Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Space Rock Mountain Podcast 21 - Lost Audio, Spite, and Ghost Capital

Interview with Ghost Capital.

Conversation related to the following tunes.

Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath - Into the Void
Buttering Trio - Mean to Me
XTR Human - Dysfunction

Six Organs of Admittance - The Lost Electric Six Organs (2013)

I have been a huge fan of Six Organs of Admittance and Comets on Fire since my Santa Cruz days in the early 2000s. They were sage patriarchs of the psychedelic music scene in the city, and would go on to being internationally recognized powerhouses by the middle of said decade. Craig and I talked at length in the second episode of our podcast about the Comets on Fire house show we witnessed and the effect it had on our relationship with music.

Thankfully, someone is keeping the Comets on Fire flame alive, and it just so happens to be their frontman, Ethan Miller. Miller has been busy with Howlin' Rain, but managed to find time to start up a proper label (Silver Currents) to release rare live and studio recordings he has been involved with over the years. Rather than simply plopping down a few mp3s, Ethan is doing things right by releasing physical, handmade CDs and cassettes.

One of the standout releases thus far is The Lost Electric Six Organs record. I remember speaking with Ben Chasny briefly after a show in 2003, and he mentioned that he had recorded a whole set of tunes for his Six Organs project while working with his new band, Comets on Fire. Sadly, these recordings were never released/completed. Miller writes that "Chasny even designed a record cover for the LP release of this album but at some point it fell from his grace or just fell to the back of the burner and then off the stove completely, I'm not sure which."

Thankfully, these three tracks have been unearthed and given the proper release thanks to Miller. I have the cassette version myself, and you can see how these recordings offer a different perspective on psychedelia than Chasny was employing in his Six Organs project at the time. He would reunite with his Comets brethren to record Ascent, but this tape is the only recorded version of these songs, and an excellent window into two band's at the height of their creativity.

Get it here:
Six Organs of Admittance  - The Lost Electric Six Organs (2013)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Scenes Of A City, Vol 2: Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius is the largest city and capital of the eastern European country of Lithuania. Situated on the east side of the Baltic Sea, the city used to draw comparisons to Jerusalem for it's once strong Jewish population, since obliterated during WW2. Actually, it's suffered a near constant barrage of invasions for hundreds of years, from the Nazis to the Swedes. Despite this, many beautiful and historic buildings still exist there, making this a city I would love to visit some day. Plus, beet soup is a major staple there. And I fucking love beets.

In 1995, four years after finally securing independence, Vilnius raised the world's first bronze statue of Frank Zappa.

So this must be a crazy city full of crazy music, right?

The Sold Outs - Basement For Me
The Sold Outs are a recently defunct punk band out of Vilnius. Crazy good is the only kind of "crazy" this band delivers. They keep it old school, eschewing the Manic Panic-induced pop sentiment that just about killed punk dead in the mid '90s. Which isn't to say that The Sold Outs aren't melodic. I don't know the tiny sub-genres that the umbrella of punk covers: maybe this is "oi" or maybe this is "hardcore". I'm not so concerned with knowing these slight discrepancies. Instead, I'm concerned with getting "Basement For Me" onto my iPod pronto so I can blast my eardrums with this full throttle punk rock loudly and frequently.

Zageron - S/T
I'm not too familiar with the genre of death metal either. But I think the reason I find Zageron so appealing, is that they're almost a perfect combination of the two death metal bands I liked 20 years ago: Entombed and Obituary. I'm reminded of the former in the background band's delivery, and the latter in the vocals. But whereas the lead singer of Obituary sounded like a pissed-off jaguar, this guy sounds more like an evil Cookie Monster with a bad case of indigestion (too many cookies). The drummer is an absolute juggernaut, veering from full on assault to triplets and waltzes. That's right: death metal waltz.

Banda Dzeta - Short and Loudly

This band is pretty much exactly what I hope to find when searching for music from different countries: traditionalism fused with modern elements. Banda Dzeta do just that by layering Lithuanian folk music with beautiful and schizophrenic horn arrangements, over an incredibly heavy bass guitar. To my ears, it sounds a bit like Les Claypool playing with a John Zorn klezmer/polka group. Mostly instrumental, entirely crazy. Tuba solos!

Bruzgynai - Visur Visada Visaip
Here we have a most bizarre record, comprised entirely of strange digital noises. Track one, for example, sounds like R2D2 having pillow talk with an Atari. I'm happy to share the work of Bruzgynai because it's unique in it's noise-scape experimentalism. At times harsh, at other times quiet and eerie, you might put on "Visur Visada Visaip" while watching Lars von Trier's "Antichrist" and the craziness of both might temper each other, offering an almost pleasant viewing experience. Or you might just have found the ultimate fuel for countless nightmares.

