the brainwashed brain
a weekly digest from the staff and contributors of brainwashed
V06I44 - 11092003
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time to nominate
It's time to nominate entries for the BRAINWASHED BEST OF 2003 POLL! Okay, this time we're doing something different this year. For the remainder of November, readers are given the opportunity to nominate things. Why? Because readers forget, writers forget, we all forget. We're human. However, staff writers and contributors are going to be allowed to yank nominations left and right for a number of reasons. The two biggest reasons would be that a.) it wasn't released this year or b.) we don't think it stands a chance or reflects our magazine. (yeah, it's our poll!) We'll try to be good, however. When December comes we'll only list the nominees we feel fit to stand a chance to be voted on. Nominate as much as you want, nominations will probably close by the end of November. Thanks! Nominate here.

but wait, the year isn't over
Richard H. Kirk stuns fans with the announcement of another release this year (hey, he's only been on 4 or 5 so far). Intone Unreleased Projects Vol. 1 is a CD of previously unreleased dance-orientated [¿How many of his tracks _aren't_?] tracks recorded between 1996 and 2000. It's been described as "More up tempo and uplifting than the previous two Intone albums, the music has its roots in 70s Disco, House, Detroit Techno and Dub...four on the floor with a twist, filtered through the usual Western Works Studio electronics...." Okay, so the fans aren't really shocked.

dolls stretch their arms
New dates are piling in for The Dresden Dolls. Due to popular demand, the duo have upcoming shows either scheduled or in the works for places around New England including Providence, Portland (Maine), Northampton, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Keep posted on the Events section below for the latest dates.

Ants have 9 Lives
Flesh Eating Ants is now taking pre-orders on their upcoming Double LP release 9 Lives to Wonder by The Legendary Pink Dots. Due for release in November, this release is limited to around 400 hand numbered copies, on 220 gram, coloured audiophile vinyl. In addition, the label has dropped the price for the remaining copies of Tanith and the Lion Tree LP


out hud & !!!
41 Minutes, Quicktime Streaming Video This special edition of The Eye features two of the hottest live acts on the globe. We're proud to present the almost mini-movie of Out Hud and !!!, with an intimate and exclusive peek into their recording studio basement, a one-on-one chat with Justin Vandervolgen, member/engineer of sorts for both groups. Also featured are some off-the-cuff backstage moments with other members, a taste of a brand spanking new unreleased Out Hud song (listen closely during the interview), a couple of multiple shots during the live set thanks to a second cameraman, and the unedited, untruncated recent show-stopping closer of "Intensify"/"Intensifider." For those who don't want to sit through that, a warning is given before it commences. This could be one of The Eye's finest moments yet!

41 Minutes, Quicktime Streaming Video


  • A current web browser
  • A modern computer
  • The latest quicktime plugin for streaming media (hint: use the latest Netscape if other browsers aren't working)


  • A fast connection
  • A willingness to learn


  • 'tude

If you see a blank window without anything streaming, don't complain to us. You don't have the latest version of Quicktime for streaming media. Go download it. It's free.


Drag City
This marks a welcome departure for Sean O'Hagan and The High Llamas. Leaving behind the burbling electronics and instrumental suites of previous releases, Beet, Maize and Corn instead focuses on songwriting and composition, containing 12 fully-realized tracks, most with vocals. I have always preferred the Llamas of Gideon Gaye and Hawaii: sprawling pop albums that nostalgically recalled the sunshine harmonies of Brian Wilson, the seamless production of Steely Dan and the witty lyricism of Van Dyke Parks. O'Hagan and company lost the plot with the overproduced exotica stylings and electronic ostentation of Cold and Bouncy and subsequent albums. For all of their bright production and bubbling melodies, they contained nothing nearly as memorable as early classics like "Nomads" or the Eagles-esque "Checking In, Checking Out." For Beet, Maize and Corn, a concerted effort has been made to drop the ornamentation and concentrate on O'Hagan's lilting vocal harmonies, bolstered by simpler arrangements of strings and horns. The effort pays off brilliantly, making this The High Llamas' best album since 1994's Gideon Gaye. It appears that O'Hagan is once again taking cues from the Wilson-Parks songbook, with many tracks echoing the psychedelic Americana and pastoral effervescence of Smile outtakes like "Cabinessence" or Parks' own Song Cycle. There is a relaxed, easy quality about the loping horns and wistful strings that betrays the complexity at the heart of each song. The common criticism leveled against The High Llamas - that every song sounds the same - is severely challenged with the variety of approaches on Beet, Maize and Corn. Surprisingly, most of the tracks on the album eschew percussion completely, with refreshing instrumental breaks that have a loose, improvised feel, as in the horn-and-flute break on "Barny Mix." The most infectious track is "Calloway," with staccato strings providing a rhythmic backdrop, similar to the strategies used by John Cale on his chamber pop masterpiece Paris 1919. The saccharine melodies of "The Click and the Fizz" shares the precocity of early Belle and Sebastian albums, with the spirit of Van Dyke Parks looming over the alliterative lyrics. The winter fireplace sing-along of "Porter Dimi" includes the backing vocals of the late Mary Hanson of Stereolab, to whom the album is dedicated. The string section on "Rotary Hop" recalls the syrupy pop symphonies of the Percy Faith Orchestra, even as the lyrics echo Brian Wilson's strained delivery on "Surf's Up." Things end on a note of light melancholy, with the wistfully urbane pop of "The Walworth River." With Beet, Maize and Corn, Sean O'Hagan's refined palette and renewed creative focus have produced another near-perfect pop anachronism. - Jonathan Dean


