Monday, June 30, 2008

Hala Strana - Heave The Gambrel Roof (2007)

Hala Strana is a name used by Steven R. Smith for releasing his experimental folk-inspired music. The man is of considerable talent, even crafting his out instruments and well as belonging to the notable Jewelled Antler collective. The roots of the style of music Smith specializes in can be found amongst the folk traditions of Eastern Europe. Thankfully, rather than merely copy the native music, Smith builds upon it to create a fresh but grounded sound. The musicianship and composition is excellent, showing off the talent and effort poured into its creation. However, I could stand for it to be a bit more exploratory, such as the amazing band Kemialliset Ystävät (who I've forgone posting because they were on nodata and now on sordo). Heave The Gambrel Roof doesn't have any vocals, which is good and bad. On one hand it leaves you wondering how they'd sound, yet on the other it allows you to focus on the instrumental sound and prevents it from becoming too close to other acts like Beirut and A Hawk And A Hacksaw. Extremely enjoyable if you are a fan of Balkanesque folk music that's been on the rise as of late.

To be had here (320 VBR kbps):
Hala Strana - Heave The Gambrel Roof

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Nikakoi - Goodair + Minimissing (2004)

Nikakoi is the named used by Nika Machaidze for his musical work. However, Mr. Machaidze is not only an electronic musician, but a film director to boot. In addition, he's done soundtracks for other director's films. Nikakoi is a member of the Goslab group in his native Georgia, an association of artists belonging to different medias that describes itself as a "phantom" in function. As both a director and musician, his music as a quality of a soundtrack even if not composed explicitly for a movie. IDM is usually cinematic to my ear though, yet this is increased by the visuals my mind makes of the Caucasus Mountains when I hear his songs. The mood is rather upbeat for what I expected upon first reading about Nikakoi, but that is certainly not a bad thing. Surprisingly fresh, I don't think he can be underestimated.

To be had here (224 VBR kbps):
Nikakoi - Goodair + Minimissing

Friday, June 27, 2008


Luckily, I was wrong about multi-album posts. One of the few to leave comments requested some Aloha, and that is something I've got in abundance. Aloha formed 11 years ago in Cleveland, Ohio. Their style was emotional post-rock, although they have done some heavier stuff from time to time. The emotion of Aloha's music is more explicit than many post-rock contemporaries because of the widespread use of vocals in the songs. Undoubtedly talented the group amazingly charges on without any damage over time in my eyes. Here I've assembled all the Aloha I have which is most of it, though I lack most notably the self-titled EP but also some 7 inches and stray songs from compilations. Five albums and one EP and I'll place them in order of release.

To be had here:

The Great Communicators, The Interpreters, The Nonbelievers Ep (1999) @ 128 kbps

That's Your Fire (2000) @ 192 kbps

Sugar (2002) @ 192 kbps

Here Comes Everyone (2004) @ 192 kbps

Some Echoes (2006) @ 256 VBR kbps

Light Works (2007) @ 256 VBR kbps

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Religious Knives - It's After Dark (2008)

One of the bands two full-length 2008 releases, It's After Dark is a fantastic exploration into psychedelic-drone-noise. Religious Knives is a band of experienced noise rockers originally made up of the married couple Mike Bernstein and Maya Miller (both formerly of Double Leopards), but grew to add drummer Nate Nelson of Mouthus. Interestingly, all three are responible for multiple instruments with the album's utlization of organ, synthesizer, guitar, bass, many forms of precussion and xylophone. The music is drone-like but not overly drawn-out which is a hard feat to accomplish in my mind. "The Streets" has some mighty eerie chorus sung in echoing vocals. I must admit the epic song of "Noontime" captured me completely and I lost track of the 10 minutes it spanned. The best however might be "The Sun" with a most capativating intro that doesn't mislead. Exactly what one would how for from seasoned veterns of noise, and probably one of my top albums for the year. On the most prime label of Troubleman Unlimited they've definitely got this excellent album on vinyl.

To be had here (320 kbps):
Religious Knives - It's After Dark

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Spectrum - Forever Alien (1997)

A friend asked for me if I had any Spectrum records recently, and once I got around to looking into the matter, I found out I did. Being that he's in lovely England while I remain in the suburbs of Detroit it is just as easy to post as send it to him. Another album I checked out of the public library before I had any realization who was in involved or what it was all about. Of course Spectrum is the one of the successor groups, along with Spiritualized, Experimental Audio Research, etc., to the pioneering Spacemen 3. Sonic Boom as he's called made Spectrum to explore one side of his musical desires whilst other projects like EAR followed different paths. Forever Alien was the last of the original run of albums released by Spectrum until the revival of studio albums in 2007 (expecting 2000's release of Interface/Come out to Play, recorded in 1995). The theme is very trippy and other-worldly, sometimes brash and at others smoothy plannned. Perhaps one of the best tracks in "The Stars Are So Far" which is a reworking of the Spacemen 3's excellent song "How Does It Feel?" that is embellished with almost creepy electronic sounds in the background. Sonic Boom and friends have shown their adeptness at spoken word vocals, futuristic bleeps and bloops amongst other sounds, and rhythmic precussion. Definately not something to be passed up lightly.

To be had here (192 kbps):
Spectrum - Forever Alien

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tenniscoats - Totemo Aimasho (2007)

First, I'd like to apologize for my absence, I had to relocate my worldly belongings to the other side of the metropolitan area in a rush, and now I have a considerable commute to work. On top of it all, my computer did not survive the transplanting healthily and had to undergo some repairs before it was functional enough to allow me to resume posting. Needless to say, the computer's downtime cut deeply into my usual hours of music listening. Hopefully now that things are in a semi-stable state the posts shall slowly become be regular. One last quick note, because of the slower internet connection at my current dwelling I will likely have less multi-ablum posts, instead refering to you to find the other parts of the discographies on your own or I can upload them at request if I've got them.

Now, for what you likely came for, the tunes. Tenniscoats are a Japanese group who make hypnotic lo-fi music with an abundance of different instruments. They're one of the bands that give even those who are like me, completely untrained and unknowledgeable in the physical creation of music, hope of someday being in a band. This is because Tenniscoats is made up of both trained musicians and decidedly non-musicans to help craft the charming sound the have learnt to make so well. To some this might sound like Maher Shalal Hash Baz, and that has a good reason. Maher Shalal Hash Baz (highly recommended band) has worked with members of Tenniscoats and shares a similar style of musicanship. Personally, I absolutely love the singing on this album, but as it often is the case I can't understand a word of it. Totemo Aimasho is one of their newest releases (Tan-Tan Therapy came out in the same year), but several preceeding albums can be found if you bother to look. There are instrumental tracks, mellow eletronic, squeking horns, soft piano, and elegant guitar playing galore. As of late I find myself completely in love with their albums are over again.

To be had here (320 kbps):
Tenniscoats - Totemo Aimasho

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Rodan - Rusty (1994)

Rodan fit well into several genres, being rather early on the scene for each. Sharing a following with math rock pioneers like Slint and Crain (who an early member was shared with), although considerably more hard than the former. They didn't issue much music together as Rodan, but the membership went on to make up many great bands like Jeff Mueller's June of 44 and his later re-uniting with another former member of Rodan, Jason Noble, to form Shipping News. Rusty was there debut album, to be there only full-length release, though splits, singles and even a Peel session exist. Math rock's signature angular guitar playing is rife in the music, and it is excellently paired with alternating soft spoken-word and screaming lyrics. Other than the obvious importance to math rock, their heavy and loud playing, that can be likened to Fugazi, wouldn't be out of place in the influences of post-hardcore or even screamo bands. However, this isn't to say they don't possess the ability to create meandering instrumental parts a listen can become lost in easily. On the contrary the first track of Rusty entitled "Bible Silver Corner" is just such a piece. Pretty much something everyone should give a good listening to.

To be had here (192 kbps):
Rodan - Rusty

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Neon Hunk - Smarmymob (2003)

Neon Hunk is a noise rock duo made up on a boyfriend-girlfriend pair. The noise rock they make is unique is some fashions. It is not like the rough and raw screeching sounds of harsh noise or is it like the pounding, scream-filled noise of groups like Coughs and Arab on Radar. There is much more use of electronic instrumentation to be found in Smarmymob. Like Lightning Bolt with a keyboard, Neon Hunk makes an amazingly dance-able sound. However, the lack of screams as a predominant feature doesn't meant there aren't screams here. For those who dislike noise, this will surely be unappealing, but it is excellent to anyone who possesses an ear for noisy rock. Definitely different from most noise makes in the decade. Nevertheless, a hallmark of noise is seen in the way that songs are very short, not even one breaches the two minute mark. I was throughly surprised by the way these two made music despite my frequent play of noise rock.

To be had here (192 kbps):
Neon Hunk - Smarmymob

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Universe - The Outer Void Intrepid Sailor (2006)

Purposefully I believe that this album is meant to make me think of David Bowie, which hardly ever is a bad thing. The Universe, side project of Gus Franklin of Australia's Architecture In Helsinki, doesn't stray too far from the indie pop formula that got him heard. Although, the music is notably more dreamy than the more energized and somewhat chaotic joyfulness of Architecture In Helsinki albums. The title of the album hints at the underlying theme that is threaded throughout the lyrics, outer space. "A.O.K. Up Here" with the slow start that bursts into a fantastic chorus is my favorite track found herein, but assuredly not without competitors. "Grand Central" is a very well-crafted song that stands out as well. There's a strange childish feeling to "No Pianos" that belies the great transitions and singing of the track. The concept nature of the album is there, but not as solidly as Bowie, perhaps more like The Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. Luckily, the songs stand on their own well enough to allow for a quick listen or addition to mix tapes. Franklin's soft and comforting voice is definitely one of the best features; though the instrumentation deserves credit for enhancing it excellently.

To be had here (320 VBR kbps):
The Universe - The Outer Void Intrepid Sailor

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Green Milk From The Planet Orange - City Calls Revolution (2005)

Green Milk From The Planet Orange, besides having an extremely unusual name, makes some righteous psychedelic music. Born from the remains of defunct group No Rest for the Dead, these Tokyo-based young men do the experimental thing with the usual Japanese flare, such as all members being referred to only by initials. The songs are unique sounding, straddling between the noise of Boredoms and the extended rhythms of kraut rock bands like Can and Faust. City Calls Revolution has only four tracks, nevertheless is most certainly a full-length album. The first track "Concrete City Breakdown" finishes just shy of 20 minutes while the epic finale "A Day in the Planet Orange" is just over 38. Despite the exciting nature of the music, they know very well how to compose songs and there is a well-planned execution to them. Green Milk From The Planet Orange might be a mouthful to say, but they're anything but difficult to listen to.

To be had here (192 kbps):
Green Milk From The Planet Orange - City Calls Revolution

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Volta do Mar

Posting from Toronto whilst on holiday, the name of this band is fitting, for as I type this there's a considerable amount of racket being caused by celebratory honking and whistling for Portugal Day. Volta do Mar is a Portuguese phrase which according to translates as "turn of the sea." The band, however, certainly are not Portuguese, but rather hail from Midwestern America's thriving metropolis, Chicago. Their music is riding the line between post-rock and math rock; a quality I seem to have a liking for. Absolutely instrumental in composition, the group has managed to produce two full-length albums. I feel Volta do Mar owes much to groups like Slint and Don Caballero that preceded them. Their music hasn't be held as mind-blowing in any reviews I've read, but I don't think they're unworthy of a good listen. If you're a fan of math rock or post-rock I highly recommend adding them to your collection if you haven't already. In addition to the two albums I'm sharing today, they have a split with Murder by Death for anyone who'd liken to find more.

To be had here (192 kbps):

At the Speed of Light or Day (2001)

03>98 (2005)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Carlsonics - Emergency Door (2003)

The Carlsonics remind me of my early teenage years a lot. Garage rock not only had captivated me, but seemingly the nation with The White Stripes and less genuine acts like The Hives exploding onto the scene. However, little of this wave of fame settled at the feet of the men who were called The Carlsonics. As is frequently the case with a garage rock band worth half a damn, they sound like other garage rockers (everybody copies the Stooges) yet make it unique enough to want to play again. There's a decent amount of mod influence on the group as well, which is often an overlooked source of inspiration in today's garage rock. I think this because of the retro feel it can provide so well. The songs can all be cited as having styles akin to excellent garage, mod and glam musicians of the past, but that is what makes the genre constant, nevertheless whilst the new generations will always twist it. They were good, not the best, but it is very hard to be in this field. I like them enough the re-visit this section of otherwise uneventful and drawn out suburb teenage years. Once again, I thank the public library for this.

To be had here (160 kbps):
The Carlsonics - Emergency Door

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Seconds - Kratitude (2006)

I find the name the Seconds to be ironically fitting of the fact that two members of this trio are more famed for their playing in other bands, yet attempt to maintain this is not merely a side project. Brain Chase, drummer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Zachary Lehrhoff of the most righteous noise rockers Ex-Models. The third fixture is one Jeannie Kwon, who's musical output consists the two albums the Seconds have release, as far I can tell at least. For fans of Chase's contributions to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, they certainly will not be disappointed in his musicianship, but they aren't going to find any garage punk songs with somebody like Karen O. singing. This music is rougher, much more in the vein of Ex-Models' noise driven sound. If you enjoy noise rock, especially if influenced heavily by the no wave movement that preceded the modern interpretation of the genre (if you like the Coughs I posted previously too). Kratitude is their second album, relased 5 years after the first that is entitled simply Y. I have even got the first album, but if someone wants to share it that'd be most prime.

To be had here (256 VBR kbps):
The Seconds - Kratitude

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Vladimir Ussachevsky - Film Music (1990)

Born an ethnic Russian and citizen thereof in Manchuria way back in 1911, Vladimir Ussachevsky arrived in the United States in 1930. There he eventually joined the faculty of Columbia University. An intellectual who was along with contemporaries like Germany's Karlheinz Stockhausen and France's Pierre Schaeffer amongst many others began exploration into electronic music long before the mainstream ever got wind or even Detroit's early techno acts. The music he made is avant-garde in ever sense of the concept. Listening like a sound collage, very abstract and strange in composition. There's everything from organs to laugh tracks to pounding drums with insanely difficult to describe electronic noises interwoven between and with it all. At moments it can be downright creepy, but never it is uninteresting. I believe it is meant to be heard as two long pieces but this is broken up into parts of 6 and 7 for each piece. If you like the Stockhausen this is right up your alley, if you didn't get it, then this is just as good to begin with. This is far too overlooked a genre, and to just imagine professor Ussachevsky with his starch white shirt and neat neck tie producing it gives me joys.

To be had here:
Vladimir Ussachevsky - Film Music

Friday, June 6, 2008

Beachwood Sparks

As alluded to in the last post, Beachwood Sparks is the other group that Chris Gunst, Dave Scher, and Brent Rademaker are in together. The similarities therefore are frequent, but the band is more than merely a side project of the The Tyde. In fact the first album, the self-titled Beachwood Sparks, pre-dates the Tyde's Once. Whereas the The Tyde make sweet surf pop ditties, Beachwood Sparks is more about alternative country and folk mixed with the indie pop style of the members. The guitars are more twangy, the lyrics more folksy. Throughout the releases of by this group there is a psychedelic quality, which I feel endears it even to those natural disinclined to enjoying country-esque music. They feel like a modern indie pop version of sort of thing the Byrds did back in 60s. Once We Were Trees outshines the previous album in my opinion. The track "You Take The Gold" is upbeat tune that I hardly ever tire of. Finally, the released an EP entitled Make the Cowboy Robots Cry after both full-lengths. The EP possesses a mellower pace but is exceedingly well written and preformed. I love listening to this during hot summer afternoons, and I can't help be wish they'd get back to making fresh albums. Basically, this is the type of music you invested so much time and effort in getting neat cowboy shirts for.

To be had here:

Beachwood Sparks (2000) @ 192 kbps

Once We Were Trees (2001) @ 160 kbps

Make the Cowboy Robots Cry (2002) @ 192 kbps

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Tyde

This shall be the first of a two part post the figures that make up The Tyde amongst other groups. The Tyde is more or less the same roster as the Beachwood Sparks with Chris Gunst, Dave Scher, and Brent Rademaker sharing membership in both though there are some members that are in only one or the other (Rademaker in Further and Frausdots in addition, he's a prolific fellow). More of co-projects than either being a side project, the two groups don't sound as much the same as one would expect from the consistent bandmates. Although both are indie pop, the Tyde's influences are heavily weighted towards surf pop such as The Beach Boys. The Tyde have issued three full-length albums thus far. Aptly named the first is Once, the second Twice and finally Three's Co. There are to be found several gems to be found on each one, and truly all fair about the same in my mind.

To be had here:

Once (2001) @ 160 kbps

Twice (2003) @ 192 kbps

Three's Co. (2006) @ 224 VBR kbps

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Fire Engines - Codex Teenage Premonition (1981 [2005 re-release])

Fire Engines was one part of the Scottish post-punk surge in the 80s that included groups like Josef K and Orange Juice. As to be expected they sound extremely similar to their contemporaries. Their name is from the excellent garage rock band of the 60s, the 13th Floor Elevators. Two years after the founding of the band, they held numerous live shows, which are compiled in addition with demo versions of some of their most impressive tracks. Do keep in mind this was made well after the band dissolved and the membership moved on, so it isn't necessarily what they intended to release. Originally put together in 1992, but then another time during 2005 with the rise of a new generation of post-punk playing youths coming to age. Nevertheless, they are some wonderfully preformed songs, especially one of their most famous "Hungry Beat" that therein has both studio and live versions. Sometimes these post-punk pioneers are overlooked by those who only scratch the surface and fine the fore-mentioned bands after having heard of them in Franz Ferdinand articles. Once again this is an album I'm indebted to the public library for providing for me to pick out on a whim. Truly a band that deserves much more widely garnished recognition.

To be had here (160 kbps):
Fire Engines - Codex Teenage Premonition

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


A fresh mutli-album post of electronic songs. O.Lamm is from France, and the 'O' is for Olivier, his first name. He makes from interesting electronic music that feels like a logical merger of French and Japanese influences. For sure there is 8-bit to be heard, and much spastic jumping of rhythm and tone. His music possesses the ability to be creepy, entertaining, cheerful, and thundering. He's got much much work out there than I'm sharing here, but these are three of his full-length albums that don't consist of mostly remixes. They provide a good gagde for the type of stuff he's making and I'm making you find more if you want it, I don't get paid for this shit anyhow (nobody does, which I love; buy vinyl). The earliest of them, Snow Party, is much more of a glitch album than the later works, yet very well produced. Hello Spiral is much more ambitious of an attempt with more vocalizations and different sounds utilized. And last, but not least, is Monolith, which has some of my favorite tracks of his including "The Macguffin," "Aerialist" and "Return of the Night Goat." Plus it has many more featured guests working with O.Lamm creating some great songs. Do enjoy, and check out the rest of the stuff from Audio Dregs, it's a prime label.

To be had here:

Snow Party (2002) @ 192 kbps

Hello Spiral (2004) @ 192 VBR kbps

Monolith (2006) @ 224 VBR kbps

Numbers - Now You Are This (2007)

Numbers are very useful and therefore applied to a great many things, not dissimilarly the band called Numbers has been placed in a great many genres. I've seen from noise and kraut to prog and electronic, but the best is likely post-punk. Californians by way of San Francisco, the group has evolved over their time together from a party-orientated dance outfit to the post-punkers they're today. The latest release Now You Are This is an entertaining album but I found it not a rough and loud as the previous ones, which was a bit disappointing. Definitely in the same vein, just slowed down; I believe with hopes for more well-thought out songs, but I'm unsure if that's what I wanted. Although it does seem to garnish praise for the established internet reviewers (people with titles and pay [shakes head]), and by golly do read other persons. They're trying out new things, such as the noise transition to soft singing in "Liela Mila" but as often is the case with new things the kinks are to be worked out. "Everything Is Fine" and "The Mapping Of E8" are probably my favorites off the album, with the first being more like the older Numbers I loved and the other having done some pleasing electronics of the guitars. I want to know what you think of this, and if you need I can upload some older albums.

To be had here (224 VBR):
Numbers - Now You Are This

Monday, June 2, 2008

Midaircondo - Shopping for Images (2005)

At the time of the release of Shopping for Images the Swedish group, Midaircondo, was a trio fully made up of females. Since then Malin Dahlstrom departed the band leaving Lisa Nordström and Lisen Rylander (Swedes' have cool names). I like to think of this album as a good mixture of the styling found in the previous two posts (I'll move along to a new genre next, I promise). There is electronic and acoustic sounds interwoven as both prior had, but where the first was completely instrumental and the second was heavily focused on the vocals, this is a intermediate with lovely sung vocals by more than just one member but still premium instrumentation. Furthermore, the release better satisfies my yearns for abstractness (though it can be argued that Le Volume Coubre wasn't about that). As Swedish bands frequently do, the duration is sung in English. Shopping for Images has a diverse set of noises in, from background recordings to horns to rhythmic bass bumps, even wind chimes and what I believe is coins being tossed. The effect is a very chill and relaxed but never uninteresting set of songs. They range from trippy ("Lo-Fi Love") to being kinda free jazzy ("Faces") in stretches. The closest bands I can conjure to mind are Slumber Party and Dntel. So, ending this 3 part installment of mellow experimentations I hope you enjoy this talented group.

To be had here (224 VBR kbps):
Midaircondo - Shopping for Images

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Le Volume Courbe - I Killed My Best Friend (2006)

Although I've seen Le Volume Courbe referred to as a band, it is indeed basically the solo work of Charlotte Marionneau, a talented French singer-songwriter who lives in England. Accordingly I Killed My Best Friend alternates betwixt French and English. Chiefly produced with a definite lo-fi feel, the instruments are interestingly not played by Ms Marionneau but rather a studio band. Whatever you feel about that, be statified there is a glockenspiel to be heard. There can be found contributors of note, including Kevin Shields and Colm Ó Ciosoig of the fantastic My Bloody Valentine. Overall, the album is a success at being entertaining, but doesn't blow any minds. "The Mind Is A Horse" has a crazy heartbeat rhythm to it which caught me by surprise. My favorite track is likely "Papillon De Nuit" with its strange mock bird sound in the beginning making me smile. However, I can see many liking "Who Are You?" because of how well-crafted it is. I recommend this for fans of 60s French pop or good singer-songwriting, it feels like a fresher and genuine partner of both.

To be had here (256 kbps):
Le Volume Courbe - I Killed My Best Friend

Mom - Little Brite (2007)

A strange name for a band, and a hard one to find in internet searches without an album title. Luckily, I was lent this EP by a friend on an old school compact disc. Much thanks goes out to said comrade for I have enjoyed it immensely. Once again, and I swear I don't plan this, the band is a two-piece. Young gentlemen from Denton, Texas (I'm sure many of us don't know where that is). Playing music that is mellow and paced, it is on the a fine edge between folk and post-rock in feeling though the instrumentation lends itself towards the former. There's electronic manipulation to be found on on the tracks, but it finds accordingly with the general feeling. The EP is completely devoid of vocals excepting some banter between the member caught in the tail end of a song. The heavy reliance of string instruments with the lingering sound creates a space for the listen to relax into. Somewhat like Efterklang, but not as grandiose they can get. So, I hope you like it as I pass it along and keep an eye out for these fellas; they're aiming to have a new release this September.

To be had here (320 kbps):
Mom - Little Brite