Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cold Cave, live @ Death Disco (Athens, January 21, 2014)

A glimpse into Cold Cave's darkness: the latest incarnation of Wesley Eisold's solo music project, comprising of himself, mainly on vocal duties, and Amy Lee on synthesizers, made a stop at the fittingly named Death Disco club for the band's Athens live debut.

As we're waiting for Cold Cave's third album, we had the opportunity to enjoy some of the band's older material from "Love Comes Close" ("Heaven Was Full", "Youth and Lust") and "Cherish the Light Years" ("Confetti", "Underworld USA"), as well as some of their newer singles ("A Little Death to Laugh", "God Made The World", "Black Boots").

Eisold gave a compelling performance, roaming around the stage, dancing with his mike stand and only occasionally adding a touch to the synthesizer as it was Amy Lee's duty to handle the controls of the Cold Cave spaceship. Its 70-minute journey through the cold, dark void of electro-space turned out to be a highly enjoyable one. Credit has to go also to Mechanimal who opened the show with a strong 30-minute set of like-minded electronic menace that began with their latest single, "Obscure", which you can check out here.

Mechanimal, live @ Death Disco
Here's "Youth and Lust" from Cold Cave's performance at Death Disco:

Cold Cave - Youth and Lust, live in Athens (January 21, 2014)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Found Sound Vol.11

Sounds from the underground for the adventurous music fan: In the 11th edition of Found Sound we have collected some of the most interesting submissions we've received lately plus the latest findings in our ongoing quest for discovering cool new music. As usual, the mix is diverse and all over the map:

Childbirth - I Only Fucked You As A Joke

As luck would have it, I came across Childbirth the same day I saw the documentary "The Punk Singer" about Kathleen Hanna and the riot grrl movement. Childbirth, a Seattle "supergroup" comprising of Julia Shapiro (guitar, vocals), Bree McKenna (bass, vocals), and Stacy Peck (drums), continue the tradition with the riotous mini LP "It's a Girl!", available on cassette from Help Yourself Records and digitally here. Have a listen above to the hilariously twisted single "I Only Fucked You As A Joke", it's a blast!

The Noise Figures - Out Of Your Mind

Explosive blues-punk with '60s influences from the Athens, Greece, duo The Noise Figures: "Out Of Your Mind" is taken from their self-titled debut LP, released late last year on Inner Ear Records (available here). Fans of Jack White will find plenty to like in this noisy 30-minute wild ride!

Alien Hand Syndrome - Slumber

Alien Hand Syndrome is the alias of Viennese artist Clemens Engert who recently released his second album, "Slumber", an intriguing strain of dark, melodic alternative rock combined with classical piano/cello arrangements. Check out above the title track of the album, whose video uses material from the 1903 film "Alice in Wonderand" by Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow and go here for more info and music downloads.

Gretchen Lohse - Ornament Of The Enamored Heart

And here's another artist with a fondness for silent films. Philadelphia singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gretchen Lohse creates barebones folk songs built around her enchanting voice and guitar. Flutes, strings and synthesizers creep in the background as well as sounds mined from her collection of old, warped VHS home movies creating otherworldly yet comfortingly familiar psych folk soundscapes. The track "Ornament of the Enamored Heart" comes from her solo album "Primal Rumble", available for download here and on cassette through Humble Twin Records.

Passenger Peru - Heavy Drugs

For the finale, a dose of psychedelic pop with "Heavy Drugs", the first single off Passenger Peru’s self-titled album due out January 28th on cassette and digital formats via Fleeting Youth Records. The Brooklyn duo consists of Justin Stivers (bassist on The Antlers album "Hospice") and multi-instrumentalist Justin Gonzales who recorded the album over the course of a year in Brooklyn basements and tranquil locations in the foothills of the Alaskan wilderness.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Hit List: January '14

To start off 2014 on the right foot, here's a Top 5 of highly anticipated new releases coming to a store near you in the next few weeks:

St. Vincent - St. Vincent

St. Vincent - Digital Witness

"Digital Witness" is the second track to surface online from St. Vincent's self-titled fourth album, out February 24th. Sounds awesome, as did "Birth In Reverse", the first track we've listened from the new album back in December, available as a free download by signing up on the mailing list here.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Wig Out At Jagbags

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Lariat

"Wig Out at Jagbags", the sixth Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks album, is already out. The title of the first cool release of the year is inspired by Dag Nasty's LP "Wig Out at Denko's" (according to this interview).

Warpaint - Warpaint

Warpaint - Biggy / Love Is To Die

It's now more than three years since the release of Warpaint's excellent debut album "The Fool", but on January 20 the wait for its highly anticipated follow up is finally over. Get psyched up with "Biggy" and "Love is To Die", the first two tracks to become available for streaming.

