Saturday, May 30, 2009

J Dilla - Jay Stay Paid

Giving this a good listen now. Enjoy one of the greats.

Jay Stay Paid
R.I.P. Dilla

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tulus - Biography Obscene

Tulus are a black-metal group from Norway. The band released three albums since their inception in 1991, before slowly evolving into the band Khold -- which broke up in 2006, so Tulus "reformed" and came out with their latest in 2007, 'Biography Obscene'. The band is a three piece, but I'm not sure if they lost/gained a member after the Khold breakup.

I got into 'Biography Obscene' by great chance, randomly spotting/taking interest to the album cover. For a three-piece, they're one of the more aggressive BM bands I've heard -- both in playing-style and production; the singer sounds clear, the guitar opts for heavy riffing as much as it does ambiance, and the drums, while not any huge detour in BM, largely maintains the BM-vibes and keeps things rolling.

Where this album differs from most BM, is the steady additions of other instruments, but not in that "melodic-BM" cookie-cutter way; the early half of the album sprinkles in a lot of piano/organ, while the latter half sticks its head down the rabbit hole with some unique-sounding horned instruments -- giving select tracks a jazz accompaniment to their sound. Tulus manage (in maybe one or two songs) to present some interesting out of place riffs (which truthfully could splice into a hair-metal song) in the otherwise familiar dark-atmosphere, that somehow transcends 'Biography Obscene' into its own carving and brand of BM. The crazy part, then, is that it works.

If you're tired of your BM coming from a well, frost-bitten and all, but boring -- see what Norway's Tulus have to offer.
Really diverse/interesting album.

Biography Obscene
mind the graves

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

MYERS - MYERS aka SWITCH Collection

MYERS is a friend of mine from the myspace heyday, dude from El Paso who was making beats in his spare time for solo work and other peeps. I would check back on his stuff now and again, so he hooked me up proper with a collection of his stuff, 'MYERS aka SWITCH Collection'. I've had this for probably two years -- relistened to it again a few days ago and asked MYERS if it would be cool to host it (he said yeah obviously, he's cool like that).

Standouts for me include his sampling of Bright Eyes' "Sunrise, Sunset", or the Winkie chant from Wizard of Oz (notably used on the "KGB" song from Binary Star), but overall just a solid listen.

Keep tabs and show support.

MYERS aka SWITCH Collection
mind the graves

Monday, May 25, 2009

Withdrawal - The Perfectionist Blacklist

Scoured the internet to bring you these faces.

Here's a gem. This group from Cali (or maybe Portland?) spent 20 months in the studio to make their one and only release, 'The Perfectionist Blacklist' in 2006. Describing this album is kind of difficult, because it covers a wide range of styles/moods, but I'd say it's an experimental-punk/rock amalgamation.

At the forefront of their unique sound, was their vocalist Jason Dodge, who at will could switch from the band's mellow intricacies to flat-out belting the song forward. Dodge's voice may come as an acquired taste (took myself one or two listens to fully-appreciate), as sometimes his wailing can work against him in the context of the song -- but overall, pretty unique. All of the musicians are talented though -- really enjoyed some of the drummer's input.

Sometimes this band could linger around simply "decent" (like the opening song, probably the weakest of the tracks) but when they're on -- tracks like "Oil & Water", "I, Claudius", and my personal favorite/album closer "The Struggle", they could be downright savage.

Highly recommend checking this out, especially since the album has become almost non-existent on disc/the interwebs. And cuz, yanno, it's pretty good.

The Perfectionist Blacklist
mind the graves

Saturday, May 23, 2009

An Emerald City - EP

Cool band from New Zealand I stumbled across -- been trying to find their full-length 'Circa Scaria' to give them a proper listen.

I have a four song self-titled EP from them, cool post-rock/world vibes, mixed with the occasional electronic turn. The last song "A Question" has been stuck in my head, tight track.

Wish I had more to share, but that's all I know...

An Emerald City EP
mind the graves

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yura Yura Teikoku - 3x3x3

Yura Yura Teikoku are a recent discovery for me. The band began as a 4-piece in 1989 (one guitar-player left early in their career), earning a cult following in the KĊenji music scene (the supposed birth-place of punk in Japan) with their spastic performances. Spearheaded by singer/guitarist Sakamoto Shintaro, who would shave off his eyebrows and wear his waist-length hair parted down the center like traditional Japanese ghost-caricatures, the band earned a name in the underground as a bombastic psych-freakout with essential live performances.

The band continued to gain popularity in Japan, so much so that word of the band has remained almost none-existent outside Japan; Yura Yura Teikoku played their first gig-abroad in 2005, in New York.

I've been on a mad hunt for their material, specifically their indie releases prior to this post, or before their first "official" and acclaimed debut in 1998, '
3x3x3'. The band has retained their spastic qualities, only more integrated into a surf-sounding dynamic, constantly pushing the boundries on later releases of experimental pop...which to be honest, in the few others I've heard, has been hit-or-miss.

Yura Yura Teikoku (translated as "Unbalanced/Floating Empire") started from scratch with their live show, which still seems their most revered quality. If anyone has/can find their work like '
Are You Ra?', which (apparently) is more representitive of their live sound, I'd def appreciate it.

All that said, their major-label debut, '
3x3x3' is good stuff. Sakamoto Shintaro seems skilled enough on guitar to switch styles at will, and the songs reflect it. The bass-player finds some tight grooves, and the drummer, while not technically amazing, is a large part of the band's eclectic sound.

If you're interested in hunting down more of their recent work, their album '
Sweet Spot' is pretty interesting, too. And I couldn't talk-up their live show without a vid, so here's a badass show around just imagine ten years prior with undoubtedly more freak-out.

mind the graves

Monday, May 18, 2009

Otograph - Dive into Pixeljunk Monsters

Otograph are a duo from Japan. Takashi Iura and Sachiyo Oshima began as electronic/visual-art performers, eventually incorporating their vivid soundscapes into other areas of visual entertainment such as film and video games.

My introduction to the group came from a downloadable PS3 game,
Pixeljunk Monsters. Otograph did completely original music for the game, employing their airy and ethereal form of keyboard-driven electronics. Being that the game is a form of the old tower-defense games, it demanded precision of tower placement, which towers to use, when/what to upgrade...which could lead to assume carried hours of difficulty and unwanted stress.

Just keep humming, just keep humming...FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHH

But, both as a testament to the creators/artists of the game itself, and especially to Otograph, no matter what odds stacked against you, the motivation was there to complete what was before you. I can recall countless sessions of my poor, helpess villagers on the verge of getting laid to waste, all-while humming along to the friendly and charismatic work of Otograph.

Perfects on every level, son.

Even if unfamiliar with the game, '
Dive into Pixeljunk Monsters' should offer a peaceful and enjoyable summer listen. Dissecting any one song will reveal their lush simplicity, but as you'll discover track-to-track, Otograph did a great job of mapping-out unique and interesting vibes throughout the course of the game/album. And truly are the reason you won't want to pull out your hair 70% through the game.

Upon getting this album the disclaimer asked to do with this as you wished, but also requested no sharing, so hopefully my loyalty to the Pixeljunk series/spreading the word is enough; if you have a PS3 though, the game is a no-brainer, and with the score by Otograph a slight $3, I figured it deserves a wider audience.

Dive into Pixeljunk Monsters
mind the graves

Friday, May 15, 2009

El Guapo - Fake French

El Guapo were an electronic-driven, art-rock/experimental group that started as a two-piece from Washington, DC. Most of their discog operated as a three-piece, but prior to breaking up they had four with the inclusion of Orthrelm drummer Josh Blair. They released two albums on Dischord records -- after six months of recording, the second of the two was released in 2003, "Fake French". I haven't looked into their first on Dischord, which the band later changed their name to -- 'Super/System'.

Much like the Unicorns post a few prior, this album has filled a niche in my catalog of quirky/odd experimental-pop. Unconventional singing, a good mix of man/machine aesthetics, some interesting lyrics, varied instrumentation including oboe's, accordians, etc...

If you dug the Unicorns, or are just looking for a slice of something different, really recommend checking this.

Fake French
mind the graves

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Azat - Slow Down

New Azat joint, can get it straight from his page, re-upping it here for your convenience. Another 20+ mins of beats and sample goodness. Check it out, and his older 'Make a Record of Your Voice and Send It to Him' that I linked above. Dude is quickly becoming one of my favorites in the craft.

Slow Down
mind the graves

Mastodon - Crack the Skye (Instrumental Score)

Hey fam, I've been out for a minute, so I can't really share anything that isn't directly on my computer...

But, thought I'd leave everyone something until my return, so I'll share the instrumental score of Mastodon's '
Crack the Skye' for those who haven't heard it. I'm still digesting Mastodon's latest album, it's def a different direction for the fellas, but the talent is still there -- especially on standout tracks like "The Czar". The instrumental score really lets you focus on what's going down behind all those polished vocals -- recommended listen no doubt.

Crack the Skye (Instrumental Score)
mind the graves

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Del The Funky Homosapien - Funk Man (The Stimulus Package)

Bay Area's Del The Funky Homosapien is among the most consistent MC's in quality hip-hop. His diverse solo albums, work with his crew Hieroglyphics, the Deltron 3030 project(s), guest-spots...Del is usually on-point.

His last full length in 2008, '
Eleventh Hour', admittedly, was a bit of a disappointment to me. Del had dropped connections on the production aspect of his work, further pursuing his knowledge and understanding of musical theory.
Del usually takes his time releasing new works, so it went completely over my head that he released a new full-length just last month. The album was released on his site as a free download, his official 7th full-length, '
Funk Man (The Stimulus Package)'.
Even after one listen, Del has brought it back fresh.

Some absolute-essential Del albums if you're unfamiliar: '
No Need For Alarm', 'Both Sides of the Brain', and his project with Dan the Automator/Kid Koala, 'Deltron 3030'. After that, you'll likely be scrounging for whatever you can find, and take it from me -- it's quality (minus the record label fuckery of 'The Elektra Years').
Future developments include another 3030 album in the works, some collabs (like his project with Tame One), and whatever else he drops at will.

Del has slowly transformed from "Del tha Funkee Homosapien" to "Del The Funky Homosapien", but he still brings the realness. Essential.

"Get It Right Now"

Funk Man (The Stimulus Package)
mind the graves

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

fbcfabric & Reindeer - It's Not Who You Know, It's Whom You Know

fbcfabric & Reindeer are an underground duo from the UK, who make an offshoot of shoegaze/hip-hop music. fbcfabric composes all of the sounds, and Reindeer handles the vocals/rhymes.

Their sound could be compared to the likes of certain Anticon artists (more liek Anticolor mirite), with their blending of shoegaze/ambience, and nasal-pitched flows. Personally, I think the majority of Anticon output I've heard is bunk garbage -- I only mention as a means of separation for this album, cuz while the philosophies might be the same, this album breathes more substance in my opinion.

All that aside, 'It's Not Who You Know, It's Whom You Know' made a tiny splash when it was released in 2005, enough to the point that the original has sold out. The album has since been re-released (this past Feb) as a CD/DVD package, so it's nice to see they're getting more play-time.

This album features Reindeer on like the first four tracks, followed by a few downtempo numbers, then Reindeer rejoins for the last couple songs...which makes the album flow together really nicely. fbcfabric uses everything from television infomercials, organs played backwards, to trains and rain in the distance to sound-out the album's mood. Quality stuff.


It's Not Who You Know, It's Whom You Know
mind the graves

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Blonde Redhead - Misery Is A Butterfly

Blonde Redhead are an American joint, maybe say, the Cocteau Twins of our generation. The band is a trio featuring the (twin) Pace brothers, and guitarist/vocalist Kazu Makino. The band initially caught the eye of Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, who ended up producing their debut in 1995. Some of their early work is comparable to Sonic Youth, but over the course of their discog they've def marked out their own unique sound; Makino is known for her high and eerie voice floating around the music, sometimes accompanied by Amadeo Pace, which stands at the forefront of their uplifting yet melancholy sound.

My favorite Blonde Redhead album is their 2004 release, 'Misery Is A Butterfly'. The album's release ended a four-year gap in the band's inactivity -- of which Kazu Makino spent much of the time recovering from injury after being trampled by a horse (daaag). Many of the lyrics reflect this event/recovery, which I think made for Blonde Redhead's most emotive release.

I'd say you can go about anywhere from here, but in my opinion 'Misery Is A Butterfly' is the pinnacle of Blonde Redhead...and for the unfamiliar, the ultimate introduction.

Misery Is A Butterfly
mind the graves

Saturday, May 2, 2009

El Grupo Nuevo De Omar Rodriguez Lopez - Cryptomnesia

Some punky humans

I briefly mentioned this album a few posts down -- basically it's one of many projects propelled by Omar (TMV/guitar) -- apparently the first in a series of three albums featuring Cedric (TMV/vocals), Juan (TMV/bass), Jonathan Hischke (ex-Hella, Synth-bass), and Zach Hill (Hella/9,000+ side-projects/drums).

This album originally was released on vinyl during Record Store Day on April 18th, following with a fairly lackluster rip to boot (well I mean,
at the time, it was still pretty good)...

So I thought I would share the 320kbps/CD rip version of the album, as it's a pretty substantial jump in quality from previous rips. If you're a fan of TMV/Zach Hill at all, this is probably a no brainer -- but for everyone else, give this some play -- really interesting output from everyone involved.

mind the graves