Landspeedrecord! offers a musical
journey from jagged indie rock to emo to art-pop, always
smart and emotional. The lyrics offer compact stories
of splendor and suffering. Sonorous vocals, the use of
synthesizers, and the music's overall dremaily ambient
beauty temper their somewhat tense and jarring sound.
Lead singer Charley Jamison's voice proves that both anger
can be graceful and that beauty can be vehement.
Prosolar Mechaincs music is
beautifully complemented by lead singer Amy Jacob's sultry
and soft voice. This is a band that exists within the
new wave and noise rock worlds while simultaneously moving
beyond them, creating a smooth and radiant musical domain
in which harmony and power share ruling duties.
This CD is a strong release,
and both bands will surely have much to show in the future.
- Miranda Hale, Kitty Magik
I think the music world can
use more split albums. There's plenty of split EPs and
singles, but I love the albums better. They have more
depth; they let both artists really show what they're
about. ambiguous City! Records, based in Baltimore, has
a series of split releases called the "Urban Development
Series." While I haven't heard the other releases,
Vol. 4 is a dandy, showcasing two unique, hard-to-pin-down
bands. Up first is Baltimore's Landspeedrecord!, a trio
playing smart, funny, clever, melodic punk rock, with
occasional electronic touches and varied vocal styles
(chanting, whispering, speaking, singing) from vocalist/guitarist/synthesizer
player Charles Jamison. With a slightly cynical perspective,
they sharply cut through societal hypocrisy, creating
a slightly cynical portrait of life in the 21st century.
Their outlook is at times paranoid, at times almost apocalyptic,
but also emotional, with a certain sense of altruism and
hopefulness. If that all sounds like a contradiction,
it isn't really, just an indication of the lyrical depth
behind their music. There's 5 tracks from Landspeedrecord!,
beginning with the melancholy "Visiting Hours"
and proceeding through to the trumpet-inflected "Neophobes."
That last track is a big f-you to people who are afraid
of something new; those people can stay away from Landspeedrecord!
and their musical compadres, the New Jersey-based Prosolar
Mechanics. That group, also a trio, combines a Sonic Youth-ish,
two-guitar-attack style with slightly abstract lyrics
and vocals (from guitarist/vocalist Amy Jacob) that are
sultry, laidback and a tad artsy. Their sound sort of
resembles early 90s alternative rock, but is much more
warped. Almost captivating and often surprising, on these
4 tracks, Prosolar Mechanics are at their best when they
explode into free rock (like at the end of "The Future
of Sex") or conjure up sparse, spooky atmospheres,
as on the final track "415." As far as I can
tell, the Urban Development Series is about groups who
are building their own musical universes, marking a mark
in their hometowns. These groups definitely fit in; they
have their own voices, and use them to grab hold of your
- dave heaton, www.erasingclouds.com
Split CD by Baltimore's prickly
Landspeedrecord! and New Brunswick/ Highland Park's Prosolar
Mechanics opens with a scary visit to a friend "resting
comfortably" in an asylum. Landspeedrecord!
tells quick, complex stories over jangly guitars and dreamy
mechanical noise; boiling emotion in an industrial world.
Prosolar Mechanics's raging guitars, thunderous
drums and Amy's soft voice suggest evil moving through
shadows, everyday violence one should've seen coming.
Gorgeous, unnerving nightmares and difficult truth throughout.
are an eclectic mix of strong rhythm guitar and harmonious
vocals accented by synthesizers, creating a sound that
is both conventional and slightly quirky. The five songs
here hum along at a crisp pace, and lyrically, the tracks
are a pleasure, particularly "Best Revenge"
and "Secret to Win," both of which show off
the skills of vocalist Charley Jamison. The band sounds
equally cohesive on "Visiting Hours," a typically
uptempo anthem that kicks off this split release. The
band shows a more experimental side with "Neophobes,"
a noisy, more off-kilter track that solidifies the split
personality of the act. Prosolar Mechanics features
the beautiful female vocals of Amy Jacob, as she is out
in front of a band that plays a sturdy, rollicking brand
of noisy guitar rock. "The Future of Sex"
was the most powerful of the songs here, as her soothing
vocals melt within a swirling ball of guitar and drumming.
