Monday, January 31, 2011

Death 'Spiritual Mental Physical'

Following it's original release in 1975 on Columbia, Death's universally loved 'For the World to See' was rescued by Drag City in 2009. But, this album only had seven tracks on it. When the band were initially picked up by Columbia they began to record however, the label implored the brothers to change their name to something commercially pleasing. When the group refused Columbia withdrew their support during the recording process hence why only seven songs made it to 'For the World to See'.

Detroit's Proto Punk trio survived by members Bobby and Dannis Hackney still had amo left in the Death cannon, and here it is. 'Spiritual Mental Physical' compiles 10 songs taken from original reel to reel recordings made between 1974 and 1976. What won't be surprising is it's rock and roll down to the core (you expected anything less?) and every inch as gritty as their studio recorded album. These newly unearthed songs gives the listener a sense of being a fly on the wall during the recording process. You can hear the band screwing around, trying out ideas and just plugging in to belt out some jams. Building on the seven songs we are familiar with 'Spiritual Mental Physical' helps to further shape what we understand about the band Death and their sound.

Drag City calls this release a 'victory lap' for Death, and I can't think of a better way to put it. With liner notes by Bobby Hackney describing the songs this is for any and all Death fans.

Read full review of Spiritual / Mental / Physical - DEATH on ©

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Moles 'Untune the Sky'

For those already familiar with The Moles, the first 11 tracks of this double LP are an exact reproduction of 'Untune the Sky' and extra tracks have been taken from EP "What's the New Mary Jane". Listening to this record it made me think, how can I be a fan of Tall Dwarves, The Chills, The Clean, The Bats and completely missed The Moles up until now? Their songs although akin to kiwi sonic brethren on Flying Nun, weren't actually part of this family. The group were initially based in Australia and 'Untune the Sky' came out on Seaside Records. While it seems a no brainer to scour the former label's flawless back catalog for this gem, it was the later and much more modest outfit that was home to The Moles. Glenn Fredericks, Warren Armstrong, Carl Zadro make up the group led by solo artist and Robert Pollard collaborator Richard Davies. The Moles experiment with hypnotic and jarring sounds mixed into palatable pop songs with plenty of addictive hooks and sugary synths. 20 years since it's release this cult favourite's first album is available again courtesy of Kill Shaman. C'mon it's Friday today, this is the perfect thing to be listening to while pretending to do some work.

Track 'Europe By Car'
Track 'Bury Me Happy'

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Index 'Black Album + Red Album + Yesterday & Today'

Beacons of psychedelia The Index's records 'Black Album' and 'Red Album' have been rescued by Lion Productions. Initially released in 1967 and 1968 respectively, the albums were simply titled after the colour of the label on the LP. Both records at the time were pressed in editions of a meager 150, making the originals current value rival the sum of third world debt. Now each of the albums, and a little extra, are available again! The show stopper in the set is the third disc 'Yesterday & Today' compiling previously unreleased tracks taken from original tapes.

This reissue was my introduction to a band that has, upon doing some research, had music fiends freaking out for the past four decades. The Index's bleak, home-made psychedelia paints a picture of some guys in a desolate part of town making music in a dingy basement somewhere. Curiously though, the group were based in a more affluent part of Michigan, Grosse Point. A 32 page booklet written by the bands' drummer Jim Valice tells their story in detail with liner notes, photos and lyrics. Laden with feedback, fuzzed out guitars and murky drones this set covers music which predates so many later, great bands and musical styles. In some places you can hear a Post-Punk attitude, at other times especially on track 'Fire Eyes' artists' like Tommy Jay come to mind. Never before has this music been available to the masses, and Lion Productions has gone ahead and made hitting your psychedelia pleasure centres as easy as buying a CD.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Black Mamba Beat: Interview

With a new show coming up I thought it would be a perfect time to catch up with Black Mamba Beat and hear about their recent tour, their label, favourite bands and a few other things too...

Kicking things off with introductions, tell us a little about yourselves... How was Black Mamba Beat formed? Can you tell us about the Wake Up Dead project? Any new projects planned for 2011? Fill us in!

Space Rat: SANBONANI! I am Etienne, AKA Space Rat and I play bass, sing and sometimes scream a bit too. I like beer, braaing (barbequing) and noise. The Mambas formed at the end of 2007 after The Chief finally kicked mine, and Rosie's ass into getting our shit together. I had had a bass guitar collecting dust for about 8 years, riffing every now and then but never constructively enough. Rosie had played drums in her high school rock band. So out of a mutual love for bands like Creedence, Springsteen, Minutemen, Fugazi, traditional and modern South African guitar and rhythmic music, Black Mamba Beat was formed, the name was there before the band too. Influences we would end up learning from each other also inspired Mamba’s sound. We wanted to bring a punk rock band to the 'scene' that has loads of different influences and hopefully doesn't only get labeled as garage-rock. The Chief and I are from South Africa and knew each other back when we were growing up skateboarding at the beach and getting drunk at shitty nightclubs, Rosie and myself are a happily married rhythm section.

As for Wake Up Dead, the mastermind behind the project is Andrew Low, a previous resident of New Jersey and leader and axe-man of a good few (popular) bands. He moved to London and had been playing 2nd guitar in Black Time after meeting them at a Live Fast Die show in Paris. WUD started up back in NJ, so that's where the true USA powerpop/punk rock feel comes from, with the obvious 70s/80s influences. After Andy moved to London, WUD continued as a more stripped down punk rock outfit (they had been a bit more new wave and poppy). The line up was Andy on vox/gtr, The Chief (Stix of Black Time) on bass/b.vox and Lemmy Caution on drums/b.vox. They started busting out when we were lucky enough to have our very own practice space/studio, which we have since been evicted from for being too noisy. I have since wormed my way in to play bass, so Stix and Lemmy now share drum and 2nd axe duties. We hope the world will be seeing more WUD this year and maybe the birth of MUNK, a metal/punk project Andy, Stix and myself have fucked around with a bit before in practices.

Besides that we hope to do as many of our own shows again this year and release a few new tapes on our small label Shabeen Scene. Look out for a full length Wake Up Dead tape, another spilt with The Chief's other side-project Work That Skirt and a new-ish, secret side-project from a pretty well known band.

Chief: This is true I was staying at their house in between moving out of my house and a Black Time tour. I couldn’t stand to see the bass and snare drum looking so sad. They asked me why their owners didn’t play them, I explained they hadn’t found the right innovation and I would ensure we formed a band. In return the snare and bass said they would offer fame and fortunes on completion of this task. This information is exclusive to glided gutter.

I saw you guys play Ryan's Bar a few months back, unless my eyes were playing tricks on me two of you look like brothers, is that correct? If so, what's it like working with a sibling?

Space Rat: That is quite funny, sorry, we haven't really gotten that before but no, we aren't blood brothers. Rather soul bruthas of rock or summin cheesy like that. Like we mentioned before, The Chief and I are both from South Africa, born and raised, maybe that has something (actually probably a lot) to do with how we behave.

Chief: I concur this is the first time we heard this but when that family demographic comes back we shall be sure to milk it. Maybe we can do a white stripes enigma marketing ie: Are they a gay couple or brothers? Maybe this is part of the bass drum fame prophecy.

You just came back from a tour of your homeland, how did it go? Do you enjoy touring?

Space Rat: Yea, we did 4 shows in South Africa, it was a holiday to see family and we thought to just do a few DIY kind of shows there while we were all out there together. We were lucky enough to have awesome buds help us out and ended up making it so worth while and fun, up there with some of our most memorable shows ever, if not the most memorable. We haven't really toured much to be honest that will hopefully come soon. We have done a few shows over the UK and once over at a garage rock fest in Sardinia and recently the small stint in SA. The Chief is a veteran (from Black Time days) and is trying to prepare us as best he can I think for the tour lifestyle so when it hits us we can hopefully handle it.

Chief A good friend of mine Sadie from SF band the husbands once said that everyone should experience the tour lifestyle ounce in their lives, as it’s a good educator in livin your life. I’m paraphrasing but it was something to that degree and something I agree hence why I am trying to do a proper US tour at the end of the year. The SA thing was as space rat said a holiday with a few shows but it was great and the memories shall burn forever.

How would you say the music scene differs between Africa and England? Are there many record stores out there? (What's the best one?!)

