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Analogs: Iceage – You’re Nothing

By Ryan Stanley; March 7, 2013 at 10:20 AM 

In Analogs, we’ll be taking a look at two records that share some interesting parallels to an album out that week. Whether it be an album from 50 years back that bears some quiet influence, or an under-appreciated record from last week, if you like the record in question, you’re sure to like its Analogs.


This week we’re looking at analogs to one of our recently Recommended albums, Iceage’s You’re Nothing. Be sure to check out our review here.


 

Wire – Chairs Missing

wire_chairs-missing

While Iceage’s bratty savagery is something of an oddity in today’s landscape, bands were crafting similar sounds fifteen years before any of its members were even born. The first incarnation of Wire is one such example. Chairs Missing debuted in 1978, right at the temporal and stylistic boundaries between punk and post-punk, the sequel to a go-for-broke, smash-and-grab debut. Like You’re Nothing, it represented an advance in both penmanship and musical ability, full of blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em hooks (“Men 2nd”), plus a few more reflective ones (“Marooned”). While Iceage are usually unwilling or unable to sacrifice speed for pretty much anything, it behooves them to channel this blackened artiness on an album where chaos could have reigned supreme. The nervous guitar leads of Chairs Missing and You’re Nothing are almost mirror images of each other (“Wounded Hearts” vs. “French Film Blurred”), and the gleefully imprecise, slightly detuned lower registers match up occasionally as well (“Coalition” vs. “Too Late”). Most of all, they’re both stronger sequels to highly touted debuts, with songwriting that shifts focus to mood and atmosphere instead of adrenalized thrills. On a purely sonic level, Wire live on 35 years after the peak of their powers.

Brendan Frank


 

Los Campesinos! – We are Beautiful, We are Doomed

Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

“Los Campesinos!? Similar to Iceage?! How?”

Two words: Teen angst.

The difference is in how the bands channel it. While both exhibit similarly high levels of energy, Los Campesinos! are musically more prickly than the ballistic Iceage. The former make use of stringed instruments and sharp, buzzing guitar lines backing Gareth Campesinos’ whining, nasal tenor. The individual instruments of the latter don’t stand out on their own; they blend into each other. Campesinos’ angst is delivered alternately in fast-paced outbursts and meditative monologues. Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s is thrown outward at everything within earshot. If they played D&D, Campesinos would wield a rapier and Rønnenfelt a sledgehammer.

What’s even more remarkable is that each band’s sophomore effort more or less represents a step in the direction of the other. That is to say, You’re Nothing is a more arty, melodic, and lyrical record than New Brigade was while We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed is a more arty, heavy-hitting, and blunt record than Hold On Now, Youngster was. Furthermore, both Campesinos and Rønnenfelt show similar growth as songwriters on their respective second albums, the former dispensing with the bratty snark and overwrought prose of Hold On Now and the latter improves upon the heavy-handed imagery of New Brigade. However, central to them both is the angst. After all, you can’t deny that such lines as “she gives me signals / but our hearts are not the same / wants me to take her / but blockades run through my veins” or “We kid ourselves there’s future in the fucking / but there is no fucking future” absolutely drip with it. Though angst may not be a pleasant emotion to have, it can result in great works when wielded as expertly as these two bands do. One wields it with cunning precision, and the other with reckless abandon, though it’s sometimes difficult to tell which one is which.

–Harrison Suits Baer


Check out our previous installments of Analogs:
The Babies – Our House On The Hill

Crystal Castles – (III)
Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes
Melody’s Echo Chamber – Melody’s Echo Chamber
Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky
The XX – Coexist
Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t
Swans – The Seer
Ariel Pink – Mature Themes

Analogs: The Babies – Our House On The Hill

By Staff; November 20, 2012 at 1:10 PM 

In Analogs, we’ll be taking a look at two records that share some interesting parallels to an album out that week. Whether it be an album from 50 years back that bears some quiet influence, or an under-appreciated record from last week, if you like the record in question, you’re sure to like its Analogs.


This week we’re looking at analogs to The Babies’ Our House On the Hill. Be sure to check out our review later this week.


 

The Pastels – Sittin’ Pretty

It’s safe to say that, if not all, then at least quite a bit of the guitar-driven indie pop that’s around these days can trace its lineage back to The Pastels in some way – along their American counterparts, Beat Happening, and British forebears Television Personalities, they would come to define the shambling pop and lackadaisical anti-punk attitude that transformed the roots of jangle pop into the twee pop of the 90s. Perhaps cursed by the nearly militant imperfection that was so crucial to their music, the Pastels lack the name recognition today of their contemporaries and aren’t talked about with the implied reverence that bands of considerable influence so often are.  But rest assured that even if your favorite modest popsters don’t directly cite the Pastels as an influence, there’s good money that their favorite band’s favorite band did. And thus the band’s legacy lives on, distilled throughout the world of indie pop in iterations that are as varied as they are unrecognizable; you’d be hard pressed these to find a young band hearkening directly – an important distinction – back to the original Pastels sound of a record like Sittin’ Pretty.

In the landscape of 2012, perhaps no band that I’ve heard from comes as close to as the Babies do on Our House On The Hill, which is a little funny because they don’t quite sound like traditional Pastels devotees. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Kevin Morby (Woods) and Cassie Ramone (Vivian Girls) haven’t had a single thought towards the group between them, but their musical collaboration strikes the same chord: raucous, punk-only-in-spirit-but-not-in-attitude pop tunes played by people who sound happily unconcerned with hitting all the right notes. Morby’s vocal style, though not immediately similar to Stephen Pastel’s croon, serves the same confrontational purpose, and Ramone’s sweet, clear female vocals provide the same fulfilling counterpoint as Aggi Wright’s. Sittin’ Pretty isn’t a straight shot for Our House On The Hill – the former’s most essential and massive tune, “Nothing To Be Done”, is too jangly and sweet to be compared to The Babies (short, perhaps, of last year’s “Run Me Over”), and the Leonard Cohen-nodding centerpiece of the latter, “Mean”, is a far-cry from anything the Pastels were doing in’89 – but tracks like “Sit On It Mother” and “Anne Boleyn” more than suggest the two records’ shared interests.

Ryan Stanley


 

Scott & Charlene’s Wedding – Para Vista Social Club

Even from the Babies self-titled debut their lyrics hinted at the beauty of the mundane–little celebrations of the deliverances and dejections of common life, and that spirit has found an apt descendent co-conspirator in the ramshackle constructions of the Australia birthed Scott and Charlene’s Wedding. Their debut record, Para Vista Social Club skews decidedly toward an sly self-loathing that the Babies often avoid, but its celebration of the downtrodden artists lifestyle on tracks like “Rejected” and “Footscray Station” seems quite in line with The Babies similar celebrations in “Meet Me In The City.” I suppose Craig Dermody’s notable departure from the Babies sound lies in the inherent scuzziness of his work; there’s something so endearingly lackluster about his attempts at vocal melodies. It extends beyond the Babies early lo-fi-ness or the nasally timbre of Cassie Ramone’s vocals into a realm inhabited by only Calvin Johnson-esque figures. It’s construction is rough around the edges to say the least, but in the great jangle pop tradition it’s all more lovable for it.

–Colin Joyce


Check out our previous installments of Analogs:
Crystal Castles – (III)
Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes
Melody’s Echo Chamber – Melody’s Echo Chamber
Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky
The XX – Coexist
Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t
Swans – The Seer
Ariel Pink – Mature Themes

Analogs: Crystal Castles – (III)

By Staff; November 15, 2012 at 10:28 AM 

In Analogs, we’ll be taking a look at two records that share some interesting parallels to an album out that week. Whether it be an album from 50 years back that bears some quiet influence, or an under-appreciated record from last week, if you like the record in question, you’re sure to like its Analogs.


This week we’re looking at analogs to Crystal Castles’ (III). Be sure to check out our review later this week.


 

The Cure – Pornography

So okay, maybe this is a bit of a cop-out – The Cure are pretty much the textbook reference point for any band that’s been labeled “gothic ____” in the past 20 years. Their status as the classic forebears of gothic rock – and thus their influence on bands like Crystal Castles – might seem a bit nebulous to anybody that knows the group primarily for Disintegration or “Friday I’m In Love, but even a cursory listen to “One Hundred Years,” Pornography‘s 7-minute opening track, explains a lot. Robert Smith’s plentiful pop ambitions are nowhere to be found in this dark world, in which every track is a mammoth, obtuse construction and all the walls are painted black. Couple that with the record’s weirdly synthetic feel (courtesy of the intrusive, ever-present electronic drum sounds), and calling it a precursor to CC’s glitched-out aesthetic is already feeling a lot less off.

And okay, yeah, citing the Cure in relation to Crystal Castles is still a bit obvious for a few other reasons. But I still think its worth noting just how much more (III) recalls Pornography-era Cure and classic gothic rock than Crystal Castles’ previous efforts did. Something like “Plague” owes a ton to the popless, nightmarish atmosphere that’s conjured on “One Hundred Years” in a way that nothing on (I) or (II) – that’s how we’re referring to them now, yeah? – ever did, and “Sad Eyes” could be a rave version of the musical themes of a track like “A Short Term Effect.” Maybe even  more obvious is the pressing, claustrophobic feeling that pervades both albums – in both cases this comes from a tracklist that is crowded, dense, and persistently cloudy.

