Sunday, December 16, 2012


Dog Blood
Next Order
Boysnoize Records & OWSLA/Big Beat

The video to this excellent song, which is my first exposure to dubstep, is very trippy, and fun to watch. A guy has a very interesting trip involving astronauts, the streets, pretty women, and helpful strangers. The audio is great  for dancing.  Another good move by Boys Noize, and fun, too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6vwuS6oy8I 
Andrea Weiss

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Boys Noize featuring Snoop Dogg
Out Of The Black
Self-Released


I’ve already, in my full review of Boys Noize’s excellent album Out Of The Black, made my distaste known for Snoop Dogg’s lyrical stances. So this review focuses on the music and rapping. Snoop Dogg is a great rapper. I like his laid back style, and his matter-of-fact take on what he’s into. Boys Noize’s music perfectly complements Snoop’s rapping, laying down a jagged, humming, and very melodic bed of sound that augments the rapping perfectly. If you like The Dogg, take my viewpoint on his lyrics with a grain of salt and check out this track, one of the best on Out Of The Black, and get dancing to it. http://boysnoize.com/
Andrea Weiss

Monday, December 3, 2012


Scott Walker
Bish Bosch
4AD

Continuing what he started on The Drift, Walker proves that he is like no other operating outside the mainstream, and indeed, most of indie rock.  Bish Bosch, with its dark ominous music and lyrics, nevertheless manages to be more positive than The Drift, simply by taking a more cerebral approach to dysfunction, bodily functions, history and his fascination with dictators like Attila The Hun. 

The album’s title comes from Hieronymus Bosch, whose painting Garden of Earthly Delights, also sets the tone and mood here.  The music is harsh, abrasive, sparse, haunting, does evoke hell, heaven but also in a twisted way as in going through hell to get to heaven. 

While this album is not for the faint hearted, or those accustomed to more conventionally structured music, those that do brave it will find very complex things going on. It’s make one think and feel dread, but also relief that however bad everything is now, it will get better.  http://www.bishbosch.com 
Andrea Weiss

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Avan Lava
Sisters

A bisexual love triangle told in 4:55 minutes. The song is erotic and loving, and the video is even more so. I prefer the uncensored version of the video for that reason.  The song is on Avan Lava’s Flex Fantasy EP, and the EP is great all the way through. The title of the song and the clip that accompanies it isn’t meant to be taken literally. Sisters as in best friends, and maybe in the feminist way as well.

All the shots of two hot women in and out of bed, partying or just having quiet times with each other captures love honestly and naturally. This is why you can feel for the woman who is the odd person out when the other is with her boyfriend.  She should ditch him and stay with her girlfriend who gives her much more than the guy could. But don’t ditch the song, which is gorgeous. A mid tempo groove that gets under your skin, it lingers long after the song is over. It’s cool, and the video makes it even cooler.  
Andrea Weiss

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Philthkids
Sweatpants EP
Loose Squares

This is friendly fast techno, light, nimble on it’s feet, from this Canadian group.  “Sweatpants,” is the most frenetic, it skitters around the dance floor, and indeed any floor.  The first few beats of “Push” remind me of Devo’s “Whip it,” before “Push” goes careening off in other, much different directions.  “Doggs,”  the last track, is built around a single line, “This goes out to my Doggs,” and is the most mellow of the three tracks.  It’s also fun, even sweet, the way this line is delivered, with flowing music that’s built around it.  The Kids are more than all right, as this EP gets you moving toward whatever you want or need to do. http://www.loosesquares.com                                                                                               
Andrea Weiss



Saturday, November 3, 2012



R. Ring

Fallout And Fire
Misra Records

This 7-inch single, on vinyl from Misra and a download at iTunes, is rocked up folk, one of my favorite types of music.  It’s a male/female duo -- Mike Montgomery from Ampline, Kelley Deal of the Breeders, and knitter extraordinaire. They play their guitars in swirling, almost psychedelic ways, or loud, straightforward and hyper-melodic, and either way make music thrilling to hear.

