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Showing posts from June, 2009

Sonic Youth and Independence...

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Sonic Youth The Eternal Matador Released: 6.9.09 Rating: 8 out of 10 The Eternal is what you’ve come to expect from Sonic Youth , and then some. With a noticeably enlivened sense of purpose, possibly the result of Sonic Youth’s return to the independent pantheon, The Eternal isn’t much of a deviation from the series of albums they’ve been making since 2002’s Murray Street . Though less polished and discordant at times, The Eternal ’s reputation in terms of fan and critic-generated op/ed seems mostly fueled by the band’s much-publicized switchover, the excitement of inclusion back into the fold embellishing the album’s reality. Since Murray Street , Sonic Youth have been satisfied enough just to make good albums, shifting their focus from abrasive chaos and instead finding some semblance of soft melody within their signature tone. After my first or second listen to The Eternal , I revisited Murray Street , Sonic Nurse and Rather Ripped , just so they were fresh in my min

DJ Shadow: Six Days

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When The Private Press came out in 2002, I enjoyed it, though I thought it nothing next to Endtroducing... If I remember correctly, the general consensus at the time was that DJ Shadow ’s previous opus had left him little room to maneuver or improve, earning The Private Press the pseudo-honor of being “likable.” It’s a familiar trap that many artists fall into, momentary creative elevation followed by a steady decline as expectations wind up unmet or unmatched. But, though mostly offering dance licks and overt “I’m a bad muhfuckin’ DJ” styled aggression, The Private Press did boast “Six Days,” a blue-based melancholia that mesmerizes and boosts the album’s worth. DJ Shadow - Six Days from lika2008 on Vimeo . Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009)

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To be honest, I’m not sure how to feel about Michael Jackson ’s passing. Granted, when I was a child hurtling toward 7 or 8 years of age, Jackson’s “Thriller” video was the absolute rage as it was a one-of-a-kind dance event with a storyline and direction from an actual filmmaker, (John Landis for those of you not in “the know”). It was a big deal and deservedly so, as MTV was still in its relative infancy and, through “Thriller,” became more of a pop culture presence. At the time, Jackson was a credible hit machine: talented, charismatic and much loved. Then, soon after, as he became the poster boy for surgical do not ’s and a regular dietary necessity for the paparazzi, his music was more of an afterthought and his alleged and suspected involvement with children damaged his reputation. Having said that, while I’ve scanned the internet and seen the outpouring of heartfelt “we’ll miss you”’s and RIPs from fans and the public alike, for me it seems as if Jackson passed on over

What I Heard This Morning: Mad Gregs

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What I Heard This Morning: Mad Gregs As barbershop quartets go, Mad Gregs is a strange permutation of the genre, a nature sounds polyphonic smooth jazz variety. "Safe In Sound" is subtle and soft, strange and well written. Either give it a listen or appease your music video fetish. "Safe In Sound" Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Stewart Copeland w/ Stan Ridgeway: Don't Box Me In

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At some point, I would like to produce a word or two regarding Stewart Copeland 's brilliant score for Francis Ford Coppola 's film Rumble Fish . In the meantime, I found a video for "Don't Box Me In," the movie's theme song featuring Copeland and Wall Of Voodoo 's Stan Ridgeway . Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

No Ripcord: The Horrors

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The Horrors Primary Colours XL Recordings Released: 5.4.09 No Ripcord review Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Shopping For Records #15: DNA, SY & DK

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Insound purchase: DNA DNA On DNA No More Records Released: 2008 No More Records had released this compilation on CD in 2004. Possibly feeling the choke from the current CD marketplace, as if the band’s obscurity wasn’t enough to keep sales modest, DNA On DNA was released on vinyl late last year with live CBGB performances and some other gems that didn't make the CD. Admittedly, DNA is one of the most irritating bands that ever plugged in, but to hear Arto Lindsay violently scrubbing away at his six-string in an attempt to perform an instrumental, an anti-instrumental; you understand why DNA is so essential. With arrhythmic, syncopated shrieking-word pieces, to me, DNA is the most defiant band from the No Wave era, Arto No Wave’s Les Nessmann a threat to conventional song structure and rhythm having NO jazz chops or real musical ability. DNA was a band that didn’t really have a place to influence anything, but they did. Ask Thurston Moore. Insound purchase: Sonic Y

No Ripcord: Iggy Pop

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Iggy Pop Préliminaires Astralwerks/Virgin Released: 6.2.09 No Ripcord review Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

The Pop Group: An Introduction to What Will Be A Long and Useless Set of Observations

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About a year ago, I found a copy of The Pop Group 's For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? on vinyl for a lot less than I thought I'd have to spend. As I've gotten more and more acquainted with the album, (this and 1979's Y ), The Pop Group have become one of those near-obsessions for me, the type that outlast any real interest in current music, (though, my latest addiction has been Mission Of Burma 's Vs. ), and that's led me to look into other funk-post-punk Brit bands like 23 Skidoo , Throbbing Gristle and A Certain Ratio . Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead

Black Flag: Your Last Affront

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The first few seconds of static are interrupted for almost ten minutes after you drop the needle. Bassist Kira Roessler fastens the foundation in a series of repeated thumps as drummer, Bill Stevenson, chimes in with warm up percussion before he finds his place, crash symbol spark showers falling on guitarist Greg Ginn, who winds up his six-strings and lets loose a tunnel of mechanic mayhem that you can essentially drown in. What you have is “Your Last Affront,” the first song on Black Flag’s instrumental EP, The Process Of Weeding Out . As far as Black Flag records are concerned, people don't look past Damaged as it is widely considered the band’s milestone. But, speaking as a fan, Black Flag made no album more complex or extreme than The Process Of Weeding Out , its combined energy, inorganic make-up and strangely amateurish experimentalism a troubling and unsettling byproduct of Ginn’s dissatisfaction with scenester-ism. The Process Of Weeding Out was, in all hones

“I Can See The Light,” kind of…

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Damian Lazarus Smoke The Monster Out Get Physical Released: 5.26.09 Rating: 6.25 out of 10 I really don’t like dance music, at least not from a “listening” standpoint. Whereas I appreciate the need for a beat, the perpetual oontz oontz influencing body movement and coaxing hot liquid from the skin of the young and single club patrons lucky enough to be allowed past the velvet rope, it's a genre specific to the confines of whatever all-night domicile features DJ So-and-So’s handiwork. Yes, it’s a skill to keep a club rockin,’ but… without the club, the patrons and the alcohol, dance music doesn’t translate well in a “listening” sense. One thing you can say about Damian Lazarus, London DJ-turned-Los Angeles maestro, is that he’s evidently attempting to branch out. His album, Smoke The Monster Out , is what one could call a semi-industrial electro beat art statement, reveling in its allegiance to Brian Eno and firmly tied to a raver-friendly foundation. As a budding music

What I Heard This Morning: Boogie Boarder

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As Wavves, Vivian Girls, No Age and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart seem at the forefront of a noise pop/lo-fi revitalization, Brooklyn's Boogie Boarder seem set to join the movement with their second album, Pizza Hero . Dig that album title? Anyway, I liked their track, "Bio Hassle," enough that I figured I'd post it. Thudding bass amperage and squeaking surf guitar rhythms. Sincerely, Letters From A Tapehead