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Best of NYC #17: Small Black

We continue our "Best of NYC Countdown", covering every day one of the artists that made our Year End Best of NYC list (a chart compiled by a jury comprised of local bloggers, music writers, promoters, record store personnel, DJs, and our writers and readers).

Brooklyn's Small Black is a duo (live there are more players involved) that creates synth-y lo-fi love songs (it sounds like love, anyway --- maybe they're singing about hate, but I doubt it) using a couple of casios and some beat machines. The vocals are the kind that, again, sounds like they're sung from a Fisher-Price microphone. But here, that sound definitely works (sometimes that sound is definitely annoying, as I'm sure you know).
Small Black works better than a lot of the other people rocking the "hot new old sound" of lo-fi because their melodies are just so damn pretty. Sure, there's some roughness and scratchiness with the way it's recorded (an aesthetic choice), but really when we talk about Small Black we're talking about beauty.
So just saying "lo-fi" doesn't give these guys a whole lot of credit. Gosh, I love pretty songs. Seriously, is there anything better in this life? Pizza is pretty good, but not as good as a pretty song. - www.ohmyrockness.com


Open Blog gems: El Jefe vs. Demons catapulted into...

Those who work in fields related to music reviewing are familiar with (and often allergic to) the celebratory phrases used by PR people to describe the artists they are trying to pitch for coverage. PR guys of course are doing their job by trying to make you believe that their artists are absolutely outstanding, often using ready made sentences that are supposed to have a certain effect: "catapulted the band into [something awesome here]" is one of the most abused. This is why we couldn't help but laugh out loud when our Open Blog users El Jefe vs. Demons introduced this fun/creepy video (that would benefit from a chorus by the way) with this blurb:

"This is the new El Jefe vs. Demons video for "Meant to be Creepy" which will be on the new album, which is yet to be titled. The video was shot & edited by none other than infamous filmmaker Joey Angerone, who has done many short films, music videos & documentaries. This album will be the follow-up to the debut album "Death, Blood & the Guts" which catapulted the band into obscurity. Enjoy the video & be creeped out!" - (as posted in The Deli's Open Blog - post your band's entries, videos, and Mp3s here).


Faded Paper Figures' Summer Tour

Los Angeles band Faded Paper Figures

Sometimes I get a bit jealous when my friends find great music before I do. Today I received an innocent looking email linking to Faded Paper Figures' album New Medium. If I had any doubt in my friend's taste in music, lets just say they were put to rest and I owe them a beer.

Faded Paper Figures fits nicely into downtempo pop with a bit of electronica. Pitter-pattering drum machines and synths sweetly fill in the gaps between the trio's guitars and vocals. R. John Williams and Kael Alden bring the musical muscle, but the real secret weapon is vocalist Heather Alden — her demure voice rounds the act out. There is a subtle dissonance and melancholy feeling to each song, but that should be plain to see when the band names influences like Morrissey, Radiohead, and Jon Brion (... speaking of Jon, he still regularly plays at the Largo here in LA).

The band is embarking on a small summer tour but still has a few local shows lined up. 7/28 @ Spaceland, 7/29 @ The Continental Room, and 7/30 @ The Glasshouse. I wouldn't pass them up.


Bandcamp Changing Its Business Model in Early August

I know a lot of indie artists out there use Bandcamp. Well, I just wanted to give you a heads up to upcoming changes to their business model. Like what happens to all cool free shit, it’s time for Bandcamp to figure out how to make money off this idea to remain “sustainable long-term”. These changes won’t be starting until early August. The basic service will remain free. However, Bandcamp will begin taking 15% of every transaction. Their rate will drop to 10% when your all-time sales exceed $5,000. Your initial rate (based on sales to your PayPal email address, not your Bandcamp account) will be determined by all your sales to date. (If you’re a label and have multiple artists all using the same PayPal account, your rate will be calculated by looking at the combined sales of your artists.) For a truly independent artist, it still beats most record deals. - Q.D. Tran


Mose Giganticus Drop Latest Album on Relapse Records in North America

Mose Giganticus’ latest album Gift Horse is available in North America today on Relapse Records. The follow-up to the band’s 2008 EP Commander! was recorded at Skylight Studios (Circa Survive, None More Black, Turmoil) with engineer Vince Ratti. Being one of the casualties from The Khyber’s recent fallout/summer break(?), Mose Giganticus will be celebrating their record release at The Fire on August 13 with Monolith, City of Ships and Constant. - H.M. Kauffman


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