Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Italy is also part of the '90s revival! Here's Be Forest.

There's a brand new single by Italian band Be Forest, "Captured Heart," off the album Earthbeat, which arrives February 2014. While its unconventional time signature and percussion style are quite nice, I'd like to backtrack to a single that came out a month ago, because it's a bit musically superior and has a solid shoegaze bite to it, reminding of the hazy surf of the late '80s and early '90s that has so strongly been making its return, topped with a barely-there female whisper that could easily have come from Hope Sandoval or Harriet Wheeler.

You can buy this seven-inch at Bandcamp. It's really fucking marvelous.

...with Unconditional Arms

Here's one by Oakland musician Jeffrey Wright, recording under the name Unconditional Arms, as part of a record meant to celebrate the recent birth of his son. The influences are all there, and Wright is the first to admit such; the love of late '90s/early '00s post-rock is all too apparent, but he contributes to the genre quite nicely, and these instrumentals are anything but devoid of authenticity of emotion. Even his pseudonym is dedicated to his newborn son. Speaking of, the kid has good taste in hats.

Stream or purchase Kinship via his website, and check out Wright's other band.

Friends, meet Relays.

This may or may not be the first and last time I feature electronic music of any sort on this site, but my friend made this stuff. And I'm pretty damn proud of 'im. More than ten years in the making, coming to you from Seattle, he's the dude formerly known as 2005 EMP Sound Off! finalist Handshakes.

Madlib: Encouraging the Masses to Look up "Zamrock" on Wikipedia

Madlib is nothing new, but this lead single off his upcoming Rock Konducta Vol. 1 is, as always, a nice departure from other things he's done but is very much recognizable as his own (see his brilliant work via Yesterday's New Quintet, for one). Old news, but he's all Oxnard's got, and Stones Throw hints that the new record will be influenced by '60s and '70s psych rock and funk. New record due in December.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Palehound is here! Palehound is here!

"Vandalize my body if it helps you sleep soundly"

I've essentially taken the month off from music in order to indulge in the disgusting habit of pre-Halloween horror movie marathons -- more specifically, my nights have been spent looking at Michael Myers for approximately four hours at a time. But the thing to pull me out of this rut was yesterday's release of Palehound's debut EP on Exploding in Sound. Nineteen-year old Ellen Kempner's final product, after that preview we got of "Pet Carrot," was somewhat surprising; she'd started drawing a number of Liz Phair comparisons, and this is certainly fair, but my first impression of Bent Nail on the whole was a nostalgic reminder of Lifted. Kempner's got too much backbone and quirk to be labeled a folk artist, but much like what Conor Oberst accomplished on "Waste of Paint" eleven years ago, she goes acoustic several times over and comes off as nothing less than raw.

There are unconventional chord choices and rhythms at times, and she possesses a '90s spirit, that "it's all cool" vibe, which is somewhat puzzling given her age. But there's nothing phony about anything here, not a bit. While I'd have found an ideal album to be more like "Drooler" and "Pet Carrot," and perhaps a bit less singer-songwriter, Kempner is the talented performer most college musicians aspire to be. Moreover, now that it's apparent that she's the cooler Taylor Swift, the girl we all want as our BFF, I'm just as excited about her future output as she is about life.