Pretty busy Sunday with the extra day off and all, but we wanted to give you guys a quick reminder of what Martin Iles is up to tonight, because it looks good (Dan's Sliverleaf, 1030PM)
JUMPING Osamu Tezuka, 1984 (6 min.)
Anime pioneer Osamu Tezuka’s short film shows the world from the point of view of a bouncing ball (or jumping child). Each jump of the camera goes higher, each landing is a visual surprise (i.e, a city setting, a jungle, the ocean floor, a battle field in wartime, the depths of Hell, etc.). Jumping won the Grand Prize at the 1984 Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films.
GOD DAMN RELIGION Richard Bishop, 2008 (30 min.)
“This film is a diabolical experiment in hypnotic mind control—a phantasmagoric presentation of demonic and divine imagery, meticulously assembled and designed to put the viewer into an altered state of darkened awareness. Includes original music from ‘Elektronika Demonika’, as well as unreleased material... Contains some strong sexual content. Not for the weak-minded, faint of heart, or those suffering from occasional seizures.”
IGGY POP LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO TARGET VIDEO, 1981 (60 min.)
“This concert film captures the former Stooges front man performing in San Francisco during a 1981 tour. Although the tour was in support of the album Party, Pop serves up songs a dozen songs that draw from every era of his career. The set list includes "T.V. Eye," "Lust for Life," "Some Weird Sin," and "Bang Bang." His backing band includes such famous faces as Clem Burke and Carlos Alomar.” - Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide
Busy weekend, so lets get started (all written by FP)
edit: but before we get started if you haven't donated to help people in Haiti and you have the ability to do so please do it. If you don't you are really lame and shouldn't be an American. Here is a link so you can put your conscience at ease click here to donate and be a great person (FP)
Red Hot Poker/Spring Break '89/Andre the Giant's Bowel | Record Hop | 1670am (Rubber Gloves)
This is a going away bash night for Denton awesome person Colin Carter. If you might be in the group who do not know this dude but still want to come out tonight with out feeling awkward, here are some highlights from his Denton time line posted on the Rubber Gloves website.
1993: pushed down the stairs by Don Bonneville; pretends he’s part of the prank instead of the recipient of said assault 2002: spends most of the year depressed in the RGRS office listening to Lambchop and playing solitaire 2006: no-call no-show to his temporary job that was actually a pretty good opportunity; spends the rest of the year sort of looking for a job (read: sitting in the green recliner) Sounds like a cool guy to me. Now I have to warn you there is a cloud of mystery around this performance. We are being led to believe that some fantastic local acts have been booked for the show under mysterious alter ego stage names. This could be a big rouse or it could yield a pretty big payoff, especially seeing as how it is a free show. The one confirmed name that we all can recognize is of course Record Hop, which is a good start. Seeing as how cool this guy obviously is to have a party hosted in his name, I'm sure the insiders say this will be one hell of a show. (FP)
Haven't had a chance to check out Boom Boom Box or True Widow and I want to really bad. Not enough to go to a Paper Chase show of course but still looking forward to it guys. (FP)
Broken Teeth 1 Year Anniversary Bash featuring Jubilee | Select | Prince Will | Mike Townsend | Merritt | Anna Love | Red Eye (Zubar) Looks like a good place to do some boogieing tonight. If someone could please tell me what the proper attire to a thing like this would be I might go. (FP)
Seems to be a fitting bill to have in a church. Still kind of weird to have to go into a church for any reason. Please forgive my ignorance but is this some kind of hipster church that host shows or just an ironically named bar? (FP)
This is the record release for Drug Mountain's debut LP. If you haven't caught them lately you might not know that Zanzibar Snail member and poster art guru Nevada Hill is now on the roster. Nevada's strong avant garde background and aesthetic brings a new dynamic to the very, very brutal sound of the original line up. It sounds amazing. Will be nice to see them finally in a proper venue. We'll see if Lychgate have learned any new tricks on the road after their recent tour. Should be harsh. (FP)
I was so pissed cause SR got to write about Baruch because I had been really excited about releasing some negative energy out there into the blog-o-sphere. But I got over it. I feel much better about being here now recommending something in the same ballpark but a little more...honest? I caught The Fox and the Bird on the same bill as the aforementioned Scribe and was really captivated by The Fox's performance. It is no frills group centered folk music. It may be totally unoffensive but the craftsmanship and simplicity of the music was very effective. The band members all share duties which keeps the music varied just enough and the performance more exciting than the standard folk outfits. It's not exactly plucked straight from the mountains, but there is an authenticity in the music that comes from somewhere. My guess is that they love the type of the music they play so the play it the best they can. I have a feeling if you are going to see Doug Burr at the All Good Cafe you are already quite familiar with The Fox and the Bird. But for those of you thinking about skipping that opening band for your favorite new faux-folk artist next time you go out, try to make the extra effort and see Fox and the Bird. I bet you will like it. (FP)
Up until recently I was always confused by all the indie folk jokes concerning Denton I see in the comments here. I guess I just haven't been going to them because they sure are there. I don't know what to make of this all. I really like folk music. All types of folk music. Yet I really don't like whiny pretentious music, which is what most of the stuff the kids are playing these days seem to sound like.
We all learned yesterday from our Local Q&A section that Dark Forces contains a member from new Denton band Final Club. So here is an opportunity for you Dallas folk to get a taste of what all the Denton kids are talking about.
I caught this in Fort Worth last year at Lola's and really enjoyed myself. Similar to this year, the show was a diverse and educational experience. One of the things that really added to it was the shows taking place in a bar in downtown Fort Worth. The show was originally suppose to be at the other Lola's venue but fell through for some reason so it was relocated to the bar. It was really interesting to be in a room with just as many people completely unenthusiastic by the music as the ones that are totally digging it. The patrons staring at the Cowboys game completely bewildered as to why these outsiders are enraptured by these weirdos making funny noises. And of course it went both ways. Honestly I can't blame the hapless sports fans. A touring experimental noise festival isn't exactly everyone's cup of tea. But for those who are into this type of thing, which I'm sure you are, this is a great opportunity to see local artist work with noted artist from far and wide. Hopefully this more appropriate venue will get a large draw out because it is a pretty cool deal. Along with the collaboration aspect, it's also a great way to see some other regional music that you might not have the opportunity to other wise. (FP)
It must be refreshing for Brendon and Austin, one half of Denton's latest musical upstarts Final Club, to play a show that is not in their basement. Now this may seem like a simple deduction, but my friends, this is no ordinary basement. That is unless for the past couple of months your basement has been bleeping brightly on the radar of both the indie cultural elite and, unfortunately, the Denton County Sheriff's dept. In case you are not in the know, I am speaking of The Lion's Den, one of Denton's latest and most notorious house venues, and also the place Brendon and Austin's call home. Along with buds and band mates Bryan and Anthony, Denton's latest DIY impresarios are making a stab at the other side of the microphone.
The band is called Final Club and they have recently been featured on some bills which have produced some pretty large draws-- both shows played this past week saw around 150 people. Undoubtedly a great way to get the feet wet. But is the water too deep? I had a chance to see Final Club last night at Rubber Gloves and I'll throw out some thoughts later. But for now let's get to the interview.
Frank Phosphate: How did the show Wednesday come about?
Final Club: I know the guys from Weekly Tape Deck pretty well, so I've sent them demos of the songs from the EP, some shitty demos of us practicing in my basement. But the guys really liked it and they had this date set for Rubber Gloves. We're also good friends with Wild Harem, the band from Austin that is also on the bill. So it'll be a fun night.
How was the show at Dan's?
The show at Dan's couldn't have gone better. I know Joey (Yeahdef) and he knew I was starting a band, so he asked us to play a show at Dan's. We really lucked out by getting to play our first shows at the best venues in town (with some great bands too). Anyway, Joey had promoted the show as a show for new acts around Denton, and I guess that's how most people found out about it. So we opened the show at about 10:40 and by 10:45 it was sold out. Most of us were really nervous about playing to a 150 person crowd the very first time we went on stage, but the set went fine and earned us compliments from a lot of people whom I respect as musicians.
Are members involved in any other projects?
Brendon, who sings and plays guitar, also plays in the local party-punk band Dark Forces. They're a lot of fun. And our drummer Anthony plays in the River Mouth, also great. We're playing a show with the River Mouth at Hailey's next month, so Anthony gets to pull double duty that night.
Is the EP all songs you have played live? The Hot Gaze EP is everything we've played live up to this point. Six songs, runs about 20 minutes. We're working on some new stuff, but we all wanted the live show to really catch people's attention. There are some other people who we'd like to record some new songs with.
How long have you been "together"?
Well, Brendon and I started playing together right about when we moved into the Lions Den together. I think he came up to my room and saw I had a guitar and a keyboard and realized that I could play music. So we jammed a couple times and it clicked. I guess you could say we've been together for about five months.
The demos we have heard so far have all been instrumentals. How are the vocals being handled on the EP?
There are vocals on the EP, yes. Brendon sang at the shows too. The lyrics and vocals are usually one of the last things written in our songs, just kind of happens that way.
What kind of guitars/equipment are you using?
We really don't have that much gear, which makes hauling our shit from place to place a lot easier. We all play Fender guitars. I use quite a bit of delay on my guitar, and Bryan uses a fuzz pedal on his bass sometimes. Other than that, no effects are used other than how weird we can make our amps sound naturally.
Do you guys smoke weed?
Yes. We also encourage it.
What demographic are you reaching for here?
See the question above.
You claim the Lion Den as your home. Show there soon maybe?
Brendon and I live at the Lions Den, and the band uses the basement as its practice space. We actually recorded the Hot Gaze EP on the ground floor of my house. So it's definitely home for us. We'd love to have more shows here, but the Denton Police Department (namely one very rude officer) crippled us financially after the last two shows we had. Such a sad thing because the place is honestly the ideal spot for having a house show. Maybe a daytime show in the spring, we've talked about that.
How is it being a new band in the area?
