record-reviews

Christmas Time with Boyking!Sam

The first thing that Sam had done when he had took over Hell, with Lucifer at his side as his consort, he had re-organized the whole place so that it ran like a business. Paperwork was essential. One of his daily tasks were to review the records of the recent souls brought down, to ensure that they actually belonged there and had not been a mix-up, and any petitions.

Meg had tossed a woolen sack onto his desk. He looks up and scrutinizes it, “What is this?”

“Fan letters for Lucifer, I guess. Found them at the post office” She shrugs.

Sam sighs and digs his hand into the sack to pull out of these letters to see for himself. The cover of the envelope was clearly by a child’s hand and read that it was to “Satan”. It was strange because while there certainly were insane satanists that worshiped his lover, they were all adults or teenagers, not someone so obviously young.

He tears open the letter to peer at the contents inside. It was a wishlist for Christmas presents. Apparently the child was dyslexic or wrote it too hastily so they ended up writing down “Satan” instead of “Santa”.

“They’re letters for Santa but the kids misspelled his name.” Sam informs her and she lets out a laugh. Probably because imagining Lucifer wearing a Santa costume would be hilarious, though ill advised because of his hatred of humanity. Sam had been proven to be the only exception to his loathing.

He felt somewhat bad for the children and decided to clear out his schedule the week before Christmas to give something back to them. Then he carefully told Lucifer about his plans, ensuring not to mention the best part for what he had in store, and, as his lover hardly ever could deny him, reluctantly agreed.

Sam was the king of the Hell and, even though the letters were addressed to Lucifer, he decided that he would be the one to take on the form of Santa for his appearance at the local mall, handing out presents to all the children that sat on his lap. Now, he could have just made Lucifer one of his helper elves but Sam was not always so kind.

He was waiting expectantly outside the men’s restroom for Lucifer to appear in the costume Sam had given him. The angel finally steps out wearing a red and white bonnet over his head and a modest red dress. It looks surprisingly good on him and Sam considers that he should put him in women’s clothing more often, though perhaps something much more revealing like lingerie.

“Is this necessary?” Lucifer raises a brow at him, picking at the fabric.

“I needed someone to play Mrs Claus and thought you would be perfect. Or should I have considered someone else to be my spouse? Maybe Ruby?” Sam teases, baiting his lover, knowing how jealous he could get. Icy blue eyes illuminate with grace and he can see his wings in the non-physical plane flare out in anger. Even though Lucifer looked about ready to smite somebody, Sam had no fear as he knew that he would never hurt him.

“You wouldn’t dare.” He growls out and pushes Sam until he is up against the wall. Wings curl to wrap around him possessively. One thing had always been absolutely clear, Lucifer may have given Sam complete control outside and inside the bedroom but he was no pushover. He could easily flip the tables at any moment if he so desired because, underneath the submissive exterior he presented for Sam, he was still a fierce archangel.

“No, I wouldn’t.” Sam confirms, pressing his mouth to Lucifer.

“Don’t tease me like that.” Lucifer tells him when they break out, his eyes no longer shining with grace.

“But when you get protective like that, it reminds me that I’m yours and no one else’s.” Sam smiles as he digs his face into his shoulder.

The mall event had gone without a hitch. Every child had been eager to get their present and a picture taken with Santa. At the end of the day, Sam asked the photographer to take a photo of him and Lucifer as a memento, if only for him to laugh at his lover’s costume.

Though Lucifer did not like being made a laughing stock and the boyking had no doubt that he would find some creative way to get back at Sam for embarrassing him.

And so he did, a week later. Sam had woke up in his chambers one morning tied to the king sized bed and Lucifer, with a sadistic smile on his face, hovering above him.

