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The Illin' Music Thread

in a few words, explain what this site is about

Tag Archives: lo-fi

A band I’ve been listening to a bunch recently is Boston’s own BIRTHDAYS. And really, what better music matches a cool, cloudy June day in Massachusetts? Non-traditional percussion, guitar drones, analog synths and yelpy vocals all blend together in a raw, lofi melange, courtesy of messrs. Sammy and Kevin. Listening to BIRTHDAYS reminds me of the feeling of excitement I’d get while falling asleep the night before my own birthday when I was a young’un. THEY’RE SO NOISY AND COOL I wanna be their friends

There’s also something about BIRTHDAYS that is entirely danceable. I can’t help but bob along to songs like “Biggie Shorty” or “part that grows,” even though there is no drum beat that makes your chest reverberate. While listening to BIRTHDAYS,  I get the feeling that their band rehearsals are lots of FUN. Where they could be serious, they instead get silly. It’s happy music!!

Fans of BAIXA, Hear Hums, Here We Go Magic, MANNERS, or Truman Peyote may like BIRTHDAYS. It’s good music to listen to during a thunderstorm, or when trying to fall asleep on long car rides. I highly recommend these dudes!

To download “Biggie Shorty,” “body bust,” “mating falls,” “part that grows,” and “Procreating Flower Bug,” click here!

Click here to download a brand-new song entitled “Every Time I Swim (Ariel)”! It’s apparently about “seeing The Little Mermaid when I was five years old and falling in love.. realizing for the first time that I dig girls and that they aren’t yucky.”

Grant, OUT!

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In my ongoing quest to discover the zeitgeist of the times, I present to you: VACATION DAD.

My friend Mark brought this dude (the drummer of FARMS) to my attention a month or two ago after discovering “ihopeyrfavoritecoloriseverywhere” on some music blog. I’ve been listening to him basically non-stop since then… I’m not really sure why I haven’t posted him on here yet. Better late than never, I suppose.

His EP is more atonal and drone-y than his newer stuff. You can definitely hear FARMS all over this EP–giant swells of sound, blissed-out sonic soundscapes, but a noticeable lack of drums. In the back story to this EP, you can see why Vacation Dad is an artist of the times:

i started flirting with this girl
she was married
then we sex in a tent one thing led to the other
we dated for a while
then we broke up cause i suck
then i got laid off cause the economy is bad
i had a real job one with
concrete
and wood
and hammers
and nails
and forklifts
and racism
i recorded this to make myself feel good

Anyways, I’m not posting the EP for download, so whatever. Download it off his myspace if you’re interested. However, the melancholy sentiment of his explanation for recording his EP carries on to his newer songs.

Since he’s a drummer, his tracks have kick-ass percussion. The drums sound HUGE (especially on “Hemp Scented Body Lotion”), like strange futuristic machines making music because there’s no need to make anything else anymore because IT’S THE FUTURE and the humans are gone. And also these machines have found out how to love. Like Wall-E except less heartwarming and family-friendly.

The synths are also boss. Fuzzed-out to the max, thundering, with gigantic amounts of reverb. The 8-bit tones almost sound like they’re lifted from Super Mario World or something. Mix in some crazy, ecstatic yelps delayed-the-fuck-out with a massive, bleating dance beat (I’m talking about “Dream Boat,” here) and you’ve got a recipe for some nice risotto/balls-to-the-wall awesome song of the summer. Some people are talking about a “chill-wave” “movement” thing, and maybe this “qualifies”, but I don’t really know because I don’t read pitchfork. “whatever” “man”

I like his newer stuff a bit better than his EP. He’s releasing a split with Truman Peyote later this year (“Dream Boat” is a sneak preview from the split), and the songs are amazing. Don’t miss out on this dude–you’ll be hearing about Vacation Dad in the future.

Click here to download “ihopeyrfavoritecoloriseverywhere”!

Click here to download “Hemp Scented Body Lotion”!

Click here to download “Dream Boat”!

Grant, OUT!

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I recently had a dinner conversation with some friends about music. I talked with them about what I mentioned in my post on Totally Nebular–that is, I’m trying to find music that speaks to me, as a 90s baby growing up in the shadow of the 80s, that 80s that defined the sound of music in the last decade. As I said before, how can I relate to music that was created when I wasn’t alive for the creation of it? Obviously, you can have appreciation for music no matter when it was created, but I feel that those who created 80s-derivative music created it out of an ironic appreciation for the shitty music of their childhood. I didn’t grow up with Scorpion and Flock of Seagulls, though…! So that’s where I’m at currently; I’m looking for music that has the mood of my growing up, that reflects conditions I can relate to.

So where does this long diatribe lead us? To FARMS of course! I’ve been meaning to post them on here forever seeing as I’ve been listening to them for a month or so. They’re fucking awesome, and totally have that feeling I’ve been looking for. They do a better job of describing themselves than I could:

One member of FARMS has a fully functional synthesizer in his head and holds his mouth a little open like a third ear. One member of FARMS is a fucking ‘showboat’ who works drums like a middle schooler trying to show an older girl his ‘passion’ or how good he is at making out. One is a pleasant, video game psychic and one applies corporeal metaphors to like everything, and then smiles. FARMS is a Wisconsin band, because sometimes there is nothing else to do here/there than take drugs and go into woods or drive on interstates. They play in a basement with a coal chute and a bat.

Their music is absolutely wonderful. Whooshing synthesizers, delayed-the-fuck-out guitars and intricate, pulsing drums seem to define their sound a bit. Most of their songs are instrumental, but who needs lyrics anyways? They’re also really good at writing subtly catchy hooks. I’ve been whistling along to “We’ll All Be, On The Home Team” and “we got a box of white tape snakes” for weeks now. It’s all pretty lofi and grimy. Their drummer also makes music under the name “Vacation Dad“. Check him out–I’ll be posting him on here later.

When I listen to FARMS, I feel like they’re affirming life for every animal on our planet, like they’re celebrating going outside, like they’ve got nothing to hide from anyone. “All the lies you’ve ever told don’t really mean a thing, the ocean seems to say,” says Machi Tawara (and FARMS duh lol but with music instead of haikus lol  lol)

If I were you, I’d download their EP1 and their song “we got a box of white tape snakes” immediately. It’s great summertime porch-sitting music. Put on FARMS and watch the red sun set, and pretend it’s never going to come back

Click here to download FARMS’ “EP1”!

Click here to download “we got a box of white tape snakes”!

Grant, OUT!

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The Hear Hums are awesome, because their band name kind of sums up how I think of their music: the sort of thing you hum along in your head when you’re alone, doing morning things or walking by yourself through a city. The Hear Hums take this kind of idea and run with it, creating strange, meandering songs with ethereal soundscapes, whirring noises, and delicate guitar lines.

I got an email from Mitch, the main dude of sorts, earlier this week. He sent me an unreleased track from their upcoming album Psyche Cycles (it’s going to be released in fall 2010) and a little description of the band.

We make all the visuals ourselves for our live sets, which for some reason seems to be a rare thing, it seems as though most bands who have visuals have some other people making their visuals which I don’t understand if they are not included in the band/project. We’ve toured Florida a few times (actually with Totally Nebular) and now we are trying to save up funds to buy a van and tour the northeast this summer.

Man, I hope they save the funds to buy that van to tour the northeast this summer! They sent me some videos, too, and it looks like their shows are super fun. Their visuals are awesome, too! It’s great to see a band that takes the time to make their own visuals–it’s real nice to see people taking the time to make their live show into a complete, integrated whole.

The song Mitch sent me is called “Change”. It’s really, really good. They’re thinking of releasing it as a 7″ sometime soon, and with good reason–the song is so strange and so sweet and so good. The song feels like walking through the woods on a Sunday. It’s chock-full of beautiful guitar lines, and has a cool, snare-heavy, dance-y groove. Click here to download “Change”!

I also downloaded Notions Shift At Tryptamine Bay, released in 2009, and I would also highly recommend downloading it. It’s full of warm, analog sounds, blissed-out guitar bits and contemplative moods. The album is a perfect match for the feeling I always get at this time of year–summer’s about to begin! Let’s go hiking in the woods! Let’s swim in pools! Really, let’s just go outside and play! Notions Shift is a perfect album to listen to as you drive to an outdoor destination. My favorite jams are “Monday Or Any Day” and “Ping Pan Band”.

Here are some videos for your viewing pleasure, as well. Check out the psychedelic visuals. The “Piano Jam” is especially sweet–it’s real high energy & super pretty. Also check out that dude who’s stoned out of his mind dancing on the side. Sick! These guys are well worth the download, and if you can catch them this summer, DO IT! Grant, out!

Click here to listen to their “Live Piano Jam”!

Click here to listen to “Woowhirl”!

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MOLLY BENNETT IS THE BEST

A quick post before I go back to work. I’m in the middle of finals here at Colby, but here’s something to brighten your day: we made a music video!

My friend Molly asked me to make a song based on a song Nancy Updike wrote for the 400th episode of This American Life. I complied, and she organized this music video. IT’S AWESOME. She’s sending it to This American Life, so hopefully we’ll hear back from them soon! In the mean time, click the picture to see the video!

Free download: http://www.mediafire.com/?jdzmmn4wiim

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Maybe you’re getting tired of the fact that I start every post with a “I LOVE THIS BAND”. But I can’t help it! I’m sorry, but I can’t! I love this band! I do! Gracie And The Mouse have been knocking my socks off all weekend, kid! Exclamation point!

I’ve never really been a fan of acid jazz–the very phrase usually makes me want to run away from whoever said it at top speed to escape hearing shitty electronic drums and shitty, cheesy horn lines at lethargic tempos. It’s one of those “failed” sub-genres of jazz that very few people willingly listen to, like smooth jazz. However, G&M have taken the best parts of the genre and mixed it up with equal parts electropop, rock, and psychedelia to make one hell of an album–The 47th Coming Of Bristol Sound. They may just make me revise my stance towards acid jazz, brah.

The two songs I’m posting on here are my two favorite tracks: “I Love (Toxic)” and “BUnd (James BUnd)”. “Toxic” is probably the heaviest song on the album. Cusa, the lead singer, sings about razor blades and setting fire to your brainstem, a disturbing juxtaposition to the song’s gorgeous chord progressions and haunting melody.

“BUnd” at first seems super boring–the thirty seconds or so of intro material sets you up to think the song is going to be some sort of crappy acid jazz thing, but then WHAM. The vocal hook comes in and things get weird. Lines like, “Now we’re touching each other/We coat our bodies with butter” start popping up and the semi-boring bit at the beginning is exposed as A TRICKSTER. Setting up my expectations in one way, and then throwing me in the other direction. Well done, G&M!

Both songs are absolutely friggin’ awesome, and have this tendency to get stuck in your head. Thus, in conclusion:

THESE DUDES ROCK

DOWNLOAD THEIR SONGS, BRO!

Click here to download “I Love (Toxic)”!

Click here to download “BUnd (James BUnd)”!

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I love Totally Nebular. I’ve basically been listening to these three crazy kids from Florida non-stop all week. Their weird melange of indie rock, electro, Animal Collective-esque loops, and psychedelia played at rocketship speeds makes Totally Nebular buckets of fun to listen to.

I downloaded their debut album Boat Boat and was immediately struck by how they seem like me. Not in terms of the music I make or listen to or anything. It’s more like I feel as though I completely understand the sources from which they drew to make their music. I was born in 1989, and the whole 1980s nostalgia of the 00’s is lost on me. I feel as though myself and people my age have started to figure out that the whole 1980s pastiche thing of the last decade is wearing pretty thin. How can we identify with a feeling that we weren’t around to feel?

That’s where Totally Nebular comes in. To me, they sound like getting that Nintento 64 in ’96, or like going to the carnival in ’98, or like eating watermelon in ’95. They sound like things I can understand and identify with. They sound like the cheesy keyboard bells and whistles, playing a SNES simulator on my parents’ slow desktop computer, and going to the pool with my brothers.

Totally Nebular will make you feel good. I posted a link to their music video for “Captain Benson” above. It’s pretty good! And if you want to download their debut album Boat Boat, click here! My favorite songs are “Green Tops”, “Captain Benson”, and “Fred & Doe”. Check it out!

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