msdavison3 (Curator)

REGISTERED:08/04/2010
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My name is Michael. I'm a musician, a recorded sound archivist, and and an information architect/interaction designer. I'm also a volunteer at the Free Music Archive because it's awesome.

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msdavison3 on 03/14/2011 at 03:00PM

Re-visiting Harvey Milk

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With a nod to the upcoming 2011 WFMU show at SXSW on March 18th, as well as Harvey Milk's string of shows at Union Pool yesterday, tonight and tomorrow (I'm going tonight!) I thought it would be the perfect time to revisit Harvey Milk's performance on the WFMU SXSW bill at Spiros, exactly three years ago today.

In a piece covering Harvey Milk at the 2008 WFMU SXSW show, Brian Turner mused that "most people I meet who are fans of them are also obsessed with them; it seems that there are few casual listeners to their music." I think that by being a little obsessive about Harvey Milk, you certainly get a better sense of all the places that the band explores in their music. While they regularly serve up satisfyingly thick tendrils of crushing chords, I think when the number of listens hits the obsessive level it's really more about the fantastic array of arrangements that can be found across their records.

 "Merlin is Magic" from My Love Is Higher Than Your Assessment of What My Love Could Be has always reminded me of some electrified, Melvinoid rendition of a Scottish bagpipe traditional like "Going Home".  "Once In A While" from 2006's Special Wishes is a banner-waving anthem in the vein of David Bowie on dextromethorphan cough syrup. On Life... The Best Game in Town, the solemn harmonies and counterpoint at the beginning of "Death Goes To The Winner" are the perfect example of how Harvey Milk will spend the time required to establish a truly delicate and intimate musical theme, cherishing it, letting it grow, so when they do actually turn on what they've created and batter it in inevitably crushing fuck-you bombast, the effect is captivating.

Here's their WFMU SXSW set, where they perform several songs from Special Wishes.

 

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msdavison3 on 02/28/2011 at 02:50PM

No, it Doesn't: NYC Sucks, Volumes 1 & 2

The battle of the sub-genres.

MetalSucks recently released the fantastic second half to their soopersized variety-bucket sampler of metal in New York. NYC Sucks Vols. 1 & 2 cover quite a bit of ground; across this collection's 27 tracks, the wide breadth of bands and styles are really only unified in their sonic intensity. To their credit, MetalSucks' definition of "Metal" in this compilation is markedly inclusive, even catholic. It's unlikely that you would ever see some of these bands sharing a live bill with each other, and perhaps that's what makes this such an enthralling listen. In Volume 1, you've got the ethereal melodies of Made Out Of Babies' Julie Christmas in one instance doing the cha-cha right up against Tiger Flowers' serrated assault on the following track. On Volume 2, Defeatist rub out a nasty grind in under two minutes with "Dawn of No Light", and then further on down the road, Krallice's majestic, nine-minute "Autochthon" gallops all the way down into the black. Awesome. Other cool and unexpected turns include the Travis Beans and drum machines of The Austerity Program whose textures and clinical prescision evoke Big Black, firing back at the bombastic saga of Brooklyn's Hull. Those clever genre-shifting juxtapositions happen throughout both volumes.  

NYC Sucks' stylistic expanse afforded the editors a luxury of being truly able to cherrypick the healthiest heavies of what's bubbling up around NYC (though a respectful nod is given to Abacinate's Jason Sica and Atakke). That makes it near impossible to single out any one band, but of course that's the idea. If you like to argue apples vs. oranges, Mods vs. Rockers with your friends, this is a pretty solid soundtrack for that kind of pointlessness. I'll start! Here's a few tracks that I enjoyed (come at me, bro):

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