GØGGS

In hindsight there’s no shortage of “supergroups” that Ty Segall’s been involved in. The current version of the Muggers is stacked so high with garage talent that its a wonder there’s any brevity to Emotional Mugger. At the time of it’s release, a collaborative record with Tim Presley from White Fence wasn’t marked by the same stigma it would be now, given both artists’ elevated status, and same could be said for his freakout fuzz platter with Mikal Cronin. Suffice it to say that most of the people that the man gathers around himself could be considered for supergroup status and Fuzz is pretty much in the same category now anyhow. However, GØGGS is the first to really get the flag hoisted high over its head and one that lives up to the expectations that sticker supports. Its the hardest sound yet from a Segall orbiting body and that’s largely because while Ty is in the ring, its Ex-Cult’s Chris Shaw who provides the driving force and evil-eyed core of the band’s sound.

Fans of Ex-Cult have plenty to chew on here but for my money GØGGS is the pure distillation of where Shaw was headed with that band. Thicker, grimier and flecked with freaked out forms that may have spilled over from Moothart and Segall’s work together earlier this year; GØGGS is a testament to shaking up your lineup from time to time and finding the friends who know how to kick out the shaggiest shit from your dirtbag soul. There’s no fear in GØGGS, its a howler monkey pinned to corner and eager to bring the fight. In a year that’s been packed with garage greats, this one’s the biggest trash can fire of the bunch; raging out of control, jagged and dangerous. Its peak Ty, peak Shaw and peak Mootheart. If Emotional Mugger is the punch to the throat of 2016, then this is the finishing kick.



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The Chills – Kaleidoscope World Reissue

The Chills are just now really getting their due. Its been a longtime coming but with a new album on Fire and some respect for backcatalog in motion (someone reissue Submarine Bells already) they seem poised to finally capture the West the way they should have all those years ago. Flying Nun is putting one of the band’s long sought after puzzle pieces back in print. By all accounts Kaleidoscope World contains the band’s most familiar track. “Pink Frost” is a post-punk mixtape staple and probably one of the entry points or one-stops for the average person’s familiarity with the band. Though not a first record proper (technically its a compilation of EPs and singles) Kaleidoscope World functions well as a document of the band’s rise and refinement into the jangle-pop heroes they’d come to be to those sifting through the right bins in the ’90s. Its great to see this one popping back up on the horizon. There are plenty of undeserving contenders plugging up the vinyl glut’s reissue pipe, so its good to see a real winner get its day in the sun again.

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The Goon Sax – “Up To Anything”

The Goon Sax’s album for Chapter Music is a jangle-pop gem and they’ve setup the title track “Up To Anything” with a fittingly faded and pining video. The song’s a face-on-the-floor depression jam, the kind of upbeat on the surface, but ultimately soulcrushing pop song that sticks in your head and then squeezes your heart. They’ve given it a treatment like a Belle and Sebastian album cover come to life and that’s probably a pretty good neighborhood for the song to live in. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the band’s full album from earlier in the year, do yourself a favor and dip in. Its one of the most winningly truthful accounts of youth out this year.

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Terry

Bottom line is, coming out of Aussie pop’s jangled jungle, anything with Al Montfort attached is a solid bet and you know what, Terry doesn’t break that streak. Montfort’s been attached to Total Control, Dick Diver, Lower Plenty and Bitch Prefect – all of which have found their way into RSTB’s heart over the years. For Terry, Al hooks up with a few other luminaries of the Aussie underground, that scene being nothing less than incestuous and reveling in swapping members between bands at ease. The resulting record, after a few singles and whatnot, is loose and jangled, with toughskinned knees. Its roughed up and kicking in the dirt. There’s a driving sense, a pop itch that nags at your brain and finds the lobes nodding along uncontrollably. And yet they also cover their songs in a nice slash and soak of noise that keeps any jangle from getting remotely close to precious. The squelch knocks the post-punk playthings into the no-wave yard for a bit but never stays put. They sway to the jangle-pop muses but destroy what’s beautiful before you catch them playing too nicely.

