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The Rubber Room
Adult. / Death Cab for Cutie / Vitalic / Cosmic Sandwich / Cobblestone Jazz

The Rubber Room column is a weekly look at recent and notable releases that don’t fall into the rubric of traditional reviewed material—namely 7”’s, 12”’s, 3” CDs, EPs, cassette-only, DVDs and MP3-only releases.

[Thrill Jockey, 2005]

From one monophonic rut to another? Adult go Siouxsie goes the party line on this new EP from the duo, but I lean more towards something like Anna Oxygen, which is just a long way of saying: “No, thanks.” Which is to say that everything that could have been raw and cavernous about a more dub-inflected guitar-driven sound is strip-mined of any possible texture in service of the cleanest sounding dirt you’ll ever hear. (except for “Don’t Talk (Redux)” which is wholeheartedly recommended) Hopefully, this one’s just an ill-advised genre exercise.
[Todd Burns]

Death Cab for Cutie
The John Byrd EP
[Barsuk, 2005]

I smell a contract-fulfillment and/or a stopgap in advance of the major label debut and/or merchandise for that upcoming appearance on The OC! That being said, Death Cab is in completely pleasant form here, adding absolutely nothing to the live versions of songs that appear on previous records and revealing nothing in their choice of covers (Sebadoh? You guys REALLY like them? Better than an is-it-irony? baiting pop song cover, I spose). Actually, that’s a lie. “Blacking Out the Friction” gets a stunning makeover into a long-form, moody, organ driven workout that closes the show out before the Sebadoh cover. Other than that, though, the pickin’s are slim.
[Todd Burns]

My Friend Dario
[PIAS, 2005]

“My Friend Dario” seems to split opinion quite nicely among Vitalic fans, but it’s hard to imagine there being a better first single from the upcoming OK Cowboy album. The criticism is that it’s all a bit too obvious and it’s certainly a fair one, but one that most won’t bother listening to while banging their heads. Big, dumb, and fun isn’t the name of the game on the Dima Prefers Newbeat Mix of the track, which finds the track losing the rawk and picking up a pounding bass drum, more vocoder, and a distinctly more Italo feel.
[Todd Burns]

Cosmic Sandwich
Zig Zag Feeling
[MBF Ltd., 2005]

The follow-up to the massive “Cosmic Sandwich,” Steve Barnes takes on that song’s name as a recording moniker here to unleash the 12-minute “Zig Zag Feeling.” It’s a similarly ambitious track mines the unfairly-small what-if-tech-house-turned-prog area of inquiry. Ideas float in and out of the mix, tossed to the side in favor of bigger and more spacey effects in a dizzying mix that makes its way through three different beats over its entirety. Zigging and zagging, it’s impossible to pin this one down, but it’s equally as hard to pick the needle up.
[Todd Burns]

Cobblestone Jazz
Carl's Cream Cone / Gumbordinary
[Itiswhatitis, 2005]

You couldn’t go anywhere a few years ago without hearing the name Matthew Jonson tipped as an amazing new artist to watch out for. Starting in mid-2004, now you can’t go anywhere without hearing his name on a new release. Sub Static, M_nus, itiswhatitis, Kompakt. Does this boy sleep? Oh, right, and there is this three-piece group dedicated to the jazzier end of Jonson’s work, which is due for a full-length by the end of the year. Judging by this ridiculous slab, it’s going to be a burner. Those familiar with Jonson have to be getting slightly tired of his schtick by now, but Cobblestone breaks the mold by grafting tuff beats on top of a relatively straight-forward melody. The B-side is even moer jazzy, forsaking the house tempos of the flip, for a nice 100bpm crawl replete with saxophone and effects-laden synthesizer. Keep an eye out for this one.
[Todd Burns]

By: Todd Burns

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