Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Clavin Johnson - What Was Me (2002)

"What Was Me" is an intimate album, its nothing more than Calvin Johnson voice and a classical guitar. Johnson's voice is so loud and clear that you can't miss a word and the accompany guitar acts as a mediator between his voice and you. Listen to this album by yourself and get sucked into the world of "What Was Me", you won't be disappointed.

Try and find this one on ebay. The vinyl is out of print.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Abner Jay - The True Story of Abner Jay (2009)

"The True Story of Abner Jay" is a record released by the brilliant reissue label Mississippi Records. They dug up this gem somewhere in time and I'm glad they did because the songs featured on this album are amazing. Abner Jay sings folk songs that are raw and blunt. Songs like "I'm So Depressed", "Cocaine" and "The Reason Young People Use Drugs" are all great examples of his intense story telling. On this album Abner is a one man band playing the electric banjo, drums and singing all at the same time. There is plenty to know about him and I'm not about to start a biography in the post. Just download and listen to the man, his words will charge through your ears and plaster themselves in your skull.

Also, you should buy this record. I buy records all the time but this just made me warm inside. Included with the heavy weight vinyl are four inserts: A Transcriptions of monologues, a bio, an advert and a classy photograph of Abner. While looking for a link for buying the LP I noticed that most places were out of stock, pick one up while you can. Limited pressing of 1,000.

Marshmallow Coast - Phreak Phantasy (2009)

In their last album Marshmallow Coast re-dubbed themselves M Coast. I suppose that didn't stick though, as this is appearing where I've been looking under their old moniker. Released on the delightful label, Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records, there reportedly is only several hundred CDs made and a mere 100 copies pressed on vinyl. Anyhow, I've been as fan of Marshmallow Coast for some time and naturally discovered them through their ties to Elephant 6. The brainchild of the group is Andy Gonzales and he took a different tack to the pretty indie pop he and many of his E6 cohorts are known for. Relying more on electronics to made the strangeness of the album expressed, it is loaded with loopy beats and effects, which for some fans of the old charming lo-fi tunes previously produced might take a bit of an adjustment. However, it isn't much of a leap and does fit very well into the overall image of the band. There was never a choice that I am aware of to commit any particular style of pop. I'm rambling, point is that I would not be posting it if I didn't find this album to at least be a decent addition to the discography of Marshmallow Coast. Special thanks to Shehara for passing this album along to me.

To be had here:
Marshmallow Coast - Phreak Phantasy [160 VBR kbps]

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tyvek - Nothing Fits (2010)

"Nothing Fits" is Tyvek’s second full length album debuting on In The Red. I’ve been waiting for this album since the summer time and to say the least I was pleasantly surprised at the raw intense sound. Tyvek has been touring these songs for the past year or so and I’ve heard them over and over again from either the massive amounts of live cds, rehearsal/demo tapes or live shows. When I first listen to these songs I knew the material was there but what wasn’t there was the studio recordings. Besides one or two live cds most of the releases that feature songs from “Nothing Fits” are intensely lofi and aren’t that pleasant to the ears. This is the studio adaptation of the various lofi live recordings/demos and its fucking fantastic! This scuzzy fuzzy detroit garage punk is so good it’ll make you shit your pants and bleed from your ears. They really worked on the quality of sound with this one and it makes up for all those recordings that weren’t on par. This is an album you want to turn up loud;


or give it a test drive

Ty Segall - Melted (2010)

Much like the spectacular Mike Sniper, Ty Segall is apparently a quite prolific artist. Another full-length sooner than I expected is always a welcome surprise from such a fantastic garage rocker. Though I had an less than flattering review for Segall's last album, Lemons, I do feel Melted is a huge improvement. In many ways it is a better conceived version of what Lemons could have been. It is calmer and not as extremely distorted as his early work, something in common with the previous release, yet he seems to have embraced other influences on the genre on this go. For example, "My Sunshine" and "Caesar" have strong infusions of psychedelic rock (the whole album does kinda), and "Melted" is a a noisy and nearly glam-like track with more liberal guitar effects sprinkled throughout it.

To be had here:
Ty Segall - Melted [256 VBR bkps]

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Japanese Shoegaze

CLAMS - Self-Titled (2003)

"CLAMS are formed in Osaka in September, 2001. The group includes Asami Clam (vo), Hisashi Clam (g), Takayuki Clam (b), Takeshi Clam (g). 1st album "CLAMS" was released in January, 2003. Their pop sense influenced by flaming lips, Yo La Tengo and My bloody Valentine - ish noisy guitar were extolled by each media, such as radio, a magazine, and CD Shop. Their live using many images is also attractive. "
- Finderpop Label Website

Cosmicdust - Snow Noise Assemblage (2006)

One man shoegaze band from a fellow who calls himself "Y.A.F."

"in 2002 United a band to do write songs and some arrangements
that aimed to be a professional. But it quit. Then I started self-work "COSMICDUST," which is a one-man shoegaze unit. It affected by "my bloody valentine""slowdive" etc... and my song's atmosphere loves much glittering, booming, downy and sweet melody. I play guitar, vocal, computer programming, and other all instruments¥¥¥"
-Taken from the Cosmicdust Website

The Spaceshits

Although likely well known to fans of King Khan and Mark Sultan, for the benefit of the rest the Spaceshits was the group from which that pair of modern garage rock nobility cut their teeth. Before the Shrines, BBQ, or the Almighty Defenders the were making raunchy, loud, distorted and wild music in Montreal venues earning quite the reputation. These three offerings are there 2 full-lengths and an double 7" release. While I am certain there are several singles and obscure collections out there I can't find them for the time being. The sound of these albums is much more like King Khan and the Shrines than Mark Sultan's solo work if I had to pick, but really it is far more rough and unfocused. However, with this lies a large part of the charm of these songs: the pure barbarous rock spilling from them. If you've liked any of the later groups or projects of the members of this band I must insist that you take the time you hear these albums if you have already.

To had to here:

Winter Dance Party (1997) [192 kbps]

Misbehavin' (1999) [224 VBR kbps]

Fullfisted Action! (1996) [224 kbps]

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blank Dogs - Land and Fixed (2010)

Yet another album from the ultra-prolific Blank Dogs. I sorta wish that danger dog posted this cuz he's far better versed in Blank Dog's discography than I am, but I enjoyed this album enough to make a stab at it myself. Of course, like previous albums from Mike Sniper the music is lo-fi post-punk done with a masterful understanding of the genre. I can't compare it too well to other albums, and for that I apologize but hopefully some readers or danger dog will leave some clarifying comments for us. All I really really know is that there is a damned good reason so much attention as been paid to Blank Dogs lately. This album did an amazing job at exciting me into action and there is something to be said for that too.

To be had here:
Blank Dogs - Land and Fixed [256 VBR kbps]

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dungen - Skit I Allt (2010)

Well I know Dungen blew the fuck up some years ago and the sort of momentum is quite hard to maintain I have been pleased with the evolution of the band and continue to enjoy listening to their earlier albums. Just found out the other day about this latest release and quickly made the time to sit down and give a good listen. The first impression it gave me was of a bit slower and more progressing song structure than the previous albums. At least it is more common, for it did happen sometimes of the earlier songs. While the songs on Skit I Allt aren't quiet nor simple, they are rather calming in my opinion. As always, the singing is pleasing, though not understandable to those that don't know Swedish. The two tracks that most caught my ear in these preliminary goes are "Ballor" and "Soda" but the whole thing make a good half hour of relaxation.

To be had here:
Dungen - Skit I Allt [320 bkps]

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cloud Nothings - Leave You Forever EP (2010)

Cloud Nothings is headed by a young man named Dylan Baldi from Ohio. From the sound of this EP, along with the popularly blogged about album from last year, Turning On, he is has found quite a pleasant niche between power-pop and the lo-fi rock that has been steadily more fashionable. The recording on Leave You Forever seems to my novice ears to be of a bit higher production quality that Cloud Nothing's previous release, but that luckily doesn't hurt the charm of their songs. If I recall correctly he's been out playing shows with Wavves and the like as well as putting a pretty good free EP up on Daytrotter. Certainly worth stanching up.

To be had here:
Cloud Nothings - Leave You Forever EP [280 VBR kbps]

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fitz & the Tantrums - Pickin’ Up the Pieces (2010)

This was a surprise I found on sordo. Someone put the link up and tagged it as soul, which isn't the most common thing. Looking into I'll be damned if it isn't a real soul act from Los Angeles. Their biography isn't too hard to find if you're interested in that, but basically they pretty new but seemingly catching on quickly. The bandleader is a former studio engineer who's talents likely contributed to the high quality of the recordings despite them having been conducted in his living room according to the L.A. Times. Although this is certainly most directly influenced by soul, it does sound like the Jackson 5 or other Motown acts because of the excitement exhibited. The best comparison to a contemporaneous musician I could conjure is like a more showy and lively version of Mayer Hawthorne's smooth soul music. They even dress the part, where retro suits and the female vocals in flashy girl pop attire. The best part is how heavy the songs are on the old fashioned organ sound, I can hardly get enough of that.

To be had here:
Fitz & the Tantrums - Pickin’ Up the Pieces [160 kbps]

Three Good Listens

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Caribou - Caribou Vibration Ensemble featuring Marshall Allen (2010)

I downloaded and decided to dive right into this album. I looked up what it was and the idea immediately piqued my interest. This is a live set of Caribou in which additional musicians were enlisted to shore the performers on stage to 15 in all, hence the "Caribou Vibration Ensemble" in the album title. The horn section was provided by Marshall Allen who is best know for his work with Sun Ra. Also there are a few drummers going at it; something that never harms a live show. While it must've been even better to see what was going on, I can completely understand why they released this as an album. Lastly, the songs they've recorded in studio and the versions hereon are rather different so it is worthwhile even for those tend to shy away from live recordings. I only wish I re-familiarized myself better with their songs before listening.

To be had here:
Caribou - Caribou Vibration Ensemble featuring Marshall Allen [320 kbps]

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Speaking Canaries - Get Out Alive: The Last Type Story (2003)

The Speaking Canaries are a rock group from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania fronted by Damon Che, better known as the drummer of the legendary Don Caballero. 98% of reviews of this record seem to say nothing about it other than that it sounds like Van Halen, or Rush, or Boston, or something of that ilk, which I find to be completely baffling as I get none of that from this. In a couple of tracks Che interjects with some stellar guitar tapping, but even then it is few and far between. This is quickly becoming one of my most beloved records. It is criminal how unknown it is, and how when it does seem to get attention it is written off as 70's arena rock worship. There is definitely an influence from that, but it is completely balanced by an equal influence of latter day indie + punk rock sound and attitude. Take for instance "Last Side of Town Parts 1 & 2" which in its nearly half hour span, contains a melodic instrumental beginning, melts down into a Sonic Youth informed noise section with quiet, pretty valleys that build into searing, white-hot peaks and back again, and finishes out with a wonderfully soaring ending. Che's voice goes from soft falsetto to aggressive screaming often within the same song and it fits the music perfectly. At times the music reminds me of The Replacements or Drive Like Jehu. This record is best experienced on a long drive to nowhere in particular. I love it when records can conjure certain moods and for me that mood is "last car on the road at 4 A.M., looking at faint lights from truck stops and factories, on a distant highway somewhere between the Big City and Anytown, U.S.A."

Check it out:

(P.S. - There are in fact two versions of this record. There is a "short" version and a "long" version. I have included the long version as I feel it is the best way to experience the record since it includes extended takes of the songs "Last Type", "Coffin Jitters", "Last Side of Town", and also includes "Stuffed With Fear" which is unavailable on the short version.)