Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Art Museums on Dul-ci-tone Records

Art Museums...the full length from Woodsist was recommended to me by Tim from Herizon when we ended up hanging out when he was passing through a while back, he told me about so many bands and I happened to remember this one and picked it up the next day, it basically doesn't take much for me to pick up a new album, I could read about it forever, but one little mention by someone I just met sends me headed to the record store the next day to pick all of it up. And it turns out I freaking loved it, like one of those movies you know nothing about going in, ends up being the best. In that way I hope I'm not ruining anything for anybody, but then again if you got this far, you probably know about the Art Museums already anyway, and you'll want to get this single. First of all, they hardly tour, there's no picking this up at their merch table anytime soon...and frankly I was beginning to wonder if this was sort of a one off concept album of a group distilling all of these electronic pop influences, in the most ultra modern, post everything way. I love the harmonies and unemotional vocals, the unusual percussion, the subtle use of synth.

But I'm thinking "S.H.O.P.P.I.N.G." is getting closer to the '80s? Maybe it's that one particular synth sound and the mechanical handclaps....but then again, these tiny laptop speakers can't possibly do Art Museums justice. when I finally put on that full length, there's a huge depth to these sounds, massive low ends, and layers to that electronic hi-hat, like Martin Hannett type of recording. You build on that minimal sound to come up with something new. Their whole sound comes off as groundbreaking and nostalgic at the same time.

"Feel like Dreams", is heavily into the cheap, bare bones drum machine, and this one gets Belle and Sebastien for me or Magnetic Fields even, thanks to the really weird instrumentation and the vocal range. There's a bit of Devo to this as well, they just give in to that mechanical sound, the synths are used as synths...the attempt at pop music that sort of misses and becomes better. They clearly have a skill for picking the right sounds, and that's half the battle sometimes. The melodies write themselves on ancient equipment. Every time you hear a new sound, music is fun again. These guys are into that discovery process, you can hear it. It's like audio archeology.

Get this one from Dul-ci-tone Records:

THE ART MUSEUMS "S.H.O.P.P.I.N.G."/"Feel Like Dreams" 7"
(Dulc-i-Tone TT 014)
$6.00 plus shipping in the U.S.
The sleepy beauty of the Art Museums' debut album Rough Frame (Woodist) appeared seemingly out of nowhere, but their apparent off-the-cuff casualness and unpretentious brilliance come as the logical bubbling up of years absorbing the arcane musical corners of the 60s, 70s, and 80s - where utopian folk visions, pop-art obsessions, giddy punk and new wave sheen all make perfect sense. The few who have seen The Art Museums have been lucky to hear bits of their backlog of as-yet-unreleased songs,and now the first treasures are finally seeing sunlight: 'Feel Like Dreams' is a boyish reverie that soars along pre-prog Genesis-style keyboard chords above crisp drum machine cracks. It's all rally unexpected and works like you wouldn't believe! And S.H.O.P.P.I.N.G? Well, without hyperbole, we can say that it is, to us, the most enjoyable one minute, forty-five seconds put on tape in a long, long time. The Style Council stripped of pomp and set to a thunderous low-end rumble, 'S.H.O.P.P.I.N.G' is disposable in all the right ways, the perfect mod-pop soundtrack to your no-longer-dull walk down the street. REALLY! Beautiful full-color, heavy-duty glossy glued sleeves. First pressing of 500.


  1. I completely forgot about this band, and now they have this new 7" on Dul-ci-tone, and an upcoming one in June with Slumberland. Very cool, and thanks for pointing this out.

    (Speaking of Dul-ci-tone Records, did you see they re-released the Scrotum Poles' debut 7"?)

  2. David,
    Wow, didn't know about the one on Slumberland, thanks for that...glad to hear they a bunch of new stuff...
    I did see that Scrotum Poles, (how can you miss that name) but I didn't know that had already been through a pressing already...going to get that as well.

  3. Well to be clear, the Scrotum Poles were actually one of those early Messthetics bands (Desperate Bicycles, etc.), and the single is a re-release of their only official release, their self released 7". Though if you like it, the same label released an awesome LP comp that has all their various tapes and demos on it back in 2009.

  4. I'm going to definitely check them out, and that full length comp...thanks!