While aimlessly scrolling through SoundCloud today, I came across a wondrous surprise: An interesting and beautiful new release from Majical Cloudz! Now, “Savage” isn’t necessarily ‘new,’ as frontman Devon Welsh has been playing the track shows for majority of the year, however, if you haven’t seen them live, you’re in for a treat. The track also didn’t make it onto 2013’s emotionally driven LP, Impersonator, making it even more rare of a release.
On Welsh’s blog, he exclaims, “Many people have asked me on Tumblr and Twitter what this song is called and when it will be released, so here it is! … Happy to be releasing it! It’s been fun to play it live over the past year.” He continues to explain that he’d rather not delve into the details of the song, “…ultimately what the song is ‘about’ is less important than how and why it is meaningful for you when you listen to it,” Welsh says. “It’s about letting go of a relationship as it changes and the emotions that go along with that.” Enjoy:
Juana Molina is no stranger to the public eye. In the late 80s, she started her career as a famous comedic actress in Argentina. A decade later, Molina pursued music full-time. As Ian Cohen stated on Pitchfork, “…over the span of three albums she became the first comedian ever to successfully lose the jokes and become a “serious” musician while keeping her sense of humor.”
It’s been five years since Juana Molina‘s last album but her electronic folk, captivating vocals, and insane guitar and percussion combinations are still as riveting and magnetic as ever. Yes, her songs are sung in Spanish, but even if you don’t speak the language, it doesn’t matter, as the experimental music is magical all on its own.
Have a listen to “Sin Guia No” and “Eras,” two new singles found on Juana Molina‘s forthcoming album “Wed 21,” due out October 29th via Crammed Discs.
Juana Molina – Sin Guia No
Juana Molina – Eras
Roberto Carlos Lange aka Helado Negro is one of the most magnetic and magical performers to see live. There’s nothing crazy or outlandish about his sets, but his voice is whimsical and romantic and his eclectic, ambient, electric beach jams from space have a way of moving your hips and locking you into a cloud of dreamy musical bliss.
Helado Negro‘s 2013 LP, Invisible Life has been a serious staple of constant listening pleasure since its release in March. As luck would have it, Lange has been hard at work and recently released his latest EP, Island Universe Story Two (which you can buy here, and on cassette!) via Asthmatic Kitty Records. At the beginning of August, Lange tweeted out a list of 50+ artists and songs, all of which were apparent influences when creating the EP, some of which include Stevie Wonder, Ice-T and… Eddie Murphy? Interesting choices, especially after you have a listen. The new EP is full of crazy beats, exotic synth and fuzzy, dreamy vocals that’ll make you scream for more Helado Negro aka black ice cream.
Stream Helado Negro‘s new EP on Bandcamp or Spotify and be sure to catch the man in action. He’s currently on tour along with Javelin, Spiritualized, the Breeders, John Cale, Big Boi, Suuns and The High Highs.
Helado Negro – We Will You
Helado Negro – Enters
For all you recording and sound engineering aficionados, here’s a mini documentary by Weathervane Music showing behind-the-scenes footage of producing/recording a Helado Negro song. (Watch even more videos from this recording here).
Experimental art-rockers, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan have been on radars and piquing serious interest ever since their raving 2011 debut album, YT//ST and, “Lamia,” an Adult Swim Single Series release last year. The self-proclaimed “Asian diasporic psychedelic noh-wave opera group,” is a mouthful to say, but luckily a delightful earful as well.
The 6-piece group hailing from Canada describes their sound as a fuse of “noise, metal, pop and folk music into a multidisciplinary hyper-orientalist cesspool of ‘eastern’ culture in giant monochrome paper sets.” Still with us? The group says they blend “Noh, Peking Opera, Buddhist Ritual Punk, Taiko Shows, Tokusatsu, Performance Art, Rock Opera and a cardboard ‘NEVERFLAT’ style of 2.5D set design.” All of this bizarreness wrapped up in one band? You betta believe it!
In eager anticipation, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan have just released a new gem, “One” which can be found on their sophomore LP, UZU due out October 29th via Suicide Squeeze (US) and Paper Bag (Canada) – Exciting! Have a listen and download “One” now:
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – One
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – Lamia
Just in case you didn’t hear the news (‘cus you know, it only happened 9 days ago, which is apparently 6 months in music blog land), James Brooks, the seemingly gentle, sensitive, Canadian, BF of Grimes, K-pop enthusiast, and (now sole) proprietor of (what was) the electro-pop project, Elite Gymnastics is having an existential crisis… Okay no, he just wanted a new band with different name, or two.
Back in August of 2012, Josh Clancy left Elite Gymnastics, and since then, James Brooks released a track or two, though he obviously had other ideas in mind, such as a fresh start. At the end of July this year, Brooks announced that Elite Gymnastics was now “defunct” (sad face) and his new project Dead Girlfriends was in full force – He even released an EP, Stop Pretending (happy face!). However, just 4 days after the revealing of Dead Girlfriends, Brooks has changed the project name to Default Genders, stating on his site:
The name sort of had an effect i didn’t want, and it took me a little while to think of another phrase i could use that contained words that start with D and G so the artwork with claire’s drawing would still make sense. it doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily but thematically it makes more sense i guess
i apologize to anyone who’s inconvenienced by this but especially to anyone who was upset or offended or grossed out by the old name, and to the other band that was using the name first
Don’t sweat it James! Now that the name is sorted, have you listened to the new tunes? “Stop Pretending,” the title track from Default Genders‘ EP is by far the most addicting, and almost “Omamori“-esque (favorite Elite Gymnastics jam). Watch the video (complete w/Karaoke sing-a-long words!) starring what looks like a giant stuffed Totoro:
Default Genders – Stop Pretending
Wise Blood is the moniker of Pittsburgh native and experimental electro-pop producer, Christopher Laufman. He, as Pitchfork so eloquently stated, “appeared out of left field” in 2010, and wooed ears over in 2011 with his clean EP, These Wings. After some silence, Wise Blood is back and he’s donning jams that’re more smooth, soulful and poppy than ever – They also coincidently seem to commonly mention rats and/or rat poison (okay, it’s just two jams). Regardless, Wise Blood’s experimental pop gems will sweep you off your feet.
“Rat” and “Universe is Blessed” can both be found on Wise Blood‘s forthcoming and debut album, id, due out June 25th via Dovecote Records. Welcome Wise Blood back into the well-deserved limelight with a thorough listen:
Wise Blood – Rat
Wise Blood – Universe is Blessed
The weather warmed up in San Francisco this past week for a hot minute – Our (one and only) glimpse of a true summer. So naturally, all San Franciscans piled into parks, crammed onto bar patio benches, threw on floppy hats and maxi dresses, and put our instagramming hands in the air to capture the clear blue sky, like we REALLY care. Alas, the moment has passed us, and our real “Summer is Coming,” which means chilly wind and eerie fog thicker than Turkish coffee. So with that, I bring to you a fresh track roundup of hot new tracks for cool days, or for cooler heads, depending on your geographical preference:
Joywave is a Rochester, New York-based electro/experimental group mastering in mixtapes. They released their mixtape, 77777, back in March of ’11 and just released a follow-up with, you guessed it, 88888. According to Interview Magazine, “The process behind Joywave‘s upcoming mixtape is an intriguing exercise in self-improvement. … frontman Daniel Armbruster, created a record that is not comprised of new material, but rather rethinks and reintroduces material from the band’s debut EP, Koda Vista. This idea is rooted not only in the dance and hip-hop tradition of the remix, but also in the paintings of Expressionist painter Edvard Munch, who famously remade the same painting several times, in order to best communicate with his audience.”
The rework and re-visitation of Joywave‘s previous material is obviously doing them justice, as “Tongues,” a new single found on 88888, is sickeningly addictive and has fiercely shot up to the top the blogosphere charts. Have a listen to “Tongues” and download 88888 for free on Joywave’s site:
Joywave – Tongues (feat. KOPPS)
Dead Ghosts is a quad garage rock band hailing from the depths of Vancouver, British Columbia whose sound has been described as, “raunchy lo-fi, country-esque, sweet guitar pluck-and-jangle.“ Listen to “Roky Said” a nostalgic-inducing, rockin’, “garage fuzz” psychedelic jam found on their recently released LP, Can’t Get No, via Burger Records:
Dead Ghosts – Roky Said
Ooh Wampire. Let me count the ways in which I’ve idiotically missed you play, and how I’m always kicking myself for doing so. The Portland, Oregon-based indie-pysch-rock-pop band was created by longtime bffs, Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps. The two “started jamming in 2001” while in middle school. Now, Wampire is signed to Polyvinyl and has been on tour with friends, Unknown Mortal Orchestra (who also produced their debut). Wampire won me over with their trippy track, “The Hearse,” and I’ve been throughly addicted since. Wampire‘s new LP, Curiosity, is due out May 14 and you can stream the entire album in advance on Pitchfork. Don’t miss these guys!
