Friday, December 19, 2014

Travancore - Travancore (2014)

Electronic music can get pretty wild, and while I am not the sort of person who'd ever like to be a club or even a bar that would blast electronic music in the midst of flashing lights and crowds of people, I do listen to it. Perhaps it's the wrong way, but I usually consume my crazy beats over a cup of coffee in the morning, sometimes reading the news or a short story from some long dead Italian motherfucker. The more experimental the better, I want it to make sounds that make me pause, lean back and think, "Now that was neat."

Tranvancore is an outfit that has been capable of provoking this desired effect. They've tagged the album "space music" and those two words might best get at the atmosphere of the tracks (if that isn't too oxymoronic to say). I felt like I was in one of those NASA capsules floating to God-only-knows while some friendly aliens thought to beam me a radio signal. The trio that makes up this band seems to know how to bend sound, or at least create the illusion of it through a stunning array of soundscapes, effects and utilizing stereophonic recording for all its worth. To be honest, it is only for several interludes that the album reaches a pitch that is like club music. Most of it having a more artful, ambient-like but it's never truly of the sort of slow, building sort. Too much is going on for that. It bounces, pings, shimmers and even has bursts of static that are like a robot with a broken vocalizer reciting a poem (check out "Starfield South" for that). Finally, this self-titled release is being issued by Hidden Waves, a label run by one of the band members. 

To be had here:
Travancore - Travancore

Thursday, December 18, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 84

December must been when we are getting our shit together. I finally signed up for some healthcare on the last day possible, been thinking seriously about getting my teeth all fixed up, found a new job so I am not shifting piles of useless books from one spot to another all day for peanuts. Oh, and I found all these submissions to share with you all on top of all the shit we've already been posting up.

To be had here:
Honeybucket - Honeybucket EP (2015)

Damned charming lo-fi band from Portland, Oregon. Sounds like a garage band in the sense that they very well wrote these songs in a dusty garage and didn't change it up too much from there. Most excellent already as they're fuzzy and happy tunes, just a bit krauty. "Wizard Mountain pt. 2" makes me wish I got to hear a part one. Then again EP could have been 4 times and I long and I could have wanted more. Put out by what seems to be a cool indie label from Pacific (Hong Kong currently) called Metal Postcard. Oh, and it seems to be out despite not being 2015, so enjoy it now.

How Scandinavian - Drowning In Myself (2014)

The kids from Palmdale are back with another single. You might recall the Educator single from earlier this early, perhaps not, but you can always catch up. I'm not grading you, after all. "Drowning In Myself" is a quirky tune that's not easy to classify, but the lyrical delivery itself is worth checking out as it isn't very usual. How Scandinavian stick to a bit of the melodramatic tones of the emo I am sure we all endeared when we were younger yet didn't forget new wave had merits. Gotta keep it catchy, even with the slowcore. Fine work, and when is there gonna be a longer EP is what I'd like to know.

Tufo - "Aspettandoti" EP (2014) 

From the Southern Italian city of Mola Di Bari comes a drum and bass duo. No, not the electronic genre, but an actual drum kit and bass guitar doing it to it. They're playing math rock, and the bass is doing what the angular guitar usually handles, in a sort of double duty that actually sounds fucking remarkable. It is rather minimal, thrashing cymbals, pounding drums and quick cords changing melody rapidly. Tufo has done a wonderful thing on this EP, and all I can do is hope to get to hear more like this in the future.

Swutscher - OKIDOKI EP (2014)

A very brief three track EP from Germany. While short is packed with lo-fi goodness. Fuzzy, even when acoustic somehow, and tints of surf and garage rock. It is almost over before you know it but does very well in the middle of a mix of all the other lo-fi tunes we've all been throwing at you en masse lately. Just let the songs permeate every waking moment of your day, as you waltz around and do whatever the fuck people with real jobs do and be happier for it.

Amos val - A Foundry (2014)

Back to Portland, Oregon for this final EP. I heard you need for atmospheric post-rock. You remember saying say that? I am pretty sure you did and you'll like it just fine. Amos val has several releases under their belt, but this is the first I've gotten a chance to hear them. The songs are engaging and rather sophisticated instrumentally, and it has some melodic singing to boot. I'd certainly recommended A Foundry to anyone that liked Jura's self-titled album I posted up earlier in the month.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wil Bolton - Whorl (2014)

Greece may have its problems, but music aint one of them. Sound in Silence is one of the best indie labels the nation has, and their constant search for atmospheric classical and post-rock acts throughout Europe is commendable. The steady stream of releases can be daunting to new listeners looking to jump into the label's extensive back catalog, making Britain's Wil Bolton a perfect jumping on point.

I don't have a classical background, so I feel I like the language required to describe this music effectively. It is minimal and brooding, with enough layers to allow multiple peelings. Nothing about this is over-the-top; it sits back, takes its time, and lets the listener paint its purpose and meaning.

It is available on 200 limited edition CDs. I am sure it costs a bit to get it out of Greece, but a lovely addition to your collection it would make.

Get it here:
Wil Bolton - Whorl (2014)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bonifrate - Museu de Arte Moderna (2013) & Toca do Cosmos EP (2014)

Bonifrate is a man who's music I cherish above many others. I have had a long history of listening to his songs, both as a solo artist and in the remarkable band Supercordas (I still pretend to be able to sing "Ruradélica" when I am alone). I originally met him through my a friend of a friend of a friend, then only in a digital interface I am sure he's long forgotten. He sings in Portuguese, of which I don't know a word, nonetheless he has utterly captivated me as I can't be bothered to care about lyrics in English most of the time. The most embarrassing part of this is that I haven't gone hardly a week since the release of 2011's Um Futuro Inteiro without playing a tracks from it, then I went to dropped the ball the 2013 album and a new EP? Today I make it right, pilgrims, and also it functions as a good addendum to Amazing Larry's excellent post on São Paulo, though Bonifrate is based in the Rio de Jarneiro area. 

Museu de Arte Moderna is Bonifrate's full-length release from 2013 that is the immediate follow up to Um Futuro Inteiro. It's a psychedelic odyssey that pulls in a stunning variety of instrumentation and borrows from genres in neat and subtle ways. With everything that happens in the songs it is easy to feel overwhelmed at first, but continued listening is rewarded as the album seems to build up and stripe away the many layers in a very intentional fashion. In fact, tracks like "Paralaxe" and "Sabe da última?" are hard to stop listening to. Moreover, "Canção de pelúcia" is one of the more beautiful, slow final songs I've heard on an album.

Toca do Cosmos is the newest of Bonifrate's releases. The EP certainly shows an shift in style and further improved songwriting skills. "Rock da paçoca" is a wonderful duet that  "The Last Time" is is not only heavy on the keyboard, in a very good way, but the only song I ever recall hearing from Bonifrate in English. It is most righteous. Both the EP and Museu de Arte Moderna were releases through the label Balaclava Records were each of them can be purchased as well.

To be had here:
Museu de Arte Moderna
Toca do Cosmos EP

The Hiya Tunes - Hiya Tunes (2014)

Did you know they were going to make a Beetlejuice sequel? Fuck yea son! It was going to be called Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian, and my god, it would have been great. So great in fact, I am personally going to make it my life's goal to get the film made. Since I have a close relationship with Satan, it should be no problem. You see, he is the best agent available, and the reason most of the hacks you see on the screen get ahead in the biz. He drives a hard bargain, but as long as you don't mind being sodomized by ghouls in hell for a couple centuries, it's worth the trade-offs.

Mind you, These New Yorkers are no hacks. They might not even need to sell their souls to craft the soundtrack to the new Beetlejuice film; the songs are strong enough without Satan's power. I can see the scene now: Beetlejuice has entered a surfing contest, and the Hiya Tunes are providing the twisted soundtrack. They play to a bunch of Go-Go dancers (some alive, some dead), while Beetlejuice battles demon sharks!

What a film.

Get it here:
The Hiya Tunes - Hiya Tunes (2014)

Monday, December 15, 2014

бичкрафт - маскот (2014)

Lord knows I don't know what the name of this band is, but they make some pretty awesome noise rock. As the Ukraine splits apart, they could probably learn a lesson from this band. As the disjointed drums and fuzz pull the listener in varying directions, a solid, formidable bass line holds each element in check. The noise is given center stage, but not allowed to overall its brethren in rhythm. Checks and balances, if you will. It's what all noise should engage in.

Someone get these kids on a next plane to San Francisco. Something tells me they put on a transcendent show.

Get it here:
бичкрафт - маскот (2014)

Scenes of a City, Vol. 6: São Paulo, Brazil

The Brazilian village that would become the city of São Paulo was founded exactly 426 years before I was born. This has absolutely nothing to do with anything. But since we're nearing January 25th, I suddenly feel a connection to Brazil's, and South America's, most populous city (currently nearing 12 million people. That's like combining the populations of New York City and Madrid. Whoa!) As is the case in all of Brazil's cities, the contrast between the richest and poorest residents is stark. Kidnapping of affluent citizens is a common occurrence, so much so that the rich travel via bulletproof cars and even helicopters. São Paulo actually has the world record for city with most helicopters. The city's also home to an annual pancake cooking competition, so, you know... it can't be all that bad. 

Leptospirose - Tatuagem de Coquiero 

This record is a maelstrom of thrash punk reminiscent of bands like M.O.D, early Suicidal Tendencies, and Nuclear Assault. The genre is mostly known as Crossover Thrash which is a surprising and unfortunately mundane name for music that is fueled by pure adrenaline. That said, I don't normally go for music like this because I have enough anxiety as it is, but I've been enjoying this record a lot over that last half year, or so. Also available on vinyl, in case there's room in your library(and heart) for some Brazilian thrash. And let's not kid ourselves, there's plenty of room in both.

TRATAK - Agora eu sou o silêncio

Here we have an impressive full length of a more traditional Brazilian sound. The guitar playing and vocal style is reminiscent of bossa nova, but TRATAK more resembles the genre that immediately succeeded bossa nova in the late 60's and early 70's, commonly called "musica popular brasileira", or MPB (Brazilian pop music). The instrumentation is more involved than bossa, incorporating rock with occasional dustings of psychedelia (unlike the wilder genre of tropicalia, which was born around the same time). TRATAK could sit easily on a playlist with artists of that genre such as Edu Lobo or the wonderful Chico Barque. A gem of a find, if I do say so myself, and those with an affinity for older Brazilian music in general will enjoy this quite a bit.

Sweet Fanny Adams - Fanny You're No Fun

This EP was a surprise to me in it's simultaneous resemblance to both modern US indie rock but also post-punk of the late 70s, a genre that consistently piques my interest. I'll do one of these annoying comparisons that people want to shoot me for: it's like Spoon fronted by the lead singer of Cake with a distant essence of Gang of Four. Angry? Well, too bad. I wish I knew more about the group, not even sure if they're from São Paulo. Just listen to these four songs and enjoy them for what they are, fucking great rock songs. 

Caverna Central - HOFFMAN'S DEATH: Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman

Here's a wildcard that was too strange to not include. What we have is basically 8 very short experimental rock songs where someone shouts "Hoffman's dead!" over and over. The music isn't terribly interesting, and honestly sounds like it was all written and recorded over the course of an afternoon. The bandcamp page was created in February of 2014 so it's possible that these songs were recorded on the very day that Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead. At any rate, it's a tribute to a great actor who died way before his time, albeit a bizarre tribute.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Space Rock Mountain Podcast 32 - "Hype!"

The gang gets together to talk about the documentary "Hype!" along with the rise of Seattle music, grunge, really shitty bands, and being naked with Limp Bizkit.

You can watch the whole film here.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

sleepersecond - we take no refuge, but we are home (2014)

More atmospheric stylings, this time from the Philippine's own sleepersecond. I can just imagine these lush tracks being put together in a small bedroom in Manila as people on the street rushed to work and back again. All the while one lone gentleman crafts a Christopher Nolan worthy soundtrack to the minuscule moments lost by those in a rush. None of the passer-bys know of the music being arranged to fit these moments of their lives, but the score continues. Pullsing, pushing, and then pulling back to let the street breath.

Get it here:
sleepersecond - we take no refuge, but we are home (2014)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Junya Nishimura - Between Dream & Real (2014)

I picked up a slew of Burger Records tapes during a  recent sale, so my tape deck has been pounding away with garage rock goodness this last week. But you need a break from sweat jams from time to time. With a cup of tea and a copy of Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals in hand, I sit with my demonic cat and let Japan's Junya Nishimura provide the soundtrack to this moment. I have a soft spot for minimalist piano explorations, and composer has some of the best lo-fi classical on the market. Far from noodling, these are short compositions that have a clear focus and direction. By the time Petite Valse II makes its rounds, the path is cleared to the crashing waves ahead.

This is a free download, but it deserves a physical release. Highly recommended.

Get it here:
Junya Nishimura - Between Dream & Real (2014)