More than a month — wow, I never really let The Whisper Council lapse in this manner, do I? Lots going on. Buying a lot of records, sorting through many promos, writing a fair amount, and thoroughly enjoying Brooklyn in this sunny weather. Since it’s been a good while since I’ve posted here, I thought I’d run through what’s kept me from updating as well as what I’m listening to during the train rides into work. Some links and downloads after the jump.
I have a capsule review of Thomas Bjerring’s airy techno debut for Traum up at PopMatters. It went live on May 5th. Spend some time over at PopMatters if you’re able today, as they’ve recently relaunched their site, and it looks great — clean, organized, the whole nine.
My piece on the new album from dubstep producer Clubroot was published last week. His debut also landed in my Memorable Electronic Music list last year.
A couple weeks back, I added two quick news posts to PM’s Mixed Media blog. One concerns a documentary about record collecting/vinyl love — that’s here. And don’t miss Secondhand Sureshots — my post about that film/music package from Dublab is here. Check it out for more info, and to grab J. Rocc’s podcast.
Finally for PopMatters, I wrote a short piece in April about Machine Is My Animal, the new record from Australian dream pop outfit City of Satellites.
Also in April, I wrote about the new album from Dutch producer Applescal for Blurt. You can find my piece on his 2009 LP at PopMatters, which also landed in my Memorable Electronic Albums roundup last year.
Aside from all of that, I have a couple other pieces — some massively lengthy, some short — that I’ve recently filed with patient editors, and I’ll update this space when they’re published.
We just caught the Caribou/Toro Y Moi show in Williamsburg a couple weeks back. While the new album from Dan “Caribou” Snaith didn’t hook me at first — odd, considering I’m a big advocate of his early work, and his Andorra was one of my hands-down favorites in 2007 — Swim has grown on me a great deal, and the show unsurprisingly blew us away. It was fairly inane of me to expect another largely 60s pop-inspired collection from Snaith, as he’s never really stayed in one musical place (I spoke with him for Remix Magazine about recording Andorra back in 2007). While the new album is definitely as acid-washed as the electronic/organic melds he’s explored in the past, Swim is rooted primarily in dance music, with abundant psychedelia crammed between jolting, programmed percussion. Get his mix for Allez Allez. Toro Y Moi’s full-band approach to his one-man record was bold and colorful at the show, and the new songs sounded really nice.
Outside of the work-related items that have been making the headphone rounds, I’ve been overwhelmed by what’s been a steadily satisfying year with music. New beat records, dreamy pop stuff, affecting techno, flourishing dubstep sounds…a considerable amount of good stuff has come out already, and it’s only May. My friends Jim and Travis, who incidentally don’t know each other, tipped me off about The Radio Dept.’s new record, which is lush and lively — Clinging to a Scheme is a bright pop outing for this Swedish act, brimming with loads of swirling guitar leads and Ian Brown-esque vocals on the front end. Check out their “David” at PopMatters.
For just under two minutes near the end of Clinging, The Radio Dept. swerves even further toward a hazy techno sound in “Four Months In the Shade” — it’s something they flirt with but are more inclined to progress in a jangly Britpop-type direction. Fine by me, but this small taste is actually a pretty exciting shift for them. New on Kompakt, Walls’ self-titled debut (one-half of which is part of the aforementioned Allez-Allez team) is closer to that kind of loose, atmospheric road — rushes of fuzzy guitar meet varying synth tones and other assorted sonics for a stoned techno/mid-tempo electronic combo that’s often very memorable. So I guess it’s not exactly “stoned,” then. Listen at Kompakt.
I wrote recently about D.C.-based hip hop producer Oddisee. The crate-digger-styled instrumentals as well as the vocal cuts that make up his diverse, downloadable seasonal mix series have been a pleasure on the commutes, and they’re FREE. Oddisee put up his free Odd Spring just last week, and while I’m still digesting it, I’m recommending it for the wealth of moody mid-track change-ups, tasteful sample distribution, and an overall dynamic drum sound. Good stuff — download FREE at his Bandcamp site. I’m also about to check his Traveling Man double-LP of instrumentals, out now — just got it from Fat Beats.
In other essentials related to dipping into the crates, Eccentric Breaks and Beats is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Numero Group officially issued what they’ve accurately deemed an “incredible musical narrative” — dealt originally by production team Shoes to DJs via a bootleg twelve inch, it’s a 40 minute mix of hard-swinging breakbeats and deliciously polished funk & soul grooves pressed to a two-track CD. It’s a grand experience if you find yourself pining for the relaunch of Soul Strut, and one that Numero determines as built of more than 50 different tracks. Check it out at their site.
As I spent a while in front of the laptop Saturday morning finishing a piece for PopMatters (will post an update when it goes live), I enjoyed a comparatively leisurely morning on Sunday — coffee, reading, emailing, getting this update in — until painting and doing apartment stuff ensued for the rest of the day. As I printed out an ’09 article from Slate’s Fred Kaplan about Kind of Blue, with the desk rattling while the vibes-and-drums/manipulated feedback storm of James “Funki Porcini” Braddell pipes into my relatively new headphones, I’d forgotten for a moment that I sent something to print. So when my laptop and strewn discs started to vibrate and all I could hear was Braddell’s snare taps and backward-flowing cymbal trails, I suspected the G train had imploded under my apartment. But we all know that’s not possible; even when the G train isn’t scheduled to be running, it’s barely running at all. The new Funki Porcini album is the first since 2002 for Ninja Tune — it’s dark and textured instrumental electronic fare, with an emphasis on chopped jazz and the like. It’s available in June. Download a mini-mix from the man himself here.
Thanks for your return visits to this site — will update again soon enough.