It all started on the South Pacific island Samoa some years ago when Marcus was there for a longer vacation and one day, while chillin’ under a coconut tree, got a feeling of how he wanted the pop music of his dreams to be. Spiritual like the local Samoan Catholic church choirs, hypnotic like the breathtaking tropical nature and, overall, a feeling of that you finally had reached to ”the other side”.
So, since some summers he and dear friend Daniel – who aside of this play keyboard in The Radio Dept. – have suffered some blood, sweat and even tears to turn this South Pacific dream into reality.”
BY KORALLREVEN FOR KORALLREVEN IN COLLABORATION WITH KORALLREVEN FOR KORALLREVEN
What I loved about the Moneyball was that the pace with which it told its story mirrored that of the sport at its heart. Baseball is boring, baseball is glib. Baseball takes its whole lot of time for very little to happen, and offers no apologies for a nine to nothing bloodletting, or an extra inning war of earned run attrition. At its core, I think baseball finds conceit in dilated time. Its detractors will tell you it is less than sport, and its tenants will swear that it is more than life. I agree with both. I think you can see it in the shots of empty stadiums illuminated, in the unspoken thoughts of those the game catches in its snare. I think baseball both knows and teaches that the most unlikely of events can not be predicted. I think if you listen closely and aren’t in too much of a hurry, you can hear this score breathe. You might even catch it whispering.
"Diverse, big-boned electro-hop debut from man-like Kuhn. ‘Slime Beach’ sets his sound with ragga samples, jukin’ rhythm accents and G-funk riff twists while ‘Stoneskipper’ leans on a noisier, synth-driven Hip Hop/Skweee style. Flip it for ‘We’re Gonna Make It’, a more blunted bit of psych-folk-sampling Hip Hop reminding of Koushik, and the the EP highlight, ‘Back ‘n’ Forth’ putting his own spin on the high velocity Footwork meme." - Boomkat
So last night I was taking part in one of my favorite past-times, shamelessly searching for new youtube videos featuring Meric Long and Logan Kroeber of The Dodos playing live acoustic sets, when it came to my attention that the cameras seem to mostly focus on Logan banging ‘round the drumsets, which I get, because I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a more constant energy abound from any other percussionist, but Meric does the majority of the song-writing, and plays most of the instruments on their albums, and was a singer-songwriter before getting involved with Logan. So although I would like to post something off Visiter, which was gifted its name exceptionally:
"The reason it’s misspelled is because it’s from a drawing this kid gave us. We played a show for a bunch of kids in South Central L.A.—Dorsey High. A friend’s sister [Barbara Lempel] is a special-ed teacher there, so we went down there to her class and we played for the kids and it was super fun. Then it came to the kids asking us questions and then one of the kids came up to us and he gave us a drawing with that written on it. The drawing is the cover actually of the album, and just—I dunno we liked it. Actually we used all of the drawings that the kids made in the artwork on the album. It was definitely a fun, interesting venture for us. We’d never played for kids before—we didn’t know what to expect but they were clapping and dancing."
I think it might make more sense to throw all the way back to Meric’s original EP, Dodo Bird, and perhaps share a sense of where their music sans Ewe drumming comes from. Enjoy!
From December 9th-11th 2011 at Butlins Holiday Centre, Minehead, UK, All Tomorrow’s Parties will present their yearly Nightmare Before Christmas festival. This year each day is curated by a different artist: Les Savy Fav on Friday, Battles on Saturday and Caribou on Sunday.
Please enjoy this amazing mix put together by Dan Snaith (Caribou), who has created an intense hour long journey through the artists chosen for his day of the event.
A mixtape made for dis magazine. Somebody should find out what’s going on there. Remix of awesome jams from Spirited Away, spoken word, PONPONPON, Crazy Cousinz, lots of good stuff all in one-wait for it-38-Minute package.
Birdy is fifteen years old. She won Open Mike UK’s under-18 category at the age of 12, is currently signed to 14th Floor Records, and recently released a self-titled album consisting mostly of popular indie band covers from the likes of fleet foxes, bon iver, and the now-defunct (us)postal service. A worn and wearied old-soul voice combed over affectively played grand piano comprises the majority of the sound for this record, showcasing the austerity of a youthful artist who seems to enjoy above all else just singing songs of simple melodies.
"For Jonathan Segal’s new movie, Norman, the director tapped looping violinist extraordinaire and indie singer-songwriter Andrew Bird to create the soundtrack. One of the publicity blurbs describes Norman as a movie about “a self-aware and darkly funny teen,” which could mean the music goes with either an introspective hipster vibe or angst-ridden hard pop/metal. Given that Bird is the composer, we get the former, with a number of typically mellow and beautiful Bird folk/rock/pop tunes on here, the standouts being the acoustic and impassioned “Night Sky” and the electrically charged rocker “Darkmatter”. Additionally, there are a few choice outside contributions from the likes of The Blow and Wolf Parade.
The real surprise here is Bird’s original, non-diegetic compositions. He has created a background score that manages to tell quite a story, one of hope in the face of desolation, without even needing to see the movie. Bird follows a general formula of minimalist background sounds underneath deeply moody and passionate violin melodies. The former paint a cold, grey picture, while the latter breathe life and personality into the otherwise dour soundscapes.
Opening track “Scotch and Milk” captures this aesthetic perfectly. Oscillating chords of indiscriminate instrumental origin soon give way to a pulsating and nervous violin pizzicato, on top of which Bird layers lines of poppy violin melodies and driving tremolo strings. Other bits suggest darker scenes, like the eerie harmonics and dissonances of “Cancerboy Strikes Again/Monsterstream”. Luckily for Norman, his life isn’t just pain and suffering: He probably gets some action to the accompaniment of “The Kiss”, with finger-picked acoustic guitar and sweet, wordless vocalizations. Although they make for a staggeringly good movie score, these tracks probably won’t end up on your iPod; however, the five actual songs on this soundtrack are keepers.” - consequence of sound
“I had the chance to check out the ‘first’ official show from Sydney indie-pop squad Jinja Safari over the weekend when the lads took supporting honours for Miami Horror’s just-wrapped national tour and once the Jinja Safari crew had wrapped their set I wasn’t the only one with a giddy grin plastered on my face.
But let’s backtrack to the set itself. Bounding about with endless energy, Jinja Safari performed like this was their 100th gig really, they were impressively tight. Mixing island-keyboards with erratic guitar squall, low-slung bass and some double-duty percussion – with the bongo/xylophone maestro rolling around on stage barefoot – the set was a lot of fun to watch. Which is really all you can ask for.
Expect to hear a lot about these guys from here on out, that’s a certainty. In the meantime, grab first cut Peter Pan below and head to Unearthed to show them some more love.”
Think Local Natives meets Vampire Weekend, then sob hysterically sad/happy at the sheer cleverness and enterprise of the whole outfit.
A little research confirmed what my ears had already entertained, that the newly released Dead Legs & Alibis hails from the same British electronic folk-rock outfit that produced Miracle Kicker back in 2008, only without the better half of its namesake. A two-piece ensemble, what has seemed recently to me to be the optimal number of collaborators for any non-touring musical manifestation, giving grandiose scope to folksy murmurings, Dark Captain exhibits a restrained sensibility of space in their work by building atmospheres fully layered of acoustic post-rock loopings bolstered against wheat field sounds weaving back-and-forth with the wind. They’re the nascent beats heard clamoring over the hum of an engine, the changing tranquilities of tree leaves colorturning in the autumn sun.
"Guilty Ghosts represents the musical endeavors of Tristan O’Donnell. Drone guitars, breakbeats, and tape loops all find their way into his unique style of ambient guitar music. His songs are the kind fit for rainy days, everlasting evenings, and melancholy moments in solitude.
Tristan, a life-long Brooklynite, recorded “Veils” at home. Vocal collaborations from Sea Oleena (Canada) and Guerre (Australia) were done via internet file exchange. Additional guitars are played by longtime friend and collaborator Luke Hill.”
Icebird is some soulful shit, a collaboration between Aaron Livingston, who self-proclaimingly makes songs to sing words onto, and RJD2, an electronics-producing aesthete, think Otis Redding meets Star Slinger.
“Color Radio is a band unique to the Chicago local scene. Two brothers, Jonathan and Tohm Ifergan came together with their close friends to create such marvelous lyricism and dynamic sounds that are as echoic and obscure as they are familiar. To listen to their forthcoming album, Architects (due out in June 2011) has such rhythmic precision. It is their glowing vocals, which blend over layers of dreamy guitars that are finely tuned and followed up by ambitious percussion. Their sound has similarities to such bands as Here We Go Magic and Radiohead. Though it is unique to its own, blending dreamy pop with glimmering guitar solos, their talent is immediately apparent when listening for the very first time. And on stage it is their warmth and exuberance that can’t keep you from smiling ear to ear.” - Gapers Block
A split record from two experimental rock bands out of Wilmington, Deleware, or Newark, New Jersey. Well, they’re from somewhere that seems to be the same place. There exist 300 copies of this ep pressed and hand-numbered, which you might or probably will not be able to find at your local record store.
