Reviews:: Fog Ditherer

Andrew Broder is a man with some talented friends. Luckily, his own vision and talents let him shine above his special guests (which reads like a bloggers “who I’d invite to dinner list” and includes Andrew Bird, IDM hyper-sniper Dosh, Phil Elverum, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker [Low] and a remix record coming with a bundle full of other friends).

The new record title – Ditherer – is appropriate. Dither is a 10 cent word for agitation, and that seems to be the mode Broder works best in. His compositions, while catchy, make use of textures and sounds that make you think he lives in a world of constant frustration and irritation. The dentist-drill undercurrents that show up on tracks only surface when the guitars and cymbal crashes fade, but still stand out. But don’t be fooled into thinking the songs aren’t rock solid. Despite the fact the opening track (We Will Have Vanished) moves all over the map, it settles into a nice groove and it’s really the perfect jump off point for the album.

It’s probably a good time to mention that Broder is no longer a one-man gang. He’s got a full time bass player and drummer and the trio works well together. The gradual build of Inflatable Ape Pt. 3 highlights the band’s patience and really rewards the listener. Broder sings over top a simple guitar riff and clickity-clack drum beat, waiting for his time to attack. As the energy picks up, the song become a chaotic, sonic experiment, but never loses focus. Flourishes of sound dance around your headphones, but the simple guitar notes never fully disappear.

I think the band really finds their groove on I Have Been Wronged. The jangly guitar, bass and drums run along at a frantic pace. It’s hard to hear this track and not wonder where this type of music went. So many amazing bands used to create songs like this, but now they are few and far between. The 90’s sludge continues on Hallelujah Daddy. With the help of Why?, the trio rips off a guitar laced shredder. Over the course of the 4-minutes, the song breaks down into a face melting guitar, some drums and a trio of sing/spoken voices, but transition keeps you interested in what is going on. What Gives? keeps the pace up, and is probably the most instantly accessible, enjoyable track on the record.

Despite how this review is sounding, Broder uses a lot of different tempos and styles. You Did What You Thought is a brooding rocker, that slows down and for the first time let’s the heavy drums take center stage. The minor tones and Lambchop-esque vocals that start the song really completely shift the vibe of the record and contrast Broder's nasally, spikey vocals. The DNTEL electronic flares that hover beneath the surface sound great and the track builds the wall of sound brick by brick (or instrument by instrument I guess) effortlessly. The chaos is always somewhat controlled, so the sounds mesh seamlessly.

It’s hard to pick favorite tracks from this record, because there are so many styles and moods to choose from. The 2-minute The Last I Knew of You crackles perfectly and the catchy programmed IDM beat of the title track is engaging and Bird’s violin fits perfectly into the mix, but these songs almost cannot be compared to the tracks that seem to be happy wading through the sludge and grime or the beautifully simple grower, On the Gallows.

By the time this record closes with country-tinged What’s Up Freaks? (starring Alan and Mimi of Low), Broder has already proved once again that he is one of the most innovative artists in the Indie scene.
MP3:: I Have Been Wronged - deleted at artist's request
Stream:: 4 songs on myspace

web site :: myspace :: label

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