Boy Eats Drum Machine – Hoop + Wire
Boy Eats Drum Machine: “Hoop +Wire” DL
Boy Eats Drum Machine is the multi-instrumental project of Jon Ragel based in Portland, Oregon. Ragel writes the lyrics, sings said lyrics, mixes, and plays the saxophone, and is on the super-hip Portland-based label Tender Loving Empire. It’s filled with upbeat songs, strongly recalling both classic afro-rhythms and new wave vocals. Despite these influences, one thing is clear: this is a post-internet, post-Garage Band album. Hoop + Wire is an eleven-track expression of Ragel’s love of electronic percussion and his passion for working the turntables. It is so intricately arranged, so clearly personal, that it becomes almost a completely different animal when heard over speakers as opposed to headphones (the manor in which it was undoubtedly created). The beats for Hoop + Wire are upbeat and danceable (“Constellation” in particular, is three and a half minutes of unbridled fun). The arrangements are layered, unexpected, and skillfully executed. Unfortunately, the lyrics are often esoteric and uninteresting, and seem to awkwardly coexist with the digital cornucopia he has so carefully put together on each track. It is clear that Ragel’s passion and talent lie in beat making and track mixing. Hopefully future efforts will improve on this, and he’ll figure out how to do more by doing a bit less.
Sounds Like: An LCD Soundsystem/Vampire Weekend mashup
Listen To: Constellation, Lolo Forest
Listen to more of their music at Myspace page.
Climber – The Mystic
Climber: “I Have Seen Everything” DL
Climber, also from Portland, Oregon, is kind of a weird band. They don’t tour (they’ve got families), they wear costumes (themed outfits?) on stage, they consider themselves an electronic outfit, but create music just a touch more conventional than most in that genre. They manage to sound like everything and nothing you have ever heard before. Undoubtedly, they are quirky. The Mystic is a tightly arranged album of inviting songs that blend all the things we love about electronic production without sacrificing songwriting or vocals. The album feels like a soundtrack, seamlessly transitioning from scenes of joy or conflict (“Flying Cars”) to ones of sadness or contemplation (“Gladly I Would Leave”). It has a potential hit in “I Have Seen Everything,” a confrontational track that can stand up to repeat listens better than most. “Integration,” a happy and lyrically impressive track that sounds like a Talking Heads B-side, distills all that they do well. It proves that you can make something so original (read: a little weird) while still recalling something so familiar.
Sounds Like: Robots Thom York and David Byrne
Listen To: I Have Seen Everything, Integration, The Simians Speak
Listen to more of their music at Myspace.