Album Review: Ape School – Ape School (Counter)

apeschoolApe School – The Underground.mp3
MP3: Ape School – The Underground from Demo (2003)

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MP3: Ape School – My Intention (Yppah Remix)

A recent conversation with Michael Johnson of Philadelphia-based solo project Ape School revealed a frustrating truth: tastes, and therefore influences, are now running in ever-shortening duration.

In a feature article about his new self-titled release in Remix where he was asked cite his top ten biggest influences — a list which contained works by David Bowie, Scott Walker, and the Flaming Lips — Johnson’s was met with slack-jawed bemusement by the editors. Funny, as these works have traditionally been considered fairly standard fare for such inventories. So what’s a self-described “Todd Rundgren-ripoff” destined for in this day and age, especially when his most recent work is released by the subsidiary of a label that’s primarily known for its drum and bass pedigree?

The cut-out bin, apparently. Read the rest…

Live Review: Caverns Video Release Party feat. A Place to Bury Strangers, True Womanhood @ Rock and Roll Hotel (2009.06.05)

IMG_3651.jpgCaverns @ Aural States Fest

We’d prepared you for weeks and finally, this past Friday, the loudest bands in DC and Brooklyn combined for a night of earsplittingly beautiful rock and roll: the Caverns Video Release Party featuring A Place to Bury Strangers and True Womanhood.

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Live Review: Hilary Hahn Burns Blue in New Concerto at the BSO (2009. 06.04)

The Hypergiant of Higdon's Universe

The Hypergiant of Higdon's Universe

Whatever extraordinary things you’ve heard about Baltimore-native Hilary Hahn (Wiki) are true. I am probably the one classical devotee who’s never owned, borrowed, burned or downloaded a single track of Ms. Hahn’s playing, Brahms or otherwise. To experience her for the first time, live and seated four rows from the front, revealed she’s not a player…she’s a phenomenon of nature.

To have her precisely punctuate the intimacies and imagination of a composer new to me, Jennifer Higdon (Wiki), made for pure transfixion.

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Dan Deacon contest closes TODAY @ 5PM EST


You have until 5PM EST to enter your comment for free Dan Deacon tix this Saturday.

Have at thee.

Now with set times:

Club Room – Doors 8pm

TaxLo DJs 8-930 PM
Scottie B 930-1030 PM
G.E.M. featuring DJ Booman 1030-1130 PM
Thieves Like Us 1130-1230 AM
Martyn 1230-2AM

Main Room – Doors 9 PM

DJ 9-9:30PM
Awesome Color 9:30-10:00
Dat Politics 1015-1115
Black Dice 1130-1230
Dan Deacon 1245-145

Live Review: Man Man, Gogol Bordello @ Ram’s Head Live (2009.06.04)

186823226_lPhoto credit: Mike D’Ariano (not from this show)

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MP3: Gogol Bordello – Dying After You (traditional Gypsy song) from NPR’s All Things Considered on April 29, 2006

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MP3: Man Man – Van Helsing Boombox from Six Demon Bag (2006)

Fuck if Man Man couldn’t be more awesome. Read the rest…

MT6 Records: Part 4 – In the deep end…

mt6sampler2009Welcome Carlos Guillen, who will be providing an insider’s take on the Early 2009 MT6 Sampler, a decidedly different perspective from Zack’s fish-out-of-water scenario.  

Carlos is a longstanding performer of experimental music whose past projects include the fantastic Soihadto with Duff from Ace of Cakes.  His baby continues to be The Expanding Man, a dizzying instrumental showcase of aural textures from Carlos’ guitar and the instruments of whomever he decides to collaborate with (main collaborators now are DJ Tyler Quinn and Percussionist Michael Castor).

Carlos is also an owner at the Hexagon and runs sound there and every year at the High Zero festival (which he credits with originating a lot of his appreciation of experimental music).

You have to be a little crazy to climb into the rocket car of experimental music, both as a listener and as a performer. Experimental music is about taking risks – huge risks. There are musicians out there who gig regularly with no hope of radio play, no hope of mainstream label support, and no hope of selling records. These performers do what they do for radically different reasons than the mainstream performer; they have no traditional conventions to hide behind. More often than not, the experimental musician speaks a language that is very personal, so naturally, most people will be very turned off by what they do.

Experimentation can be dangerous – accidents will happen. Many experimental musicians relish their accidents, their train-wrecks. The payoff is when an experimental performer is allowed to show some real warts-and-all personal truth, and is able to find an audience who understands and appreciates them for it.