Space Rat: It differs hugely people love a lot of mainstream rock and trend rock (ska/rockabilly/folk-punk) there. Although not all of that is bad, it can be a bit sad and almost frustrating I guess as it just feels that sometimes you are limited out there. On the other hand there are some amazing bands out there, in particular this band we had the honor to play with twice out there called Fruits & Veggies, from the town we grew up in, Durban. They mix up traditional African Maskanda style jams with punk and funk and reggae to bring a completely refreshing sound with awesome energetic live shows. More people need to hear them and get them out here and famous, I reckon we'll all be seeing them on Jools Holland one day. There are also huge kwaito, dance and hip hop scene happening there that is the real South African sound. As for record stores in SA, it's weird as everything is pretty commercialized, there are a few places that sell secondhand vinyl but it's mostly flashy stores no real punker ones we know of. But then again we haven't lived there for 10 years now better to just support the local music there, as there is enough. We hope to do a scene report on it all for Maximum RNR soon.

Chief: It was really cool in our hometown of Durban where there was a specific scene going on. Shows are organized regularly where people come out get "loose" (drunk) and watch the shows. When we were playing shows in Durban it could have been playing anywhere in the world. Anywhere that has enthusiasm and makes events, gigs happen. The quality and style of the music might not be up to our or MRR or Termbo standards but the main thing is a scene is created.

Do you have any memorable performances in any past or present bands you've been in?

Space Rat: It's pretty much all been good for both BMB and WUD. Stand out shows have been, South Africa for sure and the Big Take Over shows we've gotten to play in London with really cool bands and one was even outdoors at The Hayward Gallery along the river! As well as the couple times we have been up North to play a show or two and party with our good buds The Hipshakes / Bruce 'n' Carl, wild times.

Chief: Playing drums in Blacktime and getting to tour around Europe and the US (3 times) has provided me with many awesome memories and good times to replay in my mind when I’m old drunk and boring at the bar. In terms of the Mambas I guess besides our recent SA jaunt. It would be the Sardinia show cause a lot of good things came out of it (album with Jeetkune) and it was one gig but weeks worth of partying with our close buds the Hipshakes

What about as an audience member - are there any bands that have totally blown you away?

Space Rat: Wow, so many, damn. FRUITS & VEGGIES! French duo The Magnetix. I saw The Jesus Lizard on their reunion tour, I felt privileged to be there, such a legendary band and an insane performance. We also broke into the Rage Against The Machine show at Finsbury Park, liberating to say the least. One of Hot Snakes' last shows, Rick Fork totally wasted on stage downing cheap-ass tequila (Sierra) and complaining about the quality of it. I love totally different spectrums, like noise-rock and then pure pop-punk, Dear Landlord and Statues were amazing last year. And of course, local bands like The Shitty Limits and The Sceptres who always keep it real and their new band The Love Triangle and Human Hair, Facel Vega, Bird Calls, Guilty Parents, Suspect Parts, etc, the list is endless.

Chief: In the last few years it has been the Golden Boys. Blacktime played with them in Columbus Ohio to five people. Never the less they ripped it was all the good shit I liked rolled into one. I wont bother dropping references cause the internet can sort you out. After there show I immediately bought $20 of merch and met them they were cool dudes. I saw them again in SF at the budget rock festival and they were amazing again and super nice. The guitarist of Golden Boys "John Wesley Coleman" has released 2 solo records on Goner and the first one "Steal My Mind" is amazing. Other than that in Europe Magnetix are the best duo (jack white eat a dick) in the world just go see them. Wau los Aaarghs are a great band from Valencia Spain who I’ve seen many times and they never disappoint. Not forgetting Fruits and Veggies who were an awesome band in SA.

What's the current status of the Black Mamba Beat and Wake Up Dead, any shows/tours/recordings planned for 2011?

Space Rat: To conquer the UK, do as many shows here as possible and hopefully do a small tour of the USA. A new BMB album, a WUD full length/discog tape, more recording too as time allows and things progress, maybe in a jazz direction?

Chief: USA USA USA !!!!!

Are there any bands you're really digging at the moment? Stuff you recommend?

Space Rat: This Moment In Black History from Ohio, I don't know if many people are hip to them yet, they remind me of a more boombastic Nation Of Ulysses. Also, Texan band Black Congress, pure feedback and noise from the ashes of Fatal Flying Guilloteens. Also all bands mentioned before and stuff like Marked Men, Hex Dispensers, Golden Boys.

