Broken Deer Polaraura Self-Released Releasing an album means recording, mixing, mastering, and sharing a piece of yourself through music -- and the way all that happens can be unbelievably revealing. In Broken Deer's experimental, ghostly, and cassette-recorded fifth release, Polaraura, we get a unique window into Lindsay Dobbin's musical temperament as well as her natural and spiritual concerns. At the same time breathlessly intimate and palpably alienating, Dobbin's music invites external forces in while still keeping itself closed off, lending an interesting dichotomy to Polaraura's collection of fluctuating sounds and melodies.

 

Black Moth Super Rainbow make music for maniacs; misfits that don't fit in anywhere but a Black Moth Super Rainbow show. The combination of lo-fi, surreal visuals with muscular funk rhythms and a battery of cosmic sci-fi synths transport listeners to a grainy interzone of abandoned playgrounds, rolling cemeteries, and haunted shopping malls. The music of Tobacco (vocals/vocoder), Seven Fields of Aphelion (synth), Iffernaut (drums), Ryan Graveface (guitar), and Pony Diver (bass) is both nostalgic, romantic & playful, while maintaining an air of menace and danger.
In an insert that came with the album Dandelion Gum, there was talk of "vocoders humming amongst the flowers and synths bubbling under the leaf-strewn ground while flutes whistle in the wind and beats bounce to the soft drizzle of a warm acid rain". This sure sounds like technopagan nature worship, but then you have track names like "I Think I'm Evil" and "Psychic Love Damage", and you're just not sure what to think anymore. In a recent interview with Paste Magazine, Tobacco (real name: Tom Fec) spoke of the apparent contradiction:
"This is not a hippie band. It was never meant to be. I've always felt like, whether you can hear it in my music or not — and I'm sure you couldn't — almost like a punk asshole. People thought I was this gentle weed-smoking kid tripping out in a field somewhere. I think I'm more of like a dickhead prankster."
He then went on to describe backlash he received for the Sun Lips video from irate fans because the video "wasn't psychedelic".
"[All those expectations on what I'm supposed to like] are part of what I call the Black Moth box. You create this thing that's outside of the box, right? And the second you do that, people build a box for it. And it becomes an even smaller box than any box you were trying to not be in. And I feel like that happened to Black Moth."

 

Amassing rare and forgotten music is a peculiar sort of hobby -- one that slowly transforms into an addiction. It's not that I don't love mainstream music. It's just that the thrill of listening to some forgotten gem that everybody else has overlooked is powerful. It also feeds into the collector's impulse I have to overturn every stone to find that song, and my love of complete collections. Not surprisingly, I also like to collect comic books. I guess I'm the type. In any event, here are five lesser-known musicians that I believe everybody should give a listen to, dating as far back as the 1920s and focusing on jazz, folk, and blues.

Mississippi Joe Callicott (1899 - 1969)

Callicott was not your typical North Mississippi blues musician. Musicians from the hill country tend to vamp on a few chords, focusing on a droning, almost hypnotic sound; Callicott was a fingerpicker in the vein of a Piedmont guitarist, with a dash of Jimmie Rodgers. He recorded three songs independently in 1929 and 1930: "Fare Thee Well Blues," "Traveling Mama," and "Mississippi Boll Weevil Blues", the last of which went unreleased. Two additional tracks were recorded with Garfield Akers, the "Cottonfield Blues" -- and here, his finger picking is energetic and nimble, bordering on aggressive.1 After the 1930 session, he went unrecorded for 37 years. He was not totally forgotten, however, as his songs started to appear in anthologies of Delta Blues. He was eventually found in Nesbit, Mississippi by George Mitchell, who recorded several songs with him in August 1967. These became the basis for a number of records and re-releases, the best of which was probably Fat Possum's Ain't a Gonna Lie to You. Unfortunately, his guitar playing had diminished somewhat by this time, but his voice had matured beautifully. His singing on "Frankie and Albert" is expressive and full of sadness yet was beautiful and nuanced throughout. After these sessions, he recorded several songs for Blue Horizons which were a bit lower-quality and rougher. He died in 1969 and was only recently given a proper headstone. Purchase Mississippi Joe Callicott Albums On Amazon Mississippi Joe Callicott - "Cottonfield Blues" [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Joe-Callicott_Cottonfield-Blues.mp3|titles=Mississippi Joe Callicott - Cottonfield Blues] Mississippi Joe Callicott - "Frankie And Albert" [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Joe-Callicott_Frankie-And-Albert.mp3|titles=Mississippi Joe Callicott - Frankie And Albert]  

