Classy Nude // “Normal Love”
I hadn’t heard of Classy Nude until a few weeks ago when my dear friend/Portals compatriot Molly Long told me that I should check them out. It also bears mentioning that for the past few weeks Molly’s band Poppy Red has been on the road with Classy Nude. So in reality I should have written about them weeks ago, but alas, I’ve been busy with all sorts of stupid crap. So here it is now.
The band’s latest track “Normal Love” is anything but normal. It’s some sort of weird chameleon in mp3 form that changes drastically several times before the tracks 5+ minute runtime comes to a well-deserved end. Laying out all manner of guitar pop styles in front of themselves, Classy Nude adapt and mutate from a churning march to reverbed jangle pop to finally a rollicking garage pop climax with utter ease. There is an entire release’s worth of ideas here and yet somehow these guys manage to contain it all and release its energy in small, bite-sized bursts. It’s pretty much genius.
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Faux Fur // Faux Fur
Ever since I found out that Un Blonde is really Jean-Sebastian Audet of Calgary guitar pop weirdos Faux Fur I’ve been doing some hasty catching up on the band’s previous work. After teasing it out on their Facebook page a few weeks ago, the band has finally released their latest album. The self-titled Faux Fur continues to hone that very specific angular guitar pop sound that can be heard by bands like Un Blonde, Each Other, and yes, Women. I swear to God it’s the last time I’ll mention Women in reference to any of these bands. But seriously, the similarities are there and it bears repeating. Get over it.
Anyways, the 10 tracks are a bit more straightforward that what Un Blonde was doing on his first EP. Don’t worry, they are still weird with jarring time signatures, abrupt tempo changes, jangling guitar tones and surprisingly catchy harmonies. On some tracks the band even manages to portray their version of a math rock band without any of the calculated corniness that usually accompanies that sort of music. The stuff here feel more immediate with lovably rough edges. I’m pretty much loving this album. There is a lot to discover here, so if you give it a chance and I’m betting you will too.
**Here is a download link for the album provided by the band.**
Ok, now that I’ve fulfilled my self-imposed daily blog duties… True Blood marathon? True Blood marathon? True Blood marathon?
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Crying // “Bodega Run”
Crying is a new sort of SUNY Purchase supergroup. The trio consists of Elaiza Santos (Whatever, Dad), Nick Corbo (LVL UP/Spook Houses), and Ryan Galloway, all of which have been featured here in one way or another. So it goes without saying that I was pumped when the band announced its tearful arrival. Problem was they debuted their Facebook page back in April and have basically been teasing their growing number of ‘likers’ every few weeks with news of recording. I hate being teased.
Then, glory hallelujah, earlier today my good lady friends over at The Le Sigh premiered, “Bodega Run”, the official first single from Crying. Ugh, finally. I mean, I probably would have waited forever, but that doesn’t mean I would have wanted to. The rollicking pop rock number surprisingly draws heavily on chiptune and it also is probably the sweetest, most straightforward melody to ever come out of Elaiza’s pretty little angel mouth. With a song this good I officially cannot wait until we hear the rest of their upcoming EP Get Olde. But then again, who knows when that will be.
OK, confession: I actually heard this track a few weeks ago thanks to Dave Benton of Double Double Whammy, but still.
(via The Le Sigh)
Cerce // Split 7”
It deeply saddens me to be writing this, but Cerce, for all intents and purposes, has broken up. The band maintains that they actually haven’t, but have instead just changed their name and lineup. Eh, semantics. Either way Cerce as we currently know it basically ceases to exist. Depending on how entrenched you are in the East Coast hardcore scene, you probably have at least heard of the band (I’ve featured them here a couple times). In my opinion they were one of the more promising hardcore acts to surface in recent years compounding the fact that they were helping make strides as far as gender equality in the scene goes. But alas, all good things must come to an end.
There has been talk of one final (debut) LP from the band, which should surface sometime next month, but in the meantime the band has put out this split 7” with Stresscase out on Mayfly Records. The three tracks on this split eschews the band’s usual powerviolence for some much more traditional sounding hardcore punk. Becca’s vocals are a little less frantic this time, something that always helped the band stand out. Who knows maybe this is all part of transitioning into a life where she isn’t Cerce's powerful voice. Lord knows I'll miss the band as they were, but I've still got them on my iPod so they'll never be too far from my ears.
If you’re interested in following the rest of the band as they carry on, they are now recording and performing under the name lovechild and actually have a pretty sick little EP on their Bandcamp already. This just in: It’s a shredder.
(via The Elementary Revolt)
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FIDLAR // “Awkward”
New FIDLAR single! What a nice little surprise. Apparently the track is off of an upcoming split 7” with The Orwells that will be available exclusively on the band’s upcoming tour. If you haven’t seen them live I highly recommend it. Just bring lots of water.
