Stephen Wilkinson, the English composer/producer known as Bibio, was recommended to the experimental electronic music stalwarts at Mush Records by one of the genre's pacesetters, Boards of Canada's Marcus Eoin. Boards' take on electronic music is so eminent and frequently imitated that it's become almost a sub-genre in itself. Their seal of approval is a valuable currency, and their scintillating ambience is a clear influence on Bibio's music. So is the fractured mien of esoteric electronic acts like Aphex Twin and Autechre, who Bibio discovered while studying music at the University of London. Of these three influences, Autechre is the most cold and sterile; Boards the most emotive, although in this sort of music, emotion generally manifests as a tension between human desire and artificial systems-- the raw stuff of feeling abstracted and viewed through a microscope. It seems to say: this is what it would feel like to feel, were genuine emotion possible in an age of ramifying obsolescence.
To that end, Bibio inflates his music with more verdure and humanity than any of the aforementioned acts, as a large part of his style involves yoking heavily processed electronics to pastoral guitar lines and natural found sound, liked a glitched-out Windsor for the Derby. "Bibio", apparently, is the name of a fishing lure Wilkinson's father used on trips to Wales where a young Stephen developed his love of natural sounds. Surprisingly, his naturalist aesthetic rubs placidly against the ambient disarray of his debut, fi, a shoegazing drone that pays homage to the natural world simply by documenting it-- by listening, a simple thing that many of us often forget to do. Bibio sometimes veers toward the vanishing minimalism of Keith Fullerton Whitman, as on opening track "Cherry Blossom Road", where a quiet, beatific synth tone wraps around itself again and again. But just as often, he indulges a sort of breathy melodicism, as on the gleaming arpeggios of "Bewley in White" and "Looking Through the Facets of a Plastic Jewel".
Full Review & Interview at Pitchfork
Those lucky enough to score a "miracle" ticket to the Fare Thee Well concerts this summer were treated to some potent psychedelic jams during the shows' intermissions. The mysterious group behind those freewheeling tunes was Circles Around the Sun, a band convened by guitarist Neal Casal specifically for the project. The songs were composed and recorded during a two-day jam session. The results were so captivating, and the audience response so overwhelmingly positive, Rhino decided to give the music a proper release as a 2CD apart from the complete versions of Fare Thee Well.
Rock stars who’ve run out of songwriting ideas and need to make a stopgap album of other people’s songs should immediately consult veteran punk-and-metal frontman Glenn Danzig’s first album in five years.
The cover image, a spoof of David Bowie’s “Pin Ups,” depicting Danzig and a woman in goth horror-movie makeup, is a hint that these covers won’t exactly be reverential versions of precious museum pieces. Danzig’s Elvis Presley is the Nancy Sinatra co-star in 1968’s “Speedway,” pledging to teach us what love’s all about in “Let Yourself Go”; his Aerosmith is the leering ’70s obscurity “Lord of the Thighs.”
Full Review & Interview at Newsday
Dweezil Zappa's new album is top-heavy with the influence of father Frank and bottom-loaded with harmony-drenched pop songs.
Dweezil has been performing Frank's music for years, but on Via Zammata, the Sicilian street his family emigrated from, the paternal effect only goes so far.
The elder Zappa would have smiled at the distorted arrangements provided his clichéd heavy metal lyrics on "Dragon Master," the only co-write between father and son. On "Malkovich," Dweezil sets up actor John Malkovich by letting him read a classic philosophical text before asking him what the heck he is talking about. Both say yes to Frank's question of, "Does humor belong in music?"
Full Review & Interview at The Washington Post
With so many compilations already out there, it might be easy to question why a soundtrack to JACO is even necessary. But one look at the track listing renders its raison d'être clear: JACO: Original Soundtrack is, in some ways, the most comprehensive document of the bassist's career, even if it doesn't contain as much music as previous double-disc sets. Yes, there is plenty of time given to his leader debut, Jaco Pastorius (Epic, 1976), with everything from the soul/funk of "Come On, Come Over" and the ethereal "Continuum" to the hauntingly beautiful "Portrait of Tracy" and the atmospheric, harmonic-driven feature for French horn and percussion, "Okonkole yTrompa."
But there's also space for a couple of tracks from his second album (and 1981 Warner Bros. debut), Word of Mouth, including the staggeringly chaotic album- opener, "Crisis," and more bouyant and accessible big band chart, "Liberty City"- which, in addition to jazz giant Herbie Hancock, also features Pastorius' longtime friends from his Florida days, steel pan player Othello Molineaux and percussionist Don Alias.
Full Review & Interview at All About Jazz
New York City-based punk collective Leftöver Crack is preparing to release its third full-length album, Constructs of the State, on Fat Wreck Chords. Fronted by project constant Scott "Stza Crack" Sturgeon (guitar and vocals), this band still seems determined to write and play aggressive yet melodic music to which they add varied lyrical content centered on important political and social issues. Stza, along with Leftöver Crack's current lineup - Alec Baillie (bass, vocals), Brad Logan (guitar, vocals), Chris Mann (guitar, vocals), and Donny Morris (drums) - enlisted the help of a bunch of talented and notable musicians and vocalists throughout the punk scene to contribute to the record. Among those artists are: Jesse Michaels (Operation Ivy, Common Rider, Classics of Love, etc), Erik Petersen (Mischief Brew), Zack Religious (Blackbird Raum),Whitney Flynn (Days N Daze), Penny Rimbaud (Crass), Joe Jack Talcum (The Dead Milkmen), and many others.
Musically, LöC wanders freely between the open borders of anarcho-punk and crusty ska, with brief excursions into folk-punk, metal, and a few other styles. This music makes the message that much more powerful, as Stza and friends sing, scream and growl about the mental slavery and spiritual surrender of religion, the endless harassment and senseless violence perpetrated by the police, the horrors of addiction, the ugliness of corporate greed, the error of accepting the systematic implementation of an increasingly broken system, the pointless ignorance and unbelievable cruelty of racism, sexism and homophobia, and more. In a time when most people seem overly concerned with not offending others and treading lightly on political and social ground, LöC's heavy footfalls leave lasting prints which make its stance known, while it roars mightily through the wall of whispers, and poses that the greater offense lies in not challenging the political system and societal structure with which we currently live
Full Review & Interview at The Examiner
Concerned as it is with the weighty topic of creativity versus society, Mr. Lif's eagerly anticipated full-length studio debut tackles more American sociological issues than a senior thesis. Label mates Vast Aire, El-P, and Aesop Rock, along with extended-family members Insight, Jean Grae, and Akrobatic, each add their own flavor to the narrative mix. Grounding their collective sound in a revamped, circa-1993 style, El-P, Insight, Fakts One, and Edan offer beats and scratches that perfectly match each song's varied level of intensity. I Phantom is an ambitious project that combines elements previously mined aurally in Prince Paul's proletarian hip-hopera A Prince Among Thieves and to an extent via cinema in Paul Thomas Anderson's epic, Magnolia. Considering the intricate nature of Phantom's sequencing, it'd be hard to pinpoint any one song as the "best," but the Fakts One-produced "New Man Theme" should be required listening for all hip-hop nerds and intellectual thugs, worldwide. --Rebecca Levine
The legendary debut album, I Phantom from Mr. Lif has returned. The concept album that Rolling Stone called ''graceful'' is finally available again. The classic project features Run The Jewels' El-P, Aesop Rock, Jean Grae and more.
Ten Commandos started early August 2008 after a conversation between Matt Cameron (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam) and Alain Johannes (Eleven, Queens of the Stone Age) following a memorial concert for Natasha Shneider (Eleven). Alain had the idea to write and record songs using Matt and Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden, Hater) as the rhythm section. The three convened in Seattle in late 2008 and for 7 days wrote the bulk of the record. Matt and Alain's schedules cleared up enough in the spring of 2014 to finally finish the songs in Seattle. With the addition of Dimitri Coats (OFF!, Burning Brides) on guitar, the band entered famed Studio Litho with engineer Don Gunn. In the summer of 2014, the band finished recording at studio 11ad in Hollywood CA. All members contributed in the writing of the record. Guest musicians include Mark Lanegan (Staring Down the Dust), Nikka Costa (Come) and legendary guitarist Peter Frampton (Sketch 9).
They Might Be Giants have returned to the music scene with a second album for 2015, titled Why?, which is set to be released on 27 November by Lojinx.
The eagerly-awaited record comes to adults and children alike in the wake of the duo’s success a few years ago, following their Grammy-winning Here Come the 123s and the Grammy-nominated Here Comes Science.
Mashing music and learning together is a forte for They Might Be Giants and Why? is no exception to the rule. Don’t be fooled into thinking the record is just for kids, however, as the album begins with a head-bopping, resonant track called ‘Oh You Did’...
Full Review & Interview at Never Enough Notes