It really feels fantastic to be in a new band, at least for me. I played in bands in high school, but quit playing music a couple years ago. So it's a lot of fun to be doing something I enjoy. And it also helps that people are liking it. I love playing with these guys and this band sounds exactly how we all wanted it to.
Nobody in the area sound like you guys, where does your influences come from and how did your music become what it is?
As for influences, it's really hard to pinpoint one particular artist or group or album that all four of us totally geek out on. Bryan and Anthony listen to a lot harder stuff than I do, but anything that is loud we all usually loud. Personally in my guitar playing, I'm influenced a lot by stuff like My Bloody Valentine, Deerhunter, the Pains of Being Pure At Heart. Like I said: loud. The sound pretty much came about naturally. I'm not a very technical guitar player, so I've always used delay to beef up my tone. But yeah, this is just the way we wanted to sound.
How do you think said sound fits in with other acts in the area?
We don't really sound like any other bands I know of around here. But the shows we've played and the ones we have lined up next month are with a lot of very different bands, so hopefully we'll kind of find our niche in Denton.
Your set last night was very tight and well rehearsed. Have you just been focusing strictly on these six songs or is there other material you are working on that you scrapped or intended for polish later?
We've played the six songs from the EP a shit ton, so the sets have gone really well. And recording also helped us solidify the songs. We're working on some new stuff, but we wanted to make sure the first two shows were on point.
There was a decent size crowd last night. What has been the general reactions from people hearing your music for the first time?
Everyone I've played the music for or I've seen at one of our shows seems to like our sound. At the first show, I looked to my left and two of the guys from Record Hop were maybe five feet away from me. And those guys know their shit on guitar. They approached me after our set and liked it. Best compliment ever. And the crowds have been nice too, we've got a lot of friends in Denton who would come to our shows even if we weren't any good.
How do you feel about being photographed on stage?
Being photographed on stage...they're usually not great photos. But whatever, publicity is publicity.
What is the best and worst thing you can see happening to the band right now?
Best thing that could happen for us would be to join Young Money after Lil Wayne gets out of jail. Odds are against us. Worst case scenario, our gear starts falling apart and we can't play anymore. Weird question. -----
As I mentioned in the interview, FC's sound is rather unique in the current wave of guitar centered music being made. The music has a hazy feel to it, but the drums and guitars are very structured and direct despite the apparent haze they might have been created in. Their sound is familiar and the roots can be found in the bands they mentioned. Unlike certain acts such as Pains of Being Pure of Heart, Final Club seem to be exploring new ground as opposed to polishing the established diamonds. At the moment the music can be a bit one note, but the hints of directions to come can be found underneath the mighty distortion. The result is a breath of fresh air in the local music scene. But as I am sure the guys know, the air isn't stagnant here.
I was hesitant opening the interview with the Lion's Den anecdote, fearful of being that person at the party who believes preferences must come prefaced with a credibility rap sheet. Given that this is a tight knit community, one could be led to believe that this group has a pre-installed fan based which they would in turn cater to, hungry for a taste of life on the other side. But after seeing the performance last night, any misgivings I may have had about why these guys are in the game were quickly dispelled.
The band had a great chemistry on stage, not just amongst the band members but with the friendly audience in attendance that night as well. It was obvious that these guys have some fans already, and you would have needed two butterfly nets to catch all the in jokes that were flying around the room. Not all audiences are going to be as friendly, but I think Final Club will easily win any patron over with their heavy but easy to digest brand of indie rock. All four are natural performers, each one bringing something unique, and what they have brought to the table so far, especially this early on, is pretty impressive. I am excited to see what the future has in store.
Thanks to Final Club for taking the time to answer my questions and giving us the music to share. And thanks for making me feel a little better about getting high before writing this.
Super Suckers | Blacklist Royals | The Phuss | Last of the Interceptors (Rubber Gloves) Can someone please kill this terrible band already? Well, I don't mean that I really want them to be killed, but the only reason any of us have ever heard of them is because they picked the perfect time to move to Seattle (1989) and joke their way on to Subpop back when the concept of rock n roll "authenticity" often meant "ability to act like an idiot." It was a stupid concept anyway. Take terrible rockabilly, mix it with pop punk and grunge and there you have it: something that I can't believe anyone needs to hear more of in 2010. Can anyone think of a worse early Sub Pop signing?
Baruch the Scribe | Robert Gomez | The Fox and The Bird | Glen Farris (Syc House, 816 W. Sycamore) Denton's Baruch the Scribe is "tasteful." There's nothing shitty about their music. There's nothing "bad" about it, so to speak. They write "real" songs and "know how to play their instruments" and sing well. They sound like they might even have a chance to "succeed" one day. That's pretty cool, good for them. They sometimes sound like the Kinks and the Faces, and sometimes stuff like Joanna Newsom and other garbage I don't care about. However, more than anything else, they sound like they're influenced by the Rushmore soundtrack, or just the idea of the Rushmore soundtrack (see Kinks, Faces above). And I don't even mean the music really, either, but rather the lifestyle and badges of honor that go along with being into stuff like this-- essentially, this is faux bookish, nerd chic, quirky "indie" cool thats trying desperately to establish some kind of emotional experience with the listener but ultimately feels more than a bit empty and calculated, an attempt to be something rather than do something. "Weird" for its own sake, but never truly experimental. Cute and cuddly but "smart" and a little "dark." This stuff sounds like the kind of music that some marketing executive would think is supposed to soundtrack my "quirky" life, and although it could be me that's empty and jaded, the experience of listening to this band sort of feels like watching a rerun on television-- I'm only half paying attention, but I'm still getting annoyed.
80's Night with Yeahdef (Hailey's) Did Yeahdef buy Hailey's or something? Here's to hoping that this works out for all parties involved, and I'd really like to see Yeahdef's setlist from this evening-- not because I think its gonna suck or be super amazing or something, but simply because I'm interested in what kind of 80's music is enjoyed by people who weren't even alive in the 80's. And I don't mean that as some kind of insult either, because although I'm considerably older than most of the people who will be at Hailey's tonight, I'm still not old enough to have "been there," so it really doesn't count. And besides, people who "actually lived it MAN" usually suck.
The artwork of David Bates is flat-out amazing, and he's possibly the best thing we have from Dallas so far. I've kind of yacked about him before, but haven't been able to find too much to talk about from online research. And having started his career before the series of tubes was created, he doesn't even have an Inter-net World Wide Web page. Anyway, here's a collection of some of the better links at which to see his work: here and here and here. And maybe read this Dallas Morning Newsarticle about his Hurricane Katrina series. And/or maybe go to this show opening Thursday night.
Surprise! An artist statement that doesn't suck is tied to Minmyo Kim's half of the show: "We Can Fly compels the viewer to reexamine life by facing the unavoidable death and provides the viewer with the opportunity to be reborn through the virtual experience of death. In our life-affirming society, death is something that we avoid to talk about. This work asks people to face the death rather than fear and realize that life is short, but worth it to challenge our selves to be free."
The other half of this What came first? show is a creepily-intimate look at eggs by Brazilian photographer Alex Leme. While we're on the subject of un-sucking artist statements, Mr. Leme managed to pull it off, too, here. I think it's just the way he writes frankly instead of bullshitly, even though he still kind of states the obvious by saying photography is "an examination of the world around me". Check out the series set in a public library on his site, title Literary Ghosts.
WED: Wild Harem/The Spooks/Final Club (Rubber Gloves) WED: Zebras/ Orange Coax/ A Smile Full of Ale (1919 Hemphill) WED: Cocky Americans/Follow That Bird/Dikes Of Holland (The Cavern) THU: Super Suckers/Blacklist Royals/The Phuss/Last of the Interceptors (Rubber Gloves) THU: Baruch the Scribe/ Robert Gomez/ The Fox and The Bird (Syc House) FRI: Broken Teeth 1 Year Anniversary Bash featuring Jubilee/Select/Prince Will/Mike Townsend/Merrit/Lanna Love/Redeye (Zubar) FRI: RTB2/Luna Matto/PVC Street Gang/New Fumes (Cavern) FRI: Red Hot Poker/Spring Break '89/Andre the Giant's Bowel/Record Hop/1620am (Rubber Gloves) FRI: Tes La Rok/Mundo/Royal Highnuss/gWorm and Jimmy B (Green Elephant) FRI: Geronimo/ Fight Pretty/ Ghost Town Electric/ Big Fiction/ Decades (1919 Hemphill) SAT: Drug Mountatin/Lychgate/Marriage Material/Akkolyte (Rubber Gloves) SAT: RTB2/Luna Matto/PVC Street Gang/Come on Go With Us (Hailey's) SAT: Doug Burr/ The Fox and The Bird (All Good Cafe) SAT: Younger Sons/ Forgetting Max Fischer/Monastery/Balance Problems (J&J's) SUN: Teenage Cool Kids/ Bad Sports/ Follow That Bird/ Dikes of Holland/ Tre Orsi (Rubber Gloves) SUN: No Idea Festival w/ Chris Cogburn/Jesse Cudler/Screwed Anthologies/ Remi Alvarez/ Aaron Gonzalez/ Stefan Gonzalez (Phoenix Project) SUN: Fight Amp/Big Fiction/Dark Forces (The Lounge)
Fizzy Dino Pop | Darktown Strutters | Sore Losers (City Tavern) It's easy to lose track of some of the things going on in your old stomping grounds when you move away to a new city, but one thing that certainly hasn't escaped my attention is the rising acclaim of Darktown Strutters-- it seems that the group's name keeps popping up more and more on Twitter and in conversations with friends in the area (especially when I came back to visit for the holidays) and on nationally respected MP3 websites, and such pleasantly surprising developments are quite welcome around WSJR HQ. Of course, the new level of attention doesn't surprise me because I didn't think the band was good, quite the contrary-- we were saying whatever we could about them within days of first hearing their material-- but it does surprise me simply because the group's sound seemed at first like it would be a bit inaccessible to a lot of people who weren't quite familiar with where the band was coming from. However, taking a listen to their music for the first time in a little while has sort of made me realize that I was probably over-thinking all this stuff before-- these songs are infinitely easy to love, and Darktown Strutters seem to get better and better every time I encounter them. In fact, I think its safe to say that they are easily one of the most interesting and impressive new groups in Texas, and I'm glad that a lot of new people, both in and outside of Texas, have started to take notice over the past few months.
