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Reviews: Various Genres


Review: Lemonade Lemonade

Label: True Panther Sounds

Song titles say it all on Lemonade's eponymous debut. "Big Weekend" and "Blissout" are armed with the populist approach that you'd expect–a psychedelic hodgepodge of samples, wonky synths, and tumbling percussion for the indie-kid dance set. One can almost envision throngs of neon sneakers and flipped-up baseball caps when "Nasifon" launches into its clap-along house-flavored romp, or when "Real Slime"'s wobbly dub influences are nearly cancelled out by ludicrous lyrics. Fittingly, the West Coast party is crashed during its final comedown moments. Read more » 

Review: Various Manoeuvres 2: A Collection of Vancouver Electronica

Label: So Called Recordings

Oh, Canada--and specifically Vancouver, the city American Pacific Northwesterners covet for its international vibe, metro-chic, and, of course, music scene. From the first moments of opener Alektronic's “Drone 420” (the track has more intensity than the otherwise apt name implies), it's clear why. Read more » 

Review: Various Body Language VI: Junior Boys

Label: Get Physical

Junior Boys’ own music is so layered with nostalgia and longing that it’s fair to presume that they understand the emotive power of the mixtape: the C90 (and, subsequently, CD-R80) as not only an expression of aesthetics but also as a document of a time and place or a declaration of love or friendship. That they close their contribution to the Body Language series with the overt romanticism of Bill Nelson’s “When Your Dream of Perfect Beauty Comes True” might be taken as such an indication. Read more » 

Review: Various Wayfaring Strangers: Guitar Soli

Label: Numero Group

A collection of solo finger-picked acoustic guitar recordings from the 1970s may not seem the obvious move for The Numero Group, the Chicago label known for releasing obscure soul and freak-folk. But Wayfaring Strangers is more than just a disc of emotive and gorgeous–not to mention technically astounding–guitar songs; it’s a reassessment of an entire genre of cottage recordings, one in which “obscurity” was a level of fame most only aspired to. Like Brad Chequer, whose masterful cassette-only recordings find their first digital release here. Read more » 

Review: Steve Aoki Pillowface and His Airplane Chronicles

Label: Ultra

As DJ of the celebs and a CobraSnake fixture, Steve Aoki is often discredited as an over-hyped hipster. Fortunately Pillowface and His Airplane Chronicles, his debut mix, mostly ditches the glitz for a quality listen of fun and danceable remixes. Read more » 

Review: The Dynamics Version Excursion

Label: Grove Attack

Combine a multinational trio of vocalists, a visionary French producer, an American dubmaster, and a handful of timeless, iconic tunes from the ’50s to the ’90s, and you have a recipe for brilliance. It’s hard to argue with a tracklist that connects Led Zep, the Stones, Dylan, Elvis, and the White Stripes with Cymande, Pharaoh Sanders, Wilson Pickett, Herbie Hancock, and Prince. Read more » 

Review: Martin Atkins China Dub Soundsystem Made in China

Label: Invisible China

Martin Atkins, ex-Public Image Ltd. drummer and industrial vet, is a tourist anxious to show off his souvenirs from Beijing. For Made in China, he recorded Chinese rappers, DJs, traditional string musicians, and Tibetan singers, and alongside them he thwacks rivet-head beats. The result teeters between clever ethnodelica and novelty for Westerners’ amusement. Read more » 

Review: Various Cinematic: Classic Film Music Remixed

Label: Six Degrees

Considering the historical significance of the film

Review: Various Caravan of Light

Label: Lua

Supporting the idea that art is the greatest armament against war, this CD of Persian- and Asian-inspired music accompanies a short political film of the same name. The songs, ranging from well-circulated tracks to newer cuts, assemble like-minded freedom fighters. An old Bassnectar remix of Michael Franti’s “Skin on the Drum” and an excellent track by Iranian vocalist Sussan Deyhim are familiar, while recent work by Haale and Mercan Dede and Azam Ali make great introductions. Read more » 


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