Yellow Bricks Vol 2

St. Vincent. Photo from Tina Tyrell

Volume 2 is already here in our Yellow Bricks series and we have a brand new set of materials for you to absorb this weekend. So without further introduction, let’s get right into things. Back in 1979, Ivo Watts-Russell and Peter Kent set out to create one of the most timeless modern independent labels with 4AD. Based in Britain, the label has released albums from over a 100 genre defining artists. Pixies, Beirut, Gang Gang Dance, tUnE-yArDs, Blonde Redhead, Iron & Wine, Cocteau Twins, Lydia Lunch and TV On The Radio are just a few on this list. The indecipherable yet catchy compositions of one of 4AD’s newest artists comes from the depths of the Dallas, TX group The Polyphonic Spree and the touring unit of Sufjan Stevens. The composer, singer and song writer from these depths is Annie Erin Clark or more commonly known as St. Vincent. She has released her 3rd full length album Strange Mercy on 4AD this year. I had only heard bits and pieces from St. Vincent and I was sent the latest 4AD Session online streaming video series release this week with St. Vincent and was very pleased with the approach they took to this video. As Volume 10, these videos are welcoming gifts for anyone who loves to see what an artist does outside of the record and has yet to see them live. Austin’s Iron & Wine did a session for 4AD that is phenomenal, definitely another video to check out before the year is over. Also, you can never go wrong with Gang Gang Dance on the 4AD sessions.

This May Be My Last Time Singing: Raw African Gospel on 45RPM Tompkins Square

Next in Yellow Bricks we venture down a much different path than what we encounter at Sound Colour Vibration: African American Gospel from post WWII all the way into the Reagan Economics era. History is pretty self contained until this point and Gospel was shedding light on the transitions the world was taking. When I look at modern culture and the advent of recording capabilities in the digital realm, I never loose sight of what bands had to go through before this age occurred. With musicians running through my family on both sides, the stories that have come along our incredible in terms of the DIY culture that existed before generations of people making rock branded it as their own. At the forefront of this DIY movement in the 40’s and on was the many Gospel groups and bands found in the deepest rural and small town settings all over the United States. With just enough donations and self contributed funds to press a 45rpm 7, the passion, integrity and rawness it took to achieve these magnetic inscriptions that are preserved for all of us today is unparalleled. You can hear the recording ribbon inside of the mics vibrate from the power and vibrato from some of the most soulful and unknown singers. Record label Tompkins Square has been providing recordings in America’s history of roots music and they have really out done themselves with their latest endeavor This May Be The Last Time Singing: Raw Africa-American Gospel on 45RPM 1957-1982. I was sent the album and found this upload on YouTube to share with all of you for one of my favorite tracks on the collection, Prophet G. Lusk ‘The Devil’s Trying to Steal My Joy’. From Tompkins Square, “Get ready for fiery sanctified soul, heavy Pentecostal jams, drum machine gospel, slow-burning moaners, glorified guitar sermons and righteously ragged a cappela hymns! The music on this compilation was originally released on small label 45s, mostly in the 1960s and ’70s. At least one-third of the records were self-released, paid for by a church congregation or the artists themselves. Others were on regional labels (typically run by one single producer) little known today outside of a small circle of collectors. This vibrant music is incredibly honest and almost criminally unknown.”

Dublab

The hard working individuals at Dublab have been presenting quality material for years now. I can’t think of a more direct source for some of the best music under one roof and at a velocity rarely seen with such quality. I have been listening to scores of mixes they have released with various guests over the years and one of the latest mix releases was one that really topped the rest for me. Terry Robinson also known as Hymnal and the legendary Cut Chemist teamed together to take turns on selecting track after track of sonic bliss for a very hypnotic and surreal collection of works that come together to form something completely original in its context. Check out the Cut Chemist & Hymnal Sounds of Symmetry Transmission. From Dublab, “When the sky is a blinding shade that curves over the horizon with nothing but the swaying grass to keep the blue from swallowing the world you know you’ve come to the right place. The trees that parallel your slow stroll explode in blossoms and wildflowers flood your nose like a sleeping potion. You are hypnotized by rays of nature burning brightly and you can feel your body being gently tugged loose of gravity’s bonds. This is transcendance through sheer beauty. With each new record played by Cut Chemist and Hymnal you are pulled deeper into this living dream of paradise.” Dublab has turned 12 this year and the organization is supported on the donations of its listeners. We would kindly ask if you could help them out to keep their beautiful foundation alive by going to the following page: DUBLAB Proton Drive Fundraiser

If you have been anywhere besides under a rock for the last 10 years, chances are you have heard of The Mars Volta. The baddest dude on the keys for the bands existence has been Ikey Owens. With some of the craziest and most passionate organ and keyboard solo’s I have heard in modern progressive rock music, his recent departure from the group was something of a void for the band but also a blessing for the soul and pulse of his own group Free Moral Agents. If you have heard of his Ikey’s band Free Moral Agentsover the years, than you need little introduction for this section of Yellow Bricks. Free Moral Agents have a live show that is just as complex, emotionally dynamic and visually powerful as any Mars Volta show I have been to. Like Zech’s Marquise and many of the other bands who have connecting members tied to Volta, their is a power and energy when you see them live that can’t be summarized or packaged with wording. It just is and when it is, you really know what the fuck it is. Their first full length Control This was one of my favorite records for 2010 and seeing them perform songs from it in a small coffee shop in my city was an overwhelming and joyful experience. Free Moral Agents have started a residency in Costa Mesa for the ending of 2011 and they did their first show of this Residency with Crystal Antlers. Below is the flyer for all 4 events, don’t miss this if you are in the Southern, CA region. Also, if you haven’t heard yet, the band released an iTune bonus song on their bandcamp this month with the track ‘Dead Hearts‘. Phenomenal piece, can’t say how glad I am they are bringing some of these past gems into our digital lives.

Free Moral Agents

When it comes to the Flying Lotus imprint Brainfeeder, it seems like it never stops. All individuals on their roster move in unison, a cohesive orchestrated spiritual celebration that keeps my senses overwhelmed weekly with new content. Brainfeeder is not noy just a record label but is one of the leading outlets for visual and audio entanglement. With sound and visual design artists merging heavily a little over 40 years ago with creative products in the global market, we are finding ourselves expanding into some deep territory with the visual technology of today. Films like Enter The Void and The Tree of Life are the amalgamation of this energy and Brainfeeder has latched onto this wave length and presented something entirely unique and fresh with it. The visuals effectively highlight the unique vision each artist presents. From Brainfeeder and Beeple, “Eight FREE Creative Commons VJ clips w/ Cinema 4D project files. Download now at media.brainfeedersite…beeple-vjclips.zip.

Brainfeeder logo by Teebs

Influence doesn’t even begin to define what Brainfeeder is doing for the world. If you are feeling some more Brainfeeder energy is needed, the following is right up your alley. Recently Brainfeeder posted about the following radio show Flying Lotus created much earlier did this year. The mix runs two hours and features a lot of tracks. Flying Lotus presents BRAINFEEDER on The Benji B Show – BBC Radio 1 . Matthewdavid, Teebs, Tokimonsta, Samiyam, Thundercat, Austin Peralta, The Gaslamp Killer, and Flying Lotus. Original air date: 01/27/11. Listen to the online stream via SoundCloud here. MONO/POLY did some remix work for the Busta Rhymes track ‘Put Ya Hands Where My Eyes Can See’. Free download from the official MONO/POLY site can be found here. Teebs released a new record recently called Collections 01 and a 9 track extended album called Bonus Sounds was released with the vinyl offering. Teebs and fellow My Hollow Drum alumni yuk. released a track together on this expansion and Brainfeeder uploaded this track into their SoundCloud: Teebs & yuk. – Estara (Yellow Bits Redo)

Turning the pages of musical ideology, we look at Brainstorm, which is a new split being released by the Temporary Residence Limited family from Steve Moore and Majeure (the duo that makes up sci-fi progressive rock group Zombi). Our contacts at Temporary Residence sent us the info for this and I was really eager to jump into the album based upon the works I have heard from Zombi. Upon listening to ‘Atlantis Purge’ on Majeure’s SoundCloud, I was instantly hooked to this murky and foggy sequence of emotionally painted landscapes. It’s beautiful to see Temporary Residence walk the line between aggressive and chaotic music to serine and minimal ambient work outs such as this collaborative split. Few labels have the foundations of groups like Tarentel and Colisuem side by side in their legacy and we love all the energy the label has put into the world. Also, Steve Moore has ‘Enhanced Humanoid‘ for free stream on his SoundCloud page, so jump on it! From Temporary rResidence Limited, “Side A finds Steve Moore infusing heavy doses of John Carpenter-inspired ghostly synth fog into the early 80s sci-fi film scores that made Vangelis a household name. In other words, it’s four more examples of what Steve Moore does better than anyone since the above-mentioned pioneers. Side B features a single epic side-long 20-minute piece by Majeure consisting of three movements: an exploratory ambient first act, followed by a Tangerine Dream-worthy synth workout, and culminating in a mid-tempo prog-rock outro that recalls Zombi’s Escape Velocity album from 2011.”

Brainstorm on Temporary Residence Limited

To close out our second volume of Yellow Bricks, I wanted to post a video and audio presentation that I knew little about on contact but hit me like a ton of bricks. I had caught wind of this video project through Matthewdavid’s Leaving Recordings as they made a recommendation through their Facebook page. BUN and Fumitake Tamura present Tit. We hope you enjoyed this weeks post of Yellow Bricks.

-Erik Otis

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