On first blush, Pop. 1280s album Paradise feels like some sort of quasi-industrial throwback to 1984, but it’s something else entirely. Sure, there are drum machines and samples, but frequent touches of echoing piano, spidery Goth guitar, and sitars give the songs a surprising sense of depth and breadth.
Singer Chris Burg’s pronounced growl provides gravitas to lyrics that would sound at home in a Philip K. Dick novel: gritty science fiction that’s dirty and uncomfortable.
The band’s latest video, for the surly and sensational “Phantom Freighter,” captures this vibe visually with an aesthetic that pays homage to early David Cronenberg and George A. Romero. And what is that green stuff?
Paradise was released by Sacred Bones on January 22. Be sure to check out the band on their upcoming European tour.
European Tour Dates:
04/15/16 – Hamburg, Germany @ Hafenklang
04/16/16 – Berlin, Germany @ ACUD
04/17/16 – Halle, Germany @ Chaiselongue
04/19/16 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ De School
04/20/16 – Utrecht, Netherlands @ ACU
04/21/16 – Tournai, Belgium @ Water Moulin
04/22/16 – Bruxelles, Belgium @ Magasin 4
04/23/16 – London, United Kingdom @ The Shacklewell Arms
04/24/16 – Leeds, United Kingdom @ Headrow House
04/25/16 – Paris, France @ Batofar
04/26/16 – Rennes, France @ BAR’Hic
04/28/16 – Madrid, Spain @ Siroco
04/29/16 – Zaragoza, Spain @ Las Armas
04/30/16 – San Sebastian, Spain @ Le Bukowski
05/01/16 – Gigor, France @ Gigor Electric
05/02/16 – Clermont Ferrand, France @ Raymond Bar
05/04/16 – Milano, Italy @ Ligera
05/06/16 – Pordenone, Italy @ Pn Box
05/07/16 – Marina di Ravenna, Italy – Hana-Bi
05/08/16 – Verona, Italy @ Centro Avanzi
05/09/16 – Zagreb, Croatia @ AKC Attack
05/10/16 – Wien, Austria @ FLUC
05/11/16 – Budapest, Hungary @ Müszi
05/12/16 – Prague, Czech Republic @ 007
Last Christmas I discovered a song that quickly became part of my annual holiday playlist: “It’s Xmas (And Everyone Is Miserable)” by Dirty Sidewalks, a Seattle-based band who traffics in the kind of poppy shoegaze that put bands like the Jesus and Mary Chain and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on the musical map. The undeniable hooks and straightforward attitude of the track won me over immediately.
Now Dirty Sidewalks have a new video: “Hey Girl (I Wanna Be Your Man)” is the B-side to the band’s recently released vinyl single, “It’s Getting Better.”
Filmed with a low-budget glitter aesthetic, the video suits the song’s sweet yet snarly charms perfectly and features subtle nods to both the Reid brothers and My Bloody Valentine. Singer Erik Foster sounds enough like his shoegazing forebears to reel you in, but Dirty Sidewalks have an appeal that’s all their own, and one that will keep you coming back for more.
If you like what you see (and hear), be sure to pick up the “It’s Getting Better” single, available on both black vinyl and white vinyl from No-Count Records.
Dirty Sidewalks have a full-length album planned for the summer, so follow them on Facebook to keep up with the latest news.
Based on this interview from The Independent, Dub Thompson members Evan Laffer (drums) and Matt Pulos (vocals/guitar) sound like the kind of 19-year-old guys who play music and have not yet been indoctrinated into only responding to interview questions with pre-packaged sound bites. Which is refreshing.
Also refreshing is their new song and video, “Dograces,” from their upcoming debut 9 Songs (it has eight tracks). It looks like one of those ’70s videos that you used to see on MTV Classic back in the day but then it looks like it might be a new video that was intended to look that way. The song itself is an odd mix of disaffected vocals and heavy bass, with a burst of shiny keyboards serving as a chorus of sorts that will either annoy you or intrigue you. Or both, especially when the band sort of gives up about two-thirds of the way through and leaves the stage. Speaking of which, who are those people, anyway?
