Saturday, January 31, 2015

LAMBS - 11 Songs (2014)

From time to time I make an egregious oversight in when sorting through the many submissions we receive, including being completely spaced as far as SRM goes at all. I believe one of my absentee periods coincided with LAMBS sending us something. Straight up, pilgrims, I found a year or more old email, and then I felt bad about it. On the plus side I looked into what LAMBS has been up to since then, and it seems they've got a full-length that came out in the first half of 2014 and it is most certainly worth talking up.

LAMBS are from Cambridge, Ontario which is a city I've passed through several times in my life, as it lies between Detroit and Toronto and further on Rochester, NY where my little brother attends graduate school (shout out: it is his birthday tomorrow, motherfuckers). Anyway, while I fondly recall the nice girl I had to gently explain to I didn't want cream in my goddamn coffee in Crambridge's Tim Horton's, more exciting than a particular experience of mine there is that it's produced such a fine band as LAMBS. They're indie pop, sometimes touching up on pysch-pop, but these almost seem like terms a bit late for what their sound has captured. Namely, these dudes seem to have an affection for Buddy Holly and his sweetly charming, twangy early rock and roll vibe. The amazing song "Summer Fling" drives this home very eloquently. The other songs are more subtle in the Holly-esque mimicry, blending many early rock, psychedelic and indie pop sounds. They're soft, pleasant but far from cloying and incredibly well composed in these 11 Songs.

Oh, and what they had submitted was there 2013 EP entitled Blisters. For the record it's fucking awesome and should have been featured on SRM for sure. So if you like 11 Songs, look into it sooner rather than later.

To be had here:
LAMBS - 11 Songs

Thursday, January 29, 2015

EP Grab Bag vol. 88

EPs from four different nations of various genres. I guess I get around, at least in my music listening. Anyhow, all of these are recommended listening, and the European features are particularly good for expanding one's musical palate.

To be had here:
Kemialliset Ystävät - Kultaista kaupunkia etsimässä (2012)

I am still planning to write up a bunch of Finnish music, I just need to get over the motherfucking cold I have got and get the motivation to hunt all the albums down. In the meantime, I am gonna reiterate how good Kemialliset Ystävät is. This is an EP from 2009 that went unreleased until 2012, but is shows off the very unique experimental electronic-acoustic folk of this most magnificent band. It isn't downloadable unfortunately, but hopefully the stream will convince you to find and get 2004's Alkuhärkä, my favorite of all their releases.
The First Part - The First Part (2104)

Indie rock/power pop outta San Angelo, Texas. That they've heard a good deal of 90s rock is a near inescapable conclusion, and this places them right into my range of nostalgic listening. They're good rock tunes, from the time when the term "alternative" might have retained some meaning. Yet these dudes are doing it now, and it is never too late to do something well, which these guys certainly have. The track "The Catalyst" stood out as my favorite of the four songs, but I recommend giving the whole EP a good listen.
The Rashita Joneses - The Rashita Joneses (2015)

These guys picked a good name, who doesn't love Rashita Jones? This Wisconsin-based garage rock outfit has put out three tracks of lo-fi bliss. The songs are fast, loud and exactly the sort of messy garage I like to hear from young bands. As I've stated many times before, this is my bread and butter sort of music and I can't doubt that the Rashita Joneses will enter into my driving rotation with Yelephants, the Prude Boys, and King Cayman. Can only hope the produce more.

B.M.C. Big Mountain County - 7" BMC (2013)

Saw this group on the twitter, and very much liked what I heard from these Roman garage rockers. Their sound is lo-fi and of that bluesy, punk style of garage that I often associate with the middle of the United States (i.e. Memphis, Chicago, Detroit). Enjoyably abrasive singing and loud instruments in un-complex tunes. You've got to hear the organ in "1945." In fact you've got to hear everything in that track. This is exactly the kind of EP that ends up in my driving rotation, which it already has as of this morning. After hearing A Big Silent Elephantthe Vickers, IL CULO DI MARIO and this I am not sure if there's anything these Italians can't do fantastically.

Love, Hippies & Gangsters - Sun Over Babaluma (2015)

Psychedelic rock from Dalston, London. It blows my mind that London is so huge that merely saying the city isn't enough. Also, this music is blowing my wine-riddled brain. Let's start with the fact that the guy responsible for writing, singing and recording these songs goes by the name Yiğit Bülbül. The tracks are anything but a let down even after learning that information. Swirling, lightly droning and showing off skills in both rock and electronic composition. So settle the fuck in and get ready for a far out sonic treatment.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Les Princes du Rock - Les Princes du Rock (2015)

Back when the blog when in the transition from the wild west of file sharing into the submission-driven form of its current incarnation, one of the first labels to sent in music was the Cocktail Pueblo. I wasn't sure what I was gonna do with the albums, nor if I was even going to post submitted material frequently. Then the heavy hand of the law stepped in and shut down megaupload and super fast after that all my files disappeared from the site I'd been hosting on. Like a bomb went off and all that was left was submissions, like Cocktail Pueblo.

As I found this album on by own I haven't got any real background on Les Princes du Rock beyond they're being from Tours, France. Musically they've excellently blended psychedelic and garage rock. I am painfully aware I use those terms all the time for many things, and I know they're rather broad. Basically, some of the songs are long, far out explorations utilizing trippy guitar playing, while others are more focused on loud percussion, fuzzy bass and bellowing vocals. However, the best is when they combine them, such as in the magnificent track, "Holy Grail." Basically, it has it all, pilgrims. At least as far as lo-fi rock goes, which for me might as well be all the way.

Also, I noticed that this album was released in 2014, I assume by the band. What I found was Cocktail Pueblo's issuing, of which I am not sure will having a physical version. Through both links it's available with on a name your own price basis.

To be had here:
Les Princes du Rock - Les Princes du Rock

Monday, January 26, 2015

Scenes of a City, Vol. 8 Rosario, Argentina

Hard to think Larry and I have done eight of these already. They are the most time-consuming of all the features that we do, but in many ways the most rewarding due to the more in-depth look at what's going on abroad. This write-up on Rosario might be the best example yet, as I hadn't even been aware of Rosario as a major city of Argentina until I was idly gazing at a map (my life is thrilling, I know). Afterward I felt compelled to see what that place was all about, and keeping with my theme it isn't the biggest city, nor the capital, but rather the third largest city of the Argentine Republic. What I found was amazing, as I've never had so many good selections that I had to narrow down into a post before. Rosario is an absolute hotbed of musical activity and embracing the very model of giving away free streaming and/or downloads quite fully. All of these save one are free to download (name-your-own-price technically, if you feel generous).

To be had here:
Mi Nave - Estela (2014)

This is the album that instigated an entire post on Rosario. I ran across this rather haphazardly and the foxy album art and location were enough for me to give it a listen. What I heard really blew my mind, for I don't like a little or some, rather I can't believe how sweet this shit is. Mi Nave doesn't possess a single sound, as they shift around in a psychedelic, post-rock/whatever sphere with their songs. The tracks range from sort of electronic dance pop to post-rock to something absolutely wonderful with horns. I mean really wonderful and the best track has to be "Matt Damon," you gotta listen to it all.

Daddy Rocks - Epoca de Brujas (2014)

Without a doubt some of the catchiest pop music I have heard in months. Now, It isn't fare to compare Latin American indie pop to any of the drivel we've got on commercial radio in the United States, yet I will confidently say Daddy Rocks blows all that shit away, hands down. The album title means "Witch Time" if google translation is to be believed, and it is a fantastic series of pop tunes sung in Spanish that even a monolingual English speaker like myself can get behind.

Brylcream - Brylcream (2014)

An instrumental indie rock outfit that I know almost nothing about. I found them by chance on bandcamp and their page doesn't elaborate, not even a little bit, beyond the fact that they're from Rosario. So the music will have to speak for itself, and it does an excellent job without words of doing just that. The songs range rom jaunty, bluesy tunes to smoother, drawn out progressive-sort of jams, even some jazzier numbers. The key is the instrumental nature of the band, it just drives along and you can sink right into everything without worries.

Norma Pons - Para Ser Felix (2014)

Norma Pons plays something between traditional Latin folk music and pop or rock. I haven't a clue again as to what they're on about in the lyrics, but it is undoubtedly cheerful music. In fact it is the sort of music that I might not like if it wasn't in Spanish and therefore something I can ignore the words of outside of being another instrument. While being cheerful Latin tunes, it isn't to the corporate bullshit chain restaurant degree. I guess I am just tickled at horns and whatnot being played in a South American way. I feel like a tourist without leaving my apartment.

Vacaciones en Globo - VACACIONES EN GLOBO (2014)

This band is the one that most reminds me of Latin American and Spanish indie rock/pop I've heard before, including Brazil's Supercordas, who I rave about so frequently. I'd say they are less psychedelic, leaning more toward the folk-pop, and every inch as competent in songwriting ability. It's hard not to be charmed by Vacaciones en Globo immediately, they're really outstanding, the sort of thing I wish could be heard more commonly here in the United States. This album, along with Mi Nave's Estela were put out by the Rosario based label, Polvo Bureau, who's catalog surely merits a good browsing.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Space Rock Mountain Podcast 35 - Flight of Icarus

The gang gets together to talk about Lindberg Hotel, This Heel, the Spectres, the Tides, Mi Nave, Wolf Mountains, Todd Tobias, Ada Yakusheva, and Iron Maiden.

Kooba Tercu - Kooba Tercu (2015)

Our friends in Greece are back and have sent in another rock album for us all to enjoy. Spinalonga Records has submitted their new release from the band Kooba Tercu. Consisting of Johnny Tercu and his 'crew' musicians from Athens. They've neglected to tag the album on the bandcamp page, and more power to them as what they've produced doesn't fit neatly into any of these genres. That's to be expected, even hoped for. Nevertheless influences are apparent and include psychedelic, post-hardcore and even some metal. This might give the wrong impression if I don't stress how their sound isn't simple to boil down. I guess I have to try anyway, that's what I fucking do here.

They maintain a heavy edge through most of the album but other than that it's hard to pin anything down. The first track "Ukunta" is fucking amazing with the chanting and drums and bass. Hooked me straight away and prepared me for the weird album that follows. The songs are complex in composition, with them distinctly shifting through several styles in a three minute track. Has a healthy degree of post-hardcore abrasive singing, post-rock-like crescendo building, dreamy psychedelic repetition. It's a fine debut and an excellent use of time for those underemployed Greeks. Maybe an increase in artistic output could be the silver lining to all that financial hardship Greece is suffering? If so I look forward to hearing more of it.

