Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Hills – “Flöjtjola Med Tema Från Solen”

Swedish psych stormers Hills have been kicking up dust clouds of fuzz and fray since ’06 and in their tenure they’ve issued three great, if slightly undersung, albums for Intergalactic Tactics, Transubstans and Rocket Recordings. Their debut for Intergalactic Tactics is now getting a well-deserved reissue through Skylantern / Cardinal Fuzz this year and alongside the redone original LP, the labels have worked up a bonus that ropes in five unearthed bonus cuts packed on an LP with artwork by Skylantern’s Nik Rayne. The first bonus cut to see light is “Flöjtjola Med Tema Från Solen,” a scorched instrumental that vomits lava and ash to hypnotic effect. The band has often been a psych collector’s secret, not quite enjoying the plaudits of their fellow countrymen Dungen and Goat, but they’re equally worth the praise. If you’ve missed out on the debut LP in its first run, or simply got there when it was CD only (like me) then this is a good time to revisit and pick up a few bonus blasts while you’re at it.


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Al Montfort on Martin McBain’s – Winter… on the Harbour

For this installment of Hidden Gems, RSTB’s ongoing series in which artists pick an overlooked classic that’s impacted their life, I’ve asked Al Montfort to pick out a record he thought had gotten lost to time. For those unfamiliar, Montfort is integral to several Australian bands that should be populating your turntable, including Dick Diver, UV Race, Total Control, Terry and Lower Plenty. The latter two both have great albums out this year that have spent their fair share of time on the speakers here. Al picked a small press gem from Tasmanian singer-songwriter Martin McBain. Surely an unknown name to any from the States, McBain was also pretty far off the radar to most Australians as well, having only released this LP on the small imprint Candle in 1983 and two follow-up singles in ’84 and ’86 before slipping from view. I asked Al how this record made its way into his life and what lingering effects its had on his own songwriting.

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The Bats – “Antlers”

Five years on from their last foray back into jangle-pop’s halls, The Bats return with a new cut from their upcoming ninth LP, The Deep Set. The song’s got all the hallmarks of a classic Bats tune; low-swung rhythm, the scratch-sway jangle melting with chiming chords, and Robert Scott crooning over the whole affair, demanding your rapt attention. For most bands this far out into their career its hard to make your sound relevant, without seeming dated or gimmicky. In The Bats’ case the fact that the world finally turned its head to the right angle to hear New Zealand’s sound as a widespread influence helps this cut feel like it may well have come from any number of worthy followers. though the magic is that none of them could quite find the timelessness that Scott and The Bats conjure. “Antlers” feels like its always existed, waiting in a pile of classic tunes to hit you right in the ennui center of the soul. Quite like their contemporaries The Chills, they pick right up where they left off and prove that perhaps people should have been paying more attention all along.

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Ty Segall – New Album / Single

I’d be remiss not to mention that the ever prolific Segall is embarking on yet another album, this one slated for early 2017. The album brings along many, though not all of the players who acted as The Muggers. Sadly missed are King Tuff and Cory Hanson, but he keeps the core of Emmett Kelley, Mikal Cronin and Charles Moothart in tact. There’s mention of some riffs that rival Slaughterhouse, but none are on display in the album’s first taste, “Orange Color Queen.” The track pulls its inspiration from a more languid side of pop folk that swims in plenty of sunset hues, driving to a stately close that’s pushing the sound much closer to Manipulator’s composed and collected odes than Emotional Mugger’s jittery fray. I’d expect any year to have no less than three albums related to Segall, John Dwyer and King Gizzard. Already got two of those boxes ticked and counting so 2017 is off running right (at least musically).


Elsewhere, Segall also slipped out a sly split single with Loch Lomond on the Dutch label Wet Bridge. The two artists each tackle a Harry Nilsson cover and Segall adds some itching weirdness to Nilsson’s “Gotta Get Up.” The man’s always had a knack for finding himself in covers and this is no different. Its a very fizzy take on the classic Schmilsson opener and works nicely as a pairing with the new track. The split single was available as a tour item but there’s still some left for lucky discoger’s out there.


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James Hoare on East Village – Drop Out

For the latest installment of Hidden Gems I asked James Hoare (of Ultimate Painting, Veronica Falls, Permanent Ornaments) to pick a lost piece of his personal music landscape. As always, Hidden Gems is based on the idea of those records that are found along the way in life that you can’t believe you never heard about, the ones that just blow you away on first listen and seem like such a find. They’re the kind of records that get left out of all the essential decade lists and 1001 records you need to hear before you die type of listicle… the ones that truly got away. For this installment in the series James picked overlooked UK jangle gem Drop Out from East Village. I asked James how this lovely record came into his life and what the record means to him.

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Feral Ohms – “Love Damage”

Honestly, most any news of Ethan Miller’s involvement in a band is welcome and usually met with quality psych of some sort. Stepping away from the more seasoned and softened work he’d been pursuing with Howlin’ Rain and perhaps as an extension of his burnt, though somewhat psych-folk leaning work with Heron Oblivion, Miller has a new project on the rise that he’s introducing with a Castle Face live LP. Feral Ohms is comprised of Miller, Chris Johnson (Drunk Horse, Andy Human and the Reptoids) and Josh Haynes (of epic Olympia, WA rockers Nudity). The riffs on the live LP are ten feet tall, covered in fuzz and shot through with the unhinged spirit that made early Comets On Fire such a joy. Live is obviously a comfortable place for the trio but if this is just the first taste, I’m eager to see how they translate this to a proper record, which is in fact slated for release on Miller’s own Silver Current label in 2017. But first, melt as many faces as possible with the ten ton sumo gut punch of “Love Damage.”

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J. William Parker – “Tigers In The Glass Room”

Guru Guru Brain quietly slips out news of J. William Parker’s debut. The Hanoi songwriter is a complete unknown that came into the attention of the label with these cracked and quiet home recordings fulling in tact. The songs bristle with the kind of vitality that befit some of the best private presses of the ’70s. “Tigers In The Glass Room” is a warm, present burst of strum, distorted by the limitations of Parker’s setup, but the cracks only add to the intensity of the track. The label’s not so far off base in giving the record accolades of bringing to mind Ted Lucas and the quality reminds me of a favorite from a few years back from B.R. Garm. There’s an intense loner vibe here, that feels like the music is a cry in the night. Its not a cry for help though, maybe just a cry for companionship or just a cry to be heard. Either way, its sounding like a great bit of fractured folk.



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Design Inspiration: Jason Galea

This is the second installment of RSTB’s look at the influences that drive the designers behind some of my favorite album covers. Stepping up to the spotlight, Jason Galea opens up about some favorite album covers that have influenced his style. Jason is the designer behind pretty much anything visual that’s connected to Aussie psych warriors King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, plus The Murlocs and the Tame Impala side-project Gum. Galea has also done all of the band’s insane video work and kicked in on a few great Aussie garage comps including the Nuggets comp compiled by Lenny Kaye. The first thing that drew me into King Gizz back when 12 Bar Bruise came out was the artwork, and the triple gatefold on Oddments ranks among my own favorite covers. Its truly using the LP format to its full potential. Below are Jason’s picks that span some recent garage gems and and plenty of psych oddities.

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Premiere: The Features – “City Scenes”

A wealth of New Zealand pop is making its way back to vinyl and rightfully so, this time the venerable Flying Nun themselves are issuing the works of The Features, a long since simmering influence in the kiwi punk and post-punk circuit. The band formed with members of other New Zealand punk touchstones The Superettes, Primmers and Terrorways (all bands featured on the influential AK79 compilation). The band acted as an angular and jagged counterpoint to the majority of Kiwipop’s more jangled stable of players and in some ways ushered in a focus on post-punk in the NZ scene. There’s a fair amount of Wire in their veins and an admitted love for Public Image Ltd, and they parallel the rise of Toy Love as a source of agitated, yet extraordinarily melodic punk that ran through the country. The sound of “City Scenes” is vital, ravaged and raw in a way that most post-punk could only aspire to and this collection gives the band the kind of retrospective that’s sorely overdue. The single was originally released on the Propeller label in and charted on its release in 1980. Culling together singles along with a later 12″ release, X-Features is out Nov. 11th on Flying Nun.



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Library Reissues Series from Spettro

Italian imprint Spettro has worked with soundtrack reissues in the past but now they’ve dipped into Italy’s legendary Flipper archive of Library Music for some incredible reissues of ’60s and ’70s themes all packaged with a deft hand in sleeves that pop in color washed collage that feels ripped out of time. Can’t for the life of me find the actual designer anywhere but it mirrors a Julian House style that feels apt as a visual counterpoint for Library titles.

The collection rounds up the dreamy work of Guido Baggiani a.k.a. Ruscigan, Roberto Conrado, Antonio Scuderi & Piero Montanari’s breaks-influencing work Bass Modulations, Lino Castiglione and Paola Casa’s Morricone leaning Clouds, Massimo Catalano, Remigio Ducros & Daniela Casa’s psychedelic Idee 1 and composer Alessandro Alessandroni’s collection of religious themes. The collection can be bought as a set or individually and they’re in both colored and black editions. Its rare that pieces like this surface (each are in 500 runs, 200 color) but its even rarer that they’re put together as nicely as these editions are, packaged with numbered covers and Obi strip.



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