Ah, 80′s glam electronica, you always know how to put a smile on my face and GnarniaVIPs and dark pop geniuses, Love Cop, oblige with a cassette of lofi dreamgaze with a heavy tote of perverted pop. With clear nods to the best moments of Television Personalities, The Clean, and Factory Records bands like Joy Division and New Order, Eat Yr Heart Out is bursting at the seams with fuzzy guitars, jangly guitars, crunchy guitars, dance beats, rock beats, witchy vibes, stoner vibes, and maybe the kitchen sink (why not?).
Signed copies were available at their performance at Gnar Tapes SXSW Showcase on March 15th, 2013 but never fear, you can still get your not-as-special unsigned copies through the friendly folks at Gnar Tapes. So pop on the album through bandcamp (or better yet, the cassette itself), open up the windows, and ignore your responsibilities. Love Cop‘s got the soundtrack to your dysfunctional narcissism.
Technology and modern electronics have the eerie ability to both feel warm and connect us with the world as well as cold and distant, isolating in pure design. It’s a Catch 22 which appears to be the Holy Grail for any creative mind ingenious enough to create a synthesis between the two extremes. While, on a technological note, this process appears to still be ongoing, Charlieof Kill Rock Stars appears to have made a bold new step in this development within the ambient, electronica genre. Under the name Grapefruit, Charlie has released his instrumental synth wanderings in the form of “Freeway Romantics“
As described by Gnar Tapes, the album is, “pulsing and vibrating, like hearing lights pass through crystal. As much outside as it is in. Is the freeway out in space, or is it in your mind?” A little on the new age side but hell, I guess you have to be a little to indulgence in this album. This is not intended to be a put down however: rather, this music has a spirtual sort of feel to it by design. Perhaps I am too reliant upon these groups to help vocalize what I am unable to articulate however with a combination of soundwall aesthetics as displayed by M83‘s “Fields, Shorelines, and Hunters” and an attention to 8-bit culture the likes of Gatekeepergives Grapefruit‘s “Freeway Romantics” a, well, romantic feel. And I mean this in the purest sense: a romanticism which takes what appears to be a dark and grim world of alienating technological feats and create a warmth unknown to many in their own physical lives.
The ramblings of a tired fool, perhaps. However, while I do love his previous projects, I find this release such a personal journey without the gimmicks of traditional ambient electronica that it just feels enlightening. Take a listen and grab a download ($7? Why the hell not, plus I believe they sell tape copies as well for those so inclined). I recently read an article which believed that A Brave New Worldwas a far more believable distopia than 1984. For while the government attempts to subdue its population by withholding information in 1984, the government in A Brave New World do not care to withhold information but rather drown it out through perpetual pop culture and media distractions. Welcome to the Brave New World. Enjoy.
I went back home to North Carolina for my break. It was about time and frankly, much needed: too long in Philadelphia seems to create a haze of disenchantment and resent that I can only combat so much. I could talk about the long days in the sun, by the creek, or driving through farm land, or even Durty Durham’s own, “Jamnesia” (which was, admittedly, awesome: all day/night music and arts festival. Need I say more?). Yet I want to take this time to focus on one of the more soothing, reflective moments of my stay. Playing down at “The Cave” on Franklin Street, The Toddlers did an amazing job giving each and every viewer their money’s worth. On the surface, it may not seem like much: after all, many of the tabs seem as though I could play them and the drumming seems to pudder along in the background. Yet that’s just my ears, overly indulged in the confusion and buzz of the present. See, it’s the simplicity which really makes this group extraordinary. Case and point? “Where Do You Go” is a little smidget of their whole catalog that I was able to find online. Playing live at “Local 506“, a personal favorite, they instantly made waves in the Chapel Hill music scene. For good reason too: with a sound in between beach-haze, lo-fi, garage, psychadelic, and even ambient, they clearly have big shoes to fill. Yet for all the difficulties they may face with stereotyping and being placed into genre that is over crowded, it’s the soul behind the project that truly makes this one worthwhile. With soulful lyrics, soundwave reverb, and blasting bass tabs, The Toddlers gave me a valuable lesson. The sound of one hand clapping is truly a beautiful thing.
65daysofstatic is one of those far, over looked acts. And yes, I get it, so are a lot of great bands out there. Even so, for the amount of releases, shows, time, tours, and history together, I guess I had imagined them blowing up at some point, as Clinic miraculous did in theUSwith “Do It!” It is probably because of the odd realm65daysofstatic meanders in: it’s not quiteElectronica,it’s not post rock, its not quite ambient, and it’s not quite noodle rock. At times, its like Pinback with Fortress yet the next moment, its Electronica/Ambient feel like Meet Me In St. Louis. Yet for all the intricacies of65daysofstatic, the reality is that this article is not about them. It’s about the mouthpiece, voice, and brain behind the project, Paul Wolinski. If the name doesn’t sound familiar, frankly, it shouldn’t. However, with his release in the works, “Labyrinths”, I’m getting the sense that he may cement a role somewhere in-between the rawness of Crystal Castles and the 8-bit sporadicalness of Gatekeeper (which yes, strangely, sporadicalness is actually a word…). The best way I can think of describing is as if Mario jumped through a pipe, landed in your bathroom, and did all of your Ecstasy before jumping back through your toilet once more. Yeah… it’s kinda crazy yet more importantly, it’s something, like 65daysofstatic, that refuses to fall into just one realm. So far, all we’ve got is a teaser video/mix of small segments of the album, album art, track listing, and a release date (Halloween for those lucky folks across the Atlantic though yeah, November 7th for the rest of us here in the U. S. of f’in A). Still, this 3 min gem gives me a lot of hope. Now if you’re questioning my music taste at this point, let me put it this way: I tend to hate pseudo, video game-esque rip offs. They seem lazy and furthermore, rely too heavily on a generation alienated by Pokemon on Gameboy and cliched, hipster imagery of PacMan. So for Christ’s sake, take this one a little more serious because believe me, I didn’t believe I would really be here writing a condoning album review the likes of this. I guess the real test is when the album comes out as a whole, a moment that I, and probably Polinksi (as he will be going by) cannot wait for. Who said experiments needed to prove hypothesis’s? “Labyrinths” may just be the album to disprove all stereotypes I’ve had of the classic, video game nostalgia. It’s about time.
04. Still Looking
05. Like Fireflies
About a week ago, Dissociative Identity had the chance to give a quick look at Think Thought Records own, J Pre. It was a start, admittedly, but released far too early. See, “Platonia” was truly just a preview of his full collection. Now it’s time to take a closer look. Released on July 27th, 2011, Synesthesia is a perfect rebuttal to any complaint I could’ve had of “Platonia” on it’s own. And if you recall, my complaints were fairly slim. For one, there is definitely a flow to this album that keeps it interesting. In his press statement, J Pre even remarks, “Synesthesia is supposed to have a deep philosophical and emotional appeal to the fact that music can change moods.” How true that is. Opposed to the overly melancholy releases of West Coast up and comers Lorn and Nosaj Thing (no disrespect but come on, can ya try playing with the listeners a little more than just with one mood?), J Pre includes bits of pieces of reflective ambient beats with monologue samples similar to Boards of Canada, followed next by a heavy party beats the likes of Ratatat, to a jazz-esque sampling along the lines of Peanut Butter Wolf meets dj’ing software like Traktor. I’m not going to choose a favorite song off this release, as I usually do, since it would be disrespectful to the project as a whole. The point I would tell you is to just take it all in: there’s no reason to be the Itunes shopper, picking and choosing select bits to make some incomplete whole. A couple of ending notes. 1) Be sure to download the album within the first month for “name your price” (God I love the Copy Left) 2) See J Pre spin live as a farewell to Summer over at the “Battle of the Canvas” (more information here). Finally, 3) Stay tuned, J Pre has personally stated that his next release will feature a live band and will focus more on a rock n’ roll sound. It should be called, “J Pre and the Mystics“. I’m interested, to say the least.
I’ve always had a great amount of respect for Think Thoughts Records. Local Kids with respect for Local Acts, They’ve always had a particularly adept ear at catching up on potentially revolutionary acts, if only given the proper opportunity. Now perhaps I am being a little bit hyperbolic yet it’s been a while since I’ve seen Ambient/Electronica originals so crisp from a local source. It reminds me, in a lot of ways, of Bibio meets Lone and no song quite explains it like J Pre’s “Platonia”. With a lengthy introduction into a heavily building layers of a polyphonic melody, each harmony playing off of the other, J Pre provided Dissociative Identity a great introduction into the new, local, ambient scene. And thank God for that. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if that style was still “in” now a days, apart from Gracie’s own interpretation of it (which is still a long ways from ambient, necessarily). Although my issue is, where’s the rest of the tracks? Admittedly, I’m probably just getting anxsty because I like what I hear so far, however it is something far more philosophical on the ambient genre. Ambient music is not about any particular song: for example, I remember arguing with friends about which Boards of Canada song was our favorite. I now realize we were asking the entirely wrong question, a point that I hope J Pre embraces in his next release. Despite to say, over all, I’m very happy with Platonia and J Pre as a whole. More importantly though, I’m excited to see what J Pre will bring in the fall.