Youth Lagoon Wondrous Bughouse Fat Possum Around the time Trevor Powers was set to release his first record for free, before Fat Possum or any other record label came calling -- or rather, begging -- there was an insatiable desire for home-recorded dream pop. Atlas Sound, Wild Nothing, Real Estate... the list goes on and on, an endless wealth of nostalgic-tinted, lo-fi recordings that fans, websites, and magazines couldn't get enough of. As a result, Youth Lagoon's initial rise always felt forced, and his debut nothing out of the ordinary, a collection of expected music. But now, as time has passed and tastes have shifted, Powers' brand of estranged psych ambiance somehow stands alone. And he wouldn't have it any other way. In talking about his debut, The Year of Hibernation, Powers consistently brought up the fact that his music is dictated by what haunts him, not by any contrived sense of nostalgia, no matter how retro or en vogue his songs may sound. The ability to escape the misappropriation of The Year of Hibernation proved vastly important in the growth of Youth Lagoon, but Wondrous Bughouse ushers in a new era for the ambitious musician.
ALBUM REVIEW CONTINUES BELOW
SUMMARY: "Instead of the mostly personal stories Powers was so insistent on telling throughout The Year of Hibernation -- an exercise no doubt necessary for his overall maturation -- Wondrous Bughouse is a much more outward-facing record."

 

"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles. Brooklyn sister duo Prince Rama return with one of their boldest and most well-formulated conceptual spins on their own music yet with their latest record, Top Ten Hits Of The End Of The World. This post samples some tracks and goes into details about the bands and backstories they've invented, their Kickstarter-funded DIY film, their "So Destroyed" dance contest, and a shared recording with Sun Araw. SEE: FULL POST + ALL TOP POP COLUMNS + ALL MUSIC COLUMNS

 

Top Ten Hits For The End Of The World Tracks & Backstories

Prince Rama have long been about chasing the conceptual with their multimedia-encompassing theatrics, but their latest idea, Top Ten Hits For The End Of The World, takes our collective 2012 fascination with the apocalypse and turns it into a most playful collection of pop hits. In my opinion, this record, which is comprised of ten tracks from ten fictional bands -- all of which have extensive back stories crafted by the girls themselves -- is the duo's strongest to date. With Ariel Pink lo-fi vibes but with collation of genres both fictional and invented ("cosmic disco", "motorcycle rock", and "ghost-modern glam", to name a few), the model of Top Ten Hits... frees the girls from the binds of expectation and allows the to run free on all fronts. Rage Peace - "So Destroyed" (as channeled by Prince Rama) For the album's first single, Prince Rama took on the nihilistic protest band Rage Peace's violent-turned-pop songs. According to the press release, "Rage Peace formed as a small protest band in the early 90s and before they knew it they were the Bob Dylans of a whole generation of angry youth. They became founding members of the Rage Peace movement, based on the principle of nihilism as the only true order, and wrote songs with violent messages placed in seemingly saccharine pop structures. The band was notorious for staging organized acts of violence and destruction, burning cars and sometimes buildings in the name of chaos. When the end came, their bodies were found locked inside a limousine they had set on fire. The license plate read 'HEY U'."

 

Peaking Lights Lucifer Mexican Summer Peaking Lights' very popular sophomore release, 936, received a large amount of acclaim two years ago. The laid-back, dub-influenced style of their third full-length, Lucifer, has an overwhelming reggae influence that is not exactly an expected progression, but provides a rather smooth transition nonetheless. One notable distinction between the two is the lack of an obvious "single" on Lucifer. It works together nicely as an album, but I had trouble picking out one song in particular that I wanted to listen to constantly.
SEE FULL REVIEW OF PEAKING LIGHTS - LUCIFER

 

SUMMARY: Compared to Peaking Lights' last album, 936, Lucifer is much more like a fun-loving, peaceful tribute to a new life, despite the dark aspects of naming an album after the devil.

 

The collaged work of Nicholas Lockyer and Nick Paliughi caught my eye on the same day. Though their styles are different -- with Paliughi's works a bit more ornate and Lockyer's a bit more lo-fi -- the two embrace similar color palettes and compositional tendencies that make even the busiest of moments of each piece feel like negative space in contrast to their focal points (not to mention the obvious double Nick appeal). Recurring themes of humanity and nature also seem to play a fine and entertaining role with both, though Lockyer's pieces feel darker and more humorously perverse, and Paliughi's more whimsical and playful.
(16 IMAGES TOTAL)

 

Nick Paliughli

Paliughli claims to have been making hand-cut collages since "he fell out of a barn broke his ribs. The ribs healed but the urge to make collages did not." Humorous.

 

Nicholas Lockyer

The closest thing I could find to a bio was his friend calling him an "image poet" in this "magical" image. It speaks well for him.

 

As the unfavorable clouds finally passed over Portland to introduce the splendid few weeks of summer we're afforded each year, outdoor happenings of every sort become a commodity Portlanders are all too eager to take advantage of. Trips to the river, frisbee sessions at the park, and of course, outdoor music. And there's no better example of this than the early summer tradition at East End. Their two-day outdoor Block Party is something of a rarity in the city, especially as its located in the heart of the now bustling inner-SE district. So as the sun began to set on Saturday night, sandwiched between a couple of empty warehouses, a few friends from Brooklyn and a terrific group from Mississippi took to the stage. When I arrived just before The Babies' set, there was a typical East End band playing to a gathering crowd; the day was merely beginning for the all day mini-fest. Crust punks and general misanthropes gathered round, and as whatever band was playing their tired, expected punk rock, it was easy to see the crowd was in for a bit of culture shock once The Babies and Dent May finally began their respective sets.

 

July 7th, 2012 - East End Block Party @ East End, Portland, OR

 

Hands In The Dark was born at the end of a boozy party in 2010! What could have ended up just a brilliant idea and a short-lived story became the start of a great musical adventure, bringing together two lovers of "unclassified" music. Hands In the Dark pulls together various sounds with the common feature of mixing pop and experimental music. Grouping them under the title 'Expop' music, HITD has quickly reached its 12th release comprising CD's, vinyl and even tapes. HITD also means ''DIY''. We build everything from top to bottom, from contact with the bands we love to sending out the parcels. We always preserve our freedom with no artistic pressure. Such is the great enterprise of HITD. In short, a French label with a certain je-ne-sais-quoi... Thanks to Amélie and Alice...

 

Curation & Translation by Morgan & Onito; Additional Translation by Jeff Diteman Hands In The Dark est né fin 2010 lors d'une soirée arrosée! Ce qui aurait pu s'apparenter à une fulgurance doublée d'une histoire sans lendemain n'était en fait que le début d'une belle aventure musicale réunissant deux amis passionnés de musiques inclassables. Hands In The Dark rassemble des sonorités diverses et ayant pour dénominateur commun un côté expérimental allié à un versant pop. Rassemblé sous l'étiquette d' «Expop music», le catalogue du label comptera bientôt 12 références... Cd's, vinyles mais aussi cassettes. HITD, c'est aussi l'importance du côté « DIY ». Tout est de A à Z géré par nos soins, de la prise de contact avec les groupes que l'on aime à l'envoi des disques. Aucune entrave à notre liberté, aucune contrainte artistique... Tel est le vaste chantier de HITD. Merci à Amélie et Alice.

 

"Night Song", shot entirely in a single take and without the teeniest bit of post-editing, sees a scramble of projected black and white characters, shapes, and words transforming vocalist and director Kim Krans' face and form into entirely new compositions every couple seconds. In the brief Q&A below, Krans addresses the concept behind the video and its creation process, and a small gallery of her visual art can be viewed. Their upcoming record, Grace & Lies, will be released via No Quarter Records this month.