Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Alpha Hopper - Let Heaven and Nature Sing (2014)

Alpha Hopper is the latest in a string of great submissions from Buffalo, NY that includes Brimstone Blondes, Space Wolves, Bill Times A Billion and their own labelmates Fleshy Mounds. The city seems to be producing excellent lo-fi rock like it is their jobs.

I find that a good punk album is one that gets me worked up. Not in a fit or seizures, but excited and causes time to pass swiftly as I enjoy the songs. Alpha Hopper is capable of achieving this, and in large part to the most righteous guitar playing. I cannot get enough of the fast and loud guitar, not that this should shock anyone, I feel like I am always praising guitar playing. However, a song isn't just the one instrument, at least not these songs. There's the whole picture that really makes the whole listening experience pleasurable. Alpha Hopper created an awesome punk sound by infusing enough hardcore, especially in the fast, incomprehensible female-delivered singing and with the loud and rumbling playing of guitar and drums that descends from the punk rock greats of the past like the MC5. Done well enough to feel artful and not any more sloppy than was intended.

Let Heaven and Nature Sing is being issued by More Power Tapes, who has already put out several punk releases. Check out what they've got if you're into the noisy loud sound of Buffalo's punk rock musicians.

To be had here:
Alpha Hopper - Let Heaven and Nature Sing

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sarah Mikovski - Sarah Mikovski (2014)

This is admitted outside the the usual fare on this blog, but not something I think many of the readership will dislike. At least that's my hope in posting it up. I came across this album while putting together the Scenes of a City post of Lyon, France yet it didn't seem to gel with the other music on that post, in fact as I suggested, with most of the lo-fi rock and adjacent genres I normally cover. Nevertheless, it is an album I could not ignore and found myself desiring to hear it has it popped back into my mind even days after writing the Lyon post.

I've got a soft spot of French singing. Partly because my French is so awful I can't understand more than a few words in any given song, and partly for the same reason French is held as a romantic and poetic language in general, at least by those not raised speaking and reading it. It isn't the only language for which I harbor mawkish feelings, but it is the only I have the longest relationship with and the only one I half-assedly tried to learn. There are many adolescent memories listening to Serge Gainsbourg and Françoise Hardy, loving the chason pop and the sweetness of yé-yé girls. My wish isn't to conflate Sarah Mikovski with those musicians, but like most truly popular the sounds of have permeated our minds and becomes a point of departure for new music, even if we only impose it there as a listener. Of course, her songs are pop music meant to be sung in French and therefore shares that very board lineage of chason and she does it fabulously.

This self-titled release is only an EP if judged by length, only being about 20 minutes. However, that is if you only hear it once through, which I can't imagine how one would manage that. I didn't even make it past the first song "Au bord de la Seine" without having to put down my book and restart the track. And it isn't the only song get me to do that, I was already repeating reactions with the second tune. Her soulful and swift singing, the eletro-pop beats that recall Stereo Total,  is fascinating to hear, and while it has many trapping of popular music and little of it will be surprising as elements, yet it never that way with pop. The whole song, the meshing of the various influences and borrowed affectations into a fresh auditory experience is all that matters. Sarah Mikovski has masterfully produced this effect and it is addictively good.

To be had here:
Sarah Mikovski - Sarah Mikovski 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bo White - Millennial Tombs (2014)

Bo White is a hell of a songwriter.

He writes piano driven pop rock music, and like "Pop Rock" candy, his music is so sugary sweet that if you drank a soda while listening to it, your head would likely explode right of it's damn stem, covering your walls with syrupy, red goo. Luckily, the end results eschew the candy-corniness that infects most of the mellow cream pop universe... resembling more of a glittering 70's glam pop sound, than the "let me show you how cute and clever I can be" Ben Folds brand of piano pop.

If you're familiar with the Pennsylvania-born glam icon Jobriath, you'll find an immediate reference to Mr. White's sound. The tunes are catchy, the lyrics are a little loud in the mix for me, but it's difficult to not get hooked by all these... hooks. You only need listen to the fantastic first track here, "Golden Ops", to know if Bo White is your bag. His voice may remind you of Tobin Sprout (of Guided By Voices), maybe even Roger Daltry in his more tender moments ...two singers whose work I enjoy quite a bit myself, so again, difficult to not enjoy the fuck out of this release.

5 songs.

Bo White - Millennial Tombs

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ry Smith - REXROTH (2014)

Another album from the guys over at February Records. Ry Smith is a songwriter that was a member of the New York band Eastern Phobes, but has since gone on to make this solo effort. I won't lie, I was worried about listening to it at first as the press release on stated, "self-proclaimed 'record about sadness,' tackling so many of the twists and turns of life." While I do find a gloomy album a fine thing at many times I was worried to sink to deep into that as I've just returned to my natural state of semi-isolation by living alone. However, I was pleasantly surprised, in fact enthused, to find that the mood of the album was more upbeat than one could reasonable hope from that blurb. Like a Beulah or countless other groups I've made reference to Rexroth contains those sneaky melancholy pieces of music that sound sweetly happy while maintaining the depressingly stark lyrics disappointment and hardship. This is all done in with a lovely jaunty organ sound and effected lyrics that reminds me of the band Quasi, only reinforced by the fantastic songwriting talent Ry Smith brings that I think even surpasses Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss, though I am not prepared to fight over it.

The songs are done in a way that takes repeated hearings to get out what they're really about, as the instrumentation with absorb most of the listener's attention for the first couple of go-arounds. But as one keeps at enjoying it they lyrics and the overall mood with set in and shift the album and make it more than something happy and sweet to play in the background and becomes a much more substantial album. There's some excellent storytelling woven into the songs, not that following them closely is necessary or extremely advisable as it is still indie pop and supposed to be enjoyed. I get hundreds of albums sent in every year and I have gotten pretty good at figuring them out on context clues, not that I don't spend a ton of time listening to them anyway, but this one through me for more of the more wonderful loops I've gotten thrown my way lately.

To be had here:
Ry Smith - REXROTH

Thursday, September 25, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 74

This installment of the EP Grab Bag is more of a guise for a collection of singles, as many of these are just two song releases though not all of them. However, these songs were great and I've been enjoying playing them so much and people seem to be fans of the Grab Bags, so here's what I fucking got, dudes. In perhaps some of the better coincides I've experienced lately all these are lo-fi rock and roll of garage rock and psychedelic sorts, oh and all-American to boot.

To be had here:

This a musician for Atlanta that's got an erstwhile member of Atenat. A couple of lo-fi garage-drone-fuzz-punk that's a bit chaotic and hard to categorize any more clearly. However, it is doesn't long listening to this pair of songs to see how an full-length by this artist will be an event worth waiting for. The track "FERNS" has got me excited in the way that COOLRUNNINGS and Moondawg Jones truly got me all jazzed up. Eagerly looking forward to more NUNS.

Mexican Knives / Ritual Howls - Split 7" (2014)

I recently saw Ty Segall playing in Detroit and it was a most righteous experience. And aside from the highlight of getting to talk to Mikal Cronin and Charlie Moonheart again and having them remember me, I got to see the Detroit garage rock band Mexican Knives open the show for them. Turns out their members have been customers of mine at the bookstore and I can't believe I've yet to feature them. Very good lo-fi rock, highly recommend you click around on the bandcamp to see the other songs. Also, this is more first exposure to Ritual Howls but they're very solid too.

Aaron & the Burrs - Release the Bats! (2014)

This album's cover art was enough to invoke memories of flicking through drawers of CDs at the public library hunting for garage rock. I would have grab this up in a heartbeat. I've posted this group before, namely their self-titled full-length from 2012. On that post there bands I think they're akin to, but I think I left out how much they remind me of Midwestern garage rockers like the Yolks and the Soledad Brothers, in fact the b-side to this is a sweet instrumental garage number that'll join the ranks of other short and fast songs like that from those two bands and others I have for driving places quickly. Put out by Feral Kid Records and Ut Records.

Strange Lot - Walk of the Sun EP (2014)

As I said, not all of these are only two tracks, here's an EP proper from Arizona psychedelic band. Strange Lot is washed out rock that really has a drunkenly cheerful tone like playing on a beach, though it isn't very surf rock-ish. Addictively when listened to and it is excellently retro at times, playing with a foggy recollection of many past late nights hearing strange psychedelia for sure. I'd especially recommend it if you liked the Australian band Cobwebbs that was posted up yesterday.

Useless Eaters - Linear Movement (2014)

Useless Eaters loves fucking small releases. I've yet to find anything longer than four songs put out by them so far. I'll take whatever I can get though, as they are some of the most awesome garage punk outfits consistently putting out songs for our sonic consumption. This is just one of two releases of two songs from this past summer, and I do beseech you to check out Mother Earth if you liked this one and to go back and hear all those other EPs and singles they've been pumping out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cobwebbs - WORLD WIDE WEBBS (2014)

To break up what looks like it could easily become a string on gloomy folk write-ups to introduce the autumn to the Midwestern United States, we’ve got something from the part of the world where it never gets too cold and is only getting warmer this time of year. From Brisbane, Australia come the Cobwebbs with their second full-length album, WORLD WIDE WEBBS. I am actually not familiar with their first album, as I believe they’ve only become familiar with Spacerockmountain after I began an effort to post up more Australian bands and have sought to join their ranks. What I do know is how this album sounds, which is washed out psychedelic rock. It is a droning, sleazy sounding series of sounds, with that creepily creaking vocals that recalls some weirder garage rock albums. I woke up this morning and began playing this album in my headphones, and I kept it repeating up until the minutes I finally had to miserably give in and go to work. Doesn't mean I can't sneak the earbuds in and keep on listening even if the old cranky boss disapproves...

The material they sent in with the release says this album is a change in sound from the prior one, but I am curious at what that one holds after hearing WORLD WIDE WEBBS, and I just might try to hunt it down. This album can be heard on the soundcloud link below, or streamed on the bandcamp page of the label Sonic Masala, though it doesn't seem to be a terribly cheap record to purchase in a physical format.

To be had here:
Cobwebbs - World Wide Webs

Monday, September 22, 2014

Galápagos Finches - The Genetics of Folk Music (2013)

At the behest of Modern Folk I've taken another look at the independent label, Sioux Trails. They put out the remarkable album by the Glass Men that Elvis wrote up back in the spring. This time I've chosen to listen to the folk musician that releases under the name Galápagos Finches.

Although Galápagos Finches is an acoustic folk project on the face of it, the themes of the songs are reversed from what one might expect. They're not homesick and longing for return as often as mourning never having a chance to have yet explored. He sings of personal independence, emigrating from the USA and a restless melancholy that's resigned to lonesomeness and heartbreak. I know this seems like a major bummer, and truthfully the songs aren't cheerful but they are beautifully accurate and expressive of the self-doubt felt by the doleful, among which I'd include myself. It's a gloomy reflection on the limitations of one's own life and not getting stressed out and worried about it all, rather a consoling knowledge of seeing things as they are for both oneself and many others. In this state of mind daydreaming takes on a paramount significance in its ability to reintroduce glimmers of hope and whiffs of happy musings. All of this emotional cycling is wonderfully covered in these songs, and done with more classy and skill than my words are portraying. I believe should you listen to this album, and see what he's singing about and what the music is evoking, it'll leave you better off than it found you, even if there are bleak moments in-between. 

To be had here:
Galápagos Finches - The Genetics of Folk Music

Friday, September 19, 2014

TURN TO CRIME - Can't Love (2014)

I got a ticket today, going to the suburbs to get my brother to help me out with food to eat, that's how tight my budget has gotten. Of course I got popped in a money grabbing speed trap if the fuckhole city of Ferndale, MI. Go there, get $40 in food and $150 ticket for my troubles, fuck them. There's gonna be some unruly city council meetings in the future if I get my way. Nothing to lose when your broke I guess. Anyhow, I needed something to redeem my faith in the Detroit region, and I've found it in Can't Love by TURN TO CRIME. Let's hope it quells my rage before I get myself arrested... again.

TURN TO CRIME seems to be a getting a reputation, perhaps more than most Detroit bands I've run across in recent months. So for me not to throw in my two cents about this band might be a small and less than noteworthy thing as this group has gotten press from much more significant outlets like Stereogum and The Fader, yet I don't suppose that's any reason to penalize them at all and not to share them as they are meeting the core requirement of this blog. This being as simple as having the album be streamable online and someone that writes here likes it. It isn't an album that's easy to place genre-wise, as it shifts from song to song from post-punk to noisy ambient pop and always has anti-pop irregular catchiness inherited from Lou Reed. If you forced it, you could called Can't Love art-pop, which is code for classily undefinable. As in someone knows how pop music works but can subvert it enough to make it into something more than popcorn. Some of the songs like "Nightmares" are totally noise-filled post-punk, which I do enjoy, however the real brilliance is in the very Velvet Underground-esque songs "Sunday's Cool" and "Forgiveness." I can already hear the out podcast pal Craig saying he'd rather just play VU, but I like to hear something new too, even if it is recalling something old. Everything is a building mound of cultural references and struggles to sort and redefining yourself against and in harmony them. Which I'll keep in mind when I am yelling at suburban officials and know I am hopeless underpowered to succeed. I won't be the first one nor the last.

To be had here:
TURN TO CRIME - Can't Love

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Drawn... - Surges (2014)

As I've eluded to, I recently moved to another town. Well, sorta another town, Hamtramck is surrounded by Detroit so it really isn't like I left the city so much as went to a political separate enclave within it. It's much better here, more things to do and see, and it is about as diverse as it gets demographically. However, as a moved and it sapped my cash I haven't much furniture nor funds to go out an explore yet. So I sit on my porch and watch the neighbors, something that would be dull in almost any other part of Michigan, but here there are young men carrying their musical instruments, children at play, Muslim families streaming in and out of their homes, teenagers throwing footballs across the street over the top of traffic, and so many tiny interesting happenings of urban living.