Dum Dum Girls - Too True

Dum Dum Girls - Lost Boys and Girls Club

We are already psyched up for Dum Dum Girls third album (out at the end of January) after seeing the girls presenting live several of the new tracks at their Athens gig last month (more about that here). Our new favorite? "Rimbaud Eyes", but I'm sure there will plenty more to love. In the meantime, let's take another look at the slick looking video for "Lost Boys and Girls Club"

Speedy Ortiz - Real Hair EP

Speedy Ortiz - American Horror

Speedy Ortiz was one of the best new bands we've come across in 2013, with their album "Major Arcana" landing at #21 of our year-end Top 30 list and in the Top 5 of our debuts of the year. The band is returning in February with the new EP "Real Hair" and the excellent "American Horror" is  one of its highlights.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Top 30 Albums of 2013

Happy 2014 everyone! We start the New Year with the list of our 30 favorite albums of 2013, chosen among approximately 160 full-length releases we’ve listened to in the past year.

You may have already caught a sneak peak of the top of our CD pile here (yes, it’s still a prerequisite for me to have an object in my hands before considering a record for inclusion in my list - old habits die hard), but now it’s time to cut through the chase and properly unveil the albums that we’ll remember the most from 2013:

All three albums at the top of our list were equally deserving of the title "Album of the Year". In the end, the honor went to Factory Floor for delivering a perfect 53-minute electro-dance odyssey, perhaps the album that New Order should have made right after "Blue Monday". This doesn’t mean that Factory Floor are stuck to the music of a particular decade; influences from different genres and eras creep into the mix and go through the Factory's creative process. The end product is simply amazing - the music of the future has finally arrived! (Click here to see our October review.)

"Shaking the Habitual", the epic double album with which The Knife have made their comeback after seven years, sounds like nothing else around. Whatever the influences of the brother-sister electro duo, they have truly turned them into a sound completely their own, a very rare feat indeed. It’s true that sometimes their music journey took them into strange realms outside of listenable song territory (on the 20-minute drone of "Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized" for instance), but unquestionably there was plenty to be excited and inspired about (the trailblazing "Full Of Fire", our Single of the Year, for example)  in one of the most adventurous albums released in recent years (click here for our full review.)

The Top 3 is completed with "Silence Yourself", the stunning debut album by Savages. The four girls have delivered the best guitar record of the year, taking inspiration from post-punk’s glorious past and injecting it with a passion and fury all their own. I think we can expect even greater things from them in the near future. (Check out here our live review of the band's record release gig at London's Rough Trade Shops in May.)

Here’s the complete list of Cool Music Central’s Top 30 Albums of 2013:

Top 30 Albums of 2013

1.   Factory Floor - FACTORY FLOOR

2.   Shaking the habitual - THE KNIFE

3.   Silence yourself - SAVAGES

4.   More light - PRIMAL SCREAM


6.   Loud city song - JULIA HOLTER

7.   We are the 21st century ambassadors of peace and magic - FOXYGEN

8.   Waiting for something to happen - VERONICA FALLS

9.   Indigo meadow - THE BLACK ANGELS

10. Reflektor - ARCADE FIRE

11. Purgatory / Paradise - THROWING MUSES
12. Push the sky away - NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS
13. One breath - ANNA CALVI
14. Interiors - GLASSER
15. Inform - Educate - Entertain - PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING
16. Slow focus - FUCK BUTTONS
18. Mosquito - YEAH YEAH YEAHS
19. Light up gold - PARQUET COURTS
20. Cerulean salt - WAXAHATCHEE
21. Major Arcana - SPEEDY ORTIZ
22. Static - CULTS
23. Shulamith - POLIÇA
24. Holy fire - FOALS
25. Re-Mit - THE FALL
26. I hate music - SUPERCHUNK
27. The double EP: A sea of split peas - COURTNEY BARNETT
28. Trouble will find me - THE NATIONAL
29. Dream river - BILL CALLAHAN
30. Seasons of your day - MAZZY STAR

Click here for the rest of our Albums of the Year (#31 to #60) and here for the debuts, as well as the sophomore and comeback records of the year.

You can also check out our Top 50 Singles of 2013 here.

Last but not least, a farewell to Benjamin Curtis of School of Seven Bells and Secret Machines who sadly passed away at the end of the year - here's an old favorite of ours, "Prince of Peace", a song we introduced to our Killer Tracks Hall of Fame back in January of 2009:

School of Seven Bells - Prince of Peace