Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Sweden's Korallreven (Swedish for"coral reef"), creators of one of my favorite albums of 2011, are calling it quits.  "It's been magic," they said, "but there is a time for everything and an end to everything too, also with Korallreven." 

As a parting gift, they've released a final track, literally their swan song, called Here In Iowa.

Best wishes guys - looking forward to your next incarnation, and thanks for the chills.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Kishi Bash at Park Tavern, Atlanta. August 23, 2015

As hard to believe as it is, the Park Tavern in Atlanta's Piedmont Park has actually put together a fine series of free Sunday evening shows.  The challenge to belief is based on the shows being free.  Nothing's ever free here in Atlanta.  In any event, earlier this summer we saw Seattle's Ivan & Alyosha in a free show here, and last night, it was Athens' own Kishi Bashi.   

Andre of Book Club opened with a solo set.  Frankly, it was difficult to hear him at times over the noise of the crowd, most of whom were seated at tables eating and drinking and seemingly oblivious to the fact that there was a musician on stage.  But Andre managed to stay serene and focused, and in the audience I saw, in addition to the Jeffrey Bützer, the next musician up, Andre's Book Club bandmate, Robbie, and Brock Scott of Little Tybee.  

Bützer took the stage next with his band, The Bicycle Eaters.  Bützer fills an odd but endearing niche in the Atlanta music scene, and is probably most famous for his annual Christmas show at The Earl where he performs Vince Guaraldi's Charlie Brown Christmas.  The rest of the year, he performs his idiosyncratic music at the usual venues, lately utilizing singer Cassi Costoulas, who sings half the songs in French for some reason, including a lovely reworking of Bützer's Theme For A Tailor.

The crowd was still pretty noisy (honestly, this place is worse than Park for talkative audiences) and there's a YouTube clip somebody posted of last night's show that I refuse to even post here 'cause the audience is so loud and disrespectful. 

The area in front of the stage became more crowded and the audience a little more attentive when Kishi Bashi took the stage.  Mr. Ishibashi has been working on a new album, and while that's in progress, he played a small mini-tour of local towns (Macon, Chattanooga, Birmingham, and last night, Atlanta).  He played the usual songs from his two fine albums, 151a and Lighght, opening with Atticus In the Desert and audience favorite Bright Whites, both from 151a, before covering most of the songs from Lighght, and closing with Mr. Steak, Philosophize In It! Chemicalize In It! and It All Began With A Burst.   

For his encore, he did a solo improvisation for a while, and then closed with Manchester

Not to complain, but it was a sloppier set than I've seen them play before, with Kishi Bashi having to stop and start several of his loops over during one song or another.  However, this gave the set a more spontaneous and intimate feel, and I don't think anybody was disappointed.  Especially for a free show.

Next week, Park Tavern presents The Secret Sisters, and then, truly incredibly, they close out their so-called Sunset Series with The Joy Formidable.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tame Impala

Not completely a random post, because this song came over my speakers today and reminded me that I may not have posted Tame Impala here before.  The song really starts to hit its groove at about the 2:15 mark, and cool video, too.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Boris - An Appreciation

According to Wikiedia, post-rock is a subgenre of rock music characterized by the influence and use of instruments commonly associated with rock, but using rhythms and "guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures" not traditionally found in rock. Post-rock bands are often without vocals.

In 1996, Scot Hacker wrote in The Utne Reader, "When modernity came to an end and folded back in on itself, rock sputtered out in an uninspired tailspin, leaving a trail of a thousand identical grunge bands to kick hairballs around in the garage. The past five years of tiresome, lo-fi grunge has unflaggingly rehashed punk’s once-definitive assault, but without conviction. In the wake of rock’s last gleaming, a handful of seekers forge something new where nothing new is possible. The only way to come to sensible grips with the alleged phenomenon of 'post-rock' is to consider that it is to rock as post-modern is to modern.  Post-rock bails out on the world of rock and goes 'stratmospheric,' leaving behind the posturing, the testosterone, and the formulae that defined pop/rock in all its forms for decades. In post-rock, the accreted layers of musical history form a substrate through which artists speak of the mysterious present.  Remixology becomes more than a collage technique – it’s the lingua franca, the currency of all that is good after rock gives up its pathetic struggle to rebel (against what? The alternative has been subsumed by 'the man.')"

The Japanese experimental  band Boris (ボリス) are widely considered to play predominantly in the metal genre, although the band has also been labeled as noise rock, drone, doom metal, psychedelic rock, dream pop, shoegaze, drone metal, ambient and even J-pop.  Their 2005 album, Dronevil, their eighth, consists of a double album with the first LP, Drone, being quieter and falling more within the ambient/drone spectrum of Boris' work, and the second LP, Evil, more guitar oriented and falling into the doom/metal spectrum of their work. Though the albums can be heard separately, the original intention is for both LPs to be played simultaneously through individual record players and speakers.

The album's cannibalism of various rock genres and accreted layers of sludgy substrate sound to this listener closer to Hacker's definition of post-rock than anything else, with compositions that should simultaneously both enthrall and offend the modernist and the metal-head alike.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tamaryn's Cranekiss

Tmaryn at Bumbershoot 2013
New Zealand's Tamaryn (who now lives in New York) has a new album coming out, Cranekiss.  No plans to tour yet, but if you were ever wondering what the MDW preferred sound sounds like,  listen to the title track of the new album.

As I've pointed out before, we create the music that we enjoy in our own heads, conjuring up the notes that we've just heard from our memory and combining them with the notes we anticipate in our imagination, and then running that whole mental construct through the filters of our preferences, associations, emotions, and so on.  No two people will ever experience the same recording the same, and you'll probably never experience the same song the same way twice.   

The gauzy dream-pop of artists like Tamaryn evoke in me sweet, sensual memories of songs heard in the past, and the music's predictable enough to allow me to abide comfortably in the waves of the composition, while at the same time novel enough to not let me get bored.  While dream-pop is one of my favorite genres to listen to in recorded form, it's also reliably pleasurable to hear performed live, although my preferences in live music are quite a bot more varied and eclectic than my recorded preferences.

Which is all to say, I hope Tamaryn decides to tour and visit Atlanta soon, but in the meantime, I'm content listening to these songs and anticipating the new album.