TRMW Archives

* FYI, this stuff is old. The current TRMW is here.

January 21, 2007

Best of 2006 / Dykeritz’ Crystal Visions


We’re halfway through January now, so yeah, I suppose now’s a good time to go ahead and post my year-end list on the ol’ blog. I don’t have anything as fancy as last year’s list for you guys, but I do have one really awesome last-minute addition to share. That would be DykeritzSnowing Windy Peaches, which was handed to be many moons ago by Lucky Madison founder and all-around good guy Ryan Feigh, only to be rediscovered in a recent purge session, and finally, finally listened to. I’ve been into these guys ever since Ryan started feeding me demos of some of the songs that ended up on their last disc, Purple Switzerland. (Which I still don’t own, which is just dumb.) Those tracks bore evidence of a distinctly off-kilter and totally charming musical approach, which was further underscored by the grafitti I remember seeing around Portland at the time: “Dykeritz ate pizza with your mom,” etc. This kind of prankterism (I recall one show featuring a dancer with a giant blue ball on his head – I heartily endorse these acts BTW) would make it easy to see Dykeritz’ music as some kind of extended inside joke, but the albums tell a different story. Truth is, these guys have melodic chops aplenty and a highly-developed, uniquely skewed aesthetic. This came out on Purple Switzerland, an album of warm and breezy folk songs that saw deservedly high praise within the local music scene. But what really gets me about these guys is their use of synths and electronics, and these elements are in full force on Peaches. Here, Dykeritz fuse catchy melodic riffs to squiggled out electronica and drifting ambient/collage soundscapes. What it reminds me of more than anything else is old μ-Ziq, particularly the period around the release of In Pine Effect, when the music retained it’s lo-fi metalic chunkiness and the melodies started getting all sparkly and noodly. Here’s an example:

μ-Ziq - Phiesope

I’ve loved that music (also Plaid, Aphex Twin, both of whom I also hear in Dykeritz’ playful/bent euphoria) since I was in high school, back when electronic music the only thing I cared about. (Anything heavy on guitar was dismissed as “retro” and “not forward thinking”; ahhh, youthful absolutism.) Since then, I’ve re-embraced pop/indie/rock music as a necesary and timeless and wonderful thing, but with Peaches I can have it both ways. It’s shiny, futuristic music, but it’s also perfectly pop. In that sense, it reminds me of someone like Ariel Pink: radio-ready melodies filtered through spaced-out, semi-alienated lense(s), resulting in a kind of technicolor dream-pop that’s totally catchy and totally weird. Basically these guys are hitting all my pleasure centers at once, reflecting those old lush electronic sounds through music I’ve gotten into more recently (tropicalia, folk, see below). I could go on (and on), but let’s just cut to some favorites:

Dykeritz - 11 in the PM
Dykeritz - M
Dykeritz - Pink Grapefruit (Peach Fuzz)

>> buy Snowing Windy Peaches here <<

So there you have it, a late entry in my favorite’s of ’06 list. Huzzah! And now… (drumroll)… here’s the rest of it:


V/A – Tropicalia (Soul Jazz)
Hot Chip – The Warning (Astralwerks / DFA)
Brightblack Morning Light – Brightblack Morning Light (Matador)
Dykeritz – Snowing Windy Peaches (Lucky Madison)
Vetiver – To Find Me Gone (DiCristina)
V/A – Love is Love (Mississippi Records) *** Amazing African rarities comp released via Portland, OR record store cum label
Para One – Epiphanie (Institubes)
Juana Molina – Son (Domino)
M. Ward – Post War (Merge)
Booka Shade – Movements (Get Physical)

not sure where this belongs but:
Yeti Magazine

also liked:
Zombie Nation – Black Toys
DAT Politics – Wow Twist
The Blow – Paper Television (K)
Yo La Tengo – …Ass (Matador)
Clipse – Hell Hath No Fury (Re-Up)
Cat Power – The Greatest (Matador)

just getting around to now and liking:
Califone – Roots & Crowns (Thrill Jockey)
Ghostface – Fishscale (Def Jam)
Dykeritz (see above)

stuff i worked/put out that would be in here if i hadn’t worked it:
Alela Diane – The Pirate’s Gospel (Holocene Music)
Horse Feathers – Words Are Dead (Lucky Madison)
Cex – Actual Fucking (Automation)
Copy – Mobius Beard (Audio Dregs)
Ethan Rose – Ceiling Songs (Locust)


