Monday, November 9, 2009

Viva Radio Electronic Mix

My friend works at American Apparel and was sick of the music they play on Viva Radio. She asked me to make a playlist, only requirement is that it has to be 1 hour long. I've been going through an electronic phase since this phenomenal Fuck Buttons record, so that's the focus here.

Playlist to the right, tracklist below:

1. Avalanches - Two Hearts In 3/4 Time
2. Prefuse 73 - Perverted Undertone
3. Air France - No Excuses
4. Air - Brakes On
5. Flying Lotus - GNG BNG
6. Boards Of Canada - 1969
7. Delorean - Big Dipper
8. Radiohead - Meeting in the Aisle
9. DJ Shadow - Midnight Perfect World
10. Aphex Twin - IZ-US
11. Fuck Buttons - Surf Solar (7" Edit)
12. HEALTH - Crimewave [Crystal Castles vs. Health]
13. Hot Chip - The Warning
14. M83 - Couleurs
15. Squarepusher - Iambic 9 Poetry

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport


Last night was the end of an incredibly stressful and long week. I was exhausted, could only think about sleeping, and was far from willing to go out. My friend bbmed, I debated, and finally conjured up the strength to open my blood shot eyes and head to Hollywood. How did I manage to pull it off? Tarot Sport.

On my way out I was trying to convince myself that I was not tired, trying to use mind over body, trying to fight my urge to turn around and pass out. Following a similar experience where I did not have energy to go to the gym earlier in the week yet worked myself to the bone while blasting this record, I put on the album at full volume. By the time "The Lisbon Maru" broke out into horse-like beat, then "Olympians" rang my head with noise and then released with a single keyboard riff on top of echoes, I was awake, ready to go and ready to party.

This is one of the most chilling and adrenaline pumping records I have heard in a very long time. Using layers, sounds, and pure volume, the Fuck Buttons have managed to pull off an album that will stick for years. It's ahead of its time, it is post-modern.

Where Dan Deacon layers his music to create contrasting sounds that end up straight forward and clunky, the Fuck Buttons use numerous finely tuned keyboards to create subtle textures that slowly build off each other to create a single final sound. At any point in time on this record listen very very closely. Separate the sounds into their own, alienate the 6-7 keyboards into each separate melody, and focus on the insane amount of detail that went into crafting this album. It is truly inspiring.

Each song is only comprised of a simple four chord progression, a 4/4 time signature, simple beat. The way they use such simple and familiar grounds makes the album beautiful. And ask any musician how difficult it is to write a song longer than 3 minutes without boring yourself and the listener. I know I couldn't do it in the short time I played music. And every notable song stretches out beyond the eight minute mark, and keeps us engaged.

Do yourself a favor, treat yourself, get this record. Listen to it loud. Coming in at one of my favorite of 2009, and up in the top electronica releases of the decade (is it even electronic?).

The children that will be graced by this music at clubs and raves will only be so lucky. You don't need ecstasy to feel the power of this music; The album itself is ecstasy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thom Yorke @ the Orpheum Theatre


When Thom Yorke first came out with the Eraser I was living in London and was hardly amused. Radiohead was the band that changed my life and inspired me in ways no other musicians have, and the thought of Thom Yorke writing his own material made me relive the worry that I had post Hail to the Thief that the band was going to break up. My friend Sean and I had heated arguments about whether or not the album should exist, the merits, shortcomings, and mishaps of the album. To this day I will remember him saying "this is what Thom brings to the table, and for that we should respect his work."

It took three years for this album to hit me. I became inspired to listen to this album after hearing about Thom Yorke hanging out, sans Radiohead, in LA. On two different occasions I received text messages from friends telling me they were lucky enough to be partying at the Roosevelt where Thom casually showed up and took over the DJ booth. Along with the two recently pressed singles, these encounters inspired me to pick up his solo album again, and I loved it. It felt refreshing, something I had been blocking out and finally letting in. So when his two Orpheum shows were announced and later that day put on sale I was overwhelmingly excited to go, so I got tickets for both nights (let's not talk about what happened with Echoplex).

My hat goes off to whoever had the inclination to put together this band to present the material. Thom Yorke's The Eraser consists of simple drum machine beats and bleeps, atmospheric keyboards, melodic bass lines, with Thom Yorke taking the lead on piano or guitar and singing. Let's replace the drum machines with a drummer (REM/Beck collaborator Joey Waronker) and percussionist (Mauro Refosco). Let's have Nigel play the atmospheric keys and guitars. Let's put Flea, a modern legend, on bass. And let's put on a great show and demonstrate how excellent this material is.

Even though the original material was probably exclusively written and recorded by Thom and Nigel, the album, pulled off through this supergroup, sounded full and complete, as if this was the way it was meant to be heard.

My highlights include "the Eraser" "Atoms for Peace" "Harrowdown Hill" and "Cymbal Rush." The new songs were excellent as well, notably "Lotus Flower." Search Youtube, videos from these shows are all over.

My favorite new song of the night, "Super Collider":

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Best Album of the Decade


The end of the decade will mark eight years since I first visited Pitchfork. It's been a roller-coaster-- many great reviews, some bad ones, a number spectacular groups they introduced me to (the Avalanches, the Arcade Fire, the Knife, Deerhunter, to name a few).

It all comes down to this: Tomorrow, Pitchfork announces their top 20, and number 1 album of the decade.

But making a countdown, ranking artists, naming the #1 album of the decade, inherently makes no sense. Everything is subjective to where we are right now--what musical path that album, and ones similar to it, has carved. The problem is there is no way to tell the future, no way to tell what this same album will influence 1, 5, 20 years from now.

We tend to think of music as following a singular path. In our attempt to understand where or how an artist is inspired we pinpoint times, places, feelings, and other musicians to their work. And so when it comes to the closing of 2009, the first decade of the new millennium, we can look at what music was and is and find the albums that inspired them. But we can't look forward, and that is a fatal flaw to making and hardcoding this venerable list.

So far, the countdown is full of snippets like "...Mirrored didn't set any new trends: for the rest of the decade, indie mostly shifted back to its fascination of working against constraints..." and, about the Boredoms' Vision Creation Newsum, "...RECORDED A PERFECT RECORD FOR THE MILLENNIUM THE YEAR BEFORE IT STARTED," which is evidence of the obsession with the past and present. The writers need a way to materialize their album, to create this path, to explain how and why music sounds a certain way today.

Take a look at their top albums of the 1970's. David Bowie's Low, while an undoubtably monumental album, would probably not end itself at number one today. In 2004, when this list was created, the albums that Low influenced are notably different from five years on. I'm sure London Calling would have found itself at #1 at least once if this list were rewritten between now and then.

Don't agree with me? Think of what you would have said your top five albums were in 2004 vs now. I'm sure your perspective has changed drastically. Still don't agree with me? Look at their Top 2000-2004 Albums and compare it to the top albums they have selected just this week. They are not in the same order.

In one month, year, decade, I guarantee this list would change if it could. But it can't, the artists get the deserved and undeserved acclaim for their work.

So then who the fuck cares about what gets number one?

I do.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

These guys are excellent, best of luck to them

It's a very worthy shot at the music we all know and love.

Jesus H Foxx

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Boulder Record Stores

I spent the weekend in Boulder visiting my little brother at college. Other than remembering what it was like to be 18, I paid a few trips to the local indie record stores and found some great originals:

These would have been gone in 5 minutes in LA.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

the Antlers


I passed on this album a little while back due to the flurry of Pitchfork rave reviews that I disagreed with. I figured it would just be another disappointment. After running into a couple other websites that loved the album I decided to pick it up, and it was well worth it:

The album is gorgeous, I highly recommend.