Elfin Saddle have a new LP on Constellation! Saddle up your foxes, gentlefolk!

Elfin Saddle have a new LP on Constellation! Saddle up your foxes, gentlefolk! http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/news-12-01-elfin-saddle.jpg

Elfin Saddle’s music is exactly what its name sounds like. Singing saws? Check. Accordion? Check. Non-obnoxious xylophone? Tiny charming Japanese woman? BUT OF COURSE! This Montreal-based four-piece is an enchanted fox ride through a forest of dandelions, fireflies, and tweed-clad wee folk. It’s like late-80s kids series David the Gnome tunneled its way out of the past and into a Québécois art school.

And now the group wants to take you on a whole new fox journey with their latest album, Devastates. Multi-instrumentalists/vocalists Emi Honda and Jordan McKenzie, cellist Kristina Koropecki, and upright bass-slapper Nathan Gage have crafted a lovely little “soundworld” on this one, as their label (Constellation) puts it. It’s art folk for a new millennium, and the band pulls from that whole sea chanty/European vagabond school of indie rock while still sounding super fresh, urgent, and innovative. Entrance to elfland is open to mortals come March 6, when the album hits stores.

Devastates tracklisting:

01. The Changing Wind
02. Kiboho
03. Boats
04. The Power & The Wake
05. Chaos Hands
06. Invocation
07. In a Blanket of Leaves
08. The Wind Come Carry

• Elfin Saddle: http://elfinsaddle.com
• Constellation: http://cstrecords.com

The Minimal Wave Tapes: Volume Two to receive February release via Stones Throw, alongside free copies of Sartre’s Being and Nothingness

Many people understandably have a love/hate relationship with what’s stereotypically considered 80s music. Even beyond the hit singles that received national or international attention, the decade, in terms of music, was generally characterized by an overabundance of undoubtedly cheesy tunes, but which were simultaneously infectious in the way that they compelled listeners to dance, sing along, or imagine how much better life would be if they just had ebola instead of all of those goddamn relationship problems. Minimal wave, which I suppose (along with cold wave) you could consider a sub-genre of new wave, was no exception to the moderately cheesy tradition, but there are a couple of important differences between it and the more radio-friendly 80s pop songs: 1) The production is typically less polished, and the approach by artists was generally more experimental. 2) The likelihood of feeling cool while listening to it is significantly greater.

Lucky for you, the opportunity to experience this oddly happening form of 80s music has just been renewed, as Stones Throw have announced the release of The Minimal Wave Tapes: Volume Two, the sequel to the similarly-named compilation from 2010, and which is due out February 27. If Volume One was any indication, I expect this release to be yet another enjoyable, international commentary on existential crises, set to the sounds of vintage drum machines and analog synthesizers. If I only had some time…

The Minimal Wave Tapes: Volume Two tracklisting:

01. Hard Corps, “Dirty”
02. In Trance 95, “Presidente”
03. Philippe Laurent, “Distorsion”
04. Das Ding, “H.S.T.A.”
05. Subject, “What Happened to You?”
06. Ohama, “The Drum”
07. Geneva Jacuzzi, “The Sleep Room”
08. Antonym, “Cinnamon Air”
09. Ruins, “Fire”
10. Ende Shneafliet, “Animals From Outer Space”
11. Felix Kubin, “Japan Japan”
12. Class Info, “Out of Line”
13. In Aeternam Vale, “Annie”
14. Aural Indifference, “Theme”

• Stones Throw: http://www.stonesthrow.com
• Minimal Wave: http://minimalwave.com

Merzbow and Lasse Marhaug to release new collaborative LP in March… and I love it!

You know what I hate? When people say shit like, “my true self” or “we’ll touch base.” I also hate when I’m stuck next to law school students projecting at high volumes about the philosophical foundations of tort law. But you know what I love? Noise. Brutal, gut-wrenching noise to drown out the obnoxious chatter of the world. I love it like black metal kids love spiked gauntlets. I love it like indie filmmakers love anti-climatic story lines.

I love Merzbow. What’s better than Merzbow? Not much, but when you put Merzbow (Masami Akita) and Lasse Marhaug together, you get something like Megazord. And on March 13, Megazord will be unleashed on the unsuspecting public via Editions Mego. Merzbow and Marhaug’s collaboration, Mer Mar, was recorded at GOK Sound Studios in Tokyo in 2010 and is finally set to be released in luminous and highly flammable vinyl; pre-order here.

According to Editions Mego, the record was “made using a combination of scrap metal screeching, analogue synths, and enough effect pedals to give you overweight with most airline companies.” That’s nuts.

Noise trivia:

  • This isn’t the first time Akita and Marhaug have worked together. In 2001, Merzbow and Jazzkammer (Marhaug’s project with John Hegre) released a live album.
  • The first release on Marhaug’s label Jazzassin Records in 1995 was the “First Rock” split single.
  • Masami Akita is a hardcore vegan and has pet chickens.
  • Marhaug is responsible for Mer Mar’s beautiful album art.

• Merzbow: http://merzbow.net
• Lasse Marhaug: http://www.lassemarhaug.no
• Editions Mego: http://editionsmego.com

Eric Chenaux has a new LP on Constellation, and apparently he also frequents Medieval Times! Who knew!

Sometimes, on cloudless spring afternoons, Eric Chenaux likes to don medieval garb and amble along highway exits while strumming a lute and singing scandalous stories. Actually, that’s probably not true at all, but when you base an entire album on the tradition of balladry, what else are we supposed to think and then report to the public?

Chenaux might not wander around in tights, boots, and a funny hat, but he is releasing Guitar & Voice, his fourth album on Constellation. He distorts any expectations of ballads by blending such disparate influences as folk, jazz, baroque, noise, and pop, and whittling them down into his most minimal album yet, one that consists of little beyond his own playing and singing, drifting between bowed-guitar instrumentals and lyrical, vocally-based tunes. Unless some nasty highway robbers steal it, Guitar & Voice will see a March 6 release (luckily those tricksters haven’t snatched the video for the album’s opening track, “Amazing Backgrounds”).

Guitar & Voice tracklist:

01. Amazing Backgrounds
02. Simple/Frontal
03. Dull Lights (White or Grey)
04. Sliabh Aughty
05. Le Nouveau Favori
06. Put in Music
07. Genitalia Domestique
08. However Wildly We Dream
09. Glitzing for Stephen Parkinson

• Eric Chenaux: http://www.myspace.com/ericchenaux
• Constellation: http://cstrecords.com

Venetian Snares to perform quality assurance on your cochleas with Fool the Detector

Venetian Snares a.k.a. Aaron Funk may just be the most happening Canadian electronic musician not wearing a giant, dorky mouse hat on his head these days. And yet, when you take a serious look at the music that both Snares and Deadmau5 create, it’s hard to imagine a greater divide between their respective styles. One continuously defies listener expectations with indiscernable time signatures and schizophrenic references to various other genres, while the other is a veritable snoozefest of banality. Some people are apparently inclined to compare the music of Deadmau5 with that of the legendary Scottish duo Boards of Canada. The only reason that I’m even mentioning the two in the same sentence is to point out how offensive that comparison is. Seriously, stop that.

I’m getting off track here. The point is, you actually have reason to look forward to new material from Venetian Snares. And despite the fact that it’s yet another EP, you should look forward to Fool the Detector (due out March 5) as well, simply by virtue of the fact that Funk is the author. It helps that he’s rather secure in his approach: “There is a track that mainly uses analog devices to control digital devices. It seems laughable that most people want to control their analog synths with midi, imposing their ridiculous choice of notes on the music. They are pretty much rapists.” Pre-order the EP, which will only be available on vinyl and via digital download, and read the rest of his description here.

Fool the Detector tracklisting:

A1. Ego DSP
A2. Fool the Detector
B1. Chriohn
B2. Index Pavilion

• Venetian Snares: http://www.venetiansnares.com
• Planet Mu: http://www.planet.mu

RIP: Winston Riley, reggae musician and producer

From the Washington Post:

Winston Riley, an innovative reggae musician and producer, has died of complications from a gunshot wound to the head. He was 65.

Riley died Thursday at University Hospital of the West Indies, where he had been a patient since November, when he was shot at his house in an upscale neighborhood in the capital of Kingston, his son Kurt Riley said Friday.


He worked with musicians including Gregory Isaacs, Johnny Osbourne, Sister Nancy and Buju Banton.

Musicologist Kingsley Goodison, who knew Riley for more than 40 years, said he was one of the people responsible for introducing reggae to England.

“Winston Riley is an unsung hero,” he said. “He was one of the hardest workers in the business.”

Riley also is credited with creating the stalag rhythm, which later influenced hip-hop and dancehall. Unlike his contemporaries who shunned dancehall music, Riley embraced contemporary reggae and had several big hits during the 1980s.

• Winston Riley: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winston_Riley