“It was on a cold winter’s morning a neon sign in Brooklyn had the two high school friends Thorben and Sune form Alcoholic Faith Mission back in 2006. As they traversed the Brooklyn streets they suddenly found themselves in front of a church, Apostolic Faith Mission. If you took out Apostolic, put in Alcoholic, they discussed, you’d have a pretty cool band name; for an alcoholic elixir is needed, just like religion is needed for the pious.
It took them six month to record and release the debut Misery Loves Company. It came to be in Thorben’s bedroom with a few sets of rules: Record only at night. The only light source could be that of candles. Consumption of alcohol was integral. And lastly once anything was recorded it could not be changed.
However Brooklyn had struck a rich chord with the guys, and 18 months later they moved back. A rebuilt factory loft is where they lived and recorded their second album overseeing the magnificent Williamsburg Bridge. The following six months had only one rule: Record only things found within the four walls. This is how two dictionaries came to be a kick drum, and vocal chords came to remedy the lack of synths.” - excerpt from the band’s bio
Daughter is Elena Tonra’s voice, Igor Haefeli on guitar, and Remi Aguilella playing drums, with some occasional instrumentals from bassist Kevin Jones. Having already made a name for herself as a solo balladeer in the London music scene, Elena ran into Igor at a songwriting class and decided it was time to break into a more nuanced sound. From that bloomed a particular sort of experimental neo-folk, a collection of dreamsongs. The magisterial quality of her anecdotal, heartfelt lyrics, wrought over lush acoustic ecologies, embodying a transference of catholic experience, the ability to see our own image in the self-portraits of Rembrandt, to want with Stephen Dedalus for the uncreated conscience of our race. It’s the bridge that crosses the space between, the difference between stories and fables. And listening to her sing I cannot but help believe that those still bleeding are the lucky ones, that beautiful brains can indeed disintegrate, that maybe just maybe we can find someone who will take us home.
"A beautiful tension between calloused textures and melodic gleam."
If you like artsy folk-rock in the vein of Dr. Dog and Delta Spirit, and can withstand some in-your-face noise elements littered among moonstruck songwriting, this rounded, fully realized album should provide an insightful listen into inevitable restructurings of a sound that ruled independent music throughout the previous decade. On a side note, it’s nice to know that going retro can be so cool so soon, and that perhaps the period for reinvention is getting smaller and smaller.
First off, I can’t believe one of us hasn’t posted about this yet. Future Islands’ last LP, In Evening Air, blew away all [#] of us, and that’s an understatement. Singer Sam Herring states his manner of working as a songwriter: “I want you to cry…I want you to feel the way I feel. I want to crush.” Although the fast pace and dance floor bounce that made their second LP so energetic seems to have been traded in for more slow burning ballads, they’ve still managed to, well, crush me with On the Water.
This LP represents the reconciliation between one’s past and future, and this theme is thoughtfully expressed through both lyricism and instrumentation (I’d detail examples, but I feel those detections are better left to the listener). Herring has managed to temper his voice a bit, softening those calls to Meatloaf and Tom Waits, and as a result sounds more weary and less dramatic. That’s not to say he still doesn’t showcase those wonderful growling fulminations, he just does so more carefully this time around. The fluctuations in Herring’s voice mimic an ebb and flow construction the LP seems to have sourced from the ocean they recorded near in North Carolina. And, unlike In Evening Air, the instrumentation lines up with Herring’s lyrics in more inventive ways, each element adding to the other to elicit a stronger emotional experience.
Long story short, they’ve done it again. You’d be a fool not to check this out.
“Imagine an alien species of explorers from a galaxy some 70 million light years distant. Countless generations have lived and died on the journey to Earth. Whole histories, micro-civilizations come and gone. But at last they are here. Markarians are here. Only…somewhere along the way, rounding the Sombrero Galaxy, they forgot why they came. And how to get back. Marooned, they do their best to acclimate to this new world and its unique forms of joy and despond, its miraculous absurdity. Music helps. It has to. They listen. They assimilate. And as they assimilate, a sound emerges: their sound. A synthesis of styles and performers—the surrealism of Mark E Smith, the pop sensibilities of Ivy, the fuzzy angst of Sonic Youth, the haunted introspection of The Church, the velveteen, pillow-warm texture of The Clientele, the mellow earnestness of Kurt Vile. All of these, shaped, with lapidary precision, to seem effortlessly congruent, natural. At day’s end, though, the sound is unmistakably Markarian.
