Tag Archives: liars

The Twilight Sad, “Nil (Liars remix)”

I’m not really a fan of remixes and/or extended mixes, just as I’m not generally a fan of sequels (unless you tell me Al Pacino is the villain in an upcoming Stan Lee joint). Remixes by nature are just filler to keep you on the dance floor longer, even if we’re talking about a goth remix — which should be an oxymoron — and said club-goer is just going to be holding up the walls all night in some dark corner.

I’m, of course, referring to the “goth” culture before it had a name and was then promptly sold to Disney, before people tweeted misery to other antisocial “nonconformists” who also dress up like Tim Burton characters. Does anybody remember The Cure’s abomination, “Mixed Up,” a collection of its hits in New and Improved 30 Percent Larger Fun Pack versions? On “Lullaby” alone, listeners are left stuck — like a spider’s meal — in a hepped-up groove somewhere near the beginning of the song for nearly eight torturous minutes. It’s embarrassing to say it now, but there was a time when Robert Smith could do no wrong, and I listened to “Mixed Up” as faithfully as all the rest of his output, even side project The Glove.

But I digress. My point here is that the Liars’ remix of The Twilight Sad’s “Nil,” (off the latter’s third full-length, “No One Can Ever Know”) is one of the best remixes I’ve heard. I’ll admit that I am perhaps just flogging a dead horse, as in the evolving climate, the line between remixes, sampling and covers is quite blurry. In any case, the only peers to this remix that spring to mind are a few entries off 2012’s “Dross Glop,” reinterpreting The Battles’ “Gloss Drop,” such as The Alchemist’s remix of “Futura.”

Ultimately, I think a good remix is able to give the original new appeal, which is what happened in the case of “Nil.” I’d sort of passed by The Twilight Sad’s catalog with barely a glance before hearing the gussied-up Liars mix. Now, I know better.

 

SEE ALSO: EARGGH! reviews Liars, “Loose Nuts on the Veladrome”

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Liars, “Loose Nuts on the Veladrome”

The part-man, part-machine Liars straddles the annals of sonic adventure about eye level with Animal Collective, staking out fresh turf with each new album — and making it palatable for laypeople. It’s refreshing to be able to trust a band to challenge and titillate your ear hairs on each outing, and it’s a quality few ever inherit or achieve.

By inherit, I mean that Liars formed in late 2000 and just months later recorded its first album over a brisk two-day span. That’s kismet. Long before it had the confidence and technical dexterity to craft the nearly flawless “WIXIW” — easily among the top five releases of 2012 — Liars was already chipping away at the boundaries of dance punk in its rookie year.

And while Liars’ 2001 debut “They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top” is ultimately a mixed bag (a 30-minute long closing track that after the first eight minutes becomes a repeating loop, guys?), it resulted in a few gems, such as the Gang of Four-inspired “Loose Nuts on the Veladrome.”

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Salem, “Sick”

Liars may have flirted with goth-hop on 2004’s “They Were Wrong, So We Drowned,” but the mysterious, all-white, upper Midwestern band Salem dives in head first on its debut, “King Night,” released in 2010.

The album, a blend of socially deviant electronics and druggy raps, is a woozy, syrup-sticky affair, not unlike Death Grips slowed way down. And while the album overall feels more stepping stone than standalone, it contains one enduring gem: “Sick.”

A brilliant slab of trip-hop, “Sick” is as slick and cool-headed as anything by U.K.’s Portishead. But, lyrically, it concerns the disturbing reflections of a worn-out sex offender. As such, some have branded Salem a “blackface” band — slowing down its vocals to sound black and then employing misogynous, violent lyrics.

But such criticism exposes the racist underpinnings of American society much more than any intentional or unintentional disrespect by Salem here. I personally think they are rap fans who aren’t trying to mimic black music. Hence, Salem’s original spin on the genre.

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