Thursday, July 29, 2021

RITA'S REVENGE - S/T (2019)

Saturday morning cartoons were a tradition of mine growing up in the late 80s-early 90s. I remember certain shows more than others: I loved Bobby's World and Camp Candy, likely because I was already familiar with the works of John Candy (Uncle Buck) and Howie Mandel (Little Monsters). I also remember liking Captain Planet, but because that shit aired at 7:30am I decided it was a nice thing I wasn't going to enjoy. 

It's Saturday, I gotta sleep in a little. C'mon Captain. 

Toward the end of the line up, around 11-ish or so, The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers showed up in 1993. I was a cartoon purest so this Saved By The Bell meets Godzilla schtick really wasn't my bag. Everyone else thought it was the best thing since The Simpsons, but I was and remain dubious. 

Fast forward to 2019, a recording project out of Boston produces the best possible fruit from the Mighty Morphin vine: a noisy, drum machine punk concept album based on a villain from the aforementioned show: Rita Repulsa. These recordings offer static blasts from overblown guitars and profanity-laced Rita-inspired lyrics, resulting in an overall sonic soup of lo-fi distortion and feedback over mechanized drum beats. 

It's a quick listen, 4 songs clocking in around 4 minutes 30 second. A nice find that has made it onto my radio show multiple times over the past 2 years. 






Thursday, July 22, 2021

HUSHPUPPY - Singles Club (Remastered) (2021)

Ok here we go. Sorry for the silence folks. Something something baby, yada yada grad school...
I am also sorry for forgetting how to format these damn Blogger posts. I pray subsequent posts will look more normal.

Phew! With all that awkwardness out of the way, let's talk music.

This release by NYC musician Zoë Brecher is essential listening for anyone keen on the output of 90's K Records or lo-fi indie bedroom pop in general. Her songs are beautiful for their simplicity of melody and humility of voice; overall familiar but fresh. Upon first listen, you may notice what appears to be Ms. Brecher's novice musicianship (she plays all instruments herself) but it's a deception. A five minute browsing of her Instagram page shows that she is an extremely accomplished drummer, playing for several bands such as Kalbells, Oberhoffer, Sad13, and most recently with NYC band Bachelor. 

Why, then, is this HUSHPUPPY release full of drum machine songs, you ask? Because she's crafting an aesthetic and doing it remarkably well. These songs, most of which don't break the 2 minute mark, will be stuck in your damn head until you breakdown and buy the cassette tape. At least, that's what happened to me. 

12 songs.


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Signs of Life

Dear Spacerock Mountaineers,

It's been almost 3 years since we've last spoke.

I've never stopped thinking about the music I'd like to play for you. 

Let's talk soon. 

All my best,

Amazing Larry



Sunday, May 6, 2018

Palm - Ostrich Vacation (2015)

Hello Spacerock mountaineers,

Inspired by Antarktikos' recent post, I've decided to "get the lead out" and also thrust my fingers at the keyboard in a violent manner, hoping it'll make sense in the end.

Palm is a 4 piece, modern rock band who formed out of the Hudson Valley of upstate New York. They've since relocated to Philadelphia, lucky for me as I've moved from the young adult playground that is Portland, Oregon to the senior citizen waiting room that is Allentown, Pennsylvania. Palm seems to tour a lot so I hope to get a babysitter for whatever day that may be in the near future (check their bandcamp page for upcoming dates - European dates as well).

Ostrich Vacation is Palm's earliest release available on Bandcamp, and it's their only "pay what you want" offering... which I love because I'm both cheap and poor. It was originally released on cassette, still available here, as a part of a 6 part, 6 band series collectively called "Organechs".

This release finds the band in their primordial stage, where they were honing their skills more as instrumentalists than vocalists. The crux of Palm's early era is dissonant guitars wired into a series of dizzying yet tappable drum rhythms. If we're talking about genres and how this sound fits into some sort of lineage, you can hear elements of post-punk and post-rock, but Palm as taken those leftovers and elevated them into a unique dish, and as their later releases would display they truly walks a line
between accessible and inaccessible like, perhaps, no other band I've ever heard.






Fascinating and always offering something new with repeated listens, Ostrich Vacation is like an impressionist painting of a band on their way to becoming skilled pointillists.


Palm - Ostrich Vacation

Friday, March 9, 2018

Tentative Revival and General Recommendations

The key is to stop shaving and trimming.
It's been a bit shy of two years since I've sat down to listen to an album with the intention of writing about it here. Save for Larry's laudable efforts the page has blog has gone largely dark. Not sure how I feel about that yet, but this was such a large party of my daily routine for many years and I got to hear some many wonderful songs I still play frequently by doing this. Then again a lot changed since then. Grew my longest beard yet. Moved to the Hudson Valley in New York, being around hills is a nice alteration. selling wine and spirits at a little shop. Quite frankly a pretty dope gig. Married a woman, she is also pretty dope. We got a cat. Jury is still out on him.

Cat also acknowledges that smiling is frivolous.
Needless to say, I got a bit distracted and pre-occupied with other endeavors. To rephrase that, I stopped spending an unreasonable amount of time listening to obscure album and EPs and writing about it for no money. Rather I began getting paid to learn about the multifaceted and enlightening world of wine. As you can imagine I have an ever-growing pile of books on the subject and hundreds of bookmarked articles about all manner of grapes and producers and historical developments. However, I miss the background music of my life being an eclectic collection of artists from all over the world shepherding me through the day.

This is not to say I haven't been listening to music. In fact as a rule I have to for 5 to 9 hours straight a my job these days. And there are a few albums I wanna recommend that I've known about for a long time but feel I never got around to mentioning before. You'll have to do the minimal legwork to hunt these down in some cases, I am assuming you've got the wherewithal to find these in better quality and accessibility if desired.


Released in 1975, this is stunning example of the Anatolian rock genre. The richness of existing Turkish music and the advent of modern rock fused wonderfully, especially surf and psych/prog influences. The  resonating vocals are mesmerizing and instrumentation is uncannily cinematic, like the songs ought have been in dozens of films you've already seen. At very least listen to the track "Yalnızlar Rıhtımı" because it's relentlessly endearing.



Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers - Rock 'N' Roll with the Modern Lovers

I mean, I don't think I need to really explain why this album is great. Sadly I hadn't recognized it's full brilliance until we started playing it daily at the wine shop. Perhaps one of the most charming set of songs ever cobbled together. Sweetly childish and simple, but nearly nobody else could do with as much memorable elegance. Admittedly Richman has many other great song out there, but this has "Ice Cream Man" and "Roller Coaster by the Sea" on it. Unequivocally dope as fuck.


The Barbaras - 2006-2008

A no-brainer right? The band before Jay Reatard, Magic Kids and Wavves. I knew the three track long EP that had been widely circulating online for years but really those songs were blown out of the water by the revelations of the likes of "Topsy Turvy Magic" and "Annual Botanical." What nonsense this took so long to surface, but I'm ever so glad it did. Some of the very best garage-pop songs any could ever hope for. It both sounds and makes me feel fuzzy.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Loud Sun - Sea Grave (2017)

Loud Sun's Andrew Jansen and I have something in common: we both recently moved away from the west coast.

Making a new home for ourselves defines chapters in our lives. Death and birth. There are the big things we leave behind, like friends, which me mourn the loss of most immediately. And as time progresses, a deeper nostalgia for lost things awakens: yawning and stretching into fringe details, we begin missing the way the air felt in the morning, the sounds of a Baptist church choir practicing on Wednesday nights, the smells of nearby restaurants.

This melancholia can quickly become morose, especially if one allows the dust to settle.

Sea Grave is the second release from Jansen's Loud Sun project, and it feels like a love letter to the west coast in a lot of ways. Jansen is a keen student of mellow, sun-bleached, shimmering pop with wisps of psychedelia, though his bio suggests he may actually be a student of the natural sciences. Perhaps that's why he seems so adept at combining the feel of a place with his music.

From beginning to end, Sea Grave is a beautiful record, and you can purchase a cassette tape through his Bandcamp page. For myself, having moved from a more ideal scenario to a less ideal scenario, the music here feels penetrating and concise... an ode to a memory. The impeccable song "Teen Pyramids" has become my anthem of the autumn.



Link to Loud Sun Bandcamp page for Sea Grave, 10 songs:

Loud Sun - Sea Grave


Friday, August 18, 2017

Scrivener - A Signal (2017)

Olympia, Washington, where the smell of salt water competes with the aroma of roasting coffee (which smells a lot like burning toast), is also where some of music's most well known artists gestated and spewed forth definitive records of early American indie rock. It was ground zero for the Riot Grrrl movement, and both Beck and Modest Mouse recorded there. Kurt Cobain lived just east of downtown, where he wrote much of Nevermind - a record that sent a whole nation of angsty teenagers hurdling towards thrift stores, searching feverishly for smoke-stained plaid shirts. More recently, Olympia has spurred forth one of the greatest black metal bands in recent times, Wolves In The Throne Room, and has lead the country in amazing queer, d-beat, hardcore punk bands like G.L.O.S.S. and Slouch.

It's just happens to be a great town for bands. I remember walking downtown from my little black house near the San Francisco Street Bakery, and on almost every block you could hear bands practicing in garages, living rooms, and basements. The community is tight knit and insular which, while making the social scene a difficult nut to crack, makes for a strong and supportive environment for artists.

It's from this environment that my new favorite band has emerged. This is Scrivener's first recording I believe, and it's so good that I had to dust off this long-neglected blog to steer any lingering readers toward their bandcamp page. Their style is like glam-hardcore punk... and by "glam" I refer to the almost theatric vocal delivery. Usually with any genre of music, a vocalist will stick to one vocal delivery - singing, speak-singing (think post-motorcycle accident Dylan), screaming... etc. but Scrivener's vocalist moves fluidly through all, using a range of expression missing from the vast majority of punk singers, or rock vocalists in general. Take the screaming of any metal or hardcore band and add bit of animated, matter-of-fact conversation - it's such a fresh delivery that it keeps this record on constant rotation. Scrivener is simultaneously playful and brutal.

8 songs, pay what you want for digital or buy their self-released cassette tape through their bandcamp page.

Scrivener - A Signal

Favorite track:




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mica Levi & Oliver Coates - Remain Calm (2016)

Unsubscribing from junk e-mails has imparted an unnerving quiet.

I believed this would be a step towards freedom, mornings now unburdened by the periodic vibration of incoming mail. But now... now I suspect I've metamorphosed from creature to zombie of habit. Last night, awoken by a familiar glow, I became terrified to find my thumb controlled by movements of a memory. Unlock phone; check email application; turn phone off; open and unlock; check email; turn off... over and over and over. My undead thumb bends only at the hip like a forgotten grandparent who shuffles to the mailbox every afternoon only to find the same vacant shadow. My thumb, now a feedback loop, like an alcoholic that searches the recycling again and again for one drop, a neglected swig of whiskey, only to confirm the emptiness it already knows exists.



A series of empty dawns have emerged. Gone are the days of those quivering little jolts insisting I pause my life to check and delete, check and delete. Newlsetters, updates, notifications, advertisements... all those small reminders of my past. Clothing stores relentlessly reminding me of each approaching season and a hoodie I bought for some autumn, lost several years ago. Gone. Zillow emails that satisfied the curiosities of an armchair voyeur, taking me into homes I'd never afford, around towns I'd never live. Gone. Charities and political organizations I helped once, before I understood my economic situation as anything but dire.

Gone. I've shoo-ed them all away. The tactile buzzes, the audible chirps. No more little red numbers to offer hope of a hello from a long lost friend. No potential for restless declarations from smoldering hearts of past lovers. Those little red numbers could've meant literally anything - a wedding invitation, the birth of a new family member, a class action settlement worth hundreds. But in the end, the numbers always meant the same thing: "this much junk".

I have won the war. And now? Now, I am unburdened. Now my time is uninhibited. Ready to live each day uninterrupted. A new dawn of awesome unpopular potential. Still -  the thumb checks. Just to fill an emptiness. Everything's always empty. Just maybe, tomorrow something. Always maybe tomorrow.

Mica Levi & Oliver Coates - Remain Calm

Friday, March 17, 2017

Amyl and the Sniffers - Big Attraction (2017)

Every morning I wake up disappointed that our president isn't gone yet. Being on the west coast of the US, I feel the east coast has a good 4 hours to greet the sun, roll up it's sleeves, and take out the trash already. I'm sorry, that's an insult to trash. At least trash was, at one point, something we wanted.. something that was useful ... something we chose to own. This president is more like a stepped in pile of shit from someone else's dog, after years of picking up your own dog's shit.

Thank god for this release from Melbourne punk band, Amyl and the Sniffers. It's not too serious, but sexy and dangerous... just what rock music should be. I want nothing more to be in a sweaty club in Melbourne with a bunch of drunk punk Aussies watching this band tear the stage a new asshole.

These songs have some serious chops, played by musicians who have done their homework and gotten the sound down pat. It probably helps having Calum Newton in their lineup, a fucking awesome guitarist from Spacerockmountain favorites Lunatics On Pogosticks. But Calum keeps his guitar chops bottled up here, delivering chunky punk riffage, and offering his keen production skills to showcase the real star of the band: the sneering, bratty bite of Amy Taylor, a truly wonderful performer to lead this bunch of dirty, drunk and mulleted rockers from dewn undah.


Name your price. Not a clunker in the lot.

Sample song:

Bandcamp:
Amyl and the Sniffers - Big Attraction


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

GIANTOLOGY - TOUR TAPE (2017)

Last Saturday I went to a show, probably the first in 3 years. Aside from being mostly broke, there comes a point after seeing tons of shows where one becomes jaded. This is when you say crap like "I've seen better bands come and go, greater venues shut down or burn down" or other old-days-were-better-than-new sad horse jargon. I am guilty. Drunken leather clad crowds become coiffed and sober, bands get boring and derivative - becoming jaded is all apart of growing into a healthy, boring, derivative adult.


This show wasn't any different. But as I walk into Portland's premier sandwich shop rock venue, a surprise opening band gives promise for the evening. A duo is on stage wearing white hazmat onesies, and bizarre glasses that have open eyes painted over the lenses. A guitarist and a bassist play to a drum machine, and the music that comes out is like mid-tempo, lo-fi, Ramones meets New York Dolls glam-punk.

This is Giantology, a Chicago band that "IS NNOTT A KULT", according to their Facebook page. Their sound is simple, no frills, unpretentious, and catchy. Their look is creepy. It's a few small twists that turns something familiar into something memorable. I'm all for a gimmick, as long as it's well done. Oh, and their music is accordingly giant-themed. I encourage you to check them out, soon leaving the west coast for a southern US then up the east coast and back to midwest tour. Dates on their Facebook page.

Currently listening to:


Bandcamp link:

GIANTOLOGY - TOUR TAPE