*** French techno guys were KILLING it this year! Especially the Institubes label crew. Some interesting genre-screwed / bastard pop movements going on in dance music in general this year. When Timbaland sounds like techno and techno sounds like Timbaland… that’s pretty awesome.

Justin Timberlake “My Love”
Surkin “Ghetto Obsession 2006″ (Institubes 12″)
Rick Ross “Hustlin’”
The Thermals “A Pillar of Salt” (Sub Pop) + the video!
Nadiya “Tous Ces Mots (sebastiAn Remix)”
T.I. “What You Know”
Mary J. Blige “Be Without You (A. Brucker & Sinden Remix)”
Junior Boys “In The Morning” (Domino)
Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland “Promiscuous Girl”
Peter Bjorn & John “Amsterdam” (Wichita/V2)
Simian Mobile Disco “I Bealive” (Kitsune)
Jesse Rose “A-Sided” (Front Room 12″)
Etienne De Crecy “Fuck”


Deerhoof @ Halleluwah, Disjecta, Portland
Hot Chip @ Doug Fir, Portland
Alela Diane @ many places throughout the year
M. Ward @ Holocene, Portland
Vetiver @ Disjecta, Portland
*** this spot is for all the ones I forgot ***

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December 16, 2006

Two Pop

Friday Bridge

I’ve had this flagged in my email for way too long (<— most uninviting way to start a blog post ever?) so it’s really just time to lay it on you all. This song is by a French girl who calls herself Friday Bridge. I found it in a very roundabout way, via this guy Todd who contacted me about something totally unrelated to his cool little 7″ label. Anyway, the label thing did eventually come to light, and along with it this song. Super lo-fi 80s pop production with hushed French vocals; like Stereo Total minus wackiness, with more lushness, and more sexiness — OK, so not like Stereo Total at all, but French with synths, RIGHT. This should totally be on the next Sofia Coppola soundtrack, and probably would’ve worked nicely on Marie Antoinette. I’m into it. (buy here)

Friday Bridge - It Girl

And while I’m on the subject of things that are so overtly poptastic they’re maybe a little embarassing too (but not really), here’s the sparkling new Simian Mobile Disco single. This shit is so shiny it’s translucent, and probably filled with glitter. The lyrics are totally asinine sex-as-religion (maybe) stuff and the singer is trying sooo hard it hurts, but he’s also totally pulling it off most of the time, and the euphoric vibe is pretty undeniable. Plus the little synth riffs are just fucking awesome. These guys are serously ruling the electrotechnopop crossover realm right now (along with all those French guys, but that’s another post), probably because (a) they (crystal-)clearly know their way around a melody (this is a rare and special thing) and (b) they’ve got mad studio chops. Each melody is arranged perfectly and each beat thuds right (stereo-panned, slightly filtered with a tiny reverb trail on the back). It’s pop, it’s dance music. It’s…

Simian Mobile Disco - I Bealive

And no, that’s not a typo – it’s just trippy new age spelling. (buy here)

PS: Nice SMD mix here. Also, that blog is awesome.

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September 14, 2006

Raising the Dead / French Techno / Skull Juice


So yeah, maybe if I just get on with it and write this blog like I write the million emails I send a day maybe I’ll actually post something here, right?

Right now I’m listening to a mix off this rad UK music blog called Skull Juice. Lots of the banging French electro that’s ruling shit right now, some noisey guitar music, and this crazy disco-house “Iron Man” remix (WTF?).

They also get major kudos for giving me this amazing SebastiAn remix that I lost and desperately wanted to hear today:

Nadiya - Tous Ces Mots (SebastiAn Remix)

Seriously, that sound should be played at football games because it can only get you PUMPED. OK, there’s diva vocals in there, so maybe the real men wouldn’t be cool with it, but damn, us senstive males can have our fun, right?

