October 16, 2014

Today's Hotness: Radiator Hospital, Red Sea, Steve Hauschildt

Totally insane four-way split with Radiator Hospital, Krill, LVL UP and Ovlov, detail, transform

>> Punk-pop saviors Radiator Hospital already put out one of the great power-pop releases of the year with its life-affirming Torch Song LP [review] over the summer, but the remarkably prolific operation led by Grand Rapids, Mich.-bred Sam Cook-Parrot just let loose to the indie-verse another great pair. Mr. Cook-Parrott and co. contributed two tunes to a towering four-band split from the un-eff-withable tag-team combo of Exploding In Sound and Double Double Whammy. The two Radiator Hospital tracks, "Half Empty" and "Now & Then," fall in line with the folk-y lo-fi detours that spangle last year's full-length tour de force Something Wild [review], our formal introduction to Philly collective, but are notable in that neither tune features Cook-Parrott on lead vocal. Featured alongside Radiator Hospital on the aforementioned split 7" are Boston bugcore provocateurs Krill, fuzz dynamos LVL UP and guitar-band goliaths Ovlov, making the four-way split a proverbial dream team of indie rock bliss. Those who monitor our social media spew closely have already heard Krill and Ovlov's offerings, but everyone can hear them again via the Soundcloud embed below, as well as the tunes from Radiator Hospital and LVL UP. Score the record from Double Double Whammy right here. Blue-and-yellow vinyl platters are already sold out, but the 7" is still available pressed to yellow or blue media; vinyl orders ships next month, while the digital release was earlier this week. Also of note is Mr. Cook-Parrott's current solo tour with the equally solo Allison Crutchfield of Swearin'. Local fans would be wise to note that said tour slides into the Boston area tomorrow night for a show at the Democracy Center in Harvard Square; it wraps two days later in Brooklyn. Details for the Cambridge show -- which also includes Dessert First and Pre Studded Cardigan -- can be found right here. -- Dillon Riley

>> We were bowled over by the Yardsticks for Human Intelligence EP, Red Sea's early 2014 collection of four two-year-old tracks which together formed the perfect calling card for the mysterious Atlanta-based indie rock act's skewed songcraft. Drawing from the cold but brilliant guitar sound of Women's masterful Public Strain album, Red Sea's EP arrived seemingly out of nowhere to establish the band as both highly adventurous and as possessing distinctly original songwriting. And, just as Yardsticks revealed a mysterious, guitar-driven universe contained therein, so too does the band's striking recent release In The Salon. The short set, which surfaced via Bandcamp way back on Sept. 8, is a genre-expanding effort that explores new applications of drum, bass and synth elements while also nudging the band's production into more precise focus. It is an extraordinarily singular set which boldly challenges traditional rock constructions with jazzy flourishes and unexpected twists, while still being able to get the head nodding in the same manner as, say, Talking Heads, Joy Division and Prince. Red Sea recorded In The Salon's seven tracks live in the studio, and man, the tightness, clarity and ferocity of its complex pieces are breathtaking. Opener "Life Image Module" touts sweetly sung vocals, two guitars and a bass that all seem to be playing slightly off from one another. That dynamic, of "disconnected connectedness" is an important element of In The Salon. During both "On The Marble" and "Participation" Red Sea skitters around the time signature, guitar strums and snare hits coming in front of or behind the beat, ultimately building a larger groove or melody by wholly unconventional means. "Participation" is the stunner of the set, sounding like a long lost, experimental pop piece by the two Davids in their '70s prime (Byrne and Bowie, of course) [Also, we'd argue that Red Sea's dazzling no-wave groover "Chance Arrest" would simply not be if Byrne and Robert Fripp hadn't first offered the blindingly brilliant "Under Heavy Manners." -- Ed.]. The deep, tuneful vocals and clean and jagged guitar hooks contrast against mind-blowing stick work, wherein the drummer diverts the snare in and out of time within certain bars, as if an old Aphex Twin sound card sprouted arms, grew sentient and developed a taste for the region's prized peaches. And that fantastical image, really, sums the EP up. In The Salon is the collective effort of a group of musicians so clever, they both playfully and nobly taunt listeners to join them as they dive into their own confounding, extrasensory universe. Stream the EP via the embed below and click through to purchase. -- Edward Charlton

>> We were pleased to encounter a notice recently from Brooklyn imprint Air Texture informing us that the ambient electronic musician Steve Hauschildt is co-curating the upcoming Air Texture Volume IV digital compilation. A nifty idea, the Air Texture series selects two experimental artists to compile a two-disc mix that includes both new works by the curators as well as other pieces that tickle their fancy. Air Texture Volume IV, which is co-curated by a producer named BNJMN, features two tracks from Mr. Hauschildt bookending the first disc, including the preview track "Watertowers." The glistening instrumental commences with what sounds like accelerated insect noises before introducing Hauschildt's familiar, arpeggiated synth work. The piece not long after settles on a group of interlocking synth textures that at different times evoke classic house music and the icy shoegaze of mid-period M83, all while still functioning in its entrancing, ambient context. Although the piece deviates little throughout its six minutes, it establishes a transporting, positive groove that challenges the listener to reconsider what constitutes dance music. What is EDM without the constant serial pulse of the drum machine? It's something that electronic producer Kaito explored more than a decade ago with the brilliant pair of records Special Life and Special Love [link, link]. But it's also probably something very much like "Watertowers," which you can stream via the embed below. Air Texture Volume IV will be released Nov. 3; pre-orders for the collection are not yet live, but we advise you to watch this space. Hauschildt embarks on a European tour Nov. 1, and all planned dates are listed right here. We last wrote about Hauschildt here in July 2013. -- Edward Charlton

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