Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Modern Seduction review in The Georgia Straight

March 12-2009

The Georgia Straight

Sex With Strangers offers dystopian thrills

Local Discs
Sex With Strangers
The Modern Seduction (Boutique Empire)

The official word is that The Modern Seduction is a concept album that, according to Sex WIth Strangers, chronicles "a dystopian future where the free thinkers and libery-seeking rebels...are forced to take their 'live-forever lifestyle' to the underground". If that sounds like too much to wrap your vacant little head aorund, don't worry, because Sex With Strangers has packed so much thrilling sonic mayhem into the album's 10 unrelentingly inventive tracks that following the story like will be the least of your concerns.

The quartet's great accomplishment is sounding like it's transmitting from someplace far more exotic than rainy old Vancouver. Forget indie-rock guitars and old fashioned drums; The Modern Seduction is built on deep space synth bombs, glitched-out percussion squelches, and rise of the extra-terrestrial-robots vocals. Two songs in - which would be the throbbing bass-bombed nightmore "Moment 12" - you'll be wondering why the hell Sex With Strangers isn't fielding offers from Lollapalooza and the snotbags who run Vice Records. From there, the band manages to reference a long list of groundbreakers, from the Fall, to Caberet Voltaire to Does It Offend You,Yeah?, without actually sounding like any one of them. among the standouts, "Pledge of Allegiance" plays out like an unholy marriage between Ministry and April March, and "The Turning Point" gives you a good idea what direction The Cars mights have gone in if they'd roled off the new assembly line in 2034.

Don't forget that there is a story somewhere in all the scarily accomplished goodness. Too bad you'll be too busy dancing - and having your mind blown - to notice.

Mike Usinger

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Artists are afraid of Peace

"Artists are afraid of peace."

At our/my heart we are afraid that without the chaos of war, inequality, famine and injustice we won't have enough impetus to continue to create. Perhaps the state of the world is due to the state of its artists: not the faceless multinational corporations that excuse bloodshed in order to ensure profits. Nor the pervasive banks that have turned debt into infinite profit ensuring nearly the entire world is enslaved to their visas have anything to do with it. No, it must be the artists to blame. For we owe it to ourselves to create a vision for a better world: and it seems we have come up short... very, very short.

Can anyone deny the influence of one great song?

No excuses, no denials: one great song. A song that says something about its time. For me, I'd have to say "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was the single most influential song of my adult life. My old band changed direction because of Nirvana. These guys mattered, undoubtedly - however, what was the message? I mean Cobain killed himself. What could he had thought of the world?

Which is why I suggest artists must not truly love peace. Why aren't we depicting visions of unity? Why can't we see past the despair and inequality, the oppressive messages, and actually create something greater, something to aspire for.

Make the world better. Create a superior mirror to hold up to society.

This is our century. The free marketeers had the 20th Century and they made quite a horrible mess of things. Shouldn't a new thought prevail? New concepts, new vision, new hope. If our leaders can't lead then we must do it ourselves. The way it's always been done.

It's time to write new myths for the new century.

We are only going to make it if we become sustainable. As in: there is enough here to keep us going if we get in harmony with our environment. Not as in: we can keep acting like senseless rabbits, ignorant of our surroundings and expect to continue multiplying!!! What?!? Massive populations only mean a cheap labour force ready for exploitation. Infinite growth is an impossibility in a finite world. Why do banks insist a company show growth in profits each year? You made a profit, that's good right? You employed people, that's good too. Every body should be happy. Why is it expected our economy should grow each year? How can it? Sustainability isn't about growth, but balance and harmony. We require a shift in our thinking.

Let's ALL live amazing lives. Not just a minuscule few.