Thursday, June 30, 2005

you're going to love our defeatist attitude

Remote viewing is a skill by which a person (aka "viewer") can perceive objects, persons, or events at a location removed from him or her by either space or time. You've seen it on the local news sometime in your life probably, when the resident psychic "finds" the body of a missing person or somesuch.

The band Remote Viewer can somehow parallel these ideas, as theirs might be the soundtrack for such an extra-sensory experience where you to fall into a trance-like state where you are viewing the situation they describe unto you. Their third full length album, Let Your Heart Draw A Line, came out this past spring. I guess their claim to fame could be that they're two former members of Hood making electronic bedroom recordings. Dubbed (in theory, not in sound) and dusty textures with simple repeating acoustic guitar and key figures and a whispering voice deep in the ear. Sometimes by the lovely lady from Empress. In SAT format, Labradford::Pan American as Hood::Remote Viewer. This applies sonically as well. File near the Album Leaf, Dntel, Telefon Tel Aviv, French Paddleboat, etc and buy it from City Centre Offices. Delicious!

the Remote Viewer - They're Closing Down the Shop
the Remote Viewer - I'm Sad Feeling
the Remote Viewer - How Did You Both Look Me in the Eye?

Monday, June 27, 2005

revolution redux

Heath has been going on about Measles Mumps Rubella during some of our talk-abouts of Wilderness and the flux of folks mining the three decent (combined) LPs by PiL and Gang of Four these days. And I agree, MMB is the cat's knees. And Metal Box is still an oxidizing thrill so no need to venture into the forest.

Another reason to stay outta the woods and put off dealing with today's other youth is the recent reissue of The Beakers' The Four Steps Toward a Cultural Revolution (K Records). This Seattle, WA four piece lasted from January 1980 to January 1981, made up of George Romansic (drums), Mark H. Smith (guitar/vox), Jim Anderson (sax/vox), and Frankie Sundsten (bass). Take a listen, and hot damn is what you will say. The Beakers released one 7" and songs on two NW comps. They even opened for Delta 5 and Gang of Four in 1980. The majority of the 17 songs on Four Steps are unreleased.

"Red Towel" sounds like it was ripped from the hoped up souls of The Dancing Cigarettes -- both groups existed the same time, though Cigs had an extra year on both sides. Singer Mark H. Smith even sounds exactly like the Cigs' Michael Gitlin, crossed with a little Dave Thomas and Mayo Thompson. But The Beakers side-step the Dada talk and organ grooves for two chord, staggered neon punk. All their 3-minute-or-less blasts have the jolt of X-Ray Spex and Contortions: desperation and ragged furry. Anderson's skronks peg him at about five months of practice but spilling with buckets of soul. Spread the word.

The Beakers - Red Towel
The Beakers - I'm Crawling
The Beakers - Four Steps Toward a Cultural Revolution

Saturday, June 25, 2005

on and on and on

The last time I saw Steven Hess was at a crumbling barn about 60 miles west of Madison, WI, deep in the dairy fields. At the time we were looking for beer amidst a rainy drizzle that never washed us out at the Pasture Music Fest & Jubilee. Maybe he found some cans, I didn't. I'd first heard and met Steve when he came through town with the acoustic guitar troupe Bosco & Jorge, whom he is a sometime I percussionist, I believe. And kept an eye on his extended ventures with Greg Davis and Pan American. Few weeks back Steve's new project with guitarist Sylvain Chauveau, called On, landed in my box and its shaking the plants and lulling the cats to sleep ever day since. Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night (DSA) is the empty howling boom that surely whips around the Grand Canyon's base, yet never reaches you. The guitars, piano and percussion the two douse upon seem to be looming in the distance, out of reach for weeks, and are nary recognizable. Each is reduced to an ebbing, translucent roar which then expands for miles or at least across the top floor of my apartment and down to the corner pizza joint. A fingerful of piano keys tingle at the opening of "Oh Run Slowly" gives way to middle-earth hum before it travels the path of a jet's ascent to 20,000. It nearly segues into the next which is a benthic dive to briny underpinnings that nearly darken the sky or mirror moments before the viewing glass cracks. Supersilent/Deathprod's Helge Sten mixed the tapes of Hess and Chauveau's 2003 session. No matter the original intent of their session, Sten's dark hued wash is the best attempt yet at duplicating apparition field recordings.

