Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring break

Note: Bigger Splashes will be taking a brief hiatus for about a week and a half before resuming my normal posting schedule. This is finals week for me and I'm super swamped and on Friday I'm flying out to Phoenix and then driving up to beautiful Sedona, Arizona where I'll be spending my spring break. After that, there's good things to come: some good interviews as well as the usual posting routine. Til then, be real.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I have often comtemplated selling a limb for a good time - SXSW In summary

Although it was an all-out 3-day long bender, I had 2 separate bouts of acute insomnia, and the only real showcase I saw was Triple Threat Love Triangle (John Maus, Nite Jewel, //TENSE//) at The Victory Grill on Thursday (Really the only thing worth seeing...I stopped off briefly at Fader Fort before this, but only to snag a few free beers and wait in lines for an hour), my stay in Austin was totally worth it because I got to see John play and got to see some family and good friends including my friend Corey of Nite Jewel (who is rarely in these parts). Nite Jewel ended up not getting to play because of time, //TENSE// was, well, kind like their name sounds, and John was back in full force, putting on an awesome show dripping with sweaty intensity. I attempted to interview him via my phone's camcorder after the show but my battery died like 2 minutes in. Regardless, the interview is still coming and I got to hang out with John all night and had some fantastic conversations as we made the rounds to Ariel Pink's hotel room (or attempted to, rather) with Kenny "Keys" Gilmore and the girls from Puro Instinct and then back to John's hotel because he was nice enough to let me crash after my friends bailed on me. All in all it was a fun night and the next night, after finally falling asleep around noon and staying that way all day, decided against going out (I think I missed Ariel Pink, but I've already seen him play a billion times) and spent the night with an ex-lover instead before leaving bright and early Saturday in the AM, sleep clock officially skewed. Memorable moment of the festival: having insomnia across the room from John in his hotel room at like 6 in the morning with Momus' Voyager looping over and over in my head. Honorable mention: things I can't say on here that happened the next night :)

I'll leave you with a video, courtesy of Pipilotti Rist. I posted the original not too long ago, but this version is so, so superior. Best cover of one of the best songs of all time.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Woody Allen - You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)

I was in the niche minority of those who actually liked Whatever Works (Despite Evan Rachel Wood's horrendous and annoying overacting), and although it could be labeled a "chick flick" thought Vicky Cristina Barcelona was one of his better works of the decade. They're no Annie Hall or Stardust Memories, but they're still pretty solid movies and his newest is no different. The best way I can describe his latest film, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, is that it is to Husbands and Wives like what Match Point is to Crimes and Misdemeanors. Similar themes such as failed relationships, adultery, and unrequited love make up the marrow of this one. It's Woody Allen doing what he does best, and proving that after 45 plus years, despite a few duds here and there, the man still has it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Another absolutely fantastic mix, this time from my Swedish friend Johanna. It transforms from being cutesy to funky to almost psychedelic to Balearic to twee to dancey to progressive electronic to 60s pop to soft and sweet and closes with some soothing minimal synth. A lot of diversity, which makes it all the more compelling of a mix. Dig it.

1) lynsey de paul - so good
2) bo hansson - the black riders and the flight to the ford
3) bow street runners - electric star
4) the bridal shop - ideal state
5) bad dream fancy dress - foreign muck
6) eden rock
7) sissy nobody - lay me down
8) deroubaix - predestination
9) global infantilists - still water
10) raymond scott - little miss echo


Saturday, March 12, 2011

MIX - Rainy Night Musikke

My brother from another mother, Carlo Pittaluga from the band Walleye has been on a mix-making roll lately. This one's much darker in tone than the last one. I'd go as far as dubbing it "apocalypse music." Its another seamlessly blended continuous compilation. Enjoy.

