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Milton, Antony – “Sirens & Where The Coloured Planes Are Rafts ” – [Last Visible Dog Records]

mitch   1/16/2007   A Library, CD

Christchurch NZ acoustic home recordings circa 1997, with much in
the way of whisper/speech/song/prepared/unprepared guitar/wheezing
harmonica/fragmented composition. MILTON has been putting out
stuff on his label for years, and this is a reissue of same.
As he is well aware, farm implements (i. e., slick studio production) are
great destroyers of soil (and song) structure, and soil tilth is created by
decay, not by implements. Pioneer farmers plowed primarily to rid the
landscape of wild vegetation ??? and ANTONY MILTON works that same
bare soil with potash & phosphorus, naked to wind and rain erosion, a
germination process marrying subsoil and atmosphere. This is mulch
planting, rather than a rotary plow approach??? with gradual carbon
dioxide exhumations regulating air, water, and a microbial songcraft.
MITCH January 2007

Brazda Brothers, the – “Brazda Brothers, the ” – [Void Records]

mitch   8/30/2006   12-inch, A Library

Bucolic and pastoral sounds from European duo, as
recorded in RCA studios in Toronto, 1973. Bystrik
(B. Gin) and Andy Brazda rolled this entire LP into
the can in just under six hours (along with five other
musicians) for a 1974 release on the label;
‘Walking in the Sun? b/w ’20th Century? saw a 7″
release that same year, with LP and single gaining
but slight airplay (and a bit of a cult following), mostly
in Canada. With succinct honesty and melodic (often
political) conviction, this collection of decidedly mellow
songs showcase a wonder of nature and a belief in small
(and not always random) kindness; though this was the
pair’s only album, they resurfaced with a 1977 single,
‘Time is Only a Setting Sun?, and were represented in
the NOW SOUNDS OF TODAY series. Ontario soft
rock, touched by fuzz and a meditative optimism.

MITCH July 2005

Boyskout – “Secrets ” – [Isota]

mitch   8/30/2006   7-inch, A Library

A-side here from band’s debut LP; also found on the
[Alive] compilation, ‘Sounds of San Francisco? ?
a by-now familiar tale of lead singer Leslie Satterfield’s
infatuation re: a girl made known through mutual
acquaintance, and bartering an infectious playfulness
amidst undeniable gloom. Bassist Daniel Deitnick,
singer/keyboardist China Lajczok, guitarist Satterfield
& drummer Caroline Walker Mills coupled their girl-on-
girl garage pop with a punk/goth/synth amalgamation
which originated in SF before relocating to Brooklyn.
B-side ‘Pictures from the Moon? came about earlier in
the BOYSKOUT canon (and is unavailable elsewhere).
Harmonically aggressive & lyrically subversive, these
tracks are both standouts in the ever-popular, limited
edition 45rpm format.

MITCH September 2004

Bovine Over Sussex W. – “Solid Space Inverse Universe ” – [Oska]

mitch   8/30/2006   12-inch, A Library

Members of Patcham UK outfit BOVINE OVER
SUSSEX W, ecclecticists all, began their own
[Oska] label a few years ago as a vehicle for
releasing copious self-made material without
hindrance of quality control or label interference.
To wit, this long playing episodic example of
sequencer abuse/dubious drum programming/
synth rumble/treated sounds/jungle chaos/weird
pulsations/non-linear pastiche & occasional
groove, all of it spilling over both sides like an
overloaded tour bus on the way to Experimental
Freedonia ?. Assembled in 1998 & undoubtedly
distributed by hand, BOVINE keeps it mysterious,
paradoxical and perplexing as to chemical in-
gredients & research techniques – only their
chemists know for sure. The rest of us can
only loop and find.

MITCH June 2002

Blue Pine – “Blue Pine ” – [Global Symphonic]

mitch   8/30/2006   A Library, CD

A posthumous release from British Columbia’s
BLUE PINE on Vancouver label of whacked
genius (ATLAS STRATEGIC, HACKSAW,
A LUNA RED, etc.). Roughing up a bevy of
roots-sources with the rumbling, indecipherable
Carey Mercer falling apart on lead vocals, and
featuring Carolyn Mark on a couple of tracks,
the band meanwhile contributes an impenetrable
backdrop of tremolo, slide guitars & much
snare-smashing amid the carnival-fed horror of
lyrical dementia. Frenetic, howling, non-sensical
and strangely beautiful in tearful, bloody portions,
BLUE PINE call to mind a vein that would have
to include THE RESIDENTS, JERK WITH A
BOMB, SOUL JUNK, etc., snarling with bizarre
juxtapositional culture-clubbing, bible-bashing &
raging melancholy. Some of BLUE PINE have
formed a band called FROG EYES.

