Monthly Archives: August 2012

Radio Zero: Creatures, A Bestiary of

Creatures, A Bestiary of (Polydor, 1997; original release 1981, 1983)—

So, whaddya get when the regal mistress of the moody, mind-bending end of Brit post punk goes Hawaiian? The answer essentially is, a Siouxsie record with no guitar and more/wilder/weirder percussion. . . The Hawaiianisms (it was recorded there) are played for atmosphere rather than festive fun (surprise), so this is recommended for Banshees fans (if not for devotees of Don Ho) . . . Try 2, 3, 6, 10.

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Radio Zero: Antena, Camino del Sol

Antena, Camino del Sol (Numero, 2004; original release: Les Disques du Crepuscule, 1982)—

French combo that blended synthesizer post-punk with 60s tropical sophisto-pop à la Astrud Gilberto. . . The result is somehow lush and minimal, off-kilter and hypnotically fluid, all at the same time, utterly bewitching in its sun-dazed, elliptical elegance. . . Try 1, 2.

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Radio Zero: Archers of Loaf, Vee Vee

Archers of Loaf, Vee Vee (Merge, 2012)—

These guys quite likely the worst name ever for an otherwise first-rate group, which is maybe why they didn’t quite get their due when this originally came out in 1995. . . So here it is again, and it still sounds mighty fine to me—dueling angular guitars drill forward in a sound like (their contemporaries) Pavement with extra muscle, songs that echo prime Replacements in their humor, desperation and warmth, plus a nifty regional aftertaste, like stumbling out of the bar into a summer full of crickets. . . Try 1, 2, 4, 9.

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Radio Zero: Sonney and the Sunsets, Longtime Companion

Sonny and the Sunsets, Longtime Companion (Polyvinyl, 2012)—

I remember earlier stuff from them being more in a Beat Happening-esque primitive-strum-pop vein, but this has a more steady, reserved sound as it moves squarely into country territory, to excellent effect. . . It has an austere, almost timeless quality, illuminated by a feeling of mountain brightness… Try 1, 4.

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Radio Zero: Blasted Canyons, 2nd Place

Blasted Canyons, 2nd Place (Castle Face, 2012)—

This label can do no wrong in my book, and this just might be its best release yet. . . Blasted Canyon’s hit the sweet spot right where trippy garage-punk evolved into no-holds-barred Freakout psychedelia, and fill it with pop melody, sound-spasms, and everything but the kitchen sink, while always staying hooky and on-the-beat. . . Try 3, 5.

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Radio Zero: Sleigh Bells, Reign of Terror

Sleigh Bells, Reign of Terror (Mom + Pop, 2012)—

The hype machine is really cranking re: these guys, and this is slicker than the debut, but it also rocks harder and has better songs (though nothing as perfect as “Rill Rill”). . . Processed sheets of candy-colored guitar scree that burst in mid-air like fireworks, driven by rolling late 80s-hiphop-inflected beats and spectoresque bang-chime effects. . . Try 4, 6, 9

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