I love it when an album cover makes me jealous, usually this means that there was art direction on top of a great vision for the music. This self titled Engineers release came out in 2005 and got alil bit of love but was overshadowed by bigger names like Interpol, Phoenix, and The Editors. I think they sounded more like Telefon Tel Aviv or Air at times, definitely a great record to look for, i had to pick up a physical copy so i could have the art too.
You may know Casino versus Japan from his track It’s Very Sunny from an older Hummer Commercial or just because his music could be compared to Scott’s earlier Tycho releases. I love him for his lo-fi crunchy bass, shoegaze approach to all the atmosphere in the background, and his lush looped melodies like in this song "Marilyn Set Me Free".
Matt Maust is the Bassist for Cold War Kids and a great designer as well. Their album Robbers & Cowards has really been a sleeper hit for me. I first became aware of them a while back but sort of thought Hospital Beds was cool and left it at that. But lately I’ve been working to the record and really enjoying it as a whole.
Today I checked on their site to see what they were all about and was greeted by the lovely image you see above. Once inside it just gets better. I’m always a sucker for the big-gothic-type-on-photographs motif, and here it’s done very well. Even with the most talented designers, a lot of the time you can see through to the fact that the artwork for a band was project / money driven. In the case of an outfit like Cold War Kids, I think the (literally) DIY design ethic shines through to great effect. But at the end of the day, it’s not how you look as a band, it’s how you sound.
Kompakt Records just re-released Gas – Nah Und Fern earlier this month which is a collection of all 4 CD’s he released in the late 90′s on the legendary ambient Mille Plateaux imprint. All 4 releases became available this month as a beautiful box set collection. This cover art is from one of my favorite later releases called “Pop” which is on both LP and CD version of the release. The way i always visualized Wolfgang Voigt’s music is if you sat in a flat plain with tall dry grass and watched an old locomotive chug along about a half mile away, each track on this album has a similar feel to this, maybe its the soft kick drum in the background or the constant dull bell. If you don’t mind repetition and can sit and enjoy the small additions and changes in these tracks while you let the song play all the way thru as you do something else(work) than you will get alot out of this kind of music.
One band that i might say is one of my favorites but i probably don’t listen to enough unless i’m in the right mood is Sigur Ros. This is the new single off their new record called Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (English translation: with a buzz in our ears we play endlessly) which is out next Tuesday June 23rd. Personally, i love this song it reminds me of some great tracks off Animal Collective – Sung Tongs.
Sigur Ros: Gobbledigook
I couldn’t find a good quality version of the Gobbledigook video but this gives me a chance to post one of my favorite videos by them which is off the last record, the song is called: Glósóli.
Studio has a CD coming out in two weeks which includes all the remixes they’ve done. This Swedish duo we’re played to me by my close friends and this Rubies remix has been stuck in my head. I’m also impressed by some of their quality press photos, they’re not over stylized but more classic and clean with just that right amount of that extra something that makes them special and looking good amongst others.
Skalpel are a jazz duo from Poland on Ninja Tunes, they sample 50s-70s Polish Jazz and piece together tracks. I always liked the video for this song and the raw lo-fi recording did it for me everytime. It reminds me of The Avalanches alil but not as uptempo, i’ll post something from them soon.
It always surprises me how few people have heard of the German musician Ulrich Schnauss. He’s one of my favorite electronic producers but whenever I mention him (to people I consider to be knowledgeable about music) they usually just shrug and ask who he is. I saw him open for M83 in San Francisco a few years back, it was pretty intense, but he just sort of pounded away on a Siel synthesizer the whole time, no visuals or anything. Was cool to see it live, but the stage presence was a little disappointing; I guess I was expecting a singer or something (he always has those sort of ethereal vocals woven through his mixes). At any rate, I’d have to say that A Strangely Isolated Place is his best album to date, and while it’s hard to pick a favorite track from such a solid release, this song certainly ranks up there.