The band’s new album was recorded in Atlanta and was the band’s first to be produced by Ben H. Allen III, who was worked with everyone form Kaiser Chiefs and Animal Collective to Cee-Lo and Gnarls Barkley. It follows a round of B&S vinyl reissues from Matador, including the recently reissued If You’re Feeling Sinister, which had some of us around here feeling nostalgic; Tigermilk; Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant; The Life Pursuit; and Dear Catastrophe Waitress, along with The Boy With the Arab Strap, which comes out on vinyl Nov. 4.
The acclaimed indie rock band was mostly active in the 1990s, putting out several records on Merge. 2000's Sweet Bird of Youth is one of their strongest albums, with a 4-star rating on Allmusic.com. Merge reissued the album this year, and the band has recently becoming active once again, touring this summer.
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Hear the record's "Put It Right Out of Your Mind" below:
Musician Isaiah Randolph "Ikey" Owens has died at the age of 38.
It is with great sadness that we tell the world of the passing of the incredible musician Isaiah "Ikey" Owens. He will be missed and loved forever by his family, friends, bandmates and fans.
Ikey Owens was an astounding keyboard player in Jack White's backing band. He also played with Mars Volta, Free Moral Agents, and many other projects.
Out of respect for Ikey, the remaining shows of the Jack White Tour in Mexico have been cancelled.
We will all miss you Ikey. You were and are an incredible artist.
Owens has played with many L.A. and Long Beach bands over the years, first coming to prominence mainly as a keyboardist for such bands as Crystal Antlers, Long Beach Dub Allstars, El-P, Mastodon, Saul Williams and The Mars Volta, bringing explosive energy to the live shows of whatever band he was playing with at the time as well as on records like The Mars Volta's De-Loused in the Comatorium and White's latest record, Lazaretto. Owens also had his own bands, Free Moral Agents and Look Daggers.
To listen to Pharmakon is to stare the beast straight in the mouth. Margaret Chardiet’s latest album starts with heavy breathing, panting and a buzzing synth that sounds more like an electroshock therapy machine. “Intent or Instinct” builds deliberately with an atonal loop gathering strength until she unleashes a nasty banshee wail. Free of too much digitized effect, it sounds truly bloodcurdling. It’s also immensely cathartic. And “Body Betrays Itself” feels like it takes over your very being, her most powerful musical statement to date. Not everything in such harsh surroundings works—“Primitive Struggle” is about as inviting as it sounds, full of coughing, spitting and heaving along to a digital heartbeat. But Chardiet can really surprise you, too. “Autoimmune” actually nudges closer to something resembling pop, like the dirtiest Trent Reznor would ever let his hands get. And in the incantation of the title track, Chardiet’s actual, human voice can be heard, albeit echoed out into infinity, and the result is quite affecting, given how she shreds her voice across the rest of the record. So Bestial Burden isn’t for the faint of heart. Dismiss it and you might even get a laugh out of its relentless brutality. But give it your full attention, and it just might change you. So don’t be afraid. Dive in and let Bestial Burden swallow you whole. Note: If you like her records, you should probably see her live.
Last time I wrote about how The Smashing Pumpkins’ Adore was a gateway album for me when I was 16. Enamored of that album’s nocturnal aura, I sought music with a similarly mellow, melancholic vibe. I was also an avid Rolling Stone junkie at the time. I remember reading their four-star review of The Boy With the Arab Strap and deciding it was something I’d like, and I went out and bought it on a whim. I was right—I became totally hooked on this band, their vintage aesthetic and gently orchestrated sound, which sounded mind-blowingly fresh to me at the time.
I suppose it wasn’t just my decided lack of worldliness that was to blame there. You certainly couldn’t hear anything like Belle & Sebastian on radio or MTV, and this was still the infancy of the Napster years. My parents’ lame computer could only hold about 100 songs. There was still a lot of going out and buying CDs on whims then.