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Podcast Episode 359: June 25, 2017

Shelleyan OrphanWe are joined by Jem of Shelleyan Orphan for the latest Brainwashed Radio podcast edition. There's a new boxed set available collecting their first three albums remastered plus a disc of rarities and a DVD. Additional music comes from Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Richard H. Kirk, Psychic TV, and ADULT. (with Michael Gira).


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Forced Exposure New Releases for 6/19/17

New music is due from Hexer, Bamboo, and Sascha Funke, while old music is due from J Dilla, Tack>>Head, Keiji Haino, Camille, and Leyland Kirby.

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Brainwashed Premiere, Marker "Follow it Down"

cover imageWe at Brainwashed are delighted to pair with Medical Records to debut "Follow It Down" from Marker.  For his first full-length release under that name, New Orleans' own Mike Wilkinson takes the standard guitar/bass/drum sound, mutates it, and then reassembles it brilliantly on this self-titled debut.  "Follow It Down" is an excellent sampler of what will be on next month’s album.  Blissfully demolished guitar sounds are mixed with upfront bass lines to create a hazy fog in which a steady drum machine and Wilkinson's lonely, isolated vocals slowly glide through.  He brilliantly shuffles the mix around, and allows it to dissolve into an ecstatic wall of sound, with shards of melody still shining through the otherwise comfortable, yet impenetrable abyss.  Look for the full album from Marker in mid-July.

Click here to stream "Follow It Down" via SoundCloud

 

Bill Orcutt, "Bill Orcutt"

cover imageLike many, I picked up Bill Orcutt's self-released solo guitar debut (New Ways to Pay Old Debts) back in 2009 and was completely floored by its idiosyncratic primitivism.  There was nothing on earth quite like it, as it captured visionary art in its rawest, purist form: Orcutt was a virtuosic dervish violently attacking a four-string acoustic guitar, howling and moaning along when the mood struck him.  It sounded positively feral.  It also sounded like it was composed spontaneously and recorded into a boom box (it was even periodically disrupted by ringing phones and passing trucks).  In a perverse way, it was almost too perfect–I never got around to picking up any of Orcutt's follow-ups on Editions Mego because it seemed like there was nowhere to go from the demonic possession supernova of his first salvo.  As it turns out, I was wrong about that, as Orcutt has spent the ensuing years moving in a more melodic direction.  This latest release is a culmination of that evolution, as Orcutt picked up an electric guitar, headed to an actual studio, and recorded a suite of originals and standards.  If that sounds tame, it is not: Orcutt's biting and percussive renditions of chestnuts like "When You Wish Upon A Star" are every bit as explosive as I would want them to be, but the (slightly) stronger emphasis on melody goes a long way towards making Orcutt's vision a bit more conducive to repeat listening.

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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, "On the Echoing Green"

cover imageWhen I first heard the absolutely gorgeous lead single ("A Song of Summer") from On The Echoing Green, I started salivating immediately about the prospect of an entire album in that vein, as it seemed like Cantu-Ledesma had finally transformed his experimental guitar shimmer into pure dreampop/shoegaze heaven (a direction he had been headed for a while).  One thing I failed to fully register at the time, however, was that the delirious pop bliss of "A Song of Summer" was stretched out for a very un-pop eleven goddamn minutes.  That curious and arguably self-sabotaging decision more or less summarizes this entire release, as Echoing Green is not so much a dreamy and hook-filled pop masterpiece so much as it is yet another characteristically abstract and experimental guitar album from Jefre (albeit one with a handful of riffs and melodies that plenty of more accessible artists would happily kill for).  That said, the few fully formed songs capture Cantu-Ledesma at the absolute peak of his powers, even if Echoing Green as a whole falls shy of the lushly beautiful pop breakthrough that it could have been.

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The Inward Circles, "Scaleby"

cover imageThis digital-only sister release to And Right Lines Limit and Close All Bodies is a suite of comparatively simple, warm, and straightforward drone pieces, which presumably explains why its companion warranted a physical release while Scaleby did not.  That lack of fanfare makes sense, as Right Lines Limit is a far more complex and ambitious work that expands the limits of Skelton's vision while this release is merely nine variations on a theme firmly within his comfort zone.  I happen to be quite fond of that comfort zone though, as these bleary, churning reveries play much more to Skelton's strengths than some of his more cosmic, universe-chewing excursions of late.  While the recurring Inward Circles' theme of obfuscation is still in full effect (there are no recognizable stringed instruments to be found), Scaleby nonetheless carves out its own lovely niche of languorously vaporous, dreamlike beauty beneath a patina of shifting crackle, grit, and hiss.

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Second Woman, "S/W"

cover imageThis innovative collaboration between Telefon Tel Aviv's Joshua Eustis and Belong's Turk Dietrich picks up right where the eponymous 2016 release left off, as the duo continue to gleefully pick apart and stretch minimal dub-techno into splintered unrecognizability.  As such, it would be quite a leap to describe S/W as dance music: all of the expected elements are present, but Second Woman reduce beats to skittering, stuttering abstraction.  The overall effect is quite a dynamically compelling one, ambitiously marrying an erratically sputtering and chopped-up synth haze with understated beats that seem equally inspired by skipping CDs, jackhammers, and ping-pong.  While some more hooks would certainly have been welcome, it is hard to grumble much about an album that sounds like it was sent from the future to show us what pop music for robots will be like.

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Daniel Menche, "Sleeper"

cover image Daniel Menche's latest work is a bit daunting on paper:  a three disc, three-plus hour work of 12 pieces, ranging between 10 and 25 minutes each.  However, this is not the Menche of old, who was an adherent to that old school noise blast mentality that was so heavily the focus in the early days of the noise scene.  Instead, there is rich variation and diversity on Sleeper, and the range of moods he creates is fitting the somnial implications of title, capturing the soundtrack to the most pleasant of dreams to the most terrifying of nightmares.

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Drew McDowall, "Unnatural Channel"

cover imageDrew McDowall’s second solo album for Dais is a bit of a surprise detour from 2015's more Coil-esque Collapse, largely abandoning the melodicism and eerie moods of its predecessor in favor of more fragmented and disorienting fare.  Many of these pieces ambiguously ride the line between bold evolution and perplexing regression, as McDowall's previously clear vision sounds broken and deconstructed into a miasma of lurching percussion, throbbing drones, and clattering metallic textures. As such, I had to re-calibrate my expectations a bit, but Unnatural Channel get points for taking chances and not going back to the same well a second time.  While I am not sure if Unnatural Channel comes at all close to realizing McDowall's potential, it is certainly an oft-compelling experiment, resembling a well-produced homage to the golden age of the noise/experimental cassette underground.

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Ecstatic Music Band, "Approaching the Infinite"

cover imageWhile this latest album from the 10 person collective may feature only three of its members (Ezra Buchla, John Krausbauer, and Agnes Szelag, recorded in 2012), that reduced personnel is hardly perceptible from the sound.  The subset trio create an unbroken noise squall of over 40 minutes that channels the best of truly minimalist compositions while at the same time it is reminiscent of the most chaotic (and therefore most amazing) of psych rock freakouts.

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