Thursday, 29 April 2010

Animal cruelty

One of the most energetic sets I saw last year occurred at the Lexington, when Leeds bands That Fucking Tank! (who definitely need their own post or posts - Paul???) and Pulled Apart By Horses combined to fuck everyone in the earhole. I did a review for Low Rise on said gig, and was left slack jawed and feeling gleefully dirty. I have tried to explain to the few people in the UK who havent seen PABH (I think there are only 6 - they boys have played over 300 gigs in the past 12 months!), but find that words dont do it justice (although that could be said about any incendiary act...)

Lucky for me - amd for humanity in general - that the boys pressed a live set onto wax for your listening pleasure...if any copies are left, that is. Only 500 copies of Live at Leeds 12" were put to print, marking their signing to Transgressive Records, and was first released at Record Store Day, as well as playing to in-stores to add to their impressive live regime.

If you missed out, are in the 6 unaware of PABH's brutal brilliance, or just want to relive the mind numbing magic, here are 4 tracks, for yall.

When Geography Isnt Enough

David Davison has carved a little niche for himself in the math rock community due to his interesting and very entertaining work with 'day job' Maps & Atlases - the EP You and Me and the Mountain was particularly awesome.

However, it is Davidson's other job that is catching attention in 2010. Cast Spells is staggering in that the quieter Davison plays, the more powerful and urgent the songs feel. His EP Bright Works and Batons late last year moved a few heads, but was largely ignored - at everyone's peril. His set list at South By Southwest under the Sargent House label (of Fang Island fame - and as an aside, get on board that, they are fucking awesome!!!) garnered a swirl of attention, and apparently some of it can be seen on Youtube. As it is, here's a track from said album.

Rumour is Maps & Atlases are releasing an album later this year too - keep tuned...

Cast Spells - A Badge

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

That Fucking Crawl

This weekend once again the streets of Camden will teem with hoards of the indie faithful for this year's Camden Crawl. I wont be one of them, bummer! I have issues with mountain to settle instead. I have to admit the Camden Crawl's line up has not set my pulse racing in recent years but two bands that appear on on the lower regions of the line up (Why is that? They should headline!) did make me curse very loudly. Not only are SM favorites Action Beat playing but the mighty, mighty Leeds duo That Fucking Tank are playing no less than three times! And one set with Action Beat. The stuff of wet dreams surly? Well here are the details below and if at least one person I know doesn't attend at least one of these sets, well then there really is no taste or decency left in this world.

Camden Crawl, Tank set-times:
Saturday: Dublin Castle - 7.30pm
Sunday: Black Heart Pub - 1.30pm
Sunday: The Blues Kitchen - 7pm. (with Action Beat)

Excuse to post a track from the epic album Tanknology 
That Fucking Tank - Mr Blood

Thaw out from slumber

Im not sure what Paul will think of this, especially after noting the twee comment of a few days ago (Im not sure if that was aimed at me - if it was, we'll be having words...). I too usually have an aversion to most things twee. But whilst I wouldnt put Nova Scotia troubadours Wintersleep into that much maligned sub genre, Im sure Ill cop flak anyway...

Wintersleep are a good band, lets get that out first and foremost. My mate Will mentioned their name a couple of times but I didnt cotton on until I grabbed their last album, Welcome To The Night Sky. I was that impressed that I chased down their previous releases and noted their progression from post-rock influenced structures to more elegant, elegaic soundscapes of a type that befits their moniker. Yet despite envisioning snow covered expanses and visible breath when hearing their songs, there is an inherent urgency and warmth to Wintersleep that enraptures the listener, longing to traipse through the snow to the joys that lay across the horizon.

Wintersleep will be bringing out new album New Inheritors next month, and have released their title track as the first single. They will also be showcasing the album in the UK (playing here in London @ The Lexington) during May before touring the US with Matt Pond PA.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Talking Normal

We're off to see Crystal Antlers tonight, yet another ace gig provided by Upset the Rhythm. I've seen Crystal Antlers a couple of time before, and very good they are too but my excitement is mainly directed at Brooklyn Minimalist  duo, Talk Normal, who are supporting along with Teeth. So I thought a cheeky slice of Talk Normal's cutting, doom laden deconstruction, in vid form, was in order and maybe a track for those that don't own last year's Sugerland. They also have more UK dates in May.

Talk Normal - Hot Song

Talk Normal "In a Strangeland" from Rare Book Room Records on Vimeo.

Male Bonding and not so Dum Dum embossing with extra bleed

Oh Sub Pop, how you know how to give me kicks! Give me a limited 7" release split with two of my favorite new bands and then leave me smitten with your oh-so-tasty screen printed (or made to look screen printed) artwork with embossed inner sleeve. Sub Pop and their Dum Dum Girls and Male Bonding split 7" romped away with the coolest Record Store Day sleeve artwork, in my book at least.

