Browsing Category Tracks

White Manna – “Mythic Salon”

Long running California psych band White Manna returns with a split release for Centripetal Force and Cardinal Fuzz August 28th. While the blast-force riffs still abound on the album, on “Mythic Salon” there’s a drive towards rhythmic oblivion. Hewing closer to the German Progressive blueprint rather than the amplifier exhaust that they were known for early on, the track wraps elusive vocals around a percolating beat that’s haunted by horns over the distant hills. The song slots in nicely on ARC, as the LP shifts endlessly between growl and grind and the further reaches of space, noise, kosmiche, and Krautrock. It solidifies what the band were beginning to mold on Ape On Sunday, tightening their hold on cosmic psych and letting the spaces between the storm speak.





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Michael Nau – “Funny Wind (demo version)”

The work of Michael Nau often captures a temperamental magic — when the sun dips just below the horizon and the colors take a turn towards cooler greens. His recordings, though not overly adorned, drape his songs in a studio softness that’s often buffeted by some ace collaborators. His voice lays swooning in the velvet trappings that recall the ‘70s vocal treasures that spawned a golden age of honey-hued folk and singer-songwriter prominence. However, before any of his songs made it to the velour and vernal sounds of the finished project, they started as an idea alone at home. Nau has been capturing his songwriting process on tape for years, but the vaults have remained sealed up until now. With Demo Versions, 2014 to 2017 the songwriter lets us all behind the veil to hear how many of his well-loved songs began. The record is by turns sparse and affecting. Once the studio buffer is removed, the songs land like a private-press folk record cut on a budget, but that temperamental magic is still coursing through each one.

“Funny Wind,” in particular, is given a tender tread. The original is laced with a buttoned-up grace, but here Nau is unwound on the porch, letting the lyrics dance around the tape hiss. His voice comes through unfettered, but perhaps its tugging at the soul just a bit more because of it. The song quivers a bit more in its infancy. The final product still lands among the heartstrings, but the demo has a country crooner’s charm and a lingering sweetness that doesn’t quite come through as completely after the polish dries. Sometimes there’s just a perfect take, and this nails that feeling. The record lands this Friday on Suicide Squeeze.



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Olumpus – “Beautiful or Bro”

It’s been about seven years since New Zealand’s Olumpus (nee Olympus) has been seen around these parts, but the Stefan Neville-led (Pumice, The Coolies) outfit is back with a new album and an impressive rotating cast in tow. With twenty-two collaborators on board, including Richard Youngs, Dan Melchior, and quite a few others that have haunted Neville and primary partner Pat Kraus’ orbit they’ve expanded the idea of Olympus from the last LP. The dazed crawl of “Beautiful of Bro” hints nicely at the appeal of the new record. The song tangles with fuzz and form, builds up slow and dissipates into a nebulous cloud that’s cluttered with debris. Neville’s sister Indira takes the vocals here and the whole song hearkens back to the noise-pop heyday that birthed small-press greats like Vibes, L.A. Vampires, and Psychic Reality. Just as it locks in, the song is swept to the distance, though I could listen to a loop of this for about twice as long. The new record is out through the band’s home at Soft Abuse. It’s flying way under the radar, but now you don’t have an excuse to miss out.



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Magik Markers – “Machine”

Got busy over the last couple of days, but that doesn’t mean that the return of Magik Markers was lost on me. The band announces a new EP for Drag City and it sees the trio back in fine form, picking up where they left off at the beginning of the last decade. Hammer-lock drums hold “Machine” fast to the pavement, but the rest of the track tries its hardest to lift this one off into the haze above. Elisa’s floating in a fog of echo and dodging the dust that the guitars kick up all over the track. The band was long known for their ability to lacerate a crowd with a cocked eyebrow and the ozone fizzing off the amp, but they’ve also had a knack for reigning the chaos in for the studio take, providing a pop launch pad for the the fury to come. “Machine” makes the case well that this should be on your radar and tucked neatly into any wantlist you’ve got scrawled, screenshot, or digitally cued in your life. The Markers are back. Make note.





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Ball – “Black Magic”

It’s been a couple of years since Sweden’s Ball has graced the site, but the band releases a second single off of their upcoming LP for Subliminal Sounds. “Black Magic” picks up the torch where the left it on their eponymous debut — sludge thick riffs, a toxic vocal veneer that gives Timmy Vulgar a run for his money, and the putrid sweat stench of the ‘70s lacquered over the top of their turmoil. Still running under the mysterious aura that the band put out on their last LP, the band remains tied to a group of brothers all with the pseudonym Ball (or so it would seem). This one’s got enough ozone and diesel fuel in its veins to knock the wind out of you for a good solid couple of days. Looking forward to the whole huffer when it comes out shortly.





