Music Reviews



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Artist: Aaron Poehler & Ryan Tully-Doyle (@)
Title: Dietrich
Format: CD
Rated: *****
'Dietrich' is a collaboration between Aaron Poehler (guitars, vocals, bass?)) and Ryan Tully-Doyle (drums), from out of San Diego. Poehler used to be in a band called Daisy Glaze (name taken from the song of the same name by Big Star?) when he was in Indiana, but I never heard them, nor have I heard the couple of solo albums Poehler released. On first listen 'Dietrich' sounds a lot like Joy Division with a growly gravelly baritone vocal similar to the guy from the Crash Test Dummies mixed with Fields of the Nephilim's Carl McCoy, lacking a bit of the menace. Opening track 'Sleepless' is a hard charging hot mess with vocals nearly buried in the wall of guitar noise. Actually pretty cool! Thereafter, things rapidly cool down with a more open and slower track, 'And in the End' where you Poehler's vocals are brought to fore. The song was didn't seem to be one of their stronger efforts. Thinks pick up with 'Right Behind You', arguably the most commercial and memorable track on the album, which would fit comfortably on most indie radio playlists. 'Aerial' sounds like sped-up My Bloody Valentine (except for the vocals) with its twisting wall of guitar noise. By this time though, I'm sensing Poehler's songwriting is of limited dimension. 'Everyone Knows Her Name' retires to MBV speed, and things do sound a bit warped instrumentally, but Aaron's voice is beginning to wear on me. The predominant bass line carries 'Anhedonia' once again into Joy Division territory, but other than that, it doesn't have a lot going for it. 'Unwinding' is an atmospheric piece of noise pop, with Ryan singing (for a change), and his vocals are a lot closer to MBV's Kevin Shields. While not the hit of the album, it does provide some welcome relief. Nothing much really stands out on the rest of the album, and all I can really figure out is that the songwriting isn't particularly scintillating from this point on. One may wonder why these guys even got a review here being closer to alternative guitar-based rock than what we usually cover. The album only skirts the edge of darkness; is only vaguely experimental; doesn't fit easily into any of Chain D.L.K.'s categories. The obvious reason would be that it was submitted for review, but my reason is that I sense the potential if they could just stretch out and embrace more experimental regions. I actually like the playing on the album a lot. Poehler's voice might be a bit problematic; Tully-Doyle's is under-used. Still, for those looking for artful noise guitar bands, you might want to check this out. You can find digital downloads of 'Dietrich' on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, etc, but if you want the physical CD, you'll have to get it at their Bandcamp site page.
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Artist: Rona Geffen
Title: The Emancipation of Mitzy
Format: CD
Label: RG Recordings
Rated: *****
I can't hail this EP by rave-scene diva Rona Geffen as something new, but Berlin based artist, who after all plainly introduced "The Emancipation of Mitzy" as a sort of flashback, knows how to shake dancing grounds. For example, the opening track "Empty And Broke" could remind those hard-hitting techno panzers which struck the chords and the bodies of Tresor devotees at the dawn of new millenium (and maybe some years before 2000), the tribal wars on the drum of the following "Ra Ta Ta Ta" unexpectedly reactivated memories like Sepultura's "Chaos BC" that belongs to some old past musical lives of mine, "Patat" smells like those old-fashioned crossbreeds between Rio De Janeiro samba drumming and techno. "Teheran Nigts" and the squawking pitting of "It Began With 1 Pissed Chika" hurl head-banging missiles which borders on gabber and German techno-trance, while the final "30" recalls some "jihadist" declension of techno, which also spread over he scene particularly after the controversial exacerbation against some Muslim countries and the destabilization of those regions, but if you pay close attention to some details, you'll uncover the reason why Rona Geffen's output is everything but a cloning.
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Artist: Quentin Hiatus (@)
Title: It's Only
Format: CD
Label: Free Love Digi
Rated: *****
According to his own biography, "earthborn children told stories and called him Beastman, scurrying into the night in fear of him. As the years past, he cultivated the Solo System and emerged from the wild, determined to Experience the Mysterious. Guided by the great master Sophos, he mastered the art of Formtranse". Besides his imaginative description and the somewhat mythological parthenogenesis, Quentin "Hiatus" McFadden's music has really neither beastial nor divine traits. Quentin's dexterity with bass-driven rhythmical contraptions could let you think he comes from UK, the homeland and the meeting point of many talents of the scene; his headquarters are actually in the heart of US, Arizona, an almost unknown scene that Quentin is tryng to display by means of his own label, Free Love Digi, by which he also launches this full-length album after a series of tidbits with the imprint of some underground labels. Even if it could sound like a stretching of the point, its "Americanism" could gathered by the way he chews percussive elements like they were chewing gums that he inflates out of his brain by airy sonorities. Some tracks of his album such as the title track "It's Only" or "Digress" are so breezy that could be rather matched with some old chillign entries from mainly German sound jugglers and his mania for heavy "spacialization" of sound could be linked to another (stereo)typically American mania and source of pride, the conquest of space, so that some tracks like the lovely dedication to so-called Def Poetry in the middle of the album, the bouncy sidereal drumstep on "Unexpected Red" or the synth-propelled whirligigs on "Behaviourism" could sound like the sonic mirroring of space walks on board of a starship, whose shields got constantly hitten by space debris. The fluorescent blood from the scarred sniggering heart on the cover artwork spilled delightfully listenable lymph out.
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Artist: Rumpistol (@)
Title: Away
Format: CD
Label: Rump (@)
Rated: *****
Jens Berents Christiansen's brainchild Rumpistol is one of the few projects that makes progress without deteriorating or messing around by licking fashionable sonorities and this album is the most convincing patency that he has not scattered his creative forces that marked his merriest first steps. All tracks, whose titles start with A, on "Away" reveal that chromatic luxuriance of his gentle style, which wisely blends IDM, dub, techno, broken beats, downbeat and even jazz and modern classical spurts, but manage to pierce through mature topics such as soul drifting, loneliness and alienation, which got remarkably depicted by means of piebald sonic springs: the danceable carousel of hypnagogic clots of "Asleep", the volatile vaporizations of "A Glance", which could resemble to some stuff by Royksopp, the tamished bespeaking of borderline urban living of "A Town", the electronic dub swarms of "Allahbad", the lovely sullen cycloids of "A Fall", the abulic slow-motion of "Amar", the lovely a-whirl dub of "Adrift", the abraded mellowness of the song "Away" which features a lovely duet by Red Baron and Katherine Mills Rymer (OOFJ) and the emotional intensity of John LaMonica's singing on the final track "Atacama", which vividly evokes the coastal desert place between Chile and Peru, the driest non-polar desert in the world.
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Artist: Alexander Robotnick
Title: Vintage Robotnick
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records
Rated: *****
Exclusive Record Store Day LP presented on high-quality 180gram tri-color transparent blue/purple colored vinyl and limited to 2000 copies, "Vintage Robotnick" is a selection of eleven tracks coming from Maurizio Dami's (a.k.a. Alexander Robotnick) archives which have been released on vinyl for the first time. Recorded during the years 1982-1984, the tracks have been previously available on CD on the 2003 'Rare Robotnicks' compilation, except one track from 2005's 'Krypta 1982' ("Appuye Sur Le Champignon" and one other track culled from 'Robotnick Archives' ("Minore Terzo"). The album opens with 'I Wanna Believe', a single released under the Gina & The Flexix moniker back in 1985 on the Fuzz Dance label (an Italo Disco sublabel of Materiali Sonori). It's a song with lush atmospheres, nice melodies and catchy female vocals. "Les grands voyages de l'amour" is a great track which combines danceable rhythms, great synth melodies and a bit of melancholy in less than three minutes. Also "I remember Kamchaka" and the following "Soundtrack" follow a similar path but with "Celle Vache De Ma Mere" we pass on a different atmosphere made of mystery, sensual melodies and ironic lyrics. "Araba" mix middle Eastern melodies and robotic sounds while on "Ambient Robo" we have the robotic melodic sounds only (try imagine to Kraftwerk on a trip to Florence). "The Vampir" is a really good song which mix eerie sounds and danceable rhythms. "Appuye Sur Le Champignon" is really italo disco sounding with mid 80s guitar riffs. 'C'est La Vie' was a 7" released in 1987 and the song is a really nice synthpop fresh danceable one. The album closes with "Minore Terzo", a track which is in balance from Detroit techno and acid. Great release!!!!
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