Until May 19, the managing editor of The Brain will be on assignment, so there might be some delays of the new issues being posted between now and the May 23rd publication. Rest assured as the magazine will still boldly go forward where wimps fear to tread. Additionally, mail order will be paused but will resume on May 20th.
brainwashed traveling roadshow announced!
You are warmly invited and encouraged to come out, say hi, mingle and enjoy some nights of great music. We realize this is a very short notice for some, but a fun time is expected for all.
Stop 1: Dublin, Ireland, Sunday, 2nd May
Location: The International Bar, Wicklow Street
Lineup: Aranos and Z'ev
Time: 8:30 doors
Notes: Aranos is bringing 3 big gongs
Stop 2: Leicester, UK, Friday, 7th May
Venue: The Attik
Location: 15 Free Lane
Lineup: Volcano the Bear
Time: 10:00 doors
Notes: with Nick Mott entering University, this could be the last time to see VTB for a while
More: www.the-attik.co.uk or phone 0116 2223800
Stop 3: Cambridge, UK, Wednesday, 12th May
Venue: The Portland Arms
Location: 129 Chesterton Road
Lineup: V/Vm, Colin Potter (Nurse with Wound and Ora), and Thighpaulsandra (Coil and Spirtualized)
Time: 8:00 doors
Notes: international debut of full Thighpaulsandra five-piece live band!
More: www.bad-timing.co.uk or phone 01223 357268 (for directions only - as the pub doesn't have the show schedule)
Additionally, Jon Whitney (of Brainwashed) will be DJ'ing in all venues either inbetween sets or doing original stuff. (Requests are welcome!) He'll also be bringing some shirts, CDs, and perhaps some exclusive new DVDs to peddle so he can get a couple Pounds and Euros in his pocket since the US dollar is crap these days. All shows will be videotaped for future broadcast on Brainwashed.com's ongoing series, The Eye. Some footage might be used in future feature-length projects or DVD releases. This is still yet to-be-determined.
Please feel free to forward this message to anybody who might be interested.
Thanks and we hope to see you there.
zos kia collected
Cold Spring has announced the "definitive" Zos Kia collection. This double CD set features all of the Zos Kia singles plus previously unreleased remixes and some live tracks. Compiled by John Gosling, the package contains original artworks along with some previously unpublished images. (Zos Kia, for those who don't know, was once one in the same with Coil.)
one hand washes the other, and both the face
Clean yourself up with the brand new Hafler Trio soap collection! It's now available at The Marble Orchard. (No, this isn't an April Fool's joke.) In other H3O news, Korn Plastics has reissued The Sea Org, originally released on 10" by Touch in 1987. This version includes four extra tracks and one Quiktime video movie, 28 page booklet,
poster and postcard.
little annie exhibit on now
The Lower East Side Girls Club presents an art exhibit from Little Annie Bandez. The show runs through May 24th at the Art+Community Gallery, 56 East First Street (between First and Second Avenues). The gallery hours are from 10am - 6pm on Tuesdays through Fridays. Call 212-982-1633 for weekend hours.
dub from the secret vaults
ROIR has released a collection from former LPD member Ryan Moore. Dub From the Secret Vaults contains tracks dating all the way back to 1985. Guests include Big Youth and Neils Van Hoor of the Dots.
tortoise find their own home
Tortoise has found a new home at www.trts.com. While the discography doesn't include all those pesky Japanese tracks, the rest of the site is pretty comprehensive, with exclusive photos, news, tour dates, and a forum! The brainwashed site will most likely remain as a discography only site.
lpd pre-orders now available
A plethora of new LPD and Edward Ka-Spel solo releases and an assortment of t-shirts and buttons are now available for pre-order from Terminal Kaleidoscope. Those of on dial-up who need to skip the kaleidoscope animation can click here: http://www.terminalkaleidoscope.com/preorder.html Also please take notice the LPDs are about to embark on a massive tour of North America. It's the biggest tour they've done in years and they are encouraging fans to get involved in street-level promotions. Visit the website for printable fliers and other things that can be done to assist the group in promotional efforts.
mute rediscovers richard h. kirk
On the heels of a Cabaret Voltaire reissue campaign, Mute has announced the first releases of Richard H. Kirk in over a decade. Two archival recordings are due out on May 18th. Earlier/Later is a 2xCD collection of recordings from 1974-1989, described as "committed to cassette then forgotten," while Digital Lifeforms Redux is an expanded release from the 1993 release by Kirk as Sandoz. These will be preceeded one week earlier by two 12" EPs: Detonate/Reworks by Kirk and Return to the Heart of Darkness/Reworks by Sandoz. These releases are not scheduled to be released on Mute outside of the UK.
