MADNESS! A recurring series of audio WTFs and head-twitching, spine-tingling experimental fun (k)icks.

Giant Claw

Giant Claw's limited edition 12" will soon be released through Wool Recordings! For your easy listening enjoyment are four songs from release, now available digitally. More of their albums, complete with marvelous album cover artwork, are available on their Bandcamp. For a four-dimensional experiment in listening amusement, take such amusingly-named tracks as "Hobo-Cop" and "Spirit Heal Me" and custom-tailor them to a narrative of your own choosing, as devised in your mind's eye! The results are guaranteed to be cinematic in the most bizarre of '80s-sci-fi-meets-stoner-late-night-TV ways.

 

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Guitarist and songwriter for The Fresh & Onlys, Wymond Miles, has just released his first solo effort on Sacred Bones, entitled Earth Has Doors. In just twenty minutes, the visually-evocative four-track EP seems to progressively journey through vast territories of earth and space. Side A, with the tracks "Hidden Things Are Asking You To Find Them" and "Temples Of Magick," begins slowly in folk-psych fashion, as though Pink Floyd have picked up a cowboy crooner, with whom they are now ambling through the desert. The cowboy gradually finds his role by lethargically using his tools -- simple compositions of guitar and drum -- and spurs his steed along with an occasional bluesy twang. As the end of "Hidden Things Are Asking You To Find Them" nears, the cowboy has located himself, as evinced by his hooting and hollering and sudden embrace of instrumental crescendos and vocal swells. "Temples Of Magick" likewise follows with wolf-like howls of noise, and heavy drums and rim shots translate visually as the cowboy bursts through saloon doors with shotgun barrels smoking. He is newly confident, panting and practically free associating as a verbal and lyrical free being. What had begun as an unsure stumbling through parched lands has reached town with an energetic bang.

Chilean filmmakerAlejandro Jodorowsky's Holy Mountain was released in 1973. The psychedelic story is geometry-heavy and laden with symbolic imagery and metaphysical themes. In short, the visually-stunning masterpiece has inspired countless creations, and it seems to be receiving another breath of fresh air as of late. REDEFINE MUSICIANS, ARTISTS, AND FILMMAKERS...

Yet another Little Dragon-related post, but with more of a focus on Scott Hansen, also known as Tycho or graphic artist ISO50. His latest record recently came out on Ghostly International, and it certainly sounds music created by someone who knows how to craft a visually-evocative landscape. The music...

The brainchild of Portland musicians Joe Haege and Corrina Repp, Tu Fawning is a band with its fingers spread far and wide. Each member of the co-ed quartet is an accomplished musician; all are multi-instrumentalists, and all have played in multiple bands. And while the band's last EP was released through Polyvinyl, Tu Fawning decided to self-release its debut album, Hearts On Hold, this time around.
At the core of this decision was a two-month nationwide tour, in which Tu Fawning filled in as Menomena's main support. "It seemed like the perfect opportunity to give Tu Fawning some national exposure, as well as [to] get the new record out there," says Repp. Unfortunately, because of time constraints, all signs were pointing to a 2011 release if the band wanted to work with outside labels.

"[Polyvinyl was] willing to help us with Hearts On Hold, but on such a minimal level we decided it made more sense to try and put it out by ourselves and to be proud of our work, and not hand it over to someone who liked it, but didn't seem to love it," Repp explains.

Listen to "Multiply A House" - DOWNLOAD MP3

The album art for SUUNS newest album, Zeroes QC, serves as an appropriate visual introduction to the Montreal band's music. Featuring a high-contrast black-and-white photograph of a woman dressed in a glitter top, one can just barely make out outlines of trees against the dark background, as their silhouettes drape ambiguously over her face and body.

If SUUNS' brand of mysterious art rock were to take on a visual aesthetic, it would certainly look like this -- living in monochromes and being sprinkled occasionally with bright flashes which hint at beauty in deep places. Obvious aspects of their music -- incoherent mumblings over grinding basslines and electronics -- embrace the darkness, while lighter guitar elements and steady beats seem to offset that heaviness. The resulting sound is brooding and danceable, and singer and guitarist Ben Shemie's own description of SUUNS' music might be the most appropriate visual and poetic accompaniment.
"There is a kind of sense of falling backward that I think the songs conjure," says Shemie. "Or blindly driving your car into a wall. A sense of sadness in all the amazing things in the world."

"We are definitely influenced by visual art, and I suppose art of all kinds," he continues. "On a conceptual [and] intellectual [level,] many of our friends work in that medium, whether it be film or painting or whatever, so there is definitely an interest in what they are doing and what trends are happening in the visual art world in general... "You can definitely draw parallels to composition in a visual format versus a musical format. They draw upon the same tastes and impulses. None of our songs are 'based' on a film or picture or whatnot, but in some cases, I hear our songs as little plays, or films."

One look into SUUNS' own interpretation into their music lies in their video for "Up Past The Nursery," which was directed by Ben Shemie and Petros Kolyvas. The video is slow and complemplative, not unlike the song. Alternating between shots of the band standing idly in the woods and being suspended motionless in watery atmospheres, the video's subtle off-kilter color treatments and occasional overlays of fireworks serve as bursts of action in stillness.

ARTICLE CONTINUED BELOW
The Budos Band is one of the foremost U.S.-based Afrobeat groups performing today. It is no surprise that their third album, simply titled III, takes the listener on a funky journey that will please not only long-time listeners but also those new to the genre. The record's initial Eyptian theme is deceiving; each of the song titles appears to reference the serpent that graces the cover, but this is just a superficial coincidence. The Budos Band lays it out in their humorous "making of the album" video: titles of the songs just come to them, spur-of-the-moment.

 

This thinking-on-your-feet momentum is elemental to both the band's live performances and their recordings. III was recorded live, and it is all of the polished chaos that you would expect from a band this funky. The Budos Band is from Staten Island, but you'd never know that their city of origin is better known for hip-hop and tasty Italian food than African funk music. They originally formed as an offshoot of Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, and sound rather similar, but not identical. The songs are shorter and more to the point, but they have that same fantastic bounce.

Everybody, the debut release from Ja Prawn on vosotros, combines disturbingly authentic renditions of late '70s and early '80s movie sci-fi soundtracks, classic synth sounds, and lo-fi bent oddities, in a mischievously playful EP.  Much of this album is sequencer and arpeggio-led, with overlays of pleasing monophonic synth lines held together...