8.26.2014

Cozy


A while back HoZac put out a promising single by Cozy, wrapped in denim and packed with the edge of glam power pop that always hits the spot around here. Their ensuing album follows well on the promise of those first couple of tracks. Crackling like radio static between Slade cuts and the shimmy shakers from The Sweet, Button By Button is hard to put down. There's so much crunch and sugary pop that its hard to see how this won't crack you in half like a jawbreaker. Sure its locked in the '79-80 crux of power pop's heyday, but if you need to Groundhog Day a time period, why not keep things lodged in those sweet years when misunderstood love had a soundtrack that fizzed like this. Its easy to get over that unrequited crush that's been hounding your summer, just crank this beast as loud as possible and let the neighbors complain. You'll feel better. And isn't that the whole point?

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posted by dissensous at 9:51:00 AM 0 comments

8.22.2014

Acid Baby Jesus - Vegetable 7"
Just when you thought they'd never return, Acid Baby Jesus is back for another run through the grease trap. The brand of uneasy garage-psych came on full force for their previous LP and its good to see that even for this twofer they don't dream
of letting up. The a-side "Vegetable" has a bit of dirty sway to it but those lonesome keys bring it to another plain. The riff rips incessantly in such a good way that its hard to resist the charms of this Grecian unit. The flip gets even more sinister, echoing its theme of "Brain Damage" and feeling like a call to the gutter. The single appears again at their home on Slovenly, always a beacon for the grimiest of cuts.

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posted by dissensous at 9:50:00 AM 0 comments

8.21.2014

Kikagaku Moyo


Born on the streets of Japan and honed through time spent busking on the streets, its easy to slot Kikagaku Moyo in alongside fellow travelers Acid Mother's Temple and Ghost, though the latter may be a bit closer in scope, with the band folding a heaping dose of psych-folk into their otherwise heavy, rhythmic style. With three releases swiftly wrought upon the world, the band doesn't seem to be losing any time, and their latest Forest of Lost Children appears to be crystallizing their sound into a thrumming, burnt skies brand of dropout psych. While that release is still fresh from a May release, their first two albums see a US vinyl reissue via Captcha, making the whole lot of slash n' burners available domestically. The band's prowess lies in balancing their dynamic range, moving fluidly from sitar laced breakdowns to acoustic strums and locked pattern jamming. Everything about the band warrants keeping an eye on them, but for now Forest of Lost Children seems to be ruling the turntable.

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posted by dissensous at 10:15:00 AM 0 comments

8.20.2014

White Fence - "Like That" Video





White Fence amped up the production on his latest album and with that comes the band's first ever music video, starring Tim Presley as an inmate on a bad road to the gas chamber with a psychedelic breakdown as the result. Definitely a standout from the album but if you haven't checked out the full For The Recently Found Innocent then its about time. One of the year's best.

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posted by dissensous at 8:28:00 PM 0 comments

8.19.2014

The International Vicious Society Vol. I&II
The University of Vice has rounded up and reissued this long esteemed series of comps on vinyl and there's little reason not to give in to the cheesy whimsy of exotica, surf, novelty teeny bop and fifties cornball excellence
that they contain. There's nothing overly academic here, its the kind of party platter that's served alongside tiki drinks in the living room of someone who took all the pains to travel the world collecting just the right mix of the odd and the interminably catchy. As long as your inhibitions are properly loosened there should be dancing a-plenty with this kind of offering. The first two volumes are essential, though all entries to the famed French dance party are worth the trip, but for now rifle through Iranian versions of "Don't Be Cruel", an international variety of twists and all manner of tricked out jumpers that play out like a Pee Wee's playhouse viewing with the cast of Ghost World. Sometimes you need to let your serious side drop.

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posted by dissensous at 9:31:00 AM 0 comments

8.18.2014

Steve Gunn & Mike Cooper


Ok after a week off for vacation the Raven is up an running again and its a welcome return to another entry in the FRKWYS series from RVNG Intl. This time the label teams RSTB fave and veteran string wrangler Steve Gunn with the slide guitar virtuosity of Mike Cooper. Gunn has cited Cooper as a formative influence on his own style of acoustic guitar and the interplay here between the two is a conversation of fluidity and languidity. The pair recorded the album in Lisbon, Portugal and they took more than a little influence from the local Fado music, emotionally similar to blues in its love of melancholy, an emotional line that definitely runs throughout the release. The lines of guitar lope and tumble, occasionally break down into a fit of noise but more often they tap that nerve of longing and losing. The series always brings the best of out any participant and this entry is no slouch in that department, Cooper and Gunn prove just how good feeling sad can be.

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posted by dissensous at 9:07:00 AM 1 comments

8.08.2014

Windian Subscription Series
Whew, getting behind on my singles so its time to wrap a few up into on massive post here. Windian's been cranking for a while now, repping the DC vibes right but picking up a continental garage crop while keeping a keen eye on the past in tune with
HoZac's similarly minded 7" reissues. First up they've got a new crop on their second installment of the subscription series, pulling in gems from vet garage gangs A Giant Dog and Mrs. Magician while introducing a couple of new bits via the girl group charm of The Ettes, who swing with a bright-eyed jangle and some pop punk pounding via Overnight Lows. Plus, a nice dose of oddball dirge-sludge rumble from The Apes, whose creeping "Bodies" is a nervy mash of fuzzed bass and squirmy keys.

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The Ar-Kaics - Why Should I? 7"s
Kicking harder than anything in that set though is this single from Richmond, Virgina's Ar-Kaics. In anticipation of their recently released full length, Windian issued this double shot of cracked knuckle rock n' roll. The A-side is jumped up and full of leather tough
moves that would make the toughest of the denim vest set proud to blast this out the windows. The flip tones down the tempo but beefs up the menace, with a gnashed teeth twang that feels as angry as the title, "Slave To Her Lies". Both are excellent reasons to check into their newly released long player.

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Last but certainly by no means least, the label is also issuing a single by RSTB faves The Hussy who only seem to be getting better with age. There's a demented little video for the A-side off of their new Windian single and its every bit as ragged, ravaged and revved as anything off of last year's year end pick Pagan Hiss. Check it out above and pick that sucker up below.

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posted by dissensous at 9:17:00 AM 0 comments

8.07.2014

Wand


Not to be confused with the sometimes moniker of James Jackson Toth, Wand are an LA four piece that have landed themselves (with damn good reason) on Ty Segall's imprint God? records. Its easy to see how the West Coast Kingpin would have a soft spot for these garage-psychers and his influence is all over their debut record, Ganglion Reef. There's plenty of fuzz here, and more than a few of those crunchy breakdowns their tourmate/label head seems to favor but over the course of the record it becomes apparent that the band are reaching for more cosmic heights; and an infusion of acoustic touches, synth float and gently faded production lodges this somewhere between Morgan Delt and Tame Impala on a shoestring territory. The band seems to have themselves a few moves behind the general psych-pop aesthetic and their catchy riffs and a bevy of interesting changes keeps this from becoming merely Instagram psych (choose a filter, press record). Certainly a strong debut and with the band opening for Ty on his upcoming tour, it would seem there’s much more to hear from these guys in the near future.

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

8.06.2014

Martyr Privates


I'll take a Slug Guts connection where I can get one for sure, and that connection pulled me into Martyr Privates with excellent outcome. The Brisbane trio opts for the low-slung crossroads of psych and garage, finding the grind and grit in incessant grooves that have proven attractive to Black Angels and Motorcycle Clubs alike. Its a more refined prospect than the Guts ever allowed, not as chaotic nor snarling but its still got that knife-in-boot quality that keeps the listener on guard and the surrounding fumes toxic. Still there's an allowance for pop to curl in at the edges, as on album standout, "You Can't Stop Progress," which rollicks and thrums with a slide guitar led catchiness that's kept just in check by the road dust that's pounded all around it. Definitely an album worth checking for those favoring the current output of Southern psych, these three would fit right in on the Austin Psych circuit.

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posted by dissensous at 9:09:00 AM 0 comments

8.05.2014

Ty Segall


What can I say about Ty Segall that hasn't already been said here? The man's a beast, a behemoth, a towering force that never seems to flag, tire, expire or sleep for that matter. Off a year that boasted touring, producing, a solo album and a stint with the black magik warriors Fuzz, Segall returns again with a new LP that's double wide and packed with the seemingly impossible task of containing some of his best material yet. Taking the tempos up from the low temperature sway of Sleeper, his latest jumps back into higher gear while seemingly incorporating every demon he's been working out the past year. Double-tracked acoustics fight with the aluminum squall bite of static. Extended breakdowns pummel the kit with classic rock appeal. Slow burn choruses fight with wide-splashed pop touches from strings to keys and atop all this beauty and din is the sinister/sweet croon of Segall proving that he's a man at the top of his game. Manipulator feels so cohesive in its incorporation of all the big rock moves it pulls off that it just seems a wonder how Ty's never felt this giant before. If there's one album to add to the 2014 essential list (and there are many actually) this is definitely the one.

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posted by dissensous at 9:15:00 AM 0 comments

7.31.2014

Cy Dune


Following on his EP from last year, Akron/Family's Seth Olinsky continues his Cy Dune offshoot with a quick turn, three-day LP for his own Lightning Records. The album isn't as scorching as the songs from No Recognize but its retains the EP's same spirit of hipslung rock that burns with a kind of badlands energy and further strips away the cosmic psych of the Akron's latter jam leanings. The songs on Shake are quick and dirty and meant to be nothing but. They're fuzzed and rolled in the sand for a grit that sticks in the teeth long after the last notes have wrung themselves from the air. It’s a primal stomp, which seems to be exactly what Olinsky is going for with the project. The tracks are an intermission of sorts between the EP and a forthcoming full length, Desert. Snack or no, its worth digging into Shake's primitive pummel and unwieldy crunch for a few spins. Though this makes me pretty eager to see what's on tap for that formal LP.

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posted by dissensous at 9:41:00 AM 0 comments

7.30.2014

King Tuff


King Tuff and RSTB have come a long way over the years. Way back in the Myspace days we posted a piece called “Who Is King Tuff?” and it all tumbled from there. Following Kyle Thomas from formation to a too soon demise, through a foray into Happy Birthday and watching the Tuff rise again from the ashes to Sup Pop prominence. His previous self-titled album was a welcome return, an awkward cousin to Was Dead, all grown up but still pummeling though the sweet spot axis where punk and power pop meet to get weird. Like a Twinkeyz album hopped up on nitrous with a Cheap Trick budget, Black Moon Spell pushes the Tuff legend to excess, amplifying his stereoscopic image fifty feet high and climbing. Everything here is bigger, shines brighter, bedazzled, triple stacked and running on eight cylinders.

And perhaps that's the one real criticism that can be made of the album, mid-piece "I Love You Ugly" suddenly drops fidelity and Thomas does his best Nobunny impression on a scrappy, off-kilter love ballad that never seems to fit with the rest of BMS' outsized personality. Elsewhere though, the amplified barrage of color and plasticine pop are a perfect next step in the Tuff pantheon, with Thomas even answering an RSTB wish with the inclusion of a new version of "Staircase of Diamonds". The Mindblow track was always one that got left in the rubble, but here it gets its own glossy remake and extended breakdown that's equally enticing as the Lou Reed-esque swagger of the original. If ever there was a figurehead of the Burger-boppin' denim set, its Tuff, paper crowned and leading the charge of headbang afternoons and record store educations. He's created a whole world etched in cheap tattoo and built from Happy Meal toys. We've just got to navigate it and hold on for the ride.

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posted by dissensous at 9:42:00 AM 0 comments

7.29.2014

Hot Knives - Hot Knives
This one almost seems to have been calling out for a Raven review. The band, containing two former members of The Flaming Groovies, recorded the pieces gathered here in the late 70's but the album that was meant to be never materialized. Its since been
issued on CD (Grown Up Wrong Records) but is now seeing its first vinyl treatment via the Big Star name checking Got Kinda Lost records curated by Ugly Things Magazine's Jeremy Cargill. Aside from two singles (which were hailed with great anticipation by Bomp! Magazine at the time) none of the other songs were formally released at the time of their recording. Likely its due to the fact that the band was a bit out of step with what was happening in San Francisco at the tail end of the 70's. The record is packed with jangled, Byrdsian pop that melds male-female vocals into a breezy folk-pop mix that would have fight right in a decade previous in the same geographic region. However, as seems to be with elusive records, the fact that this never saw release only built its reputation greater among collectors of this type of crystalline pop perfection. In amongst the originals are a handful of deft and appropriate covers (Moby Grape, The Knickerbockers) and the latter proves that even they were crate digging a bit at the time. So it ends up a cycle of collectors digging collectors. This seems only fitting to end up on a new label celebrating the weird missteps between proto-punk, jangle-pop and power pop and well worth some time on the table.

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posted by dissensous at 9:31:00 AM 0 comments

7.25.2014

Community Radio - Real Transformation / Puff of Smoke
Sydney's Community Radio peaked some interest around here with their 2012 album Serious Magic but it wound up a bit soft around the edges in the end. Since then the band has had some time to bubble and within a few singles
they've come 'round to what was just simmering on that first album. Their latest double shot, "Real Transformation" seems just the thing they've been looking for and in fact the A side smacks of some Brit DIY, complete with tousled bass and a backward guitar solo that tosses this just ever so into psych-pop territory. Tags and bags aside the track is a winner and their b-side only goes to support the theory that the band are worthy of perked ears for any new full length on the way this year.

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posted by dissensous at 12:30:00 PM 0 comments

Wooden Wand


It wouldn't be a year around RSTB if there wasn't an appearance (if not multiple) by our patron saint James Toth. This year he's already graced one album, the mellifluous and staid Farmer's Corner, another outing for Fire Records and rife with country ease and sunset hues. Though the record veers into some great tracks, like the mid album burner "Adie" it errs on the glossy side of his catalog. So as a nice balance to the studio set he's got another homespun and scuffed collection out now via Seth Olinsky's (Akron Family) Lightning Records. Its a fitting place for Toth's hammock bound story songs, a set that crackles with the hiss of eight track, swaggering through the last call streets of small towns like the best moments in his catalog. Its not to say that one of these albums outweighs the other in terms of skill or execution, just that I have a bit of a soft spot for the moments on Azog-Toth that feel like a window to the songwriter's study. This album is the root of the Wand, unadorned, unhurried and built on pure charm. Toth's issued collections like this before and he'll do it again for sure. One thing that'll always remain a given with WW is that there will always be more songs than you can absorb in a year so take your time with this collection and with those studio gems from earlier in the year. Its likely worth the wait.

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

7.24.2014

Hedvig Mollestad Trio


I'm sure I'm late to this one, come out as it did in April but who cares once the thrum of Norwegian jazz with a Sabbath pulse hits the speakers. Its hard not to spread a little love. I know that the jazz tag might scare some away (though why should it) but there are few trios in which the term 'face melter' gets applied to these days and this is certainly the case with HMT. The heady centerpiece "Arigato, Bitch" breaks out of a low lying fog of doom riffs to swamp down quickly to a noodling exploratory core before kicking back towards a thunder of guitar to close. Its not the only track to devolve into a din of locked note inroads that split the hairs between metal and jazz. The combo is tearing apart the DNA of both forms to splice a monster of unchecked fluid aggression with Enfant. And make no mistake, Mollestad is the anchor here, her thick and thundered riffs bring the trio screaming from the speakers, though her rhythm section certainly lacks no ability to hang on in her wake, amiably weaving a storm of bass and drums between the hammered hits and stoner sludge. It takes a certain talent to bridge the river between Paal Nilssen-Love and Tony Iommi but it seems that Mollestad and crew are well up to the task.

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Its also well worth checking them out live. Missed 'em at SXSW but here's hoping they return soon:


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posted by dissensous at 9:11:00 AM 0 comments

7.22.2014

Comet Gain


Going on two decades, Comet Gain have become something of a jangle-pop institution now and it seems that the band has no intention of calling it quits soon. Their latest takes a more autumnal turn for the band, eschewing some of the uptempo crunch for a bit more of a sway and stumble 'round the garden feel. Of course the band still can't help but break out into a brittle pop explosion once or twice but for the most part they seem content to let the edges mellow in temperament if not necessarily content, David Feck still sounding in fighting lyrical shape here despite the sunset hues. Perhaps the swoon was introduced along with new bassist James Hornsey, he of ex-Clientele lineage and sporting a similarly puddled jangle past. Whatever the reasons, as my own dancing days take a downturn this one is hitting a soft spot of summer sway that seems to halt the swelter of oncoming August. Feck and crew have never really flagged in their embrace of the proper feel of ''83/'84 prime pop and they only guild their reputation here with a spot on example of jangled brilliance.

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posted by dissensous at 10:02:00 AM 0 comments

7.17.2014

Zig Zags


There's nothing subtle in Zig Zags debut release. Its a dirty shot of punk / metal that seethes with energy and pulses with the spirit of high school notebook scribbles and faded denim. Every song tumbles out of the gates swinging wildly, but the production is by no means messy. It has the taut feeling of 80's speed metal that's just a little murky at the edges rather that brittle and bright. Its impossible not to feel some sort of kinetic force pushing the pedal to the floor, the elbows to the face or the body headlong into chaos while their eponymous album's on the speakers. There have been plenty of bands of late that have found the sweet spot between garage and punk but few that evoke the windpipe punch of early 80's rumble better than Zig Zags. Its been a banner year for In The Red and this is just one more reason they'll always be an endless well of punk froth.

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posted by dissensous at 10:48:00 AM 0 comments

7.16.2014

Lower Plenty


Of all the Aussie bands that are worthy of breaking the US bubble it almost seems odd that Lower Plenty, one of the more languid, almost ramshackle acts is the one that's making a play at the States this year. Their sophomore album, a quiet, though tense affair, is seeing tandem release through Bedroom Suck and Mexican Summer shortly. Picking up pretty much where the slow burn sizzle of their previous album left off, Life/Thrills feels very much like a fly-on-the-wall recording of friends just sitting on the porch and kicking out smoke-swirled tales of melancholy and suburban sprawl. That thread of melancholy is the tie that binds these songs together and it keeps the tone calm and easily enjoyed but with just the right bit of squeamishness making the teeth grind unconsciously. The record picks up as it progresses, building to what I'd consider the band's best track, "Lots of Lows," a direction I hope the band pursues with future releases. They received tons of acclaim in their native country last year, so maybe its not so surprising that they're ones to hit these shores domestically. Worth the time getting to know Life/Thrills but as with many gems it may take more than a few listens to really find the shine beneath the shade.

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posted by dissensous at 9:23:00 AM 0 comments

7.15.2014

Silverhead - Silverhead
Its been too long a stretch since this space honored some glam and this one's an essential link in the chain between the hard rock pummel and glam rock swagger of the mid 70's. The band predated the real rise of glam, releasing this diamond crunched
debut in 1972 to little acclaim. They opened for plenty in the hard rock circle but they seemed to fuse the outsized personalities of Marc Bolan and Alice Cooper with the dirty rock crunch of Slade and Geordie. The band signed to Deep Purple's label Purple Records but the larger band's success and support did little to raise their profile, which is a shame because they have just as many moves as many of the other gems littered among the glitter of the glam movement. They issued a sophomore follow-up to this but it did just about as well and the band split shortly thereafter. Still their reverberations can be felt in glam and hair bands that followed, from the big-riffin' pouts of The New York Dolls to the satin punch of Hanoi Rocks. Most members went on to some level of fame, ranging from front man Robert DeBarres appearance at Live Aid with The Power Station to, probably most notably, bassist Nigel Harrison joining Blondie. Still, this debut stands as a gem that time forgot, but well worth looking up.

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posted by dissensous at 9:32:00 AM 0 comments