Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Comets - Fire The Wake Up Call (2014)

It is always exciting to get a new project from talents musicians I've already had the good fortune to become familiar with through writing this blog, and here we've got not only one musician dedicated readers of the site with know but two. This is a the collaboration of the two Connecticut-dwelling musical frontmen, Cal McNamara of The Gentle Stunts and Tynan Cooney of Werewolf Police. Each of those bands were among my favorite submissions, and I even got to briefly meet Tynan at a live show of the Inclined Plane show, of which my erstwhile roommate is a member, when I was living in Connecticut. Now that you've read of this incestuous knot of bands hopefully you'll get an understanding of the high hopes I had set for Comets. Happily, they met my expectations with their electronic indie pop that blends 80s, instrumental hip-hop and top 40s music into something they've adorably tagged creep pop. If I ever had a club this the sort of songs I'd play, which might not be ideal for a the club-going crowd but seeing them not understand the darkly composed yet dance-able pop tracks would please me to no end. The lyrics absolutely worth listened to, with their absurd subject matter delivered a bizarrely stylish fashion. Watch out though, the songs'll are genuine ear worms just waiting to make a home in head.

To be had here:
Comets - Fire The Wake Up Call

Monday, April 21, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 59

Here's what been coming in lately (for the most part lately at least). A truly international mix again and some really eclectic mixture of genres.

To be had here:
Pueblo People - Sentiero di Guerra (2014)

I know on our last podcast we had some fun at the expense of Italian music, but truth be told I am a huge fan of Italian tunes if not necessarily the disco. Pueblo People is a fine example quality music from the boot-shaped nation that I am digging. This is a 3 track EP but is a longer one nevertheless because of the lengthy tracks. This may sound strange, but it makes me think of a Bright Eyes from 1976, in the best of all possible worlds. The last song is my favorite, an epic, distorted and sprawling number that isn't supremely awesome.

Barry Walker and the Tanks - L.T.D. (2013)

This was the second band I was send by Portland's Snake Handler Recordings, along with Sinthaxis. This group plays alternative country, which is a genre I hold a fondness for despite my intense dislike of modern popular country music, and sadly I post too little of it. It's got what you want out of a good country song, a mournful tale sung in a soulful voice with twangy guitars. I highly recommend the full-length album, but I felt I should share something streamable so what we've got here is the single with two accompanying tracks. Plus the live version of "White Freightliner Blues" is fantastic.

Lady Flint - Lady Flint (2014)

Back to Europe with this EP from Marseille. This French duo plays some rock and roll that is swaggering and sleazy, you know in the complimentary sense. Bluesy, a bit heavy, and full of provocative lyrics it is a minimalistic punk at it's core, but as we know from too many two-piece bands to name it doesn't preclude some amazing and full rock and roll sound which these guys have in spades. If nothing else, check the final, awesomely distorted, very garage final tack "Problems" and I believe you'll be sold.

Wave n400 - Wave n400 (2012)

Another one of the older submissions but something I thought was interesting to share now nonetheless. Based in Bristol these guys were making a strange sort of electronic experimental music with a deeply psychedelic style. It has the slightly unsettling art rock feel of being more sophisticated than perhaps you thought, but really it is playful music with an artsy theme. Again I am gonna recommend the final track here, "Fuss" as it is really pulls together the whole EP and has gotten itself lodged into my head.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Whip Hands - Whip Hands (2012)

As if we've all not heard this enough already, but this is an album I also overlooked in the email submissions from my time in the wilderness (one I hope I am not re-entering by moving back into Detroit). Anyhow, this is a lo-fi garage-ish punk outfit that came out of Portland, Maine. Unlike the quaint, seaside town they hail from, they are rather and rough and tumble sort of rock and roll band for the most part, although they'll surprise you with a slow post-rock tinged song intro. The vocals are howling and the guitar is pretty unrestrained, the punk flows through the tracks, but it isn't a rehash as much as a stripped down and raw formation of the sound for the first several songs. Then it alters into a dark pop, post-whatever avant-garde-ish thing with sorta 80s-like riffs that I really found to be excellent (see "Money Is Honey, (But Licks Stick"). Still lo-fi punk rock throughout, and a good show of it. So sorry for the delay on this one dudes, but I hope you have kept it up.

To be had here:
Whip Hands - Whip Hands

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Home Alone - There's A Light Coming Through (2014)

Home Alone is Torontonian band, a fancy way of saying big city Ontarians. Canadian demonyms seem funny to me despite growing up on the Ontario-Michigan border, but that is beside the point, which is these mesmerizing songs. I have seen some chatter about this album on the internets already, as there should be. To put it crudely the tracks are lo-fi dream pop. However, as with most all good albums it is a combination of the more subtle factors that create the majestic treat for ears. They've got a perfectly balanced electronically graced sound throughout and some impressively delivered, impactful lyrics. Like emotional lullabies for the self-aware adult. Trust, it is some righteous shit that I feel a fool for not listening to weeks ago. In a hope that this won't undercut the creditability of my recommendation (which I assure you is legit as it gets) I'd like to give some props to Spacerockmountain alumnus, Warren Hildebrand, for mastering this album and releasing it on his laudably curated label Orchid Tapes. Check out what else he's been putting out, because the man's got impeccable taste.

