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Friday, November 28, 2008

PORTISHEAD - 'Magic Doors'

Another trippy new video from Portishead, who in my book get Comeback of the Year. "Magic Doors" is the 3rd single and video taken from the album Third, one of my favorite LP's of 2008.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Throwback - ALTHEA AND DONNA

So, I'm a little bored with new music this month. Sure, there are new releases by Kanye West, Coldplay, and the dreaded surfacing of the now infamous new Guns 'N' Roses album. I could care less. It's times like these that send me back to the forgotten moments in music.

Althea and Donna were a teenage Jamaican duo who surprised everyone with their infectious 1978 reggae hit "Uptown Top Ranking". Not only is the track irresistible, but the entire album (their only release) is well worth exploring.  Tracks like "No More Fightng" and "The West" are so timeless, it's kind of crazy.  And I usually don't gravitate towards reggae at all.

I'm about to catch a plane, en route for Thanksgiving holiday, so I'm especially in the mood for the escapist, smooth vocals and beats that Althea and Donna offered. Perfect for relaxing on a beach anywhere, or snuggled up close to a fire sipping whiskey. We all need a little holiday. Enjoy.

You can get the full album here.

I Woke Up and It Was 1994...


Maybe it's just me, but these videos by Jay Reatard and Marnie Stern take me back to when Beck's "Loser" was the hottest shit on earth. While these tracks are awesome, they seem to foreshadow a new retro renaissance, one that I wasn't exactly expecting.

JAY REATARD



Jay Reatard - See/Saw


MARNIE STERN



Marnie Stern - Ruler


Marnie Stern - Transformer (mp3) (via Kill Rock Stars).

Compare these to this...

New VIVIAN GIRLS - "Blind Spot"


Vivian Girls are self-releasing the new Surf's Up 12" via their website. The one-off single includes the title track, as well as a cover of The Beach Boys' "Girl Don't Tell Me". But that's not all. If you purchase the record online, you also get a t-shirt, two postcards and a button, all part of the Surf's Up Funpack. Get yours here.


As well, Vivian Girls offer the new track "Blind Spot" as a free download. Here you go...

Vivian Girls - Blind Spot (mp3)
Vivian Girls - Where Do You Run To (mp3)

Monday, November 24, 2008

New RADIOHEAD Video - 'Weird Fishes/Arpeggi'

Tobias Stretch was the grand prize winner of Radiohead's animated video contest. As the winner, Stretch was given $10,000 to complete his vision for "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi". New videos for tracks "15 Step" and "Videotape" are also set to premiere later this week.

Radiohead - Weird Fishes - by Tobias Stretch

Radiohead will return to the road in March 2009, with preliminary dates in Mexico, Chile, and Brazil.

Friday, November 21, 2008

GRACE JONES - Hurricane


Like Halley's Comet, that crazy, disco-reggae queen from outerspace has finally returned and I have to tell you, I'm pleasantly surprised with the results. Hurricane is Grace Jones' first proper album since 1989's Bulletproof Heart. Not only does the new album maintain Jones' dynamic art-disco sensibilities, but it actually sounds remarkably fresh when compared with many original releases by younger artists today. I'm certainly not alone in my love of Hurricane, as Pitchfork just bestowed a 7.5 rating for the new album, describing it as, "Jones taking charge as one-woman wrecking crew but, more surprisingly, occasionally ratcheting things down to an introspective and intimate level as well."

With a little help from Tricky, Brian Eno, and Sly & Robbie, Hurricane is a hugely rewarding listen, particularly for Grace Jones fans. But with all the production wizardry present on the disc, it is Jones who is unmistakably perched in the driver's seat. On the stand out track "Williams' Blood" Jones sings of her family heritage over a grinding, dramatic beat. The track has an epic feel, but also comes off as sexy and soulful, a combination that perfectly marks the return of a true artist.

Hurricane is available now as an import in the US. You can get it here.

