From the Inbox: The First Gay Rapper™

I have no idea how Sissy Rich (The First Gay Rapper™) and his street team acquired my email address, but it’s not the first time that something completely unexpected has dropped into my inbox and left me asking pointless rhetorical questions.

Sissy Rich, who has presciently trademarked the above phrase, has quite the street team. Enthusiastic and somewhat disturbing which, if you’re fronting for the first* gay rapper, is probably considered a plus.

*This claim is very likely untrue, but all that matters now is Sissy Rich has legal possession of this phrase. 

The street team hands out all sorts of assurances and deflections in hopes that those on the receiving end of this untargeted campaign won’t succumb to their usual homophobic tendencies. (Or something — there’s a strong hint of jubilant paranoia to the missive, the sort of thing that calls to mind the forced cheerfulness of salespeople practicing the fine art of mandatory upselling.)

Hey i have doubts you won’t receive this but over all, i’m here to put you on SISSY RICH cause he goes’ HARDDDDD, first off he’s a gay rapper close to mainstream and don’t be ALARMED although i said he’s GAY he dosen’t rap about the VULGAR things that may come to mind when you hear gay rapper, and he has a very big growing fan base! He has over 220K followers on twitter, over 1.4 million views on youtube and etc it wouldn’t hurt to LISTEN!!!

While I am pleased that Sissy Rich won’t be solely rapping about such VULGAR subjects as (presumably) gays, gay sex, gay relationships, gay problems, gay street life, gay imported sports cars, gay drug dealing, gay bitches and gay bling, I am also somewhat disappointed that all the gay is being pushed aside to make way for the Gay™.  Not that I’m expecting every track to go all Maxwell and become nothing more than a camp string of anal innuendo,  but if you’re going to drop your mp3s off at the nearest critic’s inbox clothed in little more than a sexual preference, it’s kind of a letdown when the lyrical content is nearly indistinguishable from hundreds of other rap artists.

Sissy Rich seems a little vague on his intentions as well:

“People like the fact i rap, but the things i rap about they wouldn’t expect a GAY RAPPER to express, my music is way beyond me dating men, it’s barely talked about. I just feel my story is just important as everyone’s else, for example who can tell me what’s RAP and what’s not when i have 100,000+ supporters who feel different?”

Now, I can appreciate Rich’s attempt to change perceptions about WHAT a gay rapper would rap about (see my list above) and change this into something along the lines of a “rapper who just happens to be gay” and subsequently blow minds in that fashion. But any shot at true subversiveness is completely undercut by his branding effort. It’s GAY™ first, RAP second, which seems to run in opposition to his stated aims.

While I applaud him for taking on perhaps the most homophobic genre in the music biz, I can’t help but feel that I’m supposed to like this (or like it more) simply because of that fact. Unfortunately, I tend not to like music preloaded with the artist’s suppositions. If I did, I’d be a Consolidated fan. (ZING!)  (Also: Rage Against the Machine.)

If you’re curious, here’s a link to Sissy Rich’s Youtube page, where pretty much everything he’s released is available, along with a few interviews.

/s/CLT

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Filed under Commentary, Electronica, Hip Hop

Recommended: The Julia Sound – One For Ya Mind EP

Remember how just yesterday, I was informing you of my under-utilized pop side and letting you know I wasn’t all about the DARK and the NOISE just like other, normal human beings? Well, those day(s) are over, suckers. Back to the DARK and the NOISE and especially the last part.

The Julia Sound eradicates any other female-named Sounds and I’m pretty sure they can take down all the male-named Sounds as well, probably without breaking a sweat, all at the same time. Because The Julia Sound are SOUND with a capital-everything.

Former WOOD OWL (as featured previously here at Minor Scratches) [and cryptically abbreviated] R. has returned to the studio as part of The Julia Sound, picking up right where the WOOD OWLS left off: crafting incredibly loud, incredibly layered, sharply angled explosive blasts of white noise that hit your eardrums with enough force to cause vertigo and with enough abrasives to remove protective tympanic membranes, leaving you reeling around in an ear-ringing daze like a Who roadie after 35 years on the road. If this doesn’t sound like your “sort of thing,” I humbly submit that you are simply NOT playing it LOUD ENOUGH.

