Here’s a video I want you to stare at for a few minutes from UK duo Sculpture, who are known for infusing their music with optic tricks, like printing animations on picture discs, etc. Their new album on Digitalis (the first for the label in what will certainly be a very successful year to follow) comes on slime-green vinyl, has a little zoetrope on the label, and just plain looks awesome, which should come as no surprise. The eye-popping video embedded above is no less the stunner, creating intermittent illusions of stationary birds through varying speeds of a rotating set of images (I… I think that’s what’s happening — basically mirroring the effect of a stroboscope, like you find on a lot of record players). But in addition to letting your pupils dilate over all this stuff, it’s just as important to dig the music as well, so maybe while you’re busy rubbing your eyes after getting through the first run-through, hit play again and give yourself a chance to check out the gyroscope of synths splattering all over the audio field as this extract whips itself around.
Milo Turns 50: Songs of The Descendents
It’s been over 30 years since Descendents frontman Milo Aukerman went to college — and started a punk renaissance in the process. Green Day, The Offspring, Blink-182 — they, and practically every other pop-punk band of the past 20 years, all cite The Descendents’ upbeat, melodic hardcore as a major influence. Aukerman turned 50 on New Years’ Day, and FILTER magazine is celebrating the seminal punk hero’s birthday with Milo Turns 50, a free 13-song compilation composed of covers of classic Descendents tunes. FIDLAR, Band of Horses’ Ben Bridwell, and Mike Watt all show up to pay their respects, although the most interesting offering, a cover of “All,” comes courtesy of YACHT — you read that right, the electropop group. It just goes to demonstrate the massive scope of the band’s influence, as well as the degree to which Aukerman has become a legendary figure in scenes all over the world. Here’s to you, Milo: you put the “punk” in AARP.
• The Descendents: http://descendents.tumblr.com
“Pierce the Morning Rain”
If you’re ever caught with a case of suburban existential angst, there’s only one thing to do: trick out your ride with a sound system massive enough to induce a trance-like state in which a pugnacious Henry Rollins — or alternately, a golden retriever — challenges you to a duel. In their wacky new clip for “Pierce the Morning Rain,” Dinosaur Jr’s punchy, crunchy rock serves as the soundtrack to a classic scene of suburban angst and the solution brought forth by a seemingly-passive dad (played by James Urbaniak of Venture Bros. fame).American Beauty director Sam Mendes’ idea of transcendental beauty was a plastic bag floating carelessly in the wind; Scott Jacobson — the Emmy-award-winning comedy writer who directed the video — sees it instead as a Gucci Mane t-shirt, undulating to the relentless bass rumbles in an drag racing parking lot. And if that isn’t profundity, we don’t know what is.
“You and Me Both” (Arthur Russell cover)
As the title of her 2012 list-topping album implies, Ms. Holter’s Ekstasis progressed through a hazy world of pause, touched briefly and inconsistently with touches of pop ecstasy. This live cover of Arthur Russell’s “You and Me Both,” bootlegged by Leaving Records founder and electronic scientist Matthewdavid, strips essentially every aspect of the original song, opting to create another slow-moving world based on the soft longing in its lyrics, and with only light piano droplets and Holter’s un-effected voice ringing through a chattering, disinterested crowd. That state of pause is pushed further than even the softest moments of Ekstasis. I imagine it was something no one attending that night’s Arthur Russell tribute show could have expected.
“You and Me Both” is Holter’s contribution to Dual Form, a split release between LA’s Stones Throw and Leaving Records, which also includes gems from Run DMT, Dem Hunger, Sun Araw, and Dntel, among others. It is available now on LP and cassette.
A bit behind on the ball on this one. Sorry folks. I blame the holidays. But it’s too good to miss! Melbourne producer naps first caught my attention last year with a quality little EP called earthsea on This Thing. Watery, degraded, tropical, new age… and probably other words too; it was a genuinely intriguing proposition. Well, the follow-up is even better. The territory is similar sonically: still pretty chill, but with slightly more emphasis on the loping, disjointed beats. And there’s a definite weirdness here, something slightly uncanny about the lounge-y sample (is it even a sample? does it matter? maybe!) on “kids” and both the choice and treatment of the vocal on “squai.”
I’m struggling to think of comparisons actually. Daniel Lopatin by way of Dolphins into the Future maybe? Except that there’s a definite hip-hop element here too. I’d suggest you file it alongside TMT fave ahnnu, who (not coincidentally) turns up with a whacked-out remix here. Both artists are doing exciting things in what seems to be a particularly fertile backwater of the global beat-making community that has apparently made Soundcloud its home. It’s here evidently that, as 2012 becomes 2013, new territory is being carved. But you knew that already…
La Big Vic
“All That Heaven Allows” (feat. Alienboy)
The way people fetishize the decades in which they acclimated to solid food and co-opted fashion or even anachronistic technology (tech-cum-fashion) is a re-remembering of the past. It highlights and exaggerates the best parts while ignoring the bad and unremarkable. La Big Vic’s new track “All That Heaven Allows” (feat. Alienboy) from their forthcoming album, Cold War, is how I like to re-remember my pre-adolescence. I’m imagining it playing at the rollerskating rink when I was eight years old and trying to flirt with a girls in puff-paint sweatshirts. It takes my focus off the bad haircuts. LBV’s “All that Heaven Allows” is pure joy, bubbly and infectious with synth lines nuzzled underneath (ex-TMTer/Visitation Rites founder/and AdHoc editor) Emilie Friedlander’s Debbie Harry-esque croon. As it plays, I can’t help but picture myself skating backwards and confidently shaking my elbows, even though I could do neither of those things.
Hear the entirety of Cold War via Noisey, and look for the album January 29 on Underwater Peoples.