Kitchen + The Plastic Spoons: Screams To God LP (Dark Entries, 2013)

May 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Kitchen + The Plastic Spoons: Screams To God

Kitchen + The Plastic Spoons: Screams To God

Totally nutty anthology of a Swedish new wave band who only put out 2 singles in their short lifetime, which were compiled onto CD with demos, live tracks and other stuff in 2007. This is basically a vinyl version of that, minus the live tracks. Musically, it’s mostly fast post-punk (although some of the songs are slower and more goth-y) driven by squiggly synthesizers, which sound completely awesome. And the vocals are dramatic, heavily accented, and off the wall. The lyrics are mostly in English, and even if they’re hard to understand, they seem to mix positive feelings with a dark edge. “Happy Funeral” sounds just like that, all dressed in black while dancing to Devo synths. “Fantastic” is a bit slower, and ends with the title word repeated manically under an avalanche of squiggly synths. Track 5 is titled “Ice Cream To God”, even though the singer’s saying “I screamed to God but he didn’t hear”, and it ends with the band clapping excitedly. “(-)” is an instrumental which starts with a collage of frogs, whales, wolves, and one of the band members blowing his nose played backwards, along with a ticking metronome rhythm, and guitars and drums come in along with wolves howling. “The Poet” and “Filmen” feature a male vocalist named Iodine Jupiter, and it’s tempting to compare him to Einar Örn or Fred Schneider, but not really as demented as those guys. “Liberty” is described as the band’s “one true pop song” in the liner notes, which makes you wonder why it was just an unreleased demo, and the song was rarely played live. “Psch” is named after the synth sound that constantly plays throughout the song, and has the most dramatic, almost operatic vocals on the album. It’s also slower than most of the album, sort of gets into a vaguely surfy rhythm, and has some ridiculous synth soloing towards the end.

Reading the liner notes, it seems that this band simply couldn’t get their shit together and the music business didn’t really know what to do with them, which is understandable given how quirky and DIY they were. But at least they were able to put some ideas to tape, and of course it’s awesome that Dark Entries is bringing their music to vinyl again. Nice glossy sleeve, too.

Q4U: Q1 Deluxe Edition 1980-1983 LP (Dark Entries, 2013)

May 11, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Q4U: Q1 Deluxe Edition 1980-1983

Q4U: Q1 Deluxe Edition 1980-1983

Very generous anthology of early ’80s Iceland post-punk synth-pop band Q4U. Most of the 16 tracks here feature fast drum machine beats, post-punk bass and guitar, and crazed, sometimes screechy female vocals in Icelandic. The few English-sung tracks reveal some dark, disturbed shit going on; “Why” depicts someone killing themself, going to hell, and praying to Jesus to take them away. It’s also way longer than most of the other tracks and has a beatless, wavy-synth intro before the beats come in. “Onward” is the most punk-sounding track here, with live drums and a thick bass guitar line. “Creeps” also has live drums, rips off the melody of Kraftwerk’s “The Model”, and broken English lyrics about killing one’s family. “Sigurinn” is another post-punk song with live drums and guitar, great harmonies and a really catchy melody. “Draugasaga” also has live drums, goblin-like vocals from multiple singers, and a distant, rainy-night sax solo in the middle. “Miracle Man” stands out as being the only English-sung track without really dark lyrics, plus it has synth melody and driving rhythm. “Skemmtistadur” has a super-fast plunky beat, thick bass guitar and distorted vocals. The last three songs on the album are from the same session, and have the same fast beats and distorted vocals, adding some swirly guitar sounds. “Plastic Vision” has English lyrics about television and aimless, bored people wandering in the streets. “Turninn” is even faster and more furious. “Family” starts out slow, then kicks into the beat and sings about being a big, loving family “in the mountain of Halloween”; seems like something sinister is going on here but I can’t entirely tell what. Sounds awesome in any case.

Belaboris: Once Upon A Time LP (Dark Entries, 2013)

May 11, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Belaboris: Once Upon A Time

Belaboris: Once Upon A Time

Dark Entries anthologizes short-lived early-’80s Finnish female synth-pop group Belaboris, named after Lugosi and Karloff. Not quite as gothy as you might expect from the name, it’s mostly upbeat, fun minimal synth-pop, with light synths and a touch of new-wave guitar. “Odotus” is the clear standout, just a really catchy, blissfully happy synth-pop anthem. The cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Babypop” is up there too. “Monsteribaari” is a tense, speedy one with sinister laughter and some sort of clinking metal or glass sounds. There’s also demo versions of album highlights “Odotus” and “Kolme Askelta”, with “Kolme Askelta” clearly sounding more rock-like than the version on the first side, which has a thudding drum machine, as opposed to the live drums and guitar on the demo. And the demo of “Odotus” isn’t a whole lot different, it just lacks the cool guitar line on the finished version. The album ends on a slow, spooky note with “Rakkauden Jälkeen”, a dark, haunted-chapel ballad that starkly contrasts with the rest of the album.

