Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Psychedelic Visions

There has been a noticeable lack of up-beat dance action on AYF? lately; this trend continues today -- psychedelic rock and magical-psych-folk is where it's at.

Wyrd Visions features Colin Bergh, a Toronto-based artist, and co-founder of the percussively experimental Awesome. Unlike Awesome (who are both loved and hated by the local indie masses), Wyrd Visions play identifiable, if unusual songs (some people argue that Awesome mostly bang stuff, make noise, and chant). With Colin fronting 'Visions as a well-kitted couture elf, it's no surprise their sound bring to mind -- well shit, listening to "Bog Lord," I feel like I'm in a forest. On mushrooms. Or maybe I'm hanging out with my druidic friends, joking about wood nymphs and eating rare berries. And yes, AYF? loves rare berries.

"Freezing Moon" - the first track featured here - is a song originally written by Mayhem, the infamous black metal band. Read their story, because if you haven't, you are missing out on one of the strangest tales in music (yes, stranger than anything even Phil Spector could cook up).

Wyrd Visions - Freezing Moon
Wyrd Visions - Bog Lord


After a very positive reaction to The Christa Min tracks I posted a while ago, I'm following up with Anemones, another of J. Grimmer's many projects. Working with friends who's pasts have included Pink Mountaintops and The Cinch, Grimmer and Anemones take a tense, quiet approach to psych-rock. Drum machines tick away, guitars hook and wash, soft vocals echo and mingle with synths, and the basslines hold it all together in a thick fog. Spectrum is recalled here, without a doubt, although if you could imagine Pink Mountaintops absolutely looped on valium, while busting out the 'rig for some heroin chasers, this might be what they'd sound like.

Anemones have their first release coming up on 1777rex, a CD-R label out of Vancouver.

Anemones - Candy (Ooh)
Anemones - What's Right


AYF? is looking into doing a new weekly night. The concept? No promo. No fronting. No self-aggrandizing attitude. We play what we want, and we like it when our friends come and hang out with us. You're into dancing? No? You're into hanging out with your back to the wall? We don't care as long as you have fun.

Put your hand in my pocket. That's the name. See some of you there soon.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Whoa. What the fuck. OK. So I spent tonight at a rock show, which was actually pretty good. But then these girls (whom I had introduced - musically - to the band we'd just seen), they were like, "let's meet the band!" The girls, they wanted me to hang out with them and go wherever the the band were going -- and the girls, they were alright (cute, young, enthusiastic). I sat around and waited and chatted, and eventually the band was going to a bar some other friends of mine were at. So I went. But my friends had left by the time I got there -- save for one of them.

I hung out with my remaining friend and watched the hangers on vie for the attention of
the band. Actually, there was more than one band, although not everyone knew who the people in the second band were, because they had been playing a different show -- so they got left alone, for the most part. One of the girls asked me who the second band was, but I think she was too drunk to see who I was pointing out.

But anyway -- these girls, they were all over the band they could discern. It was embarrassing. I got drunk and avoided the antics. I played pool for a bit. I chatted with my friend. I watched the night unfold, and I felt kind of weird. I left and said bye to one of the girls who was trying to attain some form of physical contact with a band member. Didn't matter which band member -- just... a band member.

What's the deal? Am I getting old? Why is it that I just don't care?

I came home and I wanted to listen to noise. Good noise. Really fucking good noise. Repetitive, heavy, psychedelic noise.

I put on Indian Jewelry.

This is the right kind of noise. It swirls and repeats, and it has a soul to it, and it screams and yelps. Fuck. This is the noise I wanted to be listening to all night.

Indian Jewelry - Lost My Sight
Indian Jewelry - Health And Wellbeing


Bonus track. The Rolling Stones do it up in the early '80s post-punk disco, singing about bloody murder -- literally. Listen all the way.

The Rolling Stones - Too Much Blood

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Dear Seattle

I miss you Seattle.

I miss Capitol Hill, I miss Queen Anne. I miss driving to Mount Rainier, and I miss all my favorite places to sit around and drink coffee. I also miss the good friends, the shows, and the attitude.

So here is a post about three bands from the Emerald City (for real, that's what it's called for those who aren't familiar).


The Beakers formed in Seattle in 1980, opening for the likes of Gang Of Four and XTC, and igniting the interest of post-punk fanatics around the world (which, initially, was like 50 people, all of whom were in bands of their own). After a flare of real popularity in 1981 and some posthumous love, they have attained the status of local legends. At least, legends amongst those who care enough to do some reading and digging.

Yes, on first listen, they could easily be mistaken for James Chance & The Contortions at their most accessible.

Check out what Just For A Day had to say about them (with more MP3s after the jump).

The Beakers - Dinosaurs Mambo (live at The Showbox)
The Beakers - Thinking Postmodern


Welcome are a far more recent product of Seattle. I know little about them, except that - for the most part - they fuse Pavement and hook-driven discord with '60s psych to great effect. Offering equally solid male and female vocals, and a fair amount of exploration within the confines of their sound, a full album would no doubt be an interesting listen. You can download 10 songs from their website; the mastering is a bit heavy on the low-end but they still sound great.

Welcome - All Set
Welcome - Bunky
Welcome - Sirs (Small Set)


So the AYF? Shoegaze Retrospective still isn't finished. One day. One day.

Until then, check out C'est La Mort. These guys and girls manage to reference Cocteau Twins and The Chameleons in the most direct of ways without sounding like a poor rip-off of either. That's tough to do, and has earned them that rare distinction of being a worthwhile modern shoegaze band. As if they could be anything else with a name like that.

C'est La Mort - Stand Fast
C'est La Mort - Collapse (With Silence)


Allmusic is back to HTML and no more forced registration. Rejoice.


Unfamiliar Records now has a website. Come say hi. There is a compilation in the works, which will be an online-only experiment. Further CDs will be released once details have been worked out with potential bands.


Fuck grunge.


When discussing Seattle you can't forget to mention: Smoosh are the cutest. Awww...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

We dance weird

Quick update, and no easy listening today. Get your head around this shit.


Last year, Adam Sparkles caught our attention with a brilliant remix of Man Man's "Tear Of Octopus." With their new album - Six Demon Bag - recently released, Man Man have again enlisted Adam to put one of their tracks on the dancefloor. And what does he do this time? As with the "Tear Of Octopus" remix, it's a strange beast -- the song pulses along with a vaguely tribal feel, punctuated by Honus' chants, and a repetitive synth squelch that - if this were '92 - would no doubt have been pitched up to a signature cricket chirp. Yeah, this sounds like a modern interpretation of the old school rave. Heavy, but with a sense of humour.

Also check out Sparkles' recently completed Of Montreal remix via his Myspace page.

Man Man - Tunneling Through The Guy (Adam Sparkles Remix)


Going back to the early '80s, we have a track from New York's Material, complimented nicely by some Liquid Liquid. This is like the sonic realization of New York City as a jungle.

Material - Reduction
Liquid Liquid - Groupmegroup


What you
should be listening to, what you should be wearing, and what - in conversation - will ellicit squeals of delight or nods of approval from the ladies and the boys as you chat them up back stage or behind the booth: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hot Chip, Revel9n, Cadence Weapon, MSTRKRFT, '90s parties, semi-ironic grunge, semi-ironic bling, Karen O now living in LA and how it impacted the latest YYYs record, Uffie, Gnarls Barkley, The Knife, where Steve Aoki is DJing next, Diplo, Justice, sebastiAn, Headman, how you noticed that so-and-so wasn't in so-and-so's Top 8, Madonna at Coachella, whether Vice curating Intonation is cool or not.

Well, that sure could come off as a cheap bid for hits, couldn't it?

We are busy

AYF? is taking a few days off in order to finish up the Unfamiliar Records website. We'll be back by the end of the week.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Code Pie

There was no Monday update here, because - well - I did a post for the guys at One Louder, and haven't had a chance to write since then (being sick and all).

This isn't a regular thing for me, just a one-off as part of their new Jukebox Jury feature: One Louder NYC - Jukebox Jury #1


Unfamiliar Records is happy to announce we now have Canadian distribution for The Paper Cranes via Scratch Records (Black Mountain/Pink Mountaintops, Destroyer, etc.) out of Vancouver. The Canadian release for the
Veins EP is April 25th, and the band will be doing a cross-Canada tour shortly thereafter.

Pitchfork Media recently wrote about The 'Cranes single, "I'll Love You 'Til My Veins Explode," and gave it a very positive review.

Thanks to everyone who has supported us so far -- here is a list of tour dates:

May 26 2006 @ The Gary Oak Room (Victoria, B.C.)
May 27 2006 @ Pat's Pub (Vancouver, B.C.)
May 28 2006 @ -TBA- (Kelowna, B.C.)
May 30 2006 @ Broken City (Calgary, AB)
May 31 2006 @ Tounge 'N Groove (Lethbridge, AB)
Jun 1 2006 @ O' Hanlan's (Regina, SK)
Jun 2 2006 @ The Bassment (Saskatoon, SK)
Jun 7 2006 @ The Downbeat Lounge (Sault Ste Marie, ON)
Jun 8 2006 @ The Townhouse (Sudbury, ON)
Jun 9 2006 @ -TBA- (Toronto, ON)
Jun 12 2006 @ The Casbah (Hamilton, ON)
Jun 13 2006 @ Call The Office (London, ON)
Jun 15 2006 @ The Coach and Horse (Windsor, ON)
Jun 16 2006 @ -TBA- (Montreal, QC)

We have some additional dates in the works (Ottawa, Edmonton, and a return stop in Vancouver). I will post a finalized schedule within the next few weeks.

If you're in one of these cities, and you'd like to help out, please call your local radio station to request a song by The Paper Cranes, or visit your local record store and buy the CD (after April 25th).

Again, thanks to everyone for helping make this happen.


Along with The 'Cranes, Jay Watts (Goldkixx) has been touting Montreal's Code Pie as front-runners in our Canadian baroque pop movement.

Well, AYF? is in agreement. From the horns and plaintive melodies, through to the non-standard track arrangements, Code Pie are well worth your attention. Their sound ranges freely from orchestral to stripped down and tight, without losing step -- and it really is beyond simple comparison. Just listen:

Code Pie - Cement Truck
Code Pie - Gala
Code Pie - A Round For The Boys


We don't wanna know who you know -- we wanna know what you did.