Best of Seth

Solo recordings from Akron Family member Seth Olinsky on Achord Recordings. The triple album varies stylistically from fully formed songs to expierements in sound to what appear to be the formation of Akron/Family demos. Seth spent the majority of a Fall/Winter period alone cranking out ideas into an MBox and this sizable collection of songs is the unfettered result. None of the rock or free jazz bombast show up on this record, mostly a singer-songwriter approach to heartfelt folk. The songs retain the fragile beauty that inhabits most Akron/Family recordings but with the general exclusion of the other Family members, the recordings begin to take on more of a loner psych feeling. The album, Sparrow Trout Heart Sprout is split up into three discs; Trout, Sun and Sparrow, hand-packaged in a foil embossed cover and limited to 500 copies. The three discs don't seem to be split in any specific fashion, all run with the same spirit of experimentation and free reign throughout. Some tracks require a more patient ear than others, but mixed in amongst the knob twiddling and close micing of perrier are some truely great folk songs that sparkle with the passion and genuine feeling that all Akron/Family related releases seem to have.

[MP3] Best of Seth -Noah
[MP3] Best of Seth -It's So Hard
[MP3] Best of Seth -Ali, Ali
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posted by dissensous at 9:52:00 AM 1 comments


A couple of examples of pure unadulterated pop this week; spanning both the breezy 60's and cloudy 70's. These two bands embrace the ideals of melody over substance but without ever completely entering the realms of bubblegum. Both veered near success but as always the winds of popularity blew fickle and opportunities dissolved, fortunately they were rescued from complete obscurity by savvy ears.

The Free Design - Kites Are Fun
The debut album from this trio of siblings was a commercial failure that still seems to bewilder those that hear them today. The originals were poorly marketed but recent reissues have rendered them a favorite amongst collectors and
musicians alike who now name check them as influences constantly, Their brand of carefree pop was not wholly vacuous, the melodies were easy but they let themselves slip in a nod at social consciousness here and there such as their dig on the status quo, "The Proper Ornaments". Still, it's the wonderful melding of voices that makes their music stand the test of time in a way that would make Peter, Paul and Mary blush in envy. The layers of vocals weave in and out seamlessly, shimmering with sunshine and hope. So many of their albums have been reissued now and many are quite stunning but this one is a great place to start.

[MP3] The Free Design- Make The Madness Stop
[MP3] The Free Design- The Proper Ornaments

Klaatu - Klaatu
Rumor spread at the time of this records release that this was a reformed Beatles under a different moniker. The rumor, though completely false was never really denied and helped initial sales of the album. The comparison isn't really
fair but the album's eclectic nature and melody driven pop songs bear in mind a similar adventurous spirit. Not one song really sounds the same, from the two long spacy tracks that bookend the album, to the Muppet vocalled "Sir Bodsworth Rubblesby III." The album hits a few notes of glam but was most remembered for their single "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft," that oddly enough was covered by the Carpenters. The album is nowhere near anything that their rumored compatriots put out while together, but it's a pretty decent slice of mid 70's pop if I ever heard one.

[MP3] Klaatu - California Jam
[MP3] Klaatu - True Life Hero

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posted by dissensous at 10:12:00 AM 1 comments


the USA is a Monster

This record has been out for a few months but it seems it's slipped under the collective radar of far too many. Brooklyn Duo, the USA is a Monster return after their epic Wohaw record with another Psych-Prog-Math-Politico shockwave of an album. This time the concept is turned down and the spazzy keyboards and twitchy guitars are turned up. The album centers around themes of dissolution and the decline of civilization but not in a necessarily pessimistic light, just as would be expected from the kings of the SythoCrunch mind ravaging maelstrom that is the USA is a Monster. This is what happens when progressive communal parents spend the 9 month gestation period with a pair of headphones blaring Magma, Rush and MC5 into the womb. Pure insane genius. How can you say no to that? Sunset at the End of the Industrial Age is out now on Load

[MP3] USA is a Monster -Voices to be Heard
[MP3] USA is a Monster -Okeepa Ceremony
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posted by dissensous at 10:25:00 PM 0 comments


Zeena Parkins

Zeena Parkins doesn't really play the harp so much as she completely destroys your every notion about the instrument. Using a mixture of acoustic and electric harp along with some other twisted electronics she emanates a pure tonal rampage on your senses. Stark squalls of noise but up against the sprightly tinkle of strings and both are washed into a wave of rusted distortion and bent tones. Seeming much like the orchestra dropout who after one too many tired symphonies packed up her harp and set out to prove that the classical kids can roll with the noise kids and just as hard; Zeena has since crossed strings with Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo and Jim O'rourke and supported Matmos and Bjork on tour. Table of the Elements has now reissued her classic 1992 solo debut Nightmare Alley, a frighteningly dissonant and fuzzed out urban landscape. Since pretty much everybody probably missed out on this the first time around (sure as hell wasn't what I was listening to in '92) the reissue lends her twisted sound to a whole new generation of noiseniks. Go check this one out.

[MP3] Zeena Parkins -Freak
[MP3] Zeena Parkins -Black On Black
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posted by dissensous at 1:54:00 PM 0 comments



With what has to be the most misleading moniker in quite some time, Boston based Clouds put another notch in the garage revivalism belt with their Hydrahead debut Legendary Demo. The record evokes several images but none of them are fluffy white clouds. While the record technically doesn't break any new ground or revolutionize Rock as a medium, the band knows what they like to do and they do it well. With huge fuzzed out riffs that might well have been bought at Wayne Kramer's garage sale, the band pummel their fair share of speakers in a manner that evokes the very tradition rock n' roll was born into. This is rock free from scruples; dirty sweat soaked rock that makes no apologies and cares little for image or tatemaking. I think that's what I like best about this record; that I get the distinct feeling that Clouds couldn't give a shit what I or anyone else could possibly think about their record. They'd still go on stage, kick out a speaker and play until they collapsed regardless.

[MP3] Clouds -Pressure
[MP3] Clouds -Magic Hater
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posted by dissensous at 1:56:00 PM 0 comments


Rafael Anton Irisarri

An unlikely offering from the Northwest, Seattle composer Rafael Anton Irisarri follows in the shadowy footsteps of likeminded artists such as Max Richter and Greg Haines by creating cinematic fractals from lonesome piano and sparse electronics. His album, Daydreaming, is a haunted abyss of devastation and unease. Though the songs are at their essence beautiful; it's the kind of beautiful that is filled with quiet loss and harrowing introspection. The piano always remains the focus of Irisarri's work but when the electronics creep in they bring with them the foreboding sense of time and dissolution; as if the piano struggles to remember the pleasant moments only to be slowly worn away by the insistence of electronic interference. Fittingly enough, Daydreaming is released on Miasmah, home to the aforementioned Haines and Svarte Greiner.

[MP3] Rafael Anton Irisarri -Wither
[MP3] Rafael Anton Irisarri -A Glimpse
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posted by dissensous at 2:19:00 PM 1 comments


Just as other influences filtered out of the British and American rock scenes and onto Japan's shores, the 60's and 70's blues revivalism hit with outstanding albeit distinctly Japanese results. Blues filtered with a touch of psychedelia and a newfound guitar heroism that remains in the Japanese underground to this day.

Blues Creation - Blues Creation
Though their second album usually receives more attention due to its concentration on original content, the band's debut showcases the same kind of reinvention of blues standards into rock classics that were common among British blues
guitarists of the same era. Led by guitarist Kazuo Takeda, the band had a heavy Cream/ Mountain influence and in fact Takeda's later toured with Mountain in his band Creation resulting in production help from Pappalardi. This album is full of low end fuzz rumbled dirty blues tracks, and though Takeda's voice may lack a little bit of the soul that helped make the originals work so well, his skillful playing makes up for it. This is an artifact that though lost to the ages for too long, sheds some light on the burgeoning Japanese rock scene.

[MP3] Blues Creation- Rollin' and Tumblin'
[MP3] Blues Creation- Steppin' Out

Apryl Fool - Apryl Fool
An even mix between heavy blues influences and a burgeoning sense of psychedelic haze, Apryl Fool's album is a consistently interesting album. The blues influence is obvious throughout the album but the band veers off into experiments
with tape effects and acid inflections. Oddly enough the band's bassist went on to play in Yellow Magic Orchestra; an early electronic pop group that has remained one of Japan's most popular to this day. Nonetheless Apryl Fool stands as an interesting offering of the early psych scene in Japan. Their blend of blues, honky tonk and psych was to say the least unique and one worth checking out.

[MP3] Apryl Fool - Another Time
[MP3] Apryl Fool - Tanger

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posted by dissensous at 2:16:00 PM 1 comments


Just a quick post about the recently released Halleluwah festival compilation LP. The festival was held September 1st and 2nd in Portland, OR and curated by Yeti Magazine. The LP collects exclusive tracks from Deerhoof, Sir Richard Bishop, Tara Jane O'Neil and Alela Diane with the only album available contribution coming from Vashti Bunyan. The LP is ludicrously limited (600 copies) and is elaborately packaged with printed inserts featuring some stunning artwork by Kevin Arrow, Unica Zurn and E*rock commissioned for the compilation. The following retailers have the compilation for sale but with the limited numbers its not likely for long.

Boomkat Insound Aquarius

Alela Diane Live @ Helleluwah: Portland, OR

[MP3] Sir Richard Bishop -Dhumavati
[MP3] Tara Jane O'Neil -Partridge Song (Live @ the Kitchen)
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posted by dissensous at 11:57:00 PM 0 comments


Keith Wood, the man better known as Hush Arbors has teamed with Digitalis Industries to reissue his formerly CD-r release of Under Bent Limb Tree. Wood continues a current trend towards the bummer psych style that has shaken the roots of the current folk revival. Hush Arbors sound is knee deep in mud and washed by rain; folk music wrought with harsh emotion and written by the fleeting light of dusk. Hewn from the gentle loll of fingerpicking but deliriously obscured by layers of reverb; Wood's voice seems to come from all directions each equally tragic and riddled with fog and streaks of gray sunlight. The reissue expands the album to two discs allowing some longer tracks to make their way into the mix and showing Wood's ability to weave his hazy world into atmospheric pathways to the unconscious.

[MP3] Hush Arbors -Dusk Mist Curtains the Doorway
[MP3] Hush Arbors -Clothed With Sun
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posted by dissensous at 2:34:00 PM 1 comments


Marissa Nadler

Marissa Nadler sings as if removed from our own time. Her voice is extraordinarily captivating; strong with an icy melancholy that hangs to the edges. It wafts in above her fingerpicked folk as if traversing vast distances, seeming as if it couldn't possibly belong to the admittedly shy, slight young woman. Nadler has honed her voice over time into one of the most formidable and evocative in current folk music. Her newest album Songs III: Bird on the Water, released on Peacefrog records is full of subtle fingerpicked melodies and haunting narratives that all sound as if they could have been recorded and left in a dusty trunk for years only to be unearthed by someone fortunate enough to stumble upon someone's private collection of tragedies. Nadler's ghosts become your ghosts and her songs ebb at the back of your mind long after the record has ended, trickling streaks or forlorn rain down the edges of your eyelids and stealing the breath from your lungs.

[MP3] Marissa Nadler -Dying Breed
[MP3] Marissa Nadler -Famous Blue Raincoat
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posted by dissensous at 2:41:00 PM 1 comments



The music of Rope creates a feeling of eerie dissonance. Slow drones and the anxious pluck of guitars are undershot by claustrophobic vocals that though a bit undecipherable, seem to ominously depict your undoing. The murkiness builds until the suspense takes over your whole being and then crushes you under a spastic explosion of angular noise. Tension is not so much an element of Rope's music as it is a fourth member of the ensemble; raining itself down in icy sheets and pulling your clothing tight against your skin. Heresy, And Then Nothing But Tears is the band's first full length U.S. release following the Fever EP released shortly after the band relocated from Poland to Chicago. Both are out on Family Vineyard, who thankfully see fit to bring Rope's dark dystopian visions to an unprepared public.

[MP3] Rope -She The Assassin
[MP3] Rope -Heresy
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posted by dissensous at 10:09:00 AM 0 comments


I've always been a fan of bars with real jukeboxes; "Real" referring to a non digital jukebox (the kind with too many choices and no thoughtful selection). A bar's jukebox often gives a snapshot of the staff and patronage in one brief scroll through the titles they offer. This week I'm traveling away from the normal locale of the RSTB jukebox, the one filled with great garage, folk and psych singles. I decided to take a trip to another locale with a great soul jukebox and try my quarter out there. So here's what the needle laid down, a couple of hot soul sides for your listening pleasure.

[MP3] Marion Black -Who Knows
Penetrated by a throbbing bass line that exorcises the demons of the blues, this tune is a midtempo slow burn of deep seated pining. Not exactly a dance number, this is a drinking song, the kind you let ruminate in your ears for a while.

[MP3] Bettye Swann -Don't Let It Happen To Us
Swann has a great ability to fuse the sadness of country and the soul of R&B into some of the most emotional and heartfelt tunes ever recorded. On this more upbeat number, a pulsing R&B backbeat and huge horn stabs bubble underneath her tale of love gone sour. A mid tempo jumper that can heal the soul and move the feet at the same time.

[MP3] Johnny K Killen & The Dynamics -I Don't Need Help
Huge, hard and fast, Killen and the Dynamics set the dance floor on fire with tight drums and a loose swing. This tune is a definite jumper big on horns low on inhibitions. A dusty shuffle of a true bar styled dance tune, no gloss or sheen on this one. Killen plays his R&B from the hip.

[MP3] Wendy Rene -Bar-B-Q
This song is as simple as it is fun. Tight popcorn drums under a youthful ode to backyard summertime gatherings. This track burns with summer heat and jumps with a shout along chorus. This track fairly screams carefree days, double dutch and summer dresses.

[MP3] Sandy Sheldon-You're Gonna Make Me Love You
This track is a prime example of Northern Soul, the kind that kept feet pumping and people squirming. The vocals are deep and soulful but underneath, the drums pound and a piano line rolls the track along with the conviction of a steamroller. Huge and unabashedly fun at the same time.

[MP3] Willie Hightower-Time Has Brought About A Change
Rounding out the set is a real slow and painful lamentation. Not the kind of song that moves any feet, this is where the term soul really comes into focus. Hightower channels the spirit of Sam Cooke and his dusty vocals scream with heartache. A quintessential slice of reconciliation.
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posted by dissensous at 9:42:00 AM 1 comments


P.G. Six

Sometimes an album or artist just hits you at the right time. I must admit that though I'd heard of P.G. Six, and heard rather good things, I'd never really taken the time to check him out. Upon checking out his new album I'm sorry it's taken me this long to get to him. His voice carries the same world weary, soft tremble that gives artists like Neil Young and Jason Molina such conviction. His country folk style evokes a dimly lit, blue collar bar on a cold afternoon. The drag of time hangs so heavy on his new album that I honestly expected him to be much older than he is. The music is underpinned with a sense of restlessness, not quite mid-life crisis but definitely a turning point. His fingerpicked style moves fluidly under his earnest vocals and when songs add a bit of rock swagger they never become watered down in the extra production. Slightly Sorry is one of the more pleasantly surprising releases I've encountered yet this year. The album comes out March 4th on Drag City.

