Stream: Albert Swarm “The Cage EP”

29 Mar 2014 — Kelsie Brown

Finnish producer Albert Swarm has returned from the shadows with a brand-new set of three tracks. Recorded in his homeland of Finland, The Cage EP continues with that anxious darkness Albert Swarm has conquered. "Truths" and "Restraints" keep that delirious night club feel, while the addition of vocals in closing and title track "The Cage" warm things up a bit, but not so much that the shadows are lost.

The Cage EP is out now via pay-what-you-want at Ceremony Recordings' new Bandcamp page, where you can also download all of Ceremony's previous releases.

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Stream: The NFOP Show #22 on BCR

28 Mar 2014 — Henning Lahmann

This afternoon, we broadcast the 22nd edition of our weekly show on Berlin Community Radio, as per usual presenting you the week's freshest new tunes. Listen below.


(1) Lust For Youth "Epoetin Alfa"
(2) Amen Dunes "Lilac In Hand"
(3) Woods "With Light And With Love"
(4) Ships "None Of It Real"
(5) Fina Fisken "Save the Day"
(6)Maria Minerva "The Beginning"
(7) Octo Octa "Cause I Love You"
(8) Jamie xx "Sleep Sound"
(9) The Range "Two"
(10) Karmelloz "Below Freezing (feat. C Plus Plus)"
(11) Slime "Patrica's Stories (feat. Jeremiah Jae)"
(12) Angel Olsen "White Fire"

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Orchid Tapes “Boring Ecstasy”

28 Mar 2014 — Noah Klein

“Can you see it’s bloom?” It’s a mindful foundation for Orchid Tapes’ Boring Ecstasy compilation to begin with a question, one oh so relevant to both the Springtime currently taking root and the nature of its internalized conversation. Over the last four years, beyond nurturing a family of musicians to bring the world a stream of life affirming sounds, label organizers Warren Hildebrand and Brian Vu have developed a universe in which the personalities of their contributors and appreciators can exist within. Less business more friendship, Orchid Tapes has created a social economy of genuine interaction and a love for alternative forms of communication. To ask of the label is to ask of ourselves, and that’s a startlingly beautiful relationship absent in much of today’s music landscape.

My feelings, my gratitude, and the only way that I can begin to articulate the world that is Orchid Tapes is to close my eyes and replay a scene from the film Adaptation. Chris Cooper, taking a knee and staring into the eye of an orchid, delivers this gem:

What’s so wonderful is that every one of these flowers has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it. There’s a certain orchid that looks exactly like a certain insect, so the insect is drawn to this flower, its double, its soulmate.

To consider this as a reflection of the symbiotic relationship between performer and listener is to illustrate the image of beauty that unites each and every Orchid tape. Beginning with Warren’s own Swung From the Branches [OCT001] and present throughout the entire Orchid catalogue, there is a total sincerity that extends itself as a loving embrace. For every R.L. Kelly, Ricky Eat Acid or Happy Trendy release there is a diasporic community of bodies and feelings waiting to share a life. For every Home Alone or Arrange track to surface online there are a handful of hobbyist songwriters inspired to share their own homespun recordings. Alone, any of these tape deck treasures could have slipped into the uniform depths of Bandcamp but through the loving vehicle that Orchid Tapes has always been and ever grows into we Orchidians bear our tapes, teas, and handwritten thank you notes as badges in support of an honest and independent music distribution process. There is no mystification in a transparent partnership, and in 2014 that’s exactly what we need.

From start to finish Boring Ecstasy is a time capsule, a collection of thoughts and constructive ruminations on moments of being from a group of friends scattered throughout the globe. Their gorgeous contributions coupled with Orchid Tapes’ endearing organization makes for a stunning album, and now it’s up to us to give this the meaning that it deserves. Pre-order the 12” of  Boring Ecstasy: The Bedroom Pop of Orchid Tapes here or download the collection for the low, low price of a suggested donation. For New Yorkers, tomorrow, March 29, Orchid Tapes will host their fourth showcase with a handful of the musicians that appear on the record. Your presence is recommended.

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Craft Spells “Breaking The Angle Against The Tide”

28 Mar 2014 — Parker Bruce

I can't help but think of Craft Spells in a personal way. I remember seeing them open for Beach Fossils in April 2011 at Music Hall of Williamsburg here in Brooklyn and buying one of their tote bags. That summer, I made a mixtape for a Swedish guy I had met, put "Scandanavian Crush" on it, and mailed it. And then a year later, when I was studying abroad in Paris, I have memories of riding a Vélib bike around listening to the underrated Gallery EP and how glorious "Still Left With Me" sounded while gliding down boulevards. Also, the music store Balades Sonores (which is a total rough diamond in Paris) that I briefly helped out at had Craft Spells vinyl, and I remember taking so much comfort in that, being so far away from home. And now Justin Vellesteros gifts us with the perfect summer treat, aka a Craft Spells album, Nausea, coming out June 10th on the label with a whole lot of heart, Captured Tracks. The first single from it, "Breaking The Angle Against The Tide", has a honeyed synth that sounds like a giant orchestra and charged cymbal crashes with a Fear of Men-like swooping, unsteady, wobbly, and wonderfully ditzy guitar part. Where Gallery was strapping and defiant, even urgent, in tone with little sonic ambiguity, "Breaking The Angle..." shows that Vellesteros has decided to mix the sounds of Idle Labor with those of Gallery so the song is simultaneously retreating and bounding forward, depending on the moment. The lyrics match this with him saying, "You've wasted too much of my time", and that he wants to stay inside out of the "haze" (a very Pains of Being Pure at Heart-like sentiment and the opposite of Cults telling us to "Go Outside").

Download "Breaking The Angle Against The Tide" for free below and pre-order what is sure to be another wonderful release from Craft Spells.

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Something “Muscles” (exclusive)

27 Mar 2014 — Parker Bruce


Another week, another preview from UK-label Reeks of Effort's cassette, Sick of Hits Vol. 2, which will be available April 28th. Last week, we gave you Trust Fund's "No Surprise" and now we have "Muscles" by Newcastle's Something (Oliver Catt). The song is a warped 8-minute duet between Catt and Brighton's Eleanor Rudge of The Hundredth Anniversary and Tyrannosaurus Dead. Rudge's part sounds like it's being piped in through a landline. Catt details the admittedly very alarming things he wants to do to himself and someone else: burn his eyes out, drown someone, and cut their knees off (and those are just the tip of the iceberg). Somehow throughout all of this, the song still comes across as sweet. In the middle of it, Catt movingly lists his hopes, dreams, fears, and realities: "I had a dream I was an island/But I was drowning like I should," "I had a hope I'd be a candle/And I would burn your skin..." "But all I am is mountains made of rock." Rudge gets the last word, sending the song out on what could be seen as a positive note by singing "it feels good," echoing Catt's earlier "feeling better, feeling better, feeling better, feeling good." Catt and Rudge really put us through the ringer here. Let them. You'll feel better too.

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Watch: Fear of Men “Luna”

26 Mar 2014 — Parker Bruce

Brighton's Fear of Men are the coolest art history professors we've ever had in their new video "Luna". The FADER's Emilie Friedlander puts it best describing Fear of Men as having "an enigmatic habit of adorning their releases with photos that look straight out of the ancient art wing of a museum." She continues, "Their first two seven inch-singles, respectively, featured busts of Nefertiti and the Virgin Mary, and their inaugural EP, Early Fragments, starred a half-disintegrated sculpture of the Greco-Roman variety. The cover of their debut LP...continues in that neoclassical vein..."  This consistancy is a product of bandmates Jessica Weiss and Daniel Falvey who spearhead the Fear of Men asthetic (this 4eyes TV video for "Mosaic" helped out too.) Expanding on Friedlander, the signature of Falvey and Weiss' work is a piece of pottery or sculpture (though now, with "Luna/Outrun Me," they seem to be into archealogy and fossils) contrasting against a single-color backdrop, a look we've seen in artwork for Blouse as well with last year's Imperium. Now that we've travelled through art historical time, let's graduate and jump into the not-so-distant past. This is where Marina Abramovic comes in. She is perhaps best known as the woman who sat at a table at the MoMA staring at people for hours a day in 2010, but she has been making work for about forty years. Some of her imagary would work in a music video setting, like "The Lovers: The Great Wall Walk", where her and her partner in life and art staged the ultimate break up: they traveled the Great Wall of China from opposing sides and upon finally encountering one another, ended their relationship. Or the piece "Rhythm 0", where Abramovic put out items and tools for visitors to use on her naked body however they wanted. For Fear of Men's lesson on Abramovic, they give us "Dragonhead" and "Rest Energy." "Dragonhead" is at once Weiss doing Abramovic and Britney (there's a snake involved.) The color red is prominent throughout the video with Weiss wearing it, the screen turning the color at various points, and a vase filled with red paint shattering and reassembling. It all acts as a reference to the blood Abramovic has shed for her art. Here's hoping the next Fear of Men video is all about Carolee Schneemann! Your new favorite class is in session below. Fear of Men's first album, Loom, finally comes out on Brooklyn's Kanine Records on April 21st in the United Kingdom and April 22nd in the United States. And if you love zines like we do, be sure to get the "Luna/Outrun Me" zine/7" combo when it comes out on Exeter, UK-located Art is Hard Records on April 7th. Now start reviewing those flashcards!

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Watch: Napoleon “Moonlight”

25 Mar 2014 — Ashley Canino

A moving collage of images from Brooklyn to Nevada, Napoleon's new video for "Moonlight" is a delectably DIY homage to parties, relationships and bison ranches. Edited--and filmed in part--by lead singer Julian Anderson's girlfriend Thea Cabreros, the footage comes in at just under six minutes and I wish I could sink into the track and its visuals even longer than that. The fast-paced scenes are tied together with a roughly sketched, opaque heart and flashes of color--somehow it's enough to pull together the many slices of life the band shares with us, whether giddy and alcohol soaked or pensive and subdued. The song itself features standout vocals and synths that capture a throwback vibe without feeling disingenuous--and how could it above such an honest visual element.

Here are Thea's words on how the video came together, because she tells it so well:

"The concept was conceived of on one of many random conversations [Julian and I] had on Facebook chat. I jokingly asked to be in the music video after hearing the song, but [Julian] took it to heart.  The details were hashed out a few days later on a Skype 'date' (which was the first time we had seen each other in seven years). 'Send me what ur seeing and I'll send you what i'm seeing,' 'I only have my iPhone!,' 'Me too, the consistency will be great.'"

We decided that we would take footage for one week. I happened to be driving across the country at the time. I began shooting in Texas, and went on to shoot in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. One place it features that is of note is Zapata Bison Ranch in Mosca, Colorado where some friends of mine are ranchers.

[The video] was inspired by wanting to make sense of all the years, space, and disparate experiences [Julian and I] had since we last saw each other seven years ago. Despite the very different lives we had been living we had common a way of seeing the world and an inexplicable connection to one another."

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Natasha Kmeto “Channel 1” (exclusive)

25 Mar 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

Just in time for our proud publication of the "follow up" interview with Natasha Kmeto, we've been asked to premiere this fresh, unpredictable, and sort of naughty track. "Channel 1" has some kind of tone of severity mixed with confident beats - something else Kmeto is very good with – driven towards the song's rolling middle ground and acid bass. Something about this song seems to represent the attitude of ceasing to care about something that cannot be changed into one's favor, which is fitting since it is part of the launch compilation for Unspeakable Records, a Los Angeles-based label dedicated to both electronica and female artists. While talk of permeation and elimination of gender differentiation has been issued to some extent, label founder Kate Ellwanger aka Dot articulates that it's still quite crucial to gather the forces, to represent and stand up for forward movement in this pushing-through form. The label's name says it all, really, as does Kmeto's new vocal but non-lyrical track: female producers and discussion about their under-representation has been effectively called out for being treated as if it were unspeakable. From here, it's upward, and the discussion is more open than ever before. In the meantime, enjoy some nice beats.

The compilation will be available through the label's bandcamp site soon. The official label launch and record release party is happening on April 6th at The Virgil in Los Angeles, with performances by Dot, Alluxe, DJ Shiva, G.L.A.M. Girl Is Tough, Youngmin Joo, and Cat 500. Check out the Facebook event page here.

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