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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 released in non-album form is not reaching 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 print, Lost At Sea occasionally dredges through the bins of EPs and singles to weed out a select few for comment.
HiSoft - Amateur (Chocolate Hearts)
The cover of this CD was glossy as hell and had a close-up picture of a guy wearing a hat and sunglasses straight out of the future. This alone was enough to convince me that the music within would take me back to those long, sweaty nights I spent partying in Ibiza last summer. I would wake up as the sun was setting over the Atlantic Ocean, the crimson and orange fire that filled the sky being the perfect backdrop with which to start swallowing handfuls of ecstasy downed with strong mojitos. My head awash in good vibes, I couldn't stay away from the numerous clubs that lined the streets and beckoned me with the promise of bare flesh and more drugs. Soon I was a slave to the deep booty bass that flowed from the speakers and reverberated so sensually throughout my body. Whether getting down or backing that ass up, everything was a blur until I'd had too much and would pass out in the gutter on my way home.
Then the music started and HiSoft was unveiled as purveyors of lush dreampop.
Film School - On and On (Beggars Banquet)
I kept trying to place where I had heard of this band and just when I reached a pinnacle of frustration I read their press sheet and found out they are from San Francisco. Normally this is where I'd go off on some tangent about how I live in San Francisco and share an anecdote or two, but it's raining again, so I'm mad at the city right now and won't give it the satisfaction. Unfortunately, hazily recalling my drunken antics is about the extent of my creative writing capabilities, so I'm left with saying that the songs on this EP are pretty good indie rock.
Foreign Islands - Foreign Islands (self-released)
Perhaps I would have liked this more if it was on in the background while I was snorting coke off of a girl's ass at some club where the beautiful, ironic people stand around looking beautiful and ironic (probably somewhere in L.A.). Instead I listened to it late on a Sunday night when I was exhausted from the two previous days spent snorting a bath mat that I incorrectly thought someone had spilled some meth on. With my nose full of cat hair and pubes I just wanted to be held, not shaken uncontrollably.
Good Evening - I Saw The Sun Explode (self-released)
I saw the sun explode out of the dark expanses of night, the deep red and oranges searing the early morning sky. Blackness imperceptibly turning blue as the stress that had held me sleepless all night dissipated with the unspeakable beauty of what I was witnessing. Mentally and physically exhausted, these were the first few minutes that my body allowed me to relax, and yet I did not want to surrender to sleep for fear that I would never witness anything like this again. All too soon the eruption of color had dissipated; the familiar yellow sun hanging low against the sky blue backdrop. As I finally drifted off to sleep, I wondered how I would be able to make it through a day that had begun with such a climax.
Subtract by Two - Agoniser Ecrire (This Generation Tapes)
I'm not so sure if this really qualifies as music. There are definitely instruments being played, but only on the last song do they come together in any kind of cohesive way. The rest of the album more closely resembles a field recording or possibly the score to a rather unscary horror movie. Fuck, the press sheet was missing to this, so for all I know these songs are field recordings for an unscary horror movie. Either way, the only way you would ever hear this being pumped out of a convertible on a sunny summer day is if the driver of said convertible was completely insane.
Monserat - Points & Connections (Ellison)
I can't tell if this music is so hard to play that it sounds easy or if it is just four dudes banging on instruments and screaming. Which, don't get me wrong, I'm all for. In college, my friends and I would wait until a band was done playing a house party and then pick up instruments each of us didn't know how to play. The goal was to see how many "songs" it would take before the crowd would get really pissed and bummed. There's nothing like seeing the faces people make when you follow up a hippie jam band with a non-drummer bashing the shit out of someone else's drums with no discernible rhythm, a non-guitarist whose sole purpose is to create feedback, and someone screaming nonsensically about their physics final. Thank you Monserat for bringing a nostalgic tear to my eye.
Spanish for 100 - Metric (self-released)
Spanish for 100 has a weird name and plays country tinged rock and roll. Not cowboy hat, whiskey, wife beating country, but more of a tight levis and button up shirt-wearing, Wilco worshipping, Pabst-because-it's-ironically-redneck country. These guys seem a little too upbeat to be from the dour climes of Seattle, but I could definitely see them rocking their Americana in Kansas.
Honeyhander - Woolly Mannerisms (S.A.F. Records)
Apparently, this EP is the "soundtrack to the most beautiful and complicated day of your life." That's really fucking doubtful unless the most beautiful and complicated day of your life consisted of taking a bunch of mushrooms and breakdancing in an arcade for twenty-four hours. Once again Providence has shown us that its residents are crazy and not to be trusted (in a good way). Only this time instead of yet another pair of guitar/drumming freaks, there are five dudes who go a little overboard on the synthesizers and use one of those cold, detached vocal filters that always makes people sound like dicks.
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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