30.4.07

Bombay Bicycle Club Revisited

bombay bicycle club
The young, young London lads of Bombay Bicycle Club finally got around to recording a real (amazing!) EP called The Boy I Used To Be. If you can quite remember this underage quartet, let me refresh your mind ...
Imagine a more youthful version of Good Shoes or Arctic Monkeys even!
The vocalist, Jack Steadman, has one hell of a unique voice (English and sweet with a bit of a warble). Instrumentally, all the songs -- slow and fast alike -- are hook-filled and jangly. There's a vibrant, energetic bounce to everything, and that sort of optimistic approach and aesthetic is what's so pleasing and compelling about this band.

I think they still need time to mature (the "hard knocks" for them include being bullied by the "older" bands and not getting any good gigs on account of their age). But, just as the Arctic Monkeys proved to us, with time, these guys will grow up a bit more and be all the more ready for churning out killer hit after hit.
Wait for it ...
If these two tracks don't wet your appetite, head over to the MySpace page!
Bombay Bicycle Club - The Hill
Bombay Bicycle Club - Sixteen

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David Byrne Lends His Talents

byrne and forro
I've never heard of this group, Forro In the Dark, but now I'm sort of intrigued. They're Brazilians via NYC, and since that alone meshes perfectly with Byrne's embrace of world music, he did a collaboration with them ... "I Wish."

It's a twangy, bouncy, Brazilian folk pop tune, and with Byrne's vocals on top, it sounds so perfect. Like a return to Talking Heads circa 1983. You get the idea ...

Check out some more of Forro In the Dark's stuff over at their MySpace page. It's more jovial and jazzier than you'd expect from the "I Wish" tune, but I like it. A goofy bachelor pad soundtrack.
Forro In the Dark feat. David Byrne - I Wish

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Air France EP

air france
Sincerely Yours -- the fantastic Stockholm-based record label that brought us the Tough Alliance and the Honeydrips -- recently released Air France's EP, On Trade Winds.

This label so reminds me of like, early Factory Records. Simple, plain, timeless album artwork, a utilitarian and bold catalog numbering system (this release is YOURS022), and a similar musical aesthetic. Air France sounds like what would happen if New Order circa '91 did a beach party in Bermuda.
Very light and bouncy electronic dance music that has this big ... empty sound! It really does sound like all of this was recorded on a beach somewhere and the sound just travels across the waves, up and down the coast, just floating on by. Relaxing, but energetic, and very fun. Check some of their stuff out!
Air France - Never Content

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29.4.07

"All My Friends" by A Few Friends!

john cale * franz ferdinand
LCD Soundsystem's Jame Murphy is absolutely genius. The guy has lyrically maintained his sarcastic, cynical edge, put killer kraut-rock, prog-rock, and thumpin' disco beatz and bass lines under it all, and topped it all off with this spectacularly compelling conceptual nature.
He seamlessly supersedes "scenes" and genres and styles and then throws it all back at us as his own unique "scene" and style! I don't get it! He gets over the whole hipster, indie-kid dilemma by creating his own sub-culture for everyone else to jump on to.
That's good, man. It's gotta be because he's in his 30s. He's ahead of the indie game ... he knows what he wants and how he's going to accomplish it. And no matter what he says, Murphy's no jaded ... much too much of a creative and ingenious dude.

Just listen to these songs! John Cale and Franz Ferdinand (some of James Murphy's friends I'm assuming!) covered "All My Friends" and boy do the two tracks kick hard! Cale's rendition is more experimental ... an ethereal, atmospheric sort of take on the prog sensibilities of the original track. Franz's is a little more straight-forward, but still an awesome achievement for the group who has never done a song that stretches over the 4-minute mark!
Franz Ferdinand - All My Friends (LCD Soundsystem cover)
John Cale - All My Friends (LCD Soundsystem cover)

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27.4.07

Ola Podrida

old podrida
Ola Podrida is the one-man indie-folk project of David Wingo (what an awesome name). He hails from Austin, and that's very clear when listening to the music ... lushly layered organic acoustic guitar lines that melds beautifully with Wingo's confident voice, atmospheric echoes and harmonies, and the crackles of a sepia-tone production.

The band released its self-titled debut on Plug Research just three days ago so get it while it's hot over here!

What a gorgeous band ... everything's so dutifully strung out, so perfectly arranged and carried through ... there's a deliberation to it all, but the naturalness of this folk-twinged indie-rock is priceless.
Old Podrida - Photo Booth

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26.4.07

Studio


I don't understand how these Swedes keep doing what they're doing, but they maintain!
Studio is a mesmerizing ... pop outfit from the country, and I couldn't be more enamored with a duo.

These guys combine the hooks, A-B-A-B structures, and backup keyboard lines of pop with the dance vibe of a club. Most of the songs surpass the 10-minute mark, and those that don't are hypnotic enough to make those five minutes sound more like fifty ...

When they sing, I swear I hear Robert Smith, but then it's all washed away by layer upon layer of dubbed melodies, jumpy rhythms, and an overall atmospheric ambiance ...

These guys are very, very cool, and it's clearly not just because they're Swedish! They sound like no other group from the country I've ever heard, but keep that cleanness and crispness that make so many Scandinavian bands appealing and accessible. Well played.
Studio - Radio Edit

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What Ever Happened to That!?

one-two
Man has it been a while since I've done the random music post ...
Here're are a couple gems I've found in the past week. Hope you enjoy them, enjoy them!
Enjoy them!

Niyi is one of those idiots who hangs with Cassette Playa. What a dumb scene. Sorry. But this dude's sort of interesting ... electro-rap? No, not quite ... it's more like electro beatz over random, ethereal ranting in that ... sexy (?) British accent ...

One-Two is a friggin' awesome French power-pop/electro-pop duo. I am really into these two ... very jovial, fun pop stuff, and dude! everything's like, a 12" extended mix! You can jam out to these killer hooks and synth lines for twice as long! Listen to their stuff over on their MySpace.

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25.4.07

So Near, So Close

the mary onettes
I've been a pretty big fan of the Mary Onettes since they first started releasing stuff on Labrador, and now they've finally got a self-titled debut out! Yes yes yes!

For those of you who aren't familiar, the Mary Onettes (MySpace) are a Swedish group that specializes in making music that is always in between converting completely to Joy Division's sound and Echo & the Bunnymen's. The drums sound ... exactly like JD drumming back in '79, '80 ... the synth lines are right on, too. As for production, the Mary Onettes specialize in that uber-atmospheric, but incredibly dry sound ... as though each instrumentalist recorded his part in a gymnasium all alone.
It works for me, don't get me wrong, but the moments at which the group edges on Coldplay (vocally or orchestrally) or gets a little too sappy and inches too close to the cheesy New Wave border ... I lose interest.

Check out the single from the album and decide for yourself, though. I'd say these guys are worth it!
the Mary Onettes - Void

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24.4.07

Let's Practise

lindstrom
Lindstrom is showing is face again! After the whole world heard the genius of the Norwegian producer on his It's A Feedelity Affair release (on Feedelity), he's opening up to us all again. No more club-only exclusive 12"s for now.

He just release a 12" with Solale featuring "Let's Practise." The track below is the b-side ... the dub version of the track. Boy is it killer. The vocals for the song are pretty scatterbrained because ... they're just practicing! Get it!? Woo!
But with the dub undertones, the song is given plenty o' justice ... let's all groove to it!
Lindstrom & Solale - Let's Practise (dub version)

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Pull Tiger Tail Gets a Rescan

pull tiger tail
Pull Tiger Tail (the U.K. group I wrote about a while back known for sharing a flat with Klaxons) seems to be taking off! They've released a Let's Lightning single on B-Unique, and have been signed to XL. Good job, good news!

I'm not a huge fan of "Let's Lightning" ... it's softer and limper than the group's standard "new-rave" dancey punk standard style. But hey, what's gonna sell!? Listen to a better selection of trax over at their MySpace page. And definitely get this TMB Rescan of "Let's Lightning" ... really hot!
Pull Tiger Tail - Let's Lightning (TMB rescan)

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Coming to America!

the tough alliance
Summer Lovers Unlimited Music (the same guys who bring you Crystal Castles and the Teenagers!) are really gettin' their game on. Their newest signing is Sweden's Tough Alliance (who're on Sincerely Yours in their home country).

The group combines the guitar-pop that made Sweden so famous with dancey electronic sensibilities, yielding a really, really pleasing, fun, and good-to-get-you-moving feel.
Plenty o' vocoder, [synth-]heavy bass lines, a Cure sort of vocal talent, bouncy, summery beatz, and an overall jumpy -- but not annoying in any way! -- style. Man will the EP (which you can pre-order here) get you moving. There're only 1000 copies to be released, so get it while it's hot! A full-length is planned for the summer.
Perfect timing.
the Tough Alliance - 25 Years and Runnin'
the Tough Alliance - Silly Crimes

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23.4.07

Chromatics Interview (Part 2 of 2)

chromatics
(6) I'm curious to know how you make these songs. Do you write stuff out, just figure things out spontaneously ... what sort of method's behind it all? Also, how much of your stuff is electronic and how much is live? Your bass lines continually draw me in; the skill with which you create them makes me assume that there's a lot of thought that goes into your songs.

WE WRITE SONGS A LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS
SOMETIMES WHEN WE’RE DRIVING OR WALKING A WHOLE SONG CAN BE PLOTTED OUT IN OUR HEADS.
OTHER TIMES WE’LL WORK ON PARTS FOR YEARS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW THEY CAN BE MADE TO FIT INTO A SONG.
“IN THE CITY” CAME ABOUT THIS WAY, WE HAD BEEN TRYING AND TRYING TO MAKE THAT SONG WORK FOREVER BUT WHEN IT DID FINALLY COME TOGETHER THE PROCESS WAS A VERY NATURAL ONE.
WE’VE REACHED A POINT IN THE BAND NOW WHERE IF WE’RE HITTING A WALL WITH A SONG OR IDEA WE’LL JUST LEAVE IT ALONE AND GIVE IT SOME TIME INSTEAD OF DRAINING OURSELVES TRYING TO FORCE A CONCEPT UPON IT.
WE’LL MOVE ONTO SOMETHING ELSE, KEEP WORKING ON MUSIC AND EVENTUALLY THE SONGS WORK THEMSELVES OUT.
THE ONLY METHODS WE HAVE FOR SONGWRITING IS KNOWING WHEN TO EXPLORE AN IDEA AND ACCEPTING WHEN IT IS TIME TO LET GO OF ONE.

(7) I've yet to see you live, so I'd like to hear a little bit about what sort of show you put on. Are there like, any goals or aims you've got when you're about to start performing?

THE BAND HAS CHANGED SO MUCH OVER THE YEARS.
ABOUT TEN DIFFERENT PEOPLE HAVE TOURED PLAYING IN CHROMATICS SINCE 2002.
WE’VE NEVER TOURED THE UNITED STATES WITH THE SAME LINEUP.
I CAN’T EVEN KEEP TRACK ANYMORE!
IN THE BEGINNING THE SHOWS WERE PUNKIER AND MORE ABRASIVE SOUNDING, NOW WHO KNOWS?
ENTERTAINMENT IS THE PRIORITY OF THIS LINEUP.
OUR MUSIC IS AN ESCAPE FOR OURSELVES AND HOPEFULLY FOR THE AUDIENCE.
Chromatics - Icey Jungle
Chromatics - In the City


(8) You've got me really craving for more Chromatics stuff, so when's the next tour or release coming out? And do you have any special plans for the future ... collaborations, exotic releases ... ?

WE JUST COMPLETED ALL THE SONGS FOR OUR NEW 12” RECORD, “IN THE CITY” WHICH WILL BE COMING OUT LATER THIS SPRING ON THE NEW TROUBLEMAN DANCE LABEL CALLED ITALIANS DO IT BETTER.
THERE ARE SOME SPECIAL SURPRISES ON IT.
IT’S THE FIRST CHROMATICS RECORD WHERE WE DO A SPRINGSTEEN SONG.
AND IT’S NOT GOING TO BE THE LAST TIME WE COVER A SONG BY THE BOSS EITHER.....
OUR ALBUM “SHINING VIOLENCE” WILL BE OUT IN THE FALL 2007 ALSO ON ITALIANS....
WE’VE BEEN WORKING ON “SHINING VIOLENCE” SINCE 2004, TRIED OUT A LOT OF IDEAS, AND NOW IT’S REALLY COMING TOGETHER.
RUTH JOINED THE BAND IN LATE 2006.
SHE’S BEEN DOING THE VOCALS FOR THE ALBUM AND THEY SOUND GREAT!
THE ENTHUSIASM WITHIN THE GROUP FOR ANY CHROMATICS RECORD HAS NEVER BEEN HIGHER.

(9) If I'm remembering correctly, you're from Seattle. What sort of music scene's happening up there? Anything exciting and worth mentioning? It's always interesting to me how cities all across the country have unique characters to them, unique styles and ambiances ... how does that apply -- if at all -- to Seattle?

CHROMATICS RELOCATED TO PORTLAND FROM SEATTLE ABOUT A YEAR AGO.
PORTLAND IS A GREAT PLACE.
IT HAS THE FEEL OF A REALLY OLD CITY, BUT WITH AN ABUNDANCE OF NEW LIFE AND ENERGY.
IN PORTLAND THERE ARE MANY BANDS AND CREATIVE PEOPLE WORKING HARD AT THEIR CRAFT, BECAUSE OF THIS PORTLAND IS GOING TO BURST BACK UP ON THE MAP AGAIN REAL SOON.
THEN THE RENTS WILL RISE AND WE’LL ALL HAVE TO MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE.

(0) Who's the woman on the "Nite" single? Actually, visually, what sort of style do you shoot for with cover art? It's a big part of records, and it's interesting to hear how different bands approach it in different ways. Anything special you're shooting for there?

THE WOMAN ON THE COVER OF THE "NITE" SINGLE IS MY FRIEND LENA OKAZAKI WHO IS A GREAT VISUAL ARTIST.
OUR FRIEND JODY FAUSETT TOOK THE PHOTOGRAPH.
HE IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPHERS (CHECK OUT HIS STUFF AT WWW.GMPHOTOREP.COM).
OUR VISUAL STYLE IS INFLUENCED BY MANY THINGS, TO NAME A FEW............. THE PHOTOGRAPHERS GUY BOURDIN + HELMUT NEWTON, SATURATED VHS HORROR MOVIE SLEEVES FROM THE 70’S AND 80’S, CRYSTALS, CASSETTE TAPE ARTWORK, UNDERWATER RUINS, CARS, TECHNOLOGY, MIRRORS, LIGHTING....THERE ARE SO MANY...

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Chromatics Interview (Part 1 of 2)

chromatics
The Portland-based enigmatic band, Chromatics, has been around in some shape or form since circa 2000, playing an also every-changing style of music. Currently, the band is with Troubleman Records, prepping a single and album, both of which will be released ... later this year.
Stylistically, Chromatics sound like heavily dubbed punk trax mixed with post-punk atmospheric qualities and dark, swirling dirges that hypnotize you and never let go.
Read on for a very forward and direct interview I had with Adam Miller, one of the few members in the band who has always maintained a presence.


(1) Okay, you've got a little bit of clearing up to do for me here. I remember vividly listening to Chrome Rats vs. Basement Rutz when it came out in 2003 and being so thrilled by its lo-fi gritty aesthetic. I hadn't really gotten into No Wave stuff at the time (old or new), and I'd not yet really heard any of groups that were supposedly similar to you (i.e. Erase Errata, Hot Snakes), so it was a totally fresh experience. But your line-up changed and you started releasing singles on Troubleman ... what exactly happened there?

IN AUGUST 2004 THE BAND UNDERWENT ANOTHER CHANGE IN OUR LINEUP.
WE BEGAN WORKING AGAIN WITH JOHNNY JEWEL (HE PRODUCED “CHROME RATS VS. BASEMENT RUTZ”).
FROM THAT POINT ON, WE DECIDED TO PLACE MORE EMPHASIS ON THE BEAT AND VOCAL ELEMENTS OF CHROMATICS.
AS MUSIC FANS WE REALIZED THAT THESE WERE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF SONGS WE HAD ALWAYS BEEN DRAWN TO BUT HAD NOT YET FULLY EXPLORED IN OUR MUSIC.
ALL THE MUSIC WE LOVE, FROM CAROLE KING TO R. KELLY TO THROBBING GRISTLE TO HALL & OATES PLACES SO MUCH IMPORTANCE ON THE VOICE AND THE PULSE.

IN THE PAST THE BAND HAD RELEASED ALL OF OUR RECORDS ON WEST COAST RECORD LABELS (K, HAND HELD HEART, GSL, NFJM) WE WANTED TO TRY PUTTING OUT ONE WITH TROUBLEMAN BECAUSE THEY WERE BASED ON THE EAST COAST AND THOUGHT THAT THAT MIGHT HELP EXPOSE US TO A NEW AUDIENCE.
MIKE SIMONETTI (PRESIDENT OF TMU/ITALIANS DO IT BETTER) DJ’S ALL OVER THE WORLD, WORKING WITH HIM WAS A GOOD COMPLIMENT TO GO WITH OUR SHIFT IN DIRECTION.
HE HAS OPENED UP A LOT OF DOORS FOR US.

(2) One thing that I find so great about your stuff is that it seems pretty timeless. You've certainly got influences all over the place (No Wave, punk, early techno), but your current style is so full of subtleties and minimalist qualities that it's hard to pinpoint any one style. Which is really great. What do you think you draw from, and where do you think you fit in now?

THANKS, THAT’S A NICE COMPLIMENT.
THE CONSTANT IDEA BEHIND CHROMATICS HAS ALWAYS BEEN TO STRIP OUR MUSIC BARE AND LEAVE ONLY WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR THE SONG.
SOMETIMES WE HAVE MUSIC THAT WE’RE REALLY PROUD OF BUT IT DOESN’T ADD ANYTHING TO A SONG SO IT ENDS UP NOT EVEN BEING USED.
IT’S COOL THOUGH BECAUSE EVENTUALLY THE MUSIC WE MAY HAVE DISCARDED WILL WORK IT’S WAY INTO ANOTHER IDEA... WE TRY TO LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN FOR ANYTHING.

WE DRAW INFLUENCE FROM OUR LIVES.
FOR MYSELF LATELY I’VE BEEN REALLY INTO PLAYING 80’S SINGLES AT 33 RPM INSTEAD OF 45, MEN’S FASHION MAGAZINES, MY CO-WORKERS AND THE IMAGES ON THE SIDES OF PRODUCE BOXES, AND TOP 40 RADIO BUT THAT ONE HAS ALWAYS HAD A HEAVY INFLUENCE ON ME.
OUR GOAL IS TO STAY CURRENT.
I WANT CHROMATICS TO SOUND RIGHT ON TIME.
TODAY IS WHERE CHROMATICS FIT IN.

(3) A couple dumber questions ... firstly, where'd you get the name Chromatics?

CHROMATICS IS SHORT FOR MONOCHROMATICS.
MONOCHROMATICS ARE THE DIFFERENT TINTS AND TONES OF A COLOR.
A FITTING NAME FOR ALL THE IDENTITIES THROUGHOUT THE HISTORY OF THE GROUP.
EVEN THOUGH THE SOUND HAS CHANGED DRASTICALLY SINCE CHROMATICS STARTED THE MUSIC IS STILL COMING FROM A SIMILAR PLACE IT ALWAYS HAS.
Chromatics - Shining Violence
Chromatics - Dark Day (demo)


(4) And secondly, how'd you hook up as a band? As I understand it, you used to be a quartet, now you're a duo ... what was the development there?

SINCE 2000 CHROMATICS HAS BEEN A SOLO GROUP, A DUO, A TRIO, A QUARTET, A DUO AGAIN, A TRIO AGAIN, A DUO AGAIN AND THEN A FEW MORE TRIOS.
IT WAS JUST THE WAY THINGS WORKED OUT.
I NEVER WANTED THIS BAND TO COME TO AN END BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE UNABLE TO COMMIT TO IT.
THE BAND HAS ALWAYS JUST KEPT ON GOING.
RIGHT NOW CHROMATICS IS A TRIO AGAIN CONSISTING OF RUTH RADELET ON VOCALS, JOHNNY JEWEL ON SYTHESIZERS/THE BEAT AND MYSELF WITH THE GUITARS.
EVERYBODY ADDS SOMETHING SPECIAL TO THE SONGWRITING PROCESS.
WE ALL CHALLENGE EACH OTHER AND OURSELVES TO STAY RELEVANT.
THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER.

(5) I've always liked your mysterious edge. How you'll release a few singles, never really pop up in a big way, and then die back down for a little while. How much planning goes into this or is just something innate?

THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION.
NO PLANNING HAS EVER BEEN INVOLVED IN THIS, IT’S JUST THE WAY THINGS HAVE WORKED OUT FOR CHROMATICS.
BUT I AM GLAD IT HAS WORKED OUT THAT WAY BECAUSE IT HAS ALLOWED US TO MAKE MISTAKES AND GROW FROM THEM OUT OF THE SPOTLIGHT.

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22.4.07

Klaxons, 4.21 at the ExPlx

klaxons live
Klaxons' show was last night (4.21 at the ExPlx, AKA the basement of the Echo) and I liked it ... okay. Man did I hate the crowd, but man did I love the band.
Everyone that came was so jaded that they were "over" the concert and band before the even got in the queue for tickets and will-call. Good job, N.M.E. ... your desire to find the "next thing" every 5 seconds does nothing but make the music of today -- good and bad alike -- all the more disposable. Concerts -- Klaxons or otherwise -- aren't supposed to be where you are seen by the Cobra Snake or shake Steve Aoki's hand ... you're supposed to enjoy the authenticity of sound that the band (hopefully) represents.
And Klaxons are genuine and unique. Don't spit on something seminal like this so quickly ... please.

