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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.


The Eye: Video of the Day

Major Stars

YouTube Video

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Review of the Day

ml, "Man Is The Warmest Place To Hide"
With this year's eigth Piehead release the Oregon-based ml have curiously decided to crank out a full-length homage to the music of spooky film director and composer, John Carpenter. Many may not know that Carpenter often likes to write the music for his films, giving campy classics like Big Trouble in Little China and Dark Star their appropriately stiff and synth-heavy backing. ml, on the other hand, are more known for their tricked out beats and goofy sense of humor that place them firmly in the west coast new electronic psuedo-dance family these days, so while it's not what I expected from the former Thine Eyes guys, it's not hard to imagine either. I'm not sure how noble it is to crib someone else's style so deliberately that it becomes a tribute, but somehow Man Is The Warmest Place To Hide manages to be both fun and faithful to the source without ever sounding cheap. Well, it's no cheaper than a John Carpenter score so it seems to be working on that level. The music is all a series of simple themes with a filmic overtone that makes them moody but not overly complicated. While the sounds don't come from a Carpenter film, it's easy to see them working with one. Most of the timbres are lifted straight from vintage synths (or vintage synth emulators as may be the case) and the sound design is intentionally not clever or obtrusive. The few places where the guys resort to more recent sounding filters and patches actually take the songs out of that full-on Carpenter world and help bridge the gap between goofy experiment and music that's actually enjoyable on its own. Ml have never established a firm style to my ears over the years. They tend to blend in with other acts from the Pacific northwest who trade in quirky, laptop-fueled post-industrial beat making and so it's a little ballsy for them to put something like this out that gives most of the stylistic cues up to unseen source material. I'd like to see more people try this sort of thing, if only to see what talented musicians can do with an artificial but well-understood set of limitations. The obvious question is: is the record worth listening to outside of the context of the John Carpenter angle, and I'm not sure about that. I suppose the answer lies in how much you like John Carpenter's music. It definitely feels a little cheesy if you take away the idea that it's an homage, but if you know going in what it's all about, it's quite a fun thing to spin. As it stands though, this is my favorite batch of ml songs to date, and I'm not sure what that means for the rest of their discography. What it means for now is that Piehead scores again with another release we're not likely to have seen without this special series, which is pretty awesome. 


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