The Ever Enigmatic Dosh

For the lovely Blurt Mag:

When he is not performing with other acts such as Cloak Ox or drumming for Andrew Bird multi-instrumentalist master, Martin Dosh creates calm and thoughtfully pensive electronic soundscapes by harnessing static noise while merging jazz, ambience and hip hop. What makes Dosh special is his creation process: he plays every instrument you hear, from drums to keyboard to xylophone, and loops each piece together one by one to create an effortless sound. For his seventh full length Milk Money, Dosh continues to impress.

Milk Money is generally a lyric free affair; the only vocals are sampled to fit the texture of a song. “We are the Worst” is a great opener to the album as we hear an ethereal woman’s voice repeat, “careful” as it is solely accompanied by keys, drums and effects. “Unto Internity” has an otherworldly feel as a Theremin like sound fades in and out beneath shuffling drums and  The 24 minute final track, “Legos (for Terry)” undergoes an interesting transformation. It starts quite calmly with singular piano chords and ambient noises to fill the void. It slowly disseminates into several sounds rhythmically toppling over each other: sampled vocals, fast paced chirps and drums, and plucky chords that sound like piano strings being struck with a wooden spoon.

The experimental sonic world Dosh creates is beautiful and he has created an eerily enchanting one with Milk Money.

DOWNLOAD: “We are the Worst,” “Unto Internity”

Trentemoller’s Far From Lost

Trentemoller needs little introduction, the talented producer creates delicately weaved electronica that almost always hypnotizes you and he does the same for his latest release, Lost! Check out the Blurt review below:

Danish producer Anders Trentemoller creates ambient electronic music like no other as he sends his listeners on an emotional sonic journey. For his third LP, Trentemoller does not stray from his chilled, ambient staple and constructs an album that weaves a moody, dark undertone to light and airy vocals.Trentemoller has pulled together a wide array of sounds; if these songs were not on the same album one may think each track was crafted by different artists; this proves to be equally an impressive feat and frustrating factor for #Lost# as the shift in ambiance is sometimes jarring.

Seven guest vocalists, each appearing on their own song, aid in the range of sounds on the 12 track album. Second single, “Candy Tongue,” ft. Marie Fisker is genteel, ethereal and has a sense of whimsical doom while “Deceive,” and its darkly sensual music, is enhanced by The Raveonettes’ Sune Wagner’s reserved vocals. In fact, Trentemoller has amassed vocalists who are known for their subtle vocal styles, Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino and Lower Dens’ Jana Hunter. Tracks that do not bear vocals could easily be the soundtrack for a cool Western, “Trails” or an enigmatic, futuristic sci-fi, “Light on Fire.” The mixtape ofemotions Trentemoller has produced on Lost is proof of his virtuosity.

DOWNLOAD: “Deceive,” “Gravity”

The National Brings Trouble to Ithaca

Not real trouble, just their excellent 6th album release, Trouble Will Find Me. The melancholic rockers have a penchant for making doldrums sound so damn good and have created yet another great album with Trouble.  The NYC based band,  Aaron (guitar and keyboard) and Bryce Dessner (guitar), Scott (bass) and Bryan Devendorf (drums) and singer Matt Berninger, began their North American tour is Ithaca, NY and treated us to a long set of music and this Blurter was there to capture it all!

For their sixth LP, Trouble Will Find Me, The National began their tour to a sold out audience at Ithaca’s State Theatre. Taking place before the album’s release date, fans reacted most eagerly to songs from albums past; however, the general audience reception was unfortunately muted, with only scattered pockets of highly enthused spectators. Perhaps it was the-curse-of-the-seated-venue, the lack of older favorites, or the fact it was a Thursday night that led to a calm audience, because the talented quartet put on a solid performance with great visuals.

As Aaron (guitar and keyboard) and Bryce Dessner (guitar), Scott (bass) and Bryan Devendorf (drums) and a wine glass-brandishing singer Matt Berninger graced the stage the audience cheered and applauded. A large monitor filled the stage behind the band; abstract shapes in bold colors and live close up shots of the band performing, with a washed-out, photonegative effect, filled the screen. Of their 21 song setlist, The National played half old and half new material. Trouble Will Find Me proves to be an overall calmer affair than previous releases, prompting the audience to sit for the quieter moments and, during the faster paced older material, dart out of the seats. “Mistaken for Strangers,” “Fake Empire,” “Afraid of Everyone,” and especially “Conversation 16” pleased the crowd.

