The Battles

This record isn't exactly that new anymore but it's one that has taken me a little time to wrap myself around. Mostly the work of Stephen Wood, The Battles have evolved and changed lineups incessantly since their last record. Seems to have all been for a good cause though, Tomorrow's Eager Hands has layers of productions stacked so tightly that half of the fun is just peeling them apart. Songs shift and take several forms; slowly burning from subtle beginnings to hook laden coda's. Dark brooding songs, that seethe with the kind of grand menace that Bowie conjures and are polished with the subtle whimsy of Ray Davies. Wood has a voice that can comfort or anger the blood depending on his desire; but either way the passion in his voice never wavers. This record really takes some time to get into but like the best sort of records the more you listen to it the better it becomes. Tomorrow's Eager Hands is out now on Soft Abuse.

[MP3] The Battles -Suzanne
[MP3] The Battles -We Were Right To Fight
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posted by dissensous at 10:09:00 AM 1 comments


Svarte Greiner

Better known as Erik Skodvin of Deaf Center, his Svarte Greiner project jumps even deeper into a spooky underworld of sounds than he has formerly produced. Creating a Lynchian arsenal of samples that creak and scratch at the subconscious, Skodvin gives life to the sounds of nightmares. The record is undoubtedly dark but very subtle; it's wheezing with apprehension rather than loud jarring bumps. This is horror as seen through the eyes of older artisans. The monsters in Skodvin's world never show themselves. As soon as you turn to look they're gone, leaving you more worried about your sanity than what might actually lurk in the shadows. Skodvin makes his demons your demons at least for a little while. Svarte Greiner's, Knive is out now on the ever impressive Type Records. Also of note are some impressive mixes that Erik has worked up under the Svarte Geiner moniker over at Deaf Center and SG home Miasmah. He has crafted an especially interesting mix with a lighter but still chilling feel called Under The Leaves. Go check those out as well.

[MP3] Svarte Greiner -The Boat Was My Friend
[MP3] Svarte Greiner -Easy On The Bones
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posted by dissensous at 10:08:00 AM 4 comments


I gathered up some more change and dropped it into the re-released jukebox to see what it had to offer up this week. As usual it dropped a few choice classic slices of garage, pop and soul down onto the platter, so enjoy these few selections.

[MP3] Richard and the Young Lions -Open Up Your Door
This one's bathed in fuzz and an Eric Burdon style strained vocal, but with a sweet pop chorus. Full of throbbing bass that shows no sign of letting up and a trademark garage scream thrown in to exorcise the demons of youth. This was pretty much the limits of the band's output but a fine track nonetheless.

[MP3] The Troggs -When Will The Rain Come
Another side of the band who was most well known for Wild Thing. Dark and moody, this track is on the edge of psychedelia but without any of the real effected trappings of the style. The troggs had more than just one impassioned garage anthem up their sleeve but they never outlived it's shadow. This is a testament to their diversity.

[MP3] The Underdogs -Love's Gone Bad
Another garage stomper with a heavy pace about the ravages of young love. The Underdogs keep some hints of soul on this track, originally made famous in sould and Girl Groups circles. Stabs of organ give it a dark swing and the guitar just lays back into a propulsive strut. This one is a jumper.

[MP3] Sanata Barbara Machine Head -Porcupine Juice
This short lived band contained members of some of the biggest British Rock groups but disbanded early due to all the members taking up better offers. Features Jon Lord of Deep Purple, Ronnie Wood of the Jeff Beck Group and Twink Adler from Tomorrow and The Pretty Things. This track is a scorching instrumental that showcases the combined talent that these musicians posessed. Not really an easy track to find but it turns up on some issues of an Anthology of British Blues released in the 70's.

[MP3] Michael and the Messangers -Romeo & Juliet
A garage revamp of this 60's classic. The reworking gives the song a much needed shot of energy that just increased throughout the song. Joyful and upbeat, complete with handclaps and enough bounce to get the heads bopping and the ponytails swinging.
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posted by dissensous at 11:25:00 AM 4 comments



For a band from Seattle, Welcome sound incredibly British. Their take on 60's inflected rock as squeezed through a snarled punk filter is dripping with brit rock's entire history. Their songs have a bit of a flagrant swagger and raw energy to them but just when you think you've got them pegged they throw in a female fronted track that's soaked in lush dreamy 80's pop. Welcome are at their best when they stick to the bombast and sweat soaked rockers that squiggle with life and kick out the third floor windows out of spite. However, even when they slow down a disparate tension of aggression versus restraint bubbles underneath just aching to tear the track off its hinges. Definitely a record that has to grow on you, but it's worth the time to get acquainted. Their album Sirs is out this spring on FatCat records.

[MP3] Welcome -All Set
[MP3] Welcome -Natural Frost
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posted by dissensous at 10:58:00 PM 1 comments



Mike Tanner makes fragile melodies akin to what Cecile Schott has been producing of late. He has expanded his scope beyond mere music boxes though. Using parlor bells, vinyl and cassette source recordings, mechanical music boxes, and bits of his own orchestration he has allowed his instruments to dialogue with each other in unpredictable ways. Setting one or more of the sources going he then captures the resulting spontaneous music. The results are dreamlike and gritty. The mechanics of the instruments mesh together with the music into tiny vignettes that pirouette on the senses and scrape at the subconscious. Plinth's album Plays Victorian Machine Music is out on Rusted Rail Records.

[MP3] Plinth -Victorian Machine Music 1
[MP3] Plinth -Victorian Machine Music 6
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posted by dissensous at 10:26:00 AM 0 comments


Check out our new mixtape (it's over there on the right). We going to try to make this more of a monthly installment, so check back regularly. This month we are featuring some old favorites like Comets on Fire, Black Mountain and the Skygreen Leopards along with new discoveries from Wooden Wand, Benoit Pioulard and a whole lot more. Enjoy!
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posted by pitchblack at 4:18:00 PM 2 comments

Nurse and Soldier

Comprised of Oneida's Bobby Matador and his wife Erica Fletcher, Nurse and Soldier create a serene mix of murky psych-pop with overtones of crunchy synthesizers and clean languid guitar. Vocals are split between the couple with Bobby's voice washing into a haze of phlange and Erica's providing a counterbalance of dry melancholy. The two play off of each other easily, creating a record that gently aches with a bittersweet sense of exhaustion. It walks into the psych teritory softly, never hitting you over the head with effects. Instead the strength of their songwriting shines through; at times sunny and at times clouded with lingering memories. The record will be released on Jagjaguawar subsidiary and Oneida run Brah Records in January.

[MP3] Nurse and Soldier -In The Dark
[MP3] Nurse and Soldier -Lies and Alterations
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posted by dissensous at 9:57:00 AM 0 comments



Deerhoof continue to reinvent the pop song. Throwing elements of garage, punk, pop and shoegaze into a bag and shaking as violently as they can, the results of which often shift within the same song. On top of the mixture is the ever-present chirp of Satomi Matsuzaki weaving it's way in and out of frantic drumming and a tangled mess of pop influences. Friend Opportunity, their latest release has a healthy dose of serene moments sprinkled in amongst the clamor but it's still always been the frenzy that's kept me hooked on Deerhoof. The serene moments do show another side of the band though; bits of lush pop take precedence over negative space, even slowing to an orchestral croon at times. It seems that even those on the front edge of pop have to slow down and look back at it from hindsight. Though losing longtime member Chris Cohen to his solo project, the band still retains an immediacy that's shot through your ears like pop rocks through a kaleidoscope. They release Friend Opportunity January 23rd on Kill Rock Stars

[MP3] Deerhoof -The Perfect Me
[MP3] Deerhoof -The Galaxist
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posted by dissensous at 9:50:00 AM 0 comments


This has been a good year for folk reissues. Not only have some overlooked artists been resurrected but many of the articles have been very seldom or never properly released. Along with the reissues of Sibylle Baier and Linda Perhacs, these gems by Karen Dalton and Susan Christie are unbelievable in their quality especially for not having gotten terribly wide or in Christie's case any release originally

Susan Christie - Paint A Lady
Philly songstress Susan Christie's career lasted one hit, recorded as a single for a major label before she vanished into almost certain obscurity. She had a knack for mixing soul and psych and applying them to country standards.
along with some great original material. The re-imaging of country songs into psych soul masterpieces recalls Bettye Swann's soul touches on the Nashville catalog. Christie however gives her reinterpretations a huge shot of counterculture folk leanings with some obvious influences from the drug culture of the period. The instrumentation and creative arrangements on her songs certainly give wonder to how such a talent could have faded so quickly. The record was originally rejected by major labels but luckily some master acetates survived and this reissue has been released to the world.

[MP3] Susan Christie- Paint A Lady
[MP3] Susan Christie - For The Love Of A Soldier

Karen Dalton - In My Own Time
Dalton had an incredibly powerful voice and could play blues guitar with an incredibly delicate and soulful style. Karen took folk and soul classics and made them unmistakably her own. Grabbing hold of even tired classics like
"When A Man Loves A Woman" and "How Sweet It Is," and breathing a sense of humanity and life back into their often lip serviced words. Karen was a fixture of the village folk scene but this release embraces a fuller production and plays up Dalton's handling of blues and soul. In My Own Time was selected and produced by Harvey Brooks, who played on both Highway 61 and Bitches' Brew. Not long after the album's release Dalton slipped away to her family and never really caught hold as a household name. This year's re-release of her classic album gives her a much needed shot back into the spotlight.

[MP3] Karen Dalton - How Sweet It Is
[MP3] Karen Dalton - In My Own Dream

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posted by dissensous at 9:45:00 AM 0 comments



The four women of Amiina create fragile, beautiful works that sparkle like newly formed icicles in the December sun. Crafted from shimmering bells and somber strings they, like many of their Icelandic compatriots echo the cold quiet landscapes of their homeland. A chill nibbles at the edges of every note and you can practically smell the threat of snow in the air as they unfold tiny glacial epics. Their new single Seoul is released on friends and collaborators Sigor Ros' label The Worker's Institute. The single is a prelude to an album set to be released around spring of next year.

[MP3] Amiina -Seoul
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posted by dissensous at 10:13:00 AM 4 comments


Rhys Chatham

With nods to LaMonte Young, Eno and other masters of the minimalist cannon, Rhys leads his "guitar army" in creating lush oceans of sound. Expanding his orchestra to 400 players, this daunting task actually results in one of the most beautiful and restrained tonal pieces I've heard in quite a while. Recorded live in the basilica of the Sacre-Coeur, he leads the players with precision and discipline; the movements shimmer and swell within the contours of the chapel. Each note resonates from the walls as if only being played by a handful of people. Very few minimalist pieces can emote such a feeling of humanity, while still remaining serene. The shear collective effort of so many individuals all contributing to a singular venture is reflected in every moment of A Crimson Grail as the tones turn from euphoric to almost sinister to the edge of epic. Chatham has turned the electric guitar into a divining rod for the soul.

[MP3] Rhys Chatham -A Crimson Grail Part One
Be patient it's long
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posted by dissensous at 10:21:00 AM 18 comments



Madeline's songs are the sound of late summer just before fall, with a cool breeze and the sweet smell of grass mingling with the newly fallen leaves. Her voice lilts with a slight hint of an accent that prickles your senses as it tumbles through her tales of love and ennui. Each note is plucked from the air with a gentle yet insistent conviction that resonates in cascading waves over the barest touches of acoustic guitar. Released on Athens Label/ Artist collective Orange Twin, she fits their sense of respect for the past but in a very atypical way. She stands out as a true singer songwriter amongst their stable of indie pop enthusiasts. Nonetheless her release The Slow Bang comes as one of the most refreshingly unpretentious, heartfelt country narratives released this year.

[MP3] Madeline -To Hell and Back
[MP3] Madeline -Uncle's Sweetheart Pt. 2
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posted by dissensous at 10:39:00 AM 2 comments


Though psych and acid rock were birthed and raised in the British and American rock scenes, that by no means implies that they were the only cultures to embrace and master the form. Once records by Hendrix, Sabbath and the like hit some foreign shores a whole crop of guitar toting challengers were brought up abroad. Even if some of these artist's brilliance is just being unearthed now, it still stands up over time. These are definitely two of my favorite foreign guitar records of the time.

Strawberry Path - When the Raven Has Come To Earth
Strawberry Path boast everything a great proto-metal group needed; hard blues inflected guitar, a writhing sense of rhythm and the wailing vocals of Hiro Tsunoda. Amazinly, for the amount of noise
these guys produced they were just a duo. Hiro manned the drums and vocals and the amazing Shigeru "Jimmy" Narumo did his best to wrangle every tortured note he could out of his guitar. These guys went on to be members in Flied Egg another of Japan's heavy rockers. Hendrix is felt all over the guitar on this one and with a little help from some friends on organ you can't help but hear Steppenwolf in there. Not only one of my favorite guitar records but this has to be up there with Power of Zeus for best overlooked records of the 70's.

[MP3] Strawberry Path- Maximum Speed of Muji Bird
[MP3] Strawberry Path - Five More Pennies

Charlie & Esdor - Charlie & Esdor
This stands as the only available "album" of the combo of Edmund "Charlie" Franzen and Esdor Jensen. The group was part of the incredibly productive Swedish psychedelic scene. They began playing together with a few friends in a band that
never materialized, recorded several singles and almost enough material for and album that was never formally released. Heavy acid guitar rock with a pounding backbeat and sitar galore. If you have any interest in Dungen, you can really see hear that sound as it existed in its own time. The folkier raga tracks stand up but it's the heavy guitar oriented ones that really propel this into essential territory. Reportedly their original band was to have been even heavier and more out than any of this stuff but that group only existed for a short time and was never recorded, shame.

[MP3] Charlie & Esdor - Fuck The Cops
[MP3] Charlie & Esdor - Två Mans Bridge Blues

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posted by dissensous at 1:25:00 PM 0 comments



Vietnam is the sound of dirt and cracked Levi's. The band perfectly captures the transitional era their name encapsulates. They are the sound of unrest and turmoil; equal parts aloof laid back, barefoot basement rockers and scuzzed up street punks filled with a rebellious spirit. They would be the counterculture, if such a thing still existed. They wouldn't seem to care if it did or not. Vietnam is the sound of everything that used to fuel a band; catharsis, restlessness, wanderlust and vitriol. They know when a song should slow down and ride a high, they know when a to channel their energy into electric aggression and for being a bunch of city boys they even know how to choogle once in a while. Seems it's a good year for having a penchant for wandering into classic rock territory. Vietnam seem right at home there.

[MP3] Vietnam -Summer In The City
[MP3] Vietnam -Welcome To My Room
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posted by dissensous at 10:31:00 AM 3 comments


Laura Gibson

Laura Gibson writes endearingly simple songs accented with a subtle use of fingerpicking. Her album was recorded by Adam Selzer and with members of Norfolk and Western and released by Hush Records. Quiet and comforting, Gibson sings modern lullabies that sway and creak with the plaintive nuances of her northwestern Oregon upbringing. The songs are sparse with slight bits of orchestration just peeking at the edges of her sad, but strong voice. Even when the tempo turns upbeat there's always a hint of bittersweet resolve, or maybe it's that there's always an air of sweetness even when her songs feel they've turned for the bleak. Either way she has a captivating way of holding you in her breath and nudging you with her fingertips.

[MP3] Laura Gibson -Hands In Pockets
[MP3] Laura Gibson -Wintering
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posted by dissensous at 9:50:00 AM 1 comments