Alela Diane

Alela Diane sings folk tales that burn with sweet cinder and smoke and are filled with characters that evoke a time long since past. Her voice is laced with camphor and honey, equally cool and sweet as she unfolds these stories. Emerging from the Nevada City enclave of folk musicians, her self released debut has been reissued by Holocene records. The Pirate's Gospel is well worn americana woven with lace and pine cones and rubbed in a fair amount of the Nevada City soil; just enough to show it's age. Alela's tales are adorned with only the essential instrumentation; acoustic strum with touches of electric and the lonely tinge of lap steel. All subdued and serene to support the bends and breaks of her mournful voice as she laments the stories of pirates, settlers and strong willed heroines.

[MP3] Alela Diane -Oh! My Mama
[MP3] Alela Diane -Can You Blame The Sky
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posted by dissensous at 2:40:00 PM 2 comments


I put another quarter in the re-released jukebox to see what it had to offer up this week. Well, since it was not only common to cover the hits of others but almost a prerequisite for survival in this era I thought it only fitting to showcase a few reinterpretations on the RSTB Jukebox. So, classic covers it is this week.

[MP3] Yvonne Elliman -I Can't Explain
70's songstress Yvonne Elliman takes this Who classic and simultaneously injects it with a big polished rock flair and sweet girl group vocals. The garage classic is transformed into a giant chunk of female power pop with it's rock swagger firmly in place and stadium ready backup singers crooning along.

[MP3] Ellen McIlwaine -Higher Ground
Another formidable cover, this time from RSTB fave Fear Itself's front woman Ellen McIlwaine. Her skills with slide guitar blend easily with Stevie Wonder's classic 70's staple and somehow give it even more of a slippery funk feel. McIlwaine takes Stevie's from the streets sound on a tour through the back roads of blues; all the while her ability to hurdle octaves keeps up with the soul of the tune.

[MP3] The Blues Magoos -Gloria
The Blues Magoos take this garage rock stalwart and make it epic. Focusing on a blues interpretation they extend the short punchy favorite into almost six minutes of raucous sexual tension, just as it was intended. With a more raw and gritty delivery than Van and the boys of Them could have even thought possible the Magoos own this one.

[MP3] Lulu -The Boat That I Row
Now I'll be the first to admit that I have huge love for Neil Diamond but it's mostly the songwriting and other people can oftentimes take his great songs and just run with them. Lulu certainly outshines the song's creator on this one. Her chirpy, cute vocals give the song life and change the feel from a bit of chauvenistic bragging to coy sweetness and all for the better.

[MP3] The Kingsmen -Money (That's What I Want)
A blues classic gone garage and shot back with a dose of the blues. The Kingsmen dust off their swagger on their interpretation of this track, quite possibly one of my favorite versions of this song. The guitar swings and rocks over fat organ chords and a young impudent vocal, giving this well tread song some resonance.
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posted by dissensous at 9:51:00 PM 3 comments


Indian Moon

Scott Wheeler creates hushed backporch folk that sneaks into your subconscious on a bed of fog. Lyrically dark and calm, Scott creates a vision isolation and escape. He picks his guitar with a tenderness that evokes a lingering sadness. He is helped on this record by his band mates from The Clockwork Army, Emily Neveu and Dave Pettijohn amongst others. Though his work with that band is nothing to scoff at, his recordings as Indian Moon show an intimacy and insight that is far beyond their work; desolate and captivating, pastoral and haunting. That's Scott on the left up there with Dave and Emily pouncing on him. His record will be released by Banter Records soon.

[MP3] Indian Moon -Sleeping With His Gun
[MP3] Indian Moon -Better Friend
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posted by dissensous at 10:02:00 AM 1 comments


Colour Haze

German Rock group Colour Haze bring a bit of the jazzy prog back to stoner rock. Amidst the crunch of deafening guitars their songs bubble with a subdued sense of melody and tone. The fuzzed up drugged out dirges are sprawling testaments to the Marshall Stack. Bits of Kyuss, Boris and other purveyors of sludge float in an out on top of murky vocals sung from behind walls of smoke that clear for just a second to let a clean tone of guitar through before being obliterated by sheets of volume. Their combination of space rock and the stoner sludge with an emphasis on some decidedly classic rock influences is a hazy concoction of all the right drug addled influences of years past. Their latest album Tempel is released via the band's own Elektrohasch Records.

[MP3] Colour Haze -Aquamarina
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posted by dissensous at 8:18:00 PM 0 comments



It's easy to see why Thurston Moore put this out on his Eccstatic Peace label. Tam's self titled, Thurston compiled retrospective is rife with the kind of lo fi 90's inflected indie that haunts his past. Tam proves that the loner/ lo-fi angle resonates just as well with the female perspective as it does with the hundreds of male counterparts that have bullied the sound for years. Many of the songs are sparse and can be a little rough but they pulsate with a subdued catchiness and a classic indie rock hangover. With an aloofness that puts you in your place and any sweetness seeming a bit tongue in cheek; Tam growls with a voice doused in vinegar and sweat. She's the kind of female singer that's been awol from the music scene for about 15 years and its about time for a return.

[MP3] TAM -Take What U Need
[MP3] TAM -1000 Watts
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posted by dissensous at 10:52:00 AM 0 comments


As time wore on through the late 60's and early 70's the amalgamation of popular styles laid the groundwork for what would become the folk-rock archetype. This combination of fuzzed electrics with the jangle of acoustic guitars would go on to influence generations to come; and while some leaned a bit more to the rock and others to the folk roots, it was the potent combination that ultimately stuck. These two releases echo both sides of this dynamic but both proved highly influential.

Fairport Convention - Fairport Convention [1st]
This English group were one of the first to really develop this sound in their country. Their first album is sometimes a little overlooked since it was recorded before Sandy Denny joined, but nonetheless the record
stands as a prime example of the fusion of folk and rock, while leaning a bit more to the rock side of the spectrum. Once Denny joined they would reexamine their folk influences a bit and record much of their more lauded material. However, this album stands as a more raw and distinctive sound of a band finding its direction.

[MP3] Fairport Convention - Time Will Show The Wiser
[MP3] Fairport Convention - It's Alright Ma, It's Only Witchcraft

Relatively Clean Rivers - Relatively Clean Rivers
This sole album recorded by Relatively Clean Rivers shows the undeniable merits of songwriter Phil Perlman. The sounds waver between a bit of West Coast Psych with some eastern influences to a more Grateful
Dead Americana The acoustic strums and fuzzed out rock shuffle are echoed in countless acid folk bands today. Their brand of folk-rock was a bit more toned down but definitely saw the benefits of adding a bit of rhythm to bubble underneath solid folk writing. This album is an utterly essential listen to anyone interested in the sound.

[MP3] Relatively Clean Rivers - Prelude/ Hello Sunshine
[MP3] Relatively Clean Rivers - Easy Ride

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posted by dissensous at 2:32:00 PM 1 comments


The Mooney Suzuki

The Mooney Suzuki are a band I instantly liked the first time I heard them. They encompass every aspect of what made 60's garage bands great; frantic, propulsive drumming, loose guitars and a cocky sneer of youth. Their story kinda reads like a nuggets bio as well, missed opportunities and dicey career moves have kind of skewed the track that could have made them one of the biggest bands of the late garage revivalism. Top it off with a late major label signing and a production stint from some hit-machine and it looks dim. All that aside; this re-release of their first ep sees the band at it's loosest and most raw. Just some young punks with a penchant for pure dirty, catchy rock n' roll. The EP along with some choice bonus material practically smells of stale beer and sweat right out of the package. Even with headphones you can still feel 100 kids packed into Coney Island High or Brownies just moving to the crunch of electric mayhem.

[MP3] The Mooney Suzuki -Half Of My Heart
[MP3] The Mooney Suzuki -I Can Only Give You Everything
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posted by dissensous at 11:48:00 AM 1 comments


Sinoia Caves

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. His Hawkwind by way of krautrock dive into the murkiest depths of space rock is a disorienting trip into deep undersea caves, aptly named indeed. The shorter pieces swirl, pulse and throb with bits of 70's analog experimentalism but the real centerpieces here are the lengthy sonic dronescapes that push past the fifteen minute mark. 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. "The Enchanted Persuaded" is out on Jagjaguwar on December 5th. The album is a repackaged and remastered version of Jeremy's self released album from 2002. If we're lucky they'll have the good sense to issue it on vinyl but I'm not crossing my fingers yet.

[MP3] Sinoia Caves -Naro Way
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posted by dissensous at 10:14:00 AM 0 comments



I admittedly have a penchant for bands with sweet female vocals. The voice of Amber Valentine is equally saccharine sweet and tough as asphalt; transitioning from a sugary lilt to tense volume in a split second. Valentine brings to mind Kim Deal, Juliana Hatfield and Kim Gordon all rolled into one, each crooning and screaming over the guttural heat and bravado of guitars and frantic drumming. Jucifer make no efforts to hide their love of the last decade and with proper reason. They take the best parts of the grunge wave and combine them into a cavalcade of catchy choruses, quiet/ loud juxtapositions and the embodiment of youthful release. Their songs are the sounds of a room of sweaty teenagers all trying to get as close to the stage as possible only to throw themselves back into the fray; eyes closed and free for only a second.

