Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Wax Idols are a quartet formed by Hether Fortune in Oakland featuring a classic line up of guitar, bass and bass. Thus far in the Wax Idols cannon one single 'All Too Human/William Says' on Hozac Records precedes their debut 'No Future' on the same label. After being kicked out of Bare Wires and Hunx & His Punx Hether Fortune took the bull by the horns to front her own band as well as playing in Blasted Canyons currently, and it's not a shock to find that 'No Future' sounds nothing like previous groups she's played in. Wax Idols deliver splintered, melody heavy guitars, rubbery bass and direct, heady rhythms lead by vocals sung with a whole load of gusto. These new songs echo bands like Joy Division in that they hand out happy and sad in equal measure. Saccharine tinged guitars carries melodies through opener "Dead Like You", disturbed towards the end by a blood curdling scream giving a taste of things to follow as bright pop is shadowed by moody undercurrents. Another highlight is "Human Condition" a song dealing with feeling curiously sung in disaffected, vacant vocals as though challenging those trapped in a life long trance - going through the motions, and this is what I take away from listening to 'No Future', eleven songs going through paces of human emotion. This debut is 35 minutes of carefully crafted pop songs slickly recorded whilst sounding as though they were made by a neighbour playing too loud through the bedroom wall. I can't wait to see what the next album will sound like...
Wax Idols - Hotel Room by Gilded Gutter
Get the album from Hozac
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Sunday, November 27, 2011
Wounded Lion are; Brad Eberhard (guitar, vocals), Lars Finberg (drums, guitar), Raffi Kalenderian (bass, percussion, vocals), Shant Kalenderian (guitar, bass, vocals) and Jun Ohnuki (bass, drums, organ, percussion). The five piece are grounded in LA, featuring hammering rhythms, crunchy guitars, elastic bass and organs. Some may already be familiar with Finberg's work in other projects - he's the current drummer for Thee Oh Sees, original drummer for A-Frames and masterminded band Intelligence. 'IVXLCDM' follows up last years debut on In the Red, this new album attests that since their first single on S-S Records Wounded Lion have continued to hit their stride. Recorded with Chris Woodhouse these 10 songs capture Wounded Lion's playful, wrong-footed manner towards their collage-like style of songwriting further shown in videos where pieces of horror, nature, sex and fiction are woven together creating nonsensical stories and images in their own form of art-punk.
The primitive approach to 'IVXLCDM' is best shown early on in the record by "Wyld Parrots" kicking off with a rumbling bass, incoherent vocals and forthright drums. Flipping over, Side B features "I'm Sad" with off kilter guitars bending in and out of tune, clobbering rhythms and a yell-a-long chorus, "I am sad (why are you sad?), because I want to play more music and I want to sing my song" declares Finberg in a deadpan yelp. It's this innocent and unrefined approach that sums up Wounded Lion's demeanor, another example of this is stormy number "Raincheck Vibrations" dealing with childhood imagery and frustrations of being an adult. Right out of the gates guitars transmit a menacing tone allowing Finberg to get his story across "I was watching batman, batman and catwoman were alone in an alley, they were getting kinda close, their caped shoulders were touching, their faces drew nearer and nearer, they were so close, then robin came running round the corner and screwed everything up..." 'IVXLCDM' is a weighty, raw sounding album recorded in a way that sounds unlike anything else around whereby, Wounded Lion utilizes simplified parameters they set themselves to take their songwriting to a place without limits.
Video for "Raincheck Vibration"
Wounded Lion Facebook
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011
With a prolific catalogue of material behind him, Goner Records has culled 25 tracks of singles, demos and rarities from Ty Segall's work helping paint a picture of how his song writing has developed and arrived at this year's well received 'Goodbye Bread' (Drag City). This Double LP fills in some gaps for those of us missing now out-of-print tapes, EPs and 7"s from the Ty Segall cannon. Cannot wait for this to show up at my door..
Order from Goner
Monday, November 21, 2011
Psandwich are a group based in Washington Beach Ohio featuring; Ron House (vocals), Brett Burleson (electric & acoustic guitar, bass), John Olexovitch (electric guitar, vocals) Bobby Silver (bass, keyboards & vocals), Zac Szymusiak (drums, piano & vocals). Some may already be familiar with Ron House from Columbus Discount's reissue last year of 'Blind Boy in the Backseat' and his other two projects Great Plains and Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments. House's distinct narrative heavy vocals coupled with a melodic bass secure a core allowing psyched out guitars to roam alongside pummeling rhythms. 'Northern Psych' is the first album from Psandwich debuting freaked out psychedelia you'd expect from Bubble Puppy or 13th Floor Elevators whilst racing with the pulse of avant-garde garage. Arresting opener "Ceiling" gives a taste of things to come as the five piece steam roll their way through these eleven charged songs. Moody undercurrents of paranoia in the first track resurface in wall climber "Not In Jail" where metronomic beats steer prowling siren guitars gradually ascending to feverish solos. Another highlight is otherworldly "Spinal Scroll Stroll" where the album takes things down a notch with foggy vocals drifting over spooked razor guitars anchored by a melody heavy bass lifted by crashing rhythms. Coming full circle 'Northern Psych' is a force unto itself testing the limits before finishing the way it started. Much like after a great night out - once the needle is off the LP this album has left me feeling like I need to lie down in a dark room with a flannel over my head.
