Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ninc Inch Nails-Ghosts I-IV (for real this time)

Okay so I successfully DLed my copy of Ghosts this morning. And I just want everyone to know that i'm not going to rave about it just because it's Nine Inch Nails. I'm going to rave about it because it's really good.

Ghosts I-IV is a 36-track all instrumental collection. That may make it seem like it would be a long and difficult listen, but the total length is 110 minutes. Long yes, but the songs come and go at a pretty consistent clip. What makes this a successful album is that it doesn't fall prey to what ruins many instrumental albums, namely sameness and songs that never end. The songs are in a range of styles from Brian Eno-ish Ambient bits to all out rockers. Being that this is Nine Inch Nails there's also a lot of synth and piano. It's a varied batch of songs but they also all meld well together and the track order makes it so that no one group of songs sound like those around it. It sounds like Nine Inch Nails but is like nothing they've ever done before. Hell, there's even a few tunes you can shake your ass to!

I think this record, more than any other NIN release really shows what a studio whiz Trent Reznor is. He's had a reputation as such for a while but with his sometimes generic angsty lyrics stripped away from the music, the listener can really focus on all the levels and sounds that are coming at you. This is definitely a record for headphones, no doubt about it. Reznor has stated that he's wanted to make a record like this for a while and i'm glad he waited until he was free of record label meddling to do it because you know they would probably have had a shit fit after being presented with a double album of instrumentals. They wouldn't know how to market it and the album would thus probably disappear from the radar and miss a lot of ears that would really enjoy it. The fact that Reznor released it the way he did all of a sudden will generate a lot of press and hopefully a lot of new ears will check it out for the $5 DL fee that might not have been willing to drop $20+ on a double album. This album is truly a great one and I can't wait to hear what Reznor does next now that he's free of the bonds of the record industry.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Nine Inch Nails-Ghosts I-IV

So, much to my (and the rest of the world's) amazement when I woke up this morning there was a brand new Nine Inch Nails record out immediately. After I picked my jaw up off the ground I ordered my cd copy for $10 (plus $7 shipping). It won't be sent out for about a month but by pre-ordering it, you also got to DL the record right away. In theory. Of course the website crashed due to insane demand and pretty much everyone is having no luck actually DLing the thing. So as soon as I am able to DL my copy and give it a listen, i'll be back with a real review.

What we do know is that it's two-discs, 36(!) tracks long and all instrumental. And it will be awesome. I just can't tell you specifically why. Yet. So sit tight gentle readers!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Ten Bands/Records That Need To Be Reissued

Even though the compact disc turns twenty-five this year, there's a surprising amount of amazing records that have never been issued on cd and/or were issued and immediately went out of print. Even though everyone loves talking about how the cd is dead and blah blah blah, let me tell you folks, it's going to be a long long time until the cd isn't the main format for music anymore. They're still the most profitable and it doesn't look like downloads are going to overtake them in that aspect anytime soon. So...PEOPLE THAT HAVE THE ABILITY TO GET THESE RECORDS REISSUED ON CD NEED TO GO AND MAKE IT HAPPEN RIGHT NOW! I could go on and on about this but here are just ten examples of stuff that really need to enter the digital age.

In the past five or so years there has been a lot (some would say too much) mining of the Post-Punk era. One group that has been largely ignored is bIG FLAME from Manchester. They only released a bunch of singles and eps, never a full-length. In 1996 Drag City released a compilation of their works entitled Rigour and it is now out of print in a big way and very expensive. So yeah, this needs to be re-issued. If that can't be done, then maybe they can put out a Peel Sessions compilation as these guys did four sessions. The work of bIG FLAME being unavailable leaves a crucial hole in the Post-Punk spectrum.

Chris & Cosey
When the utterly brilliant and terrifying Throbbing Gristle broke up in 1981, they split off into three groups: Psychic TV, Coil and Chris & Cosey. All are great groups and all are hard to find on CD. I have had no luck finding any C&C cds for a reasonable price. Their records may be in print in the UK (I don't know for sure) but they are damn near impossible to find on this side of the pond. So somebody *cough*MUTERECORDS*cough* need to get off their hineys and reissue these amazing records.

Desperate Bicycles
These guys are famous for two reasons: 1. Basically giving birth to the entire DIY/Messthetics Indie/Punk movement in the UK and 2. Refusing to have their stuff issued on cd. I have a couple of their tracks on comps but that's it. Guys, COME ON! Just make a singles disc. It'll sell a lot more than you think. Nerds like me have been foaming at the mouth over this for decades. Just do it!

Le Car
This cd was only issued in 2000 and thus has no reason to be out of print. It collects the eps/singles from Le Car, one half of whom was Adam Miller of ADULT. As far as I know this is the only out of print cd on Ersatz Audio. I have had zero problems tracking down the label's other releases. You know, I see Miller at shows occasionally and i'm this close to going up to him and being all "OMGWHYAREYOUSOAWESOMECANIHAVEYOURBABIES?" *ahem* I mean, "Me want Le Car cd! You give me! Hulk SMASH! Army strong!" Don't make me resort to that Adam, please.

This is Kraftwerk before it was Kraftwerk. Why this has NEVER been released on cd I have no idea. It's more of a weird "treated instruments" Psychedelic/Avant-Garde type of thing and really has little in common with classic Krafwerk. But it's Ralf & Florian from Kraftwerk. We need this! It was even released on RCA. So RCA, I know you're probably busy working on a Best Of Eve 6 disc or something just as exciting but let's just maybe consider reissuing this bad onto cd. kthanks.

The Plastics
Imagine if you will Devo if they were an insane Japanese Pop band. I don't think I really need to say anything else to convince you as to why we need these records back in stores.

The Pop Group
Considering that The Pop Group are one of the most important and essential Post-Punk groups ever their music is very hard to track down. Their first record, Y, was only available on cd in Japan for the longest time and just last year was issued on cd in the UK. It's still a pretty expensive import though. Their second record For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? has NEVER been on cd. Grrrr to that I say. Mark Stewert, if you're reading this, get 'er done!

Rip Rig & Panic
After The Pop Group broke up in 1980 after only two short years together, they split up into Maximum Joy, Rip Rig & Panic and one other band I think that I can't recall at this moment. RR&P's three full-lengths have NEVER been released on CD. I know I'm sounding like a broken record (LOLZ) at this point but geez, we're missing out on some damn good stuff here!

