Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kashiwa Daisuke

Big Macs / Big Brain

Kashiwa Daisuke's 'Program Music I' was one of my favorite finds last year -- an electronic virtuoso who crafted an ethereal two song, hour long, one-man symphonic masterpiece. Daisuke uses a wide array of instruments, throws them in a digital blender, and whips up something beautifully refreshing.

I quickly snatched up the rest of his catalog, one after another realizing the extreme talent and future ahead of him. I'd even say Daisuke is one of the greats to ever tackle the genre -- his already small catalog could stand up against the like of Katsuhiko Maeda (World's End Girlfriend), with no signs of slowing down.

Just an outstanding and visionary composer/musician. If you haven't heard -- give it a listen.

Program Music I [2007]

april.#07 [april.#02 remix album]


deepblue [4 versions of "deepblue" from april.#02]
mind the graves

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Buffalo Daughter - Euphorica

Buffalo Daughter formed in 1993, settling as a three-piece with ex-Havana Erotica members suGar Yoshinaga (guitar/vocals) and Yumiko Ohno (bass/vocals), with the addition of MoOog Yamamoto (turntables/vocals).

The band has been labeled as part of the
Shibuya-kei movement in Japan -- a sub-genre of Japanese pop music best described as a mix between pop, jazz, and electropop.

After hearing their latest (2006) album, '
Euphorica', I found myself listening to the album over and over again (as I am now) in an attempt to better understand it. The album transitions from the aptly titled, "Peace" to suGar and Yumiko crooning:
"I love you by the hour -- I'm your
sometime lover. I fix you dinner -- yeah, sometimes I am your mother" over "Sometime Lover", followed by an ecstasy-filled trip through the forest for "Bird Song".

And that's just 3 songs on the album.

From left: suGar, MoOog, Yumiko

First listens might paint 'Euphorica' as odd and carefree background music, but repeated listens should uncover Buffalo Daughter's intricate complexities, and in my opinion, mirror a band equally dark and twisted.





mind the graves

Monday, July 28, 2008

Arti E Mestieri - Tilt: Immagini per un orecchio

Italy's Arti E Mestieri are arguably one of the most interesting and original bands in the realm of progressive rock. The first time I heard 'Tilt: Immagini per un orecchio', I was curious how they didn't get as much praise/mention as other prog goliaths such as The Mahavishnu Orchestra. The band has been creating and releasing material for over twenty-odd years, collapsing in the late seventies and re-uniting in 1999 with 5/6 of the original members.

If you're unfamiliar,
'Tilt' is the perfect place to start, as it's easily one of their best releases -- just a shining example of great symphonic jazz-rock.

"Gravità 981"
(w/o their amazing drummer Furio Chirico)

Tilt: Immagini per un orecchio
mind the graves

Saturday, July 26, 2008


FULLARMOR is another great instrumental group from Japan, consisting of 2 bass-players (one being the bass player from LITE), synth/guitar, and drums. Originally a side project centered around vocalist Atsushi Horie, he opted to remove vocals entirely after one release, sticking just to playing keys/guitar. The result is a jazz/video-game induced groove with both bass-players in a musical battle of pong
vPCP.0 between wailing horn sections, flush backbone drums, Atsushi Horie's dancing keys, and the occassional vocal sample for added flavor.

I have the most recent, '
Cataract', and the 2007 album, 'Zion'. I upped them into one link -- czech it, Slovak.

"Money & Game"
Album: 'ZION'

"華厳 -Kegon-"

UPDATE 4/17/09:
Albums re-upped individually, enjoy.

ZION [2007]

mind the graves

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fredo Viola - The Turn

Fredo Viola is a jack of all trades artist who describes himself as an American singer/songwriter and multi-media artist. His music melds elements of 60's pop, psychedelia, electronica, and sews it all together with his exquisite (I say, good show!) voice. 'The Turn' came to me as a brilliant surprise -- I'd only heard Fredo's "The Sad Song" prior (which appeared on both 'Sad Song EP' and 'The Turn', as well as being featured in the remake of The Manchurian Candidate) -- which garnered him some attention and led to a collaboration with Massive Attack.

Def one of 2008's best so far, and an exciting artist to keep tabs on.

"The Sad Song"

The Turn
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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eden Maine - To You The First Star

These guys were the UK's most promising and exciting hardcore/metal/ambient group before going on indefinite hiatus shortly after 'To You The First Star'. The band still lives on through shels, via Eden Maine's dynamic guitar duo. Seriously amazing and dynamic record -- shame these guys didn't last longer.

