by: Paul McEldowney
Maher Shalal Hash Baz - Faux Dιpart (Yik Yak)
One of those nights at KUCI led me to run into a mysterious release by Maher Shalal Hash Baz with a sticker tag that said 'Recorded at Dub Narcotic with members of Deerhoof'. Apparently his first release was an 83 track box set put out in 1991 by Org records. The album I found at the station, Faux Depart, released in 2004, is an oldie newie and is as good as the sticker suggests. It's japanese free jazz influenced acid-tripping playful cutesy penguin cafe orchestra type mini-symphonies. It took 7 years to add and has aged perfectly like fine wine.
Neverever - Shake-a-Baby (Slumberland)
Sianne Ngai, Professor of English at UCLA, wrote a pretty cool paper called Our Aesthetic Categories in which she discusses cuteness, zaniness, and interestingess as aesthetic categories which seem to necessarily mediate our every day experience. Such categories are informed by larger economic forces of modern day capitalism such as the current modes of production, trade and consumption. The great thing about pop music, and especially its lo-fi fuzz down-to-earth nostalgic and fun part, is that you can immediately see how such categories in a big way determine how we listen to it and how it is produced. The albums put out by Slumberland records seem to be a perfect example and the newest by Neverever is no exception. As zany, Shake-a-baby, is artful play and labor. As interesting, it is built upon a recent history of 'liberated' exchange and circulation of information via the internet. And as cute, it is in a sense unthreatening, inducing care from the listener. Blah blah blah.
Porcelain Raft - Strange Weekend (Secretly Canadian)
To begin with another sappy and self-conscious review, I don't think i've ever listened to too much Memoryhouse, but I can tell what it's kind of going to sound like from the get go. Looking them up on youtube, the first result is a song which samples one of the tracks from the Eternal Sunshine For The Spotless Mind sound track. I'm not sure who thinks that movie is in any capacity a happy one, and even the context in which I watched the movie bums me out. The context is bizarrely and maybe subliminally self reflective of my relationship with that past moment with my present. Lost, alienating familiarity is something the current is taking full advantage of and Porcelain Raft is fully aware of its alluring potentials which disregards or tries to get over the emotional repercussions.
Cate Le Bon - Cyrk (The Control Group)
Golden age carefree, charming, and effortless mellow and minimal proto-punk folk pop-next-door. The baritone Nico-style meets whimsical falsetto harmonies mixed with pre-theoretical fuzzed out treble-on-ten guitar solos are made to melt.
Thee American Revolution - Buddha Electrostorm (Fire)
Reissue of 2009 album by Robert Schneider of Apples In Stereo. The band also features members of Olivia Tremor Control, and as you can guess its blown-out self destructive what-the-hell drug-damaged psych rock. There's even a song which samples smoke on the water. Super bizarro and forever-in-the-basement.
Laura Gibson - La Grande (Barsuk)
Post freak folky rambling oregon trail country-tinged and on-the-road whimsical, adventurous while retaining an air of delicateness, singer songwriter.
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour (Out Of Frequency)
Cosmic bubble gum I'm a barbie girl electro pop with infectious melodies that for better or for worse will never leave your head subconsiously or consciously.
The Jezabels - Prisoner (MGM)
Immense new wave influenced layered operatic goose bump inducing self-confident strong female-led art rock.
Claps - Wreck (Guild Ridden Pop)
Part of the recent dreamy cold minimal wave revival that's more on the slow, mellow, in-touch-with-one's-emotion side with definite pop influnces from stuff like Depeche Mode.
Pacific UV - Weekends (Mazarine)
Hi-fi clean as a baby's bum deep-in-space warpy paradoxically full of feeling romantic sedative electro-dream-pop.