Archive for September, 2011

Sightings: Bee Mask, “Elegy For Beach Friday”

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Philadelphia’s Chris Madak, aka Bee Mask, produces medium-specific, high-caliber synthesized compositions with mind-altering intent beyond the scope of what one might “check out” to while having their tarot cards read.  Elegy For Beach Friday is an artist-selected retrospective of his nearly decade-long limited edition cassette and CDr output, reimagined, rereedited and remastered for double LP release on fellow Clevelander John Elliott’s Specturm Spools imprint. Portentous bells and chimes ring throughout the title track’s harmoniously discordant drone, its meticulously stripped-down ambience suggesting an affinity for tasteful simplicity amid the heady complexities of serious experimental music. More than a lament over lost time, Madak’s elegy feels like a celebration of Bee Mask’s past, closing one chapter so that others may be revealed.

Bee Mask: “Elegy For Beach Friday”

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Words: Mary Katherine Youngblood

Bee Mask interview with Telecult Powers‘ Witchbeam on WFMU.

Elegy For Beach Friday colored vinyl is now sold out at the source. Grip one from online distributors Forced Exposure , Kudos, or the like — before it’s too late. Bee Mask’s second Spectrum Spools LP release is slated for early 2012.

Sightings: Captain Ahab, “The Kingdom Of Light”

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

The Kingdom Of Light from Captain Ahab on Vimeo.

If you knew the apocalypse was coming, what would you do? If you’re Jim and Jonathan fromCaptain Ahab, your bucket list includes IRL Fruit Ninja and In-N-Out Burger (duh). In the new Lawrence Klein-directed video for “The Kingdom of Light,” the duo get to enact their most outrageous impulses and basest desires to a glitchy electro backing tune that sounds like the soundtrack to real armageddon. There are lots of surprises in store during the relentlessly edited, video-game styled clip, but you’ll have to watch it more than once to keep up with all the shenanigans.

Words: Max Burke

Sightings: Waskerley Way, “Storm Song”

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

When I wrote about Michael Bridgewater — aka Waskerley Way —  back in June, the focus was on his ability to turn a swirling mess of noise into a transfixing piece of music. On his La Magie Rouge cassette, out now on Ultra Friends Records, Bridgewater sharpens his talent for bringing disjointed sounds together. Worldbeat pop gem “Storm Song” borrows bits from the far-flung folk missives of places as far apart and foreign to each other as Senegal and Belgium. Polyrhythmic drum beats and bursting horn riffs are glued together by an interweaving haze of subtle electronics, and by Bridgewater’s surprisingly well-suited vocal track. The end result makes for an upbeat and incredibly fun listen.  If he keeps this up they’ll start referring to his style as the “Waskerley Way.”

Waskerley Way: “Storm Song”

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Words: Marc Picciolo

Download La Magie Rouge for a price of your naming from Bandcamp, and order the cassette from Ultra Friends Records


Sightings: Purling Hiss, “The Hoodoo”

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Purling Hiss – The Hoodoo from Philadelphia Philms on Vimeo.

When I interviewed Purling Hiss over the summer, one of the points that all three members of the in-the-red garage power trio agreed upon was that the band was their main musical priority and that they were dedicated to upping their profile. That point is borne out by a currently in-progress European jaunt and an extensive US tour (with The War on Drugs) they’re launching as soon as they return. Check the clip above, which features the full band lineup jamming out to “The Hoodoo,” for an approximation of what you’re in store for during a live gig. In addition, the band is releasing two separate tour tapes reflecting different sides to their sound, limited to 100 copies each. Paisley Montage is a 40-minute continuous experimental recording, while Dizzy Polizzy is a more song-oriented effort that Polizze explains shares a kinship with the most recent full-length release Public Service Announcement

Words: Max Burke

Paisley Montage and Dizzy Polizzy will be available on the current Purling Hiss tour. “The Hoodoo” is now available on Lounge Lizards (Mexican Summer). Full European and American dates available at their MySpace page

Sightings: I.E., “Dungeon Of Drunk Girls”

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

IE-Dungeon of Drunk Girls from Cybergoo on Vimeo.

Living in Los Angeles at the beginning of the last decade was an instructive experience. Although I am skeptical of autobiography-driven appreciation, it’s impossible for me to think about I.E. (Inland Empire) without falling into a bit of a reverie. Living now at a time when the Internet has become the inescapable medium through which underground music is dispersed, it’s strange to think of a time when these transmissions required going out and meeting people, crossing social boundaries and traveling, sometimes alone, to dubious venues in unfamiliar neighborhoods. Of course all this still happens, it’s just that its constant documentation by the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. has the effect of making it seem less real, not more.

This is all to say that something as strange and wonderful as “Dungeon Of Drunk Girls” could only spring forth from the Southern California sprawl. The techno sound is rudimentary; an unadorned rhythm suggests a time before electronic music fractured into an idealized, non-existent past before an ever-multiplying ecosystem of sub-genres and micro-scenes. That this music is created without irony by the unflappable Margot Padilla of Pretty Cool Land, a collaborative site dedicated to earnest exploration of the fringes of various Los Angeles subcultures, reinforces I.E.’s “only in LA” qualities. The accompanying video montage of found news footage documenting Angelenos at various out-of-control parties completes the picture of the Southland as a boundless region of sun, smog and love.

Words: Max Burke

I.E.’s Choose Your Own Adventure is now available on Bandcamp

Sightings: Psychic Handbook, “Dolphina” Video

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

A few months ago we posted Psychic Handbook’s unabashedly New Age track “Dolphina.” Now Alejandro Archuleta (the man behind the handbook) has added some visuals to the pure moods, and dolphin calls of the song. The video is successful in capturing the playfulness of the music. It centers around a group of dancers, including Archuleta himself, journeying through a magic landscape. This landscape includes swimming with dolphins, surfing, and in a particularly exuberant moment, singing on stage with the women of ABBA. The imagery here is both a valentine and a parody of the New Age aesthetic, and it captures a joviality that we don’t see quite enough of.

Words: Samantha Cornwell

Psychic Handbook’s debut album will be out later this Fall on Not Not Fun

Sightings: yuk, “bigbright h i g h”

Friday, September 16th, 2011

yuk.- bigbright h i g h from Ariana Natale on Vimeo.

Ariana Natale’s video for yuk’s “bigbright h i g h” wears its colors with pride. A woman lies almost lifeless on a tie dyed sheet, next to a swimming pool. A melted red Popsicle lies flat in her hand. This almost looks like one of the murder tableaux from “Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer,” but it is soon clear that the only thing that has killed the woman is the heat. Melted Popsicles of many colors, tie dyed textiles, and vibrant scarfs bring delight to the eye. The imagery is a perfect compliment to the compressed, electronic psychedelia of yuk.

Words: Samantha Cornwell

yuk’s A D W A is available from My Hollow Drum and Leaving Records

Sightings: Stan Hubbs, “Golden Rose”

Friday, September 16th, 2011

According to collectors’ circle folklore, only a few original pressings of Stan Hubbs‘ Crystal are known to exist. Recorded in Hubbs’ living room in the Sonoma County hills with a hired band of youngsters in 1982, this confounding album remained in near-total obscurity until Companion Recordsresurrected it a few months ago. (According to the Acid Archives, recently quoted by WMFU, legend also has it that “a few years after making the LP, Stan Hubbs became one of the few persons in history to smoke so much pot that he died.”) Muddling genre lines in and across songs (from prog, psychedelic, stoner, arena, and lo-fi bedroom rock to ’70s punk and power ballads), Crystal holds its own against any of today’s buzzing artist-curated “mixes.” I would argue, however, that song collages this cohesive can only be born of the mind of a single, supremely inscrutable creator.

On “Golden Rose,” gloomed-out keyboards, balmy feedback, and slo-mo guitar fuzz halo ensemble-style lyrics, devastatingly deadpan in their delivery while deeply affecting in their message. It’s (pre-)stoner rock of the murk-pop variety. But instead of dragging us into a resin pit of gloom, the heavy guitar riffs smoke us into a levitating hypnoscape of thought– giving rise to those questions that are seemingly rudimentary, but often overlooked. What is it, exactly, that “makes you happy?”

Stan Hubbs: “Golden Rose”

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On another end of the Stan Hubbs spectrum,“Joe and Gina” airs magnified shred-guitar riffs of arena rock – in a cool, disaffected prog kind of way

Stan Hubbs: “Joe and Gina”

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Words: Mary Katherine Youngblood

Grip a limited edition reissue of the Crystal LP — which comes with a replica of the 16-page booklets of drawings and lyrics of the original — from Companion Records

UPDATE 9/20/11: Stan Hubbs’ Crystal reissue is no longer available from the source. Please check local or other online retailers

Sightings: Toy Camera, “Run Away”

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

If you spend a lot of time meandering through the well oiled machine that is the underground music community on tumblr, you are no doubt already familiar with the work of Drew Harris (Germany Germany) and Steph Thompson (Steffaloo). The duo come together as Toy Camera and mesh their unique talents together with great result on debut EP Blissful Youth.

On “Run Away,” Harris deploys the same sort of thick atmospherics and trigger-happy percussion one would expect from his previous work, laying down a warm blanket groove for Thompson’s hauntingly smooth vocals to lie on. Harris’ beats remain tight and well polished throughout, giving “Run Away” a sense of well-honed restraint that is missing from a lot of home-recorded electro-pop. Thompson’s performance also stands out amongst her many previous collaborative efforts, sounding brighter and more confident. The duo’s talents clearly compliment each other, lending added weight to Blissful Youth’s suggested theme of growing up.

Toy Camera, “Run Away” (Blissful Youth, Self-Released)

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Blissful Youth is available to stream/download for free over at the band’s Bandcamp. Check out more from Steffaloo, and Germany Germany.

Event: Visitation Rites & Vibes Management Present: Barn Owl + Noveller + Gunn-Truscinski Duo + Universe

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

On Saturday, September 17th, Visitation Rites and Vibes Management present a night of deep moods and maximalist simplicity at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium. Witness a rare East Coast appearance by drone-driven San Francisco guitar duo Barn Owl after hearing the Branca and Chatham-inspired Noveller (New York’s Sarah Lipstate) loop a single guitar into the sound of a dozen. Former GHQ guitar slinger Steve Gunn brings his minutely colored, raga-inspired blues-folk to the stage with drummer John Truscinski of X.O.4. renown, and Los Angeles singer/songwriter Universe opens the night with a mystery backing band. Visit Facebook for more info.

noveller – glacial glow (album preview) by experimedia

Barn Owl: “Turiya”

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Gunn-Truskinski Duo: “B38″

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Universe: “The Center Of Information”

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Words: Emilie Friedlander