Saturday, November 25, 2006


Big Sir, Und Die Scheise Andert Sich Immer, Gold Standard Laboratories

I knew I was going to like this record right from the start. The artwork is just too cool: lovingly detailed close-ups of plant matter decorated with rhinestones, pearls, tinsel, and glitter [see image above]. Of course, not all quality recordings are graced by appealing graphics--Joanna Newsom's Ys is a case in point--but it never fails to amaze me how often the two go hand in hand.

Big Sir's third consists of melodic pop with electronic, jazz, and hip-hop tinges. Lisa Papineau (Air, M83) reminds me of Sarah McLachlan, but there's nothing particularly folky going on here. It's just that she likes those soaring high notes, while the music often evokes David Sylvian. It's jauntier than that, for lack of a better word, but there's a similar sense of wooziness, probably due to the combination of Rhodes, Wurlitzer, and Mellotron.

Bassist Juan Alderete de la Peña (the Mars Volta) is the other half of the Echo Park duo, although they've got a lot of guests filling out their sound, like Hammond player Money Mark (the Beastie Boys). The worst thing I can say about Und Die Scheise Andert Sich Immer is that it isn't terribly memorable. Nonetheless, there are certain artists I turn to when I want to relax, like Brightblack Morning Light or Air circa Moon Safari. Big Sir fits right in.

Les Georges Leningrad, Sangue Puro, Tomlab

Get Bobo on the beats
Get Poney P., Mingo aussi
Put money on the song in the juke-box beast
Get Lil Poney for mammal beats!
-- "Mammal Beats"

Les Georges Leningrad are a synth-punk three-piece from Montreal (they began life as a quartet). They split their lyrics between French, English, and nonsense. As far as I can tell, Mingo L'Indien (guitar, electronics), Bobo Boutin (drums), and Poney P. (vocals) have nothing to do with their city's best known collectives: Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Arcade Fire.

The trio has their own loud, clattery thing going on, like a cross between the Pop Group and Le Tigre (with whom they've toured). Except not. Which is to say, they don't remind me of any one outfit. Plus, opening and closing instrumental tracks, "Sangue Puro" and "The Future for Less," are actually kind of quiet.

Sangue Puro, Italian for "pure blood," isn't a bad album, but it isn't my cuppa. That said, on their follow-up to Deux Hot Dogs Moutarde Chou and Sur les Traces de Black Eskimo, Les Georges are definitely dancing to the (mammal) beat of their own unique drummer. For that, the "petrochemical rockers" have my respect.

Endnote: Images from Alien8 Recordings and the official Big Sir website. Betsy Kenyon is the artist credited for Und Die Scheise Andert Sich Immer's nifty "Nut World" photography.

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