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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New ROYKSOPP - "Happy Up Here"

Royksopp, the electronic duo from Norway, are on the verge of releasing their latest album Junior. The new LP features guest appearances from Lykke Li, Robyn, and our most recent obsession, Karin Dreijer Andersson (Fever Ray/The Knife). And for some lucky Brits, Fever Ray will also be opening for Royksopp in London on March 11th.

As a precursor to the new release, Royksopp offer up this bouncy, escapist video for the lead-off track "Happy Up Here". Junior drops March 23 via Astralwerks.

Happy Up Here from Röyksopp on Vimeo.

Live Review
LEONARD COHEN, Beacon Theatre
02.19.09 NYC

by Matthew Dunehoo, contributor

Last Thursday Leonard Cohen made a majestic return to the New York City stage, his first performance in the city in, as he himself proclaimed from the stage, “15 years, when I was but a young thing of 60.”

Tickets were prohibitively expensive, and made first available to members of the Leonard Cohen fan club. But, as my friend Adam plugged away at Ticketmaster’s website repeatedly the morning they went on sale, in a succession of rapid-fire searches, we came up with three over a period of an hour, and later drew straws. Goes to show you.

Earlier that week I’d had a conversation with my friend Won about who we most admired as lyricist, and I could hardly utter a name. It appears as if, for some strange reason, I’ve been listening all these years to sounds foremost, not words; To moods and colors in music primarily, and often times ignoring the story. If there was often one to be told, I was unawares.

This coming from someone who has the obligatory archive of wrecked Bob Dylan LP’s, listened to Woody Guthrie EXPLICITLY for the tape hiss, and has never embraced the Boss.

Still…I would be lying if I were to say that Cohen’s poetry hadn’t gone hand in hand in my head with the atmospherics of many of his bitter, fragile, beautiful arrangements in his canon. To divorce the music from the prose of Leonard Cohen is impossible, and one of the things that’s propelled him to such a position of prominence as a songwriter.

“I was born like this, I had no choice. I was born with the gift of a golden voice….”

Some will see this verse as Cohen’s humor, irony, some will see it as science. But all will hear it, and it will resonate with the same ambiguity as one may first encounter when first discovering the feeling that is Leonard Cohen.

I remember being under the impression that to listen to Leonard Cohen was to be depressed. That to play one of his albums, A and B, back to back, was to invoke a dour mood, the sort that wrists fall prey to. Afterall, wasn’t Kurt Cobain paying homage to Cohen in “Pennyroyal Tea,” asking for a Leonard Cohen afterworld. What sort of haunted world was I to imagine that to be, at 16?

But on the 19th, Cohen’s presence and performance was anything but haunted. He was joyous. He was joyous in his scant, anecdotal rapport with the crowd. He was joyous in paying homage to his band, member by descriptive member, twice…. And he was joyous in literally skipping off the stage between encore, between encore, between encore.

I’m thankful for having had the opportunity to witness the legend at work, and for those who missed this performance, I’m told Cohen will be embarking upon an official U.S. tour later this year.

I recommend scraping together the change and catching him the second time around. And don’t bother looking for his language echoing through whatever hall he graces next. It will undoubtedly find you.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New DEPECHE MODE - "Wrong"

Depeche Mode have released the first video from their forthcoming 12th studio album Sounds of the Universe. The new single "Wrong" is classic Depeche Mode. Nothing shocking, nothing new, but really good. The video on the other hand is amazing. It was directed by Patrick Daughters, known for his memorable work on videos by Feist (1,2,3,4) and Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Maps). Check out the disturbing video below.

Sounds of the Universe hits stores April 21st via Capitol/Mute.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Psychedelic vocoder fanatics Black Moth Super Rainbow are prepping the follow-up to 2007's Dandelion Gum, set for release on May 26th through Graveface Records. Eating Us marks the first "modern studio" effort from the mysterious and experimental band from Pittsburgh. And with producer Dave Fridmann (MGMT, Flaming Lips) on board, Eating Us is sure to harness a whole new plethora of listeners.

The release also follows the recent success of founding member Tom Fec's side project, Tobacco. The Fucked Up Friends LP found itself in the top ten of our 2008 year-end list and has stayed on heavy rotation ever since.

For an educational shopping spree through the twisted world of Black Moth Super Rainbow and Tobacco, take a trip here.

Sample - Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eating Us medley

Black Moth Super Rainbow - Sun Lips (music video 2007)

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Teengirl Fantasy would like you to think that they are indeed a 13 year old girl with a glittery website on Angelfire, but really they are a couple of dudes from Oberlin College in Ohio. The duo make drone-laden, synth/noise/disco that recalls Harmonia. The track "Portofino" has had me intrigued for months. Get the 7" at Rough Trade.

Teengirl Fantasy - Portofino (mp3)

Check out this awesome video, made for the Teengirl Fantasy remix of Telepathe's "Devil's Trident". The collaboration is fitting as the two acts play Market Hotel (Bushwick) tomorrow.

Telepathe - Devil's Trident (Teengirl Fantasy Basic Sensation Dub) from Mark Brown on Vimeo.

ST. VINCENT Returns with Actor

-photo by Annabel Mehran

St. Vincent will follow-up her critically acclaimed debut Marry Me with the new LP Actor.

"Actor takes the ambitious compositional and sonic underpinnings of Clark's debut as a starting point and never looks back. The arrangements are more masterful, the songwriting grander, the performances ever more confident and inspired. "I wanted to make these songs technicolor animatronic rides," says Clark."

Actor will be released May 5th via 4AD, preceded by the single "Actor Out of Work" on April 20th.

Actor tracklist:

1. The Strangers
2. Save Me From What I Want
3. Neighbours
4. Actor Out Of Work
5. Black Rainbow
6. Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood
7. Marrow
8. The Bed
9. The Party
10. Just The Same But Brand New
11. The Sequel

Slumberland Records

-photo by Annie Powers

This is sort of a repost, but I'm so into the new album from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart I felt compelled to give it another shout. The self-titled debut is available now on Slumberland Records. I'm especially loving the album track "Young Adult Friction". The band has that lo-fi nostalgic pop sound that gets me every time.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Everything With You (mp3)

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart "Everything With You" from Slumberland Records on Vimeo.


Another great jem on Slumberland...

Crystal Stilts - Crystal Stilts (mp3)

Crystal Stilts "Prismatic Room" from Slumberland Records on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have unleashed their new single "Zero" and I think it's kind of amazing. The track abandons guitars for synths and borrows hugely from an array of great artists like Giorgio Moroder, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and Madonna just to name a few. But I think the YYY's have taken the best elements of dark glam disco and created something all their own. "Zero" marks a major change in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' sound. Stream the new track here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

New FEVER RAY Video - "When I Grow Up"

Martin de Thurah directed the second clip from Fever Ray's upcoming album, due March 24th via Mute. The new video is creepy and bizarre, but at the same time, beautiful and engaging.

When I Grow Up from Fever Ray on Vimeo.

Fever Ray is Karin Dreijer of The Knife. Thurah also directed the Royksopp video for "What Else Is There", which also featured Dreijer.

New PRESETS Video "If I Know You"

Harkening back to the days of pop/new wave, The Presets present an awesome new video for the track "If I Know You". The clip was directed by Eva Husson, known for her recent video for M83's "Kim and Jessie". Apocalypso was released last year via Modular.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Review by Matthew Dunehoo, contributor

The Antlers’ Hospice features artwork that is delicate but painfully red, and the title instills more dread than anything ever conjured by Cannibal Corpse. Supposedly the self-released album began as a narrative if not a memoir of Peter Silberman’s experiences with self-imposed isolation and discouragement experienced shortly after arriving in New York City, 2006. Here, Silberman is joined by a full band, as well as Brooklyn vocalist Sharon Van Etten.

There is an undeniable thread of sadness pervading Hospice. One envisions the still air found in rooms of care for those with terminal illness. The distant sounds here swell, become throbbing sensations, cede again. As with sickness, there is a sedentary nature to the record, it’s often parked and it festers, but with all the fascinating, hallucinatory imagery one may imagine the terminally ill (or deeply heartbroken) to encounter.

The two singles from the album are excellent pop songs. “Two” became a blog darling after its September 2008 release and “Bear” was released just last month. Neither one of these tunes contain the same degree of imminent fear and vulnerability that the majority of the album’s songs seem to. Siberman’s delivery is more rollicking, bolder, as demonstrated:

“Daddy was an asshole and he fucked you up, built the gears in your head, now he greases them up.”

Moments like these serve to remind that not all of hospice lives on cold linens; there is real dream sway here, blissed tunefulness. Though, for the most part the lyrics remain focused on physical and emotional confrontation and discomfort, conveyed via shimmering falsetto.

The Antlers will release Hospice, on March 3rd, 2009.

The Antlers - Bear (mp3)
The Antlers - Two (mp3)

CD release party at Union Hall, March 5th.

Sharon Van Etten

Saturday, February 14, 2009

GRIZZLY BEAR Unveil Veckatimest

Brooklyn's Grizzly Bear are set to release their third proper lp Veckatimest on May 26th via Warp. The album's title comes from the name of some island off the coast of Massachusetts. The band are rumored to be hitting the road soon and have already scheduled a performance at BAM on February 28th, backed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic.

Grizzly Bear - Shift (La Blogotheque)

Grizzly Bear - Knife (official video)

Veckatimest tracklist:

01 Southern Point
02 Two Weeks
03 All We Ask
04 Fine for Now
05 Cheerleader
06 Dory
07 Ready, Able
08 About Face
09 Hold Still
10 While You Wait for the Others
11 I Live With You
12 Foreground

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Interview with YES ALEXANDER

Bay area dj's Blue Sky Black Death recruited The Casual Lust vocalist Yes Alexander to collaborate on Slow Burning Lights. The album was released last November and has received acclaim for its haunting sounds and beautiful vocals. Amos Mac sat down with Alexander in San Francisco around the time of the release. Here's a portion of what transpired.

Interview and photos by Amos Mac, contributor

The Sky Report: Blue Sky Black Death are a hip-hop act and your past work with The Casual Lust has a very intimate, folk sound. How did this unlikely collaboration come about?

Yes Alexander: Blue Sky Black Death knew a girl that went to one of my shows with The Casual Lust while I was recording and living in Portland. [They] needed a [female] vocalist and they kind of wanted to spawn out into the indie world, as in fly away from the underground hip-hop rap circuit that they were more inclined to produce. With that they found me, and I was only supposed to be on a couple of tracks but it went so well I ended up being on every track. So they flew me up to Seattle, with Kingston. Young God was in San Francisco, so the 2nd half of Slow Burning Lights was recorded in SF.

TSR: Can you talk about the recording process of Slow Burning Lights? Did you write the lyrics, or was it more of a collaboration?

Yes: When I went up to Seattle, actually BEFORE I went to Seattle, Kingston sent me a couple tracks - and I had no idea what the fuck to do with [them]. (Laughs) It was so confusing I had no idea how to sing to this type of music. I'm not like a gospel singer singing trip-hop, you know? So I was very nervous. I went to Kingston's home studio. He played one of the tracks he had sent me, and he was like "no, that’s not really what I was looking for..." (he's hard to read.)... So, Kingston played me another track and the same thing happened. My confidence was sliding out the door. Then he played me this completely new track and [we] let it resonate for like 20 minutes, and within that time period I wrote a whole song, right there, and I sang it to him an he was like "THAT'S what I'm looking for." I had to completely mellow out my voice, which was even harder than singing really intensely and really loud. It was hard for me, and EXCITING.

TSR: Are there any plans for a tour?

Yes: Well no dates figured out, but this is the first time Blue Sky Black Death have had a desire to tour and I think its going to be fantastic. Touring is my favorite thing to do in the whole world and I'm really excited to do it with a new band, with new energy.

TSR: Do you plan on working with The Casual Lust again?

Yes: Yes, we recorded at Different Fur studios in San Francisco in early summer 2008, and we're just waiting for the mix to get mastered and shop the album around. Both of my band mates are in other cities - Seattle and Olympia - so its difficult. With that project, it’s a huge endeavor to get together.

TSR: What are you working on right now?

Yes: With Blue Sky Black Death we already have a few songs for the next album that we're pushing out. We wanna have it done in the next few months. The next album is gonna [have] more energy, it's gonna jump out more. I'm not saying it's not as dark as Slow Burning Lights in some areas, but its kind of mind blowing and I'm really proud of it.

TSR: Will the next album be the same style as this one? What elements might go in different directions?

Yes: I think we've gotten more comfortable about working with each other in the creative process, like I understand where they are coming from more. With that I think we're gaining strength and we're able to push the bar in terms of going to places that might be scarier, which is a really great place to be.

TSR: Is it hard to pinpoint what genre Slow Burning Lights falls into? How would you describe it?

Yes: It’s like we have this background of trip-hop, dirty beats mixed in with these strange samples. You can categorize different parts of our music, but to categorize it as a whole is kind of impossible at this point. Some say indie-pop, some say trip-hop, but it’s not really. I guess if you blend in everything together...

