Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bonifrate - Sapos alquímicos na Era Espacial (2002) [reissue]

Temperate climates are awful. Whenever it decides to get warm and then cold and warm again, which is every goddamn spring and autumn in Michigan, I get sick. On top of it even the slightest bit of my body getting out of whack results in a near constant state of mild feverishness. Not stressful as it is exhausting, so I fucked off about posted for a few days. However, I haven't been sleep all too well with this damn cold buzzing in my head, so I've been listening to my big catalog of mp3s. Realized I come back to Brazilian music all the time when I'm trying to relax. So imagine my delight when a friend from São Paulo told me that one of my favorites, Bonifrate, has reissued an older EP with additional tracks.

Sapos alquímicos na Era Espacial was originally released in 2002, and was actually something I was missing from my collection of Bonifrate's tunes. And boy howdy was I ever missing something amazing. This EP is fucking outrageously good. Soft, fuzzy psych-folk and indie pop sung in that dreamy Portuguese, only a monster wouldn't like it. Also, the very notion it is an EP at all this questionable (see the question mark in the album art?), for it's album length without the additional tracks. I'm all the more thankful for it, as I cannot get enough of this. Doing a hell of a lot better job at quelling these infernal headaches than any ibuprofen has.

To be had here:
Bonifrate - Sapos alquímicos na Era Espacial

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Space Rock Mountain Podcast 38 - Beautiful Noise

The gang got together to talk about the shoegaze documentary, Beautiful Noise. Enjoy!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Patient Barney Penrose - Kirilov (2014)

Not sure what it is but I've felt myself slowing down just a bit lately. That goes for most everything except what I'm forcing myself to keep up with for work. But I am getting out of bed later, drinking less beer and wine (you know, leaving some for another day), and enjoying slower, lyrical songs more than I had in the past. Knowing myself this is a brief stop on a cycle that'll keep spinning until I stop living, I've taken strides to take it all in. Thusly, Patient Barney Penrose's harmonious folk songs showed up at exactly the right time for me.

Kirilov has some genuinely beautiful folk songs. Rather stripped down sort of folk music, the type that seem like it was shyly thought up in a bedroom only later to be fleshed out into the melodic pieces presented here. The singer-songwriter is a Virginian living in Richmond and this is far from his first release but hardly the least notable. Indeed he appeared back in 2013 in a Grab Bag written by Elvis. There's no sugarcoating it, pilgrims, this is sentimental, one could even say sappy, folk. Yet, as I have always thought, anything but ska can be good if done well and this dude is real good. "Orchid's Song" has got to be my favorite, with the ambient sounds sprinkled in there that remind me of Mickey Newbury. Furthermore, the fiddle on "Wishbone" is capable of stealing the show. Check it out, it won't bum you out too much, rather to the just right bummed out mood.

To be had here:
Patient Barney Penrose - Kirilov

Thursday, March 26, 2015

EP Grab Bag vol. 93

I've got a glut of EPs incoming lately. This is good news but also much time to be spent listening. Being the compulsive music fiend as usual I plowed through a bliss couple of evenings getting to know these six EPs and I don't think there's a single one to be scoffed at in the slightest way. In fact some of them are rather exceptionally brilliant. Mostly American with just a bit of Germany and the Down Under thrown in.

To be had here:
Caterwaulrus - Songs That Go Nowhere (2015)

It's been the better part of the year since Caterwaulrus appeared on the SRM, and now Austin-based musician has got a new EP out. In full disclosure, Larry wrote up his previous release, which I gave an all too cursory listen to but judging by the stunning quality of this new batch of tunes. No joke, these are stellar bedroom pop songs, quirky, psychedelic and charming as all get out. I am confindent enough to say fans of Nate Henricks, Tim Cohen, Slight BirchingPill Wonder and so on will adore what Caterwaulrus is playing on Songs That Go Nowhere. I've already been texting the link to this album to my coworkers, which I'm sure they're jazzed about. But seriously, motherfucking listen to this EP.

Paar - Pure/She Brings the Rain (2015)

Paar is a band started by a member of German post-punk band, The Amount of Light We Give Off, that was featured exactly 30 Grab Bags ago. I'd say he kept with the post-punk that was so well displayed in that EP for these two new songs, adding more new wave as well. However they sound quite unique from the prior work as these are full of pumping, hypnotic bass and a most seductive singer. "Pure" is a striped down tune, as far as wall-of-sound songs go, and I really, truly fell in love with this band upon hearing the bleak yet sultry "She Brings the Rain." I gotta hear more of that sort of thing.

Little Star - The Romantic World of Little Star (2015)

A new band from a frequently mentioned city, it's Little Star of Portland, Oregon. Now, this band is called Little Star (they don't capitalize it but that shit drives me crazy to see while typing this out) and they've got a tag on their bandcamp for "Big Star." Doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where they're inspiration came from. Nonetheless, I approached this EP openly and found myself incredibly endeared to the sweet, often acoustic, power pop tunes. Without a doubt these are well composed and delightful tunes that lack that annoyance factor much pop music creates for me. Like Big Star, who'd have guessed that?

Evasive Backflip - Pussy Up (2015)

Noisy, experimental, mathy jazz punk? Chicago? Naturally. Evasive Backflip put out this new EP on the superb indie label, Grandpa Bay Recordings, whose releases are regular occurrences on SRM at this point. Usually their releases are of an experimental sort, something that Pussy Up continues valiantly. The songs sound improvisational, a bit chaotic at moments but held together the excellent jazzy horn playing and angular guitar swirling around. "Disentanglement Puzzle" is an interesting, unique and very engaging introduction to this band's sound.

Feng Shui Police - Thank You (2015)

As I listened to this EP I very soon felt I was hearing a college kids, yet as I kept on it seems that might be an artful feint. So while I cannot be sure that Providence, RI's Feng Shui Police has anyone in college among its members, it was "Recorded in Dash's basement, powered by coffee and Thai food." Basically that sentence summarizes all I can remember about college anyway. What they've done here is make an acoustic garage rock album, if your mind can handle that concept. But it totally is, the drums are lower to make the guitars audible, the singing is lyric-centered like a young man liberated by use of language ought to embrace. Clever, in an cool, funny way.

White Lodge - Split 7" [w/ The Gorlons] (2015)

I'm not sure how this split came to be, but I know I have written up both these most excellent garage rock outfits, one from the Australian state of Queensland and other from American state of Missouri. These two songs are just from Brisbane's White Lodge made the fuzzy and fast psychedelic garage tune "Backwater Rumble" and another tune called "Ancient Tides," which is perhaps the more theatrically grungy of the two songs but they're very equally matched in overall lo-fi quality. The Gorlons have yet to release their half, but I look froward to it eagerly. God bless electronic communication allowing such far-flung artists to combine for a joint release, especially two I like so much.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Lascope - Red Rough Fur (2015)

A few years back, I dug deep into the psychedelic sounds of Germany in the 60s and 70s. While the country is not the first to come to mind when considering the acid soaked genre, a fair share of classic bands came out of the country and influenced future sounds on the continent. The Lascope sound more like a bunch of American gents sitting around Santa Cruz to my ear, but the sound they create is worth a listen to even a passing fan of psych music. Just check out the title track; what starts off as an ethereal country ditty goes full on prog in its second half. Drunk motorcycle gangs grinding up lines of coke come to mind when the rustic bluesy riff of Speech for the Owls drops, and the outlaw status is completed when the distortion is turned up to 11. I would mix the vocals deeper into the rack if I were recording this bad boy, but it earned more than a few listens this morning. 

Get it here:

Monday, March 23, 2015

Max Mayall Fine - Now (2015)

Max Mayall Fine has an intense sound. These are not meek songs by any means. In fact they're some of the more bombastic tunes sent our way in a while. The European songwriter (I believe to be Italian, but I'm not sure about that yet) has gathered an incredible amount of sounds and styles into a single album, even in single tracks on the briefly titled Now

The album possesses incredible swagger and bravado along with just a pinch of sleaziness. The first couple of tracks "Moka Lee" and "Floating" are showy, fast and full tunes that kick off everything off at a nice pace. Then it slows down for "First Evening Star" wherein a lounge vibe is mixed in. At this point I thought I got what was up, a flashy sort of club performance turned into cool indie rock album. Yet Max Mayall Fine had more up his sleeve. The next tune, "Maharaja'" throws in elements of Eastern music and what I believe to be reggae-ish tones. I could blabber on through the whole album track by track like this but it is all the better not to spoil it all for you before the first listen. You're gonna have to trust me when I say it one hundred percent worth investigating.

Now has been released by the most excellent Kraków-based label, Resonating Wood Recordings. If you haven't gotten hip to how sweet they're at selecting albums to issue you should check ourself immediately and get on it.

To be had here:
Max Mayall Fine - Now

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Leveret - Action At A Distance (2015)

As per usual I got this album, taking note of the email that submitted it and in all good intentions hoping to get to it soon enough. Well, in what I think of as an improvement on past performance, I'm only a month late on this one. Even so I feel I have denied people the excellence that is Leveret through my roundabout methods. Too little time and too much to consider with such an hobby as writing up all the free tunes on the internet, right?

Leveret are from Portland, Maine where they apparently make some of the best electronic rock I've heard in years. These songs combine many features of bands I've long enjoyed. Most significantly the sound is what I would imagine a slowed down version of the Unicorns to be like. Just imagine how that could be played around with if you elongated the texture of the songs. Action At A Distance contains this brilliant notion, if even unintentionally, and builds upon it to make fantastic electronic rock songs with lyrics that are witty and disconcerting all at once. Add in the use of ambient sounds and electronic effects and facets to the strange indie rock you've got some absolute gold. If you can hear Leveret playing the remarkable tracks "Oscillator," "Unclothing" and "Grandfather's Axe" without feeling they're utterly destine to leave a slew of pop hits you're likely a monster. Or perhaps a realist of the meanest sort, but I'd like to live in a world where this sort of music was understood to be a fantastic form of art and to be shared widely and readily. However, there is a weirder side to Leveret. In fact the majority of the song on this album are the sort that would never be popular in a million years but are fucking one hundred percent worthwhile psychedelic-electronic songs that held me captivated thoroughly.

To be had here:
Leveret - Action At A Distance

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Blue Diamond - It's A Puppy's World (2015)

Every now and again there's this strange sort of album that comes the Spacerockmountainway. A weird bedroom project that's hard to describe and is dissimilar to most other things on the blog but are at the unified in that aspect. Blue Diamond has fallen into this category nicely. It is most definitely the work of a dude with eccentric tastes made tinkering away alone only sharing it with us all now that he's completed the strange tunes. As usual, I'm eating this shit up.

Blue Diamond is a guy from La Quinta, California and he's taken some old, warped 80s new age/new wave sounds and mixed it up with some truly bizarre vocal stylings, including some answering machine message recordings. The whole album gives a sort of vaporwave vibe, striking similarities to SODA lite in the instrumental parts. For as strangely and purposefully awkward it seems at times, there are some songs on this album that transcend it all really shine as great pop gems, such as delight tune "Boatful Of Weed Crashes Onto Nude Beach."

To be had here:
Blue Diamond - It's A Puppy's World

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Gateless Gate - Landslag Norður Íslands (The Landscape of North Iceland) (2015)

So I don't all that too far north, but north enough that winter has always been part of my life. Something that is stark, cold and strips the landscape of color. It gets colder though, there are the barren, frozen landscapes of closer to the Arctic such as that of Iceland that this album involves. As uncomfortable as the cold can be, it can be a beautiful and serene experience to inhabit such places. I have vivid memories of trips to Michigan's upper peninsula as a child and standing over a mile out the frozen surface of Lake Superior curiously staring into the white ice and blue sky that spread before me. If only I could've had an mp3 player playing the songs of the Gateless Gate then.

The Gateless Gate are actually from closer to me, just a four hour drive to the Ontario capital of Toronto. No strangers to winter, but it seems these northern climes have been made a study of by this duo. Landslag Norður Íslands is their third album with the others sharing the influence of cold northern terrain, and there are EPs of which one I've written before. In all their output they make wonderful use of ambient sounds, harmonic keys and ethereal effects to create a vast soundscape out of the few elements present, much like the landscapes referenced. The results have a remarkably psychedelic quality, as all great ambient music does, a sort of removal of space and time. It isn't bleak nor lifeless, even the sounds of little waves and fate chirping of birds heard in the compositions remind one of how existence in endlessly altering even in the coolest of places or the most ambient of songs.

To be had here:
The Gateless Gate -  Landslag Norður Íslands (The Landscape of North Iceland)