4.23.2014

The Murlocs


Despite numerous setbacks, including a stolen laptop that required the rerecording of several songs from Loopholes, The Murlocs finally have a debut ready and shipping for King Gizzard's Flightless Records. The album's found an apt home, with the band meshing well with their hosts' low slung soul-blues fire. There's darkness and aimlessness fighting for control of the stick on the album but both feelings are amiably pushed by Ambrose Kenny-Smith's shredded steel wool howl and in the end its more about the dark shadows the band throws than the messages they're trying to convey. Loopholes is a vibe, a cool cinder block basement temperament, an effortless swagger of an album; and despite the rather considerable effort that was actually put into its very existence, it remains better defined by the sweat left hanging in the air as the stylus clicks to a stop. The band has been building their sound through EPs and singles to this moment and it seems that for all their tribulations, it was well worth the journey to get to this stunner of an album.

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posted by dissensous at 9:45:00 AM 0 comments

4.22.2014

Rat Columns - "Another Day" Video

Following on a 7" from 2012 David West's Rat Columns have a new album on the way from the venerable R.I.P. Society and the first video is a great taster of the album to come. The record was produced by Kelley Stoltz on an old tape machine formerly owned by The Residents but the first track sounds more soft focus than experimental think piece, wrapped in a gauze of jangle and ennui. The record is out next month featuring West's former Lace Curtains bandmates Mikey Young and James Vinciguerra.

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posted by dissensous at 9:50:00 AM 0 comments

4.21.2014

David Novick


Novick's second album, following the re-release of his debut on GOD?, is a fuller and more vibrant record; culling a more pastoral folk sound that's underpinned with the matchstick flicker of bright psych-fuzz, resulting in a more well rounded statement than he's made previously. The record stretches out with yawning fingers towards summer skies feeling, despite its more studio refinement, more like a backporch psych-folk record from the boom of 2004. And that's in no way meant to say that this sounds dated, merely that its picking up where many of those deft records left off, in their own way echoing 1967 through the fractured prism of present day. With some amiable help from GOD? label honcho Ty Segall on drums and the perfectly placed vocal accompaniment of Claire Plumb, Your Sister's Hand stands as a pastoral gem cut through with striped sunlight bouncing off the afternoon pollen. Now's the time to get in on Novick's work, as it feels like it can only get more exciting from here on out.

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posted by dissensous at 10:52:00 AM 0 comments

4.18.2014

The Mentalettes - Lovers' Wasteland / Tides 7"
Berlin's Mentalettes mash 60's girl group sounds with a low swung guitar twang for a dose of impressively sweet and spicy rock n' roll; the kind of songs that float on choruses and expand between your
ears like Easter peeps in a microwave. Its a confection, its the simple scream of carnival thrill rides and jukebox 45s and sometimes that's all it ever needs to be. No frills shake n' shimmy at its best with a real hankering for 60's bouffants and organ driven nuggets that can't help but make ya smile. This is the band's second single but seems like there's an LP on the way. This ought to hold you over for now.

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posted by dissensous at 9:40:00 AM 0 comments

4.17.2014

Stein Urheim


Stein Urheim has often been noted in a collaborative context, having played with The Last Hurrah (Rune Grammofon), Åresong and collaborating with singer Mari Kvien Brunvoll, but his second solo album for Hubro solidifies him as a solid solo player in his own right. The album is tinged with a worldswept feeling, rooted in fingerpicked guitar but folding in drones and Eastern tones, his self-titled album transports the listener to a frosted plain where only the music can warm the soul. The guitarist cites everything from Chinese gu qin music and Steve Reich to Ornette Coleman as influences and that melting pot of the past seems to explain much of this release, though Urheim manages to boil them all into a much smoother delivery than those touchstones might warrant. The record wafts into an almost backporch blues, bent through the addition of varied string instruments from all corners of Urheim's travels and swaddled against the Norwegian chill with a core of sprightly execution. For fans of the fingerpicked tradition, Urheim is a welcome addition to the canon.

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posted by dissensous at 10:05:00 AM 0 comments

4.16.2014

Jeff Burch


Jeff Burch has crafted an album of shifting sonic textures that brings to mind the quiet spaces explored by Mountains and The North Sea. Melding pastoral, slow fluttered guitar passages with the spatial drone of synth, the bulk of these two tracks ebb and eddy like tides. On the opener "The Nine Points," the push pull is almost nonexistent, with the track moving instead like a film; the sections fading, dissolving and occasionally cutting through moments of languid pooling quiet and tense, prickling static. The second track sprawls out just as widely as the first but builds itself on a loping, hypnotic bit of guitar that acts as a more propulsive and ultimately warmer base. This loop opens as a mesmerizing anchor through a good clip of "La Perouse," though it too melts away as the track gives in to a din of Burch's aural impulses, breaking apart into a sputtering middle before melting completely by the close. Both tracks are engrossing enough that multiple listens only open up new gems each time and this is largely due to Burch's skills but also the friends he's brought along, Stephen James (Songs, Rand and Holland), Tres Warren (Psychic Ills, Compound Eye, Messages) and Marcus Whale who lend percussion, guitar and sax respectively. It’s a strong debut and an essential for fans of Important's catalog.

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posted by dissensous at 9:24:00 AM 0 comments

4.15.2014

Jook - Jook Rule OK
Jook's long and sorted tale has them rise from the ashes of The Kinetics and members of 60's nugget raiders John's Children to gain a record contract without even settling on a name. The band was christened Jook by a friend, drawing influence on the Jook Joint
idea. The band often gets lumped in with glam but its got just as many hands in the power pop and proto-punk camps as it does the glitter circuit. They fell in more with mods and Bovver Boys, which gave their shows a more menacing presence that would befit the teenybopper trappings of glam at the time. The band issued a string of singles that made some but not significant chart impact, leaving their live show to champion their legacy at the time. The band's label, RCA, cycled them through sessions with several producers searching for a glam hit but ultimately it seemed no pairing caught on despite leaving a trail of great tracks. The band was set to open on a tour with Sweet, but just as stardom seemed in grasp, Sweet frontman Brian Connolly was injured in a street fight and his hospitalization sunk the tour. That pretty much singled the decline for the band and they parted ways with members going on to 70's glam band Jet, some managerial work and others reforming John's Children in the wake of interest from Nuggets. This collection has found its way to CD prior but Sing Sing's got the whole thing on vinyl, back where they belong.

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posted by dissensous at 1:46:00 PM 0 comments

4.14.2014

Thee Oh Sees


Despite those volleyed cries of hiatus, Thee Oh Sees have one more in the bag, and apparently a few more dates and festivals to boot. Well so much for a hiatus. Maybe get John Dwyer and co. a stack of dictionaries for their birthdays, though it would seem they'd be far too busy to actually read them. Taking a leap off the psychedelic springboard that was Floating Coffin, the band ventures further into a throbbing den of bass chaos and space-faced synths, brain toasting guitar and vertigo wrangling squelch that threatens to blow it all down in an avalanche of light and smoke. Its a headier direction than they've gone, if only ever so slightly, but if this is where they leave off I'll rest easier knowing that the legacy of Oh Sees is swaddled in a nest of tweaked keys, guitars screaming from sunburn and hide n' seek vocals that hint at the fuming melodies buried in the din. The band never sways too far from their garage roots but they've certainly found a magical balance between guttural drive, psychedelic excess and a pop undercoating that keeps the kids coming back every time for another kaleidoscopic patchwork adventure. There's certainly room on your shelf for one more Oh Sees hard charger and Drop fits the bill, a necessary addition to a long, twisted journey.

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posted by dissensous at 5:54:00 PM 0 comments

4.10.2014

Islaja


Been a while since Merja Kokkonen dropped a track under the Islaja moniker and it seems that after a move to Berlin she's shed her Finnish-folk past for the darker shores of minimal wave and jagged electro-pop. Though, this being an Islaja album that puts this closer to the fucked end of the spectrum than the dancefloor, that's for sure. Garnering some obvious Bjork comparisons, likely because of the similarities in accent and the fractured pop filter, S U U twists itself through shards of shattered fluorescents, and jumpcut static to craft one of the year's finer dark synth stunners. Stripped bare like a concrete cube, lone light bulb swinging back and forth to a beat that's more felt than heard, the album hits hard to the chest with a metallic 'clang'. It’s an unexpected turn for a veteran of so many years in the Fonal kingdom of buzzing bouzouki and plucked chaos but the ink black shroud suits her well.

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posted by dissensous at 9:33:00 AM 0 comments

4.09.2014

Herzog


Cleveland's Herzog tumbles out of the barrel with their third album for Exit Stencil, a fizzing, shambling cracker jack prize of a pop album that rolls the slackened nature of 90's heroes like Weezer, Ash and Fountains of Wayne through a heavy dose of aughts pop hangover. Though the majority of the subject matter centers on the futility and struggles of middle tier stardom in the music industry, the band's cheeky pathos more than ably crosses over to a generation stuck with unfulfilled dreams and short sheeted promises, all the while pumping up the kicks to the ribs into fist shaking anthems. With a growl of guitars and the kind of squiggly nerd-rock keys that draw a line from The Cars to Apples in Stereo the band knows how to blow up a pop hook into basement party fury and with the help of producer Kevin S. McMahon (The Walkmen, Titus Andronicus) they've churned those angst-baiters into bouncy hits that beg to be cranked from the car windows all summer long.

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posted by dissensous at 9:36:00 AM 0 comments

4.08.2014

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO


Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO return with yet another album, 19 years deep into their career and now back with original vocalist Cotton Casino in tow. Full of four psychedelic juggernauts, including a new recording of the AMT classic "Dark Star Blues." By now, with recordings by The Temple, you're either in or out, you either take the stumble down a rabbit hole of swirling feedback and DMT laced squall frothing along with the band or frankly you sit this one out. Around here any new Acid Mothers venture is reason to sit down, dim the lights and let the speakers feel the pain for an hour or so. Important's issuing the beast on heavy vinyl as they have the band's last few. Still so good after all these years.

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posted by dissensous at 10:27:00 AM 0 comments

4.04.2014

Apache - Civil Disobedience
Apache return with a vengeance with a glam-stomped, caffeine pumpin', gas huffer of a single that opens with the grease thick A-side, a harder version of their usual brand of garage antics. The real treat here is the flip though, a collaboration with Norton
Records' Daddy Long Legs that turns the open road anthem into something of a blooze rawk firestarter. The band paired up with Daddy at SXSW for this number and rest assured that its even more unhinged live. Hopefully this is just a taster of an album to come but at least this burner is preserved in wax for all eternity.

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posted by dissensous at 10:44:00 AM 0 comments

4.03.2014

Amen Dunes


Years ago when the first Amen dunes record hit the RSTB desk I'd have never guessed that the fractured pop creaking through the cracks on Dia would have wound its way into the open, honest portrayal that Damon McMahon has presented on his latest album, Love. Working with members of Godspeed You Black! Emperor and Iceage on this one, the songs have certainly become fleshed out and showcase that singer-songwriter that was always lurking below the boards of a one-take troubadour aesthetic. It seems that McMahon slowed the process, took the collaborative road and let these songs form themselves rather than rushing to tape and that's been the key to Love's success. It feels well-formed, not over practiced, but rather littered wth a wealth of recording nuggets and production touches that spit shine the diamond that was always under those ragged pop tunes he'd begun turning out over the last few releases. Still that by no means infers that Amen Dunes has begun churning radio hits, but this one will sit nicely on the shelf next to some other sweetly fractured folk from 2014, like that Chad VanGaalen record and Dylan Shearer's newfound studio gem.

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posted by dissensous at 10:24:00 AM 0 comments

4.02.2014

Nun - "Uri Geller" Video

Melbourne's Nun have an album coming out this month as a split between Aarght/Avant that grinds through some gritty post-punk back alleys and their second video taster for the upcoming self-titled album, "Uri Gellar" captures their grainy 80's veneer perfectly. The track is a propulsive, jagged slice at the heart of the goth/minimal wave template and a damn fine one at that.

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posted by dissensous at 8:22:00 PM 0 comments

4.01.2014

Giorgio - Son of My Father
For those only familiar with Giorgio Moroder through his disco work or, hell, through his recent Daft Punk guest spots, then this reissue of his early work should come as something of a left hook. Moroder recorded the album's title track
which made its way to British band Chicory Tip, resulting in a UK hit and the birth of a bubblegum classic. Moroder's own version is here in its English and Italian iterations along with the subsequent bubblegum nugget "Underdog". The collection is a pure wealth of studio wizardry with some obvious nods to his impending dive into electronics but the interest stems from that edge of tech attitude being applied to the 60's garage/bubblegum ethos; a catchy, crunchy bit of hits that could only come from the warped mind of an auteur. Shortly after these years Moroder would, of course, help shape disco and carve out a production career that included some of your favorite 80's crystalline pop (Danger Zone!) but aside from just the documentation aspect of this reissue, it plays well as a pop entity on its own.

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posted by dissensous at 9:44:00 AM 0 comments

3.31.2014

From The South


Time to jump back into some Aussie jangle-pop today with a record by Melbourne's From The South. The band riffs on a Paisley Underground vibe evoking some of the more countrified mooments in the E6 catalog (ala Beachwood Sparks) with some early R.E.M. ekeing through the cracks as well on Cool, Cool Memories. The record locks into a hazy summer vibe early on springing forth natural desire for some front porch listening as the sun dips over the horizon. The band skews further into those psych tendencies as the album progresses, even bringing to mind local heroes The Triffids on closer "Hollow Tree," which along with "Wrong Wit of a Nomad" brings some darker moments to this laid-back affair, adding shading and texture to an album that's more than just a sum of desirable influencs. This is largely due to the wistful mystery of Conor Hutchison's lyrics which come with a dose of shrouded poetics that dance around some eerie lonliness and weary charm. There's also just something about the record that amplifies with proximity, a certain secret warmth that shines brighter next to the speakers or seeping out of headphones so keep a pair close just in case as there are plenty of moments that send you back to drag the tone arm to the beginning for another listen.

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posted by dissensous at 2:16:00 PM 0 comments

3.28.2014

Gezan


Sometimes I say to myself, you know, it has been a while since a great Japanese noise-rocker came this way. And like that, Important Records comes through with a US issue of Gezan's 2010 album It Was Once Said To Be A Song, an album that surely missed a whole slew of Stateside folks on its initial release (including RSTB). The band tears things up with reverence to past masters Boredoms, Ni Hao, mid-period Boris and DMBQ. Its the kind of album that seems to glow through the crevices and practically burst at the seams with a boundless energy. The tracks shift gears in whiplash fashion, from heavy thrash to aluminum chewed noise spew, down to a crawl of psychedelic creep and back into gear with a boot to the chest that only serves to inspire the kind of pit flung chaos that lives in the live realm. The album comes with a hat tip recommendation to the Important crew from none other than Kawabata Makoto of Acid Mothers Temple so if you needed any more of a reason to put this on your list of volume shredded essentials, that's it right there.

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posted by dissensous at 12:34:00 PM 0 comments

3.26.2014

Millie & Andrea


Killer collaboration from Andy Stott and Miles Whittaker (Demdike Stare, Miles) that moves on from the pair's early 12"s and into a heavy, rhythmic space that's choked, dark and raw. The compositions are aimed at the dancefloor but through 40-grit abrasive haze that shapes the sound into a jagged ball of movement, inciting all sorts of sonic lacerations in the process. Nowhere near as heady as either of the pair's solo stints, instead of heading through the hypnogogic jungle, Whittaker and Stott have instead taken their pop influences to task, letting the thump lead the cause on Drop the Vowels, but where others could simply let this act as a blowoff and quickly devolve into rote bro club jams, Millie & Andrea keep their jagged edge throughout, weaving ambiance, ether and even a bit of field recording into the DNA of dance. The album acts as an experimental Trojan Horse, letting the weird in through the crush of digestible beat.

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posted by dissensous at 3:06:00 PM 0 comments

3.25.2014

The Fourmyula - Inside the Hutt: New Zealand's Pop Psych Kingpins
A huge chunk of New Zealand's flower pop past lies in searching out The Fourmyula's recordings. The band, one of few at the time that produced mainly original compositions, swung between garage pop swingers and psych
laden bits that wandered into some twee territory on their homey Green 'B' Holiday. The albums themselves prove incredibly difficult to track down in their original forms but this singles collection gives a proper overview of the band's journey from the early days of breezy tunes into Kinksian love of country and some early Zep / late Small Faces influence before they eventually call it a day. The band traveled to Abbey Road to record portions of their catalog, quite fitting for a band often referred to as the Kiwi Beatles, though their sound may fall closer to fellow South Hemi travelers Bee Gees in their earlier days. Eventually things like their trip to the UK would leave them broke, and discouraged their efforts just a bit, their last album even sat unreleased for years until a small issue in 2010. Though, they've gained international notoriety of late when their song "Nature" was voted the best Kiwi song of the last 75 years. Following their demise, the band's Chris Parry would stick around England and act as producer on works by The Jam and founded the Fiction label which would go on to become the home of recordings by The Cure and power poppers Purple Hearts. Other members would form the excellent Human Instinct.

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posted by dissensous at 9:13:00 AM 0 comments

3.24.2014

The Cosmic Dead


Scotland's Cosmic Dead have been ravaging the EU/UK with their hypnotic brand of psych onslaught for some time now but they've reached new heights on the epic Easterfaust. The album consists of one long cut split Jethro Tull style between sides of this beast. Creeping in slow and steady from the darkness "Easterfaust pt. 1" builds from the blackness to a heady Krautrock chug, mixing in elements of Hawkwind's space ritual to the blend of Popul Vuh / Amon Düül froth that they kick up as the storm brews. The second side launches into full on sonic attack, teeth bared and ready to slice a few inches of gray matter from the listener's brain before defenses could possibly be raised then, improbably, keeps that level of squall and shred for the duration bringing the walls crumbling to a close in the last few minutes. Definitely an album for headphone fiends and kosmik travelers alike, the behemoth arrives via venerable EU stalwarts Sound of Cobra on marbled vinyl in damned limited numbers, so best be quick about adding this to your stack of psych.

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posted by dissensous at 9:45:00 AM 0 comments