Recent FMA Blog Posts
This is a feed of featured blog posts from FMA users. Blog on, bloggers!
wmmberger on 05/31/2014 at 03:37AM
WFMU, among a great many other things, is about community, i.e., presenting and promoting local musicians / artists / humorists, in addition the great International performers we present. My Castle of Quiet has always been about the business of seeking out exceptional local musicians, and it doesn't get too much more local for us than Through Thorn and Brier, their craft honed in our shared County of Hudson, NJ. At one time, WFMU's staff was chock-full of NJ-bred radio personalities, many of whom lived and or passed through nearby Bayonne, including late-great broadcasters and good friends of mine, Terry Folger and Frank "Vanilla Bean" Balesteri, both of them taken from us way too soon. Bayonne borders directly on WFMU's home town of Jersey City, and offers great pizza, good bars and a decent standard of living for a largish NJ city. All that considered, if you told me that Bayonne had bred a strong, talented, one-of-a-kind punk / metal band, I still might have doubted the veracity of your claim, not sure why though. That is, right up until the first time I heard Through Thorn and Brier.
Originally stumbling upon their songs on bandcamp, in a position I now often find myself in, checking out a band that I missed live for no good reason except that I generally like to stay home. Sporting twin brothers on vocals and guitar, amidst a mighty, accomplished lineup, TTAB play a threatening, driven brand of metal-infused punk music, with arcing guitar melodies, swinging, thudding riffs, and ominous, almost tribal beats; add roaring vocals and a general mood of rolling with reckless abandon. If punk-metal hybrid bands can be "catchy," TTAB certainly ARE, their riffs immediately inspiring head swirling; one of those physically motivating bands that make me wish that I had long, straight, flowing hair to swing in time.
Every Through Thorn and Brier song is something like a mini-suite, blasting through multiple inspiring riffs and you-must-pay-attention time signatures in a matter of minutes, taking you on a ride you can't fully absorb the first time, and isn't that the way? Shouldn't a band's numbers be such that new pleasures reveal each time you listen?
Call them screamo (don't!), call them hardcore, or metal—all those genre labels quickly dissolve in the hands of the best of bands—and TTAB's songs cover a wild breadth of punk and metal styles with purpose and ease, such that the hops are never gratuitous and always contribute quite naturally to the sum of their parts.
I was very pleased to present this excellent band, well-deserving of more widespread notoriety, as evidenced here. (Note: Where songs were played without a complete stop in between, they are presented here as such, i.e., tracks 1 and 3 consist of three songs apiece.)
Thanks and much appreciation must go to engineer Juan Aboites, for working his ass off, and making everything sound full and ferocious. Thanks too, to Tracy Widdess of Brutal Knitting, who for maybe the 100th time, pieced together a handsome band portrait from my miserable iPhone captures.
You can hear the Good Grief EP and Failure Prone MLP (both worth owning) and purchase hard copy of the same at Through Thorn and Brier's bandcamp page. There, you'll also see their use of non-typical, decidedly un-metal imagery, a move well appreciated by this DJ / writer. Also visit ttabhc.com for more up-to-date band info.
newweirdaustralia on 05/23/2014 at 10:18PM
Dig deeper into the Australian underground with four new releases from the Wood and Wire label - Black Pines offer a ragged, psych-damaged lava-wall of ash and guts and glory; Motion erase improvised boundaries, merging avant-garde jazz and left-field electronics; there's an audacious leftfield avant-rock debut from Perth's Mudlark; and Gatherer offers ambient/drone pieces intended for the spaces between your headphones.
WW27: MUDLARK Zimdahl
The debut release from Perth's Mudlark has already been dubbed as "bristling, vibrant instrumentals that prove antsy and unpredictable" by Mess + Noise, "a hard listening indie-jazz fusion cacophony that destroys your ability to think or reason" by The Music, and Cool Perth Nights concluded that it was "a weird riddle, a fascinating and deeply enjoyable mystery". Pivoting between only two instruments, with no re-amping or overdubbing, Zimdahl aims for a truly accurate rendition of Mudlark’s unique sound in a live environment.
WW29: GATHERER Amoeba Miasma Void
Amoeba Miasma Void is the new EP from Gatherer - the solo project of Morgan McKellar, one-half of Canberra improv-noise duo, Cold House, formerly of Sydney band Underlapper and his now defunct solo project Morning Stalker. Manipulating (mostly) found-sounds from audio libraries, online video, and field recordings to create improvised sample-driven, Amoeba Miasma Void is a collection of four ambient/drone pieces intended for headphone use.
