Week in Pop: Woods, Mountain Man, Toro y Moi

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This week you had your pick of the litter in the world of pop music. Beyoncé and her girls were running the world and campaigning for the best video of 2k11 (or all time), Pet Shop Boys re-released their live work “collaboration” with Robbie Williams (with full orchestral accompaniment to boot), and it took the New Yorker to act on a tip from Complex to conduct an interview with the ever-elusive Earl Sweatshirt (like Navy Seals deployed into action on a courier’s lead). Surely there are more pressing civic and humanitarian issues out there in the world, but we can put those on the back burner while we explore the week in pop in no particular order.

In festival news, I got the run down for the SF Pop Fest. There lineup's featuring The Black Ryder, Blackbird Blackbird, White Arrows, Wolf Feet, Dominant Legs, Aberdeen (of Sarah Records fame, reuniting after who knows how long),The Motifs (Austrailia), Sweater Girls, The Undertones, Allo Darlin', the Mantles, The Smittens, a Slumberland showcase with but not limited to: 14 Iced Bears, Phil Wilson (indie legend of The June Brides infamy), Neverever, the Art Museums, Devon Williams, Brilliant Colors, Terry Malts, Sea Lions, Kids on a Crime Spree, English Singles, plus DJs Kid Frostbite & Scott Brewer, Let's Whisper, Mark Monnone (of The Lucksmiths), the Panduhs, Potion, Eternal Summers, the Beets, Catwalk, Seapony and many more to be announced. Check out the SF Pop Fest website for times, venues, schedules, etc. In the meantime enjoy this playlist for your enjoyment.

Get ready to reich n’ roll around the bunker with lo-fi enthusiast Edmund Xavier and cohorts with his outfits Teenage Panzerkorps (or DER TPK if you prefer) who have released a compilation available on their bandcamp called KAUF NICHT VON TPK C32. Get it on this weirdo circus that sounds like all that raw 60s garage proto-punkers being fed through a Wurlitzer organ effect filter. Case in point, DER TPK’s “Destroy the Future” extols the “no future” idiom through its own buzzy means of distorted destruction.

The alter ego of DER TPK (including everyone, sans bassist Boy True) is Horrid Red. The ‘Red’s sound is less fuzzy, more clearly pronounced, slightly more attention gone into the production caliber but all the post-punk attitudes and Germanic affectations are intact. Their new EP Silent Party can be heard and purchased on their bandcamp:

Before Gardens & Villa take off on their tour with the Generationals, they want to first share “Black Hills” with the world. If their upcoming Secretly Canadian debut LP release date on July 5 wasn’t enough cause for buzz, the single and video for “Black Hills” encapsulates all the aesthetics of high art, drama and indie electro hijinx to give you something to look forward to on the hung-over day after this 4th of July.

Gardens & Villa “Black Hills”

Headless Horseman has just dropped a new track called “1CHRD” (Blackbird Blackbird Remix) to get you pumped for their NYC shows on May 28 at the Brooklyn Bowl with Delicate Steve, for Deli Mag's Best of Emerging Artist Fest as well June 4 at Glasslands Gallery. Listen to rich electro action here:

Headless Horseman, “1CHRD (Blackbird Blackbird Remix)”

Woods has some kind of crazy summer tour planned with the Fresh & Onlys, Ducktails, Kurt Vile and White Fence on various dates. And as custom would have it, Woods has released their latest cut from Sun and Shade in stream-only fashion, called “Out of the Eye.” Check here for tour dates.

Female vocal trio Mountain Man are making the tour round this summer in continued support of their Made the Harbor album released on Partisan Records. Their music reminds me of organic three part harmony vocals that you might hear up in mountainous rural communities or a segment presented to you by Garrison Keilor on the latest A Prairie Home Companion. Mountain Man looks forward to seeing you, or in their words: “We will be singing in your town soon and would love to say hello, eat some greens or meet your parents.”

Mountain Man, “Play It Right”

The Lightouts are making some fun 90s revivalist fare for us. Heralding from Gowanus, Brooklyn; the Lightouts make tunes the way all the gods of rock used to, back when Sonic Youth told us that 1991 was the year punk broke.

The Lightouts, “And It Comes & Goes”

It seems like every time we get to this point in the week I have to say something about Soft Moon. So for this week here it is: Check out Incase and Room 205’s final installment of Soft Moon's performances, with “Dead Love.” I hear they got Ted Leo up next for a performance due June 6.

Toro Y Moi has some kind of massive tour in the works along with a whole bunch of artists to name drop into your ear. Allegedly he compiled it in bed, wow, how alt slacker is that? Download the mixtape here:

Toro y Moi “Made in Bed” mix

While we continue our countdown until the release of Unknown Mortal Ochestra’s debut album June 21, the boys have officially leaked the single “Little Blu House” through all the necessary channels to make sure it reaches our ears. “Little Blu House” has all that pop and hiss stuff that gets contemporary music journals so excited, as we become engrossed in sounds that are dressed up and recorded in what sounds like yesterday’s Ampex tape adapted for the audiences of today.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Little Blu House”

While Secret Cities are preparing to embark on a tour of North America in support of Strange Hearts, they have also provided us a charming video for “Always Friends.” The film works through the narratives of a young man crushing on a ginger haired gal who lives out his fantasy of the perfect date as if it were as simple as one of his role playing board games. VIDEO- Secret Cities “ALWAYS FRIENDS”

Tomorrow’s Tulips, a side labor of love from Japanese Motors’ Alex Knost along with his girlfriend Christina Keyes, are planning and plotting to release their album Eternally Teenage July 19 on Galaxia Records. This is good news for the TT project since we heard The Tired EP a couple years back. Eternally Teenage enlists the production talent of Matt McHugh of Black Lips and Vivian Girls notoriety with that golden era sound that is reworked for the contemporary lo fi garage lover in all of us.

If you need some heavy metal landscapes and some ambience that screams edge there's Barn Owl, but you could probably juggle both doing yoga while enjoying a Tecate to their upcoming Shadowland EP. Hitting the proverbial shelves June 21 compliments of Thrill Jockey, these three tracks “Void and Devotion,” “Shadowland” and “Infinite Reach” create these gradual expanding ambience that feels like an infinitely giant ballon continuing to increase in size and circumference amid a vast desert.

To experience a taste of Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras’s moodscapes, listen here to the title track “Shadowland” that the band describes as:

“A distant, hazy mantra marches into infinity, a seemingly unchanging organic cycle of interwoven guitars all tracked live without actual loops, the horizontal motion eventually interrupted by bombastic, feedbacking, twang guitar and a malevolent yet beautiful mirage-like lead (thanks to a Leslie speaker) that warbles atop the mix.”

Also this week we mourn the loss of Mante Ray Talbert, aka M-Bone of Cali Swag District, who was taken from us too soon after a drive-by May 15 in Inglewood, California. Our hearts and prayers are with his family and the rest of the Swag District, leaving behind the question: now who will teach us how to Dougie?