As the weather gets colder and the holidays closer, we have to sift through the snow, silt and soot to find pop diamonds in the rough. Otherwise you will find yourself irked by the likes of Deadmau5's “Aural Psynapse,” R. Kelly's obnoxious refrain of “OMG” on “Shut Up,” Lana Del Ray's lips, Die Antwoord's weird “Fok Julle Naaiers” video, Star Wars stormtrooper 'art,' sailor ink fetishes, all these trite GOP debates, or that silly looking Neon Stereo dude. With our sights already set to next year's offerings, let us first examine what we enjoyed over the week in no particular order.
After still being mildly shaken up from Twin Sister's doppelganger-gothy-mysticism video for “Kimmi in a Rice Field,” Balam Acab just made it even weirder. Look for Twin Sister's In Heaven out now on Domino Records.
Tanya Morgan is the working moniker of Brooklyn duo Donwill and Von Pea who gave us the grooving “Whatever That's Mine”, which put a rhythm in our step this week. Upbeat attitudes abound, like when Donwill gives us fireside chat wisdom like, “Feeling good feels better when you ain't bitter, and the only way to fail is being a quitter.” Tanya Morgan drops with the EP You and What Army November 22.
The Bay Area's premiere witch house label Tundra Dubs has been getting some local attention lately for making slow-burning beats and heavy doses of brain peeling sounds. This week has seen the label in a flurry of activity with showcases, releases, one of them being the wave-chopped ∆AIMON remix of Funerals' “Maasym” with crazy smoke haze effects and a handfull of those ridiculous but great gun cocking sounds that you love and crave.
Also fresh from the Tundra Dubs family is the split release of powwowW and Micro N∆ps that is available for purchase here on Tundra's bandcamp. You can preview the grave wavy goodness of Micro N∆ps' “Darkness is Never Destroyed, It is Only Locked Away” which at times sounds like a hell-hound trying to get out of one those ventilated cardboard boxes that vet gives you after you neuter Fido.
Then there is powwowW here with “I am One” which chops a loop of self affirmation with minor keys that claw their way slowly into your dome. Tundra Dubs gets my personal 'indie label to watch' sticker as we enter 2012.
Chicago's Narrow Sparrow are about to release their debut EP Synthworks November 15 for free online via their blog. A slightly spacy ode to the great British producer and songwriter Joe Meek, Sparrow engages in the self-described practice of bizarro pop that blends old '70s arcade beeps, strange keyboards, and acoustic guitar as an earthy measure. For the true believers out there who refuse to do as much as download an mp3, the EP will also be released on 7” vinyl on December 21.
Another highlight from the week was the hasHBrown and Guilty Simpson collaboration “Break the Chain.” The track examines histories of struggles, various destructive cycles and trends, and overcoming obstacles to build brighter tomorrows as Detroit's G. Simpson explains: “I'm “happy to finally get a feature that was 'talking about something.' It made me feel like (hasHBrown) respected my vision.” Look for hasHBrown's upcoming album Break Something November 30.
From the dude who produced that awesome Fantasmas 7″ we were hyping the other week, here is his band Farewell Republic. With an album called Burn the Boats due out in January, frontman You can listen to their 7″ Wake here via their Bandcamp.
Keepaway is in the works of releasing Black Flute on Greedhead Music, a label started by Das Racist's Himanshu Suri with a dedication to pushing envelopes, genres, sounds, and keeping things fresh. This is a progressive hip-hop approach that incorporates similar percussive tropes with a variety of sounds, and vocals that sound like the Animal Collective folks recording a beat project in the studio after-hours. Listen to “Cake” and you too might be a fan.
Also from Keepaway is “Faces Now”, a big flavor this week. The K-aways showcase their brilliant use of synths here, as they wet our whistles in anticipation for their upcoming debut. Look for Black Flute next year, January 10 on Greedhead Music.
J*DaVeY gave us a double feature video for both the sassy “Whatchalookin@” and the thriller killer “Kill 4 Fun.” The duo has their first studio album in about 4 years, entitled New Designer Drug, coming to us November 22 on ILLAV8R. From the self-confident swagger and fun loving attitude, those 4 years appear to have been well worth the wait.
Gross Magic gave us a listen to their new single “Yesterdays” from the upcoming split 12” featuring Novella, Echo Lake and The History of Apple Pie on December 12 courtesy of the London imprint, Marshall Teller Records. While “Yesterdays” was featured as a bonus track on some editions of G. Magic's excellent Teen Jamz EP, here you can enjoy Sam McGarrigle and friends amid their hip UK company.
Our buddies from the Death Set sent us a video the other day of their remix of Australia's DZ Deathrays' “The Mess Up” that they described as, “Think two dudes, one bottle of Jameson, one song.” I would advise you to watch this video with a degree of caution if the sight of dudes hurling causes you to do the same. In the event of unexpected nausea, you can only blame yourself, as you have been warned.
Parenthetical Girls celebrated the recent release of their new EP The Privilege by giving us the video for the title track. Every beautiful Portlander I have known understands the benefits and pertinence of getting your hair did and Zac and the gang are no exception. The Privilege is out now on Slender Means Society. Look for the P. Girls on tour with YACHT.
Baby Jaymes followed up the track “Heart and Soul” this week with a plush rhythm and filly blues tune called “Bump My Head.” Repping his own self-trail-blazed genre of Ghetto Retro; the Oakland artist depicts the head lump hangover of not heeding the advice of good friends, and the aftermath of chasing buzz-kill broads. Look for the Whatever Happened To Baby Jaymes EP November 15.
San Francisco's The Sandwitches releasedtheir 7″ The Pearl this week before setting out on their European tour. For us stateside, we can still enjoy this video of the gals here in this live performance video of “Lightfoot.” Check your Euro listings for tour dates.
Constant Deviants gave us the Platinum mixtape for free to keep us happy until the release of Diamond slated for next year, both on their label Six2Six Records. M.I. and DJ Cutt tear up the 17-tracker with a variety package of beats including a chopped and screwed Otis Redding vocal sample on “Otis.” Listen now!
Minneapolis's Doomtree gave the world a listen to “Beacon” from their upcoming No Kings album. The eclectic crew specialize in what the press handlers refer to as 'aggressive transcendence' that utilizes diverse production and percussion that sounds more live than sampled. Amid the swamp of this week's buzz, “Beacon” guided our feet as we all adjusted to 4:30 pm daylight savings sunsets. No KIngs drops on November 22 on Doomtree Records.
And finally we leave you with this found single, “Smokestack Lightning” by The Oblivion Sect from mid-'60s Baton Rouge/New Orleans. Considered a lost proto-punk nugget that was not featured on Lenny Kaye's time capsuling Nuggets compilation; it features a rendtion of the Howlin' Wolf original with a pepped-up twist that creates a more explosive sound for the blue-eyed-blues realm than their west coast contemporaries and keeps all the snarling attitude and the this-is-now-forget-tomorrow weirdness intact.