To be had here:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sonnyskyes - The Imaginary Friend Ship (2013)

A submission I must shamefully admit went overlooked by myself for too long, however the music I found at the end of the link when I eventually got to it is too good not to share anytime. I wasn't given much information on this release, other than it is self-produced and from Long Beach. What I have been able to deduce with my earholes is that it is some magical lo-fi indie rock that is somewhere between garage, shoegaze and psych-pop. The wall-of-sound is employed tactfully, fuzz deployed liberally and the vocals make me think of half a dozen Elephant 6 bands. The vibe is cheerful and it bears a similar beach punk and renewed Californian sunshine attitude of artists like Wavves and Best Coast, the latter of which he does a cover of. I have been caught in my car more than ever in recent days, and getting my hands on some tunes like this are going a long way in combating the downer that is the unusually cold spring I found in my return to Michigan. Hopefully he's still at it is and we're not too far away from another release.

To be had here:
Sonnyskyes - The Imaginary Friend Ship

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sinthaxis – Bending Space Machine (2013)

Sinthaxis is a Portland, Oregon based band with a connection to Uruguay. First off, I learnt of this record when the label, Snake Handler Recordings were kind enough to send a couple of their vinyl releases to us. They play country-influenced psychedelic folk that feels chilled out and quite blissful with a worldly infusion of sounds. In particular they reminded me of the kraut-folk (it was a thing, trust) German band, Bröselmaschine with the mixture of Eastern, Western and Latin American. One can even detect the subtle influence of spaghetti Western soundtracks like those of Ennio Morricone, in "El Rey Adar" and "Babble on, Baby" especially. The album is diverse in its sound while remaining very true to an overall theme. For example the song "Wusûhihûñ_yǐ (There Where They Stay Over Night)" will demonstrate how a moaning chants and long instrumental wandering are just after the flourish-filled, twaggy guitar-driven tones of "Babble on, Baby." Each of the tracks has a degree of repeating core progressions that provides the same kind of meditative qualities of drone music. It is easy to lose oneself in these songs and forget your worries for a moment, something I could with more of all the time. The album can be streamed on the bands website, links to buy it digitally or physically are there too or you can email Snake Handler ( directly and get a vinyl for $10 plus shipping.

To be had here:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Toads and Mice - S/T (2007)

There's an inordinate amount of great musical talent from the state of Ohio, not the least of which is out of Dayton. My favorite band of all time, Brainiac, is from Dayton. Guided By Voices, the Deal twins... Lou Barlow was born there. To me, that sums up the best of the 90s. So it was no surprise to learn that Toads and Mice, one of my favorite finds in recent memory, also come from the "Little Detroit" of Ohio. Maybe it's something in the water there that makes people so talented... too far from the infamously flammable Cuyahoga River to be some congenital effect from the toxic sludge that flows there. Perhaps it's some industrial chemical from the nearby auto manufacturing plants that give predispositions to musical ass kicking.

Idiotic speculations aside, I don't have a great frame of reference for the brand of rock Toads and Mice play (or... played, I should say, as the band is no longer). They had a distinct '90s flavor and melodic tendencies that might categorize them as "post-rock", bringing to mind other artists of the genre. Imagine an 18-year-old Sam Prekop, on the verge of a mental breakdown, fronting a disjointed  Karate. While not as jazzy as The Sea and Cake or Karate, Toads and Mice employ the subtle and richly decorative guitar lines that largely defined the output of both. Their music is inventive, engaging, and as it steadily unfolds over the course of these 12 songs, I felt myself slightly entranced and more than willing to invest in repeated listens. Easy to do, as all the songs bleed into one another, making this more of a compositional voyage (sans pretensions). Toads and Mice kept it modest, dynamic, and rocking.

I suggest listening to it from start to finish. Rinse and repeat.

1000 stars.

Toads and Mice - S/T

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spirale - Labirintas (2013)

To be blunt, this is me stepping outside of my usual realm music I know something about and have spent countless hours listening to. I haven't ever been indoctrinated in the finer qualities and aspects of metal nor have I many emotional ties to the genre, really only listening to one band that could be called as much, that being Black Sabbath and then only the early stuff. Nevertheless, I felt like it would be good to give this album a listen. While it is still not what I usually would seek out, I guess a perk of being a music reviewer is getting a chance to hear all sorts of shit, and I was not disappointed in selecting Spirale. Sure it is heavy, guitar-blasting and rapid I didn't find to lack many of the qualities I enjoy about both garage and post-rock. Of course, this is more experimental metal with influence of math rock and prog, so I knew that'd be all slanted in my favor, but I don't think I should discount how much I liked this hard and fast rock. It's laced with spoken word bits in various languages and bass lines that made me smile. I was genuinely pumped by the end of it and I would be curious to hear what the those of you more acquainted with metal have to say about it. Does remind me a little of Matmos, Maserati and their ilk but naturally a bit heavier still. Not of usual cup of tea, but one I very well could revisit.

To be had here:
Spirale - Labirintas