2010FM - December Edition One

December is upon us and the backlog of new music has built up once again, so apologies but this is going to be a rush through the music that has grabbed our attention. There is a reasonable amount of copying from the promo material we have received to provide background so apologies for some of the 'loved up' words but the one thing I will say is everything featured is here because we reckon it's well worth a share!

The first entry in the Designed Entropy series features exclusive tracks by 4 different artists inspired from a common starting point - a book titled "Atlas of Novel Tectonics" by Jesse Reiser. As a cohesive unit, this EP explores the relationship between design, structure, and humanity. Released as a limited edition (run of 500) 7" EP on colored vinyl, one could loosely categorize the genre as electronic. However, each artists incorporates sounds and samples to independently build the landscape. Participating artist include:

Bomarr (of Restiform Bodies) [San Francisco, CA]
Meanest Man Contest [San Francisco / Los Angeles, CA]
Copy [Portland, OR]
Roman Ruins (drummer for Beach House & Papercuts) [Oakland, CA]

We have already covered Meanest Man Contest recently so we have a track from Bomarr which is powerful electro and Kraftwerk fans through to modern electo should check this out.

Featured Track: Exchanges Among Systems
Website: MySpace. Gold Robot Store.

Put five musicians together in a room and let them improvise. Hit the record button. What will you end up with? It could be a litany of shopworn clichés. Blind, bland stabs by hacks more interested in showing off their chops than in listening to each other, or challenging themselves. But what if the quintet in question is Mojo Mancini, five of the most diverse and in-demand players in the business, total pros who eat and breathe music even when they’re away from the studio or stage? Artists who between the five of them have worked with—and this is just a partial list—Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, Al Green, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, David Byrne, Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, Sheryl Crow, Buddy Guy, Charlie Haden, Levon Helm, Shawn Colvin, Bruce Hornsby, Joan Osborne, Madeline Peyroux, and Regina Spektor?

This is superb music don't just take our word for it...

Like Sasquatch, the five crack musicians who call themselves Mojo Mancini have seldom been captured on film…NY Magazine
New York noir doesn’t get any better than this..
Lucid Culture

Something this deep, evocative, complex and beautiful will NEVER get played on Top 40 radio.
Rosanne Cash

"Really cool vibe y stuff from some of the best players in the business.."
Rita Houston, WFUV
"What a great band! World class musicians who just got together and improvised a great record!"

Eric Cocks, WPKN

Featured Track: Carbulator.
Website: Official.

I know very little about Keith Canisius except that he is from Denmark and has a psychedelic dream pop vibe and he also has a new album 'This Time It's Our High' out now on Darla Records. Only thing to add is the song we received is really cool and well worth a listen as are the songs on his MySpace site!

Featured Track: The Beach House.
Website: MySpace. Darla Records.

And we quote - globalFEST (www.globalfest-ny.org), the preeminent springboard for global music in North America, has been exploring and presenting a deeply rooted, sonically diverse world to influential  North American arts professionals and avid music fans for eight years. Keen to find global performers—both veterans and newcomers—perfectly poised for wider notoriety, globalFEST throws one of the year’s best international music parties while expanding the horizons of musicians and audiences alike.

This year’s globalFEST comes to New York City’s Webster Hall (125 E. 11th St.) on January 9th, 2011 at 7pm. The one-night festival features;

-Chamber Music: Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal (U.S. debut)
-Creole Choir of Cuba
-Diblo Dibala
-Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole (NY solo debut)
-Mustafa Özarslan (U.S. debut)
-Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda
-Pedrito Martinez Group
-Red Baraat
-Rhythm of Rajasthan
-Yoro Ndiaye (U.S. debut).

 Having checked out some of the acts I think those who manage to attend are in for a real treat. Novalima’s Afro-Peruvian electronica, is just one dimension of the musical experience in store.

Featured Track: Ruperta Zeb Remix.
Website: Official.

OK some background - Verity, Equity, Acuity.

