Here’s a quick mix I made of all the crap I’ve been listening to lately (because I didn’t feel like writing about each one individually). Usually I try to create mixes that have a cohesive sound, but this one is just a hodgepodge assortment of random tracks. Oh well.
Moskitoo “Trajectory” This is just to avoid the copyright bots. I didn’t like her album that much.
Trentemoller “Come Undone (feat. Kazu Makino)” Great song, decent album, etc.
Technically this isn’t new. It’s been on my computer for months and I didn’t get around to listening to it until recently. I’m surprised by how much I love it. I mean I really love it. It has a nostalgic late ’90s feel to it that I find surprisingly refreshing. With so many electronic bands rehashing that throwback ’80s electro sound lately, it’s kind of surprisingly that there’s not that many artists out there being inspired by the ’90s. (I’m personally getting tired of the ’80s-throwback sound. I mean, if you got Bruno Mars doing it, I think it’s time to call it a wrap.)
Other crap I’ve been listening to (or about to listening to):
Sun Araw - Two From The Desert Yucca Valley 2012  [Live album]
I’ve been embarrassingly behind on music for the past month, so I’ve been trying to play catch up. I stumbled across this album yesterday via Boomkat and have been listening to this song on repeat pretty much all day today. Katie Gately is a music student from L.A. who experiments with sound/technology. On first listen her self-titled debut EP sounds just like the experimental science project it obviously is, but track “Dead Referee” shows potential.
I noticed this trend with experimental musicians who burst into the scene with one awesome track in their arsenal (for Oneohtrix Point Never it was "Returnal," for Holly Herndon it was “Fade”) and then slink around, marinating in their success with a catalog of murky, esoteric music. I guess I’m just picky. I hate noise for noise’s sake, experimentation for experimentation’s sake. I appreciate people like Emeralds or Tim Hecker who can shake you by the bones, force you to listen to music differently, and not just fart in your ear. And, weirdly enough, Gately manages to walk that fine line in a way that I find interesting.
I still have a whole crop of other albums to get through, so I’m sure I’ll have something more normal to post later this week.
Take Nicki Minaj. Because she’s on the radio people say, ‘Oh yeah, this is music, duh!’, but for me she’s incredible – even beyond music. I find her weird to the point where it makes me think about my own position. What exactly am I part of as a ‘weird musician’? This middling, insecure, avant-garde sect of the music industry that’s scared of everything else and is super quick to judge? The way we characterize weirdness is flawed.
Indie music website Boomkat described this album as “swaggering songs for serial killers,” and to be honest, I can’t think of a more apt description. If Tarantino wasn’t too busy appropriating blaxploitation films (I kid, I kid), I can totally see “Nightshade” sitting proudly on one of his soundtracks. The LA duo have that perfect blend of retro California rock and vampish, Western swag. I was surprised at how much I loved their debut Nightshade, a short but nice introductory album with plenty of that lazy sass one might expect from a band like Dva Damas. They’re currently touring with Tropic of Cancer in Europe, but you can pick up both Nightshade and their 10″ from Boomkat.
When I learned the new Ghost in the Shell will have opening and closing music by Cornelius and Salyu (who’s probably best known for being the voice behind “Lily Chou-Chou” in the film All About Lily Chou-Chou) I was ecstatic. But after listening to both tracks, I can’t help but feel a little let down. Neither track reaches that level of epic-ness one usually expects from a Ghost in the Shell soundtrack. In fact, it even sounds a little too…cheery? When I think of Ghost in the Shell I think of songs like this or songs like this. But…eh. It’s all right, I guess.
New Young Pony Club is probably best known for their hit “Ice Cream,” a song that played everywhere back in 2009 (but was most notably featured in this Nissan commercial). Their 2010 sophomore album New Optimist found the band swapping their trademark electro-bubble gum sound for a darker, more psychedelic one. This confused the people who thought NYPC were just another reincarnation of The Ting Tings and, as a result, the band has been floundering with their identity ever since. Even though NYPC isn’t a band that cares about success, it’s still unfortunate how unappreciated New Optimist is, especially the track “Stone” (above), which is a great song with a dark, moody vibe.
If you haven’t been following the music blogs recently, you might have missed out on Brooklyn (they’re always from Brooklyn) newcomer Tei Shi‘s new track “M&Ms.” Tei Shi (real name Valerie Teicher) manages to carefully tip-toe that fine line between soulful r&b and dense experimentalism. What initially sounds like an eerie electro track morphs into a pop-ish melody where Teicher sings about forlorn love. Her upcoming EP Saudade will be released “soon,” according to her Facebook.
Daito Manabe is a Japanese artist who, by the looks of it, spends his days screwing around with computers all day—but with far more interesting results than most people. His YouTube channel is full of videos of his experiments, which include (for example) attaching time-triggered electrodes to his friends’ faces, playing with a robotic DJ arm of his own design, or just playing with filters he made for his computer webcam. In this clip, Daito uses projection mapping (basically, “smart” projection that can follow moving surfaces) to add visual flair to a dance (collaboratively choreographed with MIKIKO and scored by Ametsub). Check out the fascinating results in the embed above, and if you liked it, you’ll probably also enjoy Daito and MIKIKO’s work on the music video for Nosaj Thing and Kazu Makino’s “Eclipse/Blue.”
Shameless self-promotion time! This post was featured on (The) Absolute, a new site I had a hand at creating (which is why I’ve been less active on this blog). The site is dedicated to curating the best in rare and interesting music, art and games. One of my favorite posts on the site today is this performance art video from Japanese artist Daito Manabe featuring music by Ametsub. Plus, there’s other cool stuff on the site too (hipster Loki!).
I feel like I’ve been listening to a lot of Spanish language music lately. Let’s see, there’s Armadillo and Dinky and Bomba Estereo and…yeah, I guess that’s it. But Bomba Estereo is a bit more psychedelic than the other two. Elegancia Tropical is the duo’s third album and, much like the title implies, the album is fairly tropical—think something like a Colombian Gang Gang Dance. Worth a listen.
Hello, Tiffany here. This site used to exist in the dark corners of Wordpress but was moved to the sunnier side of Tumblr in 2011. Here you'll find sporadic musings about popular culture, along with the occasional Polar Bear's Cafe gif (because why not?). Bloggin' since 2003!