But yeah ... the show was good. The set was well-rounded and the transition from studio to live was nicely done. The group was totally on top of their game ... man did it show. Klaxons can definitely get a crowd going, and they made that super apparent last night, thumping bass right into my gut, setting the beats and rhythms os precisely no one could lose it, not be able to dance along. Any band that's so into their thing -- feeling such a vibe -- needs to be commended. I'm just sorry that the audience had to be so damn lame.
(Check out my photo set).
Klaxons - It's Not Over Yet (Live on MPR)
Klaxons - Golden Skans (Live on MPR)
Klaxons - As Above So Below (Live on MPR)

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21.4.07

Happy Together

pandatone
Trevor, the kind face behind NYC's Music Related (which released the great Shugo Tokumaru's debut) sent me his Pandatone project's latest album, Happy Together yesterday.
I'm really digging this LP. Pandatone is a glitch-pop/IDM genius, and Happy Together -- his first record in three years -- makes this completely clear.

The CD is more mature than the previous efforts ... it's slowed down, more contained and thought through, but certainly no less unpredictable and sporadic at times. The patience involved in the production of the 8-track album is what makes it's so spectacular ...

Additionally, Pandatone does some collaboration with a female vocalist on several tracks here, adding to the organic qualities that make the CD so accessible and pleasing.
Be sure to get these teaser MP3s, check the MySpace page, and buy the thing once it's out!
Pandatone - I Forgot If We Dreamed
Pandatone - Did It Happen

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20.4.07

Arctic Monkeys B-Sides

arctic monkeys
I thought you all might like a few Arctic Monkeys B-Sides for the weekend ahead.
The album itself is not quite what I'd expected, but ... I like it. "Fluorescent Adolescent" is spectacular.

Enough talk from me. Just check out these stellar B-Sides from the Brianstorm single. Man are those titles a mouthful!
Arctic Monkeys - Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend
Arctic Monkeys - What If You Were Right the Firs Time

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Star Destroyer

alex delivery
Jagjaguwar's Alex Delivery is really blowing me away.
The five-piece NYC-based group plays this bizarre, scratchy, abrasive sort of Krautrock. Instead of their songs relying on slow, prog-rock kinds of jams, they instead just magically pile up layer upon layer of skewed, sparse drumming, wails, screeching guitars, and eerie keyboard and synth lines.

It's a bit of a choir to get through this stuff, but it's super interesting and I just can't stop listening ... a turn at each note, a surprise at each beat ... I've no idea even how to categorize it, it's so new and unknown to me!

Check out the MySpace page, download the "Komad" track below, and get the album, Star Destroyer!
Alex Delivery - Komad

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19.4.07

In Honor of Soulwax

soulwax
I'm unfortunately (fortunately?) not going to Coachella this year.
The whether in L.A. sucks anyway ... I feel like the Jesus & Mary Chain are going to have to cancel their show or something because of a tree falling on the stage due to intense winds.

I shouldn't be so bitter, though. It'll be great!
Soulwax is one of the groups that I would really like to see live. The stuff they've produced is mind-boggling to me. Such a wide array of electronic dance tracks -- from the 2 Many DJs output to the remixes -- and more rock-oriented stuff under their own name ...

Anyway. To get you all pumped for their time in the U.S., read an excerpt of this ace interview they did with Urge. And ... just to remind you all of how fantastic the group is, download the "E Taking (Soulwax Nite Version)" song they did with Nancy Whang (of LCD Soundsystem fame) way back in 2005 ... Enjoy!
Soulwax - E Taking (Soulwax Nite Version feat. Nancy Whang)
URGE: A lot of European dance-music makers are still shocked by their
difficulty breaking in America. Why do you think it's so hard?

David Dewaele: I have many theories. One of them is, in terms of dance
music, America is still very traditional in many ways. I think for all
kinds of music in America, you need to do it live. I don't think America
is ready yet to watch people play a laptop. They need a show, a
frontman, a drummer. Even in hip-hop. You can mix the most advanced kind
of electronic, weird hip-hop, and if you want to do it live — even
Timbaland or The Neptunes' stuff — they bring in some s****y
drummer and [yell corny stuff like] "wave your hands in the air." I
think that's a typical American thing; it's the reason why The Prodigy
works, and something like Underworld won't. In essence, Prodigy has a
frontman going, "Come on, jump up and down!"

URGE: Is that why you've incorporated a live-band performance aspect
into Radio Soulwax? Are you trying to trick people into liking dance
music?

Dewaele: Yeah, like a scheme. [Laughs.] No, it's a lot more simple. We
made Nite Versions, and we wanted to do it live. The thing with Radio
Soulwax is that it's set up like a continuous party. It's not
necessarily a live gig then a DJ set; it's one continuous performance,
where one flows into the other. The thing that everyone keeps talking
about is the blend of indie and dance music, electro and new-rave,
whatever you call it. To us, that's just normal. It's what The Clash
used to do. People think a little bit too much in categories. If you can
dance to it, it works. That was at the basis of 2 many dj's and with
Radio Soulwax, it was just an extension of that. In our heads, it
doesn't really matter if it's Vitalic or Justice, or WhoMadeWho that we
bring with us on tour. It's all the same aesthetic for us. It musically
brings the same point.

