Mahogany, "The Dream of a Modern Day"

MAHOGANY, "THE DREAM OF A MODERN DAY"
Call it what you will, electro femme vox twee dreampop, this debut album from Mahogany fills emptiness left in your heart when The Sundays stopped recording albums. Indie geeks have been known to sport rods hearing the super-high pitched airy vocals of bands like this or Pram, I find it rather irritating, dull and get damn sick of it before long. Personal preference aside, the vocals are truly poorly mixed, without much depth or clarity. The duets between the female and male vocalist are even more unnecessary. Unfortunately some of the music on this disc is absolutely incredible sounding, an almost perfect match of delayed atmospheric guitars with electronic percussion and effects. In all honesty at the end of the disc, I'm rather fond of it and have a couple tracks stuck in my head. Damn you, damn you, I can't really hate anything from Dearborn, Michigan.

4804 Hits

Pan(a)sonic, "Aaltopiiri"

PAN(A)SONIC, "AALTOPIIRI"
Ilpo and Mika have come a long way from their beginnings as Panasonic. The music which at one point utilized a minimal amount of effects and sources, creating an aggressive and direct mixture has become a more resourceful blend with a deeper understanding of variety and reflection, sonority and permanence. Their fourth full-lengther together is once again rather chunky to swallow all at once. With 17 new tracks totalling over an hour's worth of music, I must admit I wasn't a big fan at first. Further listenings have unearthed what appears to be both organic and synthetic sounds, a production approach which is very matured in comparison to 1997's 'Kalma,' and a distinct identity between songs. Minimalism, this isn't. It's not all subtle and introspective, however. Unlike 'A,' this album does indeed reach a climax. Towards the end of the disc, the energy builds up to a monsterous roar, good for some wall-shaking needs, which leads me to believe they might be storing an arsenal of more beefy 808-kick tracks for another 12" release as stellar as 'B' was.

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4726 Hits

Shipping News, "Very Soon, And in Pleasant Company"

Jason Noble and Jeff Mueller's musical collaborations first manifested on the only release from Rodan back in 1994. Following the split, Jason went to the Rachel's and Jeff to June of '44 but the two came together along in 1996 to record with for the PBS program "This American Life." Kyle Crabtree (from Eleven Eleven) joined in 1997 and a debut album, "Save Everything" was released. Four years later, a second album has arrived with help from Christina Files (Mary Timony, Victory at Sea) twiddling knobs.

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5052 Hits

Sybarite, "Music For a Film"

SYBARITE, "MUSIC FOR A FILM"
Synthetics and organics coexist in harmony on this full-length release from multi-instrumentalist Xian Hawkins. Some might recognize his name from the Silver Apples reunion assembly as the "other guy" than Simeon, but this New Yorker has an identity all his own. This music originally served as the score for a 1999 independent suspense/thriller film by Patrick McGuinn, "Killing Me Tomorrow," and is composed of 14 tracks which total about 41 minutes-worth. The songs are short, sweet and waste no time, with shimmering guitar melodies, subtle string sounds and low-tempo electronic beats in parts. The unobtrusive mix makes it perfect for a film score, with fade-outs it has obviously been slightly tailored for the commercial release. I'm now looking forward to finding out where Hawkins' career is headed next.

samples:

5206 Hits

In The Nursery, "Hindle Wakes"


There are certain thingsyou can always count on when purchasing a release from In the Nursery.The melodies are always emotionally charged, the production shines witha signature decadent brilliance and the sounds do an excellent job ofimitating a full orchestra.

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5274 Hits

Antony & The Johnsons, "I Fell in Love With a Dead Boy"


Three days in mypossession and I can't stop playing this three tracker over and overagain. For those who have been fortunate enough to witness Antony &the Johnsons live, this provides an excellent souvenir of favorites noton the debut album.

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5222 Hits

!!!


Slammin' mutherfuckingballsy-ass shit. This debut CD release is probably the most excitedI've been about a new rock-genred band in as long as I can remember.The energy is fierce, the music is fast, funky and full of wakka wakkaguitars, crazy effects, beefy bass chops, electronic and organic drums,wild cheering, hoards of percussion and a splash of horns.

