Sunday, November 13, 2011

TURN MY HEADPHONES UP! Friendly Neighborhood Edition

Hi everybody, it's time to clear out the ol' inbox again?  HAhAHAHAHA, just kidding, the inbox will never get clear.  That's just the nature of the beast.  But what isn't beastly is that I do get to listen to a lot of awesome new music, and make fun of a lot of really bad music.  It's all in the spirit of the thing, so put on your anti-douche belt and come along with me.

NICOLE LEXI DAVIS- "no title given"

Now, one of the best ways to get featured on this blog is to ask nicely, and not make some really uninspired joke about how your music is Crappy enough.  We've heard that one, seriously.  We really have.  So it is fortunate that SoCal singer-songwriter Nicole Lexi Davis is polite.  Or, at least her PR people are.  On Davis's website, her bio suggests that she is a "throwback" to good ol' 70s female balladeering.  I like the intellectual honesty of describing yourself as a throwback.  Much like the way Peter Gabriel unashamedly describes his own sampling as "stealing".  As far as music goes, Davis does indeed show much of the wide-open lush sounds that I personally have come to associate with "Blue"/"Hissing"-era Joni, and also with being 5, reading "Just So Stories" on a cold morning with some hot Cream o' Rice.  A strong showing- only lacking in tracks like "Popsicle" that sound- honestly- like someone trying to nail down their tempo with a drum machine for the first time.  But so it goes.  Keep up the good work Nicole!

BRITCHES- "Demonstration"

Hi, Britches!  I didn't realize CopShootCop had gotten back together!  As much I was initially pleased to hear a resurrection of that sound, somehow it just didn't gel for me.  I don't think it's so much that I'm old, as I will still cheerfully crank up "Ask Questions Later", but to hear this from a new release just doesn't seem to fit into the weltanschaung, if you'll pardon my french.  Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Britches' music, and I'm sure there is an indie circus troupe out there just waiting for their soundtrack, but for the moment I just don't see it rotating on my personal playlist any time soon.  Note: their upcoming album project is entitled "The Reptal Centiguiner", and I'm not sure how much more awesome that could be, so keep an eye on Britches.

BORON OXYKITTEN- "The Streets Were Paved With Circuit Boards"

Well, the Field Hymns label has been sending me some stuff about their artist Boron for a while now, and there has been such a self-indulgent air of cleverness about the whole thing that I have really been struggling to give half a rusty tinker's fuck.  Portland doesn't need any bad musical mystery figures- we have a good one.  The world doesn't need a musique concrete versions of Jandek- the real thing is poking around somewhere ruining someone's day.  The funny thing is, when I went to the Field Hymns site (I had to, there were no music samples, and I definitely don't give a shit about his guest players or the release date of his on-again-off-again titled-not-titled new album) I suddenly found myself interested in their releases, because that, children, is the power of description.

Normally I cringe when artists or artists' reps go from beige to purple in their descriptive mode, but who can resist the description of Oxykitten's new album:  the sound of John Carpenter making hip-hop instrumentals for long, sweaty nights - a sound from the era when a man had a better chance of getting knifed in Times Square than finding Gelato....drum machines and old synths barrel down alleys thick with grime and groove, where police and disco lights beat in tandem and the dirty beats sluggishly refuse to die..

I know, right?  Holy shit.  Who wouldn't want to listen to that?  Well, after going to Oxykitten's site, I found that their music (as played on an emulated old school tape peripheral) didn't have much going for it: vintage computer game samples, meandering uninspired synths, and a lot of garagey noise.  And speaking of cassettes- Field Hymns mostly puts out their new releases on cassettes.  Why?  Fucking why?  And another thing- if your website is going to have a mock TRS-80 as the primary interface, then the motherfucking BREAK button had better do something.  Like stop the music

You see, zeerust is only effective as a prominent part of the image until a hipster shits on it.  We've seen lounge come and go, letting people listen to it now unironically.  Which is for the best.  I'd really like to see the late-70s/early-80s big glasses and too-short-shirt thing go away now.  You motherfuckers had best step back from my Venture Bros.  And stop tempting me with your websites that promise creative, spacey goodness, and supply only half-hearted pastiche!  That's all I want.  My birthday is coming up.  Surprise me.

THE I.D- "Age Anti Age"

Oh, thank goodness.  After that last one, if it had to be intense, I wouldn't have made it.  The I.D didn't have much to say about their music, and that was just fine.  "Age Anti Age" reminds me of a certain band back when they were good and when their singer could keep the damn sunglasses off his face.  Here is a retro sound that is completely without pretense, and I can get behind that.  There's also a pleasant thickness to the sound, a rolling off of the top end that fits quite well.  Good job, kids!

Ra Far- "FFN"

Um.  So, I should have seen the writing on the wall with this one.  Or, rather, the writing in the email.  Look- maybe it sounds harsh, but we don't really have many specific requirements on the submissions we get.  It shouldn't have to be spelled out that if you're going to communicate to someone in a professional capacity, you should actually, I don't know... communicate.  Crappy Indie Music may not be Rolling Stone, but we're also not your stoned texting buddy.  So if you want to know anything about Ra Far, here is what he/it has to say:

bio- Ra Far is a revolutionary artist he makes all his own artwork and music. Ra Far grew up in Woodstock, GA with a lot of music influences from acoustic rock to hip hop, through the years he has found a new type sound that has been said to be like a combination of Christofer Drew and Tyler, the Creator. A weird combination, but its refreshing. His mixtape (FFN) is coming out on 11/11/11 for free at
genre- Experimental

Once again, you might feel that I'm being too harsh, so perhaps I'll let the music- the watered down, flat, boring rap- speak for itself.  Seriously, I thought I had problems with flow.

