Monday, May 27, 2013

Nervesandgel "s/t"

(Discriminate Audio/BestFriends Records) Beautifilly disturbing ambient dream/nightmare, primitive/futuristic experimental soundscapes that are packaged so cryptically (no band name/words on the fornt or back coiver, with only lovely, strange abstract art that deepens the mystery) that the fact that this 2-disc set contained two of the same discs is only 90% a manufacturers packaging error in my mind…maybe this mystery artist wanted me to hear disc 2 (featuring a half-hour long ethereal sleep soundtrack) twice, and disc one never! The nerve! My nerves!

Friday, May 24, 2013

The March Divide “Music for Film," “Music for Television”

(Dead Letter“Music For Film” is kinda of like the “Hey There Delilah” song, but with the oomph of a marching band. And there’s ten songs of it. “Music for Television” is kinda emo with gusto, so it’s “Gustmo.”

Muuy Biien “This Is What Your Mind Imagines”

(HHBTM) Bouncy hardcore that gets brutal yet remains joyful (even when declaring [I believe] “sonic fuck yous!, and even duringa ten minute ambient mellow feedback suite. Everything from the crackling energy to the snotty vocals, to the tonal shifts to the faux Pettibon cover art make this seem like you should be hearing this in the pit, and if you get kicked in the head, all the better. I don’t know what their name means in English, but I do know ne thing…this is very good!

The Figgs “slow charm” Pete Donnelly “When You Come Home”

(Good Land) The Figgs are a great band because they came out the box as such solid power poppers, but were still able to find garage rock and punk edges that many skinny tie-ers miss. Establishing themselves as a hardworking fave band in the early 90s, they were surprisingly sucked up by a major label, but came out stronger and more determined when they were unsurprisingly spit out by Capitol, and I have been excited by their steady flow of new material over the last coupla decades. That said, if you asked me what album to reissue by the Figgs this decade old dalliance might not be my first pick, as it has moments of uncharacteristic ballad-ish mellow that do not fit into my ideal Figgs mind-picture. But there are some hefty hooks here, and if you never heard this before you wont be able to tell when it came out – totally timeless! In other Figg feature stories, founding Figg-ment Pete Donnelly (also currently one of the Q's in the Terry Adams-meets-Scott Ligon version of NRBQ) has released a delightfully slick, garage rock-free power-popped singer-songwriter record that is a treat. Side two is a one two knockout, with  a rural-ish Replacements sounding “The Only One” followed up by the shuffle soul of “Can’t Talk at All,” and there’s even a tribute to Tom Ardolino! Not the Figgiest record, but fabulaously Figg-tastic, nonetheless.

Kleenex Girl Wonder “Let it buffer.”

(This will be Our Summer Records) Chicagoland homeboy Graham Smith’s product placement triumph band is back with some of his most polished compositions (though still loose-ush and sorta stream of consciouness sounding). Wordy, catchy, kinda goofy, occasionally preciously poignant, smart-silliness is buffer than Buff (from the Fat Boys) and cleverer than Buffy (from the vampire show).

Family Curse “Twilight Language”

(Doormat) Thick, bloody cuts of music meat with visceral post punk melody stuff marbled with psyche-like swirls and effects, all executed at the 11 level of intensity. This curse is profane in more ways than one!

Helen Money “Arriving Angels”

(Profound Lore) I’ve met this cheerful cellist, and the aptly named artist has a personality that is totally money. Yet somehow she has crafted a near-perfect piece of eerie contemporary classical ambient goth that scares the Bejeezus outta me! Should be called Helen Moody! 

Japonize Elephants “Melodie Fantastique”

( It’s been almost twenty years of the Japonize Elephants confusing me into thinking Indiana is actually a magical music portal where one massive band can somehow be a vessal for 100 years of weird international pop music, sounding like a 1930s radio show one second, cartoon hillbillies the next, Middle Eastern belly dance backups a moment later, stoned Zappa fans after that, Nero-esque distracted fiddlers all the while, with quick jaunts into Klezmer, Americana, Mexicana, melodramatic silent film accompanism, and chanting cult-ism. That all of it might be the soundtrack to a lost Tex Avery cartoon makes you never want to forget these Elephants. 

Lance Whalen “sweet sugar pie”

 ( More like Sweet Arsenic Pie, because this is the darkest sounding Nashville-style roots music since Porter released those drunk murder LPs way back when.

Paco “A Second Chance Again”

( Paco sings scary songs in a disarmingly resonant voice, and it either entrancingly creeps you out or creepily entrances you. Or in my case, both, which has me in a weird, perpetual state of creep- trance…you can’t un-ring the Paco bell!

Elliot Knapp “Cheap Seats at the Cartesian Theater”

( Scrambling audio doodling specialness that presents fever-dream narratives done with the time signatures (and potential dangerousness) of a precariously-balanced pot of boiling water…or perhaps boiling absinthe.

Max Ryd “Ryd ‘Em Cowboy”

( Pleasant music that sounds like something in between the kiddie music artist that the parents also dig, sitcom theme songs, and the least macho cowboy getting up at a Nashville open mic. Ryd on!

Common Shiner “Before They Sold Out Part 2”

( Should be called “Comma Shiny,” because this pretty scramble/jangle pop will make you pause, then see things in a new, bright, squirell-attracting light!

Breaking Laces “Come Get Some”

(Tenacity) Should be called Breaking LICEs, because this pleasant, slick, mature pop not being commercially super successful is a real head scratcher (get it? Lice…itchy head…?)

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In the House “Mayberry”

(Sad Crow) Making wicked, swampy Americana about Andy Griffith, redemptive doggies, and Santa leaving a lump of coal in your lungs is something (sinisterly) special. This meaty music is either perfect for the honkytonk in Hell, or if you ain’t been that bad, the front porch in Purgatory.

Hospital Garden “Mover”

(Forge Again Records) Time to get ill, as these hospital gardeners make sick noisy pop that ranges from heavy as an iron lung to light as generously-doled-out ether! Obama-care!

The Bottle Kids “Such A Thrill”

(Kool Kat) You’ll abandon that nipple when you hear this slinky bubble glam slab, because the nipple to these Bottles will satisfy! So catchy you’ll down the whole case of twelve Bottles, kid, and you won’t throw up! Unless you want to.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

drivin' n' cryin' “Songs from the Laundromat” “Songs about Cars, Space and the Ramones,” “Songs from the Psychedelic Clock”

(New! Why Black Crowes went super-platinum and Drivin' n Cryin' kept cult-ish is beyond me, especially considering D&C's ability to craft catchy, down home tunes that instantly sound like familiar classics. And when they get heavy like they do on the “Laudromat EP it's easy to imagine them fitting right in as a 2 for Tuesday between Skynyrd and Bad Company! For the “Cars…” EP they go all teenage power pop punky, and even though I realize it’s a theme EP, I tip my hat…sure it took you 25 years to do it, but you finally got Ramonesy! About time! And they go a decade backwards for their “Psychedelic Time Clock” album, kicking off with a 13th Floor Elevator ride, and clocking out with a mind expansion time peace. This trio of rock/punk/garage EPs shows not only the versatility of the band, but a sense of whimsy not exactly conveyed on their best work, making them seem better than previously perceived. Maybe they can be Drivin’ and Smilin’ now!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Attic Ted “marginalized”

(Pecan Crazy) Masked art punk garage noise genius philosophy cacophony outsider/insider ‘music” act. With wordplay name! And really GOOD masks! In my dreamworld this is the act that wins X-Factor every year!

Kingdom of Not “Journey to the Far Side of the Room”

( They Might Be Tenacious Roky Beefheart Barenaked Giants, who are gigging at a Rennaisaince Faire. Or they might not be, who can really say?

Bernie Mora and Tangent “Dandelion”

(Rhombus) Furious fun fusion = Furnsion!

Galactic Zoo Dossier #9

(Drag City) Plastic Crimewave undoubtedly produces his best issue yet, in part by making his own portrait illustrations, annotated comic book collages, and geeked out interviews (with Rodriguez, Poppy Family and Arthur Brown) more special by bringing in a cornucopia of other writers and illustrators (including Ave Spivak!), to give this psychedlic journal of celestial lowbrow-ism the kind of depth and texture that got lost when it was more of a one-man band. And Plastic’s curatorship of the insert CD this time takes his skills to new heights – what a crazy collection of international otherworldliness! Too many highlights in this issue to list, but I expecially like the tributes to Curtis Knight, John Byrne, Black Widow, Henry Darger, and Status Quo groupies.

Sugarman “After the Blackout”

( Melodic indie rock sprinkled with Americana and a pinch of Beatles-esque power pop. Which is enough flavors that this should be called Sugar-and-spice-Man.

The Shook-Ups “Bad Reception”

( 60s-style contemporary organ garage rock that really reminds me of Mike Stax’ great Loons band, in that the wordy, groovy music shows clear scholarship of awesome records, and knows what makes up the vintage sound, but isn’t trying to pretend they aren’t contemporary. The lyrics, vibe, and composition shows that they are 21st Century rock n rollers, not garage music Renaissance Faire dress uppers.

Miss Chiff “Hooked”

( This Chicago femcee mixes spare old school hip hop beats with half (well) sung and half sing-songy rapped positivity lyrics. Should be called Hit Chiff, (because it’s more hit than miss), but to quote Ratso I’m glad she’s not called Mrs. Chief, ‘cause Chief Keef seems too young to be a good husband (and he might not approve of Chicago rap that uses a lot of words and ideas and musicality…though it might be a fascinating contemporary variation of I Love Lucy, with Chiff trying to get into the show every week).

Jeff Berlin “Low Standards”

(Random Act) Damn, it’s jazzy in here! At its best this set features electric bass/stand up bass showdowns that will get to the bottom of things (including your bottom…or at the least your taping toe). If you dig your jazz groovy and cool-ish, you’ll say, “Ich bin ein Berlin-er!” Otherss might just say, “Ichhh.”

Shades Below

( Did you know that lo-fi, spare, organ-driven instrumental progrock was the same thing as laid back Surf Garage? Well I do now, I’m a better man for it! And that’s one to grow on!

Bucky Fereke “Give All of My Apostrophes Angels”

(happy enchiladas) Americana music is usually kind of pretty, precious, and perfect, even when its sad, but America is pretty much always weirdly fucked up, so to do  a contemplative, fresh take on Country, making American roots music contemporary, you really should have note played, sung, or composed be somehow off, odd, and wrong. And if you buy all that crap I just tried to sell, then you have to agree that BF is the new King of Americana!