Tag Archive: record

  1. Musical Pairings: Air – Moon Safari

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    I can remember the first time I heard Air’s Moon Safari. It was Fall and I was in London with my family. My brother and I’d slipped out and quickly made our way to a local record shop. We spent what felt like hours gawking at the (to me) obscure music in their listening stations. Sure these albums may have been relatively popular there, but at the time my friends had not yet discovered any of this. I walked away with my two favorite discoveries from the new release wall: Air’s Moon Safari and Faithless’ Sunday 8PM.

    I was mesmerized by both of my purchases, but especially Moon Safari. I’d never heard anything quite like it (Massive Attack was my closest point of comparison), and it just sounded like the perfect soundtrack for traveling through Europe. The spacey and atmospheric “La Femme d’Argent” would spill out of my headphones as I was hustling through a crowded Underground to board a jam-packed train. The slick, grooving “Sexy Boy” swirled around me in a whirl of gurgling synths and smooth French vocals as I wandered aimlessly through busy streets. It could sound strangely familiar and yet completely new at the same time. For example, “Sexy Boy” sounded like listening to a strange, contemporary remake of the Knight Rider theme song blended into French trip hop. I loved everything about it and there was something simply intoxicating about the fact that, as far as I knew, no one else I knew had heard this album before. It was my secret treasure, and when I got home I was eager to share it with anyone who’d listen.

    It’s been a long time since I first discovered Moon Safari, but it still sounds great to my ears today. It’s funny though. Back then I would have probably classified the album as electronica, but now it sounds more like downtempo synth-heavy rock. Instead of calling to mind Massive Attack, I hear Serge Gainsbourg. And although it doesn’t sound quite as futuristic to me as it did then, it’s not hard at all to slip back into that time and place when I first discovered it.

    Moon Safari, like Kasey’s Asian Pear and Rosemary Sparklers, is effervescent and bubbly. It’s like a breeze of cool air on a warm day. Together they are perfect musical pairings for a laid back afternoon relaxing and keeping cool. Pour yourself a drink (I won’t tell anyone if you want to spike yours) and throw on Moon Safari. You might just float away.

    Air – Sexy Boy

    Buy Air’s Moon Safari on vinyl from Insound. Read Kasey’s recipe for Asian Pear and Rosemary Sparklers.

  2. Single Serving: Flying Lotus featuring Earl Sweatshirt – Between Friends

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    Once again Adult Swim is off the hook with their amazing Singles Program. Today they unveiled a new track from Flying Lotus, featuring Earl Sweatshirt no less, that is simply irresistible. The track features a melodic, shimmering foundation drilled forward with a steady, propelling flow. You’re gonna dig it.

    Flying Lotus featuring Earl Sweatshirt – Between Friends

    Check out the rest of the 2012 Singles Program here. They’ve already released jams by The Hives, Wye Oak, Absu, The Field, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Grooves from Com Truise, Gauntlet Hair, Wavves, Elite Gymnastics and more to follow.

  3. Musical Pairings: Choir of Young Believers – Rhine Gold

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    Like many others before him, Danish-born Jannis Noya Makrigiannis decided that a break up was as good an excuse as any to make some life changes. Following the dissolution of Makrigiannis’ prior band, Lake Placid, in 2006, the songwriter packed his bags and relocated to the Greek island of Samos. Life on the island was apparently good for his creative muse as he used the sabbatical as an opportunity to pen some solo material.  With the new material in hand, Makrigiannis returned to his home in Copenhagen where he formed Choir of Young Believers to perform and record the new material. Indeed, the change of scenery would appear to be just what he needed to get the creative juices flowing, as the first COYB’s album, This Is For The White In Your Eyes, was a succes having been awarded Best New Act by the 6 Danish Music Awards in 2008. Since that time, Choir of Young Believers developed into a proper band and are poised to release their follow up, Rhine Gold.

    Although stylistically similar, Rhine Gold, COYB’s sophomore album, comes from a different place than the band’s debut. For one thing, Choir of Young Believers is now a proper band and the new material was prepared through a more collaborative process. It’s apparent too, as Rhine Gold, sounds, in many ways, deeper and richer than its predecessor. Nonetheless, the new album is still a rich mélange of influences based in orchestral pop with folk-imbued underpinnings. But now their compositions include significant psychedelic deviations and, occasionally, the soaring grooves and neon-lit panache of 80’s synth-pop.

    Rhine Gold initially unfolds with a droning cathedral-like ambiance and Makrigiannis’ solemn voice, filled with trembling melancholy and thoughtful conviction as he sings “bite your lip and forget all the things I said… just bite your lip and forget” on lead track “The Third Time.” Tense strings and a lurking bass line break the ambiance before the melody blooms into a steadily rising groove. COYB waste no time demonstrating their flexibility as a band on “Patricia’s Thirst” which features a shimmering, synth-heavy tune built on a rockbed of New Wave incandescence. Indeed, whether they are tumbling through lush, shifting psychedelic rhythms (such as on “Paralyse”) or blowing across lonely, desolate soundscapes (such as on “Have I Ever Truly Been Here”) – they make flexibility and craftsmanship seem effortless. And although the lyrics and arrangements aren’t always exactly “upbeat” they are always warm and comforting.

    It’s this warmth, flexibility and wonderful textures that make Rhine Gold a great pairing for Kasey’s Roasted Beet and Fennel Soup. The album’s comforting and complex melodies beautifully compliment this satisfying and belly-warming soup. I think you’d discover that both could pari well with your next rainy evening at home.

    Choir of Young Believers – Patricia’s Thirst
    Choir of Young Believers – Nye Nummer Et

    Head back to the Kitchen to read Kasey’s recipe for Roasted Beet and Fennel Soup. You can preorder the album from Amazon before it’s April 10th release date.

  4. TK005: Thousand – The Fall / Your Wild Heart 7″

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    When I originally discovered the music from the solo project of Paris songwriter Stéphane Milochevitch I described Thousand (his musical nom de guerre) by stating that his music exhibits all of the qualities of a glass of fine red wine: it is bold, smooth, and a little spicy. I’d add that like a good red wine, his music also demonstrates a subtle complexity of flavor that makes it particularly satisfying. Milochevitch’s baritone is woodsy and cedar-infused and the songs he composes are blended together with the thoughtfulness of a master vinter to reveal the mystery of strange voodoo, noir romance, and even a dash of the occult. For example, on the single’s a-side, “The Fall,” Milochevitch sings “I’m a bad man baby / you are not the kind of girl a man forgets / drive your fangs into the dog in me.” His croon is smoky and simmering, initially casting a false confidence that evaporates as the lyrics delve into uncertainty.

    Meanwhile, the single’s b-side is a new version of the track “Your Wild Heart” which originally appeared on Thousand’s now out-of-print and hard to find album The Flying Pyramid. This cut of the track was specifically re-recorded for our Pairings Box. It is a desperate love song featuring crisp mostly-acoustic instrumentation that builds to frantic crescendo as he sings: “I wish there was a place for me in your heart, where we could kiss once again and be in love for ever and ever. And we’d be trapped in the wild, wild jungle of your wild heart.” The melody is underlined by blinking tones that gradually increase in tension and prominence as the track plows forward towards it’s swirling and abrupt conclusion. Take a listen!

    Like each of the four singles before it (we’re now five for five), this sold out before it was officially released. The only way to guarantee a copy of future releases is to subscribe to the Pairings Box here. March is already going quick.

  5. Musical Pairings: The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow

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    You may have heard of today’s Musical Pairing before: The Shins. They’ve been around for awhile now. But although they are pretty seasoned indie-rockers by this point, they’ve always reminded me of youth and new beginnings. Specifically, I associate them with my own “new beginnings” back when I first moved to San Francisco in the early naughts. I’d arrived in San Francisco with a suitcase full of clothes, a busted boombox with a dangling speaker, a backpack with my CD wallet and other random knick-knacks, an airplane blanket I’d stolen from the flight, and my pillow. The blanket came in handy because I had brought no other blankets, had no bed, and realized on my first night that we had no heat in my first apartment and, as I learned, it can get cold in San Francisco during the Summer. Only the boombox was more important than that small blanket in those first few days because, as we’ve pretty firmly established on this site, I’m addicted to music. In the evenings before bed, I’d go to my bare-walled bedroom and I’d blast my newest records, records like Oh, Inverted World, through that busted boombox. Laying on the floor wasn’t comfortable and the blanket was much too small to completely cover me, but I was much to excited to let a little physical discomfort ruin my mood.

    Probably in part because Oh, Inverted World soundtracked that time for me, I was eagerly looking forward to the release of Chutes Too Narrow. And, it didn’t disappoint. I poured over every detail of the album in heavy doses. I am confident that there is a general consensus amongst people knowledgeable of such things that there are very, very few moments in indie-pop that are more perfect than the coda on “Saint Simon” which consists of those blissfully, feather-light la-la-la‘s as frontman James Mercer sings: “Mercy’s eyes are blue / when she places them in front of you / nothing really holds a candle to / the solemn warmth you feel inside of you.” In many ways, Chutes Too Narrow was a surprising move for The Shins. It was slightly less atmospheric than the lo-fi Oh, Inverted World, in part because the keyboards were provided less prominence and their guitars were, comparatively, let loose. The production is much cleaner than it’s predecessor, though that was to be expected considering their rising prominence in the indie music scene. But all of the changes were subtle, and they retained all of the qualities that were crucial to their appeal: Mercer’s poetic lyrics, catchy songwriting, bright, light-weight melodies, and thoughtful song structures. Chutes Too Narrow makes a perfect Musical Pairing for Kasey’s Broccoli Soup with Lemon and Ricotta.  The soup, like the album, is light, flavorful and easy to fall in love with.  Of course, it’s hard to go wrong with a creamy soup blended with fresh ricotta.

    The Shins – So Says I

    Head back to the Kitchen to read the recipe for Broccoli Soup with Lemon and Ricotta.  They head to Insound to buy Chutes Too Narrow on vinyl.

  6. Single Serving: Thousand – Tous Les Jours EP

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    I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I was sifting through Bandcamp for music from Bordeaux. Well, to be honest, I didn’t stop with Bordeaux. In fact, I delved into portions of the local music scenes from Paris, Toulouse, Lyon and other French cities (at least to the extent that those scenes were represented on Bandcamp). In the process, I discovered weeks worth of great music. And of all of the great bands I found, Paris’ Thousand was the most startlingly awesome discovery. The solo project of Paris’ Stéphane Milochevitch (who is accompanied only by a female harmonies), Thousand has all of the qualities of a good glass of a strong red wine: bold, smooth, and enticingly spicy. Indeed, Milochevitch’s distinctive croon sounds oak-aged with a well-balanced smokiness. With those wood-trimmed vocals centered within a bed of dark synth and sparse acoustic guitar, the result is a particularly drinkable noir style of indie pop.

    Thousand – The Fall

    Get more from Thousand on his Bandcamp page.

    P.S. this EP is well worth $4 – Buy it!!