Thursday, May 26, 2011

Screens "Pop Logic" (video)

Pop Logic from Screens on Vimeo.
Brooklyn's Screens are a post-everything super group. Their debut album Dead House is out now On What Delicate Recordings. Check their first video for "Pop Logic" now, before their post-that-too.

Gypsyblood "Take Your Picture" (video)

Gypsyblood " Take Your Picture" from Sargent House on Vimeo.
Gypsyblood's Cold in the Guestway is out now on Sargent House and the video for "Take Your Picture" is now also available for your viewing pleasure.

Dinosaur Bones "N.Y.E." (video)

Toronto's Dinosaur Bones are hot off a tour with Tokyo Police Club and Vancouver's Said the Whale on which they also supported Broken Social Scene at Whistler's Telus Ski & Snowboard Festival. They're about to hit the road again hitting the American northeast this time. Check out the brand new video for "N.Y.E." off their latest effort My Divider.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Digitalism "2 Hearts" (video)

You've heard the track now watch the futuristic new video for Digitalism's first single "2 Hearts" off the full length album I Love You, Dude out June 21st (digitally) and July 5th (physically) via V2/Cooperative Music/Downtown. Still now word on a Vancouver date but their first show of the tour at Showbox in Seattle on August 3rd. Download the track here and get ready for the new album coming just in time for summer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

EAR PWR "Baby Houses"

EAR PWR "Baby Houses" by carparkrecords
North Carolina duo EAR PWR released their self-titled sophomore album today (May 24, 2011) on Carpark Records. Devin Booze and Sarah Reynolds recently played the Animal Collective curated All Tomorrow's Parties Festival in the UK. The debut single of today's release is "Baby Houses" and the  musical similarities between EAR PWR and Animal Collective do not go unnoticed. I expect we'll hear a lot more about EAR PWR over the next several months.

Plannintorock remixes herself "Doorway" (video)

DOORWAY (JAMROLL VERSION) from planningtorock on Vimeo.

Planningtorock (aka Janine Rostron) has released W (digitally May 24 and physically June 14) via DFA Records. The album is immense! Rostron played and sang every sound on the album herself save a few additions from friends (like Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem). Rostron not only remixed (her own song) "Doorway" but also created the video (as she does for most of her songs. I'm surprised more artists don't remix their own songs but then not everyone can be Planningtorock. Immense!

Sasquatch Festival 2011 (a primer)

Tasty Ears is heading down to Sasquatch Festival 2011 early Thursday morning. Here are 19 tracks by bands I'm stoked to see. Some of them you know, the rest you will (unless you paid all that hard earned money just to get wasted at the campsite and have a pants-off-dance-off with your best friend and pass out in your own puke before the Foo Fighters hit the stage). If you already know these bands then give your horn a little toot-toot, if you don't check it out. If you dig it, buy the album, it's a long ride to the Gorge which leaves you plenty of time to become a super-fan.

Black Mountain - Hair Song

GAYNGS - The Gaudy Side of Town

All Die Young by Smith Westerns

WYE OAK - Holy Holy

Ceiling Of Plankton by GIVERS

"Block After Block" - Matt & Kim

Twin Shadow - Slow

Sleigh Bells - Tell 'Em by Sleigh Bells

J Mascis - Not Enough by subpop

Yeasayer - Ambling Alp

Beach House - Zebra by subpop

The Drums - Let's Go Surfing

Airplanes by Local Natives

Wolf Parade - Yulia by subpop

King of the Beach by WavvesWavves

Best Coast, "Boyfriend"

Surfer Blood 'Swim' by kaninerecords

The Antlers - I Don't Want Love

Save Yourself by sharonvanetten

Making Friendz "Situation" (video)

For Tami Hart (aka Making Friendz) it would seem that Bikram's Yoga = Barforama! At least that's the "Situation" in the video (Tasty Ears is not responsible for any keyboards that were spewed on during the watching of this video). The hot new track "Situation" is the first single off of the upcoming album Social Life out June 21st on Last Bummer Records. The super-catchy track has also been remixed by Teen Wolf (below) and is downloadable as is the original track via an earlier post by yours truly. I'm going to go wash my beard now.
Situation (DJ Teenwolf Remix) by DJ Teenwolf

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tasty Assessment: Gang Gang Dance Eye Contact

Gang Gang Dance latest release Eye Contact (out May 10th on 4AD) starts off in a gentle wash of swelling synths and cymbals before locking down the beat more than six minutes into the eleven minute track "Glass Jar".  Track number two is a one minute sampler interlude of singer Lizzie Bougatsos' late uncle singing in Greek titled "∞". That's just how GGD rolls. The band, made up of a drummer, a keyboard player, a guitar player, and a vocalist, is a difficult one to pin to a specific genre. Experimenting with their vast electronic pallet of sounds GGD borrows from an array of world music styles including Raggaeton, Dancehall, and Bollywood all the while keeping things very danceable.

