Sunday, August 31, 2014

Scenes Of A City, Vol 3: Porto, Portugal

Another addition of the Scenes Of A City series that Amazing Larry has pioneered. It seemed like such a great idea and so much fun to do I was extremely envious that I wasn't doing that shit. So Larry being the nice guy that he is let me in on the action and I hope I his project justice with my first installment. Now, if you haven't heard of Porto before, which I am willing to wager many North Americans haven't, it is Portugal's second city after Lisbon. By that I mean Porto has the second largest population, the second most economical significant city, et cetera. The region that contains Porto is known for its wine, called Port simply enough, and perhaps you've had a wicked hangover or two from that wonderful stuff like yours truly. Moreover, from what I have read the city is known for its music, having furnished Portugal with many of its most popular acts. But we don't do popular here very often, instead you will find us digging around in the nooks and crannies. Found some real gems this time, so enjoy some of the recent releases of Porto.

To be had here:
Cervo - Cervo (2013)

Ambient drone. That really should be enough to sell this. It was for me. Cervo is spares, I am talking stark here. Yet it is some really epic shit, taking its time and slowly seeping into your mind and making you a convert to its gloomy cult. Drone and ambient play a therapeutic role in my life. It is what I prefer to listen to if I am trying to get my shit together when scattered for whatever reason; over indulging, lack of sleep, allergy fueled headaches, and whatnot. Cervo has certainly done that for me today and I'm willing to bet shall again in the future.
Homem Bigode - Homem Bigode EP (2014)

This EP made me smile. I don't know what the fuck is he saying, as it is in Portuguese, but I love how the he is saying it. The delivery reminds me of something I desperately wish I could place. On top of all that the instrumentation side is outrageous. Keys are going goddamn wild on these tracks and the guitar playing is fantastic. It really isn't easy to place this band in a genre, is simply sounds like lo-fi rock and roll, but certainly by musicians who recall then 80s and 90s fondly.

Gonçalo -  Quim EP (2014)

Dreamy psychedelic ambient/electronic music. I'm not trying to go too heavy no the ambient, but I felt there was enough difference in this album from Cervo and it had such merit that I ought to share both. Gonçalo is along the likes of the glo-fi I so often praise with its vague tropical-ness and mixture of sampling, generated sounds and guitar playing. This EP was put out by a Porto-based label, Lovers & Lollipops. They've seem to be doing a fucking excellent job and have much more music that is worth listening to, so I bet you'll see more of them in on
SRM in days to come.

Wild Apes - Wild Δpes EP (2014)

If this wasn't in a post about Portugal one could be forgiven for not releasing this is a Portuguese band, as they sound like a British indie rock outfit. Yes, sung in English, this band makes that popular version of indie rock that borrows enough from garage rock to make it "edgy." I am not trying to be harsh, as I am a supporter of this, and not everything can be the Mummies (as fucking trippy a world as that would make for) and I like popular stylings of lo-fi rock very often. These cats have the makings for radio hit makers... while the would have in 2001. Still solid listening and the last track gets unexpectedly psychedelic.

Sr Eduardo Urso - Histórias Tristes Ao Pequeno​-​Almoço (2012)

A lovely, cheerful twee-folk EP. It has been too long since I put up anything that could be called twee on this damned blog. While not only does that get fixed here, it is fixed with ukulele. Three little tracks done with that happy tiny guitar and some adorable Portuguese singing. This EP was released by Gentle Records, a label that seems to be putting out an awful lot of strange and good releases and they're all completely free to download. Could be worthwhile to poke around on their site.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Space Rock Mountain Podcast Episode 25 - Are You Afraid of the Michelin Man?

Music discussion related to the following songs:

Guess Ryan was talking about the Simpsons and not these cool tunes. We forgive him, but we can't speak for his god.

Remedies - Believers (2014)

Again I'm writing up something that has been on the blog before, but wasn't written up by me. Like Yorkshire Fields this band was covered by Elvis months ago when they had put out an EP. Since last year's Inanimate EP they've been busy making a full-length release and what we've got here is just that, Believers.

To refresh those that mightn't have heard the EP, Remedies is a electronic bedroom pop act out of Birmingham, Alabama. I had some conflicted feeling about Believers, as it is rather far outside of my usual realm of listening, but in the end I think I came away with a very positive opinion of the album. First thing I was reminded of was Spoonty, the Australian beats musician from the last Grab Bag, and how I was pleased there were vocals in the songs. While guess what, Remedies not only as vocals, they take a prominent role to a degree I almost felt myself not understanding why I didn't problem with it. Let me put it this way, for a man that doesn't fucking tune it to anything to hear the lyrics and clear vocals isn't a necessity in any way, shape or form, I did not find myself wishing away what these Alabamians were saying. Sure, the singing is affected and it seemed to me a little like what I hear if I am ever stuck having to endure whatever it is that people who go to malls or watch a lot of bad TV like. You know with the autotune and whatnot. Yet here's the thing, if that shit was half as well done as Remedies then I might not have to live in what might be one of the largest cities in America with a mall within its borders (Detroit is a weird place, guys, as you can imagine). I'm not saying the made it palatable to me, I am saying the made it downright enjoyable to experience this sort of music.

When I was a bright-eyed and cheerful teenager (in reality an angry and dumb asshole) I did hold a theory that any genre done well would be something I was into. Of course I don't believe that bullshit now, as nothing is gonna save ska from sucking major balls. Notwithstanding that, the theory does seem to be proving itself largely justifiable from my experience getting all sorts of genres on here that I would have never sought out otherwise such as sludgy metal, goth and experimental hip hop. I'd even say some genres like lo-fi electronic called chillwave or glo-fi is completely thanks to Spacerockmountain. While my favorite genres haven't shifted very far, I think it makes all the music I hear better and I appreciate the artistry all these various musicians are bringing forth and sharing for free with all of us when I get somebody like Remedies to show me the range of sounds I enjoy listening to is wider than I previously knew. Eight years of this shit and still getting schooled, thanks dudes.

