Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Aaron & the Burrs - Aaron & the Burrs (2012)

I'm not done with my binge on selecting lo-fi rock to write up. This time it is some surf rock. Aaron & the Burrs play instrumental surf rock that can obviously be likened to many precursors such as Man or Astro-man?, Laika & The Cosmonauts, and Tijuana Panthers. However, none of these really capture what these cats are up to. The guitar, like having a most undeniably surf-sound, isn't fuzzed out nearly as much as you may expect. In fact it's a more precise style, and it's played awfully quick as well (check the fantastic "Sunny Sky, Choppy Surf" to hear for yourself). If you'll allow me to indulge in my obscure references, I'd say they remind me more of a cleaned-up version of The Apemen or The Phantom Surfers. By this I mean the musicianship overwhelms the flourishes of the style to be the driving factor. So fine it makes me forget that it's a bitter cold autumn outside, but not to diminish the album I am blisteringly hot in my basement apartment this time of year (boilers often aren't efficient at spreading the heat around). Be it my artificially induced fever-like state of mind or the exciting music itself, I highly recommend giving a listen to Aaron & the Burrs.

To be had here:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chris Weisman - Bentonia (2012)

Chris Weisman has been consistently putting out records, tapes, and CDs for some time now, and has developed a small cult following from his home in Brattleboro, Vermont. Mixing lush melodies with fits of spastic chaos and sonic experimentation, Weisman’s output has veered between accessibility and the fringe, making him one of my favorite bedroom pop-stars in action today. He has played in groups like Happy Birthday (with King Tuff), and his brother is also a prolific songwriter, earning these brothers the “Wilson Family of Brattleboro” tag.

Weisman’s recent cassette, Bentonia, was released by the always stellar Spooky Town Records out of Vermont. It is packed full of caustic, lo-fi symphonies (18 to be exact), that demonstrate just what can be done with a 4-track and a hefty dose of creativity. Tracks like Os Tonokos Token and Sunshine Blue II have been lodged in my head for days, bubbling up as I stand in the shower and grade papers. Chris clearly learned from the psychedelic pop pioneers of the 1960s, effortlessly crafting songs that are approachable and yet complex and intricate. This is highly recommended stuff for anyone who likes well crafted pop music.

Get it here:
Chris Weisman - Bentonia (2012)  

(Sunshine Blue II)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Moondawg Jones - The Ascension Of (2012)

A new album by Moondawg Jones is something I'm genuinely cheerful for. I loved the loud, noisey and extremely fuzzed sound on Particles '10, and this favored characteristics are wonderfully maintained in this latest album. I know I sound like a broken record on his blog sometimes, but when I poach the inbox for bands I know I like and want to support there's little surprise many of them will belong to beloved lo-fi genres. Therefore, is it unreasonable or shocking I want to tell you I can't get enough of this dude's nearly incomprehensibly washed out vocals? Moreover, that I'd like to stress how my ears yearn for thudding percussion and fuzzy guitars just of the kind that are demonstrated by Moondawg Jones? Hopefully not, otherwise this blog's gonna be a rough go for you. However, what I can add about this the album is that it has an even stronger blues-like feeling. Bemoaning and whatnot, you know, that makes me feel a bit tender in my jaded heart. Then after that you can hear a song called "Dick Trickle."

To be had here:
Moondawg Jones -  The Ascension Of

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Drunken Draculas - Dead Sounds (2012)

As always these days I'll begin with my apologies that I'm not anywhere on top of posting the shit that's been submitted, and as perfect evidence this is a band that should've been able to jump the huge queue that swells in my inbox each day for a few reasons. This is Elvis Dracula's band (obviously right?) who, along with Larry, has prevented this place from going silent as I been too tired out from a variety of distractions and time constraints (illness, extra holiday hours, family gatherings, etc.). You'd think I'd get around to shilling his sweet noise sooner, but I'm a dumbass sometimes. Anyway, the main reason they'd be able to jump ahead in that line is because they're good. Good at garage rock which makes me wildly happy. You'd think I'd get around to shilling this sweet noise sooner, but I'm a dumbass sometimes.
If I'd gotten this up timely it would've been fine listening for Halloween, but luckily for children and vampire-themed rockers across America this is a yearly event that one can never been too prepared for. Moreover, just as I'd never limit my candy intake to the autumn, I'd heavily recommend you give this more stripped down and often jangling new tunes from the Drunken Draculas. There's still those deep, lo-fi vocals that could sing me to sleep even in a coffin (listen to "Father Death") and displays of loud, boisterous rocking, yet it's got a healthy amount of more subtle, eerie rock to make a fully formed blood-sucking album. Forgive my tardiness and don't follow my example in waiting, get this shit.

