Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Program – “Motorbike”

A tightly-wound indie throwback from The Stroppies adjacent Melbourne crew Program is a real charmer with a classic sound and a damnable hook that keeps coming back for more. Twang-curdled guitars light up the the speakers while the band sings about the frustration of social stagnation. It’’s got whiffs of Yo La Tengo,The Go-Betweens, Flying Nun and something more ineffable — a classic rock root that’s leathered and lean giving it a tougher exterior than it lets on. The LP is out October 18th from the constantly consistent Anti-Fade Records.



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United Waters – “Arrowheads”

United Waters are back on Drawing Room for their 4th LP and the first cut sighs dry ice with a quiet cool. Still hung on the songwriting of Brian Sullivan (Mouthus, Spectre Folk, Death Unit) the band occupies a strange niche between the kind of pulsating electronic-snipped post-punk that Total Control purveys — stripped raw but seemingly hovering six inches above the rest of us — and the slightly fuzzed bedroom pop that might have shown up on Sacred Bones and Captured Tracks in their infancy. Sullivan has a detached style that’s aloof enough to make him seem like he’s got all the answers, but approachable enough to let us ask him what they are. “Arrowheads” drips with a malleable nature that blends the guitars through the wires of the drums, rippling the sound like liquid seeping out of the speakers. Gonna want to keep an eye out for this one when it lands on Drawing Room November 8th.




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Wet Tuna – “Cowpath 40”

The steam off of this upcoming Wet Tuna record continues to rise and the band gives another inviting glimpse into the world of Water Weird. “Cowpath 40” slinks forward from the depths, slow and silken, yet covered in an algae slick that gives it a dank, earthen smell. There’s more than a little of the Midnight Tripper in the veins here, the bones of Louisiana sprung to life hundreds of miles north, swamped and sodden, but never soggy. Valentine and Gubler are skulking through a permanent 3AM tilt and it feels like the only right time to be out when Tuna’s on the speakers. New record lands October 11th, and the band is hitting Hudson for a stacked bill at The Half Moon. I’d highly suggest getting some Wet Tuna in your life.



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Peter Ivers Anthology on RVNG, Intl.

RVNG Intl. is bringing long overdue attention an ‘80s icon with the release of Becoming Peter Ivers. There are probably a few routes to be familiar with Ivers, the highest profile being his collaboration with David Lynch for Eraserhead. The song “In Heaven” features at a pivotal junction in the film and the scene itself has become somewhat iconic. However, I was more familiar with Ivers from his work with New Wave Theater, which can be found floating around Youtube these days, but was a lifeline to night owls in my youth. Ivers served as the host of the show, starting in 1982, broadcast on LA UHF channel 18. Though it would eventually be rerun on USA late at night (that’s where I found it). It brought some well needed attention to punk and New Wave bands, mostly originating around the Los Angeles area. Ivers served as the nasal-voiced host and his skewed delivery and Dadaist sense of humor gave the show a direction that helped make it a cult classic. The show’s success was cut short when Ivers was murdered in his apartment in 1983, in a crime that was tragically never solved.

The collection gathers up the most complete account of Ivers’ recordings, many of them rough, but still full of the artists’ winking humor and engaging personality. The double disc set is out November 8th and includes a massive clutch of photos and liner notes by close friends. The first 300 also have a bonus 7” of additional demos. There are a lot of anthologies and reissues that come and go but I’ve got a feeling that few are going to be as idiosyncratic or vital as this one this year.



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Garcia Peoples – “Heart and Soul”

The other half of this new Garcia Peoples platter found its way out yesterday and it’s a damn fine shade on them. Unmoored from the band’s usual groove, the flip to their epic One Step Behind finds the band whiskeyed down in the pre-dawn light, feeling out the bottom of the soul under the flickering bare bulb of yearning. Putting Derek Spaldo’s keys front and center, the song takes the band through country-scarred territory they’ve only hinted at before. The song dives into the large statement sadness of No Other-era Gene Clark in a way that most contemporary artists could only hope to scratch. While the band has cemented their status as kings of the stage — no matter how big or small — with this record they’re proving that the studio is just as much a home, and a place to carve out ecstatic highs and crushing lows that forever reverberate in their two-inch loop around the soul. If this one isn’t already on your wishlist for 2019, this damn well better seal the spot.



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Whistling Arrow – “Forking Paths”

This Heat founder Charles Hayward has been having a hell of a year, with an acclaimed solo record, collaboration with Keiji Haino and now this simmering new LP on the way from Whistling Arrow. The band alongside Hayward is made up of Laura Cannell, Andre Bosman plus members of Ex-Easter Island Head on prepared guitars. The track strains and stretches, rumbles through rhythm and bites into the flesh of experimental and classical canons. The ensemble builds their disjointed cacophony with a nod to invisible funk – possibly only existing in the mind, filtering between the bars. There’s a sense of dance arcing over the track, bones of jazz that tumble to the floor the instant the strings start to get caught in the beast’s teeth. It’s definitely got me curious how the rest of this will shake out. Check the track below and look out for Forking Paths November 22nd on God Unknown.



