Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ride - nowhere (1990)

Nowhere is generally considered one of the landmarks of shoegaze (aka an evolution of dream-pop, more psychedelic and enshrouded in colossal doses of distortion). It started with "Seagull", which was basically the shoegaze adaptation of a hippie anthem - typically buried in a thick veil of distorted effluviums. All the while "Kaleidoscope" winked to the Merseybeat sound - though again drenched in ecstatic and exhilarating distortion. "In A Different Place" was less good, essentially a shoegaze contemplative ballad, but they rebounded - and how - with the mesmerizing psychedelic acrobatics of "Dreams Burn Down" - replete with spectacular guitar fireworks splashing through the sky and then hanging in suspended animation.

Get it here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jarboe & Justin Broadrick - j2 (2008)

Justin Broadrick's and Jarboe's J2 offered at least two masterpieces.

Firstly, "Decay", a Jarboe litany combined with disturbing loops, which slowly picks up pace until it forms a symphonic vortex of sorts, and then gets more and more intense and inhuman, a virtual black hole that warps everything. Bearing in mind where Jarboe and Broadrick come from, this is a worthy heir to both the Swans and Godflesh.

The second highlight, "Romp", features gospel influenced vocals and soaring symphonic synthesizers. Then these two elements blur and coalesce, creating a hyper-realist emotional environment. The end result wouldn't sound unlike Morcheeba covering Jesu while on a spiritual ecstasy.

The rest of the songs are not as intense. Nevertheless, the industrial trip-hop "Let Go", the supersonic rave-raga "Tribal Limo, "Magick Girl" (with emphatic hard-rock guitars and a multilayered dreamy electro pattern), and "8mmSweetBitter" (which is grainy ambient slowcore and dream-pop, but with soul vocals) are hardly without charm.

EDIT: Dead link because of complaints to Rapidshare.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Giddy Motors - make it pop (2002)

Amidst an overly clinical (the electronic kind) or melodramatic (the GYBE kind) post-rock climate, the Giddy Motors re-consolidated what rock music is all about. Thus the hellish growls and fragmented structure of "Magmanic" returned to the no-wave and the noise-rock of the 80's - if not the progressive-rock of the 70's. Indeed, the loose structure of the noir no-funk "Hit Car" was genuinely menacing and demented. "Bottle Opener" added brains to the recipe - with refracted reflections of lounge, an elliptical punk-funk footing, and warped electronics.

This trend continued in "Cranium Crux", essentially a noise-rock band playing trip-hop cocktail-lounge. Nevertheless, the noise spasm resurrected in "Sassy" - replete with insane growling and howling. Their noir side also reappeared in the complected thriller boogie "Dog Hands". "Venus Medallist" was another surprise, an elegant strings ballad that wouldn't sound out of place in a Rachel's album. "Whirled By Curses" was the most eloquent yet, whereas after a Slint-ian introduction it veers into a noise salsa, then into a Birthday Party-like noise-funk, then into a magnified noise anthem and so on.

Get it here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Contortions - buy (1979)

James Chance and the Contortions were among the apostles of the no-wave. "Designed To Kill" was a visceral no-funk that utilized a semi-progressive structure, atonal saxophone and seething guitar work, as well as wild screams. "My Infatuation" used an even more deflating and arhythmic structure, with looser guitar and saxophone. "I Don't Want to Be Happy" was the most zappy yet - a veritable frenetic chase. Minus the feverish rhythm, their music reached levels of paroxysm and hallucination in "Anesthetic". With the rhythm added, it felt like the 50's rock 'n' roll dance of a madman in "Contort Yourself". Ditto for "Throw Me Away", that felt like a jazz-funk orchestra on amphetamines, an axis of discordance that continued in "Roving Eye", and in the sharp polygonal edges of "Twice Removed" (that even included some noir-swing).

Get it here.