Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Oh Sees – “Henchlock”

Its that time of year again, there’s a new Oh Sees album on the horizon and cinder and smoke on the wind. The band follows up their punishing LP Smote Reverser with the rather excellently titled Face Stabber on August 16th. The band is the latest to lead with more than the listener can chew, offering up no bite-sized singles an instead bracing for the album’s release with the 21+ minute closer “Henchlock.” The song is a massive organ & sax slasher, with no darth of John Dwyer’s guitar-scuzz pyrotechnics. The band’s never really stopped crushing the garage-psych axis and this is documented proof that Dwyer and co. remain the perennial authority on how to build an empire of sound. Lock in and fuzz out to “Henchlock” below.



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Cool Sounds – “Around and Down”

Melbourne’s Cool Sounds return with a new single that hints at the promise of an album later on in 2019. After a tumultuous 2018, the band revives their propulsive post-punk, buffed to a buttery shine but slightly crestfallen all the same. There’s a bittersweet soul thrumming through the wires of “Around and Down” – drums snap in capgun cadence, the smell of sulfur on the wind. There’s a muted mull to the vocals but the band still has a sharp acumen for slow motion slides and lolloping pop. It’s the kind of comforting track that can be played over and over until it wraps around the soul like a blanket. Sometimes we all need just a touch of comfort.



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One Eleven Heavy – “Mardi Gras”

Following up on Nick Mitchell Maiato’s Gems contribution from earlier in the week, the first single from One Eleven Heavy’s sophomore LP, Desire Path, arrives and it leaves a jagged rut on the lawn as it pulls away on rented wheels. “Mardi Gras” is steeped in the ‘70s lawless looseness that rock cribbed from its country kin just about the time Parsons caught the train outta here. The song knocks some well needed honkey-tonk into the tepid tea of 2019, feeding on the grass n’ gas vibes of Muscle Shoals bound Stones. It’s hinged on a Hans Chew piano pound that feels like he might tip over with every note, a third-degree rub of guitar that makes good on the band’s live reputation, and a soaring chorus that begs the listener to join in. Just a touch harder and hotter than they ran on the last album, the song’s still filled with their effortless ethos led by a Toth tale of a hapless gambler who can’t face his truth.

“‘Mardi Gras’ is part of a tradition of songs about delusional luckless losers,” elaborates the band’s James Toth. “I don’t believe for a second that this character’s ship will ever come in; his destiny is in many ways preordained. And yet he is sincere in his belief that his luck will turn around if only he could get that one lucky break. In some ways it’s an allegory but I prefer the literal take: this guy is almost certainly going to let you down.” “It is also one of several of my songs to wedge in an obscure reference to the television program The Honeymooners,” adds Toth. “Spot the others!”

The album lands September 20th on Beyond Beyond is Beyond and I’d wholeheartedly recommend tucking into it in its entirety.

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Howlin’ Rain – “Death Prayer in Heaven’s Orchard” (live)

The last couple of years have laid down some rather great live albums from the likes of Wooden Shjips, Ty Segall & Freedom Band, and Circuit des Yeux. Not to mention the Castle Face live series, which has been a defining moment for San Francisco psych and garage as well. Adding to the pantheon of great official live sets is Howlin’ Rain, whose Ethan Miller released the Shjips’ album earlier in the year on his own Silver Current Records. The label will now embark on a series of LPs from Miller’s own band and they’re kicking it off with Under The Wheels: Live From The Coasts (Volume 1). The first of a two-part set (Volume 2 is scheduled for Fall 2019) this volume focuses on the band’s improvisational jam side, seeing them turn album and crowd favorites from their catalog into smoldering sets of Cosmic Americana – reigning down honeyed ash on the crowds.

The band sent over an 8+ minute version of the great track “Death Prayer in Heaven’s Orchard,” the scorching opener from their 2006 debut and you can check it out below.
The song’s always been a killer, but here it stretches out, toasting the edges in amplifier fallout and highlighting the worn-in soul that Miller imparts to the song. The first volume lands August 30th, and you can experience a good portion of these as the band embarks on a new tour with fellow guitar greats Garcia Peoples.

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Monarch – “Beyond The Blue Sky”

Adding yet another voice to the current wave of Cosmic Americana, the sophomore LP from SoCal psych five-piece Monarch wafts in on canyon breezes. “Beyond The Blue Sky” is faded in that Kodachrome sunburst hue, worn-in just the right amount but still with a bit of burn. The band makes the most of a six-minute tumbler – entwining twin guitars with the sun-in swagger of their ‘70s forebears and lighting up the solo like fellow West Coast CA toasters Howlin’ Rain. The track comes as a warning shot from their upcoming LP, also titled Beyond The Blue Sky, out later this summer on Denmark’s El Paraiso Records. If you missed out on their first LP, this one threatens to eclipse it nicely, so there’s time to catch up and crack in.


HERE.

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Nick Mitchell Maiato on Rusty Kershaw – Rusty…Cajun in the Blues Country

The new wave of Cosmic Americana brought in a lot of quality cuts last year, but one of my favorites had to be the debut from One Eleven Heavy —the softly choogled psych outfit that brought together members of Wooden Wand, Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura, Royal Trux, and Hans Chew. The band’s record shelves, undoubtedly stuffed with RSTB bait, seem like the perfect fodder to riffle through for the Hidden Gems feature. In fact, James from the band contributed a pick a little while back, long before things had solidified with the Heavy. So with their sophomore LP on the horizon I figured it was time to ask co-founder Nick Mitchell Maiato to dig into his collection and pick out a record that hasn’t cast nearly enough shadow on the majority of the listening public. He picked out a country classic, that, despite being a key Neil Young influence, hasn’t always been elevated to its proper due. Check out how the record came into Nick’s life and the impact its had on his songwriting.

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Sachet – “Nets”

A nice cut outta South Hemi enclave Tenth Court works as a great introduction to Melbourne’s Sachet. The foursome makes springy indie pop that’s tethered to a muscular strum, male/female harmonies swirl above a flex of bass and head nodding snap of drums. The band has emerged from the hollowed hull of Day Ravies and they share an affinity soft angles and gentle harmonies. “Nets” starts in sweet and swaddled, seemingly a doe-eyed indie-pop strummer before it turns the tension up in the second half, crashing through the speakers with steely sincerity. The song precedes their sophomore album of the same name set to be released in September. I’d advise keeping an ear out for that one.



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Major Stars – “Out In The Light”

Oh man, the fount of Wayne Rogers is overflowing this year. After a finely formed solo LP on Twisted Village earlier in the year, Rogers is back with Major Stars for their tenth full length. The first sounds seeping out of Roots of Confusion Seeds of Joy are as potent as ever. Towering riffs, a rumble of fuzz, and an elegiac croon from new vocalist Noell Dorsey (Avoidance, Ricochet) give the new material some serious heft. “Out in the Light” embodies as much of the classic burn of the Stars as one could hope for with a newfound melodicism from Dorsey that elevates her from the usual haze the band employs. Check the cover art from RSTB fave Robert Beatty as well, giving the record a complete package. LP lands August 16th.



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Honey Radar – “Kite Balloons”

Honey Radar is back at it again and things are sounding shaggier and shakier than ever. The first cut off the Philly band’s upcoming Ruby Puff of Dust is a fuzz-soaked swinger, hiding a jangled gem underneath a mountain of corrugated guitar shavings and echoplexed sweat. Though clearly pulling from the Nuggets bench, the band also gives this one a nice late-nineties psych-pop punch, feeling like this might have been a more forceful vision of an Olivia Tremor Control b-side. The record is out June 28th from the Radar’s usual home at What’s Your Rupture. Check out those fuzz licks below.



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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – “Joy”

Another haunting track from Jefre Cantu-Ledesma tips off his third release with Mexican Summer. After contributing interstitial magic to their upcoming surf compilation, the artist goes deep into aching drones after his brush with shoegaze on On Echoing Green. The fuzz is wiped away, replaced by a crispness that can’t be shaken. Several of “Joy’s” tones tiptoe in the background, with the main melody sighing heavy with an unseen tragic turn. Cant-Ledesma has long been a frontrunner for ambient ache, but this is him at his least obfuscated, his most present vision of rippling melancholy that’s hard to shake. The track prefaces his upcoming LP Tracing Back The Radience, out July 12th.



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