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Pitch 2 Voltage

Opinions on music - new, old, popular, forgotten - with a focus on live performance in Chicago and New York.

Last Build Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2018 20:39:52 +0000


Holy F**k!

Thu, 10 May 2007 00:40:00 +0000

Well travels, work, laziness, and frankly, concern - or lack there of - about the relevance or interest Pitch2Voltage might offer anyone reading this, have prevented Mr. Hanle and I from maintaining the blog. In an attempt to wrest credibility from a 6 month hiatus, I'm posting this, which I had intended to post in May.

Have you ever seen Cornelius perform? I had the good fortune last Monday. On tour to promote his first album in five years, Sensuous, the Japanese music genius-madman, Cornelius, aka Keigo Oyamada, and his band came to Park West - a befittingly European styled club with leather seats and a disco ball - to melt the minds of the hipsters and aging gen-Xers who populate Chicago's north side. I may only speak for myself, but leaving the concert I felt as if I were coming down from a week long LSD trip - without any of the side effects. I have not the authorial capacities to adequately describe this aural and visual spectacle without trivializing it. So I won't make the attempt.

Opening was the oh-so-cleverly named Holy Fuck, who I had not the good fortune to enjoy, my friend, however, was screaming their name repeatedly during Cornelius' set... I usually, I think for good reason, keep a distance from humorous writing...See Cornelius, if you have the chance.

If you've never listened to Cornelius I recommend starting with the album Point, which is fantastic.


Wed, 11 Apr 2007 01:44:00 +0000


So lately I’ve found myself listening a lot to Lucky Dragons’ new album Widows. Lucky Dragons is Luke Fischbeck, a one man sound collager/musician from Prividence, RI who cuts and pastes clips of sound to make some of the most simultaneously beautiful and abrasive music I’ve ever heard. Field recordings abound in his music, mixed with a deft electronic hand with odd blips and bleeps and the occasional acoustic riff that compose the backbone of his sound. He has the amazing ability to create rhythms and beats out of the everyday sounds of our lives, a method which is best showcased on the collection of his material released last year on State's Rights Records, entitled A Sewing Circle. His new album focuses on the softer side of his music- analog acoustic dabblings intermingling with beeps of a digital origin. This album washes over you in waves, and every once in a while you are jolted by the calculated beauty of it all.

His live shows are not to be missed and are always interesting. See video evidence here.

Listen to New Alium, off Lucky Dragons’ new album Widows.

Burn Sand and Make Music

Wed, 04 Apr 2007 00:50:00 +0000

In some forest outside of Portland, Maine, Angus Maclaurin, a music teacher and a particularly strange fellow, recorded an album in the basement of his log cabin. The album is called Glass Music, and it is, befittingly, an ambient work in which, save for one or two tracks, Maclaurin uses strictly glass as his instrument. I have no clue what he did to or with the glass, but the result is quite beautiful.

My initial reaction was that although the concept of the album sounded 'cool', upon actually listening I would find that the work would not transcend its gimmickry. I was wrong, however; the album is damn good. If you're into ambiance or long form experimentation, check it out and be wow-ed that you are listening to glass.

click here to listen

Losing My Edge

Tue, 27 Mar 2007 02:50:00 +0000

Mark Kozelek is one of my favorite singer/songwriters around right now, and I've posted about him before. But somehow - I just can't seem to stay hip on all this new music - I was unaware of his latest release, (a live album entitled Little Drummer Boy which came out in the fall), until fairly recently. Regardless, the album is great. Kozelek has an uncanny ability to not only write some very beautiful music, but also to rework other artists' material, turning even hard rock into acoustic brilliance and drawing out seemingly shallow lyrics into poetic profundity. On the album, you'll hear Kozelek, with his guitarist Phil Carney, perform some of his solo work, including Modest Mouse and AC/DC covers, a bunch of Sun Kil Moon songs and earlier tracks from his first band the Red House Painters. Worth at least downloading? If you're a fan of Mark Kozelek, well then you probably already have it, but if you don't, give it a listen.

If you have never heard Mark Kozelek, check out the song "Glenn Tipton" off of Sun Kil Moon's second album, Ghosts of the Great Highway.

Why Dosh Is Pretty Cool

Thu, 28 Dec 2006 21:24:00 +0000

I’m often on the lookout for new music by artists with whom I am unfamiliar. Recently, I’ve been on an electronic music kick, and I’ve come across some pretty decent stuff - both IDM and ambient. Dosh’s newest release, The Lost Take, is one album that has particularly captured me in the last couple of months.

I had never heard, nor even heard of Martin Dosh (perhaps this betrays some greater ignorance) but I came across his new album by chance a couple of weeks ago. Dosh (which is his recording name) is an experimental multi-instrumentalist out of Minneapolis who creates electronic music in the vein of B. Fleischmann (this website is in German...sorry). His quirky, melodic, and sample-filled songs lend themselves well to both a soothing experience (great for reading, I have found) as well as close listening, as his songs are layered with eclectic instrumentation and interesting samples.

With the Lost Take, Dosh impressively demonstrates his ability to write pretty melodic lines, weaving in bits of interesting musical accompaniment and catchy rhythms. What is also exciting is that a few other big Midwestern independent rock names join Dosh on the album, including Andrew Bird.

This is an album I would recommend checking out, especially the song “Um, Circles and Squares.”

Lost in Shallowness

Thu, 14 Dec 2006 20:23:00 +0000

I liked Lost In Translation – liked it quite a bit in fact – but my infatuation with Coppola is slowly dwindling. Marie Antoinette was an aesthetically beautiful, magical, slow, meandering, and ultimately confusing film. Why did Coppola make this movie? I have no idea (although I think I could speculate). Be that as it may, the soundtrack to Coppola’s newest film does not disappoint.

It is populated with a selection of some of my favorite songs by New Order and Gang of Four, and Coppola, once again, admirably demonstrates her ability to blend picturesque images with pretty music, Although it is done in much the same fashion as in Lost in Translation, (see: Bill Murray riding in a limo with the city light of Tokyo washing over his face in the window while my My Bloody Valentine layers over the image vs. Kirsten Dunst riding in a carriage with the reflections of the French countryside washing over her face).

Enough has been said about the mediocrity of plot and the shallowness but aesthetic beauty of Coppola’s new film; leaving this aside, the soundtrack is fantastic – check it out (the trailer also deserves some kind of award by god).

Dig: “Age of Consent” by New Order off of their album Power, Corruption and Lies.

Punk Rock is Just Around The Corner

Wed, 13 Dec 2006 18:43:00 +0000

Last Thursday John and I had the good fortune to see Ian MacKaye - the legendary icon of DC hardcore - perform in his new band, The Evens, in New York City. There have been many mixed emotions about this band since their inception in the Fall of 2001. Is MacKaye going soft? To my mind, the Evens are the logical progression for the middle-aged punker – the Evens champion soft simplistic songs complimented by Mackaye’s baritone guitar and Amy Farina’s quiet but rhythmically sound drumming. The lyrics are befittingly simple yet politically charged, and they are sung by a more reserved sounding MacKaye than one hears in his earlier bands (Fugazi, Minor Threat), and Farina, whose breathy but sweet voice fits nicely over Mackaye’s.

The Evens performed in a fairly small venue, and by MacKaye’s request, the lights remained on for the duration of their set. Such an ambience is indicative of his philosophy towards live music: the audience is as important as the performers themselves. He urged us to come close to the stage, sing a long, and to ask him if the sound balance was off, for the “band members were also the sound guys.” MacKaye’s attempts to bridge the gap between the audience and the performers in order to create a more communal and collective experience fell somewhat flat on the New York hipsters known for their propensity for shoe gazing (but it was appreciated by Pitch2voltage nonetheless).

As a Fugazi fan and a native to Washington DC, I enjoyed the set quite a bit. MacKaye’s passion and energy, despite his sitting down, was assuredly contagious. Every time his voice began to break into the deep scratchy yelling so descriptive of Fugazi, the hair on my arms stood on end. But the Evens maintained a degree of lightheartedness and reservation, allowing one to sit back and enjoy, rather than quietly smirk at a 40 something punk rocker head bang on stage.

Dig: “Around the Corner” off of the Evens’ first album which is self-titled.

Have No Fear!

Fri, 08 Dec 2006 23:08:00 +0000

We apologize for the lack of posting in the last couple of weeks, but as the world of indie rock has continued to churn out frustratingly familiar sounding albums we have been terribly busy. But all is not lost, coming soon:

1) The Evens play in NYC and Ian MacKaye is still the man

2) The Mediocrity of Marie Antoinette and Sofia Coppola's inability to have a bad soundtrack

3) Why Dosh is pretty cool

4) The best indie pop record of the year!

5) The quick decline and then rise of The Decemberists (i.e. Colin Meloy is a loser but the new album is, surprisingly, the only good thing he has done since Castaways and Cutouts).

5) John and Tony's list of new or old albums that they have been really digging this year

The Slits + CMJ

Wed, 08 Nov 2006 03:57:00 +0000

The Slits have officially reunited, and on Wednesday night they played their first show in New York on over 20 years. Now this statement must be qualified, because of the original members only singer Ari Up and bassist Tessa Pollit remain in this reincarnation- and let me tell you, this is not the Slits of Cut or even the White Riot Tour of ’77. Ari and Tessa came onstage flanked by what seemed to be four female protégés (2 guitarist, 1 singer, 1 drummer) and a guy on keyboard. I guess I should have known it would go downhill when Ari didn’t start right in with an old number but instead spent fifteen minutes explaining how the Slits started the reggae-punk synthesis only to launch into a new song that sounded like neither. After that Ari Up stopped the set for 20 mins to argue with the sound guys about whether or not her mic monitor was working, proceeding to perform what sounded like a Jamaican vocal improve for five minutes which fell a bit flat on a crowd that was by now questioning why they hadn’t heard any Slits songs 40 mins into their set. As Ms. Up continued talking almost incoherently about how good the Slits were and why everyone should love them I realized it would be unfair to expect much out of this drug-addled brain. Ari and Co. finally played “Newtown” and “Shoplifting” to a smattering of applause but the audience was generally quiet , turning to each other in quizzical surprise as Ari went on another hazy tangent or stopped the show to question whether we could hear her vocals when we clearly could.

It was becoming more and more clear that this show would not yield anything good, and as Ari hauled onstage a girlfriend of hers (who’d had six too many screwdrivers) to sloppily sing backup I left. I could try to be positive about the performance and say that at least it was absurdly entertaining, but a tragic-comic monologue by Ari Up was not what I wanted. I came to see the Slits and they were nowhere to be found.

In other news: oldsters the Wrens save rock (again) and youngsters the Walkmen perform their first ever mediocre show. Both performed at NYU’s Skirball Center as part of CMJ last Thursday. The Wrens managed to make a sit down auditorium a good venue while inspiring the audience to jump onstage. The Walkmen did neither, but we’ll forgive them for mostly playing new material because we know they can rock out if they choose.

Just Dance!

Fri, 03 Nov 2006 08:00:00 +0000

On Monday night I saw The Rapture at Webster Hall in NYC. The Presets opened for them, an Australian cross between Daft Punk and Depeche Mode, and played fairly generic electronica for 45 minutes. The defining moment of their set was when they sampled daft punk during a breakdown- the crowd went wild, where before they had held the typical arms-crossed stance they were now movin and groovin like it was what they did for a living. It just shows that if you can’t do the job yourself get someone who can do it better.

After the Presets took their leave the crowd noticeably thickened in anticipation for the Rapture. People who had spent the two years since their last album at Misshapes dancing to LCD Soundsystem eagerly awaited the band that made it cool to dance in rock clubs again. The crowd roared as NYC’s biggest dance-rockers came out and put on the homecoming show that everyone was hoping for. They opened up with “Heaven”, cranking out a few of those homegrown Gang of Four riffs they’re so good at, as the audience screamed along. Then they played a few tracks off their new album, Pieces of the People We Love, which it seems everyone in the city of New York has purchased except for me. They did a good job of integrating their new material (which is more obviously influenced by the Talking Heads than Gang of Four this time around) with their old hits, but the party didn’t really get started ‘till they played “Killing” and then launched into “Sister Savior”. Webster Hall erupted into a dance fever that reached its height when they played the club hit “House of Jealous Lovers”—lights flashing, sweat dripping, beat bouncing, body moving—I felt like I was at a rave, and I loved it.

Now, concert-going out of the way, I think its important that we notice a precedent for the recent dance-rock movement in the NYC scene of the early 80’s which was centered around ZE Records and bands like ESG, Was (Not Was), James Chance, and Liquid Liquid (who currently reside on DFA Records). The degree of similarity between ZE and its antecedent DFA is surprising (“Bustin’ Out” by Material sounds like a stripped down version of “Sister Savior”). DFA’s entire gameplan, from music to style, is built on the proven formula established by ZE. DFA is playing an old record and if you like the bands on their roster you should pick up a copy of the original.

So if you like the Rapture I’d recommend the ZE records compilation Mutant Disco.

Philly's Basement

Tue, 31 Oct 2006 06:16:00 +0000

So last weekend I went to Philadelphia to see the Wrens perform in the basement of the 1st Unitarian Church…Yes, I saw the Wrens in the basement of a church. Not an everyday occurrence I may remind you. I mean there were literally Sunday school drawings on the walls of a room that could not possibly hold more than 200 people. I arrived early enough to see the first opener, Palomar, pump out some good old fashioned pop-punk, complete with awkward sideglances during time changes and choreographed guitar dueling. They were beaming the whole time and I couldn’t help smiling as well; I felt like I was back at a high school battle of the bands.

Next up was +/- , who played what I'd like to dub as “post-emo” (please ignore my inventing another pompous music genre), which consisted of a little more talent (the drummer was the standout) and layering than your typical emo sound. They had a bunch of prerecorded synth material, which did sound pretty cool, but I get the feeling that if you took all that electronic gimmickry away they wouldn’t have much.

But I’m getting distracted, I came to see the Wrens rock Philadelphia. And rock they did. First, Charles Bissell (guitarist/singer) and Greg Whelan (guitarist) crept onstage to a growing applause while one provided some rhythm guitar and the other doodled around on a loop machine. Eventually, they built their guitar layering into a familiar but not quite recognizable song. They brought it up and broke it down a few times, creating a tension that was only relieved when the drummer, Jerry MacDonald, and bassist, Kevin Whelan, joined them onstage and the band erupted into “This Boy is Exhausted”. They hushed up for the haunting “House that Guilt Built” and then brought it back up for an hour of pure energy, mixing material from Secaucus and The Meadowlands.

The Wrens demonstrated an intensity and love for the crowd that made this concert one of best I’ve seen in a long time. Halfway through the set they invited the crowd onstage and handed out drumsticks for them to play with. People were banging on anything they could get their hands on and everyone in the whole place was yelling along. When they played one of the faster and more intense songs from Meadowlands, “Faster Gun” I thought the basement would explode. As if to prolong my separation from reality, between the encores, someone in the crowd proposed to his girlfriend. The Wrens ended the night with “She Sends Kisses” and they gave it their best with a final sweaty sing along and the audience belted out every word. I left with a feeling of pure euphoria and a renewed faith in rock.

If you don't know the Wrens I'd recommend "Hopeless" off The Meadowlands.


Night Falls on Hoboken

Mon, 23 Oct 2006 02:33:00 +0000

A couple weeks ago I saw Yo La Tengo and Why? Perform at the Loews Theater in Jersey City. I bought tickets to this show months in advance; seeing Yo La Tengo essentially in their hometown in an old movie theater designed like a 19th century opera house isn’t something I’d try to avoid. The theater itself was a huge ornately gilded space with frescoes on the high ceiling. The inside was beautiful; with a two-story foyer complete with a grand sloping staircase and enormous gold chandelier shining on the milling crowd of people below. I was content to find a large portion of this crowd was comprised of aging Gen Xers, pleasantly lacking any of that New York pretension one typically finds at such events.As the lights dimmed and we took our seats, the opening act, Why?, began to play. They started off with a few staples from their album, Elephant Eyelash (including: “Crushed Bones”, “Fall Saddles”, “Yo Yo Bye Bye”) playing with intensity, but a frustrating feeling of amateurism. Indeed, the band was never quite together; the lead guitar/keyboard would miss notes sporadically and singer Yoni Wolf’s voice was noticeably worse live than in the studio. However, the drummer held the beat with a metronomic sense of time, and Wolf’s impassioned delivery was assuredly commendable. After making it through a couple songs they began to find their groove, and demonstrated some enthusiastic performances of some of my favorite material, including “Gemini (Birthday Song).”After about 20 minutes they decided to test run some new material, a move which they announced was the result of a certain “Julie’s” wishes. Thanks to Julie, for the rest of the set we all had to endure some fairly uninspired and affected sounding material, with a few of the band’s less captivating older songs thrown in. The new songs lacked the oddly endearing charm that made Elephant Eyelash so good. The attempt to replicate the unexpected and quirky, yet strangely powerful metaphors, and colloquial plays on words found on their debut album, just fell short in the newer songs. I did enjoy seeing them, but they clearly need a little more practice on the road. Yo La Tengo opened with “Sugarcube” to an eruption of applause; at which point I could have left the concert satisfied. For the next half hour they jammed out the distortion, rolling and rollicking along à la Sister Ray. They toned it down a bit in the middle of their set to play some of their new material off their newly released album, I’m not afraid of You and I will Beat Your Ass. Lead singer/guitarist Ira Kaplan traded in his guitar for a piano on these numbers that might be construed as an evolution of the soft-synth and vocal tracks that they do so well. But the newer songs, although pleasant, seemed to me a little bit too much in the vein of the pretty pop found in Belle and Sebastian’s newer material, which doesn’t really moved past its purely aesthetic value. Every once in a while Yo La Tengo would slip back into their earlier sound, jamming an old ditty into a 20 minute noisy epic; and with 20+ years of experience under their belt, they do it well. At this point they’re old hands at this game, and they put to shame any contemporary bands’ attempts to replicate the same aesthetic. Moe Tucker allusions aside, drummer Georgia Hubley’s simplicity complements the band well, and with James McNew’s consistent bass and keyboard, they provide the perfect sonic background for Ira Kaplan’s distortion soaked noodlings.Unfortunately, the experience was slightly diminished by the fact that the venue required everyone in the audience to remain seating. This aspect didn’t appear to phase the slightly more advanced in age crowd, but for my friends in I, the general conse[...]

Gondry, Music, Greatness

Fri, 06 Oct 2006 18:16:00 +0000

On Saturday I went to see Michele Gondry’s new film, The Science of Sleep, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The cinematography, as is usually the case with Gondry, was dazzling, surreal, and some of the sequences were quite beautiful. However, I think that Gondry’s last film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, benefited greatly from the contribution of acclaimed writer, Charlie Kaufman - who wrote the screenplay. I found the story line of the latter film more developed, and the film more cohesive overall. Nonetheless, The Science of Sleep is absolutely worth watching.

Eternal Sunshine has one of my favorite contemporary film scores, and although Jon Brion, who arranged it, was not in charge of the music in Gondry’s new film, Jean-Michel Bernard’s soundtrack is also great. Gondry has a unique ability to blend music and images in his cinematography, and does so effectively in The Science of Sleep.

One thing I love about the score to Eternal Sunshine is its ability to stand on its own. It has, along with the soundtrack to Lost in Translation, remained in my ‘most often played CD pile’ for a couple years. Although my only basis for judging the score of The Science of Sleep was hearing it as it accompanied the film itself, it seems to achieve a similar quality.

Clap Your Hands Conservatively

Fri, 06 Oct 2006 04:35:00 +0000

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah has created quite a buzz in the independent music scene. Indeed, their debut album Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, has received a lot of press, especially from Internet blogs, such as Pitchfork. Thus helping establish them a solid fan base, and a name alongside The Arcade Fire in the independent pop scene. They are currently on tour with friends and fellow indie-pop favorites, Architecture in Helsinki, as well as Takka Takka.

Last Monday night I saw their first of two shows at The Vic Theater. Unfortunately, the opener, Takka Takka, was less than uninspiring. It sounded as if the band had listened to Elvis Costello’s debut album, My Aim Is True, and decided to write some songs. The consequence is a collection of generic, short songs, with unmemorable –or memorable only insofar as they were frequently off key – vocals, and a lack of stage presence. They sounded tight, but sorely lacked a unique sound, and a talented singer. Their only saving grace was that John Paul Jones, the bassist (hmm...), is endearingly goofy, and fun to watch.

Architecture in Helsinki, by contrast, stole the show. Although I mostly liked their sophomore album Fingers Crossed, and their latest, In Case We Die, as well, I’m not a huge Architecture fan. That being said, they did put on a damn good live show. I found it slightly lacking in variation, but it was solid nonetheless. They played very little from the two albums I am most familiar with, and instead played a bundle of new material, most of which was quite dancey. It seems as though everybody is jumping on this bandwagon, but few pull it off; Architecture in Helsinki comes close.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah did not exactly disappoint. However, they were somewhat of an anti climax after Architecture’s set. The only noteworthy remarks I can make are that they rocked a lot harder than I expected, and performed some of their new material. But with the exception of one, the newer songs sounded as if they were b-sides from their debut album that were understandably cut from the release. Highlights include Alec Ounsworth (singer/songwriter), coming on stage with a loudspeaker, through which he sang, with the band’s accompaniment, the quirky opening track off their self-titled album.

I’d recommend “The Owls Go” by Architecture in Helsinki, off of their album Fingers Crossed, and “The Details of the War” by Clap Yours Hands Say Yeah, off of their only album.

Carry Me, Ohio

Fri, 06 Oct 2006 00:52:00 +0000

Nice little bit on a Sufjan Stevens, and music in the Midwest on SpaceTropic today. To quote part of it:

And I guess I'm interested, these days, in any art that brings us back to the old, weird America - the people and states and municipalities along train routes and highways. To take on such subjects seems like defiant innovation in the face of so much self-centered, self-referential media (Studio 60 anyone?) which endlessly churns forth from the East and West coast.

I think this topic resonates with all of us here in Chicagoland. Indeed, many of the great independent pop bands coming out of the Midwest right now propagate a similar mentality. A personal favorite of mine, Mark Kozelek, of the Red House Painters, and now Sun Kil Moon, comes to mind especially. He is an Ohioan, and many of his lyrics paint nostalgic pictures of the Midwest, which stir feelings of desolation, beauty and longing. In fact, most of his recent tours have included dates almost entirely in the Midwest.

If you’ve never heard Mark Kozelek, I’d highly recommend the Sun Kil Moon album Ghosts of the Great Highway, especially the song “Carry Me Ohio.”

Disappointed in the Auditorium

Tue, 03 Oct 2006 16:21:00 +0000

The Friday before last I went to watch The Mars Volta perform at the Aragon Theater, on the north side of Chicago. The theater is a massive building, but even more bizarre. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean. The lobby is a large, marble, open area with overly ornate architecture and designs on the floor and ceiling. When you ascend the wide staircase to the stage area, what you find is Medieval Times converted into a music venue. Fake parapets and other “medieval” fortifications decorate the walls, and an enormously high ceiling displays fourth grade level drawings of stars and galaxies. After waiting in the rain with a mostly high school age crowd (many of whom had been there since 2 pm), I staked out my place inside this unique venue. There I was, in soaking wet clothes, crunched up close to the front of the stage, nut to butt with screaming, laughing, and smoking 16 year olds. My spirits weren’t too low, however, because The Mars Volta, whose live show I had heard so much about, were to come on in only thirty minutes. However, the Mars Volta did not grace us with their presence at the allotted hour. Even the stalwart fans who surrounded me (indeed, I heard the Mars Volta likened to God, and the concert to the second coming more than twice during our wait) began to get a little anxious.Finally, after screaming themselves hoarse and more than an hour after the concert was scheduled to begin, the indistinguishable radio music which had been blaring on the monitors stopped short and the lights went out. When the Mexican National Anthem began to blast from the speakers and the lights went red, and the silhouetted figures of the Mars Volta emerged, fists raised, from backstage, I thought the kids around me might collapse into seizure. The anthem ended, and Blake Fleming (who is replacing Jon Theodore for the tour) started kicking the bass drum rapidly, and a wall of sound erupted. Cedric Bixler-Zavala (lyricist/singer) started dancing frantically and the rest of the tall and lanky band members (who include: Pablo Hinojos-Gonzalez, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Juan Alderete De la Peña, Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez, and Adrian Terrazas Gonzalez), dressed in skinny jeans and tiny blazers, started pounding out noise on their respective instruments. For the next two hours the band played through most of their new material, (including songs from Frances the Mute, and their most recent, Amputechture) with extended noisy jams, little dynamic changes, filling in the gaps between songs with cacophonous dissonance, thus making each song barely distinguishable from the next. The only indication that the band had changed songs was that Cedric, in his raspy alto, would start screaming out words in a different key. With each song, the band attempted the same aesthetic: a noisy crescendo ending in Omar (guitarist/writer) playing very quickly on the guitar, Cedric belting notes in a pitch that I didn’t realize men could reach, and the crowd screaming. Displaying a wide variety of instruments, as the Mars Volta did, doesn’t necessitate musical prowess, especially when these instruments are inaudible over the blaring guitar. Apparently, others disagree. There were moments when the drummer would finally change his rhythm and a catchy African influenced jam would come to a climax. However, these genuine moments of musical excellence were few and far between. And more frustratingly, when they did occur, they were dwarfed and drowned by the rest of the mono-dynamic set. Pretensions of eclecticism, musicianship, and ingenuity abounded in this live performance, but their execution left me wanting. In fact, I’d describe the experience a[...]

Good News!

Tue, 26 Sep 2006 04:48:00 +0000

My friend John Hanle and I are joining forces for the music review aspect, and for now the only aspect, of Pitch2Voltage. We will both post, and we plan on emphasizing live music for both Chicago and New York City.

Hello And Welcome

Tue, 19 Sep 2006 02:06:00 +0000

Blogs have always fascinated me. It’s really quite interesting as a cultural and technological phenomenon; whether it’s do-it-yourself journalism, cultural critique, or just self-serving thoughts posted online, blogs have assuredly caught on. The giants in corporate media have their own blogs, and music review sites, such as Pitchfork Media, or Tiny Mix Tapes, and many others, have long since become staple, alternative voices, in the cyber-media whose importance is undeniable because of their growing readership.

HERE IT IS! The ultimate free people's medium! This is all well and good, assuredly a fascinating new trend, but I never thought I would be writing one. I am writing one. Why? Well I decided, after the urging of friends and family, that given my interests and goals, I would be really missing the boat if I did not take advantage of, or at least become a part of this new technological happening.

So Welcome to Pitch2Voltage. My goal with this website is twofold. In short, I plan on discussing, reviewing, and also recommending music, be it music in films, new bands, etc. My goal here is not to create taste, or to adhere to some unspoken and haphazardly labeled music genre or to attempt to coin a new one.

To my mind the Talking Heads album Remain In Light, is as relevant today as the new TV On Radio and more so than today’s excuse for pop. Especially as the tide within the contemporary independent and pseudo-independent music scene swings towards a more retro sound - indeed, “throw back” bands are becoming more and more commonplace – remembering the groundbreaking work of the artists who are being thrown back to is important. And damn it, the Talking Heads are just great. But by that same token, clearly not much is to be gained by reaffirming the greatness of an already well-established album. And there are many new artists worth hearing, some of whom are not being well promoted. So there will be much discussion of older music, and of what I feel is criminally overlooked music too.

Second, as an aspiring musician/artist myself, I would like to promote my own work. I plan on posting new songs that I have recorded, older songs, and links to where one can find albums; maybe I’ll post some other forms of art as well. I’d like to help promote anyone else in a similar situation, or at least recommend avenues through which one can hear of some up and coming artists. College radio stations such as WNUR: Chicago’s Sound Experiment, for example, are ample mediums for hearing local Chicago bands and other less frequently broadcasted artists.

I hope to get feedback on some of the things I’m doing here, especially on my own work. I also hope to update this as regularly as I can.