Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thomas Dolby Named 2012 Moog Innovation Award Winner

Moog Music has named Thomas Dolby the recipient of the 2012 Moog Innovation Award Winner, "for expanding the sonic boundaries of the new wave movement and for fearlessly embracing the future."  Moog Music will present Dolby with a custom Minimoog Voyager during this year's Moogfest in Asheville, North Carolina, October 26 and 27.  He is the third recipient of the award, following DEVO in 2010 and Brian Eno last year.

Born in London as Thomas Morgan Robertson, Dolby sang in a choir before picking up a guitar but did not receive any formal musical training.  When electronic instruments appeared in the 70s, he discovered his life's passion after acquiring a kit built synthesizer. His friends nicknamed him Dolby after Dolby Laboratories in honor of the hours spent learning about this new musical frontier.  He is best known, of course, for the 1982 hit "She Blinded Me With Science," which was inescapable at the time.  Instantly recognizable from the cascading synths that opens the track, Dolby's delivery was both playfully scolding and sizzling like a rock star. He went on to create five studio albums, along with designing his own synths and founding his own software company.  Since 2001, Dolby has also served as  Musical Director for the Ted Conference annual series.

Dolby will perform on Saturday, October 27 at 10 pm in the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.  For further information about the festival, visit

Monday, September 24, 2012

Matt and Kim Stream New Album

**UPDATE: is streaming the album from October 2 - 8 at link here.

Making a bold play for a wider audience, Matt and Kim are streaming their new album, Lightning, on Entertainment Weekly’s website ( before the October 2 release date.  Almost barely recognizable in their glammy Hollywood makeover “after” photograph on the webpage, most songs ring true to their usual fast or faster tempo of dance punk.  The lack of gravitas in their music is precisely the point – Matt Johnson’s yelping vocals have a cheery child-pleasing upbeat delivery with plenty of sing along choruses for fans to join in.  This time around Kim joins him in singing a few lines, a welcome addition to their formula.

The new collection begins with the single, “Let’s Go,” a pre-released track reviewed back in June and plucked to lead off my Fall New Music Playlist, poised ready for take off.  Next up is “Now,” a song that has Matt conceding that “things aren’t perfect” over a frenzied beat with a warning siren cascading into the fray.  A marching band drumbeat follows in “It’s Alright,” with a simplistic keyboard melody embellished with handclaps and a numbered countdown to fun.  The slow jam of “I Said” varies the proceedings, with Matt musing about how “We could take over the whole world, or at least a small piece.” 

But the dance floor beat of “Tonight” takes things right back to party town, a tribute to nights out in their hometown of New York with no one “worried about tomorrow.”  Techno cravings are explored in “I Wonder,” with unnecessary vocal experiments and Kim singing, “I wonder what I would have become,” perhaps if not being half of a band.  These two met in art school where music was just part of the creative process, falling into gigs in the fertile indie ground of Brooklyn.  The closing number, “Ten Dollars I Found,” is a surprisingly sweet blend of their voices.  This duet showcases Matt and Kim as a typical yin-yang personality type couple, where a fine balance is created by equalizing each other’s energies.  Track listing below and listen at link here.

1. Let’s Go
2. Now
3. It’s Alright
4. Not That Bad
5. Overexposed
6. I Said
7. Tonight
8. I Wonder
9. Much Too Late
10.10 Dollars I Found

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fall 2012 New Music Playlist

Here’s a selection of new music off highly anticipated releases from indie strongholds Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective along with singles from upcoming releases from Tame Impala and Matt and Kim.  New super group Divine Fits provided a strong entry of solid songs while David Byrne handpicked Annie Clark (a.k.a. St. Vincent) for another collaborative project.  With so much new music out recently, a Late Fall New Music Playlist is already in the works -- of course that’s never a bad thing! Link to listen here.

1. “Let’s Go” – Matt and Kim
“Let’s Go” is the single off the upcoming release Lightning, from Brooklyn’s indie dance punk couple Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino.  While remaining true to their minimalist DIY roots, this latest party anthem rocks a rollicking beat, alternating cooing and yelping vocals, plus handclaps of fun. 

