Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review :: Monomyth :: S/T

Sweet 16 summer guitar pop courtesy of Canada's Monomyth. I explain their talent to myself this way: the sun shines longer up there. Maybe not in Halifax. But I bet these guys have cousins or uncles who they have to visit once a year, and those relatives probably have to deal with the sun blasting them for a solid 20 hours in late June.  So maybe I'm not a scientist.

I first encountered them on the out-of-this world fantastic Khyber compilation (volume 2 for those of you counting).  Order their self-released cassette and/or take the free download path via their Bandcamp site. No, but really, toss these guys some US dollars, the exchange rate is running close to even these days, which means poor musicians are the same up their in the land of maple syrup as they are down here in the, er, land of used car parts.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Video :: Friends :: Mind Control

Hits all of the MD pleasure centers. The director, Hiro Murai, comes out smelling like roses again. Their new album (Manifest!) comes out on Fat Possum in June, and they'll be playing DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel @ 07/06. If you don't make it to minute 4, you'll never know what freedom feels like.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Review :: Cellphone :: S/T

Whoa, didn't see this one coming. There I was just sittin in front of my CB trying to tune into my favorite broadcast when I ran into this rogue transmission. I gotta warn you: you're gonna love this, and I know you prefer to hate shit. Prepare yourself for the next phase of evolution, though, cuz this is some serious mutant shit coming your way. Can't be bothered to get off the couch and board up the windows? Then go ahead and give up now. You can hear the green glowing ooze rising from sewer grates and pouring out of storm drains on Cellphone's new EP out on Polyphasic.

Pac-Man punk rock? Man-tendo goth? Wait, wait, bear with me: Dorito Jazz. Fuck it, can't find the right words for what I'm feeling.

Cellphone :: One Last Shot
Cellphone :: Storm Chaser

Order their cassette today from Polyphasic and get that immediate gratification you prowl the streets at night for in the form of a high-grade mp3 download. It's a measly ten bucks plus it's coming all the way from Can-a-duh and plus it's got that sweet skull insert.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

News :: Heavenly Beat Debuts First Single

Beach Fossil's John Pena rolls out this new track from his solo project Heavenly Beat's forthcoming Captured Tracks release, Talent, and it's the first official jam of the summer. Girls and boys (mostly girls) will be blasting this in Ocean City for the next 16-odd weeks, pounding volley balls and guzzling Mich Ultra.

The Talent LP squirts out on July 24. Have at it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Listen :: Jeff Beam :: Be Your Own Mirror

This is about all I can/want/choose to handle on a Monday morning following a weekend of unspeakable ups-and-downs.  Chance meetings, terrible news, and corned beef hash (not once but twice) has got my whities a bit tightier than usual, and I'm pretty certain I needed this record to show up.  A swirling blend of tight songwriting chops and noise place Jeff Beam of Portland, Maine firmly in Adam Granduciel-meets-Elliott Smith/Cass McCombs territory.  There's even a bit of New England interstate krautjam snuck in, like hitting I-95 immediately after losing five pounds at the rest stop and slamming a Red Bull.  Aerodynamic, completely relieved, and confident for the future.  Which is not to say that this is great driving music.  Just great I-95 rest stop vending machine music, that's all.

I can't seem to find any label info for this man, so I'm gonna make the rare assumption that this guy works on his own dime.  Impressive, in this economy, yeah?  Risky business, sir.  Please listen to his newest record - Be Your Own Mirror - at his bandcamp page.  Perhaps even part with five hard-earned bones for a CD or hand-painted cassette.

Also, this.  Rest easy, Marty.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Paleoacoustics :: Sex Clark Five :: Strum & Drum!

Huntsville, Alabama couldn't be a more perfect setting for oddball 80s indie-lore.  Huntsville, at once completely anonymous and three hole-punched notches in the Bible Belt, but a little digging and you discover Space Camp.  Southern dredge with ties to the cosmos.  Mustachioed men in tiny Eraser Head tees.  The universe seems charmingly smaller, everything makes a bit more sense.  Fertile ground for a band called Sex Clark Five (four conveniently pictured above) to take the neighbor's basement by storm.  Theirs is a brief tale of Kinks obsession and John Peel ordainment, seemingly cut short by their own quick wit.  Leader James Butler and crew tracked their debut Strum and Drum! (a neatly precise genre-tag for their sound) in late 1986, and aside from an EP or two, all was said and done.  They've left behind a truly astonishing document of Southern jangle-pop, and I recommend seeking it out.  I also recommend covering your neighbor's car in bologna and letting it sit overnight.  Same difference.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Video :: Blanche Blanche Blanche :: Music Overall

I'm convinced there's something in the water in Brattleboro, VT.  A small-town gem of so-far-left-you-go-cross-eyed pop, the art scene here must not give a fuck about the outside world.  It's completely plausible that they might not know it even exists.  I view this video as a sort of Voyager-sponsored message about the dangers of displacing too much air into a fragile receptacle.  The ultimate tension and release, the most fundamental story arc, edge-of-your-seat type stuff.  Wait for it.

Blanche Blanche Blanche plopped this ballad on last year's "Our Place" long-player (on their own OSR-Tapes), and now it sees re-plopping on vinyl by Feeding Tube Records.  Be on the lookout for the new LP "Papa's Proof" on La Station Radar soon.  They also do song poems for $10, so if you're feeling particularly profound, you can write them about it and they'll immortalize you.  Off the charts, anyone?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review :: Throbbing Gristle :: The Second Annual Report

So a band called The Death Factory was formed on exactly September 3rd, 1975.  Two years later, they issued their second annual report under a different name, Throbbing Gristle, as a generous token of what's been cooking.  A sort of "Hey, I wonder what the Death Factory has been up to all this time."  Well, Mom, we've been isolated in a concrete hell-hole decorated with bullet-hole disco-rays and rat shit for two years, obsessing over long-gone Nazi encampments and inventing what some ass pigeonholes as industrial music down the road for journalistic innovation and ease.  Cue elemental worry masked by disapproving looks.

Well, the long-gone Nazi encampments ring true here, but this is no Joy Division.  A recent series of Throbbing Gristle reissues by the original Industrial Records place this debut comfortably alongside the rash of 1970s reissues by labels like 4 Men With Beards and Bureau B.  The Internet is well-seeded with literature about this landmark of drone and noise, but in this collector-nerd's experience, I can't help but draw direct comparison to six-years-previous German innovators Cluster, or a completely sequencer-less Tangerine Dream.  Even those guitar-squalls on "Slug Bait" sound like pristine German engineering racing by on the Autobahn.

The fixation continues on "Zyclon B Zombie," an early single referencing the cyanide gas used in the Holocaust.  Here, this track spans the entire second side, the title making it much more harrowing than otherwise suggested.  I like to internally rename it "Zombie Curiously Gazing Over City-Scape," so I can share it enthusiastically with the family.  It's a bubbling, belching 20-minute outcropping at red dusk, levitating with tape-samples perfect for TV dinners and staining the carpet.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Review :: V/A :: Smuggler's Way

It took conglomerate America no less than 3 years to reappropriate Record Store Day -- a noble quest that at its core celebrates small business -- into a circus of big-box bullshit aimed at the top dollar.  What a great idea turned sour so quickly, and beyond the control of actual record shop owners who become peripheral representatives of wide-eyed label heads.  It bothers me, but there are decent people on this planet, and the best of them put music out there with earnest intentionsRibbon Music and Domino put their resources together to release a genuine package of original art for those who care about the physical package, the one-off oddity, and the well-curated compilation.  So it is written, so it shall be: Smuggler's Way sits in my living room, not once, but twice, since my roommate also owns a copy.

First up is the music itself -- five rainbow-colored flexi-discs featuring one track each from Cass McCombs, John Maus, Dirty Projectors, Real Estate, and Villagers.  Cass holds true to his occult madrigal status, closing the gap by covering Leonard Cohen's "Teachers," a personal favorite from the 1967 Songs Of debut.  He locks the song in a tinder barn house, lights a match and slowly walks away.  John Maus pays tribute to his co-conspirator Molly Nilsson with a pulsating motorik cleanse that would sit well on his 2011 full-length, We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves.  Real Estate tap the familiar pastel/pastoral vein with "In My Car," sounding like Felt and Foo Fighters simultaneously.  Dirty Projector's Dave Longstreth provides an acoustic demo "You Against the Larger World," a beautifully-played and sung stroll in the park, complete with his signature non-committal phrasing.  Am I right?  Villagers check in with a percolating, sample-ridden collage that sounds a bit like a sabotaged nativity scene.  But I'll be damned if it's not pressed on ectoplasmic flexi-vinyl.

It's a great compilation of music, but a big part of my allegiance comes down to the commitment to presentation.  Domino/Ribbon have simulated small-town basement comps by incorporating original drawings and prose from established artists.  Keyword is "simulated" here; you don't get the sense that anyone here was collaborating, or even aware of the final outcome -- but I believe in the sincerity of the project.  And I'm willing to spend money on it.  Really, the only thing missing is a toy or candy.  It's clear the Internet has destroyed zine culture, but as long as the music is central, the physical format will thrive.  The audience is still there... just give them something to get excited about.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Review :: The KVB :: Always Then

I'm a little behind on gettin' behind. Gotta slow down just to show up.  Slapping on mud to get back that feeling of clean.  The KVB are back with a brand new mission. Compared to the even burn dealt out by their first Clan Destine release, Always Then stands out as bolder, stronger, more unified, with memorable hooks that sink way down into your flesh. The guitar is towering. The synths, magisterial. A forty minute-long crown of thorns.

The KVB :: Here It Comes

"Here It Comes" will probably turn out to be the most played track of the year on my account, and I feel like it's the most immediate selling point on the album. It's got the grave-gaze going for it, a sound I've been chasing in my dreams. It's midnight driving music for the hit-and-run crowd.

The icing on the cake has to be the seriously fuzzed out cover of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" that sounds more like the prelude to a night of solo vomitcore with your best friend, the bottle of bleach.

Head over to Clan Destine Records to pick up a copy on vinyl today. Move like a motherfucker and you may just be lucky enough to get one of the limited white vinyl represses.

Video time. Go:

Gott-damn, I just wanna throw a vicious throat punch into Garrison Keillor so hard. Think he'd sue?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

News :: King Tuff :: S/T

This summer's looking up with news of the sophomore King Tuff record, out May 29th via SubPop.  We've waited four dark, self-serious years for this one to land, and King Tuff himself emailed me last night to tell me how awesome it's gonna be.  And, you know, I'm gonna take his word for it.  He'd likely lop off my head with a guitar string-turned-garrote if I questioned it.

Here's to eating pizza all fucking night and playing pinball til my palms bleed.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Review :: Social Climbers :: ST Reissue

Social Climbers :: Chris & Debbie

A big thank you to Yoga Records and Drag City for teaming up for this excavation, getting their hands a little dirty together in the desolate graffiti-haze of NYC no-wave 1981.  I'd have a large, one-man privately-drunk dance-party-sized hole in my life without their hard work putting this one out.  What you've got here is a group of blue-collar mid-westerners with jazz credentials waking up in the much-less-interesting-than-history-remembers punk scene of the Lower East Side, just as the guitars were suspect of not making your dreams come true.  In fact, you'll find very little six-string on this, an addictive cycle of bass grooves, hiccuping drum machine, and denim-colored Farfisa.  The inclusion of three or four instrumentals reinforces the musicality of the group, at once hypnotic and stabbing, sensual and violent.  But leader Mark Bingham's half-man half-gremlin freak-outs are perfectly welcome, evoking Can trapped in a calculator.  Pick up a copy for yourself... I've found myself making more and more friends with each consecutive spin.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

News :: Sweating Tapes :: May Day Sale

From now until May 8 Sweating Tapes, one of our favorite cassette (and vinyl) labels around, is taking 15% off of their entire catalog to make room for some new releases. So, yeah, this presents a pretty fucking great opportunity to get acquainted. The best possible introduction you could hope to get of ST past and ST future would be to pick up their compilation featuring ASSS, Vice Device, Tunnels, and a shit load of other synth-powered light dispensers. All of their releases comes with a high quality digital download so that you can grapple with some instant gratification.

Keep an eye out for some definite-buys out soon on Sweating Tapes like the Nightmare Fortress12" Until the Air Runs Out (sample below).

As for today's haul, I grabbed up the new Deathday c30 and the Animal Bodies 12", and holy shit, I'm going to be sacrificing some black cats come midnight tonight. Maybe not my cat, but somebody's cat, and definitely tonight at midnight.

Deathday :: Cold Room

 Nightmare Fortress :: Visionquest 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

News :: Upcoming Shows :: May

Squeaking by for another month thanks to a little bit of spit and a whole lotta polish.

05/01 :: Bear in Heaven/Blouse :: Black Cat Back Stage
05/02 :: Xiu Xiu/Dirty Beaches :: Rock and Roll Hotel
05/04 :: Lower Dens/Widowspeak :: Rock and Roll Hotel
             Acid Mothers Temple :: Red Palace
05/05 :: Light Asylum :: U Street Music Hall
05/09 :: Active Child/Balam Acab :: Black Cat
05/10 :: Spiritualized :: 9:30 Club
05/12 :: Gentleman Jesse/Barreracudas :: Black Cat Back Stage
05/16 :: MV & EE :: DC9
05/18 :: La Sera :: Red Palace
05/20 :: Strange Boys/William Tyler :: DC9
05/22 :: Ophidian Trek Tour :: Meshuggah/Baroness/Decapitated :: Fillmore
05/24 :: The Ketamines :: Comet Ping Pong
05/29 :: Dandy Warhols :: 9:30 Club