Thursday, 31 May 2012

Nihiti! For Ostland! Prost!

Nihiti's album For Ostland came out this week. I posted about their 'The Ringing In (The Sun Is Rung)' track last year - what a crazy bag of awesome that was! Well, the longplayer does ramp up the insidious, glacier-cold electronics that grew out of the tail end of their last album Other People's Memories. I have to say I miss some of the no wave leanings that floated around the periphery of their earlier tracks, yet these new songs certainly hold a stronger sense of self for the band, albeit a dark, aberrant one, especially with the industrial noise that bursts forth in unexpectedly painful yet blissful waves. May these sonic vampires never come out of the shadows.

For Ostland is on Lo Bit Landscapes - get it in smoky transparent vinyl here.

Donkey Jaw In The Dunes

Seeing as the past few days has had me delving into some back catalogue stuff, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to talk about this record that has been slaying me all over again the past couple weeks. When Damon McMahon AKA Amen Dunes first came onto the scene, I was a little nonplussed. Unlike my first impressions of John Maus (that I didn't "get" it), the New Yorker just didn't grab me the way that other psych bands did. I appreciated some of his efforts - I was an immediate fan of 'Two Thousand Islands' and a couple other tracks off 2009's DIA - but I thought that Amen Dunes were going to be one of those bands that lots of people dug, but I didn't. It happens.

But then Through Donkey Jaw happened. When Sacred Bones put this out, as you can guess I didn't jump all over it like a virginal teen. I still felt that, whilst McMahon could straddle genres like a cowboy astride a rampant bull, he sometimes got swept away by the power of his ambitions - or even trampled underneath them. Not so here. The chopping and changing from drone to fuzzed out psych to intricate guitar meltdowns to falsetto soirees. McMahon's vocals transcend here, yet such confidence is evident across the board. His new-found band have helped to graft flesh on the bones, but truth be told they are only augmenting what is clearly inherent here. McMahon, and therefore Amen Dunes, are getting better with time. The erraticism fits within the paradigm of the band aesthetic now, much more controlled than its scattershot predecessors.

It's funny how much of an about-turn Through Donkey Jaw has been for me. If you haven't checked it out, you are doing yourself a major disservice. You can grab the record from Sacred Bones here.

Amen Dunes - Baba Yaga
Amen Dunes - Jill

Finding Diamonds At The Center Of California

Another 7" I've been itching to get to. Funny Not Funny Records have put some ace music out in the past - their Super Vacations/Eternal Summers and Elephant Child/Demon Beat splits were especially great - and here is a newie, a two track sprawler from Virginia act The Diamond Center. It's a delight to have a 7" run for almost quarter of an hour, and the quality on offer is devastating. The tracks have a heaving quality, an intake of breath, that pulses like a living organism. The quiet/loud dynamic that is prevalent in psych music is evident, but also warranted, driving the tension in these tracks, yet also handled with warmth and care rather than haphazardly bludgeoning their songs to death. It's a lullaby of a release - deceptively beautiful, seductively soporific.

You can grab the 7" here.

Diamond Center - California

Straining To Read Your Mind Over All The Blood...

Here's another 7" from the not too distant past. Massachusetts noise punkers Psychic Blood pumped out this dissonant, vitriolic 7" and it's a corker. Strain is two songs that disappear down a corrugated iron tunnel filled with miscreants and crushed syringes. Both the title track and 'Drudgefest' lay it down like an eczema rash, so bad for you but you can't help but frantically itch. Think Wipers with a rabid fascination for serrated glass. Dirty, tetanus stuff. I wish I could say more - and I probably could - but my gums are bleeding from gnashing my teeth. Psychic Blood have an album on the way called Autumn Curses. Can. Not. Wait.

Psychic Blood - Strain

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Four Knights Slutting It Up Outside School

A quick post about 'Powerslut', the new track by garage upstarts School Knights. The title pretty much speaks for itself. The Colorado quartet are priming their new release as a four piece (although whether they can get someone to put it out is another thing...come on someone, put up your bloody hand!) and this is pretty indicative of where they are at. 'Present Tense' is a slightly better song in my opinion - why I'm saying that I don't know. But these are some good dudes. That is all.

