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Music Alliance Pact – March 2013 Issue

owc
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Obedient Wives ClubMurder Kill Baby
Oh the glorious fuzz! Obedient Wives Club take their self-styled Spectorgaze (remember this kids!) to all new heights with the release of their Murder Kill Baby EP. What awaits is the throwback-to-saccharine 60s girl-band inspired pop paired with an almost manic dose of fuzzed out backwash that only the evilest of musical geniuses would dare tread upon. Don’t let any of their gentle imagery fool you – this music is a hard citrussy candy shell wrapping the warm centre of acid bombs. Stay lucid, or don’t. - Brian.



To download all 40 songs in one file click here. MAP is published on the 15th of every month, featuring a showcase of music handpicked by bloggers from all over the world.

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#401 Dear Eloise – 她从来不 (She Never)


I finally caught the Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal exhibition at the Art/Science Museum last weekend. Presented in a strictly chronological and unapologetically didatic approach, the exhibition served as a well-charted primer to Warhol’s work through the years. There was something magical about viewing his early commercial work, his rudimentary but precisely transferred blotted lines anticipating his impending factory-produced pop art statements. But I found his later works somewhat devoid of that cutting edge, as if he ironically ended up mass producing and reproducing his established aesthetic, almost labouriously. I did, however, find myself mesmerised at the middle of the exhibition by the seemingly never-ending video of the Velvet Underground at rehearsal with not just Nico but also her young son, doing his bit to add to the incessant waves of noise.

That’s perhaps a somewhat contrived, literal, if not roundabout, way of introducing what I’ve happened to be listening to a lot to these days – the clearly Velvets-inspired Dear Eloise and their second album 美丽陌生人 (they’ve written it as Beauty in Strangers in the liner notes, although I feel – despite the unwarranted Madonna comparison – it should be more accurately Beautiful Stranger). The protagonist makes her existentially-challenged appearance in “她从来不” (She Never), defined by the shadow of her absence, a mysteriously powerful force that absorbs the sun and the wind into that nothingness as well. It’s a perfectly ethereal and partly naive storyline that endears to as much as it loses itself in the very consuming noise it invokes. - Dan.


mp3: Dear Eloise – 她从来不 (She Never)

美丽陌生人 (Beauty in Strangers) is out now on Maybe Mars and distributed through tenzenmen.

#357 Junior Boys – Playtime


It’s All True, the luscious new Junior Boys album (their fourth), doubles as the kind of hauntingly beautiful breakup record made only for the introverted romantics who never quite believed in truly happy endings. While Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus may be drawing from more disparate influences this time round (Orson Welles, Howard Hughes, their experiences in China), the nine new songs on It’s All True still retain that carefully nurtured sense of elegance and poise that have always set Junior Boys apart. On “Playtime”, fluid electronics and downbeat synth-pop melodies channel the familiar refrains of an aborted relationship, the same raptures repeated, the same melancholy dance around the work of time and memory (“It’s over so fast you never know how to feel“). - Keith.


mp3: Junior Boys – Playtime

The excellent It’s All True is available on Domino Records.

#235 owen pallett – lewis takes off his shirt

where do i begin? it makes sense to start with how the song launches itself, with a loopy metronomic trail ala stereolab. but that doesn’t quite make sense until we fit in the breathtaking strings that swell and overflow, that burst forth with such grandeur and recede with such eloquence. and yet, all that would merely be sound and fury without the layers of narrative that truly embody this amazing track. lewis is the sole creation of owen pallett, who bestows upon his subject such freedom to roam; and while lewis is fully conscious of his state as a lowly, created being, as vector, muscle and bone, his existential self pushes on in rebellious escape from his maker, forgetting all the odds stacked against him and stubbornly holding on to whatever he’s got. if the old saying of letting someone go if you truly loved them sounds a little cliched, it’s because of how devastating true and tragic it must be. for owen pallett, it could only have been through love wholly and utterly surrendered that a masterpiece like this could find the strength to take a life of its own. - dan.

mp3: owen pallett – lewis takes off his shirt

owen’s new album heartland is now out on domino. get it!

#234 erlend øye – a place in my heart (a capella) /morgan geist – lullaby

Recently, I realised that my relationships with the people closest to me is something that I have not always handled too well. Too many times, I have either taken you for granted or bothered too much; sometimes it’s both at once. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get this right, but I do know that awareness is going to be the first step towards fixing this malaise. While I get myself sorted out, the closing track from Erlend Øye‘s DJ-Kicks mix album could keep you occupied and make you understand that you have a place in my heart. - eugene.

mp3: erlend øye – a place in my heart (a capella) / morgan geist – lullaby

Erlend Øye’s DJ-Kicks is available on !K7 records.

#233 oceansize – the frame

I apologise. I’ve been holding out on you for the longest time about some of the greatest music I’ve heard in my lifetime. I almost feel as if there should be nothing else said about Oceansize, and their seminally beautiful song, “The Frame”, because that would sully the purpose of sharing songs we love. I am not the picture, now I am the frame..brian.

mp3: oceansize – the frame

Oceansize have just recently released their live DVD box set and new EP, Home And Minor. More info at oceansize.co.uk

#198 – grizzly bear – while you wait for the others

grizzly bear

i’m tired. i should be sleeping, really, and i will be very soon. but i thought i’d share with you the tune that’s been haunting me for the last few days, since i’ve been obsessively listening to grizzly bear‘s veckatimest. it’s an album that grows and keeps growing. i started off not being very impressed by it, probably because everything seemed to sound the same at first listen. but each time i revisit this record, the songs which bleed so much into each other start taking shape and i begin to see the gems hidden in each beneath the recurring melodies. it’s a very uplifting experience indeed, enough to keep me awake for a few more moments.

mp3: grizzly bear – while you wait for the others

#157 pomplamoose – my favorite things

pomplamoose

have you ever listened to something and spent the next couple of days trying to figure out which instruments exactly were being used and how they were played? as a non-musician, i sometimes do (was mercury rev using a theremin or a singing saw on deserters songs? i still don’t know). with pomplamoose’s videosongs, though, music production is demystified and presented as it is – just check out the video for “hail mary”, for example, where the introduction of each segment or instrument is methodically represented in the video. the people behind pomplamoose are jack conte and nataly dawn, a very lovely duo with a very whimsical collection of songs that’s both fun and lighthearted. it’s an approach that effortlessly bridges the gap between musician and listener, and a testament to how good music need not be alienating or pretentious. and if you’re curious what pomplamoose means, do check out the video for “my favorite things” (it’s not an extinct animal, i promise).

mp3: pomplamoose – my favorite things

do support pomplamoose by purchasing their music on their website. have i mentioned it’s great fun? thanks adrian for the recommendation.

#147 nina simone – don’t let me be misunderstood

nina-simone

i was listening to lil wayne’s “dontgetit” a few days ago when i was struck by the nina simone sample that featured so distinctly. while it was used as a deliberate foil for his commentary on racial prejudice, simone’s original touches on a more universal theme of human fallenness. it’s not so much a cry but a plead for acceptance (i’m just a soul whose intentions are good/ oh lord please don’t let me be misunderstood), and one that’s drawn out repeatedly in agony and anguish, but never in exasperation. the song never seems to make any headway through its entire duration, with simone’s questions remaining rhetorical and never resolved. and yet, although her efforts appear to be in vain, one is won over by the sheer persistence of her requests and the vulnerabilty of her soul laid bare.

mp3: nina simone – don’t let me be misunderstood

mp3: lil wayne – dontgetit

do pop by to how marvellous for a very neat and comprehensive look at the available versions of “don’t let me be misunderstood”.

#146 the silt – come back to the willow

the-silt

many have likened toronto experimental folk trio the silt to the works of will oldham (especially the singing), and jason molina (song structure). indeed, in their debut cat’s peak, released just last week on fire records, many of those comparisons ring true. however, the silt trades some of oldham’s mournful beauty and molina’s consistency for some experiments of their own. what strikes me most immediately in this album is the opening track “come back to the willow”, which starts off with a soulful groove sung along to with a buckleyesque falsetto that doesn’t quite keep to the pitch, yet never strays too far off either, aided kindly by very assuring harmonies. look out, though, for the surprises in between. they don’t ever sound like they belong, but they do keep the song in its precarious balance between pleasantry and dissonance, and treading that uncomfortable yet rewarding line between the beautiful and the ugly.

mp3: the silt – come back to the willow

cat’s peak is available now on fire records. do get your copy!