Monday, February 24, 2014

GENIUS - Beaches (2014)

Odds are, when you read about Korea images of a pudgy dictator in the north come to mind, and not the music scene. South Korea has an influential pop industry that is big throughout Asia (for better or for worse), but sounds from the underground are hard to come by, even among those of us who have lived in the country for an extended period of time. You'd imagine that with the stress involved in their education system and the intense societal expectations placed on young people, you would have a greater degree of angst and frustration in the nation's rock acts. Who is speaking for the reality young Koreans face?

Well, GENIUS is.

This three piece punk act plays competent rock ditties, but where they stand out is the snarling vocals exposing the cynical modern world many young Koreans find themselves. In Shit City, they sing:

"We see you. We hear you. 
The click of heels and the smack of spit. 
We clean you. We have to. 
Until the day that you take our place."

The pressure to get the right job is intense in Korea. Being left out of the professional career path surely makes many feel left out of the social compact. On Catch a Job, the band writes:

"Mother, do we have some sweet potatoes? 
I’m so hungry. 
I cannot be patient about it anymore. 
My lovely boy, listen. 
We don’t have any food. 
If you wanna eat, catch a job. 
If you wanna drink, catch a job. 
If you wanna meet girls, catch a job. 

No job, no truth in this fucking world."

True words that can apply to the youth across the globe. I only wish the band had more songs in their native Korean, but overall, this is a strong release for anyone interested in te pissed-off side of Korean music.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Gorlons - The Gorlons (2014)

I haven't forgotten my love for garage rock in my latest renewed fervor for post-rock. Doubt most anything could diminish it, and just to reinforce that sentiment I'm sharing one of the best garage rock albums we've been sent in months. The Gorlons hail from Springfield, MO and they've got a brings me straight back to the days before I even wrote this blog and was a dumb kid looking through the CDs at the public library trying to find anything and everything lo-fi. It shares many of my favorite qualities of the Hentchmen or the long-ago-posted Different Skeletons, as in from the simplicity of the music that can make something incredibly full and dynamic through fuzzy guitar, organs and singing that I find just inside the realm of intelligible without going overboard like modern radio hits. The band, as garage goes, has a heavy retro streak in it as it does remind me of earlier revival bands a remarkable catchiness like The Flamin' Groovies, but of course louder and speedier. I'd say this is produced with a skill that exceeds either of those groups, as least as for a debut when it comes to the Hentchmen. A most excellent driving around album, and in particular I find makes a band much more enjoyable to re-listen to, even more so if heard while you slide your old Caprice around on black ice driving to work at 3:30am like I did. I really must recommend "Rollercoaster" and "Dirty" as two of the neatest songs I have had the pleasure to review on here for a bit, yet the whole album is solid. They've posted the album for free listening on youtube, but should you like to support them and own a copy they're selling it on bandcamp.

To be had here:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 52

"These are not EPs!" you say? "Some of these are full records, don't you even know what an EP is?" says internet assholes? I sure do, but you can still go fuck yourself.
This group describes themselves as a mix of Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath. Initially, I found that preposterous. Yet, having reached the end of the record, those British acts absolutely come to mind as the construct forged around the acoustic guitar helps make the dreamscape they envisioned come to mind. No Ozzy connection however, and more Syd Barret than Roger Waters by the way, seeing that Waters is a dumb asshole.

I will start by telling you that this is long as all hell. It also happens to be rather good. This German group has 2 discs full of beautiful ambient songs that are well constructed and purpose driven. This is not noise without a mission. Upon hitting the 13 minute mark on the first track, I knew I was in for a ride. Movie soundtrack, here this comes.

Having Tubular Bells in your collection used to make you an un-cool square in the punk community. “Studio produced music without soul!” they would say. Punks eventually grow up and discover that making pimp ass sounds isn't just for old men in a studio. Thankfully the kids these days don’t have an aversion to creating music that could serve as the background to a PBS NOVA special. This is great, and better yet, it is on cassette.

Cottons – Terrible Roars (2013)
Let’s end on a little guitar rock, shall we? This Connecticut native has found a home in Southern Cali as of late, but his twinkly guitar work and intricate guitar work could be placed in any local that values a nice pop-rock song. I loved this kind of thing as a kid, and they do it well. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ummagma - Live and Let Die (2013)

This sat in the submission box for awhile, and having just now listened to it, I am sad to say I didn't spin this little EP earlier. Heavy shoegaze sounds permeate from this Canadian-Ukrainian duo as they turn their reverb pedals to 7 and blow out the small fender stacks they have likely assembled. The music isn't walking far from the well worn path pioneered by the likes of My Bloody Valentine, but I have nothing against borrowing from the best. Based on their press release, the group has garnered some significant acclaim in Australia, and when are those kangaroo-riders ever wrong?

Keep it coming kids. Just hook the people up with a download next time.

