Staff Trax: The Books, Coliseum, Die Antwoord and Low

Welcome to Staff Trax, the weekly feature here on DC9 where we shed some light on the music we've been enjoying of late, regardless of the touring or album release schedules that tend to bear the focus of most of our coverage. Consider it a chance for you readers to get some more insight into our own personal tastes. Maybe you'll find something you like, ya dig?

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The Books -- "A Cold Freezin' Night"


This is the first video from The Way Out, the just-released fourth album from The Books. Adding a bit of a dance vibe to their found sound/percussion/tape loop/collage approach, "A Cold Freezin' Night" utilizes a child's toy called a Talkboy. Seems that Paul de Jong and Nick Zammuto went around the country collecting these things and using whatever voices happened to be contained on the toy's voice recorder. The results are both funny and frightening. The Books have yet to make a bad record, and The Way Out may just be the duo's best yet. If you like music that challenges the mind, check out The Books. --Darryl Smyers

Coliseum -- "Blind in One Eye"


When I first heard this song, I did not believe it was coming from a trio. Sounded like a four-piece with two guitars, easy. This song, which sounds a lot like Chuck Ragan from Hot Water Music fronting Torche comes from Coliseum's latest, House With a Curse. Melodies are aplenty on this record, but not in an obvious way. This band isn't trying to crush your skull with heavy beats or recycled dropped-D guitar lines from Page Hamilton's notebook. Instead, they sound like something worth coming back to again and again. --Eric Grubbs

Die Antwoord -- "Enter the Ninja"


Maybe I'm once again late on the bandwagon? Whatever, Here's how I came across this band: I was reading a performance review in the L.A. Times for the South Africa rap/performance art band Die Antwoord, and a couple of things in the article got my full attention. First, they have distilled down an unbelievable stew of influences (Zuliu, Afrikaneer, English, and who knows what). Second, they made their North American debut at Coachella this year in a set that lasted less than 20 minutes, but was a festival highlight for many. And the picture of the performance in the Times showed a couple of performers that looked extremely intense--including a girl that looked... foreign? So I checked them out (they have an EP available on iTunes) and am now totally hooked. As I've said before, I'm not the biggest hip-hop fan, but this has my full attention. This is the video for their first single--though probably not their best song. Check it out. It's still pretty darn good. --Doug Davis

Low -- "Breaker"


Yes, I'm on a bit of a slowcore kick. A couple of weeks ago, I shared my newfound fancy for Galaxie 500, and this week, I have been ruminating on the works of fellow slowcore mopers, Low. I've read that Low lead man, Alan Sparhawk, who is also a practicing Mormon, actually isn't a big fan of the term "slowcore" when it comes to categorizing his music. I don't know about that, 'cause after listening to this specific track--from the Minnesota group's 2007 Sub Pop album, Drums and Guns--I really think the term and grouping fit rather well. Minimalist and harmonic, this trio absolutely understands that one doesn't necessarily have to shoot off fireworks at the end of each number in order to produce a satisfying climax. --Kelly Dearmore

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