Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Light In The Attic: Japan Archival Series

Light In The Attic are absolute masters at digging up the past and their latest series fills an essential hole in the cataloging of Japanese music. They’re beginning the series with three compilations – Even A Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973; Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1975-1985; and Kanky┼Ź Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990. Presumably they’ll spread to some singular artist focused releases from there as they tease a release from “one of the most respected and influential artists in Japan.”

The first release on the docket is Even A Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973 and it catalogs the post-war folk wellspring that became known as angura among students and fans at the time. The folk movement prized an authenticity over recreating Western sounds and as a result this lays the groundwork for many of the modern folk and psych-folk artists from the country we’ve come to love. The first installment is out in October and available on limited “Weeping Sakura” colored wax. Check out a cut from Kazuhiko Kato below.

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Mikey Young – “Socks”

Well, it should be no small secret that I love Mikey Young around here. The Aussie veteran of bands like Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Ooga Boogas and Total Control has gone on to be one of the country’s great mastering engineers and more than that, a litmus for great bands that bubble up from the underground. So, its with plenty of excitement that Young has a solo release of his own on the way. It’s not what I would have pegged or expected to be honest, but keeping us on our toes is what the man does best. The first entry in Moniker Records’ new synth series “Your Move,” it finds Young wading into bubbling ’70s synths that thankfully skew more to the Kosmiche than the Italo-horror side of the coin. He’s found himself in the midst of glowing Germanic tones, fluttering with a wide-eyed wonder and no shortage of head nodding beats. The series is intriguing and this is a great first entry to be sure. Check out “Socks” below:





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Premiere: Oister – “Lovin’ Me”

HoZac has been doggedly reissuing lost singles from power pop legend Dwight Twilley and this time they’ve got a real gem and true fan release on their hands. Pre-dating The Dwight Twilley Band, the pair of Twilley and Phil Seymour went under the name Oister around their stomping grounds of Tulsa, OK. They operated under this moniker from around 1967 until they broke through in 1975. The pair’s legendary ‘Teac Tapes’ contain recordings from this time period and they’ve yet to see release until now. HoZac Archival will issue Oister 1973-74 a double LP set of recordings from Twilley and Seymour before they shook power pop forever with “I’m On Fire.”

“Lovin’ Me” harnesses a bit of the same vein of dirty twang that their seminal hit taps, though it’s rougher with the band still finding their explosive footing. The track proves that both songwriters had plenty of chops from the outset. These were home recordings, laid to an early edition Teac four-track before accessibility made everyone a bedroom sound engineer, but they still sound remarkably crisp. The pair put these tracks down to tape and pressed the results to acetate to sell to friends and at shows. This era of the band is deserving of its own deep dive, and thankfully now these recordings have been shined up for power pop completists no doubt waiting to hear a clean copy. Check out “Lovin’ Me” below:


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RSTB Presents: 120 Seconds

Introducing a new feature that will stand alongside the site today. In addition to regular coverage here, I’m starting up a video series that will focus on new music via two minute videos. I’ll spare you the boredom of watching me talk awkwardly into a camera trying not to look as if I’m reading in one direction and speaking in another. Instead the series will indulge a ’90s nostalgia for cut ‘n paste video sequencing doused in a particular bent of pop culture fixation and rounded up into two minute bites. Basically this exists because I watched too much TV as a child. The first episode is below and it features Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Peacers, School Damage and Bleached.

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School Damage – “Tall Poppies”

This one brings together members of two RSTB faves, Carolyn Hawkins of Chook Race and Jake Robertson of Ausmuteants. The group is self-admittedly going for a Vaselines meets Young Marble Giants sound, which on paper is an excellent idea that could go very wrong in execution. Thankfully the pair has the chops to pull it off pretty much perfectly. “Tall Poppies” hews closer to the Young Marble Giants side of that axis and they capture the stark, edge of electronic/edge of post-punk feelings with a deadpanned swagger that’s studied and superb. The track bodes well for what’s to come on their upcoming full length. If they can extend the exorcism of indie’s rise out of post-punk’s bones then it promises to be an intriguing entry in not only the Australian underground but also a welcome return to a sound that’s been explored far too seldom.




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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – “A Song of Summer”

Very excited to hear a new cut from Jefre Cantu-Ledesma this week. The track is the first from his upcoming album, On Echoing Green, out June 16th on Mexican Summer. The track features vocals from Argentinian singer Sobrenadar and pushes Cantu-Ledesma’s needle slightly further from the crackled noise that he’d been engulfed in on 2014’s A Year With Thirteen Moons. That’s not to imply that he’s emerged totally from the din, there’s still a gauzy glow around the artist’s synth and guitar work, but this time it’s far less impenetrable, arcing closer to shoegaze than noise. The track bristles at the edges in waves of glorious energy and burns with a glow that’s quite like squinting into the sun. Cantu-Ledesma won’t be accused of making pop by any measures here, but fans of My Bloody Valentine may have found a new obsession in this one.



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The Myyrors – “El Aleph”

Arizona psych trio The Myrrors are back again this year, following on their intriguing LP, Entranced Earth from 2016 that raised their profile among psych heads everywhere. The new LP sees the band drift further from guitar psych and into dronescapes flecked with Eastern touches and their signature somber violin. The first taste from the upcoming Hasta La Victoria is a shamanistic shake through the valley of dessert psych, speaking well to their Southwest surroundings. It’s just a short wander into the scorched sun, but it feels like a ominous preview of the rest of what HLV has to offer. If you weren’t paying attention last year, then it seems Myyrors have doubled down on the urge to bend your ears to their psych prominence this year.




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Major Leagues – “It Was Always You”

Brisbane’s Major Leagues have been pumping out singles and short form releases that are packed with indie pop charms, but they’re now on the precipice of an album proper. “It Was Always You” heralds their upcoming full length for Aussie indie Popfrenzy, and it’s a swooning bit of jangle pop that’s got a bittersweet heart. A pitch perfect ode to lost love, the song pines in blurred hues that creep up between the tears on a warm summer’s day. The love may be over but at least something beautiful remains in it’s absence. This track piques interest for that full length for sure. For now though, just gonna hit repeat on this one a few times.




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Peacers – “Jurgen’s Layout”

Can’t help but love Mike Donovan around here, whether it was with Sic Alps, solo, or with Peacers. This time Ty steps out of view of the project, but Donovan tripled down on the ranks in his stead (math seems right). Adding to the fray is longtime RSTB favorite pop-in Shayde Sartin (Fresh & Onlys, Skyhigh Band, Skygreen Leopards) who always adds a bit of crackle to any band. The first taste of the oddly tittled Introducing the Crimsmen gives off a whiff of old Sic Alps for the lonely hearted. It’s typically sparse but coated in a layer of pop that’s entrancing and also just a touch menacing. There’s a hint of Skip Spence to Donovan’s songwriting, bolstered with an ozone riff and stormcloud sway. Put this one on the wishlist for sure. It’s a keeper.




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Mixtape: Shame About The Rain

Heading into the third installment of the RSTB Mixtape series here and this one speaks to a crucial influence on the site. There’s been no shortage of jangle pop in the last couple of years, particularly because a current crop of Aussie and US bands seem enamored with the sounds of Creation, Sarah, September and Flying Nun. This mix is a tribute to the sound of English rain. It’s full of faraway looks, pining hearts and more than a few hooks. By no means a definitive overview but I have to say, not a shabby collection of janglers here. Check out the stream and tracklist below.

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