Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Aborted Tortoise - Scale Model Subsistence Vendor (2020)

I've finally started work as an occupational therapist, and for reasons I'd rather not get into, I'm commuting 180 miles per day to do so. I wake up when it's dark, drive an hour and 40 minutes into Newark, NJ to hang out with autistic children, trying to engage them in play dough, pompoms, and pipe cleaner for 6 hours and then make the long drive home. 

These kids are great and I'm stoked to be apart of bringing their potential out, but holy shit does this commute fucking blow. Not to mention Newark has more potholes than the damn moon, which easily adds another 5-10 minutes to my drive. The drive out of Newark is a whole other hell and it's turned me into an aggressive driver much quicker than I ever thought possible, completely obliterating whatever low-key-whatever-dude facade I'd built the past 13 years living on the west coast. 

That said, my chosen soundtrack for the commute home has lately been high energy punk music and nothing does it for me like Australian punk. 

Aborted Tortoise out of Perth are a great band for my commute home. A little garage, plenty o' punk. It's uppity, fun and fast, just the kind of music to help numb your cares about flipping off the piss-shivering plops who seemingly have a highway death wish. (ps I'm alright everyone, I'm just tired.)

4 songs. 7" available.

Aborted Tortoise - Scale Model Subsistence Vendor

Monday, September 6, 2021

Punk Loon - Authentic Nature Sounds With Music (2018)

Throughout the 1990's a Wisconsin-based record label called NorthSound released tons of CDs and cassettes with focus on the unlikely pairing of nature sounds with calming musical genres such as classical, new age, and jazz. This niche genre would eschew the normal venues where music was sold, instead dominating the rotating kiosk market commonly found in businesses like bookstores, gift shops, and even mom-and-pop hardware stores. The label put forth now-forgotten records with very literal titles such as "Pan Flutes By The Ocean", "Symphony For Whales", and "New Age Wolf". 

Several artists would prove prolific for this label, including one Robert W. Baldwin who released an impressive 40 titles for NorthSound and it's sister label, Nature Quest. Over the course of a decade, his contributions included the aforementioned "New Age Wolf", but also releases melding various musical stylings with calls of the iconic duck of the northern US and Canada: the common loon. "Classical Loon", "New Age Loon", and perhaps his most popular release, "Jazz Loon", all made their way to the marketplace (remarkably, all in 1992) with the NorthSound imprint. 

In 2018, 4 musicians out of Portland, Oregon set out to add their own unique twist to the releases of Robert Baldwin, with a release called Punk Loon. In much the same way, the music is simply field recordings of a loon played over punk rock. The band features several members of Portland's art and music scene who are more recognized for their other bands such as Landlines, The Woolen Men, Lithics, and Nucular Aminals. 

Let's face it: animal/nature sounds over music is pretty silly and reserved for listening by folks who'd rather marvel at the strangeness over enjoy it for it's musical quality. But this release challenges that at least for me, because the music is what I like. Not to shit on the loon, I love the sound of the loon. Punk Loon, whether they realize it or not, may have started the reemergence of the nature+music genre with this release. I, for one, look forward to future potential releases such as "Hardcore Gorilla", "Goth Chicken" or "Garage Crickets". 

The possibilities are endless. 

Punk Loon - Authentic Nature Sounds With Music

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Music For Sleep - Music From A Sinking World (2021)

If I had to choose a theme for the current state of things it would certainly be "uncertainty". Covid-19 continues to mutate and spread, posing difficult realities for everyone from vaccinated adults to unvaccinated children. (PSA - please get vaccinated or we won't be able to get off this shit-rollercoaster.) On top of that, a massive report just released by the UN paints a dire and quickly drying picture of our current trajectory with regard to climate change. 

Threats of another insurrection loom while justice continues to be so blind it can't ever quite spot the people/person in need of punitive action.

Sheesh! The mind is pulled from one terrible loop of thought to the other several times per day. It's fucking exhausting.

Thankfully, there's Music For Sleep: the ambient-meets-analog instrumental music of Italy's Andrea Porcu. Now, I will be the first to admit that I've avoided anything tagged "ambient" with much success throughout my life. But after hearing Andrea's Music From A Sinking World -- I FINALLY get the appeal. Ambient music is a different beast from rock, but it offers something very similar to it's listeners: escape. But whereas rock music gives you lyrics to relate and identify with, defined rhythms, and anticipatable verse-chorus patterns.... ambient music (at least that of Music For Sleep) is more amorphous in shape and completely void of human voice. Without these tangible elements, the listening mind turns inward for things to grab onto.

The music here is distant, almost as if heard through a neighbors open window halfway down the block. The reverb on opening track "A Quiet Storm" conjures feelings of dreaming while walking through an empty mall. Nostalgia is easily evoked in these songs... I found myself thinking of things and people I hadn't in many years. 

Not to overstate things, but this release by Music For Sleep was transformative for me. That said, I've spent months exploring other ambient music and have really yet to find another artist that "does" it for me. So, maybe it's a fluke... a right place at the right moment thing that I stumbled upon  Music From A Sinking World. Then again, even flukes can impart lasting change.

7 songs.

Music For Sleep - Music From A Sinking World 

Thursday, July 29, 2021


Saturday morning cartoons were a tradition of mine growing up in the late 80s-early 90s. I remember certain shows more than others: I loved Bobby's World and Camp Candy, likely because I was already familiar with the works of John Candy (Uncle Buck) and Howie Mandel (Little Monsters). I also remember liking Captain Planet, but because that shit aired at 7:30am I decided it was a nice thing I wasn't going to enjoy. 

It's Saturday, I gotta sleep in a little. C'mon Captain. 

Toward the end of the line up, around 11-ish or so, The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers showed up in 1993. I was a cartoon purest so this Saved By The Bell meets Godzilla schtick really wasn't my bag. Everyone else thought it was the best thing since The Simpsons, but I was and remain dubious. 

Fast forward to 2019, a recording project out of Boston produces the best possible fruit from the Mighty Morphin vine: a noisy, drum machine punk concept album based on a villain from the aforementioned show: Rita Repulsa. These recordings offer static blasts from overblown guitars and profanity-laced Rita-inspired lyrics, resulting in an overall sonic soup of lo-fi distortion and feedback over mechanized drum beats. 

It's a quick listen, 4 songs clocking in around 4 minutes 30 second. A nice find that has made it onto my radio show multiple times over the past 2 years. 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

HUSHPUPPY - Singles Club (Remastered) (2021)

Ok here we go. Sorry for the silence folks. Something something baby, yada yada grad school...
I am also sorry for forgetting how to format these damn Blogger posts. I pray subsequent posts will look more normal.

Phew! With all that awkwardness out of the way, let's talk music.

This release by NYC musician Zoë Brecher is essential listening for anyone keen on the output of 90's K Records or lo-fi indie bedroom pop in general. Her songs are beautiful for their simplicity of melody and humility of voice; overall familiar but fresh. Upon first listen, you may notice what appears to be Ms. Brecher's novice musicianship (she plays all instruments herself) but it's a deception. A five minute browsing of her Instagram page shows that she is an extremely accomplished drummer, playing for several bands such as Kalbells, Oberhoffer, Sad13, and most recently with NYC band Bachelor. 

Why, then, is this HUSHPUPPY release full of drum machine songs, you ask? Because she's crafting an aesthetic and doing it remarkably well. These songs, most of which don't break the 2 minute mark, will be stuck in your damn head until you breakdown and buy the cassette tape. At least, that's what happened to me. 

**UPDATE: limited vinyl now available through Bandcamp link below!
12 songs.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Signs of Life

Dear Spacerock Mountaineers,

It's been almost 3 years since we've last spoke.

I've never stopped thinking about the music I'd like to play for you. 

Let's talk soon. 

All my best,

Amazing Larry