Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Gary War – “Windows and Walls”

Some of the early tape and 7″ slingers that populated RSTB have found themselves slowing in the recent years, so it’s always a bit of a relief that a favorite project still has wheels. Gary War popped up on Sacred Bones, Captured Tracks, Spectrum Spools and Upset The Rhythm at one time or another and now he calls another luminary label home with a new LP coming up on Feeding Tube. The new track shakes off the crust of some of his past psychedelic trappings and breathes a bit of color into the cheeks of his psych-pop palette. “Windows and Walls” is a sunny strummer with just the right amount of faded Kodachrome oiling at the edges. Feeling like after an unhurried hiatus, he’s got something good in store for sure.


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RSTB Best of 2017

So this year is drawing to a close, or almost, we’re still a few weeks away from pushing the broken pieces of 2017 into the trash. There’s no real solace from a lot of the events that took place this year, but, independent of any current events, music has been kind to us all this year. These are the records that spent the most time on the turntable over here. Yeah, I know its kind of a lot, but there were far too many good ones that haven’t been getting the shouts they need elsewhere. Lets say this serves as both a best of and a most overlooked in one go. If you enjoy ’em, buy ’em if you can. Don’t do them the disservice of just bumping up the streaming numbers.

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Mixtape: Children of the Sun

Now I know that I’ve explored softer psych on the very first mixtape, but it’s such incredible territory that it begs for at least one more. This time there’s less of an outright gloomy demeanor, touching more on the bittersweet melancholy that so many bands of the ’67-70 period were able to capture. Call it sunshine psych if you will and sit back into lush harmonies that usher in that twinge of cold in the air. The artwork is inspired by ’60s master cover artist Marcus Keef who had an uncanny way of capturing the spirit of psychedelia through film innovation. Tracklist and stream are after the jump.

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Ty Segall – “The Main Pretender”

Gettin’ hard to resist these Segall gems, dropping almost bi-weekly now like a necessary dosage. The latest pushes aside the laconic cool of “My Baby’s On Fire” for a fever-sweat vision of glam that’s panting with weird lust and shaking with crossfired nerves. It’s an infected descendant of Roxy-era sleaze-rock taken to the logical extreme. Mikal Cronin returns to blow sax on this one, but this time he isn’t providing mere sunset accompaniment to Segall’s house-light comedown, not in the slightest. This time he’s out for blood and bile, cutting through the riffs with a serrated groove that’s sharpened its spines on the back of James Chance’s singular vision from years before. There have been some choice cuts in this multi-hued basket of treats, but none have lacerated like this.




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John Dwyer on Eddie Harris – I Need Some Money

There have been a few artists that remain the cornerstones of RSTB coverage, and without a doubt those are ones I’ve had on the wishlist for the Hidden Gems feature since it started up a couple of years back. Teetering near the top of that list has always been the madman John Dwyer. Thee Oh Sees have spanned 20 releases now and show no sign of slowing. Dwyer’s seared psych has always shown nods to some deeper cuts in the ’60s canon, and his latest LP stripped things back to a decidedly glycerine, serene version of the sound. I’d expected maybe a run towards that route, but that’s what keeps these pieces so interesting. Catching up with Dwyer, he gave an account of how Eddie Harris’ 1975 album I Need Some Money came into his life and the long-lasting impact it’s had on him.

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Susan – “Little Notes”

Volar’s grasp on the scuzz-flung rungs of punk in L.A. is pretty strong, but they’re also a divining ride for some of the city’s catchiest collectives. They’ve tucked into a few releases from hometown charmers Susan, but the latest track from the band’s upcoming single is packed with pop-punk hummability and backed with a strangely nostalgic quality that lets it hit home harder than some of their previous material. Couple that with some of the thickest, most refined sounds the band has put forward yet, and its a potent combination that’s well worth your time.


HERE.

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Holy – “Heard Her”

I’ve been lax in the tracks department and for that I apologize. But that’s not to say that there hasn’t been much to dig into. Holy is the work of Sweden’s Hannes Ferm, and it’s a taste of his 13-months in the making sophomre LP, All These Worlds Are Yours. Treading into psych-pop territory proper, the song is bathed in a sunlit glow that’s echoing plenty of lush-pop purveyors in his rear view – bits of Temples, Super Furry Animals and even late-term Elephant Sixers like The Sunshine Fix coming to mind on this one. It’s definitely a good sell on what he’s had cookin’ for the last year plus, and while I’ll admit I’m a sucker for some verdant psych-pop this is just a damn fine tune all around. If you’re unfamiliar, lay back into this and let it wash over you in radiant waves.





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Ty Segall – “My Lady’s On Fire”

Well I’m a sucker for a soft Segall ballad, that’s for sure. The parts of his previous S/T record that hit me hardest were the moments when the lights went low and the volume got bumped a touch out of the redline haze. “My Lady’s On Fire” kicks in with the same intentions – jangles leading the charge and feeling every bit the folk-popper in the making. Segall takes a swerve though and blows this up to a sunset ’70s showstopper full of horns and a swaying chorus that proves he’s getting comfortable in his role as a topline songwriter. There’s a something here that’s chasing the infinite classic, a Last Waltz ensemble piece that’ll someday bring the house down in tears.

Still not sure what this blocked primary release schedule is leading up to, but Januarys are becoming traditional months for Ty to release a new album so there’s always hope that this is pointing that direction. If it’s just a good shake on the bag of tracks without a home, though, I’m not going to complain either.




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Sunwatchers – “Silent Boogie”

Brooklyn’s Sunwatchers follow up their chaotic record for Castle Face with a new slab for perennial favorite Trouble in Mind. The first cut off of Sunwatchers II is a searing skin-melter with Jeff Tobias’ sax splitting hairs between the fult-tilt simmer of ’60s garage-punk and the unrestrained reaches of free jazz. They come down hard with a rhythm tumble that’s unstoppable and a sway over skronk that’s formidable and menacing. They remind me of the psych-jazz tumble of Cato Salsa/The Thing/Joe McPhee’s Two Bands and a Legend in a very good way. Gonna want to get into this when February rolls around, it’ll brighten up a the dark days and warm the cold nights.




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Parsnip – “Health”

There’s been a bit of a decline in girl-group punk swagger since the heydays of lo-fi faded into the background, but Parsnip brings the sound rushing back in full color for their debut single on Anti-Fade. The track is swooning with ’60s vocal harmonies but rooted in the Paisley-punk of bands like The Pandoras, doubling down on twangin’ guitars and squirming organ. The song is caffeinated cool, careening around hooks with a sugar buzz that’s pretty damn hard to ignore. Why would you possibly want to, though? This is a top-down stoplight dance party from start to finish and I’m keeping it on repeat.




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