[MP3] P.G. Six-The Dance
[MP3] P.G. Six-Bless These Blues
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posted by dissensous at 10:00:00 PM 0 comments


Boris with Michio Kurihara

Though coverage of this album is becoming a bit saturated even before it sees a domestic release, it's too incredible an album to ignore. Japan's premiere shapshifters of all things sludgy team up with Japanese underground legend Michio Kurihara to create and album that balances taught emotional drone with searing guitar work into an album of epic proportions. Kurihara's roots lie in the neo-psych legends White Heaven from the infamous PSF label and he currently adds his string work to the latest incarnation of Ghost. The two seem to balance each other nicely; with Kurihara's blistering guitar breaking through moments of tranquility at just the right moment and ligthing the seas of drone on fire with fuzz. The album's available now as an import on Pedal records, home of Kurihara's other project The Stars. Hopefully a domestic release is soon to follow.

[MP3] Boris with Michio Kurihara -Rainbow
[MP3] Boris with Michio Kurihara -Starship Narrator

Boris has seemed to be too difficult to keep up with lately as their release schedule challenges that of many labels not to mention bands. Since a few other great releases saw light recently I thought maybe it was time for another band retrospective. Some highlights of Boris' labor below to help you navigate the vast lands of drone, grit and fire.

[MP3] Boris -Hama

[MP3] Boris -Korosu

[MP3] Boris -Ibitsu

[MP3] Boris -Untitled 3

[MP3] Boris -(the woman on the screen)

[MP3] Boris - Untitled 7

[MP3] Sunn o))) with Boris - Akuma No Kuma
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posted by dissensous at 10:21:00 AM 1 comments


Trans Am

Following up their most serious and unabashedly political record, Trans Am take a sudden spin to the side of spontaneity and electro tweaked fun. The band's latest Thrill Jockey release, Sex Change is full of slinky bass lines and crisp and crunchy synth squeaks caught in a car wreck with fuzzed rock guitars and robotic disco beats. The band recorded parts in New Zealand and some at Oneida's Okropolis studio with an emphasis on using unfamiliar instruments and not dwelling on perfection. The band takes their futurism and tosses it into the ashes of grunge. The result is a look into future's past; a disco-funk rendition of what the future should have been from a 1970's perspective, flying cars coursing through over-industrialized landscapes. This is the alternate soundtrack to blade runner as produced by Butch Vig.

[MP3] Trans Am-Conspiracy Of The Gods
[MP3] Trans Am-Shining Path
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posted by dissensous at 10:25:00 AM 0 comments


Solar Anus

tUMMULt records has put out a career retrospective of Psych-drone-doomrock legends Solar Anus. Up until now much of their output has not been available outside of their native Japan, but his two disc set culls together most of the bands catalog from their three records ON, TRANCE and Next World News. The sounds shift from hard doom laden rock assaults to otherworldly hypnotic spacerock reminiscent of Hawkwind with some krautrock thrown in for good measure. This will undoubtedly be of inerest to fans of native countrymen Boris and the Boredoms and even stretch to the Acid Mothers Temple Crowd I'm sure. The collective works are a bit much to handle all at once but they do show the progression of the band nicely. The earlier works ar marked by a much harder, grittier sound played from a decidedly dark and menacing place. The later works begin to drift into trancy krautrock territory showcasing an ability to jump genres with the best of them. The retrospective is nicely packaged in a die cut sleeve with a ridiculously psych influence collage artwork that somehow actually sums up the band's sound better than most descriptions. A harrowing journey into the bowels of Japan's underappreciated artisans.

FromDisc 1
[MP3] Solar Anus -Electric Jellyfish
[MP3] Solar Anus -Don't Run

From Disc 2
[MP3] Solar Anus -Polar
[MP3] Solar Anus-Nightfall New Year
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posted by dissensous at 2:43:00 PM 0 comments


A double shot of underappreciated rock from the Spanish side of the language barrier today. Proving that Americans and Brits didn't have the hard rock market cornered, these bands from the Spanish and Mexican scenes are two of the era's finest.

Tapiman - Tapiman
A classic blues chugging power trio, this band had the guitar virtuosity of Max Sunyer but the sense to let riffs take precedence where others might allow themselves to slip into over-indulgent noodling. The accented vocals are brash and throaty with
a distinct urgency. Definitely one of the finest bands Spain has had to offer, then or ever for that matter. They move effortlessly between jazz inflected prog and heavy all out proto-metal thunder with even a little time for a calm ballad squeezed in. The reissue comes packed with some great bonus tracks that are completely on par with the rest of the album. Hell this one's great to pick up for that cover alone. Utterly essential if your into the ghosts of hard-rock's past.

[MP3] Tapiman- Wrong World
[MP3] Tapiman- No Control

Los Dug Dugs - Los Dug Dug's
A great mixture of pysch, garage and all out fuzz rock, Los Dug Dugs achieved a modicum of success in their native Mexico but were lost on the majority of the rest of the world until the reissue of their 3 albums recently. The songs on their debut
range from spacy tripped out psych to harder edged rockers all underpinned with formidable guitar lines that chug and spindle their way into your consciousness along with the best tracks from the early 70's. As with Tapiman the majority of the songs are in English but the accented inflections give this a unique sound that separate it from US and British counterparts. Critical love is usually split between this and their second album Smog but I'm a bit more partial to the debut. Another essential slice of rock's past salvaged by those with their ears in the right places.

[MP3] Los Dug Dugs - Lost In My World
[MP3] Los Dug Dugs - I Got A Feelin'

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posted by dissensous at 1:16:00 PM 0 comments


MV & EE with the Bummer Road

More great releases continue to crop up on Thurston's Ecstatic Peace imprint; the latest being from Matt Valentine and Erika Elder. These two are normally accustomed to small run releases and basement labels but their first "major label" offering is aptly enough their most accessible work to date. Along with the Bummer Road which features fellow Tower Recordings alumni Samera Lubelski, they create a dusty concoction of space blues and guttural astral soul. The blues inflections seep into their work much more predominantly than some of their other acid folk contemporaries with a heavy crunch of knocked out amp fuzz guitar and mournful harmonica that wafts in and out. The album has a few mid sized rain dappled blues numbers but sprawls out into two long space echo workouts that close the album on a more improvisational feel. Thurston's ability to bring the fringe to the mainstream never ceases to amaze me and this is another great testament to a label that gives me hope no matter who pays the bills.

[MP3] MV & EE with the Bummer Road -Canned Happiness
[MP3] MV & EE with the Bummer Road -Mine All Troubled Blues
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posted by dissensous at 10:05:00 AM 1 comments



Ok so like an idiot I accidentally deleted the posting on Ghost, so to the best of my recollection here it is.

Masaki Batoh and Michio Kurihara return with another trip into the void on Ghost's latest album In Stormy Nights. The band continue to push the boundless limitations of the psychedelic dirge; with a few shorter pieces representing the feel of older material and the album's centerpiece, Hemicyclic Anthelion, extending into a 28 minute exercise in gloom psych lamentations. Their music has retains a sense of sense of funeral rites, solemn but at the same time celebratory. sadness hangs on the tips of every note and the quaver in Batoh's vocals belie a sense of seriousness. The album is classic Ghost, hazy and lysergic as ever but still bales in comparison to earlier works like their Drag City debut or Lama Rabi Rabi. The album is out now on and it appears that they've followed in the path of a few other great intrepid travelers of late. The LP is a slightly different than the CD, the track listing has been adjusted to allow the epic centerpiece to close out the album but it looks like there's an added bonus of an altered variation of "Caledonia" as well.

[MP3] Ghost -Motherly Bluster
[MP3] Ghost -Caledonia
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posted by dissensous at 9:43:00 AM 2 comments