Sunday, September 28, 2008

Orange Alert's Music Minute

There is nothing normal about the music of Mt. Sims. From their start in 2000, they have played dark hyper-sexual dance music with a tinge of political satire. They have released two such electro-pop albums, and now they have returned but a few things have changed. After releasing a second album Wild Light and touring extensively throughout Europe as a three-piece band (as opposed to a performance art piece as was the case with Ultrasex) Sims decided on breaking the band up and relocating to Berlin, Germany. It is here that Sims began working on the new incarnation of the band with Randy Twigg on bass, Andre Lange on drums, and Thomas Stern of Crime and The City Solution at the behind the sound and production. A long-distance friendship between Sims and Hungry Eye Records (New York City/ Montreal, home of The Bellmer Dolls, Sixteens, The Holy Kiss) led to a collaboration and the release of a limited 12”, the A Grave EP, and now the third full length, Happily Ever After (Oct. 21st). This album is darker and more aggressive, and is sure to be a hit at all of the Halloween parties.

Listen to: The Bitten Bite Back (mp3)

How do you follow-up a successful debut album? Well, Florida's Look Mexico made a few line-up changes and produced a surprising follow-up EP, Gasp Asp. While Matt Agrella’s vocals have remained the same, powerful yet restrained, his songwriting has matured and become more focused. As with many ep's Gasp Asp leaves you wanting more, and having to wait for their second full-length album.

Listen to: You're Not Afraid of the Dark (mp3)

In the spirit of the record club resurgence, Mexican Summer finds a cozy spot at the forefront alongside fellow labels Sub Pop and Merge (talk about great company!) Launched in September of 2008, Mexican Summer releases will all be pressed in very limited quantities and will also be available for download, bringing a musical and visual experience to music lovers and collectors that want more than just a tune to consume.

One of the exciting aspects of the club is that it gives fans an opportunity to receive vinyl on a subscription basis (at a discount to purchasing at retail) and at a select group of exclusive indie retailers across the country. 2-3 albums will be released every other month in various formats (12", 7", Picture Disc, etc) and all records will be beautifully packaged, hand numbered, pressed on high quality virgin vinyl and include a download card. There will also be bonus gifts available only to members which include slip mats, tote bags, and many more stylish treats. Subscriptions are available via the Mexican Summer website. With bands like Dungen, Black Moth Super Rainbow, and Marissa Nadler involved don't miss out!

The Portland, Oregon duo of Kevin O'Connor and Lisa Molinaro (aka Talkdemonic) have been playing together since 2003; she plays the viola and he plays everything else, including, but not limited to: drums, synths, and acoustic instruments. The result is an intoxicating blend of symphonic strings, explosive percussion, and achingly beautiful music. Their melodies soar and roll and bounce through your speakers. With incredibly big beats, Eyes At Half Mast (Arena Rock) was just released on the 16th. This is powerful, driving music that speaks volumes and tells grand stories without a single spoken word. Talkdemonic will be opening for Born Ruffins here in Chicago at Schubas on Oct. 7th.

Listen to: March Movement (mp3)

This week Columbia Records announced the U.S. premiere of the Bob Dylan song “Mississippi”, exclusively available as a free download for a limited time on “Mississippi”, previously unreleased domestically in this form, will be commercially available on October 7, 2008 as part of Bob Dylan’s Tell Tale Signs - The Bootleg Series Vol. 8. Originally recorded for the Grammy Award-winning Time Out of Mind album in 1997, a drastically different rendering of “Mississippi” finally made its appearance on 2001’s “Love and Theft”. The version found on Tell Tale Signs, likely one of the first takes of the song recorded, can be described as stripped-down and soulful, and features producer Daniel Lanois on electric guitar. Bob Dylan's Tell Tale Signs is the 8th installment in the best-selling and critically lauded Bootleg Series which launched in 1991. Available in 2-CD and 3-CD deluxe formats, Tell Tale Signs features previously unreleased recordings and alternate versions of tracks from sessions which generated some of Bob Dylan's most acclaimed and commercially successful albums from the last two decades, including Time Out Of Mind, “Love And Theft”, Modern Times and Oh Mercy.

Medeski Martin & Wood have never been your typical band. Creativity has led their career and their music always stays unique. Now, the restlessly inventive improvising trio Medeski Martin & Wood are set to embark on an ingenious new experiment dubbed The Radiolarian Series.

The Radiolarian Series - named after a type of single-celled organism with dazzlingly intricate exoskeletons - is designed to subvert the age-old music industry cycle of write/record/tour. The trio, consisting of keyboardist John Medeski, drummer Billy Martin, and bassist Chris Wood, will convene for brief writing retreats, perform only that new material on tour, record the material immediately after getting off the road, and release it as an album on their own Indirecto label.

The process will be repeated three times, resulting in three albums - the first of which, Radiolarians I, will be in stores on September 30th.

Listen to: Free Go Lily (mp3)

Buffetlibre Dj's have launched a very interesting remix project. Interesting in that they will not be doing the remixes, but the fans will be taking parts of songs a splicing them together. You will be able to download isolated audio from many songs, then splice and mix it! Proyecto Batidora is offering the separated parts for the following artists: Cut Copy, Yelle, Rumble Strips, The Bravery, Dragonette, Holy F**k, Walter Meego, Why?, Tokyo Police Club, Ladyhawke, Metronomy, Styrofoam, The Loose Cannons, Pop Levi, The Go! Team, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Munk, Totally Michael, Pacific!, The Touch, Pomomofo, Shitdisco, Das Pop, Mintzkov, Voxtrot, Sidechains, The Amplid, Octopus Project, Tokyo Police Club, The Whip, Sunny Day Sets Fire, Infadels, Saint Bernadette and Mark Mallman. Just request the parts and they will send them to you. At the end they will compile the best mixes into a mixtape. Check it out!

The Peel Back: Buckshot Lefonque Buckshot Lefonque (Columbia Records, July 1994)

If Digable Planets hadn't already drop an album a year earlier, and Gang Starr hadn't been played a jazz and hip-hop hybrid for years, then Buckshot may have innovators. As it was Branford Marsalis, Dj Premier, Roy Hargrove, and the rest took what was a budding style of music and completely conquered it. On their debut album songs like " I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and "Breakfast at Denny's" not only advanced the genres of hip hop and jazz, but they also sent a message of oppression and frustration. A message that may be lost at times in the more aggressive rap songs. Here the laidback approach of the music allows the words, spoken, sung, or rapped, to ring with vibrance and clarity. It doesn't hurt that the words spoken in "Caged Bird" come from the mind and mouth of Maya Angelou.
When taken as a whole this album transcended the cheesy trappings of most acid jazz albums and found a more widespread audience then the average hip hop album in 1994. Marsalis had a plan and method for a delivering a solid product, and that is exactly what he did.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Presenting.../Blackwidow Blues/I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings/Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters/Wonders and Signs (mp3)/Ain't It Funny/Some Cow Fonique (More Tea, Vigar?)/Some Sh*t at 78 BPM (The Scratch Opera)/Hotter Than Hot/Breakfast at Denny's (mp3)/Shoot the Piano Player/No Pain, No Gain /Sorry, Elton/...And We Out

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