June 28, 2010

Bragging Rights : Dynamic Truths

There was a reason I was excited to release this Dynamic Truth's  record and I am very honored to know Dusted Magazine feels the same way. 

You can order the CD from the label website and the LP will be coming in August. Or you can order it from Merge here.

Are you a fan of Little Black Cloud Records on Facebook yet? Join in the fun here.






       If you don't know know about the band, read on ....
I would love to be able say if you loved Honor Role and Coral you will love the Dynamic Truths too but sadly these are bands still unknown to most indie music enthusiasts... even though Merge Records has been singing their praises and releasing many of their records over the years.

These were Richmond Virginia bands that pretzel knotted hardcore ALA Husker Du circa 1983 to a groundbreaking style now called math-rock with a biting vocal attack in the realm of Mark E Smith. To further add to the band's weight consider lyrics that read like Raymond Carver fronting Fugazi and there you have a rough idea of what Honor Role and Coral were about and then in turn what Dynamic Truths grew out of.

What amazes me most about these songs, 98% of which were never released, is how well they have survived the test of time. They could fit on a mix along with the best of 80's British post punk, 90's angsty indie rock like Superchunk or Circus Lupus, any band featuring John Reis or Rick Froberg, and then modern acts like Wilderness.

DT never toured and only played a small handful of shows during their time as an active band. 


Tracklist
1. You Take It All
2. Profit from Loss
3. Headed for the Halfway House
4. With the Angels
5. New Light
6. Uh Huh
7. I Want to Know
8. I've Got Your Psychic Friend
9. Behind the Killer...
10. Bus Stop
11. The Past Is Black & White
12. Good Time
13. Sailors of the Highway
14. Total Victory
15. Your House

June 27, 2010

Dow Jones & the Industrials

My newest obsession comes from Indiana in the late '70s / early '80s. Think Zero Boys, Devo, The Replacements, and the Screamers / no wave antics all squished into one punk rock synth band. Their catalog is on the brief side, a split LP with The Gimzos, a 7", a song on the Red Snerts comp but discovering these videos exist are an extra treat.

Apparently Secretly Canadian is doing an LP of some kind in the future - YAY! 










June 24, 2010

June 24th, 2010: Cause & Effect : Devo

It's become nearly impossible to listen to just about any band and NOT here a little Devo in there somewhere. They are the masters of a daring combination of  theatrics, science fiction, satire, wit, and songs that are remarkably catchy. Like any good movement, they have remained a constant reaction against an array of trends from the hippies who grew up and sold out to the punks whose message against the system got lost among their self destructive ways.

In 1976 a short film the band participated in garnished attention from Neil Young (how is that for strange bed fellows?) who asked them to work along side him in a crazy film he was putting together called Human Highway. In the years to follow the band released their first few singles and both David Bowie and Iggy Pop were such fans of this truly original group, that they pushed for the band to Warner Brothers. Devo's popularity only escalated and spiraled out from there and soon even grandmother's were aware of the band who wore colorful "energy domes" on their head that looked a bit like an art deco flower pot made from plastic. Never fitting the mold of any one kind of band stylistically, Devo has married rock to electronic music which in turn has led to an array of sounds luring in generations of  fans who love punk, pop, art, theater, rock, dance, new wave, industrial, Sci-fi, and disco / electronic music. In short, there is truly a little something in their songs for everyone which not only has helped to sustain their popularity but continue to spread their original message of DEVOlution to the masses. 

It's now 2010 and the group is still releasing music, with a brand new long player called "Something for Everybody". This has inspired us to spend two hours with the band's legendary catalog as well as an endless list of bands they have inspired both visually and musically since the late '70s.

Tune in tonight on www.wrir.org or 97.3 on your dial locally from 7pm to 9pm tonight; jumpsuits are not included.















June 22, 2010

VC's Collector of the Day : Me!

Click here.

June 18, 2010

Three words in the whole damn song?

It just occurred to me.....


"Around The World" 
by Daft Punk

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world

Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world
Around the world, around the world.

Huh.

June 17, 2010

At War With Records


Love & Vinyl from Ben Perkins on Vimeo.


June 16, 2010

Experi-metal Fans, Meet David Sylvian, Your New Best Friend

David Sylvian has been producing music since the late 70's; starting with the group Japan and continuing on solo, or more accurately recording under his own name with many a collaborator. He began his musical career mirroring glam artists like Bowie and Roxy Music however as he has matured as a musician, he has fallen off the pop path and headed down a much more discordant and darker one. Over the past decade he has created some of my favorite melancholy music to date. I am in love with his stark, bleak productions that would woo any modern day Scott Walker fan. His songs are often unstructured / improvised, much the like unpredictability of wind moving through chimes and keeping with the idea of nature, there are wide open spaces that suddenly are filled with a stirring whirl, strum or glitchy thing that resembles an electrical storm on the open plains somewhere in the distance. For those metal heads who love the more ambient grim experi-metal, I would think Sylvian would be a great idol and I am surprised the metal community hasn't embraced this artist for his subtle yet unnerving creations more widely.










June 15, 2010

Solar Sounds



About the piece of art:

"Sun Boxes are an environment to enter and exit.  It’s comprised of twenty speakers operating independently each powered by solar panels.  There is a different guitar sample in each box all playing together making the composition.  The guitar samples are all of different lengths so the whole piece keeps evolving. 

Participants are encouraged to walk amongst the speakers. It sounds different inside of the array.  There is a different sense of space inside.  Certain speakers will be closer and louder therefore the piece will sound different to different people in different positions throughout the array.  Creating a unique experience for everyone.

There are no batteries involved.  The Sun Boxes are reliant on the sun.  When the sun sets the music stops.  The piece changes as the length of the day changes.  Making the participants aware of the cycle of the day. 


Warebarn sale will be cash only.

A month back we had a dry run of the Sun Boxes. Watch the video here."

Free Mix By Yours Truly

I made a fun summer mix for my friend Anna's ridiculously amazing website Shmitten Kitten. 

You can download it for free here.

It also will give you a good example of the kind of music Kenny and I will be DJing at our new Cous Cous night aptly titled PopRocks.

 

June 11, 2010

"That's What Music Is Supposed to Do"

I think this story touches me for several reasons, not only does it highlight the power of music; how one song can change someone's life for the better, but I also love hearing how a man (Darryl of Run DMC) who is best known for being one of the founders of hip hop openly and unabashedly LOVES Sarah McLachlan. I have never understood how some people limit themselves to one genre of music since there is so much remarkable music to be discovered and this video clip (I heard a longer version of this story on the radio this AM) is a great testament to that very point.


June 10, 2010

The LP goes High Art.

Check it here.


June 10th, 2010 : Cause & Effect : Sunn O))) : Part TWO

Don't forget - part two of our Sunn O))) show takes place TONIGHT. The set will include music by : Venom, Carcass, Entombed, Thorr's Hammer, Melvins, Swans, Miles Davis, and more! Details of exact time and where / how to tune is is listed below.
This picture cracks me up - I took it with my Polaroid Captiva at a Sunn O))) show in 2005 and the smoke machine that I was running that night pushed out so much fog that it made it nearly impossible to view the band, even from just a foot away.  This photo pretty much sums up the soupy mess that was the air that night.

A quick synopsis for the lazy reader:
Cause & Effect presents 6 hours of music by Sunn O))) and others residing in their sonic solar system. Starting June 3rd on WRIR you can tune in your transistor in Richmond, VA to 97.3  FM or stream the show live anywhere else on the planet via www.wrir.org. The radio program Cause & Effect takes place every Thursday from 7PM to 9PM East Coast time and is hosted by Lightning’s Girl and Alex. We trace one artist’s musical roots each week and for the first time in the show’s history they will present a two part series, continuing with 2 more hours of Sunn O)))’s musical family tree on June 11th at the same time. The final 2 hours of music will be made available as a podcast only for your downloading pleasure and will posted on the Cause & Effect Facebook page. 

For those of you who like to read and want to know more....
 
First things first. The O is silent. It is pronounced Sun and the rest of the band logo can be related to the spectacular line of amplifiers that share the same name.  I have also loved the play on the meaning of the word in relation the Seattle band Earth that Sunn O))) (and so many of us drone fans) worship. I love a good planetary reference and a loud amp so its a win win. (And for bonus points you can read up on the Sunno, the leader of the Franks just for the heck of it.)

I lost count of the number of hours I have dedicated to this epic show somewhere around the 11th or 12th hour. I don't know, a lot of time and effort has been put into this show, not only by me, but also by Greg Anderson and Stephen O'Malley, the two main members of Sunn O))). They have been incredibly patient and thorough as I began working on this set and asking them to revisit their early years of discovering music and pulling out songs from their past that they loved and were inspired by. The two of them have supplied me with most of the artists for my radio sets with just a few additions based upon my memories of our friendship that began somewhere in the early to mid '90s. The final result is a first for Cause & Effect, a two part show with an additional third set as a podcast only. That means we will be bringing you a total of 6 hours of music starting with their high school years of hardcore, punk, and death metal and then splintering out into some legendary regional bands. From there we move into so many other genres, math rock, jazz, experimental stuff...all while following bits from the Sunn O))) discography that marks time like a musical growth chart.

I moved to Seattle in the Winter of 1994 and literally within just a few hours of settling into my new strange surroundings (I came from NJ) I was welcomed by a group of soon to be co-workers from C/Z Records. This lovely group of people also included some of the bands on the label which at the time included Greg Anderson's band Engine Kid. We met (greg and I, became fast friends, and just a few years later he introduced to me Stephen. I could have never predicted that in just a few years, our bands would play some shows together (Engine Kid) or that we would all move to different cities and remain friendly...not only because two of us worked for the same indie music distributor but also because of our love of music. We have continued to cross paths in both the work and social world ever since. I think about when I first met Greg and Stephen, how impressed I was with their music then as well as Greg's first label Battery Records (pre Southern Lord) plus I absolutely worshiped Steve's magazine Descent. Their achievements have escalated outward ever since and I continue to be awed as to what these gentlemen will do next. Not just as musicians but as individuals who are multidimensional artists. 

You never the know when you make a new friends how or if they will affect your life in the long term and while I can speak poetically upon the music of Sunn O))) for hours, more directly and importantly, Greg taught me how to tune my guitar down to D and I turned him onto Eyehategod. Stephen told me today that my wall of records in my apartment in Seattle was the first time he had ever seen something like that and his zine was my introduction to an endless stream of bands that have gone on to be some of my favorites that now live within an even larger wall of records.

SO)))) needless to say, putting together this show has been a like working on a very personal scrapbook of the past 15 years of my life as well as theirs. Hopefully the time, effort, and thoughtfulness of this exercise will shine through and I hope you enjoy this most comprehensive history of Sunn O))).

Addendum: Track listing for the first show is here.
 























June 4, 2010

Mini Reviews

These were done for the radio station so they are small to fit on the cover of a CD. Maybe I am getting grumpier in my old age but I haven't fallen head over heels for a new release all year yet. Sure there is some good stuff but AMAZING? Not so much.

Artist: The Poison Control Center    
Title: Sad Sour Future
Label: Afternoon Records
Genre:  Indie Rawk   
Review: Somewhere between a yawn and what might be considered a slight smile is my reaction to PCC. They are they very definition of college rock, putting the sound of post puberty to a rock soundtrack while giving it their best Built To Spill (and is that a touch of Silkworm I hear?) go of it. I want to pat this record on the back and offer a kind “been there, done that"
Recommended tracks:1,4,5,8
FCC banned: N/A
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale:  light

Artist: Karen Elson    
Title: The Ghost Who Walks    
Label: XL
Genre: Alt-country
Review: One might be suspicious of a world class model gone musician no less one that is married to none other but the dark prince of rock Jack White but there is no need to raise your eyebrow here. This debut has some hefty big hitters helping her out (My Morning Jacket, Death Weather, Jack White) and the final product is country tinged ballads that aren’t too far from Mazzy Star in mood.
Recommended tracks: 1,8,5,9, 12
FCC banned: N/A
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale: Light to Medium

Artist: Jeremy Jay 
Title: Splash    
Label: K
Genre: Morrissey
Review:  I am learning that when a one sheet calls a songwriter “nostalgic” that is actually code for heavy on the reverb. I know a Morrissey fan when I hear when and what that equals in a recording artist is something that sounds an awful lot like Jens Lekman. Fans of jangle pop / twee, Slumberland, K, Sarah Records….this will make you want to grab your teddy bear off the bed and cut a rug. Who wants some candy? I do! 
Recommended tracks: 3,2,9
FCC banned: N/A
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale: medium
 

Artist: FM Belfast    
Title: How To Make Friends     Label: World  Champion
Genre: Electro pop   
Review:  Déjà vu. This record came out in 2008 but here it is again, an Icelandic boy / girl duo who whenever possible add members until their line up bulges to 6 members or more. If you ever wondered what The Knife would sound like if they weren’t cloaked in darkness and had a sense of humor, this is it.  
Recommended tracks: 4,2, 5 (cover)
FCC banned: 8
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale: medium

 
Artist: Twin Sister    
Title: Color Your Life    
Label: Infinite Best
Genre: Alternative   
Review:  Ever read a list of press clips that are glowing and then wonder if they were listening to the same record as you were? I am hearing fairly unmemorable female fronted dream pop with an occasional experimental bent. The band might love Stereolab and Bjork but none of that magic and spark lies in these songs. Track 6 shows some promise and is by far the most likable of tracks but all in all, there are 100s of bands who do this electro pop thing better.
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale: light
Recommended tracks: 6, 2
FCC Banned : N/A


Artist: Seth Swirsky    
Title: Watercolor Day    
Label: Grimble Records
Genre: Pop/Rock   
Review: Big Star, Sunshine 60s Pop, later XTC, Jellyfish, The Beatles, AM Gold Hits….the name of this record and beach themed art couldn’t be any more spot on. These are EZ breezy pop songs with complicated layers ala The Beach Boys. Seth is better known to be a songwriter to the stars but on his own, many of these songs are lovely cool pop gems. My only complaint is he really didn’t need to include so many songs.
Recommended tracks: 1-4, 10, 17
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale: medium
FCC Banned : N/A

June 3, 2010

Books on vinyl records: alive to the pleasures of rabbiting on

Books on vinyl records: alive to the pleasures of rabbiting on

A new publisher is distributing fiction on highly desirable vinyl records. It’s the perfect antidote to the iPod, says Sukhdev Sandhu.

What goes around: the sleeve of the Underwood label's first release is by comic-book artist Jordan Crane

Nathan Dunne is either a very brave or a very stupid young man. At a time when a) the MP3 has supplanted the CD as the most popular format on which to listen to recorded sounds; b) literature as a physical artefact is coming under attack from the rise of iPads, Kindles and other digital reading devices; and c) the short story is as tricky to sell to publishing houses as it has ever been, Dunne has set up a new imprint called Underwood, whose remit is to produce 33rpm vinyl records featuring writers reading 20-minute short stories aloud. “Candidly, it’s an experiment,” he admits...

Read the whole article HERE

I love the idea of this, but then again, i love records, film photography and drawing with a pencil.