Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shelly Out Of Athens


By now, Keep Shelly In Athens is probably a household name, at least in houses whose inhabitants regularly access Gorilla vs. Bear, Pitchfork, No Pain In Pop, ALTERED ZONES, No Modest Bear and the like. I've avoided writing about them thus far for fear of exceeding my normal threshold of redundancy, but their In Love With Dusk 12" just came in the mail, so a quick post feels justified. If Keep Shelly In Athens' music has escaped your earshot as yet, their sensual, soul-stirring blend of melodically-pleasing disco is highly recommended. Fans of The Golden Filter and Memory Tapes will find much to appreciate here.

Grab the A-side below; then buy it from Forest Family Records as soon as possible. FFR's previous releases have sold out quickly and their first signee, Cults, just penned a record deal with Columbia. So we can expect similarly great things from Keep Shelly In Athens.

Keep Shelly In Athens - Running Out Of You
Keep Shelly In Athens - Cremona Memories
Keep Shelly In Athens - Fokionos Negri Street
Keep Shelly In Athens - Rainy Nights

In addition to dropping the In Love With Dusk 12", Keep Shelly In Athens have been twisting knobs in the remix booth. Their 12" features a remix of Body Language's "You Can," and they've also blended their sound into songs by Steve Mason and Porcelain Raft. Check the latter two below.

Steve Mason - Boys Outside (Keep Shelly In Athens Remix)
Porcelain Raft - Tip Of Your Tongue (Keep Shelly In Athens Remix)

(via USPS)

Southern Shores


Berlin-via-Canada's Southern Shores make sugary-sweet summer songs that melt Air France's tropicalia with ceo's tribal tendencies. Their "Grande Comore" / "Mauna Loa" digital single was graciously offered for free download by Bad Panda Records.

Southern Shores - Grande Comore
Southern Shores - Mauna Loa

(via No Modest Bear)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Waskerley Way - Energy Legs EP


Pictured above is Waskerley Way, a bike path in the town of Consett in County Durham, England. It is also the musical moniker of one Mikey—formerly of Consett, now of Newcastle—who rode his bike through Waskerley Way as a child. Mikey’s nostalgia for a childhood spent cruising makes its way into his dreamy synth pop, though his music soars more than it cruises. His new Energy Legs EP is as hazy and half-remembered as it is shimmery and sparkly, like a hash pipe jaunt across fresh snow on a moon-lit path. Listening to it, I can’t help but think of a child cruising on a bicycle with Falcor flying overhead.

Grab title track “Energy Legs” and "Gâteau" below; support the artist by buying the EP for ₤3 (less than $5) here.

Waskerley Way - Energy Legs

Waskerley Way - Gâteau

(As heard on Rose Quartz, with props to Pinglewood)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Julianna Barwick - "The Magic Place"


Julianna Barwick's angelic, ethereal compositions are some of the most breathtakingly beautiful songs I've ever heard. Following up on her excellent Sanguine album and Florine EP, Barwick is set to release her record label debut on Asthmatic Kitty on February 22. "The Magic Place" is our first peek at the album of the same name. On it, Barwick continues her streak of perfection, directing a choir of seraphim as they float across a cypress grove.

Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place

And here's "Bode," from her elegant Florine EP:

Julianna Barwick - Bode

Find more about the album here.

(via Pitchfork)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Favorite Albums of 2010

15. Actress - Splazsh

One of the most innovative artists in the post-dubstep landscape, the UK's Darren Cunningham explores more than a few of that genre's offshoots. Easily one of the year's best electronic albums, though it's not necessarily an easy listen. Lots of negative space and repetition to challenge your appetite and attention span, but essential nonetheless.






14. Beach House - Teen Dream

More of what we've come to expect from Beach House - muted guitar arpeggios, plainly simple percussion, creepy church organs and the chanteuse of Victoria Legrand. Far more than promising, though, this is damn near perfection.





13. Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma

The reigning king of indie-friendly, instrumental hip-hop beats has a free jazz freak-out.








Flying Lotus - Quakes (non-album track)



12. RxRy - VAEIOUWLS

One of three full-length albums the enigmatic and prolific RxRy released for free download this year, each of which were nearly equal in excellence, VAEIOUWLS stuck out for some reason. Ambient electronica as a replacement to R.E.M. sleep.


11. Dem Hunger - Caveman Smack

Equal parts FlyLo in formaldehyde and J Dilla on DMT, Dem splices found sound samples on top of coke-spoon-cooked beats.  This is some seriously fucked up shit right here. It's awesome.






Dem Hunger - Fried Squid



10. Teengirl Fantasy - 7AM

A heavenly trinity of ambient synth textures, four-to-the-floor dance beats and the downright groove of disco. Featuring "Cheaters" and "Floor to Floor," two of the best songs of the year.





Teengirl Fantasy - Floor To Floor
 


09. Toro Y Moi - Causers Of This

One of the founding fathers of chillwave proves he's capable of much more than hypnagogic pop, ably navigating through dance, disco, hip-hop, R&B and psych-pop.





08. Autre Ne Veut - Autre Ne Veut

Imagine Paul Simon and Prince smoking a ton of weed and improvising some tweaked-out R&B jamz. You're getting close, but you're not there yet...





07. Wild Nothing - Gemini

Unabashedly 80s, the melodies across these jangly guitar and synth pop tunes will live with you long after each listen.







Wild Nothing - Summer Holiday
 


06. Caribou - Swim

A pop-friendly, psychedelic kaleidoscope of earth-toned electronica for your next walkabout.






05. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles

A grittier, house-ier Annie Lennox is bound, gagged and tortured, then given full access to an array of samples and synthesizers to release her rage.





04. How To Dress Well - Love Remains

Sounds like tape recordings of Justin Vernon covering Luther Vandross, drenched in cough syrup and played back through a blown-out, wood-paneled speaker.



How To Dress Well - Ready For The World



03. Four Tet - There Is Love In You

Achingly beautiful compositions with magnificent melodies and pulsating percussion, repeated to hypnotic effect.






02. Baths - Cerulean

Startlingly excellent, fresh debut from a burgeoning beatmaker who is acutely aware that music impacts the heart earlier and more powerfully than anything else. Producer Will Wiesenfeld's beats bubble, flutter, sparkle and throb - we can't help but fall in love.
 

Baths - Maximalist



01. Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner

Derwin Panda has come a long way since "Quitter's Raga." The firestorm that followed that sample-saturated track led to a debut record on Ghostly International with Simian Mobile Disco's James Shaw as producer. Lucky Shiner is the patient result of Derwin twisting knobs in the studio, syncing these new songs to his iPod, studying them while he walked a family dog and then tinkering in the studio until each song was perfect. Named after his grandmother, featuring a song called "Parents" as well as songs about new beginnings and harsh endings, Lucky Shiner is far and away the most emotive and musically sophisticated album of the year. The beats, melodies and repetition on Lucky Shiner immediately recall artists such as The Field, Four Tet and Flying Lotus, but Gold Panda beats those artists at their own game. 


You by Gold Panda


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

IVIXMMXI


Taking the bait on this one, but a Roman numeral riddle appeared in my inbox over the weekend. Like the bloggers before me, the email contained two links: one to YouTube and the other Soundcloud. IVIXMMXI's YouTube channel contains three teaser videos, pale in color and soft in focus, filmed at a foreboding beach. The accompanying audio tracks are snippets of songs, short in length and similar in their terrifying tone. Based on what we hear, IVIXMMXI can be classified as drag. Or witch-house. Or something similar.

