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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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Jesus Fever – Kurt Vile & The Violators @ Union Transfer, Philadelphia

Jesus Fever – Kurt Vile & The Violators @ Union Transfer, Philadelphia

Cliff.DI
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Benefit Fish Fry – New Angle Lounge

Benefit Fish Fry - New Angle Lounge

It’s today. It’s delicious. It’s to help out a friend. Stop by and show support. Here’s a quick description but frankly, I think you get the picture. Figure I’m planning on going to Punk Rock Flea Market & then this so hit me up if ya wanna meet up, followed by Kurt Vile later that night so Sat = good times. Thanks and talk to ya soon.

“Last minute so here’s the deal. Couple of people are throwing Tim a Fish Fry in order to raise some money. There’s plenty of food along with a keg, and all of this is only $12! It starts up at noon but it should be going on just about all afternoon/evening so stop by whenever and show your support by eating delicious, homemade food!”

Benefit Fish Fry – New Angle Lounge

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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Daphne Lee Martin – “Moxie” Interview & Album Radio Special

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

– Cliff

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Nowhere Train – Station

It’s a sad scene when you have a native of the Appalachian region wondering what the hell happened to all the great folk/folk rock acts out there. Sure, we’ve got our Bowerbirds (which yes, are amazing) but they appear to be spinning in different directions now a days. And as I look around the area to see which acts will step up to fill in these shoes, there appears to be a very sorry lot available. Ink Music’s Nowhere Train has finally provided an answer to this surprising longing with their latest album, “Station“, a triumphant of not only the folk/folk rock scene but also an incredibly gifted reminder of the benefits of a truly independent, global music society.

For one, the album has a momentum and flow which appears easy yet by no means is an easy achievement. From their opening track, “Ashes” with the obvious train like rhythm exemplified beautifully by the light snare gliding of the percussion to the melancholy bluegrass soaked with an almost drunken beauty to the vocals witnessed in “Are You There“, Station truly does take the listener on a metaphorical journey through such universal themes as mortality, love, and regret all with a flow which never leaves a listener bored. And while the album plays well as a complete whole, I do not meant to downplay the parts which make this amazing sum. A personal favorite would have to be “Outrageous”, with an unapologetic yet faded glory tone, “Outrageous” features your nonchalant yet seemingly sarcastic lyrics backed by a sound which is almost classic Roma meets Folk-Rock. “Annabelle” incorporates a haunting bluegrass melody while keeping a sincere and honest voice within each verse and chorus. Frankly, Nowhere Train’sStation” is something along the lines of what I was hoping the Figurines could achieve to no avail, all of which makes me that much more excited to witness the series of music videos which, undoubtedly, will be released over the coming weeks (already a live session video for “Ashes” is available at the top of the article).

Thoughts, comments, and concerns? I am wildly impressed by Nowhere Trains ability to take a genre which is often misused and incorporate it with respectful nods to classics of wildly different genres (think the Velvet Underground when listening to “With A Lot Of Love” and tell me I’m wrong). Station is an album which elegantly molds contemporary tools provided by technological advances with an honesty played out in both playful yet reflective folk meets alternative society. Welcome, my friends, to globalism. It’s good to finally be here and yes, thank you Nowhere Train, for showing us what it might sound like.

– 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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Native – New Album & Tour w/ Caspa

In case ya didn’t know, yeah: I am a massive Native fan. We Delete; Erase was simply a masterpiece which gorgeously combined a midwestern noodle rock sound with a grundgy, emo-rock flare that often lost the listeners in bursts of post-rock glory. While We Delete; Erase is still my favorite of Native’s, Wrestling Moves, the sophomore release, did not disappoint. All of this brings me to the more exciting news: Northwest Indiana’s Native is announcing a whole hell of North American live dates starting next month, most of which will be alongside post-rock instrumentalists Caspian. A full list of the schedule is available below.

In addition to this glorious news, however, it is also a delight to hear that Native has just recently finished recording their second full length album with Greg Norman (Russian Circles, Pelican) in Chicago, a release which will be provided by your friendly label folks over at Sargent House this summer. To start building up enthusiasm  or if you are not familiar with Native, I would highly recommend checking out a video of the band playing one of their new songs,”Kissing Bridge” live in Paris (top of article). Furthermore, of course, I included a stream of Wrestling Moves for a quick preview.

As for now, well, be patient and stay tuned. Based just off the live video, I’d say we got a triumphant return in store for us. Till then.

Feb 25 – Oklahoma City, OK @ The Conservatory
Feb 26 – Albuquerque, NM @ The Gas Works
Feb 27 – Tempe, AZ @ Tempe Women’s Club

CASPIAN & NATIVE 2013

Mar 01 – Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex also w/ Junius
Mar 02 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar And Lounge
Mar 03 – San Francisco, CA @ The Bottom of the Hill
Mar 05 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza
Mar 06 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
Mar 07 – Boise, ID @ The Red Room
Mar 08 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
Mar 09 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
Mar 10 – Omaha, NE @ The West Wing (no Caspian)
Mar 11 – Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot Music Hall
Mar 12 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue 7th Street Entry
Mar 13 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
Mar 14 – Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
Mar 15 – St Louis, MO @ The Firebird
Mar 16 – Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
Mar 18 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison
Mar 19 – Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar
Mar 20 – Newport, KY @ Southgate House
Mar 21 – Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop
Mar 22 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Smiling Moose
Mar 23 – Buffalo, NY @ Big Orbit Soundlab
Mar 24 – Burlington, VT @ Signal Kitchen

NATIVE ONLY

Mar 25 – Montreal, QC @ L’escogriffe Cafe Bar
Mar 26 – Kitchener, ON @ Jesse’s Rehearsal
Mar 27 – Toledo, OH @ Mickey Finn’s

Native – Sargent House

– 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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Mental Theo – West Coast Mix 01


It’s been a little while since I’ve written anything on house/electronica material so indulge me in my odd attempt. I’ve always had a good deal of respect for Gnar Tapes with its extremely unique while ferociously independent. Admittedly, I was puzzled then when I received a seemingly gaudy email on what looks like an anxsty teenager’s cover art (yes, I’m being mean but I promise it goes uphill from here). Still, the story got me hooked. As described by Gnar Tapes, “Dutch “Gabber” DJ Mental Theo (aka Theo Nabuurs) has been making hardcore electronic dance music since the early 90s. After scoring a few big Happy Hardcore hits in Europe with their songs “Wonderful Days” and “Stars” alongside fellow countryman Charly Lownoise, Theo continued on to become a VJ on the European version of MTV. During the late 90s he hosted his own European MTV show called “Mental Theo On The Road“, in which he visited various nightclubs across Europe interviewing and interacting with partygoers, including a “Spring Break Special” report on the American club scene in Florida.”

It was that start which urged me to go ahead and take a listen. Spanning a little under an hour, I’m glad I did. As Gnar Tapes continues to state, “West Coast Mix 01” is the result of how educational and fun the Internet has made cassette culture” with “a unique mix of a Dutch Hardcore and Gabber records and remixes”. Now to use my only words. Irony is certainly a beautiful thing, however too much serves as a gluttonous mask to true identity. Luckily, Theo, through his years of experience and active participation, appears to understand this exact balance, an attribute I greatly admire. Sure, he uses humorous bits and pieces as well as highly overdone mixes. However there appears to be no embarrassment in this use, rather a primal pride that shines through. Take a listen, hell grab the actual, physical copy (cause come on, an hour of Dutch Hardcore on a car trip: I know you want to). It’s been awhile since I’ve written on this kind of material, yet Theo is more than deserving of the article. Enjoy.

– Cliff

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