Monday, November 24, 2014

The Muzzlers - Wash Your Hands With... (2014)

Garage rock singers often want you to think they live a decadent, destructive live (see our recent conversation on the Brian Jonestown Massacre for example), but few actually breath said lifestyle. Based on the raspy growling from this Chicago band's front-man, I imagine he has downed a few whiskeys and smoked a handful of cigarettes in his day. This is lo-fi, busted and fucked garage rock for the "post-happiness" set (an elequent Bandcamp tag if I have ever seen one). It isn't a free download, but a few streams can't hurt you. And pass the scotch.

Get it here:
The Muzzlers - Wash Your Hands With... (2014)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Scare Quotes - It's Not For Everyone But It's For You (2014)

Scare Quotes is something I am shocked I haven't had a friend recommend to me. Every now and then someone bothers to do that still, despite me nearly never recalling what they've suggested. Not just because I am a dick, it's largely because I'm in a never ending race to listen to everything in my inbox. This is terribly hard to describe to my friends, most of whom never read any of this, so they say recommend something they're digging from source more mainstream (not that those are bad per se) than what I spend my time listening to for Spacerockmountain. Usually these bands and singers emerge as something I couldn't have avoided if I wish, hearing them in grocery stores and bars in trendier neighborhoods. Yet every now and then it seems this paradigm is inverted and it seems the catchy and band that could be justifiably popular gets to me and no one I know has heard of them. This time it came to me in the form of Scare Quotes.

So I sat on this album for over a month, that is how much I can get behind on listening to submissions. Yet when I put on the album after it nagging stared me down in the browser app on my phone for a couple weeks I wasn't paying attention too closely until second track, "High Life," started. Shit changed right then. The song remarkably easy to listen to, with the vocals forward and catchy pop patterns. The next track, "Hit the Highway," only reinforced my conception that this could very well become popular, as did "Burning Life" and "Faded Black T-Shirt." However, rather the eclectic songwriting takes turns with "Frozen Grapes" and "Time Enough at Last," which expose the album's wonderful truth. This is a bedroom project really, done by at home by musician Nick Ammerman, formerly of Advance Base, with a four-track recorder. Certainly the album is lo-fi, however it's employed with apparent skill and purpose. The album couldn't be as warm and inviting if it was produced more sophisticatedly. Hopefully these songs with get my traction and I'll hear them somewhere in my day-to-day, but even if they don't at least we got to hear them now.

To be had here:
Scare Quotes - It's Not For Everyone But It's For You

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Space Rock Mountain Film Series - "DIG!"

For the next episode of the podcast, we will be looking at the seminal documentary "DIG!" and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Surely, you have seen the film, but if you havent here it is in full below. Contact us and tell us what you think of the film and the band in question. Did this make you want to go out and join a band like it did the Gorlons? Did you come to love garage revival, or hate it? We want to know!

Dig! from Retazovvorks on Vimeo.

EP Grab Bag vol. 81

More EPs, pilgrims. If you can believe it I had all these in the queue when I posted the last Grab Bag less than a week ago. Had to split it up so as to not overwhelm myself and not have a ten EP long post. So here is the rest of what I got sent from around the world lately, two British bands, a French one and an Australian soundsmith.

To be had here:

London's Creature Kingdom is a marvelous example of fuzzed out garage rock. The band's female vocalist delivers the lyrics are a higher fidelity that many of the lo-fi rock acts I share, but there is a perfectly good reason for that. Her voice is alluringly mesmerizing. Sure, you've heard garage rock with strong a strong female lead, yet I argue this is has something special in how she sultry and indifferent.In fact, I dare you not to develop a fascination with the whole sound that Creature Kingdom produced after the first listen.

A quite brief EP full of extremely noisy and distorted hardcore garage punk from Derby, United Kingdom. Really the whole thing is a mere five minutes, but they are some intense minutes. Unknowingly I threw this EP on first thing upon getting up one morning to have my ears blown apart as I made my coffee. I must be some kind of a masochistic as I liked it enough to repeatedly hear it a few more times before I even finished my second cup of joe. 

