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A Singular Continent - M. Sage

Without others, my work is nothing. Corporate sponsored household name websites, stylishly designed niche blogs, monstrously well-informed music mavens, and, occasionally, the press email are the suppliers of almost everything I love. My mother was a Brooklyn hipster; my father, Wikipedia. 

I stumbled upon M. Sage and this blissful hour-long movement on No Fear of Pop. Wordless compositions involving some combination of subtle electronics, gentle keys, field recordings, a light touch, and empty space have been especially delightful for me as of late, such as the magnificent serenity of East Forests’ Prana EP and Oneohtrix Point Never’s commission “Music For Steamed Rocks.”

M. Sage’s A Singular Continent nestles right into that same fold of my mind that was given such release by those pieces. It flows easily, uninterrupted, and carries the listener to a place that can only be reached by these specific arrangements of these certain sounds. It is a place similar to many other places, but it is just so

The wonderful thing about A Singular Continent is its vastness. New sounds await in future tracks: more abrasive, of a different tenor, or just simply different. They all serve the greater whole, though, They are different bends and shifts in the river. 

The 12” 2xLP and the artbook-including deluxe package is available here. The place this album takes you, “THE IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE,” is here. As I learned from NFOP, in addition to the sounds of Matthew Sage, “A Singular Continent encompasses a collaboration of collage, by Nathaniel Whitcomb, and a collaboration of prose, by Grant Souders.”

- Tyler Hanan

"Music For Steamed Rocks" - Oneohtrix Point Seven

Record Store Day, so successful that it’s spawned a similar day for cassettes, approaches, with this year’s slated for April 19. Though its impact on record sales and local music retailers is a predominant part of the ever-widening embrace of the day, the most delightful part of the proceedings is the odds and ends that are released on that day. Albums are cool, but we can get those every day. Bring on the weird stuff.

One of those weird stuffs is Commissions I. Daniel Lopatin, he of the Oneohtrix Point Never moniker, has done a number of commissioned works for various installations over the years. Tremendous and tremendously odd albums are not enough, after all. With Commissions I, three such works have been brought together on 12” of wax to be released by Warp Records.

The above track, 7 1/2 minutes of minimal tranquility interpreted from Witold Lutoslawski’s Preludes, will lead off the A side. It will be joined by “Meet Your Creator,” which was composed for ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi. B side take on “I Only Have Eyes For You" was created for Doug Aitken’s 2012 Happening.

- Tyler Hanan

"Interference Fits" - Perfect Pussy

Happy Monday, everyone. The new Perfect Pussy album, Say Yes To Love, is streaming on NPR. Treat yo self.

It’s a wicked and furious 23 minute clamor, everything you’d expect of Perfect Pussy and not at all what a newcomer would expect from an album with the title Say Yes To Love

If you’re still here, let’s quickly run down on the lead-up to this album. The above track, “Interference Fits,” debuted last week, joining first single “Driver" in rocking socks and dumping gas on the buzzfire. The album follows up last year’s home-recorded breakout EP that everyone and their kid sister was toting, I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling. That’s rundown enough. Go listen.

Say Yes To Love is out next week  on April 18 via Captured Tracks

- Tyler Hanan

Glass Boys trailer - Fucked Up

Spring is coming. This afternoon, the interior of my car was nigh-toasty form sitting in the sun, a stark change from the ungodly cold that has greeted me after a few hours of inactivity throughout the past few months.

Even more exciting than my commute being slightly less uncomfortable, signs of life are popping up in the Fucked Up camp. Sure, there have been rumblings here and there - a live performance of “Year of the Dragon” at Le Poisson Rouge, a set at 285 Kent’s final show - but the next few months promise a new Zodiac 12”, a new album , and, it would seem reasonable to think, a new tour.

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First, the biggest and latest news: Fucked Up will be releasing a new full-length this summer on Matador called Glass Boys. Given the previous albums’ success - 2008’s The Chemistry of Common Life won the 2009 Polaris Music Prize and 2011’s David Came To Life made the longlist for 2012’s award, with both albums being bathed in critical acclaim - it’s likely this album will be fairly huge. Given the recent trend of Fucked Up’s music - from hardcore roots to, really, some of the biggest and most ambitious popular rock records of their respective years - it’s apt o be pretty great. This trailer is only the briefest glimpse of the tidal wave to come. I wonder how many times Self Defense Family will get asked for their Fucked Up thoughts on tumblr this time.

In older news, Fucked Up will be releasing Year of the Dragon this spring. 

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Fierce. 

All three tracks off the album have been performed live: “Year of the Dragon" at Le Poisson Rouge and, via CBC Music, covers of The Ugly’s "Disorder" and Cardboard Brains’ "I Wanna Be A Yank.” 

As noted by Spin and others last fall, thought this will be the sixth Zodiac record official released, it is actually the eighth in the series. The band is working on releasing the actual sixth and seventh Zodiac releases, Year of the Hare and Year of the Rabbit

Tankcrimes will be putting out Dragon sometime this spring. The label has released a compilation that includes an album version of “I Wanna Be A Yank.” Stream that and everything else mentioned after the jump.

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"Cavity" - Hundred Waters

Two weeks ago, we were riveted by Hundred Waters’ “Down From the Rafters” and its art. Yesterday brought confirmation of the new album we assumed “Down From the Rafters” hinted at, along with the first single and video. The followup to 2012’s debut full-length, currently without title, will be released May 27 on OWSLA.

The first single is “Cavity,” a slice of ethereal and peculiarly fantastical avant-pop. It very much meets the expected parameters of a Hundred Waters track, only even prettier than one could hope for. 

Though the song is indeed beautiful, its pairing with the Michael Langan-directed video is what takes listening to “Cavity” to another plane. Its focus on slivers of Nicole Miglis’ face, and on rotating and replicating them, two dimensional slices in a three dimensional space. When the sliver finally opens to reveal Miglis’ face, it is revelatory. 

Langan explained to NPR how he created the video:

The director, Michael Langan, says he wanted to “play with the idea of hollowness, attempting to define emptiness by its edges, visually.” The effects in the clip were made not with computer graphics, but by using “a single flashlight, drawn slowly over the landscape and later ‘echoed’ up to 500 times to create patterns that fill the scene with light,” Langan says. “We used a projector mounted on a motorized lazy Susan to achieve the ‘sliver’ shots of Nicole.”

The way the video fits and enhances the otherworldly nature of Hundred Waters’ instantly recognizable style of pop is uncanny. The individual parts are fantastic on their own, but the whole is exemplary.

- Tyler Hanan

an interview: Malcom Lacey [Arrange]

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Malcom Lacey is an old friend of the site (and an old runner of the site), but any attention we give his music is entirely warranted. Either you know this or already, or you will once you listen to his new album. Today marks the release of his latest effort as Arrange, the eleven-track Their Bodies In A Fog, as a pay-what-you-want release and on cassette via Orchid Tapes

On Their Bodies In A Fog, Lacey delivers some of the finer examples of what we most enjoy about about his efforts. This album possesses impeccable tact, patience, and structure, with the slightest sounds resonating far beyond their small stature. The big moments are fun to talk about, but restraint and the many small moments are what make an album like this so stunning.

The soft, slow-burning crescendos and big, cathartic finales he excels at are present - the horns at the end of “Home” are almost too timely. “Heart // What If This Were It” is a sterling example of his deftness with more abstract instrumental tracks, and “Movement” is a hell of a pop song. Also nice - those moments when the R&B influence is most clear.

Lacey was kind enough to answer a few questions for us. Find them below amidst a few of the sounds from the album, including “Dream” and its recently released video. 

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"Prana" - East Forest 

Gentle, uplifting, and unerringly gorgeous, the music of East Forest is unobtrusive and rapturous, intimate and expansive. 

