brainwashed presents otology
CDs are mass-marketed, overpriced, and becoming utterly disposable. This is why Brainwashed Recordings is offering the new compilation, Otology: The Brainwashed 7" Singles Collected with no printing in no packaging. It comes free with the pre-order of the next round of limited 7" singles from Brainwashed: Sybarite, "Dolorous Echo"/"The Mast;" Jessica Bailiff Live at VPRO Radio; and Aranos, "No Religion"/"Spitting Revivalist Dreams of Everlasting Pain." Sound samples and the awesome cover artwork images (thanks to Ben Palmer once again and Brain contributor Jim Siegel) are available at Brainwashed Recordings. Copies can be reserved with a purchase at the commerce page at brainwashed. Thanks for your support, it keeps us going.
new mirror music is on sale now
Robot Records is now selling the classic Mirror album Nightwalkers on CD. The CD has two editions: a regular one and a limited "artist" version with an individual piece of artwork. These are orderable at robotrecords.com. Additionally, Three Poplars has issued a new LP, double LP, and CD! Shadows is a limited CD release of the recent live concert in Nijmegen, Holland; Places of Light is a new full-length LPthe follow-up to Under the Sun; and Figures In A Landscape is a double LP release of the limited CD-Rs of Into the Wood and Live in Bern. If that wasn't enough, another new recording, Still Valley is available on two LPs: clear and black vinyl. These may be obtained in various places while the limited supplies last including Die Stadt in Germany and Colin Potter's ICR in England.
There's some action in the Jack Dangers world: Jack just finished producing the DJ Spooky vs. Dave Lombardo (Slayer) album Drums Of Death to be released April 26th on Thirsty Ear. The much rumored album features Jack on bass & guitar in addition to his production duties. A single "B-Side Wins Again" featuring Chuck D will be released February 22nd. Additionally, Jack is just about finished mixing the new Meat Beat Manifesto album also to be released on Thirsty Ear on May 24th. Tour dates are being worked out for North America in June with Europe to follow.
current 93 tickets now on sale
Tickets for the Current 93 concerts in Toronto in June are now available through Mark Logan of Jnana. Current 93 with special guests Antony, Baby Dee, Simon Finn and Six Organs of Admittance will perform at The Music Gallery, St George-the-Martyr Anglican Church, 197 John Street Toronto, ON, Canada on June 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of 2005. Tickets are Canadian Dollars CDN $65.00 / U.S. Dollars $53.00 each and may be purchased by contacting Mark Logan through jnanarecords.com, or calling either +1 519-744-1370 between 10am and 5pm EST or +1 519-221-0884 outside those hours. Please note: the Music Gallery does not have tickets for sale.
out hud image and samples now available
Hold on to your booty! The second Out Hud album, Let Us Never Speak of It Again is due for release in March on Kranky (North America) and K7! (Europe). Samples and a cover image are already online both at the Kranky and Out Hud websites. Tour dates are already starting to come in for North America.
another new (old) gto mix added to the mix
A live Dutch radio mix from Greater Than One that dates back to 1988 called Robotnik is now available at the website. It's a fantastic 23-minute long radio mix which incorporates a number of found sounds and samples, harsh beats and rhythmic loops, long before GTO were doing the rave thing. It's hardly surprising listening to this recording (obviously rescued from cassette) that their debut LP was issued by Graeme Revell/Lustmord's Side Effects record label. The Robotnik set pre-dates their WaxTrax! releases London and G-Force only slightly, but would provide any fan of those records a tasty treat.
kranky to reissue debut charalambides album
Kranky continues their Charalambides reissue campaign by starting right at the beginning: Our Bed is Green, the first full-length release from 1992 is being released as a double-CD in April. Sound samples and an image are now available at Kranky.
