Hot Chip dropped by Radio 1's "Live Lounge" to chat about the ATP line-up (have fun and be safe, everybody) and they played "One Pure Thought" from the new one as well as a weird but relatively faithful cover of Wiley's rather awesome single "Wearing My Rolex". The BBC stream is super lo-fi, but what are you gonna do? (via I Am Fuel, You Are Friends, who have the mp3s).
Some bands might wield a song title like "Parasite Fungus" as if combining two words with often negative connotations somehow makes a work avant-garde. Frauke rock "Parasite Fungus" as if it's funny (hey, it kind of is) and as if they hate you (they probably don't, but that's their URL if not their M.O.). Either way, the Brooklyn-based punk trio of Tammy Duncan, husband Andrew Duncan, and Goes Cube's David Obuchowski dig this track-- from full-length debut Dirtier Than Horses-- a shallow grave of trebly hammer-on guitar riffs and attention-deficit drumming, then cover it up with some distorted banshee wails. As the drums and cymbal crashes build up intensity, after a verse or so the guitars start to sound less "American Girl" and more "Last Nite"-- albeit quite a bit messier than both. Perhaps it's because they're decomposing: "I'm already dead," Tammy bellows, and almost as soon as the track has begun, sure enough, it goes dead. But that shouldn't stop the parasite fungus. Not yet. (There's also an unofficial video for the track, posted below the link.)
Stream:> Frauke: "Parasite Fungus"
[from Dirtier Than Horses; out now and self-released]
The four-movement title sequence from Chinatown-based composer Nico Muhly's forthcoming LP, Mothertongue, exhumes the detritus of memory. Muhly plumbed his mind for old, useless phone numbers, serial numbers, street numbers-- all the context-dependent codes we accumulate over a lifetime-- and turned them into a secret, subliminal, and ultimately unsolvable cipher. This condensed excerpt from "Mothertongue" begins with the insectile buzz of a mind digesting itself, as mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer unravels sonorous strands of digits with religious fervor. Its palette includes rose-scented Romantic-era strings and mighty modernist synthesizers, and it has the same celestial, ululating quality of Music in 12 Parts by Philip Glass (with whom Muhly has worked in various capacities). Many classical composers seem like the Wizard of Oz; the glowing godhead of the music distracts us from the man behind the curtain. But Muhly always wants to be perceived, and here, we witness the junkyard of his memory being spun into something at once utterly ordinary and utterly strange.
Gregor Samsa awoke after a night of unsettling dreams to discover "Jeroen Van Aken", from latest album Rest, had been turned into something nearly half the length of the eight-minute-plus LP version, and its glacially paced arrangement set to this watery video. With even a leading presidential candidate from the party of Al Gore proposing tax cuts likely to encourage global warming, guess everybody knew where those glaciers were headed, right? "It seems the devil's got a grip on me," frontman Champ Bennett intones, accompanied by Nikki King's vocal that wobbles as if coming up from underwater (or "Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl"). The song's central, stately piano is shown in loving detail in the video, along with other pieces of the orchestration. But we also see a cardboard box floating in shimmering water, a bit of crumpled paper-- plastic?-- billowing in the wind, and the pipes of a radiator in some empty apartment. The devil damns the narrator of "Jeroen Van Aken" no matter what he or she does, but this video offers a concise introduction to the song's slow-building tranquility, the hellfire better left to Jerry Lee Lewis or his cousin Jimmy Swaggart. I mean, if we're talking about preachers now.
The latest episode of Pitchfork.tv's "Daytripping" series features Fleet Foxes, who took time to chat with our cameras between their multiple gigs at this year's SXSW. Pitchfork also tagged along in the Seattle psych-folk group's van, scoping out Austin, Texas' lovely scenery and thumbing noses at the Lone Star State Troopers.
The archive of videos continues to expand, and today we have the latest offering from Brooklyn's pop sensation Santogold. The rather disturbing video for "L.E.S. Artistes" finds Santo singing astride a horse, while some city dwellers spill their guts (literally) on the street. It's a little gross, but boy, what a catchy tune propped up by Switch's trademark blippy beats.
And while we're on the subject of weird, here's one from Super Furry Animals' Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip, aka Neon Neon, "I Lust You", which revolves, curiously, around a Jellyfish competiton.
Finally, we have "Shelter From the Ash", from Ben Chasny's Six Organs of Admittance, a no-frills but strikingly pretty video comprised mostly of panoramas of the desert at dusk.
Every ounce of violence spread across Bear in Heaven's debut album last year goes under the magnifying glass in this dark, disturbing clip. And when I say dark, I mean it-- there are passages that are so inky you can hardly make out anything apart from an occasional metal beam on the ceiling. Shades of Guantanamo Bay are clearly evident in the orange-jumpsuited man who is strapped to a chair by hooded captors, who then allow him to be beaten by a white-haired vamp with severe dental problems. The lyrics about a world full of enemies (and the song's patently ironic title) seem to be the jumping off point for the video's overarching paranoia.
