Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lost Sounds - Lost Sounds lp

Lost Sounds LP/CD (In The Red, 2004, ITR 117)

Side One
  1. There's Nothing
  2. Destructo Comet
  3. I Get Nervous
  4. Clones Don't Love Me
  5. I Sit I Watch I Wait
  6. Ophelia
Side Two
  1. Your Looking Glass
  2. Let's Get Sick
  3. And You Dance?
  4. We're Just Living
  5. Mechanical Feelings
  6. Bombs Over M.O.M.

Back Sleeve

printed inner sleeve

printed inner sleeve

And Rich had a few words to say about this lp in the Oct/Nov 2004 Reviews of Terminal Boredom.
I'm one of those obsessive music types that is always trying to explore parallels between what is going on in music today, and how it references the past. I often wonder which the truly important bands of our time are, who will be the ones we will still be talking about in five or ten years. The bands with staying power, those who broke ground, who carry influence over the pack. I believe the Lost Sounds are one of those bands. Four official full length releases, plus tons of demos, singles, rarities, and they still get better, they still come up with something different, something new. Their latest is just the next step in an evolutionary process that has seen them transformed from garage-punk noise to the incredibly talented future-wave rock band they are now. The songs are tighter, more concise, and they've reeled in a bit of the sonic excesses that were originally their trademark, and substituted a skewed pop sensibility that manages to not diminish their power in the least. Their most accessible record yet? Sure. I think it's more or less a distillation of their sound, as if they've boiled down all the previous records and come up with this, the band in their purest and most potent form to date. And in my search for musically historical relevance, I've come to decide that the Lost Sounds seem to be travelling on a trajectory pretty damn close to another band, that probably turned out to be one of the most influential bands on the underground rock landscape, that band being Sonic Youth. Think about the similarities. The Lost Sounds were steeped in Oblivians/Memphis blues-garage-scuzz in much the same way SY cut their pick-teeth in the Branca/Chatham guitar symphonies of the NYC art-shit crowd. At their center you have the guy-girl duo. The girl with the the artist's background and good looks; the guy who is equal parts brooding and thrashing, adamamant and outspoken in his beliefs of what rock should be. Just thank God Jay's extracurricular activities have a tendency towards the punk of the Final Solutions and not some free-jazz skronk bullshit. I guess that makes Rich the Lee of the group, counterpart and early bandmate to Jay's Thurston, equally versed in the music that created them and as equally talented, if not as vocal. And surely The Reatards are a better starting point than The Coachmen. The Contaminated label/Goner crowd their own Sonic Death fan club, eager to snap up the demos, limited edition records, attend the live shows, and see what other bands are riding along in the wake. Does that make the Jonas/Jon/Patrick bass axis the equivalent of the Edson/Bert/Shelley rotating drum stool? The Fitts as a parallel to Free Kitten? (I would say yes, except for the fact that Fitts records are actually good, and Alicja has never had an annoying hag named Julia Cafritz in her band). Does this make the Bad Times an updated Dim Stars? Is signing to In the Red equal to a jump to SST, the premier indie of it's time? Hey, didn't Steve Shelley put out The Clears record? And really, aren't the Lost Sounds doing some of the same thing with synths that SY did by sticking drumsticks and screwdrivers into their guitar strings? That being, fill in the quiet gaps with sounds and textures that create moods, that evoke emotion. Both bands possess the ability to create that thing we call a sonic landscape, or soundscape, guitarscape, synthscape, escape, or whatever -scape you want to attach. They have the ability to transcend genre, to create places in music none of us have heard before or knew we wanted to go to. The talent to wrap you in grand sounding swirls of sound and still be dirty enough to grab you by your black t-shirt and rock your eyeballs back into your head. Harnessing power from the the quiet, tense, and tentative moments within a song to make the the destructive explosions of noise that much more lethal. Sonic Youth early on ostensibly made records about America, and you can see LS doing the same by making records about the world, about the times we live in, that much nearer to total destuction, apocalypse, a future full of frightening technology. Their albums exist within a timeframe of sorts, each self-sufficient and progressively different. You could say the Memphis is Dead'-era mirrors the SonicDeath/Kill Yr. Idols period. Statements of purpose and such, still working out the old influences and finding their own footing. Are covers of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and "You Must Be A Witch" similar exercises in exorcising demons past and declaring starting points? Look at 'Black Wave' as their 'Bad Moon Rising', in its sprawling dissonance and steps out of the garage/punk murk. 'Rat's Brains...' subs for 'EVOL', showcasing their evolving versatility, ripping harsh and raw chunks from the corpse of rock and balancing it with extended moments of lush cold wave dynamics. That brings us to the new self-titled record, their 'Sister', arguably Sonic Youth's best record, and what appears to be the Lost Sounds peak up to now. Both records represent a noise withdrawal of sorts, a streamlining of sounds. The songs have become more internalized, less demonic, placing more emphasis on creating a great song in their own version of the rock mold, instead of attempting to blow the listener away with sheer brute force. Far from tame, but as close to a pop formula as they can come. I might be way out of line with this rambling, I might be talking straight out of my ass. I just know that something is happening whenever a Lost Sounds record comes out, something a little bit bigger than most other bands. It's tough to get perspective when you're there listening to it happen. Will the Lost Sounds turn out to be as far reaching and influential as SY? They're already halfway there. No one outside of Europeans and a rabid underground following paid much attention to Thurston, Kim, and co. until almost their seventh album. I do think that as bands talented at making the inaccessible accessible, at making harsh rock interwoven with evocative synth/guitar textures, their early careers are eerily similar. I don't expect the Lost Sounds to make their 'Daydream Nation', or to get one iota of respect from the mainstream. They're a great band, very likely the best of our time, and I wouldn't wish that upon them. They could explode into the next leaders of 'alternative' or whatever it's going to be called next, or implode and never make another album. It still wouldn't take away from what they've already done, although I'd much rather see the ride continue. It's been a pleasure to watch and hear it unfold so far, and if you've at all missed out you should start playing catch-up now. (RK)

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