little annie takes to the stage
Little Annie will be acting in new play by Jorge Kuri, "The Bitterness of the Meringue" at
La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, 74 East 4th Street (between Bowery & 2nd Avenue), First Floor Theatre. The play runs from January 20 through February 6, 2004 and shows on Thursday - Saturday at 8:00pm and on Sunday at both 2:30pm and 8:00pm. Tickets are $15 and the box office number is 212-475-7710. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.lamama.org. From the playbill: "The production is Kuri's La MaMa debut and features a new generation of collaborators from the US, Mexico and abroad. The cast, in formation as of this writing, includes Antonio Cerezo, Nicky Paraiso, Little Annie, Siho Ellsmore, John Benoit and Sasha Painter. Design is by Raine Bode and Antonio Cerezo. Playwright Jorge Kuri is a modernist playwright who has struck a nerve in the artist community of Mexico City with a recent series of abstract plays dealing with the passions of the young. His work has hitherto been produced in NYC only by the International Hispanic Theater Festival (in 2001). Now, La MaMa will present the world premiere of his puzzling abstract fable, "The Bitterness of the Meringue," in an English translation by Edith Luna of Mexico City, in its First Floor Theater from January 20 to February 6, directed by Raine Bode."
brainwashed launches announcement list
Do you want to be the first on your block to hear about special limited pressings and happenings of Brainwashed? An announcement list has been set up at www.hollyfeld.org/mailman/listinfo/brainwashed. It's not a forum and subscribers will be the first to hear about new releases on Brainwashed Recordings, a new Brainwashed Handmade imprint, the hopefully soon to launch Brainwashed Archives label, and any music fest(s) to coincide with Brainwashed's 10th Anniversary (which is only a year away). Thanks again for the support, it keeps us going.
Low, "The Great Destroyer"
It's difficult for a band with ten years and a solid reputation of having a signature sound to take a bold step without feeling the repercussions. While The Great Destroyer is shockingly different for a Low album, rest assured that all the elements people have grown to love are still in the mix. The first three songs rush the album in with a fierce tempomuch faster than what Low are expected to doand layered fuzzy organs and chunky guitars over thumping rhythm lines and buried acoustic guitars. Songs like "California" and "Everybody's Song" are instantaneously catchy, and it doesn't take many listens to easily sing along. Finding a cool comfort in a quieter approach are songs like the haunting re-recorded "Silver Rider," originally released on the "Murderer" single, and "Cue the Strings," which could easily be a nod to the Secret Name version of "Will the Night" with its use of (no surprise here) strings. Towards the end, the album lightens up with two fictitious autobiographies, "When I Go Deaf," where Alan sings about all the benefits of going deaf, and "Death of a Salesman," where he faces the doubts that nearly all musicians have at one point in their life. Low have done a complete 180 degree turn on The Great Destroyer, as their deeper subjects tackled are the loudest rock tunes and the sillier lighter things are the quiet, slower numbers. The biggest criticism people have been giving (and all it takes is a few web searches or to be signed up on an email list to witness) has been "this isn't the Low I love." As music listeners, we're all guilty to some degree of taking a certain "ownership" of music, especially when it isn't multi-platinum hitmakers that everybody in your family or office knows. (Oh, that's "Jon" music they say around me, and I'm sure many people reading this have had the same thing happen at the home or office.) My criticism isn't with the musical choices the band took, as Low still sincerely dedicate themselves to perfection within the pop/rock framework, but with the production. Dave Fridman, the overrated knob twiddler for Flaming Lips who nerdy hipsters drool over, has seemed to fail to keep up with Low's enthusiasm. Layers of distorted guitars and beefed up drums get out of hand and sound like they're clipping at overdriven levels. If they wanted to sound and amateurishly distorted, then they've done a good job, but there are moments on the album that sound way too accidentally muddy. Regardless, this is an album that I have grown a great fondness for in the short time I've been listening. It's not entirely unexpected from Low, but it's easy to see that executed in such a bold contrast to their trademark can go either way: treasure or trash. This album is an elephant in the livingroom and people will undoubtedly have a hard time getting around it without an opinion. - Jon Whitney
Nurse With Wound, "Drunk with the Old man of the Mountains"
