I am a grown man and it’s about time I started acting like one. That’s something along the lines of the conversation I may hold with the stranger staring at me in the bathroom when shaving. Regardless, I find myself seeking some sort of sign or omen that I have, in fact, not only changed but progressed over the past several years of my short yet seemingly significant existence. My journey for some kind of achievement worthy of even that title is a work in progress however for Self Help Records and its short existence as even a Bandcamp url, they have perhaps completed their first significant goal; releasing one kicka$$ compilation of everything one loves about the surreal and sweaty underworld that is the DIY music scene in Philadelphia.
A hodgepodge of the sentimental mixed with the heavy, the elegant mixed with the euphoria, the Philadelphia Comp. 2013 features everything and everyone from Girl Scouts to Grower, Mumblr to Jet Set Sail, and Mallard to even Travis‘ (of Self Help Records) own Ted Nguyent. If you’re familiar with the acts then frankly, you’ve probably already heard of this release and ideally have secured yourself a cassette or, at the very least, a digital download of your own. For those of you who haven’t, well here’s the best introduction to the truly local Philadelphia music scene that you’re gonna get.
For under $5, don’t be a cheap skate. Yes, it’s available for free streaming online but if you want any hope of further awesome releases like these being available in the future, then go ahead and buy it. To address the obvious: yes, this article is clearly vastly late. In case ya couldn’t tell, I had other things on my mind. Better late than never? I think that’s an expression, that or an excuse for one hell of a lazy individual. The larger point is simply this: the Philadelphia Comp. 2013 by Self Help Records is not only brilliantly organized, but also recorded and mastered in a truly awe worthy manner. Listen and enjoy.
Dissociative Identity Productions, if ya can’t tell, kind of has a crush on Two Inch Astronaut. With it’s homage to a past yet hardly forgotten 90’s D.C. post-hardcore scene in conjunction with a flourishing contemporary lofi-emo commonly promoted by Midwestern acts, it is not necessarily a surprise to see why we feel this way. Thus, while “Red Pancake and the Dark Energy” and “Split Dicks 7” provided a thrilling introduction, I can personally say that I know far greater things are coming from Two Inch Astronaut‘s upcoming release, Bad Brother. To quote from our previous review, Two Inch Astronaut wholeheartedly tackles the bridge between such legendary sounds as “Jawbox mixed with early Cursive“. This album, however, stands quite differently than a simple conquest of cohesion: rather, it represents a significant progression in the maturity of their sound, one which does not mind perverting traditional taboos for the sake of exploration.
The current tracks available from Big Brother, to be officially released on June 18th, 2013, are ‘Swol‘ and ‘Blood from a loyal hound‘, an appropriate selection of the nine track release as a whole. ‘Swol‘ plays out as an ingenious balancing act of thunderous post-hardcore riffs complimented by the delicate Plastic Constellations ‘esque noodle rock. Thus, never stepping back from a stoner rock like head thrash momentum, ‘Swol‘ still has the uncanny ability to keep the listener feeling oddly sentimental with sudden collapses in tempo and blunt pedal work. ‘Blood from a loyal hound‘, the fourth track and essential midpoint of the album, jumps out of the gate in a blitz of prog rock yet quickly followed by verses nearly murmured in a swinging like bass rhythm reminiscent of even later releases of Don Caballero. It’s a pleasurable balance yet perhaps what is most memorable of the track is the raw post-hardcore breakdown by the end of the track.
This final note, essentially, is perhaps what attracts me to Two Inch Astronaut and Bad Brother in particular. The fragile compromises made throughout each track to include varied genre influences is well appreciated and welcomed, yet what truly makes these tracks more than just technically glorified pieces of work are those moments of ecstasy and emotional extremism. And it is for that reason that you should pay note next Tuesday for the release of Bad Brothers. And better yet, in case you think I just happen to be lying through my teeth, catch them live, tonight, playing with Ted Nguyent and Ugh God over at the Khyber. Anyways, grab a listen and a download when the time is right. When we last wrote on the group, we had hoped they’d make their way to Philly. Guess wishes do come true. See ya tonight.
Two Inch Astronaut – Bad Brother
Eureka the Butcher, the solo pseudonym of Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez (of Zechs Marquise/The Mars Volta) releases his debut album today! The recording, Music For Mothers, is dedicated to Frances Sarah Rodriguez-Lopez, Marcel‘s mother who passed away last year. In regards to the dedication, Marcel writes that “she is the reason why I started playing the piano. She told me that it was great that I wanted to play drums, but if I played the piano, I could create music and play to a room full of people by myself. I didn’t start playing drums for another 4 years, and I wouldn’t start playing piano for another 7 or so. That’s when I started making electronic music. Making music under the Eureka name gives me that ability: to make music.”