MT6 Records has been promoting such musicians for several years now. Most of their output simply cannot be understood without some knowledge of experimental music, some reference point with which to approach the music MT6 helps spread to the masses.

For those of us who do have such inclinations, MT6 is pretty awesome.

The Early 2009 MT6 Sampler should not be confused with the typical record label sampler. This is not a slick infomercial designed to tease the average listener to come into the world of MT6. This is a mixtape by MT6’s beer-swilling synth-destroyer NEWAGEHILLBILLY; it is a compilation of his favorite tracks from some of the label’s latest releases, and it is just as personal and freaked-out as MT6 itself.

Are you ready for some freak-out? Let’s hope so.

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Live Audio: Baby Aspirin @ Rufustival 2009 – Metro Gallery 2 Year Anniversary (2009.06.06)

Baby Aspirin @ Rufustival 2009Baby Aspirin
Rufustival; Metro Gallery
Baltimore, MD
June 6, 2009

Source: Peluso CEMC6/ck4(card)>PS-2>AD-20>NJB3
Transfer: NJB3>PC>SF-7>Wav>FLAC
Taper: Jeff Mewbourn (jm292@yahoo.com)

Download set archive in MP3 or FLAC format.

Streaming MP3s and video after the jump.

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MT6 Records: Part 3 – Jason Willett – The Sounds of Megaphone Limited

jasonwillett_thesoundsofmegaphoneunlimitedAlmost twenty years ago Jason Willett was plunking out the bass notes for Half Japanese, a band that would become one of the most celebrated cult heroes of experimental rock. Opening for Nirvana on their In Utero tour, being name checked by Thurston Moore in interviews, featuring guest appearances from Moe Tucker and Ira Kaplan, they certainly bore all the signs of being a major contender in that early 90s scene.

The Sounds of Megaphone Limited is mostly a collection recorded in 1995 and 1996, with some 2000′s recordings peppered in. Although the record features some help from Jad Fair, the sound is purely Willett’s, featuring none of the charming naivete of his first band, and in fact eschewing most of the more tuneful songs released under the name of Jad Fair and Jason Willett for the more abrasive and atonal end of his repertoire. Read the rest…

Down the Vine Vol. 6 – The True Vine these days…


The True Vine
3544 Hickory Ave.
Baltimore, MD

Telephone: 410 235 4500

open hours:
Tues. to Sat. 12 – 9
Sun. & Mon. 12 – 6

Hello! Good to see you!
This update brought to you by special guest Owen Gardner.

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Video Premiere: Caverns – “Dance You Son of a Bitch”



Download full video: MOV

The nature of music videos has been evolving just as fast, if not faster, than the nature of albums in the age of broadband and digital media. Now, even the most amateur videographer can pump out a video for a single of his/her band, damning any notions of style or quality to hell in favor for expediency, gimmickry and fast, viral PR.  But for Caverns’ first foray into this realm, things are very different.  Caverns have never been much for following the trends or current moods. Everything they do is meticulously planned, distinctive and shaped by discriminating taste and style, a watertight DIY ethos and a fun-loving outlook.

Now, they lay upon the world their first visual offspring, a music video for “Dance You Son of a Bitch” off their Kittens! EP.

The song is classic Caverns, a showcase of their signature modus operandi and lays plain their artistic manifesto. The razor-sharp, craggy edges of Hilliard’s scraping guitar riffs open the song with a shower of sonic shrapnel. Taylor’s suave, full-toned piano comes in and sets up fantastic melodic contrast, dripping into your ear like sweet golden aural honey. Hurt’s percussion comes in and ties it all together with a taut and coasting rhythmic bow, feeling almost relaxed if it wasn’t for the heft behind each hit. The spiraling, dueling melodies from guitar and keys build and build into an addictive riff before disintegrating. The video captures all this perfectly: tense and searching (but never ADHD-addled) camera work, alternatingly the smooth and the frenetic, prodigious and tasteful lighting (no surprise considering Caverns earlier live shows with extensive lighting) and was filmed and cut in-house by Taylor, who doubles as mastermind behind D dot Films.

This is a complete 1-2 punch when you consider Caverns has lined up Brooklyn-based wunderkinds A Place To Bury Strangers and fellow District-dwellers True Womanhood to play their video release show this Friday June 5 @ Rock and Roll Hotel.

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