Monday, June 30, 2008

Padded Cell

Richard Sen And Neil Higgins's Padded Cell has been the focus of growing speculation of late. After achieving individual notoriety as a Bronx Dog (Heavenly) and a Dirty Beatnik (Wall of Sound) respectively, their triptych of 12" releases for DC Recordings - 2005's "Signal Failure" (DCR64), 2006's "Are You Anywhere?" (DCR67), and 2007's "Moon Menace" (DCR76) - has left nocturnal creatures everywhere drooling with desire for a full length glimpse into the shadowy depths of the Padded Cell. Finally it is here! Drawing inspiration from bands as diverse as Goblin, The Velvet Underground, Arthur Russell, Material, Bush Tetras, and Carl Craig, this duo's analogue fetishism is tinged with creeping psychosis but makes for a sound that is as soulful and emotional as it is dark and narcotic. The making of "Night Must Fall" has involved a list of collaborators that hints at this rich diversity: Dennis Young (Liquid Liquid) plays percussion and marimba, Chloe Battant from London punk funk band Battant (Kill The Dj) delivers vocals; guitars and synths come from sonic necromancer Giallos Flame (Analogue Screams / DC Recordings), and Italian producers The Diaphanoids (Bearfunk) deliver strings, synths and vocals. With careers as prolific club deejays and live performers that have spanned almost two decades (not to mention remixing the likes of The Glimmer Twins, Mekon, Sly Mongoose and Big Two Hundred), it follows that these mind-bending elements have been forced through dance floor focused channels, creating the nefarious 'devils-disco' brew for which this pair have become notorious. From the 80's New York style electro funk of forthcoming single "Savage Skulls" to the John Carpenter-esque soundtrack of "City Of Lies" and the new-wave pop-noir of "Word Of Mouth", this is a journey into dance music's darkest depths that will possess listeners of all persuasions.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Father's Children

It's hard to believe that an album Wayne Henderson produced could be a total flop commercially. But then again, worthwhile albums fall through the cracks all the time. That's exactly what happened with this self-titled debut album by Father's Children, a little known L.A. band that Henderson produced in 1979. The music on this out of print LP is essentially soul and funk, but with jazz overtones -- and, occasionally, Father's Children incorporates elements of reggae and Afro-Caribbean music. Think of the jazzier funk of the 1970s, and you will know where the eight-man band is coming from on tracks like "You Can Get It," "Dance Do It," and "Shine On." Pleasure, the Blackbyrds, and Karma are valid comparisons, and one can also hear similarities between Father's Children and some of the more jazz-influenced offerings of the Ohio Players and the pre-J.T. Taylor Kool & the Gang. Father's Children also hints at Side Effect on some of the songs, which isn't surprising because Side Effect leader Augie Johnson serves as a co-producer and background vocalist. Some of the material is excellent, and some of it is merely decent -- this LP isn't perfect, although Father's Children deserves credit for taking chances. One hears a lot of potential on this record, but, regrettably, the band's first album also turned out to be its last. ~ Alex Henderson,

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Berarin Quartett

With some albums, you realize within a few seconds that here you have come across something really special. It is music that touches you straight away. Music that is important, that has a story to tell – and that manages to do so without even a single line of lyrics.
The debut album by the Bersarin Quartett is one of these albums.
Wonderful orchestral pieces full of longing and melancholy. It is that certain kind of melancholy that seizes you when you are moved while following the final credits of an emotionally touching movie, remembering special moments that have faded in the course of many years and linger hazily in your memory, when you are somewhat wistfully contemplating old, worn photographs from days passed by…not a feeling of failure or hopelessness, but a bittersweet reflection.
Time and evanescence. This is the matching soundtrack.
Orchestral cinemascope sounds provide the emotionally moving fundament, wrap the tracks up in a warm coating. Graceful strings pile up, creating big moments and repeatedly ending in melodies that are simply heart-rending, cinematic and tragic. But the Bersarin Quartett does not merely rely on these ingredients. The songs are also repeatedly interspersed with suspenseful and surprising elements, be it frail electronica, hypnotic soundscapes, drums or reverbed guitars. Rarely has a melange sounded as convincing and natural as this, and rarely has it sounded so well produced.
Thomas himself calls his music “imaginary fictional filmscores“. And it is hardly possible to come up with a more apt term. 10 tracks for 10 movies that have yet to be shot. Music that radiates such an enormous and authentic passion in every single minute, that one can’t help but completely abandon oneself to it. And honestly: Can there be anything more wonderful that can be achieved through music?

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Landslide! is something I am involved with and if your in Los Angeles next weekend you should attend. There will be lots of good music,food,art,films,and a view of L.A. that will blow you away.

Friday, June 13, 2008

White Denim

Exposion is the title of White Denim's first full length U.S. studio album.The debut record was first sold at live shows during their spring 2008 tour with Tapes 'n Tapes. The LP was distributed as an unlabeled CD-R in a paper wrapping, along with the title 11 Songs printed on the front. This "Tour LP" has finally been pressed onto 7" vinyls, and it is slated to be released before the summer of 2008 and before the release of their European debut LP, Workout Holiday. Exposion features many songs from previous releases, but most have been re-worked and re-recorded. The new album will be self-released much like the Let's Talk About EP (on vinyl and digital format only), with the band reporting that "CDs seem pretty worthless to us".

Monday, June 09, 2008


70s electro pop from The Droids -- a very cool combo who definitely live up to their name! Most of the tracks here are spare and electronic -- grooves definitely in the Kraftwerk side of the spectrum, but a bit more catchy and tuneful too -- although still never any sort of mainstream pop। Some cuts have very cool analogue electronic touches -- weird noises and sounds that bubble and bristle in between the more upbeat moments -- all making for a well-developed album with a surprising amount of depth!

Friday, June 06, 2008


Over a succession of rhythm melting vinyl releases for Tectonic, SubSolo and Philpot, Dave Huismans has asserted himself as the leading practitioner of forward thinking dancefloor motions currently in operation. Under the' Dogdaze, A Made Up Sound and his revered 2562 moniker Huismans has shocked the now merged techno and dubstep fraternities with a brilliantly consistent stream of bare bones riddims encompassing brittle 2-step, lurching techno and bass driven dub with a fractured brokenbeat aesthetic that sounds quite unlike anything else being produced today. Aerial is Huismans' massively anticipated debut album and contains some of the most deadly material produced under his 2562 guise, formed into a coherent statement of ten tracks set to detonate headphoness and Soundsystems around the world this summer. This CD edition pulls together four tracks previously dispatched over the course of three individual 12"s released in the last year, plus six sparkling fresh productions primed to dub the world into submission. The set skanks into view with 'Redux' plumbing the depths of a breezing downtempo dub cut in the finest Rhythm & Sound styles, and clearing the airspace for the snaking syncopations of 'Morvern'. From here there's a run of tracks culled from recent releases, ready to educate unblessed ears with some bass stepping sanctification, but the real treats for those who've been paying close attention come in the form of the stunning 'Basin dub' composed from delicate blue chords and a double-timed rhythmic intuition that couldn't have come from anyone else, followed by the equally crushing 'Greyscale', realisng many a technoXdubstep nerd's wet dream with a sacred stylistic blend of Burial, Basic Channel and T++ that leaves us floored. Finally another new effort 'The times' signs off the album with some moody and expansive dub chords whipped into spectral plumes over a coma-slow riddim that brings us full circle and ready for repeat. This album follows in the massively revered tradition of dub experimentation and rhythm science laid down in the lineage stretching from Lee Perry through King Tubby, Scientist, Steve Gurley, Dillinja, Photek, Rhythm & Sound, Kode 9 and Burial, so all we can say is that if any of those names have remotely affected you in any way you really need to check this album out. Without doubt one of the albums of the year - absolutely mighty.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Brian Eno

by Thom Jurek
Finally bored with ambient music, a genre he pioneered in the 1970s, pop polymath Brian Eno emerged with Another Day on Earth, his first solo recording of "conventional" songs since Another Green World. From the rhythm track of opening song "This," the sound is unmistakable. A quirky hook covered in layers of atmosphere and a bouncy loop, it's a smart little tune with additional guitars by Leo Abrahams. Lyrically, Eno's process is poetic, employing not only his own strategies, but a computer generating words as well. At three-and-a-half minutes, it's a fine pop song, albeit one that would never get played on the radio. "And Then So Clear" is more evocative of Eno's work with Daniel Lanois, utilizing a very simple loop adorned with sparse guitars while keyboards pulse softly as a completely treated human voice paints a landscape both exterior and interior. "A Long Way Down," is pure mood, a tense, taut mood offered by electric piano, spectral keyboards imitating strings, and the layered guitars of Steve Jones and Abrahams. Eno multi-tracks his voice across the angular melody, and it slips and falls out more than it flows. And that's a basic problem with Another Day on Earth. Once again, despite trying to work with song forms and structures, they feel tossed off, half-baked. "Going Unconscious" isn't so much a song as an ambient soundscape with spoken word accompaniment by Inge Zalaliene. "Bone Bomb" is the same. "Under" feels like a demo rhythm track with a lyric draped loosely over it. But there are some fine moments too, such as "Passing Over" with Jones guitar cruising over the tune like a spaceship and Eno's sung lines intersecting at (mostly) just the right moments. "How Many Worlds" is almost a child's ditty full of existential questions. Another Day on Earth is a re-entry for Eno, who has the tremendous pressure of always trying to do something new. Nothing here feels new, but so what? If lightweight, it is often pleasant and amusing, if not utterly engaging. Fans will want to seek it out to see what the brainy one has been up to, but those just coming around should go to the back catalog first.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Crystal Stilts

After the first-ever Crystal Stilts show in December 2003, Hamish Kilgour of New Zealand band the Clean approached them and said: "You guys were fantastic, the most interesting of the night — it reminded me of when I went to England in '83 and bought the first Jesus & Mary Chain single." Could there possibly be a better start to a career? As Stilts bassist Andy Adler announced, after sharing the anecdote when we met the band, "it's all downhill from there." Having endured a Job-like start to 2008 (all of their gear stolen — wait, make that impounded), just a few weeks ago the Stilts were confronting whether they should even continue being a band, a notion all the more absurd after you listen to these seven songs — the bulk of the Brooklyn foursome's recordings to date. Sure, Hamish probably overstated it a bit — who knows, though, we weren't there — but there is something in these dingy recordings of minimalist post-punk pop that supersedes pretty much everything else we have heard in a long, long time. The two best songs are "Crippled Croon" and "Converging in the Quiet," their sullen, confident melodies shining brightest, their fidelity sounding the most like something post-Edison in the history of recorded sound. "Crippled Croon" is mush-mouthed and loose, an upper-register guitar line recalling everything great about Echo and the Bunnymen, early Cure and that whole bag, with Brad Hargett's vocals slackadaisical to a ridiculous — and endearing — degree. "Converging" is the better-written song, the little post-chorus instrumental bit really nice and cinematic, the whole thing extremely well put-together in a way that — and we say this with love and affection — some of their other songs are not. "Converging" strikingly intersects Hargett's buried-alive vocals, JB Townsend's shrugging guitars and Adler's gesturing bass in some awesome heroin-spike harmony. Though it didn't start out as such, it's now by far my favorite Crystal Stilts moment. There are others, too, including the really rough demo for "Through the Floor" that we drunkenly convinced the band to include (thanks guys!). Somehow, the rougher-sounding the better with these kids, and in a way that goes beyond the whole warehouses & lofts & sirens & streets & broken windows & peeling walls Brooklyn fetish. Farther down 'neath the hipster mythos, reverb topography and the band's rough treatment are amazing songs by four smart and funny people who we couldn't be prouder to support. You're gonna love this.
emusic review