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.
by Dave Segal
on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Seattle producer DJAO (Alex Osuch) has remixed "Green Garden" by British soul diva Laura Mvula. The original's an ebullient heart-pumper with a beautiful, understated vibraphone (or is it mbira?) motif and intricately arranged backing vocals. The tempo's way faster than DJAO's usual BPM range, but he finds a way to make the song more introverted and intense by emphasizing the kick drum and woodblock hits and chopping the vocals to an urgent scatting. This is a pretty high-profile remix job for AO; Mvula's Sing to the Moon album—where "Green Garden" originates—came out in March on RCA. Nice going, everybody.
DJAO is working on an LP for Portland label Dropping Gems, due for release later this year.
by Dave Segal
on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 1:37 PM
Afrocop keyboardist Noel Brass Jr. dug up an old tune of his for our reassessment, titled "For You." Man, is it eerie. You can imagine this piece playing in the ballroom at the Overlook Hotel where Jack Torrance stays in The Shining—but enhanced by liberal doses of LSD and Robotussin™. It's a beautiful, soulful ballad slowly gurgling down a celestial drain. Bittersweet dreams...
by Dave Segal
on Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 10:35 AM
The standout track from a recent compilation of cover songs titled Horfes turn’d Jockies (on Marc Laurick's Seattle-based label the China Sea Recordings Concern) is Graham Brice’s suitably eerie rendition of Robert Wyatt’s “Sea Song,” off his 1974 LP Rock Bottom. It's rare to hear a vocalist do true justice to a Wyatt tune, but Brice really captures the original's fathoms-deep melancholy, and he nails the solemn, serpentine, circling-the-drain beauty of the melody, too.
You can freely download and listen to the whole compilation—which includes versions if songs by the Velvet Underground, John Cale, Nico, and Big Star—here.
Today I've been dealing with what seems like WAY more than the usual amount of weirdness. I kinda feel like one of them Y-Wing fighters from Star Wars: A New Hope; one of the Gold Squad which gets shot down in the trench by Darth Vader, while valiantly trying to stay on target. Naturally, as a way to alleviate my stress, I figgered creepin' Group/R&B 45s would help. It has, sorta. When it comes to R&B 45s, just window shopping via teh internet can be enough. C'mon, R&B is ALWAYS a PARTY! AMIRITE? ... hello? Anyways, as I was in creep mode, I happened across a 45 by the Teenchords. Perhaps you might remember this track; it was used in some Google TV advert this past December... I think. Whatever, the song is great, catchy as shit.
Like the all best Group/R&B "I'm So Happy" just sails, it's a dancer, and one that can make you feel like you have not a care in the world. Which, currently, is what I need!! If you're wondering why the singer for the Teenchords sounds a lot like Frankie Lymon, as in Frankie Lymon andthe Teenagers, it's 'cause Teenchords' lead, Lewis Lymon, IS Frankie Lymon's little brother. Tho' the Teenchords didn't have much of a career, I like 'em better than the Teenagers. I've never been too stoked on the Teenagers as they were too pop for my taste and Frankie ended up a grade-A asshole junkie.
Occasionally I get the tap to play records between bands or whatnot at shows and when I do I usually bring a long hair heavy/garage set. The kids are usually more interested in the bands, of course, not dancing. Anyways, one track that always gets a rise is the AMERICAN version of David Bowie's "Rebel Rebel"—it's a cut up and real effect-heavy version...it's great.
Right, very different from the slightly more square UK single and LP version. There is a bit of lore surrounding this mix—it's been suggested it was "played entirely by Bowie." Perhaps Spiders from Mars guitarist Mick Ronson was no longer a Spider from Mars and Bowie did play most all the instruments on Diamond Dogs...
by Dave Segal
on Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 11:43 AM
While the marketing campaign for Daft Punk's new album, Random Access Memories (out May 21), ramps up to ludicrous dimensions (that huge ad at Coachella allegedly outshone anything any of the live acts did, which doesn't speak well for the festival) and millions of punters are being monumentally set up for what will probably be just an a'ight album, if "Get Lucky" is indicative, Demdike Stare issued a 12-inch called Testpressing#001 on Modern Love, packaged in a generic white sleeve with a convincing facsimile of said vinyl artifact. (It's not impossible to love both groups simultaneously, but, push comes to shove, I will reach for the Demdike Stare records 99 out of 100 times.)
