Thursday, May 31, 2012

Archers - Eggy Tape (2011)

I'm old and I want to drink when watching bands, not stand next to giggly teenage girls flirting with pepperoni-faced Bieber impersonators. This year, however, I may have to go to Portland's annual, all-ages summer festival called PDX Pop Now! judging by all the great music that's on the festival's accompanying 2012 compilation (being released sometime in early June, in case anyone's interested).

Archers is one such band. Their music harkens to late 70's/early 80's punk and power pop, but with both an amplified tenacity as well as 60's rock influence. Really engaging and accessible punk rock and I can't believe I haven't listened to them until now. At times they sound like The Nerves, other times The Wipers. There's also elements of The Who in here. The Soft Boys are also a definite influence, and at times the vocals seem to almost channel Robyn Hitchcock.

This is a great 6 song ep they put out on Eggy Records, an awesome label run by a member of another great local band, The Woolen Men. It looks like the tape itself is sold out, but if you like their stuff, there's a link on the righthand side of their bandcamp page to buy a limited edition 7" for $5... when I bought mine there were only 9 left.

Archers are deserving of the attention they're getting in town, and I hope to catch them live soon.

Archers - Eggy Tape

Monster Rally - Beyond the Sea (2012)

I'm very aware I've been promising and hoping to make more frequent posts and utterly failing to deliver for months, but that's the fucking rub I suppose. However, there's little better reason to emerge from a temporary silence to spread the word about this new LP by Monster Rally. This guy's been written up here and on several blogs I admire for his previous releases and everything that made those so meritorious can consistently be heard on Beyond the Sea. For those unfamiliar with Monster Rally's music, it is a fantastic example of what some term glo-fi, which I think of as lo-fi electronic music with heavy usage of samples and looping to create something oddly nostalgic yet unique. Moreover, all his songs have a tropical exotica theme that makes it absolutely wonderful for listening to while baking under the summertime sun that's been scorching Detroit and various other locales recently. Finally, while the digital version has been released in a "name your price' scheme, there's a vinyl version coming out in June with pre-ordering going down now.

To be had here:
Monster Rally - Beyond the Sea

Monday, May 28, 2012

U.S. Maple - Long Hair In Three Stages (1995)

I don't know why I came into work today ...I should be eating meat and drinking beer in honor of those who have served this crazy nation. Though I don't know how anyone can eat meat after hearing about what happened in Miami this weekend. And while I can't imagine what would be going through my head if a naked man was eating my face, I can imagine the soundtrack to such a scene sounding like U.S. Maple's Long Hair In Three Stages.

This is a band that no one sounded like before and no one will sound like ever again. They formed with the express intention to deconstruct rock music. All the key elements are still there; melody, harmony, rhythm. But there isn't any chorus you can sing along to, as vocalist Al Johnson wheezes and coos unintelligible lyrics. Years ago, my brother likened his singing style to cartoon character Snagglepuss talking with his tongue cut out... and I still think that's pretty spot on. There are no major or minor chords in the guitars ...they squeal, meander and buzz in a drunken and mechanized, insectile anger. The rhythm section is probably the most conventional element to the band, keeping the insanity of the guitars and vocals grounded into something discernible as rock music. 

If you're at all into dissonant bands like Brainiac or The Jesus Lizard, you might like this. Not for everyone's tastes but worth a listen if you want to hear something new and strange.

Produced by Jim O'Rourke, who has produced records by Sonic Youth, Smog, and Wilco... among many other greats.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jeffery Drag Summer 'O12 Sampler

It's infrequent that I post up sampler albums from labels, but also it is uncommon for me to get one filled with so much great garage rock. Jeffery Drag Records really has its shit together and has cobbled together a fantastic line-up of musicians. All ten of these tracks are finely done lo-fi garage that should appeal to any fans of Ty Segall, the Gories or Mark Sultan (who I finally hope to see tomorrow night). To my shame only Useless Eaters, Natural Child and Ghost Dance (by way of their kindly referring me to the sampler) were known to me. Too much time shelving used books and too little time trolling the internet for sounds. Has taught me that I'm gonna have to breakdown and pay those motherfuckers the extortionist fee for home internet. Or I can just bitch about it while posting this stuff up at a local watering hole as always, in either case more music will be sought and I'm happier for knowing of these bands.

To be had here:
JDR Sampler 2k12

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Weather Balloons - Ape The Greats "to scare the spooks" (2011)

One of my favorite things, while flying into or out of a city at night, is imagining all the music being made down there. At that exact moment, while flying out of New York or Seattle or wherever, is music being recorded that I'll hear at some point over the course of my life. It's pointless to think about really, because there's nothing on the back of a record that says "recorded during that one time you flew over Austin on your way to Thanksgiving with the parents" that can remind you of those mid-flight musings. It's just one of those things I find myself doing ...lights on buildings that could be music clubs, street lamps under which musicians could be drumming on buckets, dim lights in apartment buildings where someone could be laboring over a 4-track and a drum machine... cities are like giant, electric english muffins, where in every nook and cranny is a light where someone is making or listening to music.

In one cranny of Brooklyn is a guy writing and recording music under the moniker Weather Balloons. The music is lo-fi twee punk with flares of indie, garage, and psychedelia all making appearances. Super catchy stuff. It's almost like a pop-punk Guided By Voices with vocals that, at times, remind me of Art Mitchell from the cartoon-punk band, Supernova. Also reminds me a little of another lo-fi Brooklyn band, who I think there's connection to, called Shark? (I'm not asking, that's the band's name). Interesting to note, looking over the Weather Balloons bandcamp page, you'll find a humor-meets-conspiracy-theory theme running throughout much of the design... firstly with the choice of Weather Balloons for the project's name... and then with titles like "JFKFC" and "Modern Warfare Is Free Marketing", a nod to hedonistic mystic Aleister Crowley's "The Book of The Law"(here retitled "The Book of The RAW"), and a faux JFK Jr. quote on his Facebook page that reads "George Bush Jr had nothing to do with my death." You get the picture.  I think his music is appealing enough without the touches of absurdity, but also do enjoy the unique twist.

12 songs, free from the artist.

Weather Balloons - Ape The Greats "to scare the spooks"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Teen Suicide - DC Snuff Film (2012)

Thanks to the reader, Dr. Bill, that sent me an email alerting me to these guys. Best I can figure is that this is a Maryland based group that way into making lo-fi music. Wouldn't call it noise rock, perhaps that nebulous term noise pop is best. Not doing the best job conveying what I mean here, however it'll be pretty immediately evident once you listen to it. Point is that its exciting and loud, reminding me of Nohopekids, Fungi Girls, and some of Cloud Nothings stuff. I'll tell ya, I'm thankful as much of this kind of noisy lo-fi music as I can get. Now that I'm working again and exerting physical labor is important (not to mention dealing with the general public), this sort of music has become a kind of crunch for me to sneak off a lean on when the bosses aren't watching. What's better than illicitly listening to rock and roll? It is done well and can't beat the price (free, naturally).

To be had here:
Teen Suicide - DC Snuff Film

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lightning Slim - We Gotta Rock Tonight (1986)

Lightning Slim (often billed Lightnin' Slim) was a blues musician born in St. Louis but ended up in Michigan working in a foundry when not playing. This is a posthumous compilation of some of his songs that cross the divide of blues and rock and roll (yet obviously blues-heavy rock). Numbers like "It Been A Long Time" and "Solider Boy Blues" are great examples of electronic blues, and others like the titular song "We Gotta Rock Tonight" show this guy knew how to play rock as well. He was recorded later than many of the bluesmen I've posted, only get on a single in 1954 and he was dead 20 years later of stomach cancer in Detroit. Nonetheless, he seems to be of relatively small fame compared to contemporaries and predecessors, but this cannot be due to lack of talent. Plus he must have one of my favorite monikers of all the blues musicians I'm familiar with.

To be had here
Lightning Slim - We Gotta Rock Tonight [320 kbps]

The Woolen Men - Pavilion (2009)

There's no debate that a tomato straight off the vine tastes monumentally better than those from the supermarket produce aisle. In the same vain, music straight from the "bedroom" carries with it something you can't get from mainstream music. There's an intimacy that escapes the refined output from major label studios... low budget recordings are more authentic. It's easier to attach humanness to it and, for that reason, it's more palpable. You can close your eyes while listening to a Guided By Voices record and almost smell the musty basement they recorded it in, because you've been in basements before. Few of us have ever been in a recording studio... who knows what one smells like? 

The Woolen Men are a prolific Portland 3-piece whose lo-fi recordings are all recorded live. They've been around for about four years and, during that time, have played over 70 shows and released 5 cassettes, most of which have been released through member Raf Spielman's well-established tape/vinyl label, Eggy Records. Each member takes turns writing songs and singing, akin to Sebadoh, but here the end product sounds like power-pop meets garage. Guided By Voices comes to mind, as does Camper Van Beethoven. In interviews the band sites the 80's-90's New Zealand band, The Clean, as being a big influence... which is evident in the immediate appeal of their songs. David Kilgour's pop prowess isn't lost on The Woolen Men, and you can be sure that the songs on this, their first tape, will get you hooked.

"Land of Laughs" and "Today" sound like power-pop classics from some band that time forgot. 

This video is for a great cut from a later release.

Music straight off the vine ...probably my favorite band in Portland right now. If you like what you hear, be sure to visit Eggy Records or their bandcamp page and toss them a few dollars. Three songwriters who share that knack for writing melodies that make you immediately nostalgic for certain times, places, and/or people.

The Woolen Men - Pavilion

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Assorted Spilts

I've gotten enough split EPs in lately I've decided to make them into a post of their own instead of throwing them into the EP Grab Bag (cause even at my ideal bimonthly rate there's more than I can reasonably post). So here three release with six bands, like a bunch of double barrel shotguns staring you in the face.

To be had here:
War Party/Doom Ghost - Lo-Life Recordings: Love at First Fight vol. 1 (2012)

This spilt put out by the small label Lo-Life Recordings features two lo-fi rock acts with sinister names. The first three tracks are by War Party, whose sound is somewhere between shoegaze and pop-rock. Makes me think of another submitted act, Fun Guns, which is good for I've really been digging those cats still. Second three are from Doom Ghost and are more eclectic. Starts with a garage rock song, a British-esque rock number (think Follying Molly), and one's a shimmery lo-fi pop ditty that invokes the Beat Happening. Must admit both bands are impressive and a finely complimenting spilt.

Mother Night/Dropouts - Garbage Fire Spilt (2012)

More from the several times featured band, Mother Night, but this time with friends sharing the bill. The two bands contrast more strongly than the previous spilt. Mother Night plays their finely done math rock, especially well on "Uprising of the Beast." The Dropouts on the other hand are some intense, abrasive metal that'll packed to the gills with powerful guitar and hollering vocals. A palate cleanser for sure, yet enjoyed by even a non-metal fan such as myself.

The Top Grossing Films of 1984/Nate Henricks - Hang Out Lay Low (2012)

Another returning artist, Nate Henricks, shares more of his E6-style lo-fi psych-pop. This time with an epic track that exceeds 15 minutes. The Top Grossing Films of 1984, other than bearing a lengthy name, are a minimalistic lo-fi psych-folk that has qualities of Weird America stuff. For whatever reason the split this release into their respective bandcamp pages so to get it all you've got to go to each, so just click on each name to get there.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Nolan Strong & The Diablos - Fortune 1 & 2: Motor City Detroit Doo-Wops

So I've mentioned Nolan Strong & The Diablos before, went so far as to share the compilation tribute album of their songs. However, I didn't share their music itself so far as it took me a minute to download a suitably high bit rate version of the two part Fortune compilation containing many of their numbers. Time has come though, as I've been preaching the amazing qualities of Nolan Strong's most astounding voice to all my friends so naturally they're asking why I've not shared it yet. Now, these guys will be familiar to some surely, but for those unacquainted Nolan Strong & The Diablos were a Detroit doo-wop/R&B band active in the 50s and 60s that achieved a moderate amount of success, especially with the songs "The Wind" and "Mind Over Matter." Yet to reduce them to these examples would be unjustifiable, for there are literally over a dozen tracks that I think merit being unqualified masterpieces. I can't get enough of "Blue Moon," "Do You Remember What You Did," "Harriet, it's You" and "Yeah Baby, it's Because of You" (this last track I've been familiar with even before I knew it was theirs through a garage rock version done by the Fondas). This band is the first I've obsessed over so intensely in a long ass time, listening to them sometimes exclusively for a whole day. I've even had to stop listening before I go to work or I'll have it stuck in my head until I go to bed. If all that means nothing, chew on this supposedly true quote from Lou Reed: "If I could really sing, I'd be Nolan Strong."

To be had here:

Fortune 1: Motor City Detroit Doo-Wops

Fortune 2: Motor City Detroit Doo-Wops

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Greggy Clypse - Easy 101's (2012)

Summers in eastern Canada last maybe 2 months on average. A lot of folks in the states wonder how people can deal with so much cold throughout the rest of the year.... I say, that's easy... you wear layers, stay inside, or put a hot toddy in your cry hole. Boom... warmth. The question really is: how do Canadians deal with the anticipation, arrival, and departure of such a brief summer? People must go abso-fucking-lutely insane with happiness... the very act of walking stored away in cedar closets with flannels and coats. Instead, I bet entire cities ballet dance to their jobs or corner stores. People must stand on rooftops, overlooking those dancing below, throwing tufts of cotton candy and spraying champagne onto them.

Goddamn, I gotta get my passport and see this shit.

The first time I went to Canada, it was in the fall and you didn't need a passport to get there. I was checking out the University of Toronto, thinking it'd be nice to get away from the post-9/11 nationalist fever sweeping the United States. It was a weekend and I'd neglected to schedule a tour or anything, so I ended up wandering around the city. Man, what a nice place... I was really impressed with their black squirrels. And there was a dude selling his band's hip hop CDs on the street... just like in Muscle Beach. I bought 2. They are horrible.

What isn't horrible, however, is all this awesome music currently coming out of Canada. There's even evidence of a scene, a weird lo-fi sleaze scene that this guy, Greggy Clypse, sounds a part of. He's a new act from London, Ontario which, apparently, has one of the largest bbq rib festivals in the continent, so it's gotta be a pretty cool place. His sound is lo-fi disco glitch pop and, as if that were a discernible sound at all, there's something a little off about his take on it. The music is engaging but also makes me a little uncomfortable. In that respect, it's a little like a 70's porno, which are weird because everyone is too hairy and no one is very sexy. The song "Moments" sounds like MGMT if they made a record while high on cough syrup... "Duh Duh Duh" sounds like Ariel Pink or White Williams writing a disco-glitch rendition of music from the Super Nintendo game, Pilot Wings.

This is weird stuff, accessible but weird. 7 songs, free for download, including a Willie Nelson cover.

Greggy Clypse - Easy 101's

Friday, May 11, 2012

Otomo - Getaway Songs (2012)

A two-piece band from Spain that plays some cheerful instrumental post-rock. Sometimes I wonder if my decline in listening to post-rock is simply because much of it feels brooding or worrisome even without lyrics, but no such worries should apply to Otomo. For lack of a better term I'll say they've got a jazzy sound that I've found is cleverly optimistic. At times the album has similarities with the glo-fi albums I've posted on the blog months ago. A nice infuse of breezy and summertime moods to electronic elements. Certainly nice to hear on my first day of with nice mild weather since it's begun to warm up in Detroit. All ten tracks are for free on bandcamp and finally I'll mention that if you're a fan of the ambient I've been writing up lately you'd do well to check these guys out.
To be had here:
Otomo - Getaway Songs

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Obligatory Cripples - Dinosaurs (2012)

A garage rock band that originated in Warsaw, Poland but now living in London. They've got a lo-fi punk sound that conjures recollections of the Stooges. Damned near the whole cassette is fuzzed out and driven by rhythmically pounding drums; something I'll never tire of. Perhaps one of the most compelling tracks is a cover of "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" by the Ramones. It's got some lovely guitar between more excited and frenzies that reminds me of the Velvet Underground. Not to suggest their own songs aren't pretty righteous garage punk, for they're terribly catchy and brief affairs. Some of the tracks are for free, but the EP on a whole is $5 and I hear there's to a cassette release sometime. Additionally there's a couple of really lo-fi tracks for free on the Self-Hating Jew mini EP. And if you're wondering where you might've seen these guys before Comrade Ongakubaka already posted about them.

To be had here:
The Obligatory Cripples - Dinosaurs

Monday, May 7, 2012

EP Grab Bag vol. 17

Sorry about taking so damned long, but I finally got the time to plow through all these EPs. 

To be had here:

A new band with the previously featured Greg Cee on the roster. Much like the solo work of Greg Cee, this band plays loud and howling garage punk. At risk of saying so about too band submitted bands, they remind me of the early Ty Segall bands like Party Fowl and Epsilons. But I just as easily might say Tyvek or Nohopekids. Hope they realize how happy I am to get some garage sent in, been hankering it all the more since some conversations with people that are less than fans of the genre.

Sun Eater - Sun Eater (2012)

Won't lie that I completely forgot what this band said they were playing between downloading their EP and playing it for the first time. The pleasure I got when I heard some real smoothly done yet heavy post-rock was amazing. Instantly I recalled how much I enjoyed music like this done by Kinski, Lebanon and Maserati.  Guitar, bass and drums blending together yet all distinctly separate to form of psychedelic experience that with a feel beer inside of you can make transcendental.

The Sea Life - The Sea Life EP (2012)

Adorable, that's literally the best word I could summon for the rock these cats are laying down. It is sentimental but not sappy, that's something I can dig. Most obviously they're a very well produced rock group.  And holy shit did this band drive me insane for whole night trying to remember who the fuck they were making me think of. To be honest to was likely some amalgamation of memories so I might never find it, but if one of you figure out something remarkably close let me know.

Dive Signal - Don't Die Just Yet (2012)

This is shaping up to be one of the most diverse of Grab Bags yet with another very different sort of band appearing. Although I only recently posted their full-lungth album, 10,000 Tropics, Dive Signal has released an EP. While firmly ambient like the album, this has got some jazzy aspects. The first track has got some sweet as bass line running through it and later swore I heard free jazz horns! Quite astounding how when your game is subtly that the smallest introduction of new elements can be fantastic.

Violet Age - Prescriptions EP (2011)

Perhaps boldly they've tagged their EP as "drug pop" but I'll entertain the concept of being purposefully trippy. After all I just cited it as something I enjoyed earlier in the Grab Bag. There's a wall-of-sound-like quality to this group that pushes them toward shoegaze, alternatively one could say its somewhat krautrock. Pretty solid EP (best played loudly) that's got me intrigued.

The Soul Dervish - Addiction EP (2003)

You may notice that this EP isn't really a recently release nor widely known. In fact I got it so long along just randomly dicking around on the internet that I can't recall what brought me to even listen to it. What I can say is that it's oddness has been terribly endearing. Straightaway this EP is fucking bizarre. Weird drumbeats built into a lo-fi, instrumental rock song. Thereafter things just get stranger as the dude sing/spoke words it up with a muddled, breathy voice. This is too the tropical drums mind you. It is like staring into a surrealist painting for hearing it. Won't lie, don't think this was an official release, likely i just took all the myspace tracks available at the time and tagged it this way.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

mwvm - Had Yr Pash (2012)

I'll begin with an apology for the slow pace of posting but it is starting to really get to me that I haven't any internet at home. Don't feel terribly motivated to go out and get a connection somewhere, and it's very easy to get distracted when I do so. On top of it I can't pre-read submission emails because now my smartphone is broken. Fuck all that shit though, this is more of the calming ambient music people have been thrusting my way with increasing vigor, again from Silber Records. Can't tell you what mwvm means, but I bet that's why they picked the name. Had Yr Pash is forty-five minutes of swelling otherworldly drones and gentle tones. As is often the case with ambient competently composed, the tracks can achieve emotional complexity without the need or want of a single lyric. Sometimes I find that the album art is more important in instrumental albums, for it is the only communication an artist provides other than titles and instrumentation itself. So it seems odd to use a picture from WWII on such a peaceful sounding collection of songs. What's this mwvm up to? Pondering questions like that to music like this is something I can stand to do more of.

To be had here:
mwvm - Had Yr Pash

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Boyhood - Boyhood EP (2011)

A couple months ago, Antarktikos wrote a review for an awesome Canadian band called Each Other that I've really been digging on. It's been frustrating that their output is limited to one EP and one awesome 7", because I just want more more more which, according to one member, might happen before the end of the year (also - be on the look out for them in New York City in May and west coast starting in early June).

Until then, I decided to calm my impatience by listening to bands that Each Other have shared bills with and ...damn. There's some great music coming out of Canada.

Boyhood is one such band. They're from Ottawa and have a lo-fi, 60's psych-garage sound. There are only 3 full songs here, bookended by two brief sonic abstractions that begin and end the EP. But for anyone interested in that new-old sound, Boyhood is definitely worth a few minutes of your time. Especially the track "Maintaining My Uncool" which is a beautiful but somber song that shows a sophisticated ear for vocal harmonies, employing complex tonal clusters that bring to mind vocals of The Mamas and The Papas or Free Design, which is a weird comparison because those 2 groups are relatively cheery compared to Boyhood, who occupy the darker end of the spectrum. Similar to Woodsist Records band Royal Baths in that respect.

Free for download. I think we can expect great things from this band in the future and I for one look forward to hearing more of their music.

Boyhood - Boyhood EP