Ruins, as a word, can mean two things: as a noun, it is a decrepit run-down structure, no longer inhabited. Ruins, as a verb, is to degrade something, to bring about its demise, to fall into ruin. This ambiguity of meaning reveals a hidden face in Grouper's new album, which is much concerned with uncertainty, in marginal spaces that don't necessarily add up or make sense. The word "maybe" occurs multiple times, alongside dream language and landscapes, of cycles and mountainous bodyscapes. Grouper - Ruins Album ReviewToo often, when we talk about music, we talk about it in declarative, categorical terms, as if we were ranking market positions and cataloging guitar solos. This way of thinking and talking about music completely negates the purpose of Grouper's music, and leads to a culture where only the brashest, hypiest, blaring-est musics get heard; the equivalent of everyone shouting to be heard at a dinner party. Instead, Liz Harris' music invites you to lean in and listen closer.

 

With a drab color palette of greys and and blues, reminiscent of somber films like A Single Man, comes the music video for Antony And The Johnsons' emotive new track, "Cut The World". At just under 5 minutes, the music video features some well-known faces and figures, like William Dafoe, Marina Abramovic, and Carice van Houten. The slow-moving mini-drama finds its main strength in singular facial expressions, moods conveyed by slight gestures, and focuses on minuteia. And with this brief description, you should watch this video (along with the one for the philosophical "Future Feminine" -- both available after the jump), as it is a miniature cinematic achievement in music video form.

 

Directed by Nabil

 

"He's like an ambient R. Kelly," describes one girl to her friend. Both are waiting outside of Portland's Holocene for How To Dress Well, the project of solo musician Tom Krell, to take the stage. As simultaneously flattering and unflattering any comparisons to R. Kelly might be, they are, in this case, not entirely appropriate or accurate. Tom Krell of How To Dress Well is not R. Kelly though he may have a cadence that is similar. Nor are the differences found in both musicians' adoration of '90s R&B, which in Krell's case, was evidenced by slyly inserted homages to songs like INOJ's "Love You Down" and R. Kelly's "I Wish". Obvious fact of race aside, what separates Krell from a musician like R. Kelly is stage presence. Whereas one might expect R. Kelly to sloppily fall on his knees and babble when seized by the power and might of soul music, watching Krell is arresting in a completely different way. Krell is certainly brimming with passion, but in a much more reserved sense, coming off sometimes more as a choir boy than a soul singer. One almost wishes at times that he would throw more caution into the wind, to not only sing words with conviction, but to get a little less controlled, more possessed, and more anything goes in his entire being.
Portland, OR @ Holocene - June 14th, 2012

 

Whim is a weekly collection of media focused on independent rock/pop/garage and everything surrounding it. This week we feature the incredible new Grizzly Bear track, an Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti cover, a brand new Jens Lekman cut and more. So yeah, it's been an insanely busy week for music junkies. And a good one too.

 

Grizzly Bear

Putting some of my personal fixations with Grizzly Bear aside, the release of their brand new song almost imploded the internet last week. "Sleeping Ute" is taken from the bands yet-to-be-titled album, due out later this year on Warp, and is an explosive mix of scaling guitars and the band's collective vocal range. It's incredibly reminiscent of member Daneil Rossen's Department of Eagles project, digging into darker, more cathartic sounds on the third verse. It's different from "Two Weeks," which is kind of a bold statement considering the success of that song and Veckatimest as a whole, but "Sleeping Ute" is expansive and brilliant. So for now at least, they have my attention.

 

Human trafficking is one of those things that it seems the world overall turns a blind eye to. Minus a few well-to-do NGOs and agencies desperately trying to create awareness, each year hundreds of thousands of individuals are illegally trafficked across the globe.  Some are sent for labor, some are...

Like a whale call bubbling forth from oceanic depths, Sister Crayon's 2011 release on Manimal Vinyl, Bellow, is an album dense with emotional weight. "When I think of someone bellowing, I just see a sad, really powerful thing coming out of someone," explains vocalist Terra Lopez. "Years of an... exhausting type of feeling." Bellow is an aural manifestation of such exhaustion -- a collective "bellow" from a group of Nothern California musicians who do not shy away from the fascinations which arise from darkness. Filled with trip-hop beats, soaring operatic vocals, distorted guitars, and delicate synth lines, the sonic universe of Sister Crayon is a varied and complex one. What holds consistent, though, is the band's fortitude, as they explore parallel emotional states through individualized experiences.

Tyler T. Williams directs this cinematic epic for Youth Lagoon's "Montana," perhaps capturing a snippet from the life and mind of Youth Lagoon's Trevor Powers. Says Powers: "My whole life I've dealt with extreme anxiety. Not anxiety about passing a test or somewhat normal things, but weird.. bizarre things. Things that...

Directed by Joe Maggio, Starring Dennis Farina United States A couple hours ago--6pm CST to be exact--somebody--an intern, a volunteer, a professional carpet tacker--somebody--rolled out the red carpet to start the 47th Chicago International Film Festival. It was humming with excitement over on East Randolph at the Harris Theatre, as fans and...