Friday, April 25, 2014
Coming to us once again from France, La Secte Du Futur (The Cult of the Future in English) were at the forefront of the heavy reverb-laden garage rock craze that took over in 2012 and 2013 with bands like Catholic Spray, Zyklon Beach, The Clap, etc. Their second full length Greetings From Youth brings us right back to where they left us on their self-titled, though with an obviously more mature approach. The album stays true to form with their catchy delivery and keyboard driven interludes like "God Bless Our Home" but with a more polished sound that really lets the band shine. "Come And Love The Guru" is a great example of this maturity showing influence from psychedelia, garage rock, country, and even a spaghetti western style ending that ties it all together perfectly. "TNT Faithbelt" brings to mind 80's new wave hits with a distinctly French psych sound glistening on top. "Respect Pour Le Peuple" is a quick driven song that starts strong and never lets up. Distant vocals call out over a dreary landscape where a lone survivor seems to be calling out to anyone left. A powerful track that just shows the evolution of a stronger band. Overall, their range seems to be growing exponentially all the while, crafting a signature finish that makes each song uniquely their own.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Constant Mongrel hails from Melbourne, Australia and bring a new slab of experimental post-punk to the world with Heavy Breathing. Equally akin to bands like Iceage as they are to Wire or Swell Maps, Constant Mongrel walk that line that breeds creativity. Not being satisfied with the general melancholy surrounding most post-punk acts, this 4-piece delivers with an upbeat rhythm section that drives their jangly guitars and fierce sound deep into your mind. The song "Choked" has this quick paced pounding drum scheme that evolves into a hypnotic noisy crescendo. "In The Courts" dips more into garage rock sensibilities with catchy guitar and a light-hearted approach. "Inflicted" closes the show with a minimalist intro before transforming into a sinister post-punk gem before finishing off synth heavy and out of breath. Fortunately, for us, Heavy Breathing takes you in and leaves you gasping for more once it's over.
Monday, April 21, 2014
Sunday, April 20, 2014
There is a secret being held somewhere in time in Sydney Australia. Luckily, we've uncovered a piece of it by the name of Royal Headache. This punk band is just as much grit as they are glamour. Tying together punk angst with vocals and lyrics that seem to belong on college radio from the 90's or R&B hits from years gone by. Try listening to Stand and Stare and not have it stuck in your head for the rest of the week. Unfortunately, these guys have declared a break up after only one full length and a handful of EPs and singles. Stream and buy and be sure to check out everything these guys decided to leave us with before ending things way too soon.
Another of Portland's great bands have dropped an epic cassette on the underground music world. Wooden Indian Burial Ground create garage rock with the intensity and imagination of Mr. Bungle. You never really know what to expect next with these guys, sometimes within the same song. "Plastic Man Man (Stuck In Time Time)" is a full on aural assault from beginning to end with the chaotic background rhythm and rambunctious lyrics setting you up for a fun musical experience. "DE-BOR-AH" comes in slightly calmer with a more traditional primitive garage rock structure mixed with some spectacularly psyched out guitar leads taking you on a trip down a deserted stretch of road high on something yet unidentified. "Death Rays (Of Love)" seems to take some obvious influence from Thee Oh Sees but is executed so well that you probably wouldn't care if they kept it up. The album ends with the 10 minute song "Why? (Part One)", which starts out as a quirky lo-fi pop track but morphs into a noisy drone before turning into an all out rocker that reprises "Plastic Man Man" and brings the album to an odd close but makes the album work very well on repeat. It's a good thing, too, because this is an album that demands multiple listens to let it really sink in. WIBG have found a way to take simple structure songs and turn them into something so much more interesting. Keep an eye on these guys in the future.
Saintes is the brainchild and solo project of Anne-Sophie Le Creurer from France. Her album Horizontal/Vertical seems appropriately named as you find influences from across the board melted into this creation. The first track "The Letter" is a weirdo lo-fi pop track that leaves you feeling just a bit uneasy. Following that is the track "Realms You've Hidden", which sounds like My Bloody Valentine covering 90's grunge hits in your friends basement. The title track "Horizontal/Vertical" is an eerie track that invokes Sonic Youth, complete with a monotonous spoken word section channeling Kim Gordon to round it out. "Full of Colors" is a track where Anne-Sophie delivers a haunting overlapping vocal melody that is as creepy as it is appealing. Horizontal/Vertical isn't for everyone but it will surely find it's way into the hearts and possibly nightmares of those of us who like the idea of music as an art form.
French multi-instrumentalist Jaromil Sabor returned in 2014 with a new album, continuing on with his uncanny ability to float seamlessly across the musical spectrum. 2012's Marmalade Sculpture was a brilliant album with gem after gem playing from your speakers. In 2014, Jaromil seems ready to show that he has matured and is ready to play. On La Santa Roja, Jaromil has really stepped into a new game and has brought along friends who bring instruments like a trumpet, a flute, and even a Glockenspiel. The album strolls on with "Diamond Mind", a 60s pop song that transitions into a grand musical experience complete with big band backing. Next, we get "Neither The Sand Nor The Sea", which sounds like a beachside soul party getting crashed by a 90s shoegaze band to awesome effect. "Silly Miss Lizzy" is a beautiful song with an amazing horn section carrying you off into dreamland before you get thrown awake and knocked out by the all-out garage punk of "Blourk" or "The Sun Don't Shine On My Corvette, lo-fi production, 59 second length, speed, angst, perfect. When you wake, you find yourself in a northern soul party and Jaromil, along with backing singers, lift you up with "Midnight Gat". All of a sudden, Darrell stands up and things get weird. "Darrell Standing (I Know What You Mean)" really is as odd as it's title. It starts out like one of Pink Floyd's weirder moments or something found on a Swell Maps record. This art show then breaks into a mix of 60s organ driven garage rock and haunting desert rock. This album is a real musical experience and holds a special place for me alongside bands like Akron/Family, Crane Angels, and other bands that seem to be able to play just about anything and make it their own. La Santa Roja is well worth a listen. Stream it and tell your friends about Jaromil Sabor.
Qúetzal Snåkes from France play a creative blend of garage rock, psych punk, and spacerock. "Lovely Sort of Death" is a spacey jam with wailing guitars sprinkled throughout before fading into a psychedelic stint at the close of the track. "Cosmic" is a bit quicker paced and gets closer to a powerpop song covered in gloom and the guitar here brings to mind The Smashing Pumpkins. "I Trip Through Love" is a light romp through heavy garage rock tinged with psych for flavor. The Lovely Sort of Death EP is a solid effort for this band that settles them somewhere between the spectrum of The Black Angels and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Waiting to hear what's next.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
San Francisco's heavy psych beach rockers Burnt Ones are back with their new album Gift. Though, clearly a Burnt Ones album at it's core, a change has been made. The heavy in their heavy psych sound has been turned way back and the band seem to be focusing more on the psych and ramping up on the bubblegum pop that was always buried in a haze of sleaze on previous albums. For die hard fans of Burnt Ones brand of rough around the edges pop songs, Gift may not be what you were hoping for. That's not to say that they've cut it out completely as "Money Man" still has it's fuzz guitar, pounding drums, and aggressive presentation. Songs like "Submarine" and "Is It Over?" start off with a strong pop presence but finish with fuzzy guitars being choked into submission. However, even with the changes, Burnt Ones have created what should be considered their most concise and musically sound album to date. The future seems promising for Burnt Ones as they continue to build on their newly well crafted sound.
Friday, April 18, 2014
From the dirty basements and foulest sewers of Philadelphia comes lo-fi rock n roll wizards Lantern. On past releases we found Lantern churning out fearsome rock n roll punk tunes that we knew were catchy and fun but ended up being buried under walls of fuzz and reverb. This time around, Lantern has swapped in the fuzz and reverb for straight up rock n roll. Starting off the album is "Evil Eye", a track of full frontal rock from the seas of the 70s with the vocals being handled by Emily Robb. An instant classic in it's own right. "King of the Jungle" kicks off with a nod to early doom and groove that drips with enough Swag to make Mick Jagger blush. "Where Are We Now" brings to mind driving ragers like Deep Purple's "Highway Star". "She's A Rebel" is a slow burning track led again by Emily that lulls you into a hypnotic trance. "The Conjurer" is a sneering bluesy jam rattles on and is punctuated with a sultry harmonica solo at the close. "The albums closer, "Heart In Your Tongue" is a nod to the days when Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band were grinding out rocking tracks with major saxophone sway in their favorite local bars. From beginning to end, this album bleeds booze and leaves you feeling drunk as funk. Best album of 2013.
Nerve City has a special place for me in my musical history as being one of the first lo-fi, blown-out, punk fueled forces that I was really taken by with the release of the Red Tops 7" in 2009. Those first few chords of Windows had me sold but there was always that wish that you could hear it just a bit better. The self-titled long player in 2010 brought those desires to life but the vocals of Jason Boyer still seemed a bit too far away, which always seemed a shame. However, as time went on, the production seemed to be steadily improving until the sound was fully realized on Asleep On The Tracks. All of your favorite things about Nerve City are still there but, this time around, you can actually hear it all. What really brings this album into it's own though, is the introduction of a new backing band that bring to life the great songs being written by Boyer. The vocals have been pulled into the forefront and are no longer slightly buried under everything else that happens in these songs. From Velvet Underground-esque pop songs like "Rifle Of Peace" to southern-fried rockers like "Nothing Nothing", there is a little here for everyone and should definitely not be slept on by fans of not just the lo-fi scene but also psych heads who dig Dead Luke or Pink Reason's catchier moments. It seems that Nerve City's music gets better and better and Boyer is still as sharp a songwriter as he's always been.