FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m friends with one-half of Cassette Fighter. (I’m a well-wisher of the other half… we just haven’t talked a whole lot or anything. It’s not a drama thing or anything. Sorry for being boring!) That said, everything I say is true and what I’d say if I didn’t know any members of the band at all. Also, a very close friend did the cover art. So there’s that too.
I’ve been really digging The Plague & Beekeeping, the debut EP from Cassette Fighter. I’m a sucker for synth-based music anyway, so I’m kind of predisposed to like this. There’s a little bit of a Kumquat vibe here on the opening track, “The Big Hate” with its use of sampling to create a vocal track for a wonderfully dreamy track. Continue reading →
Incan Abraham’s new album Tolerance comes out today on White Iris Records. It’s a nice slice of indie pop, ranging from the kind of dreamy, drifting kind of sound, mingling of synthesizers and traditional instruments seamlessly. Especially in the percussion, there’s a bit of the world music influence you can hear in bands like Vampire Weekend — but without the really weird production on the Vampire Weekend stuff that makes it sound like it was recorded in a warehouse. Seriously, what’s with that? Continue reading →
I like albums that sneak up on a listener. Sirens, the fourth record by Christopher Bell is like that. Bell uses his looped vocals to create textures along with his cello. The result is a record that sounds like some sort of mix between Björk’s Medulla, Todd Rundgren’s A Capella, the work of Zoë Keating and some of Sean Altman’s stuff — Bell’s pop hooks is the world of Rundgren and Altman, where the artiness and interesting arrangements are similar to Björk and Keating. But the mix is all Bell’s own. Sirens isn’t going to take the place of any of these records, nor could any of these records replace Sirens. They’re all good but different, even if there is some DNA shared. So, unless you think kids are just lame rip-offs of their parents, it is an unfair slight to call Sirens derivative by any means. Continue reading →
Sometimes, I find it odd that there were not more comprehensive collections of music videos by bands released during the Golden Age of DVD. Plenty were released, though they were largely cash-in budget titles, with little regard to quality, curation, or historical context. The music video collection occupies a space akin to the Greatest Hits album, with the extra requirement of demanding your eyes, as well as your ears. In this post-MTV era, the music video is best suited for YouTube over disc. Continue reading →
Edward Ka-Spel‘s brilliance with The Legendary Pink Dots is to introduce us to isolated characters and then immerse us in their world-view through expansive and mysterious soundscapes. He begins with the most restricted, infinitesimal point of consciousness and then slowly expands it outward towards a state of ‘cosmic consciousness’ (to use the phrase of 1960s psychonauts). Musically, he often follows this template of expansion, with simple melody lines repeating and layering in increased complexity of texture. Much of the LPD’s music is an undertaking to help the listener (and perhaps composer) escape his/her own head. Lyrical phrases, musical motifs, album titles and themes recur across decades, but tonal shifts between albums are slow and subtle. Hopefully, The Legendary Dots Project, like the Residents and Sparks projects before, will provide the keen reader and listener with a giddy entry-point into the Legendary Pink Dots’ musical world. Fulfil the prophecy! Continue reading →
Listeners of Crush On Radio know full well my love (as well as Andrew’s) of Primus and the work of Les Claypool. So it should have been a given that I’d be picking up the new album Four Foot Shack from Les’ new Duo De Twang, a country group with Bryan Kehoe from M.I.R.V. The album is almost all covers — the only original song is the brief introductory track, “Four Foot Shack”, though a little more than half are covers of Les’ various other bands (so does that count as a cover?), including two from Primus, a couple from the Frog Brigade, and one from his first solo record, Highball With The Devil (“Hendershot”, one of my favorite tracks from that record, as it turns out). Continue reading →
Cardiacs were a wonderful band — pretty much any given lineup of the band is going to be awesome, but the lineup on the All That Glitters Is A Maresnest concert film is probably my favorite lineup. Or at least one of them, since, well, probably all the various Cardiacs lineups are my favorite. But this one especially so — I love Sarah Smith’s sax and William D. Drake’s keys and, well, just about everything.
Utility Music is Gyratory System’s third album (out today!), and I feel a bit silly for having not known them until now. It’s a combination of all sorts of things I like — electronica with live instruments in the mix, krautrock influences, and, well, the first track is named “John Frum” after the patron saint of cargo cults! In fact, if you’re a fan of Krautrock in general, I’d highly recommend this album. It’s not a mere pastiche, but rather an extension of the genre. Continue reading →