Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fleeting Youth Records Vol.1

The mission statement of Austin, Texas, record and tape label Fleeting Youth Records is to provide music fans with top notch cassette and vinyl releases from emerging punk, garage, alternative, and pop bands.

We've already introduced you to a couple of the fine bands on the label's roaster (Passenger Peru, Clouder) on previous posts, time now to dig deeper with its first free (or name-your-own-price) compilation "Fleeting Youth Records Vol.1" featuring tracks from past releases, unreleased demos, brand new tunes from artists who are yet to make their label debut and bonus tracks from friends that will be playing at the label's free unofficial SXSW party on Thursday, March 13th with Mumblr, Clouder, HABITS, Big Bill, LA Font, Krill, GRASS IS GREEN, Two Inch Astronaut, The Ghost Wolves, Gunther Doug, Butter The Children, Bent Shapes, and Basketball Shorts.

Have a listen to the excellent compilation below and visit bandcamp to download:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Listening Habits 01-02.14

Our first list of favorite albums for 2014 just before the end of February shows that the New Year has had quite a good start with at least four excellent LPs that I’m sure are going to be included in many "Best of the Year" lists 10 months from now.

Warpaint’s self-titled sophomore work was everything we were expecting from this band and more. The four girls took their time in making this album (it’s been more than two years since their debut, "The Fool") and experimented with their sound, writing the songs all together for the first time and letting in new influences.

This new approach has worked wonderfully well and with the help of producers Flood and Nigel Godrich, Warpaint have created an album that takes them to the next level. The impeccable rhythm section provides the grooves that will lure you in their world, the ghostly guitar lines and ethereal vocal melodies will make sure that you’ll never want to leave - a simply enchanting experience from start to finish!

Newcomers Temples, from Kettering, UK, have submerged themselves in '60s psychedelia and with "Sun Structures" have given us a great debut, filled with melodic psych-pop that may not reinvent the genre but offers many memorable songs that will brighten your day. A very promising start, indeed!

Dee Dee Penny, meanwhile, the leader of Dum Dum Girls, has done it again. "Too True", her band’s third record, is another excellent work that brings to the foreground '80s gothic rock and '90s indie pop influences. The roots of the Dum Dum Girls sound remain in '60s and '70s garage and punk, but these new elements along with the hi-fi production values bring out a bigger and brighter sound that testify to Dee Dee’s intention to keep evolving as a songwriter.

Mark Kozelek’s status as a great singer-songwriter is well established through his numerous albums with Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon and his solo work.

His latest release, "Benji", the sixth Sun Kil Moon LP which features contributions by Steve Shelley, Jen Wood, Will Oldham, and Owen Ashworth, is undoubtedly one of the best in his 25 years in the game, a record that captivates with the narrative strength of its confessional stories and the simple yet powerful acoustic arrangements. Even if you’ve never heard any of Kozelek’s previous records, make sure you lend an ear to "Benji" and start by listening either "Ben's My Friend" or "Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes", two of its many highlights.

Top 15 Albums

1.   Warpaint - WARPAINT
2.   Sun Structures - TEMPLES
3.   Too True - DUM DUM GIRLS
4.   Benji - SUN KIL MOON
5.   Wig Out At Jagbags - STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS
6.   Trouble - HOSPITALITY
7.   Cheatahs - CHEATAHS
8.   Cursing The Sea - SEPTEMBER GIRLS
9.   Weird Sister - JOANNA GRUESOME
10. Matangi - M.I.A.
11. Cupid Deluxe - BLOOD ORANGE
12. Real Hair EP - SPEEDY ORTIZ
13. Tally All The Things That You Broke EP - PARQUET COURTS
14. The Remainderer EP - THE FALL
15. Rough Trade Shops Counter Culture 13 - VARIOUS ARTISTS

Top 15 Tracks

1.   Love Is To Die - WARPAINT
2.   Rimbaud Eyes - DUM DUM GIRLS
3.   Birth In Reverse - ST. VINCENT
4.   Ben's My Friend - SUN KIL MOON
5.   I Miss Your Bones - HOSPITALITY
6.   Shelter Song - TEMPLES
7.   Get Tight - CHEATAHS
9.   American Horror - SPEEDY ORTIZ
10. Sugarcrush - JOANNA GRUESOME
11. He’s Seeing Paths - PARQUET COURTS
12. Sexodus ft. The Weeknd - M.I.A.
13. You’re Not Good Enough - BLOOD ORANGE
14. Heartbeats - SEPTEMBER GIRLS
15. Will You Be My Mom? - CHILDBIRTH (mp3 via KEXP blog)

Warpaint - Love is to Die (Yours Truly Session)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Found Sound Vol.12

Sounds from the underground for the adventurous music fan: Found Sound brings you the best new music we find in our mailbox and if the submissions that keep on coming can maintain the same level of quality and quantity we’ve enjoyed recently, this irregular series of posts may well turn into a monthly thing. Looking forward to the next batch - meanwhile here’s the twelfth edition of Found Sound featuring Egg Hell, Dead Leaf Echo, Lakefield, Clouder, Hot Wives and Gretchen Lohse.

Egg Hell - Suffering

"Suffering" is one of the standout tracks on Egg Hell's debut album "Once Part Of A Whole Ship". The Athens, Greece, based indie-pop band is led by Sao Paulo-born Jef Maarawi and offers memorable melodies that travel in an ocean of agitated guitars bringing to mind early Radiohead. Listen to the whole adventure here.

Dead Leaf Echo - true.deep.sleeper

Last April we had presented here Dead Leaf Echo's debut LP "Thought & Language". The New York shoegazing collective returns on February 25 with the four-song EP "true.deep.sleeper", mixed by Monte Vallier (Soft Moon, Weekend), and a series of dates including shows at SXSW in March. Listen to the title track above and expect a second album in the near future as the band has already began working on it.

Lakefield - Good Guy

"Good Guy" is taken from Lakefield's "Swan Songs" EP, literally the Vancouver, BC, band's swan song as this is their final release. To use their own words: "Swan Songs is the result of a blood promise between the five of us, to deliver one final wholehearted performance amidst our death throes. We consider it our most vital work; a perfect portrait of our band at its very end.". The EP was released on February 14th and you can get it from here.

Clouder - Lost In Reverie

"Lost In Reverie" is the first single from Clouder's sophomore album, "Sister Raygun", due out March 4th. The song's dark and urgent sound brings to mind the fertile mix of psychedelic rock and punk that bloomed in the US underground of the '80s.

Hot Wives - Hand That Bites the Feed

More '80s influenced distorted rock, this time from Atlanta, Georgia, four-piece Hot Wives whose influences include bands like Scratch Acid, The Stooges, the Bad Seeds and the Minutemen. "Hand That Bites the Feed" comes from the band's first EP "This Man Refused to Open His Eyes".

Bonus track:
Gretchen Lohse - Spider at the Gate

We've already talked about Gretchen Lohse and her enchanting solo debut "Primal Rumble" on the previous edition of Found Sound. We're signing off Volume 12 with her brand new video for the album track "Spider at the Gate" which made its premier at the end of last week - enjoy:

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Home Taping the '90s Vol. 1

Way before mp3s, the cassette tape was considered to be the major threat to the record industry. Personally, I never understood why recording a song off the radio was supposed to stop me wanting to buy music. If anything else, the more I listened to a song I liked on cassette the more I wanted to find that record and add it to my vinyl collection.

Apart from acting as a gateway to buying even more vinyl, my home taping habits of the '80s and '90s has also left me a valuable archive of the music I was discovering at the time while listening to the radio. Mind you, these are not the kind of songs that got major airplay - it's quite possible that some of them might got played just one or two times on a specialist radio show and if I wasn't standing by with a radio-cassette recorder, I would probably never had the chance to listen to them again.

To put these old tapes to good use, we are starting a new series of posts where from time to time I'll be dusting off one of these cassettes and try to reproduce its playlist here with the help of Spotify and internet videos.

For starters, we're going exactly 20 years back to a tape recorded between January 27 and February 12, 1994. These recordings took place in London and several of these songs were played on John Peel's Radio 1 show, including a session from the mighty Fall which was first aired on February 5 and it was later released on cd on "The Complete Peel Sessions 1978 - 2004".

