24 July 2014
Chapa Mamba - S/T
This self titled album from Brazilian garage rock two piece (I believe they're a two piece) Chapa Mamba is pretty freaking awesome. I might go as far as saying it's my favorite rock record of the year so far. The band just does so many things right on this album, and I just can't help but enjoy it. Chapa Mamba mixes the constant structural changes of a band like Tame Impala but replaces all the extra synths and phased out guitars with Nirvana-esque distortion sounding like it's being played on a warped record. Throughout the record, Chapa Mamba doesn't really give me a sense of emotion, but however it does give me something different. That rare feeling of listening to a rock record that makes me feel uneasy and intrigued. While the feeling isn't as intense as it is when I listen to Women's Public Strain or Many Moods Of Dad's The Consequence Of Trying, I would still put this album in a category with those albums. Chapa Mamba just puts forward some sort of recorded aesthetic that makes it feel unique amongst all the albums I've heard so far this year. But while I also get unique vibes from this album, it's also an incredibly catchy and fun listen that will appeal to almost everyone. I would recommend you check out this record as soon as possible. Also, the whole record is in Portuguese. This is the first time I've heard garage rock sung in Portuguese, but I freaking love it. Check it out!
23 July 2014
The Ovaries-eez - Snow Day
God, do I love bands with awesome names. All girl 3-piece The Ovaries-eez (brilliant. So brilliant) have released their debut EP, ironically but fittingly entitled Snow Day. The reason that I say fittingly is because The Ovaries-eez present the 4 tracks on this EP as very somber songs meant for the winter. Meant to warm the listener with it's use of beautiful vocal harmonies, enticing lyrics and minimal-yet-pretty guitar playing. The EP is incredibly short, at just under 10 minutes, but it definitely works at this length. Just enough time for it to sink in. I'm digging this EP, check it out!
08 July 2014
Well, that's it. It's over. Done. There's no saving it.
Like most music journalists, I just viewed the Miley Cyrus and Wayne Coyne (it's not a Flaming Lips collaboration, you and I know it) video collaboration "Blonde SuperFreak Steals The Magic Brain." Apparently I'm supposed to be impressed with a constant loop of the string section from The Flaming Lips' "All You Need Is Love" cover along with Miley Cyrus screaming "fuck!" while a naked lady runs around with aliens. Now don't get me wrong, I'm always down for a little avant garde performance art. But, not when it's the most forced and pretentious thing I've seen in quite a while. Here's the bottom line: Miley Cyrus makes pathetic cliched pop music, and so far she's never proved herself as anything else than a hyper-managed pop star who's every move is precisely planned out. The Flaming Lips are the one of, if not, the most innovative rock band of the last several decades. They deliberately messed with the rules, both musically and on stage. Whether you're talking about the pure genius of the Zaireeka concept, the practically unknown magician that is Ronald Jones, or the paralyzingly depressing The Terror, it's very easy to see why I don't consider Miley Cyrus and The Flaming Lips to be in the same realm of musicians. But, however, Wayne Coyne and Miley Cyrus are slowly becoming the same types of people. Bullshitty, fake, pop stars. Wayne Coyne is no longer the mystical magician of a frontman he once appeared to be. He is now the man known for kicking out longtime Flaming Lips drummer Kliph Scurlock because he spoke his mind, and smoking weed with Miley Cyrus. Why? Well, that's a great question that I don't know the answer to. But here's what I do know. Wayne Coyne is dead to me. As a dedicated fan for years of The Flaming Lips, it really hurts to see him make the change from frontman to fake celebrity and still pretend that the music he once helped create has any sort of value other than furthering The Flaming Lips live agenda. In a way, I'm almost relieved that they've taken almost all songs from The Terror off the setlist. Because those songs are so emotionally powerful for me personally, I just don't think they should even bother with it. Their live set is nothing more than a party that Wayne orchestrates now. And he knows it. Some people might be ok with this, and that's fine. Their shows are meant to be enjoyed, so I can't say that people should stop going if they're looking for a good time. But I can't support Wayne Coyne's BS anymore. And this god awful, overblown, pretentious LSD trip with Miley Cyrus is the nail in the coffin. Thanks for all the good things you've given us Wayne, but I hate what you stand for now. If the Flaming Lips is all about love, as you insist, prove it to me.
06 July 2014
Good Willsmith - The Honeymoon Workbook
Good Willsmith is a experimental/ambient trio from everyone's favorite crime ridden metropolis, Chicago. The group's debut record The Honeymoon Workbook is truly a fantastic release in the drone subgenre. The massive soundscapes that Good Willsmith creates are incredible in more ways than one. Incredibly dense and textured, the 8 tracks on this album were all recorded in one live session with no overdubs whatsoever. Using vocal looping, synthesizers, electric tabla, record players, contact mics, guitars, bass, and lots and lots of looping, Good Willsmith makes tracks that sound like they took months and months of multi tracking and studio finesse as opposed to recorded live. There's lots of small subtleties in each track, both musically and in the production decisions, that would be enough to make it far above an average drone record. But I definitely benefited from multiple listens here. Each time I heard the album it pulled me further and further down into a state of melancholy and I've developed an emotional attachment to these movements. I'm really loving Good Willsmith's debut, it's fantastic. Check it out!
