Sunday, October 09, 2005

Music Snob's Shopping List, Week of 10-09-05



A HAWK AND A HACKSAW: A Hawk and a Hacksaw CD (BAY 035CD) 16.00
"A Hawk And A Hacksaw was conceived and performed by genre-defying one-man orchestra Jeremy Barnes of Bablicon and Neutral Milk Hotel. The album features intricate piano-based compositions layered with accordion, percussion, horns, bells, a chicken, geese, gongs, cats, a duck, spoons, and pieces of tin. It was recorded over the course of 15 months in the Loire Valley (Saumur, France) with a variety of guest performers. Recalling Kurt Weill's orchestrations, Carl Stalling's visionary cartoon soundtracks and Tom Waits' more whimsical works, Barnes creates a playfully gothic atmosphere with his multi-layered, frantic compositions. Mixing field recordings with accordion, piano and bursts of drunken choruses, he generates a singular and unnerving orchestral whole. A song's direction can hinge on a dog's bark or a phone ringing, while cacophony and sweet, hymn-like harmonies cohabit in entertainingly unexpected passages. Influenced by everything from Eastern European folk music to Pierre Schaeffer to Spike Jones & His City Slickers, there's a healthy disregard for boundaries at play. A Hawk And A Hacksaw is a soundtrack for PT Barnum deceits and backwoods carnivals, top hats and curly moustaches, but maybe gone a little more screwy. What's more, everything is live-to-tape."

LR 102LP

VA: No New York LP (LR 102LP) 17.00
LP version.


MAGIK MARKERS: NxCxHxC Vol.1 LP (NCHC 001LP) 14.00
"Early Markers compiled here in sort of a 'best-of' retrospective. This band has won more than it has lost playing with Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth and Sunburned Hand Of The Man. Chaotic, joyful, moving and stunning, the Markers are really one of the best outfits of the 21st Century thus far."


ADULT.: Gimmie Trouble CD (THR 159CD) 13.00
"Forget everything you know about them: Adult. is a punk band. Fed up with the electro-clash label, Adult. have honed their musical edge. In 2004 Adult. added guitar player Sam Consiglio (of Tamion 12") to the group. Sam was originally only added to play guitar on tour for the guitar-heavy D.U.M.E. EP. The new trio wrote a few songs together and it went so well that Sam is now the third official member of the group."


XIU XIU: Life and Live CD (XENG 002CD) 14.50
Hailing from Oakland and Seattle, Xiu Xiu are a sonic experiment in sad, harrowing, politically dark, often confrontational pop songs. Life and Live is an exclusive release only on the Italian label Xeng -- the band historically has been strongly associated with 5 Rue Christine in the U.S. This is their fifth release, and was recorded before La Forêt and after the incredible Fabulous Muscles album (which has been featured on many Best of 2004 lists). In Life and Live you will find a brilliant collection of acoustic songs, recorded with Devendra Banhart. This album guides you through the essence of the melancholic and twisted universe of Xiu Xiu. Painfully autobiographical, morose, histrionic, and deeply influenced by modern classical, improvisation, British pop and post-punk, techno beats, and the gamelan orchestra. Strained and aggressively somber politico/personal indie-rock/folk as influenced by Bauhaus, New Order, and The Smiths.

And from Darla Records - here are some highlights:

Make way for the ANR: two dudes, four synths, one drumkit, 15 hott new classics. AWESOME NEW REPUBLIC, Miami's progressive R&B post-crunk musical force-to-be-reckoned-with, unleash their refurbished monster. The power-duo of John Hancock ANR and B Rob E Robertson have been moving hundreds of copies of their two hand-made albums, 2004's WITNESS NOW THE BIRTH OF AN AWESOME NEW REPUBLIC and 2005's COURAGEOUS!, out of the trunks of their bikes to the glee of Miamians everywhere. Finally, this smooth compact disc compiles the majority of both, remixed and remastered for your listening pleasure. Highlights include: WHEELS NO ENGINES - an everyday love-song-cum-momentous-cycling-for-sex metaphor that Lance Armstrong might have used to woo Ms. Crow; 2K3012 - their biggest indie dancefloor hit and a 305 fan-favorite, so often-requested that the band themselves are like, totally over it; SNEEKY - equal parts Big Gipp shromp and Mr. Bungle melodic assault; KILL SOUTH BEACH DEAD - repping the frustration of often back-asswards MIA to the fullest; THE CLAP - an epic love ballad that will have you rubbing up against the nearest warm human body and/or domestic creature; FEARSOME FATHER - imagine the baby Aphex Twin's "On" and the Talking Heads' "Once In A Lifetime" never had; and oh so much more. You get sensuous subtropical slow jams, gritty, speedy punk tracks, truly progressive indie rock, experimental hip-hop and no-wave dancefloor hits all on one CD! So tight, people think they've been around for ages. So fresh, people are saying "Are they really local?" Hear what South Florida really has to offer, so far. Packaged in a spiffy digipak with insert featuring the original handmade artwork, and a previously unreleased hidden track. This is also the second release on SUTRO, a new label based out of Miami's best (and only) indie music store, Sweat Records.

CASTANETS, THE CASTANETS, THE First Light's Freeze. With First Light's Freeze, Castanets return with a dark mutant-country sound infused with strands of free-jazz and a late-seventies Nashville big-radio strut hijacked by post-post-punk unravelers. The result is a beautiful mix of somber reflection, destination-unknown travelogue, and subversive anti-war boogie. Castanets' unrelenting creative pioneering delightfully befuddles, as they simultaneously honor and dismantle "New Americana". While Cathedral (Castanets' debut) explored the themes of domesticity and the architecture of conflict, First Light's Freeze confronts the mythology of war and friendship. Morphed from a strictly literal and chronological song-cycle to a more broadly sketched reading, the wraith of narrative structure still lurks in the shadows, creating an eerie tale with shifting perspectives and evading resolution. The story ends up resembling an ancient documentary on relationships (others loved, feared, distrusted yet needed), the close proximity of things painful and pleasurable, and the complications of this as a paradigm for the world.

COMPANY COMPANY Parallel Time. The Brooklyn-based band Company evolved out of a miasma of folk, punk, and psychedelic elements in 2001, when its denizens haunted the legendary East Village bar Nine-C in an ongoing residency. Here Company made sounds removed from the contemporary musical main street that defied past categorization. "Folk rock is the label closest to Company's sound, but their rock references are more Clash, Joy Division, and Meat Puppets than '60s California," Pat Sullivan wrote in Index magazine, attempting to sum it up. He added, "Company derive their musical muscle from the folk side of the formula. The best folk singers have the power to rivet a room's attention on the cadences of a vocal inflection or the change of a single chord, and each member of Company has this power in spades."With a seemingly conventional four-piece guitar rock lineup, Company can be found wandering and improvising through traditional and innovative musical styles, but they are always grounded and unified by the songwriter's original vision. Company's members-Adam Davison, David Janik, Christopher Teret and Stephanie Rabins-used these open-ended Nine-C shows like a workshop to develop rough sketches into masterful songs, playing to the audience's mood as well as to their requests. Following the tragic closing of Nine-C in 2003, Company found another small stage to take on a weekly basis at Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg. These pint-sized settings inform their sound, which is as intimate and homey as it is profound and even ominous at times. The results are songs that fill the room like intoxicated party conversation-loud and soft, wildly silly then suddenly private and sincere. In Time Out New York, Sara Marcus lauded, "the band's phenomenal weekly concerts in that cozy back room showed a group of musicians who are deeply at ease with their sound�impressive performances from a generous, chilled-out band." Staying true to the spirit of the band's name, Company's live shows are all about a community of friends and fans having a good old time together.

DELANEY DELANEY Delaney. Delaney is 33 year old Parisienne Christelle Delaney. She sings with a beautifully detached voice, accompanied by her acoustic guitar or a backing rock band. She sings mainly in French but several of her songs are in English. Pehr is releasing her first and only album in the US, and she is currently recording a new album. "Singing in a deep, distant voice reminiscent of Nico ... easily some of the best progressive French pop we've heard in years" [highest rating] � Lmnop �Similar in tone to Stereolab's Laeticia Sadier � with the intimate quality of someone singing a lullaby � her words glide over the music and through the speakers, seeping into surrounding walls like clouds of smoke � somber yet enticing� � The People�s Dance Party �subtle, dreamy and folk-inflected � seductive � a muted PJ Harvey� - Leonard's Lair �Delaney sings sultry french pop songs but there is a underlying element of sadness underneath� nico-ish� � Pale Bear "Delaney has a curious capacity for seduction." -Netmusik "Elegance... the memory of cat power... amazing first album" - Green Ufos "There is a sadness right through this disc but also the will to move and advance... it's something rare... touching and sufficiently mysterious to be attaching, a crossing between Edith Frost and PJ Harvey" � Matamore �Like PJ Harvey on barbituates� timid yet sinister� this opaque opus recalls a bottle in the sea� � Octopus �An excellent record requiring an acute sense of hearing� � Blah Blah

v/a v/a SONGS TO BREAK GOD'S HEART Just $5.99 - Exclusive tracks from THE ZEPHYRS, DARREN HAYMAN, BURD EARLY, AROAH, TARA JANE O'NEIL & MIGGY, THE SECRET SOCIETY, TEX LA HOMA, THE STRUGGLERS, JR, THE FRENCH, MATT ELLIOT VS. MANY FINGERS, XIU XIU, THIS SONG IS A MESS BUT SO AM I, DREKKA, REFREE, P:ANO, EARLY DAY MINERS, 12TWELVE, MECCA NORMAL. Acuarela has never been too keen on releasing compilations. In the label's 12 year history we have only released "Brumario" and the three volumes of "Acuarela Songs". Putting together loose songs from a vast catalogue 'just because' has always seemed capricious, artificial and a mere display of flair where one simply mixes different artists as you would find on a cassette tape with a sticker reading "Summer of 94". The reason behind "Songs to Break God's Heart" �the title's inspired by Hefner's wonderful 1996 debut� is to bring together on one CD a sample of the label's artists, plus recent additions and a series of likeminded artists. The intention is to offer a stimulating collection of songs, most of them previously unreleased and recorded for the occasion. These 19 songs are a sample of music we have a passion for, an anthology with room for many sounds, styles, textures, musical references. And with it we are trying to prove that we can release records which symbolize a different way of seeing things, beyond markets, preconceptions and labeling. Records that transmit the enthusiasm of those that have participated in the process. Records that �we hope� will endure the passing and the weight of time


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