Daily Doses: Gracie x Steffaloo “Quilts” (2011) Label: Self-Released
Los Angeles’ Steffaloo is on a mission to play with every electronic producer from this coast, to that coast and everything in between. And you’ll hear no complaints from me about it, because every track is just so good!
Here, recalling some of last summers musical bedroom antics, New York’s Gracie combines with Steffaloo for a single that spreads out like a sonic oil spill, soaking everything in it’s path with a layer of reverb and glistening distant vocals.
With collaborations like these, who needs a solo project?
Daily Doses: Estasy “Wild Wants” From Locus Solus (2012) Label: Acephale
When it rains it pours.
Having been searching to the far corners of the internet for anything that could hold my attention long enough to post about for the past few weeks, I exhaustedly rose from bed this morning ready for another long search of soundcloud’s nether regions, only to find a veritable cornucopia of fantastic treats laid out across my e-mails digital doorstep.
I guess Halloween is the turning point into the fight for year end supremacy.
The first thing I noticed was this fantastic screamer from Italy’s “Estasy” I got in from Acephale, which has long been one of my favorite labels (right up there with True Panther and Tri-Angle).
Apparently recorded “With minimal effects, and for the most part live.” Locus Solus' first track, “Wild Wants” is a haunting and driven reminder that we're moving away from Summer.
And if these are the types of tracks that are going to start rolling in now that we’ve done away with the heat… I say let Winter take over the world.
Daily Doses: "Somebody" Walsh Feat. Persona La Ave From Don’t Want 2 Fall In Luv (2011)
This delicious little EP by Nashville’s Walsh (aka Brandon Biondo) just hit recently, and is everything I could have hoped for.
Give a listen to the track above. Somebody, the second track on the EP, is a fantastic collaborative effort with Persona La Ave. Colored up with funk and slammed home with some delicious synth work, it’s just kinky enough to be make you want to listen, and just grooving enough to make you start moving.
Keep Shelly In Athens recently announced they would be coming out with a new 12” EP, Our Own Dream (Fall, 2011, Forest Family). From this I have finally realized there has to be some sort of greater power, and it likes to give me good music.
Then I realized that would mean It’s the same greater power that likes to put love seats in the middle of the freeway so that I can run into them at 2:00am.
And from the clattering ambient distance in “Conviction 1” to the soaked sadness in “Gold Light”, I have to admit, I kinda thought he had conquered sound about as much as was possible given the restraints of recording every part himself in his bedroom.
Little did I know he was just showing off his control of it.
Here he let’s it run wild.
I’d say Faster Horses sounds like Industrial smashed into Instrumental Hip-Hop, bled over with singer/songwriter before it’s drowned in a pool of Eno’esque (it’s a word) ambient noise.
In other words, it sounds like nothing else I can put my finger on.
Album opener “Weekdays” opens with a guitar that sounds like caged beast, raging against the world in the middle of an iron factory. Meanwhile a mournful vocal waxes and wanes with lines as poetic as:
"I come home from work and you come home from work, and we lie dead as leaves and dull as Winter."
And as bluntly honest as:
"You spent Christmas Day getting drunk alone."
It’s a track that captures the feeling fading connection and increasing emotional distance by counter-pointing the softly sung vocals with all the rage smashing into the background.
I’ve been interested by the radio for quite a long time. Not so much as a means to distribute music, but more as a form of communication. Specifically early 1920’s ‘Golden Age of Radio’ broadcasting, where you could tune in and hear a mix of music, stories, news, etcetera. I’ve always found a certain loneliness in the drifting signals; someone broadcasting into your home or car from a distant location, sharing things with complete strangers in hopes of someone listening.
Against the Storm is just this. An attempt to materialize a world that I’ve created in my subconscious and share it with whoever is listening. Each episode will be a collection of music, sounds, and voices all telling a part of a bigger story, taking place somewhere you’ve never seen, in a time you never lived. For now, the episodes will be posted online and archived, but I hope soon to build a small shortwave setup and broadcast live onto open air.
This is the first installment
Track List: Cliff Martinez - He Had a Good Time* The Paris Sisters - I Love How You Love Me* Skeeter Davis - End Of The World* The Caretaker - Mental Caverns Without Sunshine* Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross - Colorblind (Counting Crows Cover) Gregor Samsa - Makeshift Shelters* *Edited and generally repurposed by Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross
Daily Doses: Arrange + Ricky Eat Acid “P.S.L.W” From Single (2011)
Some things are worth coming back for.
Sam Ray of Ricky Eat Acid and Malcom Lacey of Arrange have been doing amazing things on their own for quite some time now. Malcom’s Plantation got a very respectable tap for a 7.7 from p4k and Sam Ray has been mentioned on this blog at least 5 times, and probably that or more on most on blogs on the internet.
Kids these days…. Oh how quickly they grow.
On the third Ricky Eat Acid release, You Get Sick You Regret Things (2010), Sam Ray really showcased his talents as a multi-instrumentalist, as well as his ability to work well with the negative space in a song. Meanwhile, Malcom’s command of stark lyrical imagery against dark instrumental backdrops is what gave Plantation it’s depth. So the combination of those seems like it could be breathtaking.
And it is.
Here, on their first collaboration, “P.S.L.W”. All of their skill sets are married into a dark bleeding track of tremendous depth that shakes a little bit as it slides across your soul. One of the best tracks of the year.
Daily Doses: Kumon Plaza “River Spot” From River Spot Single (2011)
"When I leave, I’ll just disappear. At least until the day I show up, sit in your favorite chair, and pretend I was never gone."
Having released the beautiful (And free!) LP Cliffin July of 2010. Dylan of Kumon Plaza has since been employing the time honored artistic tradition of doing whatever the hell he feels like under whatever name he feels like, releasing tracks and EP’s as Happy Trendy and Gay Boiz as well as a few other beautiful ambient works that he has since told me will not see the light of day.
While I love all of these projects, it’s great to see him return to the minimalist style that informed his early Kumon Plaza tracks.
"River Spot" lazily coasts about, building on some basic keys with some 606 drums and swirling synth work. It’s a song for drifting along quietly by yourself. Observing without action.
In talking to Christopher, I knew the full length was coming along… But receiving an announcement from Forcefield PR that it would be through Hardly Art was one of the most welcome sites I’ve ever seen in my inbox.
Breakers, featured here, is the title track from their 9 song full length debut which will be released Sept. 27th 2011.
The depth of emotion that Christopher imbues in every song always blows me away, and this is no exception. Falling in gently with rolling piano waves and cello bouys, his voice sinks gently into the mix. It’s the effortless depth of the ocean as it reaches towards the shore. So much strength, and so much longing…
Spent a little time today on Turntable.fm today, and ended up being joined by Teen Daze, Happy Trendy / Kumon Plaza and Ghibli as well as Jimmy Morris from Head Underwater and some other great people for the online party of the century! (Or at least the day)
If you have a chance to swing by the site give it a shot. It’s a great way to pass some time, and catch up with friends from across the world. This was one of the first tracks Thomas from Ghibli dropped in, and I was immediately smitten.
Based out of Montreal, Greene’s been garnering a bit of attention for a while now, and with tracks like this, and the rest of his catalog I’ve been listening to on his Soundcloud I’m not at all surprised.
Think I’ll be spending a lot of time with these tracks in the weeks to come.
Much as most of my favorite records are concept records which sound out a story, the labels that tell the story of a sound are very near and dear to my heart. And near the top of that list for me would be Tri-Angle Records.
Comprised of Balam Acab, o0o00, How To Dress Well, Holy Other, Stalker, and Nowa Huta, Tri-Angle artists tend to embrace haunting solitude with abandon. And any new release I see coming out from one of their artists always gets my hopes up (in a melancholy way, obviously).
Enter Balam Acab, and their new album Wander / Wonder. Balam Acab’s first E.P, See Birds, was stunning (And my fourth favorite E.P of last year), which is a hard act to follow… Or, I would have thought. However this new track quickly tossed that theory out the window.
"Oh, Why" Dances by with subtle beauty, drifting lines, and gorgeous extensions as if intent on fulfilling and expanding on the promise of See Birds all by it’s lonesome. By the time it collapses to the ground, I was in love.