Made while on tour with The Mars Volta and Zechs Marquise, the project progressed in buses, vans, planes, dressing rooms, airports, hotel rooms, backyards, sidewalks, and what I can only assume was a couple of really dingy dive bars. Music for Mothers is intended to serve almost as a testament to the idleness and boredom which inevitable lingers while on the road. While the album was intended as a therapeutic journal of sorts, the music is specifically intended “for all mothers…for all families. I hope that it will inspire other people to make music for their mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers… if my mom hadn’t pushed me to learn other aspects of music, I would be sampling records and it wouldn’t be as rewarding to me. Sampling records properly is an art form in itself, but i knew it wasn’t for me.”
As far as the act itself, Eureka the Butcher is a barrage of sound, chopping and slicing bits and pieces of rhythms of the larger Rodriguez-Lopez including The Mars Volta. Marcel explains to Fusion Magazine that the name “comes from the nature of editing; the Butcher part from cutting up sound, chopping up beats to make up new things; the Eureka part comes from when it all comes together.” With a collage of psychedelic samplings and prog-rock meanderings, I’d say that name fairly sums up the experience in an elegant manner for those scared of the emotional connection explanation provided earlier. You can snag your copy of Music For Mothers via Rodriguez Lopez Productions and be sure to check out all them social network sites below to figure out what the hell they’re up to. Here’s to mothers and great music: who would’ve guessed they’d be hand in hand?
Eureka The Butcher – Sargent House
Eureka The Butcher – Tumblr
Eureka The Butcher – Twitter
“Excellently skewed, arty rock, like Sonic Youth and Liars colliding.” — NME
Ten Kens, the Toronto based ethereal artrock group, is streaming their entire forthcoming album, Namesake, a week early via the massive Canadian entertainment conglomerate, Exclaim! This is also in conjunction with their recently released video from Namesame for the song “Gently Used“, which is presented by Tiny Mix Tapes and available above. Finally, to give you a probably way over the necessary dose, the video for “When A Door Opens” also premiered via Consequence of Sound. which, you guessed it, is also available above.
Released after two years of nerve racking tranquility and a sophomore album glow, the aptly titled Namesake moves the band away from their signature genre-bending dither into a more darkened psychedelic day trip experience. The result of an intense yearlong recording period and masterfully engineered/produced by Ten Kens‘ own Brett Paulin and Dan Workman, the band jumped from one recording facility to the next in order to find each individual sound which makes this whole. Apparently, the band enjoys disappearing “into complete isolation to keep their vision focused and devoid of any outside influence” which may come across from just the first 2 mins of “Gently Used“.
It is this insidious exploration, though, coupled with an almost ambient prog rock, that makes Namesake such an experience as for as an album. An abstract art-piece constructed from the remains of decaying genres, Ten Kens’ Namesake is an unapologetic trance of post-rock meets prog rock with a whole lot thrown in between. Basically, it’s beautiful. Grab a download or don’t be stingy and grab the vinyl (Release Date: May 21, 2013, if it’s a great album, it’s a worthwhile buy and yes, Namesake is a great album). Here’s to hoping a tour is in the works.
Ah, 80’s glam electronica, you always know how to put a smile on my face and Gnarnia VIPs and dark pop geniuses, Love Cop, oblige with a cassette of lofi dreamgaze with a heavy tote of perverted pop. With clear nods to the best moments of Television Personalities, The Clean, and Factory Records bands like Joy Division and New Order, Eat Yr Heart Out is bursting at the seams with fuzzy guitars, jangly guitars, crunchy guitars, dance beats, rock beats, witchy vibes, stoner vibes, and maybe the kitchen sink (why not?).
Signed copies were available at their performance at Gnar Tapes SXSW Showcase on March 15th, 2013 but never fear, you can still get your not-as-special unsigned copies through the friendly folks at Gnar Tapes. So pop on the album through bandcamp (or better yet, the cassette itself), open up the windows, and ignore your responsibilities. Love Cop‘s got the soundtrack to your dysfunctional narcissism.
