Chat and Business
****Some records seethe with alley cat aggression and primitive, quickie-around-the-corner lust. Sonic Youth's Goo and British act Ikara Colt's Chat and Business, for example. The latter of the two is the debut from a London act that sounds taut and steely jawed, a rigid arrangement of damaged art punk clawing its way around wiry rhythms. The tension in the songs is a goddamn tightrope that the quartet fearlessly rushes down. The vocal styles range from a chorus of commanding shouts to a more condensed burn, where keyboardist Paul Resende embodies Thurston Moore splitting personalities with Richard Hell's dark side. Chat is an album in constant turmoil, where rumbling bass lines hit bottom in moments of stark minimalism one moment and then detonate into mushroom clouds of white noise the next. This excellent record is the sneering soundtrack to anonymous urban sexuality--discordant mood swings and blackened melodies adding to the new breed of punk experimentation, where the kinks lie in the cold depths of calculated detachment. JENNIFER MAERZ
Start Breaking My Heart
***London-via-Toronto mathematician Dan Snaith (aka Manitoba) creates idyllic electronic songs even staunch indie rockers can admire. Several bedroom producers have been working in this sweet, pastoral vein recently, putting an amiable, warm patina on laptop compositions. Start Breaking My Heart (which was originally released last year, and now includes the three-track Give'r EP) stands as one of the best of this new subgenre.
Manitoba's compositions teem with scintillating instrumental interplay (Snaith is handy with guitars, keyboards, and computers), ravishing textures, sumptuous melodies, and unusual rhythms (a math head's advantage). Snaith strikes an ideal balance between organic tones and wickedly programmed beats, never forgetting to craft melodies so lovely they'll leave you laughing through your tears. Heart bears similarities to the work of Tortoise, Boards of Canada, Four Tet, and even astral-jazz legends such as Alice Coltrane and Don Cherry--but like the city after which he's named, Snaith is a true original. DAVE SEGAL
***It's not easy to be bizarre. For example, a person who shouts and growls like, say, the lead singer of GWAR, is not really bizarre but simply doing the opposite of being quiet, polite, and sweet. When something is truly bizarre, it does not simply negate the norm but exists as its own curious thing. Tipsy's Remix Party! is bizarre. There's no shouting or atonal attacks here, the record is calm and lite--but a unique madness produced it.
Tipsy is an experimental electronic band from San Francisco, and their new CD is a collection of remixes of underground electronic music from around the world--London, Tokyo, Seattle, Zurich, Las Vegas. Some of the remixes are beautiful, others are funny, and all are bizarre collections of country, disco, electro funk, and rock. These songs should be played at a poorly attended party because they seem to celebrate that kind of failure and boredom. CHARLES MUDEDE
***The Pulses ARE a power-pop/wave band, but don't lump 'em with the current wave of "nu"--they'd be pulsin' with or without the kids' newfound affections for ANY wave! They fall into the power-pop/wave categories as they get on with choppy, Gang of Four riffs (tho' without GO4's "phunk" and with some unsloppy punk). However, defying power pop's convention, there're bits of the Big Boys and Wipers here, AND they got the flavor for some late-'80s/early-'90s indie, leaning heavy on say... My Dad Is Dead too, without using the now generic clichés of indie. So, even as this LP fits squarely into the contemporary context of right NOW, The Pulses is testimony THIS band ain't so much an assimilation/reflection of some "scene"... they dig the "skinny tie," but they don't write songs as an excuse for wearin' that tie. MIKE NIPPER
**** Take 2 *** 11-Up ** Tri Towers * Backjammin'