To be had here:
Remedies - Believers

Friday, August 29, 2014

Srasrsra - Magia de Muerte (2014)

More Spanish rock and roll. The country has been pre-occupying my mind lately, partially because of the great submitted material coming in from there and partially because of my infatuation with Spanish literature, especially the work of Miguel de Unamuno. Yet this album isn't a book by a dead Spaniard nor a submission, just something I found when kicking around on bandcamp. Sounded real legit, so here I am sharing it with everyone.

Srasrsra are from A Coruña, Galicia. They make short, fast punk rock. That intensely sloppy and fun shit. I have to imagine they make a fucking racket when they practice or play a live gig and that energy is captured rather well on Magia de Muerte. Naturally, the songs are sung in Spanish so I haven't a clue what the fuck they're going off about, yet I have a feeling it would not be terribly easy to figure out should I have understood the language. Mind you this isn't the harsh, hardcore sort of punk rock, at least not overwhelming so. Rather there's a more overriding feeling of entertaining irreverence to the songs, which have very catchy guitar riffs and the sort of drumming you can see a bunch of young Spaniards bopping around to at a concert. Magia de Muerte was put out by the rather awesome looking label, Discos Humeantes, which I believe is based in Oviedo, the capital of Asturias in northern Spain. On there site you can find a biography of the band that once run through google translator is confusing worded but begins with "Srasrsra (Mrs. lady lord) are two turkeys Coruna moved pretty touching." I am sure whatever it actually says in Spanish it isn't as neat as that.

To be had here:
Srasrsra - Magia de Muerte

This post was corrected after someone pointed out where the band really was from, as I had made a wrong assumption. So thanks to that dude.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 71

So Detroit has been getting hit by some really wild thunderstorms lately. These have brought rains and winds to a degree I can't really recall in my lifetime in Michigan, not that I'm terribly old. But, I mean, my roommate lost his car in a flood of a Detroit suburb and the most recent storm knocked out my power for the last 36 hours or so. This is why I haven't been able to keep up my breakneck pace of music reviewing. You're gonna have to trust I'm not getting old, for real guys.

To be had here:
Local Onlys - Half Birthday EP (2014)

The second Local Onlys EP of the year, after the Mt. Wister EP that I wrote up back in vol. 65. The Philly-based guys have kept up the garage rock sound with a very distinctive vocal delivery from the singer that I'm totally behind. As far as garage rock goes, they're of the sort that has one foot in jangle pop, which is to say the songs are incredibly catchy and appealing. Basically it has all the things I loved about the prior EP and I am glad to see they've got more songs they're putting out as I'm quickly become a fanboy for Local Onlys.

 The Gateless Gate - Myrrh (2014)

Krautrock is something I wish I had more chances to write up. That's right, I am goading your musicians to send me more Krautrock, and it is all thanks to The Gateles Gate. This Toronto band has reminded me how much I love some mildly creepy, very trippy, German-inspired songs. Other than being an oxymoron, Myrrh is four tracks of psychedelic, near ambient at times, kraut-ish experimental music. That's gotta be enough musical descriptors for anyone, so I'll finish by saying the EP is fucking top notch.

Spoonty - Meditation Machine (2014)

This EP surprised me more than any other in the batch in how much I found myself really digging it. It's an electronic beats/instrumental hip-hop release, something I can't say I am always down with, yet Sydney's Spoonty has proven I do like it despite my shitty preconceived notions. Of course, not having any singing made the experience all the more palatable for me, as people know I'm usually a downer on vocals. Spoonty did it right with just some really fine compositions, and they get more elaborate as the EP goes on.

Bill Times A Billion - Bridges and Borders (2014)

Way back in vol. 29 of this feature I shared another EP by the Massachusetts two-piece Bill Times a Billion. Finally, after a delay since early last year, they're sharing a bit of new material and I mean just a bit. Two tracks, both quite short. However, these brief songs do show remarkable potential should they release something more substantial. So if you got like 2 minutes to spare maybe you can check this out.

DrAlienSmith - Under Songs (2014)

An EP out of Perth, Australia this time. Under Songs is some heavy instrumental post-rock. DrAlienSmith (nice name by the way) makes a very epic soundscape that runs from sludgy stoner rock to light, ambient-esque shoegaze stuff. These are songs that are literally designed to go underneath something, be in a video or just in the background while you putter around the house doing chores -as I took it in. Makes everything feel like the stakes have been upped considerably, and I imagine that is what the goal was.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Yorkshire Fields - I Heard You Were Looking for Me (2014)

Yorkshire Fields are back with a successor album to last year's Dummo that got it a spot on an early episode of our podcast. That album was written up by Elvis, and I avoided re-reading it until I had heard the new album so as to minimize how it may steer my opinion of the new album. The first thing I was struck with after hearing I Heard You Were Looking for Me and then looking back at what Elvis had said about Dummo was how they hardly seemed to be referencing the same band at all. 80s electro-rock seemed to factor in a good deal with how the first album sounded, something that delighted Elvis and is still a fine set of songs to listen to. However, it seems like have decide to change the style considerably with their new release.

For those of you hoping for more synth-driven 80s throwback sound, you'll have to go looking elsewhere, as the new dish Yorkshire Fields is serving up is temperamental dream pop with a light dressing of surf. Their are two singers that switch between the duties of lead vocals in the album, one male and one female. The male singer use a modulation that does preserve a bit of the synthetic quality of the prior album, but not to any overpowering degree. All the tracks have a nonuniform lo-fi sound that is vaguely grouped around a dreamy sort of feeling, but more or less guitar and percussion allow the songs to take on considerably different tones. Even parts of songs can have greatly different affectations,and the final songs get damned near actual space rock. Yet I found it's the singing on majority of tracks with the female vocalist that really stole the show for me. "Tire" and "Piltdown Hoax" had mesmerizing effects on me, requiring a good deal of re-listening. They're insanely catchy and her singing ungodly alluring to the fan of lo-fi vocals, even if they are understandable unlike much of the singing I praise. A wonderful follow-up album can be heard with I Heard You Were Looking for Me and I sure would like to see if there's more metamorphic albums to come from Ruston, Louisiana. 

To be had here:
Yorkshire Fields - I Heard You Were Looking for Me

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Stress Waves - Orphic Ruin (2014)

It is nice to see when the Australians are paying attention to the blog, as I never intended for this blog to have any degree of localized scope and I'm genuinely thrilled to get submissions from all across the world. Some of you may recall the post of the very excellent garage rock group, White Lodge, from a couple of weeks ago. That write-up seems to have piqued some interest from follow Queenlanders, Stress Waves. Unlike their geography, their music isn't terribly close stylistically, yet they are very similar inasmuch that they both make very good music.

Orphic Ruin is an excellent name for the album Stress Waves have put together. The very word Orphic summons decadent imagery, to make a literary reference. The songs are gloomy, moaning and intangible. This is done artfully as fuck though, with the snyths really taking a starring role as the sound off against the constant percussion and droning backgrounds of mechanical regularity. Basically, it isn't party music, but it is very emotionally evocative. I have already listened to the album all the way through several times, and each time I find myself picking out more from the songs, as the lyrics are increasingly decipherable and the rhythms more clearly recognizable. I'd liken the experience to spending time taking in a painting, the longer one dwells on it the more there is to like about it and experiences to take away from it. If this is what "cold wave" sounds like then I am one hundred percent on board, but I think that for most of us it'd be easiest to called it post-punk. However you label it, these Brisbane musicians know how to make a powerful sound.

To be had here:
Stress Waves - Orphic Ruin

Friday, August 22, 2014

Different Skeletons - Devils (2014)

Toronto's Different Skeletons are back with another garage rock offering, this time the short, raucous and incredibly catchy Devils. This is the third time I have written up this group. I'd again like to lavish praise on and direct towards 2011's Secret Jeers and 2012's Without Country. Secret Jeers is still among the garage rock album I have in rotation when I'm looking to get a good fix of lo-fi.

Now having explained that I've followed this band for a bit of time I'd like to say I like how they're evolving their sound. I won't be so presumptuous as to think I know what they're aiming for exactly, but it is rather obvious that instead of trying for something markedly altered stylistically they've taken a route of improving and perfecting their sound. This is what some would criticize as not trying something too different, and those are likely the same dicks that would complain if it was changed from something they liked. I'm an advocate for the subtler experimentation, dropping in stylistic variations and new influences. This gives the listener some of what they've come to like and doesn't bore them with more of them same. Although this can be a hard line to tow, when done well it is a wonderful thing. The three release I've mention seem to show Different Skeletons steering their sound from fuzzy rock anthems towards twangier, country-tinged songs. While still being very garage and beautifully lo-fi, they've gotten more soulful. This is a shift begun on Without Country, at least from what my ear can detected, and now as reached an even more brilliant version in Devils.

To be had here:
Different Skeletons - Devils

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Yuko Yuko - Cultlove (2014)

Once again, I find myself braving the rental market of Portland after 5 blissful years living within the city's large Forest Park. It's a demoralizing process, especially for an introvert, because for any one potential prospect you are met by a sea of home-hungry go-getters. Add a 65 lb chow-mix into the picture, and you'll be lucky if they even run your application.

Facing such a situation makes one long for the simpler times of childhood, when a phrase like "security deposit" was from a language more foreign than Spanish, in which you could at least count to 5 and say a couple swear words.... a time where one's biggest concerns included getting up early enough on a Saturday morning to watch Camp Candy.

Yuko Yuko's music harkens back to this age of simplicity. The solo project of a young Netherlander named Elias, who interestingly enough is signed to a Mexico-based label called Bad Pop. One of many releases, "Cultlove" has that early 1980's synthpop vibe...  when the genre was still a bit weird and not too dance-oriented. Think Soft Cell recording a demo in their bedroom, or the obscure new wave synthpop band, Trees. I'm really loving the track "Angel Jane", definitely a nice track for hot and hazy summer evenings where sleep encroaches slowly. 

8 tracks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Luna Moth - Celestial Shades (2014)

Found this in the inbox the other day, sadly overlooked for a few months. My bad on that, guys, but you'll have to trust that a little late is not a huge deal for us on the receiving end as this digital replayable songs still sound fine. I do feel bad I didn't jump right on Celestial Shades when it came out in March however as the music is deserving of some good old fashion praise from a stranger on the internet, which I'm sadly late in bringing. Nonetheless, we'll see what is salvageable for both the band and my reputation as a music blogger. Shouldn't my parents be proud?

Luna Moth is a psychedelic band from Norman, Oklahoma that brings it on heavy with the distortion, wall-of-sound and general noisiness. They've done a superb job at incorporating influences from 60s psychedelia to the shoegaze of 90s into a shimmering and ethereal sound. Then you get to hear that sonic bliss strip apart into droning noise, something that I always find to be a welcome development in a track. They put it better on the little descriptor blurb on their bandcamp page, "Entheogenic love mantras/surfing into dissonance." Not sure what the anthropological theory of ethnogensis has to do with it, and the term does bring back some haunting memories of papers I wrote in college on the subject, but a poetic and otherwise accurate way to explain what Luna Moth seems to be all about. It sounding fucking great is a shorter way to say it. With any luck they'll sit keep SRM in mind for the next release they may put out and I can truly redeem myself then.

To be had here:
Luna Moth - Celestial Shades

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Modern Folk - American Mountain (2014)

Undoubtedly some of you are familiar with the Modern Folk, as beyond being a folk project it has a blog that has a similar vision to our own Spacerockmountain. It's mission is to promote the music that's out there, particularly the new (and sometimes old), interesting and freely heard songs of this era of technological revolution. They're going for the indie beyond the indie, those without even these than major label support, over at the Modern Folk blog, which to be honest is what we get here most of the time and it is most excellent to get to hear it. So if you're down with what we've been doing, you'll sure and shit be down with that site, so check it out. You can follow 'em on twitter while you're at it.

