|V/A - This is Next Year (Arena
missed the release party for this record a couple of weeks ago at
North Sixth, but hear it was great. This Is Next Year is a
wonderful Brooklyn-based compilation featuring 42 artists living and/or
playing in Brooklyn. This extensive double CD is a huge volume of
music and is a great introduction to what is going on in Williamsburg
and Brooklyn in general.
Ever wonder what Reverend Vince, Stereobate, or any of those other
bands you always see advertised locally sound like? Pick up this record
as a resource because the bands worth seeing are probably included.
The work on this disk is fairly consistent (oddly some of the biggest
duds come from more established bands Ida and the always terrible
They Might Be Giants specifically) but this is a uniquely strong and
cohesive compilation overall. Ranging from Emo, to indie, to alt country
(lots of it), to pure and simple pop, this eclectic blend of music
is surprisingly less disjointed than most compilations.
Highlights include The Boggs, Laura Cantrell, Mendoza Line, Grand
Mal, Mink Lungs, Les Savvy Fav, Bee and Flower, and Cub Country but
most songs are in the pleasant to the very pleasant
to the damn that's pretty good range. As is to be expected
on any compilation, there is some garbage to be found here as well.
Is there a way to scratch my disk so it skips over the cheesy "It's
All Made Up" by the Scouts?
Regardless, this is a wonderful introduction to the Brooklyn music
scene and for the price of a single CD, you can't go wrong. All proceeds
go to B.A.R.C. (Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition).
- New Features (Bubblecore)
the pet project of drummer Doug Scharin (Rex, June of '44), Him has
become one the best kept secrets of post-rock and avante jazz. Seamlessly
blending jazz, dub, and African Rhythm, Him has created a sound that
is fully their own. On their latest record New Features, the
band captures the feeling of a live concert better than any recording
in recent memory.
Equally influenced by Miles Davis, Tortoise, and early pioneers of
Dub, Him is melodic, unique, and um..... you can even shake your ass
to the funky rhythms. It's like hearing Miles Davis remastered by
Lee Scratch Perry! Their new record is not to be missed.
Him will be playing at North Sixth (66 N. 6th St. between Kent and
Wythe) in Williamsburg August 5. And at the Knitting Factory August
record wins my vote for best cover art so far this year. The lion
roaming in a field with Manhattan as a backdrop really captures
the dichotomous feeling of the record. It is at once a collection
of simple pop songs and a complex production of melodic psychedelia.
Listening to A Celebratory Arm Gesture by Summer Hymns is
like listening to The Apples in Stereo on acid, with a touch of
Neil Young thrown in to boot.
This Athens-based band has released a lovely sophomore record filled
with psychedelia reminiscent of Sergeant Pepper's, and consistently
strong songwriting delivered by a very Flaming Lips-sounding Zachary
Gresham. But enough about who they sound like, already.
A Celebratory Arm Gesture has a very warm (summery?) feeling
and the track "Six Something's Going On" is the strongest
pop song I've heard all year. This record is worth the money for
this track alone. Textured with bouncy organs and the lovely saxophone
playing of Adrian Finch, Summer Hymns will please all fans of melodic
and inventive indie music.
(Another plus... this record is on the wonderful, Brooklyn-based
- Ultramarin (Force Inc.)
is the Montreal-based techno master known as Tim Hecker. He has recorded
with many labels in the past including FatCat and Pitchcadet, but
on his recent release on the magnificent Force Inc record label, Jetone
has truly created something unique.
Fusing his Cologne school techno influences with his own often broken
tempo beats, Tim Hecker has crafted one of the more unusual techno
records I have heard in a while. And originality is definitely something
the genre needs of late. Anybody with a laptop can seemingly get signed
these days by merely copying the sounds of Mouse on Mars or Pole.
Opening track "Aerial Red" has a 4/4 that seemingly tumbles
over its own shoelaces time and time again before settling into a
new beat. It is as disarming as it is lovely. The strongest track
is "Static" with its tribal sounding beats and completely
unpredictable (random?) interjections of glitch. Another highlight
is "Thousand Oaks" whose high speed dub is nothing short
Jetone has impressively taken minimal techno to a entirely new place
with Ultramarin by replacing the expected with the chaotic.
Jetone creates melody by texturing his beats instead of writing "songs"
per se and there is not a single track on this disk that sounds like
another. Bravo to originality!
and Carl - Consciousness (Kranky)
I guess we can forgive Windy Weber and Carl Hultgren for waiting
2 years to release a record. Hey, they have been busy setting up
their store, Stormy Records, in Michigan. And Consciousness
is definitely worth the wait.
This record fits in nicely next to my Gas CD's, as a more organic
sounding collection of melodic minimalism. Their seemingly simple,
guitar-and-effects-fueled drone has been defined as "a wall
of sound." All I know is their distinctive music somehow creeps
into every crevice of my apartment, not leaving one square inch
uncovered, whenever I put it on. The new record plays well as a
whole, seemingly taking its listener on a journey from morning to
dusk in mood.
Guitarist Carl Hultgren, begins the disk with a lovely introduction
on acoustic guitar called "The Sun," followed by the disk
highlight "Balance (Trembling)," a song reminiscent of
a helicopter deprived of all sonic unpleasantness rising melodically
into the sky.
This is all really mellow stuff, so for best results defy your instincts
and play it LOUD to hear all its subtleties.
This record has been out since January and I'm glad to have finally
|The Bionaut -
Lubricate Your Living Room (Matador)
Bionaut (AKA The
Modernist, Burger Industries, Geometric Farms, and officially
Jörg Burger) is a respected member of the Cologne minimal techno crew
that includes Pole, Wolfgang Voigt, and Thomas Brinkmann, all of whom
are known for their unique styles of minimal techno. In my mind, the
work of Jörg Burger is strong and consistent and perhaps more accessible
than that of his German peers, but I have always seen him as the lowest
rung on the Cologne ladder. But this is not to say that he is not
immensely talentedhe is. It's just that his competition is pretty
With Lubricate Your Living Room, Matador has released a collection
of Burger's out of print European releases from 1993-1997 and the
result is a very summery-sounding CD perfect for an open window and
a cool breeze. For fans of the more traditional 4/4 techno sound found
on The Modernist, be prepared for a much more mellow disk that
is influenced more by minimal dub and ambient music than traditional
techno. In fact, this collection has much more in common with Mouse
on Mars than the Modernist.
Textured with funny vocal samples ("electric campfire"),
a resonating xylophone sound ("p. bateman"), and a generally
pleasant atmospheric quality, Lubricate Your Living Room is
a refreshing disk that rivals his best work. Given the fact that some
of the music on this record is from the early nineties, it is amazing
how fresh it all sounds. Burger will never be as groundbreaking as
Pole, but perhaps I'll move him up a bit on my Cologne list of talent.
have been coming in their pants over this release and I must admit,
I simply don't get it. I gave into the hype and finally picked up
the disk and I have to say I am deeply disappointed. I am always looking
for original hip-hop and usually dig anything the Automator produces
(Dr. Octagon, Handsome Boy Modeling School), but this release
is simply a bore.
Teaming with Del the Funky Homosapien (the dullest MC in business)
and Kid Koala, Automator has some nice moments including the symphonic
"3030," but overall he seems uninspired. Breaking with his
trademark heavy-bass sound, Automator is at his most subdued, and
do we really need another underground hip-hop project with a a Space
Age theme attached to it.
In all fairness, perhaps the newly-released instrumental version would
have been a better purchase. Del the Funky Homosapien could steal
the momentum from a speeding train with his constipated rhyming style.
To catch Automator at his best, skip this release and check out the
brand new Gorillaz CD, reviewed
here in this publication.
|Neu!, Neu! 2,
Neu! 75 (Astralwerks)
an affordable domestic release by Astralwerks of this wonderful Kraut
Rock band's canon of work from the Seventies. It's about time, is
all I have to say!
If you haven't heard them, they have influenced everyone from Bowie
to Stereolab and are responsible for the first remix songa huge
contribution to electronic music. The first 3 releases simply named
Neu!, Neu! 2, and Neu! 75 are masterpieces of electronic
minimalism. Think Stereolab without vocals. This duo consisting of
Kraftwork bandmates Michael Rother and Klaus Dinger put out 3 albums
between 1971-75 (and a couple of duds in the Eighties) and the list
of people they have directly influenced is too long to mention.
Follow them chronologically, each release is a little weaker than
the next, but all in all this is great music from one of the most
groundbreaking bands to come out of the Seventies Kraut scene.
only 11 minutes long. That's probably all I need to say about this
EP to discourage you from buying it. And actually, that would be a
shame because the music (though brief) is great.
If you like the band, you'll be pleased. If you are among the many
who find B&S uninspired and hokey, then you won't like it because
it is more of the same. I've always been a sucker for their music
and think If You're Feeling Sinister is one of the best releases
of the Nineties.
This 3-tracker derives it's name from the opening (and best) track
"Jonathan David" that tells a sexy story about David (you
know, the one who killed Goliath) and his friend Jonathan. It's super
dorky, but super-lovely. Just what you expect from B&S.
Look for the full-length soundtrack to Todd Solondz's (Happiness,
Welcome to the Dollhouse) new film this fall.
|Peaches - The
Teaches of Peaches (EFA)
Old school techno and hip-hop beats and a super low-fi production
make for one of the nicer surprises of late on Peaches debut The
Teaches of Peaches. This is a party CD, plain and simple, with
in-your-face sexuality that puts tamer notions of "girl power"
to shame with intensely funny lines like
Sucking on my titties like you wanted it me, calling me all the
time like Blondie, check out my Chrissi behind, it's fine all of
Titles like "AA XXX," "Diddle My Skittle," and
"Lovertit" bypass naughty in favor of nasty.
This Canadian rapper and sex-rocker also known as Merrill Nisker
has thrown together a wonderful debut that has something for everyone.
There is enough fun to be had on this disk to spin it at your next
house party and it's original and complex enough to keep even music
snobs smiling while everyone else is shaking their ass to the funky
Free Williamsburg© | 93 Berry
Street | Brooklyn, NY 11211
| August 2001 | Issue 17
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