Legend has it Vex Ruffin is the only artist Peanut Butter Wolf signed to his Stones Throw label on the merits of an unsolicited demo tape. PBW apparently liked the drawing on the cover and decided to check it out. The untrained punk musician and UPS driver thought his friends were goofin’ on him when he got the phone call.
With that kind of an origin story, you owe it to yourself to give Vex Ruffin a listen. What you’ll hear is really hard to pin down. Vex’s detached vocals recall Beck’s early years. Those wicked minimalist basslines could be outtakes from a previously unreleased Can (or Stones Roses?) record. The eerie, reverb-drenched synths and sounds smack of Cabaret Voltaire’s industrial funk. And that’s just side one of his latest album, Conveyor.
All told, Vex Ruffin is fun to listen to and hard to label. What do you expect from someone who says his favorite artists in high school were The Cure and DMX?
20 tracks to hopefully get your springtime started off on the right foot!
1. The Gain – You Should Know (vinyl rip)
2. Thee Oh Sees – Bloody Water
3. Gang of Four – Glass
4. DiCaprio – Ectoslavia
5. Tomorrow’s Tulips – Hotel Nowhere
6. Karriem Riggins – Other Side of The Track
7. DJ Okawari – Bounce (feat. Talib Kweli)
8. Grandaddy – That’s What You Get For Gettin’ Outta Bed
9. Say Hi – Elouise
10. Gum Country – Whoa Oh
11. Nice Legs – Ashtrays
12. Ultramagnetic MC’s – Critical Beatdown
13. Oddisee – Digging Deep
14. Pilkington – All Around The Neighborhood
15. Easy Love – I Want You To Know
16. Molly Burch – Please Be Mine
17. No Vacation – Mind Field
18. Idles – Well Done
19. Elastica – Stutter
20. Damaged Bug – Bog Dash
One of my biggest bummers about not going to SXSW this year was missing the Discotexas showcase featuring Moullinex, Bufi, Da Chick and my favorite artist on the Portuguese label, Xinobi.
Xinobi is nom de plume of Bruno Cardoso, who co-founded Discotexas and puts out genre-omnivorous dance music such as you’ll find on his latest, On the Quiet. One moment you’ll hear Ian MacKaye extolling the virtues of skateboarding over delicate synths and a shuffling beat, the very next you’ll hear a club friendly slice of emo house.
As eclectic as it is, On the Quiet is a digestible delight to the ears, a funhouse labyrinth of minimalist beats, warm synths, and organic samples with an array of human voices to guide you through. And, if you opt for the physical format, you’ll be treated to ‘zine-style liner notes. So why not indulge?
[Buy On the Quiet as it was meant to be heard – on luxurious, imported vinyl – in the 3hive Co-op Shop, while supplies last.]
Trementina describe their latest album as “music for lucid dreaming”. Not a bad “file under” for a band intent on evolving beyond the My Bloody Valentine tributes that drew listeners to 2014’s solid shoegazer effort Almost Reach the Sun.
New influences and elements mark each track, from the lilting Beach House sound of “Please, Let’s Go Away” to the cavernous dub of “A Place Up in the Sky”. The modulated wall of guitar and rumbling drums get traded for otherworldly atmospherics with a backbone of machine beats, clearing a bigger space for singer Vanessa Cea to fill with her angelic vocals. Given Cea’s presence it’s tempting to compare her to a coherent Robin Guthrie or playful Siouxsie Sioux but, taking the album in as a whole, her range is too wide to peg.
Compared to earlier recordings, the album feels more connected to its origins: the band’s home studio in the remote town of Valdivia, Chile (its title, 810, refers to the distance in kilometers from the capitol city of Santiago). While I’ve never been, these songs seem to evoke the moods and mindset of a place only the band knows well enough to communicate.
810 is escapist and intimate at the same time, and one of my favorites of 2017 so far.
[Buy Trementina’s 810 on shiny new vinyl in the 3hive Co-op Shop, while supplies last.]
Sneaks is the stage name of Washington, D.C.’s Eva Moolchan. On her latest, It’s a Myth, she sticks with her post-punk recipe of stripped-down jams – comprised of a delicious groove and bizarro Double Dutch rhymes – each with an understated swagger that will leave you craving more.
[Buy It’s a Myth on vinyl in the 3hive Co-op Shop, at a nice “friends of 3hive” price, while supplies last.]
It all started with hearing Thundercat’s ‘Friend Zone’ for the first time. I immediately started thinking about what other songs would go with it in a mix – and it grew from there – 25 tracks of toe tapping groove. Thanks for inspiring this mix, Thundercat!