Unidentified Sound Objects, "7" EP"
On the cover to the Beastie Boys' Sure Shot EP, there's a kid on a couch with a turntable and headphones, listening to the Boys' latest. Above his head is a balloon, that reads "Ma, what are they givin' me?" The music isn't any way similar, but that's precisely how I felt listening to this sublime release by the Unidentified Sound Objects, who have been making music for several years now on a limited basis on CD-R and cassette, mostly. Their music is an amalgamation of sound art and collage formats, bringing together multiple samples and original compositions at once that don't anywhere near relate to each other, then making it all come together in some bizarre ritualistic dance. It's challenging stuff, far above the heads of many I'd imagine listening to it, but it is pure, unadulterated, and original. On the A side are two tracks that just smoke, with "Saucer" projecting a tight beat for keyboards, whistles, and voices to skitter upon. Then, a plane whines to the surface of the earth, and without warning the über-punk techno of "mAUmAU" begins, as a thunderous voice proclaims "Once a mAUmAU, always a mAUmAU!" Both are imminently danceable, and make it painfully clear that the USO are not pigeonhole-able. On the flip side, the rapid-fire techno abounds, as "Chewbacharach" mounts and builds with bits of flute and a Burt-like melody, and "Adam & Eve of Destruction" moves to a different groove, like Donovan with Boushh from Star Wars adding some freestyle on the top. Just thirteen minutes of music, and already I'm itching for more, though something tells me next time it won't sound anything like this at all. - Rob Devlin


Yo La Tengo, "Today Is The Day"
It's hard to know which Yo La Tengo is going to show up on any given release, but luckily their new teaser, Today Is The Day gives fans and newcomers alike a fair shot at finding something in the band's repertoire to enjoy. In fact, this EP, which is just a warm-up for the next full-length, covers about as much ground as the band has over their history, from the rocking opener "Today Is The Day" to the folky cover "Needle of Death" to the instrumental, surf-inspired twang of "Dr. Crash." About the only thing not really covered here is the band's flirtation with dirty funk-rock in the form of their recent Sun Ra cover. Without knowing that Yo La Tengo can easily transition between a myriad of styles with equal grace, this might seem like a compilation or a soundtrack album performed by a handful of different acts. That Yo La Tengo approaches each song here with the same sincerity is a refreshing testament to their interests and musicianship, and perhaps even moreso to their fans. When bands branch out from the formula that has made them successful, fans always cry foul, but a group like Yo La Tengo seems to have built its very following from people who just innately trust that they are going to work some magic regardless of the realm in which they choose to work. I personally gravitate more towards the Georgia-fronted tracks and slow, instrumental numbers, but there's nothing on Today Is The Day that's not foot-tappingly enjoyable. This release is a smart move; offering a welcoming card to new listeners that is up to par with the band's previous work, while giving die-hard fans enough alternate versions and oddities to hold them over until the next proper album. - Matthew Jeanes


Achim "Dr. P. Li Khan" Flaam was one-half of HNAS, together with Christoph Heeman. Ein Hauch Von Hollenlarm is the first of five new CDs released on his DOM Elchklang records, a subsidiary of the DOM label that released the bulk of HNAS' LP and cassette output, as well as a clutch of other obscure artists from the 1980s noise and audio surrealism underground. This disc reissues Khan's tracks from his side of the Ach, Dieser Bart! LP on the Electrip imprint in 1988, as well as Khan's contribution to the ultra-rare bonus 7" Als der morgen kam. It's unfortunate that DOM didn't simply issue the entire Ach, Dieser Bart! LP intact on CD, along with Christoph Heeman's equally impressive tracks. It's also unfortunate that the first half of this CD is taken up with completely incongruous live tracks recorded throughout Asia in 2000-2001. Khan's newer work is not nearly as interesting as his output during his tenure with HNAS, and it's truly painful to wade through these 10 tracks of hackneyed electronic sequencing and dime-store ambient house before getting to the good stuff. There are tantalizing flashes of creativity throughout the live material, but Khan's approach is so dominated by overused 90's ambient house techniques that most of it sounds like a discount version of The Orb. The Ach, Dieser Bart! tracks are a different story altogether. These eight tracks cycle through a scrapbook full of oddly compelling ideas and willfully bizarre juxtapositions. Dark, majestic chimes echo through wet caves, with the fragile intonations of a Japanese woman bouncing off the walls. 1950s dinner party music slowly morphs into sparkling 80's new wave, which segues into a synthesized choir of angels and German vocal snippets. Cue the electronic hum, and suddenly we're in Nurse With Wound territory, a spooky sound collage that triggers the subconscious mind. Somehow, this transforms into an overblown rock-pop epic. I can only describe it, I can't explain it. - Jonathan Dean


