Friday, December 26, 2008

Best of 2008, partie troisième

I hope everyone had a decently enjoyable holiday, at very least those who are somewhere that celebrates it. My sister had me watch that film where they proved Santa was real via mail fraud in a courthouse, exciting shit. My older brother told me about a southern answer to Santa as a young black-breaded fella with a cart pulled by fledgling burrows. Seems fantastically genius to me.

4. Shugo Tokumaru - Exit
Technically this was released in 2007 by a Japanese label, but many including myself never got wind of it until its 2008 release in the United States. I am shamed it took that coming to pass, for it is absolutely magnificent. Of course I can't understand a lick of Japanese, but this music get me so amazingly happy nonetheless. A very awesome gem is the banjo instrumental at the end called "Wedding." The whole thing is quirky and filled with interesting instrumentation, I was awestruck from the very start with the two tracks "Parachute" and "Green Rain" being unforgettably blazed into my mind.

3. Raccoo-oo-oon - Raccoo-oo-oon
Holy shit did this surprise me. I had heard some Raccoo-oo-oon before, and for some reason I was awaiting a long, epic build up to something otherworldly. Nay, my friends, this time it was a few seconds of chiming and it was unleashed full force. A brilliant fully instrumental sound that is somewhere between post-rock and experimental noise, as I've heard it very well discribed, psych-drone. Even though I heard this late in the year compare to most on this list, I immediately knew it must be included herein. I owe my having of this to the good people at ill-formed, I am unsure completely as to what the album art is.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Best of 2008 partie deuxième

Here is where I'm willing to bet my ass old Danger Dog and many others will come to find issue in my ranking of this years album. I say to that, do your old list you sons of bitches.

7. Boris - Smile
The new album by Boris is amazing. Perhaps to Danger Dog's dismay I like to compare it to garage rock, but even if you're on his side there you can't deny their less metal and more psychedelic rock here. As far as I can tell they're an unstoppable force of sound. Moreover, at a few moments they sound like TV on the Radio, which is definitely creepy.

6. The Music Tapes - For Clouds and Tornadoes
Finding this album here should not be a surprise to any who recall my extreme love for Elephant 6. Julian Koster has made what I am very excited to say is his best work to date here. The title is very suitable, as the songs are fanciful numbers including the manifestations of air. "Tornado Longing for Freedom" is my favorite track, but throughout Koster makes excellent use of singing saws, string instruments galore, and ethereal singing.

5. Tape - Luminarium
This was one of my first posts on the blog, and astoundingly it remains one of my most listened albums since I've gotten my hands on it. These Swedes blew my mind and continually please me with their electronically flavored post-rock. I play this for many occasions from working on my many college papers to something nice to converse with friends over to blasting it in my car on my nightly rides home from work.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Best of 2008, première partie

Finally the internet has been restored to the House of Minh (aka Ho-Chi-Minh-Shire). To make up for the lack of any posting during the drought of world-wide webbery I've decided to make a best of collection based on what I've heard, which is by no means that extensive but I believe bears enough weight to share. In this first part I'll give the first 3 albums I felt were undeniably excellent in 2008. Keep in mind some of them are very likely to be repeats from this or friendly blogs.

10. Religious Knives - It's After Dark
Ambient at time, drone-like noise at others, yet all of it kept my interest sharply throughout. Psychedelic with just enough krautrock to make it provoking, this side-project of the Double Leopards is certainly worth it.

9. James Ausfahrt - A Message From God
I could not stop listening to this guy in my car, on my breaks at work, or walking across campus. His songs are short electronic-rock-pop things that are remarkably easy to want to hear repetitively. Moreover he does a fantastic cover of the Velvet Underground track "What Goes On" to my great joy. "Kill Yr Enemies" and "Disko Gigolo" are the sort of songs that if I took any pleasure in dance I just might have done so to their accompaniment.

8. Lucky Dragons - Dream Island Laughing Language
I was turned on to this group by a true gentleman from Toronto and I must thank him as I've taken a serious liking to them. Eccentric and creative, the tunes of Lucky Dragons pull in many instruments both electronic and acoustic, with certainly no fear of handclaps. Twenty-two short tracks makes for a fast paced album being just lengthy to become involved with.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Josef K - The Only Fun In Town (1981, Postcard Records)

Ah yes, Josef K. My first experience with these Scottish post-punk funk masters was several years ago when I was exposed to the 2004 One, Two, Twee: An Indie pop Retrospective compilation, in which the single version of the band's seminal hit Sorry For Laughing appeared. It wasn't until I listened to their fellow Postcard Records label mates, Orange Juice, that I acquired an actual interest in them.

