Sunday, November 21, 2010

Clive Tanaka y Su Orquesta - Jet Set Siempre No. 1 (2010)

I can find literally no info on Clive Tanaka; his website has March 2nd as the release date for this (originally in cassette-only format! The digital will be released on January 11th of next year) and then there's nothing of a personal nature at all. Very rarely do I read about a record and feel implored to seek it out, download it, listen to it three times in a row and immediately post it here, but there's an undeniable charm to the sounds on this album and the gravity that's pulling me to it.

All I can say is that this is going to be at the top of (or at the least one of my three favorite records this year); it's a chill-wavey lo-fi electropop synth-funk hot mess.

Sort of like Daft Punk meeting Toro y Moi in 1987 to
audio track a Jazzercise VHS tape.

Grab it now, because I'm almost guaranteeing this blog post will be shut down in the next three days!!!

Check out this video for the track Neu Chicago:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Björk - The Classic Years

Dear Björk Guðmundsdóttir,

I love you.

I really do.

I love you for all your weird, quirky and inventive songs. I love your half-elf, half-Icelandic lyricism. I love your cute little pixie self. I love the production values on all your records, too- you have both the piece of mind and sense of purpose to work with some really out-there folks, although I guess that's like calling the kettle black, no?

I love that we almost have the same birthday, only three days away. And I get along really well with Scorpios, both my brother and sister are Scorps. That's tight.

Holler at me.

I must also say that your videos by themselves are truly all works of art. I used to have your DVD, Greatest Hits: Volumen 1993-2003 but it was crushed in a box in my trunk when I moved to California so I sold the damaged video to Amoeba Records in Berkeley and some poor chump bought it and later realized that the three videos for Hyperballad, Possibly Maybe and I Miss You were all pixelated and fucked up and the sounds skipped and sounded like glitchy shit.

You're in me, Björk. You're a part of me- and not like that time I washed my clothes with a bag of weed in one of my pants pockets, and then I even dried it and it like totally baked the smell into that entire load of clothes for like ever, not like that. You're like, here.

Right here.

I love you so much, Björk. I'm going to prove this to you by putting three of your best albums up for "sharing" purposes. Yeah, I know, it's really stealing, but whatever, I love you, Björk.

I. Love. You.

Jimmy Mac

Debut (1993; Elektra Records)
77.3 mb, VBR avg ~ 192 kbps

Post (1995; Elektra Records)
67.4 mb, VBR avg ~ 180 kbps

Homogenic (1997; Elektra Records)
64.4 mb, VBR avg ~ 202 kbps

Sunday, November 14, 2010

June of 44 - Four Great Points (1998)

I have no idea what "post-rock" really means, I think we throw it around way too much these days. The term was coined by critic Simon Reynolds in a review of the record Hex by Bark Psychosis in an issue of The Wire back in May of '94 as a way to describe what he was hearing, he's quoted as saying post-rock is "using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes, using guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures rather than riffs and power chords", but that's not really saying a whole lot about bands with such disparate styles like Mogwai, Slint or Sigur Rós, who are all usually lumped in with the post-rock crowd.

A reductive way of describing post-rock could be as follows: bands that employ in their music such diverse influences like space rock, Krautrock, ambient, experimental rock, jazz, shoegaze, minimalism, math rock and tape music; then forcing it into the neater, all-encompassing sphere of "alternative rock". That's my definition and I'm sticking to it.

That brings us to June of 44- a more emo and math-based version of Slint; but more melodic in the post-hardcore vein of bands from the mid-90s (think Unwound or Fugazi) but with really, really awesome drumming (courtesy of Doug Scharin); the instrumentation is also stellar- mellow and lazy yet shiny and bright guitar work from Jeff Mueller and Sean Meadows and dual duty on bass and trumpet from Fred Erskine.

Check this shit out, post-rocker...

Benga - Diary of an Afro Warrior (2008)

It's taken me a while to come full circle and embrace the genre of dubstep; you could say this is the third time I've tried to accept it (false starts in '06 and '08); I guess I either wasn't listening to the "right stuff" or my head wasn't in the right place- any way you slice it I wasn't getting it, which is disheartening considering my love for all things British.

So here we go; attempt number three- and it's sticking, finally.

Digression: I think dubstep's main problem (as most electronic music for that matter) is that it's somewhat rare for a specific vibe or a particular energy to hold up over the course of a full-length; since it's aimed at the club-goers, a five-to-ten minute slab of beats and synths is usually all that's needed and an artists' worth is measured from week-to-week as far as getting asses out on the floor. I think that's why I've never given most electronic music it's fair shake- I've always been an "album-oriented" kind of listener; give me a cohesive collection of songs packaged together as a statement of the performer's vision at a specific time and date rather than a jam or two. Anyways; I'll be mining the internets for more electro-based music from now on.

The obvious choice and the man that's done the best job at selling dubstep to the masses is Burial; both of his albums are considered the gold standard in the genre and the most representative of both where it's come from and where it can go- but for all its sheer determination, I'd offer you Benga's Diary of an Afro Warrior as a great place to start; it's meditative and funky, got those wonky bass lines throughout.

Give it a try, folks...

Squarepusher - Hard Normal Daddy (1997)

Behold! I have heard the sound of the future, and it sounds like... wait... what?

This record is thirteen years old?


Well, where the hell have I been?

Seriously, what have I been doing that was so important that made me miss this album; this sublime record with some of the best and fastest beats ever made on this planet with some of the most insane robo-jazz ever recorded?

Damn, I'm sorry Mr. Squarepusher. I'm going to let everybody in on this little secret that turns out wasn't a secret at all...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Autechre - Tri Repetae (1995)

The duo of Sean Booth and Rob Brown have been making music together for almost 25 years, hooking up over a mutual love for graffiti, hip-hop and electro music, trading mix tapes and eventually collaborating under the guise Lego Feet. Their first release under the Autechre (pronounced aw-tekk-urr) moniker would be 1991's Cavity Job, and the rest, as they say, is history.

This 1995 release, Tri Repetae, is a decent barometer of Autechre's ouevre; it's right in the mid-point of their earlier, more accessible work (the LPs Incunabula, Amber and the Anti EP) and their move towards a freer, more experimental approach (the albums LP5 and Confield, as well as the arc of their trajectory until present day).

Their advancement of glitchy, techy and ambient soundscapes has
contributed to the growth of IDM as well as influenced many imitators- I'm almost kicking myself for not discovering this wonderful music earlier.

Ancestors - Neptune With Fire (2008)

If you like your sludgy metal with generous helpings of prog rock, this is the record for you. Los Angeles-based Ancestors blend stony psychedelia with doom metal riffs to create one of the most satisfying listens of the last few years within the genre; this two-song, 38-minute monolithic magnum opus from '08 called Neptune With Fire.

It's a huge album, an immense and crushing sonic journey to the center of the cosmos and back; although it predates Mastodon's Crack the Skye by a good year, it's cleaved from the same esoteric stone.

Metal heads, psych rockers, stoners, sludge aficionados; DL this record right now!

Main Source - Breaking Atoms (1991)

First off, these beats- considering this album is almost 20 years old, these beats still sound as incredible to my thirty-something ears as they did to my teen ears. And then there's the rhyming, that archetypal early-90s rap flow done to perfection; and oh, let's not forget the samples- James Brown, Donald Byrd, Ike & Tina, Sister Nancy, Bob James, Lou Donaldson, Kool & The Gang, Miles Davis, MFSB, The Meters and Funkadelic (among many others; it's like walking into the Soul section of a record store and just grabbing all the best shit).

One of the first "international" hip-hop releases; two Toronto natives (K-Cut & Sir Scratch) hooked up with Queens-based Large Professor to give you the Main Source. Listen for the first verse ever from a very young and very hungry Nasir Jones- later known as Nas, as well as some of the most socially conscious and relevant lyricism on any hip-hop release, now or then.

Another insanely overlooked album from the Golden Age of Hip-Hop...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mastodon - Leviathan (2004)

What can I say about this record that a swift punch in the neck wouldn't convey that much quicker? It's fucking Mastodon; some of the best, most powerful sludge metal to crunch its way out of your speakers in years- add a love for 70's prog and these four Atlantans (two by way of Rochester, NY) have basically paved the way for a massive prog-sludge avalanche that has no doubt wrecked the shit out of your little crap town.

Guitarists Bill Kelliher and Brent Hinds, bassist Troy Sanders and drummer Brann Daillor all met at a High On Fire show in 1999; they bonded over their mutual love for bands like Neurosis and Melvins as well as Thin Lizzy. After trying another singer, they chose to remain a quartet and released Lifesblood in 2001 on Philly's Relapse Records and Mastodon was birthed.

Listen; words fail here big time- just listen...