Thursday, August 30, 2012

From The Lab: Cinchel - Stereo Stasis


Echoes, reverbs, and drones are all sonic qualities that immediately makes my ears perk. These audio traits are some of the palettes that Chicago based recording wizard/artist Cinchel uses comprehensively on his latest release, Stereo Stasis. Employing a Fulltone Tube Tape Echo for his tidal waves of aqueous echoes, Cinchel submerges your head into a cooling pool of water as you float along while you grasp a fleeting breath of air before you go under again.

Metallic eery circular drones dominate the lead track "Revelations Upon Walking (mysteries)" as it is reminiscent of some of the sound design work of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo. "Static (homeward bound)" comes of as a Gregorian monk chant meshed with watery tones akin to that of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter".

The last track of the release is "Wandering/Collapse/Breakdown/Ultimate Heat Death" is a haunting thirteen minute opus that touches on Sigur Ros territory as it slowly builds, falls apart and reassembles itself again. While Cinchel plays locally around the Chicago area, it would be great to see him come out for a show in Los Angeles. In the meantime, I will just keep listening to Stereo Stasis to pass the time.

I must admit a little bias towards Cinchel as he is a fellow chemist during the day.Which lead me to ask him if you could be any element on the periodic table what would you be and why?

Cinchel: As a medicinal chemist I mostly work with C,H, N, O, S, containing molecules. Sometimes those molecules are substituted with halogens: Br, Cl, and F. Interesting things seem to happen when things are substituted with Fluorine. Its highly electro-negative and can change the electronics of aromatic rings, helping with metabolism or overall stability of a molecule. Its high electro-negativity also allows it to act as a hydrogen bond acceptor, like Oxygen, which can add specificity and activity to a compound when bound to a protein of interest. Its also not much bigger than a Hydrogen atom so it can be added to a molecule without changing the overall physical shape very much. 

I've been on projects where placing an F at one spot had no effect, move it over one atom and suddenly you saw a boost in potency or stability. Kinda fascinating. Overall, its weird, small, and in some ways unpredictable and that is why I would like to be Fluorine. 

Here is a review of Fluorine in Medicinal Chemistry of the past 60 years:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Divine Fits at the Masonic Lodge


It was hot, sweaty and loud just like a good rock and roll show should be. Although it was their ninth performance, Divine Fits were locked in and ready to rock as their debut album, A Thing Called Divine Fits was just released by the fine folks at Merge Records. Britt Daniel strapped on his Fender Bass and uncorked the slinky bass line to "Flaggin A Ride" while easily handling the vocals.


While I was impressed on my initial spins of the album, Divine Fits turn it up a several notches live with sharper riffs and adding a punk edge to their tunes. In the midst of a song, Daniel walked over to drummer Sam Brown telling him to play faster to which he happily obliged and sped up the beat. Dan Boeckner was excellent slashing away at his Fender Thinline Telecaster.


Another important aspect of their live show is the additional keyboards played by Alex Fishchel who recreated the pulsating synths on "The Salton Sea". Since they have two more than capable frontmen, it is difficult to take in the whole show because both Daniel and Boeckner have great stage presence regardless if they are singing or shredding.


One of the other palpable things to note was that they were having a great time on stage often smiling and interacting with each other. There definitely was a good chemistry percolating amongst members of the band. It was drool time when Daniel busted out a Fender Jaguar VI for "Would That Not Be Nice". Along with covering their whole album, they also tossed in a brilliant cover of Tom Petty's "You Got Lucky"


After seeing this show, It will be a no brainer to catch them again at the Echo on September 4th. They would be a nice addition to the Coachella bill and could possibly pop up at FYF festival since PAPA is playing and they should be in town. Other slated festival appearances include the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco on October 14th and the Moogfest in Asheville on October 27th. See them live at all costs.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Down By Law at the Observatory

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I love Down By Law. Their brand of high energy well crafted melodic punk songs have always caught my attention. I foolishly missed their last concert a number of years ago at the Knitting Factory and had never seen them live until my eyes popped out of my head when I saw they were scheduled to play the Observatory.

The surprises didn't stop coming as Down By Law have a new album out entitled "Champions At Heart". Down By Law is fronted by the venerable Dave Smalley who was in Dag Nasty and All. I barely got to the Observatory in time to run into the pit and start shooting as the band was blasting through "Gruesome Gary".

Smalley sounded fantastic live as he bashed out the power chords to the song on his First Act guitar. His supporting band mates did a good job of keeping up with his rapid fire riffs. Since Down By Law were openers for the Casualties and the Necromantix, the crowd seemed bewildered by their hard edged melodic punk but I did see some old school punks mixing it up in the pit.

I was torn between singing along and taking notes but honestly gave in to just absorbing their show since it was my first time ever seeing them and I knew their set would go by in seconds. Smalley would later tell the crowd they were in for a treat as they worked through some Dag Nasty songs to conclude their set. I will keep a close eye on their website and twitter account in the hopes they play in the area again.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Redd Kross at the Roxy Theater

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Los Angeles punk stalwarts Redd Kross are back in action. I last caught them in 2007 opening for Sonic Youth at the Greek Theater. Armed with a new album "Researching The Blues" on Merge Records, Redd Kross are gearing up for a high profile slot at FYF Fest as well as a free show at Amoeba records on August 28th. I sent photographer Todd Nakamine to the Roxy Theater who filed these pictures. I will make sure to catch them FYF and you should too.