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  Information Changer  
  Absolutely Kosher  
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The RIAA argues that MP3 downloads are destroying the industry. Why buy something when you can get it for free? They say that offering free MP3s as samples is an ineffective publicity mechanism. They think that people will take the free tracks and ignore the rest of the music.

In counter to this argument i offer exhibit A: Information Changer by Eltro. Over a year ago i downloaded a free track from Epitonic called Storm Cloud of the Century. This is a wonderful electronic shoegazer tune. It's got swirly guitars and interesting beats. It's smart and sexy and ultra-cool. It's all things to all people. Well, maybe not all things... But it is a damned fine tune, and i really enjoyed it. So i wrote the name "Eltro" in my Personal Analog Assistant (aka, Notebook) to look for a copy of their album.

And, just recently, i picked up a copy of this CD. And man, is it good stuff. Eltro are part of the Psychedelphia scene -- psychedelic guitar heavy bands based in Philadelphia. Eltro make a slightly heavier version of the music Slowdive were heading towards on Pygmalion, before Neil Halsted got distracted by lame country-folk music. That is to say, this is music made with guitars played through tons of effects, so that the sound that you hear is a swirling mess. In addition, there are little electronic effects strewn about, like the drum machine beat in Storm Cloud of the Century or in Orangina. Those two tunes are closest to the Slowdive sound, and both are damned fine examples of the genre.

But Eltro hit the other end of the shoegazer spectrum too. Long.Flat.Red is a dark and distorted fever-dream of a song, more Spaceman3 than Slowdive. More chaotic fury than lazy hazy dreaminess. This one song shows them akin to their Philadelphia neighbors Bardo Bond or Transient Waves.

All of the tunes here that are pretty good, from the spaced out funk of Elements of Style to the straight up indie rock of To the Side there isn't a dud in the bunch. I especially like the album's closer, I Begin to Believe, which is a fine twilighty song in which vocalist Diana Prescott's voice is layered against itself for a lush, Cocteau Twins sort of effect. Behind her voice(s) the guitars tinkle lightly, and the drummer plays a high-hat heavy riff. It's a nice fade out to the album.

Overall, this is pretty good stuff. If you like Mallory, Slowdive, or the like, then Eltro is a band to be on the lookout for.

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