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Still Single: Vol. 3, No. 1

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In the latest installment of 'Still Single,' Doug Mosurak checks out singles of various sizes by Architecture in Helsinki, Blues Control, Jena Malone, No Age, Yellow Swans, and more.

Still Single: Vol. 3, No. 1


Yours must be a single (or vinyl-only album) pressed on any size of vinyl. CD-Rs of singles will not be reviewed; they will be destroyed. We need the artifact here with original artwork, not some duplicate/digital copy. Only records released within the past six months will qualify for a review.

Still Single now runs bi-monthly, so there is no deadline for submission. I will do my best to make sure that records are reviewed in the order in which they are received.

ANY genre of music will do - don't hesitate to send punk, hardcore, metal, goth, pop, rock, country, hip hop, electronic, experimental, dub and reggae … all genres accepted and welcome.

Information on your pressing (quantity pressed, color vinyl, etc.) should be included if at all possible.

Submissions can be sent to:

Doug Mosurak
PO Box 1552
Long Island City, NY 11101

Records need to be shipped securely in sturdy mailing materials and marked FRAGILE because the post office will destroy them otherwise.

Keep sending in submissions, please!


American Sneakers
“Finito” b/w “CIA” 7” picture disk
(Free News)

Toeing a really dangerous line here – American Sneakers is one of the guys from Plastic Little and a buddy making their stab at folk music. Sadly, they decide to add a sense of humor to the whole thing, but are smart enough to temper these sentiments down to the cuddly, indie-friendly level that appeals to the endless supply of undergrad cooze flowing through Philadelphia every year. I guess they’re proving a point, as Calvin Johnson’s pulling out his stuffed animals for a couple of decades, but he’s never sang choruses as insipid as “cocaine is awesome” or “oh, how I wish that you would die,” either – dude just puts on pajamas and busts out a box of 64 crayons, sleepover style. Musically there’s nothing horribly wrong here, but the lyrics are as shallow as you could have feared, and the whole thing has a really unfortunate vibe all throughout, like the Bloodhound Gang trying to get serious. Still, it’s a pretty nice-looking picture disk in a silkscreened sleeve, and you get a whole full-length CDR of these guys doing the same thing as a free gift. The question is, do you want it?

Architecture in Helsinki
“Heart It Races” b/w “Heart It Races (Yacht Remix)”

I don’t listen to a lot of the large-ensemble type bands that Pitchfork endorses, though I know them by name: The Arcade Fire, Menomena, I’m From Barcelona, Architecture in Helsinki. After hearing this white-sleeved promo, I feel correct in my decision. “Heart it Races” sound like music for furries to re-enact their favorite scenes from “The Lion King” over, just before phallus slams into fur-lined orifice for a couple of weak, sweat-drenched pumps, the thrill of the hunt fully receded and reality quickly settling in. Yacht’s remix is incredible, as it seems to realize what a piece of work he’s got in his hands, and so tries to make it as embarrassing to listen to as he can. He succeeds. Blue states lose!

Birds of Delay/Dreamcatcher
Bored Fortress Year Two
Vol. 3 split 7”
(Not Not Fun)

Not Not Fun’s subscription singles series is back, with six more offerings for the year. Instead of the cardboard and glitter of last year’s releases, each of the new batch comes in a pro-printed, full-color sleeve, with artwork commissioned by Mat Brinkman, Jelle Crama, Jeremy Earl, and others. The material thus far is stronger than in the first series overall, though there are a few slip-ups here and there. Birds of Delay offers up an organ that’s rapidly wavering in pitch under acid-spitting curls of oscillator abuse to generate real confusion and transcendental awareness through a difficult, leavening level of noise activity. Defensive, even for these warlike times, there is a tremendous feeling of release about this track that cuts through the fray. Dreamcatcher isn’t as awesome, a marching ping racing along drum programs, flatulent wide-pass noise, and some tweaked vocal howling and crooning. Approaches the same density as Royal Trux mk. 1, but with an oppressive, Germanic vibe that puts the track at odds with the kindness of the flipside. Still, a strong and thought-provoking release. Edition of 500 numbered copies, and sold out from the source.

