Posts tagged “indie rock

Bear Like Mouse | Update


My second album, Fugue, has been available for free on Bandcamp for two months now. But, in the interest of capitalism, I’ve decided not to be such a hippie about distributing my music for free and will be making Fugue available on iTunes, Rhapsody,, and a bunch of other middleperson websites.  That is, unless, I can find a label who wants to release this, which would really be ideal because it would bankroll the things I’m about to write about in a minute.

But first…

Why am I telling you?

Because, just in case you haven’t downloaded it yet, you’ve still got a three-ish week window to DOWNLOAD ‘Fugue’ FOR FREE.

So… wait, why do you care about the money?

Because, oh holy shit, you have no idea how awesome the third album will be.  And awesome shit ain’t cheap.

The Maw

Work on the third album has commenced. It’s ambitious. Possibly too ambitious. Principle recording will happen between a cabin with no electricity and a century-old lighthouse in Lubec, ME. After that, it will be back to San Francisco to finish the album in a studio.  By the way, Lubec is the Easternmost city in the US.  And, if you don’t count Hawaii, you can get much more west than San Francisco.

San Francisco / Black Girl

San Francisco is now the cave Bear Like Mouse calls home. It is also the home of some artists that have exerted the most influence over me.  Bands like Oxbow, Xiu Xiu, and Neurosis.  I also find that the fog nourishes me.

The first thing I did after moving here was finish Fugue. The second thing I did was hook up with Oakland-based DJ, Zoo Kroo. Together, we put together a nine-minute trip-hop single called “Black Girl” that is all about deep, focused groove. And an oboe.  Also a jazz flute.

I think it’s one of the coolest, and most trance inducing tracks I’ve done, and I include the Sleep, Pea single in that statement.



Top 30 Songs of 2010

Top 30 Songs of 20+10

I’m keen on Top 10 lists.  I knew going into this it was likely to be closer to a Top 20.  Then I did my best to limit it to a Top 25.  I finally made peace with a Top 30 list.  2010 was such an amazing year for music that I couldn’t trim this list down without killing off a lot of my darlings, as Faulkner would say.

Here are my 30 best tracks of 2010:

30.  James Blake – Klavierwerk

Ghostly, minimal electronic full of clicks, glitches, and possessed vocal samples.

29.  Sea of Bees – Willis

A sweet, sappy, and poignant song from an earnest and nerdy girl.

28.  Deerhunter – Helicopter

The only song I liked off of Halcyon Digest.  These Atlantans find the right mix of garage rock and psychedelia on this track.

27.  Mount Kimbie – Before I move Off

Eccentric British dubstep with some noticeably African influence.

26.  Phantogram – When I’m Small

Guitar heavy trip-hop that could pass for Portishead’s younger, punkier sister.

25.  Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – The Game Gets Old

Soul as pure as it gets from its reigning queen.

24.  Die Antwoord – Evil Boy

Both lovable and hateable, this song showcases their South African heritage with an interesting backstory of contemporary tribal circumcision.

23.  Four Tet – Angel Echoes (Jon Hopkins Remix)

A gorgeous and dreamy remix of an already phenomenal song.

22.  oOoOO – Plains Is Hot

Witchhouse hit the scene hard in 2010 and oOoOO are one of the finest examples of it with this creepy and rapturous song.

21.  Bonobo – All In Forms

In a wholly solid effort from solo jazz-tronic prodigy, Bonobo, “All In Forms” exemplifies the focus shown on his 2010 effort.

20.  The Joy Formidable – The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade

Lush, dreamy vocals from an otherwise bratty-sounding vocalist add a saccharine legitimacy to this synth-rock track.

19.  HEALTH – USA Boys

HEALTH’s single from their remix album, “Disco2“, hint at them taking an interesting change of direction from these noise-rockers’ earlier work.

18.  The Twilight Sad – The Wrong Car

Hyper-biographical Scottish rock from The Twilight Sad’s 12″, The Wrong Car.

17.  UNKLE – Caged Bird (feat. Katrina Ford)

Katrina Ford, formerly of Love Life and currently of Celebration, was born to work with UNKLE.

16. Balam Acab – Regret Making Mistakes

Mindblowingly sophisticated for a 19 year-old, Balam Acab produces progressive electronic music that draws from every wing of the modern indie-electronic scene.

15.   Salem – Sick

Hard drugs, prostitution, nightmare-ish rap, shittons of keyboards, and violently creepy vocals are all in the gossamer that constitutes Salem.

14.  Robyn – Dancing On My Own

The Swedish princess of pop demonstrates her intelligent and eloquent approach to an easily cheapened genre.

13.  Jónsi – Go Do

Sigur Ros’ frontman went solo for his debut album, Go.  This song sounds like summer.  (And gnomes.)

12.  Zola Jesus – Night

Zola Jesus hit her stride on her “Stridulum EP”. Coming from the dark, abstract shadows of her freshman effort, she puts her operatic voice and synthesizer to good work in “Night“.

11.  Crystal Castles – Not In Love (feat. Robert Smith)

Young electro-punks teamed up with The Cure’s Robert Smith.   What a perfect combination!  That, and he could totally be their grandfather.

10.  Caribou – Odessa


9.  Menomena – Tithe

Menomena takes a decided aggressive-guitar’ed approach to their angular and looped sound in this eager and severe track.

8.  Future Islands – Inch of Dust

“Call on me… I’ll be there always.”  This song is the close up on the bleeding heart that Future Island’s LP-about-a-breakup, “In Evening Air“, is about.

7.  The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio

These Brooklyn-by-way-of-Ohio troubadours keep shooting from the hip and singing from the gut.

6.  Darkstar – Dear Heartbeat

Hyperdub’s Darkstar shimmers in a diluted pond of other sub-par synth albums.  Conceptually more similar to a 60’s R&B album than a modern electronic album, Darkstar shows the restraint and emotional honesty that is extremely rare in the genre.

5.  Flying Lotus – Satelllliiiiiiteee

John Coletrane’s nephew, Flying Lotus, carries the Jazz torch high and is musically messianic across his entire Cosmogramma album.  FlyLo is running far in front of his contemporaries to illuminate the path modern, intelligent music is heading.

4.  Sleigh Bells – Infinity Guitars

Hella distorted guitars and bombastic, thump-heavy beats covered sugary, relaxed vocals from a knockout bombshell? Sign me up.  I’m not sure Sleigh Bells will ever be able to reproduce the innovation and originality of their debut album, “Treats”, but this effort alone will keep them remembered.

3.  Interpol – Try It On

Although it seemed to be a critical failure, Interpol’s latest (and possibly last) album seemed more honest and mature than any of their previous albums – replete with the sorrow and disillusionment a career like theirs can bestow.  Try It On shows their maturity and elegance as they keep precise control over this song’s crescendo.

2.  Beach House – Take Care

This song is the sound of a bursting heart and a gushing tear duct.

1.  Gonjasufi – Ancestors

When I first heard this song I was blown away.  Never had I heard something so unprecedented, bizarre, beautiful, and weathered as this track.  Gonjasufi, mystic desert wanderer, philosopher, sometimes yoga teacher, and perennially homeless-looking-dude’s coarse vocals seep into every crack of the beat, produced by Flying Lotus.

Best Albums of 2010 – Hope & Anchor Edition

2010 was one of the best years for music I can remember.  It seems like every week I was obsessed with a new record.  The year isn’t quite over, but since Radiohead’s album won’t hit shelves until early ‘11, I feel like this list is pretty safe from seismic shifts.

Top 25 Records of 2010

  1. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
  2. Future Islands – In Evening Air
  3. Beach House – Teen Dream
  4. Gonjasufi – A Sufi and a Killer
  5. Sleigh Bells – Treats
  6. Darkstar – North
  7. Menomena – Mines
  8. Interpol – Interpol
  9. The National – High Violet
  10. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
  11. Phantogram – Eyelid Movies
  12. Jonsi – Go
  13. Bonobo – Black Sands
  14. Salem – King Night
  15. Deftones – Diamond Eyes
  16. Kylesa – Spiral Shadow
  17. Caribou – Swim
  18. Die Antwoord – $O$
  19. Four Tet – There is Love In You
  20. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – I Learned the Hard Way
  21. HEALTH – Disco2
  22. Midlake – The Courage of Others
  23. Mount Kimbie – Crooks and Lovers
  24. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
  25. Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner

Top Three EPs of 2010

  1. Zola Jesus – Stridulum (EP)
  2. Balam Acab – See Birds (EP)
  3. oOoOO – oOoOO (EP)