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Archives by month/year

Deerhoof – Deerhoof vs. Evil

Polyvinyl/ATP

Deerhoof Vs. EvilThe release of Deerhoof vs Evil means that San Francisco-based Deerhoof have been putting out their genre-hopping ditty-bopping noisy beautiful schizophrenic pop for about 16 years now – for the record, that’s 60% longer than the Beatles were around. Deerhoof haven’t sold nearly as many records as the Beatles though. Even in France, where the Beatles have apparently sold less records than astigmatic Greek charity-shop stalwart Nana Mouskouri. Isn’t that something? And she’s been around even longer than Deerhoof. I’m not sure where I’m going with this. Maybe Deerhoof should get Nana to do a guest spot on their next album. Anyway, Deerhoof vs Evil, while sadly bereft of guest spots by spectacle-fancying Greek warblers, has an excellent title for a concept album, I’m sure you’ll agree. In fact, if concept albums are your thing you’ll be like a

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Disappears – Lux

Kranky

Disappears – LuxI have to admit I’d never heard of Disappears before this record landed in my lap, so I looked them up online. (Research, see? Professionalism and that. That’s what seperates us real professional music writer types from the blogroll masses.) A noisy Chicago four-piece, refugees from the sad decline of Touch and Go records, Disappears have found an unlikely home for themselves at glitch-(and drone – Ed.)-merchants Kranky. On their myspace the band list their influences as “Reverb Delay Drums Heavy Tremolo Feedback Guitars Repetition”, and say they sound like “Reverb Delay Drums Heavy Tremolo Feedback Guitars Repetition”. Heh, awesome. They also sell 7″ singles and RANT IN ALL CAPS on their blog.

Lux is the band’s first album, and there’s not an inch of fat on this record. Lux is a taut, urgent love letter,

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Lightning Bolt – Earthly Delights

Load

The centrepiece of the recent All Tomorrow’s Parties documentary is a clip from a Lightning Bolt set at the festival back in 2006. The band, true to form, is set up on the floor of the venue and the crowd is jostling around Brian Chippendale‘s drumkit in a claustrophobic huddle of beards and sweaty t-shirts. In between songs, a greasy fan taps Brian on the shoulder, leaning over the floor tom to get his attention. “Ten, three!” he shouts, holding up his greasy fingers to illustrate. “Ten plus three! Thirteen!” “Ten plus three?” replies Brian, his voice heavily distorted by his skimask and ball-gag mike setup.

“Ten plus three is thirteeeeeen!” hollers the fan deliriously

“Ten plus three is thirteen, right.” says Brian. Then,

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Black Boned Angel – Verdun

Riot Season

Black Boned Angel - VerdunIn which New Zealand polymath Campbell Kneale (Birchville Cat Motel, [post=”love-destroy-world-hate-numbers” text=”Our Love Will Destroy the World”], Lugosi, Sunship, etc etc etc) sets about recreating the thunder, chaos and crushing despair of one of World War I’s bloodiest battlefields, using sub-bass guitar drones with occasional percussion and samples.

As a bleak and harrowing record, Verdun stands possibly without peer. Sonically, Black Boned Angel owes much to SunnO))) and Earth, but while the drones of O’Malley et al. have been known to stir the spirit, invoking power and passion, Kneale uses the form to create a soundscape of utter dread. The battlefield of Verdun is the perfect setting for a doom record – a time when doom strode the

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Wooden Shjips – DoS

Holy Mountain Wooden Shjips - DoSRestraint is not a word you usually associate with psychedelia. “Excessive”, yes, “silly”, perhaps, but “restrained”? Nonetheless Dos, Wooden Shjips’ follow-up to their 2007 self-titled album, is for the most part a very restrained psych record. On each of the album’s five expansive tracks the bass and drums are pared back to a hypnotic krautrock throb, and while the guitars enjoy a few overblown wigout moments – most notably the glorious degeneration of the 11-minute “Down By The Sea” – these are always underpinned and kept in check by the intense metronomic rhythm section.

The overall impression is one of control: lean and minimal grooves with just a sprinkling of surf shimmer and psych fuzz on top. The vocals are even less of a presence than on the

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Crystal Antlers – Crystal Antlers EP

Crystal Antlers – Crystal Antlers EP Touch and Go

Crystal Antlers EP sleeveFrom the Comets on Fire school of sunshine-and-reverb-addicted, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink meltingpot psych come Crystal Antlers, the band with possibly the most unjustly off-putting name of the year. If you’re interested, the contest for the band with the most deservedly off-putting name of the year is currently a dead heat between Does It Offend You, Yeah?, and the Ting Tings. Anyway. Despite sounding like they got their name from some internet random indieband name generator, Crystal Antlers are definitely worth a minute of your time, if this self-titled EP is anything to go by.

Opening track “Until The Sun Dies (part 2)” melds crunchy garage guitar with oh-so-sexy organ riffs and breakneck drumwork, the raspy vocals are given the obligatory reverb treatment and everything is buried

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Monotonix – Body Language EP

Monotonix – Body Language EP Drag City

Monotonix- Body Language EP sleeveIsraeli rock bands – I’ll bet’cha can’t name two. I’ve got a theory that countries with compulsory military service always have rubbish music scenes, because there just aren’t enough bored kids hanging around to start bands and go to gigs and buy records and scare old people and all that. The little buggers are all too busy doing press-ups, being shouted at, scrubbing toilets with toothbrushes, and so on. On the other hand, small out-of-the-way music scenes, with little in the way of overbearing history or entrenched support structures, can sometimes spawn a mutant: a beautiful snarling monster that springs seemingly from nowhere, owes nothing to anyone and follows none of the rules. This is what Tel Aviv has produced in Monotonix.

Their anarchic approach to

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O’Death (live at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen)

Concrete And Glass Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, LondonO'Death 2 October 2008

O'DeathWhen you go to a show by a shirtless, rabble-rousing mob like O’Death, you really expect to see the band set up on the floor, separated from their sweaty audience by little more than a few blobs of spit and sawdust. That’s how I imagined it anyway, so it is with some apprehension that I view the venue at the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen. With a sleek black interior, expensive light fittings and a stage at least three feet higher than I had hoped, this cold-fish setting makes me wonder how O’Death are ever going to manage to forge a connection with the notoriously cold-fish Hoxton punters.

Well, not to keep

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O’Death – Broken Hymns, Limbs, and Skin

Label: City Slang (Europe)/ Ernest Jenning Record Co (USA) Format: CD

Broken Hymns, Limbs, and Skin - sleeveO‘Death’s stated intention with Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin was to capture the energy of their live sets on record, and anyone who has seen one of O’Death’s riotous shows will know that this is a hell of a tall order. The resulting album is a gypsy stomp barn burner, a chaotic celebratory oom-pah punk sea shanty set to wailing fiddles and crashing shards of scrap metal, an emotional hoe-down encompassing howling angst and Jesus-jumping ecstasy and whisky swagger. As for freezing an O’Death show and printing it on three and a half inches of plastic, this is about as close as you’re going to get.

Granted, at the moment we’re not exactly short of artists who earn their crust exploring the dark underbelly of

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Oxbow/Harvey Milk/Part Chimp (live at The Underworld)

The Underworld, London 15 July 2008

The first time I came across Part Chimp, a few years back, they were tipped as The Loudest Band in London, but now that the reanimated corpse of My Bloody Valentine has reclaimed that title with its rotting, maggoty fingers, Part Chimp have mellowed a little. They’ve also shed a bass player recently, and no doubt that has something to do with it. In any case, the volume level as they open this night at the Underworld has eased from “blistering” to something more like “mild sunburn”. Their songs have matured to fill the volume vacuum, though; whereas they previously played Black Sabbath riffs at ketamine speed and relied on sheer decibel level to get their message across, the band now have room for a little more complexity and, god forbid, even a little subtlety. There was this one Spinal Tap moment when one

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