Gel Set - Human Salad LP/CS (July 7th, 2015)
"For something so reliant on modernity, Gel Set’s 'Human Salad' screams something primal, as likely to plead the fifth as plead for companionship. Who’s guilty and who’s complicit, you or me? Something slithers out from the South Side of Chicago, like that beast towards Bethlehem, its roving eye shining light on perennial abandonment. “If you were here, I’d have nothing to dream of. If you were here, I wouldn’t believe you,” Laura Callier incants on album opener “Phantom Ring.” Who is the ever-present “you”? Me? The listener is made conspirator, an added ingredient to Gel Set’s human salad.
There’s something uncannily nerve-wracking about the phrase “human salad,” though, upon inspection, it is not only an appropriate signifier, but an inviting one. Let’s digress, just for a second. A salad gets its strength from variety – the best salad-maker combines colors and tastes to surprise and satisfy the salad-eater. Similarly, Gel Set combines the human experience from Spanish transgression (“Mi Puta”) to a sensorial game of dozens (“Double Vision”). Unexpected? Yes. Undesirable? No. Surprisingly, as the listener immerses him or herself in Laura Callier’s one voice, he or she is made aware of different narrators – how can you make a human salad with only one human, after all? Trust me, we tried.
Tying the record together is Gel Set’s rhythmic mastery – ultimately, 'Human Salad' is easy to dance to. As serious and all-encompassing as the lyrics are, the background music is, to put it simply, fun. This is darkwave at its artistic peak, dispersed in common experience, all the while retaining nuanced affectation and hip-moving backing tracks. This salad shakes!"
Toupee - Leg Toucher LP/CS (July 7th, 2015)
"Representing Chicago’s robust network of outsider artists and house punks, Toupee spare no one from their sharpened, penetrating vision on Leg Toucher. From behind their masks, they lend observations to their listener. They offer heightened sensations that hide nothing. Toupee lurk beneath gentle and ferocious vocals and wicked sonic blowouts, piercing their listener with their glare.
Placing slow, soft frequencies against frantic, unchained crashes, Toupee carefully extract the supernatural from mundane life. This sublime sense results from a refusal to be silent while facing pain or decay, which are two key elements of the quartet’s alchemy. Toupee spin otherworldly punk tales from drowning rhythms and hidden current.
Dynamic, wide-ranging voices and propulsive, deliberate instrumental interplay amplify those heightened sensations. Intense stage energy translates into unexpected twists. Ghouls sing, as does innocent youth. Toupee bring their listener to fragile edges of glass, into sticky, swampy muck, and rapid transit. Leg Toucher will give you the chance to unmask those transformations in everyday life."
Jimmy Whispers - Summer In Pain LP - Order Here
"Who is this Jimmy Whispers," you'll ask yourself the first time you hear him, whether he's leaping out at you metaphorically from your speakers or leaping out at you literally from the stage during a live performance fraught with physicality and emotion.
It's a good question, who this guy is, and there's no easy answer. He's been called Chicago's "greatest new homegrown musical enigma" by the Tribune's Jessica Hopper, and a "weirdo loner" by himself. While both of those descriptions are correct, neither one's complete. He's an enigma, true, but one who sings directly from the heart about the broadest of human feelings: the need to love and be loved. Yes, he's a loner, but one who spends his free time organizing basketball tournaments to raise money for community nonprofits, and ends his concerts by mashing audience members together to slow dance to Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World."
Jimmy Whispers is a walking, talking, singing, and dancing bundle of paradoxes. Greatest among them, perhaps, is his ability to transform the most seemingly basic melodies sketched out hastily with an electric organ on an iPhone voice message into such a profound racket, or how this dirty weirdo from Chicago managed to insinuate himself into the tradition of great American sentimental balladeers.
His music will make you laugh and cry and dance and, unless you're terminally jaded and hardhearted, it'll make you genuinely feel something. And no matter how many times you listen you'll keep asking yourself, for a multitude of reasons, "Who is this fucking guy?"
The Pen Test - Interstate LP - Order Here
The mental and physical setting of travel under duress, induced by sleep-deprivation, lack of stimuli, sense of isolation, delusion of grandeur, and destabilized neuro-chemistry. Physically taking place on the I-90 West leaving Billings, MT (or I-XX anywhere). Unlit roads lacking reflective shoulder and center-line markings, unable to discern if the oncoming semi traffic is emerging over hill in your lane, combating the intrusion of gentle theta-wave micro-sleep cycling.
An examination of the decline of car culture in American civic religion and the lose of its romanticism. We no longer act as operators but as a continuation of the machine...the levels of separation are blurred or irrelevant and the resulting master-slave relationship we submit to unwillingly or in totalitarian zen-like acceptance: The Eisenhower Interstate system as a force of self-annihilation, seeking to take without malevolence, duty, or permission.
Inspired by Kraftwerk's Autobahn as both document a theoretic trip on limited access roads, invulnerable to limitation of speed and stoppage. While Autobahn induces a sense of wistful imagination, Interstate is the folding over and collapse of playful and lightly-contemplative thoughts into the purview of delusion. The interstate may act as a facilitator of leisure its demesne includes the erosion of one's self. A chiseler or cleanser, amoral and of supernatural stature (and capability), the Eroder (Interstate) espouses itself with the act of seizure.
Recorded in Olympia, WA at Dub Narcotic Studio under the supervision and capabilities of Ben Hargett (of K Records, The Evergreen State College), mastered by Mikey Young (of Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring), and championed by Bryan Hitchcock and Patrick Scott-Walsh.
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Upcoming Releases for 2015
Toupee - Leg Toucher LP/CS
Gel Set - Human Salad LP/CS
Jealousy - Paid For It LP/CS
Lazy - TXT LP/CS
ONO - Spooks LP/CS
John Henry Timmis IV - From The Inside book