One of the secrets of music is that a lot of bands within the same genres end up having similar sounds but they have to do things slightly different than other bands to establish themselves as individuals. To go completely in the other direction here, let’s look at punk rock bands for example. Punk bands are all the same at their roots- they play fast, simple music with lyrics that are typically rebellious. So how has punk rock managed to stay around so long and how have bands from Ramones and Sex Pistols to NOFX and Pennywise managed to stay relevant?
Shoegaze is no different and to some Screen Vinyl Image could be lost in the shuffle with a number of other bands. To the trained ear though, you have to listen for the little things that can come out in the music to make you realize you are indeed listening to SVI and not another shoegaze band.
While a song like “Stay Asleep” has a very Breakfast Club feel to it, “The Midnight Sun” takes us to that certain era of U2. Prior to “Roaming Spirit Freedom” we feel as if we are about enter some great western. It’s just these little intricacies that can really make any band familiar enough to welcome them into your musical fold almost immediately, yet not so similar that they are just taking up space reserved for a band already in your playlist.
And if that isn’t enough to make you listen to this album through your earbuds, the last song is also just over a half hour long and, well, that’s pretty damn trippy.
On a side note: “51:21” was released as a cassette and it is forever sold out. If anyone has a copy of this cassette they are willing to give it a better home to (i.e. us here at Raised by Gypsies) shoot us an email. No foolin’.
Record Store Day Deal
April 20 through 26, get records for $5 and under at our Bandcamp page.
Strange Behavior $5
Rude 66 $3.50
Two excellent reviews came in for 51:21. The cassette is now out of print, but you can still download it from Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, or stream it on Spotify
From The Faust Skeptical Blog (Original in French)
This is not new, Screen Vinyl Image, or one of my favorite pairs is not the type to meet smoke curtains when it comes to delivering the dope. Instead, why not stamp armored van with nitroglycerin and all the paraphernalia that goes with war: to what kraut psyche Crackwhore panic, which pulverizes Soft Moon 2 drum machines very heavy (they always I know, it's funny in force), the villain of shoegaze raven-blo cated between post-punk and coldwave, as in Place To Bury Strangers, inevitably, except that the overdose of LSD is very close and a bit more epileptic. Screen Vinyl Image, as I've said often enough, it is the seizure, then the crisis of paranoia, then the crisis of dementia that ends in a shootout in the mall, there's imagine that instead of ads wholesale "kill'em all" and that makes subliminal immediately; it stress, urge it, it chokes, it transpires, and then there's this extraordinary effect GTA: it flees NON-STOP, a little as if you had 5 stars and the whole army was in your ass, you know? And I'm not talking about raids acid good hardcore mouth inserted into the toilet bowl when not embedded in the wall, with the sole companion of his fortune this bastard bounce and accompanies each of your contractions.
Finally almost the same orgy that Interceptors in just more "coherent" . A treat, yes. And I confess I do not dare list of groups that will dress forthwith. Allow at least Black Marble, The VLA, and APTBS Violens, and plenty of others, which is already quite heavy, I think.
From Alget Eaters
Something about Screen Vinyl Image is unambiguously vintage.
It could be the name – its resemblance to the authentically ancient Ultra Vivid Scene.
But more likely its the sound. Born out of the far ‘nu’-er Alcian Blue, SVI are unashamedly not so. Ignore any/all reviews/bios calling SVI ‘futuristic’ or ‘contemporary’ or any synonym thereof. Look – they’ve got Bernard Sumner to do vox on ‘Stay Asleep’ – the second track of their latest release*, 51:21, presumably named for the duration of the album (which, fyi, is 51:59)
51:21 opens with the immensely likeable ‘Too Much Speed’ – released as a single a couple of years ago if you were paying attention. A pleasantly noisy pop-tart with a tambourine and a hook, dancing with each other against a backdrop of fuzzy-coarse guitar noise that remains politely out of the way.
Not quite so approachable is the aforementioned ‘Stay Asleep’ which features Gary Chadwick**. There is not a shred of doubt that this track was recorded around the time I was born (probably earlier).
BUT WAIT WHAT’S THIS.
Cross the four minute mark and it’s the scene from Alien – an entirely new creature bursting out of a familiar character. Relentless (analogue) synths push their way out of the placid electropop and drill their way mercilessly into your subconscious. You’ll hear the echoes in your dreams, your veins will throb to the percussion and your ears will tingle with what may be white noise or may be tinnitus.
Barring the closer, we’ve met the rest of these songs before, on The Midnight Sun EP, but they’re worth revisiting. These are the tracks you can see played live while you listen – lights swaying and melting into each other, voices soaked up by carpet and bouncing off concrete, heads bobbing or swaying, eyelids closing, bodies staying rigid.
I’m especially fond of ‘Passing Through Mirrors’ – atypical, no doubt, it lacks the blackness of its comrades, its guitar is very nearly acoustic, it’s got ‘shimmer’ and ‘sparkle’ (are those chimes?), it whistles and it coos, and before it can hypnotise us completely, it curls up into itself and slinks away, leaving us with the unforgiving intro of ’16mm Shrine’ to jolt us back into the dark.
Thinkpiece? Jam session? Composition? Who knows what ’51:21′ was meant to be but its 32 minutes are what take up the 51:21 (51:59?) it’s named after. Live and unedited, it’s whirlpool synths, marching beats, metallic echos, a racing pulse, and even some 8 bit ideas. Our alien friend from ‘Stay Asleep’ also makes an appearance around the 25 minute mark, this time with a classic reverby ‘gaze guitar serving as its foil.
If I had been more timely, I’d have been able to lead you to their bandcamp page so you could pick up 51:21 in Ye Olde Cassette Formatte. Now, however, you’re left with no choice but to direct venomous curses at me as you grudgingly download the digital album.
We got a review in for our cassette 51:21. It's available on our Bandcamp page, but quantity is very low, these are going super fast! You can, however, order it digitally from Bandcamp or iTunes, Amazon, etc.
Let’s get right to it, in order to satisfy me with your guitars (i.e. make me stare like a moron), the best thing is to basically do the most wrong and extreme things with them, as loud as possible. This is what I enjoy doing and what I enjoy listening to. My father would be so proud. 51:21 is a compilation put together by Screen Vinyl Image, a group of people from Washington, DC who seem to take pride in this strange practice for strange people. “Another bunch of dropouts with too many fuzz pedals”, you might say, but SVI seem to be part of that group who give that scene a good name.
From the get-go, 51:21 intoxicates me. “Too Much Speed” is a manic blend of steady, smooth vocals, sampled beats, keyboard harmonies and noise guitars working as an undercurrent. It’s almost like a hazy explosion, but firmly held together. “Stay Asleep” is a mellower, New Order-ish take on the same formula, but turns into a pulsating, organic wall of noise and samples that lasts longer than the actual song, very meditative.
The remainder of the album is the inclusion of their debut EP, The Midnight Sun, which is a fresh blend of Manchester scene-influenced electronica and shoegaze. Overall it’s a throbbing, noisy package of programming and screaming instruments, with space for more mellow numbers like “Roaming Spirit Freedom”. However, “The Midnight Sun” would have to be the highlight here. It's a sexy, druggy blend of sampling, a strange bass line, and guitars that actually seem to only feedback. Two minutes into the track I kind of forgot what I was doing in the first place, and started playing visions of streetlights and open fires in my head. Take that completely as you will. The EP ends with a short punk length number called “Black Leather Jacket”, in which the guitars have completely resorted to sounding more like a machine than an instrument, leaving a taste of blood in my mouth and ears.
The title track that ends the album is a live recording in which the band resort into full-blown jam mode. It sounds a lot more like Throbbing Gristle than Grateful Dead, however. It starts out nice enough with a bit of industrial sounding percussion loops and organs, but then the first attack of feedback erupts. From that moment forward, we are in deep, murky territory. Sometimes there’s an actual song being played, and it’s always beautiful and on par with the rest of the album, but in between them there’s a lot of blissful noise; see Skullflower or Birchville Cat Motel. There’s obviously no way that I wouldn’t like that.
Look, I already stated that there’s nothing new whatsoever with the whole “pop music through massive noise” thing that’s been going on for over 20 years now, but it works, dammit. At its best, it completely numbs all of my senses, and 51:21 did a pretty good job of this.
We're now taking pre-orders for 51:21 which will be shipping out on Feb 5. Orders can be made at Bandcamp and upon ordering you'll get a full download of the album. Pre-Order Here
The cassette is yellow tinted, comes shrink-wrapped, and we only pressed 100 so once they're gone, they're gone!
And here's a recent review for 51:21 from Little Lost Classics
'If New Order and Jesus and Mary Chain were genetically crossed, it would result in something close to what is the double of Screen Vinyl Image from Virginia... Close, but not exactly. '
Thus begins the text on Strange behavior, the latest release of the duo Jake and Kim, dated December 2011. And these words, and other gifts for the rest of that post, could repeat itself here and now, in the beginning of 2013 to talk about 51:21, the SVI new album.. I mean, not so new.
The album of 08 tracks coming out officially - in cassette format - in early February bears the reissue of the first EP and the band's sensational, The midnight sun, a single recorded in 2010 but never released (Too much speed / Stay asleep - in the original version, not the one that appears in Strange behavior) and the title track, an instrumental jam session of 32 minutes made â€‹â€‹by the duo - with all the paraphernalia that had the right - during a presentation on Halloween 2012.
So for those who are accustomed to Screen Vinyl Image Music, 51:21 - except the song of the same name, experimental from beginning to end, with one or two breaks to 'breathe' - is not exactly a novelty. It's psychedelic, dark, full of loud guitars and danceable electronic beats, somewhere between New Order and the Jesus and Mary Chain and has ... "The midnight sun", a track from 2007 that 'blind' would quietly as an unheard of My Bloody valentine.