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
Technology and modern electronics have the eerie ability to both feel warm and connect us with the world as well as cold and distant, isolating in pure design. It’s a Catch 22 which appears to be the Holy Grail for any creative mind ingenious enough to create a synthesis between the two extremes. While, on a technological note, this process appears to still be ongoing, Charlie of Kill Rock Stars appears to have made a bold new step in this development within the ambient, electronica genre. Under the name Grapefruit, Charlie has released his instrumental synth wanderings in the form of “Freeway Romantics”
As described by Gnar Tapes, the album is, “pulsing and vibrating, like hearing lights pass through crystal. As much outside as it is in. Is the freeway out in space, or is it in your mind?” A little on the new age side but hell, I guess you have to be a little to indulgence in this album. This is not intended to be a put down however: rather, this music has a spirtual sort of feel to it by design. Perhaps I am too reliant upon these groups to help vocalize what I am unable to articulate however with a combination of soundwall aesthetics as displayed by M83‘s “Fields, Shorelines, and Hunters” and an attention to 8-bit culture the likes of Gatekeeper gives Grapefruit‘s “Freeway Romantics” a, well, romantic feel. And I mean this in the purest sense: a romanticism which takes what appears to be a dark and grim world of alienating technological feats and create a warmth unknown to many in their own physical lives.
The ramblings of a tired fool, perhaps. However, while I do love his previous projects, I find this release such a personal journey without the gimmicks of traditional ambient electronica that it just feels enlightening. Take a listen and grab a download ($7? Why the hell not, plus I believe they sell tape copies as well for those so inclined). I recently read an article which believed that A Brave New World was a far more believable dystopia than 1984. For while the government attempts to subdue its population by withholding information in 1984, the government in A Brave New World does not care about withholding information but rather to drown it out through perpetual pop culture and media distractions. Welcome to the Brave New World. Enjoy.
Grapefruit – Freeway Romantics
There is just something inherently lovable about the 80’s. It was an era that seemed to have accepted materialism to historic heights, one with cues to the rise of morality and the religious right, one of both complacency and ambition all melded into a popular culture that still affects us today. Now may be a good time to point out that I wasn’t born until the 90’s: still, I am nearly lecherous in my imagination that is of the 80’s. And somewhere in this weird hallucination that is my mind I imagine hearing Emotional’s new album, “Feeling“.
Released about 2 months ago, I feel ashamed to say it has taken me this long to write on it because, yes, it is damn well worth your time (and $7? *wink wink, nudge nudge*). Opening with the aptly entitled “Grass To Pass The Time“, the 30 seconds give you a very appropriate introduction to the rest of the album. With heavily distorted vocals (not to mention essentially everything else) and an extremely poppy synth hook, the song takes you through a montage of casual nothingness which, essentially, may be the best of times. “Baby I’m So Strange” follows which, by far, is my favorite track. There is an overwhelming feeling in my pretentious side to note that it appears to have an extremely common verse structure but hell, it’s a dream scape pop track, what the hell are you supposed to expect? “Baby I’m So Strange” excels because of it’s seemingly casual anthem to society and mediocracy, a message which seems to fit rather well as it ends in a symphony of light chirping of the guitar.
Clearly, I am not necessarily providing too grand of an image as far as the whole album goes. Frankly, it’s on purpose. I sit here, by my computer, spewing my thoughts into a blog which I can only assume someone, somewhere is actually reading. Yet the joy comes from the idea of no preconceived notions. I like to think Dissociative Identity Productions is hear to raise awareness, not to sell a message (though if ya ask me about politics, that may become something entirely different…). Listen to the whole f’ing thing. The 80’s excelled because people were still naive enough to enjoy and not be pretentious. Emotional understands this, and it may be a good idea for us all too as well.
Emotional – Feeling
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to another edition of New Angle Night. That’s right folks, November New Angle Night ’12 is this Thursday, November 15th, over at the New Angle Lounge. This month’s theme will be 80’s pop so dress to impress and join Dissociative Identity Productions and New Angle Lounge before the Thanksgiving season.
As usual, Miller High Life’s are $1 all night with mixed drinks/shots half off from 9-11 pm (so come early to get the most for your money!) Furthermore, I will be sure to bring
out a deck of cards so if anyone’s trying to play a round or two of Texas Hold ’em or Blackjack, I’m more than down.
Anyways, be sure to stop by and say hey to Tim and the New Angle Lounge before the Turkey season. Speaking of which, there will be a delightful key sesh this upcoming weekend so more details will be available soon. See you all soon and I look forward to more weird/grand times at the New Angle Lounge.
