Though it may be poor form, I'm going to start this review with my one unrelenting frustration with Martin Gore's new solo album MG: every song is just too damn short. Seriously, these tracks are incredible, and they just beg you to get lost in them, but every time I...

GRAMMIES - GREAT SOUNDING Album Review
Everything you need to know about GRAMMIES' new record GREAT SOUNDING can be found in its gloriously stupid title. The album constantly inverts itself, offering up increasingly next level instrumentation, song craft and emotional depth to an altar of self-sacrifice, producing a rare jazz gem that excels through humility rather than bombast. It's an unconventional combination of far out mid-70s avant jazz, one piece jumpsuit boogie grooves and budget bin New Age cassette tape ambiance that conjures magic from the hilarious excess of early '80s Adult Contemporary without stepping into joke band territory or leaning too much on whimsical nostalgia and irony. Essentially, we can take GRAMMIES seriously because they don't beg us to. But conceptual riffage aside, the most important thing about GREAT SOUNDING is that it reproduces the experience of watching the band blow out an untreated show space while giving their compositional skills and deeply psychedelic vibes space to glow.

One cannot overstate how important it is to receive a record at the right time. That moment when the millions of waveforms passing through the air make way for that particular set that speak to your situation, that synchronize all of the cells and particles within and without and pull...

On KOCH, Lee Gamble is a man more concerned with apparitions and possibilities than he is with cold hard reality. His music flows from some unknown source beyond the file, generating ephemeral .wav forms in real time that hint at sound or structure without revealing their intent or congealing into form. They sound as though they might never have been recorded -- and yet there is direction; there is consciousness. KOCH is hardly anything, really, and yet is a whole lot at the same time; it is a beautiful mystic bowl ready to be filled with another's consciousness. It is as much abstraction and concept as it is tangible product, as much particle as it is construct.
Lee Gamble - Koch Album Review
Swans - To Be Kind Album Review (Young God Records)
2010 didn't offer up much to rejoice over, what with earthquakes, oil spills and other such tragedies dominating headlines and generally fucking over the world. Yet in the wake of those disasters the good Lord did deem it fit to bestow one blessing upon his faithful (or at least the record collecting nerds among them): the return of Swans. After a decade of understated twee folk, ascetically bland and nostalgic psyche rock, the general rise of "indie" rock to Grammy status and the dubstep um... dubstep, the aughts reanimated a band that absolutely never ever fucks around. That said, My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky was a slightly disappointing, if handsome, first effort for the new version of the band; it favored tightly structured songs with reserved running times over the timeless drones of past albums. This won them a legion of new fans and cemented their elder statesmen of rad music status but left a lot of long-time fans like myself with a sense of, "Cool that they're back, but meh!"
Natasha Kmeto Interview Photography by Patti Miller
Mystics throughout the ages have sought to express the relationship between birth, death, and time through all manner of ritual and philosophy. In Qabballah, we have the Supernal Mother Binah, who crystallizes Force into Form, thus making us subject to time and decay. In the ancient Greek religions, we have the story of Demeter, whose periodic descent into and return from Hades signifies the cycle of birth and death. And in astrological terms, we have the Saturn Return, which signifies the recurring point where the God of Time returns to the position he held on our chart when we were born. This last concept has worked its way into the modern Western lexicon to the point of cliché, but it serves the purpose of illustrating a point in our lives -- which happens around every 27 to 30 years -- when we are seemingly forced by some unseen hand into a state of brutal self-reflection. It is the mid-life crisis; the night journey; the start of C.G. Jung's path to individuation. Regardless of what we call it, this is an ordeal that most people are at least tangentially familiar with. Some event, possibly innocuous at first, becomes the source of friction that challenges us to engage our assumptions about who we are and what we are doing, so that we might make better use of our time on Earth. Now in her late 20s, Portland electronic musician Natasha Kmeto has felt the impact of her own Saturn Return and emerged from it all the better. Though not explicitly dedicated to the topic, her latest album, Crisis, is a highly personal record about love, loss, and longing that marks a maturation point in Kmeto's musical career. It has also lifted her from the status of popular local artist to internationally-renowned R&B singer and electronic music producer.
"It was my career that facilitated me traveling more and starting to experience different things in my mind, [so] that I kind of realized that the trajectory I was on was not the one that I wanted to be on. I kind of did a 180 and had to get really honest with myself and figure out what I wanted, because I wasn’t happy." - Natasha Kmeto