As the above-linked bloggers pointed out, we've seen this type of viral video campaign waged by an anonymous artist before. Even the big-name blogs drooled over iamamiwhoami at first, but the mystery lingered too long and they got bored and moved on. iamamiwhoami's identity is now known, and the very same bloggers don't seem to care much about it or the music. So there's a risk to leaving the hype-makers hyperventilating.

Let's hope IVIXMMXI perfects the balance between anonymity as anticipation-builder and potentially aggravating would-be fans. Because, at least as "II" shows, there's definitely promise here. Play "II" and peep two teaser videos below.

IVIXMMXI - II



Monday, December 13, 2010

Egyptian Hip Hop X D/R/U/G/S


If you left an Egyptian Hip Hop concert early because of a bad trip, this is how "Rad Pitt" might sound as you stumbled down a dark street: the muted bass rumbling the road, the stretched-out sound swirling upwards like fog from the dank pavement. Thanks be to D/R/U/G/S, then, for their stunning reinterpretation, which we can click to play with or without said trip.

Egyptian Hip Hop - Rad Pitt (D/R/U/G/S Soviet Remix)

Here's the jangly, melodic original:

Egyptian Hip Hop - Rad Pitt

Do more D/R/U/G/S here.

(via Dummy)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Galaxy


If you enjoyed the celestial pop of Magic Places and the spaced-out synths of Zonotope, then Galaxy's epic, genre-sprawling We Are The Dreamers might just be your new favorite EP. With its booming beats, chopped-up vocals, sci-fi synth riffs and typically tight production, it's a promising debut that's as pop-friendly as it is plenty weird. It sounds a bit like Yeasayer's earthly, tribal tones packed into a Justice-designed spaceship and blasted off to Jupiter and the infinite beyond. Either way, it's highly recommended. Stream "Crimes of Passion" and "Running" below; grab the rest for free at Galaxy's Bandcamp. Enjoy.

Galaxy - Crimes Of Passion
Galaxy - Running

(Props to Don't Die Wondering for the tip)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Forest Spirits


Forest Spirits is one Liam Fitzpatrick, a twenty-something college student from Auckland, New Zealand. If his glitchy, dubbed-out hip-hop beats belong to Los Angeles or London, his sampling skills are entirely his own, unique in style and yet universally appealing in their dream-like quality. With "Summer Sleep," we're being romanced by a French girl, bumping to an 808 beat even as we travel down Avenue Gustave Eiffel in a Peugeot 403 - a mash-up so misconstrued in time and place only deep R.E.M. sleep could reconcile it.  Likewise, even with "Storm Clouds" on the horizon, we're dreaming old-school Disney, our cartoon caricatures unconcerned as they twirl umbrellas and skip across a sun-swept field. Beautifully evocative, fantasy-filled, even romanticized beats. Dreamstep? I think so.

Forest Spirits - Summer Sleep
Forest Spirits - Storm Clouds

Follow Forest Spirits here.

Props to Rose Quartz for pointing me in his direction.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

November 2010 Mix

  

At the risk of creating a tradition, here's another end-of-the-month mix of some of my favorite songs floating around the blogosphere of late.

Best heard while Christmas shopping, to drown out the drone of cranky capitalists and replace it with the beats, blips, scratches, swells and tweaks of some rather fabulous tunes.

I'd absolutely love it if you'd listen, leave a comment and share it with a friend.

Casket Crash Vigil November 2010 Mix

Tracklist:

Painted Face - Favorite One
Brothertiger - Evening Glow
Keep Shelly In Athens - Running Out Of You (Memory Tapes Version)
Gobble Gobble - Nikki (The-Dream Cover)
Mark McGuire - Brain Storm (For Erin)
Drop/Dead - Rinse Issue
Jaded Hipster Choir - Cait Sith
Kinder - My Kite (Short Mix)
Coma Cinema - Her Sinking Sun (Kumon Plaza Remix)
Painted Palms - Falling Asleep
Wise Blood - Solo ('4' Claire)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Diamond Messages


I was planning on including a song from Diamond Messages in a forthcoming mix, but I simply can't choose between "Liquid Summer" and "Smoke And Mirrors." They are both too good not to share.

In an interview with Truants, Diamond Messages' Jason Craig says his stage name references a Claude Debussy quote about music's intended message versus its actual impact. With Diamond Messages and very few others, the music and the name are perfectly synchronized. These songs are indeed crystalline particles, encoded and electrified to convey and captivate.

The Smoke And Mirrors EP is available digitally from Amazon (US/UK), iTunes and Spotify in Europe.





(via The Road Goes Ever On)

Monday, November 29, 2010

D/R/U/G/S


Here's a fresh banger from Manchester duo D/R/U/G/S, whose frustratingly limited catalog of three original songs and one remix is completely forgiven by how freaking good these songs sound. "Liquid Max (Testmixx)" starts with a pulsing beat and throbbing bass chords that recall Radiohead's "Pyramid Song" and ends with cut-up diva vocals cascading over twinkling synths. If there's anything wrong with the song, it's the sudden ending and relatively short length of 3:22. When house sounds this good, I could listen happily forever.

D/R/U/G/S - Liquid Max (Testmixx)

"Hathaway (Testmixxx)" and "Love (Love/Lust Darkmix)" are equally excellent.  Check them below.

D/R/U/G/S - Hathaway (Testmixxx)
D/R/U/G/S - Love (Love/Lust Darkmix)

Follow D/R/U/G/S on Tumblr for more music and news on their debut 12".

Thursday, November 18, 2010

RxRy - Ω


Please forgive my RxRy-related redundancy, but the artist has graciously offered his latest album, Ω, for free download at his blog. It readily awaits your consumption.

On first listen, Ω is a life-affirming stream of ambient soundscapes and stuttering beats. Song titles that reference air and rail travel feature aural examinations of the same: these are sounds we can only imagine we'd hear floating weightlessly above the clouds or charging full steam ahead, soaring or spinning metal traveling through space and time.

After one listen, or many, you may not find a "favorite" song or even remember any of the titles. That's because RxRy's music lulls you to dream-like state, where details such as song titles and track lengths aren't important or even perceptible. At a certain level, you are not actively listening to music. The music is actively transforming and transporting you. Let it take you where you want to go.

More words on Ω will likely follow in the near future.

Sample three artist-selected songs from Ω below.  Then get Ω - and the rest of RxRy's excellent discography - here.

ΩPLYLST by RxRy

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Delorean & Lemonade @ Lincoln Hall

Genuinely looking forward to seeing Spain's Balearic pop stars Delorean and NYC-via-San Francisco electro-funk-punk trio Lemonade tonight at Lincoln Hall. A song from each follows.

Delorean - Stay Close

Lemonade - Lifted

The Morning Benders X The Golden Filter


 
Above, The Morning Benders' breathtakingly beautiful "Excuses" gets creepified by the always-reliable remixers The Golden Filter. Never ones to leave the original song anywhere near intact, The Golden Filter instead keep Christopher Chu's doo-wop vocals in a closet, claustrophobic among a choir of children, with a disco beat, plodding bass and twinkling synthesizers. You can grab the MP3 by using the above widget for the price of entering your email.
 
In case you've missed it, here's The Morning Benders' original version:
 
The Morning Benders - Excuses

And one of my favorite songs of all time, by The Golden Filter:
 
The Golden Filter - Solid Gold

(via Pitchfork)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

RxRy.2


Here's an interview I wish I'd done: with RxRy, the self-described "drownstep" artist who's equal parts enigma and excellent. But never mind my self-interest: fellow blogger Stadiums and Shrines did a more than stellar job, with a beautifully-written introduction and insightful questions that both compliment and challenge the artist. What's revealed is an artist who's acutely aware of how identity and persona intersect in the age of instant gratification, and how these constructs affect our exposure to and perception of his music. Anonymity, it seems, can propel an artist from relative obscurity to omnipresence almost overnight (see: iamamiwhoami), but RxRy's preference for a "low profile" seems genuine, not gimmicky. Never mind a band biography or detailed demographics. RxRy might say: These are my songs. Or, more simply, these are songsWhat do they mean to you? How do they make you feel?