November New Angle Night ’12
Sometimes, I feel just so damn classy. Something about exiting the world around me and entering my bedroom, blasting an album and living in the world of my own existence makes me feel like the most dignified person in the room (probably because I am the only one too). You indulge in a self reflection that is both selfish and scathing, apologetic and spiteful. Moxie, the new album by Daphne Lee Martin of Telegraph Recording Company, could perhaps be the soundtrack to this exact scenario. A 40 min stroll through devilishly delightful bluesy tunes, Moxie is the first of twin records: Frost & Moxie, or ‘treat a queen like a whore and a whore like a queen’ as explained by Daphne. In this case, Moxie is the unapologetic whore, expressing itself from the plaintive cries in tattered Whiskey & Sin to the madness of Molotov.
Produced by Bill Readey at Fuzzy Rainbow Production, Moxie takes Daphne’s beloved traditional southern roots sounds and runs them through megaphones, mellotron, a very old tube amp, as well as “a swamp and a dark alley or two”. Beginning with “Sweet and Low Down“, Daphne initiates the album with a skip through a sin city, if you will. Between cigarettes and Old Crow, the lyrics as well as the general feel is all too familiar: something I can only assume most readers can sympathize with. Those evenings idly staring off in a dive bar off the beaten path, fumbling through packs and thoughts of what lays ahead. And with a bass line that walks you through the ups and downs, it appears to never leave you throughout the rest of the album.
It is, of course, worth noting that not only does this album include Daphne’s full band “Raise the Rent“, Moxie also showcases some work by John Panos of Mates of State, an addition which oddly makes perfect sense. Regardless, Moxie stands out as an album which pays a well suited ode to the often abused bluesy melodies without falling into clichéd motifs. Grab a listen and, while you’re at it, a download. For those moments of classiness and isolation, Daphne‘s Moxie places the perfect companion. Which makes me all the more excited to meet Frost.
Daphne Lee Martin – Moxie
A barrage of percussion followed by a thrashing sensation of elegantly distorted guitars. It’s quite the introduction yet seems entirely fitting for the Hudson Valley, NY math rock group insistent in its commitment towards melody as well as just damn catchy hooks. Winterlong is off of Glacial Records and recently released their “Five Songs” EP. A 20 min dash through what appears a perfect resurrection of the 90’s and early 00’s, Winterlong is able to make an impression upon the listener that few groups could hope to achieve in an entire full length.
As described before, “Five Songs” begins with an impressive start with the single, “Stasis“. A contemporary group which immediately jumps to mind is the Midwest noodle rock glory that is the Plastic Constellations. Yet it cannot be so easily summarized with such a vague reference. Rather, wrapped in the shell of 3 mins, “Stasis” provides the glimpse of Winterlong as not only an extremely talented math rock group, but also one which makes genuine odes to post-hardcore and emo rock epochs of decades past. The vocals are sincere and passionate where all too often, groups feel as though wild screaming will suffice. It is a refreshing attitude which serves as a glorious beginning to the album.
Jump to the track “Arena“. Serving as the anthem of the album, if you will, the single opens with wailing guitars followed by a stead fast percussion reminiscent of Cinemachanica. While a dreary track, to be sure, it does not fail to hold onto the listeners attention with the complacent haunting vocals floating inbetween the purposefully imperfect harmonies unfolding. This in combination with it’s uncompromising bass line, and “Arena” shows a very promising side to Winterlong: one which knows when to exhilarate a crowd and when to lead one towards a trance.
The digital collation, with 5 tracks, is only $4 which makes it a worthwhile investment yet, if you want to be a real pro, the vinyl is certainly a welcomed option which only serves to further enhance “Five Songs” as a whole. Anyways, overall, this EP appears extremely exciting. As always, though, I still look forward to the live show. If this serves as the trailer, then I warmly look forward to the opportunity.
Winterlong – Five Songs
New York City heavy-psych band Sleep Maps return this fall with a spanking new EP, spanning 28 minutes, after just releasing their debut full length in May 2012. The mastermind behind the group, Ben Kaplan, provides a deeply moving work, both musically and thematically as it addresses the shallow pageantry presented to war veterans, many of whose lives have been forever shattered by their experiences.
According to Kaplan, Medals is based upon the Winter Soldier Investigation from 1971. “A group of Vietnam vets held a press conference in Detroit to discuss the atrocities they had seen and sometimes participated in,” Kaplan explains. “This was meant to bring attention to the mainstream public about what was really happening in Vietnam. Of course after it was over the government did everything in their power to discredit them and claim they were liars.”
“The image of throwing the medals back is the refusal to be placated by a trinket when your entire life has been ruined,” says Kaplan. “The parallels between an era supposedly long gone and the wars of today are too blatant to be ignored. Soldiers coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq have also participated in medal throwing ceremonies, although mainstream media will not cover it.”
