Video Premiere: Vehicle Blues “Waving Steps”

05 Jul 2014 — Henry Schiller

“Waving Steps” is a mirage; the Vehicle Blues B-side (from his just-released 7”) has the focus-too-hard-and-it-disappears beauty of a waterfall a mile high that appears suddenly in the middle of the sahara. Recalling the first Real Estate LP as well as more foundational shoegaze influences, the reverb-drenched guitar and Gabe Holcombe’s effervescent vocals seem to wave goodbye at the same time as they welcome you in for a bear hug. The video for “Waving Steps” is composed of grainy, home video style footage that looks like it could be decades old. There are shots of several people walking around a park, leaning over a bridge, sitting, smoking, always mugging for the camera. These are intercut with shots of flowers, gently vibrating to the stiff hum of the ancient camera.

Watch the video for "Waving Steps" below, and check out our interview with Vehicle Blues’ Gabe Holcombe from earlier this week here.



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Watch: Allie “Speed Boat Ride”

03 Jul 2014 — Lukas Dubro

In most of his songs, the voice of Berlin-based folk musician Allie is hardly more than a whisper. Of course, folk musicians prefer quiet over loud. And yet, a singer who does the same with such persistency as Allie is hard to find. On all three albums that the singer has released via bandcamp over the past years, he constantly explored the different ways of whispering in your ear, always giving his music a special aura.

But what's that all about? The whisper could be understood as an invitation to come closer. Or maybe a response to modern media, where everyone and everything is shouting at you all the time. The true reason, however, seems to be a lot simpler then that: Allie just likes to sing quietly. This is what the musician used to say about himself on his Facebook page. Another proof for his love for pulled back sounds is given on his bandcamp account where he names Easter being one if his "greatest influences". The music of their last album The Softest Hard, one might say, is the musical synonyme for ultimate softness.

In the new video for his song "Speed Boat Ride", you'll find a Easter reference, too. The fur dog being the main character of the video is listening to their track "Pillo" in his car in the beginning of the clip. Even though the style of the video is fitting to the melancholy that is very present in Allie's work, the song "Speed Boat Ride" taken by itself is an unusual piece: You hear a loud rock guitar and drums. And more than that, a voice which is a little more then only a whisper.

Allie's latest album Uncanny Valley is available via bandcamp.

He's playing some festivals this summer:

07/11/14 Waldstock Festival, Pegnitz
07/19/14 Woody Bash @ Knust, Hamburg
08/01/14 Küchwaldrauschen Festival, Chemnitz
09/13/14 10 Jahre Quartett Booking Festival, Berlin
10/09/14 Aaltra, Chemnitz
10/18/14 King Georg, Cologne
11/22/14 Café NUN, Karlsruhe

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Watch: JJ “All White Everything”

01 Jul 2014 — Johanne Swanson

It seems the last couple years have been marked not only by awkward celebrity cultural appropriation and racist consequence, but also a public calling-out of their problematic nature. Thanks to Swedish dream pop duo JJ--no longer lower-cased jj--and the release of their newest single and music video “All White Everything”, we have apt demonstration of vexed racial implications outside of the mainstream sphere.

“All White Everything” takes place beyond reality in a sterile psych ward. Religious themes are heavy. “Let us pray,” singer Elin Kastlander opens, but what follows is nothing stale or ritual. The world is one of monochrome creep filled with white bodies who are even injected by needle with white goop that leaks out of their ears. The chorus, "All white everything, from my face to my wings…from my face to my sins," is epic and expelled like a warning. In structure and melody the song is compelling, perhaps JJ’s best work to date.

Still, the creepiest facet lies in their rendering of whiteness as pureness, a trope that perpetuates white supremacy. Placed in the context of JJ’s R&B influence and collaborators like Ne-Yo, whiteness from face to wings and the construct of a world without brown bodies is uncomfortable and misguided at best. Find the video for “All White Everything” and a horrific trailer for their new album V below. V is out August 19th on Secretly Canadian/Sincerely Yours.

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Watch: Quiltland “A Billion Know”

25 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

A forthcoming release of the music by Stockholm-based one-woman project Quiltland was first announced by London-based imprint Astro:Dynamics well more than a year ago, and while we cannot say what took all involved parties so long, the passage of time has definitely not deminished the appeal of Frida Li Lövgren muffled synth pop. The ten-track LP collects three older tunes by the artist, the best most well-known being "Days", accompanied by six new arrangements and a remix by acclaimed fellow Swedish artist (and friend) 1991. Watch the premiere of the visuals for album track "A Billion Know" below, a video that fittingly complements the track's wistfully dreamy atmosphere with some standard elements of the North (aurora borealis!) – plus wild horses, and quite a few of them.

Quiltland's self-titled debut LP is out via Astro:Dynamics on June 30. It's preceded by a likewise recommended limited cassette named Sisto, which is available now over here.

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Watch: Datashock “Keine Oase in Sicht” (exclusive)

16 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

The heyday of proggy psych rock might be long gone, but stubborn timelessness is a quality that we acknowledge, at least if it materializes as refined and mature as the music of Saarlouis-based Datashock. Pyramiden von Gießen, the collective's 2011 work, was a massive collection of 'shrooms-induced soundscaping inspired by long-forgotten netherworlds, arid and torrid with no end in sight. The group continue their cursed journey on the recently released follow-up Keine Oase in Sicht, and listening to the eleven contemplations that last up to almost 14 minutes, there's indeed no oasis in sight, nowhere: Supplemented with faintly oriental motifs, Datashock's swirling arrangements are still virtually aimless, thrown into the world not through someone's conscious decision but because music like this just is, and always has been, so all it need is a few devoted people to sit down, listen to the fervent winds, and channel the energy. Someone used the word 'nomadic' to describe Keine Oase in Sicht, and indeed, any peripherally desert-related metaphor is almost uncannily apt. Probably try re-reading Nietzsche while listening to this most existential work. It might help to finally understand both him and Datashock.

This morning, we're delighted to present the premiere of the video for the title track, which, curiously enough, does not feature footage of Sahara expeditions. It revisits (and, we reckon, questions) an orientalist perspective though, observing unfamiliar spaces with a certain aloofness, creating a distance that's almost unsettling in this hyper-connected 21st century. Wherever you're going, it's a long way from home.

The Keine Oase in Sicht double LP is out on Dekorder. Get it here.

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Watch: Dour Tonic Input “Immaculate Stone 0.9”

11 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Presumably a side project by Broken20 regular Production Unit (at least if my anagram skills are reliable), Dour Tonic Input's Yogyakarta not only references the elusive musician's purported hometown but most notably all takes native Javan Gamelan styles as the scaffolding for his particularly ruptured beat missives. The result is a roughly half-hour, nine-track assemblage of almost classic hip-hop breaks that by and large shun any melodic ornaments, instead contemplating on repetitive patterns of subtly exotic percussion that slowly evolve into a surprisingly cathartic aural experience that seems curiously out of fashion. If you take a listen, and we recommend you do, don't miss out on unassuming standout "Sick Violins". For now however get lost in the meditative visuals for "Immaculate Stone 0.9", a track that serves as an apt introduction to Dour Tonic Input's subtle approach that shouldn't be misunderstood as vapid appropriation or even orientalist kitsch embedded in shallow romanticism.

Yogyakarta marks the a-side of a split cassette together with DJ Votive, whose broken house one-track side Dead Roads is so troubled and desolate and submerged that we'd use the word 'hypnagogic' if we didn't know better.

Yogyakarta/Dead Roads is out June 23 on Broken20's cassette subsidiary Broken60. It's the sublabel's fourth release and has catalogue number B60_03. Feel free to think about that for a while (but don't ask us, really).

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Watch: TOPS “Change of Heart”

04 Jun 2014 — Parker Bruce

Montreal's TOPS released one of the most underrated albums of 2012 with Tender Opposites, which is kind of a mini classic in my book. So it was quite a terrific surprise to start June with a new track and video by them as well as news of a sophmore album coming in September, all on home of good things Arbutus Records. "Change of Heart" has ramming, revving, and head-held-high guitars along with endearing, near tropicalia-imbued keyboard (both call to mind the theme song to "The Babysitter's Club"), and Jane Penny's funky voice. The video recounts the band's recent tour from earlier this year which looks like the best cross country USA road trip I've ever seen (they've been more places in my country than I have) with all of the soft serve ice cream, motel dance parties, and ponytail swinging. "Change of Heart" is out on 7" on July 14 (June 23 as a download) with another track called "Sleeptalker" accompanying it. And the album, Picture You Staring, is with us September 2! Could not come more highly recommended.

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Watch: Holy Strays “Pathless March” (exclusive)

27 May 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Parisian artist Sebastien Forrester aka Holy Strays' nocturnal soundscapes have been haunting us for a good while, yet he still surprises us with his curiosity that allows him to ever develop his style, pushing previously invisible boundaries. Release after release, Forrester further carves out his very own style, refining his unique knack for unsettling arrangements that may soundtrack your own personal nightmare, without however insincerely hiding his influences. The video for the latest Holy Strays single "Pathless March" – surely one of Forrester's most elaborate compositions yet, built around unobtrusive sax samples and bleary vocal snippets (there's more to be told about the track, found over here) – seamlessly melds into the music's theme. Created by Lliesse, who had already been responsible for the superb visualisation of "Chasm", the piece is as puzzling and inconclusive as it is strangely captivating despite its incoherent array of images. Watch the premiere of the video below.

Get the digital single via Atelier Ciseaux over on bandcamp.

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