Everything Worth Mentioning, the second album from San Francisco hip-hop duo Meanest Man Contest (Noah Blumberg and Eric Steuer), is out on vinyl from Gold Robot and tape from us today, 10/29/13 - Liz’s birthday, incidentally, and roughly a decade since their debut long-player came out in 2003. Eric (and Gold Robot, for that matter) was a big reason why we moved ourselves and Crash Symbols to Oakland, CA for much of 2011/12, and though we’ve relocated again since then, it’s beautiful to finally have this cassette out after first exploring the prospect back in the Bay. The album itself is beautifully formed, textured backdrops of more or less exotic loops and samples for clever rapping, both informed by classic west coast prerogatives; record crate diving and urban tension. Lyrically, it shines, as with any of their projects (ie, Not the 1s), and seriously, after a decade (!!!) only short EPs and singles, nothing could be more satisfying.
The first in a series of companion videos for the new Julie’s Haircut album, Ashram Equinox. Though we won’t be shipping until next week, our cassette version of the album will be available to buy tomorrow.
Meanwhile, in France, Anne-Sophie from Saintes has just shared a mixtape for Hartzine. Appropriately enough, for those who know her, it begins with an old audio recording of a Sylvia Plath poem, gradually changing into The Feeling of Love’s song “Julee Cruise.” Check that out on Hartzine.
We’ve had these two cassettes up in the air for a couple weeks trying to situate a release date somewhere comfortable for everyone, but as of now the timing seems serendipitous; San Francisco based producer Aria Rostami and Sacramento’s Michael RJ Saalman are both exemplars of genre-bending production. In Rostami’s case, the tendency takes him toward elaborate, atmospheric electronica, sometimes allowed to remain abstract and free-form, but at others marshaled into taught, cerebral dance music. Saalman inclines toward experimental pop, the influence of commercial production and hip hop lending his idiosyncratic beat-work depth and pairing perfectly with the album’s generally very positive outlook.
Both tapes are available via our Bandcamp. Aria Rostami here and Michael RJ Saalman here.
Some announcements have been going up this morning about the debut long player from Greek duo Plastic Flowers, Evergreen, and we’re psyched to be sharing the first single, “Ghosts,” a brooding album that features vocals from Keep Shelly in Athens. Formed in Thessaloniki by Giorgos Samaras and Agathangelos Paschalidis, the duo make lo-fi dream pop with a romantic and often psychedelic flair that rises from their analog synth-work, judiciously applied distortion, and genuinely varied vocal preparations; helping to round out the album’s two guest contributors. In addition to their Greek comrades, Evergreen will feature a magnificent collaboration with American outsider folk musician Ed Askew. The digital album will be available from Tip-Top Recordings and on cassette from us this November.
We’re getting closer and closer to the October 11th release date of Ashram Equinox so we’ve seen a flurry of activity from Julie’s Haircut in their home stomping grounds, Reggio Emilia, this morning sharing video of a recent performance of the album’s opening track, “Ashram,” performed at the local natural history museum; the Musei Civici. Their live rendition of the song plays out a little differently from the album and includes visuals by multimedia filmmaker/performer Carmine Masiello, whose work is generally produced under the name VJ Klein, so it’s well worth the lengthy runtime, particularly if you’re in the mood for some intergalactic sight seeing - it really picks up after about two minutes and a short cameo from the Eagle Nebula.
Oy vey, we left Brookyln yesterday and it’s been a busy day catching up. In addition to preparing for our Julie’s Haircuit cassette, we’re finally releasing the debut from Saintes, the new wave grunge project of Paris’ Anne-Sophie Le Creurer. Titled Horizontal/Vertical, the tape is our first with Le Creurer and any associate of the so called nøthing collective of synth-wave musicians she helped found, though there will be many to follow. Incidentally though, thanks to the folks that came out to meet us on Cassette Store Day; we brought a few of these up with us for giggles and they were very quick to go. Apparently describing something as “Parisian grunge” can be attention-getting.
The video above was made by Saintes’ live synth player, Floriane Kaeser for track six, “Where Were the Boys” (recently shared by our FrancoFriends at Hartzine). We’ll be premiering a new single in the next not-too-long-hereafter, so stay tuned for that… presuming you aren’t alright complying with one of our directives to “stay tuned” for something else. Either way, you can stream the album below or click through to buy it on our bandcamp.
Today we’re sharing some details on two upcoming cassettes from Italy. The first comes from ‘neo-psychedelic’ band Julie’s Haircut, whose new album Ashram Equinox will be released in October. The album will primarily be issued in Europe, on LP and CD, by Woodworm and Santeria, but the band graciously offered to mod their beautiful release trailer for a cassette/US teaser; I’m resisting the temptation of “Italian craftsmanship” jokes for the moment, but it really does show some glimmer of what a beautiful album the band has prepared. The second will be another collaboration with European imprints, this time for the new album from The Vickers, a Florentine band more inclined toward psych-rock. The former arrives in October and the latter a little ways into next year, so expect more details in the coming months.
We’re on the cusp of fall and it feels right to be releasing our first cassette with Portland’s Tyler Keene, known to us from his incredible solo recordings as Log Across the Washer and his more recent collaborations with Nathan Baumgartner, called Baumgartner & Keene; they’re incredible. Here’s a link to buy, but you can scroll down for our full release write-up or to stream right here.
"Citing the psychically stabilizing effect of sports talk radio and the instrumental mixing on John Coltrane’s Om, Log Across the Washer is the solo experimental/DIY pop project of Portland’s prolific and often amorphous Tyler Keene (somehow, sports radio and Coltrane almost seem like a clue the name of the project was inspired by Twin Peaks). His first release for Crash Symbols collects a sequence of new, increasingly coherent recordings; titled Pancakes, the album was recorded with fewer instrumental tracks and layered audio to give each element the character of a pancake, spinning tentatively in the air before falling. Keene prepares most songs as surreal vignettes, each unfailingly catchy however they might tend to develop; whether on the strength of his guitar-work, odd percussion, or just flourishes from his clever home production. In 2012, Keene’s album Welcome to the Afternoon was released as what he called a ‘minimal melodic ode to the textural sounds of 60’s free jazz;’ for Pancakes, the melody is more robust and the homage more subtly structural. Though the collection is an hour long and more than twenty tracks long, the nature of Keene’s compositions make the a and b-sides of Pancakes equally compelling, even heard in isolation. Each has its standouts and follows no structural pattern, ironically enough considering that Keene has tailored both the digital and physical mixes of the album to their respective formats. Keene continues to record and collaborate, with plans to begin touring this winter.”