“Fallout and Fire” is Kelly’s side, or rather, if you’ve seen the artwork for this single, the “orange” side, as in the fruit, as much as the color.  This is where the guitars are straightforward, and hypnotic, as is Deal’s sweet singing. No drums, and the song doesn't need any, as it has enough of its own rhythmic pulse to drive it.

“See,” Mike’s side, or the “banana” side, does have drums, by Kristan Svitak of 1031 Skateboards, and his drumming is nice and frenetic.  Here is where the guitars grind and swirl, in a short, sharp blast. But Mike’s vocals are the calm in the storm, reassuring and resolute.

So what do these songs mean? Mike says,There's enough imagery there for you to extrapolate whatever meaning suits your mood as you're listening. It's no fun if we spell it all out!”  So, my thoughts, “Fallout” first. Maybe it's about nuclear fallout, maybe Kelley’s waiting for the right moment to start shooting, or she might really want to get away badly from something, or someone.  In “See” Mike is taken away, as is his friend, to wherever, for whatever purpose, and willingly. Or it could just be a memory of a dream.  But these songs are not dreams, they’re for real, and really good.  http://rringband.com  http://misrarecords.com/artists/r-ring/ http://www.1031skates.com/
Andrea Weiss

Monday, October 29, 2012


Escape From Chicago
Loose Squares Comp, Vol 1
Loose Squares

This techno comp begins and ends with songs that are mellow and jazz like.  Good to chill to. In-between there are a lot more styles, like DJ Godfather’s “Bring It Back” disco reminiscent of Donna Summer’s “I need Love.” That’s track five.  Then you have track eight, LV and Mumdance’s somewhat prog sounding “Steak Night.” The whole middle of the album is great to move around to, and the comp as a whole is fun to listen to. A good sound track for doing whatever you want or need to do. http://www.loosesquares.com
Andrea Weiss


Saturday, October 27, 2012


Avan Lava
Somebody to Love Me
Self Released

This cover of the Mark Ronson song is better to dance to than the original as this just hi steps all over the place.  And the singer is better than Boy George, who sang the original version. It also has lyrics you can sink your teeth into, a breakup song with much sexual confusion in it. Perfect modern disco and a really fun track to listen to.  Lava released an EP earlier this year, Flex Fantasy, which is in much the same vein as this track, and also as good.  http://soundcloud.com/vibe-magazine/avan-lava-somebody-to-love-me  . Link for the EP http://soundcloud.com/avanlava/sets/flex-fantasy-ep/ . Video for single from EP "It's Never Over." http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=emKQrMSbTm4
Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Titus Andronicus
Local Business
XL Recordings

This is another concept album from the band from Glen Rock, NJ, that musically stretches garage/punk and Springstein in all directions adds their own off-the-cuff, full bodied roar, with a sound that energizes and invigorates everything around it.   Lyrically the question, at least outwardly, is how to be an individual in a society where everything stands for mass consumption, including their music, and how does one be part of a community while still being an individual. The answer is first is fight like hell for your ideals, yourself, and your art, and  second realize that being accountable, not just to oneself, but to all the people we hold dear, the community, is also how you fight conformity and mass consumption.

On a more nuanced level, this is also a huge dig at hipsters, some of the most conspicuous consumers of all. Indie rock once stood for more than being a lifestyle accessory, another way to have a career.  It was a way to stand outside of the establishment, to fight the establishment, and hopefully win the battle. The key to this is on “Still Life with Hot Deuce and Silver Platter,” where context and content do battle, and content wins.  Content is meaningful, without any postmodern context so beloved by hipsters.

Marry these two subjects to music that wants to tear your head off, even while at times turning down the volume, like on “(I am the) Electric Man” and you get the best concept album of the year.  It’s a sound that while retro, is also not heard often enough in a musical world where acting cool is all the meaning that one needs.  And too often that’s not enough. True alternative music demands more meaning than that, and this band means it when they say they want to be an alternative. A very cool album, musically and lyrically, too. http://www.titusandronicus.net/
Andrea Weiss



Monday, October 22, 2012


Banks
Paul Banks
Matador

Interpol’s front man steps out for his first true solo album. He felt that he didn’t want anymore shtick, as in calling himself Julian Plenti, so he dropped the nom de plume.

Banks brings much droll humor, warmth and feeling to this album, and it’s refreshing to hear him loosen up and show other sides to him. Musically this is sort of a combination of found sounds, electronica, and adult guitar rock, and it’s a very appealing mix.  As much as I love Interpol, I have to say that in some ways I like this album better, just because he opens up, and wants to have some fun.  For example, on “Another Chance,” he uses the script of Sebastian Ischer’s film Black Out, to mock himself with lines like “there’s something wrong with my brain!” “I have a neurological condition!”  And, “sometimes, I lose control!”

“Paid For That” mentions how much he loved Folk Implosion’s “Natural One” at 17.  It was an influence, and it’s now a tribute to the kid in him, and all the kids around today.  He also references “Natural One” musically.  Banks’ guitar playing is some of the best I’ve heard from him. 

Interpol has not broken up, which Banks’ states in a mini-documentary by Noisey, which is on his site. And the album is a not to be missed if you’re a fan. It’s also a wonderful introduction to his work, both on the Julian Plenti album, and with Interpol.  http://bankspaulbanks.com/
 Andrea Weiss

Monday, October 15, 2012


Boys Noize
Out of the Black
Self Released

I don’t pretend to be an expert on all the various types of dance music out there. My favorite dance music is 70s disco and funk. But when an album comes along from one of today’s artists that reminds me of 70s disco at it’s best, I will listen, and dance.  That’s Boys Noize.

His melodies are just super. Everything flows, everything hums along. It’s smooth, powerful, slamming, and fun to hear.  It’s impossible not to at least shimmy around the room, it’s that kinetic.  What I love the most about today’s techno and electronica is that it makes you think. This is more than just partying down. A lot more thought and care went into this music. And Boys Noize will make you think while you’re spinning around the room. What a great soundtrack to move your mind to.

This is why I prefer Grizzle to Snoop Dogg among the rappers here. Grizzle is political, and with the election coming on, a song about revolution, when a Republican may win, is needed right now.  And Boys Noize provides the doom, the fall of the empire with his music.

As for Snoop Dogg, yes he is a good rapper, and yes, Boys got the most out of him. This is an excellent collaboration, and I do like the track as a whole. But I also deplore Snoop’s “being a pimp is the greatest thing ever,” stance, when most know it’s anything but.  These lyrics are meant to be taken with a large grain of salt. 

But not Out of the Black as a whole. This music just sizzles and stands out. This is no small thing with so much music out there that comprises techno.  This is all purpose music for any situation, which makes this album wonderful for me.  http://boysnoize.com/ and here for an excelent video of "ICH R U" http://youtube.com/boysnoize
Andrea Weiss





Monday, October 8, 2012


A.C. Newman
Shut Down the Streets
Matador Records

One thing Newman has never done in his career solo, and with The New Pornographers is repeat himself.  So while there are flashes of Challengers and The Slow Wonder in this music, if not the lyrics, it is as different from them, too, just for being different types of indie rock. Newman wanted a late 70s sounding psychedelic singer/songwriter album, and he does deliver on that score.

This album could also be a rock/folk album along the lines of what Dar Williams did on her excellent current album In The Time of Gods. Newman accentuates the indie rock/pop of this approach, unlike Dar, but the instruments played here, to give a few examples, Chris Miller’s flute and clarinet, pocket pianos by Newman and Marco Benevenio, Mike Merenda’ banjo -- give it a rock/folk feel. It is wonderful, all the way through. There isn’t a wasted or out –of - place instrument on this album.  And Neko Case’s backing vocals are a joy to hear. She knows when to be soft, or lift her voice for great effect.

