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Death Grips – Government Plates

Let’s take a moment and review some of the antics this group has caused in the past year and a half. They single handily won over an entire audience with The Money Store, which received worldly acclaim, and then gave the middle finger to the same record company by releasing No Love Deep Web without their permission. Remember the Sharpie covered penis? Yes, that was Death Grips. Following this, they began a massive tour, which they cancelled before to release No Love Deep Web, and then ultimately cancelled the SAME tour again. They didn’t even bother to show up to the Lollapalooza after show either, which received a lot of coverage as well. Now the hardcore hip-hop group released a new album, titled Government Plates, to the surprise of everyone in the music community. Coming across as a logical progression to No Love Deep Web, it combines the sound of the prior with the structure of the universally acclaimed The Money Store.

Now I’m a Death Grips fan. There’s no denying that I enjoy their music, but I went off for a few months without hearing a single song. It may have been the overkill with The Money Store, or the fact that I wish No Love Deep Web sounded like the previous album. It felt like getting back with an ex when I started the stream of the new album. From the beginning of Government Plates, I realized the group was back in business. The album opens with the horribly titled, “you might think he loves you for your money but i know what he really loves you for its your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat”. Yes, that is the title, and it’s all lowercase. The first noise on the entire album is a crash of something glass, and then follows the high pitched ringing that echoes the massive bass hits that seem to be a reoccurring theme on the album. It’s arguably the best song on Government Plates, and the worst title in music history.

Follows this is “Anne Bonny”, which is a great throwback to The Money Store. What this album does so well is it sets itself apart from any Death Grips album by being plain odd. There’s a lot more of MC Rides screaming, and the electronics on every song come across as extremely eerie, but dance-able. “Two Heavens” opens with a rotating synth chord, but then a double bass break comes in with a distorted voice. It’s something I can headbang too, but also sit in the dark and squirm until it’s over. Flatlander, the noise specialist in Death Grips, really steps it up for this album. He doesn’t try anything particularly new, but every track contains an immense amount of bass this time around so I can’t complain.

Zach Hill as well lets loose for this album. He’s pretty much given the OK to try anything, and that can be seen on “This Is Violence Now (Dont get me wrong)”. Over top the preset drum machine, Hill’s chaotic drum fills are fixated to the song like a metal-heads dream. Listening to Government Plates gave me a whole new perspective of the man’s talent, and reading that he was self-taught woes me every-time. It does make sense though, because he plays like he’s feeling the beat with his body, hitting everything in sight, but it does work well. He overplays, but in only the best way possible.

Now the overplaying can be tied into the reason for the free release. It proves that Death Grips aren’t in it for the business, but for the sake of a creative outlet. I don’t know any other ventures Flatlander and MC Ride are in, but Zach has had a resume full of past bands ranging from Boredoms to Hella to Wavves. The group seems to be a release from the world around them, and them allowing us to experience it seems to be a hard thing for them to do. MC Ride does hold back on this album, but he allows the other two members to stand out. His highlight does come in with “Birds”, which has some of the groups most cryptic and eerie lyrics possible. “I’ve got a black hat/ It might live,” is bad enough to pass up, but with the minimalist mess that surrounds it adds enough of an effect to show that lines like these have an effect.

Government Plates is the oddest release yet by Death Grips. The whole idea of them releasing a brand new album for free makes me wonder what their intentions are. Just to note how far they’ve came, when they released this album on their own website, it crashed within 30 seconds. I wouldn’t be surprised if they meant for that to happen, or they meant for the insane buzz that surrounded their no-show at Lollapalooza. What Government Plates shows us is an honest look at what Death Grips wants to do. They want to let loose, they want to have fun, and they don’t give a fuck. If people call Miley Cyrus “punk”, just wait until they know about Death Grips.

 

 

 

8.5/10

 

 

Tim Hecker – Virgins review

There’s already been a surprising amount of great electronic music released in 2013, and with the year wrapping up shortly, I’d like to bring up another release that stands out. Hailing from Vancouver, BC and taking his project to Montreal, Hecker has created a name for himself in the experimental music scene since his Imaginary Country release in 2009. Virgins is his 7th full length album, and it further progresses the droning, beautiful chords that he’s noted for.