School Knights - Powerslut

Post Teens Are The Best Teens

And now we move onto the second Gainesville, Florida act. Now these guys aren't new - Post Teens have been kicking around for a little while, and their self-titled 7" has been up and kicking for the best part of a year. But it's just so fucking good! Featuring members from Torche, Averkiou (there's the connection!), Dead Friends and Assholeparade, Post Teens spits six tracks down your throat in six minutes. Such abuse should be degrading - so why do I like it so much? Thrashy hardcore without the abrasive vocals, Post Teens kill, old school style. Seriously, this pisses over a lot of stuff floating around right now. And you know it.

Post Teens is also on Sound Study, make it the first thing you do and grab it here.

Post Teens - Bleached Heads
Post Teens - Fucked Up Perception

Averkiou Show A New Imperative - To Rock!

The first of two Gainesville, Florida releases to show off today (crazy, right?) is this EP The New Imperative by Averkiou (pronounced av er queue). It offers four tracks of warm and fuzzy guitars and vocal harmonies, like Yo La Tengo doing their best My Bloody Valentine, but with more heart. I can't believe I haven't heard of this quartet before! It makes me jump around my bedroom with giddy abandon like it's the late 90s all over again (when I used to jump around my bedroom with giddy abandon. Probably after writing bad poetry). If you could build a castle out of overdrive pedals and dig a moat with reverb, then but in that moat crystalline water from which sung the most alluring of Sirens, The New Imperative would be your blueprint. Awesome-o.

The New Imperative (look at that cat! Cats, man!) is put out through Sound Study Recordings, and can be gleaned here.

Averkiou - Fuzzy Photograph

Flexi Maus

I know that 'No Title (Molly)' came out some time ago, but I just managed to pick up one of Domino Records' Record Store Day-sanctioned flexidiscs Smuggler's Way for myself, complete with accompanying zine, so thought Id have a quick chat about the John Maus track - and John Maus in particular.

I admit to not really "getting" much lauded album of last year We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves. I thought that it was too considered, too "now". Then I saw him live earlier this year when he supported Dan Deacon, and I had the inverse reaction to most. Whilst many who bought his albums found his self-flagellating, anguished performance perplexing and off putting, I thought it personal, gritty, and weirdly fun. Such efforts are rarely put into performances these days, yet Maus threw EVERYTHING into it. And he is a super guy too, willing to shoot the breeze afterwards.

'No Title (Molly)' isn't as dark as past releases, and could even be construed as a little poppier than most. The flexidisc itself is full of wonderful re imagined tracks too, well worth a listen. Expect more of the same on his rarities release - I'm after that one next.

John Maus - No Title (Molly)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Let Honeycomb Bones Never Change

I brought to your attention Evil Age, the second EP by UK duo Honeycomb Bones, last year. Here are four more tracks on their eponymous 3rd EP, and they are just as scuzzy and discordant as those that have preceded them, and still infused with swirling psychedelic flourishes. So nothing overtly different, then. But that isn't the point. Honeycomb Bones seem intent on slowly building up their oeuvre, tinkering here, tightening there - there is no need to reinvent the wheel when the wheel rocks as fine as it does. It opens with requisite claustrophobia and volume on 'Catherine Wheel', takes the pedal off just a tad with 'Devil In The Detail', 'Penny Black' stylises the content with an infected electronic beat that perturbs even as it remains buried under the rhythms, and closer 'Illuminator' proves a sting in the tail as it dissolves into a molten sludge of psych abandon. It's just a pleasant surprise to have some new material from these guys. I'm still awaiting their debut longplayer, but put the three EPs together and you pretty much have that anyway - and a cracker at that.

Grab Honeycomb Bones here.

