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The name Angus MacLise may ring a bell for some. He was the original percussionist for the Velvet Underground but few knew that he also went into unknown territory with electronic drone experimentation poetry and calligraphy. This album is a reissue (and a celebration) of some of his more experiemental electronic works most of which were previously available on a compilation called The Cloud Doctrine in 2003.
MacLise is someone who should be known in electronic music. His experiments sound fresh and futuristic. The three “Tunnel Music” parts are great examples of mixing field recordings and synths into a heavy-hitting sound. There are huge whirrs of train sounds that repeat over and over until it feels like a muddled guitar solo. Maybe it is a guitar solo? I have no idea. It’s just a real rippin’ time.
Every track on this album is a lo-fi masterpiece. Bedroom musicians of today should take note if they want to resurrect their crummy gear and make an album that sounds like it was recorded in the middle of the Earth. MacLise has been making ears uncomfortable since the ’60s and it’s a treat to revisit these tracks now.
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David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights
While the indie rock world seems to lose its collective shit every time kiwipop greats The Clean move a single muscle the reaction to David Kilgour’s solo work is typically much more subdued. And it’s a shame really as The Clean member has proven over the years to have an increasingly solid catalogue of solo releases — a trend that continues with End Times Undone his latest album with the Heavy Eights.
Following 2011’s endearing Left by Soft Kilgour’s latest doesn’t offer any huge change-ups to his “Dunedin sound” — the jangly aesthetic he’s spent decades perfecting only to have countless modern indie bands do their damnest to imitate — but it does find the New Zealand hero emerging with a renewed sense of vigour. Rather than focus on his more contemplative quiet side Kilgour mainly hones in on the fuzz-loaded pop brilliance that so many fans fell in love with in the first place throwing in a new sense of psych sophistication and just a few poignant weepers along the way.
Tracks like the boisterously shining “Lose Myself in Sound” “Some Things You Don’t Get Back” and “Comin’ On” could have easily found their way on some classic Clean release decades ago but still sound right at home in 2014. If anything Kilgour and the Heavy Eights sound more comfortable in their own skin than ever making End Times Undone another high point in a career already littered with them.
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Got A Girl
I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now has a smooth Nouvelle Vague style exploiting a brilliant contrast of hot and cold. Mary Elizabeth Winstead sings with a cool and seductive voice. Dan the Automator puts a bit of heat into the production. The pairing works incredibly well; it’s as satisfying to the ears as sweet and salty is to the pallet.
The concept of the album is “romance” but for this duo that doesn’t mean cheesy. The edginess of the subtle sampling styles mixed with retro-chic and a good dose of cute keep it from being too saccharine. The songs are as heartbreaking as they are lovey-dovey. While this sort of concept could tire out quickly the album goes down smooth with a satisfying range of tempos and styles.
One of the liveliest songs here is “There’s A Revolution” a clap-happy pop song adorned with horns but the majority of the songs have the cool sultry and eerie vibe of tracks like “Did We Live Too Fast.”
Got A Girl is for anyone who takes their music tender with a splash of chic. Pairs well with spy films candlelight and pinot noir.
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It’s no big surprise that long-running Vancouver indie Mint Records scooped up Monomyth. Following a steady buzz climb killer debut tape and last year’s amazingly titled King Does This Not Please You? (BEHOLD THE POWER) EP the Halifax band have “breakout” written all over them and their Saturnalia Regalia! lives up to any and all expectations.
Much like Monomyth’s past efforts Saturnalia Regalia! finds the group weaving together myriad styles frankensteining everything from ’90s Murderrecords to paisley-coated pop to modern slacker twee to straight-up psych. In a way it all makes the band like some sort of oddball East Coast cousin to Calgary’s dearly missed Women.
Saturnalia Regalia! does bring some changes to the Monomyth formula though mainly by the band toning down any old grunge tendencies for a more sophisticated pop approach. But while tracks like the opening “Theme From Monomyth” “Candleholder” and “Something Else” are hook-filled earwormers the band still get their freak on via Rick White-inspired weird-outs like “Pac Ambition” and the shoegazey “Downer.” It all proves that Monomyth are far from being some one-sound band.
In a very Canadian-like manner Saturnalia Regalia! comes with a sort of humble underdog sort of vibe but this is Monomyth at their best capitalizing on everything they’ve been building towards and giving us all a great record in the process.