T-Gives always affords me the luxury of eating a whole lot of meat and drinking a lot without feeling that bad about it. I really ramped it up this year and somehow gained about seven pounds in five days. I was certainly a bit more proud than ashamed of this weight-gain accomplishment, but I was even more proud of the wonderful records I found at Wuxtry in Athens, GA. Between eating delicious food cooked by Diana’s grandma and bouncing around with Diana’s sister’s kids, I found time to sneak into Wuxtry and GOBBLE up a few wonderful African records which have turned out to be a wonderful dressing on a delicious, southern, roundtrip turkey platter.
One of my favorite records I picked up was a group by the name of Juluka. I knew absolutely nothing about this band, but when I saw this cover, I knew I couldn’t miss.
Juluka combine maskanda and mbaqanga music which translates roughly into the music of the common man. Because these guys were untrained musicians and also integrated, they were initially treated as inferior and relatively ignored by mainstream radio. After a few of their songs went through the roof on the underground tip, however, they were given a lot more credence and recognized for the true talent they brought to the table.
These guys eventually celebrated quite an illustrious career which spanned nearly 20 years.
Check out the song Kancane Kancane off their 1984 release, Musa Ukungilandela. This record is full of amazing Zulu rhythms and beautiful South African harmonies which marry perfectly beneath the umbrella of some utterly astonishing (and ultra spacious) production. It’s also chock full of awful, cheesy, synths and some garish saxophone solos which, for some reason, endear it to me even more.
I know a couple of guys who are amazing musicians. They are prolific and genuine. These are a bunch of really good guys who make a lot of really good music. Some of it was made under the (distasteful? amazing?) name, “The Sugar Dicks.” I was lucky enough to play a show or two with Roy Coughlin and Gabe Vodicka (Key members of The Sugar Dicks.) Both of these cats are working musicians who would rather be playing music than whatever else they have to do to support themselves. Both of these guys have played tons of music in Athens, GA and in the surrounding areas.
I was just reminded of this amazing album the Sugar Dicks released a few years back called, “Everybody’s Dead.” You should go download it. It’s absolutely fantastic, dirty, lo-fi, pop rock and roll music. Go grab that ASAP.
Danish producer Anders Trentemøller released his latest album, Reworked/Remixed last week. Tremble Tremble was lucky enough to see him as he passed through Chicago on his tour across North America. After a break-out, smash hit, dynamic, scintillating, wonder-filled, jelly bean, gum-drop fantasy wonderland daydream carnival performance with a full band at the Metro (I wish I could take credit for that description, that was all Jamie), the musician better known as Trentemøller took the time to talk to us about his new album and current tour.
TrembleTremble: The Reworked/Remixed album has has a healthy combination of remixes from different artists – from the well-known to the slightly more obscure (at least, in the US). How do you choose songs to remix?
Trentemøller: I’ve been so lucky that all the artists that have remixed asked me. I didn’t have to go out and ask artists to remix for me. I’ve had the opportunity to remix artists that I really admire so to have that done for me is amazing. I like to remix the more unknown bands like Danish artists. Before I start working on a remix myself it has to be a really unique sound and something that I really like because I don’t want to waste my time on something that is not good.
TT: Is there a reason why you’ve reworked some of your own tracks? What’s the creative process behind reworking your own songs? Do you feel like you can improve upon them once they’ve been laid down?
T: For me, its not about improving on them because I’m always proud of the sound I make but I try to make a different version and see where you can bring a track you’ve already done and put it in a new context. It’s just a new take on a song—it was hard for me sometimes because I spend so much time on a track and to go back and work on it again is hard but then I got into the whole creative process and things started to flow. So in the beginning it was hard but in the end it was fun because I tried to take the song to a new place and that’s the challenge, I think.
TT: At the Metro in Chicago, you perform with a full band. Can you talk a little bit about how the band comes together to create the sounds originally produced by one? Is it strange to work with a band after starting as a lone producer and DJ?
T: Yes it was quite easy this time because the music on this album has a lot of band elements because I played a lot of instruments myself so it translates to live very well, whereas with my first album, it wasn’t the case. The members of my band are my good friends in Copenhagen and I trust what they’re doing because they have their own solo careers and we’ve played together before and so working with them and asking them to be in the band was easy—we have a very good vibe as friends not just as musicians and it’s something you can feel on stage when we perform.
Danish music producer Anders Trentemoller performs at the Metro in Chicago 10/18/11
TT: Has the IDM scene changed at all since your first album? Do you see a difference between the scene in Europe and the US?
T: I’m not really the right one to ask because I don’t really know about the dance scene and I don’t see myself doing electronic dance music anymore—my latest work has been rock and even surf and some classical music—I live in my own little world of music so I can’t really answer that kind of question.
TT: What’s next for Trentmøller?
T: Next is going back to the studio after this tour. I just recently built a new studio in Copenhagen with my drummer—a really cool new studio. I’m really looking forward to get into the writing process and composing again. I’ve been on tour and doing festivals for the past 2 years and I’m excited to work in the studio for the next 8 or 9 months.
When your iPod’s full of heavy bass lines, drum machines, and vocoded melody lines, one often forgets about the beauty and impact of spoken word.
Listener (AKA Atlanta-native Dan Smith & bandmate Chris Nelson) creates a new kind of sound they like to call “talk music”.
Laying rhythmic speech reminiscent of the style of beat poets or SLAM poets on song, listeners of Listener are treated to insanely amazing lyrics presented like a train of thought with a soundtrack. It’s just great writing and it’s different from anything I’ve heard before.
Talk music is not quite rap, not quite rock; something new yet familiar. Dan might perhaps be a pioneer in a new genre of music.
The Tremble crew was lucky enough to catch up with Parisian electronic trio Chateau Marmont as they passed through Chicago on a rare U.S. tour.
TrembleTremble: What artist in the world of music do you feel has influenced your sound most?
Chateau Marmont: all electronic pioneers of the seventies, from pink floyd to can, kraftwerk to tangerine dream. and on top of this, californian classic pop and a lot of prog stuffs.
TT: Videos of your songs feature beautiful and almost trippy animations, or your songs are paired with found footage. Are these the kinds of images you imagine when composing or are you surprised by the visuals that accompany your songs?
CM: We’re always surprised by the vision people have of our music. When we compose we think and listen in terms of geometry or sensations, feelings, emotions. When someone manages to mix all the components of the way we think creation it’s really cool. We just officially worked with a director for our “100 hundred realities” song, but in the future we’d love to do more.
TT: What would you say is the most erotic song on the album and why?
CM: It’s possibly Maison Klaus, this kind of slow disco, alan parsons type of bassline, with a moog theme, a little bit cheesy. A lot of vintage french erotic movies have this sound.
CM: They’re made by our friend Sam, he’s on tour with us, always with his camera, discreet, funny, he’s trying to catch moments of daily life that seems interesting to show. At the beginning it was awkward to feel his presence, but with time he’s part of the environment. And we’re working on this with a big french magazine/blog so he sends material every 5 or 6 days. That will make a lot of souvenirs we’ll show to our grand children. “Look granpa, he’s vomiting in the tour-bus !” sorry for that one.
Chateau Marmont is currently working on their first full length album, which should be out in March. However, their collection of EPS “2008 2009 2010” is out now, and available here. Listen to it when you want to melt your mind with inviting-yet-somewhat-sinister sounds, or when you’re playing Final Fantasy.
The week before last, Atlanta-cum-Augusta, GA band, Turf War, released their first LP, “Years of Living Dangerously” on Old Flame Records.
During my time attending college in Augusta, I was lucky enough to get to know the guys in the band. I went to many of their shows, I crawled into and out of bars with lead singer, John Robinson, and I even got chased around a small rooftop by a golf-club wielding Robinson whom I am relatively certain would have clubbed me had he caught me. So naturally, like most other Augusta rock-and roll show-goers, I anxiously awaited the release of some recorded material from these bawdy rockers.
When I received my copy of “Years of Living Dangerously” in the mail, I waited a few days to give it a listen. This was one of those albums to which I wanted to dedicate my full attention.
There are tons of nuanced intricacies present in the recording that transport me back to late, loud, drunken evenings at the Soul Bar watching great bands play great music at deafening levels to frenzied fans hungry for something to do. Ian St. Pé did a remarkable job capturing these details on the album. I was a bit concerned that actual studio production might lift some of the dirt out of Turf War’s sound, and it did, but only enough to show you that these guys actually know how to perform really well. I was certainly relieved that Pé didn’t inadvertently turn Years of Living Dangerously into a Black Lips record either. The recording seems to be a relatively honest, get-out-of-the-way reproduction of what Turf War sounds like live, and that is dirty, honest, rock and roll.
One of the things that struck me most about the record was Robinson’s seemingly torn stance on his roll as a balls-out, self-destructive rock and roller. At times, he seems to still glorify this side of what I assume to be himself, but there is an underlying sense of a need to put distance between himself and that lifestyle. Whichever path Robinson and Turf War end up taking, their songwriting road seems to be pathed with gold, and each time I hear them, they are better than the time before.
Years of Living Dangerously is an amazing and vitally important rock and roll album. It is one of the best rock records I have heard all year, and you should definitely give this band a listen. They will quickly become a part of the group of bands you love.
Tremble Tremble – Coming from a somewhat smaller town that often gets overlooked musically, what kept you inspired to keep writing songs? Did you ever have any ‘what’s the point of continuing’ moments where you felt like no one was listening?
Turf War – yeah. i felt like quitting music before we started turf war. i even went to school to be an electrician. but then i finished and was all like. “fuck that” music is where my heart is. I’m compelled to make music. I really can’t help it
TT – Many of your lyrics seem to address directly or allude to a divorce from a life of all out debauch. Is this autobiographical?
TW – sort of. years of living dangerously is kind of our concept album minus a concept. but its a story. its just not linear and its not about anything other than being a mess and trying not to be such a mess. also there is a song about our friend Joe swindell that passed away.
TT– You have personally introduced me to a lot of wonderful music which I still listen to consistently. Have there been people like that for you along the way?
TW– yes indeed. my brother got me into the majority of the music i listened to when i was younger, so i got to be ahead of people that still thought korn was the cheezbiz. also i had some older dudes i met in athens and atlanta that turned me on to music i didnt know about. im also in love with music so i spent the majority of my teens and early adulthood trying to find new music.
TT – Who were some of your favorite groups back in Augusta?
TW – theyre all good. but from what i can remember i love me some nuklear blast suntan, shaun piazza, eat lightning and the cubists. i know im forgetting some people but this question is weird. ha.
TT – You guys have a very fun live show, but it still seems intimate and inclusive. Do you feel like moving into larger venues will detract from that vibe?
TW – i think in the beginning playing big shows will be weird but we will get a hang of it just like everything else. booze helps. and people having a good time makes me feel special. we still play small venues mainly.
TT – I used to be pretty scared of running into you in the bars. You would typically just punch me and then laugh, but you didn’t really know me. Honestly, it kind of hurt, and it was a little weird. Why did you do that?
TW – what does this have to do with anything. ya joik
TT – If you could curate any 3-band-bill right now with Turf War as the supporting act, what would be the lineup?
TW – blood sausage, pistol pussy, the cult, five guys hamburgers and turf war. is that to many
TT – If you could write a song with Springstein, but it had to be performed by Bieber, would you do it?
TW – if i got to meet both them dudes i wouldnt mind writing a song. i dont think they would wanna perform songs about drinking though. beiber too young. pyt
TT – How did you guys get hooked up with Ian from the Black Lips?
TW – we met him at athfest two years ago and he was on mushrooms. we partied with him. he told us to move to atlanta bc atlanta was like disneyland.”your dreams will come true”. i already lived here though. then we played with black lips and thats kinda how we got hooked up with him. he’s a good dude. helped us out alot. worked alot of free hours to produce our record.
TT – What’s next for Turf War?
TW – bowling. might go shotgun a beer. gay marriage. i dunno. hopefully this beiber thing works out.
My wife does this amazing thing I always forget to do which is buy other people things when she’s out. It’s this adorable thing she always does, and it often yields some of my favorite little keepsakes. I kind of suck at buying things in general. I once bought her a paperweight for Valentine’s day. The little homey, on the other hand, is remarkable at gift-giving. Recently, I came home to find several records lying on the table.
“The neighbor was having a yard sale, so I grabbed those for you,” she said just as sweet as you please. They all turned out to be really incredible, but one has really risen above the rest as a truly genius record, and I listen to it often.
First, the cover was absolutely incredible.
Second, the band is called “Malo.” That’s bad.
I had never heard of Malo, but this 1972 self-titled record really surprised me. Malo fuse American funk and Latin Jazz with Latin syncopation and vocal harmonies which seem to find roots in a rich array of groups from the Beach Boys to the classic beautiful Latin-American trios of the ’30s and ’40s (Los Panchos, Los Tres Aces, Los Tres Reyes, etc.) There are huge, heavy guitar riffs and screeching organ stabs that seem to harken back to early Grand Funk recordings. The production is very spacious with the percussion typically dominating only making way occasionally for a surprisingly familiar guitar solo. Turns out the main guitarist is Jorge Santana, brother of Latin guitar legend, Carlos Santana.
M83’s newest album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming makes me want to lay down and cry about the beauty of life. This album is a warm velvet blanket given to you in your childhood by your favorite aunt, not the drunk one. It somehow understands the pains and joys of growing up and relates to your individual experiences as you snuggle into it’s warm, loving, warming glow.
Here. Have a taste. Enjoy this slightly creepy strangely inspiring video of Midnight City:
Well, it took Tennis covering The Zombies to shake me out of my music-writing hiatus. (Thanks to the fine folks over at Gorilla Vs. Bear for posting this gem.)
The cats at Fat Possum continue to sign pretty amazing bands who churn out amazing music at a rather dizzying rate. (Seriously, if Fat Possum were a baseball team, they’d be batting somewhere around .900) They are on a path to corner the market on good new music. This new effort from Tennis does not deviate an inch from that trajectory.
It’s a pretty bold undertaking for any band to cover such a recognizable and wonderful pop masterpiece, but I think Tennis does it rather well. Covering such a classic seems to be something many bands are afraid to do. It’s kind of like asking a pretty girl to prom. It seems really scary, so most people are afraid to try it, even though if it worked, you would end up at the prom with a super hot chick and not at home watching Beavis and Butthead re-runs and pretending I don’t want to be there anyway… What?
Perhaps the strength of this cover is that it does not steer too much off the path cleared so many years ago by the Zombies. Even the recording seems very true to form. Tennis’ recording, much like that of the Zombies, is subtle and nuanced really allowing the listener to focus on the band’s mature, scaled back performance. This subtlety in the recording as well as Tennis’ performance allows the song to come alive for the listener rather than distracting her or him with some overblown reinvention of the song.