Former Beulah singer Miles Kurosky is back with a new song almost four years after the Elephant Six indie pop heroes called it quits. Fortunately for the now-defunct San Francisco band's faithful, "An Apple for an Apple" doesn't fall too far from the tree. What begins as childlike psych-folk, just sparkling acoustic-guitar arpeggios and Kurosky's internal rhymes, grows into a horns-boosted, strings-sweetened, fuzztone-chugging group singalong on a When Your Heartstrings Break scale, with crescendo after crescendo and martial drum rolls. The lyrics start with Monty Python before touching on religion, fond farewells, doubt, and falling in love with the invisible-- including disease, which makes the narrator feel alive. "Maybe I was just an easy mark," Kurosky sings. Tell that to all the Shins and New Pornographers fans who aren't yet familiar with Beulah, fans who might use this as an opportunity to explore another rewarding discography full of pretty melodies and arrangements that burst at the seams. (via Stereogum)
When anyone around here other than Mr. Burns mentions aeroplanes, they're probably talking about In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Or The Aeroplane Flies High, all right? Belgium's Aeroplane slip the surly bonds with spacey, romantic disco on "Whispers", a sultry vocal by UK disco diva Kathy Diamond putting what would've been a blissful instrumental over the stratosphere as a regret-choked pop single. "I'm lifeless," Diamond sings at one point, but the ecstatic handclaps, strobe-like synths, funky bass, and sighing backing vocals make it sound as if the narrator has found a freedom to cut loose since you been gone. That doesn't mean she's happy-- "I couldn't care less" isn't quite "carefree"-- but it does mean she's going to dance the night away, to music that would sound just as good on some Balearic morning-after. "We were dancing in the moonlight," Diamond repeats, already in the past tense. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Norwegian disco cosmonauts Prins Thomas and Lindstrom included Aeroplane on their BBC Essential Mix last year; equally unsurprising, though incredibly exciting, is news that Hercules and Love Affair give the track a pared-down remix on the flipside of this 12".
Stream:> Aeroplane [ft. Kathy Diamond]: "Whispers"
[from the "Whispers" 12"; due 05/12/08 on Eskimo]
Lykke Li gets a little bit cosmic on this remix of "Everybody But Me", from her debut Little Bit EP, which arrives in the U.S. today. Although the EP also has the 22-year-old Swede singing "Dance, Dance, Dance", "Everybody But Me" slows down the pace, Li's lonely whisper peeking out between horns, harmonica, and eclectic percussion like so many drawn curtains. "Everybody's dancing/ I don't want to," she repeats, contemplating (shudder!) whether she should "go home sober". Oslo-based diskJokke, aka Joachim Dyrdahl, specializes like his townsfolk Prins Thomas and Lindstrøm in music that's both sun-kissed and spaced-out-- fine for everybody who wants a beat-laden evening, and neatly suited to Li's more contemplative mood here, too. Dyrdahl's remix of "Everybody But Me" adds reverb-kissed synths, handclaps, and additional percussion to Li's original, beaming the song up for the kind of escape the narrator claims she wants.
MP3/Stream:> Lykke Li: "Everybody But Me (diskJokke Remix)"
[from the Little Bit EP; out now on LL Recordings]
There's not much cold about UGK half Bun B's "Damn I'm Cold", from his forthcoming solo follow-up to 2005's Trill, other than the ice the Texas hip-hop legend says he's wearing, the "chill in your veins," and guest rapper Lil Wayne's relationship advice: "Never marry Robin Givens." Produced by ex-Mountain Brothers member CHOPS, the II Trill track comes on like Southern summer heat, all sweaty blues guitar and sweltering electric organ, with occasional Muscle Shoals-esque horns and the synth-bass of single "That's Gangsta". Weezy, who has faltered lately when guesting on tracks by high-profile MCs, is back to spitting fire here, whether boasting of his Bentleys and Ben Franklins, free-associating about Lambeau Field, or paying tribute to UGK's 1996 Ridin' Dirty. Plus he limits his singing-- you know, the stuff that helped make "Lollipop" an unlikely #1 hit-- to the chorus. As for Bun B, he's in his element, threatening to turn your neighborhood into the North Pole while Wayne makes, WTF, machine-gun noises. Bun B's late UGK partner Pimp C gets another of the well-deserved R.I.P. shout-outs that have sadly replaced the old "free Pimp C" as a rallying cry. As for Bun B and Wayne, this is why they're hot. (via 2dopeboyz)
Shara Worden sings about stars colliding on "Inside a Boy", the theatrical opening track and first single from her forthcoming My Brightest Diamond sophomore LP A Thousand Shark's Teeth. We're not talking about Huey Lewis bumping into Whitney Houston here, though, but rather the Sufjan-interviewed chanteuse behind 2006's Bring Me the Workhorse getting remixed by the also-classically inclined recent Anticon signee Son Lux. On 2008 debut At War With Walls & Mazes, Son Lux's Ryan Lott brings a composer's craft to the techniques of underground hip-hop, and his chopped-up "Inside a Boy" charts a similar path. The string-draped original has drama and grandeur enough, but Lott dismembers the rhythm section, opening with little more than skittering strings, stabs of electronic percussion, piano, and Worden's pristine voice. Other rumbling beats, muscular guitars, and all manner of additional orchestration soon return, but the context is more abstract and disorienting than on the album version. "We crash like lightning into love," Worden sings, repeating the word until all is full of that stuff. Boy meets girl, song goes supernova.
MP3:> My Brightest Diamond: "Inside a Boy (Son Lux Remix)"
[from the "Inside a Boy" digital single; out now on Asthmatic Kitty and original track from A Thousand Shark's Teeth; due 06/17/08, also on Asthmatic Kitty]
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