Joe Nice | Soy Capaz | Distinct | Dragon Man (Plush Basement) For those not keeping tabs, Baltimore's Joe Nice is one of the key figures in the American dubstep scene, and was in fact one of the first DJs in the country to start regularly playing the bass heavy music on the East Coast (right around the same time that our own underappreciated Jason Mundo started doing it), and for fans of underground dance music, not just dubstep, his appearance in Dallas is a big deal indeed. Sounds like there's a pretty serious after-party going down in celebration of this show as well, and if you were smart you'd check out both, because we hear Joe might spin at both spots.
Joe Nice After Party with Bassick | Blixaboy | DubtillDawn/Travis Elliot (711 Elm St., Dallas) Starts around 2am and goes all night.
Mount Righteous | Giggle Party | Mr. Troll (Andy's) As I've always said, Mr. Troll has a great and honest voice, and that's what counts when it comes to singer-songwriters. I don't know why the Grapevine/Lake Dallas music scene has a weird allegiance to Andy's that stretches back to the early 00's, but that's just the way it is. "Stubbornbanites?" " Stubburbanites?" I just named the Mount Righteous live album. You're welcome. (DL)
Riddlore | MC Homeless | DJ Sober (Phoenix Project) Oh great, a "socially conscious" rapper... why do people always do stuff like this so wrong? And MC Homeless? Are you serious with that shit? Did you get kicked out of the dorms or something?
Kampfgrounds | Peopleodian | Final Club (Dan's Silverleaf) Thanks Kamprgrounds for cheering me up a little bit after having to endure listening to that MC Homeless bro. And Peopleodian sounds like they might be kinda good but I couldn't really tell from the seven seconds of material on their Myspace page.... and trust me, that's usually more than enough to know. (SR)
I just want to add that I received a tip that this Yeah Def curated event at Dan's(!) is Final Club's first show, and the epic instrumental tracks on their page are very promising. They sound like payoff and climax passages plucked randomly from the collective catalog of several "buildup rock"-style groups, but without the boring part where you have to wait eight or nine minutes before the drums even kick in. The guitar effects are used tastefully, and though I usually despise anything "tasteful," everything sounds like it's just the right amount here. I don't know if these tracks will remain vocal-free but we'll see; as it stands, they seem like they could stand up on their own. (DL)
Boats | Stoned Men | Sabertooth Snatch | Collick (Rubber Gloves) Boats are a slightly endearing pop punk group that pulls from all the classic punk influences that are popping into your head right now.
The Watchers | Joey Lawrence Gets A Coke Problem | Colossi | Medicine Buddha | A Smile Full Of Ale | Steel Hook Prostheses | Welby (Good Records) Once upon a time I never would have imagined such a show taking place at Good Records; in some ways it almost seems downright cruel, and in the event that a high schooler comes in wanting to buy Passion Pit or Phoenix, accompanied by a parent out for the new Tom Petty live record, well, both dad and lad (or mum and lass) are in for a shock. This is a noise/improv/experimental/whatever you want to call it show. We've been over this and I'm sure you don't need another "writer" stumbling through those thorny and controversial genre labels. Though some of it might actually appeal to the teen willing to give it a shot, mom and dad are probably a no-go. Though I do see middle-aged folks at these shows all the time, they probably aren't your parents. Remember Mothers Against Noise? That was fake, right? A Smile Full Of Ale is probably the most accessible act here, which isn't a bad thing; his music tends to be more structured, and he takes the one-man-band approach to a place seldom attempted. The other artists will feature everything from completely formless oscillations to calculated aggressiveness and tortured obliteration, sonic destructiveness etc. Just go to this. I like shows at Good Records and I hate being bored, so this is the perfect mix. I promise no photo booths are involved. (DL)
Why can no one write a fucking artist statement that actually states anything?
I torture myself every once in a while by forcing myself to read the various artist statements tied to these shows. The process often goes like this: I understand what the artist statement is trying to say, and I like their artwork -- but the two have absolutely nothing to do with the each other.
A prime example this week is Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum's artist statement (exhibiting this weekend at Conduit Gallery, see below), explaining how she:
[...] explores cultural residue: those things we carry that connect us to a place or to a person; those traces that are communicated -- as story, as ritual, as "mouth music"-- and are transmitted between bodies and across landscapes.
sunstrum's most recent work [...] embodies [her] notion of simultaneous selves-- selves that are trans-cultural, trans-historical, trans-geographical. She/they are on a mythic quest: the hero in a ritual of self-mythology and fantastical autobiography.
I think her artwork looks great, but what the fuck does this statement have to do with what she's doing (take a look at her portfolio)? And mouth music? I'll show you some mouth music.
Artist statements are either completely wheels off nuts and unrelated like that, or they're so completely generic that they don't say anything about anything at all. For example, great artwork by artist Gregg Coker (opening at Craighead Green this weekend, see below), but this accompanies it:
In light of my present work, I am concerned with the form and its relationship to the space around it, as well as the area between the viewer's eyes and the surface of the painting. I want the viewer to be confronted. I want the space between the work and its audience to be charged. At the same time, I am concerned with the vastness within the painting itself. I am interested in the play of scale and the sensation of weight and tension in my work.
Is that not what the entire point of a fucking painting is? Jesus Christ. Why not just not write an artist statement and save yourself the future embarrassment? Artists across the planet should band together and refuse to allow another single artist statement to be created ever again.
For fuck's sake, if you're not already famous for your art, you probably don't have anything new to say. Just shut the fuck up!
Lemuria | O Pioneers | Empire Empire | Stymie | Genius Party (1919 Hemphill) Briefly: Lemuria wears its 90's Influences on its collective sleeve, and I can respect that, since they're upfront about it. They reminded me of long-gone Sub Pop act, Hazel, and upon double-checking the comparison, they really do. Empire Empire continues with the big-guitar 90's sound, and O Pioneers has that really tough-yet-perfectly enunciated vocal delivery that either makes the singer seem really serious and articulate, or really silly and overbearing, depending on your take on things. Though I sometimes miss that singing style, a vocalist is often doing you a favor by purposely slurring and covering it all with reverb and filters. Trust me you don't want to know what most of these jokers are saying. No Dad, that's not Bill Shakespeare over there. One more note: I avoided the punctuation in the band names. It's all too much. This show starts in thirty minutes, so hurry.
Scarcity of Tanks, No Endowments Julian Lynch, Orange You Glad Atlas Sound, Logos Intelligence, Fake Surfers OOIOO, Armonico Hewa Eat Skull, Wild and Inside Woods, Songs of Shame Nothing People, Late Night Black Dice, Repo Mount Eerie, Wind's Poem Subway, Subway II The Strange Boys, And Girls Club Memory Tapes, Seek Magic The Hunches, Exit Dreams Lotus Plaza, The Floodlight Collective Atom, Liedgut Tim Hecker, An Imaginary Country Wet Hair, Dream CFCF, Continent Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart,s/t: A lot has been said about the Pains of Being Pure At Heart's self titled debut this year, but what stood out to me the most was its boldness and simplicity-- in essence, it came off as a well crafted and joyous break from a lot of the trends we've seen throughout the past decade, even if such effect was unintentional. Listening to highlights such as "Come Saturday" and "Tenure Itch" felt like a triumphant call to former indie pop nerds and people who were conscious of underground music before the Strokes (or even Nirvana) to once again embrace a simple guitar pop record that took influences from C86 and Shoegaze but also recalled what one might refer to as "college rock," a term used to describe the more pop oriented, pre-grunge underground music played on college radio stations in the mid and late 80's. Although there have been plenty of fashionable groups that have borrowed from C86 over the past few years, the Pains record actually felt more like an artifact of that time than any other, and the fact that it also inspired flashbacks to Lewis Largent and early Teenage Fanclub videos only made the fantastic songwriting feel that much more important, because in the end, this record truly does measure up to many of the best records that were actually released during the era from which Pains took inspiration in the first place, and it was quite refreshing to hear a collection of songs that almost ignored the last ten years all together. Genre exercise? Perhaps a bit, but it was nice to be reminded of the extraordinary rush that "indie pop" has mostly failed to provide for the better part of a decade.
Black Meteoric Star,s/t: DFA's Gavin Russom seems to have spent the past several years tragically flying under a lot of peoples' radars, and although his Black Meteoric Star project probably won't elevate him into the realm of hipster electro superstar, it certainly cemented his reputation as one of the more tasteful and talented electronic producers to have emerged in the past decade. Like a strange mixture between Tangerine Dream, Manuel Gottsching and Acid House, Russom utilizes exclusively analogue equipment here to create a record that overwhelms the listener with the woozy wobbles of the Roland 303 while using repetition and compositional simplicity to allude to early electronic music, resulting in a highly psychedelic yet tangible dance music experience that serves as a very effective reminder of why people like Steve Aoki need to be ignored for eternity.
Dam-Funk,Toeachizown: Although it might seem a bit ridiculous to refer to an artist that spends time remixing Animal Collective tracks as "Gangsta" or "G-Funk," much of what you've read about Dam-Funk's stunning epic of a synth funk record is absolutely true, and it turns out that its one of the most pleasantly surprising full lengths of 2009. Damon Riddick, aka Dam-Funk, has created a sort of retro-future funk adventure that feels epic in both length (two discs roughly one hour a piece) and content. Riddick has been running a very popular DJ night in LA for a while now, and the record comes off as the perfect soundtrack for cruising around that city late at night with a blunt and not a care in the world, taking cues from 80's synth funk, Prince, early 90's west coast hip hop production, early IDM and contemporary hip bedroom dance pop (as evidenced by his collaborations with Nite Jewel) to create an astonishingly refreshing sound that soars with a keen knack for nasty funk hooks but still feels intimate and relaxed, simultaneously reminiscent of both the inherent isolation and the indifferent, almost vacant sense of calm and satisfaction that seems to pervade Los Angeles at all times.
Tyvek,s/t: Although not everyone seems to agree with me, it felt almost impossible to listen to Tyvek's self titled debut full length without thinking of early Pavement (and by extension, Swell Maps and the Fall), and it was a good thing indeed-- with all of the sub-par lo-fi and chillwave and shitgaze material that's been grabbing so many blogspot headlines over the past couple of years, it's fantastic to hear a slacker punk rock record that actually pulls off this kind of inherently tossed off brilliance without any sense that the group is forcing it or trying to appear is if they aren't trying. Tyvek's mostly nervous, choppy art-punk is certainly full of its own kind of urgency and tension, but the delivery is gloriously amateurish and self aware, and on their first full length, the band sounds as if they're having a lot of fun deciding whether or not to give a shit about anything, and its hard not to identify with their nihilistic plight.
Real Estate,s/t: "Beach Comber," the jaw dropping opener to Real Estate's debut full length, pretty much sells the entire record from the moment it begins-- with a breezy lead guitar line that commands attention with its catchiness while seemingly floating around in a pleasantly warm dream-like head space, the track exemplifies Real Estate's approach to guitar pop and sets the stage for a record that beautifully conveys a sense of sedintary longing for a more pleasant but unattainable past-- the feeling that the party is over, but there's nothing you can or really want to do about it. This sort of topical material has certainly been covered in the past, but Real Estate is undeniably on to something uniquely their own-- although you'll hear bits and pieces of identifiable influences here and there (everything from bossanova to self titled Velvet Underground to the Byrds to Galaxie 500), there isn't one particular sound that comes across as borrowed or overly indebted to anything that has come before it, and the freshness of the group's approach is truly welcome in a year like this. The topics of youthful transgression, endless leisure and suburban disillusionment are all dealt with here in a manner that recognizes the ups and downs in a comfortable yet lonely existence, and Real Estate's true achievement is delivering the kind of emotional depth necessary to explore the aforementioned topics with a gentle, escapist sound that's as easy to enjoy as it is to get lost in.
Matrix Metals,Flamingo Breeze: There are a lot of contradictory pieces of information floating around out there concerning who exactly was involved in the making of this record-- was James Ferraro involved? Is Sam Meringue a collaborator with Ferraro or a pseudonym for Ferraro (its the former, but some people aren't so sure)? Of course none of this is made any easier by the fact that Ferraro once apparently allowed Meringue to release a record under his name, but after a few listens to this mysteriously fuzzy lo-fi dance record, these questions start to become less and less important as the anonymity of its maker(s) sort of turns into an asset for a strange and captivating piece of bedroom dance that doesn't really need a face. Although not extraordinarily different from a lot of the releases that have come from this crowd in the past few years, the Matrix Metals project is a more coherent and beat reliant record than you might expect-- reminiscent of the sound of a worn out early 80's synth funk or disco cassette, Matrix Metals focuses on rhythm and succeeds in the sense that it takes some of the most captivating parts of the Ferraro/Ducktails/Not Not Fun tape culture sound and streamlines them to make them more coherent and even kinda sorta danceable. It's a tough sell for an aesthetic like this, but a successful one none the less. Sure, there isn't an incredible amount of new ground covered here, but Flamingo Breeze is enough of a compositional achievement to be a must have for fans of this scene, and for those interested in delving into the world of Ferraro, Clark and Meringue for the first time, Matrix Metals is a fantastic place to start.
Pictureplane,Dark Rift: Although classic house and tongue in cheek 90's commercial dance influences are anything but novel these days, Pictureplane's Dark Rift sounded like the record I had been waiting for someone to make for a long time now. Rather than coming off as a throwback or an obvious pastiche ready made for the speakers at Urban Outfitters, this music presents itself as a well worn collection of fuzzy memories of dance music's past, working within the structures of Acid House, Dancehall and MTV's The Grind to reference the collective foundations of contemporary dance music as abstractly as one possibly can while still crafting what are essentially pop songs that, in fact, can be danced to. This is undoubtedly a party record, but its a smart one, and its standout tracks constantly bring one thought to mind-- why hasn't anyone thought to do it like this before?
Ga'an,s/t: Chicago's Ga'an sort of came out of nowhere for me this year with a self released record that took inspiration from goth, prog, krautrock and drone and then twisted them all up to make something surprisingly unique and lacking in foundational history. It's been somewhat difficult to acquire a whole lot of useful information about this band for me, but the engaging and dark ride provided by the only recorded material I've heard from them speaks for itself, and if you are able to get your hands on this release, you'll probably agree that its probably only a matter of time before we start finding out a lot more about this group.
Sun Araw,Heavy Deeds: This was certainly one of the head-fuck records of the year for sure, but Sun Araw's latest went far beyond hip stoner fodder, digging deeper into the psychological make up of its creator in order to mine some truly inexplicable but endlessly fascinating ideas that felt bolder and more important than anything Sun Araw had done up to this point. Raw and infectious funk serves as a background structural base for much of the record, with eerie vocal samples dancing around in the foreground as Cameron Stallones constructs massively joyous, loosely structured odes to Gospel, synth driven psyche rock and drugged out paranoia. There's a tangible dark side to all of it, and the contradictory unease and bliss found within these tracks makes them difficult to define and impossible to deny.
Neon Indian,Psychic Chasms: It seems almost pointless to start a discussion about the increasingly rapid buzz to backlash cycle in the MP3 blog world these days, but the criticisms of Neon Indian's self assured debut were mostly so off base (at least in the comments sections of this website), that one can't help but wonder what exactly it was that motivated such harsh words. How did Alan Palomo put this together? What samples did he use? What ideas did he borrow? Has someone done this before? Does he play "real" instruments? Is Palomo even old enough to remember the 80's? I can honestly answer all these questions with "I don't know and I don't give a shit," because Psychic Chasms' primary accomplishment went far beyond stroking nostalgia or being the best "chill-wave" album of the year. Instead, Alan Palomo transcended both his old projects and the ridiculous "genre" that Neon Indian helped birth with a selection of endlessly catchy pop songs that showcased his ability to simply write better music and present it in a more compelling manner than almost anyone attempting anything similar these days. The fact that he also happens to be better at marketing himself and making his music work for him than most people his age certainly isn't something to hold against him, either. Instead, the h8rz should take a time out and realize that this just happened to be Neon Indian's year, and Psychic Chasms did a lot to demonstrate that for once, a blog buzz sensation might have a real chance at having more than one good turn around the hipster marketing cycle.
Kurt Vile,Childish Prodigy: I can't believe I'm about to write a paragraph in support of a record that sometimes reminds me of Bob Seger, but in a decade in which more or less everything has become fair game for reinterpretation in underground pop music, it really shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone who's been paying attention. Of course there's been quite a buzz brewing in honor of Philadelphia's Vile for more than a year now, and although he's been associated with a lot of the more popular "lo fi" names that you're already familiar with, Kurt Vile approaches his sound with an entire different result in mind. Although alluding to lo fi indie pop and even drone here and there, Vile's shining moments come in the form of salt of the Earth rock songs that are full of nods to Americana, the Boss, Tom Petty and other straight forward rock n roll mainstays while also maintaining the intimacy of a bedroom pop songwriter who might easily be making music only for himself. This low key feel works quite well throughout, and instead of conjuring up images of rock n roll icons, the tracks on Childish Prodigy inspire images of a group of guys in a basement who are themselves recalling iconic American rock and making it their own, and the result is considerably more immediate and endearing than almost any other guitar rock record I've heard in quite a while.
Emeralds,What Happened: These days it seems like drone records are a dime a dozen, and there aren't too many other genres covered on this website that are more prone to sameness and ambiguity when the material is mediocre. Cleveland's Emeralds distinguished themselves from the pack this year by crafting a collection of compositions that are more moving and memorable than most would expect from the kind of band the revels in synth experimentation and counts Brian Eno and Popol Vuh as influences. The beauty lies in the movement of these pieces, which draw from early ambient music and electronic drone as the listener is brought up and down along with the build ups and breakdowns, hanging on every note while never quite knowing what will come next. This kind of music is difficult to describe and the experience of listening to it varies more from person to person than is possible to imagine, but Emeralds are clearly tapping into a sound and a feeling that many of their peers don't seem to be aware of, and the proof reveals itself slowly and unexpectedly, just as a record like this should.
Bibio,Ambivalence Avenue: I'm quite certain that many long time Bibio fans probably reacted to Ambivalence Avenue the same way I did the first time I heard it: "Wait, this is Bibio?" With Ambivalence Avenue, Stephen Wilkinson branched out quite drastically from a stylistic standpoint, moving away but not totally abandoning his Boards of Canada/British Psyche folk roots while exploring everything from lo-fi funk to dance pop all while somehow retaining enough of his signature sound to keep most of his fanbase quite happy. The big changes found on this record could have easily ended up sounding unnatural or forced, but Bibio pulls everything off remarkably well, exploring new territory and sounding extremely comfortable doing it-- this is certainly a breakthrough for an already fascinating project.
Blues Control,Local Flavor: Although its perhaps the most overtly "rock" record to be found in Blues Control's impressive discography (which still isn't really all that straight forward), Local Flavor loses almost none of the uniqueness and mystery found on other Blues Control releases while diving into twisted psyche rock full force with newly developed awareness of strucure. This is clearly the strongest release as of yet from this group, and one of the more conceptually adventurous records to be put out on Siltbreeze in the past few years.
Ganglians,Monster Head Room: Ganglians are a group that seem to have gotten their shit together about as quickly as one could possibly hope-- Monster Head Room was the second record they released this year, and it stood out head and shoulders above their previous material with more fully fleshed out ideas and stronger pop leanings. Throughout the record, Ganglians take on a lot of different inspirations and sounds-- think Beach Boys, Garage Rock, CSNY, Bakersfield, and 60's psyhe pop, but they manage to own it all, with startlingly catchy tracks such as "Voodoo" and "Violent Brave" that might demonstrate a great deal of promise, but primarily satisfy on a much simpler and more enjoyable level.