the brainwashed brain
a weekly digest from the staff and contributors of brainwashed
V08I27 - 07242005
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we're not saying goodbye
No, last week's announcement wasn't a joke: this is the last issue of The Brain, however, we will launch a brand new Brainwashed on August 1st. The reviews are not going away, The Eye is not going away, Links of the Week are not going away, the poll isn't going away, site news and tour dates and new releases are not going away—only The Brain is. Everybody at Brainwashed is excited about the new format and system and think it can only be the beginning of a steady slope of more improvements. We're too dedicated to music to pack things up and quit! Thanks for all of your support. We're inviting you to come back August 1st to see the new digs.

skot takes a back seat
Skot Kirkwood is passing the baton of site manager to the Current 93 website over to Jose Pacheco. Skot Kirkwood has been the man behind the Current 93 and Death In June websites since their beginnings before Brainwashed. The sites first appeared around 1994/1995 at the time of the launch of the Nurse With Wound and Organum websites by Jeff Reid, originally hosted at the University of Washington. As college kids eventually graduate, the websites needed more permanent homes, and Brainwashed adopted these websites around 1996. Over the years the maintenance and upkeep has unfortunately slid and so we are excited to announce a new site manager/developer. (We actually are also now taking applicants for the Death In June site too.) It's worth noting that although some musical artists have taken it upon themselves to develop more "official" websites of their own, Brainwashed has been operating under their blessing as the most complete public archive, often consulting it themselves when faced with reissues or compilations! Thanks to Skot for all your work and we hope you continue to tune into Brainwashed to see everything's coming along!

tino corp issues first dvd compilation
The first-ever compilation of videos created by Ben Stokes featuring many classic music videos from Tino, Meat Beat Manifesto, DJ Shadow, DHS and more. Extras include live Tino and DHS footage with multi-angle function. 5.1 audio mix throughout for all surround sound fanatics! It's now available directly from Tino Corp.



Meat Beat Manifesto, "At The Center"
Thirsty Ear
When I was in high school, my friends and I used to have this discussion all the time about how Jack Dangers had such a signature sound that he could take anyone else's song and remix it into something that was unmistakably Meat Beat Manifesto. It shouldn't come as any surprise then that some fifteen years later when Dangers has taken on the task of producing a jazz record for Thirsty Ear, that the result still sounds like quintessential Meat Beat. While jazz sampling and experimentation are nothing new to the Meat Beat catalog, this is the first record in a long and noteworthy career that is explicitly anchored more in the jazz tradition than in the world of club music, hip hop, and dub. I should note that I don't listen to much jazz: I know what I like and numerous attempts to get into jazz have just left me to conclude that the genre as a whole is not really my cup of tea. However, a record like At The Center exists to change that. Thirsty Ear has been building a catalog that could be described as "jazz for people who don't like jazz" by courting people from the electronic music world and getting them to participate in 'The Blue Series.' Records from DJ Spooky, DJ Wally, Spring Heel Jack and others have all found their way into my record collection as ambassadors to a sound and style and tradition that I don't usually embrace. Of the Blue Series records I've heard, At The Center is perhaps the one that manages to keep the most of its creator's original identity in place while staying faithful to the intention of the project. This record is comprised of wiggly flute and clarinet pieces, upright bass, shuffling drum beats, playful stabs of piano, and odd samples—the usual. The sounds themselves aren't particularly new for a Meat Beat release, but they are cleaner and less processed than usual, giving the record much more of an improvised and live feel. Only one track is longer than six minutes, and that's perhaps the greatest success for this record: that it manages to explore and stretch without getting self-indulgent the way some jazz does. That's not to say the record is made up completely of gems. There are two tracks with an extended recording of someone reading quirky want ads in a strange voice, and while the tracks were funny the first or second time I heard them, they drag on after many more listens. However, astute listeners will hear some faint recycling of jazz touches and melodic phrases from older Meat Beat records worked into the fray and that kind of self-sampling even when the instruments are being played live is so necessarily Meat Beat Manifesto that the record ultimately breezes past any low points. At The Center makes genre and style irrelevant to the equation of enjoying music, and that's what it's all about in the end. Like many other talented multi-instrumentalists and composers, the result of the work is less about songs that fulfill a stylistic promise and more about their creator's will imposing itself regardless of the format, rules, or expectations. That Dangers is backed by a talented gang of players only makes the disc that much more of a success. - Matthew Jeanes


Blue Baby Recordings
For this, the final issue of The Brain, I thought I'd send things off by examining the prolific work of Mat Sweet, the owner and operator of Blue Baby Recordings, and the main musician, visual artist and creative force behind the label's releases. Over the past few years, Sweet has recorded and released a clutch of CD-Rs under various project names—Boduf Songs, Randolph Carter, Pistols at Dawn With Afterglow, Four Man Ghost, Heavy Manufacturing Concern, History of Electricity, Map of Hell—some strictly solo affairs and some with a small cast of collaborators. Sweet has been toiling away in almost total obscurity at his home in Southampton, England, producing an impressive catalog of releases, all with lovely handmade packaging, and most with startlingly distinctive musical content. When I first received the package from Blue Baby Recordings, full of eye-popping handmade collage covers, each with its own distinct visual aesthetic—hand-stamped inserts, xeroxed booklets, intricate typography—I was impressed by Sweet's dedication to his art. When I began to listen, I was struck not only by the unusual level of quality control exercised throughout each release, but also by the fact that Sweet's work has remained a secret for this long, in an age when underground, do-it-yourself CD-R labels have been blessed with hipster cache' and critical acclaim. While The Wire's David Keenan and his Volcanic Tongue distribution company wanks all over the newest CD-R of pointless, boring drone from some untalented, unshaven free-folk-noise outfit from the bowels of a nameless American suburb, a label like Blue Baby Recordings, right in his backyard, is completely ignored. All that is set to change this coming October, when Kranky releases the self-titled Boduf Songs album, which is sure to bring some well-deserved attention to Sweet and his other projects. Be sure to check out the great artwork and design at Blue Baby's website, where CD-R releases can be ordered for extremely reasonable postpaid prices. Just don't forget that you heard it here first. - Jonathan Dean

