September 30, 2004
I'm kind of a sucker for tracks that start out simply and then suddenly develop full-blown orchestral sections for no apparent reason. I think "Bohemian Rhapsody" is what taught me to enjoy such sudden, dramatic shifts in tonality within a single song, along with "Silence And I" by the Alan Parsons Project. However, if I put either of those songs on Comfort Radio, I would be a dork, so you get these two songs instead. Laura provided the first track; the public radio station I worked at in college introduced me to the second.
September 29, 2004
Ain't got that swing
A couple from the BeSonic archives...
Antek describes this track as "downtempo, jazzy vibe, spooky atmosphere and sinister vocals". And you know what? He's right!
This supposedly acid jazz track by Tobias Ott features the vocals of a 2-year-old, which either makes it automatically endearing, or automatically annoying. You be the judge!
September 28, 2004
The way back machine
From the Comfort list archives...
"Wow -- the (currently playing) Klute remix of Lamb - Little Things is shiny!"
Here is said remix, from the All In Your Hands single.
"now this is what i'm talking about... i'm glad you're doing your job, scotto. ;-)"
Dana is referring to this delightful nugget of yum, which circulated on a promo-only CD in 1996:
September 27, 2004
Mighty little booty-shaker
Here's a wonderful, quirky little ditty to add to your next "I love you the mostest" mix CD. From the netlabel Observatory Online, a reliable source of ambient scapes and experimental techno.
It's funny how right after Laura pointed me to the group Manitoba, this track popped up as a mighty little booty-shaker that had me bouncing up and down in my cubicle. Coincidence... OR IS IT??? From the Ninja Tune Zen Remix Retrospective collection.
September 24, 2004
Dammit, kites are fun
Mystery & Misery posted this a few weeks back, from the ambient group Biosphere. Music like this reminds me of the days when I had just discovered electronic music - actually, when Yara first started pushing it on me - and it felt strangely alien, like music made by intelligent mineral formations hurtling through deep space. Or something. Anyway, this track is a commission the group did for the Norwegian Concert Institute, and Norway is essentially deep space, so. Get more freebies from the group here.
Bellybongo posted this recently. I'm reposting it here because, dammit, kites are fun.
These and other fine, fine tracks can be heard on Comfort Radio. See you next week.
September 23, 2004
Creepy and funky and badass
Yet another simple & sweet release from the netlabel 8bitrecs, a label you'll be hearing still more from in the near future on this blog. This is listed as both IDM and indie-tronica, so you know it has to be good. Get the whole EP here.
This probably would have made it onto the blog by way of the occasionally-used "what a great title for a song" clause, but as it turns out, the song is creepy and funky and badass. Get the rest of the EP here.
I love it when songs come on the station and I can't remember how the hell I ever found that music in the first place. My guess is this track was part of the first "Laura and Scotto exchange CDs for the betterment of the people" event. A nice long exploration of the intersection of ambient dub and funk. From the album Kin, released on Waveform Records in 1996 - the track certainly hasn't aged much.
September 22, 2004
Sex and drugs...
Another guest episode of Comfort Music, brought to you by Coe, who writes:
"I love songs where you can't tell which is the topic... or of course, maybe it's both. Perfecto Chills is Oakenfold's stellar chill mix, and features 'As the Rush Comes', by Motorcycle, remixed by Gabriel and Dresden. And look, you can even get the ringtone!"
"Honorable mention goes to Faith No More's 'The Real Thing', from the album of the same name. Not normally my style, but damn, it's a fine song, and the lyrics are right in there. Big surprise, you'll never hear this one on Comfort Radio."
September 21, 2004
You don't have to wear that dress tonight
Here's a music review I ran in Trip back when it was still publishing:
"You know you're in good hands with a woman who wears elf ears on her album cover photos. Erika Stucky is an avant-garde jazz musician who has assembled a cabaret of weirdness on her new release, Bubbles & Bones. Previously known for her group the Sophisticrats, which was comprised of four singers and a bass player, her new group includes her own bizarre cabaret vocal stylings (hee, I said 'vocal stylings'!) and accordion-playing, as well as backup sousaphone, trombones, melodica, and tuba. Her bio says she was born in San Francisco to Swiss parents during the flower power era, and she's crazy enough to list both Frank Zappa and the Monkees as influences; imagine Randy Newman getting hit by a tanker truck full of LSD, or Beth Gibbons from Portishead suddenly opting for a career singing fucked up Bertolt Brecht tunes on the dinner theatre circuit, and you're starting to get the idea. There's nothing quite like the sound of this motley ensemble attacking such jazz standards as 'Roxanne,' 'I Want You (She's So Heavy),' and of course, 'Walk This Way,' never mind Stucky's own original musings, including 'But Honey, I'm Perfectly Sober, Let Me Drive!' This release comes highly recommended for those evenings when some damn fool won't shut up about the hot new MTV Amp Vol. 53 album."