Very few words were exchanged between the crowd and the focused band, with Bryce and Matt occasionally thanking the audience for the support before leaping into a new song. After finishing a track someone from the balcony shouted, “Good job, Matt!” The audience chuckled as Berninger replied, “Thanks Dad” before going into a joking rhetorical conversation from the point of view of his dad: “Where are you going, Matt? That’s the wrong goal, Matt.”

The night was not yet over. As the band returned for an encore, a hoard of audience members approached the front of the stage. Berninger grabbed his bottle of wine, approached a fan in the front row and shook his hand, then gave the lucky individual the bottle. During the encore Berninger jumped off the stage and joined the audience, surprising fans in the balcony as he finished singing the last song of the night, “Terrible Love,” beside them. Though more somber songs were played than desired and the ever-fun, high octane “Abel” did not make the cut this evening, The National put on an enthralling live show.


Don’t Swallow the Cap
Bloodbuzz Ohio
Sea of Love
Afraid of Everyone
Conversation 16
This is the Last Time
Mistaken for Strangers
Daughters of the Soho Riots
Apartment Story
Pink Rabbits
I Need My Girl
About Today
Fake Empire

I Should Live In Salt
Mr. November
Terrible Love

Toro Y Moi’s Return

Some absolutely enjoy his sounds, some shrug their shoulders. If you haven’t heard the sound of Toro Y Moi-Chazwick Bundick-before, give a listen and see if his dance tunes move you…(link below leads you to his video of the first single from new album Anything in Return, “So Many Details”).


Blurt Magazine review  below:

Chazwick Bundick aka Toro Y Moi has become synonymous with ambient, electronic beats that harken to the ‘70s as he infuses jazzy-soul and funk. Toro’s third album, Anything in Return (Carpark), leaves the funk behind and leaps into the next decade.

Yet what is equally alluring and exasperating about Return is that the atmospheric, sonic equation that now epitomizes Toro’s music does not drastically shift from one track to the next. Toro is an excellent creator of singles rather than albums. The result is a record with very few variations that may not keep listeners interested for its entirety; but, pluck songs out individually and one can admire a track’s intended appeal. “Say That,” “Rose Quartz,” and “High Living” pull themselves from the album with catchy hooks and melodies.

As Toro Y Moi is mirroring sounds from genres past, Anything in Return sounds all too familiar.


Read live review for Blurt below!

John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols (of course!) and band mates reunited to create a new Public Image Ltd. release, This Is PIL! It was 20 year silence from PIL and the record was excellent, so fans eagerly filled Toronto’s Opera House and as hoped Johnny and the talented musicians that comprise PIL, (Lu Edmonds, Bruce Smith and new recruit Scott Firth), made the venue ROAR! Read the review for more details!

For those who know their punk rock history, Public Image Ltd. need no introduction. Formed in ’78, disbanded in ’92 and regrouped in 2009, 2012 marked the release of PIL’s first album in 20 years. The ever formidable lead singer John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols fame), guitarist/instrumentalist Lu Edmonds (The Damned, The Clash), drummer Bruce Smith and new recruit bassist Scott Firth are on tour promoting their latest effort – appropriately titled after such a long absence – This Is PIL. Perhaps fans of the “old” PIL might’ve walked away from Toronto’s Opera House disappointed that the band did not play more of the classic hits (“Public Image” didn’t make the cut); nevertheless, the talented and seasoned musicians made the House rumble.

All images © all rights reserved.

The band took to the stage and leapt into ‘80s single, “This Is Not A Love Song,” new track “Deeper Water” and the 10 minute classic, “Albatross.” Older tracks were revamped to fit the new outfit and though such songs sounded slightly different from their original recordings, PIL made each number heavier and punchier. With just three instruments and a computer for the more electronic sounds, PIL created quite a bit of noise.

Edmonds proved amazing to watch as he effortlessly created an array of sounds from his tweaked collection of stringed instruments: guitar, saz and cumbus. Smith pummeled his drums while Firth created the heavy, bass laden riffs that drown PIL’s music. Lydon growled, shouted and bellowed the lyrics in a signature style all his own, and the most avid fans sang along. As the vocalist’s delivery is surely demanding on his throat, his cure was: drink water, gargle Hennessy and spit the remnants in a bucket.

