Short Shots!

I’ve been finding a lot of fun tracks lately. Check out some new bands you might get into:

The Drums

WEARETHEDRUMS.COM | MYSPACE | MOSHI MOSHI RECORDS

Listen to “Let’s Go Surfing” + some remixes @ RCDLBL

The Drums are a Brooklyn indie band and this track is a sugary-sweet almost twee-pop ditty that’s really made for summer. Put this one on ice and pull it out once the sun sets up camp for a few months.

Chip Chop

CHIPCHOP.COM | MYSPACE | RUN RIOT RECORDS

Launch Blank

Portland-based duo Chip Chop is releasing their 5-track EP Lanch Blank tomorrow on February 2nd on Run Riot Records. This song is groovy electronic song with echoes and a mid-level melody circling itself.

Vitalic

VITALIC.COM | MYSPACE | CITIZENRECORDS.COM

Sea the Sea [Red]

Vitalic is a French-Italian dude that makes some pretty glitzy disco-pop. “Sea The Sea [Red]” is from his 2009 release Flashmob. You can read the Pitchfork interview and watch the video for his single “Your Disco Song.” You should also listen to “One Above One.”

M.I.A.: “There’s Space For Ol Dat I See”

M.I.A. quietly slid this video for “There’s Space For Ol Dat I See” onto Youtube on January 12th and called it a day. Just by word of mouth, more than 75,000 people have gone to watch the weird, alien-green LED freakout.

M.I.A.’s sounds like she’s singing through a tin-can telephone to a song she can hear coming from the side you’re on.

Enjoy.

“There’s Space For Ol Dat I See”

[link]

Plus, don’t forget to head over to the Etta Strange Blog Youtube Channel to check out some other cool videos like Birdy Nam Nam’s super technicolor psychedelic video for “The Parachute Ending” , Maluca’s sassy video for “El Tigeroso” and the mind-bending visual composition for Ligeti’s “Artikulation.”

You Now Have 27d To Make Yr Album.

So, check it out. Ettastrange.com is on the way but these things take some time, so be patient. I just can’t watch the world spin without putting some ink down about it, so I’ll be sticking around here until the great migration. Won’t you be my neighbor?

Today marks the beginning of the RPM Challenge – that’s Record Production Month. Here’s a full description from the site:

This is The Challenge – Record an album in 28 days, just because you can. That’s 10 songs or 35 minutes of original material recorded during the month of February. Go ahead… put it to tape.

It’s a little like National Novel Writing Month, (NaNoWriMo.org) where writers challenge each other to write 1,700 words a day for 30 days, or the great folks over at February Album Writing Month (fawm.org), who encourage artists to write 14 new songs in February. Maybe they don’t have “Grapes of Wrath” or “Abbey Road” at the end of the month, or maybe they do—but that’s not the point. The point is they get busy and stop waiting around for the muse to appear. Get the gears moving. Do something. You can’t write 1,700 words a day and not get better.

Don’t wait for inspiration – taking action puts you in a position to get inspired. You’ll stumble across ideas you would have never come up with otherwise, and maybe only because you were trying to meet a day’s quota of (song)writing. Show up and get something done, and invest in yourself and each other.

Anyone can come up with an excuse to say “no,” so don’t. Many of you are thinking “But, I can’t do that! I don’t have any songs/recording gear/money/blah blah blah…” But this doesn’t have to be the album, it’s just an album. Remember, this is an artistic exercise. Just do your best using what you have in order to get it done. If you have a four-track, become a four-track badass! A mini disc, a pro-tools rig, a Walkman, an 80’s tape recorder – use it. Do your best. Use the limitations of time and gear as an opportunity to explore things you might not try otherwise. If you can afford studio time in a “real” studio, fine, but let’s be completely free of any lingering idea that “good” records can only be made in a studio. If that were so, then all the old scratchy blues records or Alan Lomax field recordings that have changed our culture – the world’s culture – wouldn’t still resonate with us today as they do. Springsteen’s haunting classic “Nebraska” was a demo he did at home on a crappy machine. That album is fricking awesome. What label would put those recordings out now? (See: who cares) There are a million examples of this kind of stuff, but the fact will always be: Well written, honest music is compelling and undeniable no matter what it was recorded on. So put it to tape.

February will come and go whether you’ve joined in or not, but do you really want to be left out?

To recap:

• This will be fun!

• Ten songs or 35 minutes of recorded material, on a CD, mailed or hand-delivered by noon on March 1 (since March 1 is a Sunday, items mailed on March 1 will receive a March 2 postmark, which is acceptable). Make at least two copies, one to send to RPM HQ here:

RPM HQ
10 Vaughan Mall, Suite 1
Portsmouth, NH 03801
USA

…and then the second copy is for your regional listening party, if you plan to attend one. Listening party details will be announced soon!

• Recording can only be done in the month of February – no prerecorded songs.

