The Crumb Pile + Brief Thoughts on Adding Value as a Music Commentator

Is this all I am to you? Words on a screen? Consumable content? If so I’m delighted you’re reading this, for one. And two, I would be achieving the basic goal for contemporary music media.

Contemporary ‘music media’ is an extension of the music-based lifestyles we buy into. Much of the time it’s forced positivity in the age of hype; a digital onslaught of quick consumable media reassuring our tastes, opinions, and associations to the point of borderline enforcement.

Hype-content, alongside its contrasting partner hate-reviews, is vapid. And this vapid content flows through our social channels at a torrential rate.

We’re consuming crumbs out of couch cushions to sustain ourselves culturally. While my love for the obscure and irrelevant has allowed Resident Sound to stand apart from other outlets, it only adds different crumbs to the pile.

How we reject our crumb pile outputs as music commentators is up to personal direction, but relies on one core element: providing value.

I know, I know. The bar is incredibly low here. You could say that’s the basis to almost all writing. But how to provide value as a music commentator in the most effective way possible still alludes me. I turn to critics, thinkers, and just about anyone who is smarter than me. Who brings value to my life? How do they do it?

Of all music commentators, a favorite of mine (and many, I hope) is music thinker and taste-maker Oliver ‘Oli’ Kemp, better known as Deep Cuts on YouTube. Kemp has slowly built a catalog of artist discography guides, genre introductions, reviews and discussion topics among other work. His passion and intellect surrounding his choices are both thrilling and insightful while remaining accessible for nearly any viewer.

DeepCuts is “a channel dedicated to music, for lovers of music” and is essential viewing for any would-be music commentator. Whatever lesson is to be learned here I’ve yet to fully embrace it to my own liking, but I hope to get there soon.

But like DeepCuts, the output at Resident Sound has dropped significantly, in part due to the jobs that pay the bills (or pay anything). It is more or less a 1-being team at the end of the day. But with this time I hope to discover what brings value to my life as a consumer and what I can in turn offer to you, the reader.

If you enjoyed this, consider checking out more +Brief Thoughts pieces on the Resident Sound blog.

Looking for a music recommendation? We highly recommend these:

REVIEW: Kaputt – Carnage Hall (2019)

REVIEW: Susumu Yokota – Symbol (2005)

REVIEW: Oxbow – Serenade in Red (1996)

The Gruen Effect + Brief Thoughts on Retail Relationships

What is the relationship between a commercial space and the consumer? The American pastime of wondering late night department stores; an ongoing surreal relationship between a commercial entity’s physical manifestation and the passive consumer, a cultural element encapsulated in the vaporwave school of art.

In a recent review of Maroon 5’s Jordi, music critic Jensen Ooi shares disdain towards commercial radio’s proclivity for any band once deemed successful. “You’ll get to listen to it when you’re forced to listen to it when it comes on in any public space…”

It’s true, in a way. The best of errands usually have an underlying lack of forced exposure. I know, I know. It’s hard to believe that something as flawless as top 40 radio and commercially branded playlists would fall to the subjectivity of music like the Roman Empire to the Barbarians (/s), but it’s true.

Bombarded by the unsocial of social media at nearly all times, further forced exposure brings us all a step closer towards going postal.

What happens when the lure of commercial pleasantries becomes a red-card in the ‘company to consumer’ relationship? It’s a dynamic based entirely in underlying desires and manipulation, albeit manipulation we’ve come to accept as a function of life. A commercial entity depends on luring in consumers to a passive state of comfort and excitability over products (think ‘homeyness,’ music, food courts, etc.). But a lasso of amenities can quickly become a noose of aggravation.

So how do we design the sonic landscape of commercial entities in a mutually beneficial way? Companies have sunk more money into this than I could ever imagine (though, perhaps not including the consumers’ benefits).

Twenty Thousand Hertz, an audio podcast about audio, explores these topics in their episode “Muzak,” written and produced by Carolyn McCulley.


You can listen to the episode here:


Make sure to check out Jensen Ooi’s work over at Turntable Thoughts, a blog with “a Malaysian-focus on music worldwide.”

The Best Hip Hop Collab That Hasn’t Happened (Yet)

Forget the Judgement Night soundtrack (I wish I could), what the world needs is collaboration between UK hip-hop greats Strange U and American industrial dub maker skintape (stylized in all lowercase).

Strange U

Strange U is Kashmere (MC) and Doctor Zygote (producer). First coming on the scene with EP #2040 in 2014, Strange U’s ability to take humorous imagery (The Cake is A Lie, Falcon Punch) and incorporate it seamlessly into the dark world they create is incredibly rewarding. Doctor Zygote’s minimal sci-fi beats pull from a wide variety of source material ranging from Dragon Ball Z to Throbbing Gristle. Strange U’s world is completely their own, but you know who would make a great addition?

skintape

Often overlooked from other regional scenes, North Carolina’s skintape pulls from industrial metal pioneers Godflesh as well as beat projects like The Bug and Scorn. skintape also took a lead role in creating Cenobites, an instrumental industrial hip-hop album created with electronic musician Badrich in which all sounds on the album are derived from the Hellraiser horror movie franchise.

Strange U and skintape’s fondness for industrial source material, dystopian sci-fi sound design, and their shared disregard for rap game antics would create a killer album. It’s the hip hop collaboration we need.

On second thought, the Sonic Youth / Cypress Hill team-up on Judgement Night wasn’t too bad.

First linked up top, we recommend Darren Paltrowitz’s article for Please Kill Me, JUDGMENT NIGHT: THE SOUNDTRACK THAT BLEW UP POP MUSIC

The Best Show No One Attended + Brief Thoughts on Non-Anglophone Music

A few years ago I made a point to work non-anglophone bands into my music listening habits. I started off picking a country. In this case Japan, as city pop was starting to blowup in the west and, let’s be honest, they’re some of the best pop records released in past 50 years. But what really drove me not only to start with Japan but to make an active decision to listen to non-anglophonic music was seeing the Japanese punk band X-L Fits.

As recounted in my review of Cal Folger Day (Ireland), it was another rainy Tuesday night. I worked at a record store that doubled as a show space. X-L Fits played to a room of maybe 7 people including myself and the owner of the shop. I was blown away, practically the best punk (or even punk adjacent) band I had ever seen.

The 5 attendees stood there beer in hand, watching these 3 guys grind and groan, rock and slam. They finished, the attendees left, and I had a brief conversation in which one of the members and I hand signaled and gestured the best we could to get across his beer order (PBR) and about how great the set was.

I bought all their merch, then X-L Fits packed up and left. I closed the shop and walked to my car, thinking about all the people who had missed out on such a life changing show.

It was at this moment I realized I was missing out as well. The barrier of learning another language, or even deciding which language to dedicate myself to loomed over me. I still haven’t made that decision (unfortunately), but I did make the decision to know more non-anglophonic music.

This was all stirred up again while reviewing Sophia Chablau e Uma Enorme Perda De Tempo’s self titled album. Their song Hello even toys with language barriers, or maybe it mocks monolingual English speakers (guilty).

But there is a world of music out there that is overlooked by American audiences due to language barriers. Why does that stop us? Even when people can understand the lyrics, the message is usually lost on most people willing to talk about their supposedly ‘favorite’ bands. Not understanding what is being said has never stopped monolingual audiences from enjoying music.

So pick a genre you like, pick a country you are intrigued by, and dive in. You’ll be rewarding yourself with more than you realize.

Wanna discover some non-anglophonic music right now? Here’s what we recommend:

Sophia Chablau e Uma Enorme Perda De Tempo (Brazilian indie rock)

Hazy Sour Cherry (Japanese indie)

Lyon Estates (Italian hardcore punk)

We also recommend the article Why Russia’s Indie Musicians Don’t Sing in English Anymore by Marco Biasioli over at The Conversation.

Take Our Survey on Sleep And Television!

Do you feel a close bond with your favorite TV characters? Are your favorite shows feeling like a dream? You can now help us explore ideas surrounding television and dreaming!

Whether you can’t fall asleep without the TV on or can’t imagine being near the thing, we would love your help with an upcoming article on Resident Sound. Our survey is hosted via Google Docs and your answers will remain anonymous. We don’t collect your emails, just your answers!

Take our survey: Television and Sleep – Resident Sound 2021

Enjoy this survey? Are you part of a TV show fanbase? Share this survey with your fellow TV show lovers!

A Proposal for 80s Worship

This post originally appeared on the 10th Dentist blog on Tuesday, March 4th, 2021. The following version has been lightly edited for clarity.

