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Episode 4 of ListenOn Pirate Radio, hosted by Rory Matthews and Jazmin Aguilera. Recorded on 7/12/14.

Follow ListenOn on Soundcloud and hear Pirate Radio with John and Rory every fortnight!

KING – “Mr Chameleon” itunes.apple.com/us/album/mister-…ngle/id892436307

Vic Mensa – “Down On My Luck” itunes.apple.com/us/artist/vic-me…3?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Foxtails Brigade – “The Unloved” foxtailsbrigade.bandcamp.com/track/the-unloved-2

King Tuff – “Eyes 0f The Muse” Subpop – King-tuff-eyes-of-the-muse

Freak Fandango Orchestra – “Balkan Beats” freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Frea…/Balkans_Beats

Vienna Ditto – ” Feeling Good” viennaditto.bandcamp.com/track/feeling-good

Pat Messy – “Skeleton Key (word burgers)” patmessy.bandcamp.com/track/skeleton…y-word-burgers

PHOX – “Noble Heart” itunes.apple.com/us/album/phox/id850192097

Episode 3 of ListenOn Pirate Radio, hosted by Rory Matthews and John Perea.

Misun – “Eli Eli” Kitsune-maison – Misun-eli-eli

God Knows + mynameisjOhn – “Maroto” godknows-mynameisjohn.bandcamp.com/track/maroto

Black Milk – “What it’s worth” blackmilk.bandcamp.com/album/what-its-worth

TV Girl – “Birds Don’t Sing” tvgirl.bandcamp.com/track/birds-dont-sing

A.K. Paul Vs Nao – “So Good” prettymuchamazing.com/music/check-ou…k-paul-so-good

Neon Deon – “Mountains” neondeon1.bandcamp.com/track/mountains

Jack White – “Lazaretto” www.youtube.com/watch?v=qI-95cTMeLM

Pharoahe Monch – “Broken Again” pharoahemonch.bandcamp.com/releases

Calvin Harris – “Summer (Diplo/Grandtheft remix)” hypetrak.com/2014/06/calvin-har…-grandtheft-remix/

 

Recorded on 6/23/14.

Episode 2 of ListenOn Pirate Radio, hosted by Rory Matthews and John Perea. Recorded 6/8/14.

“The Emancipation of Charlie Swainson” – Papa Chango music.papachango.com.au/track/the-ema…rlie-swainson

“Bastille-Bad Blood Remix” – Lido Lidogotsongs – Bastille-bad-blood-lido-remix-1

“Planet Suave” – Supervillains RMC supervillainsrmc.bandcamp.com/track/planet-suave-2

“Temporary View feat. Sampha” – SBTRKT Sbtrkt – Sbtrkt-temporary-view-ft-sampha

“Wind Let Loose” – Small Wonder smallwonder.bandcamp.com/track/wind-let-loose

“Volcano Tornado” – Pool Party VIDEO: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLa5hSfRWss

“I Got the Moves” – Habibi Burgerrecords – Habibi-i-got-the-moves

“Decisions feat Emily King” – Taylor McFerrin Brainfeeder – Taylor-mcferrin-decisions-feat

“Game Over” – Mr. Metronomo Mr-metronomo – Game-over

Feast your ears on the first installment of ListenOn Pirate Radio – an eclectic mix of soul, dance, experimental jazz(?), hip hop, and who really knows what to call some of this stuff anyway…

“Skat” – The Wayo thewayo.com/

“Freekin U (Hedspin & Four Color Zack Remix)” – Jodeci Fourcolorzack – Freekin-u-hedspin-n-fcz-remix

“Eyes Closed” – BADBADNOTGOOD itunes.apple.com/us/album/iii/id849488147

“Weight of Love” – The Black Keys itunes.apple.com/us/album/turn-blue/id841098321

“Real Thing” – Tune-Yards itunes.apple.com/us/album/nikki-nack/id838008963

“The Return” – Blu itunes.apple.com/us/album/id861268666

“Travis” – Incredible Polo incrediblepolo.bandcamp.com/track/travis

 

Recorded 5/18/14 with J. Perea and R. Matthews

Its been a while since I’ve posted on ListenOn and there’s a few artists I’d like to talk about that I’ve been slowly milling over in my head over the last few months, so I’d like to do this in installments rather than all at once.  Here’s part 1, my follow up on Robb Bank$ and a review of his latest album “Tha City”.

Nu7jF7d

Even though it’s late to report on (the album came out October of last year), Robb Bank$ new album “Tha City” is possibly one of the most ambitious undertakings of any rapper currently on the scene.  “Tha City” is highly ambitious, most of the mix’s intricacies are lost to the blind ears of many listeners who have not developed the pallet for southern floridian slang. Robb’s music deals in clever puns and on-point insights for children of the 90s.  When you dig deeper you see that both the music and rapping are highly influenced by Broward county Florida, more specifically the drug culture cultivated by Florida’s infamous “pill mills”.  Those unfamiliar with the state of Florida’s drug culture should be aware that up until last year Florida was the largest state without a central computerized pharmaceutical system, allowing crooked doctors to prescribe hundreds of patients with ridiculous amounts of narcotics for cash.  Think of it almost like the medical marijuana clinics in cali, but you could just walk into a doctors office and walk away with possibly hundreds of high grade pain killers like Oxycodone and Roxycodone, in addition to prescribing untold amounts of lean and Xanax.  Robb and all of his group reference these things frequently in their raps and it’s hard to ignore the fact that it may be a direct result of living in the epicenter of the prescription drug capitol of America.

A few tracks really stand out to me, one of which being “That Sound (Atlanta)”.  I consistently come back to this track when I want to hear a solid banger.  Bank$ throws out some of the best one liners in this track, and manages to hide in as many of his signature anime based lines as his fans should expect.  The video for the song recently went up on Vevo, I highly recommend a listen if you haven’t already.

   

Another stand out banger is “On Me (Batonrouge)” which also scored a video on Vevo.

Bank$ seems to be on the possible edge of really making himself into something and this mix really shows of how much versatility Robb can really create.  Once again I’m looking forward to seeing Bank$ progression and keeping an eye on fellow emerging Savage Stunna member Pouya.
Until next time, Keep Listening
- Taylor.

A note from the writer:

This post is the first in series of album reviews done “live”: listening to the album from start to finish and posting in direct response to what I’m hearing in real time. To make it all a little more fun, I decided to use twitter with the hashtag #ListenToSisyphus, inviting anyone else to listen live with me or see the post below for the transcript. I’ve add a few thoughts and taken out any superfluous tweets for the sake of the best possible reading experience. Enjoy!         - Rory

 

Son Lux + Sufjan Stevens + Serengeti = s/s/s = Sisyphus

Son Lux + Sufjan Stevens + Serengeti = s/s/s = Sisyphus

Meet Sisyphus, the collaboration (read: supergroup) that brings the dark and beautiful sides of alt pop out to play with the rowdy and weird parts of renegade hip hop. And like Cerberus, mutli-headed dog of hell, Sisyphus has three distinct and independent heads: the songwriting and vocals of Sufjan Stevens, the production of alternative beat maker Son Lux and the unique rapping of Serengeti.

But it’s not that cut and dried, obviously each musician’s contributions to their debut album range from the obvious to the the indecipherable (“Which one of us wrote that line?”). Sisyphus is full of surprises, diverging parts and overlapping songs, and more than a little joyfulness – unquestionably the creation of more than one musical mind.

Before sitting down for the live review I had listened to the album sparingly to get a feel for it. I knew there were some things I really liked about Sisyphus and a few things I didn’t, but I wasn’t quite ready to write it off as awkward or incoherent – points made about the multi-artist production by other reviews.

We dive right into Sisyphus with Track 1 “Calm It Down”

If you haven’t checked out Son Lux before, I recommend his latest album Lanterns for some absolutely MASSIVE-sounding songs with very cool use of bari sax.

Almost everyone I know is or has been dealing with intense or stressful issues over the last month. This song felt very in-tune with the present.

So far, I don’t mind the music going through very contrasting feels and sections. It certainly makes songs less predictable.

So many different voices and sounds swelling in and out right here. Then the beat comes back. This style of production molds the song into different shapes and adds tons of detail. Doing more with less, and it’s getting popular these days.

Yep.

I never got bored with this beat. New elements every few bars and I still felt the groove.

*us

This is definitely the most creative music I’ve heard in a while. It’s the abnormality that’s beautiful

Here’s that other side of the double-edge. I don’t enjoy listening to anything for too long if there’s no decreeable idea to follow. It starts to sound like a series of random statements.

I really, really like all the little pieces of Sisyphus.

“My Oh My” is an example of when Sispyhus’s divergent combo approach to music doesn’t do it for me.

A lot of left turns.

*switch *it

This album has some strange odds and ends.

This song strongly reminds of “White Light” by Gorillaz, also featuring “alcohol” as one of the main lyrics.

“I wanted to like you”, Serengeti almost whispers it. Great little emotional tweak.

…the dick sucking thing is a little silly.

This part went on for too long. It’s literally a cacophony.

I finished Sisyphus with the feeling that I enjoyed the majority of the album and plan to revisit songs like  “Rhythm of Devotion” and “Hardly Hanging On”. The sheer variety and depth of the beats and sounds captured my imagination and took me to all kinds of vivid landscapes and scenes in my head.

However, there were a few times when I found the changes from one song to another too abrupt and there were some sections of Sisyphus that sounded chaotic and jumbled, doubtless a product of three separate brains and voice all trying to occupy one space. How do you say something unique and defining as a group when you’re used to how you sound on your own?

Despite it’s flaw, Sisyphus delivers in unexpected, bountiful ways. I said it before, Sisyphus is the most creative album I’ve heard this and last year. It’s a deep well of glittery gems and I’ll be going back for more.

Keep Listening

- Rory

Sisyphus is available on Bandcamp and iTunes

Our Brother The Native

Ann Arbor-based band Our Brother the Native began releasing music in 2005.

Welcome back Listeners!

It’s been a minute (well ok, more like a month) since we’ve brought you some fresh tunes. To get us started in 2014, I’ve picked an album I was delightfully surprised to discover while exploring Bandcamp on Valentine’s Day. Terra Traipse by Our Brother the Native stands out as one of the most creative and unique releases of the new year.

Superbly written and arranged, each song on Terra feels like dozens of bits and pieces – banjo and flute and electric guitar and percussion and much, much more – coming together to create a larger idea, a sum greater than the whole. These interlocking puzzle pieces, varying from primal, natural sounds to synthesized tones and textures, blending together in a wild, experimental sound with the spaced-out, trancy feeling I associated with artists like teebs. As heard on “Unquieted” this mix feels like a joyous, celebratory dance.

Our Brother The Native – Unquieted

A few well-placed interludes help to round the album out and provide meditative breaks between the more lively songs. “Whinnying” makes skillful use of a cheerful piano riff, swelling horn lines, and an inarguably expressive drummer. The musicianship of Terra Traipse is complex, intricate, and  impressive, but without any instrument over-stepping its function or over-playing its part.

Our Brother The Native – Whinnying

Keep Listening,

Rory

 

Terra Traipse, along with other material by Our Brother the Native, is availale for purchase on their bandcamp page and you can read more about the band and their history on the FatCat Records website.

 

Dog Society Ad

On first listen, Dog Society’s sophomore album Emerge brings on a wave of nostalgia for any ’90s lovers out there. Being only two years old when the NY-based rock pop band released their debut Test Your Own Eyes in 1993, I don’t typically count myself as very music-conscious for most of the decade. Even so, before the first track was over I could tell these guys were bringing the ’90s rock back with a vengeance.

Dog Society’s sound – the guitar riffs, the vocal delivery, the songwriting and arrangement – are reminiscent of parts Pearl Jam, Jane’s Addiction, and Nirvana. Not to reduce Emerge down to its contemporaries though, Dog Society offers seriously talented musicianship and creativity throughout. There’s a touch of psychedelic-era Beatles in there too, especially within the textures of the chords and vocal harmonies. The background vocals on “Being Here” have the same overarching, embracing impact as the BVs on “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

For calling themselves a rock “pop” band, Dog Society writes songs much more involved and in depth then most contemporary pop today. Within that ’90s rock framework are aspects of pop blended together almost seamlessly: Emerge is fun to listen to, it’s a little less aggressive and a little more accepting then play-till-your-eardrums-bleed rock, and there are ’60s pop ideas in a multitude of songs. “Pink Sun” is a perfect example of an instrumental intro that was pop canon when everyone was still seeing LSD-born giant flowers everywhere.

The themes of return and rebirth loom large throughout Emerge. It makes a lot of sense, these guys are coming back with an indie release two decades after their major label debut. From Dog Society’s lyrics to their musical style, you can hear the ’90s rock phoenix rising from the ashes of music industry. In fact “Salt”, the final and best track on the album, reads as a brilliant metaphor for the band/label relationship, sacrificing creativity and freedom for financing and marketing.

“Take a shine to the whore/give her what she’s asking for/She took away your freedom”

You can listen to all of Emerge below and buy a copy on Dog Society’s Bandcamp.

Keep Listening

- Rory

Listening to Chelsea Wolfe on a record and listening to her perform live are indeed two very different experiences. Wolfe is so much more than her “drone-metal-art-folk” label. The lush tones of Chelsea Wolfe’s most recent album were amplified tenfold in the live setting, the epic tint of the album comes across stunningly.

Ms Chelsea Wolfe

Ms Chelsea Wolfe

Wolfe began with the opening track (“Feral Love”) from her new album, Pain is Beauty, and continued through the next two tracks “We Hit a Wall” and “House of Metal.” The latter was particularly thought-provoking and left the listener with mouth hanging open. After a slow, meditative version of “Sick” from the new album, the band launched into cuts from Wolfe’s back catalog, such as “Mer” and “Tracks (Tall Bodies)” from her sophomore release, Ἀποκάλυψις or Apokalypsis, as well as a couple of other songs off of the new album, and a lovely, mostly acoustic rendering “Flatlands” from the Unknown Rooms album.

chelseawolfe2 As impressive as Wolfe’s performance was, the experience was heavily shaped by her backing band. She had an extra guitar player, a stellar drummer, a violinist and violist, as well as two multi-instrumentalists who switched between percussion, guitar, bass guitar, synths, and keyboards. The talents of Wolfe and the rest of the band members were especially showcased on a gripping rendition of “Pale on Pale” which turned into a bit of an extended jam, complete with flashing drum sticks and thrashing bows of violins, which set the stage for Wolfe’s 4 song encore.

Despite Royce Hall’s classical concert hall appearance being somewhat opposed to Wolfe’s aesthetic, the acoustics and gold trim provided a stirring ambience in which to showcase the music. Although one could not help but wish for a bit more smoke and red backlighting.

Check Chelsea Wolfe out on her website

 

Ms Anna Calvi

Ms Anna Calvi

The opener, Anna Calvi, is a singer-guitarist whose music has been described as “brooding melodramatic goth-pop.” But, this description is not enough. With a 3 piece band backing her, Calvi provides a big sound: a soaring vocal style and impressive range that allows her to sing high enough to risk cracking her vocal chords. Her voice also carries a lot of power, reminiscent of the great soul and R n’ B singers of the past. And she can also shred like no other, providing Hendrix-esque solos atop the pounding bottom end of her rhythm section. Calvi is less of a rock star and more of a composer, with songs like “Eliza” calling back to film soundtracks of old westerns, especially the work of Ennio Morricone.

anna-calvi Check out the video for “Suddenly”: And Calvi’s Website

sister-calypso

and Sister Calypso

Before the show, there was a special student performance from Sister Calypso, the solo project of UCLA student Ali Kellog. Kellog is clearly influenced by Chelsea Wolfe, in that she provides a similar dark, minimalist atmosphere that echoes Wolfe’s earlier works, such as The Grime and the Glow. Ambient, repetitive, electronic, lots of repetition in the vocals especially. Minimalist percussion.

-Mike

Check out Michael’s own music blog: http://audibleoblivion.tumblr.com/

 

house fire 1

Friends! Left to Right: James Brownstein (drums), Luke Schunk (bass), Nick Chuba (guitar), Aman Alem (Vocals, Guitar). And when they put their power rings together they are… HOUSE FIRE!!

If the Day’s End EP from alternative/indie rock band House Fire was to be anthropomorphized, it would take the form of a lonesome specter drifting through the streets of downtown Los Angeles. A ghostly figure shimmering under the bright lights of the city, bristling with power and emotion, a whirlwind of inner turmoil flowing over and past the people abjectly absorbed in their own narrative.

And if that’s a little too esoteric for you, think the textures and sounds of Radiohead a la OK Computer, with maybe a dash more of pop mentality and alt rock edginess. The soundscape of Day’s End is a mixture of lite-to-crunchy distorted guitars, soaring vocals, and unbreakable grooves between the bass and drums. In fact, the creative use of sound on the EP – from feedback and reverb to a variety of effects and tones – are nothing less than what I would expect from producer Cary Singer.

In a lot of ways, Days End and House Fire remind me of one of my all time favorites: As Tall As Lions, a now-defunct indie rock quartet originally from Long Island. ATAL captured my imagination with their unique combination of, well, pretty much the same things as House Fire. Their bassist was manic, laying down aggressive lines that pumped life into the songs while the drummer was right there with him, although neither ever stepped on the entrancing chords and melodies coming from the guitarist and singer.

Take a listen to “Milward Drive”, when House Fire dives head first into crashing cymbals in an ocean of chords right around 2:30. It’s this explosive moment that features each musician giving everything to the song through their own voice, wherever it lies. The arpeggios on the bass are especially tits.

For a debut EP, House Fire’s knocked it out of the park. But what’s also exciting about a brand new band releasing their first album is getting to see where they go from here. I like it when singer Aman Alem waxes poetic – “I grew up in your ashes, raised in soot” – and wish more of his lyrics read like that. And now that they’ve established their footing musically, House Fire has the option to take future songs into more unknown, risker territories. They come closest to this on “Naked”, the standout track on Days End. Of all the songs, “Naked” expresses the introspective but not melancholy, almost jubilant rather, emotion of the EP.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what lies in store for House Fire, and what they choose to share with us. Until then, loose yourself in Days End.

Keep Listening

- Rory