To be had here:
Kooba Tercu - Kooba Tercu

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Paavoharju - Joko sinä tulet tänne alas tai minä nousen sinne (2014)

I've long held a theory that my musical tastes are cyclical and that I loop back around to things I recall ever so fondly from months or years ago start digging around in a genre, scene or even a particular artist's discography. While, I have been remembering my affinity for Finnish experimental music. It can be hard to describe with a mess of adjectives, but what's for certain is that it's unique to Finland, rather like the Finnish language itself. As these returning obsessions burn rather strong I will doubtlessly share several of my favorites that have new material out, in fact it was already begun my Finnish campaign with mentioned Joose Keskitalo (a member of Paavoharju that has wonderful solo albums) in the Ellis Swan post and sharing Lasten Hautausmaa (a labelmate also on Svart Records) in the last Grab Bag. As such, each were preludes to the album I share today, Paavoharju's third album and the first full-length release since 2008's Laulu Laakson Kukista, the even longer-titled and mind-blogging to pronounce, Joko sinä tulet tänne alas tai minä nousen sinne.

For those that are familiar with the prior output of both Paavoharju and Joose Keskitalo this will have recognizable traits, but it is overlain with one of the more drastic of changes in style I can recall a band undertaking. Essentially, they kept their ethereal, psychedelic folk instrumentation, even retaining the Finnish chanting that made the previous albums so mesmerizing, and laid hip-hop on top. The hip-hop is in Finnish, which is something I've never experienced and can't compare to anything I've ever heard before. It isn't everywhere, they've classily spread it throughout the album and not made it the sole focus, though you will most certainly notice it. At first I was bewildered, but as I kept listening I found myself digging what Paavoharju was up to. It's a ballsy move, and it is rather well executed. It is undeniably a fine example of the Finnish avant-garde to which I am so deeply endeared, and different enough that it has achieved what good avant-garde should, making the listener re-assess their preferences and expand their palate.

To be had here:

Friday, January 23, 2015

Nive Nielsen & The Deer Children - Nive Sings! (2010)

Found this album in a backwards fashion. Well, sort of, ever since we've been geographic-based 'Scenes of a City' posts, it has become a bit of a habit of mine to throw locations into bandcamp and see what pops out. Even if it is somewhere remote and/or culturally removed from the majority of bandcamp users. Anyhow, as you may have put together I was reading about Greenland (lolling around with a cold, I seem to get little done other than read wikipedia). In particular I was learning about the only locality that passes as for urban in the arctic country, it's capital, Nuuk. As you might imagine a city of some seventeen thousand doesn't have all that much going on musical, but then again, it is the center of Greenlandic culture. So, I poked around and found something to share.

Nive Neilsen is the Greenlandic singer that this so aptly titled refers to. However, without the fact that she's from Greenland being pointed it out at such length by yours truly already, it would be easy to never even consider this coming from the United States or Canada. The music is rooted in American folk, though very much through the lens of modern indie pop, maybe the best comparison I can summon is Benni Hemm Hemm. Like most of the albums I have been praising most highly lately, the style isn't fixed throughout. Sure, there are folksy indie pop tunes that do an wonderful job as showing of Neilsen's elegant singing talent like "Good for You" and "My Coffee Boy." Just these would have earned enough of my interest for me to post Nive Sings! And yet there's more to this release. For an album that's title implies the showcasing of a singer, the instrumentation is damned remarkable. The roster of musicians that worked as the Deer Children is lengthy and they played all sorts of things from weird folk favorites like the saw and banjo to the ever-adorable ukulele and kazoo. There's even a song called "Autoharps!" You can guess what may happen in that one. So while Nive Sings! was put out five years ago, yet this is the first I've heard of her. Once I looked around it seems she's still active, including getting some attention from Daytrotter. I'll finish by saying I think she's been overlooked and certainly merits attention.

To be had here:
Nive Nielsen & The Deer Children - Nive Sings!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

tyler etters & the northern information movement - the phantoms of our lost cause (2015)

Spotted this release in my inbox recently and it seemed oddly familiar yet I hadn't posted the group before. That's because I prolly fucked up and missed in all the stuff that comes our way, not to mention it somehow isn't going to the right email ( Anyhow, we've got oversights and I can't bemoan mine too long when there's new music on the line. Tyler Etters & the Northern Information Movement have got a full-length album out now and I'm gonna give you a few thoughts on it.

It is interesting how the music submissions that comes our ways will have trends among them. It isn't uncommon to go months with little post-rock, garage, psychedelic or what-have-you only to find oneself up to the gills in it suddenly. Lately, it is certainly been high tide for post-rock and ambient, perhaps it is the wintry days. Yet some of it comes from the southern hemisphere where it's summer. However, being from Chicago this music isn't from too far flung from my base of operations in Detroit, and it certainly must be chilly there as it is here. These compositions are rather chilly as well. At times it's downright sparse and bleak as a tundra. Then there's the eerie electronic parts that are haunting 8-bit-tingled themes that swirl around with all manner of subtle noise and rhythms. It isn't easy to describe this sort of post-rock/ambient project and in all the years I have attempted to write them up I always seem to confuse myself a little. Nevertheless I keep writing them up because they can be quite good. Tyler Etters & the Northern Information Movement is exactly that, it has a gloomy theme and sticks too it well. Creates an environment for the listener to inhabit, even if it's a very surreal one.

