Sunday, February 27, 2011

Video :: Remote Viewing :: Hunx and His Punx

Hunx and His Punx
"You Don't Like Rock and Roll"

Here's the song that first got me into Hunx (Seth Bogart). This cut came out of his early collaborations with Nobunny. The video's got more costume changes than a Freddie Mercury concert and more camp than a John Waters film. If you're brave, hold out for the thong and the S&M sequence, 'cause round here we like the whips and chains. This scuzz just seals my impression that the best garage rock should hurt and heal in the same motion.

Too Young to Be in Love should be coming out at the end of March from Hardly Art, but who the fuck knows, right?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review :: Psychotronic Wiretap :: Sri Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo
"Soul Vibrations of Man"
Cave Painting
Friends Records

This one skips hyperspeed altogether and goes straight to plaid. It's a kinetic-wah-bruiser that transformed my laptop into an interstellar command bay, and further proof that Baltimore is on a completely different planet. With a fidgety bassline scratching through leagues of spacedust and an organ that pierces through like an ancient supernova, Sri Aurobindo crosses that gap between Earth-bound prehistory and curious futurism. Psychedelia the way your red-assed shit-eating ancestors pondered about, and what your red-assed shit-eating descendants will read about in outdated textbooks.

This cut is from 2010's Cave Painting, being the second release from the expanding Baltimore-based Friends Records. I think I could be friends with these guys. We could ingest obnoxious amounts of DMT and build tree forts, maybe crack a few jokes. Catch them tonight at Baltimore's Golden West with other favorites Birds of Maya and Secret Mountains. I'm not sure if ride-share includes space-travel, but if anyone has wheels, let me know.

Buy Cave Painting here.

Sri Aurobindo :: Soul Vibrations of Man

Friday, February 25, 2011

Review :: Pitifully Short-Range Teleporation :: The Beets

Velvet Lounge, 915 U St NW, Washington, DC
Sunday, February 20, 2011

Coming off a string of shows this week, and it turns out I didn't miss the sound of my own ranting here as much as I thought I would. Guess going out's wrecking my opinion of myself, which is really all I head left going for me. 

Broke into my stash of 4 Loko last night to catch a great show that we'll be featuring here soon. Downloaded that fruit berry mess straight to my liver and grabbed the car keys. Shit, I hate hearing myself talk. 

Back to the matter at hand: I was glad to catch the Beets show at Velvet last Sunday. Queens, NY band that flew all the way from fucking Uruguay to get here and put on sunglasses in front of live audiences. Easier ways to do that, am I right? It was a lot of shit-chedelic (just coined that. high five me later.) garage rock, the kind I like to pack in my face just to prove to the office that I can fit the most in there.

Juan Wauters had this sweet acoustic that looked like he bought it from a roadside stand. But, damn, the thing was wired right. The drummer had a less is more thing going for him by pulling off the show with just a pair of toms, and maybe a ride that I don't really remember seeing. Also, Jose Garcia (bassist): really nice dude.

The Beets' Stay Home came out in January on Captured Tracks.

The Beets :: What Did I Do

Friday, February 18, 2011

News :: Third Eye Laser Surgery :: Dum Dum Girls

Nope, this isn't a protest shot from Bahrain. We're just posting a track that the Dum Dum Girls have been passing out around town for free lately.  Handouts for the everyman.

There's something different going on with the guitars here, and while I'm not sure I'm totally on board with it,  I'm not reaching for the boo-hoo button neither. They definitely feel mottled to me, too harmonious, and not at all chainsaw massacre, cosmic killer like I likes. But then again, I think I'm happier listening to music when I've got one finger in the wall socket. Who knew it was so easy to feel free, am I right?

The follow-up EP to their 2010 LP is coming out March 1 on Subpop, and you'll never believe what it's called...And get your tickets for the Black Cat show with the Minks and Dirty Beaches on March 5 during their wind up to SXSW. It'll be a good show. It will also be full of total tools. A virtual toolshed of dumpster-diving trust fund babies (not mutually exclusive). But I'll be there, crying and laughing my spleen out.

Bones: the EP's going to include a cover of Smiths song, "There Is a Light that Never Goes Out." And now I'm going to bed with visions of the Moz swaying in my head.

Dum Dum Girls :: He Gets Me High

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Video :: Remote Viewing :: The Mantles

The Mantles
Pink Information EP

Do you like rock and roll? Do you? I think it's about time you take a good long look in the mirror. Size yourself up. Make some affirmations that will last you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

News :: We Can See the Future :: UV Race

This one barely qualifies as forecasting the future since these guys have been on the radar for a couple of years now. The UV Race hail from the land of road warriors and hobbits, bringing the Buzzcocks-era British punk hard out of the Melbourne garage scene. How thick is the Melbourne garage scene these days? Mikey Young, the guitarist from Eddy Current Suppression Ring, produced the album, and it promises to be young, bloody, and snotty.

I hope they walk into my office tomorrow and beat the shit out of me behind my giant, lameass desk.

Their sophomore release, Homo, comes out later this year from In the Red, and you can pre-order it now from Insound.

UV Race :: Low
UV Race :: Inner North

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review :: Paleoacoustics :: Roedelius

Selbstportrait I
Bureau B

I'm gonna pretend for a minute that this blog has no particular aesthetic. I stumbled down the embarrassment that is 18th St. NW the other afternoon and picked up this one from Red Onion (surprise surprise - very likely the only place you'd find a title like this in DC). I've been a longtime fan of Cluster, Harmonia, Conny Plank and just about anything that came out of the 1970's Germanic landscape. I even went as far as to write a graduate thesis on the Zodiac Free Arts Lab in West Berlin, which was co-founded by Roedelius in 1967. I think it's since become a porn shop or something... maybe Chuck E. Cheese. Anyway, handing over an hour's pay for this one was a no-brainer.

Mr. Roedelius (who turns the decidedly palindromic age of 77 this year) was and still is a prolific motherfucker, having recorded this set during his off-time from Harmonia, Cluster, and both of those acts' sessions with Mr. Eno. Oh, to kick back and press record when you're not busy inventing ambient music. The liner notes here suggest a bucolic tone - Roedelius claims that these are spontaneous compositions influenced by "balmy summer evenings" in the Weser Uplands. Just him and his Farfisa VIP 600, a shitty reel-to-reel, and a few effects pedals, watching the deer fornicate outside his perch of pleasant living. This is the one to have when you're having more than one.

Roedelius :: In Liebe Dein

Friday, February 11, 2011

Features :: Weaponize Your Stereo Today :: Not Not Fun Records

I just wanted to shine a light on a couple of new releases from Not Not Fun Records (and see how they felt for a change).

This happy couple started out as a simple tape and CD-R label and evolved steadily into vinyl and other media, building on its current catalog of well over 200 releases and counting. Based on the last couple of NNF purchases that I've been zoning out to at home, you're not going to be able to ignore their future releases.

I haven't stopped flipping this first one tonight, and while I'm no pothead (all ahm sayin iz whiskey's for winners), it has got me to thinking fondly on the times when my old roommates would beckon me into their brooding pits so that I could hold the last clean plate under their light switch wall plates while they scraped the dark dust of pot residue off with a razor blade, motes drifting all around us as a reminder of the lost hours, weekends we spent holed up watching Cronenberg films frame-by-frame. I'm calling it: this is my favorite album (to date) of 2011. Slide that tape into my abdomen, friend. As my flesh receptively parts for your hand alone, you'll see therein lies the gateway to another dimension.

Peaking Lights

From NNF's album description:
'Sometimes it feels so simple: two of our favorite people in one of our favorite bands release one of our favorite records of all time. 2009’s Imaginary Falcons was its own genius slushpile of tape-hissy drift-dub haze anthems, no question, but 936 takes every facet of the Peaking Lights mighty diamond and shines it to fluorescent perfection. The songwriting is insane; “All The Sun That Shines,” “Amazing & Wonderful,” “Tiger Eyes (Laid Back),” etc, all seep into yr mindstream and float there like melodic gold dust. Indra Dunis’ silky soul-jazz keys and tranced vocals have never sounded so exquisite, and Aaron Coyes busts out the best bass/drum loops and sneaky dub guitar of his musical lifetime. Recorded by Luke Tweedy at Flat Black Studios in Iowa City (where both the NNF Wet Hair LPs were tracked) and mastered in Berlin, 936 retains the cool crate-digger grit of their earlier highlights, but within a much more vivid spectrum of sound. Could not be more jazzed and honored to unveil this total groove-wave classic. Black vinyl LPs in jackets with vintage art by the band. Edition of 600.'

Psychic Reality
Vibrant New Age

Describing last year's split LP with LA Vampires (NNF label leader's band):
'A unique marriage of the "heavy and beautiful," Psychic Reality is actually the musical presence of just one woman: Leyna Noel Tilbor. The Bay Area musician describes her sound as alternately "crumbling," "melodic," "roaring," and "fragile" -- to throw out just a few adjectives. Although Psychic Reality has toured the country from coast to coast, this will be her SXSW debut. Her new album, a split LP with LA Vampires on the Not Not Fun label, was released in February.'

I'll add to that earlier Peaking Lights review that this band brings the thumping post-reggae rhythm to the front of the classroom and plants it on the teacher's desk for everyone to deal with like it was a dead mass of unknown mammalian genetics brought in fresh from the playground (too far?).  And Psychic Reality has got this vibe that's still trying to work itself out. While there's energy in abundance, I feel a lot of it gets spent on the beats per minute when there are simpler, more elegant methods for driving up the momentum. I almost wish the names of the bands were switched to better fit their respective sounds. But I'm a fan of both and would be a wooden-toothed liar if I said otherwise, whatever the fuck that means.

Peaking Lights :: "All the Sun that Shines"

Psychic Reality :: "Fruit"

Peaking Lights :: Tiger Eyes (Laid Back)

Psychic Reality :: Elle Elle Beat

Watch your distributor of choice for these upcoming releases, because this is a god damned democracy, man, and you can buy your sounds from whatever piece-of-shit, back alley doctor you choose:

Dylan Ettinger Lion of Judah 7" (NNF224)
Wet Hair Radiant Lines 7" + art book (NNF225)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Video :: Remote Viewing :: Fresh & Onlys

Fresh & Onlys
Play It Strange

As of now they're booked for the Red Palace on 4/25 with the Crocodiles. I'm not missing it. Nope. Not a chance. Uh-uh. No fucking way. Forget about it. By no means. Nay, sir. Negative. Not in a million years. Not on your life. You calling me a liar? I can't live to regret it. I haven't got room on the agenda in the afterlife. I've got plenty of appointments to keep, but sitting around crying about this show's not one of them.

Now I just heard today that one of the dudes from the Crocodiles is married to Dee Dee, the lead singer of the Dum Dum Girls. So he can fuck himself six ways to Sunday, right back to where he came from, but you'd better believe I'll be front row for the Fresh & Onlys, making it very difficult for them to do anything other than be incredibly loud and unstoppably rock and roll.

Some new copies of last year's Fresh & Onlys release just hit the racks at Red Onion today. Get some, get some, get some. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And like the chopper gunner, I'll stand idly by, dry heaving until you land.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review :: Psychotronic Wiretap :: Brown Recluse

Brown Recluse
Panoptic Mirror Maze

I woke up way too early this morning so I could toss my Vox Jaguar organ into the trunk of my dad's VW and have him drive me to a repair shop in the palatial suburbia of Kensington, MD. Kensington, MD, as it turns out, is the shittiest place on earth. I shut my eyes and dozed off as my dad pointed out the veterinary clinic he worked at when he was 16, now entirely swallowed by monolithic slabs of concrete that lifeless people buzz in and out of. I had a nightmare, then woke as the gurgle of the diesel engine quit, yanked the organ from the back, and knocked on the door of the windowless storefront. After a moment, Merlin opened the gate and welcomed me into his castle, a giant warehouse space filled wall to wall with vintage keyboards: Farfisa, Wurlitzer, Hammond, Rhodes, Arp, and now my Vox; I wanted to hear all of them playing at once.

Philly's psych-pop outfit Brown Recluse shares that same desire, but they have the means to make it reality. The fine folks over at Weekly Tape Deck recently posted a video for "Mirror Mansion," and I had to find out more. The song is available on Panoptic Mirror Maze, a free mini-LP offered on the band's Bandcamp page. This shit came out of nowhere for me; at times Martin Denny, other times BBC Radiophonic Workshop, or the Elephant Six, always technicolor and brimming with sugarsweet arrangements. "Mirror Mansion" pulls me straight off the couch and plugs me directly into the Ghost n' Goblins video game. I've always searched for that feeling. Fire-breathing ghouls knocking my clothes off, all pixelated and grainy. They take the warm hum of my analog dreams and paint murals with them.

Apparently, this release is a teaser of sorts for their upcoming debut LP, Evening Tapestry, out March 15 on Slumberland. If it's not pressed on glow-in-the-dark vinyl, I'm throwing it away.

