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Sub Pop Singles: Kikagaku Moyo & Terry

The ranks of the Sub Pop Singles Club are always a good place to keep an eye, and usually a good bet to go in blind when they announce. The label embraces the edges of what they’d normally consider for full releases (through sometimes I wish this embrace would extend beyond just a one-shot 7”) and they shine a light on some of the more deserving artists in their sphere. Last year’s series is now getting out in to the physical world, but that also means those who didn’t go all in can still grab the digital delights as they come piecemeal. Yesterday saw the release of two RSTB regulars and both are in fine form.

First up is a new single from longtime faves Kikagaku Moyo. The band lights into a searing cover of “Gypsy Davey,” and English folk traditional that’s been most often associated with Sandy Denny’s version. The band, rounded out with vocals from Kandice Holms (Bells), gives the cover a good nod, mixing the earthen smolder of the original with a bit of their own psychedelic smoke. On the flip they enter the folk-tinged whisper of “Mushi No Uta,” which laps at the listener with a gorgeous simplicity and tender soul.

The label sweetens the release day with a new single from Aussie’s Terry as well. The band has been pretty low key since their 2018 full length I’m Terry only releasing a short and sweet EP last year. “Take The Cellphone” hits all the right sweet spots for Terry – as post-punk throbber that’s tinged with a squeamish pop sense and winking all the way. The b-side’s an instrumental with a laconic feel, despite its rather political title, “Debt and Deficit Disaster.” The song’s a slow creeper, but as with anything from the band, its no throwaway. Both singles are great shots for the series, though I’d think that along with the earlier inclusion of Minneapolis’ Uranium Club, all of these could welcome full lengths from these bands into the Sub Pop roster.




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White Heaven Out Reissued by Black Editions Group

More great news from the Black Editions Group. As they work through the PSF catalog, they continue to put great records back in their proper place among the stacks. This time the label has a reissue of White Heaven’s scorching 1991 LP Out. The record features guitar from Michio Kurihara (Ghost, Cosmic Invention) and it marks a high watermark of ’90s psychedelic Japan. Originals of the LP will set you back upwards of $300 so its an amazing piece to have back in circulation. The album is a feedback chomping monster of riff and riot that cannot be denied. Check out the slow-burn freakout of “Mandrax Town” and get over to the site, where they have a mailorder-only gold edition of the LP.


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Garcia Peoples – Live @ Nublu

As I may have mentioned, its a particularly good year for official live recordings, with everyone from Mythic Sunship and Dungen laying down platters to Cool Ghouls, Chris Forsyth, and even an Only Ones rarity floating around out there. Add Garcia Peoples to the list. It should come as no surprise that the band’s into the boots, Archive.org is practically littered with GP shows at this point, but it’s nice to have an official piece coming out. The band’s residency at Nublu last year saw the band in top form and this official tape (recorded by NYC Taper) captures them going all in on their title cut from One Step Behind. Tapes are limited to 300, so snap ’em up.



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Ten Years Gone: A Tribute To Jack Rose

I didn’t have a chance to mention this one yesterday, but essential news nontheless. Its been ten years since Jack Rose vanished from this earth too soon and its still the decade hasn’t lessened the tragedy one bit. My fondest memory is of seeing him and Wooden Wand in the back of a small bar in Greenpoint. Jack’s presence was magnetic and made any venue come alive with the movement of his strings. Tompkins Square has released a touching tribute to Jack, curated by Buck Curran and it features “original instrumentals made as tribute to Jack by a few of his friends (Mike Gangloff, Sir Richard Bishop, Helena Espvall, Buck Curran, Micah Blue Smaldone, Nick Schillace) and by a group of emerging artists inspired by his music (Andy McLeod, Simone Romei, Matt Sowell, Joseph Allred, Prana Crafter, Paolo Laboule Novellino, Mariano Rodriguez).”

There are a ton of RSTB favorites in this list, and the album carries on the spirit of Jack Rose with beauty and grace. I’d highly recommend tucking into this one on a crisp winter’s morning and letting it wash over you for the rest of the day.



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Prana Crafter Split for Robert Hunter on Baked Tapes

A surprise release snuck out over the weekend from Baked Tapes. In the wake of Robert Hunter’s death this year both Will from PC and ragenap wound up processing their feelings on the matter through the only medium that seems appropriate, turning their sorrow to song with a split tape that cracks open like a call to heaven. For his side Will invokes the “Beggar’s Tomb,” churning grief into a miasmic haunt that’s fried through to the bone by guitar exorcisms on the back half. The tape serves as a nice cap on Prana Crafter’s already stellar year and a celebration of a poet and songwriter whose imprint will be felt long after his mortal years.



