Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Listening Habits 09-10.13

After several very promising singles and EPs, the first full-length album by Factory Floor is finally here and delivers on all fronts! The experimental noise of their early releases has subsided in favor of an all enveloping, relentless big beat concocted from all the best ingredients that dance, post-punk and industrial music has to offer. From Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire to P.I.L and New Order, from electro and techno to LCD Soundsystem and everything in-between, every exciting beat of the past is coming alive again in a head-spinning new dance that attacks mind and body. Kraftwerk’s manifesto of man-machine music has a new chapter and, unsurprisingly, it is manufactured on this Factory Floor!

Next to Factory Floor’s self-titled LP, you'll find several more albums in this month's Top 20 that are certain to do very well in our year-end list. First off, there is the amazing "Loud City Song", Julia Holter’s third album and the first one she’s recorded out of her bedroom with the help of a musical group. It is a record that demands several spins and your undivided attention to fully sink in, but its otherworldly beauty guarantees that your commitment to it will be fully rewarded.

"Interiors", the sophomore effort by Cameron Mesirow as Glasser, is every bit as enticing as her 2010 debut. There is plenty of electronic pop around these days, but the quality of Mesirow’s work and her ability to create a multi-textured universe of sound guarantees a unique listening experience.

Listening to "Slow Focus", Fuck Buttons’ third LP, is also a unique experience. Unlike the serene "Interiors", though, "Slow Focus" aims to create chaos and mayhem and, without a doubt, it succeeds magnificently. The electronic duo’s best work to date, for listeners not afraid to come face-to-face with their techno-nightmares.

The guitars, admittedly, have taken a backseat in this month’s selection, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t quite a few excellent rock releases on offer in our September - October selection. The reliably prolific Arctic Monkeys and the reenergized Franz Ferdinand keep the Brit-pop flag flying high, Superchunk and Kathleen Hanna’s The Julie Ruin show their age only in their lyrics as their music remains young at heart and as energetic as ever, Mazzy Star make their comeback and turn the clock not an hour but a couple of decades back, while Speedy Ortiz, one of the best new bands of the year, is at the crest of a burgeoning wave of new artists who are turning their admiration for '90’s indie-rock to thrillingly fresh guitar music.

Check out below our 20 favorite albums and tracks of the last couple of months:

Top 20 Albums

1.   Factory Floor - FACTORY FLOOR
2.   Loud City Song - JULIA HOLTER
3.   Interiors - GLASSER
4.   Slow Focus - FUCK BUTTONS
6.   Major Arcana - SPEEDY ORTIZ
7.   Run Fast - THE JULIE RUIN
8.   I Hate Music - SUPERCHUNK
9.   Seasons Of Your Day - MAZZY STAR
10. Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action - FRANZ FERDINAND
11. Bitter Rivals - SLEIGH BELLS
13. The Argument - GRANT HART
15. The Worst Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You - NEKO CASE
16. Cruise Your Illusion - MILK MUSIC
18. An Object - NO AGE
19. Excavation - THE HAXAN CLOAK
20. Body Music - ALUNAGEORGE

Top 20 Tracks

1.   In The Green Wild - JULIA HOLTER
2.   Design - GLASSER
3.   Turn It Up - FACTORY FLOOR
4.   Brainfreeze - FUCK BUTTONS
5.   Bitter Rivals - SLEIGH BELLS
6.   Oh Come On - THE JULIE RUIN
7.   Tiger Tank - SPEEDY ORTIZ
8.   Arabella - ARCTIC MONKEYS
9.   Treason! Animals. - FRANZ FERDINAND
10. Mystery Disease - MGMT
11. Lay Myself Down - MAZZY STAR
12. Is the Sky The Limit? - GRANT HART
13. Man - NEKO CASE
15. I’ve Got A Wild Feeling - MILK MUSIC
16. Shout It Out - MIKAL CRONIN
17. Slippery Roads - TANGO WITH LIONS
18. C’mon Stimmung - NO AGE
20. You Know You Like It - ALUNAGEORGE

Listen to a playlist with our latest favorites here:

And finally a small tribute to Lou Reed, a musical genius whose influence has shaped the music we love and who undoubtedly will remain an invaluable source of inspiration for the future generation of rock musicians:

Velvet Underground - Venus In Furs

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Place To Bury Strangers, Bambara, live @ Fuzz Club (Athens, October 19, 2013)

Sonic warfare...part four! The fourth visit of A Place To Bury Strangers to Athens in as many years was another opportunity for all Noise disciples to come together and enjoy a Saturday night of guitar mayhem and ritual destruction.

As we have come to know all too well from the trio's previous visits (read all about them here, here and here), a gig by A Place To Bury Strangers is never just another indie rock gig, but a proper Noise worship ritual. The dry ice will fill the room like the fog of war, the blinking lights will try to match the sonic explosions, guitars will wail and get smashed to pieces while the rhythm section shakes the club's foundations.

So, yes, there are no secrets between us any more. We know exactly what to expect when we meet with Oliver Ackermann and his gang, but this is exactly the reason why we keep coming back for more. The sonic cathedrals they build and demolish each night onstage are truly wondrous!

Here is the band's 70-minute set according to setlist.fm:

Don't Go, Deadbeat, You Are the One, Ego Death, Mind Control, I Know I'll See You, Drill It Up, Dead Moon Night, Fear, Missing You, Keep Slipping Away, I Lived My Life to Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart.

For this visit, A Place To Bury Strangers brought some good company along with them. New York-based, Athens, Georgia trio Bambara kicked off the evening's Noise rituals with a powerful 30-minute set based on their promising debut LP "Dreamviolence". The band showed that they have studied the masters of their chosen craft very well and that they can soon find a way of making heads explode with their own tunes. Well played!

Bambara, live @ Fuzz Club
A Place to Bury Strangers - Deadbeat (live @ Fuzz Club, Athens, Oct. 19, 2013)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Found Sound Vol.9

Our inbox has once again filled up with some pretty cool music submissions, which means it's time for the return of Found Sound, the series of posts dedicated to the best new music that finds its way somehow to Cool Music Central's doorstep!  As usual, there's quite a variety of sounds in the mix, ranging from experimental noise to folk rock. Have a listen and see if there's something for you in here:

The Worriers - Little Lucy

Sounds like a hit to me... The Worriers are an indie-pop band from Brisbane, Australia, and "Little Lucy" is their debut single, a three-minute blast of energetic guitars and strong harmonies that bring to mind some of the finest '90s britpop. There is also an EP on the way, titled "The Worriers Ruin Everything".

RY X - Vampires

The first release on Swedish label Dumont Dumont is the EP "Berlin" by LA-based Australian RY X. The fragile acoustic folk melodies of the title track will remind you of Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, but the standout track of the EP for me is "Vampires", with a haunting melody that rides upon skeletal beats and handclaps.

Viva Viva - Dead In Yr Tracks

Boston, Massachusetts, band Viva Viva, the winners of Sonicbids "Emerging Artist" competition, released the four-track EP "Dead In Yr Tracks" in August. Their mix of garage and blues is powerful and very catchy while the excellent title-track, their bastardized tribute to The Rolling Stones "Miss You", comes off like a cross between Spoon and The Black Keys.

Truest - Cities

Truest formed in New York by Adam Weiss and Jason Desiderio who recruited Matt Schaefer, David Saracino and Ian Carroll to create a quintet that could produce as big a live sound as they do on tape. "Cities", a track which describes the overwhelming transition one faces when moving from the suburbs to the heart of a major metropolis, is their first single. Their debut album, "Lush", is expected on December 3rd.

So Stressed  - Attracted To Open Mouths

Manic noise-rock from Sacramento, California, band So Stressed who released the 8-track album "Attracted To Open Mouths" last year on cassette and as a digital download. The album is out now on CD by Music Ruins Lives and we think it rocks - hard!

Tiger In My Tank - Inverted People

"Inverted People" by Tiger In My Tank, the band name under which guitarist Sebastian Castillo is releasing his music, combines the lo-fi buzz of early Guided By Voices with the melodic guitar noise of The Jesus And Mary Chain. If you’re into this type of noise-pop cocktails, you’ll find plenty more to like in the recently released album "Cigarette Royalty" which you can download for free from bandcamp or here.

The Savage Nomads - Jaded Edges

Infectious indie pop from South London's The Savage Nomads. Check out the video for "Jaded Edges" here and if you like what you hear, you can get the track for free or pay what you like from the band's bandcamp page.

White Summer - Head In The Sand

Gritty swamp-blues from Melbourne, Australia, trio White Summer. The single "Head In The Sand" is the first taste from the band's forthcoming EP "What I've Been Waiting For".

 Heyward Howkins - Nogales

And a folk-rock fix from Heyward Howkins (former lead guitarist of The Trouble With Sweeney and founding member of The Silver Ages) with "Nogales", the lead track from his sophomore album "Be Frank, Furness", out on November 5.

peopling - Live Session

For the finale of this edition of Found Sound we have a live session by peopling, the experimental noise project of Ronnie Gonzalez from New York, which was recorded last October for DJ Jeff Grainger's show on Dandelion Radio UK. My recommendation would be "Which is Width" - enjoy the noise:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Still Corners, live @ An Club (Athens, October 11, 2013)

Sights and sounds from the second appearance of Still Corners in Athens, a year and a half since their first visit.

"Strange Pleasures", their sophomore, more upbeat, album provided more than half of the gig's songs, while a handful of highlights off their atmospheric debut "Creatures Of An Hour" were also present in their set list ("Cuckoo", "Into The Trees", "Endless Summer", "Submarine").

In the live setting Still Corners' sound comes closer to rock as the guitars become more prominent in comparison with their studio recordings where keyboards and electronics reign supreme. The band's more rocking side became most evident during "The Trip", the excellent "Strange Pleasures" opening track which they save for last in their live show, and rightly so, as it is one of their most impressive compositions so far. Greg Hughes, the band's musical mastermind who is on synthesizer, bass and guitar duties during the show, really gives an impressive performance as a guitarist on this track, shredding away in Sonic Youth mode.

Aside from these occasional noise/krautrock flirtations, however, the band remains true to its mission of creating immersing cinematic, electropop soundscapes that deserve a place next to the works of like-minded acts like Broadcast or Chromatics. And with the amazing singing talents of Tessa Murray who radiates sweetness under the limelight, it's only a matter of time before Still Corners become an inspiration for the next generations of aspiring electropop stars.

Still Corners set included the following songs:
Cuckoo, Beatcity, Into The Trees, Beginning to Blue, Endless Summer, Berlin Lovers, Submarine, Fireflies, Midnight Drive, Future Age, The Trip.

Local indie-poppers (and Still Corners enthusiasts) Spectralfire opened proceedings with an interesting set culled from their self-titled debut album. You can have a listen to their music here.

Still Corners - Future Age (live @ An Club, Athens, October 11, 2013)

Saturday, October 05, 2013

New Releases: September 2013

A selection of some of the most interesting albums and singles released in September:


Factory Floor
FACTORY FLOOR - Factory Floor
MAZZY STAR - Seasons of Your Day 
SEBADOH - Defend Yourself
FRANKIE ROSE - Herein Wild
NEKO CASE - The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
MARK LANEGAN - Imitations
FUZZ - Fuzz
YUCK - Glow & Behold
OBITS - Bed & Bugs
BODY/HEAD - Coming Apart
BIG SEXY NOISE - Collision Course / Trust the Witch
QUASI - Mole City
OKKERVIL RIVER - The Silver Gymnasium
CHVRCHES - The Bones Of What You Believe
THE NAKED & FAMOUS - In Rolling Waves
HAIM - Days Are Gone
KINGS OF LEON - Mechanical Bull
JONATHAN RADO - Law and Order
FILTHY BOY - Smile That Won't Go Down
CHELSEA WOLFE - Pain Is Beauty
DELTRON 3030 - Event 2

Singles & EPs

ARCADE FIRE - Reflektor
MAGIK MARKERS - Ice Skater / Machines
FUZZ - Sunderberry Dream / 21st Century Schizoid Man
CAMERA OBSCURA - Break it to You Gently
JAGWAR MA - Come Save Me
DRENGE - Face Like a Skull
KINGS OF LEON - Supersoaker
DEAP VALLY - Bad For My Body
TRICKY - Valentine
EXCLAMATION PONY - Pseudo Individual
THE FLATMATES - You Held My Heart
DIANA - Perpetual Surrender

Listen to our September 2013 playlist using Spotify:

Arcade Fire - Reflektor