Williams Blood - Grace Jones

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BEACH HOUSE - "Used to Be"

Last month, Beach House released a one-off 7" of the track "Used to Be", backed with an early 4-track recording of "Apple Orchard". Now the single has a video to accompany it, shot in the desert outside Los Angeles and directed by Matt Amato. "Used to Be" follows up the Devotion LP, which was released last February and still remains one of my favorite albums of the year.

Beach House have announced a number of west coast dates with The Walkmen in January and will play some east coast dates of their own in December.

Dec. 06 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts*
Dec. 09 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg #
Dec. 10 Providence, RI Club Hell #
Dec. 11 Northampton, MA Iron Horse Music Hall #
Dec. 12 Boston, MA Museum of Fine Arts #
Jan. 19 Solana Beach, CA Belly Up Tavern*
Jan. 20 Los Angeles, CA Henry Fonda*
Jan. 21 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore*
Jan. 23 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom*
Jan. 24 Seattle, WA Neumos*

* = w/ The Walkmen
# = w/ Tickley Feather



Used To Be - Beach House

Wish I Lived in Australia


Modular Records, the home to luminaries such as Avalanches, The Presets, Cut Copy. New Young Pony Club, Klaxons, Van She, Ladyhawke and more, turns 10! This is going to be amazing. I kind of really do wish I lived in Australia. The event plays Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth in December. Tickets are almost sold out, so Australians get with it and get your tix now!

"NEVEREVERLAND is the musical wet dream Australia this December to celebrate Modular notching up double digits and turning ten. With The mighty, mighty Presets, the neo-awesome knights Klaxons, latte legends Cut Copy, DFA darlings Hercules And Love Affair and the rest of the completely bonkers line-up, NEVEREVERLAND will whisk you to a place beyond your brain’s limits, where the inescapable aural ecstasy is unimaginable."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vote for The Sky Report!

Hey guys, so The Sky Report just turned 2 years old!!! Wow! And it would be so great if you would give us the gift of a nomination for Best Music Blog at the 2008 Weblog Awards. To nominate us, go here and post a comment about The Sky Report. Be sure to include our name (The Sky Report) and web address (http://theskyreport.blogspot.com). And if you're still in the mood, give a thumbs up to any other comment about The Sky Report. It just takes a couple minutes and you can do it anonymously. Any awards or nominations do great things for us staying alive another year. 

The forum closes very soon and we are already very far behind, so please...if you're gonna do it, do it now.

Thanks so much in advance,
Scot

Thursday, November 13, 2008

BLUE SKY BLACK DEATH - Slow Burning Lights

San Francisco's Blue Sky Black Death have established an ever-growing underground following with their cutting edge hip-hop production skills and a series of recent albums and collaborations with Jean Grae, Holocaust, and Hieroglyphics to name just a few. Now, the duo of Kingston and Young God have made the bold move of recording a lo-fi, modern day trip-hop album with stunning new female vocalist Yes Alexander of The Casual Lust. Alexander's haunting vocals mesh brilliantly with BSBD's production, resulting in an unexpectedly refreshing album that I will definitely have on heavy rotation for some time.

Slow Burning Lights was released this week on Babygrande Records. You can buy it here.

Check out the tracks "Secrets" and "The Darkest Time"...

Secrets - Blue Sky Black Death

The Darkest Time - Blue Sky Black Death

ASOBI SEKSU - Hush


Asobi Seksu have announced the details surrounding their 3rd LP, which has been given the title Hush. The shoegaze-adoring band led by Yuki Chikudate and James Hanna will release the new album February 17th via Polyvinyl. That seems so far away, yes, but the first single hits internet shops next week. "Me & Mary" starts out with a rather bubbly vigor, but is quickly enveloped by an avalanche of noise and hallucinatory synths.

Hush follows the Brooklyn band's excellent 2006 effort Citrus. Check out the first single below.

