AM/FM
Mutilate Us
Mar 6, 2001

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At 26, Brian Sokel had played in numerous bands throughout the years, but stuck most notably with Franklin. After the recording of what was to be Franklin's final release, Sokel found himself working on four-track recordings of songs that didn't fit the mold of the band's sound.

With several cassette tapes of these four-track demos, Sokel brought on long-time friend Michael Parsell to add dimension to the then, acoustic-only songs. The pair labeled themselves AM/FM and what transpired was a semi-revolutionary method of folk deconstruction.

Trying to break free from a more traditional idea of music that is written, arranged and then recorded, AM/FM chose to enter the studio with frames of songs rather than complete visions. This allowed the songs to form their own identity during the creative process of recording rather than being already regimented to a certain mold.

Enlisting the help of other members of Philadelphia-based bands such as Franklin, Lenola, Aspera Ad Astra, Ink & Dagger, and others, AM/FM created a project where interaction and collaboration is the real focus.

After six months in the studio, AM/FM brought forth Mutilate Us, the studio project's first full-length. Multi-layered vocal harmonies play over tunes that twist and turn from acoustic pulses into electric coughs and howls. A rustic and organic exploration into contemporary Americana that lyrically and musically contradict from song to song.

What remains true is the simple honesty with which the songs are presented -- an honesty that makes AM/FM's songs universal.

Songs

  • 1
    (mutilate us) (0:12)
  • 2
    Secretly Odds In Knowing Normal Words (2:32)
  • 3
    A Best Man (put my girlfriend on fire) (2:58)
  • 4
    You and Me at 53 (1:41)
  • 5
    Those Long Arms (2:10)
  • 6
    Yours Recklessly (4:01)
  • 7
    LeAnne, The Seasons Persist (6:37)
  • 8
    When I died in Sebastopol (3:39)
  • 9
    Time Flows Much More Slowly This Way (3:03)
  • 10
    When Larry and Gary Get Married (3:43)
  • 11
    Disney Girls (1957) (3:44)
  • 12
    Success Rides A Shiny White Line (1:50)
  • 13
    Mutilate Us (5:34)
  • 14
    (untitled) (1:46)

Reviews

It's like a piston blasting warm guitar pop at incredible speeds.

Pitchfork

Mutilate Us is a brilliant pop record, at times reminiscent of a less experimental Pavement and strongly rooted in the sensibilities of Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys.

Rockpile

A highly engaging and original debut full-length.

DIW

Mutilate Us seemingly incorporates a little bit of everything - late-night paeans, open-plains balladeering, glazed-over '70s rock, cluttered indie pop - then wraps it in a skewered lo-fi package to give it context and date it decidedly to the postmodern 21st century.

All Music Guide

AM/FM proves once again that great timeless pop music can indeed arise from alienation, irony, misery and a good rhythm section.

Amplifier