Friday, June 26, 2009

Ricardo Villalobos - Enfants

I guess I missed the boat that everybody else in the DJ world got on a year ago, and that is Ricardo Villalobos. Holy shit, this guy's awesome.

Here's a quick offering of what he's got. Enjoy!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson: 1958-2009

Farrah Fawcett, eat your heart out. So ends one of the most tragic sagas in American pop culture. Rest in peace, the King of Pop.


Thriller - Michael Jackson (The song by the man that changed everything)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nicker Hill Orchestra - All the Different Deaths...and Rebirths

Self Released

All the Different Deaths...and Rebirths does not break very much new ground as standard genre fare. But Nicker Hill Orchestra, given the confines in which they work, provide enough embellishment to - however incrementally - advance the post rock sound a few steps into the future...(Read more at the Silent Ballet)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Boxcutter - Arecibo Message

A few months ago, as I was travelling the world of breakbeat music in search of fun tracks, I stumbled upon a neat drum and bass outfit called Boxcutter.

So this morning, as I was perusing that other website I write for, I was very pleasantly surprised to see that name, "Boxcutter", under the list album reviews posted this morning. Lo and behold, it was the same DJ as I had heard previously!

Christa Macnaughton has written a very nice review of his newest album, Arecibo Message, so be sure to check it out.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Songs of the week: 6/16/09

Ah. Summer, while not "officially", is officially here. Hazy, hot, and humid - with the reliable afternoon thundershower. Don't you love Florida summers?

songs of the week #25

1. At Least I'm Not As Sad As I Used To Be - fun. (This is an awesome track from the after-project of the Format and Anathallo)
2. Nothing Pure Can Stay (Live) - Audrye Sessions (Hell yeah)
3. Kids (MGMT Cover) - The Kooks (I'd hope that, unlike with the original, people make actually take heed of the chorus: control yourself, and don't overplay this track. Take only what you need!)
4. Autumn Beds - Modest Mouse (Another new Modest Mouse song! Off of their upcoming 7")

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Prodigy - Warrior's Dance (South Central Remix)

Nothing vital today, just riding a wave of elation from last night's victory over the Orlando Magic. Congratulations to my favorite Los Angeles Lakers on Phil's 10th, the franchise's 15th, and Kobe's first championship without Shaq.

Here's a pretty killer remix to what was already a stand-out track from The Prodigy's Invaders Must Die. Enjoy!


Friday, June 12, 2009

aMute - Infernal Heights For a Drama

Still Records


To hear it told by many, the Belgian experimentalists aMute have crafted a desolate, nuanced aural landscape in Infernal Heights for a Drama. And while I acknowledge that it is not fair to fault aMute for delivering something which deviated from my expectations, it is fair to fault them for a meandering, directionless array of noise...(Read more at the Silent Ballet)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Riding Alone For Thousands Of Miles Interview

So, uh remember Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles? You know? That one band? Released the best album of 2008? Ringing any bells? No? Come onnn!

Well, regardless, there is an interview with them over on a somewhat mysterious website called "Five Questions" that might be of interest to all you fans of obscure, up-and-coming post-rock.

Nothing really revealing in the interview though: no news of the album that they've been working on, no new tracks - just a little bit of insight into the thought process behind their work thus far. Either way, enjoy.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Songs of the week: 6/9/09

It's been a hot minute since the last Songs of the Week, and I felt like it was high time for a return. Only two tracks this week, both of them hot and fresh out the proverbial oven.

I'm still in search of this year's summer song, but the second track certainly carries potential. Be sure to tell me what you think.

Happy listening!

songs of the week #24

1. D.O.A. (Death of Autotune) - Jay Z (I'm not yet sure where I stand on this track - the production is killer, but Jay's verses might leave something to be desired. Time will tell)
2. Jeffer - Boys Noize (Hell to the yeah; I can't wait to see him spin at Summer Stage in August!)

Monday, June 08, 2009

mewithoutYou - it's all crazy! it's all false! it's all a dream! it's alright.


Tooth & Nail
Buy (


(Note: Also published on blogcritics)

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea; The Moon and Antarctica; hell, even Pet Sounds - please take note: mewithoutYou has officially joined your makers' ranks.

Six months in, it's all crazy! it's all false! it's all a dream! it's alright. has trumped every single competing bid for the best album of 2009, and I would bet the farm that the next six months' releases don't stand a chance to top it. It's not even close.

During the months leading up to the album's release, mewithoutYou promised that the sound would be quite different from the post-hardcore of earlier records; just how far removed that sound ended up being came as a shock to many. And I'm not going to lie - fans expecting Brother, Sister II are in for a real letdown. But those who enter with an open mind should find the progression to be a welcome change.

I've read several reviews that draw a comparison to Neutral Milk Hotel, and in certain ways, this is true. it's all crazy! it's all false! does incorporate a very eclectic instrumentation, bearing a general resemblance to the style of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. Indeed, the horn arrangements on "Allah, Allah, Allah" seem like a reincarnation of "Communist Daughter", and "The Fox, the Crow & the Cookie"s romp would fit right in next to "Holland 1945". However, I don't think anybody's going to be confusing Aaron Weiss with Jeff Mangum any time soon, as the band makes the album very much their own.

In case it was not clear by now, it's all crazy! it's all false! it's all a dream! it's alright. is a folk record more than anything else, bursting at every seam with Sufi parables, Christian imagery, and deceptively simple choruses drawing straight from the campfire songs of yore. Many listeners will never get past this first, superficial sonic layer, which is a real shame. Because accompanying this quirky, folksy band is the sublime poetic talent of Aaron Weiss. Always one of the band's fortes, his lyrics here are several notches above those of his contemporaries, packing a depth and poignance not achieved since Dylan's heyday.

The most striking characteristic is the pervasive food and animal imagery present throughout the album's eleven songs. The titles themselves serve as an immediate clue: "Fig With a Bellyache", "King Beetle on a Coconut Estate", etc. What is more important, however, is the efficiency with which Weiss deploys these images and symbols, stuffing single lines with enough meaning to base a dissertation on. A perfect example of this is found in the opening stanza of "Fig With A Bellyache":

The camel in the desert took a ship across the lake,
While the fish in search of water found a fig with a bellyache.
Two lines contain an entire album's worth of connotations and literary devices, two lines whose conflicting meanings contribute to the song's theme of overcoming sexual temptation.

The camel here is used not only for its association with the desert (representing celibacy), but also the animal's capacity to subsist on stores of water for a long time (which stands for monogamy and fidelity). The camel is described as taking a ship across the lake, the stark juxtaposition with the dry desert suggesting divine assistance of some sort. Then, we are introduced with the fish, desperately seeking its lifeblood, who stumbles upon a malnourished fig. Figs have long represented modesty (Adam and Eve covered their privates with fig leaves in Genesis) and divinity (in the Qu'ran, Muhammed speaks of the fig tree's pitless fruit as coming from Paradise), and when one puts it all together, the message becomes quite clear. The camel might travel through long periods of abstinence, but can still find fulfillment through God. The fish, normally in an environment saturated by sex, is left stranded once the well runs dry, and his life is empty.

A careful inspection of "The Fox, the Crow & the Cookie" reveals a warning about the sin of pride, analysis of "King Beetle" reveals a striking tale of faith, and so on and so on with the other tracks.

At this point, I imagine that many have either reached or are rapidly approaching a threshold of alienation. But don't let me misguide you: this is not a Christian rock album. Let me repeat. This is not a Christian rock album. So if all the talk of faith and pride and David and Solomon seems a bit offputting, it's fine. Which is where this album's real beauty lies. Whether one understands the religious aspects - whether one even cares to acknowledge them - is completely irrelevant, having no bearing upon one's enjoyment.

There is so much more that I could write about this record - as I said before, there is enough upon which to base an entire dissertation - but I'll have to save that for another time and place. The bottom line is that mewithoutYou stands alone.

It might, admittedly, be crazy. But it's certainly too sincere to be false, too impactful to be a dream, and just too fucking good to be 'alright'. It is a modern classic.

Key Tracks:
The Fox, the Crow & the Cookie
The Angel of Death Came To David's Room
King Beetle on a Coconut Estate
Allah, Allah, Allah

Friday, June 05, 2009

Parhelia - Shifting Sands




As a genre, “post-rock” had a good run; the late 90s and turn of the millennium saw a slew of releases which should still be looked upon in fifty years as being classics, as legendary. The story since 2003 has been a little different. Certainly there have been exceptions, but the rule has been repackaging the tired formula of thunderous percussion and shimmering tremolo guitar set amidst Baroque dynamics. Post-rock lived a healthy life, but has been denied a graceful death by hundreds of bands that are either incapable of, or refuse to, evolve their sound.

Bands like Parhelia, for instance...(Read more at the Silent Ballet)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career


Buy (


"It feels like none of this is real."

Lucky for us, it is. This song, this album, this band - it's all quite real. And it's all really quite good, for that matter. Camera Obscura's third LP, Let's Get Out Of This Country, found its way onto a handful of year-end lists, and rightfully so. Two years and ten months later, the follow-up seems poised to do much the same thing.

Riding on the coattails of lead single "French Navy" (the new "Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken"), My Maudlin Career has found itself a new crossover audience, one that has begun to show fatigue in the face of the Soulja Boy hotline and another (?!) Lady Gaga chart topper. Good riddance.

"Spent a week in a dusty library, waiting for some words to jump at me."

Some good words must have jumped at leading lady Tracy Campbell - the album's lyrics would certainly land on the shortlist for the Pulitzer Prize in LiveJournal. Airy vignettes and aching lament pervade, the songs coming across as sincere instead of, dare I say, maudlin.

Campbell's combination of naivete, longing, and regret seems very similar in tone to that of Gregory and the Hawk's Meredith Godreau. The key difference is that the Scotsmen backing up Campbell create a sound with greater confidence and flair than the muted understatement found on, say, Moenie and Kitchi, and this makes for a much more successful finished product.

"I wish my heart was cold, but it's warmer than before."

And it is this warmth that allows Camera Obscura to transcend the thematic limitations of the break-up album. Much of My Maudlin Career covers the backend of a troubled relationship, and while the band runs the emotional gamut, bitterness is nowhere to be found.

The marvelous, laid back "Forests and Sands" has Campbell declaring "I'm in heaven / And you're holding my hand"; on the flipside, the incessantly upbeat "Swans" finds her single and alone, buying flowers for herself, waiting for an "eloquent boy" to come to her door.

On the somber penultimate track "Other Towns and Cities", Campbell desperately needs monogamy from a casual lover, left to wonder: "In other towns and cities / Who's holding you tonight?". Downers "James" and "Careless Love" both tackle the question of whether two exes can reconcile as "just friends" after the relationship has disintegrated, and "Away With Murder" is just downright heartbreaking.

Despite this rather turbulent midsection, the overall impression of the album is one of positive energy, of optimism. This effect is achieved, at least partly, through the bookending of the record with its two warmest, prettiest numbers. It opens with "French Navy", which sports a ridiculously catchy bridge of strings and horns to contrast with the sparse, staccato instrumentation of the verses; forty minutes later, the similarly up-tempo "Honey in the Sun" ends things much as they began, allowing Maudlin Career to come full circle, establishing it as the band's most accomplished work to date.

"This maudlin career has come to an end."

Has it really?

God, I sure hope not.

Key Tracks:
French Navy
Forests and Sands