Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lou Breed - Stoned Out: Miami Beach (2010)

Do believe I was just looking around at what was tagged "Michigan" and "Detroit" on bandcamp when I was stuck somewhere without my hard drive and a dead iPhone. I thought the name Lou Breed was a rather nifty pun and downloaded the album Stoned Out: Miami Beach. Pretty sure I remember they are from Ann Arbor, about an hour jaunt from where I dwell. What I got was better than I could have hoped for considering what most of the other stuff I was finding sounded like. However, the more I listened the more it summoned memories of many bands I've enjoyed, in particular Elephant 6 groups like Apples in Stereo and Olivia Tremor Control as well as the recently posted Pill Wonder. Sampling and funky electronic effect are of course liberally used throughout the album, and those with lyrics have that high register indie pop charm. It is delightful as all get out and puts me in an exceptionally pleasant mood. Naturally it is free for download from bandcamp. Pretty good for a random discovery based on none more than a punny name, although I'll admit to seeing it about since then on good blogs like ongakubaka.

To be had here:
Lou Breed - Stoned Out: Miami Beach

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Oxford American Southern Music CD No. 12

I apologize for the reduction in frequency of posting lately, there is a lot of family functions to attention around this time of the year and no time to sit on my ass means no posting music. Luckily for everyone though the holiday did yield something relevant for a blog such as this. The Oxford American, a Southern culture magazine published by the University of Central Arkansas given to me by my brother, does an issue about Southern music. Included is a compilation CD that has a collection of tracks from from across recorded musical history that hold some valuable cultural heritage in the minds of their writers. This year is an assemblage of songs from Alabama in particular and range in date of original release from 1949 to 2010. Beyond being chronologically expansive the compilation stretches across genres liberally, featuring blues, country folk, funky rock and roll, to a contemporary indie pop number. There are some real gems on that they cover in beautiful detail in the issue, and for those articles alone it is well worth purchasing. Like the history of the song "Matchbox" and Ralph "Soul" Jackson's version of it that made it onto the compilation. As well there are wonderful singing voices I feel like I've been missing out on for my whole life such as Lil Greenwood and Dinah Washington. Even has a fantastic funky, organ-drenched gospel track by Robert Brown And The Sons Of The South. An astounding examination of the amazing music that can produced by a place that many give precious little thought to in other parts of the world.

To be had here:
The Oxford American Southern Music CD No. 12

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The third edition of my integration of comic book recommendations into the blog features Northlanders. This is a series from DC's "adult" imprint, Vertigo, and is about Vikings. Firstly, who the hell doesn't like a good tale involving Vikings, seafaring and battle? The spectacle of medieval combat is exceptionally suitable for comic books in my opinion. I'm surprised there aren't more series set in the Middle Ages. As to this particular story, like all good comics it is the writing that makes or breaks the value of the series. The writer is Brain Wood, who is also notable for his work with another Vertigo series, DMZ. Wood does a wonderful job at addressing the existentialist dilemma of humans in the story line of Northlanders. Through the narration and actions of the main character Sven the story explores the nature of identity, modernity, warfare and death in the brutal warrior culture of medieval Europe, especially in her northern lands. Sven, a former member of the Varangian Guard employed by the Byzantine emperors, returns to his homeland in the Orkney Islands to confront his past and experience some good old Bildungsroman. That is, he comes to realize how much of an ass he is, but not before being a bloody lunatic. I find all that jazz is quite appealing, but that is coming from a guy that just finish an anthropology degree. And as such a fellow, I'll say the use of ideas like identity and sentiments of nationhood seems somewhat anachronistic for a man in the 10th century but examination of the self is universal and timeless. Accordingly, I've decided to share the first story arc of Northlanders, called "Sven the Returned" and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and forgive that the scans seem to be of varying quality if you may.

