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 V.22 No.23 | June 6 - 12, 2013 

Sonic Reducer

Daft Punk Random Access Memories (Columbia Records)

Anyone with a fast-enough computer can make a “real” album, and those recording artists with the necessary funding should push the limits of studio recording. Another Random Access Memories' draw is its collaborations—including Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Giorgio Moroder, the indisputable father of EDM. Lead single “Get Lucky” reveals the promise of this vision, a realization of groove from artists renowned for magical sampling. Rodgers brings nearly all the funk present, and the single displays their typical genius, wiggling basslines. Soundwise, DP never sounded so alive, but even with dynamic production, the music isn’t body-moving. Moroder's arpeggio transports us from 1977 and all is well—until sappy strings arrive and derail the midnight express into an Incubus-esque break. The ballads are cloying, and most of the orchestration calls to mind smooth jazz or Andrew Lloyd Webber. The effort invested in this work went into fulfilling a manifesto rather than songcraft; fans may look forward to the remixes. (Ehren Salazar)

The poet's instinct to distinguish her craft from that of the songwriter has always seemed pretentious and unnecessary. Listen to the lyrics of Burqueña Rennie Sparks—half of the outstanding Handsome Family—to disprove that forced schism. The husband-and-wife duo has those words—along with Brett's warm, haunted voice and that wall of Americana sound—to thank for their two-decade-and-counting longevity. This time out, we're invited deep into their Wilderness, a dark musical bestiary of 12 brilliant songs. In “Flies,” the hungry titular buggers buzz around the carcass of Custer, from whom “blood bloomed poppy red.” “Octopus” is a jaunty anthem of resilience, while “Caterpillars” is lush and musty, like old wooden boards of a rain-soaked porch creaking underfoot. Perfect natural poetry. (M. Brianna Stallings)

Pornography "7 Minutes in Heaven" (PAX-AM Records)

Ryan Adams teamed up with NYC drummer Johnny T. Yerington and vocalist Leah Hennessey (New York Doll David Johansen's stepdaughter) on Pornography's “7 Minutes in Heaven,” a seven-song, seven-minute-long 7-inch. Line those sevens up and—bam!—you’ve won the punk rawk jackpot.“Fake Snake, Real Pony” rails against “the most boring person in the whole wide world.” “Punch Him” hints at Bikini Kill’s early days. There are two bonus tracks: “I'm Not Used to Failure” smacks of Dead Kennedys' “Insight,” and “Dirty Cross-Dresser” is delightfully bratty. Yet, even at nine songs, it clocks in at seven minutes and 47 seconds. Perfect for repeat listens, “7 Minutes in Heaven” is like downing a mess of rotgut shots; by a certain point, you’re too busy slamming into everyone to give a fuck about what you just consumed. (M. Brianna Stallings)

 
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