Following in the tradition of their insanely addictive self-titled album, the track is a bit of simple, sun-fried garage punk that is heavy on catchy licks and self-deprecation. I mean, the second half of the track is basically just the line “I’ll probably end up fucking up and make it super awkward.” Simple, funny, gets the point across. Also, get a load of that artwork. Genius.
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Native America // “Digital Lobotomy”
If you are as over Surfer Blood as I am, then you likely have a similarly music-shaped hole in your heart. You know, the one where the band’s ambitiously catchy and honest indie rock previously went. If you’re nodding your head in agreement at the moment, then let me take this moment to make a case for Native America filling that hole.
I previously featured the New Orleans trio’s album Get Well Soon on the blog, an album that seemed to go over pretty well with readers. Well, now the guys are preparing to release their followup to that album with an EP called Bad Weed / But Still Weed on July 30. With five new tracks the guys are humbly showing their chops when it comes to writing strong indie rock hooks. It’s honest music delivered with a smirk and it deserves to garner the band more attention than they are currently getting.
Fastened directly in the middle of the EP is its first single, “Digital Lobotomy,” a track that shows off these guys songwriting chameleonry at its absolute finest. The track effortlessly transitions between varying tempos and styles even throwing in a little exotica before it’s three-minute runtime comes to a close. After these two strong releases, Native America has officially become a band to watch.
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Foie Gras // Innermost Shrine, Heavily Gilded
I don’t know if she realizes it, but San Francisco drone princess Foie Gras occupies a sort of strange place in the music world. She unabashedly revels in very dark places (consider her fraternization with boundary-pushing metal label The Flenser) and yet the more vibe-friendly corners of the blogging world welcome her with open arms. It’s not as if she is a metal artist, but she represents a world that is more often than not is considered too extreme for tender ears. So in this sense she is straddling an unlikely gap which puts her in the company of, say, artists like Chelsea Wolfe or Grouper. Pretty good company if you ask me.
Just this week Foie Gras released her latest collection of drone works. The album, which is titled Innermost Shrine, Heavily Gilded, ranges from cold, minimalist atmospheres to churning noise blasts. You’ll even find some vocals (like real, discernable vocals) on some of these tracks, whether it be pained screaming or actual singing. It’s an album that waxes and wanes from quiet to, well, quieter; all while maintaining its bleak outlook on the world. It’s a somewhat lengthy album considering the style, so if you’re going to tackle it front to back I suggest you do it while studying, or meditating, or, I don’t know, sacrificing a small animal.
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Lantern // Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach
I was not expecting this album to blow me away but that’s exactly what it did do. I’ve been following the rather unassuming Philadelphia garage outfit Lantern for a bit now, but nothing prepared me for the pure, face-melting awesomeness of Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach. I mean, the first time I listened to it all the way through, I immediately went back and played it through again, it’s that good. It instantly seeped its way into my brain with its catchy licks and brazen choices like few records do these days. For all intents and purposes this is a whole new Lantern that we are dealing with. And I’ll tell you what, I’m pleased to meet them.
The rock trio has put out a good number of releases in their time through a myriad of record labels (Night-People, Bathetic, and now Sophomore Lounge) and all that time they’ve more or less stuck to the crusty lo-fi arena. The problem with that scene is that it is so easy to get lost in the shuffle. Fortunately, Lantern decided to switch things up a bit with their new album and have kicked things into a whole new gear. The music is louder, the production is higher, the songwriting is ballsier, and there is a ton of rip-roaring saxophone (!) on this album. Granted, there is probably nothing on this record that you haven’t heard in one form or another before, but if you’re focused on that I think you’re missing the point entirely. Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach is a celebration of rock music in its purest form, and these three deliver that homage as loudly, as catchy, and in the most fun manner they can. That’s the strength of this album and that’s the thing that is going to keep me coming back to it in the future months. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go try on some black leather jackets.
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Marie Davidson // Marie Davidson
Stretching their boundaries out a bit, my friends at Holodeck Records have moved quite a bit outside of Austin, Texas for their latest release. The story goes that Jon of Silent Land Time Machine was traveling through Montréal and happened to catch a performance by artist Marie Davidson while he was there. The set left him so entranced that he knew that Holodeck needed to work with her, and so fast forward a few months and here we are with Marie’s self-titled cassette release.
When the guys at the label sent me a copy of the album, my first instinct was to expect some sort of singer-songwriter material. I’m not sure why, Holodeck is the last place you’d expect to find that kind of music. Thankfully Marie Davidson served up something much more interesting. Focusing more on minimal electronics and soft, almost-whispered vocals (half sung, half spoken), Marie has crafted an album as alluring as it is mysterious. Her music is more than the sum of its parts and the atmosphere is powerful and disorienting.
Confession: with all of the vocals being in French I have no idea what Marie is singing about. So with her email address in hand I decided that I’d email her and ask her for lyric translations. But then I began to think, what if understanding the lyrics robbed them of their mystery? The aesthetic on this album is so distinct that I’d hate to somehow pop that bubble in my mind. And so I never sent that email.
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Circle of Ouroborus // The Final Egg
Man, Circle of Ouroborus are so weird! In pretty much everything they do! I am such a big fan and I didn’t even know that they were preparing yet another album. The band released two last year, but if you really want some prime example of why they are so great you’re going to have to go back to 2011’s Eleven Fingers. That album is brilliant in the way that it mixes lo-fi black metal with darkwave and post-punk. People throw the Joy Division comparison around a lot if that helps you zero in on their sound a bit. Just imagined them infinitely weirder and darker.
While I enjoyed both of the bands 2012 albums, The Lost Entrance of the Just and Abrahadabra, they ultimately fell short of the greatness that is Eleven Fingers. Now while I haven’t had the amount of time that I want to absorb the band’s latest album The Final Egg like I want, I have listened to it several times through. Long story short, I’m pretty excited because I believe that this album is potentially hitting those same Eleven Fingers heights. It’s bleak as hell with tons of cold synthesizers and wretched black metal screaming yet it incorporates a lot of the monotone “singing” that populated so much of their 2012 music. I’m going to digest it more fully over the next couple of weeks and who knows, maybe I’ll write about it length at some point. For now I’m just happy that Circle of Ouroborus is back.
The Final Egg is out now on Black Bunker Productions and Heiden’s Hart.
Camp Counselors // Huntress
How am I always late to these things? This was even featured on Portals and I somehow was too absorbed with whatever I was doing at the time to take notice. Anyways, I figured I’d remedy it now. Because it’s crazy good.
Camp Counselors is the new
side project of Kyle Reigle, who you may better know as dream-popper Cemeteries. Let me preface everything I’m about to say about this new project with this: Kyle and I have a special bond that transcends music. That bond is over horror movies. We’re both basically obsessed and if you catch the two of us talking on Twitter, it’s most likely about horror. Now when a naturally creative person like Kyle loves something that much, it has a way of finding itself reflected in their art. You don’t hear much of the macabre in Cemeteries and so thus Camp Counselors was born.
The electronic project is pretty simple and unassuming on paper, but the atmosphere that Kyle sews together results in something much more compelling than that. Using the synth-based genre film scores of the 1980’s as a jumping off point, he’s stitched together an album that is creepy as it is beautiful. By incorporating elements of drone, dance, and pop he also ensures that this isn’t just another kitschy novelty act. I know I’ll be listening to this one for a while. Now if you don’t mind I’m going to go eat some cereal and watch Hellraiser Part II.
Oh and if you would like to have this on cassette you can grab it from Kyle’s newly formed label Snowbeast Records.
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Nadja // Flipper
Nadja is a sort of an ambient doom band from Toronto (though currently residing in Delaware) who revel in calculated, quiet moments. I say “sort of” because the band embraces doom metal with their down-tuned, slow-as-molasses guitar riffs, but overall they’d be more comfortable being tagged as ambient or even drone. On the band’s latest album Flipper, they water the doom elements down even more and strike out on a really bass-heavy course that results in probably the most quietly nuanced album you’ll hear this year. If you want to absorb this thing, your best bet would be to do so on a quality sound system or on noise-canceling headphones. It’s that fragile.
In addition to these long, draw-out moments of beauty the band fiddles around with the notion of the concept album. First of all the album is called Flipper with a the skeletal remains of a whale flipper on the cover, all of the procedes from the album are going towards the preservation of marine life (whales, dolphines, and the like), and the album’s aesthetics seems to embrace watery death and decay. They even throw in a Twin Peaks-indebted track called “Wrapped In Plastic” that hearkens back to Angelo Badalamenti's iconic score and the series grisly opening (which, again, happens down by the water's edge). Overall it's a quiet but really moving listen if you're patient enough to let it bloom.
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War Brides // Burden
I’m back. I just needed a few weeks to recuperate. In honor of my return to my self-imposed enslavement to this blog, here is something that I’ve been spinning pretty frequently for the past week or so. They’re called War Brides, they are from Chicago, and they melted my face off. If you’re a fan of the way METZ or Pissed Jeans make a raucous mess of everything while shouting really loudly then this should suit you just fine.
Burden, the band’s latest EP, is six songs of unrelenting noise, pained shouts, and heavy distortion. The genius of the band is evidenced in they are able to corral all of these chaotic elements and channel them down into one focused, driving force. Like the power of the sun harnessed by a microscope with the intent of roasting some ants, War Brides have set their sights on your eardrums and they will not relent until the ringing in your ears becomes louder than the music itself. I’m sold.
(via The Elementary Revolt)
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favorite albums of 2013… so far
favorite films of 2013… so far