This must be L.A.

Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 9.23.17 PMLike butter melting on top of butter.  Apparently Rai Thistlethwayte is well known in his native Australia, and now he’s living in L.A. to try and launch his solo career.  I hope he sticks around.  In fact, if he continues to churn out tracks that are this effortlessly soulful I’ll pay his rent (read: offer up my mom’s couch).

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Liquid sunshine

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Passing through cities

3500240679-1Submerse crafted his newest collection of beats with the urban environment in mind.  The dreamlike swirl of a city seen through a moving bus.  Pockets of flurried activity followed by serene expanses of grass.  This is the eponymous single off of his upcoming album out March 15th.

While you were ashing in your coffee

torres-music1Mackenzie Scott records under the name TORRES.  The debut from the 22-year-old Nashville native is a sparse collection of  personal songs that oscillate between delicacy and intense ferocity.  On “Honey,” the lyrics and instrumental tension contribute to a song that captures the unbearable inadequacy of our romantic lives.  It is not an angry rant.  It is a person sitting across from a lover, face red from holding in things left unsaid, wondering whether or not this is all there is.

A video of Scott playing “Jealousy and I” is below.

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Lovers Made Men’s 70 Favorite Albums of 2012

meme-breaks-fullIn no particular order, these were our favorite albums of 2012.

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How long have you known?

Z. Cole Smith has been working on his DIIV project for a few years now.  Apparently, Smith holed himself up in a stuffy room in Bushwick for a summer and absorbed the work of Lucinda Williams, Jandek, Nirvana, and James Welsh, amongst others.  This results in a sound that takes many of the lovely guitar-pop elements from Beach Fossils, his other band, and places them in a more complex landscape of tight new-wave melodies, and propulsive kraut rock.  In short, its fantastic.  The new album Oshin can be streamed here and a few of the tracks can be heard below. Oshin is out June 26th via Captured Tracks.

Cosmic sound

Stephen Farris does some mind-bending work with samples and synths.  His tunes hover around the fringes of hip-hop and electronica, with some heavy psychedelic influences.  Back in 2010, he released VHS Vision under the Cosmic Sound moniker.  It is now just getting a proper release thanks to Crash Symbols.

The album crafts some stunning beats from obscure tape samples and twisted synths.  There is a raw, dreamlike quality to the sound that reaches its peak on songs like “Bear Auras” and “Wind Shine.”  The former has hints of Teebs but with some Kenlo Craqnuques and Com Truise thrown in.  Stream VHS Vision below and buy it here.

Pressure

Bubbly jam from tokyo-based Submerse via the excellent Project Mooncircle.  Pre-order the EP here.  Download at XLR8R.

 

Remember all we fight for

 

The Walkmen are getting old.  They are family men that now worry less about the music scene than about their child’s soccer games.  And, to my mind, that has only made their music better.  Their new album Heaven is their warmest yet.  Hamilton Leithauser’s emotionally charged voice has become less forlorn, more assured and hopeful.  It seems that after all these years he has a deeper understanding of his blessings.  The video for Heaven’s  eponymous track reinforces that.  Photos and old footage tell the story of the band’s evolution and, frame by frame, you can almost see them becoming a family.

You can stream Heaven in full at NPR.

The Land of the Morning Calm

As I am currently residing in Korea I thought it appropriate to share some of the stellar music that comes out of this country.  The fantastic blog G’Old Korea Vinyl has dug deep into Korea’s music history and come up with some real gems.  From the 60’s through the 90’s Korean artists were churning out funk, disco, psych-rock, blues and everything in between; most of it is rarely heard outside the country.  G’Old Korea’s recently released mixtape (as well as their first one) hopes to remedy that, as the tape includes a feast of tunes encompassing myriad genres.  Below I highlight some of my favorite finds from their stash.  Please go here and here to download the full original tapes.  The original bloggers deserve all the credit.

Kim Jung Mi – My Beautiful Land (1973)

Kim Jung Mi is considered one of Korea’s psychedelic folk masters.  Her 1973 album “Now”, which featured Shin Jung-Hyeon on guitar, was a fuzzed out treasure trove.  She often sings with a smoky seduction but her falsetto also bursts through on the chorus of “My Beautiful Land”.

Shin Jung Hyun & Yup Juns – Nothing to Say (1974)

I feel foolish to just be discovering this man’s guitar work.  He is regarded as one of the best Korean guitarists of all time, and for good reason.  On this particular tune his distorted shredding drives the psych-rock jam into epic territories.  The shoddy mixing is also stellar.  It gives the sound a rawness that is always welcome and impossible to fake.

Peace and Love – I Can Not Talk (1979)

A great example of Korea’s vibrant funk and soul scene throughout the 70’s.  Peace and Love have a distinct funk vibe (that bassline is money) but the blues are also fundamental to the sound.  I-Chul Choi brings the kind of silky smooth voice you only really find in Asia.  This combination makes for a tune that has been on repeat for quite a while now.

Kim Trio – Pier (1979)

Kim Trio – Good Girl (1980)

Kim Trio might be the best of the bunch.  “Pier” sports a spaced out synth and a funky bassline, resulting in something like a Korean, psychadelic Dire Straits.  Meanwhile, “Good Girl” could have been a Stereolab song.  Basically, they are fantastic and I can’t wait to dive into some of their other work.

Kim Wan Sun- The Dance in that Rhythmn (1987)

This tune has strands of disco, house, and dream-pop.  It has the kind of retro gauziness that artists go to great lengths to try and replicate today.  The voice is fantastic and there is an over the top guitar solo.  Can’t ask for more.