And speaking of sensitive males, if any of you are living in LA you really should go to this on Friday.

Woah, my blog moved!

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April 6, 2006

Ghost Ride the Whip (mp3)

Matt Ness at Moebius Rexx is one of the raddest MP3 bloggers rolling right now (and I’m not just saying that cause he propped the Holocene Music comp). Right now he’s got a great post on the Bay Area “hyphy” rap scene that I thoroughly suggest checking out. I remember my downest Oakland-native buddy, Sonia Abrams, talking about this stuff months ago – and woah, now it’s popping up in the frikkin’ New York Times. Hyphy or not (and apparently it is), I’ve been feeling this track since I grabbed it off Get Stoopid (R.I.P.) a while back. Love the bubbling bongo bass and that beat is siiiick. Only just now realizing it’s part of a movement -

Balance - Gotta Get It

Lots more music over at Matt’s post. Hooray for the Yay (Area)!

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April 2, 2006

Chevron (mp3)


The first time I saw Chevron I was sitting on top of a wall/partition thing, looking down on them from behind, shooting shit with the drummer while they set up their gear and I sucked on a tallboy. I left that show thinking they sounded a whole lot like Hella, but hey, sounding like Hella is hard to do, and they seemed to have their hearts in right place.

A couple years later (jesus time flies), and that earlier take has been complicated in nice ways. Band member Jevon’s recent podcast – a rad mix of Warp-ed electronics (Aphex Twin, Autechre), out-rock (Ghost to Falco, 90 Day Men, Animal Collective), and, yeah, a little math rock (Don Caballero) – is only the latest clue in my gradual realization that there’s more going on with this band than originally met my eye. The picture that’s emerging shows a band with diverse influences and epic technical proficiency, searching out new sounds with an eye towards the trenscendent. I’m not really sure what these guys will grow into at this point, and that’s really some of the highest praise I can give.

On that note, some MP3s. I asked Jevon if they had any unreleased stuff I might be able to post up here, and he graciously sent over the tracks below. These don’t sound anything like the other stuff I’ve heard from these guys. What do they sound like? How about post-electronic trance drone music? Lightning Bolt jamming with Four Tet? I don’t know – and not knowing is half the battle.

Chevron - Masses Of
Chevron - Inside Your Fleshies

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March 4, 2006

Nice Nice: Christmas in India (mp3)

nice nice - fall

OK, so it’s not super obvious at this point given my recent super weak updating frequency, but trust me, I have big plans for TRMW in 06. One of these plans involves regular posting of unreleased stuff by bands I like. And when I say bands I like, you know I mean Nice Nice, because you know Nice Nice is pretty much the musical magna carta thrown down ‘pon the earth like molten hot fire. I’ve recenty taken to describing these guys (one Jason Buehler and one Mark Shirazi, both old buddies currently residing in Portland) as the best no-wave fusion jam band on the planet, which is sloppy at best but kind of gets at it. To be clearer: Nice Nice is Jason playing guitar and shouting through a megaphone whilst simultaneously twiddling a vast selection of effects boxes and synth pedals, whilst Mark beats the skins (old-school and electronic) with primal abandon / lazer precision. The result is a driving, pulsing future-music that comes off like “Remain in the Light” era Talking Heads jamming with “On the Corner” Miles Davis and, uh, Can.

Except on this track. Getting back to where I started, I originally received this track in it’s rougher form, and was planning on posting it as the first in my series of unreleased TRMW jams for 06. But the days led to more days and here I am posting the final version of the track, the album already having been released. Which means nothing except a small reduction in blog cred (aka NOTHING) and an even tighter version of the song. Taken from the Fall installment of Nice Nice’s excellent series of seasonal EPs (four in total, released on Temporary Residence throughout 05), “Down, Down, Down Part 1″ is the kind of warm, chiming acoustic lullaby I wouldn’t expect from this band in a million years, and enjoy all the more for it. My friend says it sounds like “Christmas in India” and that seems about right. The slide guitar has that sitar-y vibe going, and there’s a glowing, winter wonderland feeling throughout. The rest of the EP is similar in acoustic warmth and loveliness, and stands in stark relief against (a) the other three’s foreboding pysch drones, and (b) pretty much all recorded Nice Nice music ever. It’s a talented band that can drop something this amazing in a style completely different from (what I thought was) their own without making it seem like a genre exercise, all while communicating something emotional and deep. So yeah, reason number 500 why Nice Nice rules the universe.

I should probably also mention that these four EPs will soon be bundled together in some sort of box set, so keep an eye out for that. Nice Nice is also currently recording their next album. Jason tells me they just finished this track called “Freak Flag” that is “really catchy” and “just might be the title track.” They’re also about to begin a biweekly residency at the Towne Lounge, where I’m told they’ll be debuting some new material on March 23rd. Needless to say, you should go.

Merry Christmas:

Nice Nice - Down Down Down Part 1

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December 22, 2005

Infinity Multiples: Behind the Mask (mp3)

OK, this one has been brewing for a while now. It started way back at this year’s installment of the annual PRA Foozball Tournament. Marius is spinning records on the porch, with dueling foozball tables on the front lawn (this is the Portland I love). And right before the water balloon fight breaks out, Marius drops this jam:

Greg Phillinganes - Behind the Mask

I recognize the opening synth riffage from the Yellow Magic Orcestra album I slsk’d after this interview. Which makes sense: Marius makes music that can be compared to YMO, Marius plays YMO. But no, this funk guitar kicks in, and all of sudden there’s this dude just BUSTING out disco-soul vocals over the top of what was already a pretty much perfect slice of classic electro. It’s like WTF?! right into OH HELL YES!!

So I’m geeking out pretty hard. I ask Marius what the track is and he shows me this amazing cover art:


Marius actually has the Behind the Mask single, which looks like this. He also has no scanner.

I flip over the back and it’s “Behind the Mask”, credited to “C. Mosdell / R. Sakamoto / M. Jackson.” Worlds collide, my head explodes.

Some Googling later, the story is clearer (tho I can’t find the links now to back it up… help?). Yes, “Behind the Mask” is one of the raddest tracks off YMO’s synthtastic 1980 album X? Multiplies:

Yellow Magic Orchestra

Yellow Magic Orchestra - Behind the Mask

But the next part is a little weird: apparently at some point none other than Quincy Jones hears the track, digs it, and suggests Michael Jackson record a version of it for Off the Wall. Michael plays around with it, adds some very Micheal lyrics and ultimately decides not to include it on the album. But Michael’s keyboard player, yep, Greg Phillinganes, is really into it, and asks Michael if he can use it on his solo thing. Micheal says yes. Hence the song Marius played.

But it doesn’t even end there. As the 80′s trudge on, Phillinganes gets a new gig playing keys for freaking Eric Clapton, and, yes, he also records the song. Hence… this, off his 1986 Phil Collins produced studio R&B album, August:

Eric Clapton - Behind the Mask

So there you have it. Japanese Electropop >> Disco Michael >> Crappy Clapton. You can’t make this shit up.

YMO vs. Human League


Human League did a super-campy house version of “Behind the Mask” that was released in 1993. Check the piano breakdowns! Feel it, feel it:

The Human League vs. Yellow Magic Orchestra - Behind the Mask

Orbital remixed the track for the 90s YMO remix comp Hi-Tech / No Crime. It’s peaky:

Yellow Magic Orchestra - Behind the Mask (Orbital Remix)

And I have no idea what this is all about:

Yellow Metal Orchestra - Behind the Mask

CONCLUSION: Good music transcends time and space. And music is trippy.

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December 19, 2005

Slow Burn Snow Yearn (mp3)

The best song to listen to while questing through a blizzard to get to your loved one is Dinosaur’s “Kiss Me Again”. Driving up Division, following an SUV with twin canoes strapped to the top. Those vocals, 5000 minutes of cosmic universe-level love-yearning, me sliding around, pumping the brakes, sliding. The voice singing “Kiss me again” like that kiss means life or death, me half letting myself think the same, I picture the Honda sliding into the twin canoes, their forked blades piercing the windshield, slow-motion, like jello, dying in love. THIS SONG FUCKING RULES:

Dinosaur - Kiss Me Again

PS: This song is from this good and cheap mix album. Here’s some info. David Byrne played guitar. (!!!)

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December 16, 2005

Small Sails (mp3)

Small Sails

OK, so I know I just posted something on Ethan Rose*, but hey, sometimes lightning strikes twice (or something less annoying and cliche). This is a track from Ethan’s band Small Sails, which, as of a week ago, used to be called Adelaide. The name change seems to be coinciding with a subtle change in sonic direction – Adelaide was all smoothness and softness, and this track is a little drier and bouncier, with some almost Animal Collective-y amorphous vocals thrown in. It’s also really fucking good.

Small Sails - Aftershocks and Afterthoughts

This track will be released and promoted as part of the forthcoming Rorschach Suite Compilation, to be released Spring 2006 on the very cool Moodgadget label. Other artists on the comp include Dykehouse (Ghostly International, Planet Mu), Benoit Pioulard (Kranky, Ghostly International), and Wisp (Sublight, Hymen). Sounds pretty rad, right?

* Speaking of Mr. Rose, he got some major props from Glenn Kotche of, like, WILCO today, over at the ‘Fork’s artist best-of’s feature. And I quote:

Glenn Kotche, Wilco
1. Ethan Rose: Ceiling Songs: Really amazing stuff from Portland-based musician/artist. Also if you can find it, The Dot and the Line is numbingly beautiful– made from player piano reels and packaged in resin boxes. (Locust)

I’ve been thinking about it, and I totally agree – Ceiling Songs is one the most amazing pieces of music I heard this year. So so so so (so) beautiful.

OK, removing mouth from crotch. ;)-~ (smileys on blogs are cool now)

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November 15, 2005

Ethan Rose (mp3)

Ethan Rose

Ethan Rose is a friend of mine from college, who also happens to be a very talented musician. When I say “from college”, I don’t mean we were actually friends then – but I wanted to be. I met Ethan after stumbling into his senior recital (he was a music major; I was a minor), which took place in the beautiful Ewok village style chapel at Lewis and Clark College. The music was a mix of Mu-Ziq style melodic IDM, modern classical composition (one part paired strings with sequencer), plus an inexplicable and totally awesome dub jam. These were all things I was very into at that time. I remember running up to Ethan afterwards and basically asking him to be my friend. It didn’t work: Ethan was distracted loading out his gear, we didn’t run into each other for at least a year after that.

Portland being as small as it is, our paths eventually crossed again. Ethan’s band Adelaide started playing shows at Berbati’s, and we finally became friends. It’s been cool to see his talents gradually seep out into the world, both with Adelaide, who’ve gotten some decent local love and gone on 2 successful tours, and with his lesser known solo stuff. (I should add that I worked press for Adelaide’s tours.)

Where Adelaide is mellow post rocky vibes, Ethan solo is a fucking gorgeous mix of musique conrete and ambient styles. Ethan treats pianos and samples to create a swirling mass of unidentifiable yet distinctly organic sound. His debut full length album, Ceiling Songs, was released earlier this month on the excellent experimental label Locust Music. The album consists of three tracks. The first is 15 minutes long; the second 20; the third 5. These parts flow together as one, filtering in and out of one another as abstract melodies gradually emerge from white noise and fuzz.

Locust has released music by people like Glen Kotche (who also plays in Wilco), Josephine Foster, Matmos, and Keith Fullerton Whitman, and their records are pretty consistently reviewed in magazines like The Wire and Arthur. Hopefully this means that Ethan’s stuff might start to be appreciated by a larger audience. I sure hope so; it’s some of my favorite music to come out this year.

Here’s the third track off Ceiling Songs:

Ethan Rose - Ceiling Song 2

PS: The cover art for this album was stitched together by my dear friend Kat Mannock. It’s a family affair.

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