Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Orphans & Vandals: I Am Alive and You Are Dead

And there it is, that feeling of discovery, of genius borne, genius devouring the fuse of its namelessness. Music has its geniuses, of course, most of whom are dead or lost it eons ago. I can't recall being alive for an explosion like Al Joshua, the creative force behind Orphans & Vandals. Maybe it's his urgency, his honesty, his sexuality . . . whatever his stuffing is made of, the musical result is daggers scalding, impaling you with the gloriously ugly series of events that is Life. It's chaotic, offensive, feverish, addictive. It's pretentious. It's affected. That's the only way it could be so blisteringly real.

5/5 - Easily one of the best albums of the year so far.


Friday, March 20, 2009

A Busy Week

And a good one during which to resurrect this bloodless music blog. Monday saw Hatcham Social delivering - finally - their debut album after two years of demos, singles and EPs.

For those present during the long pre-album build-up, only six of 11 songs will be new. Even so, You Dig the Tunnel, I'll Hide the Soil is a brilliant record. An almost-perfect pop record, styled with the same dirty jangle of guitars as Josef K, spiced with the cheek and whimsy of Lewis Carroll. They did rework a few old songs, most notably "Superman", currently (and perhaps forever) my favorite track from the album. Other old songs were left as-is, which worked wonderfully on the former b-side "Penelope (Under My Hat)", but not so-well with their second single "So So Happy Making". Not that it's a bad song, by any means. But it feels out-of-place here. A bit tinny and washed-out compared to the glowing saturation of the rest of the album. I can't help but wonder why they chose not to rework that one . . .

Besides that, however, You Dig the Tunnel is solid. And, frankly, that is just a minor aesthetic-continuity misstep that most people will either not care about or not even notice. The song itself is still catchy as hell. So the entire album is, as well. These songs tie together elegantly, creating the illusion of a shorter running time than the already-short 35 minutes. No doubt that will ensure repeat listens.

And on Tuesday morning, promptly at 12 am, the Horrors ended the count-down on their website with a video of the lead single from their upcoming album, Primary Colours. As suspected, their sound has evolved from the garage-punk of their debut. I never would have guessed the staggering extent of the evolution, however. The intro to "Sea Within A Sea" begins dark and lurching, the outro makes me remember fondly the flying dog-dragon of The Neverending Story, and somewhere in the middle Faris sings. No really, no growling at all. It's definitely better than my description makes it sound. Check it out for yourself:

Get "Sea Within A Sea" free by signing up for their mailing list at www.thehorrors.co.uk (click on "The Horrors" in the bottom right corner).

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Singles from Late of the Pier and These New Puritans

Late of the Pier will release double a-side single Space and the Woods/Focker on May 19th. The single will be available in 7", 12", CD and digital formats. Each of the formats offers different b-sides and remixes. You can check out the details for each, and purchase one (or all four) here.

"Space and the Woods" was the band's first single and was first released last year. It's being re-released, one hopes, to pad the way for a full-length or EP. "Focker" makes it's debut here, however, and what a focking doozy it is . . spastic, robotic, lurching with effects and still a catchy new wave song at its heart. Whether it was intended to or not, the video channels the DIY, dork-chic of the first videos to grace MTV's airwaves. And the band, in more ways than one, resembles Devo most especially.

Listen to "Space and the Woods".

See the video for "Focker" here:

Swords of Truth Out Now

The second single off These New Puritans' debut album, Beat Pyramid, is finally available for purchase. One of that brilliant records' stand-out tracks, "Swords of Truth" takes cues from early rap and infuses them into the band's own style of twisted post-punk. While not as palatable as lead single "Elvis," this song has a riotous energy and distinctive sound you won't soon forget. Its beats are serrated, its lyrics cryptic and oh-so-precocious - they almost sound like a direct challenge to music reviewers. If that's the case, I can only say: guys, there's nothing to be defensive about.


Buy it from RecordStore here.


A quick update on the new Electricity in Our Homes' single: Its release date has been pushed back to June 2nd. Nothing else has changed, and the still-secret single should be posted on the band's MySpace page any day now.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bryan Scary's Scary New Album

Beware . . .

"Brooklynite Bryan Scary’s latest album is too too. Too what? Too everything. Leaving off not far from the style of his solo debut album,
The Shredding Tears, an album which showed flashes of Scary brilliance, I can only assume Bryan Scary decided he needed more of everything. So this time around, his touring band, the Shredding Tears, has recorded the album with him. And musically, he’s injected every sort of imaginable sound into any lulls lasting for more than two seconds. The end result is as mind-scrambling and ridiculous as his musical moniker."

- Read the scintillating rest here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Updates: The Horrors, Nine Inch Nails, EIOH & Lightspeed Champion!

Horrors Whittling Prospective Track List

The distressing wait for the album appears to at least be at the end's beginning. The Horrors are currently choosing which of their 30+ new songs will make the album, and are set to go into the studio in June to record them. The band is heading in a slightly new direction, according to frontman Faris Badwan, though he promises the new album will still appeal to fans of their 2006 debut, Strange House. Word is the band is moving away from 60s garage into more fully gothic, synth-driven stuff.

NIN Releases New Album Free

Unlike the last album, this one is totally free. Also unlike Ghosts, this is not a four-disc, instrumental experiment. Ten tracks long, The Slip picks up where Year Zero left off. It's yours to download for free in virtually any file format you want here.

EIOH To Release New Single

Minimalist post-punkers Electricity in Our Homes will release their first single since their 2007 EP The Shareholder's Meeting, on May 19th. The single will be released on 7" by Waks Records, and will be posted on the band's MySpace profile prior to the release date. That's soon folks!

Lightspeed Champion Previews New Track

What a tease Dev Hynes is! He posts this miniscule video snippet of a new track with the title "New Album". New album? What? When? Where? And now you know as much as I do. Updates hopefully on the way soon . . .

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm DJing Otto's Shrunken Head!

I'm DJing a couple upcoming dates at Otto's Shrunken Head - the first, Wednesday, April 30th and then again on Wednesday, May 14. I'll be playing everything from the Zombies to Baroque Bordello to the Horrors to Blitzen Trapper. With special emphasis on our lovely Brits.

Come out, kick back, drink up, and dig the sweet sweet sounds of Access: Interzone. You won't hear this stuff anywhere else in NYC, guaranteed.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

iLiKETRAiNS Go Hunting

"We Go Hunting," the latest single from iLiKETRAiNS' brilliant album Elegies to Lessons Learnt, is the most musically upbeat and pop-ish track from that record. But this, of course, is a bit like saying Linda Kasabian was the happiest and most well-adjusted member of the Manson Family since she only drove the getaway car and didn't really mean to kill anyone. (Side note: She didn't technically kill anyone, just watched.)

Despite a somewhat airier sound than the other tracks, the opening lyric on "We Go Hunting" sets the tone: "I curse the day I ever set foot in this god-forsaken town." And the rest of the song goes on to talk about Samuel Parris, a Puritan minister during the Salem Witch Trials (and morally-incongruent father and uncle to two of the child accusers).

iLiKETRAiNS don't make the mistake Parris did with simplistic, black and white thinking, however. "We Go Hunting" is an empathetic portrayal: a father truly worried about his daughter resorting to the only method he thinks will save her. Or, conquer the demons before they conquer you.

All of this translates into a taut yet thunderous and haunting song. More than that, however, "We Go Hunting," like so many of iLiKETRAiNS' songs, highlights the tenuous relationship between fear and morality, between authenticity and cardboard selves. Man versus His Own Nature is perhaps the most critical conflict of all, for what could a man hope to accomplish when he himself is mis-aligned? But then it is probably more complex than that . . .


"We Go Hunting" will be released April 21 to coincide with iLiKETRAiNS' UK tour. If you pre-order with Record Store, a DVD version of the single will be included for free.

*View a timeline and read more about the people and events in Elegies to Lessons Learnt here.*