Friday, December 11, 2009
i've been a big fan of michael lau since i first bought the complete tom kid collection many years ago! he's having a big show in kuala lampur at H-5, and their new gallery space called ZINC. if you're in or near malaysia, check it out. i think this link on hypebeast is the best place to learn about michael lau's work. the nooka zen-h looks great on him huh? get yours here.
my obsession for noo things is best satiated with noo music and 2009 was no exception – i bought a LOT of new music to keep the nooka lab awash in sound! there is something for everyone in this list with the exception of country western, jazz and hip hop [we all love lil wayne here in the nooka lab, but there are other people far more articulate in hip hop than myself to write about what he’s been up to this past year]. the big change from the past 2 years of reviews: no bands from sweden or australia on the list. so here it goes, not in order of preference as i love everything on the list for different listening environments/mood.
Seek Magic by Memory Tapes
Memory Tapes is a recording alias of New Jersey-based Dayve Hawk, formerly of Hail Social. seek magic runs the gamut from ambient electronica to some tracks that are pure pop with sweet male vocals. the overall feeling is laid back and dreamy – you can work out, get work done, entertain a party, have sex or soundtrack a commute with this album.
The fame monster by Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga, also known as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, is an American singer, songwriter and performance artist. I am so glad the Gaga has written some tracks to highlight her incredible voice on this new release. also, she cites freddy mercury as an inspiration for her music but this was not apparent until the fame monster. the production is nothing less than what you would expect from this young yet seasoned music industry expert.
See Mystery Lights by YACHT
YACHT is one of the many creative alter egos of Jona Bechtolt, a musician and multimedia artist who embraces an eclectic but playful blend of electronics, acoustic percussion, and noises of all sorts. Psychic city gets my vote for most infectious and i dare say, adorable song of the year. YACHT reminds me of early B-52s in terms of the sense of fun the songs create with more of a no-wave new york vibe and sound [though i don’t expect anyone to remember the bush tetras].
Psychic Chasms by Neon Indian
Neon Indian is a band from Austin, Texas and Brooklyn, New York. The duo's music is primarily composed by Alan Palomo, also known for his work with the band Ghosthustler and as the artist VEGA. The band's other member is video artist Alicia Scardetta, who provides visuals to accompany the music. I was turned on to the neon indian myspace page by reuben wu of ladytron and was very happy to see them have a proper release this year. the sound is 70s and 80s chart pop put through a few tubes and tunnels which i guess makes it fit well into the electronic brooklyn sound of the past 2 years though there is something extra that keeps me coming back to it.
Further Complication by Jarvis Cocker
Jarvis Branson Cocker is an English musician and former frontman for the band Pulp. Through his work with the band, Cocker became a figurehead of the Britpop movement of the mid-1990s. i know i’m the king of anti-nostalgia but this could be an early 70s david bowie album if bowie didn’t take himself so seriously. very funny lyrics on i never said i was deep. love it!
Moondagger by Deastro
Deastro, Randolph Chabot’s alter- ego, has been playing music for more than a decade and has self- released more than three albums worth of, drawing his own album covers, and playing countless live shows in Detroit’s network of DIY venues. Randolph’s passion for music is contagious – you can hear it in the production of his carefully crafted pop tunes, and you can experience it live when he plays wearing googly-eye slinky gag glasses. the one word i would use is ebullient – seriously, look it up – it’s a great word.
Illuminations EP by Little Boots
Victoria Christina Hesketh , also known by her stage name/pseudonym Little Boots, is an English electropop musician. As a musician, Little Boots sings and plays the keyboard, piano, Stylophone and a Japanese electronic instrument, called Tenori-on. And there’s a freddy mercury theme here! Little Boots covers Love Kills by Freddy on her EP of fun electro pop! She is also a pleasure to watch live, she plays everything herself!
Music from the Atom Smashers by Kate Simko
Kate Simko is an American electronic music producer from Chicago, IL. Reflecting from her diverse background, Kate's music crosses genre borders, blending rich textures and intricate programming with funky synth lines, thumping bass and groove. 137 Films’ science documentary The Atom Smashers follows physicists at Fermilab – the most powerful particle accelerator in the United States – in their tumultuous search for the Higgs Boson particle, otherwise referred to as the “God Particle” and “The Holy Grail of Physics.” kate’s soundtrack is brilliant! perfect for a long drive or a plane flight, as well as tracks that can be the soundtrack for hip intelligencia everywhere. like i always say: the future is fuckin’ sexy.
Ay Ay Ay by Matias Aguayo
Matias Aguayo lives between Buenos Aires and Paris, djing, making music, performing concerts alone and together with Marcus Rossknecht with their project “BROKE!”. ay ay ay is more of a performance piece than an exercise in pop. when i listen to this album i imagine a march of unidentified jungle and forest creatures – heavy as elephants yet thin as a mantis.
Hollow Me by Yura Yura Teikoku
Yura Yura Teikoku is a 3-piece band from Tokyo's underground music scene centered around Kōenji. They have an eclectic sound usually described as psychedelic pop-punk. gosh, it’s almost prog rock on some tracks and a bit no wave on others. the simplicity of the line up, guitar, drum and bass, with very little post production compared to other albums on this list make it surprisingly refreshing, earnest and psychedelic. i should add that the band name translate to ‘the swaying empire’ in english.
Temporary Pleasure by Simian Mobile DIsco
Simian Mobile Disco is an English production and remix team. Formed from the ashes of Simian in 2005 its members are James Ford and Jas Shaw. this is my long-haul bicycle ride music and it would be my work out album of 2009 if i actually went to a gym. well produced club music – some house-y, some techno-esque. the real value-add is the variety of vocalist from track to track meaning i didn’t have to buy any other club music other than this for 2009!
other fun releases:
Big Fun by Towa Tei
towa tei was a founding member of NYC’s deee-lite who has since had a very prolific solo career. i think big fun is one of best albums to date with collaborations with greats like miho hatori on 2 tracks for all of you hungry for something new from this former cibbo matto member!
Alice EP by Immi (the link is actually a link to one of immi's other albums, since itunes does not have the alice ep)
immi is a electronica/pop act from japan. Alice EP has showcases all her strengths and is a good intro to this japanese artist.
latecomer of note: if you like the giorgio moroder sound of the 70s, then you will love the new project from lindstrom, lindstrom & christabelle: real life is no cool – it's "i feel love" meets vanessa daou! (my fave vanessa daou album from 2001 is linked).