Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Menomena Bring Mines to Classroom

I probably don't check out P4k.TV as much as I should, but this in-classroom performance from the mighty Portland experimental poptimists Menomena immediately caught my eye. The ever inventive trio (here playing as a four piece) turn the performance into a kind of makeshift music video as they perform songs from their recently released fourth album, Mines (still one of the best records of the year, in case you forgot). Check it out below.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Music Review: Grinderman - Grinderman 2

Well, color me surprised: the last thing I’d expect from Nick Cave and his Grinderman project at this point in their still young career would be a grower. Which I guess is a nice way of justifying an album that immediately deflated any expectations I had for it while disclosing that the rating you see below started off a lot lower than how it now reads. Meaning, well, nothing more than I get the gnawing feeling that I put a whole lot more thought into the possibilities of this band then they probably do. In fact, I’m not sure if there is another modern rock band that I’m more on board with as far as aesthetic and thematic ideology is concerned. I just wish they would stay truer to these (presumably) prescribed beliefs, as outside of a few tracks on their now first two albums, I continue to find little to ultimately differentiate a Grinderman song from a Bad Seeds song. Which essentially should be fine since I like the Bad Seeds, but why even bother, then, to make the designation at this point?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Loosely Based On Bees

I have nothing much to add to what the good folks at Altered Zones say about this fascinating process piece from Koen Holtkamp, one half of the great ambient duo Mountains. I'll let them take over, then, but be sure to check out the awesome excerpt video below:
"'Loosely Based on Bees' is a 16 minute apiological sound experiment from Koen Holtkamp of Mountains. Recorded on a fellow bee lover's Philadelphia rooftop, Bees compiles multiple processed field recordings over guitar and synth. At the beginning of the piece, instruments build around the deep drone of the bees. As time goes by, the presence of the bees softens and instruments take the lead, blurring the lines between sounds made from nature and those made by man. Saturated yet intricate, these electronic honey-tones lull the senses as our bodies are lowered deep into the hive.

Gravity/Bees is a part of the Dissolving Localities Project, an international collaboration between artists of America and Isreal to create an alternate environment by fusing sound and video pieces together. Pre-orders start on October 19th in anticipation of its November 2nd release."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Otakun uhkaus

Here's a pretty sweet video of shape-shifting Finnish songstress Islaja performing the slow-burning "Otakun uhkaus" from her new album Keraaminen Pää, which dropped last week on Fonal (who, once again, are having kind of a good year). The September release schedule has been overwhelming to say the least, but if all goes according to plan I should actually be reviewing this record in the next few weeks. In the meantime: good record, cool performance clip, awesome promo pic. Win.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Music Review: Superchunk - Majesty Shredding

Let’s get one thing out of the way right at the top: there’s a song on this album called “My Gap Feels Weird”. That’s the song title of the year right there, folks—signed, sealed delivered. It’s just so happens to be a great song as well, one of many such tracks on Superchunk’s first album in nine years, Majesty Shredding. Oh, and let me reiterate that in case you missed it: the name of this album is MAJESTY SHREDDING! Based on these two facts alone, it’s fairly obviously that a flood of inspiration is what brought Mac McCaughan and his long dormant crew of indie-rock lifers back to the fold of recorded music, and not any sort of requisite 90s reunion nostalgia that seems so prevalent these days (it’s all love Pavement). In fact, it’s not unlike the route their follow Chapel Hill contemporaries Polvo embarked upon last year, reemerging with a fully formed statement just about as good as anything from their most prolific and canonized period. Unlike Polvo, however, Superchunk have always basically done one thing and one thing very well: that is, blazing three-chord guitar-pop. They basically set the template, and despite a few attempts to broaden their sonic spectrum in the mid-90s (acoustic guitars!), Superchunk will always be Superchunk, and as Majesty Shredding continuously proves, that is a very good thing.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Stream: End of Radio Soundcloud Mix #2

With regular updates at InReviewOnline returning next week, and a new End of Radio podcast scheduled to drop next Friday, it seemed appropriate in the meantime to offer up our second official Soundcloud mix. This week I've got 90s post-rock from Labradford, some scintillating art-rock from Smart Went Crazy and U.S. Maple, a folk-pop gem from cult hero Skip Spence, an early reel-to-reel remix from that astounding new Walter Gibbons compilation, Jungle Music, as well as two stoner psych cuts to close things out. Hope you guys enjoy. See ya next week.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ranked & Revisited: Stanley Kubrick

In all honesty, Stanley Kubrick should have probably represented the first entry in this "Ranked & Revisited" series. The legendary New York expatriate has long been my default answer to queries regarding my favorite filmmaker. And whether that is necessarily still accurate-- he certainly retains that designation amongst American directors-- I'm not sure another filmmaker has meant more to me over a longer period of time that Kubrick. Furthermore, with such a small number of films to his name, it would have seemed reasonable to assume that drafting a list such as this would be rather simple. However, it's been Kubrick's rare debut film, Fear and Desire, which has dogged me and many a cinephile for years, never making it's way into the digital age, while bootleg VHS torrents rendered the film literally unwatchable (trust me, I've tried). It never helped, of course, that while alive Kubrick verbally disowned the film while going out of his way to suppress the work from screening at repertory cinemas for what amounts to basically his entire career. There are even rampant myths that Kubrick himself burned many of the original negatives in an effort to totally wipe the film from the record.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Music Review: Kemialliset Ystävät - Ullakkopalo

One of the strangest byproducts of truly psychedelic music over the years has been the simultaneous elimination and perpetuation of the need for mind-altering substances to facilitate the experience. That’s not to say that a certain contingent need any further excuse to use, but for less inclined folks such as myself, there continue to be specific strains of avant-garde music that can presumably produce a similar if not equally hallucinatory effect on the senses. Which is a long way of saying that while I’ve never dropped acid, my continued pursuit of new and disorienting sounds has led me to believe that the work of Finland’s Jan Anderzén is something of an aural equivalent. I’m hoping, then, that what follows reads more as objective opinion than as the endorsement of a blind addict, because once any strand of Anderzén’s shape-shifting avant-folk crew Kemialliset Ystävät (telling translation: Chemical Friends) enters the bloodstream, it can be hard to differentiate between concerns of reality and pleasures of the flesh. As with most things of this nature, however, it’s not the comedown that initially worries, but the potential the trip has to extend the mind into regions uncharted. I don’t know about you, but on evidence of Kemialliset Ystävät’s synapse-popping new album, Ullakkopalo, that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stream: End of Radio Soundcloud Mix #1

With the Toronto International Film Festival looming, it's looking like the End of Radio (and InRO as whole, mostly) will be taking a little break as a handful of our writers make the trek to the great white north. With that in mind, I figured this would be a good time to launch our very own Soundcloud profile, where Jon and myself can post any tracks we like and any given time, without the hassle of sitting down to record, edit and upload to iTunes. Regular End of Radio podcasts will continue of course, but this gives us an easy way to supplement our proper shows with even more music for your listening enjoyment. Continue to check back, as I plan on droppin new mixes every week or so, or at the very least on EoR off-weeks. Our first mix, which features left-field funk, drone, folk, industrial and post-rock, is available now, and you can stream it below or at our Soundcloud page.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Music Review: Royal Trux - Cats and Dogs [Reissue]

Back in 2007, I was fortunate enough to see Massachusetts-bred lo-fi trailblazers Sebadoh on the second stop of their long-ballyhooed reunion tour. During one of their multiple between song instrumental rotations, de-facto frontman and all-around indie godhead Lou Barlow quipped on how the band was, nearly 20 years later, still playing to an audience of twenty-something hipsters. There was no bitterness from the famously cantankerous singer mind you, more a vibe of resignation that his band’s lot had been cast and no matter how long they persevere, their fans will remain more or less of a certain age and mindset. He continued by comparing the influx of posturing young blog bands to the golden age of American indie-rock: “What are you guys even listening to nowadays? We used to listen to Butthole Surfers, Fugazi, and Royal Trux…you heard of them?” A few scattered “woos” rang out before the crowd fell silent and the band, smirks across their faces, continued with their set.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

American: Exhibits from the C.F. Kane Museum

Well, this looks like it could be very interesting. The first 30-minute sequence of the project (entitled "Screen") is available to watch after the cut. But first, a brief description from B. Kite at Moving Image Source (via the Mubi Notebook):
"American: Exhibits from the C.F. Kane Museum is projected to be a six-part investigation into the work, life, and myths of Orson Welles. It's structured around a series of objects that appear in Citizen Kane. As Manny Farber noted of Kane (with accuracy, if little affection): "The story was presented in such complicated ways and made so portentous with the shadows of meaning cast off by a hundred symbols that you could read almost anything into it, including what Welles had put there.

Part 1, "Screen," is basically a prologue and sets up a guiding (non)image for the whole series in Xanadu, the impossible object. Part 2, "Snowglobe," looks at the myth of the Golden Time, which haunts Welles's work. Part 3, which will probably be finished someday, will be called "Sled" and will poke around the intersection of biography and forgery."