These are the meanings of the symbols in the Kressin family crest, and also the foundation of Neon Legion, the rock band based around German-born composer and multi-instrumentalist Philip Kurt Kressin. In a music landscape where many artists are concerned with shiny veneers over artistic content, Kressin demands that his work stand for something. With Empire, the debut Neon Legion album, he seeks to honor the values of his forefathers while crafting a sound that brings together elements of rock, electronic, and classical music, honoring his own personal tradition.

The Neon Legion philosophy is shaped in large part by Kressin's roots, as a descendant of German knights. He sees it as part of his mission to reemphasize values derived from the knights' code of chivalry.

Down to the music and this is really electronica meets indie rock and performed with a mixture of passion and precision. The vocals add a new wave element and the hole thing cries for being played loud!

Featured Track: The Sun.
Website: Official.

Bleu McAuley (better known simply as Bleu) is a well-documented early adopter of direct to fan initiatives, raising a massive $40,000 via Kickstarter to fund his recently released album, entitled Four. To reward his legion of dedicated fans, followers and friends, Bleu has partnered with American Songwriter to bring you the ‘Bleu Writes A Song for You” Contest.

Starting on Monday, November 15th American Songwriter (www.americansongwriter.com) will be hosting the contest, where fans are invited to enter by simply submitting their contact information. This acknowledges that the entrant wants to be considered for the grand prize of having Bleu pen and record a song solely for him or her. Three runner-ups will also be chosen for an autographed copy of the new album, Four.

Featured Track: Singin In Tongues.
Website: MySpace.

Phaseone is a producer from St Louis who is putting out a release on Lefse's 'Way Slow' series that finds him covering Soul For Real & Keith Sweat. The EP is released on December 14th and is yet another electronica piece that has gained our attention in the last few days.

Featured Track: Being With You
Website: Lefse Records.

Mixpak Records brings together influences from the worlds of club music, rap and indie rock under the shared roof of a common home.

Keeping with the label’s mosaic-like roster of genre-dipping artists, December 7th will mark the release of the all-girl Japanese post-punk quartet Hard Nips’ self-titled EP. This exciting addition to the Mixpak roster is just another example of the label’s inimitable reputation and diverse repertoire.

Hard Nips have arrived from the Far East, brandishing a riff-heavy, post-punk sound laced with the angelic straining from vocalist Yoko Sawai.

Whether playing parties for Vice Magazine or CMJ gigs alongside the likes of Sean Lennon and TVOTR’s Tunde Adebimpe, this Brooklyn-based four piece commands the attention of any room they play. Known for their magnetic stage presence and rowdy antics (on stage and off), these women are living breathing personifications of rock n’ roll. Along with the release of their four-song EP, Hard Nips will be holding a record release show at Cake Shop in NYC on December 7th.

These girls can rock, expect to hear them some more!

Featured Track: Release It.
Website: Mixpack Hardnips.

LA-based Holly Conlan just finishing up a national tour with Sara Bareilles. Here's what Sara had to say about working with Holly this year - "I met Holly a few years ago and fell in love with her as a person, immediately. Then I got to hear her music.  I was blown away by her songwriting as well as her smooth-like-honey voice. I knew she'd be a great fit for this tour because her songs are the perfect balance of whimsy and intellect... delivered by one of the coolest voices I've ever heard...and she's one of the hardest-working and sweetest people I've had the chance to meet. She's the real-deal."

We are also informed that 'Conlan, whose emotionally resonant album 'Fascinator' (Cloverbird) is out now, creates syncopated piano-driven songs with simple, yet deeply meaningful lyrics. With an affecting alto voice, Conlan uses her training in classical composition to write unusual string voicing and surprising rhythms. "Take the Blame" and "One Two Three" from 'Fascinator' are just a few of Conlan's latest songs that have appeared in hit shows such as 90210, Drop Dead Diva One Tree Hill, and Ghost Whisperer'.

I love the track we have to share this time around and I for one will be checking Holly's music out some more.

Featured Track: Stay.
Website: Official.

