Sans You by Hannah Fantana


                ‘Sans You’ is Hannah Fantana’s growing of age story. While she grows up she gets further away from previous incarnations of herself. This is commonly referred to as aging. The story deals with this ‘aging’ in a non-linear fashion. From the present to further into the past to the present again Telsa lives a life of determining emotions. Every emotion is hyper-analyzed. Poor Telsa wants to live life to the fullest or something. People around Telsa seem to elicit only neutral emotions from young Telsa. Telsa is unable to handle human interaction in a real life manner. Often Telsa worries that others think she is a mean or not particularly responsive. This is reflected in how her parents encourage her to go out with friends. Sometimes her parents fail at this making her sad by asking questions like ‘Are you on drugs’ when she is in a good mood. 

                Much of the book deals with Telsa enjoying herself on the internet.  The internet lacks the intimacy or disappointment of real life. Hence why Hannah enjoys the interactions she has online more than those she has in real life. In real life people annoy her. Various people dislike her (Ari, etc.) for reasons she cannot accurately express or chooses not to divulge. Real life offers little in the way of enjoyment besides twee drugs and twee alcohol. Vodka is twee. However on the internet Telsa comes into her own happy planet of her own devising. Validation on the internet is a huge part of why people go on the internet. Feedback is instant on the internet. Hipster Runoff’s Carles approves of her look calling her cute. What she writes receives ‘likes’ on Facebook. YouTube videos of hers get comments. Why would she look for validation offline? Offline offers few benefits. Online offers many benefits. 

                Life off the internet hurts a little bit for Telsa. She wakes up without water. She fears for her life. During Halloween she drinks with people and blacks out often. People bore her during this time. Her friends hook up in front of her. Decorum is not much of a thing in real life, particularly high school. In high school people generally lack any form of ‘control’. Telsa makes this obvious. Her friends are bored most of the time. They drink. They walk to places for little to no reason eating horrible junk food or health food junk food (almond soy milk). 

                Before her current incarnation she went to Paris France. This trip is described in vivid detail. Apparently it was the first time Telsa imbibed alcohol. Her experience in France consists mostly of drinking, wandering around Paris, and getting hit on by French boys. Ultimately this is similar to her time in California, excluding the whole ‘speaking in French’ thing. Back into California she returns to the present. Then she gets to the ending.

                The ending is beautiful perfect amazing. Everything in the end feels like it is rushing down extremely quickly. Hannah switches the point of view from the third person ‘she’ to the first person ‘I’. Giving it an intimate, heart-felt touch to the story is particularly wonderful. For every little thing is slowed down to a barely moving pace. She learns how to feel. She experiences joy and the closest thing to happiness. Little things become great big things in ‘Sans You’. With these little things she adds up into a big person who appears to be going in the right direction, in a direction not unlike millions before her and millions after her. ‘Sans You’ is a tweenage riot by the cutest girl in alt lit.

Sans You by Hannah Fantana

                ‘Sans You’ is Hannah Fantana’s growing of age story. While she grows up she gets further away from previous incarnations of herself. This is commonly referred to as aging. The story deals with this ‘aging’ in a non-linear fashion. From the present to further into the past to the present again Telsa lives a life of determining emotions. Every emotion is hyper-analyzed. Poor Telsa wants to live life to the fullest or something. People around Telsa seem to elicit only neutral emotions from young Telsa. Telsa is unable to handle human interaction in a real life manner. Often Telsa worries that others think she is a mean or not particularly responsive. This is reflected in how her parents encourage her to go out with friends. Sometimes her parents fail at this making her sad by asking questions like ‘Are you on drugs’ when she is in a good mood. 

                Much of the book deals with Telsa enjoying herself on the internet.  The internet lacks the intimacy or disappointment of real life. Hence why Hannah enjoys the interactions she has online more than those she has in real life. In real life people annoy her. Various people dislike her (Ari, etc.) for reasons she cannot accurately express or chooses not to divulge. Real life offers little in the way of enjoyment besides twee drugs and twee alcohol. Vodka is twee. However on the internet Telsa comes into her own happy planet of her own devising. Validation on the internet is a huge part of why people go on the internet. Feedback is instant on the internet. Hipster Runoff’s Carles approves of her look calling her cute. What she writes receives ‘likes’ on Facebook. YouTube videos of hers get comments. Why would she look for validation offline? Offline offers few benefits. Online offers many benefits. 