Daily Doses: Chelsea Wolfe “Mer” From Ἀποκάλυψις (2011)
I just wanna fall in love with a track.
I want it to twist around and find someplace in me where it can set up shop for about 20 listens until it fully assimilates and becomes something new, something I need to hear every day at least once.
But, of course, that’s hard to find. Even harder with a full length release. So far Tune Yards, and Sun Glitters are the only full length’s this year that have really blown me away. Weeknd’s House Of Balloon’s is screaming with potential, and has 3 or 4 tracks that hit it right on, but just doesn’t have enough dynamics as an album. Tyler The Creator’s Goblin, while containing 4-5 tracks that absolutely slay, also falls way flat on the other 13 tracks, sounding in the end like what it is. A record that was rushed to take advantage of buzz.
So seeing there was a new Chelsea Wolfe track was like an oasis in the desert. Far from those casualties of hype, carelessly packaged and tossed out half formed into a world desperate for substance, Chelsea has been carefully building herself and her style both in the bay area and Los Angeles for years, only recently getting talked about in the kind of places she deserves.
In “Mer”, Chealsea speaks in apocalyptic tongues over bending guitar sounds and enough rolling drums to make Danny Carey from Tool get a little bit excited. The end result steeped in end of the world sounds, feels both completely confident, and completely complete.
Artists out there take note. I know you think it’s important to keep the quantity of new tracks up in order to get noticed, but make sure once you start getting a little notice you can change gears and start upping the quality as well.
Or just ask yourself if you’d rather have an amazing three album run that lasted 5 years years or 60 tracks that were posted during that same period on some blogs, 5 of which were pretty good?
Daily Doses: Wintercoats “Delicate Position” Ft. Sea Oleena (2011)
Sometimes when I’m at the beach, I skip rocks.
Well, to be honest, every time I’m at the beach I skip rocks.
And every time I do, I always end up thinking about the amount of time it took that rock to finally get washed up to the shore. The epic journey it undertook while never being able to move of it’s own volition. Then, when it finally reached the end of that journey, it spent exactly 10 seconds under the sun before being thrown right back in.
I like to tell myself that 10 seconds was better because it was so brief. And that if it’d washed all the way onto the shore, it would have just ended up yearning for the ocean again.
But then, I’m biased, and slightly jaded.
I also really like skipping rocks.
Sorry, realizing we’re two days away from the first anniversary of the first Wintercoats EP, Cathedralhas me in a contemplative mood. Amazing to think of how much has happened in the last year…
Daily Doses: Giraffage “Eschaton” From The Pretty Things EP (2011)
Poppin’ bottles in the club…
There’s a point a little before hammered and right after buzzed where everything just gets a little hazy. Not out of control, but just a little surreal. It’s brief, like that last point before the sun hits the horizon, but if you keep an eye out for it, you’ll feel it.
The track’s on Giraffage’s debut E.P., Pretty Things remind me of those points. Not too far gone, but not entirely there either.
Daily Doses: Teen Daze “Waves” from All Of Us, Together (2011)
There’s no such thing as one hit wonder’s any more.
Sure, there’s plenty of artists that only have one track that never takes them anywhere. But they die too quickly in this climate to ever really get any acclaim, and there’s just not enough money for them to have a hit that carries them for years.
Artist development and sustainability are where it’s at. Major labels can’t afford to sink all their money into a vessel that goes no where, so, much like the movie industry, they’re sticking with ships that already have a full head of steam.
On the the other side, indie labels have so much less overhead they don’t require that every artist breaks open the doors and let’s the money come flowing in. So there most of the artists scrape by, often with jobs on the side to support their dreams.
Then, of course, there’s the DIY side. Live and die by each song, each album, each release, but you have to answer to no one. You can also go through 7 band names without ever getting beyond the lower tier of the blogosphere.
However, blogs are voracious animals. We need tracks to live, we need albums to live, we hope that every track we open will be amazing. In an ideal world, we would get 10 tracks a day and love everyone of them. Buuutttt that doesn’t happen. So we listen to 30, 50, 70, in the hopes of finding 1 that we can talk about, and will continue to talk about.
