9.19.2014

Step-Panther


Step-Panther have been bubbling on the RSTB periphery for some time, first popping up on that indispensable Lenny Kaye-curated Aussie Nuggets compilation and then with a smattering of their own EPs and debut. However, its their latest, Strange But Nice, that sees them finally tap into the pop potential that's been humming below the surface. The album was produced by Tom Iansek of Big Scary, whose own work met tons of acclaim last year both home and abroad, and his pop instincts seem to have unlocked the kind of offbeat indie that bristles with hooks throughout songs about Game of Thrones malaise, horror-schlock romance and perplexing odes to 60's comic staple Namor. Its hard not to smile during their slacker sway choruses, the oversized guitar breaks and jangle tug-o-wars or those croak-throated vocals that seem imperfectly perfect. Took 'em a few to hit me right but this one is landing pretty cleanly on the must play list for around here.

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posted by dissensous at 5:12:00 PM 0 comments

9.18.2014

Espectrostatic


Alex Cuervo refines his take on the John Carpenter / Goblin horror soundtrack formula, slotting himself next Umberto's quavering synth-punk and shooting the whole thing through with a motorik beat that gets the blood pumping. The Hex Dispensers alum previously wandered into the field of imaginary soundtracks with last year's self-titled LP and a few rough EPs that tipped toed into the dark hallways, but he seems to have spent the winter immersed in Death Waltz reissues and on a Carpenter movie marathon. The results push well into the creepy territory, but as with his checklist of influences the album stands alone on synth merits rather than needing imagery to bring the raised hairs on the back of your neck. Notably Cuervo also hits that sense of melancholy that permeates the best of those 70's analog sountracks, that moment when all seems lost and at least a few compatriots have taken the brunt of the axe. That's where Escape from Witchtropolis (not entirely sold on that title though) transcends being just pastiche and works its homage in the best sense of the word.

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

9.17.2014

The Frowning Clouds


Australia strikes again, with this Geelong group adding to the high-rise pile of catchy, crunchy, slightly blurry releases from the other side of the drainpipe. Synthesizing a love for Texan psych with their own country's historically off-kilter pop sensibilities and close neighbors Flying Nun's jolt of jangle in tow, this one doesn't fall too far off the pile of influences that have been making the Aussie rounds these days but that's no reason not to love the sunshine strut of Legalize Everything. The band's got a nice handle on those weird ticks that made psych nuggets stick in the crags of your brain. Couple the knack with a few rock candy hooks and this one should pad out more than a few playlists over the next few months. From the Small Faces echoes on "Move It" to the stripped down swagger of "No Blues" the band checks plenty of boxes on the indie psych form and they pull it all together in fashion that feels like a quick spin of the 60's dial. Maybe cut out the mid album psychedelic satellite cut "Radio Telescope," which seems to reach for the "we're spacey" vibe just a bit too much, but otherwise a solid offering.

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

9.15.2014

Wildest Dreams


One listen through the self-titled album by Wildest Dreams and its hard to believe a few things; first, that this is a release from 2014 and not 1974, second, that this is primarily the work of a man best known for bringing disco and house to the UK. But it remains true that Harvey Bassett, a man known for six-hour marathon sets that bounce genres with little regard to preconceived notions, has now broached the world of rock and (reportedly) with a crack set of session musicians and vets, crafted an homage to L.A.'s past transgressions and excesses. That's the story, though it seems likely that most of the instrumentation is his own and the band just a figment. For the most part Bassett's genre hopping slows here, but still shows a bit of its collar, as the album is rooted largely in grit strewn 70's rock and drizzly 'Riders on the Storm' workouts, but the occasional bounce of disco, and the ozone fried whiff of acid jazz can't help but creep in at the edges. Which is to say that Harvey recontextualizes the crate digging notions of flipping through past influences rather than just re-hashing 70's catalog heavies, and to a large extent he pulls it off well. The album works as kind of smudged painting of 70's heroes and for those of you looking to the re-released column here, this will come as welcome addition alongside those values reissues.

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posted by dissensous at 9:06:00 AM 0 comments

9.12.2014

Cool Ghouls


Ah sometimes the sweetest surprises hit you just right. Seems that RSTB faves Cool Ghouls have a new record on the way soon and it’s just what Autumn ordered. The band roped in a few familiar names 'round these parts, recording live to tape with Sonny Smith and shipping mixing duties off to Mikey Young down in Oz. The results are another dose of their West Coast psych, dipped in some sunshine jangle and dappled in three-part harmonies that glow like the embers of the last summer sun. The band still excels at plowing through the half remembered tunes of our youth, the tip-o-the-tongue shadows that feel almost like seeds of memory but are really just a beacon of light beaming backwards through the ghosts of pop. They tumble, snatching glances at the prime Beatlesque pop that flowed not only from the Liverpudlian legend but the host of followers that swam in their wake, feeling like a Nuggets collection all its own. As a result A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye is a welcome respite to you crate diggers and lost flower children looking for a place to rest for a while, light up the tubes and push some good vibes from the cloth-front speakers of a plundered thrift store setup.

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

9.11.2014

Dan'l Boone - "Mindface" Video



Drag City are about to release the pulsing, monolith that is Dan'l Boone's debut LP. A well founded cast of players, Charles Ballas (Formant), Neil Hagerty (ex-Royal Trux, The Howling Hex, etc), Nate Young (Wolf Eyes, Regression etc) and Alex Moskos (Drainolith), surface to bring life to some dub scrubbed panoramas from the eigth dimension. Its hard to sum up the visceral weirdness of this record but they seem to have done a pretty good job with the video for "Mindface." Check out the transmission above.

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posted by dissensous at 1:53:00 PM 0 comments

9.10.2014

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard


Wouldn't be a good year for King Gizz unless they were two albums deep, runnin' ragged and blowing minds on two continents. Thankfully, they are and it’s us who reap the benefits. After the mothership that was Oddments landed and the band made good on some US tour promises, they've got another one lined up for November (with a reported album on deck just behind that) and its finding an apt home at Dwyer n Company's Castle Face Records here in the US. The first third of this fuzz behemoth shows ample reason why they've landed in the scuzz center of the West Coast. There's a distinct blown cone vibe running through the first four tracks of I'm In Your Mind Fuzz and they play like a breathless suite one after another with the insistent chug of bass and that high wail of harmonica tying straws like a frantic shaman. Only after the radio fade static and jukebox plunk runs out the groove between "I'm In Your Mind Fuzz" and "Empty" does the band seem to take a breath and after seeing them perform these live last summer it seems that's just the point. After the tar and cinder clears though the band returns to their prism refracted soul jams, with some real cool water oases floating out the backside of this sucker. Oddments is a hard bar to jump and in that respect Mind Fuzz doesn't necessarily vault the wall but that doesn't mean its not kicking ass on a good many 2014 releases all the same and begging for some of your pocket change. If you're not locked on this Flightless crew, and to that renaissance brooding in the underbelly of the Southern Hemisphere, then it’s about damn time isn't it?

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posted by dissensous at 9:10:00 AM 0 comments

9.09.2014

Relatively Clean Rivers - S/T
Long since one of my favorites, but unfortunately this has been unavailable for sometime on LP and appeared on some dodgy reissues (Radioactive I'm looking your way) but now Phoenix has a proper reissue of this Phil Pearlman classic. Pearlman was no novice at the
time of this recording, having done time in Beat of the Earth and the great Electronic Hole but striking out with his own band assembled to bring these songs to life. The album captures a quintessential piece of West Coast folk-rock and is well within the wheelhouse of Grateful Dead / Byrds / CSNY fans but should do well to pull in Woods fans as well (notably their Woodsist sublabel Hello Sunshine is named after a Relatively Clean Rivers track). The record is dappled in sunny West Coast feel with a very laid back approach on the recording. Occasional forays into psychedelic effects pop their head 'round but for the most part it hangs heavy into the sunset on the mountains, field hippy bent. There are a bevy of reissues of obscure 'classics' from the era but this is one that certainly measures up to the latter day hype.

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posted by dissensous at 9:39:00 AM 1 comments

9.08.2014

Bitchin' Bajas


Bitchin Bajas return to the fold with another LP for their adopted home at Drag City, who are quickly fortifying their stronghold on the psych spectrum. As usual Cooper Crane and co make music of the drop out vibration and with a self-affirming self-titled 2xLP they prove that they're some of the best running the meditative channel. Buzzing synths as usual but the band have taken things to a whole new plateau and the album strings together in an endless haze that approaches a nirvanic quality, taking the band from simply analog wizards and pushing further into a blissful elegance that's hard to ignore. Perhaps some of this also comes from the band branching out of their synth comfort zone to supplement their tones with a swath of bells, field recordings and mystic vapor that locks listeners deep into the ether for a rabbit hole of psychedelic surge. DC have even put out a cassette version that comes with two sidelong "relaxation" versions of the tracks, which, given their original state means you better lock on the headphones and prepare for coma status.

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posted by dissensous at 9:49:00 AM 0 comments

9.03.2014

Earth


Earth's second coming has brought with it a bleak landscape full of burnt hills and meditative guitars reveling in the dust of dessication. With their latest, Primitive and Deadly, Earth return to the roots of their metal lore and push things forward with a harder edge than they've displayed in years. There's still the molten, slow creep of dread that's always accompanied them, but now that dread has larger teeth and a certainty to bite. Also sweeping in with the changes on the new album are the presence of vocals, a rarity if there ever was one within Earth's catalog. Mark Lanegan and Rabia Shaheen Qazi shape two tracks on the album into, if not necessarily traditional songs, certainly something approaching a more familiar structure than the crushing instrumentals they've made their legend. But no fear, those changes don't diminish the power and heft that sweep in with Earth's nuclear winter, and Primitive and Deadly remains true to its title, a primordial growl with the fangs to back it up.

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posted by dissensous at 10:30:00 AM 0 comments

9.02.2014

Meatbodies


That Chad Ubovich has done time with both Mikal Cronin and Ty Segall (in Fuzz) should come as little surprise from the charismatic crunch of Meatbodies' proper debut for In The Red. The album's got more than a few touchstones that gave those two entrance to garage rock legend; hooks that reach for the rafters, enough fuzz to level an elementary school and controlled chaos via Eric 'King Riff' Bauer behind the boards. After a low key tape snuck out on Ty's GOD? records Ubovich swapped out Chad and The Meatbodies for the shorter handle and with it a broader spectrum and this set of songs that seem primed for bigger venues and long nights on the turntable. Meatbodies tend to wander through all the same frantic garage and psych touchstones of fellow orbiters Wand (who they've released a split with) and in truth both of their albums would make for an excellent road trip pair. Provided your road trip dipped through as many back country dive bars you could find, bedded you down under the northern lights and washed the day down with pop rocks and a whiskey chaser. Ubovich is at his best when all the knobs are twiddled to their furthest reaches, screaming skull on fire, face melting riffs and the psychedelic drive pushing towards that redline. Its certainly well within the scope of his compatriots, but just like them, the boy's got moxie.

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posted by dissensous at 9:27:00 AM 0 comments

8.28.2014

Bugskull


Sean Byrne deals in shades of subtle texture on his latest as Bugskull. His return album for Digitalis, sees the veteran producer layering gleaming streaks of noise amongst pastoral guitars, harmonicas, sax loops and in some cases primly chugging lines of bass. The result is Collapsed View, a train ride headphone trip that pulses through lush hills and dilapidated city centers alike with your eyes always squinting in the sun. Shades of transistor static and synth texture give the album a light Radiophonic feel but it never gets too heavy into the workshop sound experiments, rather it solders them onto its pulsing circuits and lets them break in every so often to crack at the odd beauty that Byrne has crafted in his electronic terrarium. The most intriguing aspect of Collapsed View is the carefully plotted sequencing, the character that's imposed on the album and makes it feel as if a flip book journey that was poured over to make it all work out just right. Byrne has obviously taken pains to not only craft each track as a standalone piece but as a larger component of Collapsed View and as such it remains hard to escape the album's pull once you've pressed play. But that's kind of the best problem to have, don't you think?

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posted by dissensous at 10:06:00 AM 0 comments

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