Ah, 80’s glam electronica, you always know how to put a smile on my face and Gnarnia VIPs and dark pop geniuses, Love Cop, oblige with a cassette of lofi dreamgaze with a heavy tote of perverted pop. With clear nods to the best moments of Television Personalities, The Clean, and Factory Records bands like Joy Division and New Order, Eat Yr Heart Out is bursting at the seams with fuzzy guitars, jangly guitars, crunchy guitars, dance beats, rock beats, witchy vibes, stoner vibes, and maybe the kitchen sink (why not?).
Signed copies were available at their performance at Gnar Tapes SXSW Showcase on March 15th, 2013 but never fear, you can still get your not-as-special unsigned copies through the friendly folks at Gnar Tapes. So pop on the album through bandcamp (or better yet, the cassette itself), open up the windows, and ignore your responsibilities. Love Cop‘s got the soundtrack to your dysfunctional narcissism.
Love Cop – Eat Yr Heart Out (Bandcamp)
Gnar Tapes – Shop
Technology and modern electronics have the eerie ability to both feel warm and connect us with the world as well as cold and distant, isolating in pure design. It’s a Catch 22 which appears to be the Holy Grail for any creative mind ingenious enough to create a synthesis between the two extremes. While, on a technological note, this process appears to still be ongoing, Charlie of Kill Rock Stars appears to have made a bold new step in this development within the ambient, electronica genre. Under the name Grapefruit, Charlie has released his instrumental synth wanderings in the form of “Freeway Romantics”
As described by Gnar Tapes, the album is, “pulsing and vibrating, like hearing lights pass through crystal. As much outside as it is in. Is the freeway out in space, or is it in your mind?” A little on the new age side but hell, I guess you have to be a little to indulgence in this album. This is not intended to be a put down however: rather, this music has a spirtual sort of feel to it by design. Perhaps I am too reliant upon these groups to help vocalize what I am unable to articulate however with a combination of soundwall aesthetics as displayed by M83‘s “Fields, Shorelines, and Hunters” and an attention to 8-bit culture the likes of Gatekeeper gives Grapefruit‘s “Freeway Romantics” a, well, romantic feel. And I mean this in the purest sense: a romanticism which takes what appears to be a dark and grim world of alienating technological feats and create a warmth unknown to many in their own physical lives.
The ramblings of a tired fool, perhaps. However, while I do love his previous projects, I find this release such a personal journey without the gimmicks of traditional ambient electronica that it just feels enlightening. Take a listen and grab a download ($7? Why the hell not, plus I believe they sell tape copies as well for those so inclined). I recently read an article which believed that A Brave New World was a far more believable dystopia than 1984. For while the government attempts to subdue its population by withholding information in 1984, the government in A Brave New World does not care about withholding information but rather to drown it out through perpetual pop culture and media distractions. Welcome to the Brave New World. Enjoy.
Grapefruit – Freeway Romantics
It’s been a little while since I’ve written anything on house/electronica material so indulge me in my odd attempt. I’ve always had a good deal of respect for Gnar Tapes with its extremely unique while ferociously independent. Admittedly, I was puzzled then when I received a seemingly gaudy email on what looks like an anxsty teenager’s cover art (yes, I’m being mean but I promise it goes uphill from here). Still, the story got me hooked. As described by Gnar Tapes, “Dutch “Gabber” DJ Mental Theo (aka Theo Nabuurs) has been making hardcore electronic dance music since the early 90s. After scoring a few big Happy Hardcore hits in Europe with their songs “Wonderful Days” and “Stars” alongside fellow countryman Charly Lownoise, Theo continued on to become a VJ on the European version of MTV. During the late 90s he hosted his own European MTV show called “Mental Theo On The Road“, in which he visited various nightclubs across Europe interviewing and interacting with partygoers, including a “Spring Break Special” report on the American club scene in Florida.”
It was that start which urged me to go ahead and take a listen. Spanning a little under an hour, I’m glad I did. As Gnar Tapes continues to state, “West Coast Mix 01” is the result of how educational and fun the Internet has made cassette culture” with “a unique mix of a Dutch Hardcore and Gabber records and remixes”. Now to use my only words. Irony is certainly a beautiful thing, however too much serves as a gluttonous mask to true identity. Luckily, Theo, through his years of experience and active participation, appears to understand this exact balance, an attribute I greatly admire. Sure, he uses humorous bits and pieces as well as highly overdone mixes. However there appears to be no embarrassment in this use, rather a primal pride that shines through. Take a listen, hell grab the actual, physical copy (cause come on, an hour of Dutch Hardcore on a car trip: I know you want to). It’s been awhile since I’ve written on this kind of material, yet Theo is more than deserving of the article. Enjoy.