Head over to Stadiums and Shrines for a great read. The icing on the cake is a gratis download of "Obtvse Boqœt Conc¨ssion," the second single, so to speak, from RxRy's upcoming album Ω.

RxRy - Obtvse-Boqœt-Conc¨ssion by casketcrashvigil

And here's "Aertigo Lapsees," the first single from Ω.

RxRy - Aertgo Lapsees

Previously:

RxRy - Sobr Vokbulry

RxRy - Eaurowi

Monday, November 15, 2010

New album from Girl Talk

In the absolutely absurd, inconceivably impossible event you haven't heard by now, reigning mash-up monarch Girl Talk has a new album of A.D.D-informed, ecstasy-inspired dance-pop tunes to fuel your upcoming rave, workout, all-night study session, night bus, etc. Entitled All Day, it's available for free download from Girl Talk's boundary-pushing label, Illegal Art. It's what (mostly) everyone will be listening to come the weekend, so you might as well get down now.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dem Hunger


New track from Dem Hunger, whose twisted hip-hop beats are fried in a pan, coated in gray spray paint and left to bubble up from the bottom of a primordial swamp. "Squint Fucker" is the B-side to a split 7" out November 20 on vlek records. Its percolating synth melody sounds a bit like a Raymond Scott song played on a vintage video game controller, with the beat dragging its feet and a snowy noise pattern sullying the mix.

Dem Hunger - Squint Fucker by vlek

The split, with Belgium's Cupp Cave, is limited to 300 copies on 180-gram vinyl. Handmade and screen-printed with glow-in-the-dark or golden ink. Put simply, guaranteed to sell out fast. So pre-order here.

Kinder


Austin's Kinder is a rather excellent surgeon (of the sonic variety), stitching samples and suturing sounds into melodically-pleasing glitch-hop for our listening pleasure. Self-described as "dubbeatkrunk," which seemingly lumps London, Los Angeles and Lil Jon into the same genre tag, Kinder's beats are probably too disparate to be dubstep, too dynamic to be just beats and too intelligent to be drunk-stoned. That's a compliment to the artist - these tunes vary in tone and tempo and are melodically sophisticated, even transcendent. Fans of Flying Lotus and Gold Panda will find lots to appreciate here. Keep your computer keys and mouse clicking on Kinder; I have a feeling there's much more where this came from and that it's only getting better from here.

Kinder - Koto Winter

Kinder - Games At The Field

Kinder - Time To Move On

Kinder - No Regrets

Grab more Kinder at Bandcamp.

(via Don't Die Wondering)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Zonotope™


Screeching squeals of sound buttressed by a bumbling bass line.

Zonotope - Those Days

A robot on a roll-about chirps in transit, as it reads and stores data on its over-stimulating surroundings.

Zonotope - Inserting The Galactic Disc

Download Zonotope™'s Cruising Through The Hypersphere of Resonance at Bandcamp.

Awake, after a hundred-year hibernation in the heavens, holographs of a hazy history and mirages of moments past whiz outside the spaceship's window, hovering long enough to singe the time-worn tips of the spaceman's cerebral synapses, but wilting just as quickly as they blossomed in his bleary brain.

Zonotope - Under That Building

And, one of the most beautiful things I've heard in a long time.



Buy Zonotope™'s Excellent Realms cassette from The Curatorial Club before it sells out. Or buy a digital download here.

If Dan Lopatin and Matthew Dear scored a straight-to-VHS science fiction film, Excellent Realms would be its extraterrestrial soundtrack.

Excellent Realms, indeed. Essential listening.

(via Don't Die Wondering, ALTERED ZONES and Rose Quartz)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Magic Places


The Time-Traveler’s Pocket Guidebook. A presumptuous title, perhaps, but Magic Places' debut album more than keeps its promises. Rather than read the Guidebook, we simply open our ears to the sounds therein, and the secrets of time-travel are absorbed into our collective conscious. Upon absorption, we find an absolutely magnificent, synth-driven spectacle that does indeed slow seconds into minutes, minutes into hours, hours into days, and so forth. Some passages glisten and twinkle in a bubbling candescence, like celestial gems reflecting off moon-swept waters. Other selections drone on and gaze out, alternately stabbing and washing clean an otherwise shimmering electronic plane. Whatever the case, these are the marvelous sounds of traversing through space and time, blasting off against gravity’s grain, the push and pull of particles passing across the arc of time.

Like much of the bedroom-born, blissed-out laptop music of late, there's an undeniable degree of 80s nostalgia here - if not for synth pop, then for soundtracks to movies with giant, flying dogs and labyrinths. But like the best of the 80s revivalists - Memory Tapes and Washed Out - Magic Places is indebted to the past but not beholden to it. That is, Magic Places takes inspiration from the past, but he's also been to the future and knows what it sounds like, and that makes his present music-making all the more majestic and meaningful. A Time-Traveler's Pocket Guidebook, indeed.

Led by the stirring, soulful "Through The Map Door" and surrounded by equally excellent songs such as "Timespace Reveille," The Time Traveler's Pocket Guidebook certainly sounds like one of the year's best albums.

Magic Places - Through The Map Door

Magic Places - Timespace Reveille


Experience the complete Guidebook at Magic Places' Bandcamp.

(via Don't Die Wondering and No Modest Bear)

Friday, October 29, 2010

October 2010 Mix


A mix of autumn-chilled, certifiably creepy songs for your aural enjoyment.

Best heard on the open road, at night, with the top down, a bottle of whiskey and shotgun at your side, eyes scanning the darkness for whatever danger lurks ahead.

Casket Crash Vigil October 2010 Mix



Tracklist:

▲Popdrone - Belong To
oOoOO - Seaww
S U R V I V E - Holographic Landscape
Patrick Kelleher & His Cold Dead Hands - Contact Sports
Etienne Jaumet - Entropy
Dem Hunger - Fried Squid
HOLY OTHER - WE OVER
RxRy - Aertigo Lapsees
White Ring - IxC999
Crystal Castles - Suffocation (Memory Tapes Remix)
Umberto - Someone Chasing Someone Through A House
Zomby - Helter Skelter

Props to No Pain To Pop, Friendship Bracelet, Transparent, 20jazzfunkgreats, Pitchfork and Gorilla vs. Bear. Also Dem Hunger, RxRy and Matthewdavid of Leaving Records.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

SALEM

SALEM's King Night via UPS. Album-opening title track one of the best songs of the year. Grimy, writhing Gothic juke. The absolute epitome of epic, complete with "O Holy Night" as its sardonic backdrop.

"Asia" a banging-down-the-door, claustrophobic, trapped-in-a-dungeon-type song. What little melody or vocal arrangement exists is simply buried beneath the synth-sludge.

"Frost" an airier, slower and tighter version of itself, sounding a bit different but not necessarily better than the version that appeared on an earlier 7" from Audraglint.

The album, in a sentence, is heroin-laced horror-hop, screwed to the sixth circle of Hell.

Or, in a phrase, rohypnol wave.

Gimmick or greatness? Mostly greatness.

