3 songs which are not on his Tigerbeat 6 CD 'Role Model' or the 555 recordings version of the CD they call 'Role Playa' (the CD has a few more songs). This 7" is his debut release. The ultra-minimal packaging (colored vinyl 7" in plastic bag with small xeroxed track listing sheet) has the disclaimer "no songs ever about how some girl who doesn't want to go out with me should go out with me". The three tracks are 'Balls Out' on the A-side, and 'Curse Show' & 'Enter Carter' on the B-side. They are completely electronic laptop songs that can acid-test someone into the FatCat split 12"s. This is similiar to Kid 606 (who he gets compared to frequently: they are both from the same area, both young and both on Tigerbeat 6 Records), though without the built-in instant notoriety that any Kid 606 release gets from everywhere, even his detractors. I like this single and his full length a lot.
October 24, 2000
Hirameka Hi-Fi started with an EP which sounded a lot like The Yummy Fur. One of the instrumentals on that 4 song EP became a bit hit at WZBC. This is their latest single, and I like it much more than the releases between that first EP and this one. Like The Yummy Fur their sound has changed, though not in the same way as The Yummy Fur at all. Hirameka Hi-Fi have an (at this point) decidedly retro sound, but they do it well. They recall a time when Sonic Youth godfathered legions of bands in the same way that The Jam mentored the 1980 UK mod Revival scene. Hirameka Hi-Fi play guitar based vocal music that is slightly dissonant and driving. The weakest part of them is the vocals, but the mix makes it clear that vocals are not the main priority anyway. Hirameka Hi-Fi could best be described as a blend of Gang Of Four, the Slampt Records bands, and Sonic Youth (in the guitar sound). The mix works well on both sides of this single.
The Remote Viewer are Andrew Johnson and Craig Tattersal, formerly of Hood, and formerly known as the Famous Boyfriend. I like their song best on this split 7". It is very cerebral and staccato, with a human based tempo. Kid 606's side has a pace not meant for man, with multiple layers (some at less astronomical speeds) that combine to give the same feeling as the street scene noodle stands in Blade Runner, where the vendors and patrons conversed in streetspeak; a language that collaged several others. The single is a really beautiful picture disc with Manga style Anime illustrations on both sides.
Junior electric magazine has 14 songs: 4 originals plus covers of "I want it now" (written by Anthony Newley for the famous children's fantasy film "Willy Wonka & the chocolate factory"); "Mr Bizarro" (refined artpop like The Would-Be-Goods composed by the original Monochrome Set); "Variations on a keyring" (a xylophone-based instrumental composed by Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier for Monade); "Wowie Zowie" (the lightest moment from Zappa's The Mothers of Invention mid-sixties masterpiece); "Theme from Daisies" (the memorable theme from Czech director Vera Chytilova's revolutionary film "Daisies") and "Johnny Johnny" (the sweetest gem about an after-school youthful and innocent love). Vocalist Angie Tillett is partnered with a support band in the Alway-Siesta tradition. The producers are Jeremy Butler, John Austin and Matt Hulse; the same folk who produced the Maria Napoleon LP. Parts of the above were taken from Darla's review of this disc. I did not know some of those facts and thought them worth including. To read that review yourself go to the Darla site and use the search engine on the lower left of the page. This CD is my fave of the week for the many great songs on it, with "I Want It Now" at the very top of my list. I loved that song in the movie (well let's face it; I loved EVERY song in that movie, as well as the movie itself!). In fact, maybe one of you can help me. I've been trying to remember the names of the creatures that were killing the Oompa-Loompas before Wonka took them in. There were the Hornswagglers, the Bandersnatch, and a third variety of critter whose name escapes me. If you know the info I would greatly appreciate the answer. Back to this disc: Lollipop Train were already a proven entity to us through their super contributions to the Siesta compilation 'Simultaneous Ice Cream'. On it they played the comps standout track "Teenage Trifle" plus "Fun Food Factory" & the cover of The Monkees song (from Head) "The Porpoise Song". On the earlier 'Algebra Spagetti' compilation Lollipop Train did "Pussycat Balance". If you listen to WZBC these last 2 sentences have meaning: all the songs mentioned were played to death when the discs came out. There are 5 songs on this CD of the same quality as these earlier hits. They are "I Want It Now", "Junior Electric Magazine", "Banana Milkshake", "Wowie Zowie", & "Johnny Johnny". To me the Lollipop Train sound is a mix of 2 earlier El bands; The Would-Be-Goods and Bad Dream Fancy Dress. Real nice!
Currently my favorite disc to originate from Boston. Miss Mary (Mary Stopas) fronted The Oscillators for some time before forming her own band. I never listened to The Oscillators, though I saw their ads in local magazine The Noise. I might never have heard Miss Mary were it not for my being late my first day of Web Design class. In the music, vocals, and (great) aesthetics of this disc you can hear a love of Holly Golightly, but this is not a 'Boston's Holly Golightly' thing. Her songs make it much more. They have a worldview that I can relate to more than that of seen-everything Holly. One of the songs ("The Date") captures better than any other that hey-let's-move-this-to-the-next-level feeling that two people get on a date when they are alone, it's late, and they have decided they like each other and want to play but are afraid to make the first move. "The Date" seems to me to be a Year 2000 version of the same feelings The Paper Squares sung about in their (classic) 1992 song "Let's Hang Out". Also really great is "Can't Stop" which has a feel that brings 'Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls' band The Carrie Nation to mind. Like Peaches, Miss Mary is singing provocative songs about being with boys (though certainly less graphic!), but she is in control; clear, strong, and cool. 2 songs have pretty neat trumpet in them. "Summer Days" and the Lee Hazelwood cover "My Baby Cried All Night Long". I like the muted trumpet, brushed drums, and the organ-led arrangement in the Hazelwood cover. "The Cutest Boy" sounds so familiar, but I just can't place what it reminds me of. To get you in the ballpark though I'll say Tallulah Gosh and the elefant band Vacaciones. Mary sits next to me in my Web Design class. I never would have heard this disc if it were not for that fact, and I'm the happier for it. I never lie in my reviews, and I tell you this is a good disc to get.
Shazna Nessa (former wife of Nick Currie aka Momus) changes her identity to suit the circumstances as Milky or Maria Napoleon. As Milky she played "The Emperor Of Oranges" on Songs For The Jet Set Volume 1. Now she acts as Maria Napoleon. As with the Lollipop Train CD, Darla has a review you may wish to read. Use their search engine to find it. Honestly Maria Napoleon sounds like it could be the same band as Lollipop Train. Probably it is except for the (similiar sounding) vocalists. You have to remember that Mike Alway and the El crew are famous for their misdirection about the bands they put out, and the Reverie label that Maria Napoeon and Lollipop Train are on is a collaborative sub-label of Siesta run by Mike Alway and Siesta. The major difference between the 2 artists is that the Maria Napoleon stuff is less immediate and pop than Lollipop Train. It is more jazzy & easy, with lots of instrumentals. There are 4 standout songs on this disc for me. "I'm In Love With David Candy" and "Aerial View Of The City" are basically 2 different versions of the same ba-ba-ba easypop song. This is not really a problem for you the record buyer because both versions have charm. I'll bet that they just couldn't decide which version was best and decided to dress them up as 2 different songs and keep them both. No problem there. Then there is the AMAZING "Tropical Forest" (from 'The Prisoner' 60's TV show). It is an instrumental that sounds like 17 Pygmies or Savage Republic. Not what you'd expect after hearing Maria Napoleon was an easypop act, but I'm telling you what it sounds like. It has the reverb single note plucked guitar and creeping creepy rhythm. Really there. Fianlly there is "Diary Of A Young Man", another surprise. This song sounds like Movietone or Empress. It too is really great; very late evening/early morning sounding, with whispered spoken female vocals over layers of guitar, some bass, no drums.
Peaches is the woman who has stepped firmly in the 'now' and is the current star of Kitty-Yo's roster along with Gonzales. Both She and he moved to Berlin from Canada. This 6 song EP is on a Canadian label and was released to little fanfare at about the same time she was moving to Berlin. I'm pretty sure all the songs on this EP are on the Kitty-Yo full length which we will be getting soon, sent to us by the label. The easy thing to pick up about her stuff is that she plays funky stripbeat electronic sextunes. She's got a one track mind. But you've got to check: she is no eyecandy mans-world fantasy; she is a real life woman singing with same abandon Tribe 8 did, only she is singing about men, or herself. And she is doing her own beats. she has no DJ. All music is "made, mixed, & mutated by Peaches". There are 6 songs on this EP. "Lover Tits" is also the A-side of here 12" on Kitty-Yo. My fave is "Pluck The Pain Away" (not really the title: use your imagination). There is one song on this EP from the period before Peaches got her sampler. "Sucker" is the only guitar based song, kind of a Bratmobile meets The BobbyTeens. To me Peaches is part of a growing sound with peers like Chicks On Speed, Lolita Storm, Mum & Dad, Sonovac, and Ladytron. Each are quite different from the others, yet each are somehow very alike. Ask Peaches what music she likes best right now and she'll tell you DJ Assault; at least that's what she said to me at her recent show with Gonzales opening up for Elastica at Karma club here in Boston. Her brand new stuff with Gonzales does indeed sound like both DJ Assault (Detroit) and DJ Funk (Chicago), both electronic funky beatfolk with ideas as bold as Peaches and tracks as strong as drano.
Songs For a Crimson Eggtree is Earworm's compilation of Elephant 6 styled bands. While I am tired of that sound (which I once loved), this comp is very good. The picks are great (Earworm has a top notch record for quality in all it's releases) and there are some great songs I've never heard mixed in with the familiar US bands like The Essex Green, Elf Power, Of Montreal, Dressy Bessy, and Midget and Hairs. The UK bands I had not heard before this are Bright eyes, Dipsomaniacs, The Wee Turtles, Matthew Ward, & The 14th Wray. Bright eyes have a recent split sing with Her Space Holiday, and the Wee Turtles have tracks on Ptolemaic Terrascope. My fave tracks are Elf Power's T-Rex cover 'Dandy in the underworld' & The Wee Turtles 'If You Ain't a Pilot". I also like the Bright Eyes track "If Winter Ends", Essex Greens "Victor", Dressy Bessy's "Gloria Days", & Of Montreal's "The problem with April". If you're wondering if you need to buy this you probably do. It is vinyl only and has a great sleeve like a wallpaper pattern.