There are ways to promote a show that are necessary, albeit potentially wasteful – like, say, decorating someone’s windshield with fliers that most likely will end up on the ground.
Or there are ways to do it that have a lasting effect, as local band Kinch has done to spread the word about its show on Friday night at Martini Ranch. The group is offering a free EP with a song from each of the four acts performing: Kinch, Super Stereo, Underground Cities and IAMWE. But you’d come to expect nothing less from guys who, as I’ve said before, are tirelessly creative in the field of self-promotion.
Friday’s show serves a dual purpose for Kinch: The band is re-releasing two EPs – Collars and Sleeves and The Economic Chastisement on vinyl (I’m told you should look carefully for some hidden extras) and then heading out on a tour of the East Coast. Catch ‘em while you can.
Aaaaahhh, 2005. Do you remember? The second wave of music blogs – including this one – were sprouting up and we were all drunk on promotional CDs, determined to find the Next Great Myspace Band. We swore the good times would never end. Yes, those were heady days in the blog(spot) world – before Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook ruled the world. And before Blogger started crushing our souls and erasing sites without warning.
I, for one, devoured most everything that came through my mailbox and inbox. Bands and artists came and went, but many left an impression. One of ‘em was Tom Vek, a young Londoner who quite successfully meshed synth pop and rock on his bustling 2005 album We Have Sound.
It was all a little jagged and a little raw but still danceable (the remixers loved it and Pitchfork sorta did, too). I couldn’t wait to hear what Vek would do next. Turns out, waiting is all we would do.
I guess, according to his new official bio info, this five-plus-year hiatus was all part of a master plan: “Following the justification of his debut album’s reception, Vek wanted to fulfill the idea of a ‘multi-faceted individual’ and remain in complete control of his creative output. An artist with a unique and singular vision, Vek has a systematic way of working. The second album’s creation was two-fold: a 3 year set-up period followed by a 2 year stretch of musical output. A process encapsulated up in the album’s title, Leisure Seizure.”
In other words, Vek has a new album called Leisure Seizure due for digital release on June 7. Whether 2011 will be as kind to him as 2005 was remains to be seen. But this new track, A Chore, is off to promising start.
From where I’m sitting, Tucson is roughly 110 miles away. But Zackey Force Funk’s Criminal Wave may as well come from some far-off place where wolves do howl at galaxies unknown (that is, by the way, an early favorite for album cover of the year).
The latest offering from the Machina Muerte crew is a 16-minute mind-bending trip of futuristic funk and electro beats that draws on inspirations from ZFF’s unique bicoastal upbringing. No song on the nine-track Criminal Wave is longer than two-and-a-half minutes, but the jams linger – a style that’s a proud descendent of the funk family tree, from Roger Troutman to Arabian Prince.
Released on May 10 under its original name, Minimal Wave, Zackey Force Funk not only changed the name of the album but also the cover art: “Switching the album title from ‘Minimal Wave’ to ‘Criminal Wave’ to avoid electro shock. Expect to see the switch over digitally shortly.” I’ll take Criminal Wave over chillwave any day.
Check out “Tucson Push,” an ode to the Old Pueblo’s drug culture.
When life travels at the speed of the Internet, releasing albums anything more than two years apart seems – fair or not – like a dangerous career play. But then there’s Richard Buckner, a man who makes music too vital to ever be considered disposable or subject to the whims of the 140-character crowd.
After releasing albums about every other year for most of his career, Buckner has been quiet for five (long) years – since 2006’s Meadow came out on Merge Records. But on Aug. 2, at long last, Buckner and Merge will present a new album, Our Blood.
Reasons for the wait are many: an aborted film score, the demise of a tape machine, a stolen laptop. But, Buckner says, “The recording machine was resuscitated and some of the material was recovered. Cracks were patched. Parts were redundantly re-invented. Commas were moved. Insinuations were re-insinuated until the last percussive breaths of those final OCD utterances were expelled like the final heaves of bile, wept-out long after the climactic drama had faded to a somber, blurry moment of truth and voilà!, the record was done, or, let us be clear, abandoned like the charred shell of a car with a nice stereo.”
This is music to my ears. I first saw Buckner live in Tempe in 1995 (with Alejandro Escovedo) and it was, without a doubt, a moving experience – one of the first times I can remember being left defenseless to a live-music moment. So it’s confusing/maddening/dispiriting to read (in a great new interview at Aquarium Drunkard) that Buckner is driving forklifts, holding road signs and working for the census to stay afloat. “The only money comes from touring. There’s no money in making records.” That may be totally obvious now, but it doesn’t make it any less depressing hearing it from an artist you truly admire.
Still, I feel hopeful and thankful that Buckner hasn’t just given up on it all, that I’ll still have new music to look forward to from him. (And for crying out loud, if you don’t own Bloomed, it’s one of the finest albums in my collection.)
Below is Traitor, the first single from Our Blood, which is available for preorder at Merge. And be sure to check out what appears to be Buckner’s newly launched website.
Low can be so suffocatingly bleak at times – OK, most times – that even the slightest moment of lightheartedness can feel so much more than that.
In the latest edition of the Onion A.V. Club’s Undercover series, the Minnesota-based slowcore outfit tackles Toto’s “Africa” with results that are both unintentionally hilarious (Alan Sparhawk’s breathy grunts on the opening beat) and beautiful (Mimi Parker’s voice is amazing).
Low’s great new album, C’Mon, was released last month and I encourage you to read Scott Tennent’s great analysis of it at Pretty Goes With Pretty.
Almost three months after he took part in our soiree at the Hidden House in Februrary, Nocando is back in the Valley for a show at Club Red in Tempe on Tuesday night. He’s bringing along Sahtyre of Project Blowed/Swim Team fame.
Mixed by DJ Nobody, Nocan’s cohort in the Bomb Zombies project, Prometheus features Hellfyre signees – Intuition, Open Mike Eagle, Sahtyre and more – flowing over the left-field beats from various producers from LA’s Low End Theory beat scene.
Not sure how I hadn’t seen this series from TDK before, but here’s a pretty cool five-plus-minute video interview with members of The Walkmen, who discuss their influences and making mixtapes, among other topics. I especially enjoy the guys talking near the end about the inevitable consequences – most notably the “decimated” attention span, of which I am a sufferer – brought on by the iPod generation.
It’s difficult to balance my eagerness to post a new Open Mike Eagle song and the feeling that I need to hold off to offer a more informed opinion. I mean, it did take me about 15 listens of his first album, Unapologetic Art Rap, before I picked up on the Aaron Burr name-check in the song Rap Protection Prayer (”Hope I never have to keep me a derringer / ‘Cause I would challenge everybody like I’m Aaron Burr”).
And in Nightmares, the first single off his wryly titled forthcoming album Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes (due out June 7 on Hellfyre Club), OME appears to put the scatterbrained generation on blast: “You say the things that you overheard / I see the things that you don’t observe.” When the Internet is pulling everyone in different directions all at the same time, Open Mike Eagle seems to subtly rise above it. You just have to stop and hear what he has to say.
Nightmares was produced by Willie Green and a video, which hopefully involves something pertaining to that photo, will premiere Friday at HipHopDX.
If you grew up on the Beastie Boys – I was just 9 years old when Licensed to Ill came out in 1986 – it’s crazy to think that they’re in their mid-40s (closer to 50 in MCA’s case). Crazier to think that a new generation of kids might not have a clue about the group’s heyday; their first three albums are older than most current high schoolers. After posting Chris Testa’s great ode to Check Your Head, I got to thinking about the Beasties’ place in music but especially about their place in my history.
From Licensed to Ill in ‘86 to today’s release of Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, no group has been as consistent and relevant. While the Beasties were around long before, I came to them (as most everybody did) when Licensed to Ill was released, which means they have soundtracked 75 percent of my living years.
So how do you encapsulate such a prolific career in a 23-minute mix? It seems an unenviable task, but DJ Z-Trip took it head on for his All-Access Mega Mix, which is being offered as a free download. Z-Trip mines the catalog to remix classics and new material: “I was stoked and humbled when asked to do this mix. I’ve been a fan of The Beasties since I first heard Mr Magic interview them on WBLS in NY. I included some of my favorites as well as stuff off the new album.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if Z-Trip’s legion of loyal followers posted a tracklist in the coming days on his forum, but I can tell you right now that Helmet never sounded so hip-hop.