Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pop Dr(((O)))nes: Episode 39

Nerve City "Concentration" Recordings 2007-2008 LP (Sweet Rot) 2010
Dignan Porch "On A Ride" s/t 7" (Captured Tracks) 2009
Flight "In The Morning Light" s/t 7" (Hozac) 2010
Cloud Nothings "Morgan" s/t 7" (Group Tightener) 2010
Campfires "She Was Down" s/t 7" (Mexican Summer) 2010
Wicked Awesomes "Hen's Teeth" Punk Holograms LP (Psychic Handshake) 2010
Myelin Sheaths "Stackticon" s/t 7" (Bachelor) 2010
Mess Folk "Something I Remember" s/t 7" (Hozac) 2010
El Jesus De Magico "Klip Aught" s/t 7" (Columbus Discount) 2010
Islaja "Junipero Mash" V/A-My Estrogeneration LP (Not Not Fun) 2009
US Girls "Turnaround Time" Go Grey LP (Siltbreeze) 2010
Inca Ore "Shine On" Silver Sea Surfer School LP (Not Not Fun) 2009
Sun Araw "Bump Up (High Step)" Sun Ark 7" (Not Not Fun) 2010
Moon Duo "Motorcycle, I Love You" Escape LP (Woodsist) 2010
Eskimo King "Gjoa", "Born Again" & "Dry Strike" split LP w/Afternoon Penis (Abandon Ship) 2009

No time for updates this week. 

DOWNLOAD EPISODE 39 here (Right click link, then Save As)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pop Dr(((O)))nes: Episode 38

Wild Nothing "Vultures Like Lovers" Summer Holiday 7" (Captured Tracks) 2010
Campfires "Stormy Late Fall" s/t 7" (Mexican Summer) 2010
The Art Museums "Paris Cafes" Rough Frames LP (Woodsist) 2010
Real Estate "Younger Than Yesterday" Reality 12" (Mexican Summer) 2010
The Sandwitches "Beatle Screams" s/t 7" (Southpaw) 2010
Ora Cogan "In The Dark" The Quarry LP (Isolated Now Waves) 2010
Babies "All Things Come To Pass" s/t 7" (Wild World) 2010
US Girls "Red Ford Radio" Go Grey LP (Siltbreeze) 2010
Eat Skull "Jerusalem Mall" s/t 7" (Woodsist) 2010
Nothing People "Reinstall" s/t 7" (Permanent) 2010
Mess Folk "If I Don't Get Out" s/t 7" (Hozac) 2010
El Jesus De Magico "Rapey Guys II" s/t 7" (Columbus Discount) 2010
Thee Oh Sees "Quadrospazzed" Quadrospazzed 12" (Castleface) 2010
Dadfag "Down Baby" Scenic Abuse LP (Broken Rekids) 2010
Six Finger Satellite "Hot Food" A Good Year For Hardness LP (Anchor Brain) 2009
Todd "Black Gold" Big Ripper LP (Riot Season) 2009
Moon Duo "Stumbling 22nd St." Escape LP (Woodsist) 2010
Grouper "Vessel" Vessel EP/split w. Roy Montgomery LP (self released) 2010
Emeralds "Geode" s/t LP (Gneiss Things/Wagon) 2009
Black To Comm "Forst" Alphabet 1968 LP (Type) 2009
Beard Closet "Catholic" Amputated Orchestra CDR (self released) 2010

DOWNLOAD EPISODE 38 here. (right click link, then Save As)

Tons of new music this week, but I'm most excited by the debut LP of San Francisco's Art Museums, which is a duo comprised of Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, Thuja, Blithe Sons and Giant Skyflower Band) and Josh Alper. The results are miles away from the oddball folk ramblings of their Jewelled Antler Collective ties. Instead, the LP straddles somewhere between the lo-fi bedroom pop of the Tall Dwarfs and the minimalist quietude if the Young Marble Giants. Drum machine, guitars strummed just out of time, thrift store keyboards, and speak-sing vocals give the record a haunting faux-naivety that will have you aching for more or scratching your head wondering why you should care. Not for everybody, but well worth finding out for yourself.