Now imagine that instead of a forlorn alien species, Markarians were actually one human guy. Call him Chad Murphy. A savant-type, living in Central Pennsylvania. Why not? The kind of guy who reads Japanese for fun, an alumnus of U of Chicago, a Penn State grad student. A guy who founded his own indie label, Exumbrella Records, became for a time the notorious fourth member of Tolchock Trio while also heading up his own band, Electoral College; a guy who has now single-handedly written, recorded, mixed, and mastered a solo project, two five-track EPs: Ten Means Heavenand Andre in Love. Which of these scenarios seems more plausible? Frankly, my money’s on the aliens. But do we have to choose? To me, Markarians is about how we are all of us aliens, a paradoxical community of loners, transients, and introverts; and if it evinces some longing for transcendence, for the otherworldly, well, that is only a castaway’s longing for home.”
Ad Astra Arkestra, a second incarnation of Kansas City’s Ad Astra Per Aspera, is a nine-piece calypso noise rock jam band whose four-song, twenty-eight minute long, debut ep leaves one utterly spent, slightly disoriented, and asking just who is on first. A wide and varied array of percussion provides a foundation of membranophones, idiophones, and aerophones frantically tripping over each other in a hurried muddle of electric guitar prostrations. In the middle of all this lies a scintillating complexity of dual-gender call and response vocals decidedly tribal and seamlessly integrated, adding a unique tonal aspect to the proceedings. If there is a message here, it is to be found in the totality of the sound, in the undeniable rush of ingenuity that makes one imagine it might be more likely to encounter this sound on an African railway platform than in a Lawrence night club. Think something like the soundtrack to a Saharan Slumdog Millionaire, a Tom and Jerry crime caper, a streetlamp city-wide scavenger hunt. It’s a lot of fun, witch-doctoring, soul-stealing, incanted fun. It will creep inside you like a warm kitten.
Every time I listen through Goodbye Weather something new strikes me. This is in part due to the complexities of the soundscapes classical guitarist Chris Bolton creates using several unexpected out-of-date instruments such as the dictaphone and melodica, in part due to the powerful thematic elements found in an album that espouses desolation as the lion’s share of grandeur. Goodbye Weather continually creates space as it runs, each hurried frantic romp, like a bird soaring across an empty sky, arriving unexpectedly transient in its own time. In between, there is room to breath and to question whether action or inaction, observation or manifestation, holds more meaning in a world ruled by weather patterns and chance encounters. All in all, this is a way of saying that Seagull’s debut album opens doors, in creativity and emotionality, in an admirable essence in the merit of getting back to the basics.
Twin Sister is a dream pop group based in Long Island, NY, and they’ve garnered a lot of attention over the past year. They blew.me.away. with their Color Your Life EP, a release that literally induced severe daydreams every time I listened to it. I’d have those 6 tracks on repeat for hours without realizing it. Andrea Estella’s voice on “The Other Side of Your Face” is one of the most comforting sounds I have ever heard.
So, it’s no surprise I nearly flipped my shit when I heard about In Heaven, their first LP. It seems as though they’ve managed to feather out the brief, fumbling moments of uncertainty and to highlight everything extraordinary from their first two EPs. Estella takes her role to new heights, showcasing a variety of vocal styles, and the group’s new sound, now that it’s trimmed some of the fat, has slipped into a slightly sexier outfit. Honey-covered vocals, funky rhythms and cushioned beats all swimming effortlessly in a twinkling sea of ethereal bliss: how could you resist this?
Beautiful hazy dream pop from London Ingaland, Still Corners a la Memoryhouse wants you to read between the riffs, to get lost in the nether of their strong post-rock sentiments, and lose yourself bouncing in and out of walls of sound. Founded in 2008 on the hushed breathy vocals of Tessa Murray and the succinctly pop-inspired atmospheric renderings of Greg Hughes, they create a wash of giddy love songs in the vein of Au Revoir Simone.
Every once in a while you start listening to an album and normality goes out the window. Colors explode, your thoughts stray, your body recedes as your mind expands, and you become this encapsulated engine of momentous life energy, uncontrollable urges of immortality…
“Heather studies piano at the conservatorium and reads a bit too much Russian literature. Hayley looks toward her personal canon of pop ballads for guidance in all situations and believes we must return to the way life was prior to the poker machine epidemic. Nik is a science student who imbues his drumming with formulas and mathematical complexities. Sam is a country music-playing, Marx-spouting communist with a love of all things meaningfully subversive.
I guess our music derives from these things.” - from the band
I’m moving to Australia some day, and this is a spectacular debut.
The July 2011 edition of Mojo Magazine included a cd of some of the London label’s most promising singer-songwriters, musicians using music as a medium for message. Hopefully contemplative, there’s a sense of longing in this compilation, a will to see the world in a different light, to take a short respite from present travaux and wish upon a song.