This mixtape is an ode to the tender elegance and unbridled wanderlust of every springtime renewal. It's our way of saying: goodbye endless winter, hello brand new sunshine. Music for floating overseas through seasons of change, following the cyan expanses, or just heading out to the open sky. This is the sound of innocence won back. Take a deep breath, and jump right in.
Curation and descriptions bySandra Croft, Cascine's publicist.
Fat White Family
Trashmouth RecordsMy first listen of Fat White Family's debut, Champagne Holocaust, left me thinking of notorious criminal Charles Manson. No sense emerged from this until my thoughts turned to the stark contrast, chasm even, between the monstrousness of Manson and the majesty of his music: deranged yet lucid, at once pretty yet horrific. A subsequent visit to Fat White Family's Tumblr page displayed the visage of Manson whose own Family, it turns out, partly inspired this British band's name.
Like Manson's, their odd charm is seductive, and among the accolades they've accrued is The Quietus' Tomorrow's Cult Star Today award at BBC 6 Music Blog Awards. Some have attributed this popularity to their live show antics. Duly noted, but it's the aforementioned contrasts in their songs that might account for this, for therein lies the captivating appeal of this debut.
Whim is a collection of media focused on rock/pop/garage and everything surrounding it. Mellowing things out with recent Domino signee Ducktails and the unpredictably satisfying Levek.
SEE: FULL POST + ALL WHIM POSTS + ALL MUSIC COLUMNS
It's still early, but you can now hear a teaser track from Ducktails' The Flower Lane, which comes out January 29th, 2013 via the band's new label, Domino Records. Frontman and main man Matt Mondanile has taken the downtime from his involvement with lo-fi rockers Real Estate to mix a new record with Al Carlson (Peaking Lights, Oneohtrix Point Never). And as is often the case with Ducktails' music, it may take repeat listens before "The Flower Lane" makes a lasting impression, but rest assured that there is emotional comfort to be found in these familiar easy-going sounds, and "The Flower Lane" is but one mellow indicator of the record's lusher and more robust sound.
Catch a review of Mondanile's formerly more lo-fi sounds via our review of Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics.
DUCKTAILS - THE FLOWER LANE TRACKLISTING
1. Ivy Covered House
2. The Flower Lane
3. Under Cover
4. Timothy Shy
5. Planet Phrom
6. Assistant Director
7. Sedan Magic
8. International Date Line
9. Letter Of Intent
10. Academy Avenue
"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles. Two female-fronted records from Taken By Trees and Southern Shores offer their unique spins on tropical-influenced experimental pop and release their records on the same day (October 2) via Secretly Canadian and Cascine, respectively.
SEE: FULL POST + ALL TOP POP COLUMNS + ALL MUSIC COLUMNS
Taken By Trees
Victoria Bergsman, former frontwoman of The Concretes and the female voice on Peter Bjorn And John's "Young Folks", is now stepping into a new light with her newest project, Taken By Trees. Her debut record, Other Worlds, will be released on Secretly Canadian on October 2nd and highlights a sunshine-filled period in Bergsman's life, when the Hawaiian Islands and falling in love played a crucial role in changing her artistic trajectory. Two singles have been thus far released for the album -- the stereotypically dream pop "Dreams", with a music video you can see HERE, and the dubbed out dance jam, "Large", which you can hear below. On Other Worlds, Taken By Trees is innovative at times and derivative at times, but "Large" is a hint of Bergsman's better tendencies. Simply drawing from tropical influences is often not quite enough -- especially in this current tropical pop-saturated atmosphere -- but when tropicalia is slathered in manipulations and unexpected tendencies, that's when it really shines, and Bergsman does so well here.
Taken By Trees will soon be on tour with Jens Lekman, whose latest you can hear HERE. See full tour dates at the bottom of this post, and expect our full review of the record soon.
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.
Japanese psychedelic pop music is by no means my forte, but when hard working group Yura Yura Teikoku released their album Hollow Me / Beautiful on one of my most reveered labels, I began to take notice. And for a group that had been releasing albums and EPs at a fairly consistent clip since 1992, Yura Yura have taken an unexpected amount of time off since that release of Hollow Me in 2007. In the band's absence, lead singer and guitarist Shintaro Sakamoto has taken on a whole new life, releasing his debut solo album, How To Live With A Phantom.
"The album is never truly inventive, but Sakamoto's personal spin on his varied influences make for a refreshing and honest experience... it's an experience that I might not ever fully understand, but it's a record that I continue to find myself coming back to."
Sifting through mountains of remix trash so you don't have to, in an attempt to find the ones that contribute to their originals. Erika Spring of Au Revoir Simone releases her solo project, with a remix by Jensen Sportag, and Chicago's Another offers up an entire remix EP, with standouts from LUST and Ambinate.
Erika Spring - "Hidden"
Singer and keyboardist of Au Revoir Simone, Erika Spring, has just released a self-titled EP from the experimental pop label Cascine, which is curiously a record label guided by intuition. A quick browse through their catalog reveals a series of clever, often female-fronted forays into gentle pop music. "Hidden", Erika Spring's first single, comes with a burning underlying synth line that adds a depth to its already sultry qualities. The remix by Jensen Sportag throws a mellow haze atop it, in some senses, while picking up its dancing in the bedroom potentialities.
Erika Spring - "Hidden" (Jensen Sportag Remix)Erika Spring - "Hidden" (Original)
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
"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.
Remember in grade school when there would be those school-wide hearing and vision test days? Gauntlet Hair is sort of like that, except the exact opposite. Instead of trying to identify soft beeps, you're assaulted with some of the nosiest, most distorted guitar tracks I've heard in modern music. But...
Long Island-based quintet Twin Sister put out two wonderfully dreamy indie pop EPs between 2008 and 2010, and then quietly retreated to the studio, leaving us hanging until this September. Their debut full-length, In Heaven, expands upon their atmospheric sound, giving them room to explore and waver between slower songs...