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June 2015
Annique Monet
"Phantom Letters
"
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Some records have the ability to plunge the listener into some kind of alternate reality. Annique Monet's uber-psychedelic debut album 'Phantom Letters' will do that to you. It took a few notes for opening track "Salt, Veruca," (streaming) to hypnotize us with its haunting beginning: a simple electric piano part, whistles, a fake horn section and a droney verse slowly led us towards a celestial chorus, which was quickly fogotten - for good - in favor of a baroque, droney outro. The following track 'Voodoo', a grottesque and dissonant waltz, took us to a really weird (and scary) place: we saw the devil looking at us through the speakers, from Vienna. With a beautiful melody, the first few bars of "Nowhere"  brought back some hope for a return to light, but the song didn't go anywhere - we should have expected it, considering the title. 'Relapse' delivered another waltz - a more subtle one - but filled to the brim with eerie and decadent melancholy. From its plodding intro, Turtlenecks in July resurrected the ghost of The Beatles' psychedelic pop, although sounding nothing like it, while in '52,' Greek mermeids lured us with the most ghostly of lithanies, asking us to join them - and drown. The following two songs on the record kept this beautifully absurd, elusive dream going, with noteworthy track "Unchange" closing the collection.

Although we often praise structure in songwriting (many songs here would benefit from more of it), there's very little structure in a dream - which is what this album is. In a scene that seems to have lost the imagination of its peak years, this is a record that will hopefully inspire other NYC artists to be more daring.

 
The 60's

Band of Gypsys

Bob Dylan

Bruce Haack

The Fugs

The Godz

Holy Modal Rounders

Velvet Underground
The 70's
Television
Patti Smith
The New York Dolls

The Ramones

The Talking Heads
Richard Hell
The Dead Boys
Blondie
Suicide
Lydia Lunch
DNA  
Mars
The Contortions  
The 80's
Afrika Bambaataa
Arto Lindsay
Bad Brains
Beastie Boys
Bruce Springsteen
The Feelies
The Fleshtones
Grandmaster Melle Mel
John Zorn
Laurie Anderson
Public Enemy
Run D.M.C.
Sonic Youth
Swans
They Might Be Giants
The 90's
A Tribe Called Quest
Cat Power

Jeff Buckley

The Magnetic Fields
Nas
The Notorious B.I.G.
Soul Coughing
Yo La Tengo
The 00's
The Strokes
Interpol
TV on The Radio
Fiery Furnaces
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Bravery
Animal Collective
Bright Eyes
Devendra Banhart
Moldy Peaches
Le Tigre
Liars
Blonde Redhead
Grizzly Bear
 

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Wires Under Tension release debut CD on Western Vinyl in February

Wires Under Tension release debut CD on Western Vinyl in February

"Prog-Rock" is a term that has some kind of stigma attached to it - in particular in and around "Hipsterland". For some reason, at some point in the history of rock music, that genre started to define the self-indulgent, pompously wanna-be experimental rock music, while the more lo-key, unassuming "weird" stuff was called either "avant-" or just (often generously) "experimental rock". But of course, perceptions keep changing and we are sensing that we are heading towards a re-evaluation of the word "prog", that's admittedly been out of flavor for a very long time.
South Bronx, NY based Wires Under Tension, recently signed by Western Vinyl Records, definitely have a "prog" component to their sound, but - as simplistic as it sounds - this is not a cheesy element. With their mostly instrumental, lusciously arranged tracks and recurring references to eastern melodies, this band sounds like a more electronic, sober and cinematic version of Ozric Tentacles - which in my limited knowledge of the genre is the most awesome prog rock band ever existed after pioneers King Krimson. The album "Light Science," will be released on February 8th.

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