Tag: Kurt von Stetten

Recommended Song: Kurt von Stetten – Spanish Ship

Kurt von Stetten

Kurt von Stetten

“Spanish Ship” is the first single from Kurt von Stetten’s tenth Studio album, Bon Fortuna. The song begins with a series of powerful staccato jabs leaving you sea leg weary as you proceed to walk off the Spanish Ship and into what’s another fantastic von Stetten album. Year after year after year Kurt puts out utterly talented & unique albums with songs that ear worm their way deep in the cortex – however,  by some cruel act of God they fly underneath the radar, here’s to hoping he’ll have the good fortune of Bon Fortuna getting some deserved eyes and ears on it – it may very well be his most solid work to date, and that’s saying quite a bit.

Recommended If You Like: Modest Mouse, Built To Spill, GBV

Continue Reading

Recommended Album: The Longwalls – Gold Standard

The Longwalls

The Longwalls

A dark room lit by a flickering TV. An ashtray smoldering with the remnants of a lipstick stained cigarette. Stubble breath with whiskey at the forefront. All these images would fit spectacularly into the worlds The Longwalls create – and lucky for us, we now have a bunch of new worlds to explore.

After a series of killer EP’s The Longwalls have released a near perfect tome of Americana-infused fuzz pop in their new LP, Gold Standard. Over a year in the making, Gold Standard features 11 standout tracks, with the first driving single “Home” kicking the door open wide and allowing burners such as “Simple Thoughts” and “Too Many Prayers” to tear your heart out.

Recommended If You Like: Uncle Tupelo, Drive-By Truckers, American Thread

Continue Reading

Episode 63 – Top 21 Albums of 2014

Play
Episode 59 – Top 21 Albums of 2013 (Artwork - D.Hixon)

Episode 59 – Top 21 Albums of 2013 (Collage – D.Hixon)

These are my 21 favorite albums of 2014. When I look back on a year that saw me truly start a Family of my own these song’s will echo in the hallways of my memory. Consider it a groovy growth notch written in No. 2 pencil on the back of a progression door. Happy New Year to you and yours – may the music continue to find you.

21Madlib – The Beats (Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton Soundtrack)
“Cue 3 /  Cue 4”
Buy via Stones Throw Records


20The Juan Maclean – In A Dream
“Running Back To You”
Buy via DFA Records


19Tiger High – Inside the Acid Coven
“Mania”
Buy via Volar Records


18The Real Kids – Shake … Outta Control
“Got It Made”
Buy via Ace of Hearts Records


17Cool Ghouls – A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye
“What A Dream I Had”
Buy via Empty Cellar Records


16

Mean Creek – Local Losers
“Hangover Mind”
Buy via Old Flame Records


15 Ariel Pink – Pom Pom
“One Summer Night”
Buy via 4AD


14 Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Wig Out at Jagbags
“Lariat”
Buy via Matador Records


13Guided By Voices – Cool Planet
“Bad Love Is Easy To Do”
Buy via Rockathon Records


12Kurt von Stetten – Animals
“Saved, Because Of This Tree”
Buy via Static Motor Recordings


11Flying Lotus – You’re Dead
“Moment of Hesitation”
Buy via Warp Records


10Cookies – Music For Touching
“Music For Touching”
Buy via Bandcamp


9

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata
“Robes (feat. Domo Genesis & Earl Sweatshirt)”
Buy via Stones Throw Records


8

Shintaro Sakamoto – Let’s Dance Raw
“Let’s Dance Raw”
Buy via Other Music Recording Co.


7

Cherry Glazerr – Haxel Princess
“Sweaty Faces”
Buy via Burger Records


6

Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
“Passing Out Pieces”
Buy via Captured Tracks


5

Terror Of The Deep – Death Of The Gideon
“Model Train Village”
Buy via Selection Records


4

Real Estate – Atlas
“How Might I Live”
Buy via Domino USA


3

The Men – Tomorrow’s Hits
“Pearly Gates”
Buy via Sacred Bones Records


2

Mozes And The Firstborn – Mozes And The Firstborn
“Skinny Girl”
Buy via Burger Records


1

Ty Segall – Manipulator
“Mister Main”
Buy via Drag City

 

Continue Reading

The Last Renaissance Man: Ten Questions with Kurt von Stetten

(Photo Credit - KVS)

(Photo Credit – KVS)

Kurt von Stetten is a continual favorite of mine and one of Boston’s finest artists. His 2014 solo release, Animals, is one of the best albums of the year, and will be featured in Episode 63, The Top 21 Albums of 2014, dropping this Thursday. I recently asked Kurt some questions on his DIY approach, Art, Influences, among other topics.

– Buy Animals via BandCamp

Visions of the Unexcused:
I can’t seem to get away from comparing you to Robert Pollard. That may be a lazy “lo-fi” comparison on my part, but you both have such a high level of DIY to your music, and you’re also both prolific in the quantity of music you release. Is Pollard an influence for you, and if so – are there any albums or Guided By Voices tracks that are particularly important to you?

Kurt von Stetten:
Yeah I take that as a compliment! I love Robert Pollard and GBV. I came to know their music only after I played with The Longwalls. The lead singer is a huge fan and I slowly started getting exposed to them. I love his work ethic and sound- a sound which is not that far from mine. Lo-fi and a little clunky. I think one of my favorites is a recent one, 2012’s The Bears for Lunch. I just think that is a great record and an inspiration- because he produces so much. I always think to myself- well I could do that if I didn’t have a job too. I wrote a song called “Competition (fuck Bob Pollard)” off of my last record that is a reminder to myself that I am not competing with him. It’s no contest at all- he wins!

Visions:
Another similarity between Pollard and yourself is you’re both Visual Artists as well as Musicians. You both create your own Album art, and you even take it a step further and create your own videos. Does your music influence the art you make – or is it the other way around?

KVS:
I think visual art definitely influences my music and not the other way around. Really only because all of my training/education is in visual art and music came into my life much later- but all in all they are starting to become closer. This month I started working with an artist on abstract video pieces that I would be writing music for- we will see how that pans out. But really music takes up the emotional space that visual art can’t ever seem to cover- so they compliment each other, but music sometimes gets only the table scraps or base emotions to start with!


Visions:
Back to your DIY DNA – you’ve played every instrument on each solo album you’ve released – one every year since 2006 – how does this differ from playing drums for fellow Static Motor Recordings band, The Longwells. Do you prefer the solitude of your solo work, or do you miss the camaraderie of collaboration?

KVS:
They are very different endeavors to be sure. When I sit down to write my own music I make sweeping changes every minute- tempo- key- voice- instrumentation- and then see where the chips land. Then I record it, listen to it, and eight times out of ten trash the whole thing. I shoot first and then aim- I have 90 songs on my iPad from this year that I will never use- they are just in the “booshit” folder (and trust me they are strait up booshit). So I am definitely most comfortable with not being beholden to any sound or style.The Longwalls do all of that hard work before I even get to hear it and add drums to it- that is a huge difference for me and my process. We also usually stay true to the original feel of each new song- that is hard for me too. That is definitely something that I still wrestle with- not being able to be like “why don’t we have a killer musical saw solo here.” I also am the least talented of the bunch so I am playing catch up (musically) most of the time.

Kurt von Stetten - Animals (Artwork - KVS)

Kurt von Stetten – Animals (Artwork – KVS)

Visions:
Your latest release, Animals, feels like a silver dream. There’s a sheen of cohesiveness that shines throughout it. Did you approach writing and recording any differently than last years Broken, But Not Undone? It’s certainly a von Stetten album, but the vibe has swaygaze smoothness to it for me.

KVS:
Yeah I agree- there are more compatible sounds from song to song than usual for me. I think that is because I used a lot more synthesizers on this record. For a long time I was scared of having the synth be the main sound of a song – or something that leads everything else. And because it is programmable the screw ups are much less noticeable. I generally leave all the rough edges showing in a song, but synths are always a little smooth. I also spent a lot of time on the drums this go around- I was just loving being in studio and recording them- so there are less screw ups in the drums and drum sounds.