On - Too Many Demons Still Haunt This Land

Friday, June 24, 2005

valley of the shadowz

I still remember back when I first heard "underground hip-hop". It was so damn refreshing from all the crap that was smeared across modern radio. It seemed to me that the genre lost its way for a while and I was so happy that it had rediscovered an interesting and experimental sound again. Stuff like the Overcast LP from Atmosphere and Anti-Pop Consortium gave me new hope and pulled me back into an area that I had almost completely given up on.

Enter a couple of years ago and somehow I ran across US/Dutch group Shadow Huntaz. While the past few years had brought a HUGE deluge of indie-hop to the point where I was ready to throw up my hands again and walk away, this was another breath of fresh air. They had found the things that I wanted in my hip-hop world. Production that was fuckin crazy- I always grew bored so quickly with the same old beat repeated for an entire song. Also, voices and words that were not afraid to be unique. The type I got from the modern-classic Deltron 3030. What Gravediggaz should have been. Wu-Tang trapped in Blade Runner. Prefuse remixing Squarepusher?

The Huntaz are three American MCs (Breaf from Chicago, Dream from Atlanta, and Non from LA) and the Dutch production squad known as Funckarma. Together they create an dark and dirty apocolyptic vision that sounds like licking a greasy rust off a futuristic boiler room and finding smooth titanium underneath. Okay thats not true, thats more Autechre perhaps. But fans of Anticon, Lex, Warp, Skam and beyond are sure to hear something they like. I have been sitting on this CD for weeks, loving every second of it and still haven't come up with which tracks to share with the bloggosphere... I have it lowered down to 9 of 13. Here we go... three different flavas:

Shadow Huntaz - Rulez
Shadow Huntaz - Decisions
Shadow Huntaz - Pevic

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

drunk on light

Okay everybody who really knows me at all knows I am this big shoegazer dork. Its pretty obvious, the blog is named after a Slowdive song, I am often seen walking about town in my Spacemen 3 shirt. In a recent cover art identification contest, I got ten out of ten right for the shoegazer week. (but someone else already beat me sad sad.) And while there isn't as much quality material as their once was back in the golden years of the early 90s, there is still great stuff being made.

So please understand when I drop this short list of names of comparison, I do not do so lightly, even though they are often used to describe modern noise pop. That said, I hear great promise and possibility in the music of Weevil. The vocals are a mix of Bernard Sumner of New Order/Electronic and the vocal harmonies of Bell/Gardner from Ride. The bass lines owe massive debt from hours of playing along to Peter Hook. At times everything sounds like MBV demos, other times they're a London-based Notwist. Wichita Recordings has put out their debut and from my ears we are in for a treat as Weevil continue to release more music.

Weevil - Too Long Sleeping
Weevil - Silver Rails
Weevil - Halfsmile (video)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

measles mumps rubella

Last week I talked about this band so now here is a full little post about em. Measles Mumps Rubella formed a few years ago in Washington, DC and soon after went into the studio with Ian Mackaye (Fugazi, Minor Threat) and Don Zientara. Zientara is the man who founded the legendary Inner Ear Studio in DC where piles of great records have been recorded such as Minor Threat, Rites of Spring, Fugazi, Dismemberment Plan, Bad Religion, Q and not U, Black Eyes, Bad Brains, Tsunami, Nation of Ulysses, etc.

