tara jane o'neil, "in the sun lines"

After listening not nearly enough times, I find myself returning overand over to the same conclusion: amazing. Tara Jane's one of thosemusicians where those 'in the know' will already have everything shehas been a part of. Her multi-instrument playing and singing can beheard on Retsin, Rodan, and Sonora Pine records as well as her fabulousdebut solo release last year, 'Peregrine.' It's inevitable you'd misswho she is if you were also a fan of Rachel's, Ida, or Shipping News asshe's bound to be making an appearance at a show here or there or sharemusicians. There's something almost magical in nearly anything shetouches. I know it sounds queer but if you've ever paid witness to oneof her shows, the amount of bleedingly direct and honest charm whicheminates from her shines really bright. People at her shows can't helpbut be captivated and completely swept up. The recorded sound is a muchmore intricate woven tapestry, however, with a mishmosh of unpluggedinstruments and varying arrangements. 'Peregrine' was such a boldstatement, as Tara Jane collected some of her best friends in andaround NYC and created a solid album of intricate instrumentation, ascattering of styles and an honest production which makes the musicianssound like they're in your livingroom. There's a lot of similar facesstill around, like Dan Littleton of Ida, Rachel Grimes of the Rachel's,Cynthia Nelson of Retsin and Ruby Falls and Ida Pearle, but guestcontributions seem much less prominent than last time. Tara's comehome. This year's album sees her moving away from the urban setting,with more production in Louisville than NY, subsequently the music ismore vocal and the subject matter appears more personal. It almostseems to me as if she proved her point last time around — that she isan accomplished arranger and skilled instrumentalist. This time she'sgot more personal stories to tell as a developing songwriter, who'soften being compared to the likes of Joni Mitchell and Cat Power.Recently I bought a new pair of higher quality headphones and deeplistening has taken on a new meaning, this disc has not let me down.

 

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  2619 Hits

amp, "saint cecilia sinsemilla"

It has been three years since the last Amp (proper) full-lengther, the phenomenal 'Stenorette' release on Kranky (produced by Robert Hampson of Main). Since then, there have been a couple releases as A.M.P. Studio (but don't ask me to describe the distinction between entities). While the world awaits another full-length masterpiece, the group has decided to collect recordings made on the road during their 1998/99 European tour, from in-studio performances at AJZ radio in Switzerland and the famed VPRO in the Netherlands.

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  3240 Hits

solex, "low kick and hard bop"

The Amsterdam-based CD shop owner Elisabeth Esselink has deliveredanother bopping poppy soda-jerking sound-clashing long player as Solex.The new album is full of 15 peculiar yet captivating songs and is notyour regular haphazard clumsy mess. According to Matador's website,'Low Kick and Hard Bop' won out the title of this album, which also had'A Cross Between Cyndi Lauper and Early SPK' in the running. (You canguess which one would get my vote.) Esselink is asinger/multi-instrumentalist and clearly has a huge record collectionwhich probably dwarfs the one of Four Tet's Kieran Hebden. Bizarre,obscure samples combine with her playing and singing in a remarkablydemented world of tv game shows, Incredibly Strange Music collections,Hank Williams, Nancy Sinatra, Don Ho, and Herb Alpbert. Picture a crowdof awkward Dutch kids in blue jeans dancing messily around a 1950sburger shop. It's a world of big bright lights and loud colors, hairtossing and skirt twirling. Esselink proves she's not just anothersampladelic diva, but she is a pretty face too! I'm sure she takes herjovial art quite seriously and I can't wait to see her live again thisNovember where I ask her to be my wife. Check out www.solex.net for a really cool site and tour dates.

 

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  2971 Hits

terrorists, "forces 1977-1982"

Living in Boston I have become quite jaded towards ska. As a teenager,I was into the Two-Tone scene but after moving to a scene flooded withobnoxious punks, skins, plaid clothing and Doc Martens, I found myselfextremely agitated and had to distance myself. Hearing a slice of oneof the originals years later is very refreshing and I've found myselfactually coming around to the style again. Terrorists were originals ina few respects - first off they predate the Specials, the Beat andSelecter by a couple years. Next up, while you can kind of/sortof/almost but not quite hear the reggae and punk influences on most ofthe more popular acts, it's clear as day with the Terrorists. Thequartet was based in NYC, played the punk circuit, were confined to arough sound due to their financial position and often played behindvocals from Lee "Scratch" Perry and Roland Alphonso of the Skatalites.This collection, out now on ROIR will probably be faced with adifficult time entering record stores due to the group's name, but weneed to try to rest the hypersensitivity, especially when it comes froma group who hasn't recorded anything in nearly twenty years.

 

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  3298 Hits

The The, "Cinéola Volume 1: Tony - A Soundtrack by..."

Matt Johnson's first full-length release of new (or new to the public) music in over a decade is a collection of 26 short themes for the film by Gerard Johnson. There's no "hit single" and the music is not reflective of any of his mainstream LP releases for any phase of his career. However, it's a fantastic treat for those who have collected his singles over the decades, as there is a lot of commonality with the more thematic B-sides that have graced his short-players throughout the ''80s and early '90s.

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  8044 Hits

Wang Inc., "Risotto in 4/4"

Bip_Hop
I love the way CDs are programmable. For instance, I can take a disc like this one, with a strong opening, "Clear a Space for the King," which conjurs up space aliens grooving on a flashy dancefloor and listen along with the calm and pretty "Sprinkling Time," completely avoiding songs like "Transylvanian Spy" with its irritating, tinny two-bar melodies and "Lonely Stars" with its obnoxious fake piano riff that makes me want to throw things across the room. Reading the song titles, the record label's web site, and the distributor's release notes, each account for this album almost completely contradicts the others: ranging from a fascination with science fiction to the imitation of stomach and digestive sounds to references of musique concrête. While most of the music here is decent, I can't justify it receiving as much over-evaluation. Clearly, the one-man person behind Wang Inc., Italian Bartolomeo Sailer, is a talented individual, with a meticulous amount of attention paid to every instrument sound in each of the fifteen tracks. Rarely are sounds recycled from track to track. Comical punchiness on tracks like "Sonic Killer" would appease many Sonig fans while "Forgotten Kurdish Workers" can easily appeal to any lover of the spaceship hum from a black and white film. A little more patience with the melodies and a lot more discretion when deciding what to omit might be nicer, however.

 

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  2753 Hits

spaceheads, "low pressure"

Merge (North America) / Bip_Hop (Europe)
Forgive my cliché use of a metaphor, but I somehow feel that when I listen to this disc, I'm looking at a fairly decorative car that simply doesn't go anywhere. Spaceheads have been churning out this same formula for years: a dubby pretense, a small amount of recycled and reused, two-bar repetitive sequences, some live drum playing and trumpet with loads of delay effects. The formula's getting old. While their music is undoubtedly pleasant enough for an escalator ride, and the band has earned a wide amount of respect as a performing duo, I've never felt their music was compelling enough to simply toss on the hi-fi and either bop along or pay much attention to. The rhythms and melodies exit the song in the same way each and every one of them came in, and the only lead instrument, the trumpet, does a lackluster job as tour guide. By the time this album reaches the fifth track, I swear I'm hearing remixes of the same song, over and over again. If it weren't for the insulting guitar riff on "Fog," or the horrible, tacky electronic drum fills and cheap 1993 Aphex Twin-ripoff on "Storm Force 8," I may have recommend using this music for quiet studies, creative writing, or other mentally requiring activities. Instead, I'm left thinking this album's only practical use could be to underscore a stuffy documentary on the British Rail system or a trip to the paper mill. Maybe lots of drugs might help my experience, but I just don't have enough cash to try that out right now.

 

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  3218 Hits

manual, "isares"

Static Caravan
EPs are a tough sell. Ounce for ounce, this is probably Jonas Munk'sbest release. It combines all of his best skills in four songs whichnaturally play out with a complete indifference to a 4-6 minuteunwritten guideline for album collections of 8-10 songs. At 24 minutes,it's the perfect amount of time to experiment without wearing out yourwelcome. In addition, it's a good breather from the wealth of outputthat's not been the easiest to keep up with. However, priced as high asit is (and as most EPs are), it'll probably be his least heard. On the(not-so-ironically titled) opener "A Familiar Place," Munk hasn'tstepped far from the sounds and styles of his other output: simple butlush, heavily emotional, slightly pitch-bent synth melodies loop intime with a steady pulse and musical electronic percussion. Both hereand on "Wake," angelic female vocals have been added, but the additionis never oppressive nor distracting from the music. On "StealingThrough," and "Horizon," however, Munk takes a step in removingelements, yanking beats out completely and leaving the former as asimple guitar piece with faint echoes and the latter as a stunning 8½minute gem of bright swelling synths that are as blinding and gorgeousas a setting sun. With this, I look forward to hearing the directionManual moves on to but at the same time, I'm patiently satisfied fornow.

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  1993 Hits

ms. john soda, "while talking"

Much like Manual, this EP release follows suit from a notable full-length release also on Morr Music last year. However, the chances taken here almost (but don't quite) work for me. The production is fantastic—the inclusion of cello, other voices, sound effects, and non-traditional instruments is a warm variety to the ingredients. It compliments the music nicely but somehow the songs just don't sound that strong.
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  2166 Hits

Telefon Tel Aviv, "Immolate Yourself"

The world of "electronica" arguably moves quicker than any other genre of modern music. Subgenres like trip-hop, drum n bass, grime, dubstep, IDM, are just as quickly dismissed as they are embraced. When an album like this comes along (which avoids all subgenre pigeonholing) it can easily be passed over by critical purists, but, in the long run, this characteristic can make it have an exponentially longer shelf life. Fourteen months after its release I am still—actually even more—addicted to it. This is one of my favorite albums of 2009 and possibly one of my favorite electronic albums of the last decade.

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  3546 Hits

New Site

Over the last week the system at Brainwashed.com was upgraded. The database had to be migrated from an older version to a newer one and many things, other than the appearance, have changed. We hope everybody can find everything that was on the older version but feel free to let us know somehow if things don't work or look right!

  9864 Hits

Ida, "Heart Like a River"

Ida is a perfect example of pop music in its finest form. At the heartof the group are three multi-talented singer/songwriters, who, whentogether make some of the most beautiful harmonies and memorable songs.
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  5056 Hits

Mouse On Mars, "Live 04"

With their live shows, Mouse On Mars defy any and all accusations andprejudiced expectations of electronic music in performance. However, asa musical token, this live collection is more of a "greatest hitsrevisited" than an essential live archive.
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  5112 Hits

Dannie Flesher 1951-2010

We are sad to learn of the news of the passing of the remaining WaxTrax! co-founder Dannie Flesher. Were it not for Dannie Flesher and partner Jim Nash, Brainwashed probably wouldn't exist. WaxTrax! were responsible for the widest scale introduction in North America of bands Meat Beat Manifesto, Greater Than One, Legendary Pink Dots, and Coil in the late 1980s, all of which were the foundation for Brainwashed.com. For an excellent article on Dannie and Jim see what the Chicago Tribune had to say in their Turn It Up article. Thanks Dannie & Jim.
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  13970 Hits

World Domination Enterprises, "Lets Play Domination"

The only full-length album from this London based trio has been high on my needs-a-CD-reissue list for years. Originally released in 1988 on the Mute subsidiary Product Inc., this abrasive and unapologetic stew of noise rock, punk, and reggae is a vibrant and flawless classic that sounds as peerless now as it did 21 years ago.
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  12766 Hits

Gerhardt "Jerry" Fuchs, 1974-2009

The staff of Brainwashed are saddened by the news of the untimely passing of drummer Jerry Fuchs. Jerry was close to many friends of Brainwashed and played in numerous groups including !!!, The Juan Maclean, and Maserati. We wish to extend condolences to his friends and family through these difficult times.
  12688 Hits

Join the Party!

Make everyone an imaginary "Mix CD" for our new virtual Mix CD Exchange Party section. Send the tracklist (and only a tracklist) to mixcd at brainwashed. Make sure it is short enough to fit on a disc, avoid shameless self-promotion (ie don't put your own songs on it!), tell us who you are and where you are, and give it a title!
  12098 Hits

Help Give Some Orphaned CDs a Home

Here at Brainwashed we're devastated when we hear of labels sending music to the landfills. There's plenty of uses for spare CDs: keep some at the home, office, give to friends, leave at coffee shops, use as coasters, etc...  We're currently trying to unload some CD overruns: CDs that have no artwork. We're giving them away at $1 each and have a number of titles in the Brainwashed Commerce section. 
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  14928 Hits

John Hughes (1950-2009)

There's no arguing how influential John Hughes has been on most of the staff and writers of Brainwashed and we would like to take a moment to thank him posthumously for all he did for the world of music. The soundtracks to the films he either wrote, directed, or both were the templates for some of the best mix tapes that were passed around in the '80s and obscure little touches like the massive wall-sized Cabaret Voltaire poster in Ferris Bueller's Day Off get the big thumbs up in this corner of the music world. He also raised a great guy with great taste, John III, whose Hefty Records has long been a Brainwashed fave label from its inception. Our hearts go out to his family following such an unexpected passing.

  11094 Hits

Raglani Theft Relief Effort

Brainwashed is sad to report that the van of Kranky artist Raglani was broken into after the performance at this year's No Fun Fest. Both Joseph Raglani and Steve Hauschildt's gear was stolen—all of the gear they basically own and use. Authorities and used gear shops were notified but nothing has turned up this week. A donation fund has been set up at Kvist Records and we would also like to post the gear list in case anyone comes across a pile resembling this.
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  11933 Hits