Reviews
RECORD REVIEW: CUT COPY - ZONOSCOPE
Reviews
Saturday, 19 February 2011 00:00

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CUT COPY - Zonoscope

Modular

Buy here

Cut Copy never cease to amaze with their uncanny ability to make simple grooves, beats and melodies that are deceptively familiar stand the test of time in a genre that seems limited. So it is with Zonoscope, the third release by the Australian new wave dance/pop outfit, an album that could of easily seen them rest on their laurels, trade on the success of In Ghost Colours and produce a telegraphed and pedestrian effort.  After all, it's fair to ask, what else is to be done in the genres they trade in? If it's nothing then, Zonoscope has to be an example of getting blood out of stone. And that is the thing with Cut Copy, an ability to mine for diamonds once thought exhausted, for slivers of gold in that elusive seam that has seen it's best days, and find them consistently, again and again.

Zonoscope sees Dan Whitford, Tim Hoey and company at the top of their game. Yeah sure, on the surface, you've heard it all before, but you need not go far beneath the surface to find there is far more on offer than first sonic impressions. These offerings are the ingredients that make Cut Copy so vital and so good. Nuanced attention to every detail is omnipresent underneath, whether it be their trademark (and fucking catchy) backing vocals, the carefully constructed percussion that value adds at every turn, the fat, yet perfectly weighted bass or the synth effects that are applied at the most exacting moments.

The first track, 'Need You Now', the best song on the album, opens with an inexorable build up that, as per Cut Copy style, seems to forever teeter on a crescendo as Whitford's tenored, yet vulnerable vocals create a tension that after four minutes is somewhat relieved. Their ability to write great dance pop is in most evidence on 'Take Me Over'. While borrowing, almost verbatim it seems from a swathe of influences, most notably (or notoriously) the cringeworthy Men At Work's 'Down Under' reference point, their ability to make what sounds on first listen a derivative swindle a lasting grower that keeps throwing up new elements every listen is simply unheard of. From being lampooned to being championed in real time is no mean feat.

Even the much less loved 'Where I'm Going', which either sent alarm bells ringing about where the band was going or excited others upon initial listens last year has now won a place at the table. More than that, a full six months after hearing the track for the first time, new things still emanate from it to lasting effect. The second half of 'Pharoahs And Pyramids' is a powerful affair while bass heavy funk is interspersed with vocal harmonies that channel pure bliss on 'Blink And You'll Miss A Revolution'.

The instrumental 'Strange Nostalgia For The Future' is a nice holder that sets the appropriate scene for the back half of the album, a back half that has been somewhat pilloried by some. That stems from the strength of the first five tracks rather than the weakness of those subsequent and also from the fact that Hoey's guitar appears heavily at times - a strength in my view. 'This Is All We've Got' possesses a retro feel and reminds that Cut Copy is a band and this permeates the rest of the album. 'Alisa' is a pop gem with backing vocals used to maximum effect, while the synth heavy 'Hanging On To My Heartbeat' is restrained, laid back and funky. The percussion driven 'Corner Of The Sky' sets the scene perfectly for the 15 minute closer, the Kraftwerk cum Donna Summer cum Human League sounding 'Sun God' which could be criticised for its largesse, but quite frankly fits very well with what comes before it.

Cut Copy could of used the success of In Ghost Colours to move toward a major and 'tidy up' the loose ends that characterise their sound and approach. But to their credit, they have stayed true to themselves. And this is the essence of Cut Copy and the reason while they will always be indie - they make music that they love and think others will love - and that's all that matters. They are awkward, yet assured, derivative, yet original, familiar, yet unique. Their ability to make unabashed joyous pop and dance music shows now sign of waning. Indeed, with Zonoscope, they've once again hit new heights.

James Stocker - February 19, 2011.

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Need You Now

Cut Copy (AUS)
From the album, 'Zonoscope', Modular.  

Download here

Cut Copy Official Site

Official Video

 

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RECORD REVIEW: DESTROYER - KAPUTT
Reviews
Saturday, 12 February 2011 00:00

kaputt

DESTROYER - Kaputt

Merge Records

Buy here (Vinyl version)

Few artists have the ability to create anything as original and substantial as the career that Dan Bejar has carved out for himself over the past fifteen years as Destroyer. Since his debut self produced LP We’ll Build Them A Golden Bridge, recorded in his home studio in Vancouver, Bejar has garnered a cult following that have relished his unique approach and masterful song-writing ability. Eight more  albums, three EP’s and a cassette have been released since the 1996 debut, all while also contributing to indie greats The New Pornographers and Bonaparte. Such prolific work is testament to the genius of his writing and orchestral arrangements.

Never the conformist, Destroyers’ sound embraces a multitude of styles, he has dubbed it himself as ‘European Blues’, taking in elements of folk, glam, free form jazz, indie rock and chamber pop. Importantly his musical style has evolved over the years, crystallising in this ninth offering, Kaputt, which has again seen Bejar taking things in another direction. Radically different from its predecessor, 2008’s Trouble In Dreams, (which he admitted turned out vastly different to how he intended) Kaputt features subtle electro influences, soft and silky horns and just the right amount of funk. The latter influence is seen most notably in ‘Savage Night At The Opera’ albeit in a stripped back form, evoking an 80s feeling in the same way Ariel Pink delivers on tracks like ‘Fright Night’. The album opener, ‘Chinatown’, saunters along blissfully with synths and airy brass reminiscent of Air’s classic Moon Safari or Groove Armada’s Vertigo.

An album highlight is ‘Suicide Demo For Kara Walker’, Bejar co-wrote this with visual artist, said Kara Walker, originally being part of label Merge’s ‘Score!’ twenty year anniversary festivities. The duo using Impressionist images to ‘complicate ideas of race rather than clarify them’, and working with lyrics such as “Fool child, you’re never gonna make it, New York city just wants to see you naked, and they will, though they’d never say so”, and then offering the advice, “Enter through the exit and exit through the entrance, when you can”. His vocals here are often half-spoken, half-sung, and as with all the tracks, pared down in subtler tones than previous work.

There is also a fair amount of Destroyers’ dry wit to be seen on Kaputt, in ‘Song For America’ for example he croons “I wrote a song for America, they told me it was clever”. Saxophone and an infectious drum beat dominate this track, having a relaxed feel that is present throughout this LP. The beauty of his work is in fact the amazing way the musical arrangements totally compliment the idiosyncratic wordplay and unique song structure he is known and loved for. At times seemingly off kilter, but not quite, it works in a controlled way on Kaputt that comes with Bejar’s confidence which shines through in spades across the journey of the album.

‘Bay Of Pigs’ is the closer, showcasing his lyrical abilities, and is a true ride of a listen, taking you unexpected places throughout. Building up and crashing down again when you least expect it, this is ambient disco at its best. 

‘The Laziest River’, found on the vinyl version, takes up the entirety of side three, weighing in at twenty minutes, in five parts. Minimal vocals make way for sublime instrumentation, giving the piece room to explore while never becoming indulgent. The popularity and re-emergence of the vinyl format is a blessing indeed, allowing artists like Destroyer freedom to express their work in all its glory. The importance of the ideas behind the term ‘indie’ are more important now than ever in this media saturated and multinational world we live in. With major labels taking underhanded approaches to disguise themselves under the cover of off-shoots, trying to pilfer their share of ‘indie’ music, labels like Destroyers’ Merge Records are cornerstones to the scene.

You can catch live performances over March and April if you are in North America as he tours on the back of Kaputt. Tickets and dates can be found on his MySpace below. Seeing the magic live would be an experience to remember. If you can’t make it, a good pair of headphones/speakers and a couple of hours to indulge in this unique artist is an experience in itself. 

Dave Roberts, February 12, 2010

Destoyer myspace

 

Chinatown

Destroyer (CAN)
From the album, 'Kaputt', Merge Records

Download here

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RECORD REVIEW: BRAIDS - NATIVE SPEAKER
Reviews
Saturday, 05 February 2011 02:27

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BRAIDS - Native Speaker

Flemish Eye/Kanine

Release Date: 18/1/11

Buy here

The creation of atmospherics in music has always been important at the best of times, but it just seems much more so at present. Having the ability to bring this important ingredient to the table seems to complete things. Possessing all the virtuosity in the world, when employed alone, just doesn't cut it anymore. Of course, being technically proficient is important but it's now just a part of something much larger, much more important and vital. And that something is texture, mood and atmosphere, a creative process that renders the studio and non-traditional forms of musicianship integral. That's not to say that past eras haven't been characterised by both, but it just seems mandatory now. A band that possess both is the Calgary raised and now Montreal based post-rock four piece, Braids. What is even more impressive about what they've been able to produce on their debut album, Native Speaker is that they are all between the ages of 19 and 21.

Containing seven substantial tracks, its been a while coming with the release date being bandied about since last May. Good things take time and you get the sense that the foursome wanted to ensure their work was rewarded under their own terms. The album is entirely self produced and recorded, a remarkable feat when you actually take in the result. Cinematic in scope and lush and spacious simultaneously, Raphaelle Standell-Preston (vocals, guitar), Austin Tufts (Drums), Katie Lee (vocals, keyboard) and Taylor Smith (guitar and bass) possess a synergy that comes out seamlessly on each track. Adept use of loops, reverb, delay and ambient effects complements the more traditional instrumentation that is employed minimally for maximum, often unnerving effect. The foursome clearly know the importance of playing their roles and not overstepping them. It's as if they know that to do so will be ruinous to what they are striving to create, a truly sensitive, intelligent and democratically produced piece of art.

Native Speaker begins with 'Lemonade', probably the most immediate track on the album. A vocal loop underneath an urgent duelling guitar melody that is present almost throughout ushers in the song and combines with mixture of percussion using all parts of the drum kit. Frantic guitar ensues and Standell-Preston's voice purrs to unsettling lyrical content “Have you fucked, All the stray kids yet?” before unleashing its unabashed power in the short chorus. 'Plath Heart' highlights Standell-Preston's standout vocal acrobatics perfectly as she fights the expectation that women must reproduce to be whole while musically its the most upbeat track on the record with its pulsating synth and flickering percussion.  

'Glass Deers' bears a hypnotic loop before ascending into the dreamy ether - momentarily. However, here the music deceives at initial surface level as the song descends into uncertainty. Standell-Preston backs that unsettling feel as she repeats the phrase 'I'm fucked up' in deconstructionalist fashion before launching into almost pained screams.  The album's standout is the title track. It contains a killer loop that you won't find easy to get out of your head, like an aortic valve feeding the song's spartan extremities - piano tremelos, washes of percussive effects and layered, harmony laden delayed vocal echoes.

On first listen through, the first four tracks aforementioned tend to overwhelm and render the album's second half initially obsolete. However, like with anything substantial, subsequent listens will reward in spades to the point where you'll feel your first impressions foolish. 'Lammicken's' haunting sound rests on the line "I Can't Stop It". Just what that 'it' is is unclear and strangely it could be positive or negative, uplifting or menacing. The contemplative 'Same Mum' has hypnotic qualities while jazzy slo-jam, the instrumental 'Little Hand' rounds off the album nicely as it ebbs to a definitive conclusion.

Native Speaker undoubtedly is an experimental album, one that sees Braids experiment and tinker with sound and space searching for the right mix. But that doesn't mean they sacrifice a sense of melody for the sake of sounding different. That's the impressive aspect of the album, that the band can combine the outer reaches of accessibility with a sense of immediacy. Possessing an undoubted spirit of artistic independence and being blessed with musical intelligence enables them to achieve this difficult balancing act. That they have done this so early in their career speaks volumes and sets the bar high for what is to come.

James Stocker, February 5, 2011.

 

Lammicken

Braids (CAN)
From the album, 'Native Speaker', Flemish Eye/Kanine

Download here

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RECORD REVIEW: ROBYN - BODY TALK
Reviews
Saturday, 11 December 2010 00:20

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ROBYN - Body Talk

Konichiwa

Buy what is to come and you'll get that law right between the eyes. The latter repeats the revelation 'my drinking is killing me' at its beginning ad nauseum, although it never gets to the number of times I've said it to myself over the years. And that is just it, there's a relational element that is central to Robyn lyrically.  The pulsating remake of 'Indestructible', an acoustic ballad on Part 2, is defiant with its refusal to let past hurt smash the future while 'Time Machine' stomps all over you as Robyn wishes she could go back and erase past errors. Another reworked ballad, 'Hang With Me' warns a prospective lover of the possible folly of falling in love with her, telling them to just chill and enjoy the here and now in mutual respect.

Smack bang in the middle of this emotionally laid bare journey is the immensely powerful 'Call Your Girlfriend', almost the flipside of Dancing On My Own'. Robyn implores her new lover to be honest and let down their partner down gently. 'None Of Dem' is a standout track that ushers in the album's last third and breaks things up nicely with its slow beat throb while 'Dancehall Queen' captures the dancehall feel nicely within a pop paradigm. She's off dancing on her own again. 'Get Myself Together' speaks about the importance of seeing the big picture in temporary heartbreak while closer 'Stars 4-Ever' is a catchy kickass self-confident ode to the power of relationships and memories.

Robyn is an artist quite clearly at the top of her game and Body Talk reminds us that honesty and accessibility in dance music can be combined. The raw nature of the lyrics and raw power of the music are proof of this. But this is exactly what will combine to prevent her from reaching any sort of superstar status. In the music 'business', tracks that contain even an ounce of honesty rarely break though big. It's a porous, air headed world out there in commercial land and Robyn's much admired independence in indie circles and refusal to play that music game means that this spectacularly exhilirating set of songs is still unlikely to be heard by as many people as it deserves.

James Stocker - December 11, 2010.

 

Dancing On My Own

Robyn (SWE)
From the album, 'Body Talk', Konichiwa

Download here

Official Video

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Live Performance

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RECORD REVIEW: MASERATI - PYRAMID OF THE SUN
Reviews
Sunday, 05 December 2010 02:31

MASERATI

MASERATI - Pyramid Of The Sun

Temporary Residence Limited

Buy here

Maserati have been around for a decade now, and have been prolific in that time since self-releasing their debut EP, 37:29:24 onto a print of just 500 vinyls back in 2001. The band has changed in both style and line-up since then, with Pyramid of the Sun being a different sound altogether than their early post-punk work. A driving factor in this would have to be due to Jerry Fuchs who joined Maserati in 2005 following the departure of drummer Phil Horan. Fuchs had played and recorded with a massive array of indie bands including !!!, The Juan MacLean, Holy Ghost!, LCD Soundsystem, MSTRKRFT, and was associated with the label DFA. Tragically, November last year, Fuchs fell down an elevator shaft to his death in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This album is a labour of love, according to a press release, the extra time and care that went into the record was in an effort to honour and preserve Fuchs’s final works.

The eight instrumental tracks have a driving momentum that display the skills of each musician, first and foremost Jerry Fuchs' mastery of the drums. The LP was mixed with Justin Van Der Volgen (!!!, Out Hud, TBD) and Temporary Residence founder Jeremy deVine (Sonna). Pyramid Of the Sun includes two tracks with friend and tourmate Steve Moore (from the band Zombi), the blazing 'They'll No More Suffer From Thirst' and the heavy synthed 'Oaxaca', bound to be a dance floor favourite. The musicianship is tight and precise across each and every track on this album.

The varied structure of the tracks leave you looking forward to what will come next, as they wander between light and darkness. The extra time spent on producing, on preserving the drum magic of Fuchs as seen here in Pyramid, is clear to see. Perhaps the best example is found on the last track to the LP, 'Bye M'Friend, Goodbye' a motorik journey that eases you in slowly over the first two minutes before kicking into a high energy showcase of what these guys can do, and do very well. It's impossible to listen to this track and not pick up on how excellent the drumming is. On the shorter 'Ruins', Fuchs' percussion sounds like a train surging forward behind wailing guitar, before it slows down to a screeching halt as if it has arrived at the station.

This album must have been difficult yet rewarding for Maserati to complete considering the events that happened during its production. It stands proud and is testament to the artistry of all involved. Pyramid Of The Sun is one of those albums that will stand the test of time, and be there playing in the background of after-parties for years to come.  

Dave Roberts - December 5, 2010

 

Bye, M'friend, Goodbye

Maserati (USA)
From the album, 'Pyramid Of The Sun', Temporary Residence Limited

Download here

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RECORD REVIEW: INSTITUT POLAIRE - MAKE YOUR OWN MAYFLOWER
Reviews
Wednesday, 01 December 2010 00:00

INSTITUT POLAIRE - Make Your Own Mayflower

Popfrenzy

Buy him to not just complement the songs but take them to another level. Left alone, they're nice, promising pieces of jangled pop but when coupled with the hook laden extra instrumentation however familiar, they become more complex and interesting affairs.

'Leaving Her Shook' follows a familiar pattern found in many Australian indie folk-pop songs, plucky guitar and percussive brushstrokes before unfolding with a duel between orchestration and guitar. First single and Indie30 chart maker, 'Make Your Own Mayflower' is disciplined and catchy, 'Old Fashioned Affliction' is an ode to the pop of the 60s, 'We Can't Wait No More' increases the urgency, 'To New Holland' uses harmonies and brass to great effect while the horn work on 'Mamonaku' makes it a standout.

While Make Your Own Mayflower is not going to feature highly in any best of lists, there is enough to the album to suggest that Institut Polaire can build from a competent debut. Sure, it's got its issues, mostly in the familiar structures that abound throughout, but the obvious musical talent of those involved suggests that with wider horizons and the employment of a little more creativity at the centre, the band can kick on to greater heights.

James Stocker, December 1, 2010.

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RECORD REVIEW: BELLE AND SEBASTIAN - WRITE ABOUT LOVE
Reviews
Thursday, 25 November 2010 22:49

Belle and Sebastian

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN - Write About Love

Rough Trade

Buy back in July at the Latitude Festival, their first gig in four years. Sarah Martin leads the first track on the new album, 'I Didn't See It Coming' which begins a theme of the following eleven songs, namely the often mundaneness of life, bills, jobs, traffic, and the escape out of that. "We don't have no money, forget about it honey", Martin's sweet vocals make everything seem ok despite life's struggles. Murdoch takes on the second track, 'Come On Sister', "It's fun thinking of you like a movie star, and it's dumb, thinking of you as the way you are", its catchy chorus upbeat, with lyrics along the lines of a half hearted attempt to pick-up at a bar. 'Calculating Bimbo' is melancholy and beautiful, another track about a girl, and letting the past go.

'I Want The World To Stop' is a highlight, full of lush harmonies between Murdoch and Martin, strings and graceful build-ups. 'Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John' features Norah Jones, and lumbers along, again a track packed with remorse. The call and response between Murdoch and Jones is honeyed and silky, "What a waste I could have been your lover, what a waste I could have been your friend", says it all. 'Write About Love' is the second track with a guest, this time Carey Mulligan. It's a sharp, succinct lament of a sucky job where the highlight is taking lunch on the rooftop. 'I Can See Your Future' is one of the most instrumentally diverse tracks, with strings, and horn section dominating. The album closes with a reprise of 'Write About Love', reminding us of how life is a drag when you stare at the clock, and dreams are just out the window, ready for the taking. 

Write About Love comes with its own half hour television show, complete with host and studio audience, beautiful shots of Glasgow, behind the scenes chats with industry folk, and live performances. It's a fitting snapshot of what Belle and Sebastian are all about, and that's about being themself. Not taking themselves too seriously, not following the crowd, doing their thing on their own terms. The cover art for Write About Love sums it up perfectly.

Dave Roberts - November 22, 2010  

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RECORD REVIEW: GRIMES - HALFAXA
Reviews
Saturday, 20 November 2010 00:00

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GRIMES - Halfaxa

Arbutus Records*

Buy digitally style and reminiscent of krautrock. On Halfaxa and indeed perhaps more so on the debut, lyrics are secondary to the creation of atmosphere and Boucher herself admits that writing lyrics is not something she overly enjoys, certainly not to the point of overshadowing the music. Words are cheap so the saying goes.

First single 'Weregild' demonstrates aptly how Boucher uses her voice as instrumentation. Beginning with a high pitched parlour game sound, its soon hits its stride with a reverb drenched 4/4 beat, a spooky yet strangely comforting backing synth and looped vocal sounds and arrangements that wash over the listener like crashing waves. 'Sagrad' begins with a further demonstration of that vocal power married with string orchestration before giving way to an infectious dance beat and repetitively subtle yet hypnotic synth bursts. Boucher's echoed ooh's also add another dimension.

'Devon' begins an exquisite trio of songs that form Halfaxa's middle section and begins with a latin style beat before transforming into two distinct pieces of dream pop. Sitting underneath is a tinge of industrial which shouldn't meld well together but does. Indeed, it's essential. The second installment, the spectacularly gorgeous 'Dream Fortress' features Boucher's vocals soaring above a a sort of funky marching beat and the last of the trio, 'World Princess' begins woozily but menacingly and that off-kilter feel stays throughout the track as the vocals exude their signature cute warmth. Each of the three distinct tracks are interelated and share melody and form - a suite of songs if you like that could easily come together to form one.

Heading into the album's final third, 'Swan Song' is a infecting piece of dance-pop complete with a rumblingly consistent beat and a vocal hook that will capture your attention instantly. 'My Sister Says The Saddest Things' has at its core a scatty beat that possesses a sense of urgency and reaches its full form when the snare sound arrives giving the track added power. The purpose of 'Hallways' almost seems reflective, a reprisal of sorts that scoops up the aforementionedly heard contents and lays them out in a ordered fashion for further exploration. The interlude tracks that cut the album up into thirds also seem to perform the same function.

Make no mistake, Halfaxa is a groundbreaking album, accessible in its inaccessibility; that is the key to what makes it so good. While that may not make sense on the surface, the meaning is deliberately as abstract as the content of the album itself, left open to exploration and interpretation. Boucher's ability to meld together a variety of styles and tempos into a seemingly effortless tapestry of imagery and atmosphere is testament to her growing ability. That this ability has shone through so quickly in someone so young suggests that Claire Boucher has in her artistic keeping something both tangible and intangible, a growing skill as a creator of music and an awareness of how important and powerful inexplicability and mystery in music can be.

James Stocker - November 20, 2010.

 

My Sister Says The Saddest Things

Grimes (CAN)
From the album, 'Halfaxa', Arbutus Records.

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RECORD REVIEW: SMALL BLACK - NEW CHAIN
Reviews
Saturday, 13 November 2010 03:11

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SMALL BLACK - New Chain

Jagjaguwar

Buy first half of the album with The Cure (Disintegration era) inspired opener 'Camouflage', the warped funk of 'Search Party' and the warm spectral loop, deep bass and chugging rhythm of 'Photojournalist', other gems abound for the patient.

'Hydra' begins sparsely with effectively eastern sounding chords before opening up its pop elements. A singular casio and Kolenik's airy voice take centre stage on 'Crisp 100s' as the incessant patter of programmed drums quietly taps away. This track in particular is illustrative of the aforementioned transformative character inherent in each track. The approach above gives way to two separate hooks that bear little resemblance to where it began.  'Goons' is a big track in every sense but its alarmist synth sound and massive beat is calmed by its undertonal elements giving its a subtle feel despite the apparent bombast. 'Light Curse' ebbs away and rests on Kolenik's vocals. The title track is a hook laden piece of pure pop brilliance while the slowdance number 'Panthers' is a big tease as its unforgettable main hook takes what seems forever to fully form and when it does its understatedness somehow gives it extra power.

Small Black are often superficially and unfairly associated with dark more than light, with cold more than warmth. One online blog actually labelled the album as one that 'creeps about'! However, a few attentive listens to New Chain soon smashes those associations. Such associations are easy ones to make (well maybe that last one's a stretch) without doing the (not so) hard yards and exploring deep beneath the multi-faceted layered approach that Small Black bring to their music. Yes, there are shades of dark at work but New Chain is an overwhelmingly warm album, an almost blissful affair at times albeit a uniquely intriguing type of bliss. The subtleties and transformations at work in each track where almost simultaneously light readily overshadows dark is indicative of a musical intelligence that demands more than a surface glance from the listener. It also allows Small Black to stand out among their peers. Bands who have the ability to make such demands of their listeners are bands that will stay the journey. There is little doubt that New Chain has put Small Black among them. A stunning debut.

James Stocker - November 13, 2010.

 

Camouflage (Live)

Small Black (USA)
From the album, 'New Chain', Jagjaguwar. Live on Fader TV. 5/11/10

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Photojournalist (Live)

Small Black (USA)
From the album, 'New Chain', Jagjaguwar. Live on Fader TV. 5/11/10

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RECORD REVIEW : GLASSER - RING
Reviews
Tuesday, 09 November 2010 04:51

Glasser

Glasser - Ring

True Panther

Buy from her EP of the same name. It first came to many people's attention via a compilation offering from e-Music called Selected + Collected at the start of 2009. 'Apply' was one of the shining tracks, not bad considering the company it had, namely San Fran's Girls and Michigan's Salem, both going on to brighter things that year. Also not bad for a solo artist using GarageBand. 'Home', like many of the tracks showcases her ability for soaring, flexible vocals, as with 'Glad' which has a distinctive Asian influence, morphing into 'Plane Temp' without skipping a beat.'T' is a tribute to her best friend and fellow artist Tauba Auerbach, whose acrylic and glass on panel work 'Shatter III' can be seen on the CD cover for Ring. 'Tremel' sitting halfway through the tracklist has a driving percussive edge and is one of the more urgent sounding tracks here, complete with false ending about thirty seconds before 'Mirrorage'. "Can I trust in you, ..." she sings on this track layered down with too many levels amongst it to keep track of. Bells, accordions, brass, strings, xylophone, piano and of course multiple vocal layering keep you immersed in the moment and wondering what is going to happen on the next track. 

Rings get more electro the further you venture into it, subtly, but the vocals are always the centrepiece. They are crystal clear and sharp as a knife. It must have been a real treat for producers Van Rivers and the 'Subliminal Kid' having the canvas to work with and add to. An artist always searching for new ideas and concepts, she had plans to build a 'bifurcated' pipe organ, with artist friend Auerbach. As she explains "it evolved from an idea of making something that'd be impossible to play without each other. The organ is gonna be split up into two keyboards- we'll have every other key - and I'll have the pumps for her side while she has the pumps for mine. We're calling the project Auerglass, and we're debuting it at her gallery". 

Glasser has released a great deal of majestic work since her EP only two years ago, having moved from solo recordings with her laptop in a shoe store to producing a hypnotic, complex yet at times starkly simple LP that is a product of out times. It's compelling, worth many listens, and a fluid artwork in itself to be appreciated as a whole.

Dave Roberts, November 9, 2010 

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ALBUM OF THE YEAR

JULIA HOLTER (USA)

Have You In My Wilderness

Domino

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TRACK OF THE YEAR

LOWER DENS (USA)

Your Heart Still Beating

Ribbon Music

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EP OF THE YEAR

KELELA (USA)

Hallucinogen 

Cherry Coffee/Warp Records

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