Save for a few horrible frat houses in the midwest or even some godforsaken trailers in the deep south, if you put on Michael Jackson’s Thriller at a dance party people are going to have a great time. There is something in the uninhibitedly inhibited sounds of late 70’s and early 80’s dance music that just keeps bringing everyone back for one more listen. Contemporary producers like Chromeo and Kavinsky know the beauty to be found in these sounds, and they’ve given us quite a twirl with their revitalized revivals of the golden age of dance music. If you have room for one more, please lend your ears to San Francisco’s Loose Shus. He’s got a few extra steps to show you.
Through a smooth blend of vintage samples, recreated classic synths, and overtly consistent sexual energy, Loose Shus calls you to move with his revived brand of motorik disco. His style could seem contrived and tired if not for it’s utmost purity of influence and genuine dedication to reliving the biggest decades of dance through music. Those aspects gain my musical respect, but it’s the epicly-written-yet-immediately-enjoyable songs that capture my love. Whether you’re being carried along by the bouncy bass line of “Taurus” or the squealing synths of “Six Minute” Loose Shus doesn’t wait til the destination to drop grooves on you; the whole journey is a well-crafted dance experience. Even on the CD’s closest cousin to a slow jam, my personal favorite, “mmmm hmmmmm”, we’re moved by a solidly mellow beat accompanied by a soft, whistling synth. No matter what he does in his music, Loose Shus’ motive is consistent and clear; put your feet and your pants on the dance floor. Won’t you listen?
– Patric Fallon
(self released, 2006-08)
After listening to the compiled CD of 14 songs that were recorded over a three year span under the name fpodbpod, most anyone would come to the conclusion that this is the music of an unmistakably wacky musician. After listening to this CD multiple times a day for weeks, I have concluded that singer/songwriter Sean Olmstead is a wonderfully talented, musical genius. Nearly every song on fpodbpod’s demo invokes the spirit of late, great music without sounding the slightest bit derivative or contrived. Such sincerity and ingenuity is rarely heard from artists who can be primarily compared to household names like The Beatles, Marc Bolan, or David Bowie.
Though many would just peg him as an indie, psych-rock revivalist like Devendra Banhart, I think there is more truth and personality to be heard from the music of fpodbpod. Most lyrics are either too odd to understand or just plain indiscernible, but the words come second to their delivery and the beautiful music their wrapped in. As sole writer, performer, recorder, and producer (save the song “Cold Wind”), Olmstead has given us the near equivalent of his most personal thoughts and emotions in this music. Songs like “Bad Baby” and “Hey, Nate” show his more fun loving, extroverted and strange side while other tracks such as “Without Prior Warning” and “Overfed” display his subtler, discreet side. The ability for him to shine with such versatility is credit to his skill as a songwriter and self-producer. I couldn’t be more enthralled and drawn in by a group of demo recordings.
(self released, 2007)
The recording of this demo sounds like it was done with a single microphone set in the middle of a garage/basement while mom and/or dad weren’t home. Everything comes out sounding loud, messy, and weird just like punk and demos should. The introduction of a wah wah pedal toward the end of the first song is an unexpected and welcome touch to this traditional brand of music. Does that make this band funk-punk, noise-rock? Not really, but it does make me happy to hear something (anything!) different in this tired genre.
While you can tell the kids of Fun Blood are passionate and whole-hearted about their musical efforts it does seem they aren’t used to playing together. Either that or they’re mostly drunk and don’t give a fuck. After listening to all 4 tracks on the CD the second option seems like the most viable one.
In summation; if you’ve got patches on nearly every article of your clothing, haven’t showered for a while, and bleeding from your ears (among other parts of your body) sounds like a good time, Fun Blood is probably your cup of tea.
