Exactly a year ago I caught a blistering set by Guerilla Toss at Bard College, whose humorous and often times visceral performances are more demented disco than your average basement rock gig. Things have changed a lot for the band since then, from a new line-up to the release of two awesome EP's: 367 Equilizer for the Feeding Tube Records and Smack The Brick on NNA Tapes. Having just seen their new incarnation live, the band hasn't lost a touch: if anything they are more groovy and sinister than ever before. Back in 2013, Guerilla Toss were hot off the heels of their first LP for NNA, Gay Disco and on a east coast tour with their friends Blanche Blanche Blanche. Around this time, I was able to catch up with Peter Negroponte about their live shows, meta-funky grooves, and Boston's music scene.
AdHoc: The shows I’ve seen have been extremely chaotic but at the same time you guys maintain this funk-party vibe. I was wondering how you keep that balance between chaos and fun?
Peter Negroponte: I think that finding that balance all depends on a lot of things: the show, the audience, it depends on our shitty gear not blowing out-- which happens a lot-- and its tricky. There have been shows that are far more chaotic than musical and I would say I lean towards liking things to sound good and for the songs to be there and for the music to be clear. But at the same time I’m stoked that people wig out to it. Find a way to dance to it. That makes me happy to. But balancing chaos is definitely a tricky thing.
AdHoc: What separates the live shows and the recorded output?
PN: With the recorded stuff, more recently with our newest record [Gay Disco], we really spent a lot of time working on the sound. We definitely pulled some studio magic, put some overdubs on it. It was a lot of fun. It was actually a crazy experience. Making that record I think we came in doing the initial trackings of guitar drums bass and synth in about two hours. And then Kassie did vocals separtely, and we sort of went to town on it. Some of the songs were unfinished and we finished them in the studio. And then performing live, the aspects of the record we can’t translate because of all the overdubs, I like to think the energy makes up for it.
Huerco S., aka Brian Leeds, is a Kansas City-based experimental house producer, working with a bevy of influences that range from Berlin techno to pre-Colombian American history. Following a string of meticulously crafted singles and EPs, his debut LP, Colonial Patterns, is coming out next week on Software. The album is a 14-song ode to Kansas, embodying both the magnificent spaciousness and haunting emptiness of the Midwest. It's an ever-evolving and revealing piece of music, and listening to it feels like uncovering a distant or lost ecosystem. I caught up with Leads after his recent tour through Europe to talk about his fascination with Midwestern history, his ritualistic approach to songwriting, and his Kansas City connection to Detroit-techno titan Theo Parrish.
Ad Hoc: I Heard you just toured Europe. How was that?
Huerco S: I just got back on Sunday. It was crazy. It was the first time I've been to Europe, and the fact that it got to coincide with music was really sick. It blows my mind that people want to pay me to go to Europe and play records. I got to see a lot of interesting places-- went to Russia, Spain, and Belgium.
Ad Hoc: What's it like traveling outside of the midwest?
HS: I've been in the midwest my entire life, I'm just ready to leave, you know? Kansas City's fun, but it's not really doing it for me at this point. Going back to Europe, I could play all these shows at all these incredible places, but coming back to Kansas City, I can't get a show there to save my life. No one will book me. So it would be nice to live someplace where people want me to be there.
Phil Benson, Nathan Sweatt and Correy Cunningham have had a transformative career since their early projects. The trio started out as a five piece Moz-indebted, straight-laced jangle act named Magic Bullets. The band had the guitar sway of Marr and a pristine sound to boot; yet by 2010's Much Ado About EP, something stirred Benson, Sweatt, and Cunningham to make a change. Shedding two members, the three started Terry Malts. The essence of Magic Bullets remained, but now their songs sounded freed: instead of a strum, the trio returned screeching and rocking harder than ever. On last year's strong Killing Time, Terry Malts had a newfound simplicity: keeping the songs brief, garage-induced, and lo-fi. The record showed that these three had no intention of fading away: Killing Time sounded more like a molotov cocktail than a glass of red wine.
One year later, we have Terry Malts' second offering, Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere. The new record starts with an alarm ring, which seems like the perfect way to describe Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere. The album sounds like that jolt in bed when you wake up, giving you goosebumps and rattling your skull. The trio hasn't changed its sound or character drastically; if anything, they've honed in on what made their debut so appealing. The mix sounds fleshed out, with Sweatt's drums pounding like they're on the brink of falling apart. Cunningham's guitar leads rip harder than ever too, creating riffs and lines that knock around your head for days. If anything has changed, it's Benson's vocals, delivered mostly with a half-talking/half-singing drawl that fits right into each song's' character.
Highlights like "I Was Not There" feature understated melodies from Benson and howling waves of noise that nearly dart into shoegaze waters before returning to the grit of the garage. On the other end of the spectrum is the slow burner "Comfortably Dumb" which features feedback pulsing lightly behind acoustic guitars, sounding something like the quieter moments of the late Jay Reatard. Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere is not out to revolutionize music; instead the Malts' just want to drink 40's and play rock 'n' roll. To those looking for something more, Benson has a rebuttle for you on the last track: "Why are you so serious?"
Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere is out September 10 on Slumberland Records. Tour dates after the jump.
Leland Jackson, L.A. sound-visionist Ahnnu, has been pushing further and further away from his start in hip-hop loops. Jackson's production has always remained rooted in 21st century beat culture, but since 2012's Pro Habitat, Jackson began to strip away traditional structure, rhythm and form. The results were dizzying, exploring sonic patience and the manipulation of sampled sound. If Pro Habitat was Jackson dipping his feet into this audio-dimension, then his new tape, World Music, is him diving in head first. The first glimpse of World Music is "Shame" an oozing and meticulous piece that is sensuous, meditative, and active. Jackson says that "each track was arranged as separate entities and are holistic in the sense that they are intended to inspire an experience of indifference within a space of perpetual sonic motion." This form of indifference is seen in "Shame"'s impressionistic layers of busy and barely audible drums. Meanwhile, Rhodes piano and bass become intertwined and reassembled on top of the mix, shapeshifting effortlessly half-way through the song. The modern immediacy of information is turned on its head in "Shame," as Ahnnu utilizes natural restraint in an otherwise overstimulated digital landscape of music.
World Music is out September 3 on Leaving Records.
Whether you like it or not, Vektroid has had a peculiar effect on the way you listen to electronic in 2013. The nom de plume for vaporwave titan New Dreams Ltd. (releasing classics as Macintosh Plus, 情報デスクVIRTUAL, Sacred Tapestry) was seen as one of the key innovators in the first wave of vaporwave. Those records were eqaully criticized and acclaimed for her souless take on muzak, appropriation, and a never ending sonic-vision of the Sharper Image store. Since those daring records, Vektroid has shifted focus towards other projects, and is now planning on working with rapper Siddiq. Siddiq just dropped his debut album PAID2013, which sees plenty of vapor-tinged production and a snippet of a track he's working on with Vektroid. Even though the two only have one track together, Vektroid has hinted that the two are working on a mixtape together. In the meantime, pre-order your very own official Vektroid tank top, which sports a variation of the Macintosh Plus Floral Shoppe cover art.
New York band Butter The Children-- whose members were associated with Night Manager, Le Rug and Sweet Bulbs-- create bubbly shoegaze inflected pop that is comepletely their own. After a rousing debut EP, today marks the release of Butter the Children's True Crime EP out via Downtown Records. "Loose", a cut from the EP, earns its name with bustling with the band's bouncing melodies and sugary pop-punk drive. Make sure to catch Butter The Children live tonight at 285 Kent, Brooklyn with Porches, Field Mouse and Turnip King.
After a string of three versatile releases for Hyperdub over the last year, Laurel Halo is readying her fourth offering for the label. Her second full length LP, Chance Of Rain, picks up after this summer's bass driven Behind the Green Door EP. The album promises to continue Laurel Halo's dynamic electronic mutations, with a focus on the relationship between pummeling rhythms, meditative ambient and cerebral song structures.
Laurel Halo's Chance Of Rain comes out October 28 via Hyperdub.
Two months ago, we got our hands on one of the most perplexing and addictive juke step-children we've seen this year: the Russian collective Beryoza. They appeared almost out of nowhere, remixing 90's Russian pop songs and turning them into ghostly footwork and bass reconfigurations. From the get-go, Beryoza's members didn't just know their way around a sample, but they were also interested in attempting to realize Russia's past with its present. With controversies abound about Russia's liberty and freedom, Beryoza's first official release seems to address their own political sentiment. Raumskaya takes the stand with "Tolerance, Beauty, Love", full of rollicking 808's, snares and repeating exclamations of freedom and tolerance. The first release also features a track from DJ Azamat and remixes from Koloah and Gillepsy. Make sure to check out Beryoza's Readymag site that includes visuals of forests and spinning IPhones.
Over the last three years, Boston's Bent Shapes have crystalized their brand of jubilant and buoyant indie-pop. Their tracks are usually upbeat twee-inflected ditties, but their new single "Hex Maneuvers" shows their emotional breadth. With whipsmart lyrics about losing your religion and bouncing melancholic guitar chimes, "Hex Maneuvers" maintains their pop-punk mentality while showing another side to their whirlwind jangle. "Hex Maneuvers" is a cut from their upcoming album Feels Weird, out via Father/Daughter Records.
You can pre-order Feels Weird here, out August 20.
The enigmatic Lil Ugly Mane has always kept his listeners on the edge of their seats. His sporadic Facebook posts have seemed equal parts personable and removed: musings on the sexuality of cat petting, the announcement of a final Ugly Mane tape etc. You never know if Ugly Mane's next step will be his last, but yesterday he made his next move with his Three Sided Tape Volume One. The tape features three separate sides full of unreleased tracks that run the gamut of Shawn Kemp's versatility and creativity. There's plenty of silky smooth Kemp production, a peppering of Ugly Mane verses, stabs at UK bass and even a little black metal. The 2008-2011 scraps should be more than enough to tide over all of Mane's hungry devotees before his supposed last transmission (if there is even a next transmission.)
You can grab Three Sided Tape Volume One as a name-your-price download via Bandcamp.