Brown Recluse :: Mirror Mansion

Saturday, February 5, 2011

News :: We Can See The Future :: Melted Toys

Ever since I stumbled into the band Felt a couple years ago, my mere tolerance for songs guided by clean-tone guitar work has become more of an obsession. I've become that guy who goes to Sears just to ride the elevator from Men's up to Home Decor and back again to get my fix. You know that guy, right? Or maybe I'll dial up Public Works just to sit on hold for a few minutes each day. Is there a way to plug your mobile into a tape deck?

Until then, San Francisco's Melted Toys brings that hypnotic chiming straight to the front of this cut, the lead-off track from their debut EP, Washed and Dried, due out Feb. 22 on Underwater Peoples
. It's the perfect last-weeks-of-winter-when-the-fuck-will-it-end-I've-been-staring-at-this-black-pile-of-slush-for-hours sound. Not entirely sure how a Bay Area band managed that, but the guitars don't lie. I'd like to do my own remix of this track, with quick audio ducking to overdub an announcement to listen carefully as the options have changed.

Melted Toys :: Come On

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review :: Armchair Telepathy :: Dead Meat

Dead Meat
"The King" EP

This pigfuck, post-grunge band followed me all the way home from work today. I thought I could lose it by cutting through the dirt path between Calvert and the dog park, but I noticed it in my periphery when I turned back down Adams Mill toward 18th. My next move was straight out of a spy flick: I counted out bus fare in my pocket with my spare hand, crossed to the nearest 94/96 stop, and waited for the first after-work crowd to disembark. When none of this worked, I decided to drop the pretenses, turned to face my stalker, and tried to come to peaceful terms. Right about then I took a right cross from Helmet circa 1992. I swung back with a few remembered niceties about Joy Division's Closer, but I overshot and fell short in the same move.

These fuzz-laden licks wiped me clean out. Jesus ascended Fuck Mountain for me: I was transported directly back to my seventeenth year, counting push ups in my parents' garage as if the FBI recruiter was waiting out in the driveway for my commitment letter (I don't work for the FBI. I'm a shit-stirring fuck-up). I think I was expecting to be more prescient, more scene-sensitive, and instead I discovered that I was as much a victim of my musical upbringing as any reviewer out there, trapped between nostalgia and wishful thinking.

Came across these guys while listening to Vancouver's Pop Drones, Episode 78, originally known to me as the blog "Expressway to My Skull" even though I can't remember when it changed over exactly.

Bonus/Bones: If you buy "The King," you also get a download card for the Early Recordings full length. So slam that jello shot, son; you're a winner just like your daddy was.

Dead Meat :: The King

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

News :: Upcoming Shows :: February

2/4: Corn Mo @ Red Palace
        Monotonix @ Comet

2/7: Bobby Bare, Jr. @ Iota

2/8: Thao of the Get Down Stay Down @ Iota

2/9: Gang of Four @ 9:30 Club

2/11: Baths, Braids, Star @ Rock and Roll Hotel
Coke Bust @ Hole in the Sky

2/12: Wild Nothing, Abe Vigoda @ Rock and Roll Hotel

2/14: OFWGKTA @ U Street Lounge

2/18: Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds @ Comet

2/20: The Beets @ Velvet Lounge

2/21: Fluorescent Sensei @ Iota

2/23: Lower Dens, Secret Mountains, Weekends @ Subterranean A

2/26: Beach House @ 9:30 Club [SOLD OUT]

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

News :: Upcoming Releases :: February

Artist :: Album :: Label :: Format

Demdike Stare :: Tryptych :: Modern Love :: 3xCD
Dirtbombs :: Party Store :: In the Red :: LP
U.S. Girls :: Go Grey :: Siltbreeze :: LP

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead :: Tao of the Dead :: Richter Scale Recordings :: LP
James Blake :: S/T :: Atlas/A&M :: LP

Brown Recluse :: Evening Tapestry :: Slumberland :: LP
Mogwai :: Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will :: Subpop :: LP
Yuck :: S/T :: Fat Possum :: LP

Arbouretum :: The Gathering :: Thrill Jockey :: LP
Bass Drum of Death :: GB City :: Inflated Records :: LP
Beach Fossils :: What a Pleasure :: Captured Tracks :: EP
Slug Guts :: Howlin' Gangs :: Sacred Bones :: LP
Toro y Moi :: Underneath the Pine :: Carpark :: LP
Earth :: Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 :: Southern Lord :: LP