Randolph Carter, "Easter Parade"
Blue Baby Recordings
Randolph Carter was one of author H.P. Lovecraft's most memorable protagonists, a man so frightened by the sudden, unexplainable death of his companion that he could only provide sketchy details on the nameless ancient horror they both glimpsed at night in a catacombs, amidst foul miasmal vapors issuing from an open sepulcher. The music of Randolph Carter is similarly unspeakable, a collection of chilling ambient soundscapes each darker and more nebulous than the last, creaking machines and rumbling undercurrents of noise, strange vibrations bubbling up from the core of a dying star. It's a noise record, but one that relies on the subtle creation of insistent dread, rather than aggressive squalls of feedback, for its effect. It's more akin to early work by Lustmord or SPK than the familiar cadre' of modern noise artists, but there is a thread of subtle beauty running through these compositions as well. It's anyone's guess what kind of gear was used to create these effects, but there seems to be some usage of analog synthesizers and a variety of effects pedals, as well as (maybe) some tape effects. The elements pile on top of each other, creating an appealingly suggestive low-fidelity tangle of sound, in which one can pick out backwards-masked voices, animal sounds, chattering machines, and other sounds which may or may not actually be present. On "The 9th Duke, Manifest In All His Insufferable Beauty," a resounding, earth-pounding heartbeat forms a cataclysmic rhythm, while "Nero Is My Lover" is the soundtrack to an erotic nightmare about a Tesla coil. The H.P. Lovecraft influence can be felt on a track like "I'm Clipping Your Wings," a yawning cave echoing with the reverberating groans of some hoary demon releasing foul, malodorous belches while bathing in a sea of entrails. "One Who Glistens Horribly" sounds like the opening kettle drum fanfare for the commencement of a weird Witches Sabbath rite performed at the edge of a volcano. Much of Easter Parade is utterly nightmarish, and I was left awestruck, watching amorphous, necrophagous shadows dance beneath an accursed waning moon. - Jonathan Dean (with some help from H.P. Lovecraft)


Map of Hell
Blue Baby Recordings
Map of Hell makes slow-motion doom metal that should please the newfound legions of post-Nordic sludge enthusiasts currently clamoring over records by Earth, Sunn O))), Khanate and Black Boned Angel. Unlike Randolph Carter, Map of Hell is a full group: M. Sweet on guitar, Clive Henry on "deathgrunt" and unknown quantities bass and drums. MOH's particular brand of crushing death rock is a bit more tuneful and less abstract than the aforementioned acts, and their lengthy excursions tend to stay grounded in something approaching melody and forward momentum, but the low-fidelity recording style constantly pushes the band's considerable bottom-end into the red zone of distortion. This creates ugly squalls of noise that obscure the group's dynamics, forcing attention onto the compounding sediment that clings to every downcast riff, accompanied by what vocals that sound like the disembodied roars of a giant robotic lion with its tail being held to a flame. The drumming is the most impressive element, reigning in the chaotic spray of muddy guitar noise, creating an insulating architecture amidst the poisonous, choking smoke filling the air. It's an undeniably hellish concoction that thankfully does not wear out its welcome by the 32-minute mark, though I must admit that I might already be tired of the whole "subterranean metal" subgenre at this point. I still think that there are some unparalleled classics of the genre—Earth's Extra-Capsular Extraction and Sunn O)))'s White 1—that I will probably enjoy forever, but the sheer amount of this stuff being released right now can't help but cheapen even a sincere effort like Map of Hell's debut, though it's worth noting that this album was recorded back in 2002, well before the crest of the wave. The liner notes contain some cut-ups that contribute thematic justification to the relentlessly negative riffage on the album, not that you ever really need an excuse to wallow in a pit of twisted, low-end metal debris. - Jonathan Dean


Pistols At Dawn With Afterglow, "No Songs of Birds, No Rustle" and "Your Own Heaven Is Smoking, And Your Clouds Are On Fire"
Blue Baby Recordings
Pistols At Dawn With Afterglow create lengthy compositions, stretching organic drones and loops across the entire length of an album, with subtle acoustic elements nudging their way in, lonely almost-melodies that bubble up and dissipate, leaving a trail of ghostly echoes in their wake. On No Songs of Birds, No Rustle, an eerie drone keeps cycling around, rudely sputtering every time it begins anew, sparsely decorated at unpredictable intervals with reverberating guitar notes, the bowing of a cello, or tiny pockets of analog glitch. Each of these elements disturbs the calm ever so slightly, sending out rippling echoes over the placid surface of the pastoral drone, the tiny waves intersecting and bouncing off of each other, subtly changing frequency and wavelength, creating tiny, compelling microtonal events. Half an hour into the piece, when I began to hear what sounded like someone sighing into a harmonica, it seemed like it arrived exactly at the perfect time, just as it should have. PADWA is the improvising duo of M. Sweet and Clive Henry, who together seem to have an uncanny knack for creating compositions that gradually reveal their treasures; beginning minimally, slowly coaxing out harmonious swells of sound. By the last few minutes of No Songs of Birds, the piece has become nearly overwhelmingly gorgeous, a thick blanket of pregnant, vibratory cello drones with slow, uncomplicated melodies shimmering in the surrounding atmosphere. Your Own Heaven Is Smoking uses a very similar palette and working method, but arrives in crepuscular territory. The backbone of the album's first track is a rumbling, uncertain drone that feels warm, wet and plugged in, nervously shaking as ghostly tones snake lazily around its crackling field of electromagnetism. Track two is even more adrift in the interstices of ancient circuitry, much of the sound occurring just beyond the threshold of cohesiveness, with only the chirping of crickets echoing out across a dusty desert at night to remind me of my general location in spacetime. - Jonathan Dean


Four Man Ghost, "I" and "II"
Blue Baby Recordings
Four Man Ghost is yet another group, this one consisting of M. Sweet on drums, Clive Henry on guitar and another unidentified human playing bass. The music made by Four Man Ghost is probably the most straightforward of any to be found on the Blue Baby imprint: a post-rock trio that keeps rhythm and melody at the forefront at all times. The interplay of this trio of musicians is quiet and deceptively simple. Though I must admit I wasn't initially bowled over by the insistent plainness of tracks like "Elizabeth Constance Byrd" upon first listen, I slowly realized that Four Man Ghost make their biggest mark by what they do not do: by the notes they leave unplayed. The group is remarkably consistent at slowly building drama and intensity by deliberately refusing to fill every silence with extraneous composition and aimless soloing. This can sometimes lead to compositions that build slowly and rely on repetition, but the results are more often than not quite gorgeous and hypnotizing. Songs often take six to eight minutes to run their course, meandering lazily through metronomic rhythms, subtle tempo changes and cyclical melodies that gather complexity as they revolve. Though the group consists of only three, the fourth man of the title might very well be a ghostly presence, as most of the tracks are named after historical personages said to haunt various locations in Great Britain. There does seem to be a slight ghostly presence on some tracks, in the form of rippling undercurrents of drone and creepy atmospherics. This is even more obvious on FMG's second album, which is mostly a solo affair, M. Sweet playing most of the instruments, utilizing overdubs, with C. Henry helping out on a few tracks. While the music is no less precise and melodic, songs are matched with electronic textures of esoteric origin, often upstaging the simplistic melodies. There is also a stronger sense of "room tone" on many of these tracks, with the rudimentary recording equipment and impromptu overdubs bleeding through, creating a charming, low-fidelity quality. Both FMG albums end just as they are becoming tiresome, which is more than I can say for the last Tortoise album. - Jonathan Dean


Heavy Manufacturing Concern, "Ausserhalb Under Erasure" and "All Language Is A Drunk Goddess In My Mouth"
Blue Baby Recordings
Heavy Manufacturing Concern is M. Sweet working solo with an array of analog noisemakers, and it appears to be the project name reserved for his most abstract and exploratory work. As HMC, he creates lengthy soundscapes full of warm, outdated factory machines throbbing noisily along with the rhythms of alternating electrical current. Ausserhalb Under Erasure sounds not unlike the sort of records that Beequeen were releasing several years back: oddly suggestive albums made up of dusty drones and atmospheres seemingly recorded in abandoned hospitals, disused military bunkers and vast, uninhabited space stations. There are all manner of ghosts and strange chirping, electrical homunculi inhabiting the machines of Ausserhalb, chewing holes in the wires and pulling levers to make the machine spin out of control. It's an album for deep listening on headphones, with its fictional machine soundscapes captured so vividly that they recall the finest of Nurse With Wound or Cyclobe. The outstandingly named All Language Is A Drunk Goddess In My Mouth contains one long piece, an exercise in reigning in static and white noise, creating psychedelic whirlpools of thought-cancelling noise, tunneling through your cerebellum, making way for a new imprintation of reality. In the midst of all of these staccato detonations of mind-fog, you could almost miss the dark melody pushed far into the background, sounding like a reverberating church organ playing the love theme from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. It's a gloriously fucked sound, moving through a series of dark tonal shifts until it finally reaches down into a very dark place to finally claim your soul for good. Don't fight it. - Jonathan Dean


Aidan Baker & Ultra Milkmaids, "At Home With..."
Infraction has been a label to watch for some time. With each new release the label showcases a list of consistently excellent artists whom are always trying to bend sound towards new pleasures. According to their website, Ultra Milkmaids have been around for over ten years, starting as a punk band and slowly evolving towards instrumental rock and hazier musical ventures that has culminated on this disc with Aidan Baker, someone that should be familiar if proper attention has been paid. The disc begins as though a blanket is being drawn across the sky and an eternal night is ready to spread its jaw over the world — the music is sleepy and soft, buzzing with the warmth of dying guitars. A brief silence ensues and then, as though a chest has been ripped open during surgery, the movement of blood, the pumping of the heart, the magnified movement of a million cells, and the twitching ache of sedated muscle become obvious and the yawning guitars take on a far more involved texture, scratching and extending into the body and eviscerating it. The sound isn't threatening, it's simply and beautifully observational, like watching the wonder of the human body at work with every detail focused and steady. The album changes drastically over its three tracks, the second being the most loving and gentle.. "Stretched Guitars Lie Slo" bleeds and sweeps in a cloud of humming keyboards, bubbling melody, and the march-like pulse of a snare drum crackling slowly in the background. Much like watching the flight of a large bird, the music is epic and soft in its contours, turns, and dives. No sound seems capable of overpowering the other and, as a result, it's possible to think that this record can't possibly be changing, that it's melodic and textural movement is pure illusion. I've not been this immediately captivated by a record of this sort since I began listening to electronic music. It encompasses everything I've always thought should happen on a record of this kind - majestic, careful melody aimed high and backed by the most subtle of variations combined with emotionally gripping or familiar sounds. The closing track brings everything down with a clothed shine, the color of yellow and dreamed-white awash with microscopic activity. Each second on At Home With... is granular, almost tangible in its spectral movement. It is simultaneously cosmic and biological, providing a panorama or arch that begins in the body and ends somewhere in space. - Lucas Schleicher