When done with the first few tracks Lydon finally addressed the audience which led to shouts of song titles. “What is this,” Lydon asked us, “are we a fucking wedding band, taking requests?” (The shouting turned to applause and laughter as Lydon chatted on about the band’s relationship with the audience – it is indeed like a marriage was the conclusion.) PIL’s sound is trance inducing; with tracks often in the 6-8 minute mark, most fans stood in place and rocked their body or bopped their head to the repetitive beats. Lydon wanted more.

“What’s that other big city in Canada,” he began, “Montreal? They were louder than you!” He facetiously smiled as the audience booed loudly, but of course this wouldn’t stop Johnny Rotten. “They booed louder than you” he
continued. The concert hall drowned in boos and laughter, “Parlez vous Francais,” he asked in his laden Brit accent. “We don’t believe in French,” a girl returned which made Lydon laugh. “Come now,” he finally retorted, “we’re all one.” Though the concert hall might have been a bit more mellow than anticipated, the majority of audience enjoyed the high octane show.

For the politicized “Religion,” Lydon introduced us to Jesus, Edmonds approached the front of the stage for his guitar solo, and Satan, Firth plucked away on his electric, stand-up bass.  Lydon thanked the crowd then paid homage to the rest of PIL and his right hand man John Stevens, who stood on the stage for the performance’s entirety before disappearing with the band backstage.

Their absence was not a long one and PIL returned to close the night with the loudest number yet, “Open Up.” A song Lydon recorded with electronic/dance artist Leftfield, PIL reworked it into a heavy, bass laden performance that literally circulated air from the speakers with each thump into the stacks. At the end Lydon advanced to the edge of the stage, made sure to walk its length, and bowed to the audience. Nearly 2.5 hours later Public Image Ltd. were done.

This Is Not a Love Song
Deeper Water
One Drop
Flowers of Romance
U.S.L.S. 1
Reggie Song
Death Disco
Bags / Chant

Out of The Woods
Open Up

Freelance Whales’ Diluvia

The talented Brooklyn group has returned with their second album. Already a great start for this fairly new band, debut Weathervanes was a solid folk album that won you over with it’s quaint charm. Diluvia is more lush and just as beautiful (if not more) and demands a listen! That’s right, I said demand!

Blurt review…

Freelance Whales
(Mom + Pop Music, Frenchkiss Records);

New York quintet Freelance Whales possess the knack of wrapping contemplative words in sublimely beautiful folk music and making it sound effortless. Diluvia, the second album for this fairly new band, follows in the path of Weathervanes with well orchestrated, tranquil and moving music guided by Judah Dadone’s genteel vocals. Yet Diluvia proves even more ethereal – and a sonic maturing for the band – in its airy arrangements.

For their second album, the band decided to expand the vocal plane as member Dorris Cellar’s voice is more prominent on numbers such as “Spitting Image,” “Red Star” and “Winter Seeds.” “Land Features” grabs you with sporadic drums, horns and catchy melody that all seamlessly meld together. “DNA Bank” begins quietly and quaintly with only Dadone’s vocals and the plucking of a banjo. Then song slowly builds over 7 minutes to include French horns, drums and everyone’s voices in an atmospheric and moving end. Though several songs follow this equation, the music is consistently impressive. A calmer, mellower than its predecessor, affair, Diluvia is an enchanting album worth several listens.

DOWNLOAD: “Dig Into Waves,” “Winter Seeds” APRIL S. ENGRAM

So check out the band here and listen to one of my favorite tracks from Diluvia, “DNA Bank:”

Menomena’s Ode To Family

Menomena is back and still kicking! The creative trio lost a member but the Portland band’s unique angle on music remains…in fact it might be slightly more askew…in the best possible way! Read the Blurt Magazine review below:

(Barsuk Records)

Always brutally honest with their words and creative with their music, Portland trio Menomena has returned anew after Brent Knopf left the band after their 2010 release, #mines#.  This Menomena fan was saddened to learn of the dismantling of the trio and mourned the loss of future music. Luckily my mourning dress can be torched as Justin Harris and Danny Seim regrouped and released #Moms#.
A sonic evaluation of the impact their family had—and continues to have—on their lives, Harris and Seim continue their unique crafting of music with their fifth album. Though as lyrically pensive and jarring as 2010s #Mines,# #Moms# manages to dance the waves of the normative melancholic sea that is Menomena and not drown in it. “Plummage,” “Capsule” and even “Pique” commences the album on a musical upbeat and lighter note. Even with the latter’s lyrics: “Now you made me/With no clue as how to raise me…You’re in my bones and you’re in my teeth/Imperfect form from imperfect seeds” you can’t help but sway to the beat and heavy bass.

