Thursday, December 20, 2007
Aaron and Adrienne Snow have been making music together for many years usually within the wonderful band Landing, but now as they bring their first human child into the world we here at States Rights are bursting with pride to bring you their first music child as the band Paper.
As As is simply gorgeous, the most rhythmic based music from the Snows it finds them exploring areas inspired by Kraut, drone, shoegaze, and more. It is soft, beautiful, and at at times ambient but also driving, strong, and the kind of record you can listen to over and over again
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
"Eckords" is the first release by Flash Lights, the duo of Liz Harris
(better known as Grouper) and Bay Area sound sculptor Jorge Behringer.
Here, Liz's spectral vocal transmissions (the ones that blew our collective
minds on last year's superb opus "Way Their Crept") are augmented by
disorienting field recordings, bubbling electronics, meditative guitar lines,
and Jorge's angelic, processed viola. Each piece is unique and bursting with
vibrant, otherworldly energy, running the gamut from almost poppy (!)
songforms, to distant choral ghost codas, and moving effortlessly from
seering blasts of electronics to calm, glacially evolving, painstakingly
wrought towers of dynamic vocal murk. Beautifully mastered by Pete Swanson,
presented in a sleeve adorned with Liz's wonderful black and white artwork.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
The Social Registry is pleased to announce the debut full-length album from London-based Sian Alice Group. The album, 59.59 is set for a February 19, 2008 release. The band is already on the rise in its native England having opened a string of shows for Spiritualized and received a flurry of attention in the press.
At the core of Sian Alice Group are multi-instrumentalists Rupert Clervaux and Ben Crook who formed the group along with vocalist Sian Ahern in late 2006. In order to flesh out their sound they bought in Sasha Vine and for live shows have added Douglas Hart (Jesus & Mary Chain) and John Webster Johns. 59.59 was recorded and produced predominantly during the summer of 2007 by Clervaux at Sian Alice Group's central London studio where the group are able to enjoy complete self-sufficiency, enabling full flexibility in their creative process (Clervaux is a professional sound engineer and producer who currently works with Treader records and Spring Heel Jack). As a testament to the open and collaborative nature of Sian Alice Group, the group welcomed other musicians in to the studio and, for the album closer 'Complete Affection,' were joined by John Coxon (Spiritualized, Spring Heel Jack) on guitar and Brian DeGraw (Gang Gang Dance) on lead piano.
As work began on London-based Sian Alice Group's debut full length 59.59, it became clear early on that it would not simply be a collection of songs. The music which they have brought to bare is a much more fully realized experience that moves through traditional pop songwriting and dynamic instrumental composition while tempering it with studio improvisation. The title of the record comes from its running time and, as this suggests, 59.59 manipulates elements of texture, pacing and timbre as if it's one sweeping composition. It is an epic record that showcases the talent, range and ambition of this young group, taking in elements of various genres and making them their own. At a time when the musical landscape seems inundated with derivative retrogressive guitar bands, or acts reliant on sequenced beats and oscillator knobs, Sian Alice Group's more classical inclinations show their willingness to tread their own path. Sian Alice Group have already received a number of lazy comparisons to Shoegaze music, something that they should shrug-off with ease after the release of this album. The stylistic range of 59.59 is way more far reaching than such a reductive comparison would imply and further brings to mind references such as Arthur Russell, Angelo Badalamenti and Steve Reich. The album even features a song, 'Motionless,' that is inspired by the music of legendary Detroit techno pioneer Jeff Mills, and loosely based on his track 'Solid Sleep'. They look set to be a big part of the musical landscape of 2008, and we are proud to be a part of it.
After a decade as one of indie rock's most consistent, versatile artists, Smog's ninth album catalogs the sounds and emotions that Bill Callahan explored on previous albums. Dongs of Sevotion borrows Wild Love's chamber rock arrangements, Red Apple Falls' droning folk, The Doctor Came at Dawn's painful honesty, Knock Knock's sardonic humor, and even nods to Burning Kingdom's album artwork. While these eclectic influences could have had scattered results, Dongs of Sevotion is remarkably spare and focused; over half the album is just Callahan on vocals and guitar and/or piano, with Tortoise's John McEntire on drums. Not surprisingly, the starker songs are the most lyrically loaded. On the coming-of-age ballad "Nineteen," Callahan laments, "My movements were slow/She didn't even know/What she was taking away," and on "Devotion," he notes, "There are some terrible gossips in this town/With jaws like vices and eyes like drains." "Easily Led" and "Distance" are musically and emotionally similar, tending to blend together in the middle of the album. However, Dongs begins with "Justice Aversion," a survival-of-the-fittest tale set to icy, detached synths, and "Dress Sexy at My Funeral," a warm, sensual recounting of a man's final wishes: "Tell them about the time we did it with fireworks above us" -- a one-two punch that captures the album's range. "Bloodflow" mixes a Jew's harp, cheerleaders (the "Dongettes," natch), and a galloping beat, and rhymes "tete-a-tete" with "machete," distilling the album's twists and turns. But Callahan saves the best for last: "Permanent Smile" a song of devotion that, with its echoing drums and rippling piano loop, sounds like a collaboration between Phil Spector and Philip Glass. It's this reverence and irreverence that makes Smog so enduring, and Dongs of Sevotion another strong album.
Inspired by post-punk, Krautrock, and the most minimalist indie rock, the spare, intense sound of Klang is the brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Donna Matthews, bassist Isabel Waidner, and drummer Keisuke Hiratsuka. Matthews was one of the driving forces behind Britpop luminaries Elastica, but the band fell apart -- collectively and individually -- due to a vicious cycle of drug abuse and blocked creativity, and she left the band in late 1998. After taking some time to readjust after Elastica's fallout, Matthews was ready to make music again, and she began collaborating with the German-born Waidner, who worked in a London record store that Matthews frequented. Their music was largely electronic until the addition of Hiratsuka, a Japanese expatriate who also shopped at Waidner's store.
As a trio, the group's style expanded to include more rock elements as well as their previous electronic and experimental ideas. By late 2002, their sound had jelled and they adopted the name Klang (which is German for, fittingly, "sound"). On the strength of some of the demos they recorded at that time, Klang were featured on a Sonic Mook compilation and also scored a gig opening for Erase Errata on their U.K. tour, as well as slots supporting the Futureheads, French Kicks, and Max Tundra. In spring 2003, they released their debut 7", Love, on the Damaged Goods label, and spent the rest of the year playing shows with the Kills, Pink Grease, and Black Box Recorder while finishing their first album. No Sound Is Heard arrived in summer 2004 in the U.K., and in the States in early 2005.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Sweet Love For Planet Earth Ep
Fuck Buttons was conceived by Andrew Hung & Benjamin John Power in the winter of 2004, Bristol UK.
Initially the group was born as an outlet for their nihilistic-noise tendencies but quickly, the two Fuck Buttons realised they could harness the use of noise as a tool to immerse and evoke. No longer afraid of melody or rhythm, the group started fusing all these elements to the point when drone becomes melody becomes rhythm.
With their electric live performances sealing the notion that the two Fuck Buttons are attempting some kind of transcendence between the listener and the Universe itself, one could easily envisage one’s psyches being shaken by the very rumbles of the earth’s motions.
Tribal beats and subtle beautiful melodies weave amongst contorting Technicolor drone-scapes while preaching distorted-vocals scream for dear hope herself…
Fuck Buttons straddle you between the wall of sound that lies between the beginning of destruction and the end of birth. This grand noise will fondle you into a state of immersed euphoria.
It was nearing the end of the sixties’ decade. My brothers, Doug ,Daryl and I were living in Malibu, surfing and gigging around the Los Angeles area in various bands including our own. We came from a very musical family; our father Carmen Dragon was a well known symphony conductor and arranger around Hollywood, our mother Eloise, a colaratura soprano singer and our two sisters, Carmen and Kathy played harp and flute respectively. I was the youngest of the brothers. I played drums and was dabbling with recording equipment and photography. My brothers played great keys. Daryl also played the vibes, bass, guitar and a few other instruments.
That all being said, it was a great time for music. The Beatles with George Martin opened up a big door to just about anything musically and production-wise. Hendrix was blowing minds with his trip and Zep defined new parameters for rock and roll. Around the same time The Doors and others were freaking us out with their hypnotic sounds. Doug and I thought it was time for us to enter the arena and put something “serious” on tape. We hooked up with my high school buddy/recording engineer Donn Landee who was working at Sunwest Recording Studios in Hollywood at the time. We worked out a “spec deal” and arrived in the off hours, sometimes after our club gigs around 3 am and working ‘till morning. We became more “driven” as we laid down more tracks; Doug and I had never explored this territory before, especially in the vocal department. I was playing my usual “jazzy” style with Doug laying down the groove on the keys. Doug was singing the low parts and I was experimenting with high layered harmonies. Donn added his great recording and production ideas and as we listened to the playbacks we were all fired up! There was a unique sound coming from the JBL control room speakers…
We called it BFI, for “Blue Forces Intelligence”! Don’t ask me why. We were certain we had a “hit”. We shopped the finished product all over Hollywood to the major labels with no luck. We got comments from the big boys like “Great production but I don’t hear a hit” to “We can’t fit it into a niche”. After a few months we became discouraged and shelved the tapes. It was fun recording, but The Dragons and the BFI project seemed destined to obscurity.
Advance the clock 37 years…I get an e-mail from Kevin, DJ Food at Ninjatune, and he says he loves the song “Food for my Soul” by The Dragons and wants to include it in his latest mix. He found the song on a surf film soundtrack album that I produced that was released in the mid seventies. I had put that one BFI tune on that record because the film’s producer, the late Hal Jepsen, really liked it. I told Kev there was more that was recorded at the same time period and sent him MP3s of the album. He liked what he heard. All I had in my possession was a copy of the master tape. I tracked Donn down after losing contact with him decades ago. I asked him if he knew where the BFI master tapes were. He said he was “looking right at them”. Miraculously, the tapes were “rescued” in 1974 by his friend, Howard Weiss when the tape vault at Sunwest was being cleaned out and they were headed for the trash .What a trip.
We’re now up to speed. “BFI” is now released. My brothers, Donn and I couldn’t be more pleased. In the mid seventies, Doug moved to Hawaii. Around ‘79-’80, he made a name for himself gigging around Australia. Daryl went on to join Toni Tennille as “The Captain”, and I am still producing and recording bands and now doing music television, occasionally drumming and “beaching it” in the Santa Barbara area.. Donn went on to make records at Warner Brothers with Ted Templeman, Lenny Waronker and Ed Van Halen. He is currently doing Internet commerce and still photography.
The source material for every piece on Playthroughs is guitar: acoustic, electric or otherwise. From Sept. 2001 to April 2002. Keith Fullerton Whitman transformed raw guitar tones via laptop computer into the tracks on Playthroughs. Whitman has used ring modulators, granular re-synthesis algorithms, banks of delays and special effects in a process that owes much to Terry Riley's Time Lag Accumulator setup and Steve Reich's Phase Pieces. Technology and Whitman's careful selection of notes combine to create shimmering drones and deep waves of sound. Though the source material was improvised guitar and the procesing involved computer technology, Playthroughs reflects Whitman's mastery of composition.
John Maus lives and works in Austin, Minnesota. Although first drawn to our attention as a core member of Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and keyboard player with Animal Collective's Panda Bear, Maus has proved himself to be an extraordinary musician with a distinctive sound in his own right.
Perhaps co-conspirator and collaborator Ariel Pink perhaps has the definitive insight into the talents of the man:
"John Maus is a maniac on a bloody crusade; a tortured evangelist on a mercenary quest to rid our world of villainous defilers of The Gospel of True Love. By turns shockingly infectious and disarmingly unpredictable, his music conflates a perplexing marriage of Moroder's 'Never Ending Story' and classical 12-tone renegades of 20th century past, harking THE NEW path which resurrects romance from its post-modern shackles, and reignites the promise of a better world."
'Love Is Real'
Second album 'Love Is Real' is an apocalyptic journey through the nostalgic streets of our home towns deep into the recesses of the human heart. It is a map of self discovery, rejection and escapism captured across 14 songs of melancholic baroque pop music. Similar in style to his 2006 debut 'Songs', the album is a mixture of exploratory synthesiser theatrics, tensely-strung bass lines and insistent drum machine clicks and pops, all set off by John's deeply resonant reverb-drenched vocal. 'Love Is Real' is a more reflective and realised effort than 'Songs' however, focusing its attentions on impulsive song writing and inspired musicianship, replacing the reminiscent feel of the first record with genuine poignancy.
'Love Is Real' is an album of contrast, of obscurity and familiarity, of darkness and light. Moments of intense disco anxiety warning against the sin of avarice - "Too Much Money" - find themselves rubbing shoulders with romantic virtuoso fugues - "Green Bouzard". The juxtaposition of the buoyant 80's synth pop alongside John's sombre, sometimes even morose lyrics is another good example of this tension. "Without you girl, I'm going over the edge" Maus sings over the four-to-the-floor dance rhythm of the album's prescient closer 'Times Is Weird'. Over the fantastical keyboard gymnastics of 'The Whole World's Coming Apart' John finds relief in repeatedly confessing "This is my nightmare, my nightmare". It's contrasts like these which point towards John's preoccupation on this album with confused emotions and misunderstood intentions.
Whilst 'Love Is Real' maintains the same anthemic genius and sense of humour that it's predecessor revelled in - the impassioned 'Rights for Gays' being perhaps the most neurotic example - this album finds its strength in its more delicate and revealing moments. The superbly mournful 'Do Your Best' is an elegiac paean to true love - "Reach out your hands to the one alone, in the city tonight" croons Maus to baritone abandon, sounding like a man resisting his own best advice. Similarly 'Tenebrae', the album's tour de force, follows the grand tradition of many classical composers who have tried to convey the suffering, 'great noise' and joy of the Holy Week in music over the last 300 years. It is a stately and majestic song which soars and pulses into inevitable splendour becoming the focal point of this remarkable album.
'Love Is Real' is a record about facing the demons within, searching through eternity and finding hope in the darkness of these uncertain times. It's about never giving up and holding out for the one you love. Put simply it can only be an album by John Maus.
The For Carnation was a low-key, mostly acoustic vehicle for ex-Slint/Squirrel Bait member Brian McMahan, whose previous projects had all made their impact through jagged, noisy art-punk. Mirroring his old bandmate David Grubbs' evolution with Gastr del Sol, McMahan continued to explore the complex, cerebral patterns that were his stock in trade, but with delicate arrangements and far subtler dynamics. Slint fans were taken aback by the For Carnation's low-key sparseness, and while it wasn't as groundbreaking as McMahan's earlier efforts, the quietly unsettling creepiness of its best moments was rooted firmly in the leader's trademark aesthetic. McMahan was the lone constant in the For Carnation, which shaped up as a revolving-door outfit with collaborators coming and going from other projects; the initial lineup featured several members of Tortoise, who gave way to a collection of Louisville and Chicago scenesters.McMahan formed the For Carnation in 1994 as the latest in a series of high-profile indie outfits. Beginning his career in Louisville's seminal post-Husker Du punkers Squirrel Bait, he next moved on to the groundbreaking math-rock unit Slint; following their breakup, he moved to Chicago and played for a short time as a sideman in Will Oldham's Palace Brothers project, along with former Slint bandmate David Pajo. McMahan and Pajo started jamming on their own, along with ex-Slint/Squirrel Bait drummer Britt Walford, who stayed around only briefly. Pajo had begun playing with post-rock bigwigs Tortoise, and two of that band's members -- Doug McCombs (bass) and John Herndon (drums) -- came on board to fill things out, completing the first version of the For Carnation. This lineup recorded the three-song EP Fight Songs, which was released on Matador in 1995. Pajo subsequently left to concentrate on his other projects, which included Tortoise as well as the solo venture Aerial M and several sideman gigs.McCombs and Herndon continued to play sporadically with the group, but their full-time commitment to Tortoise made things difficult. McMahan pieced together the next For Carnation record, 1996's relatively brief full-length Marshmallows, from contributions by McCombs and Herndon, and those of a new lineup featuring onetime Rodan drummer John Weiss,guitarists Tim Ruth (also of Slint offshoot) Evergreen) and Michael McMahan (Brian's brother), plus additional contributions by hotshot Chicago producer Brad Wood. The For Carnation subsequently embarked on its first national tour, with a lineup featuring the McMahan brothers and an all-Louisville supporting cast of guitarist Tim Furnish, bassist Todd Cook (both ex-Crain), and drummer Kip McCabe. By this time, the group's brand of post-rock was drawing comparisons to Gastr del Sol, as well as slowcore bands like Codeine and Low.The For Carnation later split from Matador to sign with Touch & Go, and McMahan returned to Louisville and set about crafting new material with a lineup of Michael McMahan, Todd Cook, and the returning Britt Walford (then also in Evergreen). Meanwhile, Runt reissued the band's first two EPs together under the title Promised Works. Walford returned to his other commitments later in 1997, and was eventually replaced by Steve Goodfriend; guitarists/keyboardists Bobb Bruno and Rafe Mandel later came on board as well. Finally, in 2000, Touch & Go released The For Carnation, the band's most substantive and fully realized record to date. Boasting considerable involvement from Tortoise's John McEntire, the album also featured guest spots from the Breeders' Kim Deal and that dog.'s Rachel Haden.