Categories
music reviews

Matthew Dear Asa Breed [Ghostly Intl]

matthew.jpg
Rating: 8.0

Strong believers in live instrumentation oft dismiss the entire (sweeping) genre of electronic music; its endless repetition of synth loops, while providing consistent dancing fuel for clubbers on ecstasy, also tends to drill mercilessly into the brain. Asa Breed, Matthew Dear’s second full album release, provides a more accessible angle on the somewhat rigid genre of (micro) house music and achieves a powerful affect with minimal melodic song structures. Thusly, Matthew Dear has bravely gone where few dj/producers (is that an accepted term now?) dare to tread: into the world of the emotive, song-driven electronic album. And with the evolution of most electronic music at a complete standstill, we should be thankful for the efforts of Dear, 4tet, Squarepusher, and any other electronic artists who fearlessly push the envelope, for they remind us that Ė wouldn’t you know it? Ė electronic music is good for more than just spring break in Ibiza. Like, it’s also good for episodes of lovelorn self-pity.

Categories
music reviews

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra – Live in Seattle

.jpg
Best Dressed

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra at Neumo’s, Thursday June 21

I’ve noticed that in terms of big underground music scenes in the northwest, afrobeat doesn’t exactly take the cake. Nevertheless, whenever and wherever the Brooklyn-based Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra rolls through, I’ll make it my business to be there, and so will you if you know what’s good for you.

Categories
downloads music reviews videos

Loney, Dear Loney, Noir [Sub Pop]

loney.jpg

Rating: 6.0

First you see one indie rocker from Sweden; let’s say it’s Jens Lekman. Then they just keep showing up and nobody takes notice until they become a threat to our American way of life. You know the ones: the Radio Dept., Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, I’m From Barcelona. They come to our country, steal our dreams of playing homemade synth pop, and charm our socks off with their damn triangles, hand clapping, and sing-along choruses. We are face to face with a Scandinavian coup. If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.

I am John Video
I am John mp3

Categories
music reviews

David Kilgour The Far Now [Merge]

dave.jpg

Rating: 6.0

Kudos to Mr. Kilgour for pulling more rabbits out of his hat than you’ve got fingers and toes. The New Zealander has been co-writing rock history since forming The Clean in the early eighties and continues to deliver on clean, ephemeral pop rock. This album sounds like the product of a series of casual jam sessions meshed with Kilgour’s pure whimsy.

Categories
music reviews

Mezzanine Owls Slingshot Echoes

owls.jpg

Rating: 7.0

Cohesive debuts are few and far between. Here is an album in the ruff: the Mezzanine Owls are sure-footed in their fledgling sound, which is all the more grown-up for standing on the shoulders of giants like R.E.M. and The Jesus and Mary Chain. As a Los Angeles based band, the Owls sound native to Southern California about as much as Pink Martini sounds indigenous to Portland. What they do sound like: Silver Jews, My Bloody Valentine, Built to Spill, and Slowdive.

Categories
music reviews

Pajo 1968 [Drag City]

pajo.jpg
Rating: 7.25

Had the usounds editors thrown this disc into a mac, fucked around with garageband, and sent me the burned disc along with a note explaining that the record was originally released in 1968, they would have had me for the first few songs. And it seems like that’s the effect Pajo is going for.

Categories
music reviews

Suburban Kids With Biblical Names #3 [Minty Fresh]

kids.jpg
Rating: 6.75

The cover art gets a perfect ten. As for the music, it’s cheeky and clever, whimsical, and sports a consistent combination of electronic beats and habit-forming pop melodies. Swedish duo Peter Gunnarson and Johan Hedberg have created feel-good music in this album chock full of happy-go-lucky ditties transparently influenced by the likes of the Magnetic Fields. Their mission? To “turn all the dance floors into a burning inferno of ba-ba- ba”, says Labrador. If I must put this band in a category, I’ll go with what they claim on MySpace: “Hyphy/Tropical/Regional Mexican”. Also lifted off their MySpace page: “sounds like a long line of rocks or sand near the surface of the sea”.