Tag Archive: turntable kitchen

  1. Turntable Kitchen’s SXSW 2012 Recap: Best + Worst, Instagram Photo Journal, & MP3s

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    Note: We are now accepting new subscribers to the Turntable Kitchen Pairings Box, beginning with the April Pairings Box! Sign up and join the fun. Oh, and since we’re talking about SXSW, we should mention that Time Magazine listed April’s featured-artist (whose identity we’re keeping top secret for now) as one of the top artist’s to watch at SXSW (hint, hint).

    This year was my first year in Austin, Texas for South By Southwest (a.k.a. SXSW). If you’ve never been, or somehow have never heard of the mutant music explosion that is SXSW, let me tell you what it is. SXSW is watching 10-20 bands a day beginning at 11:00 a.m. until 3 a.m. and then getting up early to do it all over again every day for a week. SXSW is struggling to fight through crowds estimated between 60K-100k people to get from one venue to another. SXSW is quickly devouring questionable food from a food truck in between showcases on a completely irregular eating schedule. SXSW is seeing artists who might otherwise draw a crowd of 1,000 people in an empty room with only 100 people because there are just too many great options to choose from at any given moment. For the same reason it is not getting to see all of the bands you wanted to see no matter how many times they play in a week. SXSW is meeting huge numbers of awesome people everywhere you go and quickly considering those people your new friends. SXSW is feeling constantly like you haven’t slept enough, like you are losing your voice, and like a hangover is hovering over your head at all times. In other words, SXSW is Austin as Mecca for those who worship music.

    I couldn’t have been more ready to come home by the end of the week, but I definitely plan to return next year. Maybe we’ll even host our own showcase.

    MUSIC

    Approximate Number of Bands Watched: 56

    Nearly Complete List of Bands Watched: Widowspeak, SBTRKT, the War on Drugs, Danny Brown, Youth Lagoon, Peaking Lights, Cities Aviv, Mikal Cronin, Fiona Apple (twice), the-Dream, Grimes, Purity Ring, Charli XCX, Bass Drum of Death, Typhoon, Man Cub, New Moods, Caged Animals, Exit Music, Field Mouse, Beat Connection, La Sera, Forest Fire, White Arrows (twice), Teengirl Fantasy (twice), Tycho (twice), Matthew Dear, Mr. Gnome, Shigeto, Choir of Young Believers, Mux Mool, Chrome Sparks, Caveman, Neon Indian, Lower Dens, Guards, Miike Snow, Motel Beds, Incan Abraham, Oberhofer, Zambri, Snowmine (DJ set), Hooray for Earth, Javelin, SpaceghostPurrp, Nite Jewel, Tanlines, U.S. Royalty, Eternal Summers, NO, The Record Company, Royal Baths, The Hundred Days, and Family of the Year.

    A Few Bands I Wanted To See But Didn’t: Steffaloo, Com Truise, Girls, xxxy, Star Slinger, Nas, Of Montreal, and Sharon Van Etten.

    My Favorite Live Performances (in no particular order):

    1. NO (“Stay With Me” is EPIC live)
    2. Purity Ring (cool light show to accompany the great music)
    3. Shigeto (totally unexpected drumming extravaganza)
    4. Fiona Apple (most impressive vocal performances I heard all week)
    5. Typhoon (10 members of the band on one small stage playing powerful music)
    6. the-Dream (dancing in a church with a little over 100 people at 2 a.m. is surprisingly awesome)
    7. Javelin (electro-synth pop covers of Beastie Boys and Lil Wayne)
    8. Mikal Cronin (so much energy and great songwriting)
    9. The Record Company (bluesy awesome sauce)
    10. Motel Beds (literally even had Matt Pinfield from MTV rocking out with ’em)

    My Least Favorite Live Performances:

    1. Grimes
    2. SpaceghostPurrp
    3. Mr. Gnome

    FOOD

    Best Restaurants: Uchiko & Easy Tiger (as to both: amazing food & great ambiance)

    Most Disappointing Restaurant: Parkside (undercooked risotto, somewhat bland, bad wine selection)

    Best Food Trucks: Fat Boys Tacos (Carnita’s Taco) & Pig Vicious (Sausage Mac & Cheese + Doc Marten)

    Worst Food Truck: Roppolo’s Pizza (not bad, but pizza was just “meh”)

    Best Thing I Ate (two way tie): Ham & Eggs (Uchiko) & Koviche (Uchiko)

    Worst Thing I Ate (hands down): Doritos Tacos Locos (note: I could only choke down two bites before tossing it in the garbage where it belonged).

    OTHER

    Best Parts of SXSW: Meeting cool bands, industry folks and music bloggers in person. Free food + drinks.

    Worst Part of SXSW: Sixth Street on Friday & Saturday. Over the top corporate sponsorships. Feeling strung-out and in need of more sleep for an entire week.

    Incomplete list of awesome people/blogs that made my SXSW fantastic (in no particular order): Andrianna from Gluttony Is The New Black, Jason from Indie Shuffle, the amazing folks from I Guess I’m Floating + Small Plates Recs, Chris from Daily Beatz, Marshall & Jess from ex.fm, the fine folks at We Listen For You, Kevin at Epic Sauce (plus Jennifer & Becca), Angela at Underwire (love you BB), the good men in the The Record Company, the guys from White Arrows, Steffaloo, Sean & Bradley from NO (plus Andrea!), Katie from La Sera, Peter from Ears of the Beholder, Ben + Christian from the Bay Bridged, Dawson from Noise Pop, Bruce from Some Velvet Blog, David from The SF Critic + Thrillcall, the guy from Rocafella who gave me a ride downtown, Christophe from La Blogotheque, Eric from the The Wild Honey Pie, and George from Terrorbird. I’m sure I’m forgetting some awesome people I met. Apologies if we met and I forgot to add you to the list.

    INSTAGRAM PHOTO JOURNAL

    clockwise from upper left: Typhoon, the War on Drugs, Lower Dens, La Sera

    clockwise from upper left: Bass Drum of Death, Field Mouse, Purity Ring, The Record Company

    clockwise from upper left: Guards, Fiona Apple, Caveman, Danny Brown

    clockwise from upper left: Widowspeak, SBTRKT, Grimes, Peaking Lights

    clockwise from upper left: Cities Aviv, Mikal Cronin, the-Dream, Shigeto

    clockwise from upper left: Easy Tiger, German Board from Easy Tiger, Uchi cookbook, Austin food trucks

    MP3s

    Grimes – Genesis
    White Rabbits – Heavy Metal
    La Sera – Please Be My Third Eye
    The Record Company – Don’t Let Me Get Lonely
    Mux Mool – Palace Chalise
    Shigeto – Huron River Drive
    NO – Stay With Me
    Purity Ring – Ungirthed
    The-Dream – Body Work / F**k My Brains Out
    Motel Beds – Tarzan Sings the Blues
    Oberhofer – Away From U
    The War On Drugs – Come To The City
    Neon Indian – Polish Girl
    Mikal Cronin – Apathy
    Radiohead – Everything In It’s Right Place (SBTRKT Remix)
    Peaking Lights – All The Sun That Shines
    Javelin – Lindsay Brohan
    Field Mouse – You Guys Are Gonna Wake My Mom
    Guards – Taxi Cab (Vampire Weekend Cover)
    Zambri – Places
    White Arrows – Get Gone

  2. Musical Pairings: AM & Shawn Lee – Celestial Electric

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    Neither AM nor Shawn Lee are new faces in the music industry. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the Los Angeles-based AM’s music has been featured in over 100 television shows and movies. He’s previously toured with the likes of French band AIR, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Brazilian superstar Caetano Veloso. Meanwhile, Shawn Lee was quite busy himself having worked alongside folks such as the Dust Brothers, Jeff Buckley, Money Mark, Princess Superstar and Psapp. The two musicians met when AM reached out to Lee after having heard Lee’s music played on a Los Angeles radio station. The two quickly discovered a shared appreciation for the music of the late 60’s and early 70’s. As we all know, when two artists who respect one another discover a shared love for the same music, collaborations are born. It’s the musical equivalent of “the birds and the bees.” Their debut album, Celestial Electric, is the result of that collaboration.

