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Nice Nice, "Yesss!"

Consider this a continuation or addendum or something for my last review of Nice Nice. After I covered the Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter EPs I got some into some pleasant debates which resulted in my receiving of their EP Yesss! on Audraglint.



I'm not going to take back anything I said about the seasonal EPs on Temporary Residence. I will, however gladly state that Yesss! is Jason Buehler and Mark Shirazi's greatest release as Nice Nice to date. I liked their debut LP Chrome, but it was all over the map. When you take two ADHD kids spewing out numerous songs of through different styles and confine them to one EP, there can be some surprisingly focused results. The five songs on groove with finesse, with vocals, bass, drums, and whatever else they're actually throwing in. I think by the recording of this they've dropped that gimmick of claiming to be playing everything live in the studio as there's undeniably some multitracking going on, with bass playing, guitar riffs, vocals, and drums all at the same time in spots. The three remixes that go along with them (Caural, Stars As Eyes, and DJ/Rupture) are euaqlly as classy and none of them lose any of the magic: they hold to the feeling the band initiated don't let go and don't leave their muddy footprints all over the place.

Yesss! was originally released back in 2004 and it's been a bitch to find. When it showed up I was ecstatic. What I first noticed about Audraglint years ago is that there's the uttmost respect for attention to fine details, all the covers share a similar aesthetic and actually feel very nice, commanding that desire to find out what musical contents lie within (reminder: it was from Audraglint that the world experienced Nudge for the first time, perhaps one of the greatest new bands in the last five years). Fortunately I have yet to be underwhelmed.


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Review of the Day

Clang Quartet, "The Separation of Church & Hate"
There's just something about a band that creates their own instruments to make the message they commit to tape. They thumb their nose at conventional instrumentation, striving for a higher statement of being, demanding more struggle for themselves before composing their work. Once they've made sounds with that new instrument, though, the result often doesn't produce anything resembling a great leap forward, and can get mired in its own imperfection. Unfortunately, that is the case with Clang Quartet, whose new album had so much promise. The title, a switch on a familiar phrase, becomes funny but incredibly appropriate considering that so much hate is generated by differing religions and those that follow them. Cover art drives the point home even more effectively, as what appears to be swastikas mixed with crucifixes jumble together until indistinguishable from each other. The key problem with The Separation is that the power of this concept is belittled by the sounds inside, and therefore the message, though admirable and necessary, is irrevocably lost. The sound of this record is not only generally unappealing, but in areas almost unlistenable. Scotty Irving, who is the Clang Quartet, believes the line between sound and music to be invalid, and it shows. He loves percussion, so most songs are structured as purely beat driven with an unaltering melody. The opening track, appropriately titled "Amazing Disgrace," is monotonous and ultimately just gains volume and distortion, plus a few keyboard-like sounds that may or may not be "The Crutch" (Irving's new and original but ugly instrument). Loud angry drums that appear towards the end add more flavor and still more volume, but the overall effect is still static and annoying. "Under God" feature squelches and buzzes instead, effects that burble and bleep, but grate above all else. "The Infidel Within" has wild tracks, commentary, and a bit of sermonizing from Irving, all dealing with the infamous Proctor & Gamble Church of Satan argument. The track is wholly uninteresting, although it is impartial, and this time it's Irving himself that is the annoying part. When it isn't percussive nonsense driving the tracks, it's his voice ("Hadephobia") or message, which apparently involves increased self-promotion ("Two or More Gathered in HIS Name Part 2"). His repeated assertion that he does not create "music" is supported quite well by these songs, but it's infortunate that he does have a message worth delivering. The fact that it's not comfortably delivered, or even coherently for that matter, does it a great disservice. Even where he drives the message home lightly, it's like nails on a chalkboard. Messages like his are never easy to listen to, but Clang Quartet go an awful distance to make it more uncomfortable than it needs to be, and thus the message goes unheard or gets misunderstood in the final analysis. 


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