Category Archives: New Music

Some of the best new music on the radio.

Monopoly Child Star Searchers | Dolphins Into The Future | Floris Vanhoof | Family Underground | Fairchild Chapel | 4/19

Oberlin College Concert Board Presents a FREE show at 9 PM on 4/19 at Fairchild Chapel with:

MONOPOLY CHILD STAR SEARCHERS (ex-The Skaters with James Ferraro)

Charles Berlitz, former agent for boy band, The Skaters, has been inventing landscape music for years, and runs his own productions company called PACIFIC CITY SOUND VISIONS. Engelbert and Humpledinck have raved that: `Monopoly Child Star Searchers is a fusion music, but not a fusion of genres of music, but t…hat of a fusion of the Stars, the Sun, and the Tschungle!` He has albums out on Olde English Spelling Bee, Rose City Aquariums Unlimited, and Blauwe Oceanic Records. Charles will be presenting to the East Coast his new sound `StarSwept`, which he explains as: “A memory blast of the beauty and evil that was experienced at the Spectacle of Light Festival in Salt Lake City 1988.” Expect immediate Hallucination. (Alec Baldwin)”

DOLPHINS INTO THE FUTURE (Belgium)

“(…) like Caspar David Friedrich, i bow my head in deep mahalo and aloha…. because there, at Kealakekua, i learned how important beauty is. it is that deep, beautiful pallet of colors. that heart of the metaphorical Cetacean Nation. that collection of water, coral reefs, cliffs, spirit, animals, salt, trees and waves. which made me resonate myself with the artist. it’s an egg, the artist that radiates either mystical realities or actual facts. sprung from the Olde Saturn. my music is a landscape. a ku’ono for your mind to hike in. for the exploration of a personal jungle. for the atonement of a world out there, above there, in there. a spring of harmonies. a bay of sound. a natural and abstract composition, rooted in romance and subconsciousness. Dolphins Into The Future has released albums on Kraak, Notnotfun and Release The Bats, and has upcoming releases on Aguirre, Experimedia, and Olde English Spelling Bee.”

FLORIS VANHOOF (Belgium)
“Filmmaker and musician Floris Vanhoof (Belgium, 1982) approaches the celluloid of his films and the electronic components of his instruments closely. Electronic circuits are vivified inspired by the liveliness of what happened around structural film and West Coast Free- and Tape music. With an arrangement of electronic gear and film- or slide projectors he searches for the essence and potential of multi media performance. Every concert becomes a hybrid form of projected images, an electronic patchwork and field recorded sounds. After releases on Breaking World Records and Taped Sounds his Vinyl debute came out on Ultra Eczema. A split with Dolphins Into The Future will be released by Experimedia and he’s now recording for Kraak.”

FAMILY UNDERGROUND (Denmark)

“Family Underground is a duo out of Copenhagen- Denmark. Formed as a trio in 2000 under the name F,.L.O.W.E.R- Aquiring the name FU in 2003, in recognition of the need to express a new way to bend and mend the traditions of psychic sound wich has been the creative core in the band. Weaving intricate layers of electric storms always with the love for pulsing rhythms. Inspiration and motivation throughout the whole existence of FU has been the will to try and explore some of the same questions what others before us has asked.”

JANDEK @ The 'Sco on Sunday 4/10

Oberlin College Concert Board presents:
A rare appearance by JANDEK.

JANDEK - The Living End (1989)
JANDEK - The Living End (1989)

Jandek is the musical project of an outsider musician who operates out of Houston, Texas. Since 1978, Jandek has self-released over 60 albums of unusual, often emotionally dissolute folk and blues songs without providing any biographical information and having only ever granted two interviews. Jandek often plays a highly idiosyncratic and frequently atonal form o…f folk and blues music, often using an open and unconventional chord structure. Jandek’s music is unique, but the lyrics closely mirror the country blues and folk traditions of East Texas.

Officially, Jandek is not a person. Albums and live performances are credited to “Jandek”, but the man on the album covers and on stage is “a representative from Corwood Industries”. Corwood is the record label; “Jandek” is the musical project. Both are directed by the same individual. The trinity of Jandek, Corwood, and “the representative” is both three and one.

The enigmatic musician has also been the subject of a feature-length documentary film, Jandek on Corwood, which features interviews with music critics, obsessed fans and musicians.

In an issue of Spin circa 1993, Kurt Cobain said “He’s not pretentious, but only pretentious people like his music.”

