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.

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