Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Un-
real Is

and the
Cults of the Radio Age, Warp Records

"You feel that this is all really happen-
ing, and you’re in it up to your neck."
-- Lee Arizuno, The Quietus review

Birmingham's Broadcast (Trish Keenan and James Cargill)
and artist/musician the Focus Group (Julian House, the foun-
der of Ghost Box Records) fill this collaboration with 23 tracks
of beautiful, sometimes scary weirdness (House has design-
ed every one of Broadcast's eye-catching album covers).

I love the beauty, which stems from the
union between Keenan's multi-tracked
mutterings and the chiming, cascading
lullaby-like melodies, but have mixed
feelings about the darker pieces. They
clatter and clamber like incidental music
from the films of John Carpenter or the
Brothers Quay, and the cinematic feel
is admirable, but also unsettling.

It's one thing to watch those kinds of
pictures, and move on, and another to
linger in the sinister worlds such filmmakers create. If your
collection includes the scores to Suspiria and Eraserhead, you
may feel otherwise. After a few listens, I proclaim it a mixed
success, but this one is growing on me by the second

11/28: After spending several weeks and dozens of spins with
this disc, I've come to adore it, but don't intend to change any
of the words above, since other listeners may have the same
experience, i.e. my initial concerns dissipated—and com-
pletely disappeared—through repeated exposure.

Note: Warp is advertising this release as an
EP, though it contains 50 minutes of music.

Brett Gleason, The Dissonance EP, self-titled [1/19/10]

"The unreal is real if you're a believer!"
-- Brett Gleason, "Futile and Fooled"

Long Island-born, Brooklyn-based Brett Gleason mixes dark
metal with post-bop and bright pop. As he pounds away on the
piano and keyboards, his detached voice floats above the din. The
somewhat plodding blend of light and heavy plays like result of
studying Nine Inch Nails at home and Duke Ellington at school.
Imagine a prog-rock outfit covering the entirety of Joe Jack-
son's Body and Soul, and you've got the general idea.

Audra Mae, Haunt EP, SideOneDummy

A smoky-voice alto, Audra Mae combines country-tinged torch
songs with tracks by the Decemberists ("Eli, the Barrow Boy") and
Marilyn Monroe (Lionel Anemone and Ken Darby's "One Silver
Dollar") and an adaptation of a letter by a Civil War soldier.

Along with mournful accordion, brushed drums, fingersnaps, and
whistles, the Oklahoma native works up a spacious, slow-burning
atmosphere that should appeal to fans of Patsy Cline, Julee Cruise,
and Eleni Mandell. David Lynch would do wise to give her a listen.

Bonus: Mae's cover of Dylan's "Forever Young" as feat-
ured in The Sons of Anarchy (and not included on this EP):

Endnote: For more information about Broadcast, please
click here; for Brett Gleason, here; and for Audra Mae,
click here. Expect a new full-length from Keegan and Car-
gill in 2010. Images from Fact Magazine and

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