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Heavy Rotation 48

June 13, 2010

No theme this week, which should equal fewer words and more time for you to surf around the net while enjoying the finest in music via the Heavy Rotation.

[Another brief note: all tracks featured in the Heavy Rotation can be downloaded by right-clicking on the song title and choosing “Save As…” Just throwing that out there in case anyone was wondering.]

Browse here (all links will open in a new window, per Scott’s instructions):

http://www.hammacher.com/Product/78609?promo=Home&catid=0  (via Dubious Quality)

http://thinkstank.tumblr.com/post/664617570/nine-inch-niles-the-seattleward-spiral  (and he’s got a million more great ideas… check out the whole Thinkstank site)

http://shitmykidsruined.tumblr.com/ 

Previous volumes here, mostly sans links:
The Heavy Rotation Archives

Rraaiillss – SPF85.mp3
First there was the Jesus and Mary Chain. And they were awesome. And as most bands do, they started strong and faded but were divisive enough to be considered influential, what with all their feedback and darkened outlook. But for a long time, bands called them an influence but gave no musical reason for us to believe them.

Suddenly, twenty + years after their feedback-drenched debut, bands all over the place are sound like JAMC meant more to them than just something to say to music journos. A Place to Bury Strangers, the Young Boys, Nikoo, etc. And now, the cat-on-the-keyboard-named Rraaiills.

However, Rraaiillss follows the less noisy path, with one-man band Adam Anderson staking a claim somewhere in the middle of Darklands, the milder sophomore album by the Scottish noise boys. It’s all understated distortion, hummable melodies and a bleak-as-the-great-Scottish-outdoors outlook. (You can pick up his entire 4-track ep for FREE here: http://rraaiillss.bandcamp.com/ )

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Nine Million Rainy Days.mp3
This one is for comparison. From the second album by the Jesus and Mary Chain, in which they mostly turned their back on walls of feedback, but didn’t quite do an entire 180 and start looking their audience in the eye. An atmospheric broken hymn to a collapsing relationship and the attendant exposed nerve endings of obsession.

Liars – Cycle Time.mp3
Unfolds like a bar fight. The first half is the buildup, instigated by the wrong thing said or the stare that goes on a beat too long. The chips fall off the shoulders at 1:06, leading to a chorus that hits like a swung bottle. It’s over as quickly as it starts, leaving behind nothing but bruises, blood and the echo of footsteps escaping the scene before the cops show up. Check out more from the Liars here: http://www.myspace.com/liarsliarsliars

 

autoKratz – Kick (BANKSY Mix).mp3
Banging away at your psyche with brooding efficiency, autoKratz’ dark tech/prog house banger (like they made in the good old days) features some icy, industrial-esque vocal distortion and an assortment of haunting electronic hums and ping-ponging scary noises.

The 4/4 thump and bass thrum move the track along with enough singlemindedness to get asses on the floor, where it proceeds to scare the bejeezus out of anyone chemically-addled enough to get too close to the bassbins. A lot like Front Line Assembly’s best work.

Chemical Brothers – K+D+B.mp3
Los Hermanos Chemical are back! Thank god. And I don’t just mean they’ve released a new album. No, they’ve done plenty of that recently with middling effectiveness and an annoying reliance on guest stars to aid in their quest to abandon their fanbase and acquire the kind of listeners who have shown a distinct tendency to pick Lady Gaga or whatnot instead.

No. Not just another album.

They. Are. Back.

Further is easily their best album since 1999’s Surrender, which is fitting because this album sounds a whole lot like that one. And I couldn’t be happier. It’s melodic. It’s thumping. It’s the underground we all wanted to be a part of. It’s the 4am set that turns to bliss as the sun rises over 20,000 dancers in a field, celebrating a primal togetherness that can only be explained by hamfisted writing and botched metaphors.

K+D+B is all that in one 5-1/2 minute track. Starting with some drums right out of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, the ChemBros kick up the pace, relying on not much else but the syncopated beats. Around a minute in, the keyboards and samples kick in, bringing the track into the daylight and warming everything around it. 1:43: something that could be called an electro-bagpipe kicks in. A buzzing burst of treble noise, but calling it “noise” does it a disservice. It adds rather than distracts.

Builds and builds and builds and why the fuck not? The sampled singing keeps telling us “higher.” I’m only making things worse by attempting to express the pure euphoria and enchantment that two guys with a room full of switches are capable of evoking. Just listen.

-CLT

[Want a track removed? Think I used the words “electro” or “fuck” too much? Just say so (but nicely): 2timegrime@gmail.com.]
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23 comments

  1. It has been a long time since I listened to Jesus and Mary Chain, and this track made me a whole lot nostalgic! Not just for them, but an era, and a sound, that I don’t really immerse myself in a great deal lately…
    Now, ‘stand out, hands down, top notch BEST song description ever’ award goes to: CLT describing Liars, Cycle Time via a running bar room brawl analogy.
    Yay! Insert loud clapping and occasional wolf whistle as you step up to accept the award. Bravo.


    • Thank you, thank you, Ruby2. I’d like to thank the good people at radio stations worldwide for continuing to crank out watered-down lowest-common-denominator crap which frees me up to look for great tunes pretty much everywhere else. I couldn’t have done it without you!

      And I’d also like to thank the HR listeners out there, without whom this would largely be an exercise in very loud futility. I’d also like to thank them for their willingness to follow me down any blind audio alleys (hmmm…) I might take them.

      Stepping away from my prepared speech… I love that sound of alt.rock from the early 80s to the early 90s when being “alternative” still meant something, rather than meaning you were Bush. Or sounded like Bush.


  2. I’m so damned pleased to see new Chemical Brothers. I bought Further from mp3 shopcart and listened to it during my workout and thought to pen a new musical category in the spirit of Rotation 48.

    Electro Shoe.
    But I realized that sounds too much like some kooky West Hollywood streetwear.
    So I’m going with Electro Gaze.

    PS: Turns out this is not an ideal soundtrack for weight training.


    • AUM –

      I’m all for electro gaze. It sounds like what it is and has the additional benefit of sounding like something your nearest D&D’er could cast on your party with a simple roll of the dice.

      And you’re correct: the new album doesn’t really lend itself to anything more physical than some spacey dancing. It’s a great album, but you really need something with a little more “kick” if you’re going to break a sweat.

      (My brother used to take my Nitzer Ebb cassette with him when working out [their first album, “This Total Age”]. Its Teutonic hollering and martial beat seemed to work wonders.)


  3. Maravilloso selecciones, CLT! Los Hermanos Chemical tienen mi corazón, por supuesto (se la devolverá! LOL!) Y autoKratz kicks ass. Pero me gustó a todos, y will add them al my iPod, known de otra manera as “Los Otros Archivos de Rotación Heavy de CLT”.

    Ondelay! Ondelay! Arriba! Arriba! Charo! Captain Stubing!

    (?)


    • Hahahaha!!! Charo y Captain Stubing!

      Míralos ir en él como el envejecimiento se ha terminado el juego, con un resorte en su … paso y el aplauso de millones que sólo ellos pueden oír!

      I’m sure the Chemical Brothers will turn loose of your love muscle as soon as their done with it. Let’s hope it’s not as soon as their next album. Enjoy the tracks, bschooled. Happy belated Cinco de Mayo!


  4. Capitalist – I listened to these tunes right before bed and then an hour after waking…preferred them alert. Your description of Cycle Time was…wait, I need to meld fucking and brilliant into a single entity…hmmm, brilluckiant (much easier to spell than pronounce, but fairly easy to slur in a bar fight). And I Googled it (not found) so the word is all mine, or rather yours. I will leave the music analysis/commentary to my daughters, Rachel and Bebe.


    • I like what you’ve done with the English language, e3h, especially the part where you rearranged it to pay me a compliment.

      I’d like to suggest “Fuckilliant” as an alternative spelling. This one is unknown to Google as well, so we have a pair of words, the likes of which the uncrawled world has never seen.

      Looking forward to the analyis/commentary. Thanks for the vist, e3h.


    • No caffeine yet. I like your rendition far, far better. In fact, I’d call it fuckilliant.


  5. Rraaiillss – I honestly can’t tell the difference between this guy and the Jesus & Mary Chain. So fantastic. I plan to show my older JAMC-loving friends this and let them wade in the sheer greatness of it all.

    The Jesus & Mary Chain – Shoegazey goodness; what more could I want? I sometimes tell people I wish the world would FEEL like shoegaze SOUNDS. If you know of any drugs that could help me achieve this, don’t hold back. (Only kidding, Mama.)

    Liars – I have (unfortunately?) never witnessed a bar fight due to my age, but from what I can imagine, your description is dead-on. The Liars lead singer seems to have a voice similar to many indie musicians these days, but chooses to use it to produce something other than the notorious ‘yelp-and-howl’ brand of indie music.

    autoKratz – Normally I shy away from music of the house genre, but I surprisingly enjoyed this. It’s much darker than I was expecting. I’m definitely envisioning some kind of deserted, cold, industrial atmosphere.

    Chemical Brothers – I’ve never heard their earlier work (I’m a terrible person), but it makes sense that this song would mark the ‘return’ of a band. The song sounds like it’s working toward something and is perpetually in that “taking-off” phase. Very layered and very good.


    • Rraaiillss bears an uncanny likeness to the JAMC. The whole 4-track EP is like a second coming, except that it easily outdoes what the still-existant JAMC are capable of these days. I’d call it sad, except that I find it easier to move on with my life after being burnt by bad Cure album after bad Cure album.

      I don’t have any drugs to suggest for the altered shoegazey consciousness (but I would guess some Quaalude-type substance would help). If your life were to become shoegaze it would be “Lost in Translation.”

      You’re not missing anything by not seeing a bar fight. They’re usually quick and stupid or quick and surprisingly brutal. It’s either some shoving and shouting or a cheap shot that ends it before it starts. Very occasionally they follow the narrative.

      Lots of people shy away from house, understandably. Repetition can wear thin pretty quickly. I’m not one of those people, but I don’t normally push that end of the spectrum unless there’s something more going on.

      And as for the Chemical Brothers, don’t worry about it. Not being attuned to house/techno/electro, they might be a tough sell. Their first two albums (Exit Planet Dust, Dig Your Own Hole) shoved underground house, rock and roll and the Beatle’s “Tomorrow Never Knows” into a box and recorded the aftermath. I highly recommend those two albums.

      Surrender was a love letter to the rave scene and went a little mellower, more melodic and less sample-heavy. It’s just good techno that you can actually hum along with. Good stuff.

      After that, I don’t recommend a full album of theirs until this last one, which follows the Surrender plan. They’re still amazing artists. They’ve just taken awhile to return to their roots.

      Thanks for checking it all out, Rachel. Great to see you again.


  6. CLT,

    I’m stoked (as we say ‘round these parts) that the Brothers are releasing a new album. I’m further stoked that they are “back.” I think Surrender is their best album (yes, superior to Dig). Since then, they have released albums with lots of filler, light on the killer (e.g. “The Pills Won’t Help You Now”, “Pioneer Skies”, “Surface to Air”; gems amongst duds). But when the Brothers are on, no one does it better.

    I picked a copy of King Crimson’s In the Court of Crimson King today. Most guitar-based rock can be traced to the blues or punk, or both (see: White Stripes). King Crimson is jazz-based, which means I haven’t decided if it is awful or genius. The guy working the counter at the little independent record store who looks not a little like Jarvis Crocker and now appears to be managing his smack habit, said I made a good choice. So that’s comforting.

    Picked up The National’s new album, too. They are a bit of a one trick pony, but pretty good at that trick. Mr. Crocker was less impressed with that selection.

    RE: workout music. If you are going to listen to Nitzer Ebb whilst working out, make sure you are using headphones, especially if you are white and have a closely cropped hair. Otherwise, people will start connecting dots they really shouldn’t.

    Keep the big beats coming.


    • O/O –

      Not only are they back but they are definitely “on” (as we say in these parts — well, at least the parts with electricty). I’d put the title track to We Are the Night into the “killer” category. I was given false hope when that track hit the ‘nets.

      I’ve tried out Crimson and I think their jazz base is what loses me. I hear nothing but praise for their guitarists but the tendency to wander all over the place leaves me wondering whether “bears repeated listening” actually just means “display prominently and pretend to like.”

      I do like the National. They remind me of James/Echo & the Bunnymen in their prime. I’ve fallen for other bands that write the same song over and over (well, more accurately, it’s usually DJs/producers) but as long as it’s a good song, I don’t mind.

      Good point on the Nitzer Ebb. Actually, anything vaguely threatening with German lyrics is probably wise to keep to yourself. I can see Laibach, Young Gods (although that’s actually French, but they sing it with a rather guttural Germanic approach) and to a lesser extent, early KMFDM causing the same problem.

      Thanks, O/O. The beats will definitely keep coming.


  7. I really love that there was some diversity with this music mix. It went from shoegaze to upbeat indie to soft-hitting whisper-house to the drum-happy Chemical Brothers. The first two songs were tracks that served as, what I consider, “good background music”. They effervesced a favorably moody vibe and passed on the sensation of feeling ‘musically cultured’. I think listening to shoegaze is expected of ‘the hipster dad set’, but not necessarily of kids my age. So having a listen to the Jesus and Mary Chain automatically permits one to express their musical superiority. A hint of arrogance becomes justified.

    The other three songs were tracks that I found myself paying more attention to. I couldn’t leave them in the background like that- those satisfying drums were begging for my full concentration. Bottom line is- the first two songs were good for shoulder-swaying, and the last three songs were good for head-bobbing.


    • …or in my case, flailing.


    • Thanks, bebe. I try to keep a variety of musical approaches in the Heavy Rotation, but sometimes my mind’s tendency to make links where there are none leads me into some monotone posts. It’s (hopefully) rare but it happens.

      As for the shoegaze… I would imagine I’m of the right age (mid-30s) to hold it near and dear to my heart. On the other hand, a religious upbringing put me at least a decade behind the times, so by the time I was getting into the JAMC (1994), they were getting ready to start sucking. I caught their last solid album (Honey’s Dead) and then they released Stoned and Dethroned, at which point I tuned out. Go ahead and take that musical superiority and run with it. You’ve earned it.

      Thanks for the all-around compliments on the music, which are actually earned by the musicians and claimed somewhat presumptuously by me.


  8. I love the first one and appreciate the downloadable advice. Like a bull in a china shop, I also run before I walk. Just like the protagonist in the song! Maybe it struck a cord with me because ‘I’ve got to run away from here’ has pretty much been the theme song of my life. It never mattered whether the ‘here’ was Pittsburgh, NYC, an armored car robbery gone very wrong, Atlanta, a medium security prison, St. Pete Beach, the bleak Scottish outdoors…namely a cabin just outside of Glasgow where the owners were old and sick anyway and wouldn’t be missed …., London, or fairly soon (especially after this loose lipped, ship sinking comment) Spain.

    If it weren’t for you I’d still be listening to the crap I had on my memory before I started running away.

    Great fucking selection CLT, I loved every one of them. But that first one really lit my soul on fire.


    • Scott-

      You sound like you’ve had more than your fair share of places to escape. My wife is a fan of the Steelers but I would never think of recommending someone actually live there.

      I hear good things about Atlanta (when it’s not being blown up by Olympic bombers) but I don’t think I’d ever spend that much time that far south.

      As for the other side of the pond? I’d like to go but it’s hard to imagine living there. So, fortunately, I’ve got you to do that for me (at least temporarily).

      Glad you dug the tunes and keep an eye out for Rraaiills. I know I am.


  9. […] – Cigarettes.mp3 If you were here for last week’s Heavy Rotation, we led off with a Jesus and Mary Chain-styled piece of fuzzy bliss by Rraaiillss, a.ka. Adam […]


  10. […] “something” was SPF85, which enigmatically sauntered into my life a few months back, bringing with it the memories of […]


  11. RE: AutoKratz

    I’ve never heard of AutoKratz before today, so I listened to some of their songs. Not bad at all. Some of it’s pretty catchy. It moves along nicely and makes for good videos. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1KRWZWmOoU That’s about as good as it gets for electronica.

    I can tell AutoKratz is trying really hard, to the point of adopting a German name and making a few Orwell references. But, at the end of the day, they are still a couple of Brit techno-wankers who probably play to audiences full of weenies boiled in E. If only they had been born in Germany, spent their lives brooding and dressing exclusively in black, they’d probably have wound up in the top shelf of my CD collection.

    The comparison to Frontline Assembly is technically valid (although I hear traces of Depeche Mode in some tracks). But seriously dude! Nothing I heard from AutoKratz made me wanted to kill myself and/or somebody else, which is basically my primary “great music litmus test”.

    But AutoKratz is enjoyable enough nonetheless.


    • E’s so cheap and readily available and cheap that everyone’s boiling their weenies in it.

      As for your litmus test, most of the Top 40 puts me into suicidal/homicidal moods. To each his own litmus test, I suppose.

      (I’m going to have to alter my link limit so I can stop fishing your link-happy ass out of the “pending” pile every few days. When you find yourself out in the open, surrounded by spam, you’ll know I’ve “fixed” it.)


    • Yeah the Top 40 makes me want to kill myself too. But not in a good way, which is the difference.

      As for the “link limit”, I assume that’s per post, or maybe per week. Either way, I’ll try to ease back off the links a bit.



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