Wampire – Trains
Wampire – The Hearse
Hot & Cold is the collaboration of two young 20-something Canadian brothers, Josh and Simon Frank. The boys produce trippy, abstract, catchy, drone synth-rock and apparently made their first live debut in Beijing, of all places. According to an interview with Vice, the transnational brothers, while in Beijing, “earned a spot alongside the Rose Mansion Analog crew, joining the ranks of the Offset:Spectacles and Soviet Pop.” Have a listen to “Out of the Grey” an addictive single from Hot & Cold’s new LP, Border Area, via Moniker Records:
Hot & Cold – Out of the Grey
Phèdre is one of my all-time favorite wacky electro Canadian duo/bands, and that’s saying a lot ‘cus there are so many to choose from! Phèdre released their self-titled debut album just last year and left many hungry for more. Luckily, they’re currently in the album-producing mood and are in the process of finalizing another LP, Golden Age. “We spent the darkest days of the winter writing a new record in Berlin. We made a collage for each song. We’re gonna put this out into the universe real soooooon.” They’re also currently producing a spontaneous “ongoing record,” Eterna, in which they’re “droppin’ tracks as they come.” Listen to “Zenith,” the first track from, Eterna:
Phèdre – Zenith
Kisses is an LA-based electro-pop duo made up of Jesse Kivel & Zinzi Edmundson. Their sophomore album, Kids in LA, is due out May 14th via Cascine and was produced by Saint Etienne’s Pete Wiggs. Kisses is also currently and appropriately on tour with Chad Valley – A surefire dance party in the making. Have a listen to “Air Conditioning,” Kisses‘ synthtastic gem from the new LP:
Kisses – Air Conditioning
Want something to be thoroughly addicted to? Meet: Jackson Scott. He’s a “scrappy indie-pop” 4-track recording, guitar jammin’ singer/songwriter hailing from Asheville, North Carolina. He reminds me of a child-like Elliott Smith meets Mac DeMarco meets Atlas Sound – An amazing trifecta of sound all rolled into one. I also get a hint of Daniel Johnston… maybe it’s the basement home recording and creepy kid piano tones.
When looking for info about Jackson Scott, there’s not much to go off of except a simple Tumblr, containing all of one photo, and a SoundCloud page donning three tracks: “Evie,” “That Awful Sound,” and “Sandy.” According to this post and convo Scott had with PORTALS, we at least know he’s a (kind of ) a college student: “I haven’t been going to college since last spring because my parents wanted me to take a year off and work and get in state residence in NC, but I’ve basically been spending my college funds on avoiding getting a job, thinking about music, writing songs and other things…” Either way, he’s also apparently already made it into Pitchfork’s “best new music” section within a flash – Impressive, but it’s easy to hear why:
Jackson Scott – That Awful Sound
Is anyone else obsessing over K-X-P‘s recently released sophomore album, II? If not, you should be. Songs like, “Magnetic North,” and “Easy (Infinity Waits)” are pure experimental genius. The dark, rhythmic, psychedelic, disco grooves of each song easily place you under a blissful electro-hinged spell. The occasional bursts of children cheering and monkeys calling are simply the cherry on top of such sweet and sickeningly addicting sounds.
K-X-P, the Finnish, sometimes trio, hailing from Helsinki consists of, as explained on their Facebook page: “Timo Kaukolampi (electronics, vocals and the ‘K’), Tuomo Puranen (bass, keyboards and the ‘P’), and alternating drummers (the ‘X’ – for the mystery) Tomi Leppanen and, in the studio and on rare occasions live, Anssi Nykänen.”
The self-proclaimed “original-electronic-motorhead-space-trance-spiritual-rock-meditation-freejazz-Godz” made their debut back in 2010, but slightly under the radar. However, the boys are back with a vengeance with the release of II earlier this month via Melodic Records (UK) and Manimal & French Kiss (US).
Stream their entire album on Spotify, or find ’em on SoundCloud. I’ve also included a video below in which K-X-P paired a sampling of “Magnetic North” to Finnish footage of a rejected anti-drunk driving television ad from 1986. It was deemed “too fun” to actually be effective. Enjoy:
K-X-P – Easy (Infinity Waits)
K-X-P – Magnetic North
It’s that time of year in San Francisco when the weather starts to resemble something summer-like, the fog begins to roll out, and the leather, whips, chains, paddles, dog leashes, and domination comes a rollin’ in. That’s right – it’s Folsom Street Fair time! If you’re a newbie to the festival name or concept, The 13 city blocks long Folsom Street fair is an annual BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadomasochism) fest that occurs during “Leather Pride Week” in September. According to Wikipedia, the festival, and non-profit charity (!) has been in existence since 1984 and it’s “the world’s largest leather event and showcase for BDSM products and culture.” – Impressive!
Essentially, if you want to see some burly men, (and an occasional lady) [un]leash themselves in a literal shit show (YES) full of leather straps and eye/mind-opening behavior, the Folsom Street Fair will cure your need for kink. So, in celebration of this impressively large, unconventional non-profit and jaw dropping festival, I present to you a Folsom Street Fair ‘mixtape’ of sorts. It’s full of dark, goth-rock, electro synthwave that I’m sure anyone would enjoy, especially while getting choked, tied up, or spanked… you know, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Trust – Gloryhole
Light Asylum – IPC
Zambri – ICBYS
Gatekeeper – Chains
The Knife – You Make Me Like Charity (Cry Wolf Remix)
Pictureplane – Techno Fetish
Austra – Beat and the Pulse (NSFW)