Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged experimental music

Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound

I was about fifteen years old when PinkNoises.com started up. I was very involved in riot grrrl music, so perhaps it's no surprise that I liked a website specifically dedicated to women in electronic music. The writer of this content—as well as the rest of the Pink Noises website—was Tara Rodgers. After years of performing and researching, she came out with a book by the same name.

Newborn Slime/White Light Split

According to the Musical Family Tree website, musician Kid Primitive was so “enchanted” by the album Newborn Slime, by Castle Oldchair, that he felt the need to “create a sister album for it.” So, here we have the two albums together, like peanut butter and jelly smashed at the bottom of your book bag. Could this be a match made in heaven?

Evelyn Evelyn

“Real art has the capacity to make us nervous.” —Susan Sontag Evelyn Evelyn is the creation of Amanda Palmer (of the Dresden Dolls and lately a successful solo artist) and musician Jason Webley. Palmer and Webley have built a layered piece of art rather than simply a collaborative musical effort or side project.

Sing Along to Songs You Don’t Know

I have never been one to accept iTunes’ genre classifications of the music I purchase. Yes, the categories can be useful, but they never quite fit with my personal interests. As soon as the tracks are downloaded, I quickly listen to the album and decide where it fits amongst my feisty feminist punk rock, hipster late-night sing-alongs, or classical acoustic sleep inducers (to name a few). Admittedly, I am a little bit of a control freak and perhaps a tad obsessive.

The Snake

Access to a wide variety of musicians and bands has recently become widespread with the proliferation of the Internet. Though this gives inquisitive music lovers vast seas of artists to explore, this also presents the predicament of originality. Like any other art, only so many ideas can be looked at from so many points of view before they begin to blend together. It is difficult to find a sound that is original and surprising without being on the fringes of what is acceptable as music.

Malaikat dan Singa

The music of Arrington de Dionyso (also of the band Old Time Relijun) lies somewhere in a crazy Venn Diagram where Sonic Youth, Nick Cave (circa [The Birthday Party](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004T0N7?ie=UTF8&tag=feminrevie-20&linkC

Bitte Orca

At times the catchy melodies and ironically jarring harmonies found on Dirty Projectors’ latest album, Bitte Orca, seem surprising, and at other times, perfectly in place. From the very first listen the Dirty Projectors certainly project something interesting.

Nests Of Waves And Wire

In case you were wondering, tartufi name means truffle in Italian. According to this San Francisco duo, it's a moniker left behind by a former member, rather than one either would have willfully applied. They just sorta stumbled into it.

Morning Music

I'm one of those music nerds who, because of my incredibly broad tastes, finds herself taunted by other more self-conscious music nerds. I will give anything a chance. Anything. For example, I have no shame in admitting that I like those slightly contentious sub-genres known as free and avant-garde jazz.


Meridians is a very “new age” title for an album. You may hear the word “meridians” all the time without knowing what it means, and when you look it up, you still don’t. You know it’s about circles and zeniths and acupuncture references to the body’s pathways to energy—but can you use it in a sentence? When I worked at a record store (yes, a record store) in the '90s, we had an entire new age section.

Phratry EP

Most people can’t play an instrument, but Lauren K. Newman (also known as LKN) can play at least five. And she plays them all on the same album. This one-woman band has released her fourth album through Greyday Productions.

High Places

The experimental, lo-fi, Brooklyn-based duo High Places could be considered an acquired taste. The vocals are whimsically distorted and much of the percussion sounds as though it were made in someone’s kitchen by rattling a silverware drawer (since their self-titled album was made in their home studio, this may actually be the case). High Places starts off awkwardly slow, and on first listen, the short tunes and chanting rhythms may fail to draw you in.


Grampall Jookabox, nee David Adamson, is as strange as his stage name would suggest. Adamson is from Indianapolis, Indiana, which is also my childhood stomping ground, give or take thirty minutes (in those parts, we count in minutes to be traveled, not miles). With an affinity for home that grows the longer I stay away, Ropechain fills a need in my life, a record that sounds clumsy and aimless when it is anything but.

The Hotel Café Tour (11/1/2008)

The Hotel Café began as a tiny coffee shop in Hollywood, California. Since then, it has developed into a twenty-one-and-older venue. In its initial cozy environs, the performers created a warm, collaborative environment, sharing the stage and watching each other perform. Four years ago, the Hotel Café began to tour with some of its most promising acts. The particular show that I attended in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was an eclectic collection of indie-folk festivities.

Offend Maggie

Some people find Deerhoof unlistenable, with sometimes manic, screeching vocals over strange instrumentation. Some critics think they're twee, and some think they’re the best of noise rock. Most cannot slap a genre label on this expectation-bending band. There is occasional yelling and human-made sound effects, "Beep beep!" You have no idea where the songs will go, or when they will end.

1st International Body Music Festival (12/07/2008)

I wasn’t sure what to expect. What is body music anyway? It’s more than music you can see, and dance you can hear.

Saint Dymphna

Saint Dymphna is the patron of those stricken with mental illness or nervous system disorders, epileptics, mental health professionals, happy families, incest victims, and runaways. The saint was martyred by a recently widowed father. He’d made advances at her and she ran away to Belgium with her confessor, the court jester, and his wife. The elderly priest and Dymphna were slaughtered, but they don’t say what happened to the jester. St. Dymphna’s attributes include appearing praying in a cloud surrounded by lunatics wearing golden chains.

Tickley Feather

Do you wish Animal Collective had a female member? We’re not there yet, but since Tickley Feather (nee Annie Sachs) has been opening for the band and their sometimes solo, acclaimed drummer Panda Bear recently, we may be closer to collaboration that anyone realizes. I’ll be the first to admit that noise rock can seem insanely unlistenable if you’re used to the uncomplicated ditties mainstream radio often provides, but with a woman like Sachs, you get a lot of substance.

Bjork (9/17/2007)

There’s no denying that after all of these years Bjork’s fans still think she’s the hottest thing since sliced bread. I attended her live performance at The Fox Theatre last night, and I left with the overwhelming feeling that despite chatter about the music industry going down the toilet, there are still certain performers who are impacting their audience and deeply defying the present state of things.

Inventions for the New Season

For the last decade Athens, Georgia has been a hotbed for bands that stray away from highly stylized music in favor of showcasing their art outside the boundaries of conformity.


Volta, the sixth studio album from Icelandic musician, Bjork, delivers the kind of offbeat, quirky music that only she could make. With its lo-fi sonics, Volta sounds less polished than some of Bjork's previous releases, which is refreshing.

Ma Fleur

Imagined by frontman Jason Swinscoe as the soundtrack to a movie which has yet to be made, Ma Fleur does have a grand and sweeping feel to it. It sounds especially pretty on a rainy afternoon, but I found it far too solemn to be tried on a sunny car trip. While this is a band made up of gentlemen, it is the female guest vocals that shine on this album.


On Charlotte Martin's latest album, Stromata, the songstress presents her most experimental work to date. Stromata presents Martin's typically earnest and honest lyrics against a complex background of synthesizers and electronic beats. Her influences on the album are so varied - from techno to folk to Middle Eastern - that the album lacks a sense of cohesion.

Remixed & Covered

“Experimental” and “avante garde” may be the best ways to describe a band like Xiu Xiu. In earlier years their albums have come across as mind-boggling, nearly indescribable noise. Their newest release, Remixed & Covered, offers up some big-named friends that help decode the language that is Xiu Xiu. Some may call it pretentious and others may question its integrity, but it can certainly be said that credibility is brought to this double disc by the likes of Devendra Banhart, Gold Chains and Kid 606, to name a few.

Knife the Symphony EP

I was having a particularly foul day when the Knife the Symphony EP arrived. I distinctly remember being angry at music, and wishing I had something new to listen to that didn’t bore the crap out of me. It was as if someone from Feminist Review was reading my thoughts, and I threw on the five song EP immediately. I’ve never been a huge fan of indie rock, but this band is enjoyable and not terribly monotonous as others as the same ilk.

Four Songs

This New York-based instrumental sextet is unlike your typical rock band. Experimental and percussive in approach, Blue Velvet’s image is organic and minimal: Their music has no vocals, no electric bass, no standard rock-drum kit and no loops or samples. Is it then worth listening to? Hell …Yeah! “Docile 1” and “Docile 2” from their EP Four Songs has a Hitchcock-style to it: strings cut harshly and are repetitive, producing a drony and eerie quality.

Milk White Sheets

Milk White Sheets is good music for long mornings sitting in bed watching snow fall. First listening to this album in the evening after a day of work, I had a difficult time relating to the quiet hum that this album resonates. Even with the volume turned high, the unfamiliar lyrics were difficult to decipher while strains of cello, glockenspiel, dulcimer and guitar strings sounded haunting in the dark of the night.