Pylon – Live

At the time this set was recorded in December 1983 (at Athens’ fondly remembered Mad Hatter) it was billed as Pylon’s farewell show. The quartet ultimately reconvened numerous times (including in 1990 with an album of decent new material on Chain) but Live certainly documents the end of an era. Having returned home from the… Continue reading Pylon – Live

La Femme

An Art-Pop Amalgam for the Masses: Elucidating the Enigma That is La Femme Trying to get a better understanding of La Femme is difficult, and not based on the effect of co-founder and guitarist Sacha Got’s somewhat limited grasp on English and his heavy, intermittently indecipherable French accent. No matter their native language, they’d still… Continue reading La Femme

Belle and Sebastian

Bands in Peacetime Want Daddy D’z (In Moderation): Belle and Sebastian Write About Love, Talk About Atlanta This just in – Sarah Martin’s cell phone has an Atlanta number. The Belle and Sebastian multi-instrumentalist and occasional vocalist got the phone when her band took up temporary residence in Atlanta last spring to record Girls in… Continue reading Belle and Sebastian

Ava Luna – Electric Balloon

If I had one musical do-over for 2012, I’d use it to move Ava Luna’s Ice Level into my top ten. It was the quintessential grower – sounding even more compelling today than it did upon release, and cementing Carlos Hernandez’s three-vocalist juggernaut’s position among the most fascinating young bands around. On Electric Balloon Hernandez… Continue reading Ava Luna – Electric Balloon

Prince Rama

Utopia, Now and Forever: All That Glitters Is Prince Rama It wasn’t until last year that I discovered Prince Rama, when Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label released their album Top 10 Hits of the End of the World. On its surface, it’s an intriguingly odd, crafty array of mirrorball/dancefloor/transcendental pop songs pollinated by exotic cultural… Continue reading Prince Rama

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

It’s the gayest album you’ll encounter this year, and I mean that in the most rainbow-hued sense. Youngsters can’t possibly understand how, once upon a time, disco music represented a line in the sand. It’s tragic but true that subtle elements of racism and overt elements of homophobia rendered it anathema to rock ‘n’ roll;… Continue reading Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

Jonathan Toubin

Jumpstart the Soul: Jonathan Toubin Rehabilitates Himself – and Culture “I’m tired of pretending I like popular music,” Jonathan Toubin admits. “I really don’t see anything good about it.” Toubin is a DJ. If this were the infancy of his full-time foray into New York nightlife, back in 2006, clarifying exactly what type of DJ… Continue reading Jonathan Toubin

Mark Stewart – The Politics of Envy

Mark Stewart hasn’t gotten enough credit. His ironically named Pop Group unleashed some of the most musically and lyrically caustic sounds of first wave punk-funk (for all the talk of the Gang of Four’s leftist stances, it was Stewart’s crew that devoted an entire b-side to stark recitation of documented human rights abuses). In the… Continue reading Mark Stewart – The Politics of Envy

Grimes – Visions

For all the chatter about witch house or whichever micro-genre you choose to namedrop, Visions brings to mind for me something more relatable. Imagine a 1983 Madonna, in full-on culture carnivore mode, being dropped into the present day underground club scene on the prowl for trends to which she can apply her wiles. There are… Continue reading Grimes – Visions

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

Sunshine Coolin’ The Asteroids Galaxy Tour is Hoping to Take You Away Bright and colorful, goofy but groovy, silly but sexy and unconditionally danceable, the music of Danish group the Asteroids Galaxy Tour is easy on the senses. There’s no deeper, hidden meaning to be found here. It’s simply fun, and tremendously catchy. Bridging gaps… Continue reading The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

David Lynch – Crazy Clown Time

David Lynch, 'Crazy Clown Time'

David Lynch is best known for such head-trip film and television productions as Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks and Lost Highway. But despite his strangeness, he is no stranger to music as a medium for setting surrealistic moods. He has collaborated several times with Angelo Badalamenti on scores for projects like Blue Velvet and Twin… Continue reading David Lynch – Crazy Clown Time

Future Islands – On the Water

Last year’s In Evening Air captured Future Islands’ frontman Samuel T. Herring in the ranting throes of a devastating breakup. On the Water doesn’t find Herring much happier, but he’s now pensively assessing the wreckage from a safer distance. On the Water is a less challenging record but it’s a more approachable one, and nearly… Continue reading Future Islands – On the Water

tUnE-yArDs

tUnE-yArDs, photo from Beggars Group press site

Merrill Garbus: Nobody’s Puppet tUnE-yArDs’ Uncompromising Vision Becomes the Perfect Vehicle My month-long pursuit of Merrill Garbus comes to a happy conclusion at the Oakland DMV. The woman behind the wildly inventive and borderline indescribable tUnE-yArDs moved to the Bay Area about 18 months ago, and recently learned that “apparently this means that for a… Continue reading tUnE-yArDs

Finders Keepers Records

Sounds of Wonder: Finders Keepers Uncovers the World Wide Weird Back in the ’80s when I was working in record stores, aside from the “new age” section I always considered the “world music” sector (usually tucked away at the far end of a bin near the rear of the floor plan) to be the most… Continue reading Finders Keepers Records

Hot Chocolate – Box Selection

Hot Chocolate scored three proper hit singles in America. There was the throbbing goth-pop tragedy of “Emma” in 1973, followed by the lite disco of 1975’s “You Sexy Thing,” and then a late rally with 1978’s synthy/funky “Every 1’s A Winner.” The disco hit would become the band’s cash cow as a feel-good movie anthem.… Continue reading Hot Chocolate – Box Selection

Duran Duran – All You Need is Now

Not many bands (especially from the ’80s) have been able to remain relevant for more than a decade, let alone more than three decades. But even after multiple lineup changes, reunions and subsequent re-departures, Duran Duran is still creating and performing innovative new wave as fresh today as it was when the band originally formed.… Continue reading Duran Duran – All You Need is Now

Girl Talk

Get Ur Freak On: Girl Talk Parlays the Mash-Up Into an Extended Hiatus From the Cubicle I was expecting Gregg Gillis to be a bit of a dick. It seemed almost inevitable – after all, ever since Girl Talk’s Night Ripper blew up in 2006 the Pittsburgh native has essentially been throwing a non-stop party,… Continue reading Girl Talk