o13–Time Wave Zero (Favorite new band, best record of 2013 so far)

o13–Time Wave Zero

Featuring Mark C from Live Skull, Stuart Argabright from Ike Yard, and Kent Heine from The Holy Ghost, o13 (formerly Outpost 13) has made the record of the year, actually of the past few years, with their new release Time Wave Zero.  It’s a sophisticated mix of new wave, no wave, krautrock, dub, electronic, and ambient music that sounds wholly original and inspired, invoking the present, past, and future (bridging the gaps from 1978 to 1985 to 2013 and beyond) in a totally unique way.

I’m tempted to say that only veteran experimental/underground musicians who never hit the big time and have been keeping the torch alive, making art and music in the background for the last few decades, could make a record that sounds as effortless and evocative as Time Wave Zero.   If pressed for comparisons I’d say this would fit in nicely with some Can, Philip Glass, Live Skull, Orb’s Orbus Terrarum, Suicide, Joy Division, Brian Eno, all in their prime!!!  It’s super-accomplished and stylized, the type of album that all fits together perfectly, evoking a number of moods and emotions that you just can’t get anywhere else.  It’s about time–an album this good and consistent hasn’t come out in many years, especially out of the indie/postpunk arena–maybe the last records this interesting were Battles’ Gloss Drop and Mirrored?

Spotify: o13 – Remote Purity Control

Desire Records: 013 (CD) (vinyl)

Newsflash: Desire Records is also re-releasing some Live Skull records on CD and vinyl, and they’re on Spotify too!  It’s about time, Live Skull is basically as good or usually better than Sonic Youth in their own inspired and unique way (only Sister and Daydream Nation are on par with the best Live Skull records) but many of their best records have never been released on CD until now (or soon, currently in preorder)!!!  A dedicated post on this monumental (I’m serious) news  soon!

Ion TTUSB Turntable

Ion TTUSB turntables are awesome. In the past I’ve tried digitizing vinyl into wavs and then mp3s using some USB digitizer device hooked up to a normal record player and stereo, with less than satisfactory results. With the Ion TTUSB turntable I was very pleased with the sound quality I got. The turntable hooks directly into a computer via USB port. Don’t use the software it comes with, EZ Vinyl or whatever, it sucks, download and use the free Audacity software instead, it’s much better. The one thing to keep in mind is that the volume/gain control knob is on the BOTTOM of the turntable, right where the USB cord comes out–that’s pretty bad placement, as you have to lift the turntable to adjust the gain. You’ll want to adjust the gain for each record–you don’t wan the sound too loud that it clips, or too low, when you digitize a record into Audacity, and different records have different volume levels. The turntable is great for if you want to buy vinyl-only releases, and/or have a ton of old records lying around you wish you had in wav and mp3 format. Convert them to digital and store them away in some storage locker!  Vinyl is cool but it takes up so much space (and is heavy)!