August 14, 2012

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VIDEO: Twigs — “Ache” (dir. by Grace Ladoja)

The only reason I know where Twigs resides is from their YouTube account, twigstv: United Kingdom. The location doesn’t surprise me, but the mysteriousness does. Their tumblr, even less revealing as their YouTube account, only has the two music videos they’ve uploaded, one, from July 10th, is really sexy – I’m afraid to watch it in public, the second, from August 8th, is called “Ache” and has this eerie, looming aura to it, like a pre-dawn fog floating over a river and you’re on a bridge; you hear footsteps, turn around, and find yourself alone, you look into the water and bubbles are approaching the surface (!). 

Yeah, “Ache” sort of feels like that, but, like it’s video predecessor, “Hide,” the track is blossomed with lust, tensioned with lovable minimalism and a gloomy drag-hiphop beat that feels like A$AP Rocky should swirl himself in it.

The video, directed by Grace Ladoja, might even add more allure and mystery for “Ache.” The minimally crafted, one sequence shot features a small cast of characters with a slew of eccentricities: a man wearing a piece of headgear that looks like it could withstand a full-blown riot, a light the man seems to be transfixed under (left), and a fog that eventually takes over and makes the man dance crazily (above). 

A slow-churning piece of work, be sure to keep a heads up on whatever and whoever Twigs is. I know I’ll be waiting. 

WATCH: Twigs — “Ache” (dir. by Grace Ladoja)

-Aaron Geer

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August 13, 2012

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Touring with Animal Collective, Micachu & The Shapes Should Open Plenty of Ears

Opening up for Animal Collective for their Fall 2012 tour, Micachu & The Shapes have every reason to be there. “Micachu is largely inspired by Harry Partch who famously used an array of customised and home made instruments. These included a xylophone made of light bulbs, a ‘Cloud Chamber’ made out of pyrex dishes that could not only be played musically but detect particles of ionizing radiation and a series of highly complicated 44 stringed instruments” (Rough Trade).

With their newest LP, Never, out now via Rough Trade, Micachu reminds me first and foremost of the Baltimore’s tUnE-yArDs, for their immense deliberation of noise and crafty skills in accompaniment, and then a slew of garage bands that’ve circulated throughout the years. It’s easy, one may assume, to put a finger on every track the three-some make. Take “Holiday” for example: a 1-2-3-2 synth riff flies around between Mica Levy (aka Micachu) and her gorgeous, highly distinct voice while a snare drum tuned too-sharp (not complaining) shimmers and shakes somewhere between keen and sensationalism. 

Self-produced, Never is a free-ranging blast of sound and home recordings that blend improvisation with heart-wrenching songwriting and instrumentation.

Most songs barely reachthree minutes, the longest “Nothing” – the thirteenth of fourteen tracks – at 4:56 is one of the loveliest I’ve heard all summer.

Debuting on July 17th on YouTube, each track of Never was released with a music video, which is really fun: quirky, somewhat rudimentary, videos shot cheaply with no intention of creating genius. Which is exactly why the album seems so appealing: at a time when lushness and overproduction for tracks – marketed and scanned through the dilapidated lasers of Facebook, Soundcloud, Spotify, et cetera – seems destined to be accompanied with a music video that feels more cinematic and trite than the newest trailer for another incredulous based-off-the-comic-book-super-hero-mega-movie, Micachu & The Shapes merely make hopeful, almost anti-art videos for each track (and ironically, too, if one were to really go into it).

Below is the video for “OK,” the first single off Never, and below that are the tour dates they’ll open up for Animal Collective.

WATCH: Micachu & The Shapes — “OK” (via YouTube)

Micachu And The Shapes – Tour Dates With Animal Collective
9/18 Seattle, WA – Paramount
9/19 Vancouver, BC – Malkin Bowl
9/20 Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
9/21 Oakland, CA – Fox Theater
9/22 Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
9/27 Dallas, TX – House of Blues
9/28 Austin, TX – Backyard
9/29 New Orleans, LA – House of Blues
9/30 Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle
10/2 Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion
10/3 Philadelphia, PA – Mann Center
10/5 Brooklyn NY – Williamsburg Park

-Aaron Geer

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July 19, 2012

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PHIEND: Purity Ring — “Fineshrine”

Let’s believe the body is a temple. Let’s think that the heart doesn’t just pump blood. Let’s imagine ourselves, for once, unlike anything else. Let’s put education in the ground. Let’s throw symbolism up in the air and hit it out of the park. Let’s put similarity in the same corner as our demons.

