Constant Future is the career-defining statement from Brooklyn-based noise-pop trio Parts & Labor. The album’s 12 tracks deliver the bare essentials that made them sui generis totems of modern art-punk: synthesized keyboard riffs distorted into oblivion, percussion pummeled hypnotically, crackling drones that haunt and soothe, fearless melodies hollered skyward. Their last release, 2008’s acclaimed Receivers, saw Parts & Labor blasting off in all directions and creating collage art from hundreds of fan-curated samples. But fifth album Constant Future finds them crashing back to earth, focusing pointedly on what they do best: unique, electronic landscapes melded with buzzing, anthemic hooks. Parts & Labor have distilled the lessons and experiences of nearly 10 years as a band into a catchy, blown-out masterwork.
Brooklyn noisepunk outfit Parts & Labor has dramatically altered their wall-of-sound: Their fourth album, Receivers, finds P&L focusing on open spaces, longer movements, expansive arrangements and loftier goals. On eight epic tracks, Receivers showcases the band's catchiest and darkest moods to date, reveling in a growing dynamic sensibility only hinted at in their previous work. Though they've maintained their love affair with glitchy oscillations and anthemic vocals, they are now utilizing the full possibilities of a band that was once a scrappy punk trio, and now a mature art-rock quartet. It's is a heady mix of psych, noise, and pop influenced by the arty minimalism of Wire, the surreal pop of early Eno, and even the spaced out psychedelia of Dark Side-era Pink Floyd.
Mapmaker is the second Jagjaguwar/Brah album from Brooklyn noisepunks Parts & Labor. Expanding on the soaring melodies and cracked electronics of 2006's Stay Afraid, P&L explores a wider array of berserk, malfunctioning instruments and intricate, pummeling rhythms. These 12 political/personal anthems about ambition and distraction boast bigger choruses, denser drones and shinier hooks.
Adding new textures to Parts & Labor's searing pop-squall, the album features guest spots from flautist/megaphonist/vocalist Natalja Kent (of The Good Good) and guitarist Joe Kremer (of labelmates Pterodactyl). Opening surge "Fractured Skies" features a horn section (led by P&L's BJ Warshaw on sax) billowing up through the kaleidoscopic fuzz of electronics. Track 10 is a distorted-toy-keyboard take on the classic Minutemen antiwar spiel "King Of The Hill."
Parts & Labor cite the following bands as influences and are totally cool with you name-checking them: Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth, Boredoms, Minutemen, Neutral Milk Hotel and Amps For Christ. Parts & Labor spent 2006 touring extensively around Europe and North America, playing shows with Clinic, Black Dice, Islands, Sonic Boom, I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, Wilderness, Man Man, Spank Rock, An Albatross, Oneida, Year Future, Hidden Cameras, Charalambides, Wooden Wand, Matt & Kim, Kyp Malone and Oakley Hall; and they can't wait to do it again.
Mapmaker was recorded and mixed by The Brothers (Oxford Collapse, !!!, Measles Mumps Rubella, Pterodactyl) at the Brothers Studio in Brooklyn, NY. Additional vocals and electronics were recorded by Parts & Labor in a windowless bedroom. In between their Jag full-lengths, P&L recorded an all-electronics EP for esteemed experimental electronic label Broklyn Beats. Warshaw and Friel also run their own record label, Cardboard Records, which has recently put out music from Gowns, Big Bear, Pterodactyl and Aa.
Brooklyn trio Parts & Labor combines tumultuous noise with enormous, triumphant melodies on their latest album, Stay Afraid. Malfunctioning electronics howl in agony, drums rupture like fireworks, battle cries are belted through a monolithic layer of distorted bass and guitar. P&L revel in day-glo noise, charred drones, punk velocity and phoenix-like hooks—a unique blast influenced by the clamor of Husker Du, the bluster of Boredoms and the homemade spirituals of Neutral Milk Hotel.
The Six Parts Seven, known for their spacy instrumentals, lay down favorites from their back catalog as a bed for nine vocalists on Lost Notes From Forgotten Songs, a "re-made, -defined, -assembled, -shaped, and -deemed album." The affinity for those making open-ended music, strung together with acoustic instruments and sparse atmospheric sound ? la Eno, is apparent in the band's choice of collaborators. Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) begins with a straightforward folk number over "Sleeping Diagonally," Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse) adds his electronics and healthy warble to "From California to Houston, on Lightspeed," and Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession) pushes up the piano, distorts beats, and wanders over "Seems Like Most Everything Used to Be Something Else." Even with two handfuls of stars on the album, the most beautiful track belongs to a rather unknown musician, up-and-coming psychedelic guitarist Brian Straw, whose 12-plus-minute rendition of "Now Like Photographs" goes from a single banjo and vocal to a most gorgeous and full post-Kranky soundscape. It's like the Red House Painters over Labradford with skitter-step drumming and an epic drone. ? Daphne Carr
The mid-Ohio sound sculptors of The Six Parts Seven belong to a musical tradition that includes Brian Eno, Love Tractor, and seemingly every Tortoise fan who's picked up an instrument in the past five or six years. Their shared concept involves using traditional rock ingredients to produce ambient, non-linear tones ranging from abrasive and challenging to mellow and pleasing.