Tobacco: Ultima II Massage (Ghostly International, 2014)

May 17, 2014 at 2:35 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Tobacco: Ultima II Massage

Tobacco: Ultima II Massage

3rd solo LP from the leader of Black Moth Super Rainbow. Grimier and sleazier than his main band, but with the same type of woozy psych-electro-pop sound, vocodered vocals, and lots of decaying tape hiss. No high-profile guests this time around, just Tobacco being his evil self. In typical Tobacco fashion, the most unexpectedly pretty track here ends up being the one called “Creaming For Beginners”. The first half of the album has more vocal-based sleazy cock-rock jams (just check the opening track’s vocodered growl “ride, motherfucker, ride”, as well as the occasional glam-metal vocal punctuations), and the second half is more like bad-trip Boards Of Canada. The CD version puts the final track (a “bonus beat”) at track 99, separated by digital silence lasting from track 17 through 98. In this way, this album seems to thrive on and exploit technological imperfections, from the extra-track CD gag to the grainy cassette-like sound quality and extended dropouts in the music. I don’t have the vinyl, but I’d almost expect there to be locked grooves cut randomly in the middle of songs, so that every copy was a skipping record.

Crush Collision 5/15/14

May 16, 2014 at 1:08 am | Posted in Crush Collision | Leave a comment

Hour 1
10:03 PM Devennue ~ Forms
10:07 PM Gas ~ Die Wand
10:12 PM Mark E ~ Leaving Osaka
10:14 PM Red Axes ~ Road To The Hills
10:19 PM Telequanta ~ Join A Cult
10:23 PM Todd Terje ~ Inspector Norse
10:29 PM Zara McFarlane ~ Open Heart (Alex Session Remix)
10:34 PM Maria Minerva ~ Ivory Tower
10:37 PM Matrixxman ~ Scimitar
10:41 PM cv313 ~ Excursion 7 ~ Live At Primary
10:45 PM DJ 3000 ~ Tabu (Gary Martin Remix)
10:49 PM Farben & James Din A4 ~ Das Chinesenschwert
10:52 PM Fur Coat ~ Fading Away
10:55 PM Plaid ~ Matin Lunaire
10:58 PM Dantiez Saunderson featuring La Rae Starr ~ The Harp (Nathan Surreal Remix)
Hour 2
11:02 PM Esteban Adame ~ Paraphernalia
11:08 PM Chevel ~ Marker Shop
11:10 PM Douglas Greed ~ B12
11:15 PM Afterhours ~ Lovesick
11:22 PM Detroit Grand Pubahs Vs Space DJz ~ Wake Up (Atta Remix)
11:26 PM Age Of Love ~ Age Of Love (Jam & Spoon Watch Out For Stella Mix) [the only trance track i will ever play on this show… but this 1992 trailblazer is a classic by any standard]
11:32 PM The Downgrade Complex ~ Forest Clearing
11:37 PM Mi ~ Gone
11:42 PM dynArec ~ The Courteous Mercenary
11:45 PM Kabale Und Liebe ~ Nordlove (Instrumental Version)
11:50 PM Lemonick ~ Knowledge
11:55 PM Martyn ~ Forgiveness Step 3

Velvet Holmes: s/t tape (Tree Tapes, 2014)

May 16, 2014 at 12:28 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Velvet Holmes: s/t tape

Velvet Holmes: s/t tape

The only info I can find out about this tape is on some Twitter, saying that this tape was released at some house show back in February (and a radio playlist from a station in Wisconsin who played the tape back in March). I have no clue who Velvet Holmes or Tree Tapes are. And of course there’s no tracklist or any info at all on this tape. Popping it in the deck, you start to hear some squirmy slow synth snake sounds. Then after this fades out, there’s some bass widdling and an awkwardly spare kick drum. Side B starts with more squirming, buzzing evil synths. Then it turns into a repetitive, shaky loop, which gradually gets filtered, sometimes more distorted, sometimes more trebly. It’s a bit like being repeatedly bludgeoned by a thin, vibrating sheet of metal.

Half Japanese: Volume One: 1981-1985 3LP (Fire Records, 2014)

May 12, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Half Japanese: Volume One: 1981-1985

Half Japanese: Volume One: 1981-1985

A few years ago, Fire Records announced that they’d be reissuing the entire Half Japanese discography, which made me super excited, but it seems like the albums are only being released as limited Record Store Day box sets. At least for now. I absolutely had to buy the 1/2 Gentlemen / Not Beasts 4LP reissue last year, I’d wanted to own that album since I was in high school, and that one didn’t disappoint at all. So now we have a limited box of their next 3 albums, tracing their evolution from being just the duo of Jad and David Fair, to a touring band with a revolving lineup of members. Loud (from 1981) is their first album with an expanded lineup, and is every bit as bracing and raw as its predecessor, but with a much more expanded range of sounds (notably plenty of squonking saxophones). There’s some particularly brutal anti-school numbers on here (“Dumb Animals” and “High School Tonight”, yeowch), and probably my favorite HJ song, the flawless fucked-up love-anxiety song “I Know How It Feels… Bad”. I kind of wish this box included the Horrible 12″, as Drag City’s CD reissue did a few years back, just because it would be nice to have “Rosemary’s Baby” on vinyl. Maybe some of the future reissues/releases can compile tracks from EP’s and 7″s and whatnot.

Jumping ahead to 1984, we have Our Solar System, which I’d never actually heard before, I missed out on Drag City’s CD reissue of this one, but I had the other ones they put out. This one continues to increase the musicality, with straighter rhythms, a little less distortion (but still plenty noisy, lo-fi, and chaotic), a few more warped covers (Buddy Holly, Roky Erickson, “Louie Louie”, VU), and one of their best monster songs (they’ve claimed all their songs are either love songs or monster songs), “Thing With A Hook”. It’s still very primitive and caveman-like, but there’s a couple songs where it has more of a joyous frat party singalong feel to it, rather than just a bunch of angsty kids bashing away at their instruments in their bedroom.

Then we come to 1985’s Sing No Evil, which streamlines their sound like never before, only featuring a dozen tracks, as opposed to a dozen or so per side. “Firecracker Firecracker” is easily one of their signature tunes, bringing their sound closer to Violent Femmes, with a walking bassline, straightforward rhythm, layers of honking horns, multiple drummers, and clearly upfront, heart-on-sleeve lyrics. The rest of the album is a similar mix of fairly concise 2-4 minute songs, mostly love-themed but with some evil and voodoo songs as well. But this album definitely seems to introduce Jad Fair’s more (relatively) polished songwriting and singing style, which is still pretty freeform and wide-eyed/naive. If we have to wait until next year’s Record Store Day for volume 2 of this series, that means in a year we’ll be treated to vinyl reissues of 3 of the band’s most well known, tuneful, and overall accomplished works, the albums they released on their revamped 50 Skidillion Watts label: Music To Strip By, Charmed Life, and The Band That Would Be King. The bonus download card that comes with this vinyl box mentions that if you collect all 4 volumes, you get a bonus, and I’m totally going to buy all of them, even if it takes several more years.

Ultra Mega Awesome Extreme 7

May 11, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Posted in Photos | Leave a comment

North End Studios, Detroit

North End Studios, Detroit


pick up a handful of trash

pick up a handful of trash


climbing up the stairwell

climbing up the stairwell


bathroom door

bathroom door


no access to the kitchen

no access to the kitchen


dirty hallway

dirty hallway


Realicide Youth Records merch table

Realicide Youth Records merch table


Selector Catalogue setting up merch

Selector Catalogue setting up merch


entering UMAE7

entering UMAE7


Travis and Julian working on sound

Travis and Julian working on sound


UMAE7

UMAE7


UMAE7

UMAE7


UMAE7

UMAE7


UMAE7

UMAE7


UMAE7

UMAE7


UMAE7

UMAE7


UMAE7

UMAE7


UMAE7

UMAE7


UMAE7

UMAE7


UMAE7

UMAE7


UMAE7

UMAE7


UMAE7

UMAE7


UMAE7

UMAE7


Eric introducing UMAE7

Eric introducing UMAE7


Selector Catalogue

Selector Catalogue


Selector Catalogue

Selector Catalogue


Crochetcatpause

Crochetcatpause


Crochetcatpause

Crochetcatpause


SKGB

SKGB


SKGB

SKGB


SKGB

SKGB


SKGB

SKGB


SKGB

SKGB


SKGB

SKGB


SKGB

SKGB


Decide Today

Decide Today


Decide Today

Decide Today


Decide Today

Decide Today


Decide Today

Decide Today


Decide Today

Decide Today


Yatagarasu

Yatagarasu


Yatagarasu

Yatagarasu


Yatagarasu

Yatagarasu


Detroit Party Marching Band

Detroit Party Marching Band


Detroit Party Marching Band

Detroit Party Marching Band


Detroit Party Marching Band

Detroit Party Marching Band


Detroit Party Marching Band

Detroit Party Marching Band


Detroit Party Marching Band

Detroit Party Marching Band


Detroit Party Marching Band

Detroit Party Marching Band


Detroit Party Marching Band

Detroit Party Marching Band


Bubblegum Octopus

Bubblegum Octopus


Bubblegum Octopus

Bubblegum Octopus


Bubblegum Octopus

Bubblegum Octopus


Kkrusty

Kkrusty


Kkrusty

Kkrusty


Saskrotch

Saskrotch


Saskrotch

Saskrotch


Axiom Crux & Macro Machines

Axiom Crux & Macro Machines


Axiom Crux & Macro Machines

Axiom Crux & Macro Machines


Axiom Crux & Macro Machines

Axiom Crux & Macro Machines


Axiom Crux & Macro Machines

Axiom Crux & Macro Machines


Axiom Crux & Macro Machines

Axiom Crux & Macro Machines


Super Thing

Super Thing


Super Thing

Super Thing


Super Thing

Super Thing


Super Thing

Super Thing


I left before Watabou played because it was after 2AM and I was tired. Sorry!!!

v/a: Bleep: 10 (Bleep, 2014)

May 10, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Bleep: 10

v/a: Bleep: 10

10 years ago, Warp Records launched Bleep.com, an online retailer functioning as a well-curated underground electronic music version of iTunes. This compilation (released on CD, vinyl and digital formats) features unreleased tracks by plenty of big names whose music can be found on the site. A few Warp mainstays appear (unreleased Autechre is always cause for excitement), but the album reaches to many corners of the IDM and techno underground. Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas project resurfaces with another beginningless, endless ambient techno cloud, with plenty of strings attached. Lone and Machinedrum both offer pastel, choppy-breakbeat rave flashbacks. The OPN track is typically lovely, but short, and honestly kind of a throwaway. Modeselektor cheekily titled their track “I’m Not Into Twerk, I’m Into KrafTwerk”, but more than anything it sounds like a tribute to LFO and “Spastik”-era Plastikman. Untold, Shackleton, Byetone and Nathan Fake all do various forms of scuffed, distorted, bass-heavy techno, with Nathan Fake’s track being the most widescreen epic and melodic. Fuck Buttons conjure up a hazy ghost of slowed-down jungle, and sneaks in some “My Sharona” guitar chord at the end. Ann Arbor’s own Tadd Mullinix brings back his Dabrye project for 2 minutes of instrumental glitch-hop. Nosaj Thing shows up in his more reflective, less hip-hop mood. Probably the most surprising track is µ-Ziq’s “Hedges”, a surprisingly legit instrumental grime track, probably written around the time he was releasing Virus Syndicate albums and dubstep 12″s on Planet Mu. Lots of gems to dig into on this compilation.

Show #242 – 5/10/14

May 10, 2014 at 6:58 am | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

3:01 AM Swans ~ She Loves Us ~ To Be Kind ~ Young God
3:18 AM Autechre ~ SYptixed ~ Bleep:10 ~ Bleep
3:26 AM A Winged Victory For The Sullen ~ Minuet For A Cheap Piano Number One ~ Atomos VII ~ Kranky
3:31 AM Afterhours ~ Sixty Forty ~ Lowlife ~ Not Not Fun
3:35 AM Maria Minerva ~ Runaway ~ Histrionic ~ Not Not Fun
3:39 AM Com Truise ~ Valis Called (Control) ~ Wave 1 ~ Ghostly International
3:44 AM Dustin Wong ~ Venetian Mist ~ Mediation Of Ecstatic Energy (bonus 7″) ~ Thrill Jockey
3:48 AM Takako Minekawa & Dustin Wong ~ Mirror Underwater In A Magic Lantern ~ Toropical Circle ~ Thrill Jockey
3:54 AM Stalins Of Sound ~ Abominations Of Fire ~ Tank Tracks ~ Slovenly
3:56 AM Makthaverskan ~ Outshine ~ II ~ Run For Cover Records/Luxury
4:01 AM Half Japanese ~ I Know How It Feels… Bad ~ Loud (from Volume One: 1981-1985 box set) ~ Fire
4:04 AM White Suns ~ Carrion ~ Totem ~ The Flenser
4:10 AM Ono ~ Oxblood ~ Diegesis ~ Moniker
4:20 AM Arto Lindsay ~ Pony ~ Encyclopedia Of Arto ~ Northern Spy
4:23 AM Gezan ~ Kyoushin ~ Katsute Uta Toiwaretasore ~ Important
4:33 AM Christopher Bissonnette ~ Wasting A Little Time ~ Essays In Idleness ~ Kranky
4:39 AM Dhow ~ Bells ~ Amara ~ Inam Records
4:43 AM Lightfoils ~ Addict ~ Hierarchy ~ Saint Marie
4:46 AM Fennesz ~ Static Kings ~ Bécs ~ Editions Mego
4:51 AM C. Spencer Yeh/Okkyung Lee/Lasse Marhaug ~ Serious Cat’s Milk ~ Wake Up Awesome ~ Software
4:56 AM WLISPS ~ Hesi-Dance Skills ~ Plurals ~ Impko
5:01 AM Ryan Huber ~ track 5 ~ Abiff’s Gaze ~ Inam Records
5:07 AM Connect_icut ~ Bird Internet ~ Small Town By The Sea ~ Aagoo
5:15 AM Deison & Mingle ~ Settled Apathy (Hospital) ~ Everything Collapse(d) ~ Aagoo
5:22 AM Brett Naucke ~ Seed ~ Seed ~ Spectrum Spools
5:28 AM Pinkcourtesyphone ~ 62,000 Valentines (For T. Hunter) ~ A Ravishment Of Mirror ~ Dragon’s Eye Recordings
5:37 AM Porya Hatami ~ White Forest ~ Shallow ~ Tench
5:47 AM Rand Steiger ~ Elusive Peace ~ A Menacing Plume ~ New World Records

Swans: To Be Kind (Young God, 2014)

May 7, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Swans: To Be Kind

Swans: To Be Kind

The first 2 albums by the reunited Swans piqued my interest, but it wasn’t until I saw them live at the Magic Stick last year that I finally understood what was going on. I seriously felt like Swans was something that was missing from my life up until that point. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, easily. Late last year, the band released Not Here/Not Now, a limited 2CD live album documenting that tour, previewing nearly all of the songs on this album. This album takes the transcendental fury of their current live lineup/material and perfectly transcribes it to a studio environment, adding all sorts of flourishes and sounds (guest backup vocals from St. Vincent, Little Annie and Cold Specks, acoustic instruments, synth noise, laughter, sawing, horns) to their hypnotic compositions. The songs are generally repetitive and mantra-like, running words or phrases or themes into the ground, building them up and surrounding them with ecstatic noise. “Just A Little Boy” finds Gira doing his best Howlin’ Wolf impression (the song is dedicated to him), “A Little God In My Hands” is built on a stiff yet funky rhythm, and the half-hour “Bring The Sun/Toussaint L’Ouverture” is the logical continuation of The Seer‘s title track (and the two pieces join together to form one 45-minute towering epic on Not Here/Not Now). And as with their live shows and recent recordings, these long, drawn-out epics do not feel like they’re meandering or wasting your time, they are truly engrossing and enthralling, and you don’t even realize how much time is going by while you’re listening to them. The album does break from the maelstrom for one shorter (5 minute), quieter piece, “Some Things We Do”, a curious string-laden list of verbs, ending with an assuring chant of “we love, we love, we love.” Indeed, love and kindness are consistent themes here; not necessarily what you might expect if you’re familiar with the band’s early, physically violent incarnation, but it totally makese sense if you’ve traced their/Gira’s work from then until now. This is just truly ecstatic, life-affirming music, and there’s nothing I’m more excited about right now than seeing this band in Toronto next month.

Makthaverskan: II (Luxury, 2013/Run For Cover, 2014)

May 6, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Makthaverskan: II

Makthaverskan: II

Angsty Swedish post-punk with reverb-covered female vocals and jangly guitars. The vocals are what really drives this album home, especially the lyrics. “Antabus” and “No Mercy” have exuberant “fuck you!”s, which sound like they felt very refreshing to belt out. Besides that, there’s plenty of scathing lyrics about loneliness and desire for love, with “Outshine”‘s cry of “my heart is burning and I’ve got no one to talk to” hitting the hardest. Even at the band’s most furious punk speedrush, such as “Distance”, there’s still a dreaminess, tenderness and vulnerability. “Volga” brings the album to a bit more of a delicate close, but only musically. Lyrically it’s one of the most soul-baring songs here. Definitely a surprise hit of an album.

Stalins of Sound: Tank Tracks (Slovenly, 2014)

May 6, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Stalins of Sound: Tank Tracks

Stalins of Sound: Tank Tracks

Evil Communist robo-synth-punk with drum machines, synths, and sheets of guitars, which are big, loud, and hooky, but not harsh, you can discern notes. Vocals are kind of Devo-ish at times, but the music is pumped up more in the mix. Lyrics aren’t too distorted, but it’s still hard to tell what’s being said, and where there’s curses. Sort of reminds me of the excellent Black Bug album on HoZaC from last year, but not quite as noisy/scorched, this one’s a little bit clearer, but still chaotic angry robot punk. Available to purchase on Bandcamp.

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