MITCH July 2001

Bloodthirsty Lovers – “Delicate Seam, the ” – [French Kiss Records]

mitch   8/30/2006   A Library, CD

Savory, memorable and texturally adventurous second release
from David Shouse (GRIFTERS, THOSE BASTARD SOULS), Steve
Selvidge (BIG ASS TRUCK) and Kevin March (DAMBUILDERS,
GUIDED BY VOICES), a trio who seem to radiate outward in
concentric musical rings, while at the same time eluding easy
melodic summary. Shouse, who considers the BLOODTHIRSTY
project as much fun as ‘my rehab stint out of the numbing
world of major label sickness?, recorded this loose and keyboard-
drenched effort at home in Memphis, with assistance from pianist
Ross Rice (JILL SOBULE) and alluring vocalist Katie Eastburn (of
YOUNG PEOPLE) on # 8’s ‘Medicated?. LANGUAGE # 6
Spacious, digitally smooth/spontaneous, sarcastic/sincere,
romantic/self-deprecating and always deliciously amorphous,
the BLOODTHIRSTY LOVERS successfully combine veteran
acumen with an eclectic + contemporaneous sense of vision
that completely ignores genre continence or simplistic
categorization. Great stuff, this second one.

MITCH January 2005

Bitter Bitter Weeks – “Revenge ” – [My Pal God Records]

mitch   8/30/2006   A Library, CD

Producer/recording engineer Brian McTear (who of
late has recorded MAZARIN, CAPITOL YEARS, etc.)
used to front a band called MARINERNINE; this is the
second LP from BITTER BITTER WEEKS (following the
self-titled debut of 2003), again featuring partner Amy
Morissey. Along too, are a batch of crack Philadelphia
musicians such as Beth Case (SHE-HAW) & her backing
voice, pianist Brian Christinzio + drummer Ruth Keating
(MALARKIES). Romping ( # 3 – LANGUAGE), living for
the moment ( # 5), pensive ( # 10) and generally quite
desolate ( # 2, 6, 9, 11) throughout, McTear succeeds
with a talent for songwriting and sparse underproduction
(in the vein of Tim Kasher/Jason Molina/Will Scheff)
that is way above average. Live LUCYS cover ( # 7); anti-
war anthem ( # 1). Grim & courageous. R.I.P. Sara
Weaver (SWISHER).

MITCH October 2004

Bird By Snow – “Antlers and The Sun and All The Things That Grow Old and Pas ” – [Gnome Life]

mitch   8/30/2006   12-inch, A Library

Sidereal and wintry work hewn by Fletcher Tucker (vox, gtr,
autoharp, banjo, keyboards, loops, whistle) & Spencer Owen
(percussion, bass) whilst awaiting the arrival of Spring in Santa Cruz,
2004-2005. Languid and impossibly spent, musty in antiquarian
repose, a funereal banjo-[as-ukelele] below blackened skies,
winter-as-denouement, & sedulous mortality begetting the guile
inside hibernation?..dead deer & termites, the fern host to bark
beetles, BIRD BY SNOW is to folk what cave paintings are to
post-expressionism – a foreshadow of gestalt whose configuration
is so unified & elemental, that its properties cannot be derived ?
neither by a summation of parts or even by the detritus of modern
malaise that made this project necessary?.. blustery and just
possibly, the New Archaic.

MITCH July 2006

Wells, Bill – “Pick Up Sticks ” – [Leaf Label Ltd]

mitch   8/30/2006   A Library, CD

Glasgow’s BILL WELLS, whose OCTET & TRIO have been
crossbreeding floral filmatics & epic rock inside loose
jazz contexts for some years, collaborates here with the
famed trombonist Annie Whitehead ( WORKING WEEK,
CARLA BLEY VERY BIG BAND, PENGUIN CAF? ORCHESTRA ),
German keyboardist Barbara Morgenstern ( a noted vocalist
& songwriter ) and Dusseldorf’s Stefan Schneider ( KREIDLER,
TO ROCOCO ROT, MAPSTATION ) in a series of eight warm,
Intimate and brief improvisations. Armed with a background
palette of computer sounds recorded with the aid of Norman
Blake ( TEENAGE FANCLUB ), WELLS met the others in Berlin,
the sessions running to five days with the engineering expertise
of Bernd Jestram ( TARWATER ). Wells says, ‘We had a lot in
common; strong melodic sensibility and a desire to keep things
simple?.’ Building from synthetic samples & beds of soft
clicking, Whitehead’s trombone in multi-track (check the ostinato
on # 3) is a very human and muted set of tones in quiet shift with
Morgenstern’s keyboards ( # 5 + 8 ) and Schneider’s weightless
bass (and subtle warmth). Compelling, all in all – and surprising.

MITCH August 2004

Bevel – “Down the Puppet String, Mario ” – [Jagjaguwar Records]

mitch   8/30/2006   A Library, CD

Via Nuon (MANISHEVITZ, CURIOUS DIGIT) dips backward and
forward for his third solo release (following 2002’s masterpiece,
‘Where Leaves Block the Sun?, mainly with some work began as
long ago as 1998, remixed & upended with the able assistance
of Michael Krassner (piano, etc.), Gerald Dowd (drums) & the
mournful sounds of Deanna Varagona (baritone sax). Included
here is the DONOVAN cover meant originally for the
tribute compilation ( # 2) and five other most afferent fragments
heavy in Day Residue and a memory of a dream-day still immersed
in its own construction. Nuon’s sense of avoided trauma is, as
always, heightened by his first line of defense mechanism, which
is an unfailing sense of melody in the service of art (could Varagona
sound more like a cellist?) where colors and textures subdue the
most rampant of fears manifest in his musical subconscious, and
therein lies the secret – of a gentle soul whose perceptual powers
address a kinesthetic imagery of tracked thoughts (people & places)
and tasty guitar licks that are ever >outro in a life of farewells – sad,
denuded and somehow out of the reach of fantasy or primogeniture.
Flashing with simple beauty like the purest of gestures, BEVEL is a
most subtle and inspired genius in his own right. Noncancomparesville.

MITCH December 2003

Cossa, Benji – “Vault Volume One ” – [Magic Marker Records]

mitch   8/30/2006   A Library, CD

The cream of the crop from ten years of home taping, BENJI
COSSA gets a proper full-length release at last with these 17
tracks (recorded between 1995 and 2000). Mostly stripped to
the bone production-wise, with ukulele/guitar/potluck percussion
joining bittersweet relationship reveries of the luckless-in-love
variety?.
‘When you said our love was like lightning
here comes the thunder
and ‘I’m afraid of the noise?.’

Written amidst peregrine wanderings taking him from Providence
RI to Portland OR to Sacramento CA & finally Brooklyn (where he
currently resides), COSSA bears his heart with unabashed tales
of melodic misadventures and covetous constraints – all quality-
crafted, listener friendly & back burner warm. MITCH November 2005

Below the Sea – “Les Arbres Depayseront Davanta ” – [Where Are My Records]

mitch   8/30/2006   A Library, CD

Crucial second release nearly dispels Montreal ‘post-rock? tag
for instrumental trio Patrick Lacharite (gtr, sampler, keys), Pascal
Asselin (drums) and Mathieu Levesque (bass) – that is, find most
of the muscularity in the first 5 tracks, then the trap kit and bass-
lines solve the disquiet, moving from the wrestling chair to the sea
where flight soars over linearity in a long series of poignant arcs?.
dipping here, grieving there (# 7, with Maude Smith Gagnon),
terminals separated (#10, Sylvain Chauveau piano) and tracing
the course of a distant and heavenly body (# 12) in desolate orbit.
Beyond the Valley of ‘The Loss of Our Winter? (2000), this is the
band’s follow-up – wider, deeper, longer PanaVisions of Patrick
Lacharite that free themselves from depayse geometry to a per-
meability less than that of vacuum – magnetism opposite to
iron – less metal, more diamagnetism in the physics and a class
of emotional substances wholly subjective. Film music better than
films, where you make your own. Asselin also in GLIDER with
guitarist Gavin Baker (BILLY MAHONIE). Opacity finds emulsion.
MITCH October 2002

Bella Vista – “Midway ” – [Orange]

mitch   8/30/2006   7-inch, A Library

BELLA VISTA was a Washington, D.C. trio whose
sole output was limited to 7″ vinyl : their first (and
best) EP for [Matinee], ‘Was the Last? (1998), this
record [released the same year] and a split EP with
the BEST WISHES on [Turn Up the Treble!], 1999.
These three songs recorded in Philadelphia and
engineered by Ben X. Kim (CLOCK STRIKES
THIRTEEN), including a surpassing cover of ‘My
Boy and His Motorbike?, written by the estimable
Elizabeth Price & found on the final CAROUSEL
LP (vocal here by Jenny). Mark Powell has since
moved on to New Cross Gate (South London) and
become half of PIPAS (decidedly more bossa-pop),
but BELLA VISTA left much to cherish in the way
of indiepop taste and leisure, evidenced by lead track
‘Midway?”it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning?’
Tender trappings to remember them by.
MITCH December 2002

Beequeen – “Gund ” – [Plinkity Plonk]

mitch   8/30/2006   A Library, CD

BEEQUEEN (Dutch duo of Frans De Waard [see
also his recordings as KAPOTTE MUZIEK, QUEST,
SHIFTS + CAPTAIN BLACK] and [staalplaat] staff
member Freek Kinkelaar, publisher of Vital Weekly)
make with the sonic artifacts here (tracks # 1-4 are
delicate examples of static drift, recorded back in
early 1998 for an aborted 12″ release; tracks # 5
(BEEQUEEN edits MSBR) and # 6 (MSBR edits BEE-
QUEEN) were originally meant for a collaborative
project with Japanese noisemaster MSBR (ongoing
saga of Koji Tano). BEEQUEEN, with many another
release for [infraction], [korm Plastics] in the
Netherlands and elsewhere, keep it all distant ?
letting the low end rustle and thrum in a modicum
of tasteful, minimal pulsations. These are prolonged
atmospherics of mid to higher waveforms, filled with
a sort of atheistic respiration?’? MITCH July 2004

Beans – “Crane Wars ” – [Zum Media]

mitch   8/30/2006   12-inch, A Library

Vancouver quintet returns with second LP (after
‘Tired Snow’EP in 2000), continuing their blend
of standard/experimental rock instrumentation,
homemade string/percussion, electronics, turn-
tables + tape machines. A compelling work of
studio craft & musical spontaneity, BEANS use
textural guitars/drums to great effect, providing
the occasional voice almost as afterthought to
punctuate the clashes and closures. BEANS
(Damon Henry on bass, Ida Neilson on trumpet,
piano & accordion, Andrew Herfst with drums/
loops/f/x, guitarist Stefan Udell + vox and gtr.
from Tygh Runyan) have scored two Canadian
films (‘Red Deer? and ’13 Trains?) and are
collaborating with David Crompton on a third.
A multi-media sensibility connects it all, from
dissonance to blaring horns to running water;
weariness dashed to bits by dizzying frenzy in
an unbalance of random tempo & eerie lyricism.
Courageously confounding. MITCH
September 2001

E*Vax/B. Fleischmann [coll] – [Audio Dregs Records]

mitch   8/30/2006   7-inch, A Library

First release in postcard series couples America’s E*VAX
with Austrian B. FLEISCHMANN, with fine work from
both represented. ‘Water to Our Ankles? from the
U.S. side features complex beat structures rife with
the usual subtlety. E*VAX has released singles on
[adr] & [static Caravan]; also appeared on last
year’s fine [moor Music] compilation. He does
amazing things with sound manipulation of various
household auditory sources, inventively twisting
them into rhythmic patterns. B. FLEISCHMANN favors
the amalgamation of abstract experimental electronics
and pristine, wistful melodics. On ‘Le Desir?, he lets
the slow-motion beat become a rolling mellow organ
wave, interspersing it with fizz and clicked bits – all a
bit like a mint sprig floating on ice. Split this.
MITCH July 2001

Chocolate Genius Inc – “Black Yankee Rock ” – [Commotion Records]

mitch   7/16/2006   CD, Soul

Craig Street-produced third LP from Marc Anthony
Thompson is multi-faceted MOR, tapping adult
contemporary/pop/soul/jazz/etc., elements for
an eclectic demographic :
???It???s a destination ??? more than a sound
or a statement. Where hair extensions are
halos. Heaven without a Golden Gate.
Everybody gets in. All the ashtrays are
are clean. The wine won???t hurt you because
the Grapes have no Wrath.???
It is also well-written and staged, built upon the
solid & familiar foundations of Black (ISAAC HAYES)
Moses, the CEO of Unlimited Love (BARRY WHITE),
guitar astrologists (DENNIS COFFEY) and other
purveyors of post-coital musical afterglow who have
favored the laid-back mink glove over the prurient
flash of the funk ???n bump. CHOCOLATE GENIUS INC
lives in Brooklyn, scores films, meets MOBY ( # 8),
exemplifies the art of backdrop & mood. ALL CLEAN.
MITCH July 2006

Auburn Lull – “Alone I Admire ” – [Darla Records]

mitch   6/24/2006   A Library, CD

Quartet formed in Lansing, MI in 1994; this LP
originally released on Mar. 1999.
Produced by Andrew Prinz (MAHOGANY), who
did the honors for AUBURN LULL’s 7″ for
as well. Full-length debut for Jason Kolb (gtrs),
Sean Heenan (gtrs & vox), Jason Weisinger
(drums) + Eli Wekenman (bass, gtrs), this is a
masterpiece of breaking fog, mist, wet tires on
asphalt, scattered chorales, oiled rainbows –
a canvas-swept hydrofoil of shameless tears ;
all the ‘intrinsic onomatopoeic nature of music?
to be found in the intuitive subconscious. Much
external reverberation processing/sampling &
delay, creating ample beauty and a wordless
longing somewhere between symbolic dream +
universal desolation. More psychotropic than
psychedelic, a contrast medium of encephalogram
that finds us all as fellow bunker soldiers.

MITCH March 2002

Auburn Lull – “North Territorial ” – [Zeal Records]

mitch   6/24/2006   7-inch, A Library

Lansing, MI quartet (Jason Kolb, gtrs/Eli Wekenman, gtrs/
Sean Heenan, vox + gtrs/ Jason Weisinger, drums) have
outlived a once-thriving Great Lakes space-rock scene,
soldiering on with their own filmic/pastoral/music for heliopads
approach, a trademark blend of surging, miasmic swells,
samples, looped guitar/vocals peaking in a slow-cresting
sonic euphoria of song/soundcraft. Produced by soul mate
Andrew Prinz (MAHOGANY) and mastered by Brooklyn NY’s
Jon Chaikin (who has done the duties for every Shelflife Records
release to date) at Nonstop Sound, this European release offers
the now-familiar elegant wash inside cartographic cockpit
somewhere between landscape and ozone. Like all
AUBURN LULL records, this should come with flight ring and
instructions for most listeners, particularly those of the Ptolemaic
Terrascope variety. Additional ethereal vocals from Amanda
Kolb & Jessica Fuller, a pair of visiting angels. Both sides in
Afterlife Technicolor, 360mm, eggbeater soft. Whirlybirds.

MITCH August 2002

Attic Ted – “Hemogoblin ” – [Pecan Crazy Records]

mitch   6/24/2006   A Library, CD

Grady Roper leads his San Marcos TX merry men through
a fourth go-round of post-apocalyptic gothic carnival
twang designed to disorient/haunt/enervate/charm
fans of horror film-style keyboards/costume, lethal lead guitar
licks (courtesy Wade Driver, also of TACHYCARDIA and
the HICKOIDS), frantic drumming (Coby Cardosa) and
blazing sampler (Lance McMahon) action in service to a
Hammond organ-fueled muse of inebriated masquerade.

?’I’m swimming in a lake of fire
I didn’t wear the right attire
Flesh melting in my shoes
This time ‘I’m sure to lose?’

Members of ATTIC TED feature oversized freakish headgear
on stage, first pioneered at Halloween show 2002 & now a
band tradition. This LP features seven studio band tracks,
and four of Roper’s Tascam Porta-Studio manic creations.
Crazed & inspired, a wonderful release.

MITCH February 2006