In the post-World Serpent world, it's refreshing to see a tasteful looking, properly packaged, elegant layout on a Nurse With Wound release which isn't completely driven by capitalism or auctionable (or even questionable) "special" editions. Cover artwork is collected from a few of Steve's own personal favorite paintings for the original cover (all were different on the original 1987 issue) and the overall design echoes what has worked for Nurse in the past. Although all the music has been released before (both on LP and various CDs), everything is currently out of print. This is the first time all the songs have been reunited on a CD, and it sounds wonderful. Tracks were originally gathered from cassette-only releases, compilations, a live bit, and other odds and ends. All have been remastered and sound more vibrant than ever, from the nasty organ through piano banging on the opening "Mourning Smile" (which probably shouldn't have gone on the CD release of Spiral Insana to begin with), to the shrieking banshee noises on "Sheela-Na-Gig," and the dying manatee sounds on "Astral Dustbin Dirge," which most definitely shouldn't have gone on the CD issue of Homotopy to Marie. "Swamp Rat," although it's rarely a popular song with existing fans, undeniably has the elements that fans fell in love with NWW for: a constant pulse (even if it is a cheesy drum machine in this case), an occasionally repeated sample, a drone of some sort, and some unconventional instrument playing over it. Even the least intoxicating songs never got boring. While a lot of musicians and distributors and fans think the collapse of World Serpent was a bleak moment, I look forward to more classy reissues like this with the delicate time and energy invested into restoring a original running order and remastering recordings with the finesse that somebody like Colin Potter possesses. - Jon Whitney
Oh No, "The Disrupt"
Stones Throw Records
Longtime hip-hop journeyman Oh No's long awaited debut full-length is vibrant, musically diverse, and best of all refreshingly-gimmick free. The son of a jazz trumpeter and a soul/jazz composer, Oh No was signed to Stones Throw nearly five years ago, in no small part due to his prolific older brother Madlib (of Madvillian, Jaylib, Lootpack, Yesterday's New Quintet and Quasimoto fame). To date his resume includes production duties for MURS, Mr. Lif, Wildchild, CL Smooth and Declaime, and has dropped many a verse on records produced by Madlib, Stones Throw patriarch Peanut Butter Wolf, and others. The reason for the debut's delay is unclear; he's been signed for a while and has been recording even longerhe did his first demo at age eleven, was fooling with production equipment in Madlib's room long before then, and in his adult years put out a slew of singles in addition to his guest spots. The favor is returned on The Disrupt: Jay Dee provides a heavy Detroit club banger, Madlib gives brotherly love on six eclectic tracks, and other members of the extended Stones Throw family also lend a hand. The foundation for a great debut is thereby laid, but something seems to be missing. Oh No is supposed to be the star, and the veteran of one too many a guest spot and 12" can't seem to carry the load through the admittedly solid seventeen tracks without the help. The album teems talent and creativity but at the sacrifice of cohesion, balance and continuity: the heavy hitting The Ride (with samples pulled from Nintendo classic Ninja Gaiden) is followed up by mellow, soulful thought-provoker Getaway. The years that Oh No spent creating snippets of material rather than longplayers are evident on The Disrupt. It works two ways: he's clearly picked up nearly all the tricks of the trade, and provides nearly everything the hip hop listener could want on the multifaceted Disrupt. But in the end, the record feels hewn together, an amalgamation of otherwise worthy parts but not a perfect whole. That in turn raises the question of whether or not hip hop is an album-oriented genreand if Oh No has picked up anything from Madlib, he should be advised to follow up The Disrupt with something more cohesive. This is the only complaint, though, and it's a minor one. Oh No's talents as producer, MC and DJ are evident. These combined with the guest spots make what might be slapdash patchwork for some a delicious rap smorgasbord for others. - Chris Roberts
MIKE COOPER, "RELUCTANT SWIMMER/VIRTUAL SURFER"
