pscd029So the story goes something like this. Tokyo-based PowerShovelAudio travels to Cuba and records some local jazz musicians there. Then these recordings are delivered to Maayan Nidam, who more frequently performs under the name Miss Fitz, in Berlin for remixing.

The results, collected on this album called “Nightlong,” are at once soulful, funky, elegant, and refined. In fact, the only other way I could imagine creating sounds like these would be to put Ricardo Villalobos in a time machine and send him back 50 years to produce that Art Blakey-Horace Silver Jazz Messengers’ lp with Nica’s Dream on it. And, as you can see from above, the cd package is illustrated with wonderful photos by Daido Moriyama.

All of which makes “Nightlong”  a uniquely brilliant work of art that succeeds at along every dimension.


Sister Suvi – The Lot

July 24, 2009

last night on my bike i went for a long long ride
i went to the edge of the island so so wide
at the edge the ground runs out and it all turns to black
when you hit the dark st. laurence there’s no more turning back

last night on my bike i went for a long long ride

i went to the edge of the island so so wide

at the edge the ground runs out and it all turns to black

when you hit the dark st. laurence there’s no more turning back

ddprPray for Polanski have a new full-length out on F Nice Records. Called “The Death of Dennis Patrick Robbins.”

Overall, the style isn’t too much different from that displayed on “The Ghost and Bones,” their 6-song ep that was one of my favorites from last year. You might say it’s one part rockabilly, two parts country gothic, and seven parts straight-ahead rock and roll. But the production is a bit more polished on the new album, which suits the music well. And the songwriting, though certainly a strength on the ep, is even better and more consistent on this new disk.

But, as fans of Pray for Polanski know, the very good turns to great for this band when Aviv Rubinstein and Anne Warnock’s vocals join together. Just like John Doe and Exene’s used to. And best of all, there are a lot of those moments on the new album.

You can download several of the songs from “The Death of Dennis Patrick Robbins” here for free, courtesy of the fine folks at F Nice.

IrrevBackCoverYou know that guy sitting in the back row of your math class, who works through proofs with style and ease, who can can tell you the difference between what’s in Rudin‘s “Principles of Mathematical Analysis” versus what’s in “Real and Complex Analysis,” AND who can tell you where the best parties are this Saturday night? Probably, he’d also tell you that Tristan da Cunha are one of his favorite local bands. And guess what? They’re one of my favorite local bands, too. They play what I call “serious music that doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Two years ago, the band put out an album called “Instanter,” which became my favorite of 2007. Now, they’re back with this new one, “Irrevolution.” Ten songs, written between 2002 and 2008, all of which sound like what you’d think the Minutemen’s might sound like if they went on for 4 minutes instead of just 90 seconds.

For more on Tristan da Cunha, see this article from the Phoenix. Then check out their Myspace page, where you can hear “Four Selected Screenplays” from the old lp and “Bless the Beasts (Not the Children)” from the new.


Bibio's "Ambivalence Avenue" - Warp Records (2009)

Summer of 1979. Chic’s “Good Times” ruled the charts and rightly so. A great summertime anthem about outdoor parties, clams on the half shell, and roller skates.

But what I always found most interesting about that song was the irony that I thought I detected not far underneath its glossy surface. For a long time I wondered whether this might just be my imagination, but Nile Rodgers confirms that the intention was there in this interview. Unemployment and inflation both on the rise, but “leave your cares behind” as the composers tell us. And of course the worst was yet to come ….

Exactly thirty years later, I hear Stephen Wilkinson/aka Bibio’s new album in the same way. Blending together elements of folk, electronic, and even hip-hip and R&B, this is the perfect summer album: breezy, cool, and danceable, perfect for outdoor parties. But what makes the record really interesting for me is the feeling of unease — or should I call it ambivalence? – that seems to lurk just underneath the music’s surface. Profits are up at the big banks, and we’re told that the economy’s starting to get back on track, so “let’s put an end to this stress and strife.”  But why do I still have the feeling that the worst has yet to come?

See what I mean: you can listen to one of the best tracks, “Fire Ant,” from this excellent new album on Bibio’s myspace page.