September 20, 2004
Around the blogosphere and back again
Ready Rock Moe Rex introduced me to this band, which someone on Amazon referred to as "folktronica". I'm going to start calling everything "etceteronica" and just leave it at that. Anyway, don't let the label get in the way of enjoying this mellow and crunchy goodness. From the album These Were The Earlies.
Remember that techno anthem at the end of Groove that makes you feel all warm and like it's just going to go on forever and ever and shit? This track is kind of like that one, except different. (Thanks, gabba / POD.)
September 17, 2004
I want you so bad it's driving me mad
Here are the three best a cappella Beatles covers in the whole entire universe. Admittedly that's not saying much, but. Often when people hear these, they assume a drum machine is involved, but that's all vocal percussion; in today's modern world, studio tricks for making the voice sound like various instruments are a common element in pop a cappella, and vocal percussion as an art form is also studied very specifically and seriously. Sadly this study gets wasted on vast piles of very mediocre crap, but today's tracks are definitely highlights of the genre. From the compilation Come Together: An A Cappella Tribute to the Beatles.
These and other fine, fine tracks can be found on Comfort Radio.
September 16, 2004
Curiosity killed the hepcat
I wasn't expecting to publish this, but I heard it on KEXP recently, along with Amanda Wilde's exhortation to be patient with it, since it's actually a good song. For those of you who haven't heard it yet, however, I'm going to leave off the ID3 so you can have the same experience I did of listening to it and saying, "Is that... is that what I think it is?" and then curse yourselves for liking it. (I'll post the artist name tomorrow if someone doesn't beat me to it in the comments.)
September 15, 2004
Drown me in you
I don't know much about Sister Soleil; they were in that Garbage/Curve kind of vein, but they only put out two albums before their lead singer decided she was too hot shit for a band and went solo as Stella Soleil. Although she scored a college radio/MTV hit in 2001, I'm guessing her fifteen minutes are way up. But the band did have a couple good albums. The last track here continues our Preston Klik theme from yesterday, as Preston co-wrote it; Peter Gabriel shows up on back-up vocals. From the album Soularium.
September 14, 2004
One man's ceiling is another man's floor
Preston Klik is a Chicago-based musician that I used to hang out with a little when I lived there years ago. Throughout the years, he's been in a number of groups that attained regional renown - first Big Hat, a vaguely gothic indy group that put out several albums, including one produced by Billy Corgan; then on to My Scarlet Life, Scarlet Life, Pointy Teeth, Karma Sutra, Bed of Roses, Preston Klik's Ritual, and possibly others. There's a sheen to his music that I enjoyed hearing evolve over the years... and you can hear it too, by way of today's Preston Klik sampler. (The two Pointy Teeth tracks are basically parts 1 and 2 of the same song.)
Big Hat - Selena, from the album Selena At My Window
My Scarlet Life - Valley Of Rage, from the album Trypnotica
Bed of Roses - It Glows In My Hand, from the album The Kissing Tree
Pointy Teeth - Baby and (i don't mean to be so confusing), from the album Cinema-Tech
September 13, 2004
This music is big
Laura thought I might like the band Manitoba, and as is often the case, she was right. When I put this CD on, the first impulse I had was to turn it up louder, and that impulse continued pretty much constantly throughout the first two songs. I even cranked up the subwoofer and really let it rip. It was pretty much at that exact moment that someone on IRC mentioned that loud music can cause lung collapse. Coincidence... OR IS IT? From the album Up In Flames.
For NYC Kat and Jen - a strange mash-up that is infectious and wrong. Get more here... if you dare.
September 10, 2004
Actually, still asleep
From the Comfort list archives...
"When Scotto mentioned staying in his car to finish listening to a track, I thought of A Silver Mt. Zion. I don't know if I'll remain riveted by it, but for now I am. This is violin and some piano, backed by guitar, bass, some drums, some samples, with an extremely modern sensibility. Classical instruments; modern arrangements. It's music with spaces in it - takes its time. I don't think this album is for everyone, but it's one of the most interesting that I've heard in a while."
"slowly making in through the stacks-n-stacks of scotto lended cds. one of which is Jem finally woken. nicely pop, catchy and interesting. her voice is beautiful."
Jem is one of those artists that's popular enough to wind up in Entertainment Weekly, but still get played with a straight face on KEXP (and Comfort Radio).
These and other fine, fine tunes can be heard on Comfort Radio.
September 09, 2004
The Planet of Bizarre Beats
When I first heard this song on KEXP, I had to sit in my car in the driveway until it was finished. Saba is a local "laptop band"; when they played "live" on KEXP, they sounded virtually identical to the recording, except the vocals were shakier. Ah well - at least we'll always have this luscious recording. From their debut album.
In other news, Comfort Stand continues to impress me. This time, it's an album that sounds like nothing else they've put out - it's kind of like the Cocteau Twins smothered in crunch. I don't particularly like the Cocteau Twins, but I like imagining Bleep as the Cocteau Twins on steroids. From the EP Datenbergbau.
Discovered this band via Webjay. On the band's web site, they describe this track as "A spooky trip to the Planet Of Bizarre Beats." What could be more delightful? Check their site for a small pile of freebies if'n this suits yer fancy.
September 08, 2004
Dub me crazy
Tokyo-based Boom Boom Satellites makes furiously heavy big beat techno, infused with a serious dose of experimental jazz and hard rock guitars. Not hard to believe their aggressively weird sound never caught on here; none of their albums since their first, Out Loud, got a domestic release. Here's a sampler to whet the appetite; the last track is by far the finest, one of those "I almost crashed my car when I first heard it" kind of tracks, and also atypically lush and melodic.
Boom Boom Satellites - Missing Note, from the album Out Loud
Boom Boom Satellites - Dress Like An Angel, from the album Photon
Boom Boom Satellites - Sinker, from the album Umbra
Boom Boom Satellites - On The Painted Desert, from the album Out Loud
September 07, 2004
Hey, these people are weird
Thievery Corporation continues to put out reliable downtempo - so reliable, in fact, that to my ears, I have a hard time distinguishing their albums from each other. It seems like their music is engineered in some high tech lab to produce Top Quality Downtempo, examined by Inspector Laid Back for quality control purposes. Their new release, The Outernational Sound, is remarkable in that it's a DJ mix that manages to make nearly twenty other artists sound exactly like Thievery Corporation - how do they do it?? Two exceptions - they let a pleasing bit of soul cut loose right near the end of the disc, and they include this surprising gem, an instrumental cover of an underappreciated George Harrison-penned classic.
I have no idea how I ever heard about Cursor Miner, and I bought their album Cursor Miner Plays God at Easy Street the other day on a whim just to jog my memory. Turns out - hey, these people are weird. The album cover is a really slick picture of an eerie-looking Photoshop-modified sex doll, and the music itself is Ladytron on amphetamines meets They Might Be Giants on ketamine. These two tracks illustrate the band's schizoid polarization perfectly.
Actually, how can I resist throwing this in as well:
September 03, 2004
I got your burning heat of true love right here
Mesmerizing, whirling, slowly unfolding, ultimately breath-taking ambient tapestry. "I liked it so much, I bought the company!" Released by the netlabel Monotonik, who consistently put out interesting ambient grooves.
On the quieter, more tranquil end of the spectrum, this reminds me a lot of the Books, a group I posted about several weeks ago. It's calm and creative, subtle and organic ambient. Released by the netlabel Red Antenna, very much one of those YMMV kind of labels. The EP is called The Pleasures Of Life, and all four songs have their hidden pleasures, although as with the Books, this music is probably not for everyone.
And finally, you may have noticed that yesterday's Queens of the Stoneage track was actually the UNKLE Sounds remix of "Tomorrow Never Knows". This is what happens when MP3 pirates don't bother to sync up their filenames with their ID3 info. Bastids! Here's the actual track, I swear.
These and other fine, fine tracks can be heard on Comfort Radio. See you next week.
September 02, 2004
I'm not saying, I'm just saying
Coe turned me on to this band. This particular track has a timeless quality to me; it sounds like the kind of trip hop funk that has always existed somewhere in the universe. From the album Machine Says Yes.
When I first heard this next track on KEXP, I began giggling uncontrollably, but that is mostly because I am a childish twit. The lyrics for this song consist entirely of the words "Nicotine valium marijuana ecstasy and alcohol" and "C-c-c-c-c-cocaine!" chanted over and over again. I'm not saying this song is good, I'm just saying that the very idea of this song pleases me. This remix is from the UNKLE Sounds limited release Big Brother Is Watching.
September 01, 2004
I got your monkeyrocket right here
Delightfully zany modern exotica, provided - not surprisingly - by the wacky netlabel Comfort Stand. You can't really go wrong with a name like The Coconut Monkeyrocket. From the same split EP comes an equally retro ditty, by the equally well-named Martinibomb.