Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Alex Bleeker – “La La La”

Got a new one that swings at the sunset pretty damn nicely. Real Estate’s Alex Bleeker has had a solid solo hustle over past few years — sometimes with The Freaks and sometimes simply under his own name. This one falls under the latter and sees the songwriter slide into the Night Bloom roster for his new LP Heaven On The Faultline. Bleeker’s always had the most cosmic connotations of any of the Estate solo jaunts, and that deep sway Cosmic Americana vibe is on full display on “La La La.” The record often finds him lounging in a sea-cooled West Coast calm, jangles edging up to the borders of twang, but never quite tumbling into country territory. The song (and admittedly a great deal of the album) shares some space with newfound indie jam pockets like Pacific Range, Hurt Valley, and Arbor Labor Union. The last album hit some Workingman’s and Big Pink touchstones and they haven’t abated in the interim. The new LP is out March 5th.



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Yasmin Williams – “Swift Breeze”

Just catching this single and with it the rest of the upcoming LP from Yasmin Williams and its a lovely way to start off 2021. Williams’ playing, while rooted in a knotted, fingerestyle folk, deviates from many of the trappings of the genre in welcome ways. She balances virtuosity and lyricism in a way that belies her age and years of experience — crafting songs that weave natural passages with rhythms that pull from fingertapping more associated with heavier electric guitar. The guitarist’s songs feel especially vital, and “Swift Breeze” exemplifies the joy and freedom of her playing. The song ripples like a stream with the knock of her feet playing off of instrument taps adding a bit of swing to the piece. The metal-reminiscent breakdown adds a wound bite to the piece, without ever knocking it off of is flow. While she’s certainly on par with any player coming down the Takoma pike, her playing feels like it shakes off the often dogmatic reverence to the old schools in an excellent way. Her album on Spinster arrives January 29th and is highly recommended!



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Writhing Squares – “Rogue Moon”

Brutal new kicker out this week from Writhing Squares. The duo announces their next album with the 11+ minute chug n’ skronk fever scream of “Roque Moon.” The Philly pair have hinted at something this gnashed and gashed in the past, but it seems with the third LP on the horizon they’ve decided to dig into the wound and let the blood be their guide. The song jumps out of the speakers with an instant edge to it, grappling with a Suicide influence that’s sweating through the seams, but they don’t let things just lie in the shadows of Vega for too long, stretching into the midsection with a spaced float that jettison’s the early angst and watches it burn away in the atmosphere below. The mix of progressive burble, No Wave scratch, and Kosmiche weightlessness make this one a nice pitch for the need to get Chart The Solution on your radar. The new LP arrives via Trouble in Mind on March 22nd.



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Cory Hanson – “Angeles”

The second offering from Cory Hanson’s (Wand) upcoming solo LP is another tender touch of folk, this time dedicated to the West Coast crown jewel, but also scratching deep into the scars of soured relationships. The song is one of his most polished pieces — an aching guitar line, resigned organ, and a pre-dawn chorus that feels like it has years coming to a head within its bars. I’m always gonna be a sucker for a well-placed slide guitar, and “Angeles” wields it well, sighing into the night air along with Hanson’s woeful croon. If anything makes the case for Pale Horse Rider this is likely it. A nice step forward from the heartworn brood of his last LP. The new record lands March 12th on Drag City.




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Cool Sounds – “Crimson Mask”

While its a bone cold January in area, down South Hemi way its just warming up and the sun-scrubbed air on “Crimson Mask,” the new single from Aussies Cool Sounds feels just right. The song’s as hammock-slung as anything that the band has released, letting buttered strums lay on top of a skitter-slide beat with the band laying back into their reclined pop pocked once more. The new record, Bystander follows nicely on their solid More To Enjoy from 2019. The band’s breezy charm and percolating pop have always been their strong suits and it seems that there’s plenty of that to count on when the album lands February 12th on Osborne Again.

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Cool Ghouls – “Helpless Circumstance”

Happy to have some more news out of the Cool Ghouls camp today. After that stellar first single from Ryan and Alex’s Supreme Joy, the Ghouls themselves announce a new album on the way from Empty Cellar in March. “Helpless Circumstance” finds the band right back in the sunshine glow of their stum n’ twang, with the harmonies as thick as ever, but this time the band moves the needle from ‘60s tangle to an ‘80s underground swell that hits the hearts of Homestead, Throbbing Lobster and Bus Stop fans. The skies feel wider, but the smog seems a bit thicker on “Helpless Circumstances,” with the cheery melodies shuddered by uncertainty and sighing heavy with melancholy. There’s been a groundswell of new janglers lately, but the Ghouls have always been ahead of the curve on that front. Nice to see that the band evolving their take while still checking off more than a few boxes that feel quintessentially bound to the band. The new LP, At George’s Zoo is out March 12th from Empty Cellar in the US and Melodic in the UK.





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RSTB Radio Show: January

Back here again with the first edition of Crawl Out From the Fallout in the new year. The date might have changed but the show’s still locking down some great new music that filtered in over the past month. Got a lot of new music on the horizon already, so at least something’s going right twelve days into this year. New cuts from Bobby Lee, Young Guv, Bingo Trappers, Savoy Motel, Painted Shrines, Ostraaly, Weak Signal and Plankton Wat. Plus, there are plenty of faves and a few classics rounding out the set as usual. You can stream the whole show over at WGXC and check out the tracklist down below.

::Playlist::

Golden Brown – Muskrat Flats /// Eli Winter – Maroon /// Heron – Upon Reflection /// Norma Tanega – You’re Dead /// Bobby Lee – Fire Medicine Man /// Little Gold – Swap Meet /// Velvet Crush – Why Not Your Baby /// Young Guv – Maybe I Should Luv Somebody Else /// Beachwood Sparks – Midsummmer Daydream /// Bingo Trappers – Rearranging the Light /// Real Numbers – Brighter Then /// Savoy Motel – Wilson Jacqueline /// Supreme Joy – Sofa /// Bill Fox – I’ll Give It Away /// Pop Filter – Waiting To Be New /// Painted Shrines – Gone /// Permits – Negative Heart /// Ostraaly – daddyswims /// Wurld Series – Nap Gate /// The Boys With The Perpetual Nervousness – Can’t You See /// Pill Fangs – Eventually Everyone /// Weak Signal – What’s A Girl To Do /// Styrofoam Winos – Stuck In A Museum /// Bobby Would – So To Say /// Cory Hanson – Paper Fog /// Upupayāma – Green Cabana /// Beautify Junkyards – Cosmorama /// Sky Burrow Tales – Muscovite /// Plankton Wat – Nightfall /// Spiral Wave Nomads – Radiant Drifter /// Mac Blackout – Call For Love

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Vapour Theories – “Breaking Down (The Portals of Hell)”

The end of the year got dense, to say the least and I definiely missed out on this when it was announced, but it still hits like a corroded kick to the carotid. Vapour Theories, the Bardo Pond side project of John and Michael Gibbons, have risen once more with a new album out in February on Fire Records. The album was chopped out of hours of improvisational recordings that traverse a familarly scorched and shrouded landscape that both VT and The Pond have traversed in the past. The record digs deep into undulating fuzz and ambience that won’t let itself be shoved into the background. The brothers even tackle an Eno classic in the form of “The Big Ship,” but on “Breaking Down (The Portals of Hell)” the band enlists a groundswell of growl that would befit such a title. The song vibrates with a barren ache that can be felt to the last dying moments. The record is out February 26th from Fire Records and it feels like a necessary part of the Bardo extended fam.



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Painted Shrines – “Gone”

Hard to resist this one, with perennial RSTB faves Jeremy Earl and Glenn Donaldson pairing up for a duo that splits the crux of their current outputs — finding a jangle-pop dipped amalgam of the most pastoral fare that inhabits Woods and the more tightly buttoned ‘90s indie that Glenn’s been mining. Like Felt turning in Byrds covers, the work of Painted Shines hits a lot of pressure points around here. Not surerising that the two would find themselves musically entwined, with Glenn’s releases (Art Museums, Skygreen Leopards) finding a home on Woodsist over the years, and some hits at collaboration on their last couple of records. Glenn finds his way into the credits of Sun & Shade while Jeremy pops up in percussion on Glenn’s last LP You Might Be Happy Someday. Seems the back and forth stuck, and the pair decamped to Glenn’s studio in 2018 to record the songs on Heaven and Holy.

The first single “Gone” is a wistful amble through sunny streets with Earl’s voice lending the song his usual bittersweet textures. The song shares a lot of the same heavy sigh signifiers as Glenn’s last LP, finding the Kiwipop pedigree of The Cean and The Verlaines lingering among their more ‘60s saturated jangles. The full record finds its way out March 5th, on Woodsist, naturally. Gonna want to get this one on the list as soon as possible.


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Sunburned Hand of the Man – “Flex”

There may be few freer flowing catalogs than that of Sunburned Hand of the Man. The longstanding Northeast collective have long kept the candle burning on free psych in the new age, letting out a steady stream of CDrs, cassettes, and limited digital ephemera in the name of digging into the deep scatological burn of psychedelic fallout that lives and dies in the room. The band breathes a noxious exhalation of groove battered funk, jazz-wrenched psych, and noise scuttled concrete. The lucky takes find their way imprinted onto tape for preservation on the shelves of those who’ve already felt the call of the cosmic and are keeping tabs. They are totems that aren’t often easy to come by. Last year the band pulled out of a longtime vinyl drought to slip out an excellent LP for Cardinal Fuzz. Headless hit like a second coming, hammering in everything that kept the band vital over the years and packed it onto a platter that was woefully here and gone before too many hands could feel the heat. It was their first LP since 2010’s A on the long shuttered, but much missed Ecstatic Peace, but this time they don’t make the wanting wait too long between records. The band announces a follow-up today as part of Three Lobed’s 20th anniversary series.

Pick A Day To Die leads off with the slinking kosmiche coil of “Flex,” finding the band cleaning up their corners with a tightly wound flash of liquid-skinned guitar propelled by a groove that owes its blood to a few German Progressive forefathers. Shot through with a mercury-melted pulse, the song sets out some high expectations for the next round of Sunburned singe. The band is ever elusive on the details that birthed this batch, but the band’s Ron Schneiderman sets it up with an ominous air. –

“Sources say: you need to get the fuck in a car and drive.
Like, get way gone. Crime-solving spree style.
Did we tell you about the time everything changed?
We will not even pretend that things are okay.
Ride with this hope and welcome the collapse.”

Pick A Day To Die is out March 12th from Three Lobed. Nab one of the limited LPs below as part of their essential new anniversary series.


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