clast, as in iconoclast, is the name of the new album from Cincinnati's umin, and the title could not be more appropriate.
The word 'clast' comes from the Greek klastos meaning broken -- and those familiar with umin's work will immediately recognize how poignant this title is. At first listen, the music feels hectic, agitated and, well, fragmented. This is because umin primarily composes his songs on the baritone ukulele. He then digitally samples, cuts, loops and stretches the pieces into a wild and immersive collage of sound. Even the song titles are often mere fragments of words.
With very little fanfare, Prim has released one of the best local pop recordings of the year.
When you take time to consider the roster of talent in this band, it is not surprising. Alessandro Corona [Krkgrd], Jake Langknecht [The Never Bird] and Ian Gullett [Diet Audio, Smasherman, Photo Electric] weave a delightful tapestry of soulful melodies, and they do this in conjunction with the amazing Molly Sullivan [No No Knots] who has quickly become one of the supreme voices and songwriters in Cincinnati.
I was profoundly confused when I first listened to Founding Fathers. Here is a band that lists, among their 'influences' such groups as Ween, Beck, Wilco -- and to which other reviewers had compared to Talking Heads. My first impression of Founding Fathers was of a band that makes booty-shaking, bone-deep funk that just doesn't wash off. The first track on their latest CD, a song called "Stop Drop and Roll," is magnificent good-time party music to be sure but -- Ween? Wilco? I wasn't getting it.
I have not had the opportunity to see the band live yet so... maybe I am missing something.
For those unfamiliar with the band Gazer, it may be best to describe them in their own words: "post-punk with the intensity of hardcore [and] inconsiderate blasts of noise."
Last October, when I started listening to Gazer's Phone Commercial EP, they quickly became one of my favorite local punk bands. The sound on Phone Commercial is reminiscent of the industrial Midwestern post-punk of the 90's like Big Black and Brainiac - but Gazer has managed to take that sound, intensify it, and make it significant to the 21st century.
With this review, my intention is to get you to take a few steps through the looking glass into a Hellraiser-like universe where pain is beauty, ugliness is music and noise is pleasure. Looming ominously in a filthy back-alley somewhere in this universe is the band Public Housing.