The Julia Sound’s EP, One Time for Ya Mind, is five end-to-end tracks that revel in the pitch black joy of ensnaring listeners in razor wire feedback and pummeling, thug-like, PiL death disco drums. As cathartic and confrontational as the Jesus and Mary Chain’s early live gigs and as resolutely uncompromising as some of the bands namechecked on its Facebook page (Pussy Galore, Meat Whiplash, zZz), The Julia Sound is an impossibility of logistics. How in the name of all that is unholy do these three persons (/R //E.V. Orman //No. 6), without a complete name between them, manage to create such an encompassing “Sea of Sound,” one which seems to be at least as much predicated on destruction as creation?

CIP, the First:

The Julia Sound – Absolved, As It Happens.mp3

Somewhere between the JAMC, the Sisters of Mercy (Vision Thing incarnation) and Suicide lies this pretty thing, and by “pretty” I mean “check out those sharpened incisors.” A brief noise, not unlike a motorcycle made entirely out of blown-out speaker cones, kicks off the track, revving the throttle in an altogether threatening way. And away it goes, replaced by reverbed, guttural howls and the occasional shouty, echoed f-bomb. The beat goes on in a relentless fashion, but not one built of insistence but resignation. All in all, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that this was once a Jesus and Mary Chain b-side that somehow slipped into a wormhole during an elongated drugs-and-drinking session, only to be recovered by The Julia Sound, who somehow, against all SCIENCE, discovered they had ALREADY recorded it. (Cue scary musical sting.)

CIP, the Second:

The Julia Sound – Injection N°. Hate.mp3

The OED doesn’t seem to be particularly lacking in words for stuff, but when it comes to something as intensely brutal and beautiful as this track, there’s suddenly a dearth of adequate adjectives. It runs 8:46 and as such qualifies as “epic,” even before a single note is played. But the notes are played and what begins as something you might be able to term a “first-date song” quickly devolves into something more in line with a “post-devastating-breakup song.” The drums go from “nonexistent” to “inescapable,” and the track itself from “inviting” to “tinnitus hellscape,” inviting comparisons to Stellarium’s “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” epic sonic destroyer Dead Nebula and My Bloody Valentine’s live finale You Made Me Realise* (“whatever doesn’t kill you leaves you desperately in need of immediate medical attention”). Gentle, it isn’t.

*Affectionately referred to as the “holocaust” by fans.

This is the sort of track that leads to this scenario when experienced live:

Uninitiated friend: “So… this is like performance art or something?”

[WAVE AFTER WAVE OF TJS SONIC BRUTALITY]

You: “I KNOW! HOLY FUCKING SHIT! I THINK MY NOSE IS BLEEDING”

Uninitiated friend: [slowly sinks into fetal position]

You: “FUCK YEAH! IT IS BLEEDING!”

Be initiated. The sight, taste and smell of your own blood as heightened by the collapse of Western Civilization in audio format is greatly preferable to laying in your own urine, hoping for a riot to cut the night short.

Download the whole EP over at Mediafire.

Stop by Facebook and add The Julia Sound to your “These Are the Sorts of Things I Like” List. Also, take a few seconds to gaze in awe and wonderment at the inspiration for the band and its namesake. (You won’t need more than 15 of those seconds.)

Share it with a friend.

SCREAM IF YOU WANT TO GO FASTER.

Wear proper hearing protection, etc. blahblahblah.

/s/CLT

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Filed under Rock

Recommended: Leann Grimes – I’m Not Too Skinny

I know that this blog, being representative of my music tastes, tends towards the “dark” and “noisy” ends of the musical spectrum, often serving up both at the same time. I APOLOGIZE FOR NOTHING. This is what interests me now and considering my age*, is probably NOT a “phase.”

*Quite possibly older than you think, but I skew younger thanks to my boyish good looks and childlike fascination with swearing.

But that’s not ALL I am. I’m not always searching out the darkest corners armed with a flashlight with a beam made of out feedback and faulty electronics. I’m also a fan of ear-pleasing noises, which aren’t, in fact, noisy at all, but rather suitable for all ages (possible exceptions: 7 and 43.) I can be just as suckered in by poplike art as the next childlike post-teen with a potty mouth. I like stuff I can hum. I like stuff that I can’t get out of my head. (Caveat: I have to be the one putting it there, not some Top 40 DJ pretending to be local while broadcasting from ClearChannel’s bomb shelter in the cold, steely heart of Industryville.)

