Browsing Category New Albums

The World

Gonna keep things centered in Oakland today with the new mini-LP from The World. The band hit hard with their debut, First World Record in 2017 and this more compact version of their sound doesn’t sway too wildly from the formula that brought them my way initially. Seven tracks dot the EP, ranging from the elastic dance contortions of “White Raddish” and “You’re Going Down” to the slow-down simmer of “Punctuate” and the buzzsaw beat of “Last Rhodesian.” As in the past the band is at its best when they let the sax slice through the crushed tin timbres, shredding the reserve of icy cool that they build up in the more mellow moments.

Despite it being an icy chiller about finding common ground, the band’s probably not loving the cultural timing of a song titled “Jackson 5” on the EP, but they work it into a bubbling lock groove that works all the same, despite the headline connotations that spring to mind. They round the EP out with a bit of bleary dub on “Kill Your Landlord” and the sample slapped strangeness of “Slow Rho,” which seems like a fun experiment but doesn’t do much other than tie the EP together at the stiches. Still, a couple of killer tracks in the mix here and likely they hit hard from the stage. As I mentioned with Preening, there’s definitely something at work in the bowels of Oakland and their new wave of post-punk is much appreciated around here.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Preening

Plenty of acerbic vibes wafting out of Oakland these days. Alongside equally ravaged post-punk releases from The World, Andy Human & The Reptoids, Rays, and No Babies, comes the debut from Preening. Just as sax slashed (if not more so) than their contemporaries in The World, Preening is chewing up post-punk and spitting it back on the dancefloor for the crowd to slip in. Their vision, while angular and infectious, is also confrontational in a way that many of their peers don’t come close to. While there’s a woolen irritation that gets under the skin with a band like Lithics, Preening are a whole other hairshirt to contend with. Think The Contortions backing Beefheart and we’re getting closer to the kernel that wrought ‘em. This is a record that’s built to batter and be battered by.

Gang Laughter pitches and fidgets in its seat, wads riffs into balls of wire and then, unprovoked, lobs them at the listener in the form of sax squalls and sandpapered epithets from vocalist Max Nordile. If a record could be described as sounding like a lack of sleep, then this is it. The record spins on its impulses – swinging wildly without planning but connecting with the razored wit of someone used to operating out of control and keenly in their element with hackles raised. Like most bursts of manic energy, the record doesn’t stick around long. No songs here bust the 2:30 barrier. Preening slash in, slide out and leave onlookers befuddled, bemused and bandaged, but changed all the same. My suggestion is to succumb to Gang Laughter. Let it wash over and poke at your liver for a heckled half-hour, there’s something freeing in letting go of the societal thread for a while.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Sacred Lamp

Familiarity with Canada’s psychedelic noise conduit Matthew ‘Doc’ Dunn may have come to you in quite a few ways over the last year or so. Despite having been the eye of the storm when it comes to Canada’s more experimental core, Dunn also proved that he’s got a tender tear in him as well with his solo album, Lightbourn, last year. The album saw Dunn slinking towards more traditional songforms, finding solace in Northern Lights country and flaying open his heart. While he did occasionally break out the burn on a few of this songs, the album a fairly different animal from the CD-r stock pile of an artist who’s spent time in the trenches with MV & EE, Woods and the more outre end of the psych-folk spectrum. Even more unlikely, Dunn was integral to coalescing the band that would back up Meg Remy on U.S. Girls’ In A Poem Unlimited last year, straying even further from his comfortable soil with a blend of ‘70s pop twists and jazz-scratched disco that led to one of her most invigorating albums.

He’s proved a versatile artists who can’t be underestimated, or pinned down. So naturally, his collaboration with longtime cohort Ayal Senior as Sacred Lamp is akin to none of these things. If these are your entry points to Dunn, then the duo’s eponymous LP is something more ephemeral. Built on an interplay of guitars that run between the blues ballasted acoustic and twilight divining electric runs that feel haunted by the memories of something just beyond the folds of the horizon. The record is forever chasing the feeling of peace. The LP luxuriates in the guitar, touching on moments that recall Bishop and Chasney, Basho and the collaborative combos of Steve Gunn.