Wait up, remember when I said there was a folk project? I did, but I'll give you time to double check... Okay, so that folk project bears the very same name as the website I was just yammering about, the Modern Folk. And unlike much of the music that you'll find on the website, it is a more traditional meaning of folk in regards to music. You know banjos, mandolins, Appalachian tunes and all that wonderful stuff. Of course it isn't strictly sticking to any formula, as there's some electric guitar noodling and some rather pop-like rhythms to be heard (see that final track, "Nightmares"). In fact three of the eight tracks are original, yet that leaves the majority of the songs as creative interpretations of traditional songs that you've surely heard if you're a listener of folksy music. What they sound like are some lo-fi, psychedelic-tinged pastiches of folk that is so agreeably executed it is easy convinced on the valid of the artistry in repurposing folk music. I cannot help be be charmed by as finely done lo-fi version of Bascom Lamar Lunsford's "I Wish I Was a Mole In the Ground."

To be had here:
The Modern Folk - American Mountain

Monday, August 18, 2014

Jackie - Joy (2014)

An awaited follow-up to the debut album of Sweden's Jackie. Two years ago they released an album called Greatest Love Songs that I wrote up and have nothing but the fondest of memories for so I was admittedly quite jazzed to see that they've got new songs out now. The new releaese, Joy is a relatively calm album of fuzzy dream pop with a psychedelic mood. It has echoy vocals that are subtle behind the looping guitar and the general light noisiness and distortion. That lovely blend of light melody and cacophonous that when balanced well allows the mind to wander around in a song like an odd daydream. To my ears Jackie seems to bear resemblance to Olivia Tremor Control or other Elephant 6 groups in the first half of the album, which I  mean very complimentarily. However, my ears burn for E6 all the time, so make your own judgment on whether I need to update my references. As it goes the uniqueness of Jackie again began to sink in, and just like Great Love Songs, giving this album multiple plays cannot to anything but enhance the experience. What I am saying is Joy is a great album to relax to and do whatever thing tickles your fancy. Hell, I'm playing it at the front counter of the bookstore right now while I pretend to have work to do on this computer. I'd go on but can't let the coworkers get wise.

To be had here:
Jackie - Joy

Sunday, August 17, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 70

Here's what's coming in through the email submissions. A diverse group of EPs that range from post-hardcore to nu disco, so I hope you're feeling as erratic as I am.

To be had here:
Sex Snobs - Ugly (2014)

Punk rock from Oklahoma City. Sex Snobs play on the more hardcore side of things, and talk a good deal about God being dead in a nihilistic fashion. The three short songs are this EP are high energy and got me off my fucking ass this morning and ready to write up this and a slew more of amazing albums. That's a good sign for punk rock, instigating action. Nothing like good, heavy punk guitar and thundering drums to get me into a mood for doing shit, good for me or not.

Phooey! - Upright Animals and Their Ridiculous Tricks (2014)

Our Ukrainian friends in Phooey! have made another EP to follow on the heels on Hello, Doubt early this year. Like that release, this one is made up of brief, strange tracks of bedroom pop, art rock and 'baroque punk' blending together. Full of falsetto and remarkably amusing guitar riffs the EP just blazes by and requires repeated listening. Seems like they're been little rest on the musical front for Phooey! as theirs a long covers album that came out in May as well to check out.

Tape Eater - Bleeders (2014)

Hope you're in the mood for something even more hardcore. Tape Eater is on the far edge of hardcore, with the hollered lyrical delivery and intense power cords in the guitar work. This New Bedford, Mass band really know now to bring it, yet they can ease up when necessary to craft a good tune and slip into trippy, math rock moments to do so. It has been sometime since I've sat down and listened to post-hardcore but these guys make me question why I haven't, also maybe sitting down isn't the best way to take it in...

Lucian - Rekla EP (2014)

Lucian is a New York musician that does many righteous electronic remixes. These are five tracks he's put together to show off what he's up to, which is makes some very exciting tunes that covers a lot of territory of electronicia. Knowledge of the ins and outs of electronic subgenres is beyond me, but he's tagging the stuff Nu Disco and Tropical House amongst other things. All seems fucking awesome to me, as I don't need to know what to call it to like it.

The Go Rounds - Purple Mountain Travesty (2014)

This group is from Kalamazoo and put out by the Double Phelix label/studio run by the guys behind Lasso. Like Lasso this is incorporation a Western sound, though more subtle in the Go Rounds. Instead the music is more vocally bend, with a clearly talented singer taking the lead on for the majority of the tracks. Not to downplay the musical prowess of this group at all, mind you, as they make some very beautiful and nearly symphonic sounding tunes.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Marimba Diriá - Viva Guanacaste Volumen I & II (1972)

I've found myself in unproductive funk today. Feeling quite sapped and I don't really wanna write up any music from some hardworking (or otherwise) musician submitted material for me to give lackluster and forced praise because I am not up to it tonight. Of course I could just shut up for a night and just get back to it tomorrow, but I am stuck at home, unable to drive anywhere and despite supposedly having numerous roommates I am here alone very often. So I get to listen to music and get to think about that music and good for me that I have somewhere to write about it otherwise I might just get even weirder and developed odder habits than I've already assumed. So tonight, my friends, we get to listen to something unlike I've ever posted on the blog.

Now from best I can piece together, as I sadly don't know a lick of Spanish, Marimba Diriá as a band that made a variety of traditional Latin American music back in the 1970s in Costa Rica. As their name suggests they played the genre of Marimba, but I believe this wasn't strictly followed, and they played some bolero and other related styles. This doesn't really mean anything to me other than explaining why the note structure and tempo vary over the course of the album like how it may sound if a band were switching between subgenres of the blues or jazz. Obvious stuff, and I could really use someone more knowledgeable on Latin American music to explain it all to me. 

