Archive for October, 2015

Here is a treat for you die-hard Deerhoof fans, or anyone else who’d like to see some good live indie footage.  It’s Deerhoof playing “We Do Parties” live in Tokyo.

Also:  keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming review of the live album from which this clip comes.  This is just to whet your appetite.  Enjoy!!  -KM.

Ten Years Later…

Posted: October 25, 2015 in New Indie Music

These Curious Thoughts

A Decade in the Shadows

Viaduct Records, 2015

Review by Kent Manthie                                                                      Decade in the shadows cover

Jim Radford and Sean Dunlop are back. Their two-man outfit, These Curious Thoughts, has recently come out with A Decade in the Shadows, a follow-up to 2014’s Inventing Dr. Sutherland and his Traveling Hospital.

For those who need a recap (or an intro) to Jim and Sean, Jim Radford lives in London and writes the lyrics, while Sean Dunlop resides stateside, in Detroit, where he comes up with the musical chops. Then, the two communicate via email, often, sending each other their contributions to whatever they happen to be working on.

Obviously, they’re method seems to be working out well, since they’ve just released their seventh CD for Viaduct Records as These Curious Thoughts. But they have a history going back to 2004, when Sean and Jim starting writing and recording what amounted to 100s of songs and “nearly 10 studio albums” (from their Viaduct Records website page; http://www.viaductrecords.com/these-curious-thoughts.html).

But as These Curious Thoughts, A Decade in the Shadows marks their seventh Viaduct Records release. The first few songs have a mellow touch to them; almost a bit of folk or balladeering. But as the album goes on, the tempo gets a little funkier, more complex, even “Beatle-esque”, which is to say, it has a panoply of instrumentation that all fit together as a happy whole. There are horns, piano, guitar, as well as various and sundry extras. I think it’s “Souls” where the action starts. That isn’t to say the first three tunes aren’t worth listening to. Like most albums, I like to listen to them in their entirety.

The way I’d describe this would be to say that it builds up, from a modest, almost melancholy folk sound and then they build it up with a variety of whimsical, music that ranges from the R.E.M.-with-a-horn-section sound of “Souls” back to the folky ballad of “My Lizard Preacher” and on to the idiosyncratic “Small Town Hero”.

To tell the truth, though, a comparison to R.E.M. is a rather apt way to describe much of the album. Of course, to say they were just trying to sound like R.E.M. would be totally wrong. TCT do their own thing and while I dig R.E.M., I only like the R.E.M. records they did on I.R.S. Records (Murmur, Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction, Life’s Rich Pageant and Document (#5). Their debut for soul-killer, Warner Bros. Records, Green was a decent record. I must say, that Green is a good album, from start to finish, but all the albums they made after that just haven’t stood the test of time that they’re first six albums did. In fact, I couldn’t tell you the names of any R.E.M. songs after their smash, Out of Time and the popular Automatic for the People, whose songs may be memorable and still played on pop music radio stations, but they just don’t measure up to the brilliance of an album like Reckoning or their debut, Murmur, along with Fables of the Reconstruction, they’re my favorite R.E.M. albums: every song on each album is a winner!

But, back to These Curious Thoughts. They’re versatility ensures that they aren’t going to be going the way of R.E.M. or anyone else but their way. With Dunlop’s great guitar work and Jim’s mellow vibe vocals, the two make for a great team. Besides those two basics, they also add lots of other “bells and whistles” to the mix, which, together is a great recipe for musical oratorios.

Visit Viaduct and read more about the duo as well as get a chance to purchase any of their work. -KM.

Surf’s Up!!

Posted: October 25, 2015 in New Indie Music

Lee Negin

Surfing Samsara, 2015

Review by Kent Manthie                                                           leenegin17

The cosmopolitan Lee Negin, originally from San Francisco, who was, for a while, living in Seoul, Korea but who has recently moved to Tokyo, has just released Surfing Samsara, a new album that is brimming with the enthusiastic electronic eclecticism. It is a compilation of eleven songs that have shown up on previous “singles” culled from his last few albums: his most recent one, the EP, Terminus, the soul-bending rave of Groundless as well as Negin’s wonderful “technopera”, The Cheeze Chronicles.

Surfing Samsara starts off with “Loan Me a Paradigm”, a groovy, funky, hypnogogic song found on The Cheeze Chronicles. A couple other songs from The Cheeze Chronicles that show up on Surfing Samsara are “Sterne Drek auf der Autobahn”, the infectiously groovy, quirky, robotic dance tune, “(Let’s Join) The Twit Parade” as well as “Just Saying…”, which, like, many of the songs on here show signs of Krautrock influence. All these electronic dance tracks mingle with captivating, serene hypno-jams. Another song that shows up on Samsara is “The Cheeze Spreads”, a song meant for, but, in the end, left off the final cut of The Cheeze Chronicles.

There is so much to like about Surfing Samsara that it’s hard to find a place to begin deconstructing it. The album certainly runs the gamut of musical styles: from spacey prog-rock, hypno-suites, to catchy robotic dance numbers, Japanese-inspired post-rock pop culture snapshots; textured atmospheres, a panoply of infectious grooves that get one up and moving around. “The Saga of Cheeze” has a great funk vibe to it, which is not at all out of place with the other songs (think of the futuristic, brilliant funk of George Clinton’s twin genius outfits, Funkadelic and Parliament and you’ll know what I mean).

Lee’s a busy guy, always making up new sounds and recording them for current release as well as a surplus for later works; a rich blend of international sounds, a rich blend of orgiastic, cosmopolitan, party-people themes. After getting this collection of tracks in to one seamless album, I hope Lee digs deep into his imagination and musical prowess for some new material. I’m confident he can pull it off and, once again, impress his legions of fans and that it won’t be too long before we hear the next amazing recording from Negin -KM.

Here is an interesting little read I came across on the web recently.  It is a transcript of a lecture that William S. Burroughs gave – imagine that: 39 years ago!! -in Ann Arbor, Mi, at what was known as the “Teach-In”.  Below this introductory paragraph, you’ll see three words: “MIND CONTROL COMPLETE” – simply click that – it is the link – and you’ll be zipped to the PDF document, which, by the way, you can save for your own files.  Happy reading!! –KM.

Burroughs Danger Pic

MIND CONTROL COMPLETE