Monday, July 21, 2014

IL CULO DI MARIO - Italian Cucadores (2014)

Lately as a result of the reoccurring segment of our podcast I've been revisiting the odder and more alluring tracks of my music collection for good "lost and found" fodder. In addition, I've been exploring more and more nooks and crannies of music I've not ever heard before, and it has done wonders in invigorating my love seeking out musical oddities and forgotten gems (look forward to Peruvian garage rock of the 1960s at some point). However, this is a more refined task as you keep up the habit, much like acquiring a taste for beer, wine, cigars, bad movies or any other manner of things that are construed as a waste of times my those that don't find the appeal of indulging in them.

Well, one of my pleasures, beyond likely all those mentioned above, is the bizarre, lo-fi, DIY album that mingles in that murky zone between folk, punk and art rock. I've got friends that do this wonderfully, I bet many of you do. The guy that knows philosophy, has read a few novels by Hermann Hesse and some "metaphysical" books, engages in spiritual practices you've not heard of before, and tries often to craft remarks that display wisdom but come of as strange. I love that guy, he is refreshing in his unabashedness and one of the few people you can count on being wholly genuine despite how much they confuse and baffle you.

Now I'm not sure this describes any of the members of IL CULO DI MARIO. How could I, right? It is a submission from Italy after all, but the feeling I got when listening to their album was dead on. The songs are undoubted trying to be weird, to push the listener outside of a comfort zone just to allow them to feel there way back into the songs. This is a similar sensation to watching a surrealist comedy show. There's a uncanniness to it that is unsettling, but at the same time piques your curiosity. You just gotta see where they're going with this, and by the time it is done it is like you've been on board the whole fucking time. It is like it took your head in its hands and uttered, "This is your thing now, dog, best get used to it."

As I was saying, Italian Cucadores is a collection of songs that invoked this feeling perfectly for me. From the slow, somber folk to the vaguely 80s snyth-heavy post-punk and very nostalgic guitar rhythms with fucking insanely sung Italian lyrics on top. They alternate between English and Italian, which I found only makes all the more fantastical to hear, the electronic instruments appear to vanish in the next track, and so many other absurdly pleasing elements. Finally, it was put out by the delightfully named Black Vagina Records. Among their merch you can find a great hat.

To be had here:
IL CULO DI MARIO - Italian Cucadores

Sunday, July 20, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 67

So here is a really mixed selection of EPs, some in genres I have not so much experience in and others basically what many could have come to expect from me. They say it is good to try to new things, I am not so sure, but seeing as I did it already for you and these ones I could get down with in some way you may as well take my word for them.

To be had here:
Killer Ghost! - Sad Boys Magic Club (2014)

A new EP from the fantastic Seattle band Killer Ghost! If you recall when I posted a group of their EPs, this band features musicians I've been down with for a while, as some where in the Fun Guns. Both of these bands are among the most played on my iPod, especially if I have the misfortune to be trapped in a car. To simply explain why I like their lo-fi rock and roll so much would be like trying to explain a taco to a weirdo that never ate one. They're are so many parts one can point out, but the real gist is that they are just the fucking best.

Cozy Catastrophes - Way Last June (2014)

Cozy Catastrophes are an group from Indiana that've got an EP released on the transatlantic label, February Records. They play sweetly composed indie pop that has a sugary quality that reminds me of Australian twee pop bands like the Lucksmiths and the Mabels. They aren't even slightly a rock band like those groups though, but veer into electro-pop with the amount of effected vocals and synthesized beats. The songs are catchy, and I found lead track "Always Say Never To Always " to be especially so.

Macsen - Clara EP 

Mascsen is a new electronic musician, having just released this debut EP of house tunes with help from Mickey Valen. Specifically it was called "tropical house / disco house" in the submission, which seems applicable as far as I can tell. I am not usually a listener of house, but every now and then, weather permitting I can get down with it. So as the heat of this summer has cooled off just enough o making the outdoors less oppressive I've been enjoying this EP on my headphones on a hammock, perhaps not what it is meant for, yet it's good for it.

The Wild Ones - Nasty Habits (2013)

This is something I found kicking around on bandcamp when I couldn't get to sleep. The EP is from last summer, but since when are summer's all the different? Anyhow, it is an all female group for Santa Cruz, CA (which'll seem familiar to another writer on this blog). The songs are short, garage pop tunes with sweet lyrics about infatuation and being fucking cool. If you liked the Silkies EP from back in Grab Bag 57, you'll be down for this more than likely.

Monster Surprise - Hiii! (2014)

Now to round this baby off with something bizarre from Paris, France. Monster Surprise makes psych-pop with an almost creepy vibe that unsettles as much as it entertains at times, but it is overall a charming EP that has some well written tunes dressed up with oddness. I believe they are attempting to be provoking with how they went about composing the tracks, and to that end they succeeded rather well. It is a good start, and could very well be the first steps of a band that could make something freaky and awesome in the vein of Elephant 6 or some other reference I don't have...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Peking Tapes - Oz Do it Better! (2014)

Peking Tapes out of Australia put out some great tunes. If you haven't heard much from the label, this mixtape will give you a window into some of the awesome experimental sounds folks down under have been coming up with. There are a slew of styles and commendable bits emanating from this 14-track compilation, but my favorite is The Grease Arrestor, but I won't fault you if you enjoy another track more.

Get it here:
Peking Tapes - Oz Do it Better! (2014)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Red Pèrill - Planeta Crunch (2014)

I have a large number of club/dance records that can not be danced to. They exist solely for the distorted movements you create when drunk/high and in your room late at night in the absence of company. Many were made by experimental artists with a pop bent (or vice versa), so they are not simply an exercise in creating music that is a challenge; many of them are well recorded and have a sturdy beat to lead your feat, but are just strange enough to make their way off any respectable DJ's set-list. It's a shame really, and while you can find clubs that allow for such tunes on an odd Tuesday evening, they generally keep it boring and predictable.

There is nothing "boring and predictable" about Spain's Red Perill. This record leaps in each and every direction, a sign of a musician not willing to play it safe and stay within the confines of any one genre. Much like those dance records in my collection, the structure and heart of Perill's tracks is pop, but the scattered beats and vocals are anything but conventional. Hell, he reprises the title track of this record with an acid-jazz drenched variation that was my favorite track on the record.

It costs a few Euros, but at least give it a stream on Bandcamp.

Get it here:
Red Pèrill - Planeta Crunch (2014)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A-Natural - Imperfect People (2014)

R&B and Soul music makes up a small amount of the music we have submitted and cover here the SRM, but we are always interested to hear folks doing interesting things with the genre. In fact, of any style of music receiving decent airplay on corporate radio stations, I find much more experimentation in the Hip-Hop world than I do on any of the major "rock" stations. Far to content to play the same classic and Butt rock, major rock radio is a wasteland of piss-poor imitators masquerading as music.

You have not likely heard A-Natural on any major radio station yet, but if things work out as they should, you will soon enough. He is about to drop a full length full of distorted, twisted, and re-imagined beats layered with soulful and smooth harmonies capable of bringing even the most jaded hipster to a rhythmic nod. Nothing gets my heart a flutter like experimentation with its foot clearly in the pop realm. This single has it, and since it is free to download, you have little reason not to give it a spin.

Get it here:
A-natural - Imperfect People (2014)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sonaluna - Face Down in Fabulous (2014)

I happened to miss a friend's wedding in India recently, much to my regret. I have never been to the place, and I am sure it would have been a wild ride both at the event and in any related travel through the country. Along with China, India is often considered a rising force in world politics and culture, with media outlets increasingly looking to make a buck in said countries by appealing to various tastes in music and film. However, not enough time has been spent finding new, youthful projects from the underground that may be making the next big record. Sonaluna's newest release is not that, but it is an interesting glimpse into the electronic music community of Mumbai.

Sonaluna has been making music for soundtracks and films for some time, and has had small bits of fame for her compositions. Minimalist in nature, many sound like a young woman putting proper musical training to work behind newly acquired synthesizers and sequencers. This may not be groundbreaking stuff (though I especially dug the EP's title track), there is enough interesting elements to separate it from its competitors and warrants a listen or two.

Get it here:
Sonaluna - Face Down in Fabulous (2014)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Memory in Plant - This Love (2014)

Memory in Plant are not new to this blog. This Israeli band's single from a few months back received glowing marks here at the site and on the podcast and earned them a spot in the SRM hierarchy.

The band is about to drop a full length record, and they have a new single to boot. More crazy and spastic guitar and beat changes wrapped in a melodic wrapper, then filled with lyrical nugget that could only be described as boundary pushing. When you sing "Another day ends/ Before you give birth/ To this love/ Like a Ballerina in a death's head/ You make me scared," you are definitely not looking for a spot on next year's Eurovision. This is music for the future, so you can take all your retro records and throw them in the trash now.

Get it here:
Memory in Plant - This Love (2014)