The Oakland trio (vocalist-bassist Shannon Shaw, guitarist Cody Blanchard, and drummer Ian Amberson) have outdone themselves with this finger-snapping, Technicolor torch song that re-imagines Roy Orbison as a Shangri-Las singer.
Stream the whole thing at the AV Club through tomorrow. You can also watch a short documentary here. Hardly Art releases Dreams in the Rat House on May 21. Then, on June 7, Shannon & the Clams play the Tractor Tavern with Mikal Cronin.
* "Into a Dream" hit my inbox on May 1, but I didn't get the chance to listen until yesterday.
On days like today, when the sun hasta try to burn its way through clouds, that Sweden's Mecki Mark Men's jam, "Being Is More Than Life," feels like the perfectly fitting soundtrack; it's heavy and dreamy, while still bright enough you hafta squint...you might see colors, but can only feel the steely grayness.
Now, to me, THIS is proper acid jazz! Mecki Mark Men were a Swedish band of jazz-bos, with ties to Baby Grandmothers and, as it was the '60s, were drawn to the more experimental sike sounds. In fact, their albums are almost text book jumps from expansive Euro sike to controlled prog.
by Dave Segal
on Wed, May 15, 2013 at 2:25 PM
When you think of Olympia (which you do more often than you'd like to admit), your mind probably doesn't light upon house music. No, it's more likely you envision that K Records shield logo and Calvin Johnson's unsmiling mug. But Braxton/Palmer (aka Sonny Thomas) is that one lonely soul cranking out quality house choons from Washington's capital. One example is "Creeper, Pt. 1," a soulful, slinky, after-midnight seducer. Sounds way more like NYC than PNW. (You can check out the slower, less bumping "Creeper, Pt. 2" after the jump, along with the press release.)
Okay, "She Came This Way" is not exactly a long JOURNEY...like, it ain't a concept piece about a neverending fairytale or stoking revolution, BUT it is a single side's journey through some sweet sunlit sike. It's a dosed sugar cube of Love, lysergic-era Beatles, the Buffalo Springfield, without irony and ZERO nods to the contemporary sike strains.
"She Came This Way" is one of Bay Area guitarsonist Derek See's solo jams. His main playing gig is producing, recording, and playing guitar with the Bang Girl Revue. If you ain't heard 'em, the Bang Girl Revue lay down some serious girl-group sounds. See also has an unfuckwithble record collection, which, thankfully, he proudly plays out, and he maintains a GENIUS blog, Derek's Daily 45. The man has taste and skill, AND he's also the Stooges' touring guitar tech!! Lord knows where he finds the time to record his killer solo action. GODDAMN! Oh, full disclosure: He's also a pal of mine.
by Dave Segal
on Tue, May 14, 2013 at 2:19 PM
Master Musicians of Bukkake have issued another video of a song from their forthcoming Far West album (out on Important Records in June; read about that record's "White Mountain Return"here). "Gnomi" is one of MMOB's most accessible and melodramatic moments, a solemnly majestic ballad that packs an ancient punch, scarred by some of the most tastefully deployed guitar noise and marked by some of the most decipherable vocalizing in the group's long history. Also special: the 50-second synth breakdown near the halfway point, which recalls the sinister, seething tones of Igor Wakhévitch and Patrick Vian.
"Biz Bag" appears on the Bay Area band's upcoming EP, She's on Top, which I originally typed as "Who's the Boss" (blame Tony Danza...or Alyssa "Wen® Hair" Milano...or Judith Light..or Reagan-era sitcoms in general).
Why it's called "Biz Bag," I couldn't say, but it rocks in a big, bad, beautiful way—and I'm still kicking myself for missing their Seattle show last fall. I even took a picture of the poster, because I was so excited, but then deadlines got the best of me.
Here's an excerpt from Drag City's breathless press release:
This morning, Pitchfork premiered "Biz Bag," one of the completely bonk, top-of-the-pop-tart jams from the freshly pressed-and-forthcoming (May 21st!) "She’s On Top" 12" EP by Sic Alps. "She's On Top," a concise gem-drop! Pure rock 'n' roll directives of an unusually clean (for Sic Alps!) variety pour forever from das grooves and we're not gonna lie—this ain't no waxident, it's a classicident! One solid blast threatens to obliterate both end of yer parties* with vitality and charm, a peakingly [sic] planned romp into the twilight hours that float beyond the late-nite hours. Taste this first listen, and you'll eat exactly what we mean.
