Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

CFM – “Rise And Fall”

CFM-BitsandPieces

2017 appears to be the year when the members that have made Ty Segall’s backing bands so potent get their own shared glow of the spotlight, and deservedly so. With Meatbodies heading up the glam-psych concept album and The Cairo Gang shined into pop prettiness, it’s left to Charles Moothart to lift the garage baton high and get into some dirty riffs. The first taste of the band’s upcoming LP on In The Red is the tar-thick garage-pscyh stickiness of “Rise and Fall.” The recording here, like Moothart’s compatriots in Meatbodies, takes a notch up from the shredded psych salad he’s released in the past. He has West Coast studio wizard Eric Bauer and old pal Segall to thank for that, as the pair get down on recording and mixing duties. There’s an air of Motorhead’s laryngitis howl, a thatch of Sabbath via Satori riffs and a cloud of smoke so thick that the band can cut their dry ice budget in half. Couldn’t be happier to see all these solo runs adding up to a year of heavy gems.




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The Black Angels – “Currency”

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Four years on from their last album, The Black Angels return with the promise of a new LP, and from the sounds of “Currency” it’s a very true return to the qualities that burnt them into the souls of so many in the heyday of Passover. “Currency” has a deep cut burn to it, slung low and loose, crawling into the room with true menace in its eyes. The song’s capitalistic subject matter feels like a vital strike in a year when morality’s price seems as subjective as ever, but even prescience doesn’t snag attention away from the atmosphere that the Angels conjur. Though lyrically cutting, the band has always been able to command a room with their ability to summon darkness at a moment’s notice. Their dessert sweat seeps into every crevice on this track, soaking it in an almost sensually ominous swagger. The band remains at the top of psych’s pantheon, and with this track they plunge a knife deep into the wood of any argument that would wager otherwise.

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Evan Caminiti – “Toxic Tape (Love Canal)”

Caminiti-BitsandPieces

Evan Caminiti’s Dust Editions label has been quiet over the last couple of years, since about the time he released his last album Meridian, but the imprint is cranking back up for his follow-up to that acid bath of electro-acoustic fallout. The first track from the upcoming, Toxic City Music, is bubbling under with the crackle of static electricity, gently nudging and creeping its way towards the sound of fried synapses. The album is built from an array of field recordings captured in Caminiti’s now home of NYC, in fact “Toxic Tape” pulls sounds from the artist’s own kitchen sink, flipping one’s environment into a backdrop of noise and squelch in the best Matmos tradition. Its also a return to Caminiti utilizing guitar under his given name, though the instrument is buried deep below layers of crust and crackle. The album features sympathetic souls Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Rafael Anton Irisarri, notable names if any and finds its way out in early March.


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The Roamin’ Catholics – “Breadcrate”

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In 2014 a short-lived group of Aussie scene stars came together, played a few shows for the few who saw them and then disappeared into the distance, absorbed by the the members’ other commitments. Featuring members of Bitch Prefect, The Rangoons, Bushwalking and Houswives, the band sprang up out of the current Aussie tradition of bands forming through loose groups of friends colliding musically without any overarching plan. Though they were largely a live group, they did lay down some recordings during their time together and, now, independent record store and new label Repressed Records is issuing their first ever release. The song hews close to the chaotic crumble of The Fall or fellow aussie crust farmers UV Race. Its a dirty chunk of Oz debris that supports the label reurrectin this fogotten pocket of players. Check out “Breadcrate” below.



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Bleached – “Can You Deal?”

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Bleached are back and frankly I’m ready! Although its been less than a year since the release of Welcome The Worms, that album provided so much earworm-Summer-mixtape fodder that its nice to have even a short form offering on the table. The EP coincides with the band touring with punk legends The Damned and in addition to the digital version the band has put together a zine with contributions from Liz Phair, Jane Wiedlin of The Go Go’s, Mish Way of White Lung, Tegan Quin, Hinds, the band members themselves and more. The proceeds of the zine will all go to Planned Parenthood. As for the first track, it’s the band giving their towering vision of alt-rock a little dreaminess in a lyrical ode to letting someone love you for who you are and never compromising. Its definitely full of fun but the “fuck off and let me be me” attitude exemplifies the project’s mission. A good one for a good cause. What’s not to love?