Squirrel Bait
Okay why this is out of print I have no idea. It was originally issued on cd back in the day on Homestead, who as we all know have been history for a while. But seriously, Squirrel Bait featured three dudes that went on to form Slint (among other groups) and another dude who went on to Bastro and Gastr Del Sol (among other groups). Hell, Drag City reissued the oop Bastro discography a few years ago so thus they (or someone) needs to reissue this bad boy pronto.

Whitehouse basically invented Power Electronics/Harsh Noise as we know it. Wolf Eyes, Prurient, Load Records and countless others owe him. Some of his later works are available on cd but the early stuff has never been reissued on cd. This stuff is some sick shit and needs to be reissued yesterday.

Well that wraps it up. I could list a lot more groups but maybe i'll save those for another day. Anything YOU want to see reissued?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Johnny Greenwood Is The Controller

For those of you not in the know, Trojans Records is the Motown of Dub/Reggae. They are the premier Dub/Reggae label and have released legendary recordings by all the biggest names in the genre. They also put out amazing compilations, mixes and box sets. One of their latest mixes was curated by none other than Johnny Greenwood, guitarist for some college rock band name Radioshed or something. I guess his band wasn't doing anything important so he took up the offer from Trojan Records to make a mix of his favorite Dub/Reggae tunes. So here it is.

First off, in the Reggae vernacular the "Controller" is the person who controls the record, aka the DJ. So now that the title of this album makes sense to you, let me take a moment to tell you how great it is and how much you should check it out, especially if you're not a Dub/Reggae fan. It's awesome. You should check it out. Especially if you're not a Dub/Reggae fan. Ha.

Anyways, on here you'll find classic cuts by legendary artists such as Gregory Isaacs, Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Upsetters, The Heptones, Junior Blyles and Demond Dekker & The Aces. One of the highlights is a cover of Fever (you know, the Madonna song...lolz) by the aforementioned Junior Blyles, the first time I can stand listening to that song. One of the things I love most about Dub/Reggae is the production, specifically the echoing vox and the bass. And for all you kids that think Dub/Reggae is crap let me tell you that if it weren't for this stuff bands such as The Clash and Public Image Ltd. would probably sound vastly different/suck. Even Johnny Greenwood's band, Radiationhead, is influenced by Dub/Reggae. Maybe they'll make something of themselves yet!

Monday, February 25, 2008


The French may have contributed a lot of great music to the world, but generally one thing they've left little mark on is Rock. Yes yes, once in a while a legitimate rock band comes out of France like Metal Urbain but this is rare. And there are always synths involved. The French are more about dancin' (Daft Punk), beard scratchin' (Jean Michel Jarre) and lovin' (Serge Gainsbourgh) than rockin'. Which leads us to Turrzi. Turzi is described by their label as French Modern Psychedelic Music. They are a real rock band with guitar, bass, and percussion. That being said some of the guitars are synthesized, and there are also keyboards and something called a potentiometer. Don't ask me what that is, i'm not a tech head.

I heard about these guys last year and they seemed mildly interesting. I finally picked up the record and was amazed how really great it is. At first I dismissed the "Psychedelic" tag but it is pretty appropriate. They mix up traditional rock stylings with more Electronic/Avant-Garde bits & pieces. It's a cohesive record and it...well...rocks. Another aspect of their sound is a definite Krautrock motorik-type rhythm straight out of the Neu! songbook. I love how propulsive this makes some of the tracks like A Notre Pere and Atilla Blues. Oh yeah, and all the song titles start with the letter A so i'm sure this is some sort of a concept record. Typical artsy French!

I think I enjoy this record so much because it's Art-Rock but it still has the "oomph" of Trad Rock, which is something a lot of more Avant-Rock forgets. I think this would be a really good record to drive around in late at night. Amadeus just pulses with energy. Throbs really. There's also a definite Kraftwerk influence as well, but that can be said about 99% of the last thirty years of Electronic music. So check Turzi out, this is a band who mixes Art, Dance, Rock, Pscyh, Krautrock and more into a really compelling listenable record. I can't wait for B.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Smashing Pumpkins-Zeitgeist

I reviewed this record right after it came out last summer on my livejournal and after re-reading it I would definitely say I like it more now. At the time I was just basically upset because it was a record i'd been waiting for seven years to see the light of day and there was no way it was ever going to meet my expectations no matter how great it was. Such is the price they pay for my uber-geekdom.

Listening to it now I'm still comfortable saying that it's not as amazing as my memories of first falling in love with the Pumpkins as a teenager are. Again, this is not Zeitgeist's fault. So let's talk about the actual record. This is probably the hardest rocking Pumpkins record so far. Gone for the most part are the Goth and Shoegaze influences that gave the Pumpkins such a unique sound in their hey-day. Tracks like Doomsday Clock and Tarantula rock and they rock hard. If anything, Zeitgeist brings out the the side of Billy Corgan who rocked out to Kiss and Iron Maiden records as a kid.

It's not all Detroit Rock City though. Death From Above rumbles by with big guitars AND some New Order-ish synths added to the mix. Bring The Light has a great intro but then just turns into another four-on-the-floor rocker. Throughout the entire record, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, the only other original Pumpkin on board, is probably one of most underrated drummers of his generation. Whereas most bands of the last twenty years have drummers who stylistically do little to define their band's sound, Jimmy's drumming has always provided the much needed backbone to Billy's guitar heroics. Overall, I like Zeitgeist and am glad the Pumpkins are back making records. I just hope the next Pumpkins endeavor has a wider array of sounds and genres that made them such a fascinating band to begin with.

Atlas Sound-Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel

This record really surprised me. I was assuming before I heard it that it would sound very similar to Bradford Cox's main gig, Deerhunter, all noisy Art-Rock and distortion. But this is one helluva a lush record. Think Caribou meets The Sea & Cake. Heck, their's even some soaring Post-Rock Sigur Ros-ish type vocals/sounds going on. I would say overall that I like this record in that it wasn't what I was expecting at all, but at the same time it sounds fairly generic and like a lot of 00's Indie Electronic records. It's not really standing out for me.

Don't get me wrong, it's a nice record and everything but it certainly isn't blowing me away like Deerhunter blew me away. And one thing that kinds of worries me is that Deerhunter recently went "On Hiatus" which could mean a lot of things. I'm guessing one of the reasons was that Cox wanted to work and promote the Atlas Sound record. Hopefully Atlas Sound won't be an ongoing concern and the more exciting Deerhunter will return to action soon.