1. VHF - "First Impressions"
2. Calvin Twilight - "Harmony"
3. Gravenhurst - "I Found The F" (Broadcast cover)
4. These New Puritans - "Orion"
5. Balam Acab - "See Birds"
6. Gr†ll Gr†ll - "They All"
7. White Car - "Spread Spit Slap"
8. Dammerattacke - "Ein Traum"
9. The Factory - "Outcast"
10. Marquis De Sade - "S.A.I.D."
11. The Damned - "Shadow of Love"
12. Arch├ętypo 120 - "Angel's Fall"
13. Industrie - "Secret Affair"
14. Fog - "A Word of Advice"
15. oOoOO - "No Shore"


MIX - You Should All be Murdered

Another mix I received from an exchange with a friend of mine on, and it follows the trend of enjoyable, well-made mixes my friends have been making and I've been posting lately. Starts off with one of my all time favorite Sarah songs and continues down the relatively obscure twee, jangle pop, and indie pop path, with a mix of modern and vintage songs intermingled. The mix didn't come with a title so I just borrowed the title (ironically in a sense, as the title and theme of the mix are completely opposing) from Another Sunny Day's opener. Clocking in at just over 35 minutes, and consisting of only 12 tracks, its short and sweet as mixes should be (I tend to overdo mine and go for the 80 minute mark. Can't help it, it's in my nature). Another fantastic one, and expect more to come in recent days. Carlo made me a new one which I'll be posting soon and is darker than the darkest night. Just a forewarning...

01) Another Sunny Day - You Should All be Murdered
02) My Favorite - Detectives of Suburbia
03) Animals and Men - Teenage Beat
04) Black Tambourine - I Was Wrong
05) Burning Hearts - Various Lives
06) Cats on Fire - Higher Grounds
07) Tetsuo - Dealership
08) Pipas - Its Wednesday
09) Fat Tulips - Clumsy
10) Sambassadeur - La Chanson de Prevert
11) Everyday Mistakes - A Wrong Turn and Rainbows
12) My Favorite - Homeless Club Kids


Albert Ellis - Sex and the Liberated Man (1976)

Sex and the Liberated Man is like a more tactful, less sleazy, intellectual version of The Game (actually, since I’ve never read that conniving, misogynistic drivel, I can’t vouch for its level of intelligence, but I’m assuming that sexologist Dr. Albert Ellis is more qualified on matters of sexuality) In the book, Ellis discussed the negative physical and psychological impacts of abstinence, masturbation, how to eradicate sex guilt, the sexuality of women, the art of sexual persuasion, how to arouse a woman, among a handful of other topics, that can be appreciated by both genders. Unlike The Game, its not misogynistic, but rather promotes love and healthy experimental sex between partners. If you’re a male of any age (its written in a way that females can also obtain useful information from it, but as the title suggests its mainly for the guys), I highly recommend checking this book out, as it’s a wellspring of brilliant focal points on sexuality and informative suggestions to improve your sex life. Don’t confuse it as some plebic self-help book. Ellis is a master in his field and knows what he is talking about and presents the information in a very scientific manner. It’s up there with Good Sex Illustrated by Tony Duvert as one of my favorite pieces of literature on sexuality, which is saying a lot.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

MIX - Portable People

I asked my good friend Carlo of Walleye to lend his exceptional tastes and make a mix for the blog. He agreed and came through with a fantastic continuous compilation featuring a bit of twee, a bit of post punk, and a bit of minimal synth pop. Dig - it's good stuff.

1. Bart & Friends - "Are You Guys Into Wings?"
2. The Aluminum Group - "Star Wish"
3. The Radio Dept. - "This Time Around"
4. Royalty - "Lycklig"
5. Sic - "Voltage Control"
6. Takumi - "Tokyoite"
7. The Passions - "I'm In Love With a German Film Star"
8. Pearly Gatecrashers - "In The Summer"
9. The Wake - "Gruesome Castle"
10. Jessica Blue - "The Dark of Light (Radio Version)"
11. Phillippe Entre2mers - "Quai D'Orient (Version Remixee)"
12. Aaah...! - "Slip Away"
13. Seona Dancing - "Bitter Heart (Extended)"
14. Automelodi - "Rose A.D."
15. Autocollants - "We Can't Have it All"


Interview - They Go Boom!!

I personally am a huge They Go Boom!! fan and am honored to have the opportunity to do this interview. In case you’re not familiar with them, go here, here, and here. All together that’s their complete repertoire in all its poptastic glory. If you’re unfamiliar, just get it all. It’s impossible to not like, unless you’re an angry disgruntled person, in which case you probably wouldn’t be reading my blog anyways. But yeah, its good stuff, and you should definitely get acquainted if you aren’t already so.