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Charles Rumback & Ryley Walker – “Half Joking”

Drummer Charles Rumback and Ryley Walker re-team for a new record on Thrill Jockey and it pulls them both out of their camps a bit. When we all last left Ryley he was exploring the boundaries of Chicago’s post-rock history. The record lay in stark contrast to his earlier folk works, but opened him up a starker side of his writing. Rumback, for his part has spent the last decade plus exploring jazz complexities with the likes of John Hughes, John Tate, Colorist, and From Beyond. The pair found themselves together on record in 2016 for Dead Oceans, exploring the waters somewhere between Ryley’s Deafman Glance setup and those collaborative moments in Rumback’s catalog. This time, though, the mode is decidedly more serene, hearkening back to some of Walker’s English folk leanings early on. “Half Joking” is a pastoral ripple across the strings that spreads out wide and winsome over the sun-dappled fields. Quite a nice offering from the pair. Look for Little Common Twist out November 8th.



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RSTB Radio WGXC: September

New show on WGXC in Hudson last night and it seems like I’m getting my radio legs back. Tried to ease into the show with a mix of folk and soft psych, including that stunner of a Jackson C. Frank cover by Chromatics (who saw that one coming?) Swapped into heavier territory with new ones from The Silence and Sunburned Hand of the Man then eased on out with some pop from Blueboy on down to The Oilies. Check out the full tracklist below and you can hear the set / download the show HERE.

::Playlist::

Chromatics – I Want To Be Alone /// Big Blood – Blind Owl II /// Nothing On Semble – The Deepest Hole /// Modern Nature – Footsteps /// Wednesday Knudsen & Willie Lane – Trillium /// Bill MacKay – Birds of May /// Joan Shelley – The Fading /// Carlos The Second (Wooden Wand + Langhorne Slim) – Don’t Let Love Make A Liar Out of You /// The Babe Rainbow – Many Moons of Love /// Kathy Smith – Seven Virgins /// Agincourt – Barn Owl Blues /// The Left Outsides – Under Noonday Sun /// Rain Parade – I Look Around /// Honey Radar – Carousel Society /// Bill Direen (Builders) – Magazine /// The UV Race – Tread On Me /// Uranium Club – Definitely Infrared Radiation Sickness /// The Silence – Tautology /// Sunburned Hand of the Man – The Great Hope /// Dommengang – Kudzu /// One Eleven Heavy – Mardi Gras /// Sundays & Cybele – Brujo /// Kikagaku Moyo – Nazo Nazo /// Matt Valentine – Light Speed> /// L’Epée – Dreams /// Blueboy – A Gentle Sigh /// Young Guv – High On My Mind /// Velveteen Rabbit – I’ll Be A Boy For You /// The Surfing Magazines – New Day /// Robert Sotelo – Mister /// The Oilies – Biting The Sky /// Michael Rault – Out of the Light

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Matt Valentine – “Light Speed>”

Well this one’s been on rotation for me for a while, so good to see that the rest of the world is getting a listen. Matt Valentine’s already got a heady burner on the dock with Wet Tuna, but this solo LP wraps up 8 years of pre-dawn jams into one handy collection to cook yer noodle. The opener, “Light Speed>” lays down the operating parameters for the rest of the platter – thoroughly cone-fried psych shot through the outer rim, bounced from quasar to quasar and back through the low-band AM ripples of your transistor soul. The album’s full of mind mel(t/d) mercurial moments and they all start here like a slow-motion explosion triggered by battery acid and sweat. Get into it! The record is out November 8th, from Beyond Beyond is Beyond.




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The Oilies – “Biting The Sky”

As her songs are want to, another gem has slipped out almost unnoticed from Carly Putnam’s (The Mantles, Art Museums, The Reds Pinks and Purples) The Oilies. Atop a lightly simmering beat, Putnam drapes linen lines of guitar, airy and comfortable in the heat around her. Her vocals are buried, but not lost, peeking up through the pop din with a sly smile. The whole song is bathed in the cool humidity of evening – low lights, stillness, solitude, and the linger of longing driving the track home. She hit on great territory with this year’s “Psychic Dog” single, but this hints at a less jangled direction for her solo outings. The singles all feel like she’s finding her tone and working up to a larger statement, but coming along for the process has proven to be rewarding. This one is unclasped, but infectious all the same.



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