To be had here:
Northlanders - Sven the Returned

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Blue Squares - Hard Times (2010)

If the retro garage rock sound of yesterday's Shannon and the Clams offering had you wanting more, or if you wanted to try a different band in that style for whatever reason, the Blue Squares could just what you're looking for. Mellower than most all the other garage rock I've been posting, this band is from our bittersweet city of Detroit. They sound incredibly like the 4-Wheels compilation I mentioned yesterday, but also they are uncannily akin in sound to Cincinnati band the Greenhornes (half of whom teamed with his Detroit rockers Jack White and Brendan Benson in that shitty band). Despite my unfavorable disposition toward some the member's of the Greenhornes later projects, I do still like to hear their albums and having a band pick up a similar sound is a boon for me. The Blue Squares therefore can't be called original but that isn't the point of making retro music. They do a damned good job at making this music though, and the crooning of the singer is dead on. Good to see Detroit has forgotten how to make music like this.

To be had here:
The Blue Squares - Hard Times [128 VBR kbps]

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Shannon and the Clams - I Wanna Go Home (2009)

More lo-fi for my sorely abused brain. I think I overdid it just a bit in my celebrations after finishing my final exam and thus clearing the road for graduation from Wayne State. Anyhow, what is important is that this really lo-fi garage sound is doing wonders by allowing me to ignore my hangover. Shannon and the Clams is a garage band from Oakland, California who've good a mess of good influence in the music they're making. You know from stuff like The Beach Boys and The Shangri- La’s to Nobunny and the Mummies. I'm digging the rough but sweet singing of Shannon's singing, she can belt out some good shouts. I Wanna Go Home is overall a pretty solid, if not mind-blowing garage rock album. What this band has going is a good hold on the 1960s garage rock sound that will be familiar to anyone that's heard Nuggets compilations or History of Michigan garage bands I posted awhile ago. A good addition to a rotation of such things, this is for sure.

To be had here:
Shannon and the Clams - I Wanna Go Home [192 VBR kbps]

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sonny And The Sunsets - Tomorrow Is Alright (2009)

More than likely I am only the latest in a stream of people to recommend Sonny And The Sunsets. Personally I've heard it popping up in all sorts of strange places, such as the Sklarbro Country podcast. It is impossible to resist the compulsion to share the cheerful tunes of that they put together on Tomorrow Is Alright. They sound very much like the Beach Boys from the Pet Sounds and Smiley Smile period. Simply put, it's softly glowing pop music that is sweet, romantic and catchy. The best part is that they take that motif and twist it up, with lyrics that are a bit salty and absurd for the style, such as in "Planet of Women." You'll understand once you hear it. Almost in a weird nod to the Beach Boys they even titled a song "Bad Vibes & Evil Thoughts," but that's pure speculation on my part. An interesting note is that this band was formed by a filmmaker in San Fransisco and its membership doesn't seem hard and firm, but rather involves the talented musicians he knows, including the recently posted Tim Cohen. If you're late to the party on this band like I am I suggest you hesitate no longer and give them the old college try.

To be had here:
Sonny And The Sunsets - Tomorrow Is Alright [192 VBR kbps]

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wrestling Club - Third Reformed Church (2010)

A member of this band sent me a link to their bandcamp and I gave them a whirl. As I did like what I heard I've decided to share the news. The guy is sent to be link didn't provide me with too much information about the band, but from poking around on the internet I was able to discern that they're more than likely a Texan band. The music is math rock, both with vocals and without on this relatively short EP. Reminds me of Auto!Automatic!! and Sleeping People but the vocals in some of the tracks makes them sound considerably more poppy, but in the most likable fashion. The recording quality of does seem like it could be better, yet nothing horrible especially for a new band. I sense a lot of potential for Wrestling Club and if you wanna check it for yourself it is for the taking currently.

To be had here:
Wrestling Club - Third Reformed Church

Monday, December 13, 2010

Not Squares - Yeah OK (2010)

Another band from Belfast, Northern Ireland that I actually heard about reading an interview with the previous Northern Irish act to be posted on this blog, Girls Names. Needless to say, I was thoroughly impressed by and I could hardly wait to share this. The sound of Not Squares though is not like Girls Names lo-fi post-punk, but rather is some exciting fast-paced electronic music easily suitable for the dancing of humans. I do believe they self-describe themselves as disco house, but I am as unfamiliar with that term as many of you doubtlessly are. There are some wickedly catchy beats and bass is mesmerizing, yet my favorite part is the singing of all thing. It fluxes between solo and ensemble all the while carrying the music to a different place in tracks like "Asylum" and "Bi Kan Na." However, it some tracks it is less prominent or masked with a robotic sound such as in "In Front" and you'll sense that the band still knows completely what they're doing. Although a late in the game declaration, likely my favorite electronic album of the year.