Ok, so working in the design profession means that I'm a sucker for a sexy record sleeve - I'm the biggest geek when it comes to print finishes. But it only ever works if coupled with some cracking tunes and this little 7" of wax really hit the spot. Taste... then buy both their albums.

Dum Dum Girls - Pay For Me
Male Bonding - Before It's Gone

Factory Floor, floored us

Whatever you read about Hackney's Factory Floor the word 'mysterious' always pops up and certainly when we saw support Fuck Buttons last week it's an adjective the band plan on cultivating. Their single stage light burning in the blackness of Koko like a dying sun, a waning beacon, an air of dark mystery gripping the venue... it certainly raised the level of intrigue and atmosphere I've rarely seen at the Camden venue.

Factory Floor have had a turbulent line-up change of late but that's seen them depart form dark male lead vocals to the even darker, more ghost like vocals of, well female vocals, other than that I can't tell you names. I know my research skills can be found wanting but trying to find out any info about this band seems almost impossible. If it wasn't for the morose, sober blend of smooth, New Order influenced, electro beats and heavy post-rock guitar, complete with violin bow, like nails running over a black board, backing this all up it would frustrating but last week at Koko and listening to the band's clear 10" it just seems apt, if not necessary.

Factory Floor seems to drifting on support slots all over London this summer (including a slot with sparse, brutal Australian rock act My Disco)...try and see for yourself.

Factory Floor - Lying

Golden Triangle sucks you in...

What is the Golden Triangle?

There is the infamous area in China that revels in the drug trade...

The isosceles triangle in which the two longer sides are the same length and the ratio of this length to that of the third length is known as the golden ratio...

The area in Victoria, Australia, famous for its consistency in the discovery of gold nuggets...

Then there is the 3 boy/3 girl Brooklyn retro rock wizards of pop bluster, with a distinctive Debbie Harry/Blondie edge and some sort of carbon copy hangover of mid career Sonic Youth whilst Joan Jett watches in disdain from the shadows...

The first I heard of these guys/girls/whatever, I saw they were playing a Dickies music call at South By Southwest (pushed hard by their label Hardly Art, which also stables Talbot Tagora) alongside Texan post rock legends This Will Destroy You.

The next time was through my good friend Tash, who mentioned that she'd heard them on Radio Six and I just had to check em out.

Well Tash, its taken me over a month, but I have finally listened to Golden Triangle - and thank fuck I did.

They released a split 7" release with the Fresh & Onlys a little while back, on which Cold Bones can be found. And for added pleasure, here is another track, Neon Noose. Im a big fan - they sound like an absolute blast, something everyone would want to get involved in as this English winter subsides and we begin to remember what its like to live again.

Thanks a mill Tash!

Babies got back

I have a massive, massive crush on Cassie Ramone.

Whilst Im relatively new to the love of all things Vivian Girls, I have found myself short of breath even at the mention of their lead singer's name. She embodies all that I love about the 'rock chick', for wont of a better term. And she is nerdy too - see her rendition of Undone - The Sweater Song she pumps out with Titus Andronicus (in a previous post) I could wax lyrical, ad nauseum, but Ill stop there.Woods is a band that I have liked for a while though, and the latest At Echo Lake is all its cracked up to be.

So when Ramone and Woods' bassist Kevin Morby decided to get together, I was very excited.

They have released a few bits and pieces over the past 12 months, and this track is pretty indicative of what they do. A bliss bomb of fuzzy pop sunlight, Meet Me In The City (put out via Make A Mess Records) embodies the Brooklyn lo fi sound with a massive dollop of "happy happy joy joy" zany mentality. Its a blast, and well worth the time, Ramone-crush or no. Sure, its no Vivian Girls or Woods - but it certainly deserves its place on music's mortal coil.

The Babies are also touring the US with previous Sonic Masala postees White Fence, a band I warm to more and more each listen.


The Babies - Meet Me In The City

Taming the Impala one rainbow at a time...

Paul certainly beat me to the punch last week with his Tame Impala post. These Perth upstarts have been cranking out their giant swells of psych waves for only a short time, but their name is growing exponentially. Their musical taste is firmly set in the 70s with influences such as CSNY, Jefferson Airplane and Can amongst many others, yet they feel contemporary as hell. The big news as posted by Paul is that they are playing Glastonbury. Im tres excited for them, and for all of you who get to see them! I dare say they will be putting on some London shows too, so to see them in an intimate setting would be even more trip-inducing. Anyway, here is another 7 minute plus opus to melt your mind too. And as the title suggests, it might be the track to listen to as my plane finally leaves the Brisbane tarmac(albeit illegally - but one iPod couldnt bring down a plane - could it? I guess Ill find out...)

Sunday, 25 April 2010

We're Not In Kansas No More...

Ahhhhhhhhhh...I spoke of Dan Deacon a few days back. He's got a couple mentions here at Sonic Masala, and in the latest post I said he was the doppleganger for the dead hypnotist on Office Space etc etc. Now that gig at ULU last year was surely mental, but I may have jumped the gun by morphing my memories with that of Deacon's support act, Thrill Jockey affiliates and Baltimore nutjobs Future Islands. If lead singer Sam isn't said dead hypnotist, he is at the very least Deacon's snotty little brother. I havent seen someone look so unfit and yet burn the crowd's calories right off without raising a sweat...hang on, he was sweating profusely...maybe he was sweating for all of us...hallelujah!

Ahem...anyway, they were positively amazing (I was bemused at first, but there is no way to resist!). Now Future Islands are bringing out a new album, In Evening Air, in a couple weeks' time. They are spinning the track "Tin Man" around the traps a bit, and have a nifty clip to go along with it. They aren't coming here anytime soon, but have been touring with Sonic Masala faves Double Dagger and Foot Village, both of which are tipped for UK jaunts in 2010, so dont be surprised if they are hypnotising us very soon...

Future Islands - Tin Man from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

Wildlife calamaties

I heard about John McCauley last year when I went to see Dead Confederate at Hoxton Bar and Grill. I immediately fell in step with his down home southern US folk vision - his voice a plaintive strangler, denoting a man who has seen it all and still gets out of bed in the morning. The fact that McCauley is only 24 somehow heightens the magic. Since his first dalliances with Hank Williams tracks in his bedroom back in 2004, he has formed Deer Tick, a rollicking 4 piece that truly showcase the strength and passion in each of his songs, and projects them on a wide canvas of dense Americana that somehow translates - maybe because i was brought up on Hank Williams, Charlie Pride and Johnny Cash, it doesnt matter really! The point is that the band is good, and this track is indicative of what they do. Its from 3rd album The Black Dirt Sessions, coming out through their new label Partisan in June. It would be worth your while hunting down 2007's War Elephant and 2008's Born On Flag Day. They are currently touring with Dr Dog over in the US, so hopefully they will make another detour to ol Blighty before the year runs out.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Hanoi Janes - Summer of Panic

I know next to nothing about this guy (guys?/girl?/girls?), but I do like this song. Hanoi Jane was apparently a film starring Jane Fonda? Anyway, he/she/they (probably they - Hanoi Janes is plural after all...or is that too logical a premise? I dont know...) have DEFINITELY put out an album, Year of Panic, via Captured Tracks. And I DEFINITELY aim to find out more, so that I can purchase said album and tell you more about it! Until then, enjoy this piece of quirky sunny pop whatsit.

City Centre slickness

Record Store Day is a great initiative. Although its the worst day ever when you have no conceivable way of celebrating it, then afterwards your 'mates' who could go shove their brilliant purchases in your face. One of the few things the volcanic cloud fiasco has afforded me is a delayed reaction to my pain and anguish, as Paul awaits with bated breath to show me HIS purchases. But Im not totally averse from it, as the above pic shows. My friend Dan picked up a few things, including this uber sexy piece of vinyl by NYC's City Centre. Mmm - tasty.
Here's a clip of their track Cops Don't Care, recorded only last week! Radtastic!

Mogwai/Fuck Buttons - Fear Satan and Colours Move

You know I mentioned those limited release bits of vinyl from Record Store Day that I'd post up? Well here's the first. Mogwai/Fuck Buttons, Fuck Bottons/Mogwai. Last year these two bands toured the States together and remixed each others tracks to commemorate. I'm sure these two blinding swathes of layered noise have been kicking around as b-sides for a while but Record Store Day saw the two tracks popped on to a 10"s of white wax, only 500 were produced. I got one and now I'm going to share...

Mogwai/Fuck Buttons - Fear Satan
Fuck Buttons/Mogwai - Colours Move

J Mascis' Apple is the Sweetest

We mentioned J Mascis' Sweet Apple a couple months ago. Well, their album Love and Desperation is just about ready to drop from the tree, and here is another little taste of what to expect! Interesting album cover also...

Friday, 23 April 2010

PJ Harvey set to guest design Francis Ford Coppola's magazine.

PJ Harvey has been invited to guest design the summer issue of Francis Ford Coppola's magazine 'Zoetrope: All-Story Magazine'.  

The quarterly magazine, which digs into story, art, fiction and film has previously had the likes of Tom Waits, Zaha Hadid, David Bowie, Lou Reed or Guillermo del Toro collaborate on the design. 'All Story' will also feature previously unseen artwork, sculpture and drawings by PJ Harvey.

Check it out on

Answer to peace comes from the Middle East - of Queensland...

Townsville, a town on the north coast of Queensland, Australia, isnt known for its prolific and trailblazing music scene. Rugby league, rodeos, monsoonal weather. Not a lot to hope for, right?
Out of nowhere a little band is doing its darnedest to change all that. The Middle East are a seven piece who are rapidly storming across the world, making waves everywhere they go (especially at South By Southwest where they garnered glowing reviews and a few celebrity listeners, allegedly including one very bemused Bill Murray). They have elements of fellow Aussies Art of Fighting in their vocal harmonies and spectral soaring guitarwork, but in tracks like Lonely the shadows of other well-known collectives such as Broken Social Scene shine through. It is the surprising beauty inherent in every second of their tracks that dislodges you from your cynical ways, beguiles you with its ethereal harmonics and finally bolsters your hope that all is not lost.

I had heard of the band through snippets of info, but it wasnt until my mate Andy played me a track that I cottoned on to the hullabaloo. Their recordings have been on high rotation ever since.

Their first album, The Recordings of the Middle East, has been going great guns since its re-release late last year in its home country, and should be pushing more than a few units when it gains international release in the very near future. Until then, unless you decide to order it in (which I strongly suggest), here is a sample of a track from their self titled EP from earlier last year (which is really an abridged version of their album anyway).

The Middle East - Blood

You had me at Bill Murray.

Friday cover up No. 7 - I think

Things have been getting a touch twee round here lately. In fact just the other day I was thinking I needed some more brutal guitar laden noise in my life, so I spent the day listening to Lightning Bolt and Hella, go figure! So for this week's Friday cover up I thought Id pick something a bit brutal and serious. It doesn't get much more serious than Joy Division and it doesn't get much more brutal than Scotland's finest The Twilight Sad really going for it live. Cue the self induced tinnitus...

The Twilight Sad - Twenty Four Hours

The Knife and Hotel Pro Forma bring their electro-opera to the Barbican

The Barbican brings to London The Knife's latest adventure, 'Tomorrow, In A Year', an avant-garde electro-opera performance that revolves around Darwin's thoughts and experiences,

The ever-impressive Swedish duo created all compositions in collaboration with Mt Sims and Planningtorock. Danish performance group Hotel Pro Forma are responsible for the concept and visual experience.

'Tomorrow, In A Year' will be showcased on July 27th and 28th, 20h00. Tickets are now on sale here.

The Knife and Fever Ray's both music and shows are an otherworldly experience as it is - I don't expect anything else from 'Tomorrow, In A Year' and am buying my tickets now!

Want a sneaky preview? Listen to Colouring of Pigeons

Keepaway are (Animal Collectively) comin at ya

I'm still flummoxed by the rise and rise of Animal Collective.

Don't get me wrong - I fucking love the guys. Ive been hooked ever since Sung Tongs. Not all their albums hit me up the right way (Im looking at you Danse Manatee), but their sound is definitely their own, and to immerse yourself in it is to enter a world far more surreal, otherworldly beautiful and completely fucked up than Avatar could ever lay claim to.

Nevertheless, their skyrocketing popularity after the mammoth success of Merriweather Post Pavilion had, and still has, me scratching my noodle. Still, even without an appropriate answer, it has been massively influential in the sounds that are now allowed to permeate the airwaves in the past 12 months, and for every miss there is a well qualified eclectic hit. Grizzly Bear got their leg up due to the AC shimmer; another small band that might find themselves getting that helpful hand is Brooklyn trio Keepaway. If their single Yellow Wings (from their Baby Style EP put out through Lefse Records) is anything to go by, we should all count ourselves lucky - for although the tribal drumming, the warbled soarings of singer Nick Naumann's vocals, the slithering whisps of guitar breaks all denote a clear influence, there is a sense that Keepaway are a band that people will more readily get. And that is a good thing. The lyrics (I think I finally know what I want/I want to be in two places at once) and the inherent fuzziness that emanates from every beat and groove will have many a happy listener dance around in their redundancy meeting, blissfully skip in front of passing buses, and bop furiously as they steer their aircraft into devious volcanic ash clouds.

In short - when the world comes to an end, Keepaway will allow all and sundry to not give a shit.

Titus Andronicus+Vivians Girl = Weezer?

I was not expecting this.

Once again I feel like Im stepping on Paul's coattails here, what with my Mates of State/Girls cover the other day, and here I am doing it again! But this one can not be ignored.

Titus Andronicus - those of wild beards, wilder buzzsaw guitars and American History texts tucked firmly under their flannel & tattoo-covered arms - playing with Cassie Ramone - she of doo-wop from the psychedelic shop lo fi maestros Vivian Girls - playing Weezer - cardigan wearing, horn-rimmed glasses championing, slacker hipsters that disappeared up the pop inanities otherwise known as cuckoo-to-the-supreme Rivers Cuomo's arsehole.

Ah, its all true - and quite frankly brilliant. The impromptu back and forth banter between Ramone and TA frontman Pat Stickles is very amusing, and the homemade 'Im in a high school band' sound just heightens the warmth factor.

And the fact that Paul and I belted out this tune the same weekend that we came up with this blog means that this song will always be close to my heart haha!

Turn this on, crack open an alcoholic beverage, grab a sliver of sun, and remember the 90s in all its indie glory...

And as a little post script - I love the Blue Album and Pinkerton. And some of the Green Album. And a little more of Maladroit. But havent heard Make Believe or the Red Album. And Raditude - the less said the fucking better.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Fuck buttons at Koko

On Tuesday we popped along to Camden's Koko to see Fuck Buttons melt face and ears, here are the photos and a tune...