To be had here:
tyler etters & the northern information movement - the phantoms of our lost cause

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Vickers - Ghosts (2014)

A few days rest does a wonderful thing for the ears. So much music so fast there for a minute. Always say I'm gonna cut back but it doesn't seem to work out that way too often. There's the knowledge that I've got a submitted album from some dudes from Italy or wherever chilling in the inbox that makes me come back sooner than I imagined to writing shit up with rapidity.

The Vickers are indeed from Italy, the city of Firenze to be exact. Yet you'd be forgivable if you thought they were a British band hearing them without any other information. This is no accident, as they seem to have plotted an act that pulls directly from the British Invasion and later psychedelic music that was popular on the island and held international attention in the 1960s. The Vickers is a name that could fall in with the likes of the Kinks, the Troggs, the Searchers and so on very neatly. In light of this the title of this album, Ghosts, takes on an meaning it otherwise lacked. The Vickers are a reincarnated form of the iconic style that we all grew up hearing on the radio and from our folks records collections, at least if we were lucky. To this end they're an endearing band, if not the most cutting edge. Of course, how or why would you want to be cutting edge if what you'd like to play is hazy, 60s-esque psychedelia? Certainly why should you if you're as good at it as the Vickers are. I recommend it to those that enjoy that British form of the psychedelic revolution, so long as you don't fret too much over it coming fifty years later and from Italy. Or as Craig would say. "sounding like a band that I'd rather hear." Expand your mind, even if in a direct that you fell you know, why don't you?

To be had here:
The Vickers - Ghosts

Thursday, January 15, 2015

EP Grab Bag vol. 87

So, after a prolonged period of of LPs there, it is finally time for me to come back to these EPs that have been burning a hole in my metaphorical pocket. I haven't much to say as a preliminary except that I am so happy that these tunes keep pouring and are so fucking good.

To be had here:

Ongakubaka Records, the blog turned indie label, has another EP out that is, of course, impeccable. LOVEBYRD is a German band that makes psychedelic music. It's hard to tell whether the near-hallucinogenic instrumentation or the amazing vocalist are more mesmerizing. She can really sing, the guitars are damned trippy and it all comes together for five otherwordly tracks. Fits in a fine middle ground of modern psych, incorporating enough retro and eastern sound but not so much as to be a rehash. It's a wonderful EP, and I told you before that Ongakubaka knows what the fuck is up. If they were printing money instead of issuing records it'd be as good as gold.

H. Grimace - Material EP (2015)

These songs mingle somewhere between garage rock and dream pop, sort of a space usually occupied by shoegaze in my mind, but I wouldn't necessarily categorize H. Grimace as such. It isn't about tags, as much as I like to throw them around. What matter is that the songs are good, and this is definitely the case on their Material EP. This is EP is put out by the United Kingdom's Soft Power Records, a label I should like to provide more attention to in the days to come. Looks like they've got a good catalog to pick over.

The Clearwings - The Outskirts EP (2014)

The Denver-based folk duo the Clearwings make some fine duets. That's right, they sing together and it is quite impressive how well the female and male voices meld and play off one another in these short songs. The call themselves alt-folk, but who knows what that means, what I can say is that they do mix in some blues and pop elements in, depending on which track you pick. Being quite partial to the blues myself, I found the songs "Long Way Down" and "Armies" to be my favorites on the EP. However, there isn't a dud among them, and it is a highly enjoyable release.

Dhruva Krishna - The Great Skedaddle (2013)

More folk, of a far more stripped down variety. Just a man playing his guitar, or sometimes tapping on a piano, and making you think about shit. Upbeat and bluegrass-infused folk makes up most of the songs, yet in the middle of it "Crazy" is a bare-bones piano piece that really resonated with me. Only the last track, a cover of the Beatles classic "Yesterday," has any vocals at all.  If the quality of the folk coming in keeps up with Clearwings and what Mr. Krishna have sent in, I welcome much more.

Sväva - We Have Just The Life We Want (2014)

Another Dutch band from the city of Leeuwarden. Sväva makes melodic, ethereal music with strong female vocals. The songs aren't very complex, but they needed be as Sväva seems to be aiming for a more emotional reaction to their music. I spent quite a bit of time listening to this EP as I tried to plow my way into a novel I decided to begin the other day. I kept putting down the book, not because I didn't like it, but because I kept check which track I was hearing. Turns out I am really digging the final song of this release, "Blue Moon." It's totally worth a whirl.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fogo Amigo - Tudo o que você sempre quis ouvir, mas nunca te disseram (2015)

Here's a band that I haven't thought about for a minute or two, and not because the music wasn't fine, but because I last posted them in the 26th volume of the Grab Bag series back in 2012. Back then I thoroughly enjoyed Fogo Amigo's music and was having an excellent time reading depressing novels and drinking cheap beer while hearing them. Cut to 2015 and I am again enjoying this Brazilian post-rock with sad literature and only marginally more expensive beer. As they say, history repeats itself.

