Saturday, June 17, 2006

Burnlab's favorite records of 2006, so far:

Casiotone For the Painfully Alone - Etiquette

Owen Ashworth quit film school in 1997 after he realized that song-making was a far more cost-effective means of storytelling than film-making. We're quite glad he did, and very seriously put him in the same league as Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and Stephin Merritt. For his third LP, Ashworth expands his sound beyond the basic one man and a Casio schtick that has been hugely effective. The single Young Shields cuts to the heart of hipster culture in a way that leaves you feeling both raw and warm at the same time. Tin-can vocals, dirty, circuit-bent synths, an array of classical instrumentation and raw emotion blend with infectious melodies that are nothing short of arresting.

Perspects - Peopleskills

Three years in the making, the Peopleskills Complex (including the Peopleskills LP and two EPs) is Detroit electro pioneer Ian Clark's opus. Sometimes referencing his early work as Le Car (with Adam Miller of Adult.), sometimes referencing Belgian EBM and proto-industrial, and introducing new elements that are purely Perspects, Clark delivers a fully realized body of work that is pure pleasure and finely crafted from start to finish. The atmospheric interludes and hard rocking dancefloor gems work seamlessly in what will be remembered as one of the most important electronic works of the decade, if not the genre as a whole.

Magas - May I Meet My Accuser

Magas returns for his second full length LP with a vendetta. Take Friends Forever and turn everything up to 11, then run it all though a distortion pedal, and you're about half way there. Jim Magas' "sonic rudeness" is countered by his skillful songwriting and ability to create catchy pop hooks from the screaming vintage ARP and drum machines that help make his unique definition of electronic motor punk. This is music William Gibson and Neal Stephenson could have never even imagined.

The Nice Device - Let The Nightlife Down

Not because I designed the cover art... I wouldn't have done it if it wasn't such an amazing record. The Nice Device stand head and shoulders above the sometimes incestuous sounding Detroit rock scene, delivering a mature and energetic album of pop gems that you can't shake out of your head if you try. But why would you? It's incredibly rare for a band to deliver hard driving rock anthems and delicate electro ballads with such natural ease... sometimes within one song. This is a band bigger than any city or genre can hold. Sit back, enjoy, and rock the fuck out.

Most anticipated record of 2006:

Motor - Klunk

Former Paisley Park sound designer Bryan Black has been making music under various guises for nearly two decades. Last year's X Lover release on DJ Hell's Gigolo label blurred the lines between industrial, disco and electro as never before. Hot on its heels, Mr. Black and partner Mr. No present Klunk on the legendary Mute label: possibly the gnarziest techno LP ever created, in the same league as Alter Ego and T. Raumschmire. Motor is unapologetically and simultaneously a throwback to early electronic body music and the most modern of techno music. This is music to sweat to.

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