Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Immortal Bird - Akrasia (2013)

Thanksgiving, it's a day... that's for sure. While I usually get the cuddly cozies on such days, the past 4 weeks has given a shit-ton of ugliness in my personal life and in the world at large. So, instead of posting some cozy lo-fi folk or yet another garage band, and in the spirit of honoring the bird corpse sitting in front of our drooling maws, I bring you the blistering sounds of Immortal Bird.

Black metal melodics with grindcore blast beats -- sounds that resonate with me at the moment. For better or worse, devoted readers, expect more of the heavy stuff to come. I haven't listened to much heavy metal in the past 20 years or so, so I'm in the weeds here as far as what other bands they sound like. Their drummer/vocalist Rae Amitay is just a fantastic musician, as are the others in the group. Music like this is best enjoyed live... but until I scour the Portland scene for the best hardcore/punk/metal bands... I will have to fantasize being at one of this Chicago bands shows.

I've been converted... maybe these 4 songs will convert you as well. Check out "Spitting Teeth", a particularly excellent track.

All their merch and music is 25% off until this Saturday, November 28th, with the code: THANKSFORNOTHING

Immortal Bird - Akrasia

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Robby Fischer - Dogtown (2015)

I've still have more fuzzy garage rock that's been stuck in the inbox for far too long. Here is an album that came out in September but I was privy to for some time prior, enough to be embarrassed by the tardiness of this post. However, the moment I stop feeling ashamed I guess I'd better worry about being psychotic, massively drunk or dead. The music helps though, especially when so exquisitely lo-fi as Grand Rapid's Robby Fischer.

This is the second full-length from Robby Fischer after You've Changed came out earlier this year, though there's an earlier EP worth checking out as well. Dogtown keeps the pace of very outrageously fuzzy weirdness of his prior output, perhaps being even a bit more bombastically so. I welcome this completely, it is the sort of album that a fan of garage rock having actually take the time to play won't consider letting it end before it's done. The songs are rapid, washed out and full of very pleasing guitar and thunderous drums. What's more in the true tradition of garage rock he's made a selection of songs to make covers of, and even more on point they aren't songs you'd guess. Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" which reminds me of Mark Sultan's cover of Ultravox's "Just for a Moment" in sentiment and Tayler Swift's "Trouble," a song I'm only vaguely familiar with. I imagine I'm not a fan of the original nonetheless I really dug Fischer's version. All this isn't to say his own composition aren't stellar, for that are certainly relentlessly intense and enthralling throughout. If you've like any or all of the garage I've been post over the last couple of months you can't miss this.

To be had here:
Robby Fischer - Dogtown

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wild Raccoon - Mount Break (2015)

There's also a lot going on in France, not always for the better, but I am not gonna use my irreverent music blog to dwell on all-too-serious of matters. Rather I would like to focus on something the French have been constantly proving the world with and we'd be sorely lacking without. I am talking about arts and culture. The French are classy, we all wish would be as sophisticated as they appear in our public imaginations. This is even true when a Frenchman makes a fuzzy, sung in English, one-man band in the northern city of Lillie and names it Wild Raccoon.

Mount Break is a mesmerizing collection of lo-fi songs. Wild Raccoon's done an astounding job at showing a masterful talent at composing warm, fuzzy tunes that draw on garage rock, psychedelic, and surf is continuously recalibrated proportions. There's a remarkable juxtaposition at play in his songs. He cleared labored to make these cacophonous, loud and distorted sounds as compelling as possible. Making beauty out of an absolute mess is not unique to garage rockers, but I adore how they do it and I particularly like how Wild Raccoon managed to do so. Definitely the equal of perennial favorites Dusty Mush, Lady Flint, King Cayman or those dudes down in Capetown. Yet more particularly he reminds me of Ty Segall or his fellow Frenchman, Pain Dimension, though perhaps a bit less distorted and more psychedelic.

I'm not gonna pull attention to individual songs, as this is without a doubt the sort of album best heard from beginning to end, more than likely twice or thrice in a row. If you're interested in obtaining on a cassette the awesome folks over at Paris's Howlin' Banana Records have you covered. 

To be had here:
Wild Raccoon - Mount Break

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Dictaphone - Hazmat (2015)

A new album by the French heavy psychedelic garage project known as the Dictaphone. Released by the Viennese label, Totally Wired Records, who you might recall as the folks that put out the Drunken Draculas' songs in Austria. I haven't posted about the Dictaphone since the release of 2012's Let's Not. However, it took mere seconds of listening to Hazmat for me to recall why I would have taken the trouble to write them up years ago.

I called the Dictaphone 'heavy' psychedelic garage for a reason, though a looser term like lo-fi is likely more applicable. The songs are incredibly dense and rich and only at times fast and messy, perhaps best exemplified by the amazing song "Wrist Job." Yet in the second half of Hazmat the tone shifts in tracks like "Ex-Cop" and "Remove The Need" to a slower and a more droning style overtakes the brash garage rock. Then in the end it changes back into very lo-fi garage rock, with the fuzzy guitar, pounding percussion and belting, echoey vocals one should expect. Throughout all of them is an innate connection to electronic music, especially in the building introductions and layering of rhythms. Check out the track "Stalker" to really see what I mean and just how excellently the differing dynamics are integrated into a cohesive song. It is a stellar album all around, one I won't soon be moving on from.

To be had here:
The Dictaphone - Hazmat

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Raw Nerves - S/T (2012)

I got lazy with this record - for almost a year. Not sure why - the punk contained herein is of the lo-fi, fun, and garage-y ilk... quite possibly the lone punk record I've listened to multiple times over the past year (save for The Wipers impeccable Youth of America). It wasn't until I saw a Pitchfork recommendation for it that I was reminded that Spacerockers need to hear this thing. Unfortunately, since Pitchfork is like the Whole Foods of music journalism, as soon as they graced the record with it's attention, it went from being a "pay what you want" record to $5.

But, much like fresh caught fish is worth the extra money over the farmed variety, The Raw Nerves are worth your shekels.

Imagine Billy Childish meets Australian punk rockers X (different from the other band called X). There's no sophistication, which The Wipers had in spades and I champion them for, but that's a fine thing for The Raw Nerves. Punk doesn't need sophistication and most of the genre actively shuns it, which is why this record is special I suppose. It doesn't really stand out in any discernible way, it's just a straightforward take on a classic, and it's great.

Catchy without being poppy, snarky without being bratty.... if all punk rock sounded this good I might actually give a crap about it most of the time.

The Raw Nerves - S/T 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Häxxan - Häxxan (2014)

At times there is nothing better one can do than wake up, drink a pot of very black coffee and listen to garage rock. Really sets a tone of excited invulnerability for the day to follow. Honestly, this is as close as I get to eating breakfast. Of course, not all garage rock is equally suited for this task. In particular the fuzzier, faster and more psychedelically hazy the better it is when I'm in this state of mind. Found just the thing in the submissions, a group called Häxxan, billed as a "mega-huge garage band" by their label. Gotta hear that, right?

Though they hail from the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, Häxxan could have fooled me into believing their where among the Capetown garage rockers or one of the numerous awesome Spanish or French lo-fi outfits. The reason I bring all these other places up is to make a sloppy reference to how I think Häxxan is as good as any of the garage rock I've recently posted like the Fizz Pops, Baston or Bicycle Day. Their sound could be described as between the Stooges and the Ganglians, sharing heavy, distorted rock elements of the former and the charmingly surreal vocals and composition of the latter. Songs that really display the psych-garage fusing best are "Never See Me Again," "Ben Zona" and the utterly brilliant "Hail C-La-C." The whole damn album is awesome really.

The vinyl was issued Munich, Germany based label, Heroic Leisure, although there are very few left at the time of this post being published. Good news though, a Dutch label called Geertruida is issuing it as a cassette and those only came out earlier this month. Hopefully there's plenty still be available.

To be had here:
Häxxan - Häxxan

Friday, November 6, 2015

EP Grab Bag vol. 105

Been meaning to get this one up for a while. Got lazy or forgetful or whatever, who cares really? It's here now. Anyhow, I am late in the sense that all the album art seems very well geared for Halloween, which I missed by a week. Oh well, better luck next year.

To be had here:
Peixefante - Lorde Pacal EP (2015)

Another EP I was sent from my Brazilian friend Barbara. Her impeccable is apparent in this awesome psychedelic indie/electronic pop outfit from Goiânia, Brazil. The songs possess a wonderful ethereal quality, just a touch spacey, but at their core they are wonderful modern psych tunes. They remind me of my favorite modern Brazilian psych-rockers, Supercordas, yet bent more toward pop music. An incredibly alluring EP, not to be missed.

Seamus O'Muineachain - Blood Apple (2015)

The songs of an Irish songwriter. Minimal in composition, ambient in tone, and folksy in style they are lovely instrumental songs. Done largely on guitar and piano they songs are a finely interwoven tapestry of those instruments, though a healthy level of percussion is used as necessary. It's as if that sort of acoustic music you've doubtlessly heard played in a coffeehouse could carry many times it's weight by utilizing more musical avenues than the bare guitar playing. So much so it is more sedimental than many lyrically based compositions.

This Floridian outfit has routinely sent me music over the years, though I have failed to always post it. I am sloppy like that. However, I did take the time to hear this seven-track release and found myself enjoying even more than I already imagined I might. The songs are short garage rock jaunts. And I mean short, not any of them top the two minute mark. All upbeat lo-fi with howling singing reverb in the vocals and great distorted guitars. Check them out and look into their admirable catalog while you're at it.

Recently I posted the Fizz Pops, a garage pop band from Capetown, South Africa. Well, two members, Johnny Tex and Warren Fisher, of that band also have another project called the Dyna Jets. So here is the EP they put out this summer and I somehow missed until a couple of weeks ago. Two-piece garage rock as it should be, markedly fuzzy and playful, has a very surfy tone in the guitar playing. Four brief songs that left me eager for more. I Hope there will be more, under whatever name the choose to use next time.

Back to Brazil, this time to the capital city of Brasilia. Lo-fi rock for sure, though of a more intense sort than the prior two EPs of this Grab Bag. Post-hardcore, which is a genre that is hit or miss for me overall, but there's not a doubt in my mind that Enema Noise is anything other than a hit. This release is absolutely exciting. The speed, intensity and excellent musicianship engaged me from the very start. I would love to hear them play in a dirty basement for sure.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Invisible Things - Time AS One Axis (2015)

I'm so damn stressed about being back in school. I remember, years ago, when I first went to college ... there was almost always that one much older person in the class. Well, that's me now. And I can't fuck around like I did 15 years ago when I was first a student. People look at me like I know something they don't ... like if they look closely enough at the grey in my hair they'll see fucking algebraic equations etched in the cuticles. The Beliebers in my psychology class can try to sniff answers out of my wrinkles all they want, but they'll be disappointed to find they're only smelling the black licorice deodorant I drunkenly purchased off Etsy last week.

Age rarely means wisdom, as we are only as wise as we fool people into "beliebing" we are.

Mark Shippy must be an exception to this rule. Once a guitarist for the famed deconstructionist rock pioneers, U.S. Maple, he's just released this explosive record along with drummer Jim Sykes from noise rock band, Parts & Labor. Shippy's guitar work brings to mind his atonal mindfuck style from the 90s, where your preeettttyyy sure whatever he's doing to that guitar is highly illegal. But the chaos is reigned in, somewhat. These songs do feel like songs... nothing one could dance to, but there is structure in here, somehow. The end result is a really engaging experimental rock record. For fans of the above mentioned bands, and for anyone who remembers the heyday of Touch And Go and Skin Graft. Maybe Marnie Stern and Deerhoof, also.

8 songs. Also available on vinyl.

Invisible Things - Time AS One Axis

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Paradise Brut - Violet Violence (2015)

So people are compelled to make music, well, many people are compelled. Not all of them are terribly good at it, not that that's a reason not to keep making it (unless there's gonna be the new Billy Joel or something equally ultra-horrific). However, it is even less common for someone to be awesome at two genres of music, and then to be a bedroom recording artist at that. Nonetheless, our friend Dani in Madrid has managed this feat.

A couple of times I've posted on a very noisy, messy garage rocker that uses the moniker King Cayman. You might recall how those albums are best heard loudly and with a beer in your system. Well, he has translated that notion into electronic rock with this release. It holds much of the same spirit as his garage punk music, but grinds it down to a sparser core that is only thereafter elaborated with electronic affectations. Few vocals are heard, though when they rarely do show up they are with his customarily spooky effects. Yet this is not where your focus should be. It is in the fundamental breakdown of lo-fi rock that he's offering up. I mean this in the same since that when you crush an orange it yield delicious juice, he's managed to mush up garage rock into core elements and giving them a wholly new texture. He's taken the components of most good lo-fi rock; angst, excitement, confusion and irreverence, and made them into bare sounds. It is like imagining your own irregular heartbeat and somehow knowing it has universal currency. I adore it.

To be had here: