Parlour, "Octopus Off-Broadway"
Do you remember what your first dream was like? When you woke up you were either so glad it was over, or you wanted to go back and live in that world forever. Sometimes you'd have the dream again and again, like some foreboding message or prophecy. If I had a dream where I am everything I want to be, I would want Parlour to provide the soundtrack. And I would want that dream to happen every time I go to sleep, just so I could hear that music again. Tim Furnish, best known for his work in Cerebellum and Crain, formed Parlour by joining with the experimental band Paden in 1999, and the result is nothing short of stunning. A strong rhythm section drives each track, with keyboard beeps, whistles, and samples joined with hypnotic guitars and bass feeding the frenzy. Furnish's dabbling in Aerial M and The For Carnation have had an influence on him, as this music is dark in tone, but not sinister. From the opening track, 'Stipendlax,' with its simple guitar chords and droning bass; to the funky bass and keyboards of 'Aflipperput'; to the simple lullaby melody of 'Sleeper'; to the laidback groove of 'Weeds That Grow Into Trees'; Parlour infect you with their driven, relaxing tone. Every track is a lot to absorb in one listen, as there's so much happening on so many different levels. Fortunately, although the music is simple, it is never repetitive. Each track builds and builds, adding elements that intersect, intertwine, and interrupt your brain's normal activity. It's that infecting and that endearing. This is cerebral math rock. This is the sound of dreams. And I'm going to sleep here pretty soon. - Rob Devlin
pan•american, "the river made no sound"
Mark Nelson has shed some layers for the latest full-length release as Pan•American. No longer is he trading tapes with friends like the first or recruiting other players to guest like the second album. Much like the last Labradford album, this time it's all him. For those who have been following his career with the various singles and compilation track contribututions, the sound should come as no surprise. The influence from various other "micro-house" type people can be felt as there's more non-musical outside sounds like underlying electronic hiss, clicks and pops. What separates Nelson from the rest of the crowd is his undeniable talents as both a great musician and composer. Despite the overall quiet nature of the disc, his subtle synthetic organ melodies are lush and involved, inviting and even sexy. I'm almost embarassed to admit that 'The River' makes for a great record to underscore quite a romatic evening to. While many other uses can include schoolwork, housework, or quiet time, it is a fascinating album to completely tune the world out and zone out to. Yummmm. - Jon Whitney
27, "Animal Life"
After a critically acclaimed EP, a single release, and several compilation appearances, 27 release "Animal Life" their debut full-length on Kimchee Records. Recorded "at home" by the band and self-produced, "Life" shows off the same elements listeners already know and love about 27, but here the band spreads its wings and delivers its first masterpiece. Seeing 27 live, you hear a lot more in terms of dynamics than what was heard on "Songs From the Edge of the Wing." Those dynamics are heard here, in all their glory, plus some interesting additions to 27's sound. There is a greater integration of samples (including one from Charles Mingus on the first track), and sprinklings here and there of horns (drummer Neil Coulon plays clarinet) and strings. Overall, though, the songwriting has improved, though the subject matter is still very much the same. Songs of frailty and failed relationships never sounded this lush. There is also an attack in these songs, hidden just below the surface, that can utterly destroy you, and should, were it not for the sheer beauty of it all. And everywhere, Maria Christopher's voice is clear and soaring, as always, even when double-tracked and softly sung. There is another voice adding flavor on these songs, too, as Ayal Naor harmonizes and follows Christopher's lead on select tracks, most notably on 'Undone.' These songs are more striking than anything 27 have put to tape so far. The intimacy seems more enveloping, the instrumentation warmer. By the time you reach 'Cavalla,' the album's ten minute closer, with its haunting crickets and whistle that gradually fade into the band's steady and heavy rhythm, you're utterly a believer. "Didn't you learn?/It's supposed to burn" sings Christopher, right before they bring the wall of sound back in to show you how it's done when it's done right. There are no missteps or weaknesses here. This is slow rock music of the highest quality. Don't miss out. "Animal Life" is available now on the 27 website, with wider release soon. - Rob Devlin
Soon after the inaugural 'Spiral Scratch' EP, Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto parted ways, Shelley carrying on with the Buzzcocks and Devoto moving on to Magazine. A quarter century later they've reunited for live shows and this album, possibly a one-off. Firstly the duo are to be commended for not retreading their punk origins, choosing instead to explore a more contemporary direction. Unfortunately that direction is lame electronica. Devoto's peculiar voice is the same as ever, but I find it much more annoying here with a backdrop of bland beats, dated synth textures and cheesy wanking. The handful of short instrumentals don't fare too much better, even with the addition of saxophones on "On Solids". A computer and software does not an electronic musician make. It's either ironic or telling that the two songs most faithful to their roots - "Can You See Me Shining?" and "'Til The Stars In His Eyes Are Dead" - are by far the best, especially the latter with its high energy and heavy guitar riffage (if you heard or bought the single, don't expect the rest of the album to sound like it!) Sure, they would have been lambasted by most critics and fans had the entire album been like "Stars", but sometimes it's best to just do what you do best. The video portion of the disc is live footage of two songs, Shelley and Devoto looking about as bored as I am with the material. Get Magazine's brilliant career retrospective 'Maybe It's Right To Be Nervous Instead' box set instead! - Mark Weddle
Global Goon, "Vatican Nitez"
Historically, the Rephlex label has defined and embodied the term "taking the piss." With tongues planted in their cheeks, the notorious label owners Richard D. James and Grant Wilson-Claridge release, on average, nine questionable albums for every good one. So it's always a welcome relief to see a new Global Goon album at the record store. Though often, and incorrectly, rumored to be an Aphex Twin project, Jonny Hawk is his own man, wearing his influences on his sleeve like a geezer's cufflinks. Global Goon doesn't seem to mind promoting that dated Artifical Intelligence sound, and for that we are thankful. While luminaries like Autechre continue to stray further and further away from melody, the opening track on 'Vatican Nitez' ("Business Man") brings us back to when Warp was in its heyday, dropping classic upon classic. Warbly analog synths, flatulent stabs, and coherant drums carry this album for the most part, most noticeably on songs like "Stan's Slaves" & "Crudulus". The memorable "I'm On The 73" recalls a time before trip hop and downtempo, with an old-school hip hop groove playing awkward yet pleasant games with delay effects. With 'Vatican Nitez', Global Goon confirms his place as one of the strongest acts on the label (which isn't saying all that much) and one of the most unique in today's IDM scene. I'm looking forward to a time in the future when people rediscover the 90's; a time when Jonny Hawk can be regarded for holding down the fort while even the generals defected. - Gary Suarez
Go Back Snowball, "Calling Zero"
Somewhere, right now, indie rock kids are overjoyed beyond belief listening to this record. Why? Because Go Back Snowball is a project by two men that they readily worship for the music they release with their full-time bands. And people have often wondered in conversations at coffee shops and record stores what it would be like if they actually made a record together. The wonder is over, as Bob Pollard and Mac McCaughan, of Guided By Voices and Superchunk/Portastatic respectively, have joined forces for "Calling Zero." And it's almost as good as you'd expect it to be. Pollard is a king of melody, often showing fantastic ability on GBV records in finding a vocal line where no one in their right mind could. And McCaughan is the master of instrumentation, writing triumphant indie rock with Superchunk and playing all the instruments in his quirky but solid side project Portastatic. The genesis of this record is reportedly like that of Pollard's recent Airport 5 collaborations with Tobin Sprout: McCaughan records all the music and sends it to Pollard, then Pollard has free reign with it for vocals and lyrics. And the results are certainly a good sign of what is possible here, and a worthwhile listen to be sure. But it's far from perfect. Primarily, the problems here are due to the arrangement that spawned the collaboration in the first place. Pollard is at the mercy of whatever music McCaughan gives him, and there are a few tracks here where you can almost picture the elder statesman saying "What in the hell can I do with THIS?!" ('Again the Waterloo') Pollard is, in his own right, a fantastic songwriter, and I think the results would have been that much more dynamic had they actually wrote some songs together and recorded them in the studio together, not a reasonable facsimilie of it. And the lyrics are classic Pollard, which is both a good and bad thing. He's shown such growth and maturity on the past two GBV records in his lyrics, so why does it seem he's going out of his way to be oddball again here? ('Throat of Throats': 'Vultures looping through fiery hoops/In third dimension jumping suits') It sounds just like you'd think, though: Pollard fronting Portastatic. If that sounds like something you'd like to hear, try it on. It really is a great record, and I hope they collaborate again. Given the prolific nature of both men, it's certainly possible. But please, gents, next time sit in the same room with each other a few times first? - Rob Devlin
Music nerds need to have fun some times. Unfortunately I think those are the only people who would find entertainment in the "irony" of this release. No, this isn't a brand new full-length from the long-forgotten kickass On-U Sound dub band Playgroup from the 1980s (despite the one track which experiments with instrumental dub), it's the project by Trevor Jackson, owner of Output Records and former remix artist known as Underdog. If there's anything to express on this recording, it's the facts that #1: he's either got a ton of money or a lot of production skills and connections and #2: he's a rather dull writer, with mundane lyrics, oversimplified beats and repetitious riffs that wear out their welcome 30 seconds into every track. The self-titled debut album is clearly a post-post-disco record: just a few years shy of making a splash. (Note: the trend has clearly moved onto the 1980s-retro, duh!) Months ago, I thought this was a seriously feverish heavy recording, but take my warning, that feeling fades quick. Further listens in various environments show its limits, as it's really only heavy when played in loud volumes with the bass turned way up. Some times a good feel gets going, but out-of-place guitar riffs, saxophones or other sounds almost always seemingly taint any attempt at purity. In many ways I'm reminded of the Malcom McLaren from 20 years ago: a white British music businessman and producer who regurgitated black culture and was praised by the white music press and higher-brow music fans, but was never authentic enough to really break down the boundaries that kept him an "artist" rather than the "superstar" he was shooting to be. Guest vocalists like Kathleen Hanna and Shinehead don't do the album much help and the cover of Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" is downright painful. I couldn't help but cringe every "yahoo" shout in "Front 2 Back" or each time some tough-acting guy spoke "bounce," "scram," and "uh huh," in between the sung lines of the ghastly Paul Simon cover. Jackson's got a great ear for production, a ton of support from the highest paid music critics, and probably tons of managers trying to land him TV advertisements, but at the end of the day I can honestly say that I'm personally embarassed to own this record, nevermind play it around others or in the car with the windows rolled down. - Jon Whitney
We know that sometimes these CDs are somewhat challenging to find, which is why we have a community section which can be used to obtain nearly everything available on this site.
Chemical Brothers - Come With Us 12"/CDEP (Freestyle Dust, UK)
Eyeless In Gaza - 6th Sense Singles Collection CD (Cherry Red, UK)
le Fly Pan Am - ceux qui inventent n'ont jamais vécu (?) CD/2xLP (Constellation, Canada)
Pan American - The River Made No Sound CD/2xLP (Kranky, US)
* Safety Scissors - Either Or 12" (Plug Research, UK)
Upper Rooms - Trans Balkan Express 12" (Beatservice, Norway)
Craig Armstrong - As If To Nothing CD (Melankolic/Astralwerks, US)
Exclipsect - Point of Focus CD (Unit, US)
Jivaro - Jivarodelia CD (Kindercore/Electronic Watusi Boogaloo, US)
Multicast - 4213 7" (Obliq, US)
Ted Sturgeon - 4213 7" (Obliq, US)
Ursula 1000 - Kinda Kinky CD/LP (Eighteenth Street Lounge, US)
Various - Brain in the Wire 3xCD [with Legendary Pink Dots, V/Vm, Fridge, Panacea, Cyclobe, Nurse With Wound, Current 93, Matmos, Meat Beat Manifesto, Cex and more] (Brainwashed, US)
Various - Disco Nouveau CD [with Solvent, Lowfish, Adult., Ectomorph, Legowelt, DMX Krew and more] (Ghostly International, US)
This is simply this week's highlights from the NEW RELEASES provided by Greg and Feedback Monitor.
Jeff Mills - Late Night 12" (Tresor Archiv, Germany)
Single Unit - Passion Pirates & Parasites 7" picture disc (Synesthetic Recordings, Norway)
For a more detailed schedule stretching into the future, please check out the site,
since release dates can and will often change.
QA on the TA
Subject: Trans Am
The picture on the splash page of the website is creepy, especially after
recently hearing "TA."
I'm starting to wonder if they and The Fucking Champs *really* think it's 1985!
...or just released the albums they always wanted to release back then!
Fucking Champs are an evil plot by Yngwie Malmsteen, haven't we been over this before?
Subject: new trans am
whoa, what the hell is Trans Am doing? Those sound samples don't impress me at all. As a matter of fact they bear a striking resemblence to this:
Yikes, do you go looking for these?
Subject: HAVE TRANS AM COMPLETELY LOST THEIR MINDS??!
Sorry, just heard the sound samples, and they're fantastic! I half thought
they were a joke, because of that whole '80s synth-pop sound, but they're
dead serious! This is incredible! It sounds like Joy Division and OMD
making a record together. It's just plain insane. I love it.
Sure it's not a tribute to 1980s film music not by the original artists? (Hint: go see "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun")
Subject: [no subject]
Great Page. Glad to see the write up about irr.app. (ext.). He deserves it.
He does! I hope he hasn't been flooded with too many requests.
Subject: Coil's Remote Viewer
Will this item be availble for purchase anywhere at a price that is?ore sane than the ebay nonsense?
I'd love to get a copy of this (signed or unsigned) but not for the 200$ it will probably
end up going for.
I think we'd all like to get a copy. There's no word as to its release. We'll tell you if it happens though.
Subject: the brain
Just read The Brain. I must say, honestly, this week, your writing is
amazing. The Tovey article is very touching specially it included some of
your own input, the LPD is so informative that you brought me back in time
reliving the excitiment, and no one could of describe better the content and
efforts of both these 2 CDs (not easy to critizise), Town in the Country
sounds like a really good band (liked the mp3), your Live experience w/ so
much details, i felt i was there too. Oh..and that snow...it's so lovely
that I can picture you so well while reading your comments.
And irr.app(ext.) seems very interesting....hmmmm......sensory overload uh?
I can feel your words this week and it's a rare talent! Bravo! And I am not
just being 'nice' - I mean it.
And more twisted humour w/ that 'assramp' (ahahahah) and our legendary
What is again the 'official' date where you start shipping the CDs???
I can't wait!!!!!!!! I can see the talking...everyone will be
Thanks for the words!! The discs will hopefully be sent out on Tuesday as promised from the beginning. There's been a lot of sweat at brainwashed central this weekend from a cast of incredible volunteers. We're trying!
This bootleg phenonmenon has been going on in the UK for a while now.
Famous examples include a version of No Scrubs done to the backing of
Being Boiled, loads of Missy stuff obviously. Good version of D12's
Purple Pills with Just Can't Get Enough! Check out thedr.n3.net for a
load more. The site you put up looks good. I'll have to check that
out when I get home.
Unfortunately the movement has been swallowed by the industry now: one
of the best ones going around was a Sugababes track (they might not
have made it over the pond yet?) done over Are Friends Electric? The
band then hired the guy who did it to officially remix their version,
and it's their current single. To finish the job, it's ended up as
advert music too.
Gee, thanks, (name withhled). If you contributed more, maybe we'd look like we actually knew more! =)