Stream it here:
Ummagma - Live and Let Die (2013)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valerinne - Arborescent (2013)

I'm still on that post-rock jam, though I do feel a shift coming soon. Nevertheless for today I've got a good old dark and heavy sort of post-rock/post-metal album for you to give a whirl. Hailing for Romania, also know as one of the 'vampire countries' according to Jesse Thorn, Valerinne has got a sound that touches up on ambient at times only to vacillate all the way to guitar-filled metal soundscapes. It is rather hypnotic should one devote enough attention toward the music, especially when they utilize a healthy amount of reverb on the droning guitar. I've always been a fan of the longer tracks when it comes to instrumental post-rock and on that measure Valerinne delivers as well, with this album having only five songs with four exceeding eleven minutes. Really allows one to become immersed and enjoy the subtlety of the transitions. While it can be heard on bandcamp for free, to get the mp3s it's €5, or whatever the shit that is in dollars these days. If you're looking for fresh post-rock then this is a good option.

To be had here:
Valerinne - Arborescent

Friday, February 14, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 51

Fuck all that romantic love shit, how about love for some of the submissions sent to SpaceRockMountain that got lost in the shuffle? You see folks, we get a lot of submissions around these parts, and just giving 10 minutes per release can be a time consuming task. Sometimes great music goes unposted, and these are just a few I pulled from the depths of the email box.

Eddie Brnabic and the Cosmic Fellowship - Subtle Realms (2013)

These stoned out psychedelic jams should have gotten the proper spin they deserved when they were submitted. This stuff is like smoking a blunt and then riding a water slide into hell with Tony Lommi. I love me some sloppy lo-fi guitar work, but this is as far from that description as one can be. Highly competent and polished, in all good ways.

Chris Naish - Reasons to Run (2013)

Any song with the lyric "you make a rainbow of my grave" is worthy of a Valentine's Day post. Straightforward, fuzzy singer songwriter stuff with just enough piss and vinegar to add to your lonely french fries dinner.

Leaves Aflame - ST (2014)

I know people still say they hate it, but Prog rock still has a lot of room in my hallow heart. Building worlds is not an easy thing, whether it be literature, film, or music. When done right, a cast of characters interacts with a setting I am willing to travel to, and this Illinois group does that well.

Slenko and Hyde - Back Roads (2013)

I think we have written something about these chaps in the past; they sound awfully familiar. Creative anti-folk from Connecticut. What is with all the good music out of Connecticut these days?

Palermo - Still Life (2013)

What would be a EP Grab bag without a little experimental post-rock? These kids from Prague made one of the better vinyl releases I should have been enjoying for some time prior to this. "Monochrom" is my favorite track off this release.

Temples - Temples (2013)

By this point, you sad single bastards in the crowd are starting to well up thinking of some unrequited love. Well, grab another beer because Temples wont make you feel any better. Plodding post-rock from Middle America. Just be thankful you are not from Utah like these kids are, and then you will feel a bit better.

Harry Cloud - Our Love is Bad (2013)

There is no more fitting release to end our depressing Love Day special. This band mentioned in their submission that this was recorded under extreme duress. Stylistically, I would put these in the "folk music made alone in a dark room category" so maybe this kid really was at the end of the line. Although, he made a record after this one, so I guess everything worked out.

Juleah - Entangled and Entwined (2013)

Happy Love Day everyone! I have had my share of romances through the ages. The greatest being a young prostitute a decade or so after the French Revolution. People smelled better in those days. More musky. If I recall, I think Napoleon snapped her away from me, but it was a riot while it lasted.

If you are without someone to buy cheap Chinese products for on this oh-so-corporate of holidays, there are more than a few records to spin that will better describe your mood than you could yourself. This Austrian act plays clean, blues-rock that happens to sail on a cloud over a unicorn castle in the sun. Yep, that is all I can come up with in regards to these tunes at the moment, and if I am to be remembered for anything, hopefully it is not that god-awful line. Pretty tunes however.

Get it here:
Juleah - Entangled and Entwined (2013)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

An Emerald City - The Fourth (2011)

I don't quite know how it has come to this, but my ever-vacillating tastes have swung all the way back to the point that I am really enjoying post-rock again. While attempting to get through a variety of Japanese and European novels lately with my massive free time due to under-employment I have really been making use of the hundreds of post-rock albums stored up on my hard drives. This is a band that really stood out for me among them and I was surprised to find that it is still available for steaming and download ($10) on bandcamp. Germany's An Emerald City makes some delightful post-rock that isn't the sort that puts a depressive damper on one's day if heard with breakfast. In fact, I have found the album to have an adventurous mood with some of the same elements of exotica that I so happy about with Monster Rally, though notably of an Arabian influence. It can even make chores seem like your in a surreal movie that ends with some sort of positive affirmation about yourself. You know, crazy stuff. Anyhow, despite its release not being all that recent and the likelihood that the band members have gone on to other projects I still recommend digging into their catalog.