Anyway, the result was a self-released 7inch that kicks much ass. Zusammen is from these sessions and digs in a thick wall of noise with a spiraling march on top. Its a mindmelting mix of PIL, the Fall, and Sonic Youth, maybe. (do those things spell Oneida?) From there, they started playing shows and tours with like-minded bands like Le Tigre, Out Hud, the Faint, !!!, Suicide... blah blah blah. Around this time Troubleman decided to get involved and released their 3 song EP, from which Fountain of Youth is taken. It continues along the path of A Certain Liquid ESG blah blah. So yes, this genre has just about been beat to death, but these records have been out for a while now and they have a fantastic live show. They haven't been heard from in a while, which is a bummer to me, but in the meantime you can also check out Thee Snuff Project, with whom they share a drummer.

Measles Mumps Rubella - Fountain of Youth
Measles Mumps Rubella - Zusammen mit Motown

Friday, June 17, 2005

space contact with the third sex

Taking their name from an Italian lesbian vampire pulp-comic-book heroine (seen at the right), Sukia emerged from LA's Silverlake scene in 1996 and released Contacto Especial con el Tercer Sexo. Combining Moog-driven grooves laced with found samples and space-age pop aesthetics, it was the perfect match for the production team of the Dust Brothers and they issued the debut on their Nickel Bag label. Let's visit a paranormal conference on acid where Esquivel is on stage covering Paul's Boutique!

An ominous, free-floating collage of found sounds, drum machines, cheap keyboards, and samples, Sukia flirts with exotica and the avant-garde without committing to either. And it's the better for it. Sukia's instrumentals are alternatingly mesmerizing and disturbing, fueled by pseudo-bossa nova rhythms, jazzy chords, and sheets of noise. It's not necessarily an alienating record, but anyone well versed in the cut-paste productions of the Dust Brothers, who also helmed this record, will be more inclined toward meeting the album halfway, since the music isn't strictly lounge revival, avant-pop, or electronic music. It's a fascinating, darkly humorous melange of all three, and it's endlessly fascinating. - AMG

Sukia - the Dream Machines
Sukia - Gary Super Macho
Sukia - Touching Me Touching You

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

the four whoresmen of the apock o'lips

Today is one of those days when you want the world to disappear into a blur behind you; so you put in something furious and blast it as loud as you can and give the middle finger to the world with your eyes. You don't always want to emit Merzbow or Godflesh unto the world, so sometimes you've gotta send out the cacophany of free-jazz. In it is love and hate, sickness and rapture, passion and solitude, deep thought and a blind leap of faith.

Cold Bleak Heat is a wake up call to the evolving life of the avant garde.

The quartet of Cold Bleak Heat has all this goin' on. Their debut on Family Vineyard is one of the most powerful recordings I have heard since the I first heard the Hated Music a few years ago (which is coincidentally one-half of Cold Bleak Heat). Consisting of a tour de force of today's most-blistering visionaries: saxophone endurist Paul Flaherty, the octopus drummer on crack Chris Corsano (Sunburned Hand of the Man, Six Organs of Admittance), trumpet-smearologist Greg Kelley (nmperign, Heathen Shame) and acoustic bassist Matt Heyner (No Neck Blues Band). Normally I wouldn't post mere excerpts of songs for download but these are some extended blasts from the furnace of the global-hive-mind, and no one wants to host a ten+ minute mp3...?

and if it came to pass
that all good men
and all good women
everywhere
played this magnificent music
perhaps once and for all
the selfish and corrupt rulers and gods
would be driven into the deepest
blackest void
forever

- dredd foole, july 2004

Cold Bleak Heat - Raising The Dead (Freezer Fight) (excerpt)
Cold Bleak Heat - The Blue Dabs Of Varicose Veins (excerpt)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

post plethoric rhetoric

Baltimore's Wilderness is one of the newest bands to join the Jagjaguwar roster. This quartet's self-titled debut (out July 5th) conjures images of Metal Box-era Johnny Lydon fronting Savage Republic or Explosions in the Sky. Cascading guitars build into the most beautiful pop epiphanies, as though the Edge were leading a modern day Popol Vuh up the mountain before us.