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Wooden Wand – “Mexican Coke” + Carlos The Second

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Good news today out of the Wooden Wand camp, there’s a new album on the way from Three-Lobed, Clipper Ship. The album arrives in May and is preceded by the gorgeous new single “Mexican Coke,” a sighed country ode to having to supplement income with side hustles. The album marks a shift away from Toth’s last few, stripping back to more of the sing-songwriter countenance that permeated his lone album for Rykodisc under his given name. The album boasts an impressive supporting cast of players ranging from Wilco’s Glenn Kotche to session stars like Darin Gray, Ryan Norris, Jim Becker, Luke Schneider, Zak Riles and Jim Elkington. All the players have contributed to accomplished visions of folk and country over the past few years and they bring that drive and finesse to Clipper Ship. Its been a touch since Toth had a Wooden Wand album out and it feels good to have one on the way for sure.


The announcement makes the news doubly good today because while we were all wrapped up in the tail end tail spin of 2017, James and a few friends slipped an album out under the name Carlos The Second. It features some nuanced instrumentals from Ryan Norris (who also appears on the new album) and sets Toth’s honeyed croon agaist some starker than usual settings, and even a smattering of beat driven tracks. Its new territory for sure, but fits well into a catalog that never shies away from collaboration. As an added bonus, Langhorne Slim swings by for a flat-out wonderful country rocker that has both singers at their best. Check out “Hall Of Mirrors” below:

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Easy Love – “I’ll Be Fine”

EasyLove-BitsandPieces

New one here from Easy Love, the solo project from Justine Brown of Summer Twins. The song doesn’t stray too far from the Twins’ breezy ’60s pop overtones and general swooning appeal, but with a thickened sound and a grind of fuzz guitar backing her up, Brown’s new venture is hitting ticking all the right boxes around here. The song is drenched in longing, an ode to lost souls everywhere finding their way back to solid footing. The track is off of her upcoming album on Lollipop / Burger, which seems like a fitting home for her, given an already rosy track record with Burger. The track is probably one of the best I’ve heard out of Summer Twins or Brown’s previous solo work and it begs some attention when the full album drops in Feb.

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Ben Chasny on Keiji Haino, Mikami Kan and Yoshizawa Motoharu

Chasney-Gems

Chalkin’ up another great installment of Hidden Gems, RSTB’s series in which one of my favorite artists picks out an album that hasn’t gotten proper due in the scheme of things and shines a bit of light on it. I’ve found that the picks can often illuminate not only a deserving overlooked album, but also give insight as to where the chooser’s own sound developed from, and this entry from Ben Chasny is a prime example. Ben’s picked a PSF classic, the very seldom sung Live In The First Year Of The Heisei (Volume’s I and II), by collaborative trio Keiji Haino, Mikami Kan and Yoshizawa Motoharu. Technically its two albums, but who’s to get picky around here. Ben gives his take on what makes this such a slept on piece of culture and how it’s played an important role in his own music.

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Gnod – “Bodies For Money”

Gnod-BitsandPieces

I have no doubt that 2017 will be the year that as many voices as possible stand up with a political anthem to lob into the ring. From preachy to poignant, I’ve got a feeling we’ll hear them all and that each of them will find their right pair of ears. For now, I’m feeling UK psych/krautrock unit Gnod’s take on the anger. The band’s lead single from the quietly titled, JUST SAY NO TO THE PSYCHO RIGHT-WING CAPITALIST FASCIST INDUSTRIAL DEATH MACHINE, is the scathing “Bodies For Money.” The band strips away much of their Krautrock grind and noise obfuscation to go in hard for the heavy edge of psych, torn open with a touch of metal. It’s a track that is practically tearing itself apart at its own veins. There’s that terrible adage being thrown around that political upheaval breeds good music, and yeah that’s not untrue, but personally I’d shed that silver lining over and again to live every day under better rule. Since the fight is here though, its good to have some anthems to light up the speakers and spark a little righteous indignation. Gnod have, in truth, never sounded so focused and brutal and this feels like a good one.



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Rat Columns – “Someone Else’s Dream”

RatColumns-BitsandPieces

David West’s Rat Columns have bounced around a slew of notable labels, from R.I.P. Society to Blackest Ever Black. Though the latter seemed odd for a jangle pop band, its just another testament to their quality output (and perhaps his time spent in Total Control). The band now finds a home at UK DIY label Upset The Rhythm and it seems like a pretty perfect fit. The first single from the band’s upcoming LP, Candle Power, is a sparkling piece of jangle pop bliss that sounds like it was ripped out of the catalogs of Razorcuts, Sea Urchins or early Go-Betweens. It’s completely swathed in a rosy glow that’s hard to shake long after the last chords come clanging to an end. A swooning organ adds just the right touch of fullness to the song’s strum laden lope, clipping along atop a drumbeat that urges listeners to dance uninhibitedly at every turn. Rat Columns have been bubbling at the edges of breaking out for a few years now, but with this album on the rise, it seems like 2017 might be the year they become a household name.

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