5.27.2015

Dommengang


Birthed from the inspiration of Sig Wilson, a man who has spent time collaborating in Holy Sons, Castanets, and Scout Niblett, Dommengang shares little in common with Wilson's resume roots. Instead, as the album's title might more accurately let on, they find common ground with fellow New Yorkers Endless Boogie and draw from the fractured repetition of Tetuzi Akiyama's Don't Forget To Boogie shot through with the midnight aesthetics of labelmates Barn Owl. The album is blistered and dug deep into groove, chasing the blues but finding itself lost heavily in canyons of noise and abstraction. Stretching out over chasms of riff that ride the heartbeat like a slowly choked throttle, Everybody's Boogie draws down on the listener with an eye into the doom of aching bass and crushing, exhaust fueled heaviness. There's apparently more than one way to boogie and Wilson and co. know that its not always with abandon.

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posted by dissensous at 11:14:00 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

4.29.2015

Warm Soda


Already racking up a third release under the banner of Warm Soda, Matthew Melton's post Bare Wires outfit continues to master the art of the soft punch. Taking power pop's more velvet touches and running them through some checks and balances from the school of The Quick and Milk n' Cookies, Melton goes plays up the dreamy, pastel capped daydream rather than the jagged edges of the genre. Taking most songs from the vantage point of the lonesome Romeo, Symbolic Dream plays out high school pining with a fast heartbeat a beat up denim jacket and plenty of time spent scrawling lyrics under the bleachers. Fed on junk food, glam radio tracks and stolen beer, there's more of the original thrust in power pop's birth here than just pastiche. As with the past two records, Melton is a scholar of the form and he's seemingly keeping the dial lodged between '79 and '81 until he gets it just right. Always great to hear him pay homage.

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posted by dissensous at 4:07:00 PM 0 comments

4.28.2015

The Three O'Clock - Sixteen Tambourines
The Three O'Clock started at The Salvation Army, until a dispute with the charity organization gave them reason for a change. The new name sprang from their regular rehearsal time and with it came a few new
players including Danny Bonair (Weirdos, The Quick) on drums and Mike Mariano (The Falcons) on keys. On this, their second full release as The Three O'Clock after the well received Baroque Hoedown EP, they stray well into power pop territory but they'd go on to define The Paisley Underground of melding those bright 60's pop with a latter day interest in psych touches. Those touches don't really raise their head here though. Instead Sixteen Tambourines stands as a prime piece of power pop that's sunny with a side of melancholy. The band then took the label track from Frantic to I.R.S. to Warner Bros., ending their trail there with the ill-received (but Prince contributed to) Vermillion. All was not lost as they have since been revived and are playing again. Still, for me, Sixteen Tambourines, though one of their earliest, still holds its charm and effervescence after all these years.

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posted by dissensous at 3:15:00 PM 0 comments

4.27.2015

Mikal Cronin


With each new release Mikal Cronin has pulled the curtain back further, made the screen wider and sharpened the focus on his pop spectacular. Sometimes its hard to believe that the scrappy psychedelia of his first LP came from the same person. It had hints of what's played out on MCIII, but to say that this is his most ambitious album is more than an understatement. Between playing everything from obscure Greek string instruments to French horns and arranging a full string section, it all sounds overwhelming on paper; but the brilliance of Cronin is that he makes it all sound so effortlessly effervescent through the speakers. Packed with songs that stretch his power pop past into new heights of arrangement on the A-side, things get even more complex on the flip, where he plays out a suited-concept record condensed into a single side. The individual parts all serve as killer songs on their own but the coming of age tale they weave builds a bigger boat to sail this album into ambitious and heady waters. Both bits show a level of mature songwriting and a mastery of his craft, but again, none of the praise matters quite as much as constant humming of these songs over and over that results from just one listen.

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

4.24.2015

Holly Herndon


Holly Herndon has been slicing through electronic intelligentsia over the course of several releases, including the rather sizable accomplishment that was Movement. But whatever she's done in the past is dusted by the release of Platform, a disorienting, complex sea of voices and electronics that sounds like the brainchild of Prefuse 73, Oneohtrix Poing Never and Katie Gately left alone in a room. Though comparisons only scratch the surface, Herndon is really carving out her own place in high-minded electronic composition and infusing it with a shifted and unshackled pop ideal. She's moved beyond explorations of trance and further towards the avant-garde edge. Platform feels chaotic in a way that reflects society at large, a blur of images, messages, voices and input. Tracks like "Locker Leak" really highlight the over-saturation inherent in everyday life; but she knows that it can't all be overwhelming. The calm and chaos find a strangely sublime balance over the course of the album's run, leaving the listener stunned but not broken.

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posted by dissensous at 10:51:00 AM 0 comments

4.22.2015

Damaged Bug


I'll admit, I was more intrigued than engrossed by the last Damaged Bug album. John Dwyer lone wolf synth project has a nice ring to it but the debut never struck a chord over here. Guess it just took another swipe at the stack because just a year later the sophomore LP makes good on that early intrigue. Cold Hot Plumbs takes that unstoppable Dwyer energy and boils it down to a dry ice simmer. The tracks buzz and snap with analog charm, bubble with Krautrock propulsion and root themselves in some oddly insistent hooks, albeit ones that feel beamed in from the holodeck just in time for freeze dried snacks and Tang. The project lands on its feet from every angle, from the songs themselves to spot-on artwork by Robert Beatty, who gives it a faded psychedelic appeal. This is Dwyer playing with form, keeping the explosions tempered and knowing how to work an aesthetic for all its worth. In the end it pays off quite handsomely, feeling like a well needed blast of cold air after a sweltering year.

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posted by dissensous at 1:51:00 PM 0 comments

4.21.2015

The Stones - Three Blind Mice
The Stones name their band in homage to The Rolling Stones, sought to build a band that sounded like The Clean and ended up emulating neither. Instead the Dunedin trio took another strange bite out of the Flying Nun/New Zealand fringe. Not as jangled and wry as
The Clean, the band had a rough grit approach to the South Hemi DIY that hinges on brittle, chewed tin guitars and Wayne Elsey's nasal lamentations. The band had very little recorded output but track from both the Dunedin Double compilation and Another Disc, Another Dollar EP are remastered and repackaged here alongside some live tracks that haven't seen the light of day. The Stones have often been overlooked in the Flying Nun scene, having been the only participants in the Dunedin Double that didn't go on to much acclaim but this revitalized collection sheds some light on the potential that was captured in those brief moments they found time to lay down. For fans of the period and place, this one's essential.

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posted by dissensous at 11:14:00 AM 0 comments

4.20.2015

Kara-Lis Coverdale


The musical landscape of Kara-Lis Coverdale treads into the biomechanical. It has a feeling about it that's organic, lush and green but still somehow also a touch antiseptic; the hedges are too perfect to not be milled by machine, if you get my drift. In this respect it becomes a well-suited soundtrack for an air-conditioned future. Her take on classical motif winds through eddies of sorrow and hope then feeds them through analysis and digital tweaking to produces the crispest version of each emotion. Synthesized instruments are heightened like food additives and the superimposed image of the orchestra becomes more real than the players ever were. No watermelon ever tasted as intense as a Jolly Rancher. No oboe ever lamented as deeply as Coverdale allows it to. But despite these trappings of manufactured environment, the record is affecting and personal in a way that prods at the heart and tugs at the memory. In her small, mostly cassette output she's hit on a potent brew of symphonic style.

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

4.16.2015

Moon Duo - "Slow Down Low" Video



Hazy vibes from Moon Duo's latest, "Slow Down Low" video, directed by Domingo Garcia-Huidobro of FÖLLAKZOID and it's a pretty good encapsulation of what's making this last album great. If you haven't already picked up Shadow of the Sun by now, then this stands as a reminder that its about time.

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

4.14.2015

John Andrews & The Yawns


The Yawns don't exist, at least not out of Andrews' mind, but what they lack in physical form Andrews more than makes up for them in musical presence here, tracking out a pretty full and toothsome album for a one man band. The sound on Bit By The Fang is warm, yet a bit musty, like firing up the radiators for the fist time in the season. Everything feels toasty but there's just a bit of catch in your throat from the Summer's build up. Pull the album tight against the wind and its a pretty welcome friend rattling by like home movies of summer vacations faded to a Kodak burnt umber. Most notable sources will bring up the connection between John Andrews and his stints in Woods and Quilt, two fairly relevant touchstones to be sure, though on this debut solo LP, Andrews takes those familiar psych-country templates and works his own sun blistered mark into them. He's not so much defined by his resume as stepping off into a territory that makes him a contemporary and peer of those bands. Repeated listens only endear the album further, allowing the blurry jangle of Andrews' sighed sojurns to inhabit your consciousness and take root, soothing like a good sipping rye and spreading the burn out from heart to hull. Not a bad way to start off, that's for damn sure.

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posted by dissensous at 12:53:00 PM 0 comments

4.09.2015

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard


Feels like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are words I've typed more than any other in the past couple of years, and as the rest of this country catches up to the Aussie band's catalog, they give them more reason to chase. Following on two albums from last year alone, they've already got an expansive EP lined up for the first half of 2015. Quarters plays to the bands more sun-faded soul approach, a side which I happen to enjoy. They recently played a hell of a show up by us in Upstate NY and leaned heavily on this portion of their catalog and with the right kind of day it hits harder than some of their fire and fuzz tracks ever do. The concept here is four songs, each ten minutes, ten seconds long. They bounce from jazz licks to blue-eyed soul and into tropical psychedelia. The results here aren't their most single ready tracks but definitely play out their live prowess, morphing styles and dragging the listener willingly along for the ride. If this is the kind of gem they use as a stopgap, I'm interested to see where the next exit takes them. But for now, it seems the seven-headed beast from the South Hemi has already made moves to make 2015 their own

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