As I expected, not all the songs on this tape are available on Spotify - the missing entries are from Shellac, Madder Rose, Tiny Lights and Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia. And since the last two of these names are the least known, I've included videos of them from this period just a after the Spotify playlist. So, here's a taste of what good was on the radio twenty years ago:

Side A
01 Sleeper - Swallow 02:41
02 Renegade Soundwave - Renegade Soundwave 03:54
03 Suede - Stay Together 07:26
04 Therapy? - Die Laughing 02:48
05 Smudge - Impractical Joke 02:16
06 Prolapse - Doorstop Rhythmic Bloc 05:22
07 God Is My Co-Pilot - I. Cream 00:39
08 The Nightblooms - Hold On 02:11

Side B
09 Orbital - Sad But True 07:48
10 The Fall - Hey! Student (Peel Session 5/2/94) 04:09
11 Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - Glam Rock Cops 03:41
12 Papa Brittle - Status Quo 03:47
13 Inspiral Carpets feat. Mark E Smith - I Want You 03:10
14 Bad Religion - 21st Century 02:47
15 Unsane - Body Bomb 03:41
16 Don Caballero - For Respect 02:43

Tiny Lights - Fishing Season

Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia - Out Now!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Fall, live @ Gagarin 205 (Athens, February 1st, 2014)

I can’t really say that this was a first. As every Fall fan knows, there is always a risk factor whenever you go to see live Mark E. Smith and his troops. Depending on Mark’s mood, mental/physical state and other unpredictable factors, on a good day you can witness pure, mind-blowing, rock brilliance in action but sometimes what you get is a spectacular fiasco. And, quite often, a bit of both - all part of the charm of a typical Fall gig.

Unfortunately, this time (and in stark contrast to the band’s previous gig at the same venue) what started very promisingly, with the band firing on all pistons propelled by the two dueling drummers, ended up in improvised shambles after Smith’s unexplained walk off the stage just before the half-hour mark of the show.

The rest of the band, led by Elena Poulou with the help of new drummer Darren who took over vocal duties for a couple of tracks, made a brave effort to continue and played for another half hour, but, let’s face it, this ship cannot be steered without its captain.

From the proper, first half of the gig the standout track was a powerful rendition of "Mister Rode" which sounded better than the recorded version from the recent "The Remainderer" EP, the opening "Victrola Time" and the cover of Frank Zappa’s "Hungry Freaks Daddy".  From the improvised, Smith-less, second half (the Fall-tribute part of the gig or, perhaps more appropriately, the post-Fall gig) the track that fared best was the cover of "White Lightening" with Darren doing his best M.E.S. impression.

As Smith once famously said, "If it’s me and your granny on bongos, then it’s a Fall gig". But, what do you get without him in the equation?

The Rattler Proxy, live @ Gagarin 205
The show opened with a 45-minute set by local act The Rattler Proxy which owes a huge debt to Suicide. The laptop-processed beats and ominous sounds are the backdrop for the Alan Vega-style yelps and screams of the singer who spent most of the time on his knees or rolling around the floor. An interesting performance, although the songs could use a bit more variety - just an idea, but how about adding a guitar to the mix?

Here’s what The Fall (and the post-Fall) ended up playing (not much relation to the planned set list):

Victrola Time, Hungry Freaks Daddy, Wolf Kidult Man, I’ve Been Duped, Strychnine, Mister Rode ...and without MES: Remainderer, White Lightening, Cowboy George. Encore (sort of): Amorator, Theme From Sparta F.C.

The Fall - Mister Rode (live @ Gagarin 205, Athens, February 1st, 2014)

Sunday, February 02, 2014

New Releases: January 2014

Round up of January's most interesting new releases including Warpaint's self-titled sophomore album and Dum Dum Girls' third full-length effort:


WARPAINT - Warpaint
CHILDBIRTH - It's a Girl!
BLANK REALM - Grassed Inn
ACTRESS - Ghettoville
MOGWAI - Rave Tapes
DAMIEN JURADO - Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son
DOUG PAISLEY - Strong Feelings
PEGGY SUE - Choir of Echoes
THEE SILVER MT. ZION MEMORIAL ORCHESTRA - Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything
EAST INDIA YOUTH - Total Strife Forever
I BREAK HORSES - Chiaroscuro
CITIES AVIV - Come to Life
DROWNERS - Drowners
TARA JANE O'NEIL - Where Shine New Lights
QUILT - Held In Splendor
BIG UPS - Eighteen Hours of Static
YOU BLEW IT! - Keep Doing What You're Doing
PONTIAK - Innocence
CEO - Wonderland
PASSENGER PERU - Passenger Peru

Singles & EPs

GUIDED BY VOICES - The Littlest League Possible
MOUSE ON MARS - Spezmodia EP
MORRISSEY - Satellite of Love
GRETCHEN LOHSE - Walking In The Air
MERCHANDISE - Begging For Your Life / In The City Light

Guided By Voices - The Littlest League Possible

Pixies - Blue Eyed Hexe

The Soft Moon - Feel

Glasser - Shape

Woodpecker Wooliams - Crow

Gretchen Lohse - Walking In The Air

Satchmode - Collide