malleus&incus

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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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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Summer Mixtape

Posted in Hip Hop, Playlists by jawillisetc on August 19, 2010

Summer may be over for students at southern schools, but I still have almost a month to go, and Prefix Magazine and Potholes In My Blog are making sure that I have a soundtrack to those final aimless days. August 24, Summer Sampler drops, featuring new releases from Big K.R.I.T., DaVinci, Slum Village, Smoke DZA and numerous artists that I can’t wait to get acquainted with. Check it out on Prefix. The album art is too pretty to make black and white.


Two tracks have already leaked from the mixtape, including a track from Big K.R.I.T., who’s crispy southern rhymes were a fixture on my iPod this summer. This latest track, titled “My Interpretation”, shows K.R.I.T. in peak form, spitting over another smooth, self produced beat. The lush production’s classic soul elements make it ideal for slow summer driving; the subtle but powerful bass and brushed drumbeat could make anybody feel badass. Lyrically K.R.I.T. doesn’t break any new conceptual ground, but he spits the standard up-from-nothing cliches with creativity and passion. Although it doesn’t soar to the anthemic heights that “Country Shit” did, “My Interpretation” gives me high hopes for “Summer Sampler”.

Big Krit // My Interpretation

Tracklist after the jump: (more…)

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Because I am Still Alive

Posted in Hip Hop by jawillisetc on August 16, 2010

So, I could tell you that I haven’t been posting because I’ve been busy (Breaking Bad isn’t going to watch itself you know), but really I just haven’t had much to say. For a while there all I listened to was Big Boi and Janelle Monae, and frankly there’s nothing for me to say about them that hasn’t already been said. Buy Sir Lucious Left Foot The Son Of Chico Dusty and The Archandroid immediately if you haven’t already, they are excellent. There, now that I’ve told you what you already know, I’ll try to talk about something more interesting.

I think I’ll work in descending order of obscurity, starting with the relatively heavily hyped Shabazz Palaces (last.fm top listener woooooo).

Shabazz Palaces

Gunbeat Falls // Of Light

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Bite Size

Posted in Dubstep, Electronic, IDM by jawillisetc on July 25, 2010

Alright, this one is gonna be really short because I just posted one already, but I just got this album and can’t help myself.


Lorn-Nothing Else
Lorn is signed to Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label, but he sounds less like Flying Lotus and more like Nosaj Thing, which is fine by me. Basically what he makes is a heavier, darker, more industrial influenced version of Nosaj Thing’s music, and because I love Nosaj Thing, I also love this.
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Something Different

Posted in Punk by jawillisetc on July 23, 2010

I appreciate friendly dudes gently strumming acoustic guitars, I really do, but man, we’re sorta suffering a glut of the gentle/acoustic/ folk stuff here at malleus&incus. Nothing personal guys, but don’t you ever get tired of all that….prettiness? Frankly this is all just too damn pretty for me, I need some filth, some juvenile cynicism, some fucking Big Black.

Steve Albini, in addition to engineering some of my favorite albums (Surfer Rosa), writing in several ‘zines, and generally being an asshole, has fronted several bands. Although he was a member of both the adorably named Rapeman, and Shellac, which is still active, my favorite Steve Albini project by far is his work with his first band, Big Black.

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Stuff that people have posted on my wall

Posted in Lo-fi by jawillisetc on July 16, 2010

(In honor of lo-fi this one is extra sloppy)

There’s plenty to criticize about Facebook. It voraciously devours time, convincing people that the mundane minutiae of their lives are apparently so interesting as to be worthy of broadcast. I know it keeps me from doing my homework, because hey, maybe somebody posted new pictures from their vacation? And ooh, I should post on their wall! But despite possibly destroying my ability to function as a human being, Facebook has supplied me with some excellent music.

Not just excellent music, I’ll go so far as to say it has supplied me with two of my favorite albums of whatever arbitrary time period you want to apply. Of course this is just another way Facebook destroys what little productivity I had before, but hey, at least this one is fun.

P.S. Elliot

Broken record//The Bike Wreck Demo

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Wherein the author appears to have started a strong course of antidepressants

Posted in Hip Hop, Instrumental Hip Hop, Mashup by jawillisetc on July 7, 2010

I’m worried my last post may have given people the impression that I’m a bitter, sullen and generally not well-adjusted guy. I swear that isn’t the case most of the time. I’ve been happy plenty of times. I have fun, I do fun things.

For example: I’m in a tree.

Today I bought a box of Capri Sun (Tropical Punch) from the Shaws about a mile down the street, pulled out one of those bulging silver sucrose pouches, and climbed a tree. It might be a maple tree; it looks deciduous. I don’t really know.

Botany is boring.

Anyway, sitting in a tree, drinking Capri Sun, listening to music. What music?

The Avalanches.

Since I Left You//Since I Left You

I’m not sure how a group called “The Avalanches” managed to produce that particular nugget of concentrated carefree summer sunshine. I suppose the name is less about snow than about the overwhelming flood of samples that went into producing the album. Or, since they’re Australian, maybe they just have no idea what an avalanche is. Either way, there’s nothing even remotely cold about the stuff. (more…)

Music to listen to while you are stuck in Vermont

Posted in Dubstep, Hip Hop, IDM by jawillisetc on July 1, 2010

My name is John Alan and I hate Vermont. Seriously. Sorry to any readers that happen to live in or have some special affinity for our great nation’s most prodigious producer of maple syrup, but that’s just how I feel. Besides, odds are we don’t have any readers from Vermont because as far as I can tell NO ONE FUCKING LIVES HERE.

I should probably explain my vitriolic outburst, because for one thing it’s sorta bad form to hate on an entire state in your introductory post, and because this is the part where I actually tie my tangential intro into something vaguely music related. Anyway, I hate Vermont because I am stuck here for the summer and it is aggressively, relentlessly verdant and gorgeous. For Realz Yo. Vermont has the kind of scenic views that don’t just make you want to go outside, they get up in your face about it. The blue sky and leaves gently rustling in the wind make me feel guilty every time I’m not hiking or something, and I resent it.

As the scion of a long line of contrarian assholes, I have spent the past several weeks expressing my contempt for my beautiful prison by listening to only the most alien and unnatural music on my hard drive. Being just nerdy as all hell I have plenty, and expect more posts in this vein, but the three artists that I’ve kept coming back to lately are Chris Clark, Burial, and Orphans of Cush.

First off, Chris Clark. Signed to Warp, and if you’re anything like me that’s all you need to know. But just in case you aren’t, listen to this.

Clark
http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=viewImage&friendID=95890983&albumID=413554&imageID=15645414

Herzog//Body Riddle

Matthew Unburdened//Body Riddle

Now, the occasional familiar chime or stringed instrument may trick you into feeling comfortable with Clark, but don’t be fooled. This stuff is alien; even the samples that haven’t been filtered and sped up beyond recognition have a distant and unsettling quality. These tracks come from Body Riddle, from 2006, have a great subtle electric buzz all over them, like the hum of a power supply or something, that puts an extra layer between the listener and the music itself. It’s the sort of buzz that if you heard it while walking around outside, you would hunt down the source, but then be afraid to touch it.  Everything about this album is processed and unnatural, from the drum sequencing the orchestral samples, but it has a paradoxically inviting quality. This music, while unsettling and unpredictable, by virtue of existing suggests that the bizarre and synthetic can be beautiful.

Speaking of fuzziness, how about Burial?

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