June 20, 2015
Today's Hotness: Treasures Of Mexico, Hisoft, Tadoma
>> The folks at Shelflife Records can certainly pick a single, which are words we feel like we've written here before, but if that's true it only underscores that the label knows when it hears a hit. The most recent example is "Stars," the masterful and endlessly delightful preview track from the recently issued debut set Holding Pattern from The Treasures Of Mexico. The Chatham, England-based band is the songwriting vehicle of Mark Matthews, who is joined in The Treasures Of Mexico with his former The Dentists bandmate Bob Collins as well as drummer Russ Baxter (who, incidentally, also serves time detonating the cans for an act called Secret Affair). "Stars" is a Grade A guitar-pop gem with subtle vocal harmonies and tasteful synth support that will certainly strike a chord (ha) with fans of things excellent such as Teenage Fanclub's "Star Sign" (speaking of stars) or RIDE's "Taste." While the closing section of the song is all "yeah yeah yeahs" and bashes in an exhilarating way, The Treasures Of Mexico sound is perhaps not quite as aggressive and saturated as those aforementioned tunes, and all of the trio's Holding Pattern harkens, sonically, back to pre-grunge dynamics -- meaning the aggression never gets too aggressive, the distortions never completely white out the aural field. That more subdued dynamic is present across Holding Pattern -- even the uptempo, sugary rush of "Stars" is a bit of an outlier on the set -- but that allows the songs on the record to breathe in a very pleasing way that recalls The House Of Love or The Connells. Or, you know, The Dentists. The press materials from Shelflife indicate all of the former Dentists guys have new projects and collaborate in various combinations and to certain extents, so there is a lot of activity for fans to track. More germane to this conversation is the fact that a follow-up to Holding Pattern is already in the offing. For those unfamiliar, The Dentists were '80s greats responsible for such bangers as "Eyes" and the terrific LPs If All The Flies Were One Fly and Some People Are On The Pitch They Think It's All Over It Is Now. Holding Pattern was released by Shelflife June 2 as a digital download, which you can purchase right here.
>> We are compelled to recount the story of The Low Numbers and Hisoft on the rare occasion that there is a new (or sad) development, but those occasions have been exceedingly rare in the last decade, so let's re-cap. Back in the later '90s when we lived in Philadelphia, we were minding our own business one evening at a rock show at the then-relatively-new Balcony, which was and remains upstairs at The Trocadero. Opening or in the middle of a bill was a band that blew us away, a band that was having a perfect night, The Low Numbers, who had these incredible new wave-damaged, Tuetonic songs and a strong look. Information about the band was hard to come by, and then we moved away, and only through the magic of the Internets and a kind soul on MySpace were we able to eventually get our hands on some tracks and learn more about the band. Some of what we learned: members of The Low Numbers had a new combo called Hisoft, and that certain of these members had been in an iteration of our beloved Lilys in the early '00s, and then Hisoft released its awesome Amateur EP in 2006. And then... nothing. Nothing, that is, until now. A tip Thursday pointed us to the new Hisoft jam "State Police," which is embedded below, and which was posted to Soundcloud earlier this week. "State Police" carries all the trademarks of a great Hisoft jam: enticing melodies, smoothed-out vibes and fronter Gerhardt Koerner's even vocals. But the song is also a touch noisier and dense than the tunes on the band's aforementioned EP, with distorted guitar lurking deep in the mix, underneath waves of spiraling lead that undulate like light through water. We're very hopeful "State Police" is a harbinger of another release from Hisoft, as we think nine years is plenty long to wait between releases, yeah? We shall keep you apprised. Stream the new tune via the Soundcloud embed below and stream Amateur via Spotify right here.
>> Sticking with Philadelphia, we were very pleased to get a ping about a new collection of recordings from visionary electronic producer Joe Patitucci, who operates under the nomme de guerre Tadoma and also co-founded the next-level digital label Data Garden. It's been two years since we last heard from Tadoma, but out of the blue Tuesday Bandcamp hipped us to the existence of a new set titled Journeys Through Time. The four-song, 30-ish minute collection is comprised of songs improvised and recorded live in August 2012 at Philadelphia's scene-making Johnny Brenda's venue. According to Mr. Patitucci, the live performance was inspired by a meditation tape titled Journeys Through Time that he received from his Data Garden co-founder -- and former Diagram bandmate -- Alex Tyson. "All tracks were performed on-the-fly, without pre-programmed sequences or beats." The music is engrossing, blending thick and airy synth tones, spare beats, found audio, and analog and digital delays into a compelling soundworld that begins and ends much more quickly than the half-hour run time would have you believe. Fans of the popular Boards Of Canada records will find a lot to like here, but frankly we are equally impressed by the fact that the music was improvised as we are with the music itself. Journeys Through Time is available as a paywhutchyalike download from Bandcamp right here. Tadoma's prior release, unleashed in 2013, was the terrific demos collection Nascent Zones, which remains available at Bandcamp and which we wrote about right here. Stream all of Journeys Through Time via the embed below.