DEVENDRA BANHART, "REJOICING IN THE HANDS"
He possesses the unkempt street-hustler looks of Vincent Gallo, the psychotic vulnerability of Syd Barrett, the spooked lonesomeness of Skip Spence, the instrumental dexterity of Robin Williamson, the naïve sincerity of Tiny Tim, and a voice that sounds like a cross between Marc Bolan's early T. Rex warble and the evocative wail of Karen Dalton. After his superlative debut Oh Me Oh My..., many were quick to heap praise on Devendra Banhart, hailing the 23-year old singer-songwriter as a peerlessly original voice. With such obvious musical precedents for Banhart's intimate, acoustic songcraft, this adulation seems a bit overstated. Despite what has been said, Devendra Banhart hasn't reinvented the wheel. He has, however, used his considerable lyrical and melodic gifts to create a handful of idiosyncratic recordings that speak volumes for his songwriting talent. Oh Me Oh My... was immediately distinctive not only because of Banhart's quavering vocal delivery and incredible fingerstyle, but also because of its willfully low-budget recording aesthetic; the songs were self-recorded live-to-tape on sub-par cassette recorders, Dictaphones and answering machines. Two years on, Devendra Banhart has achieved a modicum of success, championed by Michael Gira, with a home on his Young God label. Although Banhart and Gira could easily have opted for an artificially studied recreation of the low-fidelity distortion and tape hiss of the demo reel, the right choice was made on Rejoicing in the Hands to present the performer in a simple, clean studio recording. The tracks on this new album sound every bit as live and spontaneous as the Oh Me Oh My... sessions, but the technical advantages of the studio recording highlight every velvety pluck of the guitar strings and every nuanced vibration of Devendra's labored vocals. Because these songs are refreshingly free of extraneous debris and contain only minimal, unobtrusive backing, Rejoicing is a marvelous showcase for Banhart's songs and performances. Each track is a miniature masterpiece; few exceed the three-minute mark, but each has the immediacy and resonance of déjà vu, as if Banhart was pulling from some vast collective-subconscious archive of archetypal sing-along folk melodies. His lyrical themes are fascinating as always, strange re-combinations of dime-store mysticism, humorous reverie and the odd fanciful passage of surreal wordplay. On the title track, he is joined by the legendary Vashti Bunyan, the elusive songstress who recorded the acid-folk classic Just Another Diamond Day and promptly disappeared from view. Their lovely duet is an affectionate homage to the placid simplicity of the 60's British folk revival. - Jonathan Dean
Black Ox Orkestar, "Ver Tanzt?"
