Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Tony Molina – “See Me Fall”

Tony’s back and its short and sweet and this time the plug’s knocked out for an acoustic bite into his jingle-sized universe of pop hits. Heading more for the Lennon-McCartney or Davies-Davies axis than the Black-Deal or Cuomo-Sharp axis this time around, Molina still proves that he’s able to pack more emotional heft into a scant minute than most songwriters are able to punch into a whole album. There’s a sad lilt to “See Me Fall” and its only compounded by the fact that the song leaves you hanging on the edge waiting for more. Molina’s become the master of building tiny pop dioramas that whisper into your brain and take root, not only because they’re quick to the hook, but because like so many great offerings in life they just seem to dissolve before you can get enough of them. Great to have him back, even if it is in the short format. It’s telling though that Molina can pack eight songs onto a 7″ to be sure.


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Ashtray Navigations – “Spray Two”

Last year Ashtray Navagations hit hard with their sprawling drone-psych record A Shimmering Replica. Now they’re back to hammer the psych nail even harder with To Make A Fool Ask, And You Are The First for the ever excellent Blackest Ever Black. The first taste from the record is a big one, the sprawling, side-long epic “Spray Two.” The track builds almost twenty minutes of pulsing, hazy dronescape flecked with piano improvisations. Screw releasing singles, Ashtray Nav knows when its time to drop a Tangerine Dream epoch on the public and let them sort out their headspace through glycerine tones and creeping dread. If the rest of this album stacks up (and I’m betting it might) this is definitely a force to be reckoned with in 2016.


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Morgan Delt on The Pretty Things – Philippe DeBarge

The third installment of Hidden Gems is upon us. 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 got away. For this installment in the series, I asked Morgan Delt to take his pick at an essential piece of the past. He picked The Pretty Things’ lost album with French singer and socialite Philippe DeBarge. I asked Morgan how this psychedelic odyssey and true lost classic came into his life and what the record means to him.

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Shy Mirrors – “Cements”

Swedish export Mike Downey has found a similar muse in the short form pop-punk that drives Tony Molina to bash out jingle-sized nuggets of fuzz pop that are steeped in their love of Guided by Voices and, well, slightly less Weezer than Mr. Molina seems to favor. However, the same power pop elements and ’90s overtones are in place, just slimmed down to the hook and fed bite-sized to the listener. “Cements” doesn’t last long but it gets its claws in quick and feeds on a cocktail of nostalgia and a hunger for the hook.

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Jack Rose – VHF Reissues

There are fewer catalogs that are in dire need of a proper reissue than the work of Jack Rose. The celebrated guitarists’ untimely death left a hole in modern folk that’s been difficult to fill, but compounding the loss has been the fact that his early records, Raag Manifestos, Opium Musick and Red Horse, White Mule, have languished out of print for years. Now VHF, in collaboration with Three Lobed and Jack’s estate have worked to get these three masterworks back on vinyl. The collection is out September 23rd and each is an essential piece of his rise to prominence. There are a lot of useless reissues that clutter up the landscape these days, adorned in chromatic colors and begging for your cash, but Rose’s work, presented here simply is the kind of release that slips out quietly and is swept away by those with the clarity to pick them up.



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Kandodo / McBain – Lost Chants / Last Chance

Kandodo, which is comprised of three members of UK psych unit and veritable force of nature The Heads, have teamed up with John McBain from Monster Magnet for a dose of heavy space rock that’s speaking to both parties strengths. First taste “Holy Syke” starts off lost in the ether before building to a monumental wall of heaviness and ground splitting guitar fury. The album was mastered by McBain to play either at 45 or to be slowed down to dirgey goodness at 33. They’ve even doubled up the CD so digital dabblers can have the same fun with speeds. Check out the accompanying video above that matches the song’s psych slide with abstract visuals that rise up like a hot burning sun. The album’s out at the end of the month and highly recommended for fans of either party’s previous bands.

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Premiere: Proud Parents – “Take My Hand”

Wisconsin’s Proud Parents have their hearts wrapped around a bright pop jangle and their new video for standout track “Take My Hand” from last year’s Sharen Is Karen cassette is uplifted even more by the band frolicking in a dog park with enough glee to warm every inch of your curmudgeonly soul. The band features Heather Sawyer from fellow RSTB faves The Hussy and the band shares their love of bright splashes of pop, but supplants the punk for a sunnier brand of bounce-addled jangle. Just what the week called for. The band is off on a US tour (dates below) and you can check out their Eva Marley directed video above.

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Savoy Motel – “Sorry People”

Good news for all the moonbabies out there, the psych/soul/glam/funk barrage of Savoy Motel has found a home at What’s Your Rupture?, spinning their once obscure single into an upcoming album’s worth of sparkle sodden mutant handclap boogie that feels lived in and crinkly as a Twinkeyz single run through the woodchipper and neck-stomped by Slade. This new taste of the LP is a heavy hitter that sneers and holds our Angel of No Mercy, Jay Reatard as its inspiration. There’s less melted sun splatter than on that breakout “Hot One” but still plenty to love about the platform heel stomp, disco click ‘n shuffle and paint peeler of a solo that adorn “Sorry People.” Definitely psyched on Jeffery Novak and co. fleshing this project out into a true weirdo run backwards through the television tube memory of our childhoods.

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The Holydrug Couple – “Whatever You Want”

Chilean psych’s premiere dreampop export are back in action, this time creating a very real soundtrack to a very imaginary film. The track “Whatever You Want” finds the band still in the blissful wake of their last album, Moonlust and reaching further for that moment when the sun blinds your eyes and warms the soul. The track is swept along by a pounding beat that’s easily tempered by the dreamy vocal chants and twisted nicely with the addition of some vintage synth stabs. Paired with fellow first taste, the instrumental “Vase of Flowers,” its hard not to feel a debt to Air and in particular the Virgin Suidices Soundtrack. There’s a similar feeling of vintage yet timeless to the track, employing a light touch with a heavy shadow. Can’t wait to hear the whole thing, as I imagine both of these are just puzzle pieces in the world of Soundtrack for Pantanal.



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Bloods – “Bring My Walls Down”

Syndey’s Bloods return for a sophomore album and the first track blows in like a sweet breeze across the ocean. They soften the attack but keep their chewy ’90s center strong, transitioning from garage pop into a gnarled bit of Alt rock that mines The Muffs, Letters To Cleo and Veruca Salt. There’s been a steady turn towards the ’90s in the past couple of years but its always great when bands fight the right touchstones, and this is definitely a welcomed refinement for Bloods. The song finds the band and singer MC ruminating on a crush that lowers all defenses, the kind of overwhelming infatuation that leaves you vulnerable because you can’t help but sputter out the first things that pop into your head. I noticed that the band had DJ’d a night of teen movie soundtrack classics last year, and that alone makes perfect sense, since “Bring My Walls Down” feels like it might find itself right at home sandwiched between cuts on the Clueless Soundtrack or fueling 10 Things I Hate About You‘s femme pop heavy sound. If they were still making the kind of teen comedies that leaned heavily on turning Shakespeare and Jane Austen into parables for the mall set, some music supervisor would be losing their shit over this one.




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