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Yalls

23 Apr

Berkeley-based musician Dan Casey’s (a.k.a. Yalls) debut album, United, is a 44 minute escape from reality, filled with groove-holmes beats and synths straight from outer space. The warbly synths of “Warlords” (below) is just what I’m talking about – combined with a chilled-out beat and hushed vocals, it’s one of my favorite tracks from the LP.

United comes out May 6 on Gold Robot. Do not miss out on this release.

Yalls – Warlords from United (2014)

Monster Rally

23 Oct

Ted Feighan is back with Return To Paradise, his best Monster Rally release yet. Check out opening track “Orchids” (below), it’s a killer mix of old vinyl crackle, hip hop beats and pure tropical bliss. This album is solid, and does just as it’s title suggests. Return To Paradise comes out on October 29. You can get it on vinyl from Gold Robot or digitally from Monster Rally’s Bandcamp page. I highly recommend it. Enjoy.

Monster Rally – Orchids from Return To Paradise (2013)

HOTT MT

13 Oct

Los Angeles’ HOTT MT tag themselves on their Bandcamp page as “experimental, noise pop, surf, thai, gaze”. Those tags are all right up my ally, and while I don’t really hear the “surf”, these guys have all the “gaze” you could want and then some. HOTT MT have made the rounds in their short career as a band, collaborating with Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne and opening for such bands as Django Django, Bats For Lashes, Flaming Lips and Wavves.

HOTT MT’s debut album, I Made This, came out back in May on their Bandcamp page and on cassette with Burger Records. It’s a fuzzy, chilled-out album that will take away the stresses of life – for 24 minutes. Check out the spacey, slow-jam goodness of “Lil Saigon” below, I know you will dig it.

HOTT MT – Lil Saigon from I Made This (2013)

Fergus and Geronimo

17 Aug

You know that “Whoa! What is this?” reaction you can have when listening to a band or album for the first time? Sometimes it’s not a good reaction, and other times you’ve just been blown away. I had the latter moment last week when I first sat down to listen to Fergus & Geronimo’s new album Funky Was The State of Affairs. This two-piece band from Denton, TX sound like a Devo meets Zappa meets Ween mashup, with a snotty Descendents-like song (“Roman Tick”, below) mixed in here and there. It’s fantastic zaniness! Funky Was The State of Affairs was recently released on Hardly Art, and I highly recommend it. Check out the songs below, if you like them be sure to buy the album. Enjoy.

Fergus & Geronimo – Roman Tick from Funky Was The State of Affairs (2012)

Fergus & Geronimo – No Parties from Funky Was The State of Affairs (2012)

Fergus & Geronimo – Baby Don’t You Cry from Unleam (2011)

Fergus & Geronimo – Powerful Lovin’ from Unleam (2011)

Hardly Art

Fergus & Geronimo

Crystal Castles

26 Jul

Crystal Castles have been priming the pump via Facebook and Soundcloud this week. They’ve released a remixed song from each of their albums, a brand new track, “Plague,” and then yesterday they announced dates for their upcoming North American tour. I doubt I’m introducing a new band to many people, since Crystal Castles are somewhat of a household name within the indie music world. Years ago I realized they were more popular than I imagined when kids at Disneyland were pointing out my son’s Crystal Castles t-shirt. Either that or it was Goth-tronica day and no one told me.

The new track is throbbingly ethereal and more atmospheric than their earlier work. NME posted fan footage of the live premiere of the song where they described it as having “a clear ’90s rave influence.” Whatever your take on the song, it’s great to have new Crystal Castles rattling around in my ears with a tour and new album on the horizon.

Crystal Castles – Plague

Crystal Castles – Suffocation

Crystal Castles – Suffocation (HEALTH remix)

Monster Rally

15 May

What do you get when you take a stack of old records and sample bits and pieces in order to create new music with a psychedelic, tropical, surf, hip hop vibe to it? The answer, my friends, is Monster Rally.

Monster Rally is the project of Ohio-resident Ted Feighan. His music has a warm, lo-fi, crackley, organic feel to it. It’s put together so nicely, it almost sounds like a full band recorded these songs directly to tape. Since 2010 Monster Rally has released quite a bit of music via his bandcamp page, and is set to release a new full length album, Beyond The Sea, on June 19. Below are just a few tastes of Monster Rally’s music for you downloading pleasure.

You can download all of Monster Rally’s releases at his bandcamp page, and preorder his new album here. Ted is also an artist, you can check out his stuff here.

