Posts Tagged Tonstartssbandht

Our Favorite Albums of 2014

Our Favorite Albums of 2014

This list will appear in this month's edition of the AdHoc zine. Preorder Issue 3 or subscribe.


Actress: Ghettoville [Werkdisks]

When I interviewed Actress for The FADER this year, he described Ghettoville to me as a concept album about being homeless but having a laptop with musical software on it. He even suggested that he made the album in the hopes of imparting a piece of life advice to his listeners: “If there is one sort of profound moral, it’s just to consider other people a bit more. If you’re doing alright, and you’ve got a decent job and you get paid, and you’ve got a home to go to, and you’ve got friends that you can chill out with and have a drink with and be warm or whatever, then that’s amazing. But the stark reality is that there's people out there who just don’t have that.” I was surprised. How could an album as abstract and even willfully difficult as Actress’ fourth full-length have a "meaning," let alone a moral? As I began to spend more time with with the record, though, the London producer’s words began to make sense; in fact, I think they illuminated all the cryptic doomsday proclamations that preceded the record’s arrival (you know, that stuff he wrote about Ghettoville being Actress’ last record, “R.I.P Music 2014," etc.). Ghettoville, in all it’s sketch-like, crooked, sputtering, weirdly clipped, off-rhythm goodness, felt like a bombed-out incarnation of dance music itself, battered and emaciated but determined to keep trucking along.

In the same interview I mentioned above, Actress also called the album his attempt to “crash the market,” which I think is a pretty bad-ass ambition to have when you are seemingly poised on the end of verge of a mainstream breakthrough. If Ghettoville is partly a conceptual reckoning with the failures of capitalist society to look after its denizens, and partly a musical reckoning with the intersection of capitalism and music, then it’s pretty admirable for its political intentions alone. That said, there’s also some pretty striking moments of beauty herein, such as the damaged but unwaveringly soulful vocal loop on “Don’t.” Within the context of the record’s conflicted relationship to pop, it feels pretty political too, but also touchingly reassuring: “Don’t stop the music.” --Emilie Friedlander


Andy Stott: Faith in Strangers [Modern Love]

Manchester producer Andy Stott has experimented with various shades of techno over the past decade, but his 2014 record Faith in Strangers breaks away from any single style in lieu of a unified melancholic feel. Stott’s latest has a cinematic quality that makes it difficult to just idly listen to; instead, it's best to enter into and experience viscerally these songs, which are ordered in such a way that you get the sense of having traveled through space, time, memory to get from start to finish. The slow build of opener, “Time Away,” sets the chilly mood that colors the entirety of the album, like on the very next track, “Violence,” which sustains and heightens this tone with its heavy, almost trap-ish industrial beat. This, along with the similar-sounding title track are the climactic moments that stand out amidst the more loosely structured, atmospheric unfolding of Faith in Strangers. The ethereal vocals from Alison Skidmore counterbalance the dark strangeness of the grinding loops and beats that Stott layers together. Soft vocals and machine noise combine especially powerfully on the final track, “Missing,” a simple but haunting piano arrangement that evokes both delicateness and danger, that in filmic language might amount to a shot of a lone person walking through a city at night. --Beth Tolmach


Arca: Xen [Mute]

Xen seemed underwhelming at first because of how counterintuitive it feels to the ongoing narrative behind Arca's ascent. Last year, the producer born Alejandro Ghersi pulled no punches. This was the guy who gave the unwieldy "Hold My Liquor" off Yeezus it's haunting pulse, and sent the now-ubiquitous FKA Twigs to her career-starting launchpad on EP2. &&&&&, etc. You probably know all this already. Which made Xen messing with the program all the more disarming. On this album, Arca's ever-propulsive momentum from last year now moves in start-stops, melodies traded for drop outs and half-awake chords-- the sonic results being an awkward balance between classical, trip-hop, and faded skeletons of flamenco from his childhood.

It's been cited over and over in reviews how fully in control of Xen Ghersi seems to be, and yet the opposite is true. The album sounds like how it was recorded (over the course of six months, mostly improv), unfolding in fits of introspection and spastic release, reflective of the mental state of both the tunesmith and the androgynous alter-ego it's named after. That kind of approach left Xen feeling confused, with little to grab onto as its tunes evaporated one after the other. But if the listener held on, the record deepened and gelled in a powerful way that none of his efforts have done before. It's still just as much of a labyrinth to get through as it was the day it was released, but Xen is all the wiser for letting listeners draw the map to get through it for themselves. Everyone you talk to about it is going to have a different favorite part. --Brad Stabler

Read More

"You Can't Mainline Happiness": A Tonstartssbandht Travelogue

Overseas documents brothers Andy and Edwin White-- guitarist and drummer, respectively, of psych duo Tonstartssbandht-- playing across a six week tour throughout Europe in the Spring of 2013. The tour began with their third outing in Russia, then weaved its way through the Ukraine, the Baltics, central Europe and France before ending in the UK. Overseas, was born out of a suggestion by Company Etc. head, Britain Powell. Recalls Andy White,

"He was talking with us right before the tour and we were like, 'Dude, we’re playing in Minsk, in Belarus.' And he was like, 'Woah, you should bring a recorder, man. I want to hear Tonstartssbandht live in Belarus.' And I was like, 'Yeah, maybe I will bring a recorder.' And I got into it. As we’re on tour I remember telling Brit, 'Dude, I brought all this shit. We’re recording shows.' And he was like, 'Dude… maybe do a little bit of a live album.'"

Our chat with the brothers about the tour and making of Overseas is presented as a travelogue.

I. Russia and the Ukraine 

Edwin White: We weren’t able to use any recordings from this segment. It was the beginning so there were a couple of shows where timing wasn’t enough to set up recording equipment.

Andy White: After that Russia tour, I got in my groove and I began to really enjoy getting to a place and setting up for sound check and putting together the equipment and telling all the sound guys, “Look I’m gonna do this. Don’t stop me. Also if you want to help, I would love your help.”

EW: It was our third time [in Russia], so it was good to come back and have things be more and more familiar. We got to see new cities: we had never been to Kursk or Rostov-on-Don. We had never been to Volzhsky and Volgograd. We had only been to Moscow and St. Pete before so it was cool to see other Russian cities. 

AW:  The smaller shows are all fantastic. The crowds are really crazy. Everyone was really fun. We got to hang out and everything.

Read More

Our Favorite Albums of 2014.5

Actress: Ghettoville [Werkdiscs]

When I interviewed Actress for The FADER this year, he described Ghettoville to me as a concept album about being homeless but having a laptop with musical software on it. He even suggested that he made the album in the hopes of imparting a piece of life advice to his listeners: “If there is one sort of profound moral, it’s just to consider other people a bit more. If you’re doing alright, and you’ve got a decent job and you get paid, and you’ve got a home to go to, and you’ve got friends that you can chill out with and have a drink with and be warm or whatever, then that’s amazing. But the stark reality is that there's people out there who just don’t have that.” I was surprised. How could an album as abstract and even willfully difficult as Actress’ fourth full-length have a "meaning," let alone a moral? As I began to spend more time with with the record, though, the London producer’s words began to make sense; in fact, I think they illuminated all the cryptic doomsday proclamations that preceded the record’s arrival (you know, that stuff he wrote about Ghettoville being Actress’ last record, “R.I.P Music 2014," etc.). Ghettoville, in all it’s sketch-like, crooked, sputtering, weirdly clipped, off-rhythm goodness, felt like a bombed-out incarnation of dance music itself, battered and emaciated but determined to keep trucking along.

In the same interview I mentioned above, Actress also called the album his attempt to “crash the market,” which I think is a pretty bad-ass ambition to have when you are seemingly poised on the end of verge of a mainstream breakthrough. If Ghettoville is partly a conceptual reckoning with the failures of capitalist society to look after its denizens, and partly a musical reckoning with the intersection of capitalism and music, then it’s pretty admirable for its political intentions alone. That said, there’s also some pretty striking moments of beauty herein, such as the damaged but unwaveringly soulful vocal loop on “Don’t.” Within the context of the record’s conflicted relationship to pop, it feels pretty political too, but also touchingly reassuring: “Don’t stop the music.” --Emilie Friedlander

The Body & Thou: Released From Love [Vinyl Rites]