Mike Cooper has been making music far longer than I've been alive. He began his career as a folk-blues guitarist and singer-songwriter in the 1960s, moved on to working with London's most prominent improv groups in the 1970s, and in the 1980s and 1990s he gradually began to incorporate greater experimentation into his music. In contrast to many artists who grow tame in their old age, Cooper, now in his sixties, is making the most adventurous music of his life. His long-standing interest in Hawaiian steel guitar, Pacific culture and exotica reached its apex last year with the release of his Rayon Hula album, a fascinating experimental work combining dizzying loops from old Arthur Lyman records with Cooper's impressive improvisation on steel guitar. Cooper's new limited CD-R release on his own Hipshot label is a recording of an October 2003 live performance at an improvised music festival in Rome. The live set is composed of one long, slowly evolving piece combining field recordings, real-time sampling, digital treatment and loops with live improvisation on Cooper's 1920 National tri-plate lap steel guitar. It's a richly evocative work that meanders lazily through oceanic expanses of electronic twitters and drones, to lush jungle landscapes filled with exotic birds and hypnotic curls of delayed steel guitar. Twice during the performance, all of the disparate elements gel unexpectedly into gentle vocal songs. The first is a cover of Van Dyke Parks' "Movies Is Magic," and Cooper transforms the nostalgic ode to old Hollywood into a warm and nuanced thing of beauty, with his lazy ripples of guitar given just the right touch of digital processing. The other song is "Dolphins," a track by 1960s folk singer Fred Neil (though Tim Buckley's haunting rendition is probably the most notable), which Cooper gives a soulful rendition against a backdrop of abstract electronic noise and sparse, minimal guitar. At times during the lengthy experimental interludes, especially during the "Virtual Surfer" section, the dense noisy textures, animal sounds and psychedelic electronics sound remarkably similar to Black Dice's recent Creature Comforts. The album is incredibly rich and evocative, and as a live performance, it's utterly flawless. Cooper takes live guitar processing and sampling as his raw material, using it to build something complex and substantive, full of ideas and surprises, not just abandoning it half-formed. Everyone who thought Fennesz' last record was the best of 2004 would do well to listen to Mike Cooper's Reluctant Swimmer/Virtual Surfer, to hear similar musical strategies brought to their full potential by a veteran musician in his artistic prime. As usual, the only way to get a copy of this limited CD-R is to send the artist cash inside a birthday card to Hipshot headquarters in Rome. Frankly, I find it incredible that one of the many trendy experimental record labels in Europe hasn't snatched up Cooper's last few albums for a wider release. - Jonathan Dean
BEEQUEEN, "THE BODYSHOP"
I would never have expected a group like Beequeen to record an album like The Bodyshop. The duo of Frans de Waard and Freek Kinkelaar first became associates because of their mutual love for The Legendary Pink Dots, and since 1990 they've been recording and releasing (quite prolifically) as Beequeen. All of their work up to this album has been strictly instrumental: amorphous compositions, largely ambient, combining electronic textures and drone with murky samples, buried melodies and other unidentifiable audio goop. The Bodyshop is a departure point for the group; not only is melody front and center on almost all of the tracks, several actually feature vocals. Just to place this album is stark relief to previous efforts, Beequeen also include a cover of Nick Drake's "Black Eyed Dog," with lovely vocals by Marie-Louise Munck of Danish band Armstrong. This is still identifiable as the work of Beequeen, but it feels like a quantum leap for the band in terms of structure, composition and production. There are still plenty of pretty moments of quiet psychedelic nebulousness, but there are also upbeat numbers like "On the Road to Everywhere," which sets a lively post-jazz melody against layers of encroaching drone and chirping arpeggiators. It achieves a beautiful complexity, with certain elements standing out in bold relief and others blurry and shapeless, just beyond the realm of cohesion, like thick globs of color on a particularly formless work of impressionist art. On the whole, the album feels very sedate and beatific, but there are tense undercurrents of radiant darkness that permeate tracks like "Blackburn" and "Buzzbag Drive." The latter is a standout track, a dark Lynchian western featuring noisy swathes of electric guitar from guest Erik Drost, member of Girlfriends and newly of the Pink Dots. At 37 minutes, the album feels a bit truncated, but not a moment is wasted. It's unclear whether this is indicative of Beequeen's future artistic direction, or whether this was a one-off tangent into partial coherence. Either way, it's a very welcome departure for the group, and speaks to their ongoing evolution and unwillingness to submit to the forces of creative inertia. - Jonathan Dean
