Tag Archives: experimental

Philadelphia Comp. 2013 – Self Help Records

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.

Cliff.DI

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Two Inch Astronaut – Bad Brother



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

Cliff.DI

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WKDU Philadelphia, 91.7 fm, “Communiqué” – WTF?

WKDU Philadelphia, 91.7 fm: let me start by saying that I love you. I’ve been an active DJ with multiple shows for over three years. I’ve seen people come and go, I’ve even applied to executive positions multiple times because I wish to get involved (admittedly, no success). When Wall Street Journal remarked that a reason we reached our top 10 college radio station position was due to the amount of local interactions and instudios, I attempted to book further instudios of local, marginalized acts. When there were silly ‘activities unlimited‘ events or other school activities which needed volunteers, I volunteered. And, perhaps most importantly, when there were discussions on the development of a WKDU blog, once more, I wholeheartedly endorsed it and wanted to get involved (even making both executive speeches on the exact importance of the launch of a WKDU blog.)

Well it’s over two months since my last bid for executive office and a couple of days since the launch of “Communiqué“, the long anticipated WKDU Philadelphia, 91.7 fm blog revamp from previous attempts. My thoughts? You copied my exact layout, not just meaning the theme but also where links are located, where Recent Posts/Comments are located, color scheme, even where the ‘home’ page is and how articles are displayed. Dissociative Identity Productions‘ website has been up for over two years, paid for, and owns its own domain. WKDU Philadelphia, 91.7 fm cannot nearly say the same thing, only the desperate excuse by current General Manager, Jake, that the WKDU blog once existed and therefore is fully allowed to copy a DJ of WKDU‘s personal blog design which has been refined and developed for over 2 years.

Let us be clear: WKDU Philadelphia, 91.7 fm has done nothing legally wrong. After all, our current website design is a free theme which is available to anyone who registers to WordPress (I do this for fun, so no: I have not hired a professional web developer, something WKDU with it’s vast connections, really should’ve done). However, morally, it’s hard to sympathize. Let us keep in mind that this ‘revamp’ of the blog of WKDU has been in the works for nearly two years (I know this because both times I have run for executive office, this exact issue has been a primary point of interest). During the entire time of this ‘revamp’ process, my website has been up, with the exact same design. So the question becomes: was this accidental or purposeful?

Both arguments are fairly sad to view. Let us suppose it is accidental because, admittedly, this is the answer I tend to lean towards. This would mean that despite over two years of openly promoting my site, posting links within every playlist on WKDU for this time, establishing this site as D.I.’s official site on the WKDU site, the members in charge of the development of ‘Communiqué‘ never noticed. That is not just rude but a horrible procedure of due diligence: if you’re a radio station starting a ‘revamp’ website (because even that comment is a stretch, to say the least), you’d think you’d be sure to check out your own DJ’s blogs in order to see if you can incorporate them or at very least to see how they would interact with your own. This, if we are to assume the ‘we didn’t know’ argument, is pathetic.

Now let us assume the more unlikely option yet final option left: that members of WKDU responsible for the site blatantly copied the aesthetic of this site, a site which has served to try to and diligently support WKDU Philadelphia, 91.7 fm. I dislike this belief because I personally know many of the executive board members and don’t find them nearly sinister enough for this BS. Still, when the General Manager decides its fitting to say my complaints are not important enough to discuss in person because there’s “real shit to do’“, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

In conclusion: get your shit together, WKDU Philadelphia, 91.7 fm. You’re acting like a massive douche who appreciates legal justifications opposed to moral justification, something not exactly popular. Michael Sandel, author of “Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do” can maybe provide some assistance: you’re welcome, from a freedom perspective, to do a lot of things. Yet unless you’re a radical libertarian, it is certainly not the ‘right’ thing to do. Morality is not ‘what you’re allowed to do’, it’s ‘what you should do’ (think Kant Categorical Imperative). WKDU: I tried to help you as much as possible and you see fit to screw me over. If you don’t see what’s wrong with that, I just feel sorry for you.

Cliff.DI

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Eureka The Butcher – Music For Mothers



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

Cliff.DI

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The Philly Underbelly – “By The Scene. For The Scene.”

This, ladies and gentlemen, can be taken as a shameless plug. Be that as it may, I am delighted to have Dissociative Identity Productions write on The Philly Underbelly, an online blog/resource for everything going on within the DIY & otherwise Philly music scene (or best captured by their own motto, “By the Scene. For the Scene.”) An irreverent intake of all that makes Philly off, The Philly Underbelly‘s launch signals a, well, neat f’in’ method of knowing what the hell is going on without desperate phone calls and emails to ‘that guy I meet once at a show’ to figure out the details.

Founded and designed by Joe, Tom, & Elgin (last names not necessary, mkay?), The Philly Underbelly includes just about every DIY show and likewise around Philadelphia. From the constantly-busy folks of The Guild to the Clown Can Country Club boys, it plays a one-stop-shop (if there were any shopping to do…?) for what Philly provides best: mainly, grundgy and sweaty ass shows for the chaos neutral delinquent at heart. Mosh in a basement lit by Christmas lights or do that weird thing awkward people do with head bopping to that band your friend really likes but you don’t care for, frankly, it’s not my concern. What is my concern, however, is for you to check out an awesome piece of work from some folks you should really get to know.

Umm… that’s about it. Like/Follow ‘The Philly Underbelly‘ in whatever format you see fit. Now you have no excuse. Get yourself to a show and have a good time: you deserve it.

The Philly Underbelly

The Philly Underbelly Facebook

The Philly Underbelly Twitter

Cliff.DI

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Ten Kens – Namesake






“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.

Cliff.DI

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Love Cop – Eat Yr Heart Out



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 OrderEat 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

– Cliff

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And So I Watch You From Afar – All Hail Bright Futures

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

– Cliff

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Zorch – Sign to Sargent House/New Album in Works

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

Zorch Facebook
Sargent House Zorch Page
Zorch Bandcamp
Zorch Site

– Cliff

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LVMRKS – Valentine

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

– Cliff

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