Making tunes weird and gorgeous seems no small for one John Jones, the Baltimore resident who strums a few bars in Dope Body by day, and operates as Nerftoss on the side. Nerftoss first emerged on our radar last year, and his debut release-- Spirit Advantage on Leaving Records-- provided a subtly addictive balance, mining pleasant ambiance and the deepest corners of his folk and jazz crates. The comparison to his homie ahnnu was justified, but with “Dream of Pennies,” Jones decided to take a third, previously unexplored option. Described by the man himself as “making a fictional band,” “Pennies” proceeds to do just that, taking micro-sized samples and sculpting them into a kraut-surf groove, slowly building to a swell as the tune tuckers itself out. As a bonus, there's also puppies.
Nerftoss' latest release, Maiden Powers, is out November 18 on LP and digital via Ehse.
Maxwell Allison is never not thinking about music. He co-runs Hausu Mountain, a label that quickly found its way to the hearts of tape lovers. He is also one-third of Chicago drone outfit Good Willsmith. He also contributes to Tiny Mix Tapes, performs, and records solo material under the alias Mukqs. And now Patient Sounds, the imprint of M. Sage, is mining a moment from Mukqs’s continually expanding outer sound universe. Allison's cassette Please Can You Keep My Secret has complementary sidelong pieces: a yin and yang of wistful loops and erratic squelch. Side A, “News Talk for Partners,” is a study in contemplation. The slowly wrapping bass loop is collaged with found material from a monologue speculating on the development of the internet and impending doom of the information economy.
Please Can You Keep My Secret is out now on Patient Sounds.
20 Jazz Funk Greats doesn't do interviews, so in this special XXJFG/AdHoc world premiere of the new Katie Gately single, "Pivot"-- her first for post-rock overlords Fat Cat-- we asked Joe Houpert, aka ambient musician Prayer, who collaborated with Katie on a split release in 2014, to share his thoughts.
One doesn’t hear someone like Katie Gately every day. Familiar enough to not seem foreign, but still unfamiliar at the same time. Not take-behind-the-bleachers ‘like,’ but like tell-your-friends-your-busy-friday-night-but-really-you’re-going-to-that-performance-art-performance and then go to Bard and major in Art History ‘like.’ "Pivot" has all the Gately characteristics we have come to love: chromatic harmony and dissonant melody; a grandness that’s underscored by a playful menace. And a balls-out, heart-on-her-sleeve rawness that’s just so damn good. She can sing. She can produce. I had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Gately about her work and her upcoming split release on FatCat with Tlaotlon.
Joe Houpert: What was behind the decision to use only voice on "Pipes?" What led to incorporating other elements into the new piece, "Pivot?"
Katie Gately: Voice is just the most immediate way to find both a melodic idea and some kind of emotional cue for me to get going. Sound design is super fun too and I like applying its conventions frequently but sometimes I don't want my down time to be too job-related. The vocal limitation for Pipes was something I wanted to do since I heard Medulla but it wasn't until the past few years that I had the technical skills to do much of anything! It sounded like a very fun challenge that could work for a more experimental label like Blue Tapes UK.
The past year I wanted to play with more longform ideas as well as learn more about mixing and using fancier plug-ins. I have always been so afraid to use normal instruments because I couldn't play them and I wanted to get over that fear. I can still sample and process them just like my voice! It won't be realistic or match classical conventions - but that's OK - I'm trying to make monster worlds, so they should sound different. This is the rationalization I took into the dark night of producing, at least...
Northampton, and Western Mass. at large, has developed a reputation as a veritable breeding ground for weirdo musicians. Curse Purse is somewhat of an all-star cast, featuring Ted Lee of Zebu, Miss Olivia Kennett, and guitarist Matt Robidoux, formerly of Speedy Ortiz. “Message CP” is the title track from their forthcoming EP for Feeding Tube Records, the imprint tied to the Northampton record shop of the same name that released such notables as Chris Corsano, Blanche Blanche Blanche, and Guerrilla Toss. The song takes on a skewed beauty, Robidoux’s guitar waltzing out rusted arpeggios that sound eerie and urgent when surrounded by the noisy screeches and busily scattered percussion. Fans of Harry Pussy or U.S. Maple will be most pleased. You can stream the track with an accompanying video of them holding this creepy doll and with a knife above.
Message CP will drop on Feeding Tube Records December 2nd. Video by Joey Pizza Slice aka Son of Salami. Curse Purse will be touring Europe leading up to the record release. They’ll be joined by Mark Cunningham of Mars on bass for the Spain dates (sick!). Read more for dates.
Hey, just take those scary sound effects CDs of you've got there and file them back in CD wallet until next year. Telecult Powers has shared all the sounds you'll need on the first night of this coming Hallowtide. Throwing a party? Put this mix on. Trick or treaters rap their little fists against your door? Sit them down and make them take a good listen. Giving your menstrual blood back to the earth, draped in the moon's glowing gossamer? Pop in those ear buds and let this one soundtrack your journey into the pines. Listen to this mix once and you'll wonder why Christmas gets the rep as the musical holiday. Listen to this mix 11 times through and you'll start hearing the message.
Telecult Powers has a top notch LP, Black Meditations, out now on Experimedia. Check out the tracklist after the jump.
In its recent batch of new releases, Brooklyn-based label OSR Tapes is giving a fresh vinyl lifespan to the Monet In The 90s LP that Brattleboro pop savant Chris Weisman first recorded and released back in 2008. The album artwork features doodled figures, the swirling sketchiness of which is reminiscent of Saul Steinberg’s Art of Living output. I mention Steinberg because both he and Weisman seem to approach their respective media with a delighted, childlike wonder. The earnest chord progression on "Working On My Skateboarding" is a callback to the pubescent days of beer and Skittles, capturing a sense of spontaneity that is also at the foundation of any evocative pop songwriting.
Monet in the 90s is out now via OSR Tapes.
It's a testament to their specialty cocktail of vision and insanity that a substantial line-up change does not change the way that Guerilla Toss sounds one small bit. The band now features Toby Aronson (one-half of the NNA Tapes label brass) and Pat Keuhn on keys and bass repsectively. Listen to their new EP, Smack the Brick, and you'd have no idea that this was a slightly different set of humans than the one featured on Gay Disco or their self-titled on John Zorn's Tzadik. Simply, "Be the Breeder" broadcasts the sound of a band honing its aesthetic, here with a bit less Primus and a tad more Magma. BTW, did you have any idea that John Zorn released their self-titled album?
Smack the Brick is out November 18 on NNA Tapes.
Last April, wunderkind Swedish sound artist Klara Lewis released her self-recorded, -sampled, -edited, -mixed, and -produced debut LP Ett on the ever-exemplary Austrian label Editions Mego. Her upcoming followup EP, Msuic, is being released by Peder Mannerfelt Produktion, a label run by the eponymous Swede who worked with The Knife’s Karin Andersson on her Fever Ray project and records with Roll the Dice. While Ett manifested as a sublimely creepy work of art akin to The Haxan Cloak and Demdike Stare, Msuic ranges from Pharmakon-esque noise to the Laughing Stock-era silk jazz of Talk Talk. This video for the beat-oriented and untitled third track has some wonderfully malfunctioning footage of Peter Sellers in his classic role as Chauncey Gardener in Being There.
Msuic is out on November 10 via Peder Mannerfelt Produktion, under distribution from Ready Made.
Sam Ray is a busy guy. In between figuring out the details for a multimedia stage performance and a potential double LP, the Maryland musician is working on new material for a handful of other side projects and collaborations. Over the past few years, Ray has been involved in indie pop groups like Julia Brown and Teen Suicide, and now he is focusing on his experimental, somewhat unclassifiable project, Ricky Eat Acid. Last February, Ray released a Ricky Eat Acid full-length, Three Love Songs, through Brooklyn's Orchid Tapes imprint, and in July he shared his Sun Over Hillls EP. Though his down time is minimal, Ray stopped for a second to chat with AdHoc about Ricky Eat Acid’s first national tour, experimenting with new sounds, and potentially getting sued by Thurston Moore.
AdHoc: You just got back from your first extensive national tour. How was that?
Sam Ray: It was fun, I guess. Only one date out of three-and-a-half weeks of shows was in a city I’d ever been to before, so it was all pretty new. Shows were super hit or miss anyway, especially if they weren't on the East or West coasts. Like we played Columbus, and it was such an odd amount of people for the middle of Ohio. February was the first time I played a set live and I’ve only been playing kind of sparingly in like New York and DC since.
AdHoc: Is there any particular reason for that?
SR: I don’t have an agent, so I only play when I get offered a show. I’m also taking some time to figure out what I want to do with the live show. I have no idea what I’m going to do for it yet. Or how. I want to make [the live show] just as important as any actual music I’m making. I guess I’m just picky about it and picky about what I want to do or who I work with, because it’s all just different friends. I’m still figuring it out.
AdHoc: What type of aesthetic would you say you're you drawn to?
SR: It’s such a cop-out to say that it always changes, but my tastes are always changing. I don’t know, it’s hard to find the words to describe it. I don’t want it to sound like a micro-genre.
Austin’s Monofonus Press has put up a full stream of the new album from the Roman psych quartet Trans Upper Egypt. These Italians have slow cooked the swinging rhythmic grooves of '70s psychedelia in a bubbling pot of synth soup that falls somewhere between the chirpy cacophony of the Silver Apples and the punk irreverence of Suicide. Throughout the album, the chiseled tremolo oscillations of the two-man synth team are consistently frothing up against the boiling point of dissonance. This is recommended for all you psychonaut-types who enjoy a certain manic, primordial character in your altered states.
Trans Upper Egypt comes out November 4 on Monofonus Press.