Its a rose-hued gem of a record that should appeal to any fans of those respective camps or the long tendrils that tie them to several schools of fingerpicked and potent psych-folk. This one feels like it has the capacity to slip through the the most slender of cracks. I’d advise grabbing hold before it does.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Uranium Club

Minneapolis’ cracked punk purveyors Uranium Club are back with another LP that draws from the miscreant/art axis of ‘70s derangement that exists between the loosened strands of punk and the buttoned-up prescription of post-punk. The band swings through manic guitar runs, folding riffs into origami shapes that seem ill-advised, yet wind up absurdly catchy if the circadian rhythms of your psyche are knocked properly askew. The band is breaking the catalogs of Dow Jones & the Industrials, Pere Ubu, Devo, MX-80, and Wire over their knee and shuffling the pieces into an order that reads like a buried Burroughs if only you could find the cipher.

They jumped off of the counter and onto the decks with their last EP, proved the madness can’t be contained to 33 revolutions per minute on a live follow-up, and now they’re rubbing oven cleaner in the wounds left raw and reeling with a brand-new slab for hire. The Cosmo Cleaners is stretching your consciousness out through the left nostril and jamming the nozzle of an aerosol air freshener up the other, 9V batter firmly planted on the tongue for full effect. Seemingly stumbling from chord to chord, Uranium Club has actually got the chaos mapped meticulously and printed on line ruled circuit boards for the taking. They punctuate the perilous peaks and crumpled valleys of their songs with car horns attenuated to specific frequencies that’ll induce involuntary full-body jerking. They keep the rolled aluminum din swinging while simultaneously laying out a full spoken word screed over the top. They won’t be taking questions after the session.

With The Cosmo Cleaners the band is proving that their lauded early releases were no fluke of human condition, and more to the point, should have served as a warning rather than a welcome. They’ve set out a statement of ill invective with their latest for Static Shock, built of motor oil and bacteria and given life like a viral golem doomed to wander the streets in search of blood. There’s a heavy sense that the members of Uranium Club find themselves to be more intelligent than you, and perhaps they’re right, but they’ve been left bored and bruised and no job sates the backlog of bile in their system quite like issuing ire through reel to reel. So, they’ll take your twenty dollars and stuff it their socks, saving up for another aural attack, another manifestation of manifesto made metal down the line. Enjoy it… or don’t. I’m not sure that it makes a difference, but it definitely leaves a mark.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE(UK) or HERE(US)

0 Comments

Lucille Furs

Chicago’s beat/psych revivalists Lucille Furs send their ’60-dripped pop on export for their latest album, getting a release from French Magazine and boutique label Requiem Pour Un Twister. The pairing seems like a perfect fit. While Chicago’s got a thriving garage scene, there’s something about their lush, starry-eyed pop that seems like it must come from somewhere other than the heartland. The exact mix here shifts like a kaleidoscope and remains a bit hard to pin, but it seems like they might have tripped through London on their way to meet up label heads in Paris. Other than the strong twinge of British Invasion kicking through, the band rifles through a half-stack of your favorite psych-pop touchpoints – swooning over Blossom Toes, Billy Nicholls, and The Pretty Things with some more high-minded harmonies that dip into Nuggets fodder like The World of Oz, Mortimer, and anything connected to Curt Boettcher.

Yet the strongest wafts seem to come from their penchant for dragging all these bits through the silken brambles of Jacques Dutronc and Serge Gainsbourg. These overtones make the Francophile connection all the more understandable. They share both artists’ love for the deeper blades of grass, wrapping their pop in swirls of sound that envelop in verdant tones. That doesn’t leave them swimming in symphonics though, like Dutronc, they know when to swing and when to swoon and they tend towards the former over the bulk of Another Land. The band’s definitely grinding up the past to mix their paint, but rather than recontextualizing it like Temples or Morgan Delt, they’re often painting masters in shifted hues. That’s not to say that their referential tendencies haven’t produced an album that’s a fun ride all the way through. There’s a lot of tip-of-the-tongue, back-of-the-mind moments but the band’s accomplished enough to make their pastiche play perfectly.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Pye Corner Audio

Nine years in, Martin Jenkins is still chasing the slick synth dystopia under the guise of Pye Corner Audio. For his latest, Hollow Earth, he jumps just left of Stasis, his 2016 LP for Ghost Box. Still steeped in the disembodied bio-mechanics of a future rendered sterile, cut off from contact through the invisible walls of technology and anxiety, but less blunt than its predecessor. The album practically glides off the glossy curves of plastic fixtures. It recycles air in dry batches to keep the home sterile – livable, but not lived-in. The plants are all poised to give the air some much needed oxygen, but like the rest of the environment, they seem curated rather than organic.

