Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dirty Beaches - Night City - Night-People
Dirty Beaches - Night City
Dirty Beaches records are about travel. His last tape on Night-People evoked highways and open roads and the hypnotic rhythm of the dotted yellow line. Night City turns instead to the eternal flicker of neon signs, to long, winding florecent tunnels, to the dreamlike energy of the 24-hour city. Instead of countless miles coast to coast, the travel is within the labyrinth of the metropolis, and instead of the dry twang of highway guitar, the melodies are carried on the opaque shimmer of plastic synthesizer. Where before the rhythms came from the lulling infinity of the endless road, here their cut-time pieces move together and apart with precision. And instead of Alex's lost crooner baritone, only a pair of relective sunglasses float diembodied on the cover. $6
Broken Water - s/t - Night-People
Broken Water - s/t
Olympia group with a dark sound, heavy nods to Sonic Youth and the dissonant 90s. "Boyfriend Hole" leads the tape off, makes sense they made a 7" out of it, too, total ripper. They've got their sound locked down, make heady work of the six songs here. As solid as anything out there. $6
Dunebuggy - Live: White Paint/High Jinx and the Perfume Tuxedo - Night People
Dunebuggy - Live White Paint/"High Jinx and the Perfume Tuxedo"
Live murk from everyone's favorite Iowa City weirdo-duo. Gotta say, this might be a fans only outing. The 'Buggy seems to be in great form, thrashing on the thrashers and slow burning on the slow burners, but the whole affair sounds to be a little much for the walkman charged with recording the goings-on. That said there's a gem on the b-side -- a mellow, echo-y guitar and drums number that is in a more gentle mode than I've heard from Dunebuggy. This show sounds like it was a blast, hope they take it outside of Iowa so we can hear for ourselves. $6
Rene Hell - Baroque Arcade - Night-People
Rene Hell - Baroque Arcade
Jeff Witscher continues his run of Rene Hell releases with this tape of eerie, outer-space synthesizer work. With all the mining of the Cluster/German scene going on right now, Witscher's releases are instantly recognizable -- there's a definite edge to them, an uneasiness and insistence where others are looking to sooth. Less John Carpenter-y than the Ekhein tape, the pieces here are constantly shifting and dense, yet the sounds remain vivid, defined. Hope he sticks to the Rene Hell name for a while, interesting stuff going on here. $6
The Savage Young Taterbug - Syrupy Evenings - Night-People
The Savage Young Taterbug - Syrupy Evenings
It seems like forever ago that Boys of the Feather dropped with all its naive, sing-a-long energy and dreamy, contact-high sparkle. With every tape since, that mystical, boyish Taterbug has slipped a little bit farther into the haze, always a little bit harder to hear in the nostalgia/nightmare kelaidoscope of audio. Not that this is a bad thing -- the California Son tape is maybe my favorite Charles Free solo work and it's one of his most fractured. On Syrupy Evenings, Taterbug appears like little more than the Chesire Cat -- a strange, fixed, pained grin floating above the warble of gritty keyboard and cheap FX. Weirdest, saddest tape I've heard in a while. $6
Sleep Over - s/t - Night-People
Sleep Over - s/t
Nice little tape of dreamy pop music that sounds like it could be the demos from some long lost 4AD band. Warbly synthesizer, slow drum-machine and lots of reverb give it that hazy MBV feel that really hits home. Nobody's quite doing it like these ladies are right now, super nice to jam this kind of stuff. $6
Pageants - s/t - Night-People
Pageants - s/t
Dark 60s pop from Australia (where else these days!) that leans heavy on reverb and dirty, 12-string electric guitar. No summer of love here, though -- late-night feelings of loss and regret lurk behind every ringing melody. Short, sweet and deeply catchy. Lithe chord-progressions and subtle organ work really seal the deal. For all the rep Night-People has for ruling the fringe scene, their pop-leaning tapes rarely fail to deliver (Terrorbird, Twerps and Dunebuggy tapes all remain in heavy rotation around here). Can't wait to hear more from these guys. $6
Lazer Zeppelin - Pyramid Echo - Night-People
Lazer Zeppelin - Pyramid Echo
Oddball sounds from Olympia, Washington. Hard to know what to say exactly about this tape -- they do a Uke of Space Corners cover and I think that goes a long way to describe the off-kilter, exuberant, shambolic, folk-country, collective-sound psychadelia going on here. The whole thing's been run through an echoplex which gives is a nice, full, swampy feel to it. Upbeat, clattering and weird in an old-school, "let's just act weird" kinda way that feels friendly and goofy. Good tape for late summer full moons. $6
EMA - Little Sketches On Tape
EMA - Little Sketches On Tape
Sketches in a good sense of the word, the little vignettes of song here are fragmented but have that spark of life to them. EMA is Erika from Gowns, and the set up here is incredibly simple but bears some weird, interesting fruit -- sparse guitar or piano and voice and tape speed manipulation. The audio stretches and warbles, adding texture, depth and almost a kind of rhythm. It's awesome that with so few and familiar components, EMA has put something together that sounds like nothing else out there. She's carved out some very fertile creative ground for herself with this stuff. I really hope these little sketches on tape are pointing towards a big album on vinyl. $6

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