France’s El Boy Die constructs his tunes like a film composer, creating expansive, cinematic music that evokes mood and imagery in equal measure. For his new album, Black Hawk Ladies & Tambourins, releasing 26 October on Semprini Records El Boy Die decamped to Montreal to work with the likes of Herman Dune, Yeti Lane, Cyann & Ben, Zombie Zombie, and Valleys. It’s all part of his attempt to deconstruct psych-folk and the results are intriguing to say the least. Today, we present the premiere of the first single, “Dead Kings,” from Black Hawk Ladies & Tambourins. Check out the mesmerizing, tribalesque drumming.
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Out of focus more than in, this video starts out with Close Encounters tones and then proceeds to circle around video pixelated images, reflections of faces, obscured shadows, and disfigured animation of the members of PVT nee Pivot. Quite a good tune with convulsive percussive fits and pointed low-end sine wave propelling a song that’s the kind of hard-edged synth-driven pop music that all but disappeared from this culture after the crash and burn of industrial at the end of the previous millenium. PVT are releasing a digital remix EP for the track with versions by Nathan Fake, Seekae, Dorian Concept, and Danimals.
In some ways, Nellie McKay is the quintessential New Yorker. She has the insouciance of the sophisticate and the naïveté of the innocent all wrapped up in an exuberant package. One can easily imagine her as the model of that lady standing in the harbor beckoning the huddled masses to greener pastures. Judy Holiday would have played McKay in the movies, if McKay would have been born 50 years ago.
Therefore McKay’s appearance on WNYC’s Greene Space radio program on a Tuesday afternoon to an appreciative crowd of mostly metropolitan denizens made the audience feel like they were right at home. She even brought her mother along. McKay sang three songs from her most recent release, Home Sweet Mobile Home, with a three piece band and accompanied herself on both ukulele and piano. She explained the reason behind the title of her album to the radio emcee, who said as a New Yorker, he was mostly unfamiliar with trailer living. (The Mobile of the title refers to Mobile, Alabama as well as a transportable abode.) McKay charmed the radio audience with her combination of wit and straight talk, in true Gotham wiseacre style that bespoke an authentic personality whose art comes directly from her heart and mind. Luckily, the show was recorded.
There’s always a very real possibility that a band like Matrix Metals are just television score muzak made palatable by Ariel Pink’s economical use of home recording in the former half of the previous decade. At least the TV Carnage psychedlia of the videos provides a visual argument that this was indeed some of the weirdest music that had ever been produced.
It’s been a tale of two princes in English theatre this year, with Rory Kinnear’s take on the Dane at London’s National vying for first place with John Simm’s interpretation at Sheffield’s newly revamped Crucible. Simm’s angry, witty, spiky Hamlet has received mixed reviews, but he and a strong supporting cast succeed in bringing out the rich humour in what is undoubtedly one of the most psychologically complex of Shakespeare’s plays. Eminently quotable and reworkable, too—I counted at least five film titles in there…