East Forest is Trevor Oswalt, a man of many arts and a world traveler in love with the serenity of nature. He strives to unite music and the technology we use to craft it with nature and all its most serene elements. He calls the result “musical technology” - “modern scientific sound healing knowledge with the organic field recordings of people and places he encounters along the way.”

I call it lovely, with sounds that seem filtered and distilled until all that remains is a core of tranquility. The vocals, where present, are very Sigur Rós in that they aren’t actual words, and in that they are merely one piece of a transporting whole. There is voice and meaning here, but its spoken through a chorus made up of those vocal intonations, minimal vintage keys, and field recordings (as well as, in “Vyana,” a tasteful harmonica).

The new East Forest release is the EP Prana. It is 47 minutes of cleansing sound that, while divided into five tracks, functions as a whole piece. It’s streaming on Bandcamp with release slated for April.

East Forest’s video for “10 Laws” is also being featured by SXSW. It is the first track off his 2008 album The Education of the Individual Soul.

- Tyler Hanan

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Nikki Nack megamix - tUnE-yArDs

tUnE-yArDs released w h o k i l l in 2011, garnering fairly wide acclaim for Merrill Garbus. With its African influences and ululating mania, the sophomore album was a thing unto itself, something the likes of which many had truly not heard.  

Well, tUnE-yArDs have returned. As is to be expected, it was with something unexpected.

The album, the Garbus-helmed project’s third, bears the title Nikki Nack. No odd spellings, capitalization, or grammar affectations - just an odd, alliterative name. It’s due out May 6.

Instead of simply releasing a single off the album, Garbus has released a mash-up of every song on the new album. It’s many tiny tastes instead of one big one, and it makes the tracks even more rhythmic, unglued, dance-inspiring than before. 

There’s also that album art - bright pink bugglegum and a loud shirt to match, a baby blue strap over her shoulder and a watch of bright strings and streamers all about her. It is her birthday. It fits.

Garbus has also announced US and European tour dates, beginning with the albums May 5 UK release date. 

5/5/2014 - Masonic Lodge @ Hollywood Forever, Los Angeles, CA
5/7/2014 - Rough Trade, Brooklyn, NY (21+)
5/12/2014 - Village Underground, London
5/14/2014 - Berghain, Berlin
5/15/2014 - Nochtspeicher, Hamburg
5/16/2014 - Les Nuits-Cirque Royal, Brussels
5/18/2014 - Bitterzoet, Amsterdam
5/19/2014 - Café de La Danse, Paris
5/23/2014 - Les Schwab Ampitheater, Bend, OR w/ National
5/23 - 5/25/2014 - Sasquatch Festival, George, WA
5/31 - 6/1/2014 - Free Press Summerfest, Houston, TX
6/18 - 6/22/2014 - NXNE, Massey Hall, Toronto, ON
6/19 - 6/22/2014 - Firefly Festival, Dover, DE
7/19/2014 - Pitchfork Festival, Chicago, IL

- Tyler Hanan

The Casket Girls - True Love Kills the Fairy Tale

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Review: Tyler Hanan [2/26/14]

Check out our recent interview with The Casket Girls here.

The story behind the creation of True Love Kills the Fairy Tale is an odd one. Ryan Graveface, he of Graveface Records and at least three other bands, described finding sisters Phaedra and Elsa in nigh catatonic states as they recited and wrote lyrics. The next day they dropped it off, saying they “didn’t even know what was on it.

Regardless of the story’s veracity, it isn’t needed to create mystery in The Casket GirlsTrue Love Kills the Fairy Tale. The album weaves an odd, almost unhinged beauty all by itself.

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an interview with: The Casket Girls

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Interview: Tyler Hanan [2/25/14]

Earlier this month, Savannah trio The Casket Girls released the weird-yet-wonderful True Love Kills the Fairy Tale on Graveface Records. Our review of the album is up (hint: note the use of “wonderful”). For today, we’re sharing with you a brief conversation with the band. Though currently on the Graveface Roadshow and still smarting from their van being wrecked in New York, the band found the time to give us some insight into recent endeavors. 

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