Medals proceeds to build a chronology throughout the first three songs, implementing audio snippets from various speeches laid over Sleep Maps’ spindling guitars, ominous keyboards and crashing drums, weaving Medal‘s sound and theme into a vivid sense of intense emotions. Furthermore, Kaplan again performed all of the instruments on this EP, as he did on the band’s debut Fiction Makes The Future. While the group has now expanded to a full 4-piece lineup to play live — all with the use of poignant visual projections — Kaplan remains the sole creative force behind Sleep Maps.
So grab a listen through Horror in the Telescope, one of the 4 tracks off of Medals, give Sleep Maps the good olde college try, and get prepared for the full album release on November 13th. It’s good to see such a quick turn around from recording. Sleep Maps has beautifully accomplished this without regressively altering their work. It’s a feat worth at least a listen.
Sleep Maps – Horror In The Telescope/Medals
Currently, I work a 9 to 5. I guess, especially during these current stagnant economic days, that is nothing to be upset about. Emotionally, on the other hand, it means that I feel fairly drained and ambivalent. A contagious combination of apathy mixed with sheer exhaustion, the end product pushes me into an anxst which can only be relieved through thrashing and screaming. Sound familiar? I hope so for Dee and the Warlocks are able to take this sensation and imbue it into a self titled release gushing with aggressive complacency.
Opening with the exhilaratingly haunting “Secrets“, Dee and the Warlocks progresses extremely quickly into a classic grunge/garage rock sound, the likes of Screaming Females meets the more aggressive side of Des Ark. Yet, by the next track, the group is able to enter a far more melodic presence filled with echoing harmonies along the lines of Marine Girls and the Soft Pack. The album, as a whole, is quiet a remarkable album to pass the work day through as the vocals shiver your insides with a constantly present bass line which does not disappoint. Favorite track, you ask? Probably would have to stick with Spinning Dizzy and it’s coo’ing chorus matched by verses which seem to taunt the listener into a seemingly suspicious head bob at work. But then again, that’s just me.
Overall, I extremely enjoyed the album. It, bluntly, rocks without using obnoxiously easy hooks or percussion. Grab a free download or, for those who still value it, be sure to grab a hard copy of either the CD or Cassette (cause come on, how can ya resist?). The larger goal, however, is to catch Dee and the Warlocks and, ideally, fellow Baltimore native Two-Inch Astronaut on a tour up here in Philadelphia. What ya say: think we can make that happen?
Dee and the Warlocks – S/T Bandcamp
Thundering percussion followed by pounding power chords. That is what greets ya when ya catch the first couple of seconds from Two Inch Astronaut’s most recent release, Split Dicks 7″. Opening with the track, “Greatest City in the World“, the Baltimore local lofi/post-hardcore phenomena elegantly alludes to the 90’s D.C. hardcore scene with a splash of emo-rock.
While this release gives us only two songs to chew on, it is still incredible to see their sound develop from one release to the next. To be honest, I was originally going to write about “Red Pancake and the Dark Energy” but was so slow in the writing process that this release is apparently now the most recent material, making my original plans a little redundant. Still, the larger point is that from one release to the next, Two Inch Astronaut is refining a sound which takes a healthy dose of Jawbox mixed with early Cursive. And if you’re like me, that is definitely an amazing sign.
Anyways, grab a listen and a download. Hell, if you’re in the Baltimore area, get off your ass and go out to a show. Regardless, I’m extremely pleased to hear the D.C./Baltimore post-hardcore scene is still alive and well. This success is in no smart part because of Two Inch Astronaut. Thanks, and won’t you consider a stop by Philadelphia?
Two Inch Astronaut – Split Dicks 7″
Let me go ahead and start by thanking everyone who came out to September New Angle Night ’12: it got a lot wilder than I was anticipating. With that said, I figure you know what’s coming next. Thus, marking over a year and a half of the series, Dissociative Identity Productions and New Angle Lounge are proud to present October New Angle Night ’12.
As usual, mixed drinks and shots are half off during happy hour, from 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm. Furthermore, Miller High Life’s are $1 all night (or until New Angle Lounge runs out). Marking one week before Halloween, I’m down for trying out my costume so yeah, suggest all of ya’ll do the same. The theme for this month will be 90’s alternative so you can certainly expect some Modest Mouse, Pixies, Built to Spill, Green Day, Blink 182, and maybe some Nirvana/Pearl Jam in case you are inclined.
Anyways, thank you so much again for all of your support and continued interest. I wasn’t sure if the New Angle Night series would survive the summer but so far, it appears to be running better than ever. So enjoy your classes, get ready for Halloween, and see ya real soon.
October New Angle Night ’12