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Sugar Plant, "Dryfruit"

Was it worth paying the expensive amounts for shipping from Japan? No.Does this album deserve a worldwide release? Yes. Sugar Plant is one ofthe world's premiere technologically-friendly dream pop combos.
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5265 Hits

"Unbearable Candies"

The first CD from the London-based Unbearable Recordings label is acollection of music which previously only existed on a series of 7"records.
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5738 Hits

"Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Twisted Nerve But Were Afraid to Ask"

Following that palpitating heart over Misty Dixon last week, someresearch was actually conducted. Turns out Misty's not a person, but aquartet from Manchester. I can't find any albums yet but there is atrack on this compilation, "Misty Dixon and some other less-significantfriends or something" (don't believe what the record label tells you).
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4918 Hits

"The Legendary Pink Box"

While I have always loved the music on the Pink Box, I have always hadissues with the CD version.
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4824 Hits

Coil, "Moon's Milk (In Four Phases)"

Most fans have probably collected each one of the seasonal Solstice& Equinox singles back when they were released in 1998. Now thatthey're long out of print, a reasonably priced collection takes theirplace.
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5092 Hits

James Plotkin's Atomsmasher

I honestly think this disc's been out for quite a while, but it's beenquite a bitch to find around Boston. My personal theory suggests thatsince the label's based out of Boston, most local stores are afraid tocarry it. grrrrrrr. James Plotkin and DJ Speedranch are the farthestthing from local, however.
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5840 Hits

Colourbox, "Best of 82/87"

I doubt there is one person reading this who doesn't know "Pump Up TheVolume," but how many know the history of Colourbox up until thatmoment, possibly 4AD's biggest worldwide smash in their entireexistence?
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4509 Hits

Charles Atlas, "Felt Cover"

The cover of the third album from this San Franciscan duo somewhatbaffles me, and eerily provides hints about the contents. I have alwaysloved their albums but there's always something rather conceptuallymissing.
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4224 Hits

"If I Was Prince"

I have very mixed feelings about tribute albums. If a group of friends decide to all record some songs because they're all influenced by an artist or group, it's somewhat acceptable. Meanwhile, when labels like Cleopatra make a career out of coordinating a bunch of bands related to their label, (Leatherstrip seem to always say yes, too) and tossing together a collection of "ironic" versions, it's nauseating. This collection is sort of hard to pin down, and is somewhat predictable in its unpredictability.
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5634 Hits

Nobukazu Takemura, "Sign"

Making its way to the shops this week is the CD issue of the nowlegendary 12" single originally released (and reviewed) back inDecember of 2000. "Sign" has got to be one of my favorite 12" singlereleases in the last few years, with a B-side that clocks in over 36minutes.
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4885 Hits

Legendary Pink Dots, "Chemical Playschool 11, 12 & 13"

This is definitely one of the most ambitious releases in months and isquite possibly the most ambitious LPD release to date. This three CDset is composed of nearly all unreleased music, with the exception oftwo tracks from the LP edition of 'Nemesis Online' ("10th Shade," and"Schatten").
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4959 Hits

"Bip-Hop Generation V.3 & V.4"

Possibly the most consistently good series of electronic musiccompilations over the last two years has been the Bip Hop series out ofFrance. Each disc features musical contributions from six electronicartists from all over the world. The accompanying booklet gives a briefbio, selected discography and website/contact information. Thistechnique is arguably far more effective in introducing new acts thanreleasing something to the effect of a triple CD set with one song fromeach contributor and fuckall for background information.
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5496 Hits

louie austen, "only tonight"

I don't want to sound sexist, but there is something sort of endearingabout a short, horny Canadian chick with an afro and hairy armpits inskin-tight clothing prancing around and singing about her sexuality.
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5150 Hits

odishon (audition)

After over two years of making the film circuits in Asia and Europe, Takashi Miike's horror/thriller finally touches down in North America. In a small review I saw somebody say "David Cronenberg eat your heart out." I can understand why. The film is very very slow on the uptake, a widower, Shigeharu Aoyama, has been suggested by his grown son that it's time to find a new woman or wife. Aoyama, who has strong ties to the Japanese film industry, is given the idea to hold auditions for this new unfound woman. After picking out a much younger woman, Asami, the plan seems to go ahead smoothly, but as events unfold, things just get completely fucked. They meet a few times, they have dinner, they go away for a romantic weekend in the mountains. Suddenly, she vanishes without a trace, and Aoyama is left to put together the pieces. Little does he know what terror awaits him. Those familiar with Miike's other works might expect gorey horror, but the cultural elite at the Brattle Theater on Friday night weren't prepared for it. It was amusing to watch swarms of them quickly leaving as the brutality levels were cranked way up. In a demented way, it was cute (while completely frightening) as the petit, cute, sweet Japanese girl was transformed into a domineering sadist. While the last 1/4 of the film was definitely more exciting, I'm wondering if the build-up was really worth it. If you choose to see this, I highly recommend staying until the end no matter how freaked out you get. Just don't see it on a full stomach.

 

9349 Hits

mulholland drive

The mark of an exceptionally visual film director is that every frame could stand alone as a great photograph, poster or post card. With the exception of 'Lost Highway', David Lynch has seemingly held on to this skill. In the style of his most popular films, he sets up this story as a mystery, wrapped inside an enigma. Set in the Hollywood Hills, a woman is the only survivor of a car accident but is left wandering with amnesia. By chance she happens upon a vacant apartment (as the renter is vacating) and hides out until she's discovered by a wholesome passenger who gets sucked into the rollercoaster ride. Lynch has an undeniable mastery of all elements as the score, sound effects, characters and camera shots all play into a twisted story of the hyperphysical underground of a shallow business: filmmaking! Popular Lynch elements also come into play: the use of coffee, unexplained objects, the name Diane, red stage curtains, death and light, invented (as opposed to strategically placed for advertisement purposes) products, off-camera people answering on-camera phones knowing who the other caller is when they pick up, and of course Roy Orbison. (Rebekah Del Rio's a'capella Spanish rendition of "Crying" has got to be one of the most captivating moments of the film.) Betty and Rita are the innocents playing detective, selflessly trying to help each other out and uncover the mystery, yet Diane and Camilla are the alter-egos, guilty as sin and driven by selfish desires. As complex as the plot seems, this film is basically about deceit, but on many levels however. Not only are the characters deceiving each other, they are deceiving themselves while David Lynch is completely deceiving the audience into believing which part of this film is reality and which part is fantasy. At the end it's up to you to decide which is which.

 

8527 Hits

mulholland drive

Imagine being lost in some 1950's sitcom, except when the lights and cameras go off and the phony smiles disappear there is a dark lifeless world of crime and murder. The lead character Betty seems almost perfect with her conservative appearance and charming personality, but by night she seems like a different person, often naughty and dangerous. In Lynch's Hollywood, the night is extra dark and the day seems excessively bright. The sounds of the night are often dark and disturbing while the sounds of the day are perky and happy. The other lead, Rita, is introduced on a darkened stretch of Mulholland Drive where a murder is about to take place, her own. A horrific accident causes her to escape but with no recollection of who she is. The mystery begins when Betty and Rita meet up and try to figure out who Rita is. As they come closer and closer to the Rita's identity, they fall in love. Their love seems so perfect, yet it doesn't seem real. Like that 50's sitcom it seems to be all a dream. When will this dream end? It doesn't. Mulholland Drive remains a dream, remains a mystery. As we come closer to discovering the truth, Lynch switches characters around and Rita becomes Camilla Rhodes, an actress in love with a director and Betty becomes Diane Selwyn another actress in love with Camilla. Just when you think you've figured everything out the plot thickens. The dream goes on forever. At this point, however, you simply have to sit back and enjoy the dream. Don't try to figure it out or it will end up haunting you and leave you wandering down Mulholland Drive forever.
8243 Hits

Melt Banana

Last week I was lucky enough to hear one of the most energetic, unique and exciting rock bands on the planet perform what can be inadequately described as experimental hardcore punk at the three best gigs I've been to this year. Melt Banana of Tokyo are on tour in Europe and making an exhilarating manic noise everywhere they go. Their surgically masked guitarist Agata, sends all kinds of unlikely sounds roaring from his six strings via his big rack of effects pedals; breaking glass, machine gun fire and emergency sirens all augment his frantic slide antics. Singer Yako sounds utterly unlike any other singer, yelping like a small puppy or letting loose a helium barrage of unintelligible invectice as she does a surf dance through the thick waves of Banana mosh fodder. Tiny bassist Rika and American drummer Dave, formerly of Discordance Axis and now of internet noisemongers Atomsmasher, keep up the breathtakingly fast rhythm. The band have been playing and touring long enough to perfect their art attack and show everyone else how rock music can still blast ecstatically into the future. They played mostly songs from their recent and best albums 'Charlie' and 'Teeny Shiny', and as usual did one of their legendary cover songs, this time a traditional Italian tune 'Tintarella di Luna'. The Liverpool gig was especially sweaty and chaotic, with Agata grabbing a table a few songs in to keep people from falling on his pedals. In Leeds and Liverpool, support bands John Holmes, Narcosis and Voorhees were of the angry hardcore variety. Dave likened John Holmes to Prong although they seemed slower. Manchester supports were experimental noisemongers Magic City and Triclops and the comedy laptop processed shouting swearing racket of Speedranch^Jansky Noise. Speedranch was gutted not to be able to hire a bouncy Castle for the occasion, so made do with jumping off the PA into the crowd where someone emptied a beer can over his head. If you're in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland or Italy over the next two months or so, you might be able to catch Melt Banana before they go back to Japan. Check out the tour dates at www.splatterpromotion.com.
8524 Hits

a letter from the editor

The "entertainment industry" often becomes the target for politicians trying to win brownie points for a voting segment or parents who need a scape goat other than themselves. The lifestyles of those who chose to be in this field are often frowned upon — the pay is shit and it's an expensive trade to be in. "Why don't you want to be a doctor or lawyer like your cousin?" There's even that pathetic amount of ridicule that goes on when people tend to disagree on something as personal as preference. Over the last week, amongst many things on my mind is how important entertainment really is.

When I woke on September 11th, one of the World Trade Towers was on fire — nobody could confirm whether it was a bomb or fire. Minutes later, I, along with millions of others witnessed live an airplane crashing into the second tower, shortly thereafter a plane crashed into the Pentagon. What the fuck is going on in our world? What is next? Is this armageddon? It was the most terrifying day I have ever lived through. It didn't help that in these very tense hours, our selected leader was nowhere to be found, flying all over the country, in what seemed like a surreal chess game where the king is the most protected yet comparitively helpless piece.

Panic was taking over where shock was giving way. I tried to phone friends in NY and one in Washington who works for the government but all lines were overloaded, jammed. Soon, the towers crumbled, and the feeling of panic and everything just sunk into an indescribable feeling of void, sadness and emptiness. The pictures had clearly shown loads of rescue workers and volunteers scrambling to save thousands of people, many of them didn't have enough chance to make it out to safety. Towards the end of the day, contacts were made, all friends and family I knew who were in these places were safe. Contacts were made later with close friends and family just to say hi and how much we care for and love each other.
Over the next few days, the news reports were filled with much sadness and despair. The loss is catastrophic and the amount of love and support shown across the world was comforting in a time of great pain. (Heck, I even cried when the Brits played our national anthem.) However, tensions were high everywhere. From my own personal experience, many people on music-related electronic forums I either read or subscribe to engaged in heated arguments, finger pointing and name calling. If anything, these experiences have reinforced my feelings in the necessity for people to listen and try their hardest to exercise a bit of understanding. This goes for -ALL- sides: I'm hurt, sad and angry when I hear about people spouting their mouths off about killing people of various nations as well as when I hear people automatically assume my government is about to take part in the murder of innocent civilians. I have spoken my mind, but have been accused of being a bully, a stupid yank, intolerable, and siding with the opposing side of whoever I'm disagreeing with. All because I probably have not properly communicated that I wish people would try to be more understanding, considerate and less bigoted. Maybe Greater Than One were really profound when they wrote back in 1988, "Ignorance is the Agent of Fear"; "Fear is the Agent of Violence."

There comes a time where you feel that you can't take it any more. The TV shows you images nearly everybody has seen over and over and over again, the arguments get so fierce and personal that you begin to lose ability to focus properly on work, life, personal interactions, etc,... Now, more than ever, I'm finding how important music is in my life. To have the luxury of turning everything off for a bit of introspection, whether it be for the new Lali Puna, a comforting old Cocteau Twins, Beatles, Pixies, Nurse With Wound or Bjorn Again, is truly magical. Some may consider it escape, some may consider it solace, some may consider it spiritual or inspirational, but it is yours for consideration.

With that, I'm proud to have such a minimal part of "this industry" and an important role in a team who is helpful and sharing, caring and listening. We need this. We need to continue on. We need music and we need to continue sharing and listening.
13474 Hits

ADD N TO (X)

I might dog them on their recorded releases, but boy can these guys put on a great show. It's seemingly a simple formula - three folks with analogue synths and an occasional bass plus a live drummer. The feel however is far more punk rock than they have ever expressed on any record. Sure they play all the hits and new songs, but they also end the night with a cover of the Stooges, "I Wanna Be Your Dog." It's furious, sexual and powerful, and don't miss them if they're in your town.
7078 Hits

Jim Ellis, dead at 45

He might not be a household name but the world is sadly one honorable person less this week. Ellis (along with fellow Duke University graduate Tom Truscott) invented the concept of Usenet back in 1979. A year later, the program was written and two computers in remote locations were allowed to share information between each other. By 1993, there were over a thousand Usenet newsgroups, and at the close of the century, nearly 40,000. Their efforts helped create the spread of information which became the foundation of what the web has done graphically, all without ever making a penny. I may have never known the guy, but without him, you wouldn't be reading brainwashed right now - I probably wouldn't have known Chris Miller, Greg Clow or Alan Ezust. On top of that, I probably wouldn't have held on to my beliefs and experiences from the early days that the exchange of this information should be free of charge, advertisements and corporate sponsorship. Thanks Jim, wherever you are, you were a visionary, a pioneer and man of principles.
14726 Hits