SONIC REDUCERGod Is Good, the name of Om's new long-player on Drag City, may run the risk of landing the heavy, heavy drone dealers in the gospel section of your clueless big-box retailer, but founder-bassist Al Cisneros couldn't help the tug of title: "To me, at this point, in the journey of my life, that's really all I can say."
The soft-spoken, spectacled musician, all in black with his instrument tucked beside him, laughs a little and who can blame him? Read more »
SONIC REDUCER How do you fluff up sagging ole demon rock in the 21st century? Break it down to just one dude with a laptop and free-floating mix of hip-hop and hesher, ho'-pulling and hoary? Take it up a couple jillion notches and set it free of verse, chorus, and bridge to nowhere, heading into noise's bristling, gristly outerzone? Or just turn it around and send it through the filter of another country, another tongue, another cult-cha and back. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER Shop girls and Shop Assistants, the Jesus and Mary Chain and Mary Wells, "Da Doo Ron Ron" and Ronettes up-dos. All twirl, as if at a punk-rock sock-hop, around the rugged, vulnerable Vivian Girls. Girl-group songwriter Ellie Greenwich tragically felled by a heart attack at 68 on Aug. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER We all have fantasies, and considering the fact that he happily goes to the sick, hilarious places only you and your silliest, closest pals go, comedian Brent Weinbach's is remarkably simple. He'd love to drive you ... no, not insane, but around in a cab. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER You might not expect it or detect it listening to the beautifully interwoven fingerpicked guitar, viola, and flute of "Actaeon's Fall (Against the Hounds)" and dark, sparkling, solemn drone of "Enemies Before the Light" off the new Six Organs of Admittance album, Luminous Night (Drag City) but Ben Chasny is a pretty fun guy. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER Why did the farmer become a punk rocker?
He got tired of haulin' oats.
So goes the nyuck-fest a Facebook friend unleashed when I typed that the Joseph Gordon-Levitt dance scene to Hall and Oates' "You Make My Dreams" was on my mind. Why? It was only the best thing about (500) Days of Summer. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER Truth-telling is one of the most woefully undervalued yet powerful cudgels in an artist's arsenal so I can appreciate Jarvis Cocker's artful, chuckle-inducing application of force on, for instance, "Caucasian Blues," off his second solo disc, Further Complications (Rough Trade). Read more »
SONIC REDUCER Fierce. Bad. Doth Beyonce Knowles and Michael Jackson protest too much? More than two decades separated them, along with crucial biographical details, gender, and a kind of comfort in one's skin. Yet both drink deeply from the same well of R&B pop perfection, after emerging, solo, from the safety and suffocation of the family-like combo. Both faintly evoke Jackson's go-to mom for Prince, Paris, and Prince II (a.k.a. Blanket), Diana Ross. Read more »
SONIC REDUCER Roberto Gyemant, a.k.a. DJ Beto, doesn't need to tell you how extra-zesty Panamanian music is: all he has to do is play "Juck Juck Pt. 1," by Sir Jablonsky, off Panama! 2: Latin Sounds, Cumbia Tropical and Calypso Funk on the Isthmus 1967-77 (Soundway), the new compilation curated by the San Francisco native. The bubbly calypso-reggae-funk mutant of a track gets its playful tenterhooks into you and refuses to let go. Read more »