    Considering their shared influences it’s unsurprising that Celestial Electric almost sounds like an album out-of-time. I say “almost” because the songwriting shines with numerous elements that call upon contemporary sources. For example, Celestial Electric can manage to simultaneously call to mind an eclectic roster of artists including Jorge Ben, Gilberto Gil, The Postal Service, The Flaming Lips, Heart, and Kings of Convenience. When calling upon their influences the duo don’t rely on only one genre or time period. However you slice it, this is a bright and upbeat album full of catchy hooks, sunshiny melodies, Latin American-inspired grooves, and funky rhythms.

    The album opens with the bounce of a Tropicalia-inspired groove and a quietly-shuffling rhythm on “City Boy.” The track features a melody and chorus which are both as warm and inviting as a ray of diffused light spread through a window across a living room floor. Meanwhile, “Lonely Life” features a crisp, snare-heavy rhythm, feel good handclaps, and laser-sharp synths to compliment AM’s high falsetto. The album’s official first single “Dark Into Light” has the album’s darkest atmosphere with heavy bass and (relatively) sludgy synths. Still, the track remains uplifting thanks to AM’s vocals and Lee’s neon-sharp synth flourishes. A little further into the LP they knock out a funky, soulful cover the Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ “Jackie Blue” for a sure shot. Demonstrating an intuitive touch for perfectly balanced songwriting, the album remains solid and consistently engaging throughout.

    With sweet melodies and sugary hooks, Celestial Electric pairs well with Kasey’s Sliced Mango with Sugared Lime Zest recipe. Both the recipe and the album call to mind heavy shade and a cool breeze on a warm, sweltering summer day. By the way, I should warn you: that sugared lime zest might as well be renamed Fruit Loops-flavored crack it’s so tasty and addictive.

    Celestial Electric is available in a number of different packages through the duo’s Bandcamp site.  Then I suggest checking out Kasey’s Sliced Mango with Sugared Lime Zest recipe.

  3. 5 Questions With… Breathe Owl Breathe

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    I caught up with Micah, Andrea and Trevor from Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Breathe Owl Breathe before their set at San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill. Their live show is upbeat and whimsical. In fact, I’d venture as far as to say I’d never seen a band appear to have so much fun on stage (The Decemberists probably come in a close 2nd though). Whether Micah was performing barrel rolls, play acting as if he were swimming, or creating giraffe hand puppets to accompany a song’s lyrics; it was often enough to elicit uncontrollable giggling and knowing, amused smiles from Andrea and Trevor. Thankfully, although the trio know how to have a good time, they also never missed a note – even when Andrea unleashed operatic vocals in the midst of “Parrots In The Tropical Trees.” We talked about – what else – food and music.  Read on.

    Breathe Owl Breathe – The Listeners
    Breathe Owl Breathe – Own Stunts

    1. What is the tastiest treat you’ve had on the last tour/back home?

    Trevor: We like to get Indian food, it is our weakness. It makes us feel like we are at home. That’s because back home in Ann Arbor, Michigan there is a really good Indian restaurant called Raja Rani. It is like the best Indian buffet and it is close to home. So it isn’t really on tour. Andrea would probably have a different answer though.

