After last year’s extatic album “Night Life”, SF’s Erase Errata return with two new and exclusive recordings for this series. With “Clear Spot” they pay tribute with a genius cover version of one of their heroes, Captain Beefheart. The flipside brings you “Pass the Crimson”, a dynamic and cutting new song that follows EE¬ęs tradition - Ellie¬ęs sliding bass, Bianca¬ęs tricky drums and vocalist Jenny¬ęs staccato singing.
Misha are Ashley Yao and John Chao. The two have crossed paths since their childhood days in Taipei, but each time, circumstances caused them to move, wandering the world (here in Hong Kong, there in Paris) until they met again after college in New York. Two years after their debut on the highly respected Alphabet-Singles-Series on Tomlab, the Asian/American duo now presents their first longplayer Teardrop Sweetheart: a cycle of happy/sad love songs with a new take on an old pleasure: the classic pop album. Walking the line between traditional songwriting and modern musicmaking, settings of grandeur and intimate doubts, Ash and John make little big things, imagining a dimestore Joseph Cornell, Buster Keaton with holes in his shoes.
When Von Spar made their ciritcally acclaimed entrance in the pop circuit in 2003 (e.g. coverstory in Spex Magazine) they were regarded as the German answer to the Post-Punk/No-Wave-renaissance. But their debut was more a clever parody about eighties-style-hipster-bands. In the meantime the former trio grew to a five piece band which now (three years later and wiser) returns with an uncompromising album that gets ahead of all expectations. It will surprise their audience and critics and maybe leave them confused at first. Detached from the usual style issues Von Spar have exorsized the Zeitgeist and overtaken the discourse. There is no scheme. Anything goes.
In many ways a pop group's success hinges on their ability to write memorable songs. Dog Day's Night Group not only delivers in this sense, but also shows how simple tunes can convey meaning, beauty, and honesty. From the playful intro "Lydia", named after keyboardist Crystal Thili and drummer KC Spidle's fanatical cat, to the sorrowful "Bright Light", a song about fate and last chances, the album moves through a broad range of content and mood. In the tradition of great pop bands, Dog Day keeps it simple on Night Group. They are not a band who distracts by over-indulging or showing off. The beats pound straight through, the keyboard plays one well chosen note at a time, the guitars and bass follow suit. But unlike the countless bands toting incompetence as a selling point, Dog Day demonstrates mastery by playing tight and aggressive, taunting us at times with their understated abilities on tracks like “Vow”, which plays with timing, starts, stops, and meanders. This album consistently makes the point that minimalism can be a compositional choice, not a foregone conclusion.
Who Never Rests is a celebration of a man who is in full control of his sound and vision. With his previous albums on Matador, the journey was just starting. With “1-900 GET-KHAN” Khan launched the persona of a male hustler, selling himself to the audience by performing in a pair of underpants with “KHAN” stitched on the ass. It certainly got the party started! Then with “No Comprendo”, Khan produced a living-homage to the artists that inspired him, collaborating with Diamanda Galas, Andre Williams, Kid Congo Powers, Brigitte Fontaine, Julee Cruise, and Stereo Total’s Francoise Cactus. He toured and produced with Kid Congo Powers (The Gun Club, Bad Seeds, The Cramps) and he recorded and toured as Captain Comatose (“Going Out” and “Up in Flames”) on Playhouse: one giant disco party!
Now the party isn’t really over‚Ä¶it’s just mutated into a celebration of Khan. “Honey, it’s been a journey to the moon and back‚Ä¶” he sings on “Favor After Favor”, and that summarises Who Never Rests pretty well. Now he’s quite literally found his voice. Six years ago, he had other people sing his songs and now it’s him ‚Äď solo. Unashamed. Upfront. Honest. All or nothing. Khan times 20!