Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mikey Erg


Bloated Cat [2012]

Sure, I want to think of Mikey Erg as a guy who writes songs about feeling bad for eating too much of a banana split on a first date, but come on, don't you want to know a little more about the man behind the curtain? How about a thrashy, hardcore flexi with all instruments played by Mikey himself (with an end result better than most complete hardcore ensembles). It's loud, it's mean, it's entertaining, and it's GREAT. The only excuses you are allowed to have for not liking this record are: 1) You were born IN the 90's, 2) You are an evangelistic Christian, or 3), You are simply a pussy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Frankie Rose


Slumberland Records [2012]

Former member of Brooklyn's highly acclaimed Crystal Stilts, Frankie Rose brings us her second record while out on her own. Interstellar is certainly more of a solo effort than her previous LP, Frankie Rose and the Outs as Rose leaves out the Outs and takes a deep inward journey into some unpredictable emotional abyss. With past success as both a Vivian Girl and a Dum Dum girl, Rose comes off as a full grown,talented and complicated woman on Interstellar. It's dreamy and synthy, and even though I found the record slightly dizzying at times, I held on to the final track. I don't think this record is earth-shattering by any means, but it reeks of success and did my ears a favor.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Perfume Genius

Put Your Back N 2 It

Matador Records [2012]

Seattle's Mike Hadreas's second album, Put Your Back N 2 It may send you into a confusing spiral of tears and shame. The album starts off strong with "Awol Marine" a soft track which instantly reminded me of Julee Cruise's "Falling", the music used for the original Twin Peaks opening credits. Deeper into the album you'll find a slightly different tone, one that will give you the chills of a dark drama from the 1980's. The subject matter Hadreas touches on is controversial, real, and sometimes even mildly humorous. My only qualms with this record is that almost all of the songs are too short; I actually yelled at the end of one track: "That can't be it?!?!"

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Love Backed By Force

What's Your Rupture [2012]

I probably should have known about this record before this thirty-something anniversary reissue was recently added to my collection on a complete throw of the dice by my girlfriend, but yet again I've managed to exist in a parallel for over three decades alongside but never encountering something wonderful. It's everything you want in a nearly lost cult favorite, from blandly nostalgic images to nonsensical, meandering lyrics, Love Backed By Force is something of a lo-fi schizo journey and I'm loving every second of it. Originally debuted in 1981 on Alien records, this album spans everything from experimental basement taping to dingy poor production post-punk (alliteration intentional). Love Backed by Force has its melodic moments as well, but its collective sound collage leaves me feeling more or less like an ambitious observer of yet another pocket of social anomaly.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Blood for the Master

Metal Blade [2012]

These guys are almost half a dozen albums deep into their catalog and with this latest release, Blood for the Master, Goatwhore seem to be staying on a good, dark path. The album itself is violently spattered with sacrilegious imagery and lyrics - something not so surprising but rather comforting if you set your expectations to just that. There are Goatwhore brand riffs aplenty, with the occasional throwback to earlier back metal Goatwhore moments and even some tracks that could catch the attention of classic metal heads and thrashers alike. Whether you plan to make sacrifices to Satan or to your bank account (expect to pay around twenty bucks for this one), you will more than likely get down with at least something found within these ten blood-soaked tracks.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Human Adult Band

Hearing Damage Session

Heat Retention/Third Uncle

Hearing Damage Session is a fitting name for this ten track ripper of an album. Human Adult Band sludge along once again with songs that sound like your favorite grunge groups' forgotten accidental studio gems. This is the kind of music your parents never wanted you to listen to….or even know about. There's filthy feedback, monster-inspired vocals, head-wrenching noise as well as eargasmic, nail-scraping melodies that are buried within the chaos and worth waiting for. These are songs to violently let in while sinking into your couch, blowing off a perfect day. Available now with hand screened cover and impressive accompanying artwork.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The War on Drugs

"Come to the City" b/w "Don't Fear the Ghost"