Matt: Let’s start off at the beginning….how did you and Mike originally meet and what made you two decide to start making music?

Daryl: We met through my wife. She and Mike worked together and we discovered that we'd both got keyboards, drum machines and a foolish desire to make our own music. Mike suggested that we put our heads and our kit together and it just went on from there.

Matt: How did you arrive at the TGB sound? What or who were your major influences?

Daryl: I think the equipment we had pretty much shaped the sound, although that's with the benefit of hindsight. At the time Mike was getting into all sorts of indiepop, as well as listening to a lot of synth stuff from Kraftwerk to New Musik and pretty much everything between. I tended to like my guitar music more mainstream - like the Smiths - and my electronic music more experimental - like Suicide. I also gave a lot of ear-time to older music from the 40's and 50's. But most of all we both enjoyed pop music, didn't matter whether it was Gina G or the sophisticated sounds of Pizzicato 5

Matt: What’s your personal favorite TGB song you’ve written and why?

Daryl: That would be 'This Gift'. I wrote it after the birth of my first son. Literally a couple of hours after and Mike did a great job of arranging it the way I heard it in my head

Matt: Do you have any regrets or things you wish you would have done differently?

Daryl: I can honestly say no...oh hang on...yes. It would have been nice to do a gig in the UK. Other than that, not really. Things panned out for us pretty well on the whole - we never treated the band as anything other than a hobby so things developed at as a natural pace to us, and declined quite naturally too!

Matt: Do you feel like you accomplished everything you wanted to during your time as a band? Most bands don’t make it past their first LP, yet you guys recorded and released a plethora of material. I feel like you had a good run, although I wished it would have been a bit longer.

Daryl: Yes, we started in 1989 I think, and took about three months to record our first song on 4-track. I don't think we could be described as prolific - we only got together on Wednesdays and occasional Saturdays - but we usually made the most of the hours. I don't know if we could have realistically achieved more without putting more effort in, and it would've stopped being a recreational activity for us. Certainly we could have done a better job on some of the songs, but equally we sometimes surpassed our own expectations so I think it evens out.

Matt: What’s the story behind 97…98…99? How come it was never properly released? It’s such a good album, and contains one of my all time favorite tracks or yours “The King of Excuses.” Label problems?

Daryl: That's a good question. We recorded the album for the Spanish label, Siesta records. "...97...98...99..." was the working title but in retrospect it seemed to echo the countdown to the end of the century and the end of TGB. Siesta were heading into a different musical direction and they therefore decided not to release the album. It was disappointing at the time, but I think we're over it. There's actually a part of me that is quite comfortable with the 'unreleased album' status, obviously I'd like more people to hear it but perhaps the world isn't ready for it yet?

Matt: Why did you guys break up? Label issues as well? Personal differences between you and Mike?

Daryl: We broke up due to relocations, nothing to do with falling out or musical differences. Mike went East and I went North. It just seemed like everything fell apart at the right time.

Matt: Any chance of a reunion in the near future? I know this is probably a rhetorical question, but I figured I’d think wishfully and ask anyways ;)

Daryl: Not so long ago we talked about a reunion, but to play some of our old material at a gig for fun rather than record new stuff. It might happen, but I think we both realize it would take a lot of discipline to reconstruct the songs again.

Matt: What are you up to these days? Any hobbies? Work? Do you still play around with music every once in a while?

Daryl: I've just recorded a guest vocal for a European electronica label - something I never thought I'd say in an interview but that's the first time I've done anything musically since TGB. I really enjoyed doing it too so it might spur me on to do a few more things for myself. Other than that I'm fairly obsessive about Fantasy Football...

Matt: And finally, how would you describe, in 30 words or less the TGB philosophy?

Daryl: The TGB philosophy? That's tricky to answer without sounding pretentious. One thing we learned was to let things take their own course, but that applied to our circumstances, not others so it was a purely personal philosophy

Thank you Daryl for your time. Hopefully the guest vocal appearance sparked some inspiration and you'll get back into making music again, but I'm probably only thinking wishfully again. I tend to do that a lot. Be sure to keep me posted on the potential reunion (hint: if it does down, play a show in Texas).Either way, take care and good luck to you in the future!

Ingmar Bergman - Persona (1966)

This is one of those films that I should have seen years ago, but never got around to it. What impressed me the most was the dialogue. Every line, every word spoken was pure poignancy. When Alma discusses her spontaneous erotic fling with the two young boys and describes her orgasms, I was aroused, just from her recollection and how it was worded. It was such a well-scripted film. Beyond that, the cinematography, with the up close shots of the character's faces, was unnerving in a way very few directors can pull off (David Lynch comes to mind, and as WorriedCitizen pointed out, Persona was a big influence for Mulholland Dr. Not only does it share a similar theme and characters, but Lynch paid homage visually in a scene where the faces of the women merge). The acting was phenomenal as well. The amount of depth and symbolism imbued in this film was also astounding; it has this jen a se quois that I can't quite describe because its so ambiguous. Most certainly a motion picture masterpiece and a film that would require multiple revisits to really gain an understanding of the characters and their relation to each other. I wish I could write about film more eloquently but my cinema diction and technical knowledge is fairly limited and Persona is a deep, cerebral work of art. That being said, I can still appreciate, and this was a film that I certainly did appreciate on many levels.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tirez Tirez - Etudes (1980)

I heard about this album via Mutant Sounds several months ago and it was on constant repeat for a while. They sound like a minimal avant-garde version of Talking Heads and not surprisingly even opened for them during a tour in the late 70s. They were good at tampering with the boundaries of pop limitations and more structured classical influenced music, and fusing the two together to create a seamless blend that became a style of their own. It was a highly unique coalescence of polarizing sounds and its a wonder why they didn't gain more popularity as they remain fairly obscure to this day. Maybe it was a little too precocious or subtle for the general public, but the general public's tastes are usually not as refined to appreciate something so delicate and singular sounding. The album itself fluctuates between this light and dark bipolarity, with songs like "World War" sounding almost ominous and others like single "Razorblades" pleasant and not at all intimidating, making the mood of the album hard to pin down as it really varies from track to track. Despite this, the album flows really well and songs sort of brew together nicely. Standout track for me is "Strike" and I absolutely adore the lyrics, "I had a rough day, didn't win the Pulitzer prize." Another gem lost in time that didn't get the recognition it deserved. It's a shame, there's too many of them.

Rating: 8.5/10


Love is All - Nine Times That Same Song (2006)

Swedish Indie pop punk outfit Love is All put out one of my favorite songs of 2010 ("A Side in a Bed") on an otherwise rather disappointing album. Maybe I only found it disappointing because their debut album Nine Times That Same Song was so amazing. Nine Times That Same Song has a corybantic, youthful energy in a similar manner to Comet Gain. They have the propensity to bottle all hopes and desires of the young dreamer into a 3 minute pop song. Catchy, danceable, and sprightly, nearly every song on the album is a smash, making for an ultimately loveable album. The addition of Fredrik Eriksson's saxophone gives the record a unique sound and sets them apart from other indie pop groups. After 2 frenzied almost punk sounding songs, the album really kicks in with the third track, "Turn the Radio Off" which is the first of an assemblage of refulgent pop numbers that makes up the marrow of the record. On single "Make Out Fall Out Make Up" the adorable Josephine Olausson sings in a voice that is unmistakably her own, "Records and Clothes on Floor / Remind me of the night Before / A pounding pain in my head / I think I'll stay all day in bed" - recounting the feeling of an all night bender and one night stand - a feeling I can recently relate to. The song is about the fragility and transience of relationships and conveys the essence of the tempestuousness of youth culture in a poetic, yet facile manner. My favorite song on the record is the slow and dreamy "Felt Tip" which has a splendid arioso about it and builds up in force as the song progresses. There's also a demo version of it featured on the second disc, which I think is actually the better version, but they're both fantastic. The second disc also includes two covers, a passionate almost abrasive version of Yoko Ono's "Kiss Kiss Kiss" and an angular, boogie down take on Kim Fowley's "Motorboat," closing out the album with the same unbridled enthusiasm as it started with.

Rating: 9/10


"Felt Tip" live in San Diego:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

//TENSE// - The Chain

More video art goodness courtesy of TommyBoy and some dark grooves courtesy of //TENSE//

Saturday, March 5, 2011

R. Stevie Moore - Why am I Here?

This song is soooooo good it hurts. All hail the maestro.