For fans of any of Montfrot’s catalog, or even member Amy Hill’s tenure in Constant Mongrel there’s a lot to love here. Terry is splitting the difference between the angled scrapes of Total Control and the college-sweatered pop of Dick Diver. Terry HQ kicks hard to the shins and it doesn’t entirely play fair. Its the kind of record feels like its been sitting in a bin waiting to be discovered. It’s not of this time, but at the same time, when besides 2016 could this kind of blistered blast be so acclaimed? So for that, I’m grateful. Listen in to this tangled nest of a record and find a new weave each time. There’s a lot of ragged joy to absorb here.



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Grumbling Fur – “Acid Ali Khan”

New music from the likes of Alexander Tucker and Daniel O’Sullivan would lead the drag of the needle to pick up something in the doom-folk territory, or perhaps burnt cater metal; but both halves of this duo push even further away from their legacieson their new record for Thrill Jockey. Under the name Grumbling Fur the pair are injecting a bit of their dour countenances into synth pop that’s heavy on the grey-skied vibes than most but still feeling like it has a pulse. They’ve collaborated under the name on a few releases but this is the most surefooted its ever sounded. They’ve certainly been pouring over their Cure catalog and elsewhere the lean into solo Eno is certainly apt and more than welcome. Tucker’s voice gives off a bit of his own brand of heartache though and it pairs nicely with the new change in direction. The track, the first taste of their new album Furfour is a slow grower that unfolds over time. The album is primed for September and features contributions Charles Bullen (This Heat) and Isobel Sollenberger (Bardo Pond).



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RSTB Best of 2016 (so far)

Ok, so deep down I know that the half-year best-of rundown is becoming an expected bit of mid-year clickbait listicle self-love. It’s a totem that’s somewhat unnecessary, seeing how at the end of the year votes get tallied and the same releases get pondered. But since I also have the nagging gnaw that a culture of collective consciousness music press will result in plenty of homogeneous diatribes about what’s been considered the cream of ’16, I figure that it’s worth it to shine some light on a few deserving entities that are gonna to be left out of the party.

Some outlets have gone so far as to tell the world that 2016 has been super stressful for them, what with all the surprise albums needing their immediate attention. Sleepless nights in the review mines, I’m sure. Caffeinated burns through the wee hours that are called upon because absorption of albums over time is heresy these days. No time to listen deep because those other sites are stealin’ your views, siphoning clicks, and by next week those cuts will be far too stale to talk about anyhow. RSTB’s always there to let you know that sometimes its OK to let an album fester under your skin a while. Review it late, review it early, but maybe listen long enough to learn how it impacts you—or at least how it sounds in the car vs. the speakers vs. the headphones.

I’m starting to think that sometimes best should be more relative and less quantitative, and maybe it might be fun if there were a few more outlets with a true voice. But, so went the airwaves, so go the reviews, eh? Ah, maybe I’m just old fashioned. Anyhow, here are the picks. Remember RSTB is never content (n.), and never content (adj.).

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Omni

Atlanta band Omni keep their love of the Verlaine/Quine guitar axis close to their heart and that heart even closer to their sleeve. The band is flipping through wiry, vein pulsed post-punk like they were brought up on little else in their formative years. All the songs on their debut, Deluxe are bent and battered into metal shapes, though its their vocals that betray their new wave nods under the veneer of true grit punk spirit. Frankie Broyles’ delivery has a bit of dreamy-eyed wistfulness that gives the album a less rough sheen and an aproachability. They also walk it further away from the source material near and dear to their heart, feeling less like trying on your punk Halloween costume and more like a fitting digestion of the intervening years of post-punk and new wave hangover.

The aesthetic choice to rough up the edges on this one seems a bit misplaced. I know that it was recorded in a practice space, and for that its actually pretty crisp, but there’s an underlying crackle and crunch that feels out of place for the sound that they’re going for. For all its DIY aspirations, this specific pocket of the punk canon never felt an affinity for low fidelity. If its a matter of budget, then so be it, but since they are nailing this kind of homage rather bitingly, its feels deserving of a clear bullhorn. There are plenty that are trying to take the run at post-punk authenticity and plenty more that will pick up the itch, but this is a pretty prime example of how to do it right.




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Wild Raccoon

Another release from the French underground, must be something in the water this week. Wild Raccoon is the nom de noise of Raton Sauvage, who performs as a one man unit, adopting the setup and actually quite a bit of the sound of early Ty Segall records. Sauvage bashes it out with stripped drums keeping time over ragged guitar that’s primed to peel the paint from any room. He augments things slightly on record and the sound winds up bigger than his man with mic and a plan ambitions in the live setting. There’s a bit of psych float oozing in on opener “Sasquatch Arms,” some acoustic tumble on “Half 01,” but in general think back to a young Segall bashing out the blood on his eponymous LP, Horn of the Unicorn and Lemons. In some ways its nice to roll down memory lane, even if that lane’s been well worn and left in the dust by most of the garage crew these days. What transpires is a release that’s fun but so familiar it leaves you checking the tags on the tracks and page on the calendar to see if you are indeed listening to something from ’08 or have perhaps slipped back in time altogether. And that’s probably giving a bit too much credit Ty’s way too. He didn’t invent the rickety bash of garage tracks, he just brought it to the world’s feet in a nice catchy package. In that regard, Sauvage is having fun and so too can you, as long as expectations are set and saddled and your lo-fi love is still in tact.





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Le Villejuif Underground

I must be slipping in my old age. How is it that the first time I wrote up Le Villejuif Underground’s single “Since Everything Changes,” I didn’t realize that despite a move of country, the Aussie expat in question, Nathan Roche, was from RSTB fave Camperdown and Out? I must have been too excited about the sounds, but its an egregious oversight nonetheless. Camperdown’s record is by far and away one of those nuggets of brilliance that surfaced and then just disappeared without a trace. They perfectly boiled ’90s influences into the kind of reclined and worn slacker pop that feels like its always just been a part of your life. In that respect, Roche, with his new band are still finding their way down the roads of no particular haste with the same detached slink. True to the city pun this time ’round there’s more of a slackadaisical lean on the Lou Reed river of cool, but not to worry Camperdown fans, the Pavement vein still runs thick. Its just that now Roche is tracing the the tributary from Malkmus to Reed in reverse.

This is the record that acts as a salve for your pent up hopes on Parquet Courts. Its your true north star of bummed out bodega cool, late summer saunter and ground down penniless amble. Everything on their eponymous LP feels like the oldest sweater in your drawer; comfortable, stained and putting on airs for no one. Roche is the only holdover from the Camperdown dates, but he’s trained his new recruits well, they inhabit the rumpled reins of his songwriting with a kind of grace that feels effortless, but never lazy. Its noisy, scarred and bruised but not broken. Its the only way to follow up Camperdown. Drop the mic on one act and pick up in a different town, at a different time with a different name. Its the aimless drift of pop that needs to be in your life. LVF aren’t going to insist on anything but they will help you avoid responsibility for a little while. And is that too much to ask?




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Les Halles – “Thresholds”

Not Not Fun has skewed more mutant disco in the last few years but its good to see there’s still some melted psych odysseys to be found among the band’s varied stable. French musician Baptiste Martin has been crafting psych landscapes for a few years in relative obscurity on labels like Constellation Tatsu and Noumenal Loom and now he’s bringing a double shot of languid washes to NNF. “Thresholds” melds drifting keys with Amerindian flute samples and views them through the undersea ripple of a Jacques Cousteau nature doc, bobbing and lolling in the waves and peering at the sun through the refracted surface above. For those looking to cool down summer days or just melt into the deep green of leaves against sky, this is probably a best bet for the next couple of months.



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