June 20, 2013

Today's Hotness: Audio Antihero Comp, Break It Up, COH

Audio Antihero's Regal Vs. Steamboat charity compilation benefiting Rape Crisis -- England and Wales and Rape Crisis -- Scotland

>> London's ineptly brilliant Audio Antihero recently unleashed a cracking, 31-track charity compilation, the latest in the label's efforts to leverage the music of its various constituents and supporters to do some good for those in need, in this instance the organizations Rape Crisis -- England and Wales and Rape Crisis -- Scotland. These two entities do an impressive number of things that you can read about here and here, but we think it is important for our largely US-based readership to understand that these services "are community-based, and independent of government and the criminal justice system." It being Audio Antihero, of course the comp has a ludicrous professional wrestling-inspired title, Regal Vs. Steamboat. Given the length and stylistic breadth of the collection of songs -- which is available for a minimum donation of £3.99 -- the set is just short of an unspoken invitation from the label to fans to mix and match favorites, perhaps creating three more traditionally sized compilations. The line-up includes a number of tunes from Clicky Clicky besties, including a thrilling hyperpop gem from Internet Forever and a classic downer from Benjamin Shaw, whose tune "Goodbye, Cagoule World" was recorded live at London's Union Chapel last year as part of Daylight Music weekly Saturday lunchtime shows. Well, consider AAH's unmade challenge met, as we've gone ahead and identified a Clicky Clicky's Choice (tm) version of Regal Vs. Steamboat that spotlights our 10 favorites of the 31, jumping off from AAH helmer Jamie Volcano's own lead-off choice, Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love's "Change The Mistake." Along the way you'll also hear a blindingly brilliant rocker from Glaswegians United Fruit and a similarly vital anthem from Ben Parker's current and ridiculously slept-on project The Jonbarr Hinge. You can stream our truncated, guitar-pop-plus-leaning Clicky Clicky's Choice version via the series of hyperlinked titles below, but once you click through, do what you can to support this extremely worthy cause being championed by Mr. Halliday, who is both a good and amusing man.

1. Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love - "Change The Mistake"
2. Burnt Palms -- "Empty Place"
3. Internet Forever -- "I'll Sleep When I'm Alive"
4. Wartgore Hellsnicker -- "Perfect Competition"
5. United Fruit -- "Go Away, Don't Leave Me Alone"
6. The Jonbarr Hinge -- "Don't Feel So Sorry For Yourself"
7. Salvage My Dream -- "Give In, Give Up (Modern Girls cover)"
8. Princess -- "Junk Mail"
9. Grand Pocket Orchestra -- "No One"
10. David Cronenberg's Wife -- "Drawn Again (Original Version)"

>> While Clicky Clicky will always have at least one ear on the city because it is the former home of our esteemed executive editor, presently Philadelphia is noticeably gathering some of that shifting, cyclical shine that periodically illuminates the music scenes of certain cities, causing folks to weigh appellations like "indie rock mecca." Between the runaway success of the Crutchfield twins (who you know from their shit-hot and totally quality acts Swearin' and Waxahatchee), the buzzing rise from Purling Hiss and the prolonged success of scene mainstay Kurt Vile, Philadelphia's present ascendency is incontrovertible. One could make an argument the aforementioned shine shows no sign of dimming based on the city of brotherly love's latest entry into the fold, indie-pop trio Break It Up. The band -- which includes Easton, Mass.-bred Dan Morse on guitar -- achieves a familiar, '90s-styled sound without a bassist, instead electing to leave aural space into which fluid, textural guitar work blossoms and bounces. The threesome's "New Penzance," taken from its recently released full-length debut Break It Up, is a stunner, all galloping drums, ringing guitars and two-part harmonies. Stream the tune via the Soundcloud embed below, and purchase the entire peppy and bright set, recorded at Philadelphia's Uniform Recording with renowned engineer Jeff Zeigler, via Bandcamp right here. -- Dillon Riley

>> As we've stated somewhere, we've been coming back around to revisit and catch up on the progress of certain of the electronic acts we used to follow when we first started spending a lot of our time writing about music. Some 11 years back we drew an assignment for Junkmedia to review a full-length of minimal electronic compositions from Russian-born Swede and acoustic engineer Ivan Pavlov, who releases music under the guise of COH, among others. We were largely stymied by COH's 2002 release (of recordings made several years prior) titled Mask Of Birth, as this over-long and rather defensive review evidences. There have been at least 17 releases since that time for various projects Mr. Pavlov is part of, but the latest set from COH (which, incidentally, is the Russian word for sleep), Retro-2038, is where we've finally picked up the thread again. In contrast to Mask Of Birth, the new eight-song collection is warm and inviting -- not necessarily the first two adjectives that come to mind when discussing minimal electronic music, we admit. Even so, we can't say enough good things about what we've heard: there is still a variety of textures and tones at play here, but rhythms tend to gravitate largely around a conventional 4/4 and melody is as pronounced in these eight songs as it is in, say, this recent, more banging but brilliant track from the untouchable electronic genius Keith Fullerton Whitman, or even My Bloody Valentine's superlative 2013 surprise mbv. Retro-2038 was issued by Editions Mego May 13, and the record is available for purchase on CD on double LP (drool...) as an import right here. Sure, with the shipping and exchange rate, this isn't a cheap investment, but it is certainly one of our favorite electronic releases of the year so far. Stream the entire collection via the YouTube embed below.

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