1. Stevie Wonder – Higher Ground (London, 1974)
2. Thundercat – Friend Zone
3. Al Green – Because
4. Natural Child – Benny’s Here
5. Once And Future Band – Rolando
6. BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah – Ray Gun (feat. DOOM)
7. Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings – Tell Me
8. Carla Thomas – Let Me Be Good To You
9. Lazy Salon – Sea Isle Ice
10. RUMTUM – Lost Ark
11. Gap Dream – Shine Your Light
12. Lazy Knuckles – Polygot
13. Gonjasufi – Ancestors
14. Adrian Younge – La Ballade
15. Blood Orange – Best To You
16. Bad Juju – Up In The Lab
17. Flying Lotus – Zodiac Shit
18. The Meters – You’ve Got To Change (You Got To Reform)
19. Booker T. & The M.G.’s – Chicken Pox
20. The Mar-Keys – Last Night
21. The Courtneys – Mars Attacks (Bobby Draino Remix)
22. Moderat – Reminder
23. Lasso – FkdLtd
24. Madvillain – Heat Niner
25. Dibia$e – Just The Way
Lazy Salon (the solo project of Twin Atlas member Sean Byrne) is a post I’ve been meaning to get on 3hive since 2015 when his EP, LZY_SLN-003, arrived in my inbox. His clever usage of organic and electronic beats and instrumentation really hit the spot for me. As inbox’s go (at least for me) Sean’s email was lost, or buried in the shuffle and LZY_SLN-003 never made it onto the site.
Today I right the ship, as Sean is about to release his debut LP (as Lazy Salon) Invisible Like Peace. Like his 3 EP’s before, Byrne is still creating his musical landscapes with live and electronic instruments. Invisible Like Peace is rich in texture and melody as can be heard on album track, “Ong’s Hat” below.
I highly recommend giving Lazy Salon’s stuff a spin and picking up Invisible Like Peace from Byrne’s Bandcamp page as soon as it releases – Friday, March 10.
Lazy Salon – Ong’s Hat from Invisible Like Peace (2017)
Lazy Salon – Nesco Gloss from LZY_SLN-003 (2015)
If you happened to catch Tim Gane’s Tim Gane’s two-hour takeover of the Solid Steel podcast, you know he digs deep. His set was a mesmerizing tour of rare birds in the vinyl collecting kingdom, including a sinister track by Detroit electro pioneer Shifted Phases that will run you $200 for a decent copy. Gane covers a musical spectrum so wide that his SS mix broke into Mixcloud’s Electronic, House, Jazz, and Techno charts when it dropped last spring.
All this to say, Tim Gane is gonna bring some pretty esoteric reference points to whatever he does – as proven by Stereolab’s history of puzzling the critics – and his Cavern of Anti-Matter project is no exception. The debut, blood-drums is a love letter to kosmische musik, leaning toward the all-analog synth sounds of Tangerine Dream and skittering beats of Kraftwerk, but also borrows from psych rock, improvisational jazz, and early industrial at times. The result is a thrill ride for your ears, best enjoyed with a fat pair of headphones or over a club PA.
Fitting of its crate-digging founder, copies of blood-drums had been selling for $150+ as it was pressed in a limited run on German label Grautag. Now it has been reissued as a 6-sided LP on Stereolab’s house label, Duophonic, which also released the equally compelling follow-up, void beats/invocation trex.
[Psst, you can buy a copy of Cavern of Anti-Matter’s blood-drums reissue at the 3hive Co-op Shop.]
13 songs of inversion clearing goodness. Enjoy.
1. The Rebel Set – Trails! [hidden volume]
2. Helens – Just Like Pet Sounds [self]
3. RUMTUM – Good Places [self]
4. L’Orange – Rest Like Pollen [self]
5. MF DOOM – Charnuska [high times]
6. Palmas – Sweet Water [lost colony]
7. Emma Russack – My Own Friend [spunk]
8. Cub Country – You Want It All [them are good]
9. BADBADNOTGOOD – In Your Eyes (feat. Charlotte Day Wilson) [innovative leisure]
10. GABI – Distance Makes Me Disappear [self]
11. I Am The Polish Army – David Bowie [self]
12. The Staches – Total Commitment [bongo joe]
13. Uranium Club – Who Made The Man? [fashionable idiots]
Mora Tuga is the imaginary world that RUMTUM (sometimes known as John Hastings) created through drawings as a kid. A graphic novel that he wasn’t able to finish as a kid has now been completed through his new LP of the same name. Like RUMTUM’s drawings and illustrations, his music is created very much in the same way, as layers upon layers of guitars, percussion, synths and more play and bounce off of each other with precise intent.
Mora Tuga is clearly a labor of love. I highly recommend getting lost in it. Give “Hemispheres” (below) a spin – it’s a perfect peek into the world that RUMTUM has created.
Mora Tuga is available now on vinyl through the fabulous Wax Thématique Records – you’d be a fool not to get a copy of this on vinyl. If vinyl is not your thing you can get it digitally from RUMTUM’s Bandcamp page. Please enjoy.
RUMTUM – Hemispheres from Mora Tuga (2016)