Friday, August 22, 2014

Different Skeletons - Devils (2014)

Toronto's Different Skeletons are back with another garage rock offering, this time the short, raucous and incredibly catchy Devils. This is the third time I have written up this group. I'd again like to lavish praise on and direct towards 2011's Secret Jeers and 2012's Without Country. Secret Jeers is still among the garage rock album I have in rotation when I'm looking to get a good fix of lo-fi.

Now having explained that I've followed this band for a bit of time I'd like to say I like how they're evolving their sound. I won't be so presumptuous as to think I know what they're aiming for exactly, but it is rather obvious that instead of trying for something markedly altered stylistically they've taken a route of improving and perfecting their sound. This is what some would criticize as not trying something too different, and those are likely the same dicks that would complain if it was changed from something they liked. I'm an advocate for the subtler experimentation, dropping in stylistic variations and new influences. This gives the listener some of what they've come to like and doesn't bore them with more of them same. Although this can be a hard line to tow, when done well it is a wonderful thing. The three release I've mention seem to show Different Skeletons steering their sound from fuzzy rock anthems towards twangier, country-tinged songs. While still being very garage and beautifully lo-fi, they've gotten more soulful. This is a shift begun on Without Country, at least from what my ear can detected, and now as reached an even more brilliant version in Devils.

To be had here:
Different Skeletons - Devils

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Yuko Yuko - Cultlove (2014)

Once again, I find myself braving the rental market of Portland after 5 blissful years living within the city's large Forest Park. It's a demoralizing process, especially for an introvert, because for any one potential prospect you are met by a sea of home-hungry go-getters. Add a 65 lb chow-mix into the picture, and you'll be lucky if they even run your application.

Facing such a situation makes one long for the simpler times of childhood, when a phrase like "security deposit" was from a language more foreign than Spanish, in which you could at least count to 5 and say a couple swear words.... a time where one's biggest concerns included getting up early enough on a Saturday morning to watch Camp Candy.

Yuko Yuko's music harkens back to this age of simplicity. The solo project of a young Netherlander named Elias, who interestingly enough is signed to a Mexico-based label called Bad Pop. One of many releases, "Cultlove" has that early 1980's synthpop vibe...  when the genre was still a bit weird and not too dance-oriented. Think Soft Cell recording a demo in their bedroom, or the obscure new wave synthpop band, Trees. I'm really loving the track "Angel Jane", definitely a nice track for hot and hazy summer evenings where sleep encroaches slowly. 

8 tracks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Luna Moth - Celestial Shades (2014)

Found this in the inbox the other day, sadly overlooked for a few months. My bad on that, guys, but you'll have to trust that a little late is not a huge deal for us on the receiving end as this digital replayable songs still sound fine. I do feel bad I didn't jump right on Celestial Shades when it came out in March however as the music is deserving of some good old fashion praise from a stranger on the internet, which I'm sadly late in bringing. Nonetheless, we'll see what is salvageable for both the band and my reputation as a music blogger. Shouldn't my parents be proud?

Luna Moth is a psychedelic band from Norman, Oklahoma that brings it on heavy with the distortion, wall-of-sound and general noisiness. They've done a superb job at incorporating influences from 60s psychedelia to the shoegaze of 90s into a shimmering and ethereal sound. Then you get to hear that sonic bliss strip apart into droning noise, something that I always find to be a welcome development in a track. They put it better on the little descriptor blurb on their bandcamp page, "Entheogenic love mantras/surfing into dissonance." Not sure what the anthropological theory of ethnogensis has to do with it, and the term does bring back some haunting memories of papers I wrote in college on the subject, but a poetic and otherwise accurate way to explain what Luna Moth seems to be all about. It sounding fucking great is a shorter way to say it. With any luck they'll sit keep SRM in mind for the next release they may put out and I can truly redeem myself then.