This disc consists of odds-and-ends from studio sessions of Frank Rowenta and Achim P. Li Khan dating from 1990-91. It's a typical grab-everything assortment, splicing together unrelated snatches of wildly variant stuff with the usual lack of concern for compositional rhyme or reason. These songs aren't cleverly constructed enough to be deemed audio surrealism; it's more accurately described as a steady stream of subconscious projectile vomit. You know those dreams you sometimes have that you're convinced are totally meaningless? The ones that seem like totally senseless jumbles of completely random stuff plumbed from the most mundane depths of your subconscious? You know the ones, where you find yourself oyster-diving with Tina Yothers and you suddenly realize that you've grown an extra penis and you have to hurry up and get home so you can catch the newest episode of Bozo's Double Helix Hour, but just then Morrissey appears and starts throwing onion dip at you and yelling out passages from a stereo instruction manual? That's exactly what this album is like. Much like those dreams, it's best not to analyze this too much. Heavy metal riffage, wanky guitar solos, reverb-soaked folk and lots of queasy electronic drones are interspersed with sudden plunges into grating noise. It's all cut together in a short-attention-span style, never letting any one element develop enough to become boring. On "Der Brotkasten (Gloria)," a juke joint sing-along gives way to tumbling piano fugues and atmospheric drones, together with aquatic sounds and reverbed chanting. Metallica Unplugged rubs shoulders with Kraftwerk pop and dialogue samples from German television. Creepy darkambient harmonics suddenly dip into noisy folk and Bernard Herrmann's Psycho string stabs, before morphing into a duet for a hair dryer and a vacuum cleaner. None of it makes a goddamned bit of sense, but it's all engaging enough. I can't imagine why anyone would want to listen to it more than once, though. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I hear Tina Yothers calling my name. - Jonathan Dean


Frank Rowenta, a frequent collaborator of Achim P. Li Khan's, presents a disc of solo works. Schuss In Den Ofen consists of four tracks, displaying a number of different musical approaches, most of them only mildly diverting. "Schrankwand" is Rowenta playing what sounds like a mandolin, weaving some impressively complex progressive rock melodies while Khan's production drowns him in a dark, reverberating atmosphere. "Heike Kriegt Ihre Tage" is an extended collage combining sheets of grating noise with looped vocal samples. I might be hopelessly jaded, but there's nothing in Rowenta's soundscapes that sets them apart from more compelling work done by HNAS and Nurse With Wound decades earlier. Sections are strikingly similar to Walter Ruttman's musique concrete travelogue "Wochende." The sounds of pounding surf, random samples from German radio and television and a gentle keyboard melody are combined in "Rot 2." It sounds like a duet between Jan Hammer and broken shortwave radio, which is not a complement. "Heike Zieht Einen Rock An" recycles the same audio snippets from the earlier tracks, recombining them into a lengthy track that frankly feels a little laborious by this point. Frank Rowenta's Schuss In Den Ofen is a passable work of bedroom audio collage, but I can't think of a single reason why anyone would actually want to buy the thing. - Jonathan Dean


Korea Soundblaster are an all-girl rock trio from Korea, oddly enough. Their self-titled debut on DOM EK is a surprising gem, consisting of seven willfully unstructured tracks that cycle through a seemingly endless array of metal riffs, damaged blues, imported Western pop and deranged improvisation. This combination of guitar-god vamping, drum machine, high-pitched wailing and space-rock synthesizers sounds like Acid Mothers Temple trying to cover The Shaggs while stuck in some kind of brain-frying Ketamine loop. This is endearingly psychotic garage-rock sounding not unlike the sort of thing that was coming out of Japan during the early 1990's. The girls simply jam, trying to recall all of the Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath and Hawkwind riffs buried in their collective subconscious. Each player seems blissfully unaware of the other two, producing a glorious cacophony that holds together only by the sheer ecleticism of its own construction. Achim P. Li Khan's multi-track production adds unexpected dropouts into lysergic territory, before being swept up again into the raucous fray. The album gets stranger and more boisterous as it progresses, the players gathering momentum. Towards the end of the disc, Korea Soundblaster have run out of lifted riffage, so they resort to banging on their equipment instead, while moaning loudly in a frantic bid to keep the noise going. It all falls apart by track seven, ending with a hauntingly galactic coda. - Jonathan Dean