9 Songs was recorded by Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, who also plays keyboards for the band at their live shows. It will be out on June 10 from Dead Oceans. In the meantime, if you live in New York, you can catch them on April 3 at Pianos and on April 4 at Baby’s All Right.
The Cybertronic Spree
Photo © Paul Hillier Photography
If you haven’t heard of The Cybertronic Spree, listen up. It’s a band of Transformers—well, Hot Rod, Arcee, Rumble, Unicron, Spike, and a Quintesson, to be exact—who perform songs from the soundtrack to The Transformers: The Movie.
Interested yet? They also perform these songs live and in full costume. It’s pretty amazing. They recently released a video of an in-studio performance and recording of “Nothin’s Gonna Stand In Our Way” that must be seen to be believed.
Here’s a video of them performing “Instruments Of Destruction” last August at the Horseshoe in Toronto, as part of Nerd Noise Night.
And yes, they do perform “The Touch.”
For the full spectrum of the band’s online presence, check out TheCybertronicSpree.com
The self-titled debut album from Big Black Delta, a.k.a. Jonathan Bates, is one of my favorites of 2013 thus far (review). The first single, “Side of the Road” had a cool video which I blogged about in February.
Now there’s another video from the band, this time for “Money Rain Down.” It’s one of the less bombastic tunes on the album, and that makes it even more interesting, as it shows just how much musical range Bates possesses. It’s incredibly danceable and wisely, the video includes lots of dancing. It’s whimsical and clever but not in a cutesy way. Check it out below.
15th The Fonda, Los Angeles, CA
17th Echo Park Rising, Los Angeles CA
7th Hopscotch Festival, Raleigh, NC
8th Boston Calling – City Hall Plaza, Boston MA
13th Lobster Fest at Port of LA, Los Angeles, CA
14th Summersalt Block Party, San Francisco, CA
21st The Courtyard @ The Getty, Los Angeles, CA
25th Bunk Bar, Portland, OR
26th Decibel Festival, Seattle WA
28th Festival Of Hope, Tulare CA
29th Adams Street Fair, San Diego, CA
Photo © Arlie Carstens/Incase
Redd Kross has never followed fashion (that’d be a joke). Instead, they’ve always existed in some parallel, alternate universe, doing their own thang.
For proof of this phenomenon, check out this new video of them looking natty and rocking in Room 205, performing “Uglier” from their incandescent 2012 release, Researching The Blues (review).
Apr 3: The Earl; Atlanta GA
Apr 4: Kings Barcade; Raleigh NC
Apr 5: Black Cat; Washington DC
Apr 6: Santo’s Party House (early show) ; New York NY
Apr 7: Kung Fu Necktie; Philadelphia PA
Apr 10: Il Motore; Montreal QC
Apr 11: Horseshoe Tavern; Toronto ON
Apr 12: Lager House; Detroit, MI on sale March 20
Apr 13: Empty Bottle; Chicago IL
Apr 14: Cactus Club; Milwaukee WI
Check out this meta-retro video from Purling Hiss, from their upcoming album Water On Mars (out on March 19 from Drag City). It manages to reference the ’90s referencing MTV Classic referencing actual videos from the 1970s.
For more of Purling Hiss (without the green-screened background) check them out on their upcoming tour.
4/4/13 – 285 Kent; Brooklyn, NY w/ Spacin’, AXIS:SOVA
4/5/13 – Johnny Brenda’s Philadelphia, PA w/ Spacin’, AXIS:SOVA
4/6/13 – Metro Gallery; Baltimore, MD w/ Spacin’, AXIS:SOVA
4/7/13 – Maxwell’s; Hoboken, NJ w/ AXIS:SOVA
4/9/13 – O’Briens Pub; Allston, MA w/ AXIS:SOVA
4/10/13 – BAR Nightclub; New Haven, CT
4/12/13 – Brillobox; Pittsburgh, PA w/ AXIS:SOVA
4/14/13 – The Garden Bowl; Detroit, MI w/ AXIS:SOVA
4/15/13 – Empty Bottle; Chicago, IL w/ Tee Pee, AXIS:SOVA
4/16/13 – 7th Street Entry; Minneapolis, MN
4/18/13 – Linnemans Riverwest Inn; Milwaukee, WI
4/19/13 – University of Wisconsin Madison; Madison, WI
4/20/13 – Mike N’ Molly’s; Champaign, IL
5/5/13 – Fluc; Vienna, Austria
5/6/13 – Culture Factory Club; Zagreb, Croatia
5/9/13 – Nuits Sonores Festival, Le Sonic; Lyon, France
5/11/13 – El Perro Club; Madrid, Spain
5/12/13 – Taina Fest; Porto, Portugal
5/13/13 – Bukowski; Donostia, Spain
5/15/13 – Nouveau Casino; Paris, France w/ Mikal Cronin
5/16/13 – Tufnell Park Dome; London, United Kingdom w/ White Fence, Mikal Cronin
5/20/13 – Undertone; Cardiff, United Kingdom
5/21/13 – The Green Door Store; Brighton, United Kingdom
5/22/13 – Madame Moustache Brussels, Belgium
5/23/13 – De Effenar; Eindhoven, Netherlands
5/24/13 – Muk; Giessen, Germany
5/25/13 – Die Friese; Bremen, Germany
5/26/13 – KB18; Copenhagen, Denmark
5/27/13 – Kuudes Linja; Helsinki, Finland
5/28/13 – Debaser Slussen; Stockholm, Sweden
5/30/13 – Marie-Antoinette; Berlin, Germany
As if working on a new album for two years in secret wasn’t enough of a coup, now David Bowie has a new video for the song “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” featuring Tilda Swinton and models Andrej Pejic and Saskia de Brauw.
For fans of both Bowie and Swinton, this is fairly amazing, as their remarkably similar, androgynous looks have been the subject of endless Internet memes as well as the Tumblr blog Tilda Stardust, which seeks to prove that the two are the same person.
For those who follow fashion, the appearance of both Pejic and de Brauw is nearly as fascinating as the two are perhaps the biggest Bowie androgynes after Swinton herself.
Although Bowie has been declining various public appearances over the years (The Victoria & Albert Museum retrospective, the London Olympics Closing Ceremony), he’s clearly not been ignoring pop culture in his “increasingly reclusive” life. Not only does he include Swinton, Pejic, and de Brauw in the video, it’s directed by Floria Sigismondi, who is responsible for the decidedly Bowie- and Velvet Goldmine-influenced film The Runaways. (It’s all so meta!)
Intriguingly, Swinton doesn’t play Bowie in the video (that would be too easy), but Bowie’s wife. As they go grocery shopping together, she praises their “nice life” after he remarks that the people on the cover of a tabloid are “more exciting than anything we’ve got around here.” (For more self-referential material, check out the photo in the upper right corner of the fake tabloid.) The song’s commentary on celebrity, stars, and transformation is made manifest visually through some brilliant editing and costumes.
One can even imagine Bowie laughing at that Daily Mail article from last fall and that this video is his response. Clearly he’s pulled off the biggest transformation of his career and bested us all, yet again.
The Next Day comes out on March 12.
It’s been just a week since the release of Parenthetical Girls‘ Privilege* album (review), but we want more! Luckily, there are two remixes and a video performance to help the greedy ones.
Los Campesinos! have transformed “Sympathy For Spastics” by adding a sprightly synth beat while amplifying and repeating the song’s original, already haunting piano track.
“Young Throats” has been tackled by YACHT, who have replaced the opening wave of keyboards—and most of the vocals and other instruments—with a sparse, robotic drumbeat and synths, while keeping the spine of the track intact.
The band also recorded a live performance of “Curtains” in this video on a decrepit, long-retired riverboat in the first of a four-part documentary video series.
It was only last month that Suede released a track from their upcoming album Bloodsports and now the official single and video are out.
It’s Suede, all right. Monochromatic, smoky, everyone looking dour. No longer the pretty young things (except for Richard Oakes, perhaps), but that’s not only fine, it’s preferable. We always loved the music the most, anyway. The song is also very much a Suede single, and actually improves towards the end when they sort of let loose. I’m looking forward to analyzing the lyrics to this and “Barriers” when the album is released.
Now who’s going to make an animated GIF of Brett Anderson’s slow clap? Because I need that in my life. Bloodsports is out on March 18.