Recent FMA Blog Posts
This is a feed of featured blog posts from FMA users. Blog on, bloggers!
Nat_Roe on 05/13/2009 at 08:03PM
Even though grindcore has evolved drastically over the past twenty years, my favorite stuff is still the incredibly brutal, low-brow stuff that was coming out in the early nineties and documented in compilations like Fiesta Comes Alive and Cry Now, Cry Later. There are few remaining survivors from that era. The Locust are one, and certainly the most famous example. Another too often overlooked example is Suppression.
But I'm actually not trying to talk about grindcore right now, so please disregard everything I just said. Jason Hodges, an member of Suppression (OK, don't disregard that little bit) and founder of C.N.P. records has recently started curating for the FMA. Although C.N.P. started primarily as a grind label, it has moved on to includes all kinds of noise and avanty freakdom beloved by us at WFMU. Many of the projects Jason has uploaded are his own, such as the Bermuda Triangles. The track below, "Melting Your Brains" was actually created with a Drum Buddy synthesizer, pictured above and invented by none other than Quintron. Make sure to check out Jason Hodge's contributor page to see all of his submissions. And friend him too! This is a social network too, after all
JoeMc on 05/13/2009 at 11:52AM
Although its reputation has been on the upswing in recent years, for most of the "rock era" the accordion was scorned as a relic of the days of schmaltzy showbiz. At best, it was viewed as a novelty instrument; at worst, it was an instrument of torture. Cartoonist Gary Larson of "The Far Side" fame once drew a cartoon that showed the devil handing out accordions to new entrants to hell.
But it was not always so, and today's post focuses on one of the best arguments for an accordion revival that I can think of: John J. Kimmel.
John Kimmel was born in 1866 in Brooklyn. Although his parents were German, he grew up in an Irish neighborhood. Musically inclined, he picked up the accordion and adapted what he heard around him, a style of button accordion playing imported directly from Ireland. He became so proficient at playing Irish music that he was referred to for a long time as "The Irish Dutchman." But whether it was rugged American individualism, or perhaps proximity to New York City's vaudeville houses and show palaces, Kimmel soon began to add a pizzazz to traditional styles that took it up a notch.
Technically speaking, the instrument John J. Kimmel played could only be generally called an accordion. It was really a melodeon, which at that time was a one-row button accordion with only ten buttons on it. The type of accordion that became most popular in America was the piano accordion, the type with a keyboard instead of buttons, owing to its versatility. But after listening to "Medley of Straight Jigs," you'd be justified in wondering what anyone needs all those keys for. Kimmel's amazingly fleet fingers and dynamic playing really rock his little button box.
Along with the Deiro Brothers, John J. Kimmel was the among the very first to play the accordion on record, as early as 1904. "Medley of Straight Jigs" is from 1907, and Kimmel would go on to make tons of records for Edison, Victor, and other companies well into the 1920s. He recorded Irish music, Scottish music, marches, and even popular tunes, in the manner of the day. They're all good, so check back for more Kimmel on the FMA in the future.
John J. Kimmel danced his last jig in 1942 at the ripe old age of 76, his bar "The Accordion" shuttered by Prohibition and his recording career long at an ebb. But one thing's for sure: No devil would hand John Kimmel an accordion on the way into hell. Hell would instantly become heaven.
tommy on 05/13/2009 at 10:57AM
FMA Curator Nadav Carmel has been steadily uploading gems from the WBSR/WMBR/KDVS lo-fi radio show Phoning It In. I've been loving this program since catching a live session back in 2005 featuring Queens, NY-based musician Keith Zarriello, a.k.a., The Shivers.
I was first introduced to Keith's music with the 2004 freeform anti-folk album Charades. Five years and innumerable line-up changes later, The Shivers unique marriage of songwriting technique and live performance has remained intact. Zarriello often provokes his audiences with a direct and unwavering emotional intensity that is part farcical melodrama, part earnest sincerity. Live performances of songs about critical self-awareness and the challenges of integrity seem to simultaneously ridicule taking oneself too seriously while praising the ability to feel comfortable with your own shadow at your feet. See them live, and let the catharsis begin!