Show #190 – 5/11/13

May 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

3:02 AM add n to (x) ~ machine is bored with love ~ avant hard ~ mute
3:06 AM wolf eyes ~ born liar ~ no answer : lower floors ~ de stijl
3:09 AM david grubbs ~ ornamental hermit ~ the plain where the palace stood ~ drag city
3:14 AM guided by voices ~ trashcan full of nails ~ english little league ~ gbv inc
3:16 AM sun city girls ~ abydos ~ eye mohini: sun city girls singles vol. 3 ~ abduction
3:17 AM hedvig mollestad trio ~ achilles ~ all of them witches ~ rune grammofon
3:22 AM man or astro-man? ~ codebreaker seventy eight ~ defcon 5…4…3…2…1 ~ communicating vessels
3:25 AM black bug ~ mask ~ reflecting the light ~ hozac
3:27 AM half japanese ~ shy around girls ~ 1/2 gentlemen / not beasts (4 lp reissue) ~ fire
3:29 AM human eye ~ buzzin’ flies ~ 4: into the unknown ~ goner
3:31 AM peals ~ belle air ~ walking field ~ thrill jockey
3:38 AM moss of aura ~ sweat ~ wading ~ friends records
3:41 AM kitchen + the plastic spoons ~ ice cream to god ~ screams to god ~ dark entries
3:46 AM q4u ~ skemmtistadur ~ q1 deluxe edition: 1980-1983 ~ dark entries
3:49 AM belaboris ~ odotus ~ once upon a time… ~ dark entries
3:52 AM ADULT. ~ idle (second thoughts) ~ the way things fall ~ ghostly international
3:56 AM boundary ~ dilemma ~ boundary ~ self-released
4:01 AM jenny hval ~ mephisto in the water ~ innocence is kinky ~ rune grammofon
4:05 AM mark fell ~ manitutshu… first algorithm test ~ manitutshu * ~ editions mego
4:09 AM pharmakon ~ it hangs heavy ~ live on wfmu ~ free music archive
4:15 AM jib kidder ~ living in you ~ iv ~ gnar tapes/hoss records
4:18 AM spooky ~ moonlight ~ grime 2.0 ~ big dada
4:22 AM lonnie holley ~ the word with me ~ live on wfmu ~ free music archive
4:33 AM eugene carchesio ~circle music ii j ~ circle music ii ~ room40
4:40 AM elephant9 with reine fiske ~ a foot in both ~ atlantis ~ rune grammofon
4:45 AM grand general ~ clandestine ~ by your side ~ rune grammofon
4:49 AM the rudy schwartz project ~ le miroir brise ~ full frontal klugman ~ dc-jam records
4:52 AM brian eno ~ dead finks don’t talk ~ here come the warm jets ~ island records
4:56 AM adventure ~ flower ~ weird work ~ carpark
5:02 AM helen money ~ waterwalk ~ in tune ~ radium
5:07 AM glenn jones ~ bergen county farewell ~ my garden state ~ thrill jockey
5:10 AM maryam olomi ~ aure ~ harafin so – bollywood inspired film music from hausa nigeria ~ sahelsounds/little axe records
5:15 AM abbas mehrpouya ~ man ke mordeham ~ soul raga: anthology ~ pharaway sounds
5:18 AM ilaiyaraaja ~ needhi idhu ~ ilectro ~ finders keepers
5:23 AM quicksails ~ as high above the lightning ~ mayville dream ~ spectrum spools
5:26 AM zomes ~ time was ~ time was ~ thrill jockey
5:30 AM colin stetson ~ part of me apart from you now ~ history warfare vol. 3: to see more light ~ constellation
5:36 AM cosmin trg ~ to touch is to divert ~ gordian ~ 50 weapons
5:38 AM nommo ogo ~ narwhal ~ endless dream ~ record label records
5:44 AM barn owl ~ against the night ~ v ~ thrill jockey
5:48 AM sujo ~ peste ~ ondan ~ inam records
5:55 AM john parish ~ lbs / end titles ~ screenplay ~ thrill jockey

May 2013 NJ/NY/Philly vacation

May 8, 2013 at 12:14 am | Posted in Photos | Leave a comment

So my good buddy OCDJ decided to play a couple shows in Philly and Brooklyn and Baltimore, so I absolutely had to drive over to the east coast and check out the Philly and Brooklyn shows. I convinced Eric to come with me because he’d never been to that part of the country and there’s a bunch of people I was going to visit that he’d never met before. I took a lot of photos, so here’s some highlights.

Chilling out at Justin and Becca’s new house near the Jersey shore:

Eric playing with Vader

Eric playing with Vader


Grilling veggies and veggie burgers

Grilling veggies and veggie burgers


Frownies having a Pity Party

Frownies having a Pity Party

We drove out to Philly on Thursday to see OCDJ at a house show, but he was having computer problems. Eventually he ended up borrowing a laptop and playing some unreleased tracks, which were amazing of course. Also playing were a bunch of Future Islands related projects. Samuel T. Herring surprised everyone by rapping, and was pretty damn good at it. Moss Of Aura was seriously fantastic, definitely one of the better chillwave-ish projects I’ve heard. Not that anyone likes being labeled that, but as far as current downtempo instrumental electronic music, this and Discoverer are basically my 2 favorite artists. And The Snails played, and well, they’re snails! Basically they sound like Future Islands but not synth-pop, and there’s a sax player.

Samuel T. Herring

Samuel T. Herring


OCDJ and me

OCDJ and me


Moss Of Aura

Moss Of Aura


The Snails

The Snails


OCDJ chilling in a corner playing tracks off his laptop while everyone dances

OCDJ chilling in a corner playing tracks off his laptop while everyone dances

On Friday OCDJ was supposed to play at Death By Audio, and he tried to get a laptop working so he could do the show, but that ended up failing so he backed out. But there was a Barcore show in the same neighborhood, and most of my friends were more interested in that anyway, and we all had a great time. Eric had never been to NYC before so we spent most of the day exploring Manhattan before heading to Brooklyn. I didn’t take too many pictures, except when there were a swarm of cartoon mascots hanging out in Times Square. I went to an awesome Vietnamese restaurant with my dad and sister, then we went to Barcade (a bar + arcade, obviously) and then I went to Barcore.

delicious egg+veggie+bagel creation Justin made me

delicious egg+veggie+bagel creation Justin made me


Eric and some lifesize Muppets at Times Square

Eric and some lifesize Muppets at Times Square


Dinner at An Nhau

Dinner at An Nhau


Barcade

Barcade


Barcade

Barcade


Shayna playing Dig Dug @ Barcade

Shayna playing Dig Dug @ Barcade


Digit216 @ Barcore

Digit216 @ Barcore


Rtype @ Barcore

Rtype @ Barcore


Barcore

Barcore


Barcore

Barcore


Barcore

Barcore


Diskore @ Barcore

Diskore @ Barcore


Barcore

Barcore


Barcore

Barcore


Barcore

Barcore


Barcore

Barcore


Paul Blackout @ Barcore

Paul Blackout @ Barcore

Saturday we visited the beach, but most of the beaches in Jersey are still closed and damaged because of the hurricane. But that night we went to an art gallery in New Brunswick and saw my old WRSU buddy Pedro Serrano, and also Vulpine Smile who I’d never heard before but he’s on the newest Scolex tape compilation, which I’m also on. His set was incredible. Then we went to the grease trucks, where I had a vegetarian grease truck sandwich for the first time ever. Even without meat, it’s as disgustilicious as ever. We also paid a visit to WRSU, which is looking a lot spiffier than when I last DJ’ed there.

hurricane beach wreckage

hurricane beach wreckage


Pedro Serrano

Pedro Serrano


Vulpine Smile

Vulpine Smile


RU Hungry?

RU Hungry?


Just Delicious

Just Delicious


Falafel, fries, mozzarella sticks, lettuce, tomatoes, and a heart attack on a roll

Falafel, fries, mozzarella sticks, lettuce, tomatoes, and a heart attack on a roll


So glad this Negativland poster is still in the office at WRSU. Seat Bee Sate!

So glad this Negativland poster is still in the office at WRSU. Seat Bee Sate!


