Ed Balloon “No Smoking”

Boston’s Ed Balloon is creating future jams for the present. With a solid foundation in R&B, Balloon’s inclinations run the gamut of genres, from the eclectic Indie rock of Of Montreal to Janis Joplin, Maxwell and Jill Scott. His approach to song making–and the results–occupy that excellent middle ground, straddling classifications.

Check out “Graduate,” a standout track from his EP, No Smoking.

Battles “The Yabba”

Future Fela Kuti interpreted by the brilliant and insanely talented Battles. Never a dull moment with these guys. John Stanier would have been an axe-man executioner in a past life. Medieval head decapitator for the Shogun. Kudos to the girl in the video who can keep that ball spinning the entire time!

Mega Yay! Sharon Van Etten “I Don’t Want to Let You Down”

Suffice to say Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There bubbled by brains for the better half of 2014.

Late in 2014 I picked up Strand of Oaks Heal, on the title track, Showalter name checks Van Etten my headphones on And I listend to Van Etten Sing You gotta give out, give up…”

Van Etten has a voice that seeps. Fills in the seams.

The way her voice wraps around words or, trying to explain Are We There to a friend when playing the “No Bad Songs” game in that irritating dancing-about-architecture explanation of music that is so subjective and personal I thought, man, even though I’ve only recently discovered Van Etten I feel like I’ve been listening to her my whole life.

Okay, enough with the exposition. Here’s a new track she released. Oh, and if you haven’t seen her and Shearwater’s performance of the Petty/Nicks “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” do yourself a favor and consult the oracle.

Get “Offbeat” with Wildbirds & Peacedrums

Even this

penetrates the dullness of a routine.

The routine gains an architecture. Lines sculpted from the sound.

An accretion and some longing.

For a past? A future?

Present and immediate.

Swedish partner/couple of singer Mariam Wallentin and drummer Andreas Werliin doing a hybrid of spare, percussion and vocal based music. Sort of defies categorization. I like that. I like that it defies category.

Fuck categories.

Little Dragon “Klapp Klapp” the Dead to Life

Celebrate the second most superfluous hallmark holiday today (St. Pat’s is number 1) with this creepy new Voodoo Priestess/purple fire/raise the dead on the four beat track, “Klapp Klapp” from synth noir geniuses, Little Dragon.

Your god damn summer ear worm, in the form of Nabuma Rubberband, the fourth LP from the disgustingly good looking band, will be released via Loma Vista 5/13.

Cloud Nothings “I’m Not Part of Me” – New Single

2012’s Attack on Memory by Cloud Nothings was and remains one of my most visited records. The fucking breakdown in “Wasted Days” is one of the most intense and inspiring I’d heard in years. How these guys could remind me of the best parts of Fugazi and Sonic Youth and make it their own still astounds.

I caught them live in Austin with UME and Portugal the Man. Cloud Nothings have this lightning in a bottle approach to guitar music that grabs me by the throat and dares me to live better, try harder and quit fucking around. It’s likely reverse psychology at work on Attack on Memory. By contrast, the material and lyrical content are dark and filled with rage, longing and melodic guitar lines. When Baldi sings, “I thought I would be more than this,” you exchange the “I” for yourself and can’t help but wonder similar things. Is this all I am capable of? How can I not trip on my own two feet walking down the street?

I mean, everyone wonders the same thing. Right?

It doesn’t matter. Because as soon as that noise-drenched interlude gets 2/3’s of the way through and the drums are pounding you forget what it was you were asking in the first place.

Their forthcoming album Here and Nowhere Else (out 3/26 on Carpark/Mom + Pop (Mom + Pop put out last year’s AMAZEBALLZ record Shulamath by Poliça)) promises much earned levity and based on the recently released single, “I’m Not Part of Me,” we can expect a bend in the elbow to the mouth of Baldi’s Fuck It All approach from the previous record. Layered production. More refined song writing. Great guitar playing. Stellar arrangements. How can he not be stoked with the critical acclaim of the past album?
Maybe a smile?
See these guys live.

STREAM: “I’m Not Part Of Me” – https://soundcloud.com/cloudnothings/im-not-part-of-me

New Music Round Up (El Michels Affair, Graveyard, Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics)

Suppose most folks have heard the new Mastodon and Manchester Orchestra or at the very least the single from It’s Blitz! That said, I figured I’d drop some knowledge on some fantabulous jams from around the globe.

First up
El Michels Affair – 37th Chamber. link
Yes, as the name suggests, this is directly related to Wu’s 36 Chambers however, what we’ve got here is an uber talented group of players paying direct homage instrumentally to that classic Wu epic. The concept is simple, get a bunch of great musicians together and remake 36 Chambers with live instruments. Standouts like, “Can It All Be So Simple” is transformed into a slow brooding jam replete with a clave backbeat and some seriously juicy brass work. “Cherchez La Ghost” blasts off into a strange land of analog synth and wah guitar. These geniuses take what RZA and the Clan cobbled together from old casios and ‘under the carpet’ R&B samples and made a masterpiece hip hop record. Just wait til you hear the childrens choir on that ODB classic “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” children chanting ‘Wu Tang’!

El Michels Affair pays respect then pays it forward tenfold with an entirely new and refreshed ‘remix’ in 37th Chamber. RIYL Curtis Mayfield, Wu Tang, Blacksploitation Soundtracks, Kung Fu

Graveyard – Graveyard. link
These Nordic knights of tundra metal take the formula of Captain Beyond/Blue Cheer/Black Sabbath and run with it. Yes it is derivative. Yes they mangle the english language. Yes there are a few note by note riffs from Jimi Hendrix and Tony Iommi. All that said, Graveyard is a classic album NOW.

RIYL – Sabbath, Captain Beyond, Guitars, Smoking Pot

Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics – Inspiration Information 3 link
I still haven’t really been able to get into that Flying Lotus (los angeles) record, not like it was touted as the next Introducing by DJ Shadow. I’ll call bullshit on that, only because I’m sentimentally attached to Introducing being that it was THE soundtrack of my freshman year in college (I’ve conveniently omitted Earth Crisis from all past playlists). So, this trip hop or whatever the kids are calling it these days has become more eccentric. Dangermouse upped the ante with the Grey Album. Girl Talk is the most Mashable and LCD Soundsystem is IDM for the art school/fixed gear/american apparel clique. Love them all I do, but for those of you with a bit more of a sensitive palate, you may find a lot of herbs and spices in the Heliocentrics.

This record represents the possibility of what would occur if the dudes from Don Cab were into Funkadelic and afro-funk like Fela Kuti instead of punk rock. It is a cross breeding of all the most prominent parts from Buena Vista Social Club, Ghanaian Funk, Dr. Who theme song, and surf rock. If Henry Mancini took acid he’d make music like this-wait, maybe he did take acid. Okay then this could be the off spring of Henry Mancini and that smelly frenchman Serge Gainsbourg.

That is a fairly accurate account of my favorite three new records. Check em out. They are delicious!