I had the wondrous opportunity to see echo-synth-noise-darkwave duo Tearist (pronounced tear like rip apart) perform at Los Angeles‘s Lyric Theater a few nights ago. As a total Tearist virgin, I was only marginally prepared for what would ultimately become an invitedly deep aural penetration. The magnetically charged female vocalist, Yasmine Kittles, took the stage with a confidence that screamed ‘please buckle up‘. However, my mind still abuzz from the incredible energy brought into the room by previous band Coming, I failed to strap in and ended up being ejected through the front windshield as we slammed into a wall of sound.
The duo channeled music & arts deepest cuts as Kittles‘ vocals fully opened up. With her diaphragm in full effect she belted a knockout blend of reverberant aural pleasure that perfectly expanded into every dark centimeter of the room. Kittles‘ counterpart, William Menchaca, stretching a flawless synth-beat canvas for her to paint the vocals across. If I was a synesthete I’m pretty sure the complete sound would’ve looked like an artistic collaboration between Dali, Pollock, and Van Gogh. Incredibly thick paint smeared, melted, and splattered, yet somehow perfectly composed.
Kittles‘ also featured a signature brand of DIY percussion that took the show to a uniquely connected level. Simply a pipe and steel cylinder that she commands, yet seems to play itself as she whacks it, drops it, and throws it. A few drops down into the audience with her found object contraption and I felt like I was a part of the operation. I hit instant recall of the toddler joy the first time I hit a cookpot with a spoon on the kitchen floor.
Bonus points for the on-stage floor fan, sending Kittles‘ hair and red dress into a rippling wave that only further complimented the audio-visual music-art experience. I look forward to the next time I get to see this duo perform. I’ll know I’m not going to a concert, but to a full scale performance art piece. It would’ve been just as well suited for a gallery exhibition at the MOMA, as the dark cold Lyric Theater. I’ll choose to remain unbuckled in the future as well, slamming into the wall of sound at full speed was perfectly fulfilling.
Tv On The Radio didn’t take too long to follow up 2009′s brilliant ‘Dear Science,‘ and as usual didn’t disappoint. This time the Brooklyn outfit set up camp on the West Coast and the sunnier climate appears to have seeped through to these tracks.
With another mild change of direction the tracks on ’Nine Types Of Light‘ have borrowed some of the horns from its predecessor but definitely comes across as a more laid back affair.
Lyrically frontman Tunde Adebimpe and singer-guitarist Kyp Malone seem less preoccupied with tales of apocalypse and the end of the world and more focussed on making sure you tell the ones you love exactly how you feel for them. That this would be the last album Gerard Smith would appear on before his untimely death makes this all the more poignant.
Meanwhile, special praise should go to guitarist and producer extraordinaire Dave Sitek for realizing that the band’s sound needed a tweak and for incorporating some of the ideas he has been involved with in his “other” projects recently. TVOTR haven’t lost the electricity that initially made us fall in love with them, they have just refined the way they administer it to us.
Last year I sat through a blogger and A&R roundtable organized by one of the majors in London. In between talk of “organic artist growth” and “breakout singles” The name of the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, and more specifically Tyler, The Creator‘s ‘Yonkers‘ video, came up several times as the label people seemed genuinely baffled by the success the collective were enjoying and the way they had gone about it.
Then in May he followed this up with his first non-independently released album ‘Goblin‘ acting as a metaphorical punch to the stomach. In between persistent arguments with his inner voices, tongue-in-cheek suggestions that we ”kill people, burn shit, fuck school” and general disclaimers to his position as hip hops posterchild Tyler spits some of the best venom since Eminem’s debut album.
Cole found himself asking ”Is ‘Goblin’ a comedy album? I still don’t know. Tracks like “Yonkers” are dark, featuring samples that seem to be pulled from horror films. The rhymes constantly reference murder and explicit sex, and flow slowly as if they were first written to be high school poems. The album confuses me to no end, and I can’t stop listening to it“.
The musical superduo Ashtar Command, composed of Chris Holmes (Sir Paul McCartney‘s go to DJ) and Brian Liesegang (Founding member of Filter) first showed up on our radar with a track on the PS3 game ‘Red Dead Redemption‘. Their debut album ‘American Sunshine‘ was an unexpected and delightful revelation.
Chief Cougar Microbes collaborator Kyle hailed it as an “incredible masterpiece that should be known collectively throughout the web as the most underrated album of 2011 .
The album is slightly conceptual, non-surprisingly themed around an “American Sunshine” indie-super-collabo-album idea. Which basically means they have everyone from Har Mar Superstar, Rachel Yamagata and Alex Ebert, to Joshua Radin and Z. Berg doing their thing.
However it never feels that these artists were just added in ‘just because’. There is no gimmick here, its pure music. The tracks combine a range of haunting algorithmic synth-outs to indie progressive rockfests that leave your ears and soul wanting more.
Hopefully Holmes and Liesegang feel that yearning and continue to release incredibly original and unique musical experiences long into the future. If 2012 isn’t the end of the world that is“.
Picture this: In the build up to Halloween I went down to a plush Hollywood bar/club to meet up with some friends. As I was wiggling through a sea of burlesque girls, casual zombies and mystical unicorns I overheard a sweet sweet sound emanating from the stage.
For the duration of their show I was transfixed as this Girl/Boy, dressed in massive animal suits, went about their business offering their wonderful brand of dreamy pop.
After a little investigation I discovered the duo were Californian band Tashaki Miyaki . What I appreciate about their sound is that the lo-fi aesthetic does not compromise melodies allowing Rocky‘s guitar licks and Lucy‘s vocals to to shine in the mix over her laid back drumming.
Tune into Cougar Microbes this weekend where we will be featuring their video for the track ‘Somethin’ Is Better Than Nothin‘. Until then here is a gem of a cover of the Everly Brothers‘ classic ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream‘ plus a live song demonstrating the band’s vast potential. Definitely a pair I will be keeping my eyes on.
Here is the official video for M83‘s ubiquitous summer hit ‘Midnight City‘ coinciding with the release of the album ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming‘ this week.
directed by French duo Fleur & Manu; the video follows a group of gifted children running away from their captors with Los Angeles acting as a backdrop. Anthony Gonzalez‘s recent relocation to LA may have played a part on the choosing of a location.
Keep your eyes peeled for a NovemberUS tour as well as UK Dates come December but hurry up because tickets are selling out fast.
When I discovered I was going to be spending some time in Los Angeles this summer one of the things that excited me the most was to take in some sports matches live. With there being no American Football team in LA (at present) and the Lakers managing to get knocked out before I even arrived those two sports were off the radar. Instead I focused on trying to get LAKings tickets as well as some for the Dodgers.
A couple of weeks ago I was able to get tickets for the Dodgers, no doubt aided by the fact they are having a poor-ish season, and see them beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in a surprisingly good encounter. It was everything I ever expected and so much more. The atmosphere was electrifying and the fans were great. Believe me, there is a big difference between seeing a home run on TV and seeing one live.