The Moonlandingz started as a bit of a joke between Sean Lennon and members of Fat White Family when then created a fictional band. That band got so much hype that art turned into reality and the Moonlandingz released Expanded in 2015.
The EP starts with the instrumental “Exorcise Your Mammary Eyes,” which I think is code for “Stop staring at my tits.” A Sean Lennon “de-mix” of “Sweet Saturn Mine” (one of the Moonlandingz biggest hits so far) is next, and the slowing of what is normally a fast, brash tune only highlights the creepiness of the lyrics (which are mostly about having sex while you’re high). “Lay Yer Head Down on the Road” is almost a carnival midway song about getting high to escape reality, even though such an action might be a bad idea.
“Blow Football with J. Carpenter” sounds like something John Carpenter would brew up on his home synthesizers. It’s creepy and futuristic at the same time. “Psych Ersatz” is equally strange, mixing images of spooky things in the shadows with psychedelic loops, beats, and echoed vocals.
The EP ends with “The Man in the Lyfe Suite – Parts 1, 2, and 3.” It’s a wild trip full of fuzzed out guitars, frantic vocals, and rollercoaster beats and loops.
Expanded was a nice appetizer for their full-length follow-up, Interplanetary Class Classics (one of my favorite albums of 2017 so far). Both are well worth your time.
Keep your mind open.
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As the story goes, Dion Lunadon, known to many as the bass player and co-mastermind of A Place to Bury Strangers, was feeling restless during a break in APTBS’ tour schedule. So, he poured that restless energy into his first solo album and gave the world a frantic, wild piece of noise-punk that has some fun surprises in it.
The album’s opener is a raging piece against something we all have to deal with – “Insurance, Rent, and Taxes.” The song flattens you with squelching sound and Robi Gonzalez (who used to play for APTBS). Lundaon sings, “Much too young to get any older.” on the swinging “Reduction Agent.” Lunadon reveals his love of dirty juke joint blues in the track in both the rhythm and lyrics (“I’ve got the mark of death. It won’t leave me alone.”). The organ and bass on “Fire” burns as hot as its namesake, building to a crazy blender-like frenzy. “Com / Broke” is your new favorite song for trying to beat rush hour traffic. Just be careful, as Lunadon’s lyrics do involve car crashes, fires, and self-destruction.
“Hanging By a Thread” is a post-punk (and nearly instrumental) surprise with guitars that sound like industrial saws. The industrial grind continues on “Move,” and Lunadon’s vocals sounds like the Borg has assimilated him. The drums blast the doors off the song around the 1:30 mark and you’re holding on for dear life by that point.
“Eliminator” is fierce noise-punk, and “Howl” is about Lunadon’s joy in expressing himself in the spotlight. It’s like something Lou Reed blasted out of his speakers when getting ideas for Metal Machine Music.
Believe it or not, “Ripper” is a psychobilly cut and Lunadon and crew have a blast on it. I couldn’t help but grin through the whole track. “White Fence,” on the other hand, is more fine post-punk with weirdly angled guitars and desperate vocal stylings. The closer, “No Control,” brings Lunadon’s album back into weird psychedelia before a quick, distorted fade out leaves you gasping for breath.
This debut solo record is quite a statement. It’s powerful, brash, and even fun. More debuts need to be this self-assured.
Keep your mind open.
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The second page of liner notes for Neko Case’s brilliant album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood have her name above the words “DANGEROUS TO MAN: WILD ANIMALS – A Definitive Study of Their Reputed Dangers to Man.” Ms. Case’s lyrics are often brutal in their honesty and her voice can both soothe and cut to the bone. She’s like a panther – lounging in the sun one moment, and then tearing out the throat of an antelope the other.
The album begins with “Margaret Vs. Pauline,” a tale of two girls. One, Pauline, has it made. “Everything is easy for Pauline,” Case sings. Margaret, however, has to scrap for all she can. Case has written an anthem for girls everywhere to never forget their strength. “Star Witness,” with its simple yet slick drumbeats by John Convertino, is a stunning display of Case’s vocal prowess.
“Hold On Hold On,” with the Sadies on backing vocals, is another plea from Case to stay strong in tough times, especially in matters of love. “I leave the party at three a.m., alone, thank God,” she sings at one point. It’s a haunting lyric, especially when the echoing song “A Widow’s Toast” follows it. It’s nothing but Case’s vocals and guitar, Paul Rigby’s guitar effects, and reverbed beauty.
The liner note art for “That Teenage Feeling” is a jackknifing semi-trailer with a transmission shaft shattering from the force. That, and the shuffling guitar (by Dexter Romweber, no less) backing Case’s voice, is a perfect expression of teenage emotions. The title track is about the beauty of things all around us that we don’t notice until they are gone. “John Saw That Number” is a great floor stomper spiritual with sizzling guitar by Dallas Good.
