Watch: Petra Glynt “Sour Paradise”

15 Apr 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

What do you get when you combine environmental activism, post-hipster politics, and Canadian neo-pop archetypes? Petra Glynt.  

The Toronto artist otherwise known as Alexandra Mackenzie has branched off into her own universe after letting it brew while collaborating as a drummer in numerous bands, such as Pachamama and Dentata. In watching "Sour Paradise," we're teased with the same few images of people wildly celebrating the beat of the song, adorned with Value Village treasures which help create a tribal, art-explosion uniform. Mackenzie has been very outspoken against calling her music "tribal," and states that, in doing so, we are perpetuating eurocentric colonizer's jargon. While an interesting debate emerges in reasserting that Mackenzie does in fact partake in tribalism both aesthetically and culturally - urban hipsterism, rallying to protest tar sands export from Alberta, opting to have images of axes and masked men playing empty buckets in a ceremonial stance - it is opportune to explore other qualifying adjectives nonetheless. Internet psychedlia is the first alternative that comes to mind, and in spending a few minutes browsing Mackenzie's art, aforementioned universe begins to take shape.

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As for Mackenzie's alchemy with experimental music and politics about better treatment of the environment, let's look at what she told Noisey for the video's premiere:

The song is open but also militant at the same time, militant in its urgency to see change in the world. It tries to express the disconnect between our relationship to the land we live on and asks us to question the validity of the system our civilization has been built upon and where it's taking us. The song is meant to empower in circumstances that can be disempowering. We didn't want to come across as too preachy or confrontational while maintaining an artful/magical approach to video making. Amidst all the inequality in the world and damage that is being done to our planet, people need positivity. We need to celebrate our likeness and freedoms we all share, that no one can take away from us- that is the power of music, art, and dance. The video has something ominous, but it is intended to be a celebration of the power of community.

Somehow the aesthetic of trash-clothes suits contending the message that we are not being as good to the earth as we could be, and that we need to empower each other in order to change that. It's similar to the whole post-apocalptic, garbage windstorm style and reminds me of The Police's video for "Synchronicity II." Come to think of it, the message of "Synchronicity II" is also similar to Mackenzie's, as it aggressively takes us from descriptions of suburban routine and spins us back out into recalling mysticism, unknown things in nature, and, in a sense, the Other.

Yes, Mackenzie sort of looks like Grimes, and the end of "Sour Paradise" does have some residual Grimes-like fairy vocal loops; realistically, when you really look at or listen to her, she doesn't look nor sound like anyone else. Her almost too strong, alto/mezzo singing propels us into some place between several worlds she identifies with, a non-category nexus of reference and political awareness. Musically, "Sour Paradise" is fantastic – it's progressive, griddy, moderately melodic, completely danceable, and somewhat freaky. All in all, Mackenzie has a well-rehearsed and genuine style that is starting to receive attention, and by no surprise. Check out this 2012 footage of her jamming on the drums at Toronto's Southern Oracle event, and this video of her impressively performing her track "Out To Lunch" at the Wavelength Music Festival.

"Sour Paradise" is off of Petra Glynt's Of This Land EP, and you can get it here.

Throwing Shade “Sweet Tooth (ft. Emily Bee)”

15 Apr 2014 — Kelsie Brown

Our friends over at No Pain In Pop have been responsible for countless gems hitting our ears over the years. Their newest artist, London-based producer and NTS Radio DJ Throwing Shade is of course no exception. Filled with glittery sounds amidst the sweetened spoken word contributions of Emily Bee, "Sweet Tooth", the first taste of her next release, is bound to be a springtime anthem. It's taken from the 19 Jewels EP, out May 19 through No Pain In Pop.

Stream "Sweet Tooth (ft. Emily Bee)" below, and check out the 19 Jewels album art courtesy of Rachel Noble.

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Ellie Herring “Chipped”

14 Apr 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

Lexington, Kentucky seems like an unobvious place for harvesting amazing electronic music. Ellie Herring with her new tape Chipped single-handedly wipes that prejudice away, in fact, blows it away, for the beats, composition, and atmosphere of the work are straight up remarkable. The production group responsible for this release, Racecar, is located in the confederate city of Nashville. I had the pleasure of visiting Nashville for about a month some years back, and I was totally ready to move there. As it turns out, southern cities are excellent origins of dreamy, beaty, and beautiful electronica.

Chipped differs evolutionarily from Herring's former LP Kite Day, a more vocal, tame release, however likewise remarkable. It seems that with the new EP, though, Herring has unleashed some kind of powerful music making ethos which will only become stronger. "Dynasty" starts with a mesmerizing melody which is followed by an anthematic counter-melody and then a plethora of very appetizing club sounds. When the beat finally gives, it's hard not to grin. Appetizing melody and club sounds are indeed available throughout the EP, staring us in the face, kind of like the way Herring's primary art does. Succeeding "Dynasty" is bubbly and soothing "Video Tapes," which, when I first streamed the EP, made me jump immediately to Racecar's Bandcamp to order the limited edition cassette. I'm waiting eagerly for its arrival.

You can order yours here before they're all gone.

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Watch: Girls In Uniform “Love › Everything Else” (exclusive)

14 Apr 2014 — Parker Bruce

Last fall, we premiered Girls in Uniform's (aka Nicole Brenny) first cassingle, The Fortune Tapes, and now we have a new video and song, "Love › Everything Else" – anticipating an EP named "." (Full Stop), which will be arriving April 22. The video for "Love › Everything Else" was directed by Brenny's frequent collaborator Danica Olders and is populated with birthday candles, animal masks, silly string, balloons, Laura Acosta's "knit head sculptures," and a "selfish bitch 1" and "selfish bitch 3." Just consider it a very imaginative trip to the zoo. The song itself sounds like it's on the fritz, futzing, putzing, and frayed, about to short circuit and blow a fuse. Then, the chorus comes in and nips everything in the bud. Starting in May, you'll also be able to get a VHS tape online that goes along with the EP featuring animations by Olders and Brenny that correspond with each song. And there will be two launch parties for the EP, one in Montreal on April 25 at Cabaret Playhouse and one in Brooklyn at Baby's All Right on May 12 alongside NFOP faves Prism House. You can get the VHS tapes at those launches as well.

Check out the tracklist and video below.  And grab a free download of "Love › Everything Else" while you're at it!

(1) Lodger
(2) Flowers of the City
(3) Fast Friends
(4) Under the Mountain
(5) Love > Everything Else
(6) Like a Star

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Stream: The NFOP Show #23 on BCR

11 Apr 2014 — Henning Lahmann

This afternoon and after a one-week break, we broadcast the 23rd edition of our weekly show on Berlin Community Radio. Stream the show below and access our archive here.

Tracklist:

(1) How To Dress Well "Repeat Pleasure"
(2) Douglas Dare "Swim"
(3) Mirage "Do You Remember"
(4) Jerry Paper "Come Over"
(5) Marie Davidson "Perte d'Identité"
(6) Ellie Herring "Dynasty"
(7) Matematique "Summer, But I Don't Know"
(8) Ketev "Uruk"
(9) patten "Winter Strobing"
(10) Magic Fades/Soul Ipsum "Autoerotic Cubicle"
(11) Dauwd "Kindlinn"
(12) Avalon Emerson "Church of SoMa"
(13) Mystica Tribe "Lizard"

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Stream: Hear Hums “Malaise”

11 Apr 2014 — Noah Klein

There’s a subtext to every Hear Hums album that’s innately political, whether it be an engagement with the politics of self, subconscious, collective context, industrial food complex, nationalism, and tbh this list can go on for quite awhile. Where most of today’s bedroom-recorded musicians tend to go silent Hear Hums pick up and embrace the anxiety-inducing dialogue as creative fuel. So Malaise, by definition a general feeling of discomfort, might be the first Hear Hums release thus far where their frustration is tangible.

Hear Hums are a band of little compromise. Their ethics are as solid as they come and their knowledge of how to navigate their tools and articulate their resources is strikingly unique to the traditions they surpass. It’s mesmerizing. When you pierce Malaise’s “Veil” the Hums’ sound spelunkers Kenzie Cooke and Mitch Myers (also Peace Arrow) have built one prophetic ride, an album to ever grow into rather than casually appreciate from an aerial view. With seven of ten pieces pushing well beyond a five minute mark it becomes difficult to discern where there is transformation versus a new foundation, where motifs intersect versus a new chapter developing from the narrative. It’s actually self-realizing, for to internalize the journey that Malaise intends to offer one has to accept and understand the ideologies that Hear Hums have come to represent; both in their output as a collaborative project and in their respective endeavors. It’s what gives agency to what could otherwise be mistaken for a beautiful album frolicking on the darker side of a sound palette.

Put this album on while you’re folding zines, building circuits, tending to your garden, or just making tea in the morning. It’s at once a mind cleanser and an inspired challenge. You can download Malaise from Hear Hums’ bandcamp for a donation of your choosing, because fuck capitalism, and if you find yourself in Gainesville, Florida some day I highly recommend dropping into the Radical Press Coffee Collective in the Civic Media Center to say hi to Kenzie and Mitch. They’ll most likely be your volunteer caretakers and will gladly chat Zapatistas, co-op movements, and Florida’s diverse and brilliant music communities.

(Photo by Emily Reo)

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Stream: Mathematique “Feel EP” (exclusive)

10 Apr 2014 — Parker Bruce

Montreal's Mathematique (also known as Pascale Mercier), a friend of Antoine93 and Karneef (whose "Swimming" video we premiered last week), has made an EP full of pageantry. Feel calls to mind a lithe and angeilc Nguzunguzu such as on first track "RL Touche" (which I imagine means "Real Life Touch"), which sounds like it was recorded underwater in Atlantis. Any song on the EP would not sound out of place on one of the duo's "Perfect Lullaby" releases. Chimes (and the harps Nguzunguzu love so much) seem to pierce through the whole EP. Its most vivacious song comes in the form of "Summer, But I Don't Know" which features lyrics about love in technological terms: "It's like a new progam/That only you can access" and "I'm so excited/I just got your email." The music is straight from the school of Depeche Mode and is in conversation with the output of Montreal's Mozart's Sister and Sweden's Niki & The Dove. The songs by these artists have one key thing in common: a rousing sweep as if they are speed skating by us, knocking us into a gusty frenzy. And the remixes are good too with Louise Roam making it sound like someone is playing a pair of hoop earrings on her "Summer, But I Don't Know" remix and Plurabelle fettering "Yawun" to make it sound like a Banks song or Teengirl Fantasy and Kelela's "EFX."  Anywave took care of the mastering and man of the hour, Karneef, was the mixer and producer.

Feel is out now on Stellar Kinematics. You can find it here. Someone get Mathematique on a track with Little Jinder!

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Stream: Magic Fades + Soul Ipsum “Zirconia Reign” (exclusive)

08 Apr 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Writing about Karmelloz the other day, we suggested that the producer's work was so much rooted in the present that its overbearing nowness might in fact prevent it from being listened to next year, or perhaps even in a few months already. This certainly holds true for a lot of the electronic stuff that's dripping out of the late Tumblr-infected realms of the WWW, those shady regions that cannot help but self-identify as post-internet just to signify a self-aware shtick that's often a mere borderline pathologic cynicism. Vancouver label 1080p's approach to these scenes adds a welcome layer of subtle irony by putting those ephemeral sounds onto the nostalgic if conserving and thus ultimately timeless medium of magnetic tape, perpetuating the fleeting ideas of all those Adderall-induced scenesters.

The reason the whole seemingly illogical effort is worth it lies in label head Richard MacFarlane's astute curation, as exemplified by 1080p's latest and probably most outstanding release to date, a collaboration of the Portland-based producers Magic Fades and Soul Ipsum. Their 60-minute effort Zirconia Reign is truly superb: following the path of James Ferraro's Far Side Virtual and embracing all flavours of vaporwave that had started blooming in its wake, the full-length is much more varied, matured and considered than most of the ill-advised material pushed onto the surface these days. As a result, Zirconia Reign is a real pleasure to listen to, an album you want to come back to so you can discover more of its hidden details and surprising twists. Infused by New Age tropes, it makes a sincere attempt to reassess vaporwave's origins in hypnagogic pop, allowing itself to be more than simply a random accumulation of layers over layers of glacial sounds (though everything is very icy here). If there's only one album connected to the current wave of cyber chic that eventually derserves to stand the test of time, why not let it be this one.

Zirconia Reign is out today on 1080p. Get it over here and stream the whole piece exclusively below.

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