Thursday, December 8, 2016

WAGNER "70s Floyd Lite" (Colossal Tapes)

The description of this album on the Colossal Tapes' bandcamp page is honestly perfect: 13.772 billion year old universal power drones - drone patterns found in the Higgs field before the big bang.

The tape begins with ferocity. A smashing dronescape with space and abbreviated length. My favorite Drone is in short form, due to my lack of attention span. Wagner continues to feed into my preferences with strange blips of guitar jams in between stellar atmospheres, pitch-bent synthesis, and general cacophony. Hawk's Prarie (Save Point) is a welcomed breather at the end of side A, and a standout composition. Thick melodic drone, encased in a dreamy framework that seems to contract and expand throughout the piece. A real palate cleanser.

Side B opens with a taste of drums and more satellite drone of the spectral void. 70s Floyd Lite is part of a very small group of drone and ambient albums that are perfect in their succinct take on the genre. It tests boundaries and jolts me into new spaces every few minutes. This was a very exciting listen.

Odd Nosdam helmed mastering duties which is cool, since Wagner's style seems to fit ON's vibe very well. I picture this tape aligned very well along the sound Sisters and 70s Floyd Lite is sure to satisfy a lot of ON listeners.

LIYL: Odd Nosdam, Hakobune, Bastian Void, Amulets

-- Joseph Morris

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

"Vandenyas” C22
( ((Cave Recordings)) )

((Cave Recordings)) continues to put out great experimental/noise tapes in teeny-tiny batches, and, this time around, has offered up a decidedly more minimalist, ambient-drone bass worshipping cloudscape by Sundial AKA Nick Bagley AKA head of PDX-based Big Ear Tapes. Dream segues looped & bed back, eternally.

Note I say “cloudscape” as opposed to landscape, as there are no biomes teaming with melodious life, but rather the soulless convergence of life-giving molecules and atoms in constant, minute flux, reverberating against one another, each, individually undetectable on a sonic level, but, en masse…well…

Part midnight thunderhead over campfire, part misty morning bike ride to work, part meteorological disturbance, ‘Vandenyas’ synthesizes all the subtleties of brilliant weather-centric field recordings without a single organic splash. Pretty impressive.

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

“Light Is Gone” C36
(Sunroom Recordz & Salon)

Minimum fidum, the bedroom acoustic musician strain of Homo sapiens, observed in his natural habitat. Cleanly picked acoustic guitar with few embellishments. Sad, very sad songs. It’s OK to be sad sometimes. I’m sad sometimes. The moments where I’m sad, I imagine I’m a new strain of Homo sapiens myself, Tristitia hominis. Am I blowing your mind with all this Latin yet? I shouldn’t be. The computer’s on, internet browser’s active. Gently picked acoustic songs, sometimes with embellishments (like drum machines) are playing. I don’t know what made Field Medic, aka Kevin Patrick, so sad – something to do with a dentist in LA, presumably? It’s OK everybody, hugs. I see you got a Colin Meloy vibe goin’ on in the vocal regions. He’s a swell cat. A Tumescente cattus, if you will.

--Ryan Masteller

Monday, December 5, 2016

"Weirdo Goes to the Disco” C32
(Rok Lok Records)

St. Petersburg’s Atariame conjures up one certifiable, sparklingly-spooky trip through a haunted woodland, where things that go bump in the night echo their trebly scratching via vintage drum machines; where the hoots & howls of unseen beasts are synthesized through a foggy, decaying warble & bounced off every mossier trees. Our hosting Russian High Priestess assures us through a stoic half-chant that we are to venture deeper and deeper on into these wooded song structures; it’s okay to get lost in the energetic meditations, okay to give up catchy hooks for ethereal moodiness-mask fittings, okay to will those sagging note-branches back to their more sonorous positions with labored chin raisings. We do not have to understand the first few times around, but we will, and we will return again and again. “Atariame”. Whisper it three times into your compact mirror and snap it shut, as the sun sets.

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Sunday, December 4, 2016

GERMAN ARMY "Mountain City" (Phinery)

German Army is a household name in the experimental music community die to their extremely prolific activity (under many project names besides GeAr) and knack for creating impressively cohesive albums based on audio concepts.

Mountain City, released on Phinery, is no different. This is a journey into a world: a bustling barter marketplace, a tribal and rural population, clay, wooden and stone homes jutting from the mountainscape.

Snapshots and vignettes of twanging guitars, lively chants, dusty percussion, ragtime and human atmospheres give this album an atmosphere unlike any other. It is extremely human but also contains a mysticism of a fantasized location from the GeAr camp.

Track titles like Bluff, Pea Patch, Sea Island, Frogmore and others give a further focus on the locations real or imagined for each piece on the album.

LIYL: Q///Q, Peter Kris, Dylan Golden Aycock

-- Joseph Morris

Saturday, December 3, 2016

“Mid-Level Blues”
(Summersteps Records)

Das Black Milk makes gritty loud Rock n Roll. They’re a band that from listening you can just kind of tell they’d put on a great show. They’re a band that you wouldn’t see in a nice venue though. They’d be the last band to go on in a lineup of hardcore bands in a smoky basement in the bad part of town. They’re the kind of band that you want to see but once you get to the show you’re not sure if you’re cool enough to be there. They’re the kind of band who just get completely lost in the songs their playing and you aren’t even sure if they’re really still conscious.

The case for this cassette is a fake matchbox case that says “Guaranteed to light on the first strike!” One of the reasons I love cassettes so much is because I am always amazed by the new cool things that people come up with to do. I also think it’s a really interesting choice that instead of putting two songs on each side of the cassette, Das Black Milk decided to put all four songs on each side. It’s really convenient because now I don’t have to rewind it. Hopefully someday I’ll be cool enough to listen to Das Black Milk.

- Garrett Douglas

Friday, December 2, 2016

“Chiu-Chium” C21
(OSR Tapes)

I can’t read any of these liner notes because I decided to take German in high school instead of Spanish. (Sue me, I’m German. Our language is romantic.) Thankfully there’s a nice English explanation over at the OSR page, so now I know that Cristina Plaza is Daga Voladora’s mastermind and that she’s from Spain. Which explains the liner notes. Here’s another neat tidbit I’ve learned from the page: “chiu-chium” is the onomatopoeic representation of the sound made by a flying dagger, “una daga voladora” in Spanish. What a coincidence! I betcha Cristina Plaza has a copy of Zhang Yimou’s House of Flying Daggers (with Spanish subtitles of course) that she watches on repeat. It would make a lot of sense.

Anyway, Plaza makes incredibly lush, sometimes fuzzy bedroom pop, a triumph for the medium. Plaza’s warm voice coos over the enchanting melodies, and the only hint that this might be a one-person four-track project comes in the form of the clearly Casio beats at times. But hey, that all adds to the charm, and I’ve definitely been won over, even though I can’t understand a word Plaza’s singing. Looks like music is turning out to be the universal language. Take that, love! And, uh, mathematics. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for those flying daggers – they’re silent until they strike.

--Ryan Masteller

Thursday, December 1, 2016

"Self-Titled” C16
(Magnetic South)

Nothing necessarily “new” here, but Hot Damn if it ain’t done well! In time, this album may assume the title “The Psychedelic Moons of Marquee Sound”, as the inescapable “influence” of heavyweights the 13th Floor Elevators and Television are splattered all the fuck over this tape, from guitar tone to vocals, dynamic mix to rhythm section, the full n-i-n-e. So, if you’re really into psychy garage rock and still bummed that you won’t be catching those aforementioned legends anytime soon (on this side of the grave, anyway), rest assured you can bear witness, firsthand, to this here next bestest thing, playing down at your local Hoosier bar or basement. Pnice soupnds!

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

BELARISK “Greys, Escaped” (Moss Archive)

The Greys, you whisper, and you immediately know the end is upon you. The maximum-security facility where they’re housed, out of site from the American public, teeming with scientists and military personnel, has been breached. The Greys have escaped. You stumble upon the site, the last remnant of the research team, and it is a crater in the earth. Nothing is left. Oh no, we’re doomed, you have time to think before you see a silver disc rise from the ashes and disappear at blinding speed into space. Seconds later a beam of intense light fires down, incinerating the rest of the planet. Humanity’s end is inauspicious at best.

Fast-forward to the alien homeworld. The escapees have safely arrived, ready to debrief their superiors. “623y5, 35c493d?” asks The Enchanter. An escapee begins to explain: “N) v)ic3, n) d474…” Angrily, The Enchanter interrupts: “T'4c7ic41 W38!” Of course it’s ridiculous that they were captured in the first place! So much for the terraforming idea. No point in assimilating into a population hell-bent on dissecting you. Best to blow it up instead, start from scratch. Not ideal, but better than that operating table.

Reassess, rewire, reconfigure. Supercomputer Belarisk repositions coordinates, recalculates probabilities. The Greys, not Greys anymore, intercept Belarisk’s transmissions through their frontal lobes, the electronic pulses, sometimes quick and urgent, sometimes paced for reflective cognition, providing a unified message. The Greys, not Greys anymore, understand as one the transmissions and fall into pattern, preparing the next move.

Belarisk turns its transmitters outward, broadcasting its warning to the universe. Let the perils of Earth be a lesson to them. “831i41 Ch2)m3'd,” break, media end.

--Ryan Masteller

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

FATHER TRIBE (Self-Released)

Nahsville's Father Tribe released their self titled album in the Summer of 2015 on Crafted Sounds and it's full of Modest Mouse-ian compositions that were reportedly recorded in bedrooms and garages in the California area.

The coastal mellow vibes of the west coast are extremely apparent and crafted extremely well. The recordings are full of unique imperfections and warmth as well. Kaden (Vocalist, Guitars, etc) emits many different vocal styles throughout the album reminiscent of Isaac Brook, Conor Oberst and Ruben Nielson.

Instrumental dynamics are no shortcoming on this album either. Fully imagined rock pieces, woozy acoustic whistle jams, soulful raw R&B, emo-crusted pop, and more fill the reels and never disappoint.

RIYL: Modest Mouse, Bright Eyes, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
-- Joseph Morris

Monday, November 28, 2016

"Self Titled" C38
(Wiener Records)

I remember first hearing of Wilco’s gradual shift into mediocrity verbalized as “they’re playing ‘Dad-Rock’now.” Man, I really used to love me some Wilco. ‘Summer Teeth’ and ‘Being Here’ are stalwart go-to’s for any roadside picnic accompaniment, and ‘A Ghost Is Born’ remains to be (admittedly nostalgically) a masterful blending of grittier Alt-Country and the labored compositional dynamics of forward thinking the Indie Rock I was anticipating when I heard that not only Glenn Kotche was on board full time, but Nels Fucking Cline was going to be contributing, too! Oh, how ‘Sky Blue Sky’ just broke my widdle hawt. ‘Dad-Rock’ was born.

So, here we are, ten years later. The smoke as cleared. Lessons have been learned, though, arguably, not by Jeff Tweedy. Instead, the gauntlet was dug up by Oakland’s SUN VALLEY GUN CLUB, a near carbon-copy of what COULD have been. Maybe SVGC are ‘Hipster Uncle Rock’? They’ve got all AGIB’s tones, vocals, drive, dynamic shifts, and breakneck key changes, plus a li’l extra saucy-swagger. They’re catchy as fuck, but mindful to not be too predictably sweet, via artful modulation that keeps it interesting and not just another Indie rock record for the masses.

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Sunday, November 27, 2016

WARM SHRIMP "Wet Heave" (Crushgrow)

Now we're talkin'! Part punk, and when I say punk I mean 60's punk; part Jonathan Richman and a sprinkling of surf and you have three piece Wet Heave from Bloomington, Indiana. This combo offers up a 12 track tape which, best I can figure, is from 2015 and from start to finish is engaging and refreshing.

Why you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Because everything sounds familiar yet different. They borrow but don't steal. Right out of the gate with "PWH" you hear the combined influences which are the foundation of a new sound which is unique and pure Warm Shrimp. Other highlights include "Russian Girl," "Psycho" and "Rubber Room."

For those so inclined, the tape comes with a download card so you can take your 'Shrimp anywhere. Don't dismiss this perc lightly because if you're like me, you'll want to listen to this repeatedly. The tape otherwise is packaged in your standard Norelco plastic case with J-card.

Sadly, it appears Warm Shrimp is no more. According to their Facebook page they have moved on but we can cling to this fine outing and only hope they somehow find it in themselves to regroup at some juncture for another recording session. It's burger time indeed...highly recommended.

-Bob Zilli