Friday, June 29, 2007

A Mix: June Gloom III

00:00-03:06 . 03:06 01 Lee Hazlewood "My Baby Cried All Night Long" (1966, from The Very Special World Of Lee Hazlewood) [los angeles california usa, born in mannford oklahoma usa]

03:06-06:05 . 02:59 02 Paul Robeson "Joe Hill" (1959, from Favorite Songs, also on v/a Classic Labor Songs compilation) [new york new york usa, born in princeton new jersey usa]

06:05-06:36 . 00:31 03 Douglas Quin "Emperor Penguins" (1998, from Antarctica field recordings) [petaluma california usa]

06:36-09:06 . 02:30 04 Refrigerator "California" (1997, from Refrigerator) [upland california usa]

09:06-16:32 . 07:26 05 Kinski "The Snowy Parts Of Scandinavia" (2005, from Alpine Static) [seattle washington usa]

16:32-21:08 . 04:36 06 Graveslime "Chariots Of Fire" - originally by Vangelis (2003, from Roughness And Toughness) [reykjavík iceland]

21:08-28:18 . 07:10 07 Hochenkeit "To Be Born Drunk And Die Dreaming" (2000, from Omu4h 4aholab/400 Boys) [portland oregon usa]

28:18-31:21 . 03:03 08 Jean-Claude Vannier "L'Enfant La Mouche Et Les Allumettes" (1972, from L'Enfant Assassin Des Mouches) [paris france]

31:21-34:49 . 03:28 09 Conlon Nancarrow, co-recorded by Robert Shumaker "Study For Player Piano No. 36" (composition year unknown, rec. 1988, from Studies For Player Piano box set) [mexico city mexico, born in texarkana arkansas usa]

34:49-35:57 . 01:08 10 Phillip Arnautoff "Soliloquy: A Ritual Of Communion With Vibrating Strings (Part 4)" (1999, from Soliloquy: A Ritual Of Communion With Vibrating Strings) [seattle washington usa]

35:57-39:45 . 03:48 11 Sir Richard Bishop "Provenance Unknown" (2004, from Improvika) [seattle washington usa]

39:45-45:01 . 05:16 12 Godley & Creme "I Pity Inanimate Objects" (1979, from Freeze Frame) [london england uk, orig. stockport england uk]

45:01-49:47 . 04:46 13 U.S. Saucer "Cowboy Song" (1994, from Tender Places Come From Nothing) [san francisco california usa]

49:47-53:42 . 03:55 14 The Montgolfier Brothers "All My Bad Thoughts" (2005, from All My Bad Thoughts) [manchester england uk]

53:42-55:34 . 01:52 15 The Durutti Column "Detail For Paul" (1981, from LC) [manchester england uk]

55:34-59:22 . 04:21 16 Shéna Ringö "I Won't Last A Day Without You" - originally by The Carpenters (2002, from Utaite Myouri ~Sono Ichi~) [tokyo japan]

59:22-62:47 . 02:52 17 Arne Nordheim "Return" (2003, from Dodeka) [oslo norway]

62:47-68:20 . 05:22 18 Arvo Pärt, performed by Paavo Järvi / Estonian National Symphony Orchestra "Silouans Song" (1991, rec. 2000, from Summa) [berlin germany, ussr before, born in estonia]

68:20-71:09 . 02:49 19 Lenny Welch "Since I Fell For You" (1963, from Since I Fell For You, later, A Taste Of Honey: The Complete Cadence Recordings 1959-1964 compilation) [new york new york usa, born in asbury park new jersey usa]

71:09-74:20 . 03:11 20 Tony Bennett "This Is All I Ask" (1963, from This Is All I Ask, later, several compilations) [new york new york usa]

74:20-79:37 . 05:17 21 Supreme Dicks "Descension Song" (1994, from Working Man's Dick) [amherst massachusetts usa]



I'll be reposting the first and second June Gloom mixes from 2005 and 2006, respectively, in the very near future... although this is the first mix that doesn't feature any music from this year on it, so these aren't meant to be modern tastemakers or anything. In fact, what the hell are these things supposed to be anyway?