The album opens up with a signature Hecker contrast between light, pretty ambience and booming distorted whole notes. What I loved about his previous release, Ravedeath, 1972, is that it carries an experience that is unable to be had with other musicians. The problem is that I wouldn’t go back to it all the time. It’s not that it’s not re-playable, but it was a listen that I’d crave after. What makes Virgins the superior album is that I want to listen to it immediately after the final track is finished.

These 12 songs off Virgins flow so smoothly, and they stick in my head. There’s a slight dance to his music that allows me to fall under a trance, but as soon as it becomes a little too much, he swaps for another sound. Think Stars of the Lid mixed with Steve Reich’s minimalism for this album. Add some distorted, resonating notes, and you have the formula for Virgins. Although not that simple, it feels like that at times.

I found Virgins to be quite accessible too. I never felt challenged to “stick with it” or pretentious having his music playing. Especially the track, “Live Room”. Now that’s what I’ve been wanting out of Hecker for years now. It takes over “Sketch 7″ as my favourite by him. Those omniscient opening notes collide like a horror movie soundtrack with the distant echoes of noise. I imagine a burst of white noise, Xiu Xiu style, breaking the tension, but instead Hecker works his magic by flashing distorted saw buzzes into both speakers with total control over the emotions of his fans. He watches like a god and laughs at us as we can only wait until the beautiful destruction of it ends. The track is literally apocalyptic.

I found my word to describe my feelings Virgins. It’s more destructive than a typical Godspeed You! Black Emperor album, and more tense than Oneohtrix Point Never’s recent release. I feel as though Virgins can full under post-rock territory, although it’s not rock at all. Maybe post-(insert genre here)? Post-experimental-ambient-drone. deciding what genre music is in is a losing battle so fuck that, but Hecker provides some amazing moments on this LP.

“Black Refraction” is another moment that I connected with. It’s the complete opposite of “Live Room”, but the tense, creepy feeling of being lost in unknown territory still lingers. The closer, “Stab Varriation”, reminds me of The GY!BE track, “Moya”, oddly enough. It’s downfall chord progression provides imagery of ashy, torn buildings, and loneliness. I love it, and I don’t feel guilty one bit. Hecker’s ability to stay with the same idea and expand it until it breaks without feeling forced is true talent.

That’s been my comment about his music in the past, and he fixes that on Virgins. I don’t at all feel like I’m having a song on repeat, and even after many listens, I pick up on the subtlety of his layered creations. They drone, and drone, and drone, but every measure the pieces get louder, quieter, add another faint noise in, etc, until the mess is too much to handle and you cannot think, and then it’s over. You can breath. You can relax. Now you want more, so one listen turns to two, and two becomes three, and three becomes four. Hecker implies one single question through the blips of noise on his opener, “Prisms”, and asks, “Are you ready?”. I thought I was until listened.

9/10

Listen to “Live Room” below:

 

Candy Cigarettes stands out among many bedroom acts

I always find it amazing when I hear music that’s created in a bedroom studio. It always has a cozy, warm aesthetic that’s much more listenable than any other genre I find. Perfume Genius and Youth Lagoon have really captured the essence of bringing the music from the bedroom (or a friends) to life. With the release of the weird, but very good Wondrous Bughouse, I’ve felt the need to rekindle some of that lo-fi feel in my daily music listening. A musician that brings together this idea greatly is Candy Cigarettes.

 

Lane Mueller is a solo, self-taught musician out of Portland that has been releasing songs under the alias of Candy Cigarettes. Already playing in festivals around his hometown (The monstrous Kaleidoscope Festival in Eugene, Or), his deep baritone voice is rare to hear in the dream pop genre he’s playing. What makes him special as well is how he can jump from a Matt Berninger rumble to a Ben Gibbard, Postal Service, style of singing. Because of his smaller scale and bedroom feel, it’s obvious the quality cannot compete with some of the bigger players in the business, but it adds to the feel of his music. The tracks I listened to, “Tomorrow”, “Stockholm”, “Call Her Friend” and “My 45″ all fall under the same lo-fi sound, but are extremely different in their own qualities.