To You The First Star
mind the graves

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dr. Dog

I fell in love with Dr. Dog's 2007 album, 'We All Belong' -- a serene but often serious album that personified my life last summer. Comparisons could be drawn to the likes of The Beatles or The Beach Boys, with the band's 60's-era pop orchestration and wonderfully effective vocal melodies. Dr. Dog can't be backed into a corner however, evident especially with their new follow up album, 'Fate'. The nuances they pull off so well ascend them past ordinary fare, with vocals/lyrics that assert them as simply effective, rather than just simple.

Strongly recommend giving them a try, just a wonderfully intimate and tangible group to have in your collection.

"My Old Ways"

We All Belong

mind the graves

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Their other black shirts were dirty

Spain's adrift have quickly become one of my favorite bands -- the first I heard of them was their debut album 'Troya' in 2004 -- which hit me as a beautiful crossing between Isis and Neurosis. Then, this year, they released the masterpiece known as 'Monolito'. Imagine riffs bigger than your friend's sister, a singer who could lead -- and scare -- Satan's army, a drummer with enough tricks up his sleeve to reveal something new with each listen, and an all-encompassing crushing and atmospheric sound that ultimately makes you feel small.

I can't praise these guys enough -- with influences ranging from King Crimson, Fugazi, Converge, Sonic Youth, Botch and others, they forge out their own unique sound, often arriving at a more complex-sounding Eyehategod.

Even if the before-mentioned bands/genres don't strike a key with you, I guarantee you can appreciate this band. You might even sit little Jimmy down ten years from now and tell him about the first time you heard 'Monolito'. And if Jimmy yells, "YOU'RE NOT MY FATHER!", it won't make these albums any less great. So you'll have that.


mind the graves

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


HARLOTS are a technical/progressive metal band based out of Ohio and Indiana, with influences ranging from Sigur Ros to Don Caballero and Discordance Axis. I was introduced to the band with 'This Is The Second Death', then followed up with their latest release, 'Betrayer'. This band makes some extremely engaging and aggressive music, thanks mostly to their kinetic drummer and guitar player.

Both albums display a great amount of depth, implementing post-rock sweeping melodies woven between the bands often crushing assaults on your ear-pussies. Whether you're a fan of hardcore/metal or not, you will find a place of nirvana with Harlots (because no one can deny the impact of a song like
"Dried Up Goliathan").

Plus, they put on a great live show:

This Is The Second Death

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

mudy on the 昨晩 (sakuban) - VOI

So these five ordinary college students from Japan released one of my favorite albums of 2008 -- an instrumental math-rock (two of the guitarists are economics majors anyway) ditty known as 'VOI'. Fans of toe or Battles will feel right at home -- minus toe's more spacious gaps of simplicity or Battles' recent usage of gnomes for vocalists.

If you haven't heard this album yet, do yourself a favor a take a slice out of Japan's (seemingly never-ending) instrumental pie.

mind the graves

Monday, July 14, 2008

Behold...The Arctopus

Behold...The Arctopus blew me away when I heard the band's first EP as a 3-piece (originally used a drum-machine, now they have a drumming machine), 'Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning'. The original EP is only 3 songs, but the re-release in 2006 has a handful of re-worked songs and live recordings.

This band is a technical overload, thanks in part to the 12-string Warr guitar used by Colin Marston (which covers the range of both bass and guitar), but also by Arctopus' metal/classical influence.

The first full-length '
Skullgrid' came out in 2007 and was among my favorites last year (though I still think N-NCS is their best) -- all three members are outstanding musicians and deserve a listen. Czech it:

Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning [EP]

Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning (2006 reissue)

mind the graves

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quick Hits

Aye, so I'm going to be gone over this weekend, so I've decided to just up some various albums for you lads/lasses. Let me know what you think and feel free to request an artist/genre for when I get back.

The first is Korekyojinn's '
Isotope'. Korekyojinn is a trio consisting of Kido Natsuki (Bondage Fruit), Yoshida Tatsuya (Ruins), and Nasuno Mitsuru (Altered States). This album is mostly a live recording (though you probably won't even realize it) in a small Tokyo club, and is simply one of the most amazing (and chaotic) instrumental ensembles ever recorded.


The next is from J.A.M, with their album 'Just A Maestro'. This album just came out this year in Japan -- also another trio -- consisting of a now-familiar artist, Soil & "Pimp" Sessions. This album features the bass player, keys, and drummer of Soil & "Pimp". If you've checked out the stuff from S&P, you know this will deliver. If you haven't, I posted it just down there, so you got no excuse, mang.

Just A Maestro

Finally I leave you with The Gaslamp Killer, and his 2008 hour-long mash up album 'I Spit On Your Grave'. Think trip-hop with fuzzy psychedelic guitars over the likes of Flying Lotus and others, and you should already be on-board. GLK is constantly putting out new mixes and material so keep an eye out.

I Spit On Your Grave
mind the spit

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

eLZhi - Europass

eLZhi (member of Detroit's Slum Village) put out this album exclusively in Europe while on tour in April -- a precursor to the July 29th full-length 'The Preface'. The album is produced primarily by another Slum vet -- Black Milk -- who keeps it fresh. eLZhi doesn't get the recognition he deserves, so RECOGNIZE -- HIT THAT REC. BUTTON SON.

mind the graves

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Soil & "Pimp" Sessions

Should tour the US with The Mars Volta, etc.

SOIL & "PIMP" SESSIONS is an explosive Japanese jazz band, comprised of six musicians; Shacho (agitator, spirit), Tabu zombie (trumpet), Motoharu (sax), Josei (piano), Akita Goldman (bass) and Midorin (drums).

At its core, the group is about giving pulsating live performances. SOIL & "PIMP" SESSIONS combine the highest musicianship with the coolest of cool sounds and atmosphere. Their brand of jazz is rough around the edges, unadulterated entertainment and constantly kept at boiling point.

Each member brings his own unique talent and perspective. They originally met at a club event in Tokyo in 2001. The Tokyo club scene was dominated by DJs until SOIL & "PIMP" SESSIONS arrived, breaking the mold as live pioneers. Calling their music "DEATH JAZZ", they gained recognition for performing an original form of aggressive alternative jazz. The band comments; "We always felt that in the world of jazz, there was an unwritten rule that the musicians were to concentrate on their techniques and the audience were simply there to admire, like a transmitter/ receiver relationship. We wanted to break away from that and create exciting jazz with far more interaction between the players and the audience". Shacho, who holds a rather unusual title in a jazz band as "the agitator", plays a key role in this by stirring and stimulating the audience.

It did not take long for SOIL & "PIMP" SESSIONS to become one of the hottest new bands in Japan and become favorites of major festivals including Fuji Rock. Their international breakthrough came when Gilles Peterson, the renowned British DJ, introduced them through his Radio 1 show "WorldWide". In the summer of 2005, by invitation from Giles, the band traveled to the UK to perform on his program. The name spread further via the international jazz network and at the BBC World Wide Award later that year, SOIL & "PIMP" SESSIONS was awarded with the "John Peel Play More Jazz Award".

If you're unfamiliar, I'd suggest starting with 'Pimp of the Year' first (as it's my favorite), but all of these are top-notch releases. This is the complete discography minus two singles, but the majority of those songs are included on these albums/EP's. Time to get Pimp-slapped:

PIMPIN (1st mini album)

PIMP MASTER (1st full-length)

SUMMER GODDESS (2nd mini album)

PIMP OF THE YEAR (2nd full-length)


PIMPOINT (3rd full-length)

PLANET PIMP (4th full-length)
mind the graves

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ad Astra Per Aspera

Ad Astra Per Aspera (or "Through hardships to the stars") is a Kansas-based indie/punk/tropical band who first caught my attention with their fabulous 2004 EP, 'Cubic Zirconia'. The five-piece is literally a labor of love -- two of the members are married, another two dating, and I'm guessing the bass-player does mad drugs and gets all the groupies. Maybe.

The 2006 follow-up full length '
Catapult Calypso' is another solid release, though the EP is hard to top. Currently they're back in the studio working on four separate 7" releases (the first of which is done, and you can hear the 2 songs on their myspace):

"Each 7" is dedicated to a specific influence. Originally we wanted each 7" to be genre-specific, but we've already strayed from that. The first 7" then well be a Rock / Avant-Rock influence. The second 7" is Afro-Pop influenced. The third 7" will contain two instrumental songs that i call "slow-burners." The fourth 7" influence is undetermined. Punk? Hardcore? Country? Sasquatch?"

Exciting band worth checking out -- I put both of these in one link.

Cubic Zirconia EP

Catapult Calypso
mind the graves

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Big Sleep - Sleep Forever

The Big Sleep crafted one of my favorite releases (so far) of 2008 -- a cascading rock album coated in lush keys, two great complementary vocalists, and thick and effective guitar tones blasted through feedback and effect-pedals. The Brooklyn trio are garnering attention for their wonderful live show -- most recently winning over concert-goers at Bonnaroo with their powerful and dynamic stage presence.

Whether it's the driving tempo of "Slow Race" or the atmospheric head-trip of "Organs", '
Sleep Forever' is guaranteed to impress by effortlessly turning over stones in rock music. Highly recommend checking this out.

Sleep Forever
mind the graves