7.01.2015

Sauna Youth


Often the barrage of UK DIY can be overwhelming. There are plenty kicking out fodder and it ranges from brilliant to retread but its always nice when a sparkle of genuine fun comes along. All the more worthwhile if that album has a bite to it, and Distractions has some to spare. The album's built on taught, gnashing guitars and a set of dark hooks that dig deep but bounce with more of a wild-eyed menace than joy. The anxious sweat fairly coats each and every bit of the band's spring loaded set. The nervy pummel is broken a few times by spoken word pieces that fit tonally with the record's raw vibe, but they come off just a touch pretentious. When the band sticks to kinetic bursts of fury and sandpaper riffs they keep this one jumping back onto the table every time. Easy to see why they were chosen by Wire to play the band's DRILL festival. No surprise that this one hits via UK DIY enclave Upset The Rhythm. Well worth more than a few rotations of your time.

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posted by dissensous at 2:51:00 PM 0 comments

6.29.2015

The Hussy


There were few albums that sparked as much joy around here as The Hussy's Pagan Hiss from 2013. The album took your standard, work-a-day garage rock palette and injected a looseness and skewed pop playfulness to it that bordered on infectious. On their third album, the Wisconsin duo spit-polish the push/pull of their pop dynamic even further. Focusing on a heavier guitar sound and incorporating violin, lap steel and a barrage of effects pedals, the album marks a turn of the duo's already bubbly songs into a headrush of fizzing hooks. Buzzsaw cascades of sound one minute and the next they blow the dust away to lean back into an orchestral tinged weeper. Its definitely the sound of a band finding footing and slotting themselves up nicely with some of their other ambitiously minded peers like Ty and Mikal who've taken those garage instincts and pop mindset and let the screen blow wide, making grander statements than anyone ever really expected of them.

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posted by dissensous at 4:50:00 PM 0 comments

6.24.2015

Hierophants - "Nervous Tic" Video


Hierophants have shown up here before on a number of singles but good news from the pipe is they have an album coming out in September on Aarght / Goner. First taste is a nervy, anxious slice of sci-fi punk that's augmented with an equally itchy video. The track picks up whiffs of Chrome and MX-80 then strains them through a more digestible brand of Aussie skronk that falls in line with their ties to Ausmuteants. Ears are perked for the the album for sure. Support the artist. Buy it: HERE
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posted by dissensous at 1:00:00 PM 0 comments

6.23.2015

Alejandro Jodorowsky - The Holy Mountain OST
As chaotic as Alejandro Jodorowsky's psychedelic epic The Holy Mountain is from a visual standpoint, the soundtrack gives back in equal measure, dialing all over the spectrum from plaintive folk to Tuvan
throat singing, epic orchestrals to noise and rock. If you've ever seen the cult classic, then you know that the movie is overwhelming to say the least and only really coherent to probably about 13% of the populace in the midst of an Ayahuasca comedown. Its heavy handed but also rather beautiful and since its release its legend has only grown. The movie's score finds a way to keep pace with the barrage of non-linear imagery, bursts of color and shifts in tone so adeptly that its a testament to its originators. Jodorowsky enlisted the help of Don Cherry and Ron Frangipane (he of The Archies fame) to bring the musical companion of the film to life. Along with Jodorowsky's own conducting, the team proves well more than formidable. Traditionally the score hasn't been widely available and certainly not on vinyl but RealGone have rounded it up on double vinyl.

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posted by dissensous at 12:57:00 PM 1 comments

6.22.2015

Michael O.


It would probably be pushing it to say that Michael Olivares is better known as the lead singer of San Francisco ramshackle poppers The Mantles. To be fair, The Mantles aren't exactly a household name either, but that's more of a testament to most people's poor taste than anything else. They should be a fixture in your record collection, as should Olivares' first solo LP for Fruits & Flowers. The album follows his previous single for the start-up label and lands on some of the same twinges of homespun pop but it also expands its scope into a much larger statement of new wave hat tips to Nikki Sudden's jangle comedowns, classic era Flying Nun cracked lens warbles and even a touch of sun-smeared folk that crinkles around the edges. Aiding Olivares in bringing this collection to fruition is Edmund Xavier of Horrid Red. The pair don't fill out a room but in their restraint, they find the nuance that makes Olivares' brand of honest, fluid pop feel familiar and fresh in equal measure. Plenty of other albums will come beating down your door in 2015 but Really? is the kind that lets you come to it, and you'd be well advised to seek it out.

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posted by dissensous at 12:46:00 PM 0 comments

6.15.2015

Andy Human and the Reptoids


Great news rains down in the form of Andy Human's new long player, this time augmented with a cast of other Bay Area freaks kitted out as The Reptoids. The record kicks through the same weird weeds of punk / new wave fodder that Andy Jordan has sunk his teeth into before, but this time all the senses are blown up and working overtime. Chewing on tin foil hooks that rumble through Devo infested jungles, littered with Twinkeyz ticket stubs, Roxy music posters and probably a worn copy of that Ozzie reissue; the eponymous LP is glazed with the kind of technicolor punk that only seemed to exist in b-movies. Splashes of Buckaroo Banzai / Dead End Drive-in / Repo Man chaotic hangover waft in from the irradiated guitar lines and razor sharp sax blasts, sickened keys fight for air with Jordan's demanding yelps and it feels like '79 again. That's the thing about Andy Human, its never felt like a hollow imitation but more of a method study in the sick and warbled fringes of 70's art-punk and he absolutely nails it on the head once again.

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posted by dissensous at 2:25:00 PM 0 comments

6.11.2015

The Holydrug Couple


The Holydrug Couple sink their teeth into dreampop and get lost in the vapor. Citing Air as a touchstone for the album, the Chilean group definitely takes up the reigns between the French band's high school comedown "Playground Love" and their wilder (by Air's standards) workings on Talkie Walkie. Draped in the kind of shimmer, soft lighting and billowing smoke that maxes out a fog machine budget, Holydrug make it sound like longing never resolves. They pine endlessly for a love that's always moving further out of reach. They swoon at the very thought of closure but, alas it seems that the game is forever played and while you're playing, they've got just the soundtrack to encapsulate that gossamer crush of heartache. Bigger than their last record by a mile, they build monuments of sparkling synth and sinewy bass, wriggling through the aforementioned smoke like serpents through water. Sacred Bones has built a reputation on darkness so The Holydrug Couple has always seemed like a bit of an outlier in their own stable and here they take a few steps further out of line creating a shimmering dose of pop that, while sometimes hard to pick apart in the individual pieces, builds to a larger statement of infatuation nicely.

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posted by dissensous at 9:11:00 AM 0 comments

6.09.2015

Popul Vuh - Letzte Tage - Letzte Nachte
The catalog of Popol Vuh is dense and rather intimidating to find entry points into. Sure, for the true heads out there the beginning of Fricke's universe, Affenstunde, only makes sense, but there are plenty of other nicely set
moments that don't necessitate charting the history of the band. Though up until now many of these have not been available on vinyl, but thanks to some stellar work by Wah Wah/Supersonic Sounds the band's later works have now found room on your shelf. The integration of guitar into the band's sound really starts to take over on Das Hohelied Salomos, where Daniel Fichelscher really starts to become an integral part of the group, but its here on Letzte Tage - Letzte Nachte that he really pushes to the forefront of their sound. Still balancing light and dark, psychedelic heaviness and a pastoral Eastern vibe that's central to the Popul Vuh sound, this record sees them stretch out and find place in the Krautrock canon that show's some love for their UK brethren in prog - feeling very versed in Floydisms and the grandeur of Yes. The band were in a very verdant period at this time also working on some of their numerous collaborations with Werner Herzog. These also appear in the newly minted series of reissues by Wah Wah/Supersonic and remain great points of entry into the band's psychedelic odyssey.

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posted by dissensous at 11:04:00 AM 0 comments

6.08.2015

Moritz Von Oswald Trio


There's been no lack of love for Von Oswald's trio here at RSTB but with this new chapter of the band he knocks an already exemplary band into a new level. Replacing original drummer with current touring drummer and legend in his own right, Tony Allen, the new album from the trio takes off from the group's usual stomping grounds of electronically bent jazz and dub then infects it with flecks of Afrobeat propulsion and synth darkness in a way that feels like the missing ingredients all along. Sounding Lines plays with space and rhythm. MVO Trio has always pushed forward the boundaries of their respective genres but here they delve headlong into a shadowy cave of echoes that tumble beats in all directions, synths that seek only to haunt and a kind of crushing heaviness that's as threatening as a coronary. Perhaps not one for the coming summer sun but when that swelter starts to bubble up from the soil itself, Sounding Lines will feel like just the answer.

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posted by dissensous at 9:58:00 AM 0 comments

6.04.2015

Thee Tsunamis


Oof, Thee Tsunamis make good on that EP from last year with a ripper of an album. Saturday Night Sweetheart blasts through candy coated garage like a bad habit. Not necessarily rewriting any books or hooks but to be fair this one seizes you more like a coloring book anyhow so what's to be rewritten? Scribbled deliriously outside the lines and shredded to confetti before you could ever catch a glimpse, the album is frothy and fun, all swooning love songs, b-movie brawls and late night laments rolled in leather. The ranks of garage are legion these days and the best bits float along the top because you can practically feel the band having fun through the speakers, coaxing you out of your sad little funk and forcing those feet to move. For a dose of toughed up, take no shit Brill Building wrecking ball pop; you'd be remiss to look any further than Thee Tsunamis.

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posted by dissensous at 8:14:00 AM 0 comments

6.03.2015

Pan - Pan
70's prog had its enclaves for sure. Germany always gets its due. The US and UK are well, maybe even over represented, but Denmark never really hits the map. Pan were on of the most hard hitting and inventive Danish prog acts of the 70's and over the years
this eponymous record has achieved some cult collector status. The majority of the album revolves around muscular riffs but the band balances the sweat factor with some pastoral organ and acoustic touches that give it a more storied appeal. The band was founded by French ex-pat Robert Leilevre who was wandering Europe to evade military service. When he landed in Denmark the pieces fell in line for what would become Pan. Though Leilevre was rumored to be difficult to work with and the band would split after this sole LP with members filtering on to other bands including Denmark's other famous export Culpeper's Orchard, Blast Furnace and Delta Blues Band. Shadoks has done this one up nicely, with far more attention given than even recent CD reissues. Poster, printed inner and a bonus 7" on a 500 press. This is definitely one that will go fast.

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posted by dissensous at 10:47:00 AM 0 comments

5.26.2015

Swiftumz - "Taste The Gray" Video


I've already professed some love for Swiftumz' sophomore LP, Everybody Loves Chris, but there's always room for a little more. In the casino set, blurred blackout of a clip Chris McVicker wanders through the underbelly of Reno set to the grunge blasted fuzz pop of album standout "Taste The Gray." If you haven't had a chance to check out the album yet, its highly recommended that you dive into the weird pop universe of McVicker's Swiftumz.

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posted by dissensous at 11:15:00 AM 0 comments

5.20.2015

Thee Oh Sees


Are we perpetually in a state of reviewing Oh Sees albums? Sometimes it feels like it. Even with that "hiatus" the band has an intimidating output, that at this time is getting tough to crack for new listeners. As with most of the band's albums Mutilator Defeated At Last is rife with John Dwyer's signature reverb howl, blasting through the fog of guitars like a pink neon blast from a toy ray gun. And though, like this, many hallmarks of Thee Oh Sees sound hang heavy on the album, it expands on the formula nicely. There's a heavy freakout quality to the album making it feel more substantial than its thirty-three odd minutes. Dwyer's been at this long enough that he's trimmed some of the fat and left room only for a suite that punches furiously out of the gate with a sweet dip of cool water in the form of "Sticky Hulks" on the back half bringing the comedown. It feels like a study in how to make psych succeed. While The Drop was a surprise return last year, it doesn't list among my essential Oh Sees, but Mutilator has climbed higher on the list than I'd thought so far into their catalog. Its here and gone before you realize and in true fashion, leaves you wanting to knock that needle back to the start.

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posted by dissensous at 6:18:00 PM 0 comments

5.18.2015

Blood Warrior


Psych-folk has seen a decline in the past few years since its welcome back to the fold in the early oughts, but some souls are still holding strong to the dark twists that knot the acoustic landscape. Blood Warrior creak down the path of English folk that's haunted by the specters of Bert Jansch and Fresh Maggots. They've got a handle on the brooding and the melancholy, rolling in primitive hoofbeat drumming under the circular pick of strings and wheeze of harmonium. Their second album, Letter Ghost, is shrouded in dusk, every note seems to hang in that space between the slip of sun from horizon to oblivion. The album never rushes, instead letting the vapor of breath curl in the air around the notes in a way that's affecting and fragile. Greg Jamie (O'Death) and Joey Weiss (Super Monster, Lazy River) are no strangers to the mossy corners of folk, but here they step away from their past projects to create something a little more intimate, a little more rooted in the soil. And by all accounts they succeed in creating a hollow of folk that seeps to the core.

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posted by dissensous at 12:42:00 PM 0 comments

5.14.2015

The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience - I Like Rain: The Story of The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience
Fire Records have gone through the exhaustive work of compiling this retrospective of the JPSE and its well worth the time to wade through the band's storied history.
Their debut is a charming record that felt apart from the rest of the Flying Nun stable. There's jangle, but more often there's a subtle wash of grey-skied melancholy and an early indie pop simplicity that feels more akin to the outset of the Creation records stable than many of their contemporaries at home. Love Songs introduced the band with the hit that this collection takes its name from and its a pretty fitting entry point to the band's catalog.

Size of Food has always overshadowed the debut in critical acclaim but at the time of its release it fell on many deaf ears. Delayed by two years due to some financial finagling on Flying Nun's part, the album finally hit shelves without much in the way of fanfare. But hindsight being what it is, this one stands as a benchmark of fractured pop that would have lasting reverberations even if it didn't shake scenes at the time of its issue. Their final album, Bleeding Star saw the band enter the studio, amp up the production (some critics would argue too much) and finally allow themselves some international acclaim. But where the album saws off a bit of their connection to jangle, it dives headlong into a buzzing sea of guitars that buoy that same melancholy they'd always let through with a stronger punch. This album also garnered support from Matador in the States and they finally made it over for some dates only to pull themselves apart in the process. This would prove their last effort. In addition to the albums themselves this collection ropes in bonus tracks, tracks from the alternate US/NZ pressings and singles. They might not top your list of essential bands of the late 80s/early 90s but spend a little time with the JPSE and let this collection wash over you. It will definitely surprise you.

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

5.13.2015

Warm Soda - "Can't Erase This Feeling"


Said it before but I'll say it again, Warm Soda have mastered power pop's yearn and crunch and here they take all the high school crush touches from their song "Can't Erase This Feeling" and give them a proper after school setting. Burgers seem to be the theme for this record and this shitty restaurant hangout is giving me high school PTSD. But in the end Matthew Melton fights for justice and the girl while making it feel like a way bigger deal. More tabletop burger dance parties should be on the menu. This one looks as fun as it sounds.

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posted by dissensous at 2:12:00 PM 0 comments

5.11.2015

Swiftumz


Chris McVicker's gauzy power pop may have slipped under your radar in the last few years. His first album, the sorely underrated Don't Trip came out via Holy Mountain, more known for stoner metal than clean lines and upbeat sparkle. In the interim he's let slip a few singles that also can't help but put a sly smile on your face, bouncing out of the speakers on springs and pushing the clouds aside every time. So its great news that a second album is finding its way into the world on Melters. Everybody Loves Chris follows along the path he's trodden previously, dotting the album with some effervescent pop hooks but never getting caught in making that the sole focus. For every bit of jangle and every candy coated chorus there's a track that's caked in thick froth, shrouding any trace of sunny pop and finding joy in the dark corners of his catalog. The album twists itself into knots that earworm straight to your brain and take root. McVicker's pop vision seems like the kind of album that would have reviewers flocking, a fucked pop nugget that can't be contained or pinned down. Hopefully this time it'll push through the surface and find that audience that it deserves.

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posted by dissensous at 10:40:00 AM 0 comments

5.07.2015

Squadra Omega


Paring down to a trio for their latest, Italian combo Squadra Omega certainly take no decline in the size of their squall on Altri Occhi Ci Guardano. Starting with an untethered drift of noise that feigns from their true strength, the album flashes a few incisors as it barrels into "Sospesi nell'Oblio". The threesome ties Krautrock into knots, utilizing its trademark thrust to add an insistent groove to the record but gnarling the narrative above that churn of bass and drums. Spaced syths and impossibly coagulated guitars find a link between the open spaces of Morricone soundtracks, the restlessness of surf, the asymmetrical bite of jazz and the ambient drift of musique concrète. That original feint of drift recurs throughout the album to cleanse the palette of frantic bop that otherwise threatens to tear a hole in your turntable but they always storm back to the fray and each new time it seems with more vicious results. The tracks push into the eleven and twelve minute territory but never feel like overwrought indulgences, instead they fill out a double LP with the kind of expansive instincts that pushed their German progressive forbears to the edges of space.

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posted by dissensous at 10:56:00 AM 0 comments

5.05.2015

Guantanamo Baywatch


I'd sometimes avoided Guantanamo Baywatch because of the name, not that they didn't charm me musically, but the name just kills me. But hell who cares fun tunes is fun tunes and the band has plenty on their latest, Darling... It's Too Late. Still riding the cusp of surf and sliding down the banister of 50's rock n' roll, the album seeks to replicate the kind of live to tape, out of the guitar and onto the speakers feeling of rock in its dirt caked beginnings. The record does a nice job of pulling from the party pantry and caking it up with a bit of sleaze, the kind that would normally be associated with rock n' roll dirtbags of the half century mark. Everything here feels like it could easily jump into the background of an early John Waters movie, rolling kitsch into hip-shimmy sex appeal and letting the needle drop on a bit of crackle that diffuses the tension. Add in some straight soulful support staff from Curtis Harding and this record has all the fitting touches of a jukebox classic.

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posted by dissensous at 1:13:00 PM 0 comments

5.01.2015

The Prefab Messiahs


Following a successful rounding up of their early work and a 30th anniversary tour, Prefab Messiahs lay down their first new music in over three decades, and it seems right in step with both the melted plastic weirdness they captured at their outset and the garage blasted landscape they find themselves traversing. Burger seems like a perfect home for a band that's digging psychedelic gems out behind your garage. The band flit between jangled pop torrents and heatsick cartoon pop that would have fit in nicely with the knob twisted releases by Twinkeyz and Ozzie in their day. This time instead of Bobb Trimble leading htem down the recorded path the reigns are taken by Doug Tuttle and Jesse Gallagher and this time the colors burn brigher, more saturated and burnt just at the edges. In an age when every band older than 10 years is reforming, anniversary touring and reissuing, its good to know that there are still weird corners of the universe that rightfully get their second chance.

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posted by dissensous at 10:47:00 AM 0 comments