Monday, June 06, 2005

M, IV

Metroschifter/Shipping News- Split

I confess to purchasing this one mostly because of its artifact value. The cover insert of this CD is a booklet-sized sheet of black metal, etched with the bands’ names and a fleur-de-lis. Pretty sharp lookin’.

The music? Not too shabby. Metroschifter is way tighter than on ‘Fort Saint’, clocking in a few songs with a newly refined lackadaisical intensity that is fairly unique, at least in my record collection- emotions that you didn’t know were there reveal themselves when you go back and check out their songs a second time, chunky parking lot riffs providing a backdrop for outbursts of shouting.

Shipping News, two ex-members of Rodan among ‘em, play three of their best old songs live. Not an easy thing, that- the band is total boat rock, as discussed in the June of 44 reviews, and plays music that is as intricate and knotty as a galleon’s rigging. Still, they nail it every time, every change, port and bow, and manage to come across as less obtuse than June of 44, less snarling than Rodan.

Milemarker- Frigid Forms Sell

If Milemarker told me that this was a concept record, I’d believe them, no question. That’s the thing about this band- they put out these tight, concise records that don’t stray too far from a stylistic/conceptual line. I’m not always sure what the line is, but it’s there. At least, I think it is. Maybe they’re completely full of shit and all of the similarity is in my mind. I can’t tell, which I find endlessly fascinating- not enough ammo for an essay, but enough so that I’ll spend a whole paragraph talking about their ambiguity. Awesome.

So ‘Frigid Forms Sell’ is one of the first ‘punk’ records that I remember incorporating electronica (though a quick date check reveals that ‘Shape Of Punk To Come’ came out in 1998- this record was released in 2000). About half of this album consists of bleak, serrated post-punk guitar skronk which occasionally incorporates some synth/keys. The other half is this occasionally cabaret-sounding synth-pop with scattered guitar accents. The band keeps the listener at arms length lyrically, the chilliness that is alluded to in the title. A lesser band would sound schizophrenic hopping between analogue and digital, but Milemarker pulls it off, and well.

Milemarker- Anaesthetic

Fantastic title, first off. And the packaging is pretty ill, too- the pepto-colored lyric sheet can be found underneath the clear jewelbox insert. Very sneaky. Once again, there might or might not be some sort of theme that on this one- I’m not really sure.

The elements of post-guitar skronk and synth-pop aren’t as disparate on this record as they were on ‘Forms’- the band blends everything together, instead of having like a guitar-driven song followed by a synth-based one. I don’t find this record as interesting as I found ‘Forms’, though, despite Milemarker’s stylistic advancement- some of the songs meander, go on for way too long.

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