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5094 Hits

AMERICAN PIMP

Two years in production, with 30 pimps interviewed in 15 cities has come together in one of the most bold, entertaining and insightful documentaries in the last few years. Questions like "Why does a ho need a pimp?," "What does a pimp do?," as well as definitions like Mack, Player, and Knockoff are all covered in the words of active and retired pimps and hos. From the ruthless player types to the seasoned professional, from the nation's capital to Hawaii, the characters are genuine and enlightening. 'American Pimp' documents what is generally believed to be the origin of the pimp, through the uprise in popular culture to the present day, where many of the film's stars have retired and moved on. The truth can be glamorous yet unsettling, with the perpetually looming dangers of drugs, jail and death. The lyrical mastery and swave debonair of real-life players Fillmore Slim, Payroll and Gorgeous Dre are alarmingly more animated, intelligent and lovable than much of the fictitious characters often portrayed on the screen. An undertaking like this is a triumph for the Hughes Brothers, as the subject matter must make it difficult to seek out the stars and capture them in their own words. Seek it out.
10146 Hits

CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON

I can truly say I agree with Tom the Fish on a movie. Although the bastard was too lazy to write about it, I thought I'd give it a shot. This Chinese film centers around a restless, disrepsectful and arrogant aristocratic young girl, Jen (played by Ziyi Zhang) who is facing an arranged marriage she doesn't want to go through with. Chow Yun Fat plays a legendary warrior who is tired of the warrior life and is trying to retire a 400-year old magical sword, the Green Destiny. The love of his life is a female warrior, Shu Lien, who is played by Michelle Yeoh. From early on, young Jen expresses to Shu Lien that she too wants to be a warrior and leave the aristocratic life. Little did everybody know from early on that Jen is indeed the hidden dragon: powerful yet stupid. Chow Yun Fat might be the most Amercan known actor in the film but the ladies take center stage in this film, all of whom kick some serious ass. The fighting scenes are stunningly choreographed, meshing martial arts, ballet and inventive camera angles and effects. The scenery is breathtaking on the large screen and the interplay between Jen and her true love, Lo are amusing and entertaining as well. Throughout the course of the film, an alarming number of people take an interest in leading young Jen down a path they all feel is right for her. I'm not going to give the ending away, but I will say the three of us who saw this film on Christmas Day all had a different take on what actually happened in the end. It all depends on how pure you, the viewer, believe her heart actually is. This movie has definitely become one of my top choices for best film of 2000.
9268 Hits

"45"

Bill Drummond is most known for his involvement in the KLF and related incarnates, but the guy has put in his time as a musician and record executive since the early 1980s. "45" was planned when he was 33 1/3 years old, in 1986 upon his release on Creation Records as The Man. The book collects various thoughts and observations of the music world around him through his experienced, yet jaded and cynical eyes. Various short stories provide basically a snapshot in his life at 45, including some of the bizarre attempts at cheating pop music and scoring well with the masses, comments on self-righteous and somewhat worthless musician pop stars. It's an entertaining and light read, with dimensions that would fit perfectly with other 45rpm 7" records. Worth tracking down even if you have to order it from the UK.
10950 Hits

Out of Darkness Cometh Light

I want to take the time to wish everybody the best for this holiday season. It's too easy to get wrapped up with bitterness around this time of year with the increasing hostility of shoppers, advertisements, drivers, and other factors which are most peoples gripes about the season. What's remarkable to me personally is a tradition which seems to be part of nearly every religious undertaking during this time, something simple as light. In the Northern Hemisphere these are the darkest days of the year, and if you're celebrating Mithras, Channukah, Jesus or Kwanzaa, something is most likely being lit. Whether it's a tree, menorah, downtown display or front porch, the efforts put into bringing light to the darkest days of the year are a wonderful sight to see when walking through a crisp and pleasant cold winter evening. While watching my generation's definitive holiday film, 'A Christmas Story' on TV yesterday, I was reminded of one of my favorite lines in a film, "Only one thing could draw me away from the warm glow of electric sex in the window." Yes, for me, it's all about light displays. Okay, and drink some egg nog too. Have a great day off, however you celebrate it! I'll be getting Chinese food and watching a film with some Jewish friends on December 25th!
12922 Hits

DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR?

James and Andy of V/Vm wake up one morning to find a lifetime supply of pudding in their cabinets, Andy's car is missing and neither can remember what happened last night. An answering machine message is left by their girlfriends, the twins, played by Mira Calix and Andrea Parker, bitching them out for the mess they made last night and how they forgot it was their anniversary. Now the two are screwed because they can't find their car with the anniversary gifts they bought for the girls. On their journey into the town Wendy Carlos tries to run over Andy, Colin Newman and Malka Spiegel try to run over James. They meet up with their old friend who's played by Andrew Mackenzie. From there, the three drive to get some Chinese food, where Takako Minekawa gives them hell on the drive-through intercom. After a small incident, Mackenzie takes off and leaves the two to try to piece everything together. A hot girl from school, played by Bettina Richards sees the two on the street, flirts with Andy as her boyfriend and some other thugs (played by the Isotope fellas) show up and threaten to beat our two heroes up. A run in with a transgendered girl played by Riz Malsen (Neotropic) at a strip club adds another twisted piece to the ever-growing puzzle, while an Asian tailor, played by Masami Akita hooks them up with hip Addidas outfits with magical pockets.

Upon leaving the shop, the two are abducted by the Add N to (X) folks who play a gang of underground nerds trying to communicate with space. This is where it gets weird: the Add N to (X) crew (who later torture the main characters by playing some of their music) inform them that they need the Continuum Transducer to save the universe. Once our heroes break free from the nerds, Chicks on Speed show up also wanting the treasured Continuum Transducer. But it gets even more bizarre: Stefan Betke and Florian Hecker also appear in the film, claiming to be the keepers of the Continuum Transducer and well, the rest of the story has young James and Andy running around, trying to get the car and save the universe and figure out what happened last night. Honest!
11251 Hits

Kriedler

The eponymous thirdfull-lengther from Kreidler is almost a futuristic nod to theinnovators of 70s Kraut Rock. The disc is nearly all instrumental, savetwo tracks with vocal contributions from artful indie clown Momus andArgeninian pop star Leo Garcia (not to be confused with the Dominicanbaseball player, professor, Wyoming politician, classical guitarist, orSalsa dance instructor). The quartet is down to a trio since theirbassist departed as his side project, To Rococo Rot become more of amain outlet. The bass lines are beefier than ever however, and whetherthe songs are serene throbbing electronic easy listening gems like"Bewitched", a Can-like vocal tunes as "Mnemorex" or a Kraftwerkianhook-based ditty like "Do It", the production is slick and inviting.Kreidler's tunes are pretty damned catchy and their generally jovialfeel suggests these Germans are undoubtedly having fun. Put yourlaptops down and start having fun.

samples:

5031 Hits

Magnetic Fields perform "69 Love Songs"

For two nights in a row, loads of folks made their journeys, some near and some far, through the blistering cold temperatures to witness Stephin Merritt and company perform all 69 Love Songs. Both nights sold out long ago at the classical-style Somerville Theater in the Boston area. On stage in addition to the four core musicians were the three guest singers who appear on the albums. For the first night I witnessed something rather unexpected.

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8000 Hits

REQUIEM FOR A DREAM

It's a good thing that I haven't filled out the survey for the best stuff of the year yet, because now I can honestly say I can add this film to it. I must admit I was worried that this film would be too MTV-generation, but the quick camera shots, center stage sound fx / score, and creative photography made this film all the bit more intense and entertaining. Ellen Burnstyn's role of the television slaved mother turned speed addict was a performance actors dreams are made of. Her character's physical and emotional transformation from start to finish of the film was absolutely intense. Jared Leto's role as her son was excellent as well, along with his strung out girlfriend and best friend, played by Jennifer Connelly and Marlon Wayans, respectively. The film was bold in its portrayal of these four main characters and how their lives were ruined over the course of three seasons by compulsion and drugs. It was unsettling, uneasy, yet I couldn't remove my eyes from the screen. It was impossible as every single second, every image on the screen would make for a perfect picture. In no way is there a happy ending, everything is destroyed, everybody loses. It's most definitely more of an anti-drug propaganda film than Trainspotting. A requiem is more or less a song for a funeral, and "Requiem for a Dream" was truly a thrilling modern nightmare. 
9621 Hits

GODSPEED/WILL OLDHAM & MICK TURNER

I think I can finally put my finger on the characteristic of godspeed you black emperor's music which pulls at the emotions of so many people across the musical taste spectrum. Music listeners will have songs they're very fond of, and instrumentation can strike up an intense emotional response with a strong recurring refrain or chord progression. Something grand and beautiful will always be that one part of a song you just wish would go on longer. The Godspeed folks have taken that idea, the thought of a musical phrase itself and extended it, nurturing the sound. The sound becomes one on its own and has its own living and breathing life. They draw the sound out, let it build, color it with the numerous tools (2 bass guitars, 2 percussionists, 3 guitarits and 2 string players sure help) and let it run its natural course, letting it die perfectly without that sound—the riff or hook—becoming too redundant or repetitious. After all is done, an album of two to three tracks comes to a close, you feel satisfied, satiated and happy. The concert opened up with a performance by what was billed as Bonnie Prince Billy and the Marquid de Tren, the lineup was Will Oldham singing and playing guitar, Jim White (from Palace and other projects) on the drums, a bass guitarist and Mick Turner on guitars, loops, harmonica and melodica. The set was quiet yet gut wrenching. The addition of Mick Turner's layered guitar works on top of Oldham's bluesy heartfelt voice was a fantastic match, the bass took the role of providing the low pulse and the jazz-like improvisational drumwork from Jim pulled everything together quite magically. Luckily fans of the set could walk away with their album along with the two similar and fantastic Molasses discs at the merchandise counter. Godspeed's set was marked by a few stellar new tunes which haven't graced an official album yet along with popular favorites from all their commercial releases. The set lasted over two hours and ended with a beautiful encore with band spokesman Efrim playing the xylophone while drummers Bruce and Aidan walked through the audience playing percussives. The show was held in a rather large movie theater with a seated audience, and was sold out before the day of the show, which leads me to wonder where they'll play next time around. This setting was seemingly perfect, where everybody present could enjoy every single note while being close enough to view everything happening onstage. Any more would be less intimate, any less would be too packed.
7146 Hits

THE SHALABI EFFECT

Deep in the heart of Harvard Square lies the best record shop in the Boston area, a quiet place known as Twisted Village, where owners Wayne and Kate welcomed the four-piece collective from Montreal to entertain an intimate gathering of current fans of the group. I say "current fans" bearing in mind that after hearing their stunning debut and witnessing the talented display, it won't be long before many others catch on. Of course the loose connections to godspeed will no doubt be somewhat helpful. The 20+ crowd that gathered sat quietly in a dimly-lit store while the group played improvisational variants on tunes and melodies heard on their debut. Those present were Anthony on guitar, Alexandre St. Onge on electrics, Will Eizlini playing tablas, bowl, and other percussives and Sam Shalabi on electronics and an oud (an Egyptian precursor to the lute). The combination of Middle Eastern sounds combined with electronic noises and delayed guitars was hypnotic to say the least. Pleasant and peaceful, this is surely a moment I will never forget. The band was quite excited as this crowd was most likely bigger than the one present at the Knitting Factory in NYC only a couple nights earlier. The band is criss-crossing the northeast US over the next couple weeks, their dates are available at the alien8 website. I'm already planning my journey to Providence to see this show again.
6841 Hits

Quills

How's this for Hollywood trash? Sure, it's a movie about the insane asylum days of the Marquis de Sade (from which Sadism was coined for all you newbie gawths), but it's very VERY loosely based on historical events. Keep in mind if you see this that the film is in fact based on the play, and should be viewed for entertainment purposes ONLY. Aside from that the performance by Geoffrey Rush was incredible as Sade, the elegant and innovative use of sound was a pleasant unexpected surprise, and the supporting cast of imbeciles was exciting to watch. However, I can't get past a few grave inaccuracies and personal issues.

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7949 Hits

Word of the Day: Turbid

The Word of the Day for December 2 is:

turbid \TER-bid\ (adjective)

  1. : thick or opaque with or as if with roiled sediment
  2. : characterized by or producing obscurity (as of mind or emotions) : confused, muddled*
Example sentence:
    According to one reviewer, Chauncey's first book was "the turbid and rambling product of an unclear mind."
Did you know?
    "Turbid" and "turgid" (which means "swollen, distended" or "overblown, pompous, or bombastic") are two words so frequently mistaken for one another that they could have been invented to keep dictionary makers in business. Not only do these two words differ by only a letter, but, adding to the confusion, they are often used in contexts where either word might fit. For example, a flooded stream is often both distended and muddy, and badly written prose is often both obscure and grandiloquent. Nevertheless, the distinction between these two words, however fine, is an important one for conveying exact shades of meaning, so it's a good idea to keep them straight.
*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

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- Brought to you by Merriam-Webster Inc.
http://www.m-w.com

15961 Hits

DANCER IN THE DARK

Do you like to indulge in Bjork-ness for long periods of time? Do you love to watch people do things on screen that you'd never do in their situation? Do you want to feel nauseous for 2 hours of unsteady camera shots? If you answered yes to any one of those questions, then this movie's most certainly for you. I'll admit: it was well-done, it was effective and emotional, I was in tears at the end, but I didn't need to see this movie. Like Bjork's character, I too can relate to daydreaming as well as listening to sounds and rhythms that exist in life, imagining songs to go along with them. Don't let anybody tell you this is a "musical." In a musical, there are happy endings and more than one character has songs. ["West Side Story" is considered more of a Modern Opera than a Musical.] Since Bjork is the lead singer in every song in this film, 'Dancer' is better classified as an extended music video. If you love Bjork and don't mind watching something completely self-indulgent then it won't be as stomach-turning as it was for me. After watching this film, I honestly wouldn't care if I never saw her face or heard her voice ever again. She's got two emotions: one is of deep melodramatic sadness and the other one is of that little girl looking at the big world through bright star-filled eyes. That's IT! There's nothing more to her character. Catherine Deneuve's extensive career has a long line of wonderful performances, showcasing many abilities - here however her role completely puts the esteemed actress to waste. I've never walked out of a film and I was seriously considering leaving after about an hour. By the time she shot and killed her neighbor, Bill, I knew I made the wrong decision in staying. I recommend this film for all Bjork fans because something about her aura just drives people to go insane and kill themselves. Cheers!
8030 Hits
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