 

I’m torn between “Stockholm” and “Call Her Friend” as my personal favorite track from Mueller. It’s easy to tell what emotions he’s trying to convey from his diverse range of sound. “Stockholm” begins as a lonely, National influenced track that bursts into a riff resembling “Entertainment” by Phoenix. I hated that song on it’s own, but Mueller takes the idea of the riff, and creates it into a great ending for a sad, revealing track.

 

“Call Her Friend” was not a track I wanted to hear from the opening guitar riff. it’s too Garage Band like, but I gave it a chance and I found it to be Mueller’s most creative work. I hear an early Death Cab for Cutie influence, but with more desperation with the backing vocals droning off, leading into an outstanding electronic section. The song has so many different noises coming from different angles, but Mueller utilizes the silence of the chorus with the background vocals to create amazing tension and connection with the listener. I also found the bridge and fade out to be very solid, with the exception of the blues guitar that doesn’t fit. Nonetheless, great track.

 

“Tomorrow” was the song that I first heard, and it did really capture my attention. It’s the definition of bedroom music, and that’s not an insult in the slightest. I’m saddened by the fact that many people haven’t been introduced the Candy Cigarettes, or other bedroom artists of the same nature. Mueller’s bio describes himself as “Carved name amongst the elders of Portland’s highly proclaimed music scene”, and it makes scene. This track in particular has huge potential to be a radio hit with a bit of clean-up. My same comment goes as the blues guitar doesn’t fit the overall feel of Mueller’s music, but nonetheless it doesn’t detract from the great ideas.

 

Lane is among the many talented solo musicians who are striving to have their name heard. Some are pretty established, like Mueller, while others haven’t shown a single soul their creations. All we know is it can be a work of genius if we give it a chance. Thanks to the age of social media, we can experience the greatness of millions of musicians, and see their minds flow. Just listen to “Weary Is”, and tell me the closing piano notes don’t make you feel something special. Candy Cigarettes, much like Washed Out, is a unique project that only needs that single opportunity, and at 21, Lane Mueller will be given many.

 

Click here to follow him on Facebook

 

 

Vice interviews the creators of Escape From Tomorrow

escape from tomorrow

I still haven’t seen this film yet, but it’s on my list. Having grown up in Orlando Florida, I’m always tickled shitty when cheeky directors have it in their minds to create a film that exploits the exploiters. If I had stayed in Orlando another day, instead of moving to New York, I might’ve had to do exactly what director Randy Moore did. Even if this film turns out to be a reheated piece…I applaud the effort and imagination, of this fearless cast and crew.

That being said, Vice Magazine just uploaded a video on youtube, that delves deep into how they pulled it off and all under the watchful eye of Da Mouse!

(Via. Firstshowing.net)

Escape from Tomorrow is written and directed by Randy Moore. The film, secretly shot at Disney World, is described as a postmodern, surreal voyage into the bowels of “family” entertainment as a middle-aged father loses his sanity during a close encounter with two teenage girls on holiday, all while trying to keep a straight face with his family after losing his job on the first day of vacation. Roy Abramsohn, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez, Annet Mahendru, Danielle Safady and Alison Lees-Taylor star in the film which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and arrived in limited theaters starting on October 11th

VICE on Youtube


escape_from_tomorrow_poster-

Absolutely gorgeous and moving tribute to the cosplayers of Dragon Con 2013

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So I know you’ve seen a lot of cosplay videos from conventions as well as smart ass geek-youtubers interviewing/hurling insults at cosplayers and groping women, for the sake of their ignorant fans…well this is not what this is. This is an outstanding tribute to those who dream of other worlds and once, twice or three times a year, they become the physical manifestation of that idea. I know because I used to cosplay…quite frankly I don’t know why I quite, but watching this video makes me want to do it again.

The footage in the following video comes from the annual Dragon Con held in Atlanta Georgia. In recent years Dragon Con has grown to epic proportions and shows no signs of slowing up.

I won’t say to much more cause you really need to see this…and for those who mock their friends and family for doing what they love….schools in bitches and the cosplay is here to stay!!

Beatdown Boogie’s YouTube Channel

 

New TV On The Radio video “Million Miles”

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TV On The Radio‘s second single off their “supposed” new album, got a nifty video today that premiered exclusively on Myspace. The song is a quite one, perhaps a reflective moment given the loss of their bass player Gerrard Smith to lung cancer back in April 20th, 2011. They’ve told several media outlet’s that they have no idea when they will release a new album, but rest assured there is material coming.

This and future tracks are being released by Federal Prism after the band split from Interscope.

Lead singer Tunde Adebimpe had this to see about their new album.

(Via. NME.COM)

“We’re sort of collecting material for a record, but right now we’re only thinking in terms of songs, smaller things we can put out regularly until an album seems possible. Which I love.”

“It’s not that you’re less precious about the process, but I like coming in and saying, ‘Let’s make a couple songs’, not feeling any sort of pressure to lock ourselves in a room,” he added. ”It’s not that you’re less precious about the process, but I like coming in and saying, ‘Let’s make a couple songs’, not feeling any sort of pressure to lock ourselves in a room,” he added.

This is what he had to say regarding the bands relationship with Interscope

“We parted ways with them,” says Adebimpe. “To the best of my knowledge, they can ask about another record, but I don’t think we’re gonna do that. Um, yeah they did what they did. That’s as diplomatic as I can put that.”

Sounds like they are headed in a new direction and for that to happen they needed some breathing room. Take all the time you need because if “Million Miles” is indicative of what you guys have been laying down, this album is going to be amazing!

LINK TO VIDEO  <<<Myspace videos aren’t formatted for WP and YouTube didn’t have the video.

Trailer for Blue Caprice starring Isaiah Washington and Joey Lauren Adams arrives

BlueCaprice_byPaulLaurens

Blue Caprice, directed by Alexandre Moors‘(Cruel Summer, Lady Lovelace Deception System) follows the events surrounding the DC Sniper attacks back in 2002. It was a very dark time in America considering barely a year had passed since 9/11. The film stars Isaiah Washington as John Allen Muhammad and Tequan Richmond as Lee Boyd Malvo. I don’t know if whether any light needed to be shined on such a tragic event, but as an artist I have to resign myself to a story, that perhaps, must be told.

Also starring Joey Lauren Adams and Tim Blake Nelson, Blue Caprice will open in select theaters on September 13th and will be available on demand and digital download September 17th.

Inspired by true events, BLUE CAPRICE investigates the notorious and horrific Beltway sniper attacks from the point of view of the two perpetrators, whose distorted father-son relationship facilitated their long and bloody journey across America. Marked by captivating performances by Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond, lyrical camerawork, and a unique and bold structure, BLUE CAPRICE documents the mechanisms that lead its subjects to embrace physical violence. BLUE CAPRICE paints a riveting portrait of 21st-century America and a haunting depiction of two cold-blooded killers that endures long after the lights come up.

oven

 

MITNG review’s Gamma written by Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas

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If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, than so is the bizarre. Gamma is ugly, but beautiful…it’s a simple story about falling from grace, but knowing how to “Recoup” just like Mr T said.

Via. Tfaw.com

Dusty Keztchemal is a pathetic coward. He failed the entire planet, and now, the only way he can make a living is by getting punched in the face for money. But when a beautiful stranger wanders into his saloon looking for help, Dusty thinks he can conjure up the man he once was-the greatest monster trainer in the world!

Not everyone needs to know why things happen…the root of chaos is sometimes the last thing we need to read. We are always more than happy to gorge ourselves on the innocence caught up in the carnage. Case and point, when we catch up with Dusty, he’s already down and out seated at the bar he sits at everyday, waiting for someone to pay the bartender for the opportunity to punch him in the face. It’s his penance, but he’s cashing in on it. But what does it take to get back on your feet knowing your very existence caused the destruction of the world as we know it. It takes a woman who rushes into the bar fleeing her husband whose hit her one too many times.

The story takes on a more adult version of Pokemon from here on out. Example, we learn about Dusty’s ability to control these monsters that he summons from a tiny box…sound familiar. He’s called upon by this damsel in distress to fight her abusive husband who is also a monster trainer…I think you know where this is headed. We find out quickly how ill equipped Dusty’s critters really are when they are massacred by the woman’s husband’s legion of uglies. The story goes from that defeat to a flashback twenty years before all this, when Dusty was at the top of his game.