On Eye Contact some of the more ethereal moments conjure the territory of My Bloody Valentine while Bougatsos can sound like Fever Ray or Kate Bush or something you've never even heard before. As many different sounds as Gang Gang Dance can create on their own the album is pushed even further by Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor who lends his vocal stylings to the R&B inspired track "Romance Layers" while the bass playing of Ariel Pink's Tim Koh rounds out "Chinese High".

There is a little bit of everything except the same-old-same-old on this outstanding fifth album from New Yorks GGD. Find out for yourself, check out the video for "Mindkilla".

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rubblebucket: "Silly Fathers" (video)

Brooklyn's eight-piece Rubblebucket are preparing the release of Omega La La on June 21 via Sin Duda Records. The album was recorded at Plantain/DFA Studios and finds the band collaborating for the first time with legendary producer/mixer Eric Broucek (LCD Soundsystem, Cut Copy, Hercules and Love Affair). Rubblebucket makes danceable indie rock with a horn section. Just watch.

The Gift: RGB (video)

Now I can appreciate the modern video aesthetic of trying to make it look like it is not modern at all. You know the one where it appears as if  the video was shot on Super 8 with all the grain, lens flares, and slow frame rates (especially popular with lo-fi bands, I guess to match their sound).  The problem is that the style is too easy. Anyone with a DSLR camera and some editing software thinks they're qualified to make a music video, "I know, let's go to the beach". Shit, I think there's an app for that! The Gift have a gift for making more interesting videos with real production value. They did it with the "Made For You" video and now they've got another gift for us with their video for "RGB" above. Not only is it beautifully shot and well acted but... it even tells a story. The Gift have a strong history of DIY-edness but they also know when to let someone else help out. Keep it going!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tasty Assessment: Austra: Feel It Break

From the first moment I heard "Beat and the Pulse" I knew Katie Stelmanis was onto something with Austra. Toronto's classically trained opera singer/piano player Stelmanis is the principal songwriter in the electronic group Austra. The bands debut album Feel It Break came out on May 17 on Domino Records. Even with a plethora of bands fronted by strong (often classically trained) vocalists like Zola Jesus, Florence and the Machine, Cat's Eyes, and Oh Land but there was still a void I didn't even know was missing until I heard Austra.

The album opens with a haunting synth bass note and and doesn't relent till the last track (a beautiful piano number). For the better part of the album Stelmanis trades her classical piano for synths but her operatic voice is never that far removed. The arrangements have an orchestral sensibility that does not go unnoticed. The driving kick drum sits darkly under most tracks and like all of the percussion has the electronic quality of an 808 (especially the tight cymbals). At first listen the looping electronics are so perfectly quantized that is makes for a very unnatural, inhuman sounding backing track but it sets the stage for Stelmanis (and her twin backing vocalists) in a most appropriate way. Her cold delivery is heightened by the stark synths. The dynamics of the instruments come less from volume and mainly from layering of the different parts. Each sound sitting comfortably in it's place in the whole like each section of the orchestra is represented. As expertly crafted as the backing tracks are there is no denying that that is all they are. Stelmanis's vocals are what this is all about. Her backing vocals sit much like a chorus (Stelmanis was part of childrens opera choir when she was young) nicely reinforcing the important moments. The reverb on the voices gives them the distance and feel of an empty concert hall if you were sitting closer to the back that is absolutely perfect. 

Feel It Break despite the gothic picture it paints is not entirely a dark album. Some tracks are uplifting, especially when the voices reach the higher registers. The strength of Austra is the vocal delivery in all of it's vocal gymnastics. The huge pipes on Stelmanis shine down on the listener in all their splendid glory. Austra has put together a very strong debut album and display plenty of room to grow. For now the only growing I would count on is Feel It Break growing on listeners everywhere.