Monos, "Generators"
Die Stadt
Few records have the severity of depth that this one carries with it: developing and fluid in its every contour, ever-present, but always hiding behind the shape of a shadow. There is no resting point, no sound or simple feeling that these four pieces lean on in order to carry out their miles-deep melancholy. As "Sleep" begins there is a suggestion made, a hypnotic motion meant only to seduce the mind into the belief that Darren Tate and Colin Potter are intent on relaxing muscle and slowing brain activity to a crawl. The hum of electronics blows easily until random sounds—coughing, restlessness, twisting and turning—bolt through the still waters of the track. Slowly developing melodic themes, almost too distant to piece together, stretch from their slumber and begin a slow crawl through the lamp-lit streets that are at the very heart of Generators. This is a dream record through and through. All around is an environment of places and the energy they emit: a spider crawling along its web musically, the unearthly buzz of fluorescent light, a lone figure standing still beneath it, everything awash with dark undulations, like the movement of the ocean. The slow, deliberate pulse of the album delivers a suffocating atmosphere with a strange sense of density. The sounds slowly congeal, pressed by gravity and necessity, to a mass that is ultimately crushing. As "Slowly Fading" slips away into silence, there is a mood left behind that cannot be lifted easily. The whole of the 2nd CD, entitled "The Black Sea," is a radiant bubbling of all that dark material, the introverted dreamscape of the 1st CD, made flesh and blood. Printed inside this beautiful gate-fold case is the word "still." Generators does exhibit a stillness, a strange freeze frame of moments inundated with uncomfortable thoughts, but it achieves this effect with variation as its mantra. The howling, moaning, wind-blasted end carries with it a sense of illusion that has every scene suddenly infused with shock and tense silence. Generators lives up to its name, conducting a psychological, frozen horror in its progression. The simplest image, like that of an orange hanging from a tree, becomes loaded and awkward under this album's impression. - Lucas Schleicher


Foetus, "Love"
The Birdman Recording Group
Whilst the cover of this album is headache-inducing (a dizzying design using the usual black, white and red motif), the musical content massages the brain's pleasure centres. The devient pleasure centres. Whilst most artists start to show cracks at this stage in their career, Jim Thirlwell continues to churn out quality recordings. He has the gift of taking lyrics that would be corny in any other singer's mouth and turning them into barbed lines of genius, see "Aladdin Reverse" for some prime examples. The music also shows how Thirlwell can turn what would be cheesy (like the synth bass on "Miracle") into not quite gold but maybe some good silver. Love sounds like a bastardised soundtrack for a blockbuster. Epic sounding strings, brass and thumping percussion being the weapons of choice. "Time Marches On" is where Thirlwell went whole hog with the soundtrack vibe, an incessant snare drum pushes the track on and on as strings play dramatic arpeggios and horns blare out a tune that should accompany Clint Eastwood on horseback. In recent interviews Thirlwell has professed his love for Hollywood composers like Alan Silvestri and Danny Elfman and their influence is all over Love. Elements of Morricone also stick out at certain points but it all still sounds like Foetus. One of the highlights of the album is "Thrush," a duet with Jennifer Charles of Elysian Fields. Her delicate voice locks in perfectly with Thirlwell's serial killer croak. The album's title is also the main theme of the album. However in the world of Foetus love is not that wholesome experience that is usually sung about but the love between a man and a corpse. On "(Not Adam)" Thirlwell sings to a loved one to "Stop your raving cos the neighbours might be listening" and then describes her murder and how he has kept her body in his bed. With charm like that how can he go wrong? The other tracks all deal with murder and pervy love to some degree. From musings about forensic evidence in "Miracle" to madness and ink blots in "Pareidolia," I won't be visiting Thirlwell after dark. Love is a relentless and brilliant album and for once I agree with Lennon and McCartney, all you need is Love. - John Kealy


olvis, "the blue sound"
There's a certain magic quality to window gazing from a moving train. The din and rattle of the train as it thrusts towards its destination, coupled with the quiet serenity seen through the window, can make for a calming and restorative experience. Olvis' Orlygur Thor Orlygursson seems to understand this quiet majesty, and on The Blue Sound, he creates an album that manages to approximate that intimate experience. The feel and sound of 1960s French and Brazilian pop, Icelandic sound-scapes, and mid-1990s Tortoise all find their way onto this record, making it a particularly warm and inviting experience. On "Time Capsule," slowly swelling strings provide for a lush background against Orlygursson's unassuming vocals (here in Icelandic), allowing the song to reach an understated jazzy swing. Elsewhere, such as on "Whispering Glades" and "Pacific Island," he beats TNT-era Tortoise at their own game. With the aid of Sigur Rós members Orri Dyrason on drums and Georg Holm on bass on the former (both contribute on several other songs), both songs achieve a dream-like swirl that touches on everything from shimmering folk to post-rock atmospherics. Though The Blue Sound manages to be engaging throughout, there are points where Olvis' sonic soundscapes can lapse into "chill out" pastiche. This is the case with "Warfare and Welfare," which boasts some pretty arrangements, but ultimately fails to deliver the subdued hooks and stylistic flexibility of his other songs. But complaints like these pale in comparison to the positive things there are to be found on this release. With The Blue Sound, Orlygursson has managed to synthesize his wide-ranging influences into a single vision and we are all to benefit for it. - Nick Feeley


