So here’s a re-post of my favorite albums from 2012.. in case you like to wait until the end of the month.
Does anyone remember the old Tower Records in Manhattan on 4th St near NYU’s campus? It was across the corner from Other Music, who outlived them! Last year, No Longer Empty filled the space with an art exhibit called “Never Can Say Goodbye” and hosted a few events, including a music panel during Social Media Week 2010. The day after the panel, one of my favorite new artists, Animal Hospital played a few tracks from his full length, “Memory” released in 2009 on Barge .
Kevin Micka is a pretty humble musician, surprised to see a fan like me gushing about the cathartic effect his seeping guitar drones and reverberating electronics create. When he started his set with “Late Summertime”, the looped and delayed chords certainly set the tone of something thicker than ethereal ambience. Cycling keyboard whirs gave the effect of UFO cruise ships passing through the Badlands National Park, all while a man and his guitar are happy in solitude.
Since no alien attacks were made, Kevin opened up to “A Safe Place” with the loop of a horse trot in slow gallop. Happier, melodic guitar phrases get added into the stew of echoes, and the journey is accented by lazer-like synth snippets as if there are flashes of heat lightning beyond the horizon. If there’s a big spaceship above this man, his horse, and his guitar, he’s rolling with the bright flashing lights too.
Micka seemed to reached the highest point of the “table mountain” during his last track of the set, “Memory”. Strongly plucked bass notes in slow rhythm accompanied by echoing vocal cries were matched with building synth washes that intensified together. This close encounter didn’t present a sense of panic but more of a union of two kinds of spirits. Micka is no ordinary hipster cowboy.
For his next New York journey, Animal Hospital will be playing at Zebulon Cafe in Brooklyn, Feb 27th with Bird Names and Key Demo. He’s got a whole new set of new songs to take you into the flashing, glowing sunset.
Ok folks, Here’s the list, Hit me up if you can’t find these releases:
Joe Mull’s Best of 2010
Full Length Albums:
For New Yorkers who couldn’t make it to the Mutek festival in Montreal, we got a pretty damn good consolation prize. On Friday the 11th, The Bunker presented The Caretaker and Demdike Stare at Public Assembly in Williamsburg.
The lineup was scheduled to go on until 6am, so I thought if I showed up around one-ish I’d get to see Leyland James Kirby, aka The Caretaker. You can’t miss him – “Kirbs” has got a ginger colored ‘fro that is looking pretty glam rock lately. Unfortunately when I arrived at 2am, he was already done. Disappointed, I asked him if Demdike Stare was still up, and he said they were next.
Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty were just taking over the table, getting ready for a live set. They’ve been collaborating as Demdike Stare since last year, producing a wild brew of dub, hauntology, and samples from shadowed soundtracks in places like the middle east and West Indes.
Their first track warmed in with belled-up throbbing techno and some spooky rhythm washes.
The second track was more in an Deepchord vein, with spacier synth and dub echoes, yet still much more dancey than the home listening of their full length “Symbiosis”.
By the third track, the beats were pushing a higher tempo, and the dancefloor was certainly tuned up.
Not until the 5th track did I recognize something they already released – “Haxan” from Symbios. Very well played out live!
For a fantastic wrap-up, Sean Canty started dropping vinyl while Miles added effects. What a great show!
As always, if you like what you hear, please support the artists, and make a purchase. You can get Symbiosis at Boomkat here:
Sorry for the long delay in getting this post to you, but Ben Frost’s [second?] New York performance last March at Le Poisson Rouge needs to be seen and heard. The last time I saw him live was in March of 2007 at the now-closed Tonic, and it was so loud that he almost shook the giant air purifier off the ceiling.
Ben’s music is as scary as a Stephen King novel and brilliant like early Swans with Pan Sonic and some doom metal fried into to the mix. He started the set with “Theory of Machines” from the album of the same name. Frost sent the piece into guitar feedback purgatory, giving the song more force and power than ever before.
In “Leo Needs a New Pair of Shoes” from his latest thriller, “By the Throat”, Ben plays a haunting and beautiful piano vignette, supported by scraping static loops that take on a life of their own, irking him to the point of telling the static to “Shut the F Up!” and turn it off. It was hilarious to see him beating down the ghost in the machine during such a tense piece.
“Killshot”, the first track from “By the Throat” starts with a spooky keyboard loop, shards of backwards-masked swelling guitar stabs, and dulcimer riffs straight out of a horror film. Most of this puts dark genres to shame.
In his final track, “Ó God Protect Me”, Frost closes out with the quietest yet possibly heaviest song, including minimal piano synth, crackling static raindrops, and beats that sound like a pulse that is slowing to a stop.
Ben’s performance in 2007 was one of my favorites of the past ten years, and this show was nothing less. The rest of the world might not be ready for him, but I urge you to give it a listen. And of course, please support the artist and buy the MP3s here:
Well last night certainly surprised me..
When I got in the gallery bar at Le Poisson Rouge, I was there to see Kode9. Most people I talked with were talking about Flying Lotus, and one woman was even spreading a rumor that Thom Yorke would be making a guest appearance.
Although I’m a big fan of Kode9, without the Spaceape, his DJ set was not the showstopper I anticipated. He spun some great white labels, but the real stealer was the opening act, Nosaj Thing. Nosaj is known for “Aphex-like” beats, and his full length “Drift” has a good combination of downtempo, avant electro, and ambient hip-hop. But the dude tore it apart last night, in the style of fellow LA DJ, “The Gaslamp Killer.” Nosaj’s beats were faster and extremely louder. I seriously regret not getting any video. Here’s a studio link courtesy of KEXP, but it DOES NO JUSTICE to the live set last night:
The next two clips are of Kode9 vs. Flying Lotus, and then Flying Lotus beginning his set. After tonight, I realized that the Los Angeles experimental trip-hop scene is making a massive emergence, and there should be a lot to follow from these folks (Nosaj, Flying Lotus, and The Gaslamp Killer.)
Please let me know if you can ID the tracks, and please support the artists by buying their music!
During the WFMU Fundraising Marathon, several DJs brought in special guests from as far away as Los Angeles. But Station Manager Ken Freedman couldn’t even have his own co-host Andy Breckman make an appearance to ask listeners for donations on their comedy show, “Seven Second Delay.”
As punishment, the listeners deemed it was necessary for Andy to wear peanut butter underwear at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade during their live show on March 24th.
Will the audience let Andy negotiate his way into weaseling out of another bet, or will Andy be a good sport for once in his life?
Here’s the vids:
If you’re a fan, you can join those who believe in the power of peanut butter underwear here:
As always, please donate to WFMU!