Colder is the work of Marc Nguyen Tan, a French musician and multimedia artist that has unfortunately made his presence on the internet as minimal as possible. To date he’s released two full-length albums (Again and Heat) and a number of singles, all of which are still fairly easy to find. It’s hard to pin Tan’s music down stylistically; he jumps from early new wave imitation to dub, hip hop, metal, and no-wave in the blink of an eye. He also has a tendency to bring a Gary Numan-esque personality to the stage, but with less mechanical frigidness and a subdued sexuality. Numerous comparisons to New Order and Joy Division have been made and are warranted, but there’s more to Tan’s music than simple Peter Hook worship.
Despite having a minimal presence on the web, a few videos are available online from a television performance Colder made in 2006. Since that time only a couple of remixes from Colder have surfaced. Here are the videos from that live performance; I highly recommend you take the time to give them a look. Thanks to Jon Whitney for the heads up:
Sun Kil Moon has a new record out on Caldo Verde and thankfully it’s not an awful cover record. Bonnie “Prince” Billy makes a couple appearances on it, Ben Gibbard is also present, and Kozelek’s voice is still in peak condition, sounding as wounded and fragile as it ever has. After just a few listens I’m ready to rank it among Kozelek’s best material, right up their with Red House Painter’s Rollercoaster. I know that’s a pretty bold statement, but I’m sticking by it. Kozelek is touring for April in the US through June 21st. You can check the above Caldo Verde website for those dates. Buying tickets in advance is probably a good idea as many shows have already sold out or are well on their way to being sold out. Also new in the last couple of weeks is something from Jack Dangers released on Brainwashed Handmade. Music for Planetarium is 11 abstract, space-influenced soundscapes crafted for the T.I.T. Planetarium in Budapest. It’s rather dark material that’s miles away from Dangers’ Meat Beat Manifesto work, but it is nonetheless worthy of your time and money. Anyone that likes dark ambient music will find a lot to like about it.
Rounding out the new-record news is something special from V/VM Test Records. Not since 1997 has the world seen anything from The Stranger. That CD-R release was limited to just 250 copies, but thankfully V/VM and The Stranger have been nice enough to keep that record available for free via MP3 download at the above website. Perhaps even darker than The Caretaker’s darkest ballroom dirges, The Stranger’s music echoes through some never-place that the psyche can nevertheless sense and the body can nevertheless feel. What The Stranger’s origins might be is only known by V/VM’s curator, James Kirby, and how these recordings came to be can only be guessed; at times they sound like field recordings from a supernatural rail yard and I’m quite happy to imagine that Bleaklow is nothing less than that. If you want to hear a couple of songs from this album you can check out the V/VM website or take a look at this video… and this one, too.
Also news-worthy this week is Brainwashed’s announcement that Brainwaves 2 is in development and in need of volunteers and sponsors. In case you didn’t know about the first one, Brainwaves was a massive three-day music festival held in Arlington, MA (right outside Boston). Everyone from Nadja, Troum, Colin Potter, Steven Stapleton, and Irr. App. (Ext.) to Volcano the Bear, Aranos, Christoph Heemann, Andreas Martin, Edward Ka-Spel, Jessica Bailiff, and Windy & Carl performed there and several very special videos were unveiled. This year’s show is going to be even bigger if what I’ve been told about it is true (and it is), but Brainwashed can always use your help. Please take time to consider volunteering for or sponsoring the festival. Brainwashed has provided its services to bands and to the public for 12 years with the most minimal of advertising and with a great deal of innovation and passion. Brainwashed often provides its services without cost and all of its writers work on a volunteer basis. I currently write for Brainwashed, but I can say that the reason I first became involved with it was due to its being one of the finest music publications on the internet. I still believe that to be the case, now. It is also an invaluable source of information for some of the best bands and labels around. So, once more, please consider volunteering some of your time or perhaps sponsoring the festival.