The cute little Astroturf aliens that decorate the sleeve of Anemonengurt's Bocuse Berneau would seem to indicate that the music contained within is whimsical or humorous. Alternately, they may lead one to believe that this is the work of the long-lost love child of Kermit the Frog and Mossman. Upon opening the sleeve insert, however, one makes the disheartening discovery that the little green men were just a ruse, and this album was actually made by two badly-dressed, puffy German thirty-something hash casualties wearing bad wigs, carrying a scythe and a shovel. Kirk Kleber and Viktor Vase are Anemonengurt, and they wear sneering expressions on their ugly mugs, as a reminder that if you hate this album, you're just playing into their hands. An album that could only have been inspired by years of brain-frying drug consumption, Bocuse Berneau is the sound of two assholes trying to annoy you until you run screaming from the room. They use the same synth-and-guitar arsenal as those mid-80's Nitzer Ebb industrial-techno bands, but are far too stoned to produce anything resembling a song. Instead, they produce belabored, atonal synth-pop interrupted by noisy guitar licks, with Kleber and Vase's overwrought wailing and screaming serving as vocals. They seem to be inspired by Suicide, but they come closer to sounding like the over-the-hill electro-crap of Rev and Vega's recent reunion album than classics like "Ghost Rider." Achim P. Li Khan produced this mess, and introduces so much extraneous echo, reverb and noise into a track like "Schwankung" that I almost didn't realize it was nothing but a looped guitar strum seemingly lifted straight from a hair metal power ballad. "Die Villa" combines a gothic-flavored acoustic melody with the now-ubiquitous samples of children at play. The keyboards alternate between cheesy retreads of 80's electropop and wretched takes on the gothic gloom of Bach's Toccata in Fugue D Minor. One track is named "Snyder's of Hanover," presumably after the popular snack-food brand. Could this be Anemonengurt's paean to "the munchies"? Listening to these abject retards wank around for 30 minutes was a singular displeasure, one that I don't plan to repeat in the foreseeable future. - Jonathan Dean


Cul de Sac, "The Strangler's Wife"
Strange Attractors
A soundtrack should be more than just a compilation of songs to grab the audience attention with familiar hits that have nothing to do with the content of the film itself. I suppose since mostly major, big-budget motion pictures are guilty of this it can be assumed that they have no content to relate anyway. In any case, a carefully composed soundtrack or film score can often be the difference between a film that is merely good and one that is sensually transcendent. If I had to ascribe one word to Cul de Sac it would be transcendent, and the choice to invite them to score the low budget, Roger Corman produced The Strangler's Wife with their own original music strikes me as perfect. Because the score is disembodied from the movie itself, a listen through the disc is like trying to piece together a mystery. The song titles can be narrowly explicit, like "Mae Learns the Truth," or indistinct lines from the film such as '"That's Great Then, Isn't It?"' Though these cues can be disorienting, the music behind the titles is what truly conveys the energy behind them. Cul de Sac are accomplished in building evocative soundscapes that contain a cinematic essence, particularly on their last full length release, Death of the Sun. Their multi-instrumental, multi-genre versatility makes them perfect to develop a long score for a film, as they can capture a variety of different feelings and emotions with their diverse sound. "First Victim (Apple)/Main Titles" is immediately foreboding, with a sharp melody dripping over the silk smooth rhythm section as it cruises along. Metallic squeals augment the sound and ratchet up the tension of the already worrisome track. It grunts and groans before disappearing into a foggy fade. "Mirror II (Mae and Elena)" allows guitarist Glenn Jones and violinist Jonathan LaMaster to bring out a positively beautiful acoustic landscape, clearly indebted to the John Fahey/Takoma records sound that can be detected throughout the band's work. "Mirror II" is the longest track on the disc at just over five minutes. It is a gorgeous melody, and the string accompaniment grants an exceedingly calm pastoral sensibility to the piece. This is obviously a moment of peace in The Strangler's Wife, away from the depravity and fear. By comparison, "Fifth Victim (Aerobics)" is a vicious assault of noise, like a broken modem with a drum loop while synthesizers and computer glitches richocet off one another in the fray. It is a frantic, tense piece that feels like a pulse of adrenaline ripping through the head, or maybe a knife through flesh. We're left to decide the method, but it is clear that this is a moment to be frightened, to run for life and limb and cower shaking in a closet hoping not to be spotted. "Frustrated Seduction ('Wash It Off')" slinks about on a trip-hop, dub-ish bass line, with crunchy drums drilling and crashing in endless electronic looping. What's noticeably different about this release from previous Cul de Sac works is that many of the tracks are snippet short. Obviously they were bound by the speed of action in the film, something that a might cripple a lesser ensemble. Cul de Sac manages to condense their epic sound into these brief tracks and still capture what makes that scene important and the track compelling. The Strangler's Wife is a wonderful example of everything that makes this band so intriguing, utilizing all of their skills and talents in short bursts, demonstrating their vision, creative control, and thoughtful composition in a stunningly consistent form. - Michael Patrick Brady


