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  • Guess what?
    Tuesday, April 24, 2007
    Record reviews are back! I thought I'd write a manifesto, but the review below does such a better job. I'm sure I'll talk about my decision more at length, but for now, enjoy this awesome record review of an awesome record.

    Next week, we'll bring more content. I just couldn't wait to update!

    Love--and welcome back!



    posted by joseph kyle @ 4:00 PM   0 comments
    Rumskib "Rumskib"

    This record, I have to say, was the final straw for me. It made me change my decision to stop writing and publishing reviews, because this record is simply one of the most amazing records I've heard this year, and it's one of the best records of the shoegazing movement since...1991. Is that music writer hyperbole? Am I just being dramatic? HELL NO. The duo of Rumskib consists of Keith Canisius and Tine Louise Kortermand, along with one of Jonas Munk, the mastermind behind the wonderful electronica project Manual.

    Here's a rundown of what these three have done. They've simply taken everything that was good about the whole shoegazing/blisspop/dreampop/4AD movement, condensed it and interpreted in their own special way, and have produced a record that rivals the best of the records it inspired. Let's put it another way: when I received this record, I decided to listen to it on my nightly stroll down the road. I put it on my discman, turned it up, and had a MASSIVE sense of déjà vu, because I can still recall the first time nearly two decades ago, when I walked down this same long, dusty road all the while having my mind blown by the brilliant, new sounds of records like Victorialand, Loveless, Gala, Strange Free World and 'I'. Rumskib belongs in that pantheon, my friends; it's that powerful and that good.

    But about that walk. I didn't know what to expect, but the first quiet seconds of "Hearts of Fire" made me think something good was about to happen. And then it did, and oh GOD, did it! At the thirty-two second mark, the sound EXPLODES into a multicolored Technicolor kaleidoscope of sound, with loud guitars, hauntingly beautiful vocals, and some of the dreamiest bliss-pop I've heard in ages. I mean, I still think A Sunny Day in Glasgow is making amazing music, but let me tell you, I quickly forgot about their wonderful revivalist record, because, hell, Rumskib is effin' REAL, man.

    As I walked, I was blown away by the wonderful sounds held within this mysteriously wonderful album. "Sneak" made me walk faster, with its fast-paced rock beat; "Crucial Love Games" made me wish I were in love, so that I could include it on a mix tape; "Girl Afraid" made me both think of The Smiths and of Miki Beryeni, "Think Eyes Away" made me want to find a computer and see if Rumskib had more records, and the concluding song "Love At First Sight" sums up my feelings for Rumskib--I fell in love with this record from the very first note, and now, after having listened to it about 40 times, I'm still in love with it.

    I have to say this, too. Yes, Rumskib sounds familiar, but who cares? The best song on here is called "Dreampoppers Tribute," so you should know that they know what they're doing is, in part, an homage to greatness. But then again, we're talking about living in the now, and what they do sounds wonderfully fresh and inspiring. Kortermand sounds exactly like Liz Fraser, which makes Rumskib even more wonderful. That Rumskib shares a label with Robin Guthrie seemingly makes the world seem right, too. I'm just glad there's a band that knows how to make beautiful music with unintelligible words and heavy-handed whammy-bar guitar.

    Rumskib, quite honestly, made me fall back in love with music. It made me remember why I started writing about music, and it made me really, truly excited about music once again. Other records have seemingly been that way, but there's no comparison between those records and this one. Early contender for album of the year? Damn straight.

    Label Website:

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    posted by joseph kyle @ 3:56 PM   0 comments
    Sinoia Caves "The Enchanter Persuaded"
    Sunday, April 22, 2007

    Sinoia Caves' The Enchanter Persuaded was released in 2002, it sounds amazingly ahead-of-its-time in 2007, yet sounds like it should have been released in 1974. The bedroom project of Jeremy Schmidt, who plays keyboards in Black Mountain, this record is a blast of pure, unadulterated, unedited Prog Rock. That it was made by a guy in his bedroom makes the record even more amazing. Though I could probably drop some names of some obscure bands as a point of comparison, I'm just going to show my uncoolness here and say that this sounds like a long-lost Pink Floyd outtakes album, put together with material from their soundtrack Obscured By Clouds and Meddle. The Enchanter Persuaded plays like a symphonic movement, in the sense that the album--which contains only a half-dozen songs--is book-ended by two wonderfully long, nearly-20 minute songs: "Dwarf Reaching the Arch Wonder" is a straight-up journey into space; it's a quiet, meditative, glacially cold number that will send chills up your spine, while "Sundown In the New Arcades (Milky Way Echo)" is a deep space journey through the depths of the ocean, and it simply ends abruptly, with the sound of the tape machine going off. The three songs in between are short, simple songs; "The Wicker Chair" blends synths with acoustic guitar, "Naro Way" is a Floyd-like folk song, with hazy vocals and a buzzing haze around its melody. This reissue contains a bonus track, "Evil Ball" which concludes the album, and it feels slightly out of place, as it sounds different from the rest of the album in that it features a heavy bass line and Yes-like melodies.

    The Enchanter Persuaded may very well be a one-off. I haven't found any kind of information about a follow-up, or even a website. As it stands, it's a rare jewel; I'm happy Jagjaguwar reissued it, and I can tell you it's spent a hell of a lot of time on my stereo. It's a narcotic pleasure, my friends. Seek it out if you want a nice trip.

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    posted by joseph kyle @ 10:00 AM   0 comments
    Greg Ashley "Painted Garden"

    Uh…what? Painted Garden is strange, and in this instance, "strange" means "an odd, unique, and intensely different listening experience." Of course, such a description really doesn't quite capture just how much I like the peculiar sounds on this record. It's a little jazz, it's a little psych, it's a little folk, it's a little rock, but it's not really any of these things. I've never heard Ashley's main band Gris Gris, or his band The Mirrors, but now I want to, because if this record is the sound of him by himself, I'd like to hear him with a band--hell, I just want to hear MORE! Many of these songs are long, but they're not at all monotonous, and the record feels rather short, because once you start to get into it, it's over. But there's plenty to love: the funky jazz of "Fisher King" to the wonderful folk sing-along "Won't Be Long," the sad, heartbreaking "Room 33," the trippy space-country of "Amnesia," and a wonderful reworking of a Gris Gris song, the rather straightforward, utterly catchy "Corporation Station Agent." The other songs are great, too, but I won't mention them, because, well, I don't want to give away the surprises in store when you listen to them!

    So many bands and artists try to blend and imitate records by 60s obscurities and 70s drug casualties with modern recording technologies, in hopes of making a modern classic "lost-gem" of psych-rock. Ashley has succeeded and exceeded all such expectations. As lazy as it is to say "This record doesn't sound like anything you've ever heard," Painted Garden really doesn't, because, well, this record works on so many levels. His songs tap into emotions and feelings of sorrow and loss. It's also a record that's quite innovative, because he's blending traditional music together in very subtle ways, creating a sound that's both warmly familiar and hauntingly weird.

    I've been tempted to interview Mr. Ashley, but I'm hesitant to do so, because part of me doesn't really want to know what went into making this wonderful album. Sometimes it's best to keep your enigmas mysterious. I seriously doubt you'll hear a record that's as weird or as wonderful as Painted Garden this year. And thank God for that...

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    posted by joseph kyle @ 9:41 AM   0 comments
    Next Week...
    Saturday, April 21, 2007
    Something new and wonderful will take place here.

    Keep watching!

    posted by joseph kyle @ 10:53 AM   0 comments
    Monday, April 9, 2007
    I'm taking a moment to address something that's come up, because I've been asked this several times in the last few days, and it's kind of annoying having to repeat myself.


    I have about a half a dozen interviews pending--I just haven't had any time in the last two weeks to update, but I have a new computer arriving soon, and when I get it, I'll be back up and running.

    Patience, please! Don't write me off just yet....
    posted by joseph kyle @ 11:22 AM   1 comments
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