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herr_professor on 07/28/2009 at 09:13AM

Digital Bubblebath

little-scale's vectrex visuals.

little-scale is one of those infuriating super geniuses that seems to be good at everything he does. He designs and builds hardware synths based on old segas, nintendos and ataris, he organizes compilations and gigs spotlighting an ever-growing talent pool made up of his fellow Australians, and, most importantly, he makes some of the most interesting and challenging music in the international chip community.
What makes his music so interesting is its playfulness and deceptive simplicity.

Poly-rhythms and sound chip bleeps wash across the listener like microscopic bubbles. What you have here is a highly intellectual approach to chip sounds that is completely engaging and unintimidating to the uninitiated.

If anything, little scale  is prolific, with dozens of recordings on his website. This week’s featured release is another in his partnership with the II netlabel and continues his experimentation on the two titans of the 8bit cold war: the NES and the Sega Master System. Enjoy these two tracks, and dig deeper into his catalog via his website.

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BTurner on 07/27/2009 at 05:36PM

Total Abuse live on WFMU

TAB1 After a night of two NYC area shows (including one at 3:30 AM), going to Coney Island and seeing two girls get into a sunrise fight (one got her weave hooked and ripped out by nail on a Boardwalk plank) and not a second to nap, Austin's Total Abuse arrived at the WFMU studios for some H & H bagel breakfast and a couple minutes to sit down before plugging in and lighting the fuse up once again for Brian Turner's show. 15 minutes of Black Flag/Void inspired ugliness, captured in our walls by engineer Trent Wolbe, and then they were off to play another gig in Far Rockaway.

Set list: I Can See the Dark / Peace and Quiet / Secrets / Discipline / Fluid Exchange / Pure / Mutt. Recorded July 13th, aired July 14th.

Grab the tracks here on the Free Music Archive >>

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tcamhi on 07/27/2009 at 12:19AM

QQQ: Cue Queue Quartet?


While exploring the classical music section of the FMA trying to find some new tunes to take in I came across QQQ, a gem among the site's classical music artists. QQQ is a musical oufit that consists of a violinist, violist, guitarist, percussionist and more imaginative musical thoughts than your average quartet. Their music can best be described as folky, bluegrass-fiddle, and americana with a touch of classical styling. I've been enchanted by their tune Sister Sparrow, which has just enough of that country fiddle twain commonly heard in many americana songs combined with a viola counterpoint, carefully picked out notes from the guitar, and a lazy rhythm from the drums. The song also offers up some really great dissonant harmonies that'll make your ears perk up and say "wha?". The quartet came out with their debut album Unpacking the Trailer... earlier this year and it's unique sound is definitely worth a listen.

WFMU was lucky enough to be graced by the tuneful sounds of QQQ in late March when the group played a live performance in support of their debut on Irene Trudel's show. Now you can hear their lively performance anytime on the FMA!

QQQ is classified under the classical music sub-genre of composed music along with the classification of bluegrass...and they were among the first artists to be added to classical music section of the FMA.

As for their name, QQQ will only say that the last 'Q' stands for 'quartet'. Let the acronym guessing begin.

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calebt on 07/25/2009 at 11:39AM

Summer Hits

Demon-eyes: Tonstartssbandht

Last week about forty rabid fans, myself among them, made the potentially perilous trip to Santos Party House for a concert featuring a band whose name noone can pronounce. Tonstartssbandht. Tahn-STARTS-band. I think. They made a track dedicated to explaining it and I still don't think I've mastered it. The brothers White have been terrorizing Montreal with their heavy samples and crippling melodies for a while, and this summer decided to take up residence in NYC.

Essentially opening for them at this show was Matthew Mondanile, playing as Ducktails but with a full band for the first time. In between rocking brutal versions of his summer psychedelia, Mondanile revealed his soft side - a shy, New Jersey kid hiding behind glasses and thanking his audience after every song.

Then came Tonstartssbandht. This show blew me away. They have a unique take on the sampler/vocal melody approach. Their debut album (cd-r?), An When, showcases the best of this side of the band. Their beats are heavy, their harmony delicate, intricate, and powerful. Powerful enough to be retailed at Other Music, at least. They have graciously posted a few tracks on the FMA, and hinted that there are more to come. They sound vaguely like Animal Collective, vaguely like the Beach Boys, vaguely like a youth choir backed by Led Zeppelin.

After working through their hits, however, they picked up their instruments. Eddy sat down at the drums and began pounding away like the prodigious gorilla from the Cadbury cream ad. Soon after, Andy picked up a guitar, turned off the delay, and unleashed up a tone that could've taken Wolverine in a fist fight. Suddenly, this was a rock show. The duo was leaping around, mixing noise and blues, demolishing eardrums, and reminding everyone why bands used to play instruments. In the future, music will sound something like this.

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jason on 07/23/2009 at 06:52PM

Tusk Lord and Hunted Creatures

(Tusk Lord)

A couple of Pittsburgh's most intriguing artists, Tusk Lord and Hunted Creatures, uploaded some audio to the FMA in advance of their joint mini-tour which started last night (dates here).

Tusk Lord is Mike Kasunic with a rotating cast of musicians. I had the opportunity to see them live earlier this month, and was blown away by their set of finely tuned gravel-voiced slow-core. But after taking home a copy of their Summer 2009 cassette, I realized there was much more to this long-running home recording project, ranging from ambient sound-scapes to psychedelic acoustic prog-folk to experimental lo-fi pop. Take a listen to this side of yet another 2009 cassette below to get an idea of the range of contemporary Tusk Lord. There are plenty more Tusk Lord recordings archived here on the FMA, most from out of print limited run cassettes.

The Summer 2009 cassette is not on the FMA yet, as it's a brand new release from the Dynamo! Sound Collective. This label is run by Ryan Emmett aka Hunted Creatures, a local musician who has collaborated with Tusk Lord as well as members of Black Forest/Black Sea and Mike Tamburo. Ryan uploaded his Human Sweat Demo from 2005, and it's some seriously hypnotizing drone. When Human Creatures played on Phoning It In back in '07 (archived here), Nadav referenced one reviewer's allusion to Sunroof! on valium...sounds apt.

The Tusk Lord/Hunted Creatures mini tour ends in DC on July 26th, unless you wanna set them up with a show in Baltimore on the 27th (DO YOU?!?).

Tusk Lord and Hunted Creatures will also both be playing the Voice of the Valley festival in West Virginia Aug 14-16, which looks to be awesome. Other FMA-listenable peeps playin the fest include Ryan Jewell, Puffy Areolas, Lexie Mountain BoysIrene MoonLazy MagnetShawn Greenlee, Sword HeavenCarlos Giffoni,and Nautical Almanac.  Details here.

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JoeMc on 07/23/2009 at 04:46PM

Hank's for the Memory

Hank Thompson at Lincoln Center 2003 (photo courtesy Gary W79/

Last Friday was "rockabilly night" in Lincoln Center's ongoing series of dance concerts called Midsummer Night's Swing, and WFMU was there with our microphones and recording machines to preserve the event. The bill featured luminaries like Joe Clay, Carl Mann, and the Collins Kids (you can tune in to Dave the Spazz on July 30th from 8 to 11 p.m. if you missed it). As I watched these great performers play the juiced-up country music that rockabilly essentially is, I couldn't help but think of an earlier Midsummer Night's Swing I attended a few years ago, one featuring the legendary country artist Hank Thompson.

Hank Thompson predated rockabilly, but there was a hard-swinging, good-time sensibility to his music that likely had a big influence on what came to be called rockabilly. Today's post is all about the honky-tonk goodness of the one and only Hank Thompson.

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lizb on 07/23/2009 at 10:22AM

All Hail the Dirtbombs

Photo by Oscar Palmer, CC by-nc-sa

Ever since they spawned from the remains of the Gories back in the mid-'90s, the Dirtbombs' sound has been synonymous with modern Detroit. This is not to say that their songs sound like an insurance fire or Eminem. Their sweet pairing of garage rock with soul and a little bit of punk pulls from the best moments in the motor city's spectacular musical history, but without sounding retro. Let's face it, it would probably be difficult to make a song called "I'm Through With White Girls" sound like a throwback.