What's interesting is the discrepancy between the promotional approaches—and quality and nature of the music— which couldn't be more stark. Daft Punk—whose first album, 1996's Homework, is still their best and who are damn good at what they do, obviously—create a superficially glossy sound engineered to move the maximum amount of asses as efficiently as possible; by contrast, Demdike Stare purvey an enigmatic, edgy, eerie style that is the epitome of uncommerciality—although I wouldn't be too shocked if some daring company decided to license a Demdike piece due to its ability to rivet the attention.
The two tracks on Testpressing#001 ("Collision" and "Misappropriation") represent some of Demdike Stare's most rhythmically robust and texturally scathing work to date. You won't hear this music at any of the big "EDM" fests or Coachella, but Seattle's own Debacle and Decibel thankfully had the guts to book Demdike in 2012.
I'm not trying to put too fine a point on this. It just struck me hard how these coincidental parallel events spotlight profound extremes in how electronic music is packaged and disseminated through capitalism's channels. This has been the case since the early '80s, but perhaps it's never been so vividly evident as the example of Daft Punk and Demdike Stare in 2013.
I still haven't quite made my peace with her comic book-like name, but I can understand why Carmen Hillestad would want to create a new persona when she made the move from modeling to music-making, though more Europeans probably know Carmen Villain by her famous face than by her birth name, since she's modeled for Vogue, Elle, Glamour, and the other usual fashion suspects. I just don't get a villainous vibe from her work, though I like the way the pseudonym brings hiphop duo Madvillian to mind (even if they sound nothing alike). Fittingly, the video for "Easy" from her debut Sleeper features a series of close-ups. I have no idea whether the subjects are actors, musicians, or friends, but it's nice to see a model focusing on faces other than her own (though she shows up a few times, too).
Sleeper is out now on Smalltown Supersound. Carmen plays New York's Pianos on April 23.
"politicians never did shit for me except lie to me / distort history / wanna give jail time and a fine/ fine, lemme commit a real crime"
Jay-Z rapped about selling drugs. Jay-Z stabbed the shit out of Lance "Un" Rivera. Jay-Z actually made "Beach Chair", praised the rapping of Talib Kweli, and made Collision Course with Linkin Park. Crimes against humanity, all; now these funboys & girls in Congress are mad about him and Beyonce going to Cuba—when it was all legal? That's that bullshit.
Yesterday the band premiered the song on Spin.com (what, we're not good enough for you? I kid! I kid!) and announced that their new full-length album, I Never Meant It to Be Like This, will be out May 21st.
I swear once I started listening "Do You Remember" just a moment ago the pitter-patter of raindrops paused and the sky got a little bitter brighter. Maybe if we ALL listen, the rain will stop for good.
by Dave Segal
on Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 9:27 AM
(the) Melvins are never more passionate (maybe) than when they're covering other people's songs. Their new album, Everybody Loves Sausages [false!] (out April 30 on Ipecac), contains 13 covers executed with sincere fervor. Melvins reeled in some prestigious guest vocalists and turned in some entertaining, skewed renditions of a very wide-ranging batch of tunes.
My favorites so far: Mark Arm tearing into the Scientists' "Set It on Fire"; Blondie drummer Clem Burke pounding the hell out of the Kinks' "Attitude"; JG Thirwell throwing himself into David Bowie's "Station to Station"; Tom Hazelmyer hamming it up on the Jam's "Art School"; and Melvins putting their own demonic spin on old blues barn-burner "Black Betty," Throbbing Gristle's "Heathen Earth" and the Fugs' "Carpe Diem"—with no outside help. And Nipper will probably squeal to the hyperballistic version of Venom's "Warhead," even if he's not a fan of guest singer Scott Kelly of Neurosis.
The record's biggest bummer? Jello Biafra doing injustice to Roxy Music's "In Every Dream Home a Heartache." Let's just say he's no Bryan Ferry. But this is the exception. Most of Everybody Loves Sausages is music-nerd catnip and Melvins-fan funtasy [sic].
UPDATE: Upon further exposure to "In Every Dream Home a Heartache," Jello does a valiant job of trying to match Ferry's frenzied yet suppressed delivery. Something about the initial listen really rubbed me the wrong way. Musically, though, Melvins—with help from old bassist Kevin Rutmanis—render it with appropriate blasted ominousness.
by Dave Segal
on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 1:39 PM
Just for the heaven of it, Jetman Jet Team bassist Adam Breeden (under the name Fidelay) has done a sweet, reverent cover of one of the Jesus and Mary Chain’s most sublime pop tunes, “Happy When It Rains.”
Jetman Jet Team—currently one of the Seattle’s best rock bands—will release their debut album, We Will Live the Space Age, April 16 on Saint Marie Records. Look for a review of it in next week’s issue.
by Dave Segal
on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Seattle producer IG88 (aka Branden Clarke) has a new track that approaches the silky, tear-streaked beauty of night-bus/bass connoisseur Kid Smpl’s work. “Trail of Bread Crumbs” is dewy, deeply poignant music that falls in that special zone between Boards of Canada and Orcas.
"Trail of Bread Crumbs" is off the new IG88 album, Breathing Suit (Nueva Forma). Check it out after the jump.
With a name like Dark Dark Dark, I expected something on the gothic side from this Minneapolis quintet, but that's not what they're offering—well, not really. "What I Needed," from their new EP, is more of a torchy country and western song in the vein of those by Patsy Cline or Neko Case. A lady has to have a voice to pull that sort of thing off, lest she risk sounding self-pitying or overly dramatic, but singer Nona Marie Invie finds the sweet spot between sensitivity and resilience. The addition of organ, loping bass, and hip-swaying harmonies contributes to the 1960s feel.
What I Needed is out now on Supply and Demand. Invie also appears on the National's album Trouble Will Find Me, which 4AD plans to release on May 20.
by Dave Segal
on Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 12:46 PM
2012 Stranger music genius runners-up Master Musicians of Bukkake have a video of a new song from their forthcoming album Far West (released by the excellent Important Records in June) ready to ravish your eyeballs and earholes. "White Mountain Return" spasms wildly into earshot with a cacophony of antisocial electronics, before it begins to pulsate menacingly and swell with a noble orchestral momentousness. Conjuring images of metallic mountains soaked by pterodactyl tears, the track sounds like an impossible collaboration between mid-/late-'70s Tangerine Dream and Ennio Morricone at his most heroic. Logan Owlbeemoth shot the video in an inspired fit of solarized, static-interference-riddled befrazzlement, whiplashing eyes with washed-out hues. The MMOB full-length should be something else... again.
On a human level, I actually got love for Brad Paisley's intent for making this song, but uh NAAAHHH B.
Fuck the fuck-ass "rebel flag," there's no racist elephant in the middle of the room that we don't want to aknowledge. No, like Luke in his Tauntaun, we are curled up inside the carcass of that racist elephant for warmth, and have been for centuries upon centuries. Who gives a shit about the Civil War? It's deeper than that. The problem Paisley has here is a classic white guy party trick: let's clear the air so I can be more comfortable bro-ing down with you, LL—but I refuse to aknowledge or address that I benefits in some degree to this very day from slavery—and just as significantly, all the fuckery that's happened ever since. Can we just let "bygones by bygones"? LL of course, is the guy that says, COOL. No, wait, LL is the black man that says: RIP ROBERT E LEE.
"I can't even" with this, you guys, I'm going outside to breathe and take a relaxing walk to Manhasset, New York, so I can kick LL Cool J's roid-shriveled balls into outer space.
OMD played Showbox Market Saturday night. Packed, adamant, dancing fans filled the room and stood on chairs. The opener was Diamond Rings, who’d played with Katie Kate at Barboza in August. Diamond Rings' drummer played an electric kick and snare with real hi-hats and cymbals, the OMD drummer played sort of the opposite—real kick, snare, toms, and electric cymbals. The electric cymbals are an interesting concept. Electric cymbals mean the stage volume and monitors don’t have to compete with cymbal noise, making for a much nicer onstage mix, I suppose. But, they’re electric cymbals, made of plastic/rubber. A cymbal crash is for fire/alloyed pronouncement. It’s a shot, a sonic thrust, a kill, a heave. When you need to hurl a fucking axe, are you going to hit plastic/rubber? Isn’t a cymbal crash the opposite of electric? Still though, the onstage volume concept of electric cymbals is attractive.
Early on in the set, it seemed, OMD played their super-mega Pretty In Pink hit “If You Leave.” All of the sudden they were playing THE SONG. My thought was, “Wow, the mega hit, already?” I thought they’d save it for the finale, or at least until almost the end. It brought to mind a question:
If you have one super mega-mega hit, do you save it for the end of the set? Are you blowing your wad if you play it early? Do you risk mass exodus if you go with it too soon? Because, isn’t that what a ton of people are there to see? (“So In Love” did well, but it wasn’t a mega-mega hit.) Or, do you get the mega hit out of the way, because you're sick of the one hit wonder association, and you want to prove to people you’ve done other things?
If you have a mega-mega super hit, and you play it early or mid-set, what are you closing with? Is that when you pull out your Prince cover? Or your electro-take on Bobbie Gentry's supernatural mystery "Ode to Billie Joe"?