PCA’s work has drawn as ever from the kind of sci-fi soundtracks that have been finding homes on Death Waltz, Mondo, and Waxworks. There’s definitely the feeling that there’s a flicker of film somewhere missing its soundtrack. There’s also nods to the pulse of ‘90s Berlin as the album slides into its midsection. The creepy calm of “Descent” and the title track are replaced by heart-quickening adherence to beat – though Jenkins doesn’t shift gears hard and hairy, the anxious pulse creeps up the spine of the album weaving through the New Age warbles like a germ before it breaks like a fever sweat – almost imagined, almost unreal.

Any fans of Pye Corner Audio should feel right at home here, but nonetheless this is more refined than Jenkins has sounded since Sleep Games. There’s an icy confidence that pins this to the pineal gland, lulling the listener into a somnambulant waking dream state that’s surreal and uncomfortable. Ghost Box rarely dissipation, and Pye Corner Audio delivers another slice of surreal synth that stands up to anything in his catalog.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Spacious Mind

Long running Swedish psych unit The Spacious Mind are still mining the edges of lysergic consciousness after fifteen releases and counting. The band’s been scratching at the surface of the sun since 1993, and their latest on Essence Music sees the band working through longform pieces of aching dread. They rise out of the mists with “The Cinnamon Tree,” a haunted dirge of psych-folk that pairs mournful guitars with the scrape and scuttle of bells and percussion – feeling like Loren Connors rinsing his licks in Ash Ra Temple’s altar. The 13+ min opener builds to a peak of mossy graveyard aura, threatening to burst open with riffs that melt the stones and burn runes along the entry, but the band keeps their restraint, giving the song a tension of dread that lumps in your throat the whole way through.

They throw out form altogether for a mid-point track that amps the clatter up to a din – smacking sticks into a hectic racket – before flipping on the throb of guitar growl to push their pallor of daunting dread even darker than the opener. They resolve into gaunt, bitten guitar works with shades of Evan Caminiti strung throughout the skeletal second offering, before finally lighting that aforementioned torch on the album’s closer “Creekin’ At The Goose.” The band hurtles into the piece, amp-scratched and clawing at the cords. There’s a whiff of ozone and a metallic taste to the formless riffs that squelch from the speakers, before the band settles back into their haunted desert caravan, crawling towards death or transcendence or both. Clock this one alongside that Ulaan Passerine album from earlier in the month for album’s that weave guitar scorch with apocalyptic dread. If this is your first taste of The Spacious Mind, don’t make it the last. Dig deep, but start here.






Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

The Coathangers

On their sixth album The Coathangers are focusing their fury to a fine point, channeling their irritation with the world into targeted tension that’s more mulled than their early works. They’re no strangers to the scratch n’ slash punk pound but they’d been swinging more wild on their early records. While tracks like “Shut Up” are excellent reasons to shout down the shitstorm, on Devil You Know the band has zeroed in on what’s burrowed under their skin, whether its the NRA or unwanted advances. The album’s packed with pop hooks but those hooks’ll snag ya every time, and that’s what makes Coathangers great.

As they’ve acknowledged themselves, this record does congeal more than they’ve attempted to in the past. The band had been blessed and cursed with three songwriters and they’d typically split the album into the respective writers’ songs. Each was effective but the effect was often disjointed. Now, instead of sounding like power pop, punk and post-punk thrown in a jar and shaken to order, the tracks shift under your feet from tense rhythm chokers to candy choruses in the span of three-minute marvels. They even yank the plug and take the temperature down to a chill with the pillow-soft strains of “Lithium.”

And with that ‘90s-nodded title the band gives away what works best about The Devil You Know. Their tattered and taped vision of alt rock brings echoes that golden era for guitars without pulling it on like a punchline. Where Pixies, Veruca Salt, and Elastica bounced pop’s gloss and punk’s power back and forth, The Coathangers are true heirs apparent. The whip tension like pros, nail their targets to the wall and come off with the songs that peel paint while getting stuck solid in your head for days. The band has long proven that they can hang with the heavies in a genre of two, but it seems that by letting go of purity they found themselves at their best. If you’d ever written the band off, or pigeon holed them in any regard, its time for another listen.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

WEEED

On the sixth LP from Portland’s WEEED, the band is again wrangling longform jams and pristine fingerpicks into a record of psychedelic transcendence. Given the name they hung on themselves, that’s probably not too great a shocker, but they’re still finding room to maneuver in the genres without wearing the fabric thin. The record eases into view with the gorgeous, opalescent strains of “Opening,” which finds itself in the band’s instrumental bag. The song is a welcome pre-dawn crack into WEEED’s worry-free soundscape and they dive off the precipice into knotted whorls of guitar and percussion interplay that’s clearly built to stretch out in the live setting.

WEEED seems like they might tender some crossover with the current wave of Cosmic Americana, and in the sense that they’re indebted to the freeform ‘70s school of letting the groove dictate the terms, they have plenty in common with the winding cascades of Garcia Peoples, One Eleven Heavy and Howlin’ Rain. They embrace a similar sunny-skied, bliss-blistered shakedown but they’re not hitting the Dead/Little Feat/Mighty Baby triangulation that’s been so prevalent of late. In fact, they wander into some of the creeping dread of King Gizz’ motorik mayhem on the album’s hinge point, “Open Door.” And the track has the effect of feeling like the trip might just turn bad – the blissful skies from the first couple of tracks grow grey streaked and threatening.

Its almost enough to pull the listener out of the pocket, but they don’t let it dive down to the inky depths for long, swerving back to a golden luster on “Carmelized,” which acts as a true highlight of the album. On the back half they find their element in a couple of 10+ heavy-hitters that exemplify the band’s want to let the mind and meter wander while also toughening their sound just up to the edge of heavier Stoner-Rock territory. The band had sidled up to Important record for their last album, but this finds them again at their outpost of Seattle’s Halfshell, perhaps feeling free to wander as they choose on familiar grounds. This hadn’t gotten a whole lot of shouts this year, but if you’ve been locked into the Cosmic-core I’d mentioned previously, then there’s plenty of zone to float in here.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Paint Thinner

Invariably when Detroit is thrown down as a geographical pinpoint, thoughts turn to soul, funk, proto-punk, and to the Aughts’ onslaught of garage. More recently, though, with an abundant availability of warehouse space and relatively lower living costs, noise and art-punk have hunkered down in the Motor City as well. Not such a stretch, considering the same has been true of anchor points just south in Columbus and Cleveland, and as a native of Michigan, I can’t think of any better forms to express the pent-up frustrations of six months of frigid climes pinned to the creeping permanence of strip mall sprawl. Its in this climate that Paint Thinner make their move. While the band isdefinitely not garage, they aren’t exactly punks by design either.

The group (which pulls members from Human Eye, Terrible Twos and Frustrations) hovers in the crevices between noise and punk, soaking in the acerbic juices that once fostered Wire’s transition away from streamlined punk strategies and towards something more sinister. There’s a lot of tension at play in the band’s songs – builds that don’t necessarily resolve, a chewing of strings, a twist of discordance that gives the album an overcast pallor. Like Sonic Youth, Royal Trux, and Television before them, though, the band tends to find their best moments in emerging from noise just slightly to play with catchier forms, before lurching back into the churn.

The bulk of The Sea of Pulp, however, raises its head above the noise barrier only to establish forms and then it tugs between the dirge draggin’ modes of the ‘90s and the more introverted dropouts of Slint and their ilk looking to find bliss between the pedals. There are some genuine moments that raise this up, but also a few that lose steam in the pot. In the end the album runs on the unexpected ninety-degree twist, as perhaps most articulated by their admitted influence in Syd Barrett. While Barrett might have been truly lost in his own musical non-sequiturs, Paint Thinner seem to always be eyeing the crowd with raised brows. This makes that unexpected twist, rather expected by the end of the record. Lots to love here, but perhaps it feels like we’ve been down these roads before.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments