Archive for December, 2008

Iran- Dissolver Review

While I’m waiting on the last bits and tits of Stop and Remember: 1995 to come together (we’re getting a Pastels review, folks) I’ll plaster up some more modern reviews from next month’s issue of TD. Doing so, I might as well tell you, is a cynical marketing ploy: I got hundreds of hits for the Animal Collective review thanks to the simple formula  ‘”Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavillion Leak” x search button= People who think I’ve hidden a Rapidshare link in the cover art’.

Underground Wires: slutting for bookmarks since ’08.

Continuing on my cynical buzz I unashamedly slated Iran’s new album, the first since 2002’s ‘The Moon Boys’, one of my favourite discoveries of this year (on which album he bore a remarkable vocal resemblance to our very own Treehouses). For the unitiated there are a couple of yummy cuts from that steaming noise rock bannoffee below (sorry if you wanted ice cream with that- use Shareminer like the rest of us), UW recommends avoiding Dissolver at all costs.

Narnack Records

Aaron Aites’ Iran’s early naughties noise rock precipitated a broader dark sonic movement in American indie that most recently came to the fore in TV on the Radio’s Dear Science. With TV guitarist Kyp Malone an original band member and producer Dave Sitek behind the knobs, we’re faced with the befuddling prospect of Iran becoming the “Next TV on the Radio”, despite TV on the Radio originally being the “Next Iran”. Our heads hurt.

Iranfans have been waiting 7 years for a new outing from Aites’ outfit. Despite the imminent release of Dissolver though, they’ll be left waiting- the band might as well Madagascar so far removed is it from the Iran of 2002’s exemplary The Moon Boys. Where previously the band lashed out like a New York City Xiu Xiu short on Xanax, thriving in angry post-punk minimalism and aural terrorism, Dissolver sees Iran take an almost MOR about-turn to rock-based songwriting, all mid-90s post-grunge slacker hooks and alternative radio-ready tracks. There are even moments when Aites’ sounds more like a less honey-dripped version of Okkervil River’s Will Sheff or a less eloquent replica of Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst in comparsion to the paranoid idiosyncrasy perfected on previous outings. Only on Digital Clock On Phone’s highly-textured noisescape does the Iran of old resurface, to be jerked away as the remainder of the album plays out as the TV on the Radio tribute disc it seems to be aiming for with shamless rehashes Can I Feel What? and Digital Summer.

An early biography of Iran boasted of the outfit’s “charmingly fractured obstinance”, and perhaps Dissolver is the high-water mark of Aites’ tenacity. He sings the line “You don’t know who I am” on 7-minute alt-rocking Airport ’99 with a measure of melancholy, but a greater degree of acceptance. Dissolver is akin to catching up with a one-time best friend at a class reunion- They’ve gotten fatter, stopped wearing eyeliner and started listening to Wilco, and you’re not quite sure you want to be friends anymore.

See also- Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion

Try these instead:

Iran- Wuthering Heights
Iran- Fading Out

[From ‘The Moon Boys’, an album worth spending at least €20 worth of time and energy on]

Hasn’t started listening to Wilco yet,



For a megalabel Domino Records do a good job at transmitting a discernable personality, rather than the lumpless piles of gruel usually behind bands as big as Franz, Arctic Monkeys, Malkmus, and, erm, Clearlake. Whether it was their release of Max Tundra’s Kosher Chicken soup-can albums earlier in the year, or the very fact they put out the inchoate  These New Puritans album, the boys and girls behind the label clearly have a chipper sense of humour. Their latest nugget has just arrived in my inbox just in time for tea: the 2008 Domino Wordsearch. I gave up on the humble word sleuth a long time ago, but any puzzle involving the Pastels (including the limited-edition Stephen McRobbie 220-piece jigsaw, of course) is good enough reason to dig up old hobbies. It’s taken me 5 minutes to find just three of Domino’s roster in the messy word mass, which is either down to my complete lack of practise, or maybe it’s just a particularly Tricky puzzle.




December 2008


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