The interesting part of the music is how much I switch between earnestly enjoying every note of this music and could seemingly drift off into some exclusive, pleasant sleep with dreams of wonderful places I cannot visit. Then I get a sense I am just liking the music ironically and as some oddity that I don't understand. Like the armchair tourists that Martin Denny's exotica music catered, as I can't help but imagine a fictionalized and nonexistent version of Central America when I listen to this. This isn't a universal response of mine to Latin music either, as I can assuredly state I sincerely and wholly unironically love the music of Ecuador's Julio Jaramillo. Then again, perhaps this music isn't that serious of a sort a to begin with. Like boogie-woogie or polka perhaps it is mean to be lighthearted and fanciful music meant for dancing and jovial social gatherings, and therefore I am fine having a few happy day dreams where I'm the hero in a Graham Greene novel.

The real answer is most likely that I'm going stir crazy and I've got too much time on my hands to listen to music and be self-critical. After all who else spends their Saturday nights listening to Costa Rican music from 1972 while sipping a glass of bad beer then goes and tells the world about it.

To be had here:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Joshua October and The Wool - "karaoke" (2014)

A reoccurring theme in the music I gravitate toward, at least one of them, is a fascination with the bizarre and strange lo-fi folk that seems like a weird friend of yours could have made in their bedroom. Some of these are weird and lovable friends of mine from Michigan like Forest Porridge and Twin Man (really the same dude, but there are others who're shyer) and sometimes it is submitted music like this EP. Either way I eat this shit right up as I find it incredibly charming to hear. To be far to everyone involved in this release, it's quality is pretty high and I imagine only sounds oddly lo-fi by choice. But the awkward, off-color attitude of these songs is very evident. You'll know what I mean if you hear their song "Hater's Parade."

Joshua October and The Wool is from Shreveport, Louisiana. "Is" as I'm unsure if this is one-man band despite the name or really has multiple players. This is a place I gotta imagine doesn't have all that much going for it, which I say in a heartfelt and sympathetic way as a Detroiter. However, it is in these towns that haven't got too much going on that dudes can sit around with a beer and maybe something smokable and come up with the most simplistic, unsettling and honest music you'll be able to hear. Yet the honesty is uncomfortable and not on a topic that galvanizes support so readily, hence the magic of anti-folk. Making something unpleasant and unusual into a subject of satire and musical exhibitionism. This motherfucker excel at exactly that.

However, not all of the songs are anti-folk per se, the first track is a very touching and sweet instrumental cover of "Over the Rainbow." It seriously made me very nostalgic and wistful. It all got more bizarre from there.

To be had here:
Joshua October and The Wool -  "karaoke"

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Glories - Put the Beast Out of Mind (2014)

A post-rock outfit from Birmingham, Alabama. That's a thing, don't you know? I can't say I know much about Birmingham but I can say that I know a thing or two about the listening habits of the members of this band. The wear it right on their sleeves in fact, in the form of their tags on their bandcamp page. "Mogwai" "Caspian" "This Will Destroy You" and "Explosions in the Sky" are in there with the genre tags like "post-rock" and "ambient" creating an unambiguous message of the style of music they're attempting to create. This could be a double-edged sword when listening as it does give one the right expectations but does set a very high standard to live up to. Not everyone gets to be as good as This Will Destroy You after all. The risk they took in largely mitigated as they are quite competent musicians that make some emotionally provoking sonic landscapes.

At some point I'll have to explore exactly what it is about post-rock that I like so much, as it really isn't akin to most of the other genres I commonly tout. Nonetheless I am not gonna give up on listening to it any time soon for whenever a new, epically produced album like Put the Best out of Mind shows up I find myself happily hearing it. Even getting happily bummed out at the somber parts, all without even the utterance of a word. So what I'm saying is, if you're a listener of post-rock, particularly the groups mentioned in this post already, I'd recommend this group of long-haired Southerners.

To be had here:
The Glories - Put the Beast Out of Mind

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

King Cayman - Dream (2014)

Another album from Spain,  this time a very different sort of lo-fi record from Madrid's King Cayman from what I've been writing up lately, but a style I am so very familiar with. King Cayman is a moniker for a one-man band of very trashy, bluesy garage punk and with nothing more than that description it already can summon references to Jeans Wilder, King Tuff and BBQ, which of course was name used by Mark Sultan's early name on his early albums and still does use when teamed with King Khan. Musically I find it hard to imagine that this Spaniard doesn't listen to all of these musicians and dozens more that could be dug up from the beer-soaked barrooms they tend to play in. 

The songs you'll hear on Dream are oscillate between heavier and trashier blues punk along the lines of a stripped down Jon Spencer project like Heavy Trash or Pussy Galore, yet other times he gets quirkily creative and offbeat in a way that reminds me of Jeffrey Novak's solo work. King Cayman's tunes are incredibly seeped in the DIY philosophy of punk; the album was done on a low budget as you can imagine, so low that real drums were out of the picture so a drum machine is substituted. Nevertheless, this guy clearly isn't any old fool playing rock music as he has an remarkable prowess for forging some energetic bursts of garage rock majesty. The songs became immediately stuck in my head and required a re-listening, all the while digging for whatever it was that compelled to me heard it again and again.

Not every album I hear and like causes me to want to hear the music, not even some albums I that've become favorites of mine and others I want to hear repeatedly sometimes burn me out and I don't wanna return for prolonged times. There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to which albums take hold of me in these ways, but I'm fairly confident this could become a garage classic for me. King Cayman has captured a feeling of irreverence and bravado that I have a supreme longing and might only exist in works of art, in which case I might have to settle for imagining it to songs like these.

Should you desire to hear more of this fella's music he had a demo album released on the UK label Foxbourne Tapes.

