The New Decay

for those who love myusik

Thursday, October 25, 2007

On The Decay

It's almost Halloween which means that tomorrow's show will be wholly dedicated to that glorious day before All Saints Day. Halloween is such a great time for a radio dj, as it gives you yet another opportunity to pull out all those artists who have attempted to add their voice to the whole Hauntology conversation currently going on (ie. Burial, Kode 9 and Space Ape, The Good the Bad and the Queen, etc...), as well as all those great artists obsessed with ghosts (ie. Ghostface Killah, The Unicorns + a bazillion other Montreal bands).

For myself, I'm going to focus primarily on Sunset Rubdown, for a few reasons. First of all, listening to their debut ep as well as Random Spirit Lover it's hard to think of a musician who conjures up more Halloween related images than Spencer Krug.

Secondly (and somewhat fittingly), Sunset Rubdown are playing the Albert on Halloween, which should prove to be a great show.

Thirdly, and most importantly, I'm focusing on the album because it's FREAKIN' AWESOME! I think Carl Wilson is dead on proclaiming Random Spirit Lover along with Sandro Perri's Tiny Mirror to be two of the most beautiful sounding Canadian albums released this year (I would also add Frog Eye's Tears of the Valedictorian to that list). Really, the album hasn't left my cd player since I first put it in.

Random Spirit Lover is easily a step above much of the other work Spencer Krug has been involved in (Swan Lake, Frog Eyes and maybe the first SR Ep notwithstanding). It's chalk-full of those 'I'll Believe in Anything' moments where you catch yourself singing along with all your heart. Particularly the tracks 'Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days' and 'The Taming of the Hands that Came Back'. However the strength of the album lies in the middle with 'Colt Stands Up, Grows Horns' and 'Stallion' which are absolutely stunning. They're utterly disturbing tracks based around complex song structures written in such a way they haunt you long after hearing them. They're like a sonic version of Cronenberg's awesome flick Dead Ringers. It's these tracks that mark a significant departure from the cock-rock tendencies of Wolf Parade, and the 'look we're almost like Frog Eyes' aspects of previous Sunset Rubdown efforts (not to say Shut Up I'm Dreaming wasn't a good album, it just suffered from a bit of an identity crisis). Spencer Krug has never written anything remotely this complex or fascinating, and it's an true joy to hear.

So tune in tomorrow at 2pm on 101.5 (you can also listen online at by the way)

Until next time.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More Perri, The Death of Indie Rock, Burial, and Van Halen Sucking

Links! Links! Links!

Zoilus chimes in on the beauty that is Sandro Perri's Tiny Mirrors today (and gives some love to the new Sunset Rubdown as well, which is a bit of a turnaround for him). It really is a great record. I don't know if I should say more on that though.

Sasha Frere Jones is stirring things up with a recent article for the New Yorker. It's well written, and I think his critique of so-called 'indie-rock' artists like The Arcade Fire (you could also add tons more; Battles, The National, CYHSY, Modest Mouse, The Shins, Spoon etc...) is dead on. However, I'd be interested to hear his thoughts on the infusion of noise and dub elements of other acts that fall under the indie banner as well (Burial, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Xiu Xiu, Wolf Eyes, Sun O))), etc...), and how that has reinserted artistic integrity back into indie culture. Backlash here and here.

K-Punk, is eagerly anticipating the release of the new Burial album. With quotes like this from the artist himself, I have to say I am quite excited about this as well;

'The sound that I’m focused on is more, you know, when you come out of a club and there’s that echo in your head of the music you just heard…I love that music, but I can’t make that club sort of stuff…but I can try and make the afterglow of that music.'

And finally Kevin Scott (of the Electric Muse, and Electric Tongue) posted this earlier, and it's so awesome I have to share. It's Van Halen playing 'Jump' recently with the keyboard accidentally tuned 1.5 semitones sharp. It would convert any Anthony Braxton fan instantly.

