Fairfield is kind of a strange city. The small beacon of art and creativity in the middle of rural Iowa is home to a transcendental meditation university, an annual benefit concert sponsored by the David Lynch Foundation, and a whole collective of creative kids who stave off boredom by filtering nearly every musical genre imaginable through their own brand of electronics and dance music. “Low Cash,” the lead single to the Little Ruckus debut album We Love Evil, is like a mission statement for that entire bored, adolescent community of Fairfield. The song gradually piles layers of chant-punk vocals over screaming trance-like synthesizers, and dance beats that sound like Dan Deacon leading a marching band. I suppose if you are going to be stuck in the middle of Iowa, you might as well embrace it and dance your ass off. Weird Life.
Get into it below, and spend all your cash on “Low Cash” (and the rest of the album) over at their website.
• Little Ruckus: http://www.littleruck.us
Parallel motion, guys. PARALLEL MOTION. The synths of Event Cloak (a.k.a. Nick Maturo of Sundrips), which are featured on a new tape from Tranquility, dance, gracefully hovering just above the ground, left and right, back and forth, and fast. Joyously A.D.D. but delicate, precise, and beautifully beautiful. Like Beethoven’s Ninth beautifully beautiful, epic bass billowing and bolstering this piece up into a cannonball of a canon. Breath: stolen. Heart: swollen too big for its tiny cage. Brilliantly visualized by owner of the internet’s best channel, the one and only Moduli TV. A word of advice: Crank this. Full screen. Nose as close to the pixels as humanly possible. Absorb.
• Tranquility Tapes: http://tranquilitytapes.blogspot.com
“Canção para o Luís”
I knew a guy in my college town in Iowa who worked the overnight shift at the convenience store by my house. I used to drink free fountain soda and talk to him about all the weird stuff he collected. Of all the random things, his collection of old commercials was by far the most fascinating. (Apparently, there exists a whole network of people, single-handedly keeping blank VHS sales alive by cataloging, dubbing, and trading old commercials.) I never saw his collection because he was always a little reluctant to even talk to me about it, as if I were some stranger asking to flip through his family’s old photo albums. And in a way, he was right. Those shelves of hand-labeled VHS tapes represented this guy’s entire childhood — decades of old TV filler he had never managed to let go — and I came along fascinated in my nostalgia haze, as nearly forgotten memories of old fast food commercials playing between episodes of daytime TV dramas came flooding back to me.
Somewhere between our two perspectives of the past lies this video for Branches’ “Canção para o Luís.” Watch the video, go scour garage sales for old VHS tapes, and then buy the whole cassette, Ninguém É Como Tu, from Solid Melts.
• 0000-A70U-0075: http://balmar.bandcamp.com
Hey Marvel: if Buckcherry and Soungarden were good enough for the Avengers soundtrack, why on earth did you slight Grand Magus? Something tells me that Thor would prefer the Stockholm trio’s hard-rock reinterpretations of Norse Mythology to another bone-dumb Papa Roach song about scars or last resorts, or something. Case in point? “Valhalla Rising,” a track that proves why the heavy metal model is still effective: take a catchy melody, cloak it in sludgy riffs and a relentless beat, top it off with a screaming solo halfway through, and you’ve got yourselves a brutal beauty. It even opens with the musical equivalent of a dramatic action sequence: a demure piano riff suddenly gives way to JB Christoffersson’s militaristic shred. If this doesn’t end up on the soundtrack to Thor 2, then maybe Loki does deserve to make us all his minions — or at least, the people who make lame superhero movie soundtracks.
Grand Magus’ The Hunt is out June 5 via Nuclear Blast.
Michael RJ Saalman
I’ve been getting a bit antsy waiting for the debut tape from Biosexual, a duo consisting of Michael RJ Saalman and Zac Nelson. So in my ever-antsiness, I decided to reap the benefits of Mr. Saalman’s ridiculously fruitful SoundCloud page (which first got me hip to the music of Biosexual with the amazingly titled, pristine pop of “Sleigher”). I then decided to share the luscious berries available for picking there, which leads us to this: an incredible three-part work from Saalman called Eventually Dead. You might want to tie your jaw up with a piece of string or something. And find something firm and solid nearby to hang on to as you make your way through this. Those synth arpeggios can get a little dizzying.
• Michael RJ Saalman: http://soundcloud.com/michaelrjsaalman