Yelle w/ French Horn Rebellion at the Commodore

Openers French Horn Rebellion
Last Friday night The Commodore Ballroom hosted Yelle on tour to support her latest album Safari Disco Club and it was awesome. All the hipsters brought their dancing shoes and it's a good thing because it was a night of high energy feel goodness. Kicking off the night was a personal favourite French Horn Rebellion with a super fun set that had a crowd that new little about them pressed up close to the stage. The smoke machine and the light show were intoxicating and top that with synth and french horn solos (including one performed from out in the audience) and it was easy to understand the buzz about this band. Check my interview with them here. Just as the fashionably late were arriving and fuelling up French Horn Rebellion were finished and the crowd was ready for the headliners.

Yelle came out wearing a hooded outfit that looked like something like a Komondor (you know, those dreadlock dogs) only cuter. Supported by her two bandmates donning safari outfits the spectacle had begun. After the first song she made her first costume change into something a little easier to run around the stage in while striking photogenic poses. Yelle played a good long set of french tunes interrupted only by a few encouraging words of to keep the crowd dancing. All done, of course, in her very engaging french accent. 

The show wasn't sold out but it was hard to tell from the dance floor. I'm betting that next time we see either of these bands back in town it'll be much harder to find a spot to shake it. And you are going to want to shake it!

Strange Talk: "Eskimo Boy" official video

Strange Talk have  been busy in the last couple of months opening for the likes of The Rapture, Neon Indian, and Marina and the Diamonds. They have simultaneously been climbing the charts (you've probably seen "Climbing Walls" in the Most Popular section on Hype Machine). Now you can check out their video for "Eskimo Boy" above. Strange Talk includes singer/producer Stephen Docker, who played violin in the Australian Youth Orchestra, bass player/producer Gerard Sidhu, a house and electro DJ from Melbourne, as well as Travis Constable and Gillan Gregory. The Strange Talk EP is available from Neon Gold Records.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gardens & Villa reveal video for "Black Hills"

Black Hills by Gardens & Villa from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.

Gardens & Villa are getting set to hit the road with Foster the People and then Generationals this summer to support their debut LP (out on Secretly Canadian July 5). No Vancouver date as of yet but they are in Seattle July 19 (with Generationals) at Tractor Tavern. Foster the People are at Venue May 31st just eight days before Gardens & Villa join the tour. Shit! For now just trip out to this video.

Oh, and if you dig what the Beard (that's me) has to say do me a solid and vote for Tasty Ears here.

Wise Blood: These Wings EP

Pittsburgh's Wise Blood will release his These Wings EP on Dovecoat Records on August 2, 2011. Twenty-one year old Christopher Laufman is a cemetery undertaker by day and Wise Blood by night. If you were looking for one more reason to go to the Friendly Fires show (at Venue June 4) then you've found it. Yep, Wise Blood is opening for a big leg of Friendly Fires tour. Check the bonus track "Penthouse Suites" off of These Wings EP below.

Wise Blood - Penthouse Suites

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Clock Opera: Belongings (video)

"Belongings" is the latest single from Clock Opera (out now on Moshi Moshi). Clock Opera are quickly gaining an excellent reputation in the UK for their live show and are preparing their debut release for this fall. They also have several popular re-mixes of some great artists like The Drums "Me and the Moon", Architecture in Helsinki "Contact High", and Marina and the Diamonds "I am not a Robot". They produce their own music and now their own videos too.

The video for "Belongings" was directed and produced by the band's Andy West with some notes on his creative process:

Lesson number 1: Don't think you can achieve something with £20 and a ball of string that Spielberg could only achieve with millions.

Lesson number 2: Simplicity is always the best policy, particularly when there's no budget.

Lesson number 3: Be open to happy accidents - they could end up being the best bits.

Lesson number 4: You're friends are all you've got - treat them kindly and feed them well. 

CREEP: "You" video (feat. Nina Sky)

CREEP - You (feat Nina Sky) from OFFICIAL CREEP on Vimeo.

Brooklyn producer duo CREEP are DJs Lauren Flax and Lauren Dillard. On their latest single "You" the pair teamed up with NYC twins Nina Sky and their R&B vocal stylings. CREEP have already given us "Days" with the xx's Romy Madley-Croft and have collaborations with Planningtorock, Holy Miranda and more coming soon. Here's where I say something about darkness and pouting and goth. Something.

MP3 download from Planningtorock W

Planningtorock - The Breaks by DFA Records

I recently posted the video for "The Breaks" and now Planningtorock is giving away the MP3 in preparation for the digital release of W on May 24 from DFA records (physical release is June 14). If you want to hear more Planningtorock head over to HypeMachine where the entire album is now streaming. Planningtorock is Janine Rostron, a musician and visual artist out of the UK. Rostron recorded and produced W over three and a half years in near solitude in Berlin. The resulting album is absolutely brilliant. Go check it out, tell them Tasty Ears sent you. 

Friendly Fires: Pala

Friendly Fires have a new album out now titled 'Pala' available from XL Recordings. The twelve song album picks up where their self-titled album left off with high energy dance tracks and huge chorus's. To kick off the release the Friendly Fires played at London's Lightbox Nightclub Digital Spy reports. Watch them play "Live Those Days Tonight" above.

Wait For It: Memory Tapes Player Piano

Wait In The Dark by Memory Tapes

Dayve Hawk's records as Memory Tapes from his home studio in New Jersey and is set to release  Player Piano (on Carpark in N. America), his follow up to last years acclaimed Seek Magic. Hawk had a new concept in mind for this album saying it would be “keyboard-based psychedelic girl group songs, a sort of Motownsuicide note”. Where modern beats were prominent on Seek Magic, it will be all about melody on Player Piano. The album's title is a little misleading considering Hawk chooses not to use any sequencing software but plays everything himself. We may have to wait till summer to hear the latest album but we're not completely in the dark thanks to the first single "Wait in the Dark" which you should be listening to now. Go!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bass Drum of Death "Get Found" video

Mississippi's Bass Drum of Death rocks! Songwriter and singer/guitar player John Barrett and drummer Colin Sneed play their own brand of blazing, lo-fi, swamp stomp that just feels right. Their debut LP GB City is out now on Fat Possum (of course). Label mates Deadboy and the Elephantmen may have disappeared but the sounds "Get Found" with Bass Drum of Death. I'm sure you'll find they are more then capable of carrying that torch. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Screens: Dead House

Screens are releasing their much anticipated debut Dead House on What Delicate Recordings May 17th. A super-group of sorts Screens is a post-punk, post-rock powerhouse. Give their single "Cataplexy" a spin below. If you're into Liars or Oneida you should definitely check this out. The thirteen track Dead House is streaming over at Redefine Magazine along with a review and an A rating.
Cataplexy by screensscreensscreens

Gypsyblood "2-4-6 In The Dark"

Gypsyblood released their debut Cold In The Guestway in April on Sargent House. Even more recently the band stopped by BreakThru Radio in New York for an in-studio performance. Formed in 2009 by Adam James and Kyle Victor, Gypsyblood wrote many songs and decided on the twelve best for Cold In The Guestway, check it out on Bandcamp

Wait for It: Her Space Holiday

Marc Bianchi announced that he will end his project Her Space Holiday with a self-titled album to be released August 16, 2011 on his own label No More Good Ideas. After fifteen years of critically acclaimed albums and tours with such artists as Bright Eyes, The Go Team, Bob Mould, and Daedelus Bianchi is ready to turn the page, but not before one final hooray. Marc amassed several song sketches over the last year eighteen months and put together a frame work. Bianchi then reached out to many friends and associates to guest on the album. Check out the first single "Black Cat Balloons" below.
Black Cat Balloons by her space holiday

The Beard Interview w/ French Horn Rebellion

Originally from Milwaukee now living in New York, French Horn Rebellion are brothers Robert and David Perlick-Molinari. Robert is a classically trained horn player and was first chair in the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra. Older brother David became a recording engineer/producer in New York and ended up engineering and producing MGMT's Time to Pretend EP. Now the brothers are touring the world with the likes of Cut Copy and Hot Chip and are currently opening for Yelle. The duo is playing the Commodore on Friday May 13th in support of their debut album The Infinite Music of The French Horn Rebellion. 

I caught up with Robert Perlick-Molinari of French Horn Rebellion somewhere in the flats of Nebraska. 

TE - You were recently back in Wisconsin, was that where your mother introduced you on stage for Mother's Day?

RPM - No that was in Chicago actually. They came to the Chicago show, it was Mother's Day. You know, last Sunday? So she went up to the mic. Our booking agent really wanted her to do it. He's a buddy of ours and he's like "You should do it Mrs. Perlick c'mon, it'll be cool." So our mom wrote this little thing about how everybody should be looking after their mothers. It was pretty funny. She loved it though. 

