Decades in the making, the musical duo Matmos have built upon their noisy and experimental past to create increasingly conceptual albums that collide together many worlds of thought and style. On their latest album, The Marriage of True Minds, M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel have properly outdone themselves, this time basing their project on a concept so well-crafted that its exact specifications shall never be known by anyone save for the band members themselves. At the heart of these vagaries are experiments in extrasensory projections -- that's right, ESP -- though be not fooled: Matmos are skeptical in their own way. Daniel is quick to drop the fun fact that belief in ESP is still considered a symptom of schizophrenia, so outlandish it seems to scientific professionals -- but all that hardly matters in the context of Matmos' project, for they aren't looking to shift any scientific paradigms. No, they are looking to shift their own musical paradigm, and five years of conducting artistic ESP research and synthesizing its results have led to what may perhaps be the band's most exciting record yet. What's more, Matmos have proven that growing with age and experience have not made them any tamer. Their apparently unyielding desire to explore the strange and experimental is as strong as ever, even if it is taking on many different shapes along the way.

 

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.

 

SPECTRAL HYPNOSIS A recurring series, featuring mesmerizing songs for one to lose sense of time and space, mind and body. Three acts today, including tracks from solo electronic musicians Co La and Mister Lies, as well as a bootlegged live session from Portland's Swahili.

 

Co La

By regurgitating a whole slew of influences past and present, solo artist Matthew Papich, aka Co La, creates pastiches that might fall into the trappings of electronic glitchiness if it weren't for their frequently analog source materials. Hands In The Dark records have just unlocked Papich's upcoming EP, Soft Power Memento, for us to stream in its entirety, below. The album single is "Love Nest", and were it actually a love nest, it'd be a strange one -- certainly a bungalow, though possibly outfitted with a surround-sound speaker system that plays alongside grooving jazz musicians and drumming natives. The EP is being released by Hands In The Dark and NNA Tapes, in limited quantities, on CD and tape.

 

Our third-annual album cover art feature uses interviews with artists and musicians to highlight the philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance of great album cover artwork. THE BREAKDOWN    12 Collage + 14 Digital Illustration, Drawing, Design + 19 Illustration, Painting, Drawing + 8 Black And White Photography + 22 Color Photography + 6 Deluxe Packaging + 10 Fashion, Sculpture, Installation _____________________________    91 Album Covers For 2011 Best Of 2011 Album Cover Art

Adventure - Lesser Known
Using a purely spontaneous creative process that begins with nothing more than a general interest, Elena Johnston created an album cover for Adventure that musically and thematically captures the band's dynamic spirit.
QUOTES FROM: ELENA JOHNSTON, DESIGNER THEMES & CONCEPTS "I had been working with the idea of framing compelling found images with other found images to play with texture and spacial relations. I was also really into water imagery and space imagery at the time, so I played with how these two ideas visually and conceptually play with each other." THE EXTRAS "I hand-drew the typography, and it was eventually printed in glossy ink onto the matte finish of the image, so it stands out more." Record Label Carpark Records The Artists Design - Elena Johnston Booklet Design - Benny Boeldt Mediums & Materials Collage, Digital
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Adventure "Rio" by Carpark Records

What is there to say about a Dan Deacon concert that hasn't already been said? He's probably one of the most photographed and documented live acts in recent years -- and especially considering his studio albums are decent at best, covering the Baltimore native is no small task. How do...

Compared to other festivals around the world, FYF Fest in Los Angeles is still in its infancy as it celebrated its eighth year this past weekend. However, with 37 bands and 18 comedians spread out on five stages, it is quite the extraordinary kid on the block. Last year the festival received a lot of beef for long lines, water shortages, and overall poor planning. A year can make a big difference and the festival organizers seemed to have learned their lesson as all previous issues were remedied. That left a great line-up of reunited punks, college rock veterans, mid-heavyweight electronic music-makers, and a new graduating class of garage rock to reign over the LA State Historic Park. Although bands like Guided By Voices and The Descendents did a good job at fulfilling nostalgic dreams, it was the bands with an eager spark that really stood out. And extra cool points to FYF for naming the stages after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

September 7th, 2011 - Los Angeles Historic State Park, Los Angeles, CA Photography by Koury Angelo

 

Future Islands

Although its band members have a history in performance art, list Kraftwerk as an influence, and are praised by indie critics, Future Islands are one of those bands that most people might not understand when listening to their record. However, in the live setting, everything becomes clear. It is like an epiphany which reveals to all that Future Islands is a phenomenal band that makes gorgeous music. At 3:35 p.m. it was a really hot part of the day and the tent where Future Islands performed (AKA Splinter's Den) was packed. But it was not just full of people simply trying to escape the heat. On the contrary, the crowd loved Future Islands and were dancing and clapping to the synthy beats and genuine vocals of this Baltimore band. Vocalist Samuel T. Herring bounced around on stage the entire time with an enthralling energy. After playing "Walking Through That Door" and "Tin Man" both off last year's In Evening Air, the crowd could not resist joining the band on stage. Future Islands wins for the most pleasant surprise at FYF Fest.

 

Animal Collective have just released a five-song EP entitled Fall Be Kind on the heels of their unbelievable smash, Merriweather Post Pavilion. Merriweather was a true rock n' roll landmark. Catchy vocals atop electronic cacophony set a new standard for indie composition. The question now facing Animal Collective: how will...

Caught this duo from Baltimore open for Blitzen Trapper a couple of weeks ago and I have to say I was quite transfixed. Especially cause the drummer Andy Stack plays the keyboards and the drums at the same time! Amazing! Lets not forget that guitarist/vocalist Jenn Wasner has...