Love Cop – Eat Yr Heart Out (Bandcamp)
Gnar Tapes – Shop
Belfast‘s And So I Watch You From Afar has just started streaming their entire forthcoming album, All Hail Bright Futures, all this week, courtesy of Vice’s own Noisey.com. As described by Sargent House, the label/worldwide management group to which ASIWYFA just recently signed onto, All Hail Bright Futures “could be taken as both an ethos for the album and the band at this point in time. There is a new color scheme in place: new textures, emotions, sounds and voices… (All Hail Bright Futures) is dominated by a sunnier disposition, a positive uplift that more closely matches the euphoria the Northern Ireland trio has been instilling in audiences through their music in a live setting for the last five years.” And by the way, they really aren’t kidding when they talk about the euphoria of their live shows after just recently winning the Best Live Band at Choice Music Prize this past year, not to mention the clocked 500 plus shows worldwide.
Thoughts, comments, and concerns? Well it is certainly a different kind of album than expected from the group. Sure, there are moments such as “Trails” & “Mend And Make Safe” which remind me far more of previous albums such as Grimes, but the vast majority of the album seems, well, different. Perhaps they have taken a cue from fellow Irish group Adebisi Shank however the songs are clearly for more energetic, not in the way say post-rock climatic strikes but more as a thrashing math-rock meets an electronic bliss of reimagined post-hardcore. To understand this sensation, I would highly recommend “Like A Mouse” & “Big Thinks Do Remarkable“. Sargent House releases All Hail Bright Futures on March 19, 2013 on LP, CD, & download worldwide and is the first recoding done by ASIWYFA as a three-piece. While this may have been the case with recording, the band will continue on as a four piece with the addition of Niall Kennedy (guitar). The album was recorded with Rocky O’ Reilly at Start Together Studio in Belfast.
Essentially, it is definitely clear that ASIWYFA is seeking to redefine itself with their third full length. And yeah, I will certainly say that I gladly bump said album at least several times through in the past twenty four hours, partly for research and partly to keep me awake during this depressing weather. It feels as though the group is lost though. They are taking heavy cues from others without retaining enough of what truly made them unique on the global stage. If they seek to be an amazing live act, well, it appears as though they have accomplished it and certainly this album tour is going to be a fun one by what I am hearing. If the goal is to continue to give a unique perspective and development on this evolving genre, well, they may have missed the mark. Take a listen and tell me I’m wrong: regardless, I think I’ll pop it on one more time.
And So I Watch You From Afar – All Hail Bright Future
In case ya didn’t read my original article, let me just go ahead and summarize, though I imagine you can probably guess where this is going since I am, in fact, setting time aside to specifically write on this again. Yes, I thorough enjoyed Daphne Lee Martin‘s Moxie, the first of twin records: Frost & Moxie. Produced by Bill Readey at Fuzzy Rainbow Production, the album even includes John Panos of Mates of State along with her full band, “Raise the Rent“. Yet these are matters I have already discussed (again, just read the original article already if you’re curious).
The real reason for this article is that Dissociative Identity Productions & WKDU Philadelphia, 91.7 fm are proud and excited to host Daphne Lee Martin at the studio, around 6:30 pm EST (assuming the dreaded ‘punk time’ does not strike) to have an interview as well as an overall Moxie album radio special. This means an hour of tracks off the album, interview and the odd assortment of conversations which come with that territory, as well as some tracks of which have proven influential to the group as a whole. Yeah, it should make for quite an interesting hour so be sure to tune in either at 91.7 fm or simply by streaming through the WKDU site (top right hand corner). See ya then and just to get ya excited, not only is the full album streaming above but we’ve even got an official video for the single “Belly” below. Check it out and thanks for tuning in.
Daphne Lee Martin – Moxie
WKDU Philadelphia, 91.7 fm
Zorch, Austin, TX‘s hyper-kinetic duo, premiered a new song, “We All Die Young“, a release from their forthcoming full length. The track is available through SPIN Magazine with the full length album expected to be released this summer. Clearly the big change, however, is that Zorch has signed on with Sargent House for management and label. This, while a massive change, is not necessarily a massive surprise.
Zorch is composed of Zac Traeger (keyboards, omnichord, vocals) and Shmu (drums, omnichord, vocals), whom hail from Wisconsin and Canada respectively. The duo originally met around Boston and after moving to Austin in 2009, the foundation of what would become Zorch was laid. After years of building up a reputation within the city’s DIY scene, Zorch will again play their annual multi-performance marathon during SXSW in Austin this March (listed below), marking a welcomed combination of both their roots and their future.