Honeycomb Bones - Catherine Wheel

Ekra Surpasses Men

Ekra is a husband/wife duo from Queens, NY. Mr. Press (bass/vox) and Mrs. Press (drums/vox) have been playing together since 2004. In 2007 they reduced themselves to a two piece, and expanded their sound using effects pedals and drum machines. MEN is their second album (although they have recently put out a live release, Live at Spike's Hill), and it contains three mammoth tracks of experimental psych exploration. The duo call their musical stylings "okapi," after the distinct looking African mammal. These are intriguing sojourns into the labyrinthine chasms of darkness that can exist in elongated rock breakdowns - the shortest track here, 'A Lil' Called Strength', comes in at just under eleven minutes - and makes for a complicated, yet ultimately rewarding listen. Everything is in its right place then - and the band promise they are just getting started. We can only hope.

Ekra - Tributary
Ekra - Ruble Blues

Video Vacuum - Per Purpose, Father John Misty, Lyonnais, Strange Hands

Damn if it hasn't been a batshit crazy week! I even missed posting on a Monday, that nigh on never happens. Well, after the sell out show Sonic Masala put on at The Waiting Room on Friday night (happy snaps on their way), it's no wonder. But I'm desperate to put my nose back to the millstone, so here are some vids to take your mind of the fact that it's Neck Yourself Tuesday, hmmm?

Per Purpose have been not so quietly killing all and sundry in Brisbane over the past couple of years. Here is a DIY video for their 'Warburton' track which I really enjoy. For some reason Per Purpose remind me a bit of The Drones on this one - certainly not a bad thing, although I'm not sure that was what they were working towards. Nevertheless, it's a killer track.

Last week I posted about Father John Misty, and even showed the excellent video for 'Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings' featuring the excellent Aubrey Plaza. Here is the third single from Fear Fun called 'This Is Sally Hatchet' - and it is even crazier in content than 'Hollywood Forever...' was! Love this drugged visionary. It's incredibly slick, and has me celebrating violence - win win?

Now I haven't mentioned Lyonnais before, but the Atlanta band's psych/drone meanderings are some excellent meditations on the existentialism of space...or something. It's great regardless, and this montage of natural desert landscapes and societies is a perfect complement to their music. I really rate this band, and so should you.

Finally we have the criminally underrated French garage band Strange Hands. Check out their debut album Dead Flowers - it's amazing technicoloured splattered vinyl, a great record, and can be gleaned from Azbin Records here.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sponging Off Digital Leather

I haven't had anything up for the weekend for the past few weeks, despite best intentions, but I couldn't resist. An overlooked album of late last year, this "latest" favourite by Omaha avante-garage rockers Digital Leather, Sponge, is an absolute blast. Shawn Foree's outfit have always dug into the lowest fidelity nether regions of music, procuring some filthy rocking tunes as a result, yet Sponge is a culmination of a seismic shift in their approach which has slowly come through over their last few releases. The stronger influence of synth to the mix has mellowed out these songs, so though rather there being a focus on balls to the wall batshit crazy garage rock, we see more cohesion and depth. And in my opinion, with such an approach Digital Leather has created its most consistently fun album to date. There are still some great rollicking tracks such as 'Deliver', but on tracks like 'Thrill Is Gone' or 'Chakras' what is offered is something more akin to early Guided By Voices if played on a Casio in a dumpster. There isn't much substance here, but that is the point. Its a fun album that jumps around a lot, yet strangely offering Digital Leather the direction in which they need to travel next.

Crash Symbols put Sponge lovely out on cassette, yet it is now sold out. However you can grab it digitally here.

Digital Leather - Thrill Is Gone
Digital Leather - Deliver

Friday, 25 May 2012

FRIDAY COVER UP - No Cure For Lights Out

This isn't normally my kinda thing, but some upbeat Robert Smith on a dreary Friday seemed like a good idea. The band is Lightouts, a Brooklyn indie duo who formed over a mutual love of The Cure front man and Emily Haines from Metric, not a bad launchpad really. This track has managed to fill me with some fuzzy bubblegum - I will admit that this sounds more like The Killers from their first album era covering 80s Springsteen than The Cure, but that is awesome too. Anyway, check it out - I reckon it does the trick.

Lightouts - Push (The Cures cover)

Have a good weekend!

One Warped Biography

i don't even know where to go with this. I looked at one warped release yesterday in Mutts' Pray For Rain. Well, although I'm finding it easier to digest Boom.Period, the debut LP from Michigan trashcan pop duo Biography, it is definitely not of this world. This is the kind of warm studio pop that talented ensembles of the 70s would have created in a parallel universe. It's wonky, unrefined, jagged, yet infused with an innate sense of fun and frivolity, like the house band in the background of a Cold-War era D-grade sci fi rom com. If that existed. Which I'm sure it must have - that sounds too good to have passed up, right Larry Cohen?

Boom.Period can be gat here - it's well worth it, it's grafting onto my inner ear as we speak.

Biography - Hope Is What We Aim For
Biography - A Great Lakes Song

Super Best Friends Do The Can Can With Megatron

It's a gloomy Friday in Brisbane - well it is a Sonic Masala show on tonight, and it has rained on every occasion, so it makes sense. So I needed music that would get me through. Fang Island's newie got the ball rolling - then I cam across London collective Super Best Friends Club. Seeing as I'm in a party mood, but don't have the requisite drugs available to get it going (working in a school has that issue...), their EP People We Forget This Is Love was my substitute. An ecstatic tribal drone explosion that sounds like members of Zen Zen Egui, Cave and Black Dice got together with Devendra Banhart and Alexander Ebert, then got tastefully fucked up and recorded the effluent that resulted. There are so many ideas floating about in here, its fair to say a few miss the mark. Nevertheless, its all done with so much gay abandon that its nigh on impossible to hold it against them.

You can get People We Forget This Is Love here. They also have two new tracks, 'Yes You Are!' and 'Universe Universe', here.

Super Best Friends Club - Sunshine, Super Megatron!

Tearing Fang Island Asunder

I was a very big fan of Brooklyn's partly instrumental, partly math rock freaks Fang Island and their eponymous debut back in 2010. The consequent show I saw them play at Madame JoJo's in London confirmed that their frenetic party rock vibes translated incredibly well to the live arena, a shredding guitar frenzy with ample amounts of party poppers. Now a trio, they have their follow up on the way, entitled Major, and 'Asunder' is the first cut from it. It's brought the vocals to the front a little more, but is essentially the energetic bliss bomb that most would be expecting from the quartet. Major is out on Sargent House on July 24 - pre-order it here.

Fang Island - Asunder

Thursday, 24 May 2012

More Works By Dewey Mahood (Plankton Wat/Eternal Tapestry)

Last year I came across two great albums that both made it into my best of list for 2011 - Eternal Tapestry's Beyond The 4th Door, and Plankton Wat's In Magical Light (read what I thought about both here and here respectively). Funnily enough, both bands include Dewey Mahood, the six-string extraordinaire. And as luck would have it, both his band and his solo venture have releases sorted for release at almost the same time, both through Thrill Jockey!

I'll focus on Plankton Wat's Spirits first. Mahood is a very organic musician, with an excellent ear for melody outside the drone and spiralling guitar frenzies, and this LP is further proof that there are many avenues for growth in this ambient sonisphere. The layers he develops around his excellent guitar improvisations. Definitely one that I'm gonna come back to over the course of the year I think.

Plankton Wat - Fabric Of Life

Whilst not out for a little while, Eternal Tapestry's 4th LP (I think, they have a lot of cassettes out too) Dawn In 2 Dimensions is pure, unadulterated psych rock. The band are a force of nature, all working as one mind in feeling out a sound together. Very rarely does any of their tracks sound premeditated - they exist through playing, finding the groove and expanding as a communal unit. I'm not sure if I like it as much as Beyond The 4th Door yet, it hasn't grabbed me as quickly as that one did, but time will tell. It is a grand release regardless, and potentially could be a real grower of a masterpiece. This opening track is a magnified example of what they do - with a delightful hint of Comets On Fire for added firepower, nothing to sneeze at there at all!

Eternal Tapestry - Wholeodome

Both albums can be pre-ordered here - well worth it.

It's Raining Mutts, Hallejullah!

Man, I'm not sure what to think with Pray For Rain, Chicago band Mutts' debut album. Opening with 'Fool', one of the strongest tracks on offer, it's nevertheless immediately apparent this isn't your average rock band. Firstly, the lead singer Mike Maimone sounds like Samuel T Herring from Future Islands doing his best Tom Waits impersonation. Then marry that to to chugging guitar and some meaty rhythms and you have the aforementioned Waits fronting a boozy grunge band. Things sway towards barroom swagger and swinging cabaret, yet nothing is ever cemented in any kind of regularity, or even reality. The Wurlitzer organ grind throughout is as iconic as Maimone's guttural tones, helping to further drive this macabre concoction that much further into a hyper reality akin to a Tim Burton saloon scene - if he ever had one. Try it out - its eclecticism may be your cup of tea.

Mutts - Fool
Mutts - Throwback

Tenzenmen Rack Up The Heavy Comps

Here are a couple more releases from Shaun at Tenzenmen Records - and believe me, there is a lot to take in here.

Firstly we have this internationally flavoured four-way split LP between US band 97-Shiki, Australia's Bare Arms, Italy's Milvains and Malaysia's Inquiry Last Scenery. It's a pretty rad punk record, melding screamo tendencies with myriad different influences (trumpets! melodicism! languid segues!). It links together pretty well, which is quite surprising really - a serendipitous tapestry of tearing vocal cords.

97-Shiki - Massive Yachts
Bare Arms - Omar Comin'!
Inquiry Last Scenery - Behind The Mask
Malvains - #1

Stay Together Volume 5 is another compilation beast entirely. In early December 2011 64 music fans at a punk charity concert in Banda Aceh’s Tamen Budaya Park in Indonesia were violently arrested by the Shari’ah police. They were not (and cannot) be charged with any crime but were forced to undergo religious education which included their heads being shaven and forced into the lake to bathe. The religious police have threatened a continuation of arrests and re-education against the punks “until they are better”. When questioned about the targeting of punks due to their cleanliness the Police Chief justified the actions by drawing a distinction between them and “the clean punks that exist in different classes”. Asked why the police aren’t then targeting the homeless he stated “there are no homeless in Aceh, there are only punks.”

Fucking arseholes.

Therefore, the Stay Together compilation series exemplify the support the punks show for each other, in Indonesia (where the bands are from), in Australasia (where all the record labels involved in the release are from) and in the world (where the punk community has come together to help). As part of this community, Tenzenmen offers this release with 50% of physical and 100% of digital sales going to help the punks in Aceh. Available via mailorder and digital download here. It's a fucked up world we live in sometimes - so try to make it a better place!

Tetap Berbahaya - Delirium
Mutant Troopers - Reanimator
Strong To Hold - I Will Never Give Up

The Year Of Rebel Birds - Ack Ack Ack!

There once was a dude called Oli, who decided that living a normal, safe life wasn't for him. So he gave everything up - during the global financial crisis - and started an independent record store. Good move... Actually, it's worked out pretty well. Ack! Ack! Ack! Records in Middlesborough is a helluva solid store, with a beautifully selective yet diverse range of gear. If you're in that neck of the woods, definitely go there and blow your dough!

