Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Handle – “Punctured Time”

Upset The Rhythm continue to scar the post-punk landscape with a new offering from Manchester trio Handle. “Punctured Time” is a jittery, jaundiced comedown of clatter-pocked noise punk, splattered with spittle and wrecked by rhythm. The band aren’t looking to invoke dance so much as they’re aiming to induce fits. The song pushes and pulls like they wrote songs on the page and then used silly putty transfers to distribute the score for the session. Notes crumble and cramp, disjoint and dislodge. It’s a righteous racket that consumes the tin foil tension and spits it back as brightly colored ball bearings of beat and squirm. The LP lands March 6th.




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Bananagun – “Out of Reach”

Another psych-funk swimmer from Melbourne’s Bananagun lands today and its soaked in soul and a mid-70s pastiche that feels tip-of-the-tongue familiar. The band’s got a knack for smelting the past into something that’s reverent to their influences but still manages to whip up a few new feelings. The song’s pinned to a tin-tap popcorn beat that’s part blue-eyed soul and part South American polyrhythm shake. Throw in some funk scratch guitar and sun-faded vocals and this is starting to melt the recent bout of snow that’s laced the US shores. The band apparently see themselves as “merging the proto-garage rhythmic fury of The Monks with the tropicália grooves of Os Mutantes” and that’s not too far off the mark here. The single is out in February from UK outpost Full Time Hobby and Anti-Fade.


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Mixtape: Some Cowboy You Turned Out To Be

While this doesn’t really fall under the year-end banner, I’m going to place it in alongside the rest of this wrap up. It’s actually been a year since the site’s last mixtape and I think these have fallen by the wayside too long. For this one, I’m shifting focus on the mixtape series to contemporary over archival releases to wrap up some of the excellent strains of alt-country, country-folk, and dusted singer-songwriter tracks that have come out in the last few years. The creep of country into indie has had a nice push lately, bringing forth some of the most affecting and aching tracks of years past. While I’d wager to say that Cosmic Americana has had the strongest resurgence in years past, I’m making the case for alt-country as a close second. The lay lines on this sort of genre are shifty and mercurial, so feel free to disagree, but I’d wager this mix has some strong contenders in its ranks.

These songs are full of heavy hearts, failed marriages, missed connections, youthful melancholy, and maturing reflections. There’s joy, but it’s between the somber sway of pedal steel and the bittersweet twang of guitar strings. I offer this mix as a companion to solo drives as the sun dips low and endless stretches of road lie ahead, or rainy evenings on the porch alone. It’s a solitary set of songs, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no hope in its heart.

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The Proper Ornaments – “Black Tar”

James Hoare is a busy artist and its good to see him pop up wherever he might be. Of all of his endeavors The Proper Ornaments seem to always be bubbling just below the surface, a calm respite of tranquil indie-pop with a heavy heart. The band is back for their fifth album, having now picked up new bassist Nathalie Bruno and the first cut from the LP is the slow narcotic foam of “Black Tar.” The song is draped in melancholy, a velvet and paisley comedown from the chaos that’s aloof on the surface but reaching out for solace at its core. Mission Bells finds its way out February 28th from Tapete. Mark your calendars.

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RSTB Radio WGXC: December

Getting the hang of this radio gig and hitting a good stride this month. Check out the tracklist below chock full of Japanese folk, brand new cuts (Dire Wolves, Bananagun, Joseph Allred, Scott & Charlene’s Wedding) and an uplifting shot of jangle n’ strum towards the end. You can listen and download the set over at WGXC.

::Playlist::

Bananagun – Out Of Reach /// Chu Kosaka – Doronko Matsuri /// Erin Durant – Take A Load Off /// James Matthew VII – In A Restless World /// Grace Cummings – There Flies a Segull /// Siren – Get Right Church /// Dire Wolves – (Brother Lee) Womblife Blues /// Joseph Allred – Traveler /// Jon-Erik Axelsson – I Badet /// Zachary Hay – 8 /// Arbor Labor Union – Flowerhead /// Pedro Kastelijns – Olhos da Raposa /// Joe Ghatt – The Run /// Keiji Endo – Machi Sugita Boku Wa Totemo Tsukarete Shimatta /// Takechiyo – Dasshutsu Kumikyoku a) Fune > b) Ikada > c) Oozora /// Willie Lane – No Path Through The Forest /// Elkhorn – Electric One (Part B) /// Eric Osbourne – Long Way From Home /// East Village – Strawberry Window /// The Clouds – Get Out of My Dream /// Scott & Charlene’s Wedding – Back In The Corner /// Salad Boys – This Issue /// The Springfields – She Swirls Around Me

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RSTB Best of 2019

2019’s drawing to a close, so I suppose this is the place to tie it all up. I’ve mentioned in years past that ‘best’ is a hard line to draw around the music from the year. From a blog perspective ‘favorite’ seems more appropriate, but then for all intents and purposes my choices are qualitatively the best to me, if not necessarily quantitatively best in the sense of the zeitgeist. The drive to figure out what’s best seems to just consolidate consensus and we’re all treated to dozens of lists that cross over with each other, especially in the top spots. I’ve long been a proponent of niche. I say long live finding your voice and letting others find theirs – we can all compare notes and discover new music in the process. I don’t need anyone to sand the edges and offer up a list that’s all inclusive. I like the edges. These are my favorites from a great year, edges and all.

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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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Elkhorn – “Electric One (Part B)”

Its been no secret around here that Elkhorn issued one of the year’s best LPs, but the pair proves that a towering achievement such as Sun Cycle/Elk Jam is only the beginning of a productive streak that takes them far into 2020. Cloistered with their friend and collaborator Turner Williams after a snow storm cut short that night’s show the three embarked on a lengthy improv session that resulted in two side-long flights of fingerpicked ripple, ozone-smeared electric singe and Williams’ meditative runs through electric bouzouki and shahi baaja. I’ve seen Turner work that bouzouki when he laid out some improvs with Jesse earlier in the year and it’s a sight to behold.

The result of these sessions is a record that burrows deeper to find the cosmic thread than ever before. As we are again encased in the sort of ice that birthed these pieces in the first place, it seems only fitting now to light this candle for all to see and shine it out into the world. This is Elkhorn finding the thread at the center of the universe and spooling it out into ribbons of psychedelia, spiritual jazz, meditative float, and Kosmiche. The Storm Sessions arrives February 7th on Beyond Beyond is Beyond.



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East Village Reissue on Slumberland

Slumberland is rolling out the essential reissues of late. Alongside their recent Springfields retrospective they’re reissuing a previously CD-only singles collection from late, great jangle-pop band East Village. The band showed up in these pages a while back as a Hidden Gems pick from James Hoare, but that album is only half the picture. The band’s album was released posthumously after they broke up on stage, but they’d left a catalog of singles up to that point that finally found a collective home on Summershine Records, but it has remained an ellusive pickup ever since its 1994 release. Great then to have Slumberland issue this on LP for the first time, giving the band another day in the sun. If you’re unfamiliar, I’d recommend letting James give a few reasons on what the band is all about or take a listen to a couple of singles tracks below.



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