Black SS/How We Are
split 7” EP
(Stop Whining, Start Winning/Speciman)

Two hardcore bands from upstate New York sharing the duties here. Black SS wins out; they’re gruff, silly, raging and singalong-worthy, and ultimately four times the band of How We Are’s emo-tinged, melodic ‘90s embarrassment. Better name, too, plus a killer band photo with Abdullah the Butcher. I don’t want to live in a world where what How We Are is doing will ever be looked back on so fondly.
( swx2records(at)gmail.com)

Blackout Beach
“Claxxon’s Lament” b/w “The Street Folds” 7”
(Soft Abuse)

This is Carey Mercer of Frog Eyes fame, going solo – apparently he wrote a brace of this sort of material before Frog Eyes got started, and the tracks have been slowly seeping out ever since. I can’t tell the difference between the two, as there’s no side markings, but I like both songs a lot – ornate, weepy ballads with a tipsy sweep a la Donovan or possibly Nikki Sudden (Jacobites-era), with the requisite tinny backing tracks to match. Heartbreaking and sad in a real, unforced sort of way, the whole thing reminds me why I’ve always had such a soft spot for this guy’s music. If you feel the same, don’t delay – this is a lathe-cut clear vinyl edition of 60 numbered copies, in a really nice black-on-black foldout sleeve. Probably the most limited edition item I’ve ever received for this column, in fact. A high endorsement is bestowed upon thee. Get to it.

Los Blankitos
s/t 7” EP
(Discos Chango)

Hodad group garage sounds from this Brooklyn outfit with a slightly surfy, dance-craze edge and a tolerable sense of humor. Goofy, good times for the pizza parlor, the drive-in, the carnival, the double feature, the custom car show, the backyard barbeque, the day at the beach, the flea market, the horror convention, WFMU, inside the can of pomade, the scooter rally, or the bottom of a garage/punk bill. Edition of 300 numbered copies.

Boston Chinks
Coltrane 7” EP

Uncomfortably methodical even for garage rock, the Boston Chinks (sheesh, that name) play that really rote, driven verse-chorus-verse punk-pop, where the songs go on too long and you gotta wait 16 bars before the chorus kicks in. The tracks vary in intensity, but there’s four of them, and it spins at 33, so you’re gonna get a solo in each one. Musicianship is tight, but that’s all that’s really going for this one.

Beyrouth 2x7”+DVD box set

A sealed-up cloth box in a visibly numbered edition, this one was calling my name long before I got the chance to play it. Discipline is the product of one Joseph Ghosn, electronic musician, and the package rolls up ominous, evil drone across two one-sided, etched 7”s (in collaboration with Tigersushi house band K.I.M.) with a DVD of Super-8 films shot by his father. Developed in the early ‘70s, these are, presumably, images of the artist as an infant and toddler, snippets of his young life juxtaposed against footage of religious ceremony, public demonstration, and family bonding, which would all be greatly impacted with the ascent of the first Lebanese War in 1975. Wide-eyed and innocent, these images are superimposed together, with two unique soundtracks, to portray the innocence and serenity of pre-war Beirut. It’s a striking presentation, a foreboding study scaled in musique concrete and oscillating tone poems, especially in the non-laptop soundtrack edition. A text, published in French and photograph, provides eight pages of artist statement, and the whole thing comes wrapped up in said hinged box, a unique photograph attached to each, in an edition of 300 copies. DVD is PAL format, region 0. Strong ideas and a sublime presentation make this the most important release yet on Tigersushi, a sharp turn away from their dancefloor fillers of the past.

