Album cover for The Woods of Heaven
All right, post-punk band, jangly guitars, 80s retro sound, dark goth vocals. I KNOW you’ve heard it before, but here’s why you should listen to Pleasure Leftists: they rock HARD. The band comes out of the Rust Belt hardcore scene and their rock and roll shines through in every song. The drumming in particular is some of the strongest, most engaging rhythm I’ve heard all year. I am always, always a sucker for a good janglepop guitar line, and this album has them in abundance–it’s like the Mighty Lemon Drops were asked to help out at a punk show. The singer . . . Haley Morris has a great voice. Not just raw talent, but real control and passion, throwing herself into every song. However, I think that after this VERY solid album (The Woods of Heaven on Deranged Records) she should work on finding her on voice. We’ve heard Siouxsie, Ian Curtis, Wayne Hussey: what can the new century of post-punk sound like?
The Woods of Heaven can be heard on Stereogum’s website. Looks like a brief summer tour is ended, but I hope they make it up to the Northeast sometime soon.
All right, as usual I’ve been listening to a ton of new music over the past few months. Some folks I know rightly bemoan the lack of 120 Minutes, etc. where you can just tune in and hope to hear some cool new music. Well a curated YouTube list makes that process EVEN BETTER in the 21st century. Don’t like a song? Hit next! More good songs, fewer commercials, everybody’s happy. Enjoy!
I can’t take any credit for this one. An old friend DJ’d an event hosted by Crone’s Hollow, an occult store in Salt Lake City. There was a day-long event culminating in a dance party called the Fairy Rade. I have an unashamed weakness for all things tribalgoth and dark pagan, including this sort of great music. They weren’t able to record directly off the board so I threw together a YouTube playlist of the music played that evening.
d j. d r o w n’s playlist, Fairy Rade 2015
- Irfan – Star of the Winds
- Dead Can Dance – the Host of Seraphim
- Faith and the Muse – Elyria
- Miranda Sex Garden – Ardera Sempre
- Wendy Rule – Creator Destroyer
- Cruxshadows – Sophia
- The Mission – Severina
- Faith and the Muse – Vervain
- Die Form – Cantique 1
- Lorena McKennitt – To the fairies, they draw near
- Rasputina – Hunters Kiss
- Siouxsie – Trust in Me
- This Ascension – mysterium
- Sting – Desert Rose
- Front Line Assembly – Providence
- E nomine – Mittenacht
- Nosferatu – the Wiccaman
- Kate Bush – Running Up that Hill
- Lorena McKennitt – mummers dance
- Razor Skyline – Queen of heaven
- Emilie Autumn – Across the Sky
- Trobar de Morte – natural dance
- Regan High Priestess – Airetaina
- Priscilla Hernandez – I steal the leaves
- The Gathering – In power we entrust the love advocated
- enya – the celts
Scandinavian music can get really stark: nihilistic black metal, lonely folk tunes, epic Sibelius symphonies. But so often, especially these days, they turn out some of the sweetest pop music you’ve ever heard. “I KNOW we live in a tree-bound land of wintry dark, but let’s drink some gløgg and hold hands!” For my money Norway’s Cold Mailman is one of the most exciting acts in European music. The synths here run intricate and deep, complementing the thought-provoking (if heavily accented) lyrics from Ivar Borwitz. It’s all laid over a solid modern rock backbone that keeps your head bobbing; the effect is happily reminiscent of mid-era Beatles and ambitious-yet-accessible 70s arena rock. They don’t seem to have made much of a splash yet here in the States, but with singles like this that should soon change. Fans of Maia Hirasawa, the Field Mice, Kings of Convenience, or Mates of State should check these guys out. Everything Aflutter is out now on Beyond Music records.
[edited]: So for a long time I used the streaming service Grooveshark to build playlists. I gradually realized that the nature of their engine–scouring the web for streamable music in different places–was prone to DMCA takedown notices, especially since they wouldn’t pay royalties. Fortunately I keep my favorite lists in text form anyway–even if something gets taken down, we can rebuild it. :) Having said that, I’ve been spending the last couple of days deep within the world of 1994. This is mostly the kind of music you would have heard on college radio or seen on 120 Minutes, and it’s interesting to look at this with historical perspective. This is the year that the music that used to mark me as an outsider stormed up the charts, when “alternative” became a recognized radio format and ironically became mainstream. There’s a smattering of some other stuff too–great hip hop, a few guilty-pleasure pop hits, and a smattering of metal. Enjoy some of the best music of 1994!
A friend recently cut the cord. Damn near all the music videos in the world are available on YouTube, but how to find what’s good? It genuinely surprised me how hard it is to answer that question, so here’s my own humble contribution: a list of music videos from the last few months titled “An Indeterminate Number of Minutes.” I tried to get a broad cross-section of genres, but it’s inevitably biased towards my own fondness for indie pop and modern rock. Let me know what you think!
And the Bombay Royale agrees. They’re an Australian act that interprets, recreates, and extends the sounds of ’60s and ’70s Indian musicals. And Bollywood in those days could sound like anything. American and European pop music was hoovered up wholesale and quickly incorporated into the industry’s musical extravaganzas. The result was a delirious stew of traditional theatre music, disco, post-bop jazz, funk, and current pop.
Starting out as a faithful cover band the Bombay Royale quickly moved on to writing and recording their own material. I’m genuinely mystified as to why these cats aren’t one of the world’s biggest bands. This is everything I want from world music–skilled, soulful, theatrical, genuinely diverse, and more fun than a high-stakes art heist at a society shindig. Their new album, The Island of Dr. Electrico, is rock-solid all the way through. There’s no filler here; each song is distinctive while the whole album maintains a fun, exotic feel.