Friday
Feb032017

Punk Rock Entrepreneur: Running A Business Without Losing Your Values by Caroline Moore

Caroline Moore possesses a vast arsenal of skills. She's a photographer, a designer, an author and an entrepreneur, to name just a few. In this new book from Microcosm Publishing, Moore outlines how to take your idea or your talent, and effectively get things moving. It's a quick and efficient read and we can only imagine that if we came across it ten or so years ago, we very well might be a few steps further along.

We've come across books about starting a small business that seem narrow minded, as if there is a strict set of rules to adhere to. What Punk Rock Entrepreneur does beautifully is help you sharpen your ability to create your own opportunities, and excel in a way that works for you.

This book is filled with real life examples of what to do and, possibly more importantly what not to do when getting started with your own business. The author even includes several guest excerpts featuring a variety of points of view. The punk rock aspect of the book is simply the idea of doing it yourself. Some of us insist on it, and this book is gonna help you figure out how to make a living out of it.

Pick yourself one up here!

Thursday
Jan122017

Astrocolor - Astrocolor EP

 The Victoria, BC collective have released a sonic adventure based on their namesake, and in the same way, it is full of creative experimentation and undeniable talent. For those like us who are just now hearing about Astrocolor, this is a perfect introduction - which is to say, these three tracks make for a perfect ep that is sure to have you both up and moving and yearning for the full length record slated for a 2017 release (both on Last Gang!).

As far as the music is concerned, expect uplifting, complex but undeniably easy to love and enjoy cosmic disco house funk goodness. You could play this at your cousin's wedding and everyone would lose their minds. You could play this at your TD Bank Christmas party and the place would go nuts. We would be willing to bet money on that.

This music is for everyone. So everyone should listen to it.

Astrocolor have a keen ability to blaze a new trail amongst a surplus of art and culture. What they are doing is both beautifully modern and gloriously traditional. It's simple, but it's full of complex layers at the same time. We will bother our friends to get into Astrocolor for the rest of our lives.

We hope you enjoy as much as we do!

http://www.astrocolormusic.com/

Friday
Nov112016

Nick Hook: 'Relationships'

In creating his concept album about 2015, Nick Hook may have given us the best album of 2016.  'Relationships' was the term that the multi-instrumentalist, producer, dj, and all around impresario chose to describe the year gone by.  'Can't Tell Me Nothing' featuring Novelist is the first single to be released from the record.  The irreverent confidence that song imparts upon the listener is a perfect introduction for a project that fearlessly explores so many sounds of modern music, all with a powerful timeless quality.

'Relationships' includes an unbelievable list of special guests, one that no other artist could assemble, nor make sound right at home following one another.  '+3' kicks off the record with DJ Rashad, DJ Paypal, and Nasty Nigel who is on a few tracks.  It begins with a recording of a phone call planning a night of adventure and debauchery and ends poignantly with the line 'you never know how long your boys are around...' and for the first time on the album you feel the sense of balance that makes this one of the most well rounded albums you'll find in the new release section.

'Pro Choice' follows, and 'Gucci's' comes after that, two brilliant examples of Nick Hook's ability to create club music of a variety of styles.  He's always drawing from such a wide array of influences that the results are one of a kind, but with a bit of familiarity found in those nuances.  'Another Way' features the unimitable voice of Spank Rock, and on a song that is more poignant and inspiring than we've come to expect from a lyricist who's often leaned towards the lewd and outrageous. 

The interlude 'Forever' follows, a reminder of the unique structure of the album.  It allows the tracks to stand out when played on their own, and creates a dynamic and unpredictable experience when played from front to back.  'Dive For You' features the vocals of Junglepussy and includes one of the most legendary guests on the album; Prefuse 73.  'Can't Tell Me Nothing' lands right in the middle of the record and it's intensity is followed by the longing and love found in iLoveMakonnen's lyrics on 'All Alone'.

The song 'Bhu Hum' with Damien Hagglund begins as if it's a meditation and evolves into one of the most booming productions we've heard in some time.  Meyhem Lauren takes the microphone on 'Live While I'm Livin' ft. Super Hero Killer.  'Head' leans back into the debaucherous side of the record, before 'Relationships' mellows out a bit thanks to the Nasty Nigel sung cover of 'Lovesong' by the Cure.  It's the perfect precursor to one of the most beautiful pieces of music we've heard in a long time: 'The Infinite Loop' features Nasty Nigel on vocals, along with Chino Moreno of the Deftones, and much like the album's opener the footwork legend DJ Rashad. 

The album opens and closes with guest appearances by DJ Rashad.  It features a seemingly endless list of incredible special guests, and it's simple to understand when you hear it that the relationships are not only what made this possible, but what makes it powerful.

That list of special guests is a testament to what Nick Hook means to the world of music, and how many artists are blessed to know him.  The first time I heard 'Evilisontherise' it brought back memories of seeing Hudson Mohawke perform in Detroit with an energetic yet devious Nick Hook on the mic winding up the crowd and crowdsurfing in what I now consider one of the best dj sets I've ever seen.

'The Infinite Loop' has conjured memories of a late night Mega Bus journey into New York City.

This record is unbelievable as a collection of songs, but in it's inherent ability to remind us to love and appreciate those relationships we have, no matter how challenging, it is an absolute masterpiece.

Thursday
Nov102016

Shura: 'Nothing's Real'

From the first time we heard 'Touch' we could tell that there was something special about Shura.  From the opening notes of the album 'Nothing's Real' it's clear that this is a record like no other.  The title track is evocative of so many classic 80's tracks, but that element is perfectly balanced with a darker, electronic side that keeps you guessing as the album progresses. 

A few tracks in you'll start to understand the full spectrumof this record; 'What's It Gonna Be' is an uptempo, infectious groove, where 'Touch' follows it with a mellow, downtempo rhythm.  Whether energetic or laidback, these tracks maintain the magnetism of the groove throughout the record.  'Kidz 'N' Stuff' begins with only the vocal, and on it's own there's a tangible, hopeful element.  The balance of electronics and live instrumentation is perfectly captured on this song.  The song is evocative of the memories of the first time we heard the XX, with an ultra clean sound paired with the rawest emotion.

'(ii)' shares the details of a powerful love, the type one can never truly be prepared for.  There's something in there that it is so vital, so universal, and lends a strange comfort to memories that few things aside from music can unearth.  Throughout 'Nothing's Real' and repeated listens the music brings memories to mind that eventually fade, being replaced with a mild, calming optimism for the future. 

'Tongue Tied' is possibly the ultimate example of this.  Both comforting and encouraging at the same...

"Don't walk away wondering..."

Words to live by...

Shura bring that vitality to their live performances of this subtly powerful music.  'Make It Up' was potentially the most stunning track in that environment.  In the bold, brand new Rebel in Toronto that song was the finishing touch in the audience falling head over heels for Shura.

Listening to 'Nothing's Real' lets that happen again and again.

 

Tuesday
Nov082016

Wye Oak 'Tween'

Listening to this record is a moving experience. It's like a score for one of those movies that is so amazing it kind of changes the medium for you. Baltimore duo Wye Oak seem to be capable of creating album after album of groundbreaking experimental rock and roll music that is never anything short of beautiful. 'Tween' is the fifth record from the band, and it's a doozy.

One thing that makes a band a favorite is either the inability or the unwillingness to make the same album twice. Wye Oak has done something bizarre and unpredictable and fantastic like they always do. 'Better (For Esther)' is one of our favorite songs both from Wye Oak, and ever - it's a sonic journey that is loud and chaotic but also so relaxed and meditative.

This album is magnificent, and we definitely consider it to be amongst the best of this year and beyond. Wye Oak have never done anything that we didn't absolutely love and this is no exception. Enjoy it for yourself! Please! You will be so happy that you did!

From the album Tween, out now digitally on Merge Records. Vinyl / CD out August 5.
Digital: http://smarturl.it/WyeOakTween
Vinyl / CD: http://www.mergerecords.com/wye-oak-t...