Tag Archives: lofi rock

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)

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– Cliff

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My Education – A Drink For All My Friends

There has been some incredible releases already with the New Year, whether it is through TTNG or Tyvek. Yet as I work through my long overdue articles, a particular one always strikes my attention. Back towards the end of November, an Austin, TX staple, My Education, released their sixth album, A Drink For All My Friends in North America on Headbump Records/Haute Magie and in Europe on Golden Antenna. Sonic explorer’s at heart, My Education’s A Drink For All My Friends is the band’s most streamlined and aggressive effort yet, while remaining an entrancing cinematic journey throughout.

Originally formed in 1999, the band’s membership has expanded and contracted between and after each release. Still, while the material buildup of the group has changed, the sonic landscapes have grown with each release. Think of it like Doug Martsch’s Built to Spill lineup, except within the vast domains of post-rock, post-prog, and post-hardocre. My Education has released 5 full-length albums, several singles, compilation appearances, and a 12″ vinyl collaboration with avant-hip hop duo Dalek. in the past, as well as having their singles remixed by members of bands such as Kinski, Pelican, Red Sparowes and Dalek.

So as for the release itself? At times, My Educations pulls off tracks that faithfully push forward a movement similiar to that of Turing Machines with it’s electronic pedal heavy riffs and uncompromising percussion/bass. Yet at other tracks, it is a blissful acceptance of beauty in patience as displayed by such groups as Tortoise or Collection of Colonies of Bees. If I wanted to be simpler, I would simply say the album is all over the place except that it is not: rather, it is a very purposeful journey with moments of peace followed by the always present shadow of entropy, disorder, and chaos. A Drink For All My Friends is the album for those vinyl nerds, sitting alone with massive headphones in their room for hours. It is for the intellectually curious introverts in all of us. And, more importantly in my opinion, it’s an album for me.

So trust me on this recommendation or don’t. Frankly, it’s not my concern or job to care. Yet it is my job to cover such a beautifully crafted album, one which I nearly missed due to my own slothfulness. It is a mistake I hope to never make again, particularly with the reward that My Education provided me. Don’t make the same mistake: grab a download, catch them live, and let your inner introvert run wild. I know I did.

My Education – A Drink For All My Friends

– Cliff

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Grapefruit – Freeway Romantics

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

– Cliff

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Vintage Kicks/Scooba – COPYCATS

Bloomsbury Coalition is, well, “a badass collective of musicians and artists from the Delaware Valley.” Vintage Kicks and Scooba are, well, “surf-giants”. So what the hell is “COPYCATS“? COPYCATS is the first split by the two groups  for Bloomsbury Coalition, featuring a newly written track by each. In addition, and what makes this a particularly memorable EP, is the fact that each group also performs and reinterprets an older track from the other group. Released on November 30, 2012, and recorded/mixed by Vintage Kicks Chris Penny, COPYCATS stands out as a release which not only highlights two amazing groups from the Delaware Valley, but also their unique perspectives when handed foreign material.

The album opens with Vintage Kicks, performing their brand new single, “Cherry“. A deceitfully innocent tab followed by a ride through late 80’s garage-pop makes the track easy to love and, well, dance to (if I were not at work, I would probably start skanking in my tiny corner). Furthermore, the vocals bear the loveable sound of the new era of emo-rock meets post-hardcore, an always welcoming sign in my mind. “I Wish I Was Owen Wilson” follows, playing out as a, “cheeky letter to Owen Wilson about his career path but ends in total appreciation of the man.” Written by Scooba and reinterpreted by Vintage Kicks, “I Wish I Was Owen Wilson” actually does a damn good job. A recounting saga of success and failure, the hard hitting rhythm with the casually strolling percussion leads elegantly into a chorus of shouting, including a mid monologue which all but encompasses the message.

Scooba is up next with their new single, “Serious Lunch“. With a far heavier sound along with darker tinges, Scooba plays with “Serious Lunch” with a sound reminiscent to prog rock meeting post-hardcore. Odd, for sure, but certainly a frankly badass experience for any 90’s child to listen to. This message is best presented with their interpretation of Vintage KicksIron Fist“. With a “dark swirling atmosphere, reminiscent of Deerhunter or Joy Division” according to Bloomsbury Coalition, “Iron Fist” does play well off of a sound that is both hauntingly simple with a sense of minimalism yet intensive echo/distortion to fill through the nooks.

Point being, not only is the concept of the EP a brilliant idea, but each artist is able to add a significant dose of themselves to make the release a remarkable representation of both groups. This kind of task is far easier said than done so, to get a full appreciation, I would suggest attending the fundraiser, to assist a friend with leukemia, over at Studio Luloo in Oaklyn, NJ this Friday, December 21. So do yourself a favor: take a listen, hell grab a download (it’s name your own price anyways), but for sure catch them live this Friday to learn a little more. It’s a time worth having.

Vintage Kicks/Scooba – COPYCATS

Vintage Kicks

Scooba

– Cliff

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Emotional – Feeling

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

– Cliff

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Lives of the Obscure – Deathfete 7″

With “Sins Like These“, who needs virtues? Ok, sorry, just me trying to be clever with the opening track title. Based out of Hudson Valley, NY, Lives of the Obscure are off of Glacial Records (with fellow label-mates Winterlong) and are attempting to warmly introduce themselves through their upcoming release, Deathfete 7″. It looks as though they have succeeded. Coming in at a little under 10 mins, Lives of the Obscure pack a remarkable amount of material into an EP bursting with nagging enthusiasm.