No more one hit wonders…. Just the survival of those that adapt and change, and the disappearance of those who don’t.
One of my favorite things about Teen Daze is that how much he’s adapted and changed. Having seen him 4 to 5 times live, it always amazes me how many new things he’s utilizing, how much more proficient he is at his instruments, and how much more comfortable he is with them.
In recorded form, the jump from Four More Years to Beach Dreams was equally impressive and drastic.
Here, on the first new track from an upcoming full length entitled All of us, Together, we see a lot of the same elements from Four More Years. But there’s a bit more lyrical attention and defininition, and some more subtle play in the instrumentals, all while hitting perfectly on what the Teen Daze moniker has always captured perfectly.
Daily Doses: The Neighborhood “Always Make The Time” From The Neighborhood (2011)
"Oh! Hey there 80’s infused, Depeche Mode tinged, Darkwave! I haven’t seen you in a while, what you been up too?"
"Nothin’ baby, just blowin’ this track up."
"Yeah man, I heard… You sound jet as fuck."
"Well see ya’ soon?"
"Probs, I always turn up somewhere."
The Neighborhood, AKA Los Angeles’ Ryan Dolliver, has 6 songs available on his bandcamp. The purchase of those songs will get you a cassette with those 6 songs on it.
It’s a pretty diverse bunch of synth-infused 80’s flashbacks, but after listening to them all, you’ll be completely prepared should you run into Ryan on the streets of LA, and a conversation like the one above spring up.
Daily Doses: Magical Options “Bad Vibe” From Channeling The Power of 4Loko to Create A New God (2011)
Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this son of York; And all the clouds that low’r’d upon our house, in the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
It’s going to be a dark summer… I can feel it.
Hot and sweltering, with that humidity that clings to your skin until it feels like it’s gotten beneath it and will never leave.
Fortunately the soundtrack that’s slowly being birthed from various artists like Weeknd, Frank Ocean, and James Blake will soundtrack the nights perfectly. Sweaty, sleepless, twisted nights of little sleep and a lot of heat.
I’m not putting Magical Options in that illustrious company yet, but there is something here that’s well worth spending sometime with.
Really, I’m still waiting for the artist that will take the R & Beatz game to the next level. I don’t think we’ve reached the heights this can get to yet. But there’s something there… Somewhere in the deep, dark, depths of summer there’s something waiting.
Daily Doses: The Weeknd “Loft Music” from House Of Balloons (2011)
How much swag does is take to be legit?
Let me start this off by saying I’m all about new slang, so this isn’t a hit against what the kids are doing these days. Seeing Odd Future jump around on stage, and ending every song with a chorus of “Swag, swag, swag, swag” like a flock of ducks taking off is totally jet as far as I’m concerned.
Still, let’s be honest, swag is cheap.
It’s costume jewelry, studded with cubic ziconia, tied around some knock off brands, and thrust into your face like it’s legit… But it’s still cheap.
Just like hype.
And hype is a harsh mistress that’s destroyed at least ten times the bands it keeps in the limelight.
Hype does occasionally develop into something real though. So, how long until swag develops into swagger? Is it roughly the same amount of time it takes to get off the hype treadmill, and actually become a lasting artist that contributes beyond the moment?
Jay-z, 2 Pac, Biggy, all had a lot more time to develop. They also had to do a lot more than jump on Fallon’s shoulders to play with the big boys. That’s just child’s play.
Cute, but without real substance.
Pitchfork is already all-in. They haven’t had a hit in a while, and in order for Time Magazine to keep eying their ride, they have to break an Arcade Fire or a Broken Social Scene often enough that they have sway beyond their little kingdom. So they’ll shovel on the coals and stoke the fire so they can say they were there from day one. And if the band crashes and burns? Fine, they’ll be the first to throw the torch. Build your effigy big enough, and people will only remember you burning it down.
Meanwhile they’ll post their videos of Tyler The Creator with a fake mustache tiddling around on a piano and call it news.
But, it’s not. Also, no matter what people keep spouting, Odd Future isn’t there yet. They’re a club band with a lot of energy, but the further away you get from the stage the more you can see the flaws.
Here’s hoping they don’t get so mired in the swag and bitches that they forget to evolve, or they’ll be gone before next summer.
And that’s the cycle, isn’t it? Birthed in Spring, raised by Summer, killed in the Winter, and mourned in the Fall. Lasting beyond a year in this business is damn near impossible.
Sooooo, “What the fuck does this have to do with Weeknd?” you ask?
Well, it’s a bit of a loose fit, but both have had some weight thrown behind them, and with both of them, I don’t think they’re there yet. Moving along with our “swag as hype” analogy, The Weeknd’s got it in spades. In fact, they’ve got so much of it it took me this long listening to their album “House Of Balloons”, to decide whether it was worth posting about, or just something I was supposed to like.
I’m still not positive. But I’ll give The Weeknd this, they are just twisted enough to keep my interest. Each song is a fun house with enough mirrors to keep me constantly looking around, wondering where the next thing will jump out at me. And along with some of their fellow stand-outs in the R n Beatz genre, they have a sound and feel that no one else is doing. That makes it worth the listen.
So, Odd Future and The Weeknd. Which will still be around in a year? Neither? Both?
You decide. Give it a shot, and see if it’s worth your time. And keep your eye out, because this is the flavor of summer kids, whether you like it or not.
Daily Doses: Loud Valley “Pensacola” From Loud Valley (2011)
It’s hot as hell in Los Angeles.
That comparatively hot of course, but hot none the less. Last week I was layered up against an onslaught of rain, this week I’m layered down to nothing.
Which is really my problem with heat.
While you can layer up to the sky, there’s only so far you can strip down. It’s very invasive.
Seeing that half of this record was recorded in Athens, Georgia, and the other half in Orlando, Florida, I’m sure Loud Valley could tell me stories about heat. Especially since every element of their first release seems soaked in it.
Dripping humidity in streams from it’s choral layers, cooled only by delicate horn layers that tremble about like quick breezes, it’s the kind of record that could only be made by people intimately familiar with the languid steamy comfort of the south.
The most important aspect of this is that the whole album makes this day seem much cooler by comparison. Thus it will remain on repeat as long as I need a respite.
New WeGet.By Release: Sun Glitters - Everything Could Be Fine (2011) Track: “Beside Me”
When I first listened to Sun Glitters debut release, Everything Could Be Fine, I was smitten. I lay back and played the tracks on repeat as lazy phrases and disconnected thoughts jumped through my head… Somehow time seemed to stretch and calm. Through the album I kept waiting for a time I would lose interest, I had work to do! But it just never happened, I honestly don’t think there’s a song on this record I don’t love.
I quickly messaged Victor, asking if he had any tracks available for me to promote, and he sent back "Everything Could Be Fine", which got as glowing a recommendation as these hands could write. Over the course of a few more e-mails, the idea of releasing the album as a tape through WeGetBy came up, and Victor was immediately on board.
So, I’m pleased to announce, directly on the heels of our first solo artist release with Flashing Red Lights, our second solo artist release on We Get By will be Sun Glitters beautiful debut, Everything Could Be Fine.
Having these two artists as the first two releases of this fledgling label is something I couldn’t be prouder of, and stand behind 100% as the type of quality, artistic vision, and amazing people we will continue to work with at WeGetBy. In the year to come we’ll also be expanding into vinyl releases as well as few other things, so keep an eye out at www.weget.by.
New WeGet.By Release: Flashing Red Lights Various Successes I’ve Had (2011) Track: "All Our Borders"
When Mark over at YVYNYL introduced us all to Nightlands, he mentioned that he’d been friends Dave, the man behind the project for a long time. This meant that when the record was finally dropped in his lap, he was afraid.
As he put it:
You know the feeling. Whenever you hear about something that a friend has been laboring away at, you *want* to like it. You know what it means to them. You pray that its gonna be as good as your expectations. You don’t want to let them down.
Growing up in and around a lot of Los Angeles bands, I couldn’t have agreed more with statement. What if one of them dropped their new created work of art in my lap and I just didn’t like it?
Fast forward to about a month ago when a good friend of mine, Mack Slevin of Flashing Red Lights finished his E.P. and asked if I wanted to meet up and give it a listen. As we sat there, about to fire up the session and hear it for the first time, Mark’s post just kept floating through my head, what if I didn’t like it?
