Awol One & Factor - The Landmark (2011)


this is the 3rd collab between Shapeshifters alum Awolrus and Canadian producer Factor. the first two were good yet uneven efforts, but they've finally put it together for a whole album on this release. this is for lovers of leftfield, Anticon-ish hip-hop. the beats are eclectic brilliance, shit that few emcees would ever think to throw a verse at; and Awol is Awol - you either like his flow or you don't.

[link removed by request]

Count Fleet - Count Fleet EP (2011)


5-song EP of eastside LA indie pop from Caitlin Dwyer and Elliot Glass (the indie video director dude), aka Count Fleet. bouncy, 70s-style pop tunes that sound like ELO, Jon Brion, Living Sisters. the cheery, more upbeat songs are balanced nicely with wistful, spacious ballads that conjure the imagery of winter in Los Angeles.

listen/name your price at Bandcamp

Grammar - Some Songs (2011)

Grammar - Some Songs (2011)



Grammar is a band from the DC area. Their tracks here are guitar-based, eminently danceable indie pop, with a bunch of other flavors. I hear everything from franz ferdinand to dinosaur junior to hot hot heat. They have four tracks up on their bandcamp which can be had for free! I listened to them all then played them all again.

V/A - Where the Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968 (2009)


exactly what the album title says - 4 years of great Los Angeles music. there are over 100 songs here, so check the impressive tracklist. a broad catalog of the local scenes on and off the Strip, featuring some especially choice selections from The Byrds, The Standells, Captain Beefheart, The Doors, The Beach Boys, Lee Hazlewood, Del Shannon, and lots of lesser known 60s bands.

Discs 1/2
Discs 3/4

Cluster - Cluster '71 (2006)


reissue of this landmark album from electronica-via-krautrock pioneers Cluster. innovative sound structures built from (often improvised) treatments of raw audio from synths, organs, slide guitar, cello. the result is a kind of distorted and damaged ambient music that always seems on the verge of peaking but instead usually makes a detour to some random set of ideas. it's surprisingly human and organic for being so twisted and effect-heavy...

(and German)

These Are Powers - All Aboard Future (2009)


difficult to describe this excellent disc. Fever Ray meets Diplo? XX meets Adult.? much more beat oriented than your average experimental album - distorted percussion samples bordering on noise/industrial, the occasional dancefloor banger, and bass that will challenge your subwoofers and piss off your neighbors.

get it

V/A - Morvern Callar OST (2002)


very diverse soundtrack to existential flick Morvern Callar, with contributions from Can, Aphex Twin, Broadcast, Boards of Canada, VU, Stereolab, Scratch Perry, Ween, etc. sounds like a mixtape you'd throw together for a druggy day trip.

where are we going, Morvern?

Lang Lang - Live at Carnegie Hall (2003)


some pretty ass piano music from Lang Lang, who obviously can shred. it's the little things that do it for me, like the harmonies around the 1:00 mark of Schubert's Wanderer-Fantasie (track 6), the surprising blue notes sprinkled throughout Tan Dun's (of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon fame) piece, or the seductive fluidity of Chopin's Nocturne.

piano!

Cut Copy - Zonoscope (2011)


i'm a little late to this party. these guys wear their influences on their sleeves - Factory Records, Beach Boys, Pet Shop Boys. but when they let loose they're capable of crafting some pretty great pop songs. hit or miss, but the hits are more than capable of ending up on some of your bouncier playlists.

bleep blorp

Moon Duo - Escape (2010)


4 tracks of motorific krautrock-y headnodders from SF's Moon duo, who drop their full-length later this month. less of a focus on ambience and tricky rhythm-type shit, and more on sledgehammer drumbeats and unflagging propulsion.

thump smack thump thump

V/A - The Limits of Control OST (2009)


dreamy soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch's most recent film, which is pretty good if you like assassins, Spain, or ass-naked Paz de la Huerta. lots of drone from Boris and Sunn o))); random cuts from Earth & Bill Frisell, Black Angels, Schubert; and some pretty raw flamenco.

la vida no vale nada

V/A - Verve Unmixed² (2003) and
V/A - Verve Remixed² (2003)



Some of Verve's best tracks, presented in their original form and as remixes.

First, the unmixed disc is incredible. Nina Simone's 'Sinnerman' is frantic and intense, Archie Shepp's 'Blues for Brother George Jackson' channels bop and funk to make a seriously heavy track, whilst Ramsey Lewis lays down pure funk in 'Do What You Wanna' to make something equally groovy. Really, every track is killer. And due to their nature - I wouldn't call many of them standards - jazz fans will likely find something they haven't heard before.

Second, the remixed disc... each track is reinterpreted by a different artist, and each artist seems to dig into already-interesting aspects of the originals. The catchiest components of the originals - a rhythm, a progression, a note - are the same components stressed or explored in the remixes. In short, they're tastefully done, they're interestingly reinterpreted.

Unmixed?
Remixed.

Alpha - Pepper (1998)


A collection of remixes and rarities from the trip-hop collective.

Admittedly, I'm not huge on the album as a whole - I usually start halfway at 'Slim (Underdog Remix)' and ride it out to the end - but holy shit, a few tracks are golden.

'Pepper' is a must-hear for subwoofer fans. If you could record the sound of nostalgia, it'd sound like 'Over'. And the ultimate, easily one of my favorite tracks of all time, is one you might have heard as the mistitled 'Music to Fuck To', misattributed to Portishead... it's actually Alpha's 'Firefly', remixed here by Receiver.

Who begins a star?

Dana Dane - Dana Dane With Fame (1987)

dana dane came up with slick rick in the projects, unlike slick though, his fame receded greatly after this first album (which did pretty well for a hip hop album of the time). it's pretty sweet old school story-telling shit, vaguely humorous mostly with a lil british lilt (not genuine, unlike slick rick's). stand out track 'cinderfella dana dane' was covered by snoop dogg at some point.

Dr. Alimantado - Best Dressed Chicken in Town (1978)


DJ/dub album from sound controller Dr. Alimantado, featuring prime cuts at the apex of Jamaican music. how could anything with that cover be bad?

it can't

V/A - I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore: 1927-1948 (2007)




The title of this collection sums it all up - this is music for the displaced, the disheartened.

It's a compilation of recordings by immigrants in America, and hence features an eclectic diversity of musical styles from French to Greek, Southern Gospel to Hawaiian. But while the songs don't sound the same - save for a low-fi warmth and crackle - they share a common time period: they were recorded during the Great Depression, the Second World War. The voices singing them were witnessing their world change, negatively and drastically.

In short, these artists didn't feel at home, and that translates through their music in melancholy, despondence and heavyheartedness. I think the real winners are 'Blow Wind Blow', 'Te Prohibido el Cabaret' and the title track 'I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore'.


Thank you, Mississippi.

Sherpa - I'm Sparklers (2008)

Sherpa - I'm Sparklers (2008)

sherpa is a really sweet band. they played at i think the second gig i ever attended, and are (apart from the dhdfd's) the only band i remember from the auckland scene of that era. this might be because they are they are (apart from the dhdfd's) the only band from that scene still active, now with muzai records, the biggest thing (probably ever) in auckland indie music. this album contains one of my favourite songs of all time (11:11) and a load of other nice indie rock/power-pop tunes. they have a new album coming out this year, pretty cool optical illusions, which from what i've heard is really good, so check them out.