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Archive for the ‘Serena Maneesh’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: SERENA-MANEESH-Serena-Maneesh (2005).

The thing that surprises me most about this band is that they are Norwegian (although I’m not sure why that surprises me).  They have a convoluted past, and I’m still not sure what the name means, but I really like the CD.

So, as I was led to believe, this debut album is parts My Bloody Valentine, but it is much more than that. The opening, “Drain Cosmetics” is another quintessential shoegazery song with male and female vocals over waves of gentle distortion.

The third track “Un-duex” is another fairly gentle track (clocking in at under 2 minutes) with waves of layered distortion competing with each other.  “Candlelighted” is like the opposite of “Un Duex,” a 6-and-a-half minute noise-fest, conflicted guitars and over 3 minutes of instrumental introduction before the gentle wash of vocals come in.

“Beehiver II” continues the noise (and features the loudest vocals so far).  These darker songs certainly owe a debt to Sonic Youth (not that MBV doesn’t but MBV was more wash and less abrasive).  “Her Name is Suicide” slows things down considerably, almost spoiling the flow, but the song is weird enough to be interesting.

“Chorale Lick” returns to SY type noise with squealing guitars.  The final track is a 12-minute song that begins slowly with gentle washes (and vibes?).  By the seven minute mark all the instruments have been dragged out and it’s a noisy attack.  At about 9 minutes the song screeches to a feedback-fuelled halt, but it is quickly followed by a delicate piano coda.

I didn’t enjoy the album when I was listening to it quietly (I was trying to listen at work).  But when I was able to really turn it up it sounded less like a pile of noise and more like intricate uses of noise.  I’m curious to see now what else they have done in the last five years.

[READ: July 27, 2010] “Multiples of Cohen”

This is a fascinating story that begins surprisingly and ends even more surprisingly (and yet very satisfyingly).

It opens with this statement of purpose: “The important fact about Cohen: he did die.”

The story is written from the point of view of Cohen’s cardiologist. Cohen is a hairy-backed, middle-aged man who judges everyone on their fuckability (the first thing he says to his doctor’s wife: “nice rack”; while his nanny has “an okay ass”).  He also has a heart that will not quit.  He passes all of his tests with flying colors and has the stamina of a bull.

So why did he have a heart attack while making a joke about sleeping with someone’s sister?  How had the cardiologist failed him? (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: SERENA MANEESH-“Sapphire Eyes” (2005).

I used to keep a list of songs and albums that I would try to find.  On this list was a single or a B-Side by Serena Maneesh.  I’ve lost the list, but someone just donated their debut album to our library.  So I’m excited to check it out.  In the meantime, I found the video for this track so I’ll start there.

For years people waited for the follow up to My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless.  And if David Shields ever does release a disc under that name again, it will be more scrutinized than Chinese Democracy (and possibly less inspired).

So, why not let someone else take up the reigns of shoegazing music some fifteen years later.

This track displays many traits that made MBV so great.  It opens with a slightly distorted female vocalist.  She starts singing before a throbbing bass and noisy, distorted (seemingly backwards) guitars bring in a wall of noise.  But that wall only lasts for a short time before it breaks away and the song builds again, slowly, with more and more parts (the video shows a violin although I can’t hear it).

And then about half way through the song it does what MBV always made me do, pick up my head and go, yes, this is great.  A mildly distorted amazingly catchy bridge peeks out through the noise and grabs on to you.  Then more noise and a little backwards vocals and its over.

Other reviews of the album suggest that this isn’t the only kind of music they play, that they are also heavier and darker; I’m looking forward to the rest of the disc.   First impressions (five years late) are very good here.  Check it out here.

[READ: June 25, 2010] A Reader’s Guide

Despite my fondness for Infinite Jest, I had not read any of the supplementary books about it.  I’d heard of them, of course, but I didn’t feel compelled to get any of them.  Then I saw that this one was very cheap.  And I decided to get Elegant Complexity while I was at it (a few cents to the Fantods).  Complexity is a big honking book, and I don’t have time for it right now, but this reader’s guide is very short and a very quick read.

I had an idea of what to expect from the book, but I didn’t really know who the intended audience was.  So, I was very surprised to see the way it was set up.  The first chapter is a biographical account of DFW including his place in the new writers anti-ironic camp.  It was a good summary but nothing new, and I worried about what I had just bought. (more…)

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