Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Funny/Not Funny Cassettes

Funny/Not Funny Records is a Virginia based label who are a bit odd in the indie world. It's really local based, mostly supporting the bands of the area, thus leading to releases that are not so high profile. On the plus side, this in turn leads to discovery of some good stuff. Like the four cassettes they decided to send this way.

Matt Leech-Sink

What drew me to Matt Leech was his Minks meet Cloud Nothings style of music, like the wonderful "Empty Window". This tape sounds nothing like that. At all. This is the precursor to anything he is doing now. This is a tape full of banjo, and acoustic guitar, bursting of folky goodness. It definitely has a demo/4-track quality to it, something you'd find in an old moldy box of the abandoned house you decided to check out. A mix of slow burners and slightly more uptempo style, it's all very well done with a bit of Granddady to it all. The Microphones are also a bit of a unavoidable point of reference, especially with the drum work on "No Good" or depression of "Mind the Cabin Floor". There are worse things then being compared to such a great band though, and there is nothing by the number's about Leech's work.

John Hostetter-Red Square

John Hostetter is a song writer and sometimes member of Harlem. Here in song writer form Hostetter is pretty akin to Johnathan Richman, though that's a bit of a coup out. The songs are more fleshed out than anything Richman does and Hostetter tends to scatter from one genre to another. Note the '60s throwback riff of "Frankestin" only to skip to the late '80s collage rock that is "Medusa". However, a love of Spanish guitar does become very evident, especially on the B side. An all around good tape, though it needs to be said that Hostetter could have done without the very long and jammy interludes he placed between songs.

Andrew Cedermark/Drunk Tigers Split Tape

The cover art is perfect for this release; for the contrast between the the two bands is night and day. I've already spilled a lot of (virtual) ink over Andrew Cedermark as it is, and I am happy to spill more. Here are four more songs of Andrew's signature style of quiet to loud in a really unique way, layered in shoegaze riffs and with post Microphones influence, or maybe just straight Microphones love, thrown in as well. There's an isolation to the music that Cedermark manages to capture so well, even as the music starts to go bombastic around his words. Listen to "Lookin' for a Boswell" or "From Memory " for the best examples of this: it's actually quite beautiful. Drunk Tigers, on the other hand, are nothing like this at all. A bunch of kids from Charlottesvile , they walk the line between pop-punk and just plain punk. 5 punchy, actually quite catchy Replacement loving anthems are contained on their side. And loving the Replacements is always good in my book.

(mp3) Andrew Cedemark-Lookin' for a Boswell
(mp3) Andrew Cedermark-From Memory
(mp3) Drunk Tigers-Matchbook Tricks


Invisible Hand-Sinister Hand

Without a doubt Sinister Hand was the biggest surprise of the whole batch. I had heard "Top of the Pops" and "The Future of Music" , and while I did like them, there impression on me did not last very long. One pop of this cassette, though, made me a convert. There is a deep post-punk edge that runs through the band, but that is much too one-dimensional. There is the drum machine looopiness of "My Heart Beat is Making My Ears Ring", then they dive into Fugazi style fierceness or they let up to a catchy indie rock mood for something like "Death Bellows CSS" or Black Tie Formal". It's not unfocused, but more the band trying not to make just one certain style of music, which isn't something you hear a lot of these days. A happy accident to stumble on, and a band to keep track of without a doubt.

(mp3) Invisible Hand-Top of the Pops
(mp3) Invisible Hand-The Future of Music

All Cassettes can be obtained here, from Funny/Not Funny Records

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cassette Review: Dead Gaze/Gray Things Split

The one man band. For years, limited to only certain genres or by what they could do by what they could do by themselves. Now, they have mastered 4-track studios and live band members and can do so much more. Case in point, two rising lo-fi bands doing a spit on a resurrected format.

Dead Gaze is one that has been every indie rocker's musical taste buds for the past few months and for good reason. One listen to "This Big World" or epic "Remember What Brought Us Here" transports to a world of what Superchunk would have sounded like if they had done a mountain of more acid. Simple three cord indie rock that is so much more then it actually is. What his explicity lays out thought is that Dead Gaze really isn't just a lo-fi rocker, but a lo-fi artist. For the other half of the tracks are dives into spacy, psych tinged almost ambience songs. And while every element of the indie universe says this shouldn't work, it does. Dead Gaze gets both the Pavement and Ariel Pink sides of lo-fi together to not only collaborate, but jam together.

The perfect complement to Dead Gaze comes in the form of the under appreciated Gray Things. Much like Dead Gaze, Gray Things is another genre musher. However, Gray Things has more of a consistency through his music. Take one part guitar fuzz, one part old synthesizers and Moog Noises, and hazy, muffled voice and you've got a Gray Things song. Needless to say, this leads to insane rad songs. It's hypnotic and trance inducing in some parts, bouncy and energetic the next moment. These songs fall so much into the categories of what is loved in the drone and experimental side of indie, I'm surprised this isn't on the front page of Altered Zones. For anyone who is a fan of one these bands, prepare to fall in love with the other too.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Rraaiillss: When You Feel Like...

Lofier Rraaiillss returns after a quiet stretch with a brand new a taste from a forthcoming album. The album 1098 is due out on September 8th both as a digital download and self released by the bands own imprint Cat Machine Music (kind of puts the cover art into perspective). The jam itself "When You Feel Like..." is a less lo-fi, kind of sunnier track (though not if you listen to the lyrics), that kind of reminds me of slower stuff The Jesus and Mary Chain did post Psychocandy. The reverbed vocals also help too.

(mp3) Rraaiillss-When You Feel Like...


Rraaiillss on Bandcamp

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Album Review: Foot Ox-OOO

Equal parts Mountain Goats lyricism and melody, and the zaniness of Nana Grizol, Foot Ox have sprung from the (not) always fertile ground of the Portland Tempe, Arizona house show/DIY movement. A group of friends banging on cheap guitars and dented brass horns, over lead singer Teague's songs of life, love, death, and the world (and whose voice matches the child like growl/yelp of Theo Hilton). OOO, the band's second album, is a wild and unyielding, a sharp and nice contrast to the polish that has crept into anything mildly folky these days. Not that the former is bad per say, but you don't hear much of this lo-fi and sound as much.

Foot Ox really build on their debut, the under appreciated 2008 gem that was It's Like Our Secret Machine. While Machine had a "everything and the kitchen sink" mentality to it, OOO is more controlled, allowing the messier moments to shine as better parts of the songs. You have to listen to the album for the best sense of what I'm talking about, for there is just a level of ramshackleness to the whole album that works. Listening as album centerpiece "Charlie Brown" goes from creaking noise to the glorious euphoric folk pop explosion in the center of the song is just so sublime. It's that sense that everything and every stitch of every song will come undone at any second that adds to the album. The horns that go to wilting to semi-bombastic in seconds like in "Calis". The over enthusiastic but still great front man, and pounding acoustic guitar with battered nylon strings. It all comes out of the speakers like it might break at any moment. The pieces all add up to something that sounds familiar, but something different as well. It takes you to that moment you decided to start a band, got your friends together (even thought they didn't know how to play), and toured the country. And you actually did it.

(mp3) Foot Ox-I Wish I


Foot Ox's Website
Foot Ox on Myspace
Buy OOO from Stankhouse Records Here

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Watery Pop of Swimsuit

Swimsuit is a brand new indie "super group" of sorts, in the way any indie band can really be considered a super group. Made up of members of City Center, Tyvek, and Secret Twins, Swimsuit has been at it for less than a year, but have managed to make quite a lot, quite good and sweet indie pop tunes since starting. They put out a 5 song cassette demo on Fred of City Center's label Life Like, which not only managed to sell out in a month, but is a great mixture of quirky and upbeat lo-fi indie tunes as well as longer, surfier instrumentals. Songs like "Evaporation" and "Sunlight" really shine as Heavenly meets a speedier Beat Happening. The band also just sold out out of a brand new, all instrumental 10 track cassette Peace Gull when they did their mini East Coast tour earlier this year. And while both cassette are sold out, the first one can be download for free here. Also, Peace Gull should become available to the web very soon as well, so expect to enjoy that as well.

(mp3) Swimsuit-Evaporation


Swimsuit on Myspace

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Art Museums-Wrong Boys/Wrong Girls Video

Art Museums have dropped a brand new track in the form of this funny animated video of hipsters enjoying art while animated pieces of the cover art to their EP go goofy. "Wrong Boys/Wrong Girls" has less of that really wonderful Guided By Voices edge to it than Art Museums previous songs, but still equally as catchy/good as their older stuff. For those who don't know, Art Museums is a side project of Skygreen Leopards that released a stellar 12" EP on Woodist called Rough Frame, that despite blog fanfair, has yet to blow up yet. Maybe due to the little touring the band does. Hopefully this video will help to correct some of that problem.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cassette Review: Pet Milk-Demo

Ladies and gentlemen, please met this year's Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Truly, it's a real wonder as to why Slumberland hasn't signed this band yet. OK, technically they have, because this is the side project of a member of Brown Recluse, but really Pet Milk need to start putting out some records ASAP. Tunes these great don't deserve to be limited to just a Bandcamp page or a soon to be very hard to find to find cassette demo.

The hyperbole comparison to the Pains of Being Pure at Heart was only a mild overstatement. It's impossible to miss the similarities to POPPAH, with these six perfectly indie/fuzzy pop tunes following the same Sarah Records/C86/My Bloody Valentine worship that POPPAH did. However, their debut from last year, this is in no way a bad thing. "Cherry Outline" is a perfect guitar pop song, tart with its fuzz but ever so sweet with the 30 different hooks thrown in as well. Else where tunes of loss capsuled in a post shoegaze song ("Pictures of You"), and new love in simple indie jangle ("Permanent Vacation") abound. It's neat how the female singer of the band Adriane takes over for the other 3 songs (including a excellent cover of My Bloody Valentine's "Paint A Rainbow", back when that band was more twee then shoegaze masters), adding another layer to the songs and the band as well. The last song "Always Knew It Coudn't Stay" is the closest to mind blowing though, and might match the greatness of their "Cherry Outline". A mixture of Pavement's "Major League" vocal delivery and the repetitive rhythmic beat and melody of that Manatee single from earlier this year, it is a near flawless slice from the indie pop cake.

This can be bought as either a 4 dollar cassette from the band, or free from their Bandcamp page. It does exactly what a demo should do, showcase a band with mountains of potential. Plus the artwork is just great.

Update: The self made demo cassettes the band made actually had to be scraped when a defect was discovered with them. An official released will be done by local Philadelphia label Peasant Magik and is expected in a month.

(mp3) Pet Milk-Cherry Outline


Pet Milk on Bandcamp

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cloud Nothings Releasing Turning On Reissue

The rate by which Cloud Nothing news or releases come up is starting to surpass Best Coast in terms of in quantity. Normailly constant blabber about one artist can start to get annoying, but do to the insanely high quality of nearly everything Dylan Baldi (the mastermind behind Cloud Nothings) has released, this doesn't seem to be much of a problem. And today brought great news from the band. They will be re-releasing Turning On on CD, on October 12 on Carpark Records, home of Dan Deacon and Toro Y Moi. Now for those wondering why this is news, after Turning On was already released on LP by Speaker Tree only a few months ago, this LP will be more of a compilation of Cloud Nothings works. Not only will it have the Turning On EP from Bridgetown Records (along with the bonus song "Strummin"), but also two of the best cuts from their split cassette release with Campfires as well as the very out of print 7" from Group Tightener. This will be the perfect release for those who have yet to get into the wonder of Cloud Nothing and don't want to track all his out of print, and hard to find music. Expect a lot more Cloud Nothing love when this finally hits.

(mp3) Cloud Nothings-Hey Cool Kid
(mp3) Cloud Nothings-Morgan (via Gorilla vs Bear)

There's also a bunch of other Cloud Nothings happenings besides this awesome CD release. The band are working on their first LP release and plan for it to come out some time in winter 2011. A long wait, but will probably worth it. The band also hit the Daytrotter studios recently, and besides play the ever great tunes "Can't Stay Awake" and "Hey Cool Kid" also debut two new song as well that are just as shambalic, falling apart at the seems, and catchy as hell as usual. Theos two can be heard right here. And as previously reported, Cloud Nothings will be playing four dates with the legendary Fucked Up, and will play with The Fresh and Onlys at this year's CMJ as well. Tour dates below.