It just get’s worse and worse when he’s called upon again to defend the world against a marauding horde. This should’ve been his chance to redeem himself, but he bails and get’s his best Pokemon…I mean monster, killed in the process. At this point in the story, I wasn’t sure redemption was going to come for Dusty, but it does. It’s not in the shape of a flaming sword, but a sort of inner peace that requires no words. Knowing what’s important seems to light a fire within Dusty, but ultimately we never really figure out what inspires him to pick himself up by the boot straps, it’s just assumed.

GAMMA works well as a strange glimpse into the minds of the writers and artists. It’s Ghost World meets Pokemon. For what it’s worth, the book is hipster and will definitely sell copies at Urban Outfitter, but will the mainstream comic buff dig it? I don’t know.

All in all, the plot of GAMMA was sustainable, but I think I enjoyed Ulises Farinas wonderful art much better.

Video for Fiona Apples-Hot Knife directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

fiona-apple-hot-knife-vieo

It’s clear to me now, not so much in his Boogie Nights phase, that director Paul Thomas Anderson is not only a director who sees images through music, but in recent years it’s been the more eclectic vibes that he’s been harnessing for his pictures. One need only watch, what I believe to be, the beginning of his avant-garde obsession with odd soundtracks, There Will Be Blood. Him and Radiohead member Johnny Greenwood, wove a tapestry of strange and ethereal landscapes that wont soon be forgotten by anyone whose seen that film.  That being said, I’d certainly love to know how P.T. Anderson wound up working on the video for this “Tune Yard-esque” track “Hot Knife” of Fiona’s fourth album The Idler Wheel.

Watching the video…I get it, but strangely enough I don’t feel P.T. Anderson’s stamp on this. This video got too literal for my taste. Let me explain…there are about a million videos on youtube that feature novice singers all doing this multilayer sound scape, which I thought we had seen the last of, but apparently not. I swear to G-d they are all doing the same thing.  Not to say it’s not cool to look at, but this video went exactly where I’d expected it to go.

I’ll say this for the girl though, she does get to work with cool directors like Mark Romanek who directed her Across the Universe video and now P.T.

Enough about this little brat…let me stop. In addition to making videos, P.T. Anderson is at work right now on the film starring Joaquin Phoenix called Inherent Vice. It’s based on a story by Thomas Pynchon, the story takes place in 1969 Los Angeles, and centers on a pothead/private detective Larry “Doc” Sportello (played by Jaoquin Phoenix), who is helping a former lover with an intriguing case that involves infidelity, mental institutions, and policemen called “Bigfoot.”

Sounds very P.T. Enjoy Fiona!

Mona – Goons (Baby All I Need) video release

The new single from the rising American rock band, Mona, is setting the stage for the rest of their new album. Titled Torches & Pitchforks, it’s expected to drop July 23rd. While the single, “Goons (Baby All I Need)” is quite generic and radio friendly, it’s the music video that stands out. The song plays out like a more dynamic “Gold On The Ceiling” by Black Keys, so expect to hear this track on every sports commercial possible.

The video opens with a vintage letterhead of the band’s name, followed by a statement that talks about how the US government tried to crack down on rock & roll in the 50′s to reduce youth crime. After, there’s a scene that shows a quote by Frank Sinatra trashing rock & roll, calling it fake and primal. Now if there’s a textbook way of hooking the audience, it’s this. The opening itself completes the music video, showing off the fact that “We won the war”. It’s an interesting concept that’s portrayed by the rest of the video.

Now following this great opener, we’re graced with watching a mixture of modern day house partying and vintage 50′s style. There’s no ground broken here, and if it wasn’t for the great opener this video would actually be quite bland. What completes this entire video is the story behind it. The band slaps everybody’s negative opinion of rock & roll in the 50′s by using the same instruments, same clothes, and same hairstyles as the past generation’s bad-asses used and threw them into a contemporary scene of good-looking people. Greasers lived on and crooners died with jazz, that’s the entire message of this video. While not exactly accurate, it’s a good portrayal of how the times have changed, and we’ve become more accepting of what’s shown in pop culture.

While Mona doesn’t create anything special and influential here, they do create a scene of how we’ve changed for the greater good. More accepting and open to the arts and freedom of speech. The video showcases a classic party and how no matter who we are, we know what a good time is. Generally speaking, the rules haven’t changed from generation to generation, and Mona provides the examples here.

Catch the video here:

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