Hey everyone! It's me. I'm finally going with a new moniker for a remix of Phoenix's "Fences" off the new album. Please take a listen and let me know your thoughts on the remix and the name!

Fences (Jongleur remix)

Technology is advancing! This is my first attempt at direct file hosting, so now you can just click on the track link and it will download (for all my files not just from now on).  Woohoo!  Also I'm embedding a player so you can listen from the site while you read or look at pretty pictures.  This is a cut from London based Pariah who belongs with the Flylo, Mike Slott, (aquacrunk/wonky/what did I call it? oh yeah, "thunk"...still waitin for that to catch on...) and puts in a nice homage to Detroit soul and J Dilla both with the requisite technicolor synths (more bitcrushed and gloomy like Burial would have it), a high hat shuffle that's straight out of Timbaland's library, and some satisfyingly loose claps.

Detroit Falls Mixdown

City Center.  Ok this is the post where I talk about what happens when the indie taste makers get a little ahead of themselves and can't tell the difference between artsy fartsy and mostly just fartsy.  City Center (aka Brooklyn's Fred Thomas and Ryan Howard) has garnered a fair amount of blog hype, scored an "Essential Purchase" title on the influential site Boomkat, toured with various hipsteratti at all the proper, off site, off beat joints, and will no doubt see themselves thrust into a larger spotlight with their first full length which comes out next week on Type records, and has been drawing many comparisons to Panda Bear's Person Pitch, High Places, and some of Deerhunter's more ambient cuts.  The comparisons are made largely on the basis of listless, post world, reverb drenched vocals, flittering, shucking, clickety clack found sound percussion, and a droney harmonic stasis.  I don't fault City Center for getting gobbled up and blown out too early by the blog mall/maul (after all they were just innocently posting this shambling City Center stuff as a side project on a blog for free), but I do think that, like a lot of bands right now, the interest surrounding them is a little premature.  Let the band grow up and fill out naturally (this I say, of course, as I inadvertently advertise them).  One the one hand, perhaps the aesthetic of indie is shifting to bands who really don't have it together, who are earnestly not hitting the mark, who are fairly unmarketable.  In this way, it mirrors the anti-professionalism posturing of 90's grunge, 60's folk, or, in a way, the historical avant-garde of the 1910's, although their critique was far more piquantly pointed.  But on the other hand, while some of City Center's work is really promising, particularly the frolicking "Summer School", the airy lethargy of "Bleed Blood", or the swirling "Gladest", I take issue with the flabbiness of the mixing in the record, the over wrought percussion which, even on "Summer School" weighs the whole vibe down as if it was shackled to the contents of a kitchen drawer. Also listen to the completely unnecessary beat that forces its way (way too far behind beat) like a boring anecdote into the first half of "Open/House".  What's more, the second half of that song has no business being there in the first place, and has a terribly pedestrian melody that calls to mind too many bad 90's indie bands that had their one hit song played during a 'thoughtful' moment on the 'Real World'.  
Usually, I'm game for found sound, but in too many cases on this record it's use is at best arbitrary, at worst intrusive and a little bit patronizing (as if to say "you know this gives us avant garde credibility, right?  and you know what that means, right??").  In all honesty, I don't think these guys meant for this record to get to the level where people are critiquing it this way.  If I'd heard this in a club for the first time, I'd be intrigued and probably come away with the sense that this was a young, messy band, with a lot to figure out.  But signing a band like this and releasing a record with this many problems isn't just lazy, or potentially destructive to the band, it's symptomatic of a larger issue in music making praxis in this country.  As it gets easier and easier to create and record music, and easier to have it heard and spread around, and with consumption levels higher than ever but the ability to make money harder and harder, a new pandemic of disaffection is slinking its way into everything we do.  Who cares that City Center's music is underdeveloped, what does developed even mean?  What's the point if there's ten other bands who, like lemmings, are copying this modishness and passing it off as freewheeling sophistication?  Why seek a melodic character that is memorable, isn't that just like putting nail polish on the bourgeoisie?  On the one hand, the music community is thriving, on the other hand, it's as egg headed and trumped up as it has ever been.  These questions are smoke screens from a generation, now in its 20's and 30's and with a chance to make its mark, that has found its calling by not calling.

Summer School
Bleed Blood
Killer Whale

The new Milky Disco compilation (#2 which is really #3 because of a 1.5 they put out) is out featuring some really nice cuts from all around the nu dance world. Many sounds that are already feeling a bit outmoded from relative old timers (!) like Black Devil Disco Club, and Glass Candy, but there's a bunch of new faces and sounds nonetheless. If there's a trend or pattern going on, it's with the use of acoustic kits instead of the same old synthdrum presets. You can hear it nicely on "You Are Amen", Pollyester's track that they did full blown reworking of. This time it's slower, less manic, and really cleans the palette with a thankfully unreverbed and annunciated vocal dead pan. But it's the clarity of the snare as it plays against a periodically blown out, dubby, version of that same sound that really gives the piece a kick in the ass. Later in the track a battery of latin percussion gradually falls to and marches it to it to its end. It's a nice departure from the glazed over, nostalgia of the Italo-sleeze obsessions that marked the past few years of disco revivalism.

You Are Amen

Friday Finds 5. You know you want to.

::::CAVE - Machines and Muscles
perpetual stoner flim flam
::::Irma Thomas - It's Raining
doo wop is such perfect purgatory
::::Turtle Ambulance - Money
terrible. name. have you heard of High Places? i like this version of exoticized tribalism too
::::Cheval Sombre - Little Bit of Heaven
i hate the word "trippy"
::::Cult of Isis - Right Turn, Wrong Street (feat Boots)
early 90's oakland hip-hop gone country way before kid rock had the chance to soil everything
::::Nite Jewel - Chimera
a bit knowing, but slippery enough
::::Jacques Renault - Tuxedo Dance
makes me want to do this helicopter thing
::::Discovery - Osaka Loop Line
off shoot of Vampire Weekend...really? sometimes the arpeggio button is just a crutch...
::::Glasser - Glad (Delorean remix)
more of this please. producers need songs, songstresses need beats
::::Real Estate - Black Lake
scenester sponges
::::Lamburg Tony - Fy Coco
see below
::::Julian Lynch - Banana Jam Pt. 1
nap it out
::::Karamoko Keita - Diama
african guitar mesmerization
::::Vareid - Skumle Planer
O.C. sunset bike ride
::::Andrew Buckingham - What Your Words Have Done To Me
"Can I caress your verbs?"!!! this song makes me more than a little uncomfortable and not just from embarrassment.

Download the zip here

Chain and the Gang are the brainspawn of front man Ian Svenonius of Nation of Ulysses - the legendary 90's D.C. hardcore band with free-jazz interests that helped define the sound of iconic punk label Dischord - and The Make Up - a more quirky, off color, but no less politically subversive off shoot of Nation of Ulysses. Make Up were a post-hardcore band (one of the first?) and as such they dabbled in harder psychedelia, gospel, jangley garage, 50's bubblegum pop (of the French varietal Ye Ye) and other eclectic proclivities soon to be snatched up by indie rock minions to come. But always there was Svenonius anchoring the whole thing with that unmistakably cocky, brash voice, stomping and strutting around, talking about god knows what, acting like a cultural refugee, and spitting all manners of anti-capitalist fun.
Things have toned down for Svenonius considerably since the 90's (how lame is it that by comparison, 90's music looks far more politically engaged than now?). He's got a new project called Chain and the Gang which features backup from a virtual role call for K Records (the pac northwest indie elite that isn't Sub Pop) affiliates. The record, Down With Liberty...Up With Chains! glues to the sillier, ironic aspects of the Make Up, but playing a bit less into gospel funk and into other areas including fuzzy prison blues ("Trash Talk"), Chubby Checker party rock ("Room 19"), Bayou blues ("Unpronounceable Name"), and some primal Krautrock ("Cementary Map" and "Lookin for a cave girl"). Svenonius is still magnetically disaffected even while haunting more oblique political positions. The sparsity and looseness of the record is a perfect choice in that it allows Svenonius to dominate, which he'll do no matter what, but also leaves him out to dry, open to the elements, exposing him to be as scathingly virile as he is stylishly vapid (It's post-post motherfuckers!) But there is some wonderfully laid back, joyfully desiccative stuff here and this is the best return to form that I could imagine for one of the most confounding, fascinating front men in punk, rock, or anywhere.