Strange Mangers- "Strange Mangers"

Well, I always like to end things with a digestif.  What better way to clear out the taste of objectionable rap with some brilliant postpunk?  UK-based Strange Mangers may not reinvent the wheel, following very closely on the heels of their own cited influences like Tortoise, Don Caballero, etc., but going with that, they shine.  It's always nice to see bands just going with it, and doing well.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go rock.  Good night everyone!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TURN MY HEADPHONES UP... "Run and tell that" edition

Crikeys, I've been so busy interviewing fancy people that I've forgotten all about my portion of submissions that are slipped under the crack in the door in the wee hours of the morning.  So as is my wont, I'm going to start working backwards and letting you know what's up. Unfortunately, since I'm in a really bad mood I'm going to be super critical of everyone.  You know, I only pick on you because I love you.

RAW MOJO- "Submission"
From left: Herp, Derp, Hurr

First dip in, already Raw Mojo have pissed me off.  They submitted music and didn't give it any sort of title.  I mean, seriously... everything I do ends up with an epic title even if it's just a bass groove I lay down for future musical cannibalism.  It takes like two seconds to click on a random wikipedia article and name your goddamned ep.  They also gave me a "sounds like" description that truly boggles the mind:

Sounds like: The band is still new but has drawn comparisons with the likes of The Breeders, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, EARLY Motley Crue, Joan Jett, Nirvana, The White Stripes, Rush, Metallica, Hole, Ozzy, The Donnas, Robert Johnson, Diamond Head, and Girlschool 

See what I mean?  Bonus points for throwing Diamond Head in there, but Robert Johnson?  News flash, kids.  YOU DON'T SOUND LIKE ROBERT JOHNSON.  You sound like, oh, I don't know... Dead Moon.  Or something.  What is my honest take on their music?  It's so okay.  Good enough, but I have the feeling their heart is really not into it.  Look at the guy in the blue shirt's face.  He really would rather be anywhere else.  Word to the wise: if you're going for oldschool RAWK, then you had better fucking mean it.

Christ, why is everybody on the right always smoking?
Fuel Box are, as I am told by their very professional press kit, a Dutch soul act.  Now, despite their shiny exterior, they also committed the cardinal sin of presenting some interesting hypothetical sounds like:

Our music style? Kind of a dark blend of dub(Lee Perry), hip-hop(Madlib), soul(Bill Withers/Prince) and pop(eeeh...Maroon5)

They are right on with that last comparison.  I know Maroon 5 is the last thing most people would admit to liking, but I've always thought that some of their stuff was good for what it was.  And those songs of Fuel Box's that sound similar are decent.  It's when they cut loose a bit with the crazy delays that Fuel Box starts to shine.  Deeper in the depths of their press kit is revealed that "they generate a sound that is best described as if a 60s soul singer and a latter day hip-hop producer cut an album together in 70s Jamaica."  Well, no, not really.  It sounds as if a 2000s soul singer and a former indie rocker cut an album together in a modern studio.  Which turns out to not be half bad.  I enjoyed Fuel Box, and I think as they get out on the road and shake off some of their pop sheen they will be a band to watch.

BARRY ADAMSON- "Destination" single

Oh hell yeah.  Looks like my boy Barry is coming out with a new live album soon.  Our dear friends at Central Control dropped this tantalizing taste with us, and it finds Adamson in more of a rock mode than some of his most recent efforts, which is just fine.  Remember, this is the guy who kept (for a few albums at least) Nick Cave's music from completely sucking.  Shit, that's like pushing on a wall and slowing the rotation of the earth.  Yay Barry!

ODDEPOXY- "forthcoming album"
We've got rust ass jeans, son, don't you know?
Well, I have to say that I hate this band's name but love their music.  And they are fucking geniuses.  They're about to write their next album, and starting November 3rd we are going to get to watch the process live on Now that shit is creative.  Having written and recorded an album in the month of November, I will say that it's hard enough to just do, but to let every troll out there watch you do it is brave.  Bravo, sirs.  Oddepoxy's kickstarter can be found here, go help 'em out!

TENDER FOREVER- "Where Are We From" EP
From our friends at K Records comes French artist Tender Forever, who also has a kickstarter that I think is paying for her to stay in the USA.  Why, back in my day, if you wanted to come from Brittany to the US to rock, you had to pay your own way!  Now get off my lawn.

Anyway, I really like Tender Forever, very sweet and personal seeming.  In the spirit of me being critical, the youtube videos of Tender Forever at the TBA festival are really fucking annoying.  STOP TALKING AND PLAY MUSIC.  And you, down in the front row, stop giggling.  Fuck.

Have a listen to Tender Forever and help her out!

Okay, that's it for now.  I've got plenty more music to review in the next couple of days, and I wouldn't dream of leaving you out, dear reader.  So until then, hide your kids, hide your wife.