To be had here:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Brother Earth - Positive Haywires (2014)

Misty mornings are all the rage here in the Bay Area, as California's sunny visage is draped in cloud cover until just about noon. Seeing that I have extensive traffic to drive through on my way to work, playing tunes that match up with this reality is a necessity. Moody jazz and minimal classical are often employed, but the mystic psych-folk of Brother Earth is a fine addition to my AM collection. Released by Hidden Shoal Records, this American duo is made up of two gentleman who have quite the indie pedigree (one of them was the Guided by Voices producer). The lush, highly refined sound they capture on this single demonstrates that these guys are not playing around; these songs are for the ages.

It's a free download so get it now.

Grab it here:
Brother Earth - Positive Haywires (2014)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Space Rock Mountain Podcast 24 - Landlady Electronic Glitch

With music discussion related to the following music:

Druggy Pizza - I'm Cramped
Magnus Dewi - Green Tea Bags
Juventud Juche - Defensa
The Gumbo Ya-Yas - On My Mind
Schlammpeitziger - Space Rock Mountain Rutsch
The Tuss - Rushup I Bank 12

White Lodge - Technicolour Visions EP (2014)

I almost threw this in with the Grab Bag but I had enough EPs and this release was lengthy enough that I thought I'd cover it on its own. White Lodge is an Australian four-piece, specifically from the state of Queensland. The music has a retro-psychedelic feeling to it, with the singer reminding me of the Monks and other likewise 60s garage rock outfits where melodic tones were far secondary to rocking instruments. What I mean is it isn't pop music, as it isn't very bubblegum or cute like Davy Jones, but rather gets a bit strange and gloomy in a way I very much respect. To be honest I like both sorts of rock music, but I feel being able to choose between that makes for a richer experience of music fandom and that White Lodge is hitting a very good niche for me like a Brain Jonestown Massacre or even Thee Oh Sees. Strange, lo-fi and full of guitar is a combination that can be done with a million different variations and not have too terribly much overlap if the more finite differences are pleasurable for you to find. What I mean is that on a grand scale White Lodge is like many things you've heard before, but that can be said for every band you like. The devil is in the details; the small changes that express the individuality of a group or songwriter that makes listening to a new band a unique undertaking.

Perhaps this whole post is merely a poorly constructed justification for why I listen to so much garage rock. If so, I hope it passed muster and convinced you that it's worthwhile to hear this group and the many that are sure to follow, but I am not beyond reproach. Not yet at least. So I welcome a challenge to my logic should any reader desire to present one. However, I bet to you to recall that these are some kids in Australia that are making free tunes and they didn't get to live through the original version of this music, so we remake it and re-interpret it for the better or worse. Technicolour Visions is a swell enough effort in the endless chain.

Oh, and fine print: album is pay what you will for a digital version and the cassette is coming via Wiener Records soon.

To be had here:
White Lodge - Technicolour Visions EP

Sunday, August 10, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 69

Ahhh, sixty-ninth Grab Bag, very nice...

To be had here:
Club de Surf - Sonic Death EP (2014)

A very fast, very loud and very punk EP to begin the Grab Bag with this week. Club de Surf is a garage punk outfit from Santiago, Chile. It is beautifully noisy and intense, with lyrics that are beyond even guessing at. I mean, just look at these cats in their shades, you know it's fucking rock and roll and you know you're down. The sort of thunderous percussion and fuzzed out guitar that makes me feel like I'm not doomed to wandering around confused at khakis shorts and graphic tees with Disney shit on it.

The Lost Day - The Lost Day EP (2014)

Now to Greece for more high volume guitar playing, this time instrumental psychedelic rock from two other fellas. Has a ever so tiny touch of pop sentimentality in between the heavy freak out sections to make an invigorating blend of fast and loose fucking around with thought out composition. Even gets a bit droney at times, which is always a welcome development. The final track is something to look forward to too with the Dick Dale style reverb layered on early then some crazy Asian spoken word on it.

Saint Julien -  Space​-​Age Politics Single (2014)

Three tracks from Nashville act Saint Julien of a bizarre variety. Hard to place, certainly experimental but that term doesn't mean much, I'd call it lo-fi electro-whatnot. It is very brief, feels like it is over just as it begins and leaves you stranded in a strange feeling, yet one that makes you want to click the button to replay it over and over. A full-length of this would be pretty fucking epic, I'd bet. We can only hope that is something the future has in store for us all.

Prude Boys - Demos from Lost Boys Days (2013)

There are four tracks from a Hamtramck band, and for those you not of the Detroit area Hamtramck is a city fully enclosed within Detroit know for its low rent, Polish food, small bars and rock shows. Anyhow, these are some cool garage rock songs that have nice fuzzy guitars and fine singing, though I would scale the vocals back but I always say that it seems. Exceptional fine for demos and very promising for the new material they're putting out. Seems they've got a six-part project of two track demo releases coming out, so keep an eye on these guys.

Grushemka - Enredo interesante (2014)

Back overseas with the Spanish band, Grushemka of Barcelona. The lyrics are in Spanish (or maybe Catalan, but I can't understand it regardless) but the music is some very tight dream pop. The first track is a very dancey sort of beat-driven pop song and the second is a lo-fi acoustic guitar number that is very sweetly done. Hope they're singing something sweet and not something gross to trick me, but if they did do that: good fucking work. Anyhow, just found them at random and thought it was worth sharing.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Barometric - Patterns in Static (2014)

I learnt of this album from the guys in Locals Only, as he helped put that album together under what I believe is his real name, Justin Ford. Hope I recalled that correctly, my brain has been remembering things about as well as a damp sponge can put out a house fire. However, using the moniker of Barometric he's an electronic musician that's making some rather far out tunes. Like a good deal of electronic musicians that aren't targeting the club scene, sub-genres are not anything to worry about very much and the albums kinda shifts through various styles with features of IDM, glitch and plunderphonics but does have a core tone of psychedelic exploration and transcendent release.

As with any good new song created from reclaimed sound it has a degree of whimsical remembrance in it even if you've never heard any of it before, like a memory is bubbling to the surface for the first time in years. Its all about the framing I suppose, and Barometric is a masterful craftsman with these sounds. A wonderful way to have broken what has been too long of a drought of delightfully done electronic music in my listening routine and I highly recommend it to you all.

To be had here:
Barometric - Patterns in Static

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Drone Accelerator - The Drone Accelerator (2014)

As a preface to where I am as I listened to this album I'm gonna say I've been having less than ideal conditions concerning my health this week, as I seemingly reacted to something in the water that runs through the rusty old pipes of the bookstore and have had a fucked up tongue days. This means meals are hard to eat and slowly the pain is working its way to my left ear and it is making me have even more socialistic-tinged rants at my boss than I usually do. This has certainly made everyone involved grumpy, possibly me less so than the others around me if I'm honest. Yet the slow crawl toward full convalesce has made me something of a homebody as I eat soft things and take ineffective pills. So to make the best of it as I'm a bit too drowsy to read but too restless to sleep I've been playing video games, or really a video game as I only have a little laptop with enough space for one game. But fuck the music they come up with those, I'm lousy with submitted soundtracks for living out a digital fantasy to.

The Drone Accelerator was by far the very best of these makeshift soundtracks, so much so that I would forget that the video game didn't have improvisational psychedelic free jazz as background music, although the experience has made me question the wisdom of not having this be the case more often. This is seriously some very cool music, and I know this is hard to not make sound pretentious as it is has already involved the term 'free jazz' yet this might lead one to believe there isn't fucking awesome, meandering guitar for prolonged periods. Rest assured it has that shit in spades and it is beautiful thing. It so very much blends that ideas of Pink Floyd space rock with free form experimentation and unhinged jazz ethos that transitions along a spectrum like a crazy asshole on a slide whistle. All right, it is a bit pretentious, but in the most adorable and enjoyable way. I sincerely found this album to be really good, especially the guitar playing that reminded me of a slowed down version of the amazing sounds of Kanoi. Moreover, the whole album does what a good drone, noise or improv album is supposed to achieve, which to stop worrying so much about where all the time is going and sink into the sounds. By the time this album was over I wasn't so bitter about the fact that drinking water was a painful event (a little bitter, I am whining still) and was happy my aching ear could still hear.

This is the debut album by the band as I guess it was recorded in Peru, which is kinda cool and makes me very jealous if they went there to record and aren't there for another reason. It's released by the very solid Tucson, AZ label Sky Lantern Records, but be warned this label has an M.O. that's to sell the cassettes for a reasonable price ($6 in this case) with the digital download accompanying it, but if you want just the digital version it is marked up to the absurd price of $1000. So if you wanna own it I suggest you buy one while they got them, otherwise you'll need to visit the bandcamp page to get your fix.

To be had here:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Alex Calder - Strange Dreams (2014)

Sometimes I enjoy a record so much that I forget that I was going to write about it. Or sometimes it's not that I forget, but that I delay writing anything because no words seem to do the music justice.

A combination of the two has kept me from sharing Alex Calder's "Strange Dreams" for nearly a month now.

Alex Calder is a Canadian songwriter out of Montreal that makes curious and bewitching indie-psych songs. It's pop without sugar. It follow conventional formulas but the production and melodies are creative without being too colorful. A few years back he was the drummer of a great Canadian band out of Vancouver called Makeout Videotape, which also featured current Pitchfork indie darling, Mac Demarco. There are stylistic similarities in the production of "Strange Dreams" and Demarco's output, and both songwriters have releases on Brooklyn's excellent Captured Tracks. This makes me think think one or the other is involved with one or the others solo stuff... or maybe, JUST MAYBE, they're the same fucking person.

If only we had indie rock conspiracies.

Anyone familiar with Demarco's records will hear what I mean. There's a pervading warble... a bending in and out of tune.. the kind of warping that happens to cassette tapes that have been in a moist basement for 15 years. This slightly detuned effect gives the music a strange and dreamlike quality. So... great name for this release.

Psychedelic bedroom pop with an unsettling quality. "Strange Dreams" is a perfect records for days so hot and humid that your brain begins to denature and you become one with your clothing.

10,000 stars.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

FoneZ - Adhesivo De Contacto Espacial (2014)

Musical globetrotting afoot, yesterday a band from Spain and today one from Argentina. FoneZ are from the city of Córdoba in the center of the Argentine Republic, a country already on my mind as I just enjoyed reading the Invention of Morel by Argentine writer, Adolfo Bioy Casares. Now what I didn't know going into that novella was how much the plot elements would incorporate science fiction, and I had no clue as to how this spacey and pop-like this album would be. A musical parallel to the pleasant literary surprise I'd gotten.

Adhesivo De Contacto Espacial is hard to label with a genre because of how well the songs seem to hang between more recognizable styles like Krautrock, indie pop, noise pop and shoegaze. The mood of the music seems happier and upbeat and all the keyboarding makes me think of cheerful indie pop like Bishop Allen or, if this doesn't lose everyone, Hemstad. The Swedish band that seemingly disappeared but I liked in 2006, you guys recall that, right? I fear you'll have to take my word for it. Anyhow, this is a good release despite my inability to describe it very well, but I think they were going for something outside the box yet catchy and they certainly achieved that goal. It is mostly an instrumental album so I do encourage you to throw some headphones on and listen to this next time you wanna read a story of the fantastique. Free download via bandcamp, released by Lo-Fi Records.

To be had here:
FoneZ - Adhesivo De Contacto Espacial

Monday, August 4, 2014

Juventud Juché - Quemadero (2013)

A little while back I was contacted by someone from Sonido Muchacho Records in Spain with this album. Because I am disorganized fool I thought, "I'll remember this, seems pretty legit" and then forgot it for weeks. After have an inkling that I was forgetting something for a few days I recalled I probably lost track of a slew of albums that were submitted. I should just work on the assumption I always forgot something I meant to do, but I guess that is a good way to work oneself into an early grave. Anyhow, here is a slightly belated review of Juventud Juché.

As Quemadero is sung entirely in Spanish I haven't a clue what they're saying, not completely sure I would know even if I was fluent as they're shouting lyrics on a lo-fi recording. As you might suspect, I don't mind not knowing the words to the songs, it isn't what I listen for in nearly anything. What is the most obviously great part of this album is the post-punk thumping bass line and angular guitar like good Gang of Four tune. In fact many features of this album remind me of the Gang of Four, which I find to be a rather tremendous thing. Not as harmonic of singing, more of a punk rock exasperated vibe going on, but the instrumentation is pretty damn dead on with the guitars shimmering into a wall of sound and the drums pounding rapidly in a faux-military march like many good songs from Entertainment!

To channel the little Craig that sit on my shoulder like a devil that has bad taste in beer (gotta listen to the podcast to get this), it does sound an awful lot like something most of already know. However, what we know isn't in Spanish doesn't feel quite this fast and loose about it. Lately I've been putting much thought towards the role of bravado in garage rock, and I think the same principle can hold true for other lo-fi rock styles like post-punk. There's a balance that can be struck between uniqueness and reworking of older themes if enough bravado in present. To use beer as a metaphor, it is like drinking an IPA, because they're bold and bitter and rather hard to fuck up. Sure a brewer can make something wild and unique, but it could suck hard. Even the IPAs aren't all the same, and those with the better hops and balance are sought out, sort of like a good post-punk revival act should be. Juventud Juché is one nice IPA.

To be had here:
Juventud Juché - Quemadero

Saturday, August 2, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 68

I always feel very productive after I finish an EP Grab Bag, but I guess that is just imaginary it really just means I sat around and listened to a bunch of music. Does make me feel more worldly when I can get a large geographic span covered in the EPs, so that's something. Oh, and the music, the music is fucking good, that's why I do it, right?

To be had here:
Druggy Pizza - Chili Cheese Crust (2014)

This is the solo moniker of Cédric of most righteous French garage rock band Dusty Mush. I must imagine any diligent follower of SRM would be sold just by that, but in case you're head is in the sand I'll tell you more. Chili Cheese Crust are six short and loud tracks of very fuzzed out garage rock with lyrics that cannot be understood and moaning keyboard playing. Basically, the exact kind of squalid rock and roll that I thrive on. In particular give a listen to the amazing song, "I'm Cramped" for its simple effectiveness. Mind you this is his third EP as Druggy Pizza, so there's more to eat up.

Nick Oleksiak - Carrie (2014)

This is an EP I found when looking around on bandcamp. Carrie is five songs by a young man from Detroit that is studying music in Cincinnati (I guess they know shit down there). It is rather hard to describe the music generically, he even goes to the length to tag it "whatever i feel like" but it is certainly electronic pop music of some sort. Has a new wave-ish feeling. Perhaps one could call it  an updated 80s/post-disco thing. Whatever the fuck it is I caught my attention, the first and final songs of the EP in particular.

Boards - Care & Handling (2014)

A Norwich-based musical project with very stripped down instrumentation. Blends acoustic guitar and a few accompanying instruments with light electronic tones and beats. So in a reversal of my usual stance on vocals, it is really the singing that carries this EP from being a competent yet humble ambient release into something more beautiful. The overall effect of the songs is a mesmerizing calm, like a mediative piece, so when a spoken word story appears in the midst of the eponymous track I was very willing to hear it. Excellently done.

Garrett Linck and JESSIE'S BREATH - /Split/ (2014)

Garrett Linck, who you might recall from his solo work and in babydog, is back with a track on the two song split with another musician that goes by Jessie's Breath. Linck's track is a folksy indie rock tune that is very catchy as has become expected from that dude. Jessie's Breath matches it with his own lo-fi folk tune that's every inch as charming. Good combination for a split and looking forward to hearing more from each of these songwriters.
El General Villamil - Archipiélago 32' (2014)

This is basically an addendum to Amazing Larry's post of the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. He found four really great acts from that city, and I was downloading them the other day and trying to see if I wanted to make an episode of the podcast out of the bands and I saw these guys pop up. More fucking garage rock that was so good I could not help myself but add it here. Old of my favorite parts is how on the bandcamp page they have an explaination of their name in Spanish even I can decipher: "El General Villamil fue el conquistador y primer gobernador del Archipiélago Galápagos en 1832"

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Go - FIESTA (2013)

The Go are a Detroit band, and I could have saved my odd combination of ranting and praising of the Motor City for this post just as easily as throwing it in with the write-up for Blaire Alise & The Bombshells. However, I am not a terrible patient man and I had it written then so I posted it then. Moreover, there is some history to cover with the Go, both for them as a band and me as a listener. I've been listening to the Go since I was a high schooler, as I recall searching for their self-titled album in 2003 when I was a mere sophomore and just getting introduced many of the garage rock bands I still love via the Port Huron public library. So well, my memory is anything but a steel trap, I believe I was listening to their debut album Whatcha Doin' that came out in 1999. This is back when I still found the musical doings of Jack White to be worthwhile to hunt down, and there was a period that he served as the drummer for the Go. I've since grown out of any infatuation with Jack White, but I have still got a great endearment toward the Go.

Now, I haven't listed my chronology with the early albums of the Go to brag, but to say that I know the early stuff much better than their later albums and to point out that these guys have been at it for a pretty good stretch of time. The two core members of the group are John Krautner and Bobby Harlow, who have each been in the band for the entirety of its existence and share song-writing duties. There's been a huge evolution in the sound of the Go over these years since a dimwitted young man from the Thumb of Michigan found out about them, this is to say from very roughly recorded garage rock to a finely tuned psychedelic pop band. With this most recent batch of songs the Go are sounding ever more like the Kinks and the Zombies. This is a very welcome happening, as who in their right mind doesn't enjoy that 60s style psychedelic pop music? And to have seasoned songwriters, who've gotten over their youthful necessity to be super loud and settled into a more delicate genre is a fine trajectory. Moreover, they're not just trying it on for a few songs, the whole twenty track album are songs of this sort. FIESTA has reaffirmed by fandom of the Go and given me new reasons to hear what they might put out in the future.

To be had here: