Nothing but rumors!

There's been a number of rumors lately about the imminent demise of Toronto's Broken Social Scene. Fortunately, it appears this talk was just the mischief of BSS's Kevin Drew. So the band is still together, still playing shows, and recording a follow up to You Forgot It In People.

While we wait for that, BSS guitarist Andrew Whitman has developed quite an interesting and unique side project, entitled Apostle of Hustle. You can check out Whitman's work on the just released album Folkloric Feel. Imagine BSS's dense soundscapes combined with the influences of Cuban folk music. Out of this mixture comes an intimate album of darkness and romance. It's my current favorite.

Whitman actually spent two months in Cuba teaching himself to play Cuban guitar and generally soaking up the sounds of Spanish culture. You can read more about the creation of Apostle of Hustle over at Tag Team Media

I stumbled upon the band Aberfeldy a week or so ago, via 75 or Less. And since then, I've actually only listened to their new album Young Forever (Rough Trade) in entirety a handful of times. Aberfeldy are coming from the same twee-pop territory as Belle and Sebastian, but are a little more folky and poppy. Young Forever was actually recorded with just one microphone. Pitchfork panned it mainly for bad lyrics, and I think they went too far. It's an enjoyable chaturbate album, but it's a little saccharine and I seem to get my fill about halfway through - the songs don't have as much depth as B+S. But damn, they are catchy. Case in point - "A Friend Like You", which starts the album and has been stuck in my head since my first listen. I was logging a few listens a day last week, and the hook still hasn't let go.

Aberfeldy's site has an MP3 of "A Friend Like You" available for download that's worth a listen - check it out. I suspect this song may make an appearance on some future mixes of mine.

Spinning at SubTonic

Picking up on the microhouse tip from yesterday, Daniel Bell will be spinning at SubTonic on September 24. I picked up on Bell's 2003 mix The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back! a few months ago, and it's quickly become a favorite. Villalobos got me started on the genre, but I soon realized that pretty much no one else sounds like him. I think of Villalobos and Michael Mayer as two pillars of microhouse - Villalobos is the most blippy and textured, and Mayer opts for a more melodic tech-house. And I put Bell somewhere in between. Take all of this with a grain of salt - I suck with house subgenres in general, let alone microhouse subgenres. But Daniel Bell is the real deal.

As for SubTonic, they've got a party going on tonight with all sorts of interesting dance music. One of the DJ's is Philip Sherburne, who has a good Schaffel mix available for download here. Kompakt has popularized Schaffel - the beats have a cool shuffling rhythm to them. (I'm not too sharp with time signatures, but my understanding is that it's not the standard 4/4.) Scott Mou, Pjay, and Ezekiel Honig are also performing.

Subtonic is the bar/lounge underneath the Tonic on Norfolk St., just above Delancey. I believe it used to be a kosher winery. You can sit in hollowed-out wine casks. And what more do you need?

Don't be afraid... or do!

Field Day will be back next year. Be afraid. Hopefully they won't screw this one up as badly as last year's. And if the Beastie Boys do play, hopefully they'll do better than their trainwreck of a set at the first one.

Four mixes from Sami Koivikko, available for download here, exploring micro and minimal tech-house. I haven't heard them yet, but they're meant to be excellent. And Koivikko has tracks on Triple R's Friends and Tobias Thomas's Smallville, among other mixes - a pretty solid resume.

The Denver Post reviews Kill Your Idols, a new collection of essays where music critics attack the classic albums of rock n' roll - Sgt. Pepper, Pet Sounds, Dark Side of the Moon, Blood on the Tracks, etc. They also include some newer releases like OK Computer and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Negative reviews always make for interesting reading, and I'm sure that'll be the case with jasminlive albums like these involved.

Speaking of classics, Pitchfork drops a perfect 10.0 on the new 3 disc reissue of London Calling. Apparently one of the five new tracks on the bonus disc is a cover of Dylan's "The Man in Me" which, among other things, is the song playing during the opening credits to The Big Lebowski. I bet the Clash version kills - very curious to hear it.

why should I apologize for my own taste

I almost began this post with a disclaimer, actually something close to an apology for being a dedicated U2 fan. Then I thought, So U2 may never have the imprimatur of the "indy" rock kids. So what. In my opinion they write inspiring, passionate music that never fails to reach me. It's important to distinguish between a band's popularity and its artistic merits. These do not have to be mutually exclusive. OK, wait - this is turning into a defense of my liking U2 and I didn't want to do that, right? I'll stop and get to the point.