I also have a feeling that this record is going to be a grower for me. I only got it earlier this week and haven't fully absorbed it yet. I feel like i'm being overly negative about this album because it's not Deerhunter and you should never review a record based on what it's not but what it is. Maybe I should review it again in six months after it's had time to sit in my brain for a while. I do think that this is a record that will be able to be appreciated by people other than Deerhunter fans and should be able to find it's own little niche. It's nice to see that Bradford Cox isn't just a one-trick pony and with Atlas Sound shows us he's as capable of making a pretty record as he is making a noisy record.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Place To Bury Strangers @ The Magic Stick-Detroit, Michigan 2/15/08

Holy mother of god was this a great show! Sorry that's all i've got to say, the pictures do the rest.

All pictures copyright Anton.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Mountain Goats-Heretic Pride

I'm not really sure why I like these guys so darn much. They don't do anything super original or anything. Except write damn awesome great songs and release great records. This is a band that, in today's music atmosphere, is nothing but a cult band, but if it were thirty years ago when record labels actually marketed music written by adults for adults instead of children's music for children and perpetual adolescents then The Mountain Goats would probably be huge.

There are a lot of Indie Rock bands that sound very similar to The Mountain Goats. The sound is basically Singer/Songwriter-ish with a very solid backing band. At times, head Goat John Darnielle's lyrics and arrangements remind me of a less apocalyptic Nick Cave. I guess what i'm trying to say is that he's a storyteller first and foremost. I've read reviews about TMG in the past and they're always described as Lo-Fi. Now, I haven't heard a lot of their early records (they've been together since 1991 and Heretic Pride is their 15th(!) record) but this record doesn't sound raw or Lo-Fi at all. Produced by kindred spirit John Vanderslice, the record has a very nice clean and clear minimal production that fits the music perfectly.

In fact, I don't even want to call this Indie Rock because it really isn't it just gets put in the Indie Rock ghetto because any decent non-blatantly commercial guitar music like this gets stuck with the Indie Rock tag. I think I like this band so much because they just make great, timeless music. Fuck The Shins, THIS is music that will change your life.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Einsturzende Neubauten-Kollaps

This is EN's debut record. And this is REAL Industrial music. Not that lame "Goth Night" dance garbage that your little sister listens to. It's called Industrial because it's music made with tools from factories, among other things. And it's not for the faint of heart. This record is twenty-eight years old and far scarier than anything ever crapped out by Marilyn Manson or his offspring. It's a challenging but amazing listening experience.

Not only is the music challenging but the lyrics are all sung in German, which just makes everything sound more impenetrable. One thing I love about this record is that it's incredibly noisy and experimental but it's still catchy (to me at least). It's not noise for noise sake. The first track, Tanzdebil, is a perfect example. Then next is Steh Auf Berlin which sounds like various power drills and homemade percussion. But it works, it's an actual song. It's quite obvious that EN were not only doing whatever they wanted but knew what they were doing.

One thing I love is how whenever "Experimental" or "Avant-Garde" music is made fun of it's usually in the style of stern German groups like EN or Kraftwerk. It's almost a cliche when people think of art music like this to picture a weird German guy head to tow in black. I remember back in the day watching Sprockets on SNL and I had no idea who Kraftwerk or EN were but I always thought the music they played on it was cool. In fact I read that like ten years ago or so after Mike Myers bacame huge with Austin Powers he was working on a Sprockets movie but had some fight with the studio and it got buried. It probably would've sucked but I would've loved it. Back to EN and Kollaps. This is a great seminal record and if you think you like "Industrial" music then you definitely need to check this one out to see if you can handle the real deal.

Monday, February 18, 2008

No one can ever call me obsessive again...

Okay okay, this post is kind of an excuse for me to slack today but I thought i'd do it anyways because i'm in total awe of this guy. He's selling his entire music collection and it's basically everything ever released over the last 50 years. Yes, EVERYTHING.

Here's a link to his webpage. -------> Right here!

And here's the eBay link. ----------> Right here!

To be quite honest $3 Million is a pretty good deal. I wouldn't buy it if I had the money because I wouldn't be interested in probably 95% of the music.

But damn, that's dedication.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mute Audio Documents 1978-1984

Ohmanohmanohman! This is one of the greatest things ever. What this is is a 10-disc(!) box set released last year by England's venerable Mute Records, probably my second favorite British record label next to Rough Trade. It collects all (as far as I know) all the singles (A-sides & B-sides!) they released from their beginning in 1978 to 1984. First of all, let me just say that this bad boy is expensive. The list price is $135 (I only paid $85 for mine though!) but it's worth every penny. The first 8 discs cover the singles from this six year period and the final two discs are rarities.

For those of you not in the know about Mute Records, they formed in the wake of the DIY Punk spirit in 1978 in England. The first single released was TVOD/Warm Leatherette (probably my two favorite songs ever) by The Normal which was Daniel Miller, who himself was the founder of Mute. From there Mute released records by, among others, Fad Gadget, D.A.F., Smegma, Boyd Rice, Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Liasons Dangereuses, The Birthday Party, Einsturzende Neubauten and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Are you drooling yet?

This set is not for everyone. Most of the music is fairly challenging art/electronic/experimental stuff. I think all of it is catchy as hell even the noisey/avant-garde/tape loops that some of the groups work with. But that's me, I have an ear for exotic sounds. That being said there's also some classic pop on here with the Depeche Mode and Yazoo stuff. I love Depeche Mode and I think their early work from the time period of this box set is their best stuff hands down. Odds are you won't like all of the stuff on this box set (although I do!) but if you are interested in expanding your musical palette to new groups and new sounds, I definitely highly recommend this set.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Myspace Round-Up #2

Hello and welcome to the second edition of Myspace Round-Up where I make fun of lame bands who send me friend requests on Myspace.

Let's begin!

Golden Chile
There's no way who ever is in charge of this dude's Myspace page looks at the pages of the people they send friend requests to. This guy sounds like every single generic rap track i've ever heard, all at the same. FAIL.


Kid Infinity
Hmmm...Imagine if Beck made an Electro record. Not too bad actually! Mild Head Nodding.

The Livonia Project
This band, as you can tell from there name, is from Livonia, Michigan, the city I grew up in. It's a pretty good name for their band as it represents the boring white-bread lameness of both their namesake and their sound. FAIL.

Boom Boom Satellites
I find it amazing how a nobody band like this can sound so terribly overproduced. It sounds like bad Depeche Mode mixed with Nu-Metal. FAIL.

So middle of the road everyone in the band has yellow stripes tattooed on their asses. FAIL.

