Tag Archives: Electronic

Album Review: The Electric Grandmother – Cancelled.

There’s great comfort in knowing how in this crazy ass world, two amazing people met from different timezones back in the mid-90s, fell in love, got married, and eventually had kids …a band.

The history behind The Electric Grandmother pretty much revolves around Pete and Mary Alice’s love for 80s and 90s sitcoms as well as absolute love for one another.  It is pretty inspiring where I sit here and think about it.

They are band-mates for life and two of the most genuine people I have gotten to know for over the past twenty-five years.  One grew up in Ohio, the other in Hawaii, it is like a living sitcom when you think about it.

Pete and Mary Alice were actually with me the night the Menzingers had to cancel their Kentucky show due to food poisoning and I miraculously got them in touch with Kent, NOFX’s manager.  I only mention that as they both thought I was the man that night for getting things right.  What can I say?  I’m a legend in my spare time.

In the past, I’ve failed to make mention of their releases as I had this moronic thought process where I would not review material from friend’s bands.  Clearly that has changed within the past couple of years.

I am not sure why I chose that route, but I can say that I almost would prefer to share the talent of those I know and love rather than keep it all to myself.  I am surrounded by some amazing people and it would be unfair not to share what I hear.

Enough about me, let’s talk about The Electric Grandmother some more.

Originally starting in Columbus back in 1999, the duo moved to D.C. and kept on a truckin’.  Their live shows are not to the norm and usually come with a slideshow and bubble machine.  I’ve never met a person who has not gotten a kick out of their shows.  Even the metalheads in Canton at some bizarre house-venue adored them.

The Electric Grandmother is not really for those who carry boundaries on their music genres or lack a humorous imagination.  To be a fan means you need to carry appreciation for experimental approaches and a love for sitcoms.  After all, this is the band that dubbed themselves “sitcom-core”.

Cancelled is a concept album of sorts about a man whose sanity is compromised by the cancellation of his favorite cop TV drama program by a new one.  The album digs far deeper with emotion than previous albums have as duo Pete and Mary Alice take a new approach at their appreciation for television by speaking of a man whose life is affected by change.

In fact, I will just let Pete and Mary Alice explain it a little more:

“Cancelled is this story of a man’s descent into madness following the cancellation of his favorite cop-drama. This is the unfortunate feedback the man received at his office, the mindless reaction to the shallow “Cop Force,” the show that caused “Police Department” to be pushed aside.”

With that said, I’m hoping you can understand the originality of this band and can appreciate the story that surrounds this album.  I know I did.

“TV” was the first track on the album with Pete singing and Mary Alice providing background vocals.  This track was pretty intense to listen to all due to distorted ambient sounds that supplied the introduction to the story of a lonely man and his beloved TV show.

I actually heard “Police Department Theme Song” a few weeks back on and adored it.  This track shed light on how someone could be so obsessed with a show.  It was the intro music for the show that the man more or less worshipped.

“Radial Sunrise” was a happy-go-lucky song showcasing the man in positive spirits thanks to said TV show.  Pete’s quick singing on this track was just great.  Pay attention though, or you might miss something.

“Feedback Lives” is the absolute change in the story where things start going south.  Even the music sounded concerning as well as the signing about two new dudes who change everything.

This change continued with the downward spiral of “Cancelled”.  This track had Pete and Mary Alice taking turns telling the story from the man’s angle as well as the network’s.  I really loved the music on this one too, it was all over the place.

I am not going to sit here and tell the entire story, you will have to hear it for yourself.  I will say though by the time “The End?” came on,  I could gauge a level of uncomfortable restlessness by a man who could not adapt to change.

This songs on album are so much more in-depth than from what I recall their previous albums containing.  It’s like Beck, Cibo Mato, Kraftwerk, Daft Punk, Postal Service, Mike Patton, and Bran Van 3000 all got in a huge ass fistfight.  That’s probably a complete crap shoot there, but at least I got to say crap shoot here on this good ol’ blog.

Seriously though, I was super intrigued throughout the album and loved the variety as well as the overall story.  I was impressed with the music Pete and Mary Alice created as well as their vocals.  They both really have matured into some pretty amazing musicians.

On top of a great idea of an album, there are also music videos for a couple of the songs to give you even more of a visual.  Check them out below and enjoy.

If you have the slightest curiosity about this album, just click play below already.  The Electric Grandmother have hopped boundaries and borders this time.  It only makes sense considering the adventure they have been on from the day they caught each other’s attention.

Album Review: Streaming Satellites – Slipstream

Sometimes I find out about bands the hard way and I miss out on them.  Other times, as in this case, I am given a proper heads up by someone who believes in the band and knows the world needs to hear them.  It’s my turn now to follow their lead and tell you all about a band called Streaming Satellites.

Already a big deal overseas, Austria’s Streaming Satellites are about to drop their sophomore release on Monday titled Slipstream, and all I can say about it is I have a feeling it will be grabbing some attention.  I really was caught off-guard with this release and was thinking after hearing they were an electronic-indie band that they would have sounded a lot different than what I was treated to.

Synth-heavy, indie rock with serious soul singing was my initial reaction about what Streaming Satellites  were all about.  Then I listened to them some more and started thinking about Pink Floyd, especially the female singing in many of their songs (someone please tell me you know what I am talking about).  Then I picked up some Dan Auerbach howls  and riffs hiding behind groovy 70s music.

I will admit, it took a moment for me to get into them and at first I was expecting more 90s Daft Punk with the opening track, but things soon shifted into an entirely different direction.  I loved “Timezone” with plenty of funk groove synch music layered under catchy indie rock jams. “No Sleep For The Damned” was almost too fuzzy, but it sounded just right.  “Shadows Collide” was astray from the others, but equally as entertaining.

Towards the end of the album, things get even better with a horn section playing and full out jam sessions.  Seriously, what is not to like about this?

Slipstream truly is full of a unique blend of music from today and yesteryear aimed at anyone who just likes to get down.  Max Borchardt really has a unique signing style that carries well throughout the release.  At times his voice reminds me of a calmer J. Roddy Walston as well as a younger Robert Plant.

I usually steer clear when I hear the words “Electronic” and “Indie” put together in a sentence, but this is different, and this is good.  Try not to let Slipstream sneak past you.  If you are looking for something a little different to check out, but full of music and styles similar to bands you your parents playing on the good ol’ turntable, you really owe it to yourself to check out Streaming Satellites.  They really are a unique band.

Quick Reviews: Sh*t Robot, The Chemical Brothers, J. Tillman

I have been getting tons of material lately for review consideration so I thought I would try something new and shrink down my usually lengthy reviews.  Nothing fancy, just trying to get the word out on some amazing bands and releases.  Enjoy.

Sh*t Robot – From The Cradle To The Rave

Marcus Lambkin, aka Sh*t Robot, has taken his time releasing his debut album – literally it has been 20 years in the making.  The Irish born punk rocker turned DJ has made a name for himself in the NYC club scene and even though has never recorded an album before has made a huge name for himself by just doing his thing.  I should also mention that Lambkin helped build that which is now DFA Records from the ground up.

From The Cradle To The Rave reflects Lambkin’s life as a DJ and more.  Opening track, co-written by LCD Soundsystem‘s James Murphy, “Tuff Enough?” is an electronic anthem of sorts with simple beats and synthesizer that was actually written about an upcoming expectancy.  “Losing My Patience” featuring Hot Chip‘s Alexia Taylor was a fun track that I think many of the dance clubs will have no problem spinning. “Simple Things (Work It Out)” was an entertaining experimental dance track of sorts with almost a spoken word feel to it.

My personal favorite cut on the album was “Take ‘Em Up” featuring another musician from LCD Soundsystem, Nancy Whang.  This song not only screamed retro 80’s but also heavily reminded me of what would happen if Daft Punk decided to sample a Sonic The Hedgehog soundtrack.  Whang’s vocals are perfect for this track more suitable to be played at a roller rink.

From The Cradle To The Rave is proof that sometimes taking your time is a good thing.  This release is for all the folk out there that still enjoy the clubs.  Full of electronic goodness that reaches back to the days when techno was all the hype in the 90’s as well as hints at some Kraftwerk.  The album is solid front to back without over doing it.  Where I don’t frequent those types of clubs anymore I still got a kick out of that which is Sh*t Robot.

The Chemical Brothers – Further

Seeing a band like The Chemical Brothers come out with new material makes this guy right here happy.  As a longtime fan of the British duo (Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons), I was thrilled when Further was released and even more intrigued when I heard that alongside the album would be visuals to accompany each of the songs. While I still have yet to obtain the videos I can tell you that they are available on DVD and iTunes for download.

Further is different from previous releases as it is mostly instrumental with Rowlands taking it upon himself to sing on a couple tracks as well as features Stephanie Dosen (Massive Attack) who lends her vocals as well.  I honestly prefer when they collaborate with other musicians on their previous releases but still enjoyed listening to tracks like “Escape Velocity” and “Another World”. “Swoon” was a trip in itself that I could not help but tag along with.

Heavy on the synthesizers and easing back on the drum machines throughout make for a very chill album to listen to.  This is one of those types of albums I can see myself not growing tired of anytime soon.  For those of you out there that still has a soft spot for the duo who hit the charts with “Block Rocking Beats” back in the day don’t hesitate to pick up Further.  The duo still has it and has dropped one great album to dance the night away to or even just sit back and get lost in.

J. Tillman – Singing Ax

Beautiful is just one of the many words that can be used to describe J. Tillman‘s latest release Singing Ax. Not just a member of Fleet Foxes, the folk artist has been very involved in recording material with others as well as himself since around 2004.  His latest offering is a vinyl only release that was recorded by Tillman almost entirely by himself in just three days.  The result is a calm yet captivating collection of songs that couple compliment any campfire gathering or just a quiet afternoon of solitude.

Opening track “Three Sisters” pretty much set the bar up high for the entire album for me.  While listening to TIllman’s singing I could only anticipate on what he was going to sing next and patiently waited the story, backed by acoustic guitar playing and drum machine, to unfold.  “Diamondback” continued with a calm retreat of a pleasant tale that had me closing my eyes and absorbing the intimate song.  In fact I found myself doing that a lot while listening to Singing Ax.  Later on I was treated to the album ending “A Seat At The Table” a song, to me, that almost was a musical rendition of a storm rolling in complete with thundering drumming towards the end of the track.

Tillman dropped an amazing album that barely carried any further supplement aside from his singing and acoustic guitar.  Honestly nothing more was needed as the folk chill release was presented perfectly.  I can only imagine what a live performance would entail.  Luckily for me he is touring with Phosphorescent and is making a stop in Cleveland in just a short couple of weeks.  Fans of Nick Drake and even a younger Neil Young I think will really enjoy this album as well as anyone out there that is just looking for a musical form of relaxation.

The Awesome: Japan’s Polysics

I am sitting here trying to think of something clever to say about the experimental pop act Polysics but my mind is blank.

It would be all too easy to say they are the modern day Japanese version of Devo…just look at their outfits.  Truth is they are Devo but mixed with some Daft Punk and even some of the more experimental Kraftwerk.

The Japanese new wave, electronic, punk rock act has actually been around since 1997 and started “in the spirit of Devo” according to Hyroyuki Hayashi, the band’s vocalist / guitarist.  They even wear Devo-like jump suits with the letter “P” on them.  The foursome recently released their tenth album entitled Absolute Polysics on MySpace Records (US Release).

I have only heard a sample of songs but I can tell you that they are a ton of fun and an absolute riot to listen to even if I can not understand all of their lyrics. For you people who like your music weird and of the wall, this is the band for you. To support my statement, both Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips and Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo have raved about Absolute Polysics.  That right there proves there is something special about this band.

Next month (Feb 12th) Polysics are making a stop at Musica in Akron, OH and I think it is safe to say that it will be a show not to miss.  I myself plan on being there and you should too!

Polysics – Young OH! OH!

POLYSICS | MySpace Music Videos

The Disco Biscuits To Release New Material In 2010

It’s been three years in the making but The Disco Biscuits are finally ready to release an all new album entitled Planet Anthem.  The electro-jam band seem to have changed up their sound since I last heard them and I must say I am curious to hear this release.

So far the only two songs I have heard are the recently released heavy electronic “On Time” and the rockier “You And I”.  Both songs are far from the jam band tunes I am used to but I enjoyed them both and can not wait to hear Planet Anthem.

I have always liked the Disco Biscuits ever since my pal Gary introduced them to me.  I think I was more partial to the electronic sounds over the jam but still I liked them enough to grab all of their CDs and even see them three times, twice at the Odeon (RIP) in Cleveland.  They are a band that caters to many music loving groups and their live shows are something that needs to be seen.

Check out the video below as well as the link I included for a taste of the new tracks I just mentioned.  I really think that this time around the band is going to be getting even more recognition than they have already received in their almost 15 year career as a band.

The following is from a press release I received:

Planet Anthem is the product of three fruitful years of labor, during which the Disco Biscuits absorbed everything from hip hop to pop to indie rock into their sound. The band collaborated for the first time with multiple producers, songwriters, and outside musicians, including Don Cheegro and Dirty Harry (Ludacris, Chris Brown, Beanie Sigel). While the album still bears the signature Bisco sound, it also broadens the group’s palette and contains a mountain of meaty hooks.

Now that I learned they are mixing hip hip and indie rock I am pretty certain that their new release is going to be causing some ruckus.

DOWNLOAD THIS!“On Time”