Friday, December 6, 2013
Kickstarter gets a lot of shit for giant projects that take forever to come to fruition like videogames or physical tech and it's not even their fault, but it's the perfect platform for bands getting their fans together to fund a record that otherwise wouldn't be released. Killing the Vibe was a perfect example (shit you could have had Matt play your livingroom for $500 bucks!) of how this could work. The price of a record is pretty constant, you either make enough to pay yourself and the pressing plant or you don't. The same should apply to a record label and in the case of The Singles Club, Chris, who's a designer at Kickstarter and a musician himself, is looking for a couple more bucks more to fund a quarterly seven inch series. I'm a huge fan of Daniel Bachman (above) and that's the first single up in the series along with a digital journal I'm guessing that has something to do with Daniel and his music along with a case for the four singles.
The tracks will be exclusive to the project (only 250 pressed) and the B-Side's of these are going to be 'narrative compositions' with the artists, probably interviews but they left it open for insanity. The other singles up are Small Sur, Woodsman and Wisdom Tooth.
Three more days to get in on this.
The epic post rock instrumental from Mono or Pelican or the more understated but just as complex instrumental folk from Pullman or even Tortoise both seem to work on the same part of my brain in polar opposite ways. Without the vocal you're free to associate the tracks in a more personal way; the post rock side goes right to more emotional, tougher parts of life and the quieter folk arrangements bore right down to childhood because god forbid I just listen to something. Both sides of this split from Padang Food Tigers and Lake Mary take the quieter instrumental angle and happen to both include the banjo which was used to great effect in the Hitchhikers Guide BBC radio adaptation also listened to on vinyl as a youngster. Weird.
On the A-Side Padang Food Tigers open "Crabbing King Sappling" with that Hitchhikers banjo and a sample of dogs losing their mind from a block away. So many subtle samples underneath the guitar and banjo slowly picking away with accordions and people shuffling through rooms. A piano in an even larger space is slowly struck with a long attack and an even longer delayed electric with a hint of synth? I like how they keep playing with your perception of the space here, this banjo could be captured on a long distance cassette player only to come in with crystal clarity from your inner ear on the next measure. Silences are just as keenly captured and become a voice between notes but watch for the Dead Man style distortion that ends this one, throwing nearly all the kitchen sinks from all your collective childhood houses into this one.
Lake Mary contributes B-Side's "White River" and a long synth tone that teeters between channels across the left and right taking the slower approach to build those layers like an orchestra tuning up but closer to mother nature getting ready for a massive drop. All tension filled these tones are slight variations on each other and come off like the Disintegration Loops buried under huge delay - all the echoes and reverb's in the world chained together and simultaneously fading up and out. An acoustic bounces around quietly at first but is poised on a bigger more complex piece which is more optimistic since the world just ended a few moments ago. Especially this banjo, there's something goofy about that instrument, here it keeps the piece humble, even when those serious packs of strings wander in looking to hijack this thing colliding both worlds in a Books kind of way.
Pick this up on Scissortail Records
Thursday, December 5, 2013
My parents randomly asked me what instrument I wanted to play when I was in elementary school and I ended up taking the cello for years. I had no idea I would be carrying around a giant upright bass almost the same size as me down the hallways. There was no thought behind it, no ambition to be a great cellist, it was completely at random I wound up playing this monstrosity in terrible recitals for years. I have a feeling that's how this three piece from Windsor Ontario picked the name 'Cellos' for their brand of late '90s power sludge. It's one of those meaningless monikers that's just a blank slate for the dread their about to put into it.
I never thought I'd still be thinking about some of the tracks from In The Meantime all these years later. Looking back during an era of my own Curennaissance it might have felt too precise or almost metal..both of which things I search out now so it was't Helmet's fault, just ruined after the fact by circumstance. It should have been a precursor to Don Cab's math rock and instrumental epic distortion of We Will Destroy You instead of headbashing 120 minutes. I'm definitely hearing elements of that classic now in A-Side's "Standard and Poor" from Cellos. This three piece manages to pound a lot of those similar jagged primal distortions out of the bass and guitar before you even factor in these heavy drums as this thing throbs towards an exit. "White Swans" has more of this thick guitar work that ramps up with a bright idea to plow through any variations. This sounds pretty separated vocally like they're up to weird tricks in the mix always beating to death their primitive beat, hitting as heard as possible while burying the vocals behind the static of an old telephone wire on the verse. Dissonant chords still ring out forcing the uglier side of things... even though this is recorded perfectly they want to play around within their cruddy precision.
B-Side's "Exodus" has a distanced drum kit performance in an empty cellar, Kyle's vocals crawl right into this louder space. This drum loop is some kind of exercise for the vocal to lead a creep feel. It goes from stark black and white to technicolor for the rest of the instrumentation to tear through the sideline banner, alternating between forceful gated strums and barred chords, letting loose and reigning it back in. Crispy distortions fade away at the end and this one seems to try out a few different paths on it's way to pounding out a slower beat. Sludgy and slow like a good Earth or Harvey Milk track, I can't deny loving those low end bellows from chords past the bottom of the neck, the drums keep up the tension while the guitar and bass scare you from behind. They must have gotten to that robot on the cover who is just a sad, sparking head now. Cellos has a completely different meaning.
Pick this up from Drawing Room / Doormat Records.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
After playing in various other bands for ten years in the La Puente California area, Mr. Suicide and Harley ventured off on their own to get back to their punk roots and start over with nothing but the guitar and drums with their latest project Rock N Roll Suicides. I love this kind of setup, the way a duo pushes themselves live, the relationship between both members in the band better be solid because there's no one else you're going to hang out with or record or play through shitty venues with. It's the purest form of rock, distilled down to the most basic elements, noise and rhythm and Rock N Roll Suicides are working in a long line of punk minimalists with a sound bigger than the two of them.
A rough, gritty electric kicks off A-Side's "Born in the Wrong Era" creaking in with a scrape of the strings and spazzy drums with a great back and forth between the two of them from the get go, messing with the timings and locking into that duo mind meld. Reminding me a lot of The Hussy with Rudy Suicide on guitar and vocals and Harley Kaos on drums, bashing away on an all cymbal kit and Rudy's got a distortion on the vocal. This even goes back to Motorhead with it's fast 4/4 that takes it's moment and ends in feedback, fast with a bluesy Cramps style. I could easily see these two in one of those chopped up, matte black hot rods in a constant state of being worked on with flames shooting out of the front when they step on the gas. Maybe it's the sound of all that space that's going on here. Space, the beach and HEAT. "What a waste" comes out with fast hyper punk and when the both of them get on this mic, it's like Heather and Bobby's midwest bluesy garage sound and Rock n Roll Suicides are squarely in the punk camp and their west coast dirty grunge sound. More aggressive and maybe it's the low end of this guitar that's sort of going metal, delving into the feedback and the screeching chords with the same amount of bashing. They don't just rely on jittery punk sound though, this one stops at random points really interrupting the head banging deliberately, bringing crafty equations to their thick garage party with timing that could only exist between two people playing any length of time together this loud and fast.
B-Side "I Live Blind" come on that stabndard blues bar sound but a little drunker and rowdy, more melodies and those starts and stops are still here but it's almost performed live, the loose kit attack and slippery cuts, scratchy guitar swaying back and forth on that long walk home. Sounds like they're taking a load off and having a few too many, the same way I write about records. Repeated scaled riffs with warm distortion, coming together like a rock and roll tough party with sunglasses and leather in the desert. Why is that my go to for this West coast sound? The toughest loners carve out an existence in the desert. There's nothing around to fall back on but this sound.