Monster Rally – Jaguar from Beyond The Sea (2012)

Monster Rally – Lone Rd from Crystal Ball (2011)

Monster Rally – Siberian Girls from Deep Sea EP (2011)

Monster Rally – Maori Mai from EP (2010)

DMA

13 May

After the dissolution of his previous band, Jookabox, Indianapolis’ own DMA (aka David “Moose” Adamson) dashed off an album of self-described “crust funk” tracks that mostly defied listening. I say “mostly” because DREM BEB (as in “Dream Babe”) yielded “Riding Holiday”, an altered state take on the classic rock highway jam that wormed its way into my ear last summer with its hypnotic beat and headstrong chorus.
Now DMA is back with a follow-up called The Boardwalk which is far more gentle and refined in its approach. Waves of warped melodies wash over dubby pulses, beats, and clicks. Every so often DMA’s deadpan vocals wander through the soundscape, soaked in reverb, serving as yet another layer of instrumentation. Kind of like listening to Orbital after taking a handful of Sudafed.
DREM BEB was released as a limited-edition cassette and it appears that The Boardwalk is only available for streaming on Bandcamp. Not the most user-friendly distribution strategy, maybe it’s all part of the mystique.

Riding Holiday from DREM BEB (2011)

http://www.joyfulnoiserecordings.com
dmanaptown.bandcamp.com

Kono Michi

6 Nov

Attempting to review music while your wife and son are jamming to The Beatles Rockband is like making a suicide at a fountain dispenser–taking a hit from each flavor of soda you get a little taste of this, a little taste of that, but it’s all really just a blur. Not the ideal situation to be sure. I’m gonna go get my headphones….ah, that’s much better.

Kono Michi is a concert violinist with a beautiful voice and a knack for writing interesting songs. And excuse the blasphemy I’m about to embark on, but I find her voice warmer and more pleasant than that of Annie Clark’s (St. Vincent). If that’s even possible!

Violins open her track “My Monster,” then her vocals glide in, the strings drop out and a slow drumbeat thunders in. And like that you’re hooked. A deep male voice rolls in with the violin again, la-la-la-la-la-ing along, and the song kind of turns into a duet between Kono Michi and the monster on the cover. He sounds like a gentle fellow, and like she sings in the song, as long as they’re singing along, they’re getting along. Maybe a good relationship healer. Feeling sour towards your partner? Sing a song or two together!

If you’re not yet moved to give Kono Michi a try, then check out the video for “You are the First.” It’s a DIY stop-motion effort in which Kono Michi, a Brooklynite, traveled 6,000 miles across the country photographing herself jumping in the air so it looks as if she’s floating around. If that doesn’t mesmerize you for a few minutes, then you’re a sad, jaded soul and I feel for you…

My Monster [MP3]
You are the First [MP3]

www.konomichimusic.com
www.sharkbatter.com

Thurston Moore

28 Jun

Thurston Moore

Thurston Moore needs no introduction, being the lead singer for Sonic Youth and releasing solo albums for the past 20+ years. However, in his long musical career, this is the first time that he has collaborated with Beck and the results are quite spectacular. Both songs below (and the entire album) are full of depth, and quite different from his last, more straight-forward indie rock effort. Thanks in part to Beck’s production skills, great use of strings, and of course Thurston’s incredible talent at songwriting and guitar playing. Enjoy.

Thurston Moore – Benediction

Thurston Moore – Circulation

Socalled

15 Jun

On paper, Socalled’s bio reads like an elaborate art hoax: he’s a producer/ composer/ arranger/ rapper/ singer/ journalist/ photographer/ filmmaker/ magician/ cartoonist/ puppet maker – oh, and Yiddish music enthusiast! – who, for his fourth album, invited 34 collaborators from all ends of the musical spectrum into the studio. As a whole, Sleepover is disjointed – sounding like “Prairie Home Companion” one minute and “106 and Park” the next. There’s a recurring thread of humor and pastiche on many of the tracks, but others stick out as being quite earnest. So it’s difficult to nail a unifying theme. However, taken individually, each song holds its own, and some even stand out. Take these two examples, where the eclectic ingredients come together nicely into a singular concept. The title track is a send-up of ghetto-tech anthems, with none other than Detroit’s own King of Booty, DJ Assault, serving up hypnotic refrains over a frenetic klezmer loop. (The joke wouldn’t be complete without puppets freaking in Socalled’s apartment – so be sure to watch the video.) By contrast, “Work With What You Got” is a positive vibration calypso-hop jam featuring Roxanne Shante and The Mighty Sparrow on vocals that would feel at home on the soundtrack to a feelgood children’s movie.

Socalled || Teaser Sleepover #2 from Dare To Care Records on Vimeo.

Sleepover (featuring DJ Assault) from Sleepover (2011)
Work With What You Got (featuring Roxanne Shante and The Mighty Sparrow) from Sleepover (2011)