Release Date: Jul 24, 2012
Record label: Underwater Peoples
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
The term “experimental” often gets thrown around as a filler word for music that’s difficult to describe. Rarely does an artist grasp a sonic idea and directly treat it as an experiment, as opposed to applying past formulas developed by pioneering musicians years ago. It’s apparent that Black Dice member Eric Copeland takes experimentation to heart and beyond, literally utilizing the studio as a laboratory for weird and wonderful sounds.
Eric CopelandLimbo[Underwater Peoples; 2012]By Colin Joyce; June 18, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetIn an interview with Pitchfork earlier this year (garnered from their appearance at Todd Patrick’s famed Chinese buffet show), Bjorn Copeland noted that “Black Dice is kind of a line in the sand for some people. Either they’re really psyched on it or they’re really opposed to it.” The same could probably be said of the solo work of Bjorn’s brother Eric Copeland. While it certainly flies under the radar more often than the proper work of the Brooklyn-based noise provocateurs, Eric Copeland’s solo work has been no less challenging or interesting.
Judging by his off-kilter approach to music-making, Eric Copeland has mixed feelings about straight-up beats. But they seem to like him just fine. After moving in and out of the shifting layers on his first few records, bumping grooves broke through the surface on last year's Waco Taco Combo. The six tracks on Limbo further that trend, sporting some body-moving rhythms that are practically clean and clear, at least relative to Copeland's gnarled sonic universe.
Eric Copeland and his brother Bjorn have been at the core of Brooklyn electro-noise standouts Black Dice, and Eric also makes up half of Terrestrial Tones (along with Animal Collective’s Avey Tare). But when Eric steps out on his own, he does so right into the deep end. His chopped and screwed, spacy drones are a further unhinged version of his work elsewhere, and that’s wonderfully evinced on his new LP, Limbo.
Brooklyn by way of Providence miniature guitar army Fang Island's second studio outing, the appropriately titled Major, finds the newly shrunken trio merrily avoiding minor keys amidst a maelstrom of metal-infused, full-hearted millennial power pop. Raw, radiant, and rambunctious, songs like "Kindergarten," "Chime Out," and "Asunder" belong in a Wes Anderson film, albeit one that inhabits an alternate universe where the fastidious auteur was weaned on '80s hair metal instead of '60s pop. Major, like the band's 2010 eponymous debut, sounds like Torche tearing through a set of Cheap Trick classics, but unlike its predecessor, the constant "oohs" and "aahs" are outweighed by actual lyrics, though brevity remains the rule of the day -- "Never Understand," with its unending refrain of "I hope I never understand" and infectious "Second Hand News"-era Fleetwood Mac gait, gets the balance just about right.