TROUM, "DAUR/VENUSTAS; KRYPTE"
After disbanding in 1996, two-thirds of the masterful German drone trio Maeror Tri moved on to a new project, Troum. The overall sound of this Cohort Records release is replete with a dark exotic beauty. "Daur" is somber and minimal, blending low rumbles, mechanical reverberations, and the lush sounds of a yang t'chin. "Venustas" as well has a decidedly Far Eastern quality, and "Krypte" is strongly reminiscent of early 4AD instrumental pieces: a pretty guitar line with lots of ethereal effects and processing surrounded by heavenly washes. This 10" released on Cohort Records marks a striking departure in sound, not only from the music of Maeror Tri, but from conventional ambient music in general. In fact the only thing about this 10" that resembles Troum's former project is the inventive packaging. The dark blue vinyl 10" comes in a sleeve made of cork. The sole disappointment of this release is its brevity, but hopefully the future will bring more soon from Troum, and I look forward to it.- Jessica Tibbits
KID 606 AND FRIENDS VOL. 1
A tasty introduction to anyone who's fans of the hard, fast, campy, meaty, zesty and beaty. On this disc, Kid 606 proudly introduces us to his brand new label, tigerbeat6 as well as some 606 tunes from earlier releases put on redisplay with the help of friends' remixes. The cast of characters on this includes Aube, Cex, Electric Company, Matmos, Jake Mandell and Twisted Science among others. Kid's music on here doesn't depart much from his original style of super electric cut ups, campy samples, distorted beats, dub rhythms, jittery tempos and sociopathic melodies. It's an exciting collection and should not be avoided. - Jon Whitney
NURSE WITH WOUND, "THE SWINGING REFLECTIVE"
Another collection this week from a brainwashed artist, this mid-priced NWW release collects various collaborative efforts from 1980 - 1999. Subtitled, "Favourite Moments of Mutual Ecstasy," this collection features collaborations with Diana Rogerson (Crystal Belle Schrodd), Tony Wakeford (Sol Invictus), Legendary Pink Dots, Foetus, Current 93, William Bennet, the Inflatable Sideshow, Aranos, Chris Wallis/Peat Bog and Tiny Tim. It's a 2 CD set of material, most of which can be found on previous NWW releases. High points include the Rogerson tracks which were originally omitted from the CD release of Crystal Belle Schrodd as well as the Tiny Tim track which was only available previously on an entire CD of Tiny Tim and his ukelele ditties. Unfortunately most of this has had to be edited. Stereolab's "Simple Headphone Mind" was a 30-minute two part single in its original form, here it's reduced to a measly 10 minute excerpt. Coil's "How to Destroy Angels II" and "The Dead Side of the Moon" with David Tibet have also been reduced to about 10 minutes. Thankfully it comes at a reduced price and provides for a great introduction to NWW for the beginner along with some of the best highlights from the last 20 years.- Jon Whitney
LAZARUS CLAMP / 2 BY BUKOWSKI SPLIT 7"
Once again, Jonathan Whiskey hits one out of the ballpark. Kicking off their split 7" series, the concept behind it being one unknown band and one known, the only thing I could possibly gripe about is the near-impossible to open mailer sleeve. But it's a small, insignificant complaint. Lazarus Clamp give us "North", a beautifully disturbing tune that incorporates bits of Hood and Slint, utilising the latter's quiet-to-loud dynamics. The unknowns here, Grecians 2 By Bukowski, offer us a sound not heard much in today's indie rock. "David Dark" brings to mind early Seefeel, with a solid rhythm section to anchor things from straying to far. A generic staticky sample, which surfaces from the low-end murk halfway through, gives the song n almost early to mid-80's industrial dance feel to it. Not a bad initial offering. Let's hope Phil at JW keeps on dredging up the class talent! All Jonathan Whiskey releases available at http://www.normanrecords.com - Jason Olariu
"Smiling Pets" is a Sony Japan tribute album to the Beach Boys available domestically via the Secret Chiefs 3 / Mr. Bungle "Web of Mimicry" web site. As you would guess from the title, the 17 covers found here draw primarily on the legendary, influential 1965-66 "Pet Sounds" and (the never finished or officially released) "Smile" albums. Normally I'm wary of any tribute album, especially one taking on something as sacred as these 2 albums, but the quality of the covers really surprised me. Prior to hearing this disc I was only familiar with 3 of the artists (Jim O'Rourke and David Grubbs, formerly of Gastr Del Sol and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth), the rest being: Adventures in Stereo, Secret Chiefs 3, Melt-Banana, SHORT HAIR FRONT, The Olivia Tremor Control, Sports Guitar, Ono Tetsu, FORMS, Harpy, Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her, The Ships, David Grubbs, Feelds, John McEntire and DM3. Who are these people? I have no idea and it doesn't really matter. The covers range from relatively true to bizarre interpretations of the originals and the artists seem to come from a wide range of musical styles. There's a little bit of pop punk, rockabilly and noise mixed in with the more straightforward pop and rock. Some of the stranger sounds include: female and male Japanese accented English vocals, strings, harmonica, bells, banjo, sample and noise collages, electronics, drum machines, electric guitar noise ... not all that much unlike the originals in terms of diverse instrumentation and general wackiness (especially the "Smile" tunes). Only 2 tracks annoy me: Sports Guitar's whiny Pavement-like "Wonderful" and David Grubb's inferior vocals on "Wind Chimes". Other than that, these covers are a lot of fun. This cd is for the adventurous listener who can appreciate both the pop symphony and avant-garde visions of Brian Wilson as realized by an equally avant-garde selection of artists. The big drawback is the $28 price tag which will most likely relegate "Smiling Pets" to the short lists of only the most fanatical Bungle/Sonic Youth/Gastr Del Sol fans and Beach Boys completests ... - Mark Weddle
FLYING SAUCER ATTACK, "MIRROR"
Drag City releases this CD this month, previously only available through FSA's own "Heartbeat" in the UK in a limited edition of 1,000 clear vinyl LPs and 2,000 CDs. FSA's style is without a doubt psychedelic influenced, with swirling acoustic and electric guitar melodies, loaded with delays and effects, drum loops and backwards sounds - but that's not everything. It can also have abrasive pulsing thumpy distorted drums with a harsh booming kick. On this album we get some doses of both. For most of the first half of this album, we're presented with a taste of the prettier side. The music is simple but has an honest charm. For lack of better word choices, it is indeed quite pretty and 'dreamy.' By track five, "Chemicals," the beefy beats sound in and stay prominent for the next few songs. Environmental sounds on "Darkwind" shifts gears, turning this record into a spacious drone record, while distorted guitar effects on "River" turns this into a rock album. A funky drum loop and bass track accent the songs "Dust" and "Rise" and the occasional intentional tape hiss adds a mysterious layer to a few other songs. I'm quite pleased with this record, recorded between 97 and 99 and self-produced. A Savage Pencil design completes the package with colorful psychedelic covers and an evil looking inner sleeve drawing. - Jon Whitney
Glitch glitch click click sk-k-k-k-k-k-k-ips. Perhaps it's Oval, but no, the cuts are sharper, faster and it makes less musical sense. It's DISC - a collaborative effort which is most of the time Matmos, Lesser and Kid 606. Lots of fun cut ups and jitters, this disc by no means should be counted as an EP by any standards, despite the title. The disc here is 50 tracks and about 72 minutes in length and obnoxoiously packaged with white text on white translucent paper. Fookin' brilliant. Quite a charming CD to bring into work and play loud to weird out your co-workers into thinking you bought a defective CD. - Jon Whitney
We know that sometimes these CDs are somewhat challenging to find, which is why we have a RECOMMENDED STORES section which can be used to obtain nearly everything available on the site.
Bowery Electric - Freedom Fighter 12"/CDEP (Beggars Banquet, UK)
Coil - Astral Disaster CD [reworked version of previous limited LP release with extra new material] (World Serpent, UK)
Current 93 - I Have A Special Plan For This World CDEP (World Serpent, UK)
Delerium - Heaven's Earth 12"/two CDEPs (Nettwerk, UK)
Hanin Elias [Atari Teenage Riot vocalist] - In Flames (1995-1999) CD/LP (DHR, UK)
Lolita Storm - Hot Lips, Wet Pants/I Love Speed 7"/CDEP (DHR, UK)
Third Eye Foundation - What Is It With You 12"/CDEP (Domino, UK)
Various - Final Solstice CDEP [six track mini-album with various groups involving Rose MacDowall; guests include John Balance and David Tibet] (World Serpent, UK)
* Alphaville - Salvation CD (Metropolis, US)
Apollo 440 - Gettin? High on Your Own Supply CD (550 Music, US)
Arovane - Atol Scrap CD (Din, Germany/US)
* Clinton - Disco And The Halfway To Discontent CD/LP (Astralwerks, US)
Khan - Passport CD/2xLP [anthology of singles and rare tracks] (Matador, US)
Various - Electropolis CD (Metropolis, US)
Various - Phat Global CD/2xLP [world/dance compilation featuring Baaba Maal/Thievery Corporation, Cheb Mami, Imhotep, Indian Ropeman, Sidestepper, Manu Chao, Jolly Mukherjee, Sly and Robbie/Dub Pistols, Aterciopelados, P18 and Sergent Garcia] (Palm Pictures, US/Canada)
* Luke Vibert + BJ Cole - Stop The Panic CD (Astralwerks, US)
Senor Coconut [Atom Heart] - German Dance CD [a full album of Kraftwerk cover versions done in Latin style - salsa, merengue, rhumba, cha cha cha and more!] (Warner, Japan)
Pizzicato Five - Analog Box 4x12"+2x7" box set (Nippon Columbia, Japan)
For a more comprehensive release schedule stretching far into the future, please check out the NEW RELEASES brought to you by Greg and Feedback Monitor.
This week has made me more and more excited about local Boston music. Bourbon Princess is a band to watch - and watch as they can definitely soar far out of the local scene. Monique Ortiz fronts the band, a drop dead gorgeous singer and talented bass guitarist, belting out every song with intensity and precision. On the bass, she's incredible to watch as her fingerpicking, slapping and chord playing can show any regular bass player they've got a lot left to learn. Joining her on stage is Jonas, long time friend and band member on the cello, beefed up with a few effects plugged in and a spectacular drummer, who much to my shock was brand new to the band, replacing the last one and had only been there for a week. Look for more shows, a CD is being completed right now and aspirations are to tour nationally. - Jon Whitney
MARK EITZEL / JEFF FARINA
I'm not the biggest Karate fan. Okay, I really don't like them at all, but Jeff Farina's solo work was toned down, quiet, unobtrusive, subtle, direct and honest. Here's another member of the growing club of young Boston musicians breathing hope into the city. He was joined on stage with another guitarist, I'm not sure if he was from Karate or not, but there were no obnoxious guitar solos or wanking going on stage which I've seen in the past from a Karate performance. Mark Eitzel headlined the show, solo on stage with an acoustic guitar alone, the first time I've seen him peform in years. While his solo music and work with American Music Club can tend to be a little on the heavy and introspective side, he's possibly one of the most light, enjoyable, humorous and uplifting performers out there. His rapport with the audience was excellent despite him playing almost entirely new material (something that the hardcore fans will usually disapprove of). Through the set everybody remained attentive and between songs, the stories would banter back and forth between Mark and the crowd. There was a time back in the early 90s when I would listen to not much more than American Music Club, and from seeing them perform numerous times back then and Mark perform now, he is most definitely a man of a million stories. My favorite story tonight was his recounts of playing the last album to his friend, actress Grace Zabriske, a woman who he described with many power tools in her basement, and his impersonation of her reactions to it. "I have problems with a couple of your songs..." Oh well, guess you had to be there,... - Jon Whitney
"A renegotiation of our relationship to objects," that would seem to be the explicit point to Colson Whitehead's first novel, The Intuitionist, but this charming, fast-paced book actually takes the reader somewhere quite different. The conceit of the novel is that the elevator, in this pre-computer-era, very analog, unnamed New York City, is the most important technological device of the times, at least to those who inspect them. They have come to take the machines so importantly that prestigious universities have been established to teach theories of elevator mechanics under the watchful eye of St. Roland, the patron of these devotionalists. There has even been a reformation of sorts among their ranks, with James Fulton, as Luther, veering away from the empirical techniques of merely looking at the surfaces of gear boxes, cables, etc., and instead intuiting what the elevator wants, or separating it from its "elevatorness." Whitehead presents much of this with a very straight face, giving the reader somewhat indigestible chunks of information on the performance and mechanics of these machines, outlining the battle for status among those who service escalators, explicating the political games between the companies who design the devices, the Guild which inspects them, and those Intuitionists and Empiricists who compete for control of the inspectors.
Rather than descending into a too clever faux-sociological pastiche, however, the book reads much like a cyber-punk novel in which the science has merely been back-dated about a hundred years. Computer networks are replaced by those ranks of gleaming lifts which have changed the shape of the cities. Now there are rumors of plans for a perfect elevator, a "black box" designed by James Fulton, originator of Intuitionism, which will offer the chance to rise to "a second elevation" in which the old cities would be destroyed again and replaced by new forms unimaginable to the present.
The trick played on these genre expectations of salvation through better science, however, is that Lila Mae Watson, the focal character in this drama, is a black woman struggling for a place in pre-Civil Rights era America. She has unwittingly come to the attention of the most powerful players in the politics of elevation, but finds that her struggle won't be to change the face of technology. Rather, her frightening experiences with those in power, those striving for power, and those keeping an eye on the powerful, lead her toward changing her notions of elevating the race. And as she digs deeper past the deceptions and conspiracies around her, she learns that she herself may even be able to play a role through this black box in lifting black America. - Paul McRandle
WELCOME TO THE 90s, MOM
Subject: no subject
Dear Jon, How are you doing? Your grandmother wants yo know if you are saving money every week. I always tell her that you are. How do you like this fridged weather? I hate it.
Mom's first email to me. How nice.
Subject: website function
TRANS AM play today in Lisbon, which is in Europe (you've got it right), in a
country named PORTUGAL, and this is important, it's to the southwest of Spain,
and not a province or something.
Thanks, we know where Lisbon and Portugal are - the band just didn't know which club they were playing at when they submitted the tour dates. Sorry if this offended you, hope you still went to the show.
Subject: another satisfied customer
Well, I've been reading The Brain for about, oh I dunno, a little under a year now and I just can't express just how excellent it is to have a source reccomending such great music. Thanks to your mini-reviews and multiple webpages, I've found bliss in Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Low, The Rachel's, The Magnetic Fields, Current 93, Oval, Nurse With Wound, and am looking into finding myself copies of The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud (i believe that's correct), Do Make Say Think, Yasnaia, v/vm, and more and more and more. In other words, all the music your website has reccomended, i've enjoyed beyond measure.
As for finding some of these musicians, most of the stuff isn't all that hard to encounter but i'm having a large amount of difficulty finding v/vm releases, Do Make Say Think, and Piano Magic. any idea where i might find those artists at?
thanks for all the great information
Thanks a lot for your letter. When looking through the brainwashed recommended stores, look at the second page which lists comments on the stores in detail and what they're good at. For v/vm, look for someone who specializes in experimental noise, the other two can usually be found at indie rock outlets.
Subject: NWW MP3
are there any FULL nww songs on the FTP????
No, sorry, we can't w/o permission.
Music to play in the dark vol. 1 is sold out from what I've heard... Does that mean it becomes legal to make CDR copies? I went to Staalplaat's shop in Amsterdam and all they could tell me is "It's sold out!"... Yes, so what? Is World Serpent going to reprint it? No, they're busy planning vol. 2... What am I supposed to do? After all, we're asked not to make copies because it kills the music industry... Am not sure CDRs do... It's more of an elitist question, it's a limited edition! Well, fuck you and your limited editions, we'll make copies, that way at least we can enjoy the music...
Your bitchings are really falling on deaf ears here - brainwashed doesn't have anything to do with the manufacturing of Coil's music nor the supply of CDs from World Serpent or any other labels that aren't brainwashed. In fact, here at brainwashed we gave plenty of advance warning when this album was about to be released, so you could have pre-ordered if you were paying attention. You either weren't paying attention or you just missed the boat, either way it's not our problem so please, for you and anybody else who has a problem with bands and album/CD releases - take it to the record companies or write to the bands - not the web people.