Also at Brainwashed this week is a couple of videos that I helped to film. If you check out the Valet and White Rainbow video interviews on The Eye you’ll witness my ability to use a digital video camera (impressive, eh?). Jon Whitney conducted and filmed the interviews, but the majority of the performance footage was filmed by yours truly. The Eye has been going steady for five years, now and is still the best source for video interviews on the web. Take a look at the archives, chances are a band that you really like has been covered.
I try not to encourage poor behavior by responding to it, but I angered my first listener during today’s show and after some thought I decided that a response to his complaint was warranted. Evidently abstract music is not made for Monday morning radio, or so says a member of ZBC’s Democracy Now-listening audience. On the off chance that you’re the caller responsible for the complaint, I’d like to offer the following suggestion: change the channel to another station until noon every Monday. WZBC is not known for playing music commonly and constantly aired on other stations throughout Boston and no amount of rude commentary or adolescent whining is going to change that fact. There’s little doubt that WZBC plays odd music, perhaps even difficult music, but there is an audience for such programming and they have kindly supported the station in its mission to bring underground music to Boston. WZBC proudly plays everything from local punk and rock music to modern classical, drone, techno, reggae, industrial, and pure noise; for that I and many others are thankful. Throughout the years the station’s diverse audience has supported its diverse programming, even if that programming sometimes offended their own sensibilities. Suggestions and requests are always welcome, but your disgruntled moaning was simply selfish and inane. Perhaps next time you tune in prior to Democracy Now you’ll be kind enough to keep your comments to yourself.
Thanks to everyone that continues to support Laughter via kind phone calls and emails. I’d like to remind everyone that I have a Myspace page (located over in the sidebar). Comments can always be left here, but if you’d rather say hello on Myspace, do so. I always like to hear from listeners and I enjoy making new friends. I have also befriended a number of fine bands and you can find links to their Myspace pages through mine if such a thing interests you. Many of those pages contain free music just waiting to be downloaded.
Enjoy the rest of your week; a couple of reviews will likely be posted in the next couple of days and I’m in the process of putting together another mix for your listening pleasure so check back regularly.
01. TV on The Radio “The Wrong Way” from Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes (2004) on Touch and Go
02. Colder “Confusion” from Again (2003) on Output
03. Out Hud “One Life to Leave” from Let Us Never Speak of It Again (2005) on Kranky
04. Sun Kil Moon “Unlit Hallway” from April ( 2008 ) on Caldo Verde
05. Six Organs of Admittance “Strangled Road” from Shelter from the Ash (2007) on Drag City
06. Rivulets “You Are My Home” from You Are My Home (2006) on Important
07. Death in June “13 Years of Carrion” from Rose Clouds of Holocaust (1995) on Tesco
08. Ghost “Marrakech” from Lama Rabi Rabi (1996) on Drag City
09. Annie Anxiety Bandez “As I Lie in Your Arms” from Jackamo (1989) on One Little Indian
10. Squarepusher “Song: Our Underwater Torch” from Maximum Priest (1999) on Warp
11. Pan Sonic “Konnat/Toads” from Kesto (CD 2) (2004) on Mute
12. Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom “Relevée (Excerpt)” from The Days of Mars (2005) on Astralwerks
13. Jack Dangers “Burbidge Chain” from Music for Planetarium ( 2008 ) on Brainwashed Handmade
14. The Stranger “Kirkbymoorside” from Bleaklow ( 2008 ) on V/VM Test
15. Popul Vuh “Kha-White Structures 1” from In den Gärten Pharaos (2004) on SPV — originally released in 1971
16. Aalfang Mit Pferdekopf “Fragment 36, Part O (Excerpt)” from Fragment 36 (2006) on Drone
17. Masstishaddhu “For the Dead and Unborn (Excerpt)” from Shekinah (2004) on Psychedelic Pig — originally released by United Dairies in 1988
18. Peter Wright “Air Guitar” from Air Guitar (2006) on Drone
18./19. Rosy Parlane “Part 2 (Excerpt)” from Jessamine (2006) on Touch
19. Helice Pied “Conduit No. 2” from Conduit No. 2 (2006) on Drone