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"This music is first and foremost about what can be done together, live in a room, to both transcend and reclaim ourselves from the noise of public living. I'm waging a sort of secular, one-man liturgy here; a public act grounded in ritual. These songs offer wordless hymns and pulsing harmonic frameworks one might use to focus their own contemporary values. Instrumental music particularly offers the opportunity for personal interpretation and reflection. In this ever-fucked world, that seems perpetually in short supply.
"I've been creating instrumental music a long time now, under my own name and via bands (Slow Six, Wires Under Tension). I've also built software a long time - yes, I do this for Google. I did my time in Princeton's PhD program for music composition, NYU's Masters of computer science program, and at Bard studying creative writing. I worked live sound for years at NYC clubs now gone (CBGB's, Brownies) while immersing myself in minimalism, assisting LaMonte Young. As a string arranger I get to work with lots of great artists including John Congleton, This Will Destroy You, and Meshell Ndegeocello to name a few."
He may be ill at ease with the darkroom throb of 21st century clubs, but the house music Crooked Man produces is as weighty, alien, raw and left of-centre as anything you'd get from many a hyped young producer. His instincts, honed through years of DJing, production and dancing in sweaty cellars, remain as sharp as ever.
Richard Barrat aka Parrot aka Crooked Man is the Sheffield based producer who is most famous for being one half of the duo Sweet Exorcist, alongside Cabaret Voltaire founder Richard H Kirk.
Sweet Exorcist were known as the first architects of the bleep techno sound, closely associated with Warp Records, and responsible for releasing the first CD on Warp, in 1991.
The 5 singles and full length self-titled album marks a celebratory musical return for Richard, still making club music - sounding vibrant electric and relevant.
Pretty Years, the wildly ambitious fourth LP for Cymbals Eat Guitars, is easily the band's most sonically enigmatic and most rewarding album yet. Their trademark cacophonic guitar rock and innate propulsion are still abundant, but they're buttressed by raucous synth and keyboard lines, and an extemporaneous saxophone performance, which enrich when they could easily clutter these songs. The band also worked more quickly and efficiently than they had in the past, facilitated by years on the road in which they've played close to a thousand shows, which rendered them a tight, fully-oiled machine in the studio.
Opener "Finally" shimmers with complex beauty, leading into the sweet rush of "Have a Heart," which finds lead singer and guitarist Joseph D'Agostino singing, "I'm so out of sync / And you're out of sync with me," which could well be a mantra for the visceral appeal of this superb record. The entire album is rife with electrified, flashbulb moments - "4th of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)" conveys the madness of life on the road, exhibiting D'Agostino's uncanny ability to transform minutiae into profundity. This skill is evident in spades on the record's centerpiece and opus, the disarmingly vulnerable "Dancing Days." The song also exhibits the contributions of Whipple, and slyly invokes the album's title in its magisterial chorus, as D'Agostino contritely croons, "Goodbye to my pretty years."
And indeed, Pretty Years is a roller coaster ride, both lyrically and sonically, that encompasses what it's like to be alive and in the moment. But ultimately, this is an album that keenly captures the magic and loss attendant to living life wide-eyed, and hints that these "pretty years" may portend even prettier ones to come.
For just more than two years starting in 1979, Dow Jones and the Industrials created roaring art-punk that collided with the confusion and celebration of technology. Their left field approach turned gnarled guitar riffs into unshakable melodies battered by synths and propelled with sharp lyrics. The songs railed against the boredom and cultural blandness of the Midwest and mirrored the paranoia of the era.
As maverick studio producers and ace songwriters, the Industrials realized a vision and sound not only on par with contemporaries Devo and Pere Ubu, but still relevant and cutting today.
Outside of bootleg compilation appearances and the overpriced collectors' market, the music of DJI has been unavailable for 35 years until now. "Can't Stand The Midwest 1979-1981" includes 29 songs remastered from the original tapes: The Industrials' side from "Hoosier Hysteria," the rare 1980 split LP with the Gizmos; 1981 7-inch EP; 9 unreleased studio tracks; live versions of unrecorded songs and more. A 12-page booklet features liner notes by the Gizmos' Dale Lawrence and Keith Smith's never before seen Indiana punk scene photos. The 2xLP also comes with a 70-minute DVD of a September 1980 club performance and download coupon. CD version has one less song.
Sunergy brings together synthesists Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Suzanne Ciani for the thirteenth installment of FRKWYS, RVNG Intl.'s intergenerational collaboration series. For this edition, a panorama of the Pacific Coast provides the place and head space for exploratory Buchla synthesizer passages that meditate on a life-giving form vast and volatile with change. LP version includes printed inner sleeve and high-quality digital download of album with bonus track "Retrograde."
"Sonderlust" is an album forged through heartbreak. After his two previous studio albums ("151a" & "Lighght") and his "String Quartet Live!" release,Kishi Bashi was at a musical impasse. "As I sat down to write songs last summer, I went to all my usual conduits of creation: violin loops, guitar, piano, and I came up with the musical equivalent of fumes", says Kishibashi. "I tried to create orchestral pop recordings that I assumed were my forte, and in turn I found myself standing in front of a creative wall of frightening heights."
At this very same moment of musical uncertainty, K's personal life was falling apart... He and his wife of 13 years had briefly separated and werestruggling to keep their marriage together. In his own words, "Touring and its accompanying lifestyle took a heavy toll on my soul and my family". As an outlet, K submerged himself in a new musical direction. Sonderlust emerged as a direct result of this personal struggle taking place at an artistic crossroads.
With the help of producer Chris Taylor (Grizzly Bear), engineer Pat Dillet (Angelique Kidjo, David Byrne) and drummer Matt Chamberlain (Morrissey,Fiona Apple, of Montreal), Kishi Bashi has created his most personal and artistically adventurous work to date. "This album is straight from my soul. Iquestioned everything about what it means to love and desire. The difference between loving someone and being in love."
When the four members of Preoccupations wrote and recorded their new record, they were in a state of near total instability. Years-long relationships ended; they left homes behind. Frontman Matt Flegel, guitarist Danny Christiansen, multi-instrumentalist Scott Munro and drummer Mike Wallace all moved to different cities and they resolved to change their band name, but hadn't settled on a new one.
And so where their previous album 'Viet Cong' was built in some ways on the abstract cycles of creation and destruction, 'Preoccupations' explores how that sometimes-suffocating, sometimes-revelatory trap affects our lives.
Opener "Anxiety" articulates that tension: clattering sounds drift into focus, "Monotony" moves at a narcoleptic pace by Preoccupations' standards, "Degraded" surprises, with something like a traditional structure and an almost pop-leaning melody to its chorus, and the 11-minute-long "Memory" is the album's keystone, with an intimate narrative and a truly timeless post-punk center.
All this adds up to Preoccupations: a singular, bracing collection that proves what's punishing can also be soothing, everything can change without disrupting your compass. Your best year can be your worst year at the same time. Whatever sends you flying can also help you land.
The debut album by Selector Dub Narcotic is an exercise in ecstatic genre-smashing, blending and up-ending. Calvin Johnson of the K label and such Olympia combos as Dub Narcotic Sound System, Beat Happening, Halo Benders and most recently The Hive Dwellers has been working under the nom de plume Selector Dub Narcotic since founding the Dub Narcotic Studio in 1993. This Party Is just Getting Started is a collaboration with NW hip hop producer Smoke M2D6, who first began working with K producing the All Your Friend's Friends [KLP255] compilation. As a member of the Oldominion crew Smoke M2D6 has produced almost every major hip hop artist in Washington and Oregon. This Party Is just Getting Started began with the song "All for the Sake of Rhymin'" (which samples K artist Mahjongg) and snowballed into an entire album of dance pop garage soul with Calvin's trademark melodica wafting overall.
Out of Print for over five years! Originally released in 2000, Lifestyle is Silkworm's seventh album (and third for Touch and Go). These songs show Silkworm presenting their clearest and most polished visions. To the beat of Michael Dalquist's drums, Andy Cohen's razor-wire guitar and Tim Midgett's baritone guitar snake around one another like twin brothers with a common soul. And, when the last strains of Lifestyle fall away, there is hope - hope that reasonably well-adjusted adult guys can turn the boredom and disappointment of the everyday into glorious art-rock.
Lee Harvey Oswald Band. The facts. A trio from Texas compromised of Zowie Fenderblast, Dredge, and James Meat who released their third and last album Blastronaut on Touch and Go Records in 1996. Comprised of 11-songs, the Lee Harvey Oswald Band's 36-minute magnum opus is now available on vinyl for the first time ever - 20 years later.
The formula was simple: marry bubblegum and soul to the absolute sincerity of an enthusiastic child, cross your fingers and pray for airplay. But while the youthful sums of that formula may have grown up and walked away from their illusions of stardom, their permanent records remain.
A decade removed from our acclaimed Home Schooled compilation comes a fresh batch of talent show titans. With enterprising parents, neighbors, and teachers turning play dates into recording dates, groups like Magical Connection, Little Man and the Inquires, and Five Ounces of Soul emulated the Jacksons, who'd made grade-school stardom appear easy as ABC. Afterschool Special: The 123s Of Kid Soul contains 19 tiny tunes ranging from bilingual D.A.R.E. anthem, to James Brown bio, to young love and life beyond the playground.