URGE: With all your various personas, it's sometimes difficult to figure
out what separates Soulwax from 2 many dj's. You're a band, you're DJs,
you're remixers, but you remix yourselves, and reinterpret your music in
different ways.

Dewaele: I don't think it'll seem so confusing in a few years time. In
2007, it's almost like the only way to go. If you're just a band touring
... you're like thousands of other bands doing the same. A lot of
upcoming kids who send us stuff do the same thing: They're a band that
plays drums, remixes, produces other people. It's almost becoming the
norm. With things like the music industry changing and the Internet and
MySpace, definitely the way people put out music or express creativity
is changing as well. We all have to adapt to it, and whatever we're
doing won't seem abnormal.

URGE: Sampling is integral to your music. When was the first time you
were aware of it?

Dewaele: The first time I heard Grandmaster Flash. He would spend hours
going through records, finding, to him, the best 15 seconds of the
records, and repeat it on the turntables. I still think what was amazing
about hip-hop — De La Soul or Public Enemy — is that they
took the best bits out of records. Subconsciously, what we do as DJs is
take the essence of a track and play that bit, instead of playing a six-
or eight-minute track. We will just play the one minute and a half that
we think is important, and go back and forth. Or edit it in a way that
it will make sense to us. That is kind of what attracted me, in the
beginning of sampling, to early hip-hop.

URGE: It's interesting that the mash-up remix is very much in the vein
of old hip-hop and innovators like Grandmaster Flash.

Dewaele: One of the biggest compliments we'd ever gotten was from Tom
Silverman from the label Tommy Boy, when 2 many dj's' [debut] just came
out. He contacted us to say that he thought it was the most exciting
[music] he had heard since Three Feet High and Rising, and it reminded
him so much of what happened back then. In a way, that's true. In 2003,
you wouldn't have been able to make that De La Soul album anymore,
because of [the strict sampling laws]. But when that album came out,
everyone was asleep. Then, all of a sudden, everyone woke up and started
copying them. We were oblivious to it then, but I can see now that the 2
many dj's CD struck a chord at the perfect time in a similar way.

URGE: When As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2 was released it popularized
the concept of the mash-up. How were you able to clear all of the
samples?

Dewaele: We can't really take credit for it, because in a way it was the
record company who found a loophole by clearing things only for Belgium
and Holland and then exporting it to the rest of the world, which, at
that point, had just become legal because of the European Union. It's
kind of a loophole, and not so cool [laughs], but they claimed it was
the only way to do it. If they had to clear it for real for the U.K. or
U.S., it would have been a nightmare. On the publishing side, I guess it
was the first time that ... well, I don't want to get too specific, but
it used to be a rule that on a mix album, when two tracks overlap, you
can only have a cross-fade of seven seconds. Obviously, if we have an a
cappella of three minutes and put it over an instrumental of three
minutes, we're breaking the rules. So the CD went to the courts, and two
major record labels took us to court. We won both cases, so in that way,
it was a legal precedent as well.

URGE: Where's the song "E-Talking" really coming from?

Dewaele: It comes from years of playing for people who are on ecstasy
and myself not being on ecstasy (I've never done drugs in my life). It's
strange to find yourself surrounded by people who cannot wait to share
their thoughts with you. [Laughs.] But having said that, the track is a
little bit of a joke about how you find yourself in a dressing room, and
there are four guys there who want to tell you their ideas for creating
a magazine. And you're just like, "I have no idea what you're talking
about, but it sounds really funny."


URGE: When was the last time you danced?

Dewaele: Two months ago, I danced all night with my friend Erol [Alkan],
who did the weekly Trash party in London. It was the last night of the
party because he wanted to stop it on a high. It was kind of emotional,
too, because it was the end of something that had meant so much to us,
but I had the best time ever.

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On Reflection ... Clarky Cat

clarky cat
One of my favorite blogs, Missingtoof wrote a spectacular piece on the Neon Plastix. The post features of remix of a Late of the Pier (many hugz and kisses!) which I gobbled up.

Then, I was prompter to look into my, uh ... "BiBaBiDi Archives" to see what New-Rave-related goods I could bring forth, not only for myself, but for all of you, too!

Clarky Cat is what I found. These guys are definitely working in the same vein as like, Klaxons and Late of the Pier, but they're a little poppier. I swear the singer sounds like Robert Smith ... and there's too much experimental stuff going on instrumentally to write these four off as "just another New-Rave group."
So don't do it! Check out some of these trax at their MySpace and download a few from below!
Clarky Cat - A Reason
Clarky Cat - Falling Into Place
Clarky Cat - Decide
Clarky Cat - Fork In the Eye

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18.4.07

Next Level, Vol. 1 No. 3

next level vol. 1 no. 3
Next Level Vol. 1, No. 3 is finally complete and ready for download!
This issue is the most ambitious yet, featuring two interviews (from Chromatics and the French duo, Hey Hey My My), two mixes (from the Work from Norway and Real Gold in London), and loads of other features.
Download it from one of the following links! Enjoy!
Next Level Vol. 1, No. 3
Next Level Vol. 1, No. 3 (alternative link)
Next Level Vol. 1, No. 2
Next Level Vol. 1, No. 2 (alternative link)
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17.4.07

The Work's Spring Mix for Next Level

the work
Remember the Work? That spectacular Norwegian dance/electronic duo I wrote about a while back?
Well, the insanely kind and willing act agreed to make a live mix at their Powerblytt dance club in Bergen for the new issue of Next Level.
The mix is raucous ... the development, the crescendo, the build-up, the adrenaline ... it's spectacular. As they themselves put it, it's 6 hours at the club condensed into 45 minutes.
The live mix features such greats as MSTRKRFT, Van She, remixes by the Teenagers, Daft Punk, Cajuan, and many more.
While you're downloading the .mp3, get your hands on the liner notes as well!
Love this band with all your heart. BiBaBiDi is eternally indebted.
The Work's Spring Mix for Next Level
The Work's Spring Mix for Next Level Liner Notes

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Cherries In the Snow


I was just listening to some Pixies today ... just remembering how great a band they were and all, reflecting on how many heart string they pulled ...
And while NYC's Elk City isn't quite the same, they do have a similar approach to making what I'd like to call ... alternative rock. Yeah, it's post-punk, it's clean, it's dreamy with a bit of psych here and there, a bit of John Cale and early art-rockers like that ... but at it's core, Elk City pays its biggest dues to the Pixies.
And they friggin' pull it off with flying colors. Their sound is completely unique ... it's a remembrance and respectful re-interpretation of alternative (post-alternative?) rather than a copy, but don't think this trio ain't all about the Pixies.

Anyway ... listen to a few tracks and watch their spectacular video for "Cherries In the Snow." Be impressed.
Elk City - Cherries In the Snow
Elk City - Los Cruzados

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The Old Soul

the old soul
I'm a big fan of Friendly Fire -- one of the best small indie labels out there -- and am really happy to see them releasing more stuff for 2007.
I thought it maybe ended with Asobi Seksu's debut album, but these guys hung in there, signed more spectacular groups, and now are really making a statement.

I'm especially liking the Old Soul who are soon to release their self-titled debut LP. The band has this very theatrical approach to making indie music. Many of the tracks have this sort of gypsy aesthetic to them ... but they're not quite that straightforward. The Canadian group has this Grandaddy sort of quality -- start-stop folk rock with just enough synths and samples to make them something new and unique -- but they're a little more ambitious.
Listen to these orchestrations! These arrangements! The harpsichord lines, the sharp bass lines ... man is the Old Soul right on the money!
the Old Soul - Nectar of the Nitwit
the Old Soul - River of Daughters

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16.4.07

It's A Bit Complicated, From Unmastered to ...

art brut
Art Brut's finishing and prepping it's sophomore album, It's a Bit Complicated, and man is it sounding spectacular, even in its incomplete, unmastered current state.
The arrangements are denser, the [surprisingly awesome and addictive] pop hooks are even more alluring, and the band just sounds more collected, more tight, more on top of their game than ever before.

If this is an indication of anything negative, it would probably be that the group's gotten softer, right? That's what I was thinking on first listen to "Nag Nag Nag Nag" and "Direct Hit," but after some consideration ... nope. Lyrically, the band is just as sharp and sarcastic and cynical than they were with the debut. No sophomore slump for these five ...
How could there be one, though? Art Brut is the band least likely to ever mold itself to any sort of typical band structure.
Art Brut - Post Soothing Out
Art Brut - Late Sunday

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15.4.07

Von Südenfed!

von sudenfed
Who would have thought that Mark E. Smith of the Fall would ever go off to work on a side project, especially a side project with the Germany techno-leaning IDM duo, Mouse on Mars!?

The collaboration is spectacular! The lead single, "Fledermaus Can't Get It" (video) is an addictive funk-addled spazzy jam with Smith on full, schizophrenic vocal duties. He's all over the place on these tracks, and man do I love it.

The Fall's gone through many ups and downs -- the 90s being a down, the earlier part of the 00s being an up, with 2007 marking the next down -- but I think Smith's jumping on board this side-project was the best way conceivable to get over the inevitable humps.
So many props to him indeed!
Von Südenfed - The Rhinohead
Von Südenfed - Flooded

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Lagging, Lagging Behind ...

das glow
It's been a very fast week in the real world, but a very slow week on BiBaBiDi. My apologies! It's too easy to get tied up and spread too thin ...
Hopefully, some of my efforts from this past week will be post-worthy, though ... fingers crossed.

Anyway, I'll hold off on a bigger post until tomorrow or something, but I wanted to introduce you all to ... Das Glow, a doomsday sounding French dance electro group. I really like this stuff! It's so cold and chilling, but with a vibrancy to it that's not unlike Ed Banger or Kitsune. Imagine a more dancey and human Kraftwerk or something of that nature ...

Check out the MySpace for some additional tunes!

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11.4.07

Lucky Soul B-Sides

lucky soul
I am absolutely enamored with the British six-piece, Lucky Soul. They're like, Mazzy Star done by the Ronettes or something. A little bit of Mazzy Star in there, a little bit of the Pipette ... but completely unique in their own way.

Some of these unreleased B-Sides remind me a lot of like, the Ravonettes (who happen to be great admirers of the band), but they're cleaner, crisper, and a little more jovial, bouncy.

The singer, Ali Howard, has one of the most beautiful voices in Glasgow, so who could ask for more!?
Lucky Soul - Give Me Love (Remastered)
Luck Soul - That Hollywood Glow
Lucky Soul - I Gots the Magic

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10.4.07

New Tracks, Working For a Nuclear Free City

working for a nuclear free city
They got friggin' awesome, Working for a Nuclear Free City! The group's self-titled debut was killer -- an amazing blend of post-punk electronic and dream-pop -- but now they've become more confident and established with their latest release, Rocket EP.

