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Uppers & Downers

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Album Review

Any album featuring Thurston Moore, Jon Spencer, Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis, and Murph would almost seem like a supergroup effort from the 1990s, so their appearances on Cobra Killer's 2009 Uppers and Downers gives a clear sense of past champions being given their due by a newer generation. The fact that said representatives of the newer generation are Cobra Killer gives it a better twist than most, though, since the German duo's twisted way around scuzzy/snarky new wave dance-punk for a new century is its own merry aesthetic. Five albums and a decade into their formal partnership under the Cobra Killer name, Gina V. D'Orio and Annika Line Trost still sound like they revel in their own way around pop on their own terms with a fresh burst of youth, shifting from bright chirpiness and clatter on "Hello Celebrity" and "Mr. Chang" to sly swing on "Vitamine" and "Schneeball in die Fresse," all while sounding like nobody but themselves, rather than simply an assembly of their many favorites. When their voices cross in call and response on "Skibrille" over an arrangement that's part garage jam, part wheezing machinery, and part minimal glitch percussion, the result is pure, sharp joy. Perhaps the ultimate testament to Cobra Killer's complete confidence in their own aesthetic is how the various guest players are used — "Hang Up the Pinup" features Mascis, Murph, and Moore, but they all smoothly slot into the duo's compressed, one-room-over rush of noise that the singing rings across with both clarity and echo, giddiness that's at once alien and rollicking.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Renowned for making skewed, psych rock-infused electronica, Berlin, Germany based duo Cobra Killer formed in January 1998. Originally, Gina V. Dorio, a member of EC8OR and Annika Line Trost of Shizuo met through their previous bands' involvement with Alec Empire's Digital Hardcore Recordings whilst both had also been heavily involved in the West Berlin music scene from their early teens. Their debut self-titled release in 1999 epitomized the Digital Hardcore sound, blending distorted electronics,...
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Uppers & Downers, Cobra Killer
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