We at Radio 1190 love this weather! It has come just in time for the Underground Music Showcase that starts today in Denver! So many awesome local and national acts are performing including DIIV and STRFKR and some 1190 affiliates will be down there to partake in the festivities! Though we encourage you to see the headliners but we also urge you to check out our friends Bollywood Life, Male Blonding, Shady Elders, Inner Oceans, Hair Cult and so many more awesome local acts. We guarantee you'll have a great time! But in between bands and during your commute from Boulder to Denver we hope you tune into Radio 1190 to hear some sweet tunes from these new albums spinning in our rotation right now.
For many bands, it seems that song structure and tiresome rehearsal can be a double-edged sword. Though sounding tight as a group is key, you also want to sound natural, organic and human. But for New York-based guitar experimentalist Yonatan Gat, improvisation is where the best results come from. On their newest collection of live-recorded jams Director, a bassist and a drummer accompany Gat where the trio gives the record a more jazz-oriented feeling despite the rock instrumentation. The record opens with what sounds like a punk drummer sitting in with a jazz outfit. The rhythm is steady and constant even though the snare and cymbal hits are frantic and jittery. Each track lending itself to center around a different instrument, whether it is guitar, drums or even bass, each track sounds like each musician either step forward or back to let each other lead equally rather than every track being led by Yonatan Gat. What's most surprising about this album is that though the songs are jam-esque, the song lengths are short enough to not sound overblown or obnoxious. Each track, most notably "Casino Cafe", has a sunny and almost tropical feel to them where the guitars are watery and reverb soaked and the drums are strangely reminiscent of Afro-Cuban jazz. The grooves on every track are incredibly entertaining but thankfully the trio is not afraid to get a little bit strange. The vocal performance on "North to South" is in an indistinguishable language and dialect where call and response phrases slowly overlap and fall over one another, which is highly reminiscent of the spiritual jazz of Pharaoh Sanders. Not to mention, the nylon guitar on a few tracks including "Boxwood" is a very nice and soothing break of all the jazz punk madness. But at the end of the day, these tracks are just a collection of improvised sketches that would probably be better experienced in a live setting rather than on a recording. None the less this is a perfect example of a group of talented musicians that have played with each other many times and have put down some of their best jams on to a record.
California-based producer Lee Bannon rose to indie fame by releasing a slew of beat tapes that subsequently gained him attention from Joey Bada$$ and the Roots which landed him alongside them both on an appearance on the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon. After this big leap in popularity, Lee Bannon began releasing solo records that were less hip-hop focused, but more 'so electronic experiments. Following a small EP, his full-length Pattern of Excel is a soothing, yet unnerving journey into electronic sounds. Though Lee Bannon has a background in IDM, Glitch and Jungle Pattern of Excel is a dense and fluid ambient-based record. Tracks such as "Kanu" are so liquid and formless that they sound almost underwater but have enough going on that they sound almost like Aphex Twin's Ambient Works Vol. 2 or even Radiohead's "Treefingers". Undoubtedly, Pattern of Excel is a sad, emotional and personal record that deals heavily with the emotion that music conveys without vocals, yet the message of this album is so unclear that it is almost disenchanting. The sounds are beautiful and well though out, but there is not enough going on to make it captivating. But maybe this album is some sort of cathartic release for Lee Bannon in which he needed to get out his emotions to further be further creative in his endeavors. Now, after Lee Bannon's second release, there is hope that he is an artist that is not afraid to create and release what is really on his mind even if the results may not please everyone all of the time.
Brooklyn outfit EZTV is a young group but is not a stranger to the dream-pop scene fronted by Captured Tracks records. Though this is mainly the side-project of front man Ezra Tenenbaum, the group also features Michael from the group Widowspeak. Much like most of the other bands on Captured Tracks, EZTV specializes in a jangly style of indie pop but with an apathetic and carefree demeanor. Unlike label-mates DIIV or Mac Demarco, EZTV borrow more from 80's and 90's jangle pop from the UK. Not only does their sound like a less dramatic version of The Smiths, but also are highly reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian or even the Go-Betweens. Each track on their debut Calling Out is mellow and jangly but would fit easily in a scene from an 80's movie about love and kissing. Undoubtedly the record is smooth and wistful but the lack of mood and hooks that their contemporaries’ posses is where they fall short. It's easy to say that bands DIIV and Mac Demarco are chock full of personality and style but when a group such as EZTV tries to mimic their ways, it comes off as contrite and unoriginal. But even though this may be a flop for the Captured Tracks catalogue, EZTV is a young band full of promise that have plenty of years to hit a stride.