Tony Castles are runaway kings of first-impression love affairs: they ride around on their dark horses with forlorn eyes, prompting women and men alike everywhere to drop on their knees and swoon. That was pretty much the story unfolding in my universe when I first saw them in Austin earlier this year. They sounded like top grade high school prom music for emotionally mature adults, which may offer nothing to stiffened hearts, but not us (you and I)—we are suckers for top grade prom music, obviously. I’m listening to the first single, “Black Girls in Dresses” and dropping all guards against music that’s infectious on the first listen. I mean, boyish lust for black girls in dresses? Sure, I’ll take that.
“Black Girls in Dresses” is off their five-song No Service EP, their first proper release coming out on Famous Class Records on Sept 21.
Download “Black Girls in Dresses”
As if I already didn’t have too many things to do, I will be writing casual posts on philosophy and science over here: The Parallax. As usual, you can get all of up my updates (i.e. music and everything else) on my twitter account, where I avoid boring you.
Oh and guess what, I’m getting ready to jump back into Secret Garden footage very soon.
An unedited assortment of photos taken in Baltimore with my phone. “Real” pictures will come later.
Artwork outside Current Space, the parking lot where Whartscape day show was taking place.
Sun-soaked new music* for making your Monday Morning smell like salt.
- “When They Fight They Fight” by Generationals
- “Lifted” by Lemonade
- “Bigg Boy” by Quiet Hooves
- “Endless Spring” by Houses
- “Real Love” by Delorean
- “Grip” by Hume
- “Tea Lights” by Lower Dens
- “Long Long Time To Go” by Wet Dog
- “Tell” by Brazos
- “All That Shit Again” by Squirrelhouse
*and the occasional old
Gakwer commenters, this one’s for you.
The new winning Rupee symbol picked from a public competition held in India appears to capture the outline of the Roman letter R, but this symbol minus the lower stroke is actually the Devnagari alphabet that produces the “ra” sound.
This “ra” alphabet with the addition of the “oo” vowel (to make it sound “roo”) has been in use for a symbol-like abbreviation for “Rupee” in Devnagari text. I’ve highlighted that abbreviation below, which is a sample of Fedra Hindi, a modern Devnagari typeface developed by The Indian Foundry.
Personally, I would have preferred the Devnagari abbreviation itself as the official currency symbol, but here is the breakdown of the new one:
The top stroke is part of the script itself—each letter has a stroke along its top edge, and each word is grouped by connecting these strokes (some letters have a broken stroke, as you can see in the Fedra Hindi sample set). A second stroke has been added to utilize the native stroke in making a double-stroke “we speak of finance!” gesture.
Interestingly, from a Western typography point of view, the symbol is top heavy, and it produces a visual discomfort. Add to it a Devnagari typography point of view, however, and I (very) reluctantly think “genius”: it forgoes the appearance of being neutral and asserts an independent identity of the Devnagari script, all the while modernizing the script with the addition of a single stroke to an existing letter and adding a pinch of “universalism”. But the visual makeup of this symbol simply cannot be grasped as intended without being familiar with the visual system of the Devnagari script (ask Emmanuel Kant).
However, this particular rendition of the Rupee symbol does not read like a professional typographical work, but then it’s meant to be flexible enough to be used in various typographic treatments, much like other currency symbols.
In summary, children, the new Rupee symbol is a bleak version of Mr. Tumnus: two flat horns with a profile of sturdy goat legs.
Best of new* music to make your Monday morning bounce. Download the huzzah.
- “Psychedelic Mice” – Weekends (Psychedelic Mice cassette)
- “Ups & Downs” – Blackbird Blackbird (Happy High EP)
- “Best in the Class” – Late of the Pier (Best in the Class EP)
- “Argentine Pears” – Experimental Dental School (Forest Field)
- “South Carolina” – Tennis (South Carolina 7″)
- “Bermuda Triangle” – YellowFever (Bermuda Triangle EP)
- “Little Brown Haired Girl” – Frankie & the Outs (Self-titled)
- “Make Time” – Dark Dark Dark (Bright Bright Bright EP)
- “David” – Yawn (Y.A.W.N EP)
- “Pirates” – Tony Castles
Cover image by Kevin Eder
*and the occasional old
Now that lo-fi twee pop is destined to hit ad spots and television shows before you can say Death By Audio, prepare for the inevitable return of unpretentious indie rock in the murky waters of Short Attention Span Music Industry 2014 (maybe).
For a break from “cool music” to “good music”, I’ve been revisiting 2009; the album is Phosphorescent Blues by Austin’s Brazos, mostly the work of singer Martin Crane. As a singer, Martin is comfortable swinging between weeps last wept by Jeff Buckley and wails last wailed by Andrew Bird, without staying in those territories for too long before frolicking in clearly what’s his own. As a band leader, he’s recruited musicians who can dress his songs the way he wants for their marching out in the parade. I assume the album was self-produced, but whatever the case, the production is pretty perfect (restrained, precise, cliche-free), and a whole lot mature than the misfortune some professional producers have bestowed upon several otherwise fine indie bands (however, a band must be held responsible for picking a bad producer).
A point of irreversible bedazzlement for me is the take on Adrienne Rich’s poem, “The Observer”. As it is, giving lyrics a rhythm that feels like its own flesh is a true achievement. But to take a beautiful poem, already immersed in its own rhythm, and to give it new hair, new nails, new blood, new legs, and still have it be the same girl turned into a certain kind of woman, is an extra achievement.
I hear new album is in the works, and I hope it’s more of the goodness, without the suffering of the second album syndrome. For now, I really recommend you add Phospherescent Blues (available in vinyl!) to your collection.
Jelly-bean hot-spring new* music to paint your Monday Morning a sugar-toothed yellow. Download the twinkie.
- “Lemonade” by Braids (Native Speaker)
- “A Cold Freezin’ Night” by The Books (The Way Out)
- “Safety” by Tune Yards (Bird-Brains)
- “Hospice Gates” by Lower Dens (Twin-Hand Movement)
- “Most Wanted” by Cults (Cults 7″)
- “Lawn Knives” by Gobble Gobble (Secret 7″)
- “Medulla Oblongata” by Buke and Gass
- “Apple Option Fire” by Hot Lava (Lavalogy)
- “South Dakota” by Magic Man (Real Life Color)
- “De Vienne A Paris” by Ödland (Ottocento)
*and the occasional old
Haze-glazed honey-supple new music* for making your Monday morning taste like sugar. Download the candy.
- “Be Brave” by The Strange Boys (Be Brave)
- “Marathon” by Tennis
- “Monster” by Magic Man (Real Life Color)
- “Glorylight And Christie” by Cotton Jones (Tall Hours In The Glowstream)
- “So Sorry, Girl” by Blackbird Blackbird (Happy High EP)
- “The Observer” by Brazos (Phosphorescent Blues)
- “Don’t Look That Way At It” by White Denim (Exposion)
- “We’ll Find Out” by Timber Timbre (Timber Timbre)
- “Bio Hassle” by Boogie Boarder (Pizza Hero)
- “Wehmut” by Josephine Foster (A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing)
*and the occasional old