WW30: BLACK PINES Harsh Out
Black Pines is about dislocation. Two friends separated by real life, wondering out loud about how and why one whole side of rock history has evaporated. That missing side – the abject horror of psychedelic rock – is where this project lives. This isn’t a revival or pastiche. No jams. No art. This is criticism. // Ian Rogers (No Anchor) plays guitar and sings. Benjamin Thompson (The Rational Academy) plays guitar.
WW31: MOTION Syllepsis
Motion draws on experimentalism, avant-garde jazz, left-field electronic music and more. The result is music that deconstructs song forms, explores textural possibilities and is both hypnotic and immersive. Syllepsis sees Perth-based multi-media artist, Kynan Tan join the band to aid in the creation of a collection of music where electronics and instruments meet in a constant state of tension and release.
hfayekay on 05/23/2014 at 08:18PM
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce everyone to their summer jams of 2014: the prolific, poppy, hip-hoppy talents of Dadalú. Brought to the FMA by that speedy netlabel whose influences are listed as bootleg CD-Rs found on the streets of Buenos Aires Los Emes Del Oso-Dadalú's DIY spirit hails from Santiago, Chile. According to a google translate digestion of this write up on Musica Popular.cl, the former Nirvana fan Dadalú started making music after Kurt Cobain suggested that instead of screaming, girls should pick up a guitar & play. & play she did! As someone who doesn't speak a lot of Spanish (i.e. none) I can't attest to the lyrical content of her songs but I'm pretty sure I agree with all of it. Blending the street vibes of the rap mixtape with the snottiness of a self-released riotgrrrl 7" Dadalú is an inspiration from the millenial generation to all humans.
Boston_Hassle on 05/09/2014 at 03:00PM
This band was probably the most fun thing happening in the Boston underground music scene circa 2003-2004. Beyond this 7" (released by BODIES OF WATER arts and crafts (full disclosure: my label) there was also a demo tape with their original drummer (which was recorded in a strange wooden room in the far corner of the basement @ my old house/ venue in Brighton, THE HOSS). So fun. THE MULES sound was a truly rambunctious thing, a hyper, spastic art punk with nods to garage rock, noise rock, and the overarching cool underground music of that moment in whcih they existed, post-punk. If there was one band who defined what THE HOSS was to me, it was this bunch. Doug on guitar, Marin on keys, and Jose on guitar/ bass. Jose and Marin taking most of the singing duties. The drummer situation was a revolving one (as it so often seems to be). Here on this recording Elliott, their final drummer, plays the role. They played with OLD TIME RELIJUN at that show house in Brighton, and the match was perfect, and should give you an idea of where THE MULES were at in their time. The band broke up several times, and thus had several reunion shows. And with each show, as happens, the number of people aware of their music grew and grew. The final final final show was, if my memory serves me, @ another house show space called CASTLE GREY SKULL, in Allston. And it was mayhem. A final happy FUCK YOU from a band who lived on the fringes, wanted nothing more, but certainly deserved more.
I went on tour with THE MULES and our friends, and another band on my label, WILDLIFE (they later became WILDILDLIFE) in probably 2005. One of the better shows on the tour was @ a Chicago warehouse called MISTER CITY, home to the awesome noise rock squelchers COUGHS, who hooked up the show. It was the first time I ever saw DAN DEACON, and beyond that the performers must have been pretty noisy. I remember this because a comment that an audience member made to one of THE MULES after their set has been fused to my memory of the band itself. I don't know who said it, or to whom it was said, but someone came up to the band after their set that night as I stood nearby and said something like, "The noise sections in your songs shouldn't make any sense, and certainly have no right being there. But it does make sense, and it works. Good set." That interaction sums up this band for me: straddling multiple, at times disparate genres, but making it all work, and making it all fun as hell. The mincing of the genres that THE MULES smashed together has become more common place in the decade since they rocked basements, but that ability to make it all fun remains elusive still.
This 7" was recorded somewhere @ Emerson College, for free by someone (thank you unknown engineer). Perhaps it doesn't capture the true raucous nature of this unwieldy group in teh live setting, but at least something exists that can be pointed to, to prove that this band existed. I will try to dredge up that demo tape @ some point, if any still exist. I will also try to find the original cover to this 7" (the image included on this 7"'s album page is the color version of what appeared in faded black and white on the 7"s back cover), as that too has perhaps been lost to time...
Members of THE MULES went on to form great bands such as: MMOSS, SPF ALOT, DOUG TUTTLE, BAROQUE PUNKS, EGGPLONT, WORLD MAP, DRUNK DAD, and PROTOKOLL. In particular DOUG TUTTLE has gained a good deal of notoriety and acclaim for his contemporary take on psychedelic pop, and other strains of psychedelia.
- Dan Shea (email@example.com)
Copies of this 7" still exist!!!!
If you would like to get your hands on one please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Noise_Problems on 05/04/2014 at 09:41AM
Another Sotu went by. This year´s Sotu was fantastic. Lots of stuff happening between OT301, OCCII, Vondelbunker and other places like the comic book shop "Lambiek", said to be the oldest comic book shop in the world, where we saw a live sketch battle. Awesome. At the Vondelbunker an unusual black metal program was very interesting with the Black Decades and Mannheim.
Impressive also was the 24 hour feedback/noise event "Giant Noise Feedback Show" at the OT301 where a giant sound installation unfolded in all public spaces at the OT301: the main hall and its bar space, the 4Bid Gallery, De Peper, the cinema and the cinema bar. In all spaces, simultaneously, noise acts performed. Their signals were fed to the Radio Patapoe studio in the basement, where a mixdown went live! Then the radio signal was again pickup by the acts, who used the radio signal to feed it back into their stuff!!! There was even a small set up with a mixer were the audience and visitors could add their 10 cent to the performance. Needless to say Noise Problems loved the concept! Well done Sotu & OT301 & Patapoe!
hfayekay on 04/30/2014 at 02:45PM
A pure example of the textural free-jazz inspired sound from the thick of the new wave scene of the 70s & early 80s, Idio-Savant trumpeter Paul Watson described their process being "…like a trance like state or automatic type of playing." (Milwaukee Journal, Dec.1988) Their emotionally driven, form-defying yet maturely crafted improvisations were further lauded by such institutions as the Richmond-Times Dispatch, Cadence Magazine, & Jazz Digest. A few musical configurations later, a version of Idio dubbed "Orthotonics" successfully experimented with steering the stochastic sound into a more melodic direction, complete with post-punky intellectually warped lyrics like "Too Hot to Trotsky."
The FMA is happy to annouce 3 albums from Idio-Savant: Shakers in a Tantrum Landscape ('79), The Alpha Audio Sessions ('79), & Trans-Idio ('81) & 3 more from Orthotonics: Accessible as Gravity ('83), Wake Up You Must Remember ('84), & Luminous Bipeds ('86) now available for your listening & downloading pleasure! PLUS! You would be remiss to forego the wealth of information & graphics in the bonus biographical PDFs provided for both bands bands here (Idio) & here (Ortho).
Stay tuned for more gems from the ARTIFACTS/yclept vault coming to the FMA in the near future!
ange on 04/22/2014 at 12:30AM
This month, the Free Music Archive celebrates its 5th year since it emerged from the Internet-hole. Can you imagine the web without it? In that time, the FMA has helped user generated content flourish, helped artists connect with new fans, and filled all of our personal harddrives to the brim. We are one of the largest collections of Creative Commons music online, reaching 70,000 curated tracks this Spring.
It's time for me to go, and leave this vessel in the hands of a new captain. I've accepted a new position working at Slate, and now it's time to find the next person to lead this project into its bright future.
More info about the job here.
During the transition, continue to share share all your troubles and victories with contact (@) freemusicarchive.org, and someone will always get back to you. That person right now is the wonderful Faye.
In my time at the FMA, we've worked together to remix public domain ephemera with the Prelinger Archive, and overthrow the Birthday song. We've welcomed exciting new FMA curators including AS220, Radio Bunker, Radius, CKUT and Boston Hassle. We even built an app for iPhone, and launched our own Free Song of the Day Podcast.
I've adored being a part of our parent project WFMU, and learned so much from watching how the staff, volunteers & DJs keep the magic factory full of magic. Thanks to the FMA's founding director Jason for all of his guidance and bottomless enthusiasm for the project. No one has made more mixes on the FMA than my old desk-mate WFMU's Liz B, who broadcasts her favorite FMA uploads every Monday morning on WFMU. Also infinite credit goes to WFMU's stellar volunteers Matt Marando and Mario Santana who masterfully master and upload all the sessions that come through WFMU over the years. Big kudos to Lou Z and Chris M who have led our team of volunteer submission screeners.
Thank you all again! Viva FMA!
wmmberger on 04/21/2014 at 05:39PM
The concentrated joy of this set by Future Death Toll is its own reward. Fresh off of tour, the band sounded a-frickin'-mazing, and I was immediately confronted with a familiar feeling, of "O, Lucky Man!" ...I dig deep into the underground, bobbing for those most-artistic of apples, and this time came up with the OUTSTANDING sounds of FUTURE DEATH TOLL!!! Indeed, I am fortunate, to have this incredible OUTLET wherein I can extend invitations to artists such as these, and they just show up and play! Sit in that Studio B chair sometime, and you'll begin to understand how good the years of MCoQ weekly broadcasts have been to me, and my colleagues at the station, and to WFMU's devoted listeners. The kiss of WFMU is GOLDEN, and I need to remember to utilize this opportunity, in order to bestow upon all who care the rareified talents of artists like these.
Based on a barely labeled cassette tape I had received a long time ago, different from this set (more "home studio," obviously), I knew this band would make good use of the opportunity for a live radio set, and I was not disappointed. Though the tape is generally "lighter," as might be expected, as well as more song-oriented, F-DT do a lot of different things, and as with Slasher Risk before them (see this set from 2010), the variety of their capabilities just meant that playing live on the radio revealed another layer. They were noisy, dense and intense, but not entirely free-form, with themes that arose, dominated and then dissipated, as you will hear.
Though I did not have a pile of hard releases to muse over and absorb, there's quite a lot posted online, both to the band's Web site, and their YouTube page, and I've been at this long enough, that I knew for certain that F-DT's radio set would not disappoint, and it went far beyond that, into dazzling territory, rousing a hearty, enthusiastic response from Castleheads on our playlist comments.
So sit back, listen and enjoy. Massive props to engineer Juan Aboites for applying his considerable and diverse talents to making Future Death Toll radio-ready; whatever I throw at him, he makes the very best of it, rising to every challenge. Thanks also to Tracy Widdess for again making excellent, memorable photo art from my on-the-quick iPhone band captures.
theradius on 04/17/2014 at 09:30AM
PATCH is a series of curated playlists selected from the Radius episode archive. Each playlist is organized around a specific topic or theme that engages the tonal and public spaces of the electromagnetic spectrum. PATCH serves as a platform to illuminate the questions, concerns, and complexities of and within radio-based art practices.
PATCH 06: Ghosts
In 1994, while living in Florence, Italy, in a top-floor apartment of the former Ursuline convent on the via Guelfa, Jeff Gburek experienced sounds shaped by random processes through a shortwave radio. During radio listening sessions in the middle of the night, Gburek noticed that when the stations closer to him signed off, sudden gaps, chasms of vibrant static, new stations, and other signals from afar drifted in - often from places too far off to seem within logical range. Coming later to understand that these bounced signals where effects generated by ionic scatter and extreme weather conditions, even solar flares and meteorite showers, his immediate intuition became reinforced: even the so-called random noises where not devoid of meaning; outer space was being communicated inside the inner space of the listening experience. Behind the novel sonic effects, there was an alive and expressive cosmos.
lizb on 04/16/2014 at 09:45AM
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced today that WFMU's Free Music Archive is one of 886 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Arts in Media grant. The FMA is recommended for a $75,000 grant to support the Re:Invent:Media Project.
Re:Invent:Media is a four-part project that will broaden access to the FMA’s rich and diverse audio library, strengthen public understanding of music in the contemporary digital setting, and foster creativity through hands-on engagement with the arts:
- Re:imagine will be our second series of themed multimedia contests and workshops to encourage hands-on engagement through the creation of new works inspired by Creative Commons and the public domain.
- An Education Portal and instructional webinars will be developed on the FMA to help educators, audio producers, podcasters, filmmakers, and others navigate the complex rights issues associated with using and appropriating music in new creative projects.
- Radio Free Culture is a weekly radio segment/podcast that will explore the changing landscape of music, the arts, and digital technology, as well as celebrate the transformative potential of the digital era.
- Mobile Apps will be developed for both iOS and Android platforms, providing mobile and tablet users with full access to the audio works available on the FMA, as well as artist information and music discovery features.
We are honored to be recommended for the NEA's Arts in Media award for the second time, and it's a great way to commemorate the Free Music Archive's 5th anniversary this month. The Re:Invent:Media project will allow us to expand access to the FMA's 70,000+ songs, to cultivate the creation of new multimedia digital arts projects, and to provide better educational resources for navigating rights issues online.
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Arts in Media grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov. Here's NEA's official announcement as well as our own press release if you'd like to help spread the word.
Perhaps a birthday celebration is in order here at the FMA? Take a listen to our winning entry from last year's NEA-funded contest to create new, alternatively-licensed Happy Birthday songs.