Token “groovy chick” included.
Hoops new EP, English Breakfast, takes what is probably Coldplay’s best song and adds a bit of trip-hop to it. The vocals are smothered and the beat rules the song.
For the b-side, they cover “Reflections After Jane” by the Clientele.
Happy Bandcamp Day, everyone. For a few more hours, Bandcamp is waiving all of their fees to help artists in the time of COVID-19, when touring is impossible. For many labels, the money goes directly to the artist today, as well. That’s worth celebrating.
After putting out a successful album in 2018, an illness left Gia Margaret without the ability to sing for about a year. To cope, she made an ambient album.
The first video from the album is for a song called ‘Body.’ Something about the juxtaposition of the gentleness of the track and the samples from Alan Watts with the roaring excitement of a monster truck rally strikes a chord.
The album Mia Gargaret (see what she did there) is due out on Orindal records in June. Which makes Margaret label mates with one of my faves, Moon Racer.
via Gorilla Vs. Bear
When Austin Kleon started making zines out of a single piece of paper, and then kept on making them, I knew at some point, I would have to try my hand at it. Despite what those who mean well keep suggesting, not everyone has a lot more time on their hands because of the COVID-19 restrictions. I have gained a bit of time in dropping my commute to and from the office, though. This has opened up some space for creativity and craft.
In love with the cut and paste zine culture of the early nineties, I made my first zine with a typewriter and some photo copiers in 1993 or 1994. With ideas borrowed from some other zines and some amateurish writing, I put together a few issues and dropped them in the found materials spaces at local record stores. Hoping to connect with a kindred spirit or two, I included my mailing address on the back of each copy.
The hand-crafted zines of the era felt right at home with the musical scenes that were emerging at the time. The DIY aesthetic was blooming and cut and paste collages encapsulated that aesthetic perfectly. Some of the pillars of the indie rock scene adorned their album covers with surrealist mixed media collages.
Jeremy D. Larsen, writing for Pitchfork, uses the riotous 1913 Paris debut performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring to illustrate the difficulty our brains have in enjoying new music. The performance, to perhaps understate the effect, took its audience outside of their sonic comfort zones.
Many members of the audience could not fathom this new music; their brains—figuratively, but to a certain extent, literally—broke. A brawl ensued, vegetables were thrown, and 40 people were ejected from the theater. It was a fiasco consonant with Stravinsky’s full-bore attack on the received history of classical music, and thus, every delicate sense in the room.
He goes on to explain why new music, truly different music, is so hard for us to enjoy.
People love the stuff they already know. It’s a dictum too obvious to dissect, a positive-feedback loop as stale as the air in our self-isolation chambers: We love the things we know because we know them and therefore we love them. But there is a physiological explanation for our nostalgia and our desire to seek comfort in the familiar. It can help us understand why listening to new music is so hard, and why it can make us feel uneasy, angry, or even riotous.
I’ve often read that our musical tastes solidify somewhere in the late high school/college years. I like to think I’m an exception to that, because I still spend a fair amount of time seeking out new music. I read music blogs and diligently check out their recommendations. I listen to the Apple New Music playlist that is algorithmically curated for me every Friday, comparing my list with my wife’s. I make a new playlist every month, comprised of mostly fresh tracks (with some evergreens thrown in for good measure).
How exceptional am I really, though? Is the new music I like that much different than what I would have liked in the past? Is it really challenging me?
For example, one of my new favorite songs is “I Feel Alive” by the band TOPS. The band describes itself as “a raw punk take on AM studio pop,” though it feels like more of the latter. So of course I like it! The band itself is fairly new, but I got introduced to music by AM studio pop in the seventies and I spent my high school years listening to punk.
It is true that I do listen to things that I wouldn’t have in high school. Don’t tell anyone, but I didn’t really like My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless when it came out. I can’t imagine having enjoyed the Velvet Underground at the same time I was exploring industrial bands. However, the noisy rock and quiet modes of the VU did influence a lot of the bands I listened to in high school and college, so again, eventually liking them is hardly a stretch. I never would have been into sophistipop in the nineties, but having grown up in the eighties, I was able to appreciate it more when teenage angst died down.
I plan to keep exploring new music, but I don’t expect my tastes to change in a revolutionary way. Whenever I so much as look at the band/artist names that are trending on Apple Music, I’m just not sure what to make of them.
I’m happy that my tastes didn’t get stuck in a lock groove in 1994, but I’m also cognizant that there is a familiarity and sometimes nostalgia with even the new music that I appreciate.
It’s worth noting that I don’t like a lot of the stuff I did in my teens. Those industrial bands didn’t stick with me, and neither did hip hop or ska or half a dozen other genres I threw myself into for a while.
After his months-in-the-planning shoot for a new song got cancelled, due to COVID-19, Ernest Greene from Washed Out fan-sourced the video. He compiled clips sent in from over 1200 fans to comprise the video for “Too Late.” Both the song and the video come across as authentic Washed Out. This is Greene in default glo-fi mode and, after a lot of experimentation on the last record, it’s probably a welcome return to form.
On a related note, I have come to the conclusion that Washed Out’s Paracosm album is the Loveless of the chillwave genre.
Most of the time, dream pop isn’t known for being particularly challenging. Still, Noble Oak’s new single, “Just A Game” and the accompanying in-studio performance video is probably some of the most accessible dream pop to come out in recent memory. If terrestrial radio was just a little bit less terrible, I could imagine this sounding perfect coming over the air waves on a warm summer day. With just the right amount of hazy tenderness, the track wraps the listener in a comforting sense of wistful melancholy.
The vinyl industry didn’t need another piece of bad news, after the delay of Record Store Day, and the fire at one of the two lacquer manufacturing plants. The latest blow is that Amazon will stop stocking records in order to retain shelf space for more critical products during the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock,” Amazon said in a statement to third-party sellers this week (via Variety ). “With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers. For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation. … We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers.”
Amazon sells a quarter of the records purchased in the U.S. Vinyl sales were up 19% in 2019. In addition to the Amazon decision, with people venturing out less to physical retailers, the overall sale of records is likely to drop quite a bit this year.
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a song firmly in the classic shoegaze genre start out with such a lofi stripped down demo feel. One might even suggest the beginning of the song feels sort of haunting. The intro serves as a stark contrast to the blast of fuzz and reverb that adorn the wandering guitars when the song kicks in, though. Laveda has a full-length record coming out in the early part of this year and “Ghost” is a strong enticement to wait for its release.
Good times, great oldies.