To be had here:
Luna Moth - Celestial Shades

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Modern Folk - American Mountain (2014)

Undoubtedly some of you are familiar with the Modern Folk, as beyond being a folk project it has a blog that has a similar vision to our own Spacerockmountain. It's mission is to promote the music that's out there, particularly the new (and sometimes old), interesting and freely heard songs of this era of technological revolution. They're going for the indie beyond the indie, those without even these than major label support, over at the Modern Folk blog, which to be honest is what we get here most of the time and it is most excellent to get to hear it. So if you're down with what we've been doing, you'll sure and shit be down with that site, so check it out. You can follow 'em on twitter while you're at it.

Wait up, remember when I said there was a folk project? I did, but I'll give you time to double check... Okay, so that folk project bears the very same name as the website I was just yammering about, the Modern Folk. And unlike much of the music that you'll find on the website, it is a more traditional meaning of folk in regards to music. You know banjos, mandolins, Appalachian tunes and all that wonderful stuff. Of course it isn't strictly sticking to any formula, as there's some electric guitar noodling and some rather pop-like rhythms to be heard (see that final track, "Nightmares"). In fact three of the eight tracks are original, yet that leaves the majority of the songs as creative interpretations of traditional songs that you've surely heard if you're a listener of folksy music. What they sound like are some lo-fi, psychedelic-tinged pastiches of folk that is so agreeably executed it is easy convinced on the valid of the artistry in repurposing folk music. I cannot help be be charmed by as finely done lo-fi version of Bascom Lamar Lunsford's "I Wish I Was a Mole In the Ground."

To be had here:
The Modern Folk - American Mountain

Monday, August 18, 2014

Jackie - Joy (2014)

An awaited follow-up to the debut album of Sweden's Jackie. Two years ago they released an album called Greatest Love Songs that I wrote up and have nothing but the fondest of memories for so I was admittedly quite jazzed to see that they've got new songs out now. The new releaese, Joy is a relatively calm album of fuzzy dream pop with a psychedelic mood. It has echoy vocals that are subtle behind the looping guitar and the general light noisiness and distortion. That lovely blend of light melody and cacophonous that when balanced well allows the mind to wander around in a song like an odd daydream. To my ears Jackie seems to bear resemblance to Olivia Tremor Control or other Elephant 6 groups in the first half of the album, which I  mean very complimentarily. However, my ears burn for E6 all the time, so make your own judgment on whether I need to update my references. As it goes the uniqueness of Jackie again began to sink in, and just like Great Love Songs, giving this album multiple plays cannot to anything but enhance the experience. What I am saying is Joy is a great album to relax to and do whatever thing tickles your fancy. Hell, I'm playing it at the front counter of the bookstore right now while I pretend to have work to do on this computer. I'd go on but can't let the coworkers get wise.

To be had here:
Jackie - Joy

Sunday, August 17, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 70

Here's what's coming in through the email submissions. A diverse group of EPs that range from post-hardcore to nu disco, so I hope you're feeling as erratic as I am.

To be had here:
Sex Snobs - Ugly (2014)

Punk rock from Oklahoma City. Sex Snobs play on the more hardcore side of things, and talk a good deal about God being dead in a nihilistic fashion. The three short songs are this EP are high energy and got me off my fucking ass this morning and ready to write up this and a slew more of amazing albums. That's a good sign for punk rock, instigating action. Nothing like good, heavy punk guitar and thundering drums to get me into a mood for doing shit, good for me or not.

Phooey! - Upright Animals and Their Ridiculous Tricks (2014)

Our Ukrainian friends in Phooey! have made another EP to follow on the heels on Hello, Doubt early this year. Like that release, this one is made up of brief, strange tracks of bedroom pop, art rock and 'baroque punk' blending together. Full of falsetto and remarkably amusing guitar riffs the EP just blazes by and requires repeated listening. Seems like they're been little rest on the musical front for Phooey! as theirs a long covers album that came out in May as well to check out.

Tape Eater - Bleeders (2014)

Hope you're in the mood for something even more hardcore. Tape Eater is on the far edge of hardcore, with the hollered lyrical delivery and intense power cords in the guitar work. This New Bedford, Mass band really know now to bring it, yet they can ease up when necessary to craft a good tune and slip into trippy, math rock moments to do so. It has been sometime since I've sat down and listened to post-hardcore but these guys make me question why I haven't, also maybe sitting down isn't the best way to take it in...

