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PopMatters Music Short Takes
our brief reviews of new releases
16 March 2006
Das Kapital, Denying the West (Johann's Face) Rating: 7
At first glance, Das Kapital seems to be hoping for another American Idiot with this punk concept album (and why not-as of November 2004 there was room for 62 million of them). But Denying the West reveals itself as an altogether more engaging album, tracing the life of a young Mormon in the 1930s as he abandons his home to carouse the mean streets of Europe and challenge the beliefs instilled in him. Like some character in a Sartre novel, he winds up swinging from a government-sponsored noose. With a name like that, Das Kapital invites expectations of crusty agitpunk in the vein of Discharge or the Crass, but the band instead sounds like punk vets aging gracefully (this is the band's first album, but the members have been in the scene for years), more along the lines of the Damned on Strawberry's more straightforward moments. Song after song delivers brawny melody and surprisingly compelling narrative, and Charlie Moore's nimble fingers traverse the bass fretboard with as much wanderlust as our protagonist. Instead of standout songs separated by doses of filler, Denying the West offers an entirely consistent, cohesive album, well deserving of more attention than it's likely to attract. Whitney Strub
Denying the West: [player, click "listen"]
MySpace: [multiple songs]
The Bleedin Bleedins, Life Without Computers (self-released) Rating: 7
You know the phrase "fake it til you make it"? Boston-by-way-of-Dublin trio the Bleedin Bleedins certainly have, and please take that as the high praise it's intended to be. No phonies here; on their debut, Life Without Computers, the Bleedins sound like a rock band accustomed to filling arenas, though they've only recently hit the Boston club circuit. Soaring, earnest modern rock is the order of the day for the Bleedin Bleedins - U2 comes favorably to mind on tracks like the propulsive "One More Minute" and the shimmering "Fly Me Home". And they never get overearnest, either, keeping the proceedings like with the danceable "The Lights Are Out" and "Don't Stop City", which, if it's about Boston, is hilarious, given that city's well-know early-to-bed reputation (and if it's not about Beantown, it's still a fun, funky song). Folks waiting for U2 or Coldplay to get back into the studio would do well to pass the time with the Bleedin Bleedins. They may not be selling out arenas yet, but give 'em time.
multiple songs: [MySpace]
Kobi, Dronesyndrome (Silber) Rating: 6
Listening to Kobi's Dronesyndrome is like waking up. Not in the good way that one might imagine, with bright sunshine, fluffy bunnies just outside your window, and the faint aroma of a good cup of coffee in the air. No, Dronesyndrome is more like waking up facedown on the concrete floor of an abandoned factory in a pool of your own blood and spit, opening your eyes and seeing nothing, hearing only the faint whirs, creaks, and gurgles of the dying machines that surround you. Sometimes, there's a drone that overpowers the environmental sounds, either the quiet hum of heat or some remnant of a hallucinogenic episode (opening track "Faint Echoes Ran Round the Unseen Hall (Pt 1)"). Sometimes, the faint echoes of a television left on overnight make their way to your ears ("This Inclusion is Not a Simple Operation"). And sometimes, there's no light at all, no clues as to your whereabouts, and no hope of identifying any of the sounds you hear as you try to feel your way to freedom (the ten-minute-plus "Interspersed with Semi-Conscious Moments"). It's ugly, it's menacing, and it's filled with dread. In short, Dronesyndrome is an absorbing, fascinating work of aural theatre.
"Faint Echoes Ran Round the Unseen Hall (Part 1)": [MP3]
Three, Hallucination Limited presents Three: Hallucienda (System) Rating: 6
Whatever happened to Rabbit On The Moon? Seriously, they kicked ass. The reason I am reminded of this is that Three's new mix CD, Hallucienda, features Rabbit On The Moon's "Timebomb", one of the best dance singles of the decade (seriously, have you heard it?), but as far as I know that's the last thing they've released, and that was, what, three? four years ago? In any event, the presence of "Timebomb" speaks well for this genial, if unspectacular mix. The order of the day seems to be techno breaks, and that's hardly a bad thing, especially when highlights include the Grumptronix mix of Q-Burns Abstract Message's "This Time", with vocal's from Naked Music house chanteuse Lisa Shaw. Come to think of it, where has Q-Burns been these past years? Hallucienda will probably be useless in terms of missing persons inquiries, but anyone looking for a solid and sturdy mix in the genre of techy, twitchy breaks should find what they're looking for.
preview the mix: [MP3]
.: posted by Editor 8:14 AM