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)


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


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.


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


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


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)