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1999 Readers Poll Recount: Vote Round Open

1999Nominations are in and it's time to vote in the 1999 Readers Poll Recount.

Vote round is open until the end of January

Thanks to all the readers who have participated in these readers polls over the years. No more readers polls until the end of 2019. Promise!

 

Forced Exposure New Releases for the Week of 01/21/2019

New music is due from Dolphin Midwives, The Dead C, and Jac Berrocal/David Fenech/Vincent Epplay, while old music is due from Gas, Richard Pinhas, and Flibbertigibbet.

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Podcast Episode 403: January 20, 2019

Episode #403 of Brainwashed Radio: The Podcast Edition is now live.Robin, over Tromsø

All new episode featuring music by Lali Puna, Matmos, Bowery Electric, Jäh Division, Ultramarine, Laurie Spiegel, Michael O'Shea, Locust, Dolphin Midwives, Peter Brötzmann & Heather Leigh, Fossil Aerosol Mining Project, and Jozef van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch.

Photo courtesy of Robin, taken in the air over Tromsø.


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The Dead C, "Rare Ravers"

cover imageThe Dead C have been on an impressive hot streak in recent years, so it was a reasonably safe bet that I would be delighted yet again by Rare Ravers.  However, I was definitely not expecting such a revelatory leap forward this deep into the band's career.  Immodestly described as "recorded and burned through a thousand galaxies of dust and doubt and endless infinite wonder, transforming both time and space," this album feels like it was conscientiously sculpted to ravaged perfection in an actual studio and it sounds absolutely amazing.  As it turns out, The Dead C's long history of rehearsal tape-level sound quality and shambolic, messy self-indulgence concealed the fact that they were secretly an extremely tight band capable of unleashing firestorms of howling guitar noise with the precision of a scalpel.  I imagine some fans are still holding out hope that the band will someday return to writing actual songs with lyrics and vocals, but this album is an instant classic as far as I am concerned.

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Luciernaga, "Alive in Dark Rooms"

cover image Alive in Dark Rooms is the third live release from Joao Da Silva’s Luciernaga project, following two equally limited, handmade CDs from 2015 and 2017.  Compiling four full performances between 2017 and 2018 it functions not only as a snapshot of how the Luciernaga project translates to a live setting, but also is a brilliant overview of the different styles and approaches Da Silva has been working with these past years.  At times meditative and beautiful, and at other turns dark and harsh, it is a superb document of his recent work.

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Nadine Byrne, "Dreaming Remembering"

cover imageAlhough I lamentably cannot claim to have been a fan since the beginning, I have been aware of Ectoplasm Girls' intermittently surfacing bouts of outsider genius long enough to feel like a fool for sleeping on this latest solo album from Nadine Byrne (released last spring).  In my defense, it was billed as a soundtrack and I am generally averse to such things, but Dreaming Remembering is quite unlike anything resembling a conventional soundtrack that I have heard.  Instead, this album feels like a collection of B-sides from a great synth pop/minimal wave artist, stretching and reshaping their hook-heavy hits into something considerably weirder, more abstract, and subtly hallucinatory.  Some pieces are certainly more substantial than others, but the best moments bring an extremely appealing pop sensibility to the synth and experimental music milieu.

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Liberez, "Way Through Vulnerability"

cover imageIn the past, I have favorably compared John Hannon's shapeshifting post-industrial collage project to This Heat, but this latest release leaves that signpost far behind and heads in a darker and more idiosyncratic direction.  Bolstered by a new group of collaborators, Hannon's latest salvo more closely resembles an avant-garde string quartet soundtracking a tense Eastern European thriller.  I have some mixed feelings about that change of direction, as the album's sustained fever pitch of dramatic intensity can be a bit exhausting.  That said, Hannon's vision remains a bracingly vivid and visceral one and the new members inject some wonderfully unusual and inspired touches into the ever-changing Liberez aesthetic.

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Áine O'Dwyer/Graham Lambkin, "Green Ways"

cover imageWithout question, The Shadow Ring were one of the strangest and most inscrutable bands to ever exist, yet Graham Lambkin's gnomic solo career frequently makes his previous band look downright conventional by comparison.  That is not an unambiguously wonderful achievement, however, as a lot of Lambkin's work leaves me wondering what on earth he is trying to convey and who such albums are for.  For better or worse, the presence of Áine O'Dwyer does little to steer Lambkin towards more musical terrain.  In fact, this latest release only doubles down further on Lambkin's recent cryptic, no-fi aesthetic, seemingly unfolding as a fragmented and abstract travelogue of a couple's travels across England, Ireland, and Sweden.   As with all Graham Lambkin albums, Green Ways is certainly unique and intriguing, but it is more of an unsolvable mystery and an experiment in extreme artistic constraints than it is a great album.

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Richard Skelton, "Front Variations (One & Two)"

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It occurred to me the other day that Richard Skelton's artistic trajectory almost resembles the stuff of myth and folklore, as he was once akin to an enchanted bard who made achingly gorgeous and sensuously churning music full of life, heartache, passion, and darkly flickering light.  Gradually, however, he became so disillusioned with mankind that he started playing for the moors, the hills, the earth, and the buried remnants of the distant past instead.  Or, in his more ambitious moments, for the cosmos themselves.  With the comparatively modest and exploratory Front Variations, however, Skelton is not straining for the stars nor focusing his elemental power to world-shaking intensity, but instead uses the disappearing ice sheets of Iceland as an unconventional muse for a pair of slow-motion feedback experiments.

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2018 Readers Poll - The Results

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to this year's readers poll and has over the last two decades. All the best wishes for 2019!

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The Eye: Video of the Day

David Grubbs

YouTube Video


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Review of the Day

Mark McGuire, "A Young Person's Guide to Mark McGuire"

cover imageEmeralds guitarist Mark McGuire has been releasing his solo recordings on small-run CD-R and cassette pressings since 2007. This double-disc retrospective collects 20 of his best recordings over the years as selected by McGuire and Peter Rehberg—consider it McGuire's greatest hits.


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