This is the second time we've featured Carton Sonore, but last time it was in conjunction with Broken Jokes when they put out something via our Parisian friend's label, With A Messy Head. So here they are again with a new two song EP of experimental lo-fi drone-noise. Despite being only 2 tracks it is still considerably longer than the UNQUALIFIED NURSE EP, and while still noisy it is very far from hardcore. It is minimalistic and ambient, with light Casio and microphone sounds that aren't easy to describe. Just hear it and feel funny.

Makee is the moniker of a musician from Perth, Western Australia otherwise known as David Cavalli. I gather from the promo info that this dude lost most of his music in a hard drive crash and so what we're getting to enjoy is his attempt to rebuild his compositions. Regardless of all the preambles, the actually songs are fucking chill. They're smooth electronic tunes that he's tagged as "dreamtronica," a term I am sure is of pretty fresh coinage. The songs have an airy ephemeral tone while retaining a solid rhythm. I really found myself liking the track called "tone" with the layering of elements and that very cool bass and psychedelic guitar licks. It's been released through the very awesome Australian label, Hidden Shoal, which if you're not familiar with you should look into.

Additionally, there's a little back story as to how I got my hands on this EP. After receiving an email that explain they want to send my a physical copy, which I am totally cool with, but I was surprised to see when I finally got my hands on it that the package had a miniature bible in it with the pages cut out to hold an SD card inside. Of course being a barely functional adult I didn't have a working SD card reader so I hopped in my car and had to ask my friend to tell me what was in this mysterious package. Sure, I could have hunted it down online from clues and the initial email, but if someone takes a knife to the bible to give you music from Australia, you use the fucking SD card.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

ScotDrakula - SCOTDRAKULA (2014)

This self-titled full-length is the third from the Melbourne garage rockers known as ScotDrakula, after having put out 2012's BURNER and 2011's CRACKSTREGTH. Having appreciated those albums thoroughly I was understandably quite jazzed to see they've got something new to hear. Naturally, I am a very biased man, and like to express my opinions, otherwise I'd not have a music blog at all. Yet it is never a forgone conclusion that a follow-up will be as enjoyable as the earlier work. This is something we all know all too well, I'm sure. Yet when a band does it right, when it seems from the first listen that the latest album could very well be your new jam it is downright invigorating.

The songs aren't all that complex on SCOTDRAKULA. They needn't be, as they are garage rock. However, they are a stylized garage rock. The lead vocals of the band are of a sort that they're hardly comparable to other bands I've been posting over the years nor one's I can recall off the top of my head. And I don't mean Australian accented, he sings with something of an affected tone and a mild lisp. I like it a whole lot, and I don't know or care why. Still can't understand him well even on a few rehearings, gonna need more listens for that as it should be. The other thing I like about how ScotDrakula makes music is how it doesn't need to be intense, sometimes having a jaunty pop pace that is very charming. However, it can get fast as necessary or could just as easily slide into psychedelia. The composition is fantastic and the songs beg to be reheard. So you'll check out what these Australians are up to if you know what is good for you.

To be had here:
ScotDrakula -  SCOTDRAKULA

P.S. While the name surely has a vampiric theme, they don't seem to dress up as nosferatu. So lucky for our boy Elvis Dracula, I think he's got that game down, at least in this decade... we'll keep this 90s Spanish band from Gijón to ourselves: Doctor Explosion - Dracula Yé-Yé.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bruiser Queen - Sweet Static (2014)

It feels like it has been too long since I have written up a Midwestern garage rock album. Not that I mind getting all the great stuff from Britain, France, Greece and elsewhere, but I was raised on the lo-fi sounds of these largely dull plains of grain crops with pockets of decayed industry. Of course I was raised in a much smaller satellite of Detroit (and just as plausibly Flint, as they're equidistance from my hometown) and it was still suffering from that same Midwestern plights of modern streamlined manufacturing, sprawling suburbs and racial division. And although I've never gotten the opportunity to visit St. Louis it isn't a leap in imagination to see how these are at work in that city like they are here in Michigan. A perhaps quite possibly because of these hardships, misunderstandings and struggle against what can appear to be a deepening decline there's a tremendous artistic outlet. The art takes many forms, but I'm always thankful that a particularly common medium is that of rock and roll and getting to savor many garage rock bands that form, tour, record and ultimately disband in this region.

Bruiser Queen falls very squarely in this tradition, with undeniable likeness to many bands I remember from my adolescence like K.O. and the Knockouts, the Fondas, the Detroit Cobras and Demolition Doll Rods. Now these references might've lost many readers, but all you need know is they were Detroit garage rock bands with awesome female leads, heavily distorted guitars and rhythmically pounding drums. I loved them all and when I hear more music that take off from a similar place with a likewise sound I am excited to hear it. So in much the same way I found the Gorlons, Blaire Alise & The Bombshells and Leggy to be so fantastic, Bruiser Queen has in turn captured my attention. So, yes Bruiser Queen is a two-piece from St. Louis with a female singer that truly knows how to belt out songs, but the production value of the songs is more intensive than one the older references I've made, and the very bass-laden distortion and fast-paced playing can be compared to Bass Drum of Death. Moreover her singing style, like that of Leggy, is like an amped up version Swedish garage rockers, by which I mean the words are loud but clear like Sahara Hotnights and the Hellacopters (seriously I am not trying to be pretentious, just spent too much time listening to garage rock. At least I avoided mentioning how Turbonegro Hates the Kids until now). Basically, what I could not say briefly was that Sweet Static is an excellent garage rock album and you should check it out.

To be had here:
Bruiser Queen - Sweet Static

Saturday, November 15, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 80

So here is a very psychedelic heavy mix of EPs, and percentage-wise a good deal British as well. I am getting so fucking many EPs in lately that if you haven't seen the one you sent in surface yet it is that I am combing through the backlog while not trying to ignore the full-lengths either (which obviously take more time to hear). Anyhow, I might even need to do two Grab Bags in the same week to get all of them out, but I can only hear so many in so many days, time being as it is with the physics, laws of nature and so on. These are what I got to hearing first, so they're in no particular order.

To be had here:
Yosa Buson - Dark Noontide (2014)

The triumphant return of Yosa Buson with a new three track EP of noisy experimentation. Blurring psychedelic and progressive aspects together they've produced pleasurably strange as well as starkly abrupt songs. Plus there's the short folk track that is the title song that they nailed the fuck out of. So throw some bones to Old Monster Records and remember that our own darling Elvis Dracula, in his slightly less vampiric persona, is a member of this Californian outfit.

Wett Nurse - Hissy Fit (2014)

Long time follow blogger, Ongakubaka, has made the leap into running a small label. He's not the first of my blogging colleagues to do so, but more the merrier and my faith in his taste is unshakable (for we often post the same things, and what else I find over there is impeccable). Wett Nurse is the first band one this new label and is a fantastic garage rock band making sensationally loud and lo-fi tunes. Everything about it is what you'd hope for a collaboration of a garage band and an underground music blogger. And that organ fucking rocks.

Carl Lewis: Track and Field - Whoever Wins, We All Lose (2014)

A folk punk band from the United Kingdom. I am pretty down with that concept right from the get-go. Folk punk does hold a special place for me, it being the most enjoyable sort of show to me attend despite my decidedly not punk personal style. So as you hear these pessimistic and cheeky, witty lyrics think of kids with black patches bearing white lettering, no leased dogs wandering around and an excessive amount of cigarette smoke.  Excellent stuff and liberating to hear the sweet sound of nihilism.

qualchan. - vertumnus. (2014)

This is a sound collage artist that I've shared previously in a Grab Bag, who is back with another two of schizophrenic samplings. The experience of hearing all these odd instrumental tidbits strung together out of context and with the fidelity reduced creates a very unusual reaction for me. All I can imagine is a dude chilling by an old boxy stereo ready to punch the record button on the tape deck as soon as something weird comes on, for some 10 to 25 seconds and then back to waiting. I am oddly jealous of this fictitious man, and that provides some insight as to what sort of crazy rich person I would make.