Paul Westerberg, "Come Feel Me Tremble"/Grandpaboy, "Dead Man Shake"
Vagrant/Fat Possum (Respectively)
A year and a half after Paul Westerberg released his first album in three years, the erstwhile Replacements frontman and current solo artist releases two more records of in the basement and kitchen ramblings. Come Feel Me Tremble is the "soundtrack" to his tour of the same name, featuring all new songs he tried out on the road. Once again, Westerberg plays all the instruments, and quite capably. The energy is a little more up from Stereo, with most tracks featuring a full-band treatment. Unfortunately, it sounds a bit forced, as though Paul felt he needed to kick things up a notch to prove he still could, or maybe in an effort to seize the crown back from the new saviors of rock who still bite his style and lines. The result is a more reaching-for-your-throat feel, even though it's a bit scattered. These songs feel thrown together, and it's no surprise since this isn't supposed to be a planned and thought-out release. Why he chose to toss these onto record and hastily put them out instead of waiting until a next studio album is anyone's guess. It certainly would have helped him separate some of the wheat from the chaff. There are some gems like "My Daydream" and "What a Day (For a Night)," as well as "Crackle & Drag," presented in original and alternate takes (basically one loud and one quiet). By the time I got to "Hillbilly Junk," though, I felt like I'd heard the song five times already. This makes the variances even more thrilling ("Never Felt Like This Before"/"Meet Me Down the Alley" — the heir apparent to "Here Comes a Regular"). Where other solo releases have been almost schizophrenic, this one almost needs admittance to the looney house, but there are still moments of brilliance. Ultimately, the only people this will satisfy are total fans in need all of these songs on record, however, so others may want to wait for his next record, due early next year, before rushing to the record store.
Or they could go for Dead Man Shake, which is an out-and-out blues record from Westerberg's alter-ego project Grandpaboy. It's not as odd as it may sound, only a little jarring considering the last record, Mono, was more rock and roll. More and more, though, it seems Grandpaboy is where Westerberg can try a little bravery on, adapting to new styles and concepts on a whim, not having to worry about alienating fans if they don't come along. While the genre is a little different, the songs still have that classic Westerberg sense of humor with an amazing knack for structure and composition. Grandpaboy sounds weathered here, has taken a few too many kicks to the teeth, and is ready to spill his guts out for all to mourn. Not that he can't have some fun while doing it. "Vampires and Failures" ("Well the nighttime is full of vampires and failures") and "No Matter What You Say" ("No matter what they say/No matter what they think/I didn't sleep with your wife") are tongue-in-cheek character studies from a life fulfilled, and the whole record rattles and jostles around at different speeds, evoking Chuck Berry or George Thorogood, whoever's necessary to get the point across. The musicianship is exquisite, with the guitar work showing off the real talent that some so easily dismiss as eighties nostalgia when talking about the man behind it, and the production values are such that this is the greatest hits of a career blues band in their various phases. Most songs have a different sound, whether it's the processing on the vocals or the tone of the guitar, and the mood is light. Not that I'd like to hear Grandpaboy do this forever, or anything, but it just goes to show that whatever he sets his mind to he can pull off. At this rate, Westerberg could approach Bob Pollard output levels in no time. Here's to that: cause he's making the best music of his life. - Rob Devlin


Paul Westerberg


Loren Nerell, "Taksu"
The liner notes suggest reading a book or meditation while listening to this album and had I bothered to acknowledge that fact the first time I listened to this it would have made a world of difference. Taksu runs right up to seventy minutes in length and while it isn't such an endurance test when it is left to play in the background, paying close attention to it through one sitting can be a bit drab. The whole of the recording is made up of a flawless combination of natural sounds, some rather ominous synthetic drones, and various vague and mysterious vocal samples (though those samples never rise above distant chatter in the mix). I say flawless because the drones and natural sounds fit together perfectly and sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two. Certain metallic sounds and bass-heavy thumps could be either acoustic instruments recorded at a distance or studio-developed samples placed very convincingly in the mix. My biggest gripe is that nothing much ever changes over the seventy minutes and there is no way to skip through parts of the composition due to the fact that it is indexed as one track. New samples are used and the drones fluctuate between high and low tones, but they never create anything more than a consistency. The last twenty minutes or so do seem to focus on the field recordings more than the keyboards, but the atmosphere is the same. I've enjoyed this recording more and more after deciding to use it as truly ambient music. It's an excellent, slow flood of sound for studying and making food but I don't reccomend listening to it with any serious amount of attention more than once. I don't want to say a good close listen is a waste of time because a lot of the sounds are exotic and strangely alluring. Everything about Taksu is simply distant, thus it should be listened to distantly. - Lucas Schleicher


Vivo Records
Amir Baghiri has been composing music since his university days in the early '80s. More recently he is based in Germany where he produces solo, collaborative and commercial work in his Bluebox studio. Previous discs have been contained within the borders of his native Iran or been released by Spanish and Italian labels but Yalda is his debut for Poland's Vivo. From the title, a winter solstice celebration meaning "birth," to the arid landscape imagery of the ecopack's artwork, to the dedication to 9th-10th Century Iranian physician-cum-renaissance man Zakariya Razi, to the nearly ridiculous list of ethnic instruments used, Yalda is steeped in ancient Persian culture. Baghiri conjures an immersive sound world melding percussion and programming with true Asian and North African ambience collected in person on DAT. The opening tracks immediately set the scene: trance inducing poly-rhythmic drumming, a backdrop of simmering electronics and atmospheres, an enigmatic animal howl, etc. Sand is practically spilling out of the speakers. Then the rhythm dies down and the dark ambient drifts, drones and dripping water become the foreground. And so it goes for 68 minutes, fluctuating through these aggressive and sublime moments. In some tracks, such as "Ice, Fire and Bone" and "Hidden Psalm," the percussion is content to gently percolate while in others, such as "Cross-Dressing," it rolls in like an invading army and reaches a fever pitch. I can't offer much of an informed opinion on the authenticity of it all, but to these Western ears it's all wonderful: somewhere between Steve Roach and Muslimgauze. Recommended to fans of both and the like. - Mark Weddle


Vivo Records
Lukasz Andrzej Szalankiewicz is a Polish digital sound designer and multimedia collaborator who has worked since 1994 under the name Zenial and, later, also as Palsecam. Continuing the tradition begun with last year's (highly recommended) Reworked for Black Faction, this is a collection of artists from around the world who have a go at the original material. Here the tracks run the gamut from minimalism to noise. The first few, collaborations with Kasper T. Toeplitz and Maciek Szymczuk, are subtle enough — full of digital crickets, restrained noise and melodies, glitch rhythms and steady electronic hum. Then KK Null rudely awakens anyone who might have been lulled to sleep with an unforgiving swathe of noise. Andrew Lagowski's first track offers more blips, smears and bass but the second (as well as the following Andrew Duke & Zenial track) moves into subliminal ambient territory. Vidna Obmana wraps windy textures around a repetitive bass/rhythm line while Amir Baghiri's near ten minutes gradually becomes one of his own 'Yalda' tracks replete with tribal drumming and seething washes. Two of Zenial's tracks (three are credited solely to him) are relatively tame, crackling and cooing tiny rhythmic melodies and murmurs while the other juxtaposes truncated Hip-Hop samples with electronic abstractions. Jason Wietlespach & Jon Mueller (both of the Crouton Music collective) add saxophone and found sound sort of percussion to the electronic sputtering while Tetsuo Furudate plays with deep gong-like tones. None of the individual tracks strike me as particularly exceptional, but the variety does make the whole a fine listen. Vivo are a label to watch from here on out. - Mark Weddle


Sykes, "Clunk Click"
Iris Light
I expect to hear this kind of stuff in an elevator. There's everything any leisure suit-wearing, hipster wannabe could ever want here: smooth synth washes, poppy and jumpy rhythms, and endlessly repetitious melodies that want nothing more than to slap me across the face to make sure my attention is focued on them and them alone. Lets not forget the vocals, either, because that would just be a crying shame. If the jazz influence on this album became any more like silk, I might be forced to just set the CD on fire. I'm not sure why these ridiculous melodies have to sound so uplifting all the time and I have no idea why the vocals have to sound as if they were performed by an opera singer without any training but those are the facts. The music is tolerable to a degree when there aren't any vocals and all the emphasis is on the rhythm, but even then the rhythms simply aren't dynamic enough to warrant any sort of appreciation. I'm fairly certain that "Clunk Click" is the same drum pattern over and over again for a very tiring six-plus minutes. Every once in a while I feel as if this might make great music for a porno of some kind. Some of the tracks would still have to be cut out to make a decent soundtrack, though; they're ever too repetitive for the old bump n' grind. I've yet to listen to this record all the way through in one sitting and there are points where even two tracks in a row seem like pure torture so I can't say I'd reccomend this under any condition. "Answers From Abroad" might get Sykes some attention if it were available on a pay-per-download service, but the rest of this is just craptacular beyond belief. - Lucas Schleicher


"Love, Peace, & Poetry"
QDK Media
This now seven-strong compilation series, curated by uber-collector Stan Denski and others, is so refreshingly great because unlike many compilations of rare, vintage psychedelia, these include cuts not chosen simply by virtue of their obscurity. Rather, each Love, Peace, & Poetry volume succeeds in making available some of the strangest and most uniquely appealing creations from psychedelic scenes across the globe. Sure, many of these records would still be considered fetish items among the elite, but Denski and company have other motives. Listening to this series, I am never bored by the generic, run-together psych that often fills completist-aimed collections. Seasoned collectors will no doubt be surprised as well by the variety and remoteness of Denski's picks. The series' title, though, says it all; these discs want nothing more than to proffer a dose of that decades-old psychedelic intoxication, available in thrilling, nostalgia-free abundance through every minute of these compilations. - Andrew Culler

The volume covering Brazilian psychedelic music is one of my two favorites from the series, due in part to the healthy influence of the Tropicalia sound, popularized by groups like Os Mutantes. The majority of the bands incorporate the complex rhythms and unique vocal intonations of Tropicalia, applying them to brilliant appropriations of British and American rock styling. Os Brazões' "Tão Longe De Mim" is a perfect example, with exquisite, laconic fuzz spread across the shuffling latin beat and rapid-fire Portuguese vocals. A Bolha's "Um Passo a Frente" takes an approach firmly rooted in Beatlesque pop, but with Tropicalia's abrupt changes helping the song span a good five years of the Fab Four's career. As always, Denski has selected tracks with the catchiest of hooks and the most interesting of juxtapositions. Assim Assado's "Lunatica," translating as "Thus Baked," could be a melange of the Allman Brothers' bright melodic sense and a fuzzy, bass-driven funk that trades blows with brilliantly treated vocals. Also, the inclusion of oddball rarities from Módulo 1000 and Sound Factory provides evidence of more than just happy days and sunshine in Brazil, these songs evoking the grungy end of an acid trip rather than love, peace, or poetry.


My second favorite is the volume devoted to Asian psych, notable for the endlessly fascinating way in which bands from Asia, the Pacific Rim, and the Middle East sift through, and reinterpret Western pop styles. Without a dominant ethos like Tropicalia, these Asian groups were involved in more direct referencing of popular British and American music, their deviations from Western ways made all the more charming in their subtlety. Several of the songs are covers of 1960s classics, and many groups sport hilarious quasi-Western names, the best being a Japanese artist named Justin Heathcliff. The music ranges from the driving, straight-rocking psych of Erkin Koray and San Ul Lim, Turkish and Korean artists whose tracks are irresistible by merit of their locally colored vocals alone, to Heathcliff's utterly straight-faced and gorgeous take on British folk psychedelia, "You Know What I Mean." 3 Hür-El's "Gönül Sabreyle Sabreyle" distills everything great from the Cream songbook, even with a crazy guitar sound, comparable to Clapton's had he ever strapped on a sitar. Some of the best songs, however, oddly owe very little to the more typical, driving psych sound. The Quest's "26 Miles" apes sugary 50s pop, made psychedelic by the bed of distorted guitar and druggy beach sounds filling the gaps; the track from Turkish group Mogollar, though, is the disc's real joy. The simple song follows a single, meandering guitar, dipping undistorted into a loping tabla beat and sounding more akin to the Durutti Column than anything I've heard on a psych record before, one more brilliant discovery.


Like that of Brazil, Mexican psychedelic music was, for a long time, an act of political defiance. Lacking a dominant model like Tropicalia, however, Mexican musicians relied more heavily on the precedents in American rock music from Chuck Berry to the Doors, coating their songs with a layer of urgency unequaled by any other scene. Most of these tracks are organ heavy, full of reverb-drenched guitars and gruff, shouted vocals, psych that is full of life, created often literally in the face of death. The Kaleidoscope's "Hang Out" could be a pleasant Doors-ian meditation on an innocent topic; instead it's peppered by the sounds of bombs exploding and strangled vocals, delivering lines like "I don't mind if you die/ Hang out!" La Revolución de Emilano Zapata's "En Medio de la Lluvia" is a tortured, redemptive anthem, made overwhelming by an incredible Latin-tinged guitar lead, my favorite guitar moment outside of the Japanese volume of Love, Peace & Poetry. The Mexican volume is certainly the place to find the most hard-rocking, stripped down, and darkest psych. From the hidden garage treasures of The Survival's "World is a Bomb" and La Fachada de Piedra's "Roaming," to the Hendrix worship of Three Souls in My Mind (a band admittedly "not about hippie ideals"), this comp provides an excellent companion to the sunwashed Brazilian volume.


In representing a scene long-since pillaged for lost gold, the British volume wisely sticks to canonized examples of the country's psychedelic underground. While this may disappoint collectors, it's perfect for the average listener and includes some of the best 60s/70s rock I have heard. The bands included wear the influences of the Beatles, Procol Harum, and Love in no subtle way, but wear them well. Gary Walker & the Rain's epic "Magazine Woman" actually improves Harrison's Revolver-era formula by adding a skull-shaking guitar drone to the mix. Other near-classics included are Dark's "Maypole," with its driving, kraut-ish groove and fanciful lyrics mentioning Michael Caine, and Tony, Caro & John's folkpsych landmark "There Are No Greater Heroes." The unlikely treasures of the disc, though, are a songs of outsider musicians Forever Amber and Oliver. The former's "The Dreamer Flies Back" is a brilliant slice of sunny, childlike pop, glazed over by layer upon layer of guitar noise that is either well ahead of its time or the result of poor transfer from the private press original, though fascinating either way. Oliver's "Telephone" also sounds a bit out of place here. More in line with the experiments of bands like Faust, the song combines sinuous acoustic guitar lines, pseudo-ethnic chanting, wah wah screech, and tribal percussion in a acid-damaged stew that, like all Love, Peace, & Poetry, is as delicious today as ever before.


We know that our music picks may be somewhat challenging to find, which is why we have a community section which can be used to obtain nearly everything available on this site.


Richard Chartier - Archival1991 CD (Crouton, US)
Chicken Lips - Bad Skin 12" (!K7, Germany)
Cinélux - Pardon My French Vol 1. CD [with mixes by Capitol K, Machine Drum, Mitchell Akiyama, Tepr, Tlone and Jean de Bristol] (Peter I'm Flying, France)
Clearlake - Can't Feel A Thing 7" (Domino, UK)
Daybehavior - Have You Ever Touched A Dream CD (Memento Materia, Sweden)
* Depeche Mode - 101 DVD/SACD (Mute, UK)
Diplo - Epistemology/Summer's Gonna Hurt 12" (Big Dada/Ninja Tune, UK)
Einoma - Milli Tonverka CD/LP (Vertical Form, UK)
The Fucking Champs - Greatest Fucking Hits CD (Matador Europe, UK)
Amorphous Androgynous - The Isness + The Otherness 2xCD [reissue of The Isness album from 2002 with a CD of bonus material] (FSOL Recordings, UK)
The Mitang Audio - The View From Your New Home CD/sampler 12" (Suction, Canada)
Moby - 18 DVD + B-Sides CD [DVD features videos for all singles from the album 18 plus live footage and more - CD features b-sides from all singles taken from 18 plus 4 new tracks] (Mute, UK)
Music AM - A Heart & Two Stars CD (Quatermass, Belgium)
Pet Shop Boys - Popart 2xCD/4xLP [greatest hits collection] (Parlophone, UK)
Radiohead - 2+2=5 CDEP [mixes by Cristian Vogel & Four Tet] (EMI, UK)
Tinkertoy - Broken Bodum CD3" [ltd to 211 copies] (Piehead, Canada)
Triosk meets Jan Jelinek - 1+3+1 CD/2xLP (Scape, Germany)
U.S. Maple - Purple on Time CD (Drag City/P-Vine, Japan)

This is simply this week's highlights from the NEW RELEASES provided by Greg and Feedback Monitor.
For a more detailed schedule stretching into the future, please check out the page,
since release dates can and will often change.

Results from last poll:


One alarmingly short but cute flash animation project is predicting the inevitable end of the world. WTF? asks the Australians. It's funny enough to watch over and over again to discover new things!


the hunt is on


I am a musician writer person living in vancouver british columbia and i'm hunting web designers. I have only $500cdn ($36us) to fork out. am i dreaming? i'd like to send you some music and a blurb. please reply if you'd like that. thx.

Buy a gun. Hunting web designers will be easier. $36 USD ain't much.

Subject: !!!

ciao ciao dall'italia

Buon giorno!

Subject: jon whitney
From: Kevin James (email address omitted)

hello, are you at all related to patton oswalt??



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sounds of the brown
Kid Koala - Some of My Best Friends Are DJs
Current 93 - Nature Unveiled
Matmos - The Civil War
Magical Power Mako - Trance Resonance
T. Raumschmiere - Radio Blackout

Liam, Toledo, OH, watching the leaves fall.

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