Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Gumbo Ya-Ya's - Superstitious Kisses (2014)

This is good news everybody. More South African garage rock fronted by Heino Retief. In case you're not as an avid of a follower of Retief's work as I am, I can happily recap. There was a little thing called the Revelators that only post-defunctly (I know I made that word up) sent SRM an album to share that was undoubtedly one of the most rocking albums I've heard through the inbox. Then there's the Future Primitives that equalled the garage rock intensity and made ripples all the way over the world with a split with the amazing French group Dusty Mush. Not resting on any laurels in Capetown, it seems there is a new group with a freshly released full-length I get to add to the pedigree. I should add that this new outfit has the same drummer, one Warren Fisher, as the Future Primitives and if he keeps this up he'll have me following whatever does as well.

Superstitious Kisses by the Gumbo Ya-Ya's doesn't leave the lo-fi garage rock realm that the Future Primitives and the Revelators occupied as well, which I still consider good news, never enough good good garage rock. The most noticeable difference is the guitar playing, which makes sense as that is the only musician that is changed out from the last Future Primitives record, with this album featuring a dude called Giovanni Votano. This playing suits what feels like an even more rockabilly, swaggering variation of garage from this nucleus of South African rockers. It's less fuzzed, not totally unfuzzed mind you, but ranges from subtle to showy, displaying some remarkable skill. The vocals are more forward, but still awesomely rather unintelligible until you listen several times. And of course the drumming and bass beat along just so sweetly it is makes for the whole damned album rather endearing. I can listen to albums like Superstitious Kisses for hours on end and I already have.

To be had here:
The Gumbo Ya-Ya's - Superstitious Kisses

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Strange Lords - Strange Lords (2014)

Strange Lords is a two-piece outfit operating mainly out of Gainsville, Florida. The bands is comprised of Waylon Thornton, who usually releases music under as Waylon Thornton and the Heavy Hands, and Andrew Seward, who was formerly the bassist for Against Me! (a band I best recall as achieving considerable fame among classmates). It has been a minute since I've heard releases that either of these musicians would have been involved in, but I don't think you'll really need to be familiar with their histories to get what's going on with this album. It is intensely lo-fi rock and roll that prizes fuzzy guitar and thunderous drums above all else. Sure there are surf flourishes, stoner rock and vaguely psychedelic cord progressions or keyboard playing in the mix to give the albums texture, but the main this is some fast, short, almost entirely instrumental tracks that's rather bare bones rock. While not all the tracks are surf-esque the ones that are caught my ear the most including "Carroneros" and "Amano-Iwato." Although the final track is worth waiting for as it is has a very neat western sort of thing going on. A good start, and it will be interesting to hear what they produce with another release, especially if they push themselves something even more strange. I suppose there's another monster themed contender for the Drunken Draculas to have to worry about.

To be had here:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Space Rock Mountain Podcast 22 - On the Lash with Prince

With music discussion related to:

Amerigo Gazaway - Stakes is High
Pain Dimension - Brainwash
Ralph Soul Jackson - Matchbox
Bedroom - Drift Away
Prince - The Beautiful Ones

Magnus Dewi - Earth Plates (2014)

I get grumpy about writing up music at times. At these times I'll become detached from this blog, or at best write some reviews that are less reviews than me musing about myself. Check out the Leggy and Menschliche Energie posts to see that for yourself. And I liked those albums, liked them very much, mind you. Just didn't get my fucking kicks, looking like I can write or whatever by just describing the music. Well, this time I don't think I have enough words to tell you what the music is about. Magnus Dewi is the moniker used by a Frenchman play a music style that is of a decidedly American origin. So here is my attempt to explain that statement and turn a few people onto a genre of music I hold especially dear and this new French practitioner of it.

Earth Plates is tagged "american primitive" on the bandcamp page, which immediately caught my eye as this is the name given the style of playing done by a personal favorite musician of mine and something of a cultural hero in my life, John Fahey. This man was many things, but perhaps most centrally to this story is that he was a musician that came into adulthood in the period of the 1960s where in folk and blues revivals were gaining tremendous popularity in the United States. Fahey possessed a vast knowledge of American music of all sorts as a record collector, musicologist and songwriter and he didn't want to pigeonhole his music as "folk" like many of his contemporaries. He incorporated much more than the American folk tradition, pulling from the blues, gospel, bluegrass in the era that provided us with our modern conception of psychedelia to make a raw, essential American music. This has been called American Primitivism and has a listen of adherents to the form, but I still find Fahey's the supreme example. It isn't simple by any means, most of the best songs are long numbers that have a droning element in how this use repetition and variation to a degree that parallels the best of avant-garde psychedelic music.

For this to have traveled to Europe and been taken up by a skilled French musician is perhaps one of the more amazing and delightful features of this over globalizing world the internet is pushing us toward. Magnus Dewi has a stripped down, pure sort of interoperation of the style on this album. So skillfully are the songs played if given the album without context I could have mistook for an established player in the American Primitive pantheon like James Blackshaw or Leo Kottke. Earth Plates is an absolute delight to hear and I have already been lost of hours in repeated listening of this magnificence effort.

In case any of you wondered how I found this, it was a submitted album just like the dozens of others that come in every month. Good on Magnus Dewi for finding me, as I don't know if he heard me go off about John Fahey for several minutes on one of the earlier episodes of the podcast and how I find so much in his personal story, connection to entho-musicology and the sublimeness of his playing to be inspired by. Anything that invokes that strong attachment is wonderful, but to have a musician that can live up to that remarkably high standard is the truly exceptional aspect of this experience for me. So don't hesitate any longer and give a listen to Earth Plates by Magnus Dewi, put out by the Vilaine Mouche label.

To be had here:
Magnus Dewi - Earth Plates

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Basic Printer - Moon Gear (2012)

Here we have a submission from Jesse Gillenwalters of Binghamton, NY, who makes creative electronic pop songs under the moniker of Basic Printer. "Moon Gear" is one of an impressive 9 releases, and is a concept record where the music serves as soundtrack to a fictional game about the planet of Platonia. It's easy to imagine, at least if the game is a video game, as this is synth-heavy music lending immediately lush, warm and colorful tones to these 10 songs.

While "Moon Gear" is a very accessible listen, it's not a straight-up pop record by most stretches of the imagination. There are stringed instruments throughout steering this toward the realm of chamber pop but the warped synth tones, of which there are many, keep that tag at a long arm's length. The record overall also stretches into the progressive and weird, especially on "Flora Aetus" and my favorite track "Knockout Mouse". But Gillenwalters' voice maintains a pop timbre when not heavily effected, giving some songs a Max Tundra meets Har Mar Superstar sort of vibe.

This is the second record I've heard out of Binghamton, NY that I've really dug (the first being Underground River). I'll have to put Binghamton on the short list for a possible Scenes Of A City post (check out previous posts for Guayaquil, Ecuador and Vilnius, Lithuania).

Get it here:

Basic Printer - Moon Gear 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Blaire Alise & The Bombshells - FOR MY DARLIN' (2014)

So as anyone that has ever paid the fuck attention to this blog or the podcast knows, I live in Detroit and I am not entirely jazzed about it. At least I am far more skeptical of it than most other people I know in this city, and I don't subscribe to the idea that the city is on some sort of trajectory for a rebound. In fact, I think I've been proven correct in my pessimism on the metropolis's prospects with all this bullshit on the bankruptcy that seems utterly nonsensical to me, but I guess necessity isn't always reasonable. However, I am not gloating that I was right to be doubtful about Detroit, I mean the odds were on this if you were to place bet at these shitty casinos we've now got here. Moreover, I fucking live here, it would only benefit me to see the city revive more. I get to grin and bear the ugly aspects of this city whether I am hopeful or not.

I say all this as a preface to the fact that Detroit is truly a mixed bag. In some ways good things come from bad things and vice versa, certainly not in a healthy balance but like a horribly out of whack scale might measure allotments of delightful features into the cityscape. For example, the place is cheap overall: low rent, drinks are reasonable, food prices aren't too high unless you want something from the new high-end grocers or restaurants that are popping up (even then nothing compared to the coasts), and gasoline is cheaper than places like Chicago or New England in my experience. This means what is poverty according to the government can still be livable for young adults without offspring like myself; not comfortable or luxurious but not nearly homeless either. No plane tickets to France in budget, but a steak to cook at home and a pack of decent smokes are achievable. Of course you gotta lie about not living to your car insurer or your premiums will double or triple automatically and I never learned how paranoid I could be until I got mugged, or how angry I could be until after the second time. But then again, the police can't be fucking bothered to stop you from having a beer in a park most of the time, nobody is gonna stop you from having chickens despite it technically being illegal, and riding a bike through this city can be remarkably fun because of how there's only one rule: don't let anything get too close.

Yet in all these pros and cons I've saved what might be the only trump card I really think the Detroit has, it's fucking amazing music. Getting into the Detroit garage rock bands of the 90s and early aughts are what initially hooked me on going back everyday to the Port Huron public library to check out CDs by the dozen. The Hentchmen, the Dirtbombs, Outrageous Cherry, the Come Ons, and naturally those wonderful early albums by the White Stripes and the legendary Gories. Now, I wasn't in a position monetarily, transit or otherwise to really see any of these bands until I was... 24, I think. But there was a dreamy, young and more naive version of me that listened to these groups rabidly, and was astounded to find very few people listened to these bands, at least until the White Stripes blew the fuck up like an atom bomb. It was like, for a hot minute the world looked at Detroit and recognized that we were doing something cool again, like some kind of a renewed Motown imagined for just a flash of instant. Then the world noticed everything else going on basically everywhere and we slipped back to where we were at before: a few really popular acts and a pyramid of other acts of less notoriety beneath. 

Yet, this is not a sad ending to Detroit's illustrious musical past. What sort of shit would that be? This city, if nothing fucking else, knows how to make some damned righteous rock and roll (and hip hop, techno and so on). I'd put this above the automobiles and the fact that we used to make Stroh's. And perhaps it is a nostalgia-based favoritism, but I think one of the new prime examples of this is Blaire Alise & The Bombshells. Nostalgic insomuch that her singing reminds me so damned much of Detroit acts I remember so fondly like the Fondas, the Detroit Cobras and the Come Ons with a healthy dose of Motown girl group and 50s rockabilly feel thrown in. She's playing to her crowd, that much is for sure, and I am eating it right up. And just to make me feel a bit older than perhaps I should, she's just a kid, as far as I know she's not even able to buy herself a beer yet. Basically, at this point the fans of Detroit garage rock should be on board, and those of you unfamiliar with this shit have a lot of homework to get done...

