Beloved Warp Records duo Plaid return with their eighth album, a perfect apotheosis of the IDM sound they helped pioneer. Plaid excel at extrapolating emotional material out of whirling synthesizer landscapes, thanks to a reliance on simple melodies beneath the surface of tracks like the melodic “Hawkmoth” or synth-poppy “Matin Lunaire.” Songs like “Nafovanny” and “Wallet” seem to tell a story as the band layers extensively over singular lead synths, perhaps inspired by their recent soundtrack work (including the anime Tekkonkinkreet), whereas songs like “Slam” create mini-epics of house-inspired beat work. Though Plaid never rose to the level of fame of contemporaries like Squarepusher, their remarkably consistency should encase their legacy as IDM greats, as their work on Reachy Prints is nothing short of inspired.
It feels like summer’s already here, but there are still plenty of great releases lined up for the tail end of this spring. Here are 10 we’re looking forward to that you can preorder now.
Out May 19
Before they were Jimmy Fallon’s house band, The Roots were one of the most dynamic and socially conscious groups in hip-hop. “When the People Cheer” reminds us of how great they are as pure rappers, and it’s got a cool stop-motion video to boot.
For all set times and a full schedule of players, please check out the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass website!
Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band - interview
Click here for the performance video
Patti Smith - performance video
Click here for the interview
Devendra Banhart - Benicassim Festival - 2005
I think I am sometimes easily persuaded by advertising...but I like to think of myself as a pretty strong person. I usually turn off my brain during commercials or at least think of other things while they are on... and these days I usually just fast forward through them! I try to ignore billboards, and while I might look at ads in magazines, I don't usually pay attention to what they are advertising. But I most certainly have nothing short of Star Trek fever. I think sometimes advertising and promotion is just right and my mind is already open to the idea. Sometimes, like this time, I just can't resist, even though I have never been a huge Star Trek fan. I have always loved science fiction and did watch the first couple of Star Trek movies, but I never made it past the fourth movie, which came out in 1986. I might have to venture back and watch them all over again. Maybe I will make it up to the fifth one this time. It does sound a bit interesting, if not a bit absurd as well-- Spock's half brother kidnaps the Enterprise to go on a search for God! Sounds a bit like a big budget, sci fi soap opera plot. I think the time is just right for this film. We were all horribly let down by the three prequel Star Wars movies. We grew up loving those movies and I sort of had a little bit of hope at the time, but they were just not good, as much as I tried to like them. I have much higher hopes for this new Star Trek. Let's just hope there is no Jar Jar Binks in the new Star Trek. The Star Trek movie is really more of a reinvention than the Star Wars movies ever were-- George Lucas would never let that kind of reinvention happen, but it would still be interesting to give the Star Wars franchise over to someone like Quentin Tarantino or Danny Boyle just to see how it could be revinvented. Maybe Robert Rodriquez and Quentin could codirect it. It would be interesting at least! J.J. Abrams seems like a great director for this new set of films, and the cast seems perfect: choosing Zachary Quinto as Spock and Simon Pegg as Scotty is just brilliant. I also think Winona Ryder as Spock's mother is perfect casting. Enough about Star Trek! It doesn't really need any more promotion! I am just excited. I couldn't get my favorite seat at the Arclight Dome until next Monday, and I was also not so sure I wanted to see the movie with all the crazy super fans on the first weekend -- although maybe I will be missing out on some great costumes in the audience.
Anyway, I really thought I had gotten over Peaches. I was a huge fan of her first album-- I just couldn't get enough of The Teaches of Peaches. She had recorded an album before that one, but 2000 was the year the first real Peaches album came out. It was the year she made her way into San Francisco, into my small little world and she seemed to sort of take it over and reinvent a whole new sort of music. She made dance music fun again and made pop music more interesting. Her shows were amazing and out of control. I know there are Peaches haters out there, but you really can't really understand what she is all about until you see her live. Seeing her perform with John Waters in Los Angeles many years ago was the perfect lineup for her. It just made sense. As much as I loved her and listened to this first record, I sort of started to lose interest over the last couple of years. Was I now a bit to old to listen to Peaches? Was she too old to be Peaches? The new album is out this week and is called I Feel Cream. It will manage to offend just as many people as the other albums have, but it should also please all her old fans. She even manages to sing on the album. The song I keep going back to is "Lose You" -- mostly because I can't even believe it is her. It is a song that could easily end up on a Kylie Minogue of Royksopp album, but it is Peaches and she actually has a good voice. I also love the song "Mud." "Mommy Complex" and "Trick or Treat" are also fantastic songs on the album. I can't really imagine anyone but Peaches being able to pull these songs off. There is really nobody like her and nobody else should even try to be. Peaches is Peaches, and I am happy to know that she is still in my life. I don't know if I will still be listening to her in 10 years, but I imagine she will have reinvented herself by then. Maybe she will start doing modern opera or some classic bluegrass. I would really love for her to reinvent every genre. She could do a fantastic comedy album. I could also imagine her putting together a really good blues album. But I do know one thing for sure: in 10 or 20 years Peaches will be performing showtunes in Vegas. And I will most certainly make the drive out there for that one! She will never be as big as Cher or Bette Midler, but it sure would be fun to see her perform in some big Vegas production! A Peaches Cirque Du Soleil would mosty certainly be fantastic and amazing. Somebody please steal my idea! Peaches in a sort of animal revue would also work. We do need another Siegfried & Roy! Can't you just imagine Peaches and her lesbian assistant performing on a Vegas stage with some wild birds and monkeys?
My new favorite album of the week is most definitely the debut album from Esser. Ben Esser is most certainly from England -- that much is obvious early on in the album. My first thought when I heard this record was Patrick Wolf. They have a similar style and both seem to play all their own instruments and record albums in their bedrooms. They both also have that young, early 20's energy that is hard to capture once you are beyond your early 20's. This excellent album is called Braveface. Equal parts Blur and Lilly Allen, plus Patrick Wolf singing with the Ordinary Boys. His lyrics are not as magical and ethereal as Wolf's though. They are more rooted in the angst of new relationships and love. The best song on the album comes at the very end, so make sure you make it all the way to track 10, "Stop Dancing." It is the song that you will keep coming back to. The whole album is less than 40 minutes long, so it doesn't take you long to get there and you also have fantastic, perfect pop songs like "Headlock," "Bones," and "I Love You." The album is not replacing my favorite of last week though! I still love that Thieves Like Us album more than anything, but this Esser album comes in close second. Pop music is usually so horrible -- it is nice to find a great little pop album every once in a while. They mostly all seem to come from England. But I guess that is just my taste in pop music! I am already looking forward to his next album. He may have not even written the songs yet but I can already imagine it in my head. I am gonna go back and listen to "Stop Dancing" again, probably a couple of times. I love it. Thank you, Ben Esser for sharing your album with us. It is just what I needed to start my summer.