Blue Medicine [Excerpts]
Demitasse is the latest permutation of the San Antonio based Buttercup who, in many ways are one of the most important bands I ever encountered in my life. The musical landscape south of Austin in Texas during the early-mid 2000’s was pretty spare and often Americana and/or punk driven and Buttercup stood out in the best way possible with their melancholic weirdo pop. I’m still fairly convinced that their 2005 debut Sick Yellow Flower is the most complete record to come out of San Antonio and it’s focus on feebly spare pop instilled a fascination with the power of fragmented melody and negative space in me that remains to this day. Every song on Sick Yellow Flower seemed so frail that they appeared to be on the verge of collapsing at any second. Even lushly arranged uptempo numbers like “In Spain” and “Cutting Daisies” threatened to either explode or collapse under their more expansively raucous arrangements. Buttercup was also great at writing catchy and cathartic rock music and these songs wound up dominating much of their followup album which seemed to somewhat mistakingly establish them as a sleek power pop band. Buttercup definitely owned this identity as well but I often got the sense from subsequent releases that these dudes were much more interested in how far they could strip away their songs and further warp the intimacy of their debut. As a result, Buttercup remained and became more of a straightforward pop band while the exact same songwriters decided to dedicate two respective projects to their exploration of melancholic intimacy. Demitasse is one of these bands.
Demitasse’s debut, Blue Medicine is largely born of familial tragedy but instead of amplifying these moments into grandiose anthems or intensely sincere confessionals , Demitasse create warm spacious reductionist pop. Most tracks are built around minimal guitar/voice tracks with drums, piano, and droning synths occasionally intruding. The liveness of these recordings often allows certain phrases and rhythms to linger long after they normally would. This coupled with the muted instrumental palette makes tracks like “The Executioner’s Song” and the excellent “Couples Therapy” reminiscent of other reductionist pop artists such as Souled American and Mark Hollis. The duo’s commitment to rich chord progressions and melodic invention amidst the space is also evocative of 90’s chamber pop artists like the Pernice Brothers and Eric Matthews but Demitasse’s work is far more bleak and spare than even the darkest songs of those artists. However, despite the gravity of these recordings, Demitasse manages to find some self-conscious black humor in their brooding on tracks like “I Remove My Penis,” “The Power of Positive Thinking,” and the aforementioned “Couples Therapy.” Throughout, it remains clear that these dudes are better than ever at crafting perfectly fractured spare pop.
Blue Medicine is out now via the band’s Bedlamb imprint. You can listen to four songs from the album below:
So, in light of this video barely scrapping the surface of fun in Burial’s “Rival Dealer,” although I don’t think Dealer is the ACTUAL music video for the track, I’m just gonna go for PURE viewer/listener reaction:
“I just ordered Rival Dealer on vinyl 2day. I think the editing for Dealer sux. Too on the nose. What is this 2004? I feel like I’m watching Snatch.” – Jeff Ravioli
“WTF – Why they kill him?” – Lenny Cagz
“It’s a long one” – MB Weltz
“It’s no mariah carey” – P-dizzle
“…lord. I saw that it happened, but…..” – DF
• Hyperdub: http://www.hyperdub.net
“Is Ripping Somebody Off”
A while back, brrd dropped the incredibly heavy 12-inch, Towers/Annointing, via Falty DL’s baby, Blueberry Recordings. Since then, we’ve seen trickles of material following the producer’s relocation to Aarhus, Denmark, including some alter-ego’d ambient gems and beautiful VEVO-experiments, in addition to a bunch of non-musical endeavors viewable via his website.
The latest drop to ooze out of the woodwork comes off the new Badvice Collective compilation. “Is Ripping Someone Off” creeps on you with a warm blanket, progressing from murky, beaten pulses to a time-warped, swung out Donut Of The Heart. If you’re familiar with brrd’s earlier work, then this description should make a lot of sense. brrd’s a wizard of the sky; fly.
“Fancy” ft. Charli XCX
So my home-girl from Vancouver hits me up this morning and is like, “This new Iggy Azalea track is fucking following me around.” (New track is “Fancy ft. Charlie XCX) She went on to say, “It’s been on the radio like MAD and it’s following me around. I feel like the only way for the curse to be lifted is if I admit it anywhere else by social networking.” At first I threatened NOT to cover this ‘cause it’s Iggy Azalea, but then I figured I like how white she looks in juxtaposition of her vocals, so: CURSE LIFTED. IGGY AZALEA’S “FANCY,” LET MY GURL-FREAK BE!!!!
Maybe that worked. I like Clueless too, yeah. But has anyone ever noticed that a lot of Vatican Shadow music sounds like a LOT of cans of duster going off in sampled, brutal EDM-drone beats? As if one day we’ll get a new Vatican Shadow album, and it’s all themed around wall and/or government guards jerking off on duty while huffing tons of canned air. And the music is just Dominick Fernow gaze soundtrack. At least I didn’t talk about Iggy Azalea’s ass, right? SHIT! I just did. Though, it IS back-to-back with SHIT, so it’s ALL natural! ;)
Who do you think her ghost writers are on the inside, though?
Meat Based Leftovers
DESENRASCAR [side-A excerpt]
Straight from Ghent, Belgium it’s… “What the FUCK?” Yes!!! It’s actually Meat Based Leftovers, and they tenderizing via Beyt al Tapes. And from what I’ve heard, the DESENRASCAR tape is similar to the newest Savage Young Taterbug, but WAY less cute. Or the new Gobby (TMT Review). It’s mostly malicious in progression and meandering in sound. Like, when something at work smells like fish, you realize you’re having it for lunch, but only put the plastic-ware it’s in on your desk for two seconds before putting it in the fridge. So now you’re going NUTZ trying to find the location of the stink, but are constantly being thrown off your trail/focus ‘cause of an e-mail or co-workers or chief editors. Also, don’t even TRY to get work done before finding that smell: you wont!
Anyhow, DESENRASCAR is fucking scattered. Meat Based Leftovers just demands your attention. Beyt al Tapes ALWAYS intends on berating your ears’ existence. As if they’re constantly tryna remind you that shit is getting real on a sound basis, and Meat Based Leftovers is not only NEXT on that plate, but DESENRASCAR has been set to stun. Possibly even audio hallucination. I dunno. Grip the tape. Lay down in a dark room. Sort shit out. In the mean-time, enjoy the “excerpt” from sida-A of DESENRASCAR below: