Posts Tagged ‘Heavy Rotation’

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Heavy Rotation 77

August 10, 2011

[More fine tracks arriving at variable intervals, thanks to the stellar musical talents of the Moon Duo, Clive Tanaka and The Voluntary Butler Scheme. No longer can this blog be trusted to be updated in a timely fashion. Perhaps some sort of ur-blog fascism is in order, because if nothing else, it made the Italian trains run on time. With that being said, as long as I’m in charge of providing content, it’s probably a forgone conclusion that as long as “things to do” continues to outpace “time available,” this blog’s tin-plated reputation will never rise above tin-plated. That additional thing being said, the tracks I’m featuring are really excellent. So there’s that… Would you like to play a game/remove a track? Email me: 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

Previous Rotations here:
The Heavy Rotation Archive

Clive Tanaka Y Su Orquestra – Lonely for the Highscrapers.mp3

Clive Tanaka (whom I’ve expressed adoration for previously) is back with a lushly moving track that threatens to shatter even the most jaded of hearts into thousands of pieces. As I’ve said before, it is written exactly NOWHERE that music needs to be made from all-organic components to have “emotion.” Those strange people who cling to some sort of Luddic ideal that prevents them from enjoying something made entirely of electronics need to be boxed repeatedly around the ears (and other sensitive areas) by Tanaka’s mastercraft until they can see the beauty behind the algorithms.

The track washes over the listener, with the beat serving as the only thing keeping it from floating skyward. Tanaka conjures up the kind of misery that loves company, which is the best kind of misery. It’s a larger-than-life feeling that is still purely, subjectively “your” experience, albeit one that everyone can identify with, even in the best of times/moods. When you can wring that sort of emotion out of bits, bytes and presets, you’re truly a “transcendent” artist and this track is, yes, exactly that: transcendent.

Moon Duo – Mazes.mp3

The SanFran bay area and psychedelia go together like acid tabs and orange juice. Moon Duo are no exception, filtering their Cali sun-kissed psych-rock through a variety of effects pedals and a Spaceman 3-esque chug-and-drone framework. While a few of their tracks push towards a mantra-esque repetitionrepetitionrepetition (i.e., Motorcycle, I Love You) that tend to preach directly to the chemically-altered choir, other tracks (such as this one) move beyond the attuned and welcome those who gather at the outskirts, wondering what the hell they’re missing out on.

This is not to say that Mazes completely forsakes the chug/drone/meander of Moon Duo’s more psychedelic outings. In fact, the entire track wraps itself around the rise and fall of some simple tones and while the guitar takes an exploratory run through a couple of effects, the tune itself ties together into a neat, tuneful, ultra-melodic near-romp that calls to mind a mildly-sprawling take on 60s garage pop. It’s a blast that rolls on charmingly, with four-on-the-good-natured-floor. It’s the perfect welcome mat for those wishing to dip into Moon Duo’s spirited acid rock revivalism.

The Voluntary Butler Scheme – To the Height of a Frisbee (Dan Le Sac Remix).mp3

Incredibly vibrant stuff here, and I don’t say that lightly (even the music itself edges towards that). The amazing output of one-man-band Rob Jones, The Voluntary Butler Scheme makes the kind of upbeat electronica that a million bedroom producers aspire to. Captivating, melodic and brilliantly evocative, TVBS is pure pop brilliance. Unfortunately, today’s pop world is less concerned with brilliance than marketability and there’s no chance in hell for this slice of immaculate joyousness to claim a place on the charts.

So be it. Now, it’s ours and we can take it places and show it to our friends and watch their jaws drops and be part of the “in-crowd” that is cool we don’t even give a shit that others refer to us as the “in-crowd.” When they do refer to us as that, we’ll express surprise and smile a little. Music isn’t about exclusiveness. Not if it’s done right. It’s about inclusiveness and when you’ve got something this amazing on your hands you’ll be dying to spread it around. Hell, it’s not even going to care if you shove it on your virtual shelves right next to your cherished Gap Band reissues and secretly-loved Kylie Minogue singles.

Music this good doesn’t need a pedestal. It just needs more fans.

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 76

July 13, 2011

[What? This old thing? Actually, a bit better than that. This week’s combatants for your hearing affection are Curve, WALSH and Insect Guide. Perfect mood music for whatever it is you’re doing today, including reading this here blog thing. Need a track removed? Just ask: 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

Previous Rotations here:
The Heavy Rotation Archive

Curve – I Feel Love.mp3

I have an inordinate amount of affection for Donna Summer’s I Feel Love. If I’m at all honest with myself (and by extension, you), I probably have no fewer than 20-25 versions of this track floating around my hard drive like so many pulsating disco divas. Giorgio Moroder laid down the ultimate in basslines on the original and the twin powers of Toni Halliday and Dean Garcia emulate this immaculately, trading in their normal percussive wash of wah and distortion for a bottom end that just won’t quit (or words to that effect). Welcome to alt.disco.

Insect Guide – Insider.mp3

This track is the sort of wintry mix that cozies up next to you on the couch in front of a roaring fire, casually draping an arm across your shoulder before leaning in to whisper threats in your ear. Insect Guide’s whole album runs this way, seducing with instrumental haze while roughing you up a bit lyrically, like a street thug in a velvet smoking jacket.

Walsh – Sweet Draemz.mp3

As the highlight (there’s a joke in there but I’m too lazy to throw quotation marks around it) WALSH’s Smoke Weed About It EP, Sweet Draemz delivers the fogged-up goods. Plays like a narcotized Hawaiian vacation dream. You know, the kind where you can only move about 3 feet per hour and everyone’s mouths are moving but no words are coming out. Like that, except that the perverse weirdness of the dream is replaced with the preternatural calmness that only comes from being chemically altered. Sunshine that shimmers and water that peaks in near-motionless waves. To sum up with more clarity, it sounds like a possible b-side for Brian Eno’s atmospheric “diving-into-a-toilet-bowl-in-search-of-a-lost-suppository” track, Deep Blue Day.

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 75

June 19, 2011

[Another three tracks submitted for your approval. This week’s lineup features Psychic Dancehall, Pepepiano and Pink Playground. No unifying theme other than the initial “P”, which is nothing more than a happy coincidence I just noticed as I was typing up these very words you’re reading. (Or glossing over.)  Need a track removed? Just ask: 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

Previous Rotations here:
The Heavy Rotation Archive

Psychic Dancehall – A Love That Kills.mp3

There’s no shortage of love songs out there. Psychic Dancehall has a killer of a love song: an echo chamber threnody built on the belief that love exists and is wonderful but that this same love will rip the floor out from underneath you with alarming frequency. The music itself fades nearly away at points, leaving the vocals alone in the reverbed darkness, save for some fatalistic minor chords and an approximate organ tone that embeds itself firmly in the audio wallpaper.

Pepepiano – I Understand You.mp3

If you can name this genre, than you can own it and charge other unimaginative musos for using it when attempting to describe indescribable audio tones without resorting to lazy shorthand like “ethereal” or “the Cocteau Twins on acid.” “Electronica” doesn’t really do justice to Pepepiano’s audio collage/collisions. I Understand You progresses like a series of jump cuts, from twee-ish charming to white noise Bomb Squadding (that’s a PE ref, yo) to nu-disco electro-jacking, all in under three minutes. On second thought, it’s less like “jump cuts” and more like an MPD sufferer falling down a long flight of tuneful stairs, each one triggering a burst of white noise or tasteful sample.

(To better help you visualize this song, imagine the “floor piano scene” from Big, only instead of Chopsticks, it’s late-70s/early-80s synth vamps and instead of Robert Loggia, it’s a hyperkinetic robot made out of day-glo and refracted sunlight (which is made out of radio static and a second-hand store boombox).

Pink Playground – A Man Alone (John Barry RIP).mp3

Even if you don’t know John Barry, you know John Barry. Houston’s Pink Playground knows John Barry, offering up a well-crafted ode to the composer of the James Bond theme. Capturing the neo-noir atmosphere of Cold War spy gaming via sonic craftmanship is no easy feat, but this track is done to perfection, taking you back to a simpler time when men were men and seduced women and shot a lot of foreigners with misshapen heads and drama!tic accents. (The “!” is intentional. And a potential punchline/punchsymbol[?]. However, if it doesn’t at least make you smile with bemusement, then feel free to consider it a typo.)

 -CLT

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Heavy Rotation 74

June 12, 2011

[A fine trio of selections for this oft-delayed return to partial form. Featuring the talents of Like Some Cat from Japan, Just Another Snake Cult and Light Asylum. A bit electro, a bit goth and a bit wall-o-sound. Safe for all ages but possibly enjoyed most by those in the 30-45 demographic. Need a track removed? Just ask: 2timegrime@gmail.com.]

Previous Rotations here:
The Heavy Rotation Archive

Like Some Cat from Japan – Johnny Ramone.mp3

If you’re a fan of LCD Soundsystem, Whitey or any other fine purveyor of the oft-maligned musical form known as electro-rock, then this Cat is right up your alley (didyouseewhatididthere). Bouncy, bright beats meet deadpan recollections of something that easily could have happened, probably didn’t happen and who gives a shit if it did or didn’t as long as you can sing along with it and you probably will. It all sounds so plausible: Johnny Ramone/1994/a request for cocaine. It’s smart-arsed brilliance laid on just thickly enough to put you on the inside of the joke but not so thickly you feel you need a trucker hat and a PBR just to pretend to enjoy it on a different level than everyone else. Doubleplusgood.

Just Another Snake Cult – I Know She Does.mp3

Speaking of alleys, this is right up mine. Just Another Snake Cult roll up a patented (probably not, actually) blend full-bodied shoegazer-esque pop. It’s spirited and uplifting without being cloying. The backing vox are to die for. (And if you’re in a rival band, possibly to kill for.) It’s a love song. (Not usually up my alley, but hear me out…)  But it’s the kind of love song that actually makes people believe in love rather than just the airy ideal of love. Plus there’s some organ, which is always a bonus. In other words, it’s exactly like the Charlatans meeting Phil Spector for drinks in an underlit club with the Black Hollies playing on the jukebox. Exactly like that. (This will not be discussed, although it may be on the test.)

Light Asylum – Dark Allies.mp3

Quite possibly the synthest, gothest track ever. It’s like every seminal goth band DJing an 80’s Night down at the local club, taking turns blasting ABC and OMD and all other sorts of abbreviations at girl-drink-addled club kids and announcing each track (and drink special) with patented “goth vox” just to shake things up a bit. Light Asylum kicks out a pristine ruckus (ha! that makes no sense at all! moving on…) reminiscent of an early-rising Clan of Xymox or a goth-er Apoptygma Berzerk. Good for very nearly scaring children except that the bright synths would cause breakouts of rhythmic motion rather than pants-wetting.

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 73: The CLT Self-Promo Edition

May 30, 2011

Elizabeth asked for some links so that she can keep track of where else I’ve been writing. I’m going to do a complete link dump of everything I have published elsewhere. I’ll also be adding a few tracks for some background music.

Going forward, I’m going to trim back the Heavy Rotation to three tracks per week (theoretically). Not that I don’t have a huge backlog of awesome music to share, but that 20-30 minutes is a lot of time to ask anyone to invest in a single post. Speaking for myself, I know I’d have trouble sitting on one single page of the internet that long, so I’m not going to be asking (or demanding, via blogguilt) anyone else to do it.

You may have noticed there are four tracks in this Rotation, which would seem to indicate the exact opposite of what I just said. Let me explain: one of those is a mashup, and so it actually is part of a Sonic Collision and not part of this Heavy Rotation. (Although it will go headerless for maximum confusion). Enjoy.

THE LI N K D  U  M    P

Techdirt.com

Capitalist Lion Tamer (that’s me!) Profile Link.
(Use this link to see everything I’ve written for Techdirt, including comments. Handy!)

If you’re short on time, here’s some of my favorites:

The Bygone Bureau

The Big Jewel

Defenestration Magazine

Enough about me. On to the music.

Mirrors – Ways to an End.mp3

This track by Mirrors is like getting hit in the ears with a Louisville slugger made out of nostalgia (and some ash — for weight). This is the crystalline pure pop bliss of OMD and the Pet Shop Boys. If you close your eyes, you can see impossibly/impeccably dressed people (often with shoulder pads and sleeves incomprehensibly hiked up) doing impossibly/impeccably cool things (often involving chrome and neon) with this as background music. If you close your eyes for long enough, you’ll feel like John Hughes presiding over a cast of next-big-things, most of whom will flameout spectacularly. (Including John Hughes.) Don’t close them for too long, though, otherwise people might actually think you’re John Hughes and start divvying up your estate. Hat tip to MEK for shooting this my way.

Von Haze – Outsyd Tha Nite (White Car Remix) (Salem Re-edit).mp3

Usually too many cooks are bad news, what with their constant fucking around, spoiling the broth and angling for book deals. But in this case, Von Haze gets re-rubbed by not one, but two, remixers, resulting in this wall-of-despondent-sound that edges close enough to triumphant to not get completely distraught and head off into the woods to do damaging things to itself. The vocals get pitched down to the sub-bass level of rolling Gothic thunder and skittering drum patterns slide across the murky tones without ever finding a foothold.

Tyskerhar – Oh.mp3

I’m not going to say much about this one, other than once Tyskerhar’s track gets into your head, it’s not coming out. Not for awhile. And then you’ll be stuck singing the chorus, over and over again, most of which is composed of the one-word track title. There’s a word for this: nefarious.  So, what can you do? Do what I did. Force it into the brains of others, sit back and watch the contagious collateral damage. It’s like a yawn, only catchier.

….

DJ Topcat – The Safety Booty (Men Without Hats vs. Bubba Sparxx).mp3

Topcat gives up something that couldn’t be more appropriate (and inappropriate, in terms of subject matter) if it tried: a bootie about booty. Asstacular!

DJ Topcat

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 72

May 1, 2011

The 72nd edition of the Heavy Rotation brings you a plethora of musical goods, all as uniquely different as they are similarly excellent. Featuring the warm/icy/inviting/threatening tones of Led Er Est, Course of Empire (with help from Darwin), Lil Wayne (feat. Trina & refixed by 8Bitch), Automelodi and Stalker. Rather heavy on the synth side, but if you’ve been visiting here for awhile, I would imagine you’re kind of used to that. If you’d like a track removed, email me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.

L I N K S

In its heyday, the X-Files had plenty of obsessives. Years down the road and the obsessives are still there. They’ve moved on from conspiracy theories to more important things, like Mulder’s various timepieces. Or Scully’s various suits, some less unfortunate than others.

If you’re a reader (or writer) for any website whose comment threads are routinely infested with trolls, don’t worry. Misery has got you covered. From the mission statement:

Misery is a module designed to make life difficult for certain users. It can be used:

  • As an alternative to banning or deleting users from a community.
  • As a means by which to punish members of your website.
  • To delight in the suffering of others.

KISS KONDOMS.

Possibly of interest mainly to MEK and myself: Dave Allen’s (Gang of Four, Shriekback) blog. His best writing is found here.

More Heavy Rotations here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Trina (feat. Lil Wayne) – Don’t Trip (8Bitch Remix).mp3

Blog favorite Lil Wayne expresses his thoughts on the courtship ritual, specifically pointing out that men are visually stimulated (just give him lil’ thigh mama give him lil’ hip) and women are fiscally stimulated (break her off a few dollars take her on a few trips). He also expresses first an appreciation for the attractiveness of the women within eyeshot of his former digs (when I’m in Dade County/I see some thick bitches) but follows it up with his disappointment in the fact that they are not interested in being hustled (I try to holla’ at ’em but they all trick bitches).

8Bitch tags along, littering the background with large quantities of bass and jittery electronic noises.

Course of Empire – Infested (Darwin Goodman Mix).mp3

On its own, Infested is decent, if not spectacular, angsty hard rock, full of shouty statements about the world being in a generally shite state and The Man constantly sticking it to everybody. But… in the hands of Darwin Goodman, it’s the ultimate apocalypse party track. Sure, the angry yelling is still there, but rather than having this point hammered home by constant hammering, it’s beaten into place with sampled Gene Krupa beats and big band horns, which play nicely with the occasional compressed riffing and guitar strafing runs.

Additional fun fact: you can hear one of Course of Empire’s two drummers letting out a pre-puke moan moments before the end of the track. Read this for the whole story.

Automelodi – Rose A.D.mp3

Montreal’s Automelodi (who are essentially one-man band Xavier Paradis, despite what you see in the photo above) makes some very wonderful synth noises, the likes of which have not been heard since the heyday of Human League, OMD and the like. Add to this some French vocals and an affinity for Italo-disco, and you’re pretty much pressing a lot of my buttons effortlessly.

This goes to the past so often it often sounds like the future did back then: hovercars, neon everywhere and lots and lots of cocaine served up on chrome and leather.

Led Er Est – Laredo.mp3

Speaking of the Human League, Brooklyn’s Led Er Est have cobbled together the perfect analog with Laredo. But it does them one better by dragging a pointy guitar into the mix, giving it a bit of the ol’ punk grime. It runs on all cylinders from 0:01, which features an old school analog wobble that John Carpenter/Zombie Zombie would be proud to hang their hat on. Various tones brighten up the corners briefly before the guitar tears through the wall of sound, accompanied by some Ramones-esque shouting. Slightly under 3 minutes long and not a single second wasted. Brilliant.

Stalker – Heaven’s Gate.mp3

Mysterious dubstepper Stalker cranks out this particular piece of menace, taken from a very unlikely bit of source material.* Eerie loops double back on themselves, malforming into some sort of ritualistic prayer. It all goes completely to hell around the middle before resuming its take on “coherence” for the remainder of the running time. Definitely not fun for the whole family. Just the ones who sequester themselves in their room, surrounding themselves with an audible womb made of foreboding noises.

*Because the source material is “unexpected,” to understate things completely, I’ll reveal the ugly truth behind this track in a few days, via the comment thread. Until then, there’s nothing I can do to keep you from Googling at this until the answer reveals itself, but at the risk of sounding like the formerly talented M. Night Shamalyan, please keep your answers to yourself. I’m only saying this because I just recently found out what Heaven’s Gate is actually made of, and it was full of both WIN and FAIL.

-CLT

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Heavy Rotation 71

April 24, 2011

The 71st edition of the Heavy Rotation is an unfocused as ever, swerving chaotically from chaos (Arab on Radar) to icy (Gatekeeper) to jangly (Robyn Hitchcock) to dark (Zola Jesus) to icy and spacey (Soft Moon). Small doses, evenly spaced, might be the best course of action. If you’d like a track removed, email me at 2timegrime@gmail.com.

L I N K S

Sweden: home of quality sex changes and the Pirate Party. The latter apparently isn’t enough. Now there’s a semi-official Pirate Religion (Kopimism). Someone familiar scratches the surface of their theology.

Speaking of “pirates,” the RIAA has finally produced a killer chart detailing file sharing’s destruction of their industry. It’s an incredibly stupid chart (sales would grow indefinitely? Albums purchased per capita?) and as such, is mocked relentlessly (“Napster Kills the Kerosene Industry“) by an author whose self-promotion we are tiring of swiftly.

Chess therapy. It’s an actual thing. Here’s an actual case study.

Oh, yeah. Clifton’s back. For now. I’ll try to have him kick out something every couple of weeks or so, but I’ve made promises like this before. Caveat emptor and all that.

More Heavy Rotation here:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Gatekeeper – Chains.mp3

Here’s another track wot sounds like early Front Line Assembly! You know, from back in the day before they decided, “Hey, that Ministry sound that everyone’s ripping off? Why don’t we rip that off?”

Nope. This isn’t any of that tired bullshit. This is Gatekeeper in full on attack mode, blowing past their electro-altar dedicated to the holy trinity of atmospheric soundtracking (John Carpenter, Giorgio Moroder and Goblin) and straight towards the analog ghost of industrial past, summoning such long-gone (or past their prime) antagonists as Skinny Puppy, Front 242 and the above-mentioned FLA. Dark and convulsive stuff.

Zola Jesus – Night.mp3

Sauntering out of the darkened corners of the underground, Zola Jesus projects doom and gloom like the reanimated corpse of Siouxie Sioux, pitting her distinctive voice against the minor chord undertow.

(Yes, I know Siouxie Sioux is not dead and has, in fact, released albums recently. Stop pointing that out. That means you too, Steve Severin.)

Robyn Hitchcock – Primitive.mp3

Very few songwriters can coin a phrase like Robyn Hitchcock can. Even fewer can weave these phrases into bittersweet songs of devotion. And I don’t think anyone else could get away with inserting the phrase “Google me” into a song like this without sounding jokey or cloying.

But he makes it work. And that’s why his cult-like following is, well, so cult-like. He’s a wickedly incisive absurdist who writes a love song like no one else can. Or probably even should.

Arab on Radar – Number 3.mp3

Sounding more like Public Image Ltd. than PIL did past 1985 or so, Arab on Radar whips up a post-punk racket, utilizing little more than some strafing guitar runs and a concussive breakbeat that sounds about a step or two removed from the Chemical Brothers’ Setting Sun. (Or going way back — the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows.)

There’s angry-sounding raving all over the place, probably attacking the status quo or some such. I can see this doing permanent damage to listeners, especially live and would probably open up a portal to hell if ever remixed properly and aimed at the club crowd.

Soft Moon – Into the Depths.mp3

Soft Moon mine the desolate heart of space rock, channeling the “sinking ship” desperation that lies somewhere between denial and acceptance as the heroes/victims ride out their final moments in a glorified tin can as their space station’s orbit steadily decays.

-CLT