Woven Hand

David Eugene Edwards sings like a man possessed. His songs as Woven Hand are a blend of dark spiritual Americana and intense driven percussion. David has a penchant for echoing the man in black interwoven with instrumentation from ancient cultures and driven through a modern industrial filter. His imagery is dark, bordering on apocalyptic. If David found himself singing from a mountaintop come judgement I don't think it would feel all that out of place. Although the vein of fall and redemption is thick, there are some oddly sweet respites from his intensity. On "Bible and Bird" he lightens to a sweet acoustic guitar track that parts the clouds before he takes another pass at fury on the second half of the album. Mosiac is the sound of a man exorcizing his personal demons and letting you come along for the ride, with little regard for whether or not you may find the results overwhelming. An unfettered look into the soul of one man caught on tape.

[MP3] Woven Hand -Dirty Blue
[MP3] Woven Hand -Swedish Purse
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posted by dissensous at 12:01:00 PM 0 comments


Amps For Christ

It’s a nice feeling, a mini revelation, a small scale pilgrimage, the equivalent of taking a much needed nap after a hard days work; finding the sounds that bend with perception inside you, the songs that made you begin to love music in the first place. These simplicities have the tendency to get lost in the muck of excitement and anticipation, the addiction to shiny new unearthed tracks, spoiling the sweetness of sinking into a song. I’ve been in a rut recently, finding it difficult to enjoy much music at all. It’s at these times that you take a listen to albums you may have once glossed over, thinking them mundane or inconsequential. I’m not sure why it took me so long to pick up the Amps for Christ album, Every Eleven Seconds on 5RC. Shots of songwriting grandeur placed lovingly into folds of static, sparse pysch and astutely crafted noise and echo; exactly what I needed to remind me that music can be unusual and affecting, staying clear of pompous indie rock copycat acts complete with a marketing outline and a highly ranked downloadable track. Amps for Christ have truly impressed me, and are well worth your time. I know I’ll be working my way through their extensive discography excitedly exploring the ins and outs, the creation and the inspiration of their electrified noise, political and existential sonic journeys through the impressions of one of the most intriguing indie bands around.

[MP3] Amps For Christ - W I B
[MP3] Amps For Christ - Out On The Moon (Slight Return)
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posted by pitchblack at 12:58:00 PM 0 comments

Nina Nastasia

Nina Nastasia's voice is completely disarming. Try as you like but after a few minutes of listening to her bittersweet proclamations you feel as if you've known her for years. The sweet strums and delicate piano lift up her vignettes of life and longing, her voice equally able to stop you in your tracks and make you walk lighter. With production again from Steve Albini, this album continues in Nina's tradition of being able to record songs that neither feel sparse nor cluttered. Just like choosing your words carefully; nothing unnecessary adorns them and you don't feel as if something more could have been added. Her lyrics capture the taste of melancholy that comes with growing older but they don't get trapped in it completely. She finds the happiness in every day's small moments while at the same time thinking about the inevitable loss of what you've grown accustomed to. Nina comes across as the type of friend you could spend all night sharing bottles of wine with while trying to figure out why you can't find your places in life. At the end of the night nothing was resolved but everyone feels better just the same.

[MP3] Nina Nastasia -Our Day Trip
[MP3] Nina Nastasia -Settling Song
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posted by dissensous at 9:57:00 AM 2 comments


Psychedelic influences spread all over in the late 60's and early 70's. Some bands adopted the imagery and label merely as a method to sell records. There were some nice crossovers though. The fusion of funk and psych had some interesting if not long lasting effects. These two artists were able to mine from both schools with scattered but usually pleasing results.

Rhinoceros - Rhinoceros
This band was actually put together by Elektra records, Doors producer Paul Rothchild and producer Frasier Mohawk as a sort of supergroup. This title eventually held some drawbacks for the band because despite the cumulative talent of the
assembled players, the label's tendency to describe them a supergroup of players caused a bit of an excess of hype that the band couldn't possibly live up to. They recorded three albums in total and their debut remains as the best of these three. The band featured members of Iron Butterfly, Buffalo Springfield and the Mothers of Invention but public disinterest and poor management eventually led to their demise. Their contributions were never as significant as the label made them out to be but nonetheless they are still of some consequence.

[MP3] Rhinoceros - Apricot Brandy
[MP3] Rhinoceros - Belbeukus

U.S. 69 - Yesterday's Folks
U.S. 69 combine psych rock, jazz and hard edged funk into a combination that comes off more cohesive that it would seem. The record is littered with tight funk drumming that propels Bill Durso's songwriting ably. The shorter
singles don't really showcase the band's psychedelic influences but on the tail of each side of the record the band lays down long acid jazz freakouts that even weave in some touches of African percussion. The record has come back into exposure through hip hop enthusiasts as the drums on "Miss Goodbody" were sampled by DJ Shadow. Definitely worth checking out.

[MP3] U.S. 69 - Yesterday's Folks
[MP3] U.S. 69 - I'm A Nobody

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posted by dissensous at 10:05:00 AM 1 comments


Mono + World's End Girlfriend

Throughout their tenure, MONO have always balanced their songs with hints of beautiful orchestration and the giant dynamic changes that are often associated with post-rock. Personally I've always had a preference for the moments when they leave the speaker crushing behind and focus on their neo-classical influences. This makes their latest collaboration with Tokyo electronic composer World's End Girlfriend all the better. On Palmless Prayer/ Mass Murder Refrain the two groups delve into the depths of boundless sorrow. Most of the songs hover around the twelve minute range, each song being a different piece of a five part composition; a pilgrimage to the edges of darkness and back to a restrained sense of redemption. There are still a few moments when the orchestra is leveled by a wall of guitar but here MONO uses it more as a precise technique rather than an expected constant. MONO has always been a little more delicate than most standard post-rock fare and here they finally let that be the focus. The record is out now on Temporary Residence Ltd. and the LP is pressed in beautiful two color vinyl.

[MP3] Mono and World's End Girlfriend -Part Four
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posted by dissensous at 10:55:00 AM 1 comments



Stefan Neville writes pop songs for broken toys; songs that can only be appreciated as seen through the eyes of the disenfranchised playthings that once charming, have now become slightly grotesque. Underneath the crunch of tape hiss and clatter lay some truly affecting loner pop songs made all the more real by his damage. Rising out of the New Zealand Tape scene and onto Soft Abuse
his music is given a bit wider release into an unready world. Neville seems to see every instrument in the same light as the kalimba; often adorning their output with rattles, clanks and fuzz that render them with an uncommon feeling of eerie loneliness. His lyrics often lay unrecognizable under this din, but in reality it seems that this too is intentional. The words themselves aren't important but their strained cry gives the broken beast a heart.

[MP3] Pumice -King Korny Remains
[MP3] Pumice -Brawl

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posted by dissensous at 10:30:00 AM 0 comments


Steffen Basho-Junghens

Although German born, Steffen Basho-Junghens plays the steel string guitar like he was raised on a mountainside in Appalachia. His playing owes much to luminaries like John Fahey and of course Robbie Basho, from whom he borrows part of his name. Basho-Junghens plays in torrents of notes that wash over the ears with the temperament of an ocean; calm and clandestine one moment and as the winds pick up, raging almost too fast for comprehension the next. He speaks through the strings, with an affinity for a concept behind his albums; the story becomes apparent without words. It's almost as if the words would only muddle the story. His latest album, part of the solo Wooden Guitar series put out by Locust Records, is entitled Last Days of the Dragons. The buzz and hum of 6 and 12 strings bring a Takoma sound to the hills of the east. The home recordings of his songs give an intimate warmth to the music, inviting you in and making the story songs all that much more enchanting. You can feel his hands on the neck of the guitar, choosing the notes like a story teller chooses phrasing. Inflection is just as important in both mediums and he seems to understand this quite well.

[MP3] Steffen Basho-Junghans -A Secret Song
[MP3] Steffen Basho-Junghans -A Lost Moment

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


Rock n' Roll was the music of youth. Sometimes this proved to be more true in some cases than others. A great many of the unknown and recently rescued artists were young local bands and musicians who made their name opening for any band that rode through town. Both of these records were crafted by the young and eager talent of a burgeoning generation.

The Brain Police - The Brain Police
Formed from the collaborative efforts of some of San Diego's best local bands, and even though most of the boys were still in High School their playing is well beyond their years. The Brain Police's record is actually a near perfect demo that
was used to solicit record companies. The Brain Police opened for nearly every band that came through the San Diego area; The Byrds, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Cream, and Steppenwolf to name a few. The latter even demanded that the boys accompany them on a tour through the southwest. The band came very close to a deal but when it fell through due to legal reasons they disbanded, never to play together again. Luckily they leave behind one of the most coveted and completed demo recordings of the era.

[MP3] The Brain Police - Getting Too Much Higher
[MP3] The Brain Police - My World of Wax

J.K. & Co. - Suddenly One Summer
This psychedelic pop gem was written by one Jaye Kaye when he was only fifteen years old. Jaye was the son of Mary Kaye, guitarist and namesake of the Mary Kaye Stratocaster. Jaye was enchanted by the Beatles and when he began to
write his own brand of lush pop songs he was sent by his mother to work with Robin Spurgin, a Vancouver record producer. Spurgin and his session musicians fleshed out Jaye's songs into a full concept album depicting life of a man, from birth until death. The songs have flashes of baroque psychedelia thanks to the many studio touches of Spurgen and local legend Robert Buckley. The album in no way shows Jaye's age and though it was unfortunately let down by the label it remains today as a young man's masterpiece.

[MP3] J.K. & Co. - Fly
[MP3] J.K. & Co. - Land of Sensations and Delights

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posted by dissensous at 9:47:00 AM 1 comments


The New Sound of Numbers

Cloud Recordings doesn't put out many records, so when they do come out they are usually of a high caliber. Their latest release is from Hannah Jones, contributing member to Circulatory System and The Instruments. The project called The New Sound of Numbers has a high focus on rhythm in a cloud of experimental pop with a smattering of no wave influences. Jones would not have been that out of place on a bill with DNA or maybe even the Slits. Deadpan Nico vocals float in dry space over scattershot rhythmic tinkerings and keyboards with more squiggles than crinkle cut fries. Jones lists herself first and foremost as a visual artist which may explain why the music seems to unfold like snapshots of abstract paintings lying by the roadside. The New Sound of Numbers' Liberty Seeds is out October 10th

[MP3] The New Sound of Numbers -You'll Soon Be Singing
[MP3] The New Sound of Numbers -Tuning the Air
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posted by dissensous at 10:50:00 PM 0 comments


The Heron King's Return

Califone have returned from a brief pause in their usually steady stream of recordings. After wrapping up several solo projects that included scoring music for films, Tim Rutli and the band have laid down another album of broom closet damaged blues for early mornings. Rutli has a knack for capturing the sweet ennui and blind stagger of the moments at 5 am when you stop being drunk and before the pain of a hangover can be fully realized; blissful but unconsciously so. His loops and soundscapes twist like the distant sound of street sweepers and buses mingled with the wind and quiet clatter of still dawn. The songs are hazy, like memories still being made. This album comes as a pleasant continuation of Califone's consistent back catalog. Rutli, doesn't seem to falter from his talent as he matures in form. The album is a decidedly lighter offering than 2004's Heron King Blues, like a dawn after the dreary night, the beginnings of redemption. Roots and Crowns is out October 10th on Thrill Jockey.

[MP3] Califone -The Orchids
[MP3] Califone -3 Legged Animals
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posted by dissensous at 2:13:00 PM 0 comments


Shuta Hasunuma

Taking inspiration from his work in environmental science, Hasunuma creates a dense electronic landscape that totters between the lush expanses of wilderness and the encroaching limits of the city. His melodies are simple but with reason, the simplicity accurately captures this wonderment of where the streets stop and the grass starts to grow longer. Utilizing field recordings and blending them with a myriad of electronic and acoustic instruments, Hasunuma weaves musical tapestries in the same vein as Fennesz or Mountains. Like those artists he too creates something wholly organic from seemingly contradictory origins. The start-stop tinkle of piano finds beauty in the way the rain drops in puddles. The slices of guitar find comfort in walking on hot afternoons. Lying with your face to the sky, the same clouds that pass over the asphalt find their way to the mountains with complete indifference to whom they shade.

[MP3] Shuta Hasunuma -Eurikago Afternoon
[MP3] Shuta Hasunuma -Prelude
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posted by dissensous at 10:07:00 AM 1 comments


The word bubblegum sends a cringe through the soul of many a music fan. Then again some collectors cultivate it, celebrate it and catalog it. In any case it seems to have infiltrated every decade of music since the 60's. I can't say I support the current incarnation but I have a soft spot for bubblegum psych. The following two records are a good example of not taking your music too seriously and still not feeling too guilty about it.

The Klowns - Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey
In all truth The Klowns weren't really a band. They were one of the many creations of Jeff Berry the notable 60's bubblegum producer responsible for hits by the
Monkees, The Archies, and Neil Diamond. The Klowns served an outlet for his stable of songwriters from his Steed Label. The songs themselves vary but there are certainly a host of gems in amongst the throwaway, it is bubblegum so they are all essentially fluf but good fluf. Interestingly enough the lead singer of The Klowns was Barry Bostwick who as an actor later went on to play Brad in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The project fizzled quickly but the songs like "Yellow Sunglasses," "Love Is The Answer" and "Movin" remain as a fun take on the explosion of psychedelic pop.

[MP3] The Klowns - Yellow Sunglasses
[MP3] The Klowns - Love Is The Answer

The Monkees - Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
This marks the Monkees foray into the arena of psychedelic pop and while not really a great psych record, it is one of their better offerings. Some great bubbly pop
songs with fun use of swirling effects and oddly enough some of the first appearances of the Moog Synthesizer on a rock record. This was not a Jeff Berry production, but it did prove to be a more cohesive Monkees record than most. It boasts some nice originals by the band and the classic cover of Harry Nilsson's "Cuddly Toy." Oh, and hearing the Monkees rail against the status quo on "Pleasant Valley Sunday" has to be one of the great musical ironies of all time.

[MP3] The Monkees - Daily Nightly
[MP3] The Monkees - Pleasant Valley Sunday

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posted by dissensous at 9:54:00 PM 0 comments


A Surreal Morning With...

El Goodo can't help wearing their influences like a big eared smile. They take huge cues from 60's beatlesesque pop bands and their latter day Elephant 6 led resurgencies. As I have no objections to mining the 60's for influence I see this as a rather huge feather in their collective caps but to make things even more convincing the band was first exposed to the world via fellow countrymen Super Furry Animals. The SFA even signed them and released their first record on their own Placid Casual. Fuzzed up, jangled out and shot through the speakers in glorious three part harmonies that would make Robert Schneider jump up and dance in his living room. El Goodo are now being catapulted onto and unsuspecting American audience via Empyrean Records. Another record that is coming regretfully too late in the year as I could easily find myself blasting this one in the hot July sun. The upbeat jumpers are big and bouncy and the downbeat counter fair is lush and dreamy. The whole affair is undercoated with a thick veneer of british punk swagger. Whats not to love?

[MP3] El Goodo -Surreal Morning
[MP3] El Goodo -Chalking The Lines
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posted by dissensous at 9:48:00 AM 0 comments


Hisato Higuchi

Hisato Higuchi plays with the delicate touch and patience of a man creating an artform. His fingers pass as though ghosts ran though him and plucked the notes from the air to express their muted anguish. Vocally he moans in the same manner as he plays; spectral, without ever grasping onto anything long enough to take a definite shape. Much like Lorren Connors, Higuchi plays with a form that borders on blues, borders on jazz and is probably too fragile for either label in reality. Higuchi's patience may lie in his former life; he was a puppeteer, giving life to inanimate objects and expressing emotions through the delicacy of movement. Thinking about it, this is not so far off from what he's doing now. Still pulling strings to effect an idea. Still using the inanimate to tell a story. His new album Discussions Dialogue is out October 10th on Family Vineyard.

[MP3] Hisato Higuchi -Watashi Wa Asa O Matteita
[MP3] Hisato Higuchi -Manazashi No Saki E
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posted by dissensous at 10:15:00 AM 2 comments


The Skygreen Leopards Skyband

Its a shame that this record isn't coming out until after summer is over. Nothing could be more representative of tranquil summer nights and campfire gazing than this latest incarnation of The Skygreen Leopards. Disciples Of California smells of woods after a summer rain. It blows a warm wind against the back of your neck as you stare at the last remaining sliver of sunlight over the hills. This is the California record of the year. Perhaps taking some inspiration in their roles helping others flesh out a bigger sound (Wooden Wand and the Sky High Band, Flying Canyon) Glenn and Donnovan have added a full rhythm section of Shade Sartin(bass) and Jasmyn Wong(drums) to the group. The full Skygreen Leopard Skyband sound sees the band sounding more like well, a band. The two songwriters are still translating the whims of the forest to the people, they just happen to be telling the story in language more people can understand. Rusted jangle and acid tinged folk have now been ably supported by the mellow country strums and sweet lackadaisical candor that make people throw on a Grateful Dead album to ease an August dusk. Disciples Of California is out on October 24th on Jagjaguwar.

[MP3] The Skygreen Leopards -Places West of Shawnapee
[MP3] The Skygreen Leopards -I Remember Sally Orchid
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posted by dissensous at 10:30:00 AM 1 comments


In the ever emerging psychedelic explosion of the late 60's is seems that every subset and region had its own style. Some borrowed heavily from others while some were unmistakably their own. Texas was fertile ground for music then as it is today but with the heavy constriction of the fact that sometimes being a hippy or rocker was frowned upon much more so than it was on the coasts. This adversity brought a fervent new brand of psych to the table, led most notably by the fuzzed out garage strums of The Thirteenth Floor Elevators. Though the most well known they were far from the only band to define the Texas psych sound.

Cold Sun - Dark Shadows
Borrowing heavily from the Elevators' fuzz guitar and treble laced tone, Cold Sun is one of the decades very rare classics. The original LP had a limited release and subsequent reissues have been
sparse, numbering in the hundreds even for CD copies. As is the case with many rare albums the stigma of the album overshadows the music a bit. However this is certainly an album deserving of some of its cult status. Very lo-fi sound can't completely obfuscate the tender melodies and blistering guitar work that lend support to Bill Miller's peyote drenched lyricism. Another odd element is the repeated use of Autoharp to fill in the bass on several tracks which only adds another layer of legend to the album. While hardly as influential as the Elevators, especially since they took them as a main influence, the album is worthwhile and contains many great songs.
[MP3] Cold Sun - See What You Cause
[MP3] Cold Sun - South Texas

Fever Tree - Fever Tree
While not as characteristic of the Texas sound as Cold Sun, Fever Tree still represented a hard muscularity of tone in guitar and smatterings of baroque psych which would prove influential to later bands. Ironically led by a husband
and wife songwriting team that cut their teeth working on songs for Mary Poppins, this band showed some true flourish by fleshing out some of their originals with orchestral bits aided by Love arranger David Angel. Some of their heavier tunes are panned for being too representative of psych rock cliches but I think they wear rather well and stand up to many songs of the same style today. In amongst the originals are some obligatory Beatles covers and a couple of funk rock reworkings. Again not the most essential album if you're going on pure balls out rock classics but it does paint a broader picture of the regional sound and the evolution of late 60's rock in general.
[MP3] Fever Tree - Ninety-Nine and One Half
[MP3] Fever Tree - Man Who Paints the Pictures

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posted by dissensous at 8:56:00 PM 0 comments


Ghost Sessions

Ghost Sessions is the side project of Racingpaperplanes' Richard Wilson. Wilson's songs evoke rainy Saturday's filled with memories that cloud your mind like ghosts. The soft splash of tires on pavement, the ominous loom of clouds that hang like castles in the distance and the insistant tug of memories thought long lost. Wilson's songs don't exorcize the demons so much as they transport you back to a time and place only seen though the haze of drops that obscure the streetlamps and cause your eyes to squint against the cold. His soft country lilt floats on the air like the first days of autumn and dissipates into the ether, his breath on the air a ghost in itself. Ghost Sessions has released two 3" eps on Tract Records, the first of which What To Say On The Way Down is already out of print but the latest Speed Of Life can still be purchased directly from the label. Not a far departure from his work as Racingpaperplances, but Ghost Sessions does seem to be a more intimate project for Wilson. Speed of Life also features contributions from fellow Tract lablemates Grumpy Bear and Boo Hiss.

[MP3] Ghost Sessions -Speed Of Life
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posted by dissensous at 6:22:00 PM 0 comments


The Lisps

The Lisps are a South Bronx fun band. Their debut EP, 'The Vain, The Modest, and the Dead' is a listener's dream. At the standard 5 song rate, I'm amazed at how much they pile in. Album opener "Pepper Spray" has a guitar line with the tone and sensibility of a Ratatat track, but they compound that sound with refreshing down tempo vocals, a hook that could reel in the loch ness, and my personal favorite, hand claps; and it just gets better from here: harmonica and tambourine, impeccably fading out to DIY electro-rock and a jazzy folk number; finishing it off with an left of center rattletrap of a song, appropriately named "Chaos". These guys will keep the smiles on your face. It's the most fun you've had with pants on.

[MP3] The Lisps - Chaos

Visit The Lisps' Myspace.
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posted by pitchblack at 10:34:00 AM 0 comments