It’s been a long time since we skipped town, and Art Van Delay Industrees’ beginner’s space travel package was just too sweet to pass up. We’ll be back by Monday, August 16. For those of you who will be in Brooklyn while we’re gone, the Underwater Peoples showcase at Shea Stadium next Saturday should be the ultimate celebration of these summer dog days. As you take a breather on the balcony, we’ll be smiling down on you from the dark side of the moon.
For those of us who often find ourselves watching videos on music websites such as this one, the “beachy” video is nothing new. I’ve even visited the trope once or twice in my own work. Images of sand, sea, and sun just seem to fit so well with the lo-fi bittersweet nostalgia of Ducktails. And the track “Applewalk” evokes a late-night jam around a bonfire, so it is no surprise that Ducktails went the “beachy route” for this particular video.
But there is something a little different about this one, and it has a lot to do with the figure of Ducktails’ Matt Mondanile in the video. When we first see him, he is walking down a path — presumably towards the beach — playing guitar and wearing a long-sleeved sweater. In other sequences — Matt Mondanile standing on a rock surrounded by water, Matt Mondanile playing guitar in an abandoned building — his attire becomes a bit more appropriate, but his attitude toward his surroundings remains equally blasé.
There is a certain amount of humor in this. When something is funny in such subtle strokes, I feel the need abandon my post structuralist inclinations and start wondering about the intent of the author. It certainly seems like Mondanile is in on the joke here. This is supported by the fact that his current Myspace picture is a still from this video of him playing guitar on a rock, with an image of Free Willy superimposed above his head. It is also supported by the presence of the long-haired beach bum character at the end of the video. Unlike Mondanile, this fellow seems to really fit with the environment of the beach. Judging from the structure that he is sitting under, he seems — literally — to be at home there. He and Mondanile are happy to see each other, but they don’t seem to be from the same world.
Perhaps the sentiment here is that although we can all agree that the beach is a wonderful place and indulge in a certain amount of nostalgia regarding nature, those of us who are trying to succeed in an urban space and struggling with “real world” concerns will always be a little bit removed from natural environments such as the one portrayed in this video. Unless we are willing to grow our hair out and build a hut on the beach, there will always be a feeling of distance. That being said, could this be the “beachy” video to end all “beachy” videos? We shall see… (more…)
Every day can’t be Hannukah. For pretty much the entirety of this colossal Underwater Visitations episode — 3 hours long, and with an in-studio by Ducktails to boot — the “Visitations” part of the equation was just a few blocks away, trapped inside a Kafkaesque bureaucratic nightmare that involved being unfairly compensated by taxpayer dollars to sharpen some pencils and fill out my name and address on about fifteen identical forms. Luckily, I managed to convince one of my superiors to let me slip out for a bit, and I rolled up in just in time to hear Matt Mondanile layer multicolored streamers of sound over the most lovely of bongo polyrhythms — not to mention throw in one of his signature 90’s cover jams, this time from the Slanted and Enchanted era. Among parts of the episode that I MISSED, DJ Bryce Hackford of Behavior slow schooled his way through his impressive collection of “tropical” vinyl, Real Estate‘s Etienne Pierre Duguay swung by with some friends to talk about the Market Hotel Project, and DJ Ari — the “Underwater” side of UV — unearthed a common musical lineage in Bruce Springsteen, ESG, and Steve Reich. Maybe not Hannuka, but definitely a full house.
“Underwater Visitations Episode #2: The Ducktails Episode, with DJ Bryce Hackford and Some Visitors from Market Hotel”
Visitation Rites, Microphone Memory Emotion, and PIXELHORSE are TERRIBLY sorry for the all the cigarette butts, PBR cans, and falafel balls that were left behind in the stairwell of said loft building, but also TERRIBLY touched to have hosted some of New Jersey’s finest in a context they have all but outgrown. After watching them become an international success story, I got to see these vocational boys-next door in exactly the way they should be seen: at a house party, surrounded by friends and ear-to-ear grins on all sides, watching Seinfeld Season 3 on the overhead projector, and hearing the cops roll up just in time for the closing chord. (more…)
The ladies of PIXELHORSE, Microphone Memory Emotion, and Visitation Rites present you with an exclusive pre-SXSW house show this weekend. Alex Bleeker and the Freaks will be there, freakin’ out, playing first. Family Portrait will follow, kicking off their tour and playing with their recently restored, stellar lineup. Finally, there will be a suuuper special secret surprise guest performance*. (We’re so excited about this we could pee!) Come party with your fave bloguettes, bros and bands, and help fuel their trips down to Austin, TX for SXSW 2010 so thousands can benefit from their beautiful jams. (more…)
It would have been nice to see this video for “Memories of Glaciers” floating around back when Alice Cohen‘s Walking up Walls l.p. dropped on Olde English Spelling Bee last August, but the mid-January timing feels entirely appropriate. “Memories of Glaciers” is the cool and meditative blue to the frenetic summer neon of the “Landrunner” video she did for Ducktails earlier last year, even if the quivering, animated-scrapbook style forms an obvious line of continuity. Listening to this album closer by itself was enough to give me an inkling of it, but seeing this video in the flesh really does make me feel like I am back in my one-piece red snow parka, blinking my eyes against the glare of the sun on my first double black diamond. And all I can remember is how when my skis finally glided over that giant boulder and caught the air, what I actually experienced–for the first time in my life–was the sensation of total stillness. (more…)
Is there something in the water in Ridgewood, New Jersey, or does the Garden State just happen to be coughing up a lot of blissed-out psychedelia these days? Like childhood neighbor and long-time collaborator Matt Mondanile (Ducktails, Predator Vision, Real Estate), Julian Lynch has been churning out more quality homegrown recordings than we have time to digest. His sound, a one-man patchwork of vocals, wah wah guitar, bass, drums, and kitschy synth effects, carries the happy-go-lucky quality synonymous with recent Ridgewood output into the territory of the singer-songwriter.
Matt Mondanile and his co-conspirators are certainly working a lot of bikinis in a twist these days, blowing up the blogosphere as the DIY forerunners of a new “beach pop” phenomenon. The hype surrounding Ducktails and Real Estate is well deserved, but dwelling too much on the “drinking a pina colada in black Ray-Bans and an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt” aesthetic undermines their breadth and talent as musicians.
This month, Breaking World Records releases a limited edition 7 inch by Ducktails, a.k.a. Brooklyn-based musician Matt Mondanile, marking the onset of fall with a prayer for eternal summer. Though he proudly identifies suburban New Jersey as his heart’s true home, Mondanile’s sound is equally the product of four years on the Western Massachussetts noise scene, a prolonged stay in an immigrant neighborhood in Berlin and a thriving re-issue culture that brings psychedelic and world music gems back from the dead.