Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Chick Quest - Vs. Galore (2015)

Here's a band from Vienna who's already begun to garner some attention from far more popular outlets than our tiny blog, however I felt the deserve all the mentions that can muster because it's very much the song of music I wouldn't mind hearing circulation more widely. Beginning as a two-piece called Van Lee Cliff, you know after the actor that played opposite Clint Eastwood in those legendary spaghetti westerns, and since then they've added more players while keeping the western's iconic soundtrack as an inspiration. However, western soundtracks is not the only, nor arguably the main influence on Chick Quest's full-length debut. More accurately the sound is that of a post-modern combination of a variety of revival styles from garage rock, surf, western and bass rhythms of dance-punk a la Gang of Four. It all makes for fine listening.

I feel I'd be remiss without mention by way of a footnote the Michigan musicians that release music as Lasso who has some of the same western influences and impulse to combine genres yet came out with a very difficult but complimentary sound to Chick Quest. So Check them out as well.

To be had here:
Chick Quest - Vs. Galore

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Oscar Key Sung - Tape Voice EP (2012)

Still unsure about seeing the new Star Wars. I just get immediately suspicious of anything cultural that I feel is being shoved in my face. Like Adele, I don't know her music but I know I don't like it. Just think about this for a second: Hollywood will be flogging the jedi cash cow for the rest of your life on this planet. We will never be free from the question, "Have you seen the new Star Wars?" Never free from storm troopers advancing into department store television advertisements.

Not necessarily wanting to be left out of a cultural phenomenon, while not having the inclination to participate, I've decided to carry a standardized response to the "Have you seen the new Star Wars movie" question... which is "YEAH I SAW IT AND IT WAS COMPLETE GARBAGE"... just so it appears that I'm at least trying to keep up with things of cultural relevance, while encouraging those who ask to never repeat the question. Bah humbug.

I'm much more inclined to champion and gush over the great music of obscure folks who I think should be less obscure. For example, I was pleasantly surprised by this EP from Melbourne-based Oscar Key Sung. He seems to really have a knack using his voice as an instrument and not just a vehicle for delivering lyrics. Medulla-era Björk immediately comes to mind. The glitch-synth-drum loop elements suggest a Prefuse 73 influence. It's like Max Tundra - but instead of making you feel weird it makes you feel the mood for sexy times.

Free download, 4 songs.

Oscar Key Sung - Tape Voice EP

Sunday, December 20, 2015

C. M. Slenko - Royal Blue Days (2015)

The newest album from the folk/anti-folk musician C.M. Slenko, also called Charlie Slenko. Last year Slenko had a double release in September, issuing both a full length Rented Rooms and an EP Moonlight Veneration. The former being a wonderful example of melancholy contemporary folk music and the latter being a far noisier and psychedelic experimentation. These two modes he was simultaneously exploring then have now found a near equal expression in Royal Blue Days. Tracks such as "Pale Moon," "Short Circuit, Long Night...," and "Kings" are charming, emotional folk songs while others like "Somnambulant | Still" and "Clarion, Carillon / Carrion" are examples of droning anti-folk. Perhaps even more compelling are the songs that blend these two forms, having beautiful lyric and folksy guitar with noise erupting or droning seamlessly along side. Check "Not Just Angels" or "Shallow" to hear what I mean by this. A entertaining and lovely display of the power musical juxtaposition. Absolutely the sort of album that is most rewarding to hear from beginning to end with devoted attention. 

Royal Blue Days has been released by Slenko's own Sioux Trails label, which has issued some really notable music including previously featured albums by Galápagos Finches and Glass Men. There is a bunch more on there I've been meaning to get to as well that look super promising and I believe they're all free to download.

To be had here:
C. M. Slenko - Royal Blue Days

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Last Words - S/T (2013)

There's something truly wonderful about female-fronted hardcore music. Or is this powerviolence? I have no idea, as I'm clearly not a scholar on the subject. But something we might all agree on is that many rock music scenes tend to be fairly homogenized in the gender and race department. And let's face it... there's no shortage of machismo in the world. So excuse me if my ears perk to the sound of Marina's amazing scream... a voice takes this Raleigh, North Carolina's band to a whole new level of ferociousness... which would be entirely lost with a male vocalist. Her voice is that of a large hawk or like tires screeching to a halt. The band is also super tight, packing a wallop in a short bursts of mechanized synchronicity(most of the songs being under 2 minutes).

Last Words, I've read, take their influence from the Boston hardcore scene. I'm not sure what that means... something to explore in future posts.

10 songs, name your price. Available on vinyl! For the utilitarian music listener, a great record for the workplace (granted you have the luxury of listening to music while working)... especially if you daydream about smacking them. Also good for exercising.

Last Words - S/T

Sunday, December 13, 2015

EX UAJ ZED - 4 (2015)

The last post was of a Hungarian band and in said post I took the time to wax on a bit on my fixation on Eastern European culture. After looking around a bit more thoroughly in the submissions I have noticed bit of an increase in bands from this region and so I suppose I will take this opportunity to share some of the highlights I’ve founds amongst them. So today is EX UAJ ZED of Poland.

I don’t know if anyone is calling their music garage metal, but if that’s not a traded term I should like to suggest it as an ample descriptor of EX UAJ ZED. Undoubtedly lo-fi with all its fuzz and striped down instrumentation it seems like a garage rock album, which is indeed what they billed themselves as. Yet there is no confusion in the use of overly powerful cords and intensity that this album largely expresses the angst and rage of the very best post-metal albums. Mainly an instrumental affair, with lyrics ever so scarcely entering the picture and even then they’re in what I assume to be Polish, so I can’t elaborate on their content. The real emotion of this album comes via the guitar playing, it takes center stage in every track, to such a degree that the drumming in delaying in introducing itself in several tracks. The drumming does serve as a wonderful guideline throughout, making what would otherwise be a guitar drone into a fleshed out composition, albeit of a minimalistic nature. Now, this might or mightn’t seem like your thing, but if you trust me insofar as lo-fi music goes I will say it is pretty good and I think they’re capable of producing a phenomenal album, and I need to spend time hearing the prior releases still. In the meantime I will really be heavily digging this one.

To be had here:

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Lìo Dominguez - Cine Bar Club (2014)

I'm convinced that time of day, temperature, and precipitation all play a role in what we want to listen to. Take today, for example: in Portland it is a typically cold and sopping wet December day, just like weeks worth of days before and days worth of weeks to follow...  and this release by Lìo Dominguez, a singer-songwriter from Haedo, a city about 40 minutes driving distance outside of Buenos Aires proper, is providing the perfect soundtrack to an unabashedly lazy afternoon.

The band has got a severely cool melancholia going on, like a Spanish Velvet Underground. Simple two chord progressions drift effortlessly back and forth, like a pendulum made of feathers and cotton. The vocals give off a similar affectation, but it's simultaneously a honest and natural delivery.  This isn't a sleepy-time listen by any means, but sort of a laze around on the couch drinking coffee because it's shitty outside kind of listen. If Olympia, Washington's K Records had existed in Argentina, Lìo Dominguez would have fit nicely into that seen... somewhere between Beat Happening and Some Velvet Sidewalk.

10 songs, name your price.

Lìo Dominguez - Cine Bar Club

Friday, December 11, 2015

Guruzsmás - Fordítsd ki a szűrödet! (2015)

I spend a lot of time reading foreign literature in translation, I bring it up here often enough for that to not shock anyone. I really like to find it from Eastern Europe, I got stacks of writers from those nations I've yet to get a chance to read, but I always feel a strong urge to know more about it, to experience more of their culture. Therefore, I get a thrill when I see an Eastern European band has submitted an album. Some of them that I've posted over the years are still in my regular rotation and are among my favorites to share with friends. I can see this easily being what'll happen with this new full-length from Guruzsmás.

Earlier this year Guruzsmás released an EP, Az Élő Csizmaszár​\​The Living Bootleg, that I recall with great fondness. It serves as a wonderful prelude to this longer effort. Both showing the mutli-faceted nature of their compositions. They've pulled from a great many influences ranging from the traditional folk music of the Balkans, Ottoman territories and Eastern Europe in general to the more experimental expressions of rock and roll such as psychedelic and progressive rock, which let's not forget where hugely popular throughout Europe in the 60s and 70s. A notion visually reinforced by the album's cover art, an artistic perversion of the Byzantine imperial eagle. The songs are fast, polyrhythmic affairs, with familiar scales combined with loud, fuzzy guitars that would be equally at home in a heavy metal song. Even without a curiosity of their nearest of Easts like I've got, anyone that appreciates a superbly crafted progressive album will find Fordítsd ki a szűrödet! to their liking.

To be had here:
Guruzsmás - Fordítsd ki a szűrödet!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Daddy Rocks - Ah re que (2015)

Daddy Rocks was a group featured on the Scenes of a City post on Rosario. Argentina. I found them of my own accord kicking around bandcamp and really liked what I heard. They've gotten hip to this the time since and thought it good practice to update me on their new album. So here it is,  Ah re que <3 i=""> the latest effort of the Argentine electronic outfit called Daddy Rocks.

Now, I do recall Daddy Rocks being a heavily electronic operation, but I gotta say they really leaned into it for this new album. It is more purely a selection of electronic dance tunes than I have been exposed to in recent months. Nonetheless, I found it incredibly delightful. The songs are fast, compact and exciting. I could not ask for a better soundtrack to play during a house party or hear at a bar that's compelled to have lights flashing. I do not mean any of this in a snarky way, as I engage in both this vices as regularly as my social life allows. This sort of music holds a prominent place in my heart as I elate at hearing anything half as good as Daddy Rocks in these context and feel a million times better for not hearing awful R&B garbage. Moreover, I am pretty certain hearing electronic music in any language you don't know is much better than understanding the lyrics. Hopefully I am not insulting the band with my off-color endorsements, for I truly love their songs, and I recommend you all take the time to hear it.

Te be had here:
Daddy Rocks  - Ah re que <3 a="">

Saturday, December 5, 2015

EP Grab Bag vol. 106

This post has been a long time coming, I had it 65% written then things went all pear-shaped. Turns out my computer shit the bed. Blasted motherboard was fried, and there were many deliberations on how and when to acquire a new computer. Today I finally bit the bullet. I'm feeling profoundly uncomfortable with having spent so much money, as I am fundamentally a miserly man. Yet this is better than sitting around watching Quantum Leap on my smartphone and drinking cheap micheladas. Well, maybe not better as much as it's different.

Also, this means I am even more far behind on submissions that I would have been otherwise, so please bear with me.

To be had here:
Fuzz Ghost - Fuzz Ghost EP (2015)

If you've been digging on the full-length albums I've posted lately then I'm glad to say that there's plenty more garage rock piled up in the submissions, not least of which is this debut EP from Nashville's Fuzz Ghost. Surfy, psych-tinged garage rock with a light-hearted tone. The singing is a real highlight of these tracks, howling, echoey and dreamy at once.  I think it's an utterly fantastic EP, yet I had little doubt that it would be impressive. After all, it is being issued by our friend over at Ongakubaka Records.

Buzz Driver - Buzz Driver (2015)

On the other side of the equator comes more garage rock, specifically from Volta Redonda, Brazil. Heavily reverbed and stylized surf riffs can be heard in the intro, then it fades into a jumpy, fast and very distorted garage rock. Like an even more blown out version of Tokyo Sex Destruction. They've full embraced the thunderous quality of an untuned bass guitar through a wildly lo-fi set up. Whole EP is maybe 7 minutes, but some of the loudest and craziest minutes I've heard in a while.

Pulco - Found Sound (2015)

Though this EP was just released it is a recording from 2009 for a radio show called 'Garden of Earthly Delights' (a name taken from the same Hieronymus Bosch painting that is the background imagery of this very blog). If you've heard any of the other work from Pulco you'll know to expect some experimental music riddled with spoken word. This EP is neat because it sounds more raw and kinda creepy compared to the music the Welshman made later.

Kate Wakefield - Water Lungs (2015)

A rather unique EP as far as what you'll usually find on this blog. The songs are filled with operatic and classical influences from Wakefield's cello playing and her robust vocals. However, it is done in the way that is weirdly appropriate for what we do here. Her sining is phenomenal, poetic and versatile. Same goes for her cello playing, and they're both wrapped into a highly textured and layered avant-pop context. I could see her either as an indie darling or a full-blown popstar, I wouldn't mind hearing her as either really.

HIATO - HIATO (2015)

An lo-fi electronic musician from Guayaquil, Ecuador, the city that the first Scenes of a City was about. Ambient, chillwave sort of electronic music. The songs are well-fleshed out and engaging, something can sometimes be a challenge with these genres. HIATO has avoided many common pitfalls, yet still has identifiably characteristic of a bedroom electronic musician such as vocal samples and looping artificial drum beats. There's some catchy stuff on this EP, especially the final track, "Úrsula."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Rakta - S/T (2013)

I always thought it was interesting how birds are often named after their own songs. Killdeer, Godwits, Curlews, Bobwhites... the list is extensive. If bands were named after their own songs, I think G'n'R would be renamed "Eye-Eye-Eye" and Metallica would be called simply "AH!", because singer James Hetfield ends nearly every line of lyrics with a sharp blast of "-ah!" (ex. "Everywhere I roam-Ah!", "Harvester of Sorrow-AH!", etc.)

Rakta, a Brazilian band, wouldn't have to change their name at all. They have an initial sounds that encapsulates surf drum neats, the buzzing 2-chord dirge of grunge, and vocals sung from within a psychedelic cave. But as these songs progress, I would hesitate to categorize them into any new school of mishmash garage-punk-psych-surf. Their sound is just as much, if not more, an echo of early 80s UK goth rock. Siouxsie And The Banshees, Bauhaus, and New Order all come to mind.

Actually very similar to the modern UK band Savages, but without the edge-y post punk feel.

Rakta's dark streak slices down the middle of this self-titled, 6 song EP, while never dampening the energy of the music.

Rakta - S/T