Take a listen and go ahead, get excited. Frankly, I always assumed Zorch was already on Sargent House so the move is a welcomed decision in my mind. But who knows? Maybe you disagree with me to which I simply say: you’re wrong. Indulge yourself to some experimental beauty while at work, in your classroom, or simply walking down freezing streets. It won’t be long till March comes along, the beginning of a long overdue spring and summer (time is relative, get over it). Till then.
Austin, TX – SXSW:
3/10/13 – Yeast by Sweet Beast @ Chain Drive
3/11/13 – Weird Destiny Freakout @ The Museum of Human Achievement
3/12/13 – All Tamara’s Parties @ Cheer Up Charlies
3/12/13 – SXSW Showcase @ Metal & Lace w/Assacre
3/12/13 – Granada House Backyard Shredathon @ The Granada House (1184 Greenwood Ave) 3/13/13 – Slip n’ Slide Party III @ Second House (2906 E. 2nd.) w/Delicate Steve
3/13/13 – SXSW Showcase @ TenOak w/Sorne
3/14/13 – House Party @ Hobbies’ Odd (1118 Linden St)
3/14/13 – Escapes @ Club 1808
3/15/13 – The Vagabond Collective showcase @ Austin Kickboxing Academy
3/15/13 – Wuwufest @ Russian House w/Why?, T-Bird and the Breaks
3/15/13 – SXSWendy’s @ Wendy’s
3/16/13 – Hometapes/Spacebomb Friend Island @ The Museum of Human Achievement
Sargent House Zorch Page
Recorded in a better than biblical 5 days. 12 hours of recording per day, with pastime activities including everything from shooting beer cans with bb guns (a personal favorite activity of mine when I was still in NC) to eating the mythical ‘Oberle’ dogs. All taking place on a small red tin cabin owned and run by family. If this doesn’t at least get you intrigued, than I really do not see much hope in you anyways. However for those who see an appeal to this story of rural serenity and isolated contemplation, then the “globetrotting young folk/americana duo from the banks of the Mississippi” known as Ian Fischer & The Present (a Mr. Ryan Thomas Carpenter) should satisfy that thirst.
With a laundry list of former homes and memories in cities far and wide including St. Louis, Vienna, New York and Berlin, Ian Fischer has done more traveling in his short career than most individuals accomplish in their entire lifetime. Incorporating honest lyrics and an unabashed voice, in combination with The Present’s harmonies and soul, Ian Fischer & The Present have made some waves within the international community purely based upon their live performances. Now with their self titled release, which was engineered, mixed, mastered and produced by a Mr. Ben Majchrzak, Ian Fischer & The Present hope to take this raw emotional connection onto a produced format, a task which proves particularly dangerous and risky when approaching folk and folk revival.
The release then, I am glad to say, can confidently assert that this objective has been achieved. From the ever quickening, like running through the woods, of “Change of Heart” to the more remorseful “Fear“, the self titled release is able to maintain an authenticity to folk without reproducing or beating a dead horse. Rather, it takes a global experience and incorporates into a hyper-localized format, aka folk, a format which has identified particular populations for generations. Thus taking a cultural identifiable art form and attempting to apply an international history into the mix is a welcome step forward. This release just goes to show a couple of guys with an open mind to the world as well as a Mississippi sense of modesty and humility, a welcomed experience to those seeking a refuge. Beer cans, bb guns, and ‘Oberle‘ dogs: sounds delightful. Grab a download and enjoy.
What do you get when you blend the likes of Broken Bells, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, & Red Sparrows? Well, from the latest news, something along the lines of LVMRKS. Neil Busch, former vocalist/bassist/songwriter in …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead is back with LVMRKS as well as work nearly completed on their forthcoming debut album, Pale Fairytale. The all-star group includes, of course, bassist Jonathan Hischke (Broken Bells, Hella, Dot Hacker, et al.) and drummer Dave Clifford (Red Sparrows, The VSS), making a well rounded act with an extremely potent potential.
To appease your undying desire, LVMRKS has already shared the first song from their debut album, the cupid-themed song, “Valentine” which is available to stream above. As far as the album, Pale Fairytale, it will be available on LP and download on May 21st, 2013 and was recorded and mixed by Toshi Kasai (of Melvins, Tool, & Big Business notoriety). So I will not say much since I don’t want to look back in several months and feel like a jackass despite to say, I’ve got a smile on my face. And yes, that’s a good thing. Take a peak and get excited.
LVMRKS – Valentine