Titties on a Fucking Unicycle
(Fraggle Rock Ent., 2008)
Titties on a Fucking Unicycle’s name could be misleading to some. While one may expect to hear something in the vein of Anal Cunt or Arab on Radar you’re instead greeted with a revitalized version of Against Me! and Jonathan Richman. This is definitely punk or folk-punk or whatever you want to call it, and, from what I can tell on this demo recording, it’s done well. I saw Against Me! a very long time ago at a house show in Santa Cruz, and this reminds me precisely of the same sing-a-long, drink-a-long, rompin’ stompin’ good time everyone had back then. The songs are simple and fun so everyone can sing, the music is fast and strong so everyone can romp ‘n stomp, and, as far drinking goes, the song title “JUSTCANTLOSEWITHABOTTLEOFBOOZE” says it all.
If you booked Titties… at a bar, I’d expect a hole in the stage from the incessant feet stomping and at least one broken microphone from the stage antics. If you asked them to play a house party, I’d expect the police to show up before the end of their set and the absence of toilet paper you were sure you bought just yesterday. Whatever the cost may be, if you see Titties on a Fucking Unicycle play these songs you’re sure to have a vague recollection of an extremely good time in the morning.
Spare Change Teaser
(self released, 2007)
When reviewing demos you need to try to look past production value. It’s difficult, but allows for a more objective perspective. However, overlooking recording quality doesn’t mean you’ll find good music underneath the muffled vocal tracks and poorly mixed instrumentation. Such is the case with Audiopharmacy.
Apparently, these guys like to get high and rhyme over chill-out, dub beats interwoven with nylon string guitar noodling. This CD mixes bits of what I can assume are all or most of the tracks from an album called Spare Change. From what I can tell I’m pretty sure you need an inclination towards dreadlocks and classical guitar driven “hip hop” to enjoy what this music is incinuating their album sounds like. Pass.
Posted in Demos, dub, hip hop, latin, reggae, turntablism, world fusion
Tagged dub, hip hop, latin, reggae, turntablism, world fusion
The Toy Soldiers
Strangely danceable though the recording and mix are relatively subpar.
Beat has a simliar sound to Battles’ “Atlas” or anything from Gary Glitter’s catalog. Interesting juxtaposition of disjointed guitar solos with synth heavy hooks. Vocals overall come across as Arcade Fire’s less intense, little brother, but most definitely in a good way.
A more mellow song that’s almost 100% electronic with similiar spurts of spacey, effected guitar bursts. A disco beat comes in towards the end that is almost indescernable as live or programmed. The vocal hook, “We didn’t look out the back window” is strong and would most likely make for a good appearance on an episode of the OC or maybe even Grey’s Anatomy.
All the songs have decent structure and rarely become boring or uninteresting to listen to. There are definite pop sensibilites throughout the songs, and even hints of more epic inclinations, but nothing is fully delivered. The sound is nothing new or ground breaking, but if Toy Soldiers wrote a group of songs over a couple years they could most likely find fans in the Death Cab for Postal Service, Minus the Faint-esque indie, electro-pop scene. Go for it, guys!
The Worst of Robbie Giant and His Haphazzard Fag Trash Brigade
(A Girl Hurts, 2008)
As the insert of the CD indicates, this group of music isn’t a proper album but a compilation of music artist Robbie Giant recorded with friends between 2003 and 2008. The insert also states the music is of “various genres (and also qualities)”, which is a huge understatement.
It’s almost pointless to give this CD any kind of linear, track by track review. The music follows no specific evolving path, but instead jumps almost bipolarly from noise, industrial, post-garage punk, beat heavy instrumentals, and even guitar-centric ballads. Given the nature of the lyrics and the personal feel of the art, liner notes, and song titles, one can only gather this is a personal collection of music Robbie would most likely give exclusively to friends and family.
The Worst… is a strange portrait of someone who is a lover of nearly all subversive sounds and most definitely aims to share himself and his life experiences. More focus and a bit of help with the technical side of producing could allow Robbie to possibly write albums not unsimilar to those of Xiu Xiu, Julie Ruin, or Suicide.