Chief: The Hunches “Exit Dreams” record rules as does the Eat Skull “Wild and Inside”. I was also late on this one but I got into a band called The Coathangers from Atlanta V awesome if you like girls and punk and rock and keys and shouting.

Your split cassette is on America's Kind Turkey and album is on Italy's Jeet Kune, how did it come about that your stuff was released on labels overseas?

Space Rat: Well our debut LP evolved out of friendship and luck basically. We played our very 1st show with Italian band The Intellectuals who were already friends with Black Time and we got to meet up again in Sardinia at the fest when we all played. Tina from The Intellectuals and her boyfriend Marco had just started up Jeet Kune. They dug our sound and we had done a few tapes and CD-R's ourselves already. They just asked if we wanted to do an album and we didn't even have to think about and said yes, finished up a few more recordings ourselves on 4-track and that was that. We got hooked up via the net with Bobby who co-runs Kind Turkey with some of his buds he is a big Black Time enthusiast and got stoked when he saw there were 'side-projects'.

Chief: Blacktime has helped turn heads.

I first found out about Black Mamba Beat on Termbo's website and the internet allowed me, like so many others to find out more through blogs and myspace. Sure, these things help get music heard, but from your experience are there any hindrances to the pro digital era?

Space Rat: I think most people who are used to using the internet nowadays couldn't live without it, it has been really helpful in setting up shows and just being able to get in contact with pretty much anyone you want to make contact with, more or less. It's all good, I think people make music on computers too now? We're all for the digital age as much as we still try be DIY making posters and flyers, it has to be both.

Chief: I think its good and inevitable no matter how many sites Lars Ulrich tries to shut down, people will always download etc. All it means is new bands get a break and older bands (especially the 80's shit hair metal) can’t rest on their laurels. So they either got to tour again or do "rock of love" (the Brett Michaels dating program). The only downside I see emerging is a lot of marketing rising to the forefront as the only way to make money out of music. If the amount is decent I’ll take the money but your song will be forever known as that "Gap song" or that "Starbucks song". The choice is yours.

Thanks so much for spending some time answering these questions. I have one more, 'I'm full of dust and guitars' - Syd Barrett, if you were to be cracked open what would be inside?

Space Rat: Beer, meat, marinade and a brain half rotting.
Chief: Skateboard, economics, girls, beer, production ideas.

Black Mamba Beat Myspace

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Beets 'Stay Home'

Jackson Heights, New York band The Beets made an art out of bringing LoFi to an all new low with universally loved debut 'Spit in the Face of People Who Don't Want to be Cool'. Juan Wauter's (originally from Uruguay) project returns with second album on Captured Tracks 'Stay Home' and yep, it's about staying at home. As The Beets are based in Queens, you can imagine people talking about the Ramones in the same breath as them. Sure, they aren't punk but it makes sense. They play raw, short and simple pop songs about you know, hanging out, which does sort of sound like a band I know...

The songs stemming from mundane home life don't glorify the subject matter at all. Rather, playing in a style that mirrors states of relaxing, boredom, daydreaming to a very real degree. It's this heartfelt depiction of the ordinary that makes this album such a great listen. In 'Floating' the boys seem to literally trail off themselves in the same manner you may watch a family member fall asleep in front of the telly. Which incidentally, is the topic of another track 'Watching TV'. Like turning a urinal into a sculpture The Beets make everyday life into art. This is how I wish the Black Lips sounded a whole album ago.

Read full review of Stay Home - The Beets on ©

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sperm Wails - 'Lady Chatterley'

Sperm Wails formed in London 1986 and broke up in 1989. The story of how bands got together played a handful of shows, put a couple of records out, quit and were forgotten is sadly all too common during the 70s and 80s in the UK. 13th Chime, The Tunnel Runners and Eater come to mind when thinking of this trend and Sperm Wails are no exception. But thanks to labels like Sacred Bones, Sing Sing, Anagram/Cherry Red and S.S Records respectively, their music can be heard once more. Sperm Wails released a meager three singles while they were active the fourth being 'Lady Chatterley' which has been a Youtube sensation, is now available in the tangible realm, as in everywhere!

