James Blake has done an admirable job being an electronic sound alchemist, fusing together the dusty, throbbing beats of dubstep with a serene pop sensibility, floating his Jeff Buckley-esqe vocal quiver in for good measure. His latest album, Overgrown, seems like he is polishing the edges even more, crafting songs that both float you into the clouds and shake your tonsils with their rattling bass. Soak in the beauty/chaos of “Retrograde” above and, if you dare, see Blake tonight at First Ave. After seeing him the last time he was here at First Ave (which I think was before their insane new sound system), I can say that he isn’t afraid to crank up the bass to levels that make you feel like someone is kicking your lungs in.
Stacian and Samantha Glass are two groups that are doing the outer-space synth thing well, but neither seem to get as much traction in larger music circles as they should. We have talked a lot about Stacian and our love of her intense, full throttle take on dark synth pop music, and can confirm the lucid sounds translate well in the live setting. You can watch/listen via her new video for her song “Orbit” to her buzzing, ambient synth kraut goodness below. Joining her on tour is the Madison, WI group Smanatha Glass, who aren’t quite as dark but as just as zonked out in their electronic goodness. The group have released tapes on various labels, including the excellent Not Not Fun, and always bring top notch stuff. Listen to their bubbly track “Movement 1″ below. It should be a great show. See both bands along with locals Dreamweapon and L.E.D Candle at the Purity Bakery tonight, starting at 9:30 p.m.
Local trio Is/Is have, in the past, seemed like side place for Sara (ex-First Communion Afterparty) and Sarah (Gospel Gossip) to get their rocks off with crunching riffs and classic rock mojo. Their debut LP III was a heady, straight to the point affair that eschewed more of the pysch leanings of both of their other bands. It seems with their new 7″ they are venturing back into more hazy realms that they best known for. The “Hunter” b/w “Shine Down” 7,” out now on Manimal Records, layers a bit for fog on the riffs and, especially on “Shine Down,” really floats out into the ether more than a majority of the material on III. The two songs sound more of what I initially expected when seeing who was in Is/Is, and show a band growing from beyond a side project into a group that seems to be gearing up for the long haul.
Sonny & The Sunsets are back! Though were they ever really gone? Though the band apparently “broke up” awhile back, they don’t seem to have spent much time on the sidelines before getting back together to release last year’s excellent Longtime Companion. And there’s a new record in the chute – Antenna to the Afterworld, which is inspired in part by the death of a friend of Smith’s as well as a contact Smith made with another dead friend via a psychic/medium. Antenna to the Afterworld promises to be comprised of “new wave synths and post punk beats,” and you can get the first listen to what that will sound like via single “Green Blood,” a tune in which Smith utilizes semi-spoken word, call and response lyrics to narrate a bizarre tale of android love.
The song’s release was accompanied y the announcement of a handful of tour dates but alas, Minneapolis was not one of them
How did I miss the debut LP from Allah-Lahs? The vintage aesthetic. The chords wrapped in fuzz and washing on a wave of reverb. The druggy but focused vibe. It is garage-pop-soul in the finest form I have heard in years. And I missed it. Well, with a copy of the self titled LP from the California group cemented on my turntable, I am making up for lost time. Listen above to the songs “Sacred Sands” & “Long Journey” from the LP and, if you love hazy garage rock and you missed this record like I did, don’t sleep on this any longer. The band are in town Saturday, 4/20 to open for Black Angels at the Fine Line, with rumors of a full headlining tour coming down in the Spring.
Local scuzzy garage-pysch band Fuck Knights are always a safe bet for some fun, unwashed three chord rock. The local stalwarts are back with a new EP, which you can preview below, which continues their trend of focusing on the fuzzy side of the Nuggets compilation. The EP is out now on Sir Gregory Records, which is I think means self released. You can find out tonight if you venture out into the blizzard to see the band play alongside Valet for what should be a great show at the 331 Club. Free as always.
While I don’t think Pharaohs are in danger of losing their spot as my favorite band on the outstanding 100% Silk label, you can’t really go wrong with Octo Octa either. The Brooklyn producer will drop a double 12″ titled Between Two Selves at the end of May, but for now you can dive into the blissed out house/disco of “Work Me,” which is a spot on example of why 100% Silk is such a commanding label. Look for a full review of Between Two Selves in May.
It almost seems cruel for Moon Glyph to release tracks from local trio Beat Detectives on a dreary Monday morning. The group, featuring members of Food Pyramid and Radical Cemetery, create the kind of kinetic, zonked out electronic house jams that seem meant for a decadent weekend (or, more broadly, a warehouse in the 1980′s). As the band describe it, it is “less Ibiza, more Nissan Ultima.” The two songs below give you a taste of the neon flavored synths and the woozy but charging beats that populate the world the band live in. Grab the whole tape from Moon Glyph HERE.
Royal Treats is a band featuring a smattering of players from other local groups, most notably Gordon Byrd from Teenage Moods, who have recently released Gimmie, a tape of damaged, fuzzy pop ditties on Cat People Records. Watch the video for their somber “Don’t Worry, Babe” above to get a sense of the bands lo-fi aesthetic and garage-pop focused songwriting chops. Boyd is a champ at creating songs that sound thrown together haphazardly while having intricate layers (both sonically and lyrically) that create collections that have outstanding repeat-ability. You can listen and buy the whole tape HERE and see the band tonight for their tape release show at the Hexagon with Kitten Forever, Teenage Strangler, Wild Ghosts.