Anyways, formed in the early 1980's, Josef K created a unique sound that combined funk, new wave, and disco, while retaining a sort of post-punk dignity.

Download: Josef K - Sorry For (38.4 MB)

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Yet again, our internets have been disabled. This time at the fault of our foolishly bull-headed neighbor we negotiated a deal with. Long story short, you can't call your landlord a motherfucker and fully expect to continue residence in his property. Alas, just another obstacle to be overcome in order to post anything to this blasted blog. I do have an excellent offering for today that I luckily already had uploaded in anticipation of a future post.
Islaja, a Finnish lady that makes remarkable psych-folk music. The stuff she releases is ambient-like and has a large range of instruments used, and all for the definitely strange folk vocals she provides. Her voice is utterly mesmerizing to me. To bolster her credentials as an experimental folk singer, she has worked as a member of the exceedingly fantastic Finnish group Kemialliset Ystävät. If you don't like her stuff I'll consider that fact that you have some lacking quality as a human being if we ever interact at a later time.

To be had here:

Meritie (2004)

Palaa aurinkoon (2006)

Ulual Yyy (2007)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Half Japanese - Sing No Evil (1985)

Jad Fair and brother David have been making musics since the 70s and with many famous people from all over, but I still think this is the single best album he's ever had a hand in. I remember when my sister began going to the University of Michigan I forced her to listen to this album the entire car ride, on one level to please me as I was stuck helping her lift shit all day and another one to make her understand the proto-punk glory held herein. She failed to grasp the amazing-ness. Oh well, perhaps you'll enjoy the untuned guitar and squeaky horns more.

To be had here:
Half Japanese - Sing No Evil [160 kbps]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Sky Drops - Clouds of People (2006)

I honestly cannot recall if I got these guys off of soulseek or if I found that traversing the blogosphere, so if they seem familiar I make no claims at uniqueness. What I am sure of is that they makes some damned fine music that is a very much reminiscent of Elephant 6 pop but without being a molded copy unworthy of play. While making sounds in Delaware of all places, The Sky Drops makes use of a something close to the wall of sound that shoegazers so masterfully employ. The vocals are harmonious and the mood is jovial. Nice afternoon listening material before diving into the heavy work load of my college courses. As this is an EP it is quickly heard and easily replayable.

To be had here:
The Sky Drops - Clouds of People [192 VBR kbps]

Monday, October 27, 2008

Skywave - Echodrone (1999) & Synthstatic (2003)

Skywave was first given to me by danger dog, but as he is lazy when it comes to posting (too busy with Mech Warrior games and whatnot) I've taken it upon myself to share this with you. They cite the notable shoegazers "The Jesus and Mary Chain, Galaxy 500, The Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine" all as influences on their myspace, and they aren't out of line invoking such references either. The songs are decidedly more noise-pop than anything space rock and heavy that sometimes gets called shoegaze, all the while they make great use of the wall of sound. Connections via membership to other recognizably fantastic bands like A Place To Bury Strangers only makes them all the more intriguing. One thing I really enjoy about them is that they are retro sounding but don't feel as easily commercialized as more famous acts like the Raveonettes (though I will admit I like me some Raveonettes for time to time). Out of the two albums I'm sharing here I do like Echodrone more, especially the songs "Sixteen" and "Under the Moon."

To be had here:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Harry Nilsson - Pussy Cats (1974)

Harry Nilsson was a character of an unforgettable nature. A close friend of John Lennon, the man is no where near the famed Beatles name recognition, but that's not surprising given the more limited listenership for the much odder songs he penned. I can't recall where I even ran across the album for the first time, yet I do recall trying to show it to friends and not getting them to understand. However, when the Walkmen came along and covered this album almost entirely, keeping the title even, they began to see it wasn't just me being eccentric again. Nilsson did achieve success in his day, although the staying power of his music is outshone by many contemporaries as far as radio repetition goes (fuck that by the way). Nevertheless, perhaps the moment I realized even I was underestimating Nilsson's strangeness is when I sitting with some of the local musicians of my age range in these parts in a garage attic hearing The Point! That is an album I highly recommend (share if you have it, I haven't downloaded it), a soundtrack completely written by Nilsson and about a round-headed boy in a village where everybody and everything is pointed, most noticeably heads. The songs on Pussy Cats are a mixture of Nilsson's own and off-the-wall covers of Bob Dylan and, my favorite, the children's song "Loop de Loop." He's really not well conveyed by the written word, you must hear what he sang and played.

To be had here:
Harry Nilsson - Pussy Cats [192 kbps]

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ecstasy of Saint Theresa - Pigment EP (1991)

The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa are an early 90's Czechoslovakian shoegazing band, who now mostly only perform ambient material. This is their first EP, which is a far-cry from the sounds they're making now. I would frequently listen to this EP whilst riding my bike when I was in high school.

The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa - Pigment EP (1991, Self-Released)

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Depreciation Guild - In Her Gentle Jaws (2007)

These guys really know how to merge genres. Consisting of two young men both brandishing guitars and backed up with Nitendo sounds, The Depreciation Guild has managed to overcome my initial weariness that this might be another spastic pop-rock with cartoonish sounds lain over thing. Fortunately, they knew exactly what the weakness of being too gleeful could expose them to, and took a more controlled and sober mood that I'd definately say fits with a shoegaze act. The use of the electronics does two things for the music really, allows them to get away without a conventional rhythm section and provides a uniqueness that seperates them from many other comtemporary shoegazers. The chiptune side really shows in the opening of the songs, with a gradual ease from electronic humming and synthetic drumming to guitar being brilliantly executed. The singing is more melodramatic than I'm used to, but it certainly isn't anything overpowering. A nice experience for fans of shoegaze.

To be had here:
The Depreciation Guild - In Her Gentle Jaws [256 VBR kbps]

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Aidan Baker - Scalpel

Aidan Baker is an extremely accomplished musician from Toronto, and in my opinion, this is one of his best releases.
My first experience involving Aidan Baker was driving home from work one night through pouring rain when the song Our Needs Bear No Relations To Our Desires (found on Scalpel) came on the radio. After it ended and they revealed who the artist was, I took out a pen and scrawled his name on the inside of an empty cigarette pack. This album is a perfect example of the Folk/Drone/Ambient genre in it's full, and I highly recommend you give it a listen.

Aidan Baker - Scalpel (2007)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Collections Of Colonies Of Bees - Birds (2008)

An absolutely brilliant display of sonic barrages woven into four lengthy tracks. Difficult to imagine that this is a side-project of the post-rock group Pele, in particular Chris Rosenau and Jon Mueller. The instrumentals that they create are difficult to place into a genre, leading to it being called glitch, post-rock, and IDM simultaneously. They're definitely louder than what I'd think of as glitch like The Books, Giuseppe Ielasi, and Radicalfashion. Nevertheless, they're no drone band, but I'd say the balance is much of what makes their music so fantastic. I've frequently listened album while doing myself assignments for college, and it never fails to make them pass more quickly, or at very least more enjoyably. I'm already excited to see what they might make in the future. By the way, we've finally got the internet running here on both my computers, this should greatly ease our ability to post, perhaps there'll even be something from that old scoundrel danger dog.

To be had here:
Collections Of Colonies Of Bees - Birds [320 kbps]

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bo Carter

The unequivocal master of the sexual innuendo, Bo Carter was a strange character from the history of the blues. Born Armenter Chatmon, he adopted the nickname of Bo Carter for his performances. I originally downloaded his material when I was trying to bolster my knowledge of the blues by way of grabbing as much as blues greats as I might find and spent hours listening to them. Save for the legendary Robert Johnson, none left such a prominent memory in my mind as Carter. The two collections of his work are from the 30s and in that context it makes much more sense as to why a man would think double entendres were so necessary. Maybe really like to sing about sex but the popular culture of his time only allowed it in hidden verse. Although many of his songs are like this, he does have more traditional blues themes in others. An interesting note is that his brothers sometimes played with him. Gives me the image of full emersion in blues from all around him. Certainly something fun to play for friends, but I even find him gratifying alone. There is more of his music to be found, these are just what I've got on hand.

To be had here:

Twist It Babe (1931-1940)

Banana In Your Fruit Basket (1931-1936)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Guitar Wolf - Jet Generation (1999)

Guitar Wolf is the thing of legends. Forged from other things of legend this isn't hard to imagine. Skinny, short and loud Japanese men with all the external trappings of the Ramones, which is a constant reference and underpinning of the act, shown in how each member takes on his instrument as a name and assumes 'Wolf' as a surname (Guitar Wolf, Bass Wolf, and Drum Wolf). The first time I ever heard of Guitar Wolf was on a negative review that basically dismissed the band as an attempt to make the loudest guitar playing they could and the reviewer thought it unnecessary and without merit. His objections were lost on me, but the idea of a Japanese fella blasting his guitar while screaming stuck with me and I knew I had to find some of their music immediately. As I was heavily into Detroit's garage rock, Guitar Wolf fit my listening preferences with a tailor made glove. With time my admiration, both genuine and whismical, have grown. Indeed, their cover of "Summertime Blues" has become a ritual for any car ride with my friends who also enjoy Guitar Wolf (a status only shared by Cap'n Jazz's cover of "Take On Me"). The way they prolifically produce album after album of noisy garage punk for two decades could be seen as myopic, but I'd rather believe it is unstoppable energy and passion for the sound.

Internet just re-established, should be posting more regularly once again.

To be had here:
Guitar Wolf - Jet Generation [160 kbps]

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Prima Donnas - Drug Sex & Discotheques (2001)

This bands name always makes me think of high school gym class where the teacher and many of the upperclassmen had a habit of denouncing everybody as "damned prima donnas." Not to wax on about the hours spent playing an indoor form of curling, but this music was released just prior to my enrollment in high school (I like to place a date on myself). I sure loved this sort of thing in back then, noisy punk with a dancey rhythm, and as I have been stonewalled from downloading anything fresh and the way my PC won't work for more than a few minutes you are getting shit I remember liking at one point. The music is one of first in a slew that burst into the indie world at the turn of the century along with bands like The Rapture, The Fever, The Fitness, and ending with the popularization of Franz Fredinand and the like. Musically, they are heavily influenced by the 80s love affair with keyboards, adopting the instrument to noteworthy effect. Lastly, their page at peekaboo records is full of fun hyperbole, but they are English snyth-punk musicians, so it is expected.

To be had here:
The Prima Donnas - Drug Sex & Discotheques [192 kbps]

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Various Artists - Music of Japanese Festivals

We're freshly moved into our new adobe, but the huge huge downside is that my landlord is sitting on his hands about getting my internet going. Thus the blogging has taken a far back seat when I have access to the internet, as I normally need it more for homework. However, there is only so much I can stand of my job and college. Today as I'm unsure how this post will actually get on to the blog, I've decided to give you something I never actually thought I'd listen to repeatedly. This is a collection of Japanese traditional music performed for festivals. It is astoundingly similar to what many modern psych-folk-drone groups do, but these musicians have the natural advantage of being raised in this atmosphere of rhythmic yet sparse pounding, chants and seemingly strange instrumentation all around. Of course Japanese traditional music has complexities (Nagauta, Jyoruri, etc) that as just an amateur music enthusiast I can't possibly hope to enlighten you about, but perhaps that same mystery about it is part of the appeal.

To be had here:
Music of Japanese Festivals

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Norrbottens Järn - Drömmarnas Värld (1975)

I was blown out of my mind the first time I heard this album; it certainly doesn't seem like something that should have culturally defused to reach me. I do think thanks for that goes to lost-in-tyme, an excellent if sometimes embattled blog that specializes in finding old jems. Beyond the fact that it is over a decade older than me, which has never really prevented my enjoyment before, there is that it is a strange album even for its time. Psychedelic-folk is the best label I can think of, but it doesn't stress the oddness. Of course, I haven't a damned clue if this sort of album was even weird to the Swedish generation that saw its creation, and I heavily doubt many even know what it is. It definately gives an aura of mystery in pondering about what they were thinking in Luleå, Sweden upon forming this group. The name is even weird to me, with Norrbottens Järn being translated as Norrbotten's Iron for me by a Norwegian friend. Let me give you the run down, it is 70s rock and folk with strong European differences from what was the norm in America. Most obviously it is sung completely in Swedish, with the only words I can understand being "David Bowie" but is is said 'Ba-owie.' The mood slides around from guitars and drums to chorus-style refrains to solos on the accordion (I shit you not). "Konserverad Gröt" is the best song for sure, and you must really listen to is fully through to understand why. "Diskoplast & Hippievadd" features the before mentioned accordion throughout, not be to missed. Overall it is extremely psychedelic and reminds me of perhaps what Devendra Banhart and his cohort might be doing if they embraced electric guitars more and liked to sing in Swedish. Cool as fuck, rest assured.

To be had here:
Norrbottens Järn - Drömmarnas Värld [256 kbps]

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Green Kingdom - Meadowview (2006)

I'll be honest, even though this guy is from Detroit and apparently still here making music, I've never heard a word of him from a friend or on the street. Nevertheless I found him on these vast seas of internets. This one man act of ambient tunes was definitely able to hold my interest long enough for me to get through the album and not forget it none to quickly either. It is interesting to note that according to what I've read he is self-taught, always something to admire as it can't be done by fools like me. I haven't got a lot to say here, just get it if calm ambient sounds tickles your fancy, this is a fine addition to a collection of such music.

To be had here:
The Green Kingdom - Meadowview [192 kbps]

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Natural Snow Buildings - The Dance of the Moon and the Sun (2006)

This is one of the two "full length" albums released by Natural Snow Buildings, the reason for the quotes is that they seem to be like much more than a single album. By golly gumdrop, there are 25 tracks, with 4 of them topping 10 minutes long and only 2 are less than 2 minutes. However, this longevity of the songs is well-suited for the drone-heavy post-rock-folk they make. The band is consistent of two French men, one on guitar another on cello. They can be folky, more often ghastly, but there's never a doubt that they're talented. Hopefully fulfilling the wishes of another brave person who left a comment, and it is absolutely huge taking hours upon hours to upload on this shitty DSL. Moreover, they're on Megaupload because even halved they were too large for mediafire to accept. I do have some more recent releases, EPs if you can call them that, but they are also too large for mediafire so if you want them just say so I can put them on Megaupload or something else.

To be had here:
Natural Snow Buildings - The Dance of the Moon and the Sun [256 VBR kbps]
Half 1
Half 2

Friday, September 26, 2008

Lollipop Train - Junior Electric Magazine (2000) & David Candy - Play Power (2001)

As per request, here we've got both Lollipop Train and David Candy. First, Lollipop Train is a spot on name for the style of extremely sweet indie pop jumbled with spoken-word musings. The whole thing is very very similar to, yet predating, Death by Chocolate. As to why this is, no surprise at all. It is Death by Chocolate, just before Angie Tillett called her work by that name with those particular bandmates. Basically, consider this album zero that goes with the two Death by Chocolate albums I've already made available.
The second is a slightly stranger case of musical happenstance. David Candy is a pseudonym that seems like a real name or at least the main stage name of a performer, but in fact it is a remote and seldom spoken of secondary outlet for Ian Svenonius. Now, if this name is familiar (and if it isn't this is why it should be) it is because Svenonius was a member of amazing post-hardcore act Nation of Ulysses, followed by the more funky punk of The Make-Up, breifly Cupid Car Club and currently of Weird War. More or less the man is like a rabbit who's fucking makes music. Now why might a post-hardcore rocker of notable standing bother to make a quirky album along the lines of the before mentioned confectionery-name-plus-talking-over-psychedelic-music stuff? Because he wanted to. According to wikipedia's David Candy entry "The character of David Candy was part of a series of 'Magazine-Style Records' which included other imaginary acts such as Death by Chocolate, Maria Napoleon, and Lollipop Train." He only did the single release with
this name and it finely fits into the theme.

To be had here:

Junior Electric Magazine [160 kbps]

Play Power [128 kbps]

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sons and Daughters

From the very artistically active Scottish city of Glasgow, Sons and Daughters are some different from the rest of the crowd. Glasgow has many famously good band, like Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian, and Camera Obscura but luckily Sons and Daughters are not ripping off these artists but rather creating their own thing. They began as an offshoot of Arab Strap as the member Adele Bethel decided to form her own band. The band produces some upbeat, energetic indie rock that borrows more for country than reviving the post-punk of 1980s Scotland like some others have attempted with mixed results. I find them enjoyable overall. They're certainly no musical messiahs but they've got some pretty good song-writing abilities and know how to play their instruments. What else can one ask to be honest? I've got here their three full-lengths and one of their EPs for you. I am missing their first EP entitled Lovers. So if you've got that and want to share it with me; I'd be grateful. Oh, I'm trying to get to you requests, bear with me, I uploaded all these last posts in one day when I had an hour to spare, and I type the posts wherever I may be, so once I'm settled more I can respond to requests more promptly, please do continue to make them.

To be had here:

Love The Cup (2003) [192 kbps]

The Repulsion Box (2005) [224 VBR kbps]

Dance Me In (2005) [224 VBR kbps]

This Gift (2008) [320 kbps]
link repaired, sorry for inconvenience

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lone Wolf And Cub - Wonder, Is Ground On Frost? (2006)

An excellent Michigander post-rock outfit that sadly didn't last very long after the completion of this great album. I first heard of these from an old friend in Port Huron who wanted to know if I had any of their stuff to give him. At the time I did not and since the fool moved to Mt. Pleasant chasing a girl, but alas I did search out Lone Wolf And Cub. erroneously labels that as post-hardcore and metal (I believe in confusion with a band that bears the same moniker from Chicago), but these guys are definitely no where neat heavy enough for those names. Wonder, Is Ground On Frost? wanders through eight laudably crafted instrumentals. The song titles are imaginatively done; likely because as instrumental post-rock songs titles are a mere formality. My favorite of these is "Be There Or Be Tiananmen Square." I'm gonna keep this post on the shorter side, but I just want to assure you that if you haven't ever heard Lone Wolf And Cub you should certainly not hestitate to give them a listen.