Find copies at Volcanic Tongue and Florida's Dying
Columbus Discount Records
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Just got my first beer coloured vinyl in the form of Mannequin Men's new self titled album on Addenda Records, where the boys really hit their stride with the four piece's most cohesive effort to date. Recorded live at Key Club in Michigan 'Mannequin Men' makes a sludgy start with "Don't Grow", akin to Spacemen 3 or Teenage Fanclub setting the tone for the album. Spirited rhythms cemented at the core allows crunchy guitars to tumble across infectious melodies alongside a rubbery bass, an echo in the vocals lends depth and warmth to the songs that as a whole sound unpolished. And sure enough, you can pick out other influences along the way as their past three albums will attest, Mannequin Men wear their hearts on their sleeves when it comes to revealing inspirations in their songwriting. It's this unfeigned approach and a sense of alliance which best describes the band's personality. Shown further with next track "Flying Blind", a heartfelt number that is earnest and engaging in equal measure. The universally loved "Hobby Girl" is also featured for those of us who missed out on the Hozac Singles club 7" (can anyone hook me up?!!). Some personal highlights are "OK" and "Wake Up Dead" towards the end of the album where things cool off and feel curiously poignant especially with Richards singing "I've got a little bit left in the tank cummon" in closer 'Van'.
What sets this album apart from their last few records is how Mannequin Men have refined their sound. The revival of garage rock over the last few years I think has left some bands misunderstood. Don't get me wrong I'm a garage rock lover, but with a genre heavily rooted in aesthetics anything on the surface that fits the mold is too easily pigeonholed sometimes, like 'LoFi' to that end. Mannequin Men may be labeled by some as garage rock but I think looking for something a little deeper makes listening to their songs more rewarding.
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Addenda Records get the album here
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
From the outside looking in is Grouper's isolated viewpoint, delving in the abyss and teetering on the brink of this world and the next. Liz Harris was encouraged to perform and learn instruments as a child whilst being raised in a sect named The Group, living in the Sonora Mountains in North California. "We were isolated from the rest of the world, in that we only hung out with each other. I didn't meet anyone from outside the commune until I was 11 when I first went to public school...We were taught that our world was separate." (The Wire, 334). Children were moved in between families within The Group rarely spending time with their genetic relatives, but also had free reign in the countryside near the sea. It's clear to see how these early experiences impacted Harris' approach to art and is able to summon an unparalleled sense of disconnect in otherworldly voids she creates. 'Alien Observer' and 'Dream Loss' similarly to earlier work, embody the sense of being disengaged. Songs creep in and wash over you like an ethereal breeze or wave with the help of her set-to-whisper singing. Electronic effects react to and echo ambient natural surroundings creating a plain allowing Harris to venture inwards and externalize the limbo she exists in. One of the most captivating female artists around today and worth every bit of your time, Mississippi Records is said to have some.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Almost Ready has released tracks by Cheater Slicks recorded in 1989 during their first line up of the band which included Allen Paulino on bass. This bill didn't last as Paulino would by replaced by Merle Allin until guitarists Tom & Dave Shannon and drummer Dana Hatch did away with bass altogether. These early crude recordings brilliantly show how their dissonant demeanor can easily be mapped back to these first tracks featuring, a gnarly cover of 13th Floor Elevators "Rollercoaster", and personal highlight "Born Loser". I love that this record shows Cheater Slicks as an unwavering scuzzy, degenerate garage punk band who've stood firm for nigh on 25 years. Since forming in 1987 Cheater Slicks are one of those bands like Sun City Girls or the Fall, who don't challenge or even seem to care what musical trends may be going on around them - they create their own unmatched identity and exist on the outskirts where enjoying their songs is as easy as allowing them take you into their world.
Almost Ready Records
Cheater Slicks Facebook
Poised to be released very soon on Clan Destine Records is The Pheromoans new second record to follow up 'It Still Rankles' (Convulsive Records). Not to be missed!
New track from the album!
Darby Joan & Fosters by thepheromoans
You can preorder here
The Pheromans Facebook Blog
Sunday, November 6, 2011
It's surprising a band like Something Men are from the UK given that their songs heavily rooted in Rock 'n' Roll fit so well in with the recent garage rock revival across the pond. The foursome have just released with their debut single 'Birdy Roof' on EZPZ Records. These guys definitely sound like they spent their formative years listening to Bo Diddley and absorbing all the garage rock bands that followed him, 13th Floor Elevators immediately come to mind. And sure enough, Something Men put a contemporary spin on the genre much in the way The Beets do in their rock 'n' roll-slacker demeanor. This is another fine example of a band not challenging the past but having fun with a type of music they clearly love.
(These guys are looking to do some shows in London up until the end of the year if you know of anything - firstname.lastname@example.org)
Something Men- Mud Brown Mistress by ezpz records
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Thursday, November 3, 2011
UK duo Tense Men have released their first single on Cazenove Tapes. Bands like Woven Bones come to mind as they mix shoegaze, punk, pop and noise. Tense Men have a looped bass part with primitive delay-heavy guitars worked on top alongside commanding rhythms that create four urgent and menacing numbers. Great debut release!
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