Black Sun Productions, "Operett Amorale"
Divine Frequency
Massimo and Pierce are best known around these parts as the Ghost Boys who formed part of Coil's live shows. They set up Black Sun Productions as a multimedia enterprise and Operett Amorale is their latest audio venture. The album is a tribute to the German poet and dramatist Bertolt Brecht. Unlike most tributes to Brecht less than half the album is from Brecht's famous collaborations with Kurt Weill. Massimo and Pierce's artistic goals are very much in synch with Brecht's—all of their works are decadent and subversive. The marriage between Black Sun Productions and Brecht on this album works exceptionally well. Operett Amorale is littered with guest artists including Lydia Lunch, H.R. Giger, Fabrizio Pallumbo (from (r) and Larsen) and Coil. The contribution from Coil, "A List of Wishes," is one of Jhonn Balance's final studio works. It is an adaptation of one of Brecht's poems set to Sleazy's music. The lilting beat is both evocative of Weimarer Republik era Berlin and Coil's own distinct sound. H.R. Giger provides both the cover art and his voice to "Seeraeuber-Jenny". The cover art is Giger's Alien molesting a woman with its various appendages, I'm not quite sure how that ties in with Brecht but it is impressive looking nonetheless. Pallumbo's style fits like a glove on this album. Tracks like "Brothel Tango" sound like Larsen if Larsen were from twenties' Berlin. Pallumbo performs on most of the tracks with Massimo and Pierce. Whilst Pallumbo's influence is evident it never overpowers the songs. The one thing that lets the album down is Lydia Lunch's performance on "The Ballad of Sexual Dependency." Her delivery of the words is cringe worthy but then again, I have never been able to tolerate her pseudo art rubbish. Apart from that the rest of the CD is flawless. Massimo and Pierce's vocals are excellent, especially on "Pimp Ballad". The music complements their voices, many of the tracks sound like a band that have been playing these songs comfortably with each other for years. Some of the tracks use samples of older recordings of Brecht's works, "Johnny Over the Sea" uses Gisela May's voice and "Ballade von der Hoellenlili" uses Lotte Lenya (who won a Tony Award for one of her performances as Jenny). This is one of the best tributes to Brecht and the music of Weimar Berlin that I've heard in a long time. Unlike the diluted nature of Bobby Darin's "Mack The Knife," Black Sun Productions' Operett Amorale embraces the sheer decadence and pleasure of the time and place whilst keeping it sounding modern and relevant to today. Massimo and Pierce would have made Brecht proud. - John Kealy


odawas, "the aether eater"
It's been an exhausting voyage for the emotionally disconnected astronaut of Odawas' debut release The Aether Eater. Just a glance at the lyrics, with references to constellations, outer rings, Dante, and Virgil, proves that the Indiana trio has self-revelatory traveling on their minds. "The Astronaut" starts things off on a subdued note, as slowly chiming bells toll, an understated guitar and warped vocals slowly make their way to the fore. Mike Tapscott, in his reedy warble, introduces us to the protagonist who "spent his days walking the streets with violent thoughts." The astronaut is then launched into space on the next track, "If It Smells Like a Rain Cloud," as plinking keyboard riffs and simple drums rocket him past strange worlds and stranger characters. On several of these tracks, such as "The Golden Fog" or the childhood trauma of "Benjamin," Odawas sound much like fellow low-fi prog-poppers Mt. Eerie. But where Mt. Eerie often sound like a reverberating old growth forest, Odawas appear much grander and remote, as though they are being beamed in as a far away signal. Elsewhere, the band engages in some unique experimentation. "Songs of Temptation" rides a swinging piano and a near smooth jazz sax. Along with the female backing vocals that echo throughout, it would not be such a lark to assume it were a Dark Side of the Moon castoff. Most bizarre though is "Ant Man Messiah Elijah," where a harpsichord backs up a near monologue that provides some of the best insights and poses some of the toughest questions regarding Odawas' antihero. Behind heavily manipulated vocals, Mike Tapscott declares "There are lights in the sky that have called me by name; the galaxy's secrets are whispered in rain." By the time I reached "Virgil," I felt as though I had been gone for years and had landed in a world vaguely familiar yet distinctly different. Odawas' journey is an often confounding and challenging one, but it's one I won't soon forget. - Nick Feeley


entre rios, "onda"
This Argentinean trio breaks very little ground on their latest outing on Darla, and for the most part, this is fine by me. Lacking the coke-fueled swagger of groups like Fischerspooner, Entre Rios come of as kids who bought the textbook and read very closely. Their songs do everything I expect electro-pop to do: ride percolating beats; feature vocals that are coolly detached (or completely disinterested depending on your point of view); and disappear from my consciousness soon thereafter. The production here is smooth—like Steely Dan playing on a Formica counter top smooth—something that sound engineer Gabriel Lucena can take pride in. On "Claro Que Sí," his beats float and laze away behind singer Isol's icy detachment. It's a pretty moment of sugary pop on an album that at times can become overbearing in its sweetness. "De Tener" is similar in its execution, but features a strong chorus that keeps things interesting. While there is nothing particularly wrong with Onda, their formulaic take on electro-pop becomes a bit grating and, well, boring. The tempos here rarely rise above a mid tempo shuffle, which cause the songs to be bogged down in a mid-paced mire. Furthermore, while their songs are sung in Spanish, a basic understanding of the language and a quick glance at the lyrics reveal that lyricist Sebastián Carreras' songs aren't exactly breaking any new ground in songwriting. Ultimately, what saves Entre Rios is the fact that they know they shouldn't be trying to stretch the boundaries of electro-pop. Onda knows it won't be shattering expectations or changing any lives. Instead, it offers 11 pieces of clean, club-ready beats and breathy vocals. Whether you care enough to accept them is entirely up to you. - Nick Feeley


Kid Loco, "The Graffiti Artist"
Mettray Reformatory
"Great," I thought as I opened this CD, "a movie soundtrack about a guy who runs around tagging in abandoned train yards and warehouses and stuff. HAS to be hip-hop, lots of down and dirty backpacker hip hop. Hopefully it'll be as relevant but less whiny than Sage Francis, as elemental but not as blunted as Madlib...wait, what the fuck? It's by Kid Loco, Paris discothčque DJ, who spins trip hop and house to hordes of sweaty lycra and polyester wearing Eurotrash." Not only that, he says it's good enough to be a stand-alone album, not just aural accompaniment to the film. Having not seen the film, I really can't say how it functions as a soundtrack- but judging from the music, Mr. The Graffiti Artist is a dark and brooding chap, graffing buildings to a wandering and repetitive vaguely Eastern sitar and woodwind motif. Recurring themes are apparent in the soundtrack's 80 minutes—the sitar and woodwinds, and a mournful calliope hooting behind a vaguely hip hop drum roll—meaning Loco may be using leitmotif—or he may just have ran out of ideas and mailed this one in. As far as atmospherics go, he's nailed the seedy, nocturnal feel. You can almost feel the fog and darkness coming out of the speakers when the Eastern instruments play. However, the calliope and drums aren't very emotive: with one exception, they're bland and repetitive. The album does seem like it's building to some sort of climax at the very end, but instead of coming to any sort of a peak, the music drifts away, leaving, well, nothing. This may be a perfect backdrop to a post-modern urban nihilist film. This may be the weirdest and most ill-conceived pairing since Mr. T babysat Jerry Falwell's kids. The film's perceived audience—kids in hooded sweatshirts with Sharpies in their pockets and rap in their headphones—will probably think it's the latter. Loco is a fine musician, and some will probably enjoy the inoffensive musical banter he provides here. Whether they will ever hear it—or hear it along with the film—remains to be seen. - Chris Roberts


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.



