Atlanta synth-revivalists Featureless Ghost had a somewhat banner year in 2012. The duo issued a pair of untouchable releases on Night People, sponsored the reoccurring experimental-goth-new wave-dance series HUNGER, and continues to put on engaging live shows. Matt Weiner has recorded and performed his own damaged mutant-wave solo material for some time as Twins, but now Elise Tippins is stepping out with her solo project, Claire.
Going by the Soundcloud samples, Claire's muted disco plays heavily on arpeggiated tones and rhythms born out of naturally presented loops and cycles. Frigid melodies and bizarre touches of effects play out like a long lost gem uncovered by Minimal Wave or Dark Entries, while keeping a hypnotic obsession with that 4/4 beat. Imagine Laurie Spiegel and Iannis Xenakis taking a stab at warehouse dance music. Tippins reveals a darker tunefulness in the exploration of these sounds, counterbalancing Weiner's bizarre and captivating solo material.
FG fans, fear not. This is by no means a hint of the end of Featureless Ghost. As Elise explains:
"Claire is a way for me to explore making solo tracks with hardware. Over the past year I became friends over the Web with Stefan Blomeier, and we started sharing ideas and songs and then decided we should put them together on a split release. Instructional Media, a cassette label out of Glasgow, Scotland, is putting the release out at the end of the month. It's a super-limited batch of tapes. Stefan and I both really felt like the songs existed more in tandem than as separate sides, as they were mutually inspired, so the "split" goes one track Stefan, then one track Claire - alternating throughout. Very similarly to how it was made. The first track on the split ["Worlds Beside Worlds"] is a mutually composed/recorded track. It was traded back and forth with overdubbing, and then I made a video for it [produced by Tippins' video-centric alter ego Fantastic Lands]. This release was as much about trading ideas together transatlantically as it was about being alone in the dark with hardware all plugged in and ready to go."
Cheshire doesn't have as guttural a voice as Waits, which makes these versions slightly less edgy and more ear-friendly than the gruffer originals. But ear-friendly is a relative term when describing Waits' music, especially when the band digs deep into his catalog to unearth "All the World is Green" from Blood Money and "Just the Right Bullets, " originally on The Black Rider, both of which are primarily known to Waits fanatics. The playing is ragged yet rehearsed, which suits the material just fine, and the musicians are clearly having a great time with these clangy, trashy tunes, especially when they unload on the bluesy "16 Shells From a 30.6." A closing romp through "I Don't Want to Grow Up" - perhaps the most popular track here, since it was famously covered by the Ramones, Hayes Carll, and others - even sounds like a hit in some alternate-reality universe.
The split begins with a track by a band from the label's past, as North Trolls' other vinyl release is a split with now-defunct Atlanta act Wrister, released by No Breaks in 2009. Their new offering, "Migranes," is more polished than previous recordings while maintaining the band's expected pop-punk meets Americana sound, with an added doo-wop-inspired breakdown toward the end. Hopefully, this is a preview of that once-rumored LP.
Next is Campaign, a throwback to the '90s that apparently was listening to Leatherface and Hot Water Music while many of its contemporaries were crafting ways to rip off Dinosaur Jr. If "Old Blues" does not wet your melodic punk whistle, check out the Black Album 7-inch, released by No Breaks the same day as Dummy Up.
Local punks Posey and the Party Pirates split last year, and they get a lasting record of their good-time party tunes with their inclusion on this split and a full-length cassette dropped simultaneously by No Breaks. Both releases include "13 Breaks in a Bone," a display of raspy-voiced street-punk bravado. The band's chantalong, oi-influenced choruses might be too macho if the lyrics were not silly and smart enough to draw Screeching Weasel comparisons. Overall, these recordings are good beyond just being good for a laugh.
Pill's latest video, "Everybody Lookin" (produced by Peso Piddy), unfolds with a nod to Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Posse On Broadway," but his post-trap stride finds balance between the anti-floss vibe of his previous efforts, a smooth hook, and a dose of 808 nostalgia. It's dirty, it's Southern, and it's a soundtrack for strolling past all the hotspots on the way to wherever you're going. The video's arrival also marks a solid intro to Pill's new venture with 4180 Music Group, and the follow up to his "Big Bank" single being used in the film score to Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers.
Pill, Rolls Royce Rizzy, Joni Cruz, TClarence, Levi Leer, Mauie The King Jr, Wild South Boys, An-Ti, Amante Da Prez of GWO, Bags and Grady the Great, Jay-Tez play the Spring Breakers movie release party along with DJ Sizzle and hosts Maurice Garland and DJ Lady B at the Basement on Fri., March 22. $10-$15. 9 p.m. 1245 Glenwood Ave. 404-622-8686.
The second one is the "Rattalker" b/w "Smile" single coming out via local label Army of Bad Luck, which is run by ex-Electrosleep Int'l/Deerhunter bass player Josh Fauver.
Let there be light! Cousin Dan and Little Tybee consummate an unholy alliance in this video for "The Boldest Line" from Little Tybee's forthcoming LP, For Distant Viewing. ... Even after taking a bullet, Cuz Dan's moves are still pure gold.
"Yamintro (Hello Again)" is the third video from Yamin Semali's (aka AmDex of Clan Destined) first proper solo album, YAMIN. Semali has two shows coming up this weekend: On Sat., Feb. 23, he's DJing J-Live's birthday party at the Sound Table.
Although "Meat" is the first number to leak from a forthcoming solo EP, the song's trajectory toward a less-caustic experience - combining the worlds of being both a producer and a folk musician - has become something of a theme for his next round of songs. Reining in a more refined palette while keeping the tone spontaneous is the mandate, which culminates here with an intimately personal song that would sound just as at home in a club as it would around a campfire.
Here's a little night music for all you love birds out there. Jeffrey Bützer dropped a new EP today in honor of Valentine's Day, titled Little Dark Eyed Love. Here we have a couple of newer numbers, a couple od re-recordings of "Hoodwinked" from his first album, She Traded Her Leg, and a cover of "Miserlou."
For the Hallmark joint, Bützer pairs up with a handful of other performers including Mastodon's Brent Hinds (guitar and banjo), Bill Taft (coronet), Christophe Petchanatz (guitar, charango, percussion, vocals), and singers Molly Harvey, Monica Arrington, Don Chambers, and Cassi Costoulas. There aren't any real surprise punches being thrown here, just a small collection of charming, Parisian pop that's part "Moonlight Sonata," part Amélie soundtrack, and all romance.
Jeffrey Bützer & the Bicycle Eaters play the Star Bar on Sat., Feb. 16 with the Woggles, Tiger Tiger!, Ocha La Rocha, and the Fringe Factory DJs. $10. 9 p.m. Star Bar. 437 Moreland Ave. 404-681-9018.
>> Not to be creepy, but let's all watch Rihanna take a sad, slow-motion, SFW bath in the OFFICIAL new music video for "Stay" (ft. Mikky Ekko). In a related speed video, The xx played "Angels" in a corner at NPR.
>> Don't get it twisted. J. Cole says his new free EP Truly Yours is neither a mixtape nor preview, but rather a gift to you, special fan.
>> Ticketmaster is doing something halfway decent, for once.
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