Rose for Bohdan

It's Nice to Know That One of Us Is Going to Die and the Rest Are Gonna Make Mad Cash

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Titled, with humor and bad taste a-plenty, in a coded reference to the fates of the members of Joy Division, the debut effort by Rose for Bodhan finds Brian Miller and his then-compatriots finding their own strange way toward fusing hip-hop, riot grrrl-inspired noise, and whatever else happened to hand. Brief -- even with its extra four "secret tracks" it doesn't break the half-hour mark -- It's Nice to Know makes for a nice balance between giddy sloppiness and a controlled focus. At the time of the album's recording the hip-hop influence was at its strongest, albeit in a very abstract and off-kilter sense, but with a distinct U.K. post-punk-as-filtered-through-later-years tinge, making the album title all the more useful. The compressed, bass-led surge of opening track, "Gree-E-Uh/Daniel's Demise," and the angular lead riff of "George Clinton V.I.P." lend a certain formality to all the proceedings. Other cuts reflect the continuing influence of bedroom-recording approaches -- the murky mix and collage of vocals and noise on "Boys Be...," for instance (though with a verse break that Mark E. Smith might be proud of) -- while the rumbling bass and beats of "Volvo Project Supervisor" feel as much like a minute-long demo sketch as a self-contained song. Then there's the recorded-while-still-in-seventh-grade "If It Wasn't Raw We Wouldn't Put Our Name on It," which makes for a piece of very low-key hip-hop that still works in its own way. Miller's singing is what more than anything else keeps this from being either worshiping recreation or po-faced seriousness. Meanwhile, the others' still-adolescent shrieks and rasping wails at many points really ratchet up the obsession level, as on "I'm Not a Taxi," which starts out quirky, but rapidly gets all the more desperate even as the music crisply rolls along.