Lucian - Rekla EP (2014)

Lucian is a New York musician that does many righteous electronic remixes. These are five tracks he's put together to show off what he's up to, which is makes some very exciting tunes that covers a lot of territory of electronicia. Knowledge of the ins and outs of electronic subgenres is beyond me, but he's tagging the stuff Nu Disco and Tropical House amongst other things. All seems fucking awesome to me, as I don't need to know what to call it to like it.

The Go Rounds - Purple Mountain Travesty (2014)

This group is from Kalamazoo and put out by the Double Phelix label/studio run by the guys behind Lasso. Like Lasso this is incorporation a Western sound, though more subtle in the Go Rounds. Instead the music is more vocally bend, with a clearly talented singer taking the lead on for the majority of the tracks. Not to downplay the musical prowess of this group at all, mind you, as they make some very beautiful and nearly symphonic sounding tunes.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Marimba Diriá - Viva Guanacaste Volumen I & II (1972)

I've found myself in unproductive funk today. Feeling quite sapped and I don't really wanna write up any music from some hardworking (or otherwise) musician submitted material for me to give lackluster and forced praise because I am not up to it tonight. Of course I could just shut up for a night and just get back to it tomorrow, but I am stuck at home, unable to drive anywhere and despite supposedly having numerous roommates I am here alone very often. So I get to listen to music and get to think about that music and good for me that I have somewhere to write about it otherwise I might just get even weirder and developed odder habits than I've already assumed. So tonight, my friends, we get to listen to something unlike I've ever posted on the blog.

Now from best I can piece together, as I sadly don't know a lick of Spanish, Marimba Diriá as a band that made a variety of traditional Latin American music back in the 1970s in Costa Rica. As their name suggests they played the genre of Marimba, but I believe this wasn't strictly followed, and they played some bolero and other related styles. This doesn't really mean anything to me other than explaining why the note structure and tempo vary over the course of the album like how it may sound if a band were switching between subgenres of the blues or jazz. Obvious stuff, and I could really use someone more knowledgeable on Latin American music to explain it all to me. 

The interesting part of the music is how much I switch between earnestly enjoying every note of this music and could seemingly drift off into some exclusive, pleasant sleep with dreams of wonderful places I cannot visit. Then I get a sense I am just liking the music ironically and as some oddity that I don't understand. Like the armchair tourists that Martin Denny's exotica music catered, as I can't help but imagine a fictionalized and nonexistent version of Central America when I listen to this. This isn't a universal response of mine to Latin music either, as I can assuredly state I sincerely and wholly unironically love the music of Ecuador's Julio Jaramillo. Then again, perhaps this music isn't that serious of a sort a to begin with. Like boogie-woogie or polka perhaps it is mean to be lighthearted and fanciful music meant for dancing and jovial social gatherings, and therefore I am fine having a few happy day dreams where I'm the hero in a Graham Greene novel.

The real answer is most likely that I'm going stir crazy and I've got too much time on my hands to listen to music and be self-critical. After all who else spends their Saturday nights listening to Costa Rican music from 1972 while sipping a glass of bad beer then goes and tells the world about it.

To be had here:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Joshua October and The Wool - "karaoke" (2014)

A reoccurring theme in the music I gravitate toward, at least one of them, is a fascination with the bizarre and strange lo-fi folk that seems like a weird friend of yours could have made in their bedroom. Some of these are weird and lovable friends of mine from Michigan like Forest Porridge and Twin Man (really the same dude, but there are others who're shyer) and sometimes it is submitted music like this EP. Either way I eat this shit right up as I find it incredibly charming to hear. To be far to everyone involved in this release, it's quality is pretty high and I imagine only sounds oddly lo-fi by choice. But the awkward, off-color attitude of these songs is very evident. You'll know what I mean if you hear their song "Hater's Parade."

Joshua October and The Wool is from Shreveport, Louisiana. "Is" as I'm unsure if this is one-man band despite the name or really has multiple players. This is a place I gotta imagine doesn't have all that much going for it, which I say in a heartfelt and sympathetic way as a Detroiter. However, it is in these towns that haven't got too much going on that dudes can sit around with a beer and maybe something smokable and come up with the most simplistic, unsettling and honest music you'll be able to hear. Yet the honesty is uncomfortable and not on a topic that galvanizes support so readily, hence the magic of anti-folk. Making something unpleasant and unusual into a subject of satire and musical exhibitionism. This motherfucker excel at exactly that.

However, not all of the songs are anti-folk per se, the first track is a very touching and sweet instrumental cover of "Over the Rainbow." It seriously made me very nostalgic and wistful. It all got more bizarre from there.

To be had here:
Joshua October and The Wool -  "karaoke"

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Glories - Put the Beast Out of Mind (2014)

A post-rock outfit from Birmingham, Alabama. That's a thing, don't you know? I can't say I know much about Birmingham but I can say that I know a thing or two about the listening habits of the members of this band. The wear it right on their sleeves in fact, in the form of their tags on their bandcamp page. "Mogwai" "Caspian" "This Will Destroy You" and "Explosions in the Sky" are in there with the genre tags like "post-rock" and "ambient" creating an unambiguous message of the style of music they're attempting to create. This could be a double-edged sword when listening as it does give one the right expectations but does set a very high standard to live up to. Not everyone gets to be as good as This Will Destroy You after all. The risk they took in largely mitigated as they are quite competent musicians that make some emotionally provoking sonic landscapes.

At some point I'll have to explore exactly what it is about post-rock that I like so much, as it really isn't akin to most of the other genres I commonly tout. Nonetheless I am not gonna give up on listening to it any time soon for whenever a new, epically produced album like Put the Best out of Mind shows up I find myself happily hearing it. Even getting happily bummed out at the somber parts, all without even the utterance of a word. So what I'm saying is, if you're a listener of post-rock, particularly the groups mentioned in this post already, I'd recommend this group of long-haired Southerners.

To be had here:
The Glories - Put the Beast Out of Mind

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

King Cayman - Dream (2014)

Another album from Spain,  this time a very different sort of lo-fi record from Madrid's King Cayman from what I've been writing up lately, but a style I am so very familiar with. King Cayman is a moniker for a one-man band of very trashy, bluesy garage punk and with nothing more than that description it already can summon references to Jeans Wilder, King Tuff and BBQ, which of course was name used by Mark Sultan's early name on his early albums and still does use when teamed with King Khan. Musically I find it hard to imagine that this Spaniard doesn't listen to all of these musicians and dozens more that could be dug up from the beer-soaked barrooms they tend to play in. 

The songs you'll hear on Dream are oscillate between heavier and trashier blues punk along the lines of a stripped down Jon Spencer project like Heavy Trash or Pussy Galore, yet other times he gets quirkily creative and offbeat in a way that reminds me of Jeffrey Novak's solo work. King Cayman's tunes are incredibly seeped in the DIY philosophy of punk; the album was done on a low budget as you can imagine, so low that real drums were out of the picture so a drum machine is substituted. Nevertheless, this guy clearly isn't any old fool playing rock music as he has an remarkable prowess for forging some energetic bursts of garage rock majesty. The songs became immediately stuck in my head and required a re-listening, all the while digging for whatever it was that compelled to me heard it again and again.

Not every album I hear and like causes me to want to hear the music, not even some albums I that've become favorites of mine and others I want to hear repeatedly sometimes burn me out and I don't wanna return for prolonged times. There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to which albums take hold of me in these ways, but I'm fairly confident this could become a garage classic for me. King Cayman has captured a feeling of irreverence and bravado that I have a supreme longing and might only exist in works of art, in which case I might have to settle for imagining it to songs like these.

Should you desire to hear more of this fella's music he had a demo album released on the UK label Foxbourne Tapes.

To be had here: