Susanne Sundfør Announces US Tour, Video Contest

Norwegian songstress Susanne Sundfør is excited to announce a fall US tour, her first stateside string of dates. She will bring her original breed of dark electronic music and beguiling vocals that has drawn critical acclaim throughout the world, following her success in native Norway where her album The Silicone Veil reached # 1 in 2012 and became the biggest selling album of the year. Full tour dates are below.

Additionally, she is inviting fans to create the official video for ‘Among Us’ off The Silicone Veil by uploading their videos to http://genero.tv/susannesundfor by September 17th. The winner will also win $4,000. The winner and finalists will be chosen by Susanne Sundfør and Genero.

Susanne Sundfør Tour Dates:
9/23 – Bardot – Hollywood, CA
9/25 – Bootleg Theater – Los Angeles, CA
9/26 – The Chapel – San Francisco, CA
9/28 – Glasslands – Brooklyn, NY
9/30 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY

Praise for Susanne Sundfør & The Silicone Veil:

“Thick with mythology and dark as a nighttime thicket.” – Pitchfork “Best New Track”

“The Silicone Veil” is leftfield pop, a thrilling effort. It’s icy, gothic, and strange,
with moments of intentional dissonance.” – Billboard

“A shiny-voiced Norwegian pop star” – Rolling Stone

“A haunting, contradiction-filled work” – MTV

“Single-mindedness and a clear artistic vision coincide,
making Sundfør utterly arresting.” – Mojo ****

“Sundfor has a fantastically powerful, window-bending face-melter of a voice….
it’s quite stunning.”- Q

“If there is a more beautiful and ambitious song this year than ‘White Foxes’…
well, there just isn’t.”. – Uncut ****

“A breathtaking collection of spectral songs… she staked a claim to be the new Bjork. The Silicone Veil’s title track could have taught Florence Welsh a valuable trick…” – The Times UK *****

Mount Kimbie Release Video for “Home Recording”

Cold Spring Fault Less Youth Out Now Via Warp Mount Kimbie Tour North America This Fall

“The duo was incredibly precise . . . in a live setting, there really is no one else out there quite like Mount Kimbie.” Village Voice

“Dancing to Mount Kimbie is like dancing to architecture: it feels like their compositions have hidden passages, back doors, and sky lights, beaming in sneakily beautiful, sun-kissed melodies. They are a modest band making audacious, idiosyncratic music, and I cherished seeing it live.” The Stranger

Having released their acclaimed sophomore record, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, on Warp earlier this summer, Mount Kimbie have released a vivid, textured video for single, “Home Recording.” Directed by Anthony Dickenson, Rolling Stone hailed the video, “with its elegant blend of jazzy ambiences and dubstep textures, the album conjures vivid imagery by itself . . . Dickenson has created a perfect companion for the music’s evocative drift.”

Building on the success of their debut album, Crooks and Lovers, Mount Kimbie have established themselves as ambitious artists in the experimental arena of electronic music, adding rich textures to layered melodies and on this record, live instrumentation that expands their scope of sound.

The FADER call Cold Spring Fault Less Youth a “subtle epic” while SPIN acknowledge that it “maintains a sense of understated complexity, it’s very different from its predecessor . . . the increased presence of live percussion has created a larger, more organic sound, one now oriented towards the dance floor.” The recently released video for “You Took Your Time (feat. King Krule)” is a bleak, captivating black and white portrait of intertwined characters that results in what Pitchfork calls “something of a grime ballad.”

The duo will be touring North America this Fall, including dates at Seattle’s Decibel Festival with Nicolas Jaar, as well as Mutek Mexico and Asheville’s Mountain Oasis Festival.

Mount Kimbie North American Fall Tour Dates

09.22.13 – Symbiosis Gathering Fest – Oakdale, CA
09.23.13 – Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA
09.24.13 – Porters Pub – San Diego, CA
09.25.13 – DNA Lounge – San Francisco, CA
09.27.13 – Decibel Festival (Showbox Sodo) – Seattle, WA
09.28.13 – Venue – Vancouver, BC
09.29.13 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR
09.30.13 – Neurolux – Boise, ID
10.02.13 – Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
10.03.13 – Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO
10.05.13 – Mutek MX – Mexico City, MX
10.07.13 – The Sinclair – Boston, MA
10.08.13 – Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY
10.09.13 – Black Cat – Washington, DC
10.11.13 – The Loft – Atlanta, GA
10.12.13 – Jack Rabbits – Jacksonville, FL
10.13.13 – Club Downunder – Tallahassee, FL
10.14.13 – The Social – Orlando, FL
10.15.13 – Bardot – Miami, FL
10.17.13 – Republic – New Orleans, LA
10.18.13 – Walters – Houston, TX
10.19.13 – Red 7 – Austin, TX
10.20.13 – Club Dada – Dallas, TX
10.22.13 – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
10.23.13 – The Basement – Columbus, OH
10.26.13 – Carnegie Mellon – Pittsburgh, PA
10.27.13 – Mountain Oasis Festival – Asheville, NC

Charli XCX’s US headline dates moved to Oct/Nov– to join UK arena tour w/ Paramore

21-year-old Charlotte Aitchison aka Charli XCX reveals she will join Paramore on their upcoming UK arena headline tour in September—which unfortunately means the scheduled North American fall headline tour will be postponed until the end of October/November, 2013.

“I’m very happy to have been asked to support Paramore on their UK tour. I’ve never really done shows in the UK outside of London before so it’s going to be something different and kind of scary for me. Of course I am really, truly so so sorry to everyone who got tickets to my US shows, as now I will have to reschedule those dates and I hate the fact that I will have let lots of people down. It’s weird, I always feel strangely at home when I play shows in America and the fans I have out there are literally the best, most killer fans in the world. I’m upset that you guys are going to be disappointed and annoyed at me, as I really did have big things planned for this tour, so it’s very sad. I’m working really hard to reschedule the dates right now and all I can promise you is that the shows will be even bigger and better than anything I’ve ever done before” –Charli XCX

Following what’s been an incredible year, having released her breakthrough debut album “TRUE ROMANCE” (via IAMSOUND) to rave reviews, including a ‘Best New Music’ mark from Pitchfork; having written her first #1 single ‘I Love It’ for Swedish duo Icona Pop, which has gone on to sell over 3 million copies worldwide; and moreover, Charli is currently writing in the studio with some of the biggest names in pop. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for a revised US routing! Replay the single, “You (Ha Ha Ha)” here:

CHARLI XCX on TOUR
*9/20-9/28 supporting Paramore except
8/23 – Leeds, UK @ Leeds Festival
8/25 – Reading, UK @ Reading Festival
9/20 – Manchester, UK @ Manchester MEN Arena
9/21 – Cardiff, UK @ Cardiff Arena
9/23 – Birmingham, UK @ Birmingham LG Arena
9/24 – Nottingham, UK @ Nottingham Capital FM Arena
9/27 – London, UK @ TBC
9/28 – London, UK @ TBC
10/5 – Vienna, Austria @ Waves Vienna Festival*
10/27 – Las Vegas, NV @ Vegas Festival
TBD – US HEADLINE DATES TO BE RELEASED SOON*
11/30 – London, UK @ London Islington Academy

Gogol Bordello – Pura Vida Conspiracy album review

The difference between disliking a band and respecting a band is an important one. If there is sufficient evidence that a certain group is a bunch of talentless hacks, than there’s nothing wrong with saying so. Being second-rate, by the way, has nothing to do with character and everything to do with artistry. Criticism need not be personal.  Over the last decade or so, Gogol Bordello has built up a reputation as an eccentric group of gypsy punks who are very talented at the stirring the pop cultural pot. Their name comes from the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol, who introduced Ukrainian culture to Russian culture. The band’s goal of bringing popular music from Eastern Europe to the English-speaking world has succeeded fairly well, and this is why, as mentioned earlier, it is easier to respect Gogol Bordello than to like their music.

Pura Vida Conspiracy has all of the pomp, spontaneity and sense of humor that is to be expected from the band at this point. Frontman Eugene Hütz gargles and stammers through the album with furious apathy. His idiosyncratic, yet consistent vocals matched with the accompanying rock band, accordions, and violins creates a homogenous feel to the tracks, and during some moments it feels gimmicky. Yet, Hütz is actually from Ukraine, and as a result, the synthesis sounds authentic. Thus, Vampire Weekend syndrome, whereby rich white males appropriate world music in a quixotic attempt to appear cosmopolitan (put on some yacht rock, dude), is, thankfully, avoided.  The band sounds best when they change paces on tracks like “I Just Realized,” or the sweeping finale “We Shall Sail.”

Blurring pop genres is a very difficult thing to do, and it is often said that the best artists accomplish this mighty task. Though I have not seen Gogol live, I’ve heard that they’re great performers. This may explain my relative disinterest with their recordings. Despite what School of Rock may have wanted us to believe, a great rock n’ roll show does not change the world, but it may prompt you to be more enthused about a band and, in turn, appreciate their recordings more than you would have. Pura Vida Conspiracy sounds consistent with the rest of their discography, and diehard fans will be pleased.

Demon Queen – Exorcise Tape album review

The LA electronic beat maker Tobacco has teamed up with Zackey Force Funk to make the tight outlandish sounds of Demon Queen. For anyone not familiar with Tobacco’s previous work, the creative sounds he laces into neo-industrial beat driven tracks seem to pull you in multiple directions at the same time, which can be a mind warping experience. Meanwhile, and unlike really any other rapper, Zackey Force Funk relies on his ability to croon, opting for a falsetto and soft-spoken delivery where other rappers typically boast with bravado. Tobacco is known for his work with Black Moth Super Rainbow, and a sort of obsession with analog electronic insturments, such as the vocoder and the Rhodes keyboard. He has also had a productive career as a solo act, releasing two full length albums and three EP’s in less than four years. With both his solo efforts and Demon Queen, he has notably taken a more experimental and slightly more adventurous approach to his music.

Dropping Demon Queen into your player starts off as a bold move on its own. At the first notion of effected vocals which lead us into the galactically heavy, 80’s style synthesizers of “Lamborghini Meltdown,” the adventure is already well underway. The sound is so fresh and futuristic, and crafted with such precision, it becomes infectious. Tobacco’s backing vocals in “Vodka” sounds like robotic, a theme in his solo work as well. Deep sub-synth bass ripple along the low end and Zackey Force Funk’s high pitched croons echo’s bounce along the track. Chuck Steak’s slow rapping guest spot on this track brings a nice new flavor to the mix.

The demonic party continues with hot and ominous bangers like “El Camino 2” and “Swoll Tongue.” The latter of the two featuring an onslaught of high end electronic madness. The breakdown regresses to vocals, keys and an obviously audible click track. Tobacco’s seems to be toying with the ideas, and the winning ones stick, a boldly creative approach not nearly prevalent enough in today’s music. The composition on “Swoll” proves to be very well rounded, with the melodic chorus likened to a valley between the synthetic mountains.

N8 No Face boasts “ten thousand push up’s before my breakfast-es” on the opening the “Demon Practice.” This two minute blast is in your face with no apologies. Playing the Demon Queen hype man, N8 No Face proves to pump up the distorted demonic beats to their fullest potential. “Love Hour Zero” is an excellent break from the madness. A ballad, really, the tune shows the versatility of the group. Effected acoustic guitar twangs over the pumping “80’s exercise tape” beat. The lead is reminiscent of a classic TV show introduction, in the best way possible.

The album’s first “single” is “Rude Boy,” a dynamic story about a dude shooting his gun off in the middle of a ripping party. Interlacing creative sounds own this beat, with an echoing lead creating waves over multiple effected keyboard riffs. N8 No Face comes in to explain the details with clarity. “Bad Route” has no guest spot which means Zackey Force Funk and Tobacco take turns telling the story; Zackey with light and extremely tasteful crooning, and Tobacco with his robot voice , use of samples, and tight, infectious synth leads. “Despise the Lie” is an awesome blast to wrap up the album, rounding out the cast of characters with an excellent guest spot from Isaiah Toothtaker. The song starts with his aggressive line “get these suckers the fuck up off of me.” This tune proves there are no weak tracks in this collection.

Quite possibly the most interesting album released this year, Demon Queen should certainly raise some brows with Exorcise Tape, in addition to confusion amongst innocent bystanders and, ultimately, the energy of the dance floor at the trendiest of underground clubs in LA, New York and elsewhere. Those bold enough to throw this demonic album in their players will be exposed to something completely new and totally wild. The use of guest spots was wise and absolutely enhances the final product. Mastermind Tobacco and compadre Zackey Force Funk should be commended for seeing this project through and approaching it with such open creativity, for what came out of it is devilishly good.

The Memories – Love is the Law album review

The Memories are a sun-soaked, dreamy power pop band based out of Portland, Oregon, sharing members with the punk outfit White Fang. Their most recent release (on Burger Records, a label with an impressive repertoire, to say the least) Love is the Law features seventeen songs to the tune of short and sweet. Simplicity, then, is the key stylistic element. The bare-bones guitar riffs supplement lyrics that stick to talking about girls and weed. Sound easy to get into? Transparent, almost? That’s absolutely right.

Simplicity should never be interpreted as a flaw. Some of the most beautiful songs ever written have been created on the foundation of just four chords (and sometimes even less). What The Memories have going on Love is the Law is a prime example of what critics and music dorks alike refer affectionately to as “slacker pop.” Not to be confused with actually lazy songwriting (and make no mistake, the lines can often blur), the songs are crafted in such a way that would inspire visions of the band members sitting together in a cramped apartment or practice space thick with pot smoke, banging out these songs in rapid succession. The lyrical content seems to be hastily concocted, scribbled on crumpled scraps of paper salvaged from old notebooks and the backs of fast food receipts. With this comes a certain charm that many bands try to emulate, but few are successful in.

Standout tracks on the album include “En Espanol,” “You Need a Big Man,” and “Go Down On You.” With the song titles as straightforward as they are, the feeling of the album is easy to pin down. “You Need A Big Man” is entirely absurd, which makes it a great (albeit questionable) addition to the album. The lyrics are lewd, childish, and terribly tongue in cheek, with a hummed vocal part in lieu of a guitar solo. In a strange way, it sort of embodies Love is the Law. It’s respectable pop without taking things too seriously. This is a fun listen above all else, and easy to immerse oneself in. The attention to sound and atmosphere, appearing in short bursts yet leaving an impression on the album as a whole, make the record that much more substantial.

The overall impression to be drawn from Love is the Law is face-value: what you see is what you get. It seems like common sense, or even lackluster to a certain degree. There is no package here, nothing to be sought after or understood. No big picture, no pretense, just a collection of summery, jangling pop songs. And sometimes that’s all you need.

Tobacco – Exorcise Tape album review

The heading for this current review is misleading. Yeah, Tobacco is involved in this record, but an entity who goes by the name of ‘Zackey Force Funk’ is involved as well. The end result appears to be called Demon Queen. There are actually a number of guest musicians on this one, but Tobacco and Zackey are the primary dudes on this recording.

Not being all that intimately acquainted with Tobacco’s back catalogue, I dutifully cued up Spotify and took a trip through the weird, theoretically uninformed world of Tom Fec. It was definitely worth the journey, mostly because of the way it informed my understanding of how this new album/sonic mutation sits in relation.

Right off the bat, this recording is dirty, and I’m not talking about production. This is some straight up stripper music; sexual references drop like crazy, and I don’t honestly remember the last time I heard that many references to female genitalia, especially on the aptly named Puni Nani.

