Nino Astronauta – San Fernando Rd. (radio mix).
The cover art on the 12″ of this is gorgeous. Family Tree Records have put out a fine product. Even the little sleeve of the CD Single is nice. I really respect the attention to detail.
At any rate, Nino Astronauta (what a great name, right?) is three guys: Tati on the bass, Nashio on the sampler, guitar, keys, etc, and Argel on the drums. They craft this really cool glitch stuff with their live instrumentation. There’s actually a live version of San Fernando Rd. on the single that’s pretty amazing. I love it when electronic acts are able to pull off a good live sound — and having live drums really helps a lot. That smooth bass isn’t hurting anything either.
So, San Fernando Rd is a beautiful little tune, winding its way along at a nice little pace. That rhythm section is right in the pocket. It reminds me of so many things, but it remains it’s own entity entirely. There’s remixes from John Tejada and Terrestre on the single, both of which are good. The full-length is also pretty amazing. It’s kind of jazzy in some respects, which isn’t a bad thing at all.
Nino Astronauta is definitely worth checking out. You can read more about them on their Site, and you can follow links to pick up their records there too. So far they have the single (on CD and 12″) and the Self Titled full-length. Both are recommended.
Faunts – Instantly Loved
Ahh… here we go. Perfect for the weird weather we’re having in NCY today: cool but not cold, wet but not actively raining, with the moisture hanging in the air, keeping the sky from becoming fully light. So then, how about a slice of gorgeous, lush shoe-gazey indie rock from Edmonton Canada’s Faunts? The band is a four piece: brothers Tim and Steven Batke (on Keys and Guitar respectively), Paul Arnusch (drums) and Joel Hitchcock (Keys). They formed in 2000, and have shared the stage with other Canadian indie-luminaries Broken Social Scene, Stars and Do Make Say Think.
Their new album, High Expectations/Low Results, is really good – 9 tracks of massively layered songs that, at times, hit soft then loud, with great walls of drones and distortion-coated guitars. The songs with vocals (a few of them), strike fairly close to pre-Kid A Radiohead, which I don’t personally have a problem with (see, I love The Bends just as much as I love OK Computer), though I can imagine some critics hating on them for it. But you know what? I’m totally taken by the wall of sound these guys put forth (like Mogwai in the full-on Loud part of their Soft-Loud-Soft mode), so when the songs without vocals come on, I’m just as happy. I’d love to see these guys play in a mid-sized venue (like Bowery Ballroom maybe?), because I think the songs make loads of sense loud (especially this one, through the second half of the song). High Expectations/Low Results is out now on the tiny Friendly Fire label (also home to Asobi Seksu), and is available to buy from Insound or Amazon, or download it from iTunes – well worth checking out. I’ve been listening to it on and off for a couple of months, and find it very pleasurable, especially as the weather get weirder… and colder.
I’m not sure what their touring schedule looks like at the moment (though I believe they were on the road a little while ago), but for those of you in Faunts’ hometown they’re opening for Caribou next Monday (December 5th) at The Starlight Room.
Oh No! Oh My! – Walk in the Park.
Ok, so which one of you is going to license this for a car commercial first? Damn is this catchy. It’s also just short enough that you don’t get tired of its sweetness (it’s only 2 minutes 23 seconds long). The overdubbed flute during the chorus is just perfect, and the double-tracked vocals hit just right. This song is pop perfection. What more could you ask for really? My commute melted away this morning while playing this in the car. It almost felt like a real fall.
So, Oh No! Oh My! used to be called The Jolly Rogers, but then there were other bands with that name. So they chose their new name from a Robot Ate Me song, after discovering The Robot Ate Me right here on Music for Robots. Ridiculous! Anyway, here they are with a new batch of songs under a new name. Their album (which is currently just a CD-R) comes with 9 strong tracks of indie pop. I love this kind of stuff.
They released another record under the Jolly Rogers name and it’s equally as good. If you want one, all you have to do is send money for shipping to them, and they’ll mail out a CD-R for you. You can get more info on their site.
Faith Boogie – Hey Hey Shorty.
So, Faith Boogie had one of those “You Hear It First” dealies on MTV starting today. You can find it here. We’ve been pushing the heat of Faith Boogie since January when we first heard about her. We’re right there with you, waiting for an album to drop.
I love that slithering little string sample. It’s ridiculous. Good flow, good beats (that she produces!). What else do you need? Here’s what I said about her earlier this year:
“She’ll be entering 9th grade this fall and she’s already on the engineering track. And she spits rhymes? Classic. This is what kids need — a true inspiration. She’s not selling herself with sex and diamonds, and she’s not putting all her eggs in the hip hop basket. Instead she’s focused on her education, and squeezing in studio time and shows when she can. I have a lot of respect for that. Good for Faith.”
Anyway, she’s awesome. Still no CD, but you can get all the info you need about her at faithboogie.com. Click it.
Hot Chip – Playboy
So, here’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and that is re-posting something from back when we were a little fledgling music blog without that many readers. So, all you new folks get a chance to see something that was turning our robot wheels back in October of last year, here’s what robot Mark said back then about one of my favorite bands Hot Chip. NME loved their record (giving it an 8 out of 10), calling the band “slapcore” (what?), and bloggers have been on top the band ever since then… we here at MFR were originally introduced to them via a friend, and Mark gave me their CD last fall.
Since then I have been mildly obsessed. In fact, my obsession may be even more than mild. More like slightly crazed, especially after actually meeting the band at a lovely Sunday-afternoon waffle-brunch-session at APT, then seeing them the next night at Rothko wherein my mind was absolutely blown. Their sound is hard to define: keyboards, drum machines, little guitar stabs, saxamophone, and gorgeous multi-part harmonies (pure Beach Boys inspiration). The songwriting is total genius too, with humorous, self-effacing songs about love, lust and technology.
This made loads of sense after I met the guys in the band, who are so nice and modest, they seem like some of the strangest candidates I could ever imagine to stand up on stage, sing and play their keyboards. The five of them line up and jam out when they play, like an insane British version of Kraftwerk… and jesus, every show of theirs I’ve seen (three and counting) has been so loud! The bass-melodies get rather nasty and make your lungs vibrate when played loud. Plus, though a lot of their songs on the album are slower (this one included), they up the tempos and add spectacular flourishes like cowbell and loads of distortion to the live versions – I love it.
Their record, Coming On Strong was originally released by our friends at the UK-based Moshi Moshi Records label, and if you live in the UK, you’re best off buying direct from them (here). Now, for those of you in the US, well, finally there’s an alternative to purchasing a high-priced import disc: Astralwerks and DFA Records are releasing the album here. The original eleven tracks are bumped up to fourteen, with the addition of bonus/b-side tracks “A-B-C”, “Hittin’ Skittles” and one of my favorites, “From Drummer to Driver.”
Starting tomorrow, buy your (American) copy here (or download from iTunes – thanks for the tip Russ) and do your best to see them live whenever or wherever they perform – see their live page for a handful of upcoming dates in the UK. I really can’t say enough good things about this band, and hope many many of you will go out and buy it – I’ve listened to it consistently for a year now and will continue to do so for longer than that still.
Keep on them too, as there’s word that they’ve got another album coming out soon, and there’s the very limited Barbarian EP out now that I’ll let you track down on your own…
I have to give Projekt Records credit for having a very consistent brand. Projekt is a goth label but they traditionally have specialized in a very ethereal, fragile vein that often pulls in elements of folk and classical music. Shoegazer goth if you will.
Projekt’s founder, Sam Rosenthal, has some views on mp3s and file-sharing that us robots tend to find quite sensible. Today, I figured I’d give a little guided tour of the interesting nuggets that Projekt makes available for downloading. Even if the “goth” label makes you snicker, check some of this stuff out. Projekt is so far from your typical mall-goth that it really isn’t fair to mention them on the same page.
Recently Projekt seems to have gotten into the whole “Dark Cabaret” thing which I think is fabulous. Dark Cabaret is pretty much what it sounds like. Somewhere in the last few years, someone put two and two together and realized that cabaret music had some of the same dark, romantic aspects that goth music does and decided to combine the two. I mean, take a look at this picture, and tell me that (to paraphrase my girlfriend) Liza Minnelli was not the original proto-goth. The result has been the rise of artists like the Dresden Dolls and Jill Tracy. Projekt recently put out a Dark Cabaret compilation album featuring the aforementioned along with Projekt artists like BTBG, Audra, and Revue Noir which is made up of Rosenthal and BTBG’s live guitarist/pianist Nicki Jaine. Check out “A Girl A Smoke” by Revue Noir and “Girl Anachronism” by the Dresden Dolls for a good introduction to the genre.
Perhaps the most surprising find on Projekt’s site was Android Lust. First of all… Androids! Yay! What’s not to like about androids? What was surprising about finding Android Lust on the Projekt site is that they completely break the Projekt mold. The Dark Cabaret stuff is a different direction for Projekt, but a very logical one. Android Lust are great but it’s more of a poppy electro-industrial sound that places it somewhere between Garbage and Nine Inch Nails. Listen to “Stained” to hear what I mean. Better yet, watch the disturbing yet gorgeous video.
On that note, I think I’ll bring this tour to an end. Please stop by the gift shop on the way out and pick up some souveniers.
Melnyk – Strut
Here’s a slice of sassy electropop from Melnyk: hailing from Canada, but living in London for the past few years, Melnyk takes his cues from such classic 80s influences as Pet Shop Boys and early Depeche Mode. However, there is a bit of an edge to his music – it is not just some average, cookie-cutter feeling electro, rather it sounds more fully realized and fleshed out – I believe this has something to do with the fact that he is actually a classically trained musician, having studied electroacoustic composition in college.
This track and a handful of others on Melnyk’s new full-length album, Silence, features Swedish singer Sara Berg – she hails from LuleÃ¥, in northern Sweden, thus she knows a thing or two about darkness and isolation. She’s also got some solo work available (check out the record label below). Silence, is just out on the collectively-run Stockholm based label, Gaymonkey Records, and is available to purchase from A Different Drum (US), Rough Trade (UK), and is downloadable from iTunes.
If you happen to find yourself in Stockholm, swing by Sugar Bar (Kammakargatan 9) for a live set by Melnyk + guest DJs on 26th. Free entry! Also check out the video for the first single from the album, “Fabulous” here, and visit his Myspace page to hear more songs and such.
If I don’t see you all (American readers anyway) before tomorrow, have a nice Thanksgiving!