Monday, February 8, 2016

Black Spring / The Engineer - Split Cassette (2015)

Here's something I nearly lost in the shuffle. A submission from England from a few months ago that I listened to and meant to write up speedily, but as you can witness I failed utterly at that. It is a split release, a no wave rock outfit called Black Spring and a project called The Engineer. The reason I am posting it here rather than in a Grab Bag despite it have only two tracks is that each of the tracks are over 19 minutes long, so it is a damn full-length so far as I am concerned. They're fucking weird, meandering and spooky experimentations of sound. Music that is disorientating strange, something that is worth taking the time to soak in occasionally. Noise, reverb and all manner of dissonance are the hallmarks of the track from Black Spring. On the other hand the Engineer is more structured, and while still very heavily low fidelity, it has eerily lovely singing and righteous organ playing. Also a loud clanging that reoccurs frequently, but I didn't mind that. Both of these artists are on a small English label run by a fella known as Milton Keyes, Monocreo.

To be had here:
Black Spring / The Engineer

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Steady Lean - FLAT JAMBS (2015)

I found this album not through the usual submissions but looking to a label that had released a previously submitted album, I believe by the South Korea-based American Timothy Cushing. The label itself is called Laughable Recordings, who've listed themselves as being from Kennebunk. Because this is not a submission I've got even less info that usual (though my favorite submission email had nothing other than a link and that he worked a Toys R' Us in California). So not having shit to go on about who made this I am just gonna say what I thought of the songs.

Basically, I was way into these tunes. It's a trippy and weird album full of noisy and incredibly washed out folk rock loaded with unexpected yet surprisingly smooth transitions. I gotta say I love the song "Completely Terrified" because it hits all the notes of odd and pleasant so perfectly well. I mean there's whistling, and not the annoying kind your co-worker does that causes unimaginable rage but the classy Western soundtrack kind. All layered with guitars, drums and humming vocals that drip of low fidelity. This isn't to diminish any of the other tracks, in fact the opening song "Clouds Bled The Rain" is what captivated me initially. A damn fine album all around.

To be had here:
Steady Lean - FLAT JAMBS

Monday, January 25, 2016

Hollow Hand - Ancestral Lands (2015)

In a rambling sort of fashion I found myself reading wikipedia links from one page to another, something I'm sure we've all experienced. Today I found myself looking into illegal radio operations in the North Sea. You know, the type that they installed into wartime facilities miles afar into the ocean waters that British government had abandoned. This was even done by the respectable lunatic, Screaming Lord Scutch. All this got me nostalgic British music of the 60s. However, as a good anarchist will tell you nostalgia is not a terribly productive emotion, so we're gonna hear something new that just rings of 60s England.

Hollow Hand are indeed from England, from the capital of London at that. They've managed to hook up with the illustrious blog-turned-label Ongakubaka Records and put out an album on cassette on the 8th of this month. I am, as always, reliably tardy in delivering the news. Yet the tunes sound as good as ever despite my lack of punctuality. As I hinted at before, the album has a retro 60s psychedelic style, veering heavily into the harmonizing folksy kind, and not without a healthy share of Eastern instrumentation to be heard. Like much subtle and non-bombastic albums, it is rewarding to give it a few listens. Upon hearing all the nuances of the music and the exacting nature of the vocals it really begins to take on a life of its own within the listener's imagination. As usual for picks from Ongakubaka it is undoubtedly an album worthy of spending time with.

Finally, that album art is right up my alley. Hardly gets better than early modern religious paintings or iconography. After all, the background of this blog as been our boy Hieronymus Bosch for years.

To be had here:
Hollow Hand - Ancestral Lands

Sunday, January 17, 2016

EP Grab Bag vol. 108

Another Grab Bag, I told you I had a lot of submissions to get through. Here is a pretty stellar collection of mostly returning bands. Always good to check in and hear the new stuff.

To be had here:
Unqualified Nurse - Put It On The Line (2015)

A new EP from Derby's intensely low fidelity rockers, Unqualified Nurse. The tracks are extremely short, something I've come to expect from them having shared their prior EPs and their full-length, Let Snarl. Likewise the highly blown out reverb and break-neck pace of the hollering vocals remain. Whenever I start listening to Unqualified Nurse I imagine having bitten off more lo-fi than I can chew, but it takes but one song for me to be fully hypnotized by the noisy bliss.

Ed Feels - Toast (2015)

A melancholic Virginian making fuzzy, lo-fi bedroom recordings that have qualities of emo, folk and indie pop. The songs have an unpolished, lo-fi charm that is endearing yet also unsettling in the haunting eeriness it captures. Beautifully done, I don't think I would have tried to shine it up either, great as it is. Very much recommended for those that enjoyed Joplin Rice, Tim Cushing, C. M. Slenko or the myriad of other folksy bedroom artists featured lately. This EP was released by the small NYC-based label, House Pet Records.

Goivinho - Segundo Nome (2016)

A returning Brazilian musician, formerly released music under the moniker Fogo Amigo, but now going by Giovinho. Whatever name he wants to go by is fine by me, just so long as he keeps making top notch compositions. Moreover, Segundo Nome is one of those rare time I get to write about space rock on Spacerockmoutain. All instrumental and full of bizarre electronic effects and beats these tracks live up to the otherwordliness of the genre.

Les Princes du Rock - La Tendresse (2015)

About a year ago I posted an album by the French garage rockers, the aptly named Les Princes du Rock. They're back with a fresh EP of psychedelic garage. No point is beating around the bush, I thought this was is a remarkable feat of rock and roll. Exactly the sort of fast, loud and righteous garage I've come to anticipate from France. I believe some of the very best of the genre I've heard in the last several years come from that country, and this is EP re-affirms that notion.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Eddie Golden III - Elevator (2015)

There's nothing better than getting around to hearing a new album just when the mood strikes you for the particular sort of tunes it's supplying. I've been a half-awake zombie in a hungover daze all day and of all the remedies I'd resorted to nothing is working as well as Eddie Golden III's psychedelic pop stylings.

You might have already heard Eddie Golden III before, when we was a member of the band called the Guru, whose album I wrote up a while back. Here he's ventured off into solo work, and seems to have gotten himself good and lost in the hazy world of psych-pop. It is like he blended a fantastic array of influences from Beach Boys vocals and whimsical lyrics to the oddities of 90s E6 to reverberated and warped 80s dance. Basically bedroom pop at its best: mildly confusing, engagingly non-linear and incredibly adorable. I can't really explain it too well, but every part of this albums seems familiar, yet none of it seems to fit into a pattern I recognize. Sorta like seeing a flag with all the colors you know but none of the correct shapes. A completely refreshing shuffling of pop cliches and catchy melodies.

To be had here:
Eddie Golden III -  Elevator

Monday, January 11, 2016

EP Grab Bag vol. 107

So the new computer is doing as well as I'd hoped it might. I already have to take it in for maintenance. This has made writing the blog harder, as well as just listening to music more difficult. Trying my damnest at it though. So the super full in inbox yielded these, and if your band isn't in there don't worry, I got enough for five Grab Bags. I will dole it out as I can.

To be had here:
This Heel - This Heel III (2015)

As then title of this EP indicates this is the third in a series of EPs from the Swedish outfit called This Heel, headed by one Martin M Sjöstrand. The tone of each of these EPs have varied, with the first having a garagey lo-fi feel, the second loungey pop, and finally we've arrived at psych-pop. Upbeat and quick, the third This Heel is the one that will seem the most immediately familiar to the listen of 90s indie pop. There's some truly awesome use of lyrics and building psychedelic progression, especially in songs like "Problem on Earth" and "Dragon Hiss."

indoor/indoor - one of these days (2015)

A Virginian band that makes bedroom-style indie pop. Lo-fi and not overly complex, yet markedly evocative in its upbeat expression of melancholy. They pull of that pleasant and meaningful juxtaposition of happy songs with sad meanings. The title track, "One of these Days," does stand out to me as the most exceptional of the three songs on this EP. That said, the there's not a moment I wasn't enjoying while listening to it. I hope they do make the full-length they hint on the the bandcamp page.

Engine Summer - BUZZ DRAINED (2015)

From Chicago, a band making psychedelic punk, or something they've tagged as 'groovegaze.' I gotta give them points for being the first time I've seen that genre tag used. To my hears it is somewhere between new wave, 90s noise rock, psych-pop and a touch of post-rock. I find that a compelling combination, but even if you don't just imagine a more irreverent Gang of Four. Who doesn't want to check that out? The songs are well-structured and very entertaining. These guys may be worth paying attention to.

Incesto Andar -Deusverno (2015)

A Brazilian band from the city of Sorocaba in the state of São Paulo. Not a very long affair, with only a couple of tracks. They do patch a punch however, being intense lo-fi grunge-hardcore rock, yet somehow devoid of the screaming lyrics that I would expect of a North American band playing such music. Not that they haven't got lyrics, it is just that they sing they notably well and calmer than I imagined. Both songs are stellar, worth the 10 minutes for sure. The EP was put out by the Rio de Janeiro label, Bichano Records.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Here Come the Fuzz - Cut Loose (2015)

I am in the midst of a recovery brought on the excesses of New Years celebrations followed immediately by the wedding of one of my oldest friends, along with my brother's birthday and Christmas right before those events. Got so bad I developed tinnitus for three days, something I do not recommend whatsoever. Still experiencing the world in a bit of a delirious haze and sleeping an inordinately large portion of the day away. Yet somehow I knew if I looked around in the inbox I'd find some restorative low fidelity music to soothe my healing ears and brain.

Cincinnati's Here Come the Fuzz filled my self-prescription for lo-fi superbly. Stripped down Midwestern style garage rock through and through, they've managed to do what all fine garage rockers aim for: reinventing by way of revival. Or I suppose you could say making something familiar but different. The songs are short, as you may expect from fuzzy garage, however they vary between the quite bluesy and the spacey psychedelic extremes allowed within the genre. Gives the album addition texture and a sort of arc to listen for during repeat listens.

Also, it seems one half of Here Come the Fuzz, a fellow called Chris Karnes, has been featured in on the blog before albeit with his previous band known as Northwest Ordinance. I had nearly forgotten about that album but I'm quite happy to have gotten a chance to rediscover it.

To be had here:
Here Come the Fuzz - Cut Loose

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Chick Quest - Vs. Galore (2015)

Here's a band from Vienna who's already begun to garner some attention from far more popular outlets than our tiny blog, however I felt the deserve all the mentions that can muster because it's very much the song of music I wouldn't mind hearing circulation more widely. Beginning as a two-piece called Van Lee Cliff, you know after the actor that played opposite Clint Eastwood in those legendary spaghetti westerns, and since then they've added more players while keeping the western's iconic soundtrack as an inspiration. However, western soundtracks is not the only, nor arguably the main influence on Chick Quest's full-length debut. More accurately the sound is that of a post-modern combination of a variety of revival styles from garage rock, surf, western and bass rhythms of dance-punk a la Gang of Four. It all makes for fine listening.

I feel I'd be remiss without mention by way of a footnote the Michigan musicians that release music as Lasso who has some of the same western influences and impulse to combine genres yet came out with a very difficult but complimentary sound to Chick Quest. So Check them out as well.

To be had here:
Chick Quest - Vs. Galore

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Oscar Key Sung - Tape Voice EP (2012)

Still unsure about seeing the new Star Wars. I just get immediately suspicious of anything cultural that I feel is being shoved in my face. Like Adele, I don't know her music but I know I don't like it. Just think about this for a second: Hollywood will be flogging the jedi cash cow for the rest of your life on this planet. We will never be free from the question, "Have you seen the new Star Wars?" Never free from storm troopers advancing into department store television advertisements.

Not necessarily wanting to be left out of a cultural phenomenon, while not having the inclination to participate, I've decided to carry a standardized response to the "Have you seen the new Star Wars movie" question... which is "YEAH I SAW IT AND IT WAS COMPLETE GARBAGE"... just so it appears that I'm at least trying to keep up with things of cultural relevance, while encouraging those who ask to never repeat the question. Bah humbug.

I'm much more inclined to champion and gush over the great music of obscure folks who I think should be less obscure. For example, I was pleasantly surprised by this EP from Melbourne-based Oscar Key Sung. He seems to really have a knack using his voice as an instrument and not just a vehicle for delivering lyrics. Medulla-era Björk immediately comes to mind. The glitch-synth-drum loop elements suggest a Prefuse 73 influence. It's like Max Tundra - but instead of making you feel weird it makes you feel the mood for sexy times.

Free download, 4 songs.

Oscar Key Sung - Tape Voice EP

Sunday, December 20, 2015

C. M. Slenko - Royal Blue Days (2015)

The newest album from the folk/anti-folk musician C.M. Slenko, also called Charlie Slenko. Last year Slenko had a double release in September, issuing both a full length Rented Rooms and an EP Moonlight Veneration. The former being a wonderful example of melancholy contemporary folk music and the latter being a far noisier and psychedelic experimentation. These two modes he was simultaneously exploring then have now found a near equal expression in Royal Blue Days. Tracks such as "Pale Moon," "Short Circuit, Long Night...," and "Kings" are charming, emotional folk songs while others like "Somnambulant | Still" and "Clarion, Carillon / Carrion" are examples of droning anti-folk. Perhaps even more compelling are the songs that blend these two forms, having beautiful lyric and folksy guitar with noise erupting or droning seamlessly along side. Check "Not Just Angels" or "Shallow" to hear what I mean by this. A entertaining and lovely display of the power musical juxtaposition. Absolutely the sort of album that is most rewarding to hear from beginning to end with devoted attention. 

Royal Blue Days has been released by Slenko's own Sioux Trails label, which has issued some really notable music including previously featured albums by Galápagos Finches and Glass Men. There is a bunch more on there I've been meaning to get to as well that look super promising and I believe they're all free to download.

To be had here:
C. M. Slenko - Royal Blue Days