Mid-way through the album, #Moms# slows in it’s pace but is just as hypnotic; “Tantalas’” mesmerizing melody and rhythms and while “Latexas” evokes images of the Old West with its horns, galloping drums and the rattle of a guiro. A great return for this reinvented band, Menomena continues to sonically astound.

DOWNLOAD: “Tantalas,” “Don’t Mess With Latexas” APRIL S. ENGRAM

Be sure to keep Menomena on your radar at all times, you will not be disappointed!

All Hail Helio Sequence!

I love, LOVE, this talented duo! After a four year silence since their last, and equally great album, Keep Your Eyes Ahead, I for one am psyched for this release. And you must see Helio Sequence live, you will be even more enthralled by their amazing performance! But onto the review of Negotiations, read the Blurt Magazine review below:

The Helio Sequence
(Sub Pop Records)

The versatility of duos is ever amazing and it has been a long wait, four years to be precise, since Brandon Summers (vocals, guitar) and Benjamin Weikel (drums, keyboard) have released an album. Helio Sequence’s self produced, fifth LP, #Negotiations# is more pensive and subdued when compared to 2008s acclaimed album #Keep Your Eyes Ahead.#
This talented twosome knows how to create massive, ethereal sounds with their carefully selected instruments and effects; a sonic foray that is epitomized on the closing title track, “Negotiations.” At times, unfortunately, their penchant for calm, atmospheric compositions becomes homogenized when all confined onto one album; a song begins with plucky guitar, Summers enters with his calm vocals and Weikel’s drums (plus Summers’ lead guitar over his looped rhythm guitar) builds the track to a climax. Yet, the good definitely outweighs the bad as tracks like “Downward Spirals,” “Silence on Silence,” “One More Time,” “Negotiations,” and “When the Shadow Falls” cannot help but to snare you with their infectious beats.

A welcomed, warm and quality return for Helio Sequence, #Negotiations# yet again unveils the superlative sonic possibilities of these talented gents and how their creativity perfectly complements each other.

DOWNLOAD: “One More Time,” “Downward Spirals” APRIL S. ENGRAM

So follow Helio Sequence and check out a lovely live performance of the title track, Negotiations! It was recorded with KEXP, LITERALLY the only radio station I listen to!

Alt-J: An Awesome Fuss

This year’s Mercury Prize winners enter into the gray land of love ’em or hate ’em. Some absolutely love Joe Newman’s warbly voice and the spastic beats others…not as impressed. Me, I’m on the fence.  I definitely enjoyed a few songs on the band’s debut, An Awesome Wave but grew weary of the entire package…

Alt-J (∆)

An Awesome Wave

(Infectious Music)

The debut album that is quickly building a fan base for this UK quartet, #An Awesome Wave# is a quirky, genre blending album that pulls the majority of its inspiration from world music. The merging of Gus Unger-Hamilton’s keyboards, Gwil Sainsbury’s driving bass, Thom Green’s sporadic drums and Joe Newman’s vexing vocals proves at times well orchestrated and at times ostentatious in their attempt to create an atypical record.altj_album

Once #An Awesome Wave# makes its way to the track it maintains a steady jog and never quite sprints into action. Songs like “Estocada” on the US release, otherwise known as “Something Good,” “Tessellate,” “Taro,” and “Breezeblocks” all magically balance the disjointed, hypnotic beats the band creates with Newman’s flat vocals. Yet, outside these notable numbers, the equation grows wearisome and old, leaving some desiring certain parts of a song; wishing the band didn’t include the an a cappella intro on “Fitzpleasure” or quickened the pace of “Ms” as the slow tempo and inflectionless vocals grew predictable.

Nevertheless a creative effort from this new band, Alt-J shows promise and proves they can create hauntingly catchy melodies from irregular rhythms.

DOWNLOAD: “Tessellate,” “Estocada (Something Good)” APRIL S. ENGRAM