The new French Kicks album Swimming has been out for a couple months now and I’ve had a chance to give it some proper listening time. I thought Songs From 2000 set the bar pretty high so anything coming after that would need to be pretty good to surpass it. While Swimming is a great collection of songs, I don’t think it really lives up to the previous release. Although being subdued is sort of the Kicks’ hallmark, this offering just seems a bit overly subdued for my taste.
The band apparently recorded and mixed this record themselves, which is a pretty commendable feat; it really does sound great and the overall vibe is pretty unique. From a technical perspective the record is interesting, most of the parts sound like they are room recordings, big and airy with a lot of ambience. The album opens with what I think is the strongest track, you can really hear the recording style shine here with the big boomy bass, it almost sounds like a really good live take.
I am not sure what’s going on with this album cover. I’m definitely not a fan of the style or execution; just seems rather boring. Looks like some stock art from an Ikea wall hanging or something.
If you’ve been following any of the slowed down disco that’s been in alot of peoples ear you usually hear about talented Europeans like Prins Thomas, Todd Terje, and Lindstrom. Well, California has its own trio in my eyes Hatchback and Sorcerer who make up Windsurf and Rollmottle who is part of Project Sandro with Tony Watson. Alot of their music comes out on the wonderful “California Soul” imprint Sentrall Records where it feels like windsurfing and collecting original vintage synthesizers have become 2 hobbies that are inseparable. I first heard about all this music thru my favorite group Broker/Dealer which have been doing music similar to this for awhile now, they were making these kind of tracks in the early 2000′s. I hope you can enjoy these spaced out jams while you go about your day today. As for the art above i grabbed it from Sorcerer’s myspace and there is plenty more where that came from on Dream Chimney’s Sleevery section which Scott loves to grab from.
I posted on the new Wolf Parade album a while back so after letting that sink in I thought I’d post some tracks from their first album, Apologies To The Queen Mary. I do love the Queen Mary album, although I have to say I am partial to the new one, At Mount Zoomer. I ran into the guys from Better Propaganda last weekend and we got to talking about bands we’re currently listening to. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t convince them that Mt. Zoomer was a better record than Apologies. They actually seemed indignant at the mere suggestion that this new one could be better. I then ran that same crazy idea by another friend who knows a lot about music and got the same response. So apparently I’m crazy, but I feel like Zoomer has a decidedly darker tone, it sounds like the product of a maturing band finding their way out of the somewhat crowded category that I felt Apologies placed them squarely in. Apologies is a brighter, more energetic album to be certain, but I guess I’m not really looking for bright or energetic from this band.
At any rate, they are both classic albums in my book with a razor thin margin separating the two in regards to their relative quality. The beauty of the set is that they make such good companions to each other; play them back to back and you have a very fulfilling listening session.
Just djed in Kentucky last night and now i’m winding down with some old favorites. Ulrich Schnauss‘ “Stars” off his latest LP from last year was a great listen always on roadtrips. He recently just collaborated with A Shoreline Dream on a track called “Neverchanger” but I posted one of their older tracks that first caught my ear. They have a very nice old Verve sound to them, with all the shoegaze essentials like swirling guitars and wall-after-wall of sound.
As for Farben(aka Jan Jelinek) and Mujuice, I don’t think these could be any different from the other two tracks. The cover above is from a Farben 4x vinyl boxset called Starbox which included 4 photos of different bank robbers from the 70′s, i think they were all German but I may be wrong. I loved the layout of the whole package, if you get a chance to ever see one at the record store, pick it up and open it.
As for Mujuice i having nothing else by him but this track, I found it on a Russian internet radio station called deepmix.ru which I highly recommend if you like this track.
Here are 4 pretty guitar focused musicians that i think have nothing really in common that i’ve always shared with people in the past on mixtapes or as new music to get into.
Christopher Willits i don’t think could of made a fuller sound than this, usually known for his 12k glitched out guitar pieces before this release on the album Surf Boundaries. All the way thru he just packs in the drumming like Caribou and the guitar at 3:26 couldn’t be anymore insane and lovely, it really comes down to the detail in this track, i can’t imagine recording it all.
Ricardo Villalobos usually known for his 14+ min South American influenced minimal techno puts together one of my favorite tracks on his Alcachofa LP which is the artwork shown above and also a nice change up for techno fans and really opens the door to having new fans of the music. You can find more Villalobos on the Erlend Oye DJ Kicks compilation and his remix of Depeche Mode.
As for Sun Kil Moon, it’s a side project for Red House Painter’s Mark Kozelek, i’m not a good follower of lyrics but i think its about a true story of a boxer that died in a match named Duk Koo Kim, this song is a must have, it might be abit intense like most Mark Kozelek songs in an emotional way but even at 14:33 i end up pressing rewind to hear it again, make sure you have a nice upbeat track to follow it up.
The Boats barely have a guitar in this song but i’m guessing there’s a bass guitar and a harp sample in there thru most of it. This song always reminded me of if Portishead had to play unplugged or if Matmos and Bjork came back together for another release.
Christopher Willits – Medium Blue
Ricardo Villalobos – Waiworinao
Sun Kil Moon – Duk Koo Kim
The Boats – And There are Stars that Fell from The Sky
I always wondered how much of an influence the music i grew up listening to had on the sort of stuff I gravitate towards now days. I hope some of these “oldies” are a nice change of pace for everyone, hey i might even link this post to my Dad.
All the tracks today are remixes, all in which i feel stand strong comparable to the original track.
This Burial remix of Bloc Party is by far a favorite of mine in the last week, also i can’t find a digital version of it anywhere. I think what attracts me to Burial’s sound is the softening and quietening of that UK Garage low end, its done so well by him.
The Erol Alkan remix of Midlake sounds like a Fleetwood Mac cover to me but i just can’t put my finger on it. I’m glad its not this club bomb or noisy edit, he actually does add a great fullness to the track that is riding a thin line to being an AM Gold/beard and tinted glasses/amber lit wooden studio jam which isn’t a bad thing at all (puts on a Gordon Lightfoot LP and watches this commercial on mute).
Praveen does wonders with the track Pinconning, the resonance from the kick drum and accordion makes it sound like your listening to it while your underwater.
I was hoping with this last one that i could find an Album Leaf song that Album Leaf fans didn’t have, hopefully i did for some of you. As for the song it makes me jealous that i don’t have a xylophone or vibraphone to play on everyday but if i did have one i’d probably never get anything done.