* !!! - Take Ecstasy With Me/Get Up 12" (Warp, UK)
Argy - Love Dose 12" (Poker Flat, Germany)
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - I Gave You 7" (Domino, UK)
Charlottefield ­ How Long Are You Staying CD (Jonson Family/FatCat, UK)
The Concretes - Layourbattleaxedown CD [b-sides & rarities collection] (Astralwerks, US)
Criteria - Prevent the World CDEP (Saddle Creek, US)
Erasure - Here I Go Impossible Again/All This Time Still Falling Out Of Love CDEP (Mute, US)
Exile - Pro Agonist CD (Planet µ, UK)
The Fruit Bats - Spelled in Bones CD/LP (Sub Pop, US)
The Juan Maclean - Tito's Way 12" (DFA/Astralwerks, US)
Modey Lemon - Bucket of Butterflies 7"/CDEP (Mute, UK)
Motor - Sweatbox/Yak 12" (novamute, UK)
Pub - Liltmor CD/LP (Ampoule, Scotland)
Recloose - Hiatus On The Horizon CD/LP (Peacefrog, UK)
Rotersand - Welcome to Goodbye CD (Metropolis, US)
Various - Trans Slovenia Express Vol. 2 CD (Mute, UK)

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.



public performances and exhibitions of brainwashed artists


link of the decade
CNet just celebrated their 10th year online with a list of what they thought were the top 10 web fads of the last 10 years (see story here). However, we think they missed some very important ones, ones that were certainly more important than some of the choices they picked on their list. What's your favorite web fad which was a link of the week we've given you over the years (that didn't appear on their list)? (If you seem to forget, consult the past issues list.)


Results from last poll:


new kingdom
"Keep the faith alive / This is the new beginning" say Kaldeon in their anthem for the new Brainwashed. They're Italian, which is probably why we're torn between being embarassed and turned on.


we're so glad we had this time together...

Subject: The Brain

Each week for the past few years, I have looked forward to reading the Brain, which has had some of the most informed, insightful music reviews one can find. I am very sorry to hear that it is going away. Thanks to all involved for the collective effort. Your work is sincerely appreciated, and has made for a priceless resource.

Michael H., Berkeley, CA

Thanks, we hope to continue with our new system.

Subject: Le Brain

About everything I know about your recordings, all your support and all good job you ever done. Thanxxx so mush, continue to create, fight, record, produce, compose, hear, breath - Thanx to all Brainwashed team and crew - Especially around MBM work.

Cyrille from Paris/France who trusted you since very long time.

Bravo !


Subject: The Brain

I enjoyed the brain almost from the beginning every week. Thanks for that! I own almost every Brainwashed release and I will take good care of them.

Thanks for your support and kind words!

Subject: The Brain

Please don't stop The Brain. PLEASE PLEASE.

Although the weekly digest will cease, we will contine. Come back next Monday!

Subject: The Brain

From Appleton WI, living out here miles and miles from the nearest independet music community. I have relied for years on places like the Brain to get my new music info. You also caused me to be less narrow minded about music as I have now found that there are rockish type bands out there that do not have a boardroom generated appeal. Live well, be well.


Subject: The Brain

I've been reading the Brain since the debut issue back in 1998 and it has followed me through several different jobs in that time. The first job was one that I didn't really enjoy all that much, and reading the Brain on Monday morning was honestly one of the only things that I could look forward to during the beginning of the week. It was back when I was just starting to really delve even more deeply into different kinds of music, and it was a great resource that introduced me into a whole slew of artists. My second job was more enjoyable, but there was still a sense of excitement loading up the Brain on Monday mornings, knowing there would most likely be one or more artists per week that I had never heard of that I would want to check out. In any regard, The Brain will be very much missed by me. Even with the glut of review sites on the web, the site still managed to cover some artists that nobody else did and the Eye section has provided me with many behind-the-scenes moments of great artists. Monday mornings won't be the same.

Gosh you admit to reading those issues from 1998? Yikes! Monday mornings won't be the same indeed. You'll now have every day to look forward to!

Subject: To Jonathan Dean

My god how am I tired of the authenticity card, that you use to review the latest Marissa Nadler. This particular sentence, "its lack of pretension and self-conscious kookiness, something that the Joanna Newsoms and Devendra Banharts of the world could learn from", makes me cringe.

First of all, you know very little about the "pretension" or "self-conscious kookiness" of neither Newsom nor Banhart. You are constructing it, unless you have direct access to their brain. I am tired of weary reviewers who obviously just want to hear a simple song from the good ol' days, and then proceed to use this weariness to deconstruct so called neo-folk artists in the simplest of ways. Fine, you don't like experimental folk music. That's ok. Just don't use that to dismiss Newsom or Banhart on the grounds that they may be "self-conscious" - and that Nadler may not! How would you know?! Perhaps Nadler is just as self conscious, but she is feeding from a period that's been assimilated into the collective unconscious - and so her eventual self-consciousness may be hard to hear. Or perhaps it's not there, just like it may, or may not, be there with Newsom or Banheart.

Jonathan Dean replies: It seems that you've read far too much into my statement, and made some assumptions that are upsetting you. I own all of the records released by Joanna Newsom and Devendra Banhart. I own them because I like listening to them. I am a great lover of Devendra Banhart in particular, as my overwhelmingly positive reviews of his last two albums on The Brain should have indicated to you. Though, I guess you can't be bothered to look through past issues.

Your statement: "Fine, you don't like experimental folk music" is way off base. First of all, there is nothing remotely "experimental" about Banhart or Newsom. Their music, if it can be called "folk" at all, certainly falls squarely into the pop realm. For experimental folk, see past reviews I've written for Islaja, Kemialliset Ystavat, Simon Finn, Current 93, Incredible String Band, No Neck Blues Band, Jan Dukes de Grey and Comus. It's a laugh to suggest that Joanna Newsom's helium-voiced pop whimsy could ever be considered "experimental". What's the experiment? To see how many people you can annoy by playing her music at top volume at your next party?

About my assessment that Banhart and Newsom aren't very "authentic"; I don't really see why you object to this. Certainly, you must admit that Banhart's quavering, Marc Bolan-esque vocals and Newsom's waterheaded, infantile sqeals are more than a little contrived. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it does get a little tiring, and you wish that the artist would just drop the act and sing with their regular voice. That's all I was suggesting in my review. Thanks for reading.

Subject: Der Brain

I've relied on the site to keep me informed about all kinds of good music from outside the Indie Rock Consensus. I imagine that a lot of people feel the same way. Having been at the Intonation Fest yesterday and wandered around in the aura of Xiu Xiu, The Hold Steady, The Wrens, etc. I really keenly feel the difference The Brain had in its coverage today.

Anyway, congratulations on a job well done. I like and respect the way you keep your eyes on the bigger picture.

Bruce, Chicago

The picture is big, indeed!

Subject: The Brain

thank you for an enjoyable ride over the past years.

Strap your seatbelt on and get ready as we shift into turbo.

Subject: The Brain

I love The Brain! It's a Sunday evening ritual above all others, besides sleeping.

Jeremy, Brooklyn.

Now you'll have more sleepless nights. Sorry!

Subject: The Brain

Over the years I've come to rely on the Brain as one of my main resources into these types of music.

Jimmy, Boston

And we writers rely on each other as well as readers like you too! You're prt of the community as well.

Subject: The Brain

The Brain is the only music journal (print or web) I regularly turned to for news and reviews on the artists most relevant to my own tastes - Hopefully we will still be able to get some of the news end of things if we sign up for the email announcement list? Or is that list only for Brainwashed label productions? It's been a privilege to be able to know about tour dates and such months ahead of time - If you can no longer supply us with the acid-penned critical acumen of writers like Jonathan Dean, could you at least maybe put together a live dates & new releases list for us? Oh well, if you've got better things to do, go forth and do them, with my blessings and well wishes - Thanks for the many cool reviews and features over the years - Are past video compilations of The Eye still available? Are you still gonna have the archives of past Brains up online, I hope?...

Nothing will be gone except the format.

Subject: The Brain

I have been reading (and listening!) to the brain for a few years now. If not for you, my record collection would be lacking some of my favorites. Thank you for expanding my awareness.

John, Middletown, CT

Sorry about your wallet.

Subject: The Brain

you have done so much for me - with the wonderful reviews and support of my music - i really dont think any other 'publication' has given me as much and as good exposure

the world needs the BRAIN as most of us out here dont have a BRAIN of our own...

Andrew Liles

Thanks for the music, Andrew. We wouldn't be anything w/o music.

Subject: The Brain

Of everything out there, the Brain did it best. Your heads and hearts are in the right places. (I'd love to help out, but my head has had its own places to go.) Whatever comes next on Brainwashed had better be good!

Frank (of Contused), Madison WI

Thans Frank. We try our best!

Subject: The Brain

The best part was the samples added to the reviews. It has allowed me to experience many artists I would not have heard or would have been hesitant to buy their album.

Keep up the great work on all your future projects.


What good is a music review if you can't have a sample, right? We hope the other publications finally get an understanding of this simple oversight they have.

Subject: The Brain

The world NEEDS you.

(And Jon Whitney needs a good night's sleep before work Monday mornings!)

Subject: The Brain

Just wanted to say thank you, I learned so much. Your site changed my life in a good way. So, thank you. I wish you well.

We have all learned so much and will continue to learn.

Subject: The Brain

You've been around for a long time. I used to think 'Kneel and Buzz' wasn't music. I've changed a lot, and I couldn't have done it without you. You're a real phenomenon and if this isn't a farce I salute you.

"Thank you for the music."

Thank YOU for the Abba quote.

Subject: The Brain

ok, so a lot (the majority) of the reviews you print are not things i would buy, but at least i know to avoid them. I rarely (if ever) participated in the polls, but at least i looked. the communications were everything from informative to utterly stupid, as were the replies. the new releases list an interesting read, the bizarre weblinks a cause of endless trouble at work... er, what else to say? thanks for all the fish.

. o O blub blub blub O o .

Subject: The Brain

I'd like to thank the staff and contributors for eight years of dedication and work. I've been reading since January or February of 1999, and I've discovered scores of new-to-me artists through your organ.

Jason. Chicago, IL, USA.

Thanks Jason!

Subject: The Brain

Thank you all for your time and energy that you put into the entire production of This is where I have found some of my favorite music and I have heard music that I would otherwise be completely unaware of. You have all made an amazing contrbution to independent music and my life, Thank you

It's notes like these ones that bring a tear to our eyes. It gives us that little bit of assurance that what we're doing does mean something. Thanks for taking the time to say hi.

Subject: The Brain

Just wanna thank everyone who has been involved over the years. You guys and gals have really helped me in finding some excellent music. And if it weren't for J. Whitney I wouldn't have been able to meet coil at the NYC show a few years back. Nothing like eating sushi with them and a late night walk in central park. Anyway, bet wishes to you all, and again thanks a lot.

We still have pics of the famous sushi dinner! Better not run for office anytime soon! HAH!

Subject: The Brain

it's not just trendy music, it's an integral part of life. new trendy music greeks are people too.

Just imagine if we had our own TV talk show where we geek talked about music every night and had musical guests parading through each episode. What a wonderful world it would be.

Subject: The Brain

I've been visiting it every week since sometime near the beginning, and I'm sad to see it go. Thanks for all the hard work, excellent recommendations and terrific sassback.

I guess this is my last chance to say it, if half-heartedly: Bring back the song of the week!

Hey we've got a streaming radio station and a Podcast! How many more songs of the week do you need?!

Subject: The Brain

I've enjoyed The Brain for years. Brainwashed has always been one of my major sources of information on music, atypical news subjects and occasionally even politics. I look forward to whatever the Brainwashed site is going to do now that they have no Brain, but hey, Bush can carry on without Rove, right?

Mitchell Loe, Salt Lake City, UT

Oh, don't get me started on Rove.

Subject: The Brain

I first came to the website as a teenager in 1996 after seeing the link in the liner notes for Subliminal Sandwhich, and I've been a consistent reader ever since. I guess I really should have taken those requests for volunteers more seriously, but I understand that there will be new and exciting things happening with the new version of Brainwashed this summer (and hopefully a Brain archive?).

Not to point fingers, but for a completely random example, take Autechre's Untilted; compare your sensible review to Pitchfork's smirking waste of time. It's always been either Brain or braindead. The Eye is still way ahead of it's time, and the new releases and events were truly informative. I suspect Lemmy will continue to be a strong write-in vote contender for polls across the country.

Karl Anderson, Minneapolis, MN

I think I'll miss the Link of the Week most of all, though, as it has provided a constant and reliable source of hilarious and amazing randomness that nearly always made my Mondays worthwhile. You all have done a fantastic job, and I'll really miss the Brain, the bravest little hobbit of them all. I look forward to whatever new format the site takes, and thank you for so many great years of making the internet not suck.

Lemmy thanks you too. And can we stop complaining about Pitchfork and actually start doing something that makes -us- happy? (ie: it's never too late to volunteer)

Subject: The Brain

Just wanted to write a quick note thanking you for the years of hard work, commitment, and insight you brought to the online music world. Growing up in a suburban wasteland in Virginia, I had fairly little access to exciting, underground+experimental music. When I stumbled onto Brainwashed et al years ago, my listening habits opened up in a huge way. Thanks for all of the great recommendations, the unpretentious sense of humor (so rare...ahem, Pitchfork), and the dedication to music itself.


Kaveh from Virginia Beach, VA USA

Keep listening and keep sharing, brotha.

Subject: The Brain

I've been reading for so many years now, I almost feel I've taken it for granted...thanks for keeping me in the now and the know.

Looking forward to whatever comes next!


Thanks for the note and optimism! These are great times indeed.

Subject: The Brain

i found the website on accident one day about 4 years ago and have been exposed to so much great music every week. all my friends swear by pitchfork, but i've never let them sway me. i fart on pitchfork.


I think we need to start enforcing a Pitchfork whine-free zone.

Subject: Podcast

Another excellent podcast by the way - I'd have said it was ideal for listening to in the bath while recovering from a vasectomy.


Subject: The Brain

the brain has been a wealth of information for me over the years



Subject: The Brain

it has been by far the best resource for new music. The reviews were always telling and the luxury of the music clips was more than any music fan could ask for.

Thank you for its existance.


Wow! A female! You mean this isn't a complete sausage fest?

Subject: The Brain

i discovered you through my love of coil and meat beat and then been introduced to all sorts of wonders by you, you`re my fave online mag and i have found the reviews/samples combo priceless, good luck in the future and thanks for all the fish

Okay, enough with the fish.

Subject: The Brain




Subject: The Brain

Thank you very much for communicating great music for so long. You made it possible to follow underground and hard to find music from everywhere, in my case a small country without good record shops.

Kind regards,

Rune, Denmark

Thanks for the note. Send a postcard!

Subject: The Brain

There is so much great music out there: brilliant, idiosyncratic, independent, bizarre, and important soundscapes that The Brain always brought to me with genuine love for the material and enthusiasm for the search.

Oh the search will never cease. Too many finds from fruitful searches line all of our very own walls. Love right back to you!

Subject: The Brain

i started looking at brainwashed when i was 13, at which point in time i was only playing radiohead and aphex twin constantly, (the only 2 i knew that i like at all). Now nurse with wound v/vm c throbbing gristle, thrill jockey, current 93, emil beaulieau, wolf eyes, GYBE!, black dice, !!!, coil, no wave, kid606, Volcano the Bear, bedhead, cex, Hrvatski, and many others are now my obsessions with direct blame to brainwashed.

this site has brought me to be beyond my small ass town. I've started my own noise research since then, and have been getting more and more close to broke mailordering the obscurist things they review. they were the first push to get me into my present comfortable niche of crazyrecordgeekhermit. my gratitude is endless. jon whitney houston, ayeyeah will always love youuuuuuuuuuyaaah!

Tom B

we'll always love you tom!


sponsor, donate, or buy from brainwashed
Click here to find out how you can help keep The Brain going. Every penny helps.

become a contributor
We're always looking for more writers and are welcoming applicants who meet the criteria. Have a look at our new section, Write for The Brain and don't be shy.

sign up for the 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 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.

get the rss feed

join the audioscrobbling community
Share your playlists with other readers/fans at the Brainwashed Group at Audoscrobbler.

let us know what you think
Communicate with us, tell us what's in your player, tell us what you want more/less of, send recipes.


make a sound
M.I.A. - Arular
Pajo - Pajo
Kinski - Alpine Static
Boduf Songs - Boduf Songs
Lichens - The Psychic Nature of Being
V/A - Rio Baile Funk - Favela Booty Beats
Kid 606 - Resilience
Jesu - Jesu
Information Society - Information Society
Richard H. Kirk - URP 3
V/A - Thank God It's Friday Original Soundtrack

Jon Whitney, who honestly had no intention of being the final say, but nobody submitted a player list this week!

feedback and submissions:
Brainwashed Enterprises
P.O. Box 7 / Arlington MA 02476 / USA
electronic mail

Click here for other issues