Fever Ray Will End Up on the Year End

Those familiar with the Knife might not find anything peculiar about Fever Ray. And at first, while listening over Karin's solo debut that was drafted away from her brother's more techno bent, it was hard for me to find anything here that strayed to far from the Knife's inverse-electronica. But then again, after multiple listens, asome views of her videos, and some reading over her words about this process, I've come to the conclusion that as Fever Ray, Karin is her own singular beast. Something that will end up on my year end list. This album is that unique....or....ahem...revolutionary. Too bad given all the hoopla,Volta, couldn't touch me the same way.


The Whines Start the Spring Hustle

I’ve been trying to understand the reasons why I’ve neglected the blog this week. I guess I could attribute it to post-SXSW stress disorder – how I have no desire to publish my own opinions anymore after every band and their brother (unfortunately not my brother) kinda puked their way through Austin for four days straight. Is there really anything else to say after you’ve seen Asher Roth make indie fame one minute, then play to 10,000 Spring Break bros the next? Or seeing Metallica play a once-in-a-lifetime set for a select few? Is there guilt in that glory?

Maybe it's the stress that accumulates from not seeing certain bands on my wish list (sorry Woods, I wasn't paying attention -- but Songs of Shame is currently a W.O.W. favorite) or realizing that some of the best bands in the country weren just not represented. It’s that in-the-know in-the-know circuit (let’s go Fungi Girls). Or maybe we’re all just trying to decipher exactly who Hipster Runoff is, and why his omniscience is dead on? Or perhaps we’re all still digesting the interview Matt Horseshit gave the Washington Post? Perfect or perfectly combative? Or both simultaneously? I’m sad to see this guy go out on an over-the-road tour away from my city because, like a lot of people from these parts, we look up to this savant for inspiration, direction, drugs. And if that’s wrong, I would certainly hate to be right. In the course of those four days there wasn’t a dude on the block who told the truth like this interview does, or told the real tales of the termbo elite without ever looking over the site, once. I mean, do we have a Bob Dylan nowadays? If there’s anyone in this camp who wants to be Zimmy, it’s him. And according to my count there ain’t much in the way of a Zimmy so it might as well be him. How will he ever give an interview again?

Matt Horseshit was the first one to recommend the Whines, and I’m the first one to go and look for said recommendations. This Portland (I much prefer the PDX) trio makes fool's gold out of nothing, much the same way Eat Skull and Psychedelic Horseshit do, except here we have the femme equiv. I’ve been holed up with this debut 7” since returning from Tejas and there's been little to get me out into daylight yet. “Insane OK” builds nicely on those ‘90s remnants we still cling to, as if this song could have been spliced hastily from something the Built to Spill mustered on their second or third record. I don’t hear any punk, and that’s perfectly fine, nor do I hear any fey fanboy yammering. I do hear a jam, some jam. The same lazily spun melody is found in “Indian Homewrecker,” where Barky’s half-drunk murmurs seam right into the half-drunk mescal-guitar drove of her surrounding peers. Finally, “Lines Between Us” prove there’s a pop element to the ruckus. Much like the hope I still hold for PDX equals Meth Teeth and the shattered anthems of the forthcoming Wild and Inside or the bent anttenea of Little Claw – there is something in the fluoride of Oregon. Am I dreaming, believing? Quite essential at the moment.


WOW on Hiatus

Gone to Texas. Easily my favorite week of the year. Wish I had time to write about the preliminary round last night in the Beach. Needless to say, Woods, Blank Dogs and Naked on the Vague all slayed. Times New Viking proved why they're headliners though. "I Smell Bubblegum" ??? I smell a hit. While I'd love nothing better than to see them seven times in four days in Austin -- they've decided to stay home and record a vitally important record.

I won't be posting here till at least next Monday. In the meantime, all my spew can be found on the AGIT-READER SXSW Dispatch.


Poolside with Favela on Blast

Yeah Yeah Yeah. All I seem to do is hype up Diplo. This week it's appropriate -- not only will he be debuting his Major Lazer dancehall duo with Switch, but he'll be impresario/chaperone for next-big-Maya, Rye Rye, .....AND premiering Favela on Blast (in North America) at the film festival. I've been wanting to see this ever since I heard over a year ago he was doing this. In October it screened for the first time in Rio, so I was hoping to score a bootleg on the street during my recent visit to the city (with no luck). Funny, down there no one had even heard of such a thing, but they knew of three or four parties a night that they could sneak me into stealth. My greatest moment of the trip occured when we were getting gas between two particularly bumping favelas -- I've still yet to go to one, but being in the middle sure felt like I was there. Next time I might just go solo. Until then I can live vicariously through the proibido funk CD-Rs I did score and the seamless mixes Diplo has made and inspired his film. This is quintessential Poolside. If you see the guy, beg him to get this out on DVD pronto.


Cold Cave -- Please Come to Texas?

I guess I’m being greedy by begging Cold Cave to ditch their European tour and head on down Austin way. Even though I’m seeing about 500 bands I’ve been wanting to see for some months, and even though lately there’s been an unhealthy influx of new singles to pick and choose from, I can’t seem to put Cold Cave’s recently repressed EP, The Trees Grew Emotions and Died, back in its sleeve. Like tonight, I’m getting a head start on the best week of the year by seeing the Blank Dogs destroy the Summit – Cold Cave seem to spelunk in similar domains, only with brighter synth-waves and more succinct melodies, still remaining as damaged and drowsy as the BDs. This isn’t any kind of competition whatsoever, I’m just currently preferring the Cold Cave dreary new romanticism. For fans of the Associates, OMD, TSOL, and Ultravox. Lucid. Please come to Texas, or at least Ohio once you get back.


Living Like Hustlers vs. Black Mafia Life

Another day, another “who started the g-funk era?” argument to mull over. They certainly weren’t calling it g-funk until The Chronic dropped – but then again sampling Parliament and the Ohio Players was nothing new before Dre took the reigns. In researching Above the Law (from Pamona, not Compton) I found that Cold 187’um, the intriguing and humorous leader of ATL, has made many claims that he was the creator of gangster funk long before the good doctor spiked his flag near Roscoe’s. Above the Law’s debut, Livin’ Like Hustlers, is most definitely a classic from the ‘90s and perfect addition to the Bo Jackson HOF. It was a constant in the Walkman, as I was drawn to their more organized form of crime and street storytelling – the combination of 187’s soprano-svelte rascal-raps and KMG’s gruff strong-arm was, as the single goes, “Untouchable” and their Ice-T-esque sagas, while exaggerated, electric in delivery. I’m still trying to figure who the genius was here – was it DJ Total K-Os or (now proclaiming himself pioneer) 187’um? Regardless Livin’ Like Hustlers is dense with prime funk samples, many used repeatedly in the pending years, but never like they’re used here. Stuff from Quincy Jones, Sly Stone, early Prince, standby JB, broadcast as if a live band is playing behind them on every track here.

I have to admit that by the time Black Mafia Life was released I was a Snoop-Dre devotee, so even when Mark Humenik smuggled the long-box out of Camelot in his Raiders Starter jacket, I was not interested. The concept wasn’t about fun, it was too heavy, to crowded with non-essential skits and non-descript characters. After “What’s My Name?” there was no need for “Process of Elimination.” Now, I’ve come to find my folly. While Black Mafia Life is flawed and overlong, the template they used on their debut, is here extended – kind of like moving from GTA Vice City to GTA San Andreas. Here there was live instrumentation, the themes got darker, deeper, and the parties got harder (try on the Bootsy sampling “VSOP” for proof). It’s hard to judge against the rage and immediacy of Livin’ Like Hustlers, but it’s an entirely different monster all together and lends credence to Cold 187’um’s claim that he had a heavy hand in inventing, perhaps not gangster-rap, but gangster-funk.


Dispatch from the First Agit-Reader Presents...

Hitches. Shows like this, with bands this idiosyncratic, don’t exactly go off without them. As no one wanted to play first, the spot was designated for Dayton’s Gluons. Luckily, the line-up consisted of groups that get-it-and-get-off and as a consequence, leave the crowd wanting more (i.e. 20 minute sets) – so the fact that the Gluons were fashionably late, with zero to little contact with “promoter," didn't matter all that much. They missed an exit or something. Good thing when 10:45 rolled around, it was easy to transport their minimal rig (four tiny amps and a couple of guitars and pedals) right onto the stage. I’m more than happy they showed, as the crowd that eventually formed was treated to their blistering blast-pop. I’ve mentioned a post-Braniac fuzz about them, but here they reminded me of Ween back when they were Ween (i.e. the Pod) – a duo of terminally stoned freaks wafting in sinister noise and doling out hooks with little care about fidelity or how loose the flange pedal might be. Ear to ear smiles all around, though Gluons might be a bit green live, you could focus in on the mess they made and realize there’s a great vision here in both song-craft and sonics. You’ll be seeing them again soon, and on time, and hopefully, twice as high.

For many, Haley of Circuit des Yeux could potentially be a buzzkill. It’s the shell of the entire U.S. Girls/Zola Jesus/XXperiments sphere that’s a tough one to crack open and enjoy. That black egg of the apocalypse is just now boiling for CdY, coming into her own both by herself and with Cro-Magnon. This night she kept it simple with a sampler, a loop pedal, and a mangled guitar – oh and that voice. But she also went berserker with the simple set-up. I adore the 8-bit beats getting hammered by the moan and scream, the echoes of madness, and the challenging doom riffage. Thanks for taking the night one step closer to oblivion. That’s the highest compliment, as that’s where the bar wanted to be at one point.

By the time Deathly Fighter positioned their death star on the stage, things were getting blurred. This was one, lengthy, groove into that communal oblivion. I don’t think that there was a non-bobbing head in the place. You can nod off if you wanted to, but I wouldn’t trust the dreams that might have formed. I like that this (a one-off improvisation by DF) could be interpreted as intercept techno (wherein the dueling MOOGs were caught before they were launched out the speakers and manipulated ever so slightly) or as a psychedelic time-warp back to what? Harmonia in the Train Station? I’m excited to see what the trio can whip up in the Lone Star state next week. Should be very interesting. Don’t sleep on Completely Dusted.

And finally, the grand finale, the fullest Psychedelic Horseshit has looked in months. Would you call it primed? Ryan Jewell as multi-instrumentalist (he’s fucking on the floor with tablas this time out!!!), Andrew Graham on concentrated moonshine freak-folk, Rich Horseshit getting horny all over again, and Matt Horseshit flailing about like a pissed-off octopus. I think the pressure to top Magic Flowers Droned has formed a diamond, as these songs sparkle in the chaos of such a unit. At this point I was blotto, but I do remember how memorable those last ten minutes were, one beautiful line pounded over and over.

Stay tuned. We’re doing this every month.


I Know Where Wil Foster Lives

If you haven't heard yet. We are throwing a party this Saturday March 7th at Cafe Bourbon Street. This is our maiden voyage into concert curating and I think we did a great job with this one. Go HERE for all the details. And go HERE for a feature on Dayton's Gluons, our first band of the evening and their first Beach show ever. Also on the bill is resident savants, Psychedelic Horseshit -- Lafeyette, IN's Circuit des Yeux -- and a "happening" courtesy of Deathly Fighter (pictured mysteriously). Not sure what they are doing yet, but they've assured it's something "heavy," or maybe it was "heady." Their forthcoming record is a creeeeper titled Completely Dusted if that's any indication.

As a huge bonus, our mates at Columbus Discount Records just announced that the local pick-up for the March edition of their indispensible Single Club Year One, will be at this show. Divine Intervention.

This month is Guinea Worm's wild and wonderful "I Know Where Wil Foster Lives." This video is sure to make your morning, brunch, and fourth meal. Wil Foster Autograph Session at said show is unconfimed.


Agit-Pat Radio

Wish I had one of these -- for the "man cave" -- similar to Pat Leonard's control-center in his basement, where he produces these excellent and tidy radio shows for our local scene. Much better produced than my bong-hit induced 3AM show on KBUX in the late '90s. Mike and I picked most of the music here. Each of the four bands playing the Agit-Reader's first public display are represented. Very excited to finally see the Gluons. Listen to our edition of PatRadio HERE. Download it for preservation.


Poolside with Pretty Poison

Summer of 1987. Poolside with Pretty Poison. I suppose the only notable factoid about their only chart-topper, the infectious bubblegum of “Catch Me (I’m Falling),” is that it was the theme to the Jon Cryer vehicle Hiding Out. Previously he was only known as Duckie, type-cast as the lovable, yet fey and therefore un-dateable, outsider of teen filmdom. Here he had the leading role, a dashing lawyer (?), forced to hide out as a popular new student at his local high school. I remember paying money at the Mayflower in Troy to see this garbage – don’t remember much of the movie, but do remember this song.

Pretty Poison was of course a turn-yr-head and miss them fabrication of the ‘80s, but look at how many cultural identifiers you can pick from just this clip. They had it all – wild, freestyle beat, roller-skate synth-line, a keytar, a wicked vocoded guitar solo right there at 2:48 (worth the nostalgic pain, just for that), and a hairspray-shellacked lead singer. A shame they couldn’t have a follow-up with this much plastic.