Records parading as ethnic albums tend to piss me off; there are very few exceptions to this fact. Unless the album is a field recording in itself or an earnest attempt at perserving old music in a modern world, the music fails and sounds forced. Fortunately Ver Tanzt? does not fall to such symptoms and emerges as an exhilarating and painfully beautiful blend of modern and old sound. Anyone that has listened to a soundtrack from a movie about Jewish life is probably familiar with all the elements of European Jewish musicit is lush, staggered, melodically exotic, and somehow steeped in the feeling of improvisation. No matter how well the arrangements come together, there's always a feeling that it's the musicians making it happen that way, not that composition itself; it simply couldn't have been planned that way, it's just too lovely. Black Ox Orkestar run the gamut from hyper tunes full of blood-pumping rhythms and grin-producing melodies to the heart-wrenching guitar playing of disaster and rememberance. It's interesting that the group has decided to include a quote that, though I'm not entirely sure of it, references Zionism and the internal conflict between having two homes: one that always moves and one where a temple once stood. While there is nothing inherently political about the music (though I can't understand the language that is sometimes sung), the duration of the album renders real the spirit of conflict, joy, and pain. It is in this way that the group succeeds; the album, despite linguistic and cultural differences, sounds human and is effective for that reason. The music sounds honest and the use of Jewish musical roots doesn't sound forced or gimmickyit is earnest and powerful. I think this band has managed to explain to me why so many groups fail at employing ethnic sources in their music; it's all just a gimmick half the time meant to draw upon the alien and seductive nature of a foreign music without bothering to go through the pains of feeling the sounds and instruments and making them the source of learning and humanity that they are. - Lucas Schleicher
manual and jess kahr, "the north shore"
Even though this 45-minute long EP doesn't have the words "Bliss Out" printed anywhere, consider this to be Volume 18 of Darla's Bliss Out series. Manual's Jonas Munk is joined by friend Jess Kahr, and the two have set the mood of peace and serenity by vast keyboard sounds and very, very slow movement. A more appropriate term might be "drift out," as the music is like a beat-less version of the other Manual releases with similar synth sounds and simple melodies. It will surely find welcome ears on anybody who has been following Munk through his recordings, both as Manual and with Limp on Morr and the EP on Static Caravan. It is ambient, in the sense that it makes for great background music, but it's not until track five, "Burn," that other sonic, non-musical elements (crickets in this case) are introduced that make a world of difference. For me, it's elements like the faint sound of rain, bugs, waves, or whatever plus the right mix of everything that makes groups like Mirror perfect the art of quiet music for deep listening. Without a little bit of bite in the mix, the music dangerously borders on easy listening. It continues similarly with faint bells in the following "ICA," and by the final track, "It's Night on Planet Earth...," the music actually begins to immitate the sounds of the waves coming in off the water. I know this sounds nitpicky, but there's something about the visual theme that seems to disturb me. It feels awkwardly mismatched, as palm tree photos at sunset resemble generic postcards or that Mac icon for iPhoto. While they're nice to look at, I'm not sold on it matching the mood Munk's music has always evoked: as to me, the appropriate absence of unnecessary instruments conjures visuions of emptier, more sparse places than this borderline stock photography. Regardless, it's probably one of the best Bliss Out editions. - Jon Whitney
Keelhaul, "Subject to Change Without Notice"
Subject to Change Without Notice is the marriage of all-out sonic assault and the total respect of brevity in an effort to destroy anything in the path. My brains were tapioca and my eardrums numb at the end of this third release from Cleveland's Keelhaul, and while not a pleasureable experience in itself, that's definitely not a negative thing. Not a great thing, though, as there are moments I could have done without, but this definitely got my head moving in a thrash-like motion again after all these years. There is a sense of humor in these songsany band that names a song "Carl vs. the 10,000 LB Shadow" must have onebut unlike other bands who are using the metal genre as a punchline, Keelhaul are honest and relentless in their pursuit of aggression. Even though they sometimes let the music extend past its usual short stance to the five or eight-minute-plus mark, there was never a moment where I felt like this music was going on longer than it should. That said, the band's strength is in their instrumentation, not the raging screamed vocals that already sound like fifteen other bands. Not that the vocals are unnecessary or particularly horrid: I just returned for repeat listens more on tracks that did not feature them. Keelhaul are incredibly talented musicians, and every moment on the CD, even those that sound sloppy or disorganized, comes off as an entirely calculated move. The songs all blend together, with nary a moment to come up for air, and I imagine their live show is very similar, with the band catching everyone off-guard by starting with the lights turned up and people still finding their seats or a good place to stand. I used to view hardcore and metal and all their sub-genres (doom, speed, shred, goth, etc.) as dying breeds, where no one was creating anything original for them to maintain themselves. Keelhaul have changed my opinion, and though I was not overwhelmed by the music they made on this record, I would listen to future releases in the hope that they've continued to evolve. - Rob Devlin
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE, "MANTRA OF LOVE"
Mantra of Love marks the second instance that the Acid Mothers Temple have drawn their primary inspiration from the traditional folk music of the Occitan region of France. The first was 2000's La Novia, a moderately successful attempt at scaling back the band's usual bombast to create a hypnotic side-long group harmonization that respectfully paid tribute to their European forbears. However, it certainly wasn't a very satisfying release for hardcore fans of the Acid Mothers, entirely devoid as it was of the band's trademark multi-layered cacophony of reverbed electric guitars and screaming synthesizers. With Mantra of Love, Makoto Kawabata and company attempt a marriage of heaven and hell: merging an Occitanian trad-folk piece to their visceral guitar shredding and hallucinogenic symphonies of rock n' roll noise. The album consists of two tracks. The first, "La Le Lo," is a trance-inducing song consisting of no lyrics other than the melodic glossolalia of the title, repeatedly sung in the cyclical style that seems de rigeur for Occitanian folk. Cotton Casino takes the lead with her sonorous falsetto, sounding more like Renate Knaup from Amon Duul II with every successive release. As usual with AMT, reverb and delay pedals are turned way past eleven, creating an ocean of debris and sonic squall that ripples out from every vocal refrain and strum of the acoustic guitar. These noisy tendencies seem ever slightly more sedate than usual on Mantra of Love, a continuation of the trend towards cleanly produced studio efforts begun on 2002's Univers Zen ou de Zero a Zero. The track is gently hypnotic until about the seven-minute mark, at which point Makoto Kawabata unleashes a majestic guitar storm of particularly defocused fury. Seemingly capable of playing ten wildly different and entirely unrelated guitar parts at once, Makoto's soloing creates a complex web of cosmic shredding that begs for deconstruction and analysis. The track wanders through several more movements of relative quiet juxtaposed with overwhelming thunderousness, finally floating up to space on galactic streamers of Hawkwind-esque KORG fuckery. It might be culturally irresponsible, but it's massively entertaining. The second track is "L'Ambition dans le Miroir" (for what it's worth, Babelfish translates this as "The Ambition in the Mirror"), a 15-minute addendum to the first track, beginning in synth-heavy space territory not unlike Atem-era Tangerine Dream, quickly joined by Casino's gleeful chanting before expanding into planet-crushing Krautrock. Although it takes zero risks and does nothing to expand the AMT sound repertoire, Mantra of Love does the trick for now. - Jonathan Dean
Matt & Bubba Kadane, "Music From the Film Hell House"
My one true test for any soundtrack or "music from" compilation is whether it can stand alone from the subject matter it was written for. Otherwise, it makes little sense to release it on its own, as the value of having "that music from that one scene" must be incredibly low. Enter the Kadane brothers' EP of music from the film Hell House, and for the most part they pass the test. Unfortunately, some of the tracks are just sketches as they should be for a soundtrack and do not blossom into full-fledged compositions. Without a reference point in a film that I haven't seen these tracks fall by the wayside, and at a mere eighteen minutes, it's hard to see this as anything but a companion piece of merchandise. However, some of the longer and complete compositions captivate my imagination completely. Left to its own devices and with only a title to set off the chain reaction, my mind comes up with plenty of scenery and atmosphere to allow these tracks to run around and play. "Hell" doesn't sound like my version of it, but it does convey the emotions of someone suffering through a period of genuine strife. There is a beauty to the feeling of loss that drapes the track and its simple guitar structures, and I immediately felt the hairs on my neck rise. There's guitar and banjo in a lovely waltz on "Alex," and "Speaking in Tongues" is chilling ambience with a playfully nuanced shock value that strikes when least expected. "Christy" and "Sex Before Marriage," no doubt meant for scenes close to each other in the film, felt cold and distant, and did not hold my attention for long. The last two tracks, though, "Harvest" and "Wrestling," are what hold the whole thing together. They are the most full-fledged, most descriptive, and most charming, particularly the trumpet by Bob Weston on the latter. Matt and Bubba Kadane could easily make a career of this, and Pleximusic is growing a nice little garden of indie rock film scores. Truth be told, however, I'd much rather reach for their other music in Bedhead or The New Year than this, despite the fine moments I found within. - Rob Devlin
"HORSE HOSPITAL RADIO VOLUME THREE: THE TEMPLE OF THE THRILLER"
The Horse Hospital
The Horse Hospital has carved out a unique place among London's numerous arts venues, serving as central headquarters for the more eccentric fringes of the underground and avant-garde media and culture. They've hosted art exhibitions from the likes of Joe Coleman, Mark Ryden, David Tibet and Steven Stapleton, in-person readings from Peter Sotos and Adam Parfrey, as well as film screenings, DJ sets and live performances from various personages too numerous to mention. Recently they've expanded into experimental radio broadcast, hosting a fortnightly hour-long show on London's Resonance FM. The show reflects the obsession shared by The Horse Hospital's curators for pop-culture mashups, audio distortion, easy listening dimentia and transgressive musical forms. Far from the gimmicky "The Strokes meet Christina Aguilera" of Freelance Hellraiser or the bland over-processing of artists like Knifehandchop, Horse Hospital Radio is a sidereal window into our collective pop-culture imagination, performing a series of variable-speed exorcisms of the extreme ends of the musical spectrum. Programmed by the inimitable Mister Sloane, Horse Hospital Radio Volume Three is a free-form continuous DJ mix that plunges Johnny Mathis into a gas chamber, vents in the laughing gas and sprinkles the whole mess with dialogue snippets from George Ratliff's Hell House. Green Velvet's rave flashback is slowed down until it resembles a funereal psychedelic march into a zero-gravity rabbit hole. The siren sounds and the mix takes a sharp left turn into the joyful drum n' bass insanity of Lightning Bolt and a quick drop into the tweaking aggression of hardcore dancehall, and it's off into a hypnotic, 10-minute quagmire of 50 Cent's "In Da Club" genetically grafted onto the flip instrumental side of The Neptunes-produced "Grindin'" by The Clipse, pitched down and time-stretched to slow-motion tribal pummeling. Punk godfather Bertie Marshall pipes in with an abbreviated rap about his favorite prescription painkillers. These post hip-hop mutations come courtesy of The Penalty for Harbouring Partisans, partially the work of artist Ian Johnstone, John Balance of Coil's new partner in aesthetic terrorism. Jhon Balance can be heard towards the end of the track, blankly intoning "Nothing's too sad for words." Some uneasy digressions into grating noise and black metal follow, including a stunning marraige of The White Stripe's "Seven Nation Army" to the murky sludgecore of Sunn O))). Complete with bizarre shout-outs from Michael Jackson and Vincent Price, the whole thing washes over like passing out watching MTV on a lethal mix of Quaaludes and DMT. But more than that, it's able to reveal thrilling new dimensions of trash culture and extreme expression, pointing to a possible new direction for the cultural heirs of the post-industrial milieu. - Jonathan Dean
sufjan stevens, "seven swans"
Sufjan Stevens continues to build a deserved amount of attention with his fourth solo album. On Seven Swans, the multi-instrumentalist continues in the trends set forward by earlier releases by creating some powerful pop tunes with a deceptively minimal amount of effort. I'm almost taken back to my affinity to hearing Red House Painters in the beginning of Mark Kozelek's career. The lyrics are introspective windows into the author's psyche while the music is simple and discreet and equally as vulnerable. I truly hope Sufjan doesn't follow the path of the Painters and become an overblown wall of proto-classical rock-by-numbers in a few years time. The instrumentation here is perfect for my ears. His musical goal seems to be to use only what's necessary and not excessively add more that can either cloud the music or be more than what an independent label production can afford. As a result, acoustic guitar, piano, and his signature banjo playing are frequently unaccompanied by drums. Lyrically, the album is mostly focused on the themes of relationships, god, and Stevens' relationship to god. As an agnostic, biblical references and the like are completely lost on me, however that's not stopped me in the past from falling in love with music from American Music Club or Low. While the album is a great listen from start to finish, I'm reminded of last year's Greetings from Michigan, as there's that one standout track which strikes an emotional chord with me and will probably end up on numerous mix CDs and radio shows for a long time until I get sick of hearing it over and over again. The track here is "In the Devil's Territory," where a seemingly simple chord progression is played by doubled notes in a waltzing time signature. It's somewhat ambiguous songs like that and "Size Too Small," where Sufjan sings about being a best man in a size too small, asking questions of love and committment that attract me for more listens, while every other song are undeniably pretty treats along the way. Stevens gets assistance from Daniel Smith of Danielson Famile along with a bunch of other Smiths, but his live crew is small and simple from what I heard on a recent on-air radio interview/in-studio performance. I personally don't buy into the whole hype surrounding Greetings from Michigan, with respect to plans to record an album for each state, as there's a notable number of references on Seven Swans to Michigan. Enjoy this album now and don't count on something that'll most likely be regarded as only an overblown rumor years from now. - Jon Whitney
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