To be had here:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Menschliche Energie - Billy EP (2014)

While I normally throw a group of EPs together into a longer post, for whatever reason I want to say a bit more about Menschliche Energie. Perhaps it'll be clearer to both you and I by the time I finish this write-up. Now I'd never heard of Menschliche Energie before I discovered Billy EP after rolling around on bandcamp pages for a few hours. That's not terribly unusual for any of us at Spacerockmountain to do, but I've always felt a strange need to assume the role of a champion for the music I find in this method. Sure I talk up and will recommend the shit out of submitted material, even follow the band myself and make sure I am not missing out on new releases, but I always envision myself as a loud fanboy in this scenario. I am cool with all this, in fact I enjoy the fantasy, or slight reality, that I'm your buddy giving you a heads up on some cool tunes. It changes, however so subtly, when I pull out of the infinite depths of the internet a particular EP, whether or not these fellas are actively seeking promotion or not, and tell you, "This is some real tight shit."

It is that infiniteness that is the issue. It isn't just infinite to me, but to everyone using the internet, and I am just making more infinity every time I feel the need to write something up and publish it here. Truth is I want you guys to be like "yeah, that's cool" but most of the time I am just staring at a void full of endless more music to hear, books to read and movies to watch that can make one feel uncultured despite a lifetime of consuming memes and media.

Yet in a desperate hope that this does fall down some endless void, I'm telling you that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Menschliche Energie's Billy EP. It is unsurprising at how well-crafted their songs are once I knocked around their bandcamp page. They've got releases from as far back as 2003. These guys are veterans at what they do. And what they do is snyth-heavy post-punk rock. It's absurdly able to blend a James Dean, leather jacket rocker style with the ultra-Mod and flamboyant 80s music that succeeded that notion. The songs are brief and don't jerk themselves off in anyway for having been a longstanding band from Nürtingen, Germany, but rather show a seasoned musicianship that knows excellently how to cut off the excess fat, leaving just enough to make it tasteful but not chewy.

To be had here (NYP):
Menschliche Energie - Billy EP

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Space Rock Mountain Podcast 21 - Lost Audio, Spite, and Ghost Capital

Interview with Ghost Capital.

Conversation related to the following tunes.

Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath - Into the Void
Buttering Trio - Mean to Me
XTR Human - Dysfunction

Six Organs of Admittance - The Lost Electric Six Organs (2013)

I have been a huge fan of Six Organs of Admittance and Comets on Fire since my Santa Cruz days in the early 2000s. They were sage patriarchs of the psychedelic music scene in the city, and would go on to being internationally recognized powerhouses by the middle of said decade. Craig and I talked at length in the second episode of our podcast about the Comets on Fire house show we witnessed and the effect it had on our relationship with music.

Thankfully, someone is keeping the Comets on Fire flame alive, and it just so happens to be their frontman, Ethan Miller. Miller has been busy with Howlin' Rain, but managed to find time to start up a proper label (Silver Currents) to release rare live and studio recordings he has been involved with over the years. Rather than simply plopping down a few mp3s, Ethan is doing things right by releasing physical, handmade CDs and cassettes.

One of the standout releases thus far is The Lost Electric Six Organs record. I remember speaking with Ben Chasny briefly after a show in 2003, and he mentioned that he had recorded a whole set of tunes for his Six Organs project while working with his new band, Comets on Fire. Sadly, these recordings were never released/completed. Miller writes that "Chasny even designed a record cover for the LP release of this album but at some point it fell from his grace or just fell to the back of the burner and then off the stove completely, I'm not sure which."

Thankfully, these three tracks have been unearthed and given the proper release thanks to Miller. I have the cassette version myself, and you can see how these recordings offer a different perspective on psychedelia than Chasny was employing in his Six Organs project at the time. He would reunite with his Comets brethren to record Ascent, but this tape is the only recorded version of these songs, and an excellent window into two band's at the height of their creativity.

Get it here:
Six Organs of Admittance  - The Lost Electric Six Organs (2013)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Scenes Of A City, Vol 2: Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius is the largest city and capital of the eastern European country of Lithuania. Situated on the east side of the Baltic Sea, the city used to draw comparisons to Jerusalem for it's once strong Jewish population, since obliterated during WW2. Actually, it's suffered a near constant barrage of invasions for hundreds of years, from the Nazis to the Swedes. Despite this, many beautiful and historic buildings still exist there, making this a city I would love to visit some day. Plus, beet soup is a major staple there. And I fucking love beets.

In 1995, four years after finally securing independence, Vilnius raised the world's first bronze statue of Frank Zappa.

So this must be a crazy city full of crazy music, right?

The Sold Outs - Basement For Me
The Sold Outs are a recently defunct punk band out of Vilnius. Crazy good is the only kind of "crazy" this band delivers. They keep it old school, eschewing the Manic Panic-induced pop sentiment that just about killed punk dead in the mid '90s. Which isn't to say that The Sold Outs aren't melodic. I don't know the tiny sub-genres that the umbrella of punk covers: maybe this is "oi" or maybe this is "hardcore". I'm not so concerned with knowing these slight discrepancies. Instead, I'm concerned with getting "Basement For Me" onto my iPod pronto so I can blast my eardrums with this full throttle punk rock loudly and frequently.

Zageron - S/T
I'm not too familiar with the genre of death metal either. But I think the reason I find Zageron so appealing, is that they're almost a perfect combination of the two death metal bands I liked 20 years ago: Entombed and Obituary. I'm reminded of the former in the background band's delivery, and the latter in the vocals. But whereas the lead singer of Obituary sounded like a pissed-off jaguar, this guy sounds more like an evil Cookie Monster with a bad case of indigestion (too many cookies). The drummer is an absolute juggernaut, veering from full on assault to triplets and waltzes. That's right: death metal waltz.