I will never not find this funny. Courtesy of WRSU's old metal director Mark Nunez

I will never not find this funny. Courtesy of WRSU’s old metal director Mark Nunez


WRSU FM New Brunswick New Jersey New Music

WRSU FM New Brunswick New Jersey New Music

Jenny Hval: Innocence Is Kinky (Rune Grammofon, 2013)

May 7, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Jenny Hval: Innocence Is Kinky

Jenny Hval: Innocence Is Kinky

Heavily hyped new album from Norwegian vocalist, guitar player and author Jenny Hval, who formerly released music under the name Rockettothesky and as part of duo Nude On Sand. Produced by John Parish, and there’s definitely a PJ Harvey vibe here in some ways, but it’s less aggressive than PJ can be, maybe a bit more lush and more delicate instrumentation. Very sexually charged (the first few seconds of the first track will make your ears perk up), uses both drum machines and live drums, has ethereal moments as well as more rocking ones, and plenty of Scandinavian strangeness. The opening title track has throbbing drum machines, sexy sometimes-whispered vocals, and provocative minimal guitar and atmosphere. “Mephisto In The Water” has light drum machine beats, lots of ethereal vocal harmonies, and twinkly keyboards. Reminds me of Julia Holter a lot. “I Called” is more rockin’ and has lots of weird noisy guitar offsetting the vocals, which sounds cool. “Oslo Oedipus” has ethereal vocals and atmosphere in the beginning, then spoken word over a squished, background hip-hop loop and some weird talking. “Renée Falconetti Of Orléans” starts with more spoken word referencing the album’s title again, then after a minute of that goes into singing over a minimal throbbing beat. After about 3 minutes it all seems to dissolve into mist. “Give Me That Sound” starts with brief spoken word, then goes into some hard-panned noises, and heavily feedback-damaged and sexually charged spoken word in the left channel, with some slowed down creepy voices and sludgy, droney music in the right channel. Track 7 is called “I Got No Strings” but has nothing to do with Pinnochio. Well, actually it does lyrically, but it’s not a cover. Instead, it’s kind of a nervous, shapeshifting rocker with scraggly drums and alternately piercing and shy, introspective vocals. “Is There Anything On Me That Doesn’t Speak?” starts with more spoken word, then does more often-changing sometimes-dramatic vocals and guitar and drum driven music. “Amphibious, Androgynous” is atmospheric and ethereal vocals with some strumming guitar slowly fading in. Quite lovely. “Death Of the Author” continues in the haunting, ethereal vibe of the previous track, with softly shuddering drums and simmering guitars, until about 2 minutes in when the rhythm picks up and the song kicks into gear. Album closer “The Seer” starts droney and drumless with Sinead O’Connor-esque vocals, then briefly featuring some sputtering drum machines and spoken vocals before dissolving and ending the album.

Overall, I’m not entirely getting a hold on this album yet, but there’s definitely some immediately striking, beautiful moments, so it seems worth investigating.

Hedvig Mollestad Trio: All Of Them Witches (Rune Grammofon, 2013)

May 7, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Hedvig Mollestad Trio: All Of Them Witches

Hedvig Mollestad Trio: All Of Them Witches

Avant prog-rock, with a meaty, weighty classic rock sound, but enough hairpin turns and timesig trickery to thoroughly confuse your average classic rock fan. Strictly guitar/bass/drums recorded live, so it’s pretty minimal in that regard, but the musicianship is tight and they go off in a few different directions with each track. Opener “Sing, Goddess” alternates between lumbering rhythms, swinging boogie-rock and smoldering guitar solos, all with complex time signatures. “The Rex” has a heavy groove with a layer of unsettling electric guitar feedback on top, at least until the breakdown. “Lake Acid” has carefully measured yet free-spirited guitar soloing over a thick bass groove. “Achilles” is a step down-tempo, but by no means weak compared to the previous tracks, with lovely guitar lines over nice jazzy bass (a big, possibly upright sound, definitely not like rock bass guitar). “The New Judas” is a fast, thundering riff-monster, and then “Code Of Hammurabi” sludges things down a bit, although it gets a bit prog-twitchy during the closing minute or two. “Indian Driving” starts out sounding like a convoluted funk song, but quickly unravels to fractured riffs and spazzy drum soloing. “Shawshank” is a short, unassuming interlude, and “Ghrá Rúnda” continues the mood a bit with some subdued feedback-heavy yet delicate guitar. “Kathmandu” ends the album with more heavy riffery and lumbering groove, but also more jazzy bass during the breakdown.

As with most releases on Rune Grammofon (or Cuneiform for that matter), it can be hard to tell whether to file this under rock, jazz, or avant-garde, and different music directors or DJs might argue that it should be filed as one and not another. We at WCBN are filing the recent batch of RG releases under rock, as they all seem a lot closer to prog-rock than jazz, especially given the classic rock riffery on display here.

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