Then the first song dropped in and those fears just melted away. From chord one I was in love… And it just got better.
Through four songs I didn’t say a word as sampled beats from classic punk albums, to classic rock, to 90’s emo flawlessly built worlds around pulsating bass blasts as heavily affected acoustic guitar and toy pianos darted in and out as a melodic counterpoint. All of this underneath lyrics that built up dark wounds and worlds of loss and obstacles that were not overcome, just understood.
The combination of the D.I.Y production aesthetic paired with lyrical concentration of David Bazan with a tinge of James Murphy.
And this is the epitomy of D.I.Y. Put together solely by Mack in his bedroom on Protools, there isn’t a sound here that wasn’t created, or warped into use by him.
So there you go. I’m happy to announce this tape will be the first non-mix release on WeGet.By. The tape will have the four songs listed on the E.P, and on b: side, acoustic versions of the songs that will be exclusive to the tape printing.
The four songs from the E.P. will be up for free around April 1st on the Flashing Red Lights Bandcamp, but anyone that sends a request over to email@example.com will get them 5 days ahead of time, just for being on the ball.
Daily Doses: Sun Glitters “Everything Could Be Fine” From Everything Could Be Fine (2011)
Shift down baby, we got some slow riding to do.
I don’t say this lightly, but Everything Could Be Fine, the debut release from Luxembourg’s Sun Glitters is one of the most exciting things I’ve heard this year.
Throughout last year and into this year, exciting artists like Star Slinger, Young Montana and Gold Panda have made playful use of samples and gotten experimentally curious with elements of dub-step and other electro influences and have created some of the best jams of last year.
With Everything Could Be Fine, Sun Glitters joins their ranks.
Concentrating more on the “Chillwave” side of the equation, the eight tracks on Everything Could Be Fine (Starting with the stunning “Beside You” and ending with the title track, featured here) are haunting down-tempo odes to anticipation. Slowly building but never exploding, each track feels like it captures a perfect moment and stops it, capturing every angle in a timeless freeze frame.
As with anything, slow it down enough and it must bear up to a lot more scrutiny. But the confidence in each of these tracks, as well as the release as a whole leaves it more than up to the task.
I’d recommend spending a lot of time with this one.
Daily Doses: Cop Magnet “Glossy” From Distraction (2011)
This is some next level shit ya’ll.
Coupling his layered kaleidoscopic synth montage with one of the smoothest flows to land at my doorstep, “Glossy”, the final song from Cop Magnet’s (Aka Maxwell Velocity) recent drop on Wonder Beard Records is a stoned cold jam.
Now, apparently this tape is apparently the final installment in the Cop Magnet saga. I’m not sure if this is because he’s retiring the moniker, or ascending to a higher level, but since Glossy is only one of a slew of brilliant tracks on this bad boy, I’d get one these gems before both the man and his tapes walk into a suspiciously smoke filled room and disappear forever.
Daily Doses: Nash Smith & Ganges “California” From The Nash Smith & Ganges EP (2011)
"I don’t know why you’d want to live here"
~ Ben Gibbard
I have to admit, although I love my fair city/state, I’ve always enjoyed hearing people slam it in verse. Maybe it’s just because I understand that, as a New Yorker friend of mine said recently, Los Angeles is a city of secrets… and as we all know from 4th grade, “Secrets don’t make friends”.
"California", the closing track from the trio’s new EP starts innocently enough with a couple bottles of red wine. But, by the end of the track vocalist Rob Keangy goes from quietly narrating, to angrily exploding through a crawling, swampy blend of country-esque noise as keyboardist/vocalist Melissa Smith and drummer Mark Arciaga churn up a storm behind him that’s big enough to wipe across the west coast and sweep it clean.
Now, normally we Californians prefer to see people wait ‘till at least their sophomore release before they call for us all to be killed in some sort of apocalyptic tidal wave.
But, to be fair, Hollywood could use a good cleanse.
Nash Smith & Ganges just released their debut cassette on Chicago label, Pretty All Right, and will be touring starting in March.