2. “Fineshrine” – Purity Ring
New band Purity Ring is also a duo – Canadians Corin Roddick and Megan James wrote the songs for their debut album, Shrines, miles apart but they quickly became noticed in the international music scene for a hybrid of eclectic electro pop.  James’ voice is at once commanding and childlike, while instrumentalist Roddick provides synth beats for the foundation.

3. “Gun Has No Trigger” – Dirty Projectors
Experimental alt rock band Dirty Projectors have released seven full length albums, the latest Swing Low Magellan, with “Gun Has No Trigger” as its single.  The six members of the Brooklyn group create an always interesting, collaborative sound under frontman David Longstreth.

4. “Hidden” – Erika Spring
Erika Spring of Brooklyn’s synth pop band Au Revoir Simone strikes out solo with a self-titled EP.  This single “Hidden” features Jorge Elbrecht of Violens on percussion (he also produced the songs), with Spring’s dreamy vocals finding a new path for her musical ambition.

5. “Apocalypse Dreams” – Tame Impala
Australian pysch rock band Tame Impala’s sophomore album Lonerism, is due in October, but the group released “Apocalypse Dreams” as a free download to its eager fans.  It’s a journey into their fuzzed out soundscape with a few musical twists to keep things fresh.

6. “Would That Not Be Nice” - Divine Fits
Britt Daniels of Spoon and Dan Boeckner of Handsome Furs and Wolfe Parade joined forces to create the new band Divine Fits.  This single of their debut album, A Thing Called Divine Fits, has Daniels’ familiar barking vocals leading the way in a confident pairing of like-minded indie rock musicians.

7. “Summertime Is Coming” – Paul Banks
Interpol’s frontman Paul Bank returns to his side project for another EP, Julian Plenti Lives… although the songs will soon be folded into a full length album simply called Banks.  “Summertime Is Coming” highlights the familiar baritone, finding his swagger alone in the forefront of his own musical vision.

8. “I Won’t Go” – thenewno2
The alt rock band thenewno2’s sophomore album, thefearof missingout, continues with the creative musings of frontman Dhani Harrison (a.k.a. George Harrision’s son).   “I Won’t Go” showcases his snarling vocals and a guitar-centric point of view in songwriting.

9. “Only In My Dreams” – Ariel Pink’s Haunted Grafitti
West coast band Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti revisits an early rock subtext for this tune, “Only In My Dreams.”   The latest album, Mature Themes, expands on the home studio aesthetic of multi-instrumentalist Ariel Pink into a group think partnership.

10. “Who” – David Byrne & St. Vincent
David Byrne continues his crazy work ethic by releasing an album Love This Giant, with Annie Clark, who channels her own iconic persona as St. Vincent.  The quirky texture with Byrne’s distinctive vocals carry the tune with a horn section lending a funky vibe in this single, “Who.”

11. “Sleeping Ute” – Grizzly Bear
12. “Yet Again” – Grizzly Bear
Brooklyn art rock band Grizzly Bear is back after its acclaimed 2009 album, Veckatimest.  “Sleeping Ute” and “Yet Again” illustrate the group’s famed creative aesthetic in their fourth album, Shields.

13. Applesauce – Animal Collective
Experimental psych band Animal Collective is back with their eleventh album, Centipede Hz.  “Applesauce” is a fun romp from the prolific group originally based in Baltimore, and each member has their own side project to keep them busy as well.

14. “Old Friend” – Sea Wolf
Indie folk artist Alex Brown Church has created four releases as Sea Wolf, channeling a laid back persona for a catalogue of intimate songs.   “Old Friend” is a sweet tune over an intricate percussive backbone and the single off the latest album, Old World Romance.

15. “October” – The Helio Sequence
“October” is the single off Negotiations, the fifth full length album from this alt rock duo based near Portland. Brandon Summer (vocals) and Benjamin Weikel (drums/keyboards) put together a space out jam that glides along after the ethereal guitar intro.

16. “Alruccabah” – Nickodemus
Music Producer Nickodemus fosters a world view in the dance music scene after growing up amid the many cultures found in New York City.  “Alruccabah” is off his third album, Moon People, which includes many of his favorite collaborators such as Afrika Bambaataa, The Real Live Show, and Belleruche.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Teen Daze Releases New Single "Union"

In anticipation of the second full length album due in November, The Inner Mansions, Teen Daze has released a new single called "Union."  The song features a performance by Frankie Rose of the Dum Dum Girls and Crystal Stilts.  After a quick blast of guitar fuzz, buried vocals float along with a rock backbeat before it all drops out for an acoustic solo. Things slowly build again in a soundscape of shimmering synths until a final wall of decaying notes.

Teen Daze is the project of Vancouver music producer Jamison and two tracks from his first album, All of Us, Together, were recently picked for my Summer 2012 New Music Playlist.   The dreamy instrumentals "Brooklyn Sunburn" and "Hold" provided the perfect space out vibe I always look for to end my playlists.  Looking forward to exploring the new album and n.b. Teen Daze will also be in NYC during the CMJ Music Festival on October 16 at Pianos (Lefse Records Showcase) and October 18 at Glasslands (Force Field PR Showcase).

Monday, September 10, 2012

Deerhoof and Friends in New Video for "Fête D’Adieu"

Deerhoof's newest album, Breakup Song, mostly contains the squirmy scrunch of instruments that has this group originally from San Francisco proudly call themselves a noise band.  Since 1994 they have self-produced twelve albums, along with many tracks on compilations, split releases with other artists and 7" singles.  With the sing song soprano of Satomi Matsuzaki leading the way, the band has left me perplexed and uninterested many times.  However, with this new song "Fête D’Adieu," the promise of interpretive dance had me checking out the video recently shot in a Brooklyn park "with friends."

Director Elias Gwin allows the movement to build until the floppy arms of brown-shirted, bearded Steven Reker takes over in a solo.  This modern dancer went on tour with David Byrne in 2009 when I first experienced him on stage, giving into every pose with a warm, bemused artistry.  Reker also has his own band, People Get Ready, performing in constant motion (as documented in our NMMatterscorp highlights video from Crossing Brooklyn Ferry last May) even with a guitar around his neck.  Check out their soundcloud page to listen to this percussive, and of course, danceable music.

According to Deerhoof's label, Polyvinyl Records, the video for "Fête D’Adieu" aims to capture the bittersweet irony of the song's title, which translates to "happy farewell."  As the last song of the album, this sweet rocking tune will satisfy many a fan, old or new.  Breakup Song is available in bundles with previous Deerhoof vinyl and new t-shirt designs or as a digital download.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"I Love NY" Commercials Continue Into Next Season Without Original Caveman Song

The new fall commercials for New York State Tourism are on heavy rotation these days, continuing the campaign that rejuvenated the iconic "I Love NY" logo over the summer.  Those spots featured the shimmering instrumental introduction of Brooklyn band Caveman's song "My Time" as the perfect underpinning for the montage of summer activities .  The New York State Division of Marketing, Advertising and Tourism worked with BBDO Advertising to create the footage utilizing submitted sketches depicting different destinations in the state.

Caveman gained notice during last year's CMJ Music Festival and I plucked "Thankful" off their album CoCo Beware for my Winter 2012 New Music Playlist.  The band became on of my favorites after seeing them conquer the majestic stage of the Opera House at BAM's Crossing Brooklyn Ferry festival in May. (Later that month they played the Brooklyn Museum, which only further endeared them to me as an Art History major.) However, the fall ads do not feature the Caveman song even though it sounds extremely similar.  Whether it was the band's decision or not, the new music is a bit too bright, leaden really for the upbeat nature of the campaign.  Plus the video versions are no longer allowed to be embedded.  Take a look at a fun summer version below and compare it to the fall commercials on the I Love NY YouTube channel here.