Fuck Buttons - The Lisbon Maru

Taking Travolta to the Stars...

Prins Thomas (AKA Thomas Moen Hermansen) has been pumping out his take on "space disco" for a few years now, spewing forth delectable cuts of psychedelic electronica-esques from his Norwegian ice tower (so Im led to believe...although Im sure he lives in a far more ordinary environ, I like to push the envelope on this one.) Better known for his music production and his collaborations with Hans-Peter Lindstrom, Prins Thomas has etched out a nice little niche for himself and a few other Scandinavian light trippers through his Full Pupp label, and his globally renowned DJ sets (including an epic 6 hr trip in Thessoloniki recently). A cut from his upcoming album will give you a clear indication of what to expect. I, for one, am sold.

Have a little faith in The Lodger

Leeds' The Lodger have been around for 5 or so years, plugging away, letting their James or Blur-infused (although I also hear a lil George Best era Wedding Present in there also) indie wanderings filter through the slipstream of Music's subconscious. Later this year the four piece will be releasing Flashbacks through This Is Fake DIY Records, from which they have released the 7" single "Have A Little Faith In People". Its fun, unassuming stuff, enough to warrant a few listens and some interest in what else these boys will produce. Check it out.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Run the forest family gauntlet

Now if you read this blog on a regular basis I'm sure you'll be aware that yours truly is a bit of a fan of the Texas-based music blog Gorilla Vs Bear. These chaps have taste so when I heard that they had set up a label, Forest Family, with Weekly Tape Deck, it could only be a good thing in my book. They've already had a top notch start with the 7" Go Outside from The Cults. In fact it's the most previewed track I ever posted, so you guys clearly have taste too - I hope you bought it!
Forest Family's next release must surely spark as much interest. The debut single from Colorado duo Gauntlet Hair, I Was Thinking... is a throbbing slice of summer bliss, echoing vocals and sparkling guitars. Due late May, its one for the pre-order and then some.

Gauntlet Hair - I Was Thinking

Dan Deacon mallets Owen Pallett - and yet Lewis still takes his shirt off...

I reviewed Owen Pallett's newie, Heartland, a few weeks ago just before I fled the country for the sunnier climes of Australia (not for tax evasion...just evasion in general - and I even have Nature on my side - thanks freakish Icelandic glacier volcano!). It is a goodie, and would be on high rotation if I hadnt forgotten to load it onto the Ipod. So I went a-searchin to try and get me a taste of Pallett - and found this undeniable gem. The doppleganger of the dead hypnotist in Office Space, the lovechild of Dr Marvin Munroe and Comic Book Store Guy, and the harbinger of all things geekily danctastic, Dan Deacon (who put on one of my all time fave gigs - EVER! - last year at ULU) has gotten his sweaty mitts on the standout Heartland track "Lewis Takes His Shirt Off", adding two minutes on to the track length and infusing it with even more toe tapping craziness. In short, it fucking rocks. Now, I wonder what the lovechild of Dan Deacon and Owen Pallett would look like...

More National gibber gabber

I know Ive been strong on the National front in the past few weeks, but with their January 2008 gig at the Zoo, Brisbane, still firmly entrenched in my mind, the release of their newie in a few weeks is palpable. So when I come across any kind of info about the guys I must impart, pront!

First up is that on Friday the band are streaming High Violet in its entirety via The New York Times to counter a poor quality leak of the album thats floating out in the internet ether. Fair enough too - its better to give your fans a taste of the real deal than let them suckle on the teat of a tinny blowback of a reproduction - that is the way of today though, so good on the lads for taking it on the chin and being proactive.

Also of interest is that long time National collaborator (and celebrate Illinoisemaker in his own right) Sufjan Stevens has brought an experimental short film entitled Destroy! Those Irritating Memories. The soundtrack (and to most reports, the most interesting part of the whole endeavour) is by the Dessner bros, Aaron and Bryce. See the clip below to get the gist - the first 4 minutes or so is boring otherness from Stevens, but it gets interesting after that.

Destroy Those Irritating Memories
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Mates of State hear it for the Girls

Im not sure if this classifies for 'guilty pleasure' status, but Im a rather large fan of Californians Mates of State. Their album Bring It Back from 2006 was a honey-drenched slice of sunny synth succulence; the husband and wife pairing of Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner are not only cute, but effervescent, their vocals entwining and fusing together into a giddily indulgent tsunami of uber pop; and they are catchy as all fuck. Although I didnt get into 2008's Re-Arrange Us, I still hold their intimate gig a few years back in Brisbane as a personal highlight, and am always interested in anything they have to offer (it says a lot when you start a conversation with "Thank God there was a Mates of State song on the soundtrack of that Adam Brody and Meg Ryan film...")

