Jessy Lanza Pull My Hair Back Hyperdub (2013)Jessy Lanza - Pull My Hair Back Album Review - HyperdubIn the future, androids will cruise lounges looking to score with flesh-and-blood humans. When the couples will go back to their climate-and-dust-controlled apartments and begin pairing, the soundtrack that will start auto-playing in the background is Jessy Lanza's Pull My Hair Back. Like the Barry White of the cyber-generation, Lanza spins out smooth, sultry soul. Yet unlike White, whose deep voice anchored his music, Lanza's breathy, whispery soprano blends into the background, becoming another instrument in a silky sonic sheet you want to roll around in naked until the sun comes up. Befitting an album that will serve as the soundtrack to futuristic human/machine boogie nights, there doesn't seem to be an actual organic instrument on the album. Instead, the synthesizer and drum machine reign, and they manufacture a surprisingly warm and sultry soundscape — think Tangerine Dream all sexed up. At once spare yet lush, this is electropop with a brain — and a soul.
Los Angeles-via-Portland's STRFKR are a band people love to hate, but I like to give props where props are due. "While I'm Alive", from the band's latest album, Miracle Mile, may be my favorite song of theirs yet. Groovy basslines and sweet echoes of, "I love my life," are posi-well, but the track's prime attraction lies in a high-pitched vocal wail, perpetuated throughout guitar notes during the track's introduction and hook. Given the dynamic quality of the aforementioned vocal line, any successful require music video would need to acknowledge its brilliance with equal measure. Luckily, director David Terry Fine's collaboration with the Seattle dance troupe Can Can Castaways executes this with flying colors. (We're talking one of the swellest dance moves I've seen this year, next to the headless-arms-waggle at 2:05 of this So You Think You Can Dance number). Much like the life-affirming concept of the music video, stills from "While I'm Alive" are plenty nice-looking, but show off very little of its glowing essence, which lies in living movements both subtle and bold. In this Q&A with David Terry Fine, he touches on the experience of working with STRFKR and Can Can Castaways, as well as the appeal of body movement.
 
Ghost & Goblin SUPERHORRORCASTLELAND Self-Released
FADE IN: EXT. A RAINY URBAN ALLEY NIGHT Thunder crashes and illuminates the face of an anxious man who appears to be in his mid-20s. He's soaked from the relentless rain and seems to be looking for an address. Finding the right one, he bangs on the old wooden door. The door gives way and creaks open. He steps inside and it slams behind him, the sound of the storm replaced by the sound of rats scurrying. In the darkness he encounters (a monster? a ghost? a goblin?) that makes a terrifying growl. The sounds of the man scampering away indicate abject terror -- and a likely loss of continence. The man recovers himself and hears a pipe organ playing behind the door at the end of the hall. Investigating, he opens the door, the music grows louder and we find ourselves in... INT. MAD SCIENTIST LAB NIGHT
Seem like a strange way to start a music review? Well, it's a pretty strange way to start an album, but that didn't seem to bother Ghost & Goblin, the macabre-music-making, lo-fi loving, NYC-based team of Nicholas DiMichele and Spencer Synwolt. In fact, it's the perfect spooky entrée to an album filled with noises that go bump in the night -- like fuzzed-out angry electric guitars, bashing drums and synthesized beeps, bleats and buzzes of every stripe.

 

"We do not want to please, we want to question the Knife." - Olof Dreijer, in the manuscript for the group's latest album, Shaking The Habitual.
From the heavy-handed manuscript and bio written to accompany their first album in seven years to the album's eye piercing artwork, The Knife pull no punches in making sure the ideology behind Shaking The Habitual is made clear. And while it's not always executed gracefully, the two Swedish siblings certainly remain a relevant force on this indoctrinating album. What's most difficult to ignore upon first glance is Shaking the Habitual's expansive track listing. Clocking in near 100 minutes, with a 19-minute track positioned squarely at the center, Shaking the Habitual is an album bent on perturbing even the most dedicated of listeners. And herein lies the major crux of the album, the very essence of The Knife which allows them to differentiate from their peers: Shaking the Habitual is not music written for escapism; it's a social enigma masquerading as music. Instead of something to enjoy, "to please" as Dreijer put it, Shaking the Habitual rails against every conceptual conceit in modern music. Or at least that's what The Knife want you to think.

 

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,...

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.

 

Mississippi Studios Portland, OR 2011 - 04/12 Cults are the prime example of a remarkable hype-driven story -- of a faceless band lacking a full album, yet still manages to land a high-profile gig like Coachella. I can't tell you who exactly is in the band due to their clandestine open-door line up,...

Minneapolis trio, CLAPS, has recently released two EPs back-to-back, on the ever-trustworthy Guilt Ridden Pop! label. For some reason, rising out of all of the forgettable bands in the synthpop genre, CLAPS just sits right with me, their '80s-inspired vocals and minimal synthpop occasionally reminding me of my favorite childhood videogames. Sure, that description seems fitting for about a million bands in the genre, but there's a little more to it than that with CLAPS.

Listen to "Fold" - DOWNLOAD MP3

With Lesser Known, Adventure has made a dance party album for the -- forgive the pun -- musically unadventurous. Gone are all the hard, edgy beats and the 8-bit bumpy feel from his previous release; everything seems much sleeker and overproduced. This is not the Adventure of the Baltimore Wham...