    As if standing in stark contrast to taco-laser-cat t-shirts and ‘millennial whoop’ overdosing (how noble), the rise of 80s worship in the mid-teens has brought back the worst of bad hair days and their musical counterparts. So if you’re looking to spice up your new-found identity or if you’ve finally realized that Africa by Toto isn’t worth it, than this list is for you!

Soft Cell – The Art of Falling Apart (1983)

    Soft Cell (a band that, yes, has released more than 2 songs) started in 1978 and rose to prominence in the early 80s with their hit cover of Gloria Jone’s 1964 single ‘Tainted Love’. But enough of that. 1983 would see the release of Soft Cell’s second full-length release The Art of Falling Apart and the glory of it’s titular closing track. ‘The Art’ is a song about drugs that isn’t trying to be anything other than a song about drugs. Big synth stabs and an under swelling reverb makes this a ‘no duh’ for anyone looking to dip their toes in the weird and wacky world of the 80s (FOETUS is only a few steps away from here).

Naked Eyes – Promises, Promises (1983)

    There is always something there to remind me that there were much better songs on Naked Eyes’s 1983 album Burning Bridges. The best album to ever be recorded at Abbey Road Studios (Flippant? Maybe. The truth? Definitely), Burning Bridges gave us great songs like its titular track, When The Lights Go Out, Fortune and Fame, and Voices in My Head. But it’s Promises Promises with its minimal production, back and forth melody, and vague funk influences that rounds out this album as one of the best closing tracks on a pop album ever. Naked Eyes is 2 British guys, a Fairlight CMI, and a lot of vague romantic dance tracks. Do I need say more? Well, except to clarify I mean that entirely as a good thing (in this case).

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – So In Love (1985)

     So In Love may not be stupid enough to meme-ify, but it’s an emotionally powerful song with all the melancholic nostalgia seeding you could possibly want. In this dreamlike state, you may feel as if your feet will lose rhythm to it’s smooth dance beat as you float away off the dance floor. Don’t worry, no modern DJ will be playing this any time soon, and your drinking that night will likely leave you face first on the floor. Look, were they a great band? No, not really. But if we’re going to collectively obsess over singular 80s pop tracks, OMD has all the trappings (and just enough good songs) to get a mention here.

Sharon Redd – Can You Handle It (1980)

    While you were busy fetishizing the 80s, disregarding the AIDS epidemic and the CIA starting a racialized drug war, black and/or queer people were out there making some of the best music of the decade. If you’re looking for peak 80s (in a good way), this is it. Just because it’s not Madonna-white doesn’t make it not so. So, can you handle it?

    You may think, ‘why Sharon Redd? Why not something even more 80s like Chaka Khan, Cherrelle, Evelyn King, etc.?’ Those artists are amazing, but they’ve all had second-winds in the age of music streaming and cock and bull ‘I grew up with this’ nostalgia boasts. Either way, if you’re a trend sycophant than you’ve probably stopped reading a while ago. So kick back and enjoy this 6min+ jammer.

General Public – Anxious (1984)

    Why are we culturally pining for the 1980s to begin with? Has sociopolitical pressures made us look for a ‘simpler time’?  Is it 70s babies grasping for a time that they were the forefront of commercial culture? Can we simply blame all of it on vaporwave and Stranger Things? Who knows. Maybe culture is dying. In a press-play world that awards content and volume over quality and craft, why would anyone take the time to enrich their lives culturally? It may be my upbringing that put General Public on this list, but if the 80s are relevant now, than a track like Anxious is more relevant than ever.

5 Twin Peaks Inspired Albums Worth Your Time

Twin Peaks inspired music is everywhere. By now, you’re probably well familiar with David Lynch’s 1990’s cult-classic turned pop-culture phenom. Whether searching for classic shows or just minding your damn business, Twin Peaks iconography is everywhere. Composer Angelo Badalamenti’s score would go on to influence the creation of doom jazz, inspired parody and thousands of musicians. Much like David Lynch, Resident Sound doesn’t like to be too obvious. So while you won’t see Xiu Xiu’s tribute album or the doom jazz stalwarts Dale Cooper Quartet here, get ready to strap in and hear 5 Twin Peaks inspired albums worth your time.