They'll be launching their new album In the Morning (as a duo, maybe a trio) with Peter & the Wolf and others TBD on May 18 at the Blender Theater at Gramercy in NY. Enjoy a track from 2008's Beaks to the Moon.
zlayton on 05/11/2009 at 07:14PM
Here is an excerpt from a rare live performance by Acid Birds at ISSUE Project Room. Acid Birds is a trio composed of Andrew Barker (Gold Sparkle Band, Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra), Charles Waters (Gold Sparkle Band) and Jaime Fennelly (Peeesseye). Barker formed the trio in order to perform the composition of the same name, featured here. Along with saxophonist /clarinetist Charles Waters and multi-instrumentalist Jaime Fennelly, the trio premiered in 2004 for the artist collective Free103point9 and their creative music event titled Assembled: Free Jazz + Electronics. This recording is from the second live performance of Acid Birds.
Combining elements of free jazz, collective improvisation and low harmonium drones, Acid Birds creates a mystical sound that falls somewhere between Braxton and Cardew. Each piece is based on a graphic score composed by Barker; the sound produced is distinctly spatial. Fennelly’s constant drone provides the ground, which is sometimes reinforced by Waters’ playing and sometimes punctured by his sharp notes. Barker’s drumming contributes to the expansive and tactile feeling of the project: each hit is hard and indicative of the material of the percussive instrument. Barker plays with a five-foot wide aluminum picnic tabletop in his drum kit. Acid Birds explores the notion of the visual score translated through the haptic exploration of sound as form. Lets hope to see more of them soon.
herr_professor on 05/11/2009 at 02:29PM
I want to thank WFMU for getting me involved as a curator for the FMA. I'm currently the editor of a Chip Music and Art related blog, True Chip Till Death, and it is my pleasure to show you some of the best tracks coming out of the Chip Music scene.
Knowing the types of readers the FMA has, some of you may have heard of Chip Music before. Documentaries like Reformat the Planet and 8BIT, compilations like 8-BIT OPERATORS, and crews like Micromusic and 8bitpeoples have shown off some of the best and brightest the scene has to offer.The bestest part, however is that the great majority of these tunes are free to download and enjoy (but not for stealing! Bad Timbaland!).
My goal for the FMA is to highlight some of these new releases and classic tracks from the most innovative and exciting artists in the scene. The styles vary almost as much as the use of platforms, from dubstep to indie rock, from the Sega Genesis to the Atari 2600, so there is a lot of ground to cover. Hopefully you'll find some new favorite bands, so lets get started!
Our first featured artist, minusbaby, is a globe trotting citizen of the world, one who's interests are as unique as his takes on the classic video game music sound. Using software that mimics the limitations of various classic consoles like the NES, and Sega Master system, he is seemlessly able to blend various styles of music from hip-hop to samba to afro-funk, and live he expands that sound using an eclectic mix of musicans of all backgrounds and skill levels.
jason on 05/11/2009 at 09:43AM
Alec K Redfearn is Providence, RI's premier accordion player, and a consistently compelling composer. He might be best known as leader of The Eyesores, and he was last seen at WFMU with Providence avant-jazz group Barnacled, who were touring in suppot of their new ESP-Disk release.
Last Tuesday, I hosted a live set from Alec's new group The Seizures. This new formation is inspired by everything from Eastern European folk traditions and Kurt Weil to Captain Beefheart and the Wipers. They refuse to be categorized as gypsy punk...why don't you just have a list to "The Hole" below, and be sure to check out the intro where Alec contextualizes the song with references to the Manson family and chocolate fountains in the desert.
Redfearn plays ukelele and accordion, but no guitars -- all guitar-like sound is produced by the aforemention instruments run through a wah-wah and fuzz pedal. The Seizures are rounded out by fellow Eyesores and Barnacled members Chris Sadlers on contrabass, and drummer Matt McLaren. Keep an eye out for their new album Exterminating Angel (Corleone Records).
pushbinlou on 05/09/2009 at 10:51AM
The last couple of posts that I have written have showcased some pretty frantic sounds with a lot of BPM's. Well, it's a nice beautiful Friday afternoon here in Cleveland (we get two a year) and I thought I would point you to a track and a band that can help you get into one of those blissful, first sunny day of the year type moods.
Wishyunu is a Portland duo that has been kicking around for a few years and just put out their third release "Age of Revealing". Experimental and Ambient are two genres that are ascribed to them. However, a lot of time when I hear Ambient I immediately think of wallpaper music that is played in a clothing store where the only thing that I can afford is a pair of flip-flops. That is not where we are going with Wishyunu. Light ethereal vocals over lush electronics. It's the kind of thing I love to listen to on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon. Give it a shot - take a listen to Humming Box.
Halas_Radio on 05/08/2009 at 03:48AM
Barcelona based group Selva de Mar was formed in 2006 by popular street musicians Sasha Agranov and Pablo Wayne. Fundamentals of its music are the wooden sounds of the cello blended into the metal frequencies of the hang, mixed with various objects and instruments such as the musical saw, metal tubes, music boxes and crystal glasses. They create what they call "aquatic music," sonic images detached from time or place. Selva de Mar have become well-known in Spain for their live performances, which combine their unique music, video projections and dance, as well as the incorporation of improvisation and experimenting with different styles and sounds from around the world. Selva de Mar have been involved with: acoustic concerts in churches, festivals of electro acoustic music, dance and circus shows and creating sound tracks for movies. And of course, they had an opening slot for the one and only Rolling Stones at a private function in Barcelona during 2007. Selva de Mar has participated in: world music festival "Le Suds" à Arles France (July 2007) International cinema music festival "Fime" à Toulon France (November 2007) Drap-Art Festival in Barcelona CCCB (December 2007) Tours around Israel, Jordan, France and Spain.(2007) and playing different concerts in Barcelona where they Courtney live: Convento de San Agustín (June 2007), MNAC - opening act for the Rolling Stones (July 2007), Antic Teatre with guests (September 2007). management: Estel Segui +34 620253775 firstname.lastname@example.org www.myspace.com/selvademar
macedonia on 05/07/2009 at 10:00PM
Coming straight outta Budapest, the Budabeats netlabel hasn't been around for that long, but their digital footprint is gargantuan in nature thanks to their stellar artist roster and their emphasis on quality over quantity. Within the last year and a half, Budabeats have released a handful of EPs that span a wide of variety of genres, including hip-hop, nujazz, broken beat, downtempo, cinematic jazz, and funky breaks. Viewed as a platform for artist exposure and stepping stone towards larger ventures, the netlabel's philosophy is "freestyle", keeping things loose and fun, never staying in one place rhythmically for too long. The result is music that remains engaging and accessible while offering surprises around every corner. You know you're doing something right when the likes of Kid Loco and Kraak & Smaak offer up kudos, not to mention gaining consistent praise from labels like Tru Thoughts.
One of the strongest releases from Budabeats is the Symphaty Modul EP from Suhov, a Hungarian producer and DJ who clearly has an ear for proper arrangement. Things kick off on a high note with the Bollywood-infused "Exx F**k," but settles into jazzy hip-hop with "Different," a song that boasts tight edits and bits of piano and trumpet punched in at all the right times. "Funny" will win you over with its hard drum pattern and smooth, swinging accompaniment. The sampled female vocal is the icing on the cake. The criminally short "Skunn" leaves any listener wanting more as Suhov breaks out the mambo numbers and intricately weaves them into the song, making for the perfect finale. For further proof of Suhov's production prowess, make sure to check out his MySpace page for more songs and his YouTube promo. For any and all that haven't experienced the Budabeats netlabel yet, this EP is a great place to start. Serious love and thanks goes out to Gandharva for their blessing to upload this release to the Free Music Archive...
BTurner on 05/07/2009 at 11:02AM
Back on March 20th, WFMU did its second SXSW show down in Austin, this time joined in the hand-picking and presentation of the bill by our friends at Aquarius Records in San Francisco. It was a pretty massive event, 14 bands in all, and the outdoor stage kicked off that evening with one of AQ's picks from their hometown, Prizehog. Like the band Harvey Milk (who coincidentally opened WFMU's SXSW show the previous year), this trio specializes in downtuned, sludged-out epic psychedelic metal, though for my money these guys take it into a more spaced-out realm. Their great studio CDR had a somewhat primitive vibe of lo-fi basement doom done on bareboned recording equipment, but live in the outdoor concrete pit of Spiro's I thought they sounded no less destructive, and even more expansive. Worked totally great on the radio as well, check out these MP3s below. And also check out an assortment of 2008/2009 live MP3s from our SXSW shows up on the Free Music Archive (with more to come). Thanks again to Prizehog, AQ, and all the bands and Austin attendees!
Prizehog live at Spiro's, March 20, 2009 (full set)