But he didn't want to stop there, having started his own label. Ack!Ack!Ack!'s first release is this 12" split for The Rebel (AKA Ben Wallers from Country Teasers alongside Sophie Politowicz) and newbies on the block Year Of Birds. The Rebel's side is called Pre-Pub, offering five slices of incredibly warped pop that mirrors Dan Melchior in sound and in content - which is basically saying it sounds like stripped back Country Teasers on crack... 'Pubgrub' even has pokies/tabletop video game music at the beginning, whilst most tracks use electronics in such an archaic way that it feels like you are in a carpeted bar from the early 80s - albeit with robotic, sex-crazed druggies with Casios being the barflies of choice... Then Oli's own project Year Of Birds attack with their abrasive and frenetic Blocker For Coinslot EP. Man, I really liked this. Think The Intelligence/A-Frames style blitzkrieg garage punk, but with a balance of dingy rust and debonair panache. Each song is bite size, and there isn't enough time to digest these bitter pills before the end is in sight. Then the drugs kick in, and you'll want to flood your senses with these tunes all over again...

You can grab this 12" here. Since this, Oli has put out a split cassette between Year Of Birds and Girl Sweat (get it here) and a compilation tape that includes Brisbane's own deconstructionists Sky Needle amongst many others. Expect some pretty rad things from Ack!Ack!Ack! in the near future...

The Rebel - Ball Breakers On Parade

Year Of Birds - Jab At The Brow
Year Of Birds - Our Ink
Year Of Birds - Great Plunges

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Dying On Planes Is The Deep Future

Controversial headline, no? No. Brisbane noise improv outfit Die On Planes have put an album together called The Deep Future, a compendium of recorded works from 2006-2012. Its pretty fucking rad. The funny thing is, you will never hear these guys play em. They are improv, dummy! But it gives a great representation of what these guys do. I wish they played more shows, rather than build guitars, play in other bands and live in Goondiwindi.

The Deep Future can be got here. Also, hassle them to play a Sonic Masala show every chance you get. I need more dumb, sloppy psych/doom meanderings in my life.

Also, it's a whiles away, but the boys are playing a great show supporting Melbourne's True Radical Miracle July 1, apparently at the Step Inn. Others include Per Purpose, Stag and Cured Pink. Head over here for deets.

Die On Planes - False Memory Syndrome
Die On Planes - A Life Without Time

Hits From The Box #50 - Half Century Blues

And they said it wouldn't last...but here we are, two and a third years into the bizniz and fifty Hits From The Box later. Lots have gone down since we thunk up this bloody thing over booze, drugs and a broiling broth of curry, but one thing is certain - music is everything. So before we start getting all misty-eyed, let's have at it, shall we? And let's get as eclectic as ever...

Remember that night that Hawkwind and Can made out and mutated babies and their progeny formed a band too? No? That's because it never happened. But if it had happened, said band would be Eyes. A Candle In The Crown Of The Dawn is a frenetic release, relentless with its rhythmic assault (seriously, the drummer doesn't quit!), 'Far & Away', the opening track, is a parallel ancient Greek soundtrack - with V shaped guitars and bongs! It rocks and is a hell of a lot of fun. The groove slows down, but the intent to snuggle inside the 70s stoner prog afterbirth remains. It's out now through excellent Portland label Field Hymns, grab it here. NB - this is actually TWO YEARS OLD! They have two other releases out, Ill aim to do a follow up shortly!)

EYES - Far & Away
EYES - Grey Moss

Coming from the same label stable, Susurrus is a Portland electronic noise outfit that offer some serious nose-exploding industrial drone. Starting off with two minutes of dead air, 'Mvt. 1' winds up the tension. It ebbs and flows, offering orchestral flourishes amongst the artificial squalls and screeches. 'Mvt.2' is just as synthetic, yet is creepier in a fashion, utilising the silences between musical stages and incorporating sounds like mobile phones and frog croaks. It's techno horror, yet somehow beautifully rendered, an incredibly interesting listen. Great headphone music - but not whilst walking alone at night...perfect 21st century horror soundtrack right here, something like The Signal or Pulse... Susurrus is out here.

Susurrus - Mvt.2

Offering a change of pace, the alluring Ariel Starling is a 20 year old Austinite (IE lives in Austin Texas). Starling claims to spend most of her time in the closet recording weirdly thoughtful pop songs about vultures and dead babies on cassette. Sounds fair to me. Her debut EP Black Dust is sparse, mostly Starling and her electric guitar, and is equal parts melancholic, introspective, yet on 'Armadillo' we see her rock side. Overall, a lovely introduction. Time to get out of the closet and onto the street.

Ariel Starling - Celeritas
Ariel Starling - Armadillo

Who wants some backwards music? Lucky that we have Edward Korft in the back pocket, then. The Brooklyn musician has created some excellent sinuous ambient grooves here. You can grab it, and his new track 'I've Got The Shit To Pull This Off', here.

Edward Korft - modnaromem
Edward Korft - enola

Funny/Not Funny Records have helped to put out No Jams, the second record for North Carolina band Naked Gods (and 1st on the label). It's jam-packed full of short guitar pop numbers that love their guitars and whimsical lyricism (listen to the excellent 'Shaq & Diane' for evidence - oh, the pun there, zing!). There is an element of White Denim in the schizophrenic nature of these tracks, which is a great thing. Grab No Jams here.

Naked Gods - Shaq & DianeNaked Gods - Soft Drugs

And because we can never have enough raucous punk rock from New Zealand, we will finish off this 50th HFTB with Raplh. The duo played in band FATANGRYMAN that I spoke about last year here, whilst Jessica went on to Kitsunegari and Ary was in Onesie. Both bands have unfortunately broken up, so they started Ralph together. It's similar discordant snotty grungey punk to their initial times shackled together in the dustbins of rock, a bit like current faves Fever Fever and Bitches, but with more rabies, which is more than fine with me. Hopefully we can hear more from them in the near future.

Ralph - Broley Westenra
Ralph - Reek

Happy Wednesday!

Sonic Masala Presents Godliness

So we have reached that holiest of numbers that the preacher Black Francis preached to us about - Sonic Masala Presents #7. There is a crispness in the air that means winter is on its way, so let's bow down to the altar of Sonic Masala and stave off the cold with booze and tunes, shall we? It's one of the best line-ups yet, with Seaplane playing one of their rare shows (with new material in the caboose for an impending album release!!), a new look Tape/Off featuring Cam Smith (Tiny Spiders/Ghost Notes/Mt Augustus) on bass duties, 8-bit video game soundtracks done for realsies by the excellent Boss Fight, and loud as all get out scuzzy blues from hellraisers El Motel.

Sonic Masala Presents... is on this Friday down at The Waiting Room. Once again its a tenner and BYO. Bring your buds, your flames, your mistresses, your grandmas (hell, maybe they're all one and the same, no prejudices here!) and have a blast. This monkey ain't going to heaven just yet.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Double Odonis Dunks His Busted Lip In Hollandaze

Odonis Odonis, the Toronto punk rapscallions led by Dean Tzenos, released their Busted Lip 7" yesterday through, which is a single off their debut LP Hollandaze. It's funny that I've taken so long to talk about these guys - it's merely because I already had, but when I started to write this I realised that there was no previous link. My bad, because Hollandaze is a premier example of loud, noisy, aberrant surf rock injected with a punk snarl, both out of place in its Canadian climes and yet very much of its time. The beauty is in its electricity - these tracks rip through you, yet it is a dark fun being exuded, not a nasty exertion of vitriolic noise. Sure, lots have said the words 'Albini' and 'Big Black' when discussing this trio, yet it isn't the parallels to those tar-black outpourings that should be the focal point. It's the relentlessness of these punk crashes, infused with squalling guitars, urgent rhythms and snarling venom, yet all with an upturned frown and a glint in the eye. It is brutal and frenetic - only the six minute 'Seedgazer' offers a respite, and even then it doesn't alleviate the sweaty fervency, what with its restless wall of guitar noise.

You can pick up the vinyl of Hollandaze here. You can pick up the 7" here (re-released after being a rare release about this time last year, before FatCat Records added them to their roster). Apparently we will have a new album on the blocks very soon, so get excited!!!

Odonis Odonis - Busted Lip
Odonis Odonis - Hollandaze
Odonis Odonis - Seedgazer

Thrill Jockey Avalanche #1 - Jon Porras (of Barn Owl), Luke Roberts, Man Forever

My inbox is overflowing - I have no idea how I'm going to get all this 2012 good music to your delectable ears! So I'm doing a whole bunch of multiple artist posts (see Tenzenmen post here as an example of what I mean). I could just list releases, post a song, move on. So much easier too! But that is NOT how I do things here at Sonic Masala. So this week I aim to catch up on all the recent and upcoming releases from label favourite Thrill Jockey, starting with these three lovelies.

Jon Porras is more famous as one half of brilliant drone duo Barn Owl. However, just like other half Evan Caminiti, they have individual projects going on too. Black Mesa is Porras' solo venture, and it's a excellent excursion into guitar experimentation, taking elements of Japanese psych, West Coast amble and Southern twang, having his collages percolate through the prisms of elongation, tremolo and twang, deconstructs and reconstructs over a ten month period, and then offers it up as an album. 'Into Midnight' has some Neil Young Dead Man era darkness pulsing through its veins, alongside warblings that the Black Angels' Christian Bland would find wholly appealing. Yet there is something overtly immersive about Black Mesa that makes this more than a vanity project or an attempt at creating an artistic gesture. Many of these songs feel fully formed - the longer tracks are justified at their extrapolated timeframes, the shorter tracks evoke the right mood without feeling half baked. Like the outpourings of Mark McGuire, Black Mesa is a sublime album from a continually exciting performer.

Jon Porras - Into Midnight

It seemed only yesterday that Luke Roberts released Big Bells And Dime Songs (when he didn't even own his own guitar!), yet last month he was back releasing The Iron Gates At Throop And Newport. He wrote this sophomore release on his own guitar, and on tracks such as 'His Song' and 'I Don't Want You Anymore' Roberts seems to have grown in confidence and scope also. The arrangements have been noticeably beefed up, so that his plaintive vocals are embedded amongst complementary orchestration rather than plastered on a blank canvas, pulling all the weight. Yet it would be easy to drown out these emotional odes with bombast and flair, but every arrangement is specifically chosen. It's a beautiful album, one that stands on its own pedestal yet promises so much more.

Luke Roberts - I Don't Want You Any More
Luke Roberts - His Song

Finally today we are looking at Pansophical Cataract, the stunning album from percussive magnets Man Forever (AKA John Colpitts AKA Oneida's drumming maestro Kid Millions). The two track release was always going to be an exercise in drumming exploration, the tub-thumping counterpoint to Porras' offering, yet the boisterousness inherent in the cyclical suites he constructs here are a little more out there - and all the more enjoyable for it. The album is relentlessly driven by Colpitts' endless quest to find pattern in percussion. It's a rhythmic roar that is as calming as it is unsettling, a paradox that aptly showcases the possibilities within this musical framework. And although Side A 'Surface Patterns' delves into the pulses of electrical instruments rather than the skin variety, it is no less hypnotic and captivating. Colpitts, like many of the artists he works with that live on the periphery of what we know as 'pop music', is an exciting presence and a godsend.

Man Forever - Surface Patterns

Grab all of these from Thrill Jockey here.

Frozen Holograms Are Chasing My Mind

Scandinavia continues to produce some of the best angular, abrasive rock at the moment. What is going on over there? Whatever it is, for better or worse, keep it coming. The latest thing I'm spinning is from a Swedish band called Holograms. They put out a sweet 7" through Captured Tracks (which you can still get here), and preceding their debut LP in July (also through CT) is this track. It's the seething that underpins the chirping electronics and punky chanting vocals that really provokes a desire to smash the nearest glass implement over your own head for shits and giggles. Anything that imparts that into today's youth is A-OK with me.

Holograms - Chasing My Mind
Holograms - ABC City