Ive generally been ambivalent about the way so many current rock bands are appropriating elements of previously subterranean eighties styles, from postpunk to minimal synth to noise and industrial music. I guess I just dont believe that the way to be original in 2008 is to copy obscure bands from twenty-five years ago (or forty years ago, for that matter). The good thing about all this retro-ness, however, is that some excellent musicians who were almost completely ignored in the eighties are finally getting attention.
Two pseudonymous British gentlemen lurk behind the band name Modern Shit. The first has used various vaguely absurd monikers over the years, including Amos, L. Voag, and Xentos Fray Bentos; the other has stuck with one improbable handle: Lepke Buchwater (no doubt meant to echo the name of legendary U.S. crime kingpin Lepke Buchalter).
Given the financial disincentives created by the instant downloadability of just about any rare old recording in the age of the MP3, its worth celebrating the fact that there are still labels out there releasing nicely packaged and properly remastered reissues.
Not too long ago, the concept of “French rock” was pretty much treated as a joke. This may have changed as ye-ye girls and Gallic electronica gained hipster credibility, but much of the really interesting French rock is still largely unknown.
All I knew about Josephine Foster before hearing her latest album was that she was considered part of the neo-hippy freak folk scene, along with people like Devendra Banhart.
Many Rail readers will already be familiar with the bare outlines of the history of Smile, the legendary lost Beach Boys album. Nonetheless, the background story of Nonesuchs new release is worth rehashingin part because some of its frequently repeated elements are debatable.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve spent more time than I probably should have poking around the music distribution site CD Baby. The secret behind what makes it so interesting is precisely what they would never admit: They take anything, however amateurish, however misguided—and however unrelated to consensus reality.