It's been almost four years since U2 released its last album, All That You Can't Leave Behind. This month will see the debut of the first single from its highly anticipated, yet untitled new album, due in November. The single, titled "Vertigo," is scheduled for radio release on September 23. Further details on the album itself have been scarce. We've had some quotes from the band and others within its circle. A few days ago, six track names were announced by NME. Now today, XFM is reporting the full track list has been leaked. Many of these names have been floating around the Internet for awhile, so there aren't a lot of surprises. Here's the list:

Vertigo

Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own

City of Blinding Lights

A Man And A Woman

Yahweh

Crumbs From Your Table

All Because Of You

Tough

Miracle Drug

Full Metal Jacket/Native Son

Love, Peace Or Else

My early thoughts

I made a bunch of additions to the iPod this weekend. I've only gotten to some of them so far, but my early thoughts:

Neu! - Neu! For years, I've heard Neu! mentioned as a big influence on many bands I dig, especially my beloved Stereolab. I finally got my first Kraftwerk album last week, so this seemed the next logical step. Opening track "Hallogallo" is totally the jam, and seems the blueprint for some of the Lab's best music. The rest of the album passed me by pretty quickly though - I think I need to play it loud, and not at work. Everyone says this is a classic.

The Arcade Fire - Funeral. This is getting a ton of hype, and after two listens I think it might actually be worthy. They sound somewhere between Neutral Milk Hotel and the Flaming Lips to me, but with a ton of other reference points. I need more time with it, but it's pretty damn good so far. This will be getting many more spins, for sure.

Schaffelfieber 2. This is one of the better compilations I've heard from Kompakt so far. I'd heard some Schaffel in other Kompakt releases, but Philip Sherburne's excellent mix "Schaffel is Stronger than Pride" (available here) was my crash course. After hearing Sherburne spin a great live set, I resolved to hear more of it - starting with the Schaffelfieber series. I've read (and barely understood) more complicated music theory descriptions, but Schaffel is basically house music with a shuffle beat - extra beats accented on top of a 4/4 rhythm. It's a distinctive sound, perhaps too much so to become widespread, but over the course of this compilation it's quite enjoyable. Pretty unique, very funky, and definitely recommended - especially if you already enjoy the Kompakt sound. I'm starting to wonder if they can do anything wrong.

I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness EP. This band's straight-up indie rock is not quite as distinctive as their name, but that might be an impossible task. Even though it doesn't break much ground, it's still well-written and catchy with enough twists (like the disco beats in "When You Go Out") to keep things interesting. I'm looking forward to hearing a full-length from them.

Pam-pam!

I can't find much information on this yet beyond a tracklisting, but it appears Perlon Records is releasing a new Ricardo Villalobos mini-album on October 12, entitled thé au harem d'archimède. Though, judging by the number of tracks and how long his songs tend to be, this "mini" album seems like it'll have some meat on it:

1. hireklon

2. serpentin

3. forallseasons

4. théorème d'archimede

5. hello halo

6. temenarc 2

7. temenarc 1

8. miami

9. true to myself

I've become a pretty big fan of microhouse over the past year or so, and it all started with Villalobos and his 2003 album Alcachofa. I'd never heard anything like it - bubbling, intricate rhythms and layered beats everywhere, with the pieces constantly changing. House music for headphones that was really innovative but not at the cost of accessibility. His songs don't hit you over the head though, instead pulling you in gradually. That said, it took one listen to the 10 minutes of Alcachofa's opener "Easy Lee" to sell me on it. His mix Taka Taka is also top-notch, but I'm psyched to see a new album of originals on the horizon.

Plus One of my favorite songs of all time has to be "Ceremony" by Joy Division/New Order. From the melancholy of the guitar and bass lines to the beautiful and haunting imagery in Ian Curtis's lyrics, it's an amazing tune that never grows old.

This has a cover of "Ceremony" as performed by Galaxie 500 available for download. It's from the recently released G500 DVD, Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste (1987-1991). While it can't quite measure up to the brilliance of the original, it's certainly worth a listen.

Two interesting events tonight in NYC:

Tim Sweeney spins at Happy Ending to celebrate the release of his RVNG MX3 CD. This is one of the mixes I picked up over the weekend at Other Music and have been digging all week. Near the end, he goes from Carl Craig's "Climax" into Cat Power's "Free" and it's pretty damn cool. It tells me I need to hear more Carl Craig - I always hear his name but rarely the music. Anyway, they'll apparently be giving out some free copies of Sweeney's new mix at the party tonight. It's less than $5 to begin with, but free is free and there's also no cover.

APT, on the other hand, is charging $5 but you'll get into Ghostly International's third and final Spectral Sessions party as well as an open vodka bar from 9-10. Ghostly has been getting much love in the press this year - they were even Rolling Stone's label of choice in the Hot List issue - and Matthew Dear, Broker/Dealer, and Ryan Elliot will be manning the decks tonight. Dear is the star of the bunch, winning much acclaim with Leave Luck to Heaven and the newer Backstroke EP. Both are pretty good, but I preferred his DJ set at Dizzee Rascal's Volume show earlier this year when he focused less on the vocals and more on the beats. As for Broker/Dealer, Flavorpill calls their Initial Public Offering LP "eminently addictive minimal techno with subtle melodies and mood shifts" ... sounds interesting.

As for me, I'll be passing on both. It's a friend's birthday and there is kielbasa and lager to be had.

PJ Harvey Returns to the City

Several weeks ago I posted on the Strokes's plan to release a live album later this year. Turns out they've scrapped that idea. According to NME, singer Julian Casablancas was dissatisfied with the quality of the recording. The album was to document a show recorded last Christmas in London.

With that distraction out of the way, the Strokes will focus on recording their third album. Gordon Raphael, producer of Is This It and Room on Fire returns to the boards. Whether this means we shouldn't expect any major revolutions in the patented Strokes sound, I don't know. I'd certainly be more excited if they tried out Nigel Godrich again, but we all know how that turned out last time.

Plus it's been a while since I posted on one of my objects of obsession, PJ Harvey. Yesterday it was announced Polly Jean will make a visit to NYC, October 6th at the Hammerstein Ballroom, as part of her fall U.S. tour. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, at 10:00 AM, EDT. I saw PJ Harvey several times during her stint as U2's opening act on the 2001 Elevation tour and can definitely recommend her live show.

Five-date tour

M83 made their live US debut last night at the Bowery Ballroom, starting a five-date tour. Nicolas Fromageau and Anthony Gonzalez pretty much do it all on M83's excellent Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts and I expected last night's show to be just the two of them with massive keyboard setups. Instead, I was surprised to see just one Roland on stage - and they didn't even use it on every song. Turns out M83 become a four piece band live, with drums, bass and guitar being the focus.

Unfortunately, it fell a little flat. What I love about Dead Cities is how textured the songs sound - the synthesizers are incredibly rich and always shifting. It was much more straight up on live guitars, and a bit boring as a result. Though my bigger gripe is that most of the songs had prerecorded keyboard parts, and not just little sounds but actual melodies. There were times when the entire band was just standing around while samples played - the squelchy synth breakdown on "Unrecorded" and the entire introduction to "Run Into Flowers" come to mind. While they absolutely had their moments - "Be Wild" and show closer "Noise" both had excellent building walls of sound - I found it hard to get past the recorded bits, especially with four people involved.

Ulrich Schnauss opened up, and he had quite a bit prerecorded as well. But it was just him on stage, and he got pretty creative with the songs - so it worked. I don't know Schnauss's latest A Strangely Isolated Place too well, but he played a few songs from it along with some new material. From his technique, I wouldn't be surprised if Ulrich was classically trained on piano - very impressive on the keyboard. And he coaxed some fantastically dense sounds out of it, pounding away with a bunch of pedals there to help out. He had a laptop to lay down beats and simple backing tracks, but you got the sense that it was mostly live. I need to spend some more time with the album - I remember liking it, and based on last night I think I put it away too quickly.

Live electronic music almost inevitably uses samples, but the best shows get creative with them - either using them as an instrument or just as backing tracks. Ulrich Schnauss had the balance right, and hopefully M83 will find it next time around. Based on Dead Cities, they certainly have the chops.