Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Badge Époque Ensemble – “Undressed In Solitude”

Centering around the works of Maximillian “Twig” Turnbull (formerly Slim Twig), Alia O’Brien (Blood Ceremony) and a host of live players who’ve been backing U.S. Girls on the road over the past year, Canadian collective Badge Époque Ensemble creates a heady mix of jazz, psych, tropicalia and prog. The last U.S. Girl album was noted for its expansive sound and blistering live show, much of which is owed to the players here. Along with Twig, the band stretches out hitting the sweet spot of ‘70s soul-jazz under the sway of pharmaceuticals. On lead single “Undressed In Solitude” the band adds the vocals of James Baley to give the affair a midnight aura. The track stretches past the eleven-minute mark and fully embraces the boundless visions of Isaac Hayes’ unrestrained late ’60 / early ‘70s run. You just know this one is going to kill on stage. The record is out June 7th on Telephone Explosion.




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Wolfmanhattan Project – “Silver Sun”

Plenty to love in a band that comes packed with Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore), Mick Collins (Gories, Dirtbombs) and Kid Congo Powers (Gun Club, The Cramps, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds) and the band makes good on more than their past reputations with the single “Silver Sun.” Sounding like one of my favorite Mick Collins records, Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey!, his Dirtbombs ode to bubblegum, the song’s not bogged down in the grit and garage blast that could easily come from any of the players involved here. It sparkles and swings. Its a sunshine strummer with a popcorn beat built for dancing. This one’s been building for quite a while, but seems to have dropped out of space with a release tomorrow. If the melted syrup choruses and laconic harmonies on this track aren’t enough to sell ya then I give up.



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Sacred Paws – “How Far”

On their sophomore LP, UK duo Sacred Paws continues their thread of simple, yet sunny indie pop. “How Far” practically skips into the room on its acoustic strums, twirling in the sunlight like a kid let out of school early. The song’s so loose and airy it barely has bones but the pair keep it together with the charms of vets who’ve been honing their pop pedigree longer than their years would let on. The song approaches the edges of afrobeat before pulling back towards the indie-pop garden and the skittering lilt that guitarist Rachel Aggs adds to the song’s burbling beat is all the better for it. Definitely looking forward to this album as it rolls out from the band May 31st.




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Allah Lahs – “Raspberry Jam”

I’ve previously mentioned the ambitious and excellently zen project from Mexican Summer, Self Discovery for Social Survival, which pairs bands like Dungen, Conan Mockasin, Peaking Lights, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Allah Las with pro surfers in three different, distinct environments around the globe. The bands traveled with the surfers to experience the trip and feel the energy alongside them and then wrote their accompaniment to the live footage. Some of the most compelling and sun-soaked cuts on the comp come courtesy of Allah Las and now the label’s let one of their fruit-themed tracks out into the air. Check out “Raspberry Jam” below and you can catch the film and full soundtrack in June.

The premiere of the film will be at the Palace Theatre in Los Angeles on June 15 with a live score by Allah Las, Connan Mockasin and Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT

Ticket HERE.

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Kevin Morby on Paul Westerberg – Stereo

As I’ve previously mentioned this week Kevin Morby’s latest is a double-wide opus to spiritual connection and a step away from his usual guitar grounded albums. It’s a big and bold move that’s vaulting Morby even further into the indie rock pantheon’s ranks of ambitious songwriters. That’s not to disparage his back catalog in the least, though. The artist’s rise over the last few albums has been a constant source of joy over here and its great to have Kevin contribute a pick to Hidden Gems. For his pick Morby dips back into his reserve of youthful influences for a Paul Westerberg solo jaunt. Check out how this Midwestern classic came into his life and ultimately what role it played in shaping his own works.

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Deliluh – “Rabbit”

Toronto post-punks Deliluh scrape at the gritty end of the genre, rolling a dirge of noise into clattering instrumental jousts among the players. “Rabbit” pokes into the speakers slowly, crawling up the spine with patience and practice before the song lets loose a hunger for blood around the 2:30 mark. The group has a way with anxious energy, spooling those early inklings of dread around their sound until it pulls tight at the throat. Then, just at the right moment, the band uncoils its reserve of tension and the release is primal and pounding. They let the guitars howl at one another until all that’s left is a pool of sinew and skin and an air of electricity on the breeze. Its an incredibly cathartic track that gives a notion of what’s in store on their upcoming sophomore LP, Oath of Intent. The record is out May 3rd on Telephone Explosion.





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Hierophants – “Limousine”

Very excited to say that Aussie pop-manglers Hierophants are back on the scene this week. The band, which features members of ORB, Frowning Clouds, Ausmuteants, Parsinp, and School Damage among others returns with their first album in five years and the first track’s a perfect extension of their warble-pop legacy. Among the ranks of the Geelong punk panel Hierophants have always stuck out for their adherence to a slower, slimier, hot-house vision of post-punk. There are no brittle edges in Hierophants world, but the floor gives way without notice and everything seems to be covered in a pungent gel of pop weirdness. “Limousine” is a slow-motion shuffler with an ode to dubious wealth. There’s a feeling of artifice that crumbles under the band’s used-car slink. The track feels as if its constantly slipping away like new money hustlers trying to impress with style over substance, and ultimately lacking either. Gonna want to keep an eye on this one when it comes out May 24th.



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Nadah El Shazly w/ Karkhana + US Tour

Ahead of her upcoming tour with Iceage I’ve got a listen to Nadah El Shazly’s side of her recently released EP Carte Blanche (Unrock Records). The EP, a split with Sir Richard Bishop and W. David Oliphant, sees Shazly collaborate with her ensemble Karkhana. Said ensemble is comprised of top Middle Eastern and Mediterranean players including Sam Shalabi, Michael Zerang, and Umut Caglar. The tracks scrape at the psyche, focusing not on the fluid rhythmic styles associated with the region, but on an inverted vision of jazz, psychedelics, noise, and tradition. The songs for the EP were recorded while the band took up residency at Inter Arts Center in Malmö, Sweden, where the band also worked on tracks for an upcoming full length due later in the year.

For the tour Shazly will be backed by Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Thierry Amar, Shayna Dulberger and Luke Stewart on double bass along with saxophonist / drummer / synth player Devin Brahja Waldman (Patti Smith, William Parker, and Thurston Moore, Brahja, etc.). Dates below to see Shazly swing through your area.

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Salt Lick – “Into The Night”

Got another drip-dried, gutter-glued bout of heavy garage blues from L.A.’s Salt Lick today. “Into the Night” turns the turbine to swamp n’ swelter with a sludge-thick blast of power trio swagger that’s huffing from the same tube as Blue Cheer, Toad, Buffalo, and Tractor. The band’s only polished their pedal-down power since their early singles and this cut from their upcoming LP proves that the crew at Permanent know their way around a chest-rattler or two. Seems only fitting that the guys putting together those Brown Acid comps (Salt Lick double as label staffers) also have it in ‘em to channel the handlebar heaven of guttural psych-sploitation when they step up to the mic. This is a nice slice of what’s on the way from their eponymous full length, so inoculate yourself to the fuzztone fever with this cut and get ready for more when the album hits this Friday.




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L’epée – “Dreams”

Anton Newcombe’s been sponsoring the US invasion of The Limiñanas for some time now, appearing on singles with them and producing their last album, Shadow People. Only seems fitting that they should all just join up for a full band sitdown and crank out a few cuts. The first single from their new group L’epée, which also wrangles in Emmaunelle Seigner of Ultra Orange, hits this week and it’s a smoke-thickened version of the Francophiled psych stomp that The Limiñanas have made their meal ticket. “Dreams” has a hypnotic groove grinding under the hood, topped with an enticing twang, the incense-tinged vocals of Seigner and some hip-swung background vox that give this a ‘60s TV shimmy vibe. It’s a nice dichotomy of heavy and heavenly and definitely makes me want more from the crew, which should be soon. Debut LP is coming in June.



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