The lads of Chef Menteur are asking for your help in funding their latest album, East Of The Sun & West Of The Moon, on vinyl via Kickstarter. I’ve written about CM before and featured their songs on monthly mixtapes. I first stumbled across their music when I bought a giant lot of ‘indie’ cd’s on eBay years back and this stuck out of the pile so I decided to tackle a review of it and I never looked back. In my opinion CM are one of the most unheralded pioneers of ambience in the past 10 years. Bandmember/multi-instrumentalist, Alec Vance, is also the curator of Backporch Revolution, a label and collective of musicians in the NOLA area specializing in the occult of experimental/psychedelic/unexplainable sounds . I’ve had first glimpse of the new album and it’s a massive, genre-busting supernova of sound. Taken from their Kickstarter page:
:::We wanted to make sure that when trying to release a classic double album, in all its monstrous glory, there were still no excess or throwaway tracks: Just as much time was spent whittling songs down as it was building them up. At least as many songs didn’t make it on the record as those that did in the interest of providing the most conceptually pure experience. This is an epic aural journey, containing songs for lovers of classic psychedelia, space-odyssey synth drones, Warp-records style electronica, krautrock and kosmische, doom drone, hints of early metal, folk-, math-rock and prog-rock sneaking in from time to time as well. “A symphony of space rock” one might even call it..:::
Their funding drive ends in 3 days so please help out with whatever you can – you shan’t be disappointed. If ever there were music meant to be immortalized on wax, this is it. I chipped in a cool 50, which earns you the double LP plus a test pressing, compliments of the sick United Pressing promo. Check out a track and video from East below as well as a few bonus songs from their 2 (outstanding) previous LP’s.
Tonight I’ll be finally getting around to seeing William Fitzsimmons at World Cafe. Will has a perfect songwriter’s background which includes being born to two blind parents and suffering from a variety of psychological struggles, most recently post-divorce depression. I’ve long been a fan of his heart-on-sleeve take on the soft-spoken folk genre (i.e. Iron & Wine/Elliott Smith though simpler) so seeing him upstairs at WCL should make for real treat and a much-needed change of pace as far as live shows go. (My ears are still ringing from the recent Joy Formidable gig…) His last few albums have been leaning towards a considerably more accessible sound (read: more Ben Gibbard or recent Jeremy Enigk than Sam Beam) but I feel compelled to at least see the beard him once. His latest, Gold In The Shadow, is seeing a vinyl release on April 16 (Record Store Day, posers) via the semi-giant Nettwerk and it’s easily his best since 2006’s Goodnight. Slow Runner is along for the ride and although I’m not at all familiar with their catalog I’ve heard some positive words spoken by others.
I stumbled across The Binary Marketing Show back when you could separate new releases by genre on CDBaby. Not that I’m a classification Nazi by any means but the selection of new age and hip-hop was unquestionably less than desirable (still is). It took all of a few 30-second clips to make me want to devour anything I could get my ears on.
2009’s Pattern, a diverse exploration into wind-swept melodies and varied instrumentation, was my introduction to TBMS and ended up being one of my favorite LP’s of that year. I also described it as an inspiring collection teeming with weirdo-pop, sunshine fixes and tribal beats and featured the simply special ‘Fear’ on my December ’09 mixtape. The duo, consisting of Abram Morphew and Bethany Carder and hailing from Brooklyn, have somehow eluded widespread, blogospherical success and that’s a shit-bag of shame. But really, nothing I wax poetic about is going to serve up any justice to the wholesome goodness of their entire catalog. The band was kind enough to share their latest release with me so dig into a few tracks I culled from that (and a few others) below and scour their voluminous Bandcamp page for more. They’ll be playing a house show at The Mitten in West Philly on 3/1 and I’m totally sure it’ll be electric but unfortunately I won’t be able to make it.
RIYL The Books, The Microphones, Fog, any number of your current favorite chillwave crushes
With perhaps the inevitable oversaturation of the indie market with ignomious band names and umpteenth-rate home recordings it’s nice to know that Scranton, PA’s Kid Icarus are still putting out records. I happened to stumble across them (and by association, Summersteps Records) when I bought massive lots of ‘indie cd’s’ on eBay several years back. Be My Echo, My Dad Is A Dinosaurand Naked In The Afternoon: A Tribute To Jandek were strewn about in the pile, all released by Summersteps. Given my closet retro gamer status I quickly reached for Kid Icarus and was greeted with lo-fi panache and a cover of one of my all-time favorite tracks, Roky Erickson’s ‘You’re An Unidentified Flying Object’. Almost ten years later and Eric Schlittler is still at it with his latest statement, Imaginary Songs And Aluminum Hits. Long-time fans will soon realize that while the production has become a little more crisp since the band’s earlier musings, the hooks and the manner in which they sink themselves you still remain. Fans of Bee Thousand-era Guided By Voices, Sebadoh or Spare Snare (whoa, remember them???) will latch onto what’s being offered up here. It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling to know the coal region of PA (my birthplace) is exporting something other than Yuengling and pierogies.
The band has a page full of album tracks, demos and live takes over har and you can also sample two tracks off Aluminum below. And lest ye turn your nose up to (inferior?) mp3’s (like I have a tendency to do) there’s a vinyl pressing – limited to 250 copies with a free digital download of the album. Spin it right round.
Listen closer. Don’t call it beach rock. Listening to Silver by Roanoke, VA’s Eternal Summers sends visions of 1997 running through my head. Not that it sounds dated, mind you. Daniel Cundiff (also a member of The Young Sinclairs and SUNKING!, among others) and Nicole Yun (Mommies) have found a way to channel a whirlwind of sounds into pop perfection. After a stellar debut EP and a number of 7″s released over the past 2 years (including an outstanding split with Philadelphia’s Reading Rainbow), Silver, the band’s first LP, not only reminds us of how good indie pop used to be, but also (and more importantly) that it can still be good. After listening to this record about 4 times through, all i wanted to listen to was There’s Nothing Wrong With Love and Mag Earwhig! and Slanted & Enchanted and all the rest of my favorite 90’s albums. The spirit this record evokes is hopeful, is vibrant, is clear. I’m floating down rivers of reverb. I’m gliding through the skies on wings made of catchy hooks. Don’t be fooled by their name…Eternal Summers have created the perfect soundtrack for the coming fall.
RIYL: Guided By Voices, Sleater Kinney, Built To Spill, Broadcast
Man, listening to Trenton’s The Great Explainer makes me feel young again. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for this chunky, melodic Hot Water Music/Lifetime/Kid Dynamite-influenced hardcore. They got that nice guy/tough guy dual vocal attack working for them, the guitars weave in and out effortlessly and the skins sound like they are getting duly pounded. I applaud the brevity of each track – all filing in under the 4-minute mark – get in, break a sweat, get out. The hardcore/emo scene was once youthful and relevant and hopefully once the thrill of its 00’s mainstream success wears off those of us who were there can stop waxing nostalgic and get back to what’s important – the music itself. We should keep an eye on these lads to see where they float this ship in the future but in the meantime – dig their debut 10″ out now on Chunksaah. Those of you in the Philly area might want to stop by The M Room Oct. 15th – TGE are opening up for (drum roll, plz) The Ataris. Sample a track below and check out their Bandcamp page for a few demos.