                Life off the internet hurts a little bit for Telsa. She wakes up without water. She fears for her life. During Halloween she drinks with people and blacks out often. People bore her during this time. Her friends hook up in front of her. Decorum is not much of a thing in real life, particularly high school. In high school people generally lack any form of ‘control’. Telsa makes this obvious. Her friends are bored most of the time. They drink. They walk to places for little to no reason eating horrible junk food or health food junk food (almond soy milk). 

                Before her current incarnation she went to Paris France. This trip is described in vivid detail. Apparently it was the first time Telsa imbibed alcohol. Her experience in France consists mostly of drinking, wandering around Paris, and getting hit on by French boys. Ultimately this is similar to her time in California, excluding the whole ‘speaking in French’ thing. Back into California she returns to the present. Then she gets to the ending.

                The ending is beautiful perfect amazing. Everything in the end feels like it is rushing down extremely quickly. Hannah switches the point of view from the third person ‘she’ to the first person ‘I’. Giving it an intimate, heart-felt touch to the story is particularly wonderful. For every little thing is slowed down to a barely moving pace. She learns how to feel. She experiences joy and the closest thing to happiness. Little things become great big things in ‘Sans You’. With these little things she adds up into a big person who appears to be going in the right direction, in a direction not unlike millions before her and millions after her. ‘Sans You’ is a tweenage riot by the cutest girl in alt lit.

FareWell Poetry – Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite 8.3

                FareWell Poetry is a strange band indeed. Merging poetry with Post-Rock, it is a difficult balance. On one hand how many people read poetry? On the other who listens to Post-Rock? To really gain someone’s attention in either discipline and in this regard you have to be beyond amazing. Whoever is behind this project has certainly done their homework in terms of focus, sound, and scope. For the full package you receive a Super 8 black and white film. Yep, they do not mess around. 

                “As True as Troilus” begins the effort off in 19 minutes. It begins with poetry before breaking down into instrumental passages. Sonically I’m reminded of “A Silver Mount Zion”. They play with the same amount of seriousness and general beautiful bleakness. Halfway through the first song you’re treated to some truly gorgeous moments. In a few fleeting movements I’m reminded of Godspeed’s grandeur, a compliment I do not throw around by any means. Restraint is duly shown to avoid the ‘crescendo upon crescendo’ effect. Towards the end of the track they do blast the volume but it feels deserved. 

                The second half is taken up with the two-part “All in the Full, Indomitable Light of Hope”. Part one of this suite is mostly poetry. Her voice is rather pleasant, somewhat luxurious and befitting of the accompaniment. For the second half they spread out a bit and are mostly instrumental. The second half is perhaps the most upbeat they get for the entire album. “In Dreams Airlifted Out” ends the album. 

                Give this album time. Initially the poetry reading may turn off some listeners. Stick with it. After a few listens it begins to show its true charms. Everything fits together though it does take time to see exactly how. FareWell Poetry is far more heartfelt than I could have anticipated.

M83’s New Album: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
                Album announcement season is in full blast. M83 threw its hat into the ring with the announcement for its upcoming “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” album. We didn’t know the name of the album before. Now we know better, we know this unusual band shall return, steering into straight-up pop territory. We’re also not going to rush into dreaming without doing some heavy research first. How dare a bunch of Frenchmen tell me when to arrive for dreaming! I’ll take my time, I’m a sloth. 

                M83 has had a wild career. When it first began, it embraced “Boards of Canada” style IDM and synthesizers. Then it moved slowly towards pop, slowly towards dance. Critics lavished praise on their albums, some getting that sweet “Best New Music” status on Pitchfork. Performances fared less well, common complaints included watching guys twiddle knobs on stage. Without being too dance or too emotional, they were stuck in some middle-segment of the market, forever doomed to being popular yet not popular enough, cool yet not cool enough. Someday they dreamed of escaping this relevance purgatory. 

                Chillwave came along. Suddenly this genre brought them freedom. People may continue to argue about whether or not chillwave is a genre, or, if it is, does it apply to M83. For the sake of argument, I’ll accept chillwave is a style, since most names of musical genres are dreadfully painful if not outright stupid. I feel M83 does all those chillwave things: reverb, vintage synthesizers, and generally pointless, stupid lyrics that I tune out. Of course M83 wants to be associated with shoegaze, but they aren’t My Bloody Valentine. They need to be a bit less ambitious. Embrace the lesser, harder-to-define genre of chillwave. Consider the chillwave moniker like being a big fish in a small pond. Using the shoegaze classification, you’re pitting yourself up against real musicians, you know, ones who plays actual instruments instead of dramatically pressing buttons. Aim lower. 

                Your soundcloud has blown up over your song “Midnight City”. People are giving you an outpouring of support. Whenever any artist wants to feel good, they put up a song on soundcloud. Soundcloud attracts compliments like honey attracts flies. That horn solo at the end was written by James Chance, so it’s good to see he’s still in the game, musically speaking. Even your website www.ilovem83.com indicates you need somebody to love. 

                Hopefully you succeed. Considering your past string of successes, I wouldn’t put it past you. Include enough beats and you might even beat Justice at their own game. Think of how sweet that would be. Make music, make money, earn respect, and blog about it. Life could be so good for you.

M83’s New Album: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

                Album announcement season is in full blast. M83 threw its hat into the ring with the announcement for its upcoming “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” album. We didn’t know the name of the album before. Now we know better, we know this unusual band shall return, steering into straight-up pop territory. We’re also not going to rush into dreaming without doing some heavy research first. How dare a bunch of Frenchmen tell me when to arrive for dreaming! I’ll take my time, I’m a sloth. 

                M83 has had a wild career. When it first began, it embraced “Boards of Canada” style IDM and synthesizers. Then it moved slowly towards pop, slowly towards dance. Critics lavished praise on their albums, some getting that sweet “Best New Music” status on Pitchfork. Performances fared less well, common complaints included watching guys twiddle knobs on stage. Without being too dance or too emotional, they were stuck in some middle-segment of the market, forever doomed to being popular yet not popular enough, cool yet not cool enough. Someday they dreamed of escaping this relevance purgatory. 

                Chillwave came along. Suddenly this genre brought them freedom. People may continue to argue about whether or not chillwave is a genre, or, if it is, does it apply to M83. For the sake of argument, I’ll accept chillwave is a style, since most names of musical genres are dreadfully painful if not outright stupid. I feel M83 does all those chillwave things: reverb, vintage synthesizers, and generally pointless, stupid lyrics that I tune out. Of course M83 wants to be associated with shoegaze, but they aren’t My Bloody Valentine. They need to be a bit less ambitious. Embrace the lesser, harder-to-define genre of chillwave. Consider the chillwave moniker like being a big fish in a small pond. Using the shoegaze classification, you’re pitting yourself up against real musicians, you know, ones who plays actual instruments instead of dramatically pressing buttons. Aim lower. 

                Your soundcloud has blown up over your song “Midnight City”. People are giving you an outpouring of support. Whenever any artist wants to feel good, they put up a song on soundcloud. Soundcloud attracts compliments like honey attracts flies. That horn solo at the end was written by James Chance, so it’s good to see he’s still in the game, musically speaking. Even your website www.ilovem83.com indicates you need somebody to love. 

                Hopefully you succeed. Considering your past string of successes, I wouldn’t put it past you. Include enough beats and you might even beat Justice at their own game. Think of how sweet that would be. Make music, make money, earn respect, and blog about it. Life could be so good for you.

                Remember Justice’s last album? Everybody got blown away by that thing. They did a giant, worldwide tour for it. You couldn’t miss them, even if you wanted to. Suddenly, a couple of sketchy looking Frenchmen became king of it all, for roughly a year or so. 

                What happened then? Justice hid. Sixteen blog years (or four normal ones) have passed since we last heard from them. Not even a peep came out during that long period. Hardly any new material saw the light of day during that period. People waited and eventually gave up. They weren’t coming back. 

                At least that’s what we thought. Recently they’ve been showing a flurry of new activity. Suddenly we have a single “Civilization” which feels a bit overly dramatic, even by French electro standards. It’s an alright but not amazing single, at least not from the guys who brought us literally an entire album’s worth of solid singles. We expect more. 

                Leaks are starting to form. This bodes well for Justice. At this point, Justice is Ed Banger’s only big draw, ever since Mr. Oizo and Uffie failed. In fact, Justice’s only criticism from their acclaimed debut was Uffie’s inclusion. Most people just can’t understand the plight of being a stupid American who became stupid Eurotrash. I mean, she lived on her Dad’s yacht and raps about Myspace. What isn’t there to get? That sounds pretty relevant to me. 

                Justice will probably avoid putting her on Civilization. Most of the album will probably be a continuation of bloghouse. I’m worried though. Should their sound evolve as people don’t dance the same way they used to? Bloghouse hasn’t been important for a while; last time it was when they brought it. They might know this: the single for “Civilization” sounds pretty progressive rock to me. 

                There will probably be a mix between their old sound and this more progressive rock to me. Considering how nerdy progressive rock usually is, this might be a nice way of polishing it for a potential new group of fans. Even their old album had a lot of rock influences, especially the loudness, so it’s not too much of a stretch. 

                When the whole album leaks will determine how important or highly anticipated it is. Already hackers have managed to snag the 7th track from Ed Banger. If Justice can deliver on this anticipation is a whole other matter. So much time has passed by I’m not even sure they can have a hit bigger than the last one. Right now I’m holding my tongue until I hear the full Justice Civilization leak. 

                Until then I have this sacred track list to guide me through the summer. Can’t believe this is a fall release. That feels patently unfair. I demand Justice!

01 Horsepower

02 Civilization

03 Ohio

04 Canon (Interlude)

05 Canon

06 On’n’on

07 Brianvision

08 Parade

09 Newlands

10 Helix

11 Audio, Disco, Video

Henryspenncer – To the Timeless Valley 7.6

                  “Bookmaker records” is a brand new label offering up French psychedelica. Lately France has been getting some pretty excellent bands emerging, seemingly out of nowhere, with these takes on expansive music. Henryspenncer continues in that proud tradition.

                Valentin Feron’s music is massive. In his own words, he states that it is influenced by Northern Scotland. As someone who has wandered around those parts, I’d say there’s a certain truth to it. The sounds are somewhat inviting despite the sometimes ominous nature. Perhaps that’s due to all the instruments he incorporates, or the slow movement of the pieces themselves.

                There aren’t any loud surprises. Pacing-wise, it has a certain post-rock build. When the loudness or a crescendo does happen, it feels deserved. “An Elevator to Nowhere, with a Pyramid” has a far-off sound. Even as it gets more percussion, it reminds more of a threat than an outright onslaught. 

                If this has any similar bands, I’d probably say latter-day Earth. A western twang is noticeable on most of the pieces, particularly the shorter sketches “Roma” and “Hibernation”. On the closer “The Timeless Valley” Henryspenncer even employs an acoustic guitar and organ.

                Henryspenncer creates a likable album. It exists between drone and outright psychedelic. By incorporating so many different ideas and using a certain degree of discipline, he creates an album that feels well-worked over. Each piece sounds thought through and there are no needless displays of solos. It is just giant sound. Get lost in it and get it here.

Among the Bones/Henryspenncer – Split EP 7.1

  First off, the album art looks fantastic. I  know I don’t focus on  it a lot, but it usually takes a certain something  to get me to pay  attention. The art even does a pretty good job of  preparing you for the  heavy sounds.

                Henryspenncer  and Among the Bones sprawl out quite  nicely in this split. “The Amazon”  comes first. With multiple movements  in its 15 minutes, there’s a  definite flow to the song. The beginning  starts out with a twanging  guitar, which increases in size and  intensity. 

                Among  the Bones appears to take a quieter route.  Beginning with a quiet drone  and field recordings, it is the more  meditative of the two. Due to the  quiet, I’m reminded of Stars of the  Lid a few times, in their earlier  form. It is a lonelier song than “The  Amazon” but the bare bones  execution works wonders for it. Plus, the  extremely slow pace allows the  listener to hear every little detail in  perfect detail, though I’d  strongly urge a good pair of headphones for  this one.

                Bookmaker  records just started out, but I think they  started off strong.  Hopefully they’ll be able to continue this level  of quality. Get the  whole thing here.

Among the Bones/Henryspenncer – Split EP 7.1

  First off, the album art looks fantastic. I know I don’t focus on it a lot, but it usually takes a certain something to get me to pay attention. The art even does a pretty good job of preparing you for the heavy sounds.

                Henryspenncer and Among the Bones sprawl out quite nicely in this split. “The Amazon” comes first. With multiple movements in its 15 minutes, there’s a definite flow to the song. The beginning starts out with a twanging guitar, which increases in size and intensity. 

                Among the Bones appears to take a quieter route. Beginning with a quiet drone and field recordings, it is the more meditative of the two. Due to the quiet, I’m reminded of Stars of the Lid a few times, in their earlier form. It is a lonelier song than “The Amazon” but the bare bones execution works wonders for it. Plus, the extremely slow pace allows the listener to hear every little detail in perfect detail, though I’d strongly urge a good pair of headphones for this one.

                Bookmaker records just started out, but I think they started off strong. Hopefully they’ll be able to continue this level of quality. Get the whole thing here.

Aelters – Archilds’ com.undo 7.1
Dat Politics lost child creates his own music  on this release. It is similar to Dat Politics, if Dat Politics became  more hyper active. You probably can’t keep up with the amount of energy  he releases, but it is worth trying.

                Right  from the get-go “k no p” you’re treated to his method: fast beats,  broken up attempts at melody. These usually fail. That’s ok. His cut-ups  of children’s (his own) infuse a little humanity into the otherwise  purely digital environment. Only “jestood” comes close to have a  full-fledged melody. The weird noise approximates Goodiepal in a more  conventional pop sense.

                Funk  is all over the place. Emeric Aelter possess a good sense of rhythm,  though he tries his best to destroy it at times. Listening to the music,  you begin to understand why he left Dat Politics. Occasionally his  music feels a bit too broken, especially considering Dat Politics’ later  move towards accessibility.

                Still,  despite the sometimes difficult nature of the album, it doesn’t  overstay its welcome. It remains a cheerful guest in your mind.

Aelters – Archilds’ com.undo 7.1

Dat Politics lost child creates his own music on this release. It is similar to Dat Politics, if Dat Politics became more hyper active. You probably can’t keep up with the amount of energy he releases, but it is worth trying.

                Right from the get-go “k no p” you’re treated to his method: fast beats, broken up attempts at melody. These usually fail. That’s ok. His cut-ups of children’s (his own) infuse a little humanity into the otherwise purely digital environment. Only “jestood” comes close to have a full-fledged melody. The weird noise approximates Goodiepal in a more conventional pop sense.

                Funk is all over the place. Emeric Aelter possess a good sense of rhythm, though he tries his best to destroy it at times. Listening to the music, you begin to understand why he left Dat Politics. Occasionally his music feels a bit too broken, especially considering Dat Politics’ later move towards accessibility.

                Still, despite the sometimes difficult nature of the album, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. It remains a cheerful guest in your mind.

Extremely influential figures have asked me to create a MIX CD encompassing all of the best material from the best albums for the whole year. I answered them that ‘I’m game’. 

                What you’ll see below is my attempt to try and pick apart each track. Some of these tracks readers might recognize from their inclusion in previous Mix CDs. To them, I say that repetition isn’t always a bad thing, and with EPs, I don’t really have a choice. 

                Hopefully you’ll enjoy the said items. I know it is a MIX but it goes on for a bit (two discs). Each one of these songs is pretty exceptional and close to my heart. Since I do have a somewhat strange set of bands here, I’ll try my best to set them accordingly. Enjoy!

Disc 1

1.       LCD Soundsytem: One Touch

I feel a lot of people quietly liked this album. Usually though people ended up talking about some of the other tracks before this one. Each time I got frustrated this year, this song instantly played in my head. Personally, it served as my internal freak out song, allowing me to cope with whatever ridiculous situation came up. The nervous vocal delivery is excellent, and the music feels like it is about to explode at all times. 

2.       Peter Gordon and the Love of Life Orchestra – Another Heartbreak/Don’t Don’t Redux

Yeah, this got released on DFA, so I figured it ought to be followed James Murphy’s project. Peter’s stuff tends to be mellower, slower but still possessing that funk that makes him a good fit for what’s going on musically right now. It bounces and even has a saxophone in a song that I actually like (full disclosure: Peter is a trained saxophonist). 

3.       Laetitia Sadier – Un Soir, Un Chien

This is a cover of Les Rita Mitsouko’s classic hit. Laetitia tightens up the sound a little bit, and gives it a faster tempo. Even though they are cosmetic changes, I like her version more than the original. Perhaps the old one lacks some of the urgency Laetitia adds, like Catherine Ringer’s singing from too far away. 

4.       Beach House – Lover of Mine

Most of the album is solid, so I had a bit of trouble picking the best song. But I think the little buildup over halfway through the song does it for me. After we have all that stability of sound, she breaks it down a little bit. It is a minor thing, but it really wins me over. 

5.       Ja Prawn – Soulja Boi

Ah yes, I liked these guys. Nobody else did, at least on the East Coast. Perhaps they received a warmer reception in California, where they are based. This one conjures up images of Add N to (X) if the anger got replaced by mellow depression. 

6.       Toro Y Moi – Imprint After

Chad is the man. He created the happiest music I encountered this year. My thoughts are if he released his album in the summer, it might have gotten a warmer reception. Releasing it so early in the year worked against him, I feel. I’m going back to my seasonal attitude in music. Anyway, here’s a sweet little number off of “Causers of This”

7.       Deepchord Presents Echospace – BCN Dub

Some people have a thing for short songs. I’m clearly not one of them. Rather, I enjoy burning through the long haul ones, so long as they are good. BCN Dub is the centerpiece for their album, and I’d strongly recommend the whole thing. It is just perfect dance music, well-done and in little danger of growing stale (something dance music is always in danger of).

8.       Outer Limits Recordings – Burnin’ Through the Nite

Part of me wants to apologize to you, since you’ll have this stuck in your head for about 8 months. But I see this one as a way of blocking out those bad, modern pop songs. Whenever I get some garbage music stuck in my mind, I put this on and immerse myself in its innocent charm. 

9.       Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Round and Round

Pitchfork put this as their track of the year, so it must be good, right? I have this after the radio announcer has drunkenly signed off. It just feels right. Ariel Pink is having an awesome year this year, so I guess you can celebrate with him by imbibing this track. Going to a few concerts in New York, there seems to be a knee-jerk reaction against this song, like it got overplayed. Honestly I think it is impossible to overplay this gem. 

Disc 2

10.   VHS Head – Remote Control

Nobody I know even heard of this, yet when I played it for them they adored it. Released this year on Skam, he ended up being criminally neglected. Maybe I’m a bit of an Anglophile regarding this kind of electronic music, but he gets the pacing down perfectly. 

11.   Mark Fell – Multistability 10-A

People either love or hate this guy. I put this on here to see your reaction. Mark Fell goes through years without putting out anything, and then releases two albums in the course of a month. Oh well, I’m glad he’s on something of a roll right now. Here’s one of my favorites from his recent output. 

12.   Women – Locust Valley

Now we’ve moved away from the electronic for the most part. Women remain one of my favorite bands of the whole year. Actually their album is pretty moody, so I wanted to pick out a song I thought best embodied the darkness they seemed best acquainted. I tend to put their album on a lot, listening to it from start to finish, always finding something new to like.  

 

13.   Stereolab – Sun Demon

A real bright light of sunshine we have here. This is Stereolab’s last output, perhaps forever. I like the multiple sections, and all the classic hallmarks of their good stuff. Really their album has more gems like this, so I went through some trouble picking out a song. Listen to the whole thing at some point, it is truly grand. 

14.   Rangers – Deerfield Village

In case you want to spend a day doing nothing but staring at clouds, I could think of worse records then this to do it. Rangers embody that lazy Sunday afternoon feeling to me, that is, if I didn’t work on Sundays. To be fair, their material does take some time to grow on you but I’d put it up there with Ducktails in terms of quality. 

15.   Chris Weisman & Greg Davis – Hat or Night

Chris’s voice takes some getting used to, but once it clicks you’re set. Nothing raises its voice here, it is almost pure calm. Only at the end does it actually create a sing-along chorus, as if it had always been there. 

16.   Weed – Quilt

Lo-fi rocks at its finest here. Not only do you get the joy of the warm layers of fuzz, but there’s some great pop song-writing here as well. I have no idea why this guy doesn’t get paid more attention, especially once compared to the lackluster Wavves dude. 

17.   No Age – Valley Crush

Valley Crush comes closest to No Age growing up. Here you have a full-bodied song. A lot of that static and grime you knew has been partly polished away, to reveal that they were always pretty good song writers. 

18.   Harlem – Crowd Pleaser

Harlem did get some great coverage. I’m happy for that. Seeing them live is absolutely worth it, they have a sort of psychopathic energy that so few bands have. If I had to describe it, it would be like a bunch of kids not knowing the rules and doing whatever. Here’s one of my favorites of theirs. 

19.   Nerve City – Armory

Nobody talked about these guys. That primitive beat, the western twang, all comes together to form a real stomper of a track. How this forms into a great drunken chorus at the end it beyond me, but I’m glad it exists.

20.   Keith Fullerton Whitman – Generator 1

Listening to this, I’m reminded of a living, breathing organism. The patterns are as natural as possible; Keith’s intention for the pieces was to let the music create itself. Setting a few basic perimeters, he created pure ambient bliss. I guess you could taste colors listening to this or some other absolutely bizarre thing, I rarely hear anything this trippy or good. 

21.   Panda Bear – Count on Me

I really wanted Panda Bear to release his album. He didn’t. But the singles are fantastic, and I wanted this song to bid you adieu. Have a fond farewell and let the man in a Panda Costume give you a hug.

 Mr. Oizo – Half a Scissor 7.5

Quentin Dupieux is probably better known for his infectious “Flat Beat” song. But I feel that a lot of this has the same weirdness going on with a greater deal of attention paid to minor details. Unfortunately, it is the broken nature of the music that can initially prove to be off putting. Even the names of the songs sort of indicate a certain joke, like having the title “The End” following the “intro”.

                The beats are brought as far as they can be to the state of brokenness. It sort of speaks to Quentin’s abilities that he veers away from making this completely inaccessible. Plus, this works much better than “Lamb’s Anger” which wasn’t as well executed as an album, relying too heavily on dance clichés to get the point across.

                Now there are certainly danceable moments with this album. “Drop Urge Need Elle” is absolutely insane. Being so insistent on a hyper-active environment (having so many samples and such a fast tempo) makes it one of the more memorable pieces on here. “Nazis” does more of a funk-infused grind to it. 

                Most of these tracks show off Quentin’s debt to funky electro. Thankfully here he avoids a lot of the pratfalls like those suffered by so many of the Ed Banger mates. He adds a great deal of personality to the proceedings through random surprises (like Half a Scissor blasting into a dance track halfway through) or the grooves displayed on (ee). Fun is heavily represented here.

Sister Iodine – Flame Desastre 8.3

Calling this “No Wave” won’t even prepare you for the discordant mess you’re about to encounter. Riffs, sorry there aren’t any. Beats or any semblance of rhythm are immediately obliterated as soon as they are detected. In a way this is more difficult than most noise recordings, in that the sound is very abrupt, there’s tons of random starts and stops out of nowhere.


“Trope” comes across as the most normal song on here. Its bizarre wormy attempt at coherence comes closest to early Black Dice recordings.  Here the drum works as a way to keep a beat. In most instances on this record the drummer’s purpose seems to be to painting the sound and ruining any attempts at a beat. Whenever you here the pounding of the drum you can be assured it won’t be kept in anything resembling a time signature.
Some might say that their work resembles that Brooklyn-based group Sightings. I’d say that’s partly right, but unlike that group no vocalist exists. Also, there isn’t anything to anchor these songs down, no drum machine and no attempt at stability. Structures here exist only for untimely destruction.
Despite the very abrasive textures found here, they are excellent. The amount of effort required to keep something this harsh and abstract engaging is high. Sister Iodine excels at this talent. Noises that would usually be edited out of the process are the main focus. Scraping feedback, random transmissions, drum smashes, and whatever else is going on is the focus. It moves very briskly through these sonic hellscapes. 

Editions Mego released this, so that should give you some indication of the record’s harshness. It is rare that a full-fledged rock band takes on this level of brutality, but Sister Iodine performs beautifully. Not exactly something you’d return to every day, but a wonderful feat nonetheless. Shame these guys don’t get more attention.