Case in point: Leann Grimes. I’ve gushed in an almost embarrassing fashion about his music before. Having placed his debut album squarely at the top of a severely truncated Best of 2K11 list, I attempted to share my (manly, no doubt) crush on LG’s beautifully spun samples-and-beats with the world, or at least as much of the word that Yet Another WordPress Blog will reach.

Long story short: here’s another shortish story. This showed up in my (e)mailbox at the tail end of a soul-crushing day. You know those days where everything seems like the only way the dial’s going to budge from “bad” is when it heads to “worse,” and the most promising thing on the horizon is bedtime? One of those days. Even if you don’t know those days, play along.

Shane Conerty (Leann Grimes) graced me with an inadvertent care package just when I needed it. A brand new Leann Grimes album. If you’ve read my previous review, you’ll know why this is the best thing that could have happened at this moment. No one, I mean absolutely NO ONE, makes albums so full of sprightly tunes and pure celebratory joy as Leann Grimes. It was pure, ridiculous fate, like someone tapping you on your slumped shoulder and saying, “You look beat, brother. Life can be that way. It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this.”

LG celebrates the bliss of discovering new music you love and, like his last album, returns the favor to all the artists he (now) loves and the blogs that pointed him in these new directions, by crafting brisk, radio-ready (if radio didn’t suck ALL OF THE ASS EVER), bouncy, effervescent, drunk-on-life tracks that grab your ears with the enthusiasm of orally pleasured female approaching orgasm. (Seriously: we are hiring for the position of Metaphor Writer, citing specifically complaints from artists that they “can’t show these reviews to their mom.”)

I’ll post a few here and I motherfucking dare you to be unmoved. To sit there without a toe tapping or finger drumming or party ensuing. Because if you can’t move to this, you might need to have you soul removed and given to the nearest vampire-esque teen scowling away miserably, because chances are it might do them some good and shatter their face with unexpected smiling. Tell them it’s available for download on Friday the 13th and that will be all the excuse they’ll need to get up earlier than nightfall.

[How can you resist this? It features something that sounds like the only calliope ever that has never been tainted by clown proximity and it fucks around with your groove by shifting the tempo this way and that, much like Pepepiano’s famous “disconcertos.” And stay tuned for the sample near the end, which briefly resurrects 60s girl pop in Conerty’s own particular idiom, which means that it’s familiar but twisted.]

[This one samples an artist called “Gringo Starr,” whom I’m not familiar with but beginning to regret that fact with each re-reading of the name. At times this track resembles what would happen to 70s-era AOR (Steve Miller comes to mind) if someone made off with the master tapes and diced them all into tiny pieces and reassembled them later with the help of a Dirty Beatniks 12″ and none of the Original Manufacturer’s Instructions.]

[If you’re going to kick off an album, you could do a fuck-ton(ne) worse than Yeah, We Up, which kicks down the door, drags your groggy ass out of bed and heads to the hills, which presumably contain a speedy vehicle waiting to transport you to the Nearest Club of Your Choosing for a night of dancing, drinking and possible arrest, all in 2-1/2 minutes.]

You can stream it now to pre-get-your-groove-on. And as God is my witness, I wrote this entire “review” sitting outside like one of those cheerful, bongloaded hippies with a hardon for mother nature and sans natural aversion to sunlight. Like the sort of person I mentally punch in the face because of their obvious satisfaction in just doing nothing and getting high on life after getting high on everything else. I, for an undetermined amount of time, was THAT person, and you know what? LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM. It will make you more cheerful than should reasonably be expected under the circumstances. GO.

Note: Leann Grimes is also available in SOUNDCLOUD and Actual Band Form, not to mention the ever-popular Facebotnet.

/s/CLT

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Filed under Electronica, Remixes

The Endlessly Scrolling Wall of Sound: Aural Sects Recommendations Vol. 2

Diving back into the breach in a foolhardy attempt to catch up with netlabel Aural Sects‘ breakneck pace. Since Vol. 1 (in what now seems will be an interminable series), Aural Sects has released no fewer than three (3) new albums. (Witchboy – Le Universe Perverse, Flexdragon – U Thirsty Bro?, Astral Goth – Drowning the Colossus)

To answer your unasked but presumptuous question: NO. NO I HAVE FUCKING NOT LISTENED TO THEM. YET. I’m still running through the back catalog which, may I remind you, is not a completely insignificant effort, thxverymuch, and the difficulty curve only seems to be getting steeper because for some maddening reason, the order of the albums RANDOMLY REARRANGES ITSELF.

Not that I don’t want to hear the NEW STUFF, it’s just that there’s so much old stuff that’s still new to me and once I say I’m going to do something, I usually find every reason in the world to NOT follow through and believe me, whatever algorithmic device is in charge of keeping the albums lined up in roughly the same arrangement I saw last time has apparently decided that the internet just doesn’t fuck with self-imposed OCDists/completists ENOUGH and has rectified the situation by shuffling the deck at odd intervals. If I shut the speakers off, I swear to Jesus Harrison Christ that I can hear mocking electronic laughter and I CANNOT be 100% SURE that it isn’t just my own leaking sanity reflecting off the 21″ LCD.

To the music. Apologies in advance for factual errors, random misspellings, odd tangents, Unicode translations issues, abuse of the word “atmospheric,” abuse of the word “dark,” abuse of the word “rad” and for anyone whose albums might have been overlooked in the shuffle. Keep in mind this is not the last volume of Aural Sects: Netlabel As Wormhole.

[I was wrong. It’s four (4) albums: VS//YOUTHCLUB – WAVES. This is being said with about 80% certainty. It could be more, but there’s no way to sort by “ALREADY LISTENED TO.”]

Spell Hound – Circling.mp3

Many people regard the Midwest is the ne plus ultra of normality WHERE NOTHING EVER HAPPENS and if anything strange does happen, it’s usually something outrageously fucked up, like serial killing brought on by an overly-tight Bible Belt. In all honesty, the Midwest harbors a much worse sort of banality: stasis. Things are the same forever because that’s the way things have always been. Consequently, many of the denizens operate on a zombie-esque level of existence, not quite alive but not dead enough to auction off the various vehicles decorating the yard and the stamp collection full of mid-70s commons.

But. The best thing about the Midwest is that NOBODY expects weird shit to pop up musically. It happens, more frequently than anyone would suspect [see also: Umberto] and yet, it’s always a bit of pleasant surprise. Darkwave duo Spell Hound call Kansas City, MO home and put together the sort of VNV Nation-via-EPROM (the chip, not the musician [although maybe…]) that NO ONE expects to come winding its way down I-70, which is exactly why so many people end up victimized by serial killers. Trust in the same old continuing to be the same old. No alarms and no surprises.

Circling rolls in on a bassline that splits the difference between the Killing Joke and early Cure, while the vocals split the difference between Curve and Siouxie Sioux. Julia Holter’s electronica picks up the tip and everyone heads back to the house to spin records long into the night, quite possibly from the artists listed above.

Spell Hound – Spell Hound

Texture – Rohrschach.mp3

Texture, much like pretty much everyone on the AS roster, can’t be limited to one album. Instead, he has doubled up. Of the two, I prefer Thrown Room (see below), but they both have their moments. SigilKids, from which Rohrschach is taken, is a handful of mushrooms and the damage done. Leaning more towards slowly unwinding electro-psychedelia, SigilKids is the kind of head trip that has just enough dark moments to make you reconsider spending every moment of downtime under the influence but still pleasant enough to make you reconsider your earlier reconsideration and consequently, spend the next several hours under the influence of hallucinogenics and whatever’s on Cartoon Network.

Rohrschach itself gradually fades into view like a Mad Professor vs. session, sending echoing drum beats and cascading synth tones tumbling down a long aural stairwell. It’s not until the 6-minute mark that Texture drops in the darkness, replacing aimless buzzing with slamming-home-the-deadbolt paranoia.

Texture – SigilKids

On the second album, SigilKids II – Thrown Room, Texture mines an uglier vein, taking you places you’d rather be completely straight before entering and completely fucked up the moment you escape.

Texture – B▲53D G؆Ħ.mp3

Based Goth (translated for the Unicode-impaired and lazy typists like myself) shows just how much damage a handful of pitch-shifted and mutated loops can do in the right hands. There’s nothing overtly violent about the track, but it still exudes the sort of just-under-the-surface tension that gives the relentless swirl of loops a sonic texture not unlike rabbit-punching SALEM’s frontman several times in mid-rap, thus slowing his speech permanently. A severe pitch up arrives towards the end, turning a snippet of effed-with vocals into the derisive sound of misanthropic angels.

Texture – The Breeze (Sonic Youth Cover).mp3

Somewhat unexpectedly, considering the raw assemblage of throttled-and-beaten noises in between the opening track and this one, The Breeze is a rather beautiful cover of Sonic Youth’s Cross the BreezeTexture shows some great range with this track, playing up the lighter tones that Sonic Youth hastily shed in their original, while also pinning it down with some impeccable drum programming.

Texture – SigilKids II – Thrown Room

Party Trash – Crazy.mp3

This is sort of a cheat here, as I’m posting the entire EP. Pray 4 Luv is a small collection of previously unreleased tracks, which isn’t a sign of someone being out of ideas. Far from it. If you head to Trash’s Bandcamp page, you’ll see he’s got plenty more to choose from. And that doesn’t include contributions to other compilations and labels.

But I feel compelled to post the whole EP, not just because each track is so solid, but because I’ve been a fan for a long time and really haven’t given Party Trash his dues. My first (and so far, only) piece dealing with one of his tracks appeared way the hell back near the beginning of 2011, featuring his work with Raw Moans — a delightful piece of slightly-off blisspop titled Drunk Dial. When not exercising his screwhop-informed malevolence under the Party Trash name, he also makes gorgeous slabs of sighing white noise as Police Academy 6, as unlikely a name to grace something worth listening to since the Revolting Cocks. In the music business, this is know as ambidexterity.*

*Ed.: This is simply not true at all. More likely it’s known as “having range” or “multi-talented,” or over-exuberantly, “a Renaissance man.”

Party Trash – Die.mp3

While Crazy is a stuttering slipstream of rising electronics and unholy choir arrangements, Die gives you all you need to know in the three-letter title. From spiritual life (Crazy) into crushed-by-atmospheric-pressure death, but metaphorically, Die is the sound of dying on the outside from dying on the inside. This is the sort of track you play when you know you’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed and you want to do nothing more than either a.) go the fuck back to bed or b.) get wrecked and look for trouble. It’s like Iggy Pop’s Nightclubbing with the lyrics aborted and the emphasis strongly on the last two syllables.

Party Trash – Pray 4 Luv.mp3

And Pray 4 Luv, god bless its twisted little heart, is diva dance as threnody. The vocals aim to soar while the music aims to demolish everything in its path. Some early synth tones might give you the idea that this diva wants only the best for you, but the foreboding bass thump and following doom synths let you know what’s really going down. Pray 4 Luv, sure, but you’d also had better pray 4 more life. Fucker.

Party Trash – Pray 4 Luv

DJ Deathray – Bombs On It.mp3

Combine the words “DJ” and “Deathray” and you’re halfway there. Club-ready beats combined with an alien sonic weapon. The 4/4 is geared for the dancefloor, but the kickdrums distort and the accompanying tones warp around the wreckage like light around a black hole. DJ Deathray is the heavy rotation of the Cool Kids of Death. The bass rattles like shitty-subs-in-a-trunk, giving the track the breezy outdoor feeling of drivebys on the main drag and designer drug kiddies riding shotgun with psychedelic warlords. DJ Deathray sounds like the visual shorthand for “bad trip,” blurred lines in slo-mo, neon squiggles stuck in a perpetual jumpcut.

DJ Deathray – Neus

Witchboy – Venusville.mp3

Witchboy hits a particular sweet spot with me. His cocksure industrial strut reminds me of music I discovered during my musical formative years, the point where I realized, thanks to music passed to me by others ahead of the curve, that the radio WAS NOT my friend.

Top 40 radio was suddenly annoyingly lightweight. Rock radio was only slightly heftier, but prone to focusing on hits at the expense of albums and next-big-thing repetition. Radio was dead to me. In its place were several new bands, none of which sounded remotely like the crass populism of the airwaves.

In particular, Witchboy sounds like my first brushes with industrial music, specifically Wax Trax! brand of industrial music, miles away from the clinical joylessness of a million German producers. Wax Trax! industrial had swagger. An infinite amount of cool. A willingness to explore genre boundaries and a disarming sense of fun. The Thrill Kill Kult. Ministry. RevCo. Laibach. Witchboy is mainly the first one, with his vocals reaching the same half-sneering, half-leering pitch of TKK frontman Groovie Mann.

Taking the mantra of “sex, drugs and rock and roll” to its illogical and illicit extremes and then selling off the last part to purchase more sex and drugs, TKK and other roster artists acted like industrial music’s own red light district, pushing a new brand of rock and roll, rephrased as “sex, drugs and Satan.”

Witchboy – Making Movies.mp3

Like the Thrill Kill Kult (and countless other artists), Witchboy has an obsession with Hollywood. And why not. Hollywood’s draw has always been its portrayal of itself as a mythmaker and creator of cultural icons, but underneath the thin veneer of glamour lies a decades-thick sludge-like layer of sleaze. Casting couches. Arranged marriages. Racism. Sexism. Gay leading men married to lesbian leading ladies. Blowjobs for bit parts. Greyhound buses full of Midwestern teens swiftly having their dreams of stardom converted into starring roles for local pimps. And despite years and years of this, Hollywood still attracts.

Making Movies is about the biz, but don’t go casting about for profundities. Just enjoy the crashing hi-hats, the down-the-fuck-low “making movies” vocal sample, the bleeping, incongruous “melody” line, and the backsass-as-frontmouth back-and-forth of the vocals.

Seriously, just go pick up the entire album. (Link below.) And check out his latest release, mentioned about 1,700 words ago, but linked again right here: Le Universe Perverse.

Witchboy – Hollymode

Marie Dior – FAST LEGS (HIGH HEELS) (❚W❙IT❚C❙H❘B❚O❙Y❘ VOGUE BITCH remixXx).mp3

Man, nothing gets my blood flowing like the words “remix compilation.” This is not me being facetious. I love remixes. People with tiny minds spout big words about “originality” and “creativity” and endlessly besmirch remixers and mashup artists as “copycats” and “button-pushers” with no talent of their own. As a gas-huffing sociopath with kidnapping on his rap sheet and some serious mommy issues once said in regards to imported beer: FUCK. THAT. SHIT.

A great remix is its own thing, one that grows and lives and breathes as an entity both within and without the original. Take Armand Van Helden’s storming remix/remake of Tori Amos’ Professional Widow, which converted a damaged pianist with a headful of bad living into a peak time house diva. Check out Alan Braxe and Fred Falke’s remix of the Test Icicles’ What’s Your Damage?, which recasts the Icicle’s masculine rawk as perhaps the best track to never make the Miami Vice soundtrack. I’ve got a million of them. Fatboy Slim’s devastation of Mike and Charlie’s I Get Live, which saw Underworld’s blistering Born Slippy racket and said “I raise you a million (bpm).”

Fuck, for that matter, check out the remix package for Pictureplane’s Thee Physical. The remixes for the track Body Mod acknowledge Pictureplane’s lifting of some vox from Dub Be Good to Me by Beats International (an early Norman Cook [aka Fatboy Slim] project) by throwing in their “own” two cents worth — Extreme Animals throws in some of the Twin Peaks soundtrack along with Moby’s Go and Teams tosses in a complete nod-and-wink by bringing in samples from one of Fatboy Slim’s most famous remixes, Renegade Master by Wildchild. Everyone stealing. Everyone building. To quote Jim Jarmusch:

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination… Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.

Marie Dior – FAST LEGS (HIGH HEELS) (Aparition Remix).mp3

This is all a very long-winded way of saying I love remixes and that those with high-minded ideals about originality are welcome to GTFO and erase this URL from their internet history.

As for this remix package, it goes all over the place, taking Marie Dior’s ADULT.-at-a-rave-with-Add-N-to-(X)-DJing original and doing nasty, but presumably pleasurable (and consensual) things to it. As heard above, the previously-raved-about Witchboy adds his own gutter-thump to it, adding filthy lyrics and a full-throttle pump, taking the track over the top, erecting a ladder, climbing up to the “DO NOT USE” step and hurling the whole works over the new “top.” Sometimes subtlety is a virtue. Other times it’s as much fun as a designated driver who needs to be home by 9:30 pm. This is one of the latter.

The Aparition remix, on the other hand, takes Fast Legs on a tense stroll through his own particularly worrisome neighborhood. The beat doesn’t do much propulsion, seeing as it tends to get waylaid by cantankerous buzzing noises of ill repute and for some reason, the whole ‘hood is darkened, dead-end alleyways all the way down. (If this sounds like your cup of abrasive tea, be sure to check out Aparition’s full-length album as well as his Bandcamp page.) Elements of the original remain, but I’m pretty sure they’re making panicked phone calls to the outside while Aparition hastily cuts all the outbound lines.

Marie Dior and Various Artists – Fast Legs (High Heels)

Volume 2 Complete. Achievement Unlocked: INTERNET OUROBOUROS.

Until next time…

/s/CLT

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Filed under Electronica, Hip Hop, Remixes

From the Inbox: Mockbirth

I had no idea Facebook pages could receive messages and yet, here we are discussing the result of just such a thing. Normally, I’m not much for unsolicited recommendations, especially from bands pimping their own stuff. This has nothing to do with any sort of elitism on my own part (although there is a bit of that, I’m sure).  This has more to do with the fact that I don’t have a never-ending supply of shits to give and all the time in the world to give them. As much as the always-on internet world lacks reliable filters, sometimes you’ve got to be your own and just ignore everything that piles up in the inbox.

But this I didn’t ignore (or the other self-promo message — you can check them out on Soundcloud and perhaps you’ll find yourself more impressed with their output than I was). I did the Good Thing that Responsible Music Bloggers are supposed to do and actually clicked through, read the description and pressed Play. And… heard something I liked.

Mockbirth, a pair of Greek artists, bill themselves as “downtempo trip-hop,” something I really haven’t been in the mood for for years, after following Tricky’s career path down the path titled “The Law of Diminishing Returns.” So, over a half-decade minimum and that’s counting Portishead’s unlikely resurrection. But, I gave the top track a chance simply because I was hoping the list of influences (Radiohead, Massive Attack, Tom Waits, Nick Cave) would bring something to the presumably heavily-blunted party.

And what I heard sounded nothing like trip and/or hop and it certainly wasn’t downtempo. And while I didn’t hear the listed influences reflected, I did hear something that sounded quite a bit like Death in Vegas’ high points, a track that combined DiV’s krautrocking synths with DiV’s smoking hot propulsion system and judicious guitar loops. Which is to say that it sounds like Lüger.

All in all, very enjoyable, even if the answers they listed under “Influences” didn’t match up with mine. On the other hand, there’s a great deal of Radioheadness on other tracks, so points back on the board for that.

Around sounds like a lost b-side from the sessions between The Bends and OK Computer, which is pretty good company to be in, especially if you know any easily-duped Radiohead completists. Both of Mockbirth’s EPs are available for download, either at Bandcamp or at their Soundcloud page.

/s/CLT

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Filed under Electronica, Rock

What Do Dinosaur Jr, SPIDER▲WEBS and the Grave Babies Have in Common?

Not a goddamn thing! (Beside a few vowels…) But why does everything have to have something to do with everything else? Can we not just enjoy something on its own merits? Does EVERYTHING need a pithy title and the come-hither leer of SEO keywords? I humbly submit to you that IT DOES NOT.

That being said, this will be a rather brief post (comparatively). While there are larger projects in the works (like listening to an entire internet’s worth of netlabel output), I’d still like to take a moment now and then to aim you in the direction of stuff I’m listening to when I’m not up to my ears in netlabel .rars and suggestions to check out even more netlabels, etc. until the list of “THINGS TO DO” has become sentient and walks around drumming its fingers impatiently on the desk and tapping its foot in a look-we’re-all-just-waiting-on-you way.

To the STUFF!

Dinosaur Jr – Feel the Pain.mp3

For anyone who ever felt dismayed, irritated, blood in their ears, or just plain “left out” by Dinosaur Jr’s permaflux wall-of-sound guitar attack can now rejoice/chill/medicate/be part of the “in-crowd.” With this enticing (and self-explanatory) album, Dinosaur J (Mascis) has gone toward mellower ground, recasting his tracks as charming synthrock. Oddly, his distinctive voice, which seemed would never work outside the confines of roaring guitar distortion, fits in perfectly with the new backdrop.

Feel the Pain has always been one of my favorites (because I’m such a populist) and this version doesn’t do a thing to detract from that status. Close your eyes and it almost sounds like Mascis is readying himself for a cover of New Order’s Temptation. (Which would be cool.)

Dinosaur Jr – Raisans.mp3

As for Raisans, this version is catchier than sexually-transmitted-bubonic-plague. If you don’t find yourself humming this Jan Hammer-esque track over the next few days, then you’ve probably got something wrong with you on a fundamental level, and should probably have that checked via a blood test. (Can’t hurt. SAFETY FIRST.)

SPIDER▲WEBS – Do the Psycho.mp3

I’ve been listening to this EP again. I first came across it nearly two years ago while tag-surfing at Bandcamp. Filed under “witch house” (which was the style at the time…), SPIDER▲WEBS Dusk House EP sounded only very lightly (wrong term, probably) like witch house and more like someone using a sampler for ostensibly evil purposes but undercut constantly by their knack for producing solid, enjoyable tunes. Sure, it’s dark and all, but it’s got a bit of unexpected buoyancy to it considering the tags below the album.

Here’s what I wrote about the above track back then:

According to the band info, Do the Psycho was assembled from samples of “daft punk, house music and old movie trailers.” Hey, whatever drowns out all the screaming. (Nearly.) It’s an eerie fairground of a tune, slightly off-kilter, like a calliope in denial. It fiercely projects lurching “cheerfulness” in an attempt to ignore the unpleasantness just offscreen.

Kids, have fun on the midway! Play some games! Ride some rides! And try not to wonder why there seem to be fewer and fewer of you milling about. It’s just an illusion. A trick of the lights. And most definitely not some unspeakable horror lurking somewhere in the darkened outskirts.

SPIDER▲WEBS – x▲X▲x.mp3

This one takes sort of New Romantic angle, which is completely wrong, if I’m reading the notes right. Inspired by The Knife’s Silent Shout and sampling the Cocteau Twins, and yeah, I can hear The Knife twisting away in there, jabbing listeners with the pointy end of its synth, but I can also hear something akin to The Human League building to a concise and cutting critique of Western civilization, only we’ve arrived to early and we’re still in the slow building intro.

SPIDER▲WEBS – ΞΔΞΔΞ.mp3

One more. Samples New Order and tweets away on ye old rave whistle now and again without becoming either a.) an actual rave track or b.) tedious and/or precious. Still hides in the shadows. Still wears a bit of a helpless grin. Good good shit.

Grave Babies – Eating Babies.mp3

Here’s another band I ran into a couple of years back and I had pretty much figured they had grown too weird for this world and had decided the hell with music and gone on to do other things — normal things — like become postal service workers or mechanics or teach 9th grade history or whatever. But holy shit(!), they are back!

Their first album (Available here [right-click to Save As…]), from which Eating Babies is taken, was a blown-out psychotic masterpiece crafted from unholy amounts of static and ultra-distortion.  Beyond lo-fi. Beyond no-fi. And beneath all the aural rubble, memorable melodies still lived, occasionally clawing their way to the surface, like in the memorably-named track above.

Their new album, titled spectacularly Gothdammit, has been out for a few months now, and would have gone completely unnoticed if it weren’t for a good friend of mine who always has his ear to the ground (among other places). And it’s a good one. The EP is a bit more accessible than their early work, but still retains the wrecked speaker sound design of their debut, along with the impeccable tunesmithery which anchors the tracks and keeps them from just devolving into noise BECAUSE.

Grave Babies – Fuck Off.m4a

This new track is the best Joy Division track released in years, which is not a back-handed compliment. There are worse things to be compared to and JD had a way with traversing the fine line between accessible and antagonistic and the Grave Babies have that tightrope walk nailed the fuck down.

The sound frays at the edges, but just as the intro has you nearly convinced that Fuck Off is some sort of ragged tone poem, the drums kick in and it’s 1977 all over again and the skinheads are throwing bottles at the stage and the sky is always grey and the mood is always black and the night is always ours.

/s/CLT

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Filed under Electronica, Rock

Something Else I Probably Don’t Have Time For…

Or, I’m Not Going to be the Only Person Up in this Motherfucker NOT Making Music

So, here’s this: a Minor Scratches debut of a Minor Scratches remix. Not much going on here but some fucking around with a minimal toolset: Paul’s Extreme Stretch and Audacity. There’s no pro mastering — just a straight dump from Audacity into an mp3.

Enjoy(?):

/s/CLT

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Filed under Minor Scratches Creative Dept., Remixes