The Three EPs
It took me a couple of minutes to remember that Astralwerks is no longer Caroline Records’ electronic-music imprint, but rather the label that now handles all releases previously distributed between Caroline, Astralwerks, and perhaps a handful of other names. The Beta Band, a Scottish “4-piece quartet consisting of four people” (according to the accompanying bio) perform a sort of music that just a couple of years ago might have been termed lo-fi indie rock, though they are decidedly more difficult to categorize than that. I hear equal parts Roky Erickson and Chemical Brothers, Jonathan Richman and Public Enemy — the Beta Band doesn’t declare anything to be off-limits, and you’ll likely hear a hissy acoustic track amidst the rhythm loop and close-miked upright acoustic bass. This collection of three EPs releases from 1997-98 — Champion Versions , The Patty Patty Sound and Los Amigos Del Beta Bandidos — sounds more like a rough sampling of the bandmembers’ singles collection, and even though the intent is to build anticipation for an upcoming full-length, I find myself referring to the twelve tracks on here as the fully-formed mutant offspring of a musicians’ collective.
Astralwerks, 104 W. 29th St., New York, NY 10001; http://www.astralwerks.com