Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Issue 1

Welcome to the very first issue of Sleephouse Radio--a regular show of music just leftfield of popular. To listen, simply download the audio file of the show (by clicking the image below) or use the flash player in the sidebar. This show can also be subscribed to as a podcast.

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(33.8 MB, 25 mins. MP3 file)

Here's a rundown of the show...

1. Jennifer Gentle : I Do Dream You (Sub Pop Records)

Jennifer Gentle are a two-piece psychedelic explosion from Italy. Channelling Syd Barrett’s ghost even though he’s not dead, Jennifer Gentle have somehow fused the ex-Pink Floyd singer's restless spirit with an urgency that the great man could rarely achieve. Earlier this year they released Valende, their third album, on Sub Pop Records, after a session on WFMU brought them stateside attention. 'I Do Dream You' is taken from this acid-soaked field trip and features, quite possibly, the finest children’s party balloon solo ever recorded. Watch the video for this song here.

2. Ariel Pink: Interesting Results (Ballbearings Pinatas)

Opinion seems divided on the subject of Ariel Pink. Some think he’s a no-good art school chancer, others maintain his naïf-like genius. It really doesn’t matter. Just listen to the music and think for yourself.

The hard biographic facts on this 27-year-old LA native go a little something like this: Inspired and mentored by legendary but mostly-ignored home taper R Stevie Moore (who you should check out right bloody now), Ariel Pink had beavered away on his eight track cassette recorder producing five albums in obscurity before his first homemade CDR “Doldrums” was re-released by Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks imprint last year. The meat was tossed to the lions and the critical fur flew.

Paw Tracks has since re-released 2003’s Worn Copy (originally available on Rhystop Records), but this track comes from 2002’s House Arrest, a record that originally saw the light of day via Ballbearings Pinatas, but is set to be re-released by Paw Tracks this coming January. The song is a cracked, phased and compressed nugget of Byrdsian jangle filtered through the innocence of an early-eighties Daniel Johnston home recording and it's just a little taster of what you can get your hands on in the New Year.

3. Benji Cossa: April (Uunited Acoustic)

I wish I knew more about Benji Cossa. His song 'April' arrived like a bolt of ‘70s pop lightning, carried on the back of the Hisham Bharoocha’s state of NYC complilation, “They Keep Me Smiling”, on Unnited Acoustic Recordings (an offshoot of United Bamboo) and I’ve been scrabbling around for details ever since. Even though information is scant, I’ve managed to glean that Benji Cossa is an Animation/Film School graduate who made songs for fun in his spare time and has just released a collection of this material on the Magic Marker imprint. You can visit his website here where you can listen to a good number of his songs and get more information on the mysterious New Yorker.

“April” comes off like a likeable throwaway from John Lennon’s “Instant Karma” sessions, and once heard you’ll be humming this catchy little bugger for days. As the title suggests it’s all the youthful joys of spring committed to two inch tape. It trickles through your speakers, the birds sing, the spark of young love is rekindled etc, etc. What could be better?

4. David Shrigley: Don’ts (Azuli Records)

There’s absolutely no point in trying to describe artist David Shrigley’s work. You could try and theorize but there’s no point in that either. David draws doodles, sketches, childish graffiti even. He used to make sculpture and cheeky opportunistic urban installations, like putting up fake lost posters (see the "Lost" poster above). Then he decided he would stop doing anything that took more than a day. When he draws, he just puts pen to paper and if it’s not right first time he throws it into the bin and moves on.

His work makes you laugh, mainly. Sad sometimes. There a madness to it, but it’s an everyday madness that you’ll recognise. Sad and funny and heart-warmingly desperate, like a bald man clutching to his wig in the wind. But here I go theorising--I’m describing and I said I wouldn’t.

This track is the first audio project by Shrigley I’ve ever come across. It appeared on Four Tet’s Late Night Tales compilation (Azuli Records). You’re gonna love it. And you should buy the whole album and all of David’s books too. They’ll make your life better. Go to his website and laugh your ass off now.

5. Bakelite: Function Cliché (Scratch Records)

If you were a straight edge computer game loving punk rock kid in the eighties chances are that you’ve already heard Bakelite. Well, not Bakelite exactly. But as the screech of your tape-loading Commodore 64 blended with the yelping vocals of a Dischord record, I’m sure a similar sound would’ve been born.

That’s right, Vancouver’s Bakelite bolt a ferocious undercarriage of crunchy glitch electro to the angry spat-out vocals of D.C. hardcore. And who would’ve though it’d be a perfect fit? No doubt their sound is annoying as all hell if you’re not in the mood, but caught right, after a bad day at the office, in a club or at a show maybe, Bakelite’s sound is the perfect hybrid to shake you free of any earth bound shackles that you’d need releasing from.

Expect big things from these three boys (they’ve recently added a real drummer to their sound though he’s not on any recordings as of yet). Skinny-hipped fans of the Blood Brothers, Death From Above and any dirty electro should form a disorderly, but fashionably-dressed, queue at their website and await further developments.

You can watch some tasty live performance by Bakelite on Canada’s super kewl Zed TV:

6. Can: Moonshake(Mute Records)

If you ever a band has legitimately earned its status as hipster cause celebre, it's '70s German mentalists Can. All that needs to be said about Can already has been, so I can merely offer up their music and let you discover them for yourself. Many might disagree, but for me Can reached their creative peak with their 1973 album Future Days, their last with singer Damo Suzuki. Future Days has recently been remastered re-released by Mute Records and it's well worth your hard-earned dollar. 'Moonshake', the shortest track on the album provides proof, if any were needed, that this was one important band. Read about them here and get the album here.


Please feel free to leave comments and rants. You can also find an email address in the sidebar with which you can contact me.

Toodle-pip. Until next time then.