Browsing All Posts published on »July, 2012«

Slabdragger/ Meadows – split LP (stoner metal)

July 27, 2012

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The last split release I reviewed also involved Meadows. The rationale behind split releases is obviously to seek a synergy: the artists involved generally have a close stylistic affinity, or their audiences overlap, to their mutual benefit; sometimes I suspect the reason has more to do with the relationship between the artists than any overt promotional or creative goal. Sometimes the contrast involved is more striking than anything else, as in the combination of Chad Vangaalen’s lo-fi pop songs and Xiu Xiu’s medium-interrogating sound art that I reviewed some months ago. In their last split release Meadows moved a considerable distance to close the gap between their creative practice and that of their collaborators, Chestburster, and this time they sound a lot more like Slabdragger, but also, it must be said, a lot more like they normally do.

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

July 18, 2012

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Schoolday nostalgia seems to be a current in many branches of music nowadays. It’s by no means a new thing, but it’s definitely growing. It’s curious how it lends historicity and distance to times that probably don’t seem at all distant to a greybeard like me; my theory is that it represents a re-appropriation, a staking out of territory in which an artist can feel rooted. It’s definitely not the dominant theme on NAM KYO, but it’s an important presence, and not just in ‘Were Still The Same’, where it is explicitly referenced. We live in an era where history is fragmented and recycled, and individuals are as disenfranchised from historical agency as from political agency. Asserting the significance of personal biography is one way to reclaim that agency …

Bright Color Vision – Carousel (metal)

July 9, 2012

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The language of metal is so fragmented and diversified now that it’s hard to distinguish one sub-genre from another, and many bands build their sound as though they were filling their plates at a wedding buffet, after quite a few drinks. This is a positive tendency in my view, as long as an understanding of the music doesn’t depend on an encyclopedic knowledge of the various styles that are referenced. One of the last major fractures within the metal community is between the long standing tradition of instrumental virtuosity as a token of musical potency and worth, and the noise and texture focus of bands with a more punk sensibility; the grunge era saw an increase in punk/ metal crosstalk, although it was already a significant factor …

Marley Starskey Butler – Opposites (avant-pop)

July 5, 2012

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Like all Entr’acte releases, Opposites arrives in a hermetically perfect, vacuum sealed package, simple metallic grey plastic with one colour printing in the exact same typeface and layout as the rest of their catalogue. There is something disturbing about its severity and its integrity; I have never been so reluctant to open an album sent to me for review, and had I been able to download the tracks I probably wouldn’t have. In the end I took a scalpel to it, and attempted to open it as subtly as possible, from the back, but ended up scoring a very visible line across the front as well. This moment of rupture inevitably contributes to the readings of the work, but it seems mostly representative of the irruption of the distributor’s agenda into the music …