Retrospective | Slint

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I was working in a used bookstore in Pasadena, California at the time… It was a cold, gloomy day for Los Angeles. The regulars had shuffled out, and the infrequent rainfall was enough to keep the passers-by minding their business and staying on route and schedule. I had a couple hours before my shift ended and was done with the Gang of Four record I had already flipped a few times. It was time for something new. I dug through the precarious stacks of CDs my boss an coworkers left behind amidst the rubble of magazines and receipts until I stumbled upon one that appeared more tranquil than the rest: four men treading water, most of which we’re smiling. This… Read More →

Retrospective | 65daysofstatic – ‘The Fall Of Math’

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How shall we leave this dead-dog town? With the volume up and the windows down. It’s coming up to ten years since it happened. Do you remember? In the last golden hours of 2004 an album came which both mirrored its setting and echoed the imploding social structures of dystopian novels. Drum skitters, distortions and repeating beats demanded your attention. Haunting voices and emotive signifiers glitched around headphones and speakers. A wordless manifesto from an absurdist hive-mind. Drowned out of the 2Fly studios in Sheffield, 65daysofstatic released The Fall Of Math.  There was a huge mystique gathered around them. Through their controlled online presence and simply worded aphorisms scrawled on demos, they kept themselves hidden. Shrouded by bootlegs and remixes… Read More →

Retrospective | mewithoutYou – ‘Catch For Us The Foxes’

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January, 1979 saw more than a terrible crash… Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge ended their genocidal regime in Cambodia, the final Shah of Iran fled to Egypt to live out the remainder of his life in exile, and the US and China began their increasingly complicated international relationship. But fans of Philadelphia art rock band mewithoutYou recognize the month for something much different—the birth of vocalist Aaron Weiss. Weiss is an interesting character. A Ph.D candidate and adjunct professor of urban education at Temple University in Philadelphia, Weiss is as much a scholar as he is a musician. His lyrics frequently lift from theological and philosophical texts, postmodern literature, and Middle Eastern poetry, all uniquely delivered through a gruff… Read More →

Retrospective | Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – ‘The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager’

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Has it really been seven, maybe even eight years? Holy shit. Things were different eight years ago. Not even everyone was on MySpace back then. Now you can talk to teenagers and they don’t even have a goddamn clue what MySpace was. They’ll say “what the fuck is MySpace, you knobhead,” because kids today have no manners. And, shit, it was long ago enough that you’ve got people out of their teens who don’t remember when Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. was actually, like, a well-regarded and exciting musical project. Slam Dunkworth programmed some beats on to his laptop and skipped around with an acoustic guitar, singing songs about being sad, and racism, and about being a deadbeat hipster. The… Read More →

Retrospective | Meet Me In St. Louis – ‘Variations On Swing’

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“You’ll probably need a lie down after the first listen.” That’s what I was told. This was from a friend I trusted very much for his musical recommendations. “It’s tough, and listening to the whole thing in one sitting will drain you more than anything”, he said. Nerves outlined excitement, then, when I jumped in. “It came out of nowhere” escapes Toby Hayes’ mouth in opener ‘The Torso Was Severed In Mid-Throax’. Yeah, that’s about right. The ups and downs that the first track alone possessed was more visceral than any other note of music I’d heard in my life. Six or seven of the best hardcore tracks you’ve ever heard, given one title and crushed in the space of… Read More →

Retrospective | Bloc Party – ‘A Weekend In The City’

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The middle of the first decade of the twenty first century was a fucking wasteland for guitar music in the UK. Seriously, think about it. Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Chiefs and Arctic Monkeys and all of their copycats making limp, jerky guitar-based pop music that was supposedly post-punk but was really only post-Strokes, and suddenly meant we all had to clarify what kind of “indie” we were talking about in a way that’s made it a lot harder to discuss Pavement or Built To Spill in public places. Bloc Party’s debut, Silent Alarm, came out in the middle of all that, and despite being a lot more tolerable than their contemporaries, was still more or less of a kind. Yeah,… Read More →

Retrospective | Shellac – 1000 Hurts

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I can’t pretend I grew up with Shellac or even that when I heard them first that I really ‘got it’, though I initially felt the same about Faraquet and Slint and later admitted to being an idiot. I knew Shellac were important but I knew it like I know forks shouldn’t go in plug sockets. Steve Albini’s name rings almost as much with music fans as tinnitus with electric shock patients… Shellac’s power comes from their tongue in cheek ability to write fidgety post-punk tracks complete with far out ethereal vocals. Most bands might get caught up in this wankery but not Shellac, oh no, in this case the lyrics highlight that Shellac are one of the few bands… Read More →

Retrospective | Los Campesinos! – ‘Romance Is Boring’

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‘Indie pop’ is one of those umbrella genres – it’s not like grindcore, or folk punk, or black metal, where every band essentially sounds the same. No, indie pop is divided in to two polar extremes, and everything else is placed at a point between the two… At one end, you’ve got… let’s say The Drums. They are the ‘fear’ of the indie pop lifeline. They’re fun, meaningless, mindless, and catchy. There’s not a whole lot of depth to their songs, but at least they dressed stylishly. They only stuck around for a couple of months anyway and, while they were here, they were easy to get in to, have a dance to, and forget about. At the other end,… Read More →

Retrospective | Piglet – ‘Lava Land’

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Piglet are no doubt one of the most fundamentally important and influential math-rock bands to ever exist—despite only releasing one EP. That recording, Lava Land, has become one of the must-listen-to tracks of the genre. This look back at Piglet’s masterpiece was inspired by the recent and unexpected release of a video of the band playing ‘Anthropology Anthology’ at ‘Mickey’s Birthday Party,’ which was also the setting of the well-known ‘Bug Stomp’ video—a home movie shot in a high schooler’s basement that has amassed over 80,000 views on YouTube. It’s hard to even begin talking about Piglet because there is just so much to cover. In a nutshell, they created one of the most virtuosic and creative pieces of music… Read More →

Retrospective | Girlfriends – Self/titled

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The emo revival has been stagnating for a while. It always happens with buzz genres… Things got boring and reactionary way too quickly, and kids ended up ripping off bands that were ripping off other bands that broke up only a couple years after they were even born. And it’s dull, and there’s little in the way of actual legitimate creativity going on. The only hope is for bands to progress a little and move on in a way that doesn’t involve grunge influences. But, see, the thing is, someone already tried that. Four years ago. And no one really noticed. Jerry Joiner’s one man project, Girlfriends, busted the emo revival wide open back in 2009 and demonstrated all of… Read More →