Oftentimes, a complete change in sound and a long delay between full-length albums marks the death knell of a band, or at least a rebirth. After a long brainstorming session -- during which the band lost a guitarist, put out an EP without that guitarist, and gained another in time for the latest record -- Metavari has returned, and the Metavari you hear on Moonless is not the Metavari you heard six years ago, during the release of Be One of Us and Hear No Noise. This time around, the quartet from Fort Wayne, Indiana, seems to have found its niche in the instrumental world, eschewing the grand sonic explosions commonly associated with post-rock in favor of analog and electronic sounds and samples.
Metavari Press Photo
Sankt Otten - Engtanz Depression
The genre formerly known as post-rock has had a long, convoluted, and troubled history. It was originally used in print by the rock critic Simon Reynolds to describe bands like Talk Talk and Bark Psychosis, who were bringing in elements of less whitebread music - disco, African rhythms, jazz, krautrock, and Jamaican dub -- and extending their structures to more widescreen classical formats, and blending them with the primal fury of rock 'n roll. Post-rock may have also been the last and greatest victim of co-option and conformity (or can at least share that honor with dubstep), before finally succumbing to postmodern dissolution for good. What became of post-rock? Oh-so-serious dudes in black clothes with long band names, mindlessly aping Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky, turned what could have been the most promising mixture of head and heart, guts and chops into a marketing cliché. Thankfully, the German instrumental duo Sankt Otten rewind the clock with Engantz Depression, and make us reassess the possibilities of blending rock instruments with electronic music for a compelling hybrid that takes post-rock back to its roots, to begin again.

 

Jerzy Flisak - "Gang Olsena Na Szlaku (The Olsen Gang)" (1976)
Generally brightly-colored and psychedelic in nature, Polish film, theatre, and circus posters from the mid-1940s through the 1980s have played a major role on inspiring modern poster art and graphic design. Supported at the time by the Polish government and arguably transformed into the prime form of art in the nation, Polish posters are known for their ability to hint at deeper meanings and personalities through allusion and metaphor, initially seen only as bold strokes of visual fancy. Their history is a complex and dynamic one worthy of many more words, influenced equally by Communism and politics as the state of the international arts scene of the time. In this comparative interview, we speak with two creative studios -- Eye Sea Posters, based in the United Kingdom and dedicated to poster archiving and reselling, and The Affiche Studio, which is based in the United States and dedicated to poster restoration -- on just what makes Polish posters so compelling.
Jacek Neugebauer - "Gwiazdy Egeru" (1969)
James Dyer of Eye Sea Posters
Eye Sea Posters is a graphic archive and online shop specializing in Polish film, theatre and circus posters from the '60s and '70s. Based in the United Kingdom, they feature a hand-picked collection of artist, including Wiktor Gorka, Waldemar Swierzy, Franciszek Starowieyski, Andrzej Krajewski and Jerzy Flisak.
Jason Leonard of The Affiche Studio
Located in Portland, Oregon, The Affiche Studio is a poster restoration company working with a large range of poster styles and types, well beyond vintage Polish works. Jason Leonard is the studio's owner and Curator of Restoration. An impressive array of before and after samples of their restorations can be seen on their website.
Pure Bathing Culture Moon Tides Partisan Records (2013) Moon Tides is dreamy atmospheric pop, swathed in romantic reverb, but what does this predilection towards cavernous sounds say about our current obsessions? Pure Bathing Culture reflect a number of themes of the indie underground like a crystal ball, that are easily missed or ignored with cursory reductive listening. There's more going on here. Moon Tides takes steps towards defining the spirit of 2013 -- or one manifestation of it, anyway. First of all, let's look at the fact that Daniel Hindman and Sarah Versprille transplanted to Portland, OR from Brooklyn in 2011, after playing together in the retroactive folk rock band Vetiver. This reflects the cultural shift away from industry and big business, as Brooklyn was the place to make it during the 2000s. This westward push shows a growing interest in mysticism, meditation, quiet simple enjoyment of life and of nature. It shows Portland's increasing role as a cultural mecca, for a particular type of person. No one has named this westward push, and as such, it still has interest and potency. Even though they haven't been there that long, Pure Bathing Culture are quintessentially Portland, and are a useful lens through which to notice things going on here in the Northwest. They are a gender-balanced duo, which is something you see a lot of here in the City Of Roses. They transubstantiate the mood of '60s mysticism (Moon Tides features themes about astrology, crystals, tarot cards), and place them in a modern context. You could interpret Pure Bathing Culture departing Vetiver as the culture leaving behind '70s psych folk wanderings, the freak folk of the 2000s, and stepping into the '80s. Moon Tides reflects what people like, what people are like, what we all gravitate towards.

 

Demon Queen Exorcise Tape Rad Cult (2013) Exorcise Tape is a soundtrack to an ectoplasmic burlesque in the 6th rung, born of a bad break-up, graffiti, and a strip club on 29th street in Tucson. Zackey Force Funk, of the hip-hop collective Machina Muerte, delivers smooth falsetto-sleaze over Tobacco's neon synths and old school beats. Demon Queen have mastered the inverted cross aesthetic and the voice of a billion Tumblrs, layering Satanic imagery over plastic '80s funk.

Tobacco

Black Moth Super Rainbow frontman and solo musician Tobacco is on duty for synth wizardry and production.

Zackey Force Funk

Rocking falsetto hard is this Tuscon-based member of the Machina Muerte hip-hop collective.

