Tag Archives: Stereolab

Listen to Frontier Justice 3/25/17

Tei Shi has described her songcraft as a communion of many jams, tributaries of ideas meeting on a flood plain to the wide open sea. You can climb inside the layers on a track like 2013’s “M&Ms,” let the stuttering beat of 2015’s “Basically” blast from your imaginary boom box as weird thoughts bounce off your skull on the train ride downtown. And on Crawl Space (Downtown), the Argentina-via-New York City artist’s debut full-length, it’s this kind of stylistic pointillism that’s the name of the game. It’s a headphones record, speaking of train rides; Tei Shi’s vocals drift in from one channel in harmony, while they fill the middle space with Prince screams and hooks to set off another treated blast of brass or a well-timed percussion squall. “Justify” from Crawl Space kicks off this edition of Frontier Justice, and the low-end growl’s nearly as cool as Tei Shi’s multi-dimensional vocal trading barbs with that skittering effect over top. Let it get inside of you.

Spotify: Frontier Justice 3/25/17 (34 songs, 1 hr 59 min)

Speaking of multiple dimensions, Gorillaz have returned from the Fornax Cluster just in time to collaborate with a billion more tastemakers. Reggae has always been central to Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz star map, and here his drowsy vocal meshes well with the melodic chat of Jamaican dancehall hot shot Popcaan. The craziest thing about Gorillaz is how much it always sounds like Gorillaz, no matter what posse of guests Albarn’s rustled up. Perfect example? Jehnny Beth, fearless leader of Savages, leads the pulsing “We Got the Power,” which stands strong on its own even as it’s built from Gorillaz’ signature tool kit.

Debbie Harry has never stopped being cooler than everyone, and “Long Time” is the new proof. Written with Dev Hynes of Blood Orange and feeding on the genetic material of “Heart of Glass,” it’s one of the lead tracks from Pollinator, out May 5, which will also feature collabs with Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio), Johnny Marr, Sia, and the homie Charli XCX. Sitek is also the man behind the curtain on the hazy remix of “Hot Thoughts,” the title track to Spoon’s new record, appearing here alongside , who herself worked with XCX for “Drum,” which certainly bears the British singer-songwriter’s sixth sense for brash pop hooks.

Continue reading Listen to Frontier Justice 3/25/17

Fun with Forkcast, Round 11

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: just because it’s been a couple months since we’ve done a Forkcast update, it doesn’t mean we haven’t been paying attention. Here’s some good stuff that the Fr0k has given up recently:

The Mountain Goats and Kaki King – “Thank You Mario But Our Princess Is in Another Castle” from the Black Pear Tree EP

Windy & Carl – “My Love” from Songs for the Broken Hearted, out now from Kranky

Salem -“Dirt” from the Yes I Smoke Crack 7″

Throw Me the Statue – “Ship” from the Purple Face EP, available only on tour on Secretly Canadian

The Ruby Suns – “Palmitos Park” from the “Palmitos Park” 7″ single out now on Young Turks/XL Recordings

Lots more after the jump…

Continue reading Fun with Forkcast, Round 11

Fun with Forkcast, Round 9

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: just because it’s been months since we’ve done a Forkcast update, it doesn’t mean we haven’t been paying attention.

Tobacco ft. Aesop Rock – “Dirt” from Fucked Up Friends, due later in 2008

Wolf Parade – “Call It a Ritual” from an upcoming full-length, title TBD, due 06/17/08 from Sub Pop

Architecture in Helsinki – “Like It Or Not (El Guincho Remix)” From the Like It or Not EP, forthcoming from Polyvinyl

Radar Bros. – “Slack Motherfucker”

Os Mutantes – “Mutantes Depois” from a forthcoming album, expected in late June 2008

Free Kitten – “Seasick” from Inherit, due 05/20/08 from Ecstatic Peace

Stereolab – “Three Women” from Chemical Chords, due 08/18/08 worldwide (except for the U.S.) and 08/19/08 in the U.S. from Duophonic UHF Disks/4AD

The Chap – “Carlos Walter Wendy Stanley” from Mega Breakfast, due 07/01/08 on Ghostly International

Lots more after the jump…

Continue reading Fun with Forkcast, Round 9

Stereolab – Margerine Eclipse

StereolabMargerine Eclipse (Elektra)

What do you say about a band that does everything right? It seems that with every release, London’s famed indie poppers Stereolab zero in on the ultimate infallibility of legendary artists like Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles, and after 13 years in the game, they’re pretty darn close.

Their latest, Margerine Eclipse, comes on the tails of the sort of disaster that could have torn lesser bands apart – the loss of singer and keyboardist Mary Hansen, whose contributions were instrumental to Stereolab’s early success. Just over a year ago, after a decade in the band, Hansen died at the age of 36 when the bicycle she was riding was hit by a truck.

Stereolab charged on, with lead singer Laetitia Sadier’s voice carrying a newfound significance and their music continuing to evolve, develop, and improve. Margerine Eclipse, Stereolab’s first LP since 2001’s Sound Dust, may be one of their best. Drawing on new directions fleshed out in their 2003 EP, Instant O in the Universe, as well as perfecting old themes, Stereolab’s latest work is a fascinating journey into the vibrant world in which they reside.

And although the album’s concept may be less ambitious than Emperor Tomato Ketchup or even their full-length debut, Peng!, it nonetheless showcases Stereolab near the peak of musical credibility.

There are a few tracks on Margerine Eclipse that do lack the luster of their finest work, such as the rhythmic rambling of “Le Demeure” and the hyperactive “Hillbilly Motorbike.” I might call these tracks boring, but I somehow feel inclined to blame that on my own lack of patience. I could also claim that many of the songs sound similar to one another, but instead imagine their subtle differences must be going over my head. I could say the album starts strong and fizzles out toward the end, but the last song, “Dear Marge,” which closes with an awesome disco jam borrowed from “Mass Riff” on the Instant O EP, is like a goodbye kiss that lingers for days.

The echoing keyboards in “Need To Be” would be right at home in an ATB song, but would probably much rather stay right where they are. And the persistent background synth of “Feel and Triple” evokes pleasant memories of fellow Londoners the Who’s “Baba O’Riley.”

The truth is, any criticism I could extend toward Stereolab is preemptively rebuked by the longevity of their career and the intense creativity, beauty, and fun of their style. This is music to be enjoyed, not picked apart.