As stated, the EP opens with “Sins Like These“, which draws the listeners with it’s elegantly stumbling percussion and lyrical authenticity which begs the comparison of Medications. Taking a meandering pace, the song has a hauntingly charming feeling, bringing a sensation of deep, meaningless meditation. Although an odd statement, I would argue it is extremely important. Moving onto “Skin of the Sun“, Lives of the Obscure are able to pick up their pace into a rhythm almost demanded by “Sins Like These“. To me, it brings up a nostalgia towards Connor Obrest‘s the Desaparecidos, yet over all it is a nice, spanking new reboot of early 00’s post-hardcore.

Finally we move onto “Small Perspectives“, a perfectly fitting ending track to the EP. Complacent yet uplifting, apathetic yet emotional, “Small Perspectives” goes a long way to wrapping the album up with its over a min. instrumental, post-rock climax that will make your ears ring with a combination of blasting bass and humble yet proud hooks.

The release will be available via Glacial Records on vinyl and should be shipped out by November 24th, 2012 (God, I’m a sucker for vinyl). Do the smart thing, buy a copy and support a sick act. Who knows, maybe the purchase can ensure a North-East tour. One can only hope…

Lives of the Obscure – Deathfete 7″

– Cliff

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Unkle Funkle – Picture of My Dick

Gnar TV recently premiered their newest video, Picture Of My Dick by Unkle Funkle, the side project of Chris Uehlein of White Fang. Directed by Unkle Funkle and Brian Echon, the video features three men swaying/dancing within a blank white room, nearly nude (the three men? Mikey Peterman AKA 99¢, Justin Leon Johnson aka J Green, and the funky monkey himself Unkle Funkle). This was all done in the attempt to represent Unkle Funkle’s new album, which will be available on vinyl this week via Marriage Records, digitally via Gnar Tapes, and on cassette in the next few weeks via Burger Records.

You caught me: I couldn’t resist. With a name like that, you can only expect Dissociative Identity Productions to write at least something. Yet the video, as a preview to the whole album, does show a large amount of promise. First and foremost, yes, White Fang has a great sound so I naturally hold excitement about any side project with this kind of experience. Second, and the real reason I’m writing this article, is that its pretty f’in good. It has a distorted pop anthem with vocals seemingly reminiscent Liars, followed by a reflective melody which, dare I say it, brings up Real Estate. All in a video entitled “Picture of My Dick“. Yeah…it’s weirdly impressive.

So stay tuned for the whole album, an album which I look forward to reviewing as well. If “Picture of My Dick” is any cue, then it should be interesting to say the least…

Unkle Funkle

– Cliff

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Die Eternias – Sould Out

Vienna’s Die Eternias’ second album is on it’s way (11/23/2012). Produced by Wolfgang Möstl (Killed by 9V Batteries, Mile Me Deaf) and recorded live in studio in Vienna and Graz in three days, Sould Out embodies a soul of rock ‘n’ roll with its seeming negligence of genres, often jumping through dashes of swing, cabaret, pop, and even reggae. Described as a “collection of tragic yet (gallows-)humorous short-stories, a day in the life of society’s outcasts, and an ode to Vienna’s most beautiful murderess”, Sould Out gives an amazing introduction for any new comers to Die Eternias, as well as providing a solid sophomore album for those devoted.

Singer and guitarist Voodoo Jürgensclaim claimed to originate from He-Man’s home planet Eternia in his childhood daydreams. By 2004, it appeared as though that claim may hold truth as Die Eternias was formed. Jump starting from a band-contest at Viennese club Flex, they released their first album on said club’s own label Flexschallplatten (released digitally on Seayou Records). Another 7” EP on Seayou shortly followed. While Die Eternias’ setup is conventional: guitar, bass, drums, an organ at live shows, the music is certainly not. Influences range from reggae to Kurt Weill, the songs are about the “repressed facets of Western society, the peripheral and marginalised individuals, the petty criminals, and the prostitutes.” Yikes, kind of heavy. Yet, as far as a sound, its pretty damn enlightening and outright fun, encouraging a break out dance session once in awhile.

In conclusion, yes, I do enjoy the album a bunch. Yet what seems to connect me to this album even more is the seeming relevance it holds, even when the artists originated hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. Sometimes, smirking at the encompassing destruction is all we can do. Sould Out, on the other hand, it not the kind of destruction we should fear: rather it is the creative destruction that we desperately need. So thank you and please, as you were.

Die Eternias Facebook

Die Eternias – Sould Out (Bandcamp)

– Cliff

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Deer Tick @ Harrison Auditorium



The very first interest my girlfriend and I shared was Deer Tick. Rallying around their first full length release, “War Elephants“, it only seemed appropriate to spend our first year anniversary at our third Deer Tick show together, over at Harrison Auditorium. It was a brilliant decision, to say the least. Although the first act, Fun, nearly scared me to death of how Deer Tick’s newer material may sound, it turned out to only be good things from there. Starting off with the new material off of their upcoming “Divine Providence“, the newer songs are certainly crisp with an even more classic sound to it. Whether it was “Going To The Park“, a song which strangely reminded me of The Ramones, or “Walking Out That Door“, which could’ve easily found its way onto a Bruce Springsteen album, the new material was truly a delight to behold. Yet the older routines did not disappoint either. This being the third time that I’ve seen them, I had a whole lot higher of expectations. Yet what was truly remarkable about the event was how they were able to alter every single classic song off of “War Elephants” that I thought I knew. “Crying Shame” became a ballad of Door’s esque organs while “Baltimore Blues” shined out through it’s bluesy verses. Finally, the encore was a short yet beautiful edition, in honor of Nirvana’s 20 year anniversary of “Nevermind“, Deer Tick, or “Deervana“, covered it beautifully while providing a firm, south western taste to “La Bomba“, the last song of the night. I could not have thought of a more perfect place to be that night.

– Cliff

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