Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gaffer Records!!!

If you have any inclination towards frantic, juggernaut-style noise or seizure-induced buffalo stampedes parading as free jazz or, simply, the best of the best avant garde, meet Gaffer Records.

Click here to read an interview I conducted with Gaffer Records label-head, Frank Garcia, AKA, Sheik Anorak, over at Foxy Digitalis.

But first, check out this label sampler featuring 6 label-spanning tracks (all notable, but if you're in a hurry, don't miss the MoHa! track, "Eg blei sogen av ein atterganger," it's insane...):

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dr. Breakfast!

Dr Breakfast from pizzaforeveryone on Vimeo.

Chris Rehm - Old Flame / New Squeeze

(Chinquapin Records, 2011)

How...did...I...miss...this?  Honestly, can someone tell me how this sneaked by?  Chris Rehm operating in long form, collaging together all aspects of his did I miss this when it first came out?  Listen:

Brian Grainger & Millipede - Play Ancient Hylian Folk Songs, Volume II

(Milieu Music, 2011)

So, I think it's probably important that I admit, prior to featuring this brilliant, brilliant tape, that I only ever played the very first Zelda.  Which isn't to say that I don't love video games, or the Zelda franchise at large; I just never had a Nintendo 64 (and yes, obviously didn't play any other Zelda titles on NES and SNES).  I guess I'm more of a Final Fantasy nerd.  Still, I do love the original Zelda and the bottom line, I suppose, is that I have major sympathies towards anyone willing to make a tribute album to something as awesome as Zelda (volume II!!).

But this tape requires no sympathy.  Especially when the tribute/trouble-makers are as wildly talented and inspired as Millipede and Brian Grainger.  Millipede takes the first 6 tracks and transforms whatever was previously Hylian folk into slabs of earth-scorchingly beautiful guitar-balladry.  Joseph Davenport, AKA Millipede, just keeps getting better and better.  It feels like it's not a new Millipede review on Forest Gospel if I'm not writing that its the best thing he's ever done. 

Brian Grainger completes the tape with 4 fuzzed-out tracks of his own.  The most wonderful addition being the final song, "Earth God's Lyric / Sage of Earth," a nearly fifteen minute masterpiece of layered, mutating, groggy-eyed bliss.  In a perfect world, the song would soundtrack the game's closing credits, after Link comes away triumphant (or whatever).  Possibly why it stands as the last song on the tape.

You don't need to love or even be familiar with the Zelda gaming franchise to be in love with this tape though.  It's simply really good, gritty music.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Best (Favourite) Music of 2011

Posting a year-end list in December is, for me, an admission of defeat. It goes against my real feelings about year-end lists and their potential viability and reveals me as an all-too-willing cog in the grips of the blog-o-sphere hype machine. Which is no huge reveal. I am easily one of the most hyperbolic (and nonsensical) writers on the internet and Forest Gospel is not even a blip on the radar of music taste-making--as well it shouldn't be. So I suppose it's not a big deal if I allow myself to get sucked into the pomp and confetti of the season.

Still, I really love these albums and respect the talent and energy of their creators. I see them as adopted children and, that said, have reservations about ordering them: announcing who I love the most. That and I'm hesitant to provide any definitive list of who stands to be recognized and how to create such a list honestly. In all reality, list-making is a flippant endeavor: within a day my list can flip over on top of itself, removing handfuls of solid picks for unsteady ones and vice versa.  If I posted this list tomorrow it would be different.  So, it stands to be noted that in the time I've been working on the list, hordes of worthy albums have, at one time or another, been moving around on the list.  Albums from Lawrence English, Julianna Barwick, Nat Baldwin, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Car Seat Headrest, Thundercat, Thee Oh Sees, Millipede, Pete Swanson, Lee Noble, Tim Hecker, Emuul, Sharks' Teeth, Matthew Cooper, Bill Orcutt, etcetera, etcetera, all worthy of and at some point securely placed deep in the list.  Time and proximity to the albums always plays a factor and so it should be recognized that these albums and others (surely many that I haven't even heard of) are worthy of attention. 

Is this introduction pathetic enough yet?  I take it all back.  This is the definitive list of the best (not favourite) albums of 2011.  Other lists are subjective, this one is not.  Read and weep:

Friday, December 9, 2011

"Our Decembers" by Dina Kelberman

Jim Mahfood / Food One

White Denim - D

(Downtown, 2011)

I am a championer of White Denim, so I don't know why it took me till now to say so about D.  There's something about how laconic and assured White Denim can sound that is all over this latest album of theirs.  They're a versatile band, a lovable band, a band that can lively-like resurrect those classic old sounds so they sound like what new bands are (and ought to be) playing.  The band is mining a particular retro aesthetic that most everyone else is skipping over, and that others are failing to transform, and it feels effortless and sounds brilliant and I enjoy it very much.  Glad White Denim does what they do, though, for the record, not a fan of that cover art.  You're ruining the look of my artsy-fartsy blog there, WD, jeez!

Drug by WhiteDenim

Thursday, December 8, 2011

More New Julian Callos

So wonderful. I want to Indian-in-the-Cupboard every one of these:

New Julian Callos

Jacuzzi Boys - Glazin'

(Hardly Art, 2011)

Jacuzzi Boys know what we're talking about here: raspberry feelings, amiright? But I really just want to talk about the title track, "Glazin'," and that opening line: "sugar in my hair / melting everywhere in the sunshine," which brings me to my next point: if you're going to be outside, particularly in the summertime months--Jacuzzi Boy months to be sure--consider avoiding sugar in yr hair.  And yeah, I get it, Crystal Light can change yr hair color.  Just be careful, one of my friend's friends put strawberry Kool Aid in his hair and to this day has ended up with strawberry-colored hair.  Though, advantages: Glazin' is probably all he hears when anyone talks.  Pros and cons.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Men - Leave Home

(Sacred Bones, 2011)

I'm a pretty big fan of "the rock n' roll," if you know what I mean, which is a way in which I assert myself as a man.  I bet Ryan Gosling listens to The Men, which isn't to say that Gosling is the poster-man for masculinity--saw Crazy Stupid Love the other night (yeah, I can admit it) in which Gosling is a particularly effeminate manly man--but that he uses a fine-tuned album like Leave Home to assure the particular girl he may be with at any given moment--"Hey, girl,..."--that yes, he has a handle on things.  Which isn't to say that "the rock n' roll" is limited to men and masculinity, or even that Leave Home is a significantly manly album, just that, in some round-a-bout, nonsensical, mostly meaningless way that, yes, the band's name is The Men and, yes, I listen to them and I have hair on my chest.  Just saying.

the men - Leave Home - Bataille (sacred bones records

Chuck Groenink

GlossyRey's "Be A Vegetarian"

More whimsical / nonsensical than the title implies:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Scott C.

Christmas time: people know Scott C. has an art book out, right? And that he illustrated a zombie love story...? In honor of:

Sparkling Wide Pressure - Fragments of a Sound I Can Not Erase

(Kimberly Dawn Recordings, 2011)

The idea that this was limited, initially, to 50 physical copies and is now available for free downloading does a disservice to what is, to my mind, to my ears, an uncorrupted masterwork of angel-drift guitar work, heavy heavenly blues, guided grit, and ascended loveliness of an impeccable sort, managing all the right textures for satisfaction of the earthly mind in its skyward tendencies, because it criminally undervalues what could be--particularly when etched to vinyl--a sacred monument of the possibilities of sound via the electric guitar.  However, the open possibility that any and everyone could be healed by its Godly inspiring sounds is a comforting thought in a harsh world.  Not to be dismissed, by human beings in general.   

Robag Wruhme - Thora Vukk

(Pampa Records, 2011)

It's 3:30 in the AM, my dog streaks by the open door of my room and I can tell he's up to something--ripping up garbage in our living room--and after I've expressed my disappointment in him, cleaned up his mess, I'm sucked into this micro-house wormhole of Gabor Schablitski's, aka Robag Wruhme: Thora Vukk, which, phonetically, to these American ears, implies destroying Thor (among other things), but which actually sounds, in its unending contortions, it's rabbit-hole permutations, something more like bliss: if bliss is Thor's mind quietly exploding amidst the realization that his hammer is, ultimately, meant for smaller constructions than originally thought (though no less grandiose).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tom Gauld

Preview of the new Tom Gauld graphic novel, Goliath, out early next year from Drawn & Quarterly.  Always love his art / comics:

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Surely you've already seen this video, but on the off chance that you haven't (if you have, you know it's worth re-watching), prepare to crush hard on BeyoncĂ© (that is, harder than the capacity you've already been crushing at).  Erin and I have been arguing over who is more into this.  Perfect video / song.

Zander Olsen's "Tree, Line" series

As Above, So Below - public art light installation

Car Seat Headrest - 5 / Twin Fantasy

These are two albums from Car Seat Headrest, AKA: I don't know, I didn't check into it that closely.  And I don't remember exactly how I stumbled on these albums either.  5 came out in March, Twin Fantasy in November.  Both are brilliant, both are downloadable via Bandcamp: name-your-price.

 (Self released, 2011)

So, dude's been messing around until now, or is unimpressed with himself until now--so says the Car Seat Headrest Bandcamp page--or he's has been gearing up on wizardry, gearing up on nonchalance, practicing hook-laden concoctions on the dogs, setting himself up for setting time bombs inside of people's minds; namely, mine.  Sure, "Twin Fantasy and 5 are my good albums."  And, "the other stuff on here is Not So Great."  But, really, I haven't even had time enough to figure out what "Not So Great" means because what I found out "good" means ("my two good albums") is something on par with: Twin Fantasy and 5 are two of the best albums of the year.  And they're two full albums at that.  Two individual albums.  Indie rock albums.  Connected aesthetically but not in a messy way that obligates you to treat the two together.  There's the bedroom lo-fi thing happening here, but that's happening everywhere.  I hear it everyday.  Email after email.  It only ever works with songwriting and Car Seat Headrest is songwriting.  5 is, if I making hasty value statements, the slightly lesser of the two (though, there are moments when I doubt that).  And to say lesser is only to separate the two by pencil shavings.  Think early Clap Your Hands Say Yeah filtered through Times New Viking, two times removed (or whatever it takes to win back a band's soul once compared to bands ubiquitously known as CYHSY and TNV). 

 (Self released, 2011)

All that stuff I said up there with even better songs.  And a feeling of inadequacy resulting from the impulse to compare the music to such generic indie rock staples.  It's only to say that this feels equally important in my mind.  Car Seat Headrest: an FG indie rock staple.  Wonderful range and depth.  Twin Fantasy listening to steadily a few years from now.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ezekiel Honig - Folding In On Itself

(Type Records, 2011)

Ezekiel Honig makes musical the subtly corrosive elements of life: the sidewalk sounds, the happenstance rattle in the kitchen, loose-chimed wind clatter, memory.  Composed of texture-mongering field recordings, slow-moving melodies and an understated beat-based backbone, Honig's Folding In On Itself is a meditative record, morose, but not overly so.  It's been three years since Honig released a full length album (his last through his own Anticipate label) so it's exhilarating diving into something new.  Honig's work unfolds itself slowly, a patient production of one of the stalwarts of minimalist electronics and Folding In On Itself is no exception.  Great great great!

Ezekiel Honig - Folding In On Itself by _type

Amanda Hughen