25 June 2014
Superdensecrushloadfactor - Themes
Australia's Superdensecrushloadfactor (say that ten times fast, why don't ya) 4th album Themes was recently released this month, and I definitely think you guys should give it a listen. While upon listening to his previous work, I can tell that the man has always had avant-garde tendencies in his music. But on Themes, Superdensecrushloadfactor really brings those tendencies to new extremes. This 4 track album (that spans to almost 50 minutes in length) features some of the strangest and most obtuse music I've heard this year. Strange compositions, noise, ambient looping, and some moments of just insanity all come together here in the most beautiful and unsettling ways possible. Superdensecrushloadfactor has really caught my attention with this album and I think it will be something I will continue to return to throughout 2014. Enjoy!
Ozark Soundscape - Another Songs (out on June 25th)
It's fun to watch artists grow. In the case of St. Louis' based project Ozark Soundscape, we get to watch that happen quite literally speaking. The head honcho of the band, who also runs the DIY label I Thought You Were A Marxist Records (which includes a recent release from R. Stevie freakin' Moore), is still in his early teen years. The fact that Andrew Robbins is so young, but also has a busier work ethic than many adult musicians who are over twice his age, is really incredible. I think the world would benefit with more people like him. But moving forward. Another Songs is Ozark Soundscape's 6th (I believe) full length album that he's released since his debut Musi C came out in 2012. I can say without a doubt that this is definitely the best album he's released. It manages to maintain the lo-fi eccentricities of his other albums but also improves upon flaws of his past work. Another Songs is definitely his most consistent and focused record that he's done. I can't say that it's perfect. There are a few moments that I do think kind of hold the album back from being the best it can be and as focused as it can be. However, the majority of these tracks feature some of Robbins' most well made songs from a critical standpoint. Songs like the sample heavy "The Sun Is Moving Faster", the wonderfully noisy garage rock tune "Seven Car Pileup", or the very mature closer "Rummut" really solidify Another Songs as Ozark Soundscape's best album. I'm all for this. Check it out!
All Blood - The Kids Have No Taste
I'm always down for a new All Blood record. I've been following the lo-fi punk band's output since their 3rd album Flood that came out in 2012. That record is truly brutal to listen to; Jonathan Brokaw's bombastically noisy and chaotic but also beautiful brand of emotions felt very unique and ultimately it became one of my favorite albums of that year. 2 years, 2 more albums, and a full lineup revamp made up of fellow Kansas DIY darlings, and we have The Kids Have No Taste. I've got to say, this album is a total success. It's ferocious, loud, pummeling, and also manages to be catchy. It's punk rock at it's very best. While it doesn't retain a lot of the emotional value I got from an album like his 2012 effort Flood, I still find The Kids Have No Taste to live up to my expectations for an All Blood record. It's such a fun and fierce record, it can be enjoyed by almost anyone, but I can also examine it critically and enjoy it just as much. Check it out!
Tricero - Island Universes
New Haven, CT based one man post-rock project Tricero creates some remarkably dense music. Island Universes, Tricero's sophomore album, switches from glistening and heavy post rock breakdowns to very thick and eerie drones. It moves wherever it wants to, at whatever speed it feels is best. The album is split between two parts, one going over the 15 minute mark, and the whole album coming in at just under 30 minutes. It's interesting how these movements blend together, moving quickly from ear pounding rock to quiet and beautiful soundscapes. Check it out!
09 June 2014
Audens Raign - Duck Houses High
I like to refer to Dan Nichols, the heart and soul of Audens Raign, as R. Stevie Moore's punk rock brother. He's insanely prolific, it's tiring to keep up with his massive amount of releases sometimes. But Nichols achieves the rare feat of not sacrificing quality for quantity. Each album he puts out is a lo-fi punk roller coaster, and that is continued on Duck Houses High. I can't say it's anything particularly new for Audens Raign, but it's still a pretty solid album. For people who haven't heard his work, this might actually be a good place to start. It's not overly short, but also not as polarizingly long as an album like I'm Over It Now or Raigndeer Games. It's just some awesome rock and roll. Check it out, it's a pretty fun listen. May Audens Raign have a fruitful 2014.
Lost Trail - Chapter 19, In Which Lost Trail Faces The Year's End
I'm never one to pass up new Lost Trail material. The North Carolina based husband and wife duo's 19th album they've released since 2010, Chapter 19, In Which Lost Trail Faces The Year's End, is yet another incredibly solid piece of ambient music. I can't say the record really moves on new ground, but Lost Trail is still just so good at what they do that this is definitely forgivable. Chapter 19 is one of my favorite works from the group. The drones and soundscapes on this album are just so breathtakingly beautiful at points, I can't deny the pure sonic bliss that they create. How they haven't managed to become more popular than they currently are is a total mystery to me. This album is really similar to one of my other favorite ambient records, Helios' Eingya. Lost Trail incorporates a lot more acoustic guitar, piano, and even banjo at times. It really fleshes everything out and makes these dense ambient tracks feel organic. It almost feels like you're on some sort of journey. Where you're going, you don't know. This album is simply here to guide you. Fantastic work from Lost Trail, one of my favorite albums in their discography. Highly, highly, highly recommended.