Tour Dates:

09-06 Providence, RI - Club Hell
09-07 New Haven, CT - Lilly's Pad
09-08 Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell's
09-09 Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel


Cloud Nothings On Mysapce
Carpark Records

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No Age Drops "Glitter" 7" Tracks

As my lo-fi love is getting bigger and bigger these days, it's no surprise that I love No Age. So the the news that No Age would be releasing Everything In Between later this year was cause for joy in my house. Even bigger was the news today, with No Age dropping two new tracks for listening pleasure. "Glitter", the A-side to both the 7" and 12" they plan to release on August 24, is a slower jam for the band, more in the vein of what they were doing on the Losing Feeling EP from last year, though with with a nice feedback squeal thrown in to add a quintessential No Age feel to the song. The streamable "Inflorescence", the B-Side to the 7", is a nice speedier jam, more akin to Eraser songs in style and play. The main point though is that both are excellent new jams from No Age and great signs for things to come when Everything in Between is released in September.

(mp3) No Age-Glitter


No Age on Myspace
Pre-order both the 7" and 12" here, from Sub Pop

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fight The Future Cassettes Announced!

My buddy Tom over at the always great and wonderful blog The Great Pumpkin has finally announced his cassette label Fight The Future Cassettes! In the slew of cassette based labels and sites that various music blogs have been emerging over the past year, Tom has followed on his desire to do a record label, and now here we are. I am deeply excited about this and have been since I first got wind of it. The first release will be a split tape with the very tape appropriate bands Dream Cop and I Am The Dot. Both are a very cool semi psyche, mildly glo-fi (but in a good way!) one man bands that should complement each other very nicely. They are also bands that The Great Pumpkin had gotten me listening to in the past, so I am happy to see Tom keep supporting them. The tape is expected some time in last September or October. That along with mp3s of the cassette, cover art, and future label news will all be covered in later posts. Tastes of what's to cover are below and you can check out Fight The Future Cassettes more at either their blog or twitter. Once again congrats to Tom for starting this and I am very excited for what's to come next.

(mp3) Dream Cop-Marooned
(mp3) I Am The Dot-Love Songs for Camus

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fucked Up Touring With Against Me, Cloud Nothings?

This blog has gone long enough without any tour news, so who better to bring it back than a the current kings of the live show, Fucked Up. Of course, the band is almost always touring, but that's not any less of a reason to care. The band will be coming to both Europe and the United States this Friday, and will be bringing along everyone's least favorite major label punk band Against Me on the majority of their European tour dates. The biggest surprise though is that lo-fi rockers Cloud Nothings will be opening for the band on four of their East coast tour dates. Congrats to Dylan and his friends for making it this far in a year. A date with The Coathangers and another with Public Enemy(!) will also be happening as well. Do I even need to explain why you should do whatever is in your power to get to a show?

Tour Dates:

08-06 Hertfordshire, England - Standon Calling
08-07 Kent, England - Hevy Festival
08-08 Blackpool, England - Rebellion Festival
08-09 London, England - Hoxton Bar & Grill
08-11 Oslo, Norway - Oya Festival
09-05 Monticello, NY - ATP Festival
09-06 Providence, RI - Club Hell *
09-07 New Haven, CT - Lilly's Pad *
09-08 Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell's *
09-09 Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel *
09-10 Raleigh, NC - Hopscotch Festival
09-11 Atlanta, GA - The Drunken Unicorn #
09-12 Charlotte, NC - Amos Southend ^
09-13 Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder
09-14 Miami, FL - Churchill's
10-01-03 Las Vegas, NV - Matador Lost Weekend
10-22 Southampton, England - Mo' Live $
10-23 Manchester, England - Academy $
10-24 Cardiff, Wales - Solus $
10-25 Bristol, England - O2 Academy $
10-26 Coventry, England - Kasbah $
10-27 Glasgow, Scotland - QMU $
10-28 Nottingham, England - Rock City $
10-29 Leeds, England - Met University $
10-30 Reading, England - Sub 89 $
10-31 Plymouth, England - University $
11-01 Cambridge, England - Junction $
11-02 Oxford, England - O2 Academy $
11-03 London, England - Electric Ballroom $

* with Cloud Nothings
# with the Coathangers
^ with Public Enemy
$ with Against Me!

In other Fucked Up news, the band will be releasing their next zodiac 12 inch single "Year Of The Ox" on September 28 with Merge Records. The 13 minute epic guest stars Zola Jesus leader Nika Roza Danilova as well as a Toronto string quartet. Its B-Side "Solomon's Song" is also inspired by and at tribute to Twilight. Yes, the vampire movie. The weirdness of it all can be heard here, at the ever wonderful/annoy Pitchfork.