In S.S's words;
"S.S. figured "Gotta have record." Problem was finding it. "Lady C." had been released but in short run as a freebie with some obscure fanzine. The song was crammed on the record with three tunes by others and that was not right! Former members of the band were tracked down and begged for the right to release "Lady Chatterley" in proper form, as the A-side of a 7". After much searching some Wails dug up an unreleased gem called "Mr. Wonderful," a twisted piece of Fall-pop. And that we called the B-side."

What makes 'Lady Chatterley' stand out to other English Punk and Post Punk is it has strong elements of New York No Wave in it, like if UT were to do a cover of a DNA song. Other singles from Sperm Wails; Grim/Stroke 7" flexi, Boy Hairdresser 12" and The Golden Age Of The Carry On 7" all on Spurt Records. We've been granted a second chance it would be a shame to let these guys go unnoticed again.

Coathangers 'Hard Candy'

Atlanta's Coathangers rattled perceptions of what an all girl punk band was capable of in 2007 with their self titled debut (Rob's House, Die Slaughterhaus). Following second album (Suicide Squeeze), the ladies return to native label Die Slaughterhaus for the release of new 7" 'Hard Candy'. The two new songs 'Wife Eyes' and 'Johnny' are yet another example of how fun and tenacious the Coathangers are. The girls offer up the grit and gristle leaving none of the fat with their signature acerbic vocals and raw, kinetic energy in new and evolved punk songs.

You can find the single here and listen to track 'Johnny' here.

Abner Jay "Last Ole Minstrel Man"

A blog post made a few months ago already has already allowed me to fawn over Abner Jay, so I'll hold back from the introductions and gushing again here.

Mississippi Records certainly runs the gamut for archiving Abner Jay's work, so much so that this release came as a (welcome) surprise. This 10" culminates the folk and blues troubadour's final studio recordings made in Atlanta, 1994. Always immaculate and thoughtful with packaging Mississippi treats us to photos, inserts and boasts in depth liner notes from Jack Teague.

What immediately struck me as unique and significant about these 6 songs is the vocal parts. Abner Jay's earlier recordings are sung with spunk and 'Last Ole Minstrel Man' is a departure from his younger, cockier days. Ever as heartfelt but now weary his ardently forlorn voice makes his final studio recordings sullen and poignant. At the end of 'Love Wheel' Abner Jay is recorded chuckling to himself at the end, reminding us he's still having fun. It's little moments like this in the EP that make listening even more rewarding. Using his Guitar and harmonica to accompany the songs, and you may know 'Cocaine Blues' and 'Too Poor to Live, Too Poor to Die' from previous releases but these versions may not be familiar, and are well worth your time.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jay Reatard

A year has gone and it's just as sad as if it had happened all over again today. Although it seems like a drop in the ocean to say still, Hammer, miss you very very much.

Article on Pitchfork by Andrew Earles.

Documentary by Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz.

Footage from Jay Reatard show at Cake Shop

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Proto Idiot 'Still Stupid'

Piecing together the story of how Andrew Anderson arrived at project Proto Idiot is not dissimilar to many artists really. Spending his formative years learning to play instruments he formed band The Creep Outs with childhood pal Nick Wheeldon in Bakewell, England. Paying homage to favourite acts Pavement, Reigning Sound and The Kinks Australian Garage Rock label Off the Hip released The Creep Outs full length 'Hopeless Friends' in 2006. Following this, Anderson refined his Garage Rock sound playing as one third of the almighty Hipshakes boasting a slew of releases on Goner, Fistful of Records and Slovenly.

Since 2008 Anderson has been releasing material under the name Proto Idiot. Utilizing his relationship with Slovenly debut album 'Andrew Anderson' was released, EP 'Is You Is You My EP' followed in March 2010 on Oddbox and currently new album 'Still Stupid' is available on Red Lounge. Anderson accomplishes fully realized Garage Rock songs in Proto Idiot that are packed with attitude. The songs have a Power Pop influence to them, in the way that the late, great Jay Reatards' Matador releases had. What makes Anderson's story stand out is, here in ol' blighty music forever seems stuck in a stagnant mold. Reminiscing about what was is habitually how the nation, generally speaking, listen to music. It's a lot to contend with when a musician wants to do something new. Where many have tried and failed Proto Idiot and The Hipshakes have made prevailed in making their mark.