Darcy Clay - Jesus I was Evil (1997)

During his shortlived (very literally) time making music, New Zealand musician Daniel Bolton aka Darcy Clay made one of the best rock n roll EPs of the decade that has since become a posthumous classic. Every song on Jesus I Was Evil is passionate, vigorous, frenetic in classic rock fashion and full of character – qualities lacking in today’s music. I’ve heard it described as “country-fried punk rock” which I would say is a fitting description. Another attribute of his style is his dynamic, high pitched vocals, which add a dimension of uniqueness to his sound. The punch-you-in-the-face opening titular track stands out the strongest, but they’re all equally solid. Following track “What About it” is my personal favorite on the album (so much so, that I adopted it as the theme song to my future podcasts), and his funky rock cover of Dolly Parton‘s “Jolene” is the best version of the song I’ve ever heard, turning in into a song of his own – nothing like the country original. “All I Gotta Do” sounds like the soundtrack to a barfight. It’s a raucous affair through and through; rough and raw but with a good deal of catchiness that makes you want to stomp your feet and bang the steering wheel and just rock out in general. “In the Middle” continues with the front and center approach, and is sexy and confronting, a bonafied jam to close out the record with a bang.

To add to the mythos of the record, was Darcy’s premature and unforeseen demise. He commited suicide in his girlfriends house one week before he was set to play an anti-suicide benefit gig. Although tragic, it was also the most badass way one could end one’s life, making a fatalistic statement in the process. But maybe that’s just me being pro-choice when it comes to suicide. If you really want to off yourself, go for it, and that’s just what Darcy did. Although it’s a damn shame he only put out one EP before doing so, but that’s just how the cards fell. Jesus I Was Evil was his only album, but a seminal and classic one that will hopefully live on long after Darcy's death.

Rating: 9/10


Friday, March 4, 2011

Pablo Berger - Torremolinos 73 (2003)

I swear I’m not doing this intentionally, but this is the third movie in a row I’ve watched which is heavily erogenous. In fact, it’s probably the most erogenous of the three considering its plot (based on a true story), which revolves around a poor, average couple awkwardly trying to make amateur porn for “educational” purposes and to earn a lump sum of money in the process. Once again, like Battle in Heaven, there is an abundance of gratuitous hardcore sex scenes and overt nudity throughout. However, unlike Battle in Heaven, it’s a pretty charming and occasionally even humorous film. I would recommend this if the plot sounds appealing to you, but probably not whole-heartedly. It’s a fun movie, the characters are likeable, and is at least somewhat entertaining, but it’s nothing to write home about.

The Lightning Seeds - Cloudcuckooland (1990)

What boggles and impresses me most about such a rich and full sounding album such as Cloudcuckooland is that it was essentially a solo project. All the songs outside of like two or three (which he collaborated on), were written by one man: Ian Broudie. And even more impressive was that it was his debut outing. It sounds like the 3rd or 4th album by a seasoned quartet who’s just beginning to get into the swing of things. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a studio album and I’m sure he had a lot of aid from producers and whatnot and in the early 90s one could fabricate such a textured sound, but it’s still a feat. Nowadays, you have bands like Neon Indian who are doing the same thing and arriving at that studio slick sound with one man behind the wheel, but with modern technology which makes it much easier to do. 20 years ago, the playing field was different. To add to the already baffling equation, almost every song on the album could have been a single. Songs like “All I Want,” “Pure,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “Joy” (just to name a few) are all near-perfect joyous pop songs. Themes of love and hope and happiness also permeate the album, which makes for an all the more enjoyable listen. Eventually he recruited some help on later albums and continued putting them out until the end of the decade, but in my opinion, Cloudcuckooland still stands as Broudie’s best and most polished work - and beyond that - one of the best albums of the 90’s, period.