June Gloom is a term describing the unseasonal grey skies that greet the west coast of North America -- particularly California -- although this could apply to any western coast in the world. June Gloom automatically applies to any place well south of the equator currently enduring winter. The North is lucky in that many Western countries enjoy the Holiday season during their darkest days. Those in the south part of the world don't get that distraction when in the dark.

As for the mixes -- well, I figure any time of the year is apt for gloom. This happened to me in June of 2005 for a variety of reasons. Not everything in the mixes are gloomy. Some of tracks are for relaxation. Others completely agitate. I love The Smiths, and I don't mind Morrissey, but I guess I'm trying to shatter the idea that their music is the role model for gloom. Also time has really warped the idea that either of the two are really all that gloomy anyway.

Gloom has been used as a weapon by major media -- albeit in very specific ways. Gloom is often presented as Something You Were Meant To Experience From A Higher Being, defining that loosely. Sure, there are far more gloomy stories reported by the media, however they are often presented as freak stories.

I could go on, but the mixes are generally a reaction to and a reflection of the above.

There. Hope the idle babble here distracted you enough to finish your download! ;-(

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Deepest Male Vocalist Ever Is.... !

Barry White?

Leonard Cohen?

Lee Hazlewood?

Paul Robeson?

Chris Barnes? (Cannibal Corpse)

Andrew Eldritch? (Sisters Of Mercy)

John Entwhistle? (The Who)

Calvin Johnson? (Beat Happening)

Maybe someone else???


Who is the deepest of them all?

Most importantly... why?

Although I never expect music fans to have taken courses in audio concepts or vocal techniques, questions like these are a great way for anyone to try to wax technical about timbre without knowing where to start -- which makes the answer all the more awesome.

Go ahead. You try it. Who's the deepest mofo of the bunch?

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rolling 10: Von Südenfed - Tromatic Reflexxions

First, let's go back.

I wouldn't have discovered Mark E. Smith nor The Fall when I did if it weren't for Coldcut.

Coldcut - What's That Noise? - (1989)

While I had certainly read a lot about this band called The Fall in many of my favorite 'alternative' rags while in late high school (i.e. Alternative Press, B-Side, Spin, et al), I would, without hesitance, purchase anything related to the top names of dance and acid house from the UK -- namely Bomb The Bass, S'Express, and Coldcut. These three groups formed the holy triangle of "DANCE" for me at the time. Sure, I was seeking dance music from many other avenues, be it hip hop, more mainstream styles, or "Wax Trax!" music aka industrial dance music. However, what was going on in the UK during the "Summer Of Love '89" -- a movement mainly revolving around drugs, samples, and a large racket using this 303 thing -- was something new and exciting to me.

Coldcut's debut album What's That Noise? first sold me on Mark E. Smith:

Mark E. Smith stood out, to put it mildly, on a highly varying dance record that also featured guests vocalists Lisa Stansfield, Junior Reed, Yazz on the UK Big Life edition of the album, and Queen Latifah on the U.S. Tommy Boy release. Thankfully his contribution fronted the most raw and dirty 303'ed slammer on the disc, "(I'm) In Deep." I was initially struck by the quasi beat poetry recited by Smith that began the track, noting the delayed echoed layers behind him. I was subsequently floored when the beat and bass came in with Mark E. snarling through distortion emitting these extended alien vowels that were not part of the standard Roman 5. I knew I was hearing a vocalist not quite like any other I heard. I initially tried to justify it as something related to industrial dance music. But no, that was wrong. Industrial vocals are too dependent on manic, aggressive theatre. This was not the sound of a man trying to showboat or care for an audience. There was something genuine about this strange, strange voice beckoning throughout the acid jam. It wasn't benelovent at all. To be honest, I had no idea how to parse him. From one angle, he sounded like an alien beat poet. From another angle, he sounded like -- well -- a bitter drag queen. I had seen pictures of Mark E. Smith to know he didn't look nor dress like a woman, but he certainly wasn't far removed from the more caustic side of Neo-Burlesque, aurally. The song builded and builded until the very end, as the volume increased while the tonal of the 303 heavily modulated out of tune, spinning into this dizzying vortex -- STOP!

