Double U and Glands of External Secretion

s/t (VHF 2000)

Disc One (Double U): http://www.mediafire.com/?0mgz2l3c0xl

Disc Two (Glands of External Secretion): http://www.mediafire.com/?my20lmv4xes

I feel that this album has been criminally ignored for too long. It’s not one of my favorite things in the universe, but there is something undeniably alien and innovative going on here. Within these creepy-crawly rhythms, growled and mumbled mutterings and eccentric melodies are moments of beauty, albeit in mutant form. There are 2cds to this shindig. The first is a “proper” album by Portland’s Double U and the other includes a “demix” of the source material by Glands of External Secretion, a duo consisting of indie-pop genius Barbara Manning and Bananafish founder Seymour Glass.

The Double U consists of Matt Hall and Alex Behr and they had released their debut Absurd Fjord on the Communion label a couple years earlier. I believe this is their second album and it is probably their best work although the “demix” side is less inspiring. At times they sound like a more restrained Caroliner, but their biggest influences seem to be 70s era Residents and prog with a bit of Zappa and Morricone thrown into the blender. They even dismantle Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman” and do a moody interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s “The Sick Doll” Both bear little relation to their birthplace, but both are reimagined in all their moody glory. Don’t be turned off by all of the fancy pants references, this is a soothing, indie-pop album at heart, but there is madness at work in the background. In fact, they would make good bedfellows with Bugskull, a similarly stoned mess from the same era.

The second cd is a “demix” and it is interesting, but it amps up the insanity in a subtle way. Less song-oriented and more of a meandering mess than its partner, the Glands’ take on Double U is more experimental and fucked up, but lacks the gruff charms of the original model.

The 6ths

Wasp’s Nest (London 1995)

http://www.mediafire.com/?eztmxiwxdnt

Stephin Merritt has always utilized the vocal talents of others to realize his artistic vision. His choices were sometimes a bit suspect on 69 Love Songs, but he usually has a great ear for who best coalesces for this tragic songwriting. His best collaborations can be found on Wasp’s Nest, the 6ths debut, but how can you go wrong with a roster of vocalists that includes Barbara Manning, Mary Timony(Helium), Dean Waeham (Galaxie 500), Amelia Fletcher (Heavenly), Rober Scott (The Clean/Bats), Mark Robinson (Unrest), Chris Knox (Tall dwarves), Georgia Hubley (Yo La Tengo) and Max MaCaughan (Superchunk)?

The music doesn’t differ from the baroque electronic indie-pop that marks his work in the Magnetic Fields. The lyrics doesn’t stray from his usual tales of unrequited love and romantic promises, but the roster of vocalists make this his best release. From Barbara Manning’s ode to the joys of the San Diego Zoo to Georgia Hubley’s rejection of a lover who can never compare to her own imagination, every element of each song is on point. The highlight is Dean Wareham’s take on “Falling Out of Love With You” which documents the dissolution of a relationship in a blase sort of way. I always loved the lyrics to this one although they sound better in performance than on your screen.

“In an old silverline
I was yours, you were mine
I was hoarse, you were mean
We designed drum machines

But every day in every way
Im falling out of love with you
Every kiss means less and less
Im falling out of love with you
Every hour kills a flower
Im falling out of love with you
You just bore me more and more
Im falling out of love with you

They made sounds much like drums
I was young you were dumb
Now youre older and im wiser
We design synthesizers

But every day in every way
Im falling out of love with you
Every kiss means less and less
Im falling out of love with you
Every hour kills a flower
Im falling out of love with you
You just bore me more and more
Im falling out of love with you”

It is playful, bitter, sarcastic and a downright mean rejection, but the music is so chirpy and bright that you find yourself humming along with each caustic word. Now that’s a pop song.