So even the Latin American post-rockers have the tendency to come up with wordy titles to albums and songs. Tudo o que você sempre quis ouvir, mas nunca te disseram translates as "Everything you always wanted to hear, but never told you." Fits right in there with titles like Ceux Qui Inventent N'ont Jamais Vécu by Fly Pan Am and Giant Surface Music Falling to Earth like Jewels from the Sky by Yume Bitsu. And yet, Fogo Amigo doesn't make post-rock like those North American acts, in fact it isn't even tagged but they aren't fooling me. I will grant them that this album more psychedelic and could be called space rock just as easily. But really, is there much of a difference? Moving past the semantics argument I've been having with myself years now, there's no denying the absolute talent that Fogo Amigo possesses. Of whatever subgenre of experimental music you wanna call it, this has gotta be the most immediately fascinating albums we've got sent in of this sort. I've been playing at work to universal praise from the coworkers and it is just the thing of staying relatively engaged and productive two beers deep, or losing track of time if there's other substances you prefer. 

To be had here:
Fogo Amigo - Tudo o que você sempre quis ouvir, mas nunca te disseram 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Wolf Mountains - Birthday Songs For Paul (2014)

A garage punk album has been overdue on the posts lately. It is always overdue in my day-to-day. I cannot ever get enough if it, though as you can very well see from what I've been posting recently I often stray for considerable periods of time nonetheless. Yet that time has come that I've hit a wall, and without seeing any garage floating around in the submissions (perhaps I didn't dig enough, but I am fundamentally lazy the inbox), I looked for something on my own. It took very little time to find Wold Mountain, who aren't to be confused with any of the other panalopy of bands that have "wolf" in this name, nor written off for the same reason.

Wolf Mountain are from Stuttgart, Germany and play a very lo-fidelity garage punk. The songs do get quite heavy and sleazy sounding, and overall the band does fall towards the trashy punk style. However, they don't just jump into it (not that there's anything wrong with that in punk rock). What I'm trying to say is they make a real show of it. It isn't all howling and fuzz though these have a prominent place. The songs are pretty complex and artsy as far as garage punk goes. Moreover, while there are likely many more contemporary comparisons to make I am gonna go grandiose and say they remind me of Television. This is about the highest praise I can give a band. Birthday Songs For Paul does many of the things I cherish in Television's albums, they're real and deep, songful compositions. In the sort period one gets to dwell within them they do more than satisfy the desire for noise done up with an overlay of melody. These Germans are musicians.

To be had here:
Wolf Mountains - Birthday Songs For Paul 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Steady Lean - Here's Something (2014)

From the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Fe Springs comes Steady Lean. They make an amorphous lo-fi folk rock that can be called by any number of newish sub-genres like gloom pop, weirdo folk, and even alt-country. While the songs aren't the very melancholy and stark sounds of Ellis Swan nor even the more traditional folk of C. M. Slenko, it doesn't reach the uptempo of the Strange Boys or Judas Equus. Hope you've been keeping up with recent posts, otherwise those references are nonsense. In the submission email they compared themselves to Pavement and Modest Mouse, if that's any easier.

Setting comparisons aside, Here's Something is not only a wittily named album, but a very pleasantly enjoyable one to hear. It doesn't have much in in the way of peaks and valleys, instead maintaining a ongoing light jangle with quirky, echoey singing. Steady Lean is the prefect name for such a band, as one can easily picture them leaning back while happily playing these songs. It's a well-composed album that I became increasingly enamored with as I continued listening. By the time I got to the final track "Ladle" I was ready to start it all over again, which is exactly what I did. 

To be had here:
Steady Lean - Here's Something

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Nanaki - The Dying Light (2014)

Nanaki is the moniker of a Manx musician that makes experimental instrumental. In fact he has been making it for some time now, and this is his first full-length album since 2003. He hasn't been silent in the meantime, there was an EP he released early last year called Afterlight. As the title of this new album poetically implies, The Dying Light is a follow-up to that EP and expands the guitar-heavy post-rock to an epic scale.

Much of the music Nanaki makes on this new album is gets near post-metal in the degree of heavy guitar playing, but I'd place it nearer bands like Lebanon, Maserati and Kinski which I compared the Swiss band, Viaticum, to as well. During seven minute plus songs "Unholier Than Thou," Nanaki seems to be at the pinnacle of his guitar-wielding powers. However, the style of the album doesn't stay to the droning post-rock guitar throughout. Roughly halfway it gets more experimental and some of the tracks, such as "Perpetual Commotion" begin to veer away from the guitar and rely more on the piano in an elegant mid-album tonal shift. Thereafter the songs become more cinematic, the piano creating the effect of many unseen tales having taken place with these enthralling compositions in the background. While I'm not familiar with his music prior to his elongated period of hiatus, I can confidently say he is growing in composition skills since Afterlight already. The longer, more dramatic songs really allow him to paint a sonic landscape more thoroughly and rewardingly.

To be had here:
Nanaki - The Dying Light

Friday, January 9, 2015

Lindberg Hotel - Lindberg Hotel II (2014)

Right after I write up Albino Father's II album that has a II in its title. Roman numerals must be en vogue. Also en vogue and overdue for attention is South American music. People like it and not just with the few of us that are writing this blog, but the readers seem to be reacting substantially to the Brazilian and Argentine music that's been shared here. Larry's São Paulo post is our most viewed of all the Scenes of a City features by a long way, and I still find myself listening to the bands from his first installment of the series on Guayaquil, Ecuador. I am very excited about getting to discover all these Latin American artists that if this was even 15 years ago what stand an extremely pitiful chance of ever getting such a diverse audience as this wonderful internet provides for. In this spirit I am glad to introduce you to Lindberg Hotel.

As the title suggests this is the second album by the largely solo project known as Lindberg Hotel. It is the efforts of Claudio Romanichen who resides in the Southern Brazilian city of Curitiba. Lindberg Hotel II is my first exposure to his music, and honestly with all the submissions pouring in lately I haven't got a chance to check out his first full-length as much as I'd like to. However, that's hardly a prerequisite to enjoy a musician's current work. Lindberg Hotel II is a very appealing, washed out indie pop album that has a creative melding of 1960s pop (there's a song called "Beatles Posters") and shoegaze influences. The songs are endearing and sweet and I can't even make out what he's saying, and mind you I do think he's singing in English. Has a definite romantic feeling to the songwriting, without getting sedimental or morose. While it does possess a bedroom project sound; I was informed he does play live shows in his home city with a guitarist called Eduardo Ambrosio (these names are fucking top notch). Finally, I'd like to add this is another release from young Recife-based label Transtorninho Records, who you may recall from the 151515 write up from a couple of months ago. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Albino Father - II (2015)

I've been keeping up with Albino Father since the full-length entitled AGE from 2011 and then the EPs Chrimbus and For. Always been luckily enough that the man who makes these tunes happen has thought to share it with me and through me to whoever reads this. Albino Father is typically a one-man wherein the fella plays all the instruments. And if you can do that, why not? I didn't bother to ask him that before I wrote this review, but for this album he didn't play everything. Dude got himself a band. With said band he's gone and recorded a new album, simply titled/numbered as II.

Regardless of who's playing what, one thing has most certainly remained the same: Albino Father is an exemplar of loud, lo-fi rock and roll. Rest assured the songs are most righteous in their rock-ness, and rather psychedelic as well. The sound has changed over time however, and I found myself going back to AGE and listening to hear the difference (found that AGE was among the higher played of all the albums in my collection, by the way). To boil it down to a sentence: it is less jaunty and more epic. The songs on AGE were an eclectic sort, but all upbeat, fuzzy tunes. Upon hearing on II  a noticeably longer, deeper composition style is shown, evident of  a dynamic songwriter in action. Varies between a heavy shoegaze or a highly distorted brand  of psychedelia, two sides of one coin truthfully. II is certainly a highlight for me, and I should like to think anyone that really likes what I post show enjoy it as well.

To be had here:
Albino Father - II

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

EP Grab Bag vol. 86

What we have here is a little exercise in Scandinavian-American relations. I have taken to calling this "Scando-Amero Amigos" in my mind. Hope that particular coinage makes it into the zeitgeist. Three EPs from the United States plus one each from Sweden and Finland. A transatlantic mixing of artistic, chaotic, acoustic and psychedelic sounds.

To be had here:
This Heel - e.p. (2015)

All the way from Malmö, Sweden we've got some sweet noise pop. Three tracks that are full of exciting fuzz and some excellent bass rumbling beneath, then an acoustic number that's all the remarkably sweet after experiencing the energetic songs before it. This nine minute EP shows they've got the chops for both noise pop or folk. If you a fan of lo-fi rock you gotta at least treat yourself to "A Man In The Mirror." I can't get it out of my head. Also, This Heel is a side project of Dog, Paper, Submarine and will be put out by Small Bear Records.

Sun Cinema - Symmetry (2014)

I stumbled upon this Philadelphia band looking for I forget what... Doesn't matter what I was looking because I found Sun Cinema. They've got all sorts of tags on this that seem like nonsense to me, for they're not funk or garage, rather they seem like an artsy indie rock outfit. And they're fucking good at that, so it's nothing to hide under a bushel basket. The songs are fantastically well composed. They seem like the exact sort of thing that could attract a lot of attention and playtime by more than just a no-name blogger like myself.

YoloSuicide - i listened to your answering machine, got nervous and hung up (2014)

YoloSuicide is a woman from Postdam, New York that is expressing herself the best she can with a few short songs concerning this damnably confusing concepts of love and sadness. Seem sappy? Sure it is a bit, but also beautiful and simple. These are as much poems recited aloud with a guitar strumming as they are songs. It certainly helps that she is a good poet, at least according to my sensibilities. Only a coldhearted fool couldn't help but be charmed by them at least a little bit.

Lasten Hautausmaa - Lasten Hautausmaa (2014)

I can't say the name of this band, nor can I understand the Finnish that they sing in. No surprises there, but also unshockingly I fucking love this EP. Finding it was no accident is related to an envisioned series of posts I have been pondering, but for now we need to focus on Lasten Hautausmaa. It has got it all, melodic and entrancing vocals in an language you can't even pretend to get over a mixture of folk, rock and world elements into something unbelievably righteous. If the first tune, "Kiputyttö," doesn't hook you then you may be dead inside.


It has been some time since I have post any noise rock this harsh. I mean this shit is Lightning Bolt, Le Shok or Lake of Dracula harsh. It is near utter chaos that only lets up so the singer can give you the whillies with how he gets all creepy. So yeah, it is pretty damned cool. Came to be by way of Evan Lacksmer who plays in this and a few other Chicago outfits and is buddies with math rock duo, Imelda Marcos. After hearing this your might question who would be friends with such a fella, but don't worry he won't come to your house as you enjoy the noise. I don't think he will at least.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Puzzlecuts - Like a Human Being (2015)

A submission from closer to home today. Puzzlecuts are fellow Michiganders, from the poetically named city of Kalamazoo, and have sent in their album Like a Human Being. I cannot help but mentioning our confrère over at the Modern Folk as his philosophy of whatever people are playing and recording these days is current folk music, even if it isn't picking guitars and banjos and all those fine old time things. If this has always been the case then I grew up in an period where emotional rock was the folk music. I am guessing Puzzlecuts did as well, for they've salvaged the useable aspects and combined it with influences they've cited themselves like, and I quote, "Car Seat Headrest, The Hold Steady, Ben Folds, Say Anything, Elliott Smith, Titus Andronicus." That's a collection of names that take a minute to wrap one's mind around, but should it be attempted I'm very willing to give it a whirl. Luck for us, Puzzlecuts has attempted just this feat.

While the first track left me recalling my teenage days in a shack that served as our local music venue, the second song "Cadence" already had me thinking Puzzlecuts might have cracked the code and figured out what all those less than glorious bands of St. Clair County, Michigan did wrong. The rest of Like a Human Being did little to dispel this notion. Repeated listening do much to prove the merit of this band, as a listener bearing baggage like myself is able to shed the nostalgia or repressed memories (funny how this are the same at times, no?) and see how these Kalamazoo lads made an excellent album. The influences of those various artists does shine through in particular tracks and does a great deal to show how a musicians listen, forget some of it, attempt to make something and come up with a uniquely altered end result. It's like hearing evolution in action. Once again, an excellent album, and not just for small town Midwesterners. 

To be had here:
Puzzlecuts - Like a Human Being

Monday, January 5, 2015

Scenes of a City, Vol. 7: Bern, Switzerland

Someone might be connecting the dots as to which cities I tend to choose, not necessarily remote or obscure cities, those might be too hard to pull off still even with sharing on the internet as it is. However, I tend to like the second city of a nation, not the capitals nor largest by population (my method has nothing to do with Larry's amazing picks). And again my choice today is the second most populated of Switzerland, Bern. Constitutionally Bern is the "federal city" rather than the capital, as the ever-neutral Swiss even avoided proclaiming a capital city. Bern like many places in the Western world has an abundance of hip-hop and dubstep to choose from, but fuck that noise. I don't know shit about that shit at all and furthermore I am hunting for the lo-fi, the eccentric and the folksy at all times. So here's what I genuinely enjoyed digging around for albums from Bern and they reflect the Swiss position as a modern, globalized state and haven't much at all to do with being Swiss in particular as much as European or more broadly Western.

To be had here:
Silver Firs - EP#2 (2014)

This is the band that provoked me to do a post on music from Bern. Silver Firs began with some singles but now have released two EPs, of which this is the latter obviously. Both this and the first EP are fucking wonderfully upbeat, largely instrumental songs that pull from various folk sounds from around the world to create a psychedelic, dream pop soundscape. The music is astounding in its ability to wake me up and get me going. I have really been enjoying listening to them with a beer or two as I try to plow through whatever piece of fiction I have decided to read.

Molotow Brass Orkestar - Asoguet (2013)

A band that plays gypsy and klezmer inspired music that emphasizes the brass instrumentation something that is unique to Bern by any means. Eastern European music has a definite allure to the West that's not to be underestimated. Just of the top of my head groups like A Hawk and a Hacksaw, the Instruments and Black Ox Orkestar pop to mind. Nevertheless it is something that I can't tire of. Molotow Brass Orkestar does a job that is on par with all of the previously mentioned acts, and that isn't anything to scoff at as they're all amazing.

The Tides - The Tides (2011)

The Tides have a most righteous lo-fi rock vibe going on.  The tags on this album are nonsense like "alternative" and "noise" as the former means nothing and the latter is inaccurate for this band. I am not sure what to tag it, but the playing reminds me of these post-grunge bands I've been hearing more of. Sung in a deep, accented English employing light echoes and a few psychedelic techniques it has a foreignness to it this is very subtle yet incredibly charming. If not for exploring what Bern had to offer I'd have surely missed out on this band, and it was have been a tragedy for they're most righteous.

Magnetfisch - Lieder Maximo (2014)

Could I leave out some crazy snyth-driven instrumental music? Not likely, they do speak German in Bern after all, so you gotta suspect they have some snyth-lovers. Truthfully, the band is a trio with a bass, guitar and synthesizers from a veteran band, they state this as their eleventh release. All the experience must be paying off, for they've got the four songs of this EP tightened down into a very cohesive new wave electro-pop display. While I thought all the tracks were good, I really felt my ears perk up when "Lennitz" came out of the loudspeakers. Very stylish, and almost spooky at moments, like a crazy 80s movie.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Ellis Swan - I'll Be Around (2014)

The dark folk songs of Ellis Swan have a way of imposing a reflective melancholy on the listener. This isn't a bad thing in anyway, in fact it is the same thing that a fine work of literature can produce for its readers. It is an unfocused, aimless sort of feeling that isn't quite longing, sadness or regret. I find it to be a healthy sort of pensive mood that helps prepare me for whatever shit, good or bad, might happen next. Now, I'm not trying to impose what I felt hearing I'll Be Around as Ellis Swan's artistic vision, as I am surely biased. However, that it is slow, gloomy folk music is a rather unavoidable conclusion, and that it's among the finest I've heard in years is my opinion. 

The songs are sparse, the lyrics are sung quietly, and the guitar and organ are soft and subtle. The effect is a very ethereal album in which oneself can be lost. The tone and style of I'll Be Around may be best compared to other folk acts like Timber Timbre, C. M. Slenko or Joose Keskitalo (that last one is thrown in for fans of Finnish avant-garde). Be sure to check out what the Modern Folk had to say about this album as well, for he got to writing it up before I did and I tried not to just crib from his fine write-up.

To be had here:
Ellis Swan - I'll Be Around

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Viaticum - KOSMIKROCK (2014)

Viaticum have blended a sonic menagerie of genres together for KOSMIKROCK, both the name of the album they've released and a self-suited descriptor of their style. The band freely and unabashedly incorporate from psychedelic, stoner, post-rock and space rock while not being very clearly any of these. This, I believe, being exactly what they were aiming for. However, I do believe that the listener's biased preference may lead the to affiliate the album with whatever they like most, or possibly have the opposite effect for more hardline listeners then myself. Personally, I found myself recalling guitar-heavy post-rock bands like Kinski and Lebanon for much the instrumental sections, which occupy a significant percentage of the playtime. In the less common periods with vocals, they are sung like a 70s psychedelic odyssey. Like he's telling us a tale with emotional turmoil and perhaps even some epic fantasy. And with tracks that are long, several going over eleven minutes, there's pleanty of time to marinate in the 'kosmic' sounds. The curiously named "shittle-12 hates people" stood out as a fine example of their creative and multi-genre fusing, a good place to start off for the nonlinear listener. Certainly, there's nowhere that's very far from awesome guitar, psychedelic interludes and an absolute full sound of many instruments playing simultaneously.

Based in Winterthur, Switzerland a city in the north of the country and only some 19 miles from Zürich, Viaticum was a very well timed submission. For Switzerland is where the municipality for the next Scenes of a City post is located. So look forward to even more Swiss music which they prove as capable of producing as cheese, chocolate, secretive banking and elite boarding schools.

To be had here:

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Amazing Larry's top 10 of 2014

Just a quick disclaimer, not everything listed was released in 2014, just posted to the blog in 2014.

What a big year for Spacerockmountain:

-We saw the introduction of the Spacerockmountain podcast, which has progressed from tired and drunk ramblings to sober and thoughtful interviews with some of our favorite artists as well as reviews of movies.

-The Scenes of a City series where we profile fantastic releases from artists all over the word.

-And probably the most prolific posting in general thanks to the blog founder Antarktikos. Seriously, near daily posts thanks to that busy motherfucker.

That said, it's been a challenge for myself to listen to everything on the blog. I'd ideally like to do a top 10 of everything posted, but since I'm most familiar with what I wrote about, here's a top 10 from my own posts over the year, in order from best to bestest:

This is crossover thrash band from Sao Paulo, Brazil proves that it's not all about psychedelic, lo-fi, garage rock.... there's much appeal in that which is fast and furious. 

The Sin Veldt are like 70's Rocky Erikson meets The Stooges. It's blues-influenced psych garage from NYC that's got more blood, grit and piss than Jack White's latest kidney stone... or record... or whatever.

This Dayton, Ohio-based band blew my mind when I stumbled across them this year. Having first learned to be a ravenous music listener in the 1990's, it always surprises me when I hear newer music reminiscent of that time. The meandering and melodic guitar lines, the crystalline and poetic vocal delivery ...this band and this record set a unique mood that harkens to a time when indie bands weren't afraid to get a little moody and add some interesting architecture to their songs. 

Largely the solo project of Hunter Davidsohn, Underground River is music for a rainy day. I mentioned in my original post that it reminded me of coffee shop music. It still does, but like the fucking best possible coffee shop music. Like you went down to the cafe to read a book and drink an espresso but then this amazing songwriter starts playing on the pseudo stage and both your espresso and your blood go cold.

Didn't think it possible to love music like this at this point in my life. This band I first wrote about in my Scenes of a City post on the Lithuanian city of Vilnius. Zageron are just ridiculously enjoyable to listen to. I'm pretty sure the singer is Satan or at least Satan's first cousin. And I just love how the drums aren't blown out or ridiculously beefed up in the production like so many other death metal. And this drummer. Fucking shit. I love the drumming on this record.

Great Montreal rock band, I still stand by them being the perfect mix of The Strokes and Blonde Redhead. Great stuff that promises much more greatness in the future. 

A New Zealander by the name of Joe Sampson who may or may not run Melted Ice Cream Records is one of three behind this excellent self-titled by ChristChurch's Salad Boys. A rough diamond in the crown of that country's long history of pristine and clean indie rock purity. So damn good.

Yet another Montreal band that shook my world, Small Teeth bring something unique to their sound. It's mostly song structure, because the instrumentation is conventional rock band. But the band also stands our with vocal delivery. I'm pulling my hair out waiting for more recordings from this fine band. Please hurry the fuck up, Small Teeth.

I used to see these guys live as a 2 piece and they were amazing then. Now they have over 5 members and they are killing it. If out of town guests come to Portland, take them to Multnomah Falls, eat at a food cart, and take them to a Roselit Bone show. You can't lose.

There's no question in my mind which record is my favorite of 2014. Yet another fantastic release from eastern Canada, this time Grime Kings from Ottawa, just a short drive from Montreal. The recording project of Callum Runciman, a prolific and exceedingly talented songwriter and musician. It's rock music for those bored of rock music. Multilayered and strange, it's offers something new with each listen. If I had a record label and some money, I would throw it all at this guy.