Just when you think Mute USA dropped the ball and turned their back on music in general (re: the exodus of classics such as Einsturzende Neubauten, Diamanda Galas and Nick Cave from the US label) they shock us all and strike a deal.
Mute US has entered a new market with German post-kraut-rock releases now due from To Rococo Rot, Kriedler and Schneider TM. "The Amateur View" is To Rococo Rot's first full-length release in the USA - preceeding this was the EP release on now defunct label Emperor Jones/Trance Syndicate as well as a couple European-only releases on City Slang and Kitty-Yo. To Rococo Rot take their music seriously and produce professionally with an audibly perfectionistic touch - a gentle yet appropriate blend of drum machines and live drums, sequenced and performed keyboards, samples and live bass. The tunes are pleasant, the tempo moves well throughout the entire disc, the sounce are slick and polished, there's nothing sloppy here. Don't let the title fool you, this album is anything but amateurish.
To the uninitiated, Blonk sounds like a madman - babbling excitedly in non-languages, spitting guttural noises and pitched burps like a Speak-N-Spell rewired by a lunatic. He's quite sane, and enormously entertaining, an avid devotee of the obscure history of sound poetry.
Canadians can be quite boring, but this group is neither Canadian nor boring. This wonderful debut, "Music Has the Right To Children" is currently out on Warp in the UK but will make it to the US via Matador in September. A rhythmic low-cool wonderful gem, ideal for driving, working, making dinner, or downloading porn.
2 releases are out fromLow recently. The first is a mail-order only CD of a live concert fromLouisville KY, "One More Reason to Forget", the second being a disc ofremixes, "owL remix Low". The live disc is a wonderful document,recorded in a church with the microphone in the back of the hall. Theambience is wonderful, the sound is natural, and the sirens outside fitin almost perfectly. Order one while you can by emailing
After the Flood 2 is outon AE and comes as a two-disc set. The first disc contains lots ofwishy-washy vocals from Gordon Sharp while the second disc, aninstrumental disc features some great contributions from Windy &Carl and Labradford. If you can find it for a reasonable price, pick itup for the second disc alone.
From Montreal, Canada comes my vote for best debut album of the year. godspeed you black emperor!,whose disc, "F# A# (infinity)" is the first CD issue of their debutrecord (previously on Constellation, now on Kranky). This nine-pieceband is described in their bio as drawing influencing sounds from EnnioMorricone, 17 Pygmies and Savage Republic, my impression is one of TheRachels and Angelo Badalamenti get an "spaghetti Western" soundtrackalbum produced by Steven Stapleton. There are three tracks in this +60minute disc, each song is of epic proportion with about five distinct"movements", the voices are only brief spoken-word, the otherinstrumentation consists of guitars, lush strings, bagpipes, drums andother various sound effects. Overall, a stunning debut record, by anystandards, and this is definately a band NOT to miss on their brieftour around the USA. Check the Kranky website for details.
While I'm not big ontribute discs, this one has really grabbed my attention. "A Tribute toSpacemen 3" features some wonderful tracks like Mogwai's pretty versionof "Honey", Bardo Pond's heavy sonic "Call the Doctor", along withLow's haunting "Lord Can You Hear Me Call?" and Bowery Electric's"Things'll Never Be the Same". My only real beef with this is thatthere's too many songs from S3's "Playing with Fire" and nothing fromother great albums like "Recurring", leaving me wonder how muchSpacemen 3 these bands really listen to.