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Podcast Episode 348: April 23, 2017

Sarah LipstateMatt Kadane of The New Year, Overseas, Consonant, and Bedhead joins us as the current episode's guest. We hear new tunes from the first The New Year album in 8 years, Snow, which is out on Friday, April 28th, plus Bedhead, Pan Sonic, Mark Van Hoen, Shield Patterns, and the Stargazer Lilies.


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Forced Exposure New Releases for 4/24/2017

New music is due from Gas, Pinkcourtesyphone, and Peace, Loving, while old music is due from Dan Joseph, Jaap Vink, and Roky Erickson.

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Legendary Pink Dots, "Chemical Playschool 19 & 20"

cover imageOver the last two decades or so, my Legendary Pink Dots fandom has gone through quite a few different phases, but my current self is most enamored with the Chemical Playschool series.  Each new installment always feels like a large and mysterious gift-wrapped box that unexpectedly shows up at my house, stuffed full of plenty of random things that I did not particularly want and a few revelatory surprises that absolutely knock me sideways (finding the latter is always the fun part, obviously).  This latest plunge into the band's unfettered experimental urges, quietly released for the band's fall 2016 tour, is an especially rich treasure trove: it does not so much feel like a meandering psychedelic fever dream of orphaned ideas and studio experiments so much as a rich tapestry of evocative and coherent themes expertly blurred together into a mesmerizing fantasia.  This is easily one of my favorite LPD albums in recent memory.

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Mika Vainio, 1963-2017

We are extremely saddened by the news of the passing of Mika Vainio, as reported initially by Rumba and confirmed by friends. Vainio was best known for his work in Panasonic/Pan Sonic but had numerous solo albums, releases as Ø, and in collaborations, such as VVV with his Panasonic partner Ilpo Väisänen and Alan Vega.

He will be missed dearly.

Brainwashed had the special pleasure of capturing Pan Sonic live and interviewing Mika for The Eye back in 2006. It's a rare video interview of Mika in his own words describing his musical history prior to Panasonic along with his then current experience creating music (Click here for the video.)

 

Gnod, "Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing..."

cover imageI had a very unfortunate false start with Gnod, as the first time I heard them, I mistakenly concluded that they were basically the UK version of White Hills rather than a deeply radical and experimental entity of Swans-like intensity.  With the benefit of hindsight, I have since embraced them as one of the single most exciting forces to emerge from the underground in recent years.  Thankfully, no one at all will be likely to repeat my mistake after hearing Just Say No, though it admittedly tones down the band’s more arty and indulgent tendencies quite a bit in service of visceral brute force (the album title provides a very unambiguous clue as to the band's current mindset).   Of course, as much as I enjoy raw power, punk energy, and hardcore fury on their own, the beauty of this album lies in how brilliantly Gnod manage to blend heavy music with their longstanding Krautrock and psych fascinations, enhancing the expected monster riffs with bulldozing no-frills repetition, seismic percussion grooves, Gang of Four-style minimalism, and a wonderful textural chaos of electronics and radio broadcasts.

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break_fold-07_07_15-13_04_16

cover imageThe plain, unmarked white shell and clinical titling of break_fold's debut certainly adds a mysterious quality to this project.  There is no hint as to what to expect musically, and that alone always makes me curious.  That ambiguity carries onto the tape itself, in the form of complex and diverse beat heavy electronics that excels as much in mood and texture as it does in pleasant melodies and memorable rhythms.

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Axebreaker, "Burning False Flags"

cover imageAxebreaker is a new project from Locrian vocalist/keyboardist Terence Hannum, and one that harkens back to the earliest days of the power electronics scene (right when it transitioned from the world of industrial), while putting an entirely modern spin on the sound.  It is heavily politically charged and packed with all of the anger and rage I could have hoped for.  The strength of Hannum’s performance ensures, however, that it will still be relevant even when the political landscape shifts to something hopefully more pleasant in the USA.

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Evan Caminiti, "Toxic City Music"

cover imageThis latest album continues to explore the more electronic phase of Evan Caminiti's art, yet feels quite a bit different from his other recent work.  Inspired by the "psychic and physical toxicity of life in late capitalism," Toxic City Music is a corroded, crackling, and bleary miasma of processed guitar and industrial textures gleaned from Caminiti's surroundings in NYC.  While the prevailing aesthetic is a somewhat noirish ambient fantasia on urban decay and alienation, the smoggy gloom is artfully balanced out by some fine spectral dub-techno touches.   In fact, this record is most successful when viewed as a deeply experimental electronic dub album, as Caminiti is not so much appropriating a new influence as he is dipping it into the acid bath of his flickering and smoky dystopic vision, then presenting the barely recognizable remains.  Toxic City may be a diffuse, shadowy, and understated vision, but it is a very compelling and distinctive one as well.

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Diamanda Galás, "All the Way" and "At Saint Thomas The Apostle Harlem"

cover imageAfter nearly a decade-long recording hiatus, iconic force of nature Diamanda Galás has resurfaced with pair of themed albums of characteristically dark covers and interpretations.  Linked by two different versions of the traditional "O Death," the partially studio-recorded All The Way revisits the familiar territory of classic blues and country while the St. Thomas the Apostle live performance delves into the even more familiar subject of death.  Both albums have their moments of brilliance, but the St. Thomas performance is arguably more accessible, if only because Galás's demonic operatic flourishes  feel a bit more at home in her own arrangements of poems and texts than they do when all that firepower is directed at, say, a Johnny Paycheck song.  Also, it is quite a bit looser and more varied.  Accessibility is quite relative with an artist as simultaneously beloved and polarizing as Galás though, as even the sultriest, sexiest jazz standards can erupt into primal, window-rattling intensity with absolutely no warning.

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Noveller, "A Pink Sunset For No One"

cover imageI have an unfortunate tendency to take Sarah Lipstate's work for granted, as if it is somehow not enough that she is one of the most distinctive and inventive solo guitarists currently active.  Part of that is her own fault, as she periodically produces work so beautiful and sublime that she transcends her role as guitarist and instead seems like one of the most compelling artists around.  Those are the moments that I am always chasing and I have not experienced one since the title piece on 2013's No Dreams.  Happily, Pink Sunset manages to floor me once more with "Deep Shelter."  There are a few other memorable moments on this solid and likeable album as well, but not quite enough to disabuse me of my belief that Lipstate is gradually accumulating the material for an absolutely stunning greatest hits album at a rate of one fresh masterpiece every few years.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Harris Newman and Esmerine

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Review of the Day

Sugarman Three, "Pure Cane Sugar"
Daptone
Raw honesty and incredible musicianship happens to make this white boy wanna shake his ass. Guitars, horns, organ, and the most groovtastic drums I've heard in a long time work together to drop one giant bomb of grimy funk. Sure, I've heard this sort of thing before and lets face it: this is the same kind of funk made during funk's heyday and it's a hard formula to change without totally spoiling that thing that makes funk so great. But Sugarman Three pull it off perfectly. Wah-wah pedals plaster the walls, organs jive and moan and dear me do they wail, and then there's drumming. I can't say enough about the team of Rudy Albin and Ernesto Abreu. Throughout the album they effortlessly create rhythms that pulse, flow, and force me to sway, tap my foot, or even get up out of my chair and dance the best I possibly can. Even the rather down-tempo "Modern Jive" has a groove to it that simply cannot be refused. "Funky So-and-So" is the veritable big-bang that starts this bad-boy off on the good foot and paves the way for the bad thing. Contained herein is a percussion breakdown made of pure sweet sugar, just as the title implies. "Shot Down" puts some serious tension in my stomach and gets my blood flowing, most of the time I want to scream right along with Lee Fields and it's hard to contain the excitement. (I feel bad for people that have to ride in my car with me when I listen to this.) The tension is real and the funk is hot. This is a lightning-fast record at just over fourty-one minutes long and I think I've had it on repeat for about ten plays now. Excuse me, but after listening to this I have the urge to go out and find myself a lady-friend to get down with, I'm feelin' a bit frisky.

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