Monday, 26 November 2012

Darwin Deez Unveils New Single, "Free (The Editorial Me)"


Remember how amazing 2010 was? When Darwin Deez songs would come on Shuffle on your iPod Classic and you'd start busting out the angular moves that perfectly fit his jagged guitar refrains? I sure do.

And it fills me with joy to see that Team Darwin are back, not only with this new Ninian Doff-directed video for "Free (The Editorial Me)", but a full-length album pegged for a February 2013 release on Lucky Number Music. Judging by what we heard on the band's eponymous release all that time ago, frontman Darwin Smith has seemingly always had an ear for a tight pop melody balanced with just the right amount of scuzzy guitar. 


Hopefully the nine other tracks on Songs for Imaginative People will inspire dance breaks as passionate as those gig-goers would launch into when Darwin Deez toured their debut album two years ago. For now, sink your teeth into "Free", and its deja-vu, space and time continuum-bending video.

If you're in London, the band are playing a show at XOYO on Wednesday night (November 28th, 2012). Um, hopefully you already have a ticket if you want to go because it's definitely sold out by now.

Album tracklisting:
1. (800) HUMAN
2. You Can’t Be My Girl
3. Moonlit
4. No Love
5. Good to Lose
6. Alice
7. Redshift
8. Free (The Editorial Me)
9. All In the Wrist
10. Chelsea’s Hotel

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Reviewed: Cold Specks at Mercury Lounge - Nov. 8, 2012


While outside metal police barriers and lines of street cones hinted at the damage superstorm Sandy wreaked on New York's lower east side, it was business as usual at Mercury Lounge on Thursday night. Al Spx took to the stage with her 6-piece band, effortlessly sailing their way through a set of her so-called doom soul. If that's what doom sounds like, sign us right up.

Spx opened the show with an a cappella rendition of "The Mark". It's the opening track on the band's album, I Predict A Graceful Expulsion, and she sang it tenderly before backing herself on guitar as the song built. She flitted between raw honesty during songs and a dry humour in the spaces between them, openly admitting she's “no good at all this banter stuff" as the crowd giggled.


For such a new rising star, Spx played with a quiet confidence. She commanded the center of the stage. Somehow she managed to appear both shy and totally nonplussed by the reality of playing her hugely intimate and personal songs to a packed room. Her raspy and textured voice was the anchor that held every one of the songs together but by no means does that imply her band didn't pull their weight. They're older than the usual barely-in-their-twenties buzz band, and looked at ease as they launched into tracks like "Blank Maps" and "When the City Lights Dim".

Guitarist Pete Roberts swayed to and fro during the slow dynamic build of album stand-out "Winter Solstice". His plucked guitar line flowed over keyboard player Thomas Green's simple melody. Between them, Spx breathed out that smoky tone of hers with ease as she looked directly into the audience.



The band were tight, well-rehearsed and at points almost sounded exactly as they do on the record. From time to time band members exchanged glances and smiles across the stage, and it was clear that their recent slew of gigs around Europe has turned them into something of a well-oiled machine.

Single "Hector" was a highlight, as any fan would expect. A group near the front of the stage whooped politely as Spx plucked the opening lines on her guitar, and then laughed as she kicked off her vintage heels and started to sing.



The band also debuted some new material, in the form of a song that has been tentatively named "All Flesh is Grass". Delicate 3-part harmonies laced into the song’s melancholy but kept it from wavering into the ‘moody singer-songwriter’ territory that Spx herself has said she tries to avoid.

At the end of "Send Your Youth" she swung away from the microphone and leaned forward towards the crowd, singing out a cappella into the silent room. At moments like those we were reminded what fundamentally makes Cold Specks a great band: not only can Al Spx really sing, but she can back up that voice with true songwriting chops. The band have kicked off the North American leg of their tour with gusto.


originally published on Nov. 9, 2012 on Addict Music, which for whatever reason appears to be having server issues right now.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Preview: Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival 2012


After what feel like months of indecisive behaviour, I've decided to check out this year's Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival. It's on this weekend (November 9th and 10th) in five venues around Williamsburg and looks like it's going to either be the best time ever or a total shit-show of lining up to get into said venues.

Promoters Mean Red Productions released the full schedule earlier today via their Facebook page. As far as I know tickets are still available for both days, and a few venues have agreed to lower their age limits to 18 + (yup, feeling pretty good about not going to those shows but this is the time for teenagers to rage).

I've found that urban festivals depend more on the promoting team's organization than anything else (ahem, Bloc 2012) so Mean Red will have their work cut out for them. They're behind this two-day extravaganza of glitch-pop and post-whatever dance music, running the event in its fifth year. Given grad school commitments I'll only be going on Saturday, primarily to catch xxyyxx and Baths at Glasslands Gallery. I'm pretty hugely excited about seeing them both in one night.


Friday festival highlights include Brenmar, Jackmaster and Gold Panda (highly recommend his live show - he puts in so much energy for a dude-behind-laptop setup). On Saturday the clash between Nicolas Jaar, Shlohmo and Baths will likely break the  most hearts. I'd be keen to check out Pearson Sound's late set at Cameo too.

As is always the case with these kinds of events (anyone who's been to the Great Escape in Brighton, Bristol's Simple Things Festival or Camden Crawl in London knows) getting there early matters. If you've already got a ticket, click here for info on where to pick it up.

Then come find me partying in (the line at) Glasslands. I've made a little Spotify playlist of acts I'm most interested in  too.


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Song of the Day: Foals - Inhaler


This new Foals single isn't half bad, is it? There's nothing quite like a pre-chorus that tricks you into thinking it's the chorus, before the real deal comes in and blows your face off. The element of surprise: I like it.

In case you were either in a coma or deserted island sans internet in 2010, you're probably already aware of them from all the hype that built around their record Total Life Forever (ok, that only really counts if you were living in the UK). Their much-loved sophomore effort cropped up on tons of 'best of 2010' lists in England, and got a little indie love from Pitchfork State-side too. The general consenus was that they'd stepped it up from 2008's Antidote.

In any case, they seem to be growing and moving their sound in a heavier direction if this track is anything to go by. It's coming off LP Holy Fire, set to be released in February 2013 on Transgressive Records. Head to their site for more info on that. And if you're in the UK at the moment, they're on a sold out tour at the end of the month before they skip down to Australia for more dates into the new year. Click here for the details.


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Listen: Atoms For Peace - What the Eyeballs Did


Thom Yorke is becoming almost hilariously good at controlling when and how his music is shared online. Apparently not even the likes of Spin magazine could get hold of a version of this new single that doesn't include a radio DJ talking over the end of the track. Awesome.

So I won't feel as embarrassed to share this, what seems to be the only version of "What the Eyeballs Did" currently available to stream online. On it Yorke's vocal takes a backseat to Flea's jaunty and lively bassline. The result is a punchy and seemingly restless track that no doubt we'll all be able to buy as soon as the Atoms For Peace supergroup decide the time is right.

For now, enjoy it here (up until the 3:46 mark). Keep up with the band on their site too.


Watch: The Luyas - Montuno

For whatever reason, The Luyas only just made it onto my radar. This is the new mini-film for their single "Montuno", off album Animator (Paper Bag Records, October 16, 2012).



They do that whole dreamy and other-worldly thing like a couple of pros, on both the record and in this video. Indulge in all 8 minutes of its glory if, like me, you're still reeling from some of the knock-on effects of Hurricane Sandy and just want to look at something pretty for a while. The duo are meant to be playing a free show at Cake Shop in the lower east side on Saturday night, if the venue gets their electricity back by then. Plan B acoustic show by candlelight, anyone?

To anyone reading from the east coast and Caribbean who was also affected by the storm, I can only hope you and your loved ones weren't hurt. It feels like an empty gesture to throw a comment like that out into the internet's ether, but even a cynic like me can't pretend not to be a part of that whole post-disaster-solidarity feeling.
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