Our pal Brin and his buddies are back at it again, releasing another EP from their most superior Bristol-based psychedelic band, White Owl. I hope you heard the last two EPs, as you're sorely missing out if you haven't yet. This new effort holds up the high standard of the bluesy, washed out psych sound that've made all the White Owl songs fucking awesome. I find that all these EPs have a fine blend of the 60s psychedelic sound with the more modern lo-fi rock, and they invoke many happy memories of hearing British Invasion songs as a music pirating younger man. Nevertheless, I find this band unique and fresh in their style as those motherfuckers didn't buzzed like this then.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Basement Demons - Baby Teeth (2014)

The Basement Demons are the sort of band that grabs your interest for what it is as much as what they sound like. What we've got here something akin to The Shaggs. If you're unfamiliar with the Shaggs I'd suggest you get to reading up on it, it is one of those wonderful underground phenomenons of rock music history. However, the basic concept was a father that had his four reluctant and untrained daughters form a band, envisioning them to become a famous act like he was living in a real-world Partirage Family. It didn't work out for him, but the band had some undeniable appeal with their poorly timed playing and bizarre singing.

While in what I hope and imagine is a less coercive fashion than the Shaggs, another family band was formed for a recording session. The impromptu Calgary band was made by a fella called Seth, a member of the SRM featured Soft Cure, who was joined by his younger sister and two female cousins. At the time they were 18, 7, 10 and 13 years old respectively. He said the girls had no experience using the instruments before and they recorded in a just a couple of days. The results are an extremely lo-fi set of tracks, so low is the production it easily crosses into the realm of no wave. Noisy, sludgy and filled with the screams and howls of young ladies the albums doesn't even attempt the pop sound at which the Shaggs faltered so infamously. Rather what we have are unadulterated noise rock experiments from the unpretentious and curious minds and unrefined handiwork of a mostly untrained musicians. It most assuredly has the outsider art appeal that many a young indie music fan explores for as they've grown sick of radio pop hits. Be warned there is no shortage of girl screams in the "songs," so keep your finger need the volume nob if you're gonna blast the album.

To be had here:
The Basement Demons - Baby Teeth

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hierofante Púrpura - A Sutil Arte de Esculhambar Música Alheia (2014)

Hierofante Púrpura are a Brazilian psychedelic band, residents of Mogi Das Cruzes near to the city of São Paulo. When the sent in the album that didn't include anything more than that for biographical information. This is fine by me, as the songs they have written and selectively chosen to cover provide a wonderful psychedelic experience without need of addendums. 

A Sutil Arte de Esculhambar Música Alheia, which I was able to roughly translate as "the subtle art of the oblivious music skunk" or some permutation thereof (very likely way off on that), is a collection of psychedelic originals and covers. Of the handful of covers two of them were recognizable easily as one's of the legendary Yo La Tango and the other is from a particular favorite garage rock band of mine, Boston's Mr. Airplane Man. Not sure how they thought to make the under 4 minute track, "I Don't Know Why," into a nearly 7 minute meandering, trippy soundscape, but I found it to be delightful. Furthermore, I wasn't aware of the band Againe, who they covered, but Hierofante Púrpura's version of the tune is most excellent. As for their own compositions, they varied while not straying too far from a sedated psychedelic core. For long stretches they're instrumental and when vocals to appear they're not always singing any clear words at all. The joy is in how the guitars and drums meld into an atmosphere bliss, sometimes dipping toward folk (check the song "A Camisa Vermelha Sou Eu" for a particularly fine example) or at others they veer a bit to folksy space rock of the Jackie-O Motherfucker or Eternal Tapestry variety. These South Americans are really sending in some impressive music lately, and Hierofante Púrpura isn't the least among them by far.

To be had here:
Hierofante Púrpura - A Sutil Arte de Esculhambar Música Alheia