Chain Gang Theme (I See Progress)
Cemetery Map
Trash Talk
Room 19
Unpronounceable Name

Teengirl Fantasy. Oberlin based fellows making really really blown out, astral house. Giddy and gorgeous. Very worth hearing if you're sick of snotty voiced, repressed nudance. Here's a zip of their debut EP TGIF. Portofino and Floor to Floor are my tops for now.

Burial/Four Tet split 12". Hard to find! Dark and dreamy. Post dance. "Moth" is occluded, romantic, and very much Burial. But its got less textural density and melodrama than we're used to from him. It basically rides a somber, insistent motif (anyone notice the similarity with Console's remix of Subtle's "F.K.O."?) around the clock stopping in at around 4:00 for a little hint of the dancefloor before whisking itself off to fantasy land. "Wolf Cub" shows the clackety side of Four Tet side for sure. Marimbas, bone sounds, crackles, and a familiar cascade of twinkling arps swirl around an impatient two step shuffle. There's some signature Burial in the underwater bloops, a drone that looms without notice, and the exorcized vocal that makes an appearance near the end of the track. The convergence of these two very polarizing forces in electronic music is a fascinating one. Burials music acts almost to reign in Four Tet more exotic, improvisatory indulgences, and Four Tet brings a lightness, of affect, of his timbral materials, and within the mix, as well as a structural freedom and expansiveness that, despite Burial's textural interest in expansiveness, can't help but by tempered by his supremely anal retentive approach to composition. It's actually the best thing I've heard from either of them.

Wolf Cub

Pretty fresh psych oriented dance EP from duo Neon Indian who are split between Austin and Brooklyn. Nothing too new here, super hipster poseur stuff, everything is a bit exaggerated, sloppy and disaffected, but altogether charming. "Deadbeat Summer" plays on a disfigured Motown bounce, with some nice childrens TV synth with the portamento set super high. An evasive, lazy vocal intones the title. Apparently no one has enough energy, or it's just too hot out, to sing with their mouths more than 10% open. Although it is nice to see some downtempo numbers out of these bands. I'm sometimes bored with the 120 standard, with the same rubber bass settings, and the gauzey synths; we get some of that here (see the MGMT/Midnight Juggernauts copping "Local Joke" or "Seriously, It's Over" with its faux lofi muffled synth). But even on these arrangements that look a bit too familiar, there's a pleasingly minimal amount of douche bag techno 'energy' and fist pumping, and in its place there's the heart of a modest little psych band with a sense of humor (check out the disarmingly simple but sweet "Should have taken acid with you").
The track that'll probably get em the most hype is "Mind, Drips" which sounds kind of like it came off the soundtrack to Mannequin, but opens up into a gorgeous Depeche Mode meets the Beach Boys chorus. It's a great record for a lazy summer barbecue. And it's weirdly nice to hear a dance record I can't really see anyone dancing too.

Deadbeat Summer
Mind, Drips
Should Have Taken Acid With You
Local Joke
Seriously, It's Over

This weeks Friday Finds is better than a turkey sandwich.

1 Miquel Atwood-Ferguson & Carlos Nino - Nag Champa
J Dilla gone orchestral
2 Gregory D & DJ Mannie Fresh - Buck Jump Time 
the one and only mannie fresh, is this a swing beat?
3 Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds - Kris Kringle Ju Ju 
dirty garage funk from Eagle Rock
4 Dishwasher - Happy Valentine's Day 
"dreamy milkshake"
5 Exile - The Sound of God 
radio trolling LA producer with a heart
6 Sounds of JHS 126 Brooklyn - Chill Pill (Underwater Mix) 
Arthur Russell's uber hip hop phase
7 Major Lazer - Hold the Line (DJ Edit) 
Diplo and Switch team up for vomit inducing hack bullshit...that i still kinda like cause i'm a little surfacey sometimes.  Santigold makes an appearance.
8 Crocodiles - I Wanna Kill 
90's feedback meets 50's tunefulness...beware of moderate boredom unless 14 years old or nostalgic for the Jesus and the Mary Chain
9 Betty Padgett - Love Me Forever 
A forgotten legend.
10 Comet Gain - You Can Hide Your Love Forever 
cutesy poopsy
11 NOMO - Invisible Cities 
Is Nomo getting a little agro these days?
12 Mika Mako - Turkey Sandwich 
pretty straight forward punk from the Smell scene.
13 The Boswell Sisters - The Music Goes Round and Round 
oh de oooh...

Download the zipped mix here

Also just for fun I'm posting this short Canadian experimental film from the 50's that I saw at a bar near me a couple months back and was so thrilled to find online.

Amazing article by George E. Lewis (trombonist and composer, heavily involved with AACM - Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, now a member of the Columbia composition dept). He proposes, or predicts, a new model, or credo, of sociomusical organization; one that at root has to do with a kind of collective social improvisation setup by new media and technological interactivity and democratization. It seems he's got a bone to pick with other future of music models that, shall we say, have been less attuned to the efforts and contributions of Africans and African Americans to modern music. What's cool is that his prose style is so perfectly linked to his message that it becomes this wandering, batty, epilogue (to the idea of music as discrete pieces with definable authorship). It's kind of wacko in a way, especially with the whole lack of punctuation thing, but bear in mind this is one of the great thinkers and practitioners of avant-garde music in this country so when he mentions the computer chip we attach to dogs in reference to the worry that technology might overtake our brain functions at some point, let that sit for a while before you go, "wha?"

*photo is from 1982


the best future of music speculation I've seen since cage's 1937 credo was Attali's 1977 prediction about the jongleurs taking over music with anti ritual post spectacle genre ignoring globalized nonreproducible fun unlike most future of music predictions he included afrodiasporans as major actors which should seem obvious but somehow eludes many otherwise very smart people a new mode of social structuring he said now if you can do that musically that could make music making interesting again having the whole field of sound without sociosonic agency how impotent

the truth of that brief credo permeates all known present genres even the ones that pretend never to have been kissed by an electron studios simulate spontaneity and everybody wants to be amplified otherwise no one pays attention to dunn's bark beetles not to mention a rat pissing on cotton but the old man was wrong about the composing performing listening incommensurability they all network via improvisation in fact the practices merge under the new technology but don't worry fans all you need to make your bones is for one good prophecy to come true look at jeane dixon

I remember don buchla saying something about how it all went back to the theremin funny how a little rf field connected to simple oscillators and amplifiers can transduce complex emotions and intentions but don's lightning and lots of other emotional transducers we’ve been building since the original produce data streams that permit interactive collective decision making with computer interlocutors that connect different art practices to facilitate collaboration and genre/media hybridity

why fuss over werktreue organicism autonomy and other fashions when compositions can now be self modifying entities that interact in real time with physical and virtual environments simultaneously when what used to be called records move past information storage and retrieval models of aesthetic experience to become responsive and evolutionary problematizing copyright and consumerism in a more profound way via the internet and its successors

talk about ubiquitous computing private and public spaces can easily interact with the improvised rhythms of daily life using wifi gps rfid etc remember how la monte and marian suffused their apartments with oscillator drift well north americans already had 24/7 tv dreamhouses but the dreams don't belong to us this impositional intentional deafness annoys my four year old

history intentionality memories bodies and most of all improvisation are key to this new sonic sociality the brain thing is for later no killer app has convinced us to get chipped just the dog

jazz put improvisation and interactivity back on the worldwide western table but retrospectivist aesthetics and survivalist shakers will be ignored by many even as residual institutional power manages to deselect some from this future of music others will decline discursive discouragement to create new sonic socialities that will inevitably suffer and benefit from corporate commodification

people will interact and improvise and/or die

musicians will take a chance