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Boy Eats Drum Machine

Booomboxxx

(Tender Loving Empire; US: 22 Oct 2008; UK: Available as import)

Boy Eats Drum Machine is the brainchild of Jon Ragel, who is responsible for every note on Booomboxxx, the third album under his allusive moniker. BEDM is the sound of pop songs being fractured via hammers made of hip-hop breakbeats and a relentless DIY bedroom aesthetic, resulting in an album that is wildly haphazard, a traffic jam of vocals and sounds that still manage to eek past any harsh criticism simply because of Ragel’s infectious love of pure melody, an aspect that shines through each and every track. Some tracks easily trump others (“The Crack in the Sea” is an immediate highlight simply because it’s the most straightforward-sounding tune on the disc), but by and large, the tunes feel more overstuffed than relatable, like the Gorillaz after being pumped full of American steroids. Yet every once in awhile, Ragel stumbles across something genius, like the softly cooed vocals, tremolo guitar, and scratched samples that dote “la la la la LA!”, a gorgeous little ditty that gets a shot of adrenaline halfway through when the breakbeat drums launch in out of nowhere. No, the experiments don‘t always work, but that doesn’t prevent Booomboxxx from being one of the most utterly fascinating discs you’re likely to hear all year.

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Evan Sawdey started contributing to PopMatters in late 2005, and has also had his work featured in publications such as SLUG Magazine, The Metro (U.K.), Soundvenue Magazine (Denmark), the Daily Dot, and many more. Evan has been a guest on HuffPost Live, RevotTV's "Revolt Live!", and WNYC's Soundcheck (an NPR affiliate), was the Executive Producer for the Good With Words: A Tribute to Benjamin Durdle album (available for free at GoodWithWordsAlbum.com), and wrote the liner notes for the 2011 re-release of Andre Cymone's hit 1985 album A.C. (Big Break Records), the 2012 re-release of 'Til Tuesday's 1985 debut Voices Carry (Hot Shot Records), and many others. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. You can follow him @SawdEye should you be so inclined.


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16 Jan 2013
This LP is clearly destined to become a minor-key classic in some circles.
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Boy Eats Drum Machine mines some freely available breaks to create an album that's... interesting.
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