       Purity Ring‘s Megan James writes so poetically about love, you forget she’s singing her words over and over again. All in all, on the stand-out track from their soon-to-be-released LP, Shrines, “Fineshrines” (stream below) is as optimistic as it is depressing . . . but is there really a difference? The duo, Megan, 24, and Corrin, 21, make such lush music I wouldn’t be surprised to hear their loose lullabies (as their record label, 4AD, likes to put it) on dance floors with tweaks simply emanating any genre.

       “Fineshrine” (watch the video here) is the nascent night, and it’s only beginning. As Megan sooths “Get a little closer, let fold / Cut open your sternum and pull / my little ribs around you” there’s a beat that is thick, distant, yet anthemic. And when beauty is painted with a brush of idiosyncratic wit, there’s a metaphor that’s haunting: “That I might see with my chest and sink / Into the edges ’round you / Into the lakes and quarries that brink / On all the edges ’round you, ’round you.” What’s to wallow in a world of beauty? To Purity Ring, they’re living in it, and making music for the heart beat.

STREAM: Purity Ring — “Fineshrine”

Shrines is due out July 24 in Canada via Last Gang / 4AD.

-Aaron Geer

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July 12, 2012

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FICTION MIXTAPE: “An Erosion” Pt. 1 to Meadowlands — “U8”

Fiction Mixtape, where reading and listening conjoin into one aesthetic. This three part series is written by Emma L. Rossen, a sheep herder and part-time writer from the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. The music accompanying her words is “U8” from the album Music From Mainzer Straße by Brooklyn’s Meadowlands. 

Press play to begin. 

       You’re not approaching anything, but your driving doesn’t end. There’s a valley to the east, but nothing really to cherish. Once, when you were six, your cousin said she’d give you a hundred bucks to find a license plate for every state. She handed you a map of America and told you to color accordingly. On your way to Maine, you finally found an Alaskan plate in the window of an Astrovan, and the colors were completed. But you never got the money.

       In the distance, a ridge and the sky seem to coalesce into a single form. These stories of myth, how we all relate. You feel alone but know you’re not – there’s Rhea in the backseat, and she’s sleeping soundly, a pillow nestled under her head. You’re not tired, and you’re wondering if just maybe you could make it to the end without resting. It’s impossible, you know it, but could they really imagine it when you tell them, that you actually did it?

       You’re not approaching anything, but your driving doesn’t end. And somewhere there’s a truck stop where other drivers can sleep, but there’s no use. You’re not tired. This energy, how it, even though you’re sitting while driving, elates you and can only be compared to the beauty of Rhea’s silent sleep. In four years, the both of you will remember this as if it were a movie, but something you can never watch again. Once it happens it never comes back.

       Your love is like an erosion. You can see it, but you don’t see how it’s working. In a few years it can either build or diminish, but there’s no use asking questions to answers you don’t understand.

       Rhea readjusts her body, and, in doing so, kicks the back of your seat. You know this feeling. When there’s nothing there, everything can be seen. Transcendence is a metaphor. Symbolism is just simile. When there’s no more anecdotes to share, the two of you mark miles by counting the number of road kill on the side of the road.

       You reach behind yourself and put your hand on Rhea. There’s a warmth here, something you wish would never fade. When she wakes, she asks where the two of you are, and you say it’s sort of hard to tell. You mention all the things you were thinking, and eventually, just as the sun rises over a prairie, she dozes off to sleep, leaving you by yourself, with just you and the space that’s available for anything.

-ELR

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July 10, 2012

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STREAM: MONEY — The Amazing Sessions (w/ two new tracks)

Josh from Crack In The Road said it better than me when he wrote, “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, because quite frankly, it bears repeating: MONEY are the UK’s most exciting new band.” When they released their horrifically beautiful video for “SO LONG (GODISDEAD) in April, I wrote that “they’re one of the most anticipated bands anywhere who have yet to release a full-length.” I sent a good friend of mine who’s now working as a consultant in L.A. a live session for “SO LONG” and all he wrote back was “who is this band and why dont we know more?!”

MONEY’s mystique is slowly coming less suspended now that we have two new live tracks recorded yesterday for Amazing Radio. Totaling five songs in all, the session can be streamed on Amazing Sessions here or on Crack In The Road, where there’s plenty of good stuff to listen to afterwards.

MONEY — The Amazing Sessions 

1) Black*

2) Goodnight London

3) Hold Me Forever*

4) Letter to Yesterday

5) SO LONG (GODISDEAD)

*Previously unreleased

-Aaron Geer
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