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Sightings “Terribly Well”

April 23, 2013 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

sightings terribly well cover

Several years back, a friend, commenting on a new Sightings album, said “They don’t even sound like a band anymore.” And despite Sightings’ claim that it’s still just rock music, try playing this record for your mom and see if she believes that it’s the sound of a rock band. At the same time, Sightings have never sounded more confident and sure-footed in their style. They broke through the walls defining the boundaries of rock music long ago and have become masters of their new territory. Sightings are one of very few groups to have created their own unique musical language and then mastered it as well.

Sightings’ members all have very distinct playing styles. Drummer Jon plays looping, skittering percussive sounds more than beats. Bassist Richard plays wobbling subsonic pulses. And Mark Morgan’s guitar exists almost entirely in the mid-to-high frequencies, often sounding like a train wreck at the end of a tunnel while his vocals are confused mutterings and unhinged rantings. They’re even joined by Pat Murano playing synth on most tracks, something I didn’t even notice on first listen, which is a testament to how well he’s blended into the Sightings vibe and sound. The first track, “The Loafer” starts out with some guitar notes that are deep into the Psychocandy reverb zone, and might almost lead you to believe for a moment that a steady beat will drop and you’ll hear something that sounds like post-punk. Until the other instruments roll in like irregular boulders and the guitar sound starts stretching past the breaking point, cracking and sizzling. The closest precursors to Sightings’ style might be Mars, early Public Image Limited, and Royal Trux’s “Twin Infinitives.”

This album is not radically different from the last couple Sightings have done, but it might be even better. More focused, more confident. One of the all-time great bands, reaching a new peak. Good stuff.

Listen to the track “Better Fastened” on Soundcloud.
Purchase from Dais Records

 

Yowie “Damning With Faint Praise”

March 07, 2013 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

yowie damning with faint praise

I have to wonder if an album title like “Damning With Faint Praise” dooms an album when it comes to reviews. Well, there will be no faint praise here. On Skin Graft Records, a less prolific label in recent years, but still one of the surest signs of quality, comes this boundary-pushing work of brutal prog mind-melt.

The closest recommended-if-you-like comparisons would probably be Ruins or Flying Luttenbachers during their brutal prog era. From second one to the last moment of this album, you are blitzkrieged by hyperactive, twisty-turny, guitar-guitar-drums maze rock (no vocals). Extreme technical proficiency is taken to new places. There’s a slippery, rubbery quality to the sound and playing too. Though hyper-precise, there’s lots of swing to the drumming, lots of bent notes and sliding on guitar strings. It almost sounds at times like listening to US Maple on triple-speed. When Yowie does fall into a groove – for about 6 seconds – it’s never in 4/4 time. It’s almost hard to believe these 3 people found each other to form this band.

Nobody would have faulted Yowie for including one or two mellow jam tracks here to let listeners catch their breath. In fact, it might have been a good idea. To the uninitiated, this could be a tiring listen, even at 29 minutes. But if what I’ve been describing sounds good to you, it will be a rewarding listen, without a second of filler.

You can stream the whole album directly below, or listen and buy CD, vinyl, or download at Yowie’s bandcamp page.

 

Yip-Yip “Bone Up”

February 28, 2013 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

Yip-Yip "Bone Up"

Yip-Yip have created a synth-prog concept album about life in today’s underground music scene which is an absolute masterpiece. That’s right, I said MASTERPIECE. Though it’s ordinary album length, the sheer density of song composition gives “Bone Up” the feel of an epic double album, and should probably be thought of as such. Like other such works of singular vision, it can be a bit much to take in upon first exposure, particularly if you have an aversion to robot voice effects, synthesized whip cracks, or saxophone leads. If you’ve ever described some music as having “cheesy synths” and meant it as a negative, this might not be the masterpiece for you.

I don’t know everything about Yip-Yip, but this album seems like a departure for them. Their previous material was equally frantic and energetic, but sounded like an improvised mish-mash of crazed and zany synthesizer sounds. Many of the same sounds are here, but everything on this album is precisely composed and executed. All of the 16 songs are very short, but very dense.

The claim that this is a concept album comes from me, not Yip-Yip, but there’s definitely a theme here, and most of the songs seem to be about the band members’ personal experiences in the scene, and dealing with people as artists and musicians. “Big Dud” is about being invited to join the cool scene and finding it a great waste of time. “When I see, people networking, seems kind of weird.” The song “Copy Cat” hits on that defining characteristic of art-making today: “It’s impossible to be an original, everything that you could do has been done before, so no matter what you do, they will call you a Copy Cat.” And the last one I’ll quote is “Over It” wherein Yip-Yip sings “They’re desperate to be relevant, and they’re wondering where everyone went, now that 15 minutes has become something more like 15 seconds … we’re over it.” I suspect all this resonates within anyone who’s been making music in this decade. I really, really wish this had come with a lyric sheet.

“Bone Up” is another one of those albums that, in a fairer world or another era, would make Yip-Yip – well – much better known at least. But this era is kind to the listeners, because you can stream the whole thing RIGHT HERE, and you can download it at their Bandcamp page for Pay-What-You-Want. (!!) Glowmobile Records also put out a limited number of vinyl, but just confirmed with me that as of right now, they still have copies! Order up!

download from YIP-YIP BANDCAMP
buy vinyl from GLOWMOBILE
Yip-Yip on FACEBOOK

 

Epic noise comp to support Life Changing Ministries in Oakland, CA

January 14, 2013 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums, downloads

V​/​A: Praisin' & Hell Raisin'; A Benefit for LCM Collective

V​/​A: Praisin’ & Hell Raisin’; A Benefit for LCM Collective

I don’t toss that word “epic” around to describe everything like some internet citizens, but I think this massive digital compilation has earned it. This is to support Life Changing Ministries, a DIY venue in Oakland, CA and seems to gather, as far as I can tell, tracks from every Oakland noise artist plus far-flung friends. Probably exaggeration, but this thing has known names like Crank Sturgeon, Zeek Sheck, The Haters – plus lots of good people I know of like Bob Bellerue, Horaflora, Pigs In The Ground, A Magix Whistle … and more and more. With a big cast like that you know that it’s going to cover a lot of ground sonically, and you know if you like any flavor of weirdness then you’ll find a bunch of stuff to dig.

Plus: 69 tracks for $6.66? (or more) Do the right thing here people. It’s a good cause. Listen to the whole thing below or GO HERE!

Best Albums of 2012

January 01, 2013 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

The year has ended and I now present the No-Core Best of 2012 list! Or as it may more accurately be named, the albums I should have reviewed in 2012 round-up. Despite 2011 being The Year the Noise-Rock Bubble Burst, there was a load of killer noise-rock/no-wave in 2012, including several exciting NEW bands. This list is in no particular order, and I didn’t limit myself to any number.

Mincemeat or Tenspeed “The Tower”

Mincemeat or Tenspeed "The Tower"

I keep wondering when the larger noise world will discover that Mincemeat or Tenspeed is about the best thing going on. Is it because his noise just rocks too hard or his shows are too much FUN that Davey Mincemeat has still not been on the cover of WIRE magazine or whatever? No clue, but you’d be wise to grab this free digital album. Supposedly it’s a “metal” album and I guess it does lean on the heavy sounds and seems roughly in 4/4 time, not that there are any recognizable instruments anywhere in sight, just Davey’s table of pedals spitting out this rhythmic headbanger.

Download FREE at Free Music Archive

Drainolith “Fighting”

Drainolith "Fighting"

Alexander Moskos, ex- of AIDS Wolf, doing his (mainly) solo project thing. Creepy, fractured, deconstructed rock songs. The midway point between 1st album Royal Trux and 1st album Wolf Eyes? Loose and very focused at the same time. Drainolith pulls at the loose threads of rock music and creates a beautifully tangled mess.

Buy from Spectrum Spools

Xaddax “Counterclockwork”

Xaddax "Counterclockwork"

Maybe like me, just saying this band is ex-members of Dazzling Killmen and My Name is Rar-Rar is enough to sell you on them. But if not, here’s what you get. Buzzsaw math-shred riffs, a blizzard of weirdtronics sounds, and hard, complex drum patterns. It all blows by in a whirlwind, but everything is carefully composed and expertly executed.

Buy from Skin Graft

The Sediment Club “Time Decay Now”

The Sediment Club "Time Decay Now"

These NYC (now Providence) No Wave torch-bearers have just been getting better and better. Still young dudes, and this being their debut full-length, I’m excited for their future. This album is packed with that No Wave/Post-Punk sound that feels instantly classic, even if you can’t peg them as sounding quite like any one band. There’s plenty of Contortions and Bush Tetras in there, but it’s lively and fresh with new ideas too.

Listen/Buy from Softspot Music on Bandcamp

Harry Pussy “One Plus One”

Harry Pussy "One Plus One"
A double album of unreleased Harry Pussy music? SOLD! Actually, some of this material appeared on singles which appeared on the “What Was Music” comp, but here everything is carefully sequenced into a really cohesive and listenable album. That is, as long as you love boombox-fidelity blasts of chaotic guitar anti-playing, drum pounding, and shrieking. (of course you do) Actually, this album does highlight Bill Orcutt’s very unorthodox guitar skills and the band’s chemistry and vibe. I’d call this release ESSENTIAL.

Links to Buy at Palilalia Records

Profligate “Come Follow Me”

Profligate "Come Follow Me"
Despite the haters dismissing noise people’s attempts at electronic music as “techno,” this album from Noah Anthony’s solo project (previously of Social Junk, also of a batch of stellar noise combos) has more in common with electronic pioneers like Kraftwerk and John Carpenter. It’s a dark and thrilling vibe, and Profligate nails the mood with every track. Maybe it’s the grime and grit and texture added by Noah’s second-(or third)-hand gear that makes this all sound so nice, but it is by no means sterile or clean. No matter how crisp those kick drums and handclaps are, you can tell this music is coming from a Philadephia basement.

Listen/Download from Bandcamp (follow link there for LP)

Divorce “Divorce”

Divorce album
I’ve told you before how amazing this band is, right? And how much this album was going to rule, right? Okay, just wanted to make sure I got my credit for knowing what’s what before everyone is singing the praises of Divorce. This album falls somewhere between Doomsday Student and the Melvins. Thee heaviest bass guitar sound of all time, with harsh and sharp guitar attack, some really stellar and creative heavy drumming, and vocals that go from garbled crooning to blood-curdling shriek. Well-paced with some tone-setting tracks, everything is on point, this is powerful stuff. I also must give kudos to the recording and mastering. Somehow everything sounds crystal clear and loud as hell. Please, please help this band become popular enough to justify a U.S. tour.

Listen/Download from Bandcamp

Normal Love “Survival Tricks”

Normal Love "Survival Tricks"
Ambitious No Wave chamber music rock. Live, Normal Love all read sheet music when they play these bonkers compositions. Dropping the word “math” in here would imply some kind of music that you could count to, and “prog” would imply some kind of foundation in recognizable rock. Everything is precise and composed but don’t expect a backbeat, or a riff, or a melody. This is the classical music people listen to in a parallel universe where Fat Worm of Error are The Beatles.

Buy from ugExplode

Guerilla Toss “Jeffrey Johnson”

Guerilla Toss "Jeffrey Johnson"
Let me assure you that, despite that album cover, this is not freak-folk music. It does sound like some members of this band went to music school, and I can almost imagine freaky folkers being into this, but the feel here is distinctly on the abrasive side. I’d put this halfway between the previously mentioned Normal Love and Coughs. When they do throw down in a groove, it’s gnarly and heavy, with screeched out vocals and clamorous guitars. A lurching, leaping beast of a band that’s also surprisingly nimble. Almost reminiscent of Soul Discharge era Boredoms (which really should send you scrambling for that link). I can’t tell if their claim that their next album will be on Tzadik is a joke or not…

Listen/Download from Bandcamp
Buy LP from Feeding Tube

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion “Meat + Bone”

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion "Meat + Bone"
I’ve always loved this band, though I haven’t been super-crazy about every album they’ve done. This new album focuses on their strengths, which is the chemistry these three musicians have when they play together. It also leaves out all the stuff that (in my opinion) never worked for them: trying to make songs that could get on the radio or making Jon Spencer into a singer. He’s a great shouter, frontman, hype man, but just not a great singer. On this record the guitars do all the singing, Spencer is MC, and it’s all short blasts of high-energy rock. This is the album I’ve flipped and listened to repeatedly the most in 2012. That’s right, it’s rock’n’roll. I think I put the word rock’n’roll somewhere in the official No-Core description – I reserve the right to rock.

Buy from the band
or I don’t know, Amazon.com?

Curse “Curse”

Curse
If you like deep analog synth exploration and harrowing doom metal in equal measures, I think I’ve found your new jam. Vocalist/synthist Jane Vincent (ex-Abiku) is also one of the strongest singers in any extreme music genre.

Listen/Buy from the band

The Dreebs “Bait an Orchard”

The Dreebs "Bait an Orchard"
This album might not fully capture the captivating tension of a live Dreebs show, but it’s still an excellent document of their music. Violin, prepared guitar, and drums stir up a clamorous, but strangely soothing, racket – with a distinctly 80s NYC avant-guitar vibe. Reminds me at times of Branca, Mars, and “Confusion is Sex” Sonic Youth. More floating and melodic and textural than any of those, but with some rude wake-up moments. Maybe it’s time for sonic explorers to look into stringed instruments again, because the Dreebs are weaving magic with them. It’s not as if we haven’t also had multiple decades of synth knob twiddling and FX-chain slapping.

Listen/Download from Bandcamp
The label’s website seems to be down. No LP for you.

Mutwawa “Lamashtu Pazuzu”

Mutwawa "Lamashtu Pazuzu"
With this release, the samples & FX duo Mutwawa sharpen up their noise-dance chops, and turn out some music that you could almost imagine moving bodies in the club. And causing everyone to rush the DJ booths wondering what kind of weird lost classic is playing. This lives somewhere between the worlds of post-punk/funk, original Detroit techno, and ’00s electro-noise. This is alive with the energy of discovery, of figuring out how to make a new style of music for the first time. Maybe the elements have been discovered before but never in quite this way, and rarely does music sound this fresh and raw. I also choose this as best album cover art (by Joe Legzz).

Download FREE from Free Music Archive

Microwaves “Psionic Impedance”

Microwaves "Psionic Impedance"
This album I did manage to review this year, but it still deserves a slot on this list. The OTHER sci-fi avant-math-metal duo (besides Xaddax) to put out an album this year and both were amazing.

Buy from ugExplode

Trin Tran “Dark Radar”

Trin Tran "Dark Radar"
I think I did one of those cartoon double-takes when I saw that this album was coming out! Trin Tran is a one-man band featuring an ex-member of LEGENDARY 90’s Now Wave band Xerobot. This project has existed maybe as far back as 2000? but only a few songs have ever made it out to the public. Thank GOD? (“GOD?” being the name of the record label imprint that released this) for this collection of all the early Trin Tran recordings. Jerky, spazzy, robot rock that’s not too dissimilar to what other ex-Xerobotters were doing with their band Numbers. Trin Tran is onto a new, fuller and more rock’n’roll(?) sound these days, but I’m really glad these recordings got the release they deserve.

Buy from Drag City

Aaron Dilloway “Modern Jester”

Aaron Dilloway "Modern Jester"
This has been on a lot of lists, probably because Dilloway is a respected and accomplished experimentalist and this is something of a magnum opus and “best of” double album. The thing I remember most clearly from my first listen was that I kept checking the turntable to make sure this wasn’t in a locked groove. That title, “Modern Jester,” and the fact that this features a lot of loops of exactly 33 RPM length, made me sure I was going to be pranked by some trick before albums end, but no! Or – was I pranked after all? I’m not that crazy on loops, and almost left this off my own list, but gave it a couple more spins recently and discovered all kinds of weird, subtle things happening within those loops. (there are lots of other techniques employed here too) Now I feel like I have to listen again to figure out what I was hearing, and evoking that response is a big win in my book. Music to make you think something is wrong your record player – or just your mind.

