Friday, July 1, 2011

FREE DOWNLOAD: Neptune Balance: "Midnight Interlude"

We here at the Central Target Recording Label wing of the Research Labs pride ourselves on the fact that our very creed is not to pester our artists or give them deadlines. The idea is for people to make music as they want, not as they need. So imagine our surprise when we took the elevator down to the comm center (it's right past the hovercraft dock) and checked our e-mail to find a message from Neptune Balance. No note, just an attachment called "[TBA]". Then also imagine our surprise when it turned out to be a slice of ambient acid techno that sounds like the music at your town's chic-est bar in 2039. It's robot soul with a little dusting of metal-on-metal. Touches of classic Detroit techno like Carl Craig, with something a little skewed to a halfway point between Aphex Twin's earliest material and the insistency of dance music like Daft Punk. That's not to say it sounds like any of those acts... it's just too damn irresistably slippery to put our finger on. We don't know what it means, if more is forthcoming (as in "To Be Announced"), or if it's something else altogether. We thought we'd share. Not only is it worth your time, but it's worth us thinking about changing that "don't push the artists for more tunes" rule.


Here's her blog. Pictures of her in the shower. No kidding.

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Spirit Three: Complete Discography

There are some major changes coming to Central Target, including a flood of new (free!) music from The Spirit Three as well as several new artists, including Neptune Balance, ofthemetro, Midway, Lazer Mouse, and several others. We promise, things are percolating, but until then, help yourself to what you might've missed, by checking out the complete discography of The Spirit Three, including the Spirit Three Live EP series, one-offs, and other fuzzed-out guitaradelicism. And as always here at the Central Target Research Labs, it's free as can be. Enjoy catching up!

Central Target Now Mobile Device Friendly... Happy Early America Day!

Thanks to our friendly host's new mobile device translation capabilities, our mobile site, will no longer continue to be updated. it will remain available, but since becoming irrelevant, why do the work?

now, even customized for your mobile device viewing:

Go on, click it. You know you want to see what happens.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Border patrol agents in Boston have seized 183 copies of MF DOOM's deluxe "Operation: Doomsday" lunchbox sets for copyright violations. From the CBP news release:

BOSTON—Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in the port of Boston identified and seized a shipment of counterfeit Music CD’s for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations. The Manufacture’s Suggested Retail Price of the pirated CD’s bearing images of the Marvel Entertainment character is estimated to be $87,664.

On May 23, CBP officers targeted a shipment containing 2,925 sets of music CD’s packaged in lunch-boxes at the Container Examination Station for an enforcement examination. During the examination, CBP officers observed the boxes bearing the image of what appeared to be Marvel Entertainment’s “Dr. Doom” character, which is a trademark recorded with CBP. Further inspections reveled the image was deemed to be possibly piratical and the goods were detained for a through investigation. When CBP sought a letter of authorization for use of the CD trademark from the importing party, the importer signed and submitted a CBP Form 4607, Notice of Abandonment. Subsequently, all counterfeit lunch-box sets, 183 boxes, was seized for IPR violations on June 20.

You heard it here first, kids!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Neptune Balance: "Caution"

Presenting "Caution", the debut track by Neptune Balance -- a beloved member of the Central Target family. An EP is in the works, but until then, listen to this until your ears start to bleep.

Find it here:

Get some. You'll like it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Keeping The Urge Alive: Dive, Captain, Dive!

It's 2011. And I just purchased a newly-recorded Urge Overkill album. On vinyl. When are we?

At 16, an older friend tipped me off to the joys of Urge's masterpiece - Saturation. I call it their masterpiece because to my mind, it's where their (too early for irony) '70s rock-god image-mongering met the effortless hooks of savvy ex-punks. They were loud, hooky, and catchy as the flu. Over the years, I've eventually come to the conclusion that I prefer the previous album The Supersonic Storybookfor it's alternative guitars and Exit The Dragon for its beautifully ragged Exile On Main Street "everything's-faling-apart" atmosphere.

As good as each of those are, Storybook is too ragged, and Dragon is too wiped-out to really register as "the one". No, for sheer summertime adrenaline, Saturation is the one to go with -- glossy and shiny as a new pair of sunglasses, and stomping like a mammoth. Riff after riff, thundering drums, and enough "whoo hoo hoo"s to get anyone smiling.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Transmission Intercept: Neptune Balance/CTRL

[begin transmission]


-- begin tracking: Central Target, remote login--
-- LOCATION: appx. 42.362603,-71.062274 --
-- trace source: [begin trace] --

[begin message]


[end message]

-- track source: Boston, MA --
-- track sender: CTRL, Neptune Balance --
-- monitor radio waves, track financial input --

[directive: maintain current status. Re-assess on Friday.]


[end transmission]

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wrote For Luck, Not For Skill

While going through a "Madchester" phase this week, I came across a review of the Happy Mondays' Bummed that stated that in Manchester at the time of the musical movement (circa '88-'91), if you were a music fan, you had to pick a side of the fence: the Happy Mondays or their contemporaries and fiercest rivals The Stone Roses. The rock and roll pedagogy has stamped that The Stone Roses is (subjectively) the superior recorded artifact, but that could be because it was the band's (ostensible) debut album. And far be it from me to say it's not impressive -- in fact, it's one of my all-time favorite albums. Desert island stuff.

But you know what? I think I'd have to side with the Mondays.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Brief Inside.

While watching the documentary about Blur, No Distance Left To Run, and seeing their performance in the Rough Trade record shop in London, I've decided that one day, I'll need to take a pilgrimage there. As a rock music history fan from the U.S., I realize Rough Trade began life as a bricks-and-mortar record store before becoming a seminal post-punk and indie record label. But coming from this side of the ocean, I've always seen and used the term "Rough Trade" (in the musical sense) as an aesthetic signifier, describing a certain post-punk, pre-Britpop alternative music ethos and sound established in the U.K. in the early-to-mid 1980s.

Actually going to the store might be the closest I've ever come to physically stepping into an abstract concept. A physical example of a philosophical movement, a la the Bauhaus building or Warhol's Factory. Heavy stuff, man.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Goodbye, Musicland... I'm Glad You're Dead

Found online, in the comments section at

"[The mid-to-late '90s] must have been the absolute worst time for music. Pre-internet downloading, post-alterative radio and MTV. You just had to buy a CD from FYE for $18.99 and hope it didn't suck.

Fortunately, another decade's gone by, and hipsters have it made now. We all have instant access to entire worlds of alternative music. If you told me to listen to a CD by the Residents in 1999, I would have drove around town all day and not found it. Now I can get Eskimo from Amazon for $8. If you told me to listen to an unsigned band from Terre Haute, Indiana, I can find their music. It's a music lover's wet dream."

-commenter "Raymond Luxury-Yacht"

An interesting point. It sort of runs parallel to something David Thomas of Pere Ubu said a few years back in an issue of The Big Takeover, about the digital era de-valuing music. Back in the day, when I plunked down that $18 at Musicland for who-knows-what, I STUDIED it, I pored over the liner notes. I memorized lyrics. If the artist thanked a band and I liked the album, I'd work to track down something by the thanked bands (sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn't). Now, with a terabyte of music and Wikipedia at my fingertips, so much of it seems so... ephemeral. I find myself less deeply invested in the art of obsession as I grow older because suddenly, I don't have to drop 40% of my weekly busboy income on a couple of new albums. It costs me little-to-nothing to take a risk and check out music I've never heard. Back then, when it took all of my resources, it was a different story... having to cast your lot and stick with it. Food for thought.