    Andrea: I love Indian food a lot. On the last tour we did about two and a half weeks only in Michigan. So we toured the Upper Peninsula and stayed with Micah’s Aunt and Uncle who live way in the woods. They are amazing. They have these amazing permaculture gardens that put up a huge amount of the food that they eat year round. His Uncle Ray makes this amazing hot sauce called Ray’s Polish Fire that we’re addicted to and put on almost everything. Ray made this amazing chili. Usually I don’t like chili, but it has wild turkey from up there and all of this kale, it was kale heavy, and I’m obsessed with kale. It also had tomatoes that they had grown and beans. That was my favorite treat from our last tour. It was a really special treat.

    2. Is there one album that has dominated the stereo in the tour van?

    Micah:  Today we listened to different soundtracks.  It was almost like a game where we played Last of the Mohicans, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones. There was some Bone Thugs & Harmony – Tha Crossroads, we did a little M.C. Hammer – Have You Seen Her.

    Trevor: Not really an album, but a mix and mash.

    3. What is your favorite music discovery of 2012?

    Micah: I think I’m always rediscovering Arthur Russell’s recordings. I’m just amazed of everywhere he has been in his songs.

    Trevor: Something that sticks out is this Philip Glass three tape set that Micah got. The packaging is the size of a vinyl record.  You open it and there are three tapes in it.

    Micah: It was minimal with the concept but not with the packaging. You can play these cassettes at the same time or individually.

    Andrea: It is hard to pick just one. I’ll be specific in a way you didn’t ask for.  The first discovery of a band from a live show, that I didn’t know, that really blew me away was this band called Future Islands. I had definitely never heard of.  They really blew me away live.

    4. What is one food or beverage you can’t live without (Trevor stepped away to help with sound setup)

    Andrea: Number one would be sweet potatoes, and number two dinosaur kale, and number three would have to be fair trade, organic dark chocolate.

    Micah:  There is this sandwich that I really enjoy making.  You toast the bread and you put peanut butter and bread and butter pickles and a little bit of hot sauce and you serve it with a side of rice.  It’s just a really good gourmet.  There will become a time in your life when you’ll be like: “I’m going to try the peanut butter and pickles sandwich, and you are either ready for it or you are not.”

    Andrea: If I were to guess Trevor’s top 3 they would be: Cookies, which can encompass any all very sweet baked goods; beans – like black beans; and coffee.  Oh, and one more food that I have to add is coconut butter. It is not oil, but just like cashew butter or almond butter.  Just the coconut flesh but it is totally creamy.  I’ll eat it by the spoonful.

    5. Any resolutions for 2012?

    Trevor: Putting things out there that are on my mind, when they happen, rather than later, including inspirations. It pretty much applies to anything in the world.

    Andrea: My resolution is to be more active.  To go for more hikes and runs and walks and swims.

    TK: I bet that is tough when you are on the road.

    Andrea: It is.  You have to be really determined.  Micah is incredible at it.  He’ll wake up before everyone else on the tour and just run for miles and come back, and everyone else is just getting up.

    TK: That is pretty determined.  Especially because you’ll be in new cities and not really know where you might be running.

    Micah: Yeah, but that moment, the first thing of the day, is so precious because you are passing through areas so quickly, and you are able to see that little moment in time. My short term goal is that I’ve never been good at documenting things, or logging things. Sometimes when we record music it just gets lost on cassette tapes, and there will be something that you completely forget about.  On this tour I’m trying to log what I do everyday, active-wise and collaborating-wise.

  4. Turntable Kitchen :: Top Albums of 2011

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    (full list of Top 30 Albums with MP3s below comments)

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    A recent New York Times article (sent to me by my friend Lindsey) sizes up the “mainstream rock music” in 2011 and concludes that “2011 may well be remembered as the most numbing year for mainstream rock music in history.” To be honest, I’ve thought that every year since the nineties were bad years for mainstream rock.

    Although mainstream rock has grown boring, 2011 was a fine year for everyone else in pretty much all genres of music (including indie rock). So with that in mind, my list isn’t only a reflection of the best albums of the year, but a celebration of the diversity of great new music released this year.

    For me there was no question that House of Balloons was my album of the year.  I listened to it more than any other album released during 2011, and I’ve been ending the year incessantly listening to his latest mixtape, Echoes of Silence (which was nearly as good as House of Balloons in my opinion, but only omitted because I dislike including two albums by the same artist). When considered abstractly, it is hard to believe this was my favorite album of the year.  After all, one of my favorite bands, Radiohead, released a new album. The two biggest superstars of hip hop, Jay-Z & Kanye West, teamed up for an album. And yet the most memorable album of the year was this free mixtape offered as an introduction to the salacious R&B of Toronto-based The Weeknd.

    Of course it wasn’t the only great album released this year. If you want rock that is memorable and exciting, tUnE-yArDs’ w h o k i l l is certainly unique and hard to forget. If you’re a fan of beeps, bloops and and heavy bass (as opposed to guitars), James Blake‘s self-titled debut was a stunning and beautiful study of sparse electronica. It’s hard not to listen to “Wilhelms Scream” or his cover of Feist’s “Limit To Your Love” and not feel the hairs on your arms begin to stand on end.  Beirut’s The Rip Tide turned out to be a slow grower that gave back the more time you put into it. Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues is a near masterpiece of lush, orchestral-folk.

    Feist, who has long been one of TK’s favorite songwriters, unsurprisingly released the most mature and thoughtful album of the year. Widowspeak‘s debut record was a favorite for its smoky ambiance. Charles Bradley proved that you are never too old to release your debut album having brought back the old-school soul and funk with No Time For Dreaming (the man is in his 60s).  St. Vincent kept rock and roll abstract and cerebral without sacrificing the visceral edge that all rock should offer. And Girls continued to surprise fans with a grandiose rock record that exceeds everything they had done on their debut.

    A couple of overachievers delivered, not one, but two great records this year: Motel Beds (Sunfried Dreams & Tango Boys) and Cass McCombs (Humor Risk and Wit’s End). If you wanted something new then you were probably pleased with the awesome debuts released by Mikal Cronin, Cults, Loch Lomond, Saintseneca, Gardens & Villa, and Other Lives. If you wanted some beats to keep things cool then Evenings, Clams Casino and Com Truise had your back. Similarly good hip hop was released by Drake, ASAP Rocky and Shabazz Palaces – (the Jay-Z & Kanye album gets honorable mention). Meanwhile, Radiohead, The Black Keys, The Decemberists, The Antlers and Washed Out padded their already impressive catalogs with excellent new music.

    The bottom line is this: if you weren’t impressed with the music released in 2011, then you weren’t looking in the right places.  Honorable mentions go to M83, SBTRKT, Watch the Throne, White Denim, Steffaloo, Puro Instinct and Peaking Lights.

    The Full List & MP3s

    01. The Weeknd – House of Balloons ::  The Weeknd – What You Need

    02. tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l :: tUnE-yArDs – Bizness

    03. James Blake – James Blake :: James Blake – Wilhelm’s Scream

    04. Beirut – The Rip Tide :: Beirut – East Harlem

    05. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues :: Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

    06. Feist – Metals :: Feist – How Come You Never Go There

    07. Charles Bradley – No Time For Dreaming :: Charles Bradley – The World (Is Going Up In Flames)

    08. Widowspeak – Widowspeak :: Widowspeak – Harsh Realm

    09. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy :: St. Vincent – Cruel

    10. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost :: Girls – Vomit

    11. Motel Beds – Sunfried Dreams / Tango Boys :: Motel Beds – Milquetoast Discovery

    12. Real Estate – Days :: Real Estate – It’s Real

    13. Mikal Cronin – Mikal Cronin :: Mikal Cronin – Apathy

    14. Clams Casino – Instrumental :: Clams Casino – Motivation

    15. Evenings – Lately :: Evenings – [Lately] See You Soon

    16. Radiohead – King of Limbs :: Radiohead – Give Up The Ghost

    17. The Black Keys – El Camino :: The Black Keys – Lonely Boy

    18. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up :: Shabazz Palaces – Swerve… The reaping of all that is worthwhile

    19. Cults – Cults :: Cults – You Know What I Mean

    20. Washed Out – Within and Without :: Washed Out – Amor Fati

    21. Cass McCombs – Humor Risk / Wit’s End :: Cass McCombs – The Same Thing

    22. Com Truise – Galactic Melt :: Com Truise – Brokendate

    23. Bon Iver – Bon Iver :: Bon Iver – Calgary

    24. ASAP Rocky – LiveLoveASAP :: A$AP Rocky – Palace

    25. Drake – Take Care :: Drake – Dreams Money Can Buy

    26. The Antlers – Burst Apart :: The Antlers – Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out

    27. Saintseneca – Last :: Saintseneca – Acid Rain

    28. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead :: The Decemberists – January Hymn

    29. Other Lives – Tamer Animals :: Other Lives – For 12

    30. Gardens & Villa – Gardens & Villa :: Gardens & Villa – Black Hills

    *Lead picture used via Creative Commons license courtesy of Alex Dram.

  5. Single Servings: Charles ‘Packy’ Axton – Late Late Party * 1965-67

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    My music obsession knows few boundaries. Even though I post primarily about contemporary genres, I also love digging deep for forgotten gems — especially in genres like 60s/70s garage rock, soul, r&b and funk.  In that regards, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my record collection was to sign up for the Light In The Attic subscription service. Run by dedicated crate-digging music historians, the label’s ability to find and reissue some of the best musical missing-links is pretty much unparalleled. Their latest release collects the music of Memphis-based tenor saxophone player and bandleader Charles ‘Packy’ Axton including tracks from his work with The Martinis, Stacy Lane, L.H. & The Memphis Sounds, The Pac-Keys and The Packers. The collection, titled Late Late Party * 1965-67, includes funky, floor-stomping grooves like “No Ending” alongside soul-soaked head-and-shoulder swaying ballads such as “House Full of Rooms.”

    The collection is diverse and includes both instrumentals and vocal cuts, and the sole unifying thread is the warm sax of Packy Axton.  Packy was the son/nephew of the founders of Stax records Estelle Axton (his mother) and Jim Stewart (his uncle).  During the years he recorded, Packy had a few scattered hits that were very well-received on the r&b and pop charts.  Sadly, Packy’s music career and life came to an abrupt end when he succumbed to a battle with alcoholism in 1974.  Since that time, his music has become nearly forgotten by all but a few music fans until Light In The Attic decided to curate this collection of his tracks.  With permission from Light In The Attic, I am able to offer a stream of the track “No Ending” that Packy recorded with Stacy Lane.  I think you’ll feel the groove.

    Charles ‘Packy’ Axton :: Stacy Lane – No Ending

    Buy Charles ‘Packy’ Axton – Late Late Party from Insound.

     

  6. Turntable Kitchen’s Top Albums of 2011 (so far)

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    Last Friday we entered July, and thus, also the second half of 2011.  Now that we’ve passed that milestone, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look back at the best albums we’ve heard so far.  For me it helps at the end of the year to remind of some of the best things I’d heard early in the year, and I’d hope for you, it might function as a gentle reminder to check out some great albums you may have missed this far.  As always, this list isn’t intended as an objective list of the “best of” – but rather my subjective favorites.  EPs have been intentionally excluded from this list (I’m sure I’ll do a Top EPs list by the end of the year – if not sooner).  And, of course, I’m sure I missed some great stuff, so I’d love to hear your recommendations.

    And, with that in mind, here are TK’s Top Albums of 2011 (so far):

    ~

    1. The Weeknd – House of Ballons

    MP3: The Weeknd – High For This

    ~

    2. James Blake – James Blake

    MP3: James Blake – Wilhelm’s Scream

    ~

    3. tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l

    MP3: tUnE-yArDs – Bizness

    ~

    4. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up

    MP3: Shabazz Palaces – Swerve… The reaping of all that is worthwhile (Noir not withstanding)

    ~

    5. Washed Out – Within and Without


    MP3: Washed Out – Amor Fati

    ~

    6. Radiohead – King of Limbs


    MP3:

    Radiohead – Bloom

    ~

    7. Cults – Cults


    MP3: Cults – You Know What I Mean

    ~

    8. the Antlers – Burst Apart


    MP3: The Antlers – Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out

    ~

    9. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues


    MP3: Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

    ~

    10. Motel Beds – Sunfried Dreams


    MP3: Motel Beds – Obey Your Lunch

    ~

    11. Bon Iver, Bon Iver


    MP3: Bon Iver – Calgary

    ~

    12. Steffaloo – Meet Me In Montauk


    MP3: Steffaloo – Meet Me In Montauk

    ~

    13. Thao & Mirah – Thao & Mirah

    MP3: Thao & Mirah – Eleven (feat. tUnE-yArDs)

    14. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead


    MP3: The Decemberists – January Hymn

    ~

    15. Loch Lomond – Little Me Will Start A Storm


    MP3: Loch Lomond – Elephants & Little Girls

    ~

    Big thanks to Tebogo Malebogo who contributed our awesome cover art above!

  7. Single Serving: Mux Mool – Drum EP 2 (Newly Mastered)

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    I’m not that familiar with Mux Mool, but this track I received via email from Ghostly International is a total jam and definitely has me interested in hearing more.  While sifting through his Soundcloud page I also discovered a totally boss rework of the Goblin Town theme song from the original Hobbit animated movie.  The album cover for Drums EP 2, which for me invokes 80’s metal, is in no way representative of the upbeat and grooving electronic rhythm that propels “Jen and Soda”, but it is nonetheless completely awesome.  I’m going to let the track speak for itself here.

    Mux Mool – Jen and Soda

    Don’t forget to “heart” our songs on hypem if you like what you hear!

  8. Single Serving: Mobroder (a.k.a. Spank Rock / DJ Hoff / Blue Jemz) Mixtape

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    So here is a unique, albeit somewhat questionable, idea:  Spank Rock (a.k.a. the salaciously-tongued Baltmore-based M.C. who once eloquently told us that “behind my Gameboy I got game girl”) decided to team up with DJ Hoff and Blu Jemz to record an Italio-disco/rap concept album set in Miami, 1983, about a fictional 1970’s handlebar-mustached disco superstar named Mobroder searching for his soul after having lost direction from greed and cocaine-use. Mobroder, once the king of disco, has to reevaluate his love life and rediscover his mojo while battling rising European disco stars for supremacy of the disco charts.  I know what you’re thinking: “Why the hell not?”  Surprisingly, though, the Mobroder mixtape is very listenable – maintaining a cohesive plot line and some damn good music.  It’s a free download (in the form of a single continuous MP3) from the Mobroder website.  Below you can check out an excerpt I prepared.

    Mobroder – Mobroder vs. Fibrezio

    Don’t forget to “heart” our songs on hypem if you like what you hear!

  9. Single Serving: Breakfast in Fur – Breakfast in Fur EP

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    I wholly and sincerely love seeing my fellow music-bloggers start record labels.  After all, these are people who are passionate about music and who have already demonstrated great taste.  One of the more recent additions to that club is Analog Edition Records run by Matt from Everybody Taste.  Analog Edition enters the scene with two strong releases including debut E.P. by New Paltz, NY-based group Breakfast in Fur.  Clattering and rickety, their brand of bedroom psych-folk is warming, infectious and care free.  Clever hooks seamlessly blend with offbeat and thoughtfully arranged instrumentation.  I was charmed the first time I gave the record a spin on my turntable: and I think you are going to feel the same way.

    Breakfast in Fur – I Don’t Care

    Head to hype to vote for these tracks.  Then score your copy of the Breakfast in Fur 10″ vinyl EP from Analog Edition Records.

