Wednesday, February 25, 2015

No Babies - S/T (2011)

Life throws curve balls, there's no doubt about that. There's no sense in trying to brace yourself for this beforehand, however, just be on the look out and take things as they come. Without getting into specifics (because you come here to find out about music and not be burdened with someone else's dirty laundry) let's just say the irony of studying a chapter on muscle contractions the same week a good friend has an unexpected grand mal seizure in your living room... that's an irony of life you can not only keep but you can shove it far up your ass.

Seizures aren't even train-wreck-level of interesting to watch, just plain fucking scary. Though, as it turns out, relatively harmless (refrain from putting something in between their teeth! See a doctor!)

Read more about seizures here.

So, in these times, I turn to chaotic music to give my inner chaos a sounding board by which it may have a partner to dance with. 

Thank you, Oakland's No Babies. 

Noisy, disarticulated skronk. A perfect soundtrack for the moments when you get cut off in traffic by some shitmonger driving a hummer with a license plate that reads "Free Tibet". When the universe throws shit into the fan you innocently used to cool yourself from the heat of the daily grind. The bee in your beer. The ice in your underwear. You get what I'm saying? Ugh, I need to sleep. If there are bedbugs in your sheets, No Babies are the perfect lullaby.

10 songs, name your price.

No Babies - S/T

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Scenes of a City, Vol. 9: Montréal, QC

Since relocating to the Pacific Northwest over 10 years ago, I've gotten soft about winter. The shortest days of the year are mild here, albeit a bit soggy. During the rare snowfall, even if it only amounts to an inch, I join fellow Portlanders as we collectively throw our hands up in the air and shout, "Fuck it ...can't drive!" And the city immediately shuts down (except for bars, of course).

That said, if I were mysteriously handed an opportunity to live anywhere tomorrow, I would likely choose cold and snowy Montreal. This is for a number of reasons. First off, I love maple syrup. I put that shit on eggs and pizza. Hell, I love eating food in general, and Montreal has the highest number of restaurants per capita in all of Canada, and is second only to New York City in all of North America. I've always said, if I were mysteriously handed an opportunity to be buried by a food, I'd want that food to be poutine.

Aside from going out to eat, I love going to shows, and Montreal seems to have no shortage of great rock bands at the moment. Some Montreal bands, recently covered here on Spacerockmountain, have ended up being my favorite things to listen to. These include Each Other, Jesuslesfilles, Small Teeth, and even though they're from Ottawa I'll throw in Grime Kings. It's an impressive roster and proves to me that Montreal is currently undergoing some indie-garage-psych rock renaissance... so let's dive in and see who else is in the mix.

Dories - Stripped
The breed of guitar-based indie rock that Dories master is not uncommon to other Canadian bands, I've found, particularly in Montreal and, perhaps, Calgary. Listeners might notice two, almost
meandering, guitar lines picking single notes over bass lines. The effect is almost wind chime-esque. And while overall songs are consonant, they are peppered with bits of disharmony. Dories play sophisticated and humble indie rock songs that eschew easy classification but do bring to my mind guitar-strong indie bands of the 90's like Polvo. "Small Circles" and "Caspar" are highlights.

Telstar Drugs - Weather Underground
Telstar Drugs are another band who employ the two guitar plucking single note aesthetic. Originally from Calgary, they seem to carry with them thicker, emotive sound akin to on of the best bands of the past decade, Women, who were also from Calgary. Telstar Drugs entire catalogue is fantastic and worthy of download, and I believe it's all free. This, their most recent release, is two of their strongest songs. Probably the one band from this whole lot that I will keep the keenest of eyes upon.

Future States - EP
A 5 piece with members from both Montreal and Ottawa, Future States harken more to the past states of indie rock, with songs reminiscent of other eastern Canadian bands from that recently bygone era, like Broken Social Scene and The Unicorns. 10 years ago, that's what I loved to listen to, so I immediately felt a kinship with this 5 song offering. Very melodic stuff, with excellent vocal harmonies to boot. While it's representative of that icy and beautiful Canadian indie pop, there are also sips of a sunny and effervescent Californian daydream; a brief departure from your winter.

Un Blonde - Habit Anything
Un Blonde is the solo work of Jean-Sebastien Audet. His music is lo-fi, experimental pop. These songs were actually recorded during breaks from recording his more proper full length called "Tenet". He writes in the notes for this EP that they are "frames of immediate expression", which I like, having been a songwriter in a previous life and remembering how some of the most interesting things happen when you relax expectations, relinquish control, and piss against the wind. Not that this is free jazz... free pop, maybe. From what I can tell he's well respected in the community, and getting some good gigs. Always nice to hear an artist playing music.

EDIT: I didn't do my homework! Turns out that Dories, Telstar Drugs, and Un Blonde are all connected and on the same label, called Egg Paper Factory.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Remy Olandrusso - MPRSSNS F FRC (2014)

Tags on bandcamp are a funny thing. They can be anything the poster of the album decides naturally, and sometimes it they are as vague as can it can fucking be and other times they're beyond genre descriptors, to the point of substituting for a biography of the artist in a backward fashion. Remy Olandrusso has done just that by tagging this album with phrases like "growing up on John Carpenter" and "suspect cultural appropriation." In many ways they tells me more of what to listen for than any words like experimental or drone, though this album can be called both of those. The best tag by far is "unhealthy oulipo obsession," which for a reformed used bookseller and fan of Queneau and Calvino is a sediment I can relate to all too well.

On first impression I believed this would be a math rock album, as it was submitted due to the musician noticing his friends, fellow Chicago-based fellas of Imelda Marcos, were written up. While there certainly is some mathiness to the album it isn't an assault of the angular guitar, rather a step more out into the bizarre.  MPRSSNS F FRC very well could be the soundtrack to a creepy Carpenter-esque film. A weird arthouse one, but I'm sure you'll hear the cinematic quality in the mood of these songs. Equally surreal, anxious and hypnotic. It's incredibly hard to categorize all the different sounds he's layered upon each other, but they are woven in a entirely compelling way. To top it all of they've got the closest thing I can imagine to a ransom note cut out of magazine print I've seen for track titles, such as delightfully named "th3 h1v3 s3nt1n3ls r1s3 t0 sh4rp3n th31r bl4d3s." It might not be recommended to listen to it alone in the dark but I did it and felt fine.

To be had here:
Remy Olandrusso - MPRSSNS F FRC

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Groms - Drowning (2015)

Here is another fine San Diego band to grind up and smoke in your pipe. Groms play fuzzy, lo-fi garage rock; the kind of stuff that we play extensively here and that requires little else in the way of description. What these kids do right is inject a fine dose of fun and playfulness into their set. Light and airy guitars with subtle synth lines and drunken, skuzzy vocals make this a winner.

They just put this out on cassette via Wiener Records and played a release show at the awesome M-Theory Records in San Diego. Bring this to the next Bill Cosby live appearance and blast it on your boom box.

Get it here:
Groms - Drowning (2015)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

SODA lite - Slice of Life (2015)

Vaporwave is a genre/concept I am very much still wrapping my mind around. This isn't the first time I've had this sort of music on the blog, in fact I have had it on here long before I knew what it was all about. In fact, I don't think there's is, nor truly could be, a unifying artistic message in vaporwave. What is shared by musicians producing it is a knowledge of new age easy-listening radio songs, electronic dance music and nostalgia-provoked styles like chillwave/glo-fi. However, this can be a pastiche, a parody or some creative admixture of both these notions.

The Melbourne-based musician using the moniker of SODA lite surely has his own opinions on what he's trying to say with this album, but this blog is about my conjecturing ultimately. Firstly, no matter what intentions were involved, I genuinely think these tunes are pretty fucking sweet. Slice of Life bears many similarities to albums I've written up before such as Candy Claws, Beat Connection's Surf Noir EP, even Monster Rally. Ephemeral electronic music with usual beats and sounds culled from what to seems to be the listener's own hazy memories. It is genius really and it provides that feeling I get when reading the first chapters of a book by a great writer. The turf is often familiar but all the details are distorted and the insights skewed. What makes SODA lite different is the context it has pulled its inspiration, namely that new age and easy-listening yuppie sort of music I mentioned at the top of this write-up. Yet by picking it apart and reconstituting it SODA lite as given it an enticing significance that new age shit always lacked for me. 

To be had here:
SODA lite - Slice of Life

Friday, February 20, 2015

Rum for Your Life - Punch (2014)

I have not been in San Diego for about a year now, and as we get closer to summer (at least here in sunny California), I have started to turn my fine-tuned ear to new sounds coming out of the city to act as my own personal soundtrack. The lo-fi shoegaze act Rum for Your Life has recently played their inaugural show at the Soda Bar (the hipster proving grounds for those not in the know), and have an EP that promises great things in the future. The band owes a debt to shoegaze pioneers that have come before them, but when you craft fuzzy tracks this cohesively, you are allowed to borrow more than a few shreds along the way. Tracks like "Swinger" have a bass riff that could sit well next to proto-metal and garage acts often celebrated here at Space Rock, and by the time we hit "Tower," the whole gloomy set is brought to a fitting, sinister close.

It is free to stream, but sadly no download is available. What is this, 2011? Anyhow, check it now while it is free and pristine.

Rum for Your Life - Punch (2014)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

EP Grab Bag vol. 90

An all North American Grab Bag this time. That is what was in the cards I suppose, but we aren't lacking in any glamor, mystic or bravado without our other-continental brethren today. Garage, country and otherwise for the auditory consumer.

To be had here:
Leon Patriz - Better Luck Next Fall (2014)

This here is from Vancouver, submitted by a dude called Enzio who has got his hands in several musical project out on Canada's Pacific coast. He's even played as part of Slight Birching. As for this EP, it's got only four songs yet manages to be incredibly diverse and consistently experimental. Electronic tones and affects, plenty of droning bass, and lo-fi buzz. Intriguing and hypnotic as anything with looping, droning parts should be. Then the last track throws that all out for a New Weird America-esque singer-songwriter number. Leave it up to a Canadian to make New Weird America even weirder.

Grenades in the Archives - Tokyo (2014)

Garage punk, the hard drinking, smashing into one another sort. Ive a theory there's no where on earth that once experiencing punk rock doesn't have young people eager to make their own fast, loud and intense music. Not sure how young the Bostonians that made these three songs are, but I am sure they didn't just start embracing the lo-fi garage punk style recently. It sounds like they've spent many an evening in tiny venues getting sweaty, drunk and sore all for the chance hear some rock. A promising start and I hope it leads to an awesome LP. Also check out their live set from WMBR.

Los Demolirs - EP.1 (2015)

Garage rock from Florida this time. Los Demolirs reminds me more of the sort of garage rock that was popular when I was a high schooler, the kind that MTV and everything gave two shits about for a second and then dropped like a hot rock for dubstep or whatever bullshit television plays now. It was a golden year for me, and that these dudes sound somewhat like mean entirely complimentary. I still dig on those albums, as I bet at least a few members of Los Demolirs did. Furthermore, for an EP from a garage rock outfit you've never heard of, the production in these songs is outstanding. A finely polished roughness.

Caleb Groh - Down, Dakota! (2011)

This is another EP I found by falling down various rabbit holes on this vast internet. Caleb Groh is a singer-songwriter from Nashville, making remarkably charming country-folk tunes. There is a full-length that followed this EP, but I felt this to be the best way to introduce someone new to his music. Three of the most delightful alt-country songs I've heard in some time and a spoken word poem that's sweetly strange. There's something I can't explain about how cheerful a full sounding country-folk song makes me. Modern and old all at once, I guess that is what they mean by timelessness.

baby dog - adult dog (2015)

Our pal Garrett Linck is back with a new single, "traffic cones," that is part of what should be an upcoming EP. Normally I don't write up singles nor imcomplete EPs, but Garrett isn't a new face on SRM. In fact I was writing him up routinely last year, both under his own name and with the group called baby dog. Always fine indie rock, with an earnest tone, and fine instrumentation that shows an understanding of power pop. I cannot wait for the other two tracks of this soon-to-be EP to drop, but you shouldn't hold up and dive in with what's available now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Steve Palmer - Fables of the Feral Boys + Unreleased (2015)

The man from Minneapolis is back with some more American Primitivism. For the second time appearance of Steve Palmer on SRM, following his Unblinking Sun LP, what we've got here is an EP combined with previously unreleased material being issued on a cassette for our pleasure by Fall Break Records. The same enterprise that brought us Full Crumb.

Steve Palmer is the sort of musician I feel anyone with a coherently thinking mind should relish, however a background on how this isn't folk music as you might assume is always helpful. I've gone over the love for the music of that John Fahey many times on this blog and on the podcast, and in my write up of Unblinking Sun pointed out the degree of his influence on Palmer's style. I could go on at length regarding this topic, but I'll restrict myself to saying Palmer shares Fahey's vision of combing America's traditional music of folk, blues, country and layering on healthy and enchanting experimentation that can only be accomplished so elegantly through absolutely amazing skill and insight. Fans of psychedelic and drone should recognize the kinship of these genres with what the mesmerizing and experimenting guitar playing achieves here. Those into the blues and folk with hear the fast-picking method that only the greatest musicians execute properly. Hence the name American Primitivism, taking our musical legacy back to a primordial sound such to muck around with it anew. Steve Palmer has shown himself to be an excellent purveyor of this idea. I'd say there isn't a note, or echoing drone for that matter, that he plays in these songs I'm not enthralled to hear.

To be had here:

P.S. I feel I'd be remiss without mentioning that Palmer isn't alone in his Fahey-esque sound. Do check out another contemporary American Primitive player hailing from France, Magnus Dewi, who got written up back in July.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Generacion Suicida - Todo Termina 12" (2015)

Took a couple of days off there, but I'm coming back with a noisy vengeance. You may recall the blog Teenage Lobotomy and the label that its Croatian writer began, Doomtown Records. If not you should double back and check out most righteous releases Divided Minds and Modern Delusion, which I've already written up. Today, we've got one of the newest releases from the burgeoning label, Generacion Suicida.

In what appears to be Doomtown's preferred style Generacion Suicida is an outfit that makes very loud, fast punk rock. This isn't to imply that the music of all the bands are the same, but they share the attributes of lo-fi punk. In fact Generacion Suicida is quite different from either of the releases from the label I've previously mentioned. Most obviously that the songs are sung excitedly in Spanish. Even went so far as to call it Latino punk. And the songs are everything you'd hope for from such a descriptor. Todo Termina doesn't have a dull moment, hardly even a second to take a breath. Moreover, it is incredibly well executed music, far from merely a sloppy mess. They clearly know their way around their instruments and any fuzz, distortion and otherwise is a purposeful effort. Punk rock from L.A., sung completely in Spanish, issued by a Zagreb-based indie label. Oh, and Spain's Trabuc Records and France's Symphony of Destruction Records. Can't say nothing good came from globalization. 

To be had here:
Generacion Suicida - Todo Termina 12"

Friday, February 13, 2015

COSMIQUE - Les Lundis de l'Espace (2014)

It wasn't very long ago I wrote about my rediscovery of the French independent label, Cocktail Pueblo, when I shared Les Princes du Rock. It wasn't the only thing that caught my attention however. Les Lundis de l'Espace came across immediately as a release worthy of some attention, if for nothing but the very neat retro design of the cover art. 

Not surprisingly there's not much online about COSMIQUE save what goggle can translate on on the label's website regarding this album. From which I've pieced together is that the band is a duo and that is Les Lundis de l'Espace (Mondays in Space) this is a concept album, masquerading as a soundtrack to an astronomical television show. How can you not be on board already?

The tracks themselves a quite short, some last only a few seconds, so even with 31 of them the whole playtime is merely 22 minutes. What's heard on these brief "songs" is enthralling. It might be hard to imagine them as a soundtrack to anything that wasn't about space. The absolutely otherworldliness is so powerfully present that should I ever catch a rocket to beyond the sky I would be disappoint not to hear these tonal, ethereal numbers chiming in my ears. It's weird, in the best ways.

To be had here:
COSMIQUE -  Les Lundis de l'Espace