Archive for August, 2012

Deerhoof — “Breakup Song”

Friday, August 31st, 2012

DeerhoofThe new record from San Franciscan oddballs Deerhoof is called Breakup Song, and comes out next week. Luckily, you don’t have to wait that long to hear it, as it’s streaming right now on YouTube.

There might be a time when I get sick of Deerhoof’s noise-meets-pop sound, but that time sure as hell isn’t now.

Stream Breakup Song below.

Eat a Bag of Mix: Clunk — This Is Nowhere Dolphin Mix

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Eat a Bag of Mix is the name of a feature here on life is noise where we get a DJ, musician, producer, industry figure or just someone with good taste in fucked-up and weird music to give us a mix of music that has influenced them, or tunes that are currently rocking their world.

This week, we’re bag of mix eatin’ with Clunk. Clunk started throwing parties in ’09 and now runs ICan’tStandStillCollective, an artist management and touring company. He still throws a lot of parties ^_^ This is a mix he did for This Is Nowhere, showcasing the acts ICSSC booked for the Dolphin Theatre stage; Ikonika, Salva, d’Eon, Jimmy Edgar, & Slugabed.

Chris Cobilis

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Chris CobilisWe’ve spoken before about the awesomeness that is Chris Cobilis’ recent release, Heritage Listed Skate Park. We’ve also probably mentioned that we’re excited about seeing him play at This Is Nowhere.

To get you in the mood for This Is Nowhere, we’d like to present the following video. No description necessary, just watch the dang thing.

Vinyl Retention: Ta-ku

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Every Wednesday, Sardi lets us know what’s tickling his eardrums in the world of dance music…

takuThe beat scene has exploded globally, thanks (for the most part) to the advancements in technology allowing virtually anyone to write music — anywhere. Our hometown is no exception, fostering a plethora of beatmakers pushing the boundaries of Hip Hop as far as the eye can’t see.

One of my favourite local producers Ta-ku, is dropping his latest release ‘RE ? TWERK’ further exploring his futuristic take on beat music. Melding cut up vocals, bumping kicks and catchy synth hooks, the LP shows his progression as a producer moving through Post Dubstep & UK Funky as effortlessly as he does with slower tempos.

Twelve tracks in total, the album features collaborations plus four remixes of local & international artists rounding things out.

It hits the stores today. Go out and grab a copy!

If you like what you hear, be sure to tune in to RTRFM’s Full Frequency between 3pm and 5pm, as Sardi and Dart explore the world of Drum and Bass and beyond.

Diger Rokwell — “Rework”

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Diger RokwellThe new record from Perth beatmeister Diger Rokwell is out now — Build My is everything you’d expect from Diger and more.

If you like what you hear, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s more diger in the pipeline: a collaboration with Felicity Groom, as well as “house and psychedelic hip hop EPs plus “beat tourism” chapters Digstanbul, and Indigernesia”.

Stream Build My… below, and then go buy it from Bandcamp.

Singles Bar #12: Don’t You Realise??? (Last Thoughts On Badugate)

Monday, August 27th, 2012

The Flaming Lips & Amanda Palmer– “The First Time I Saw Your Face” (Roberta Flack cover)

Alright, this has been sticking in my craw since I saw the video for this pop up on the dickfork and start to make the e-rounds a few days ago. Immediately, it seemed that the most conspicuous and commented upon thing about it seemed to be the proof that Amanda Palmer doesn’t shave her armpits. “Cool,” I thought. “Bet Neil Gaiman doesn’t either.” After all, this was a video that most of us, essentially, had already seen. Then it struck me– why am I seeing this again?

Replacing collaborators is not an easy thing to do, and often you’re better off not doing it. Would you replace Cash with Hazlewood? Maybe once for a laugh. Maybe once. If a collaborator bails, either build on what you guys did together by ya’self, or cease on it and respect what you did together as a jointly owned product. Makes sense. The Flaming Lips/Erykah Badu episode from June is a good lesson in treatin’ yo ex-allies with some respect. For those who don’t know, I’ll try and cut to the meat.

Erykah Badu was sought out by The Flaming Lips to provide vocals for a cover of the Roberta Flack number “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” for their necessarily batshit fucked up collabs record The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends. Coyne and co. decided to make a video for the song, and Erykah and her sister Nayrok agreed to be in it. It featured the Badu women nude and covered in substances that appeared to represent blood, glitter and semen. So far, so good. Problem was Coyne leaked the video to Pitchfork and posted images to his Twitter from the shoot without the permission of the Badu women, who were quite upset, claiming they’d been compromised and misrepresented as artists by the leaked footage which they had not approved.

So at this point, it’s not looking good for The Lips, who promptly produced the obligatory apology:

“The video link that was erroneously posted on Pitchfork by the Flaming Lips of the Music Video ‘The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face’, which features Erykah Badu, is unedited and unapproved. Sorry!! We, the Flaming Lips, accept full responsibility for prematurely having Pitchfork post it. It has outraged and upset a segment of fans and we apologize if we offended any viewers!!! This is a Flaming Lips video which features Erykah Badu and her sister Nayrok and is not meant to be considered an Erykah Badu or Nayrok statement, creation, or approved version.”

Badu, unsurprisingly, was still unhappy, shooting off a number of tweets and telling Coyne to kiss her glittery ass. Coyne obliged by posting a picture of himself, lips a-glitter. Smooth. She went on to call him self-serving and complained about feeling disgusted about how she and her sister had been treated. Cue Coyne’s response, a weeks later in a Rolling Stone print interview: “I knew she was an unpredictable freak.” Haaaarsh, bro. Out of context, that rings like a told-ya-sogave-her-a-go-but– admission from a guy who wanted Badu’s skill and name recognition to beef out his equal parts ambition/contrived insanity stunt record, but not her as a collaborator. Want a Roberta Flack song performed by one of the best in business? Get Badu. Want someone with enough edgy cred to justify and embolden the high-art nudity you’re hoping to pass off? Get two Badus. Want to release the video without consulting anyone? BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP bad move. It’s easy to see why Badu would feel used and disdainful.

So, putting the video aside for a moment, let’s unpick this whole situation a bit more. Wikipedia sez that the Badu/Lips collaboration came about from a process of “unsolicited calls”, whereby Badu took “a lot of convincing” from Coyne to want to participate. The process of recording itself sounds hardly less fractious, to hear Badu tell it. In the studio, Coyne told her “29 times” that she was doing it wrong, before she told him to back off so she could deliver the take her way. Compare this with his attitude towards fellow Heady Fwend Ke$ha, who Coyne described as “a f*cking freak… she is so much fun and so creative and she just goes for it.” Coyne described Badu as “crazy, beautiful, emotional” in a video promoting the album. You could say, fair cop, he had just been seeking like spirits– more fearless freaks– who could be as freewheeling and open about his ideas as he was, hence him tripping the light fantastic with Ke$ha. He didn’t get along as well with Badu, so what. But it’s not too hard to view him as having a desire to find someone permissive and willing enough to indulge his trip, as opposed to finding someone to collaborate/butt heads with. Still, not exactly a problem; Coyne is on his own trip. Going to make his albums his way. But, if you scan over the list of Heady Fwend collaborators, they are all either relatively-neophyte fans without his personality/cult of personality (Tame Impala, Neon Indian, New Fumes) or people with enough credibility and name recognition to fill a moon-sized minivan (N. Cave, Y. Ono, L. Bolt). Still, even of those ‘collaborations’ that feature these more dominant personalities, it’s hard to tell where The Flaming Lips end and if their collaborators start, let alone where– the ring-ins feel merely like window dressin’ for some ego tripping at the gates of hell as the Flaming Lips run all over them musically. Is Heady Fwends the indie-rock Shock Value? I don’t know or care, but the whole experiment paints Coyne as a control freak trading on the name recognition, goodwill and passivity of others to inflate his freak balloon. Freaks travel by balloon, right?

Coyne gets an easy ride critically (jesus At War With The Mystics was bullshit) considering he’s The Fearless Freak– the Godfather of modern psychedelia as-it-is. He’s the one who had the cojones to indulge acid-damaged Led Zep fetishism in the 80s, the cheek to be whimsical when the word was Nevermind, the balls to risk commercial failure (admittedly on a safe contract) with carpark rock, and the heart to make ELO sound soulful for the new millenium. This drive, equal parts non-threatening nice guy ambition, good timing and artistic curiosity, is why his band is important. They’ve made music that is, essentially, true to the sonic and ideological blueprint of the moment rock music became progressive (before progressive meant bassists playing off sheet music live). Playful, evolving, ready to incorporate technological advances, and, at heart, accessible. Yet, if you look back over the discography of The Flaming Lips, you can identify another clear reason they are so deeply tied to the origins and forebears of psychedelic rock muuuZAK. That is, women are always either manic pixie dream girls, acid-damaged or children. This isn’t an absolute problem, in terms of the art form; lyrically, most psychedelia tends to explore the grey areas of sensation that exist between poles of sentience, setting up strict dichotomies of good vibes/bad vibes, man/woman, knowing/feeling, real world/false world etc. and diving in to what happens to the ego when you mess its mind up and set it swimming among strictures, often to rebel, transcend or struggle. In male-led psych, women have been objects of desire, fantasy, wisdom, punishment and power. As “Convinced of the Hex” so neatly surmises, she submits and she dominates. But in these worlds, she is not permitted autonomy or agency– she is an object-figure in the world of the trip, either guiding, aiding or obstructing. Taking this tradition in hand as an intrinsic part of how th’ Lips approach their music, Heady Fwends falls in line; Badu wasn’t contributing her own lyrics, Yoko Ono got two words (more or less) and Ke$ha got to play the stargirl child and talk shit about acid. Am I splitting a hair? I dunno. I mean, it’s all fun. It’s a fun record. Everyone is having lots of loud, squelchy, fun. Fun album. Put it on in the car and drive into a playground at night. It’s not great, and much of it doesn’t last beyond novelty, but taking all of this control-freakery and woman-silencing into account, Coyne’s capping off the Heady Fwends adventure by simply replacing collaborators who he’d induced to appear naked with another famous woman feels a wee bit problematic. I’ll go on.

It would have been easy for Coyne to recognise that he’d jeopardized his concept by behaving poorly towards the Badus and put the music video on the backburner. Heck, the video wasn’t that great anyway, and he’s got plenty of other high-concept wacky shit to get on with. Sure of it. Ten hour cover of “Freebird”, played inside a whale’s vagina. Forget the video, put it on a boxset in ten years once you’ve sorted out the legal wrangling. But replacing Erykah and Nayrok with Palmer is confusing; was it just important to have this vision (naked women in bathtubs/covered in substances) out there and associated fundamentally with The Flaming Lips as dudes who are so freewheeling they have beautiful naked ladies cavorting with fluids in their videos cos they can?

There was no problem with Badu’s version of song or the video until The Lips made a hash of making it public. Suddenly, when the video– the naked, writhing video– was a problem in that it could not longer be seen by the public, they needed a ring-in not only to get naked and reshoot it almost shot for shot, but also to re-record the song. If that isn’t petty, I’m not using a computer. Such was her respect for the original song that she was interpreting, Erykah Badu said that you’d have to be “crazy” (that word again) to want to try and cover Roberta Flack. Yet, she balled herself up to the challenge of it and hit it fairly out of the park. Yet, by just roping someone in to re-execute a song because she balked at the manner in which the Lips had undertaken the marketing tactics associated with the video. One of Badu’s complaints was that she had been misled over how the video would look:

“First: You showed me a concept of beautiful tasteful imagery (by way of vid text messages). I trusted that. I was mistaken. Then u release an unedited, unapproved version within the next few days.”

If we’re taking her at her word, The Lips disrespected her musical efforts, abused her and her sister’s rights to control over her own artistic output and representation as an artist, and rejected the idea of fearless freakery for anyone but themselves; not only did she have to sing it right for Coyne, she had to get naked in the right way for his band’s public image as well. A different type of fearless nudity was not enough. Stranger still is the fact that the grotesque fluid play that the Badus worked with is gone; Palmer is just sliding nude in water the whole time. It’s hard for the Lips to play the artistic integrity card here for grounds for reshooting the video and redoing the song. If the problem was the fact they wanted to re-shoot the video, why change the music? If they wanted more naked women, why get Amanda Palmer? Was it so essential to draw the maximum amount of attention to themselves by finding A) a cult musician who was B) female and C) willing to remove her clothes for your art? Marketing 101 tells ya yes, but that’s not the issue here. Coyne excitedly talked in an interview recently about the possibilities of extra-musical marketing:

“Making a record is about look and feel too. The music is just music and then together its all the same thing. I suppose its like when you walk into a McDonald’s, every step of the way in the door is designed as an experience, was planned exactly to have an impact on you. We have the opportunity to design our own marketing and make the music into an experience.”

Badu got it right when she tweeted Coyne earlier on in the furore– “self-serving.”

If we’re going to follow the sexism line of thought here, we may as well; it’s hard to imagine Coyne & co. pulling in, I dunno, the dude from The Fray to re-sing a song and writhe around in the bathtub if Chris Martin had taken a disliking to how his artistic vision/free will/naked body was compromised. The Badu sisters were disempowered as artists and as people by having their bodies thrown out there as a publicity stunt without their permission– one can assume if they were willing to film it, they would have been okay with the video reaching the public had they been consulted about the edited form in which it was released. But, they weren’t asked, and when they withdrew that permission which had been assumed, they were written out of the story altogether and replaced by someone more willing to toe Coyne’s line. I can’t remember the last time one of those EVIL RECORD COMPANIES treated someone this shabbily, let alone the patron saints of do-it-crazy-and-colourful rock music.

I dunno. Storm in a teacup? Maybe. Calling the character of a dude I have not and will not meet into question, based on a few public actions, is hasty. I am not going to burn a flaming lip or decide that I will only use jelly from now on, no matter what. But it’s distressing that someone so often lionized for free-spiritedness and anything-goes-ivity has the hide to treat collaboration like a game of Football Manager 64– bit o’ th’ fascist in every deadhead, maaaaaan. In the process, they showed themselves up to be, at best, overly image conscious, childish and selfish, and at very worst, shy of being shown up by a “crazy, emotional” woman calling shots over what they could and could not make public. Ultimately, though, it seems like if you want to trip with Wayne Coyne, you’ve got to take exactly what he’s taking.

Interview: Earth

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Dylan CarlsonThere aren’t many drone bands as old as Earth. In fact, Earth is the band that was the main inspiration for latter day doom heroes Sunn O))), who chose their name with the reasoning that Sunn O))) revolves around Earth. The band’s history is almost as rich as its namesake too. Stealing Black Sabbath’s original band name when forming in 1989, leader Dylan Carlson recruited some of the Pacific Northwest’s finest talents to join him in his crusade of creating mainly instrumental, incredibly slow and repetitive music. From former Melvins bassist Joe Preston to Kill Rock Stars record label founder Slim Moon, and even his dearly departed close friend, Kurt Cobain, Earth was successful project in its first few years.

After taking a break from releasing music in the late-‘90s due to his personal problems, Carlson returned to Earth in 2005,  with new influences drawing country and folk into the band’s already distinct sound. With the second chapter of Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light released at the start of this year, Earth has finally had the same line-up for two albums with guitarist Carlson joined by his partner Adrienne Davies on drums, Lori Goldston on cello (best known for playing cello on Nirvana’s Unplugged album), and bassist Karl Blau. But the studio version of the band isn’t the same one that shall be playing in Australia for the first time. next month. Between his sighs and mumbles, Carlson tells Matthew Hogan about his excitement for his long awaited solo album Wonders From The House Of Albion, due out next year, before the band play the Rosemount Hotel on Saturday, September 15.

What band are you bringing with you to Australia? Are you bringing the Angel Of Darkness version of Earth?

Unfortunately, Lori doesn’t want to tour anymore because of her child and Karl is not able to because he’s expecting a baby. So it Don McGreevey from The Bees Made Honey era is joining the band again. So it’s going to be the ‘classic’ line-up of keys, guitar, bass and drums, but we’re still doing some material from the new album with some older songs thrown in. So it’s Earth, but a bit more rock’n’roll, I guess (laughs).

When you guys play live do you stay true to the original versions on the albums, or do you improvise?

No, no. With the new album, since it’s so ‘improvitory’, we play it differently each night. It’s always slightly different. We base our improvisation around the main theme of the song, but then it moves around in it’s own unique way each night.

I’ve been looking at your Kickstarter page for your solo album Wonders From The House Of Albion. Tell us a bit about that – how come you’ve decided to raise money the new-fangled way?

Well it would have been an Earth project, but the other guys they have the other bands that they’re working with, and they didn’t feel that they would be able to do it. The solo thing, I kind of view it as separate to Earth. There’s some similarities with the style of the record and the interest. But I figured I could pursue that on my own while leaving Earth to do with it does. It’s something different in that I wanted it to be more of a folklore record. It will be my interpretation of English folklore songs. I’ve enlisted some singers to do the vocals. I’ve done three other solo things, one of which hasn’t come out yet, which is for The Tapeworm. The Tapeworm have this new imprint, and they will release a new double 7’’. There’s another release coming in October as well, that should have some covers on it.

What covers will you be doing?

I’m not really supposed to talk about that stuff, but it’s going to be some English songs, and then I’ve got another solo EP coming out in October as well. And then there’s the Kickstarter project, and I’m hoping to get that out in May of next year.

I see that there’s a book and DVD component of this project. Where did you get all the source footage for that side of things?

After Earth’s UK tour earlier this year, I was in England for about a month and a half. Two weeks in London doing the live thing and then headed up north and travelled around filming stuff, and doing recordings and stuff.

Where does this interest in Scottish/English folklore come from?

My grandmother was from Fife in Scotland, and she came over during the war. And I mostly have Scottish blood, like many Americans, and I’ve always been into history and that kind of stuff. I guess it kick-started off with that – oh wait! Bad pun; an accident!

You must be happy with the response – the fact that you’ve raised more than the $30,000 you were hoping for pretty quickly.

Again, I didn’t think it would be a project that a lot of people would be interested in. I’ve found more and more that if you do stuff and let people know about, then people might come out and support it. I’m blown away by all these generous people. So I’m very grateful for all of the support of Earth over the years, and the continued support of us to do this.

So is there any more Earth material in the pipeline, because it sounds like you’re focusing on a lot of solo stuff?

Hopefully we’ll be doing the next Earth record at around the spring of next year. That would be my guess as to when we’ll be doing it. I haven’t set an exact date, but it will probably be either before my solo album comes out or right after. I’ve been working up some material, so I’m sure Earth and Albion can co-exist and be parallel. I like to keep myself busy here (he starts cackling).

Twerps — “He’s In Stock”

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

TwerpsThe new track from Twerps has hit the net in all its jangly, upbeat yet nonchalant goodness.

“He’s In Stock” is a straight-ahead, foot-tapping party tune that thoroughly deserves the blog love it’s getting round the place. The band’s new three track release is out digitally on September 17 and on 7? on October 23 through Chapter Music/Underwater Peoples.

Stream “He’s In Stock”, below.

Slow Dancing Society — “I’ll Leave a Light On”

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Laterna MagicaThe fifth record from Slow Dancing Society, Laterna Magica is out on September 18.

The first single, “I’ll Leave a Light On” is a fantastic introduction to the record that alternates in tone between crystalline beauty and a pulsing, vaguely ominous sound.

Take a listen to “I’ll Leave a Light On” below, and pre-order the record from Hidden Shoal.


Friday, August 24th, 2012

DendriteDendrite, aka New England resident Robert Mitchell, has just released his debut record of ambient wonderfulness.

Time Immemorial, out on Bitsquare, is a brilliant collection of sound that is both compelling and damn unnerving at times.

Stream the record below, or buy it over at Bandcamp.