Exclusive Features
Anniversaries, Cover Stories, Editorials,
Interviews, Lists, and Comprehensive Rankings

Next Little Things: R. Stevie Moore, Pig Heart Transplant, Eartheater, and more

on February 23, 2015, 3:00pm
view all
Next

German Army – Clan Chieftains CS [Handmade Birds]

HB-081The German Army advanced; I kept getting tapes wrapped in newspaper, one after the other. Then an LP or two. Slowly, a perverse relationship developed, and here we are, 10-odd reviews later; you’d figure boredom would have set in like the dull pangs of regret, but no: More than ever, I’m in this mysterious group’s corner. Clan Chieftains is icily elusive and cold(wave)er than past releases, replete with the signifiers we’ve all grown accustomed to in the age of Liars, Weird comps, and Joy Division worship (deep, detached vocals, rules-free bass, lots of programmed synthesis), yet it strives to achieve so much more. German Army don’t flinch in the face of change. In the case of Clan Chieftains, that means more sampling and a lot of complicated, often hand drum-led rhythm schemes. I’m not sure if the thunderous displays aid their sub-level, underground style of songwriting, but soon after “Return Pure” delivers a catchy, odd-pop number that could end up representing a turning point. Then it’s back to that shadowy style that claws at your ears from the darkness of the forest; hopefully you’re expecting, and appreciating, that by now.
__________________________________________________________
夕方の犬(U ・ェ・) – ʕ•̫͡•ʕ•̫͡•ʔ•̫͡•ʔ•̫͡•ʕ•̫͡•ʔ•̫͡•ʕ•̫͡•ʕ•̫͡•ʔ•̫͡•ʔ•̫͡•ʕ•̫͡•ʔ•̫͡•ʔ♡ CS [Constellation Tatsu]

a2283531625 10 Next Little Things: R. Stevie Moore, Pig Heart Transplant, Eartheater, and moreWading through mountains of tapes can become dispiriting if you value creativity over never-ending genre slams. That’s why, when I stumble across an outfit like 夕方の犬(U ・ェ・), I drop everything for them, font issues or no. ʕ•̫͡•ʕ•̫͡•ʔ•̫͡•ʔ•̫͡•ʕ•̫͡•ʔ•̫͡•ʕ•̫͡•ʕ•̫͡•ʔ•̫͡•ʔ•̫͡•ʕ•̫͡•ʔ•̫͡•ʔ♡ is a must-grip for so many reasons, and not just because ever-so-faint traces of early Animal Collective pop up like hot tarts. It’s a soulful drone exercise that stretches the genre’s boundaries so far I hesitate to paint it with that brush. However, if the tag fits, hang it; this is a near-continental drift that makes no use of rhythm whatsoever. The fact that so few drone artists have challenged themselves to pick up the mic is just-plain sad, so to hear 夕方の犬(U ・ェ・) do it so successfully now, well … This could end up being quite the influential six-song experiment, and its extremely scant running time is a plus, winning your heart then disappearing out the door before you can say thank you. There’s even some soul singin’ that, to me, beats the hell out of Makonnen. Don’t be afraid to embrace Evening of the Dog (that’s the translation Google spit out anyway); people will be talking, and beyond that, you and I both know your heart could use a little love.

Preview:


__________________________________________________________
Jacob Kirkegaard – 5 Pieces 3XCS [Posh Isolation]

PI143CS_CUJacob Kirkegaard’s 5 Pieces isn’t a collection of drone/minimalist pieces as much as it is a meditative smattering of life experiences splayed across six sides of tape. Depending on which side you choose to navigate at any given time, you could either end up drifting into space, witnessing the mellowest volcanic eruption in the history of man, getting trapped in a tesseract memory dump straight out of Interstellar, or lying face-up on your lawn as a million sprinklers dot your clothes with water droplets. Kirkegaard’s compositions start as field recordings, but with his unique touch they become mini-suites that stretch like rubber and stick in the mind like the radio songs of your youth. If you lap up longform artists like Kyle Bobby Dunn, Jim Haynes, or Stephen Mathieu (not to mention Kirkegaard peers such as Else Marie Pade), 5 Pieces (no relation to the Scott Walker comp In Five Easy Pieces) will sidle up nicely to the other drone-indebted works on your tape shelf.
__________________________________________________________
Quicksails – Spillage CS [Tranquility]

a2370118054 2 Next Little Things: R. Stevie Moore, Pig Heart Transplant, Eartheater, and moreThe mission of Quicksails’ Ben Billington (also drummer for Tiger Hatchery) over the years has been to derive aural warmth from cold digital sources. With Spillage, Billington trips over a faulty beat or two, but serves up enough intrigue to set his project, once again, apart from the experimental synth-dro hordes. He seems most at ease — and thus, so will you — when he’s exploring vast expanses of space and filling in small details rather than covering everything in neon. Don’t shortchange him, though, as he knows how to break out the paint-shaker when things are turning drab, not to mention his prowess when it comes to ping-ponging digital sequences off each other. I also seem to recognize a few of these sounds from an old computer program that taught me how to spell and included pixelated dinosaurs in its learning tools. Easily enough variety to justify repeat tape-flips if not the gravity to send you screaming into the wilderness; Spillage sends you to the edge, not over it, and when you hear what I mean, you’ll agree it’s for the best.

Preview:


__________________________________________________________
R. Stevie Moore – Ariel Pink’s Picks 2XLP [Personal Injury]

thumb_325_tmp_2F1416600801987-lo94huaw66uk57b9-3774ec7129f1e481f8bd4b8576686949_2F655035050515I interviewed Ariel Pink once in 2004, just after I had seen he and his crack band struggle mightily at SXSW. Back then he was a confused kid in his mid-20s, getting heat from Pitchfork critics, trying to put an adequate live show together, and staying with his parents (with no plans to move out) in San Diego. Among the many themes repeated by the plucky Pink was his absolute adoration for R Stevie Moore. Strangely, I’m just now getting around to hearing Moore’s music for the first time, a full decade after Pink practically begged me to check it out. I suppose I was reticent to pick up Moore’s myriad material because I figured it would be even more rough and ragged, fidelity-wise, than what Pink was composing back then. On that point, I was dead wrong; the works of Ariel Pink’s Picks are of decent sound quality. The reason Moore’s songs are so interesting has less to do with lo-fi production than the odd twists and turns written into them and his whimsical voice, cushioned between the influence of Syd Barrett and any number of outsider ’70s folk musicians/Zappa acolytes. This is loner/bedroom pop before it was known as such, and even today the reverberations can be felt. I’m sure Pink’s 2014 single “White Freckles” would have existed in some form had Moore’s “Cuss Me Out” not preceded it, but it wouldn’t have achieved the resplendent tone it carries now. The selections of Ariel Pink’s Picks (which was compiled by Pink in 2006 and first released in a quickly sold-out cassette edition by Laughable Recordings in 2011) range from happy, cleanly played punk to sunny post-Kinks rockers to off-kilter ballads, each cut retaining the oversized Moore personality even when the vocals don’t appear. If you’re a sucker for dumpster-diving in the annals of pop, or Quinn Walker, or the Gulcher label, you’ll have no problem making yourself at home in Moore’s bedroom-cum-studio.

Preview:


__________________________________________________________

view all
Next
No comments