“Dirty Knife” is an ode to a murdered man and the type of song that Case does so well – a tale of death, love, violence, and rural landscapes. “Lion’s Jaws” belongs in David Lynch’s next Twin Peaks reboot. Dallas and Travis Good team up for lovely guitar work, and Kelly Hogan is listed as contributing “lovely backing vocal” to the track (which is true). “Maybe Sparrow” is one of Case’s greatest hits, and it’s easy to hear why as her voice peaks multiple times during the second verse. “At Last” is nothing but Case’s voice and three guitars, and “The Needle Has Landed” is beautiful power pop tinged with outlaw country.
Case is dangerous because her vocals and lyrics are like a hardwood staff. You can lean on them to get you through a rough patch or they can hit you in the ribs like a ball bat and bring you to your knees. Fox Confessor Brings the Flood is no exception.
Keep your mind open.
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Toronto, Ontario’s Paramusic (68 Dundas Street East) is a nice wrecka stow gem just down the street from a huge shopping center and wroth the stroll from the tourist trap mall to score some fine vinyl, DVDs, and CDs. They pack a lot of stuff into a small space. I mean, you walk in and see this.
The number of Blu-Ray DVDs there is impressive for the size of the place. The CDs are stacked seeming in every corner, and there is vinyl everywhere else. Hardcore record collectors came and went while I was there. One of them was such a frequent customer that he showed up to invite the store’s owner to his wedding.
The loft section had even more sweet vinyl and CDs in it.
A word of warning – The stairs are narrower than you think. I nearly down them coming back to the main floor. I walked out with CDs by the Besnard Lakes and Friendly Fires. I had grabbed a mix CD by Dmitri from Paris, but unfortunately someone had removed the bin label number sticker from it. The owner couldn’t find the disc because he had no idea where to begin looking for it.
Again, don’t miss this store if you’re in the neighborhood. The sight of so many regulars showing up is a good sign for rare finds and good deals.
Keep your mind open.
Somehow multiple decades have gone by without me catching electro legends Depeche Mode live. The dates finally worked out, and my wife and I were able to see them and shoegaze / post-punk newcomers Warpaint at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
Warpaint played a good set of crisp post-punk with snappy bass lines and even snappier drumming (which would be a theme for the entire night). I’d heard a lot of good things about them, and they didn’t disappoint. I need to find more of their material.
Out came Depeche Mode to the Beatles’ “Revolution,” a major theme for their new album – Spirit. They rolled into “Going Backwards,” “So Much Love,” and “Barrel of a Gun” (which included a snippet of Grand Master Flash’s “The Message,” which cracked me up).
The crowd (which filled the stadium, apart from the unsold / unused seats behind the stage, by the way) jumped to its feet when they broke into “World In My Eyes.” It was a reminder of not only their electro prowess, but how much influence they’ve had on Trent Reznor. An acoustic version of “Question of Lust,” sung by Martin Gore, was a crowd favorite, and the follow-up of “Home” was excellent.
“Where’s the Revolution?” – the first single off Spirit – was another standout and essentially the band’s rallying cry for fans old and new to stand up against The Man. “Everything Counts” is also staggeringly relevant for these times, even though it’s decades old by now. It preceded “Stripped,” “Enjoy the Silence” (which was almost entirely sung by the now-bonkers crowd), and “Never Let Me Down Again” – which was better live than I even hoped it would be (and drummer Christian Eigner was absolutely slaying his kit by this point).
The encore started with “Somebody,” included a nice cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” and finished with big hits “I Feel You” and “Personal Jesus,” which had everyone raising their hands to “reach out and touch faith.”
It was long overdue, but very welcome. My wife immediately listened to their new album as soon as we got back from the show. She woke up the next day with Depeche Mode songs in their head, and I’ve had “Never Let Me Down Again” stuck in my brain for days.
Thanks for the fun, DM and Warpaint.
Keep your mind open.
“Mind Off” follows acclaimed single “History”
After astonishing crowds with their exceptional Splendour In The Grass performance in July, Cosmo’s Midnight set off on their biggest international tour to date. The duo recently performed on stages across Asia and New Zealand, catching up with Billboard China and HypeBeast along the way. Patrick and Cosmo recently wrapped up their world tour, playing a run of six shows in select cities across North America.
Cosmo’s Midnight have been drip feeding their excellence all year. With two international tours, two of 2017’s biggest singles and now an imaginative new video, they’re about to make a triumphant return to their homeland.
“Mind Off” (Feat. Kudu Blue) – https://soundcloud.com/
“History” – https://soundcloud.com/
Saturday, September 30 – Yours & Owls Festival, Wollongong, Australia
Saturday, September 30 – Sweaty Palms, Erina, Australia
Photo by Alex Johnstone
Cosmo’s Midnight online:
Kllo Announce North American Headline Tour
Backwater Out October 20th On Ghostly International
Photo by Hayley Louise Brown
“’Virtue’ is a sterling new single… Ms. Kaul has an oozy, aspirated voice, and smears it tactfully atop Mr. Lam’s euphoric, quick-stepping production, which bridges fiery garage and joyous disco.” – The New York Times
“Once things get started on ‘Virtue’ it’s like a sonic boom. Heavy bass blasts find a home next to frantic dance beats and Kaul’s cooing, serene vocal delivery.” – Stereogum
“In its slow build and beauty, ‘Downfall’ feels like having ascended a ladder to a particularly gorgeous vantage point, and enjoying the journey on the way there, too.”
Kllo – an electronic pop collaboration between Melbourne cousins Chloe Kaul and Simon Lam – waded in figurative backwater for much of 2016 amid an extensive world tour. These were exciting times; the duo’s Well Worn EP furthered the promise of 2014 EP Cusp, receiving millions of streams and landing Kllo on festival stages as well as Artists-to-Watch lists. Nonetheless, the stretch kept them far from home, isolated and vulnerable, treading through perpetual uncharted territory while yearning for the comforts of the familiar.
As a result, Kllo’s full-length debut depicts inner adjustment to outer change. Songs were written partially on the road and developed back at Lam’s bungalow, a haven that harbors creative spontaneity and catharsis.
“It’s the first time we hadn’t felt like kids anymore,” says Kaul. “We were really able to dive in deeper and bring out a lot more of us into the music.”
Kllo first emerged with a sound beyond their years; fully formed, fusing elements of R&B, UK garage, and 2-step. Well-versed students of artists like James Blake, Lauryn Hill, and The xx, the duo extend an amalgamation of established pop elements with modern sensibilities and wide-eyed sincerity. Backwaterarrives as a refined, coming-of-age account. The LP format finds Kllo with more room to breathe and sync their rhythms with emotions. Kaul’s smoky voice emanates with assurance and leisure. Lam’s production invents brooding, steely undercurrents hemmed with charming crescendos.
Kllo have officially come out the other end of the stilted estuary with twelve compositions cultivated to feel timeless and crafted, and equally current. The duo’s second release on Ghostly International — and their most realized work to date — Backwater celebrates the ephemeral and the enduring changes in emotion, the downfalls and the dissolves. It’s an album that parts course with its flow, and flourishes in a lowland.
“Virtue” video – https://youtu.be/4vSVpoABRRU
“Virtue” audio – https://soundcloud.com/
“Downfall” audio – https://soundcloud.com/
Oct. 18 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas (tickets)
Oct. 20 – Detroit, MI @ El Club (tickets)
Oct. 27 – Vancouver, BC @ Waldorf (tickets)
Oct. 28 – Seattle, WA @ VERA Project (tickets)
Nov. 1 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Resident (tickets)
Nov. 2 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill (tickets)
Nov. 4 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere (tickets)
Nov. 5 – New York, NY @ Berlin (tickets)
Nov. 12 – Madrid, ES @ Costello
Nov. 13 – San Sebastian, ES @ Dabadaba
Nov. 14 – Barcelona, ES @ Sidecar
Nov. 16 – Paris, FR @ Supersonic
Nov. 17 – Rotterdam, NL @ V11
Nov. 18 – Brussels, BE @ Les TransArdentes at Palais 12
Nov. 20 – Amsterdam, NL @ The Sugar Factory
Nov. 23 – London, UK @ XOYO
Nov. 24 – Bristol, UK @ The Louisiana
Nov. 25 – Manchester, UK @ The Soup Kitchen
Nov. 27 – Glasgow, UK @ Broadcast
Nov. 28 – Edinburgh, UK @ Sneaky Pete’s
Nov. 29 – Leeds, UK @ Headrow House
Nov. 30 – Nottingham, UK @ The Bodega
Dec. 3 – Berlin, DE @ Badehaus
Dec. 4 – Cologne, DE @ Yuca
Dec. 5 – Hamburg, DE @ Haekken
Dec. 8 – Sydney, AUS @ Oxford Arts Factory
Dec. 9 – Perth, AUS @ Jack Rabbit Slim’s
Dec. 14 – Brisbane, AUS @ Woolly Mammoth
Dec. 15 – Melbourne, AUS @ Corner Hotel
Dec. 16 – Adelaide, AUS @ Fat Controller
From Debut EP, Fading Youth, Out Now On RCA
Drawing inspiration from garage to classical, and citing Floating Points, Todd Terje and Robert Glasper as influences, the pair have been immersed in their local music scene since meeting in Bristol at University. Punctual have harnessed these influences to create rich, textured and timely music for their generation.
The pair continue to grow from strength to strength having had radio support from the likes of Pete Tong, DJ Target and Elton John and having recently supported The Avalanches on tour as well as playing coveted slots at Glastonbury and Lovebox festival.
Listen To Fading Youth:
Punctual are songwriter / producer / DJ duo Will Lansley and John Morgan, formerly based out of Bristol but now living in South London. Their debut single ‘Eva’ has received over 1.7 million plays on Spotify and gained radio support from the likes of Zane Lowe, BBC Radio 1’s Pete Tong, Phil Taggart and Huw Stephens. The pair continue to grow from strength to strength with recent track ‘What I Love’ being described by Mixmag as “injecting a new lease of life into the summer banger” as well as support on the likes of Clash Music and remixes from sought-after producers KC Lights and Jarreau Vandal.