Buy from Hanson Records

Lightning Bolt “Oblivion Hunter”

Lightning Bolt "Oblivion Hunter"
We all know Lightning Bolt, and we all know they rule, right? But this record is still one of the best of the year, a collection of practice space recordings that never got developed into songs – but are still some of my new favorite Lightning Bolt songs! Bands are great when they’re the result of unique and magical chemistry between members. The fact that the two Brians of Lightning Bolt simply jammed this material is further proof of what a great thing they have going on. (now I really hope I did understand the concept behind this album correctly)

Buy from Load Records

Sister Fucker “California”

Sister Fucker "California"
If you’re a sucker for harsh, lo-fidelity noise-rock, then man oh man, are you in luck! Seriously impressive heavy jams from this band, featuring members of other notables (but as I’m still confused about the lineage, I’m not going to try). Recommended if you like early Pussy Galore, Coughs, and jeez I’ve tried to avoid mentioning Harry Pussy in every review but I’ve got to play that card with this one. I’m genuinely impressed by the insane noises that are conjured with only (I think) guitar, distortion, and some crude techniques. I love everything about this band and album (except the band name, sorry).

Download FREE from Free Music Archive

Black Dice “Mr. Impossible”

Black Dice "Mr Impossible"
This is the year I checked back in with Black Dice and found them making some totally fun noise-party songs. Garbled, squelchy sounds everywhere and bouncing drum machine beats, packed into a solid batch of song-length jams. Sounds pretty good, right? Sounds a bit like what Skoal Kodiak are doing, but without the live rhythm section.

Buy from Ribbon Music

Infants “Giant Leg”

Infants "Giant Leg"
LATE ADDITION! I don’t know how I forgot this when I first hit publish, but this album was definitely one of my happiest finds of this year. The Infants were some sort of multi-national group (based mainly in England I think?) who did a single in the mid-2000s and I was really, really excited about them. Apparently they split in 2009, but this completed LP just came out! Recommended if you like: Brainiac, Melt-Banana, Pre, and I don’t know if anyone’s going to recognize this one, but who remembers Space Streakings?! Hyperactive ADD freak-out rock, with guitars, synths, noises, lots of various accents shouting over the top of one another. Hairpin turns, heavy riffs, adrenalin. Recommended!

Stream the whole thing on Soundcloud
Buy CD or Download from Tigertrap

Mentions:

I did have to cut myself off from writing about albums at some point. There’s stuff I haven’t heard. There are some other albums that ruled:

Buck Gooter “Consider the Grackles”
Ed Schrader’s Music Beat “Jazz Mind”
Krallice “Years Past Matter”
White Suns “Sinews”
High on Fire “De Vermis Mysteriis”
Dick Neff “Dork Morph”
Lazy Magnet “Acts Without Error”

Some notable singles:

Whore Paint “Menarchy” 7″
fierce Providence feminist noise rock (and side note, who thought feminism would still be a radical idea in 2012?)
SOLD OUT???

Wretched Worst “Funeral Burning” 7″
in theory a rock band, sounds like a scrap yard being demolished with an angry bear on vocals.
Buy from Husk Records

Eric Copeland & DJ Dog Dick “BYOB” 7″
That’s how it was credited on the label the record store put there. Sounds like it’s probably those dudes, but no identifying marks. This sounds like a fun but really weeeeird party happening.
Get it from … UNKNOWN!

Cellular Chaos “Cellular Chaos” digital single
3 tracks from Weasel Walter’s new No Glam band. You’ll want to hear this.
Listen/download from bandcamp

and I may be biased but…

This EP from Radio Shock came out this year and I think it’s pretty good. ;)

Microwaves “Psionic Impedance”

June 30, 2012 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

Microwaves “Psionic Impedance”

You would pretty much know from Microwaves’ cover choices that they would be a favorite of mine. On a recent 7″ they did Big Black’s “Power of Independent Trucking” and on this album DEVO’s “Penetration in the Centerfold.” Right in the No-Core sweet spot. And I’d pick this as Microwaves’ best album, a totally substantial helping of sci-fi math-skronk. No filler.

Microwaves have been around for a while, following the quality over quantity philosophy, not exactly the best strategy for finding fame and fortune these days. The Microwaves formula was always hard, un-obvious drum patterns, metallic guitar (not metal as in heavy metal, but the kind of Big Black guitar that actually sounds like metal on metal), and bass run through synth pedals. On this album the trio has become a duo and counter-intuitively everything has become denser and more complex. In place of the synth bass, there are triggered and looped low-end synth sounds and more screwy guitar effects.

If you’re into this stuff, GET THIS. There aren’t going to be that many albums of ambitious, complex noise-rock this year, though I’ll try to review the other – like – two? that have come out so far. This is 100% quality here. Check out the track “Flu Factory” below and buy a copy from ugExplode.

fdsfdsf

pre-order Leslie Keffer’s new LP

February 09, 2012 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums, news

Leslie Keffer, accomplished noise-maker and scene reporter (at her Noisebloid blog) is putting out her next LP via pre-orders on Kickstarter. I’ll admit to initially having mixed feelings about Kickstarter, but if you use it like this, then it’s a pretty cool thing. You’re basically just pre-ordering some awesome music, with lots of packages at different price scales, and with reassurance that your money won’t just disappear. You can get the mp3 version of the new album for just $5!

Leslie has put out records on several cool noise labels, but she’s aiming to do this one fully DIY. Her latest noise has become a kind of electronic bliss-drone with danceable beats mixed in. Jam this track below and see what I mean. Then hit up the Kickstarter page and support! Valentine’s Day at midnight is when the offer ends.

Best Albums of 2011

December 31, 2011 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums, news

Hey. I have a blog. That means I get to do one of those goofy “best of 2011” lists! Okay, so this is pretty much a list of every album I got in 2011, but all of these rule. More caveats: They are in no particular order. I’m sure there’s other good stuff I didn’t hear, but I’m pretty confident if I listened to anyone else’s best-of list, these would still come out on top. **UPDATE: now with links, several are free downloads**

Meager Sunlight/Skeleton Warrior split 12″

I’ve definitely listened to this record repeatedly the most times this year, just flipping and flipping it. One side dark synth jams that could have literally been major radio hits in 1988. Other side mutant synth jams part DEVO, part Oingo Boingo, part bizarro.
Get it from Hot Releases or More Records.

Unicorn Hard-On/Container split 12″

Unicorn Hard-On’s track “Persian Cats” is just about song of the year and makes this split worth it alone. the other UHO track is great too and Container does “minimal techno” or maybe “fake techno” AKA the genre that noise became in 2011.
Also from More Records and Hot Releases.

AIDS Wolf “Ma vie banale avant-garde”

Epic abstract harsh guitar tracks. Still torch-carriers of the no wave bad vibes.
Get it from Lovepump (free download by mailing SASE).

Mincemeat or Tenspeed “Games of Chance”

Best Mincemeat or Tenspeed album? More headbanging noise but freakier sounds and tighter changes. Davey (dude behind this project) calls this “fake techno” too but uh… this would definitely still be half on the noise side of the fence.
Get it from Harshnice.

White Suns “Waking in the Reservoir”

Ah, a refreshing blast of negative noise-grind-dirge to wash yourself clean from all that reverbey indie-hippie nonsense.
Get it from ugExplode.

Dead Rider “The Raw Dents”

Slick and skilled and unsettling and really kinda OFF in a weird way – all at the same time.
Get it from Tizona.

Gay Beast “To Smithereens”

As good as their last one “second wave” but this seems to have been overlooked by most people, maybe because the band split up before it came out and weren’t able to support & promote it. Compositionally ambitious prog/no wave.
Get it from Skin Graft.

Black Pus “Primordial Pus”

Rocking drum-n-noise numbers. Kind of unhinged and spontaneous compared to the Black Pus 4 album, but with more blood sweat and tears.
Get it from Load Records.

Dick Neff “Dunce Slap”

Okay, apologies to Black Pus, but I think Dick Neff one-upped him at the one-drummer-noise-band thing. Lance (dude behind this project) calls this “fake metal” and it is heavy. Triggered synth tones fight each other as he drums like a maniac and everybody wins! The heaviest metal band that’s neither metal nor band.
Get it from Lance himself, I guess whenever you see him somewhere.

Mutwawa “Mayan Mutations”

Totally ruling merger of beats, noise, samples with a sci-fi/conspiracy theme. Sinister and tense and mind-blowing awesome.
Download it free from Free Music Archive.

Skoal Kodiak “Kryptonym Bodliak”

This is like what I was hoping !!! would sound like, but didn’t. Post-apocalyptic funk played by mutants and malfunctioning robots.
Get it from Load Records.

Dog Leather “Greezy Man and Stinky Man”

So this album did seem kind of short and half the tracks felt a little like filler, but the meat of it was still great even if it’s really sort of an EP. It’s probably too much to hope that this heralds a return of the goofball pseudo-music noise bands – last heard from around the time when we had Danse Asshole, Meerk Puffy, Wolf Eyes’ first album on Bulb… But I can dream!
Get it from Ehse Records (free download available).

Satanized “Technical Virginity”

Pretty much no one else touching this caliber of complex, skilled, aggressive music today  (outside of metal).
Get it from Skin Graft.

Doomsday Student “A Jumper’s Handbook”

Most of the Arab on Radar crew reunite and make what’s basically more Arab on Radar music. Nary a disco beat in sight, just atonality, dissonance, shrill shrieky guitars and voices. Yeah, it’s been done, but it was done by most of these same guys and I kind of wish there were more people making this music so welcome back boys.
Get it from Anchor Brain.

Men’s Room tape

Like HEALTH in an AmRep world or something. Way, way blown out and effected-into-oblivion guitars with rock drums and unintelligible vocals. Sounds kind of like garage rock pushed into the red until it becomes industrial noise.
Download it free from Bandcamp.

last second entry: Bloodhuff tape

Just grabbed this tape literally yesterday! Some Providence noise girls doing something sort of like punk rock. Every once in a while something like this convinces me that maybe punk rock is still a good idea. The sound is pretty subterranean and the vocals are almost strangely prominent but the weirdness of the sound only helps. Urgent and weird and spooky. Hard to say if something I only listened to once yesterday has earned its place on a “best of” list, but I’ve got a hunch this is better than that Iceage album everyone raves about but I still haven’t heard.
Get it from Price Tapes (free download available).

 

Indie Rock Roundup (or My Pain Is Your Entertainment) PART 3

October 20, 2011 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

In honor of CMJ weekend here in NYC, I present the final part in my series of posts (see Part 1 and Part 2) , wherein I listened to bands I’d heard “buzz” about among an airline’s “Alternative” listening selections and wrote down my impressions. (It was a long flight) These first 2 selections don’t count as indie rock I don’t think, but I had heard the names so I gave them a listen.

You Me At Six

You Me At Six “Hold Me Down” – Looks like 13-year-old mall kids and sounds like every band on modern rock radio. You know, Papa Roach and whatnot.

30 Seconds to Mars

30 Seconds to Mars “This is War” – I’m not fooled by the album title and tiger on the cover. This is that actor guy’s band isn’t it? I have a feeling this will be bad. … I couldn’t sit through the symphonic intro. Next track. Sounds like the last band but with even worse singing. Seriously. “whoooo-AAAHHHH-ohhhh” overdubbed 8 times along with 10 overdubbed U2 guitars going “needle-deedle-deedle-deedle” … why am I torturing myself like this?

Beach House

Beach House “Teen Dream” – Uh oh, band photo doesn’t look good. Hippie-hipster couple in a field of wheat at sunset? Bad news. I was right. I could barely make it to the point in the song where they start singing. Slooow 2-chord organ and acoustic guitar songs with the obligatory reverb and echo for “mood.”

Yeasayer

Yeasayer “Odd Blood” – Wait a minute here. This one actually sounds DIFFERENT. At least it’s got some interesting sounds in it, mechanical springs and a strangely pitch-shifted vocal. The first song’s got to be a fluke… And sadly, I was right. Track 2 and here’s all the indie singing and mudslide of backing-moan/reverb/synth, flutes, and cymbals that gently go “pshshshhh” – ugh, and moving steeply downhill from here. Track 4 and it’s gone all the way back to the crapfest. Oh well.

MGMT

MGMT “Congratulations” – So this Brooklyn band (pronounced “Mudgemutt” if you ask me) is pretty big but I have still never heard them. But somehow I have seen reviews that say this album is way too weird and not as great as their first. I have low expectations. Let’s see… Okay, well, I guess if “Pet Sounds” sounds like “Metal Machine Music” to you, this album might be way too weird. Mostly just a mild helping of that same Soft Bulletinness, with some Beach Boys in the mix, yeah. The cover has an illustration of a cartoon cat surfing some kind of monster wave, but this music is more like dipping your toes in the kiddie pool in the back yard. I suppose it would have been far out in 1965. That’s almost half a century ago now. Why is this music not relegated to stuffy jazz club type setting by now?

The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady “Heaven is Whenever” – Sounds just like John Cougar Mellencamp.
******
And that’s all I’ve got. Keep in mind, these are just my opinions and impressions, shared for your amusement. If you love the music I hated, feel free to listen to the music I love, or heck, my own music, and write your impressions in the same manner. In fact, you should totally do that. I think that would be hilarious.

Indie Rock Roundup (or My Pain Is Your Entertainment) PART 2

July 28, 2011 By: M*P* Lockwood Category: albums

Yes, it continues! Though I’m not really into doing negative reviews, I decided to finish posting the rest of this. On an international flight last summer I browsed the in-flight radio’s Alternative options and listened to bands I’d heard “buzz” about, writing down my impressions. I mean, there must be something among all those hyped indie bands that’s worth checking out, right? (SPOILER: Wrong.) Here’s a link to PART 1, in which I was disappointed by Dirty Projectors, White Denim, Passion Pit, Gossip, and Grizzly Bear. As explained in part 1, this should be taken as entertainment only. Here goes:

Kings of Convenience

Kings of Convenience “Declaration of Dependence” – I feel like I’ve heard of this but not sure. The band photo looks like the guys who got beat up in high school by Simon & Garfunkel. I’ll give this a few minutes. Oh wow, it SOUNDS like the guys who got beat up by Simon & Garfunkel. This makes Scarborough Faire sound like AC/DC. They even sound bored with the music themselves. Yup, every song is the same. Next.

The XX

The XX “x” – Oh no, I think this was something like the “buzzed about band of CMJ.” I don’t know if I can do this to myself… and you just know this band wanted to name themselves ‘X’ and then was like “What do you mean there’s already a band called ‘X’? Okay, then we’ll be ‘THE X’ … There is? You’re kidding me. Okay, ‘The XX” will have to do I guess…” Here goes: Oh, come on! You’re kidding me. This is exactly the same adult contemporary alterna-rock that’s been boring since 1995. Sounds basically like 10,000 Maniacs. I had this faint hope that this would actually be a rock band and surprise me. At least it doesn’t have the faux-feeling-it falsetto vocals, but that’s about the only redeeming feature here. Painfully boring and bland.

Hot Chip

Hot Chip “One Life Stand” – Another frequently mentioned band. I thought this would at least be a synth-pop guilty pleasure like The Faint or something. No such luck. Breathy sub-crooning and basically the same soft-rock music as all the others, even if it is technically “electronic.” The songs are slightly more memorable than the rest, and so far this comes out as my “favorite” by a narrow margin. Makes The Faint look like The Jesus Lizard.

Local Natives

Local Natives “Gorilla Manor” – More promising band photo? At least one of them is smiling and the others aren’t explicitly moping. Starts with that same sparkly U2 guitar schmutz, and pretty much continues in that vein. Like we really needed a (further) watered-down version of U2. Not much different from anything else I’ve heard so far.

Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend “Contra” – Not too different from Paul Simon’s “Graceland” – right down to the vocal delivery which sounds like an indie boy’s best attempt at impersonating Paul Simon.

To be continued! Yes, there’s more… I’ll be sure to post up some awesomeness and positivity before the next round.

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      Did you miss me? I can’t guarantee this will be a regular thing again, but I got the itch and busted out another one of these podcasts. Some weird stuff in this one. Featuring soundz from Lightning Bolt, Profligate, Xerobot, Moth Cock, Skeleton Warrior, Pod Blotz, Mincemeat or Tenspeed, Mansion, Doomsday Student, Bromp Treb, Form […]
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