Some of these releases are fully fledged records, but in an attempt to catch up on some of the backlog, here they are in brief.
A nice slab of twinkly goodness from Alabama. I think I referenced the Appleseed Cast in another review a few weeks back, but those Low Level Owl records must have made quite the impact on impressionable young musicians some years back. As for this record, you get lots of long songs with dueling guitars picking very pretty yet forlorn melodies that slowly build to an pleasing crescendo. My favorite track happens to be the last one (“Let’s Not Rush Out and Tell Everyone”), as it perfectly wraps up this strong set.
I have been told that cities around Italy have been experiencing some interesting punk sounds for the last two decades, but as I have never been I simply have to take people’s word for it. If I did happen to drop in on some anarchist squat and heard the sounds Vacanza produce come through the sound system, I would be tickled. The group produces music on the screamy end of what we used to call Emo back in the late 90s. You know, lots of Dischord and Level Plane Records influences. I really enjoy that the group sings in their native tongue and doesn’t try to play to a foreign market’s expectations.
Another great release from Sweden’s best current outsider folkster. Like a lot of outsider art, a lot of these songs sound like sketches produced in the bought of mental illness, drugs, or all of the above. In the case of Horrible Houses, the music has a remote, stoned feeling to it that helps capture in my mind what the frozen wilderness of Sweden must look like in the summer. “The Rebuilding of the Adelphi Rolling Grist Mill” was the track that called out to me more than once.
Back to Los Angeles for some more weird pop jams. I came across Lou Breed back in February when someone at Burgerama told me that I would probably like the band, but with all the cheap beer and garage rock I was digesting that night I forgot the band’s name. This is a pleasant but odd surprise. Songs like “Fellow Americans” sound like they could have been on a popular 80s rock station if a few of the song’s elements were adjusted for a mainstream audience. It’s odd, it’s weird, it’s good.
I generally like to end my listening session with something evil or satanic. You have to keep rock and roll evil kids! Czar Rose is a group from Los Angeles that throw together gloomy, electronically influenced pop songs that are on the light end of psychedlia. The lyrics and synth lines create a chant like result that is efficient in setting the tone the group is clearly looking for. When the demonic vocals come in with a rap cadence on “Music Comes (Alive)”, you know you are entering the fourth level of hell.