Thursday, December 29, 2005

Liars - New EP - It fit when I was a kid Learn the art and take it out when you need

Did that scene really take place in front of the artist's eyes or just comes from his fantasy? It was about 3 years ago and with this question in my mind I was admiring one of the erotic statues (say them pornographic) from the ancient Pompei held in the National Archaeological Museum of Napoli but rarely exposed: not the usual statue of a warrior or an athlete but a Satyr that has sex with a goat! Fact or fiction? "Art" would be the right answer. And "art" is the answer for those who are querying about the cover and the sound of the new Liars EP "It fit when I was a kid" on Mute Records, prelude to the forthcoming new album "Drum's not dead", out in the 2006.

(click here to see the uncensored cover)

Somebody already consider it the worst cover of the history of the music and somebody just free porn, worse because it's gay porn!But is simply art. Art. What else could you expect from two playful ex-Los Angeles art school students like Aaron Hemphill e Angus Andrew?
The skills in arts come out. In the artwork of the EP cover and in the music too. The coat of the punk funk paint of the first album "They threw us all in a trench and stuck a monument on top" that permanent left its stain on all the papers is slowly fading away. And also the concept album as a canvas where shapes and suonds were created and modelled, like in the second "They were wrong so we drowned" with its imaginery of witches and woods, now seemstoo obsolete and redundant. In this last 4 songs EP (3+1 remix of the titletrack) Liars seem to hone their arty approach to the music and dedicate to the aesthetical research of essential components of the music andlife and society: the beat. The rhythm that beats the life. From the pulse of the heart of a foetus in the womb of the mother, to the pulse of the bodies making sex, to the pulse of acollective body, a crowd, that sings a monotonous prayer that leads to hypnotical trance statesand approaches the divine. The obsessive pulse of the minimalistic tribal tom tom in the titletrack "It fit when I was a kid"are nothing else than a celebration of the life and of its rhythms and definitively of the human nature and of its need of a metronome giving a trace to follow if not a sense to the life. The Angus deep and mysterious voice goes with the music, reciting undecipherable and cryptic lyrics. In the middle the voice go up the scales of an organ and the song turns into a medieval ritual chant, almost envoking or evoking a superhuman presence. So thrilling!

The tracks 2 and 3 of Liars' new EP will be not in the forthcoming album "Drum's not dead". "The Frozen Glacier Of Mastodon Blood" is characterized by continuous distorted and vibrating chords of strings that create an atmosphere of tension and wait, almost forced in a rhythmic cage by an incisive drumming that plays odd patterns. The rhythm stops just for a while to let the voice of Angus give vent and then it starts again always precise and metronomic, but with a different drum pattern. At the end of the song the vibrating strings escape from the rhythmic lock of the drumming and they seem to scratch the air searching for flesh before they definitively go out into the silence.
In "Bingo! Count Draculuck" an obsessed Angus repeats "Are you all right?" again and again while agrowing noise open a glimmer in the silence and soon metallic percussions of strings and drums make it a big leak.
The 4th track of the EP "Don't techno for an answer" is a techno remix of the titletrack that exasperates that research of the beat, going crazy toward post-human and trans-human.
Great EP.
Buy it @ Mute Records.

Two cover art versions are available as the original artwork may be too hard for some. Created by Julian Gross, the uncensored version is only available for sale through Liars' website and features the sleeve on edible paper.

Here you can listen to the titletrack

"It fit when I was a kid"

RealAudio Hi
RealAudio Lo
WindowsMedia Hi
WindowsMedia Lo

The EP also includes 3 video tracks of the songs 1, 2 and 3 made respectively by Julian Gross, Aaron Hemphill and Angus Andrew.

Here you can see the low-budget video of "It fit when I was a kid"



Saturday, December 17, 2005

My Top Indie 2005

... and should I find the peace and quiet needed to set up my Top Indie 2005 while news like this one or this other one are raining all around? Quiet diffiuclt!
Anyway, taking into account that also if the long expected new Tv on the Radio's album will be out before the end of the year I can't never listen at it because you are already out louding the Christmas songs, and considering that I will soon integrate and update my ranking just after I will take a look to your full of unheard, here comes my Top Indie 2005. Not the best of 2005, simply the top of my listenings during the year.


1 - The Decemberists - Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars)
2 - The Mountain Goats - The sunset tree (4AD)
3 - Xiu Xiu - La forêt (5 Rue Christine)
4 - Dälek - Absence (Ipecac)
5 - Offlaga Disco Pax - Socialismo tascabile (Santeria)
6 - Bloc Party - Silent alarm (V2)
7 - Marta sui tubi - C'è gente che deve dormire (Eclectic Circus)
8 - A Frames - Black forest (Sub Pop)
9 - The Trail Of Dead - Worlds apart (Interscope)
10 - Eels - Blinking lights and other revelations (Vagrant)
11 - Ex Models - Chrome panther (Psychotica)
12 - The USA is a monster - Wohaw (Load)
13 - Shipping news - Flies the fields (Touch and Go)

14 - The Planet The - You absorb my vision (5 Rue Christine)
15 - The Books - Lost and safe (Tomlab)

... but now I am listening at the new Depeche Mode's Playing the angel
Eh! Eh!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Xiu Xiu + Larsen = XXL Ciautistico! Much more than a sum

Ciautistico! is the result of the collaboration between Xiu Xiu and the Italian band Larsen, out on Important Records.
The meeting was in a club of Seattle, a couple of years ago: just few seconds to understand that even if they were talking far languages, running on parallel lines, 10, 100, 1000 hidden mood-wires were building bridges between their paths. A lot of e-mails and a couple of live shows and finally just 11 days to create and register “Ciautistico!”, just a single intense crazy session, just the duration of an inaccurate number of wine bottles to drink.

“Ciautistico!” seems a really philologically correct title for the XXL album, because ciautistico is just a fantasy coined word from the Italian words “ciao” (hello) and “autistico” (autistic). In effect the album sounds like a greeting with smiles and hugs between two autistic persons that could often appear a little uncomunicable.
This collaboration has the merit of driving the Jamie Stewart’s urge of communication to a more blind landing place and at least for a while quieting both bands unquiet moods in a ritual drinking that mixes in a single bottle of wine the grapes of the mutated-synth-orchestrated pop from the Xiu Xiu vineyard, with the grapes of minimalistic droning instrumentals and almost-techno beat by Larsen vineyard.

XXL - Live @ Teatro Juvarra - Torino (Italy) - May 12, 2005

© 2005

The incipit of the album, “Paw paw paw paw paw paw paw”, is a great orchestrated pop song with a strained and oniric synth melody that reminds to other great Xiu Xiu past episodes. Much Larsen marked is the next song, “Minnie mouseistic”, a thrilling and vibrating rolling out of discordant tones, trills and creaks that introduces us on tiptoe into their droning world, where Caralee McElroy is waiting us to recite her strange and confused monologue in a tremulous Italian. “Ciao ciautistico” seems just an intro, a rubbing and warming hands before to mould the next “(Pokey in your) Gnocchi”, the real touching point between the bands, the instant when their mouths drinking from the same cup reach to a kiss. A monotone and irreverent simple riff of guitar entwines cinematic droning sounds and orchestral chimes and bells, to weave a precious carpet that brings the Jamie’s voice to flight. “Distorted duck” is an instrumental song starting with hot and full-bodied guitar tones that evolve in a delayed melody that screw up on itself like a record that get stuck and reminds me to some atmospheres made by Italian band Massimo Volume in the early 90s before the duck of the title – a distorted sample of “quack” – invades the musical field and infects the serious mood with its jumping and rhythmic irony. “Lipstick fair” is just a glitchily fragment that introduces to a great suffering cover of the Adam Ant hit “Prince charming”; the singing blows in an emotional growing, with Jamie’s voice surfing on the higher waves of the deeper sea and shipwracking in a jubilation of atonal percussions and chimes and trills. “Birthday song” is another pretty instrumental gift, a bubbletronic pie with candles, an homage from Larsen to Xiu Xiu, The album ends with “Sunday”, an instrumental pop song again, to seal a great record, where the addition of Xiu Xiu vocals to the Larsen instrumental err counts much more than a simple sum.

Buy “Ciautistico!” @ Important Records.

Here come 3 songs from Ciautistico!

Xiu Xiu Larsen - Ciautistico ! - 01 - Paw paw paw paw paw paw paw (download mp3)

Xiu Xiu Larsen - Ciautistico ! - 03 - Ciao ciautistico (download mp3)

Xiu Xiu Larsen - Ciautistico ! - 04 - (Pokey in your) Gnocchi
(download mp3)