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PHIEND: Purity Ring — “Fineshrine”

July 19, 2012

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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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PHIEND: Airhead — “Wait”

March 22, 2012

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Posted by Aaron Geer

Let me first say that my nickname from second to fifth grade was “Airhead,” and that even my AIM screen name started with it (followed – of course – by the number on the back of my basketball jersey). I was called “Airhead” before I ever saw Airheads. And then it was my favorite movie.

I’ve long since put the nickname-game behind me (as well as the screen name and AIM), but now there’s a London producer by the same that is making me wish it never stopped. Airhead‘s “Wait,” the A-Side of the recently released debut-single on R&S Records is really something to behold. 

With sampled vocals, a r&b snatch-beat that one might label post-dub, and an effervescent simplicity to the modernized bedroom music, “Wait” is like a late-night meandering of reminiscing. Airhead fuels the track with eclectic emptiness, and fills the void with fuzzed-ridden noise.

STREAM: Airhead — “Wait”

Wait / South Congress is available now on R&S Reords.

Aaron Geer is the Founding Editor of Phiendly. In 8th grade his basketball coach called him “Geerhead.” He never played the game after that.
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PHIEND: Be My Friend in Exile — How Do You Love?

March 21, 2012

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Posted by Aaron Geer

London’s Miguel Gomes describes his latest project – Be My Friend in Exile – as “an amalgamation of maudlin memories combining archived personal audio journals, field recordings, solemn guitar pickings, loops and sounds.” How Do You Love?, a transient five tracks of underwater ambiance, is something you’d recognize from a Brian Eno record: some haunt, some bliss, some distance, some nearing, and a lot of sound to get yourself lost into.

On “Ludus,” Gomes creates a scene of lash, like a harrowing shadow that incessantly follows you home from work, like a stranger around the corner. Spanning less than three minutes, the track is unstoppable, meaning: after it’s done it’s hard not to go back to it and listen to three or four more times.

The one main problem of ambient/drone music is the ability for the listener to get bored, to say okay, so what, what now? But How Do You Love? keeps the listener intrigued, involved, and asking not less, but more.

On “Pragma,” the final and longest track, Be My Friend in Exile is simply creating atmosphere. What a world to live while putting yourself in a story while reading a book. What a sound to feel when walking home while the sun dwindles. What an energy to behold when you realize you and How Do You Love? are one and the same.

Stream and download Be My Friend in Exile’s How Do You Love? for free below:

Aaron Geer is the Founding Editor of Phiendly. Sometimes he wears a hat backwards.
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PHIEND: Terry Malts — Killing Time [Slumberland Records]

February 28, 2012

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Posted by Matt Hodges

Terry Malts — “Nauseous” mp3

I was trying to find a suitable bench to nap on when I stumbled across a bum getting fellated in Buena Vista Park. His eyes were rolled back in his head, and his neck was arched back like a man smelling something delicious in a Crock-pot. He was old and lying under a pile of coats which were bobbing rhythmically in concert with the wolfish sound of muffled slurping. That and the price of coffee are the lingering memories I have of San Francisco . . . but cot’damn they sure are producing some great garage rock lately! Thee Oh Sees’ Carrion Crawler/The Dream and Ty Segall’s Goodbye Bread were both absolute triumphs.

And now courtesy of Slumberland Records, we have a new trio of San Franciscan sons, Terry Malts. The album is Killing Time—fourteen tracks, all urging and insistent. They call it Chainsaw pop. Which means what? Sugar-punk with sharp melodies and lots of “bop ba bas” and “ooh ooh oohs”—fuzz and nonchalance. Think the Ramones, think the Buzzcocks. Every song but “No Big Deal” reminds me of riding in a van full of handsome teenagers.

Listen: Terry Malts — “Something About You” 

Do you feel young and exfoliated? Let’s get fucked up on cheap booze and candy.

Life’s lessons are simple here, and without ambiguity. There’s no room in any one song for two conflicting emotions. But that’s fine, who the hell cares? This album won me over in the end with its energy and innocent charm. I mean, who can’t relate to “Where Is The Weekend?” Who doesn’t want to hear that kind of song once in a while? “Where Is The Weekend” songs have been around forever, and for good reason. What a breath of fresh air that kind of concern is in a news cycle dominated by Rick Santorum, Iranian nuclear capability, and the rampant spread of Chlamydia among South Australian Koalas.

Where is the weekend . . . I don’t know how to answer that. But wherever it is, there’s none of the anxiety or calamity of our age, just a timeless adolescent tableau where renowned teenagers die young or move away.

This is a great album to drink Steel Reserve to on a sunny afternoon, in a deck chair, trying to master lighting matches with one hand.

Matt Hodges is a fox-hole christian and sexual libertarian. He is 23, and wants every song to sound like “Cinnamon Girl.” 
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PHIEND: Perfume Genius’ Put Your Back N 2 It

February 21, 2012

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[Phiend: The Best New Releases, Finds, Inspirations, etc]

I’ve been staring at this screen for several minutes now, trying to capture something better than the Drowned In Sound’s review from Dom Gourlay on Perfume Genius’ newest LP, Put Your Back N 2 It. Gourlay puts the Seattle-based musician and songwriter like this: “There are some artists that evidently try too hard, some that obviously fake it, and then there’s Perfume Genius.” I can’t really surmise the sound of Put Your Back N 2 It any better.

I haven’t heard this much heart-felt admiration strung out on a record since Antony and the Johnson’s I Am a Bird Now. And here I am not trying to compare two artists actively in support for gay rights, or the objection between the difference between gender and sexual identity (because really I can only agree in this: whatever the fuck you want to be, do it). But what I’m trying to say is that these two artists engage so much emotion within their music (what a statement of opaque cliché, I know) that it’s hard not to feel  involved personally, especially on Put Your Back N 2 It.

Sparking controversy for the music video for “Hood,” where Mike Hadreas (aka Perfume Genius) and male porn star Arpad Miklos embrace one another while only wearing underwear, YouTube deemed it inappropriate for a family audience (their words were “unsafe”). Michael Stipe, bald headed front man of R.E.M. said, “For YouTube to deem this advertisement as “non family safe” is dumbheaded discrimination; I find their actions in doing so disgraceful and cowardly. YouTube, shame on you.  You were born of the 21st Century, now act like it” (via Tumblr).

“Hood” is the obvious standout of the album, a shortened testament of a veiled relationship, and a bittersweet piano-laden soulful resonance focusing the power of the simple buildup within denouement of crash-cymbal-angst. You would never call me ‘baby,’ states Hadreas, If you knew me truly. Watch the video for “Hood” below. 

After listening to Put Your Back N 2 It, the listener can only wish to really know Perfume Genius truly without a guise. On the barely two-minute ballad “No Tear,” we get a sense of a hopelessness within the state of optimism, as if loss is merely an act of life’s lessons. The thematic elements presented create a world of the first glimpse of sunshine after the natural disaster, and regardless of how Perfume Genius feels, he states, I will carry on with grace / zero tears on my face.

On “Sister Song,” the final track on Put Your Back N 2 It, the listener has followed the artist through the trenches of love, hate, and hope. Like most of the tracks, the song is under two-minutes and thirty seconds, but it carries us over that hump, smilingly, simple and jovial: Drive on, drive on / My special one / Don’t you stop ’til you you’re gone / Your sister and me have a set of keys / Don’t you worry your head ’bout a thing. Hadreas is a lock-smith, opening up avenues, not doors, of musical capability in the 21st century.

Put Your Back N 2 It is out today via Matador.

-AG

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