Secretly Canadian [2012]

This Philly indie group's latest single, Come to the City incorporates a lot of interesting sounds reminiscent of some classic artists that I enjoy. The A side, "Come to the City" has a David Bowie "Heroes" vibe with some washy guitars that could almost be the product of a "too stoned" U2 studio session. The song kept my interest and encouraged me to check out the B side, "Don't Fear the Ghost". "Don't Fear the Ghost" is a little more disjointed and dreamy, think Stone Roses song you never heard covered by Spacemen 3. With all of this said, I give this single two thumbs up.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mind Spiders


Dirtnap Records [2012]

Meltdown is the newest release by Marked Men guitarist/singer Mark Ryan's new band. The group remains somewhat true to a Marked Men influence with head-bobbing rhythms, rapid-fire lo-fi vocals, and there's also an accompaniment of subtle rock and roll organ playing. The guitar riffs found within many of the tracks seem like an homage to something found on T-Rex's Electric Warrior, or Bowie's Ziggy Stardust…, but with a lower production value and more processed, filtered end sound. It's dirty punk rock, poppy with a classic hard rock feel. High energy and solid song structure play a large part in Meltdown, and I could see myself giving this one a good amount of spins over the course of the next few weeks.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mark Lanegan Band

Blues Funeral

4AD [2012]

Former Screaming Trees front man, Mark Lanegan along with about eleven other musicians scrape up some talent and call this one Blues Funeral. This second album credited to Mark Lanegan Band (formerly just Mark Lanegan) is dark and sometimes surprisingly upbeat but I can't really find anything on any of the four sides of the double LP that really stays with me. There are some drum machines, decent vocals and effects and tracks that seem to go on for too long. This could be a record that will have a whole new meaning once (or if) it grows on me, but for now it's more or less background music with no Earth-shattering moments worth mentioning.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Barry Adamson

I Will Set You Free

Central Control [2012]

Barry Adamson is a living legend. Once the bass player from the incredible Manchester post-punk outfit Magazine and later an integral part of the early line up for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (not to mention stints with the Buzzcocks, The Birthday Party, and more), Adamson has put his time in as an important player in the more desirable underground sounds of eighties British rock and continues to produce some of the outstanding albums of modern day. In this recent solo release, I Will Set You Free, you'll hear Adamson's production skills and successful song writing talent shine. Tracks like "Get Your Mind Right" touch on his studio producer side (if that's your thing), but my favorite tracks are the more psychedelic, driving rock tracks such as "Turnaround" and "Destination". If you are a fan of any of Adamson's aforementioned projects, there's definitely something on I Will Set You Free that'll let Barry live up to his promise.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Paul McCartney

Kisses on the Bottom

Universal Music [2012]

Kisses on the Bottom? Horrible album, horrible title (Kisses on whose bottom, Paul?) and all around bore fest. Even though Paul is only my THIRD favorite Beatles member, he's one of two living members of one of my all time favorite bands so there definitely exists a bias when considering anything he's done - but even that will not help him here. I love his debut LP, love McCartney II, Ram, and various recordings and singles spattered about the late 70's, into the 80's, (and even some 90's stuff), but I just can't even listen to this newest album. It's loungy (think Tony Bennett singing into your eyes while a player piano echos in an empty hospital lobby) and it reminds me of something that should have been on the Cocoon soundtrack, or featured in a senior citizen cruise ship package. I understand that people's musical tastes change with age, but the same way 78s are long out of style and swing music and its audience are long dead (well if you can mentally delete that 90's swing revival embarrassment) this music is irrelevant and bland. Save your thirty bucks for the next Beatles anthology and pretend this never happened.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nada Surf

The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy

Barsuk Records [2012]

