The Rubber Room column is a weekly look at recent and notable releases that don’t fall into the rubric of traditional reviews or reviewed material—namely 7”’s, 12”’s, 3” CDs, EPs, cassette-only, DVDs and MP3-only releases.
From The Cliffs EP
[Fantastic Plastic, 2006]
If you’re not big on strong songwriting, you’ll like this kitchen sink stuff. But don’t be surprised when Guillemots—fat birds that can fly and swim—make like tame bloated rockers, dabbling in creaky orchestras and the nine-minute saccharine organ vamp. “Trains to Brazil,” for one, is thoroughly underwhelming for a calling card single, an overemotive vocal married to an arbitrarily constructed twee jaunt. This English foursome is no more than the heir apparent to The Beta Band, and, save a timid piano coda (“My Chosen One”), this EP is no more than jam seshes and woozy melodies.
“Boris Becker” (110506)
Boris Becker may be a randy liar and a great tennis player, but it’s unclear what he did to be used for the title of such a creepy track. The eerie downhill drones slip through the cracks whistling on their way down. If not for the rhythm, this could be a slice of classic mid-period early nineties spooky ambience. But the beat drags it by its strawberry blonde roots through pub sawdust and catheters, straight into swinging saloon doors.
[American Tapes, 2006]
To fully match this kind of aural mustiness you’ll need to bury your Whitehouse tapes in a swamp inside a shoebox of dead hamsters—this is more like a physical assault with sandpaper and a Dictaphone than a traditional remix. LA noise artist Damion Romero seems to be making a habit of eviscerating other people’s material: here he takes a few reels of John Olson’s Spykes project and turns it into a pulsing pus-popped growl. As it staggers towards its end, it seems to reveal more of the source material. But I just might be hearing things.
Birds of Delay
Gateway to Feather
[Alcoholic Narcolepsy, 2006]
Like the stale breeze of a butcher’s yard, both these extended turns stink to high heaven of purpose and confusion. Both Luke Younger and Steven Warwick obviously know what they’re doing, but it’s a brain-melt to try and predict what’ll happen in the next few seconds. “Sandcastle Brain,” the more aggressive of the two, is all screaming feedback swarm—mostly made possible by an infested and looping accordion. “Creamed Abandon” has more varied textures and a repeated vocal yelp, but it’s no less unhygienic.
”Butterfly at Sea” Remixes (Free Download)
[D_RRadio Blog, 2006]
Death Row Radio’s sparklingly electronic “Butterfly at Sea” is tackled eight ways and, honestly, it’s difficult to pick out a single highlight from this neatly packaged 50mb file of remixes. (While each mix is separated by a second or so of silence, there is still a perfect flow to the whole piece.) Beginning with the ghostly TV half-light of Fire Mummies’ “Very Late Mix,” it moves through a number variations on the melancholic piece. Recommended, especially at that price.
By: Stylus Staff
Published on: 2006-05-25