Ladytron, "Best of 00-10"

While the term electroclash came in and out of style almost instantaneously, only a small number of the groups lumped together under that umbrella had the ability to continue on past one or two albums. Ladytron have since proven their ability to create brilliant hooks and infectious songs (as evidenced on this collection) long after many of their contemporaries of 1999 and 2000 dissolved.

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  3838 Hits

Gregory Isaacs, "Slum In Dub"

Gregory Isaacs is most known for his vocal works as a reggae singer, with recordings stretching back to the 1960s and worldwide acclaim through releases on Trojan, RAS, Front Line, and other noteworthy labels. However, back in 1978, with a little assistance from reggae royalty King Tubby and Prince Jammy, Isaacs produced this masterpiece, perhaps my own personal Holy Grail of classic dub.
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  13653 Hits

vincent gallo, "when"

The life expectancy of a good record label with a strong identity isapproximately ten years. Warp has certainly experienced a substantialamout of success but with the mismanagement and poor decision-makingthat resulted in this particular release, their days are trulynumbered, if not completely over. The word on the street is that Warpwas interested in Cex, a fine musician of outstanding merit andincredible talents. Not only does he do a superb job of both originaland derivative cut-up fuckery, but he's an amazing entertainer.Unfortunately when Warp finally saw young Mr. Kidwell perform (mostspecifically rap), they pulled their offer. Four Tet was approached byWarp as well this past year, but after a mysterious Warp field trip toNYC, that offer was pulled too. Incidentally, the latest Four Tetfull-lengther, 'Pause' came out on Domino and is not only alreadystrongly poised for top ten critics and fans choices worldwide (forbest release this year), but Nike has even paid for music to be used intheir advertisements in the USA. So what did Warp end up sinking theirmoney into? The superstar power of Vincent fucking Gallo—you know, thatguy who was a model for some clothing company and directed/acted in"Buffalo 66"? [Reality check, boys: to test the true mark of a cash-cowsuperstar, ask your mom who they are.] At most this disc is a reallysad attempt at retrospective late 1960's Velvet Underground demos witha weak man-bitch shamelessly trying to emulate Jimmy Scott. The albumhas undeniably horrific production, untuned guitars and dreadfullyrics. What the fuck is up with words like "honey bunny my baby girlfriend / sweet heart my sugar girl friend...oh darling you're mydarling"??? At 39, Gallo's writings skills are exponentially worse thansomebody like Ben Lee's circa 16 years old. Unfortunately unlike albumsby William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, this disc isn't even patheticallyhumorous enough to be considered irony. It's not even sincere enough tobe a "Warp release for girls." It's plainly an embarassment on allparties involved. At this point, the best Warp can hope for is to selltheir company and become absorbed into theA&M/Island/DefJam/Mercury group, ditch their managing staff andcall it a day. I'll bet every penny in my pocket that at least when theinevitable happens, Gallo's 'When' will surely never be pressed again.

 

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  2754 Hits

trans champs, "double exposure"

New levels of ironica are reached on this extended play single when retrofitted 1980s heavy metal and analogue techno rock collide. Thinking back a couple decades, I recall that fans of both camps would despise each other. Take a look at Heavy Metal Parking Lot for clues. Today, however, the music is being warmly embraced by indie rock hipsters. Two groups of three members: the Fucking Champs (who I swear are the pawns in a diabolacal plot from Yngwie Malmsteen to stage a crossover attack into the sweater-clad Buddy Holly glasses-wearing indie crowd) versus Trans Am (who confuse me to this day whether they're paying tribute to or parodizing ZZ Top and Kraftwerk).

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  3269 Hits

black eyed snakes, "it's the,..."

Low fans beware, the full-length release of Alan Sparhawk (asChicken-Bone George) in his psychobilly outfit is now available. It'sgot a thumpin rockabilly beat, distorted voice, squealing guitars andharmonica. Of the ten tracks here, two are new takes on older things."Lordy" was first recorded with the Dirty Three for the 'Fishtank' EPand performed frequently by Low alone on the most recent tour and"Honey" was made popular by Moby only a couple years back. Here, bothget a deep south blues overhaul, a'la New Orleans-stylie, matching thestyle of the rest of the disc. Although it sounds like many of thesesongs were spontaneously tossed together, they're executed with anamazingly authentic sounding precision, subject matter aside. "8 InchKnife" is from the perspecive of a wandering man coming face-to-facewith his wife's kitchen knife, "Mannish Boy" needs no explaination and"Cheerios on the Floor" is dedicated to Hollerin' Hollis Mae (a.k.a.Alan and Mimi's young daughter). The Black Eyed Snakes is nothing shortof fun, and sounds like it was as much making it as it is listening in.The debut is ideal for playing while barbecuing ribs and fixin' somecollard greens along with hush puppies. You can catch the group on theroad with Man or Astro-Man across the USA right now.

 

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  2595 Hits

mogwai, "my father my king" ep

When I heard talk about this, I was rather excited. It seemed to bepart of a collaborative effort — perhaps with four contributors allbasing music around selected Hebrew prayers. Arthur Baker was allegedlyat the helm of this project, with a superstar team which includedengineer Steve Albini, and a completion to be mastered at Abbey Road.But what happened in the meantime? Some plug must have been pulledsomewhere and us, the consumers are left with this $6 remnant whichmimics a dangling participle. Mogwai's one-track single here stretchesabout twenty minutes, and if you've seen them live at all in the lastyear, you've heard it already — it's the very last track they've beendoing in concert — you know, the one that gave me hearing damage in myleft ear in Boston and set the PA on fire in Baltimore. The song isinstrumental and starts off quiet and peaceful, with a repeated themeand builds and builds and builds, to a blurry, gritty climax. Strangelyenough, however, there seems to be so much compression performed onthis in the mastering process that it feels like it came in on the samevolume it goes out in. It's not -bad- per se and it sure as hell rocksout, yet on it's own, I'm rather disappointed. I feel it's sort ofmissing something. This song would be great at the end of this year's"Rock Action" LP or on a compilation with four other remotely anthemic20 minute-long pieces. I'm going to suggest this item only for the bigfans who can't live without a recording of their concert finale.

 

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  2791 Hits

The Primitives, "Never Kill a Secret"

This EP surfaces a whole 20 years after the last full album from this Coventry, UK-based quartet. These four songs are short enough to grace a 7" and the songs are of the same caliber of what made the group so popular 25 years ago. It's a brief teaser/taster of hopefully more punchy, catchy, sugar-coated pop to come.

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  3062 Hits

windy & carl, "introspection: singles and rarities 1993-2000"

The limitations of the 7" single medium dictates that songs need to be brief and to-the-point. While this seems like a confining space to work in for a group who has a reputation for lengthy drones, Windy & Carl have actually been doing this for years. 'Introspection' is the first career-spanning evolutionary tour guide of the Dearborn duo, chronologically arranged in triplicate.

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  3336 Hits

Grails, "Take Refuge in Clean Living"

This Portland, Oregon group is probably my current favorite instrumental rock act (basically ever since Battles got all goofy). I've loved all the live shows I've seen and of all their releases on Neurot, Temporary Residence, Important, and Latitude, this, their first release of 2008, is easily my top pick. Here, the group utilize their arsenal of gear and found sounds to showcase their matured compositional skills, exploit some fine riffs, and weave songs together with sounds to make a seamless and blissful 32+ minute record.
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  7627 Hits

Grails, "Doomsdayer's Holiday"

While Grails' second release of the year isn't a mis-step, I simply don't find that I'm captivated by the melodies contained herein. For the second time this year the group have produced a 30+ minute long collection of pieces of epic magnitude, however, I'm often left waiting for songs to develop, and then let down as some of these pieces seem like incomplete thoughts when compared to the previous release.
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The Magnolia Electric Co, "Hard to Love a Man"

Jason Molina will never be accused of holding back.  Through the years as Songs: Ohia and The Magnolia Electric Co, he has proven himself over and over again to be both a prolific songwriter and tireless performer, churning out a stream of excellent albums and perpetually on the road for what seems like 13 months of the year.
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  6210 Hits

Loren Connors & David Grubbs, "Arborvitae"

Häpna
The late morning autumn sky is grey, at least as much of it that can beseen past the tops of the tall buildings. People walk by in slowmotion. A bird hangs in what looks like suspended animation, waiting topounce on the next piece of bread somebody drops or a knish that fallsfrom a moving cart. The collaborative record between Connors and Grubbsisn't a pretty walk in the fields, it's the sound of a dark, urbancityscape. It's also a bit of a juxtaposition. While there's certainlyno rules either collaborator always follow, I'm typically used todissonance from David Grubbs' solo work and soft flowing motions fromLoren (MazzaCane) Connors. The instrumental live in the studiorecording of Arborvitaeopens with soft, flowing piano chord progressions provided by David andharsh guitar tones from Loren. (Additionally, the titles suggest aspringtime theme, but I get a completely different feeling.) As thedaylight comes to an early end, so reflects the mood of the album. Bitby bit, the brightness fades. Half-way through the disc, on "The Ghostof Exquisite," both are playing guitars and feeding off each other'sbleak tonality. By the end of the album, the cold night has fallen."The Highest Point in Brooklyn" features the return of Grubbs on piano,this time, with a much more uneasy, uncomfortable rush, played upagainst the distorted abrasive notes of Connors' guitar, restless anddirty. In fact, at some points, Connors sounds like he doesn't evencare if the instrument cords even come loose from his guitar. The roomsounds, probably picked up by the piano microphone, are those of twopeople getting a little antsy in their chairs. Intentional or not, it'sa subtle hint at a tension, yet by the end of the piece (and thealbum), the calmness has returned. The night has grown as quiet as it'sgoing to get in a city that doesn't sleep.

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  2159 Hits

Brian McBride: Beyond the Buzz

Brian McBride has been recording music as one half of Stars of the Lid since 1995, but 2010 has been an especially active and varied year for him.  Last month, he released The Effective Disconnect, his long-awaited second solo album and first foray into composing a film soundtrack.  He also recently co-founded a record label (Failed Better) and made his debut as a member of Bell Gardens on the Hangups Need Company EP, a significant stylistic departure from his past work.  Brainwashed caught up with Brian to gather some insight on each release along with his other current activities.

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  20171 Hits

Isis + Aereogramme, "In the Fishtank" 14

Isis are undeniably one of the most popular hard rock independent label bands in the business while Aereogramme deserve to be right up there with them, headlining mega shows with the same numbers.  Both have soft and loud moments, both Aaron Turner and Craig B can coo like a dove and scream like Satan's spawn, but, even as this is one of the best In the Fishtank releases, I'm skeptical if it will gain new fans for either entity.
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  7952 Hits

Little Annie & Baby Dee: Strange Angels

Little Annie and Baby Dee begin a long stretch of European shows this week both with and without Marc Almond. The two have been collaborating on a record, which will hopefully be available in 2011. We talked with both briefly about their recent music and their time together.

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  18478 Hits

The Legendary Pink Dots: 30, Seconds, and Counting

2010 marks the 30th year of existence for The Legendary Pink Dots. Their latest album, Seconds Late for the Brighton Line is out now and they begin their extensive North American tour this week on Friday, October 15th in Vancouver, British Columbia. Brainwashed talked very briefly with Edward Ka-Spel, taking a snapshot of the current, about the latest album, the forthcoming shows, and the ever changing state of the Dots.

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  17634 Hits

american music club, "love songs for patriots"

Merge
American Music Club triumphantly return after ten years of absence. Foranybody not in-the-know, AMC is much more than Mark Eitzel's piercinglyrics and bleeding vocals: it's Vudi's chaotic guitar, Danny Pearson'sthree-string bass and simultaneous percussive playing acrobatics, TimMooney's shuffling rhtyhms, and Bruce Kaphan's pedal steel and piano(replaced this time around with lap steel by Vudi and piano by newmember Marc Capelle). While Eitzel has recorded and performed solo forthe last ten years, the perfectly paired sounds of the group with hisvoice—the disorder, discomfort, and awe-inspiring beauty—has been sadlymissed. These are sounds of a group which has been such a largeinfluence to so criminally few people. With 1991's Everclear,AMC perhaps recorded their first perfect album, flawless and intense,(conincidentally released at the time I discovered hard liquor!). Theyupped the stakes with 1993's Mercury, a bold album of theirbrand of slow yet raw tunes where the group experimented with new waysof composing and recording, all of which fit into a perfect mix. Ofcourse, for their Warner Bros. bosses, it wasn't enough, and I'm surethe pressure was on for them to have a "hit single." 1994's San Franciscowas probably their most sonically digestible album, primed for popradio, but it didn't feel like everybody was quite on board. Inretrospect, it's no surprise Eitzel was probably frustrated, called ita day, fired everybody, and went solo. Love Songs for Patriotsopens with Eitzel's voice front stage center, with the familiar soundof AMC's past blasting through like an unstoppable train that'sexploded in a tunnel as the smoke and fire move through, ready to comeout the other end, faster and hotter. The gentle songs like "AnotherMorning," "Love Is," and especially "Myopic Books" are excellentbreathers: sweet, gentle, sandwiched in between the rough and loudsongs, and echo fan favorites like "Last Harbor" and "Jenny."Content-wise, Eitzel's lyrics are as brilliant as they have ever been,with new stories about love and god, almost entirely void of rhymescheme, and requiring intense group therapy for any listener who'sactually paying attention. It's for his lyrics alone that make AMC andEitzel a terrible band to listen to in the car, as a driver needs to bepaying attention to the road, not the male stripper with underwear fullof George Washingtons, the star of the brilliant tune "Patriot'sHeart," or Mark's mom who likes Manhattans, which he says "taste likemouthwash." (Even Kathleen makes her way onto this record!) Like Coilonce were encouraging "deep listening" to delicately layeredinstrumental music, American Music Club is "deep listening" for lyricalcontent, super soaked in emotion with obscure references to reitred popicons, the bible, and idealized Americana. Eitzel is equal parts dramaand comedy and only with AMC do I feel he's truly meeting his match atthe same time, all the time. I look forward to their upcoming tour andhope this isn't just a one-off reunion, as AMC is one of the mostinfluential bands to my own musical taste evolution and maturation. 

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  2435 Hits

Christoph Heemann: Fußgänger im Bewegung

Aachen, Germany-based Christoph Heemann has made a name for himself as a musician, composer, remix artist, and engineer through groups like HNAS, Mimir, Mirror, In Camera, and collaborations with Charlemagne Palestine, Jim O'Rourke, Merzbow, Organum, Nurse With Wound, Current 93, and others. His artwork has graced covers for Edward Ka-Spel, The Tear Garden, Aeolian String Ensemble, Ragnar Grippe, and Ultra, and through his Streamline label he has issued music by John Duncan, Little Annie, Keiji Haino, Intersystems, Limpe Fuchs, Xhol Caravan, and more. Heemann is making a rare trip through the USA with 8 live shows scheduled beginning in Boston on Friday, October 8th. This brief interview is only a snapshot of what he's currently up to.

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aranos

Aranos will play at Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Laois, Ireland 5th of September 2010.

  142 Hits

David Wilson, 1960-2010

David WilsonDavid Wilson, curator of the New England Synthesizer Museum, passed away on Friday, August 27th in Nashua, NH, according to the Nashua Telegraph. He was known in the community for his incredible collection of vintage synths as well as his extensive knowledge and skills at repairing the most obscure ones for various owners and dealers. A video excursion was made back in October 2007 by Brainwashed for The Eye. Dave was 49.

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  16062 Hits