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Episode 473: June 28, 2020

Lowell, MA by Ted Brainwashed Radio: The Podcast Edition Episode 473 is live

It's an all-new episode with music by Jesu, Less Bells, Aaron Moore, John Bender, Dead Rider, Claire Rousay, Jake Muir, Sparkle Division (William Basinksi & Preston Wendel), Bérangère Maximin, and Silvia Tarozzi.

Thanks to Ted for the beautiful picture of Lowell, MA taken from his window.

NOW AVAILABLE through SPOTIFY and AMAZON (links below) in addition to the other platforms.

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Forced Exposure New Releases for Week of 6/29/2020

New music is due from Windy & Carl, mHz, and Gena Rose Bruce, while old music is due from Albert Ayler, Slugfuckers, and Bloodshot Bill.

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Roly Porter, "Kistvaen"

cover imageAs far as I am concerned, any new release from Roly Porter is a noteworthy event, as he is absolutely not an artist who does anything by half measures.  From his bold conceptual themes right down to every single aspect of sound design, each Porter full-length is a masterfully crafted and viscerally heavy statement unlike anything else.  For this latest opus, Porter drew inspiration from the ancient burial tombs scattered across the moorlands of southwestern England, envisioning them as a sort of "mirror, or gate in time."  In keeping with that fluid vision of time, Kistvaen achieves a distinctive marriage of timeless folk music traditions and cutting-edge production wizardry.  While Porter occasionally errs too much on the side of portentous ambient gloom for my liking, Kistvaen reaches some rapturously sublime heights when he focuses on chopping and manipulating the vocals of his talented collaborators.

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Joseph Allred, "The True Light"

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0580109589_16.jpgBoston-based string maestro Joseph Allred quietly releases, on average, around three or four albums a year, a catalog consisting of mostly instrumental works with vocals on an occasional song. This set of instrumentals consists of five examples of technical fingerpick showmanship that surrounds listeners with an outpouring of emotive musical warmth, wordless stories that communicate straight to the soul.

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Jonn Gauntletier, "Horrorpop"

cover image From a quick glance at the cover of this album, it would seem that Jonn Gauntletier (half of Pass/ages and a third of the defunct Ars Phoenix) had delved in the world of power electronics.  The blown out, high contrast pic of him (in color on the CD version), mic in hand, leaning over a table of electronic gear gives off these vibes, but that is completely incorrect.  Instead, the title Horrorpop is the true indicator, being an album of songs that blur the lines between horror movie ambience/soundtrack and straight ahead synth pop.  Considering how well he navigates the two genres without falling into cliché (I would not describe any of these as being "synthwave" nor blatant John Carpenter emulation), the final product is one of excellent depth and complexity, but propelled by infectious rhythms and brilliant melodies.

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Aki Onda, "Nam June's Spirit Was Speaking To Me"

cover imageExplicitly paying homage to a titan of the 20th century avant-garde is always a risky undertaking, as it unavoidably invites daunting expectations and often unflattering comparisons.  Occasionally, however, an artist will come up with a suitably ingenious and radical angle and something new emerges that is every bit as intriguing as its original inspiration.  Happily, Aki Onda's first release for Recital Program is one of those rare revelations, as it documents a series of "séances" in which Nam June Paik's spirit may or may not have crept into a series of radio transmissions.  While I am personally quite skeptical about supernatural matters, enigmatically manipulating and haunting the airwaves from beyond the grave does seem like something Paik would absolutely do if he had the chance.  That said, Nam June's Spirit Was Speaking To Me is an endearingly bizarre album regardless of whether or not the spirit world was involved, transforming distortion and interference into hallucinatory noisescapes that feel like the bridge between the darkness of early industrial music and the gleeful experimentalism of the LAFMS.

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Noveller, "Arrow"

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0872154092_16.jpgNoveller is guitarist and filmmaker Sarah Lipstate, and with this, her ninth studio album, I humbly bestow on her the title “Brian Eno on six strings.” Recorded and mixed in her Moon Canyon studio with the rolling expanse of Los Angeles canyons as her vista, her latest marks a shift in mood and sound from her prior release, A Pink Sunset for No One, which was crafted amidst the bustling urban landscape of Brooklyn, New York. Her relocation from east to west coast and new environment have impacted her musical experiments. Pink offered majestic, shimmering, psychedelic landscapes coated in drone and dark synth-wave. Arrow commands an ethereal, awe-inspiring, and expansive terrain awash in swells of cinematic guitar effects that function as mini symphonies. The darkness of her prior work is still apparent, but more evenly blended throughout.

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AF Jones, "A Jurist For Nothing"

cover image As a former electronics specialist aboard a naval submarine and currently an audio engineer at his own Laminal Audio studio, AF Jones is clearly well versed in the world of sound design and audio processing.  This becomes abundantly clear on A Jurist For Nothing given its nuance and production.  Various electronic sounds and heavily processed field recordings are of course no surprise given the genre, but the subtle way in which Jones blends in conventional instrumentation, culminating in a Townes Van Zandt cover, is what makes this record most unique.

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TALsounds, "Acquiesce"

cover imageIt has been three years since Natalie Chami’s last solo album (2017’s dreamlike and seductive Love Sick) and quite a lot has changed in her life since then.  Given that this project is essentially a very intimate and abstractly diaristic one, that passing of time has unsurprisingly led to significant (if subtle) transformations in the tone of Chami's vision.  Thankfully, her genius for soulful, sensuous, and blearily hallucinatory pop-like improvisations remains wonderfully intact, but Acquiesce feels more like a series of languorous, meditative reveries than it does an emotionally smoldering R&B-inspired break-up album.  Admittedly, the collision of that latter aesthetic with Chami's artier, more experimental side was a large part of what made Love Sick such a great and unique album, but her emotional directness, natural fluidity, and strong melodic intuition are every bit as evident and effective as they were 2017.  While Acquiesce does not quite rise to the same level as its predecessor as a whole, its handful of highlights are easily as gorgeous as any of Chami's previous work.

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Fitted, "First Fits"

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0694346255_16.jpgFitted are Mike Watt (The Minutemen, fIREHOSE, many others), Graham Lewis and Matthew Simms of Wire, and Bob Lee (The Freeks, The Black Gang, Fearless Leader). The names Watt and Lewis should make most music aficionados run for their wallet, but the first album from this supergroup was released with little fanfare. Imagine tossing together the punk of The Minutemen and Wire’s experimentalism, alternately fronted by Lewis’ resigned, wavering vocals and Watt’s staccato uttering. The two legendary bassists provide an onslaught of heaviness, broken by the psychedelic guitar swirls of Simms and Lee’s bright drum beats, and then drive everything home founded on years of musicianship from four practiced musicians.

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