Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Ornament – “New Coat”

Nashville’s Ornament follow up their sterling debut with a new outing for Official Memorabilia that further expands on their mellow country-flecked pop. The A-side is amiable and centered, full of lush harmonies and bittersweet bite, but it’s on the flip that the band shines. “New Coat” pushes the Country to the forefront with a rollicking twang, some worn linen harmonica and an easygoing gait that’s as welcome as an afternoon beer. The band recounts a tale of what they’d do with found riches and it’s a homey and humble tale of blue-skied dreams. The single is produced by Cheap Time’s Jeffery Novak, last seen glam-stomping through the streets with Savoy Motel. Each new tidbit from these guys makes me want to hear what they’d do with a full length. Pullin’ for them, that’s for sure.



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Future Punx – “Want To Be Wanted”

Brooklyn’s Future Punx were a fun prospect, with their Gary Numan meets Medium Medium’s post-punk boogie bliss. Their album garnered some nice praise and put them on my year end list back in 2017. The band finally fires back with a few new tunes in for form of an EP for Modern Sky. The first cut, “Want to Be Wanted” clamps down hard on the Numan synth burble, hot gluing his disaffected futurism to the bounce of post-punk guitars and replacing his lonesome android isolationism with a note of hope as the members bounce the chorus back and forth between them. The track’s got a pretty heavy replay factor, digging further under the skin with each listen. Hoping the rest of the EP pans out in similar regard, but the band had more micro-influences working in their last album than average, so here’s hoping for some surprises as well.



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Flamingods – “Marigold”

Picking up more than a few similarities to indie’s pervasive and over-the-top psych-pop personalities – throwing Animal Collective, Thee Oh Sees, Temples and Tame Impala in a Vitamix and scrambling ‘til smooth, the London quartet Flamingods seem on the edge of household familiarity with their latest single. The UK via Bahrain band is widening their scope of influence even further on the upcoming Levitation, scooping up inspiration from Mid-East and South Asian funk, psych and disco from the ‘70s. While first single “Marigold” doesn’t quite sound like a lost trinket from the South Asian delta, it’s a pretty blistering bit of excess splattered pop that puts the band on par with Psychedelic Porn Crumpets in terms of welding guitar volume to heady shakedowns for a pretty fun ride. Naturally, this one caught my eye (as with Shana Cleveland) due to artwork from RSTB fave designer Ardneks. Moshi Moshi’s got the album arriving on May 3rd. Can’t wait to hear more from this one.



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Sunwatchers – “Greeneyed Pigmen (Get The Blade)”

There’s no better moment in time than for a band like Sunwatchers to exist than at the apex of culture and confusion that is 2019. The band’s sociopolitical leanings and egalitarian ethics welded to a psych-punk soul are only more confounded by the band’s dual love for free jazz tumult. Without an ounce of reservation they rain down fire on an audience that needs a good shot in the ribs every now and then to stay on task, because if Sunwatchers are anything, it’s hard to ignore. The second offering from their upcoming Illegal Moves barrels out of the gate with a getaway gusto, scattering scraps of Hawkwind LPs along the roadside and fueling the tank on the fumes of Mnehiro Narita and Kawabata Mokoto guitar solos. “Greeneyed Pigmen (Get The Blade)” is as cutting as anything the band have rattling around their catalog, and as usual the lightning strike of Jeff Tobias’ sax finishes the listener with precision panache. Gonna want to pick this one up in all its furious glory when it drops on Feb. 22nd.



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Shana Cleveland – “Face of the Sun”

The La Luz frontwoman already had a formidable catalog behind her when she struck out solo as Shana Cleveland and the Sandcastles back in 2015, but the stripped-down record showed a more lonesome side of her songwriting than ever before. Now, with LL’s best album to date in the rearview of last year, she aims for a solo stab once again, dropping the Sandcastles crutch and embracing a more fully formed solo persona. Her solo works tend to be calmer and more pastoral than the dark current of surf that pervades La Luz, but on “Face of the Sun” she combines both forces into a noir ballad tinged with seaside air and regret. The moonlight slide of guitar that winds its way through the track shifts seamlessly between tropical and country, honing in on a lost ‘60s charm that she only ramps up with her Laurel Canyon delivery. As an added bonus (for me at least) the track comes with an animated version of the cover done by Indonesian psychedicist Ardneks.

The album is out April 5th from Hardly Art.



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Flat Worms – “Shouting At The Wall”

Another gas huffer out of L.A’s Flat Worms today. The band’s announced a bump from Castleface to Ty Segall’s imprint God? over at Drag City, and with it the band gets some recording help from the label honcho himself. Like the band’s previously breathless LP for the ‘Face, new track “Shouting At The Wall” is grinding out garage punk riffs that are scraped to the bone by sandpaper guitars and running itself ragged with a widowmaker pace that does their former SF hometown proud. The band’s long been one of the best acts bubbling under the surface of notoriety and its great to see them get a bit of a bump to the big(ger) leagues here with the DC backing. The band is built of members from a rogues gallery of good talent (Thee Oh Sees, Night Shop, Dream Boys) but they’re not holding onto any of their allegianes under the Flat Worms guise. Punk – unfussed, uncluttered and unrestrained – that’s it. With this EP the band stands to knock a few jaws loose from their moorings, and rightly so.



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Ash & Herb – “Salt Lick”

Notch another win for the constant creep of Cosmic Americana and East Coast freak psych, Ash & Herb are back and things are woollier than ever. After a solid offering from MV&EE house label Child of Microtones, the duo have a new 7″ on the way from Maine label Flower Room and the A-side’ll knock you sideways. The band is gearing up for album #2, titled Dome Cookbook (channeling Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic vibes, eh) but before they go that route the band is kicking out a double shot single. “Salt Lick” ropes in a previously unfelt funk to the mix, pinning a chooglin’ beat to spacey keys and reverbed marinated vocals for a track that’s keeping pace with their circle of contempos in Wet Tuna, MV & EE, and Mountain Movers, while also feeling like a force all their own. The band’s debut owed a lot to the shrouded school of forest folk, but its clear with the release of “Salt Lick” that they have no intention of blending into the bushes by the time that second LP rolls around. This is a stacked high bonfire party track that’s begging to be blasted to the top canopy of any camp out. Too bad its January, but keep this on file for the coming spring thaw.



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NRP: Razorcuts – The World Keeps Turning

Its been a while since I’ve gotten to dig into a Necessary Repress, but the list is long and heavy. For a refresher, the series aims to look at releases that have been left out of the vinyl boom and the constant savaging for every conceivable pop artifact to put back into circulation. This usually comes to a head around Record Store Day when labels look at rosters for any item they can cannibalize back into the market, without thinking about how necessary represses of best of compilations and unloved singles truly are. That’s not to say that there aren’t deserving corners of the market still left out of the spotlight, though. Its just never the ones you love, is it? In that regard, I submit the catalog of C86 / Creation alums Razorcuts, and more specifically, their excellent sophomore album The World Keeps Turning.

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Garcia Peoples – “Feel So Great”

Less than a year on from their debut this past summer, Brooklyn’s Garcia Peoples are back at the helm with another burner on the docket. Opener “Feel So Great” lightly pushes aside their penchant for Cosmic Americana to go for the psychedelic burn proper, driving a low-slung riff with the prowess of vets twice their age. The harder edge doesn’t keep the ebullience away – the song opens up to a steam-bath cooldown in the middle before hitching the groove back up for a ride out of town. Yet this is definitely a different side of the band from what was on display on Cosmic Cash. Less of the Dead at play here, replaced by shades of Neil Young’s oft-maligned (and wrongly so) ’90s output, though the band claims that The Who’s sweat-soaked live shows were the inspiration for the song. Still working overtime to make believers out of a generation of jam deniers, Garcia Peoples show no sign of flagging, slumping of sagging on their sophomore outing.


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Business of Dreams – “Keep The Blues Away”

Business of Dreams’ debut was a favorite around here when it came out a couple of years back, so its good to see Corey Cunningham (Terry Malts, Smokescreens) get the bump up to Slumberland from his own Parked in Hell label for album number two. The first taste of Ripe For Anarchy swims in similar waters to that debut – rifling through the racks of C86 alumni, Creation Records deep cuts and Sarah Records compilation faves for just the right pang. “Keep The Blues Away” is smeared and dreaming, rolling on the bed in heartache and procrastinating the thought of going out for fear of being overwhelmed. Cunningham has a penchant for pop, but he buries the bursts under a half ton of velvet curtains in the guise of Business of Dreams. I’m all for the advancement of introvert synthpop in 2019. Can’t wait for more of this.




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