Rating: 9.5/10


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mark Lane Selected Discography

Native Los Angelian Mark Lane was a pioneer in moody, minimal punk with synthesizers at the dawn of the sound's arrival in the early 80s. You can even say he was one of the very first to experiment with this style, utilizing tape splicing and drum machines/synthesizers with punky sounding bass lines. His debut album, Who's Really Listening? which is included in this collection today was released as an LP, but due to it's length, I'd say it's more of an EP in an LP disguise (correction: this was originally a mini-LP, but was reissued as a 12 song cd LP years later). It's only 6 tracks long, all within 4-6 minutes or around there - all dark and dreary, yet simultaneously upbeat. It's a fantastic album debut, especially songs such as the title track and "Sojourn" (featured below) which is a progressive, hard-hitting track that takes the listener on journey into the mind, as the title suggests. Hell, the whole album is solid and was a highly influential work. Lane himself was quoted as saying, "The people who liked it really loved it, [but] the people who hated it hated it.”

This dichotomy was largely in part due to his environment in LA, in which electronic music was headed in a completely different and polarized direction. The production was a huge step up from his fantastic and inventive lo-fi avant-minimal beginnings on the Love is so Aggravating 7" EP, which he used the aforementioned drum machine, synthesizer, and bass guitar combo, but recorded all at home on tape. The title track on that EP is a cult classic and the vinyl version of the EP itself is now a collector's item, going for absurd prices online.

In his personal life, Lane moved to Europe in the mid 80s where he collaborated with other like-minded musicians and continued pushing the limits of what could be done with available technology and admits feeling more at home over there than he ever did in the states. He later gave up on music to pursue a career in art and now makes his living as a talented painter of abstract Renaissance-style works. He now resides peacefully about an hour outside of LA on the pacific coast where he continues to make art and has recently released three (3!) new releases which celebrated his 25th music making anniversary. He also recently played a show at El Cid (I believe that's where it was, but my memory could be faulty) in LA, his first time performing in many years. Thus, in his third decade as a musician, his legacy lives on and for those avid fans of the genre his reputation precedes him - truly an influential part of the minimal wave movement.

Collection includes:

Love is so Aggravating 7" EP (1981)
The Reflection 7" Flexi (1981)
Who's Really Listening mini LP (1984)
Misc. tracks


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

MIX - Heart Beat, Dance Beats

Carla from Daybed made me a mix in return and its really good. It's what you'd expect from her: some ultra obscure minimal wave, a little synth pop, and everything in between. She describes it as "a mix of funky and dark" - pretty accurate description as it opens with an intense film score prelude before hitting you hard with some groovy darkwave pop. Dig it.

01) Fabio Frizzi - Zombie 1
02) Monsoon - Ever So Lonely
03) Masoch - Barcelone
04) Vidar Og Gearne - Pleide a Vakne
05) Lio - Amoureux Solitaires
06) Kuruki - Such a Liar
07) Martin Human - Rocks and Caves
08) The Toy Shop - Live Wires Kill
09) Land of Giants - Cannibal Dolls
10) Days of Sorrow - Travel
11) Angela - Painted Love
12) Taco - [I'm not even going to try to decode this title]
13) Silvia - Ich Bin Nicht Die
14) Black Fantasy - Evil Places
15) After This - Fields
16) Pas De Deux - Cardiocleptomanie


MIX - Beardy White Man West Coast Stuff

The fellas over at Voodoo Village are always putting up good mixes, and this is no exception. Mainly folky/Americana type stuff. So if you're into that thing this mix is for you.

Beardy White Man West Coast Stuff

01) The Mamas & The Papas - Age Of Aquarius
02) Gene Clark - Where My Love Lies Asleep
03) Millennium - 5 A.M.
04) Dennis Wilson - Lady
05) Jim Morrison - An American Prayer
06) Love - The Castle
07) John Phillips - Drum
08) Batteaux - High Tide
09) Sagittarius - My World Fell Down
10) Grateful Dead - Operator
11) The Byrds - You Don't Miss Your Water
12) Flying Burrito Brothers - Dark End Of The Street
13) David Crosby - Tamalpais High (At About 3)
14)Sagittarius - Will You Ever See Me
15) The Groop - A Famous Myth
16) Emitt Rhodes - Somebody Made For Me
17) The Beach Boys - Can't Wait Too Long
18) Stephen Stills - My Angel
19) Love - Orange Skies
20) Crosby, Stills & Nash - Just A Song Before I Go
21) War - Why Can't We Be Friends?