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Album Reviews: January 2010


Our picks for good listening

My New EP
Chris Hatton

[Analog Beard]

Chris Hatton hails from Cleveland, Ohio, yet he has the soul of a mountain man living a self-imposed exile from society so he can hunker down and bust out music. His style is eclectic yet precise and deep...all the while having a good time making kick ass music.

His newest release shows an impressive range of talent, from the mellow tracks ("The Milky Way" and "Something to It"), to rocking balls in "The Champion," to taking a humorous swipe at people's obsession with social media in the instant classic, "Facebook Licks My Balls."

His songwriting style reminds me of Ryan Adams, mainly because his lyrics feel like he's just telling you a story whilst sitting at a bar. Also like Adams, Hatton's music strikes far deeper than all the douchebag "singer songwriter" crap making the rounds. Indeed, it's a fair thing to say that Hatton truly has nailed a voice for his generation.

This appears to be Hatton's second release as a solo artist (he used to play with League of Proper Musicians), as he released an EP a month before this LP...for free. The Three Free Song EP showed an even harder side of Hatton, with 2 of the 3 songs featuring him wailing on guitar.

The best part is, he does all this music on his own...and still plays in several other Cleveland bands.

With any luck, we'll be hearing a lot more from Hatton in the near future.



Blue Water White Death
Blue Water White Death

[Graveface Records]


This album starts out like some beautiful Antony and the Johnsons freakout, and never lets go. It's a strange, sometimes violent sonic world, a marvelous trek into abstraction that always feels one step from the edge of total madness...yet it never quite goes over the ledge.

This is the debut record coming from the collaboration of Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart and Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg. The album pushes your mind, constantly making you think it's going one direction, only to veer onto another path. "Nerd Future" is like some mad scientist singing an opera while operating on live humans. Then it drops into "The End of Sex," which starts off with a few isolated strums, then leads into a gentle sound that sounds almost like a Paul Simon ditty.

In short, this is the way music is meant to be: creative, experimental, and raw. It's an impressive release, showing that you can successfully make good art while still delivering accessible music.



Trick B/W Treat
The Marshmallow Ghosts

[Graveface Records]

The Marshmallow Ghosts is the "house band" of Graveface Records, featuring members of Black Moth Super Rainbow, Dreamend, The Appleseed Cast, and Casket Girls. The idea seems to be that they release something every Halloween, which is great since that's obviously the best holiday in the history of days.

This offering is short- 2 tracks- but rich indeed. As always, Graveface offers the record in digital as well as vinyl, with a limited edition 7" picture disc complete with a glow-in-the-dark sleeve. The digital version comes with remixes of each track (naturally called "666Gacy666mix").

It's a sweet abandon from the normal music that comes across the Kotori desk. "Trick" is a gradual build, with birds singing and chirping, building into some industrial-feeling beat, climaxing in distorted vocals and vibrations. I don't know what they're talking about, man! Probably something to do with Satan or campfires.

"Treat" is a real creepy track, as it starts with children giggling, then a witch, then a wolf, oh no! Something is very wrong here. I feel like they left a tape recorder on as they were massacring children...which would normally be a laugh, but this is just terrifying. It bleeds into distorted guitars and other instruments, making for a real fun treat, indeed.

The remixes are even more exciting, making this a great find. Hopefully we'll have more tracks from Marshmallow Ghosts this Halloween...assuming some jackoff parents don't go crying about their dead children.


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