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While Lost At Sea endeavors to write about a great deal of the music it receives, there are hundreds of releases that slip through the cracks - things too strange, too transient or (yes) too bad to earn a full review. EPs, CD singles and 7" records are particularly hard to deal with because there are so many of them - and they are so small - that they often get lost in the shuffle. This sometimes means that deserving music in non-album form is not reaching the people who might enjoy it most.
In an attempt to save give some of this music its due, Lost At Sea has dredged through recently received EPs and singles to weed out a select few and recommend them to readers. Each review below includes a link to an artist or label site, most of which include samples of the artist's music and information about tours and buying the albums.
Genghis Tron - Cloak of Love EP
This is the best and most surprising item in this edition of the EP column. Genghis Tron has accessed the all-to-obvious (but frequently ignored) sonic similarities between the blazingly fast genres of grindcore and exhaustively belligerent IDM micro-styles like drill 'n' bass. The lightning-fast jumps between screamy speed metal and drilling little synth blasts are disconcerting at first, but over the course of this disc the band proves the similarities outnumber the differences and more than justify the experiment. Tight, noisy blister music both for fans of Lightning Bolt and Squarepusher.
Only Lovers Left Alive / No T-Shirt - "Nickel Comb" b/w "Holiday" 7" single
www.ollasound.com / www.no_t_shirt.at.infoseek.co.jp
This is a split vinyl single between a Chicago band (Only Lovers Left Alive) and a similarly-minded Tokyo band (No T-Shirt). OLLA's "Nickel Comb" is an appropriately dreary (in a good way) shoegaze track, but No T-Shirt's "Holiday" is the real highlight, an echoing barnstormer on something of an early Echo and the Bunnymen tip. Two to watch.
No-Fi Soul Rebellion - Lambs to the Slaughter EP
Modest Mouse phrasing over some vaguely funky rhythms that recall the Rolling Stones' boozy stumbling, decades earlier, through similar territory. It's perhaps almost too sweaty for the stiffed-limbed deodorant rock preferred by the so-called dancepunk community, but if the tracks on this EP are any indication the band may be able to jump that hurdle on the strength of their songwriting alone.
The Happy Couple - Fools In Love EP
The Lucksmiths - San Francisco EP
Math and Physics Club - Weekends Away EP
Hamburg, Seattle, Australia: Twee indie pop is an international language, and one that hasn't changed much in the last 15 years. Which is probably just fine with fans of bands both old (the veteran Lucksmiths) and new (Math and Physics Club), who will certainly enjoy all three of these brief shots of summery, pleasant niceness. The Happy Couple submit the best set here of Sunday afternoon pop, but the Lucksmiths gorgeously written title track on their EP is the single-song highlight. Recommended stuff from this label filling a neat niche.
Prhizzm - Prhizzm EP
Sure, the Outighes drove IDM deep underground, burying it under layers of microhouse and new wave revival, but that doesn't mean it died. It just coiled up tighter around its stacks of Autechre records and plotted methods through which to strike back at those free-loving hedonists. Most of these methods involve stuttering drum beats, inaudible samples and jumbled computer-generated artwork, and Prhizzm is no exception. This tight six-song EP certainly is not a far cry from the same high-concept experimentations that were going on ten years ago, but the slowly-unraveling compositions are welcome at a time when the style is in short supply.
Spoon - "Anticipation" b/w "Headz" 7" single
A reissue of the popular group's first 7" single. It's less the classical pop of their later famous work and more a jittery, bare-boned rock with an almost breathless heaving to it. Essential for big fans and worthwhile for those interested in tracing the group's roots back to their source, but not mandatory by any means.
Silo 10 - Silo 10
Silo 10 recorded this album in the titular silo, and used the space as a factor in the recording itself. The members play long building string tones and arranged strumming interrupted with periodic conversive plings. Among the groups' "overused references" are Terry Riley and Fripp/Eno, but the idea of using an unusual recording space to affect the music, particularly through echo, is more directly reminiscent of Pauline Oliveros' Deep Listening recordings, which were made with a more unusual set of instruments in an empty underground rainwater tank. The players seem to be too reverently delicate in addressing their space to achieve any particularly thrilling results, but as a musical reflection of a physical space - a cardinal mission of ambient music - Silo 10 is quite serviceable.
Christ - Seeing and Doing EP
This is some more ambient music, and it's pretty good, in that vaguely good way that ambient music tends to be. It's probably one of the most difficult genres of music to coherently criticize because by its nature it eschews direct interaction with the listener, blocking off all the most common routes of access for the typical critic. Hopefully those last few sentences of conjectural dithering are enough copy to back up the rating for this neat EP. Includes an Anticon-related remix!
Scott Da Ros ft. Bleubird, Sole and DJ Immortal - "Monstermashout" b/w "Humans Bury Deep" 7" single
Indie hip-hop, for all its attempts to shake off the supposed shackles of mainstream hip-hop, often is even more firmly entrenched in its own self-reflective sound than the mainstream. Scott Da Ros, despite a fair amount of talent on the mic, sounds distractingly similar to Aesop Rock and the Def Jux camp at large. Nonetheless the production is clever, the political rhymes are fairly fresh and the beats have some unexpected twists. Plus you can't hate on a rapper who drops a non sequitur as genius as "Spring break forever, motherfuckers."
Erick Bieritz lives in Chicago, where is usually either very hot or very cold. He was the brainchild behind EPMD, where he wrote about EPs and singles for LAS, looking for overlooked or underappreciated non-album releases.
See other articles by Erick Bieritz.
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