"(I'm) In Deep" changed the way I thought about dance music. I just hadn't realized it yet, nor would I for a long while. (Listening to this now, this track is frighteningly foreshadowing of much of LCD Soundsystem, isn't it? I say this being a big fan of James Murphy's work.)

Soon after, I would immediately purchase an album by The Fall just because of this song. I chose This Nation's Saving Grace from 1985, due to a random magazine recommendation I had seen around the time. It was the perfect choice. I was now completely sold on The Fall.

This Nation's Saving Grace went all over the place, but one thing that each song had was danceability -- not at all in the same way as Coldcut or S'Express, though. There's something hip shaking in every track, from "Bombast" to "L.A." to "Gut Of The Quantifier." It's a bit surprising The Fall's groove factor is just barely talked about. Granted, when Mark E. Smith is your frontman, all else will be second fiddle in discussion. But one would wonder, at some point, about analyzing the appeal of The Fall besides Mark E. Smith and some occasional inventive guitar work and songwriting. Since "Repetition", The Fall has been a dance band -- a highly unorthodox one, granted, but one of the longest running ones. But how else does any of the twenty thousand Fall compilations or albums available retain its drive and quality?


D.O.S.E. - "Plug Myself In" featuring Mark E. Smith - (1996)

By now, I was completely schooled on The Fall, and about almost everything else underground rock related, now that I had become involved in college radio. I had everything from Live At The Witch Trials to Cerebral Caustic inclusive. Admittedly, I would pick up anything involving Mark E. Smith just because it was my duty as a *cough* hip college radio DJ to do so. I found a pair of CD-singles in a clearance section for a D.O.S.E./Mark E. Smith collaboration, "Plug Myself In", at a nearby Tower Records soon after they were released. (The single was released as 12 remixes split between two separate CD-singles on Coliseum Recordings.) I never listened to either until several years later because I was overloaded with music at the time.

One day, in 1999, I went through my 'Neglected' pile, had a listen to "Plug Myself In", and was floored. I listened to all these remixes non-stop for a week. Here are two of these mixes -- the main single mix, and a faster tempo techno breakbeat remix.

D.O.S.E., aka Dodo Bassburger, is mainly known for this single. (Curiously enough, the "Dodo Bassburger Escariot Mix" is credited to one S Spencer.) One more single, sans cameo, was released two years later, as were some remixes, and that's it. As far as I know, Dodo Bassburger has nothing to do with Dodo Nkishi, the soon-to-be third member, vocalist, and drummer of, then, pioneering German electronic group called Mouse On Mars -- who are Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma at base.

Musically, "Plug Myself In" doesn't break ground as "(I'm) In Deep" does, in retrospect. The main single is pretty much a peer of mid-tempo swarthy techno-funk a la Prodigy's "Poison", Future Sound Of London, LFO circa Advance, or much of Meat Beat Manifesto's 90's output.

Mark E. Smith sounds far more relaxed, bored, or torn here -- Pinteresque, perhaps. The juxtaposition greatly enhances the song. During the beatless bridge, when the chilling biohazard alarm loop beckons, Mark E. Smith belts out "A loud lilac proposed coloured droplets - and sweet molasses." Wha-huh? Without much of a pause, Mark E. then yells out call-and-response via words I never knew existed. Then come the layered rolling breakbeats, and the bass tone changes -- reversing the rotation of the song, giving the song yet a new thrill while Mark E. continues to ponder why he can't seem to plug himself in.

At this point in rock history, a Mark E. Smith cameo must have as much prestige and unpredictability as a Lee "Scratch" Perry cameo. If one is lucky enough to get either Perry or Smith in the studio, one has to be very lucky, let the singer do his thing, be satisfied with what he or she is able to record, then find a way to cut up the results to fit the final product, then make sure the singer approves it. Or at least, this is how my naive obsequious perspective projects a session with Lee Perry or Mark E. Smith.


Despite a brief low point for Mark E. in 1998, involving a derailed tour in New York alongside acrimony with then keyboardist Julia Nagle, he and The Fall continued to persevere, and have very recently enjoyed a renewed success that may match that of their mid 80s period.

In 2005, Mark E. Smith cameo'd on a Mouse On Mars 12" single, "Wipe That Sound", the original version which appears on the album Radical Connector, released in 2004. The collaboration was a complete disappointment -- in comparison to Mark E.'s previous electronic dance cameos, compared to anything Mouse On Mars did, and compared to even the least interesting moments from The Fall. Mark E. sounded happy for once, but he sounded really drunk. This version of "Wipe That Sound" just dragged -- painfully. Unlike the Dodo sung version on the album, this one lacked any funk, drive, or anything memorable. I listened to it once, and never wanted to hear it again.


Von Südenfed - Tromatic Reflexxions - (2007)

Upon hearing of a full album collaboration between Mouse On Mars and Mark E. Smith - titled "Von Südenfed", I was horrified. The "Wipe That Sound" experiment was a failure in my humble opinion. Also, while the album wasn't bad, Mouse On Mars's 2006 effort Varcharz didn't offer anything the previous albums didn't already.

Then I saw this video:

[Von Südenfed "Fledermaus Can't Get It" video - Mouse On Mars/Mark E. Smith collaboration]

Jaw, floor, drop, drool.

My brain was split between deciding how such a 180-degree flip in quality for a Mouse On Mars/Mark E. Smith song could have been possible, and wondering if the drag queens in the video were actually the three musicians or not! I still regularly watch this video.

"Fledermaus Can't Get It" fulfills everything for me today what "(I'm) In Deep" did for me in 1989. Mark E. Smith never sounded like he was having more fun in his life! least since 1990's Extricate, or maybe since "(I'm) In Deep." Thanks to this video, and the back cover of the album, Mark E. Smith's presence now fulfills that Neo-Burlesque quality I initially heard, but doubles down! (That is him as the blond and brunette in the video with denture implants, right? Maybe it's best if I don't know.) Most importantly, The Mouse On Mars guys deliver their most slamming dance song since the singles of their peak album from 2000, Niun Niggung. This is the first song featuring a very prominent Mark E. on vocals that can be played at dance clubs globally since the 90s. This is striking, given that I doubt anyone could decipher any of the words other than "can't", "get", or "it."

Tromatic Reflexxions is also the first full length offering featuring Mark E. Smith in an electronic dance context. There's much greatness to be found on this album, each track being quite distinct from another. Here are a few more of them:

  • Von Südenfed - "Flooded" [4:46 / mp3 / 192kbps] - 2007

  • "Flooded" is my guess for Von Südenfed's second single, after "Fledermaus Can't Get It." It would more of a novelty single with a more broken techno beat. However, Mark E. is hilarious here, asserting his DJ bravado throughout the song, even giving Sven Väth a direct throwdown. "I flooded the club." Don't be surprised if you hear this meme started or resurrected by the least modest of international disc jockeys.

  • Von Südenfed - "The Rhinohead" [4:16 / mp3 / 192kbps] - 2007

  • Maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps this will be the second single. It would be for completely different reasons than "Flooded." This is less dancey in a club context, and more of a sweet rockin' head-bobber, featuring live drums. While nothing on this album resembles a Fall song, this song comes the closest to sounding like a catchier one.