Double Muslims
s/t 7” EP
(Laboratory Standard Recordings)

Wiry, spacious rock/improv trio of guitar, cello and drums, in bed together, and the mattress springs are sticking out all over, if you get my drift – sharp turns of play and space, subverted by digital delay and percussion that allows the musical elements to breathe and sweat as needed. Squalor, to them, would probably equal the most uniform and thought-out compositions of your GHQs of today, with a composition-based attack and a full command of its wide vocabulary. Wouldn’t place these guys too far away from Gastr del Sol in terms of the attack, though there’s considerably more geniuine “rock” action here in a precipitated kinda way. “Twice But Once” has a fine time exploding into reverie, then pulling back with the appropriate amount of tension, until the track sounds like it’s weeping at its unresolved ending. Smart, joyous times within a beautiful package, all from somewhere small in Tennessee. Numbered edition of 300 in a letterpressed, foldover sleeve, closed with a wax seal.

Bored Fortress Year Two Vol. 2 split 7”
(Not Not Fun)

On “Live in Seattle,” the trio of GHQ (featuring Marcia Bassett of Hototogisu and Double Leopards, Steve Gunn, and Magik Marker Pete Nolan) concocts and quaffs a ceremonial-strength offering of dense drone, gently realized through hall-of-echo vocals, twinkling metal bells, and a warm and spreading amplified hum. Ex-Cocaine is a duo of drummers with a horrid name and a sense of purpose somewhere between primate and man gorged on the Taco Bell value menu, playfully tapping at your submerged skull. What they do isn’t enough to break the skin, which is perhaps why it’s so easy to take, their full, tonal rumble moving around with the rhythm of a pulse run through delay. Edition of 500 numbered copies.

Heavy Winged/Blues Control
Bored Fortress Year Two Vol. 4 split 7”
(Not Not Fun)

Heavy Winged is new to me, some meeting of the minds between Brooklyn and Portland. It sure is heavy, with a crummy four-track recording that goes at odds with the music’s intent, but not its delivery. Crunchy, anxiety-filled riffs push in lockstep with the drumming, while the guitarist noodles some scales overdubs on top, forcing a professional, metallic-based delivery out of the picture in favor of some hazy pot dream. It’s like the Fucking Champs if they dialed down the chrome and stopped brushing their hair, then recorded over the Karp demo cassette. God, that was embarrassing to write just there. I’m a little turned off by their song-oriented direction, but am glad they are instrumental; if they just banged out threat chords the whole time I would probably love it. Blues Control’s track comes from a WFMU radio session, and is one of their better mantras, several minutes of simple, ascending organ riffs, cyclical percussion, acid-yellow Russ Waterhouse guitar halos, and a percussion loop that sounds as if it were pushed out of a musical passage from Miami Vice. One of the best bands going in this domain right about now; hold your crystals high. Numbered edition of 500.

Human Eye
“Spiders and Their Kin” b/w “Desperate Hands” 7”

Human Eye’s records so far have all been pretty severe (and severely ignored), but this single is by far their heaviest in the traditional, proto-metal sense. “Spiders and Their Kin” is damn near perfect, the reason why bands make singles in the first place. It’s got a timeless quality that touches upon their electronically-dented sound as developed thus far, but introduces massive, Paleolithic-era riffage and a psychedelically drenched vibe that’s worked for the Apes and Modey Lemon in recent times, though far more unique and satisfying here. It’s blasted-out hard rock floating down the Green River on a trip gone bad, struggling to claw out of a punch bowl of soggy Frankenberry while “Land of the Lost” throws out cheap scares from the TV in the other room. The song never really peaks, either, as the band just lays out one champion moment after another, be it a bleeding solo, a demented lyric, or another colossal go-round at the disorganized main riff. Really, this song shouldn’t work the way it does, but because it does, it rules so much harder than you’d ever expect. “Desperate Hands” continues along paths these guys have already blazed, but with the antiquity required to measure closely to the A-side, a twitchy pit-dweller in line with the dosed drawings of the Twinkeyz or Simply Saucer at their peak. Mandatory to own and the best single of 2007 so far. Nobody else is making records like this, or this good.

La Parade Des Sans Illusions 7” EP
(Enfant Terrible)

A strange and lonesome edition from this French electronic punk outfit, playing like a neon, night-time counterpart to countrymen Cheveu. Alienated almost to the point of collapse, here are four songs of hollow, elliptical structure, detached countenance, and harsh tones, digging out a paranoid, infected vibe that’s hard to shake. Buzzing electronics, live drums, and obscured vocals (all in French) complete the package; this one’s on its own trip, and it’s a weird one, like metal baby birds nesting in shredded jackets of Chrome records. Numbered edition of 300 with an oversized sleeve insert that will most likely get bent in transit.

Courtesy Run Rampant one-sided 12”
(Not Not Fun)

Noisy, detached musings for drone and noise ensemble, courtesy of one Californian mystery man. Flyblown, scorched earth vibes permeate the three tracks here, the last offering “The Preliminary Work” reaching the sort of tweaked, long-form highs experienced in one’s final acts. Please look after him and his conspiracy-addled record. Excellent shadow-corp etching on the B-side; edition of 200 numbered copies in spraypainted sleeves. Like watching a boat sink.

Jena Malone and Her Bloodstains
“Tested Dry” b/w “Green Eyed Monster” 7”
(The Social Registry)

Malone is best known as an actress, and just about everyone who might read this site will remember her from “Donnie Darko,” but we’re here to deal with a record that she’s made, in collaboration with a couple of songwriters, presumably to help her to crawl before she can walk. Songs are performed on acoustic guitars and a keyboard simulating guitar, with Malone cooing and creaking over stumbly, curdled charts. Clearly she’s beginning to find her feet as a musician, taking some unfortunate cues from Chan Marshall in her delivery. Clearly these two songs are not enough to form an opinion, as the folks behind this record are fairly infallible when it comes to this sort of thing. But I can’t help but fear the worst, especially as her backing band consists of The Kind of Guys Who Would Do Just About Anything To Get Back on a Major Label. Time will tell, I suppose, but this is a curious, unconfident-seeming debut that creeps more than it cares. Numbered edition of 750 and the first installment in this fine label’s new singles series.

“Unlust” b/w “Lovesick” 7”
(Point Wrex)

Scrappy, loud, somewhat rude-sounding full moon howl from this young Portland band, clearly keeping Earthless and Monoshock in their heads while blasting out these two tracks. Not a lot of polish here, the end results (particularly “Lovesick”) succeeding in a reunification of earlier-presented themes brought back as triumphs. They need a little more time to put together a more tangible direction, one they can truly own, but this is a promising start, full of noise and heavy vibes. Edition of 200.

No Age
“Every Artist Needs a Tragedy” b/w “Loosen This Job” 7”
(Post Present Medium)

This year’s it-boys already lined up the tracks from this and a handful of other EPs coming this summer that they’re-releasing onto a full-length for FatCat, and are getting all manners of massages, backrubs and promises of hand release from the nation’s premium independent labels. You don’t need a slide rule to figure this one out – No Age zeroes in on what a lot of these two-piece rock bands have been at for some time with the help of electronics and SoCal sun-baked good times; namely, a sense of noisy, reckless experimentalism that props up simple, danceable soundscapes of light reflective pop music. Sure, it’s noisy, but noise is the new guitar solo, and these two break out the Brasso and clean it really nice. Good looking, comedic duo (ex-Wives), finally pulling themselves out of the dirt and moving on with it. White vinyl on mine. These guys still remind me of New Order musically, and nobody else seems to agree. Oh well, history will prove me right.

Anthony Reynolds
Ponies 7” EP

With fairly mersh expectations, this pretty excellent singer-songwriter fare that brings a little bit of lush mystery to the sort of adult male British singer-songwriter realm. Earnest and wrapped in satin, well-orchestrated (strings, hand percussion and piano fill out the space), the combination rises to a boil on the first track, “I Know You Know,” evoking a softened yet familiar regard to the last few years of guitar-based rock, beneath a classy, adult-contempo studio finish. Reynolds really sells this vibe, with poignant lyrics that almost dominate any character he might exhibit, but in this capacity, it works in his advantage. Hey, not everything we get in here is a punk, garage, or noise record, and that’s cool – this music is pretty honorable about its intent, and has enough charm and resolve to succeed.

Sian Alice Group
“Nightsong” 7”
(The Social Registry)

New, large-ensemble ethereal pop group who are new to me, making their debut here. “Nightsong” is spread over two sides, and while the sung, wispy A-side is very nice, in sort of a breezy, Victorian take on Slowdive sort of way, I’m all about part two, in which the group hammers away at one chord in the same style, unearthing howling strings and a flooded, mesmerizing vibe that few bands in their shoes elect to take. A rush of good, warm feelings. Edition of 750 numbered copies; second release in the Social Registry’s singles series.

Sword Heaven
Piles 7”

Has anyone called Sword Heaven the modern day equivalent of Test Dept. yet? Of course, the scale of things is dropped drastically – no way do these guys get to lead an army in to beat on car bodies and shoot sparks from metal grinders. All the same, these two men from Ohio raise a racket that sounds like a Civil War re-enactment for the noise set, an abattoir of squealing feedback, skull-denting drums and the sort of screaming that will no doubt grow some polyps on these kids’ vocal cords. “Piles” in both parts, particularly side A, mines the sort of brutality you hope you never have to witness in any sort of spontaneous situation, like a multi-car accident or a building burning down. Harsh times calling for more harsh times. All white sleeve, so you don’t get a photo. 300 copies, white vinyl.

s/t 7” EP
(Black Velvet Fuckere)

I know you don’t want personal anecdotes here, but this is the band that Clockcleaner and Times New Viking played before in Louisville while I was on tour with them. I say “played before” because it seemed as if this entire band and all of their friends stood outside, waiting for everyone else to finish their sets and making sure no eye contact was made. Discouraged by lack of local sympathy, we drove all night in the pouring rain out to Columbus for a rough night’s sleep. And now, when I hear this sloppy, non-committal rock that could have been pulled off some random 7” single back in 1992 (and should have been left there), I know that we made the right decision, difficult as it might have been. Touched plays poop-chugging, drunken rock, sloppily executed and poorly presented. 33rpm means the songs are all too long by half (the execrable “Baby’s Not a Whore” pulling that trick where they play the song, then play it again). A group like the Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments could have pulled this sort of music off with charm and panache, but this effort just seems like it’s all going nowhere in the name of dipshittery. Four bad neighbors.

The Trashies
“Blue Tarp” b/w “Ricky Don’t Feel” 7”

The Trashies come from Seattle and play punk rock that’s somewhat surfy, just-over-the-top dramatic, with some vague goth/sci-fi cabaret action (meaning church organ synth and bent, comic-book lyrics). If that sounds a little pedestrian to you, relax, because it’s not. Both songs fit in on the edge of Cramps and nightmarish 45 Grave-land, maybe pointing towards Oingo Boingo’s levels of theatrical tendency. But it does its job well enough, the riffs for both tracks helping to stem the tide of fan-boy/fan-girl exuberance with some legitimate good ideas, the kind that the Embarrassment knew about. Decently fun times. Edition of 500 in spray-stenciled blue tarp sleeves, first 100 on blue vinyl.
(no contact provided)

What Now My Love
Does This Tail Have a Happy Ending? -or- A Story There's No Point in Telling in Three Songs 7” EP
(Sadu Face)

College radio station d00dz from Northwestern get together and release a posthumous 7” (sleeve credits indicate that the girl in the band had quit before the recording … care to explain, bros?) and it’s pretty much what you might have expected – things that sound familiar, ideas that haven’t cooked all the way, a few moments that really hit the spot. They play short songs with long titles, heavy on the bombast and loud guitars and stilted progressive stop-start dynamics, digging back far enough into a ‘90s oeuvre of missed chances and blown expectations so far that they hit 1989. Not even gonna get into typing out any names here, but they rely on push-me-pull-you struggle sounds a la the Ex or Flying Luttenbachers to carry this thing home. Which is pretty much what you’d expect, a bunch of guys trying to distill music they love into something they can own, with a little bit of a sense of humor to keep critical barbs from stinging too hard. Fuck it, everyone make a record; you only live once!

Yellow Swans/The Goslings
Bored Fortress Year Two Vol. 1 split 7”
(Not Not Fun)

The overamplified blues of every day life rings out of the Yellow Swans side, a lucid two-note wander eventually escalating with the rest of the all-in-the-red surroundings to crest into a suffocating wave of testosterone. This is a project that is completely all over the place, and it’s nice to hear it settle down into a semblance of a meditative state now and again, big curtains of melody tearing up the surf, no techno beats for miles. I only recently got on board for the Goslings, and I’m enjoying them a lot thus far; enormous, saturated, slow riffs tumbling down on victims, dressed up in bloody rags and lurid vocals. Their offering here, “Saw-Horse,” works off of that Twin Infinitives sort of vibe that one of the above Bored Fortress offerings missed the boat on, with the slow danger of glacial riffs heat-welded to its frame. Pretty stunning outfit on record and one that puts this l’il guy over the top. Edition of 500 numbered copies.


Brain Handle
s/t LP

Following two singles, here’s the LP. Having run into difficulties with getting a label to front for this, Brain Handle elected to go the DIY route, pressing up 300 copies to take on tour with them. The act of having to attend a show to pick up the record isn’t anything new, but it’s rare that a band will handle their debut album in such a manner; whatever the case, this is an excellent example of new American hardcore that doesn’t pander to site-specific re-enactments of days and scenes gone by. Keeping that side of things fairly ambiguous has been one of BH’s strong suits since the outset, but here the panicked vibes and palsied confusion let off by frontman “The Family Circus” (call him Ed) reaches a fever pitch. For some reason, they bring to mind groups like Code of Honor, though totally slurred and sloppy in comparison; they both seem to be asking all the questions that the genre can handle, though. Brain Handle’s myriad attempts to obscure their personalities has only caused them to push through into their sound that much further, and the resulting ten tracks bust through the screen with loose, twitching chaos, obsessed with things that don’t exist and lost in its own heads. When is the last time you heard a hardcore record described in such a manner? Who would shit in a maze? Could be this year’s greatest disappearing act; check out “Wallet Sniffin’” right before the cops drag you off. Tour dates are up at www.fashionableidiots.com, but the records you gotta get from the band. Tour starts today and lasts through the next month.
(Can’t you read? Get to a show!)

Dennis Duck
Dennis Duck Goes Disco 2xLP

Handsome vinyl edition of a ‘70s LAFMS title by Sir Duck (Human Hands, Dream Syndicate), manipulating a grip of vinyl and recording the results. What we have here is an assortment of rudimentary, but fairly engrossing turntablism, concentrating on the rotations of the platter and the actions of the stylus over any sort of scratchin’ and cuttin’ (remember, this was the late ‘70s, and turntables didn’t exactly have the same stigmas – or durable, 1200-style construction – that they do today), but rather planned skips, tonearm adjustments, center hole modifications, and the like. The results are fairly dizzying, geometrical, and captivating, as Duck’s record collection goes through the ringer, sputtering out sharp jags of rhythm and tone outside of the original vinyl’s context, and serves as a valid precursor to the works of Philip Jeck and Christian Marclay. Two thick slabs of vinyl in a full-color gatefold sleeve.

Hubble Bubble
s/t LP
(Radio Heartbeat/Daggerman)

Here’s a long-awaited reissue that’s been burning up the punk and record hoarding communities for some time; bootlegged heavily in the past, this solid (if rather bare) edition captures all the unrestrained grit and utter strangeness of Hubble Bubble, a Belgian punk trio from way back when, featuring new wave fixture Plastic Bertrand (nee Roger “Junior” Juret) on drums and vocals. Much as Juret’s “Ca Plane Pour Moi” was remembered for its manic, glamorous spirit, Hubble Bubble coats durable, buzzsaw rock ‘n’ roll riffing with a bizarre glamour that had just faded from the world of popular music. Their “New Promotion” might be the only punk song with a whistled melody, let alone Elvis hound-dog hiccup vocals. I’m not a big fan of humor in my music, especially punk (my limits there being Nig-Heist, Milo Goes to College, “Sandwich of Love” by the Mentors, or possibly NOFX’s Punk in Drublic) but Hubble Bubble manage to remain in this weird, goofball zone for the whole album and never manages to get lame or unbearable. Ridiculous fucking record; buy three.

Neotokyo picture disk LP

Hard to describe this one without eliciting chuckles, but it’s a fun, simple-minded study in excess. I’m gonna go ahead and assume that Jinmo is the Asian man who graces the artwork, which looks like a menu screen from Wipeout XL. He’s wearing intense bondage gear (with lotsa buckles and a corset) and heavy eyeliner, and looks like the kind of dude who hangs out at goth/industrial nights, alone. If only they knew his secret weapon! Jinmo has pressed up this incredibly harsh, single-minded effort of thirty short tracks that all follow the same pattern: incredibly fast, distorted riffage reminiscent of beyond-metallic frippery, set over compressed, gabber-tempo “industrial” drum machine tracks. The rhythms differ somewhat, as do the gauge and intensity of the shredding (which admittedly gets more diverse now and again) but the production finds both tracks panning back and forth across the stereo spectrum, and each one ending with a blast of low-end feedback that sounds like a foghorn. The likeness to Mick Barr’s brand of guitar playing is unmistakable, but Barr does a lot more with, well, a lot more, as Jinmo seems content to pull neck runs about half the time. You really have to laugh at the backstory of this one (something to do with a futuristic tank racing through a crowd of African tribesmen that gets borderline uncomfortable with descriptions of “their beautiful black shining skin”) and the execution screams 1999, but Neotokyo, contrived as it might seem, held my attention. Numbered edition of 500.

Kirsten Ketsjer
(Yoyo Oyoy)

Third album from this outstanding Danish pop outfit that’s recently shored up in NYC, lucky for us all. Like the Fiery Furnaces in their first album’s glory, Kirsten Ketsjer bask in so many influences that it’s difficult to pin them down, especially when they dwell in 8-bit video game chomping towards the end, but while the Furnaces use the Velvet Underground as their template, KK digs into more recent times – think Versus, instead, or Bettie Serveert at their most severe. When they kick into full-on guitar pop swing, it’s a joy to behold, as their all-encompassing vibe allows a remarkable number of ideas to filter right on through. Songs deal with dreams, cheerful suicide, mass exodus ... you know, the really important things where anything can happen. They know things that we don’t, it seems, and they’re trying to teach us across this sprawling, luminous, beautiful and remarkable effort. Their sound accepts just about every reference you can throw at it, which should please a lot of people. This band really should be heard by as many as possible, and it seems like they can do just about anything they want musically and get away with it, as they’re more of a filter for their influences rather than badgewearers. Comes in a gorgeous foldout silkscreened sleeve. Don’t let this one get away from you.

Various Artists
Getting Rid of the Glue LP
(Pendu Sound Recordings)

Loosely assembled collection of ten tracks by a grab bag of avant-garde musicians, tinkering in rock-leaning sounds (Dirty Churches), vocal experimentalism (Spin-17), electronic lost weekends (Excepter), free improvisation (Mialessot with Daniel Carter and Old Ghost, Talibam!) and percussion workouts (Aa), among others. There’s some interesting pieces here, including a short, tense electro-acoustic scrape by Maria Chavez, and Eager Meek’s minimal noise/drone frottage, but in total this is a concept that works better on paper. Essentially, we have ten artists here who sound nothing alike, and to Morton Feldman’s school of thought, that’s exactly what they should be doing, but a solid album this philosophy cannot make. Jarring transitions leave the listener unprepared for what’s to follow, providing no basis for comparison and often leaving the audience wrapped up in what was happening earlier. As a result, nothing here sticks out, in one of the most clinical short changing acts in closet-full-of-recorddom to surface in some time. Ideas are fine, but having to make sacrifices for them in the context of a traditional record listening experience is a bit much to ask of anyone who’d otherwise be into this (to say nothing of the tossed-off, outtake quality shared here, sadly the one unifying factor between these acts). Edition of 300 with a Xerox insert.

By Doug Mosurock

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