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Episode 484: September 20, 2020 (MJ Guider guest artist)

MJ Guider Guest artist MJ Guider is on this week's episode of Brainwashed Radio: The Podcast Edition

New Orleans-based musician and radio DJ Melissa Guion, AKA MJ Guider, is this week's podcast guest. Her second album for Kranky, Sour Cherry Bell, is out now. We also hear music from Ana Roxanne, Ike Yard, Big Blood, X, Sidi Touré, and Hekla.

photo by Craig Mulcahy

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Forced Exposure New Releases for Week of 9/21/2020

New music is due from El Goodo, Bamba Wassoulou Groove, and Talibam!, while old music is due from Bruce Haack, Claudio Simonetti's Goblin, and Laibach.


MJ Guider, "Sour Cherry Bell"

Cover of MJ Guider - Sour Cherry BellThe third release from musician and DJ Melissa Guion was recorded largely in her home, with only limited studio time, and is truly a step forward from her earlier releases. Where 2018’s Precious Systems had heavy emphasis on ethereal moodiness, Sour Cherry Bell delivers a bigger punch, one that is more forceful and up-front — raw power. The release is filled with dark synthesizers and demanding drum machines, balanced by airy, angelic vocals and atmospheric soundscapes for a moody and dreamy effect that suggests movement: mental, emotional, and physical. This quickly became a 2020 album of the year for me.


Téléplasmiste, "To Kiss Earth Goodbye"

cover imageIt has been three years since this eclectic duo last released a proper full-length, though they have released a few fitfully intriguing cassettes in the interim.  While I enjoyed the looser, more abstract side of the project showcased on last year's Science Religion, it did not quite build upon the incredible promise of Frequency is the New Ecstasy's incredible "Astodaan."  That particular piece suggested that Téléplasmiste might someday deserve their own place in the illustrious Coil/Cyclobe continuum of heavy, occult-tinged, post-industrial psychedelia, though neither Mark Pilkington or Michael J. York are exactly starving for underground cred (Pilkington runs Strange Attractor Press and York was briefly a touring member of Coil).  The twist is that the two artists make for a pair every bit as curious and improbable as Golden Retriever, as York's expertise in bagpipes and other wind instruments is hardly common as a guiding force in the post-industrial milieu and Pilkington is not exactly a conventional musician himself.  In the context of Téléplasmiste, however, the pair tend to focus on combining heady synth drones and eerie, ritualistic pipes to evoke something akin to a portal to an altered state of consciousness.  Occasionally their more bubbly kosmische side rubs me the wrong way, but the lion's share of this album is both wonderful and mesmerizing.


Ike Yard, "Night After Night"

cover imageSuperior Viaduct's Ike Yard reissue campaign continues (and presumably ends) with this, the band's woefully underheard debut EP.  Night After Night was recorded shortly after the band formed and was originally released on Belgium's Les Disques Du Crépuscule back in 1981.  It has never been reissued before now, which means that it was never actually available domestically (except as an import) during Ike Yard's brief initial lifespan.  That is unfortunate, as it is objectively one of the better releases to emerge from NYC's No Wave scene, even if it was completely eclipsed by Ike Yard's classic full-length a year later.  The difference between the two releases is quite an interesting and significant one, as Night After Night feels like the work of an actual human band with recognizable instruments rather than an audacious feat of stark, alienating production.  On one level, the transformation between the two releases calls to mind pre-Martin Hannett Warsaw versus the iconic post-Hannett Joy Division, but the aesthetic itself is closer to a Public Image Ltd. homage by people who thought Jah Wobble and Keith Levene's parts were the only bits worth saving.


Simeon Coxe, 1938-2020

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Silver Apples founder, Simeon Coxe. Not only was the music Simeon created back in the 1960s with Silver Apples influential beyond measure, he was an amazing gentleman and wonderful soul.

In 2008, Simeon played Brainwaves as Silver Apples to the only standing ovation during the weekend. Click here to see some photos by Greg Cristman. He will be missed.


X, "Alphabetland"

Cover of X - AlphabetlandSince 2016, I maintained there would be the advent of a new mantra: “Make Music Great Again.” Sometimes the reference became more specific, replaced with Punk or Deathrock depending on my mood, but the message remained the same: the impetus for music with a message would be opened. We’ve seen legends returning to take advantage of the era to release new work, so there was a mix of both surprise and lack thereof when, completely unannounced, legendary punk band X dropped ALPHABETLAND, their first studio release in 27 years (and the first with their original line-up in the past 35 years) to coincide with the 40th anniversary of their classic 1980 debut Los Angeles. A fresh blast from the past that looks to the future, X come racing out of the gate with the same ferociousness and insistent melody of any of their classics.


Vladislav Delay/Sly Dunbar/Robbie Shakespeare, "500-Push-Up"

cover imageThis unusual and inspired collaboration between a Finnish experimentalist and one of Jamaican music's most iconic rhythm sections has its roots in an even more unlikely previous pairing: 2018's Nordub album on the venerable OKeh label.  On that album, Sasu Ripatti's role was primarily that of a producer for a melodic and accessible jazz/dub hybrid, but the very different 500-Push-Up documents the far more cacophonous and freewheeling side of their collaboration that resulted from Ripatti's move into the driver's seat.  Moreover, this second reunion occurred at a particularly interesting time, as Vladislav Delay's harsher recent work is light years away from Ripatti's heyday as a dub techno producer.  While I am sure that a version of this album featuring the Vladislav Delay of the early 2000s would have been absolutely wonderful as well, the less disparate aesthetics of the participants would have likely led towards considerably more familiar territory than this one does, so maybe it is for the best that this union did not occur until now.  At its best, 500-Push-Up sounds almost like it is carving out an new genre that blurs the lines between hip-hop beat tapes, fluid reggae bass lines, and hallucinatory electronic chaos.


Brothertiger, “Paradise Lost”

Cover of Brothertiger - Paradise LostI was having a conversation with someone the other evening about what defines “pop” music, and if it can be considered good music. This is a loaded question since there are many varieties of music that could potentially fall into a pop category; the term means many different things, carrying both positive and negative connotations. As this isn’t meant to be an essay arguing the definition, let me simply say this: I enjoy what moves me. There exists simple, straightforward music which has the power to reel me in, winning me over with charming, catchy melodies, making my heart soar. With his sincere delivery, dreamy heartfelt melodies, eighties pop sensibilities and impressive vocal range, the talented John Jagos won me over as Brothertiger on his latest, Paradise Lost.


Belbury Poly, "The Gone Away"

cover imageI have to admit that I have always been somewhat confounded by stated The Ghost Box aesthetic of "artists exploring the misremembered musical history of a parallel world," as I have little nostalgia for hazily remembered '60s and '70s children’s television and a limited passion for the vintage sci-fi sounds of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.  In short, I had insufficient whimsy in my heart to properly appreciate anything that sounds like a retro-futurist alternate soundtrack for The Wicker Man.  After fully immersing myself in this latest fairy-themed opus from label co-founder Jim Jupp, however, I am beginning to see the unique appeal of the willfully anachronistic collective.  I am not sure if the changing world or my changing self ultimately led me to this point, but the idea of spending some time in a kitschy fever dream evocation of a cheaply constructed puppet world suddenly seems extremely appealing to me.  Granted, The Gone Away still rubs me the wrong way during its more "vintage lounge music" moments, but it nevertheless feels both good and pure that Jupp is so single-mindedly focused on extracting genuine pathos from our weird, dated, and ostensibly ridiculous cultural memories.

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