Me & Mary - Asobi Seksu

FLEET FOXES Do Take Away Show

La Blogotheque captures the raw beauty of Seattle's Fleet Foxes in a brand new Take Away Show, shot in an abandoned gym in San Francisco last winter. The video finds the guys harmonizing gorgeously on the tracks "Sun Giant" and "White Winter Hymnal". Fleet Foxes' self-titled debut album was released on Sub Pop back in June and is destined to crop up on many year-end lists in the next few weeks.


-courtesy of Current TV.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS - The Crying Light

Antony and the Johnsons will release their 3rd LP The Crying Light on January 30th, 2009 via Secretly Canadian. The effort has been said to be greatly influenced by the "natural world" and a press release states that it could be an album "emblematic of its time, a reflection of the momentous changes that we are facing, within each of our private worlds as well as collectively, and how we are summoning the courage to start moving through them." Wow.

The Crying Light will feature the phenomenal track "Another World", a rightful contender for one of the best tracks of this year. With a breathtaking vocal by Antony Hegarty, alongside a harrowing piano refrain, "Another World" is a lament to the destruction of our planet in what is one of the most heartfelt pleads to take action I've ever heard. Sorry Al Gore.

And now I have the privilege of offering the track to you. Enjoy the beautiful talent of Antony and the Johnsons.

Antony and the Johnsons - Another World (mp3 link)

And here's the video...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Review
EL GUINCHO - Alegranza!
91%


El Guincho is the one-man project of Spanish musician Pablo Díaz-Reixa, a man deeply ensconced in a variety of influences ranging from sun-splashed 60’s harmonies and Afrobeat to Tropicália, dub, exotica and Bhangra, just to name a few. What’s fascinating about Alegranza! though, is how these varying influences are shaken and stirred into a drink of its own unique flavor.

The album kicks off perfectly with the celebratory island anthem “Palmitos Park”. A refreshing burst of tropical delight, the track utilizes a very Martin Denny-esque sample of “oohs” to great effect, creating the most inviting prelude in recent memory. The jubilant “Antillas” quickly follows, keeping the tempo up high in order to reel you in for the far more interesting core of the album; one that many critics have compared to last year’s brilliant Person Pitch LP by Panda Bear. And the similarities indeed exist, particularly the dramatic use of repetition throughout.

Alegranza! is a wildly colorful collage of sample loops, tribal chants, and tropical percussion that plays out like a mind-jangling dream that, at times, numbs the brain into a whimsical trance, but in fleeting moments successfully harnesses a sense of profoundness. The nine-track, 40-minute album is hugely infectious, which is impressive considering how truly bizarre it is. The disc slips further and further into a carnival of sounds and sonic chaos, but somehow remains utterly rhythmic and gorgeous.

On “Kalise”, a steel drum loop queues off a deep tribal beat and an array of repetitious Spanish chants, which ultimately builds up into a constellation of infectious grooves. “Buenos Matrimonios Ahi Fuera” begins with children chanting an innocent lament before sidling up to a jangly mix of percussion. A couple minutes in, the track seamlessly diverts into a strange, but hypnotizing sort of downtempo dub jam. And on tracks like “Costa Paraiso” and “Prez Legarto” the heart of this circus comes a little closer, as Díaz-Reixa reveals a voice that excels in live-looping, a contribution that could easily be overlooked in the barrage of sounds that are at work here.

In all its colorful beauty, Alegranza! is El Guincho’s unmistakable love letter to his birth-land of the Canary Islands. In fact, the title literally refers to a location in the Spanish territory. Though now based in Barcelona, Díaz-Reixa is clearly a romantic for the beautiful locale of his youth, as this is the explosive expression of one man’s unique upbringing in “paradise”.
-Scot Bowman

Originally published at kevchino.com.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Underground Alert - SHARON VAN ETTEN


Sharon Van Etten is a gorgeous singer/songwriter based in Bushwick, who recently got a lot of blog love during the CMJ Music Marathon. Her independent release of "home recordings" is a beautiful collection of raw and personal compositions that reveal an emerging voice of astounding talent. The opening track "I Wish I Knew" is so heart-wrenching I find myself gutted with every listen. I am kicking myself for accidentally missing her performance at the Northeast Kingdom lounge last night, but she is playing again at Zebulon in Brooklyn on Sunday night.

