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 V.21 No.8 | February 23 - 29, 2012 

Sonic Reducer

Black Bananas Rad Times Xpress IV (Drag City)

The Rad Times Express never needed former Royal Trux member Neil Hagerty's songwriting so desperately. There's some cool ambient acid noises on here that remind one of Free Your Mind ... and Your Ass Will Follow vintage Funkadelic or 3rd From the Sun-era Chrome, but Black Bananas' songs just kind of suck. If Helios Creed really was backing The Isley Brothers featuring Jennifer Herrema (what this album sounds like, approximately), we'd probably have some genuinely bizarre and worthwhile rock and roll. Instead, RTX IV is like an Auto-Tuned Saxon record with a lot of phaser. (Geoffrey Plant)

Here’s another Goner collection of singles, this time from minimalist Australian punk rock quartet Eddy Current Suppression Ring. It includes everything from the first single (2004) to an alternate version of 2010’s “Rush to Relax,” all of which is reminiscent of 1977 English punk (even the Go-Go’s cover). The earlier stuff features some hesitative rants à la Mark E. Smith minus the abstract poetry. All the tunes have a spare contrapuntal bounce like Gang of Four or “Why Can't I Touch It?” Buzzcocks. Apparently, the singer combats his stage fright by wearing gloves. Who among us isn’t a sucker for a Melbourne accent? (Geoffrey Plant)

Grimes Visions (4AD)

Stacey Q meets Kate Bush on a smoky, candlelit basement dance floor. If you can get past the baby talk and girlish trills, this album is a decadent electro-psychedelic exercise in retro futurism. Visions—from Montreal DJ/producer Claire Boucher—is macabre and lovelorn in tone with fuzzy, aggressive beats and ambient qualities in the key of shoegaze and dream pop. Sounds like it could have been made at any point in the past 35 years. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)


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