Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Gold Mask

Back in the day - which was a Wednesday, mind you - Nick Armondo was strumming his acoustic in the den of his Chicago flat. A few rooms over, ladyfriend Gretta Rochelle started belting along with a depth of vibrato he wasn't familiar with since their days in punk rock outfit Bang!Bang!
"That's neat," he mused. "wonder what else we could do with that."

A few more den sessions and they found a practice studio to expand their bojanglin'. It wasn't a 4-star space, heck there was even a tom tom and kick drum leftover from the last tenants. Rochelle, no percussionist, ambled over and figured out how to attach the pedal and tap out a 4-beat before adding her pipes. ::wtf wunderkind:: Armando got apeshit on his nylon-stringed electroacoustic, and so My Gold Mask came to be.

Finding inspiration in lucha libre masks (they've always wanted a gold one),
their pug (who doesn't?)
and well..each other
(but Mates of State they are NOT),
MGM's January release A Thousand Voices EP has them pounding out east-Indian influenced cadencies outside of their comfort zone. They perform as a duo, Rochelle's vocals ranging from rasps to operatics, Armando's guitar distorted to sound as un-guitar-like as he can get it.

"Violet Eyes" - provocative, dissonant, nostalgic for more noir times - has her prowling through the lyrics over his ectoplasmic riffs. You'll want for ripped stockings and an EMF meter.

My Gold Mask // Violet Eyes

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jack Peñate

There's a lot of pop out there to sift through. Orchestral pop, bubblegum pop, afro-pop, dream pop, cherry pop rocks. Can't blame the musicmakers - daily bread depends on the earworms making you fork over hard-earned .99cents. Lucky for us, there's a hefty portion of it that doesn't suck.
(disclaimer: don't call me a pop snob. I stood in a teal Pontiac convertible belting Backstreet Boyz "Incomplete" in 2006 all right? Sorry I'm not sorry.)

Peñate pop, it's got range - R&B, soul, gospel, disco, reggaeton.
It's got fash - the English lad looks good in a bedazzled track jacket.
It's got moves - not many a man can shimmyshonga at this caliber while playing guitars, singing, making sex eyes, etc.

His cockney yelp fizzes pleasantly over tracks washed with horns and vibing to distorted Telecasters. Everything is New is slow and smooth carbonation. You'll sing, you'll dance and you'll raise your can of cream soda to acknowledge the mustachioed gent.

Jack Peñate // Be The One

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Roky Erickson & Okkervil River

To spin the yarn of True Love Cast Out All Evil, the fibers begin to twist in Rusk State Hospital. Locked up
on an insanity plea for possession of one joint, Roky Erickson spent years beside the worst kind of men in the criminal mental facility. After submitting to shock treatment for schizophrenia and to exorcize the LSD and heroine craving demons; he re-entered society a shadow of himself. Nearly unrecognizable as the once ferocious lead of The Thirteenth Floor Elevators - a pioneering act of '60's psychedelic rock and storied muse of Janis Joplin. Paranoid and plagued by night terrors, he spewed dark, tortuous music for a few years until tumbling into his own abyss.

Keep braiding the twine to 2001 in a Texan courtroom where
Roky is the knot betwixt a family tug o war over religion and modern medicine. Tethered for years to the care of his mother who prescribed prayer, sensible love and second-hand knowledge from spouting daytime talkshow psychiatrist; younger brother Sumner Erickson looked to gain guardianship of his shadow sibling. Pull him out of poverty and hopelessness; out of his head and into the light. (check out 2005 doc "You're Gonna Miss Me")

With urging of certain central figures and
firm hand over hand on the line, Roky has pulled himself to where he is today. Fellow Austinites and temping troubadors Okkervil River incessantly champion him; Will Sheff & Co.'s lush guitars, horns and ivories make Roky's crystallized honey tenor all the sweeter.

True Love's songs blaze with redemption. As true love should.

Roky Erickson & Okkervil River // Goodbye Sweet Dreams

Monday, May 17, 2010

Club 8

No one expects slinky samba and bombastic bossanova buttshaking beats from a pair of frosty Swedish blondes. Well, guess what? Those aren't highlights, people. And white kids can occasionally dance, providing the moon is in the waxing gibbus phase and it's the fifth Thursday of months that end in "ary."

Dream-pop duo Karolina Komstedt and
Johan Angergård of Club 8 took a trip to South America for love, for inspiration, for cassava. Full of heat and humidity, they returned to Sweden to produce an album in homage to their tropical muse. Albeit surreally - while they sweat it out in the studio their countrymen walked around in their earmuffs and mink stoles during the dead of winter. The result of feverish brazilian beats with vocals that dip&soar on the warm updrafts of West-Afro guitars have you ready for summer, sugarsnake!

Now dance whitey, DANCE

Club 8 // Shape Up