Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Toro y Moi Remix

Here is a remix I did for this Toro y Moi remix contest.

Toro y Moi - Still Sound (Skyscraper Remix)

Tennis - Cape Dory

Let's pretend the band Tennis is actually called The Tennis Balls, and that Cape Dory was actually released in the 60's as a set of 45's instead of a full length album in the 2010-2011 wave of the return-to-the-coast trend. There would be A-sides and B-sides, and if you've been picking up whatever free downloads you could find of Tennis songs throughout 2010, you probably already know and love all of the A-sides. In that case, the only new material Cape Dory offers is those B-sides, which we probably would have loved as much as Take Me Somewhere and Marathon if we had heard them first.

Cape Dory doesn't falter because it doesn't take any chances, instead choosing to remain directly in the middle of the kind of pop music that will always be that kind of pop music. As such, Cape Dory will only be talked about when it is being played, because there simply isn't much to say. It is a reminder of what the pop music formula used to be before rock and disco, before big hair and drum machines, before Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus.

Cape Dory
will be good until something else comes along, at which point Tennis can either chalk up another adventure to remind us of what we would be hearing on the radio if this actually were the 60's, or fall into the obscurity of the occasional random play on iTunes' shuffle.

Ducktails - Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics

Listening to Arcade Dynamics is like watching the 2009 remake of Friday the 13th; you'll come out of it thinking, “Well, that was definitely a Ducktails album.”

Matthew Mondanilee, the man behind Ducktails, has no tricks up his sleeve. Using the same guitars, pedals, and drum machine that made up the first two albums, he made another album that sounds like sitting on the front porch, and song titles like Hamilton Road, Sunset Liner, Little Window, etc. go a long way toward reinforcing that sound. The difference is that this time around, the thought of finding something to do has occurred to him. This hint of direction surfaces in the higher fidelity production of this album, as well as the 300% increase in the use of singing.

Do you want to go outside?
Outside's just for peace of mind
Do you want to stay indoors?
Come on man, I'll just be bored.

But, that doesn't mean he has developed any real intentions, remaining delightfully indifferent. It is like being content with spending the whole night at home playing Super Nintendo with your friend, talking about finding something to go do.

There is nothing at stake here, which is why Arcade Dynamics, like Ducktails and Landscapes, will never impress or let anyone down. Ducktails falls outside of expectation, finding relaxation in the pressure-less joy of boredom, and that contentedness is what leads Arcade Dynamics like a tour guide for a staycation.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

End of 2010 Music List

I didn't think I was going to end up doing one of these end of the year lists for 2010 because I simply didn't listen to enough new music in the past year to justify believing that my opinion on the year's music matters, but then I decided that maybe the fact that I was actively avoiding new music this year means the music I did enjoy in 2010 must stand out in some way.

SO, here is my list which is short, in no particular order, and by no means meant to be comprehensive for the entire year of 2010:

Netherfriends - Barry and Sherry

I have never not been impressed with a Netherfriends release. The man behind this band, Shawn Rosenblatt, recently decided to throw in the towel in the working world and try out being a full-time musician the good ol' fashioned way -- through relentless touring, a no-choice-in-the-matter DIY attitude, and any excuse he can find to remain productive, and it all shows on this album.

The self-recorded production is of a higher quality than ever before and the content is larger (though still filled to the brim with shit-talk), but manages to communicate itself as simply as a grade-school student stretching himself as thin as he can in order to raise his hand higher than everyone else in the classroom, in hopes that someone will eventually call on him.

Baths - Cerulean

While every other chillwave band this year was spending their time digging through old records looking for drum machine beats not too overlayed with everything that sucked about the 80's to keep them from sampling it, this kid was taking advantage of the same laptop-makes-it-easy technique as everyone else, only he was creating something a little too heavy to just sit and bob your head to, something more like all of those early hip-hop producers intended when they invented the art of sampling as we know it today.

Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk - Skeletor & Me

Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk are one of the best bands you don't remember you heard at that one house show where you saw them open up for so-and-so but you couldn't remember their name or you didn't understand what they said when they said their band name through their effect-pedaled microphone... and I think they prefer it that way.

On Skeletor & Me, BBDDM dwells somewhere just outside of those late 90's emo instrumentals, always considering a complete collapse into an absolute mess of sound, leaving us wondering if that was the guitar, the keyboard, or the sampler making all of that noise. Yet, despite all of the confusion caused by the quick construction and deconstruction of sound layers, there is still something recognizable that hides deep enough to keep you from putting a finger on what it is exactly this band reminds you of.

Panda Bear - The Singles

Panda Bear is often given credit for inventing chillwave, an honor which he rejected via a stream of 7" singles completely unlike everything everyone loved about Person Pitch.

Candy Claws - Hidden Lands

What a perfect album title. This band seems entirely uninfluenced, instead deciding to explore locations where others only dream of as they stare, overwhelmed, at the synthesizer wall at Guitar Center trying to decide which one will be the easiest to figure out.

Hidden Lands manages to make recorded music sound like jungle acoustics so natural and beautiful that people would even close their eyes to a utopian landscape in order to completely focus on what they are hearing.

Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest

Deerhunter finally made an album that sounds as completely good as the high points in previous albums always suggested they could be. They finally seemed to complete their sound. This album does nostalgia and throwback as well as anyone else without dwelling too long in the past.

Ocean Age - Forest EP

I got really lucky with this one, stumbling upon this band at a show I went to within the first few weeks of moving to Portland. This band is a perfect example of why I wish more music students listened to Animal Collective.

Maid Marian Songs

I just recently got on board with uploading music to Mediafire, so here is a couple of Maid Marian tunes for download:

Maid Marian/Skyscraper (or Tall Too) Split

Maid Marian - Two Songs Recorded in a Cool Dinosaur Tunnel in Colorado

Wednesday, January 5, 2011