Tuesday, September 22, 2015

EP Grab Bag vol. 103

Clearing the inbox once again, this time with a very appealing selection of European EPs (save for one from a re-occurring Californian). Tends towards the lo-fi side of music yet it reaches many permutations within that vast field.

To be had here:
Baston - Gesture (2015)

A fresh release from the amazing Parisian label, Howlin Banana Records. Baston is a French band, though they do sing in English as per the usual in the world of rock and roll. Whatever they'd choose to sing in I am confident I'd enjoy it equally, because they're playing is awesome. There is really outstanding garage pop on this EP that's sure to impress most any fan of lo-fi rock. Shimmery and slightly psychedelic, I highly recommend giving it a listen, most especially the Beach Boys-esque song, "Honda."

How Scandinavian - The Kinch Service EP (2015)

The first release from How Scandinavian since the "Drowning In Myself" single. Five new mid-fi songs of wandering slowcore art-rock yet they've gone at added an unusual amount of uptempo indie rock for this outfit into some of the songs. This is most apparent in the tracks "Monday" and "The Flensed." The Kinch Service might be a turn for the louder and quicker but it is still grounded in solid songwriting. A fine listen for anyone wanted some angsty tunes in there life, which I find to be a understandable impulse.

Dustbombers - Public Beta (2015)

From the city of Arnhem in the Netherlands comes a darkly noisy rock EP. Sorta a mix between new wave and Sabbath-esque metal, these four songs are bear full-sounding guitar and vocals that at times reach into the elaborately strange. Very good for getting that heavy post-metal fix and really does show off some amazing guitar work. I should like to see what happens if this is expanded in scope, to make longer and more epic songs.

The fella behind bm97 is from the Moofs, a Greek psychedelic band that I continue to get projects related to on a routine basis (keep them coming). A couple of songs this time from a lo-fi psych-garage outfit. When you begin listen you might notice how familiar the songs seems, and that is purposefully done as the track "Who Loves Control" is a take-off on VU's "Who Loves the Sun." The other is a noisy, psych exploration. A neat introduction, be sure to look at the other tracks on bandcamp as well.

The return of the Hungarian experimental progressive folk band, Guruzsmás. Now I know that seems like a bunch of shit to wrap your mind around, but you'll really have to trust me that it isn't something to shake off. Dive in and be surprised by how utterly compelling these three tracks are. The title isn't just clever, the songs were recorded live, something the recording will show and well as the audience being audible in the final song. There's a punch to theses instrumental numbers you might not expect.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Joplin Rice - Hurricane Alaska (2015)

The new album by Lexington, Kentucky songwriter Joplin Rice. Some of you might remember his prior release, Low Hum, of which I've been especially fond (go back in listen to "Perfect Coils" if you haven't). Both releases share the Elliott Smith-esque indie singer-songwriter core, yet with Hurricane Alaska Rice has gotten more bold, moving from the rather folksy sound of Low Hum. Retaining the sweet lyrics and softly fuzzed out tone, there's more loud electric guitar and an overall quicker pace to be felt in these new songs. Tracks like "No New U (stop chasing)" and more psychedelic song "Rocket" demonstrate this louder style well. All of it still lies within the realm of bedroom pop, though some of the most finely recorded I've heard in a long time. The real genius behind what Joplin Rice has done with this new album is carry on his sound but continuing to progress simultaneously. It wasn't hard for a moment for me to imagine any of these tunes as his, but they are quite distinctive from Low Hum. Rice's ability to recreate a mood and carry it throughout an album, here is the lightly fuzzed out guitars and drums gently tapping along. I know there are several songs that'll become favorites  of mine for the coming months, and only many enjoyable repeated listenings will solidify them. I'm looking forward to it.

To be had here:
Joplin Rice - Hurricane Alaska

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Panthatone - Stay Easy (2015)

Jumping into these submissions seems daunting considering how long it's piled up. Nevertheless, one must make a stab it it somewhere. So why not the familiar territory provided by a lo-fi two-piece?

Panthatone are from Chicago and they make the loud, rhythmic style of rock and roll that's become synonymous with Midwestern garage rockers. While there's naturally a wide swath of variation even within this smaller definition, I believe the seasoned listen of lo-fi rock will understand what I'm angling at. The charm lies in the subtle reinvention of the form, just like eating the best plate of pasta you've had in months contains 90% the same ingredients as all other pastas you've had. In this paradigm Panthatone is a wildly successful. I can't summon a band they seems to sound exactly like but they are incredibly familiar and readily accessible for fans for garage or fuzzy rock. Guitar and drums, played quickly and with very flashy, catchy beats and riffs. I'll no sooner tire of hearing music of this sort than I will of drinking a good beer or sitting on a comfortable chair and I hope the keep the songs coming.

To be had here:
Panthatone - Stay Easy

Friday, September 18, 2015

Todd Tobias - Tristes Tropiques (2015)

Had this album laying on the hard drive for a stretch and would have the worse of luck trying to sit down and hear it. My life seems much busier and I feel like I spend much more it waiting in lines and behind bad drivers than ever before. But seeing as it is unbearably hot the night I'm writing this and I cannot even pretend to try to sleep in my un-air-conditioned apartment I finally found myself with little recourse than to slip into the ambient with Todd Tobias.

Todd Tobias isn't new to SRM, I have very fond memories of listening to his Calvino-inspired album, Impossible Cities. Therefore, I entered listening to this album with some rather high expectations, which I am glad to report were not dashed in the slightest. The long, winding songs are all sublimely amorphous soundscapes. It is astounding how much weight is packed into every one of them despite their relatively sparse composition. It causes a transformative affect to occur in the diligent listener, altering mundane happenings into something absolutely poetic. For my second listen I sat on my balcony on a cloudy morning, watching birds peck around for food. With the help of Tobias's music, it was pretty damn epic.

Tristes Tropiques was released by Tiny Room Records and Hidden Shoal. Each labels worth worrying about to say the least. 

To be had here:
Todd Tobias - Tristes Tropiques

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

EP Grab Bag vol. 102

So I actually wrote this post a while ago and in a series of events causing me to leave town and find myself incredibly drunk and immobilized while floating down a river in a small raft I forgot to publish it. Moral is I am an awful friend to bring on a trip involving alcohol but very good at not drowning after off a raft while fucked up. I recall liking these songs too...

To be had here:
Pulco - Rodeo EP (2015)

A new EP from the Welsh musician called Pulco. Maybe you've gotten a chance hear his Innovation In The Trade full-length which I still strongly recommend. Either way, this new release has continued the fuzzy bedroom recording spirit of the prior album, including a liberal use of spoken word samples, but added more upbeat and catchy pop elements.

Turning Torso - Baal EP (2015)

I was listening to music from older posts, spurred by hearing the lo-fi electronic songs of Novampb. This lead me back to Mexico's Turning Torso, who I last wrote up in 2011. Despite my lack of mentioning it, it seems the project has been active ever since, releasing singles and EPs. Here is the latest of those, a two song EP of experimental electronica. Heavy on percussive beats and eerie organ-like effects. Reminds me why I got into this band to begin with.

My Cruel Goro - My Cruel Goro EP (2015)

A fast, messy set of lo-fi rock songs from an outfit based in Iceland. Heavily bent toward a grungey version of post-punk the songs. They make good use of a snyth in the tracks and that plays off the very clearly sung lyrics, making it sound very much like the product of the 90s in a way that's hard to put words to exactly. Good stuff in any event, a good introduction to what these dudes are capable of.

Hallowed Bells - Violet Hands (2015)

This band from Philadelphia makes an unusual sort music. Broadly speaking they're electronic/ambient experimentations employing the many interesting effects of a synthesizer. The songs are eerie and serpentine sounding. While they're not chiptune or 8-bit, they evoked the same feeling as the videogame themes the play any time Mario enters a castle. They put it better themselves, "Songs-without-words and aural colorscapes." I can't pretend to have a better summation, and I highly recommend hearing it.