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Wet Tuna – “When I Get Home”

Keeping the Bandcamp manna rolling this morning with another couple of new tracks from Wet Tuna. Long a favorite around here, Matt and Pat lay down two extended covers that get to the core of what Wet Tuna are all about. “When I Get Home” is a golden, mellowed nug from the pair. It’s built on the kind of natural balance that the band have, but its also one of the most verdant tracks that the pair has laid to tape yet. Usually there’s a humidity to their works, but this one seems like its outside in the elements — a summertime salve that wanders off into the high grass. They do right by Pentangle with the extended version. Michael Hurley’s “Water Train,” by comparison, summons a caustic burn from the outset. Heatsick guitars search for solace, parched and aching until the band douses the song with that familiar stickiness. A humid hideaway of liquid licks and skittering percussion ensues. If you’ve seen Tuna in the wild on stage then there is a familiar feeling emanating off of this one. Its as necessary as any of their records, and its rejuvenating to let this one pour down on the heat of July.




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Chris Forsyth / Dave Harrington / Ryan Jewell / Spencer Zahn – “Nublu Jam”

As its the first Friday of the month, that means that artists are bringing out some great new offerings so that you, the listener, can help support music during a time of unstable touring incomes. First of a couple recommendations here today. If you’re missing out on the live experience, then Chris Forsyth has you covered. Back when the live room was still a good idea he got together a residency at NYC’s Nublu with a rotating cast of players each week. While stints with Garcia Peoples yielded great takes on Forsyth’s already stunning catalog, this set from the residency was the most exploratory. It puts players who have played together for years together with players just meeting that night, with Chris and longtime drummer Ryan Jewell joining up with Dave Harrington (Darkside) and Spencer Zahn. With no pre-conceived notions of where the night would take them, they present a set that’s untethered from any of their pasts yet clearly informed by the collective skill on the stage. Pick the LP up now, this is an essential one.



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Pop Filter – “Big Yellow Van”

The Ocean Party spent quite a bit of time on the turntable here, but after the tragic passing of member Zac Denton, the band has dissolved and reformed under the name Pop Filter. The same breezy bounce is in place here, through Zac’s songwriting is missed among the stars that have cropped up in pre-album singles. “Big Yellow Van” is rife with nostalgia for the road, the past, and another time that’s been lost forever. With bittersweet harmonies, a crackerjack bounce of drums, and chipper keys, the band nails this wistful tune to the wall for all time. There’s quite a bit of heartache in between the bars, but I’m smiling through the tears over here. The Aussie band’s debut record Banksia is out August 21st through Spain’s Bobo Integral.





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Laraaji – “Lifting Me”

Despite being a constant in new age circles, Laaraji has made a heavy impact in psychedelic and kosmiche circles in the last few years. While the artist has become synonymous with the zither, on his latest LP he’s focusing on circular, meditative piano compositions and they radiate a kind of calm centeredness that’s quite appreciated in times of shifting realities. The latest piece of the puzzle from the upcoming Sun Piano is “Lifting Me,” a sparkling composition that reverberates through the speakers with the promise of a clear dawn. Recorded in a Brooklyn Church by Jeff Zeigler (known for work with Kurt Vile, The War On Drugs and Mary Lattimore), this is a new direction for the artist, but one with a familiar feel.

While it doesn’t quite hit on his often sublime rippling that he’s created with his signature instrument, its clear that Laraaji is just as at home behind the piano as the strings. Tensions melt, time stands still, and the canvas is reset as the notes of “Lifting Me” float out of the windows to commune with the crisp summer air. Any fans of his past works will certainly be rewarded, but newcomers looking for a way into the minimal world of the artist might do well to crossover from the meditative fare of say, Recital or 130701. The record is out July 17th on All Saints.



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Chloe Alison Escott – “Stranger Than Death”

Been a fan over here of Tasmania’s Native Cats for a bit, so anything out of that camp is always highly anticipated. News came down earlier this month about Chapter Music’s upcoming compilation Midnight Meditations, designed to help listeners through long dark nights of the soul. The comp focuses on the downbeat visions of artists with a goal of providing some comfort during troubled days and nights, and this latest addition cinches its necessity. Typically Native Cats have found their niche in abrasive post-punk, so its interesting to hear another side of Chloe’s output here. Gone are the insistent rhythms and thickly muscled bass of the Cats and in place is a rainy afternoon course of quiet contemplation. Just Chloe and a piano, the track leaves little room to hide. Its a spare, open, and raw track that never hides its hurt. This song falls more in line with Chloe’s solo work and is in fact a nice precursor to an upcoming solo LP, Stars Under Contract due on Chapter later in the year.

Giving some context to the song, Escott explains, “I started writing this song when I saw heavy rain evaporating instantly on halogen lights along the Hobart Rivulet, and the rest of the lyric rolled out from there. Most of all it’s about gender transition – there’s even a quick reference to an infamous, long-discredited online test for transsexuality – but if you want to interpret it as a prediction of pandemic isolation life I won’t stand in your way.” The comp is due out this Friday, July 3rd, and features several Chapter alum/adjacent offerings from The Green Child (feat Mikey Young from Total Control and Raven Mahon from Grass Widow), Sarah Mary Chadwick, Dick Diver’s Rupert Edwards, Alex Macfarlane of Twerps/The Stevens, and Chapter’s own Guy Blackman.



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