It's reminiscing about that period that made me realize why I'm not following the lead of many other bloggers and posting YouTube links and embedded MP3s in my writing. While I work in a multimedia format (the internet), I'm a writer a heart. And the inspriration to become a writer stems from the years of having to hunt for any information on an artist to better understand their art... wading through and filing away articles and books with dizzying written descriptions of music. It's like word jazz, improvising over a theme inspired by the subject. Capturing the tenor of what you're describing, assimilating it, and then adding your own fingerprint is the game. Greil Marcus, Simon Reynolds, Lester Bangs, David Fricke, Clinton Heylin, Marcus Gray, Everett True... all of them have, at one time or another, written pieces that serve as an "artist cover" in another format. And all of them have inspired me to go buy an album without hearing a note by the band in question. Some of them seem to aim for a piece of writing that echoes the subject's own creative achievements. They're not reprinting lyrics, or following musical notes on a staff. But they, through their own language, capture the communicative esssence of the subject so beautifully, that there's not only no need for an acutal audio soundtrack, but if you DON'T know the record, you can roughly conjure it up in your head. I knew what to expect from Pere Ubu a few years before hearing them. Not what they sounded like, but how they sounded. A shaky, high voice desperately yelping postmodernist nightmare poetry over a fractured slashing of antonal guitar despair and jagged synthesizer stabs? Sure, you might have the notes wrong, you might not know the lyrics -- but you can get the spirit. It's almost too easy to point to Lester Bangs (eternally over- and underrated), but his pieces on Miles Davis and The Stooges have a tactile quality that take it above strightforward music criticism in the "news reporter" sense. You could smell the electric heat of the amplifiers and feel the battered black Tolex hanging from a used Fender guitar amp. It's writers like Bangs that made writing about music an interesting art form in itself. Some writers fall more on the academic end of things (Reynolds, Marcus, Savage), while some (Bangs, True, et al.) are more visceral and immediate... almost free-associative at times.

In that $18-an-album world, I would have to have faith that when Jon Savage raved about the fizzing raw nerves and beauty of the Buzzcocks, that his description would carry over to me, communicate to me the essence of the music, and if I decided to muster up the courage to take a gamble, it was an educated risk of my hard-earned pennies. And if the writer was good, it often paid some wild dividends. That's why I don't tend to post a bunch of links to live videos, etc, very often. I'd like to see if the writing can stand on it's own as a creative force. Why gussie it up with digital bells and whistles when it's the prose that's the point?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In Praise Of Vini Reilly: Post-Modern Guitar Heroism As Forefather

Part One: In Praise Of Vini Reilly

I first became aware of the Durutti Column when I was about 16, coming across their entry in the old-fashioned paper edition of the All Music Guide. It sounded, at the time, like something I’d be interested in later, once I'd successfully gotten around to finally hearing all the great records that were on my "essentials list"... in part because it sounded like they'd fit my sensibility, but were clearly more in the "esoteric intelligentsia" category of pop music... something I strove for, but hadn't arrived at yet.

Of course, the review of their initial album mentioned something about the original pressing's sandpaper sleeve (meant to destroy the records around it on the shelf), and I loved the idea of experimental guitar music in an immediately post-punk context. My limited worldview had already exposed me to things like Joy Division and some of their Manchester ilk, and while I loved the rock-crit approved UK Post-Punk Scene, it wasn't exactly easy territory to wade through... especially outside Cincinnati, Ohio…. for a perpetually broke 16-year-old.

Once I hit college, I eventually heard some of their stuff, and even picked up that first album, The Return Of The Durutti Column, when it got remastered. It was likeable, agreeable stuff, but apparently not dark or challenging enough for my taste at the time. Despite the early presence of mad genius producer Martin Hannett, it wasn't obviously and immediately boundary-pushing, so I filed it back under "seems like I'll dig it later". The same thing happened after seeing the portrayal of Durutti frontman/founder/constant Vini Reilly in the film 24 Hour Party People -- it made for a great running gag about his agreeablity in the face of no visible encouragement, but he was more a comic relief. The music was something I'd warmed to, but as I'd been digging into the pop music that immediately followed Reilly's initial work, it had the effect of hearing Big Star after you've heard the Posies – a diluted impact, squelched by decades of descendents. It was still interesting, though I didn't fully get the appeal at the time.

