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Episode 485: September 27, 2020 (guest artist Julie Carpenter of Less Bells)

Julie Carpenter Jule Carpenter of Less Bells is this week's guest artist on Brainwashed Radio: The Podcast Edition

Mourning Jewelry is the second full-length album from Less Bells on Kranky. From the desert, surrounded by fire, we connected to Julie Carpenter for this podcast episode. Other music includes Howard Stelzer, The Fall, The Wake, and Michael C. Sharp.

NOW AVAILABLE through SPOTIFY and AMAZON (links below) in addition to the other platforms.

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Forced Exposure New Releases for the Week of 9/28/2020

New music is due from Einstürzende Neubauten, MJ Guider, The Durutti Column, and Vatican Shadow, while old music is due from John Carpenter, Hermann Nitsch, and Christina Kubisch.

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Less Bells, "Mourning Jewelry"

Cover of Less Bells - Mourning JewelryMourning Jewelry, the second release from Julie Carpenter’s orchestral outlet, fashions beauty out of grief, even as it takes listeners on a complex journey through darkness and grace, conveying it in not a single lyric. As with the prior release Solifuge, the palette consists of both electronic and acoustic instruments — choir, violin, cello, piano, flute, synth, bells, and this time, more acoustic guitar — that encourages the listener to succumb to grief, at times to feel overwhelmed but to be cathartically guided through and out of the challenging quagmire of emotions.

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Bob Mould, "Blue Hearts"

Cover of Bob Mould - Blue HeartsBob Mould’s career stems from a raw rock aesthetic full of fury, but he has never limited himself to it, as can be attested to as recently as his 2019 album Sunshine Rock, awash in joyful power pop melodies. Cue up 2020 and almost on a complete turnaround, he fully unleashes on Blue Hearts, holding nothing back of the raw emotions that many of us have been experiencing. Utilizing a power trio format that is his earmark, Mould has crafted a raging slab of mobilizing brilliance that is both a reactive and proactive rallying cry for our future, dialing in to anger, disbelief and disorientation that transcend the current headlines, filtered through Mould’s own storied past.

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Susana López, "Crónica de un Secuestro"

cover image In what will undoubtedly become a trend for artists in the coming months, Susana López’s latest work was conceived, constructed, and finalized during the lockdown.  Largely completed early on, during the month of March, López took advantage of that forced isolation to produce this lengthy, rich disc of synthesizers, electronics, and processed voices.  Although the sense of claustrophobia and tension are apparent, there is far more to Crónica de un Secuestro than just that.

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MJ Guider, "Sour Cherry Bell"

Cover of MJ Guider - Sour Cherry BellThe third release from musician and DJ Melissa Guion was recorded largely in her home, with only limited studio time, and is truly a step forward from her earlier releases. Where 2018’s Precious Systems had heavy emphasis on ethereal moodiness, Sour Cherry Bell delivers a bigger punch, one that is more forceful and up-front — raw power. The release is filled with dark synthesizers and demanding drum machines, balanced by airy, angelic vocals and atmospheric soundscapes for a moody and dreamy effect that suggests movement: mental, emotional, and physical. This quickly became a 2020 album of the year for me.

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Téléplasmiste, "To Kiss Earth Goodbye"

cover imageIt has been three years since this eclectic duo last released a proper full-length, though they have released a few fitfully intriguing cassettes in the interim.  While I enjoyed the looser, more abstract side of the project showcased on last year's Science Religion, it did not quite build upon the incredible promise of Frequency is the New Ecstasy's incredible "Astodaan."  That particular piece suggested that Téléplasmiste might someday deserve their own place in the illustrious Coil/Cyclobe continuum of heavy, occult-tinged, post-industrial psychedelia, though neither Mark Pilkington or Michael J. York are exactly starving for underground cred (Pilkington runs Strange Attractor Press and York was briefly a touring member of Coil).  The twist is that the two artists make for a pair every bit as curious and improbable as Golden Retriever, as York's expertise in bagpipes and other wind instruments is hardly common as a guiding force in the post-industrial milieu and Pilkington is not exactly a conventional musician himself.  In the context of Téléplasmiste, however, the pair tend to focus on combining heady synth drones and eerie, ritualistic pipes to evoke something akin to a portal to an altered state of consciousness.  Occasionally their more bubbly kosmische side rubs me the wrong way, but the lion's share of this album is both wonderful and mesmerizing.