Earlier this decade, the Dirtbombs paid a few visits to WFMU's Cherry Blossom Clinic with Terre T, and both of these sessions are available for your listening pleasure right here. My favorite track from these sessions is "Earthquake Heart," which you can listen to below. The band's latest record, "We Have You Surrounded," was released last year, proving that the Dirtbombs are still kicking (and kicking hard with 2 drummers).

Bandleader Mick Collins recently made a special guest appearance at WFMU's benefit with Dave the Spazz and the Paul Green School of Rock All Stars at BB King Blues Club in NYC (MP3 | video), jamming with the kids on Roy Montrell's "Everytime I Hear That Mellow Saxophone." Nice cameo!

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Halas_Radio on 07/22/2009 at 05:34PM

Liminal Spaces open session

Liminal Spaces was launched in March 2006 with a three-day international conference and a series of excursions along Road no. 60 – which connects Jerusalem to Ramallah and to the Qalandia checkpoint and refugee camp.

This conference inaugurated the first stage of the project, which was followed by six months of residencies in the regions of the participating artists. In November 2006 artists' works from the project were exhibited in Leipzig, Germany and parallel to that a second conference took place. The third and last meeting  of Liminal Spaces took place in October 2007 with a three-day traveling conference in Palestinian and nationally mixed towns in Israel. Liminal Spaces materials, in the way of transcripts, articles, pieces of fiction, and artists' pages are now being gathered for a reader that will be published in Spring, 2009.

The project must be viewed as a platform whose goal is first and foremost to enable forms of 'working together.'  Such methods of working concern not only the production of artworks, but even more importantly discussion and dialogue among Israeli and Palestinian artists and cultural producers, and between them and international colleagues – in a reality in which any form of collaboration is impossible. This platform has been made possible, in the face of numerous external obstacles, due to a number of understandings shared by all participants. These understandings include the need to bring the Israeli occupation to a final and rapid end; opposition to the blatant violation of human and civil rights; and the need for joint action in order to advance these goals.

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jason on 07/21/2009 at 06:23PM

Cro Magnon and Cromagnon

Katie (l) and Haley (r) of Lafayette, Indiana's Cro Magnon not to be confused with the 1969 NY group (pictured below). (above pic at Silent Barn July '09 via Epictheatre

Just to clear up any confusion, as two cave rockin cro magnen were recently added to the FMA...

Cromagnon (one word) were former "teenybopper tune-smiths" who recorded an album that sounds like nothing else in the world, and I can only imagine what it sounded like when it was originally released 40 years ago by the legendary ESP-Disk. Originally titled "Orgasm", it was reissued this year as "Cave Rock". Check out "Toth, Scribe I" and a review from The Wire here, with more from the newly revived ESP-Disk' here on the FMA.

Cro Magnon (two words) is a new two-piece from Lafayette, Indiana. I first heard them on Die Stasi's XXperiments compilation LP, alongside female-fronted contemporaries US Girls and Zola Jesus, and was pretty blown away by their sheer brutality. The LP also had featured Cro Magnon solo projects Bird (Kate) and Circuit des Yeux (Haley, who has a couple LPs on De Stijl).

Cro Magnon brought their minimal nowave skronk to the WFMU live room this week for a live set on Talk's Cheap, check out "Wash" below and the full set here (including a cover of The Urinals' "I'm a Bug"!).

Cro Magnon - "Wash" (01:17)
Cro Magnon - "Wash" (01:17)
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doncbruital on 07/21/2009 at 12:53PM

Satellite Epistles (from Past the Curtain)

Was Ezra Pound right when he wrote, in a 1915 letter to James Joyce, that theater was “a gross, coarse form of art,” one which “spoke to a thousand fools huddled together”? Is there something inherently crude about the stage, where the rich expanse of human experience is reduced to crass pantomime of life-as-usual, stilted cartoonery, off-putting simulacra? The whole thing is, at the very least, a little creepy—people walk about, but only upon the confines of a shallow stage; they speak, but in polished nuggets of rhetoric; they regularly ‘cheat out’ to the audience and seem to look we real folks, we huddled fools, hmm, right bang in the eye—gah! Who are these fakers, and what do they want with us? It all begs imputing, you know? as surely there’s some intelligence dictating this, some parameters of rhyme and reason by which one might codify all the ghoulishness. Surely a band can help sort out this mess.

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