Week in Pop: Lee Scratch Perry, Dam Mantle, John Maus

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Montel makes a stand, lights up before

What a week it has been for popular culture folks. Controversial dancehall toaster Buju Banton got sentenced to 10 years for attempting to buy mad kilos from an undercover agent, the Morning Benders allegedly lost their bassist and Bono injured his back prompting U2 to cancel a series of megashows including their scheduled Glastonbury appearance. Pessimism is too easy when it comes to look at the state of affairs when we can see what our rising stars have been up to this week in no particular order.

The internet has been alive this week with the latest leak from Washed Out’s upcoming Sub Pop release Within and Without entitled “Amor Fati.” The name is Latin for “love your fate” and WO’s Ernest Greene does that seductive elongated breathing effect with his voice that will make your girlfriend/boyfriend dump you as they realize their fate in life is to start a 2009 sounding “chill” project in 2011.

Washed Out, “Amor Fati”

While we're in the “W” section, Widowspeak has anounced that their self-titled debut will drop August 9 on Captured Tracks. Raised in Tacoma, WA and formed in Brooklyn; the band juggles the town and country aesthetic while singer/songwriter Molly Hamilton's whispers slip between both an intimate awareness and unawareness of the recording. Woods's Jarvis Taveniere took on production duties for the band, keeping things relaxed, spatial, polished and the overused but yet somehow applicable adjective of eerie. The two album leaked tracks “Gun Shy” and “Harsh Realm” will sing sentimental nothings into your ear and take you back to the days of Hope Sandoval/Reid brother liaisons. Ah, memories…

“Gun Shy” by Widowspeak by forcefieldpr

“Harsh Realm” by Widowspeak by forcefieldpr

The debut LP from Gardens & Villa is streaming now as a gift from the wonderful people at Yours Truly. Be the first on your block to hear the G&V album before the self-titled LP drops Secretly Canadian on July 5. You can spot Gardens & Villa on their summer tour accompanied by Foster The People and later dates include Generationals.

From the heart of the Monterey Peninsula, Jimmy Moonboots premiered “Once in a While” this week proving that the life affirming, sun-kissed pop is often best made by coast dwelling visionaries.

Swiss born Sophie Hunger has started out on her Canadian Tour with Madeleine Peyroux this week and dropped the new track “City Lights Forever.” Ms. Hunger also has a headliner in New York City July 2 at Le Poisson Rouge, a few weeks before her self-titled North American debut is re-released July 19 couresy of Manimal Vinyl via Sony/RED Distribution.

Listen to “City Lights Forever” here via Sophie Hunger's bandcamp.

As our love for the new Gang Gang Dance album Eye Contact continues to grow, reggae inventor Lee “Scratch” Perry remixed “MIndKilla” to provide another layer of rhyme and some Latin American styled riddims. Gang Gang's Brian Degraw had this to say about Scratch's involvement:

I feel blessed…like ACTUALLY blessed…to have made some form of musical communion with LSP. I think about him a lot in day to day life but never really imagined our paths would cross in any other way. And I really have to give it up for anyone who gets handed a song about fear and turns it into a club banger about eating cops. Perfect.”

And here's Perry's blessing on the matter:

I did have a great fun in the studio in Negril (Jamaica) recreating the riddim. The ingeneers and people around also enjoyed the vibes and the great voice of Lizzi. All the blessings for the remix from LSP.”

Gang Gang Dance, “MindKilla” (Lee “Scratch” Perry remix)

If you haven’t heard the original “MindKilla,” we have it right here for you.

Gang Gang Dance, “MindKilla”

There is also a fun video by Shoji Goto of the Boredoms that presents a series of wild screen saver like effects that involve bouncing eyeball-looking spheres.

For those looking for a new kind of San Francisco Summer of Love, look no further than split 7″ from SF’s Dominant Legs and Melted Toys out now on the French imprints Atelier Ciseaux and La Station Radar. I also hear that the bands will be playing with Real Estate August 2 at the Independent. Consider it penciled into my datebook.

The new Crystal Antlers album Two-Way Mirror is due July 5 on the Antler's own imprint, Recreation Ltd. They also just dropped a hip little video for “Summer Solstice” to help celebrate the summer. Watch it here.

Tammar has signed to Suicide Squeeze records to release debut Visits September 20. Not to sound like Amazon.com or anything but if you like the Soft Moon, Tammar might be your new favorite flavor and a reason to look toward the light at the end of the summer.

The Soft Metals are planning a self-titled followup to their EP The Cold World Melts July 19 on Captured Tracks. Portland duo Patricia Hall and Ian Hicks blend poetry and cinematically-aspiring synths, as you can hear on the following taster “Psychic Driving”, a track that could have been a piece from the Lost Highway soundtrack left on the cutting room floor.

Seems like only yesterday we were talking to Jason Drake of Cassettes Won't Listen and today I want to share with you the video to the superb single “Perfect Day” from his upcoming Evin Spacey album.

Hess is More, the labor of love project by Danish provocateur/singer Mikkel Hess, is in the process of putting out an album called Creation Keeps the Devil Away on Nublu Records. Mikkel's music is like that Gleemonex pill from Brain Candy; one listen to the title track and you will find yourself escaping to your happiest electric keyboard memories while feeling compelled to be compulsively creative per the song's instructions. Creation Keeps the Devil Away arrives like a Power of Positive Thinking pamphlet October 11.

Creation Keeps The Devil Away (single edit) by Hess Is More

Be on the lookout for a wealth of material from Devon Williams this summer. On June 28 he is dropping his 7″ single “Your Sympathy” berfore he releases the follow up to 2008's Carefree; Euphoria, due August 30 all on Slumberland. What sets Devon apart from so many of his shimmering 80s 4AD guitar wielding Slumberland stablemates is his particular brand of “oooh oooh” pop hook recitations. Genius, never thought I would be so happy for the end of August to be here now.

Devon Williams – Your Sympathy by Slumberland Records

Oakland duo Sofía Córdova and Matthew Kirkland are Chucha Santamaria Y Usted and they are about to release their mini LP Chucha Santamaria Y Usted this upcoming Tuesday, June 28 via Young Cubs. The album is a conscious journey that documents personal tales of immigration processings to the founding of Puerto Rico set to infectious beats. You can enjoy a taste of Chucha's post-colonial readings through the rhythms of tracks such as “Fiebre Tropical” which bring the beaches of San Juan alive via the beat of the East Bay.

Chucha Santamaria Y Usted – “Fiebre Tropical”

Dam Mantle is making the press rounds to promote his upcoming We EP for release July 25 on GETME! Records. Check out the video and track stream for “Not a Word”, a song that features slowed down vocals and lazy sounding beats that remind me of the sound a rushing creek makes when the water crashes on the rocks and small pebbles.

As I consider John Maus's soon to be released We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves on Ribbon Music for record of the year contender, we can all enjoy the video for “Head for the Country.” The winter landscape doesn't make for summer ambience but it still makes for a great video put to those heavenly synths.

While on the topic of wintry videos, the folks from Vandaveer have a snow lathered good time video for “Dig Down Deep.” You can also catch them this Tuesday the 28 at Amnesia with Cheyenne Marie Mize in SF.

VANDAVEER – Dig Down Deep – Official video from Alter-K Musicsupervision on Vimeo.

Ever since SXSW I've been hearing a lot of hype surrounding Sundress of Denton, TX. I have caught myself playing their recent single “Derelict” on SoundCloud repeat, being super evocative of mid-90s guitar pedal au-go-go weirdness over a Brit-pop mock up haze. They have recently completed their debut EP Fever while a label bidding war is in effect for “discovery” bragging rights.

Sundress – Derelict by Low Life Inc

If you enjoyed Gold Panda's Lucky Shiner, you are going to love his latest single “MPB” that has been getting mad love this week. It's the sound of a bunch of a bunch of instruments being thrown a xylophonic hallway to the tempo of morning wake-up routines. Now playing at at mom and pop coffehouse near you.

MPB by Gold Panda

We have been loving Headless Horseman's “1CHRD (Blackbird Blackbird Remix)” and just learned about their appearance on MTV Desi’s Brownout, Live at NYC’s Pianos performing “Wavlngth” and “Sh8kr” to enhance and enrich your summertime vibes.



Dent May just dropped the single “Fun” as he ventures on tour with Real Estate. The “Fun” 7-inch single hits the shops September 13 via Paw Tracks and we are also told that some 100 limited edition cassettes wil be available at May's merch tables this July. Take a listen to the track that should be included on all of your summer playlists.

And finally a little something for your weekend with Austin's Potholder and the Lid that complains about going to work, ponders the age old of questions of “why can't Playboys models come to my house” and “why can't I get my drugs for free” while my complaints revolve around about paying over $10 for a six pack of Anchor Steam at the corner store when the brewery is just around the corner. But I digress, life is tough, so enjoy your weekend proper folks.