To be had here:
Not Squares - Yeah OK [192 VBR kbps]

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Useless Eaters

As usual I was looking for more garage punk and I easily found some. Useless Eaters is the music of a young man named Seth Sutton from Memphis, Tennessee. While I have uncovered no evidence for a full-length album as of yet, Useless Eaters has been pumping out 7" singles in such quantity that it hardly makes a difference. As far as what this sounds like you should know the drill, it is noisy, loud, distorted garage punk in a pure form. Very much like early Ty Segall, The Spaceshits or The Gories at their roughest. I've been able to dig up five 7" singles so far, but for all I know there very well could be more out there. If you've been into the garage punk and noise rock that I've posted previously then this'll be right up your alley for sure.

To be had here:

Agoraphobic (2009) [256 VBR kbps]

Hear See (2009) [256 kbps]

Mr. Oscillations (2009) [112 VBR kbps]

Panic Attack (2010) [256 VBR kbps]

Sucked In (2009) [256 VBR kbps]

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ignition City

Time for another comic book as the last seemed to go over moderately well. This time a more recent series, or mini-series to be correct. Ignition City is a five issue mini-series written by the notable author Warren Ellis, known for previous work such as Hellblazer and Transmetropolitan. The characters are based loosely on those from the old Flash Gordon serials, as well as other sci-fi classics like Commander Cody and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. However, in this world the former heroes of space exploration are disavowed and banished to the semi-recognized community of Ignition City. The mood of Ignition City is dystopic, with a mixture of classic sci-fi elements like aliens and space travel with steampunk style imagery from penciller, Gianluca Pagliarani. The art makes the characters and setting alike seem all the more grimy and forlorn, with figures like Yuri the ex-cosmonaut who shambles about drinking vodka and proclaiming his erstwhile fame while still wearing a spacesuit. The main plot itself isn't that unique; basically a daughter out to seek closure and revenge for a recently departed father, but the trappings around the main character more than make up for the formulaic nature of her motivations. Unlike the previous comic I posted, which was more for novelty, I am sharing the whole thing, but as you can imagine owning a physical copy of a comic is superior just as owning a vinyl record is always better than a digital version.

To be had here:
Ignition City #1-5

Friday, December 10, 2010

Harmaa Getto - Suomimorsiamen pyhä tie (2009)

This shit is damned spooky. Harmaa Getto is a Finnish electronic rock and hip hop band that features the recently shared musician Joose Keskitalo. I ran across this band when I found his music but put off downloading and listening to it for a bit as I didn't really know what to make of the idea Finnish hip hop. Truth be told, listening to it doesn't really make it any easier to figure out. However, if you're willing to suspend that feeling that something is wildly out of place with the general conceit of this project, you may find it quite enjoyable. There have been crazy mash-upped and blended styles in the past that have done remarkably well like Matisyahu's Jewish reggae/hip hop. I should note that music is pretty disincentive from any references I might make. It really needs to be heard to even being to understand, and the massive eccentricity from song to song makes it even harder to get a bead on. I think Harmaa Getto falls somewhere between novelty and innovation, but certainly the uniqueness alone was enough to provoke my interest

To be had here:
Harmaa Getto - Suomimorsiamen pyhä tie [192 VBR kbps]

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Girls Names - You Should Know By Now (2010)

I'm pretty super-jazzed about this band. I know I tooted a rather loud horn about Ghost Animal, which I completely stand by still. Well, this must be the music blogging equivalent to a winning streak, not to dismiss anything else I've posted, for if I didn't think it was good and had merit I wouldn't shill it. Girls Names is a Northern Irish band based in Belfast that got signed by Brooklyn's awesome record label Captured Tracks. Although originally an duo, they've grown into a three-piece and they make some gorgeous noise pop. You Should Know By Now is an EP and their initial release in the US, but hopefully more will follow soon. I wish I could provide some really solid comparisons, but pulling a references from the depths of my music archive is remarkably difficult for me. Anyhow, my best shot at the moment is Crystal Stilts, Suicide and Fungi Girls, yet something in me says there is a very obvious something I am forgetting, Jesus & Mary Chain most likely. They're sneaky and omnipresent. No matter the references, Girls Names are spot on for what I am currently looking for musically, and I've got to bet you'll like them a whole lot too.

To be had here:
Girls Names - You Should Know By Now [256 VBR kbps]

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ra Cailum - Leaving EP (2010) & Walkabout (2010)

More of this glo-fi, or chillwave as I've seen it alternatively referred to, that has intrigued me. Ra Cailum is the moniker for a Midwestern electronic musician, taken from the popular anime show Gundam as far as I can tell. The music is synth-heavy and involves liberal samples of vocals and retro-sounding effects. Almost seems like the sort of music one might here in a Gundam-like show or a old sci-fi film but made far more appealing through deft composition. Ra Cailum does seem to be on the mellower side overall, at least compared to bands like Beat Connection or Neon Indian. Leaving EP fits well as a set up to the longer ablum, Walkabout. In fact, a track called "Evergreens" on the EP was a titular follow up on the full-length in "Evergreens (pt. II)." This makes sense, as they were release quite close to one another and contain the same mood throughout them. I know that Walkabout is being given out for free by the artist on last.fm and other places. I assume the same is the case for the Leaving EP but throw him a bone and see him live should you get a chance if it ain't too much trouble.

To be had here:

Leaving EP [320 kbps]

Walkabout [256 VBR kbps]

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ghost Animal - Summertime In Heaven (2010)

You don't realize how much you love the wall of sound until you haven't heard it in a bit. Indeed, this is how I felt when I heard Ghost Animal (and I did notice the frequent use of "ghost" and "animal" band names). Another is the linage of bands that bridges the space between shoegaze and garage rock, Ghost Animal reflects the current trends just as previous groups like the Raveonettes showed the more poppy garage rock sound of the earlier part of the decade. Shoegaze for fans of the Moonhearts, Ty Segall, Bare Wires or Tyvek is a good way to think of it. It is loud, fuzzed out and lo-fi while keeping the droning background that makes shoegaze so fantastic. Although I know I am prone to hyperbole, and hey, why get down on musicians that make something genuine? Nonetheless, Ghost Animal has made a real fucking amazing album with Summertime In Heaven. Holy Moses you need to get off your duff, or stay right on it, and get this album and hear it now.

To be had here:
Ghost Animal - Summertime In Heaven [320 kbps]

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Slow Animal - Demo EP (2010)

Bumping around on the dark Internet I found Slow Animal. From what I can figure it is some youths from New Jersey who've gotten some gumption to make garage rock. Really, that is about all it takes in my book and think this EP adorable. It is only ten and half minutes long, so I just got it and have already heard it three times. Really catchy right off the get-go and doesn't let up in energy at all. And another bonus is that I don't have to upload it anything, for they're already sharing the EP on bandcamp for the low low price of free in any manner of digital format.

To be had here:
Slow Animal - Demo EP

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Beat Connection - Surf Noir EP (2010)

I'll begin with my disclaimer, I can't remember how I got this album. Just know it was near the top of my recently added songs, and after giving in a listen I was sure it needed to be posted. I mean, how could one pass up such a thing as an EP called Surf Noir? Luckily, the music lives up to the name. Beat Connection has succeed in making electronic music that provokes imagines of a beach side party that wouldn't have Corona. Not too long ago I posted a similar description of Candy Claws, and it is true that the two bands are quite alike. If anything Beat Connection is more dance-orientated and a bit less ethereal than Candy Claws. Another reason I was all worked up to post this band is that it was the first time I saw the term "glo-fi" and those of you that have been regular readers might recall that I think new genre names are fun and cute. Indeed, glo-fi is a good as term as any string of terms I might assemble for what Beat Connection sounds like, especially if you read the good description of glo-fi on last.fm. More or less it is lo-fi electronic music that infuses a good deal of retro or nostalgic elements into it. If Beat Connection is any indication of what this route can yield, I'll be clamoring for more.

To be had here:
Beat Connection - Surf Noir EP [320 bkps]

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tim Cohen

This is pretty much what I have spent all my waking time at my computer listening to for the past 2 days. Tin Cohen is some sort of magic user, who is the lead singer of the Fresh & Onlys and involved in any number of other projects. Still he find the time and creativity to make solo albums that are radically different than most of his group work. Unlike the garage rock of the Fresh & Onlys or the metal of AmocomA that he makes, this is lo-fi chamber pop/bedroom pop tunes. It changes it up enough that finding references to similar music is a bit of a mental work out for my sleepy brain. Best I can summon is James Ausfahrt's less electronic songs, the recently posted Spook House's less guitar laden songs, and so on. Basically the albums are simple and then out of nowhere they feel complex, but I don't know what that means so maybe it isn't good to write down. Basically, trust me on this one: Cohen is a genie in man's skin and beard.

To be had here:

Two Sides of Tim Cohen (2009) [224 VBR kbps]

Laugh Tracks (2010) [224 VBR kbps]

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Magnus, Robot Fighter

I know that this is a music blog, however after an alcohol-fueled night at the local bathhouse with my brother I have gotten the idea of making Spacerockmountain a bit more "multi-media," as he put it. To be honest, I haven't been able to keep up with my pace of posting of albums, I was a bit built up and spent most everything I had plus all I was currently listening to in November. So I thought perhaps Spacerockmountain pilgrims might enjoy one of the several series of comics I read while I listen to all the music I post on here. Magnus, Robot Fighter is the series I've been reading lately, although it is from the mid-sixties. It is rather strange to read coming from a modern point of view, but accepting the different expectations and experiences of previous eras the series isn't that outlandish. The basic premise is that Magnus is a human trained by a really nice robot in how to seek out and eliminate robots that commit evil. Where it gets juicy is that in this future, the year 4000 to be exact, humans have surrendered nearly everything to robots, including all sorts of labor, policing and maintenance of society. If you're the sort to look at stories in a socio-political context, Magnus is a stereotypical conservative/libertarian hero that stands up to the corrupt and dishonest system. Though this libertarian conceit is irrefutably at the heart of the comic, it makes for a romantic tale and unlike the socialistic ideal I am more inclined to side with politically libertarianism has a very storybook quality to it. On a less intellectual level, it is awesome just because it is has a man karate chopping robots apart, who actually declare "DESTROY ALL HUMANS," while wearing what seems to be a dress.

First issue to had here:
Magnus, Robot Fighter #1 (Feb, 1963)

P.S. a good program I use to read .cbr and .cbz files that works for mac, PC and linux computers is Comic Book Reader Pro. It is full screen all the time, but doesn't interfere with music listening, plus best of all is works completely for free, though the creator might have inserted something that begs so for a donation. This is easily ignored if you are the type to not paid for shit however.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wetdog - Frauhaus! (2009)

This is another band that was wisely (as wise as an algorithm can be) by last.fm. Anyhow, I suppose if it works that is why I keep using the site. While being another all female comprised band, I think that is a minor note but the one that lead me to them probably, through Frankie Rose and the Outs and Trash Kit most likely. They do bear a certain resemblance to both of those groups, but aren't quite the same as either. In fact a band that Wetdog reminds me more of is They Shoot Horses Don't They. The strange, intermittent beats and the slightly distorted, chanting vocals are quite eccentric indeed. At times Frauhaus! summons images of a haunted carnival or a wildly bizarre like that. They make post-punk leaves me not only stracthing my head but thoroughly enthralled.

To be had here:
Wetdog - Frauhaus! [192 VBR kbps]