It's rockier with more ballad-y qualities, but man is it solid. They've picked up this Broadcast sort of shoegaze thing. The group's still all about abrupt starts and stops, but they've a flow to it all now that's really spectacular.

Check some of this stuff out, man!
Working for a Nuclear Free City - Rocket
Working for a Nuclear Free City - Stone Cold

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8.4.07

We're Good People (CSS Remix)

the mules
You all have been wanting the .mp3 of this for a long time, I know it.
The Mules remixed by CSS. The Mules have been often compared to Talking Heads (not quite as intellectual, though ... sorry). They're from London and look the part -- oxfords, sweater vests and all -- so they're the perfect opposite of CSS. Beautifully blended. It's incessant, but ohhh man is it good!
the Mules - We're Good People (CSS Remix)

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Something to Dance To

finally punk
I was listening to my music archives the other day and went through quite a bit of Siouxsie & the Banshees and Lydia Lunch's stuff. The recent reminding of both musicians and groups made these two discoveries all the more pleasant and welcome ...

The Violets sound a lot a lot a lot like Siouxsie ... er maybe more like the Creatures. The female vocalist has quite the talent, really belting it out with that unique Siouxsie-esque screech. The rest of the band sounds sort of like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs sans Karen O. Pretty stellar guitar work here (jumping all over the place, integrating the bass with the melody), and the drumming ain't bad, either. In fact, it really sounds like Budgie's on drums: it's tribal, paced, concrete, and firm, but still experimental in terms of rhythms and how it all fits in with the rather sparse instrumentals. Be certain to get to their MySpace page.

Finally Punk is definitely the cheerier of these two, but absolutely no less compelling. Most of the band's songs are rather short and spastic, but pretty damn chaotic (random drum fills, flute flails, goofy riffs). I love the vocalist so much, though. She sings in this weird sort of monotone that's a little restrained, I think, but very bold. There's no competition between vocalist and instrumentalists which makes the whole production very exciting and more pleasing than your generic "noise" group would probably be.

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5.4.07

Crystal Castles Demos

crystal castles
Crystal Castles is working on an EP called Untrust Us that will be released through S.L.U. Records ... soon.
Judging by the demos, it will be fantastic ... (listen to a few songs on their alternative MySpace page.)
Frankly, I'm surprised that they even decided to make something as structured as an EP. In my interview with them, I remember how they consistently said they are not a band etc. ...
Note: Crystal Castles have never done an interview; only random friends have answered their questions for them.
So it's cool to see them doing something here. The EP is absolutely "cleaner" and more labored. Check some of the tracks out, and then pre-order it!
Crystal Castles - 1983
Crystal Castles - Rot
Crystal Castles - Untrust Us

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The Ocean Floor

the ocean floor
I've been listening with the utmost fascination to the Ocean Floor for a week or so now, and am glad to present it to you all!
The band is the brainchild of Lane Barrington who composes these rather lo-fi, folky, free-jazz sort of songs. They're pop tunes, that's for sure, but the style would more specifically be described as like, twee jazz. Basoon, flute, banjo, and other interesting instruments fill out his start-stop structure well. On top of that, he's got quite a rhythm section; the beat always seems to be crumbling, scatterbrained, but there's continuity and form there making the songs all the more sweet and endearing.

Be sure to check out the MySpace page and then download a few tracks for later enjoyment.
the Ocean Floor - Down the Drain
the Ocean Floor - A Simple Adventure
the Ocean Floor - Once I Was a Newlywed

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4.4.07

Things To Come

envelopes
Envelopes are finally getting around to releasing their much-anticipated follow-up album, Here Comes the Wind. Man am I liking this stuff! The band's gotten a little grittier, but with it, they've become more confident, writing better hooks, layering more appropriately, yet maintaining their ... sweet.
There's something mildly psychedelic about some of this stuff, but ...

Whatever. Judge for yourself, okay? (My apologies for posting rather low-quality tracks ... it's the best I can get, though.)
Envelopes - I Like 2 C U
Envelopes - Heaven

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3.4.07

The Presets, "Hung Down"

the presets
I finally got a Modular Records t-shirt. It's got quite a bizarre design -- a skull with a masquerade mask would be the best description -- but I dig it. The envelope it was sent in was jammed with random Modular stuff -- EPs, singles, stickers -- but attached to the shirt (a sort of impromptu tag) was a special promo CD.

My favorite track is "Hung Down" by the Presets. As far as I can tell, it's just a re-edit of "Down Down Down" by the band, but it's dancey and fun and not quite as abrasive as other Presets stuff ... although it's plenty scratchy and frantic. Worry not.

Check it out.
the Presets - Hung Down

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1.4.07

Woah Wah Woo

the sweptaways
Lookin' for a band that'll fill the gap that the Futureheads have left in your heart? Look See Proof may be the guys for you. Thick British accents, sharp, simple guitar hooks, and a slowly-churning yet vital rhythm section make these lads a really fun group. There's plenty to sing along to here, too, which I'm sure flies high with the 14+ crowd. Man do I like those drums ... so speedy, so frantic, so precise. Ahh ...

Stockholm's the Sweptaways are really pushin' my buttons. They're like, a 20-some-odd-piece a'cappella that does covers of classics by folks such as Lesley Gore, Jenny Wilson, Pet Shop Boys, Kiss, Black Sabbath, Embassy, Monica Törnell, El Perro del Mar and Kate Bush. Pretty quirky idea, and it's well carried out. They've cool artwork and some rad digs to match (imagine the Polyphonic Spree meets Marie Antoinette or something of that variety).
the Sweptaways - Wuthering Heights

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