Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 30th 2011

Poem Rocket - Small White Animal (Felix Culpa)
Implodes - Meadowsland (Black Earth)
Mouthus - Century of Divides (Saw a Halo)
Thurston Moore - Orchard Street (Demolished Thoughts)
Lee Ranaldo - Amarillo Ramp (For Robert Smithson)
Arceconds - Lima Yankee Seven Alpha (Split CS w/Sundrips)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 23 2011

Sightings - On a Pedestal (Future Accidents)
Naked on the Vague - Dissatisfaction (Twelve Dark Noons)
Shearing Pinx - Battery Born
EMA - Red Star (Past Life Martyred Saints)
Oneida - Horizon (Absolute II)
United Waters - Statuary (Your First Ever River)
Thurston Moore - Circulation (Demolished Thoughts)
Astrobrite - Overdriver (Crush)
Mountains - Backwards Crossover (Air Museum)
Kestrels - The Light (The Solipsist)

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 16th 2011

Pre-recorded show tonight.

Women - China Steps (Public Strain)
Oneida - Improvisation (Afternoon Set II), (04-02-2011 Ocropolis, Japan Benefit set - more details right over here)
Bâton Rouge - Collecter les Sons (Fragments D'eux Mêmes)
Weights & Measures - MS Doesn't Stand for MS Anymore (S/T)

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9th 2011 playlist + My Disco "Little Joy" review

Black Eyes - A Pack of Wolves (Black Eyes)
Religious Knives - Big Police (Smokescreen)
Mountains - Blue Lanterns on East Oxford (Air Museum)
Colin Newman - & Jury (A-Z)
United Waters - My Geology I-IV (Your First Ever River)
Long Long Long - You'll Not Guess Who I Met In Minnesota (Who The Fuck Said...)
Honey for Petzi - Endless Sea (General Thoughts and Tastes)
Kestrels - Throw Aggi Off the Bridge (Black Tambourine cover; The Solipsist EP)
Fist City - Cleaner
Thurston Moore - King Chesterfield I (VDSQ Solo Acoustic vol. 5)

Here's a review for My Disco's Little Joy that I wrote for FFWD earlier this year. It never ran because I wasn't able to connect with the band's guitarist for an interview to run alongside the review, despite a few attempts. Bummer, but it's a great album nonetheless.

Minimalism and repetition have been at the core of My Disco for a while, but Little Joy displays a subtler, more expansive focus for the Melbourne-based trio. Previous efforts, like 2008’s Paradise and 2006’s Cancer, were uncompromisingly stark takes on Touch & Go-styled noise rock (the band’s name is a Big Black reference, after all). Little Joy, however, sounds different while maintaining My Disco’s unique essence--repetition remains as the band’s central focus, but rather than endlessly pummeling the listener with cerebral basslines or shearing guitar chords that sound torn from electrical wire, Little Joy opts to put the drums up front, resulting in a spacious and often beautiful-yet-austere art-rock album.

Little Joy is seemingly built around drummer Rohan Rebeiro, especially in the eight-minute “Young”, an avant-disco via noise-rock jam that you’ll probably never hear at a club. The repetition is unrelenting, yet there’s an intriguing roundness to be found within. A song like “Turn”, for example, is simultaneously blunt and subtle--the drums hammer endlessly on a kick/tom rhythm, yet frontman Liam Andrews’ vocal is smooth and cyclical: “I’m wandering,” he repeats over guitarist Ben Andrew’s sharply ringing progression. “Rivers” is the triumph of the album, however, riding the trio’s strengths for nearly ten dynamic minutes of addictive percussion, textured noise guitars, and bass-anchored atmosphere. Thus, Little Joy is difficult yet inviting: it maintains a masterful hold over Shellac-esque tension and release dynamics, holding a primal immediacy with just enough artistic distance to continually toy with expectations.

The repetitive nature of My Disco will undoubtedly be off-putting for many, but those with patience and an ear for arty, unique takes on post-everything noise rock will find this to be a remarkably rich listen, worthy of comparisons to late-period This Heat and Each One Teach One-era Oneida (at least in terms of repetition). Alternately, if you wished that Liars’ Sisterworld wasn’t so disappointing, Holy Fuck weren’t so damned goofy, or that Women hadn’t imploded on stage, Little Joy might just hit the spot.

"A Turreted Berg". Buy it from Temporary Residence, or Sloth, or wherever.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 2nd 2011 playlist + On Record Store Day

Shipping News - The March Song (Very Soon, and in Pleasant Company)
Reflektionss - Violence Routine
Ken Seeno - Rare Moon on the Horizon (Open Window CS)
EMA - Marked (Past Life Martyred Saints)
Lab Coast - All Right (Picures on the Wall)
Kestrels - What Happens (The Solipsist EP)
The For Carnation - Preparing to Receive You (Marshmallows)
Unwound - Side Effects of Being Tired + What Went Wrong (Challenge for a Civilized Society)
Low - Dinosaur Act (Things We Lost in the Fire)

      I've begun to amass a bunch of writings that the publications I write for haven't published, so I figured that I might as well post these pieces myself. These will mostly be editorials and reviews. Here's one that I wrote about Record Store Day, as a record store clerk:

     As you sweaty-palmed vinyl fetishists likely know, Record Store Day happened on April 16th. Working as a clerk at an independent record store for the past several years, I’ve noticed a distinct shift in what RSD seems to be about and, fittingly, have had a shifting relationship towards it. Undeniably, the sales from RSD are an utter pleasure to see, with the store I work at breaking an all-time sales record within hours. However, the focus on so-called “exclusive” RSD releases has become quite disputable—if RSD was formed to celebrate the independent record store and the people who support them, I have one major question that, especially after this year’s smattering of exclusive vinyl, begs to be answered:
     What the hell is with all of the nonsensical major releases that are clogging up the racks? I’m not just talking expensive Pearl Jam reissues, Deftones covers LPs, and expensive split singles that have no right to be pressed in 2011 (i.e, Mastodon with ZZ Top), but also the throwaway nature of these tossed-off products—since people go bananas for limited edition records, we’ve seen such pointless and gratuitous releases such as a 78RPM Beach Boys single, an “alternate takes” collection of Flying Lotus tracks from last year and, let’s not forget, the indie-store-only release of a Lady Gaga picture disc! I’d like to say it’s just the store I work at, but as a regular patron of at least four record stores in Calgary for many years, I can assure you: record stores have not stayed afloat this past decade by stocking overpriced Pearl Jam reissues.
     Major label involvement in RSD has been steadily growing, hence the influx of new, low-substance releases. It’s to be expected, and it’s problematic—the worst example was last year’s “second record store day” in November—a.k.a, Black Friday—where Warner Bros. and Co. released a gluttony of “super limited & exclusive” releases that nobody really gave a shit about. I’m happy that customers were smart enough to not grab a forty dollar live Metallica 10”, but I’m also disappointed that such a neat idea is already being perverted by corporate eye—and, y’know, that we’ve got a forty dollar Metallica live record permanently in stock.
     This becomes problematic in that it perpetuates an age-old cycle—that is, interesting releases by indie labels being overshadowed by the almighty dollar, or: mall syndrome and the major music chain! Folks, there’s a reason the chain stores have gone under, and now it’s being repackaged for the public to lap up once again—this time, it’s “exclusive”. The intentions may be good, but the independent record store is a different beast than HMV. The people who have always supported indie shops are smart, selective record buyers—they’re not going to purchase garbage, even if it’s “limited” to a thousand copies.
The pessimist in me looks at the massively inflated prices these exclusives snatch up immediately on eBay, yet the oft-shrouded optimist thinks we may see another release like Thrill Jockey’s Record Storeism, an RSD exclusive that came out two years ago featuring a hand-made zine packed full of interviews with notable indie musicians/store clerks/etc—a release that was fun and truly celebrated the indie stores, as opposed to being a trivial commodity of corporate eBay-bait. But hey, maybe I just miss being able to say “go to the mall” when asked about Pearl Jam. Regardless, Calgary showed some love to its record stores this month and, for that, I thank you.