Wow. Hard Rocking guitars and love lorn lyrics. That's a new angle. FAIL.

Gee-whiz!!! I wonder what this guy sounded like before he decided to rip off Kanye West.FAIL.

My "perception" of this band is that they suck. FAIL.

R.O.T.T.I.N. C.L.U.B.B.
All I need to say about these guys is they have both a "Stop Snitching" picture on their page AND a .gif of a man slapping a woman in the face. Oh yeah, and it's more generic rap bullshit. TRIPLE FAIL.

Okay, I don't have any more bands in my friend requests, so it may be a while before the third edition comes around, but when it does it'll be another round of more epic fail.

Friday, February 15, 2008

New Love #1

In an attempt to bring balance to the cosmos with my hatin' Myspace Round-Up posts (the second edition of which will grace this page sometime tomorrow) I give you the first edition of New Love, where I unleash some groups on you that i've recently discovered in my travels that I think ya'll should check out. See, i'm (mostly) all about love! All these artists get the My Music Jerk Seal Of Approval. Check 'em out!

Army Navy
These guys are pretty nice and put me in a happy mood. I get a definite New Pornographers/The Smiths/Suede "Jangle-Pop" vibe. They get extra "high-five" points for describing themselves as Indie/Chinese pop/Happy Hardcore. Oh you kids.

These New Puritans
OMG, I think these guys are just absolutely super. Imagine Art Brut if they were more Post-Punkish and threw some electronic beats into the mix. Their debut record comes out in the states on March 18th. I'm going to pick it up and I think you should too!

Metro Area
Are you ready for some disco? Heck yes! These guys sound like 80's Disco/R&B only not totally dated and shitty. Rad. Grab your neon pink pants and i'll meet you on the dance floor.

High Places
These guys are a little hard for me to describe beyond if Black Dice had a female vocalist and they tried to make a Pop record. And throw some (recent) Animal Collective in the mix too.

Spider And The Webs
Featurng Tobi Vail of Bikini Kill and The Frumpies fame, S&tW play good old Pacific Northwest Indie Rock. I hope they put out a full-length soon because they've been together since 2004 and only have a 4-song EP to their name so far. Hurry up guys!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ellen Allien & Apparat-Orchestra Of Bubbles

To people already familiar with Ellen Allien this record may come as a bit of a shock. Instead of her usual Electroclash-ish dance craziness, Orchestra Of Bubbles is better suited for the ride home at three in the morning from the club or just chilling with the headphones on than the dance floor. This is probably due to her collaborator on this record, Apparat, who's own records are of the much chiller IDM variety (do people still us that term?).

Anyways, this is definitely a nice relaxing record. Mostly instrumental, it just ebbs and flows out of the speakers and you feel all warm and content. I guess you could dance to some of the tracks on here like Floating Points or Leave Me alone but this is more a mood record than a dance record. Hmm...You know what? This might even be a good record for making love. It's got a pretty good tempo for that kind of stuff. Too bad I'm in no situation to find out.

Once thing that I definitely like when two solo artists collaborate together is that neither dominate the project which is very true with Orchestra Of Bubbles. You've got the strong clean production of Allien with the more ambient flourishes of Apparat which come out more restrained here and don't end up falling apart into overlong ambient sprawl. I have solo records from both artists and I must say that I enjoy their own records more than this collaboration but it's always nice to see artists from the very insular Electronic world reaching out to come together on projects and create work that neither would've been able to on their own.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Menomena-Friend And Foe

Just as I stated that Sebadoh is a perfect example of 90’s Indie Rock, I would have to say that Menomena is a perfect example of 00’s Indie Rock except that Sebadoh were one of the leaders of their decade and Menomena are one of the followers of theirs. Friend And Foe is Menomena’s second full-length (if you ignore some soundtrack work they did, which I am) and they play a nice up beat poppy Indie Rock style. The fact that I find them so representative of current Indie Rock is preventing me from really having anything to say about them. This is a nice band playing nice tunes but I don’t feel they really do anything to make themselves stick out from the crowd.

It doesn’t really help that there are no lyrics or any information about the album at all included with the inserts apart from the song titles. I have no idea how many people are in this band, what instruments they used to make this record (beyond the obvious) or where or when it was recorded. It gives them a very anonymous vibe which I feel plays into their “everyman” Indie Rock sound. I’m assuming the reason all this information was left off the record was due to the album art which was drawn by underground comic artist Craig Thompson. There are little bits of the front and back inserts that are cut out and when you place the cd in different positions in the tray, different pictures appear through the front cover along with each track name. It’s very cute and nice to see a band put as much creativity into their record packaging as the actual album.

I feel like I’m not giving this record a fair shake. I really do enjoy listening to it. It’s a solid record. I just can’t shake that “This is Indie Rock as it sounded in the first decade of the Twenty-First Century” vibe. Maybe I’m just looking for an angle to justify this review. I’m not sure. I write these reviews pretty spontaneously as I listen to the record so my thoughts come out as my brain is reacting to the music. This is what I got out to this record. I guess what I’m saying is that if you like Indie Rock that sounds like Indie Rock than this is a good record for you.

Sebadoh-The Freed Man deluxe edition

Sebadoh are one of the essential 90's Indie Rock bands. Freed Man was their first widely available release back in the day (1989) although this deluxe edition that came out last year is it's first time on CD. The Freed Man contains some of Sebadoh's earliest material and the DE has been expanded to a whopping 52 tracks. As is often common with many re-issues that contain bonus tracks, for as many revelations there are tracks that should've been left on the cutting room floor.

Sebadoh were one of the leading purveyors of the Lo-Fi Sound who, along with similar home recorders such as Beck and Pavement set the standards by which how most 90's Indie Rock sounded. The whole Lo-Fi thing harkens back to the DIY scene that sprang up around punk a decade prior that anyone could make start a band and make music on their own terms. So people like Lou Barlow, needing a pressure release from the stresses of dealing with J. Mascis in his main concern, Dinosaur Jr., started making home recordings of all kinds of weird little songs, experiments, conversations, sound clips, goofy raps, ect and soon started working with kindred spirit Eric Gaffney. It is quite apparant that a lot of these tracks were probably not meant for wide release. That being said there are quite a few tracks here that are exemplary examples of Lo-Fi Indie Rock.

