Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tex Williams and His Western Caravan - Artistry in Western Swing (????)

I was first made aware of Tex Williams by some old 78 rpm records my mother inherited from his grandma. Upon looking him up I saw he was categorized commonly as a western swing musician, which I hadn't a clue to what that encompassed. However, digging into that is how I came to find Moon Mullican and due to that beautiful success I decided to hunt down something by Williams. Hopefully I can sum it up without offense as a capitalization of the swing craze/big band sound with the wholesome country music of the era. While appearing (and surely acting) super-WASP-like there's some obivious influence of black music, insomuch that they play "boogies." However, there's polka numbers to be heard, which pleased me to no end for I've a guilty pleasure in that terrible music. So what we've got here is the first compilation that I could snag off of peer-to-peer sources and I can't even get a good fix on the exact day it was issued, but I'm figuring in the late 90s. It leaves out the most famous song by Williams, "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke" that was really just a novelty (and in my opinion not the best he's got to offer anyway). Truly is some old-school analog (sorry for the shit bit rate) country though that's been great to listen to before work lately.

To be had here:
Tex Williams and His Western Caravan - Artistry in Western Swing [128 kbps]

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Suzi Trash - So Totally Dissonant (2012)

In 1994, Green Day opened the flood gates of what, for years, would be a rebirth for the punk genre (via MTV) with a resulting commodification of the culture. Soon the hallways of my high school were showing symptoms of this: peers were absorbing the trends of wallet chains, Manic Panic-dyed hair, and mall-bought "punk" clothing. Sitting atop my high horse, I became incensed. Just two years prior, I was seeing my first Ramones show, where my naive attempts at starting a mosh pit ended as the beer muscles of an angry old punk tossed me aside like a crumpled tissue. Now cheerleaders were wearing Offspring patches on their backpacks? Fuck them! They weren't getting thrown around by drunks... well, maybe they were... but probably not.

The only way I could cope was to change the channel... and so I swore off punk rock. Nearly 20 years later, though, I'm absolutely smitten with punk bands that I really should have paid more attention to. The Buzzcocks, The Peechees, The Wipers, and more recently, Jay Reatard, have all proven to me that punk rock wasn't, and still isn't, about all that "Dookie" from the 1990's. (...)

Here's a great release from a Missouri-by-way-of-Arkansas punk band, Suzi Trash. This is fun, beer swilling music that isn't afraid to throw some accordion, organ, and trumpet into the mix. Elements of the South are threaded throughout their sound, more than once displaying blues and rockabilly influences. They're not a Christian punk band, though some songs include religious imagery, if only to display the point of view of a conflicted man growing up in the small Christian cities of Arkansas. The first few minutes of "Fresh Cloud of Black Magic" is played out like a church hymnal before the walls collapse and it turns into a shredding punk tune. The song "Arkansas" asks the question "Glory glory, hallelujah, Tell me tell me what's that to ya?" while the rest of the song is a good-bye and fuck you letter to the state. The record is actually very personal with lyrics describing a hungover and depressed existence while conflicts between love, family, faith and guilt all play their role. But still, the music that results from that negativity is a lot of fun.

I hope Suzi Trash have found a better home in Missouri, because they are making seriously raucous cowpunk ala The Gun Club that stretches to include shades of both The Cramps and The Moistboyz ...even early Sub Pop grunge-punk band, Swallow. But at their core, Suzi Trash is a band doing what they can to have good times in the face of stifling boredom.

I used to be a punk rock heathen, but Suzi Trash have a believer in me.

Could easily be released on Goner, In The Red, or Burger Records. If you like punk, or garage, or whatever... give these guys a listen.

Suzi Trash - So Totally Dissonant

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

SIlver Bullets - Città Invisibili (2010)

Around this time last year I wrote about first album by Silver Bullets, Free Radical (I know this link is dead, I forgot to zip up the album to re-upload I hope to fix that soon). This was in the in the wake of my getting ultra-jazzed about King Blood's outstanding drone masterpiece, Eyewash Silver. Validating those that think taste cyclical, I'm feeling the drone now due in large part to the amount of ambient and drone-like music I've been getting submitted I'm mining old veins. Although this release was out already by the time I even stumbled onto the first, it is worth going back to if you're unfamiliar. If I remember shit correctly, Silver Bullets is the moniker of an Italian musician, based in Sicily specifically. Hence the name of Città Invisibili make tremendous since, as it refers to a novel by Italian author Italo Calvino. The music itself is nearly as trippy as the book's premise. The heavy sound of Free Radical dramatically vanished in Città Invisibili for a more subtle psychedelic drone. Nonetheless, the album is exceptionally well executed and totally a highly recommended listen for fans of ambient/drone.

To be had here:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pity Sex - Dark World (2012)

Emo, that's something I don't think I've ever broached on Spacerockmountain. The vast majority of anything that could be called emo music is outside my tastes, but I grew up in a place and time when only metal or emo bands played in my adolescence. Naturally, enough that poisoned them both to me, plus that whole straight-edge thing was bullshit and still is (even if you got new age hippie tripe backing it). Anyway, that's just a rant I've had for a decade now, but the reason I bring up emo at all is that someone sent me some. Here's the rub though, this is way better than I remember the shows of my teenage years being. In fact in many ways it reminds me of music that could be called emo that I did really dig back then, mostly the Saddle Creek scene like Cursive and Desaparecidos. Pity Sex has captured the elements that loud, charged rock admirably. I'm especially fond of the track "Dogwalk" which has both male and female vocals with some pretty righteous guitar playing to boot. Another lesson in how most any kind of music is good if done well, yet I'll say if you're wholly opposed to this sort of stuff then your basis can overwhelm it (to each their own, right?). Finally these guys are from Ann Arbor, which relatively to most of the band I post is extremely close to my current home. So hope they remind me when they come into Detroit.

To be had here:
Pity Sex - Dark World

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Wet Paint DMM are a now defunct Seattle 3-piece who are too good to not share with you, though I'm having difficulty describing their sound in a non-convoluted way. I keep wanting to say "deconstructionist post-punk performance art" but then I immediately want to punch myself in the mouth.

Their sound is minimal - one drummer, one guitarist, and one singer - but what they achieve is quite dynamic.

The drums provide a brutal, dark and tribal canvas over which the guitarist paints strange and dissonant colors. At times, like on "IT IS THERAPEUTIC"  and "LION TAMER", the guitar sounds like it's being played through circuit-bent effects processors. The most striking element of Wet Paint, however, is their powerful vocalist. Her dramatic delivery is just that: part poetry, part performance. At times she sings, but mostly it's a very animated and urgent one-sided conversation that sometimes devolves into moaning or animal noises ... like she's either having an orgasm or killing someone. Maybe she's doing both. Her contribution alone would put Wet Paint's non-existant record into the "Kabuki theater performed in an insane asylum" section of the record store.

Long and short of it is... Wet Paint's sound is dichotomous and treads lines between art and rock; sex and nightmares; blood/soil and extraterrestrial mechanics. It's intellectual meets visceral, the line between which lies the heart. It's postmodern, I suppose, but without pretension because what they achieve is very authentic and full of heart.

This is aortic music ...bubbling up from a prehistoric stew.

Wet Paint DMM - DMM

RedDelicious - 1120 (2011)

Now I am perfectly cool with listening to ambient music. It is far and away the bulk of what I've gotten submitted to the blog lately. It does sometimes make it hard to break apart the different albums mentally, but remarkably enough RedDelicious swung in and broke the pattern up for my flattering mind. While parts of 1120 fall into ambient, encompassing the telltale background-ish haze, in others it moves into electronic rock. It's got a more dynamic take, more akin to a science fiction soundtrack or unordinary video game tunes. Makes the mundane feel like that shit is electronically enhanced, that perhaps trimming my beard is cool and fun as playing Dr. Mario (this is a long held suspicion of mine that manifests when I drink expensive beer). There are a couple of real superb tracks like the catchy "Afrika Bambataa" and whistling-heavy "Blueberry Valley." Great stuff from a dude with a laptop and a collection of instruments.

To be had here:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Oxford American Music Issue #13-Mississippi

This year's music issue from the Oxford American came out in March. My brother gifted me a copy for my birthday, just as he gave me last year's issue that compiled Alabama musicians. As the title indicates this is on Mississippi musicians spanning from the 40s to present, but naturally enough heavily focused on the blues that had much of its genesis in the state. I've hardly gotten a chance to read any of the magazine which is filled with lengthy articles on the artists individually, and they're written far better than anything you can read on this blog. Basically, I am saying buy the fucking magazine because you'll fucking love it, which I say purely on the weight of how wonderfully done the previous music issue was. For real, it's got Bo Diddly, Guitar Slim, and some amazing cats called Leon Bass & The Keystones. So throw down the money and get something awesome to read instead of doing work.

To be had here:
Oxford American Music Issue #13-Mississippi

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Moon Mullican

It's no secret that I've really been into listening to blues, soul and old country music lately. Well, as I access the internet in short periods, and not even everyday at this point I've developed a habit of jotting down names of all sorts of musicians to look up whenever I've got a couple of hours to tool around online. One such musician is Moon Mullican, a figure that straddles various styles of music that'd consolidate into genres soon during his career. He was simultaneously a country musician and an early pioneer into rock and roll. Openly admitting his debt to black musicians, he used his piano to play blues and boogie numbers as skillfully as swinging western tunes. Perhaps it should make sense that is recordings are terribly hard to tell between rock, blues, or honky tonk if it wasn't for the habit of titling tracks with the style ("Rheumatism Blues," "Cherokee Boogie" or "Honolulu Rock & Roll" for example). I found a site that has a bunch of his tracks for free download, but they're not arranged in any official format. Something like a lesson in how a skilled pianist can play nearly anything they fancy and have it be mesmerizing. Sure they're low-quality copies, but it didn't bother me at all.

To be had here:
Moon Mullican

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Still Caves - Static Lips (2012)

I attribute my affection for garage rock to being a jaded and ornery 30-something. By the time some reach this age, the idealism of the late teens/early 20's mindset is a once vibrant garden since entangled and suppressed by an invasive ivy called "conformism". After school, you'll need work and, chances are, it'll suck and you'll have to dance like a damned monkey to get it. Bad break-ups, grandparents passing away, demoralizing assclown politicians, and colonoscopies just 20 short years away? Ah yes... the 30's are a tattered stage where the dramas of love, work, health, and debt are played out by several lonely, jobless, and alcohol-addicted clones of yourself. 

Then there's all that Taco Bell you keep putting on your credit card.  

Some say bad addictions can be replaced with healthier ones and, while I personally haven't given up my Gordita Supremes, garage rock has become a reliable crutch for a world that makes the mind weary.  

Enter Portland band, Still Caves. They seemingly came out of nowhere and immediately found themselves playing with up-and-coming Portland bands like Psychic Feline and recent K Records signee Nucular Aminals. After hearing their dirty and dismal two-chord garage, it's no wonder. All the elements are here: lo-fi recordings; guitars crunching through tube amps; vocals awash in caverns of cold reverb; and the steady pounding of a well-worn floor tom. "Great Recession" and "No Company" chug along with such gritty voracity you'll have to clean gravel from your ears. And while the EP opens with a shimmering, melodic anthem ("Dutch") worthy of lemonade and sunny drives on hot summer days, don't be fooled. The bulk of Static Lips is whiskey-soaked garage rock heard through a heavy downpour.

Still Caves are here to cure what ails you. 6 songs I'll surely be driving around to, regardless of the weather or beverage at hand.

Still Caves - Static Lips

Monday, April 16, 2012

EP Grab Bag vol. 16

Been a minute since I got a chance to post up a group of EPs. Got caught up with the celebrations and necessary family visitations surrounding my birthday. Plus that much beer flowing is hardly conductive to getting any amount of writing done. However belated, here's what I got.

To be had here:

Secret Motorbikes - I Get Up (2012)

Another EP/single from Glasgow rockers, Secret Motorbikes. Lo-fi garage-esque rock that employs loud enough drumming and guitar playing to make me more than happy. A real good follow up to This Is not A Hostel EP from earlier this year. With song coming out this quickly perhaps there'll be a album before long.

Plumerai - Marco Polo (2012)

This was sent to me by the folks at Sibler Records where a bunch of stuff at be had for free. Plumerai is some mildly frantic sounding indie rock driven in a large part by some lovely vocals. The songs are melodic have that post-rock-like quality of building up but a shoegaze sorta instrumentation. Recommended to those that fancy strong vocals in their music.

@&@ - Flaws (2012)

Not sure if this was a fan or artist submitted EP but it makes little difference. It is a stripped-down folk act. Six short songs that haven't much more than guitar, emotional fraught singing, and some interesting lyrics. Simple and straightforward and that's what makes it good.

Dusty Mush - Tom Pitt's Acid Trip (2012)

A new EP from the French garage rock band Dusty Mush. Their demos that were featured on a prior Grab Bag were much adored by me. Pretty jazzed to see this is out, and with only a tiny price tag of a single Euro. They claim an album is coming too so look forward to that.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Dictaphone - Let's Not (2012)

Another release from what is proving itself to be a spectacular label Cocktail Pueblo. Outta Tours, France they've been sending me lo-fi albums including Jagwar Pirates and Tachycardie. The Dictaphone only enhances that rather righteous roster. Let's Not has many different elements and styles in featured so it makes it quite difficult to describe precisely (not that most anything musical is easy to explain). Doing my best to summerize what we've got here would be a lo-fi buffet: post-punk, garage rock, noise, and electronic. Because of the varying kind of songs I'd say this is definitely one of those albums that are best enjoyed by listening straight from beginning to end. Pretty sure you'll find it a rewarding experience.

To be had here:
The Dictaphone - Let's Not [320 kbps]

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

SexyWaterSpiders - Black Gold (2010)

When I moved to Portland, Oregon, one of the first things I noticed were the bumper stickers and signs everywhere that read "Keep Portland Weird". Over the course of that first year, Portland's weirdness revealed itself in many ways, usually in the form of costumed pub crawls and costumed (or naked) bike rides. At first I was intrigued by the weirdness; then proud. I even participated in a pub crawl dressed as a lumberjack in hot pants. But everyone gets to the point where Portland's weirdness becomes embarrassing and/or annoying, as it has for me 6 years later.

Listening to SexyWaterSpiders, though, I've become intrigued again. 

A Portland by way of Salem trio, SexyWaterSpiders play an adolescent, bluesy psych rock. They don't take themselves too seriously, and they don't want you to take them too seriously, either. This point is made evident by their 10 minute forays into new age psych pop and cheesy power metal. Actually, all the songs on Black Gold have a tongue in cheek sneer through which the tongue is more directed at the listener …almost to test your patience and ask "why so serious?"

First listen aside, they aren't just a weird Portland band. They're a breath of fresh air in a city that's nearly choking to death with conventional rock bands uninterested in testing the boundaries of their own "coolness". That said, there is something undeniably cool about them. Their songs are good and at times evoke the likes of Jon Spencer, Royal Trux, Railroad Jerk …even The Fugs. And while they may not be as garage or punk as those groups, the SexyWaterSpiders approach their music with a similar playfulness that escapes a lot of musicians these days.

Loosen your buttons.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Opacities - Field Reconnaissance (2012)

Been getting a good deal of ambient music in the submitted material lately. This one happens to be sent in by new label some young fellows are trying to get going called Static Reason Recordings. Didn't provide too much information on who the artist is other than what is a pretty neat name, Opacities. This stuff is straight-up ambient of the field recording, looping and sparsely instrumental variety. Has scraping, bleeping and other sounds only an array onomatopoeia could do justice in describing. Though I'd hardly say the music is busy sounding, it doesn't really let up at all and is more cacophonous than the recently posted Dive Signals or Astronomical. A pretty promising start for an ambient label and a well rather properly done album on whole. Will say I've gotten so much of this sorta thing lately I am getting dissociated from time and space. Nothing a guitar can't fix.

To be had here:
Opacities - Field Reconnaissance

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Jeff Beam - Be Your Own Mirror (2012)

Hooray for using my grandparents' internet this Easter Sunday. So lucky for you guys I can say something about Jeff Beam. Solo musician from Portland, Maine that plays some subtly done psychedelic tunes. Sort of a bedroom pop meets psych-folk sound that's easily appreciated while relaxing on a Sunday morning such as today. Songs are full of sounds yet don't seem complex, which I reckon must just be experience in composition that's beyond my nonexistent technical knowledge of songwriting. The tracks "Hospital Patience" and "Now' both stand out as something I would like to have in regular rotation. Lovely what folks can do with guitars and computers these days. Finally, thanks to Amazing Larry for contributing a post and I hope we'll get to read more recommendations from him soon.

To be had here:
Jeff Beam - Be Your Own Mirror

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Steel Phantoms - Forer EP (2011)

Hello and word to all the readers of Spacerockmountain. I've been invited by the gracious Antarktikos to contribute to the blog so, formalities aside, let's get on with it.

For my first post I'd like to draw your attention to a Brooklyn band that is bound to make the Pitchfork nation cream their collective pants. I speak of Steel Phantoms… a three piece with just the sort of jangly pop sentiment that pervades much of the current indie rock sound. Now, if you're at all like me, mere mention of the word "jangly" is enough to make you raise your hackles and spit venom in a baby's eyes. That said, Steel Phantoms offer more heart and imagination to their brand of music: there's no ivy league Kwassa Kwassa here, just the authenticity of music lovers making music they love.

While influences don't stand out and bite you, there's a bit of a nod to bands of the 80's. Imagine Men At Work taking turns with Jesus and Mary Chain in Isaac Brock's recording studio and you're in the ballpark.

Singing and songwriting are shared duties between two of the band's members. Drummer Aaron Harris, formerly of the band Islands, has a higher voice and writes spritely, anthemic songs while keyboardist Yos Munro sings with a lower, unique timbre… like the voice of a sad giant. The duality works for this band, much as it did for The Halo Benders. The high and low registers compliment each other well, as do the songs on this EP as a whole.

Seriously catchy stuff. 6 songs free for download.

Ray Charles - Modern Sounds of Country and Western Music (1962)

Besides the music I get in submissions I've been almost entirely devoted to digging up music that predates me by decades. However, with only intermittent internet access and much of that being of an inferior quality, it is slow going. Didn't stop me from listening to and augmenting what soul music I had. When I was talking to my brother about how I've been spending nights listening to Otis Redding and Ray Charles he told me he had Modern Sounds of Country and Western Music on vinyl. I didn't know until then Charles had done a country album, but holy shit is it something to behold. This is an bonus track version, there is a second volume but I haven't gotten my hands on it yet. Yet while I'm getting after that, this one was too fantastic not to share. Charles singing and the arrangements are unbelievable, and the selection of songs is the bee's knees. Three Hank Williams songs, from when even popular country was really great. Finally I got all your emails folks and I am downloading the albums with the swifter internet I have available today so hopefully we'll get some fresh sounds up soon.

To be had here:
Ray Charles - Modern Sounds of Country and Western Music [192 kbps]

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Sunburns - Smell Like Fun (2012)

Detroit garage rock is more to blame than any other sort of music of getting me worked up to the point that all these years later I'm still consuming a ridiculous amount of music each week. Therefore, you might be able to imagine that I'm pretty excited to have the Sunburns send me in their garage rock right here from metro Detroit. It's unpolished, lo-fi rock and roll with all those buzzing, squawking, and pounding elements I could listen to all day long. Of course there's a healthy amount of surf rock to be heard mingling within the tracks. Perhaps because they're from about these parts I'll get to hear them play live as garage rock is best heard but to be honest I'm god awful at keeping up on live dates. Regardless, I hope they keep it up and they've got a fan in me.

To be had here:
The Sunburns - Smell Like Fun