If you’re looking for a refresher, or better yet for someone to explain the entirety of Twin Peaks’ meta-narrative, well, Youtube channel Twin Perfect has you covered:

Now with that out of the way, here’s 5 Twin Peaks Inspired Albums Worth Your Time

1: Messer Chups – Twin Peaks Twist

Saint Petersburg, Russia’s Messer Chups are the campy horror surf scene’s crown jewel. Often interchangeable with Messer für Frau Müller, the band they originally spun-off from, Messer Chups’ Twin Peaks Twist is a 4 song EP of campy surf tracks. Starting with a slow then fast, off-and-on reworking of the Twin Peaks theme, the EP culminates on Eduard Artemyev’s theme from the 1974 Soviet Russian epic Siberiade.

2: Liquid Rainbow – The Blue Rose Sessions

In reference to Lil in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, The Blue Rose Sessions are a synth-heavy, spaced-out, post-rock extravaganza. Outside of just being Twin Peaks related (and tolerable), the album blends strange elements in a masterful way. Track Morning Joe mixes heavy vocoder-esque synths, jazzy drums and guitar, organ and banjo in such a way as to make itself almost as distinct as Angelo Badalamenti’s original iconic score. Pulled from the album’s listing on Bandcamp, “This album is inspired by the Art and visionary Genious of David Lynch and Mark Frost… …We’ll keep on dreaming and scrutinizing the Mysteries.”

3: Côte Déserte – Dale Cooper’s Case

Having more in common with its doom jazz predecessors, Dale Cooper’s Case is a piano heavy noir triumph. The half Saint Petersburg, half Moscow based duo Côte Déserte originally released Dale Cooper’s Case in 2011, and followed up the album with Strange To Look At Her. It Seems That… in 2014. Like the best (and all the rest) of doom jazz, the Côte Déserte Bandcamp page has remained more or less abandoned since 2014.

4: Silencio – She’s Bad

It says it right there on the tin, folks: “more music inspired by the works of David Lynch & Angelo Badalamenti.” But all you need to do is press play and the influence is immediate. She’s Bad is part Portishead, part April March, part Messur Chups, part… um… huh… Actually, the album is stylistically all over the place, and if there is any one thing it can be called it’s Twin Peaks-y. Get ready for some twangy guitar.

5: El Sonida De Reposa – Pink Room / Just You

To pick a Twin Peaks song so notoriously hated and farcical and then decide to to record and press it to vinyl as a single has to be one of the more interesting choices within Twin Peaks inspired music circles. But what else is there to say? It’s a good record. If you ever wanted to hear a version of Just You that didn’t include Twin Peaks most-hated character James Hurley’s high-pitched awkwardness, well, this record is for you.

Honorable Mention: Black Market – Welcome To Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks reggae dub, anyone…?

If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy Resident Sound’s Guide To The Fast Paced, Lighthearted World of DOOM JAZZ

In Memoriam: Cesar Alexandre, + Brief Thoughts on Legacy

The news was broken to me last night that Cesar Alexandre, the person behind Lindsheaven Virtual Plaza and Mount Shrine has passed away from coronavirus.

I never met or talked to Cesar Alexandre. I was well aware of their underground-classic 2013 release Daily Night Euphoria EP, at times serving as the high-water mark within vaporwave (at least from an outsider’s perspective). Lindsheaven Virtual Plaza was an early building block to vaporwave culture, strengthening the legitimacy and legacy of those that came before it while simultaneously expanding the potential and outreach of the genre as a whole.

The idea of legacy within music can be complicated. Usually a word saved for the most famous of artists. But Dave Brockie’s death in 2014 wasn’t lost on me, and neither was Randy ‘Biscuit’ Turner’s death to the Austin, TX scene when I visited nearly 15 years after the fact. In the same way, Cesar Alexandre’s legacy will not be lost on the vaporwave community.

The enrichment of our collective cultures depends on artists and the work they do, regardless of the medium or stylistic movements in which they work. And with that, let’s remember the legacy of Lindsheaven Virtual Plaza, Mount Shrine, and most importantly Cesar Alexandre.

“The night isn’t young anymore.”

*UPDATE 4/19/21* Proceeds from NTSC Memories by Lindsheaven Virtual Plaza will go to the artist’s estate. You can check that out here: https://tigerbloodtapes.bandcamp.com/album/ntsc-memories

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