* I read that as "panties." (I suspect that DC main man Rian Murphy wrote this thing.)
by Dave Segal
on Mon, May 13, 2013 at 11:07 AM
Seattle producer/synthesist/bassist Airport (aka Jayson Kochan of Midday Veil and TJ Max) has a new video of his sinister disco bomb “Business” ready for your hungry eyes. Directed by and starring artist (and a 2012 Stranger visual art Genius contender) Amanda Manitach, the clip captures the obsessive-compulsive, fast-twitch mania of a lot of the best dance music. Plus, stilettos.
I just read about the passenger who refused to stop loudly singing an off-key rendition of "I Will Always Love You" during an American Airlines flight. She apparently worried the flight staff enough that they hand-cuffed her and had to make an emergency landing. Another passenger caught a secret cellphone video of her continuing to belt the song out as she was lead to the front of the aircraft in cuffs. The woman was not charged, and she claims that the incident was a caused by a bizarre diabetic episode, but American refused to fly the woman on to her destination and she had to make other arrangements.
(Oh, also it does kind of irritate me how all the headlines for this story are attributing "I Will Always Love You" to Whitney Houston and The Bodyguard, but of course the song was actually originally written and recorded by Dolly Parton.)
Holy Seattle supergroup! Back in February Trent Moorman introduced us to Dust Moth, a new band featuring members of Eighteen Individual Eyes, These Arms are Snakes, Shift, Undertow, and Sparkmarker. The band has had a couple clips on Bandcamp for a couple months now, but if you haven't made it out to one of their three or four shows, you can finally get a full-sized bite of their sound via this new video for "Selector":
by Dave Segal
on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 10:43 AM
French ethnodelic multi-instrumentalist High Wolf will be playing Electric Tea Garden Sept. 9. Let's hope he plays longer than the 30 minutes he did at Cairo in 2011—although it was a very good half hour.
In more immediate news, High Wolf will be releasing a new album, Kairos: Chronos, June 4 on Not Not Fun. The first track to be released to the public from it, "Kulti," further hones his unique spin on psychotropical dub for rainforest rituals. It instantly propels you out of your everyday mind into a far stranger and more intriguing state. Don't know about you, but that's a big reason why I listen to music in the first place. More on Kairos: Chronos later, but suffice it to say that the album's a major head trip that will get you floating in a most peculiar way.
by Dave Segal
on Tue, May 7, 2013 at 11:22 AM
While zooming downhill on Olive Way on my bike last night, the Clash’s “Somebody Got Murdered” popped into my head, apropos of nothing. I had not listened to this song (fourth track, side two of Sandinista!) in, oh, 30 years. Revisiting it now, the track sounds fairly innocuous, not at all the thing that flashes to mind when one thinks of the Clash. It’s just Mick Jones in lightweight-pop mode, helping to fill out a triple album, very pleasantly.
I don’t know what this phenomenon’s called—random memory reflux? Mental glitch jukebox syndrome?—but it’s pretty damned mysterious. Some songs will do this on a recurring basis, also seemingly spurred by nothing germane: The Fugs' "Frenzy" does this, usually when I'm shopping for sundries. (News you can use.)
by Dave Segal
on Tue, May 7, 2013 at 9:48 AM
Seattle singer/songwriter Stres (aka Josh Bolof)—who has a new Erik Blood-produced EP titled Old Lives coming out soon—presents a sneak preview from it today. "Windows" is a charming slice of morose, slow-gaze pop with a wonderfully wonky guitar tone and a mesmerizing synth/drum breakdown.
You can catch Stres playing live at the Sunset Thurs. May 23 with Truckasauras, DJAO, and Miniature Airlines. It's a strong lineup coordinated by music critic Todd Hamm for his monthly Tough Cuts night.
I first wrote about Jacques Dutronc back in December—the post featured his stellar, and always in rotation at '60s clubs, "Le Responsable." Well, last week as I was sussin' out some French/Québécois EPs, I snagged a Dutronc EP I didn't already have. Besides the usual folky/pop dreck most '60s Euro EPs contain (even Dutronc's), it also features the track, "A la Queue les Yvelines;" a cool JD jam I'd never heard.
Um, this ain't ye'-ye' or trad folky French sing-a-long junk—"A la Queue les Yvelines" is heavy, pierced with blistering stabs of fuzz, AND syncopated. It's prolly as proggy as Dutronc would ever get; AND it's still danceable. The only other HEAVY JD jam I've heard is, perhaps, "L´augmentation." While still fantastique, it makes me wanna headbang, not move my dancin' feet!!
I listened to New Zealand sextet the Phoenix Foundation's double-LP, Fandango, this weekend, and it didn't quite win me over, though it came close (and I'll assume Kiwis don't think about talking bags when they see the word "Fandango").
In reading up on the band, which has been around since 1997, I learned some interesting things: 1) they took their name from the TV show MacGyver, and 2) they provided the score for Taika Waititi's films Boy and Eagle vs. Shark (featuring Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords).
Say Hello to Chance the Rapper: Chicago's latest hiphop prodigy claims his new mixtape Acid Rain, which dropped yesterday, is "the best tape to come out in 2013." The year's still young but after hearing it, it's hard to argue with him.
And Finally, Hometown Heroes Shabazz Palaces Remix Animal Collective: This is pretty druggy.
by Dave Segal
on Wed, May 1, 2013 at 3:21 PM
Case Studies—Seattle singer/songwriter Jesse Lortz's post-Dutchess and the Duke project—presents a preview track from his new album, This Is Another Life (out June 11 on Sacred Bones). "Driving East, and Through Her" is the most interesting, exciting song I've heard by Case Studies, whose previous folk-rock recordings have sounded staid and pedestrian to me.
Produced by the Gris Gris' Greg Ashley, "Driving East, and Through Her" cruises out of the gate with more propulsion than anything else in Case Studies' catalog and bears an utterly infectious groove, rich, probing bass line, warmly glum vocals, and piquant, Beggars Banquet-like slide guitar. I hope the rest of This Is Another Life exudes this much liveliness and catchiness.
Press release, album promo clip, and tracklist after the jump.
One-time Ducktails and Real Estate associate Julian Lynch has been diligently toiling away on his solo career since 2008, culminating in the release of his fourth album, Lines, earlier this year. It's a pretty, prog-infused pop record that hasn't attracted much attention in Seattle, so maybe that's why his current tour doesn't include our fair city.
On the plus side, he's released a video to accompany the bleary, smeary "Gloves," which plays like XTC by way of Roxy Music on Robitussin. Double plus (good): it's rather charming, especially for those who find curly-haired lasses, stuffed rabbits, and polka-dot dresses appealing—and hey, who doesn't? (More so if The Velveteen Rabbit made a vivid impression on you as a kid.) Yet somehow, the end result isn't as cute or as quirky as that description might indicate. SPIN compares it to Donnie Darko, though I'd like it even better if the big bunny at the end looked more like the small one.
by Dave Segal
on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 8:00 AM
In my estimation, Date Palms are going to be one of the highlights of Debacle Fest, a seriously deep exploration of experimental music that happens May 3-5 in Seattle, and about which you can read more in this publication on Wednesday.
Led by Marielle V. Jakobsons (violin, flute, electronics) and Gregg Kowalsky (keyboards, electronics), the Bay Area group are slated to drop The Dust Sessions in June on Thrill Jockey. A sublime combination of sinuous prairie ragas and elegant chamber orchestral maneuvers, the The Dust Sessions elevates mind states with a spiritualized gracefulness. Check out “Dusted Down” for a sneak preview of its treasures.
Date Palms play Debacle Fest Sat. May 4 at FRED Wildlife Refuge.
I'd never heard "Guess I'm Dumb" before today, but DAMN, if it ain't good!
Um... some selectors play this out, like, as a dance jam. Odd, 'cause this is a big, and very Brian Wilson sounding pop song, which, to my ears, ain't a mover.
I really only know Glen Campbell's music from my adolescence. His string of soft pop/easy country hits—"By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Witchita Lineman," "Gentle on My Mind," "Galveston," "Rhinestone Cowboy," and, perhaps the most grating of all... "Southern Nights"—were ALWAYS on the radio and, thusly, are forever burned into my brain with the most pointed of pointed hate. My hate notwithstanding, prior to his pop/country solo career Campbell was a member of the popular instrumental group the Champs, cut a few solo teener sides, and was an ace session man; he was part of the famed LA session group Wrecking Crew. It was via the Wrecking Crew that Campbell sessioned and toured with the Beach Boys and how I'd reckon got dibs on this song.