Rewind Review: D:Fuse – People 2: Both Sides of the Picture (2003)

Recorded live and without edits in Austin, Texas, D:Fuse’s People 2: Both Sides of the Picture is an outstanding double-album of house and ambient, chill and trance music. Disc 1 is entitled People Chilling and is nothing but chill music from D:Fuse and some of his favorite artists. Subtech’s “Piano Heaven” is a particularly good downtempo track that is still danceable. Joy’s “Timewave Zero” is over ten minutes of slow groove house that turns into an acid lounge track. Kaskade’s “Be There” has a sweet xylophone and hand percussion groove. D:Fuse plays three of his own tracks on the “Chilling” half of the album. The first is “Indecision,” on which he teams with Blueletter to bring a funky house dance mix that doesn’t get too heavy. The second is the club mix of “Everything with You,” and the third is a great chill-out version of “Blue Skies.”

Disc 2 is People Clubbing and starts with a grade fade-in on Scanners’ (featuring D:Fuse, no less) “Music Is About You.” “Is it trance? Is it house? Does it matter?” they ask. The answer: It doesn’t. Just get out there and shake your groove thing. Abraham Bam Boogie’s “Deep Satisfaction” is a sharp house mix. D:Fuse returns, along with Joy, on “House Sound of the Future.” It has a great classic rave vibe to it that takes me back to the early 1990’s and dancing in an abandoned high school gym. Liam Kennedy’s “dirtbag remix” of “Evaporate” has some sweet synth bass that kicks in about a third of the way through the tune. D:Fuse and Shane Howard’s “Wash” has even more of it. The hand percussion on Nathan Profitt’s “There Is Hope” is wicked and brings a tribal urgency to the song.

It’s a good double album. One side is good for making out, the other for dancing. One can always lead to the other, right?

Keep your mind open.

[You can chill with us by subscribing.]

 

Live – Earthless, Ruby the Hatchet, Marmora – Chicago,IL – December 02, 2016

img_4139

Imagine you flew from Guatemala to Chicago to see a band and they only played four songs (including the encore), but you were ecstatic by the end of the show.  This is what happens at Earthless shows.

My friend, Paul, and I went to see Earthless, Ruby the Hatchet, and Marmora at the Empty Bottle.  It was my third time seeing Earthless and Paul’s first.  We hadn’t seen either of the opening acts.  Paul and I are big fans of Earthless and their mostly instrumental cosmic rock, and the Empty Bottle (which was sold out) would be the smallest venue in which I’d seen them so far.

We met a couple who drove in from Wisconsin to see them for the first time.  We all talked about the number of songs we’d get to hear from Earthless.  They played four the first two times I saw them, so Paul and I were betting on at least three.  The couple from Wisconsin hoped for four, and they were correct.

First up were Marmora – a Chicago four-piece that blended stoner rock with punk.  Paul knew we were in for something groovy when their lead guitarist came out wearing a “Got blunt?” T-shirt.

img_4144
Marmora – rocking hard despite having a rough day at the office.

Marmora had been through a rough day.  The lead singer had screwed up his ankle, they mentioned having some sort of vehicle trouble earlier, they accidentally set their gear in dog poop while loading the van, the drummer’s foot pedal broke (thankfully, they had another), and the lead singer broke a string on his guitar.  They put on a good set despite all that, and their rhythm section is particularly good.

Ruby the Hatchet put on a fine set of witchcraft rock with song titles like “Pagan Ritual” and “The Unholy.”  They have a great organ player who brings a cool 1960’s vibe to their power.  Their lead singer commands a room and her hand gestures as she soaks in the band’s sound might as well have been learned from Dr. Strange.

img_4154
Ruby the Hatchet casting spells on all of us.

Earthless walked on stage with no muss or fuss.  They said hello and then unleashed.  A brother-sister duo from Guatemala were next to me and told me how they’d come to the States to follow Earthless on their current tour.  They were big fans of stoner / doom metal.  The brother, David, told me he’s been reaching out to stoner metal bands in hopes of convincing them to tour in Guatemala, where there is no stoner metal scene according to him.  He and his sister had a great time, although his sister couldn’t understand why the audience wasn’t dancing more.  “American audiences are so fucking stiff,” she told me.

She probably changed her mind by the time a fight broke out in a mosh pit started by some dude high and / or drunk out of his mind.  I saw her grab the guy by the face while he was being dragged out by fans and security.  Earthless, meanwhile, were too busy detaching the roof from the Empty Bottle and rocketing into space to notice or care.  All three of them were on fire, but I must mention that this was the hardest I’ve seen drummer Mario Rubalcaba play so far.  He beat his kit like it stole his skateboard.

img_4167
That’s not a disco ball above Earthless. It’s a small moon they pulled down from the heavy gravity of their set.

Their first song, “Uluru Rock,” was 25 minutes long.  The second, “Violence of the Red Sea,” was 15.  The third, “Sonic Prayer,” was a half-hour.  They came back on for a quick encore – a blazing cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown” that lasted under five minutes and left everyone stunned.  “I liked them before,” Paul said.  “I like them even more now.”

Walking back out into the low 30’s weather after getting our faces melted was jarring, but it felt great.  We’d been elevated.  I’ve always said that Earthless chose that name for their band because their music can’t be confined to this planet.  They proved that again in Chicago.

Keep your mind open.

[Stay epic by subscribing to us.]

 

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service

a-tribe-called-quest-we-got-it-from-here-thank-you-4-your-service-cover-art

Hip hop legends A Tribe Called Quest (Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Q-Tip, Jarobi White) have returned after a long hiatus, the Paris bombings of 2015 (which happened the night of their appearance on The Tonight Show), and the death of Phife Dawg with perhaps the best rap album of the year – We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service. The two-disc album is loaded with guest stars like Andre 3000, Jack White, Elton John, Kendrick Lamar, Talib Kweli, Kanye West, and Busta Rhymes and is a great send-off for Phife (who named the album before his death). It’s a bit tough to hear Phife’s everyman flow knowing he’s left us, but he went out on a high note.

The album starts with “The Space Program,” which encourages all of us to “get it together to make somethin’ happen.” Smooth synth grooves and a looped Vincent Price laugh from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” back even smoother rhymes about the 99% of us looking out for each other while the 1% run away with everything. “We the People…” is a scathing rant against gentrification. “Guilty pleasures take the edge off reality,” Q-Tip says in a verbal backhand to all of us who bury our heads in our phones and TV screens to ignore the harsh reality for many around us.

“Whateva Will Be” starts with a Rudy Ray Moore sample (“Girl, this motherfucker’s got rhythm!”), so it’s an instant win, and a triple play when you add Phife’s flow and Muhammad’s killer cuts and beats. Speaking of killer cuts and beats, Muhammad gives a master class on “Solid Wall of Sound” as he twists, warps, and reforms Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets” (with Sir Elton playing and singing the classic track, no less) like it’s Play-Doh. He does it again on “Dis Generation,” sampling Musical Youth’s “Pass the Dutchie” and some jazz guitar while Phife, White, Q-Tip, and Busta Rhymes move around the song with effortless flow.

“Kids…”, a song about the illusions we have as teenagers, and often continue to have as adults, starts with rhymes from Andre 3000 and sounds like an Outkast tune with its simple beats and distorted chorus (“Kids, don’t you know that all that shit is fantasy?”). “Melatonin” has a great funky swagger. “Enough!!” ends the first half of the album. While the title could be a summary for everyone’s feelings on 2016, it’s a bit of a slow jam seduction as the Tribe flirt with foxy ladies and wonder if they’re doing enough to land them.

The second half starts with “Mobius,” bringing popping beats and warped loops with it. “Black Spasmodic” has a reggae groove, which isn’t surprising when you consider ATCQ have often acknowledged their reggae and dub influences. “The Killing Season” goes after the rash of violence against black youth in the country, and the low, creeping bass line throughout it underlines the seriousness of the issue. “Lost Somebody” continues the conversation. We’ve all lost somebody, some from illness, some from age, some from violence.

“Movin Backwards” is about surging forward when life pushes you backward. White’s opening rhymes give way to soul vocals by Anderson Paak and then the synth beats fade in and get your head bobbing. The low-end synths on “Conrad Tokyo” remind me of John Carpenter tracks, but Phife’s strong rhymes are classic Quest. “Ego” is another song about illusion; particularly ones our egos create. “Ego has no ending, has people pretending…This is the last Tribe and our ego hopes that you felt us,” Q-Tip says. We have. This record makes it impossible not to feel what they’ve done.

The album ends with “The Donald,” and you might think it’s about Donald Trump, but it’s actually a loving tribute to Phife. Every line from Busta Rhymes in the beginning namedrops him, and all of Q-Tips lyrics pay tribute to him (i.e., “You speak wicked every verse.”). Phife’s name is the last lyric on the album. It’s a great way to end a great record.

This is one of those albums that everyone wanted, but didn’t realize how much until they heard it. It begs multiple plays just to hear all the great beats and to attempt to catch all the wicked lyrics. It was in my top 10 of 2016 after the first listen.

Keep your mind open.

[Join us by subscribing.]

 

Gary Wilson – It’s Christmas Time with Gary Wilson

garywilson_orig

Gary Wilson releasing an album of original Christmas music? No standards? I’m there. I’m there all through the holiday season.

After a brief introduction that features cackling geese, Wilson’s distorted voice repeating “holiday” over and over, and warped synths, It’s Christmas Time with Gary Wilson brings “A Christmas Tree for Two.” Wilson sings about buying a silver Christmas tree for his love. “I don’t wanna cut down a Christmas tree. It makes me sad when it starts to bleed,” Wilson sings. Would you expect Gary Wilson to have anything but a swanky reflective tree with a spinning multi-colored light under it?

“I Saw Santa Dancing in the Dark” has Wilson singing about his eager return to his hometown (Endicott, NY) and taking his girl to the famous (to him and his fans) north side pool before a return home for drinks and dancing, but the mysterious Linda is “crying in the park.” Will Gary’s date go as planned? Here’s a hint: It rarely does.

As evidenced on “A Sled Ride Tonight,” in which Wilson’s been dumped during the Christmas season and all he wanted was to take his lady on a sled ride. It’s a song that would fit on any of his records, let alone a Christmas album. The chaotic synth instrumental “The Snow” is a perfect musical accompaniment to the hypnotizing, weird visuals you get when looking at blowing snow in the headlights of your car at 2am. “Holiday” is a jaunty tune in which Wilson tells his girl he’s going to introduce her to “the chromium clown.” It might be a bit creepy, but the song is nothing but bouncy lounge fun.

It wouldn’t be a Gary Wilson album without him singing about his lost loves, and “Cindy Wants to Cry” certainly qualifies. Don’t miss the nice saxophone work and quirky percussion while he sings, “Linda wants to cry, Karen wants to cry, Cindy wants to cry on Christmas.”

“Wintertime in Johnson City” has Wilson excited about yet another upcoming date, but he admits that Johnson City is “a town that has no pity” and knows that she might not show up. Meanwhile, “It’s Snowing in Endicott.” “Sounds so nice, so sad,” Wilson says at the beginning of the tune. The town is forever linked with Gary Wilson, as are its painful memories known only to him. He has his house and Christmas tree ready, doing his best to cut through the gray skies and loneliness. Maybe he’ll get his Christmas wish this year, but you doubt it.

Wilson’s girl doesn’t make it to his house because she’s “Lost in the Snow.” He can’t find her, yet again, but he never gives up hope. This never-ending optimism is one of the best things about Wilson’s music. There are themes of loss, loneliness, and bad luck, but he always gets up from the couch after another lonely night in Endicott. He never gives up hope of a fun Friday night with Linda, Karen, Cindy, or others.

There’s wonderful jazz lounge piano in “She Danced Near the Frozen Lake.” “Let’s take a walk into outer space,” Wilson sings on “A Date for New Year’s Eve.” I can’t imagine a better way to start 2017 than that. I don’t know what Wilson’s going to with the “pound of baking flour” he mentions buying in the song, but I’m sure it will end up everywhere. Check out one of his live shows and you’ll understand.

“Santa Claus Is Coming to My Lonely Town” keeps hope alive once more. Wilson’s met a new girl he kissed on the planet Mars. Is this after Santa Claus conquered the Martians? He’s brought Wilson’s wish list and it’s all walks in the park, kisses in outer space, beautiful snow, and every night being Friday night. It’s a wish list we’d all take and far better than more junk you’ll hate in four months.

The album closes with the instrumental “Lonely Holiday,” linking it back to the beginning of the record. The Christmas spirit, like Wilson’s perpetual optimism and search for love, should last all year.

Keep your mind open.

[Give yourself the gift of music news by subscribing to us.]

Failure offer “Fantastic Planet Live” through PledgeMusic campaign.

failure

1990’s shoegaze / alt-rock maestros Failure have begun a PledgeMusic campaign to offer a live album from their October 2016 tour (which, sadly, I missed).  They played their outstanding album Fantastic Planet in its entirety and chose the best versions of each song from the tour for this live record.

In case you don’t know, Fantastic Planet is one of the best records of the 1990’s and a masterpiece of engineering.  You deserve to hear it, so jump on this campaign before all the signed stuff is gone.

Keep your mind open.

[You can be stuck on us by subscribing.]

Pitchfork Music Festival 2017 tickets go on sale tomorrow.

THE PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL 2017 ANNOUNCES HOLIDAY SALE
BEGINNING NOVEMBER 28, 2016
JULY 14-16, 2017 AT CHICAGO’S UNION PARK
The Pitchfork Music Festival will return to Chicago’s Union Park next summer for its twelfth year. The 2017 event will run from Friday, July 14 through Sunday, July 16. This year, the festival is announcing a holiday sale beginning Monday, November 28. A holiday 3-day pass will be available to purchase for $140 for a short amount of time. Once those are gone, three-day passes will be on sale for the regular price of $165. Single day tickets will be available for $65. A layaway option for regularly priced three-day passes will also be offered, where you will be able to pay the $165 price over three installments. This offer will expire on March 1.

The Pitchfork Music Festival continues to be one the world’s most welcoming and exciting festivals, consistently dedicated to striking a balance between discovery and celebration. Stay tuned for the lineup announcement, as well as much more from Pitchfork Music Festival 2017!

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE BEGINNING NOV. 28 —  www.pitchforkmusicfestival.com 

Pitchfork is the most trusted voice in music. Over the last 20 years, Pitchfork’s online magazine has defined how music is covered in the digital era, leading The New York Times to call it “the most prominent brand in online music journalism” and TIME Magazine to recognize it as one of the world’s 50 best websites. In addition to setting a new standard in music coverage, Pitchfork has developed a global reputation for its music festivals. Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival has been held every year since 2006, and in 2011, Pitchfork launched Pitchfork Music Festival Paris, bringing its vision of the live music experience to Europe. In 2015, Pitchfork was acquired by Condé Nast, joining a family of brands that includes The New Yorker, Wired, and GQ, among many others, enabling growth in the U.S. and beyond.

Visit www.pitchforkmusicfestival.com and www.facebook.com/pitchforkmusicfestival for more information. Follow @pitchforkfest for the latest news, announcements and exclusive content.

Keep your mind open.

[Don’t forget to subscribe to us before you go.]

Electro duo Kllo release new single and upcoming tour dates.

KLLO SHARES “WALLS TO BUILD” (MALL GRAB REMIX)
https://soundcloud.com/kllomusic/walls-to-build-mall-grab-remix-1 ON TOUR NOW IN SUPPORT OF WELL WORN EP;
DATES WITH RÜFÜS DU SOL & NAO

“They’re poised to attract a ton of attention stateside.”
NYLON (“The 7 Breakout Stars Of Summer 2016”)“a pleasant and fluid pop tune that blurs lines between R&B and two-step”
Pitchfork“a velvety, warm, and comforting soundscape”
The FADER

Melbourne duo Kllo’s much anticipated new EP, Well Worn, came out back in August on Ghostly International (North America), Different Recordings/PIAS (UK/Europe/Japan) and Good Manners Records (AU/NZ/ROW). In just 3 months since release it has amassed over 10 million Spotify plays and established the group as one of the most exciting new electronic prospects. Today the band shares Mall Grab’s rework of “Walls To Build,” one of the lead singles from the EP.Handpicked by Kllo, up-and-coming Australian producer Mall Grab adds a driving bass beat while altering the pace of the original, injecting some space into the song to emphasize its depth. He’s effectively managed to turn Kllo’s smart pop into low light R&B, showcasing the duo’s wide, cross-genre appeal.

Guided by the ghosts of UK garage and like-minded strains of underground dance music, the original “Walls To Build” melds Simon Lam‘s synth lines with Chloe Kaul‘s vapor-trailed verses; “Bolide” sets a skittish beat against a clipped chorus: and the one-two punch of “Sense” and “On My Name” build a couple piano-laced ballads from a pillowy sound bed of laid-back loops and lovelorn melodies. “Don’t Be The One” is deceivingly simple as well, bringing the record to a close alongside a rubbery, elusive rhythm and a growing sense of tension and release. Catchy, yes, but also compelling enough to leave us all longing for the pair’s inevitable LP.

Things happen so fast these days that Kllo barely had a Facebook page or a proper song before a wave of interest began to build around their breakthrough EP, Cusp. What a telling record title; in the year since its release, cousins Lam and Kaul have played sold-out shows and festival slots throughout Australia (Dark Mofo, Splendour in the Grass and Melbourne Music Week among many others) and overseas (The Great Escape, Primavera Sound), racked up millions of plays on Spotify, and landed on several Artists to Watch lists.

The duo is currently on their first ever world tour taking them across Europe with RÜFÜS DU SOL and NAO and North America with RÜFÜS DU SOL again later this month. To cap off the year, they’ll make their New York City live debut at Baby’s All Right on December 8th. A full list of dates is below.

STREAM KLLO’S “WALLS TO BUILD” (MALL GRAB REMIX):
https://soundcloud.com/kllomusic/walls-to-build-mall-grab-remix-1
LISTEN & WATCH:
“Bolide” stream – https://soundcloud.com/kllomusic/bolide
“Bolide” video – https://youtu.be/NYd4t5uINNY
“Bolide” (Lone Remix) stream – https://soundcloud.com/kllomusic/bolide-lone-remix
“Walls To Build” stream – https://soundcloud.com/kllomusic/walls-to-build
“Walls To Build” video – https://youtu.be/PmiygZRFtvo
“Sense” video – https://youtu.be/kSPETjXwLOA
KLLO TOUR DATES:
Wed. Nov. 16 – Hamburg, DE @ Knust (w/ NAO)
Thu. Nov. 17 – Berlin, DE @ Berghain/Panorama Bar (w/ NAO)
Thu. Nov. 24 – Vancouver, BC @ Imperial (w/ RÜFÜS DU SOL)
Fri. Nov. 25 – Seattle, WA @ The Neptune (w/ RÜFÜS DU SOL)
Sat. Nov. 26 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom (w/ RÜFÜS DU SOL)
Wed. Nov. 30 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore (w/ RÜFÜS DU SOL)
Thu. Dec. 1 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore (w/ RÜFÜS DU SOL)
Fri. Dec. 2 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern (w/ RÜFÜS DU SOL)
Sat. Dec. 3 – San Diego, CA @ Music Box (w/ RÜFÜS DU SOL)
Sun. Dec. 4 – Los Angeles, CA @ Multiply
Thu. Dec. 8 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right

“Walls To Build” (Mall Grab Remix) artwork

Rewind Review: Public Broadcasting Service – The Race for Space (2015)

pbs

Widely heralded as one of the most innovative albums of 2015, Public Service Broadcasting’s (J. Willgoose, Esquire – banjo, guitar, sampling, Wrigglesworth – drums, piano, electronics) The Race for Space is an amazing concept album about / tribute to the space race of the 1960’s.

Beginning with the title track of an angelic chorus behind JFK’s speech calling for the exploration of space, the album moves into “Sputnik.” The electro beats and bleeps are perfect for a song about the first satellite to round the Earth. The first sample you hear is a man saying, “This is the beginning of a new era for mankind.” It was. We weren’t the same after it. The song builds in synth grandeur, not unlike something from a John Carpenter film score.

“Gagarin” is a funky electro-lounge jam and salute to Yuri Gagarin. The funky guitar and drums make him seem more like a super spy than a cosmonaut. “The whole planet knew him and loved him,” says one man in a sample before a brass section puts down a great groove. “Fire in the Cockpit” is lonely and cold, despite the title. The soft bleeps seem miles away, and the synths sound like a car engine trying to start on a cold winter morning as a man reads aloud a news release about the cockpit fire on a test flight of the Apollo 1.

“E.V.A.” brings us back to a sense of wonder with building guitar work, snappy drums, groovy keyboards, and samples about weightlessness and walking in space. “The Other Side” samples real transmissions from the Apollo 8 mission control about the inevitable loss of signal when the satellite rounds the moon. The synths build as you imagine Apollo 8 getting closer and closer to somewhere no one has ever gone. What’s great is that all music stops during the loss of signal. It’s silence until the synths return at the moment a signal is received from the Apollo 8, and burst loud when the Apollo 8 crew calls back all the way to Houston.

“Valentina” is a beautiful song you could put on a St. Valentine’s Day mixtape and a wonderful tribute to Valentina Tereshkova – the first woman to fly in space. “Go!” is a fun ride that builds from soft synths to rock drums to transmissions from the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. The calls of “Go!” from all the mission control members become a stadium chant, and you can’t help but tap your toes and cheer on the mission that you know was a success.

The album ends with “Tomorrow,” an uplifting song about the Apollo 17 mission and the future of our exploration of space and of mankind. The xylophone gives it a cool “space-lounge” feel, and the fade-in is heavenly. I hope someone has sent it to the international space station for the astronauts’ wake-up music.

I hope this whole album has been sent there. It’s wonderful. The Race for Space would easily have been in my top ten albums of 2015 if I’d started this blog last year.

Keep your mind open.

[Get cosmic with us by subscribing.]

American Wrestlers to begin North American tour next month.

AMERICAN WRESTLERS ANNOUNCE NEW TOUR DATES, SHARE TWO DEMO SONG VERSIONS

GOODBYE TERRIBLE YOUTH OUT NOW ON FAT POSSUM

American Wrestlers released their excellent sophomore album Goodbye Terrible Youth (Fat Possum) just over a week ago, and it’s been receiving praise from the likes of Pitchfork to Noisey to Wired and more. Today, the band announces a batch of new tour dates and shares two demo versions of songs that appear on Goodbye Terrible Youth, “Amazing Grace” and “So Long” (both of which appear on the deluxe Japanese edition of the album).
LISTEN TO “AMAZING GRACE” & “SO LONG” DEMOS
https://soundcloud.com/fatpossum/sets/aw-bonus-demo-tracks/s-GGpQY
The album is now streaming and available for purchase on all services. If you haven’t listened to Goodbye Terrible Youth yet, there’s no better time than the present.
LISTEN TO GOODBYE TERRIBLE YOUTH
http://smarturl.it/aw.gtyAMERICAN WRESTLERS TOUR DATES (new dates in bold)
Thu. Dec. 1 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown Jr.
Fri. Dec. 2 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Sun. Dec. 4 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison
Mon. Dec. 5 – Montreal, QC @ Le Divan Orange
Tue. Dec. 6 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott
Wed. Dec. 7 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
Thu. Dec. 8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
Fri. Dec. 9 – Washington, DC @ DC9
Sat. Dec. 10 – Lakewood, OH @ Mahall’s
Sun. Dec. 11 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
Thu. Dec. 15 – St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
Tue. Jan. 10 – Nashville, TN @ The High Wattw/ NE-HI
Wed. Jan. 11 – Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn w/ NE-HI
Thu. Jan. 12 – New Orleans, LA @ Hi Ho Lounge w/ NE-HI
Fri. Jan. 13 – Houston, TX @ The Raven Tower w/ NE-HI
Sat. Jan. 14 – Austin, TX @ Sidewinder w/ NE-HI
Sun. Jan. 15 – Dallas, TX @ Three Links w/ NE-HI
Wed. Jan 18 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
Thu. Jan. 19 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
Fri. Jan. 20 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
Sat. Jan. 21 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
Tue. Jan. 24 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
Wed. Jan. 25 – Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
Thu. Jan. 26 – Boise, ID @ The Olympic
Fri. Jan. 27 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
Sat. Jan. 28 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge

PRAISE FOR AMERICAN WRESTLERS

“These are unabashedly personal and reflective songs, often filled with regret and loss, ugliness and shame.” – Pitchfork

“You can hear the bona fides of a skilled singer-songwriter. McClure’s cool charm makes these homespun songs feel like long-lost guitar-pop gems, newly discovered and barely dusted off.” Rolling Stone

“For Goodbye Terrible Youth, the group’s amped-up follow-up, frontman and songwriter Gary McClure has doubled down on spectral keyboards and fuzz-muscled riffs—pretty much always a good idea… Equal parts diffuse and direct, Youth ages nicely with each listen.” – Wired

“This is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard in 2016.” – USA Today, on “Amazing Grace”

“Even though he’s Scottish, Gary McClure’s new LP Goodbye Terrible Youth is the jangly guitar record this country needs right now.” – Noisey

“Scottish expat Gary McClure sings with a fragile-but-hopeful tenor like a beam of light from a discount flashlight, and as American Wrestlers, he’s stumbled upon a scrappy underdog lo-fi sound that lets his songs shine properly.” – Stereogum (Band to Watch; 50 Best New Bands of 2015)

“American Wrestlers have the potential to win over legions of fans based on their broad musical range. Goodbye Terrible Youth is music for tiny, sweaty clubs, with amps turned up loud and a knack for sophisticated tunes at the ready.” – PopMatters

Rewind Review: Nortec Collective – The Tijuana Sessions vol. 1 (2001)

nc

I’d been looking for this album for a long time since hearing parts of it on a National Public Radio show that was highlighting techno and house music from Mexico made by Nortec Collective – a group of Mexican DJs and producers who often worked together. I found The Tijuana Sessions vol. 1 in a used CD bin for about three bucks last year. It was worth the wait.

Bostich’s “Polaris” gets the compilation off to a good start, mixing rapid snare beats with synth bass. Bostich has two other tracks on the album – “El Vergel” (which includes street band accordion and tuba to good effect. Yes, really.) and “Synthakon” – a fun dub track.

Fussible, Bostich’s frequent collaborator, has three tracks as well – “Casino Soul” (with fun electro bleeps and a swanky synth horn section), “Trip to Ensenada” (a great acid house track with cool reverbed synths), and “Ventilador” (his trippiest contribution to the record).

Another triple threat DJ on the record is Terrestre. He starts with “Norteno De Janeiro,” which is a great tune for late night lounging and make-out sessions in a nightclub on the Yucatan Peninsula. Second is “El Lado Oscuro De Mi Compadre,” which belongs in a Bond film or at least a cool 1960’s Euro-spy movie. Third is “Tepache Jam” – an accordion and tuba-heavy jam saluting Mexican buskers and house parties.

Plankton Man gets a double shot, first with “Elemento N.” Like Bostich’s “El Vergel,” it blends house music with traditional Mexican street music (bold horns, parade drums, and touches of Spanish style guitar) and mixes them well. His next tune is “No Liazi Jaz,” which brings in a bit of psychedelic fuzz to his house stylings.

Other DJs on the record include Panoptica, whose “And L” is a slick acid house track with trippy reverbed percussion, Clorofila (bringing us the super-loungy “Cantamar ‘72”), and Hiperboreal – whose “Tijuana for Dummies” is a good house track with no muss and no fuss. It’s just dance beats layered upon dance beats.

The Tijuana Sessions vol. 1 is a good house / lounge / dub record and well worth investigating if you’re on the hunt for such music. Just don’t take eleven years to find it like I did.

Keep your mind open.

[Get in on our collective by subscribing to us.]