Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

NY Eye & Ear III, Told from Start to Finish in 43 Tweets

Monday, May 24th, 2010

@MaxBurke just hacked the VR twitter! Greetings from the NY Eye and Ear Fest. View from the record fair/ chill zone.
3:55 PM May 22nd via OpenBeak

Reviews: Douglas Mesner, “Good and Bad UFOs” Cassette

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

tumblr_kpo5v0YFZh1qa2m3jo1_400As a child, I had a strong interest in the history and mythology of UFOs and aliens. Despite the many phobias that can afflict a young kid, I was never afraid of ghosts, bogeymen, or monsters — or even the supposedly very real threat of child predators, kidnappers, and serial killers. Instead, I was fascinated and terrified by the prospect of being abducted by aliens and experimented on. Why this terror developed — leading to many sleepless nights and pleadings with my parents to sleep in their room — is not clear to me. Probably a combination of the countless hours I spent watching syndicated episodes of “Unsolved Mysteries” and my youth reading list, which leaned heavily on science fiction. My appetite for material relating to UFOs was as insatiable as it was damaging to my young psyche; and to this day, although I’m a well-adjusted adult, the prospect of alien abduction still stirs deep emotions.

Reviews: Doing the Dishes with Rhys Chatham’s “The Bern Project”

Friday, February 12th, 2010

l_8bd444b400f3405382ed044ceee2d720One of my all-time favorite Dave Hickey moments in when the rock star art critic describes his first encounter with Andy Warhol, over the course of a remembered “Underground Flick Nite” during his college years in Austin, TX. He and his leftist radical friends had gathered at the Y on the Drag in the hopes of watching burning cars and group sex, but when Warhol’s movie finally came on the big screen, they realized they were all in for a big snooze. What Warhol called “a movie” was in fact nothing but a stationary shot of a guy getting his hair cut: why, Hickey asked, where they sitting there nodding off to the “clip clip clip” of barber shears when people in Third World countries were starving and market capitalism was still waiting to be overthrown?

Reviews: Whitehaus Family Records Mecha-Post

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
the-whitehaus-family-record-c2bb-about-1Ad For “The Whitehaus Family Record Family Record,” coming soon on The Whitehaus Family Record

As we shift from the decade of America’s horse into the year we make contact, the Googleplex blogosphere seems to be rendering record labels pretty much obsolete as distribution networks. They are, however, becoming are increasingly important as aesthetic umbrellas, harboring like-minded projects as the latter blow their loads into the soil and sprout great froot. Of course, this only really applies to labels that can be considered “indie” or “DIY” in some way; the fact that a record is on Warner Bros. tells you nothing about it, whereas when you hear that a record was dropped by Southern Lord, Load, or Not Not Fun, you can usually make a pretty accurate guess as to what it will sound like.

Reviews: Some Twerps from Australia Drop Self-Titled EP on Chapter Music/Night People

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

l_465867627bd75b563e06daf4689037c5Lazy internet journalist types would have you believe that Melbourne’s The Twerps are the Australian Real Estate. This comparison may make sense in the hallowed halls of MP3 hype, but it doesn’t hold much water upon closer aural inspection. If dudes playing guitars and singing earnestly makes them Real Estate soundalikes, then we’re in trouble. Regardless of your entry point to The Twerps’ world, the group recently released their debut recordings on the lovely Night People label (in the perennially beloved cassette format) and Australia’s Chapter Music (in the increasingly popular 7” + Bonus CD format). The Twerps cover a lot of ground here in 25 minutes and 9 tracks, from the tossed-off spoken word of “Dance Alone” to “Drunk On Me,” an acoustic ballad which nails woozy high school relationship drama with uncanny precision.

Reviews: Moon Duo, “Killing Time” EP, Sacred Bones

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Killing Time EP Cover[1]With their/his new EP Killing Time, Moon Duo, a solo project from Wooden Shjips singer-guitarist Ripley Johnson, manages to overcome a slightly lousy band name and a potential first impression as a larky side project to emerge as the best thing yet to scamper out from Ripley and his Shjipmates’ collective womb. What we get is a 20-minute sl(ice)ab of reverb-y echo-y goodness, somewhere between Psychocandy-era JAMC playing NEU! covers on a hazy beach and a fetal Spacemen 3 jamming off on a Suicide tip in a gymnasium.

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.

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.

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.

Love Like Deloreans, Love Like Deloreans, Friendly Ghost, 2009

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

3498240974_8a727df272[1]In 1968, Walter Carlos (a.k.a. Wendy Carlos) and Benjamin Folkman turned John Sebastian Bach into a 15-minute pop deity by transposing a handful of his “greatest hits” to an early Modular Moog synthesizer, tediously recreating every lurch of the old divine sewing machine on a custom-built 8-track. Switched On Bach earned the old bewigged master three Grammy Awards, seventeen weeks on the Billboard Top 40, and the post-humous satisfaction of being the first classical composer to go platinum. To Carlos and Folkman’s great pride, it carved out a space for the synthesizer in the West’s pop musical imaginary, eliciting orders for Moog organs everywhere from cushy American recording studios to the Zodiak Free Arts Lab in West Germany, where synth-based krautrock acts Tangerine Dream and Cluster got together for their first group improvisations. Who cares if it needed to be paired with something as tried and true as the Brandenburg concerto for people to listen up? For a hot moment — just as every new technology has its “hot moment” — the pulsating, electronic revelation of the analogue synth was the sound of the future.