Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ron's Picks: Recession Proof Music

Being broke.  We all know how it feels.  Cable news and our lavish iPhones keep telling us how horrible the housing market is, or how the unemployment rate is higher than ever.  Money, or the lacking of having any, controls are lives no matter how badly we want to believe it doesn't.  But there is one thing it really can't touch.  Music!  Yes, there is always music.  And believe it or not, some of our favorite artists are broke as hell too (shocker, I know).  And with said brokeness, it seems as though an abundance of EP's, 7" singles, digital "albums", etc. seem to coming out these days.  This is not a new discovery of course (I started Recession Proof Music last year at, but I think it is still worthy notarizing.  

So good CIMB readers, I present to you just a few of my favorite short tracked releases of 2011.  There is no order.  And to make it all even more enlightening, you can purchase all of these albums for less than the cost of that Japanese imported Radiohead 78 you've had your eye on.  Enjoy!

The Old Lace - The Old Lace EP

One of my favorite musicians, Arman Augusto, spent 2011 trying some very cool new things.  He created a strange, dark, and absolutely fascinating grind core project known as Curse Of The Black Widow.  And there was always his famed experimental folk moniker that I have been following for years known as The Walking.  But, what impressed me the most this year was without a doubt his three piece experimental project The Old Lace.  Here we find Arman in an entirely new state of experimental bliss.  The man shows all new colors on this one.  And who couldn't love that, right?

The Dustbowl Revival - Holy Ghost Station

When I was introduced to this amazing bluegrass/folk/rockabilly/all sorts of things group from lovely Venice, California, I was instantly hooked on their amazing modern take on classic tunes.  Although this format of rejuvenating aged products has become a pretty common occurance, "Holy Ghost Station" is an example of said format that strikes out all on it's own with pure and indigent originality.

Thunder Power & The 1959 Hat Company - Hearts Intersect

It's simple.  Thunder Power rocks.  They are by far my favorite group coming out of the midwest Mecca known as Omaha.  They're sometimes light hearted blend of indie pop and lo-fi pyschodelic mantras are always a joy to have blast through your Chevy Nova at 3 in the morning.  And yes, there might be a bit of bias opinion based on the fact that front man Will Silvey Simons was a major part in my book Children of Mercy: Tales and Teachings From The World of Independent Music.  (Yes, a shameless plug.  Sue me).

The Rest - Always On My Mind/The Last Day

I fell in love with the beautiful indie noise The Rest creates since I first heard 2009's Everything All At Once.  And although we have only heard from this Canadain in moderation since, it does not mean they haven't been working.  In fact, their 2011 was spent recording their highly anticipated follow up album SEESAW.  Unfortunately, an almost fatal technological mishap occurred, and things were put on hold.  But, it's pretty much a definite that we will see this album finally come to life in 2012.  And with this split single, we get a small taste of what is to come.  And folks, it tastes amazing!

Jacqui & Anthony - Weekend EP

I've developed a great addiction to the releases from the Exeter England based indie label Pastime Records.  They had more releases in 2011 than Hermain Cain had mistress in his lifetime (we can only assume).  And without a doubt, the indie folk duo Jacqui & Anthony was one of the best of the bunch.  Jacqueline Cooper exposed herself as having one of the finest set of vocal chords in indie folk today.  And proving once again, that everything sounds better with a British accent.

Wyatt - Wyatt EP

Oh sweet Maddy Wyatt.  Brooklyn's gem in the folklore sand.  Easily one of the finest song writers playing today.  Just a doll to the indie world.  And with a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2011, we got to hear Maddy and some friends in full band format with Wyatt's debut EP.  Maddy kicks up her sassy folk tunes up a dozen notches on this one.

Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling - Questions Are a Burden to Others

I fucking love Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola.  Simply put.  They have so many damn projects spinning around these days their almost too hard to keep up with.  It seems as though I can't go a single day without an fresh Facebook update on a new project formulating.  But, my favorite project will probably always been their work as Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling.  And we were blessed in 2011 with a follow up EP by this enigmatic duo of geniuses.