So two bits of info have been gleaned. Mates of State are bringing out a new album on their Barsuk label (home of previous postees Menomena) in the summer, called Crushes. Its a covers album, including reworkings of tracks by the likes of The Mars Volta, Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Death Cab For Cutie...actually all covers are well considered and are amazing renditions. And whilst a lot of fans salivated over Waits' track Long Way Home, it was the opening track, a cover of Girls' Laura, that took me most by surprise (actually, Mars Volta's Son Et Luminaire was probably the biggest surprise, but Ill leave that one for you guys to discover...). Girls', album, was a solid LP that flew under a few folks' radar last year, so the inclusion of its most recognisable track here is a testament to both bands.

Anyway, enough of the waxing, more of the listening!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Breathing in snow

I stumbled upon the North Carolina shoegaze outfit Glissade a while ago and they've been one of those bands I never got round to digging deeper into. In fact their L.P. Further came out way back in March 2008 so I'm so far behind on this slice of joy that they may of already left this earth for good, hope not, but their myspace has gone a bit cold.

Glissade - Fields of Snow

Talking of quality shoegaze passing me by I should really mention Bristol band The Fauns in the same breath, shame they should get a whole lot of breath all of their own, cos that's how this band feels, a distant west coast sigh as you drift off to sleep in the sun. Check out their self titled L.P from last year. The Fauns also have a London live date in May at the 229 Club supporting The Telescopes.

The Fauns - Loverstuck

Even more Pure Ecstasy

Step back a couple of weeks, or its in months? And I threw the Austin trio Pure Ecstasy at you. Well here's to more mud slinging, taken from their 7" Easy and a stripped back cover to boot.

Pure Ecstasy - Easy
Pure Ecstasy - Pressure Drop

Another Bonding Session

And whilst Im showcasing the talents of previous postees, here's another track by London's own rabble rousers Male Bonding to sink your teeth into. (That's right - even though Im STILL marooned in Australia, music still filters to the arse end of the world...) Its a good un, and only accentuates why you must see these guys in 2010 - post haste.

Male Bonding - Year's Not Long

Another National Anthem

The National's new LP High Violet is almost upon us - the vinyl artwork looks pretty impressive for this one - and we have yet another taste of what they have in store for us. This one is a little darker but is nonetheless quintessential for National lovers. The one off gig at Royal Albert Hall sold out in double quick time, and their return to fully flog the album will see tickets fly out the door quickly too, so don't dilly dally...

HEALTH Hear It For The Boys

HEALTH are releasing their remix album, Disco2, in June. As you can probably guess - its full o remixes of their brilliant album of 2009, Get Color! Well, not quite, as it opens with an all new, unmixed track - and Sonic Masala have it here for you! The track, USA Boys, is a lot more disco than the noise we have come to expect (which probably helps tie the album together), but is still a lot of fun.

HEALTH - USA Boys (no longer available)

Monday, 19 April 2010

MINE-ing Muppets

Menomena are a band that I fell in love with last year, stumbling across 2007's Friend and Foe, embracing it wholeheartedly, and playing the shit out of it. The energetic, inventive, enigmatic and altruistic (?) Portland duo are renowned for their funk/punk/crunk (their words...) car crash anthems, and their clever, intricate structures are amazing considering the apparently minimal efforts exerted and the bubbling enthusiasm and inherent fun that permeates each track. There are nuggets of pure gold littered everywhere on this LP, a veritable Easter Egg hunt of incendiary musical noodling and tomfoolery that even the most ardent haters can find something here to indulge their sweet tooth.

They have been high on my 'to post' list since the inception of Sonic Masala, but some new snippets of info has finally spurred me into action.

1stly - they are about to release their new album, MINES, in July through Barsuk.

2ndly - it is their 10th year anniversary.

3rdly - due to the two points made above, they are saddling up the horses and, along with esoteric partner in crime Joe Haege (of 31 Knots (very good) and Tu Fawning (not so good...)), Menomena are hitting the frog and toad for their most extensive tour to date. They havent been to our shores since 2007, and whilst dates are yet to be announced, they are in the pipeline, and are well worth getting excited for!

4thly - a smaller but nevertheless awesome piece of info - Menomena, along with musical minstrel mates The Helio Sequence, released a 7" split for Record Store Day, showcasing B-sides from their respective upcoming albums. As I was marooned in a part of the world that was devoid of anything that resembled a passable record store, I missed the boat. I hope you guys didnt! But if you did...

Lastly - here is some choice cuts to feast on. Enjoy, yeah?

Pixies show that they la la love you

Stop press, or something like that. God, or the Pixies as other people call them are playing two secret, fan only shows, in London in early June, just got my tickets. Get there quick...

Pixies - La La Love You

Drunk bunny, panda thing

This is hilarious. Is it me or do the white suited dudes remind you of the lads from Shit n' Shine?

Waxing lyrical

Wax Fang are another band that I stumbled over late last year - their seminal track World War Two Part Two was, along with Menomena (see upcoming post) was an integral part of my moving-to-London soundtrack. And, just like Menomena, Ive been hankering to post about these guys since forever, but important information has forced my hand to do it RIGHT NOW.

