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Thursday
Jan132011

ANIKA - S/T

Like another moody, no-frills, B&W-bedecked jewel case released two years back to little initial acclaim but slowly-grown consensus (I'm thinking of Actress' Hazyville, released back in late '08/early '09), Anika's debut stood out upon its release last month not only through its unique take on past styles (more on that later), but also in part due to its December date; the flipside of this was that that very timing put it out of contention for a spot on most listeners' and critics' best-of-year lists (this writer's included!).

Produced by Geoff Barrow of Portishead (credited as a full-band production by Beak>), Anika couldn't be a better candidate for co-release between Barrow's Invada Records and L.A.'s Stones Throw—the latter have spent the last five or so years occasionally spanning out from hip hop to stamp their imprimatur on disparate electronic, experimental pop, dance, and outsider/outlier acts like Gary Wilson, James Pants, Koushik, DāM-FunK and Bruce Haack (as well as countless compiled and podcasted minimal wave artists), and Anika's personality comes off as strong and steely as any of the above, an impressive feat considering the degree to which this record makes a point of showing its influences on its tattered/tailored sleeve, whether interpreting the songs of Skeeter Davis, Yoko Ono, Bob Dylan and Ray Davies or eerily echoing the early-'80s productions and spirit of such staunchly individual acts as The Flying Lizards, Vivien Goldman, ESG, The Slits and PiL.

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