - Frantz (Nouvelle Vague Mix)
Antena - On the Boat (Chromatics Main Mix)
Antena - Antena - Camino del Sol
Antena - Antena - Climb the Cliff

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