"I Wish I Knew" also appeared on this summer's Welcome to Bushwick compilation.

Sharon Van Etten - I Wish I Knew (stream)

Listen to more from Sharon Van Etten here. You can also purchase the limited edition independent debut via Paypal.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

MEGAPUSS - Surfing


Megapuss is the new band formed by Devendra Banhart and Greg Rogove of Priestbird. Though this project initially started out as a joke, the duo fleshed out the band with three other members, not least of which is Fabrizio Moretti (The Strokes) on drums. And now the joke has evolved into a full album release with Surfing, available now on Vapor Records.

Speaking of Fab Moretti, he also just released a new album with his other, other band Little Joy.

Megapuss clearly have a whole tongue 'n' cheek, homo-erotic, psychedelic freak-folk sensibility going on, but the music is actually kind of good. Check out the video for the first single "Adam & Steve", which Banhart says was inspired by George Michael's "Faith" video and "I'm Too Sexy", a bizarre combination for sure. But really, the whole concept around Megapuss is pleasantly...bizarre. And yes, that's a "Careless Whisper" riff you hear in the song.

Listen to Megapuss here. Buy the album here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

CAUSE CO-MOTION!


Cause Co-Motion! just released It's Time!, a compilation of the band's various singles over the last three years. The disc serves as the perfect starting point for those not familiar with the Brooklyn band. Cause Co-Motion! embody the angular aesthetic of post-punk bands like Wire and Gang of Four, meshed with a vintage, hand-clapping doo-wop, surf rock flavor. Their sound has been described as, "a blazing chaos of jangle, clatter, and thump - busted strings and broken hearts."

Cause Co-Motion! are currently touring the west coast, with a stop tonight in San Francisco.

Nov. 04 San Francisco, CA Bottom of the Hill
Nov. 05 Sacramento, CA Luigi's Fun Garden
Nov. 06 Eugene, OR Samurai Duck
Nov. 07 Portland, OR Holocene
Nov. 08 Olympia, WA The Big Room
Nov. 09 Seattle, WA Chop Suey


Cause Co-Motion! - Which Way Is Up? (mp3)

Slumberland Records

CRYSTAL STILTS - Alight of Night


The only "Crystal" I didn't see this year at CMJ was Crystal Stilts, the brooding band from Brooklyn with a penchant for lo-fi nostalgia. The band just released their debut LP Alight of Night, a moody collection of songs that transport you to those smoke-filled, heroin-tinged parties you see photos of in books about The Velvet Underground. The music seems perfectly tailored around Brad Hargett's deep, vintage voice. Organist Kyle Forrester (Ladybug Transistor) and drummer Frankie Rose (Vivian Girls) perfectly add to a sound that has been dubbed by one writer as "avant-garage". I don't really know what that means, but Alight of Night will likely serve as the perfect winter soundtrack for many music lovers over the coming months, myself included.


Crystal Stilts - Shattered Shine (mp3)

TELEPATHE


Brooklyn's Telepathe are prepping the release of their debut full-length, Dance Mother. The album is being recorded with Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio and will feature contributions Kyp Malone (TVOTR) and Shannon Funchess (of !!!). According to a press release, "Access to Sitek's vintage synthesizer collection, combined with deep electronic sub-bass lines influenced by hours of listening to dub-step, gave the duo's homemade music making a new sonic purity and gave them the confidence and the stylistic singularity to transcend genres."

Telepathe have been on the road with Diplo on the Mad Decent Tour, also featuring Boy 8-Bit and Abe Vigoda. Dance Mother isn't out until February 17th, but check out "Chrome's On It" from the recent EP of the same name.


Telepathe-Chrome's On It (mp3)