Daytrotter of the Day: Talkdemonic

20055595-3737691The Portland, Oregon-based, multi-instrumental twosome are in the business of crafting emotionally energetic songs that are simultaneously futuristic and familiar. With Kevin O’Conner handling the percussions, guitar and piano and Lisa Molinaro playing the viola and synths, the talented duo hover somewhere between the backwoods and the suburbs with their unique blend of indie-folk and hip-hop. The instrumentals are deep, textured and refreshing. It would be criminal to add any vocals to their songs.

Recently, the band took part in another Daytrotter session that you need to check out. Talkdemonic originally recorded a session in late 2008 that showcased the intimate and appealing nature of their compositions. The most recent session is more light and airy in comparison to their Daytrotter debut. Make sure to check out the playful and provoking “Summer Glass.” Also, shut off the lights and get lost in the spaced out sounds of the aptly titled “Slumber Verses.” At times, it seems as though the Portland pair’s songs are too brief. I would like to see (hear) the band expand their songs. It’s almost as though O’Conner and Molinaro are teasing the listener by clocking some of their tracks just over two minutes.

Regardless of the terrible band name—rhetorically, it seems more fitting for a metal band—Talkdemonic is a band worthy of your time. Also, Lisa Molinaro is almost as beautiful as the music she creates. Check out their Daytrotter sessions and tell me what you think.

February 28, 2013. Tags: , , , . Daytrotter of the Day. Leave a comment.

Elizabeth Veldon – A Soul with No Footprint

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Elizabeth Veldon is a found noise merchant hailing from a small town outside of Glasgow, Scotland. She spends much of her time creating very large and obtuse soundscapes that are well grounded in feminist and political theory. Veldon is recognized as one of the most prolific noise artist working today; she has created well over one hundred albums of deeply dense sounds. Her newest release, A Soul with No Footprint, is a two-song album that has the noisy noisemaker pushing newer boundaries with her art.

The opening track, sharing its name with the album title, is a forty-two minute dust-up of repeated loops of sound often repeated. Veldon leaves the listener on an anti-climatic edge of sound that never quite reaches a satisfying end. The noise is constant, consistent, and cathartic. There isn’t a wasted note within this heavily textured composition. It’s obvious that Veldon is reminding the listener of the inherent power of sound. Be careful when listening to this track. It’s easy to get lost in the swell of it all.

Clocking in at just over thirty minutes, “Folk Music as a Parasitic Expression” is, for the most part, quite a different track. There are layers and layers of feedback tones undulating beneath the soft shell of surreal sound. The song is fragile and familiar in its attempt to intertwine the underlying warmth of the found sound loops. Where the opening song left the listener unfulfilled in its promise, “Folk Music as a Parasitic Expression” fulfils one with promise. This is not an easy accomplishment.

At times, when these compositions meander past the twenty or twenty-five minute mark, the listener becomes suspicious. The noise can become fraudulent and forced. In other words, pretentiousness can begin to seep in. There is a concern for this from this listener. Is it necessary for these soundtracks to carry on to such great lengths? Rhetorical speaking, what’s Veldon trying to say? How would the listener respond to this album if it were abbreviated—neutered a bit? Do soundscapes only work when they are close to an hour long? I suppose that the answer to this is dependant on Veldon’s goal with this album. Concurrently, maybe I shouldn’t be asking these questions? I don’t know.

Nevertheless, Veldon has given us another thought-provoking work that leaves us with more questions than answers. And maybe I shouldn’t look for these answers? I don’t know. Maybe I should just get lost in the sound of it all. On a serious side note, if you are prone to fits of madness or susceptible to seizures, it is best to approach this album with caution. Veldon’s soundscapes are unforgiving in attitude and scale.

February 24, 2013. Tags: , , , . Albums, Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Bentcousin – Everybody’s Got One EP

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Twin siblings Amelia and Pat Innit are bentcousin, a London-based duo who have released their debut EP, Everybody’s Got One, on Conor Oberst’s Team Love Records. Okay, they have some songs and a hip label to shop them, so one would think, not a bad place to start for such a young group. Right?

Right.

The EP begins with “bentpaperboy,” a gentle singsong sort of track that is oddly reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy),” mixed with a B-side to a Belle and Sebastian single. Amelia’s vocals are covered with a sweetness that draws the listeners in, but, concurrently, the lyrical content repeals us and pushes us away. With lines like “I like the cut of her gib / I like the cut of her soul / I like the cut of her underwear,” Amelia has undermined the flirty feel inherent in the composition. Does anyone outside of a retired Navy recruiter use the nautically inclined term,“gib”? In the next line, Amelia rhymes “hobby” with “origami,” further adding to the listener’s frustration. In all actuality, it’s not that bad of a track, but it’s too brief, and it abruptly ends without completing the bentpaperboy’s journey.

Pat takes over the vocals on “Slade,” a track that sounds too similar to Sugar’s “If I Can’t Change Your Mind.” While Pat is more energetic and sped up, it’s probably best to leave the vocal duties to big sis, even though her backup, ill-produced “la-la-la’s” that pop up on “Slade” do nothing to help this argument. The same clumsy la-la-la’s show up later on the uninspired “Glittery Joe.”

“I Quit You” has Amelia and Pat stuck in a give-and-take vocal battle sung over a Sleater-Kinney drumbeat. Amelia presents more awkward, high school notebook lyrics: “You said my eyes were average / You talked about your ex in bed / You started taking me for a fool / And that’s not cool.” Ho-hum. I did enjoy the handclaps on the track, though. I’m a sucker for handclaps.

“F.O.R.G.E.T.” is a Pat-led piece that does its best impersonation of the Bay City Rollers. Once again, it’s best to get Pat away from the microphone. His attempt to sing “reason” with three syllables at the one-minute mark is proof of Pat’s vocal inabilities. This is one I would like to f.o.r.g.e.t.

The EP ends on a strong note. “I Think I Like Your Girlfriend More Than You” is a fun two minute, eighteen second romp that reads like a 1960s-sounding lounge single. Amelia’s voice is convincing and attractive; she brings life to the goofy lyrics. Her English accent sells the sweetness of her sentiment. Take Pat’s indecipherable singing off of the last twenty-four seconds and this could be a hit. Sorry, Pat. I think I like your sister’s singing more than yours.

Something tells me that bentcousin’s songs sounded better in their heads than they do on the EP. There are some highlights that shed some hope on the band’s future. Nevertheless, if bentcousin wants to be successful, Amelia must take sole control of the vocals, any and all backing vocals must be mixed better and the lyrical content needs to improve. Sometimes being too coy and too cute can be extremely annoying and abrasive. The twins have a chance, but they might just need to be separated to have any measurable success outside of London pubs.

Please check out bentcousin’s recent Daytrotter session: http://tinyurl.com/b536zqm

February 20, 2013. Tags: , , . Albums. 1 comment.