Ben Chatwin – “Euclidean Plane”

Another piece of the puzzle on Chatwin’s debut for Ba Da Bing, the gorgeous piece “Euclidean Plane” wavers between chamber pop bliss and the subtle underwater psychedelics of Sven Libaek. Aptly, like Libaek, the video for “Euclidean Plane’ takes to the seas, pairing the soft movement of an octopus with the burbling build of tension from Chatwin’s score. Though, unlike Libaek, Chatwin’s outlook is much darker. The edge of wonder is constantly in danger of being taken over by dread. The last dip into Heat & Entropy saw Chatwin move the dial a bit further from the clouded mist he’s been working in but this one fully emerges in bold and brilliant colors, albeit colors that are circling the reef and rippling with the light dancing on the surface of the water. Its a beautiful piece that bodes well for a full album that brings Chatwin the wider praise that he deserves.



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Rhyton – “End of Ambivalence”

Rhyton rides again and its sounding as sunburned and tangled as ever. The Brooklyn trio includes RSTB fave Dave Shuford (D. Charles Speer, No-Neck Blues Band, Coach Fingers) along with Jimy SeiTang (Psychic Ills, Black Dirt Oak) and Rob Smith (Pigeons) all laying down a gnarled path of guitar that saunters down some of the same lanes that Sir Richard Bishop, Rangda and D. Charles himself have found themselves lost on these past couple of years. There’s a nervy and dangerous quality that lurks just beneath the surface and Rhyton deploy mystique and atmosphere with the same deft quality as they dish out technical prowess. Though the mind is rarely thinking about the complexities of the track when its got as much movement and finesse as “End of Ambivalence.” Just a taste of an album on the way towards the end of the month and from the sounds of it its going to be worth the wait.




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Silver Apples – S/T

Silver Apples were one of those bands whose legacy survives much longer than their initial output. The band surfaced in New York in 1969 and built an American outpost of Krautrock-indebted psychedelics that relied on the rhythmic chug of drummer Danny Taylor and flew outward toward cosmic impulses with the electronic work of singer Simeon. Simeon (singularly named) played an instrument that he named after himself, a setup that consisted of oscillators triggered by the hands, knees and feet. The rack contained twelve oscillators, telegraph keys, and assorted bits of radio broadcast gear. Their debut is by all means, a most uncommercial record, but the band had a growing reputation in the psychedelic underground and became a highly touted live experience.

The record was not a success by any degree, but it did spawn a follow-up, Contact, in the following year. Then, after that record was meat with similar sales, they all but disappeared until the time when reissues initially began to pop up around 1996 and a third record The Garden came to light and brought them back into public consciousness. Jackpot is putting the classic first LP back into hands again and the record is every bit as bracing, weird and oddly rhythmic as its always been. The influence can be felt spilling over into bits of Suicide’s first LP, Broadcast’s singed wire pop and Stereolab’s psychedelic burble. For a record who’s initial output was so coldly received, reissues rarely stick around long. Its a psychedelic artifact that’s as captivating as it is curious.





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Tangents

This one had me at the connection to Triosk, Aussie post-rock from back on the Leaf label that always used to make me smile. Ex-member Adrian Lim-Klumpes is on board here along with a host of other post-everything players who know that a good skittering beat and mash of jazz, electronic and folk can still nail down some import even past the meteoric rise of that ethos around the early aughts. Stateless embodies its title. It doesn’t seem to have a full allegiance to any of its disparate parts, but they come together nicely to provide an instrumental electronic album that’s got a nice sense of movement an that indebtedness to jazz that sticks just right. It always feels good in post-rock when that jazz element is just bubbling below the surface and not swinging wildly at the face. In that respect, the band’s been looser in the past, moving into a studio setup here, they feel buttoned down but not overly burdened by planning. This is one of those albums that’s great for getting shit done, its an active background, and honestly I mean that probably more complimentary that it sounds.

Sure you could crank the stereo and listen to Stateless in rapt attention, and maybe there are those that will, but this is the kind of album that headphones were made for; headphones meant to be taken out into the world. Its a blanket to wrap around the movement of others and a bed for thought. Personally, I’ve always appreciated an album like that. We all want someone to notice our nuances, but I’d say that its just as high praise to let others block out the noise and move brain cells in the right direction.



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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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