Animal Collective mastermind Dave Portner’s newest project has released its first video, and it’s a charming freak show. Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks’ excellent lead single “Little Fang” is represented in a short narrative by a brand new Jim Henson puppet, strange color saturation and a trip to the circus, and none of this it is shocking given the deranged and whimsical video history that Portner and his sister Abby have accrued over the years. That’s not to say the feline Little Fang itself isn’t a charming character in a world of well-depicted animosity and deceit. Abby’s ability to match her brother’s lo-fi psychedelia with a memorably furry protagonist is top notch. Watch the story unfold below and get ready for Slasher Flicks’ debut LP Enter The Slasher House, out April 7/8 on Domino.
If you’re in DC, catch them at U Street Musical Hall on Apr. 25.
Cultural decontextualization, there is a can of worms. Think twerking, a dance phenomenon erased from a localized context and turned into mass market pop. Tracking these things is a depressing game for anyone interested in the popular culture. Watch punk morph into its commercial antithesis or, in the case of this song, watch Madonna steal her dance moves from an NYC drag queen. This track comes from DJ Sprinkles’ 2009 magnum opus 120 Midtown Blues, an album in which he chronicles his time in NYC’s unglamorous late 1980s and early 1990s underground. It’s a deep house track that ends with a monologue about Madonna’s theft of the Vogue dance move from a broke and strung out drag queen. Who knows if it’s true but I’ll take DJ Sprinkles at his word. Enjoy.
Charlie Brand of Miniature Tigers is a true indie rock chameleon. He’s moved through unrequited love scenarios and vocal sneers over three full lengths and a slew of EPs, always transforming into a different embodiment of a passionate vocalist and guitarist. After channeling the subversive sexual charge of Of Montreal’s Georgie Fruit and the sincerest of nineties alt. rock stars, he’s pushing Miniature Tigers in a more pop-oriented direction with “Swimming Pool Blues”, the first single from the band’s upcoming Cruel Runnings. The track is an overwhelmingly joyous mixture of Real Estate’s nostalgia and Chairlift’s plastic catchiness, where Brand sells his own aerated vocals through the echoing rumble of the refrain. “If we swim we can make it, oohh/I wanna make it with you”: this type of positivity in love and lust is a pleasant one eighty from the envy and resentment that Miniature Tigers have perfected on past singles.
Listen to “Swimming Pool Blues” above, in advance of Cruel Runnings’ May 27 release.
Someone rolling on ecstasy once eloquently dubbed PAPA, ex-Girls drummer Darren Weis’s power rock project “necessary music”. That’s something entirely subjective and variable, but it doesn’t take much time with the west coast outfit’s debut album Tender Madness to get what the guy meant. Weis and his longtime musical companion Danny Presant make ebullient American rock that fills space and time with warmth and vitality. Taking cues equally from Fugazi and Bruce Springsteen, PAPA is all about the essence of youthful sincerity and ambition. You can hear that in the anthemic piano melodies combined with Weis’s stadium drums and low baritone, which all swirl together to make a statement that’s firmly routed in the present moment.
Fittingly, the band’s live performance has gained a reputation for its positivity and electric energy. Since last October’s debut of Tender Madness, Weis has published a tour-inspired collection of poems and drawings and also aided in the recording and release of the Tender Madness Sessions EP. The four-song collection epitomizes PAPA’s live aura in the best way possible, and is accompanied by live footage of sets at the El Ray Theater in Los Angeles.
Watch the live counterpart of Tender Madness standout “Put Me To Work”. Visit PAPA’s website for more on upcoming tour dates, including stops at SXSW and Governor’s Ball, as well as more live footage.
On February 21, Durham, NC based electronic duo Sylvan Esso released their single “Coffee” on iTunes. “Coffee,” a track loyal to the dance floor sounds of the band’s previous single, the handclapped “Hey Mami,” but is less persistent. The melody waits for you: it is inviting, as it oozes with soul and sophistication.
In the duo’s live WAMU session, singer Amelia Meath’s performance is all-in, as physicality and musicality impact one another. Her body moves in waves, floats ethereally, then hunches and contracts as her voice silences. She and bandmate, Nick Sanborn, perform to one another in a lovely, yet unfinished and raw call-and-answer. Meath’s voice is a soulful whisper and instinctual cry—an easy-to-drink potion, which, when entwined with Sanborn’s cerebral instrumentation, creates a sound that both thinks and feels.
Christopher Ward and Andrew Thiboldeaux of Philadelphia art rock band Pattern Is Movement haven’t released an album proper in six years. Since 2008, they’ve been intensifying and liberating their sound, which has virtually no boundaries. Prior albums such as All Together and The (im)possibility of Longing sounded like jazz, chamber pop and Purple Rain-era Prince all at once. “River”, their official first single from an eponymous fourth LP, is an intriguing progression for the pair. The track is one of the most explicitly structured pop songs that PIM has released, transforming the eclectic zeal of their older jams into something instantly palatable and hypnotic. Thiboldeaux’s vocals are emotional and smooth, while Ward’s drums propel the track ever forward.
The duo, which has toured with St. Vincent and The Roots, have an unforgettable live set. Luckily for you, they’ll be touring in advance of Pattern Is Movement’s Apr. 1 release, and making a stop at DC9 on Mar. 3.
Baltimore’s Animal Collective has been an undeniable musical presence in the 21st century. Album after album, they create whimsical, sentimental pop that’s never afraid to get weird. So many of their albums in the last fifteen years could be considered influential, and at least a few are electronic freak-folk classics. Feels, Strawberry Jam, Merriweather Post Pavilion and even their debut from 2000 feel unique and unprecedented in their ability to process contemporary life in joyful, often innocently childish perspectives.
Just as extensive and critically acclaimed are their diverse array of side projects. Noah Lennox (Panda Bear) is a stalwart of the creation of chillwave with his fantastic Person Pitch and lead lyricist David Portner (Avey Tare) has released his own brand of introspective electronic pop, most notably through 2010’s Down There. However, no innovative sonics or psychedelic visual art that the band has produced could prepare us for Portner’s newest supergroup.