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Music: Local CD Revue

MindState, Tragic Black, Until Further Notice, VCR Quintet



MindState, Call the Cops

I don’t know if the term “kicking it old school” is outdated and square. (Think about it: “Kicking it old school” is old school). So I hope MindState forgives me for getting so excited about how old-school they actually kick it. Just rocking two turntables and a microphone, Call the Cops’ beauty lies in its simplicity. Instead of confounding wordplay, lyricist Dusk 1 relies on pure energy and rage to keep the flow going, and DJ Honna’s fresh beats drum up bits of jazz, funk and other instrumental influences reminiscent of early-’90s Chronic-style hip-hop, which still sounds surprisingly fresh today. Listen to “Drums, Books and Words,” and try to front like you don’t want a set of turntables of your own.

Tragic Black, The Cold Caress

Let’s face it: It’s easy (and fun) to generalize goth fans as overweight, pasty kids who flock to Hot Topic for all their Nightmare Before Christmas-apparel needs. And for the unwitting music fan, the music’s bleakness, macabre and overall “fuck happy!” stigmas only help fuel those generalizations. That said, Tragic Black’s music defies all simplification. Cold Caress opens with a potent mix of punk-snarl and glam on opener “Bodies on the Avenue,” and the swagger of “Blood N’ Bones” is pure rock sass. The album moves toward more-electronic, dancey territory on the later tracks (highlighted by the Argento-worthy track “Reptile”), but doesn’t sacrifice energy for beats. Don’t dismiss Tragic Black as a mere goth band; that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Until Further Notice, S/T

We’ve all been in that band. You know the one: you and your group of fresh-faced, high school buddies figure, “Hey, it’s senior year—let’s start a band!” These are the first days of the rest of our lives, so let’s go out with a bang, and maybe we’ll meet some girls along the way. But after graduation, you break up, moving on to experiment with noise modulators in the safety of your dark dorm room. Until Further Notice refuses to let that dream die. Their self-titled album sounds like it wears its multiple high school battle of the bands awards with pride—with each track of enjoyable-albeit-generic power punk bleeding into one another. It also suffers from a lack of editing: just because you have enough material to fill an album doesn’t mean you need to.

The VCR Quintet, I Hate Myself

You remember VCRs right? If memory serves, they were those big thingies where you insert uh, rectangular boxes into and watch Dune. Joey Greathouse surely hasn’t forgotten what a VCR is capable of. With his VCR Quintet, Greathouse uses five VCRs plugged into drum machines and modulators to create his music. Watching him play his machines live is a truly unique experience which, sadly, doesn’t translate well to CD. I Hate Myself is mostly a noise experiment with brief moments of brilliance, but it mainly serves as a reminder that you’re experiencing it on the wrong format.