Thursday, August 31, 2006

Label profile #1: Rusted Rail

In what hopefully will be an on-going series of presenting labels that go out of the way to release some of the most fascinating music that’s around, the turn has come to the eminently titled Rusted Rail imprint out of Ireland. So far this adventurous and creative label has graced us with six goregous 3” CD-Rs but as you’ll notice there’s more in the pipeline. And how can anyone with this motto really go wrong?

The musical canon is not decided by majority opinion but by enthusiasm and passion, and a work that ten people love passionately is more important than one that ten thousand do not mind hearing.

We got in touch with them to see what keeps them going and what’s coming around the bend.


Do you remember when music really caught your attention for the first time?

I think I got into music quite late – I was 11 or 12 before I started listening to the radio or buying tapes (!) – it was in Ireland in the mid to late ‘80s - but it would’ve been the usual retro stuff that I got into: Thin Lizzy, Hendrix, The Doors (there was also a Queen phase but the less said about that the better!)…but then as I got older and maybe wiser (?) I hit that rich seam of early ‘90s American music with Sebadoh and Pavement, Slint and Palace and their fellow travellers, and then Rachel’s and Tortoise led me into different worlds…

What lead to the decision to start Rusted Rail? Was there a point at which you thought "I could do this better myself"?

Running a label was something I’d wanted to do for many years it’s just that in recent times with the ease of communication that the net affords it became the right time to get online and start putting the tunes out there. The music of course being the most important thing – I’m blessed to know many very gifted people and it’s their records that you will find on Rusted Rail.

Do you have a set up goal for the label?

Just to keep channeling the music out into the world…

What are the most positive and frustrating aspects of running a label?

Nothing is really frustrating – it does however take a lot of time to make all the releases, to keep up with orders, correspondence, promotion, all the usual stuff - not that any of this is a burden - it’s a gift! The positive side is knowing that people are connecting with the music – that’s what it’s all about.

Are there any particular labels that have inspired you or that you feel somehow spiritually connected with?

Deserted Village, Constellation, Touch & Go - to name but a few - just the uncompromising attitudes and commitment that labels like those exude are very inspiring.

What would you say are the most important factors that decide whether a record will end up on Rusted Rail or not? Is there something that unifies everything that's wearing the Rusted Rail logo?

Whether I think it sounds good is the only factor. I dunno if there’s a manifesto but maybe it’s forward-thinking music? (This is a difficult question to answer without sounding pretentious!)

From afar the musical climate in Ireland seems to be thriving these days. Do you agree?

Maybe things are just more visible now with the interconnectedness of everyone via the Internet. I'm pretty sure there's always been music bubbling away just beneath the surface and now it’s possible to take the music out of the bedroom or living room and get it out there, by whatever means necessary.

Do you have any explanation for the relatively large number of interesting acts that have come out of Ireland the last few years?

I reckon it's a case of people becoming more confident in their musical vision, recording equipment being more affordable, the popularity of a certain music sharing website which will remain nameless (!), and maybe there's a certain hunger for hearing something different. Who knows?

What do you think of the current state of experimental music in general?

If "experimental" means using the old punk ethos of D.I.Y. recordings and releases (no matter what the genre) then I think it’s in a very healthy state. For example the popularity of the "free/freak-folk movement" is interesting and I think it signals that people are harking back to purer forms of musical expression, which are also based on the idea of belonging to a community of likeminded individuals.

Could you give us a quick rundown of the bands on the label?

There are six releases so far and more to come in the future. Here's the skinny on the current bands:

Agitated Radio Pilot - The solo incarnation of David Colohan, Deserted Village lynchpin, beautiful folky songs about lost love on Your Turn To Go It Alone.

Loner Deluxe - Laptop guy with occasional contributions from real musicians - "faketronica".

Mirakil Whip - diverse duo encompassing everything from electro-convulsive guitar grooves to accordion and mandolin led tunes.

Plinth - The "Dorset Sound" - Victorian electronica made using old music machines. Also does drone folk.

So Cow - One man indie rock band based in Soeul.

United Bible Studies - Astral folk voyagers.

What's on the horizon in terms of new releases?

Autumn Grieve Another Window EP - reissue of a CD EP recorded with members of Rachel's in Louisville, Kentucky. More EPs to follow.

CUBS - the west of Ireland wing of United Bible Studies. Mellow, late night melodies and songs for those lost as sea.

Phantom Dog Beneath The Moon - slowly unfurling ghostly folk rock

Rustic Tacki - dustbowl hypnotica

In the Pipeline...
Plinth - Wintersongs - deluxe expanded reissue of their lullabies for grown up children.

Phosphene - radiophonic vibrations from Glasgow

Agitated Radio Pilot - Old tapes have been unearthed and shall be dusted down for release on compact disc for the first time.

You're one of the persons who have put out recordings by Broken Face favourites, United Bible Studies. How did you initially get in touch with them?

I was in college in Galway with Dave Colohan back in the day when he first started operating as Agitated Radio Pilot, and through him I met James Rider (who runs DeadSlackString - the label that released the United Bible Studies CD The Shore that Fears the Sea) who was playing with Dave in ARP and that eventually blossomed into United Bible Studies and the Deserted Village. I've toured with UBS doing live sampling and effects and it’s always a blast!

As far as I know all Rusted Rail releases are 3” CD-Rs. How come? What is it that makes the 3” format so appealing?

So far all the releases have been on 3", it's just a really dinky format that really appeals to me and allied with the handmade packaging I think it makes for a very visually engaging artifact. Also you can cram about 21 minutes of music onto the little discs so I think it's a cool medium for housing half an albums worth of music. There will be releases on other formats in the future - 5" CD, downloads, DVD - all these are in the pipeline.

A few websites of particular interest:
Rusted Rail
United Bible Studies
Agitated Radio Pilot
Deserted Village

After the goldrush #18

Call me old-fashioned if you will, but there’s always a certain degree of euphoria when listening to a new cassette release. There’s a strong sense of dedication and passion about that format that somehow works eminently well for me. In this case we’re talking about Quintana Roo, a West Coast USA improv unit that on Smoking Lords displays a kind of propulsively churning amalgam of hazy noise, bowed basement drones and free jazz percussion. It’s a slow-moving manifestation of hypnotic electronics meeting all kinds of guitar abstraction, ranging from the tranquilizing to the frazzled. Aural darkness doesn't really do them justice; this one holds the tension of living in an earthquake zone.

Dutch veterans Trespassers W is back with the final part of their trilogy Sex and Drugs and Rock’n’roll, this time entitled The Noble Folly of Rock’n’roll (Somnimage). This is a disk that takes the inspirations and attitude behind the ‘50s rock’n’roll movement, blends it with a tasty bit of art pop, chamber experimentalism, dark half-spoken, half-sung vocals and throws the whole thing right into year 2006. Despite that rather complex description I’d say that this is music that makes a point in keeping things simple, innocent and to the point. There’s a bounciness and catchiness to these historic pop/rock songs that is all too rare these days. This might come as a surprise for some of you but this is music that really makes me want to dance.

Heller Mason’s Minimalist & Anchored is a logical continuation of Silber Records’ predilection for highly articulate, moody singer-songwriter pop with enough folk and country twists to make it difficult to place in any given genre. Contrary to some of the label’s previous releases by folks like Jamie Barnes and Rivulets this is music that despite its sparse tone is based in some rather wide arrangements, including among other things electric guitar, drums, bass, cello, vocals, Wurlitzer, piano and trumpet. The album screens a downcast but kaleidoscopic sound, spanning depressive folk as well as bittersweet slow pop. Not unique but very nice.

Majakka ja Perävaunu is yet another interesting name to pop up from the fertile lands of Finland. This self-titled disc on Luovaja presents three epic drone/improv pieces that surely take their time to unfurl and consequently manages to build up some highly evocative and cosmic moods along the way. This is static ambience with surprisingly strong organic characteristics, a concept with a gravitational pull towards the speakers that should keep you enraptured for a lot longer than a week. This one will work very well when this unbelievably hot summer finally gives in for the fall.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Shuji Inaba Yoenzange (Last Visible Dog)

Thanks to the fine folks over at Last Visible Dog headquarters this stunning outsider classic is finally getting the reissue it deserves. This is what I wrote about it in The Broken Face #8 when it first came out as a CD-R in the early ’00s.

