Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

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 band 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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Mt. Mountain – “Dust”

I dug in on last year’s Cosmos Terros a bit, but Perth’s Mt. Mountain seem to have topped themselves with the stratospheric Dust coming out on Cardinal Fuzz in April. The title track is an epic knock into the drone/psych trenches. Building out of an insistent thrum married to high plains guitars, not too far off from Barn Owl territory, the band adds in some desolate flute that only enhances the apocalyptic feel of the track. This one ends up in scorched earth territory, as soon as the ominous clouds part, the chaos reigns. Mt. Mountain let loose with a six ton blast of sonic carnage that levels any qualms that the Aussies might not be stepping up to the task with enough firepower. The track doesn’t sustain gale force throughout, but teeters on the precipice of doom, making for an uneasy brilliance. Aside from the obvious hometown heroes in King Gizz, Mt. Mountain slot themselves in alongside Dreamtime in holding the psych banner high in the South Hemi. Having been ones to watch out for last year, the band graduates to necessary listening with this one.




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James Jackson Toth on Japan – Tin Drum

The latest installment of Hidden Gems comes from a longtime RSTB favorite. I think it’s fair to say that without Wooden Wand, Raven wouldn’t have shaped up the way it did in those early years. When I happened on a great set by James, billed to open for Jack Rose in a cramped bar in Greenpoint back in 2005, Harem of the Sundrum and the Witness Figg quickly became a fixture on the turntable and a desire to spread some of the WW gospel was born. Below Toth shares a record that’s made an impact in his own life and how it crept in and took hold.

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Kikagaku Moyo – “In A Coil”

Coming off tremendous acclaim for their pastoral psych masterpiece House In The Tall Grass Kikagaku Moyo don’t rest easy on recreating that album’s languid vibes. Instead they holed up in Prague and went deep into their improvisational side, as embraced on their earlier records. The first offering from the EP anchors their effusive psych cloud to a motorik pulse, hammering home the rhythm as a nice offset to the squelch of guitars and lilting sitar melody. It’s comforting to know that at their heart Kikagaku Moyo are looking to find the nerve of psychedelia, song based or not, and they’re leading you on their trip. They’re not looking for any nods of approval, just getting back to the nuts and bolts of lifting consciousness.




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Taiwan Housing Project – “Authentic Alien Perfume”

Taiwan Housing Project popped up with a great 7″ on M’Lady’s in 2015, a shot of promise from two artists that bubble up on the RSTB faves list, Kilynn Lunsford (LITTLE CLAW) and Mark Feehan (HARRY PUSSY). I was always particularly saddened by the loss of Little Claw. Their brand of chaotic, aggressive post-punk was few and far between in this century. So with that in mind, it’s great to have Lunsford back at the helm of Taiwan Housing Project. The first cut from the upcoming album on Kill Rock Stars shows THP embracing that ethos and going a few steps further, upping the ante with frantic squalls of noise married to an insistent dance beat. The song winds up like a B-52’s single run through the wood chipper with with copies of The Contortions, Maximum Joy and This Heat. Easily one of the most vital songs released this year. Put this one high up on your anticipation index.




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Feral Ohms – “Teenage God Born To Die”

Been excited for this one since the live LP dropped onto the Castle Face roster last year. Though Ethan Miller has been involved in a cadre of psychedelic endeavors over the years (Heron Oblivion, Howlin’ Rain) his legacy has always been the wild spark of Comets On Fire. Early Howlin’ Rain had flashes of scorched riffs, but they mellowed over the years into something that had less of Comets’ DNA and more debt to ’70s radio rock. Heron Oblivion lit up psych-folk last year with a set of acetylene tracks that smelled of the same brimstone fueling Miller’s amps of yore, but it’s Feral Ohms that have truly brought his catastrophic nature hurtling back. “Teenage God Born To Die” is a wild, feral lob into the chaotic soul of heavy rock. The song threatens to tear itself, any set of speakers lucky enough to shuttle it’s fury and every waking body within earshot to pieces. Miller has woken the beast that lurks in the psychedelic heart and it’s clearly hungry. This one’s going to be hard to beat in 2017. Sweatin’ with anticipation.


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Power – “Slimy’s Chains”

Aussie punks Power get down to the nut of it on “Slimy’s Chains,” a hard-knuckled pumper that begs comparisons to the proto punk knock of ’76-’77, harnessing hard rock’s slip towards leaner territory. The band built up a reputation in their homeland as ferocoius live bashers and they’d harnessed at least a portion of that sweat and energy here. The set snuck out at the tail of ’16 in Australia but finds its way Stateside via In The Red next month. Plenty of pockets still pushing out quality rockers from Oz and Power feel like they’ve got a tap into the divine boogie beast.



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Ride – “Charm Assault” & “Home Is A Feeling”

Now I’m all for the comeback of influential bands these days, but I’ve learned it’s best not to hold one’s breath too hard in terms of them recapturing the spark that might have caught early on. That said, Ride come crashing through with two new tracks that embrace all the elements that made them such favorites over the years. The first is “Charm Assault,” a powerful, driving jangler that feels its own debt to Going Blank Again. The band spent a good deal of time honing their current sound while bouncing the reunion circuit and the renewed live legs may well have given them the drive for new material. It seems that immersing themselves in their catalog did well for finding a classic catch with some popped-on new production from dancefloor mainstay Erol Alkan. While this track captures the upbeat catchiness of their slightly more outgoing material, the second peek, “Home Is A Feeling,” creeps back into the warm blanket of Shoegaze that they built on Nowhere. So it seems they truly are embracing what made them work and blending eras on the new LP. Good to have them back.


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CFM – “Rise And Fall”

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”

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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