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Laibach – Spectre

March 18th, 2014
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Laibach-Spectre

Political Machinery

“You take the front line / I’ll find a good rhyme / Get to it.” So command industrial music pioneers Laibach on “No History” from Spectre, the newest chapter in their complex artistic history. It’s a short stanza with a lot of weight, addressing their music’s role in inspiring breaks from social and political groupthink. Are they—and have they always been—actively fomenting revolution, empty figureheads merely suggesting that to others, or gangster pranksters content to say of an idea, “We’ll just leave this here,” and watching what happens? Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews

St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Half the City

March 3rd, 2014
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The Greening of America

Soul revivalism has been in full swing (ha!) for years now, a movement with sound ranging from the Daptone Records crew all the way through Cee-Lo Green and Janelle Monae’s redolent updates. The newest entry in the field comes from this Birmingham, Alabama sextet, following up their Bandcamp EP Greetings from St. Paul & The Broken Bones with a formal physical debut, the sadly swaying Half the City. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews

The Glitch Mob – Love Death Immortality

February 11th, 2014
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Two Smoking Headphones

“Hi, this is Jason Statham. Thanks for getting on this conference call about my new film Transporter 6: Heads in a Duffel Bag. Out of the gate, I have to talk first about the strength—really, the costar of this movie. The chase and fight scenes which are so smashing in these films wouldn’t be anything without an edgy soundtrack behind them to pump up the drama, so we’ll be using electronic music throughout from the new album Love Death Immortality by The Glitch Mob. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Give the People What They Want

January 16th, 2014
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Follow Your Own Advice

It’s not unheard of to experience new music and make psychological connections to other music in a completely separate sphere. With this is mind, Give the People What They Want, the sixth album from Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, strangely feels like a kindred spirit to Beastie Boys’ Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. Both are albums released after a namesake was treated for cancer, and while their sounds were made prior to public disclosure of any diagnosis they suggest willing spirit but unfortunately weak flesh.
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By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews

Various Artists – Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound

December 13th, 2013
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Feeling Minnesota

The Numero Group has not-so-quietly built a reputation for lovingly crafted compilations resurrecting forgotten scenes, artists and labels for public appreciation. So focused have their efforts been in bringing obscurities to light that only this year did the imprint start to tackle sources of lost music with any significant pre-existing public interest. They began 2013 by reissuing work from post-hardcore band Unwound and they now end it with Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound, an examination of the central and largest jewel in the Twin Cities’ musical crown. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews , , , , ,

VNV Nation – Transnational

November 26th, 2013
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OMG VNV MIA WTF

Ever wanted a favorite best-kept secret finally shared with the world, only to not feel right about it soon after? Maybe it’s a great burger joint that’s suddenly not so great after they open new locations, or the consignment shop you can’t squeeze into after it gets just the right write-up. We wonder if longtime industrial fans share that situational dread on hearing new album Transnational from veteran body-music group VNV Nation. This is a singular moment when today’s pop electronica and sounds from the long-bubbling underground leave marks on each other, seemingly to the latter’s detriment. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews

Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer – An Evening With…

November 23rd, 2013
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Quaint Misbehavin’

The third disc of most editions of An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer closes with “Ukulele Anthem,” Palmer yelling tuneful bullet points on how much the world might benefit from more time and people dedicated to playing the shrunk-down guitar. It’s a theorem sadly not proven by the three hours of performance leading up to it. Recorded live throughout 2012, the duo’s touring showcase traveled down thematic paths quite familiar to their rabid fans, but which surely must have seemed to outsiders relentlessly macabre and, well, kind of joyless. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews ,

Autechre – L-event

November 3rd, 2013
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Half a Tab

For more than two decades, Englishmen Rob Brown and Sean Booth have made some of the world’s most uncompromising electronica. Save for early in their career, Autechre’s brand of dance music is largely undanceable and more abstract art than music. Listening to a full album is much like getting tossed around on rapids in a raft, so where this year’s double album Exai was a white-knuckle challenge, the follow-up L-event EP is far more accessible and entertaining almost entirely due to its brevity. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews ,

RJD2 – More Is Than Isn’t

October 14th, 2013
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More Old School Than New

While in retrospect turntablism was doomed to fail as a sustainable genre—there’s a “sound,” then there’s mere focus on one instrument—it didn’t help that some of the world’s best cutters untethered themselves from the skills that paid their bills for the purpose of artistic growth. Philadelphia-based producer RJD2 was touted as the next DJ Shadow with releases like Dead Ringer, then took on the challenge of playing music that sounded like the samples he used to drop. Even if there are still instruments and live vocals creating part of the illusion, More Is Than Isn’t at least feels like his first steps back into the ones and twos since before 2007.
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By Adam Blyweiss Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Arp – MORE

October 1st, 2013
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Addition by Subtraction, and Then by Addition

There are subtle shifts in musical style and then there are those creative left turns that threaten to send fans into the nearest wall— like the Beastie Boys moving from their punk roots to white-boy rap, Liz Phair going pop and Neil Young going electro. It could certainly be argued that San Francisco-based electronic artist Alex Georgopolous swerved like this on MORE, his fourth album under his solo guise Arp, but it’s only almost true.
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By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews