Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Formica Man - Formica Man (2011)

Here's a Portland band who fit the phrase "flash in the pan" better than any other I can think of. Formica Man was formed by members of other bands including Karen and The Parenthetical Girls. They played dissonant, loud music and their live sets took about 15 minutes, if that. If you were lucky enough to attend one of their shows, you might have had the pleasure of hearing one of singer Aubrey Hornor's jokes in between songs (one that sticks out in my memory Q: Why did Al Capone flirt with the idea of becoming an optometrist? A: He wanted to help people, see?) 

Before their tragic demise, they spent a few hours recording the music below. For awhile, it looked like these tracks, which were recorded by Nick Bindeman (Eternal Tapestry), were never going to get the praise they deserved. But soon enough they won the attention of Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), who mixed the end product found here. Perhaps some of you were lucky enough to see them open for Deerhoof during the southern leg of their fall 2012 tour. For the rest of us who missed it, the songs are available either as a free download or for a measly $5 you can pick up a copy of their super limited 7" and a free t-shirt.

Or go to their Book of Faces page and give them a thumbs up.

For fans of Erase Erata, Boredoms, or The Dog Faced Hermans.

Formica Man - Formica Man

Sunday, January 27, 2013

39th & The Nortons - On Trial (2012)

Wonderful country music isn't what comes to the fore of my thoughts when conjuring England, where 39th & The Nortons indeed come from, but then again there are crazier places that country music is popular. I've heard that Dolly Parton sold out stadiums in South Africa, after all there is not accounting for taste as they love to tell us. Therefore, why not a some righteous British country. Yet to be fair this group isn't playing country like you'd hear on the radio even in America, it is more along the lines of Strange Boys insomuch that it is a healthy blend of country, psychedelic and garage rock. It's not as, well, strange. Rather it has that sweet, heartfelt twang that country delivers so impeccably. Makes me whimsical and nostalgic for something I don't really understand. Don't think I need to either, just that it sounds mighty swell.

To be had here:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ugly Motors - Ugly Motors (2013)

A Minneapolis garage rock band that makes some solid lo-fi rock. They share a member with Tiny Swimmers if you recall that band from GB 21. Like Tiny Swimmers they are heavy with distortion and speedily played instruments. Ugly Motors possess stripped down sound, which is perpetually enjoyable in garage rock albums. There's a flashy style of guitar playing too, and if I can take a hint from the album art a sort of T. Rex glam element among other displays of skill that's all contained within the truncated spasms of brief lo-fi ditties. Plus they've got a song called "Fart Party" at which I audibly laughed upon reading. No worries about gross lyrics in such a track; I couldn't understand a damn lyric and that's a mighty fine thing.

To be had here:
Ugly Motors - Ugly Motors

Thursday, January 24, 2013

EP Grab Bag vol. 28

So I culled the emails filling my inbox and it seems few of them merited attention. This is great as it was getting near three hundred and I feared they were mostly legit submissions. So I guess I lay out what I am looking for here so if you actually read the blog you might get a chance to have your music written up. If it seems like I'm on a mailing list I normally just deleted it, for basically they're asking me to write a blog for them for free. Pay me and I may think about it but as it is I'm broke (never gotten a cent for this blog for sure) and in Detroit, so I ignore shit I don't fancy for my own arbitrary reasons. Also I don't post videos. I know you work hard producing that visual jazz, but I fucking don't wanna watch them. Just give me some music, albums and EPs easily downloadable and that are free or cheap preferably. Individual songs aren't gonna get posted by me unfortunately, my co-writers do as they wish, and more power to them, but I need something longer to write about. Now that I'd bitched about shit, here is what I found in that that's fine examples of what I'm hoping for:

To be had here:

Warmly - EP (2013)

Presumably these cats are hailing from Montreal and released by Flagless Records. The band is aptly named for it is a cozy sort of electronic indie pop they're producing. The songs are all adorably well-done but personally the second track, "(Stay)," is the most endearing of all.

How Scandinavian - Philistine Empathy EP (2013)

Following up the Pity Won EP and the full-length Dolorous, How Scandinavian is back with a fresh batch of songs. Still all the wonderful slowcore sung with a deep, resonating tone that makes all his music compelling.

Otomo - Big Little Things (2012)

Got sent this a while ago but lost it in the mess that my email inbox was. Otomo is a Spanish instrumental electronic/post-rock/experimental act that's incredibly catchy for that sort of thing. It is fast and happening in a fashion that will make you wanna move unexpectedly. In fact I listened to it as I wrote that rant above, and it was fucking awesome to hear as I got my dander up.

Charun - De Ortu Solis (2012)

Well sometimes I may not be the hugest fan of post-metal in the world, at times it can be an epic experience totally worth delving into what'll sure contain tracks in excess of seven minutes with slow building arcs and dauntingly intense crescendos. This guys pretty much nailed that idea, even with his metal howling.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

YALL - The Sword of Western Influence (2012)

The newest release from the Texas-based punk/math rock group YALL. As used expect it does have so sweet angular guitar playing and wicked drumming, but it is far more chaotic and loud than their earlier work. It's like they've got a fever for speedy rock, and it is a mighty fine thing. The album almost flashes right by, but that is partly because it is only 21 minutes (not that I think that's a bad thing, there's always repeat listens to enjoy). My impression is that they're getting more creatively liberal and therefore willing to wander into this more unstructured style that is more like something like Liars or even Chavez. If you liked the earlier albums it is a no brainer to grab this one, but if you're unfamiliar with them it will make a fine starting point as well.

To be had here:
YALL -  The Sword of Western Influence

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Future Primitives - Songs We Taught Ourselves (2013)

The much awaited new release from South Africa's premium garage rock outfit, the Future Primitives. Before I let too much out of the bag, this is an album of covers, which if heard without looking at the titles can be really fun trying to place who did them originally during your first listen. I won't say I got them all, but [spoiling begins here] I was so jazzed to hear the Index's righteous "Israeli Blues" that I almost told the homeless dude outside my place about it. Now I know covers are a mixed bag sometimes, but I think garage rock is my absolute favorite way to here anything covered. And it is nothing new for garage rockers to do so, in fact it is a staple of the genre to cover classics. However, most of these tracks aren't from the usually selected sources and it is a credit to the band's knowledge of fine tunes and lo-fi skills to make this endeavor come off so flawlessly. From the Primitives to the Milkshakes to Bo-Weevils they didn't take a misstep. Can't recommend this download enough to anyone that even thinks they might like garage rock.

To be had here:
The Future Primitives - Songs We Taught Ourselves

Monday, January 21, 2013

My People Pray By Starlight/ Yusuke Tsutsumi - Split Cassette (2012)

This is another fine release from out darling label, Old Monster Records. It is a split cassette (at least if bought in a physical format) that features two remarkable bands. Firstly, while they are different stylistically, it is incredible how complimentary the combination one tape works out. Just to be clear, it isn't a collaboration so I'll break it down what I liked form each. My People Pray By Starlight are a post-rock act from California of a mostly middling tempo that allows for both mellowing out and intensifying to create emotionally and compositionally complex instrumental tracks. Guitars are central and voice recording are employed for surrealist mood. Throughly enjoyed it as a I down a whole pot of coffee and it left me hazily delighted. The Japan-based Yusuke Tsutsumi are also post-rock but of a far more ethereal, with voices of a disembodied quality hitting notes in the background of a piano beautifully played. You know, the stuff where ocean sounds aren't out of place. It is done excellently and is a perfectly more surreal way to follow up My People Pray By Starlight. Now all that is left is for me to read some Wolfgang Borchert and slowly lose my mind.

To be had here:
My People Pray By Starlight/ Yusuke Tsutsumi - Split Cassette

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Merlin's Magic Music Box (2012)

I have never had the good fortune of experiencing the New Hampshire and Vermont music scenes in person. I imagine they all live in barn-like communes, sipping mushroom tea, all while crafting psychedelic music just outside the realm of social respectability. All the stuff I have picked up from the region only reinforces these preconceived notions. Chances are, everyone is on meth like they are here in rural California.

Merlin’s Magic Music Box might as well be a trunk full of drugs, because you will be going on a trip when you pop this bad boy into your music player. I picked it up on tape when it was released by Burger Records a few months ago, but the band was nice enough to have a digital download available for free. This is psychedelic riff-rawk perfected. All six tracks on this album are the perfect embodiment of what a jam band should sound like. There is little in the way of filler, as the listeners ears are pushed towards the guitar riffs that scream above the sonic, rhythmic residue below.

Sit back, smoke a blunt, eat some mushrooms, and let this shit take you away.

Get it here:
Merlin's Magic Music Box (2012)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Bad Joke That Ended Well (2012)

Burger Records, one of my favorite record labels in the bizz today, is putting out a tape each day this month. They take enough of my money as is, but their release schedule does speak volumes about the health of small record labels in the US heading into 2013. No, not a single band on the label is going to get huge and make millions, but people are out their buying garage and psychedelic rock. Thank goodness for that.

The Bad Joke that Ended Well is not on Burger Records, and they are not from California, but they do play some pretty awesome garage rock. These Bristol lads have a new vinyl record out on Stolen Body Records, and there is a lot to like here. Lots of organ mixed to the front of the recording, and a vocalist that sounds as if he has sung along to The Sonics more than once in his life. Thus far, my favorite track off the album has been Hold My Hand. If this is a love song, it is one of the most drunken, embittered ones in creation.

Get it here:
The Bad Joke That Ended Well (2012)

You Don't Have to be Fashionable Vol.1 (2013)

2013 has started strong on the music front, and I have had a constant stream of new tunes since the start of the year to keep my ears happy. Even for a music fan, it can be difficult to dig through countless bandcamp, soundcloud, and label websites to discover new acts putting things out, and a strong compilation is always a good way to check out a slew of artists I had no prior knowledge of.

With a Messy Head, a label working out of Paris, has an excellent new sampler out of divergent pop acts from around the world. Lots of pretty melodies and sing-along choruses to be found here, as well as enough variety to keep me interested as I move through the entire 13 tracks on the comp. My favorite track in this set is by an Italian band named How People Change, as they mix eerie lo-fi elements well with the more mainstream indie pop stylings.

Get it for free here:
You Don't Have to be Fashionable Vol.1 (2013)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

French Club - Shit Talk (2012)

This is a band formed in college in Ohio but now playing out east from what I've been told. They're another one of these groups with educated membership that likes to do what they can to not adhere to any simple genre label. Been getting bunch of this stuff lately. Anyhow, I was given a  list influences that they cite, but why let them do my unpaid job for me? Instead of giving a genre I'll say they;ve got the same sort of young energy and talent I've been excited to hear in Albino Father, Lasso and Space Wolves. They really do a great job at making the songs into short, self-contained ditties. Listening to them in most any order hasn't impacted how I feel about any of them individually, and that's not something I do when I plop down to listen to a post-rock or shoegaze album. Little bursts of fantastic, really. Finally, just to be clear, they've tagged themselves ska, but if that was really the case I'd not even bother (you may note that's something I've never posted here nor shall). No more ska than Beulah is, which is to say they make ample and adept use of horns. And holy moly do I love a good use of the brass instruments.

To be had here:
French Club - Shit Talk

Friday, January 4, 2013

Saint Julien - Cosmic Shimmy Blues (2012)

Thank fuck I've finally got a spare hour to sit down and listen to some music. Retail workers should get to celebrate holidays in January or something, I haven't had a moment to hear anything new as I've been working six days and week for next to nothing and seeing my family whenever not at the store. However, now that I got my gripes out of the way we can focus on what we're all here for, so new songs to ignore this world with. For a random pull of the over-flowing inbox, this is a pretty spectacular album. They described it as folktronica to me, which is about as apt a genre as I'll be able to label it. Getting more particular the sound goes from a very Strange Boys-esque quirky blues with more electronic effects to a dreamy indie pop. Although being among the adjectives I heavily over-use on this blog, I think they're charming as all get out. So hope this is a good one for y'all to begin to relax here in January as it's proven to be for me. And here's to hoping I can process this deluge of submissions better.

To be had here:

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Cutaways - Do the Disconnect (2012)

This wasn’t submitted, but rather picked up on cassette from M-Theory in San Diego. The cover looked a lot like Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, and since I love that record so, I picked it up. They happen to be a band from El Cajon and sound very little like metal. I am getting more of a psychedelic cowboy vibe from the group. You can hear a real love for Neil Young in these recordings, as well as a late 60’s jam-out set of sensations. This stuff would make for great barn burning live sets, if there were any barns in El Cajon.

Sadly, I could not locate a Bandcamp page for the group, but they do have a few tracks streaming at soundcloud, and their record label is selling digital copies at their website.

Buy it here:
The Cutaways - Do the Disconnect (2012)