• All material must be previously unreleased, and we encourage you to write the material during February too.

• Participating bands get their own page on the site, which you can blog to as much as you want. You also get access to the band-only discussion board, where you can swap ideas, resources, etc., and the ability to e-mail and private message with the other participants.

• All the completed albums may be put up in the jukebox on the website so people can check it out; conversely, if you’d rather not share your work with the public, then no one needs to hear it but us.

Write some instrumentals, split up the songwriting duties amongst band members, form an RPM side project, write songs on the piano or clarinet instead of your primary instrument, make that metal album you’ve always wanted to – buy a ukulele! Just do your best to make the best album you can. Be unafraid.

What if every musician you knew put their music first for 28 days?

What if you recorded the best song of your life?

What if the world was never the same?

What’s stopping us? Nothing. February is Record Production Month. You have no reason to say no, and nothing to lose.

BRB REALLY SOON.

The Etta Strange blog would like to officially announce its new plan to launch ETTASTRANGE.COM!!!

So, get on the train — when we return we will have more gems and jams, more treats and tracks and loads of exclusive interviews with some really, really cool artists and music-makers.

Also coming: Vera’s Vivid Disco: the mini-mag, Etta Strange patches, stickers, buttons and more!!!

So for now, dig into the content here – download more tracks, check out that interview, follow the link and get ready for some peculiar delights.

And let’s not forget the other ways you can enjoy the world of Lady Strange:

    

Whistle While You Kraftwerk.

KRAFTWERK.COM | ASTRALWERKS.COM

Today marks the release of Kraftwerk’s CD and vinyl box-sets. To refresh your memory Kraftwerk is the  mega-legendary German electronic band that formed in 1970 and has proceeded to rock the planet with supreme synthpop authority ever since. They were influenced by other great minds like Jimi Hendrix, Velvet Underground, and the Stooges. Other artists like Afrika Bambaataa and The Sonic Soul Force and Jay-Z have borrowed some of Kraftwerk’s riffs. Some think the band was responsible for the birth of Techno.

The box-sets are digitally remastered and include more artwork than the original releases.

Check out this excerpt from Pitchfork‘s interview with Kraftwerk’s Ralf Hütter:

Pitchfork: The Catalogue box is something that’s been in the works for some time. What were some of the issues that caused it to be delayed, and how are they resolved?

Ralf Hütter: I was involved in going through the visual archives from the printing studio, the old photographs and the original prints of the original designs for drawings and ideas for the original cover. And that wasn’t really fully worked out when The Catalogue was announced in 2004. We put out a little promo box, and then we toured quite a lot around the world over the last five years. But in between, we went into the archives [and] saw some of the artwork that was never publicized or published in this quality. And there was always something missing or we were not able to do the whole photo as it was planned. So now for the first time, you will see the original artwork in the way it was visually composed by us at the time. All original graphics and more photographs and drawings. And of course, they have been mastered and upgraded for 2009 mastering techniques. So it’s all up-to-date and we’re very happy with the outcome of everything, so now for the first time you’ll see Kraftwerk in the album packaging as it was, complete.

Pitchfork: With the original issues of the albums, why were you not able to realize your vision of it at the time?

RH: Well, it was foldout covers or not so many photographs or print allowed or the colors were messed up. So many mistakes. Like in America, they changed the folds from left to right. Things like that. There was just always so much bad quality and the CD was scanned down from vinyl so there was never really high quality involved. We were not really in control of that at the time, but now for the first time, we have been able to put everything together and then add those drawings or photographs or images or paintings that were not possible for us to put them in the album at the time, in the 70s.

…You can read the rest here.

Peculiar Places: E. Strange’s Most-Loved Virtual Haunts.

As an audiophile and blogster I have come to appreciate the spots and shops on the interweb that have gained my loyalty by making my jaw drop and my record collection green with envy.

1. Wax Poetics

WAXPOETICS.COM

Okay, W.P. is also a dope magazine but the site is also a great place to roam. This place hipped me to Betty Davis, Pharoah Sanders and so many other obscure, forgotten or barely known musicians. The best thing about this places is that they span such a breadth of eras and genres that you can’t bored, you can only get exhaust by all the giddyness. The photo art is amazing and robust, the articles are written with patience and great attentiveness. Expand the depths of your music knowledge and start here to connect some of the dots.

2. Dusty Groove America

DUSTYGROOVE.COM | MYSPACE

Vinyl vultures, try contain yourselves – it’s only a record wonderland. You can find your heart’s desire or gain a brand new lust sorting through the different types of music. They even have a bargain bin for those of us on a budget, you know? You can get Blue Magic, Stax Greatest Hits and Harleigh Cole for less than six dollars.

3. Mixtape Riot

MIXTAPERIOT.COM

Formerly Via Captain’s Crate, the crew decided to move all the jams over to Mixtape Riot. They have the hippest tracks, the coolest gems and the most happening videos. Go there – often.