Welcome to the first installment of a new series I like to call “You Should Know This Album.” YSKTA will feature records from years gone by that may have slipped under your radar at the time of the release, or perhaps that was the time when you were going through your digital zydeco faze. Either way, for the most part these will be albums that also slipped under my radar at the time and most likely have only surfaced in my life after a late night drunken conversation with someone where they say: “What? You write a music blog and you’ve never heard that record? You’re such a loser and a sham.” This first one I stumbled upon on my own though…
Shellac – At Action Park - Released October 24, 1994
Like many music nerds, I have somewhat of a permanent sonic boner for Steve Albini. The dude has been at the studio boards for hundreds upon hundreds of records over the years, including Nirvana, The Breeders, PJ Harvey, Iggy Pop, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Gogol Bordello, Silkworm, Cloud Nothings, and a whole other list of people who are renowned for making magnificent soul-bleeding rock and roll. Thus it never even occurred to me to think that Albini ever had time for his own music. But that he did, and all branches of his musical career stem from his 80′s output in his band Big Black. Think post-punk weirdness meshed together with straight-punk sincerity. But it was with his early 90′s creation, Shellac, that Albini really put his heart on wax. They’ve put out something new every few years for the past couple decades, and rumors are that there’s a new one on the way, but the definitive piece for any true record-store geek’s collection is At Action Park.
This is one of those albums that unites the hardcore kids and the indie-scenesters in a blissful coalition. It’s viscous 3-piece attack on sound. Yes, the guitar attack is destructive and forceful, but it’s also locked into some outright grooves. At times it almost feels like Rage Against the Machine, but intentionally much more rough at the seams, minus a rapper and staunch on not having any message at all – you know, real deal garage rock dream of the 90′s shit. And while the songs don’t really have much of a standard formula, (don’t expect a chorus, or even really a verse for that matter,) they each have an individual life force to them that is clearly missing on other music of similar genres. If those early Dinosaur Jr. albums always sounded hook-less and redundant to you, than this record will re-establish your affinity for the power of simplicity. The greatest thing about discovering At Action Park though is realizing what a pivot-point record it is. This is the album that serves as the bridge between Built to Spill and Fugazi, or between Tool and Nirvana. This is the essence of musicians making music for themselves and not caring about who it offends or what it’s lacking to bring it to a wider audience. And honestly, what else would you expect from someone who has his hands so deep in the recording game? When you’ve heard thousands of bands try to put create their own individual sounds, you get a good idea of what it is that you yourself want to create. This is one of those CDs that you play while driving and you don’t even realize when it starts over – it has no weak spots and thus no telling points of when it should end. If you like your rock gritty or you’ve been searching for a good record to play really loud when you’re overwhelmed with anger and frustration, then do yourself a favor and bring this into your life.
I’ve been a fan of The Philistines Jr. for about 17 years or so – ever since my older brother came back from his house in Port Chester, NY with their CD The Sinking of the S.S. Danehower and said “Listen to this album my roommate made – I think you’ll like it.” Now this was a time in my life when I essentially listened to The Grateful Dead, Phish, and Medeski, Martin & Wood. So a wickedly low-fi indie album predominately featuring shitty drum beats from a Lowrey Organ was pretty far away from my comfort zone. But the brilliant simplicity of the lyrics, the fact that I knew someone in the band, and the embrace of its own definition of pop music basically triggered a twitch in my head that would forever affect how I came to know and love all music.
I never realized that singing about bringing enough cords to a gig because there’s no Sam Ash near the venue, or about buying your friend’s parents a new vase from Caldor’s were lyrical references that could actually sound beautiful, but now those lines give me goosebumps just thinking about them. So while I highly recommend the Danehower album, which you can still order HERE from their website, most folks will probably resonate more with the much more well produced 2010 release,If a Band Plays in the Woods… Sure it took Peter Katis 10 years to finish it, but it’s worth it. Him and his brother Tarquin have an undeniably true passion and grasp on the essential things in life and music. As Peter says, “Write about what you know, so I write about my brothers and writing songs and home life and recording our band and other people’s bands.” When I first heard the opening cut, “Bus-Stop Song,” I literally listened to it 7 times in a row.
Now the Philistines are suddenly getting paid attention to as Peter has been gaining quite the reputation as a producer. Making albums in the comfort of his Connecticut home studio, he has been the go-to guy in the past few years for bands like Jonsi (of Sigur Ros) and The National. But his latest star attraction has been for Trey Anastasio of Phish – producing Trey’s newest solo release Traveler. And since Trey and Phish are the most over-analyzed band on the face of the planet, and since Trey mentioned that The Philistines Jr. played with Phish at some point in the 80′s, suddenly a bunch of websites want to know who these guys are and pretend like they’ve known the band all along. Most notably is the hippy mag Relix, who probably had never heard of this band, but since Trey said something they thought they’d be cool and do a feature on them. And I’m sure that the Katis brothers thought that the Relix office would be the last place they’d ever be asked to come and perform, but that they did, and below is the absolutely, utterly beautiful, quasi-acoustic performance they recorded just recently. And might as well include the entire soundclouod link of their latest album. Do yourself a favor and bring these guys into your life.
It seems odd that we’ve come to a time when a three-guitar rock band from Brooklyn sounds refreshing, but in a landscape dominated by laptops and synthesizers, Los Encantados are just that. Embracing the love and melodies of the greatest punk/50’s revivalists, but adding a little something called chops and talent, these guys have established themselves in just over one year’s time as one of the new bands coming out of New York actually worth paying attention to. Fresh off the release of the 3rd and final chapter of their debut album, The Same Damned Soul, I talked with the band’s front-man, James Armstrong, about the shockingly natural formation of their music, and how their dream gig lies somewhere between playing with a Miami gangster-rapper and a bisexual glam-rocker from London.
Adam King: So how did these songs move from your bedroom to the stage?
James Armstrong: Well, I had initially wrote The Same Damned Soul by myself as kind of an audio Valentine type thing for this girl. After a while, I eventually let a couple of my friends listen to it…it got passed around through some more friends and band members that were in different bands, and they passed it on to band members and then one night we just decided to go to our practice space and play the songs that I had written. And that’s kind of the short story of how we started playing together.
You guys had another band going and then morphed into this band?
Yeah, one of the guitarists in the band, Kevin, he has a garage-rock band that I played guitar in at the time, and still play guitar in as well. And all the other members are members of very official projects, and all those bands before Los Encantados was a thing, we had all shared the same practice space. But I just never had shown them the songs that I had written before. Yeah, so we just nailed down a date and went through the songs, and initially we were just gonna do this one show and play the whole project from start to finish, and following that show we got booked on another and we just kept on rolling from there.
Were all the songs on The Same Damned Soul written before you released the first EP?
Yeah, we recorded it all at once. All nine songs.
Why did you decide to release it in three parts then?
It was partly just because I think, or we think, it’s a little bit easier to consume as a listener – to have it in three little short bursts. And the arc of the record kind of mirrors out, well it flows nicely through seasonal changes, so those were the main theories, that there’s really sort of three peaks.
Did the album work with on the girl that inspired it?
Yeah! For a while…(laughs) You know everything has an end point…it was a good one.
I know you guys are working on this new album – is the new record still just you writing the songs or are you slightly more collaborating with the other guys in the band on it?
Yeah, it’s a bit more collaborative. I still primarily write them and then bring them to rehearsal to flesh them out. The first one, the first song is basically me in my bedroom just recording, so I think the next album will be a little bit more dynamic and there’s a lot more varied instrumentation, and a little bit more produced. It will be a little bit different.
Are you guys working with the same producer that you did on the EP?
No, the EP was my buddy Sammy Gallo – he did those. The new album we’re producing with Tim Wagner who’s the co-founder of Dither Down records, a dance-label in New York. He plays with other projects and DJs and stuff. I really like the sound of the dance records he puts out, like the drum sounds and the bass, and he’s got a lot of experience in the music scene besides producing records and working in the studio. So he’s great to work with, and he’s really got an awesome ear for great sounds.
I hear a bunch of influences in the songs, but in all of them there’s something about the whole vibe of the band that’s undeniably a New York sound. How much of a direct influence do you think that the city itself has on your writing, and how important do you think it is for the band to be based from there?
I think more than anything, there’s just so much here. You get to see so many different bands live. And not just bands, there’s art and cultural experiences and it keeps you inspired and makes you feel more a part of what’s currently going on. I was born in a super small town in Scotland called Nairn, it’s about 5,000 or so people, and I moved around the state sides as well, but that was my home base. And being so remote and removed from all the music you love…it’s cool and it’s fine, but it’s kind of a weird feeling, you yearn to be immersed in this scene that you think‘s going on, so I’m glad that I’m over here now and being more of a part of it and experiencing it first hand as opposed to through reading Kerrang or Spin or something like that, you know?
With there being 10,000 bands in New York right now, do you ever think about what you need to do as a band to rise above the mix of getting thrown in as just another hip new Brooklyn band?
Um, not like gimmicky shit. (laughs) I think just continuing to play as much as possible. We rehearse a lot, and I listen to as much music as I can, and just try to improve my writing. But besides that, the only way that I would want to be recognized apart from any other band is just by the quality of the music we put out.
I dug the end of the 3rd EP where things get a little darker and more poignant. Do you find that for some of the bands you listen to, that the darker things resonate deeper with you, or is a mixture of things?
I think both. I like bands that can do both even within the same song. Like Jesus and the Mary Chain kind of have that thing where it’s dark and kind of noisy for the most part, but they still have this pop sensibility that kind of lightens it up. I like that a lot, that stuff resonates with me a lot.
Are there new bands out there that you gain as much inspiration from as some of these older bands that you’re into?
Oh, yeah for sure! I mean, within our own city even… Japandroids are a really great band. I like a lot of dance music as well. I’ve been DJing since I was 15 or so. I took time off writing rock stuff to just DJ, and I go back to it sometimes. I think the dance scene in New York is really cool – there’s a lot of great stuff. I love Wolf and Lamb – that sound is so awesome. Like inspired off of 90’s R&B but with Housebeats.
Do you think of Los Encantados as being a dance band?
No…not necessarily – I mean not like EDM. People dance at our shows, but we’re a rock based kind of group. We’ve had remixes on our songs and I like having that, just having the variation.
Suppose that a current Top 40 band asked you guys to do a co-headlining tour with them. What would be the ideal band in that limited range that you’d want to do it with?
Oh man, Top 40? Shit…(laughs) It’d be pretty funny getting on a hip-hop tour, like Rick Ross. That’d be pretty ridiculous. If I could open for Rick Ross I think my dreams would be met for the year.
Suppose in some out-of-time other dimension, Television, The Modern Lovers, and David Bowie all ask you to join their respective bands at the same time.
Which one do you join?
I would go for Bowie. Definitely. It’s funny, interestingly, last night at rehearsal I was saying my favorite rock lineup is the Spiders From Mars tour era Bowie, you know with Mick Ronson and Mike Garson. I think that would be like a fucking dream. Almost as good as Rick Ross.
So the Bowie/Rick Ross combo tour would be it all right there –
Oh man, that would be too much.
In case you haven’t been following the past week’s most predominant artistic debate, let me quickly rehash. Amanda Palmer, the former front-woman of the slightly askew neo-folk, punk-cabaret outfit The Dresden Dolls recently raised $1.2 Million on Kickstarter to record her new album. In other words, she’s got enough fans and incoming love that they basically gave the woman an ass-fuck-load of money. Now as her music is somewhat elaborate and layered, her touring band requires a fair number of additional musicians to flesh out the sound- you know, horns and strings and all that. Palmer decided that she didn’t have enough money to pay all those additional musicians though, so she released a statement saying that she’d be looking for fill-in musicians in every city for every date on her tour, and most importantly she would not be paying them any money. Just “free beer and hugs.”
So there’s 2 main reactions everybody has been having to this. If you’re not that familiar with The Dresden Dolls or with Palmer at all, the reaction is “who the fuck does this broad think she is?” The other reaction is from the select group of people who absolutely adore the woman and her music, and are thus like “holy shit, I could actually play a gig in Amanda Palmer’s band.” A few predominant music folks have been quite vocal about their stance on the issue, most importantly indie-rock wonder producer and uniter Steve Albini who quite gracefully remarked – “I have no fundamental problem with either asking your fans to pay you to make your record or go on tour or play for free in your band or gather at a mud pit downstate and sell meth and blowjobs to each other. The reason I don’t appeal to other people in this manner is that all those things can easily pay for themselves, and I value self-sufficiency and independence, even (or especially) from an audience.”
So in trying to grasp my stance on the issue, I tried to put myself in one of her fan’s shoes. If a band I respected and adored put this same offer on the table, would I take it? Most likely, yes. But then I realized that if a band offered this, I would also lose a great deal of respect for them. And thus, I would hope and presume that most of the bands I respect would never offer this. It’s not like Palmer is playing coffee houses. She’s playing spots like The Fillmore – huge 1500 person venues with $25 minimum ticket prices. And the thing is, she knows how to play her music and has been doing so for a while. The fans who would come into play have to be rather accomplished sight-readers and talented enough artists to learn a full set’s worth of songs in a 24 hour period. So these fans are busting their left-nuts off to be on top of shit, while Palmer just naps in the back of the van on the way to her next gig. And then once you’ve worked so hard, she hugs you, tells you how awesome you are, and then sticks a $10,000 check in her back pocket and is on her way. You’ve got to really fucking love this woman to not feel at least a little bit used.
And “used” is the optimal word here. She is quite simply using the affection of her fans to save a couple hundred bucks and inflate her ego. The ego is the part that really gets me. This isn’t rock-camp – someplace where you pay $1,000 to learn guitar from the ex-bassist from Styx or something. This is a performance – a concert, and Palmer should realize that it’s even more her privilege to be able to play such things then it is for people to perform with her. Being a quasi-successful artist and musician is a blessing, not a burden. And what kind of massively inflated ego do you have to have to think that you’re big enough to ask such favors from your most-likely less well-off fans? This is very similar to Phil Lesh charging fans $5,000 to play a song with him on Jerry Garcia‘s guitar - also a dick move. But again, that’s The Grateful Dead and Jerry Motherfucking Garcia, not some odd-ball cabaret chick from Boston.
So after all the flack she’s been getting, Palmer announced yesterday that she will be paying her guest musicians now. Which quite frankly makes her seem like even more of an asshole to me. If you wanna make a prick-ass move, then at least stick by your guns. Don’t say, “oh, I realized I could pay them and still make a bunch of money – my bad.” That basically acknowledges that you knew you were doing something wrong in the first place, and now that you’ve been called out on it, you’re just gonna flip your whole stance.
In the end of all this, what’s quite clear is that Amanda Palmer is not going to gain any new fans. Her old fans will fully support her decision and stand by it, but any outsider will only now know her from this erroneous move. I for one, only slightly knew of Palmer, but I’ve now come to realize that she’s not playing on this all-in-it-together music scene that is trying to grow and maintain in the modern era. I will forever now pick her last in kickball. You decide if her music is worth all the fuss. Here’s one of her big hits – I think it’s completely contrived bullshit personally. And again, 1.2 million friggin’ dollars raised and her estimated costs for musicians was $35,ooo. That would total up to less than 3% of here raised finances, not to mention whatever tour and merchandise revenue she’s taking in.
If you missed the boat 2 years ago when Ariel Pink finally blew up and dropped many a critics’ Album of the Year with Before Today, don’t be too hard on yourself. At the time, it almost seemed too hip for its own good, and those smooth retro jams seemed slightly insincere at first listen to some folk. But now’s the time to go back and catch up, because if not, you’re falling behind on his latest release Mature Themes. Summing up his vibe perfectly in the latest Spin, Ariel claims that “I knew that I was doing something that sounded like the trace of a memory you can’t place.” To me it sounds like music from some parallel universe where 70′s yacht rock made a perfect transition into 80′s pop music – like if Michael McDonald had managed to still stay relevant.
Despite the jumbled ego that he can’t help but emit constantly, Pink really is crafting genius smooth-pop that transcends any and all genre-era constraints. Try to hate it, but the shit is just fucking fly as all hell. This new video for “Only in My Dreams” isn’t ground-breaking by any means, but it continues the low-fi dreamscape which he so embodies. Presumably shot on VHS, and not really following any interesting plot-line, the video is as relaxed and casual as his music – as it should be. He wants some girl, but it’s not really working out – that’s it. Track is great though, so is the album, and the video makes you want to go dig out your too-tight Vaurnet t-shirt and short-shorts, grab a 4-pack of Bartles and James and head for the community pool. Dig it.
Last night was the premiere/farewell showing of the documentary following LCD Soundsystem‘s final show last April at Madison Square Garden. I attended the 3-set, 4-hour marathon performance last year and still get goose-bumps recalling the dance party, the bittersweet pleasure permeating the arena, and the magical sense of knowing I was taking part in a piece of modern musical history. What a bummer that this movie didn’t resurrect those sensations for me – yep, on a scale of 1-10, ranking it with other great concert films, I give it a 5.8.