Banda Dzeta - Short and Loudly

This band is pretty much exactly what I hope to find when searching for music from different countries: traditionalism fused with modern elements. Banda Dzeta do just that by layering Lithuanian folk music with beautiful and schizophrenic horn arrangements, over an incredibly heavy bass guitar. To my ears, it sounds a bit like Les Claypool playing with a John Zorn klezmer/polka group. Mostly instrumental, entirely crazy. Tuba solos!

Bruzgynai - Visur Visada Visaip
Here we have a most bizarre record, comprised entirely of strange digital noises. Track one, for example, sounds like R2D2 having pillow talk with an Atari. I'm happy to share the work of Bruzgynai because it's unique in it's noise-scape experimentalism. At times harsh, at other times quiet and eerie, you might put on "Visur Visada Visaip" while watching Lars von Trier's "Antichrist" and the craziness of both might temper each other, offering an almost pleasant viewing experience. Or you might just have found the ultimate fuel for countless nightmares.

Monday, July 21, 2014

IL CULO DI MARIO - Italian Cucadores (2014)

Lately as a result of the reoccurring segment of our podcast I've been revisiting the odder and more alluring tracks of my music collection for good "lost and found" fodder. In addition, I've been exploring more and more nooks and crannies of music I've not ever heard before, and it has done wonders in invigorating my love seeking out musical oddities and forgotten gems (look forward to Peruvian garage rock of the 1960s at some point). However, this is a more refined task as you keep up the habit, much like acquiring a taste for beer, wine, cigars, bad movies or any other manner of things that are construed as a waste of times my those that don't find the appeal of indulging in them.

Well, one of my pleasures, beyond likely all those mentioned above, is the bizarre, lo-fi, DIY album that mingles in that murky zone between folk, punk and art rock. I've got friends that do this wonderfully, I bet many of you do. The guy that knows philosophy, has read a few novels by Hermann Hesse and some "metaphysical" books, engages in spiritual practices you've not heard of before, and tries often to craft remarks that display wisdom but come of as strange. I love that guy, he is refreshing in his unabashedness and one of the few people you can count on being wholly genuine despite how much they confuse and baffle you.

Now I'm not sure this describes any of the members of IL CULO DI MARIO. How could I, right? It is a submission from Italy after all, but the feeling I got when listening to their album was dead on. The songs are undoubted trying to be weird, to push the listener outside of a comfort zone just to allow them to feel there way back into the songs. This is a similar sensation to watching a surrealist comedy show. There's a uncanniness to it that is unsettling, but at the same time piques your curiosity. You just gotta see where they're going with this, and by the time it is done it is like you've been on board the whole fucking time. It is like it took your head in its hands and uttered, "This is your thing now, dog, best get used to it."

As I was saying, Italian Cucadores is a collection of songs that invoked this feeling perfectly for me. From the slow, somber folk to the vaguely 80s snyth-heavy post-punk and very nostalgic guitar rhythms with fucking insanely sung Italian lyrics on top. They alternate between English and Italian, which I found only makes all the more fantastical to hear, the electronic instruments appear to vanish in the next track, and so many other absurdly pleasing elements. Finally, it was put out by the delightfully named Black Vagina Records. Among their merch you can find a great hat.

To be had here:
IL CULO DI MARIO - Italian Cucadores

Sunday, July 20, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 67

So here is a really mixed selection of EPs, some in genres I have not so much experience in and others basically what many could have come to expect from me. They say it is good to try to new things, I am not so sure, but seeing as I did it already for you and these ones I could get down with in some way you may as well take my word for them.

To be had here:
Killer Ghost! - Sad Boys Magic Club (2014)

A new EP from the fantastic Seattle band Killer Ghost! If you recall when I posted a group of their EPs, this band features musicians I've been down with for a while, as some where in the Fun Guns. Both of these bands are among the most played on my iPod, especially if I have the misfortune to be trapped in a car. To simply explain why I like their lo-fi rock and roll so much would be like trying to explain a taco to a weirdo that never ate one. They're are so many parts one can point out, but the real gist is that they are just the fucking best.

Cozy Catastrophes - Way Last June (2014)

Cozy Catastrophes are an group from Indiana that've got an EP released on the transatlantic label, February Records. They play sweetly composed indie pop that has a sugary quality that reminds me of Australian twee pop bands like the Lucksmiths and the Mabels. They aren't even slightly a rock band like those groups though, but veer into electro-pop with the amount of effected vocals and synthesized beats. The songs are catchy, and I found lead track "Always Say Never To Always " to be especially so.

Macsen - Clara EP 

Mascsen is a new electronic musician, having just released this debut EP of house tunes with help from Mickey Valen. Specifically it was called "tropical house / disco house" in the submission, which seems applicable as far as I can tell. I am not usually a listener of house, but every now and then, weather permitting I can get down with it. So as the heat of this summer has cooled off just enough o making the outdoors less oppressive I've been enjoying this EP on my headphones on a hammock, perhaps not what it is meant for, yet it's good for it.

The Wild Ones - Nasty Habits (2013)

This is something I found kicking around on bandcamp when I couldn't get to sleep. The EP is from last summer, but since when are summer's all the different? Anyhow, it is an all female group for Santa Cruz, CA (which'll seem familiar to another writer on this blog). The songs are short, garage pop tunes with sweet lyrics about infatuation and being fucking cool. If you liked the Silkies EP from back in Grab Bag 57, you'll be down for this more than likely.

Monster Surprise - Hiii! (2014)

Now to round this baby off with something bizarre from Paris, France. Monster Surprise makes psych-pop with an almost creepy vibe that unsettles as much as it entertains at times, but it is overall a charming EP that has some well written tunes dressed up with oddness. I believe they are attempting to be provoking with how they went about composing the tracks, and to that end they succeeded rather well. It is a good start, and could very well be the first steps of a band that could make something freaky and awesome in the vein of Elephant 6 or some other reference I don't have...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Peking Tapes - Oz Do it Better! (2014)

Peking Tapes out of Australia put out some great tunes. If you haven't heard much from the label, this mixtape will give you a window into some of the awesome experimental sounds folks down under have been coming up with. There are a slew of styles and commendable bits emanating from this 14-track compilation, but my favorite is The Grease Arrestor, but I won't fault you if you enjoy another track more.

Get it here:
Peking Tapes - Oz Do it Better! (2014)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Red Pèrill - Planeta Crunch (2014)

I have a large number of club/dance records that can not be danced to. They exist solely for the distorted movements you create when drunk/high and in your room late at night in the absence of company. Many were made by experimental artists with a pop bent (or vice versa), so they are not simply an exercise in creating music that is a challenge; many of them are well recorded and have a sturdy beat to lead your feat, but are just strange enough to make their way off any respectable DJ's set-list. It's a shame really, and while you can find clubs that allow for such tunes on an odd Tuesday evening, they generally keep it boring and predictable.

There is nothing "boring and predictable" about Spain's Red Perill. This record leaps in each and every direction, a sign of a musician not willing to play it safe and stay within the confines of any one genre. Much like those dance records in my collection, the structure and heart of Perill's tracks is pop, but the scattered beats and vocals are anything but conventional. Hell, he reprises the title track of this record with an acid-jazz drenched variation that was my favorite track on the record.

It costs a few Euros, but at least give it a stream on Bandcamp.

Get it here:
Red Pèrill - Planeta Crunch (2014)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A-Natural - Imperfect People (2014)

R&B and Soul music makes up a small amount of the music we have submitted and cover here the SRM, but we are always interested to hear folks doing interesting things with the genre. In fact, of any style of music receiving decent airplay on corporate radio stations, I find much more experimentation in the Hip-Hop world than I do on any of the major "rock" stations. Far to content to play the same classic and Butt rock, major rock radio is a wasteland of piss-poor imitators masquerading as music.

You have not likely heard A-Natural on any major radio station yet, but if things work out as they should, you will soon enough. He is about to drop a full length full of distorted, twisted, and re-imagined beats layered with soulful and smooth harmonies capable of bringing even the most jaded hipster to a rhythmic nod. Nothing gets my heart a flutter like experimentation with its foot clearly in the pop realm. This single has it, and since it is free to download, you have little reason not to give it a spin.

Get it here:
A-natural - Imperfect People (2014)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sonaluna - Face Down in Fabulous (2014)

I happened to miss a friend's wedding in India recently, much to my regret. I have never been to the place, and I am sure it would have been a wild ride both at the event and in any related travel through the country. Along with China, India is often considered a rising force in world politics and culture, with media outlets increasingly looking to make a buck in said countries by appealing to various tastes in music and film. However, not enough time has been spent finding new, youthful projects from the underground that may be making the next big record. Sonaluna's newest release is not that, but it is an interesting glimpse into the electronic music community of Mumbai.

Sonaluna has been making music for soundtracks and films for some time, and has had small bits of fame for her compositions. Minimalist in nature, many sound like a young woman putting proper musical training to work behind newly acquired synthesizers and sequencers. This may not be groundbreaking stuff (though I especially dug the EP's title track), there is enough interesting elements to separate it from its competitors and warrants a listen or two.

Get it here:
Sonaluna - Face Down in Fabulous (2014)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Memory in Plant - This Love (2014)

Memory in Plant are not new to this blog. This Israeli band's single from a few months back received glowing marks here at the site and on the podcast and earned them a spot in the SRM hierarchy.

The band is about to drop a full length record, and they have a new single to boot. More crazy and spastic guitar and beat changes wrapped in a melodic wrapper, then filled with lyrical nugget that could only be described as boundary pushing. When you sing "Another day ends/ Before you give birth/ To this love/ Like a Ballerina in a death's head/ You make me scared," you are definitely not looking for a spot on next year's Eurovision. This is music for the future, so you can take all your retro records and throw them in the trash now.

Get it here:
Memory in Plant - This Love (2014)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain (1984)

It is hard to believe that Prince's smash record is now 30 years old. While I was a young lad when it was released, I can still recall the songs being played from local R&B radio stations and passing cars well into my teenage years in the 90s. When I was younger and stupid, this was the kind of music I wanted to rebel against and destroy. How could anything that sold 13 million copies be worthwhile and important? Prince is not exactly the visage of rebellion I held in my mind growing up in a small, desert, California town. He was the establishment as far as I could tell. Little did I know, Prince was making records that sounded like no one else, and even with the countless copy-cats, his tunes still sound fresh and remarkable. He carved out a portion of the corporate music structure for himself, and has ruled over it for over 3 decades, making records that were often bizarre and un-commercial in the process. Maybe he just made so much money from this record that he didn't have anyone to tell him no. Or perhaps his own ego went to his head and he decided he could make three disc concept records about black nationalism and his Jehovah Witness faith. Fuck if I know. What I can say is that at this point, countless "dance punks" and experimental indie artists have borrowed from him, whether they know it or not.

Prince was already a critic's darling prior to this release, but outside of his home of Minneapolis, he was just an eccentric pop artist that made some interesting records for a select group. This record made him a superstar. We have all heard "When Doves Cry" and the title track,  but re-listening to said songs with your now-discerning ear, you may notice that the lush soundscapes crafted on those tracks put it in a different category than other pop hits of the day.  For the love, there is no bass line on "When Doves Cry," something unheard of for a dance track! The screams and wails "The Beautiful Ones" would be jarring to the even the most ardent rock follower. You can see that Prince and the members of the Revolution were not simply trying to make a track that could get a little radio play; they were playing with the format in a way that abandoned its conventions and charted its own paths. Far more Brian Wilson than Michael Jackson in this record, and that is a good thing.

Prince is one of my favorite artists, and while his back catalog is daunting (and sometimes terrible), why not get reacquainted with him and his most popular work while we celebrate its 30th birthday?

Get it here:
Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain (1984) 

Listen here:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Buttering Trio - Toast (2014)

The ME may be going to hell in a hand-basket, but the beats and music from the region keep rolling on towards a better and brighter day. Or maybe a darker one. I don't have a clue.

What I do know is that the ME, and Israel in particular, is the home to some great musicians who are making music that is pushing the boundaries of pop globally. I have championed Memory in Plant on this site and on the podcast, and this record by Buttering Trio is a perfect flip side to their music. Both are experimental and creative in their approach, but while Memory in Plant creates disjointed post-punk music for the pop crowd, Buttering Trio creates vibrant sounds-capes through the use of electronics. You can't always tell a book by its cover, but the sleeve to this record perfectly encapsulates the sound within.

When I say this is an electronic record, you should not expect disco and techno beats to coldly pound a simple vocal harmony into your eardrums. This is "warm music" that is often hard to come by in the electronic genre. Rather than forcing you do deal with the cruelty and dissonance of the modern world, Buttering Trio wrap you in warm embrace of beats. Then, and only then, do they share the horror that is the world.

Get it here:
Buttering Trio - Toast (2014)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fela Soul - Amerigo Gazaway (2011)

A little late to the game with this one. Apparently it was an internet sensation? I use the internet extensively everyday and I'd never heard of this until now (and no, not exclusively for porn, you cheeky shits). I do almost all of my blogging for Spacerockmountain from work. I'm at work right now, in fact.

God, I can't wait till I have a job I give a shit about.

ANYWAY, if it wasn't already clear from the title, this is a mash-up record of Fela Kuti and De La Soul material. The DJ is a fellow from Nashville named Amerigo Gazaway, and since this record "blew up" he's gone on to make other mash-up records to similar of not more acclaim (check out his Mos Def and Marvin Gaye mash-ups). That one is actually more my jam, but since Fela Kuti has been a recent point of discussion on the podcast, and since De La is one of the greatest hip hop acts to ever exist, it seemed to me it would be a good post.

Besides we need some feel good, hot weather weekend jams. Especially out here in PDX, where today marks the beginning of a 5 day heat wave. Time to hit the river and dodge human poops.

9 tracks, name your price.

Fela Soul - Amerigo Gazaway

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Elvis Dracula Dance Party 3 - Benny Goodman's Ghost

Had another party last, and the guests were to be subjected to a number of Satanic ritual that are unspeakable in front of mortals like yourself. However, we did drink fine spirits and listened to a slew of new releases, and you are all invited to play them along with us.

Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath (2014)

I drop the needle onto this slab of brown vinyl and realize I am in for a massive treat. Black Sabbath tracks, lovingly and professionally covered by a psychedelic band with a full horn section and Afro-Cuban rhythms? Yes please! I can almost feel the power of the Dark One emanating from the record, and said Dark One loves trumpets. Once the band's awesome rendition of "Into the Void" kicks in, I know this will be the funkiest ritual yet!

Black Train - ST (2014)

The Bad Vibrations has been sending tormented sounds into the atmosphere for some time now, and their newest release from the dark-psychedelic punk rockers known as Black Train is another feather in their already full cap. When "Losing Time" reaches the ear drums of my friend Surfin' Mummy, he can't help but head bang his soaking bandages right off his rotting head. Look's like we have our first casualty of the night.

XTR Human - Atavism (2014)

Most ghouls fear synthesizers. It is a little known fact, but since many of us have been around for hundreds of years, we are slow to adopt new sounds. When this German band's EP comes on, the dark synth lines raise some eyebrows, but the tortured vocals and ringing guitar lines put the group at ease. This is clearly a tortured soul like us! "Dysfunction" is a beautiful song that could be enjoyed by anyone with at least one working ear.

Sunfighter - Golden Eagle of Illumination (2014)

This is the very definition of meditative music. You know, before that label was conquered by bad Nu-Age music. This Parisian band's opus was instrumental in opening the gate to another world; one we hoped would bring about Satan or some like minded demon. Unfortunately, all that came through was a slightly disposed Benny Goodman. He did enjoy this record, especially after a handful of acid.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Caterwaulrus - eNVy yoU (2013)

Texas has an unfortunate stigma associated with it. To some, it's a state full of conservative, gun-toting, Christians... and to people like my mother, not to mention most of my family, friends, fellow Portlanders, etc...  that's akin to being a criminal or an alien or worse.

But, preconceptions aside, Texas also has a history of being a breeding ground for some great psychedelic music. Roky Erikson and the 13th Floor Elevators were out of Austin, a city that The Black Angels still call home. Red Krayola were from Houston, and so is the outsider musician, Jandek. The Butthole Surfers came out of San Antonio. Those are some severely psychedelic acts, and I'm thrilled to say that Caterwaulrus, which is the solo work of one John Michael Sherry, fits that lineage quite nicely.

"eNVy yoU" is not a rock record by any means. It's not a throwback 60's psych record either. If anything, it's like lo-fi bedroom pop but with broad stripes of psychedelic production. A fair comparison would be Animal Collective, but this is a bit stranger. Voices pan from left to right speaker and almost every track is drenched in delay, making this a good headphones record. It's got a drum machine at times, and is mostly acoustic, but with all the weird shit happening it escapes a "folk" categorization. I suppose if you could take what was happening in Daniel Johnston's head during his psychotic break and set it to music, it would sound like Austin's Caterwaulrus.

9 songs, name your price.

Caterwaulrus - eNVy yoU

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Leggy - Cavity Castle (2014)

So I think browsing around perhaps the most calming activity I undertake. Specifically I do think at my job in a massive bookstore. I have been there long enough that I know where most every little item among the hundreds of thousands are found or at least likely to be, and the sort of thing we're likely to even have. Yet most days I lose about twenty minutes looking over the same side of the 3rd floor hoping the books I know aren't there may just be there this time. Every now and then, like when I look down and see the clock is at 11:11 and it strikes me an oddity, there is the book I've been seeking. Yet why haven't I just gone to another floor? Or to the other side of the 3rd floor where other topics reside within reach? Because this is the subject I know most, or so I tell myself, and it is comforting to know I got it early and for forever now.

Very much in the same way I like to imagine I have learned a thing or two about music, at least the genres I commonly listen to. This is to say, I know what I like and can say why I like it without getting myself confused too much. To this end I constructed a weird situation wherein I get this music funneled right to me in the form of submissions. Of course there is the stray album outside that comfort zone, and those are special because of their uniqueness. However, many fall together and I enjoy most everything we're sent a great deal.

Well, sometimes I get an itch, and I believe I don't want to read the same sort of literature I've become accustom to. Maybe I'll find something new and unknown to me, maybe I'll get why the fuck people like mysteries or books on model trains. With this same embolden attitude I wander the aisles of the internet, browsing bandcamp pages and soundcloud links feeling very proud that I seem to understand what these links mean, in an abstract sense, and select an album that looks enticing. Then it ends up being a genre that's frequently been submitted and I find that I've ended up on the same side of the 3rd floor again. So here we go, a lovely garage pop band of Cincinnati, Ohio. How predictable of me to find this irresistible...

My self-criticism aside, this band is pretty fucking sweet. They're quick and jaunty in delivery, with short, loud tracks. The singer does a fantastic job at making the vocals into the absolute highlight of the songs, even the lyrics are quite fine. They've got a good touch of the familiarity for fans of riot grrrl, late 90s garage rock and showy rock and roll, but never stress these to a point of annoyance. Instead Leggy serves to show how reinterpretation is at the core of artistic expression. Finally, I've been burning the candle at both ends with all the projects I've taken on, and I know I am due for a good old crash soon, but if I had to pick a soundtrack for this burn out, and I think it is fair to assume I do have to, Leggy has a place on it.

Get it here:
Leggy - Cavity Castle (2014)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Shortbus 1999 - ST (2014)

It is hotter than the devil's ass and sweatier to boot here in California. When it gets this unbearable and the beach is out of reach, I dream of cooler locals. Sipping ice-cold drinks in full wool suits as the snow slowly falls on my face...what a dream!

Shortbus 1999 is a fun power-pop group from good old Russia, and I can't imagine a place that gets cooler temps than that. Lots of snotty jams pushed along with big power chords and loud amplifiers. All the while the band sings in their native tongue, something we are always supportive of around these parts.

Get it for free here:
Shortbus 1999 - ST (2014)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 66

The latest selections of EPs that I've heard. An assortment of submitted material and my explorations of labels that I've found interesting from prior submissions and poking around in the catalogs of. I feel like between Elvis and I that we burn right through the EPs we get sent, so I particular encourage you to send your band's EP in or tell your music making pals about it. They don't even have to be especially new, but it helps if they sound fucking sweet. Naturally, these are not in any order other than just what I clicked on first.

To be had here:
The Madcaps - The Madcaps (2014)

To begin with a French lo-fi garage punk band, which is nearly without question something I'd be down to fuck around with. This EP was put out by the French label, Howlin' Banana that you might recall from the last Grab Bag with Qúetzal Snåkes. So anyway, this Rennes-based group has a far more retro sound that will invoke the 60s pop and rock. The songs are even sung in English, which lends to the feeling of mimicking the British Invasion. However I think it is in an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek attitude based on the lyrics. Yet all that said, I cannot deny for a fucking second that they songs are absolutely fucking amazing.

The Cruelest Animal - After The Waves Devour Us All (2014)

A submitted EP from a Los Angeles band that makes some heavy-duty tunes. Combining aspects of electronica and metal with things I am too oblivious to recognize these guys have made some music that is intense, full and as rhythmic as it is dissonant at times. It kinda sounded like club music for robots and hulks, and that is to say the only sort of club music there ever need be. I mean this shit got me pumped up in unexpected ways and each time left me thinking it could've been longer and I would have just kept liking it.

Pain Dimension - Brainwash (2014)

Bopping right back to France with this Parisian band. These guys have been associated with Cheap Miami, a label that is endearing itself to me every week lately. This EP is made up of fuzzy, loose psychedelia bringing constant bass, flailing guitar and distorted singing. Bluesy, incomprehensible, bass-heavy and energized enough to shoot a rocket into the air. This fits right into the sweet, sweet void that my soul has and makes me forget troubles. My motherfucking bread and butter, dogs. For real, I think if my heart beat to these rhythms I'd be a superman.

Calliope - ORBIS (2014)

Now I drop the closest to my home we'll get today with fellow Midwesterners from Milwaukee. When I put this release on for the first time I was like "yeah, could dig this..." and by the second track I was already thinking "shit, this is really damn fine." The vaguely country-punk vocals really charmed me utterly. Then the instrumentation's softly psychedelic vibe with a bluesy and purposefully retro sound sold me completely on Calliope. I must imagine to see them live is a real treat, and I don't mean that to take a thing away from the wondrous recording they've got here.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Roselit Bone - Blacken & Curl (2014)

Fourth of July is here and it's time to blow shit up and cook dead things as we celebrate the surprisingly esoteric concept of "freedom". Some of us may actually feel some patriotism today, or  even bother reflecting on everything that lead to the current state of things. But most will use the day off as an excuse to drink themselves into a stupor under the guise of national pride, letting the troubles of yesterday drown in the swimming pool while tomorrow perpetually worries about itself.

My own pessimism over the topic reinforces my love for the gothic americana of Portland band, Roselit Bone. Singer/songwriter Joshua McCaslin paints bleak imagery of a world that is dry and desolate on opening track "Slow Hot Death", where everything we thought would save us, in the end, didn't.

"Our idols will be melted down or crushed, as we pray to them to turn back the tide. Our hearts will fall like rocks into the dust, when we learn that they were never on our side."

This is a repeated theme in Black & Curl, where idolatries of religion and love are painted as uncertain crutches. The music has range on the country spectrum, much more now that the group features a several new members. This is a departure from Roselit Bone's previous configuration as a guitar and drum duo. Here the sound is lush and full, complete with a pedal steel player and horn section: an addition that lends a cinematic quality to a group that was already something quite special to witness live (see also their live record Live At Ella Street Social Club record).

I almost never gush over lyrics but those written by McCaslin are perfect for this style of music, he's like a rabid poet of the prairie. Everything is stronger about the music on this release... and even though I've said before I'll say it again here: this is the best band in Portland right now.

Roselit Bone - Black & Curl

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cretin Stompers - Looking Forward To Being Attacked (2014)

What we've got here are an assembled forces of some garage rock notables. Cretin Stompers is a band formed by members of some of my favorite garage outfits of recent years including the Barbaras, Jay Retard, Magic Kids, Wavves, and The Delay. Those are some remarkable bands and for them to all be be connected does place some high hopes of the debut album, Looking Forward To Being Attacked. I do feel that they lived up to the expectations and have found the release to be most righteous in its fuzzy, high energy rocking. They get creative with the singing and play around with the song structures a bit, with some it getting strange and trippy, yet many of the songs unrecognizably lo-fi garage. It all begs for repeated listens as it seems like several albums bled into one another in a beautifully chaotic way. The vinyl is available from Hozac Records and I gotta imagine there a possibility of a tape version either rolling around in the works.

To be had here:
Cretin Stompers - Looking Forward To Being Attacked

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Somersault Boy - How To Do A Somersault (2014)

Hungarian 'sickpop' band the Somersault Boy put out this album just a couple of months back and I've been playing on and off ever since. Now, they bill themselves as sickpop, but that's not a term I'm familiar with, but what they sound like to be is high energy, low fidelity power pop. The songs are short, intense numbers with singing that is vaguely akin the pop punk of the 90s, in the best possible way. In tone and tempo they remind me Salt Lake City's Albino Father (whose latest album I can't believe I failed to write up but I should be able to fix that). Now, how this Budapest band sounds so dead on like they could be band from the middle of North America I'll never quite be able to wrap my head around. Guess I don't need to if I just wanna enjoy hearing it, which I most certainly shall keep on doing. Oh, and the album are is fucking great, right? Look at that wind up dino!

To be had here:
The Somersault Boy - How To Do A Somersault

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Florida=Death - Post Information (2013)

Besides having a very awesome name, Florida=Death is a experimental music project from New Haven, Connecticut. The general feeling I got from the album was something between an existential crisis and watching art films while on sedatives, which really could be the same thing. The songs are a combination of electronically created effects and rhythms (or un-rhythmic sounds), spoken word and music samples, and ambient noise. How chaotic this comes off varies throughout the album, with it getting pretty bizarre at times. However, there are some calmer and more conventional sorts of tracks with even some having singing in the usual sense. Together this provides the album with a fine balancing act of tension and release but basically demands that it be heard in entirety or at least several songs in a row to begin to understand what Florida=Death is really like. I took the plunge, in fact I have taken several times over, listening to the whole album and each time it seems to show a bit more and get more interesting from it. Finally, they're put out by the very nifty Connecticut-based label Obscure Me Records, the same folks that released J. Chance and, with Double Pony Records, Spectral Fangs.

To be had here:
Florida=Death - Post Information