While observing the human landscape around me, enjoying what may be the last of the warm weather this city gets until springtime, I need a soundtrack. Luckily I have an inbox full of potential candidates to assume the role of the sonic background to my stationary sightseeing. The London-based electronic musician known as Drawn... fit this role marvelously. Although one could tag Surges as a dark ambient album, it isn't purely so and it never takes on a sinister tone. The experimental and other-worldly electronic explorations dominate making it a prefect companion to my street gazing. Lightly droning and only momentarily gloomy the album usually picks up pace in unexpected yet incredibly well-transitioned cycles. A feat of electronic mastery, I'd think Surges would make a fine accompaniment to most any my solitary activities and if I ever had a cool party in my life I might be able to play it there too.

To be had here:
Drawn... - Surges

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Scenes Of A City, Vol 4. Lyon, France

If I never mentioned it before I am a fan of learning history. While I own mostly stacks of novels and short stories written by dead old Europeans, strange Latin Americans and tormented Asians I began gathering knowledge of these other parts of the world in the more conventional source of history texts. This lead to a geography fascination, as I poured through the maps and lists of historic events and stored away the important sites of battles, the economic hubs and political capitals of the world. Yet with all my unsophisticated research as a juvenile I don't know much about Lyon, France beyond it being the second largest city in that country. While, a city of that size in such a culturally powerful nation can't be sitting on its hunches, so I wanted to see what music they were playing there other than what I am sure have been at least a half dozen bands that submitted releases from there, as France does like to submit the tunes.

To be had here:
Hugo Clarence - The Ocean Tape (2014)

This artist was the instigating factor that caused be to pick Lyon for this Scenes of a City. As Hugo Clarence has a track called "Porto City" and you may recall that was the previously featured municipality. This turned me onto his slightly more recent release, The Ocean Tape. Echoey, psych-tinged naturalismo mixed with bluesy alt country, if you can grasp that. The songs will remind one of style that regained popularity with the likes of Devendra Banhart, who I still enjoy listening to. Plus this includes a sent up to Hank Williams, which is pretty legit.

Ouiouioui - Oui Oui Oui (2014)

With such affirming names it seems this EP was bound to be pleasing. It's electro-pop, as stated on the the gentleman with an eyeball for a mouth's suit coat. Slower in tempo than you may expect, the tracks are sort of simmering just below a boil most of the time with lovely beats and imaginative instrumentation. The songs never reach a fever pitch, instead they keep a wonderful balance between a down tempo and a flashy electronic freakout. Ultimately it has a cinematic feeling, with light tension being a driving element.

Strange Milk - The Odd One Out (2013)

There's nothing about this band that would make one assume they're from France at all. They sing in English and they play like a band from Athens, GA, Austin, TX or name your college town with good tunes of choice. Nonetheless, Strange Milk lives in Lyon from what I can tell, even playing shows with French garage rock favorites, Qúetzal Snåkes. Their charming psych-pop that fits so neatly into what I have been desiring to hear lately I'm have a hard time moving on to another band from Lyon to write about.


An album to shake you out of your complacency from how easy-going everything on this post has been so far. This album is a rather heavy and full sounding post-punk release befitting a band with an umlaut, or more accurately a tréma as they are French. Again, sung in English which I'm told is the language of rock and roll, and who am I to fret over the fact I can theoretically understand what the mighty female vocalist is singing? I can't for the record, it is beautifully washed out with the wall-of-sound and loud guitars. Also, it is another album tagged "cold wave" so I guess I am getting down on that sound.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Pathetic and Elegant - I Am In Love (2014)

My legs are sore and my brain is sleepy. Too much hauling, and the big furniture of this move is coming tomorrow still. My mind is weary as my boss as decided the driving force in his life is to converting me into a teetotaler, which frankly sounds like an awful plan. So I get to my uniquely unpleasant position of having an eccentric old bookseller chasing me around hollering at me and making up schemes for me to achieve utter temperance. How do I cope with it? Drink a beer and listen to an album, because I am not a mad Lithuanian like my boss.

I Am In Love is an album by 21 year old from Baltimore, Maryland that's chosen the poetically delightful name of the Pathetic and Elegant. It was written while he was in Osaka, Japan, which seems like irrelevant information until you hear the lyrics that make references to being away from home and around Japanese girls. Overall it is a lyrically heavy album, but in the same way that a Car Seat Headrest song can be, in a seamless blending of lot-fi bedroom pop with awkward lines sung with sincerity. In fact it reminded me of several strange indie pop musicians like Car Seat Headrest, Nate Henricks, Tim Cohen and James Ausfahrt. No so much as they musical compositions are alike, rather they seem to bear similarities in conception and tone. What I mean is that despite the reminiscences that it may provoke for me, it sounds incredibly unique and compelling. The songs themselves are very well produced and will bet re-listening like good indie/bedroom pop should. I especially love the tracks "Come On, Baby" "Call Me Weak" and "I've Got The Vibes" as excellent displays of successfully quirky songcraft. Also, if you look at the bottom of the bandcamp page you'll notice this: "Vocals for this record were recorded in various karaoke bars through out Japan." Now that a fucking way to be, pilgrims, bringing your own songs to karaoke.

Finally, I Am In Love was put out by Spellabee Space, a neat Baltimore indie label, podcasting hub and artistic promotion project that seems to be getting going, but looks quite promising. If their tastes are to be trusted based on their working with the Pathetic and Elegant is any indication it should be a source of more quality media.

To be had here:
The Pathetic and Elegant - I Am In Love 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Przyzwoitość - Być bezużytecznym (2014)

Another late night post, trying to sneak these things under the wire before I get to sleep after hauling books all day for shit pay and then hauling my own shit for no pay after.

Przyzwoitość is a veteran Polish musician that was the drummer in a psych band that went defunct back in 2002. Now he's got a new project, with a moniker than means "Decency" according to what he's told me. It is an experimental release with lo-fi guitar, altered vocals and produced effects mingle. Straight from the first strange vocal looping track you'll get the sense of how far out this short album is gonna be. Very much a Jad Fair or Moe Tucker 80s oddity thing going on, but from fucking Poland so it has really deep and awesome Slavic words on top of psychedelic guitar. It's totally worth it, guys, trust.

To be had here:
Przyzwoitość -  Być bezużytecznym

Thursday, September 11, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 73

This is what I got from the inbox. From all over the place again, which is a good thing. Been busy, moving to Hamtramck and I have realized I have a huge amount of anxiety surrounding paperwork like leases and the official nature of such things. Puts me all out of sorts and I haven't had any working earbuds nor iPod for a week so I am basically a lunatic at this point. Hope you like what was the best few hours or respite I got this week.

To be had here:
Red Nectar - Red Nectar (2014)

Our friends over at Cheap Miami have a new EP from a new garage rock outfit. Red Nectar are loud, fuzzy rock with a dash of garage and a female vocalist fronting the group. The four well-done tracks are very endearing. Among the fast and loud songs that were all enjoyable I found the one track called "Hush" was very nicely crafted as a more subtle number. Overall, the songs do feel very much in the vein of lo-fi female rock that's post-riot grrrl. Nonetheless I'd say they're doing a wonderful job at and deserve a listen, and I cannot wait for another release already.

A Big Silent Elephant - Starlight 7" (2014)

The latest release from the Italian phenomenon known as Mauro Da Re. The dude behind a man and his broken piano that's I've shared previous on both in his album with Beyza and his two Demos and Demons EPs. He told me this release started as a part 3 of Demos and Demons but evolved into its own thing. It retains the lo-fi garage folk that was the hallmark of the prior EPs, this time more bent toward bizarre psych-pop. Just like everything else this dude touches I am completely enthralled by it.

Roadhouse Blues - BlueSnow (2014)

I found this loud blues rock when I was being a nerd and dropping in the hometowns of authors I bought into bandcamp, specifically Pietro Aretino lead me to Arezzo, Italy. Should you give this EP a listen you'll find it has some funky bass lines and a dude singing English with a very thick accent. It is an odd hodge-podge of 70s and 80s rock and roll vibes and foreign interpretations that makes it absolutely wild. Not sure I get it but I certainly dug it.

Godfrey Turner Overdrive - Visceral Light (2014)

Hardcore/post-rock that brings back many memories of my high school years and the sort of music that was predominate in my Midwestern town. These guys are from Orange, New South Wales and therefore basically on the other side of the planet from my experience with the hardcore scene. Time and geography have apparently been transcended, and it has improved on what I recall. A compelling and emotionally charged EP, definitely good way to have one's angst validated with awesome guitar playing.

Marc Neibauer - Summer (2014)

I keep thinking about bringing back the random singles posts that I used to do and then I recall I stopped because I can't listen to a single song that long to come up with any words to say about it. I need to hear an album, or at least throw into into a mix. There's gotta be a way, I am working on it folks. In the meantime here's the excellent song "Summer" by Philly musician Marc Neibauer. Shimmery indie rock that is a good ending to this summer, as today was the first cool autumn-esque day in Detroit.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Guru - Pretty Things (2014)

I'm still rather bad at the using twitter, though that hasn't stopped me from taking over the account for my place of work in order to milk my boss for a bit more cash every week (not enough as it turns out, but when is it?). Anyhow, I enjoying doing it for Spacerockmountain much more, as it is something I like doing as opposed to showing up at and seeing the endless supply of laborious tasks that need accomplishing. And while most the things Twitter tells me about are useless bullshit, it does recommend that I follow indie labels from time to time. These inevitably have something worthwhile for me to listen to and for that I am grateful. That's exactly how I discovered the Phoenix, Arizona label Rubber Brother Records. They've got a bunch of albums out that look pretty swell and it was among their roster I've found the Guru.

The full-length by the Guru is called Pretty Things and it's not easily thrown into the categories of music I usually describe. Doesn't help that like Samuel Boat these motherfuckers just put "rock" and the name of their city. So I guess I'll have to earn my non-existent pay and call it upbeat indie rock bordering on power pop and dance rock. They're a high energy band with remarkably catchy songs. I dare any of you listen to "Co-Desire" "Golden Brown" or "Real Nice" without getting the choruses stuck in your head. The singer hits the notes impeccably and drives them right into your ears like a fastball over home plate. All with jaunty guitars and solid percussion that makes me wish I could go see them live.

To be had here:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Nigel & The Dropout - Tumultuous (2013)

The other night a I went with a friend of mine to a longstanding street festival in the Cass Corridor neighborhood of Detroit. It's known as Dally in the Alley, but seems to be mostly on the actual streets now, with one alley still having stages and vendors. Anyhow, I recall joyfully attending this event when I was a college student, getting drunk beyond belief until six in the morning, going to parties in apartments full of complete strangers and eating apples found in a tree in the dark while suckling on a bag of wine we stole. Maybe I am wee bit older and more aware, but it seems police presence was beefed way up. Additionally, I'm more cautious. Now that I more than old enough to buy the beer at the festival, and I not too interested in imbibing and having to get home. I sure as fuck don't wanna wake up halfway laying on a broken couch, back aching and head spinning as was the case when I was twenty.

However, in the midst of what seemed to be an evening of walking in circles with my buddy as we alternatively had to make conversation with ex-coworkers and friends of former roommates there was a young man desperately handing out what looked like business cards. As our eyes met he stared me down and quietly said "Just take it." That's some fine salesmanship in my book. Turns out all it had on it was an email address and a bandcamp URL for a musical project I'd never heard of, and I slipped it into my pocket and kept on shuffling through the crowd.

The most surprising part is that I somehow did not lose the card and felt compelled to look into it when I got home, to see what these kids called Nigel & The Dropout were all about. As the name suggests, it is a duo. Musically they are electronic dance rock, something that a cool bar with odd colored lights might play if they were so smart to. I normally don't get exposed too much of this as I sat in with my books and beer after work and write up these posts everyday. However, I got a hunch this isn't the run of the mill dance floor jams, they have an addict and guitar-heavy style that makes it appealing even to the fans of distortion and lo-fi rock. The blending of these sediments is very welcome occurrence, and I found myself instantly restarting the album upon its completion. For two dudes claiming to make this without a laptop it is indeed very impressive. I'll go so far as to say it's excitement pure and simple. Loud, glamorous excitement. Perhaps enough to overlook that they're from Farmington Hills (a local dig, friends).

To be had here:
Nigel & The Dropout - Tumultuous

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Os Noctàmbulos - Corsica Garden (2014)

The Anglo-French psychedelic garage rock band Os Noctàmbulos are a band that I believe Amazing Larry had put in for our podcast before, and I think I wrote up a band featuring a member of this group previously, called 39th & The Nortons. Beyond being a band that is British and French musicians with a Portuguese looking name, the group sounds like they're ardent listeners of early garage rock, surf and psychedelia of the 60s. Bearing the unmistakable influence bluesy garage that period such as the Animals, the Monks and the Sonics along with some tracks showing an affinity toward the reverberated style of Dick Dale. Corsica Garden is a fine distillation of the era's sound, almost eerie how much the songs sound like their out of time having just come out this year.

I not only liked the album but I am prepared to defend the fact that it sounds so spot on like 60s groups. Of course that would be impossible to have an absolutely unique style, as all music, and literature and visual art for that matter, is derivative. Yet it is fair to say Os Noctàmbulos aren't derivative as much as purposefully retrospective. Garage rock hasn't been stagnate, for every now and then something like punk comes along and infuses itself into everything, and not the least into garage rock, but it doesn't shift completely otherwise it would cease to be garage rock at all. That said, why can't a modern band play like a band from the 1960s, but perhaps better or more interestingly while leaving out the punk and shoegaze that came later. Especially considering that the actual music from the period was so studio-driven with many hits being written by songwriters from bands that failed to make it big, yet got to see other bands ride to fame with them (I am thinking of the Buckinghams here, who were from Chicago and took that name to seem British and whose hit was written by another Chicago band, yet they're still great).

So some dudes from the United Kingdom and France got together and wrote something that reflects a particular time and place in musical history, but still did a fucking amazing job at doing it and deserve credit for such masterful songwriting. I wholeheartedly enjoyed Os Noctàmbulos and would recommend the album to anyone that is a fan of late-60s garage. Finally, Corsica Garden is being put out by Evil Hoodoo Records, along with a slew of other cool releases.

To be had here:
Os Noctàmbulos - Corsica Garden

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Negro Leo - Ilhas de Calor (2014)

Sometimes with music, I get so fed up with prettiness. To take that even further, I get tired of consonance. To slim down the world of music to only western music, and then slim that down further to my preferred genre of rock music, one is ill-pressed to find that minuscule sliver, that sub-sect of a sub-sect of musicians playing anything that veers aways from one of 2 scales: major and minor. Why is it that in rocknroll, with all it’s supposed swagger and rebelliousness against all things status quo, that so few are willing to embrace a little dissonance? 

But in a world that seems to consciously fight for the right to be unconscious of anything ugly, bands like Negro Leo are a much needed reminder that you can’t have one without the other. Hailing from the beach city of Rio de Janeiro, their music seems to avoid structure almost exclusively, like free jazz but with rock instruments.. free rock, maybe.. or no wave. Dissonance reigns supreme, never once allowing the listener a hook or a moment of beauty. This idea is perfectly represented by the cover art for Ilhas de Calor, which depicts a dirty puddle surrounded by tarnished metal. 

As all the words are in Portuguese, it isn’t easy to know what Negro Leo is telling us. Google Translate gives some insight, and the insight is bleak, bizarrely astrological, apocalyptic, and somewhat violent. One of the only songs in English, Xereca Satânica …. which I think translates to Satanic Cunt…  goes, “Be nasty to your cock, Hold it against the cop, Be violent to your pussy, Hold it against the rocks”. 

Ok, so not exactly music for a Sunday morning drive, but if you’ve got an itch for something new and different in your musical diet, you couldn’t do much better than Negro Leo.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Brimstone Blondes - AGE OF CONSENT (2014)

I've been listening to one new album at least everyday for weeks now, sometimes up to 4 new releases in a day. You'd think that this would burn me out, but really this is a light load compared to what I used to do when I was trapped in St. Clair County, Michigan with little other to do that breathe the polluted air and argue with my girlfriend like the fool-headed teenager I was. I think that many people in somewhat culturally isolated corners of this planet can relate to the problems of living vicariously through media and the obsessiveness that it can generate be it music, comic books, video games or whatnot. It seems like you should be ashamed of it and move on to start living, but every time I do that I find that life is full of waiting. Always in a hurry to get to somewhere to wait. So with time I have noticed that if I am gonna wait why not do so with a bunch of new albums pumping in the headphones and be taking just enough notes along the way that when I get wherever I am going I have something fucking interesting to share. 

Brimstone Blondes a four-piece self-described surf rock band from Buffalo, NY. There's no actual surfing going on in Buffalo, hence to talk of catching the sunbeams or big waves, but that's no reason not to make surf rock on the cold shores of the Great Lakes region as these guys will demonstrate. The songs are fast and full of bravado, to such a degree that it has a likeness to the flamboyance of glam rock. Partying and making out, lust for your friend's girl as if the Cars and Television were getting trashed together. Though the pace does settle down by the time you get to the appropriately named "Afterparty," which is a sort of hedonistic love song. In fact, several the tracks could be called that. Enjoy yourself and give AGE OF CONSENT a listen, and worry about everything you fucked up another day.

To be had here:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

EP Grab Bag vol. 72

What we have here is an all European Grab Bag. As these are what was in the submitted material and what I have been fixated on personally for months now. I cannot get enough of European garage rock and basically anything lo-fi, psych or likewise. So tour Europe with me from French-German joint endeavors to Finland and back to darling Spain, not in that order for whatever reason.

To be had here:
Carton Sonore & Broken Jokes - Sleeping Water (2014)

Similar to the Italian-Turkish collaboration on Yellow, this release is a result of the combined multinational efforts of one man each from Paris and another in Berlin. Also, I'd say there's a folksy, acoustic nature with a purposefully Eastern style to both releases that further the association, but here the tracks are instrumental other than some vocal sounds that are sampled and altered in an artful fashion. Reminds one of a Hawk and a Hacksaw, especially the more striped down first album. Only six short songs left me eager to hear more, so hopefully they'll put our more through With A Messy Head (the label putting this out and the previously posted Monster Surprise).

Sure, this is technically a single yet the songs are long so I believe that it qualifies for the Grab Bag easily. Plus after hearing the songs I could not pass up a chance to talk them up. Chickn is an duo from Athens, Greece who are still recent to pulling material out as you can tell. However, you'd ever be able to tell by the bluesy, kraut/psych/garage rock they've got in these 13 minutes of music. High quality, but lo-fi, as it should be.

Tropicalianegra is a band that appears to be made up of members of various other groups in separate towns in Spain. The at least got working together long enough to make these four very lo-fi garage rock tracks and get them put out on the Sevilla-based Saturno Records. The songs are fast and punk in tone, and of course I don't know what the fuck they're singing about, but I prefer it that way. Thought it was a short but awesome EP and we can only hope they want to make a longer release that'll be as sweet some time in the future.

Viennese band that makes post-punk flavored pop tunes. I was trying to come up with something they're akin to and tonight the best I could come up with is Stereo Total, the Franco-German band that made weird electronic pop tunes like a decade ago. Dot Dash does sound more subtle than that band yet just as catchy. The seven inch is put out by the Austrian fettkakao, who seems to be a man and a label at same time. Either that or someone isn't good at translating.

Finnish punk rockers the Achtungs are incredibly lo-fi. The sound is like a 90s garage punk album from the Midwest or Southern United States, but is totally what these northern Europeans are up to right now, at least this band, and for that I am exceedingly happy. Looks like it was originally put released last year but was re-issued but attempts to find a non-digital version where a nonstarter for me. Maybe some Finnish reader out there knows better. Anyhow, they also put out a 7" recently that keeps up the same momentum called Total Punk.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bicycle Day - I Had A Place To Be (2014)

Ever feel like you volunteered yourself for too much work to get done reasonably quickly? I have done that at my job, as I had decided that several decades worth of unsaleable computer books need to be dumped out of the store so I can make way for good stock. Easier said than done, I've packed and hauled them all day today and I am not even half done. My day is aching and I've only myself to blame but at least there are remedies to be had. And sitting down to a good lo-fi album is always one of them for me. That and good measure of beer my boss discourages me from buying with I read novels I bought from his store.

A debut album by the Oakland, California band, Bicycle Day. They play a very distorted and fuzzy garage rock. They nailed those vocals, by which I mean I can't understand the vocals whatsoever. Then there's the music that's fucking awesome. Basically everything is washed out but the songs still have a very west coast surf undertone. It is like sunshine dragged through a sea of mud and making awesome sounds the whole way. The songs on I Had A Place To Be almost seem catered to me, as I have been listening to a bunch of Yelephants, King Cayman and King Khan & BBQ Show lately just because I find that the most naturally productive sort of music for me to hear. Like I get shit done with that sort of lo-fi pulsing in my eardrums. I found I Had A Place To Be to be a most excellent addition to this rotation and a superb effort for a debut. Left me wanting to hear more songs immediately. Luckily there was their Vandals EP to hear as well that bears the same characteristics that I adored in the full-length.

You can get in now on their bandcamp page but I was told they are soon gonna be released via Lolipop Records too, maybe even so by this time. 

To be had here:
Bicycle Day -  I Had A Place To Be

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Samuel Boat - Soda Pop Rock (2014)

I don't have any background information on Samuel Boat or his full-length album, Soda Pop Rock, beyond what I've been able to deduce or guess at from the songs themselves. He didn't furnish me with details, and his bandcamp page tagged the release as "rock" and "United States" so either intentionally or not he's played this one close to the vest. Fine with me, I've written up shit that I clearly know nothing about before and I'm sure I will again.

The album is a collection of what sound like lo-fi bedroom pop musings, and that's a very sweet thing. Samuel Boat is likely a multi-instrumentalist and rather good at synthesizing on the computer that has got a load of catchy beats rolling around in his head that needed a quirky, entertaining and just a bit creepy outlet. The songs are full of snyth sounds and together with his singing and whistling the songs seem aimed at juvenile memories. Eccentrically nostalgic songwriting that can be happy and a bit sad or whimsical at the same time, like a good Stephin Merritt tune. "The one for me" and "roses from peru" both show what I am trying to get at exceptionally well, not that I am sure it is what he was angling for. That's art for you, out of your hands and into ours right? Anyhow, I found Soda Pop Rock to be very adorable and highly delightful to listen to.

To be had here:
Samuel Boat - Soda Pop Rock

Monday, September 1, 2014

Beyza and the Man with his Broken Piano - Yellow (2013)

Yellow is a stunning folksy, lo-fi acoustic album. It's a collaborative effort of a Turkish Beyza and the Italian who releases his music as the Man with his Broken Piano. Now the Man with his Broken Piano has been featured on SRM in the past with a couple of EPs he recently released and submitted. This album I was in the dark about however, as it wasn't submitted to my knowledge and I happened across in while looking for something completely unrelated. Yet with a long and distinctive name as he goes by it was obvious we were dealing with the same fellow.

I've been listening to this album over and over through the last couple of days, as I get a lot of listening in while reading or playing this video game where I am Batman and I beat up people (I'm not good at either one of those hobbies so they take some time). It isn't very much like the Man with his Broken Piano music that he did in his solo work, in fact besides being vaguely folk orientated it is very different. Perhaps this is due to Beyza, of whom I know nothing really beyond being Turkish. Regardless, Yellow is wonderful to hear: soft acoustics with electronic layered on top and in turns melancholy and buoyant. The competency of the songs in face of the remote collaboration is remarkable and every song is masterfully put together and can stand alone. The singer has an absolutely stunning voice and the tunes are hard to resist. Just fucking trust me on this one, it is about as swell as it gets.

To be had here:
Beyza and the Man with his Broken Piano - Yellow