Monday, March 30, 2009

The Last of the February Gems: RPM 09 finds Part 5

Hey Hey, It's been a fun month of listening to hastily recorded albums while promoting my own hastily recorded album, but the fun's got to end at some point. The fact that out of 70 albums produced by (mostly) amateurs this February I found 16 or so that I can heartily endorse is quite an accomplishment really. This last set includes a couple that I concede are good but are not really up my alley in terms of my tastes, which are pretty idiosyncratic and snotty I admit. I can be totally insufferable when talking about music and tend to venomously hate many acts that most people tend to enjoy and praise. So there are a couple of albums here that I can't honestly say moved me much but they are definitely worth checking out and I can sense that an audience is out there for them, probably a much bigger audience then mine really, maybe I'm just jealous..

Vegan Porn's album "To The Animals... May We Be Forgiven?" didn't grab me much the first time I clicked their link but that was after a few hours of RPM browsing and I was probably at my limit by that point. At the RPM listening party Elling recommended I give Vegan Porn another chance and I'm glad I did. A lot of snarky fun, a lot of catchy hooks and many nice details are found on this disc. I find them sorta reminiscent of a less ephemeral Gorky's Zygotic Mynci or a more toned down Spooky Ruben, those are both terribly inaccurate comparisons but it's real late at night and my mind is drawing blank. This kinda brand of quirky indie pop is not something I'm terribly well versed in, but if you want to you can take my inability to name appropriate bands to compare them to as a sign of their desirable originality. Standout tracks for me include "Fish In Your Stew" with the singers demanding tone in the chorus of "somethings gotta die for you to live" pushing the right button for me, and the upbeat number "Your Cat's Piece of Steak". Fun catchy pop with a certain bizarrely slick lo-fi'edness to the production with cheap drum machines and close double tracked vocals and everything well balanced and well considered in the mix. It's good stuff that keeps growing on me.

St Brendan's Champions are a pretty descent acoustic indie rocker act that's well produced, well performed and reasonably engaging. The lead singer (Either Brad Madden or Chris Clarke, I don't know who does what in this duo) has a really strong voice and summons the needed enthusiasm to keep the material bouncy and streamlined. The songs are little on the generic side and stick to that form of working class indie rock that's not particularly uncommon nowadays and is something I feel woefully inadequate talking about since I usually avoid that kinda Joel Plaskett/Sam Roberts/Wilco-y plaintive singer-songwriter, acoustic rock stuff. But this is done well and when the songs avoid wordy excesses and genre manipulations and focus more on the singers voice it does really well Like in songs "Fire Ready" and "Risk Reward Girl". Anyway, They'll do well I'm sure.

Sluts on Sluts album "Help Me With The Missiles" is a fun noise festival in league with Boris or Godflesh or Merzbow. The songs ride on muffled drum thrashings in a fog of toasted distortion and static with moody old keyboards and buzzed out screams drifting in out. Creepy samples of amateur porn, shitty talk show hosts, 911 calls and crying babies float on top of the grisly buzzed out audio gravy like white bits of congealed fat. The sound is thick and intimidating but the blasts come and go quickly and the album retains a slightly lighter air that entertains more then it punishes. It's a brisk but very worthwhile audio buzz spectacle I recommend.

Local Blogger and CHMR radio host Dashiell Brown put out an album (called "Of a Time") of experimental electronic and keyboard music under the name Circuit Tree for the RPM. He whined at me to review it and I held off reviewing it mostly out of spite (I don't take no Damn Requests!). But it's actually pretty descent, there is some very nice use of textures and the songs flow in dreamy surreal ways. It reminds me of some vintage Family Fodder releases and classic Rhino Records weirdness. Dashiell doesn't really sing above a whisper throughout the album but his voice is mostly inoffensive and gentle. The Lyrics are simple confessionals and are delivered in a sincere way, but they are pretty weak and don't really inspire or transport the listener anywhere as interesting as the sounds do. The soundscapes do better when they aren't beat driven, the canned drum sounds mixed with spacey soundscapes in "Man-made Trash Floating in Orbit" comes across like X-Files soundtrack reject. But the album is mostly tasteful and has a certain understated charm to it.

A few Notable Albums I'm not going to do a full review of:

Philosophy Of Bees - "Good Luck in Italy": Very nice little album of piano instrumentals. I fell asleep to it when I gave it a listen (It was 4 am). But it's very pleasant and very nice.

Jordan Young - "Unspoken Rules and Distance": I sing on the second half of "Bob Ross Painting" that's all you really have to listen to there. (burn!)
Les ENFANTS TERRIBLES - "'B' is for Bedlam": whole album recorded in the last 12 hours of February. Fun, kinda horrible, but fun.

Patch - "dot matrix with stereo sound": They didn't upload the album and it's not for sale anywhere but I've heard a couple of tracks from it and they are awesome! If anyone finds a copy, make me a copy of it. (edit: nevermind here it is! I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet but it is on my shortlist)

Ditto for Black Molly I have only heard a couple of tracks off her new album she didn't upload it and now she's gallivanting around the Country with the Burning Hell. What a Punk!

Anyway, That it for me and the RPM this year. Until the next one it's business as usual, I gotta make some money. Cheers.