Tagged: desperate spirits

Jeanne Vomit-Terror – The Quixotrix Tapes, Vol. 1

img001Industrial Electronic Noise

Desperate Spirits – August 1, 2017

Jeanne Vomit-Terror is the cofounder of Lexington’s Resonant Hole collective and has been making and releasing music for the last six or seven years. Among other things, she released a pair of singles in 2010, put out the very catchy “The Seat of Same” with Ed Sunspot in 2013, and has had a track on each of the two Desperate Spirits Compilations – Lady Parts! and White Power is for DummiesThis release, The Quixotrix Tapes, Vol. 1, listens much like a continuous live set of improvisatory industrial electronic music, straying in atmosphere from Jeanne’s previous releases.

The album opens with “Intestinal Waltz,” albeit a thick, dissonant waltz at the pace of a dirge – for much of the track you feel the time in the overblown first and third beat of each measure. The time in “Brank’d” is held steady by a rumblingly low synthesizer, but the distorted percussion falls right around it, disorienting the listener as Jeanne places a repeated six-note motif throughout the mix at random. The track elides into “Silken Scourge,” where a keyboard plays a shrill ascending scale atop a mix of electronics that shimmer and thud simultaneously. The darkly catchy “At the Mirror School” grooves with a quick intensity, and features the album’s only lyrics, making reference to a previous JVT track. “The Interior Eye” closes the album – it’s among the lengthiest tracks of this release, and is arguably the harshest and least anchored to a tempo among them.

This is not the nearly-danceable electronic pop you may have heard previously from Jeanne Vomit-Terror – if anything, it most resembles the recently released “Youth Infection.” That said, this isn’t random noise, either – Jeanne is thoughtful in the way she picks the melodic, rhythmic, and textural motifs, incorporating them into each track with intention. Combined with the distortion, dissonance, and heft of industrial electronic percussion and synthesizers, The Quixotrix Tapes, Vol. 1 is a disorienting album whose atmosphere engulfs and transports the listener out of reality.

Tracks I Liked: Intestinal Waltz!, Brank’d!!, Silken Scourge!!, At the Mirror School!!!, The Interior Eye!

Ben Southworth – July 30, 2017 – Post Road

Various Artists – Lady Parts!

a0838255416_10Underground Lexington Sounds

Desperate Spirits – June 23, 2017

Desperate Spirits follows up their first Lexington-based compilation with another – this time one of all female-identifying artists, with label co-founder, Kim Smith, at the curating helm. Spanning eighteen tracks, the compilation collects many of Lexington’s finest, as well as artists with ties to Lexington now living elsewhere.

Like the music on White Power is for Dummies, the sounds on Lady Parts! span a wide range of musical sounds. The compilation opens with “Hold On,” contributed by Reva Dawn Salon – it mostly features an uptempo string band, save for a colorfully contrasting bridge. Coralee’s “Kick My Heart” is a beautiful, low-key track with lots of atmosphere; soon after, For the Crown mixes their clear voices over a funk-tinged industrial-synth track on “Hands Where I Can See Them.” Jeanne Vomit-Terror’s “The Author and His Egg” is a quick, dizzyingly heavy electronic punk track; the rich string arrangements of “Moon Song” by Kate Wakefield provide an aural contrast a couple songs later. Powder Room’s “I Watch You Sleep” is an infectious listen, toeing the line between calm and unsettling; following that, “Resolve” by Italian Beaches features Reva Williams’ voice on top of an always great mix of dense synthesizers and behind-the-beat drums.

Compilations are a great way of finding new music you might not have heard otherwise – I’d never heard of several artists on this compilation, and I’d been meaning to hear many others. Lexington is fortunate to have an abundance of talented female artists, and Lady Parts! gives you only taste of many musicians who have much more to listen to. Purchase a copy on Desperate Spirits’ Bandcamp, and 100% of proceeds go to the Kentucky Health Justice Network, whose mission includes supporting direct services to healthcare access, education and advocacy for reproductive health in the Commonwealth.

Tracks I Liked: (All of them, but especially) Reva Dawn Salon (“Hold On”)!!, Coralee (“Kick My Heart”)!, For the Crown (“Hands Where I Can See Them”)!!, Jeanne Vomit-Terror (“The Author and His Egg”)!, Kate Wakefield (“Moon Song”)!!, Oh My Me (“Where the Red One Goes”)!, Powder Room (“I Watch You Sleep”)!!, Italian Beaches (“Resolve”)!!!

Ben Southworth – July 2, 2017 – Post Road

ATTEMPT – Personal Fables

attempt-album-cover-for-personal-fables-600x600Soul Pop Fusion

Desperate Spirits // Hop Hop Records – February 14, 2017

As an album, Personal Fables is one of the richest collection of eight songs to come out of Lexington in several years. This meticulous orchestration and arranging is made that much more impressive after realizing it was written and performed almost singularly by Trevor Tremaine – minus trumpet and saxophone, everything you hear here is his doing. The songs here are so densely-packed that they become fresher on each repeated listen, propelling them forward with constant momentum as they roll into the next of a seemingly endless supply of ideas.

The album opens with the manic “Personal Best,” which rolls the bassline, drums, guitar, and vocal riffs into one smooth hook – the track yields toward the final third of the song, setting up a great guitar solo through its end. “Life and a Day” has maybe the catchiest and most accessible chorus of the album, yet the song still manages to break the mold with its contrasting bridge (plus, I love the line “I am an idling time machine, and I’m going nowhere slow” that sets it up). On the first few listens, “The One and Only,” didn’t stick out to me a lot, but the tight rhythm and arrangement in the chorus eventually reveals itself as delightfully smooth and well-done. “Incompetence” is perhaps the track the benefitted the most from multiple listens. The lyrics carry the story from start to finish, and the lush instrumentation throughout the track make it one of the most immaculate, enjoyable listens of the album.

“Getting It” is punchy, clever, and self-referential – it pushes and pulls throughout the track, forcing you to listen closely (in which case you’ll hear little treats like “smoking squares outside the Speedway,” a quick line which has rolled around my head all week). The album reaches its most experimental point on “Beyond Cliche'” which walks the harmony all over the map, stretches an angular melody over top of it (while managing to make it fit naturally on top of the unusual progression), and packs in another quick, sharp spoken-word bridge. “You Have Lived” may be the album’s peak – as the penultimate track, it is arranged as a ballad, with only vocals and a shimmering organ. The lyrics here are just as sharp as on the rest of Personal Fables (and, at times, they even lean into the same tongue-in-cheek territory that many of the other songs inhabit), ruminating on the line “a life of no regrets is the only kind worth living.” Tremaine sings through a lifetime of missed opportunities, and by the time the song nears its finish, it swells into a gorgeously multi-tracked chorus of “you have lived” that carries through to the end. Closing the album is the quick “The Worst Thing that Could Happen,” which brings things full-circle into the same exciting territory of the album’s opener.

This album is thoroughly enjoyable – it manages to be smart, inventive, and wordy, while remaining catchy and fun. Its singular point of creative origin becomes more apparent upon each repeated listen, and Trevor never favors density of ideas over the ability of these ideas to work in harmony with one another – they’re simply arranged in a way that works. Personal Fables is a must-hear album, and is unlike anything else I’ve heard from Lexington.

Pre-order Personal Fables from Desperate Spirits, and you can download and listen to the album immediately (and I recommend you do).

Tracks I Liked: Personal Best!, Life and a Day!, Incompetence!!, Beyond Cliche’!, You Have Lived!!!

Ben Southworth – February 5, 2017 – Kenwick Place

Various Artists – White Power is for Dummies

a1869556177_10Underground Lexington Sounds

Desperate Spirits – November 28, 2016

What a great response to the ‘dumpster fire’ that has been 2016. With the emboldenment of white power this year, a strong, unified response against it can be a source of hope. Here are twenty bands and musicians with ties to Lexington lining up behind the cause of rejecting this notion of bigotry and malice.

The sounds on the compilation are pretty far-ranging, though electronic music (in many forms) runs through it as a common vein. Ainsley Wagoner contributed “Deep Water,” a soft, folksy track driven by soft synthesizers and a clear voice – a few songs later is “Mia Zapata” by Vegan Death, a melodic indie rock song with a touch of grunge in the guitars. Jeanne Vomit Terror channels a dark, thick, heavy, industrial mood on “Youth Infection,” which is a favorite of mine – it’s chased immediately with the short, spacey ballad, “No One is Inside You,” by The Silver Masked Tenor. Auto Delta Time and Dr. Midnight put forth a story about a house in Michigan set to an aggressive beat – TFC follows right after with a lengthy, soft slow jam about the death of a great-uncle. “Little One” is a beautiful, dark, quiet track by Frigid Kitty with a thick texture – the compilation is closed by Carl Calm’s inventive arrangement on an Idiot Glee track.

For those that like Lexington and its music, this should be a great listen. That said, I’d imagine event the most ‘plugged-in’ local music lover will find a lot here they hadn’t already heard – the compilation shows off several musicians that don’t commonly release their music in recorded form. Go here and pay for a copy (proceeds benefit the Anti-Defamation League), and find something new.

Tracks I Liked: (All of Them, but Especially) Ainsley Wagoner (“Deep Water”), Vegan Death (“Mia Zapata”)!!, Jeanne Vomit Terror (“Youth Infection”)!!!, The Silver Masked Tenor (“No One is Inside You”), Auto Delta Time + Dr. Midnight (“Air Ranch”), TFC (“The Bike”)!!, Frigid Kitty (“Little One”)!!, Idiot Glee + Carl Calm (“Life Without House”)

Ben Southworth – December 11, 2016 – Kenwick Place