Sunday, August 26, 2012

Jackie - Greatest Love Songs (2012)

This is another Swedish band that's massively impressed me (you might recall the other Swedish act, Be Alright from a recent Grab Bag). As usual for things I adore, Jackie makes lo-fi rock music, and they managed to be particularly delightful with a how sweet yet washed out sound. I must've listened to this album a dozen times in the last three days, and I've been eager to post it up but I just got a new computer and I got a bit pre-occupied with setting it up the way that makes me feel all cosy. Now with my obligatory excuses for my laxness in posting out of the way, I can can tell you that these guys do the whole simple, fuzzed out rock thing with the most excellent of skill. Literally the first 40-second long track'll had me swooning. The singing is suitably distorted and blends right into the thumping drums and bass and jangling guitars that come together to basically be a wall-of-sound. Perhaps what I like even more is that although I have heard it quite a few times now, I still haven't a fucking clue what he's singing about, and it is in what's technically English. Some of the songs are absolute gold though, and I recommend "Graveyard" and "Snowdiver Down" as examples. Everyone that's been in the room as I put it on seemed to agree if that means shit, so get after it.

To be had here:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

EP Grab Bag vol. 23

The latest collection of overdue EP reviews in brief. Hope they're to your liking as much as they were to my own.

To be had here:

Found this on the 'recommended by' list of Fun Guns on bandcamp page. Liking what those fellas were up to enough I thought I couldn't go wrong trying out whatever they gave a thumbs up to. My trust paid off in full, as this EP by Bad Jeans is outrageously sweet. Six beautifully done lo-fi rock songs that are equally catchy pop and garage rock. It's almost as if the songs are immediately familiar, but I can't imagine there isn't a healthy amount of good influences we all may be aquatinted making that the case. Just remarkably fresh for something so perfectly lo-fi rock it sound like it should've always been there.

This band makes me think of Gang of Four and Josef K for the get-go, which pulled me in for the duration. Doesn't let up either, the comforting repetition of the drum beats, angular and dreamy guitars alternating and even vocals that summon recollections of Entertainment! or Echo & The Bunnymens' Songs To Learn & Sing. In short, some damned fine post-punk. So thanks to these guys I am gonna be listening to British bands from the 80s for a couple weeks. Seeing as I can't find any email record of this being submitted it's likely I actually stumbled onto this myself. How novel...

I should stop being so surprised by the fact that heavy rock/post-metal bands that submit me music intrigue me so much. Well, I've never feel any dislike for that sort of music I realize I've come to listen to it only when a musician see fit to send me some, each time reminding me that it's something I can thoroughly enjoy. Obviously most recently this thanks to Athens, Greece's One Leg Mary . The songs are wonderfully composed of loud guitars, pounding drums and dynamic singing that altogether creates an enveloping sound capable just manhandling my state of mind. Even when the slow way down such as on the track "Outfit" the music remains potent.

Michael Amason + Density - Southern Tombs/Sacred Drones (2012)

Southern Tombs/Sacred Drones is the band I was sent along with Painted Faces from Cookies N' Creme Records in cassette form (in which it is still available). The title Sacred Drones is not beating around the bush either, it is really some magnificently intense drone music. My first listen was waking up hungover to put it on while drinking coffee and preparing for work, I might as well as starting drinking all over again for disorientating pleasure it caused me. It's a stalwart example of drone and noise if I've ever heard one, and this blog makes plenty sure of that. Lastly, this is some really fucking great cover art, like for reals.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Painted Faces - Tangleweird (2012) & New Jams (2012)

It seems that mail that isn't a bill or junk is rather hard to come by, and in my neighborhood even harder to insure it'll be there at all if it doesn't fit in my tiny mailbox. Yet the best scenario is to find a package containing cassettes tapes, and I've been lucky enough to have this happen for the second time this month, this time with three tapes. From the Brooklyn-based label Cookies N' Creme Records there were two tapes of experimental music by Painted Faces and one by Michael Amason and DENSITY (which I'll go into more detail about in the next Grab Bag).

As mentioned Painted Faces (really the solo project of a dude called David Drucker) makes experimental music, of a pretty fantastical and outlandish sort. I listened to Tangleweird first so I'll start with noting the intense use of noise and disordering feeling it lays on like mole sauce on a wet burrito. Dissonance is the game and they've got a cacophonous strategy. In contrast, New Jams seems much more subtle; coming closer to ambient for long stretches than any part of Tangleweird. In fact a whole range of experimental music appears, from slow droning to avant-garde art-rock complete with guitar riffs and crazy vocals. I've found the variety and the uniqueness to be quite endearing, especially if repeated listening is undertaken. Thanks for the tapes, keep on freaking me out just a bit and see a promising future for us all. Final note, each of these is $3 to  download via bandcamp, but obviously streamable and like 90% of the tracks are downloadable for free individually.

To be had here:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Heat Dust - S/T (2011)

Well, it's about 100 degrees in Portland today. We don't really know what to do with extreme weather, except drink, which is one thing Portlanders do best. A few years back a heat wave brought 100+ degree weather for a whole week and I must've seen at least 5 drunken fights as I drove around the city. Known for milder summers, Portland was void of air conditioners by the third day of that week, just as during the "Snowpocalypse" of 2008, when automotive stores ran out of chains and everyone had to use gardening shovels to clear their sidewalks and streets. If you take these examples, along with having more strip clubs per capita than any other US city, Portland is invariably the city caught with it's pants down.

But I digress…

Given we're in the middle of summer and it's so hot, it seems only fitting to write about New Orleans band, Heat Dust. Reminiscent of 90's indie rock like Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh, Heat Dust play their songs through a thicket of distortion and feedback. In that respect, they shows hues of shoegaze and grunge… even on the slower songs, the crunch remains. I really enjoy their songwriting and vocal delivery, which is melodic and laid-back despite the urgency of the faster songs.

Also want to point out their excellent lyrics. In my stints of songwriting, I always found words to be the toughest part. The kinds of lyrics Heat Dust write are poetic. "Saved by a woman's arms, we plummeted and flew. A trail of blue velvet was left behind in figure 8's." There's something so triumphant about those words, that image. Much of the other lyrical content is darker, a standout line being, "You'll serve a purpose when wild flowers grow from your lifeless bones. Just give up."

Really good stuff, and I don't think it's all a 90's nostalgia thing, though that's undoubtedly a part of it. I'm going to be keeping an eager eye on this band.

Heat Dust - S/T

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Golden Growth - October 12 2011

This is a cassette I recieved from the same fella in Arizona who submitted the Dual Mausoleums (now called People's Temple, I believe) album last year. I think, not with complete confidence, that they're labelmates rather than the same person behind this project. Either way, this is a related sort of sound, namely dissonance. The whole thing appears as a half-jest regarding the rejection of rock and roll, which is in fact played out avant-garde noise contained on the cassette, and more obiviously pointed out by the label's site: I Sold My Soul To Destroy Rock and Roll. Also found the note on the tape stating, "In October of 2011 the mentally ill joined forces and cut a hit record," to be rather enjoyable. However, it doesn't really matter all that much how you feel about their stances being a joke or honestly held, the fact is they've given you some noise music to consume if that's your thing. Goddamn fit perfectly with the latest extentialist novel I've decided to torture myself with this month.

To be had here:
The Golden Growth - October 12 2011

Friday, August 10, 2012

EP Grab Bag vol. 22

Got a fuck ton of EPs lately so I feel I'm gonna be rolling out Grab Bags like a madman for a bit, but I have gotten some real good tapes lately, just need to sit down with them another time to write them up, so look forward to that, or not, whatever.

To be had here:
Horrible Houses - Be Alright (2012)

Now if only from this EP alone I felt I had to do another EP Grab Bag. Also helps I've been sent like 90% EP submissions in the last month. However, this is a Swedish project (I believe) that makes some of the most charming lo-fi rock I've heard in a good deal. Got a lighthearted tone that in equal parts reminds me of early psych and garage rock as it does 80s/90s lo-fi pop. Really wonderful and most highly recommended. Here's their soundcloud and the main link's to the EP I was sent via mediafire.

Minaret - Black Tower (2012)

This is a five track album/EP (sorta mingles in the middle) of psychedelic drone. Does have vocals, which are rather good, but still does that instrumental mesmerizing that's ever so sweet about drone/post-rock. Some pretty solid epic tracks are included especially the closing song, "Enemy of the Stars," which is easily my favorite off the release.

Planet Magic Man - GROO EP (2012)

Finally, as I am sitting outside the closed library snagging this wifi and the rains beginning to fall I'll end this Grab Bag with this third excellent EP from a Los Angles-based "folktronic" group. Now I've got nothing against that term, but I think they're a bit more jangling pop music than folk-anything. Nonethelss, there are for stellar tracks that'll sink right into your brain and leave you hankering for several re-listenings.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Woolen Men - S/T (2012)

Here's the new release from Portland's hardest working band, The Woolen Men. A few months back I posted their first tape, Pavilion, which came out in 2009. Three years later, they're up to their 6th or 7th tape, I think. This is definitely the second one to drop in 2012.

That's a lot of numbers.

They are simply a great band interested only in writing some of the catchiest pop songs possible. Their songs are well-crafted and reminiscent of The Kinks, Guided By Voices, The Clean, and Camper Van Beethoven.

This release comes as the band readies themselves for a small west coast tour. It's "name your price" for the month of August only, so grab it for free or toss them some coinage.

And if they come to your town, get off your ass and go see them, for chrisakes. Tour dates below.

The Woolen Men - S/T

August 15 - Portland @ Holocene w/ Wymond Miles (of Fresh and Onlys)
August 16 - Eugene @ Wandering Goat w/ Autumn's Done Come, Father Figure
August 17 - Oakland @ TBA
August 18 - San Diego @ TBA w/ Mad Kiwi, Lame Drivers
August 19 - LA @ TBA w/ Corners, Buffalo Eye, Radios, Lame Drivers
August 20 - SF @ the Knockout w/ Lame Drivers
August 21 - Sacto @ Luigi's Fungarden & Slice w/ Charles Albright, Apache Dropout, Lame Drivers
August 23 - Portland @ Record Room w/ the Bugs, Lame Drivers

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Spiral - Mind Trip in A Minor (2012)

This is the second time appearing on Spacerockmountain for this New Mexican psychedelic/progressive rock band, Spiral. Like the previous albums, The Traveler and The Capital in Ruins, this release is a highly cinematic and epic effort, sometimes reaching close to macabre (just look at that creepy album art). Heavily effected vocals, building instrumentation and shifting melodies make it hard to not pay attention while it's playing. Does as fine a job as the other stuff they've sent into me for all the same reasons, so I do recommend it to any and all that enjoyed their other work or other albums I've tagged at progressive. They're only selling it on their bandcamp page without streaming but gave me permission to share it via another file service for readers, so take advantage of that and throw them the $3 if wanna help them out.

To be had here:
Spiral - Mind Trip in A Minor

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Coyotes in the Room - Love Stuff Cheap Smokes (2012)

Every time these Indianian fellas send me in an album, and that's quite frequently as they've been pumping out these babies multiple times a year, I sit down to listen without quite being sure what'll hear yet in possession of strong confidence it'll be mighty fine. If you're unfamiliar with Coyotes in the Room, which would be awfully surprising for a regular reader of this blog as they're easily most commonly legally posted band, the group makes genre-crossing lo-fi ranging from ethereal folk to noisy rock to washed out covers of classic songs. Having mentioned the covers I can't restrain myself from applauding their selection of Mississippi John Hurt's "Nobody's Dirty Business" this time, a song that hold a special spot in my heart and I can't stand to go more than a week without hearing. However, this isn't the whole album naturally, and hardly the only song that caught my ear. The title track is a particularly well done folk/rock tune, "Queen of the Bus Stop" is a dreamy sounding lo-fi pop number, and "Hubba Hubba" has those screeching guitars I adore so very much. I've said before that I want these guys to keep it up and this album only reinforces that sediment.

To be had here: