Chicago Underground Duo: Locus (Northern Spy, 2014)

February 28, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Chicago Underground Duo: Locus

Chicago Underground Duo: Locus

Latest from Rob Mazurek and Chad Taylor. Modern experimental jazz with heavy electronics and crunchy drum beats. Recorded by John McEntire and definitely has that Tortoise sound, could easily appeal to fans of electronic music and forward-thinking instrumental hip-hop (Flying Lotus et al). “Locus” has an echo-heavy beat and kind of slurpy synths. “Boss” has fast, busy drums and a kind of mystic rhythm, over which Mazurek plays the cornet. “The Human Economy” is a short interlude of some rustling metal coil type sounds and cornet. “Yaa Yaa Kole” starts with distorted mbira and shaker, then drums and cornet come in. Has sort of a miniaturized Afrobeat feel. “House of the Axe” has a mysterious spacey feel, a blippy, thwacky drumbeat doesn’t come in until 2 minutes in. This lasts until about 4 minutes, at which point the lightly flickering synths take over, and the piece ends with a gently shifting wave of humming ambience. “Borrow and Burry” starts with several layers of thrashing, scraping and bamboo flute blowing over cold minimalist synth. Towards the middle, the word “the sky” is spoken, then it all goes quiet, except for some whistling, then the scraping and synths start again. “Blink Out” starts with some manipulated cornet, which pitches up and down while it’s playing, and there’s a distorted beat and pulsating synths. This mayhem continues for almost 6 minutes, and then “Kabuki” is another fast, frenetic puzzle of distorted mbira, crashing drums and snaking synths. “Dante” ends the album with another fast, distorted rhythm and amplified cornet freakouts, but this one’s way less messy and more together than some of the previous tracks.

Carsick Cars: 3 (Maybe Mars, 2014)

February 27, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Carsick Cars: 3

Carsick Cars: 3

Newest album from Beijing indie-rock group Carsick Cars, who are one of the most well known underground Chinese groups (they’ve played SXSW and CMJ and plenty of other gigs in America, and Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 mixed this record). I haven’t heard any of their older work but I’ve heard some of it is more noisy, or that these guys have noise/experimental side projects. This definitely has some arty post-punk influence to it (“The Best VPN So Far” is a very Krautrock-influenced instrumental) but it’s definitely hooky, repetitive, droney indie-pop by people who worship Sonic Youth, Stereolab and other poppy-yet-experimental indie-rock bands. Lyrics blur between English and Chinese, sometimes it’s hard to tell which. “15 Minutes Older” has clear English lyrics. “Everybody Comes To the City Now, Everybody Wants To Be Free But Don’t Know How” gets the most catchy and singsongy with the vocal melodies (which are in Chinese). “Midnight Driver” has more of an uptempo shuffle beat. The last 2 tracks stretch out longer than 5 minutes, with “She Will Wait” featuring a drum machine ticking underneath and sunny vocals, and “White Song” being a slow-building ecstatic blissout with slightly distorted Chinese vocals. Glad to finally hear something by this band after reading about them for so long.

Show #231 – 2/22/14

February 22, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

3:01 AM Mark McGuire ~ The Instinct ~ Along The Way ~ Dead Oceans
3:13 AM Thug Entrancer ~ Death After Life IV ~ Death After Life ~ Software
3:21 AM DJ Taye ~ New Age 14 ~ mp3 ~
3:24 AM D/P/I ~ Watchyr.Back ~ 08.DD.15 ~ Leaving Records
3:28 AM Headboggle ~ Music Easel Demo In Hi-Fi Digital ~ Meili Xueshan I ~ Bandcamp
3:36 AM Godseye ~ The Drunken Boat ~ A Season In Hell ~ Digitalis
3:49 AM Crowhurst ~ No Dollar Menu Items After Midnight ~ Crowhurst And Montage ~ Bandcamp
3:55 AM Alvarius B ~ Ghost Of South Carolina ~ Alvarius B ~ Abduction
4:00 AM Burnt Skull ~ Uniform ~ Sewer Birth ~ 12XU
4:03 AM Xiu Xiu ~ Bitter Melon ~ Angel Guts: Red Classroom ~ Polyvinyl
4:06 AM Watabou ~ Ingrained Social Reflexes ~ Plasticity ~ self-released
4:08 AM El Ten Eleven ~ Yyes! ~ For Emily ~ Fake Record Label
4:15 AM The Notwist ~ 7-Hour Drive ~ Close To The Glass ~ Sub Pop
4:19 AM Nothing ~ B&E ~ Guilty Of Everything ~ Relapse
4:24 AM Woodsman ~ Healthy Life ~ Woodsman ~ Fire Talk
4:35 AM Supercollider ~ Tuliptree ~ 7″ ~ self-released
4:38 AM Mogwai ~ Tell Everybody That I Love Them ~ 7″ ~ Sub Pop
4:42 AM Chit Chat ~ Don’t Go ~ 7″ ~ PRTYNGG!
4:44 AM Bad Daughter ~ track 4 (titles are in Chinese) ~ Tiny Sun ~ White Wabbit Records
4:47 AM Green Lights ~ Way Down ~ split 7″ w/ Congress ~ Animal Tapes/Save Your Generation
4:50 AM Johnny Ill Band ~ Post Office ~ 7″ ~ Dusty Medical Records
4:53 AM Danny And The Darleans ~ Don’t Get In The Car ~ Danny And The Darleans ~ Nero’s Neptune
4:55 AM Angel Olsen ~ Hi-Five ~ Burn Your Fire For No Witness ~ Jagjaguwar
5:02 AM Kasim Keto ~ Long Way ~ Long Car Rides ~ Babygrande
5:05 AM Lee Bannon ~ Cold/Melt ~ Alternate/Endings ~ Ninja Tune
5:09 AM Illum Sphere ~ Sleeprunner ~ Ghosts Of Then And Now ~ Ninja Tune
5:12 AM Actress ~ Street Corp. ~ Ghettoville ~ Werkdiscs
5:18 AM No Milk ~ Telephone Tones ~ Ant Parade/No Milk Retrospective ~ Hot Releases
5:24 AM Nima ~ Ride ~ Spirit Sign ~ self-released
5:27 AM Figure Study ~ Invisible ~ Figure Study ~ Dark Entries
5:33 AM Guardian Alien ~ Tranquilizer ~ Spiritual Emergency ~ Thrill Jockey
5:43 AM Debruit & Alsarah ~ Jibal Alnuba ~ Aljawal ~ Soundway
5:46 AM Max + Mara ~ Unseen ~ Less Ness ~ Dark Entries
5:53 AM Pinkcourtesyphone ~ Blow Up (Iamaphotograph Cut By CoH) ~ Please Pick Up ~ IO Sound
5:56 AM Cibo Matto ~ Check Out ~ Hotel Valentine ~ Chimera Music

Crush Collision 2/20/14

February 20, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Posted in Crush Collision | Leave a comment

10:01 PM Actress ~ Skyline
10:07 PM Lucy ~ Follow The Leader
10:12 PM Dantiez Saunderson & John Norman ~ Stuck In My Mind (Kevin Saunderson Curators Edit)
10:16 PM Oleg Poliakov ~ Anatomy Of A Shipwreck
10:22 PM Balil ~ Norte Route
10:25 PM Esteban Adame ~ Home Sick (MGUN Crunch Time Remix)
10:32 PM Snow Ghosts ~ Secret Garden (Matthew Herbert’s Wash It All Away Instrumental)
10:36 PM Addison Groove ~ Bad Seed
10:39 PM Dariuus ~ Polar Vortex Storm Ion
10:45 PM Black Deer ~ Strike 3
10:49 PM Inigo Kennedy ~ Interaction
10:53 PM Link & e621 ~ Antacid II
10:57 PM Thug Entrancer ~ Death After Life III

Burnt Skull: Sewer Birth LP (12XU, 2014)

February 17, 2014 at 11:05 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Burnt Skull: Sewer Birth LP

Burnt Skull: Sewer Birth LP

Austin duo whose name entirely matches their sound. Hard, noisy sludge-metal-noise-rock with ungodly vocal effects. This sounds every bit as dark and evil and hellish as it looks. Thick pounding drums, flaming guitars, and supremely devilish vocals. Sometimes approaches early Swans or Godflesh territory. “God Hole” and “No Cross” are faster, getting closer to horror-punk territory. Of the 4 instrumental tracks, “Uniform” is maybe the most industrial, “Lord’s Prayer Underwater” is a short noisy interlude with some submerged talking, “Abduction (Lost Underground)” is a REALLY noisy interlude, sounding like a barrel explosion in a sewer, and “Abysm/Rotting Plain” is an outro that sounds like scraping metal in a sewer. This one effectively burned my skull!

my attempt at baking Frownies

February 17, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Posted in Photos | Leave a comment


Thug Entrancer: Death After Life (Software, 2014)

February 16, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Thug Entrancer: Death After Life

Thug Entrancer: Death After Life

Hard-to-define mixture of juke, minimal techno, trap, acid techno, noise, and more. Lots and lots of 808 beats. Active and busy, but sometimes minimal and bassy. Tracks 1-8 are parts 1-8 of “Death After Life”. Part 1 is uptempo juke/trap. Part 2 is slow dubby minimal techno. Part 3 is a long uptempo simmering acid techno jam, which ends with a lazer-like noise jam for the last couple minutes. Part 4 is another slow simmering techno track, which sometimes erupts in flurries of uptempo drum fills. Part 5 achieves the simultaneous feeling of slowly floating (due to the bubbly synths) yet at the same time rocketing forward into hyperspace (with the fast hypnotic beats). Part 6 is midtempo dubby techno with some soft noise smears around the corners. Part 7 starts quiet and unassuming, then kicks into a thin, uptempo techno, with small melodies and lots of handclaps at one point. Part 8 is more beat-heavy, uptempo, kind of hypnotic, but also minimal. The last 2 tracks are 2 parts of “Ready To Live”. Part 1 is another slow, minimal 4/4 techno track, but has one of the more interesting melodies on the album. Part 2 is mysterious midtempo techno, a bit more submerged and crackly than some of the other tracks, and a bit more distant and paranoid. Always amazing stuff from Software, and also I think this guy does web design for Decoder, which I write for sometimes, so that’s awesome too.

Night of Noise 2014

February 15, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Posted in Night Of Noise, Photos | Leave a comment

Hour 1

Hour 2

Hour 3

Hour 4

Hour 5

Hour 6

Hour 7

Hour 8

Supercollider: “Heartbomb/Detonate” b/w “Tuliptree” 7″ (self-released, 2013)

February 11, 2014 at 7:30 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Supercollider 7"

Supercollider 7″

Debut 7″ from WCBN alumni Aaron Smith and Rory. Tight, wiry, mathy indie rock. “Heartbomb/Detonate” has vocals (lyrics about a crush), and a perky mid-uptempo, “Tuliptree” is instrumental and starts midtempo, then launches into energetic doubletime, and even has room for some cowbell. Facebook says Rory is moving to LA so I dunno if this band will be playing live anymore, but at least you can enjoy them on this 7″.

El Ten Eleven: For Emily EP (Fake Record Label, 2014)

February 11, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

El Ten Eleven: For Emily EP

El Ten Eleven: For Emily EP

New EP from long-running instrumental post-rock duo whose first album was on Bar/None back in 2005. This is a nice, upbeat, electronic-tinged collection of 5 to 7 minute jammers. Concise but complex, not too proggy, and definitely enjoyable, nothing too ponderous. “Yyes!” is the most electronic of the 3, starting with kind of scattered, blippy sequences that continue through the song, and some drum machine beats in the breakdown around 2 minutes, but still guided by flying-high guitar and bass guitar groove. “Reprise” is also kind of electronic, even dubby, and kind of breaks down around 2 minutes and pulls itself into a more straightforward rock section, then tumbles into some free-falling drum soloing, then bumps around some electronic beats and more tranquil guitar effects. All good vibes.

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