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Music

Com Truise: Cyanide Sisters

Dominic Umile

Com Truise is never far from a long-discontinued synthesizer or a 1980s VHS tape.


Com Truise

Cyanide Sisters

Label website: www.ghostly.com
Label: Ghostly International
US Release Date: 2011-01-25
UK Release Date: 2011-01-25
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

It takes some convincing to fully understand that Cyanide Sisters is, in fact, not a patchwork of film score music circa 1987. Issued for free via AMDISCS in 2010, Ghostly International has revisited and expanded Com Truise's debut, lengthening it with a handful of bonus tracks that link nicely to the original blueprint for the EP.

Princeton, NJ producer Seth "Com Truise" Haley has recorded electronic music under more than one alias, and his work as Airliner is especially worth a listen. His wordless, keyboard-heavy beats suggest that he lives close enough to Princeton Record Exchange to pounce on any synth-centric library LPs that make their way into town. When he uploaded "Tripyra" to his Web site for the taking last summer, Haley backed it with an equally melancholy new-wave ode called "Pyragony". Both are on Cyanide Sisters, a collection of gloopy, arcade-game funk that moves at half speed. "Tripyra" slumps a lot like Boards of Canada's "Roygbiv" does, and it seems to have been tracked with the Warp Records luminaries in mind. Haley ran the drums through loads of reverb and padded the prominent, rubbery analog leads with subtle swells and an occasional floating counter-melody. It's easy to associate his work with well-known techno or the recent onslaught of hazy beat tapes, but Haley isn't recreating, nor is he merely lacing MPC drum patterns with random samples for the purposes of getting baked and nodding off.

Stuttering vocal loops and abrupt IDM edits make an appearance on the tracks "Iwywaw" and "Slow Peels", and connecting the dots between Haley's EP and UK producer Tropics or Toro Y Moi's Causers of This is easy in places. However, Haley's work is sluggish and weird. Cyanide Sisters definitely harbors enough soft-focus, blurring textures to "evoke shorelines and sandcastles for some listeners ("Chilled to Spill": How the Oil Spill Ruined Chillwave's Summer Vacation")", but he builds quirky musical themes that are gradually introduced on each track. Lumbering progressions on the EP are guided away from quick characterizations toward where they eventually nest: a nostalgic midway point between spacey funk and techno. Cyanide Sisters is both lethargic and bubbling over, with more than a nod to 1980s film music in the brew.

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Photo courtesy of Matador Records

The indie rock genre is wide and unwieldy, but the musicians selected here share an awareness of one's place on the cultural-historical timeline.

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With that in mind, our list of 2017's best indie rock albums ranges from melancholy to upbeat, defiant to uplifting, serious to seriously goofy. As always, it's hard to pick the best ten albums that represent the year, especially in such a broad category. Artists like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had a heck of a year, putting out four albums. Although they might fit nicer in progressive rock than here. Artists like Father John Misty don't quite fit the indie rock mold in our estimation. Foxygen, Mackenzie Keefe, Broken Social Scene, Sorority Noise, Sheer Mag... this list of excellent bands that had worthy cuts this year goes on. But ultimately, here are the ten we deemed most worthy of recognition in 2017.

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White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

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There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

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Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

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