So crazy to think about how ANG LOW began with “Life Goes Down,” a beautiful, light, truly lovely little number, and where he is now with “Voodoo Woman,” which invokes all of the power and strength in his compositions that previously flew under the radar. Each new song surprises, and this fast-paced, hyper-layered wonder is his most interesting yet.
Heavy, intensely angry and unapologetically feminist (the way it should be…). Night Witch from Tallahassee, FL are Nathan, Nick, Shaw and Rosie. Their songs cover topics such as alienation towards minorities in the hardcore punk scene, privilege, anxiety and hopelessness towards our current capitalist system. Their Winter 2013 Demo uses occasional samples and slower instrumental parts to contrast the explosive bursts of anger such as the flat out 25 second song ‘Dresses’. The demo is physically available as a tape from Spirit Cat and it’s their 13th release (Ooooo witchy!).
Dreamy single came with a letter from Denver’s Gabriel Otto:
Thank you for writing such an unabashedly fanatical blog devoted to exposing the personalities of the artists you feature. I’d like to share my band, Pan Astral, with you in the hope that you find something of interest amongst my meanderings.
Over the last four years, Pan Astral evolved from a two-kids-in-a-basement experiment crossing drum and bass with indie rock into a live act (complete with, yes, a real drummer) in Denver, Colorado. When we started out, I decided that half of the songs we made would be simultaneously created with a mixed media art piece. The songs and works of art didn’t necessarily reflect each other; it was just an excercise that forced me to keep up with my art since music had begun to take up all of my time. I actually hadn’t shown my work in over four years, and I had conceded that my days as a visual artist were probably over. Still, I was burdened by the need to make art.
When the first album was released, Ryan and I decided to attach each single to its respective art piece, augmented with past works for the songs I’d skipped. It was great to hear back from someone in Moscow or New York about how they loved seeing the art pop up onto their screen when one of Pan Astral’s songs was played. It dawned on me that I had inadvertently created a virtual gallery where people could see my art!
Now, working with a full band of four musicians, each song is a culmination of creative input from all sides, which means we are working more methodically on each single. This gives me the time to contemplate an art piece for every single song. The layers of synth pads, guitars, drums and electronic noise have begun to reflect the layers of paper, ink, paint and found objects in each art piece and their execution have become nearly identical in methodology. For me, the processes of creating both music and art have become inextricably connected.
Our newest song, ‘I Won’t Be Long”, was made alongside a 35”x29” collage of Crazy Horse leading a horse. It is a hopeful, unrequited love song, which I suppose is how I feel when imagining Native American heroes like him.
The single we are featuring called ‘I Won’t Be Long’ will be released on Valentine’s Day (2/14). We are scheduled to headline Artopia at midnight at City Hall Amphitheater in Denver, CO on 2/22.
Thank you for considering our music and art, Mark. I hope you find it appropriate for your blog.
I was browsing around Sndcld the other day when I ran into Parisienne artist Agnès Gayraud's beguiling work that floats through air. This is one of songs that you need to get in 2+ minutes in before you hear the ghosts. Don't miss moving into the next piece “Cent mètres de haut" either.
“While we won’t buy their records, there are few commodities more valuable than access to musicians: to be feet from Grimes or Ocean or A$AP Rocky in a DIY warehouse is to be kissing the feet of kings and deities in our own humble village. Being there at the secret show is a stand-in for knowing the band from Day 1: from a cred perspective, it is false and desperate, although from the perspective of a person who enjoys music, cred is a bunch of bullshit, and I won’t deny the sheer pleasure of being at a show like this.”—Critical Backlash: On 285 Kent And Spectacular Nowness by David Greenwald
I’m just reposting this because, wow, look at that number of ‘notes’! Impressive, and stoked that Mac is getting such a strong fan base. He is the BEST, so you can take it from me if you haven’t already figured it out on your own. Mac rules.
His new record Salad Days LP is coming out on the always excellent Captured Tracks.
Over the weekend, I got this touching letter about love from Eric Schlittler:
My name is Eric and I wanted to share a little about my latest tape and myself with you and your readers.
"Another black day is dawning. Just you and your broken heart; the feeling everything is falling apart."
As I sang the lyrics to this song, I had little idea what a self-fulfilling prophecy they would turn out to be. It’s early Winter, 2013. I’m singing a song I wrote for my band Kid Icarus in my friend Nate’s home studio in Scranton, PA. I’ve sang a lot of Kid Icarus songs in various living rooms, basements, bars and private homes in Pennsylvania since I began recording under the Kid Icarus moniker around 1996. The music I make would probably be considered by most to be a strain of lo-fi indie rock. Inspired by the high school sounds of Sonic Youth, Sebadoh, Guided by Voices and Pavement; along with a million obscure 7”s and The Velvet Underground (of course). Have there been other music projects that have called themselves Kid Icarus? Sure, but I would like to think I might be the first to use it. What started as a solo recording project slowly evolved into a band organically over time. With lots of good friends joining me on my quixotic quest and bringing unique contributions, which only helped to make each release its own.
There has never a big breakthrough success for Kid Icarus. A little critical acclaim, an offer to make another record and the sheer force of will; has been enough to keep the project and the band going all these years. It’s partially our own fault; we’ve done little in the way of touring. Instead, I decided to put our efforts and finances towards making the best music possible on a shoestring budget, pressing small runs on CD, vinyl or tape and sending them all over creation. It was and is the economics of a dream.
Shortly after those aforementioned 2013 sessions that would birth and an all but almost totally ignored split 12” with our good friends, Cold Coffee, came the diagnosis. My wife, Cassie was diagnosed with cancer. My best friend since 1994 and wife since 2009, Cassie often lent her voice, art, support, critical ear and even one of her own songs to Kid Icarus. In the early days, it was mostly just she & I mucking around on my cassette 4 track or boom box, singing made up songs about vegetable girls, turtle soup and other unmentionables.
As the Summer of 2013 crept upon us, the dark cloud of sickness loomed large with so many appointments, treatments, preventative measures and surgeries. A distraction from the darkness came in the form of an offer from my friend Matt from Hope for the Tape Deck. An offer to compile a Kid Icarus rarities anthology for his newly minted tape label. The evenings were now filled with attic excavations, digging through mountains of CD-Rs filled with demos, the humming of my old 4 track and lots of great memories of days and people, now long gone. The Summer wore into Fall and the mountain of newly reclaimed tunes was whittled into what approximated a single volume anthology of highlights.
It’s now Winter 2014 and my box of tapes have just arrived from the label. I called it, Dig Archaeology - 13 Years of Lost Songs. The tapes looked great; replete with old school faux Columbia Records style “Nice Price” cassette trappings (courtesy of Cassie) and a picture of her & I on the front. A picture taken some 10 years earlier, an old publicity photo for a public that never seemed too interested. As I opened the tape to inspect the interior art, I noticed a ghostly photo of her lined up perfectly to where the tape rests on the inside of the j-card. There she was staring back at me: standing in the hallway of our old apartment from so long ago. I had a moment of realization that she truly has and has always been my muse. Now, there is much to look forward to. My wife is now cancer free and we are both free of those dark Summer days.
Chris Murphy sent me his rad breakbeat EP and the following letter:
I’m a fan of your blog, so I thought I’d send you a submission of my new EP, “Unity”.
I suppose the genesis of this EP has a lot to do with my relationship with my fiancée, Abby. I met her through a friend at a Cut Copy concert, and somehow, about a year later, I convinced her to go out with me. We dated for several years, but never managed to live in the same city. In three years of dating, the two of us lived apart among the cities of Oxford, MS, Gothenburg, Sweden, Atlanta, Savannah, and Miami. Having a typical relationship seemed like a never-ending battle, but we became accustomed to it, and visited each other often. In the summer of 2012, we got engaged, never having lived less than 300 miles from one another.
Abby moved to Miami in July of 2012, and I made this EP in both Miami and Savannah (where I currently live), as I drove between the two for the better part of a year, while I studied for the bar exam and began planning our wedding. Needless to say, it’s been a hectic year. She finally moved to Savannah in May of last year, and it felt like a catharsis I hadn’t experienced in ages. At last, after three years apart (together), we had the chance to actually experience life as a couple.
While the backstory of this EP isn’t a story of true hardship or profound revelation, it was very much a reality for us. If you’ve ever been in a long distance relationship, you probably understand how incredibly frustrating it can be. I think this EP reflects that in some ways. It’s simply about uniting two people after a long, arduous trek.
Oh, my sweet lord. Melting. My dear friends are at it again. Just day dreaming right now of a dual-action show with Andrew Thiboldeaux (everything that is not drums) and Chris Ward (drums) playing a with full steam. Oh, wait. It’s gonna happen.
It’s snowing again here in what is feeling like an endless winter in Philadelphia. People who live in the REAL cold places of the United States, like Alec Grefe from norther Wisconsin know how to deal with it and turn these feelings into excellent art.
You’re going to want to listen to the entire new Drip LP on Bndcmp. Highly recommended for days like this, unless you live in Australia or Chiapas or Florida, dear lucky readers, but this might even work for a warm town. Album art by Samantha Strauss.
Didn’t have time to add this sick track to yesterday’s #DarkSide posts, but consider this part of that list at #4. The slow-burning crash fits its cover art and this San Francisco group led by Rebecca and Ryan Coseboom reimagined this a piece by Icelandic artist GusGus.
Get this track and their cover of The Cure's “Closedown” on their Bndcmp.
Blessa are one of those bands that manage to evoke all of the good memories of a particular era’s sound. Calling to mind the shimmering sounds of The Cure's late 80's output, the lovely melodic pop hooks of The Sundays, and dreamier shoegaze moments from Pale Saints. It all makes for a nostalgic listen, but also an entirely fresh and exciting sound. “Between Times” manages to hit those aforementioned sounds while offering a warm, autumnal haze that makes you wish that it was the orange and red colors of fall painting the ground as opposed to blankets of white. Heads up to themustycodpiece for reminding me that Blessa was out there. It’s easy sometimes to hear something great, only to get sidetracked and forget for a month or two. Highest recommendation!
High on this song posted about by my boy The Styrofoam Drone. I can’t stop re-playing this song which perks up my ears with the first chords.
(Its) immediate flourish of guitars, quickly exposing us to both jangly and melodic elements. Kyle Thiessen sings out from the jangle in his nasally, Malkmus-esque croon, acting as the guide through this sun drenched pop. There’s a bass drum thud and rumbling bass lines holding down the swift rhythm, sealing up a dazzling introduction.
There are so many great cassette tape labels working today and it seems like more are constantly popping up everywhere. Of course the blogosphere, being the way that it is, likes to focus on only a couple of these labels as if they are the only ones worth mentioning. Bull honky. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that labels like DZ Tapes have been quietly plugging away for years, churning out quality content. Just look at the quirky label’s most recent release, The Sweets’ Greatest Hits.
The project of two brothers from Winston Salem, NC who, over the course of 2013, wrote and recorded over 50 tracks of lo-fi pop sweetness. For this cassette release on DZ Tapes, the Sweets decided to cull together the best 18 of those tracks and humorously slap a Greatest Hits title on it. Even paired down to 18 tracks through, a release that long can be a big chunk of music to digest. Fortunately this is a non-issue since the songs go down so easy. Recalling bands like Tyvek and maybe even some echoes of This Is It-era Strokes, The Sweets keep things simple yet varied. Really the whole thing is a joy to listen to, so if you dig on lo-fi bedroom pop then scoop this goofy little release up. You won’t regret it.
Not many artists can come up with the raw levity of Nirvana's potent early days. Making that comparison is only done w complete + promising reason. Once these guys get their shit elevated, it could be from “Bleach” to “Nevermind” with a ripping frontman who sounds like this. I'm very impressed.
The Spokane, Washington outfit recorded their 4-song self-titled EP only two weeks ago, and it’s up on their Sndcld now.
Toronto-native, Austin-based artist “shoegazer/dreampop/electro RnB bedroom project” of Sam Chown sent me his new work, and I’m really turned on by this track. He’s put a band together with Sean Padilla, former writer for Tiny Mix Tapes, and a guitarist Goat and on tour around North America.
“In the music industry, it’s pretty easy to make an album just because you want to keep going, like, ‘This is the formula.’ But the formula is your life. You have to live your life and you have to live it well—that’s the formula.”—Angel Olsen (via pitchfork)