Dire Wolves – The Compleat Trancing Master

Another Bandcamp Friday pick here rounds up a huge collection of rarities from Dire Wolves. Their releases are notoriously hard to keep up with, between live tapes, full LPs, lathe cuts, and cassettes, but they help out with a wealth of seldom heard fodder here. The band’s long been known for their live prowess and this comp culls together 172 minutes of live and rare compilation cuts that don’t make the rounds too often. It’s a lot to wrap your head around, but well worth a deep dive to let this one seep into your skin over the next couple of days. The band throws in covers of The Clean and Faust, along with a ton of unheard gems that are sure to please the Wolves fans out there. Hard to pick a favorite from this bunch but check out “Spyhopping” below.

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Wet Tuna – Eau’d To a Fake Bookie, Vol. 2

Hey whaddaya know it’s another Bandcamp Friday — no fees and no holding back. I’m going to run through a few releases worth your hard earned cash today and I’m going to star with the Tuna we all know and love. Seems quite a few no fee days have brought with it a new batch from Wet Tuna and they’re all essential. This one’s tagged as a follow-up to their July EP Eau’d To A Fake Bookie and Vol. 2 lays into some deep, damp vibes that feel just as necessary hiding out in September as they did in the heatwave summer of this cursed year. Matt n’ Pat dial in the dub-dripped haze and hold steady before they land in a goo n’ blues territory further on. At this point I shouldn’t have to convince any heads to hook up with a new Tuna offering, just putting out there on a day of good will. Check out “Deal > Dealin’” below.




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Grace Sings Sludge – “The Pledge”

was always a fan of The Sandwitches and this hammock swung strummer from the band’s Grace Cooper is a good taste of her latest LP and a bit of an extension of their charms. There’s a loose feeling to “The Pledge,” dangling its feet in the breeze and hardly taking itself too seriously. Cooper has a way of making the ordinary, lackadaisical musings on love feel slightly profound, though. While the song’s themes of self-improvement to serve the ends of a relationship seem both relatable and at their heart, doomed, Cooper’s sighed delivery gives them some weight that makes the hollow promises thud even harder. The song flits by in a haze that takes full advantage of Grace’s dreamy style of folk-pop. It’s hard not to feel the room instantly fill with incense the moment her guitar begins to strum and by the end, even though the words ring false, we’re all calmer somehow anyway. The LP is out now on Empty Cellar.




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GÅS – Epitaph

An absolute shredder is handed down from Rocket Recordings today. The label has a knack for unearthing UK/EU heavies and GÅS fits in quite nicely with their stellar catalog. The Swedish band’s first single, “Epitaph” melds heavy fuzz, pounding at the heart with a slight lilt of English prog to it. Aesthetically they’re mashing a bit of Danish sludge rockers Moses with Sweden’s own Charlie & Esdor, though once those vocals kick in I’m getting some Wolf People nods as well. Those English psych-folk tones feel like they might be key here, as the band covers an old nugget, Philamore Lincoln’s “The North Wind Blew South” on the flip. It sets them apart from your average smoke shoveler. A huge debut single that begs to keep an eye on these guys. Get this on the table next to some Goat singles and that new hard hitter from Ball and you’re all set. Physical pre-orders are up tomorrow and the single lands Oct 3oth.



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Daniel Romano’s Outfit – “Green Eye Shade”

A second offering from the upcoming LP out of the ever prolific enclave of Daniel Romano’s Outfit. The songwriter’s put out a cool 9-10 record just since the beginning of the year and its both a wealth of great earworms and an intimidating barrage that leaves one wondering where to begin. However, his next official release for You’ve Changed is a slick, huge pop record with a classic tilt. “Green Eye Shade” sees Romano employ full brass, handclaps, charming backup vocals and a hook that’s hard to get out of your system. The song swells to brimming, oozing a multi-colored pop perfection that’s part classic Petty, part My Morning Jacket with a crossover feeling of the last King Tuff record — another artist who embraced larger vistas with open arms and nailed the delivery. It’s an ambitious move from his low-key country past, but then again, if you’ve been listening over the last year, that should come as no surprise. The new LP is out September 18th.





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ZEEL

This compilation LP culls together an album and bonus single from Boston’s Zeel and the feeling is both familiar and refreshing. The sounds here could easily have sat somewhere between the output of SST and Homestead in the ‘80s, mixing the hard-scrabble rock of Hüsker Dü with the gnarled weirdness of Dinosaur Jr. The band’s more interested in grit that the shiny promise of a hook and I have to respect that. Guitars are rush through stomp box fuzz and through the speakers in graveled saunter. The vocals fight with the amplifier fuzz for dominance, giving equal footing to riff and ramble.

The record makes a great case for a return to the ripped denim and unwashed tee shirt smell of pre-grunge. Every song here is working hard to hit that sweet spot when punk met head on with the wanting touch of the jangled sweat that was brewing in the backroom of college radio stations and stuck between the pages of zines with more passion that direction. They embrace that moment before the tide turned and the Singles soundtrack came and threw the goodwill into the fan, spreading it far and wide through suburban America. Sure, there’s a case to be made that the sounds have been mined, but there’s more probably more to carve out of the rock. This one sits nicely next to Milk Music and early Gun Outfit on your shelf of new rumblers.





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Howlin’ Rain announces Under The Wheels Vol. 2

With us all in stasis regarding the reinstatement of live shows, Howlin’ Rain’s second installment of their live album series couldn’t come at a more opportune time. Under The Wheels: Live From The Coasts, Vol. 2 is drawn again from recordings across the band’s 2018 and 2019 tours and it boasts another vital link to Howlin’ Rain’s ability to expand on their catalog once under the lights. Incidentally, the last show I saw before quarantine was Howlin’ Rain. It seemed worth the couple hour drive to head down to Brooklyn from Upstate NY for the night to see them pack out Union Pool and I was proven right time and again as the band tore into many of the songs that appear on this volume. Like its predecessor, this one’s on limited colorways and wrapped up in Arik Roper cover art. They’re leading with a scorched version of “Calling Lightning Pt 2” from 2008’s Magnificent Fiend that you can preview below. Live Rain, rainbow foil printing, crazy color vinyl, what’s not to love here? Official pre-orders start on Friday to coincide with this month’s Bandcamp ‘no fee’ day.



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Smokescreens – “I Love Only You”

More from the upcoming Smokescreens LP today, with another track of jangled joy produced by NZ legend David Kilgour himself. A bit slower than the previous patter of “Fork In The Road,” the dreamy strains of “I Love Only You” are smeared in a sundown haze. Slow thuds of drums, a spring-fresh piano pound and Rosi’s imploring vocals all lead to a bit of a damn breaka around the two-minute mark. Paired up with a bit of in-studio behind the scenes and street side busking, the video gives a nice breezy visual to the song. Today needs a bit of triumph and heartfelt hubris and Smokescreens are here to serve both. The new album is on the way from Slumberland October 30th.



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Badge Époque Ensemble – “Sing a Silent Gospel”

This week’s just packed with RSTB faves and news of another Badge Époque Ensemble LP is pretty high on the docket. The band’s debut was an undersung jazz-psych odyssey, but it was the last 12” that really caught hold and it was in no small part because of the contribution of vocals from Dorothea Paas, who returns here in a duet with U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy. The band retains their exploratory psychedelic jazz touches, letting poly-rhythmic percussion, cold-sweat organs, and a cool down of sax lead the way. Remy and Paas add a touch of ice water to the veins of the track with banter that’s feeling out the shape of the infinite. For some this might dip into the more ‘adult’-oriented, buttoned-down end of the ‘70s but that’s discounting the smolder that the band creates. Don’t let the smooth taste fool ya, BEE hits hard. This is no lite-jazz parlay, it’s a continuation of filtering deep between Herbie and Stevie and mapping out the outer edges of the soul while they’re at it. The stakes are a bit heavier that on their debut, but with the flute fluttering through the air, I’m down to embark on the journey. The record is out 11/20 on Telephone Explosion.



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Garcia Peoples – “Crown of Thought”

Another great peek into the latest Garcia Peoples lands today. “Crown of Thought” delves further into the excellent second side of Nightcap at Wit’s End. Like Agitation Free before them, the band’s worked up a killer flip-side suite that pushes into the heart of the sun — blissful, knotted, and rolling around in the brain with a molten glow that’s hard to shake. The song pushes the Garcia’s model closer to the levitating energy of their live shows. One Step Behind aside, this is one of the most ambitious GP albums to date. It’s hard to follow such a heavy statement as their last LP, as I’m sure they’re aware, but here the band are starting to work their way into the nebulous folds of prog with a one hand laying down the needle deep into Fairport’s ascension out of folk and into the electric ether and the other still feeling along the Help Yourself / Mighty Baby axis. The band’s already set a hook into my heart, but this one’s only sinking the barb deeper and drawing darker blood. If the stage can’t have GP then the turntable ought to suffice for now..



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