SALEM - King Night

SALEM - Asia

SALEM - Frost (7" version)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hypermagic

More shimmering, stuttering ambient IDM from London's Hypermagic. Like their first two EPs, Hey Hey Sunshine is still relatively laid back - slow on the beats-per-minute scale and simple in style and substance. With that said, though, Hey Hey Sunshine seemingly radiates much more in terms of motion and musicality. The EP's title track envisages the meter and motion of a few self-sufficient machines operating ad-infinitum. One machine's arm tips up and down, creating a lackadaisical beat. Another dips its dual arms into water and then rises, issuing consecutive drip-drops back into the pond. Yet another passes a ping-pong ball back and forth across a grooved wooden surface. Fascinated as we are by these machines, something warms our shoulders. We turn and look, and say hello to the sun.

On "Red Lion," it's the motion and musicality of a jazz drummer brushing beats while a Philip Glass-inspired percussionist pours and passes us Hpnotiq from his position at the xylophone. Their groove is serious, their melody is somewhere in between a technologically-savvy spy scene in an action flick and the spaced-out synths of The X-Files.

Hypermagic - Hey Hey Sunshine

Hypermagic - Red Lion


Download "The Dogs," the chugging, droning third and final song from the Hey Hey Sunshine EP, here. Hypermagic's first two EPs are graciously available for free download there as well. "Pico Blisco," a blissed-out, stunningly beautiful song from their self-titled EP, streams below. This was the song that swept me off my feet and sealed the deal. I believe the Hype. Hypermagic, of course.

Hypermagic - Pico Blisco

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dream Boat

Dream Boat is Sina Sohrab. Born in Iran, raised in Michigan and currently studying Furniture Design at the Rhode Island School of Design, he makes "glassy dream music." That's one of the most optimistic descriptions of the decade: if his music is glassy, it's glassy-eyed, like a dead person whose soul is skimming the river Styx. This certainly isn't the hazy, warm, dream-inspired sound of chillwave, either. Indeed, Sohrab's musical moniker should probably be something more like Nightmare Ferry.

With "Your Beaches," Sohrab leads the pack in the competition for the scariest song of the year. From the first few seconds of sounds, we're certain that Charon, the ferryman of lost souls, has kicked open the gates to the underworld. Ominous synth riffs, double bass beats and juke snare hits give way to the desperate moans of Hades' inhabitants, whose wails expand across the water's surface and echo off cavernous walls. Sohrab saturates the vocal samples in such heavy reverb that we lose track of whether they're dying humans grasping for air or air-raid sirens signaling impending doom.

Dream Boat - Your Beaches

Also, Dream Boat covered/re-edited/remixed oOoOO's "NoSummr4u," one of my favorite artists/songs of the year, and it's even creepier than the original. Compare:

oOoOO - NoSummr4u
Dream Boat - oOchre

Find more Dream Boat at the AMDISCS record label.

(via ALTERED ZONES)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

TARAGANA PYJARAMA

If we take TARAGANA PYJARAMA at the most literal level, using only the information available on his/her/their MySpace page, then here's what we think we know:

1) TARAGANA PYJARAMA self-describe his/her/their music as "surf."

2) The phrase "karibu wasichana" appears to be of the Swahili language, and possibly translates to "welcome girl."

3) The artist(s) claims Somalia as his/her/their location.

4) TARAGANA PYJARAMA likes beautiful images, primarily of women, some of them scantily clad (a trait I take absolutely no displeasure in at all).

5) TARAGANA PYJARAMA have a song called "Girls."

6) TARAGANA PYJARAMA is/are as yet unsigned.

If we dig a little further, we find that TARAGANA PYJARAMA is Nick Eriksen, a Danish knob-twister who also records as EIM ICK. And so, the mystery is solved. Regardless, the seemingly self-enforced shroud of anonymity that surrounds TARAGANA PYJARAMA isn't likely to last long. Not with a song as beautiful, liberating and powerful as "Girls." For six-and-a-half minutes, we are willfully wobbling, biking-under-the-influence around the same sun-soaked circle, woozy as the same warped loop leans from left to right. With indecipherable vocal samples, prodding bass and the lead loop on repeat, this is house at its best. Take note, learn the pronunciation and tell your friends; when TARAGANA PYJARAMA is a household name, you'll be that much cooler for having known it first.

TARAGANA PYJARAMA - Girls

(via No Modest Bear)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

BALAM ACAB - See Birds EP

BALAM ACAB is just one of the musical monikers of Alec Koone, who's just another 19-year-old dude making music and nabbing record deals on the computer in his college dorm room. Makes me feel like a no-talent ass-clown, a technologically-challenged twenty-something who wouldn't know what to do with FruityLoops, Logic or Reason. But I'm not bitter: I have Koone's blissed-out, hauntingly beautiful tunes to console my insecurities.

One of the founding fathers of "drag" and/or "witch house," those new micro-genres you've been hearing about, Koone had me with "See Birds," a trembling, treacherous track that seemingly samples both a sweet Siren and a morose demon. The track trips and sputters along, like dubstep drowning in molasses, with fits of acidic distortion sullying the mixture.

"Regret Making Mistakes" originates in the geographic East, with its centuries-old strings and modern-day synths shot to space - then from satellite to tower, from tower to telephone pole, through fiber optics, out the speaker and straight into our cerebral hemispheres.

"Big Boy" is the polar opposite of "See Birds." Where "See Birds" is taut with tension and technological decay, "Big Boy" fades in and floats on, an aqueous, bubbling expression of purification and rebirth. It is as melodically simple as it is aurally pleasing.

Listen to and download these three songs below; find out where to buy the See Birds EP from Tri Angle Records.

BALAM ACAB - See Birds

BALAM ACAB - Regret Making Mistakes

BALAM ACAB - Big Boy

(via Friendship Bracelet, Pitchfork and a mixtape Tri Angle Records made for Wow Magazine)

Friday, August 13, 2010

RxRy - Memory Landscapes EP

More ambient, minimalist electronica from RxRy, one of the year's most brilliant, enigmatic, generous and prolific artists. These five new songs are breathtaking compositions, stylistically sparse but magnificent in melody and measured worth. Self-identified as "drownstep," these are songs one could only hope to hear during his or her descent into dark, deep waters - to find comfort in catharsis. Download the Memory Landscapes EP here; stream previous songs that made me a believer below.

RxRy - Sobr Vokbulry

RxRy - Eaurowi

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Alicia Keys X Physical Therapy

When remixers work their magic on huge pop hits, they are certain to add their signature sound to the mix, but they typically leave the song relatively intact and as club-friendly as possible. Not so with Physical Therapy's treatment of Alicia Keys' "Unthinkable," and it's all the better for it. Where other remixers aim for the club, Physical Therapy puts Keys smack dab in the center of an empty sports arena, with a shuffled beat echoing off bucket seats and back around again. There we are, the lone recipients of a private serenade, from center court all the way up to the standing-room-only section. As the song builds, we're struck hard, woozy from the swells and swirls of sound. Haziness invades. This is pop gone gaze-tronica.

Alicia Keys - Unthinkable (PHYSICAL THERAPY REAL HEAVY VIBE)

Via an absolutely excellent mixtape Robin Carolan of 20jazzfunkgreats made for France's Wow Magazine. Mad props to both.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cascaders

Still hot from the postman's hands, Cascaders' cassette on The Curatorial Club is, audaciously—but not one second prematurely—one of the best releases of the year. A free, full-length download helped me form that opinion while I waited to slide that sweet C24 into my Sony Dream Machine. Too fickle to be ambient, too dynamic to be drone, Cascaders' call forth a hybrid transmission chocked full of ethereal tones, a cough-inducing haze, the blips and tweaks of IDM and the fraught echoes of folk and post-rock. Sample "Skybridge" below, and smile as its simple, oscillating synths and tumbling percussion simmer in the summer heat, like mirages ascending from the asphalt into the atmosphere. Download the full release here and buy your tape soon, as it will certainly sell out.

Cascaders - Skybridge