Visions:
Another love of yours is BMX. You recently posted a video of yourself (below) flatlanding on an abandoned basketball court. This was my first time being exposed to your BMX skills and my jaw was agape the entire time, it was beautiful. Do you find your experience with BMX translates over to your music? There seems to be some symmetry between the two – as the final results appear seamless, even though there’s a tightrope you’re walking – with the fall always being a possibility. That’s where I garner a lot of appreciation for your music, you’re obviously not afraid to push yourself and potentially fall.

KVS:
YES! They are very similar to me- they are both physical, dependent on patterns and structure, and usually end up with me being bloody and disoriented. Seriously, I love practicing things and repetition- probably to an intolerable degree for those around me. Being on that line between not falling and falling- or musically failing or not failing is enjoyable. It means I fail a lot- and have to- to get something that really surprises me and that I like.

Visions:
Will we be able to see you performing Animals out anytime soon? Or are you more of a Studio guy solo, a la Harry Nilsson?

KVS:
Well I am not really a performing musician- and I haven’t had a band in years, but if I was able to find some folks I would love to play again. For now I am a studio guy.

Visions:
What’s the next big project for you you in 2015?

KVS:
The Longwalls have another great record coming out soon and I will have another coming out in 2015- those two records are front and center, but I have other side projects in the works too- I have had more people ask me to collaborate this year than in any other so hopefully I will be on many other records. One such local record is the new Dan London recordI Will Take You Back.  I played drums and cello (and other odds and ends) on that record- and that was just released.

Visions:
Animals will justifiably be featured on the 21 Best Albums of 2014 for Visions of the Unexcused – what have you listened to in the past year that’s really dug into your ear holes?

KVS:
I think a lot of old music came back to me this year- like digital leather, the drums, and Guided By Voices. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the re-releases of classic hip hop that have dominated my listening year too- Ice Cube, NWA, De La Soul, Wu Tang, and Tribe. For new music I would go with Youth Lagoon, The Folk, Pixies, and Karen O.

Visions:
What does being “Unexcused” mean to you?

KVS:
Unexcused means presenting yourself – warts and all (and I mean WARTS)- and not taking yourself or others too seriously.

Continue Reading

Recommended Song: Kurt von Stetten – Cashier Girls

Kurt von Stetten - Cashier Girls

Kurt von Stetten – Cashier Girls

Kurt von Stetten is to Boston what Robert Pollard is to Dayton – both put out steady streams of incredible DIY indie pop jams – The difference being one’s well known while the other’s an unfortunate secret. Kurt’s music has always entranced me, and listening to “Cashier Girls” – the third track off of his latest album Broken But Not Undone – he again surprises, reeling me in like a weird mermaid and leaving myself shipwrecked on an island I didn’t even know I wanted to be on. Von Stetton’s music is consistently unique, challenging, and thoroughly rewarding – and is why I plan on championing him until his name’s more well known.

Recommended If You Like: Robert Pollard, Ty Segall, Lo-Fi Anxiety Pop

Continue Reading

New Album: Kurt von Stetten – Androlafi

Kurt von Stetten

Kurt von Stetten deserves more attention, possibly Boston’s greatest hidden gem.

Kurt von Stetten’s music is weird. It’s off-putting in a fever dream way making your musical inertia veer off course and fluctuate like a fifty cent bouncy ball. It’s because of this uncertainty that you tingle with excitement upon hearing certain tracks. Listening to von Stetten’s music is like ingesting a drug for the first time. As your psyche ascends towards the initial drop you release yourself for what’s to come.

Kurts new album, Androlafi, does just this. It breaches walls of sophistication that only a trained indie/pop savant could attain, and with him being a DIY one man show; from his music to artwork, I fear he’s one of Boston’s least appreciated Renaissance men, and that’s a Goddamn shame.

You can purchase Androlafi here.

Recommended If You Like: Sebadoh, GBV, The Folk Implosion

Continue Reading