Monday, January 14, 2013

#MusicMonday 81: Matt Costa, Alt-J, Wild International & more

What the CL Music Team is spinning this week.

Posted By , , , , , , and on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Find out what the CL Music Team is jamming to rocket launch the work week. Click here to check out previous entries.

Gabe - Hot Ice, Stone Disco (1979)
I came across this gem a few weekends ago while scouring local vinyl bins, and my curiosity got the best of me. Hot Ice was a Miami disco band that released a full-length album of Rolling Stones classics re-imagined as full-on disco numbers. I know more about them after doing some immediate internet investigation when I slapped this on my turntable and was wowed! Superb production that lays a heavy but rhythmic gloss on Stones staples like “Street Fighting Man” and “Brown Sugar” are fleshed out with tasty horns, string accompaniment, chunky bass and heavy congas. In true disco style, all six extended cuts fade right into each other so the entire 49-minute album plays like one continuous disco Stones party. As cheesy as it is surprisingly good, this one is a good conversation starter and a definite ice breaker. I’ve been grooving to it for a while and plan to make it a staple at all future parties I throw.

Joel - Alt-J, An Awesome Wave (2012)
Alt-J are aliens. Yes, the four British lads that call themselves Alt-J look human and have human names, but the music throughout An Awesome Wave is just too strange to be naturally of this world. Joe Newman’s sometimes unintelligible warble takes some getting used to; and if the harmonies on the a capella "Interlude 1 (The Ripe & Ruin)" intrigue more than they unnerve, the rest of the album proves less challenging. Much of An Awesome Wave is spacious and sparse with twangy, folk guitar, airy Caribbean rhythms, and deep, digital bass tones. I’m still most amazed by the convergence of dubstep-like low-end and cello on surprise alt rock single “Fitzpleasure,” creating an oddly sensual tension that ebbs and flows. Video for "Breezeblocks" after the jump...

Andrew - Adebisi Shank, This is the Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank (2008)
I haven't had this much fun listening to a record in a long time. Take three parts Minus the Bear, four nights of sleep deprivation, and the engine from Steve Mcqueen's '68 Ford GT40, and you've got the weird, instrumental force that is Adebisi Shank, which I still have no idea how to pronounce.

On This is the Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank, their vibe wavers everywhere from Dream Theatre if they lived in Brooklyn to the nimble dexterity of Yes on earlier hits like "Heart of the Sunrise" or "Roundabout." It's an utter cluster fuck of sound and fury, but never quite loses you. It's the audio equivalent of a Youtube compilation of questionable, home video dirt bike jumps. It's.....I'm done. Go listen to this thing preferably in a stolen car speeding down a barren, dark freeway. Just kidding. Maybe.

Leilani - Wild International, Lake Tones EP (self-release, 2012)
This album came out late last year, from a trio of young Long Island musicians keenly influenced by the music of Akron/Family and Animal Collective, and exhibiting both metallic progressive rock and freakadelic folk tendencies along with wildly howling experimentalism, their songs a roller coaster of polyrhythmic percussion and rhythms, shredding guitars, synthesizer jams and explosive noise-washed climaxes treated with all manner of vocal textures - euphoric howls, ear-piercing screeches, hoots, whoops, tribal-style chants and calls amid the more appealing rising harmonies and Celtic punk forceful shouts. There's just something so interesting and appealing about the EP despite all the obvious inspirations - the threesome turns the heavy up while simultaneously adding bright melodies, interesting sonic embellishments, and such a healthy dose of enthusiasm that you can't help but smile, especially when they rock the fuck out. Listen to the triumphant "Young Wayfarers" below and check out the full EP at

Shae - Various Artists, Django Unchained - Original Soundtrack (Universal Republic)
Some reviews of Django Unchained include mentions of the soundtrack as distracting from the film. While I liked the use of unexpected musical choices in Django, I’m not here to stake claim to either side of the argument, just to say that the soundtrack is what I've been listening to for the past week. The album includes a mix of instrumental tracks, rap, soul, boot-stomping country and what I can only call (affectionately) 1960's cheese, but its apogee is John Legend’s “Who Did That to You?” Perfect for car and bedroom dancing, “Who Did That to You” is a wrathful revenge song served over a bed of slinky soul. One listen is never, ever enough. Check it out below.

Ray - Matt Costa, Matt Costa (2013)
Matt Costa has done pretty well for a SoCal skater who started writing tunes while being laid up with an injured leg. Over the last decade, the now 30-year-old Huntington Beach-based singer-songwriter has unleashed a trio of independent releases (two EPs and an LP), and shared stages with the likes of Modest Mouse, Ryan Adams, and even Oasis. He signed with Jack Johnson's Brushfire Records in 2005, and the label re-released that aforementioned LP as well as two more full-lengths and another EP in November preceding the release of a fourth LP on February 12, which finds his charming, nasally, lazy drawl more confident that it's ever been. Costa can credit his increased self-assurance to songs like the epic ballad “Silver Sea,” accordion-kissed “Ophelia,” and album highlight “Good Times,” where a sad tale of desperately empty wallets gets jollied up with barroom piano, pompous kick drums, and inebriated horns. Costa even throws in some slack key and doo-wop (“Shotgun”), a pair of slow-burners (“Early November,” “Eyes For You”), and sweetly sung, string-laden rockers (“Loving You”). It’s a quick half-hour of music as eclectic as the man himself and certainly sets the stage for at least another decade of promising tunes. Video of "Never Change" from the preceding EP below.

Valerie - Never Shout Never, Indigo (2012)
I've been listening to founding member Christofer Drew's project since he was a unsigned solo artist on MySpace. Unfortunately over the years, what kept me listening has slowly been fading. This newest effort has acknowledged his former touring band by placing them on the cover as actual band members. Drew is desperately trying to be a real "band" now instead of solo, but frankly, I'm not so sure what direction he is going in with this one. Indigo has aspects of the familiar quirkiness of Drew's usual lyrics and song themes but these completely off-kilter folk-country mismatched songs seem like they belong on several different albums by different artists. I am giving this one a few more listens before I write it off, since I'm all for experimenting with new material, but I think their uncomplicated and sincere roots worked best, it seems they may have lost what made Never Shout Never stand out in the first place.

Deborah - Purity Ring, Shrines (2012)
I've been obsessively spinning Shrines this week in advance of Purity Ring's Tampa gig this Saturday at The Orpheum. Their slinky, glitchy Canada-bred electronica is instantly addictive, mixing dream-pop vocals with choppy futuristic beats. I have a suspicion it's one of those albums that's just gonna keep slinking under my skin after the show - check the video below for a hint of what to expect from their intricate, drumstick controlled stage lighting. Wowza.

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