Get this from Wolf on A Bridge Records or contact these guys at their facebook page.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
I just was going through the Suicide Squeeze releases for their cyber Monday sale and forgot how much great stuff they've released over the last couple years on the seven inch format...Dirty Beaches, This Will Destroy You (picked up their latest double LP for 10 BUCKS)...wax idols...the Guantanamo Bay Natural Child split - all of it long sold out of course so I wanted to make sure to talk about this latest single from Eating Out. A three song EP with members Daniel and Brody from long time favorites Nu Sensae along with Mish from White Lung and Geoff Dembicki from Peace. Sounds like they took the experimental pop punk sounds of these previous projects and layered them with classic grunge sounds on the preview track "Come around". Beefy guitar sounds pile up building and building with heavy studio separation, crystal clear and working into a thick hum. They manage to keep this track plowing through definitely in a nod to grunge like a Screaming Trees or TAD with the vocals buried and distanced and a cavernous distortion recorded in a massive empty Detroit factory. Harmonies in an almost surf, beachy sound on the vocal against this heavy distortion, towering and hitting the same notes as Milk Music. You'll have to pick this up to get to hear the rest - unless you got it from Burger Records, Suicide Squeeze has this one limited to 500 copies (100 on opaque pink/lavender/yellow-mixed vinyl, 400 on black) with a download code.
Over the past few episodes Darren and I seem to have been referencing Modern Vinyl almost every show and it was high time we tracked down the founder, Chris to find out how he keeps up with his insane amounts of posts about new releases and the idea that we can all get rich by flipping records on ebay or on websites about vinyl for that matter.
Turns out it's SUPER EASY.
Picks for this week are the "Sunderberry Dream" Fuzz single from In the Red with a King Crimson cover on the B-Side and Darren picks a black friday Record Store Day split on Subpop with Shearwater covering Rhinnaha and Low covering Frank Ocean’s “Novacane”.
We also start a rumor that Mikal Cronin is Charlie Moonheart aka Charles Moothart? Maybe we're the last to know.
Correct us at the 7inches voicemail - (347) 770-1469.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Cole Furlow from Dead Gaze talked to me once about King Tubby and how it related to a lot of things happening with Animal Collective and later Panda Bear tracks in a similar experimentation with heavy dub reverb sound. Listening to this single from Tabajo I'm reminded of a similar end result in sound and theory. Trabajo, an electronic duo from Brooklyn, is Yuchen Lin and TJ Richards who are fanatical about gamelan music from Indonesia and have been experimenting and sampling it for the past couple of years resulting in this self released EP. It's got a lot to do with MadLibs Beat Konducta Volumes as well as Ducktails or Dirty Beaches in the way they rework the material with a lot of contemporary techniques while respecting the source.
A-Side's "Gamelan to the Love God" comes in with cycling loops of hand bells, chanting choruses and dense layers of cycling clanging like tracks from Person Pitch and it's deceptively simple combination of something completely new. The loops include lower end warped synth added by the duo along with reversed beats adding up to a shimmery almost psych feel with those rhythms intact. "The Myth" has choppier smaller cycles leading into more of those gamelan ensemble vocalizations and this is buried further contributing even more to that dreamy landscape while a heavy dub beat drops into this over a solo sitar. The material they work into these loops is subtle, it's hard to even pick out what pieces couldn't have possibly been there originally. The same way G-Flux on Electric Cowbell is pioneering his own cumbia, these guys are following a thread that for me started with Panda Bear and here comes these instrumental tracks, heavily chopped up and tilted towards faster tempos, veering into a dance sound this becomes something of a gamelan breaks record with big bass kicks of massive decay over the eastern loops in a huge sound chamber.
"I Am Tetsuo" is all bells and chimes in glitchy bursts for them to add a heavy thumping beat under this mathy percussion. The choral style vocal also relies on brief twitches of strange rhythms and ending up with a melody something like Enigma(Contemporary gregorian chants? That will never happen again) proving that the pieces can always be appropriated in new ways. The very reason all those needles were pulled backwards on turntables almost forty years ago now.
B-Side's "23 Skidoo" (also a band who dabbled in gamelan) is working in chimes and half beats built on top of each other, with their brand of repetition working in a hyper Eastern Velvet Underground style. There's warped guitar or a wah'd synth over the pile of chimes in primal rhythms; the real foundation for most gamelan tracks and suits this exploration well. When this really starts raking things together they hit a stride, the less air and breathing space between individual pieces starts to turn this into somthing else, just at the moment when you stop paying attention to the piece as it's individual parts.
On "Udan Mas" bell sounds are broken out in long melodies while a super western thump beat is laid out with handclaps, the old 808 ones. This track sounds the most psych to me, an alien soundtrack that has modern elements but true to the source textures. There's room for a haunting little vocal on this to finish up the track. "Mortal"'s quick loop is something out of a carnival merry go round on 78. Tempos blend together in impossible to follow ays with heavy synth. There's a soundtrack element to this leke Goblin or John Carpenter's stuff, here more subtle and loopy atmospheric with slower changes relying on this overwhelming twinkly loop but the same kind of macro composition at work.
The duo is actually playing Bundy's (75 Stewart Ave) this Saturday. Pick up this single from their bandcamp page.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Super Sale announcement from Darren over at Velocity of Sound - check out our podcast + eat turkey
Good morning vinyl lovers! I hope everyone is enjoying their day off today and finding the time to spin a favorite record or two! Velocity of Sound wanted to reach out and say thank you for being our customer, if it wasn’t for YOU, we couldn’t make 7”s.
For Thanksgiving Day, Velocity of Sound is offering 25% off all orders of at least two items or more. This deal could potentially land you two vinyl singles for only $5.83!! Just use PROMO CODE, JohnCandy at checkout. The deal ends at tonight Eastern time.
We also wanted to take this opportunity to let you know of a couple charity auctions you can take part in. Up for auction (over at eBay) are a The Lees of Memory “We Are Siamese” TEST PRESS (only 11 in the world!) and an Epic Ditch “36-HOUR” TEST PRESS (only 12 in the world!)
100% of the proceeds will be going to the Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania. Not only can you get your hands on an extremely cool item, but you can also feel good doing it.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Plumerai and The Brother Kite offer up a novel approach to delivering entirely unique exclusive material with this split single released a few years back. Both bands are based in the northeast and their latest material these days is dense, heavily produced pop but for this single both bands agreed to strip down to nothing but raw simple instrumentation to see where the songwriting would land.
Plumerai's contribution "Vacant Eyes" is a minimal track of a deliberate, solo electric, turned up loud the hardly plucked strings separate out in their own melody, naked in the middle of this silence. Elizabeth Ezell on vocals brings heavy emotion to the table in that pleading St. Vincent's quivering, near breaking down vocal. She's just as deliberate as that instrumentation and places phrases between notes creaking alongside this electric that threatens to stop itself at any moment. There's a quieter vocal behind her pleading and bells are softly struck with fur mallets so as not to break the spell of this intimate confession. A plaintive violin and organ slowly build in this Owen Pallet inspired arrangement to an epic plateau of a folk backyard Bowerbirds orchestra. They work with the negative space here, the hardly sung track of Elizabeth's vocal against nothing but a few notes one after another while the instrumentation waits in the wings to do some breaking down of it's own. If you're already in a mood, do yourself a favor and pour the alcohol down the sink.
The B-Side finds The Brother Kite stripped down on "We Can Never Be Friends". It's smooth country southern rock track with acoustic strums and Patrick's Michael Stipe style vocal in a bright echo bright echo chamber. They launch into storytelling mode, a clear nostalgic heartland radio number that if the title was any indication isn't going to leave you happy about the outcome. Reminds me of the potential of the Shins and their harmonic pop songwriting or you could actually go further back to Steven Stills, it's got all the attitude as those classic templates.
Get it from Plumerai's bandcamp page, an edition of 500 on coke bottle clear vinyl.