December 30, 2015

Happy medium

The Most Serene Republic are back on the air.

After shutting down production for five years, Canada’s premier indie broadcasters have developed a pilot that gives their signature sound a fresh twist. TMSR film Mediac in a format curiously scrapped from the …And the Ever Expanding Universe treatment, revisiting techniques beloved by avant-garde audiences. The final cut is a meandering but mostly satisfying spin-off.


Singer Adrian Jewett and writer/producer Ryan Lenssen once again assume lead roles, flanked by the usual supporting cast and, during several delightful segments, background vocalist Natalie Klett. Jewett’s dialogue drives another nowadays narrative, though less cryptic and more succinct so as to readily reach the millennial microblogger. “Ontario Morning” – an excellent episode bound for the band’s classics box set – expertly lures that target demo with a poignant and pervasive pizzaz just begging to be hashtagged. “I Haven’t Seen You Around” (staccato line flubs aside) and “Capitalist Waltz” follow the same simple script and steal many of the remaining scenes.


Not every chapter of this reboot is must-see TV. “Love Loves To Love Love” splices an Underwater Cinematographer frame to the reel without regard for theatrical continuity, “Nation Of Beds” and “Benefit Of The Doubt” are kitschy commercial filler and “Brain Etiquette” reads like a discarded Odelay beat sheet. They pan to Population retrospectives and regain proper pacing on “Failure Of Anger,” “Fingerspelling” and frenzied finale “The Feels,” whose plot fans will assuredly want continued in the next installment.

Even if it doesn’t become a ratings juggernaut, Mediac proves The Most Serene Republic still have prime time staying power.

December 26, 2015

Band of the Rising Sun

A blinding light from the Far East is breaking through the indie skyline.

Japanese musician Sourin synthesized a luminous LP in September that coalesces a kaleidoscope of sounds and bends it into an aural aurora. Each song’s short bursts (all dissipate in under four minutes) refract independently yet maintain symmetry when viewed as a single prism.


Sourin distills a spacious spectrum of styles ranging from shoegaze to electronica. His fluorescent falsetto is the constant corona, effortlessly fluctuating along the wavelengths and wistfully filling the shadows. “Koufu” and “Shunsu” shine superbly with rainbows of reverb and lustrous guitars. “Kitsunebi” and “Shunki” are brilliant pop flashes, galvanizing in their glittering gusto. The gamma of “Hiyori,” “Shu-rin,” and  “Setsugetsuka” emit softer glows in a deliberate divergence to most of the album’s glaring rays.

Sourin has created a stunning solarium that gleams with gravitas. Few releases in 2015 have eclipsed it.