Archive for September, 2009

Horizons: What, if any, are the Politics of Hypnagogic Pop?

Monday, September 28th, 2009

huge.84.423296The first thing I did when David Keenan’s hotly debated “Hypnagogic Pop” article came out in The Wire last June was log on to the Terminal Boredom message board–not because I read it all the time, but because it was the site where that debate began, as far as I could glean from a preliminary Google search. And the first thing I saw when I logged onto Terminal Boredom was a question that would make a really big imprint on my subsequent readings of the piece, partly because it was written in all capital letters and tickering from right to left across the screen:
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Dominique Leone, Abstract Expression, Important Records

Monday, September 28th, 2009

album_abstract_largeDominique Leone has deliberately crammed so much trebly left-field sonic fiddle-faddling into his new album Abstract Expression that it often overshadows the rigorous 70’s AOR-indebted songwriting going on under, over, around, and through each track. It makes for an overwhelming and sometimes exhausting listen, but I’m pretty sure that’s part of the initial point. This isn’t an album that’s meant to be fully digested in one sitting, but one that clearly benefits from the hindsight and expectations that repeat close listening brings.
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Sightings: Movies from Kim’s Video Up for Grabs on a Street Corner in Greenpoint?

Friday, September 25th, 2009

kim2-20090223-164637-medium[1]The official story of the downfall of the Kim’s Video empire in New York last year consoled us with the revelation that independent media mogul Yongman Kim had found a happy home for his collection of 55,000 eclectic VHS tapes in the Italian city of Salemi. Eager to jumpstart a citywide cultural renewal initiative, the town was the only bidder for the collection willing to accept Mr. Kim’s slightly bizarre requirement that its contents be made accessible to former members of the video store at all times. What probably really sealed the deal, however, was the city’s extravagant proposal for a “Never-Ending Festival” screening up to ten videos at a time–24 hours a day, 7 days a week–and complementary lodging and projection rooms for the the store’s old clientele in a 17th century Jesuit college, which now houses the collection.
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Sightings: “I Need That Record!” A Documentary by Brendan Toller

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

ineedthatrecord_jpg_595x325_crop_upscale_q85-1 With collector paradises like Mystery Train (pictured above) and the Ecstatic Yod around, what better place than Western Massachusetts to make a movie about running an independent record store in the age of web piracy and internet mail-order? Visitation Rites was delighted to learn about guerrilla filmmaker Brendan Toller‘s I Need That Record! documentary yesterday, which began as a 2008 DIV-III project at Hampshire College and has been globetrotting the festival circuit even since. The film is subtitled “The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store,” and takes a courageous stab at explaining why over 3,000 mom and pop music shops have been forced to close their doors over the past decade. Featuring interviews with Thurston Moore, Ian Mckaye, Noam Chomsky, Mike Watt, Lenny Kaye, Chris Frantz, Glen Branca, Patterson Hood, Pat Carney, Legs Mcneil, Bob Gruen, and BP Helium, along with some pretty fantastic and curmudgeonly-looking record store clerks, as we can see in the trailer below:
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Sightings: Spanish Prisoners, “Los Angeles Guitar Dream”

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

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When people describe 21st century psychedelic music as “lo-fi,” are they talking about the ends of that music–what we hear–or the means that go into its creation? I think that most people use the term to signal a certain sound: the golden, degraded, passed-twenty-times-over-a-cassette-recorder aesthetic, minted by acts like Ariel Pink and The Skaters and forming a primary earmark of what David Keenan recently termed “hypnagogic pop.” But let us not forget that there are millenial psychedelic artists who employ equally “lo-fi” recording technologies without necessarily building a shrine to the crackle and warp of low-fidelity.
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Sightings: Frat Dad’s New 7″ Gets Repped by a Fourth Grader

