Author Archives: shannengaffney

Glasses’ Top Albums of 2015

by Sam Robinson

 

Does anybody listen to music anymore? Or do we just kind of pretend to have listened to the latest high-concept journalism-bait records and quote bot-generated thinkpieces about them to impress our friends who have also only pretended to listen to the albums in question. Last year I tried listening to music, and only came up with ten items to fill my listicle’s distended sac. So I gave up on that. Below are six albums I heard about in passing from cool people in 2015 – I hope you get invited to some killer New Year’s parties to quote these reviews at.

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6. Black Wing…Is Doomed 

From the ashes of Dan Barrett’s (Have a Nice Life, Giles Corey, Married), failed Drive-inspired synthpop project, Dan Barrett and the Cruisers, comes a bombastic, pop tinged electronic romp through the mind of one of the most exciting musicians working in shoegaze today. The effects driven guitars may be gone from this record, but there is no absence of emotional soundscapes in their wake. Heavily processed synth drum kits scintillate across the soundstage and vocal tracks dip into hyper-compressed clipping collages that can best be described as aural car wrecks. This might not be a strictly shoegaze record, but Barrett’s pedigree still manages to shine through.

 

5. Jerusalem in My Heart – If He Dies, If, If, If, If, If 

Jerusalem in My Heart is the ongoing international performance project that consists of musician Radwan Ghazi Moumneh and visual artist Charles-André Coderre. All Jerusalem shows are site-specific installations and do not repeat. Themes of meditation and solidarity are dominant in the recorded music, which draws heavily from underground Syrian tape culture and the greater Middle Eastern musical canon. Moumneh’s ties to friends Godspeed You! Black Emperor are also apparent in the record’s willingness to explore intense, loose noodling over lo-fi field recordings, a stylistic choice that gives many tracks on the record defined spaces in which to reside. Between tracks there are claustrophobic corridors and vast oceans all serving as backdrops to be explored by Moumneh’s droning vocals and seemingly endless loop pedals. Check out a video of a live performance below:

 

4. Prurient Frozen Niagara Falls 

Yes, this is another Prurient record. No, it is not an all-out assault like Cocaine Death was. Frozen Niagara Falls may actually be Prurient’s most mature record to date, actually. The visceral, stream-of-consciousness shrieks and cacophonies are still present, but they are more tastefully framed than ever. Frozen deals with loss, but not in a traditional sense, on this record. Instead, the visual of a frozen Niagara Falls serves as an excellent reference point. A natural monument held paralyzed in memory, doomed to return to violence as soon as the thaw hits. Even if you are not inclined to listen to noise, there are plenty of approachable points of entry for the novice listener. Soft drone, soothing guitar interludes, even elements of dance-y industrial all reside comfortably in this so-called “noise” album.

 

3. Arca Mutant

 

 

 

2. Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell

Raise your right hand

Tell me you want me in your life

Or raise your red flag

Just when I want you in my life

 

1. Oneohtrix Point Never Garden of Delete

After years of being on the cutting edge of sound and constantly leading the wave of electronic music to “the next big thing,” it is only fitting for Brooklyn-based producer Daniel Lopatin, after finishing an arena-tour with Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden, to release a record that sounds like his youth. Based on a fictional pubescent, alien teenager named Ezra who suffers from a skin condition that causes his face to constantly melt, Garden of Delete gives no ambiguity to the roots of its aggressive, thrashy sound. It is a delight to hear Lopatin indulge in such hyper-produced excess considering his roots are in the far less organized sound of noise music. It is a return to the past in more ways than one for Lopatin. Even the concept of ownership has a rebellious teenage attitude towards it. Over a month before the album’s release, Lopatin dumped the raw MIDI files on fans through an elaborate Geospaces-esque ARG involving a fictional “cyberthrash” band known as Kaoss Edge. Ahead of the record’s release, fans were already inundating Soundcloud and YouTube with their own interpretations of the album’s tracks through their own software and synthesizers. It is difficult to recommend this album alone, it really takes hearing the evolution of Lopatin’s sound to fully appreciate the intricacies and decision making behind Delete’s deceptively simple appearance- I recommend “Replica,” “R Plus Seven,” and “Eccojams” to start.

 

Glasses is a former radio DJ currently plotting a quiet return to WKDU.

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An acoustic session with Shamir

Before Shamir’s show with Joy Again and Hana Truly at The Church on 11/13/15, the 21 year old singer played a few songs for us.

With nothing but a borrowed acoustic guitar and a mic, hear the wonderful, charismatic, angelic Shamir like you never have before:

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PWR BTTM IS “OVER GENDER”

Photo by Andrew Piccone

Photo by Andrew Piccone

by Shannen Gaffney + Kirsten Becker

Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce, New York’s dynamic garage glam duo of PWR BTTM chatted with us about the things that matter: gender fluidity, their recent discovery of Bethany Cosentino, and their favorite carbs. If you’re lucky enough to have gotten a ticket in time, we’ll see you at their PhilaMOCA show tonight (they open for the very talented <3 MITSKI <3 )


So congrats on your first album, Ugly Cherries, we love it so much!
LIV: Thank you! We had a really good time making it.

Where did you record it?
BEN: We recorded in in New Paltz, New York, which is near Hudson, New York, which is where I was living, with a guy named Chris Daly who made a bunch of great records. He made a record with our friends in Diet Cig and we met him upstate. We didn’t really know if he was a good engineer or not but he was a cool guy that wanted to do our record and he’s like a genius, he’s amazing, he makes like all our merch and stuff, he fixes my guitar, he’s just this incredible, great friend.
LIV: He holds me when I cry. Just kidding, I’ve never cried.
BEN: Liv never cries, he can’t really spare the moisture. But yeah, his wife and I did the album art together.
LIV: PWR BTTM would be dead in the water without him.

So you both went to Bard, did you find a supportive scene there?
LIV: Absolutely, I started playing in the Bard scene in another band. The Bard scene is amazing because there’s two venues that are pretty much entirely run by students and they have the power to book bands outside of the school. So your favorite bands will be coming through the area and they’ll play Bard and you can start a band with your friends and have your first show be opening for a huge band.
BEN: Yeah our second show we opened for Upset and Potty Mouth.
LIV: There was just always people starting bands and doing incredible things. I really miss it actually. Obviously I love the scene here, but sometimes I’ll be on Facebook and see friends who are still there at Bard and seeing what bands they are starting every week and being like, “Ugh I wish I was still able to see those shows!”

What did you study at Bard?
LIV: I, for most of my time at Bard, was a double major in Computer Science and Dance. And then in my last semester after my Computer Science thesis, I had one more class to take and I just didn’t have the room in my schedule, partially because of PWR BTTM, so I ended up dropping the major after finishing my thesis and graduating with a degree just in the Dance Department. Which, it feels weird to say just the dance department because Bard’s dance department is like incredible. I learned so many things just about everything being there.
BEN: (In between bites of blueberry scone) I studied Theater, it was awesome.

We had another question relating to scones: What is your favorite carb?
BEN: Oh my God, the question we love to answer. I’m really, really feeling chocolate croissants right now. I work at a coffee shop and I have to come in to work at 6 AM and the first thing I do is kick that door open and fuck up one of the deliveries.
LIV: I’m really feeling my mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. I saw her yesterday and I was thinking about the stuff that she makes. I like everything she makes, but spaghetti and meatballs specifically.
BEN: Liv’s mom throws down.


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Telekinesis plays Philly tonight, chases 80’s vibes on new album

by Shannen Gaffney

Photo from With Guitars

Photo from With Guitars

Telekinesis, the moniker used by Michael Benjamin Lerner, (also the superpower which allows superheroes to move objects with their minds) has released a new album this September on Merge Records called Ad Infinitum. On tour with Say Hi, he plays Johnny Brenda’s tonight and spoke to us about finding new influences and staying inspired on the road.

On facing writer’s block while working on the new record Lerner said, “I tried to play the guitar but just didn’t want to do it, it was very uninspiring to me at the time. So I just put the guitar away and then tried to learn a bunch of other instruments. I didn’t really understand how drum machines and synthesizers worked before… it sort of came out of boredom in a way.” Continue reading

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LEVITATION (AUSTIN PSYCH FEST): A REVIEW

by Kirsten Becker

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This past weekend I had an incredibly awesome time at Austin Psych Fest (now called Levitation) on Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, TX. This particular festival has been one I have tried to go to for a while, but funds/time/commitments have gotten in the way. Fortunately, this year worked out perfectly and I hopped on a plane by myself to Texas for this unforgettable festival experience.

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An obscure Israeli mixtape from Juval Haring (of Vaadat Charigim)!

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Juval Haring– from shoegaze-psych Israeli band Vaadat Charigim– was nice enough to create a super awesome playlist of obscure Israeli music for us! The Tel-Aviv band will release their new album, Sinking as a Stone, May 5th on Burger RecordsListen to a new track from the album and Juval’s playlist below.

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Natalia Zamilska: “All or Nothing”

by Maxwell Stetson

In this National Geographic article, neuroscientist Valorie Salimpoor looks for answers about her personal, euphoric reaction to the Johannes Brhams’s song, “Hungarian Dance No. 5”. She wondered how and why this music moved her and the processes it took within her brain. These questions led her to Thalia Wheatley, a Dartmouth psychologist, who offered an explanation.

Thalia found “[that] every time you listen to music, you constantly activate [musical] templates that you’ve [created] that predict the reward you’ll feel from a given piece.”

In her opinion, “new music is presumably rewarding, not only because it fits implicitly learned patterns, but because it deviates from those patterns, however slightly.” I believe this constant template reformation and pattern shifting is an aspect to be loved, especially when it occurs organically. When this occurs, it can progress your tastes and emotions into a new and unknown fields, allowing you to think and feel differently.

I begin with this to highlight a similar joy I felt when listening to the pioneering artist we’re featuring today.

When I first heard the culturally shattering sounds of Natalia Zamilska, my musical template was completely rearranged in wonder. Her creation of raw and heavy techno, noise, electronica and modern world music was new, artistic and incredibly exciting to me.

“Duel 35” was the first track of Zamilska’s that made me a huge fan. It consists of the toughest booming techno sound, both danceable and sexy. The tribal chants and noisy pops later in the song add to its power. The sound, combined with an incredibly artistic and creative video, made me feel like Zamilska was creating art, not just music.

Natalia admitted she didn’t expect much to happen after releasing “Quarrel,” a 2014 single,  yet the feedback was so affirmative that she felt like she had to finish an album as soon as possible. “Untune” was then created during live shows, as she used the audience members as her collaborators, testing various musical creations on them. Since then, her recognition has been accumulating worldwide. The Quietus, an art/culture online magazine out of London, rated “Untune” as one of the best tracks of 2014, while Vevo ranked “Duel 35” as #15 out of the top 100 songs from their “Other Side of Music” for 2014. She’s since accumulated 7,200 Facebook likes and 1,700 Soundcloud followers and was featured on Dior’s Toyko Fashion Show, 2015.

It’s an honor and a pleasure to share this amazing interview with you! Here’s Booty Shakers’ exclusive interview with the incredible talent that is Natalia Zamilska! Continue reading

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