Formed in Winnipeg as a between-sets jam session, indie-rock group Imaginary Cities is releasing its second album, Fall of Romance, May 28 on Votiv. The group, which includes Rusty Matyas (The Waking Eyes, The Weakerthans), has a laid-back, cinematic feel that suits singer Marti Sarbit, who sounds comfortable whether performing balladry or a cabaret-style lament.
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“The Apostate” (edit)
The Seer, the new double album that follows Swans’ productive 2010 reunion and studio return, is a space in which to wander in furious mediation — as songwriter Michael Gira puts it, a “total experience.” Dense without losing immediacy, the album stretches over two hours of constantly shifting aural landscapes. This is a work to be enjoyed second by second, losing your mind to its deceptive repetitions.
“Evil (Silver Alert Remix f. Matt Berninger)”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Grinderman_Matt_Berninger_Evil_Silver_Alert.mp3|titles=Grinderman: “Evil (Silver Alert feat. Matt Berninger)”]
It’s not an obvious idea to remix Nick Cave. His status as a musical icon seems to discourage the thought that his manic tales of depravity can be improved or successfully altered. But Grinderman’s 2 RMX — damn, does it work well. From A Place to Bury Strangers’ post-punk rendition of “Worm Tamer” to the spooky, shamanistic vibe of “Evil” by Silver Alert (Grinderman’s Jim Sclavunos) and The National’s Matt Berninger, it’s a surprise to find a style so distinct that’s also so versatile. Grinderman is ripe for experimentation.
Every Thursday, Pop Addict presents infectious tunes from contemporary musicians across indie rock, pop, folk, electronica, and more.
Mr. Gnome: “Ate the Sun”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/mr.-Gnome-Ate-the-Sun.mp3|titles=Mr. Gnome: “Ate the Sun”]
Formed in 2005, Cleveland-based duo Mr. Gnome has been offering introspective, spooky indie rock ever since its inception. Even though the art-rock band is composed of just singer/guitarist Nicole Barille and drummer/pianist Sam Meister, Mr. Gnome finds a way to make a lot of noise. And thankfully for us, it’s noise worth hearing.
Though two-pieces are fairly common these days, Mr. Gnome has managed to stand out with the best of them. The band’s latest effort, Madness in Miniature, finds Barille and Meister confident, collected, and ready for the limelight, armed with a catalog of varied instrumentation and musical styles.
The album flexes its muscles frequently. Oscillating between raucously distorted guitars, atmospheric soundscapes, persistent drumming, and Barille’s full-on belt-outs and soft-spoken vocal layers, the body of work immediately calls to mind the best stuff by Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Kills, with hints of Queens of the Stone Age peppered throughout. And just a few tracks in, it becomes apparent: this is fright rock at its finest.
World in Stereo examines classic and modern world music while striving for a greater appreciation of other cultures.
The Sway Machinery: “Gawad Teriamou”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/07-Gawad-Teriamou.mp3|titles=The Sway Machinery: “Gawad Teriamou”]
Led by guitarist and lead singer Jeremiah Lockwood, Brooklyn-based band The Sway Machinery includes Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer Brian Chase, brass players Stuart Bogie and Jordan Mclean (Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra), and baritone-sax player Colin Stetson (Tom Waits, Arcade Fire). Though something of a name-dropper’s perfect dream, The Sway Machinery actually resembles very little of its individual parts.
Instead, under the vision of Lockwood, the collective explores Jewish cantorial music within the broader sphere of world music, injecting the ancient tradition with Afro-rhythms and blues-tinged soul. The distinct sound stems from two figures in Lockwood’s life: his grandfather, renowned cantor Jacob Konigsberg, who instilled in his lifeblood the ancient heritage of synagogue music; and Piedmont blues virtuoso Carolina Slim, who mentored Lockwood early in his career, as he played the streets and subways of New York City. It’s a far-out mix that is sacredly funky, executed brilliantly by a collective with a dense amalgamation of contemporary sensibilities.
In 2004, Rachel Nelson and Erik Zajaceskowski, along with a few friends, formed Secret Project Robot in Williamsburg, New York with the intent of fostering conversation among Brooklyn’s creatives by bringing innovative art and performances to anyone who is interested.
“Is there art if nobody sees it?” Nelson asks. “Yes, of course there is, but not on this whole social level. We figured we could get people to talk about it and have this whole dialogue.”
Secret Project Robot is focused on creating a solid sense of community through events and exhibits with a postmodern approach that allows for audience participation. “The viewer is completing the work of art,” Nelson says. The multipurpose venue features installation pieces and shows by a number of Brooklyn-based bands.
Cody Critcheloe, frontman and creator of SSION, has a lot to talk about these days — the mockumentary he’s working on, touring, his art and music videos, his eyebrows…but in an interview with ALARM, he opted to discuss his favorite ladies in rock.
Beneath the eye liner, street jizz, and punk attitude, there lies a softer side to Critchloe. All of these women have genuinely been a source of inspiration for him.