Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Faulty Chromosome - craving to be coddled so we can feel fake-safe

A Faulty Chromosome
craving to be coddled so we can feel fake-safe
(2009, self released)
RIYL = The Evangelicals, old Built To Spill, “um, hard won warm fuzzies?” (That’s me quoting my mind.)

I have been waiting for this album some time now, periodically checking A Faulty Chromosome’s MySpace page for any digestible new updates like a giddy little girl refreshing the American Girl website every 2 hours in order to be the first to see their newest doll (“follow your inner star”). So, yeah, kinda creepy and overly obsessive (and now trying to figure out why I even know what an American Girl doll is). On Friday I received an email from Eric of A Faulty Chromosomes notifying me of the quasi-release of most recent album and after listening to the album I can now provide proper reasoning for my obsessive behavior. Thankfully, craving to be coddled picks up right where As An Ex-Anorexic… (one of my top ten favourite albums from 2008) left off. A concept record of sorts, craving to be coddled so we can feel fake-safe reminds me a bit of The Antlers’ Hospice, except, a lot less melodramatic and, keeping with the inner (and outer) geek in me, a lot easier to identify with. At any rate, there is an emotional release in craving to be coddled that combines the heart-sick memories of a lost past with a kind of hopeful, innocent beauty. There is a certain retro video game quality to the album that probably inspires a lot of the feelings of childhood nostalgia. A lot of the electronic bleeps and blips and the drum machine percussion feels like it was copped straight from some lost 8-bit NES masterpiece. On craving to be coddled, the band has also added plenty of retro samples which are alternately goofy and kinda creepy (the result of some druggy pitch-shifting). The samples provide a perfect backdrop to the odd reality of an American suburban childhood. It is so weird how the band can so successfully evoke the feelings of nostalgia in all their glory and depression and sentimentality. And it is buried in nostalgia that we get pop perfection. Craving to be coddled filled with perfect pop songs, slightly warped and gleaming with the most beautiful personality. It really is grand experience that you can get lost in playing it over and over and over again, often times right in a row. The band has ever so generously allowed their hard work to be downloaded for free (as well as streamed) from their Virb page, but here is the rub: making music isn’t an end unto itself. Apparently guitars, amps and recording equipment (not to mention time) all cost money and in pouring their souls into this little gem of a release, A Faulty Chromosome as a band has incurred a massive amount of debt. In a ingenious fund raising move, the band has offered an array of equally sentimental rewards for any donations that start with a “friends forever” status between you and the band (“sealed in digital blood”) all the way up to an album inspired by the story of your life. You can check it all out here. It is a pretty worthy effort considering that this album is definitely one of the very best 2009 has to offer.


A Faulty Chromosome on Virb

Atlas Sound - Logos

Atlas Sound
(2009, Kranky)
RIYL = Deerhunter, Panda Bear

Bradford Cox is on a role. Following up is solid solo debut as Atlas Sound last year along with the magnificent double release from his alpha band, Deerhunter, Logos turns out to be another notch in his steadily growing list of accomplishments. The guy just has a musical Midas touch going on right now. Logos improves heavily on Atlas Sound’s already sturdy debut. This time around the ethereal pop seems to resonate even more, taking cues from Microcastle and his contributors, Cox’s solo work is really coming into its own as an individual entity. I really love the guest spots by Panda Bear and Laetitia Sadier. The whole idea of indie rock guest spots, mimicking the more common occurrence in hip hop, is a terrific trend me think. The albums pacing is magnificent, with each song flowing guilessly into the next. Anywho, I’m not going to waste too many words on this thing. Logos stands for itself and it won’t be long before the album achieves a universal acceptance and critical acclaim. It is really just that great - a fact that simply can’t be avoided.


No Kids + Mount Eerie Show 10/19/2009

I've been burnt out on shows lately. Unless the conditions are perfect I usually end up annoyed, tired, bored, or pissed off at something/someone. I've seen way too many live bands to be impressed by much. So it goes without saying that I have recently been skipping out on shows that a year or two ago I would not have missed for the world. I knew that No Kids could get me out of my funk though. I had complete faith and walking into Kilby and seeing it packed with high school hipster youth decked head to toe in anything Urban Outfitters skeptically eyeing me in my old cargo maternity pants and Cosby sweater being followed by Thistle carrying our little 7 month old son didn't even set me back. I went there to be affected, and I was. No Kids played mostly new songs that after hearing I prematurely evaluated to Thistle "best album of 2010." The grooves were thick and bassy as expected, but an unexpected twist was that No Kids drummer was M.I.A. and Phil Elverum was Philling in (get it?) Phil played primarily the same beats, but added his own flourishes on the few songs that they played off of Come into My House. I love that album and wanted to hear it performed as recorded, but when all was said and sung, Phil's addition was very enjoyable, not better or worse, but different and good. The female vocals were replaced by harmonizing piano and No Kids grooved me right into remembering why I love to see bands live, and it felt gooooood.

Now, Mt. Eerie on the other hand, I was not looking forward to. Don't get me wrong I like Mt. Eerie, but I have seen them 4 times already and figured I would just leave after the first song. But then I saw their setup and thought maybe they would keep my attention. They more than kept my attention. The thing about Phil Elverum is that you never know what you are going to get. I have seen him play a show where he didn't even bring his own guitar and had to borrow someones and then sang songs to a cross legged audience out of a sketchbook that he had just barely written and although the songs were pleasant, they were almost always unfinished, botched and interrupted with giggling. This time around Phil's crew obliterated the tiny Kilby Court with an absolute wave of sound on the first note coming from No Kids on the keys, Phil on guitar and two drummers with intense setups. I'm talking gongs, mallets, wire brushes and the works. Let me just tell you, I am a sucker for two drummers playing synchronized beats and I was smitten from the first crash. Phil is at his absolute best when playing his metal sets. As I mentioned before, our 7 month old child was in attendance and even though he was adorned in his noise cancellation headphones we still felt it was WAY too loud for him. Thistle was outside with him, but it was raining and I wasn't able to enjoy Mt. Eerie's entire set. From what I saw (5 songs) they were playing Wind's Poem in it's entirety, start to finish. It was absolutely mind blowing.

We all know that a good Kilby show is the best kind of show. An attentive crowd in a tiny shack getting attacked by noise emanating from right in front of their faces- I love it. I really needed that show and it delivered more than expected. I feel refreshed, inspired, and ready to take on more live sets now. Bring it on.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Leyland Kirby - sadly, the future is not what it was

Leyland Kirby
sadly, the future is no longer what it was - trilogy
(2009, History Always Favours The Winners)
RIYL = The Disintegration Loops, The Sinking of the Titanic, The Caretaker, Eluvium

Holy wow...Leyland Kirby has just pulled out all the stops with sadly, the future is no longer what it was. Having only been introduced to him recently through his incredible Persistent Repetition of Phrases album from last year under The Caretaker moniker, I am doing all I can to catch up. And now, with this 3x CD/6x LP release I am not likely to be back tracking very far very soon on an account of being swamped in this, Kirby’s most recent, expansive set of soul-jarringly gorgeous music. With such a brief familiarity with the man, it has been an utter shock to realize what I have been missing with the incredible quality of the recordings Kirby has created. And, sadly, the future is no longer what it was only improves upon that quality. No, improve is too simple a term to be applied to this. Sadly, the future is no longer what it was is a proper epic, both in terms length (obviously, 6x LPs!) and in emotional weight. Kirby’s work is piano based, but at its core it is truly a work of atmosphere. Kirby has a subtle way of working with drones and tonal disintegration that is reminiscent of William Basinski’s monumental Disintegration Loops. That is a lofty comparison, seeing has how Basinski’s work is such an impressive, singular work in its own right, but I do not hesitate to make it. Kirby is working at that same standard and sadly, the future is no longer what it was is destined to hold the same amount of sentimental and historical stock, even without the backdrop of 9/11. Being a trilogy, and a lengthy one at that, I have only listened to the first two volume so far (the third being yet to be released), but I have no reservations about the third installment living up to the quality of the first two. Both waver in and out of crystalline piano pieces into warbly, thick, thick patches of drone and then warmer synths. In the moments where Kirby’s droney murmur reaches its most crowded, layered, deafening tones, I am convinced there is no better musician working in such sounds. Sadly, the future is not what it was is a devastating, but ultimately hopeful musical composition that defies contemporary musical standards by adventuring deep into poignant territory rarely tread. This is the kind of album that changes you. You simply cannot listen the same way after hearing it. Hugely recommended.


Listen to streams of the album here

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ben Frost - By The Throat

Ben Frost
By The Throat
(2009, Bedroom Community)
RIYL = Jasper Tx, Machinefabriek, Animal Hospital, Lawrence English

Ben Frost’s music carves at your nerves. On his last record, Theory of Machines, Frost created a tension filled industrio-noise masterpiece filled with delayed climaxes of other worldly proportions. It was one of the few records that I have heard that can be more aptly described as an experience than simply as music. You don’t just listen to it, you experience it. On By The Throat, Frost takes the experience of Machines up a notch; in fact, the album title says it all. There is something about this most recent Frost album that just devours you. Listening to this album has plunged me into a stark mindset, more claustrophobic and paranoid than I can ever remember feeling. The album art is actually a pretty successful portrait of the music Frost has created. By The Throat sounds and feels like a pack of wild beast, strung out, starving and circling you in preparation for an attack. The music is constantly teetering on the edge of that moment just before they lunge for your throat. I guess it is also important to note some of the contributors playing on By The Throat. Frost has pulled in a pretty impressive array of musicians including Amiina, The Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara, some Swedish metal band called Crowpath and fellow Bedroom Community compatriot, Nico Muhly. Yet, even with those big names, By The Throat is in every way a Ben Frost album and it is all the better for it. And, as a Frost creation, it is difficult to describe. There is definitely a compositional feel along with a lot of electronics, some field recordings and guitar torture. By The Throat finds a prefect middle ground between neo classical, drone and noise. And, while sometimes those genres can turn flat and flacid, By The Throat is an album that does not allow for passive listening. There will never be a time when you can just play the album in the background as the casual accompaniment for some frivolous activity. No, By The Throat is simply too emotionally confrontational and too aurally invasive to be an after thought. With growling and howling from instruments and real wolves alike, Frost's work burrows deep, digging its claws into your psyche. Frost’s composition boasts a ferocious muscularity and a grizzly aura that feels too real to be labeled as horror. Really, there is some mad gluttonous grit and terror at work here that provides just about as powerful a musical experience that one is likely to have. Make room in your top ten of 2009 and welcome the new king of compositional doom.


Pre-order and get an immediate download from Bedroom Comunity here.

There Are No Others, There is Only Us... Directed by Marc Silver, Scored by Ben Frost. Absolutely gorgeous.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Zoos of Berlin, Why? and The Skygreen Leopards

Zoos of Berlin
(2009, Self Released)
RIYL = PAS/Cal, Colourmusic, The Pernice Brothers

Taxis, the debut album (correct me if I’m wrong) of Zoos of Berlin is an album that is destined to be glossed over by the critical establishment and, as unfortunate as the correlation may be, by the record buying/illegally-downloading public as a whole. The problem is that on the surface, Taxis is a fairly standard example of indie pop that makes no inordinate stretches for a unique selling point or “angle” which can be easily written up. And it is because of this apparent lack distinctiveness that folks most likely won’t find their way to Taxis. After all, it’s just pop music right? So wrong. And not only that, but Zoos of Berlin are distinctive. Distinctive, at least, in the fact that they make pristine pop songs better than 95% of the 4-star, 8.0+, “Best New Music” out there. Taxis is tight vessel of pop glory filled with all manner of extravagant brass flourishes, smooth vocal harmonies and baroque song structures that belie their immediately satisfying pop accessibility by cutting deeper and deeper with every listen. But, again, there is the problem…what more can I say? It is simply good; just really good pop that you can always rely on to get you through the day and much better than most of the major indie label marketing hoopla that generally scoops up all the attention. That's it. So take a listen or ten.

Zoos of Berlin, "Black in the Sun Room" from Adam Lonczynski on Vimeo.

Eskimo Snow
(2009, Anticon)
RIYL = Subtle, Silver Jews,

I wanted to write a little blurb about Eskimo Snow because I have noticed, after scanning a few reviews on the album that there was a split between the general consensus of its 'goodness'. It appears that about half of those reviewing the album consider it just ok while the other half of reviewers insist upon it being really really good. Personally, my initially reaction to the album was, “meh, this is alright, but I miss the hard hitting break beats from Alopecia.” So, I guess you could pit me squarely in the it’s-ok-but-I-liked-them-better-when-they-were-more-hip-hop group. However, after listening to the album one more time than I normally would when dealing out a similarly apathetic-but-positive assessment of an album, something caught me. I wasn’t sure what it was, so I kept listening to the album over and over again. And now, while I can still say that I absolutely love the more evenly split quasi-hip hop of the band’s past, this new, more straight forward indie rock version of Why? is absolutely genius. Sassigrass has finally convinced me that it is not really indie Americana, despite the couple instances of slide guitar; Eskimos Snow is simply one of the tightest bits of lush indie pop/rock of the year. Just weighing in.

The Skygreen Leopards
Gorgeous Johnny
(2009, Jagjaguwar)
RIYL = Flying Canyon, Giant Sunflower Band

It seems that I'm just pickin' bones with these three reviews, but so be it. (Again,) I’ve read a couple of reviews of The Skygreen Leopards most recent album and couldn’t help but notice the casual dissatisfaction that some of the people felt about the album. A dissatisfaction which, after I listened to the album, seemed a little unwarranted. Sure, Gorgeous Johnny strays even further from The Skygreen Leopards experimentally tinged roots into straight forward bummer psych pop, but that doesn’t mean these songs aren’t completely enjoyable. I suppose the casual nature in which Donavan Quinn and Glenn Donaldson seem to effortlessly pull off the tiny little corner of outsider pop they now own can be a little unsettling. I mean, you can certainly hear the fluidity and ease with which the two of them seemed to be able to just pick up a couple of guitars and churn this thing out in a couple of hours, but that effortlessness is by no means worthy of distain. Seems to me that some of the reviewers are a bit jealous. Heaven knows I am. Fact is, Gorgeous Johnny is not going to go down in the record books as The Skygreen Leopards magnum opus, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be the record that you end up playing the most based on the easy going, instant satisfaction that it produces. Just saying…

The Skygreen Leopards on MySpace


Friday, October 9, 2009

A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Ashes Grammar

A Sunny Day in Glasgow
Ashes Grammar
(2009, Carrot Top Records)
RIYL = My Bloody Valentine, Mercury Rev,

A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s follow up to their terrific debut, Scribble Mural Comic Journal, is getting super slept on, which is funnily ironic because it’s just about the dreamiest slice of pop to come out this year. Even more hazy and dreamlike than the new Atlas Sound – for serious (PS, Logos kills it, but that’s a whole ‘nother review)! I’m not surprised though. With twenty-two tracks to its credit, the album is gigantic in scope. I'll admit that, at first glance, I was a bit nervous that I would get lost in all the delicate mist the band creates. However, now that I have had the album for a month or so, all I keep wanting to do is get lost in the mist. There is just so much blurry goodness packed within Ashes Grammar waiting around every corner. The smooth, vibrantly echoing electronics, the wavy atmospherics, the mirror chamber of vocals and the hooks…THE HOOKS! Ashes Grammar is simply the album that keeps on giving. And now that I have become more familiar with its soft corners and entrancing bursts of bliss, instead of having anxiety about being able to digest everything I hear, I now feel completely relieved whenever the album is streaming through my headphones. It's just so reaffirming. It feels like all the knots and tension within every muscle in my body is disintegrating with each note. Additionally, there is a heavy dose of My Bloody Valentine running through this album in the best way possible. Between A Sunny Day in Glasgow and A Place To Bury Strangers, I think we’ve got both the noisiness and the dreamy pop haze of MBV covered. Personally, though, I’m much more attracted to Ashes Grammar’s version of MBVness. I kind of hate even saying that though because there is so much originality here that it must be taken on its own merit. It’s like what Spike Jonze has done with Where The Wild Things Are. The film is not the book, but most certainly influenced by it, and both stand on their own as incredible artistic feats. Ashes Grammar is a similar artistic feat. And MVB isn’t the only relation here. Just checkout the CMG review – they pretty much can’t stop comparing the thing to Merriweather Post Pavilion; a comparison which also has its merit (at least within the context of that review). So, in the end, the amount of tracks (a lot of which are short in-betweens) and the length of the album is simply a bonus. Its like two great albums for the price and consistency of one. Just absolutely lovely and one you’ll surely see on my list come years end.


A Sunny Day in Glasgow on MySpace

Lightning Bolt - Earthly Delights

Lightning Bolt
Earthly Delights
(2009, Load)
RIYL = Mindflayer, Hella, HEALTH

When I was a freshman at Salt Lake Community College (that’s right!) I wrote a rhetorical analysis of articles and reviews written about Lightning Bolt. As you might imagine, the paper highlighted the inevitably violent imagery used when describing Lightning Bolt’s sound. It seemed (and still seems) almost impossible to describe what Lightning Bolt does with just a bass guitar and drums without invoking the frantic, jagged, propulsive, brutally aggressive nature of their music. However, despite the obligatory mentions of ear pummeling, brain collapsing rock n’ roll, there has also always been an ever present innocence to Lightning Bolt. A kind of wry smile and mischievous turn that made Lightning Bolt fun rather than malicious. That, I think, is the genius of the group. And make no mistake, this stuff is bloody genius! Now, it has been sometime since Lightning Bolt last released an album and I have developed some fear that the freshness and vitality of the Lightning Bolt sound was losing its luster. After all, Hypermagic Mountain, for all its glorious goodness, was definitely no Wonderful Rainbow. And the unfortunate trend seems to be that most bands taper off in musical genius, rarely morphing or improving on their breakthrough classics. Lightning Bolt was still the funnest live show I’ve ever been too, but I just wasn’t sure if I could take the slow descent from another one of my all time favourite bands. I was genuinely nervous, but after my first run through Earthly Delights, all that nervousness just evaporated. Back again was that simultaneous strain of lips and neck, the proper result banging my head, eyes closed all while smiling from ear to ear. Earthly Delights is a beautiful, gratuitously nutso aggressive return to form for a band that really only made a minor dip before waiting five(!) years to return with this. On the side of innovation, there really isn’t a whole lot to say. Lightning Bolt is still blasting riffs and bass pedals a mile a minute, yet somehow Earthly Delights feels as refreshing and relevant as anything the band has produced. And it makes me happy for it to be so. BOOM SMSHy Clap BANGBANG chugga chugga chugga SMASH BLAMMMMM! Oh Lightning Bolt, We’ve missed you. Thank you for coming back. Thank you for Earthly Delights! I love love love Lightning Bolt and Earthly Delights is a healthy example of why.


Sparklehorse + Fennesz - In The Fishtank

Sparklehorse + Fennesz
In The Fishtank 15
(2009, In The Fishtank)
RIYL = Fennesz and Sparklehorse, duh

My previous experience with dream collaborations has lead me to believe they don’t work. There is always a large gap between the possibilities you imagine that the collaborators will bring to the table and the music that actually ends up being produced. It is only when artists get lucky that they even fly slightly below the goodness of their solo work, but for the grand majority, the sum of their parts equates to much less than anything from the artists when striking out on their own. For me, the idea of Sparklehorse mixed with Fennesz, while an enchanting prospect within my own imagination, was destined to be a minor pothole in both artists’ beautiful discographies. But no! It appears that the deities of music are shining on us peasant folk, because In The Fish Tank 15 is the fulfillment of that imagined potential and I am so happy to have been proven wrong! Fennesz lends his fuzzy guitar-based snow drift and Sparklhorse his loner pop aesthetic for melting pot of aural goodness. The tracks seem to alternate back and forth between Fennesz and Sparklehorse in terms of whose hand is most prevalent, but there is still never anything wider than a 60/40 split in the tonal input. This is exemplified in the first two tracks. The album opener, “Music Box Of Snakes”, starts things of with a beautiful Fenneszian glitter, floating and bubbling perfectly with the addition of a signature Sparklehorse toy organ hovering in the background. This is followed by “Goodnight Sweetheart”, a slow moving, water logged ballad where Sparklehorse’s vocals emerge within Fennesz’s ethereal webbing. Sparklehorse’s downer pop really flourishes in the context of Fennesz’s atmospherics too. “If My Heart” takes on a gorgeous air with mix provided by the collaboration that would most certainly be less pronounced without Fennesz’s aid. It seems these two are just a match made in heaven. And, to top things off, both try their hand at a solo ‘guitar piece’ just to close things out. For the record, I think “Mark’s (Sparklehorse) Guitar Piece” wins, but hopefully they’ll have another chance at a showdown with future collaborations. Good stuff.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Califone - All My Friends Are Funeral Singers

All My Friends Are Funeral Singers
(2009, Dead Oceans)
RIYL = Phosphorescent, Castanets, Gowns

Two short, innocuous somethings written under the influence of All My Friends Are Funeral Singers:

Truncated elefant walks into forest – mechanized chaos patter (murmur murmur) – yells: “You anti-irridentites!” and the birds flush from the trees. She eyelashes them(!), her ear feathers bristling and shuttering at the thought of being birdly. He is the first in that history to climb down from the tree -(monkey)- walk to the corner of the forest, buy bees in a large net-balloon and pass them to her. They buzz at the tiny net holes, a constant engine puttering. She is satisfied. Murmur putter murmur down to the wooden lakeside and relax and sing at each other until tomorrow. A whole day. Truncated elefant is eyewide, her bees asleep and netted on the clay mud, monkey around her knee. He too zzzzs. The lake murks because of moonlight carried into the morning. Other bugs are also awake with the world – with her. It’s a funeral for her Walkman.

Driving against the glare of wide, speckled robots shoveling road shoulder dirt. Wires and poles gridding their backs, pumping arm shoveling oil about and leaking. Still, there’s grass atop their own non-road shoulders so they don’t have to stay out all night. Still, driving. Can’t swerve for ten points while taking one who is to give birth. It is hard to look straight through the hood weeds. There has been no engine trimming since the weekends stopped occurring. Just all of the sudden and “wow, seriously?” and then, no more Saturdays, no more Sundays, Fridays stop at 5, Mondays start on Fridays. Robots!

I think you might be surprised at how much I love this album. But then again, with somethings like those, maybe you wouldn’t be.


Califone on MySpace

Trailer for the movie All My Friends Are Funeral Singers (which Tim Rutili directs).

All My Friends Are Funeral Singers Trailer from Califone on Vimeo.

High Wolf, Niao and Talibam!

High Wolf
(2009, Winged Sun)
RIYL = Stag Hare, El Guincho, Ducktails

The looped, flowing tribalism continues to trudge forth from the High Wolf camp like a beckoning call, entrancing young villagers into the woods. And so it goes on Incapulco, the latest CD-R offering from the increasingly productive sound manipulators/collagists. I think High Wolf, along with other bands like Caboladies and Emeralds, have really kick started a little lo-fi texture-drone flood that has, for the most part (especially when considering the bands previously named), been very highly enjoyable. And so, Incapulco is recognizably High Wolf in both aesthetic and quality, but for those who like to limit themselves to one album when dealing with prolofic bands like this, I would say that this release is the most consistent and complete for the band, and therefore the most important. Grab it while you can, these guys’ (assuming they’re guys) releases seem to slip away quickly.

High Wolf on MySpace

Clenched Fist
(2009, Sailing Records)
RIYL = Au, Wet Hair, Raccoo-oo-oon

Some albums build their world slowly. Clenched Fist, a CD-R release from the band Niao is just that kind of record. In fact, it takes a good third to half the record before things really get mobilized. However, I don’t want to imply that the journey to that mobilization and subsequent release isn’t a necessary part of Clenched Fist’s success. The album works as a complete document and could operate pretty aptly without any track breaks at all. Clenched Fist is an animal that must be consumed as a whole. And don’t take that ‘animal’ part lightly - despite its continuous vocal presence, the non-verbal, vowel heavy coos are those of a majestic, primal and pre-human beastliness. I could go as far as to say ‘tribal’, but I think that only gets you halfway there. The backbone to Niao’s success on this record falls squarely upon the ‘tribally’ sounding, yet free-jazzish experimenting percussion. There is no great description for it (at least in my vocabulary), but those drums are the great mobilizer. Patience is a requirement on this album, but the rewards justify a willing ear. All together it is an interesting, weird little album that definitely has me excited about the prospect of more Niao goodness in the future.

listen at Sailing Records MySpace

Boogie in the Breeze Blocks
(2009, ESP-Disk)
RIYL = MoHa!, Snacks, Zs

There are probably two likely places where you will find Talibam!’s latest album categorized in your local record shop (if it is there at all). The first is under the Experimental Free Jazz Bombardment section (oh, if only this section existed!) and the second is under Comedy. That being said, Boogie in the Breeze Blocks is doubly ridiculous. As always, Kevin Shea and Matthew Mottel’s aural blitz is just mind altering. Spanning multiple genres and creating a few new ones along the way, the Brooklyn duo’s frantic, morphing, turn-on-a-dime aesthetic is invigorating and wonderfully awe inspiring in the most bizarre way. Shea’s drumming is as wildly octopus-like and smartly inventive as ever while Mottel’s pretty-much-everything-else accompaniment is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I shouldn’t say that Mottel has done everything else though, because the album has a hefty amount of contributors, but this hasn’t altered anything about the band that we’ve already come to know and love. So, along with the obvious instrumental ridiculousness is the consistently cheeky samples and lyrics. Yep. I don’t really know what to say about it because normally I only consume such heavy amounts of corn when eating food from the super market (admittedly unfunny, but possibly just as funny as some of the stuff on this album), but somehow Talibam! makes it all fit. Boogie in the Breeze Blocks is just more glorious goodness from the doubly fantastic duo.


Tanya Morgan, Bibio, Raekwon and Universal Studios Florida (reviews through haikus)

Obviously, I
haven’t written in awhile:
in school, you get it.

But there is too much
good music to go without
highlighting it in

some way. I thought that
this would be nice and quick; I
turned out to be wrong.

Tanya Morgan
(2009, Interdependent Media/iM Culture)
RIYL = A Tribe Called Quest, Madlib, Common (but not lame)

You don’t understand.
So so so so so so good!
Reminds me why I

Still listen to new
music. Yes, it is backpack;
it also feels like

Kavalier and Clay:
Golden, smart as hell, produced
through effort, talent,

devotion, respect,
history, taste, thought, and of
course, more—more talent!

Ambivalence Avenue
(2009, Warp Records)
RIYL = Andrew Douglas Rothbard, The Zombies, Warp Records

You don’t have to be
sad, mad, happy, in love, or
any other emotion

Just press play. Far from
any other album of
the year. Except it


Diverse, clean, warm, and
how thoughtful, intelligent,
its own universe

An entire world;
not just of music—complete;
sights, sounds: beautiful.

Only Built For Cuban Linx… Pt. II
(2009, Ice H20/EMI)
RIYL = Ghostface Killah, Wu-Tang Clan, J Dilla

Hopefully you don’t
need to hear this at this point:
get it now, &#*%^+!

Universal Studios Florida
Ocean Sunbirds
(2009, Little Fury Things)
RIYL = High Places, Stag Hare, Lucky Dragons

[A full disclosure:
Yes, it’s kind of a so-hot-
right-now type of thing:

aquatic, neon,
psychedlic and glitchy.]
But it is well-done

it is vast and fun,
it is involving, poignant,
executed with

ease; they know what they’re
doing. So if this sounds good,
dig in—it’s worth it.

Vivian Girls - Everything Goes Wrong

Vivian Girls
Everything Goes Wrong
(09.2009 In The Red)
If you like this, check out: Tiger Trap, Go Sailor, Talulah Gosh, Black Tambourine, Henry's Dress, The Aislers Set, The Flatmates, The Shop Assistants, Cub, Dolly Mixture, Sarah Records, Slumberland Records, Early K Records

While I felt Vivian Girls debut last year was a bit overrated I’ve really got nothing against the band. In fact I think they are pretty darn cool. With their new LP, the girls find themselves writing better songs and more of them. I do however have a bit of beef with the majority of folks who write about them. I keep hearing all this talk about upbeat jangly guitar chords with 60’s girl group influence, followed by a list of other unnecessary descriptions. Cuz guess what? You can describe this band in one word. Twee. Put on a Tiger Trap or listen to a more upbeat Talulah Gosh song, then listen to Vivian Girls. It’s the same thing. Fast, simple, just got dumped, wearing a cardigan while riding a cute bike twee. You might as well take a nap with a kitten in the park while you’re at it. Now that I got my griping out of the way, I must admit, despite my initial lack of interest with the band when they blew up on the scene, they are really growing on me. Vivian Girls have found a place somewhere between The Shop Assistants and Black Tambourine in my twee loving heart. One of my favorites of the year. (Honestly, I haven't been listening to much from this year, hence the lack of reviews) But ya, still way good.

-W. Mammoth