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Sean Thompson’s Weird Ears – “Never Wrote A Love Song”

A nice little surprise this week knocks out of Nashville from Sean Thompson’s Weird Ears. The solo/collaborative project of Sean Thompson hasn’t released all that much, but like fellow country-rock killers Teddy and the Rough Riders, its worth keeping an ear to the rail for the bits that surface. This EP in question is a three-song recording of a house party, backed by longtime collaborators Ornament. The band and Thompson find an unshakeable groove on two new songs and give a bit of a live once over to an old fave from the Time Has Grown A Raspberry EP from last year. Thompson admits that while the instrumentals are live in the room he gave the vocals a “Europe ’72” studio treatment after not getting the results on the tape. The combo makes these click. The harmonies are crisp and melancholy and they pair well with the ripple rollicked run-through that the band lays down. There’s a dearth of live energy going ‘round these days so I’d recommend getting in on it when it hits. Let your ears get weird.




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Sachet – “Arncliffe Babylon”

Mid-last year Aussies Sachet released the standalone single “Nets,” which would not seem to be an actor piece and the title track of their upcoming album for Tenth Court. This week the quartet have a new low simmer jangler and its pushing Nets up the anticipated pile for sure. “Arncliffe Babylon” has an undeniable ‘90s quality to it, or rather, it has several that all pile together for a song that’s hitting several tips of the tongue at once. There’s the low-slung baseline that rips its riff straight out of slacker-punk pages – loping and bobbing with a bubbled indifference. The guitars are over toasted like an afternoon snack forgotten in the toaster over and just caught before the flames take hold. Then there’s the vocals of Lani Crooks, who’s delivery is wedged somewhere between the alt-rock quiet cool of Kay Hanley and Anna Waronker. There’s been plenty of ‘90s revivalism, but somehow the soft-punch and loosely braided melodies of Sachet feel like the right impulses are making their way back around. The album is out shortly on Tenth Court.


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Modern Nature – “Flourish”

The current climate has produced a hundred heartbreaks, several of which include shuttered tours in the upcoming months. Modern Nature’s recent leg was included in the cull — bad news indeed. However some silver lining solace lays in the news that Jack Cooper’s (Mazes, Ultimate Painting) most recent resting place has a new EP on the way from Bella Union in the summer. The band releases the slinking, skulking cut “Flourish” this week and it’s an organic extension of what was built up on the recent How To Live. With a crouched countenance and a smoke-stained simmer, the song introduces the upcoming Annual as an inseparable companion piece to their most recent release. The sax of Sunwatchers’ Jeff Tobias provides a supple connective tissue to the song, with Cooper’s woolen delivery pushing away from the Krautrock cadence of the album and preceding LP a bit. The EP lands on June 5th. Keep an eye out.



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Pacific Range – “High Upon The Mountain”

West Coast psych searchers Pacific Range have been cooling themselves on the Cosmic Americana winds for a few years yet, but their first proper LP is just now landing at Curation Records. The band’s shared the title track to High Up On The Mountain today and its radiating with silver shivers of country psych bliss. The band is bred on a cocktail of Allman Brothers sunshower shakedowns, Mountain Bus low-gear choogle, shimmers of Help Yourself and, naturally, a requisite dose of The Dead in their veins. The band’s debut, wrapped in an eye-popping Brian Blomberth cover, features Duane Betts (son of Dicky), Sam & Clay from Mapache, and Jade Castrinos among others. “High Upon The Mountain” opens up the LP, and there aren’t many better introductions to the band’s canyon cradled brand of West Coast breeze than this right here. Built on a low-slung guitar line and sweetly stung harmonies, tuck into this one and get prepped for the LP on 3/27.



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One Eleven Heavy – “Hot Potato Soup (live at Jam Castle)”

There have been a rash of insanely good live recordings getting the official treatment lately (see also: Chris Forsyth, Garcia Peoples, Howling Rain, Walker/Gunn/Jewell), making it a bit of a renaissance for the ‘official’ bootleg. The latest to join the fray are RSTB faves One Eleven Heavy, who stunned over the past two years with back to back heavy hitters. Their ensuing US tour from last year was one not to be missed and anyone who was in the room could attest to the band’s ability to spin a jam out into cosmic heights on the stage. If you missed it, now you don’t have to imagine, or even take to the Archive(.org) for proof as the band’s set from Plymouth, WI house party hotspot Jam Castle.

The band wasn’t sure about what to expect from the invite-only private spot, but were pleasantly surprised at the “high-end, above-garage, home studio set-up with Rhodes piano and soundboard recording facilities, truck parked in the driveway giving away free hog roast, and a crowd of mellow suburban Wisconsinites” in attendance. Thankfully the spot also came equipped with recording capabilities and the set was laid down to tape. The band’s gnarled stretcher “Hot Potato Soup” gets some room to take root here, sprawling out to about nineteen minutes of cosmic interplay. It’s a definite highlight of the set, as it has been at most shows recently. The album is headed out May 1st on Phoenix label Was Ist Das? and its one you should grab and alternate in the ol’ Walkman with that Garcia Peeps tape that just landed.

Lucky you, the band’s also headed back out on the road for another short US stint, this time favoring the West Coast. Let this be an inspiration to get out and catch the show. Dates below and you can see video of the Jam Castle set here as well. If anyone in SF misses that date at The Chapel with Howlin’ Rain, I’ll by a plane ticket to come slap some sense into you myself.

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Ezrat – “Loud Sounds”

While they often bubbled under the surface, Brooklyn’s EZTV were a vital piece of the power-pop puzzle from the last few years. As the band’s mercurial sound began to change over the years they pulled in a soft lilt of country and folk that rounded their sound into something far more nuanced than genre tags can hope to evoke. Much like Canadian contemporary Michael Rault, they’d found a sound that was lush and luxuriant within the bounds of pop, and while it seems that EZTV as an entity have faded into the ether that informed them, their spirt lives on with Ezrat. Songwriter Ezra Tenenbaum has begun a new journey that’s gilded with many of the same charms as his previous band. Hung heavy with the dissolution of not only the band but many past relationships, the songs on Carousel were culled from a cache of 50 recordings Tenenbaum had saved up as home demos.

Ezra brought Kyle Forester (Woods, Crystal Stilts), John Andrews (Hand Habits, Cut Worms), and Michael Hesslein (Mail the Horse) along for the ride, fleshing out a bittersweet gem of an album at Figure 8 Studios in Brooklyn. On the first single, “Loud Sounds,” a knotted riff gives way to the sighs of strings (provided by Elena Moon Park & Kyla-Rose Smith) with Tenenbaum giving the track his usual rose-colored veneer – soft strums fading into the winds and melodies wrapping themselves around your own memories until they tug at the heartswell sweetness of melancholy days gone by. The record is out May 1st. Take a few spins ‘round with “Loud Sounds” below.



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Doug Tuttle – “Anywhere You Run”

Another gauzy glimpse of psych-pop sunshine rolls in from Doug Tuttle today. The a-side to his latest single from Six Tonnes de Chair, “Anywhere You Run” lopes in on a gentle jangle and a sun-faded feeling that’s hard to shake. The song is a bleary-eyed cruiser passing by in slow motion, but even so it seems to end too soon forcing the needle back to the beginning for replays again and again. Both sides of the single pair well with Tuttle’s last LP, the blissfully beautiful Dream Road. The songs here are cut from the same cloth as the album’s dream-doused psych-pop, wafting in on autumnal breezes that ripple just slightly in the sun. The single’s limited, so don’t let the lounged feeling lull you into complacency — 2 variants : 200 on black vinyl and 100 on blue vinyl. Artwork created by New Zealand artist Callum Rooney. I recommend nabbing one while you can. The single lands April 3rd.


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Martin Frawley – “Nowhere To Be Seen”

Ahead of an Australian tour, the ex-Twerps frontman Frawley returns with another shaggy shaker that follows his lowkey but loveable album from last year. “Nowhere To Be Seen” pins its hopes on a knuckle-crack beat, bouncing bass line and alternating strums and piano trickles. Frawley found his niche over the course of Undone at 31 with a heart-on-his-sleeve approach that was full of confessional ballads that were soaked and smirking at the end of the bar. This one’s a little more trepidatious, through still letting the emotions rise through to the surface of the skin. It’s a song full of small disappointments and personal reflections that perhaps we could all use. Recommended you get more familiar with Frawley, if you aren’t’ already.



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The Cowboys – “The Beige Collection”

Bloomington’s garage-soul swelters The Cowboys are back and the carefree flow that was palpable on The Bottom of a Rotten Flower seems to have evaporated overnight as we head into their new LP, Room of Clons. “The Beige Collection” is a dark, brooding introduction to their new LP, driving deep into the night with a hungry riff and the vocals of frontman Keith Harman hovering over the listener with a sinister edge. Seems the rest of the album might return to some of their homegrown punk roots but here, for the moment, The Cowboys are post-punk purveyors of a measured menace that’s hard to shake. The record hits shops and mailboxes alike on April 4th.


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Arbouretum – “Let It All In”

Arbouretum cross lines of country, psych, and folk on their new LP for Thrill Jockey — a position that they’ve long occupied, but while much of Let It All In graces the grander schemes of folk and only touches the psych shores, the title track makes its home there. The song, pushing well past the eleven-minute mark, works a nugget of groove into a gnarled, smoldering pile of riff and rumble. The track unfurls over the expanse of its timeframe, pushing into the kind of ribbon of groove that’s locked into a seance sweat and looking to work the rhythm section to the bone. Over a hammered lock-step beat the guitar grit of Dave Heumann finds its wings, stretching into the embrace of volume with little regard for where the winds might take him. The band’s been at it for some time, and at a point when many can write off a release as just another album in the chain, this alone proves that Arbouretum still have a nail to crush into the coffin of their contenders.




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