For this very special performance, the Representative from Corwood Industries will be joined by:

Aaron Dilloway (ex-Wolf Eyes, Hanson Records) on tapes/electronics/guitar.
Robert Turman (ex-NON) on tapes/electronics/guitar.
Peter Blasser (visiting Technology In Music And Related Arts professor at Oberlin) on tuba.
Austin Vaughn on drums.

$3 for students, $7 for the public.

Tickets available at Wilder Information Desk or by calling Oberlin College Central Ticket Service at 440-775-8169 starting April 4th.

Review: Kellarissa – Moons of Neptune

Kellarissa - Moons of Neptune
Kellarissa - Moons of Neptune

Kellarissa (nèe Larissa Loyva) is hardly a new face on the music scene, but she’s new to WOBC. An alum of P:ano, The Choir Practice, and Gigi, she’s currently on tour with Destroyer in support of her sophomore effort, Moons of Neptune. It’s a distinctive, keyboard-and-vocal driven album that immediately sets itself apart from, well, nearly everything that I’ve heard this semester.

The formula for these songs is easy enough: angular synth or vocal line is introduced, but it’s fleshed out over a normal pop-song timeframe (3 to 5 minutes). Apart from that, there’s room for a ton of variation. It’s a very sparse record – there’s little else beside Loyva’s dark soprano (multitracked), her synthesizer, and a drum machine, but the lack of bells-and-whistles means that her compositions take center stage. This kind of parsimony lends Loyva’s music a kind of slick, sleek quality. Rather than lumbering through these cuts, each one feels effortlessly crafted (a masterful trick, no doubt). Less is more on this album; Loyva seems to take sonic cues from Nico’s chilling organ opus The Marble Index, but not emotional ones. Rather than the Bergmanesque, nightmarish quality of Marble Index, Moons of Neptune has pleasant moments. Even the more unsettling moments – “Blood + Sand,” “Sisu” – don’t terrify in the way that Nico does.  That’s a credit, not a knock: her voice is flat-out gorgeous, and it’s a pleasure to listen to.

This is not a pop album, per se; there are choruses, there are hooks, but they don’t take center stage the way they would on other pop records. That’s not to say that the songs are subpar: far from it. Kellarissa knows what she’s doing, and she does it better than most people working in her territory. “Flatlands” is even radio-friendly. But unlike a lot of pop songs, you can’t fast-forward to the chorus – or even to another verse – without missing something interesting. Overall, one of my favorite releases of the semester, if not my favorite.

Flatlands – Kellarissa, from “Moons of Neptune”

RIYL: Zola Jesus, Juliana Barwick, Nico’s Marble Index

(Matt Orenstein)

Interview with Steve Lampert

Steve Lampert - Venus Perplexed
Steve Lampert - Venus Perplexed

Part of what I love about my show, Somethin’ Else, on WOBC is that I am able to share music of relatively unknown, and certainly under appreciated, jazz musicians with a diverse audience of listeners. This past week I featured the profound music of Steve Lampert on the show.

Mr. Lampert has two albums out under his own name. The first, Venus Perplexed, was released on Steeplechase in 2004. The second, Music From There, was released on Bridge Records in 2007. I do believe that both of these albums are essentials in any jazz or new music collection. They are vastly unique and exciting pieces of music.

I was also fortunate to be able to be in touch with Mr. Lampert to ask him a few questions about his music, which draws on very diverse influences. He very willingly responded and I am happy to share this interview with the WOBC community.

-Aidan Plank via WOBC Jazz

Aidan Plank: Is there anything you’d like the WOBC audience to know about your music?

Steve Lampert: I’d like the audience to know that it really means a great deal to me that they would take the time to listen to my music and/or read this interview.

AP: Do you think of yourself as a trumpet player or a composer?

SL: I think of myself as a composer/trumpeter in that order.

AP: I love your music and it also perplexes me (which is part of what I love about it). I can’t pin you down. When I hear a lot of musicians play I can often say, “well, this person has listened to a ton of so-and-so’s music”. When I hear your compositions and your improvising, I can’t do that. So what I want to know is, who influences, or has influenced your music?
Continue reading Interview with Steve Lampert

Review: Jessica Lea Mayfield – Tell Me

Last month, Ohio native Jessica Lea Mayfield came out with a new album called Tell Me. And at only 21 years old, she has managed to produce a third release that brims with both candid sincerity and sophistication.

I think that it is first and foremost her voice—one moment shaking and vulnerable, the next conversational, the next smoky and wise—that makes every line of these songs so compelling. Her lyrics are fairly straight-forward, usually speaking to some variation of loneliness and/or confusion. But her delivery and melodies make simple observations such as “I waited for the sun, but it never came out” (as sung in “Sometimes at Night”) feel at once heartbreaking and deeply profound.