Finally, the Louisville, Kentuckians are coming to the UK!

And how. Wax Fang splash down in May with their first gig being in Bath on the 10th (see what I did there? Ahhhhh...) They then play Huw Stephens' Introducing... @ the Social on the 11th, then a string of festivals throughout the month (ATP curated by Pavement, The Great Escape, Stag and Dagger, Dot to Dot).

AND - if that's not enough exposure, they will also head a double bill with Dead Confederate (who blew Hoxton Bar and Grill away last December) at Koko on the 28th of May.

I can barely contain my excitement! I intend to slake my thirst with as much Wax Fang as possible - check out WW2 Pt2 for evidence...

Wax Fang "WWII (Pt.2)" Music Video from don't panic records on Vimeo.

Fool's day indeed

Right - this might get me into trouble, but what the hell. You may recall that some band called Blur was putting out their first recording, Fool's Day, since 2003 as a very limited 7" in aid of Record Store Day. Needless to say it was the hottest piece of wax in town and those that got their mucky little mits on the coveted brit pop shaped piece of vinyl had to get down there very early indeed (or in the case of the first punters queuing outside Sister Ray, not go to bed at all - the crazy sods camped out at the store all night!). I'm afraid I am too fond of bed for such shenanigans and turned up at Sister Ray at 9.15, still 45mins before the store opened its doors, but late enough to be 96th in the queue. As you can guess, I didn't get my own copy of the Blur 7" - but I found a man who did! So below is the mp3 of said record for you to enjoy. Just promise me that if, and its a very big if, Blur do put out a new album, you'll part with your well earned dosh. I'll sleep better for it.

Oh and by the way, its worth the hype!
Blur - Fool's Day

Spin me right round like a record

Awwrrrrgh, so that was Record Store Day and my head still hurts. From the civilised order that was Sister Ray, to the passionate chaos that was Rough Trade East, the house party atmosphere of Pure Groove, to the inevitable jar (to many) down the pub after, it was a hectic day. We didn't get to see that many bands, spending much more time in queues than expected (but was more than necessary), but what we did see of Caribou at Rough Trade East was great and Silver Columns were a revelation, and lovely chaps to boot. Silver Columns deserve their own post so more about them at a later date. Enough of Caribou was witnessed to get me salivating - the new material from Swim is even better live! I can't wait to see Mr Snaith's gang role out a full set in June.

I'll hopefully post some of the rare tracks from my overindulgent haul of vinyl as soon as I get the wax to digital machine fired up - but for now enjoy some Jimi Hendrix with Valleys of Neptune, taken from the limited 7" pressing, number 457 of 1000, especially released for the day.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Thom Yorke covers Joy Division's "Love will tear us apart"

Thom Yorke and his Atoms for Peace crew covered Ian Curtis and co's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" at their live show in Oakland last night...

Played and covered to death? Possibly. Still remains one of my top classic tracks though and having Yorke cover it simply doubles the pleasure of listening to it...

Here's the video!

Family secrets

I've been meaning to post about Washington DC's Family Portrait for a few months, no Honest Abe with kids and missus, but the band. Sorry shit joke... Anyway... Family Portrait combine soaring vocals with smooth, driving bass and a clattering, echo ridden guitar - vintage, yet somehow newer than freshly drawn blood.
I adore their track Mega Secrets, its priceless. One to keep an eye on.

Taste, and check the vid below:
Family Portrait - Mega Secret

Family Portrait - On The Floor from Chocolate Bobka on Vimeo.

Say please

Wow - a London band for once! Only kidding... The London trio Please are yet another example of the distorted take on 70s aesthetics that seems popular at the moment, only this time its dirty, twisted and a touch seedy. Like Abe Vigoda stoned and drunk on meths, looking for a fight by perving at your girlfriend. Please have appeared on the same label comps as That Fucking Tank and Chops, and its clattering enjoyable stuff from a band that don't seem to be taking themselves too seriously.

Please have a host of live dates coming up, including a headline slot at Dalston's 113 tomorrow with Leeds' Breads (more on them soon) and a host of other London dates over the next few months, including a Upset the Rhythm show. Now you try and google that shit! Here's their Myspace to help.

Please - Sutton Hoodoo

Friday cover up - No.4

Its time for Friday cover fun again and this week includes another tenuous link. The new LCD Soundsystem LP, This is Happening, drops 17th May and so I thought an LCD cover would be appropriate (see? well tenuous!) but its an awesome Joy Division cover so what the hell.

LCD Soundsystem - No Love Lost

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Record store geek day

Saturday is going to be a very busy day as its the, by now, annual Record Store Day! Yep its that time of year where vinyl crazy indie kids all over the globe got nuts over a plethora of super limited pressings of random one off vinyl treats from alternative music's great and good. And you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be one of them. Its an awesome idea and great way to support the independent record store in your life.

A taste of the many record shaped delights of this year's releases can be found below (that should translate as 'ones Paul wants') but it seems that the Blur 7" Fool's Day is the release that's got everyone in a right sweat. But others include...

•ATP 10" featuring Built To Spill, Sleepy Sun, Apse and Fursaxa AND the chance to win a 4 person chalet at ATP.
•The Flaming Lips re-recording of Pink Floyd’s classic album The Dark Side Of The Moon.
•Reissue of Deerhoof's 2003 release Apple O on blue vinyl.
•Reissue of The Beatles Paperback Writer 7" with Rain on the flip.
•Reissue of Electric Eels (I'm so) Agitated / Cyclotron on red vinyl.
•A four track EP, Doe Deer, form Crystal Castles.
•Fucked Up, The Daytrotter Sessions, 7" .
•Dum Dum Girls and Male Bonding split 7".
•Reissue of the Valleys of Neptune EP by Jimi Hendrix, coloured vinyl etc .
•Hot Chip (featuring Bonnie Prince Billy), I Feel Bonnie, 7" (as featured earlier on Sonic Masala!! - BT)
•Mogwai and Fuck Buttons split tour 7"
•The Rolling Stones Plundered My Soul limited 7" - previously unreleased track from the Exile period.
•Sonic Youth, Hits Are for Squares compilation album, including exclusive new recording Slow Revolution.
•Factory Records Communications 1978-1992 featuring Joy Division, New Order, The Durutti Column and the Happy Mondays.

And millions of others, including this by Beach House, taken form limited Record Store Day Zebra EP... at last a mp3!

Beach House - Zebra (UK Radio edit)

Naturally record stores are putting on lots of live shenanigans as well. Rough Trade and Pure Groove have some of the best line-ups, so photos, tracks and reviews (of a sort) to follow! Maybe we'll see there - but hands off that Blur 7"...

Thurston Moore lecturing young kids on Noise

If you were to choose anyone to explain the ins and outs of White Noise to your kids , Thurston Moore would probably be top of the wishlist...

Well, some lucky 8 to 12 year olds got to listen to an hour-long dissertation on the subject matter by the Sonic Youth founding member and had some fun twiddling knobs and messing about with distorted guitars with him...

Result? Check it out yourself on the video below...

The wolf howls some more

A while back Brendan and I were privileged to see Sonic Masala favourite Wolf People live, supporting Besnard Lakes. A proper gig review is on its way but in the meantime here's some photos of said Wolf People doing their thing. Oh and another track from their ace debut L.P. Tidings.

Wolf People - Black Water

Cheer up No Joy

Now I have to admit without the awesomeness that Gorilla vs Bear brings to my life, I would be even more behind than I usually am. However, much thanks to that blog of effortless genius for pointing me in the direction of LA/Montreal duo No Joy. Their single, No Summer, is a delicate slice of fuzzy shoegaze heaven. Check out their band camp page, here, for the B side, No Joy, and more.

No Joy - No Summer

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Nebula snail slime

Another reminder for an LP release (they always come thick and fast this time of year) from Aussie psychedelic hypno-groove trio Tame Impala. Their second album Innerspeaker is out May 21st on Modular. Taste below. I also found out today that they're playing Glasto, which is bob on fit in my book. Tame Impala is also the movement in Orion's nebula and the slime from a snail's journey across a footpath. You learn something everyday.

Tame Impala - Runway Houses City Clouds

Platoon to the moon

Just a quick reminder that the new, and sadly final, Magic Lantern LP, Platoon, drops at the end of the month. Here's a little takeout if the California band haven't swept your way before on their psych drenched space bound wipeouts. Naturally its out on Not Not Fun, who also put out Cameron Stallone's Sun Araw trip loops.

Magic Lenten - Dark Cicadas excerpt

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Biblical music - with a K

Jakob are possibly New Zealand's finest current exponent of post rock. In a country flooded with (admittedly good) dub groups, Jakob cut a swathe through the pretenders to pave their own path, to differing levels of success (due to the fact that there are so many dub bands in New Zealand! The vicious cycle continues...)

Still, there is hope, as bands such as Isis and Australia's Cog have taken them around the world with them, and they are about to release an album 4 years in the making later this year, of which you can also get a sample here. In the meantime, check out their very cool clip for Nice Day For An Earthquake, from 2006's Solace.

Here's hoping...

I can smell the warmth coming off the pavement in the evening. That smoky glow that beckons you to the pub at the end of the day, it cries out to embrace you, to smooth your cares away, for you to be tranquil and just plain smile. Virginia's Eternal Summers know what I'm banging on about, or at least I think they do. Maybe its just our little secret.

Eternal Summers - Safe At Home
Buy the Vinyl here

Monday, 12 April 2010

We are water, red, red water

New HEALTH vid for We Are Water, taken from last year's awesome Get Color. Top five album from last year for sure. In fact the vid is just as awesome and gives me an urge to slap the whole album on, and then vomit up my lunch. I saw them two nights in a row last year, god they're good live! Which looks a bit like this...

mp3 if you missed out:

HEALTH - We Are Water - (removed at request)