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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, compilations, samplers, and singles are particularly hard to deal with because there are so many of them that they often get lost in the shuffle. This sometimes means that deserving music released in non-album form goes unnoticed and does not reach the people who might enjoy it most.
In an attempt to rectify this situation and to give some of this music its due - or at least its moment in the sun, Lost At Sea occasionally dredges through the muck to weed out a select few of these releases for comment.
Sweetness and Light
In the future, technology will be so advanced that robots will be programmed to feel emotions. Pain, sadness, and joy expressed through silicon and steel. One day a metallic John Cusack automaton will stand outside a bedroom window, hold up a boombox, and serenade the Macbook that he pines for with something that sounds like Sweetness and Light. An approximation of emotion buried underneath distorted samples and ambient beeps, AWSTS aims for the heart, but hits something colder and not quite human.
When the song is over, robot John Cusack will look up with beseeching eyes towards the laptop he is in love with, hoping that this heart-on-the-sleeve display has penetrated the smooth, white casing of that beautifully engineered Apple product and registered his longing deep within her motherboard. While he waits for her hard drive's reply, the humans of the world will wish for a simpler time when they didn't have to listen to the incessant complaining of overworked ROOMBAs.
Kenneth James Gibson
In keeping with the robot theme, whenever the topic of artificial intelligence is broached, it is always the major ramifications that are discussed. No one goes a step further, pondering the minutiae and delving into the subtle drawbacks of fostering human qualities in an inanimate object. Sure, we realize that things can go Terminator and we could all end up being slaves to machines, but what about the lesser, more probable consequences?
What I'm getting at is douchebag robots. Along with the sensitive, genius toaster who solves all of the world's problems, the earth could be inundated with C3PO's wearing Axe Body Spray-scented Affliction t-shirts. There won't be a bar stool left at the Hard Rock Casino in Vegas once someone invents spray on tan for aluminum. And these metallic assholes' music of choice will most certainly be Kenneth James Gibson. Animals Tonight is just made for dipshit robots who said, "fuck the calculations" and decided it would be easier to use their newfound intelligence to hit on sorority girls.
The Quest Goes On
I'm not sure when EPMD turned into Martini Ranch, but lately I've been getting a disproportionate amount of shitty dance music in the inbox. Perhaps prospective bands have finally started reading the column and realize that a submission will at best get them a poorly written paragraph about whatever superficial and banal thought happened to flash through the normally blank space in my head during the first ten seconds of their first song. Whatever the case, at this point I would kill to get an EP that was RIYL whatever the fuck Pitchfork said is cool this week. But no, instead there is Juanpablo. I guess it's time to dust off the leather pants, Nair my chest, and start wearing sunglasses indoors.
Hard Work sounds like it is only slightly less comprised of fairies and wood nymphs than a Joanna Newsome album. And Ys stop there with the comparisons--Foster and Newsom's music share baroque instrumentation, striking female vocals and a wizard's cap full of whimsy. After a quick listen to Hard Work I feel like donning a tunic and toasting the upcoming autumnal equinox.
Morgen Wieder Lusting
I always like to travel with a sailor suit--much like a Swiss Army knife, you would be amazed at how often it comes in handy. Unfortunately I had to leave mine behind on this trip (appletini stains are so stubborn). It wasn't long before I was kicking myself while walking across the faux gang-plank onto a moored boat not quite accurately named "Yachtclub." And to think, me on a dingy without so much as an epaulette! Luckily, nautical themed clothing did not seem to be required and I was able to blot out my self-consciousness with a glass of Zinfandel and a whiff of Jaegermeister. Not sure if I was getting tipsy because of the booze or the rocking of the boat, I made my way below deck in search of more alcohol, a little adventure, and possibly a schnitzel. Instead I found a smattering of people half-heartedly dancing to some lethargic beats supplied by a dude who looked eerily similar to one of the members of Sankt Otten. What a bore; someone throw me a life vest and pull me out of here.
John Bailey Band
Fuck, you know when you've been driving for a while, and you still have a ways to go, but you just really feel like getting drunk? Well that happened to me the other night. And anyway this fucker had been riding my ass ever since Cleveland, so I figured I better get off the road and take a shot to calm my nerves, otherwise I was liable to slam on the breaks, pull that sonofabitch out of his car, and crack his head open with the prosthetic leg that I found out at the county dump and keep underneath my seat for just such occasions.
It wasn't too difficult to find a bar on this stretch of rural Route 80 and I ain't particular, so I pulled off the road at the first neon Budweiser sign I saw. The Marlboro Man lookin' bartender poured me six fingers of Old Crow and I planted my ass on a barstool, surveying the joint. The place was filled with the usual dregs of whatever podunk I was in, a Billy Big Mouth Bass hung over the front door, and through the haze of lingering cigarette smoke I could make out some assjack on a small stage, singing his nuts off for a drunkenly apathetic crowd.
I plowed through a few more whiskeys, careful not to make eye contact with the locals, and found my foot keeping time with the shit kickers on stage. The band sure did belt it out, considering they were playing for a smattering of yokels who could barely keep the Skoal in their mouths, much less appreciate a decent bar band. A couple boisterous songs later my rage had subsided enough that I figured it was time to leave and get back on the road. Even after suffering the indignity of crawling around on my hands and knees looking for the keys that I had somehow dropped, I was pretty proud of myself for getting those little fuckers in the van to church camp on time the next morning.
See the above UHU/Juanpablo review. I will offer some serious faint praise and admit that at least The Motet switch things up a little bit and don't just suck in a single vein or style. They vary things and yet still gave me multiple reasons to hit the stop button. As a grouchy indie rock jerk, it's impossible for me to give this the benefit of the doubt, but if you like to spend your Friday nights drinking mojitos and getting down at Bembe, you can probably find time in between drum circles for a quick listen. Now fuck this, I'm not reviewing any more of this dance music shit.
An aspiring global adventurer who cut his teeth on the sandy beaches and dirty bitches of Southern California, Kevin Alfoldy now spends his non-vacation days in Brooklyn, New York, where he occasionally finds the time to rub the crust out of his eyes long enough to contribute reviews and feature articles for LAS. A longtime staff member, Kevin also captains the tattered, often half-sunk raft of EPmd, our irregular column of EP reviews.
See other articles by Kevin Alfoldy.
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