Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Return of the Permanent Wave
Format: CD
Label: Silver Plastic Records (@)
Rated: *****

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This compilation comes from the new label Silver Plastic Records who by the enclosed letter obviously have a sense of humor. They describe the release as, "Lazy day beats meet up with post-punk electronica in a fusion that can only be described as permanent wave". We have all heard of New Wave, later called Retro Wave. Of late the 'Wave' genre has been termed Synthpop to get away from the ties to it having only been the result of an era, the 80's of course. While Synthpop has taken the genre to new levels it has mostly been promoted by labels like A Different Drum. Now fans of the 'era sound' that is sometimes lacking in the more modernized version called Synthpop can capture that with Silver Plastic Records who bring into the genre what it is often lacking and we've only barely gotten in pop-culture by bands like No Doubt. It's like reliving the future! The first band, PsychoSomatic Breakdown, could easily be placed on the Hymen label while Burn Like Nero, which seems to be the label's feature band are very reminiscient of Joy Division meets Gary Numan on "Faded Away". They then trade out the male vocals for female on "Small Details". "Desperation" gets a little Devo in the intro then takes off into uncharted territory very rapidly with vocals that reflect an early Ian Astbury of The Cult with completely synthesizer backing. Only three tracks, two bands, and I'm hooked already! Let's jump around. Egg In Space get very Space Invaders on "Say Hello", while eH Factor focus on dancefloor beats and digitalia with smoothed over vocals on "This Desperation". Janosch Moldau's "Redeemer" gives pause to reflect while sneeking some, is this possible?, Wave-Trance on us. This track is followed by a twelve minute track by Lank called "Stress Relief Point" which is mostly-Ambient/Trance, unexpected for this project. However, they show another side to their works on the next track "012 (introvert)" with neurotically clicking beats and piano, something that sounds fitting for an Ant-Zen release; very Beefcake-like. The pace picks back up with onLoad's "Electrofish", bouncy 80's style synth and start-top vocals. The Signifying Monkey combines the elements of the entire project nicely with retro rhythms and crunchy noise fallout each measure. Vocally it reminds me of a more punk and guitar oriented Devo. Are we not men? We are The Signifying Monkey! Seems to be a connection there. Moving forward a bit we come to Bernie Lucas (aka the missing Kraftwerk memeber?). Both tracks begin with an electronic voice stating the name of the track. I must say one interesting and unique compilation. It should be interesting to see what this label turns out as it seems to be a bizarre culmination of A Different Drum, NintWave, Ant-Zen, and Hymen all in one monster, so far. I love it!! ...and it's only $10 at CDBaby!
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Artist: Aalacho (@)
Title: Electro
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Seattle-based struggling solo musician/producer/writer Nathan Scott, a.k.a. Aalacho, comes from previous rock experiences in his hometown of Detroit but, except for occasional guitar arrangements here and there, he doesn't let much of that bleed through the eight tracks of his second album "Electro", to be (self-)released August 17th. "Electro" is an appropriate name to describe this half-hour short full length album and its content. Entirely recorded on Mac's Emagic Logic 6 Platinum, the seven tracks contained herein (among which there is a Felix da Houscat mix and a cover version of Beatles' "Ticket to Ride") sport a pretty funky and happy blend of indie-electronics with pop vocals, guitar arpeggios and licks and electroclash beats and some influences from the past surfacing at times. The album features some guest musicians from bands such as Tryst, The Davenports, Jasper the Cat, The Vacants and a bunch of indie vocalists. Let yourself be lifted off the ground, just as the cover might subliminaly be suggesting... ;-)
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Artist: Lilac Ambush (@)
Title: Arsenal
Format: CD
Label: Twisted Spinach


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Lilac Ambush is definitely a unique project from Gloucester, Massachusetts formed in 2001. They define themselves as Dark Pop however so far all their reviewers have defined them with post-punk bands like Soft Cell, Joy Division, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, and even Clan of Xymox. To that I'd like to add Jesus and the Mary Chain while the first, second, and third are pretty on the mark but don't expect the clarity of Xymox here. With a sound that is very hard to describe, very raw and guitar driven yet dark, neurotic, and electronic driven at the same time and vocally apathetic. It's amazing that they are a new millinium band as their sound is derived mainly from the post-punk late 80's and early pre-grunge 90's. While they are neither Gothic nor Industrial they will most likely attract the attention of both groups due to their experimentation with sound structure and style as well as their overall dark and melancholic overtones. This album will be considered either rock-n-roll brilliance or complete crap! I'm still undecided, give it a listen!
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: FUTURA electronica downtempo vol.1
Format: CD
Label: Abysoma (@)
Distributor: Ibiza Music & Clothes (company of Cafe del Mar)
Rated: *****
"Futura, the other sounds of the electronic music" is a radio show hosted by Luis Junior in Spain and this sampler is basically a best of whatever Junior plays during his shows. This CD brings you fourteen tracks of relaxed, chill out lounge electronica, downtempo, minimal ambient with different shades of jazzy, funky, avant-garde nature by mostly Spanish artists including Luis Junior himself, Funkana, Nuits de Songs, Fluflo, Mantrox, B-Flow, The Other Room, Nanotek and Croma Lite. The CD comes in a nice digi-pack. The Futura radio show is aired every Sunday on Dance FM from 10pm to 1am CET in various cities in the Madrid area and can also be streamed online at www.ondacero.es.
Artist: Lucid Dementia
Title: The List
Format: CD
Label: Buried Records
Rated: *****
Poised, in my opinion, to be one of the top CD releases of 2004 (even
if the mainstream world, addled as it is by too much normalcy, remains ignorant) is Lucid Dementia's "The List." Couple of things you need to know about Lucid Dementia: Their music is both cuttingly satirical (you might say left of Michael Moore) and uproariously funny and their lead singer is a six foot puppet named Lucid Dementia ... Luci for short. This is one of those bands that definitely deserves the term "aptly named." LD is certainly demented, employing such an over the top concept and stage show and the band is hilariously demented but there is an incredible amount of philosophical
lucidity permeating their music. In terms of socio-political
significance, they can stand up to KMFDM any day of the week. Another way they are similar to that band is in the fairly equal employment of guitar and electronica. Indeed, an argument could be made that this middle balance is the perfect dwelling zone for industrial as the metally side tends toward monotonous
(think older Ministry) and the electro side seems sort of like weak
trance with vocals much of the time. Anyway, LD will certainly shred the sensibilities of anybody remotely conservative that has the misfortune to wander into their sphere of influence. In the song, "The Lucid Dementia Show," for example, Luci sings of how the more of something there is the less it is worth and then goes on to point out just how many humans there are ... But to hear such harsh social commentary uttered by a high pitched (electronically altered to some degree, I think) puppety voice is startling and rip-snorting. And yet the voice fits so perfectly and, even in the midst of guffawing at Lucid Dementia's antics you realize how accepting of the voice you are. It does not detract from the industrial doings of this fine,
intelligent and creative act. LD is truly a gem and deserves to be
heard of beyond the underground. The rest of the industrial world could learn a few lessons from this group.
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