This week sees the release of The Marriage of True Minds, the new album by Matmos, and as much as anything, this means that we’re excited to spend hours on end picking over where on earth all the sounds on the record in question come from. The Baltimore-based duo have long been some of the music world’s foremost exponents of sampling all sorts of weird and wonderful sources for the sounds they use, and in celebration of the arrival of their new record, we thought we’d look at their weirdest moments, along with some other artists who’ve specialized in finding samples in strange places. … Read More
Right, so January is over and done with, and it’s time to get back into the usual music industry swing of things (at least until everyone goes to get wankered at SXSW, anyway.) There are plenty of decent records to be heard in February 2013, so without further ado, here is our regular monthly roundup of the albums we reckon are going to be worth hearing over the next four weeks, from brainy electronica to decidedly brainless sea shanties, with a whole bunch of other stuff in between. If there’s anything we missed, do feel free to take to the comments section and let us know! … Read More
It’s Friday, which means that we’re suffering an end-of-week lack-of-coffee crisis, and also that it’s time for our regular roundup of new music to get your hands on this week. Things have gotten kinda strange this week as far as downloadable tracks go, which is perfectly OK as far as we’re concerned — there’s suitably strange new tracks from Matmos and Úlfur, Lindstrøm making a silk purse out of Grizzly Bear’s sow’s ear, some great discoveries from Little Wings and Diamond Terrifier, an epic live set from Mind Over Mirrors, a great mix from Biosphere and plenty more. Get hold of all this action after the jump. … Read More
It’s Friday, and we’re back with another installment of our regular roundup of downloadable MP3 goodness from around the web. This week brings a pretty eclectic haul of tracks — there’s a Cat Power remix that (whisper it quietly) is better than the original, along with new Matmos (hooray!) and new tracks from Thee Oh Sees, Nü Sensae, and Paul Banks. There’s also a cut from what might be our favorite sneaky under-the-radar release of the last couple of months (the debut from Brooklyn band ERAAS), a whacking great 20-track Chemikal Underground sampler, and more. In other words, there’s plenty of interesting sounds awaiting you after the jump, and since they won’t cost a penny or land you an RIAA lawsuit, as your attorneys we advise you to start downloading immediately. … Read More
We raved earlier this week about how much we’ve been enjoying Nootropics, the new album from Lower Dens. The record’s out this week, and should definitely be on the shopping list for anyone with ears. It’s also the latest of many excellent records to come out of the ultra-fertile city of Baltimore in recent years — we don’t generally buy into city-based hype, but it’s clear there’s something good happening down on the Maryland coast, and has been for quite some time. So with a bit of help from our resident Baltimore music expert, we’ve compiled a list of the best Baltimore bands right now — suggestions are, as ever, welcome. And no, Good Charlotte are not included. … Read More
Consider the acoustic change-of-pace. Sometimes, it comes from a desire to shift gears: a musician who’s worked primarily in an electric vein wanting to explore a different dynamic and all of the emotions that said dynamic can summon. At others, it can resemble an intentional artistic restraint: musicians or songwriters cutting themselves off from a previously essential part of their repertoire. Sometimes, entire genres can attract notice for turning off the amplifiers. Punk is a particular example, as seen on the 1991 compilation SST Acoustic, which collects work from the likes of Screaming Trees, Minutemen, and fIREHOSE.
This list of unexpected acoustic records covers albums made in the studio and recorded live; it encompasses punk and ambient work, cover songs and audio manipulations. These eight albums have little in common save their instrumentation and their relationship to the artist’s larger of body of work. Some fall into the camp of solo performers accompanied only by an unamplified guitar; others seek out a stranger space. … Read More
Academia and the music industry don’t seem like particularly compatible institutions. The former moves glacially slowly, the second feeds on an internet-stoked buzz cycle. Academics prize well-thought out hypotheses while musicians are all about, um, everything but that. But in spite of their differences, there are a whole host of musicians with higher degrees. Check out our list after the jump. … Read More
Something seemingly obvious struck us upon reading that Dirty Projectors plan to perform their zany, quasi-Don-Henley-themed 2005 album The Getty Address in full February 19 at Lincoln Center: The ’00s are really over. Among other things, that means the decade’s best music is now ready to take its place in history and ascend to classic status. And there’s just no better way to cement an album’s place in the canon than to play the whole thing live to a packed crowd of adoring fans.
But not every great release lends itself to this treatment. Many are simply collections of outstanding but fairly unrelated singles that are just as powerful on their own. Albums ripe to be performed in full need to possess a kind of unity: a certain narrative thread, concept, or lyrical or sonic motif that elevates the whole above the sum of its parts. With that in mind, we’ve selected 10 albums from the ’00s that we’d love to see played live. … Read More
The Big Ears folks deserve massive credit for kicking off one of the more fantastically nerdy avant-music droolfests we’ve seen smack in the middle of an economic septic tank. Over three days, Knoxville, Tenn. found itself in the odd company of several hundred well-trained ears for a series of improv collaborations, tightly composed modern-classical performances, musical theater renditions, and dance parties. The weather was lovely, the ten-hour drive sucked, and Southern hospitality was no joke.