Posts Tagged 'reviews'

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone- Advance Base Battery Life review

casiotonealbumcover2


Casiotone For The Painfully Alone
Advance Base Battery Life
Tomlab


I once found an artist’s sketch notebook outside a Bank Of Ireland on Wexford Street. Perusing it was an incomparably bewitching experience, offering a tantalizing insight into the mechanics of a stranger’s mind that I’d probably never see fully rendered. Where Owen Ashworth’s Casiotone For The Painfully Alone project often recalls reading a dear friend’s diary or an exercise copy of short story ideas, this stopgap rarities release almost exactly replicates that same appetency the artist’s notebook stoked up.

Ashworth is both a painter of poignant portraits and a cripplingly accurate character actor. Rather than shoot clear-focussed photographs of hearts breaking in two or a teardrop running down the face of a man alone in the cinema he employs the soft-edged daub of nostalgia to make his emotional narratives all the more potent- fuzzy like the sine waves from his mewing vintage keyboard speakers. Acutely aware of his own miserablist tendencies he hones his schmaltz rather than waltzing around it. Thus when he whispers “I’ve been searching this town and all I have found/Are nights of bad sex with stupid boyfriends I shouldn’t have kept” on ‘Old Panda Days’ it’s a gilt-edged Morriseyist treat rather than a guilty-pleasure Bright Eyes trick.

Picking up Advance Base Battery Life, however, is a most unrecommendable idea. Like the chanced-upon sketchbook it offers only frustrating insights into possible masterworks, stick-figure men where Michaelangelo’s David might one day stand erect. ‘Holly Hobby’, the collection’s most heart-rending rendition is available in even more grievous glory on the excellent Etiquette album, and the sumptuous covers of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born In The USA’ and ‘Streets of Philadelphia’, along with Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ and Missy Elliot’s ‘Hot Boyz’, are available as freebies elsewhere. If you need to ready your tear ducts for the tear-fest this year’s forthcoming Vs. Children album will undoubtedly be revisit Etiquette or Twinkle Echo in the meantime, and stock up on the Kleenex Man-Sizes.



Casiotone For The Painfully Al Owen- Holly Hobby
Casiotone For The Paulfully Simon-  Graceland

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.


Iran
Dissolver
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,
Dan