Fucked Up "Looking For Gold" Blog
Merge Records

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Super Wild Horses, Album Coming, Release One of the Greatest Songs of the Year

Why is it that everything that reaches us from the Australian shores manages to be so, so incredible? Case in point, the two ladies of Super Wild Horses, who have been buzzing out of my computer for the past few weeks unbelievably great post punk tunes. It seems other people have taken noticed because the always reliable HoZac Records will be bringing their debut LP Fifteen to our shores August 24. I expect a mountain of Vivian Girls comparisons to pop up all over the place because the songs are fuzzy, simple, and the band has two girls in it. However, that is doing the Super Wild Horses an insane injustice, because this band is everything the Vivian Girls which they could be, and they do it all without a bassist. You don’t have to look any further than the track “Golden Town” and what they manage to pull off in less than three minutes. It’s post-punky but still jangles. It has a pop tart to it, but it’s still completely a garage song. Most importantly, it makes the distortion and fuzzy natural and part of the song, instead of using it as a crutch. I haven’t been this excited for a debut in a while, so be prepared for this to blow everyone away.

(mp3) Super Wild Horses-Golden Town


Super Wild Horses on Myspace

Monday, August 2, 2010

Album Review: Best Coast-Crazy For You

I could have written this entire review without hearing a single note of Crazy For You from my speakers. After the year I’ve spent yapping on and on about how much I like Best Coast, for me not to love this album would have taken events impossible to imagine. The sole reason for this review is simply to convince the few folks who are not interested in this band, for whatever lunatic reason, to grab any of the few remaining copies of this album before it’s gone for good.

Surprisingly, Best Coat’s debut has striking similarities to the XX debut of last year. All the songs have the same vibe to them, and if you are not really listening, then the songs can all sound the same too. Much like the XX record though, the songs, and the album as a whole, work because of the beauty and simplicity of them. Quite easily, this is the most melodic LP I have ever heard. Any of the perfect hooks that came from the singles were just warm up for what is pulled off on this record. The cooing of Bethany’s voice, layered over the bare but elegant fuzzy guitar playing hit pure euphoric levels. It’s everything the singles promised, but by just adding studio time, it manages to mold them into something even more.

Then there are all the contrasts that erupt through out the album. The album is about boys, summer, and good times, but filled with depression and lack of self-confidence. Look no further than the opening track “Boyfriend” about not getting the guy she wants, the lack of content in anything that takes place in “Goodbye” or the dissonance contained in the syrupy “Honey” (which also comes off as a cool half tribute to the Jesus & Mary Chain song of similar name). There also is the fact of how this is billed as a pop album, yet a punkier underbelly can be detected at almost all times. However, the punkier elements are exceptional and add flavor and contrast to Crazy for You. The pure joy contained within “Happy” buzzing guitar line and sugar rush vocals will get you every time, no matter how you prepare yourself. And truth be told it’s these contrasts and how they intertwine with everything else the band has prepared up to this point that makes Crazy For You work. The album could have easily have been just a bunch of tracks thrown together, and that would have been fine, but instead all these tiny elements come to form something that is better than the some of its parts. Pitch perfect melodies, tastefully placed distortion all add up to one fucking great album.

(mp3) Best Coast-Boyfriend


Best Coast on Myspace
Buy Crazy for You here, from Mexican Summer

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Guilty Ghosts-Top Prize Fighter

This is a track that totally caught me off guard. Everything about "Top Prize Fighter", and Guilty Ghosts for that matter, should have had me running to the hills. It's a one man cassette project combining elements of ambient and guitar looping to create sweeping, long drawn out songs. On top of it all, there are no vocals to be seen. Yet, for whatever reason, "Top Prize Fighter" complete me has it under its magnetic power. It reminds a bit of what Ducktails is doing, avoiding the chillwave tag that so much instrumental falls under these days, and instead creates stellar guitar driven instrumental tracks with ambient edges to them. Guilty Ghosts manage do the same thing, but with more of a glitchy ting to them, rather than the psychedelia that Ducktails tends to favor. "Top Prize Fighter" is off a 5 song cassette Enigma Variations from Words+Dreams, and is limited to 50 copies. If you can't manage to grab it in time, Guilty Ghosts is also offering a hand made CD of different music for nearly the same cost.

(mp3) Guilty Ghosts-Top Prize Fighter


Guilty Ghosts Website
Buy Enigma Variations here, from Words+Dreams