It’s hard to keep track of everything The Flaming Lips put out these days. The last few years have been quite prolific – multiple singles and collaborations seemed to arise faster than most nerds like myself could even listen to. Let alone trying to eat through an entire Gummy Fetus to get to them. Thus it’s no surprise that with the release of their new album, The Terror, only weeks away, they suddenly decide to release an absurd video for “Ashes in the Air” – the collab they made last year with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. If you’ve never heard the song before, then quickly imagine The Lips and Bon Iver together, and say the first things that comes to your mind. If you said, “Oh, I don’t know… some spun-out noise shit with Wayne Coyne singing about getting fucked up while Vernon echoes him in that auto-tune voice he likes to use…” then Bingo – we have a winner! Of course that’s what the song sounds like. Nobody would have given it the time of day if it was anything different. If they released some sort of barber-shop track with a hip-hop beat, people would have considered it a complete waste of their personas.
Which leads me to my point… When you have become an established artist, and have thus crafted a definitive mold for who you are and what you sound like, you are then in some degree indebted to your fans and yourself to maintain that persona. Sure, musicians need to evolve, but you should never turn your back on who you are. When I hear the RZA is producing a new album, I’m gonna be seriously disappointed if there aren’t some dirty analog beats in there. Bruce Springsteen better include some commentary on the underbelly of America on his records. And again, this doesn’t mean you should pigeonhole yourself into one limited fabric of sound, but you should never intentionally run from who you are. There’s a reason Phish fans didn’t embrace the happy-and-you-know-it vibe that was embraced mightily on their last album – despite their hippie-ish connotations, their music is not happy-go-lucky stuff. There’s a reason nobody gave a fuck about Gene Ween‘s solo record as Aaron Freeman – nobody wants to hear a guy do an album that is nothing but covers of some forgotten 70′s crooner when that guy is known for being one of the most original and inventive songwriters on the planet. And sure this isn’t a golden rule of music, because there’s plenty of notable exceptions. Radiohead‘s constant desire to reinvent themselves is one of the greatest blessings ever given to the world of music, and MGMT‘s diversion from dance-pop brought us a new realm of dark introspective material that teeny-boppers desperately needed to be exposed to. So no, it’s not a rule, but it’s a lesson. It’s something an artist should always consider. If you’ve become well known for music that is most assuredly you being yourself, then are you staying true to yourself when you attempt to stray from your notoriety?
Which leads me back to the video for “Ashes in the Air” – again, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind after hearing the song. “Oh, I don’t know… maybe some alien-astronaut kind-of-guy puts a baby in a meat-grinder or something, and there’s like naked, bloody people lying around… Oh, and that dude from Bon Iver’s head keeps like statically flashing…” Bingo! Enjoy…
After 15 years of making the most dreamy, ethereal music to ever grace the ears of the common masses, it looks like Sigur Rós are finally bringing some of their nightmare into the equation. Jónsi and his Icelandic cohorts have always made music that casts the listener into an internal and existential journey. When you take down all your walls and let their music consume you, it’s like being absorbed in the breath of the divine – a slow passage between rising and descent where the common laws of emotional response break down. It’s much like that first experience with some new drug where you’re not sure whether you’re laughing or you’re crying – rather you’re just responding to the convergence of all potential human response. Yet as much of a ride as their music will take you on, especially in a live setting, it has rarely been frightening. But with today’s release of their new track “Brennisteinn,” it seems like the fellas have finally realized there was a part of the human experience that they were neglecting to include.
Regardless of this video, which seems to be depicting some sort of human sacrifice during a solar eclipse and is reminiscent of something that Tool or Nine Inch Nails would have produced in the 90′s, this music itself is somewhat terrifying. The ethereal drift is still there, but it’s punctuated by insidious rupture. At times the melody is completely abandoned for static implosion, and there’s a very literal sense of what potential apocalyptic booms may ring of. There’s a touch of My Bloody Valentine quiver, and there’s a degree of forewarning much akin to God Speed! You Black Emperor, but there’s still no doubt that this is Sigur Rós, and to imagine how this new sound will fit into the live setting is a massive conjecture. I’ve personally witnessed complete emotional breakdowns at their concerts before, and adding this sensual flux into the equation will only make the ride all the more complex. There’s no doubt of its’ massive epic-ness.
The band announced today that their new album, Kveikur, will be released on June 17th. Could this be a sign of a new prolific age for the band? Previously there had never been anything shorter than a 3 year gap between albums, and now this dark warrior rises merely a year after their last masterpiece. Let’s hope so, as any new music from this band only makes the puzzle seem clearer.
Remember back in the 90′s… when anytime Spike Jonze would release a new music video, you instantly knew it was gonna be massively fucking cool? It didn’t matter if you didn’t like the band or even knew the band, you flipped on MTV and waited to see that Beastie Boys video for the 23rd time, or that Fatboy Slim video, or that Daft Punk video, or that Weezer video, or even that awesome video for “California” by Wax - remember that shit? Well we all know that these days MTV plays as much real music as KFC sells real chicken, but luckily we have a little something called the internet. And the greatest thing about the internet is you can get really fucking weird and people just go – “oh, it’s just that old internet.” This means that more and more actual artists are willing to get the epically absurd Eric Wareheim of Tim and Eric:Awesome Show – Great Job! to direct their videos.The originality of each production and the free range that the artists give Wareheim is honestly something that we had only seen with Jonze in the past.
The thing about Tim and Eric is that many people can’t see past the absurdity to realize that they’re truly conceptual geniuses – but I assure you, this shit is magic. Over the past 5 years or so, Wareheim has directed videos for everyone from Ben Folds to Depeche Mode, and I get more giddy each time a new one surfaces. Hell, I fucking hate Major Lazer, but I have probably watched their video 14 times over the past couple years. There is however, no doubt that his latest work is the masterpiece of his career so far. Last week, the video for Beach House‘s “Wishes” appeared, and it’s most certainly the greatest mash-up of lunacy and beauty I’ve ever seen in my life. The Dad from Twin Peaks and a blessed use of water bottle squirts – let’s start there. Let it consume you, and then go further down the rabbit hole with the rest of his Top 4 must see videos.
1) Beach House – “Wishes”
2) Major Lazer – “Pon De Floor”
3) Flying Lotus – “Dance Floor Dale”
4) MGMT – “The Youth”
If you wonder what Maynard Keenan does in his downtime between Tool shows and producing wine in the desert, then you obviously have not fully experienced the world known as Puscifer. While not really a band per se, Puscifer is more or less the creative outlet for any of the absurd creations that are constantly erupting inside Keenan’s slightly askew mind. You know what though? The guy catches a lot of flack for being a weirdo and dry-humping stage crashers and all that, but he really just likes to have fun – all be it in the most absurd and psychedelic ways. His latest release is this fairly spot on cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The video, however, takes things to a whole other universe. Hanging out with Maynard is like hanging out with your buddy who just wants to constantly fuck with your head while you’re high on mushrooms. Half the time you’re laughing, and the other half of the time you’re kind of worried that he’s going to pull a knife on you or something. Either way, this video is quite obviously a great release from the mundane boredom of a normal work week. Just don’t watch it on your iPhone during a first date or anything – it’ll send that girl running.
Here’s a Puscifer original…
I read a random tweet a few months back that said – “Not now. I’ll give it another try next year.” Me, every year, regarding Trout Mask Replica. I feel the new music from the artist known as Stamping Mill may soon bring equal responses. To put it quite simply, this music is difficult. That’s not to say it isn’t fully intriguing, wholly original, and helmed by a fully talented musician. But it does seem like the kind of thing that would be on exhibit at the Guggenheim, and that David Byrne would view with his head slightly cocked to one side like a dog that’s trying to make out what you’re saying. This is music that makes you truly question the intent and goal of its’ creator. Some make music to please, or to unite, or to induce movement… and some make music to challenge and perplex. There’s several epically self-defining statements from the man simply known as Joseph about his Stamping Mill project, on his site…
.:. I can no longer pretend to enjoy playing live music… Stamping Mill will not be performing live now or in the future.
… This is not easy listening music and it’s not for everyone. In fact, there is a very good chance that you will despise this music at first or perhaps conclude that it’s not music at all; but make an effort to understand what I’m trying to do before rejecting it outright.
.:. For me, music is about a constant struggle to create a unique piece of artwork… Stamping Mill is an attempt at art – that is the ultimate goal here.
.:. I reject the process of songwriting by committee and I will never compromise with band members or producers again. I make music alone for people like myself that would rather put on headphones than go see a live band.
Obviously, this man is not a dancer. His statements also seem to highlight the fact that this music is the result of his frustration and anger with the music industry. Which leads me to wonder… if he had never gone through the musical ringer, would he had ever been led to make such absurdist music? While he is the sole creator of these sounds, isn’t the entire history of modern pop and rock the true collaborator? This music is essentially the result of one man’s frustration with the tonal rhythms that society has pounded into his brain. While he claims this to be the most solitary music of all time, perhaps it’s actually the most widespread demographically collaborative music anyone has ever made.
The music itself is composed by expanding on a computer program’s production of random musical notes. Thus, the natural absurdity that results is equal to a trio composed of John Cage, Captain Beefheart, and Hal 9000. This is the closest anyone has ever come to making music that sounds like a Jackson Pollock painting. While composed of stacks of random actions, the end result is a fully realized piece of art that exists solely in relation to itself and to the artist. The debate over whether it is actually good or not is an arbitrary discussion that can only result in a theological argument about whether anything is this universe truly has a right to exist. So much like Trout Mask Replica, the true determining question is not whether or not you like the music, but whether you have put yourself out there and actually experienced it. Don’t be afraid, give it a shot.
What the fuck is aleatoricism?
You know how when you listen to a Girl Talk album, you say: “Oh, that shit sounds really fucking cool, but I feel like I could have done that on my little sister’s laptop”? Well the electro-wizard known as Dan Deacon has basically taken mash-ups to a whole new realm on his latest “mix” tape – this is the kind of thing where you say: “Oh shit, this sounds fucking nuts and I have no clue what’s actually happening.” Perhaps motivated by his brilliant sonic-success of this summer’s attack on the Carly Rae Jespen hit “Call Me Maybe Acapella 147 Times Exponentially Layered,” Deacon has just released a 5 track mix known as Wish Book Volume I. Hopefully the volume 1 part refers to more on the way, because nobody else is doing this stuff and we need to get as freaky as possible as we move into 2013. I know I was definitely not waiting for “Gangnam Style” to be mixed up with Grimes‘ “Oblivion” – but it takes a bold leap into the unknown. Take a listen below, and download the whole mix from Soundcloud HERE.
Here’s Deacons’ full rundown:
Hope you enjoy. Wish Book Volume 1 was made with music made by (in order of appearance): grimes+psy+beach house+skrillex+diplo+nicky da b+dirty projectors+lil wayne+nicki minaj+oneohtrix point never+tune yards+animal collective+rod stewart+the strokes+wiz khalifa+beyoncé+lcd sound system+death grips+ludacris+rihanna+the beatles+roy orbison+silver apples+katy perry+69 boyz+gary glitter+james brown+lmafo+black dice+the ronettes+r. kelly+black eyed peas+lenny kravitz+the misfits+2 chains+daftpunk+led zeppelin+the notorious b.i.g.+devo+lightning bolt+unknown artist recorded in jaipur, india+marvin gaye+radiohead+rage against the machine+salt n peppa+brian eno+madonna
Here’s the start of my review of the new Dan Deacon album - Sometimes trying to describe a Dan Deacon song is like trying to explain color to a blind person — rather frustrating and most likely doted with grandiose metaphors. So let’s just start with this: I’m fairly certain that after my first headphone session with America, the molecular structure of my brain completely realigned itself. Combining the ferocity of 2007′s Spiderman of the Rings with the majesty of 2009′s Bromst, this latest release from Deacon is an album that you can do nothing but completely succumb to. Don’t try to wash the dishes to it — don’t try to throw it on at a bar — just sit back and let this motherfucker consume you.
The whole review is HERE at State of Mind.
Here’s the whole USA Suite – it’s rather fucking incredible.
I first had the thought last month when I went to see my buddy play with his highly successful pop-rock band at the Oregon Zoo…Do the animals really like this pumped-out fem-rock? More specifically, what about the elephants which dwell directly at the back of the concert lawn? It was still fairly loud back there, and those fellas got some big fucking ears which I presume can hear really well. Actually, I did my research and they can hear incredibly well – even to the point of some sub-sonic level. Look, here’s a picture I don’t understand but will make me look fancy to people just quickly scanning this post:
Either way, the elephants in Portland’s zoo didn’t really look like they were digging my buddy’s band too much, although the zookeeper said they were swaying a little bit when Jimmy Cliff played earlier in the Summer. So you know, maybe you could make some massive iPod which the elephants could use to shuffle through some different genres since forcing specific music upon them doesn’t really seem to make them shine too much. I mean hell, it’s not like they’re Beluga Whales or anything, which everybody knows only listen to mariachi music.
But honestly, the real reason of this post was to talk about this insane new footage of scientists pumping Cypress Hill through the membrane of a Longfin Inshore Squid. Why are they doing it? Because a squid’s body has a chameleon like reaction to electrical stimuli, thus it creates a light show almost at par with Pink Floyd night at your local planetarium.
It’s hard to tell whether they’re using a squid that’s alive or dead, but I feel like these guys have no qualms in pumping B-Real’s stoned out nasal raps through the flesh of a still-living creature. I mean, they definitely didn’t care about ripping the leg off of a cockroach so that they could make it dance to the Beastie Boys. (Skip to 1:06)
By now you’re saying, OK King, cool footage, what’s your point? Well it seems quite obvious to me…my point is that music, of all forms, is THE dominating force in nature. We should mount a stage to the back of a giant bulldozer upon which AC/DC will shred their greatest hits while the massive, metallic beast rampages over the old growth forests of the Pacific NorthWest…or not. No, actually… the real point is that life and humans and animals and all of nature operate upon these cycles of circadian rhythms. And music is merely segments of these natural patterns which we have recycled and positioned in order to manipulate the present patterns and states of being which flow within us. So when you go to that amazing concert screaming to your friends that it was so epic that it changed your life, you have to realize that at a fundamental level, it truly has. You have opened yourself to a new relay of patterned segments outside of the daily rotation that your body becomes accustomed to. It quivers you…it shapes you…it reforms you. This is why it is not only a matter of your own health, but it is your due responsibility as a human being to acknowledge when you are seeing really shitty music. You must not be afraid to walk away from the retched beat-deprived DJ just because your Molly-laced friend is dancing your ass off. Don’t go with the crowd, don’t be afraid to not succumb to the masses. There is great honor in being the elephant that walks indoors.
For the past few days, the dark Lord himself, Tom Waits, has been delivering quasi-cryptic messages hinting at something big being released today. Nope, it wasn’t tour-dates. And yep, Ozzie is a pussy compared to Waits. Either way, it turns out to just be a new music video for the tune “Hell Broke Luce” off of last year’s Bad As Me. I suppose the word ‘just’ isn’t really apropos since the guy doesn’t really churn out music videos all that often, and since this one is really bad ass.
Featuring Waits towing some sort of levitating house through a dust-bowl world, it’s the kind of hell where the grim reaper is that old guy on the cover of Zeppelin IV. I think the idea is that the house is someone’s soul, and that Tom himself is Mr. Grim carting off someone’s soul to shitsville. Sometimes a sepia filter on your lens is all you need to make shit really scary. And you gotta give it up to the man for being one of the only artists out there to get legitimately scarier as he gets older. Most dark icons turn to a fluffy acceptance in their aging years, but Waits seems far more dangerous as he comes round the corner into his 60′s. It’s good – we could all use a little more danger in our lives.
Lorn’s latest is one of those albums that Lester Bangs would have hated, but that all the music-writers that were inspired by him will love. It doesn’t go as deep into the possibilty of modern elctronic production as Flying Lotus does, but it still branches into territory that is somehow still uncharted. Definitely worth a slight embrace. Read the full review HERE at MV Remix.
Did you ever wish that the soundtrack to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had a solid backbeat to it? Well there seems to be just as much inspiration from an illegal slaughterhouse as there is from Daft Punk on Ask the Dust, the first release on the Ninja Tune label from Milwaukee artist Lorn. It may be easy to lump all electronic dance music together these days, but this is definitely not the album that will be inspiring the wearing of candy-necklaces anytime soon. Embracing a far more sinister presence than that of his peers, Lorn crafts a 45-minute unified piece that forces the listener to embody the warming darkness of their subconscious as they crush the dance-floor. Don’t be afraid though, Ask the Dust is wholeheartedly beautiful…