New Yorkers Nada Surf turn twenty years old this year… which apparently makes me really old considering that it feels like just yesterday that their early career one hit wonder "Popular" was first owning the airwaves. The band spent well over a decade receiving very little critical acclaim (or any attention at all for that matter, less maybe the satisfactory UK-only cover of Vitreous Humor's "Why Are You So Mean To Me" indie classic) and it wasn't until the early 2000's that band made moves to work with Barsuk Records, getting a slightly larger following in doing so. The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy may be the most mature sound I've personally witnessed out of the group, but it comes off very well. All ten tracks flow from start to finish, some ("When I Was Young", "Jules and Jim", and "Looking Through") take a forefront to the album with a pop sensibility that seems to have come up short in previous efforts. Because of their lengthy lull, many people may be indifferent to The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy, but I'm confident in classifying it as a record which wholly lies somewhere between good and very good.


Young & Old

Fat Possum Records [2012]

This lo-fi surfy indie album from Denver duo, Tennis is a packaged brand of rock that is infectiously addictive to listen to. Tennis's second LP, Young & Old was produced by Patrick Carney of The Black Keys so the percussion on the record is distinctly highlighted. Singer Alaina Moore reminds me of The Cardigans vocalist, Nina Persson, and that's a huge compliment (since I have a very soft spot in my ticker for much of Persson's work with her group). Listen to the track "Robin" and try to deny The Cardigans connection. Tennis also come off as more relevant than expected; imagine Best Coast with a more radio friendly appeal.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Graffiti Monsters

Fox Grapes b/w Polar Bear

Self Released [2012]

If there's one thing I love almost as much as my records, it's my 8-bit video game collection. Graffiti Monsters takes their love for 8-bit gaming and spazzy punk rock, puts them together and gives us this two song gem. The title track stands out a little more than the b-side, but I think it's because of one of the sounds they use reminds me of a gameboy game called Motocross Maniacs (basically the more fun Gameboy version of the NES classic, Excitebike). Be it bitcore, chipcore, 8bitHC, NES Core, or whatever the kids are calling it these days, after hearing this you might feel an overwhelming urge to shoplift a two-liter of Mountain Dew and stay up all night.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

O.C. Tolbert

You Got me Turned Around

Timmion [2011]

If you had a chance to hear Detroit's Little Ann sing on Deep Shadows, and you enjoyed it as much as I did then I would highly recommend this lost northern soul treasure. It's a Dave Hamilton production, and if that means anything to you then you already have an idea of what this record sounds like. Only two of the tracks featured were previously released on vinyl, and since copies of those 45s are next to impossible to locate, you might as well grab this collection up. O.C. Tolbert comes off as a real party pleaser, from funky 70's soul grooves to bluesy breakdowns and wild vocals, You've Got Me Turned Around will have you bopping through all ten tracks. Here's another example of the quality music Timmion keeps bringing back into the world.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Jealous Sound

A Gentle Reminder

Music is Subjective/Fontana Distro [2012]

Finally, The Jealous Sound make another album and it's pretty decent. From cozy vocals to a hint of melodic 90's guitar and drums, A Gentle Reminder gives fans of Knapsack and TJS a new chapter to add to their book of listenables. The songs hint at a slightly more current and relevant sound than most recent prior effort, 2003's Kill Them With Kindness. It could be that it's been nine years and things have naturally changed, but A Gentle Reminder seems to target fans of Brit pop and it even made me wonder in they are now a group who may listen to some Gaslight Anthem (definitely some very influenced guitar work). Since I approve highly of all these things, A Gentle Reminder automatically gets a satisfactory review. If I could change one major flaw in the record it would be to make some of the songs more memorable as none of the tracks really stood out to me as single-worthy.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


The Sun Will Rise and Lead Me Home

DevilDance [2012]

