New Music Mondays: Daft Punk, Dark Sky, Mount Kimbie, The Uncluded

Daft Punk's 'Random Access Memories' Out Tomorrow. You Might Want to Pick Yourself Up A Copy

   So I won't waste your time and my breath telling you all about the new Daft Punk record Random Access Memories that is finally being released tomorrow on Columbia Records. You should have heard it all by now, with the record being streamed on iTunes --- of all places --- for a week now. It truly is amazing what the firepower of a behemoth record label can get you: all of the posters around town, the incredible build up to the release, the wonderful The Creators Project with Vice Magazine, and of course the cachet to stream the damn thing on iTunes.

   Either way, get the damn thing (there, I've said it). There is a double LP version available that should be quite good; in my experience, none of the large labels do vinyl as well as Columbia (except of course for the cost). You can pick it up through InSound, although I'm sure your local shop is going to be carrying this one. Here's "Doin' It Right" feat. Panda Bear.

DAFT PUNK - DOIN' IT RIGHT (FEAT. PANDA BEAR) from HugoTomElliot on Vimeo.



Dark Sky's Fall Over Saturday Night

   Outrageously excited for this EP on Mister Saturday Night, In Brackets the new EP from Dark Sky came out last week. In Brackets boasts 4 new tracks from the London based DJ trio. The crescent moon/sun that is Mister Saturday Night's logo is a fitting piece of artwork for In Brackets as there is some moonlight which pervades through these tracks, illuminating them just enough to hold a candle of hope in the twilight world of Dark Sky. This is especially prevalent in the album's second track "Voices." Check it out on their soundcloud. Better yet, buy it before it is gone and say you were there. Label Mister Saturday Night admits, "they’re the first non-Brooklyn artists on the label, and, funny story, when they first sent us music, we actually thought they were from Brooklyn. (Shows how much we know.)" We're all learning how good this group can be. Start your education early.


Mount Kimbie returns to 'Cold Spring Fault Less Youth'

   In certain circles, I feel like the new Mount Kimbie record Cold Spring Fault Less Youth out May 27 on the inimitable Warp Records has been as hyped up as the new Daft Punk. Whatever the case may be, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth deserves that kind of treatment. Evolving from the group's early work Crooks & Lovers. Cold Spring finds Kai Campos and Dom Maker progressing past electronica into a realm inhabited by the likes of fellow Brits Bonobo and Four Tet.

   Mount Kimbie is delightfully described as "Post-dubstep" and as ridiculous as that sounds it might be the best description for the group. Their sound is informed by urban life, but buttressed by a clear introspection. Don't be mislead: Mount Kimbie make beautiful, but weird music. It's dance music made by fans of Animal Collective or by ravers on the wrong drugs. Something happened here, and it needs to be witnessed. Pick up your copy through bleep.


Just When I Was Wondering What the Hell Happened to Kimya Dawson... She Makes a Collab Album with Aesop Rock

   Yes, you did just read that correctly: Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson (of Moldy Peaches fame) have joined forces to become The Uncluded. Their new record Hockey Fright is out now on Rhymesayers. Aesop Rock and Dawson's collaboration began in 2007 when Aesop Rock wrote Kimya Dawson a fan letter. Several years later and they started the oddities blog 900bats. Eventually, this lead to the creation of The Uncluded and is every bit as absurd as 900bats. What seems like an impossible partnership --- the whispy jaded indie innocence of Kimya Dawson and the intelligent attack of Aesop Rock's rhymes --- blends bizarrely seamlessly.

My guess is that these two actually found friends in one another. The songs they've penned here have all the sense of inside joke that made Kimya Dawson's records so lovable in the first place, but here she's more focused, sounds like she's having more fun. You can pick up the vinyl over at The Fifth Element. Don't believe me? Check out the hilarious "Scissorhands" and the dark "TV at 10."

New Music Mondays: Sigur Ros, Dark Sky, Siriusmo

Sigur Ros Become a Doom Metal Band

   Okay, so I  might be exaggerating a bit here, but Icelandic Dream-gaze outfit Sigur Ros is releasing Kveikur on June 18 here in America and their new single 'Brennisteinn' is an apocalyptic juggernaut of sound. From the opening moments of 'Brennisteinn,' it's clear that Sigur Ros are exploring new directions. Never has the band sounded so aggressive or so loud. Losing the atmospherics of Kjartan "Kjarri" Sveinsson's synthesizer and keyboard work has made the band sound more like a proper band than a religious experience, but lead singer Jonsi Birgisson's angelic vocal embellishments remain.

   After a few years of successful, but stagnant music, Sigur Ros have altered their trajectory enough to reengergize their older fans while also courting new listeners with a stronger and edgier sound. Kveikur can be preordered now from the Sigur Ros website as a CD or Double LP. Here's the video for 'Brennisteinn.'


Dark Sky: Dance Music With A Dark Side

   Dance music may be one of the hardest genres to make a break through: with so much quality talent out there and countless clubs and performances it can be hard to get noticed. So when a group comes by like London's Dark Sky, dripping with personality and depth, one takes notice. Tom Edwards, Matt Benyayer and Carlo Anderson make up the trio, and their varied influences and interests expand Dark Sky's sound to include popular elements of bass, dub, and jungle, but also more nuanced counter-point styles like calypso. Don't be fooled though, Dark Sky is as contemporary as a production group can be at the moment, and definitely dark. In an interview with Tectonic Records Carlo Anderson laughs, "It's quite evil. I hear that, it's definitely aggressive, not one you'd listen to at home…" Dark Sky has a new EP "Confunktion" just released on Tectonic Records. I'd highly recommend picking one up. You can also check out Dark Sky on NTS Radio every other Thursday from 10pm-12 (GMT) where you can also download previous shows.


Siriusmo Is Back With Enthusiasm

   When one debuts with Modeselktor's 50 Weapons label, the world tends to take note. Since then, Berlin based electronic artist Siriusmo (Moritz Friedrich) has worked primarily with Monkeytown Records and they will be releasing his new album Enthusiast on June 14. Modeselktor has released a 3 minute clip of 'Itchy' off the new record onto their soundcloud where it is receiving massive rotation. In typical Siriusmo mystery, the press-release for Enthusiast states:

"After eighteen years, elaborate and outrageously expensive recording with a full-size Czech symphony orchestra, Siriusmo decided to reject it and to retire with enthusiasm.This was followed by moments of euphoria, overconfidence, and many shed tears."

Is Siriusmo retiring? Did he come back out of retiring? And where is this full-size Czech symphony?" Somehow I doubt you'll find any answers in Enthusiast, but you'd be amiss and a fool to not get yourself a copy. Preorder from Monkeytown Records on green wax.


Equally Endorsed: An LP Review of CAT POWER'S "SUN"

Cat Power Shines with Sun

   With just one listen, you'll know why Cat Power's new album Sun is already on its way to becoming a modern classic. Chan Marshall, who is essentially all of Cat Power (the liner notes read: "All songs by: Cat Power / All Instruments: Chan Marshall") writes fully realized songs with a strong control over her sound. 2006's masterpiece The Greatest was a stripped down affair with retro stylings, but was bigger and more expansive than nearly anything of that year. Marshall does include some guest musicians on two tracks, ample engineers, and a brilliant guest spot of Iggy Pop reprising David Bowie in his signature song "We Could Be Heroes" in "Nothing But Time"; she has crafted a highly textured album more reminiscent of Blonde Redhead's later career than Cat Power's early work.

   Like all great albums, Sun explodes with three forward moving tracks ("Cherokee" and "Ruin" could both easily be huge songs this year) and then ends more down-tempo with two of the best songs on the LP: "Nothing But Time" and "Peace & Love". Don't be fooled; however, Marshall keeps us moving through the whole work. If radio meant anything anymore, any track could be featured - to great acclaim - as a single. I suspect the wonderful "Manhattan" may ultimately find itself as the song which fully cements itself into our nation's psyche.Cat Power in Hieroglyphics

   What's funny, is Marshall has never been the most accomplished lyricist. Her licks aren't memorable enough to be immediately recalled, but her sound is unmistakable. Now, with Sun, Cat Power's previous impeccable timbre of guitar to piano and beautifully restrained percussion has been updated with extensive employment of digital drum tracks and surprisingly superb use of auto-tune. Sun sounds current and contemporary, but the songs feel like they could be from anytime, a high complement. An older generation could understand it - there's an intrinsic toe-tapping to it - nor do I expect it to become dated quickly. The album stands strong, shining all the way through.

Sun Record Sleeves   If you can still get your hands on one, I recommend purchasing the Limited Edition LP. While I haven't directly compared it to the standard issue - which has completely different artwork - this is a fabulous package. In a beautiful glossy black and overlaid with gold, the LP is an example of minimal design. Small flourishes and the best materials make the album's quality apparent right away. The vinyl themselves are clear - something this writer hasn't come across before - are really fun to look through. If you have an interesting platter, Sun should look good spinning around it. The scheme extends to the inside with gold on black. We're treated to Cat Power and the track names in hieroglyphics, a very strange decision since nothing else about the record seems to hint at all to an Egyptian connection, but it succeeds in a very cryptic way, adding mystery to the object. A coupon for a free digital download is included by Matador Records and an additional 7" ("Back In the Days (For Christopher Wallace)" b/w "Fire") as well. Both songs on the 7" are less produced than Sun, but exist more in the realm of much of Cat Power's earlier work. The tracks are great for the collector, but outshone by the LP proper, although nothing will outshine the reflective gold surface of the 7" sleeve. Cat Power is embossed in hieroglyphics on the sturdy sleeve paper that is black on the inside, making it look really sharp.The Golden 7" "Back In the Days"

   I have a feeling I'll be listening to this album pretty frequently for the next few months and won't be surprised to see this included in many 'Best Of...' lists at the end of the year. Just as with The Greatest, this record is also going to endear itself to the collector side of me with its fantastic layout and design, beckoning me to take it off the shelf and give it a spin for years to come. Much of Cat Power's catalogue has aged well with time, but none has been so tasty as Sun from the first sip.