In terms of production and instrumentation, Tell Me is far more adventurous than either of her two previous releases. Vocals are layered, as distorted or reverb-drenched harmonies of Mayfield’s own voice intermingle with the clear melody lines. Almost smack in the middle of the album, we get “Grown Man,” which kicks off with a catchy synth melody that recurs throughout, sitting comfortably on top of the song’s carnival-inspired keyboard line. The title track, “Tell Me,” features what sounds like a bird-call along with rhythmic, heavy breathing. In “Trouble,” chords changes are announced with the ringing of church bells. Even with all this experimentation, though, Mayfield and producer Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys) keep a consistent vibe throughout the record with grumbling electric guitars and swooping lap-steel lines that ground us in country and rock n’ roll.

You can get a free download of the single (and my personal favorite) from the album, “Our Hearts Are Wrong,” on her website, where you can also stream most of With Blasphemy So Heartfelt. Or, if I’ve already convinced you, click here to go straight to the store to buy either a digital download, a CD, or a vinyl copy of Tell Me.

Happy Ohio Spring, and happy listening!

-Lizzie Conner

Band on the Rise: Cloud Nothings

Cloud Nothings - Didn't You

On paper, pop music is in a kind of dismal state. It’s tough to find true innovators, and imitators are a dime a dozen. I don’t see it as a problem, though; instead, it presents a challenge. In order to make their marks, bands and artists need to find innovative ways of mimicry. Pop music has a lexicon, one out of which people can define their own voices.  A lot of current bands start off by showing you that they’ve done their listening homework, then showing you they can run with the lessons they learned from their favorite records. Best-case scenario, it’s a lot of fun to see where they land.

Cleveland’s own Cloud Nothings is one of those fun bands. In the last year or so, they’ve put out a slew of records that are as catchy as they are difficult to pin down. At the station, we’ve gotten the Didn’t You 7,” and the full-lengths Turning On and Cloud Nothings. Didn’t You consists solely of a pair of songs: the title track, and “Even if it Worked Out” on the flip side. The most striking thing here-–and on the albums as well-–is CN mastermind Dylan Baldi’s serious songwriting chops. These two songs are dripping with the same kind of effortless cool and combination of earnestness and devil-may-care panache that made both The Strokes and The Cars household names. Oh, and they’re catchy. Really, really catchy.

Didn’t You sets a high bar for the Cloud Nothings, and its one that Turning On matches. In particular, songs like “Another Man,” “Morgan,” and the title track have the shambolic, analog charm that’s quickly becoming a staple of the Cloud Nothings’ sound. It’s a consistently strong album, and that’s what’s so impressive for such a young band (sorry guys, it was going to come up sooner or later). There are songs that you’ll like better than others, but none of the songs could be taken as filler. Turning On shows Baldi’s range in a way that Didn’t You simply can’t (by virtue of its brevity). Both songs on the 7” come and go pretty quick (and merit repeating), but songs like “Hey Cool Kid” go by slowly enough to sink in.

The band’s most recent full-length — self-titled —  picks up right where Turning On left off. I’m hesitant to hurl an epithet like “mature” at this record, but for lack of anything better it’ll have to do. Powerpop gems like “Nothing’s Wrong” and “All The Time” have the same breathless urgency that made the 7″ and Turning On so charming, but songs like “Forget You All the Time” have a kind of elegiac, shimmering quality that offsets Baldi’s snottier moments. Sometimes Baldi pits these two styles against each other: “Understand it All,” would be another furious  romp  if it weren’t for Baldi’s nod to the Beach Boys’ textbook heartbreaker “You Still Believe in Me” seconds in. That Baldi uses the sour-to-sweet trick sparingly reveals a kind of poise rarely found in this line of work.

Whether or not Baldi’s breaking new ground is irrelevant. I could name-drop bands that sound like the Cloud Nothings for a while, and some of you could go on even longer, but it’s a pointless exercise. This early on in his career, Baldi seems primed to vault to the front of the powerpop pack on the strength of his innate knack for hooks, and his grasp of this sound. What’s scary is that he’s just getting started. (Matt Orenstein)

For more music, check out their Myspace

RIYL, briefly: The Cars, The Strokes, Dillinger Four, The Cranberries, and The Mice (Cloud Nothings of yesteryear)

Cloud Nothings – Didn’t You
Cloud Nothings – Even If It Worked Out