Ryan Stanley


 

White Ring – Black Earth That Made Me

With their motorik beats and dramatic layers of synths and noise all swirled together in some miasmic, Shakespearean cauldron, White Ring were initially lumped in with bands like Salem and Modern Witch in the witch house sub-genre (note: obsessively pretentious, if we’re being honest) that rose to prominence in late 2009-early 2010. But it’s their affinity for atmospheric drone and buried melodicism that makes them such an appropriate analog for Crystal Castles and for (III) in particular. Singer Kendra Malia has no qualms about using her voice to convey a sense of dread and foreboding, while also using it to cushion the darkness which seems to be seeping in through the cracks of their lone EP, Black Earth That Made Me. She shares this particular ability with Crystal Castles vocalist Alice Glass, and both of them use their voices to effectively elevate and condemn in equal measure.

The absolutely menacing opening track, “IxC999,” on Black Earth That Made Me utilizes random gunshot percussion and throbbing bass to underscore Malia’s ominous vocals and wouldn’t sound out of place on any of Crystal Castles past releases. Even with its’ almost overly-theatrical construction, the song would seem to be at home sliding alongside any track on (III). Akin to a bass and synth world-eater, White Ring’s “Hands 2 Hold You Down” bristles and roars with a tangible anxiety and aggression that has become a trademark of Crystal Castles’ releases. And as we wait for White Ring’s (hopefully) inevitable full-length debut, (III) is as likely a substitute as any record in recent memory. White Ring may have some catch up to do to reach the highs of (III), or any of Crystal Castles’ previous albums for that matter, but with such a resolute creative vision, and a remarkably similar mindset, it shouldn’t be long before we’re hearing about the bass-quakes of a Crystal Castles/White Ring tour.

–Joshua Pickard


Check out our previous installments of Analogs:
Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes
Melody’s Echo Chamber – Melody’s Echo Chamber
Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky
The XX – Coexist
Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t
Swans – The Seer
Ariel Pink – Mature Themes

Analogs: Andy Stott – Luxury Problems

By Will Ryan; October 30, 2012 at 5:01 PM 

In Analogs, we’ll be taking a look at two records that share some interesting parallels to an album out that week. Whether it be an album from 50 years back that bears some quiet influence, or an under-appreciated record from last week, if you like the record in question, you’re sure to like its Analogs.


This week we’re looking at analogs to Andy Stott’s Luxury Problems. Be sure to check out our review. (more…)

Analogs: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

By Staff; October 16, 2012 at 3:24 PM 

In Analogs, we’ll be taking a look at two records that share some interesting parallels to an album out that week. Whether it be an album from 50 years back that bears some quiet influence, or an under-appreciated record from last week, if you like the record in question, you’re sure to like its Analogs.


This week we’re looking at analogs to Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! Be sure to check out our review later this week.
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Analogs: Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes

By Will Ryan; October 2, 2012 at 1:24 PM 

In Analogs, we’ll be taking a look at two records that share some interesting parallels to an album out that week. Whether it be an album from 50 years back that bears some quiet influence, or an under-appreciated record from last week, if you like the record in question, you’re sure to like its Analogs.


This week we’re looking at analogs to Flying Lotus’ Until The Quiet Comes. Be sure to check out our review.
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Analogs: Melody’s Echo Chamber – Melody’s Echo Chamber

By Colin Joyce; September 25, 2012 at 3:33 PM 

In Analogs, we’ll be taking a look at two records that share some interesting parallels to an album out that week. Whether it be an album from 50 years back that bears some quiet influence, or an under-appreciated record from last week, if you like the record in question, you’re sure to like its Analogs.


This week we’re looking at analogs to Melody’s Echo Chamber’s self-titled debut. Be sure to check out our review coming later this week.
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Analogs: Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky

By Staff; September 18, 2012 at 1:21 PM 

In Analogs, we’ll be taking a look at two records that share some interesting parallels to an album out that week. Whether it be an album from 50 years back that bears some quiet influence, or an under-appreciated record from last week, if you like the record in question, you’re sure to like its Analogs.


This week we’re looking at analogs to I Bet On Sky by Dinosaur Jr., but make sure to check out our full review later in the week
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Analogs: The xx – Coexist

By Staff; September 11, 2012 at 1:11 PM 

In Analogs, we’ll be taking a look at two records that share some interesting parallels to an album out that week. Whether it be an album from 50 years back that bears some quiet influence, or an under-appreciated record from last week, if you like the record in question, you’re sure to like its Analogs.


This week we’re looking at analogs to Coexist by The xx, but make sure to check out our full review.
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Analogs: Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t

By Staff; September 4, 2012 at 12:38 PM 

In Analogs, we’ll be taking a look at two records that share some interesting parallels to an album out that week. Whether it be an album from 50 years back that bears some quiet influence, or an under-appreciated record from last week, if you like the record in question, you’re sure to like its Analogs.


This week we’re looking at analogs to I Know What Love Isn’t by Jens Lekman, but make sure to check out our full review.
(more…)

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