To be here here:
Lone Wolf And Cub - Wonder, Is Ground On Frost? [224 VBR kbps]

Monday, September 22, 2008

Benni Hemm Hemm

This semester is kicking my ass, so I'm posting when I can justify the time it takes away from my studies. I've been planning on this post for several days, but I was waiting for my Swede spree to end, for the lovely band Benni Hemm Hemm is Icelandic. I first heard them when their self-titled came out but I didn't pay too close attention, and since then have gone back and discovered for myself how wonderful the music they have made truly is. More or less music is the product of band leader and song-writer Benedikt Hermann Hermannsson. They have a well-balanced mixture of both English and Icelandic sung tracks within their discography. Benni Hemm Hemm features the hilariously pleasing song "I Can Love You In A Wheelchair Baby" which I still can't understand how I overlooked at first. From 2007 I'm sharing with you both the more heavily Icelandic main album release Kajak and mini-album Ein í leyni (the latter is self-realsed). Lastly there is the newest release you might've seen elsewhere lately, Murta St. Calunga (I do believe I got it from nodata myself). What I really enjoy is the ability to follow between heart-felt folk to cheerful pop without missing a step. I really have a hard time listing similar bands for reference, but they remind me of Belle & Sebastian and The American Analog Set in mild fashions, but definitely have too much uniqueness to be shoved into a group easily.

To be had here:

Benni Hemm Hemm (2006) [320 kbps]

Ein í leyni (2007) [256 VBR kbps]

Kajak (2007) [256 VBR kbps]

Murta St. Calunga (2008) [320 kbps]

Friday, September 19, 2008

Säkert! - Säkert! (2007)

If you've listened to and enjoyed Hello Saferide you'll be pleased to know that Säkert! is the same Annika Norlin, if you didn't already. Now, in case you've never heard any Hello Saferide, which I'm willing to assume is a majority of you, she is a stunningly sweet chanteuse from Sweden. Make a note, I'm not done with this Swedish exposition yet. One of the most obivious differences between her work as Hello Saferide and what she's doing with Säkert! is that the latter is sung in English whereas this is fully in Swedish. The mood of the song vary from heart-felt sappy numbers to more upbeat pop ditties, but of course I haven't a damned clue as to what she's really singing about. She does get assistance from other singers, mostly male on this album just like she does in Hello Saferide, in order to create duets. Otherwise this is basically a solo effort of her music with what is surely a studio band. I find the entire thing quite lovely, though I tend to like the second half of songs more.

To be had here:
Säkert! - Säkert! [224 VBR kbps]

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hemstad - Hemstad (2006)

Living up to my Swedish themed listening trend, Hemstad is a group of exceptionally talented musicians from Gothenburg. I was amazingly surprised the energy that this band contains is its music. The sound is filled to the brim with excitingly fast playing of various instruments. There are no vocals, and absolutely none that could enhance them in my opinion. They've got connections to the great James Ausfahrt, who I've previously praised. Begun with apartment recordings the band as evolved and changed members to become a solid force of Swedish musical prowless. I'm not done with this Swede spree, so stay tuned for more from our Nordic friends.

To be had here:
Hemstad - Hemstad [192 kbps]
note: first two tracks at 128 kbps

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Tallest Man On Earth - Shallow Graves (2008)

Judging on what I've uploaded to share with you in these coming days, I love Swedish music. Shallow Graves is as good as any place to begin with the plethora of amazing Swedish artists I've been obsessing over as of late. Likely amongst the finer folk albums to be released this year thus far, Shallow Graves has a strangely Americana feel for something coming from the Scandinavian peninsula. The playing seems to have bluegrass influence on it, with some fast picking to be heard. The singing is unique enough to not be confused with many others, but possesses captivity of a good folksy troubadour. Not truly the world's tallest man, rather a man also known as Kristian Matsson. The lyrics touch on the tried and true themes of nature and women. Not as far out there as the naturalismo of Banhart and his cronies, the music is more like a that of Pete Seeger or perhaps even Willy Mason (if he wasn't trying to hard to sound emotional). Read of him being compared to Dylan, but that happens too much in my opinion; we should just enjoy him as what he is, a good folk musician. I can get enough of this release to be honest, I do think you'll like it.

To be had here:
The Tallest Man On Earth - Shallow Graves [320 kbps]

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Gerogerigegege - Senzuri Power Up (1990)

Some of the very most prime Japanese noise to be had. The Gerogerigegege's music is even wilder than their name is to pronounce. The band is mainly a product of Juntaro Yamanouchi, who is also the owner/operator of Vis a Vis records. Definitely can be categorized as harsh noise, and with tracks entitled things like "Anal Beethoven #2" is it any surprise? The first song, "Gero-P 1985" begins with a sample of what sounds like an old detective show or cartoon, but suddenly bursts into complete chaos of noise. I was hooked thereafter for good. Highly recommended for any noise listener who hasn't has the exteme pleasure of hearing yet.

To be had here:
The Gerogerigegege - Senzuri Power Up [256 kbps]

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Go

One of the legion of Detroit garage rock bands to sprout up in the 90s, The Go seems like it wouldn't be very remarkable. However, its position at the center of the scene and the membership of some notable Detroiters has made it worth of some attention. Moreover, the band has a good ability to re-invent itself without alienating its fandom, at least not much of it. There's been many names to pass through the roster of the Go, some of the more famous are Dave Buick (co-owner of label/store Young Soul Rebels) and Jack White (pre-White Stripes days). Although these individuals made contributions to the band, the real source of the sound comes from the singer Bobby Harlow and guitarist/bassist John Krautner as the songwriters. Their first album, Whatca Doin' is roughly done, yet quite melodic. It is quintessentially garage and earned them the right to share the stage with Michigan garage legends ? and the Mysterians. There is an unreleased album after this, but I haven't got it to give to you. The next released album is the self-titled effort where the album is markedly more snazzily produced. This is as it should be, for the travelled all the way to London to get it done, and it was issued under the British label Lizard King. Two tracks from this got put in some shitty film by the fuck face Wes Craven, nobody cared as it is nothing to brag about. Afterwards followed by Howl On The Haunted Beat You Ride, which features way more of a psychedelic feel paired with a overall slower pace. This was released by a label back in Detroit, namely Cass records (owned by Ben Blackwell, member of the Dirtbombs and nephew of Jack White). Supposedly there's to be a fourth album soon, but it hasn't come out as far as I'm aware (do correct me if I'm wrong).

To be had here:

Whatca Doin' (1998) [160 kbps]

The Go (2003) [160 kbps]

Howl On The Haunted Beat You Ride (2007) [256 VBR kbps]

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bunky - Born To Be A Motorcycle (2005)

Strangely named band and album, seems more like a child's show than a group of adults making music for other adults. I guess Bunky doesn't really care who listens to them though, but I doubt many kid would really get into their work. The indie pop (which makes the titling a bit more sensible) of the band is spliced with noisy, loud outbursts of spastic rock. I do mean spliced, there's not a sign of it one moment and next thing you know you're in the thick of it. Perhaps no better example can be found than on the track "Funny Like The Moon" where there is soft, almost like a jazz standard singing that jumps back and forth with fuzzed out guitars and howling vocals. Allmusic suggest that they're like Apples In Stereo and the High Water Marks of the Elephant 6 collective, and I'm in full agreement. My personal favorite track is "Yes/No" where Rafter Roberts (the male half of the songwriting duo) sings wonderfully. Emily Joyce is no less remarkable in her efforts throughout. If you like E6 or noise pop this is something you should certainly get. I apologize for the shitty bit rate, you can always find it elsewhere higher if you like it.

To be had here:
Bunky - Born To Be A Motorcycle [128 kbps]

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sanso-Xtro - Sentimentalist (2005)

A beautiful Australian woman making very interesting ambient music by way of digital effects manipulating her acoustic playing. In the same vein as Midaircondo, which I previously shared with you. In some ways this is an even better representation of what the style can be. Melissa Agate, as Sanso-Xtro is know outside of her music, has great control over what she wants to produce musically. The songs never seem busy despite the fact that there can be half a dozen or more small sounds shoring up all at once. The reliance on precussion instruments primarily I believe only enhances the albums allure. Lastly, she was extremely wise in the titling of her album, because as there are no vocals whatsoever to be heard, it is the single mood-setting word one has to prepare with. Thus you're searching for the sentimentalism of the music, and you'll not be disappointed in what you find. Most excellent for relaxing with after manual labor, at least for me.

