We last left this dynamic duo after releasing their debut album on Mush Records. Since then, the Bell brothers, Jared and Michael, from Tempe, Arizona, have put out a remix album (featuring remixes by The Album Leaf, Daedelus, The One AM Radio and Bibio) and recently re-issued their first EP on their new label, Magic Bullet out of Virginia. The new tracks the band has added for the sharing encompass the wide range of instrumental rock you can expect from these fellows. “Narita” from their new split EP with This Will Destroy You starts out small and subtle with a three-key riff and then gradually grows into a sweeping epic as layers pile onto layers. “Fall Bicycle” from their first album exemplifies the duo’s playful personality and showcases well Jared’s keyboard playing and Michael’s drumming. This summer you can enjoy the sites and sounds of this family roadtrip when they come strolling through your town.
Their name sounds as if something’s been lost in translation, but you won’t lose a thing if you invest a bit of time or money into Japan’s 4 Bonjour’s Parties. This seven piece Toyko ensemble shapes all manner of instruments into one gorgeous kaleidoscope of sound. Woodwinds and synths, glockenspiels and guitars blend into epic twists of modern-day chamber pop. The debut from 4 Bonjour’s Parties, Pigments Drift Down To The Brook, sounds like a long distance pen pal reply to the High Llamas or Stereolab; their sweet boy/girl vocals evoke a tone similar to contemporary Icelandic artists MÃºm and Sigur Ros. The band signed to Japan’s And Records right lickety-split after opening for Clue to Kalo and I expect you’ll take an immediate liking to them as well.
Caural is short for Chicago’s Artful Underdog Resists Abstract Labeling. Okay, I made that up. Caural is the stagename for multi-talented musician Zachary Mastoon whose off-kilter beats, found samples, and moody synths often find him compared to Four Tet, Prefuse 73, and Daedelus. Flattering company as far as I’m concerned, but not necessarily satisfying as a description. He’s got a sound all his own and each track packs its own little surprises if you listen carefully.
SoCal meets NoCal, baby. This collabo between LA fixture Elvin Estela (aka Nobody) and Santa Cruz couple Chris Gunst (Beachwood Sparks) and Jen Cohen (The Aisler’s Set) sounds as good as it appears on paper. Nobody brings his taste for unforced rhythms, textures, and beats. Chris and Jen bring pastoral pop vocals and timeless instrumentation. Really groovy, brilliant, and warm. Don’t think, just listen.
You know that expression “the cobbler’s children have no shoes”? That’s kinda been the story of my household on the digital music front…until yesterday, when the Bose Sound Dock and my wife’s silver iPod Mini showed up on our doorstep. I don’t know who was more excited, her or me, but let’s just say I already had a 125-song playlist ready to for the occasion. The pulsing strains of Clue to Kalo’s “Empty Save the Oxygen” were the first to emerge from the Sound Dock. Velia’s jaw dropped as she turned to me and said, “This sounds amazing.” I’m sure she was talking about the speakers but she was right on both counts.
It’s good to see Andrew Rohrmann (formerly of Hush Harbor) take on The Establishment by opting for the proper, if copyrighted, spelling of Scientific American. (Those who know him from his bedroom-beats-turned-commercial-beds on Slabco, know he used to drop the first “c” in Scientific, presumably to keep the lawyers at bay.) Those who don’t know the score can get caught up real quick. Simply set aside 109MB of hard drive space and bask in the generosity of Slabco’s free music policy.
A funny thing happened while listening to Bibio’s exquisite, organic guitar arrangement: I accidentally opened it up in two browser windows and let both downloads play simultaneously…and it was beautiful. Rather than a clash more disconcerting than a skipping CD, the lilting loops — and here’s where I’m going to say something I try to never say about sound — danced with each other in perfect harmony. The great thing is that playing the track just one at a time is an equally calming, inspiring, uh, dance. If only there were more downloads to get us through the weekend.
Rapping about the rap lifestyle anymore comes off as uninspired straw-grasping. But when it’s rolling off Project Blowed crewman Busdriver’s tongue it sounds more like the demon spawn of Cornel West, H.L. Mencken, and Jon Stewart — and believe me, that would be some demon friggin’ spawn. In a genre full of cultural critics, Busdriver is the guy whose intelligent sarcasm almost always exceeds his peers yet is funky enough to let the masses in on the joke. I wouldn’t want to be holding the other microphone in a rap battle with this cat, but I’d sure want to be in the studio audience.
Cacophonic intro track to Daedelus’ hip-hop record, Rethinking the Weather, layers a psychotic amount of voices over noodles of acoustic guitar, clattered beats, and flute loops. It’s but a small, imperfect glimpse into Daedelus’ expanding, eclectic universe.
Collages of stuttering breaks and swirling samples, along with extended doses of “spoken word” culled from the underbelly of American pop culture. A potentially played-out formula turned downright entrancing.