The music itself is some kind of electro-disco, with falsetto vocals that are swathed in a kind of detached cool, delivered over a highly electronic musical arrangement. Fec’s innate musicality shows through, as the ideas are nothing short of brilliant. The music teacher in me wonders what might happen if he got over his prejudice and embraced the science of tonal arrangement; the fact that that will probably never happen is fine, because it ultimately doesn’t matter. The upshot is that this album is a very ‘not for children’ sex romp replete with great musical ideas in the writing. It’s a highly worthwhile, and highly naughty, listen. Let it rock you.

Coke Weed – Back to Soft album review

While much less twangy than their earlier albums, Maine-based group Coke Weed’s third album Back to Soft maintains the band’s dreamy, psychedelic sound. With the haunting vocals of lead singer Nina Donghia and the resonating guitar that reminds me a little of San Francisco band Thee Oh Sees, Coke Weed’s new album is equal parts trippy and relaxing. Although the steady drum backbeat featured in many of their tracks paired with Donghia’s purr creates the illusion of laid back songs, upon closer inspection, Coke Weed’s lyrics can be pretty intense. Already reaching Internet popularity, the spacey, beachy track “Anklet” starts out with Donghia lazily drawling, “Captivator/You are settling in/I am fixated.” Yikes.

Fans of Coke Weed’s earlier albums, Volume One and Nice Dreams, may be disappointed by the lack of the country-western vibe that was so present in both of the albums preceding Back to Soft. If one listened to “Frizz” off of Volume One and then “Anklet,” they might think the songs were by two entirely different bands if it weren’t for Donghia’s distinguishable drawl. Although I personally prefer the floaty, more heavy on the drums sound of Back to Soft to the band’s previous albums, people who have followed Coke Weed since they formed in 2010 may feel just that–like they’re listening to an entirely different band.

Upon sitting down to write this review, I wrote out several phrases that could describe Coke Weed’s sound. Right after I finished jotting down the non-word “garage-band-y,” I stumbled across an article which informed me that Coke Weed recorded their second and, as previously stated, much more country-infused album Nice Dreams in a barn in only an hour and a half, and that they recorded it live, meaning that any accidental slip-ups in the recording process became part of the album. A band that has the confidence and easy-going attitude to do that is pretty cool indeed in my book. Cross out “garage-band-y” and put “barn band.”

So, if a dreamy, psychedelic, trippy, relaxing barn-band-y musical group with haunting, purring vocals and spacey tracks with intense lyrics sound interesting to you, make sure the next album you illegally download (or honorably purchase on iTunes) is Back to Soft. 

Brick + Mortar – Bangs EP review

Brick + Mortar are a duo from Ashbury Park New Jersey on an uphill battle and gaining traction in the large and ever-changing  music industry. Long time friends Brandon Asraf and John Tacon, who have been writing and playing music together since middle school, officially joined forces in 2008. Asraf leads the duo with his unique vocals and aggressive bass lines, while Tacon fills in the details with drums, samples and back up vocals. They started off by playing up and down the coast of New Jersey, gaining a considerable amount of success with their live show. Eventually they opened for Jimi Eat World, played at 2012 SXSW Music Conference and more recently they have been showcasing for different labels for representation. They came out with their first studio release independently in 2010, titled 7 Years in the Mystic Room, which was well received by critics and fans. Independent label Anchor & Hope Music has since signed them.

On Bangs, Brick + Mortar seem to have developed a new even more adventurous, yet pop, sound with an undeniable “in-your-face” aggression. Compared to 7 Years, which overall has a mid-tempo and atmospheric feel, this is a noticeable difference. The title track explodes with a jarring introductory riff. Ruff and ready heaviness, catchy melodies and distorted overtones are immediate themes. Asraf’s use of effects on his vocals appropriately adds to the draw of their creation. Tacon holds things together with an apparent ability to find the most extreme and most fitting beats and fills to compliment the integrity of the song. The groups use of samples and various synthesizers is an attractive characteristic, adding depth and a modern vibe.

