Reviews

Taiga Remains, “Works for Cassette”

July 31, 2014

Taiga Remains, “Works for Cassette” Helen Scarsdale Agency, 5/17/2014 In an interview conducted at the beginning of 2014, Alex Cobb described his preference for recording in the morning. “I almost exclusively make music early in the morning, before the day has gotten started,” he said. “I think there’s something about... 

Symbol, “Online Architecture”

July 30, 2014

Symbol, “Online Architecture” Holodeck Records, 5/8/2014 From its fluttery first moments, Symbol’s Online Architecture places texture on equal footing with music. This is familiar, intentional, and noteworthy mainly in how it succeeds. Symbol is Christopher Royal King, founding member of This Will Destroy You and lender-of-hand... 

Mohammad, “Zo Rèl Do”

July 24, 2014

Mohammad, “Zo Rèl Do” Antifrost, May 2014 At around 140-150db, the physical movement of the air makes it feel as if the body is being compressed under water (the threshold of pain – yes, pain – is 130db). At around 180db the brain “liquifies.” I’m willing to wager that if Mohammad‘s latest... 

Jackie McDowell, “Baptisia”

July 21, 2014

Jackie McDowell, “Baptisia” Hairy Spider Legs, 4/22/2014 Under various solo and collaborative aliases, Jackie McDowell has quietly been creating a remarkable body of work across numerous small-run releases on such fine imprints as Digitalis, Stunned, and her own Biological Radio. As Inez Lightfoot, in particular, she melded an... 

Cleared, “Drown”

July 17, 2014

Cleared, “Drown” Immune Recordings, 5/20/2014 Cleared‘s first two albums for Immune Recordings both lead up to Drown, the final album in a trilogy and one of pure release. While Breaking Day was noisier than their self-titled début, both of those albums traded in tension and stunning suspense. Instantly, the... 

Parquet Courts, “Sunbathing Animal”

July 14, 2014

Parquet Courts, “Sunbathing Animal” What’s Your Rupture?/Mom + Pop, 3/6/2014 “We caught slacker punks Parquet Courts in London last night” (The Line of Best Fit) In case you missed it, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is retiring this year. The veteran shortstop receives standing ovations in every city, which I personally... 

Many Mansions, “Night Sesh”

July 9, 2014

Many Mansions, “Night Sesh” MJMJ Records, 6/17/2014 Many Mansions’ new album, Night Sesh, is an electronic album with the word “night” in the title and an image of a neon hand driving a neon car through darkness on the cover. If one was taking a few mental shortcuts, this album might seem full of shadows, murkiness, and... 

V/Vm, “The Death of Rave (A Partial Flashback)”

July 8, 2014

V/Vm, “The Death of Rave (A Partial Flashback)” History Always Favours the Winners, 5/29/2014 When James Leyland Kirby came of age in Manchester, England in the early 1990s, he took advantage of all the things that such a privileged position in time and space bequeaths to wry, intellectual, drug-addled, anti-establishment music obsessives. He was... 

Lawrence English, “Wilderness of Mirrors”

July 2, 2014

Lawrence English, “Wilderness of Mirrors” Room40, 7/21/2014 Once in a while, an artist comes along and throws the rulebooks of their craft out the window. On much rarer occasions, audiences can hardly discern this gesture until the proverbial books’ torn pages lay scattered in grimy gutters and alleyways. Lawrence English is one of those... 

Imperial Topaz, “Full of Grace”

June 27, 2014

Imperial Topaz, “Full of Grace” Tranquility Tapes, 2/18/2014 Tranquility Tapes has one of the most instantly recognizable visual aesthetics in all of the cassette underground. This, of course, is credited to the artistic talents of Caroline Teagle, sibling of Tranquility Tapes head Franklin Teagle. Caroline’s striking and colorful... 

Indian, “From All Purity”

June 27, 2014

Indian, “From All Purity” Relapse Records, January 2014 One of the best recent heavy releases I’ve heard found its way to my ears this month1. The album is called From All Purity. The band is called Indian. The album comes to us from Relapse Records. The band comes to us from Chicago. It is impossible to buy an Indian... 

Virilio, “Signature”

June 26, 2014

Virilio, “Signature” Record Label Record Label, 1/1/2014 A white sheet hangs in front of a black backdrop on the cover of Signature, and right away we’re shuffled into what will surely be a mysterious production. What are they hiding behind there exactly? What’s beneath the curtain? The fact that it could be... 

Popnoname, “7°”

June 23, 2014

Popnoname, “7°” Camp Magnetics, January 2014 In a number of ways, Jens-Uwe Beyer’s Popnoname guise exists at the precise intersect of Kompakt’s signature pop, techno, and ambient sounds while simultaneously branching out into the label’s more experimental offshoot Magazine imprint as a member of Cologne... 

Keir Neuringer, “Ceremonies Out of the Air”

June 19, 2014

Keir Neuringer, “Ceremonies Out of the Air” New Atlantis Records, 5/22/2014 Keir Neuringer uses his New Atlantis début, Ceremonies Out of the Air to hijack the crazed ensemble energy of free jazz and apply it in a visceral, lonely setting. Neuringer’s loneliness is not one of sadness, but one of individual tenacity and destiny. Ceremonies... 

Alexis Zoumbas, “A Lament for Epirus, 1926-1928″

June 12, 2014

Alexis Zoumbas, “A Lament for Epirus, 1926-1928″ Angry Mom Records, 4/19/2014 Why is it that we need an act of violence to express the depth of expression another human is capable of, that our own ability to verbally convey the intense passion of certain musicians must be reduced or exaggerated to an act of violence undoing them from our auricular... 

Franz Rosati, “Ruins”

June 10, 2014

Franz Rosati, “Ruins” Nephogram Editions, 4/28/2014 Franz Rosati’s Ruins can be placed on a spectrum somewhere in between fuzzed out, dreamy noise-ambient and what my college radio peers might call, “transmitter static.” Neither a narcotic wash nor harsh noise, the Italian artist’s latest release on his Nephogram... 

Cloud Becomes Your Hand, “Rocks or Cakes”

June 6, 2014

Cloud Becomes Your Hand, “Rocks or Cakes” Northern Spy/Feeding Tube Records, 2/25/2014 Energy pumps through Cloud Becomes Your Hand‘s Northern Spy/Feeding Tube début, Rocks or Cakes. The album features a range of blissful synthetic sounds, boundless percussion, and violin, but the consistently upbeat energy of the songs outpaces any... 

Bois, “Lost”

June 4, 2014

Bois, “Lost” Spirit Cat / Self-Released, 8/25/2013 To most perspectives Florida is characterized by palm trees, tropical beaches, vast breathtaking swampland and freshwater springs. For many others that natural beauty is juxtaposed with cluttered tourist trap hot spots, noisy honks and hollers of traffic backed... 

Unicorn, “Playing with Light”

June 2, 2014

Unicorn, “Playing with Light” Fabrica Records, 2014 W. T. Nelson’s Unicorn project put out this material on CD-R a while back — ten years ago, to be exact — and Brooklyn’s Fabrica Records have wisely reissued it on LP, allowing Unicorn’s fragile and evocative jams to reach the ears of those (like me) who... 

Is/Is, “Is/Is”

May 30, 2014

Is/Is, “Is/Is” Manimal Vinyl, 2/4/2014 If I’m as musically restless as I think I am — if I can’t stand hearing the same thing repeated ad nauseam — then why do I fall for the strictures of rock ‘n’ roll over and over again? Take this release from the Minneapolis trio of Sarah Rose, Sarah Nienbauer, and... 
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