12.17.2014

The Memories


The Memories have always had a strain of potential that runs through their output and tends to outweigh a lot of the final results. However, when the band hits that nail just right, they hit it square and along with the breezy Love is The Law their latest record Hot Afternoon captures their blend of lackadaisical summer Sunday vibes and pop transcendence at its height. The LP seems to have snuck out with little fanfare in the tail of 2014, but the inspired pairing of Sonny Smith on production with the band's stripped and swooning vibe seems far too perfect to slip away without notice. Its not a complex record, just the right feeling for the right time and when the ten tracks on this one hit you at the end of a long day, its all the salve that your frustrations need. Appropriately hitting the racks via Burger who've had just a touch quieter year in 2014 but as usual, seem to be keeping the dream alive.

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posted by dissensous at 12:11:00 PM 0 comments

12.16.2014

King Khan & The Gris Gris


As an addendum to their great single from Garage Swim, King Khan's teamed up with The Gris Gris for a full album's worth of tracks that balance Khan's fiery garage-soul with the Oakland band's psych touches. The tracks wander into some slow territory when the King gets to pinin' but when they kick up the fire it gives some new tack for Khan, sort of a 60's pop slide on his vocabulary. They even kick some new perspective on Shrines tracks like "Born To Die" – it’s easy to see how both halves of this equation were built for each other. Also, it’s just good to see The Gris Gris back on the circuit, having not really heard anything substantial from them since '05. I know they're still burning the L.A. live scene but this is the first recording that seems to have hit since a live bit in '08. For now Murder Burgers remains a treat on KK's bandcamp, so head on over for a late year bit of 2014 fire.

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posted by dissensous at 6:22:00 PM 0 comments

12.11.2014

The Move - Message From The Country
The Move certainly need no introduction, they've put their mark on garage, bubblegum and pop for years to come but their transitional album A Message From The Country is an essential piece of any 70's rock collection, and one that's too often
missing from most. Recorded in 1971, the album is largely driven by Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood, with bassist Rick Price leaving during the sessions and drummer Bev Bevan feeling on the outs with the group. Perhaps this is because the album was being recorded at the same time Wood and Lynne were beginning Electric Light Orchestra, there are some obvious crossovers between The Move's swan song and ELO's debut. But Message From the Country winds up on the rootsier end of the spectrum from the two, glossy but not so bright you can't see or feel the chooglin' vein pulsing through the album. In its expanded forms its embraced a clutch of singles from the era as well that landed better at radio, including the glam stomper "Do Ya" which became more synonymous with ELO in its live incarnation, and Todd Rundgren in his cover, but the alternate take on the reissue really brings light to what this song began as and how strong an entry it is to The Move's canon. Those singles aside though, the album has that early 70's inclusive experimentation that pulls in harmonic excellence, acoustic shades and an emotional core that would follow Lynne through his career. 60's garage fans may have the early Move tacked into playlists, vinyl collections and their sense of psychedelia but this one deserves at least a little spot next The White Album, No Dice and Ogden's Nut Gone Flake on the shelf and certainly needs to accompany Wood's solo effort and Wizzard.

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posted by dissensous at 2:50:00 PM 2 comments

12.10.2014

The Advisory Circle


Well the rest of the world seems doused in Year End lists already but seeing as we're not quite at the end of the year, there's more to assess before RSTB gets to our list. And how can we lock down 2014 without taking another visit 'round to the Ghost Box stable. With the already stellar release from Soundcarriers under their belt this year, the venerable UK label comes in late with The Advisory Circle's newest offering, a darker drip from Jon Brooks' filter than ever before. The album still hinges on Brooks' ability to craft seamless sound design that evokes Radiophonic flashbacks and library soundtracks welded into children's story book backdrops, but this time Brooks seems to be exploring more of the deep dark woods of the original Grimm set of tales than any Disney-fied singing animals and luxe colored castles. From Out Here flips through dusty cylinders, spliced reel to reel and Brooks' own deeply melancholic synth and guitar touches that skitter through misplaced misgivings like film spools that constantly dissolve into cigarette burns and away half-remembered premonitions of futures that you hope won't come true. In 2014 Brooks has found a way to melt copies of Alice in Wonderland and Brazil together into a Cheshire grinned wink at horrors to come. Its albums like this that make waiting for all the entries worthwhile before casting 'best of' ballots.