TE - Has your mom always been pretty supportive of your music?

RPM - She doesn't really want us to do it. She wanted us to be, you know, like, the next President of the United States. She's one of those kinds of moms. So, I was always in Boy Scouts. I was actually an eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow and everything. My oldest brother, not David, but my oldest brother, is a lawyer in Milwaukee. He does drunk driving defences.

TE - Doesn't your family have some ties to beer in Milwaukee?

RPM - Actually we do. My family has been in it for four generations. I'm actually named after the guy that started the company. It's this company that makes beer taps.

(brother David, muffled from the from seat) - Not just beer taps.

RPM - Not just beer taps but also refrigeration equipment. It started out as a brass company that made little cogs. I guess are Grandpa started making beer taps, cause he's awesome. My parents and aunts and uncles and cousins are all helping out with the company. We're actually supposed to do that. Make beer taps. The weird thing is our mom wanted us to do other things. She didn't want us to be in Milwaukee making beer taps. She's sort of a prohibitionist and stuff. She wanted us to be like professionals or something. Like politicians or blah, blah, blah. You know… poor mom.

TE - So your mom's a prohibitionist and your oldest brother defends drunk drivers?

RPM - (Laughs) Yeah, it's pretty funny! And then the whole family has been making beer taps for like two generations. It's kind of a weird family history I guess. You know good old Milwaukee. Everybody knows someone who's dealing with beer there I guess.

TE - Did your mom get stage fright before introducing you?

RPM - Actually, this is really funny cause, my mom is a professor, she teaches journalism in Milwaukee at Marquette University. She loves the attention. She was just loving it! She didn't get nervous at all. She was like, born for the stage.

TE - What about you guys? Do you get stage fright.

RPM - Uh m. I think the last time I got stage fright was in Hong Kong or something. I'm not sure. We played in front of a lot of people in Hong Kong. We were playing with MGMT and there was like three thousand people there. It was a lot of people so I got a little nervous for that. I used to get so nervous when I would play French horn. - I wanted to be a classical horn player. I played in an orchestra and stuff. - I used to get really nervous because there is all this stigma against horn players missing notes. "Oh this horn player, he screwed up. He missed a note. He's terrible. He messed up the most beautiful horn solo. That guy is not going to sleep tonight." You know.  Now, when I go to the orchestra I actually get nervous in the audience while watching the horn players. I get nervous for them. "Don't miss a note. If you miss a note everything is going to be ruined."

TE - Do you play the French horn anymore?

RPM - I play it during the live show but nothing delicate. I have two horn solos in our live show right now and it's not like they're epic, or written by Beethoven or Stravinski or something. I wrote it, so it's not as big of a deal if I mess up. But, I think if I ever have to play in an orchestra again I think I may have to take some kind of beta blocker or something. - It's a pill. - Classical musicians are a weird breed. They take drugs too but, they take different kinds of drugs. I was always really against beta blockers. "I'm not going to use beta blockers I'm going to do this au naturelle. I'm going to play in front of thousands of people and I don't need any drugs to calm me down." - They take sedatives so they don't get nervous, basically.

I was actually just reading an article about this in The Guardian written by the oboe player of The London Philharmonic Orchestra. He went through the history of classical musicians and drug use. It's become somewhat of a tradition in Europe to have beers before the performance.

I found it interesting because now classical music is so associated with, well sort of like that movie Black Swan, how her mom keeps her in this world of ballet performance and perpetual childhood. I think a lot of classical musicians go through that. I used to date a girl who was a flute player and she definitely had that going on. She was in the conservatory and had so many Hello Kitty, pink, stuff around her at all times. She had to work out twice a day and she couldn't eat anything to salty or otherwise she'd get nervous and dried out for concerts. It's nuts.

TE - When you were back in Wisconsin you were excited to find local meat and cheese at the gas station. Do you try and sample the local foods when you're touring?

RPM - Dude, meat and cheese! My insides feel sticky… in a good way. I swear I've gained ten pounds in the last three days. Yeah. We made a new rule never to eat at fast food restaurants. We have phones that have data service, except for in Nebraska, so we use Yelp! to search for really good restaurants and we just go there.

TE - I found an old resume of yours online that has branding, online marketing, and graphic design listed under the Skills heading. 

