Album Review: Negative Gemini – Body Work

Negative Gemini

Brooklyn label 100% Electronica has, in its short existence, become a great hub for low profile electronic music in New York. Their releases span the electronic spectrum, riding every wave (chill, vapor, etc.) but also diving deeper into the subterranean bass houses that pepper the ground floor of the city. While George Clanton’s LP of the same name marked an early highlight of the label’s roster, 100% Electronica gets another star this week with the label debut LP from Negative Gemini. In fact, Body Work couldn’t be further from 100% Electronica in execution. It’s a rare electronic record for 2016, in that Body Work doesn’t seem to be nodding to any time or scene outside of itself. Instead, French finds a way to use hard-hitting dance rhythms to highlight feelings of isolation and introversion. It’s a rave record meant to be dance to by one person at a time. French follows in the steps of Grimes, Jessy Lanza, and even Katy B, crafting a smart and engaging exposition that will keep you returning to Body Work over and over again for repeat practice.

While some material from her 2015 EP, Real Virtual Unison, pops up again here in reimagined form, Negative Gemini’s first Body Work offering to us, way back in October of last year, was “You Never Knew”. For the fall of 2015, it was a smart business move, following strong New York bedroom electronica records like Skylar Spence and George Clanton with another vision from a similar vein, a broken-hearted starlet wishing she could get over the crippling juxtaposition of her own feelings. “You only hate the ones you love”, French sings, pained and longing. It’s a pop song you can believe in and relate with in minutes, and gave us a perfect introduction to Negative Gemini almost a full year before we’d hear Body Work in its entirety. But at the same time, “You Never Knew” made for a somewhat misleading introduction out of context. After intermittently releasing moody down-tempo jams like the title track and “Don’t Worry About What The Fuck I’m Doing“, it wasn’t until just two months ago with “Nu Hope” that French revealed what the equal, opposing force to “You Never Knew” really was. Much like the lyrics that introduced us to it on the premiere single, Body Work is a lesson in dichotomy. Our minds, our bodies, our spirits all trapped in a tug of war between two fronts, whether it be love and hate, introversion or extroversion, or simply dancing versus lying in bed alone. Both lyrically and musically, Lindsey French tosses us between two poles, forcing us to find the rhythm with a bit of grace somewhere in the center.

“Nu Hope” and “Rollercoaster” are the crown jewels of the rave tracks. Here, French’s production is top notch, blowing the roof off your venue of choice with brilliant energy and power. But the temperature stays cold – French maintains mental distance from the throbbing wave of a crowd, keeping her wits about her and taking notes on the individuals. In its balance of dance music and introspection, Body Work, in its namesake, lets the body be the vessel for knowledge and learning, whether its on the dance floor or elsewhere. French realizes the deeply carnal connection between body and spirit, and how you won’t understand anything about one without the other. At first, the juxtaposition seems extreme. Bouncing from the hard hitting rave duo of “Rollercoaster” and “Break” into the slow burn of the title track is jarring and makes your head spin. But as the record goes on, the poles seem to grow closer together. The opposing forces start to feed each other’s energy, as French learns to connect the dots of her own understand. The strobing lights start to form a haurache continuum. The work we put it eventually does come back to us in an unfamiliar form, salted with a sprinkle of deja vu. As the album closes, Negative Gemini returns to the refrain of “You Never Knew”, this time in ambient space, as if looking upon herself as an astral projection. “You only hate the ones you love…” the words bounce off bedroom walls up through the ceiling tiles and out into the city air. Maybe through the Body Work she’s learning to better love herself.

Body Work is out now on 100% Electronica, and it is fantastic. Grab the vinyl before it runs out at the Negative Gemini Bandcamp page (you can also buy the digital version there as well). No west coast dates yet, but check back to French’s Facebook for details in the future.

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Music that Matters: Get Started Now

Check out some of the KEXP DJ’s favorite artists from the Pacific Northwest and around the world on-the-go. KEXP’s Music That Matters weekly podcast brings you an exclusive mix of new music from the world’s best independent artists.

Donors make all the great services and experiences on KEXP possible, including five podcasts that, like this one, are provided free of charge and carefully curated by KEXP DJs who share your passion for music. Support KEXP podcasts by making your gift today at KEXP.ORG.

Local Natives live at KEXP in 2016 // photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

Currently you’ll hear:

Music that Matters, Vol. 531 – Get Started Now

DJ Kevin Cole provides a motivating mix to get you started now on achieving greatness. Featuring new music from Local Natives, Trentemøller, The Wedding Present, Anomie Bell, Manatee Commune and more.

Tracklist:
1. Gringo Star – Get Closer
2. Death By Unga Bunga – Fight!
3. LVL UP – Hidden Driver
4. The Wedding Present – Bear
5. Manatee Commune – Be Still (feat. Marina Price)
6. beGun – Yoko
7. Anomie Belle – Unwind
8. Ever So Android – Pretty Teeth
9. Odonis Odonis – Nervous
10. Trentemøller – Never Fade
11. Flock Of Dimes – Minor Justice
12. Local Natives – Dark Days

Listen here: (MP3)

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You can subscribe to all of our podcasts here.

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Friday Music News

photo by Peter Mellekas

  • The unstoppable Kristin Hersh is at it again. Earlier this Spring, the Throwing Muses frontwoman released a new EP with her noise project 50 Foot Wave, and now she has a solo full-length out this Fall, a double CD/hardcover book combo titled Wyatt at the Coyote Palace. Stream the first single “Soma Gone Slapstick” below, a track she describes to The Quietus in her distinctive prose: “I heard Soma move through seasons: fall on the rebound, a manic spring, a cruel winter, and through places: California, Chicago, New Orleans, a protest march in Koreatown. When I finished, it was dawn, my engineer and I had coffee and I walked home through fat flakes falling down instead of sideways. Goofy + falling + precise + muscular = soma with a healthy dose of slapstick.” Wyatt at the Coyote Palace hits stores November 11th in the U.S. via Omnibus Press, with Hersh playing Tuesday, November 29th at the Triple Door. [Pitchfork]


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Nevermind25: From the EMP Museum Oral Histories Archive

nevermind_blog

Nirvana’s groundbreaking album Nevermind celebrates its 25th anniversary on September 24th, and KEXP is commemorating the iconic album all this week with special interviews, giveaways, web stories, and more. Our neighbors at the EMP Museum have generously opened their vaults to us, sharing these stories from the EMP Museum Oral Histories Archive.

Bruce Pavitt, co-founder of Sub Pop Records:

I remember going to see Nirvana at the Central Tavern. They were playing at, like, 8:30 on a Sunday night, and the bartender was in the room, myself and Jon Poneman. That was it. And I think some guy sweeping the floor. Even the janitor was there, kind of setting up for the night. And they played for about 45 minutes, and it was really obvious at that time that Kurt had an amazing voice. His songwriting at the time, I felt was a little undeveloped. And the amazing thing about Nirvana for me, and Kurt in particular, is the rate of development, the rate at which his songwriting developed. It was phenomenal. See, if you go back to Sub Pop 200 and listen to a song like, “Spank Thru”, for example, it’s — I don’t think it’s a particularly strong song. But over a period of two years, this guy just really blossomed and matured as an artist faster than, than anybody I’ve ever witnessed.

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Nevermind25: Exclusive Interview Footage from the EMP Museum, Part Two

nevermind_blog

Nirvana’s groundbreaking album Nevermind celebrates its 25th anniversary this Saturday, September 24th, and KEXP is commemorating the iconic album all this week with special interviews, giveaways, web stories, and more. Our neighbors at the EMP Museum have generously opened their vaults to us, sharing these stories from the world’s most extensive exhibition of Nirvana memorabilia and history, Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses.

In this exclusive, never-before-shared-online interview clip, Krist Novoselic, photographer Charles Peterson, and guitar tech Earnie Bailey remember the 1990 Motorsports International Garage show with Nirvana, The Melvins, The Dwarves, and The Derelicts.


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KEXP Fall Fundraising Drive: You Shape Tomorrow’s Sounds Today

Charles Bradley 2011 by Jim Bennett

Some radio stations only play the latest hits. Others spin nothing but oldies. But thanks to financial support from music lovers like you, you can hear the best music of all eras and styles on listener-powered KEXP.

When you tune in for special programs like our silver anniversary celebration of Nirvana’s Nevermind and today’s Best of 1991 blowout, you uncover new facets of the classics. You also hear rising talents like Jamila Woods on KEXP first, as well as the best local sounds.

You can discover something new on KEXP every day. That’s only possible when you donate and keep us commercial-free.

Power Great Music on KEXP!

Your gift keeps the music sounding fresh and helps KEXP stay independent. Listener support enabled us to debut Nirvana’s “Love Buzz” back in 1988, introduce to you Arcade Fire long before their Grammy win, and showcase Charles Bradley in live video from SXSW five years ago.

There are so many ways to discover great music on KEXP: the free Song of the Day podcast, live in-studio broadcasts, and programs like The Morning Show, The Roadhouse, and Audioasis. When you make your gift to KEXP, we can continue to achieve amazing things together.

Please, donate to KEXP right now as part of our Fall Fundraising Drive and keep filling your life with tomorrow’s sounds today. Thank you!

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Song of the Day: Math and Physics Club – Coastal California, 1985

The band in 2006

The band in 2006

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Coastal California, 1985” by Math and Physics Club from their 2016 collection, In This Together: EPs, B-Sides, Rarities, and Unreleased Songs 2005-2015, on Matinée Recordings.

Math and Physics Club – Coastal California, 1985 (MP3) Read More »

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Nevermind25: Exclusive Interview Footage from the EMP Museum, Part One

nevermind_blog

Nirvana’s groundbreaking album Nevermind celebrates its 25th anniversary this Saturday, September 24th, and KEXP is commemorating the iconic album all this week with special interviews, giveaways, web stories, and more. Our neighbors at the EMP Museum have generously opened their vaults to us, sharing these stories from the world’s most extensive exhibition of Nirvana memorabilia and history, Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses.

In this exclusive, never-before-shared-online interview clip, producer Jack Endino and Sub Pop Records co-founder Bruce Pavitt discuss discovering the band.


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Thursday Music News

photo by Melissa Wax (view set)

  • South Carolina-via-Seattle group Band of Horses galloped on to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night. Watch the guys perform the track “Casual Party” off their latest, Why Are You OK, out now on Interscope/American Recordings, and produced by Jason Lytle of Grandaddy. KEXP was lucky to have the band stop by the station last month; check out photos from that performance here on the KEXP Blog! [Under the Radar]


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Review Revue Redux: Nirvana – Nevermind

Back in 2008, our intrepid Review Revue Reviewer, Levi Fuller, took an in-depth look at the old KCMU vinyl for Nirvana’s Nevermind. In celebration of the album’s 25th anniversary, we revisit that blog post below.

KEXP celebrates the 25th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind all week long, leading to a special encore presentation on Audioasis, Saturday, September 24th (the actual anniversary date). Listen all week for exclusive interviews, giveaways, and more in honor of this iconic album. Programming like this is made possible by support from donors like you. Help power KEXP during our Fall Drive today!

nevermind

OK, everybody: this is the one you’ve been waiting for. Haven’t you always wondered what the powers at KCMU thought about this whole Nirvana thing as it exploded around them? Being as I was in high school and 3,000 miles away at the time, I’m going to just go ahead and assume that by the first time I ever heard Nirvana, everyone here was totally sick of them. But in this edition of Review Revue, we get to see the initial reaction at the station to The Album that Changed Everything Forever, along with the usual running commentary as its tenure in heavy rotation ran on and the big commercial stations (and even AM talk stations apparently) start catching on.

One note that should explain one of the comments below: DJ Michelle explains to me that KCMU used to have — in addition to the yellow and red dots to denote indecent and obscene tracks — a “white dot” system for marking tracks (or albums) that were getting too much commercial recognition, and thus not worthy of airplay here. I have mixed feelings about this, but my inner high school music snob thinks it’s kind of awesome.
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