This release isn't for everyone. If you only want one Sebadoh record you'll probably be better off with their more professionall III or Bakesale records. Someone not totally dedicated to Lo-Fi stuff will find a lot of the tracks here pointless or silly or not worth their time. But to fans of the kitchen sink approach of Sebadoh and Lo-Fi in general, the best part is that the bands gave you a lot music on their releases, warts and all. So for those of you brave enough to handle 52 tracks in 80 minutes I say check out The Freed Man as it gives some insight into where Barlow and Gaffney were at during a time when they and other groups were on the cusp of creating American Indie Rock as we know it today.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hot Chip-Made In The Dark

I have yet to not like a band released on DFA Records so far. DFA Records is the record label started by Mr. LCD Soundsystem himself, James Murphy. Mr. Murphy and I agree on a lot of stuff as far as sweet music is concerned. Although DFA Records is now owned by Astralwerks (which is owned by EMI) apparently Murphy is still the one to sign groups because DFA has yet to release a dud. Made In The Dark is Hot Chip's third record and probably the weakest record to come out on DFA in that it's only about half great.

Things start off super. Lead-off track Out At The Pictures is ridiculously catchy and infinitely danceable. Then we get Shake A Fist which sounds like TV On The Radio gone disco. Very nice. Their's this amusing break in the track at about two minutes by one of the Hot Chippers called "Sounds In The Studio" where he tells us to put on headphones and the track then goes into overdrive to an almost Timbaland-ish beat. Next up is Ready For The Floor, another banger with some sick synth straight out of a Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode, Yaz, Erasure) record. Track four, Bendable Poseable is another winner.

Then the bottom drops out (literally) as the dancing stops and the Soul music starts with track five We're Looking For A Lot Of Love. This track totally kills the momentum of the record. The rest of the record goes back and forth between decent but not as good as the first part of the record dance tracks and boring Soul-ish croon songs. I must mention track nine Hold On which is probably the best track on the second half of the disc. So overall I would say this is a good but disappointing record. If the entire record had been as great as the first part we'd be talking about one of my favorite records of the year so far. As it is I still enjoy it but am frustrated by it's inconsistencies.

Buzzcocks-Singles Going Steady

You already know this is a classic. Buzzcocks were the real deal and their early records and singles still sound amazing today. A common misconception is that the Buzzcocks were one of the bands who started up in the wake of The Sex Pistols. This is not true as they actually formed in 1975 and were releasing records before Lydon & Co. Singles Going Steady is a compilation of thier singles during the punk era and it is a totally essential document for anyone even mildly interested in Punk.

That being said, Buzzcocks were the poppiest of the first wave of punk bands. Their songs are universal and it shows as Buzzcocks songs have popped up in the strangest of places in the last few years, from car commercials (What Do I Get?) to one of the Shrek movies (Ever Fallen In Love?), places that you normally wouldn't find a bunch of punk rockers. There are those who would say that Buzzcocks aren't even a Punk band but a Pop group. Those people are wrong of course. Just because in the year 2008 we hear these songs as very accessible, poppy songs, back in 1977 this music came across as a lot more dangerous and edgy.

One of the things that Buzzcocks did that was very verboten in the punk world was write love songs. Tracks like Love You More don't get much sweeter with lines like I'm in love again/Been like this before/I'm in love again/This time's true I'm sure. It's not exactly Crass (see below) is it? Buzzcocks are said to have been the inventors of the "Pop-Punk" genre and it's easy to see why when listening to Singles Going Steady. The songs are simple, catchy and danceable, everything a good pop song should be. But the snottiness of punk is there as seen in the still naughty Orgasm Addict. Most bands don't release anywhere near this many amazing songs in a 30 year career yet Buzzcocks put out all the singles found here between 1976-1979. And odds are we'll be hearing these gems pop up in odd places for a long time to come.

Crass-Christ The Album

Oh Crass. Where do I start with this record? Basically Crass took the potential that The Sex Pistols had (but wasted) and made the most with it. In my opinion Christ The Album is the definitive document of British Punk. Not Never Mind The Bollocks, not London Calling, not Damned Damned Damned. Crass never signed to a major label, never went on Top Of The Pops, never sold out, never compromised and of course never became famous.

Christ The Album is a 2-disc behemoth clocking in at approximately 90 minutes and includes studio and live tracks. The thing about Crass is that they were so much more than just a Punk band, they were Anarchists, artists and overall rabble rousers. Unlike pretty much all of the first wave of Punk bands Crass were the only group to include avant-garde and philosophical aspects in their work beyond base sloganeering. Crass still matter because they were a political collective who also happened to make some records. They saw the bullshit inherent in the music business and were some of the first ones to call bullshit on the careerist aspirations of many of the groups in the punk scene. There is nothing more liberating than not giving a shit what other people think and Crass used this to the max. They had no ambitions beyond making the music they wanted to make the way they wanted to make it.

I know i'm not really discussing the intricacies of this actual Crass album but trust me it's great as are all the records Crass released up through 1983's Yes Sir I Will. You can't go wrong with any of this stuff. The only problem I have with Crass (and this isn't their fault really) are all terrible "Street Punk" and "Crust Punk" bands that formed in their wake which, instead of carrying on their Anarchist political screeds, just sang about rioting, which without a valid philosophy behind it is just petty crime.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Xiu Xiu-Women As Lovers

DISCLAIMER: I absolutely love Xiu Xiu. They are one of my favoritest bands ever. And because of that I tend to be more critical of their output than bands I just like. That being said, Xiu Xiu's latest record, their sixth full length record in six years (not including multiple EPs, live discs and a 2-disc remix/covers album), Women As Lovers, is another great entry in their flawless discography. Did I mention I love this band?

Xiu Xiu has yet to radically change their sound but each record has it's little intricacies. Women as Lovers is very clangy and percussiony. There's also some great Lora Logic sax skronk. And also Xiu Xiu is for the first time a four-piece as opposed to previouly being a two-piece. I think the doubling of the group gives it a much richer, deeper sound, more "band-like" if that makes sense. Another thing i've noticed is much more frequent on this disc are female vocals. In fact, I can't recall anyone besides main dude Jamie Stewart ever singing before. It works though. One of best parts of this record is the cover of Under Pressure. Yes, THAT Under Pressure, by Bowie & Queen. Only this time it's Xiu Xiu with Swans/Angel Of Light's Michael Gira dueting on vox. It's great. Xiu Xiu always do interesting covers (on a previous EP they covered The Pussycat Dolls Dont'Cha. No seriously.) and they turn this into an entirely different song but at the same time it's still recognizable as "the song with the Ice Ice Baby sample" as my generation (under 30) knows it.

I think what I love the most about Xiu Xiu is Jamie Stewart's TMI lyrics. Some of the stuff he sings are just shocking as far as how personal they are. Whether he's singing about his own experiences or not his delivery just makes you feel like he's baring his soul and sharing his darkest secrets just with you. On Black Keyboard he sings Why would a mother say such things?/Why add tongue to a kiss goodnight? His singing just staggers me. If you have yet to experience Xiu Xiu and have any interest in adventuresome music I cannot more highly recommend that you check out this or any Xiu Xiu record. You'll be floored.

Bloc Party-Silent Alarm

Several years ago we became inundated with dance-punk bands from England. Now some of these "post-punk revial" groups were pretty decent (Franz Ferdinand, The Futureheads) and some were DOA (Maximo Park, The Kaiser Chiefs). Bloc Party fall into the "pretty decent" group but none of these bands can hold a candle to the late-70's/early-80's bands they were influenced by.

Silent Alarm, which came out in 2005, is Bloc Party's debut record and it's not bad. It's sounds good and is nice to listen to. Make no mistake though, this isn't some art collective, they are "Modern Rock" through and through. The production is clean and minimal, all the tracks are catchy and primed for radio. Which is part of the problem. For a band aping Post-Punk, this record comes off as just a little too nice sounding.

The bands that Bloc Party are obviously influenced by (Gang Of Four, Public Image Ltd., A Certain Ratio and The Pop Group) were all blatantly political and scratchy and experimental, none of which you'll find on Silent Alarm. I get a vague "things aren't all too peachy right now" vibe in their lyrics but nothing specific or really angry comes out in the lyrics. They probably didn't want to upset any yankee radio programmers. I guess what i'm trying to say is that this record seems like a very calculated product made by an ambitious band meant to break out of the Indie Rock ghetto. So if you want a catchy rock band who have some perfectly nice tunes, some of which you can even dance then check this record out. But if you're looking for legitimate, art-damaged Post-Punk check out Bloc Party's influences and give this disc to your little sister.

The Brunettes-Structure & Cosmetics

This is really the first non-new release to be reviewed on my little blog so far. I still have two new releases I plan on reviewing soon (today or tomorrow) but i'm basically caught up with covering 2008 releases at this point, so expect more reviews of older records from here on out. Not that The Brunettes' Structure & Cosmetics is super old, it came out last year. Anyways, The Brunettes are from New Zealand and play very sweet girly Indie Pop. They have a total 60's Pop meets Belle & Sebastian vibe. It's not Twee but it certainly is precious.

I saw them live last fall at The Shelter in Detroit and it was a pretty good show. Despite the lackluster turnout they gave it their all. And I talked to them a little bit after the show and they were super nice. This is a great band/record to listen to while holding hands with your sweetie pie. Another thing these guys are good for are that mix cd you're making for that Indie Rock girl in your class you have a crush on who always wears that old Beat Happening shirt. For that I would recommend track #1 of S&C titled Brunettes Against Bubbelgum Youth. She'll be wearing your favorite cardigan before you know it.

The only real problem with The Brunettes is that at times they're almost TOO precious. You might need to take a break to listening to this sugar rush of a record half way through. That's a minor complaint though. Anyone who likes stuff like The Boy Most Likely To or the Retro-Pop stuff like The Pipettes that's all the rage right now will totally dig Structure & Cosmetics.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Vampire Weekend-Vampire Weekend

When I first heard about these guys last year I read that they were being called "Prep Rock" which of course made me throw up in my mouth. Probably the only term to describe a band that would turn me off more is "soulful". But despite that bad first impression once I heard them I was totally blown away. I love this record.

Vampire Weekend's debut is just a ridiculously fun and catchy record. These guys basically came out of nowhere and got a ton of hype (for better or for worse) but I would say the hype is definitely warranted. Tracks like Oxford Comma, Campus and One (Blake's Got A New Face) are just such great tracks. Yeah yeah yeah so the guys in the band don't look like a bunch of heroin addicts. Oh boo-hoo.

I know I'm gushing but this is just such a refreshing record. Most of the new bands/artists I've really been enjoying lately have been Electronic or Noise stuff and it's so nice to run into an actual rock band doing something interesting instead of putting me to sleep. If these guys can get on radio or whatever it takes to break out nowadays (it certainly can't be through MTV they don't play videos anymore) I think they could be huge. And hey hipster i'm sorry to say but yeah this band probably would be something that preppy guys would enjoy. I have an idea, get the fuck over yourself and not worry about your pose or who else is listening to a band you like and just enjoy some good music. Me? I can't wait to see where Vampire Weekend go from here.

Robyn-The Rakamonie EP

It's 2008 and Robyn is back. Well actually she's been back since 2005 to the rest of the world but she's finally starting to make her way to this side of the Atlantic. The Rakamonie EP is a little appetizer for us yanks as her 2005 self-titled record is FINALLY coming out in the states this spring. Now first of all, Robyn is pop music, let's just get that out of the way. But as long time readers (lol) of this blog know that I have no aversion to pop music as long as it's not of the soul sucking variety.

I think the best way to describe Robyn is the euro-pop of Kylie Minogue hanging out with the sleaze-pop of Peaches. Robyn writes her own tunes and or/collaborates on them with others. As I've previously said, it seems the only good pop music is the stuff created by the artist which is so rare now-a-days. I think my friend Laura put it best when she said "I mean, can you even get a mental image of Fergie sitting down and writing a song?" Exactly.

So this EP has some amusing tunes on it, starting off with Robyn's anthem Konichiwa Bitches (you can tell some of these tunes are a few years old, I mean who's still making references to Chapelle's Show?). This is just a great sleazy pop song. Fun times as she raps/sings over a pretty sic beat. The song that originally got me hooked on Robyn is With Every Hearbeat, which appears here in acoustic version. To hear the original version and see the totally sweet video, click here. Isn't it nice watching a pop video without a bunch of half naked singing prostitutes dry humping the camera in a vain attempt to prevent you from realizing how shitty their song is? Speaking of sleaze the best track here is her cover of Prince's Jack U Off. It's just her and a piano (piano courtesy of Bjorn of Peter Bjorn & John) and it cracks me up every time I listen to it. It's sexy but hilarious. Seriously, everyone needs to hear this song. I can't wait to put it on a mix cd for someone. All this EP did was heighten my anticipation for when the full length come out. Which was the whole point.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Beck-Odelay deluxe edition

I'll admit it. I'm a total sucker for deluxe editions. It something's got a couple of bonus tracks on it that I don't have i'll want it. The ONLY reason i'll buy a copy of a record I already have is if it has bonus tracks. I could give a shit if there's special packaging or a dvd or postcards or a patch or a snippet of the lead singer's pubes (well, maybe if we're talking about Bjork, but ONLY Bjork). But when I heard that they were doing a deluxe edition of Odelay I knew I would get it because there were a ton of b-sides and remixes for this record floating around most of which I don't have.