Despite being a fairly straight-forward instrumental rock unit, Larsen have nonetheless willfully cultivated a hopelessly enigmatic image for themselves. Everyone has heard the story of how M. Gira came to produce the Italian group's second album Rever by now, and while the story might well be total bullshit, it has successfully perpetuated an air of mystery and intrigue around the band. For Play, their first album for Important Records, Larsen are still using the same basic sound palette as their previous efforts, with perhaps a more concerted push towards melody. Apparently these six tracks (each mysteriously named with a single letter of the alphabet) began their life as Autechre covers, before slowly evolving into something else entirely. If this information hadn't been outlined by Important, however, I would have never made the connection. With Autechre in mind as a reference point, I would say that Larsen were aiming to expose the oft-obscured melodies underlying Autechre's best work from albums like Tri Repetae and LP5. Listening to the play of vibraphone and drums on the album's opening track, I could imagine these same melodies in the cold, sterile digital environment of Booth and Brown, but I could just as easily imagine them as the soundtrack to a late 1960s psychedelic giallo film scored by Goblin. In the final analysis, the Autechre connection is really a red herring, and sells the album short. Play is more a competent work of dynamic ensemble playing by a group that is becoming more synergistic with each successive release. I don't normally go in for this type of ostentatious, self-important post-rock, but Larsen are so successful at building a melody and articulating its development perfectly over the course of an eight-minute song, that it's hard to resist. The droning layers of harmonium and accordion create a densely abstract architecture for the rhythm to inhabit, with the whispered, chanted and growled wordless vocals adding that slightly sinister touch. Current 93 listeners will notice interesting parallels between this album and C93's Sleep Has His House, as they use a virtually identical grouping of instruments. Occasionally, the players reach a noisy crescendo and the bombast is not dissimilar from vintage Children of God-era Swans. Guest contributions from cellist Julia Kent (Rasputina and Antony and the Johnsons) and violinist Matt Howden (Sol Invictus) lend the weighty tone of European folk music to the proceedings, which only intensifies the album's exquisitely somber mood. Coming off of a year of disappointing new albums by post-rock stalwarts Tortoise and countless GY!BE spinoffs, Play breathes fresh air into an overpopulated genre. Not that Larsen should be tied to that particular style association, as they clearly have a vision that supercedes the kind of high-concept elevator music made by the aforementioned bands. Though it's fairly brief as albums go, Play works because the music is taught, dramatic and entertaining; as soon as the album ended, I wanted to play it over from the beginning. - Jonathan Dean
Johan Skugge, "Volume"
"Bring Me On" begins the album with some quality Force Tracks style vocal tech house, adorning guest Laura Delicata's hypnotically effected voice with airy pads and funky bleeps. Delicata returns a few songs later on "Decandence," the album's first single and certainly worthy of such treatment. Somewhat more lyrically diverse, save for its repetitious one-word chorus, the track's quasi-acidic squelches and shimmering synth echoes drive this infectious club-ready concoction. Additional guest vocalist Andreas Byhlin appears on three tracks including the extremely poppy "Implosion." Abandoning the subdued and pompous sense cool often found in minimal house, Byhlin lets loose loudly and soulfully over Skugge's clicky rhythms and digitally crackling loops. Taking cues from vocal house music figures like Robert Owens and Michael Moog, Byhlin continues in similar refreshing fashion on "Set-Up," confidently crooning alongside dirty basslines and spacey atmospheres. The instrumental numbers are equally as impressive as the vocal ones, as they allow Skugge to use the melodies themselves as remarkable tonal voices within this danceable framework. The title track fills the space with deep and subtly dubby synthwork that washes over the minimal 4/4 beats without overwhelming them. While minimal music purists might not care for the relative fullness of Volume, Basic Channel-style techno fans and house music heads alike will take pleasure in this first surprisingly sharp release of 2005. - Gary Suarez
Zbigniew Karkowski/Antimatter, "KHZ"
Auscultare Research/Ground Fault
The second collaboration by Karkowski and Xopher Davidson (Antimatter) is a masterful work that rewards any patient listener with slowly unfolding layers of analog hum and buzz. The CD consists of one 45 minute piece, and this format suits the work well, as this kind of piece needs to develop slowly over a long period of time. The first 13 minutes are calm, and consist of low end rumbling and quiet high-pitched tones. This sort of restraint has often been a prelude to a blizzard of harsh noise in Karkowski's past work. KHZ is successful because it develops in a gradual manner, rather than simply being an exercise in quiet/loud interplay. This calm atmosphere eventually gives way to rapid clicking, analog patterns which hover at a moderate volume, and help the piece achieve a sense of movement. By 24 minutes these hums and buzzes have become a much louder chorus of shifting electronic pulses that are a massive payoff. The next four minutes are an excellent study of the interplay between this all-enveloping drone and some subtle, high-pitched staccato rhythms. The arrival of a brief noisy section towards the end is barely noticeable due to the gradual accumulation of intensity that characterizes the flow of the piece. Karkowski benefits greatly from this collaboration, as it seems to encourage his (relatively) subdued side. It is to their credit that the pair have restricted the length of this piece to 45 minutes, resisting the temptation to fill the CD to its capacity. While too many abstract sound artists explore only one end of the sonic spectrum, Karkowski and Davidson have succeeded in producing a work that focuses on the way these elements can work together. It is uncertain what relevance the only sleevenote, "rebounding=junk of life" -R. Selavy, has to the sounds contained within, but any alliance with Marcel Duchamp's feminine alter-ego is a gesture to be applauded. - Jim Siegel
This album is aptly titled, as the 17 tracks it contains sound neither hi nor lo fi. Stephen Wilkinson's debut release as Bibio is made up of a mixture of muffled field recordings, well-recorded live guitar playing, and ambient drones. Although individually these elements are successfully executed, the finished product could have been more fully realized. Many of the tracks are approximately two minutes long, and could have been developed into longer pieces. "Bewley in Grey" is one track that ends too soon, just as a nice ambience begins to swoop in and swirl around the repetitive guitar patterns. The short pieces which work best are those that are based on field recordings. "Cluster at CWM Einion" consists of sounds of creaking, rustling, and the faint voices of distant animals. If some of the instrument-based pieces were longer and more fully developed, these short sound-collages could work better as links, and would provide contrast. However, since almost all of the tracks are fairly short, with only five of the 17 passing the four minute mark, they all end up sounding like sketches. Some of them do work well as such, but others, especially "Lakeside" and "Bewley in White", would have benefitted from added instrumentation. Fi's atmospheric, pastoral quality is a good foundation, but too many of the tracks introduce loops without adding much to them. The album's longest track, "Cantaloup Carousel", starts with a strummed, melodic guitar pattern that sounds like an introduction to an actual song. However, this pattern continues for almost six more minutes with little variation besides an effect that makes it sound as if it's being played on a warbly cassette deck. While many of the tracks work well as instrumentals, some of them sound as if they are lacking vocals. If there were a few vocal tracks, or some other percussive elements added, the album would have more depth. Wilkinson may have feared that adding too much would have made the album sound cluttered, as it seems that his approach is somewhat rooted in minimalism. By adding elements with subtle gestures, he would have added variety without taking away from the album's appeal. Simply developing a few of the stronger pieces into longer, more finished works would have been another way to give the set more depth. As a debut album Fi shows that its' creator has a lot of potential. It would be nice to see him develop these elements into a more fully realized work. - Jim Siegel
Hood, "Outside Closer"
Around the time of Hood's Rustic Houses, Forlorn Valleys LP and their "Filmed Initiative" single, the band evolved from writing short and brilliant pastoral odes into writing longer and digressive elegies. Effectively, Hood changed from late afternoon ramblers marching from pub to pub into long trail through-hikers. There is more jazz than noise in their songs these days. Although I understood the band's progression and need for growth, I never appreciated it or liked it as much as the older Hood. But the band produced some memorable songs in these less memorable albums (and one thing which has never wavered was Hood's ability to produce stunning album coversthey have good aesthetic sense and photographic ability to beautifully capture England's fine fields with every album and singlethis album is no different). What is presently more caustic and inimical to Hood's sound now, though, is their newfound alliance with San Francisco's Anticon collective, the blossoming and sometimes intriguing indie hip hop outfit. The Anticon influence is felt straightaway from the first offering after the introduction, "The Negatives." The song begins with a recycled hip hop beat which sounds ill-suited for Hood's accustomed rural beauty. The impingement of the city's sound into Hood's usual rusticity is hard to accept, even harder to accept than the previous metamorphosis from short, concentrated meanderings into longer, digressive journeys. Were there room here for philosophical musings about urban sprawl and perhaps even the noxious Colonial influence on the motherland, we might be able to discern why Hood have wandered astray from their once-chosen path, adopting both the urban and the American. But before we can think too much, "Any Hopeful Thoughts Arrive" follows closely on "The Negatives," confirming the Anticon alliance and dismissing any real hopeful thoughts. Again, a hip hop beat with jump cuts and electronically scratched samples begins the song, later mixing with the more Hood-ish arrangements (strings; layered vocals; thoughtfully-plucked guitars, repeated as befits their delicateness). The hip hop elements add nothing to the song; rather, they detract and derail, calling the listener's attention harshly away. The song is actually quite dazzling underneath the initial and lingering cityscape. Another song similarly afflicted is "The Lost You," the lead single from the album. The latter half of the album is by far the more pleasurable. "Still Rain Fell" is the best song on the album (the title coincides with my first favorite song of Hood's digressive period, "S.E. Rain Patterns"), eschewing wisely any of the city sounds and retracing the more classic Hood sound. Just listen to how the band, halfway through the song, mimics the sound of the gentle rain first with their guitars, then with their percussion. These are sounds the city cannot appreciate. Poetically, "L. Fading Hills" fades out with the most panache on the album, nearly demanding another few minutes to contemplate the ending themes further. The last song, "This Is It, Forever," is a two and a half minute sound collage trying desperately to be a song, recalling a lot of what was most compelling about the old Hood. It's not so much the song "The Lost You" which troubles me. It's the lost Hood. The band has lost their way slightly, having wandered too far off some woodland path and emerged through brush and shrub on the boundary of some deformed city whose siren song has lulled Hood into a misguided collaboration. The later moments of "Outside Closer" give hope that some new streams and meadows might persuade them back towards their riotous roots in Spofforth Hill. - Joshua David Mann
By the End of Tonight, "Fireworks on Ice"
The idea of a hyper-quartet feasting on the remains of dead metal guitars, hyperventilating percussion, and over-romanticized melodies might, at first, sound like a fun trip through nausea. Due to a lack of vision, however, the EP these four Texans have crafted becomes too dull after its first half has expired to even be considered satisfyingly dizzying. Four tracks full of spinning drum sticks and convulsing guitar strings amount to a whole lot of yawning when they all begin exactly the same. Bits of vehemence become swallowed in layers of pretty chords and moments of relative peace over and over again. Add unexpected time signature changes and stop and go dynamics and basically every aspect of this EP has been covered adequately. If novelty is found to be necessary, behold the furious slamming of a drummer playing behind a child's first trap set and be satisfied. While the percussion does sound amazingly sharp and sits well with the walls of musical whirlwind that move with it, the necessity of using a child's drum kit is questionable and stands out like a bad stage prop meant for audience amusement only. "It's Christmas Time Again...," the EP's final track, is an eleven-plus minute monstrosity composed of each of the previous three tracks: this basically adds up to more of the same. Instrumental passages of romping grind and heaviness juxtaposed by melancholy and riffs right out of 80's do not become more impressive over time. This music is not like a good bowl of chili; it doesn't taste better the next day or after it's been sitting in the fridge for a night. After being offered song after song of repetitive and ultimately uniform rhythmic torture, By the End of Tonight sounds like it just doesn't have enough ideas for an EP, so the prospects of a better full-length seem dim for this band. They're all technically accomplished performers, but that doesn't make up for the lack of substance that ultimately dominates their recorded performance. - Lucas Schleicher
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.
WEEK OF JANUARY 23 - JANUARY 29
Aesop Rock - Fast Cars/Number Nine 12" (Definitive Jux, US)
AFX - Analord 1 12" (Rephlex, UK)
AFX - Analord 2 12" (Rephlex, UK)
Airborn Audio - Inside The Globe 12" (Ninja Tune, Canada/US)
Audible - Sky Signal CD (Polyvinyl, US)
Lou Barlow - Emoh CD/2xLP (Domino, UK)
The Black Dog - Bite Thee Back 12" (Dust Science, UK)
Bloc Party - Tulips 12" (Dim Mak, US)
Bluprint - Ruby 12" (Exceptional, UK)
Butti 49 - Habit CD/LP (Exceptional, UK)
Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake It's Morning CD/LP (Saddle Creek, US)
Bright Eyes - Digital Ash in a Digital Urn CD/LP (Saddle Creek, US)
Buck65 - This Right Here Is Buck65 CD (V2, US)
The Connection Machine - Painless CD (Down Low Music, The Netherlands)
Chemical Brothers - Push the Button CD/LP (Virgin, UK/Astralwerks, US)
Dubtribe Soundsystem - Baggage CD (Imperial Dub Recordings, US)
Duran Duran Duran - Very Pleasure CD (Cock Rock Disco, Germany)
Erasure - Nightbird CD (Mute, UK/US)
General Patton vs The X-ecutioners - General Patton vs The X-ecutioners CD (Ipecac, US)
Jennifer Gentle - Valende CD (Sub Pop, US)
The Gossip/Tracy & The Plastics - Real Damage 7" (Dim Mak, US)
Maximilian Hecker - Lady Sleep CD (Kitty Yo, Germany)
Jneiro Jarel - Three Piece Puzzle CD/2xLP (Kindred Spirits, The Netherlands)
Kaos - Boogie Boy 12" (!K7, Germany)
Jarboe - A Mystery Of Faith 2xCD [unreleased/rare/live Swans & World Of Skin tracks featuring vocals by Jarboe] (Atavistic, US)
Justus Köhncke - Elan/Taste 12" (Kompakt, Germany)
Koby Israelite - Mood Swings CD (Tzadik, US)
DJ Koze/Gebr. Teichmann - Speicher 25 12" (Kompakt, Germany)
L'altra - Different Days CD/LP (Hefty, US)
Mike Ladd - Negrophelia CD/LP (Thirsty Ear, US)
LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem 2xCD (DFA/EMI, UK)
Lemon Jelly - The Shouty Track 7"/two CDEPs (XL Recordings, UK)
Liquid Liquid/Dennis Young - Flextone/Signal Up Ahead 12" (Rush Hour, The Netherlands)
Low - The Great Destroyer CD/LP (Sub Pop, US)
Lusine - Serial Hodgepodge 2xLP [vinyl edition of 2004 CD release with one exclusive track] (Ghostly, US)
M83 - Before the Dawn Heals Us CD/2xLP (Mute, US)
Mercury Rev - The Secret Migration CD (V2, UK)
Naked City - The Complete Studio Recordings 5xCD (Tzadik, US)
Nitrada - Four Remixes 12" (2.nd rec, Germany)
Jan Norberg - Jan Made Secret Spring CD (Antenna Farm, US)
Ochre - A Midsummer Nice Dream 2xLP (Toytronic, UK)
Phthalocyanine - No One Said You Didn't CD (Planet µ, UK)
Pony Up! - Pony Up! CD (Dim Mak, US)
Psapp - Tiger, My Friend CD/LP (Arable, UK)
Psyche - The 11th Hour CD (Metropolis, US)
Radar - Easy Listening CD (Tzadik, US)
* Blaine Reininger & Steven Brown - Live In Lisbon 1989 CD [remastered reissue with two extra tracks] (LTM, UK)
Rhythm & Sound - See Mi Yah 7x7" (Burial Mix, Germany)
Six Organs Of Admittance - School Of The Flower CD/LP (Drag City, US)
* The Slits - Cut CD [remastered with bonus tracks] (Koch, US)
Stereo Total - Do the Bambi CD (Kill Rock Stars, US)
Matt Sweeney and Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Superwolf CD/LP (Drag City, US)
* Tears For Fears - Tears Roll Down: Greatest Hits '82-'92 2xCD [reissue with bonus disc of new remixes] (Universal, UK)
Amon Tobin - Chaos Theory: Soundtrack to Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell CD/2xLP (Ninja Tune, Canada/US)
Various - Rewind! 4 CD/2xLP (Ubiquity, US)
Charles Wuorinen - On Alligators CD (Tzadik, US)
* Yello - The Eye CD (Radikal, US)
Zohara - Scorched Lips CD (Tzadik, US)
John Zorn/Yamataka Eye - 50th Birthday Celebration Volume Ten CD (Tzadik, US)
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.