Conversely, "Red Down the Middle" is a sultry
effort that is built around Jacobs warm tone and
a subdued melodic hum, which morphs into a bass-heavy
mid-tempo track that has a feel that matches the earthy
lyrics. The speedy "Sender" was born to rule
the airwaves of college stations everywhere, and has enough
accessibility to allure some bold programmer into giving
it a spin. There is something so easily likable about
this band. Prosolar Mechanics are the complete package
and deserve huge exposure.
Quinlan, Jersey Beat
This is Vol 4. in a series
of splits from AmBiguousCity records Urban Development
Series and it's a winner. Landspeed opens up the show
with good ole SST, husker du inspired, style rock. Plenty
of politcal savy, envy and guitar riff intent to keep
music snobs on their toes or be gone with their ability
to note a toe tapper when the songs says Go. Denser and
darker comes the space music of Prosolar. If you are looking
for that next female vocal to win you over Amy has got
the most powerful and enchanting voice to take you where
few space music travellers have been. All tracks stand
out. Just order your copy today and you will thank us.
Landspeedrecord! play charged
up rock with cracking vocals and a whole lot of charm.
They remind me of a mix of Metroschifter and At the Drive
In, while remaining completely unique. Prosolar Mechanics
are a tight rock machine. Very fitting female vocals.
The conservative use of distorted bass is heavenly. Both
of these bands are awesome, which makes for a pretty great
With their five new tracks,
the always prolific and constantly mutating Landspeedrecord!
seems to have settled on a homogenous sound. Over its
five-year history, LSR!'s sound has evolved from sloppy,
sarcastic rock to angular, DC-inspired post-punk. Urban
Development Series Vol.4 reveals yet another genre change
for LSR!; this time, the band has settled on quirky, keyboard-inspired
rockers that bring to mind early XTC, The Talking Heads
and Wire. On "Neophobes", Charley Jamison belts
out a variety of vocal styles, ranging from intriguing
falsetto melodies to monotone storytelling (think Tubeway
Army), revealing an artist who has found a comfortable
musical niche. "Best Revenge" retains a touch
of Hüsker Dü punkdom, but avoids any specific
genre classification with the inclusion of Nord modular
synths. There's something for everyone on each of these
tracks; the band continues to defy classification, yet
waves its punk rock flag with freakish delight.
Prosolar Mechanics upholds
its part of the split CD bargain with four stellar noise
rock tunes that bring to mind a heavy Love and Rockets
joining evil forces with The Breeders at their most foul-tempered.
Vocalist Amy Jacob has a way with words; her seductively
coy vocal melodies mesh well with the grinding guitar
lines that drive each tune. "Red Down the Middle"
thrives on an undercurrent of tension that never dissipates,
leaving you edgy and uncomfortably intrigued. The strongest
PMX track is "The Future of Sex", with its ringing
harmonic opening and unbelievable drumming -- so tight
you'd think it was a drum machine. Rhythm junkies will
drool in delight at the perfect beats and dense layers
of intense guitar that construct this powerful number.
Who is this New Brunswick, NJ band? You'd sure as hell
better find out soon, as they'll be taking over the entire
New York/New Jersey music scene soon enough.
While none of the names here
may sound familiar, you shouldn't even think about passing
up this CD. It's hard enough to find nine consistent tracks
by one band, but when two entirely different bands can
jive together in recorded harmony as well as these two
do, you get the best of both worlds. Both bands hint at
'80s references, but this split disc is anything but another
retro-bore; its strange fusion of punk, sarcastic wit
and space rock creates a genre unto itself.