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.

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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.

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Jacuzzi Boys – “Sun”

Jacuzzi Boys have struck out on their own with a new EP and its thick with garage fumes. The same sense of off-kilter fun that’s always pervaded a back catalog full of quirks and hooks remains, especially on the bounce of the title track “Happy Damage”. Elsewhere the band rolls the guitars in gravel and toughens their knuckles against a storm of amplifier heat. Its a quick six shot but the Boys have never been known to linger long and there’s more than enough here to sink into. Its playlist fodder for sure but well worth the full spin over and over. Brief or no, I’m just happy to have ’em back.

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Death By Unga Bunga “Tell Me Why”

Clean running garage from Norwegians Death by Unga Bunga. The band runs through the full gamut of 60’s flecked, power knocked, charged up garage pop and they do it quite well, lodging more than their fair share of hooks in your head in the process. Its been a while since they’ve had an album proper so this two tracker (six if you grab it digitally) will have to tide the world over until a new one is on the way. The bonus cuts on the longer version all simmer with similarly jangled and bouncy beats. There’s a distinct lack of grit here but not all garage needs to be gnarled and wrapped in shredded denim. Every once in a while the sun beams cracking through the Northern European clouds should be enough to make you smile. Plenty to love here.

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Chris Forsyth & Koen Holtkamp

The second matchup between these two purveyors of experimental headspace proves that there’s some definite aural chemistry between the pair. This time the two brought their collaborations together quicker, recording over a weekend at the shore rather than a full year of tinkering. The result doesn’t sound rushed, rather it crackles with the kind of excitement that’s born out of two minds bouncing off of one another. The first track rushes headlong into electronics, but its squelchy tones prove the exception on the album as the rest settles into the sand of strums and slides of guitar with just the setting sun of hum weaving throughout. Truthfully this does sound like a thoughtfully composed record, especially songs like standout “Long Beach Idyll” and the meditative crunch of “Alternator.” Then they tie it all together with a ten-minute workout of rippling, hypnotic strum that melts like last days of summer.

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XAM

Hookworms certainly have an element or two of Krautrock coursing through their veins, and if there are Cluster and Tangerine Dream LPs pumping on their stereo, it’s probably courtesy of member MB. He’s recently struck out for a solo outing as Xam, with a 12″ of burbled, swirling eddies of Kosmiche hypnotism out now on The Great Pop Supplement / Deep Systems. The A-side here starts a bit rigid, robo-grind that’s less human than anything in Hookworms stable, but MB picks up some serious steam on the next cut, a lush dive down the whirlpool by the name of “Coke Float”. The flip goes for epic length, a 22+ minute track that floats with the best analog stew. There are plenty of new age white boys tripping through this same aural valley but as with Daniel Lopatin and Cooper Crane, a few of them are getting it right.

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Bill Horist

Guitarist Bill Horist, long a member of psych collective Master Musicians of Bukake, crafts here a score for Calgary choreographer Davida Monk’s piece Dream Pavilion. The score and accompanying dance piece set out to bring life to Netsuke, tiny Japanese sculptures that often depict gods, animals and people in moments of extreme emotion. As such the pieces vary by the type of character they convey, from slightly playful to, more often, dark and foreboding. Horist’s use of prepared guitar and a Vietnamese lute called đàn nguyệt were the mainstays of the live performances but here he’s further augmented them in studio with the addition of bass, percussion and electronics that further serve to bring out the usually frozen emotions that are caught in the Netsuke’s expressions. The record acts as a journey down the snake’s den, rather than the rabbit hole, winding and weaving through the dark corridors with deft precision and a predatory tension. Its jarring at times but on the whole an engrossing listen that captures the imagination even without the dance.

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Cold Showers

Cold Showers have been knocking singles through the cracked lens of 80’s post-punk for a few years now. They popped up, as so many do, for a short stint on Mexican Summer and they put a single out on Art Fag before moving onto a string of releases with Dais. Now they’ve taken their sun-shrouded sound and worked it into a sophomore album that acts as a love letter to the twin kingdoms of Factory and Creation; bending bare, but crisp beats to the whims of fuzz ballooned shoegaze guitars. They’ve got enough pop sensibility to keep it from going into the goth end of the pool, though I’d imagine that their Cure Fanclub dues are paid in full, and while they’re by no means are they creating summer anthems, there’s a sparkle of catchiness under the surface. The songs on Matter of Choice are clipped and ready for greyer skies and streaks of rain, so perhaps the timing is just perfect to steel yourself away with a copy of Matter of Choice after the swelter dies down and the darkness eats away at the tail end of summer.

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Tijuana Panthers – “Set Forth”

Ok admittedly this has been a quiet week around the Raven, and apologies for that. It’s been rather busy elsewhere, but when something great comes along, priorities must be given. Tijuana Panthers last album, Wayne Interest was a favorite around here and its great news that there’s a new one out today. Poster hits the shelves imminently but to herald it, the band have an awesome new video that’s inspired by 80s claymation classics like Penny Cartoons, California Raisins and Gumby. Being somewhat of a fan of the arduous task that is claymation, I can’t resist this combo. Check it out above.

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The Intelligence

Lars Finberg kicks out another release under The Intelligence umbrella, and suddenly it does seem like a while since his bracing brand of garage-punk hit the speakers. Three years to be exact, but the interim is washed away under the cutting sneers of The Intelligence’s caustic lyricism and skin crawling, panic laced guitar. Vintage Future may look like a dub session blowback from the cover art but inside the grooves its full bore Finberg, shaky and greased with the kind of nocturnal jitters he’s been adept at wrangling. And that’s not to say that in all that evil sway there aren’t some hooks, there are more than a few that clasp onto your brain and hold for dear life and in tow a few flashes of fang that produce some of their most gnarled and ravaged material yet. Finberg even throws in a few lighter moments but it always seems to return to the barbed attack that makes this one stick.

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