First of all, if you're reading this blog, you probably already own the original album. It's one of the most essential records of the 90's. I can't believe it's been 12 years since it came out. I'm getting old. Anyways, what you non-obsessive types probably want to know is if you should drop 20 bones for some remixes and b-sides (and postcards. My copy came with postcards!). I would say that if you consider yourself a serious Beck fan and have most or all of his other albums then yes you should get this. If you're some soccer mom who got it back in the day because you like the "beefcake pantyhose" song well let me just tell you that you've had the wrong Beck cd for the past 12 years. Loser isn't on Odelay. I don't know why so many people think that.

As far as the bonus tracks, they're a mixed bag (of course). They call them b-sides for a reason here people. That being said many of them are very interesting. There are 13(!) b-sides on disc two and the two most essential ones are Feather In Your Cap and Devil Got My Woman (it's a cover of that blues song from Ghost World). Good stuff. There are also a few remixes, a 12(!) minute version of Where It's At by U.N.K.L.E which, while interesting (they use sound effects from Street Fighter II!), gets a bit tedious. Next is the Aphex Twin remix of Devil's Haircut cleverly titled Richard's Hairpiece. All I can say about this one is that Aphex Twin's remixes may not sound like the originals very much, but they always sound brilliant in one way or another. There also two previously unreleased songs, Inferno and Gold Chains which are great and fit right in with the original just dandy. There's more good stuff too. So yeah go buy this so Beck becomes richer and can give more money to the Church Of Scientology. Ew.

Myspace Round-Up #1

Hello and welcome to the inaugural edition of Myspace Round-Up! What the hell am I talking about? Well, so far my little blog has been a little too gushy about the records i've reviewed so far. The reason being of course is that until people/bands/record labels start sending me crap to review I can only review the records I buy and well, I usually enjoy that stuff.

I'm not sure if this is true for everyone but I get a lot of unsolicited friends requests on my Myspace page. I get too kinds: 1. Profiles of sexy ladies who don't exist and 2. Shitty bands who think that they'll get famous by sending everyone on Myspace a friends request. I usually ignore these band's requests because my thinking is "If they were any good I would've already heard of them". So I was thinking that this might cause a diamond in the rough to slip through the cracks once in a while, so NO MORE! From now on when I get enough requests from bands that want to be my friend, i'll check them out and report my findings to you, my loyal reader(s).

One more thing, if I like the band/artist I will add them to my friends list and if I hate them they fail. LOLZ.

Okay, here we go!

La Muneca Y Los Muertos
Their band name is Spanish for "The High Point Of Our Careers Will Be Playing The Local Stage At Warped Tour." FAIL.

Penny Relentless
I like PJ Harvey too Penny, but you don't see me making half-assed imitations of her songs do you? FAIL.

Andrew Bayuk
This guy is such a fucking hippie he makes The Grateful Dead sound like Slayer. FAIL.

This sounds like every bad Alt-Country band i've ever heard, all at the same time. FAIL.

Imagine if The Goo Goo Dolls made a really overproduced emo record. With vocoder. FAIL.

Monday Club
Goddamn, more PJ Harvey wannabes. These guys are probably the best group of the bunch i've listened to so far but that's only because I like female vox with brit accents. FAIL.

Ever imagined what Coldplay would sound like if they all got castrated? FAIL.

The Tongues
These guys seem like the type of band who would win a contest to open for a band like The Foo Fighters and they'd be totally stoked to party with Dave Grohl and when they introduce themselves he just ignores them and walks away. FAIL.

Aegri Somnia
If you consider yourself a Graver (Goth Raver) you'll totally eat this shit up. Everyone else, you'll just shit. FAIL.

Quinn Keon
If it were 1983 these guys might be able to get laid. FAIL.

Wow, that was even more tragic than I thought it would be. Not even one winner.

And just remember folks, I tear down other people's attempts at art because i'm dead inside and am incapable of love.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Super Furry Animals-Hey Venus!

There are very few Britpop-era bands still around. Besides Radiohead, Super Furry Animals are pretty much the only dudes still making interesting records. No seriously, name one other British band who hit even semi-big between say 1993 and 1997 that's still doing anything right now. Here, i'll give you a second. Oasis you say? I said interesting. I consider them the British version of Limp Bizkit. Supergrass? Meh, all their records sound the same. Menswear? Okay, time to stop.

Back to SFA. Their new record is Hey Venus!. And it's pretty good. Apart from that cover. Geez, whoever made that must've taken the brown acid. Anyways, Super Furry Animals have never released a bad album and Hey Venus! fits very nicely into their discography. That being said Gryff and the boys aren't really covering any new ground either. I think it's a bit late in their career to expect them to change it up too much, so i'm not disappointed with this record at all, i'm just saying if you liked SFA before this record you'll feel right at home and if you hated them before, Hey Venus! won't change your mind.

One thing about Hey Venus! that is sticking out for me is their seems to be more of a 70's rock vibe going on than their usual Britpop/Flaming Lips psychedelic pop sound. Maybe i've just never heard it before but i'm definitely hearing more of a T. Rex and David Bowie vibe going on here. I mean I know that SFA have always been influenced by those artists it just seems to me that they're letting their influences hang out a little more this time. Not that that's a bad thing. I'm just saying, is all.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Kate Nash-Made Of Bricks

Say it with me, loud and proud: "THERE'S NOTHING INHERENTLY WRONG WITH POP MUSIC!!!" Now, don't you feel all dirty? Oh stop it. I've said it once and i'll say it again, there's nothing better in the entire world than a great pop song. Inversely, there is nothing worse in the entire world than an utterly terrible pop song. *cough*myhumps*cough*. Oh excuse me! So this overly long intro brings us to Kate Nash. Accused of riding Lily Allen's coattails in the spunky British pop lass department, Kate is her own woman. She hit big in the UK with Foundations, the second track on Made Of Bricks and it's easy to see why, it's just a great pop song about the petty crap everyone has to deal with in relationships because they're in love (or they at least think they are). My personal favorite track is Dickhead, which is a great "how the fuck could you treat someone you love like this" song. And I think we've all felt that way before. Such is the universality of a truly great pop song.

Made Of Bricks is especially strong considering it's Nash's debut record and she is all of 20 years old. AND she wrote all the songs herself. So go her. I mean that. Pop music that's written by it's performer generally ends up being way less souless than some song about teenage lust crapped out by Linda Perry or former members of ABBA.

Another thing that I think makes this record so successful is the production work of Paul "Phones" Epworth. You may be familiar with him as he has remixed tracks by the likes of Bloc Party, The Rapture, Death From Above 1979 among others. Unlike most pop producers Epworth reins in the songs instead of cranking everything up to 11 and letting it all hang out. If the people who produced Pink or Britney Spears had gotten their mits on Made Of Bricks it probably would've been a disaster sonically. Plus his prior production work gives hipsters an excuse to check out Miss Nash's debut. Hey whatever it takes for you to check out these tunes, then do it.

Times New Viking-Rip It Off

The sounds these guys play remind me of the 90's only not in a derivative way like Blood On The Wall. Rip It Off totally could've come out on Kill Rock Stars 15 years ago and sound exactly the same. I was pretty surprised when I heard TNV had signed to Matador especially since their old label was legendary noise label Slitbreeze. Anyways, these guys play sloppy chaotic noisy indie rock that makes me want to throw light bulbs at walls and people. The recording is pretty lo-fi and it sounds like it could've been recorded live. It totally fits them though. A scrappy mix for a scrappy band.

Ironically, the cover to Rip It Off has peace signs and rainbows all over it but then they go and have songs with titles like Faces On Fire. Make a decision guys! They also get the award for best song title of 2008 so far with Times New Viking Vs. Yo La Tengo. I'm pretty sure the young punks in TNV can totally take the oldsters in YLT. They must be like 40 by now or something.

Oh yeah, and did I mention how loud this record is? When it came on my Hi-Fi for the first time it just BLASTED me with waves of sound. This is always a good thing. I just noticed looking at the back of the album that they recorded this disk onto magnetic tape not digitally which is always nice to see in this day and age. In the words of Mr. Steve Albini: "Fuck digital. The future belongs to the analog loyalists." And with Rip It Off, Times New Viking are loyal alright, loyal to caving our skulls in with a beautiful rawkus.


Man, nobody knows this band but I think they're totally great. Kontpab is their second record and their first for lovely K Records. Mahjongg is one of those bands whose sounds I kind of have some difficulty explaining. Overall, they have a live percussion meets synth thing going on that's dancey but not really dance music. They sometimes remind me a lot of Trans Am but they also have a tribal thing going on at times that reminds me of OOIOO and then they rock the motorik sometimes too that makes me think of Neu!.

Though not an instrumental band, the vibe I get from them is that they just use the vocals as just another instrument. The vox are usually pretty fuzzed up and mumbled and it's pretty hard to follow what they're saying most of the time. But it sounds good so no worries! Another quality they have I like is that they come off as vaguely political without any lyrics to speak of. Trans Am and Godspeed! You Black Emperor are also good at this. I think that's neat.

You know what? I'm going to go see if I can find the lyrics to this record online. There aren't any in the booklet, but the back insert is one of those totally rad 3-D things you stare at and then the picture pops out we all enjoyed in the 90's. What were those things called again? I miss those guys. No luck on the lyrics. Damn. I guess it's not that important. What IS important is that this is a super nifty record and you should all check it out. And then you can listen to Mahjongg while playing mahjongg! LOLZ!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Disco Not Disco (2008)

Post-punk and all it's permutations are my bread and butter. For whatever reason that era of music that was coming out of both the UK, the US and quite a few other places (Germany, France and Australia to name a few) from aprox 1976-1984 just really clicks with me. As proof, 8 of my Top 25 Records of all-time come from this era. I could go on, but i'm sure i'll do a Top However Many Post-Punk Records Of All-Time at some point in the near future.

Even though it isn't stated on it's cover, the newest Disco Not Disco compilation is actually the third in the DND series. The first two came out in 2000 and 2002 and for some reason fell out of print almost immediately. So this one I snapped up right away and it's a pretty damn sweet collection of arty dance tunes. It's a great introduction for those of you just dipping your toes into the Post-Punk/New Wave/Mutant Disco/No Wave/Electro/Ect. department of musical affairs and it's also a nice treat for those of us (like me) who already have a lot of these songs on other comps or the artist's actual albums.

Some of the choice highlights on here are essentials like Delta 5's Mind Your Own Business, which has been everywhere lately (including the Stranger Than Fiction soundtrack, no i'm serious) and James White & The Black's Contort Yourself, one of my favoritest songs ever, (especially this version, which is the August Darnell "disco mix"). Other great tunes that can be found here are Vivien Goldman's great Launderette (with help from John Lydon, Robert Wyatt, Adrian Sherwood and Keith Levine among others), the criminally underrated Shreikback's My Spine Is The Baseline (formed by ex-members of XTC and Gang Of Four), and forgotten Factory Records second stringers Quango Quango with Love Tempo. So yeah, if you like left field dance music or just interesting sounds by interesting bands who's sounds haven't been blatantly ripped off yet by newer bands then give this one a spin. It's pretty killer.

The Magnetic Fields-Distortion

I really like The Magnetic Fields. Have for quite a while. Back when I got into "Indie Music" or whatever their Holiday record was an early discovery. I dug it and have dug every Magnetic Fields record I have since acquired. Which is all of them. Until this, their latest, Distortions. Well, I don't hate it or anything, but i'm very "meh" on it.

In recent interviews Mr. Magnetic Fields himself Stephin Merritt has stated that he feels the last true innovation in music was The Jesus & Mary Chain's debut record Psychocandy. And while I totally love that record I must disagree here. That record came out in 1985 so what he's saying is that in the 23 years since (a time which includes Magnetic Field's entire existence) there haven't really been any major developments in music. So this leads us to his new record, aptly called Distortion.

What we have here is a bunch of not very catchy Magnetic Fields songs, most of which aren't even sung my Merritt all covered in a sheen of J&MC scratchiness. I'm just not digging it. I really like Magnetic Fields a lot and this album has really disappointed me. I don't know there just doesn't seem to be any reason for the scratchy noisy effects. Maybe Stephin just spilled his coffee on the mixing board when they were mastering the record and decided to keep it. Wrong decision mister!