Until next time ...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sandro Perri Plays Tiny Mirrors

The last two weeks have been pretty good ones when in comes to new releases, with the new Jens Lekman coming out tomorrow, and the new Beirut which came out last Tuesday. The Beirut is particularly good. Zach Condon has matured quite well with this release, as he allows his band to be more involved in the creative process while also adding Owen Palette's gift of string arrangements to the mix. It's a good step in the right direction and I am very interesting to see where they go next.

However, as good as both the Lekman ('Opposite of Hallelujah' has to be one of the hits of the year), and the Beirut album are, the album that has hit me the hardest recently is Sandro Perri's first full length Tiny Mirrors which came out last Tuesday on Constellation records. The album is absolutely stunning. It features a Perri whose has long been dedicated to exploring interesting sounds and textures in music (see Polmo Polpo, Double Suicide or Glissandro 70 for example), now translating that into a more roots-based setting. He uses traditional folk/roots instruments (acoustic and slide guitars, lap steel, etc...) but in very 'un-rootsy' kinds of ways. Each song is constructed in such a way that it often appears to be going wrong. There are frequent mistakes, sounds that you think really shouldn't be there, and missed notes. Yet you still get the sense that this is the way it's intended to be. Constantly screwing up, yet still absolutely beautiful.

In order to accomplish this Perri has surrounded himself with an awesome backing band as the album features Drumheller (Eric Chenaux on guitars, Doug Tielli on trombone, John Jowett on euphonium, and Nick Fraser on drums) on most of the tracks. They add spectacular textures to an already well conceived project and it's truly fun to witness how it all plays out.

Then there's the lyrics. Sandro Perri has only recently begun having lyrics inserted into his music. Looking at the lyrics on Tiny Mirrors you wouldn't be able to tell. Rather than attempting to use words as a means to give a song further meaning ('this songs about ...'), Perri sees them as yet another tool to explore sound. His lyrics are about adding yet another texture to the music and comes up with lines that, while not making much sense on there own, completely fit in with the rest of the music. For example;

'And now it bursts into birthing song
You don't need a bird to give chirp to your song
And when your touch is a little too much
Energy doesn't need your lunch!'

All of this is to say that whatever you're doing tomorrow, make sure you have time to head over to Music Trader and check out this fascinating release. Or just buy it here It should definitely make your day.

Until next time...

Friday, October 05, 2007

The New Decay Attempts a Podcast

Well folks I've finally gone and created a podcast to coincide with both this blog as well as my radio show. I hope you will enjoy it!

This first podcast is going to be focusing around The Magnetic Fields classic 1999 release 69 Love Songs. The album is one that will stay on decent rotation in my household for years to come as it has a bit of everything. Some classic jazz, synth-pop, punk rock, show tunes and the list can go on, which I try to reflect in my choice of tunes for the podcast.

While at first glance the album seems to be focused around one key topic, love, in many ways it can be seen equally as an attack on that genre commonly known as rock (or Rawk as it is also sometimes referred to as). Stephen Merritt seems bent on reminding us of the beauty that can be found in other forms of music, and that rock is far too restrictive for its own good. Thus 69 Love Songs sits well among other great records such as Are We Not Men? We Are DEVO!, B 52's, Metal Box or even The Human League's Dare.

Whether or not you agree with him, it's hard not to enjoy this massive project of his. So without further hesitation the podcast...

Download here
1.) Louie and Ella: You Can't Take That Away From Me
2.) Odetta: Another Man Done Gone
3.) Harry Nilsson: Love Story (You and Me)
4.) Roberto Delgado and His Orchestra: Sugar Sugar
5.) Talking Heads: The Girls Want to Be With the Girls
6.) Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: Enola Gay
7.) The Smiths: This Charming Man
8.) The Discettes: 1 2 3 4 5
9.) P:ANO: I Felt His Presents/Round E'vry Corner