On “Locked In A Cage” Asraf voices frustrations “you know I got the anger of a burning sun, now hold up just a minute down burn me down.” Possibly, this a reflection of the difficulty of finding yourself with a dream in a thankless world. Ironically, this type of honest, up-beat and aggressive production will likely gain the duo even more well-deserved attention. The melody is repetitive and infectious.

The next track seems to have become a sort of anthem for the band. “Heatstroke,” previously showcased at their live shows, offers a memorable melody over Tacon’s rolling, pounding drums. The introduction on this track is exceptionally wild. The two different choruses offer eye to eye views inside Asraf’s angst about our cold-hearted world and the woes of lost love: “The strongest thing I ever felt was feelings for you, so try to look me in the eye, a difficult goodbye, to all the things we hide.”

Brick + Mortar deliver another raucous account of life on “Old Boy.” The drums are the driving force behind this track with an upbeat, party feel. The post chorus riffing shows displays the group’s ability to play well at super speed. Asraf points out “can’t be the best, still I hold on to.” On the next song, “No I Won’t Go” is well written, though follows a predictable pop song structure and familiar sounding melody, suggesting the group is looking for a broader appeal. The production at the end of the Bangs collection keeps things lively. On “Keep This Place Beautiful” Asraf brings morbid creativity to the pre-chorus with a conscious for future generations “one day I will be dead, I will be dust, keep this place beautiful.” On the last track, “Terrible Things,” Asraf and Tacon explore the deeper sides of their minds.

Brick + Mortar have many well executed creative ideas throughout this short seven song collection. Their well-defined sound, strong songwriting and musicianship prove them worthy of praise and attention. The stronger tracks on this release, “Bangs,” “Heatstroke” and “Locked in a Cage” soar with potential and prove their abilities as non-conformist songwriters. Brick + Mortar’s blend of alternative indie pop-rock music with ambition should not fall off the radar anytime soon, and in fact may be heating up right here in front of us.

The Leisure Society – Alone Aboard the Ark album review

At what point will the masses turn on ukulele wielding troubadours like they did on disco music that day at the ballpark on Disco Demolition Night in Chicago? Can we trick them all into thinking they’re playing the halftime show of the Super Bowl and then drunkenly throw our bottles of rye at them? Thankfully The Leisure Society isn’t all ukulele but there is enough entry level piano and banjo music playing to get you steamed; especially in the Alone Aboard the Ark opener, Another Psalm Sunday, which has a harmonica thrown in mid song just for your pleasure. Sorry, for some reason I can’t get that Hannibal Lecter movie Red Dragon out of my head right now.

The next song isn’t much better as it comes complete with violins and woodwinds that have bad 70’s lounge music as their background. I kept waiting for Jack Tripper’s sleazy buddy Larry to show up at my door flaunting tons of chest hair. By the third song, you realize that all this band is, is a bunch of hipsters who can play a random assortment of instruments . They got together one night and decided that their glorified grad student plays weren’t working anymore, so why not form a band to get girls. They aren’t talented enough to play any kind of solos and musically they are all over the place. They can’t decide what they are or what they want to be, which is ok if you perfect a certain style on one album and then decide to mix it up on another. But to be average at every style you play doesn’t quite work when you are trying to be schizophrenic.

Tearing the Arches Down is their most rocking song and I use that term loosely. They bring in some distorted guitar and it’s the closest thing you’ll find to a traditional rock song on this album. All I Have Seen is the clear highlight with its late 60’s psychedelic harmonizing which instantly draws you in and thankfully it has lyrics you actually care about. The song ends with Hemming singing “No More, No More, All I have seen, take it from me” and fades out with carnival like music, continuing their weird trend of schizophrenia.

Maybe you’re really into folk/rock music and by the end you’ll be drowning in young flapper Roaring 20’s hipster bliss with Forever We Shall Wait and the never ending We Go Together. But for the rest of us, the next time I see some dude with greased up hair, an unnecessary  5 o’clock shadow, and rolled up sleeves; I’m going to assume that he saw the Robert Downey Jr version of Sherlock Holmes one too many times and throw my fedora at him! Oh the irony!