After devoting myself to the pursuit of more experimental music, I needed to make a conscious effort to go back through my record collection and assess some more of the "pure guitar experiments" -- Fripp & Eno, late-period Slowdive, Neu!, etc. When I finally got around to a few Durutti Column albums, what surprised me most when I really listened to it was just how STRANGE the music was, but with a spirit that was inviting. It's as lopsided and unpolished in many ways as the Fall, but it's aim isn't to shake the listener out of a comatose humdrumity through jagged noise and repetition... it's as music, to PLAY, to make sounds, to act as a soundtrack to life. However, while most music under the “ambient music” tag often makes the effort to become almost inaudible, supporting the natural webwork of sounds that make up white noise, Reilly seems as though he's trying to camouflage his music... not make it blend in, but with production choices and rhythms that could almost be mistaken for music from another room, or a car passing an open window. It's not an attempt to hide the fact that it's music, nor are the sounds TRYING to explicitly mimic real-world sounds (for the most part... those "bird" synths that start off the album largely blow that argument to hell), but to make you hear music and natural sound in the same manner. If you listen to this and drone music long enough (hearing the sub-harmonies skitting around once your brain resets its "baseline silent") you'll start to hear music EVERYWHERE in weirdly synchronized rhythms. It's eerie. You'll eventually have to cleanse your brain with some early Prince records, and when that statement is true, something has skewed wildly. But that's another musing for another column.

Punk allegedly got rid of the guitar hero. Post punk was built on a framework that largely rejected that “big rock show bombast” mentality as excessive, showy, and unnecessary. What makes post-punk identifiable musically is that it's music is clearly built on a foundation of punk rock... you needed punk to have happened to make it. And that close to it chronologically, guitar "heroes" were few and far between... the stigma and shame simply would have been too much to bear for any forward-thinking axe-slinger. It wasn't until three or four generations after post punk that many of the American underground bands would bring traditional technical values back into the vocabulary with bands like Dinosaur Jr and the Meat Puppets. In late-70s England, however, there were a few players who didn't agree with the "guitar is outdated, synths are the way forward" outlook. Rubbing against the times, people like Vini Reilly decided that the guitar wasn't dead, it just hadn't been explored in every direction yet. Taking the blues out, taking the sexuality out of the "rock god" allowed players to use the instrument in not necessarily new, but non-traditional ways (at least, in the rock context). The difference between Reilly and his brethren is that he was often concerned with sounding pleasant.

Speaking generationally, Vini Reilly could be considered (bear with me here) the Eddie Van Halen of the UK post-punk set. Both players attempted to push the limits of their genre (experimental pop music/heavy rock) with new technologies and sounds. Eddie used super-high-gain amplifiers and "hot" guitar pickups to get that blasting, crunching sound that allowed him to innovate by using double-tapping and other tricks of technique (prodigious talent likely didn't hurt). Reilly used tape delays and primitve synth circuits to re-shape his guitar tones and atmospheres into something that the mainstream hadn’t really attempted yet, beyond gimmicky novelty tracks. Led Zeppelin and Beethoven may have given birth to Van Halen, but Brian Eno and John Cage were the fathers of the Durutti Column.

Part Two: Solipsistic Soliloquy

While recording the other night, the thought occurred to me that my latest method of composition is recording a series of what some might call "micro-loops", and layering them until a common composition reveals itself. For example, 8 seconds, while a long time for a single musical phrase, is still a very short amount of time. Using recording equipment, I've found myself layering these loops over each other for hours. Each loop is only roughly 8 seconds, but when 50 of them, in various keys and rhythms and tones play at the same time, something else tends to emerge. Practically, it's simply the law of averages... the loudest notes to emerge will be the ones that were played the most times at a synchronized point in the loop. If I hit "E" more often than any other note, you'll hear "E" pop out of the din more often. But there's usually no set destination to the compositions as they're being recorded, and while my ear is trained for music, it's not trained for theory.

But sonically, what happens when the layers are stacked up over and over and over is a strange effect... one I'm certain that musicologists have studied, but one I hesitate to investigate, for fear it will kill the magic. What happens is that melodies that you never played begin to appear through the sonic haze. Repeating melodies, due to the simple technology that's being used to record these looping musical phrases. Since each note in the phrase could recorded at a different time -- a different point in the layering process -- it likely has a different technique applied to the actual guitar playing, or has an entirely different tonality to the guitar, or a differing "sonic space" due to more or less reverb on the surrounding notes in the composite phrase. These phrases begin to make themselves heard after enough layers mesh that it's hard to hear specific phrases on their own in their entirety... somehow another layer was recorded louder, or with a more distorted tone, drowning it out, taking over the melody, before a chorus of seven layers of guitars glide over a single chord, or bend and sway sickly under the thrall of a vibrato dip. To put down the instrument and hear the ghosts inside the music composing melodies and songs that I've played but never ACTUALLY PLAYED... it's somehow magical to me. Haunting. As though these melodies were already there, floating through the air, waiting for someone to rip open the air and pluck them... tuning into some frequency beyond my control.

Standing there, listening to the recording playing back, a symphony of guitars - moaning, singing, crying, laughing, screaming... all humming underneath a haunting melody that no one ever played. But it's there. It exists. Sometimes it's even beautiful. But no one played it to make that sound. It's truly collaborating with the technology, rather than using it to my own ends. I'm not enough of a technically accomplished player to perform the melodies in my head. I'm not enough of an expert on the electronics and technology to know exactly what effect that turning one knob on my effects bank will do. German electronic composer Klaus Schulze once laughed and told an interviewer that no matter how he tried, he wouldn't be able to replicate the beautiful analog synthesizer sound he was making for them the next day. There's an element of chance, an element of danger in recording and performing without a net, without playing established music in an established genre. Gang Of Four spoke on the “Sound Opinions” podcast recently and confessed that their earliest songs were punkier than the music they later became lauded for, and in their estimation, there's a safety zone to learning how to write a song that goes "verse/bridge/chorus, verse/bridge/chorus, key change, out"... but they point out that in a way, that's not playing in a style, that's playing in a genre. Everyone has to start with genre, that's how you learn. My genre was punk. Some people start playing and play country. Some play classical. You play to a form, a format that inspired you. It’s a latticework the vines of your musical tomato plant grows up. But according to bandleaders Andy Gill and Jon King, the goal is to attempt to stretch beyond genre and reach beyond it to where the art is being created free of genre restrictions, be they form or tone (i.e. punk has to be angry) to really SAY something, be it lyrical or making a musical statement. Now, rather than tying myself to the pop music genre restriction, I'm working toward a different and new (to me) method of composition, one that allows for a percentage of chance and intuition to work simultaneously, rather than polishing my abilities to succeed within form. It's the very essence of coloring "outside the lines" -- it's dangerous, but can be rewarding. It can be just awful sometimes, but you never know if you'd hit a progression that moves your spirit if you don't take that gamble. It's the essence of jazz, applied to quasi-melodic (OK, "not entirely dissonant") electronic experimentation with a good old wood and steel contraption generating the sounds. Primitive human technology filtered through cutting-edge technology has a magical way of forcing the humanity of the "driver" through to the end result.

The beauty of the process is the crafting of each track live... listening to the looping, loping melody, adding a spare, interlocking part, attempting to tentatively integrate into the whole, in and out of what's already there, and then once successful, moving on to new sounds and ideas. By relaxing a mentality of absolute control over what I INTEND the end result to be, and simply letting it develop naturally (not predicting a fatalist, it's allowing me to create melodies in an automatic fashion. I provide the impetus, the ghosts in the machine tell me how it's supposed to sound when it's all done.

It's completely uncommercial, equal parts inspiration and chance, but it's something very, very pure. In fact, the last time I watched 24 Hour Party People, I even got a little choked up when the film's version of Durutti Column supporter/benefactor (and Factory Records head) Tony Wilson attempts to lift Reilly's spirits after a spartan Tuesday night crowd (ok, an empty room). It's a moment that stands as a testament to Wilson's belief in the power of rock and roll, and why we're all here in the first place. He puts his hand on Vini's shoulder and assures him, "Whatever we acheive, the important thing is that you make... wonderful music." And really, isn't that what making music should really be about?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Dirtbombs Start The Party (Again)

When I heard about the Dirtbombs' new album, Party Store, I was fascinated. As a card-carrying member of the 'Bombs fan club, and a lifelong fan of primitive early techno music (too many "synthesizer magic" demonstrations in elementary school, and "3-2-1 Contact" episodes on electronic music tech. A few years as a kid in Europe at the dawn of the '90s didn't hurt), it seemed like a really strange choice for a group as sweaty and organic as the combo that put out the garagey Dangerous Magical Noise and the R&B covers masterpiece Ultraglide In Black. But something about their last album hinted that all was not well at the mod shindig these groovy soulsters were rocking. 2008's We Have You Surrrounded kept the band's two (biggest) strengths intact: a slicked-back sense of how to inject groove and soul music into a rock format, and a vicious intensity that masked some seriously dark undertones.

Friday, April 1, 2011

intercept: CTRL NEWSWIRE

[begin transmission]


-- begin tracking: Central Target, remote login--
-- LOCATION: appx. 42.362603,-71.062274 --
-- trace source: [radio device blocked by weather; report to 'storm force'] --

[begin message]








[end message]

-- track source: Boston, MA --
-- track sender: CTRL, Primary Agent --
-- monitor radio waves, targ--

[directive: terminate sweet potato supply WITH EXTREME PREDJUDICE]


[end transmission]

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

transmission intercept: CTRL expanding/begin surveillance

[begin transmission]


-- begin tracking: Central Target Hub Ultra-Linear Unit (CTRL, C.T.H.U.L.U.) --
-- trace souce: Northeast United States, likely on land, Earth --

[begin message]

Hello out there.

Since our last announcement, things at Central Target have been heating up. More communication breakdowns, less all-night Zeppelin parties, and fewer lyrical drops into the communiques.

Fa fa fa... wait, never mind.

I've recently spoken to my trusty new business partner, who shall remain temporarily nameless, but is now 1/2 of the Central Target Recording Label. He's a master of music and a titan of industry. A gentleman AND a scholar. Please wish him welcome, everyone. He'll be operating out of a new secret lair we're opening in Cleveland. I've seen the video screen in the control room... like the bridge of the Enterprise. Secret rooms, parking structure, indoor roller rink... truly incredible. But you read right up there when I said Cleveland. No, we're not relocating -- we're EXPANDING. That's right... we're oozing west, kids.

Despite the best efforts of our helper monkeys, our communications center is not fully operational. But don't worry. Despite the fact that we here at CTRL are somewhat quiet, we're more than comfortable... spending our days in chic lounges and recording studios, making music. Some of it pounding, some of it haunting. In the immortal words of one Mr. Hammer, "It's all good." While we expect the release of significantly more music than has been previously offered, we're also expecting a bit of a quiet period on the release front for the next 4-6 weeks (although other content should still continue to be updated intermittently). But don't lose hope, true believers, not only will we continue to ape the style of beloved childhood narrators... we're also going to hit it hard and hit it good as soon as we regroup. Figuratively speaking, of course.

We're currently in the process of deputizing some collaborators... accomplices if you will. Much like television's "the A-Team", we've been keeping our eye on several potential staff members/contractors. It could even be you. Just know that we're watching, and that at any time you might be called into the most dangerous, fabulous, secretly powerful cabal of artists to which you've ever been privvy.

Hang tight, boys and girls... and just remember the slogan I heard from Kevin almost a decade ago. I'd paraphrase, but it would just lose something in the translation.

More soon, once we contact our girl in Dorchester, once we refuel the brain trust, and once we run the electric bill sky-high at 3:30 AM. Trust me, it will make sense later.

Gotta run.

Mikey Shake

-- track source: Boston, MA... Cleveland, OH --
-- track sender: CTRL, Head Agent --
-- monitor radio waves, no hard line installed --

[directive: determine purpose of CTRL, halt world domination]


[end transmission]

Saturday, March 26, 2011

intercepted: transmission from CTRL remote location

-open transmission-
-receiving message-
-sent from: Central Target Research Labs, Northeast United States, Earth-
-subject: "This Year's (Business) Model"-

-begin message-
The Central Target Recording Label -CTRL-, is not a record label. It's a label for a "collective" -- without the baggage that term now carries, thanks to some ill-advised misappropriations. It's a group of like-minded musicians who make unconventional music. Members of many of the groups have mixed and matched in various musical combinations over the past decade. The idea behind CTRL as a "recording label" is as an outlet for people to put music out into the world in a dedicated channel, acting as a brand, a flavor, a seal of approval. A stamp that the content of the music comes from a certain sensibility. Not a specific "artist/label" relationship. Not yet. The particular musical content isn't necessarily of a common theme, other than the fact that it's not interested in charts or trends, or even commercial domination.

There is no end goal to the content unified under the -CTRL Stamp Of Approval- -image quarantined: delete- umbrella, other than a drive to create music, regardless of audience. It's what makes a musician record a composition by themselves, for their own satisfaction. That drive is what fuels this group of artists. That's why we're going to begin by giving it away for free Central Target. There's no other motive behind the music to their creators felt the need to create it. In the spirit of Factory Records, "our bands have the freedom to fuck off" -check for DNA on statement-. For now, it's simply a way for a coterie of like-minded people to share what they make with other people who may like the same thing, As well as to provide greater visibility for each by the "strength in numbers" survival strategy. Seems simple. Sharing music online? What a concept...

But beyond rock-crit jargon and lofty philosophies and some silly posturing, really.. the point is that Central Target will now be providing the world with some more wonderful new music by several incredible artists. Three, in fact, for starters.

<1> Neptune Balance
close your eyes on a city street and just listen to the music that thousands of individual moments are making simultaneously all around you. it changes course at any given beat -- reflecting that gentle wash as you stop trying to hear something and just listen to it. love, hate, passion, reflection... laughing, screaming, or crying. it could be any of those moments you're overhearing at once - only stretched out long enough to swim in. electronic music that weaves in and out of the human condition.

<2> Lazer Mouse
It's the overloaded sugar rush of that big smear of icing on the corner of the cake. There's no better sound than the sound of cruising around town looking for a good time -- this is the soundtrack to that good time. Buzzing, crackling, infectious punk rock music... sweet with a serrated edge. Music to feel better to.

<3> The Spirit Three
Echoes without a source, it sounds like remembering too many things at the same time. Difficult to pinpoint, but layered textures that let just enough light through to spot half-forgotten melodies that dance around radio frequencies like ghosts.

Please welcome the new members to the family (and there may be more in the future), and we're looking forward to hearing wonderful things in the future.

Meanwhile, the communications center at the bunker is still inactive, which means this was snuck into a television news station in downtown Boston -locate^terminate source- so that we could transmit it worldwide. More analyitical pop culture editorials should soon be forthcoming, and if all goes well, we intend to bring you more music before the month is out.

-sender-Mikey Shake-x-
-title-President/Editor, CTRL-x-

-begin program: "track sender"-
-end message-
-end transmission-

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Spirit Three - Meatland EP

Meatland: Secret Transmissions From CTRL


1, Control Codes
2, Bad Dollar
3, Today I'm Hiding Planes Behind A Telephone Line
4, Backdoor Wisconsin (Bavaria)

All tracks recorded live (one take)
Recorded March 6th-14th
at Central Target Research Labs, Boston, MA
Mikey Shake - all guitars, drum programming
no synthesizers were used on this EP.
Front Cover photo and layout by CTRL Design
special thanks to ofthemetro, Cliff at "effects", Mike Walsh, and Sweetcheeks

Part Six of the Spirit Three EP series

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The 100th Post

We've made it to 100 here at the CTRL! It's with that in mind that the information in the following comminuque is both technical and philosophical... isn't that what each and every one of you faithful readers comes here for?

The Central Target Research Labs are up and running, with a library, lounge, galley, communications center, recording studio, nearby escape route, and an in-house exotic eatery.

Despite the toll that the relocation has taken on us all, several projects are in the works, including the production of a soundtrack for a lost 1960's biker/exploitation film, a review of the latest album by Detroit music legends The Dirtbombs, new Spirit Three material, as well as a series of random and insightful dispatches originally created between 1:00 AM and 7:00 AM.

However, despite the best effors of our tech team, we're currently without a way to broadcast these, as a freak accident has knocked out our comminications equipment. So, all of our efforts are currently self-contained, until a way to jack into the system presents itself. Then, we'll naturally flood the channels with new updates. Until then, hold tight.

We're working on it, don't worry.

So until then, I'll leave you faithful followers with the following postulation.

I was watching the 1987 film version of Less Than Zero (a longtime favorite book of mine, but I'd never seen the movie), and found myself wondering if a plastic, shallow, day-glo wasteland of superficiality presented in the film is somehow preferable to a twitchy, paranoid existience where imminent doom is never far from anyone's mind. Of course, years spent decrying the artificial, dead-inside gloss of the late 1980's makes (and a naive longing in my adolesence for "gritty reality") this is a bitter pill to swallow, but as defeatist as it may seem, it sure seems prettier than the alternative.

Grim, huh? It's February. Let's not get too peppy for another month, people.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thoughts Found Online: A Quick Update For The Faithful

'Found thoughts' for you... an excellent point about the state of most "indie rock" (the musical 'style', not the act of being a band/artist on an independent label) and its influence derived from Radiohead, who, for the LAST TIME, I do enjoy.

"What strikes me most about them is the absolute lack of playfulness in their music. Everything about them seems absolutely calculated and simultaneously stoic and histrionic. Nothing about them feels immediate.

There's also the matter of their influence on independent rock since the release of "OK Computer." I feel like a large percentage of music championed by Pitchfork and their ilk is derived from or greatly influenced by "OK Computer" and its followups and the musical principals extolled therein. The punk values of "indie" throughout the 80s and 90s where replaced with prog rock values."

- "PB", reply boards, Jan. 2011

Interesting. When confronted with the question of how I could come up through the same "pre-indie" channels of alternative rock and punk, yet feel so distanced from the state of current "indie rock" (i.e. "blog rock") is because I approach it expecting the same punk-derived value system (both musical and philosophical) I encountered in the "alternative" scene throughout college and the early years of the current environment. I'm looking at it as a punk, they're looking at it the way prog-rockers would, which, to my mentality, is anathema.

And don't worry, faithful readers, Central Target has not forsaken you. We're simply in the process of updating the new and improved Central Target Research Labs.(CTRL). The lab equipment has been moved in, there's still some light cleaning to do, and we're desperately in need of that phalanx of teenage Swedes to shuffle things around, but it's coming along nicely. Here's a snapshot from the "moving-in" process:

We may be taking January off in the "Spirit Three Live EP Series" after the relocation and the sad passing of a member of the Central Target family, but we will be back in force, and rest assured that January is not going to pass without some type of surprise.

Switchblades & Lollipops,
Mikey Shake
Central Target Research Labs

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Two Roads, In A Wood... blah, blah, blah...

Self-taught musicians tend to learn by listening and playing along to things, whereas more trained players are taught the "right" and "wrong" way and focus on accomplishing a superior performance. Which might explain the fact that bands like Joy Division and bands like Dream Theater exist under the same category of "rock music".