Finally we arrive at the crossroads of early 70s prog/acid sounds and Japanese folk of the 00s with this self-titled treasure from Shuji Inaba. Inaba is a Japanese folk vocalist akin to the rawness and beauty of legendary singer/songwriter Kazuki Tomokawa who was quite favorably reviewed in the last Broken Face issue. The music of Inaba is utterly surreal. Despite being based around simple acoustic guitar structures it doesn’t feel like it involves any of the usual guitar marks. In his hands the guitar starts living its own life and it’s only with the greatest effort that he can make it to follow his instructions. There is beauty, invention, strength and spirit in every single note of this album and whatever the lyrical issues might be (everything is sung in Japanese) it must be something sad and devastatingly important. Like the intensely evocative closer (translated to “A Song of Recollection”) with masterful vocals making a frozen wasteland sound like a sun-drenched Florida beach in comparison. The organic flow and rural psychedelic touch of these recordings offer enough to keep your ears swimming in contentment for the rest of the year. Nearly perfect.

The Lost Domain Palace (PseudoArcana)
The Lost Domain White Man at the Door (Digitalis)

A lot of folks feel uncomfortable reviewing things by people whose music they have issued. While I definitely can see that point, it does in a way limit the possible number of quality reviews for someone like these Australians to such a degree that I simply can not resist to take the opportunity to spread the gospel about their work.

What we have here are two new releases from The Lost Domain, an avant/folk/drone/blues/jazz/improv ensemble out of Brisbane, Australia that have been at it since the late ’80s but which only recently have begun to get the attention they deserve. Palace is a spacious tone floater that despite its downcast and restrained atmosphere strikes me as very conversational and dialogic. There is a strong sense of a “call and response” approach to the proceedings, which gives the whole thing a wonderful flow. Levitating organ patterns, ghostly feedback whispers, unsettling ambience, austere experimentation and becalmed drones form glacial underwater ceremonies and dreamtime musings packed in a beautiful aura of emptiness and vastness. These blurring instrumental interactions and gradually evolving soundscapes once again proves that music truly can be a spiritual experience.

White Man at the Door is something completely different and hardly typical for the Lost Domain (I am not quite sure what’s typical but that’s another story) as it’s a continuation of the legendary (but almost impossible to find) Shytone Dead Set, a compendium of pre-war inspired classics. What we get here are skeletal pre-war blues songs placed in the hands of a modern acoustic trio. Primitive guitars and junkyard percussion form the pre-historic setting for Ragtime Frank’s (aka Simon Ellaby) stellar vocal performance. If there ever is a howling and hollering voice that sounds like demons inside someone’s head, then this is it. Combine those demons with naked outsider folk-blues mysteries and you’ll find an album that’s capable of scaring the shit out of me. Demanding but very worthwhile.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Jazzfinger Autumn Engines (Rebis)

Newcastle, UK’s Jazzfinger has been at it for almost ten years now but is somehow still fighting in obscurity. When kindred spirits such as Vibracathedral Orchestra and Sunroof! have reached underground fame this quartet remains criminally unknown. That’s a bloody shame given the sounds they’re capable of creating. Autumn Engines is a stunningly diverse trek through the nether regions of twisted folk/drone/noise sculpture, emitting at various times hum and dronescapes, fractured string grinding, elongated sonic howls, tranced out ragas, shards of feedback, meandering overtones, primitive oscillations, ambient skree, and so much more.

Groups that come to mind would certainly be Pelt, Double Leopards and Vibracathedral Orchestra, but Jazzfinger is more abrasive and have their own unique sound. It’s a dense, dynamic ride that leads right into a spectacular procession of aural bliss that strikes me as at once monolithic and nearly transparent. Along these dark passages we get the occasional sudden sound blast, but in most cases the proceedings are slow and the attention for dusted details and static ambience never fails to amaze. Highly recommended.


Friday, August 25, 2006

After the goldrush #17

I wrote quite a few favorable words about Puppy vs. Dyslexia’s retrospective The Legend of the Elk Band: 96-99 last year and although from: puppy vs. dyslexia to: white teen subject: Re:Fwd: teenage (The Fuck Me Stupid Princess Mountain Recording Collective) not displays the same kind of disjointed mess and fucked-up lo-fi racket it’s still very worthwhile. Acid-drenched guitar workouts, spattering percussion and wild electronics form some kind of krautrock/noise exploration that builds up to nicely repetitive and fragmentized grooves. The small-town lunacy might not be quite as obvious this time out as this disk reaches for the sky rather than for some murky part of their hometown in Bloomington, Indiana.

Italian improv duo My Cat Is An Alien is beginning to approach Acid Mothers Temple status in the sense that there seems to be a new release wearing their name pretty much every month, and that at least half of these recordings tend to be released in all sorts of obscure formats and limited editions. …Ascends the Sky is a reissue on Rebis/Whitened Sepulchre and it’s is by far one of the finest things I’ve heard from these alien cats in quite a while. We get a tasty bit of zoned out dronescapes that from time to time strikes me as surprisingly warm and even emotional. All in all it drifts along slowly and explores the sonic depth of the guitar like very few others can.

The step from the otherworldly sound of My Cat Is An Alien to Caroline is a pretty big one but that’s exactly the way I like it so that shouldn’t come as a big surprise. What Caroline does on her new CD single for Temporary Residence it to create some sort of combination of subtle electronica with breezy pop structures. This is all nice but what truly makes it work is Caroline Lufkin’s strongly Stina Nordenstam-inspired vocals that adds a kind of mysticism that this sort of music often is lacking. I have never been a great fan of the CD single but when it comes to this music the single format truly is the ideal environment.

Last this time out is Nai Htaw Paing Ensemble’s Mon Music of Burma (Fire Museum Records), traditional Mon music recorded by musicologist Rick Heizman. This disk doesn’t effect me to the same degree as all those fantastic Sublime Frequencies releases does as it never gets really close to same sort of immediacy, rawness and sense of looking over the players’ shoulders. This is more like witnessing something from afar, but although the whole doesn’t impress to highest possible level it’s still an interesting listen. Mainly because it displays a whole range of instruments I’ve only briefly heard before, or how does the sound of the Kyam (crocodile zither), Batt Kine (a row of 14 or so pitched gongs that is upturned at both ends like a crescent) and a Mon violin sound? If you’re curious to find out then you’ll know what to do.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Raccoo-oo-oon Is Night People (Release the Bats)

Iowa City’s Raccoo-oo-oon is a name that’s been popping up here and there in recent years, but I have to tell you the truth not heard a great deal of their actual music. Is Night People is apparently an early tape release that now is being reissued by the fine folks of Gothenburg label Release the Bats. Given my lack of knowledge of their past I can’t really place this disc in perspective, but I do know that it from time to time manages to kick some serious ass. The fourth track is particularly effective, staring out with beautifully windswept electronics and slightly jazz-tinged percussion before morphing into a hailstorm of sludge-drenched noise rock. Between these nicely packaged noise crescendos we get lo-fi rock played by a bunch of people that are more interested in improv, electronics and repetitive grooves than traditional song structures. It’s by no means unique but it’s charming, fun and rocks in a pretty stellar way.

The Moglass Sparrow Juice (Nexsound)

Ukrainian combo the Moglass has always had a talent for keeping things simple and nicely repetitive. This is by no means meant to reduce the value of their glacial drone/improv vendettas, rather the opposite as it shows ability to realize exactly how long it’s needed to fully explore and investigate a particular sonic idea. It takes just as much talent to know where to stop and when to add something new to the mix. The Moglass knows all this very well, and especially so on Sparrow Juice, their new album for Nexsound. Field recordings as well as the odd vocal snippet hover on top of a bed of treated guitars and spatial electronics. The outcome is despite its obvious bleakness and claustrophobic tendencies as much about distant hope. I quite dig this myself and the musical spectrum presented here suites the band even better than it has on previous outings. Or maybe it’s just a matter of finding the drone, cut it in pieces, twist those pieces beyond recognition and throw them into the boiling improv waters.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

After the goldrush #16

Englishman Herb Diamante’s debut release May I Light Your Cigarette (Abduction) is despite its quite accessible music, one of the oddest things I’ve heard all year. The prospect of getting to hear some sort of cabaret music and show tunes placed in a highly psychedelic, surreal setting is just plain weird. Add to all this that the songs cover subjects such as eggplants, yellow kazoos, and delicate stilettos and I think you get a rough idea that this won’t be quite like your regular cup of tea.

Let’s head back to the drone for a while and dive deep into the repetitious sound world of Texan Brian Sookram. His limited, homemade Zerkalo CD-R displays dense layers of corrosive drones and rumbling sound waves that develops in an almost inaudible way. You can’t really spot the changes until it’s too late, and you’re already transported away from any possible contact with real life matters or responsibilities. I am sure this sort of stratospheric, quite harsh minimalism might strike some as rather dark and frightening but if you ask me it’s actually all about celebration. Contact at sookram-at-gmail.com.

Ben Reynolds is probably more of a household name to regular Broken Face readers and his new disc for Digitalis, Outmospheric Arts of the Outmosphere is surely not going to change that as it packages the feel of high-quality psychedelic folk music inside an ancient drone machine consisting of acoustic guitars, whistles and bubbling electronics. Surprisingly harmonious and just as good as expected.

Maher Shalal Hash Baz Faux Départ (Yik Yak)

It’s fascinating how certain sounds or artists make you think of a specific happening over and over again. Every single time I listen to Maher Shalal Hash Baz these days I tend to think of This Is Our Music, one of the finest program series about music ever being made. Not only did they interview Tori Kudo in of their shows, they also had one of his songs as their signature tune. It’s very enjoyable to think back at all this while listening to Faux Départ, a brand new Maher Shalal Hash Baz release on the Californian Yik Yak label. What we get on this reissue of a 2003 tour CD is a laid back blend of shambolic pop, free jazz, outsider folk and ’60s inspired psychedelia, all played at low speed. It’s a beautiful and innocent ride through fragile and quietly disturbing landscapes that make imperfection sound utterly compelling. As always acoustic guitar strum, circular drum patterns, euphonium and brief carnival-esque horn sections are the key components of their ramshackle pop experimentation and although one can argue that this disk sounds similar to some of their previous releases it’s never ever being boring.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Lanterns Wax Cavern (Screeching Snowflake Records)

Anyone stating Sun Ra, Vibracathedral Orchestra, Taj Mahal Travellers, Terry Riley, Pärson Sound, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Hijokaiden, Sunn 0))), Sunroof, Pelt, Double Leopards, Supersilent, Birchville Cat Motel, Miles Davis, Avarus and Animal Collective as influences got to be doing something right. Luckily this unknown Sweden/UK trio (based in Glasgow and Leeds) is not only capable of listening to good stuff, their music is also exploring similarly impressive trajectories.

Wax Cavern consists of two epic tracks that clocks in at just over an hour and although the expansive, wall of sound guitar drone hypnotism sure as hell is intrinsically minimal and relentlessly repetitive we’re still served an aural canvas painted with so many details that it’s impossible to cease to be amazed until the whole thing fades away.

Fuzzed out guitars, harmonious space whispers, shadowed guitar melodies, bowed strings, cavernous noise, hazy drone fog, occasional percussion, subtle electronic shifts, chiming bells, pulsing metallic sounds and glistening rays of atonal violin screech blend into a kind of radiant free music where melodies are melted, separated, put under the wave scope and set free into the ether.

Loren Connors
Night Through – Singles and Collected Works 1976-2004
Family Vineyard

I’ve been meaning to write this review for a few months now, but this massive 3CD box set is despite its overwhelming sonic qualities difficult to describe in mere words. It has felt a bit like there’s no point in writing about it as nothing I say will really be able to do it justice. So what I basically had to do was to get away from it for a while and then return, so here we go.

Let’s just start with saying that Loren (Mazzacane) Connors’ guitar playing truly is one of a kind. Somehow he has this unique musical voice that you can spot a Mile away no matter if he’s playing raw acoustic slide licks interspersed with moaning non-word vocals, delicately effect-laden, slightly bent guitar notes, clean-toned improvisations or strikingly beautiful, open-ended guitarscapes. It’s something about the timeless qualities at hand, or maybe it’s just that Loren's music works like a gravitational pull, glacially taking the listener to the conclusion. This gives the music a mystical if not even haunting vibe that's been characteristic for pretty much every release from this talented musician.

Night Through... opens, continues and ends on a highly meditative note, perhaps working as healing for all the lost souls that haven't yet made a deal with the city. That being said, Loren's music has always struck me as very urban, despite its transporting qualities. There is something raw and fiery in his blues-inspired guitar sketches that prefers the polluted air of deserted city streets over fresh scent of a mountain meadow. Connors paints aural images of darkness and of being haunted by god knows who or what resulting in a desperateness not dissimilar to a lonely howling dog (Mazzacane roughly means “dog killer”) on an abandoned dead-end street under the frightening but yet bright night sky.

A little more than three and half hours of improvised guitar compositions (12 7" singles, private CDR releases, collaborations with Suzanne Langille, Robert Crotty, and Haunted House, compilation appearances, and 22 unreleased pieces) manage to express the inexpressible, touch the untouchable and evoke feelings so deeply rooted that they’re hard to describe in words. Connors doesn’t need any words for this though, his instrument sings and tells his story that desperately needs to be heard.

I can't guarantee that Night Through… will have the same effect on you, but I can promise that it will not leave you untouched. Just how good is this box set? Well, lets just say that I might like this one even more than Ecstatic Yod’s 4CD box set from a few years back. That alone should tell you what you need to do.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

V/A Radio Algeria (Sublime Frequencies)
V/A Ethnic Minority Music Of Northeast Cambodia (Sublime Frequencies)

Sublime Frequencies is a label run by Alan Bishop, Richard Bishop and Hisham Mayet that is dedicated to acquiring and exposing obscure sights and sounds from modern and traditional urban and rural frontiers. Radio Algeria is their most recent “Radio compilation” which basically means releasing recordings taken straight off the radio. Those interested in how legal all this is can look elsewhere because I am not going to dive deep into that subject what so ever. To be honest I can’t really say that I care that much as I get to hear absolutely magical music that never would have reached my ears if it weren’t for the fact that Sublime Frequencies had put it out. This disk is according to the label ”perhaps the most diverse collection of the Algerian listening experience ever presented featuring raw Berber folk, modern Arabic pop, sacred Islamic traditional, Andalusian orchestral, Guesba (the origin of Rai), classic early Rai, Khabyle, Tuareg, Saharaui, and hybrid music styles influenced by Europeans to the north and sub-Saharan Africa to the south”. That probably doesn’t say a whole lot but if you’ve been intrigued by any of Sublime Frequencies’ previous releases this one will hit you even deeper. As a matter of fact I’d place this one right next to the Moroccan stuff I’ve heard in the past; primitive folk music, groovy ethnic mantras, tribal drums, Middle Eastern styled jazz, desert blues, string-laced melancholia and North African pop all molded down to one overwhelming sonic stew.

Ethnic Minority Music Of Northeast Cambodia includes the same kind of originality but where Radio Algeria actually feels like listening to a particularly great radio show, this is the actual sound of Northeast Cambodia. Not that I ever have been there or anything, but this is so raw and deeply spiritual that it almost feels secret. It’s a bit like watching over someone’s shoulder without him or her knowing anything about it. The haunting music tends to rely heavily on hypnotic gongs, shimmering drones, background noise (like discussions, children laughing and natural sounds) and the kind of singing styles that truly seems to be from another time. Like every other Sublime Frequencies release it manages to sound like nothing I’ve heard before, and if that’s a quality mark there’s no need to hesitate. Recorded on location by Laurent Jeanneau over a 2-year period from 2003-2005 with his revealing liner notes and a detailed track list included within.

Zukanican Horse Republic (Pickled Egg)
Now Frisbee Hot Pot (Pickled Egg)

Liverpool ensemble Zukanican has been at it for a few years now and this is their second release for Pickled Egg. Horse Republic is a genre-bending sound exploration that bounces back and forth from idea to idea, from experimental jazz and rock to free-flowing psychedelia, folk and electronic sound manipulation. Beefheart-esque surrealism, Can-inspired Krautrock grooves, shrieking horns and controlled electronic chaos make up an album that strikes me as deeply spiritual as well as fucked-up, groovy and eccentric.

The label mates in Now have quite a few sonic components (krautrock, free jazz, folk and electronics) in common with Zukanican, but the outcome is still something very different as Frisbee Hot Pot is much more understated and based around gentle pop structures rather than wild improvisations. Some sections are even dancey and wouldn’t feel out of place on the dance floor of some high-quality East London club. Contrary to what some of you might think that bounciness and those percussive workouts are probably what make these homemade avant-pop ditties work so successfully. I love the way these guys manage to sound so experimental yet fill the air with such a melodic and catchy sound.