“Step Right Up”
Back in the hollowed days of 1998, a little band by the name of Sonic Youth played at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Opening for the hallowed indie rock pioneers were these guys — a bay area noise-rock band by the name of rRope. It was their last show, and it’s a damn shame, because the California outfit are experts in the art of taking a little bit of pent-up energy, mixing it with whooshing guitar wails, and unleashing it on unsuspecting eardrums.
“Step Right Up” ditches the fancy effect pedals and amps for what can only be described as the liberation of noise-rock. The neutrino-fast riffs and bare-bones noise do what a $1500 doodad wishes it could, all set to a raging drum beat. It’s a lean track, coming in at two and a half minutes, but it’s enough to whet the appetite of any My Bloody Valentine or Swans fan. Consider it a letter-bomb from the 90s: unapologetic, urgent, and undeniably catchy.
• Deathbomb Arc: http://deathbombarc.com
Crumbling Portals [excerpt]
The entire Crumbling Portals cassette is the OST to when I walk away from family or friends going ape-shit on service/retail employees. It’s like when someone a little heavy gets wedged between two things, and you’re thinking, “If only they went on a walk a few times a week, wouldn’t be in this mess.” That’s why I started working out recently. Aggression gets weirder the more stagnant a situation becomes.
Back to this: here is the service/retail employee, and here’s the consumer. Here is one yelling at the other saying, “okay.” Here is the other at the same place 40 hours a week. Here is all the new technology that people have bought up. Here is the empty stockroom shelf. Here is the end of a day. Here is the person this effected the most. Here is the Crumbling Portals cassette from the latest batch on Retrograde Tapes.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre
“I Want to Hold Your Other Hand”
It was by listening to an interview with Anton Newcombe that I learned to understand Sir Paul as the real Liverpool genius. (No offense, John.) In the same vein, one eventually learns to recognize Brian Jones over Jagger and over Richards, and to champion Syd Barrett over the rest of the flaccid Floyd. While Anton Newcombe has outraged many, and has evoked the label of puerile, even idiocy, on many fair occasions, the man knows his psychedelia mythology. So now, continuing his craft of overturning Beatles canon, Mr. Newcombe offers us “I Want to Hold Your Other Hand,” the first cut from The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s upcoming album, Aufhebere. The band’s album number 13.
The German name goes along with the Berlin studio where it was recorded, which goes along with the lore of The Beatles’ seminal days in Hamburg. Then, zooming out about 15 years, check out the title of Aufhebere’s track 11: “Blue Order New Monday.” What is this? A compendium of British rock? A hybrid mutant? A druggie’s blurred mind? Maybe! Which means what for this new BJM record? Absolutely nothing, unless it’s good. But hey, the sound of “I Want to Hold Your Other Hand” harkens optimistically to BJM’s earlier, superlative offerings — though not the earliest. (See 1995’s Methodrone, which, I believe, remains one of the best shoegaze albums of all time.) There’s a thread here that ties it all together, but for now just listen, and when you find that thread, give it a good hard tug. [via Consequence of Sound]
Ahhh… springtime is upon us. The lilies are in bloom, I am sneezing uncontrollably, my eyes are itching, there are mosquito-eaters all over the place, and ambient music just got a whole lot more melodic up in here. Even Kevin Greenspon is making tunes fit for a picnic in a field of dandelions. His new album, Maroon Bells, contains six pieces of joyful noise to really clear those sinuses. According to Greenspon, all the sounds are free of “synthesizer or computer or electronic stuff like that” — just guitar and some cool effects. The piece we can hear digitally is certainly more song-like than a lot of Greenspon’s previous recordings and doesn’t disintegrate in lovely Kevin Greenspon fashion until the last few seconds. Also, apparently the record is “the first official follow-up” to the wondrous 2010 releases Unveiling and Common Objects. Cool, huh? Git it meow from Bridgetown Records.
“Candil De La Calle” (Fennesz Remix)
Christian Fennesz has a way of making noise intimately listenable, whether it’s by playing with pure washes of white sound, sequencing glitches, or just couching melody amid not-melody until an interesting clash emerges.
If a song is like a painting, then a Fennesz remix is like a new, glorifying frame for that painting. Except, in the way that Fennesz can take a song and completely embed it in its new massive landscape of noise, the frame isn’t so much a “frame” as it is an entire gallery. Take the Apparat track here, for example. Instead of reinterpreting the song with his own means, like a traditional remix, it’s more as if Fennesz has submerged the song in a new conductive medium. He hasn’t messed with the song itself, but has done something like set fire to the air it’s floating through.
And this fits Apparat well. The wailing vocals of “Candil De La Calle” glitter through the walls of static, and the beat makes the whole concoction jump and thrive. The remix was posted by Mute UK along with a handful of other remixes of Apparat songs. Music is good.
Gareth Davis & Frances-Marie Uitti
On May 4, Miasmah Records will release yet another agonizingly beautiful record. This time it’s from clarinet extraordinaire Gareth Davis and cello virtuoso Frances-Marie Uitti. They have released a track called “Stained” from their upcoming album Gramercy. The torturously delicate first six minutes seem as if we are simply overhearing the two musicians faintly fiddle with their instruments, until the passionate scraping and fluttering climaxes in a brief episode of chaos, the noise eventually settling back into the initial distant meditation. According to the blurb provided by the label, we learn that Uitti supposedly plays with two bows in one hand and that Davis is quite the coffee connoisseur. Fascinating.