Jon Hopkins

Patience. Give it a moment of your time. You need a break from your lightning paced life. Breath in. Hold it. Breath out. Repeat three times. Now that you’ve fed your brain a healthy dose of oxygen, feed your head a healthy dose of ambient beats courtesy of Jon Hopkins, pianist, composer, self-taught producer. At once his compositions soothe and haunt. Audio rorschach tests, you hear what you are, where you are, where you want to be. Hopkins merely holds a mirror up to your soul—you decide what it means. The break down at the end of this track signaling a break from tranquility, or a break for lunch. Me? I’m always up for the latter.

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The Notwist

Amazing it’s been six years since The Notwist’s break-through album, Neon Golden. Time flies. And in the meantime, these Bavarian boys have kept busy bloodying their fingers in a variety of pies like 13 & God, Lali Puna, and Ms. John Soda to name a few. The Devil, You + Me, their sixth album (out domestically today) in twenty, yep, twenty, years, opens with this solid, extremely listenable track, “Good Lies,” in which Ascher, in his signature casual delivery, sings this platonic refrain: “Let’s just imitate the real until we find a better one.” If you enjoy gentle melodies flavored with large dollops of electronic gadgetry and a sprinkling of orchestral arrangements, then you won’t likely find anything much better than this. The last offering here is another fruitful pairing of The Notwist with a member of Oakland’s hip-hop collective, Anticon.

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Benjy Ferree

An interesting tidbit about Mr. Ferree to start things off, he’s Domino’s first American worldwide signing. Meaning, I guess, that Domino’s British mothership is finally warming to the American music scene. And Benjy Ferree’s got a solid, old fashioned, back porch, red, white and blue sound running through his songs. I can almost hear someone blowing into a moonshine jug in “Why Bother,” and a washboard player would fit in just as well. “Private Honeymoon” waltzes along nicely with the sounds of the West Coast’s neu-folk folks. Ah, it’s probably the playful, beatles-esque romp “In The Countryside” that’s got the label giving Benjy the green light for worldwide domino-ation. His tour of the Midwest and East Coast starts tomorrow with the Archie Bronson Outfit.

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We like to keep this main column on 3hive filled exclusively with brand, spanking new posts. But in this case we’ll make an exception. You see, Psapp (pronounced “sap,” fyi) was one of the very first posts to this site and we’ve carefully followed their progress. Galia Durant and Carim Clasmann, aka Psapp, are consistently one of 3hive’s most popular artists due, in large part, to Grey’s Anatomy fans searching for their song “Cosy in the Rocket.” The good folks at Domino have released THREE new MP3s, two from the new album The Only Thing I Ever Wanted, and one, “Wet Box,” which is a vinyl only b-side on their UK release. “Wet Box” is a more playful song, along the lines of their first Melodic tracks, filled with “anything that’s silly and uses stupid noises” (the band’s words). The album tracks work in Galia’s sultry vocals, for a feel that snuggles right up to “Cosy in the Rocket.” So get downloading, because you never know how long these links will last, and hit their e-card for details on their upcoming North American tour dates with Juana Molina and José González.

Hi [MP3, 3.6MB, 128kbps]
Tricycle [MP3, 2.6MB, 128kbps]
Wet Box [MP3, 2.8MB, 128kbps]

Original post: 02/23/04
Sounding like the best eclectic electronic comp since 2002’s Six Records Breaks Your Heart Again. The first track, “Difficult,” is from that comp, Tracks for Horses. The second track, “Dad’s Breakdown,” isn’t as strong, but fun nonetheless. They’re super lo-fi MP3s, Melodic’s definitely not showing much of their hand, but damn, can they pick ’em! Check out labelmate Pedro as well…

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(A reminder: Tune in tonight at 10pm PST to hear Mark from Music.For-Robots and myself go mano a mano for what’s sure to be fine musical joust.)

Anyone remember the movie Judgment Night? Yeah, me neither. The soundtrack’s a different story. It paired up Sonic Youth with Cypress Hill, Dinosaur Jr. with Del the Funky Homosapien, and Teenage Fan Club with De La Soul. Two great genres that go great together: indie rock and hip hop.

The album’s really burned in my mind however because back when the album hit I’d just been promoted to Music Director at a commercial alternative station, and a young, eager radio promotion rep at Epic Records, Stu Bergen (hi Stu!), attempted to cut his aggressive promo teeth by yelling at me for an hour demanding my station report Epic’s “single” in heavy rotation or something. Back then playlist reporting was all theoretical because there was no way for anyone to tell exactly how many times a radio station played a song, but Stu was out to impress his higher-ups, and impress them he must have ’cause he’s been breaking bands, taking names, and running promotion departments for Island Def Jam and Columbia Records (and here I sit blogging away…). I don’t even remember the fate of that Judgment Night track, but I do remember Stu and I breaking bread at Smith And Wollensky’s, A Steakhouse to End All Arguments. And end them it did. Stu and I have been pals ever since.

Now that I’ve bored many of you to tears, and awakened a raging midnight snacking, back to Clearlake: between this remix by Nobody and the recent remix of Against Me! by Mouse On Mars, I sense another remix trend bubbling among the indie rock world. I’m sure there’s plenty more out there. Use the comments to let us know about your recent favorites.

And yes, I realize I’ve said absolutely nothing about Clearlake. More demo tracks from their forthcoming album are available here.

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Beautiful New Born Children

Proof that bands DO get signed from unsolicited demos. And I’m happy to give bands a couple tips to do just that: 1) Write and record a few damn good songs. 2) Know your audience. Don’t send your death metal band (do people still actually listen to death metal?) to March Records for example. 3) Believe in magic, ’cause you’ll still need a little of that and a lot of luck.

Oh yeah, the band. RIYL: ADHD inflicted XTC on crack. And I mean that in a good way.

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Hood, well, they are simply one of the greatest. Hailing from Bristol, England, Hood have been putting out rural noise-pop (much like Flying Saucer Attack was rural psychedelia) since 1994’s epic Cabled Linear Traction. I say noise-pop ’cause they go from beautiful noise to pop and back again. Unfortunately for us, the only MP3 available from their brand new LP Outside Closer is at an unlistenable 48 kbps, so our selections cover an older range, from “Her Innocent Stock of Words,” one of my personal favorites from 1996’s Silent ’88, to softer fare like “Cross the Land.” Many more rare and miscellaneous MP3s are available at the sites listed below.

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Ulrich Schnauss

German, twenty-something with a veritable cornucopia of aliases. If you follow the reverse chronology of music represented here you’ll notice that Mr. Schnauss finally came into his own, name and music, after an early output of more than competent drum ‘n’ bass. On his latest work, A Strangely Isolated Place Schnauss composes lush, atmospheric tracks that’d fit like bricks into My Bloody Valentine’s or Chapterhouse’s wall of sound.

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Some 3hive history for you: Dan Snaith, a.k.a. Manitoba, was the inaugural posting to this site. Today Snaith announced that he was legally forced to change his nom de plume, hence Manitoba has been reincarnated as Caribou. I was hoping this announcement would coincide with a release date for his new album. No luck. Sounds like he’s only halfway finished. Sigh. Until then…

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Juana Molina

In Latino circles, this same Juana Molina is best known as the star of “Juana y Sus Hermanas,” an Argentinian sketch comedy TV series. In my circle, she’s famous for delicate, undulating serenades that are both timely and timeless. Talk about range…

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