P.I.L. is indeed a great starting point, like on tracks such as Arkless. The vox are probably as equally influenced by the afore-mentioned Johnny Lydon as Mark E Smith. The closest contemporaries that spring to mind are a less dubbed-noise version of DC's Measles Mumps Rubella.

End of Freedom is a much more clean and polished. Approaching Interpol-esque territory, but still maintaining their manic babbling madman over a tune that is half Bau-Daniel Ash-haus and half pop-shoegazer, say for example Adorable.

check em out on their upcoming tour with the poorly named the Internet:

06/25 Baltimore, MD - Talking Head
06/26 Cincinnati, OH - The Comet
06/27 Chicago, IL - The Empty Bottle
06/28 Lansing, MI - Mac's Bar
06/29 Bloomington, IN - Bear's Place
07/01 Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews
07/02 Lawrence, KS - Replay Lounge
07/03 Omaha, NE - O'Leaver's
07/05 Indianapolis, IN - Bubba's Bowling Alley
07/06 Nashville, TN - Springwater Supper Club
07/07 Knoxville, TN - The Pilot Light
07/08 Chapel Hill, NC - The Nightlight
07/09 Charlottesville, VA - The Twisted Branch

Wilderness - Arkless
Wilderness - End of Freedom

Monday, June 13, 2005

like a gun

the Social Registry blurb about Psychic Ills says: "This Quartet merge the influences of space rock, psychedelia, and drone into pieces whose powers creep up on you."

Byron Coley, writer for the Wire says: "A fine sound, a young sound, a sound you should get to know today."

Neither of these really say all that much now do they? The only other nugget of information on the label's website is that there is an upcoming 12" called Diamond City w/ a remix by Sonic Boom.

Their debut 7-inch just hit stores and its a thin slice of analog Spectrum drone along with a page from the Joy Division guitar book, and don't forget some Bros Reid vocals, too, and a love for the simplistic Spacemen 3 aesthetic. So you ask what seperates this from all those other bands with this formula? I am not sure, but I likes it...

Psychic Ills - Killers

Friday, June 10, 2005

eno sings! (again)

Brian Eno. The man really needs no introduction, does he? Musician, lecturer, visual artist, writer, political activist and futurologist. He has a new album called Another Day On Earth. Many people might yawn and say "so what?" or "great, more audio wallpaper". Well phooey on them because he has decided to take a turn back to songwriting with "normal" song structures and yes, vocals and lyrics! Being a huge fan of his early vocal works in his years immediately following Roxy Music, as well as his later ambient works, this is big, big news.

The album is really great. And totally Eno is about the only way one can describe it. The only comparisons I can come up with are people whom he has worked with in the past, so thats not exactly fair.

"I've spent a long time doing instrumental music but as the technology has got more advanced, it has become less and less interesting to me. In the Roxy days, synthesisers only had one note. Now I've got a synth where you hold down a key and you've got yourself an entire ambient career... It's suddenly the easiest thing to do." - Eno

Never afraid to take a challenge, Eno has once again taken on one of the ultimate difficulties in music, poignant lyrics. I gotta say that this post has me the most worried about ye olde cease and desist letter from the lawyers. However, its music that I have been excited to hear for quite some time. So hopefully they'll let little old me slide by... I am only going to post one, and its the first track.

Brian Eno - This

Thursday, June 09, 2005

time stereo has esp

A short-lived studio-based project, ESP Summer gave the pop underground one dazzling LP and was never heard from again. Much like the pairing of Brian Eno and David Byrne in the early '80s, Warren Defever (His Name Is Alive) and Ian Masters (Pale Saints) made for an alignment of talented studio eccentrics of the time. Their excellent eponymous release was originally issued on cassette through Defever's Time Stereo outlet, but was thankfully issued on disc via Perdition Plastics. A minimal, scatterbrained effort, ESP Summer's dreamy acoustics made for one of the decade's unrecognized gems and was certainly deserving of the high regard of His Name Is Alive and the Pale Saints' best works. Masters' sweet, choirboy vocals, the key to all the early Pale Saints' best efforts, and Defever's minimal guitar pop with appropriately spiky and strange production rub all the right places.

If your a real His Name is Alive trainspotter, you'll recognise the ESP in the albums title as a continuation of what appears to be a minor obsession for Warren. Warren's side projects have gone under names like: The ESPs, ESP Beetles, ESP Family, Live ESP, ESP Dolphins, ESP Summer, and ESP Continent. "For a while there I got really into ESP, teach your dog ESP. And there was a label back in the sixties called ESP, but for them it stood for Esperanto, the universal language that never really caught on too big. And you mixed all those together, I just got really excited about it, for a while every song had ESP in the title, and I formed a couple of bands with ESP in the name. Right around the same time I got really into acronyms, JFK, UFO, CIA, FBI, HNIA." - WRN DFVR


ESP Summer - Sticky Sun
ESP Summer - No June

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

somehow some other life

Matching the wits and pop experimentalism of Ian Masters (Pale Saints) and Chris Trout (AC Temple), Spoonfed Hybrid was birthed in 1993. Much of why Masters left his prior outfit had to do with the limitations of a pop band, and through his association with Trout, he was able play around with sound and structure without worrying about label pressures or whether or not a drummer would mind not playing on half of a full-length record. Released through 4AD offshoot Guernica the same year Masters and Trout paired up, Spoonfed Hybrid found a small audience through Pale Saints fans and those who enjoy a little more experimentation in their music.

The record itself lives up to this lineage, and frequently overshoots it -- the duo adds a minimal electronic bent to the flowery dream pop of its predecessors, cutting recklessly between unique and varied sets of instruments (including cellos, harps, tablas, marimbas and loads of electronics). The group's songwriting maintains the hazy dreaminess of 4AD-style pop, but their comparatively clear and minimal arrangement is a big step forward from a genre that occasionally fell into unnecessary density -- without taking too much baggage from that era of music, Spoonfed Hybrid manages to turn out a collection of gorgeous songs in the same vein. - AMG


also be sure to check out old Pale Saints, like in this post, if you are digging on these sounds.

Spoonfed Hybrid - Tiny Planes
Spoonfed Hybrid - 1936

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

so young but so cold

At the start of the 80s, Spatsz (a former psychiatric hospital worker) and Mona Soyoc formed Kas Product in France and soon after start recording their first EPs in a bedroom on a 2-track recorder. In 1982, RCA release their debut, Try Out, to considerable press in Sounds, Melody Maker and NME where they are oft compared to the Slits, Soft Cell and Suicide. The difference being with Mona's theatrical jazz-styled vocals that are perhaps the french Lydia Lunch (but sang in English) or Lizzy Mercier Descloux getting strangled by Bjork.

Having already established themselves with their frosty combination of claustrophobic jazz and minimalist, disjointed dance rhythms, their second album, By Pass, finds Soyoc experimenting with even more stark, exaggerated vocals alongside a slightly cleaner sound. The band went on to tour Europe extensively with Tuxedomoon, Alan Vega, Minimal Compact, This Heat and more. Now, 20+ years later, Les Disques du Soleil et de l'Acier has reissued the amazing first two records. Grab 'em over at Forced Exposure.

Kas Product - Man of Time
Kas Product - Sober

Monday, June 06, 2005

virgin-whore complex

Well I just received a package in the mail today, from a company in Texas, it's a book how to play electric guitar in only seven days. So I wrote this song to tell you that I think you should know that you'll be sorry when you see me at the Hollywood Bowl and you'll think you could have had me if you'd had the foresight not to say no. Oh, but can't you see now? Front page news? Tailored jeans and limousines and rave reviews? I hear it's lonely at the top, I may need a lover, Sometimes #1 bestsellers have the uglist covers. We might even make a roadie of your hooligan brother. Just wait til I'm discovered!

Its with these words that mid-90s indie-pop sensations the Virgin-Whore Complex begin their debut album, Stay Away from my Mother. The trio took their name from the pop-psychology truism that certain men need to see women as either all good or all bad, and they stick with this mordant humor for the length of the album. They were formed in '92 by Charlie Fulton, Spats Ransom, and ex-Dambuilder Deb Fox. Ransom's real name is Peter Getty, grandson of J. Paul Getty and one of the heirs to the Getty oil fortune; Getty is also the owner of Emperor Norton Records, the band's label. A less miserable Stephen Merritt, a more hyper Sebadoh, a more lo-fi Kinks, a more psychedelic Unrest? Buy their two CDs for less than $5 combined from Amazon!

the Virgin-Whore Complex - Discovered
the Virgin-Whore Complex - Four Alarm Fire In Lover's Lane
the Virgin-Whore Complex - Speakerphone

Sunday, June 05, 2005

rappin from the oval office

From the silver screen to the governorship of California to the White House. It was on this day last year that our Gipper passed away. As rememberence of this I have a little treat for us. During the 80s, all sorts of parody rap albums appeared, tons of which are documented over at Werner's place.

There was Rap Master Ronnie by Reathel Bean & the Doonesbury Break Crew. In the music video, Reagan takes a limo into the projects and raps to them to drum up some minority support in the upcoming election. He had the presidential seal on his socks. Then then there was the President's Rap and Contra Rap by Rich Little. He had a mini-career aping Reagan, and on Contra extended his talents to add in Nixon and Oliver North as well.

Today's focus is on Ronnie's Rapp by Ron and the D.C. Crew. In 1986, it was decided the world needed more rap records by president Ronald Reagan, and Ron and the D.C. Crew were born. Of course, when he said, "Well, I do and say just what I want, and with Congress I always win. So you better let me rock and you better let me rap, or, in eighty-eight, I'm gonna run again." Well, you've just gotta let him rap, haven't you? "Met with Gorbachev in eighty-five, to talk about how everyone can stay alive. And though he seemed to be a guy with class, if he doesn't play ball we'll nuke his... country!" The hip-hop breakdown of "Hail To the Chief" at the song's climax is especially inspiring. This is the single edit, not the Kissinger Dub Version. You think I'm kidding?

Ron and the D.C. Crew - Ronnie's Rapp

Friday, June 03, 2005

can't can do

Keeping on the Boston-centric tip: Jessica Rylan aka Can't. Home built-synths and snaggled, bubbled voice-a-tales creeping from behind the furnace, deep in the cob-web cellar. Rylan came through town a few months back and the reverberations are still in the air with the audience folk. Since, as well, her output's increased two fold. But let's back it up. First to my ears was the New Secret picture LP on RRR from February. Sputtering static inter-chopped with Rylan's lullaby voice. Some devil work for sure, spiraling from within the crossing frequencies. Wind-swept specks that wrangle with crunched, wavering oscillations and sine wave squabbles. Ryaln uses a number of small, self-built synths. Live, and as I'm guessing on record, her vocals go directly through one and seem to override the circuits and ricochet crumbling beats n' tears across them. There is a uneasy rawness to the LP but a few layers down her tales return it to almost torch songs or the vocals vibe from Krzysztof Komeda's Rosemary's Baby score. Is that a stretch? Maybe so. Her sound work is juttering, abrupt cracked electronics yet feel pretty damn genuine and brandishing new ground. (photo here by Bill T Miller)

Of previous Can't CDs, Prepares to Fail Again is more based on solo syth work while vs the World are "remixes" from the world... Rylan has a number of cassettes out and on the way and nicely mangled duo with Donna Parker, called Secret Diary. Load is releasing a album of Vampire Can't, which is the combo of Rylan and Vampire Belt, the drum/ bass/ guitar/ patch cord /vocal matrix of Bill Nace and Chris Corsano, whose two CDRs will hopefully become more available for those on the skirts to hear.

Can't - We Are The World
Can't - Wishing Well

Thursday, June 02, 2005

vivre pour chaque instant

Polyphonic Size is the product of Belgium's Roger-Marc Vande Voorde. After coming across some cheap Korg synths, he and Daniel B built a little home studio to record 1979's debut Algorythmic EP. Two songs from this gem can be found over at 20 Jazz Funk Greats. What XXJFG sez is right with their references- Plastic Bertrand, Throbbing Gristle, Suicide, Cabaret Voltaire, etc.

By the early 80s, PS had a few singles under their belts, including a few produced by the Stranglers' JJ Burnel (PS were big fans and Roger even ran a fanzine). Soon after meeting YMO on a trip to the far east, they finally get a record out in America. The PS 12" is released on the brand new Enigma imprint and features a cover of the Stones' Mother's Little Helper in a manner that you would expect to hear from the Flying Lizards. PSize continued to release impossible to find material (at least here in the US) into the late 80s, including a few full lengths and many singles.

Polyphonic Size - Mother's Little Helper
Polyphonic Size - RDA/RFA

major burn, major stars

Thanks to Heath for keeping the JFAD seat warm while I was away tending to a soul-crushing computer crash. It is good to be back...

As an outsider looking in, there seems a fine gush of smokin Boston release of recent. While tending to my melted hard drive I've had Greg Kelley's new solo disc (and CDR), a coupla live Heathen Shame CDRs, Damon & Naomi LP (finally arriving), and Jessica Rylan's Can't picture LP to get me through. Though the Major Stars 4 has been most helpful in letting the massive data loss slide off my back like melted skin. Much anticipated since their live split with Comets on Fire a year back. 4 is pretty close to that method, as it was laid to tape in July '03 and shares the massive, interstellar summoning that is "Phantom #1." Upfront, this may be the finest record shot from the Twisted Village axis. The fever dreams/levitation Magic Hour brought is now in the Stars. The recording quality is glimmering & fab with alternating guitar solos from Wayne/Kate, and some ageless songwriting ("All or Half the Time") which Mr. Rogers' vocals match, natch. It's a clear-cut mind-burner which should entice my downstairs neighbors to come good on their promise of pipe passing. The opener, "How To Be" should've been featured on this week's NPR spot about upcoming summer jams: four and half minutes that seemes combined from scratches of Cream, Dinosaur and Crystalized Movements. At the break, a few seconds of time is purely suspended before a right on torrential mangled rainbow of eye-crossing and dual blistering six strings -- that oughta be screaming out of every van window, corner BBQ and basement smoke shack for at least these summer months -- rains down until the back breaks.

Major Stars - How To Be

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

urgent sea

Ume's drummer has a bassdrum with a whole series of lines with slashes through them. Somehow I doubt this is how many groupies he's tagged while on tour, but it very well could be one of the following:

a) how many cities they have burned down with their exquisite noise.

b) number of reviews they've had where they are compared to Sonic Youth and/or PJ Harvey.

c) representation of all the men on tour that she-devil and guiterrorist Lauren Larson has had to turn down because she is married to the bassist Eric.

d) number of back-to-back repeated plays their CD gets once you have witnessed their intense live show.

How on earth this Houston trio manages to create such a beautiful racket on stage is still confounding me. And how Lauren (who almost has her Ph.D in philosophy!) can flail about like a unmanned fire hose and not have the feedback blow her petite frame out of the club entirely. One moment she is cooing in your ear and seducing you but once you've let your guard down, out come the fangs, the claws - and you find yourself delightfully eviscerated. This is what the Yeah Yeah Yeahs want to be if they headed their influences and concentrated on music not image. Grab their debut from Pretty Activity

Ume - Wake
Ume - Manic
Ume - Hurricane