We have already featured Gwyneth and Monko this year with regards to their July release 'Good Old Horse' EP however their new record, Gwyneth & Monko, which was recorded at Old School Studio in Caspar, CA, will more accurately reflect what the duo sounds like live, which is somewhere between folky acoustic and indie rock. And it’s no wonder their new work sounds this way, as they’ve been on the road for most of 2010, taking weekends here and there to record. Guest artists Scott Southard on bass, Jimmy Gallagher on drums and Matt Cooper Borkenhagen on pedal steel and dobro, join Gwyneth and Monko on their self-titled album which will be released on February 15th, 2011.

Having had the chance to listen to the new album I can whole heartily agree with the promo that came my way, fans of Lucinda Williams, Jenny Lewis, Patty Griffin should love the new album. I have a feeling I will be reminding you again about them nearer the release date.

Featured Track: Get In The Sun.
Website: Official.

We are reminded that - Tummy Touch Records has been defying convention, resisting categorization and generally causing a scene, since their first record release 15 years ago in 1996. From the pioneering Balearic dance music of Groove Armada to the ultra hip indie pop of Tom Vek and cosmic disco rock of The Phenomenal Handclap Band the label’s unique sound is hard to pin down. The attitude, however, is obvious - a commitment to eclecticism, excitement and a having a bloody good time.

Tummy Touch welcome back Los Chicharrons, one of their very first artists back in the warehouse party days in London’s East End, for a brand new Afro Funk album to help celebrate the label’s 15 year birthday!
Roots Of Life (out 25th January 2011) is the fourth Los Chicharrons album from dance music’s own odd couple, Ramon Santana and Morten Hansen. They are both musicians, DJs and producers but their backgrounds couldn’t be more different.

Ramon was born in the Dominican Republic and grew up within earshot of the voodoo drums of Haiti (the birthplace of real trance). Relocating to Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the mid ‘60s, he gradually steered a course towards Corona, Queens, where a period of a rich musical development began.

In the early ‘80s Ramon’s DJing progressed apace, with regular shows in Dancetaria (where Mantronix were resident) leading to the inception of a club called Boomba Makao, operating out of three NYC venues: Giant Steps, The Soul Kitchen and Great Jones.

Morten Varano’s rich background is something of a contrast to his musical spar. Born in Copenhagen, he started playing piano at age 6, and at 14 began playing ‘indie-rock-techno-pop’ in his first band. Morten’s interest in dance music and sounds of a left field persuasion led him to the start up of a club called Lust in Copenhagen which formed the missing link in the evolution of Los Chicharrons when Ramon’s international DJ'ing excursions took him there.

The idea of Roots Of Life came to them when Morten traveled to Bamako in Mali. Mali might be one of the poorest countries in the world but it is rich with music and a great philosophy of life. They hooked up with local musicians and recorded some songs in Mali and in Paris with finishing touches applied in Copenhagen and London. The truly international culture clash that is Roots Of Life, with its irresistible blend of Bass Music, Afro Funk and House, will be filling dance floors around the globe in 2011.

OK loads of words - I defy you not to want to dance or at least jig about in your chair to the featured song!

Featured Track: Ma Do Nar.
Website: Tummy Touch.

Paul Dempsey has been the front man of one of Australia’s most successful bands, Something For Kate, with multiple Aria awards and nominations, who have released 5 gold and platinum selling albums.   Last year, Paul released Everything Is True in Australia, and received tremendous response.  The album was given 4 stars by Rollingstone, voted iTunes’ Album of the Year in Australia, and certified Gold.  Paul then packed up his guitar and traded the sold out shows and his Melbourne address for Brooklyn, and the intimate stages of New York and the US.

His award-winning debut solo album, Everything Is True, is out now digitally in the US and Canada. I am to late to mention his recent USA tour dates but give this guy a listen, this is evocative and classy folk rock music.

Featured Track: Fast Friends.
Website: Official.

Not long ago, Sonny Smith (Sonny & The Sunsets) survived a near-drowning off the coast of Northern California. The experience affected him profoundly and led to a wealth of output including a play, a novel, and a stack of songs. Sonny's critically acclaimed "100 Records" project is itself a direct product of Sonny's fight with the sea. A novel he began, Adelard the Drowned, broke into 100 pieces. Four of those pieces come as songs on this 7" e.p., each bound to the next by a twisted braid of water and death.

Through the fog and the haze, however, there lies in these songs a shared sense of redemption, transformation, or reawakening. Featuring appearances by Heidi and Grace of the The Sandwitches and a long-lost band called The Transients, this record features Sonny's songwriting at its strongest, staring death in the face. Perhaps, this is in part why the ocean gave him back. Recorded in San Francisco and mastered by Paul Oldham, each record includes a comic book, four full-color album covers, and a high-quality digital download.

The record will be available December 11th via Endless Nest, and the track we have to share may just draw you in to finding out more.

Featured Track: Throw My ashes from this pier when I die.
Website: Endless Nest.

Lets do the promo background first as it say's it better than I can - For Patty, Melissa, Scotty, and Travis, it really is a family affair. This foursome stretches their biological connections through to their creative tissue as the Dysfunctional Family Jazz Band (DFJB), an incomparable collective with a Jazz/Americana/Soul/Folk sound that, by all reasonable accounts, functions quite nicely, thank you. As the history of their marvelous and complex family relationships comes out in their music, it is clear that this is a community, a truly relational organism. The way they work, the way they live, and the way they make music is an expression of family, through and through.

The high-functioning dysfunction began when Patty Carpenter and Scotty Shetler were high school sweethearts a billion years ago, and, in 1972, had a daughter, Melissa Shetler. Then they split, and Scotty married Jill Gross, a lead singer in the band he was playing with. Now, Jill sometimes sings with them both live and in the studio. Patty married Charles Light, who manages the band, and, in 1990, they had a son, Travis Light, who at 17 moved to New York City to live with his sister Melissa and her husband Alan McCarthy. True to his family roots he is now living in California attending Jazz School.

What really matters as always is the music itself and with DFJB I am simply blown away. I just love the vibe these people create, the harmonies, the musicianship the whole thing is wonderful. If this is dysfunctional then I need never fear being regarded as dysfunctional ever again. Wonderful music.

Featured Track: Waterfalls.
Website: Official.

Again first of all the promo words - Alt-world songstress Manisha Shahane unwittingly launched her career as a performing songwriter when she hung posters around Central Square and invited friends to hear some of her original songs at the Cezanne Café & Bakery in Cambridge, MA on November 21, 1999. The coffee shop ran out of bread for sandwiches during what turned out to be a standing-room-only show. Afterwards, she sat on the piano bench and sheepishly passed around a mailing list “just in case I perform my songs again sometime.”

With dedication and consistency, Manisha has since made over 175 appearances as a performing songwriter and countless more as a guest or band member of other groups. Following the 2004 release of her debut album, "Peace in Progress," her shows garnered audiences in numerous cities in the US, as well as in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and London. Combining a coming-of-age in southern Virginia with her Maharashtrian heritage, Manisha’s performances are a musical collage of folk, jazz, and Indian traditions, featuring her original songs & compositions, as well as covers and special arrangements. She is especially drawn to the sound of the tabla, an Indian percussion instrument, which her father plays.

After shoveling more than 40 inches of snow following a Boston blizzard, Manisha (wisely) relocated to sunny Los Angeles at the end of 2005. Established clubs at which she has appeared in the Los Angeles area include The Coffee Gallery Back Stage, Genghis Cohen, The Mint, and Temple Bar, among others. She is equally comfortable performing in family-friendly environments such as schools, nursing homes, religious halls, & community centers, including LA’s Grammy Museum at which she performed twice in 2009. Manisha has also performed on college campuses, such as that of Wellesley College, Brandeis University, and Brown University.

For me the music is quite captivating, taking the featured track for example where the mixture of rhythms and the soothing and soulful vocals should clash but somehow work beautifully together. Her music is a little bit of Folk, Jazz, World, Pop, Rock however Manisha has her own distinctive and dreamy vocals that give her music it's overall identity.

Featured Track: Girls Gone World.
Website: Official.

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