Capsule Wednesday 5

By: JamBase Staff

Matthew Dear: Asa Breed (Ghostly International)
As I sit here listening to the incredible Asa Breed from the never disappointing Matthew Dear, I wonder why LCD Soundsystem is the sole electronica/punk-minded artist that is getting all the ballyhoo this year. Sound of Silver is a satisfying album but it's no 9.2 as the "old barn tool" (Pitchfork for the hipster impaired) hails it. Either way, Matthew Dear is the direction that dance and punk music should be heading toward. While heavily influenced by the minimalist/microhouse of Motor City techno from the likes of Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin and the German label Kompakt, Dear sings like a motorized Prince and early David Byrne over beats that ping, squibble and gurgle like a baby being burped. His is a new jaded primer in crusty soul and sizzling pop. The somewhat happy and totally twitchy "Shy" and the TV on the Radio meets Right Said Fred-esque "Midnight Lovers" are among the standouts. Asa Breed could possibly be the electronica album of the year, people! Don't act like you're not impressed. (Chris Pacifico)

Chris and Thomas: Land of Sea (Defend)
Emerging from crackling fires and blue mornings, the cross-continental duo of Chris and Thomas settle down like refreshing dew. Spare but not too spare instrumentation underpins two singers meant to be entangled. The easy touchstones are Simon & Garfunkel and the Everly Brothers but Thomas Hein and Chris Anderson have their own collective timbre that moves with the ease of wind over stones. Different parts conjure '60s Greenwich Village ("Broken Chair"), acoustic Grateful Dead ("Bettin' On The Moon," "Take These Thoughts") and modern folk a la John Gorka ("Don't Hang Your Heart," "Time To Find Out"). So widely winning is this largely acoustic debut, so perfectly unforced are their dovetailing voices, that one can easily see both indie chicks and Birkenstock boys diggin' this mightily. (Dennis Cook)

Memfis: The Wind Up (Candlelight USA)
Named after an ancient Egyptian city, Swedish foursome Memfis hail from the historical hamlet of Kristinehamn and make metal that goes through more patterns than a hieroglyphics scribe while still staying on its own path of a gathering storm. Their school of grind is lithe, where the bass plucking and clattering drums can be zoned in on while the dense, uber-melodic screams and growls are stretched along with the post rock garnished riffs. This is an opus that is cold and crumbling like glaciers with surging crusts plummeting into the sea from soaring temperatures. (CP)

Nina Nastasia and Jim White: You Follow Me (Fat Cat)
The thrill and terror of chases, literal and figurative, provides the loose framework for this intimate yet tough conversation between singer-guitarist Nastasia and Dirty Three drummer White, whose mind-boggling percussion acrobatics sing with and stoke Nastasia's strong, inviting voice – think Edie Brickell's vaguely Southern, unhindered flow minus all the annoying affectations. One feels the flames of their interactions in real time, the potency of an eye-to-eye mix-up captured on tape by Steve Albini. Every aspect is subtle but never timid. Each element is offered with confidence that dares the other person to keep up, contribute, be fully present. Eavesdropping is rarely this emotionally complex or musically active (DC)

Los Campesinos!: Sticking Fingers Into Sockets (Arts & Crafts)
Los Campesinos! have found a way to take all of the dreamy pop prerequisites for most of the bands on the Arts & Crafts label and roll it all up real tight into a package that sounds like members of the Arctic Monkeys and Arcade Fire joined forces to form a collective you might hear on Asthmatic Kitty Records. Los Campesinos! sing spunky and proudly with thick Welsh accents and boy/girl harmonies to snuggly, cutesy orchestral pop that's stripped down and hyper. They don't wander too far from their glockenspiel and with song titles as fun as "You Throw Parties, We Throw Knives" this band has earned the exclamation point in their name (Note to !!!: Boo-ya!). While only an EP to tide fans over until their debut full length drops in '08, Sticking Fingers Into Sockets is the most fun you'll have in just 16 minutes all year. (CP)

Hoots & Hellmouth: Hoots & Hellmouth (MAD Dragon)
There's something of the Avett Brothers here, though Philly's H&H tie their own folk founded Gordian knots. Andrew Gray, Sean Hoots and Robert Berliner sound like sons of Charlie Poole with a strong white gospel shading that's not dissimilar to 16 Horsepower/Woven Hand, though their deity seems more jovial and kind. Telling tales of "Abattoir Altar Boy and Girl" and the rest of us living under God's mighty hand, these Hoots have a command of language and breathless performances that ask us to get some dirt on our knees and humility in our hearts. Dig past the surface here and you'll be well rewarded. (DC)

Simian Mobile Disco:
Attack Decay Sustain Release (Wichita Recordings)

It really sucks to be your music collection if it doesn't include anything from the overlooked (in America), oh so squirmy neon pop collective Simian. It truly sucked to be a stateside fan since the band dissolved without anybody knowing. But members Jas Shaw and James Ford keep the beats booming with a debut that rides a wave of acid house and warped disco made purely from analog equipment. The twerps, chirps and pings are kept minimal and booming with hooks aplenty thanks to guest spots from Ninja of the Go! Team and former Simian singer Simon Lord. Simian Mobile is snotty dance music done just right. Just be prepared for the walnut sized bunions that'll pop up on your feet after a thorough listen. (CP)

Darker My Love:
Mondays in Spaceland [Volume 1 {Abridged} July 2006] (Spaceland)

Fantastically serrated guitars, positively grabby bass and a forward rushing force that recalls Mahler as much as Radiohead, all await you in Darker My Love's sumptuous world. Incorporating big rock sweep and curveball indie moves, DML held down a month long residency at L.A. club Spaceland and this disc picks the highlights. Nothing spreads its legs too quickly, preferring instead to seduce us with mutant licks and Explosions In The Sky worthy buildups. One picks up on a vibe like Lake Trout peppered with The Doors' California soul and the nouveau paisley of Rain Parade that culminates in "Mother Sky," a more than 10-minute juggernaut that's on par with Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation. Seriously, it's that good. The band is currently wrapping up sessions for a new studio album. I, for one, cannot wait to have it wrap around me like a dark eyed cousin with a sweater full of goodies. Until then, this live introduction should keep us engaged. (DC)

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[Published on: 9/19/07]

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