Browsing Category Reviews

Kelley Stoltz

Double Exposure was a fuller sounding Stoltz, proof that his life as a producer seeped well into his life as a songwriter. It hinted at the influences nagging him awake at night and the widescreen he could put them on, but where that album showed how bright Stoltz could shine, In Triangle Time shows how dark his corners are. Built on a taut bed of post-punk throb and an oil slick shimmer of new wave’s sheen, the album kicks up some dirt that was always rubbing off on his prior catalog. As in the past, it’s the details that make In Triangle Time stand out, the rubbery rumble of bass under “Jona,” the back to back psych warbles on “Crossed Mind Blues” and “You’re Not Ice.” The album’s a headphone wonderland, it lives well on the speakers but it dances through headphones like it was made for close company. For years he’s been lauded as the secret weapon of indie rock and with this album following up Double Exposure he’s made damn sure that his own name is above the marquee and not buried in the booklet. There’s no way this one doesn’t let its hooks grow deeper the colder the air turns, so make sure that come November is on your list.

Listen:


Support the artist. Buy it: HERE

0 Comments

The Mantles

Ah man I’m such a sucker for the humid jangle of The Mantles. Coming pretty quick on the heels of both The Mantles’ previous record and a solo LP for Glenn Donaldson’s Fruits and Flowers label, one would think that Michael Olivares would be tapped out at this point. But, to the contrary, All Odds End seems to be just as stacked and stocked with catchy strums and unquenchable energy as ever. Maybe the introduction of new members Carly Putnam on Keys and Matt Bullimore on bass reinvigorated the driving forces. Its a more rhythmic record than perhaps they’ve produced in years past, but even more than that, its the clearest vision of The Mantles that’s ever come out of the studio. Could be the watchful eye of Jason Quever that’s helping here. The Papercuts leader was responsible for back catalog gem “Don’t Lie” and subsequently took over recording duties on this album. It seems that he and Olivares squeeze the best out of each other, the melodies and shades on All Odds End sparkle brighter than ever, wistful sighs given a lush field of color. If ever there was a perfect album to usher in the advent of sweater weather it might be this one. A pair of headphones and a brisk walk might be just the thing you need.

Listen:


Support the artist. Buy it: HERE

0 Comments

Zipper – Zipper

Permanent Records comes in blazing on their 50th release, an essential bit of the Fred Cole catalog, the 1975 self-titled album from his hard rock band Zipper. In the midst of The Weeds, Cole had headed north, got stranded in Portland and met his fate in future wife and bandmate Toody. The band changed names to The Lollipop Shoppe, always an odd choice for such a hard-edged garage band (it seems their manager also managed The Seeds and thought the names were too similar). In the wake of those bands Cole and Toody headed to the Yukon to homestead and dropped out of music for a bit. On their return to Portland they founded Captain Whizeagle, Fred’s repair shop and the accompanying Whizeagle records. The label would release Zipper’s eponymous LP in ’75. The album is dirt caked and whiskey dipped, a hard-nosed bar band with definite proto-punk tendencies that would certainly manifest themselves in The Rats and Dead Moon. Cole’s is a long and storied career and this is a good piece of it to have back in print and on the shelves.

Listen:


Support the artist. Buy it HERE

0 Comments

Shannon and the Clams

Shannon Shaw’s voice is a lot of things; a lullaby, a force of nature, a time machine to the 60’s, a rallying cry for the heartbroken. On their latest album, Shaw is all those things and probably quite a bit more. The album is as crisp and clear as the band have ever sounded, finally kicking some of the hiss that plagued their recorded output and in the process its the most clearly indebted they’ve ever been to the girl group 60’s crooners that have undoubtedly served as some inspiration. The songs swing and pine with odes to love and loss but the real departure is that they’ve also pretty much shed their garage rock tag here. On Gone By Dawn Shannon and The Clams are a pop band through and through, albeit one that’s rocketed out of time and lodged themselves in the malt shop of your heart. And hell why not, Archie’s been reinvented for a modern era, perhaps there’s a kismet in this as soundtrack to the great American heartbreak. Perhaps its time to swoon again. If it is indeed time to wear a broken heart on leather sleeves, The Clams are there to help you cry and pick it all back up for another day.

Listen:


Support the artist. Buy it: HERE

0 Comments

Century Palm

Ok its been far too long since I’ve done a singles post, so its good to be back in the cut with a double shot from Century Palm. The band features members of RSTB faves Ketamines and Dirty Beaches. The title track burns with a kind of garage / glam swagger reaching back to some ’77 vibes that only thicken and darken on the flip side where they wander into the noisy alleys of post-punk with nods to Bauhaus covers of bands like T. Rex and Bowie or The Sound at their more desperate and vicious. “Valley Cyan’s” insistent beat makes for a perfect pick-me-up coupled with woozy keys and guitars that are probably screaming for a windmill strum. Both tracks hint at (hopefully) more to come from this Canadian outfit, and to be honest this is hitting me right in the sweet spot, as I’ve been running down a welcome look back through some post-punk nostalgia of late. This follows well on last year’s Century Palm EP, a grip of tracks in similar vein that work as more than just playlist fodder. Hell the band even roped in Mikey Young on mastering. Seems like a whole lot of reasons to pick this up and that EP if you missed it last year.


Listen:



Support the artists. Buy them HERE

0 Comments

Wand

Wand are turning out to be rather prolific, eh? Third album on the way, second of the year and its proving to be just as packed with heady fuzz, psych weirdness and that sulfur burn sound that’s made them one of our favorites over the past couple of years. This time they don’t just barrel headlong into gravy thick riffs though, there’s a nod to the heaviness and hooks and then the band tumbles into caverns of echo that sound like they’ve been spending some time with A.R. and Machine’s 1972 opus Echo. After they climb out of the chasm they take a left turn towards Barrett-laced psych-folk that fits them quite well.

But while the detours are nice and make for a well rounded album, its a welcome return to testing the tensile limits of your speaker covers as they go for some jugular crushing, exorcism rousing riffs on the back half, bringing plenty of evil vibes floating over the veil. They bring it all down with one of the sweetest sounding cuts they’ve written to date, a perfect mix of sweet pastoral strums and soaring grandiosity that show Tame Impala and Temples how its done. Bu while those bands borrow from the book of niceties in psych, Wand find a few more ways to blend the weirdness of prog with the heavy boots of metal (just like Sabbath told ya) and come out a bit more fun and a whole lot louder. Perhaps you’re asking if your vinyl shelf needs another Wand record this year. The answer is, of course, that it definitely does.

Listen:


Support the artist. Buy it: HERE

0 Comments

Gnoomes

UK label Rocket Recordings is mostly known for their heavier exploits, gargling on guitar fumes and the occasional tonal drift of Gnod. So the opening strums of Gnoomes album Ngan! come as a bit of a shock, though mind you only in context. The album eases into the monster that is “Roadhouse,” the fifteen minute opener that begins with a sweet lope, a nod to Neu and some shrouded vocals before bridging in some of that guitar fire that we’ve all been expecting since the Rocket logo stamped the back. But that’s about as rowdy as this one gets. The Russian band is from the far off city of Perm, literally translated to “Faraway Land” due to its proximity to Moscow and its history of being used for exile; and the band use their isolation well, tuning into a sense of amplified wonder that comes across in the band’s longform workouts. They tighten up ever so slightly for middle tracks “Myriads” and “Moognes” both workable bits of psych pop that swoon more than growl, and then it’s back to another stretch on closer “My Son.” The band are definitely most comfortable pushing the boundaries of their gauzy pop to the edges and its apparent that this record was built for the live setting. It’ll probably be pretty comfy on the turntable too. Not a bad intro to this band.

Listen:


Support the artist. Buy it: HERE

0 Comments

The Host

Named after and inspired by new wave retreats, Esalen Lectures is a pseudonym of Barry Lynn, who is more often found carving bass sculptures under the name Boxcutter. But the waves of IDM drift away in a sea of sensory deprivation here, instead invoking the float and flutter of artists like JD Emanuel, A.R. Reichel and Ash Ra Temple. The tracks fold into one another, rippling and easing their way into a burned cortex until they begin to take hold and then totally release. If Lynn is aiming for a system reset, a cleanse of the mind, then he’s fairly on point with his delivery. The album doesn’t drone like so many analog purveyors but it makes use of synths to curl a bit of psychic smoke through the ripples of your grey matter until the subconscious takes the wheel.

Listen:


Support the artist. Buy it: HERE

0 Comments

Tijuana Panthers

Following up Wayne Interest is no easy feat. The band crystallized their sound, shaved off some of the rough edges of the past few years and really found their stride in the foaming garage eddies and pounding pace of rock’s dark corridors. They never let themselves ascribe to a style wholesale and they continue that ethos on Poster. There’s a slacked summer hangover of slowed surf, that twang of garage that they always keep in a back pocket and a bit of pop bounce that holds it all together. When they’re at their best, the band is spitting headstrong anthems that stride into the room with enough confidence to turn every head. “Set Forth,” “Send Down The Bombs” and “Front Window Down” are some of the band’s most endearing tracks and highlights among the bounce, sneer and shimmy here. But the whole record is a nice compliment to Wayne Interest, making a pair of releases that swirl the radio dial through ’66 – ’80 with just the right sense of timing.

Listen:


Support the artist. Buy it: HERE

0 Comments

Future Punx

Future Punx are riding the high of 70’s post-punk in a way that few are with such pure immersion these days. Plenty have found ways to incorporate the trappings of the genre into their work but the Punx divine the nervy, jerky dance and smash of influences with the same palpable excitement of their forebears; sounding ripped out of time. They’ve admitted to a love affair with Fear of Music and David Byrne’s fingerprints are fresh in the heart of This is Post-Wave, but they also capture the raw funk hangover and stark minimalism of other luminaries of the era, namely ESG and Medium Medium. The mood is celebratory, but in a way that seems less purely joyful and more in the mood of dancing to spite the forces that told them they couldn’t. Its a dark, cathartic grind that’s more for your chagrin than for their levity. And this is certainly a good time to dance it off in someone’s face. Its a perfect time and place for the raw nerve of post-punk to rear its head amid the social rot to our collective teeth.

Listen:


Support the artist. Buy it: HERE

0 Comments