There is just something inherently lovable about the 80’s. It was an era that seemed to have accepted materialism to historic heights, one with cues to the rise of morality and the religious right, one of both complacency and ambition all melded into a popular culture that still affects us today. Now may be a good time to point out that I wasn’t born until the 90’s: still, I am nearly lecherous in my imagination that is of the 80’s. And somewhere in this weird hallucination that is my mind I imagine hearing Emotional’s new album, “Feeling“.
Released about 2 months ago, I feel ashamed to say it has taken me this long to write on it because, yes, it is damn well worth your time (and $7? *wink wink, nudge nudge*). Opening with the aptly entitled “Grass To Pass The Time“, the 30 seconds give you a very appropriate introduction to the rest of the album. With heavily distorted vocals (not to mention essentially everything else) and an extremely poppy synth hook, the song takes you through a montage of casual nothingness which, essentially, may be the best of times. “Baby I’m So Strange” follows which, by far, is my favorite track. There is an overwhelming feeling in my pretentious side to note that it appears to have an extremely common verse structure but hell, it’s a dream scape pop track, what the hell are you supposed to expect? “Baby I’m So Strange” excels because of it’s seemingly casual anthem to society and mediocracy, a message which seems to fit rather well as it ends in a symphony of light chirping of the guitar.
Clearly, I am not necessarily providing too grand of an image as far as the whole album goes. Frankly, it’s on purpose. I sit here, by my computer, spewing my thoughts into a blog which I can only assume someone, somewhere is actually reading. Yet the joy comes from the idea of no preconceived notions. I like to think Dissociative Identity Productions is hear to raise awareness, not to sell a message (though if ya ask me about politics, that may become something entirely different…). Listen to the whole f’ing thing. The 80’s excelled because people were still naive enough to enjoy and not be pretentious. Emotional understands this, and it may be a good idea for us all too as well.
Emotional – Feeling
Gnar TV recently premiered their newest video, Picture Of My Dick by Unkle Funkle, the side project of Chris Uehlein of White Fang. Directed by Unkle Funkle and Brian Echon, the video features three men swaying/dancing within a blank white room, nearly nude (the three men? Mikey Peterman AKA 99¢, Justin Leon Johnson aka J Green, and the funky monkey himself Unkle Funkle). This was all done in the attempt to represent Unkle Funkle’s new album, which will be available on vinyl this week via Marriage Records, digitally via Gnar Tapes, and on cassette in the next few weeks via Burger Records.
You caught me: I couldn’t resist. With a name like that, you can only expect Dissociative Identity Productions to write at least something. Yet the video, as a preview to the whole album, does show a large amount of promise. First and foremost, yes, White Fang has a great sound so I naturally hold excitement about any side project with this kind of experience. Second, and the real reason I’m writing this article, is that its pretty f’in good. It has a distorted pop anthem with vocals seemingly reminiscent Liars, followed by a reflective melody which, dare I say it, brings up Real Estate. All in a video entitled “Picture of My Dick“. Yeah…it’s weirdly impressive.
So stay tuned for the whole album, an album which I look forward to reviewing as well. If “Picture of My Dick” is any cue, then it should be interesting to say the least…
Happening Now by Grrrl Friend
In Sociology and Cultural Anthropology in particular, there’s a theory called the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. An infamous theory for intellectuals of the field, it describes how language is not simply how we communicate with others around us: it is, in fact, largely how we see the world. A primary example in their research was the comparison of Western time to those of the Hopi Indians. While our society may have the past and the future, to the Hopi, everything is simply one: we do not necessarily live in the present so much as we live in the past, present, and future all in the same moment. Another way to understand this theory, though, is to simply take a listen through Portland’s own Grrrl Friend and their recent release, “Happening Now“. It’s a confusing experience, to say the least, yet not a negative one. At times, you may feel as though you’ve bumped into the bastard cousin of The Jesus And Mary Chain and Sonic Youth. By the next song though, you’re looking at a mind trip the likes of Avey Tare pairing up with “They Threw Us All in a Trench and Struck a Monument on Top” Liars. Yeah… confusing, yet it is at this moment that I find it prudent to bring up Liar’s own, “Drums Not Dead“. Clearly, it was an album in left field for their previous work: there was always a hint of that side of their music but never enough to define. All the same, it emerged and it proved to be one of Liar’s shining moments. Grrrl Friend took a big risk with this album: they avoid the traditional formula’s of garage-pop punk bands like the plaque in exchange for an all together bizarre interpretation. Bizarre but brilliant. Take a listen through the whole album to fully appreciate my comments and grab a cassette even (because come on, it’s awesome to see cassette releases still out there). Language alters our reality, a point Grrrl Friend understands all too well. Case and point: “Happening Now“. Listen, Share, Enjoy.
Grrrl Friend – Happening Now
Dissociative Identity Productions
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