Friday, June 24, 2011

Algernon Cadwallader - Parrot Flies

(Self released, 2011)

RIYL = Cap'n Jazz, Jenoah, early At the Drive-In

This isn’t a huge reveal, but I’m pretty obsessive about At the Drive-In. In particular, their first full length, Acrobatic Tenement. It’s a surefire top-ten-albums-of-all-time for me.

So when I first heard Algernon Cadwallader’s debut, Some Kind of Cadwallader, a couple years back, I was immediately smitten. It feels, aesthetically, to be strung together by the same Scotch tape, string, nimble guitar work and emotive screamability (read: 90’s emo) as Tenement. And, seeing as how I still heavily rotate Cap’n Jazz, Lync, The Nation of Ulysses and the like, Alegernon Cadwallader fits in snugly.

But beyond those nostalgic qualities, Cadwallader manages to be its own band (mostly), which is why they’ve the ability to smitten in the first place. Some Kind of Cadwallader is not Acrobatic Tenement and Parrot Flies is not…well it kind of is still a lot like Some Kind of Cadwallader. But, more goodness is a good thing, not bad.

Parrot Flies feels a little more comfortable with itself, a little less angsty, a little more polished. Still, the MO here is to iron down that sound they began with and Parrot Flies does that. This might be an indulgence, but I think it’s a worthy one. I need more worthy indulgences in my music listening life—seems they’re becoming fewer and farther between.

Algernon Cadwallader - "Parrot Flies" by ForestGospel

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Scott Morrison

Some gorgeous video/sound installations from Scott M.

This Is A Transmission 2011 from Scott Morrison.

Adam Beckley - Revere

(Self Released, 2011)

RIYL = Stars of the Lid, Eluvium, Chihei Hatakeyama

For those in need of calming / beauty, this tendered my inbox this morning. The effort here is to passenger a warm ghost inside you and slowly to let the spectral weight of its body bleed out. I feel like I haven’t been listening to much of the dreamy stuff lately, so Revere seems a nice reminder. A brief but pleasant bundle of silken drones fit to placate the mind and pacify the spirit.  And freely downloadable.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Eric Copeland - Waco Taco Combo

(Escho, 2011)

We talk about Eric Copeland, about his band, Black Dice, and about the pop/noise marriage/dichotomy whenever we talk about Eric Copeland, about his band, Black Dice. And that’s useful to an extent, I suppose, but in reality, really, when I listen to Black Dice, when I listen to Eric Copeland, when I listen to Waco Taco Combo, I don’t think, even remotely, of it as noise, as noise music, as gravel, as spit, as mulch. And, on the same hand, the music isn’t really pop music of any kind, isn’t really Britney, isn’t really Tiffany, isn’t really pony in rainbow colors that’s not smeared, that’s not broken-boned, that’s not double-headed (as much that I/we might pretend that, to us, it is (can it not be?)). But, while it skirts electronics, beats, samples, skronking bursts, glitches, dances, intelligence, it’s kind of a realm all its own. Not that people haven’t jumped aboard since, not that people haven’t aped them since, not that people haven’t ripped them since. Still, they’re singular (Black Dice, Eric Copeland). They are Black Dice music. They are Eric Copeland music. Or I can call them collage punk. The important thing is that they are important. And the important thing about importance is that it’s always really really good. And the important thing about Waco Taco Combo is that it’s really really good. Really. Which is how we, by standard methods, talk about Eric Copeland, about his band, Black Dice.

Also, thank you Altered Zones for upping this to SoundCloud. I go looking for it today, this very day, and--BLAMO--there it is!

Eric Copeland: Waco Taco Combo by alteredzones

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jason Jagel

Greg Lamarche

Augustine Kofie

HYMNS: Hood - "You Are Worth The Whole World"

My apologies to Ryan Hall, good friend and author of this post, for the delay in uploading "You Are Worth The Whole World," the delay in posting this, the delay in saying how much we miss you now that you are in Africa, how much we hope that you and Addy are doing well, doing good (we know that you are).

“It’s a blank city, baby, where the buildings get stepped on.”

In an attempt to create something beautiful before my wife wakes up I have only managed to check my e-mail a couple of times. Do adult things like updating my linkedin corporate fascistbook account and looking up the last name of anyone who can service a Volkswagen in rural PA.

Doing something more than sitting on my hands (5 days and we leave the states for a very long time), I recall the first time I ever heard “You’re Worth the Whole World” by British post-IDM/slowcore band Hood blessed with the vocal presence of Yoni Wolf of Why? and Adam Drucker (Doseone). The genealogies of both bands would preoccupy most of my twenties and would eventually culminate in a mixtape, a marriage and a blood-pact to name our first-born Yoni. But, that’s not where it started.

In fact, I don’t really recall where it started. I am extremely fuzzy on the details of how this album even came into my possession. I can’t remember if this was before or after I rescued cLOUDEAD’s self-titled debut from a used CD rack in Salt Lake City. I vaguely recall Skyler Hitchcox saying something about this album…I don’t know. All I remember was a prevailing sense of sadness of Hood’s muted acoustic-electronic compositions. Beats that snap like brittle twigs, acoustic guitar lines plucked faintly through the thin walls of your neighbor’s post-WWII house. Bass rumbling through floorboards of basement practice spaces.

The sadness and sparseness of an acoustic guitar lick, a floor tom, gently plucked piano and a three-note synth horn line is exacerbated by Drucker and Wolf’s ping-ponging of Doseone’s half-sung/half-rapped, chopped and processed polyphonic delivery and Yoni Wolf’s deadpan spoken word beneath the surface. It is impossible to make out more than the occasional snippet and phrase and only then with very liberal interpretation, but still this song cuts to the quick. It is a sad and beautiful strangeness that soars above any sort of genre classifications.

I think it was this inability to place this unknowable, impregnable last track of Cold House into anything I had experienced that has set me on a search to figure it out and has had such a palpable impact on my life. Forest Gospel, starting the Tome, my friendship with Nick, Erin and Atlas, hurriedly typing this before I start a day with a wife who stopped me in mid-sentence when she heard “Crushed Bones”, all stem from hearing this song and wanting to relive it over and over through analysis and experience.

Will Sheff said something true when he said that musicians and writers who write about music are cut from the same cloth. They hear a song that made them feel something and want to recreate the experience again and again. Musicians want to reinterpret that feeling to others, while writers want to explain why it made them feel a certain way.

Five years later and I still can’t figure out if I can separate depression and exaltation in this song or reconcile the ubiquitous sadness of this song and the incredible direction my life has taken because of it. I guess I never will.

Hood feat. Doseone & Why? - "You're Worth The Whole World" by ForestGospel

Friday, June 17, 2011

Matana Roberts - COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres

(Constellation Records, 2011)

A brief list of reasons why I'm so enthralled with Matana Roberts and her album, COIN COIN

1. She plays my favourite instrument: saxophone.
2. COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres, her debut on Constellation, is a dynamic, seam-bursting composition of collapsible jazz with copious spills of wide-eyed irrationality.
3. Yes, COIN COIN is the second saxophone-helmed album from Constellation in 2011; however (and I’m in no way dismissing Colin Steton’s record), Roberts is much crazier, spastic, open in terms of orchestration and deviation, maddening. (#2 and #3 are the same thing.)
4. The Avant Garde should always be so dynamic as COIN COIN is. While large portions of the “experimental” community are drifting, migrating into more staid, dull-bladed and monotonous territory, COIN COIN exhibits the finest aspects of hungry innovation. Swelling with a dangerous undercurrent, Roberts offers thrilling moments at every turn and a more complete listening experience as a whole.
5. The canyon in the middle of “Song For Eulalie.”
6. The penultimate freakout: “I Am.”
7. COIN COIN is enthralling because it sounds feel removed from the immediate imaginations available to this world. Not unfathomably so, but just enough to tint the album with a coat of genuine, wakeful, alien curiosity.
8. COIN COIN delivers on that curiosity with brazen force.
9. “How Much Would You Cost?” X10.

Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens de Couleur Libres - MATANA ROBERTS by Constellation Records

The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World

(History Always Favours the Winners, 2011)

Leyland James Kirby is of course a genius. We already know this. And prolific. Yes, we know this too. This though, An Empty Bliss Beyond This World, could be for Mr. Kirby, The Caretaker, what The Disintegration Loops is to William Basinski, what The Sinking of the Titanic is to Gavin Bryars. It fits in thematically and aesthetically with those records as well: the beauty in disintegration and age, the regal quiet and soft magnitude of eras passed. On An Empty Bliss Beyond This World, Kirby is as much a curator as he is an artist, compiling the ghostly, romantic, beautiful sounds of old 78s and subtly smearing them, truncating them, but mostly just allowing them a new life with surface noise bubbling up from their crumbling format. A grandiose document of irresistible allure and surprising weight.

The Caretaker - "All You're Going To Want To Do Is Get Back There" by ForestGospel

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sean McCann's Open Resolve to be Resurrected

I don’t usually do things like this, but since I explicitly asked for it in my review early last year (which will remain poorly written and unedited), I feel I’m duty-bound to share that Open Resolve, Sean McCann’s masterpiece among masterpieces, is to be reissued on vinyl by Orange Milk Records.

It remains one of the best albums on the earth. For realz.

Pre-orders happening here.

Tim Hawkinson


Dripped from ChezEddy on Vimeo.

Matthew Woodson

Reminded of Matthew Woodson's awesomeness by booooooom:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Benjamin Ducroz

Benjamin Ducroz is the man! This stuff is so great.

Ryan A.

This is the first page of the super awesome comic short, "Our Blood Stained Roof," by Ryan A.  Read the rest of it here.  Beautiful textures, beautiful illustrations, beautiful story.

"Skateboarding Shreds"

This made the rounds awhile ago.  But it's still really really great.  Absolutely gorgeous actually.  I think I want to watch Skateboarding videos all weekend.  Sam?

Battles vs Tyondai Braxton

Separation and multiplication is possibility for destruction.

Foremost example: At the Drive-In.

Fallout: The Mars Volta, Sparta.

To which we classically say, The Mars Volta, duh. Sparta sucks. Which isn’t true. Aside from the Tremulant EP and the first few songs of De-Loused, Sparta is better (though, I haven’t listened to either of their latests). Which is all nothing anyway, because neither is At the Drive-In. Which is the lesson.

Now: Battles.

Amicable fallout: Battles is still Battles, Tyondai Braxton is still now Tyondai Braxton.

And, terrifically, the Battles split refuses the At the Drive-In model, producing two albums that outstrip their lauded Mirrored when Battles meant Tyondai Braxton too (which constitute, hopefully, more goodness to come).

First: Why didn’t I listen to Central Market (Warp, 2009) a couple years ago when it was released? Why did I wait until this year? This album is nuts! Like, amazing, spacey, whimsy-filled, bursting with more colors and inconceivable architecture than Dr. Seuss’s got, nuts. Really brilliant stuff. Stuff that you can trace back to Battles, but that is now orbiting in a wholly new, wonderful, maddeningly gleeful and playfully menacing galaxy that’s all its own. Bravo Tyondai, this is worthy stuff.

Tyondai Braxton - Central Market

Second: Gloss Drop (Warp, 2011) is awesome. This is what I wanted Mirrored to be when people were apparently so enamored. It’s so much looser, funner, more enjoyable. Mirrored was a bit too self conscious of it’s own grandiosity. Gloss Drop isn’t worried about that at all. It’s the band members playing for themselves and each other. I’ve been listening to it non-stop. This really is a great piece of summer listening (though, it will maintain itself in any season).

Verdict: Very happy (though, Braxton by a hair).

Recommendations (obviously): Battles’ Gloss Drop, Tyondai Braxton’s Central Market.

Battles - Gloss Drop (2011)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Two Stories

I read two short stories today from volume 1, issue 4 of The Fiddleback.  Both are from authors I have been wanting to read for a long time, stories that are relatively brief and astonishingly sharp, stories that are worth re-reading immediately after the first go.  I want you to read these stories.

Man by Peter Markus

Sometimes in the Morning by Robert Lopez

I want you to tell me what you think.

David Thomas Broughton - Outbreeding

(Brainlove Records, 2011)

I guess we’re calling this the official follow-up to David Thomas Broughton’s seminal 2005 debut, The Complete Guide to Insufficiency. Are we? Which isn’t to say Broughton hasn’t been busy in the more than five ears since his debut. He release the odds and ends collection, It’s in There Somewhere and the collaborative experiment David Thomas Broughton vs 7 Hertz, and there have been some EPs of note within that timespan as well. Still, it’s been a long wait for this, Broughton’s sophomore effort.

And, wonderfully, Outbreeding delivers. If you listened to Boating Disasters, Broughton’s delicious 4 song EP from last year, you’ll already know good chunk of this album, but the new context of the songs is enough to set them off anew, and a full set from Broughton is irresistible. Like the EP, Outbreeding is a turn towards more straightforward songwriting, presenting Broughton and his inimitable voice more clearly than perhaps ever before.

This is a strength.

While the looped miasma of Insufficiency felt like a perfect introduction, Outbreeding seems like the only plausible forward step. Out of the mist, Broughton’s voice is heavily affecting and, steadied with more traditional folk song structure, his hard-cut poetics are as impactful as the tenor of his voice.

This is, hands down, one of the best records of the year.

Ain't Got No Sole from BROWN BREAD FILMS on Vimeo.

David Thomas Broughton - "Potential of Our Progeny"


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rich Gemmell

Jess Smart Smiley

EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints

(Souterrain Transmissions, 2011)

The demise of Gowns was a heavy loss. There is good music and then there is important music. Gowns made the latter.*

So, the reemergence of Erika M. Anderson, the female half of the former doom-folk duo, as EMA, feels something akin to a glorious resurrection, at least in part, of the menacingly beautiful, gravely-gothic world that Gowns so perfectly inhabited. At least, when news of Past Life Martyred Saints surfaced, there was that hope.

And, bless the skies, on her debut solo effort, Anderson has indeed reanimated a majority portion of that drug-lapsed corpse she and Ezra Buchla first created.  The mind-blowing fits of core darkness are there, fractured intermittently with powerful shards of heaven-crushing light.  It's a white-knuckle dynamic, for sure and Past Life Martyred Saints white-knuckle experience

I mean, "California" alone is worth the price of admission.  The song is simply exhilarating to hear.

So, the question is, is this important music?  I'm not going to throw down a verdict just yet--time will tell--but it certainly feels pretty important.

 EMA - "California"

*(Note: important music is always good music, but good music is not always important music.)

Practical Thoughts on Art

Sightings - Future Accidents

(Our Mouth, 2011)

You’d have to do some heavy make-believing to pretend that Sightings have ever worried much about song structure. Sure they’ve applied it on occasion, but never worried about it. So, to say that they have abandoned any concerns with structure on Future Accidents is a bit of a stretch.

And yet here I am saying just that (what all the kids are saying): Sightings found pitching themselves headfirst into structurelessness on Future Accidents.

Though, even stretched between four tracks, Sightings are just as powerful, punchy and acidic as they’ve ever been. In fact, it’s a pleasure to finally have another slab of concrete noise to spill into. Seems like everything’s been poppy and pretty around FG for a while.

A nice left turn (even if City of Straw is still my favourite Sightings records).

Here's "The Knotted House", the shortest of the four:

Sightings - "The Knotted House"