This six song EP from New Brunswick's Gates, takes me back to the late 90's when a new brand of indie became all the rage. It was a heartfelt time for emotional music with a huge sound, as well as a great time for the music community (VFW shows, zines, touring bands sprawled out with makeshift "campsites" on the floors of New Brunswick, NJ apartments, etc.). Then, almost overnight it all got really awful. The same way that Kurt Cobain and Nirvana awoke the sleeping beast of what was to become shitty groups like Creed and Nickleback (to name a few forerunners of the end of grunge as we knew it), this music became formulated and essentially ruined. Kids started to look and play the part of mall rat suicide boys and quickly scared true music lovers far far away. Well, imagine if a band was actually able to skip over the majority of this dogshit music that happened from 2001-2010 and somehow picked up where you always hoped the sound would head. Mix the driving ethereal sounds of Elliott with the indie guitar noodlings of American Football, add songs that rival those of Appleseed Cast, and finally get Chris Simpson from Mineral some singing lessons (sorry!), and you have Gates' new EP. It's all so good it makes me want to move back in with my parents and curl up in ball, pretending my girlfriend just left me for a martial artist.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Mentally Ill

"Gacy's Place" b/w "Paddedd Cell" and "Tumor Boy"

Autistic Productions [1979] , Last Laugh [2012]


The Mentally Ill were an early addition to the Killed By Death punk compilations (Gacy's Place on KBD #2), and the Gacy's Place 45 remains one of the more sought after records with a song featured in the series. The record screams "a brand of DIY punk with disturbing conviction" for a few reasons. The cover alone tells the story of what is to come with a photo of First Lady Rosalynn Carter shaking a young John Gacy's hand. The thousand yard stare in Gacy's eyes and the sincere "Best Wishes" at the bottom of the photo start the unsettling of your stomach, but that's just the beginning. The track itself is a raw energetic blast of weirdness from start to end. The lyrics detail a first person point of view as a Gacy captive to the point where you'll feel like the bloodied, clown paint smeared victim.Once you're over that, the second side goes on to "Paddedd Cell" a frighteningly detailed account of a mentally ill patient. And then… there's "Tumor Boy", a fast-paced shredder that details a fellow with similar problems to those of the Elephant Man. All of the tracks have a perfectly poor production, but "Tumor Boy" takes the cake. There's even a part about halfway through the song where a channel just cuts out for a few seconds leaving a bare but beautiful moment in the song. The record is a terrifying mess but in that way you hoped it would be.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Avengers

"Be a Cave Man" b/w "I Told You So"

Star-burst [1965] Mighty Mouth [2012]

Brooklyn label Mighty Mouth brings you two tracks from two different 45s by The Avengers. Both tracks "Be a Cave Man" and "I Told You So" are the Mighty Mouth label owner's personal picks from the short but sweet Bakerfield, California garage band's discography, and once you check them out you will better understand why. The track "Be A Caveman" could possibly be 1965's most sexist track from a distance, but after an honest listen you'll understand the tongue-in-cheek comparison made between prehistoric treatment of women and the then-modern-day chivalry of the mid 1960's. "I Told You So" sounds as if it may have been a track that was too good, too soon, compromising The Avengers' potential for success. It wasn't until a few years later that songs like "Tell Her No" by the Zombies broke out, but perhaps "I Told You So" could it have been a response to the songs of the previous year such as "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks? Or was this simply an unexplained part of the U.S. rock scene surrounding the British Invasion? The answers remain in the dust of garages world-wide. You can try to hunt down the originals and shell out a couple hundred bucks a pop, or hop over to Mighty Mouth for a pristine, affordable copy.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Anthem Facility


Explosion Robinson Music [2012]

The front cover of this record told me that there was a good chance that Trace by Anthem Facility was a new indie rock record, but it wasn't until I saw the back cover that I knew that there had to be something a little more electronic going on with Anthem Facility (fonts, track listing, etc). Well, I was right. Turns out this is a project by a NYC duo, Stephen Hermann (producer) and Melati Malay (vocals). It's impressively large sounding with an occasional track which could be described as OK Computer meets Boards of Canada. There's also a sense of pop at times that reminds me of Stereolab or even The Go! Team, and the production on the record is certainly something to brag about. Trace is a solid record, not exactly my bag at this time but it's definitely worth mentioning.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Guided By Voices

Let's Go Eat the Factory

Guided By Voices Inc. [2012]

Let's Go Eat the Factory is the latest by these legendary Dayton Ohio lo-fi weird rockers. The group has returned to their DIY roots with LGETF, after a "brief" eight year hiatus since releasing a full length album. This most recent record is packed with classics-to-be, recorded in some of the members' homes and including the expected strange array of effects, piano, and even the use of what sounds like one of those cheap recorder flutes you tried to play in grade school. Another solid note is that singer/guitarist/songwriter Tobin Sprout is featured on LGETF as he is officially back in the group. Sprout holds his ground as an integral part of the lineup with his infectious contributions via ear candy melodies and insightful lyrical content. With so much attention on Pollard over the years, the arrival of this album has made me want to dig deeper into the works of other members. Ultimately, both Pollard and Sprout shine on this record, with a similar writing chemistry to the late 80's works of J. Mascis and Lou Barlow, respectively.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ancient Sky


Loud Baby [2012]

You'll sink into your armchair just seconds into this wide-open audial journey by Brooklyn's Ancient Sky. It all begins with "Towards the Light" a lengthy, spacey intro track reminiscent of a high quality Spiritualized demo you somehow never heard. Next, rumbling drums, ethereal vocals, and swirling guitars will ground you momentarily during "Wooden Ear" before releasing you back into the gaping abyss of what seems like infinite sound. You'll lose track of where you are during "All Colors at Once" and stay suspended until landing at the next track, "Ray Bradbury" where your attention span starts to focus in on the lyrics and southern psych rock sounds found within. The end of the album closes up well with "The Wind", leaving you feeling like your astral projection over the Nazca Lines of Peru is gently fading. It is now that you can return to that undisclosed location near the Mexican border to eat more peyote and wait for the next round of direction provided by the night stars.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sound Ceremony


Self-Released [1979] / One Kind Favor [2012]

OKF 002

This record was an immediate result of a literal post-punk/new wave movement in the U.K. that happened at the end of the 70's. With artists like Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe rising to fame for their trademarked "guy and his electric guitar" sound, it seemed only natural for Ron Warren Ganderton of Sound Ceremony to throw on a fancy tie and sling a Gibson SG around his neck. The results were a totally bizarre blend of slide guitar, classic rock 'n roll riffs, and somewhat manic vocals. It's the sort of record that should have been picked up by Stiff before the 80's hit, but wasn't, leaving this gem to be nearly forgotten until now.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Far-Out Fangtooth

Pure & Disinterested

Slitbreeze [2012]


The cover of this album looks as if it might be a photo of another angle of the property that the Mapledurham Watermill sits on (as pictured on the cover of Black Sabbath's first, self-titled release). Appropriately so, the tail end of the 60's and into the 70's were a strange time for cults, witchcraft, and psychedelic rock music. Far-Out Fangtooth's Pure & Disinterested may technically be a contemporary album, but its influence comes from those dark moments some decades ago. The music is dreary, low-fi and sludgy at times but yet somehow very listenable. Drawing from psych groups of the aforementioned time and also something that says "SST era Sonic Youth meets The Crystal Stilts".

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kenneth Higney

Attic Demonstration

Kebrutney [1976] /One Kind Favor [2012]

OKF 001

Although the actual location of where Attic Demonstration was recorded remains a mystery, this debut album by loner Kenneth Higney looks and sounds exactly as it's titled. Higney comes off as an average guy with an above average musical talent. The music is disjointed yet honest, laden with off-time vocal tempos and irrelevant guitar melodies. The track "No Heavy Trucking" explores the daily challenges of a probable truck driving occupation for Higney while "Can't Love That Woman" touches on a more personal side of Higney's disinterest in superficial woman. The album is discordant start to finish, but once you really dig in and realize that you are experiencing a pure form of "human" music, the successful harmonies and tones begin to take the forefront.