 

HealeyIsland On Ponzi Bridge White Label MusicFrances Fukuyama's book The End Of History, published in 1992, went directly against Jacques Derrida's Spectres of Marx, predicting the global triumph of Capitalism and of the Spectacle. Greg Healey's music, as HealeyIsland, is the soundtrack of sprawling shopping complexes and virtual dating sites. This is the world predicted by Walter Benjamin, in his unfinished Passagenwerken (The Arcades Project): the birth of the pop culture, the beginning of the shopping mall, of commerce, of virtuality. It's the simulacrum's smug satisfaction that it is real, that it has it all under control, under wraps. It's a dustbin museum, full of never-ending card catalogs, everything dated and numbered, and we are told to go pilfer, go explore. But the museum is not real life; Healey remembers the outside, the sunshine and dirty gutters. Healey both pays reverence to and makes a mockery of high-definition, high-gloss early-'90s CGI utopianism in On Ponzi Bridge. Healey loves and hates the spectacle, and fights back with the keenest of British weapons: sarcasm.
 
"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles. Here's a cheerful post with Sub Pop Records' Still Corners, Born Gold's Teenage Sweater, and UK musician Chad Valley, of Jonquil, featuring Glasser's Cameron Mesirow. SEE ALSO +++ FULL POST + ALL TOP POP COLUMNS + ALL MUSIC COLUMNS

 

Chad Valley

Glasser's Cameron Mesirow turns everything to gold with her New Age delicacy, and Twin Shadow's George Lewis Jr. churns out fanatic fans like none other. So it is that both musicians take the '80s pop-inspired tracks of Hugo Manuel (aka Chad Valley) to the next level. The comparison to "'80s pop" is not used lightly here; Chad Valley pretty much epitomizes the genre, complete with the most straight-forward pop vocals you've probably heard in a while. "Fall 4 U" and "I Owe You This" come from Young Hunger, out on Cascine, and the whole record boasts additional contributions from similarly-minded guest stars include El Perro Del Mar, Active Child, and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Full tracklisting to follow, along with an upbeat remix by Lissvik. Chad Valley Ft. Twin Shadow - "I Owe You This" Chad Valley Ft. Glasser - "Fall 4 U" (Original)

 

September 28th, 2012 @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY

Niki & The Dove

WRITTEN BY JUDY NELSON With their debut album Instinct recently released in the US, Niki & the Dove were an apt opener for Twin Shadow. Lead singer Malin Dahlström is reminiscent of a modern Cyndi Lauper, while also showing serious deference to fellow Swedish indie star Karin Dreijer of The Knife. Gothic and quirky in the same beat, Dahlström had strong stage presence and a powerful voice to back up what might be construed as overly dramatic dance moves. Keyboardist and guitarist Gustaf Karlöf was a solid but quiet presence, contributing the occasional vocal and any extra instrumentation, ranging from the Maracas to the rarely-seen-live Chinese hand drum, the Bolang Gu (波浪鼓). SEE FULL LIVE SHOW REVIEW

 

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Bleep is a column focusing on varying degrees of electronic music news, videos and MP3s. In this post, '80s sci-fi influences electronics are given their due as Majeure and Chrome Canyon churn out analog synth-layered landscapes like nobody's business.
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Chrome Canyon

We begin with the well-reputed New York-based musician Chrome Canyon, whose latest record, Elemental Themes, will come out on Stones Throw on October 9th. This music video for "Branches", directed by the solo artist Morgan Z himself, was inspired by the visually-stunning Koyaanisqatsi, for which you can view a trailer below. Unlike Majeure, to follow, the sounds of Chrome Canyon occasionally has more terrestrial grounding to tie it back to earth as we know it. This comes in the form of chopped vocal samples, straight-forward drums, live bass and guitar, and occasional Bach-like compositions of madness. Not to mention the elusive sounds of the Theremin. Elemental Themes tracklisting to follow after the jump. CHROME CANYON - "BRANCHES" KOYAANISQATSI TRAILER

 

Teengirl Fantasy Tracer True Panther Sounds / R&S Since the release of their debut album, conversations surrounding Teengirl Fantasy usually revolve around the group meeting in college and quickly fetishize the idea of the duo reviving house and techno records from decades gone by. And while 7AM certainly paid homage to others through its use of samples and unique editing, the group’s approach to their sophomore record has completely shifted their original outlook; it’s now less about the past and more about the future. And with the help of a few friends, the duo of Nick Weiss and Logan Takahashi may have finally found their truest sound: a balance of gorgeous vocals and incredible synth work.
SUMMARY: Guest stars from artists like Panda Bear, Laurel Halo, and Romanthony and a more future-minded approach make this record.

 

Whereas Seattle still seems to be lagging well behind places like the Bay Area and Portland as far as potent psych rock goes, it has long been a haven for underground knob twiddlers of the more adventurous variety. Years back, there was a regular, mainly noise-themed night at the Baltic Room called No Tomorrow, that basically died due to lack of interest or attendance. I went to quite a few of those and you could generally count on a turnout of roughly four people. I'm sure you could cite factors like shows being on the hard sell on Sunday nights, but I think you'd also have to address the harsh noise aspect of the whole endeavor and how a lot of times that might as well be chick (and gay guy) repellant. Unless I'm in a bad vibes or demonic purging type of mood, even I get fairly bored with endless swaths of monolithic pedal howling. You've got to soften me up before you head fuck me like that. But these things never truly vanish into thin air; they just get pushed down to subterranean levels and then eventually sprout forth anew as a burgeoning seedling destined to bear the strangest of fruits. And so, a new and hopefully regular experimental electro night is born called Motor, curated by Sam Melancon, proprietor of the always compelling Debacle Records.
Seattle, WA @ The Comet Tavern - June 13th, 2012 LIVE SHOW REVIEW CONTINUED BELOW

 

Remix City Sifting through mountains of remix trash so you don't have to, in an attempt to find the ones that contribute to their originals. Today's post runs the gamut in musical style, but pay special note to the Whitney Houston tribute. R.I.P., woman. Wooden Shjips If you weren't convinced that about everyone...