Recommended site: www.performermag.com
Billing itself as The Musician’s Resource, Performer Magazine covers bands Pitchfork hasn’t even heard of yet as well as reviews musical equipment and gear. If you’re a musician, or just a wannabe, check out the site, or pick up a copy at your nearest instrument retailer or music venue.
Recommended album: Deerhunter’s Microcastle
Microcastle was pretty much the soundtrack of late winter ‘09 for me. Moody, sometimes monotonous, and occasionally pierced by an ephemeral ray of sunlight, it provided the perfect listening material for January-March in Chicago, World Capital of Depressing Weather. Turns out Microcastle suits summer, too. I just popped it in for a driving trip this week and was blown away while rediscovering the fragile desperation on “Cover Me;” the pop-leaning danceability on “Never Stop;” the slow, spaced-out build and briefly triumphant finish on “Microcastle;” and the epic (well, for an indie band) composition and perfect encapsulation of the simultaneous excitement and malcontented-ness of youth on “Nothing Ever Happened.” I haven’t yet delved into Deerhunter’s other albums, but would be very pleasantly surprised if any of them top Microcastle.
- Wavves “Beach Demon” You gotta love a lo-fi (no-fi?) duo whose guitarist/lead singer basically blows a shot at world fame (or at the very least, free travel) by consuming a cocktail of Valium, Xanax and Ecstasy before performing at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival. Nathan Williams’ now infamous meltdown in Spain forced him and drummer Ryan Ulsh to abandon the stage and their entire European tour. If you like your rock noisy, volatile and reckless, check out Wavves. ttp://www.myspace.com/wavves
- The Pains of Being Pure at Heart “Stay Alive” Current media darlings, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are frequently compared to My Bloody Valentine. Am I the only one who thinks they sound like New Order? All comparisons aside, Pains of Being Pure at Heart offer a brand of dream pop that’s entirely original. http://www.myspace.com/thepainsofbeingpureatheart
- Lindstrom “The Magnificent” At Pitchfork Music Fest, Lindstrom actually got the audience to dance. That’s right, a crowd of too-cool-to-care, shoe-gazing hipsters put down their PBRs and Parliaments and moved their bodies in time with music. Of course, the proof is in the groovy pudding: next time you invite your friends over, put on some Lindstrom and see what happens. http://www.myspace.com/feedelity
I hope you’re aware of (by Walther):
- Hot Chip: pop electronic at it’s finest. Extremely talented.
- Ratatat: wordless electro-rock. Deadly melodic. A great soundtrack for exciting moments.
- Crystal Castles: hipster freakout dance classic. Impossible not to shake it out with this.
- Amadou & Mariam: progressive folk-rock from Mali. This couple is an institution. Definitive.
- The Wire. If you haven’t watched it – all of it – you can’t be cultured. It’s modern Shakespeare.