Vagrant Journalism

Published pieces from the past, the present and of the potential future.

Posts Tagged ‘ground control magazine’

6 July 09 – Regina Spektor ‘Far’

Posted by Christina on July 6, 2009

far-cover-artThis was quite the enchanting album. I had never really delved into the Regina Spektor sphere before I did this review and it was an interesting ride to say the least. Her voice is so unique and the content of her instrumentation and lyrics were nothing like I had heard. I’ll have to really spend some time with this five album strong discography of hers after this.

Ground Control Magazine: Regina Spektor ‘Far’

ARTIST: Regina Spektor – [Album]
DATE: 07-06-09
REVIEW BY: Christina Nersesian
ALBUM: Far
LABEL: Warner/Sire

Regina Spektor’s latest release is undoubtedly a testament to her limitless creativity. Her fifth full-length studio album to date, Far is an absolute thrilling 13-track voyage through the inexhaustible psyche of one of the most imaginative and versatile songstresses of our time. Warbling vocals and a stylistic signature all her own, the quirky qualities of phonetic track titles, unorthodox pronunciations and pleasantly unusual content provide fodder for success to repeat the reception of her chart-topping 2006 release, Begin to Hope.

The album kicks off with “The Calculation,” an overall uplifting tune and surprise love song with a polka-esque introduction. Dark matters of the innards of emotional complexities along with the simplistic naïveté transform computers into child’s play and macaroni art. Already, this track is quite the attention grabber. It’s a universally palatable tune that not only displays her musical capabilities but stands to be a pretty sweet hip-swaying jam as well.

An unconventional lovelorn song, “Folding Chair” presents syncopated beats, a dancey feel-good piano with mirrored guitar staccato, a sock-hop kind of clap and a pretty uncanny dolphin impression. Toes in the sand and yearning for love in the air, this song invokes fading images of a 1950s coastline—silver bullet trailers, baby clothes safety-pinned to convenience and the innocence of sweet hand holding. It’s a track just in time for our summer swelter.

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21 June 09: Gliss ‘Devotion Implosion’

Posted by Christina on June 22, 2009

51lBExRyDJLThis album was absolutely magnificent to review. The tunes were really revamped versions of shoegaze staples and Gliss is pitch perfect with their what they’re trying to get across. They had played a show at The Echo last Monday and I was way bummed I wasn’t able to attend. I’ll just have to wait for them to come back from their tour across the pond.

Ground Control Magazine: Gliss ‘Devotion Implosion’

ARTIST: Gliss – [Album]
DATE: 06-21-09
REVIEW BY: Christina Nersesian
ALBUM: Devotion Implosion
LABEL: Cordless Recordings

Gliss is like the Petri dish lovechild of shoegaze greats, alternative rock fire-starters, maybe even some dancey hipster DJs and most definitely includes a dip in the gene pool of the psychedelic pop rock of the 1960s. In their latest release, Devotion Implosion, some tracks scream Pablo Honey while others stand as clear spawns of Psycho Candy with an overall adoption and simultaneous adaptation of Siamese Dream. Sprinkled with a little “Crimson & Clover” over and over, this sophomoric effort is a pleaser throughout for sure.

The Los Angeles-based band’s second full-length album is a sometimes brooding and sometimes blissful nugget of indie goodness. The album weighs heavily on reliably steady beats and appropriately static-ridden riffs punctuated by the hazy vocals of a dreamlike allure. Gliss, in itself, becomes a sort of umbrella act for the sort of musical style embraced by Krautrock bands of yore. Multi-instrumentalists Martin Klingman, David Reiss and Victoria Cecilia make full use of the genre’s musical tendencies in a neat 10-track odyssey through a seemingly drug-induced space of rootless time.

The album starts up strong and steady, motorik beat at the ready with “Morning Light.” The track, with its purposeful clumsiness mindfully finds its place, and then pushes off with a delightfully catchy drumbeat reminiscent of “Just Like Honey,” before diving headfirst into a welcome wall of sound. Weight resting against this seemingly impenetrable fortress of frequencies, the perpetual fuzz suddenly gives way to a pool of distorted guitar riffs, ethereal vocals and subtle harmonies. Left hanging off the breath of one droning note up to the very last second, this track is a clear vision of what’s to come.

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19 May 2009: Iron & Wine ‘Around the Well’

Posted by Christina on May 20, 2009

iron-and-wine-around-the-well This really is an exceptional collection of songs from Iron & Wine. Some are new sounds, some are old favorites and some are tracks finally collected on one album for everyone to enjoy. Hooray!

Ground Control Magazine: Iron & Wine ‘Around the Well’

ARTIST: Iron & Wine – [Album]
DATE: 05-19-09
REVIEW BY: Christina Nersesian
ALBUM: Around the Well
LABEL: Sub Pop

Rare beauties emerge in Iron & Wine’s latest release with a two-disc collection of a rare, never-before-heard and new-to-print collection of unyielding goodness. From hidden treasures of 2002’s The Creek Drank the Cradle to soundtrack-bound leftovers and side-picks from The Shepherd’s Dog in 2007, this sampling from the span of Iron & Wine’s career is nothing short of magic, especially for those rabid fans—however rabid folk fans can get.

The first disc is a deliberate, lower-fidelity collection of soulful selections. The slow scratch and subtle pop of a needle through a record’s grooves serve as a signature undertone throughout. Its raw, basement and concrete wall acoustics add the perfect flavor to the perfect set of songs.

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11 February 2008: U.K.’s Switches in the City of Angels

Posted by Christina on March 18, 2009

02I had the chance to meet with the Switches at a neat little restaurant near Fred 62’s and City Lights Bookstore in Los Angeles about a year ago. I interviewed them and did a piece of Ground Control. I happened to be sitting in on their music video meeting – that was quite thrilling as well.

Ground Control Magazine: U.K.’s Switches in the City of Angels

ARTIST: U.K.’s Switches in the City of Angels
DATE: 02-11-08
WRITER: Christina Nersesian
PHOTO: Timothy Norris

The city of Los Angeles smells and feels as average as it always does. The noon sun is high but slightly orange thanks to the haze of smog provided by our labyrinth of freeways, highways and byways. The turn of one corner smells like a vagrant’s homestead while the sidewalks are cracked with tree roots trying to break free. A bus barrels by, leaving a trail of billowing carcinogens behind and some old lady just gave you the finger for cutting her off.

Even so, the guys from U.K.’s newest sensation, Switches, absolutely love Los Angeles. They’ve been in the States before, touring with various bands here and there, playing Lollapalooza and making a name for themselves. They’re back and while a considerable leg of their west-coast tour was spent playing at Southern California venues and recording their album in L.A., the rest of the county is calling.

Recording their next album in the heart of Los Angeles, most of their adrenaline and excitement came from the fact that they were in L.A. in the first place. What made their venture in recording most exciting was waking up every day and having to go to the studio in a place like L.A. The daily dredge of the city is commonplace to most of us but viewed in wonderment by others, namely the guys from Switches.

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11 December 2007: Ground Control – 2007 Year-End Mix Tape

Posted by Christina on March 12, 2009

phlow_mix_003_moAll the writers at Ground Control were asked to compile a sort of personal best of mix tape for the end of the year. In my opinion, 2007 was a phenomenal year in music and it was so hard to just pick a small list.

Ground Control Magazine: Ground Control – 2007 Year-End Mix Tape

ARTIST: Ground Control – 2007 Year-End Mix Tape
DATE: 12-11-07
WRITER: Ground Control Contributors

Christina Nersesian

1. “Elephant Gun” – Beirut – Lon Gisland EP
http://www.beirutband.com/
2. “No Emotion” – Idlewild – Make Another World
http://idlewild.co.uk/site2007/index.html
3. “Double Vision” – The Ponys – Turn the Lights Out
http://www.matadorrecords.com/the_ponys/
4. “In the Morning (Hot Chip Remix)” – Junior Boys – The Dead Horse EP
http://www.juniorboys.net/
5. “My Moon My Man” – Feist – The Reminder
http://www.listentofeist.com/
6. “Section 28 [Guaranteed Nightlife]” – The Polyphonic Spree – The Fragile Army
http://www.thepolyphonicspree.com/
7. “My Little Japanese Cigarette Case” – Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
http://www.spoontheband.com/

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11 December 2007: The Killers ‘Sawdust’

Posted by Christina on March 12, 2009

the-killers-sawdust-4190181I was weary about this CD because ‘Hot Fuss’ had really been just so phenomenal. It was a great chance, however, to write about this band in a more uninhibited setting with Ground Control. It made writing the piece that much better.

Ground Control Magazine: The Killers ‘Sawdust’

ARTIST: The Killers – [Album]
DATE: 12-11-07
REVIEW BY: Christina Nersesian
ALBUM: Sawdust (B-Sides and Rarities)
LABEL: Island

We all thought they would reach their heights as 15-minutes-of famers, but The Killers have proven that they’re here to stay. With the electronic tones persistent throughout their breakout album, Hot Fuss, it was inevitable that the band would be forever reinventing themselves. In these last months of 2007, they’ve given us an amalgamated collection of re-released b-sides, several rarities, historic collaborations and the ever-entertaining cover track dotted throughout the album.

With a track featuring Lou Reed, The Killers start off their track set with “Tranquilize.” The song makes it feel like the Velvets are getting back together—the track’s indicative of discordant riffs and heavy distortion. All the while, though, the underlying token Killers staple of Brendan Flowers’ electric keyboard wails away.

Perhaps the most interesting track to come out of this collection of b-sides is their above-par cover of “Shadowplay.” Already inclined to being a band that plays electro-jams, they’ve taken the Joy Division gem to another height, perhaps giving it an edginess that makes it okay for them to even touch upon such sacred legends of across-the-pond music lore.

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10 November 2007: LCD Soundsystem ’45:33′

Posted by Christina on March 10, 2009

lcd-soundsystem-45-33This was one of the more interesting concept albums I had come across. I love LCD Soundsystem for their totally original sound – even if they do borrow from the synth-electro-punk genre of yesteryear – and I fell even more in love with them when I saw the band perform live at Coachella. This album, was not only one of their more interesting efforts, but it was so appropriately titled that the band’s motives became all to clear by the end of my research for the album review.

Ground Control Magazine: LCD Soundsystem ’45:33′

ARTIST: LCD Soundsystem – [Album]
DATE: 11-10-07
REVIEW BY: Christina Nersesian
ALBUM: 45:33
LABEL: DFA/Astralwerks

We all remember when only a short three years ago we were gabbing left and right, telling our friends about this song they have got to absolutely hear. “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” may not have been LCD Soundsystem’s first single—because “Losing My Edge” was—but it was what put them up there as hot-blooded new comers ready to show the scene what they’ve got. Nearly three years later, we see that’s exactly what they did.

With two studio releases, the two disc self-titled debut album LCD Soundsystem and their follow up two years later with Sound of Silver, they’ve landed major radio play and spots on nearly every summer music festival roster of the past two years or so. Thankfully, frontman James Murphy has co-founded dance-punk label Death From Above (DFA) and has at his disposal a venue for the albums he releases with LCD Soundsystem. It’s why a project like their new album, 45:33, has been made possible for studio release.

Originally a digital release available only on iTunes through the Nike Music Store, 45:33 is actually as concept as an album can get. Commissioned by Nike to make a seemingly fluent and singular track that simulated the various inflections of running and jogging, James Murphy stepped up to the challenge and made 45:33. Meant to push you at the right times, motivate you where needed and help you relax and cool down appropriately, the digital release is about the length specified with its name, six tracks titled simply by their parts and numbers.

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