I'm not normally into comps but a few standouts have been released over the last few weeks. First up is the all femme-psyche comp My Estrogeneration on Not Not Fun, featuring blog mainstays Zola Jesus, US Girls, Valet, Pocahaunted, Tickley Feather, and Inca Ore, and a bunch of relative newcomers who haven't released much (or anything) or have been under most listeners radars--HNY, Topaz Rags and Talk Normal (feat. Blevin Blectum and Sumara Lubelski). Despite the wide range of vibrations picked up here, from the industrial hymns of Zola Jesus to the floating web of of HNY to the cavernous psych secretions of Topaz Rags, this comp flows easily from each track to the next. Highly recommended stuff, all of which is exclusive to this LP.
Speaking of femme mystique, my ears were recently perked up by the Minneapolis via LA duo Tropic Of Cancer and their sadly out of print 10" EP, The Dull Age. Two tracks of dark 'n hypnotic chant-filled drones, most reminiscent of pre-dubbed-out Pocahaunted, and maybe with a sprinkling of Portishead. Camella Lobo, lead enchantress of the duo, has an excellent blog worth a regular peep here.
Back on to the subject of comps, Secret Seven has just released an LP of unreleased tracks by various San Franciscan bands. Regular readers of this here blog will no doubt be familiar with The Fresh & Onlys, The Sandwitches, Sonny & The Sunsets, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall and Grass Widow, but there are plenty of tracks from newer or lesser known acts. A track by new band Exrays is the biggest surprise, which initially came off a little like a Tim Cohen (also featured on the comp) song. After a little research (and bugging Secret Seven for answers), I found that The Exrays are a new band lead by Ray's Vast Basement's Jon Bernson. According to his Wikipedia page we can expect an Exrays full length soon, and it'll feature contributions by--surprise, surprise!--The Fresh & Onlys' Tim Cohen. After a little more reading it looks like the two are also in a group called Window Twins, who released an LP in 2008 on Broken Twilight. This is all news to me, but looks like AQ is carrying this one. Anyways, In A Cloud is limited to 500 copies, so if yr a fan of any of the above I highly recommend tracking this one down.
Sweet Rot has started the year off correct with 2 new 7 inches and their first full length LP. After two years of releasing a coupla satisfyin' 7 inches on labels like Severed Hands and Hozac, a 10 incher on Kill Shaman and a handful of cassettes, Richmond, Virginia's Nerve City finally get down to a full length release (pictured at top of the post), and it was well worth the wait. Comprised of recordings from 2007-2008, this collection is a varied, yet cohesive, batch of lurch 'n stomp-style rock reminiscent of early Velvets, dark 'n twangy surf rippers, and some rougher garage blues numbers. Fans of past Sweet Rot releases, particularly the now classic Meth Teeth 7 inch, oughta be lining up for this one asap. Absolute highest recommendation. Watch out for future NC releases on Sacred Bones, a split 7 inch with Flight on Needless and a split cassette with Florida's Tee Pee.
Sweet Rot also launched two new 7 inches in the same week. Over the last few years Metz, France has been bustling over with releases by Anals, A.H. Kraken and Feeling Of Love, the latter of which drop this overdriven and infectious 7 inch and simultaneously release an LP on Kill Shaman. Not sure how a city of 125, 000 manages to come up with three exciting garage and punk bands, but if they keep pumping out high quality releases, I'll keep buyin´.
Alabama's Amber Alerts whip up three tracks of lo-fi drum machine-driven synth punk with nicely placed low end bass grooves, which makes a bit of sense considering they share members with the like-minded Wizzard Sleeve. Though I wasn't quite as juiced on the recent Wizzard Sleeve LP on Hozac, it appears as if I can rest easy knowing the Amber Alerts are pickin' up the slack.
Vancouver's own Von Bingen quietly released an LP late last year, and I was finally able to track down this ironically difficult to find record. Featuring Josh Stevenson (aka Magneticring, ex-Jackie-O-Motherfucker and Pink Mountaintops member, and head of the always-amazing FM Shades blog), Daniel and Jennie Pace Presnell (Feed and Seed Records), and Richard Smith, Von Bingen do some serious time traveling (backwards and forwards), visiting the ghosts of Kluster, Suicide and probably a bunch of them oddball records regularly seen on FM Shades. Walls of dense motorik kosmiche are explored here with the lead taken by some vintage synths that I'm not even gonna pretend I know anything about. You can track this one down at fine online retailers like Mimarogalu, Volcanic Tongue and Eclipse. Damn good company to be keeping. You can also buy this at their sporadic live appearances here in our fair city. Well worth tracking down.
Olde English Spelling Bee dropped three LP re-issues of some recent "classic" cassette releases. Most notably is the released last year tape by Matrix Metals, which garnered many favorable reviews online, including Tinymixtapes ("the perfect soundtrack to the shittiest summer of your life") and Rose Quartz ("neo-primitive retro-futuristic FUN that oozes out of these claps and plastic beats), where it made it to number 1 on their best of '09 cassette list. I played it on the show several times and always got a positive, yet head scratching, response (fellow DJ Luke Meat said it "sounded like we had tuned into an alien pirate radio rave station"). All in all,pretty damn good responses for initially being limited to 100 copies.
Check this recent video taken from the cassette/LP release
Other reissues include a classic by James Ferraro (Skaters, Lamborghini Crystal, Vodka Soap) and a blinked-and-you-missed-it cassette from the mysterious Outer Limits Collective, who count Sam Meringue (aka Matrix Metals) as a member. All three are worth the dough and should be readily available at many of the above mentioned suppliers.
In other local action, ETMS faves solars have released another fine cassette, this time issued on the newly launched Vacant Tapes label, run by the head of the always amazing Scrapyard Forecast and also known as the metal and drone manipulator Empress. Solars' debut for Vacant is a lengthy, side-long synth and guitar drone-out. It never really blasts off, instead it's a slow-building burner that plateaus into an all enveloping space-y buzz. An excellent companion piece to solars continuously awe-inspiring live sets.
Pearl Harbor "Sunburn" Something About The Chapparalls 12" (Mexican Summer) 2010
Tickley Feather "For Rent" V/A-My Estrogeneration LP (Not Not Fun) 2009
Tropic Of Cancer "Dull Age" Dull Age EP 10" (Downwards) 2009
Amber Alerts "Somewhere Under A Shit Cloud" s/t 7" (Sweet Rot) 2010
Feeling Of Love "School Yeah" School Yeah 7" (Sweet Rot) 2010
The Fresh & Onlys "You Owe Your Life To The Streets" V/A-In A Cloud: New Sounds From San Francisco LP (Secret Seven) 2010
Sonny & The Sunsets "Heart Of Sadness" V/A- In A Cloud: New Sounds From San Francisco LP (Secret Seven) 2010
Exrays "Everything Goes" V/A-In A Cloud: New Sounds From San Francisco LP (Secret Seven) 2010
Sun Araw "Live Mind" Sun Ark 7" (Not Not Fun) 2010
Matrix Metals "Flamingo Breeze" Flamingo Breeze LP (Olde English Spelling Bee) 2009, **reissue of Not Not Fun CS
Flashback Repository "untitled" s/t LP (Olde English Spelling Bee) 2009 ** reissue of Outer Limits Collective CS 20??
Grippers Onesers Nothers "Alien Breeze Transistor" Live At Slimer Beach LP (Olde English Spelling Bee) 2009 **reissue of 2006 CS on New Age Tapes
Von Bingen "Eyeglasses Of Kentucky" s/t LP (Amen Absen) 2009
solars "Eyes" Eyes CS (Vacant Tapes) 2010
Blank Realm "Saint Tegram" Heatless Ark LP (Not Not Fun) 2010
DOWNLOAD EPISODE 36 here (right click link, then Save As)