After two stellar albums in 2013, The Body kicked off 2014 with two stellar-- albeit very different-- collaborative releases. I Shall Die Here pits the band against The Haxan Cloak, resulting in some soul-crushing, bass-heavy music that emphasizes The Body's previously-displayed industrial tendencies. But Released From Love, their collaboration with Louisiana doom heroes Thou, is even better, highlighting The Body's ability to fuse tried-and-true doom metal with noise, southern rock, and contemplative folk (see: an awesome Vic Chestnutt cover), staying sad and complex and brutally loud all the while. Throughout the record's four tracks, Bryan Funck, Thou's singer, provides a sinister-but-human foil to Chip King's otherworldly screams, and the two rhythm sections work together to create dirge-like backing tracks that are dense but not overly so. In other words, The Body and Thou teaming up sounds like one amazing, impossibly heavy band and not two acts jamming on top of one another. That such disparate The Body collaborations, recorded around the same time, can work so well is a testament to Chip King and Lee Butler's skills as musicians and their sound's mutability. And Released From Love is a testament too to just how fucking awesome and underappreciated (at least up north) Thou is. Like The Body, Thou is a brutal metal band steeped in many other styles, a group intent on breaking generic ground and forging new modes of expression. --Joe Bucciero

Container: Adhesive [Mute]

As Ren Schofield gets his elbows deeper in a Unit 731-style vivisection of noise music, we learn that chaos is his modus operandi as Container. The objectives are simple: fuck up sound, make it fun. In a nutshell, Adhesive is his most fucked up and fun yet. If typical dance music production is akin to painting a wall in layers-- prime with a sample, lay down the drums for the first coat, thicken with bass and pads-- Schofield's method is more like tossing paint into an oscillating fan. Each of the four tracks on Adhesive is bound by a groove, but the elements that really make your ass shake are triggered in enrapturing succession, inducing the old 23 skidoo. Sure, Container's everything-in-the-red timbres get you amped, and it's his keen sense of rational thought-dismantling disorder that keeps you jacked. Adhesive stands as the singular heavy music release of the year so far because it short-circuits the thinking part of your brain where so much experimental music thrives, instead firing neurons in whichever cluster of grey matter makes you feel like you just punched a cop in front of a cheering crowd. --Mike Sugarman

Read More

Stream Tonstartssbandht's Overseas

Stream Tonstartssbandht's Overseas

Welcome your psych jam of the summer. The brothers White have a tendency to convert masses at a time with their live sets, and they did the world's kids and burners alike a massive service by finally sharing a sample of that experience. Recorded during the pair's European tour in the Spring of last year, Overseas is a taste of the kraut/drone/classic rock idiom that only exists in the collective mind of Tonstartssbandht. The album displays everything from Eddie's and Andy's bizarre interplay of effected vocals to their soft spot for unique covers (Amon Düül II, the Carter Family, a moment of the Rolling Stones) to their deft ability to rock super motherfucking hard. The only thing missing is Andy frantically shouting "Andy Boay! Andy Boay!" Jah bless the Bandht.

Overseas is out June 24 on Company Etc and Arbutus Records.

Tonstartssbandht Shares "First Taape" from New Live Album

Tonstartssbandht Shares

Finally the day has come when the Tonstartssbandht live show gets perserved for the ages. The brothers White-- Andy and Eddie-- have been the years-long holders of the "Best Band in Brooklyn" tag team title, and it has always been a bummer that they haven't been able to translate their insane performance energy into something you can listen to at home. The obvious solution was for Tonstartssbandhht to put together a live album. Overseas was recorded during 2013's iteration of their regular tour of Russia and the Ukraine, this time expanded a bit west. Tour-long recording ensured that the cuts selected would be the sleaziest, most headbang-worthy possible. The song "First Taape," shared by Brooklyn Vegan, shows a band who may have finally figured out to make their album rock as hard as their live show, which is pretty damn hard. Be sure to check out another selection from the album on The Fader too, posted by our very own Emilie Friedlander.

Overseas is out June 24 on Company Etc/Arbutus. This will be one rockin' summer, yes sir.

Jerry Paper: "Come Over"

Jerry Paper:

Lounge star of a parallel dimension, Jerry Paper continues a 2014 full of feelings with an ode to whatever being he is in love with. Boasting a Purdie-for-cheap shuffle and a break down that literally breaks the song down, "Come Over" also happens to be Jerry Paper's most whistle-worthy thanks to a lyric-less verbal melody in the back half. At this point, Jerry Paper has transcended the whole sad man schtick by shining a flashlight into all corners of human desire, both icky and nice. "Come Over" appears on Jerry Paper's split with Andy Boay, following up Jerry Paper Feels Emotions and preceding an LP later this year on Orange Milk. Tonstartssbandht member Andy Boay's side sounds like the OST of the original Wicker Man after transmision through a faulty ethernet cable.

The Jerry Paper/Andy Boay split is out this month on Hausu Mountain.