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posted by dissensous at 6:01:00 PM 0 comments

12.08.2014

Hideous Sun Demon


More fire from the South Hemi with the debut record from Perth's Hideous Sun Demon. The band, named after the cult 50's horror flick, burns with muscular, hip-slung punk that's driving from the well of Oh Sees fervor that's taken hold of more than a few bands their way plus six or seven dashes of homegrown Aussie Punk flashes. The guitars gnash while the rhythm section chugs like an oilcan of the cheapest lager. They bash through the bleak halls of The Adolescents, combining a knack for sneered sentiment backed with an angry clangor in fine fashion. And though clearly sucking on the tailpipe of those punk poses, notably its their swing from the bleak waters of post-punk to the edges of stoner rock's sixteen pound drudge that seems to really give them a unique shape. Pulled together with the snarling vocals of Vin Buchanan-Simpson, whose contempt can be felt slinking from the speakers and pulling the shades in any room, Sweat is a rather triumphant debut.

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posted by dissensous at 5:20:00 PM 0 comments

12.03.2014

Damo Suzuki & Mugstar


Hard not to be intrigued by this collaboration on name alone. Mugstar, the heir apparent to Suzuki's Can legacy collaborating with the legend for one night, one performance with the stipulation that they not practice or prep beforehand. The outcome of this experiment in psych is four tracks that burn with Krautrock fever, led by Suzuki's feverish vocal delivery but bolstered plenty by Mugstar's intensity and adept adaptation. They open on fire, burning though thirteen plus minutes of scorch and fury, then cool to the kind of creeping dread that both halves of this equation seem so succinct at invoking. The capper on the whole affair is the twenty-two minute coda that brings the night and record to a close. Leaving the intensity they built at the start looking like a warmup, the final track writhes and seizes with psychedelic shred. These bastards are limited to 500 and probably one of the best sets of improv psych going today. Worth tracking down.

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posted by dissensous at 9:37:00 AM 0 comments

11.26.2014

Skull Defekts


There are few instances of The Skull Defekts caressing the listener. There are plenty in which they cajole, shove, scar and sear; but rarely do they play nice when it comes to their sonic oeuvre. Straying from longtime home Thrill Jockey for the discordant Diagonal imprint, they don't pull back on their early threats. Street Metal opens slashing with humid, tribal minimalism and only gets more jagged from there. Drawing unease like strength, the album stalks through five tacks of blood dripped psych, ritualistic dub and bone stripped synth punk, bending each genre to black tar and smearing each over the next. Plenty of bands take up the psych mantle but few know how to truly bring pain and fear to the fold, few know how to actually disorient to the point of panic and even fewer still have Daniel Higgs in their ranks doing whatever falls under the mantle of "ghost catcher". But whatever the band is doing, they're doing right, teaching some newcomers that, if you haven't actually cut a notch in the devil's horn, perhaps you should just sit back and watch the show and take notes.

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posted by dissensous at 9:47:00 AM 0 comments

11.25.2014

Elisa Ambrogio


Bubbling under the surface of Magik Markers has always been a pop heartbeat and it was probably no closer to the surface than on their last album, Surrender To The Fantasy. Still, it seems as if the band's Elisa Ambrogio sought to rip it out completely and sew it to her sleeve with the release of her first solo album. There's little scuzz, other than the occasional bit of fuzz stuck to a guitar line or the general closed curtain ambiance of the bedroom recording style. Instead of noise Ambrogio works her way through pop songs that fall less indebted to the usual MM style-guide of Sonic Youth clangor and more so to Thurston Moore's solo recordings of late. By all appearances this seems to be Ambrogio's scratchpad of relationship anxiety dreams, tumbling from self-doubt to regret, with usual stops off at anxious and exhausted. Its a rather well rounded exploration of love's wounds and Ambrogio delivers all her scarred expositions in smudged sighs that paint her as a decorated veteran of relationship foxholes - though she makes the war stories a hell of a lot easier to take with a torn veil of 90's rock in her pocket and a curl of smoke in her delivery.

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posted by dissensous at 9:26:00 AM 0 comments

11.24.2014

Black to Comm


Marc Richter's latest as Black To Comm, which follows on his acclaimed soundtrack, EARTH, extends the musician's tool kit of decayed samples, languorous drones and crumbling juxtapositions. The eponymous album glows like a perpetual motion machine run on sunrise and sunset endlessly looped in time lapse. Its crumbling exterior gives way to sporadic channel surfing between stations that play nothing but a combination of equipment balancing tones, religious chants, documentaries on the life cycles of insects and infomercials on how to buy the aforementioned products. The effect is simultaneously strangely mesmerizing and repulsive. Richter's world seems to seethe with UV light pouring from mechanical channels, its the sounds of sentience in machine actualizing to document the lapse of man into lethargy. There's plenty of menace, a clash of pop sheen and that feeling of meditative constancy that attempts to wick away the panic, but never achieves its purpose. Instead the album leaves the listener feeling a sense of drowning in dread from too many unseen forces. Needless to say... its great.

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posted by dissensous at 8:43:00 AM 0 comments

11.21.2014

Acid Baby Jesus


Some days you wake up and think, "yeah it its time for another album from Acid Baby Jesus". Well maybe you don't wake up and think that, but I do. Slovenly wraps us a new batch from Greece's favorite sons, and its just as wonky a collection of psych addled garage and cigarette burnt pop froth as their first. Divining creepy vibes from the center of the rotted soul, the band pounds out the kind of psych squelch that creeps slow up the neck, settling into the hypothalamus and taking root like an insidious tumor. They've found the formula for evil and dipped it in a coating of garage that's more exhaust fumes and packed tar than flash glamour and hip swagger. Plenty of bands know how to make you move but very few know how to make you move six rows back to avoid your gaze, and that's where ABJ bring their expertise. The Grecian foursome instill the kind of pit of the stomach bad vibes that make you back slowly out of a room, only to end up in a back alley full of greaser punk, full blown and fuming. Resist the dread and just embrace the weird negativity wafting off of the amp stacks. It’s easier to give in than to fight. That's the beauty of "Selected Recordings," its a jukebox of acid reflux regrets that make you hungry for more.

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posted by dissensous at 9:36:00 AM 0 comments

11.20.2014

Matthew Melton


Matthew Melton, better known around these parts as the driving force behind Bare Wires, Warm Soda and Snake Flower 2, isn't exactly hurting for output. But as prolific entities seem in the habit of, there's more material than various incarnations can hold. So as with his first solo LP, Outside of Paradise wrangles up the cutting room floor and misplaced extras that just don't seem to find a place in his regular canon. As such there's the edge of glam, hint of power pop that's been prevalent in Melton's recent offerings from Warm Soda. There's a touch of the swagger that made Bare Wires cut so hard, but more often this is a softer side of Melton and perhaps that's the tie that binds these together. The winking playfulness that's always bubbling under Warm Soda is nowhere to be found on this LP's title track, a swooning pop song that's tinged more with sadness than triumphant strut. Even when the tracks bound into the room, Melton often seems lovelorn, a Lothario pining rather than preening. Despite their varied recording dates the songs stitch together into a pretty seamless quilt of garage pecked pop that's branded with plenty of Melton's charm. It may not soundtrack your Saturday night the way that Warm Soda did earlier in the year but Sunday afternoon is waiting for this side of Melton.

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posted by dissensous at 10:14:00 AM 0 comments

11.18.2014

Ulaan Markhor


Stephen R. Smith returns to the valley of Ulaan. Or rather he's always been there, recently cranking out releases under the Ulaan Passerine moniker and Ulaan Khol monikers, though he's always held a place in our hearts as Hala Strana. The latest turn as Ulaan Markhor smoothes the fire and fits of Khol and refines the languidity of Passerine into an album of fluid, propulsive instrumentals that have a head in the German Progressive movement and a foot firmly planted in psychedelic American rock tipping out of the late 70's. The drums never hit that motorik tick but the bass certainly does and there's an expansiveness and float that's sharing space at the lunchtable with some kosmiche cronies. The album's ten feet thick in a cloud of ether but with an oddly nostalgic tilt that seems to lurch up out of the smoke and swirl to pull at some forgotten regrets. In merging the ennui and prog into a digestible genre it seems that Smith has found the cinematic heart of stoner rock and given it a breathing soul; something that also gives it a considerable amount of heft as well. Its good to see Soft Abuse kicking some releases back onto the table as well as they've been scant in the last few years but what comes is always very welcome from that stable.

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posted by dissensous at 8:24:00 AM 0 comments

11.13.2014

Aaron Hawn


Speaking of Sonic Meditations, the label keeps on as always with solid selections from Justin Wright in limited form and this time they reach back into the RSTB memory chest with a release from Aaron Hawn, former bassist of OG Not Not Funners Mythical Beast. As with The Beast's own work, the tape traverses dark hallways, drops its possessions and wanders out into the desert night. Over the course of six tracks Hawn saws shamanistic guitar visions in half with creeping dread and keeps us hooked for visions to come. Its got musical roots with the Evan Caminiti/Barn Owl coven but certainly Hawn etches out his own space on the plateau with this one. Limited like hell to 80 cassettes and worth its weight in spooled tape.

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posted by dissensous at 10:39:00 AM 0 comments

11.12.2014

King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard - "Satan Speeds Up" Video


KG are at their best when mining the weird, faded corners of R&B soaked psych and their last couple of releases have had plenty of opportunities to spread the psych ward love. While in NYC the band took some time to capture a few moments to video for Mind Fuzz's excellently flute soaked "Satan Speeds Up". If you haven't already put this on your "to buy" list, now's the time.

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

Sungod


Austin duo Sungod's latest entry to the psychedelic canon merges pastoral touches with a cosmic expanse that cracks open your brain like the dome on a planetarium. Mixing synth swirls that launch from headphone to headphone with the lilting flute work of Kristine Reaume, the album eases in with deep, dark pools of languid kosmiche bookended by lonesome blues that fight the equal holds of Earth's Hex period and Brightblack Morning Light (an influence that more should be digging into for sure). The band comes in with high cred, recording not only here for Holodeck but also for Expo 70's pet label Sonic Mediations, and though they've had some high promise in past releases this eponymous LP proves they've hit a new peak. Light and dark transitions work as a sort of theme on the album, tension and release, driving intensity and serene closure all fighting for the same air. Ultimately this plays out like a forgotten Krautrock gem lost to cruel fates and just now surfacing for a new round of collector fueled adulation. Thankfully it’s not forgotten to time but limited as Holodeck releases remain, it’s still worthwhile to jump faster than hesitate. The good ones don't always lock this hard or feel as instantly classic.

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posted by dissensous at 9:22:00 AM 0 comments

11.11.2014

Voyag3r


Few have tumbled so headlong into the soundtrack without a movie vibe as Voyag3r (read Voyager Three). The Detroit ensemble rip creepy synth vibes right out of John Carpenter's hands and inject them with a harder edge and just a touch of metal's growl. Its been done elsewhere (Oneohtrix, Espectrostatic and Umberto all rocking some Carpenter nods over the years) but somehow just not with as much heart as Voyag3r throw into the mix. The room practically fills with fog from the moment that the needle hits the groove. They have the beats, the timing and the inherit suspense that Carpenter brought to his soundtracks. From the moment the LP cracks there's a lump in your throat and an urgent need to get to clearer air, throw in a pitch perfect design aesthetic and its easy to see why even aficionados like Death Waltz have this one up in their distro'd titles. It may be just past the Halloween hour but there's no reason that the power and anxiety of Voyag3r can't soundtrack November as well.

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posted by dissensous at 8:25:00 AM 0 comments

11.05.2014

Nude Beach


Nude Beach's last album caught our hearts with an apparent love for rock swagger that cut the lines between The Replacements and Tom Petty, with just enough room for the nascent beginnings of power pop to creep in at the edges. The band has come back with grand expectations for their latest, a double LP for Jersey stronghold Don Giovanni. The album has a lot of the same thumbprints smudging its sleeve but they've widened the lens and let in the tide pool swell of tempos, acoustic touches and a fine studio makeover. The album is grand but never bloated; rather it spins the dial through the best moments of college and classic rock territory to feel immediately familiar, like a beat up jacket that still fits from high school. They never really cut any new ground but they seem to be covering the sidewalks you know so well that it only helps to smile and plan an hour long drive that lets the speakers blare and the riffs build up.

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posted by dissensous at 8:16:00 AM 0 comments

11.04.2014

Ernie Graham - Ernie Graham
Ernie Graham's 1971 solo album often gets saddled with the 'pub rock' genre, which to be honest never really gets all that much respect and isn't always a good fit here. With the exception of closer, "Belfast", the album sounds much further from its Irish roots
and much closer to the American roots of The Band, Dylan or Fred Neil. The album's backed by members of Brinsley Schwartz, another overlooked pub rock band that included Nick Lowe in their ranks. Graham's solo excursions came together after the collapse of his band Eire Apparent, known for their extensive touring with Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd & Soft Machine and a debut LP produced by Hendrix himself. This is a far cry from Eire Apparent's psychedelic jams, but what it lacks in flash it makes up for in a cohesion and soul that they never had. 4 Men With Beards have now put this one back into the vinyl ranks where it belongs; a generational oversight long looking for a good home.

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posted by dissensous at 7:21:00 PM 1 comments

11.03.2014

Nots


Goner's picking up more Memphis homegrown fodder with the release of Nots debut LP. Grit-caked and low slung, its a bite-ridden record that shakes at the tree of synth-punk. The band, now expanded to a foursome with the addition of Madison Farmer on bass and Alexandra Eastburn on synthesizer, burns through the jungle of vitriol with a dedication that's admirable. The synth warbles add that perfect touch of quease to the mix, driving through your veins like a sugar sick hangover and burning it all clean with pounding pulse of bass in your temples. Running the gamut from impudent yowl to ferocious pummel Natalie Hoffmann's vocals pack more punch than many similarly minded contemporaries and you can feel the wounds, scars and claw scratched fire in every syllable. Seems that the garage underground has gotten very crowded of late, and its hard to find the gold in the silt but then something like We Are Nots comes along and reminds you that its still worth getting your hands dirty lookin'.

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posted by dissensous at 9:29:00 AM 0 comments

10.30.2014

Tape


Always good to see Tape back in the mix and on their sixth album proper, the Swedish stalwarts are still walking the line between creeping minimalism and their own cracked pop lens. Their songs are earthen, filling rooms with the faint whiffs of concrete, moss and oncoming rain. The band tends to lend themselves to the introvert, soundtracks of quite reflection, even isolation at times. In that vein Casino is hung with a cautious sadness, and while the same sighs have filled other releases by Tape, they are never dour, just a little exasperated at the constant cloud cover. With the various offshoots of its members, it’s a wonder they find time to all be in the same room, let alone to craft with as much heft as they have on this album. Nothing here is as explosive as some of the other collaborations that members have found time for but in a way it’s their patience for quietude that packs the strongest punch. Highly recommended for the oncoming chill.

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posted by dissensous at 10:31:00 AM 0 comments