RPM - Oh shit, are you serious? That's so old.  I thought I had deleted that once I didn't need to try and find jobs anymore.

TE - Have you done any of the graphic design for your albums?

RPM - Not really for the album but more for the singles that we've done. "This Moment" single and "Up All Night" single. We did the artwork for those ourselves. We came up with the graphic idea for our website but a web designer buddy of ours carried it out. 

I actually have a really funny story to do with online marketing stuff. I was the most unsuccessful viral marketer of all time. Seriously, I worked for this company that doesn't exist anymore. They ran into the ground. I single hardly ran them into the ground. No, I didn't do that, I was just kidding but… the idea behind the company was that you buy and sell reservations for "your team" going to the Super Bowl. So this company would buy, every year, two or three hundred tickets to the Super Bowl. So if you're a Packers fan then you could pay fifty bucks to reserve your face value ticket. Then if your team goes you get your ticket but if they don't you lose your fifty bucks. Then very first French Horn Rebellion tour was funded by me going to college campuses and handing out flyers about this stupid website. The funny thing is that right after I left, - because I did such a bad job they fired me, - the company folded cause they didn't have tickets. All these people had bought reservations thinking that they were going to the Super Bowl and they didn't get any tickets.

TE - So I shouldn't hire you for any marketing?

RPM - Dude, I would highly not recommend that. You can tell how bad I am at viral marketing by FHR's slow and steady rise. We've been the least viral band. We just keep working and doing shows. Changing our show, making new fun music and re-mixes. It hasn't been a viral thing where everybody is passing it along and all of a sudden it's huge. It's been a very slow build.

TE - Do you prefer touring or spending time in the studio?

RPM - I like to be in the studio when I'm touring and I like to be touring when I'm in the studio. Touring can be tiring. We've been touring since the end of February with only a few days off.

TE - It looks like your touring till the end of May with almost no days off until after the Official CD Release Show in NY?

RPM - Yeah, it's going to be awesome. I'm really looking forward to that one.

TE - Does that show mark the release of the physical copies?

RPM - I think to get a physical copy in the U.S. you have to get it from Europe, imported. We don't have a label in the U.S. so we just have digital distribution so you can get it online. You can also get it at shows. We have a lot of copies with us.

TE - You're playing the Commodore Ballroom this Friday in Vancouver?

RPM - I'm super excited to go to Vancouver, cause I've never actually been there. This is a new thing for us going to the Pacific Northwest man. Yeah and we have some extra days to check stuff out.  We have a couple hours to check stuff out. I just go to trip advisor and look for the top ten things to do. Usually I get through the top two and that's it. I think it's exciting to check out somewhere new. Being from Milwaukee we go to the east coast and everybody is really high strung. I like the west, I don't know about Vancouver but everybody is really mellow, I like that.

TE - How are you guys enjoying touring with Yelle?

RPM - Dude, they're amazing! They're really, really cool. They're so nice. The nicest headliners we've ever played with. It's a really cool thing because they wanted us. They asked for us to play with them. Which is cool. In the past we've had a lot of offers to play opening slots for tours like this but it's always been sort of through an industry person. Like our press person or booking agent or something like that but this one was  actually from a really good friend of mine in New York named Captain Kirk he's a DJ. He's really good friends with the DJ for Yelle so when they asked Capt' Kirk about bands in NY and they were there, we played a show with them and they liked the show and they wanted to go on tour. It was cool. It was really organic and it's much nicer that way, I think.

TE - You guys got to open for MGMT, who David has worked closely with, in Hong Kong, wasn't that organic too?

RPM - No actually. Those guys are just so on another level of success. They didn't even know we were going to play with them in Hong Kong until we were in the hotel lobby and Ben was like "What the fuck are you guys doing here?" They had no idea we were going to be there. I was like "Dude were playing with you." It was a cool experience. they had never played in Hong Kong either so we were all kind of giddy and having a good time. It would be fun to do some more touring with them but I think their show is a little different from our show. I think their show is a little more psychedelic and smoke and acid and hallucinate. You know what i mean? Our show is more dance-y. You've got to have water with you cause you're going to sweat all your liquids out.

TE - Your live show is just the two of you?

RPM - Yeah, but when were in NY we play with are good friend Paul and David's fiance Deedra. Hopefully, someday, we could bring them on the road with us.  We have to make tough choices and right now. We only have the budget to bring one person on the road with us. We have a tour manager/lighting designer. The lights are important because a lot of the places we're playing with Yelle are a little bit bigger. Luckily, Yelle is an electronic act too so the sound systems in the clubs are pretty good and so you can get by without a drummer. Although it's better to have a drummer.

TE - The Commodore is one of the best venues for live music in town so you shouldn't have any problems.

RPM - Yeah, nice. All the shows so far have been pretty good. It's been amazing. It's even surpassed the expectations of Yelle as well. Like seventy-five percent of the shows have been selling out. I don't think anybody expected that. Usually with us, whenever we're associated with anything, things usually go much worse then planned. The fact that things are going better than planned is a nice change of pace. I don't know how much we're contributing to people coming out. There might be a couple of people.

TE - Your fan base is pretty committed though?
RPM - We have really funny fans that come to our shows. They're amazing! I think our music videos are a little bit quirky. Where we're acting like people on the street, having a good time, hitting on girls, doing weird things and I think we attract a lot of kind of weird, quirky people as well. Which is amazing. That's probably why we get along with them so well. For example, we showed up in Toledo and there was like nobody there. It was a show we did without Yelle. There were only about ten people that came to the show. Here is the make up of the ten people: five of them were half of the University of Michigan wrestling team. They had driven two hours from Michigan to come see us in Toledo. That's half the crowd. Then there was about four locals who were really excited to see us. I think they were Med students or something. There were about three other people there, who were the promoters who had successfully managed to bring zero people to the show. Then, it was so funny, the most affectionate, in tune with his emotions, jock, guy I had ever met, his name was Jedi Jake Scott Maddingly, he was this wrestler guy, he was like "Awe, I love you guys so much man, you guys are unreal." This huge wrestler guy confessing his love and devotion. We have a very wide variety of fans who come to our shows. - We usually get a very fun section of people that come by. - Yeah so, in Toledo we had a one hundred percent dance ratio. Everyone there was dancing.

TE - I'm stoked to see your live show.

RPM - Sweet man! It should be fun.  We're just opening so we try and get everybody warmed up and stuff.

TE - Right on guys. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me and I'll see you guys on Friday.

RPM - Cool man, awesome! We can hag out a little bit. Wicked!

TE - Thanks again.

RPM - No problem man. Cool I'll see you in Vancouver. Thanks so much!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

This Will Destroy You : Tunnel Blanket

This Will Destroy You released Tunnel Blanket on Suicide Squeeze Records on May 10th 2011. They are currently on a North American tour with Pure X and Sleep∞Over and will be at the Media Club on May 22nd. Watch their live performance of "Little Smoke" at the IFC House during SXSW and then get to the show. 

Tunnel Blanket is an hour long, eight song epic. The Texas four piece This Will Destroy You is an instrumental, cinematic, rock band right up there with Explosions in the Sky (sorry guys, as flattering as it is, I'm sure you're sick of that comparison by now). With only one song coming in under three minutes, TWDY are masters of dynamics and tension. At times you can hear only the distant hum of a sustained note. Slowly it builds. A pattern emerges, wait, no... it's drums. Still building the note that started this is now just a small part of a chord... you can pick out more harmonics now and yet... it's still building... the chord is no longer artificially sustained but now it's manually sustained with tremolo guitar picking... the cymbals are crashing and the kick drum is pounding...  guitars, feeding back...they have done it. How long has it been? How stoned am I? Welcome to TWDY. In the realm of the more familiar, a personal favourite is "Killed the Lord, Left for the New World" (a track I nearly mistook for, the excellent band,  The Books) is amazing.

Tunnel Blanket is a very solid post-rock album. Seeing this live is going to be awesome.

On a bummer note: Late last week, This Will Destroy You’s van and gear inside were stolen right off the street in San Antonio, TX. While the band was devastated that this not only happened, they was particularly devastated with the timing -- right before their tour and Daytrotter Session recording, which had to be postponed.

Tasty Update: Agnes Obel

iTunes recorded Danish composer/songwriter Agnes Obel at the iTunes Opera Store in Paris in March. The six song EP will be released on May 31st exclusively on iTunes. The release of iTunes Live From Paris drops just days before  more tour dates in North America. Nothing for Vancouver but she does play Seattle June 10th at the Freemont Abbey Centre. Check out her  beautiful cover of Elliott Smith's "Between the Bars" below. 
Agnes Obel - Between The Bars (Elliott Smith cover) - iTunes Live From Paris EP by Girlie Action

Pictureplane Thee Physical

Pictureplane has set a date for the release of the highly anticipated new album Thee Physical out on Lovepump United on July 19th. Based out of Denver, Pictureplane (aka Travis Egedy) produced and recorded Thee Physical and it was mixed and co-produced by Jupiter Keyes (of HEALTH). Check out the lead single titled "Real is a Feeling" below. Then head over to Pitchfork for the download of the track. 
Pictureplane - "Real Is A Feeling"

Malachai release video for "Anne"

Bristol band Malachai teamed up with BAFTA award winning director John Minton (best short film 2009) for the video of their upcoming British single "Anne" released May 17th via Domino Records. Malachai's second album Return to the Ugly Side dropped February 22, 2011 on iTunes. The single "Anne" includes re-mixes from Parker, Pink Fingers, and Paul White. Wait for it...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tasty Update: Pure X video "You're in it Now"

pure x - you're in it now from Scott Gelber on Vimeo.

Pure X are releasing their debut album Pleasure July 5, 2011 on Acéphal. This week the band is re-releasing their EP You're in it Now, check the video for the b-side above. Then come down to the Media Club May 22 for the live show with This Will Destroy You and Sleep∞Over.

Tasty Assessment: The Shivers More

     The Shivers are set to release their latest album More May 10th on Silence Breaks. Keith Zarriello started  writing music as The Shivers in 2001 releasing CHARADES in 2004. Jo Schornikow joined him after CHARADES and together the two have released three more albums leading up to More. The experience that The Shivers have gained in a decade of writing songs and touring extensively is evident in More. Zarriello and Schornikow move easily through different styles with the gin-soaked lyrics anchoring the overall arch of heartache pervading the album. "Irrational Love" has many elements that wouldn't be out of place on a Tom Waits album, raspy voice and all. Where as "Used To Be" and "Want You Back" are much more modern sounding, synth driven, pop songs. The title track "More" and "Love is in the Air" are the kind of great rock songs that The Rolling Stones used to write. The later has a beautiful falsetto coda that leads into "Two Solitudes" where the same lyric is repeated over a make-you-weep-in-your-beer organ line that is reminiscent of Antlers.

     I normally would try not to point out so many resemblances to other bands but I find the exercise relevant when it comes to The Shivers as they successfully tackle different genres. I doubt that The Shivers sat down and said "Let's write an album where every song is in the style of a different and great artist." In fact they probably wouldn't even agree with any (much less all) of my parallels. In fact none of the similarities mentioned so far are blaringly obvious. Enter "Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars" a clearly Leonard Cohen inspired track.

     Most of you are probably thinking "Fuck the comparisons!" and you're not wrong so hear is my Cole's Notes: The Shivers have built a lot of songwriting muscle over the years and they really flex it on More. It can be refreshing to hear an album that trades trying to re-invent the wheel for just writing some good old rock n' roll.

Tasty Update: No Surrender video for "Silver Hall"

No Surrender - "Silver Hall" feat. Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio from No Surrender on Vimeo.

I really dig No Surrender, as you may have gathered from an earlier post, and now they've teamed up with one of my favourite vocalists, Tunde Adebimpe (of TV on the Radio) which only adds to their "hip" cred.  Captain Obvious says, "The video (directed by Maya Erdelyi) shows a TV set flashing images of bombs falling around two ladies painted in silver while Adebimpe sings "And the TV's lying."" This could take on all kinds of meanings depending on your level of paranoia.

No Surrender's album Medicine Babies drops June 16th on ZerOKilled Music. Beard out!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Deer Tracks "The Smallest Cube"

The Deer Tracks are David Lehnberg and Elin Lindfors of G ävle, Sweden. The duo released their debut Aurora in 2008 before embarking on The Archer Trilogy of which Pt. 1 was released as an EP in March (via The Control Group). The anticipated Pt. 2 will drop sometime this summer with Pt. 3 to follow. The Deer Tracks seem to combine the space and dynamic sensibilities of Sigur Ros with the experimental electronica of The Books to create a beautiful sound of their own. Some might call it folk-tronica or perhaps toytronica but maybe instead of trying to fit them into some convenient  box we could call it something a little more autonomous like, I don't know, twinkly!
The Deer Tracks - The Smallest Cube