Saint Cecilia – “We Know Us”

A nice charmer to cap off the week, this cut from Saint Cecilia’s slept on record from the end of last year gets a new life through video. The song is pure girl group swoon, but the keys give it a tight new wave bent that drags it out of the garage ghetto and floats it above the fray. Cecilia Enriquez taps into a psych-pop that’s glittering without feeling frivolous. There’s a dark undercurrent that keeps this tethered and bites down for blood and its absolutely infectious. If you missed out on this last year, get into it now!

Support the artist. Buy it HERE (tape) . or HERE (dig).

0 Comments

Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band – “Dreaming In The Non-Dream”

Whew, Forsyth comes into his own on this one. Not that the guitarist has been slacking, his Solar Motel Band has been excavating their own cavern of psych for a long time, but on his latest record he’s reaching to a new level of intensity. With his teeth sharpened and the kind of motorik instincts that drove Neu to repetitive stress, he’s let a monster down on the world in the form of the title track off his latest LP, “Dreaming In The Non-Dream.” The track’s a blistered American bar guitar workout gone cosmic – Pere Ubu and The Dead shot through the soul of Hawkwind and Ash Ra Temple. I’ve often held Forsyth in high regard, but this album seems to have actualized his soul and burnt it out through the wires. Damn well worth looking into and keeping your eyes on.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

On his last album for Mexican Summer, veteran noise sculptor Cantu-Ledesma took a step towards accessibility. The album was still steeped in decaying waves of noise but it squinted into the sun every so often with a kind of shimmering beauty that let in a crossover of fans of shoegaze or more straightforward brands of electronic music. He doubles (maybe even triples) down on the concept for the follow-up and with On The Echoing Green he creates his most overtly pop album yet. The step towards pop is properly enabled by Green being his most collaborative work in a long time.

Chief among those collaborators is the siren call of Argentinian singer Sobrenada, whose voice fades in and out of the compositions on On The Echoing Green, blinking between the beautiful shards of Cantu-Ledesma’s sonic ruins. The album bleeds into the shoegaze world wholeheartedly this time, no half-measures. The slow, contemplative builds of the songs use noise as a trowel to shape their wall of sound, rather than seeping some shimmer in through the cracks of a house of noise, as was the case with A Year With 13 Moons. The result is a gorgeous, fragile, and tender record that occasionally lets itself be lacerated by Cantu-Ledesma’s past.

While there are some contenders, this might be the headphone record of the year. Cantu-Ledesma’s horizons of quaking bliss wash over the listener like a cocoon of lost emotions. He’s always been a master of soundcraft, but here he proves that he can let a little sun shine in without letting his carefully curated world crumble.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE

0 Comments

James Elkington on Robin Williamson – Myrrh

You might not immediately recognize James Elkington’s name but chances are you’ve heard his playing on songs by Jeff Tweedy, Wooden Wand, Richard Thompson, Steve Gunn, Michael Chapman, Joan Shelley, Nathan Salsburg or Tortoise. He’s a kind of sidmean’s sideman, a songwriter’s secret weapon who adds texture and depth to any song he graces. He’s steeped in the traditions of Basho, Fahey and Ayers with a touch that rivals his compatriot Steve Gunn in accessibility and nuance. As usual Hidden Gems explores the albums that inspire reverence in artists, the ones that they feel haven’t received due diligence. Elkington goes deep on a solo outing from the Incredible String Band’s Robin Williamson, and makes a case for a psych-folk classic lost to time.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Astral TV – “Sun Flares”

More great work out of the El Paraiso camp. This time the vibes skid less into the psych valley than into the Kosmiche ripple with a solo outing via Causa Sui synth and electronics-wiz Rasmus Rasmussen. The track is a prime example of ’70s German progressive synth float flecked with cosmic ambitions and rippling waves of lycergic bliss. Kosmiche has come storming back as a tag of notoriety in the last few years, but its also become a lazy signifier for letting synths drone on too long. Rasmussen can hardly be accused of aimless synth noodles. The track builds to a tower of crystalline beauty and glows like a beacon of new age glory. Many have tried and failed, but Astral TV nails the vibes that brought Germanic synth lords shuttling into view in the first place.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

House and Land

It’s been such a noisy year, in so many ways, that its nice to sink into the sparse trappings of Sally Anne Morgan and Sarah Louise Henson’s traditional Appalachian folk. Not that they allow such folk to become a place of complacent quietude, rather they’re able to wield solemnity and austerity as fiercely as many would a cracked amplifier through fuzztone. However, their resolve and mastery of traditional instrumentation (fiddle, shruti box, banjo, 12-string guitar and bouzouki) shrouds the record in a layer of acoustic shiver that centers the listener as it unfolds in its own naked strength.

The pair met while Henson was opening for The Black Twig Pickers, of whom Morgan is a member. The two women dig deep into the roots of not only American folk traditions, but the natural drone that permeates many historical musical styles. Both songwriters come from a tradition of not only folk but experimental music and the incorporation of microtonality and drone into the canon seems fitting to their background. While its more subtle here than, say, in a neo-classical composition, the drone and harmonics add a darkness and complexity that separates this from lightweight folk on many levels.

More so, they also use the traditional songwriting as a platform to subtly update the songs’ intent for a new age; either adopting the original male voice and making it their own or changing the song’s lyrics to offer a female vantage. This can only resonate deeper in a year marked by so many presumptuous lawmakers speaking for masses whose voices they’re barely hearing. Traditional folk is a road that’s been visited time and again, but there’s still ways to make it, if not fresh, then resonant. House and Land are certainly making the form ring true.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Peacers

It’s always comforting to have Mike Donovan back in my life. Since snaking Sic Alps through the seas of fuzz in the early aughts he’s been a steadfast companion with or without the Alps name in tow. Moving to a solo record a few years back and forming Peacers in 2015, which began as a duo with a garage icon of some renown, he’s always been able to find the ragged pieces of the human soul and put them in an order that would make Skip Spence proud. That reputation takes no tarnish here, it’s a pure ramble through the flickering flame at the heart of truly underrated songwriter.

Now with the exit of Ty Segall, one could see the sophomore outing as a bit of bait and switch. Though that kind of view would discount Donovan and place a hair too much of a crown on the heavy head of Segall. Sure, Introducing The Crimsmen is a decidedly quieter record than the last, and that may have something to do with the parting, but its always been Donovan’s show. That makes this record heir apparent, so to speak, to the Sic Alps line, and it feels very much like that’s the idea. Introducing… is a slightly dressed up version of Sic Alps, still shaggy but maybe throwing a shirt and tie on the production while filling out the sound via the addition of Shayde Sartin, Mike Shoun and Bo Moore.

The new players give Donovan’s songs a heft that Alps didn’t always have to swing around. His jagged-psych is given legs via some country touches and the grit gets heavier with the tumble of drums and a second guitar to fill out the din. The acoustic bent on a few tracks, added to that aforementioned shimmer of country, chafes against his gnarled guitar squalls at times. When it all meshes together into a rusted wire framework, though, it works for the most part as the listener steps back to take it all in. That lighter sound hearkens back to that solo album (still one of the highlights in his catalog) but personally I miss a bit of the heaviness of the first record, and it would have been nice to see him go all in on that direction with the full band. Still, there are some true gems in the folds here.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Philippe Hallais

Usually sporting the name Low Jack, Hallais steps out under his own name for a new release on veteran experimental electronic imprint Modern Love. The album is an ambitious gamble at a concept album that winds thick clouds of shoegaze leaning electronics around a narrative that mirrors the rise and fall of a 30 for 30 style sports story. It arcs through triumph and betrayal, decline and salvation before settling into the kind of melancholy even keel the stores often land on. For all its ambitions, the album plays well as an arc, whether you glean the sports story or not.

Hallais sweeps the listener up in tentative hues of swelling anticipation, but tellingly its a track called “Everything (Good)” that might be the best dual image of American success. The track is driving, but distorted – a feeling of blissful invulnerability fractured into broken mirror static. It’s the kind of song that embodies the overload that’s perceived as all being well, with a rotted core ready to break. That point seems like the beginning of the decline, and he maps out the seediness morphing into neediness following that point driving through the excellent “Fantasy (4U)” which brings to mind subtler works from Darkside.

As he winds down into the fall and rebuild, the album finds a calmer veneer shot through with the kind of thick tones that Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Yves Tumor have found their niche in of late. If this is the direction that Hallais is headed in, then I’m on board 100%, but if its a one-off, then its still a great example of distorted emotions bent through the electronic veil. You’d do well to find a quiet place to let this one sink in.






Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

RSTB Best of 2017 (so far)

Is it already six months into 2017? Could that be possible? Though it seems there are a hundred other things to distract these days from musical output, it’s been a banner year in terms of albums meeting high expectations and some new surprises sneaking their way into rotation. Somehow, despite plenty of talent bubbling through other genres, it’s just felt right to embrace the blistering squall of psych, noise and punk these past few months. So, as usual, here are the albums that have spent most time on the turntable here. Presented in alphabetical order, its a pretty good roundup with six more months left on the clock.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Oh Sees – “The Static God”

Thee Oh Sees loom large once again and the air grows acrid with the stink of sonic deluge on this one. They’re just called Oh Sees now, you say? Sure, why not? No matter what name you hoist on the masthead, if J. Dwyer is steering the ship you can count on a good dose of psych-smacked garage. “The Static God” is paced to palpitation and bursting at the stitches with outbursts of noise that seem to take a swipe through Eastern tuning. Maybe they’ve been hanging too long with the Gizzard crew. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Three things you seem to be able to count on in a given year – Gizz, Ty and Oh Sees will come roaring in and light up the husk dry timber of your soul as they channel the very vien of psychedelic furor. As much as I enjoyed the departure on Weird Exits/ Odd Entrance last year, its good to be back behind the jet engine blast of Oh Sees guitar once again.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments
Protected with SiteGuarding.com Antivirus