Category Archives: syndicated

MPSO – Can I Convince You

Sounds like: Memoryhouse, Sparklehorse, Brian Eno, Slowdive, Foxes in Fiction

What’s so good?

MPSO, or Mount Pleasant Sympathy Orchestra, is the side project of Toronto-based Daniel Gray of the dream pop band Memoryhouse.

Self-described as “atmospheric, indie electronic, folk, minimalist-maximalist doom,” Gray’s work ranges from gentle musings to a smart cover of indie singer à la mode Lana Del Rey. In this, he demonstrates not only a diverse range but a certain niche-defining panache.

His talent doesn’t immediately make clear his expertise in Memoryhouse as first and foremost a drummer. What it does bring to mind is the broader function of the backbone of any group – the relationship of a rhythm section to the band that begins with a beat parlaying into bass rippling outward, leadership qualities often sprouting behind the scenes. In MPSO, Gray makes his craft loud and clear as producer at-large with great things on the horizon.

Tumblr blog serves as home to each song alongside personal and mostly casual notes from the author. It serves as his public sketchpad – a place for musings and revelations, new demos and fresh reworks. Each post is a gem in which we discover the backstory behind each new bit of music as it’s published. Even if you’re not looking for music, the blog is an excellent example of the 1:1 connection every musician should have with his or her audience.

The first MPSO album, Wisdom Teeth, is coming as a free download this month. See the announcement along with tracklist here.

Tycho – Live in Los Angeles

This post is syndicated from Indie Shuffle.

Sounds like: Ulrich Schnauss, Caribou

What’s so good?

As I exited Hollywood’s Music Box last Tuesday night after being blown away by Girls, a smiley dude approached with a handful of flyers for an upcoming show. “Tycho, at the Echo?” he said with a grin, half-expecting me to blow him off on the unusually chilly evening as show goers quickly walked by. “What?! Yes. I’ll take one!” I tucked the flyer neatly into my handbag, gingerly placing it on my desk the next morning like a newborn baby owl. Not only in a semi-reverent state of a recently neglected lifeline for live music, but to also serve as a reminder to buy tickets, dammit!

I was eager to get lost in the live setting that only Tycho’s signature stylings can provide. Tycho is an artist in every sense of the word: a musician, a virtuoso, a creator, and an artistic treasure of our generation. A thoughtful sea of his gentle and expansive electronic beats can heal even the crustiest of curmudgeons from the inside out!

 

And I also had two drink tokens burning a hole in my pocket, leftover from aspeaking engagement at The Echo a few weeks back!

Tycho, known in the design world as ISO50, is the one-person prodigy of Scott Hansen. Hailing from San Francisco, the West Coast inspiration is absolutely evident in his work. His sound matches to pictures through his video installation work and invokes visuals of endless coastlines, waves moving in a rhythmic slow motion, and the warm feeling of sunshine on the back of your neck. The soaring ambient rhythms are beautiful in any setting. Paired alongside a backing band and live video projections, his dreamlike landscape truly comes to life.

As I listen to it now while nursing coffee and avoiding doing “real world things,” I can’t help but notice how the album sounds somewhat bottled in comparison to the full, sonic soundscapes appropriate to music of the electronic genre, particularly when a full band is involved. Not only a treat but circumstanced evidence that the live music experience will never die.

Tycho’s new album Dive is out now on Ghostly International.

Emika – Emika

This post is syndicated from Indie Shuffle.

What’s so good?

Poignant yet fierce, striking and soft, the UK-born and Berlin-based Emika is a much needed beacon in electronic music, a space seemingly laden with emo-ridden dudes sporting thoughtful beards with a five o’clock silhouette for any given niche.

Emika shakes things up by bringing some serious skin to the game. She’s a force to be reckoned with — the anti-Ellie Goulding — leaving behind anything sugar-coated and sweet that offers a gently affected tonality for remixers to deepen. Emika singularly achieves depth by speaking through her superb technical and artistic prowess. Her style is unique with a tonality that’s consistent. And this is just her first album.

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Eleanor Friedberger – Last Summer

This post is syndicated from Indie Shuffle.

What’s so good?

I saw avant-pop duo The Fiery Furnaces perform an acoustic set a few months back at the Largo in L.A. and was immediately captivated. The first thing I thought about was the remarkable result of the brother and sisters’ stripped-down set paired to their signature poetic lyrics.

“The cool affectation of Matt and Eleanor is gripping – they’re clearly favoring their art over any commercial notion of entertaining that coerces objectification.”

The second thing I thought was: ”God I’m starving! What’s for dinner?”

I had listened to albums by The Fiery Furnaces in the past. And like many artists, it took going to a live performance before I really understood what they’re all about. I expressed interest on Twitter that night for a book of their lyrics to read. Like a changing green light at just the right moment before pause, I was thrilled to learn that there was in fact such a book.

Arty? Refreshingly so. Entertaining? You betcha. Spoken word tends to validate itself well, particularly so on paper.

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SBTRKT – SBTRKT

This post is syndicated from Indie Shuffle.

Sounds like: James Blake, Jaime xx, Burial

What’s so good?

There’s something to be said about the anonymous producer, the artist who chooses to hide behind a mask and forgo all marks of physical identity. Greats like MF Doom, Deadmau5, and the gents from Daft Punk all perform in disguise. Why do they present themselves this way? In a culture where the creator can play the part of celebrity, is it a noble effort to force the hand of the art itself? Is it an attempt to retain personal privacy while in the public eye? Or is the artist simply… shy?  What’s going on behind the mask?

Whatever the reason, SBTRKT is a producer who clearly puts his musicianship first by eschewing all norms and expectations for a mostly — in the traditional sense of the genre — electronic record.  That’s not to say it’s not an innovative album. In fact, the opposite is true. SBTRKT incorporates the wobbly, arrhythmic sensibilities of fellow electronic and R&B line-toers like James Blake, Com Truise, and Jaime xx while infusing his own point of view.

We hear hints of dubstep paired with a similarly clean production sound, developed with the finessed ear of maybe a daylight-driven Burial or simplified Clubroot. The silent upbeats we hear are filled with meaning, just as the vowels omitted from his name.

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