To be had here:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Bawdy Electric - A Modern Frontier (2012)

These lovely lads hail from the frozen, frigid north known as Montreal. I don't think they have any songs in French, which I can only assume means they get excluded from all respectable cultural events in Francophone Canada. Come to think of it, is there some kind of rivalry in the city's music scene between that perform in one language or the other? I'm imagining some pretty stellar street dance-offs between members of the rock community.

The Bawdy Electric put together pleasing pop-rock with big guitars and sing along melodies. This track instantly reminds me of power pop acts like Rick Springfield and Teenage Fanclub, with its impassioned vocals mixed with a pulsing snare hits that can't help but get my head bobbing along in cadence. This is the kind of stuff that I could see getting more than one rotation on mainstream radio, and hopefully these guys will get a taste of a larger audience sometime in their future.

It's big, it's fun, and you can pump your fists in the air like its 1986 while playing it. What more could you want?

Get it here:
The Bawdy Electric - A Modern Frontier (2012)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

1926 - I don't want to be with U (2012)

As we approach Thanksgiving here in America, many of us are taking long drives to reach our family and/or hometowns. I have a rather scenic drive ahead, but in some parts of the country, the drive can be bleak and seemingly endless. Before the advent of portable music, you would simply switch to whatever local radio station you could pick up, and hope for some interesting tunes to keep you company and your mind from turning to mush from boredom.

Thankfully, we live in an era when just about any sound is at our fingertips at the drop of a hat, and Poland's 1926 has produced a fine soundtrack to at least part of your journey. The group has created a long, expansive track that melds the shoegaze fuzz of Slowdive to the post-rock leanings of bands like A Silver Mt. Zion. This is well recorded stuff, with nice builds and crescendos that will have you head banging as you cross your own desolate landscape.

Get it here:
1926 - I don't want to be with u (2012)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Each Other - Heavily Spaced (2012)

I'll probably show my age by saying it, but it really doesn't seem like bands in the "indie" realm are pulling their weight as much as they did when I was a teenager. In the 90's, the term was more of an umbrella that covered many styles of rock... you had the "college rock" of Superchunk or the "bedroom pop" of Tullycraft; the differing punk sounds of the Pacific Northwest and of Washington DC. It was all encapsulated by this overarching DIY aesthetic that was proving musical careers possible independent of the mainstream music industry.

But now "indie" describes a particular sound... and it all sounds like Arcade Fire. Friendly, consonant, and just plain accessible. Yuck! Even those innovative gods of 15 years ago like Blonde Redhead and Sonic Youth have both recently produced some of the tamest, radio-friendly music of their careers. 

Where then, is the ground still being, if not broken, at least poked and prodded? Just a little?

Well, look no further than to the great northern moose. Each Other is a band hailing from Montreal who bring a fresh interpretation to the jingle-jangly side of indie rock. It's fun and outgoing, but equally introspective and unsettling. Heavily Spaced, their second outstanding release, picks up where last year's Taking Trips left off. After hearing about them through this blog (thanks to Antarktikos and apologies if I snatched this review from under his feet), I was immediately smitten with the creative and spastic rock they produced. The band has a definite ear for melody, rhythm and song structures that are unique, disposing of standard verse-chorus-verse rotations for a more evolving, linear approach. At immediate face value, you'll feel like you're just listening to some songs by some band. But after playing this 20 minute EP a couple times, you might be left feeling more like you're hearing one long, intricately composed piece.

Heavily Spaced offers more accessible sounds than it's occasionally oddball predecessor, but both are equally worth your time. Name your price for both EPs and have yourself a great full length begging for repeated listens. 7" also available through their bandcamp.

Each Other - Heavily Spaced

Monday, November 12, 2012

Peter Kernel - White Death & Black Heart (2012)

Hailing from Lugano, Switzerland comes the huge sound that is Peter Kernel. This record, released on CD, vinyl, and digital, sounds big. Real big. Try as I might, I cannot get a sound like this out of a 4-track player, and I doubt anyone could. This is loud post-punk for anyone who likes the Dischord sound, with a healthy dose of danceable rhythms underpinning the disorderly guitar riffs. The vocals are political in nature and sing-along centered, with more than a few choruses stuck in my head from just a few listens, as the male and female vocalists mix melodies together seamlessly. I really enjoyed "I'll Die Rich at Your Funeral," which I think walks the line between aggressive post-punk and radio-able rock.

Get it here:
Peter Kernel - White Death & Black Heart (2012)

On se tape l'incruste aux Rockomotives #2 : PETER KERNEL from What comes around... Goes around on Vimeo.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Space Wolves - Space Wolves II (2012)

This is an exciting post as it's the first time I've been given the chance to announce an album's release and actually been able to take the offer up. Space Wolves, previously posted on the blog and rather recently at that, have a new cassette releasing today on November 8th. I've listened to this damned album like 4 times in a row and each time I find myself getting increasingly jazzed to hear each succeeding track. The jaunting and jangling lo-fi indie pop doesn't get old easily. As I did mention in the last post of Space Wolves, they've got a sound that strongly reminds me of the Lucksmiths and other Australian indie pop acts. This of course I mean as only high praise, as I still think that Australian indie pop is the fucking bee's knees. This sort of music is a highly functional salve for my bitterness that's built up from years of terrible customer service jobs and college courses. If I dare say a good reason to recall being sweet and lovely isn't always for naught.

To be had here:
Space Wolves - Space Wolves II

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fugazi - The Argument (2001)

As American voters go to the polls today, it is important to remember that the best thing to come out of any political regime is the music that challenges it. There are so many great records directed at the powers that be and changing society that I was literally at a loss last night figuring out which one I would share today. When it comes to the general malaise maintained throughout last decade, no one addressed the issues of the day better than Washington DC’s hometown heroes, Fugazi. On their last record “The Argument” they had this to say about the state of their city:

 “on the morning of the first eviction they carried out the wishes of the landlord and his son/ furniture's out on the sidewalk next to the family/ that little piggie went to market, so they're kicking out everyone/ talking about process and dismissal forced removal of the people on the corner”

 Ian MacKay even directs his furor at fellow punks and activists who have gotten too close to power and lost their moral compass.  

“it's all about strikes now so here's what's striking me that some punk could argue some moral abc's when people are catching what bombers release”

I surely want one side to win today’s election, but great records like the Argument remind us the power music has to focus our concentration on what matters.  
The Argument

Get it here:
Fugazi - The Argument (2001)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Walls are Blonde - Buying Time (2012)

This is 4-track, DIY at its most enjoyable. Anyone who loved a band on the Elephant 6 Collective will surely find something of interest in this band's lo-fi pop symphonies. Hailing from the cold north that is Toronto, the Walls are Blonde provides 14 songs of pure psychedelic pop on this self-released CDr. Thankfully for you cheap bastards out there that hate physical media, you can also download it for free. Sweet, emotional, and uplifting; this is bedtime music you have been waiting to take acid to.

Get it here:
The Walls are Blonde - Buying Time (2012)

Direwolves - Me From Myself to Banish (2012)

Not sure why, but it seems like I have posted a great deal of music from France as of late. The music you are about to hear sounds little like the tunes posted with that tag however. Direwolves sound nothing like a French cafe serving espresso and croissants, unless it is one for the dead in hell. This is hardcore at its loudest and darkest. I am reluctant to call it Black Metal, but it does carry some of the darkness that genre is known for. "Reach This Hand" is my favorite track on this LP, as it rocks with its cock out. This is throaty and destructive music, well recorded and composed, and released on the always reliable Throat Ruiner label located in Saint Brieuc. If there was ever to be a band on a label called "Throat Ruiner," it would be Direwolves. It is a good thing they have socialized medicine in France, because the vocalist is going to need medical help following each performance.

Get it for free here:
Direwolves - Me From Myself to Banish (2012)

The Chaw - Selft-titled (2012)

San Francisco is a wonderful city to live near. I have sadly never called it home, but I have spent countless hours there at shows and digging for records. San Francisco may have gotten too expensive for your average guy to live in, but the greater Bay Area is still home to some of the best underground rock acts today. I know each region celebrates their local scene's quality, but if you have not visited the Bay Area, you really are missing out on some great psychedelic and experimental music.

A new act making waves in SF is a little group called The Chaw. They have some connection to The Sea Life, and have a show coming up at the quintessential indie venue in the city, Bottom of the Hill.

The group plays tight, slightly psychedelic garage rock, but what really stands out is the frontman's vocals. It's as if Jim Morrison rose from the grave, a bit more sober and on less acid, and decided to pick up where he left off. Morrison decided to then ditch the organ, and gave each member of the Doors a reverb and crunchy distortion pedal. The Chaw walk that perilous line between being out-there and challenging, while still maintaining the implacable enthusiasm and chops to bring an entire bar to attention.

Listen to it here:
The Chaw (2012)