Proto Idiot's Myspace

Monday, January 10, 2011

Henry 'Ragtime Texas' Thomas 'Ragtim Texas 1927-1929'

Now for something completely different.

Henry 'Ragtime Texas' Thomas remains an enigmatic figure in pre World War II African-American folk music. Reported to be last seen in Texas in the 1950s, he was a country blues pioneer predating Delta Blues Godfather Charlie Patton.

One of nine children Henry is said to have been born in 1874 in Big Sandy, Texas. He came from a family of former slaves and sharecroppers raising cotton. Not keen on following farming for work he left home at a young age and began life as a street musician.

In 1927 through to 1929 Henry Thomas made 23 pieces for the Vocalion label. Most agree this makes him the oldest African-American performer to record blues. His one man band amalgamates gospel, blues and ragtime tunes with the use of quills, pan pipes and a guitar that sounds as though it's being strum like a banjo. Henry Thomas's songs have been interpreted by everyone from his piers Garfield Akers and Joe Callicott to contemporary acts like Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal and Canned Heat.

Utterly unmissable, magical traditional country blues that you can lose afternoons to. One of his songs can be heard here.

Uzi Rash 'I Saw You'

Roughly 4 years ago or so New York regained its reputation for being a hotbed of activity for music. New bands continue to travel to and emerge from every nook and cranny of favoured Borough, Brooklyn. This area is now so rich with artists playing and recording that there's always an opportunity to discover your new favourite band there. However, having the luxury of choice with seeing bands in abundance can at times arguably make the scene feel bloated. This poisoned chalice is what fresh bands from the area seem to have to contend with today.

But, this doesn't seem to be an issue for DIY clusterfuckers Uzi Rash as they are proving a force to be reckoned with from their non-stop touring. Following debut full length 'High and Phree' released on Freedom School Records a forthcoming single on 1234 Go! Records is due in March. Uzi Rash bring noisy Australian bands like Kitchen's Floor and Naked on the Vague to mind in their nihilism. What separates Uzi Rash vastly from these two bands is the recordings sound bare and confined in comparison. Their loner stripped down bedroom pop is littered with deranged vocals, metronomic beats and angular, frenetic guitars. You can find the single when it's out here and songs to check out on their myspace here.

Veronica Falls 'Veronica Falls'

The first full album from Veronica Falls arrives on Slumberland (Bella Union in the UK) after a run of well-received singles and an EP of their spellbinding boy/girl harmonies and dark, echo-laden indie-pop won over Captured Tracks, No Pain In Pop and Wichita Recordings. This London quartet rose from the embers of the Royal We and Sexy Kids in 2009, and recorded their debut LP with Guy Fixsen (My Bloody Valentine, the Breeders) and Ash Workman (Metronomy, Summer Camp). Veronica Falls' stormy pop songs balance uplifting melodies with dark undercurrents; "Beachy Head" is named after the white cliffs in Eastbourne, well known for being a suicide hot spot in Britain, and the single's swoon-some sing-along melody, with unhinged vocals mirrored by jarring guitars, finds the track dealing out happy and sad in equal measure. This kind of tragicomic songwriting has much precedent in British indie, and sure enough, the band's lineage in twee and C86 is easy to follow; Veronica Falls aren't challenging the past, but breathing new life into the genre. Another album highlight is "Right Side of My Brain" which finds Roxanne Clifford defiantly singing, "Take your hands off me" alongside rattled guitars and forthright rhythms, and indeed, these twelve vexing pop songs are delivered at a consistent feverish pace that are as heartfelt as they are heartbroken. Veronica Falls is a joy to behold from start to finish, easily one of my favorite records of the year.

Beachy Head by Veronica Falls

Veronica Falls website
Veronica Falls Facebook

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Grouper/Roy Montgomery Split

It's tough to resist the temptation to gush about Portland's Liz Harris. She's one of the most captivating female performers around right now. For those who've read/heard accolade after accolade on blogs, printed matter and in the human speaking world I'll leave the gushing there.

It will probably come as no surprise that this LP is long out of print. But! The CD has been reissued by IOG. To make it worth your while they've included bonus track 'Pressed Bloom' by Roy Montgomery which isn't included in the original LP.

Montgomery's side is an instrumental live interpretation of 'Fantasia On a Theme' by Sandy Bull clocking in at 18 minutes. Grouper's side is all new material of her signature ambient hexing and ethereal left field pop.

Read full review of Split - Grouper / Roy Montgomery on ©

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kurt Vile 'Jesus Fever'

The past 2 years seem to have been a whirlwind for Philly's Kurt Vile. His releases on Woodsist, Gulcher, Richie and Mexican Summer sent everyone from record collecting fiends, music lovers and just the down right curious into a frenzy. Through relentless touring and having one New York label as his number on fan Kurt Vile has been propelled from underground treasure to becoming a universally loved musician.

During my three year stay in New York I first saw Mr Vile play a modest show in the most famous kitchen in Brooklyn, Silent Barn. Shortly before I left the big apple this indie-psych-folk wizard was opening for Big Star. I can't say I ever expected him to be opening for such a huge act in such a short space of time, but wasn't all that surprised either.

Kurt Vile recently gave a cracking interview for WFMU giving details on his new album 'Smoking Ring For My Halo'. It's out on March 8th and there's a new song, 'Jesus Fever', available to check out courtesy of Matador.

Gentleman Jesse & His Men 'You've Got the Wrong Man'

I've been thinking recently about Gentleman Jesse & His Men and how only a year prior to their debut release people's love of Power Pop was being rekindled with reissues from Hubble Bubble, The Nerves and Milk 'n' cookies. Their self titled album struck like a bolt from the blue, with its irresistibly glamorous hooks and sing-a-long choruses this record proves somethings you can never tire of.

The Atlanta Power Poppers are due to have a new album out and until then, HoZac has released a single to tie us all over. 'You've Got the Wrong Man' and B Side 'Stubborn Ghost' are consistent with their previous stuff. You could say, Power Pop in general is dependable for striking pleasure centres with a familiar guitar, bass and drums mold. With this simple formula Gentleman Jesse & His Men do something so right with what can easily be done wrong. Unrivaled in their ability make music you can put on whatever mood you're in, and it always manages to hit the right spot (how do they do that?!) it's probably stating the obvious at this point, this blogger is excited for Gentleman Jesse & His Men's new album.

You can here both of the new songs on Strofoam Drone!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reading Rainbow 'Prism Eyes'

Philadelphia's boy girl duo brought in the New Year with a show in New York celebrating the release of new album 'Prism Eyes'. Following a slew of singles over the last year or so on Chimney Sweep, Zoo Music and Ciseaux it was their debut 'Mystical Participation' and a show at SXSW that made HoZac Reading Rainbow's number one fan, and home.

Reading Rainbow sound like they could have been Slumberland fiends in their formative years and sure, words like 'jangly' 'pop' and 'indie' seem unavoidable at the moment. That said, it would be a real shame to let this band pass you by simply because these adjectives are currently circulating so heavily. What Reading Rainbow bring to the table that makes them stand out is a curious balance of sugary and scuzzy music. The two part vocal harmonies range from unaffected tones not unlike English post punk to infectious angelic pop. These singing parts soar over fuzzed out keyboards, consistent tapping and crashing rhythms with glittery, grinding guitar hooks. The surprising thing is, I would never have guessed this was only a two piece given how rich the songs sound. This record is harmoniously sweet and sour. 'Prism Eyes' proves there are still some bands out there with some tricks up their sleeves for you.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Metal Mountains 'Structures In the Sun'

The imminent release of Metal Mountains debut record 'Golden Trees' couldn't be a better way to start the new year. Boasting three fine folk musicians Helen Rush (Tower Recordings), Samara Lubelski (Tower Recordings, Thurston Moore, Hall of Fame, Metabolisms, Social Registry) and Pat Gubler (Tower Recordings, P.G Six) the trio have aptly found a home at Amish Records. After playing shows in New York for the past year or so, sharing stages with the likes of Yo La Tengo and Kurt Vile the Brooklyn based band have committed their ethereal psychedelic folk songs to wax ready to melt faces and hearts everywhere.

Track 'Structures in the Sun' is available to listen to here.