Friday, November 21, 2014
My Bloody Valentine is a mammoth touchstone that started an entire genre.*
*It's also lazy to compare them to any band but I went ahead and did it to Wildhoney. Don't hold it against me just listen to these guys for yourself. I also thought of Ride and Galaxie 500 but that just feels like a reach, like I'm TRYING to come up with someone not obvious so why not just go back to the source and call it. Are they the most referenced band in history? Do they get referenced far too often? Probably yes to both but if the shoe fits why are you trying on some other weird size just to be a weirdo. It's a compliment and there's not enough bands working in that style as far as I'm concerned.
On A-Side's "Seventeen" enter some heavy guitar loops, bent, buried underwater guitars just dying to burst out from that film, to break the surface tension they're nestled in. The drums suddenly kick into that dense and heavy My Bloody Valentine sound, a Jesus and Mary Chain sludgy layered distortion that is wallet opening. I love Lauren Shusterich's vocals that float above this in drawn out phrases with equal parts layered harmony. I will admit they're pushing the tempo more than most MBV stuff and are blindly focused on the pop but still execute all parts of that sound; infinite guitar delays and a melody appearing out of fog to disappear into something else. Constantly changing, shifting and rising into Explosion in the Sky heights with the chorus delay straight into the upper reaches of this atmosphere. It even goes back to Lush and the beginning English shoegaze, a complete surprise and appropriate if they are referencing the age of 17 which can be equally hazy and impossible to get to the bottom of, a swirling cloud of emotion that can't be separated.
B-Side "Get Out of My Dreams" is going to take that line back from Billy Ocean because I'm 17. Two beats wind this up into a crisp unnatural beat, hardly a snare with shimmering guitar work and Lauren on vocals breaks out of that dreamlike delivery a lot like Soccer Mom minus the sonic youth approach of seemingly ugly sonics. This is all the shiny, crisp parts collected and jammed together like a macaroni artwork. The bass line leads here while reaching for these insane heights and another set of risers up their sleeve. A higher distanced wail of guitars take the mystery back. "Soft Bats" They even give you three tracks of this, with no break? Love the way that last track runs right into this one. What I appreciate is this kind of density, it's like the Spinnanes laid back feel with a punk sound of Blonde Redhead. How much effort is spent on the mic distances and levels of every track of guitar. How often do you start with no sense of where this is going just knowing a melody is going to emerge out of this. Her vocal is always pulling this back together, as soon as they lose it with unleashed guitars they immediately take a backseat to this voice. The perfect balance of hard and loud with reason and content. Can't believe how much landscape they cram into a single, tell me they have a full length? (Coming soon on Deranged Records -ed) This could easily spread out but maybe the single kept this in perfect check as well? What do I know, don't change a thing, it's perfect.
Pick this up from Photobooth Records.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
We need Atlantic Thrills jangly summer harmonies now more than ever. How it got this cold this early is beyond me but it probably has to do with not spinning this blast of sunshine enough. It's all my fault guys and I'm working on correcting it immediately and at least this turntable is warming the heck up.
A-Side's "Day At The Beach" opens with a solo measure of warm high treble guitar, no stressed frantic lines or hard edge jagged stuff anywhere in sight, just the collected laid back rhythm of a four piece taking their collective places and letting things fall where they may. A little bit of the Nodzzz attitude with a precise put together dense haze of layered raspy vocals and double hit snare lines. Between verses someone lays in picked bent melodies, they can't help but finish this bubblegum garage with just a little more frosting. Like The Beets or King Khan they're just looking to celibrate those good times. There's a place for music having all kinds of messages and Atlantic Thrills are just enjoying one of the original reasons to play music; for the sheer joy of it and what better to sing about than a day at the beach. A spiritual releative to the Minks "Everything's Fine" or Real Estate - sometimes it's nice to wallow in the good stuff.
B-Side's "Hold Your Tongue" comes in with a bluesy distorted sound and garage stomp beat chanting that title lyric HOLD... YOUR... TONGUE against the soul main vocal delivery waiting for the bent solo to take hold of things in this southern classic rock style track. All shit kicking attitude and actually a lot in common with the Ar-kaics from yesterday with some Natural Child sloppiness here. Gets gradually looser as the song flows like they've been walking that line and had one too many. Things get emotional, words said that maybe shouldn't have been...an inevitable heated end to that long day at the beach. Could they have partied too hard on this one? Ask the bouncer - they can't remember.
Pick this up from Almost Ready, the new music division of Harry's empire, also released a ful length over there so he's in it for the long haul.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I think garage in 2014 ought to have a few things; a simple, caveman rhythm section, maybe even just kick and snare, it's good if you can find some kind of distortion that sounds like the cone is punctured for the single guitar, don't bother layering anything, play together in the same room while recording, no overdubs and for good measure run the whole take through a busted PA and mic that for the master. Oh and I almost forgot you've got to have a slightly smart ass, or let's just say really confident vocal style because there can't be any hesitation when you're channelling that primal, emotional stuff. Of course I also just described the Ar-Kaics, a four piece out of Richmond who I first came across thanks to Speakertree Records. They're back on Windian with all the graphic style of their brutish, primal rock as usual.
On A-Side's "Why Should I?" the heavy thud of a slightly distorted kick leads their lead foot/hand sound. This starts out primitive and landing on those snare hits with all sorts of spastic winding solo guitar psyching it's way beihnd these yelping vocals. The chorus then gets really poppy, the cranky creepy blues sound takes a backseat for these vocals about being monogamous to his girl. In two minutes they manage to head back to the bluesy windmill chords with plenty of raw silence between notes. That's the animal, dark side that's really after her so hopefully that pop chorus side of things is what wins out in the end for her sake.
B-Side's "Slave to Her Lies" blasts in with everyone hitting that stomp beat all at once and the vocals sneaking in between those crashes. There's a little of that wet reverb surf sound that raises things up out of the muddy swamp. Plenty of silence and space in this between snarly kicks and the vocals gradually build up to shrieking eerie reverb buried and dark like Slug Guts and of course going back to The Cramps or The Mummies without any of their winking. Nothing but the serious matter of the opposite sex and lies with the nimble cuts from a scythe. Oops - hope you didn't need that arm.
Love the classic center label style from Windian and the Ar-Kaics on this one...they also put out their self titled full length which I'll be ordering from Windian as well.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
This split from Mines and Hunt Hunt Camp is an amazing sample of fuzzy, messed up electronics from two Chicago based bands on Maximum Pelt Records. I haven't heard sounds like these coming off a single in a while. Mines feels like they take a down and dirty approach, working with less is more and inferior equipment will only make me stronger while the Hunt Hunt Camp side is a Xiu Xiu meets Casiotone for the Painfully Alone feel, the mellow vocals against these harsh, choppy oscillated waveforms.
On the Mines track "Addict" the last time I heard far off clanging muddy no fi tones like this was from These Are Powers, the slow grandfather clock ringtones quickly turn into a no-fi dirty dance sound like Digital Leather or A Faulty Chromosome and the best use of the human voice from the Casio SK-1. I didn't think you could ever get away with using that sound but Mines does it effortlessly with a million unrecognizable others. The same way multiple melodies, especially this guitar section, just get piled on all seemingly working against each other. Lots of 4-track insanity happening here and in a high energy circuit bent rave. Something about recording to tape inspires that sloppy genius feel and is impossible to duplicate with a million digital tracks at your disposal...or maybe it was and he's even more of a genius. I have to hear an entire record of this, the possibilities he's barely presented feel endless and there's a full length from Lake Paradise Records. You bet I just ordered one.
Hunt Hunt Camp does "HVYMTLKDZ" a heavily ominous track with lots of scuzzy moog textures in chunky synth waves with panning metallic clicks from the keyboard stand when male vocals come in breathy and rising above these hard edge electronics turning into a sharp dancey Owen Ashworth side project in that same melancholic delivery. A vocal melody attempts to break out of it's trench with the help from female harmonies but the weird perfectly captured melted circuits is what really makes this great. The vocals are a perfect distraction but the instrumentation is so foreign and bizarre it's all I can hear. It's subtle and jabbing you in the ribs at the same time. There should be a full length in the works from these guys as well. Incredible.
Pick this up from Maximum Pelt Records who make me want to get a cassette player if they keep releasing stuff like this in that tape catalog of theirs.
Almost forgot William Satek from Mines was on Judge Mathis. Hilarious.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Tight Bros / Rad Company split on Rad Girlfriend, Drunken Sailor, On The Real, Throwing Things, 86'd, No Breaks and Soapy Hand Records
The Tight Bros and Rad Company have locked up seven inch sleeve art of the year. Not a cover you could overlook in the 7" bin or ever forget if you happened across it. Congrats guys. Tight Bros are four dudes from Columbus and Rad Company are not far away in Dayton, both plowing into a pop punk sound with heavy layers and have the collective support of no less than seven labels behind them. Obviously good choice to pair these two together and sweeping the 7inches awards this year they also won in the category of most labels behind a split single.
Tight Bros side "Not What You Asked For" has a feedback hum that opens into a stompy high tempo beat and upper register vocals blown out in a super produced power punk repeating that title lyric leaving plenty of room for the solo which is a bleeding one note number. The layered vocals have a Built to Spill sheen but the rest of this is all attitude in a party Andrew WK feel with cymbals constantly crashing, sticking on that chorus and playing out the harmonies. They know a good thing when they hear it, just run that out to the end. A tight two minutes bros. "Trapped in My Head" comes into the song already running in progress, the gated high compression guitars are poised to blast their bursts of chords, playing off the snare in that crazy fast back and forth see saw while vocally belting this out in thick layers of huge sustained notes fading away behind the fist pumping because they aren't just about the speed. Keeping the beat for the feedback and bass to take this out to the end, making the absolute most of the three minutes left on the vinyl.
The Rad Company track "Hang in There" feels even faster with hundreds more chages with all the singing together punk harmony of Cap'n Jazz with chunky guitars. They don't have to line up harmonies exactly, it's about that emotion from hitting a take that just sounds right. A sunny Lync punk, loud and fast and not obsessed with their own technical prowess just getting an undeniable optimism across with muted chords and no room to shake out. No echo or reverb on the drums because that would just take up extra space. "Under the Blade" feels like an H-Street soundtrack outtake, I can't really explain it except that I watched that video nearly a million times and this would be right at home with a fisheye lens riding right next to someone grinding curbs.
Get this from Rad Girlfriend, Drunken Sailor, On The Real, Throwing Things Records, 86'd Records and No Breaks Records.
Friday, November 14, 2014
Snappy Little Numbers has outdone themselves with this one...a three color screened 1/4" thick plywood cover of a sad bee specimen, heavy and imposing, a real work of art. Then they carry the bee colors into the vinyl pressing of yellow/orange with black and yellow center label. Chuck and Cause Medic Ink sent the interns to Home Depot and had them cutting up 7" size squares long into the night. They went a little nuts with the amount of time and effort put into each single but then these two Denver bands aren't exactly new to getting attention but usually it's just for the tracks inside. Both of these guys opened for one of my favorite bands of all time A Minor Forest recently
Glass Hits side "Action Potential" opens with a heavy gravely guitar quickly joined by another layer of pushy compressed distortion with the vocals doing their best to match with raw throaty screaming the crunch of these two guitars tracked together. Truly aggressive At The Drive In sounding dense layered stuff that must take everything out of all involved and be an insane live show - there's no way you could just stand back and witness this. He's got one of those high register deliveries while the instrumnetation is winding a complex heavy mammoth trail, plowing over anything in their way like a sharper take on Red Medicine. "Dying on the vine" is another guitar driven number where they seem to zoom in on a looped fast tempo riff that winds in around itself and squeeze like that (hot) snake. This time Greg is slightly going easy with his voice, with a Suicide Invoice feel the big jagged stuff that hits the glass. These drums are played in a huge cathedral right against a wall, the bass is in the opposite corner like Steve Albini a shallow reverb peaking out and it's the thing that overwhelms. You're never really ready for it. No matter how many times you put the needle back at the beginning.
Accordion Crimes "New Technique" has a disjointed murky beat, an unsettling loop for bass or low tuned guitar to force this single note down like some kind of audio foie gras, in the way they become a post punk combination of Shellac and Gang of Four and hit those perfect references for me. The line stuttered in perfect time with the spastic chord bursts I...am not...Jackson Pollack with nimble stops and starts, perfect control over huge tough sounds. The vocals drop way out into that room underneath the floorboards like Mr Pollack himself chained up in the basement.
Get this from Snappy Little Numbers direct.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Two halves of The Emergency Milo Kossowski and Morgan McWaters are Bad Thoughts and Worng respectively on this single released a couple years back on Metal Postcard Records. In my fantasy I like the possibility that they were both holding back tracks from each other and then approached Metal Postcard separately and he put them together - each with another 'unknown solo artist' just to get them back together like some kind of electronica Parent Trap. The worst idea I know. They're both unsurprisingly working with a lot of similar elements and if I was more familiar with their collaborative work it might stand out more their individual styles...but I could see this idea working with a lot of other duos. I'd love a split single with each half of Handsome Furs doing solo tracks for example.
Bad Thoughts side "Come to Life" has a long distance hissy static wurlitzer metronome preset beat that launches itself over that horizon like the sunlight. You hear the sound years after it actually left the creation surface, more and more synth pieces build in waves under a heavy wash of phaser that leaves these pieces in and out of sync playing with the space. Where these sounds are coming from is still a mystery and must be related to a Vangelis future soundtrack to a Drive with a hovercar and old Ryan Gosling, traveling thousands of miles an hour at night with all the neon bleeding into one long trail. Soundlessly whipping across miles and miles of nothing but the tallest glass buildings. A low end groan from something big that's moving around out there and this might not have even taken place on earth anymore as it starts to get a little unsettling. The atmospheric hypnotism gradually fades out to a bubbly underwater end.
Worng's side "Releasing Your Gravitational Potential" has big breathy synth sounds funkily trip into frame while a subtle repeated loop washes around way in the background of this. Quickly more and more layers appear, nothing with an obvious sound just floating in slowly weaving around what's already there and building that wicker basket of beats. Switching somewhere in the middle both tracks so related it makes perfect sense, this could be some kind of Exquisite Corpse experiment between these two. It's an almost drone dance track more hypnotizing than the A-Side but maybe that's just the collective effect of these two coming at me together. Any sound introduced spends time in an infinite loop slowly losing most of it's original pieces as it slowly goes down the tubes. A procedural soundtrack, no chase scenes or bedroom action just the kind of moody stuff that gets you from point A to point B.
Pick this up from Metal Postcard Records or locally from discogs.