Month: December 2012

New Music: Ducktails – Letter Of Intent

Matt Mondanile of Ducktails.

Matt Mondanile of Ducktails.

I first knew of Matt Mondanile via the stellar group Real Estate, and with additional research I discovered the New Jersey native’s solo efforts under the moniker Ducktails. His first few albums were similarly awash in the lo-fi suburban jangle pop of Real Estate, but for his upcoming Ducktails album, The Flower Lane, Mondanile’s striking down a much different path.

I was taken back after hearing “Letter Of Intent” as it sounded like something you’d hear on the Italians Do It Better label, something I never thought I’d say about his work. It’s supremely lush and sexy as all hell, with vocal help from Jessa Farkas (Future Shuttle). The track’s a total jam, and a shocking and impressive turn in his career. Mondanile’s gone out of the bedroom and into the Studio with the help of like-minded but sonically different colleagues, most notably Producer Al Carlson (Peaking Lights, Oneohtrix Point Never), whose fingerprints are all over “Letter Of Intent”. The result is just as beautiful and pop-minded as his previous work, but less alone, and very 2013.

The Flower Lane is due out 01/28/13 via the Domino Recording Co. and can be bought here.

Recommended If You Like: The Chromatics, Washed Out, Porcelain Raft

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Celebration Rock? – Review of Japandroids at Paradise Rock Club

Japandroids at Paradise Rock Club. (Photo D. Hixon)

Japandroids on stage at Paradise Rock Club. (Photo D. Hixon)

Japandroids
Paradise Rock Club, Boston, 12/09/12

This show was highly anticipated by me. I missed Japandroids earlier in the year at Brighton Music Hall (a huge regret) and vowed not to make the same mistake twice. Therefore my tickets were in hand months in advance, and as a group of friends and I converged on the Paradise, my anticipation rose. I was ready to rock.

Nothing like having folded arms at a rock show. (Photo - D. Hixon)

Nothing like having folded arms at a rock show. (Photo – D. Hixon)

Japandroids opened the evening with their 2012 stand-out “Adrenaline Nightshift”, where guitarist Brian King pleads that he’s “Waiting for a generation’s bonfire to begin” – and from the reaction of the sold-out Paradise crowd, he’s going to be waiting a long time. In short, I thought the show sucked, and not because of Japandroids, but because of the young, lame, boring crowd. Maybe I’m a victim of internal build-up, boozing too early, or being on the wrong side of 30 – but there was significant buzz lacking for a show that should have been so much more.

Japandroids won’t play a venue this small in Boston for awhile, and I was stoked to see them in a true club environment. Some of the best rock shows I’ve seen have been at the Paradise. Guided by Voices, Tame Impala, Meat Puppets, The Jicks, too many to name. But this entire night had a feeling of forced, and I honestly felt bad that Japandroids didn’t have a better muse to play off of. When the crowd did feign excitement it felt like these kids were trying to imitate a 90’s rock show instead of just losing themselves in the night. There was too much “checking in”, too many crossed arms, and the little crowd surfing there was seemed to be done for the sole purpose of getting a new profile picture. The show didn’t suck, these brats did.

It was nice to hear some deeper cuts off of No Singles and Post-Nothing, but the crowd really brought me down and turned a great day into a shitty night. I left with plenty of music to be played in favor of grabbing some pizza back in Cambridge, something I certainly didn’t anticipate when building up the night in my head. I love this band, and adore the album they’re touring, shit, I even gave Celebration Rock top-billing for my “Best of 2012” list, but if these kids are carrying the torch of Rock than the rise of EDM makes a hell of a lot of sense. Their fire exudes no heat or passion, the only light is smartphone generated, and all the action is posed. I wanted to rock, Japandroids provided a spark, but for this generation, the bonfire doesn’t exist.

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Episode 50 – The Best of 2012

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Episode 50 - Best of 2012 (Artwork - D. Hixon)

Episode 50 – Best of 2012 (Artwork – D. Hixon)

The Best Albums

The Best Albums

of 2012

of 2012

Perseverance. Reaching episode #50 means a lot. I rekindled Visions of the Unexcused five years ago as a form of therapy. Repeatedly immersing myself into these podcasts served as a needed distraction. The magic of music has been with me in both high and low times, and my pursuit of new sounds has always been unquenchable. That’s the beauty of being a music freak, there is no finish line, there is no winner. There’s just the music and you.

Episode #50 is a celebration of my favorite albums of 2012. Episode #51 will be a celebration of the first 50 podcasts.

My earnest and sincere thanks for reading and listening. Here’s to 50 more.

#12: Tennis – Young & Old (Song: Origins)
#11: Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits (Song: Would That Not Be Nice)
#10: Jack White – Blunderbuss (Song: Hypocritical Kiss)
#9: Tame Impala – Lonerism (Song: Feel Like We Only Go Backwards)
#8: Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory (Song: Our Plans)
#7: Porcelain Raft – Strange Weekend (Song: Drifting In And Out)
#6: Here We Go Magic – A Different Ship (Song: I Believe In Action)
#5: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes (Song: Only In My Dreams)
#4: Fort Romeau – Kingdoms (Song: I Need U)
#3: Clark – Iradelphic (Song – Ghosted)
#2: Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes (Song: Getting There feat. Niki Randa)
#1: Japandroids – Celebration Rock (Song: Continuous Thunder)

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New Album: Captain Murphy – Duality

Captain Murphy - Duality

Captain Murphy – Duality

A mysterious character calling himself Captain Murphy surfaced on Twitter and YouTube a few months ago and with each track released he excited and perplexed those following him. The music was reminiscent of the jazzy cartoon inspired production of Madlib, and when Earl Sweatshirt appeared on a track people began theorizing that this was a collaboration between Madlib and Odd Future. Last week, at the experimental hip hop and electronic LA club Low End Theory, Captain Murphy literally took off his mask to reveal his true identity, and to the delight of the crowd, it was the critically acclaimed producer Flying Lotus.

Hats off to Flying Lotus. Mystery is a hard thing to pull off in this hyper connected social age, and his ability to build a mythology around this alter ego was well played, especially given that he’s never rapped on record before. The music and production is top notch and stand toe-to-toe with some of MF Doom’s best work.

“Planet Earth – about to be recycled – your only chance to – survive, or evacuate – is to leave, with us.” Captain Murphy – Mighty Morphin Foreskin

Leave with us. This type of abandonment is needed to appreciate what Flying Lotus is doing on Duality. On “Mighty Morphin Foreskin” (below) there’s 70’s inspired soul, elephant horns, Homer Simpson dohs, Street Fighter II samples, and the above warning from a cult leader – and that’s not even half of what’s audible. Duality is d-e-n-s-e.

The theme of joining a cult is the wrapping paper that engulfs the entire album and is revisited throughout. Duality reeks of late night smoked out twisted television, and is a rewarding gift when opened. Experimental. Weird. Psychedelic. Paranoid. Bold. Fun. All these adjectives fit. It isn’t for everyone, but if you get it, you’ll love it, that’s part of the duality enshrouding this now revealed mystery.

Recommended If You Like: Madlib, Quasimoto, MF Doom, Madvillain, Flying Lotus, Stones Throw

Thanks to Pyramid Ghost for turning me on to this!

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