Hosannas - Thug Life Nicole

The PDX legends did it once again.  Although Hosannas claimed this is a collection of songs that weren't good enough for their 2010 release, Then & Now, they are definitely spectacular.  I honestly can not describe this EP any better than the band does themselves:

"These songs all share a common thread embodied by the ttle of this e.p.  "Thug Life Nicole" is an albino reindeer we found on the side of the road while on tour in Santa Barbara.  She lived in Vanworld Africa USA for a couple years and became our mascot."

Couldn't have explained it any better.

Flying Spiders - The Doppleganger EP (Villaging Trio Pt. 1)

As some of you know, I live in Spokane, yet hail from the "other" side of WA.  A strange personal duality to say the least.  And as most of all of you know, our music scene seems to be just one small step above non existent.  Many great groups have formed here, and flocked west with the best of intentions.  So imagine how strange it is to know that one of the finest organic hip hop groups is in Spokane.  Front man Isamu Jordan and his 7 merry musicians have created an amazing jazz infused styling that lives and breathes the fresh dry air of Eastern Washington.  The crown jewel of the east if you will.  

**Disclaimer:  Although I absolutely love all of these albums, if you are looking for a better formatted, more educated, downright more mature listing of some amazing EP's from the year past, I recommend you check out our friend Andy Fenstermaker's list at Fensepost.  He's a smart guy.  A mentor if you will.  And, of course, my favorite EP of the year was not listed here.  Shameless plug #2:  Check out my Top 37 1/2 Albums of 2011 at Trainwreck'd Society**

Friday, January 20, 2012

Help me record a HAUNTED ALBUM!!!

photo by Anthony Georgis

Hello everyone, long time no see!  I've been busy with vacations, writing, working, parenting... all the good stuff.  So of course there is a backlog of music submissions and such.  I'll get right on it.  No, really.  And I do have some great things to bring up, but first...

Help me record a HAUNTED ALBUM!!!

From my indiegogo page, here's a little background on the project:

When was the last time music moved you?  It probably happens all the time.  But when was the last time music scared the hell out of you and made you afraid to go to the bathroom at night?  IN YOUR OWN HOUSE?  I would like to spread fear and confusion to a jaded populace, and give them something to play at their Halloween parties that isn't "Monster Mash" or "Ghoul, You'll Be A Woman Soon".  Instead, we'll have songs about and manifesting the spirit of some of the creepiest locations in the world... AokigaharaPripyatThe Lalaurie House, and more...

What We Need & What You Get

To be perfectly honest, my recording facilities suck.  I prefer to run lean, like a thief in the night, but that won't be enough for this project.  I mean, I could just sneak into an abandoned warehouse with a length of rebar and a dictaphone- actually, that sounds like a really good idea.  Maybe I'll do that.  BUT IT WON'T BE ENOUGH FOR MY GRAND VISION!!!  To really evoke the dark presence of haunted locations, I'm going to be getting some electronic percussion (to use as a midi controller to "play" my locations), some better microphones and audio equipment to do field recording, and whatever is left will be used to buy random crap that I will hit with a hammer. Come to think of it, I may need to buy a coupla hammers as well.

Now, I really want to do something unique and original.  So, apart from cool, normal stuff like downloads, physical copies, thank-you notes, etc., I have put in the very top support bracket a slightly weird opportunity- I come to your house, set up my stuff, and record the ambient life (or unlife) of your living space.  I will then take what I find and plug it into reverbs and sampling and PLAY YOUR HOUSE on a song.  Okay- and if that wasn't creepy enough, I will then either haunt your house or unhaunt it using a special ritual.  How's that for supporting the arts!?!?!

Other Ways You Can Help

Now, I'd love it if you could help financially, but if you can't, I'd appreciate you getting the word out there.  Indiegogo has some great sharing options, please avail yourself of them. And of course, if you happen to live somewhere haunted and want to send me creepy audio clips, I will most certainly not turn them down.  If I use your audio you will of course receive credit and I will probably give you a download.  Because I am super nice.

I am really stoked about this.  You have no idea.  The inspiration for this hit me the other day, and I'm excited all the time. It's going to be awesome, and I hope you can help.  Portland peeps- do not miss out on the affordable top tier of support.  It's a really unique opportunity.

Thanks for reading, everyone, and I'll be back soon with more reviews and snarky criticism.  Here's a little taste of the project, a little live-ish piece I did with my daughter.  Pretty rough, obviously, but thus the funding campaign.  Bye!

Dyatlov Pass Incident by DJFalsifier