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Episode 494: November 22, 2020

Fuck Yes in NYC by Amy Douglas Podcast Episode 494 is now available

Featuring new music from Thisquietarmy & Away, Anatoly Grinberg and Mark Spybey, Terry Gross (the band), Group Rhoda, Mogwai, Kiln, Sum of R, Black Wing, plus old music from Threshold Houseboys Choir and Bill Stone.

Photo from Amy Douglas in NYC.

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Forced Exposure New Releases for Week of 11/23/2020

New music is due from Liraz, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, and Mike Cooper, while old music is due from Arurmukha, Bruce Haack, and The Ex.

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Soft Kill, "Dead Kids, R.I.P. City"

Cover of Soft Kill - Dead Kids, R.I.P. CityHomelessness is driven by many things, but it has one thing in common: everyone who is afflicted is human. With this recognition comes both a feeling of cold reality and an expectation of change. The latest from Portland’s Soft Kill—a city that has one of the highest homeless populations in the United States—was forged through their personal encounters with the youngest “lost” denizens of the city. Dead Kids, R.I.P. City lays out stark, confronting tales of addiction, bravery in abandonment, and hope amongst loneliness through luminous soundscapes and lingering melodies. What followed is their most complex yet accessible release yet, a richly human and mournful album from a band already associated with melancholy.

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Aperus, "Archaic Signals"

cover imageEven though I should absolutely know better, I have spent plenty of time and money over the years trying to find new artists that scratch roughly the same itch that several of my favorites did in their prime.  In my heart, I know that no one will ever be able to replicate the magic of classic Dead Can Dance or Zoviet France or whoever, but that certainly does not stop me from endlessly disappointing myself with my doomed and stupid quest.  Sometimes, however, I am drawn towards an album due to its surface resemblance to something familiar only to discover that the artist right shot right past the target nostalgia zone to achieve something that is unique and wonderful in its own right.  That is the case with this latest release from Brian McWilliams' long-running Aperus project, which calls to both the "sci-fi tribal" aesthetic of classic Zoviet France/Rapoon and the desert/ethno-ambient side of Projekt's late ‘90s heyday (Steve Roach, et al.).  As far as I am concerned, that is an absolutely wonderful stylistic niche to stake out, but McWilliams' execution is what elevates Archaic Signal into something truly special.  Rather than simply recalling the iconic figures who birthed a milieu that I love, this album reveals that those original visions have evolved into a compelling new phase with some visionary architects of its own.

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Ana Roxanne, "Because of a Flower"

cover imageAna Roxanne's cryptically titled debut mini-LP was one of 2019's most pleasant surprises, as she masterfully wielded a minimal palette of hazy vocals, subtle instrumentation, and field recordings to construct a suite of songs that felt both remarkably intimate and completely untethered to conventional structure or contemporary trends.  In fact, I suspect I could have been easily convinced that ~~~ was a highly coveted private press obscurity from the early '80s.  This latest release (her first for Kranky) takes a somewhat different direction in some ways, but thankfully remains every bit as beguiling as its predecessor: the field recordings may be less prominent and Roxanne's previous impressionistic, amorphous structures have been largely replaced with more conventional shapes, yet the hooks are now stronger and the songs more memorable.  That feels like a perfectly acceptable trade-off in my book.  While I am historically dismayed when artists that that I enjoy move further away from the idiosyncrasies that made their early work so special, Roxanne proves herself to be the rare exception to that trend, as the best moments of Because of a Flower take the warmth and melodicism of ~~~ to some truly beautiful new heights.

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Thisquietarmy x Away, "The Singularity, Phase I"

Cover of Thisquietarmy x Away - The Singularity, Phase IMontreal-based guitarist and designer Eric Quach (Thisquietarmy, Hypnodrone Ensemble, Destroyalldreamers, others) teams up with drummer and artist Michel « Away » Langevin of progressive sci-fi metal legends Voïvod. That these two world-traveling Canadians crossed paths is tremendously fortunate. The Singularity, Phase I blends the immersive rhythms of Langevin superimposed on the myriad techniques of guitar master Quach, crossing musical genres to create a hypnotic and thrilling tribal experience. The expert ear of Quach, the practiced hands of Langevin and the combined musical knowledge of the duo bring to life a fruitful mind-bending soundscape of heavy motorik rhythms, prolonged drones, futuristic sound effects and frenetic improvised jams.

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Limbs Bin, "Unrelenting Barrage of Flowers and Amethyst Energy"

cover image As the favorite son of the Berkshires region of Western Massachusetts, Josh Landes's Limbs Bin has been a consistently impressive amalgamation of full auto drum machines and harsh electronics.  Unrelenting Barrage of Flowers and Amethyst Energy consists of two rather brief live sets recorded last year, the first at the Dayton Noise Symposium II in Ohio, the second at Mass Grind Violence in Providence, Rhode Island.  Recorded three months apart, the vibe is certainly different from one show to the other, but both are consistently brilliant.

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Mint Field, "Sentimiento Mundial"

Cover of Mint Field - Sentimiento MundialThe latest from Mexico City’s Mint Field brings members of Ulrika Spacek on board. The album achieves a gentle balance between fever and dream that shows growth over the predecessor’s fuzzed-out psychedelia. Sentimiento Mundial allures with wistful, airy melodies that touch on multiple genres, working in moments of their usual dark subterfuge.

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Four Tet, "Sixteen Oceans"

Cover of Four Ten - Sixteen Oceans

Sixteen Oceans is sixteen tracks of the innovative and varied explorations Kieran Hebden is known for, weaving danceable and airy, meandering sounds—and everything in between—into a colorful sonic tapestry. For this album, he creates a sweet retreat of wistful reverie, wavering between fragile notes and jubilant grooves, serving up a suite of tunes that offer a welcoming release and leveraging music’s power to restore. Like the oceans referenced, it’s a fresh breath of fresh, invigorating air, soothing and uplifting in a way that requires little in the way of listener participation other than to sit back and enjoy the ride—a welcome change from much of 2020.

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Mary Lattimore, "Silver Ladders"

cover imageGiven how many achingly gorgeous songs Mary Lattimore has released over the last few years, I was not exactly clamoring for any significant changes to either her aesthetic or her working methods. However, when I learned that she had flown out to Cornwall to record with Neil Halstead, my expectations for Silver Ladders nevertheless increased dramatically.  And for the most part, those intimidatingly high expectations were met with this album, though this is still very much a Mary Lattimore album rather than the Lattimore/Mojave 3 or Lattimore/Slowdive collaboration of my dreams (though "Til a Mermaid Drags You Under" feels damn close to such a transcendent union).  For the most part, however, Silver Ladders is exactly what I would expect from Lattimore at this point in her career: a near-flawless collection of tenderly sublime, nuanced, and emotionally resonant harp reveries enhanced with a subtle palette of effects.  Whether or not Silver Ladders surpasses any of Lattimore's previous great albums is difficult to say, as my feelings on that vary by the day, but it definitely belongs among her most memorably beautiful statements to date.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

DAT Politics

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Review of the Day

Drei Farben House, "Any Kind Of Feeling"
 After Unai's substandard A Love Moderne made for an inauspicious resurrection for Force Tracks, this full-length from a netlabel favorite picks up the gauntlet previously held by Dub Taylor and M.R.I. Still, it isn't quite enough to bolster the once unassailable tech-house imprint.
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