To be had here:
An Emerald City - The Fourth

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Monster Rally - Return to Paradise (2013)

Attempting to get more energy for writing the blog I was kicking around in some of the old posts, and I do apologize that nearly all the links are dead but to keep that shit up would be a full-time job. You should be savvy enough to hunt things down if necessary. The easy and reckless file sharing that was the scene before megaupload's shutdown just isn't coming back I fear... man that shit was cool though. However, I have for today's post something I was praising up and listening to before the even wiped my file sharing accounts off various servers, Monster Rally. Sadly I was neglectful of the new releases that this mesmerizing artist has been putting out in the last year, not unlike my previous post on Nate Hendricks. Return to Paradise maintains the core features of Monster Rally's prior work, lo-fi electronic music with a remarkably talented use of sampling to create a simultaneously nostalgic and exotic mood. It is like a soothing dream version of snippets from 1950s films set in Hawaii, a Bollywood soundtrack and a drum machine. Every bit as brilliant as I remember.

To be had here:
Monster Rally - Return to Paradise

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Nate Hendricks - SLEETMUTE (C​-​Sides from Neon for No One) (2014)

A brand new release by Nate Hendricks who has been really pumping out releases all the fucking time but my dim-witted ass can't keep up. I think it was sadly enough 2 years ago that I posted this dude, like last was NTH MERIDIAN, and that's a travesty as his music is really the bee's knees. This doesn't mean I haven't given him a listen in the intervening time, in fact I have found he is evolving as a songwriter and when I sat down this morning to really give him a solid listen I was blow away at just how much he has progressed. This album is all over the place in tone and style and I can't resist it, although I am all too aware I do it too often, comparing it to an Elephant 6 album. There is a most elegant mixture of genres and absurdity that left me most utterly charmed upon hearing this album. Perhaps my favorite addition I noticed straight away was the use of strings, it makes several of the tracks such as "Charmed Life" and "Black Lodge Waltz" assume a most delightful folky theme. Moreover, he incorporates a gospel elements in songs like "Stranger Things" if you can excuse the belch at the beginning. Finally, that album even has comedic parts with the track "10 Missing Dogs" being basically an audio sketch not unlike something from Superego. In a nutshell, I liked to a great deal and bet y'all might too.

To be had here:
Nate Hendricks - SLEETMUTE (C​-​Sides from Neon for No One) (2014)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 50

I've returned to swoop the glory of the fiftieth Grab Bag out from under my most esteemed colleague, Elvis, mostly to maintain my internet persona of a roguish dick with good tastes that covers for a offline personality of dick with old pants and unkempt hair. Anyhow, sorry about not being on top of the blog and I know there is always a million musicians looking for whatever exposure they can get but I have spent the last months deep in a rabbit hole of John Fahey, cheap beer and used books to really be in the space for listening to all the material sent. To be honest I am most likely still burnt out but I have been giving it the old college try tonight and here is what I found in a very brief looking over of the submissions.

To be had here:
Snake Chime Zen - 702 & Bad Trip Tape (2013)

702 is a demo tape really done in one continue track, running for 23 minutes. However, this guy got to me at the right level of alertness/drunkness and I was inclined to hear all of it and was pleased. Both the releases on his bandcamp are worth hearing for the lo-fi fan. He explains it better than I would in his submission email: "Hi, ummm this stuff is really lo-fi and some of the first music I've ever made. The following is a few minutes of a tape I made tripping on acid in my bedroom while I was supposed to be baby sitting my dying grandmother. Recorded in one take on a handheld battery operated tape recorder.  It's cool if you don't like it, I don't think it's that great either, it was a spontaneous thing that couldn't be stopped."

This is a dude whose work I have been a fan for years already. I had a good idea going in that I would be pleased by this latest effort and I can happily claim I am not disappointed. It is the strange electronically-enhanced psychedelia I have become familiar with from guy's music. It is done just as well as anything else I have heard from him and I recommend to to all of you that have downloaded him in the past and those that have not to go back into his older releases.

Nostalgique - Awake the Light in the Night of All Creatures (2013)

This is off the track from what I have been listening to lately but it's always good to force oneself out a rut. This is some rather low-tempo, atmospheric music with a gloomy mood. I enjoy how echoey the piano playing is. Makes the tracks seem hazy and more ethereal like the album art invokes so well. Recommended for those seeking something mildly depressing but emotionally evocative.

I have no idea what those words are or mean as I don't know Russian at all, but according to the submission email is a one-man garage rock act from St. Petersburg. It is loud, fast and pretty heavy which as you can most likely guess leads me to greatly enjoy it. However, I've a bone to pick in that even for a lo-fi release this recording is sloppily done, with bumping and scratching sounds that sounds like a microphone is getting hit are audible throughout. I am earnestly interested in hearing more and better recordings by this fella, therefore I have posted it so someone can sent him a message in Russian to clean up his act and get this ship shape next go around.