First off, the concert footage is amazing. The elevated camera angles, the close-ups, and the shared glimpses of momentary wonder from band members are amazing. As is the sound mix. But the emotion is so blatant pouring off of everyone on the stage that the rest of the movie’s non-stage shots fail to live up to its level of compassion. Surely once the full concert is released on DVD along with this doc, the actual concert film will receive exponentially more viewings than its art-house sibling.
It seems like all the right footage is there – following James Murphy around the day before and after the show, and having crucial interview questions from the amazing Chuck Klosterman interspersed defines the whole movie. The thing is that Murphy doesn’t really have the magical, self-defining answers himself to put the whole thing into the necessary perspective we’re all looking for. The dichotomous existence between his rock-star self and the normal dude he strives to be is questioned but never really understood. And what sucks is that it seems if presented from the right perspective all those answers and the clear storyline are there. But instead, the movie tries to crawl into James Murphy’s brain, which at the time of filming was incredibly confused and lost. Thus the film itself tends to get jumbled in obscure transitions from the stage to Murphy’s apartment. The result is that you begin to feel just as uncertain about what’s actually happening as Murphy is, and while it’s a great act of imposing empathy on the viewer, I think it would have been a lot more interesting to really try to define the story from an outsider’s perspective. Essentially, they should have just let Klosterman produce the film.
The most compelling part of the film comes when Klosterman asks Murphy what he believes his greatest failure to be, as Klosterman claims it is an act’s greatest failure that truly defines them. Murphy is quick to reply that potentially quitting will be his biggest failure, while Chuck quickly jumps back at him saying, “No, I think your ability to stop being self-conscious of yourself is your biggest failure.” And he’s exactly right…music, and rock music, and dance music is all about existing in the moment. Sure, some fabulous things have happened from some incredibly intelligent rock stars making some brash decisions about their existence, but real passionate music comes from a place where you don’t give a fuck how history and the media sees you. It’s almost like James Murphy was so concerned about doing things the ‘right’ and the ‘righteous’ way that the very act of concern stopped being the ‘right’ and ‘righteous’ thing to do. I think the movie could have benefited hugely by including a couple brief fan interviews and quotes. For a band that was always about the intertwined unity and experience of itself and its fans, the movie is far too strictly presented from the top down. So it gives you a great sense of the sorrow and confusion ripping through Murphy, but it give little sense of the all-out wonder which the concert itself was. Perhaps the music so speaks for itself that we’ll have to wait for the full concert release for that wonder to be seen. Literally at times you want to scream “Shut Up and Play the Hits” at the screen, but unfortunately that’s not what the film is about. I suppose it is a great portrait of one man’s inability to live in the present, and his obsession with how the future will look back at him. However, a good concert film it is not. Still, it should be required viewing for anyone and everyone even slightly involved with the music business today, but wait until the full concert is released before you schedule any martini fueled dance-party viewing sessions.
Here’s the link to my full review of the concert from last year:
Here’s the preview:
I first heard of St. Vincent a few years ago when she was opening for Death Cab For Cutie. At the time, the pairing seemed ideal as Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) was embracing a fairly mellow vibe, all be it strikingly off-kilter. I totally flaked on the girl until last Fall’s Strange Mercy dropped though , and now it’s become one of my go-to albums of 2012. The girl is sexy, writes amazingly modern and freshly progressive rock and roll, has a killer voice, great legs, and she fucking shreds a fuzzed out guitar in one of those “Holy Sweet Fuck” kind of ways. Here’s a live taping of “Cruel” from a couple months back – my favorite track on the album as well as the most technically impressive. Dig it -
So when word began to circulate that David “T-Head” Byrne was working on a new album with her, my initial reaction was rather skeptical. I envisioned Byrne turning up her freak flag a little and letting her rock creds droop to the side – I mean the guy’s always looking for somebody new to just be a complete weirdo with. Luckily, rather than the dusted remains of an art-house chop-shop, their album Love This Giant seems to be leaning in the direction of completely bad-ass poppish rock. The album’s not due to be released for another 2 months, but they have released the first track “Who.” Supposedly in the same vein throughout the album, the track centers along a brass-driven pop-funk train. I was reminded of Byrne’s 1997 solo release Feelings, which has remained his funkiest work since the Talking Heads disbanded – that is up until now. “Who” is like watching a NOLA marching band go by in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Tangents of obsure pop melodies grab the hands of deep-trench soul-crank – easily some of the weirdest shit that you want to dance your ass off too. Get into it below. And download it free HERE.
I’ve gone through an extended love affair with this band, and I don’t see it ending any time soon. Bringing melody and songwriting back into conjunction with something you want to bounce to, It’s a Corporate World is a refreshing taste of how the original pop-rock paradigm can cohabitate with modern sound. In this interview with half of the two-man team, I find Josh Epstein beaming with a stead-fast pride for his hometown of Detroit, an honest love for covering 80′s Winwood hits, and a conjunctive knack for crafting great songs. Read the full thing HERE.
I mean, yeah, there’s definitely that pressure from other people where “we need you to write songs that people like” just as much or more. But I think when you live like that, you’re writing from a fearful place. And I just don’t think that ever works for people. I think the sophomore slump comes from people’s heads. Daniel and I have to keep on thinking about that — this isn’t our second record. For both of us it’s like… number eleven. [Laughs] It’s not like we’ve never had to follow up an album before. Maybe not as many people listened to our other albums, but we’ve always tried to make one better than the last one.
“People in Portland never laugh at jokes. It’s cuz you don’t have sales tax. You don’t even have heroin in this town anymore. Um, go Blazers.” – That was a mere smidgen of the poetic turns-of-phrase that came out of Bradford Cox Monday night in Portland. Sonically, the lines between Bradford’s band Deerhunter and his solo work as Atlas Sound have blurred together a lot more lately. Last year’s Parallax was a lot more melody-oriented than any of his prior solo seances, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from this set – luckily, he didn’t seem to know what to expect either. I’d say 65% of the show was all completely off-the-cuff, and it was spectacular.
Readings from a gay poetry book, posing like Lou Reed for the camera-happy, hilariously loving comments of Portland, and oh yeah, some of the most brilliant drone and echo manipulation you’ll ever see any human being on earth perform. Here’s a snippet of my review at State of Mind and you can read the full thing HERE.
“The evening began with a reading from A Lover’s Cock, a book Cox had bought that afternoon at Powell’s and which was totally comprised of graphic, homosexual poetry. A passionate boner soliloquy grew into an enormous droning vocal-loop before landing in “Recent Bedroom” from 2008′s Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel, which itself than melted into another space-drone accompanied by a sonnet about the beauty of a man’s ass. The thing is, as crazy as all this sounds, what he is doing with an acoustic guitar, a harmonica, and a loop machine is honestly magical. He’s able to take half-second snips of harmonica or vocal notes and turn them into elegant drones — not just the sweet loops you and your buddy make in your garage after too many bong-hits, but instant moments of sonic art by a true master of his craft. More than just a genius of echo patterns though, Bradford is a master of formulating himself and his whole persona into the main instrument. There’s this twisted innocence inside him that is the heart of his sound. You could put him up there with a wooden spoon and a stack of dirty laundry, and he would somehow be able to tweak some harmonies out of them.”
And here’s “Te Amo” – one of the songs he fully performed the other night and a great example of what he does with his pedals.
So I went to go see the ever-eccentric Twin Sister at the Doug Fir last night here in PDX – they were good, not great. They’ve definitely tightened up their back end since I’ve last seen them, and their front-girl has definitely gotten a screw or two looser. Either way, they were seriously over-shadowed by their opening act tour-partners from Brooklyn, Ava Luna. Fronted by the most unlikely front-man of the year, Carlos Hernandez – he looks like either an introverted guitar-tech or an extra for Revenge of the Nerds Part VII. But there in lies his magic – because when that kid hits the stage, it becomes serious business in the Postpunk Neofunk reality we’d all like to exist in.
Intricately layered harmonies from his female cohorts skip across the top of complex bass lines that are in complete lock with booming studder-fills from the drums. Think Beck Midnight Vultures era with the intelligence of The Dirty Projectors thrown on top. Hernandez occasionally plays a ripping rock-edged guitar, but most of the melodies come from synths and casios scattered throughout the accompanying musicians. This seeming chaotic formation is unbelievably tight though – half-times and drop-beats come at the most unexpected yet well-received moments. Perusing their on-line visibility, it seems like these guys are in serious need of a big P.R. boost, but perhaps this first national tour of theirs will turn more ears than my own. I recommend jumping on board ASAP.