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Ike Yard, "Night After Night"

cover imageSuperior Viaduct's Ike Yard reissue campaign continues (and presumably ends) with this, the band's woefully underheard debut EP.  Night After Night was recorded shortly after the band formed and was originally released on Belgium's Les Disques Du Crépuscule back in 1981.  It has never been reissued before now, which means that it was never actually available domestically (except as an import) during Ike Yard's brief initial lifespan.  That is unfortunate, as it is objectively one of the better releases to emerge from NYC's No Wave scene, even if it was completely eclipsed by Ike Yard's classic full-length a year later.  The difference between the two releases is quite an interesting and significant one, as Night After Night feels like the work of an actual human band with recognizable instruments rather than an audacious feat of stark, alienating production.  On one level, the transformation between the two releases calls to mind pre-Martin Hannett Warsaw versus the iconic post-Hannett Joy Division, but the aesthetic itself is closer to a Public Image Ltd. homage by people who thought Jah Wobble and Keith Levene's parts were the only bits worth saving.

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Simeon Coxe, 1938-2020

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Silver Apples founder, Simeon Coxe. Not only was the music Simeon created back in the 1960s with Silver Apples influential beyond measure, he was an amazing gentleman and wonderful soul.

In 2008, Simeon played Brainwaves as Silver Apples to the only standing ovation during the weekend. Click here to see some photos by Greg Cristman. He will be missed.

https://obits.al.com/obituaries/mobile/obituary.aspx?n=simeon-coxe&pid=196760627&fhid=18119

 

X, "Alphabetland"

Cover of X - AlphabetlandSince 2016, I maintained there would be the advent of a new mantra: “Make Music Great Again.” Sometimes the reference became more specific, replaced with Punk or Deathrock depending on my mood, but the message remained the same: the impetus for music with a message would be opened. We’ve seen legends returning to take advantage of the era to release new work, so there was a mix of both surprise and lack thereof when, completely unannounced, legendary punk band X dropped ALPHABETLAND, their first studio release in 27 years (and the first with their original line-up in the past 35 years) to coincide with the 40th anniversary of their classic 1980 debut Los Angeles. A fresh blast from the past that looks to the future, X come racing out of the gate with the same ferociousness and insistent melody of any of their classics.

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Tara Jane O'Neil

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Review of the Day

"No Watches, No Maps"
While the Fat Cat people boast about their committment to introducing fresh new artists, they've played the game relatively safe for their entire existence. A successful record label has to establish themselves pretty much before they can make bold moves like this one, releasing a CD comprised entirely of demos received by the label from complete unknowns. Fat Cat established themselves by releasing an assortment of buzzworthy 12" split singles, sneaking in a relatively unknown act on one side with an established act on the other side. In sales it's called the "foot in the door technique" — now that we've got your attention, try this! The label's intentions are well and this technique sure paid off.
Conceived over two years ago, this collection gathers 74 minutes of people you most likely have never heard of, many of which will probably not surface again. While Fat Cat have pointed out that they love all of these songs, limitations of the label have only allowed them time, budget and manpower to do full releases of a couple, two of which Com.A and Duplo Remote have tracks appearing here. The collection is surprisingly impressive, starting off with the brief abrasive noise of QT?, continuing on with glitch electronica Autechre worshipping sound of Phluidbox, the sci-fi death theme sounds from Jetone and pentatonic Asian taste of Zooey. By the time it reaches the slick production of the instrumental Fridge-ish jam, Ukiyo-E's "Val Doonican," the grand scope of the collection is shifted, transforming it from a collection of random electronics to something more. At this point, the compilation of unknowns begins to strangely mirror a well-constructed soundtrack or an 80s-era cassette-only comp. Changes continue when the pounding abrasive head nodding track from Moneyshot bursts in, a melancholy piano piece from Beans arrives a few tracks later, followed by more electronic and organic contributions including the gorgeous low-tempo submission from Cytokine.
While each of the 19 songs on here are quality work, it's easy to tell that all of these artists are still in the infancy of their careers, with much more to learn about originality, composition and production. Much like releases like the "Rising from the Red Sand" comps for example, I'm predicting this disc will become one of those collectable references on discographies popping up years from now. On the horizon for the label is a section on their website with exchanges of music like this and hopefully more collections.

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