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Pan•American is For Lovers

Mark Nelson redefined American post-rock in the ’90s with the underappreciated Labradford, and continues to pen exciting new additions to the drone/ambient canon via Pan•American. Cloud Room, Glass Room is Pan•American’s first album in four years, and sees the addition of percussionist Steven Hess into the fold, providing that intangible human element that helps largely electronic compositions from feeling too cold. The result is a new rhythmic muscle that could whet the whistle of fans of the presumably assimilated-by-the-Borg Boards of Canada. Lead track “Project For an Apartment Building” features a muted yet fervet percussive backbone only a couple steps removed from classic jungle breaks while pulsing, cycling aquatic synth melodies swirl about, in almost mathematical fashion, a canvernous and monlothic sonic space. Evoking images of distant lights and hypnagogic states, Pan•American offers up one of the best, most aerodynamic late night meditation anthems of the year. Cloud Room, Glass Room is out April 29 via the good doctors at Kranky.

Helado Negro Drops Invisible Life Today

Mercurial multimedia artist Roberto Lange perpetually keeps his spear sharp with interesting collaborations – from the much loved Prefuse 73 project Savath y Savalas to last year’s underrated OMBRE with Julianna Barwick. For his solo work, Lange truly couldn’t have picked a better title – Helado Negro, directly translated from Spanish as “black ice cream.” To wit, Helado Negro’s radiant sonic chill conduit is pretty doggone prefect for balmy summer nights.

Heavy shades of classic tropicalia, West Coast psychedelia, and analog-based electronica have always floated about Helado Negro’s balmy approach to subdued and glitchy pop. His latest though, Invisible Life, offers up a dash more cosmic funk. Propulsive lead single “Junes” broadcasts buoyant and loose aquatic space disco transmissions, perfectly capturing the nether-vibe between the space age bachelor pad and the club. As well, standout tracks “Lentamente” and “Arboles” showcase an even finer tuned sense of songwriting, with instantly hummable choruses and a broader palette of celestial tropical meditations.

To complement Lange’s persistent collaborative spirit, Invisible Life features Bear in Heaven’s Jon Philpot (a return-of-favor for Lange’s mixing of their sophomore Beast Rest Forth Mouth), Mouse on Mars’ Jan St. Werner, Devendra Barnhart, Matt Crum, and Eduardo Alonso. The result is a shapeshifting effort of both earthly and otherworldly beauty – his best yet.

Invisible Life is out today on Asthmatic Kitty.

And thanks to the good doctors at The Other Side of Life and Astro Black Records, you can catch him live with always excellent head music from Shedding.

Helado Negro with Shedding
Sunday, March 10th
Zanzabar, Louisville
9 p.m. / $6 / 21+ (Facebook event)


Stream Nerves Junior’s ‘Craters’

According to the good doctors of Nerves Junior, this EP is primarily a thirst-quencher for bigger and badder things coming in the pipeline. But it’s no placeholder, Craters is a fantastic three-song document of a newly reformed band slowly sculpting their own supersonic pop. “Goodnight Nobody” is the standout for me, but all of ’em are bangers. It’s out today, and you can stream it below. If you like what you hear, consider buying the high-quality MP3 download from Bandcamp and help get these guys down to SXSW!

And if you’re in the Louisville area, come out this Friday to the EP release show at Zanzabar with Jalin Roze, Introvert, and Montego. It’ll be a gas. You can also catch ’em earlier in the day performing on WFPK’s Live Lunch at noon EST, on the dial or online. I’ve asked that they perform a noise set in the middle to annoy listeners at the $150 level or above, but that request may go unrequited.


You are Listening to Chicago

Are you familiar with You Are Listening? It’s an online sound experiment that plants a bed of ambient music under police scanner chatter, providing a sort of experiential aural footprint of a city as a living, breathing entity. Imagine if you shifted the more aquatic tones of that experiment toward squealing, Albini-approved, sustain-heavy noise rock? That somewhat accurately captures the vibe of Teith‘s “Build Me a Tower and Give Me a Gun.” The static of their native Chicago catapults velvety guitars and janky percussion miles above the grid pattern, flying high with the likes of Fly Pan Am and Rodan. Teith features the incomparable Trevor de Brauw of Pelican and Chord, wife Lisa Shelley, graphic artist Billy Baumann and Joshua Grubman, all of whom seem to have enough affinity for the near west side neighborhood to name their debut Humboldt Park – a destination for buoyant space rock and good ass Mexican food. The catch with Teith is that they’re not around anymore… this is a long awaited debut released after their 2010 breakup. I think I can appreciate the Tarantino/Nolan nature of this career trajectory. Enjoy “Build Me a Tower and Give Me a Gun,” an instrumental that’s both majestic and, ahem, has teeth (sorry I had to), and stream the whole album on Bandcamp before you buy (which you should).


Oh Hey, Alright, New Wire

It’s been on Soundcloud for a couple of weeks, yet I’m just now hearing about this new Wire jam. Which means that someone is fucking up, or I’ve befriended/Twitter-followed the wrong people. When a legacy act like Wire still makes urgent and distinct music just like they did three decades ago, that deserves pervasive mention. To the former point, Change Becomes Us, their fourth post-reunion effort, culls from material and sound sketches originally written during their creative 1979-80 zenith. “Doubles & Trebles” appears on Change Becomes Us, out March 25th. Survey says it’s gonna slay.