Sounds


DANCE TO DREAM

PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING — Inform Educate Entertain
THE GOOD: London-based musical outfit Public Service Broadcasting offer up a unique debut full-length.
THE BAD: A little less guitar and a little more electronic ambiance would probably better suit these compositions. However, that’s more of a personal preference and not necessarily “bad.”
THE NITTY GRITTY: This duo combines instrumental tracks, mostly beat-heavy indie rock, with snippets of old public domain documentaries and propaganda films to create an aural brand of pop art. Of course, this process is nothing new. The Orb has been putting weird bits of dialog in their tracks for over two decades and Big Audio Dynamite was inserting extended clips from movies in their tunes way back in 1985.
PSB simply takes this process to its logical extremes on tracks like “ROYGBIV” (a 1950’s peek at technology) and “The Now Generation” (Carnaby Street was really something 50 years ago). And then there’s “Everest,” a groovy little piece celebrating man’s conquering of a mountain.
BUY IT?: Surely.

EC20SOUNDS_3_WEBPAINTED PALMS — Forever
THE GOOD: San Francisco based indie duo Painted Palms (Reese Donohue on beats and Christopher Prudhomme supplying the vocals) cut-and-paste together an engaging debut full-length.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: After teasing us with 2011’s brilliant Canopy EP, the guys toured with Of Montreal, set up a new west coast base and plunged head-first into creating Forever, a swirling concoction combining sunny 60’s psychedelic pop with the modern spin of other electronic-based acts like Cayucas and Small Black.
Here you have your catchy bouncy bits such as “Here It Comes” and the title cut; tunes that resemble interstellar recreations of old Beach Boys singles. Then there are the dreamier moments like “Soft Hammer” and “Sleepwalking,” fragile delicate pieces that combine spaced-out vibes with heartbreaking melodies.
Yes, this stuff may be composed via e-mail, but the songs are finely crafted; the music truly alive with an undeniable emotional pull and hints of melancholy. Most synthetic sets don’t give off this much warmth.
BUY IT?: Definitely.

EC20SOUNDS_2_WEBTHE CRYSTAL METHOD — The Crystal Method
THE GOOD: The Las Vegas-based electronic duo (Scott Kirkland and Ken D. Jordan) is still pumping after almost 20 years.
THE BAD: This new self-titled album (fifth overall) finds the guys clamoring for relevancy. The record is good while it’s blasting, but leaves a lackluster impression.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Most of the collaborations this time are flat-out dull while a couple of them (Dia Frampton from the Voice and LeAnn Rimes?) don’t make sense. And when Kirkland and Jordon are at full groove (the crackling “Emulator” and hard driving “Jupiter Shift”), the end results come off as Vegas or Legion of Boom out-takes.
Yes, most of these cuts would fill an underground club’s dance floor at 1:30 a.m., but any track would probably pale in comparison to what was spun directly before or after it. Crystal Method may help you break a sweat, but this isn’t the duo’s “creative second wind.” In fact, 2009’s Divided by Night was more exciting.
BUY IT?: Your call.