Category Archives: Where You’re From

Music from the home front.

Sun Airway album announced

Previously raved about Sun Airway has announced the title for their debut album, Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier, and leaked the first song. I’m excited.

Sun Airway, “Put the Days Away”

A few weeks ago, they posted a video for another song from the album:

Sun Airway “Infinity” from klipcollective on Vimeo.

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Beach Pool Headphones Music Mathemagic

Growing up in Miami, I had a strong pool life. I spent a lot of time sun-baked and, since I wasn’t planning on aging, blissfully unaware of the consequences of a such a life. Some music takes me back immediately to those summer days and my first Walkman that always accompanied me, a giant yellow Sony monstrosity that probably would still be playing if I’d kept it around. One note of the Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls,” Madonna’s “Burning Up” or “I Know It” (my favorite and least-played songs on her debut record) or the Steve Miller Band’s “Jungle Love” (a title more problematic now that I’m old enough to understand what it means) brings me pool-side, to those halcyon days of eternal sunshine.

Yes, I listened to and loved the Steve Miller Band, and it’s still a guilty pleasure. One high school day, a couple of us freshmen snuck out to lunch with seniors. We hid in the backseat of the car and reveled in our outsider status. I think it was either Greg Nash or Charles Wolf (my memory of this event is now a little smashed) who–in response to our request for something or other–said, “now we’re going to listen to some real music.” And he popped in the Steve Miller Band. Needless to say, I was 12 or 13, impressionable, and hooked.

That wasn’t the only pretty terrible awesome music I mainlined and formed a dependency on. One of these pools my family liked to take me to had a jukebox. For at least a decade, I listened routinely to the (same) songs that stocked it, most notably Michael McDonald’s “What a Fool Believes.” (For a good time, watch the winner of the New Pornographers challenge, who sings the latter band’s “It’s Only Divine Right” in the style of Michael McDonald, which might only be funny if you know both bands). So that’s why I connect Michael McDonald with sunburn.

On Friday, just as I was complaining about this week new releases, I discovered the band Mathemagic on Lala and had another poolside moment. Perhaps it’s because of the band’s Beach Boys/Beach House referentiality, or perhaps its shimmering reverb water-like quality, but I immediately thought of water and wished I was listening to this CD in sunny Miami. This EP made by brothers Evan and Dylan Euteneier is quietly stunning, definitely lazy summer electronica.

So here you go, two songs from the daydreamy Ontarian Mathemagic, their own “Breaststroke” (okay, maybe that is also a reason for my association of this music with pools) and their remix of CFCF’s “Big Love.”

Mathemagic, “Breaststroke”

CFCF, “Big Love (Mathemagic remix)”

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More Philly love from Pitchfork? Hot Diggity Dr. Dog!

Only days after facilitating a trade of Matt Pond PA to New York, Pitchfork lowers themselves to the sixth borough’s level to give Dr. Dog a somewhat backhanded but respectable 6.7 for Shame, Shame. Take a listen on Lala and leave you own backhanded compliments in the comments.

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Trademarked Philly Geography

13th and Morris, circa 1967

Philebrity did another Philly focused post yesterday, and it’s full of great stuff. But, given that Noise Narcs’ first post waxed on hip hop, Philadelphia, and the importance of “where you’re from,” I was naturally drawn to Trademark Experience’s “South Philly (You Got To Love It),” with its “13th and Morris” check-in chorus. A great summer jam about a place I love that compares West of Broad drugslingers as tectonic plates because they “move weight and start trouble”: win.

Trademark Experience, “South Philly (You Got to Love It)”

Plus, it gives me the opportunity to talk about how amazing PhillyHistory.org is. Run by the City Archives, it geo and date tags photographs from the city’s treasure trove. It makes finding historical pictures from a neighborhood unbelievably easy (and amazingly addictive). Its blog is also a must-read: a picture book for Philadelphia’s history, covering such topics as “Washington Avenue: A Representative Example of Philly’s Historical Past.” A treat for the nerdy urban historian in all of us. Honest as a promise.

Previously: Philebrity’s Lush Life

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Philly trades Matt Pond PA for two Animal Collective cover bands

After repeatedly savaging Dr. Dog for no reason, Pitchfork finally does Philly a proper. In their blurb for the new Matt Pond PA album they identify him as “the New York-based singer/songwriter.” Hahaha. Suck it, New York: he’s yours now. Get the PA off the name, stat!

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Thank you, NPR, for reminding me of what I'm missing.

This week, I am missing the annual Miami Winter Music Conference that finds my sister and friends tanning themselves poolside while listening to the best international djs, generally while I give a conference paper in a freezing Midwestern city at my field’s major conference.

Luckily, NPR is here to remind me of what I’m missing. They’ve compiled 10 songs to shake the dance floor. Enjoy. I particularly like A-Trak’s remix of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll,” though I can’t say this raises the band to 1-up category.

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Sarasota doesn't have a music scene.

Here’s a couple of songs that I like:

Papa Michigan and General Smiley, “One Love Jam Down”

Max Tundra, “Orphaned”

I’d put some Ricardo Villalobos in here, but most of his best stuff is too large to upload. You can dance to these two songs, too, though.

Here’s a funny video:

I think I did that right. For me, the funny thing about the furniture, is that even though they locate the store (roughly) near Philly, this stuff is all Florida, baby.

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Philebrity's lush life

Philly’s local tastemaker blog Philebrity is occasionally infuriating with its snark and local scene infighting, but brass tacks: I go to this website at least as much as any other on the web for its buzz on local news, music, and the rest.

And through the years, this has served me well: in 2006, they introduced me to Blood Feathers (now signed to Philebrity’s label), whose “Sea Legs” defined 2006-7 for me and who, in February, were simply the best and most impressive 50’s coverband for an Under the Sea fake prom I could imagine. And now I’m even better served; Philebrity’s introduced a new feature where they run down 10 local tracks. Lots of fantastic ish, and makes me very proud (undeservedly) and happy (doubly so) to be a Philadelphian. Although I have many new leads to follow, Lushlife‘s remix of Washed Out is my new spring jam: why wouldn’t hip hop come to shoegaze? And how could I not love anybody who promises to “rock hard” my bobo with an underbelly Bella Vista hood?

Washed Out, “Feel It All Around (Lushlife Remix)

And now, seriously, go check out all the tracks on Philebrity: intowners, so you’re in the know; outoftowners, so you’re in the envy.

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Dreaming of Philadelphia Sun (or: It's Always Sun Airway in Philadelphia)

Philadelphia’s Sun Airway released my second favorite EP, Oh Naoko, of 2009 (a surprisingly close second behind Animal Collective’s Fall Be Kind). And according to their latest Facebook status, they’re “99.99%” done their debut LP, which is my most anticipated Philadelphia release of 2010. (Although, if Man Man’s record drops this year, that’d be a bleacher brawl worthy of a Mets-Phillies 10 cent beer night.)

Sun Airway are two members of the The A-Sides, who released two albums that got a lot of “Beatles-esque” tagging before disbanding after 2007’s Vagrant release, Silver Storms. I liked Silver Storms well enough on the whole, but when push comes to shove, it was really all about one song for me, “Cinematic.”

Sun Airway and their EP are a whole other ballgame: I’m thoroughly enthused about each and every track. Glimmering dream pop that is familiar and enveloping: like a slightly peppier Beach House (“Oh, Naoko”) or as if Animal Collective decided to flash just a smidge more of the picture perfect pop songs underneath the noise (“Your Moon”). Oh, did I mention that the EP is offered free on their website? Go get it now: it’s a sun-kissed treat, and with the clouds and snow Philly’s been seeing lately, it’s a welcome one.

Below find the surprisingly non-John Lennon-biting “Oh, Naoko” and the longing “Waiting on You,” as well as The A-Sides’ “Cinematic.” You might also want to check out the videos of Sun Airways’ Jon Barthmus performing accoustic at Philly’s Art in the Age gallery/boutique.

Sun Airways, “Oh, Naoko”
Sun Airways, “Waiting on You”

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Of Soundtracks and Pittsburgh Musicians, and Pittsburgh Musicians and Soundtracks

As the overly-long title might suggest (if it weren’t so confusing), this post is really two things. Firstly, it functions as a minor plug for a minor film in which I played a minor role this past spring. Born of a challenge posed amongst filmmakers on Twitter to make a feature-length movie in just two weeks, Blanc de Blanc is Pittsburgh’s entry into #2wkfilm, churned out by my friend Lucas McNelly—whose previous film, Gravida, finished a narrow second (to a short starring The Office‘s Rainn Wilson) in the inaugural Now! Film Festival, presented by MySpace. It is also the thing that caused me—hurried as the shooting schedule was—to leave a visiting David Goldfarb alone in my apartment to fend (nap) for himself on a Saturday afternoon, after a hearty breakfast at the Obamas’ favorite Pittsburgh haunt, Pamela’s.

Anyway, the soundtrack to Blanc de Blanc was supplied by a guy named Jerome Wincek who, I’m told, lives way out in Oil City, PA (look it up) and crafts his songs around such things as the sounds of doors slamming and his young daughter banging on pots and pans. (After all, what else is there to inspire in Oil City?) The track I’ve posted here is, in my opinion, the standout within the context of film, but it also noticeably bucks the theme of primarily-instrumental electronic music built around loops of found and ambient sounds, of which the majority of the soundtrack is comprised. Where most of the music pulls a Mike Doughty1-sort of aesthetic (when there’s lyrics at all) into the worlds of glitch and video game music, this track features a distinct Jeff Magnum influence tugging right back.

Jerome Wincek & the Old Hats, “Awake with the Sun”

Secondly, this post is a bit of a prelude (a “teaser,” the kids now say) to the “Where You’re From” post I’ve been planning for some time that should also end up being Noise Narcs’ first exclusive: a leak of tracks from the upcoming album from my friends in Signal to the Ocean Estate. If you recall, Signal’s debut, Tunes for the Bird of Chittenden, was one of my top ten albums of 2009. When making that album, they secured, via a fingers-crossed email to David Lynch’s personal assistant, approval to include on it (royalty-free) this take on Lynch’s composition “In Heaven” from Eraserhead. (Also, this sort of extends the bizarre parallels between some of Chris’s posts and mine.)

Signal to the Ocean Estate, “In Heaven”

And just for fun, I also decided to share the following track (also from Signal’s debut), which—within the spectrum of political songs—fits nicely between “Back in the USSR” and “Fight for Your Right (To Party!).” Most of you will hate it, but I love it.

Signal to the Ocean Estate, “Tribute to the Capital” (sic?)

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1 The man behind Soul Coughing; not to be confused with “Surgical Mike” Dougherty, the man behind Dramatic Oil Company’s inoperable funkiness.

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