I’m reviving an old music blog at the end of 2021?
Maybe it’s foolish, and maybe I’m the only one who misses the blog ol’ days, but I’m gonna give it a shot. I’ll be working on restoring some of the old content, though much of it was lost. If there’s interest, I’ll try to figure out how to safely share some more of the old remix sunday archives.
For now though, you can find all the label’s releases here, on bandcamp, or anywhere you listen to music these days. I’ve also still got copies of some of the old vinyl releases, and I’ve just released the first in a set of charitable cassette compilations to raise awareness about the continued [mis]use of broken windows policing methods.
Plus I’ve put together a playlists section with a handful of spotify lists that hopefully start to capture a [slightly] updated version of the moods we used to peddle. Give those a listen and a ❤ if you would be so kind. If people want me to put together soundcloud playlists, or something else, give me a holler.
Thodén – This Codified Drift
Thodén – This Codified Drift
It was then, floating in the passivity of induced consumption, in which it became clear that this functional mechanism of time was but a codified drift. With our particular indifference to an imposed rationality, all semblance of alterity had been lost [...]
I remember in the Napster and Limewire days how often I’d find tracks that were mislabeled in order to mislead people into thinking they’d stumbled across the long lost Boards of Canada or Aphex Twin song, or whatever, and how hard my young ears would have to work to discern if these were in fact […]
Donna Missal, who recently put out the best work of her career – an excellent EP produced by Sega Bodega – was dropped by Harvest/UMG shortly after the EP’s release. Subsequently, she posted to twitter a good encapsulation of how preexisting economic privilege is often the most potent ingredient for music industry success: Nepotism and […]
Past Palms is an artist from Richmond, VA. Each song from Ambient Music for Watering Plants focuses on one typical tropical houseplant, in hopes of capturing the simple serenity of watering that life “while living in a gray, nature-less city”, as the artist describes their project. An ode to Eno’s Music For Airports, the substitute […]
Venus absorbs and tempers the masculine essence, uniting the masculine and feminine in mutual affection. She is assimilative and benign, born of sea foam, a charm, a magic philtre. You’ve no doubt heard this Loleatta Holloway-sampling 1990 classic by the polyonymous Dutch trio composed of Eddy de Clercq, Gert van Veen, and Erik van Putten. […]
On a day like today, it’s hard to feel like the world isn’t repeatedly sending us the same gruesome message. That justice isn’t real; murderers will go free while innocent people will languish. [...]
On a day like today, it’s hard to feel like the world isn’t repeatedly sending us the same gruesome message. That justice isn’t real; murderers will go free while innocent people will languish. And we’re supposed to be thankful that at least the state didn’t sanction the murder of one innocent black person today, it will only keep him in prison forever; [...]
Three years after her debut LP, a new single from Berlin-based Argentinian artist Catnapp ahead of her Trust album release, out on Monkeytown on May 20. The press release for this seems to acknowledge that connections will inevitably be drawn to artists like 100gecs, etc., but attempts to cut through that noise a bit:
Trust does border on overload, but again, that’s by design. The LP arrives at a time when attention spans are short, interruptions are constant, multi-tasking has become routine and practically the entire history of music is now accessible at the push of the button.[…] Call it hyperpop if you must, but pop concentrate might be a more accurate term.
I agree with the sentiment; it’s hard to keep a listener’s attention these days, and especially hard to draw them in to a new full length for long enough to appreciate a narrative. But Trust makes a valiant attempt to achieve this kind of focus. Anchored by the pleasant contrasts inherent in Catnapp’s delicate voice and energetic delivery, the album strikes a balance between the sound of the new guard of hyphenate hyperpop-gabber-trance producers like Aamourocean and established progenitors of what might now fairly (though reductively) be called proto-hyperpop, Modeselektor (who feature on two songs on the album).
In a vacuum, I’d call this album (and its lead single) a great addition to the never-named Berlin electro-hop genre for which Modeselektor have been such emphatic and sincere torchbearers. But outside that vacuum, it’s certainly also fair to say this will appeal to a new generation of listeners who, perhaps without knowing the context, would lump this in with hyperpop, a genre that itself lacks any truly defined borders (and really that’s not a bad thing). Ultimately, what counts is not how distorted the 909 is, whether there are enough supersaws, or if a head is adorned with blue dyes versus fitted caps–rather it’s whether the music gets its listeners to respond. I’d say this definitely ought to.
Trust is available for preorder directly from Monkeytown. The lead single is streaming now, and is downloadable with preorders via bandcamp.
Samaki is a New Jersey-born, Atlanta-based producer and vocalist who’s been making deep and romantic hip hop for only the past three years, but you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s a veteran. I don’t know much about him, and he doesn’t have a big online presence yet, but he tells me he’s just trying to make music he would listen to. No soundcloud or bandcamp for him, so he’s given me permission to share two of his songs as mp3s, but you can also stream his stuff on spotify.
The above short film documents the writing and recording of MUGOGO!, the recently released 22-song album from Kenyan rapper Ziller Bas and Swiss producer FlexFab, over the course of two weeks the two spent together in Kilifi, Kenya in early 2020. Continentally connected to South African gqom, the album has a distinctly hybrid sound of its own — cosmopolitan in its production style, with supremely refined and energetic vocal performances by Bas in a dialect he describes as Sweng Flow, a combination of Swahili, English, and Giriama. I really encourage you to watch the film; it’s beautifully put together, and provides a lot of personal context for the album, all of which makes the record that much more exciting.
I selected a couple of my favorites from the album, but it’s really solid throughout. It’s streaming now, or it can be purchased in a gorgeous deluxe vinyl package on bandcamp.
FlexFab & Ziller Bas – “Haha! Haha!” ft. Jimmy Pé (sc)
FlexFab & Ziller Bas – “Fullu!” (sc)
FlexFab & Ziller Bas – “Oya Baba!” ft. Gafacci (sc)
Belief is a collaborative project from Boom Bip and Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa. Hearing this brought me back to the early 2000s, when I was a teenage intern at El-P’s Def Jux label — Boom Bip’s first two records would frequently play in the office there. While his solo sound has since evolved considerably, Bip’s knack for melody remains intact, and the addition of Mozgawa’s drumming feels like a subtle and welcome throwback to that era’s liberal use of drum breaks.
“Ulu is the Hawaiian word for growth, to rise or sprout” says Bip; the song was improvised and recorded mostly live, as part of a series of sessions for Belief’s upcoming album on Lex Records. I’ve also included a remix of the track by Palms Out favorite, FaltyDL. You can stream both now, or purchase them on bandcamp.
Belief – “Ulu” (sc)
Belief – “Ulu” (FaltyDL Remix) (sc)
You can also watch the video for their previous single after the jump.
Donna Missal, who recently put out the best work of her career – an excellent EP produced by Sega Bodega – was dropped by Harvest/UMG shortly after the EP’s release. Subsequently, she posted to twitter a good encapsulation of how preexisting economic privilege is often the most potent ingredient for music industry success:
Nepotism and oligarchy are real, it’s mythological that there’s no barrier of entry anymore because of social media. Class has an unavoidable impact on your options. – Donna Missal on twitter
Those of us who have worked in this industry for any significant amount of time will easily be able to echo this sentiment. The sheer number of artists, producers, and indie label executives whose fathers or mothers are poisonously rich wall street financiers and pharma execs is staggering. Josh Eustis from Telefon Tel Aviv recently tweeted something along these lines:
You would be truly astonished to know how many “weirdo” artists – who are both our peers and many who are super famous – literally have dads that own gem mines in Indonesia – Telefon Tel Aviv on twitter
Does any of this mean rich kids shouldn’t get attention for their music? Of course it doesn’t. But we shouldn’t pretend that artists or labels make it purely on the merit of their talent or how much they “hustle”. This kind of thinking is just another version of the bootstraps fallacy. The system is rigged in favor of the rich, so if you find yourself wondering how that producer manages to pay for his million dollar studio in Williamsburg, despite only having been involved in a small handful of notable projects, remind yourself of the dark money that permeates the arts.
Does this mean that an artist like Missal is without privilege? Of course it doesn’t, and I imagine she would readily admit that. But she’s right when she points out that it’s far more emotionally exhausting for some artists than others to continue to “posture like everything’s cool” in the midst of the “optics olympics” of an industry driven by never-ending social media frenzy and armies of oligarch-funded publicity teams.
Donna Missal – “(to me) your face is love” (sc)
Donna Missal – “sex is good (but have you tried)” (sc)
I first met Cæcilie Trier when she was playing cello in Atoi, a band I blogged about a few times, years ago. She’s since released a handful of records under the name CTM, and is current with a collaborative album under that name with pianist August Rosenbaum on Posh Isolation. She’s a superb songwriter, and the production on all of her work is as inventive as it is immediate. For as delicate as much of her music can seem at first blush, it also feels distinctly physical; sort of body music for air signs.
In addition to the title song from her latest with Rosenbaum, Celeste, I’m including a favorite of mine from her most recent solo effort, 2018’s Red Dragon, as well as the title track from 2013’s Variations.
CTM & August Rosenbaum – “Celeste Song” (sc)
CTM – “Paloma pt. 2” (sc)
CTM – “Variations” (sc)
And just because, after the jump is the video for another one from Red Dragon.
Soho is a dear old friend. We used to be in a band together when I lived in Denmark, though that’s not saying much; she’s collaborated with so many others in the time since. She was a regular member of Lust for Youth’s live band, she’s been in bands like the short-lived but excellent Gold Lip, and she’s made records with the likes of Croatian Amor, Kasper Bjørke, and many others. But it’s really her solo work that strikes my nerves most; her voice is beautiful and an obvious blessing, but she’s also a gifted composer and producer.
She’s been prolific in recent years, but since things were dormant here, I didn’t have the chance to post any of her wonderful work. Above, I’ve posted a video of one of my favorites, from her 2018 album Six Archetypes, which included five video treatments, all of which are really worth attention. I’ve also included a selection of other songs from recent years that may inspire you to dive deeper into her catalog.
Soho Rezanejad – “Greed Wears a Disarming Face” (2018) (bc)
Soho Rezanejad – “December Song” (2018) (bc)
Soho Rezanejad – “Two Women Bucolics” (2020) (bc)
Soho Rezanejad – “Memory Shell” (2019) (bc)
Soho Rezanejad – “Everyday’s Another Holiday” (2015) (bc)
And for good measure, after the jump, another video from 2016, for a song that isn’t available on bandcamp.
A few months ago, Palms Out had the pleasure of releasing the second formal album by DonChristian, the self-produced Don, which features appearances from Shanekia McIntosh and TM Davy. Don is a ray of light, a truly generous soul, and an incredible artist. Some of the music on this album was incorporated into Don’s recent piece Volvo Truck performed at The Shed as part of their summer open call series. Don also spent most of the panini building Public Assistants, a mutual aid network for and by BIPOC artists, creatives, and makers, primarily focused in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
One of my personal favorites from the album is streamable below, but I really urge you to have a listen to the album in full wherever you listen to music (or buy it on bandcamp).
This song is from Sola‘s recent self-produced record, Feels Like a War, out on Jamz Supernova’s Future Bounce imprint, and written in collaboration with Moses Boyd, Ife Ogunjobi, Raven Bush, and Tora-i. Since Sola told us we don’t have to, I won’t say any more, except that this is good music.
“Every perfect day starts with a lie-in, no alarms, just sunlight. No one texting, calling or emailing me. Garage in the evening. A party with me and my friends playing, no pressure on anyone. A good afters, and the next day in the park. It’s like when I went to uni and first realised I wouldn’t get in trouble if I didn’t go in, and literally watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off instead.”
Zhala is, and has been for some time, one of the greatest lurking talents in Sweden, which is saying plenty, given how full of musical genius that country is. I was lucky enough to share a stage with her and Shamoun (an equally exciting character) at the Gagnef/Skankaloss festival a few summers ago, and they put on a very impressive show. It was no easy act to follow, no way. Fast forward a few years, and here she is again, better than ever, and seemingly ready to take over.