TSR: Your voice is absolutely gorgeous. What female vocalists have inspired your work?

Yes: From Nina Simone to Janis Joplin to Siouxsie. Even when I was younger, Tori Amos, Neko Case, Joan Jett, going back into the 80s rock and roll movements, definitely all the 80s pop, then like Madonna, performance-wise, even how they can make an impact with quote unquote "selling out" makes a difference.

TSR: What is your favorite track on the album?

Yes: It’s hard because I feel like we have a separation between the more dramatic ethereal tracks to the more poppy feel good music almost, but I think overall the most solid track is "Secrets." I think it’s the best track because it just evokes a certain emotion that makes you makes you not want to stop listening. I think people will really like it.

TSR: So you wrote all the songs on this album, what kind of things inspire you when you are writing lyrics?

Yes: Death, Sex and Heart. I think everything kind of evolves around that.

Slow Burning Lights


Pitchfork reports that Yeah Yeah Yeahs will release It's Blitz! on April 14th! Yes! If the above cover artwork is any indication, this album is going to be kick ass.

Blitz was co-produced by Dave Sitek and Nick Launay, and features guest appearances by Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio. The first single is called "Zero" - we should be getting a taste of it soon.

April 14th! The countdown begins now.

BOTTIN - "No Static"

Space age disco never gets old. Italians Do It Better have unearthed another great new artist with Bottin, an Italian producer/DJ from Venice. Bottin's first release on the imprint is the 12" for "No Static", a modern Italo-disco jam. Check out the new video...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

THE JUAN MACLEAN - The Future Will Come

The Juan Maclean will finally release their sophomore LP The Future Will Come via DFA on April 14th. The disc follows up the 2005 debut Less Than Human, a fantastic dance-electro album that deserves repeated listens.

On the new LP, Juan Maclean recruits vocalist Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem, as well as synth duo Holy Ghost! and !!! drummer Jerry Fuchs. Based on these facts, I'm thinking this is gonna be one hot and sweaty opus of a dance record. A single release for "One Day" is coming soon with a new video as well.

Sample a looped snippet of the closing track "Happy House" at

The Future Will Come tracklist:

01 The Simple Life
02 The Future Will Come
03 One Day
04 A New Bot
05 Tonight
06 No Time
07 Accusations
08 The Station
09 Human Disaster
10 Happy House


Nite Jewel are the Los Angeles lo-fi, minimalist dance-pop duo of Ramona Gonzalez and Emily Jane. The debut album Good Evening is set for release in March on Human Ear Music. Check out the album track "Weak For Me" and the new video for "Artificial Intelligence" below.

Nite Jewel are also playing Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan on March 7, opening for Glass Candy! The event is an Italians Do It Better party, so you know it will be a great, great time. Twisted Wire and Mike Simonetti will also be on hand.

Nite Jewel - Weak For Me (mp3)

Nite Jewel
Good Evening
(Human Ear)
Street date: March 17, 2009
1. Bottom Rung
2. Suburbia
3. What Did He Say
4. Weak For Me
5. Heart Won't Start
6. Universal Mind
7. Artificial Intelligence
8. Let's Go (The Two of Us Together)
9. Chimera
10. Lover

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New CHAIRLIFT Video - "Evident Utensil"

Chairlift became an indie sensation last year when their song was used in an iPod Nano commercial. Now the trio from Brooklyn have a new video for the track "Evident Utensil". The video is a real trip. Singer Caroline Polachek rolls around the frame in crazy, warped pixelation as her band mates seemingly stalk her in the fuzzed-out background. The track is definitely a lot stranger than "Bruises", but also way more interesting.

Chairlift are playing BAM on February 13th with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The LP Does You Inspire You? is available now on Kanine Records.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

WAVVES - "So Bored (live at Different Fur, SF)

This Wavves video is awesome. It starts with a very casual interview, then launches into a live rendition of "So Bored", a standout on the forthcoming sophomore LP.

Wavves Part 1 by Yours Truly from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Monday, February 02, 2009

New AIR FRANCE Video - "No Excuses"

Air France of Gothenberg, Sweden have shot a new video for "No Excuses", taken from their lovely 2008 EP No Way Down. Directed by Marcus Soderlund, the clip is simple - basically just footage of a surfer riding the waves - but is perfectly suited for this lush and dreamy track.

No Way Down is available now on SincerelyYours, or digitally here.