  • Von Südenfed - "Serious Brainskin" [3:51 / mp3 / 192kbps] - 2007

  • Probably the most gutteral song on the album. If you wanted to make a grime milkshake with a Mark E. Smith chaser, here you go. Even here, there's a catchy three-note chorus -- granted played via an extremely gritty bass synth. The pop factor of this album is very subtle but sheds more and more upon each listen.

  • Von Südenfed - "The Young The Faceless And The Codes" [4:32 / mp3 / 192kbps] - 2007

  • This is the most interesting track on the album, and my favorite. It's a mid-tempo 4/4 acid funk Tilt-A-Whirl featuring a heavily chopped, re-processed, and cloned Mark E. -- until halfway through the song, when the lone loose bass synth signals another one-two punch of a catchy chorus, featuring Smith at his most self-harmonizing... which isn't saying too much, but it's unprecedented for the man -- really. Don't forget the moral of the song, which Smith utters in a lower voice under the heavy influence of echo.

    "The Young The Faceless And The Codes" is a highlight for both Mouse On Mars and Mark E. Smith.

And this is just half of the album, kids! There's even more variety thereafter. The presence of acoustic guitar creeps in as the album draws to a close. And to even right the wrong from two years prior, they re-record that version of "Wipe That Sound" -- retitled "That Sound Wiped" -- in a superior fashion. Mark E. Smith is alive and well this time on the track, and they give more space to him, lowering the accompaniment most of the time.


When I mentioned that it took me while to 'get' "(I'm) In Deep" by Coldcut, I really meant a looong while. In fact, it was just until the release of this Von Südenfed album that made me realize how "(I'm) In Deep" changed me, and hence why I make the decisions I've made since in purchasing electronic dance music: the inexplicability, the surprise, WTF, etc. The difference between just any dance track and that classic dance track to me is my lack of ability to understand why the producers of the latter did what they/he/she did. The best tracks are the ones that are fueled rhythmic non-sequitirs.

I'll grant this isn't an original idea at all. Surprise has long been a known pop or dance music secret. It's effective on a micro or macro level. "Macarena" is the best example of a cultural non-sequitir dance hit on a macro level. On a micro level, the involvement of Mark E. Smith in dance music is a great example as far as providing that juxtaposition with its immediate peers at the time, and its often reliable success in standing out in the context of a mix -- or a history.


There's no mistaking how much I'm feeling this record. You could probably guess where I'd place this, at least for now.

Top 10 of 2007 so far...

1. Von Südenfed - Tromatic Reflexxions
2. LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver
3. Monstrance - Monstrance

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Rolling 10: LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver

Reviewing the latest LCD Soundsystem album today, as in mid June, may feel as relevant as reviewing the "latest" My Bloody Valentine record. It has been an epoch of three months since the official release of LCD Soundsystem's sophomore album, Sound Of Silver, and the album's leak occurred shortly after Big Bang. However, all these cataclysmic events, the leak notwithstanding, occurred within the year we call 2007, a period of time which you and I are going to continue to endure for the rest of the year. So, I'm choosing to be stubborn. I'm sticking to this "2007" for notable Top 10 release candidates -- official releases even -- without addressing the evolution of life that has developed since. I'm old and proud. Respect or get off my lawn, you crazy kids.

LCD Soundsystem, aka James Murphy and friends, is the product of a DJ and/or music enthusiast creating amplified disco that incorporates a cornucopia of elements from all those other rock and/or dance bands he's into -- ranging from The Sonics to Soft Cell, or any number of the bands he name-dropped in his debut novelty hit "Losing My Edge." Murphy is the lead singer as well, sounding similar to Mark E. Smith -- unsurprisingly, given Murphy's admission to being heavily influenced by The Fall.

After releasing a slew of singles since 2002, LCD Soundsystem's debut self-titled album from 2005 (which includes a bonus disc culling most of the earlier single tracks) expands on the original concept. Not every song on LCD Soundsystem is, at base, a disco/rock fusion. Some songs on the album increase the tempo and funk, such as "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House", the most successful single to date. Other songs such as "Great Release" are direct homages to complementary styles and artists -- in this case, Brian Eno's initial "pop" years.

Sound Of Silver barely changes the process that created LCD Soundsystem. The ratio of exceptions to the norm are the same. Murphy is certainly drawing inspiration from different bands than on the debut album. However, talking strictly about the instrumentation, Sound Of Silver is not a departure...

..that is, if one ignores the lyrics.

If LCD Soundsystem's mission was "Let's Move!", Sound Of Silver's mission is "Let's Move... on."

What do I mean by "Let's move on"? Everything, upon comparing and contrasting the lyrics to both albums.

LCD Soundsystem primarily focuses on the here, the now, and the youth -- and how incredibly anxious that combination is, or was:

  • "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House" is pure fan-boy role play, fantasizing about exactly what the song title suggests.
  • "Tribulations" celebrates energy overcoming setbacks: "Everybody makes mistakes/but i feel alright when i come undone/you are not making me wait/but it seems alright as long as something's happening"
  • "Movement" boasts being set but missing some u-know-what: "Because where is love?/I got one thing I want/I got one thing I need/'Cause I got everything else/You got to t-t-t-t-touch me [x4]"
  • "Never As Tired As When I'm Waking Up" expresses, in many ways, feeling much younger than one actually is: "Wasted and complacent/and you about the same/but still i want to get it/on with you tonight/when i was a little boy/i laid down in the grass/i'm sure you'd feel the same/if i could fuck you here tonight"
  • "Disco Infiltrator" insists shaking your stuff but not forgetting to give you that important after-school special refrain: "Bare in mind, we all fall behind, from time to time"

There are a couple of moments of ambivalence, in regards to the main theme relating to youthfulness.

  • "Too Much Love" is pondering a less enjoyable future, subtlely answering or clouding the question with the song title's phrase: "What will you say when the day comes/When it's no fun/When it's all done/When it's no fun/What will you say when the time comes/There's a dry run when it's undone/And there's no one"
  • "Great Release", the album's ender, fulfills that end-of-pop-album cliché hinting the end of something is near, what that "something" is remains unclear, but that it will be replaced by a new thing: "And it feels like it's coming home/And it feels like it's full of love/Still in time is the great release/Something dying will be a great release"

That final lyric is correct, literally. Sound Of Silver is a great release indeed! *Arf Arf Drum Fill* However, it's worth noting that the "Something dying" portion is relevant to Sound Of Silver, literally, as well. Resolution, reflection, escape, and death are this album's themes:

  • "Get Innocuous!" starts with a beat akin to "Losing My Edge" yet exhibits crushed naivety and a Kraftwerk-like emotionless despair: "home - home in the late-night/and away - away in the half-life/except saturday - crushed by the boring/until played and plagued by the tourists again". Chorus: "you can normalize/don't it make you feel alive"
  • "Time To Get Away" explains itself: "and so it's time to get away/it's time to get away - from you/I'm dying to get away - I'm dying to get away"
  • "North American Scum", the closest this album gets to a novelty hit, is a relatively complex song about American self-disillusionment: "so throw a party till the cops come in and bust it up/let's go north americans/oh - you were planning it - i didn't mean to interrupt/(sorry)/i did it once and my parents got pretty upset/freaked out in north american/but then I said the more i do it the better it gets/that's my north america"
  • "Someone Great", the album's highlight and consensus-crowned hit single, is an elaborate memoir for a close one now gone: "I wake up and the phone is ringing/surprised as it's early/and that should be a perfect warning/that's something's a problem/to tell the truth i saw it coming/the way you were breathing/but nothing can prepare you for it/the voice on the other end[...]" (The backing track borrows from the mid-electronic portion of the long-form piece, 45:33, released in 2006 as part of an advertisement for Nike.)
  • "All My Friends" is a song longing for access to one's friends in the context of what seems like nightmarish tour anxiety: "to tell the truth - this could be the last time/so here we go - like a sales force into the night/and if i'm made a fool - if I'm made a fool/if I'm made a fool on the road - there's always this/and if i'm sued into submission/i can still come home to this"
  • "Us vs. Them" expresses day-to-day stress in the context of, perhaps, running a dance-oriented record label?: "the time has come today/and all the good people want rescue/all the clever people wanna tell you/that all the little people wanna dance (it's true!)/the time has come today"
  • "New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down", the album ender, is quite self explanatory, despite showcasing a dizzying pendulum of emotions regarding one's feeling for New York: "new york, I love you but you're bringing me down/like a death of the heart/jesus, where do I start?/but you're still the one pool where I'd happily drown."

So, my first thought is: "James! What's happened, man? You're sounding more gloomy than Robert Smith in the early 80s! OK, maybe not that bad, but still.. wow, come have a drink or call me, k?"

Gloominess or disillusionment off the heels of "party time", in the context of album progression, is extremely common, and spans all music genres over pop music history. What makes Sound Of Silver a noteworthy example is that the musical template sounds like a continuation and progression from its more lyrically upbeat predecessor. However, given the lyrics, it's a cohesive swan song concept record, whereas LCD Soundsystem sounds more like a collection of energetic singles and B-sides. Ironically, the debut's bonus disc of early singles sounds more like a cohesive album than the debut album itself.

I hate to be that guy that says that miserable albums are inherently better than happy albums, but that stereotype rings true for Sound Of Silver. LCD Soundsystem is a great debut, but certainly is the sound of a band getting its feet wet trying to master the art of making The Album. Sound Of Silver is The Album finally coming together and soaring because of it, at the expense of Murphy's psyche, apparently.

You want more details? Well, I would provide mp3 samples, but you probably had those for Holiday Season dinner last December! Oh, and let me show you how I first approached my review for Sound Of Silver. Fans of the LCD often talk more about what bands and songs each track is ripping off rather than cut through the other elements. It's an easy trap, as many of us are music geeks just like James Murphy. We enjoy the music so much that we can't help play music geek games with what we're given. My first scan of the album produced the following notes based on this band/song/genre comparison Yahtzee scorecard:

get innocuous:
losing my edge
kraftwerk "the robots"
david bowie singing

time to get away:
stripped down funk/disco
90s house

north american scum:
early New Order/Joy Div
mark e singing/brix yelling

someone great:
that cool shit from 45:33
the mfa/yello/depeche
brian wilson/van dyke parks/xylophone
kim fahey/dogbowl type singing

all my friends:
steve reich/polyrock/la dusseldorf
early new order
ian mcculloch type singing

Us vs. Them:
"primitive" by killing joke but faster
more disco/moroder/cowbell! "yeah"-like
early heaven 17! dour vers. of heaven 17 style vocal harmonizin

watch the tapes:
"always now" section 25 but synth-bass/double claps everywhere!
Aaawooohoo! sockhop! cheerleading vocals. where's toni basil?

sound of silver:
hello phil oakey. MAJOR YELLO BONER!
that one blissy godley and creme song.

new york i love you but you're bringing down:
piano lounge/rolf the dog
TOTO "Hold The Line" ROCK OUT

Now, how pathetic is that shit? Sure, it's funny. But this was a serious attempt to draft my first review of this album! I know I'll never fully escape the rut of making band comparisons while writing music reviews, but I initially saw LCD Soundsystem as a grand buffet for that practice. Perhaps it was that sickly bloated feeling I felt after re-reading those notes. I'm happy I felt sick in retrospect. Perhaps, this side of me should write cluster diagrams in PowerPoint if I'm going to take such an approach to future records? Pffff, never mind. That's even more pathetic.


And our second entry into The Rolling Ten of '07. Admittedly, I've probably listened to Sound Of Silver moreso than any other album this year so far, yet I have a sense that something else is going to come along and show it who's boss. So, to #2 it goes.

Top 10 of 2007 so far...

2. LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver
3. Monstrance - Monstrance

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