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

letterAt a time when anyone from Ridgewood is almost guaranteed to get forkcasted the second he plugs into a fuzz pedal, it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate the town’s truly luminary output from, well…a bunch of slightly lazier artists who figure that if they imitate a certain sound, and make sure that everyone knows they practice in their parents’ basement, they will probably be able to catch the wave. Fortunately, the reality of the situation is usually somewhere in between. My personal take on the Ridgewood craze is that it must feel pretty damn amazing to be living in a place where you and all the kids you used to sneak cigarettes with behind the 711 after school have a good shot at getting recognized for what you work hard at. So while I have never seen the place for myself, I imagine that just having that kind of excitement in the air should be conducive to making good music. After all, if you’re sticking to bare-bones verse-chorus rock n’ roll songs, the amount of true-blue euphoria you are able to transmit to your listeners is often precisely what will make or break your jam.
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The Rise and Decline of the Lightning Bolt Experience: A Video History

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

PB140480[1]Brian Chippendale at Redrum, Providence, November 2004. Photo by Simon Hegarty.

In a recent podcast, Stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt and ESPN columnist Bill Simmons went into detail about how superstardom can often be the death knell of a comedian’s ability to develop strong material. The problem is that once a comedian has already won over the audience, almost any joke that comes out of his or her mouth will be met with a rapturous response–regardless of its quality. If the audience approaches a performance expecting the funniest night of their lives, they’ll always do their best to ensure that this expectation is met; they are paying good money for it, after all.
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Will Guthrie, Spike-s, Pica Disk

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

-1“In Australia, it’s really different. When you’re a musician, you do a lot of different things. You don’t just do improvised music, or jazz. So I played in rock groups, in hip-hop groups, in jazz groups, with a Flamenco dance company, a lot things like that. And then I went to conservatory to study improvisation.”* For American ears, it is hard to comprehend how Australian expat percussionist Will Guthrie‘s improvisations manage to make so much sense in so many different contexts. Last year, between one-off collaborations with members of the European electro-acoustic and free jazz community (Jérome Noetinger, Jean-Luc Guionnet, Clayton Thomas, Ferran Fages), he took to the French autoroutes with banjo player Scott Stroud and smashed old bluegrass standards like “Pretty Polly” and “Cripple Creek” into a shower of wooden splinters–while still leaving his listeners longing for the Appalachian mountains.
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Noveller, Paint On The Shadows (LP) / Red Rainbows (CD), No Fun Productions

Monday, September 7th, 2009

affiche_imageIn 2005, Sarah Lipstate stumbles upon a call for submissions: Ubuibi Records is looking for a troupe of female noisemakers for its new compilation project, Women Take Back the Noise. Noveller, her solo project, is born. But Lipstate is by no means a novice; for one year now, she has been cruising the open roads of Texas with Carlos Villarreal under the moniker One Umbrella, Telecaster in the trunk and pedals in her pockets. After relocating to Brooklyn, she expands her repertoire to include the minimalist punk of Rhys Chatham (she is a regular member of his ensembles) and to the verse-chorus noise rock of Parts & Labor, with whom she recently ended a year-long collaboration. Following in the footsteps of Lydia Lunch, Pat Place, Kim Gordon, and other female bigwigs of the No Wave era, Lipstate resurrects both their hardware and their certainties: no, the electric guitar is not only for men. And yes, noise is for girls, too.
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Noveller, Paint On The Shadows (LP) / Red Rainbows (CD), No Fun Productions

Monday, September 7th, 2009

affiche_imageEn 2005, Sarah Lipstate tombe sur un appel à participation ; Ubuibi Records cherche des femmes prêtes à en découdre avec le noise pour un projet de compilation intitulé Women Take Back The Noise. Noveller, son projet solo, est né. Lipstate n’en est cependant pas à son coup d’essai ; à l’époque, elle arpente avec Carlos Villarreal les routes du Texas sous le nom de One Umbrella, Telecaster en bandoulière et pédales d’effets dans les poches. Depuis, installée à Brooklyn, elle a étendu son répertoire au punk minimaliste de Rhys Chatham (elle est un membre régulier de ses ensembles) et au noise rock couplet-refrain de Parts & Labor (elle vient de mettre fin à une collaboration de plus d’un an avec le groupe). Marchant dans les pas de Lydia Lunch, de Pat Place (gloires féminines du courant no wave) et de Kim Gordon, Lipstate leur emprunte chien et certitudes : non, la guitare électrique n’est pas réservée aux hommes ; oui, le noise, c’est aussi pour les filles.
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