[MP3] Jucifer -Pontius of Palia
[MP3] Jucifer -Hennin Hardine
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posted by dissensous at 10:03:00 AM 1 comments


Múm - Peel Sessions

Icelandic collective Mum have always walked the line between dreams and reality. Their blend of experimental electronica and cinematic orchestration coupled with almost childlike vocals bring to mind fractured images of childhood fears and cloudy daydreams. The music also invokes the cold climate of their homeland; cascading down the back of your neck in tiny droplets that induce shivers on impact. Alive with wonderment and curiosity, the songs run down lonely dirt roads only stopping once in a while to watch the icy rain collect in the ripples of puddles. John Peel was able to capture their transition from a burgeoning band in the wake of their first album to their rise to experimentation on 'Finally We Are No One.' These tracks are a testament to their creative spirit and ingenuity. The Peel Sessions will be released on FatCat on December 4th

[MP3] Múm -Now There Is That Fear Again (Peel Session)
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posted by dissensous at 10:38:00 AM 0 comments



Grails have culled together the tracks from their previously vinyl only Black Tar Prophecies. After the separation of the band and their violinist it appears that they decided to reject their previous "post-rock" status and go in a bit of a different direction. The songs are still sprawling instrumentals but the swells of post rock have been replaced with a deeper appreciation for experimentation and a dusty natural sound. The record reeks of barren landscapes and gray foreboding skies. It's the sound of uncertain terrain, and checking over your shoulder every so often. The smell of dust and wet pavement hang heavy on this one. They've retained a sense of cinematic scope but its much less forced here. This record echoes the turnaround that Earth performed on their last record; trading in walls of volume for an interest in the use of space and the tones of the American west. Released by the ever consistent Important Records.

[MP3] Grails -Smokey Room
[MP3] Grails -More Erosion
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posted by dissensous at 10:30:00 AM 1 comments


Women And Children

I picked up Women and Children's last record about a year ago after hearing a few tracks from an limited UK vinyl release. The record was hazy and ethereal with lilting female vocals creeping in over the swirls of folk and muted guitar. This release, which sees light thanks to Narnack records has definitley toned down the mysteriousness that marked their self titled release. The haze has been burnt away by more of a focus on pop influences; and where before only the lone female voice poked through, now the vocals are a pretty even split of male and female. It still retains a bit of an air of the unknown but the jangle of guitars is definitely more the focus rather than the washy haze I loved on the last record. Still its a really solid release with some great dark folk songs.

[MP3] Women and Children -Mary Blues
[MP3] Women and Children -General Winter
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posted by dissensous at 10:37:00 PM 0 comments


Wolf People

Apparently started as a project to test the recording limitations of a salvaged 1960's Grundig tape machine; Wolf People is the creative output of Jack Sharp and a few others that have been able to make his trip. The band's sound is a true homage to their 60's muse. They sound like a great rummage sale nugget dropped out of nowhere. Dark tones and restrained bravado seethe with a kind of garage band angst that's mellowed with the ideals of true studio experimentation. It's smokey psychedelia with a strong love for the blues. They've just released a 7" on UK label Battered Ornaments with stunningly appropriate artwork by Luke Insect. The track below is from an early EP and check out their myspace to hear the 7" tracks and another nice gem.

[MP3] Wolf People -Empty Heart
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posted by dissensous at 10:44:00 AM 0 comments


The Apples In Stereo

The apples in stereo return! Ah always good to see a familiar face back from my youth. I've been a longtime fan of The Apples and I'm overjoyed at the release of two great Elephant 6 records in one year (see: The Minders). It seems that the band has lost a drummer but Schneider hasn't lost his penchant for writing the perfect pop song. After the last album's foray into power pop, the strum is back and the distortion is turned down positioning this record somewhere in just below "Discovery" Territory but sharing the love for interludes that "Wallpaper" had. This record hasn't grabbed me with as much of a consistency as either of those classics; but keeping in mind that most songwriters these days don't even deserve to play croquet with Schneider, let alone share a stage with him it's nothing to sweat over. The jangly pop is still front and center and there are so many hooks that you could hold a pre-school's worth of coats on this record. Robert seems to have incorporated a little of his side project's love for electronics and keys but it mostly shows up on the interludes which makes it not so disconcerting as to call it the Marbles in Stereo or anything. Solid E6, and pretty solid Schneider too.

[MP3] The Apples In Stereo-Energy
[MP3] The Apples In Stereo -Skyway
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posted by dissensous at 10:05:00 AM 0 comments