Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Don't sleep on Narcoleptic Dancers

Haven't heard anything but the one song, courtesy of Paper Garden Records' Lovely Hearts Club (where it's available as a download), but Dutch-French brother/sister duo the Narcoleptic Dancers song "Not Evident" is catchy as hell. I usually try to wait until I've heard a full-length before posting here on Ear To The Sound, but this song seems so promising, I'd be surprised if the EP isn't as winning and wonderful.

Here's the video:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Out of the Boxx

Halfway through the last decade, Wroclaw, Poland produced one of the most interesting acts on an already interesting label when Ninja Tune released the self-titled album from electronic duo Skalpel (and followed it up with their sophomore release Konfusion). Blending the jazz traditions of Poland (which had a strong underground scene during the Soviet occupation of the country) with contemporary electronic sounds, Skalpel produced music that was at once familiar to fans of jazzy downtempo music, but with a distinct flavour that set it apart. The duo dropped off the map since then, but Igor Pudlo has resurfaced under the moniker Igor Boxx and his debut album, Breslau, is the first Ninja Tune release of 2011.

Breslau isn't a big step away from Skalpel and Konfusion, but seems to come from a darker place at times. "Festung" to take one example, has a foreboding tone with its thundering bass and skittery drums. "Fear Of A Red Planet," which follows "Festung" seems considerably lighter in comparison, but still sounds like the music in a chase scene from the POV of the pursued and not the pursuer - it's vaguely sinister and unnerving. Boxx dabbles in funkier tones on "Street Fighting" and "Last Party In Breslau," but even at his most exuberant, there are vague overtones of menace (which may well be an echo of Poland under Russian control). None of this is to say Breslau is not also an enjoyable listen.

Here's the video for "Last Party In Breslau"

Check out album closer "Downfall" below.

Find more artists like Igor Boxx at Myspace Music

Be sure to check out Igor Boxx's Myspace page and artist page on Ninja Tune.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Braids have me tied up in knots

Back when they were known as the Neighborhood Council, I had the good fortune of participating in a late-night recording session with vocalist/guitarist Raphaelle Standell-Preston (along with Mark Andrew Hamilton of Woodpigeon and Mike Hanson of These Hands). Since that time, Standell-Preston and the rest of her band have moved from Calgary to Montreal and changed their name to Braids.

I'm pretty certain the name change followed a sonic shift and not the other way around, but as to whether the music Braids makes could have been birthed in Calgary or is the direct result of their relocation I can't say. Regardless what's done is done and we have the recorded result on their full length debut Native Speaker (out January 18th on Flemish Eye).

The songs are complexly layered soundscapes that don't sound difficult or inaccessible - in fact they're willfully catchy, engaging songs that only reveal their depths on repeated listens. And repeated listens won't be a problem since one pass at Native Speaker won't be enough

The band is streaming the album in its entirety at Hype Machine and you can download "Plath Heart" and "Lemonade" courtesy of Killbeat Music.

Teen Daze has remixed "Glass Deers" and it's floating around the interweb as of today (which actually prompted this post). Strong work by both parties, and it hints at what kinds of directions Native Speaker can be taken in beyond the far-reaching sound of the album itself.

Be sure to check out Braids' Myspace page and blog.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...