To be had here:
Sanso-Xtro - Sentimentalist [320 VBR kbps]

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Matthew Dear - Leave Luck To Heaven (2003)

Ann Arbor-based electronic musician Matthew Dear is a fella that knows how to produce a fine album. I can even forgive that he's originally a Texan and only a Michigander by way of University of Michigan. His is the tale of the a DJ gaining respect to the degree of release some decently successful albums. Now, I've never been to a club in my life, and if I've got any say it I'll die this way, but I might just be tempted if I knew music of Mr. Dear's caliber was playing. However, I don't think he made this album for the club, but rather for people like us with some nice headphones and time. Very minimal, the songs are stripped just to what is necessary for the beat and mood. Leave Luck To Heaven has got both instrumentals and vocals so there's a nice balance. Dear does a good job at singing to boot. I think this is amongst the finest quality of microhouse made in these United States.

To be had here:
Matthew Dear - Leave Luck To Heaven [160 kbps]

Monday, September 8, 2008

Clara Rockmore - The Art of the Theremin (1987)

This is a damned strange album. It fits in this precarious nook betwixt classical and avant-garde. Clara Rockmore was born way back in 1911 in Lithuania, and was a violinist of talent from a young age. However, with the advent of electronic instruments she began down another path that would forever immortalize her as an early great. The theremin is a machine invented in 1919 that has radio frequency oscillators with antennae, usually two as to control the volume and frequency. Rockmore would come to be proven as one the best players of this odd instrument. This is to say she succeeded in making very respectable music with something that has for the most part been utilized mostly as a curiosity or to make old skool horror effects for films. She played the works of classical composers like Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and Saint-Saens to the accompaniment of the piano. Under the influence of Rockmore's skilled hands the otherwise hooky theremin became an elegant instrument that is eerily like a combination of strings and human vocals. I originally listened to this as something obscure and different, but after even a single play I was convinced of the true artistic importance of both Clara Rockmore and the theremin.

To be had here:
Clara Rockmore - The Art of the Theremin [160 VBR kbps]

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Other Two Comrades - The Other Two Comrades (2001)

How much Chinese noise do you have? Likely not much, it isn't common fair even amongst noise enthusiasts. Probably more do to the lack exposure that Chinese music receives and the relatively small amount of output compared to the vast population of the country. The Other Two Comrades will hopefully spur on the desire to explore the noise experimentation of Chinese musicians. From the best I can piece together, the name is misleading in the fact that there are three members of the band. Perhaps better said, at least three pivotal members. Supposedly there are two studio (or I think they're studio) albums and one live one, but thus far I've managed to obtain only one "studio" release. Musically not as harsh as acts like Merzbow, and less danceable than Deerhoof, the Other Two Comrades have succeeded in bringing something very unique to the noise they create. I have a hard time placing a band next to them, maybe it could be said they're somewhat like Raccoo-oo-oon but with Chinese flavor. Also, if you like this do check out the previous post of Mafeisan, a more eccentric Beijing-based noise collective. I could not find any album art, sorry. Lastly, if you do have access to more music by these guys, or other rare noise acts please to share them with me or the blog.

To be had here:
The Other Two Comrades - The Other Two Comrades [256 kbps]

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Slagsmålsklubben - Den Svenske Disco (2003)

College courses recently began for me, and oddly enough I've been posting with much more regularity. I do believe this is because of the added amount of management of my time I have to do, and blogging makes great procrastination. For example, I'm posting on my only day off in 8 days instead of reading about China and working on speeches. You lucky dogs.
Some of the happiest damned music on Earth. Slagsmålsklubben, of most obvious Swedish origins, make some ecstatic electronic pop. The name is less astounding when you learn it is just the book title Fight Club translated to Swedish. I enjoy them regardless of the cinematic roots of their name. Whilst not truly being 8-bit or chiptune, they're strikingly close. In fact, I've heard them called gamewave, which I think is something like what I just said, near 8-bit but not really. I think on the actual release case there were the track titles in both English and the native Swedish, but my tags have only the Swedish. If you want to see the English they're on wikipedia. Otherwise, stop fighting your urges and get this stuff to cheer up your hungover Saturday mornings, for we all know if everything goes right Sunday will be worse.

To be had here:
Slagsmålsklubben - Den Svenske Disco [224 VBR kbps]

Friday, September 5, 2008

Eux Autres - Cold City (2007)

Ah, finally I've done as I said and was requested of me. There is the second album by those lovely siblings dwelling in Portland. This is a note-worthy follow up to the promising first album, Hell Is Eux Autres. It is full of the cute harmony vocals and lyrics while there are noticeable improvements in the composition of the songs. Once again there are both songs in English and French, with the latter language seemingly under greater control especially in "Gratte-Ciel." Pretty much I can't see a need for me to go on and on with this post, if you liked the last album you will certainly enjoy this one very much.

To be had here:
Eux Autres - Cold City [256 VBR kbps]