Panda Bear

I have to admit that I don't always get excited about album release dates. I love music in its many forms and styles but I've never really found myself waiting outside the doors of a record store on the day an album comes out. However, the new album by Noah Lennox aka Panda Bear is such a swirling slice of sun drenched psychedelia that I may have to line up for a copy when this is finally released, provided of course that Paw Tracks has the good sense to put such a future classic on wax. This album is steeped in the reverb laden footsteps of Brian Wilson. It's the album he might have made had the sandbox come equipped with a sampler. I've been a longtime fan of both experimental electronic and psych pop and Lennox has found a way to seamlessly fuse the two into a sonic wonderland that shimmers with waves of joy and layers of harmony. A huge step into the sun from his mournful debut, this album is far beyond anything Lennox has produced on his own or with his brethren in the Animal Collective. The album has been several years in the making and the extra time and effort seem to have all been worthwhile, plus Lennox has resurrected the 12 minute pop song. Two of the albums tracks stretch into this range but despite their length they never seem to divert your attention. Instead each minute of the album is packed with just the right mix of influence and ingenuity. Person Pitch comes out March 20th and you can pre-order the CD now at Insound and cross your fingers for the vinyl release to show up soon.

[MP3] Panda Bear-Ponytail
[MP3] Panda Bear-Comfy In Nautica
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posted by dissensous at 10:00:00 AM 3 comments


Sometimes the span of time gets the better of the music buying public and even those who tasted a bit of success can fade quickly into the background. Their records go out of print from an apparent lack of interest until someone finally has the sense to see the gems for what they are amongst the rubble. These two folk albums were recently rescued from certain obscurity by those who have the right kind of ears.

Judee Sill - Judee Sill
A talented songwriter whose ego and battle with drugs proved too much of an obstacle for the stardom she deserved. Judee had a gentle and warm folk style that was underpinned with a gospel sensibility she picked up in Catholic
school. Judee spent her adolescence in self-imposed homeless and fell into a heroin habit early. Her songwriting proved to be stronger initially and won her favor and friends in the Laurel Canyon community but even with the support of friends Graham Nash and David Crosby her refusal to be billed as anything but a main attraction and her return to heroin eventually became her undoing. As she faded from the brief limelight she disappeared from her friends and was virtually unheard from until her death from an overdose. Nonetheless her tender songwriting and unpretentious delivery remain a wonderful legacy that has seen recent praise and reissues. Her debut album contains that sweet mixture of folk and earnest gospel that swirl in your head for hours.

[MP3] Judee Sill- Jesus Was A Crossmaker
[MP3] Judee Sill- My Man On Love

Elyse - Elyse
Elyse was another talent that rose slightly before dipping completely out of the picture in the late 60's. She earned a spot on the Johnny Carson show and befriended Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, the latter of whom actually contributes some
guitar to her album. However she never successfully followed her debut and let herself slip away. Her album is strongest when she sticks to the emotive, throaty folk but falters when wandering into some ill advised but rather timely psychedelia. The album was rescued by Orange Twin label head Andrew Rieger who has also recenlty breathed life back into the beautiful and haunting Sibylle Baier record. Elyse's cracked but beautiful delivery steals the record away from any misguided forays into production that seems a bit too big for itself. Her sparse folk and impassioned blues are tinged with a solemn shade of earnestness and it certainly stands up as a record that deserved to be saved from the ashes.

[MP3] Elyse - Deed I Do
[MP3] Elyse - Band Of Theives

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posted by dissensous at 10:18:00 AM 2 comments


Alasdair Roberts

Scottish singer-songwriter Alasdair Roberts has had a penchant for the folk tales of his homeland. Their themes of drinking, love and death have a timeless quality that he has effortlessly interpreted without making them seem dated. On his latest album The Amber Gathers Roberts has crafted 11 originals that weave the classic themes of these tales into his own compositions. They retain the same effortless feelings of wisdom and timelessness but the music has been updated a bit; and his past work with Will Oldham shines through in a feeling of worn immediacy that tugs at your emotions in ways that classic folk songs might not. When the feeling turns celebratory you can't help but want to toast along with him and when he turns the tone around to lamentation you can easily mourn along. Like similarly displaced musicians Tom Brosseau and Jolie Holland he uproots feelings of the past; simpler times when music was the only distraction from life's troubles, times when folk tales were the music of the people. Robert's new album is out soon on Drag City records.

[MP3] Alasdair Roberts-The Old Men of the Shells
[MP3] Alasdair Roberts-Waxwing
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posted by dissensous at 11:26:00 AM 1 comments


Jan Jelinek

Minimalist electronic whiz Jan Jelinek follows up his successful Kosmischer Pitch album with another languid trip into the abyss. This time he focuses on a more organic feeling that breathes with flashes of life that contrast some of his past albums' stark coldness. The drones and soundscapes that are his trademark remain but on this album it's the details that really shine through. The title literally translates to "Animal Observations" and reportedly his influences for the album were liberation and release. These themes become apparent as murmurs of life bubble under the electronics. The sense of release swims to the surface as the loops take on a life of their own. Abstract sound becomes melody and rhythm but just as they begin to fully form they are swept away like a herd that notices the encroachment of onlookers. Sometimes the noise of the synthesizers completely overcomes the gentleness of the surrounding loops pushing the tranquility into an squall of pink noise. Then Jelinek pulls back and lets the noise be buried under his minimalist instincts like the calm after a rain. It seems that Jelinek only gets better with time Tierbeobachtungen is equally as impressive as his last album, maybe more. The new record is out now on ~scape records

[MP3] Jan Jelinek -Palmen Aus Leder
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posted by dissensous at 9:50:00 AM 0 comments


The Akron/Family Album

Of the last few years I'd have to peg Akron/Family as one of my favorite new bands to emerge. They're a complete and consummate group whose albums embrace a wide breadth stylistically and still manage to sound effortless. Their music is filled with exuberance and love and a playful willingness to let go of the pretension that causes other groups to focus on what people might think of their music. The members of Akron/Family seem to be doing this for themselves. It seems they'd play the same if only a circle of friends wanted to listen as they would to a packed house of fans. In fact, though their albums are well rounded and craftily engineered, the best way to experience the Family is to see them in a live setting. Only then can you see the faces of four men who seem at home in their music. So, with this in mind here are some live tracks that capture them in the spirit of the moment and a few tracks from a CD that was sold at shows on their 2006 tour that contained both live and rare tracks. A tribute to a great band at the top of it's form.

Live in London
[MP3] Akron/Family -Moment(live)
[MP3] Akron/Family -Love And Space(live)
[MP3] Akron/Family -Raising The Sparks(live)

From 2006 Tour CD
[MP3] Akron/Family -Miccheck
[MP3] Akron/Family -Onward
[MP3] Akron/Family -The Open Sea
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posted by dissensous at 10:00:00 AM 3 comments


The Woods

Another group from our favorite albums of 2006 list to come back with a great record at the beginning of '07, Jeremy and Christian from Meneguar return to their lo-fi folk project Woods and create another intimate fuzzed out pop gem in At Rear House. The songs are recorded to tape as if the recording process was an after thought but the songs are tender glimpses into the psyche of these two musicians. Full of plaintive odes to love and fear and hope and collision; pock marked lullabies tracked with cigarette ash and eraser marks. These are songs that feel like they may have been left on an answering machine at 4:00 in the morning. This does feel a little more produced than the last album, but that's still not saying much as the last was beyond bare bones. This album will have appeal to anyone who's recently discovered the likes of Red Hunter, The Woods share his aesthetic for shrouding pop under the fuzzy blanket of home recording. At Rear House is out now and seems to be available on a much wider scale than their last album. It's available at Insound and emusic so no excuses about not being able to find it.

[MP3] The Woods-Bone Tapper
[MP3] The Woods-Night Creature
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posted by dissensous at 9:40:00 AM 3 comments


Feels like its about time to pop another quarter into the RSTB Jukebox and see what singles it has to offer. This time its a rather mixed bag of results; some folk, some pop and a mean shot of garage. Hey works for me I've always been a fan of harsh juxtapositions.

[MP3] Majority One -Charlotte Rose
Another of Apples forgotten bands, Majority One seem a great fit for the label. Their Beatles influences are worn blazingly on their sleeve. Nonetheless this song is a wistful, breezy pop number with layers of vocals and a soaring chorus. They may not have had the chops to last the distance but this song is a sweet reminder that they had a few shining moments in the sun.

[MP3] Jack Bruce -Never Tell Your Mother She's Out of Tune
Following his work with Cream, Jack Bruce issued a number of solo albums that recently have been reissued and lavished with residual critic praise. While they don't seem to stand up to the intensity of his heyday with Cream they do have some promising moments. Stepping up the showmanship on this track, Bruce lets his funk out and distances himself from the confines of hard rock. Horn stabs and a throbbing bass line punctuate a rollicking romp into white boy soul.

[MP3] The Eyes -I'm Rowed Out
A hard and fast garage number with an affected vocal sneer and a theme of love gone sour. This track has everything that makes a garage punker great. Although coming a little too close to the 13th Floor Elevators "You're Gonna Miss Me", this song has an intensity and underlying catchiness that still make it a great track regardless.

[MP3] Kathy Smith -It Takes So Long
High, strong vocals permeate this slice of soulful funk inflected folk. Riding the line between the two genres perfectly, this track is fueled by a easy moving bass line and slow burning piano that perfectly underlay the earnest longing of the vocals. Smith may have faded away but this song remains as a great lost treasure that heals as well as it excites.

[MP3] Al Kooper and Stephen Stills-It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry
Recorded while both artists were between bands for the aptly titled Super Sessions record, this West Coast take on the Dylan tune is a perfect blend of sunny california guitar and intertwined vocal harmonies. Creating what sounds like a lost Grateful Dead track; two of the era's great musicians prove that being out of work can sometimes work out extrodinarily well.
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posted by dissensous at 10:50:00 AM 0 comments


The Boredoms - Super Roots Re-issues

The Boredoms have long pushed the constraints of sanity to the edge and challenged the notions of what remains feasible within the musical form. Their experimentations with rhythm and noise produce collages of sound, color and chaos. They translate the most base human emotions into comprehensible noise; sometimes in a barrage of screams and drums and sometimes in slow languid mantras that evoke the quieter moments of life. Following their issue of The Boredoms last album Seadrum/ House of Sun Vice have extended their relationship with the band and issued six eps that until now have mostly been Japanese only releases. The Super Roots series varies from long winding instrumental pieces to short ADD bursts of noise and froth to the interpretation of a Japanese television theme. Not all of the EPs may fall into the necessity category but they paint a nice picture of The Boredoms style on the whole.

From Super Roots
[MP3] The Boredoms -96 Teenage Bondage

From Super Roots 6
[MP3] The Boredoms -2

From Super Roots 7
[MP3] The Boredoms -7(EW remix)

From Super Roots 8
[MP3] The Boredoms -Jungle Taitei (DJ Let's TRY & D.I.Y.-Drum Machine Mix) Remixed By EYE
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posted by dissensous at 9:47:00 AM 0 comments



Icy electronics blend with classical influences and delicate melodies on Finnish electronic artist and filmmaker Hannu Karjalainen's Worms In My Piano. The aural landscapes are barren and tinged with sadness and broad cinematic scope. Hannu is able to make the mixture of electronics and composition seem effortless; creating a stark desolation lost in a sea of scratch and slight static. Like forgotten memories of days too far past. Trying to remember is as hazy as it is painful. The pieces build in tempo as if the images can't stop coming in torrents but the end is hopeful if still fractured. Hannu's album is released via German label Osaka and is definitely worth getting acquainted with.

[MP3] Hannu -Metsa
[MP3] Hannu-Valisoitto
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posted by dissensous at 9:47:00 PM 0 comments


The Unstoppable Force of

Perennial RSTB fave King Tuff has finally released a proper record. The debut Was Dead was released via the small Vegetable Records. Much of the record is comprised of reworked and fuller versions of the scrappy, power packed demos we previewed here earlier last year. Was Dead retains Tuff's same esthetic of cathartic dance inducing youth anthems heavily laden with perfect 70's power pop inflections. If you didn't know better you'd swear this was a lost classic that slipped through the floorboards. The sound has been fleshed out quite nicely and a couple of new tunes even touch on a bit of jangly 70's pop. Sadly missing though is a reworked version of RSTB fave "Staircase of Diamonds." Maybe if we beg, the band will cut a new version of that one too. You can purchase the new record through the band's site. Put this record on as loud as possible and in the words of the band themselves, "dance 'til you fuckin' die!"

[MP3] King Tuff -Freak When I'm Dead
[MP3] King Tuff -Lazerbeam
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posted by dissensous at 9:43:00 AM 0 comments


Cul De Sac

Strange Attractors continues their Resurrections series with a long out of print reissue of ECIM from Boston's Cul De Sac. At a time when most bands were steering the underground explosion that would become grunge and alternative rock, Cul De Sac created a different kind of record that was influenced by 60's experimentalism, eastern influences and the propulsion of Krautrock. They melded these influences into a monster of a debut that not only stands up to time but proves that they were way ahead of the majority of their contemporaries. The record sadly went out of print for nearly 15 years and has only now been saved from obscurity. Songs vary from heavy, propulsive drumming laden instrumentals to a slightly askew interpretation of classic Fahey to a strangely intimate cover of Tim Buckley. Dark and sinister one minute and light ashen grey the next; it's easy to see why demand would have rendered this gem reissued.

[MP3] Cul De Sac -Electar
[MP3] Cul De Sac -Song To The Siren
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posted by dissensous at 11:44:00 AM 1 comments


The more I listen to forgotten garage rock bands, the more I see their impact. These were the kind of bands that didn't really chart but taught their local scenes what rock n' roll was really all about with their ferocity. These are the bands that make the coming of punk seem completely natural. Many bands are often given a lot of credit for influencing punk even though their releases were relatively obscure at the time they came out.. While they may not have directly influenced the bands that would become the face of punk rock, they were certainly and oracle of what was to come

The Sonics - Here Are the Sonics!!!
What they lacked in notoriety at the time, the Sonics have certainly made up in recent years. With more and more material being released on CD this band continues to prove that it deserved its reputation as one of the Northwest's most raw and aggressive
garage bands. Singer Gerry Roslie sings with an inflection of fifties soul and then tears it apart with wild scream that makes the hair stand up on your neck and helps you to understand the true nature of youthful release that rock n' roll was capable of. Their originals are fair contenders and their handling of garage staples makes many others simply seem to lack the necessary energy. Their debut is still as ferocious today as it was then. Absolutely an essential record.

[MP3] The Sonics- Psycho
[MP3] The Sonics - Have Love Will Travel

The Monks - Black Monk Time
This band of U.S. GIs stationed in Germany made an impact on the European scene with their notoriously raw songs and penchant for actually dressing as monks during performances. Their music was minimal and stripped down with a
sneering attitude and dark almost nihilistic themes. Despite being one of the stranger garage bands in history their aggression and minimalism struck a chord with a European audience and seemed to predict the sentiment and style that would soon take their vision even further. Full of stomping beats, sinister organ and the odd inclusion of electric banjo; this is another record that is worth owning for the multitude of great songs it contains and not only its place in musical history.

[MP3] The Monks - Complications
[MP3] The Monks - Shut Up

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posted by dissensous at 10:04:00 AM 1 comments



Following up last year's sparse EP release, Matthew Cooper returns to a form I've longed to hear again in his music. Leaving the intensity of the guitar drone behind, he creates an album that is fragile and panoramic at the same time. Echoing much of the musicianship of An Accidental Memory In the Case of Death, he lets his melancholy symphonic side show through again. Whereas before he limited his classical leanings to achingly sad piano suites; here he opens up his palette and allows hope to shimmer through in bright flashes of full orchestral textures. Cooper proves that he doesn't need huge levels of drone to imply intensity; he lets the simple weight of melody pull at your lungs until they collapse from the shear humanity of his music.

[MP3] Eluvium -Requiem on Frankfort Ave.
[MP3] Eluvium -Reciting the Airships
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posted by dissensous at 5:20:00 PM 1 comments


Marnie Stern

Marnie Stern smashes your cranium with a sugar fueled ADD rush of twitchy guitar and saccharine sweet vocals that feel free to burst forth into riot grrrl yelps when the pixie sticks kick in. Employing Zach Hill of Hella to skitter and shake rhythms that seem to match her guitar hyjinks in their lack of attention span, the record is a pop culture overload from start to finish. Stern brings a touch of speed metal to the indie rock forum. As frightening as that sounds, she manages to make the combination fuse like old childhood friends; albeit childhood friends in need of a good run around the house to shake the energy out. Marnie's album In Advance of the Broken Arm is out soon on Kill Rock Stars.

[MP3] Marnie Stern -Put All Your Eggs In One Basket, And Then Watch That Basket!!!
[MP3] Marnie Stern -Absorb Those Numbers
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posted by dissensous at 9:55:00 AM 3 comments



Justin Broadrick has a long history with heavy guitar. Most projects he's been involved in have focused on heaviness over strict attention to melody. Even Jesu's earlier album retained a concrete wall of guitar that floored the senses. However beginning with last year's Silver EP the sound of Jesu began to float in a murkiness that allowed elements of shoegaze, pop and dreamy drone to seep into Brodrick's melancholy world. The band's latest offering Conqueror reveals some of Jesu's most beautiful works to date. Simultaneously heavy and spacious; as if the concrete walls that hem in Broadricks world remain but they are so obscured by fog that only their outline is still visible. With a new concentration on pop sensibilities Jesu's songs have shrunk considerably in length, but the highlight here remains the typically epic 10 minute centerpiece, "Weightless & Horizontal." The rest of the album keeps it shorter; hazy vignettes of Broadricks obscured soul. Conqueror is out early this year on Hydra Head Records.

[MP3] Jesu -Mother Earth
[MP3] Jesu -Transfigure
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posted by dissensous at 9:50:00 AM 2 comments



Atlanta's Deerhunter create a dense mixture of smoggy drone rock and rhythmic pop that shifts and molds itself somehow into a surprisingly cohesive album. Each side of the album were recorded in single day periods. The first side representing the much more druggy and drone inflected direction of the band; hazy and narcotic like swimming through syrup and fog. The side ends when the reel of tape they bought for the first session runs out, leaving the last song to end with a flap of tape against the head of the machine. The second side snaps sharply into focus and plays up the bands more pop centered direction; these songs dissipate the haze of the first side leaving it to whisper just underneath the eye level. I tend to lean towards the first half of the album myself, preferring the druggy sludgery to the more palatable and no doubt digestible side, but its the mix that seems to add an interesting color to the album. The album takes on the feel of a journey out of murky waters and into a brighter, more optimistic future. Cryptograms is out January 29th on Kranky Records.

[MP3] Deerhunter -Lake Somerset
[MP3] Deerhunter -Hazel St.
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posted by dissensous at 10:00:00 AM 1 comments


As the psychedelic movement wore on more and more bands opened themselves up to a breach of traditional song structure, with the length of tracks leaking well past the standard 2-3 minute barricade of the pop single. Some bands were able to do this with palatable results and others became largely self-indulgent. However when the results were on, they challenged the conventions of what was considered acceptable and broadened the scope of peoples' taste.

Mad River - Mad River
San Francisco's Mad River delved into the deeper side of psych, creating sprawling, swirling minor chord epics that echoed Country Joe and the Fish's bleakest moments. The fleshed out space jams certainly draw the most focus here but equally
interesting are the few gems that reach frantic paces such as "Amphetamine Gazelle." The two styles serving as manic depressive counterpoints to each other. The band fell off the darkly psychedelic style in favor of a more country flavored rock on their second album, but this was far less captivating and pales in comparison to the debut.

[MP3] Mad River- Amphetamine Gazelle
[MP3] Mad River - Wind Chimes

The Chocolate Watchband - The Inner Mystique
Despite some interesting songs with creative productions and arrangements, this album is often scoffed by collectors due to a lack of involvement by the band on the more psychedelic numbers. The A side is
three lush, eastern inflected tracks that were mostly the work of engineer Richie Podolor and an assembled crew of studio musicians. However, these tracks are certainly not without merit, and though the sitar sounds a little dated they are still enjoyable. The second side is littered with more standard Watchband punk/garage fare that contains a few very solid covers. Maybe not an essential classic of the time but one that proves interesting nonetheless.

[MP3] The Chocolate Watchband - In The Past
[MP3] The Chocolate Watchband - I'm Not Like Everybody Else

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


Giant Skyflower Band

Glenn Donaldson, never a man to rest on his laurels has yet another project in the works. Along with fellow Skygreen and Sky High Band member Shayde Sartin, he has created an album of sun damaged psych-pop songs laden with a weary and dour outlook. Hitting on a similar "bummer pysch" asthetic that they contributed to Flying Canyon, this project serves as a cloudy day come down to Donaldson's normally carefree sing-a-longs. Not to say that the tone is entirely sad, the songs are still hazily strummed and sung in a wistful croon, its just that lyrically Blood of the Sunflower acts as a world-worn counterpoint to most of Donaldson's output. Reflection overpowers relaxation here. The same warm winds still blow a California sea breeze in along the coast; but these songs herald the end of the summer and a hint of regret that tugs at your mind and stings the pit of your stomach. The album will be out in mid March on Soft Abuse records.

[MP3] Giant Skyflower Band -Oh Mary Green

Also check out and additional track at Soft Abuse's Myspace.
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posted by dissensous at 8:14:00 AM 0 comments



I kind of glossed over Clinic's last album. Though I was thouroughly interested in Walking with Thee and it's predecessor, it just seemed like Clinic's time was past. Rather presumptuous of me I guess as their new album Visitations peaked my interest right away. Clinic continue their pursuit of gritty, propulsive psychedelia; swirling with cinder and smoke one minute and writhing with an uncomfortable itch that seems discontent to let you stay still the next. Their new album catches you off guard on more than one occasion. They snatch bits of the past and filter them through windows tarnished with soot and shattered by rocks; retaining their influence but obscuring it all the same. Still able to find that magical place where krautrock hippies can mingle with aggression fueled punks; this new album is caked in sweat and beat dry by the sun. Definitely one that can't be fully realized in one listen.

[MP3] Clinic -Animal/Human
[MP3] Clinic -Children of Kellogg
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posted by dissensous at 10:11:00 AM 0 comments


Best of 2006

It was a good year here at Raven. It was difficult to make the list as short as it is, and impossible to pick a number one. So, in no particular order, here are our favorite albums of 2006.

Vetiver - To Find Me Gone

Andy Cabic takes his sweet country folk stylings on a trip through the best touches of 70's am radio. Dark Brooding folk songs with the kind of delicate production that made records become classics. Sweet tinges of lap steel poke through the haze, laying the record back and bringing some sweetness to counter balance the moments that seethe with cinder and smoke. Cabic turns out an honest record full of musty bars and sunlit streets; gentle riverbeds and endless stretches of lonesome highway.
[MP3] Vetiver - I Know No Pardon

Beach House - Beach House

The Beach House debut is an album that gets better with every listen. It’s haunting and mesmerizing, drugged out and eloquently striking; an invitation to the warm heart of the home where tales are spun in swirls of smoke and lilting breaths of crisp air; the songs so subtle they don’t sink in on first listen but you'll be aching for more once they hit the bloodstream. Beach House mystify and manage to glorify ennui, giving warmth to the most languorous spirit. If this were on vinyl I’d have worn through my third copy by now.
[MP3] Beach House - Master Of None

Shearwater - Palo Santo

Jonathan Meiburg finally brings his Okkervil "side project" into its own. His songs clamber from a cold darkness to bask in the frayed ends of emotional frailty. Every word he whispers, sings and strains to yell rings with such incredible conviction that you can't help listening for fear he'll collapse otherwise. Each song is a torrent that rips your heart to shreds and then slowly sews it back together.
[MP3] Shearwater - Hail Mary

Wooden wand & The Skyhigh Band - Second Attention

James Jackson Toth teams up on this one with members of The Skygreen Leopards and some from the Vanishing Voice to flesh out his loner country anthems into full revival swingers. This album is a dusted country ramble through salt of the earth folk and back porch sing-a-longs; full of muggy backroad dirges sung by roadside troubadours cleaned up so that they can sit at the dinner table. Quite possibly Toth's best work to date, which considering his catalog is saying something.
[MP3] Wooden Wand & The Skyhigh Band - The Bleeder

The Skygreen Leopards - Disciples Of California

One of our all time favorite bands with their best release to date. Expanding their overall sound, evoking swells of California sunshine. This is an album you can daydream to year round.
[MP3] The Skygreen Leopards - Disciples of California

Woods - How to Survive in/ In The Woods

Jeremy and Christian from Meneguar quietly dropped this release on Dutch label, Release the Bats. Shying away from their 90's rock leanings they instead create an indie folk classic. The scratch and stutter of home tapes create an intimate feeling of a thrift shop demo tape find. Underneath this gritty exterior the two have written nothing short of a pure pop gem; effortless and unpolished in the best ways.
[MP3] Woods - Holes

Flying canyon - Flying Canyon

Self described as California Doom Folk, that description's not that far off. Flying Canyon is basically the best synthesis of Neil Young's subtle craft into a modern setting. Cayce Lindner has to be one of the best unknown songwriters of the past ten years. His songs writhe against their own humanity, both lamenting the ravages of life and content to bask in the sunlight at the same time. The weary voice California incarnate.
[MP3] Flying Canyon - Crossing By Your Star

Horse Feathers - Words Are Dead

This Portland duo’s album is a ’06 essential. Full to brim with banjo, mandolin, cello, guitars, a little saw, and haunting vocals; Horse Feathers craft one of the most well worn, poignant and love-stained albums we've heard.
[MP3] Horse Feathers - Blood On Snow

Kahoots - Fourteen Ghost

This Martha's Vineyard band wrote one of the best indie rock records you probably didn't hear this year. The band crafts world weary blue collar songs that carry a collective heart on its sleeve. The band rarely travels outside of their hometown but managed to get such luminaries as Bob Weston and Chris Brokaw involved with the recording process. Their tight catchy songs are the kind people look back on as classics in hindsight.
[MP3] Kahoots - Your Blood

Benoit Pioulard - Precis

Precis was a pleasant surprise at the end of the year. Benoit Pioulard crafts some of the most delightfully disjointed chamber pop I’ve heard this year. At times, recalling greats like Elliott Smith and Mark Linkous, Pioulard combines the creativity and abstract nature of noise, tape loops, and fuzz with the practicality and timelessness of simple folk and rock progressions. A truly beautiful record.
[MP3] Benoit Pioulard - Palimend

Nina Nastasia - On Leaving

Nina Nastasia's voice is completely disarming; equally able to stop you in your tracks and make you walk lighter. 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. 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.
[MP3] Nina Nastasia - Our Day Trip

Howlin' Rain - Howlin' Rain

Ethan Miller lets his classic rock ties hang full out on his Comets side project. Letting his voice ring free of the Echoplex, he comes across as one part Terry Reid and one part Faces era Rod Stewart backed by the best amalgamation of back country roots rock since Fogerty left Creedence. Sweet country rock with the occasional bombast of fire that's not afraid to torture your speakers.
[MP3] Howlin' Rain - Death Prayer In Heavens Orchard

King Tuff - Mindblow

Early recordings from King Tuff recorded a few years ago but finally released as a taster to the band's full length that's just now seeing light. These songs are the essence of power pop; bursting with energy, a huge sense of fun and enough swagger to set your feet dancing. It's hard to believe this band has kept this quiet, this long. This record could have easily stormed a few scenes if it had been released in a run of more than 100.
[MP3] King Tuff - Staircase of Diamonds

The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely

John Darnielle may well have made the greatest break-up record of all time. A perfect mix of melancholy, utter loneliness and bittersweet redemption, 'Get Lonely' is a personal testament to his lyrical talents. The album synthesizes the complete comforting suffocation and paralyzing freedom of the dissolution of two people's intertwined lives.
[MP3] The Mountain Goats - Woke Up New

Tim Hecker - Harmony in Ultra Violet

Harmony in Ultra Violet was another surprise favorite on the closing of the year. Veteran soundescapist creates his most stunning album to date. An intense adventure of intently crafted and emotive strings and fuzz. Down darkened sloping hills, through the creaking mansions of a lost time in Hollywood, and back into the warming neon of a strange and beautiful city, we follow Hecker on a diffident journey which gains momentum and poise with each track. The quietest and most self assured explosion you’ll hear this year.
[MP3] Tim Hecker - Chimeras

Sinoia Caves - The Enchanter Persuaded

Jeremy Schmidt is most well known for his involvement with Black Mountain but his side project leaves their tense acid washed rock sounding like a watered down trip. Schmidt leaves all physicality behind creating the kind of music that you can get lost in for hours discovering the aural colors inherent in his drones folded in layers of echo.
[MP3] Sinoia Caves - Naro Way

The Black Angels - Passover

Droning psych rock from Austin, Texas. The Black Angels are making some of the best revival music out there. Deeply distoring influences like The Velvet Underground, Black Sabbath, The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, and even a little Grace Slick and the Great Society, the Black Angels are definately one of the best under the radar rock bands out there.
[MP3] The Black Angels - Bloodhounds on my Trail

Band of Horses - Everything All The Time

Band of Horse's debut album is an unassuming, easy going album without a drop of pretention. A pleasant surprise coming from an indie major. Former members of Carissa's Wierd, these guys recapture a simpler time in modern rock music, sealing images of muddy chucks, frisbee in the park, and back yard partying. Without a dull moment, this album truly captures the sensations of joy an purpose, meloncholy and elation.
[MP3] Band of Horses - St. Augustine

Indian Jewelry - Invasive Exotics

A noisy, narcotic journey into the depths of the darkest rock and roll sounds. Opening track “Lesser Snake” is one of my favorite songs of the year. At times these guys remind of the noisier side or Black Mountain, but they've really got their own thing going. The rythmns are deep and sludgy punching relentlessly to the beat of some fogotten drum.
[MP3] Indian Jewelry - Lesser Snake

M. Ward - Post War

Matt Ward has been a favorite for a long time. From Rodriguez to Duet for Guitars, this guys voice and skilled songcraft will wilt any worry or saddness into oblivion. His latest release, Post War, only further secures his "current classic" status.
[MP3] M. Ward - To Go Home

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posted by pitchblack at 9:48:00 PM 4 comments

Drakkar Sauna

Jeff Stolz and Wallace Cochran sing with a vibrance and passion that shines through in every note they create. Essentially a brand of stripped down folk, they inflate their output ten fold with their enthusiasm and humor. Their songs are of the backporch variety. After dinner folk circles that gather neighbors and lift spirits, that in another life might have resembled Appalachian jug bands. They are dusty balladeers and seem quite comfortable with this position in life; and why not, no one turns away merrymakers. Still just under the surface of the jovial ballads lurks a bit of dark humor and self deprecation that makes these old time folk tales just a little more interesting than your average porch anthems. Their newest release, Jabraham Lincoln is out via Marriage Records and the silkscreened LP+CD is a sight prettier than the CD only release so check the label's page to pick it up.

[MP3] Drakkar Sauna -Mongrel of a Halfman
[MP3] Drakkar Sauna -Paul's Letter to St. Job (There's Glass In My Hat)
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posted by dissensous at 9:18:00 PM 0 comments