Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Renderers - That Dog's Head in the Gutter Gives Off Vibrations (1995)

This album was Brian and Mayrose Crook's second full-length release as the Renderers, appearing four years after their debut, 'Trail of Tears.' The Crooks would produce their most lasting material with the Southern-fried, psychedelic twang of the Renderers, born out of the anarchic joy of the Max Block; 'The Dog's Head in the Gutter...' is undoubtedly their masterpiece. While 1991's 'Million Lights' 7" announced Mayrose Crook as the perfect vocal counterpoint to her husband, it is with this album that she truly comes into her own as a vocalist. The slow-burn of "So Blind," coupled with the quietly defiant resignation of Mayrose's vocal, punctuated by the piercing guitar tones of Brian Crook, achieves an escalating emotional intensity that sets the tone for the remainder of the album. Positioned after the ominous, dusk-tinged "Unforgiven," the two songs exemplify the weeping humanism at the heart of the Renderer's music, bittersweet yet tinged with the allure of misanthropy. Enjoy this one. - Ariel


Friday, January 9, 2009

Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos - A Child's Guide to...(1988)

Preceded by collections showcasing the live power of the Dead C and This Kind of Punishment, 'A Child's Guide to Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos' was the third assortment of material released on Bruce Russell's Xpressway imprint. A duo comprised of the Dead C's Michael Morley and Richard Ram, Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos released an EP on Flying Nun in 1986 entitled 'River Falling Love,' but the pair were independently prodigious, recording a number of self-released cassettes from 1983 to 1986. 'A Child's Guide to...' is an archival release, gathering material from these obscurities in addition to live recordings. The band pursued their various musical diversions to varied success, from the techno-pop meanderings of "Together We Sense" to the delicately beautiful "Rain," which features an ethereal vocal contribution from Denise Roughan (Look Blue Go Purple/3Ds.) Enjoy. - Ariel