Writing clearly about how happiness, as in the birth of his son, and sadness, the death of his mother, can coexist side by side, and how that does happen in life, can be tough to pull off with lyrics this clear and plainspoken.  But he does, like on the beautiful tribute to his mom, the title song, with the line, “they should have shut down the streets.” And the touching, joyous “Hostages” and “Strings,” celebrate the birth of his son.  “We’ve been waiting for you,” the refrain from “Strings” really says it all about the birth of his son, as does the entire lyric of “Hostages.” 

“There’s Money in New Wave” is about how he hopes he can teach his son everything he knows, and his worry that he won’t know what to say to him, could also be a sly comment on the current state of indie rock. What is a comment on how indie rock used to stand for much more than a career in music is on “Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns.”

A.C. Newman, solo and with TNP, has never made a bad album. But his latest is stunning in the way it is clear, clean,  delightfully simple, heartfelt, and buoyant.  It is a thrill to hear, fun to hear, and enthralling.  I love it. 
Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

One Day/Reckoning Song (Wankelmut Remix)

This is a two part video, about a lovers triangle, or lovers parting. It's about two guys and a woman, or two bi guys going out and the woman who loves them both. In the second part two women who love each other might be parting as well. At the end, a woman, on a motorcycle, alone, rides through the streets of a city, perhaps remembering when all of this happened. The story is very impressionistic, so the plot isn't liner, leaving the viewers to make up their own minds about the story. 

The music is folk/electronica, with a vocal that builds in intensity. The song is about growing old and all the stroies that we tell when we're old. The lyrics of this very good song illustrate the polt perfectly. It would be great in a club, or inspiring someone to make up or remember stries of their own. 

Part one:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKeawh6-5ps&feature=share&list=UUJbHWU5QmrvI_CnyFHP90EQ

Part two:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_jzuxM3O8M&feature=share&list=UUJbHWU5QmrvI_CnyFHP90EQ

Andrea Weiss



Sinistarr
Lost Angles EP
Loose Squares

This EP from the Chicago producer Sinistarr features flowing, fluid, bubbly bass and drums, and zooming, booming synths to accentuate things, especially the synth that sounds like a harpsichord. Very few lyrics, but the one that sticks out is the one about the "chopper," (AK-47.) A lot of fun to listen to, to dance to, and just walk around to. www.loosesquares.com 

Andrea Weiss


Monday, September 24, 2012


Efterklang
Piramida
4AD

Their name is Danish for remembrance or reverberation.  And their music and lyrics live up to these meanings.

Sounding like a combination of the softer side of Foxtrot era Genesis, Coldplay and on “Between the Walls” Radiohead, the music is soft and soothing, but never softheaded or trite. The lyrics are much the same, with as much content as Peter Gabriel wrote for Genesis, and Chris Martin for Coldplay.  Lead singer Casper Clausen sings of abandonment and isolation, of two souls breaking apart, but he always sounds calm and reassuring, reminding himself and anyone who is listening that while all may seem hopeless, it really isn’t, and that things will get better. 

Such comforting music and lyrics usually tend to get lost in the background, but not here. In its own quiet way, this music stands out, while the lyrics could be musical therapy.  With so much of today’s music seemingly so disposable, this isn’t. which is more than good enough for me, and for anyone who cares about music that really means something. www.efterklang.net
Andrea Weiss


Monday, September 10, 2012

The XX

Coexist

Young Turks/XL Recordings

This review is also be a big apology to the band. After I found out during a World CafĂ© interview that they were very young, their lyrics didn’t seem silly, just normal young adult angst. Listening to their debut again, I still wished for more music though. Even I liked the music better, it was still too minimal for my taste. With their new album, Coexist, my wish came true.

The music is filled out more on Coexist. Jamie’s synth textures and drums round out their sound nicely, and point to the future. Minimal doesn’t have to be bare bones. There is also more of Romy’s guitar, and I do like her guitar playing. Its spare, warm and nothing overplayed. She is also beginning to sing like Tracy Thorn.

Lyrically, “Angel” is a bit of a red herring, It’s a rare and wonderful happy love song that isn’t sappy or solipsistic. However, the rest of the lyrics are dark as pitch, and also much more interesting. They’re still young enough so that when their first meaningful relationship dissolves for Oliver and Romy, they don’t know what to do, and try not to fall apart. That’s normal and healthy growing pains. They’re old enough now to be wiser, and more self-aware. They’re starting to take off now that they’re in their 20s. What they will sound like when they hit 30 will be breathtaking.

If you want to hear their origins, the debut is now strongly recommended. But if you want to hear an album that is anything but a sophomore slump, Coexist is equally recommended. Coexist is great, and I hope it does as much, and hopefully more, in terms of success, as their debut. The music and lyrics are there, and if you have the ears to hear it, as I do now, you will be rewarded with an excellent album. [http://thexx.info/]

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, September 9, 2012

chris e. pants

Doggystyle/Pass it Around

Sleezetone

Classic disco with a lot of flair, these two songs mean to get people dancing/moving, This wouldn’t have sounded out of place at Studio 54, and any other club that knew their 70s style disco. Doggystyle is not a Snoop Dogg reference, it’s a tribute to pants’ dog Bubbles. “Pass it Around” is meant to be taken literally. Lots of fun, impossible not to like; in fact, impossible not to love. And I love these two songs.

Andrea Weiss

www.sleazetone.com/


Delightfully Dancing Doggystyle

An interview with chris e. pants

chris e. pants is Chrissy Muderbot’s new side project, and it’s a good one. He grew up in Kansas City, got into music in the 90s as a rave kid, and started Sleezetone as a way to put out the music he likes. I recently interviewed him, and got the scoop on the music, and him. I thank him for answering my questions.

Andrea Weiss

www.sleazetone.com

Andrea Weiss: I think it’s great someone is reviving classic disco. Why do you like classic disco?

Chris e. pants: I've always been a huge fan of old disco tracks...I guess it started when I was growing up in Kansas City. I was a rave kid in the mid-1990s, and there were all these new house and jungle records I wanted to buy, but they were like $10 a pop and I didn't have much money, so I ended up digging in the dollar bins, which at dance shops in the 1990s were invariably littered with tons of classic disco that everybody had forgotten about. So I ended up really falling in love with disco and R&B and all the stuff that led up to house music, and it just went from there.

AW: You incorporate modern elements like house and garage into the songs. How do they fit together with this 70s disco sound?

CEP: Really, house and garage are just modern forms of disco. Everything in the world of electronic dance music ultimately comes from two sources: disco and reggae. So any time you set out to make disco tunes from a modern perspective, I guess they're gonna end up resembling house music in some ways, because house is just modernized disco!

AW: Is Doggystyle a Snoop Dogg reference?

CEP: Doggystyle is not a Snoop Dogg reference. I guess I woulda had to call it Lion Style in that case...My dog, Bubbles, was the inspiration behind the name. She's on twitter: www.twitter.com/@lilbthebaseddog

AW: Are you a one person band, or did others help you create the music?

Who are the singers and rappers?

CEP: I am a one-person band, but I like to work with a lot of guest vocalists and stuff like that. Bubbles was my collaborator on this one.

AW: How did Sleazetone Records come into the picture?

CEP: I started Sleazetone Records in 2007 as an outlet for sleazy party music that I really feel strongly about. We've done records by Ssion, James Braun, Monkey Steak, Hanuman, Kanji Kinetic, Thunderous Olympian, and more, and this single just felt like a perfect fit.

AW: How did you get started in music?

CEP: I got started in music as a rave kid in the '90s, and from that starting point of listening to music and going to parties I started trying to learn to DJ and produce and it all just kind of built up from there.

AW: Anyone we might want to keep an ear out for?

CEP: Plenty of people! Slick Shoota, Lenkemz, Sarantis, Sinistarr, Calculon, Fracture & Neptune, Machinedrum, Steak House, The Black Madonna, Stripped & Chewed records, the list goes on and on...

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