  10. Musical Pairings: Cults – Cults

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    [And we’re back.]  Sometimes patience pays off… and then sometimes it doesn’t.  That is especially true in the treacherous and ever-shifting modern world of independent music.  I could rattle off a list of bands who released amazing introductory singles only to later release disappointing debut albums – but I won’t – I tend to demonstrate my dislike for an album through silence (i.e. I just don’t write about it).  Like any impatient fan, I look for signs of what to expect from a band’s future releases.  And when that debut is a long time coming I start to worry that it may be a sign that they are struggling with the recording process.  The NYC-based duo Cults made a pretty dramatic debut on the indie music loving world back in early March of last year when they released the MP3s for the “Go Outside” single.  That was one year and 3 months ago, which is an extremely long time in the indie-music world.  So, yeah, I was worried that they were struggling with their debut album.

    So, with all of that said, I am extremely pleased to say that Cults’ debut is every bit as good as I had hoped it would be.  In part, the record is a hit because they didn’t mess with the music that brought them attention in the first place.  In fact, many of the tracks here won’t be new to long time fans.  Both “Most Wanted” and “Go Outside” from their early single are still here, but with a more dynamic sonic presence.  Notably, the grimy, haunted-house keyboards and crisp, grooving rhythm section have been drawn forth to greater prominence in the mix.  Thankfully, the new mix doesn’t dramatically change the overall effect of the tracks, but it does better balance those darker elements of their arrangements against the dreamy melodies of their song-writing and the child-like innocence of singer Madeline Follin’s vocals.  Similarly “Oh My God” which was originally released for Adult Swim’s singles series has been given an effective, non-invasive sonic face-lift.  Other tracks on the album we’d heard as early as July of last year when they road-tested some of the material on a short tour (including a gig in July of 2010 at San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill).  They sounded good then, and they sound great now.  So with three of the tracks released over a year ago and others well road-worn by the time they were released, we kinda knew what to expect from the album.  And that doesn’t even take into account the fact that “Abducted” and “You Know What I Mean” were both released recently as excellent carefully placed teasers for the album.  I’m not suggesting that you’d want to ignore this one if you’ve already fully-digested those prior releases. To the contrary: there is a lot of good new material here that you haven’t heard even if you’d hungrily devoured every morsel they’ve previously released.  A couple of other highlights include the glockenspiel-spined melodies on “Never Saw The Point” and the sneaky, playful tune on “Bad Things.”  And as I indicated above, the album contains the most definitive versions of their prior tracks.  It’s definitely an album I can recommend.

    And if you are looking for a tasty meal to accompany your music-ingestion, I’d highly recommend the similarly fresh and clean-tasting Cilantro Chicken Skewers with Mango Salsa recipe Kasey is featuring in the Kitchen.  Aside from my love for food served on a stick (with which you can rarely go wrong), the mango salsa balances beautifully against the grilled chicken.

    Cults – You Know What I Mean

    Go get Kasey’s recipe for cilantro chicken skewers with mango salsa.  Then go and purchase Cults self-titled debut from Insound.  Mix well, bake at 350 and serve warm with a cocktail of your choice.

     

  11. Single Serving: The Weeknd – Early Demos

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    I know I’m not alone when I say I can’t stop listening to The Weeknd’s House of Balloons mixtape.  It’s easily one of the most exciting releases I’ve heard this year.  I described that one as “mingling all of the naughtiness of deep trembling bass, salaciously dirty lyrics, and mesmerizing samples.”  Unbelievably, they have two more mixtapes lined up to drop this year: Thursdays (to be released this summer) and Echoes in Silence (to be released this fall).  But, you don’t have to wait until then to hear some new tunes from the crew.  A collection of early demos have leaked to the Internet from when they were going by the name The Night.  Not only that, they just released a new song via YouTube titled “Rolling Stone.”  Enjoy!