Archive for October, 2011

Sighting: The Prefab Messiahs, “Beyond All That”

Friday, October 28th, 2011


Thirty years ago, punk-Dada terrorists Seth “Xerox” Feinberg and “Egg” Al Nidle posted up Clark University’s campus with flyers proclaiming, “talentless guitarist and drummer seeking bassist and lead guitarist to form post-punk new wave pop pseudo-psychedelic band.” Mike “Doc” Michaud and Kris “Trip” Thompson replied, and The Prefab Messiahs formed as the agent provocateurs of the Worcester, Massachusetts underground. They denounced Regan-era consumerism and conformity, aiming to revolutionize pop music while simultaneously throwing a “plastic culture” back in its face. Beyond-ironically, they heralding Ronald McDonald and The Pillsbury Doughboy as the prefabricated messiahs of society at large.

Peace Love & Alienation, available next month from Taylor Richardson and Gary War‘s Fixed Identity (both also of Human Teenager), features eight newly remastered songs recorded in the years 1982-1983– two of which were produced by fellow “Wormtown” hero Bobb Trimble. The fuzzed-out mind-screws and tremolo riffs on “Beyond All That” make good on the flyer/manifesto’s premonition. In a voice of stirring intellect, Feinberg ridicules the meaninglessness of “cool,” and those masked subscriptions to conformity that still prevail as the social norm. With a slogan that sounds as relevant in 2011 as it did in 1982, he declares that “these times demand the evolving drone of the Prefab Messiahs.”

The Prefab Messiahs: “Beyond All That”

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Words: Mary Katherine Youngblood

Pre-order Peace Love & Alienation from Fixed Identity on November 1st. The LP is officially released on November 15th, exactly thirty years from The Prefab Messiah’s first show. Watch the 1983 official video for Bobb Trimble-produced “The 16th Track,” below:

Sightings: Horsebladder, “Winter, Worse Winter”

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

There’s something immediately foreboding about the music of Northampton, MA’s Elaine Kahn — aka Horsebladder. Of course, a project consisting of one woman, a keyboard, and “sometimes a drum,” all but screams of foreboding minimalism — but on “Winter, Worse Winter” it’s more than just that. Kahn, like similar artist Julia Holter, has a knack for sounding simultaneously gorgeous and terrifying.  Sparse vocals and stuttering keys meld around the wispy echos of Kahn’s voice and the occasional brute-force drum beats in blunt-yet-mysterious ways. Hearing Kahn sing amidst the mostly silent racket feels almost like hearing the distant shout of someone urging you to seek shelter before an impeding blizzard — warm and inviting, yet stern and serious. The song reminds me of the nerd-famous saying of my favorite characters from George R. R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Winter is Coming, so hole up and prepare yourselves, because it won’t be pretty. Although, with Horsebladder maybe winter doesn’t have to be so bad after all.

Horsebladder, “Winter, Worse Winter” (Not, I’ll Not, Ecstatic Peace!)

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Words: Marc Picciolo

You can stream Not, I’ll Not from Horsebladder’s bandcamp page and order the record from Ecstatic Peace!.

Sightings: Container, “Protrusion”

Thursday, October 20th, 2011


Nashville’s Ren Schofield has established himself in the East Coast underground through his alchemistic cassette label I Just Live Here and the harsh oscillator/tape/guitar drones of his God Willing releases. For Container’s debut, LP – on the continually impressive, John Elliott-run Editions Mego imprint Spectrum Spools – Schofield speeds into high gear with an abstract, beat-based electronic pursuit that retains the damaged, minimal aesthetic of his previous output. “Protrusion’s” motorik-propelled industrial warble-tech thrusts minds and bodies into diasporas as trilling as the track’s own rapidly vibrating movements. I cannot say whether or not Container’s LP necessarily wants you to dance, but I strongly challenge you to try keeping two-(four)-on-the floor a few beats in.

Container: “Protrusion”

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Words: Mary Katherine Youngblood

LP is sold out at the source. Check online distributors Forced Exposure, Experimedia, etc. OR, grip one when you catch Container live with Unicorn Hard-On at the Avant Ghetto show at Public Assembly in Brooklyn on Monday, 10/24

Sightings: ABADABAD, “Indiana”

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

I recently found myself in a conversation that revealed that I am knee deep in the oddest period of my short life. A friend and I began to refer to it as “Phase 2.” The defining characteristic of “Phase 2” is that even though shit starts to “get real,” you still don’t want to care. All you want is to be around fun people doing fun things, and not give a damn about bills, or rent or loans. Artists like Brookyln’s ABADABAD deftly capture the spirit of this phase. Like their first single “Park Slope (I’m Sorry),” new track “Indiana” paints a serious narrative under upbeat rhythms and swirling, sharp-edged guitar riffs. “Indiana’s” characters imbibe on drugs and bad advice, or sob to their faraway best friends on the telephone. Meanwhile, surprisingly Real Estate-esque guitars and subtle, buoyant bass lines put a positive, downright groovy, spin on a bad situation. This is “Phase 2” at its purest. Get your problems off your chest and drown them in vibes.

ABADABAD, “Indiana” (Indiana, Self-Released)

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Words: Marc Picciolo

Stream/Download “Indiana” and more at ABADABAD’s Bandcamp page.

Sightings: Output Noise Improv Collective, “Narcolepsy”

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Rochester, NY’s Output Noise Improv Collective’s assembled at the Gallery at Potential Life Studios to record A Soundtrack To The DSM-IV — an extemporaneous interpretation of ten disorders outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The impressively spot-on “Narcolepsy’s” sparse piano melodies tease a lulling urge to succumb to sleep while harrowing strings warn to resist the urge.  However, the hypnagogia interpreted here is not the synth-washed post-noise psychedelia that we’ve grown accustomed to associating with the word describing the state between wakefulness and sleep. The more classically tinged approach found here may, actually, be capable of inducing an irresistible sleep attack – as evidenced in the track’s final ten seconds… until the “Catatonic Schizophrenia” of the next track kicks in.

Output Noise Improv Collective: “Narcolepsy”

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Words: Mary Katherine Youngblood

A Soundtrack To The DSM-IV is now available for pre-order from Output Noise Records and will be officially released next month

Sightings: HTRK: “Bendin'”

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Excepter‘s Nathan Corbin, aka Zebrablood, just sent in these ominous, narratively ambiguous black-and-white visuals for London-via-Melbourne electronic group HTRK, pronounced “Hate Rock.” Following the tragic suicide of founding member Sean Stewart in March of last year, Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang returned this September with a new studio full-length on Ghostly International— their second in the group’s nearly eight years of existence. “Bendin'” layers Standish’s ghostly vocals over dub-slow deep bass hits and slinky, contrapuntal beat programming. Corbin’s video first spoke to me of the feeling of rediscovering the streets and interiors your everyday urban itinerary through the eyes of a outsider, but according to the director, the truth is way more elaborate than that:

“An alien crash lands in downtown LA, breaking a water main. Balancing itself against the Earth’s gravity, the alien bends and twists out of sight from firemen inspecting the damage. It finds seclusion in the city’s little used elevators and escalators. It tries to drink water but can’t swallow. The alien wanders into an arcade. Men play pool surrounded by a dozen TVs all playing the same soap opera. These humans, waiting for the bus or floating down the boardwalk on segways, seem all the more estranged. Yet the alien puts this circus of weirdos at unease. The alien twists down the boardwalk with it’s energy drink in imitation of the humans around it…impossibly trying to fit in.

Jonnine and Nigel both play the alien. ‘Bendin” is dance video, literalizing the song’s themes of bending and twisting in the movements of the alien.”

Words: Emilie Friedlander

WORK (work, work) is out now on Ghostly International

Event: dublab’s 12th Anniversary Party

Friday, October 14th, 2011

In addition to being easily the most vibrant internet radio station in Los Angeles (and on the non-geographical internet), dublab has made its name by being an unstoppable cultural curator. In celebrating their dozenth year of existence, the station continues to build upon those chops. If you find yourself in Los Angeles this Saturday, join in on the festivities with sounds and images from Julia Holter, High Places, Teebs, Diva, Daedelus and SFV Acid to name a few. Live video stylings will be provided by the likes of Miko Revereza and Alex Pelly of The Masses. Expect to be taken far without moving too much.

Words: Samantha Cornwell

Sightings: M. Geddes Gengras, “TRIFLIN@1”

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Los Angeles synth-meister M. Geddes Gengras is at it again, with some dense, graveyard shift sounds. Just a few days ago, Geddes posted a collection of 5 recent tracks on his soundcloud, that are apparently attached to an unnamed, upcoming tape release. If you’re familiar at all with his work, it is no surprise that each of these tracks humbly pulls the listener into its own dense, sonic world. That world could be described as an undulating circle of glitches and bleeps. The power of this music is subtle, but undeniable.

M. Geddes Gengras, “TRIFLIN@1”
MGG fall ’11 by green machines

Words: Samantha Cornwell

Sightings: Nihiti, “Lit Up In Rows”

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011


NY/Berlin electronic duo Nihiti have returned to the dark side.  After last month’s folk spun acoustic delicacies on the Faced With Splendor EP, Dracon Ostlks (who is associated with Altered Zones) and Viktor Timofeev recorded bass/drum/guitar machines for “Lit Up In Rows” this past August in Berlin under “romantic distress.”  Ostlks’ pained vocals question the cold, rigid order of urban landscapes found on both sides of the Atlantic while exploring the possibilities of human connectedness, solidarity and renewal. As the track’s layers build towards a triumphant culmination urging bodies to move, we’re reassured that at least a flicker of hope exists in what has been soberly  “lit up in rows –” and that all who wonder, and all who wander, are not forever lost.

Nihiti: “Lit Up In Rows”

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Words: Mary Katherine Youngblood
Image: Viktor Timofeev

Check the Faced With Splendor EP and Viktor Timofeev’s Give Health999 LP on iTunes here and here.  Both were recently released on Lo Bit Landscapes, from which physical releases will soon be available.

Sightings: Leopard Smoke, “Night Ghost”

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Nothing seems as refreshing these days as music that exists solely for the purpose of having a bit of fun. Consider New Paltz, NY’s Leopard Smoke, who seamlessly mix homegrown pop tropes with mad-cap textures and lounge-style vocals. On “Night Ghost” — from their latest, free full-length Night Beaches — the band bursts in with a haphazard, soulful vocal narrative about a terrifying spectre amidst a plodding drum beat and a constantly pounding, ballpark-esque organ melody. The combination may seem awkward on paper, but the track shines delightfully through all of its aural circus’ three rings. Things become really strange during the song’s final act —  where organs break down and spiral through the spinning nucleus of a black hole, shooting through the other side. Leopard Smoke are a bit of a wild ride, but wild rides are always so much fun.

Leopard Smoke: “Night Ghost”

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Words: Marc Picciolo

Check out Night Beaches and Leopard Smoke’s entire discography for free on Bandcamp.