Vancouver's Ora Cogan released her newest full length LP this week on the mighty Isolated Now Waves, and it's probably her most fully realized record yet. Gentle, breezy and, occasionally, haunting folk numbers that evoke a distant era of songwriters. You can still hear their influence in Cogan's contemporaries like Josephine Foster, Mira Billotte (White Magic, Quixotic), Jana Hunter, and Marissa Nadler. The songs on The Quarry are pretty sparse, usually containing just her unique vocals, lightly plucked or strummed acoustic guitar and the occasional violin, dulcimer and pitterpat drumming. I've spun this almost everyday since I bought it and it won't be straying far from the turntable for some time. Highly recommended. 

US Girls released her newest full length recently, her first since 2008's Introducing. Two side-long washes of high-pitch guitar drone, spaced vocals, stuttery drum machine, and an overdose of echo and reverb that sound as if they were recorded in a bunker. Go Grey is peppered with warm pops and crackles that lend an incredible warm feeling to this otherwise alien record. Red Ford Radio is the standout track, comprised mainly of a drum machine and her vocals, which are eventually doubled up to hit the bottom of the spine in the best of ways. This ought to be a hit somewhere in our galaxy.

Usually when I play music from San Francisco it tends to fall somewhere in the garage vein of things, but I was recently hepped to Dadfag, who would have fit in nicely with the downtown No Wave scene in New York circa 1979. The lead female vocalist flits between straight up caterwauling and screaming through clenched teeth, while discordant guitars flail about and the rhythm section tries to run the whole thing off the rails. Certainly not easy listening, but fans of Lydia Lunch, early Sonic Youth and, hell, Shearing Pinx oughta listen up.

Riot Season unleash another hate rock beast from the UK, this time it's London's Todd, who had a previous record on Southern Records. The attack has been sharpened and Big Ripper does exactly that--Rip. And hard. Quick and monstrous riffs, agony-riddled vocals and a shredding rhythm section are blanketed in enough distortion to make Big Ripper as punishing as possible. Anyone who's been copping the white knuckle vibes of bands like Rusted Shut, Twin Stumps or No Balls is urged to check these guys out.

Finally, after a bit if waiting on my end, I received a new CDr by Toronto's Beard Closet. Proved to be well worth the wait, as Beard Closet is making some seriously haunted ambient music that certainly demands a larger audience. Heavy guitar drones coupled with bleak atmospherics come together like the northern cousin of ETMS faves Barn Owl. Hopefully there is a properly distribute release sometime soon...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pop Dr(((O)))nes: Episode 37

Best Coast "Up All Night" split w/Jeans Wilder 7" (Atelier Ciseaux) 2010
Vivian Girls "The Desert" Everything Goes Wrong LP (In The Red) 2009
Pearl Harbor "High Road" Something About The Chaparrals 12" (Mexican Summer) 2010
LA Vampires "Keep It, Turn It, Bump It" My Estrogeneration comp LP (Not Not Fun) 2010
Meercaz "Troubled Hand" s/t LP (Tic Tac Totally) 2009
Nerve City "Living Wage" Recordings 2007-2008 LP (Sweet Rot) 2010
Ty Segall & Mikal Cronin "Drop Dead Baby" Reverse Shark Attack LP (Kill Shaman) 2009
Double Dagger "No Allies" More LP (Thrill Jockey) 2009
No Balls "Suffering Contest" Come Clean LP (Release The Bats) 2009
Shit & Shine "Yes 9 10" 229-2299 Girls Against Shit 2LP (Riot Season) 2009
The Goslings "Everlasting Arm" Sister and Son CS (Rotting Chapel) 2010
AFCGT "Two Legged Dog" s/t LP (Sub Pop) 2010
Topping Bottoms "Towers Of Spines" Towers Of Spines CS (Not Not Fun) 2010
Empress "Empress 2, side 1" Empress 1/2 2CS (Soldier Pumps) 2010

LA's Pearl Harbor have warranted all the blog hype that's accumulated over the last 6 months, even though most of the hype has been tossed at the lone track Luv Goon. The new 12 inch on Mexican Summer, which sold out in a matter of days and is pretty much long gone from distros (try the Nominal shop), is a nice slice of dreamy pop from the sister duo. The A side features the two "hits", while the much more preferable B-Side is two smeared and haunted daydream lullabies that resonate the loudest, at least with me. Three seven inches are forthcoming (PPM, Big Love and Gloriette) and a 12 inch on Art Fag, hopefully in the coming months.

LA Vampires, who recently sprung up out of nowhere, drop one of the more innarestin' tracks on the already explodin' with ideas comp, My Estrogeneration. LA Vampires, which is in fact a moniker for this mysterious sole female project, trudges the same warped reggae/dub path already worn by labelmate (and future collaborator!) Sun Araw, albeit in a more chopped 'n screwed way. New split 12 inch with Psychic Reality just unleashed on NNF, more on that soon. Also, keep an ear out for an upcoming collab with Zola Jesus.

Despite reams of acclaim from Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, AMG, LA Record, The Stranger, BBC Music, and even Rolling Stone, I somehow completely missed one of 2009's most exciting LPs, namely Double Dagger's More on Thrill Jockey (pictured at top of post). While jammin' some records over at a friends place, More was eventually put on with a smirk and no mention of the band name. Holy shit! Is this an Unwound rarity I've never heard? Did ...Trail of the Dead ditch the pomp and circumstance and go back to the white-fisted anger of Madonna? Dude, seriously, what the hell is this? The record apparently hadn't even hit the shelves of any decent record store in town, but it was ordered in through the local grocer and I've been immersed in this monster ever since. Only drums, bass and vocals, but what a dense racket these three fellas make. The above mentioned bands are obvious starting points, so fans of those post-hardcore aggressors are urged to seek this one out. Highest recommendation.

Thanks to the always quick work of Art For Spastics, I got to the Rotting Chapel site just in time to order one of the last 150 copies of a new Goslings double cassette release. Fans of the Goslings already know what they're getting into, namely, an overdriven-sludge pummeling that's recorded well beyond the red. There really isn't anyone out there making this much of a unique and, yet, highly listenable racket on the planet right now. Archive just re-issued the classic Grandeur Of Hair CD (check that out here) and their collab with Warmth. Archive, with their handmade and silkscreened CD packages, are about the only label out there worth buying a CD from. So go do that, please.

Topping Bottoms are a new-ish band that fall in step with the long line of overblown psych bands that have emerged from Japan over the last 25 years or so. High Rise, Acid Mothers Temple, Suishou No Fune, and Mainliner (all of which owe a massive debt to the mighty Les Rallizes Denudes) are the forbearers of the sound, and Topping Bottoms are there to keep the amps smoking. Eye-popping silkscreened inserts with artwork by band member Ryo, who also did the artwork on the recent Blank Realm LP and cassette release.

DOWNLOAD EPISODE 37 here (right click link, then Save As)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pop Dr(((O)))nes: Episode 36

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
Zola Jesus "Heaven Sold You Back To Earth" V/A-My Estrogeneration LP (Not Not Fun) 2009
Tickley Feather "For Rent" V/A-My Estrogeneration LP (Not Not Fun) 2009
Tropic Of Cancer "Dull Age" Dull Age EP 10" (Downwards) 2009
Nerve City "Disaster" s/t LP (Sweet Rot) 2010
Amber Alerts "Somewhere Under A Shit Cloud" s/t 7" (Sweet Rot) 2010
Feeling Of Love "School Yeah" School Yeah 7" (Sweet Rot) 2010
Flight "Unpredicatable" s/t 10" (Kill Shaman) 2009
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)