Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sebadoh - The Freed Man (2007)

"GIMME INDIE ROCK!" And give us Indie rock they did. The earliest collaborations between Ex-Dino Jr. member Lou B. and veteran W. Mass punk/hardcore scenster Eric Gaffney are collected here on this hand picked reissue. Being a native of Western mass myself, I have a bit of a soft spot for these dudes. When Eric confesses in the liner notes that the "lyrics for 'Ladybug' were written '84 while smoking pot in Greenfield, MA. before I sang a set in a thunder and lightning storm..." I can't help but well up with a little hometown pride. It has been said that these guys were the beginning of lo-fi, the jumping off point for all the would-be troubadours that have holed-up in their bedrooms with 4-tracks recorders, pouring out their guts onto shitty 1/8 inch tape. Everyone from the Elephant 6 Collective to the Animal Collective have borrowed some of the aesthetic first thrown down on these early Sebadoh recordings. More a collage of sounds and ideas than a true album, this is an essential collection for fans and new ears alike.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Jensen Sportag - S/T (2007)

Here's a little "Post Techno" for your morning commute. Jensen Sportag are an unsigned duo residing in Nashville, TN. The cover pretty much says it all. Keyboards, trashy 80's beats, post punk weirdness, and an arty sense of the absurd,  coalesce into a freaked-out batch of surprisingly catchy songs. This band even has a softer side reminiscent of the Junior Boys, as exhibited on "Just a Part of Me". Above all, Jensen Sportag seem to cherish a playful sense of humor. This is displayed prominently on the wildly divergent track "Dont Matter". The band starts of in their comfort zone, synth driven, hyperkinetic, melodic techno, and then branches off into southern rap, country, latin house, and 80's rock balladry, then returning to the dance beat from whence they came. It is a surprisingly enjoyable exercise in genre hopping.