Needless to say, he did not get out of bed that day and his duties had been neglected as his lover rode him several different ways into the mattress and denying him release until the very end.

what actually occupies my mind lately

goddammit work, how come such conceptually simple crap is such an attention-monopolising faff in the details. computers were a mistake

this song i came up with is seriously catchy and would make a good world cup theme, now i need words about football that don’t mention football anywhere

freda, you’re on holiday and i am still not a home entertainment device. if i’m sitting at home on a weekday i’m at work and am only home because mum is ill. you get to be really bored on holiday and make your own fun like generations of bright kids before you

@the-arkadian​‘s health worries me continuously but at least it’s pretty stable

the new releases pile on bandcamp makes review piles back in the day look good. at least records in review piles had any sort of editorial review

my goodness these biscuits are nice, we need to get more of these

we need more money

FCUKIGN X240 TRACKPADDY-MOUSE THING AAAAAAAA if this wasn’t a work laptop i’d be replacing that shit pronto. the laptop is not terrible otherwise (the 8 gig limit is frustrating)

ableton is way too frustrating to learn with this stupid trackpaddy mouse thing. lmms may be shit but at least i know its foibles

need a singer who will sing (dependent emphasise this point)

out of worm fics again OH NO BACK TO DREDGING SB CrW AAAAAAAA

you cats are idiots. idiots. how can animals without an actual mental disability be this dumb. you are dumb for cats

ethereum ahahaha holy shit this is better douchenfreude than bitcoin

can i come up with a rocknerd post for today. (trying very hard to do one a day. this is for almost no actual readers mind you. an uncreative writing exercise)

why do i wake up at 6am every day no matter what oh god let me sleep

angry birds pop’s lives timer is frustrating but does lead to me actually putting down the phone occasionally

must put more mead on, damn we make the good shit

2

DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE #3 fanzine has, in addition to ten different feature articles/interviews (on The Velvet Underground Appreciation Society, Lithics, rare New Zealand 80s 45s, White Fence, Sibylle Baier, The Coolies, World of Pooh, Unit 4, Rays and Sara Fancy, respectively), also reviews a bunch of records, tapes, downloads and what have you.

Here’s who or what we (Jay Hinman, Erika Elizabeth & David Perron) talked about this time:

  • Actual Crimes
  • Aquarian Blood
  • Alex Archibald
  • Astor
  • Daniel Bachman
  • Charles Barabe
  • Bent
  • Big Bleach
  • Black Abba
  • Borzoi
  • Burnt Envelope
  • CCTV
  • Le Chemin de la Honte
  • The Choo Choo Trains
  • Chroma
  • Counter Intuits
  • CVN
  • Departmentstore Santas
  • Detective Agency
  • Doctor Nod
  • The Early Stages
  • Estrogen Highs/Frustrations
  • Flesh Eaters
  • Fossils
  • Amy Gassner
  • Gauche
  • Gentleworms
  • German Army
  • The Girls
  • Goggs
  • Helta Skelta
  • Hierophants
  • Honey Radar
  • Hothead
  • The Klitz
  • Knife Pleats
  • Map 71
  • Maraudeur
  • Mars
  • Jackie McDowell
  • Andy McLeod
  • Mercenarias
  • Meyers
  • Jenks Miller and Rose Cross NC
  • C Joynes/Nick Jonah Davis
  • Monoshock
  • Moss Lime
  • Naked Lights
  • New Berlin
  • No Ditching
  • Octagrape
  • Paint Thinner
  • Palberta
  • Palm
  • Pampers
  • Patsy
  • Primitive Calculators
  • Pumice
  • Pylon
  • Ramleh
  • Sacred Product
  • Sex Tide
  • Shetahr
  • Shopping
  • Silva/Zetterberg/Lindwall
  • Matt Sowell
  • The Staches
  • St. Vincent & The Grenadines
  • Taiwan Housing Project
  • Terry
  • Undercarriage
  • Uranium Club
  • UV-TV/Shark Toys
  • V/A - “Anxious Color”
  • V/A - “Destroy All Art”
  • V/A - “The Hardly Music Story”
  • V/A - “Indian Talking Machine”
  • V/A - “KSE 10th Anniversary Album”
  • V/A - “Last of the Garage Punk Unknowns, Vol. 5&6″
  • V/A - “Punk 45″ - Akron
  • V/A - “Punk 45″ - Cleveland
  • V/A - “Punk 45″ - Los Angeles
  • Velvet Underground
  • L. Voag
  • Wall
  • Whipper
  • Wolfmanhattan Project
  • Woolf
  • The World
  • The Worms

Check it out here.

BEST OF THE BEST OF 2012: NPR’S TOP 50

It’s that time of year again: anus itch season. Talkadoodles and decidamathons. Music music guess what’s what. A time when publications that talk about music release their you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-yours list of artists whose record labels bought ad space or sent free download codes. Or, less cynically: music from the year, presented in a more digestible form than most of the time, cranked out and hastily invoiced by beleaguered critics everywhere, hopefully in time to get the poor bastards on the bottom rungs of the biz a little extra holiday cash, and editors and mid-tier scramblers can wait out the clock until the new year by dicking around on Twitter and calling it business. Yes, that’s the least cynical version I can think of for what happens every December with the lists. It’s a mad dash to be the first to limp to the finish.

The good news for regular citizens is you can finally just read one thing and get some straight answers out of people. Or at least less crooked answers. Most of the time music reviews are complete bullshit, like that timesomebody at Vice didn’t like the new Metz album because apparently in that particular 20 minute chunk of their lives they had a migraine and the drums kicked too much ass for them to handle without pukeyfacing. Music reviews are bullshit because the person writing them is getting paid somewhere between zero and some piddling useless amount of dollars, and therefore there’s no stakes, and therefore say whatever you think is best to keep the piddling useless dollars coming in, and do it quick with the first thought that pops into your head because your opinion will never matter as much as word of mouth plus time anyway, and it’s not like the free download is a huge favor because the internet exists. BUT: end of the year lists pare down all that regular bullshit and focus on the bullshit that these people apparently actually believe.

I am a fan of year-end lists because they serve as a roadmap to what kind of people believe what outlandish bullshit things. I like to take these lists, most of which consist of stuff I never heard of because I’ve managed to limit my informational intake to hyper-specific, reliable filters which generally do not waste my time telling me about stuff I have a low chance of actually liking, and attack them with my own kneejerk bullshit. Why? Because that’s even lazier and more cynical than writing a list of my own, and it results in more piddling useless dollars for me. You’re welcome.

Take for example the alphabetically arranged non-hierarchical list supplied by the poor deluded fucks at NPR. Alright gang, let’s riff. Let’s have an NPRty.

Ab-Soul, Control System

I’m sure NPR likes this because this guy is saying some moderately thoughtful stuff and the beats are less predictable than usual, but who actually wants to listen to a song called “Double Standards”? Why stop there? Why not a club banger called “Airport Security”?

Alabama Shakes, Boys And Girls

Making music your parents would like isn’t just for the Fleet Foxes anymore.

Alisa Weilerstein, Cello Concertos (Elgar & Carter)

Look out Yo-Yo Ma, there’s a new cellist in zzzzzzz

Alt-J, An Awesome Wave

Here’s the first of probably many entries on this list which seems like its primary reason for existing is to be transition music on NPR. Like there’s some report on a Peruvian ballet troupe struggling to make art with their limited resources, and then this pops on for fifteen seconds to help convince you that what you just heard was in fact very interesting and not a desperate attempt at interestingness which combines several things you don’t care about. It is relatively high energy, but stark and dramatic at the same time, and it’s constantly throwing “interesting” sounds at you, like bassoons and toy pianos, and layering everything a million times for no reason. And now here’s Terry Gross with “Fresh Air.”

Andy Stott, Luxury Problems

This is the kind of electronic music you’d hear in a modern art museum and it’s actually more boring than silence.

Astro, Astro

A nice lil’ multi-culti entry for NPR, this one apparently a Chilean version of MGMT. There is actually some very cool shit going on in Chile right now. This is the Wavves to that cool shit’s Thee Oh Sees.

Berlin Philharmonic, St. Matthew Passion

You know who I love? Classical radio DJs. They’re the best. Just in general, when people are only into classical music: the best. I mean, terrible, yeah, but taking the stance that nothing good has happened for over a hundred years is incredible. I can just picture them wincing at the overbearing city noise and fully bear hugging not just their ears but the entire sides of their heads in agony as a wailing ambulance drives by them on the street. Classical-only people are so prim and snooty and delicate they’re like some vestigial form of cultural renegade. I imagine if you pushed one over they would just lie there totally fucked like an upside-down turtle. You’ve got to love it when human society subverts nature and allows people like that to exist.

Meek Mill, Dreamchasers 2

I feel like hip hop at this point is as horrible and predictable and soul-crushing and ceaseless and artless and stagnant as the poverty and violence on the streets it comes from. This guy tells the narrative of how he grew up in a terrible place, sold drugs, and then became successful while so many others didn’t, and his embrace of every trapping of his prosperous lifestyle is fueled by guilt and regret. You may be familiar. Also: you can dance and fuck to it and play it real loud in a car with a lot of bass. Not that NPR listeners are doing those things. Instead they’re nodding their heads to the narrative and saying “oh, isn’t it awful” and “good for him.”

Bobby Womack, The Bravest Man In The Universe

Damon Albarn picked Womack up off the scrap heap and produced this album. It’s kind of like an extremely crappy version of the Rolling Stones reviving Muddy Waters’ career, or a more commercial and electric version of Jon Spencer and R.L. Burnside. I wonder if Bobby knows or cares what the hell is going on here.

Bomba Estereo, Elegancia Tropical

You can guess what this sounds like: an impulse buy CD at a fair trade coffeehouse.

Brooklyn Rider, Seven Steps

If you type “Brooklyn Rider, Seven Steps” into Google, the first results are Amazon, Brooklyn Rider’s website, Brooklyn Rider’s website, Brooklyn Rider’s website, and NPR First Listen. They’re a string quartet, FYI. An extremely well organized one. With a name that sounds like they should be a 2000’s synthpop version of Bachman Turner Overdrive.

Cafe Tacvba, El Objeto Antes Llmado Disco

If a band from Mexico sounds like 70’s Italian prog (think Gentle Giant plus opera) meets Animal Collective (i.e. post-digital American prog), are you allowed to not like it? Not if you’re NPR.

Carla Morrison, Dejenme Llorar

The score so far. Hip hop: 2, soul revival: 2, classical: 3, Spanish language pop: 4, bland Indie pop: 1, minimalist techno: 1, boring: yesalways.

Cat Power, Sun

Cat Power is the musical equivalent of Say Yes To The Dress (the least intolerable reality show my girlfriend watches).

Continue

A review of a self-titled album by Diamanda Galás, written by Jello Biafra in Maximum RocknRoll (MRR) issue number 15, from July 1984. I’ve been spending a lot of time digging through MRR for Hardcore Architecture and I wish Jello wrote more reviews. I’m not sure if someone asked him to review these records because they were sent to the magazine, or if he just picked things he was most passionate about on his own, but he always wrote about the most compelling artists and releases.

Stupid fucking internet angst. Minutes 4 through 9 of ’Elevation’ doesn’t help. I should post a picture of Pharoah Sanders so white kids will know to hit ‘like’. I’m a white kid too. This has been a passive aggressive Tumblr post. There’s a black hole inside me, that’s where the good things go. I am clinging to him hoping his goodness can save me. If he doesn’t feel the weight of me yet then it’s only a matter of time. He called me back from work, ’Greeting to Saud’ parted the clouds in my head, and then I cried so hard my contact squeezed itself outta my left eye. I’m trying to find a foothold here. Good days follow bad days follow good days. I work sometimes but when I don’t the fear creeps in. I should just stay busy all the time. I should go to the coffee shop where my roommate is. I should finish my resume. I never wanted to need love this badly but holy shit I can’t wait to see his face on my doorstep next week. Now I’m scared again, so much want and need never ended well. An informal poll of my ex-boyfriends reveals they miss my cooking the most. Thank god for his unsophisticated palate, thank god he’s got the patience of a saint. I’m a bad girl trying to be good, he’s a good boy trying to be good but he doesn’t know that yet. I need some sort of combination saint and sanitation worker to deal with all my shit. I’m gonna fuck this up, some kind of shoe is gonna drop. Here comes the fear again, the end is near again. 'Ore-Se-Rere’ is telling me there’s a world outside the one in my head and I should lighten the fuck up. ’The Gathering’ is beautiful and then breaks down and then it gets beautiful again, it wants me to know that that’s just how the world is. I’m still trying to learn shit everyone else figured out when they were five. If I had had more love I’d be stronger by now. I wish I was one of those serene motherfuckers who had nice childhoods and now they’re untouchable. Or one of those tough motherfuckers whose lives were a pile of shit but it made them flinty and wise. I’m having a nervous breakdown almost every day over the stupidest shit. May he never feel like a caretaker or a crutch, may I never be a burden to the one I love, lord don’t let me fuck this up. This has been a really stupid Tumblr post.

Boston’s 1976 eponymous debut sounds like was written at least five years too early, which is maybe why the then-unknown band sold 1M records in a few months and had their NYC debut at Madison Square Garden. Between the showy guitar playing and Brad Delp’s insane pipes, the album is an obvious precursor to hair metal and exists in this bizarro aural universe linking 70s awesomeness and 80s silliness.

Favorite Lyric: “I looked out this morning and the sun was gone, turned on some music just to start my day. I lost myself in a familiar song, I closed my eyes and I slipped away.”

MUST LISTEN TRACK: ‘Peace of Mind’

Spotify: Boston – Boston

4

Tim Ellison at ROCK MAG fanzine was kind enough back in 1997 to let me do a special “supplement” of my own then-fanzine within his. Thanks, Tim. I’d totally forgotten about this until I found it in my garage fanzine-storage locker a couple weekends ago.

I had probably quit SUPERDOPE (”for good”) that year or something. Of course, I came back with another issue in 1998 - the last one, as it turned out.

Here I take cracks at the Blues Explosion (!), Hampton Grease Band, Alex Chilton, Dwarves, Screamers, Urinals and others.

Pig River Records is your comprehensive guide to music as it was 50 years ago.

The site was established on the 1st of January 2012, (1962) since which time it has seamlessly reported on the world of music as if it were happening today.

Through both our website and social media outlets (facebook, twitter, tumblr, youtube) we will bring you articles, interviews, singles and full length LP album reviews as well as ‘Pig River Radio’, our regularly updated playlist of songs from the time.

As Pig River Records continues to grow we will make efforts to expand and make changes to help improve your experience as we cover the most remarkable period in music history.

Please feel free to get in contact with us if you are interested in contributing to the site or if you have any suggestions for improvements we can make.

Enjoy.

www.pigriver.com

Pig River Records features artists such as, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Nina Simone & The Crystals.

Gun Club, Mother Berlin Record Review

Romi Mori: We were talking about recording and I remember Peter Hook of New Order wanted to produce Mother Juno. When I met Jeffrey, he was really into Bob Dylan. He was playing Bob Dylan every day and I got really sick of it. I was really into Cocteau Twins, so I introduced him to the Cocteau Twins’ Treasure, and he really, really fell in love with it; he had never heard anything like that in his life. So he listened to it almost every day. Then when we were in L.A. we were taking a walk along the Sunset Strip and we bumped into Robin and Liz from the Cocteau Twins. It was just so weird because we were just talking about them. We became friends, and then Robin really wanted to produce Mother Juno, so we chose Robin over Peter Hook. I think we did the right thing. (Interview with Ryan Leach, circa 2005)

Bang! Records has just released a Gun Club LP entitled Mother Berlin. Mother Berlin is a 1987 demo the Gun Club cut at West Berlin’s Hansa Studios in preparation for the Mother Juno recording sessions. What’s surprising about Mother Berlin is just how closely it resembles the finished LP the band later cut and released under the auspices of producer Robin Guthrie. Jeffrey and the band—Kid Congo Powers, Romi Mori and Nick Sanderson—had Mother Juno effectively dialed in before Guthrie got involved. Doing a little detective work, the completeness of Mother Berlin makes sense. While Guthrie did a wonderful job on Mother Juno—his Eno-like treatments and embellishments on “Breaking Hands” is the highlight of the record and the closest thing to a true Cocteau Twins and Gun Club collaboration—a good portion of the album was reportedly produced by Jeffrey Lee Pierce and Nick Sanderson.

           Mother Berlin is less restrained than Mother Juno. Nick Sanderson plays live drums on “Breaking Hands” and Kid Congo’s slide guitar cuts through loud and clear. The LP sounds like you’d likely imagine it—the Gun Club playing live in the studio with limited effects. For Gun Club fans, this one’s a must. For casual followers, their money would likely go further exploring the Gun Club’s other records, particularly “lost” albums from the band’s later catalog (Divinity EP and Lucky Jim are both excellent).

           Mother Berlin captures the second version of the Gun Club at their near zenith. The band was excellent—Romi Mori’s contributions have always been downplayed (she also doubled wonderfully on guitar) and Nick Sanderson was a formidable drummer—and the songs seemingly came effortlessly for Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Physically, he looked great and shows from this period were likely the best he ever performed.

           The Gun Club and Jeffrey Lee Pierce have always been in a sort of journalistic no man’s land. Never quite underground enough to champion, yet hardly mainstream enough to earn semi-regular coverage in glossy rock mags. Unfortunately, Jeffrey Lee Pierce (1958-1996) didn’t live long enough to reap the rewards from his work and he never could quite land a solid record deal during his lifetime, struggling with nearly insolvent imprints for much of his career. That’s a real shame. Jeffrey Lee Pierce had the goods, and Mother Berlin—a demo luckily cut at wonderful Hansa Studios—sounds amazing and would be a critical success if released today. -Ryan Leach           

Why Don't They Teach Heartbreak At School?
  • Why Don't They Teach Heartbreak At School?
  • Aerial
  • Why Don't They Teach Heartbreak At School?
Play

Aerial - Why Don’t They Teach Heartbreak At School?

Every so often a record comes along that takes you completely by surprise, blows you off your feet, then helps you up again so you can wear your feet out dancing to it, as is the case with Scottish power pop band Aerial’s second long-player, a mere 13 years after their debut album ‘Back Within Reach’ (!). 

I’m talking the kind of record that makes you want to purchase this band’s record, and all their other records, and their t-shirts, and then more copies of their records so you can give them to other people. That is how good it is.

The unassuming pastel pink cover hides a deceptive dozen new gems that will thrill and delight upon repeated listening. It must be something in the water up Glasgae way: like fellow denizens Teenage Fanclub and Attic Lights, Aerial deal in sweetly melodic rock with big hooks, Beach Boy-esque harmonies and buzzsaw guitars. And let’s not forget the lyrics! In short, the kind of songs that, once they’re in your head, they never want to leave.

[To these ears, anyway, there’s also quite a resemblance to late 90s heroes Silver Sun and Dutch power-pop-punks the Travoltas, so if all of these bands tick your boxes you’ll be all over this without having to read any further].

But for those that need any more convincing: Check the hammering Smithereens-esque guitars and drums on the opening track “Cartoon Eyes, Cartoon Heart” before the too-catchy-for-words title song asks the question that most of us have been asking since the dawn of time (or at least formal education). 

[The band have graciously allowed that track to be shared here for your aural delight, and I can assure you that with one listen you will be as hooked as I was.]

Each successive song is just as good as the last, each with new sounds to get lost in, like the surf guitars on “Great Teenager”, the melodica on “Madeline It’s Me”, the lap steel licks on “More Than Alcohol”.. and so it goes. 

But the last two tracks are my personal highlights: the epic “Where You Are” (which I am totally, utterly, unabashedly unashamed to admit moved me to tears on the first listen) and the heavenly closer - quite literally - “Wave Goodbye To Scotland”. 

I could dissect and describe every aspect of all these songs for you but that would be a complete waste of time; all you need to know is that you need to hear them as soon as possible. If you have ears and a pulse, your life will be improved immeasurably by this joyful record. Couldn’t be more highly recommended - 10/10

Dr Cosmo’s Tape Lab - Coconut Summer Drop-In 432

There’s definitely plenty of pop happening in Glasgow. If it’s not blog favourites Attic Lights and Aerial pleasuring our ears, it’s Dr Cosmo’s Tape Lab, the latest project from Joe Kane (The Owsley Sunshine, Them Beatles) and Stu Kidd (BMX Bandits, The Wellgreen).

While the last Dr Cosmo release from just a few months ago Beyond The Silver Sea was a spacey, pop-psychedelic concept album, Joe and Stu have kicked their shoes off and dipped their toes into the bracing Scottish seas with Coconut Summer Drop-In 432, where there’s nary an electric guitar to be found.  

Instead this brand new album takes its cue from the Beach Boys of the late 60s, particularly the Smile(y Smile) - Love You period; the idea for this LP came about after Joe and Stu went to a screening of the new Brian Wilson biopic, Love And Mercy. That they’ve managed to write, rehearse, record and release the entire album in such a short space of time is testament to their talents. That the album itself is such a pleasurable listen is another.

But while the Beach Boys epitomised the California coast, Dr Cosmo take an international approach, and the album feels somewhat like a musical cruise around the world, taking in Spanish and Italian lyrics, French accordions, and a multitude of other instruments and textures. It all kicks off with ‘Ready Steady Beach!’, bouncy ukulele and handclaps welcoming you aboard.

Continuing in a similar (but never overly samey) vein, each catchy little tune just finds enough time to bury itself deep in your cranium before the next one comes along (of the twelve tracks only two are longer than 3 minutes; the album itself clocks in at just over 28). I particularly enjoyed ’She’s Crazy’, the loping, lolling ‘Andiamo’, the Pet Sounds on synths-styled ‘I May Be Right’ and the penultimate track, the tropical ’Not Sorry About It’.

‘Get There While You’re Going’, meanwhile, may well be the highlight of the album, perfectly blending the classic Beach Boy harmonies with a uniquely British take on the joys of cross-country train travel - “nature’s green arms welcoming you back” - that does for the railways what The Divine Comedy’s ‘National Express’ did for coaches back in the 90s.

It’s actually quite difficult to review this album and not spoil the many unexpected delights that pop up throughout, in terms of lyrics, off-the-wall instrumental interludes, samples etc, a staple of the Dr Cosmo sound.

Overall this is a new but immediately familiar summer soundtrack that will brighten up your days and nights. While a few songs feel a tad underdeveloped this is a minor criticism and shouldn’t put you off discovering this little gem for yourself. 7.5/10

Prurient - “Bermuda Drain” (Hydra Head Records 2011)

Man this record is so good.  Prurient has almost completely dropped noise on this album; an album that is full of lush synth melodies and analog drum sequencers.  Some people may be shocked to listen to this if their only other experience with Prurient is say, “History Of AIDS”, but to me it’s been a natural progression up to this album.  Also his job of being lead synth player in Cold Cave I’m sure didn’t hurt either.  

But yeah, this shit is solid gold.  It’s like a heavy industrial/synth pop album with harsh vocals; something you don’t see often in this kind of style.  Maybe some EBM bands do that, but I wouldn’t know. The album is very unlike anything I’ve ever heard. There is even still noise/power electronics on here, check out “Watch Silently”.  

I can't recommend this album enough.  I swear you’ll get a huge boost in hipster points for buying it.  And the vinyl version is so sexy it hurts me to look at it. 

-Log. 

Titus Andronicus | Dimed Out

In 1940, Woodie Guthrie wrote a series of songs based around the hardship of migrant labourers and put them into an album titled ‘Dust Bowl Ballads’. The record weaved fictional stories, based around the ongoing economic depression in the United States at the time and came to be recognised as the very first concept album within music. Ever since, many of the greatest musicians have toyed with the fictional genre, opting to create fantasy stories to accompany their music and express themselves. It’s here we find Titus Andronicus - not for the first time - as they announce their forthcoming concept album, 'The Most Lamentable Tragegy’, due for release here in the UK on Merge Records.

Four albums in and we see Patrick Stickles and Co have developed a tendancy towards the concept record. Their second release was themed around the American Civil War and was arguably the catalyst to their career. It was an inteligent rock record, as much thought provoking as it was a noisey tribute to angst but it was also criticised by some for it’s bloodymindedness and for perhaps being a little aloof.

Move to the third record of their career and Titus Andronicus turns a corner. Gone is the beard that Patrick Stickles hides himself behind and out emerges a clean shaven, autobiographical songwriter, bearing his soul for all the world to see. In 'Local Business’ we see Stickles tackle personal subjects such as the eating disorder that has plagued him all his life. For me personally, it is the peak of artistic expression to share so openly. Whilst throughout their career, Titus Andronicus have had plenty of ideas, creative flair, intensity, passion and ability; here Titus Andronicus gave us an honest - warts and all - record. At the same time, behind the scenes we see support for the band deminished at their record label, as 'Local Business’ is scheduled for a U.S. release and nowhere else. Here in lies one of the greatest wrongdoings in modern rock music as the world is deprived of a truly great record and thus ends the relationship with XL Recordings.

With their fourth album upon us, I think it’s reasonable to assume that Titus Andronicus’ revertion back into the fictional storytelling style of songwriting, can only be in response to the vote of no confidence given by their last record label. It takes real courage to get up on stage and tell the world your difficult story but I for one am incredibly greatful to Patrick Stickles for doing so. I can only hope that the title of their forthcoming record is a slyly aimed snipe at those who lost faith in them, as Titus Andronicus give us 'The Most Lamentable Tragedy’.

Ian

(photo: my US import copy of 'Local Business’)

External image