Jon Ragel is the one man band from Portland known as Boy Eats Drum Machine. As a one-man musical act, he merges the worlds of turntablism and live rock performance as he spins breaks and surgically inserts sounds while juggling vocals, percussion, and saxophone. The results are absolutely mind blowing. His latest album, Booomboxxx, is a complex yet accessible collection sounds and songs that mash together several different musical forms.
Listen to: Plants and Stars (mp3)
Baltimore's Double Dagger signed to Chicago's Thrill Jockey this past week. They utilize only a drum kit, bass guitar, and vocal chords to create a colossal wall of sound. They are noisy wild anti-punks that scream and shake and most importantly entertain. The band has released a successful series of CDs, EPs, singles, and live recordings, including the critically acclaimed Ragged Rubble. Harnessing the band members' design and art backgrounds, Double Dagger is equally well known for their beautifully designed record packaging, hand-screen printed concert posters, and their must-have T-shirt designs.
Listen to: The Psychic (mp3)
On October 21st their was a ep released by Toronto's Lioness ( collabo between Vanessa Fischer of soul/punk quartet No Dynamics and Jeff Scheven & Ronnie Morris, the rhythm section behind controller.controller). This self-titled debut (New Romantic) combines powerful female vocals and inventive rythems and beats. It's a dark nu-electro that is has a force and a purpose.
Listen to: Haunted Magick (mp3)
On November 25th the world will be introduced to another electro-pop band that has moved from Wesleyan University to New York City. Red Wire Black Wire are releasing their debut ep called Compass. They're travelling in good company too; MGMT, Amazing Baby, Santogold, Boy Crisis and several other bands now heating up the blogosphere have all made this trek in the last few years. They have that break out band sound, whether you like or not. They are definetly worth a listen if for nothing else their cover art.
Listen to: Compass (mp3)
One of my favorite small labels is Michigan's Quite Scientific, and this past week the release the full-length debut by Frontier Ruckus, The Orion Songbook. Banjo, saw, horns, and harmonies round out the earnest songwriting and storytelling from Matt Millia. Matt's vocals, coupled with Anna Burch's bold, smile-as-sung harmonies, are the perfect mouthpiece for these songs. These songs allow you to picture the deepest forests of Michigan or some mythical woods filled with adventure and horror and magic.
Listen to: Orion Town 2 (mp3)
This past week Asthmatic Kitty Records announced the signing of Los Angeles band Fol Chen. The label will release the band's debut album, Part 1: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made on Feb. 03, 2009. The band will be touring in 2009, including a stop at SXSW. Yesterday, the band took part a very cool project. They contributed to Machine Project's takeover of LACMA with a sound piece inspired by a textile pattern from the design collective, Wiener Werkstatte. The band composed a piece of instrumental music in which the chords spell out the name of the Viennese design collective, which was active from 1903 until 1932. A limited run of 100 CDs containing the Untitled music will be for sale at the LACMA event, and each CD will include a watercolor replica of a section of the original hand-blocked design.
Listen to: Cable TV (mp3)
Ontario's Decomposure is giving away their latest album and including a 25 page booklet. Humidity Patient Guide plays like a how to manual for electro-pop. The first shot in the battle of Humidity Patient Guide rang out one brisk January evening in 2007. In the wake of that piercing primordial echo, an incubated path began to unfurl as a tongue over the lips of an untraced horizon, a journey through the soul's unknown that, over time, would come to dismantle and reshape Decomposure irrevocably. You can download the album here.
Listen to: Except 1 (mp3)
The Peel Back: Kit Clayton Latke Ep (Orthlorng Musork , 2001)
Joshua Kit Clayton was the founder of Orthlorng Musork and in 2001 released his first album on this label. He had been releasing music for a few years, and for his new label he saved his most inventive work to date. Consisting of mirco-found sounds pieced together to form abstract beats. Orthlorng continued to release quality and challenging albums until late in 2004. That is when they released this puzzling statement, "Why do we stop? The simple and honest truth is that we want to devote our time to other creative things. We still love music and we will still be active and supportive of the scene. We aren't in financial ruin, we don't think p2p networks have destroyed the music industry, we don't only want to listen to country western, we just want to take on other projects with as much love and intensity as we did this one."
Latke is only four songs long, but the statement these song make is much larger. Here is what Kit had to say back in 2001, "The pain in your ear makes difficult the distinction between senses, and as this confused sensation drips down your face, the aggression of scalding bathwater comforts you. It covers you, but does nothing to cleanse the infected surface of sound. Layer after layer falls away. Layer upon layer grows in place. The conflict between internal and external remains, but between the waves you sleep softly if not peacefully. Good night."
Impetigo/Tongue Under Lip/Jit's Blues/I Only Want Quiet (mp3)