Portland-based synthesists Soft Metals are prepping a new LP, Lenses, following the duo's self-titled record from 2011. New single "In The Air" wears their electro influences proudly on a minimal wave of brittle-but-invigorated drum programming. Winding patterns of synth lines slowly take to gliding, like wings catching the right aerial tide. The contrast between the hard-edged pulse of the rhythmic arrangements and vocalist Patricia Hall's ghostly lilt gives off an anxious sort of ecstasy that will probably get approving nods from both Xeno & Oaklander-inclined 'wavers and 100% Silk-inclined party people.
In the video for Pure X's "Thousand Year Old Child," an elderly protagonist lives out a series of leisures in black and white-- enjoying nature, driving with the windows down, dressing up, singing lonely karaoke lasting up to the point of the disco ball descending down from the ceiling. Much like the accompanying track, the beautiful parts are deceptive, leaving the listener with strong impressions of and longings for the very things that are actually absent: a purpose, an urgency in the hourglass, a feeling of something, anything, that's concrete. You can watch the video above *raises lighter*.
Imagine an emerging class within the proverbial School of Rock who adorn their lockers with David Longstreth posters and you will be thinking of young Brooklyn rockers Celestial Shore sitting at desks in the front row of that home room. It's difficult to separate those erratic, hyperactive noodles of guitar lines from the Dirty Projectors sound, but Cel Shore turn their homage into a break-away on "Stairs Under The Stars." The vocals come gently with less stressed-out melisma, the guitars reverberate like old Evangelicals melodies, and the unexpected twists in composition reveal their psychoses more gaily, like Bubbly Mommy Gun placed in a slightly more conventional instrumentation. More bluntly: things come off with a wide grin rather than a slim smirk.
A couple of years ago, Quilt released their self-titled debut LP, an album that took to the more delicate edges of psych rock with finesse. Flower child vocal harmonies and shambolic twin guitars gave off that feeling of breezes turning suddenly into gusts, whether in the drifting strut of "Young Gold" or the growing group-chant of "Milo," while offering an interesting re-examination of Americana, Aoxomoxoa, and the powers of Yo La Tengo's Kinks fetish.
Recently, after some time spent touring, the Boston-based trio released a split 10" with MMOSS entitled New Hampshire Freaks. "Open Eyes" is a track off the split that finds Quilt moving at a faster clip, though still as mesmerized drifters and still fully in touch with that aforementioned YLT Kinks reverance. The new video-- produced and directed by Kim and Luis Arnias, who also did the video for "Young Gold"-- casts the track in black-and-white, taking a more vintage approach in editing the 16mm-captured shots of wide-eyed stares and zoned-out jams. You can stream the video above.
Brooklyn-based music and culture mag 1.21 Gigawatts will be celebrating their first full year in publication with Gigawatts Fest, a two-day music festival at The Silent Barn in Bushwick. Twenty bands from Brooklyn's rock scene (one's from Newark, but close enough) will be playing, including Total Slacker, Celestial Shore, Heaven's Gate, Turnip King, Grand Resort, Surfing, Life Size Maps, and many others. The festival will be taking place July 5-6, and on the second day Gigawatts' anniversary issue with features on Anamanguchi, Hot Sugar, and others.
Tickets for Gigawatts Fest are now on sale here. You can peep the full line-up in the poster above or listed after the jump.
Young beatmaker xxyyxx, aka Floridian native Marcel Everett, is good at stretching out resources-- he turned a free Soundcloud account and some dedication on Fruityloops into something resembling a mass congregation rather than a cult following. It's a trait of his productions as well, many of which progress by twisting strange fragments of themselves into larger, panning scenes. The feeling is not unlike Rashad's "a-ha" kind of transitioning, where one detail in the background seems to rapidly gain dominance and jerk your proverbial camera to an entirely new angle, usually one you previously had your back turned to entirely.
In "Pay Attention," xxyyxx's track "off of the new album," miniscule synth reflections pile up, glistening like a school of fishies reflecting sunbeams cracking through to the deep end. The path is a slow one: a zig-zag over stuttering percussive clicks n' clacks and deep bass details, the whole vibe grounded in a chilled-loner-freeway-zone best fit for blunts at dawn after all-night driving trips. Just before the 4-minute mark, a new gear shift born from some "Parisian Goldfish" witchcraft inverts the colors, without the bombast but with that last-sprint type of burn that emphasizes a final push.
There's something about Chaos Destroy's utter lack of pretense that makes their noise-drenched hardcore especially powerful. It's incredibly scary to know that there are cargo-shorted loners wandering around somewhere in the woods of suburban Maryland, making a vicious, overdriven racket that shakes John Olson of Wolf Eyes (a la choice quote, "The MOST horribly unmusical-rotten guitar speaker cones since the creation of “music.”"). Cool-dude-endorsements and fashion comments aside, their second record, Lightning Strikes Twice, is something special-- emotionally unhinged but deceptively sophisticated. The tsunami-sized, distorted guitar wahs bring to mind noisecore acts like Japan's Stagnation, but breaking out of their spikey-haired prison to embrace more metal-savvy hardcore like close-by neighbors Lotus Fucker and subtly mathematical post-HC rhythmic interplay like Portland's Organized Sports (another band that was great at allowing their image to be naturally misleading). Snobby, gargled gibberish spews out like a fountain of blood, and yet they all stand like statues, rehearsing isolated squalls while surrounded by vast, gloomy forestry. You can peep a sampler video below that includes 4 of the album's tracks.
Northampton, Mass. punk band and up-and-coming DIY heroinesPotty Mouth had been sitting on a new full-length to follow last year's Sun Damage 12", but hadn't been able to lock down a label for an official release until now. The new record, entitled Hell Bent, will be coming out on Old Flame Records, a Brooklyn-based label that's put out releases from Cloud Nothings, The Pharmacy, and Mean Creek, among others. A new single from the record, "The Spins," premiered on NPR today, following a first taste from late last year, "Damage."
"The Spins" explores that uncomfortable feeling of drinking a few too many while in the clutches of that anxious sort of boredom you might feel at a weird party-- that kind you sort of just wound up at, flowering out of the walls and skittishly scanning your eyes around hoping something will seem more interesting if you guzzle some brew. Things break out at a brash clip typical of their past tracks, with Victoria Mandanas racing to beat up her kit and lead guitarist Phoebe Harris' sharp, yet-restrained Santiago-style guitar melodies providing a spurt of energy and an opening ear worm. By the time the literal spins set in, the song slows to a woozier tempo, creating a weird push-pull reminiscient of that neighbor they get pretty reasonably compared to. Dual guitars scrape in tandem like a wash of confused directions in your drunken head while the refrain ("'cause it's hard to say no, it's hard to say no...'til you're lying on the floor") keeps their blunt sort of dark comedy totally in tact. Singer/guitarist Abby Weems plays a more prominent role on her six-string, countering Phoebe's gift for quick-fire melodies with harmonized lower-range grit, some of their finest co-shredding since the opening riffs in "Hazardville."
Hell Bent is out September 17 on Old Flame Records. They're doing a short mini-tour of the East Coast these next few days (including a stop of Ladyfest Philly), peep dates after the jump.
It's probably no secret that we like Pete Swanson. His solo career in the wake of Yellow Swans' retirement-- which includes, among other releases, Man With Potential and Punk Authority-- has built a weird tri-bridge between the destructive urges of hardcore kids, the more experimental leanings of technophiles, and the opening tastes of the noise faithful. The excitement of this unique cross-section is particularly visible at his live performances, where, despite the self-professed high-anxiety moods intertwined in his noise manipulations, everyone gets slowly loosened, put to action.
This past Saturday, Swanson performed at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam, a concert hall subsidized by the city known primarily for its rich history of jazz performances (a "founding member" of the Europe Jazz Network). A recording taken by the sound engineers that night was uploaded on to Swanson's Soundcloud, "all 38 minutes of it, warts and all..." You can stream it below.
Pete Swanson's most recent release, Punk Authority, is still available on Software.
"Chrysanthemum," a new single from young Portland rockers Hausu, has this quality that feels both exposed and puff-chested during its progression. Though the guitar sounds are ultimately rather bare, their clean-tone jangle is strummed out so hard that you feel skin peeling off your own knuckles during an endurance test of unexpected turns at a stretched-out pace. At times, it can remind of Built to Spill's compositional spirit during jam-outs, though a bit more aggressive and less explorative. Ben Funkhouser's bark hovers around Ian MacKaye's kind of melodic range, shouting for purpose rather than to be ornate. The track comes in advance of their debut full-length, Total, and you can stream it below.