November 5, 2012

The Sea And Cake: "Runner".

Chunky. Vibrant. Technological. Breezy.

Everything we've come to expect and love from The Sea and Cake.

Except...consistency. While all the sonic sensations that complete every one of TSAC's many albums since the early nineties are there in Runner - including the Brazilian, African, and krautrock influences as well as an ear to the cutting edge of production in John's masterful lead and a nostalgic nod to the vintage warmth of the modular synthesizer - in all their formulaic glory, the melodic weakness of the group's more recent output seems to be a shortcoming the band might have finally failed to fully conceal with this release.

While certain tracks absolutely shine, such as the summery "A Mere" and "Harbor Bridges" as well as the Oui throwback and title track "The Runner", others seem forced, rushed or even unfinished in their sparseness. "On and On" seems to live up to its name, never fully delivering the "hook" it seems to be building up to (although Archer's E-bow lead brings to mind the wonderful 1995 release The Biz) and the album's designated single "Harps" is simply skippable in its monotony and contrivance.

Despite some of these flaws, the album contains some of the most intriguing and aesthetically-pleasing artwork of any of the band's previous output, including the added bonus of the first few hundred copies of the album available on green vinyl and packaged in a quality, tip-on jacket with fully artworked inner sleeve. Check out the album's Thrill Jockey page for more details.

July 10, 2012

Liturgy: The Pitchfork After-Party

Brooklyn's Liturgy is making the Pitchfork rounds this year, slotted to play the Blue Stage this Saturday, July 14th, at 2:50 PM, and then again later that evening at The Hideout at 10:00 PM. The band's black metal-flavored indie rock is sure to heat an already-scorching afternoon in Union Park. Come hang out in what's sure to be a cooler, more intimate venue if you don't already have tickets to Pitchfork's Saturday event and still want to see this acclaimed NY quartet! Tickets are $10. Doors at 10 PM. Thanks to Jamie and the Thrill Jockey gang for the info.

March 22, 2012

Younger: "New Message".

Equal parts Anathallo and Unwed Sailor, Younger moves into territory with hushed, rolling electronic soundscapes and cacophonous climaxes, all while pondering the fundamental question: what is the meaning of meaning?

That might itself be the out-and-out posterchild of all hipster pretenses, but the music (luckily) bypasses such needless over-analysis, becoming an answer to the question in and of itself: meaning is dynamic, ever-changing according to region, personality, affiliation. Meaning is something given, something created, something improvised in the moment. In just such a way, the movements comprising this release shed a sunbeam or two of new light on the nature of meaning in sound. For fans of Gas, Yume Bitsu and William Basinski. LP out now on Positive Beat records. Thanks to Michael Hunter for release info.

January 10, 2012

Wooden Shjips: "Remixes" 12'.

If you haven't yet heard 2011's West by the enigmatic Wooden Shjips...well, perhaps that's what resolutions are for. I'd proffer my vote for 2011's best release to the trance-inducing hypnotism-on-wax that is West.

But, that's me.

Playing rather seamlessly, West's Ian McCulloch-meets-Low-meets-Johnny Cash aesthetic finds true love in space rock's droning, repetitious frontier, boosting Wooden Shjips to the forefront of the subgenre and offering more proof that innovation is really only reformation in disguise. It's everything we loved about The Meat Puppets, and everything we wished Failure could have been. I'm sure I'll change my mind about that sentiment eventually.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited to receive notice of this little collection of remixes by such notables as Andrew Weatherall, Kandodo (Simon Price of The Heads) and Sonic Boom.

As if West wasn't trippy enough. This should be mind-blowing.

The 12" is set to drop on February 21st from Thrill Jockey records. It's available for preorder here.

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