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Rose City Band Signs to Thrill Jockey, Reissues Debut

One of the greatest surprises of 2019 was the debut from Rose City Band, the mysteriously shrouded band (with a strangely familiar voice and guitar sound) on Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada’s Jean Sandwich Records. As I mentioned in a review previously, “Rose City Band slides in on an autumnal glow of golden shivers, slow-motion choogle, honeyed hues, and cedar swoons. “Rip City” plays right into the hands of the Cosmic American cavalcade that’s building steam in all the best nooks and nodes across the tattered tableau of 2018-2019.” If you missed out on the initial pressing, now’s the time to right some wrongs. The original Jean City pressing in green is long gone, but, Thrill Jockey’s got a limited red version of the LP up on their site for sale now. It’s one of 2019’s essentials for sure! Here’s hoping the signing bodes well for a sequel. We can always use more RCB in our lives.




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Little Wings Wonderue Reissue

Moone Records are helping Kyle Fields bring his long-loved, but also long out of print 2002 album Wonderue back to the turntable. The record capped off his “Wonder” trilogy of albums that started with 1999’s Discover Worlds of Wonder. It would mark the beginning of his relationship with Olympia’s K Records that would mark some of his most acclaimed work and introduce him to a wider audience. The quality and scope of Fields early records is impressive, given how many he released in such a short span between 2002 and 2003. The year also laid claim to his K Records breakout Light Green Leaves along with fellow Wonder Trilogy entry, Wonder City.

Fields has since gone on to produce a staggering catalog of work that dots labels like Woodisist, Rad, K, and People in a Position to Know alongside his work with Phoenix’ Moone Records. If this one eluded you when it was released, check out the somber, serene tones of “Tread It Kind” below. The album has been repackaged with updated artwork that features reshoots of the same cover location from the original. Essential now as it was then.




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Mosses Release Microdose Cassette for Black Dirt

More psychedelic goodness out of the eternal wellspring of Black Dirt Studios this month. Aside from the Natch studio sessions, which have given us great works from Wednesday Knudsen & Willie Lane and Hans Chew with Garcia Peoples, the studio’s Microdose tape series has been killing it lately. First Sunburned Hand of the Man released a scant edition for Intentions, of one of their best to date, and now we’re all being treated to the first new music from Ryan Jewell’s Mosses in quite some time. Chances are if you’ve seen a psych band in the last couple of years you’ve seen Ryan on the drums. He’s just finished up a run with Chris Forsyth at Nublu in NYC and is barely taking a breath before he heads out with Olden Yolk on a tour with Luna next month.

With this cassette, though, his duo Mosses offers up a hell of an entry to Microdose called Speaking Mountain. The set, like all in the series, seems to move between poles. The band eases in with electric ripples and organ swells. The tablas set in and the tone goes drone as they get deeper into the verdant hills of “Herbal Wash.” The set pits Danette Bordenkircher’s keys against the groove of his drums, moonlit flutes filter in against fingerpicked purity. Bordenkircher’s haunting synths permeate the release setting it aloft on the ether, and she stuns wit the aching 12 string ripples on standout “Fever Dream Vacation.” For those who only know Jewell behind the beat of the psychedelic pantheon, Mosses is an opportunity to see him shine in a different light – full spectrum sound and glowing with a crystalline shimmer that’s a joy to behold. As with the rest of Black Dirt’s doses, the physical copies of these are in short supply, but you’re gonna want to get this in whatever format you can.



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Slumberland To Release The Springfields Singles Compilation

If you were an American indie pop fan in 1988, chances are you may have felt a little alone. While the C86 movement and sound took hold in the UK, here the prescription was likely grunge and lots of it, with the more aloof arms of College Rock and general “Alternative” not quite swooning at the idea of ’60 indebted sounds. Out west The Paisley Undergound had given way to some purchase for the same sounds, but even among those ranks the twee sounds of Sarah, Sha La La, Postcard, and Creation weren’t making the same impact here as at home. Thankfully there were a few homegrown outposts like Bus Stop and Picturebook that were giving the twee hearts of US bands a place to hang and, of course, just a year later Slumberland themselves would enter the fray and give a home to bands like Honeybunch, Velocity Girl, and Black Tambourine.

The label never released a Springfields release during the band’s original run, but now they’re gathering up the essential singles from the band’s short run and giving them a much-needed compilation and overview of this American indie-pop band’s impact on the sound. The band, notably included Ric Menck and Paul Chastain who would go on to work with Velvet Crush, Bag O’ Shells, Choo Choo Train and The Big Maybe. Should go without saying, but you need this one. You really do.



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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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