1.30.2015

The Gooch Palms - Trackside Daze b/w Sleep Disorder
A double shot of bent pop fizz and rock candy crunch from The Gooch Palms. Following on their 2013 LP for Anti-Fade the pair kick out a solid sender of a seven inch for Urinal Cake. The AA single
hits with some Ramones meets Shoes power pop action on opener "Trackside Daze" while the flip, "Sleep Disorder" kicks things a bit more bratty taking a give n' take vocal between the pair that spits a side eye verse and echoplex chorus. The single feels quite a bit more polished than NOVO'S and its definitely a good move by the band towards an oddly slick, yet affably eccstatic sound that seems to fit their somwhat goofy demeanors.

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posted by dissensous at 4:21:00 PM 0 comments

1.29.2015

Dead Farmers


It’s telling that Dead Farmers were the inspiration to set up Aarght records. The label, now a litmus of some of Australia's most vital garage punk opened its doors to release the band's debut 7" in 2006. Their debut for R.I.P. Society followed on that single with a blast of straightforward rock n' roll that took no shit and knew how to wield an amplifier like a weapon of righteous fury. It’s been four years since that debut and the band shows no signs of cooling the fires. Wasteland is no frills rock, straight from the marrow to vibrational core of the listener. Eschewing any whiff of effects, its the sound of three men in a room bashing out low slung growl that comes on like a guitar golem plodding its path with little regard to those in the way. They have a clear love of that crux in time when rock pared back its excesses, took a split from prog's bloat and ebbed its way down a path that would come to be cut by punk. They're finding solace in that moment when rock could light the raw nerve again and frankly their enthusiasm is contagious.

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posted by dissensous at 3:02:00 PM 0 comments

1.28.2015

The Soft Moon


Zeroes, the sophomore album from Luis Vasquez' Soft Moon never seemed like it quite made good on the promises of his early singles and debut. It was steeped in darkwave, doused in goth but it seemed like it needed a darker heart and maybe more acid in its veins. Well it seems that perhaps Vasquez agreed on that count. His third album, recorded in isolation and feeling every minute the better for it, is an ink black vortex of industrial hate that sounds as if Vasquez locked himself in a room and force fed his brain on a steady diet of Dario Argento films, Nine Inch Nails and Bauhaus until he was in a proper state of dissociated euphoria and then pounded away at writing Deeper. It’s that NIN reference that feels strangely vital. Its hard to take an influence that's so steeped in a singular sound and still make it sound like a jumping off point rather than a pale imitation but lead single "Black" does just that, sounding like a recording with more teeth than Reznor's imbued his flagship project with in years. No disrespect, the man has a booming career in soundtracking, but sometimes its best to let the past go and let a new fleet of disaffected youth pick up the yoke. And if there was a lead rider in that pack, Vasquez certainly seems like the alpha of smudged, mechanical darkwave choked on hate. Deeper is about as close to the vein as he's cut yet and, personally, I'm glad to see a little blood spilled on this one.

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posted by dissensous at 10:02:00 AM 0 comments

1.27.2015

Cravinkel - Cravinkel
German prog/folk act Cravinkel eschew some of the usual Krautrock traditions, hewing closer to a few UK prog acts of the era, most notably Spooky Tooth, who they spent some time opening for. The band mixes heavy guitar, country-folk touches and a good dose
of psychedelic splatter into an album that, while celebrated in its own country, has seen little US impact. The band moved to Hamburg and signed to Phillips for their eponymous first album, parlaying that momentum into some key EU opening spots and a slot at the Love and Peace Festival. The latter was conceived as a European answer to Woodstock, and well known as Jimi Hendrix's last live appearance. The band held together for a follow-up album in 1971, Garden of Loneliness, which expanded on their live penchant for freeform jam and is therefore a bit less structured than the debut. In '72 the band's house burned, along with most of their belongings and instruments. They would never recover from the blow and the band dissipated shortly after. Notably bandleader Gert Krawinkel would go on to play in German new wave band Trio (of DaDaDa fame). Thankfully that doesn't remain his legacy and now Longhair has issued both albums back on vinyl, though it seems only in Europe (get on that Forced Exposure). If you're looking for long lost prog and don't mind the import fees, its worth tracking down.

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posted by dissensous at 4:14:00 PM 0 comments

Frankie and the Witch Fingers


Opening their album with more fuzz than an exploded dustbuster, Bloomington, Indiana's Frankie and the Witch Fingers are riding high on the hallmarks of the 2010's pantheon of garage rock heroes. Adding to the sonic soup a heavy dose of witchy vibes, psychedelic shake and an incessant grind that makes it feel vital and raw as skin peeled back, their sophomore album for Chicago's chief gutwrenchers, Permanent Records, is fueled by more than just paint by numbers rock. The band knows when to ride the tide of fuzz-addled freakout, knows when to break in the shake n' shimmy and knows just when to tear all the good times down for a good old fashioned dark horse that draws the shades and draws a little blood in the process. A solid offering from this band, reportedly uprooting from the doldrums of the Corn Belt to LA. It'll be interesting to see how the move affects their sound in the future, but for now these nuggets are more than worth the price of admission.

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posted by dissensous at 11:05:00 AM 0 comments

1.23.2015

Sean McCann


McCann, long a master of the ambient soundscape, crosses here almost completely into classical composition. His works still have an immersive feel about them, sparse and dry as museum air, but he's added a beating heart of emotion within that cocoon of parched atmosphere. The pieces were written over the course of the last four years but they play like a meshed suite that rises and falls with the panoramic swell of McCann's stringwork. The strings soar against the hum of cotton ball drones, the atmospherics threatening to take over the focus but hammered back each time the live instruments flutter. Conversely, McCann's piano pieces play into the somber pull of the sonics, no less full of emotive grace but certainly allowing the tone to shift from any trace of ebullience to pinpricks of doubt and shame. Here, the artist truly takes a step forward into academic territory, proving that he can strike the balance between studio wiz and conductor and for that dichotomy, Ten Impressions For Piano & Strings is all the better.

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posted by dissensous at 12:10:00 PM 0 comments

1.21.2015

King Tuff - "Headbanger" Video



King Tuff's recent album Black Moon Spell is a glammed shot of power pop straight out of '78 and to match the vibes the band's got a great sendup of dance countdowns ala Soul Train and Top of the Pops. A fitting accompaniment to a song about love at first brush through someone's record collection. If you haven't made the move to pick up BMS yet, there's still time, one of RSTB's favorites of 2014.

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posted by dissensous at 3:05:00 PM 0 comments

Anthroprophh


Anthroprophh have waded through the fringes of psych, burning ozone with the best for some time now. They count amongst their ranks ex-Heads guitarist Paul Allen along with Big Naturals' Jesse Webb and Gareth Turner, not a bad litany of old haunts for a band looking to torch the fringes of psychedelic noise. Taking for inspiration a series of unconfirmed UK extraterrestrial sightings, UFO mines broken transmissions and barotraumatic swells of guitar for a wholly disorienting and ragged bit of amplifier blowback. The album is dowsed in the darkest blacks, cut through with cigarette burns of distortion and noise that scald hot, quick and without mercy. When Allen's guitar isn't drawing the ear, the ambiance turns just as menacing in its absence, squalling with droned feedback and eerie calls from beyond the pale. Truly the band are using their other worldly inspirations well, the album feels beamed in from across an expanse of cold and inhuman reaches. Previously issued on tape for Zamzam in the UK, the record finds a welcome home with the new-found partnership of Cardinal Fuzz/Captcha and is given a fitting issue to vinyl. Psych fiends would do well to put this on their lists.

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

1.20.2015

Max Frost & The Troopers - The Shape of Things To Come
Its interesting to think of the origins of Max Frost when their psych-pop hit is selling sundries in Target commercials these days. The band is actually a figment, existing in the movie Wild In The Streets. In the movie Max Frost
and his Troopers are high-schoolers fighting for the right to vote, rallying< to legally lower the US age to fourteen. In the end they win out, Max is elected president and his questionable first action is to make 30 the mandatory retirement age lock everyone over 35 into concentration camps and force feed them LSD. The actual music was actually played by a band called The 13th Power, but due to the popularity of the film, the songs are always credited to Max Frost & The Troopers. In the movie, Christopher Jones plays the enigmatic Max and notably, a young Richard Pryor plays the band's drummer, Stanley X. The Austrian psych label Captain High has reissued the entirety of the album along with a host of previously unissued bonus tracks. This marks the first time the whole soundtrack of the movie has appeared in one place, including the Troopers' rallying anthem, "Fourteen or Fight," used extensively in the movie to push their movement. The whole album pales a bit in comparison to the Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil penned title track but its packed with plenty of breezy psych pop that's a fitting picture of the time and honestly on par with several, non-fictional nugget bearing groups of the era.

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posted by dissensous at 9:27:00 AM 0 comments

1.19.2015

Chook Race


Melbourne's Chook Race follows up a string of solid singles and tapes with an album that outstrips them all. Finding the stride in their punk meets suburban shamble-pop, the band is striking the same nervy yet pastoral notes that fellow countrymen Boomgates seem so adept at. About Time finds the band flirting with chugging, muscular twang, the kind that you can feel in your teeth, really mull over and spit out. The bass chugs throughout, straight like a train without tiring and, as with so many of their peers in this new branch of the jangled jungle, they nail it down with nasal vox that add just the right bit of edge to the proceedings. Here those are balanced out with a soft counterpoint of female vocals and a push/pull between post-punk tautness and breezy moments that give the record a very early American indie feeling. There's a sense that this could be slotted in alongside some early Yo La Tengo and not feel all that out of place. Repeated listens open the record up further, full of slashing ennui and a tumultuous emotional core. The band is self-released, but if they keep churning out material like this, that may not stay the case for long.

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

1.15.2015

Moon Duo


Oh shit its good to have Moon Duo back on our side once again. The duo, now confusing the name by expanding to a trio, has found a dance core in the molten wilderness of fuzz that serves as their wellspring. With the addition of John Jeffrey on drums as a relentless engine of rhythm, the group now chugs with an incessant fervor. There's still a fog of hydroponic hypnosis and gnarled exhaust pipe blowback that wafts around the ankles of every track but now it seems that the feet can't help but dance in frantic precision. But even an injection of shake 'n shimmy can't dull the edge of Ripley Johnson's razor wire guitar attacks. When the man cuts, he cuts to the bone, leaving just enough room for Sanae to filter in toxic vapor vibes on the synth. Johnson's vocals pour in slow like steam from a grate, drifting heavenward with a slow and methodical pulse. Everything on Shadow of the Sun seems to belie that title, feeling primed for nighttime spins, a 3 AM soundtrack with no sun in sight. Though if anything's the same, it’s that midnight run feeling and once again they nail it. Clear some space in your late night listening schedule.

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posted by dissensous at 10:31:00 AM 0 comments

1.14.2015

Twerps


Twerps have made the move in the US to Merge but in our hearts they remain steadfastly a Chapter Music band making good. Their sophomore LP locks into the sun-blistered crook of the Go-Betweens' heartbroken pop mixed with a touch of the Flying Nun jangle that brought them up. The general demeanor of Range Anxiety is smoothed over from their debut, buttressing against the new-found confidence of their spanner release, the Underlay EP, for an altogether catchier, soft focus pop record that seems built for late 80's montages and mixtapes made for junior high crushes. Not to label them juvenile, of course, its just that Twerps' music possesses such a breezy innocence and emotional punch that it seems cleanly lodged into that tumultuous time of life, exemplified by deep, unflagging attachment to pop music as the only outlet and explanation for the kind of overwhelming drama of everyday as a thirteen year old. Though, to be fair, this will probably hit the college crowd harder than the co-eds at a middle school dance but one would hope that somewhere there's a kid finding solace in the wide-eyed, refreshing pop on Range Anxiety. A clean record, that hits like a blast of cold autumn air each time the needle swings back to the top; its difficult not to fall hard for Twerps' charms, and as a strident admirer of South Hemi heavies for some time, its great to see others finally coming to their senses on the matter.

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posted by dissensous at 8:30:00 AM 0 comments

1.13.2015

The Embarassment - Hey Day: 1979 - 1983
The axis of indie rarely passes through Wichita, Kansas but in 1980 that city spawned one of the great-undersung indie bands that spent their time crawling from post-punk towards the pantheon of College Rock. They split
their sound between the button down pop of The Feelies and the sandpaper punk of Mission of Burma. Both bands seem to fit perfectly in The Embarrassment's company and between those cornerstones and the fact that the band's name finds its sources in Vonnegut, it’s a wonder how I ever lived without these guys in my own teen years. The band earned a fairly solid reputation for their live shows, which lead to solid openings for Iggy Pop and John Cale and eventually to becoming one of the early, early Sub Pop releases during their cassette days. All these seem like hallmarks of a band on the rise to fame but keep in mind that the label was barely on its feet and lineups and fans remain shaky prospects. Just on their upsweep through college radio, with the release of their seminal, and frankly essential Death Travels West EP, the band called it quits, with favorable reviews rolling in long after they were no longer together. As the band splintered Brent Geissman joined college staples The Del Fuegos and Bill Goffrier formed Big Dipper, solid second stringers in their own right. To date their albums and EPs lack proper reissues (someone get on a vinyl version of Death Travels West) but Bar/None has wrapped up the essential early catalog with Hey Day: 1979 - 1983. This is one for all the misfits looking for solace, if The Embarrassment isn't in your life yet, perhaps it should be.

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posted by dissensous at 9:41:00 AM 0 comments

1.12.2015

Sir Richard Bishop


The story behind Tangier Sessions is compelling, a tale of Bishop's falling in love with a seemingly unattainable ancient guitar, finally succumbing to its lure and taking the instrument from Spain to Tangier where he recorded an album of beautifully mournful songs. But even without the subtext, Tangier Sessions is Bishop locked into his emotive best, stripping away his more experimental impulses to get to the core of the fingerpicked soul that he's so incredibly talented at divining. The songs drip with a sadness that feels as if Bishop discovered it in the wood of that old instrument. The songs shift from driving to languorous but always with the amalgam of Middle Eastern flair and Flamenco drive that have become hallmarks of Bishop's best work. In the past few years Bishop's been chasing eddies that speak more to his Sun City Girls roots, but this returns him to the thrust of Polytheistic Fragments and The Freak of Araby. Its good to have him back, few can ever take his place.

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posted by dissensous at 10:09:00 AM 0 comments

1.09.2015

Zs


After some already impressive starts, Zs have found their stride and an ideal lineup with the addition of Greg Fox (Liturgy, Guardian Alien, Man Forever) and guitarist and composer Patrick Higgins. Xe creeps through dark alleyways of sound, banging threateningly on the walls in a "Warriors, come out and play" sneer. On the surface, Xe is minimal, shades of grey hiding forms of grey, but as it unfolds, as the listener hones in on each track, those hidden fine details flesh themselves out like precise bite marks worked into metal. Fox acts as a jagged anchor for the record, tethering the surrounding din in place with a gnarled bout of rhythmic fury that burns bright but not so hot that it ever overpowers. He leaves plenty of room for squalls of sax, guitars that slash and quaver in equal measure and an air of quiet menace that plays between the lines. In some ways it’s hard to believe that this was recorded beginning to end, straight to tape, but in many respects it seems it could be harnessed no other way. Any room for embellishments and afterthoughts is ruled out, Xe is rehearsed chaos, but its of the moment, teetering on collapse but spinning furiously to keep that collapse in check. Zs have peaked my interest before, but here, they have my full attention and leave me wanting more each time it ends.

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posted by dissensous at 1:25:00 PM 0 comments

1.07.2015

Robert Robinson


Sore Eros bandleader Robert Robinson's struck out with a solo venture that nestles nicely into the valley of dreamy psychedelic pop that fans of SE will find immediately inviting. Solo, but never alone on Connecticut River, Robinson is joined by a deep bench of collaborators from Sam Gas Can, Murph and John Moloney to previous partner in crime Gary War. Like War, Robinson has a deft understanding of stripping pop to its core and shaking vigorously. The album staggers from bleary psychedelics to hard candy glam, sweet tinged folk to bluegrass as viewed through warped coke-bottle lenses. It’s an amalgam that sounds chaotic on paper but Robinson makes it feel like transitions in a vast dream. The ideas never seem jumbled; rather they melt, drip and dissipate into one another for a record that solidifies Robinson's reputation of never taking the safe path.

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posted by dissensous at 2:01:00 PM 0 comments

1.06.2015

The Modernettes - Teen City
Decades on, light still seems to be creeping in on the prowess of Canada's punk scene. Never as celebrated as their US or UK cousins, the country kicked out such heartily under-appreciated acts as Teenage Head, DOA and The Diodes, and now finally, one of
Canada's great native bands The Modernettes are seeing their Teen City EP reissued as a 30th anniversary edition. The EP cracks open with their most enduring track "Barbara," a Ramones-tinged take on want and love and spills over into five additional firecracker punk tracks that stand as pretty strong arguments for the enduring nature of Canuck punk. This, their sophomore EP led to an eventual record, Get It Straight, but despite the strong reaction to Teen City, success would always elude the band. They'd dissolve shortly after the release of the album but always remain a strident part of Canada's punk past.

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posted by dissensous at 9:36:00 AM 1 comments

1.05.2015

Jack Name


Jack Name's John Webster Johns has been moving on the periphery of weird pop for years, serving as keyboardist with White Fence and contributing production touches to Ariel Pink and Cass McCombs, but with the advent of last year's Light Show he began creeping further into public consciousness as a name in his own right. That record's follow-up Weird Moons pushes him further into the splattered red lights, solidifying his hold on a slippery brand of cocaine foam, heatsick street pop. Boiled in synth punk but clutching its paws into the vats that wrought outcasts from Can to Chrome, his sophomore album is awash in spoiled neon splendor transcribed from ink black puff paint hieroglyphs that spill tales of debauched nights best left to fester in the repressed corners of memory. The album has a pulse that itches at the listener, keeping sleep a long forgotten memory and soundtracking a descent into nights that squirm with compulsion. Its good to have a queasy start to 2015 and Jack Name's setting that tone well.

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

1.02.2015

Lumerians


Whew, been a moment since Oakland's Lumerians have shown up here but its a pleasure every time they come back to the fold. Ostensibly a prequel to their similarly named Transmissions From Telos Vol IV, Vol III is packed with tribal rhythm, glowing hot embers of dub and Krautrock ambiance to spare. Its dark and writhing, shot through with sinister impulses and strange seduction. There's always been an air of mystery to Lumerians' work but the underground thrum seems to be deafening here, beckoning the listener further to subterranean depths of dance shot through with a narcotic neon flicker that paralyzes as much as it tantalizes. Plenty have tried to tap the psychic vein of the German Progressive plateau but few have done its so consistently and with as much magnetic pull as Lumerians have here.

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posted by dissensous at 4:39:00 PM 0 comments

12.31.2014

Gospel Oak - Gospel Oak
Gospel Oak grew out of the songwriting of Matthew Kelly, a former harp player for John Lee Hooker and T-Bone Walker, he found his way to the West Coast and did time in Horses, a band that featured future Miami Vice actor Don Johnson on vocals. Feeling his
talent squandered by the experience he left for England and hooked up with a group of Indiana ex-pats to form Gospel Oak. The band wound through blues, folk and 60's psych touches with a solid backbone in Kelly's songs. They even caught the attention of Beatles publicist Tony Barrow who wound up managing them and arranging their record deal with Kapp records. Seemingly all good blocks in place and perhaps if they had just a bit more luck they could have endured, especially given the UK's love for white boy blues at the time. However, the album didn't chart strongly and Kelly's visa eventually expired and he found himself headed back to the US before Gospel Oak really got their legs. He'd eventually go on to found Kingfish later in his career. Still, the album remains a solid bit of the blues crossover with nice flecks of pop and country and its found its way back into print recently. A worthwhile addition to any collection leaning towards studio blues from this period.

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posted by dissensous at 12:20:00 PM 0 comments