malleus&incus

Audio Post

Posted in Uncategorized by Giri Nathan on November 4, 2010
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Migration

Posted in Uncategorized by jurbanik on September 2, 2010

We’ve moved on from wordpress.com to wordpress.org… you can check out what we’ve been up to at http://malleusincus.com.

θζξχϖσδλ(It Only Gets Worse From Here)

Posted in Uncategorized, Witch House/Drag/etc by jawillisetc on September 2, 2010

Many Witch House/Drag/whatever bands employ unpronounceable, vaguely occult nonsense symbols in their names. This frustrates me, because when attempting to research bands, I can’t figure out how to google them. I suppose the symbols serve a twofold purpose, both suggesting mystery through their unpronounceablility and creating mystery by forcing the bands into obscurity. Because these symbols don’t work in URLs, I’ll include links to the myspaces and soundclouds of the bands I mention in this post, hopefully save everybody some time.
Some of the more interesting names I’ve come across so far include GR†LL GR†LL, ▲, ℑ⊇≥◊≤⊆ℜ, †‡†, and ///▲▲▲\\\. Now, the first thing I thought when I saw most of those names was that this was all bullshit and these guys are just making up stupid names and will slap some nonsense demos on a soundcloud to be part of a scene. But, as much as I wanted to be self righteously dismissive and smug, I can’t be. These people actually know what they are doing.

///▲▲▲\\\

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The Pariah Dogs

Posted in Folk, Indie, Singer-Songwiter by jurbanik on September 1, 2010

I’m quite a bit late with this post, so I figured I’d just do a feature instead of a full album review to save some time. I know I’ve been on a folk binge for a couple posts here, but it is just what I’ve been into. Pretty much everyone who knows me knows that I think that Ray LaMontagne has one of the best voices in music right now, and ‘God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise’ was released on August 17th. The record was released under “Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs” – the first of four LPs where Ray gives credit to his live band. This seems a very big step for the very private man – he refuses to do music videos and plays live shows in the dark because he doesn’t find himself beautiful enough.

Truth be told , ‘God Willin’ is one of the few albums in recent memory that has ‘shrunk’ on me rather than growing. Thats not to say that I don’t like the album – I probably wouldn’t be posting this if I didn’t, and individually, the songs on the album are pretty great. The thing is, at first I was extremely happy to hear Ray returning to the folk stylings of ‘Trouble,’ his first album and possibly my favorite – I have been slightly hesitant to like 2008’s ‘Gossip in the Grain’ because of how much of an exploration it was for Mr. LaMontagne. As compared to ‘Trouble’, the new album has better production and a lot of good jams – a sign of more maturity and Ray having a little more money to spend on producing the album. However, after  a few listens, it has become apparent to me that ‘God Willin’ is a little flat – single dimensional. With the exception of the first track, Repo Man, almost all the tracks are interchangeable within the album and they sound awfully similar. (more…)

Who is Jon Black?

Posted in Acoustic Guitar, Folk, Indie by jurbanik on September 1, 2010

Late last night, malleus&incus received a pingback from another blog: apparently we were mentioned in episode 22 of the Up From the Ground podcast. Embarrassingly enough, it was my earlier post about a surprising Ke$ha demo. Turns out the guys running the podcast were as surprised as I was to hear how (half) decent Ke$ha’s voice is capable of being. However – as I looked around the website, it became immediately apparent that the website wasn’t just for the podcast. Turns out that ‘Up From the Ground’ is the podcast of Jon Black, and is just one of the many features on his blog/website, Who is John Black.

The question of the hour seems to be ‘Who is Jon Black?’ Turns out he is a singer-songwriter based out of Alabama. Story has it that Jon started his music career after the fire alarm went off at his software corporation and he realized how much corporate America wasn’t for him. Whatever the deal is, I’m glad he made the decision to focus his life on music. Though I was too out of it to give him a good listen last night, I’ve revisited him over the past couple of hours and I like what I hear. He has a voice that could fit in an indie pop band as well as indie folk. It is one of those rather marketable voices – it reminds me of Wilco sometimes, Damien Rice others, and even has a hint of City and Colour in it. (more…)

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Genre-defying Bands Part 2: Thinking Plague

Posted in Avant-garde, Genre-defying by Keshav on August 31, 2010

According to Wikipedia, “Thinking Plague was a United States avant-rock group founded in 1982 by guitarist/composer, Mike Johnson, and bass guitarist/drummer, Bob Drake.” According to me, Thinking Plague is some of the most fucked up shit I’ve ever heard, and I mean that in a good way. I don’t think there’s much use in calling them “avant-rock” (a term which has debatable meaning), or defining them by any other genre label for that matter. They are simply too eclectic. When I’m trying to tell my friends about new bands I’ve discovered, I usually do it by comparing those bands to music they might have already heard. When I’m trying to tell my friends about Thinking Plague, I try to think of similar bands, fail, get tongue-tied, and usually start repeating permutations of the phrase “fucked up shit” (which I’m already guilty of doing once in this post). To me, this is a sign of something special in a band.

Thinking Plague
Thinking Plague

I have two albums by Thinking Plague; their third album, In This Life, and their fourth album, In Extremis. I wish I could talk about each song on each album in great detail, because they are all so different, both from each other, and from any other music I’ve heard. However, that would take up too much space, and it would be a little sketchy of me to post entire albums on this blog. So, I’m going to pick a couple songs from each album, and talk about them for a little bit. (more…)

The Bakery: You Enjoy Myself (on the Toilet)

Posted in Jam by jakenebel on August 31, 2010

I love jam bands. This fact makes me somewhat of a pariah in elitist music communities. It is puzzling to me because I think that all music lovers should appreciate live improvisational music in proportion to its skill. But some of my elitist friends say to me: “Jake, how do you listen to such long songs?!” Well, I jam out when I’m working on the computer; I jam out in the car when I’m on the go; and sometimes I just jam out when I’m on the toilet, taking a shit.

I understand some people’s objections to jam bands, but I think I have a knockdown argument here: I mean, what else are you going to do while you’re on the toilet, if not listen to long, live, improvisational music?

In the spirit of this question, I’d like to show you a shit-length jam from the first Phish concert I ever attended – Red Rocks, Colorado, in August 2009. If you are not a fan of jam bands, I ask that you suspend judgment until all seventeen minutes and fifty-four seconds are up, or until you are done shitting.

The highlights include: piano bliss (3:15 – 3:50), rising action (4:30 – 5:00), energetic transition to the funk (6:30 – 7:00), bass jam (13:25 – 14:30), a cappella jam (14:30 – end, although gets pretty weird).

Phish – You Enjoy Myself (2009-08-02 Red Rocks, CO)

Enjoy, don’t cramp up, and wipe well!

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So Trendy (Salem and Balam Acab)

Posted in Witch House/Drag/etc by jawillisetc on August 30, 2010

As the guy on the blog that isn’t that into guitars, I’m investigating this summer’s pseudo-genre of questionable legitimacy: Witch House. To make a long an boring story shorter but tragically no more interesting, Witch house is essentially the confluence of Industrial and Chopped-N-Screwed. Industrial, birthed screaming in the late 70s by Throbbing Gristle and refined in the 80s by bands like Einsturzende Neubauten(there’s an umlaut in there somewhere), Skinny Puppy, and a bunch of other bands that I embarrassingly loved in middle school, contributes the harshness and dissonance that characteristic of the genre. Chopped-N-Screwed, created by DJ Screw with his slowed down and “screwed” remixes of popular hip hop, provides the genre’s most recognizable technique, slowed vocals. Although there is no set formula for a witch house track, they tend to pull a little from industrial and a little from Hip Hop, typically featuring a slowed and pitch-shifted vocal that combined with some industrial noise envelopes the listener in a haunting atmosphere.

There are a lot of acts that could be called witch house, so I’m going to do quick profiles on the ones that stood out to me. This certainly isn’t a comprehensive survey, and new groups are springing up all the time, so I’ll try to post on some of the better ones if I can.

The biggest names in witch house right now are Salem and Balam Acab.

Salem

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Ben Folds, Nick Hornby, AND Pomplamoose!?

Posted in Indie, Pop by jurbanik on August 30, 2010

I really should be asleep right now – it is 5am as of starting this post. But about an hour ago, Pomplamoose tweeted that there would be a new video in an hour… and now it is here. I honestly could not be much more excited about a collaboration – I was well aware of Ben Folds’ album collaboration with Nick Hornby (author of High Fidelity and About a Boy), but I had no idea the album would feature Pomplamoose. If you don’t already know, I’m a huge fan of Jack Conte – check out my post on his innovative VideoSongs. Apparently Ben Folds is a fan of what Jack and Nataly do too! Anyways, lets get to the video.

Entitled ‘Things You Think’, the new song/VideoSong features some extremely complex layering, but is executed almost perfectly. Some people might be a little turned off by Nick Hornby’s role in the song – he reads interesting statistics, cutting away from the musical aspects of the collaboration. Personally, I’m a fan – Nick has a comforting, but intelligent voice, and it just works. Really exciting to me is the fact that both Nataly and Jack sing along with Ben, bringing together some really great voices. The chorus ‘smoke your little smoke/ drink your little drink/ try to make sense of the things that you think’ is unimaginably catchy, especially since it is Ben Folds singing it repeatedly. After the jump, the other single from Ben Folds’ new album. (more…)

Make an Example

Posted in Dubstep, Electronic, Hip Hop by jurbanik on August 29, 2010

One track that has been getting a lot of play from me recently is Bar9’s remix of Example’s Kickstarts. The original track is one of the singles on Example’s new album, ‘Won’t Go Quietly’ – an album that goes in a much different direction than the London rapper’s previous material. It is a lot more electro and poppy than the older, more garage style hip-hop.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I like the song more for the video or the actual song itself. While Example’s original version has its own merits, it is Bar9’s remix that really shines. The heavy dubstep lends a more serious air to the song and just makes me want to move (I just wish I knew how to pop properly). At the same time, the video is really impressive. It is somehow cute and romantic despite being almost entirely fight scenes. It is bad ass, despite the fact that it is completely unrealistic. Basically, I wish I was as kickass as the dude in the video, but that I never had to deal with what he has to deal with in the video. Whatever, just watch it (after the jump). (more…)

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