Sunday 31 July 2011

Not So Quiet Cohen Gets Fresh With Some Magic Tricks

And so we end our Sunday triptych with a more tenuous, yet valid, connective. It is not everyday that new release day falls on your birthday, and you also happen to be releasing an album. It is, however, more likely to happen if you are the ever-prolific Tim Cohen (of Fresh & Onlys fame). On Tuesday July 19th 2011, Tim Cohen released 100 limited edition copies of his new 4th album The Glad Birth of Love on Empty Cellar Records. Featuring some ace guest appearances by the likes of John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees), Grace Cooper (The Sandwitches), Diego Gonzalez (The Dry Spells, Citay), and several other San Francisco musicians, The Glad Birth of Love is the first Tim Cohen album to not directly bear his name, but the name of his band, Magic Trick. Its a 45 minute album composed of four epic long-form compositions saturated with Tim’s uncanny pop sensibilities and vivid lyrical imagery. Transitioning seamlessly from sparse acoustic blues, to dense bass, to layered of lush vocal harmonies - this album is a culmination of Tim’s work to date.

You can get the limited edition of The Glad Birth of Love HERE, which comes in an elegant old-style tip-on jacket with a 11x22 poster - saweet! Don't fret, if you're not quick enough on the draw, the record will see a full worldwide release (LP/CD/digital) August 23rd.

Magic Trick - Daylight Moon

And the connection? The Quiet Americans are friends and have played with Fresh & Onlys! Ok, maybe its more than tenuous, but its a great way to round out our Sunday.

Shining Wrays On Some Quiet Yet Medicinal Americans

The second of our web of musical mystery comes from a seemingly unrelated email form Luke Giffen, who has been seen in Sleepover Disaster. He has recently formed a new band called The Quiet Americans, also from central California like Fay Wrays...then I noticed that the drummer was one Eli Reyes! Apparently Luke had no idea Eli had contacted me about Fay Wrays, yet they bounced my way within 24 hours of each other. Yet the guys have more than a supernatural bond to Sonic Masala - the recording of Medicine was a family affair, as Eli is married to Luke's sister, and Luke's little brother Ross contributed moog synth to the record (aww, right?). Family brings the best out of many creative groups. Its a different sound that this crew is crafting - combining predominantly short and fast songs with bright melodies and fuzzed out guitar squall. They really love the fuzz! The six song EP Medicine is their first release and is out on local label Coattrack Records (also responsible for putting out Fay Wrays' Strange Confessor). They have also been punching above their weight on the music scene, opening for the likes of A Place to Bury Strangers, The Fresh and Onlys, Royal Baths, and Light Pollution.

Check out Medicine below - and head to their Bandcamp to get it for free!

Strange Confessions With Fay Wrays

This is the first of three posts today, in lieu of our normal Hits From The Box (trust me, it will be back very soon!), and they are inextricably linked! I was contacted by Eli Reyes, who plays in Fresno band Fay Wrays. He confessed to liking my review of another band, So Many Wizards, which is always nice, before discussing Fay Wrays' new album Strange Confessor. So I had a listen, and this stuff feeds into discordant noise pop with enough fresh angst to give it some legs. Its been on regular rotation here this week, so give it a shot below.

Saturday 30 July 2011

The Earth Is A Man...And A Song...And An Album...And A Video...

The more I listen to Illinios post rock act The Earth Is A Man, the more I dig it. Why? Because it isn't just a rip off of Explosions In The Sky (although those influences are definitely evident). It also isn't Maps & Atlases' style intricate math stylings (although there's some of that in there too). And these aren't just guitar sound collages (although Black Eagle Child and his ilk must have looked over their shoulders on a number of occasions here). No, The Earth Is A Man is no singular thing. There are connections everywhere - but it's a small world after all, is it not? What is provided are filmic, stylised slices of instrumental rock that cram so much within their relatively small time frames, and do it proficiently and - most importantly - with finesse and heart. Maybe we should call this, as their PR says, "epic math prog filmic instrumental cumulative bearded Chicago Kraut Allman Chrono Eno rock music"? Or it could just be friends playing music together and having a great time. And trust me - you will too.

Name your price, and you can get the album here.

And because its such a beautiful day - Ive seen Mogwai, Warpaint, Modest Mouse, and The Kills amongst many others in the past 24 hours - why not get some visuals to this excellence? This is the video for The Earth Is A Man's second track of the self-titled album, 'You Might Have A Moustache"...

The Earth is A Man - You Might Have A Moustache from Dana Lorraine Pavisich on Vimeo.

Friday 29 July 2011

The Dirty Nil Fuck Things Up Good!

The Dirty Nil are a trio of degenerate Canadians who have just released their first 7” vinyl single called Fuckin’ Up Young. Apparently they like "fuzz, pizza, vinyl, bad habits, beer, power chords, stompin' tom, feedback, fuzz, anything with big knobs and blinking lights, dogs (fuck cats/fuzz cats), coffee, haters, beer, fuzz bass, the replacements, not remembering the night before, Quentin Tarantino, tube amps, waffles, analog, swearing, distorted anything, Willie Nelson, bacon, soda pop, french fries, and noise." This explains a helluva lot, as 'Fuckin Up Young' is hedonistic, simplistic, anachronistic, ballistic and a whole lot more -ics. Its just an infectious tune, and the perfect way to bring on the weekend!

The 7" is available here.

Grandfather Rides Again

I spoke about Grandfather last year and their album Why I'd Try - I was pretty impressed, as were notable others. Things have been cooking along for them since, especially in terms of playing - they opened for Mission Of Burma for crying out loud! SPIN also loved their performance at this year's Northside Festival in Brooklyn.

So on top of all of this goodwill, they are going on a massive tour of the US starting in Boston today! Its taken a hell of a lot of DIY malarkey to make it happen too, so get behind em if they are coming to your town...There are a few gaps still though, so if you are keen contact them to get em to your fave venue!

7.29 - Boston, MA - All Asia
7.30 - TBA
7.31 - Hamden, CT - The Space
8.01 - Providence, RI - AS220
8.02 - Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie
8.03 - Baltimore, MD - The Windup Space
8.04 - Richmond, VA - Sprout
8.05 - Durham, NC - The Layabout
8.06 - Athens, GA - The Caledonia Lounge
8.07 - TBA
8.08 - Nashville, TN - The Log Cabin
8.09 - Louisville, KY - 627 Brandeis
8.10 - TBA
8.11 - Lawrence, KS - TBA
8.12 - Kansas City, MO - Czar Bar
8.13 - Clive, IA - Bombay Bicycle Club
8.14 - TBA
8.15 - Omaha, NE - The Slowdown
8.16 - Elgin, IL - Gasthaus Zur Linde
8.17 - Chicago, IL - The Subterranean
8.18 - Columbus, OH - Carabar
8.19 - Columbus OH - The Airplane Room
8.20 - Akron, OH - Annabelle’s
8.21 - Youngstown, OH - The Lemon Grove
8.22 - TBA
8.23 - Cleveland, OH - Duck Island
8.24 - Buffalo, NY - Club Diablo
8.25 - Toronto, ON - Bovine Sex Club
8.26 - Rochester, NY - The Bug Jar
8.27 - Cortland, NY - The 77 Club
8.28 - Ithaca, NY - TBA
8.29 - Seneca Falls, NY - TBA
8.30 - Winooski, VT - The Monkey House
8.31 - Portland, ME - Rough Draft Records House
9.01 - Boston, MA - TBA
9.02 - Brooklyn, NY - Cameo Art Gallery

And for the majority of us not visiting the US in the next couple of months? Well, listen to the album! Stream it below...

Why I'd Try by Grandfather

Thursday 28 July 2011

SCUM Splits And Multiplies...

There really is no stopping 'Amber Hands', is there? The track by London upstarts S.C.U.M. has been remixed to the shithouse, but that hasn't stopped a couple more rearing their heads. Luckily for everyone, the people responsibile for this decadence are none other than New York psych electronica duo Silver Apples and uber producer/ex Spaceman 3/Spectrum dude Sonic Boom. They're pretty great - but seriously, let's get some new blood hey? The album is coming out soon (via Mute Records) - let's hear a new cut! (That's me pleading, not actually showcasing a new song...sorry.) Or you can see them at ATP's Ill Be Your Mirror... Or Field Day... Or whatever.

S.C.U.M - Amber Hands (Silver Apples Remix) by Mute UK

S.C.U.M - Amber Hands (Sonic Boom Remix) by Mute UK

Cerebral Ballzy WILL Tell Me What To Do...

The ace Cerebral Ballzy have just released their self-titled album on Tuesday. A friend said he felt like a traitor in liking these guys as there were so many skate/thrash bands in the 80s that did exactly the same thing. Thing is, hardcore punk doesnt aim to change, it aims to kill, and this is raw and fun - Black Flag and Suicidal Tendencies would be proud. And the fact that Adult Swim took them aboard speaks volumes. Their hearts're on their sleeve, and their spit on your face - trust me, it's OK to get cerebral.

Here is the video for 'You Won't Tell Me What To Do'...

...and now stream the entire album below!

Cerebral Ballzy by Cerebral Ballzy

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Video Vacuum - Grinderman, Moonbell, Warpaint, Handsome Furs

What a week, already! Planet Masala in meltdown, due papers and articles, financial fuck ups - and it's only Tuesday. I guess that means we need some visual distraction then, huh?

First we have the irascible Grinderman, whose animated video for 'Mickey Mouse & The Goodbye Man' is a suitably cheeky trip.

Moonbell's 'Figurine' was a fuzzed out gem that we featured a little while back. Well, now it has a video! And any excuse to get back into bed with these San Franciscans is a good one.

"Figurine" by Moonbell from lisa dawn on Vimeo.

God, I love Warpaint! The fact Im seeing the LA quartet play at Splendour In The Grass in a few days is beyond exciting! So in anticipation here is a video for their self-titled track - lush...

Finally, Handsome Furs. I've never listened to their stuff before, but this decidedly NSFW video had me more interested than ever to become, listen to their back catalogue... And if this doesnt get you over the worktime hump, and just on the hump, then nothing will...

Handsome Furs - "What About Us" from stereogum on Vimeo.


Saturday 23 July 2011

Redeeming The Uneven City Center

City Center caught my attention last year with their Record Store affiliated EP that in its vinyl edition was one of the sexiest pieces of wax Ive ever witnessed. They have released a longplayer, Redeemer (on K Records), and it's a good if uneven followup. Although much of the same aesthetics that have garnered City Center their murmurous reputation - massive efforts with DIY audacity, digital antics and unorthodox licks of psychedelic whimsy - the result here is more of a severely swinging pendulum, which swings from meticulously created extreme to the other. This give equal amounts of adulation and frustration, for it really sounds as if two albums have been crafted here, cut in half and glued together again. The first half is more dynamic, pop-driven rock, with 'Poppers', 'Cookies' and 'Modern Love' all sinking their urgent hooks in deep. Yet the ambient side of the group is left for the latter part of the record rather than being interspersed throughout, leaving the whole thing feeling top loaded to the point of distraction.

That said, they are a quality act, and most of these tracks are quality on their own. I still suggest you give Redeemer a go - it may surprise you.

City Center - Cookies
City Center - Modern Love

Friday 22 July 2011

FRIDAY COVER UP - A Green Lennon In July; Knifing Manhattan

This week I received two covers from undiscerning artists that I didn't know the world needed or wanted, yet here they are - and they both are a lot of fun.

First up is from Green Like July, who was sent over by Bad Panda (in turn sent through by cool Italian indie label Ghost Records). Four-Legged Fortune is Green Like July’s second release and it was recorded in Omaha,Nebraska at the well-known ARC Studios (which hosted artists like Bright Eyes, Pete Yorn, Julian Casablancas, Cursive). The touchstones don't stop there - the album was produced by A.J Mogis (Saddle Creek) and many local artists related to the Saddle-Creek family, including Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Monsters Of Folk), gave their personal contributions to the album. The new EP includes two covers, the other being of Big Star. But it was this one that resonated more with me - and hopefully you too.

Green Like July - Crippled Inside (John Lennon cover)

It isn't often that we feature a band from a Hits From The Box segment as quickly after the fact as we do here - hell, the Dubliners known as Manhattan only showed up on Planet Masala on Monday! But here we are. In fact, I think of the two recorded tracks they previewed, this cover is by far the best. Make of that what you will - but anyone who attempts a Knife cover and does a good job of it deserves kudos.

Manhattan - We Share Our Mother's Health (The Knife cover)

Enjoy the weekend kids!

Ash Black Bufflo Finds The Grails

Being a fan of Grails (a fact that can be quite divisive amongst certain friends of mine), it was a matter of course that I would be interested to hear what Ash Black Bufflo had to offer. The solo project of Jay Clarke (of Grails, Dolorean, and Holy Sons fame), Ash Black Bufflo is soemthign of a narrative driven sound, producing instrumental music that is as much a story as it is an aural tapestry. The debut album, Andasol, means "a walk in the sun" in Spanish, and in many ways it epitomises the warmer nature of these tracks to some of Clarke's other sonic outpourings. Clarke also composed the score to the award-winning documentary, Marwencol, a fact which now has me very interested to find out more about it. But back to Andasol - this is an album that is easy to fall into, and get lost in, yet it might take a few listens for some people to get to the stage where they can unlock it for the treasures within. That isnt me trying to placate those friends of mine certain to hate it due to its Grails attachments (you both know who you are), its me saying that this is an involved listen that rewards with continual layers of entrancement and amazement. Except for you, A-Rey - you'll love it from the get go. Thats how we brothers roll.

In-house references aside, Ash Black Bufflo is one artist that is well worth the investment.

Ash Black Bufflo - Misery Is The Pilgrim's Pasture


Hailing from Kentucky, Quailbones have just released You Stay Out Of My Family, You Stay Out Of My Face, a six song EP that runs the gamut of rock persuasions and fidelity. I was going to talk about 'Everybody Do The Doomwagon', the unofficial single, but instead I continually gravitate towards 'A Tip To Trick The Tide'. Its pretty killer, and is one of my favourite tracks of the month. Check it out - if you like what you hear, you can download the EP here, or you can get cassettes if you ask the band reeeeeeeeeeeeealy nicely...

Quailbones - A Tip To Trick The Tide

Over the Tennis Courts And Far Away...

I resisted Tennis for so long. As you may have picked up over the inception of Sonic Masala, or even yesterday's Brilliant Colors post, the glut of bands that share this similar sound have jaded me somewhat - well, certain bands amongst the ranks (it's becoming a low blow to mention Dum Dum Girls, isnt it?). And the deliberate 80s yacht rock stylings of the duo and the cover art of Cape Dory (out earlier this year on Fat Possum) had me on my guard from the get go. Yet I needn't have worried - these guys have somehow condensed the woozy doo-wop summer warmth guitar pop formula into a winsome elixir of youth. The best part? There is little if any filler, which most bands of their ilk have found hard to avoid. New single off the album 'Take Me Somewhere' is a perfect case in point. (NB - yes, this has been around since November, but this is the OFFICIAL RELEASE, so there).

In support of Cape Dory, Tennis will also be embarking on a UK and European tour encompassing London’s Cargo. You lucky gits...

Tennis - Take Me Somewhere
Tennis - Is It True

Thursday 21 July 2011

No Slumbering On Brilliant Colors

San Francisco’s Brilliant Colors have been doing their thing, stuck in the middle of the sun drenched girl-fronted garage bands that harken back to the 60s. With the amount of bands plumbing the depths of this sound in the past few years, and especially seeing this year has had some take it to new heights, it could be easy to pass them by. Their debut Introducing was OK without being great, yet its in the smaller format that they have made more of a statement, especially with their split release alongside Belfast's brilliant Girls Names.

Now Brilliant Colors hit the studio again to create Again And Again. Ill be frank - I havent been hanging out for it. I do give most releases on Slumberland Records a look in though, so I will do the same here. And whilst 'Value Lines' doesnt blow me away, it is effective at what it does, so that's a win. Ive heard favourable things, and the love that I feel for the likes of Cults, Puro Instinct and Tennis (there are a few more here that have raised the bar considerably too) may wash over to this one. We'll wait and see...

Brilliant Colors - Value Lines

Never Bathetic

After the King Dude release earlier this year, I thought that Bathetic Records had hit their 2011 peak. And in my opinion this idea still stands - but these two releases are mighty tasty...

Bitchin Bajas (the solo synthscapes of Cooper Crain - true analog zone outs) & Faceplant (Mr Aaron Coyes to his folks, or maybe more Peaking Lights to you?) come together in a alarmingly seductive menagerie of drone-pop. Its organ splurges, TRONic spazzouts and kraut coughs and splutters. This shouldn't really be enough to pack a dancefloor - but one drop of this and you'll be packed in like sardines. The vinyl is limited to 600, and if you get it now you'll get a free 7" of your choice! Isn't that the best, around?

But as if Bathetic would leave it like that! After putting the highly admires Pink Priest to bed, its progenitor William Cody Watson has decided to step out under his parentally-adorned moniker, and the result is this cassette, Her Tusk Was Adorned With Rose Petals, which furthers his musical layering of dreamy ambiance and droning minimalism. Feeling like Im caught in the backstreets of the city, dull streetlights guiding my way, when the world starts to slip off its axis...And with the closing song being called 'I Can't Listen To My Bloody Valentine Without Thinking Of Scarlett Johansson' did enough to tip me into the parallel worlds or bewilderment and elation. There are only 100 copies of this, 10 of which include a handwritten unique poem from Watson, corresponding to an individual song title from the release. These 10 copies are hand-numbered & come in 7" x 5 1/4" PVC cases with custom artwork. These are first come, first serve. HELL YEAH!

Bitchin Bajas - Consciousness 1 (excerpt)
Faceplant - Ride The Ether (excerpt)

William Cody Watson - Retractable Claws

Active Child Hangs On To Dress Well

It's weird to think that this is the first post where Im mentioning How To Dress Well, but there you go... Active Child's debut album, You Are All I See, is coming out August 23, with second single 'Hangin On' going up last week as a free download on Adult Swim's Singles Program. The album's first single, 'Playing House', also went live on iTunes, and this bad boy features - you guessed it - How To Dress Well. Both songs are pretty damned lovely, but seeing as his EP from last month Just Once is one of the best things Ive heard for some time and have yet to plug it, this will do for the time being. But that's not to take away from Active Child either at all - Im expecting You Are All I See to do some amazing things next month. Two awesome dudes, doing the doo.

Active Child - Hanging On
Active Child - Playing House (ft How To Dress Well)

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Spend A Raw Eternity In The Night Gallery

A psych album of prowess and precision coming out from Thrill Jockey is par for the course, but when two of the big guns of the past couple of years cross swords, its worth of rabid excitement. The friendship of Eternal Tapestry and Sun Araw's Cameron Stallones goes back to the Not Not Fun curated Neon Commune Fest, January 2007. Of course Stallones used to be in the much missed Magic Lantern (although their final album Platoon was a leviathan of a record that made our top of 2010 lists) so this connection was almost inevitable.

Fast forward to Austin for last year's SXSW when Eternal Tapestry shared a bizarre afternoon parking lot gig with Sun Araw. The session took place in a large TV studio on the University of Texas campus, with the band setting up in a big circle. The line-up was Dewey Mahood and Nick Bindeman on guitars, Jed Bindeman on drums, Ryan Carlile on tenor sax, Yoni Kifle on bass, and Cameron Stallones on keyboard and trademark flute. After a brief discussion of mood, the six musicians improvised together for 45 minutes continuously. The music is heard as played that evening - no overdubs, and only a few edits to create a four section suite for the LP release. The piece is titled Night Gallery (on Thrill Jockey), in homage to the surreal early 1970's TV show produced by Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame. It was this program that the six musicians fell asleep to, and woke up with, during their five day stay in Austin.

And to be honest, it is this kind of surreal happenstance that allows true brilliance to be born. Night Gallery feels orchestrated, not the possibly disastrous jam that it actually was, and it encapsulates the cold hard fact that these two artists are brothers from another realm, one that we are not, and may never be, fully privy to. Nevertheless, they are willing to take us far into the ether as our fragile mortal souls will allow us - and you should be eternally grateful for that.

Night Gallery can be gleaned here. Do it - it's a fantastic ephemeral psych journey.

Eternal Tapestry & Sun Araw - Night Gallery III

Wiping Out In The Jungles Of Texas

Jungle Bodies are Andres and Zeb based in Texas - Weslaco, to be exact. And according to them, they’re loud and have fun. I haven't met em, so I cant speak for them personally, but if their Wipeout EP is any indication, they speak the hard cold ones. The title gives a clear indication of what to expect - surf-rock tinged noise pop. These kids may be landlocked, but that doesn't stop the music from transporting the beach to them - they couldn't get more Californian if they tried. Instrumental opener 'Pansy' is fantastic, and the hits roll on from there. Especially love 'Riff Raff' - this sucker gets me jumping around like it's no one's business. They recently played with the Strange Boys, and apparently they more than held their own - either way, Im hooked.

Get Wipeout for free here!

Jungle Bodies - Riff Raff
Jungle Bodies - Wipeout

It's Really Real Real Estate

New Jersey's Real Estate are back! Well, they never really went away, but its good to hear something new from the boys. 'It's Real' is a taste of their new LP Days, which Domino Records will be putting out in October. I've been a little ambivalent about Real Estate in the past, especially in the live arena, although friends have pointed out that I may have been in the wrong mindframe (and they were supported by Yuck, whom I have a bit of an aversion of anyway), but they have impressed me in the recorded form, and this track is no exception. Im actually excited to hear the album too - so it's win win!

Real Estate - It's Real

Akron Family Trails The Dead In A Handsome September

Brisbane, you are about to be blessed (and not from that amazing Selleck pic above - but wait, as it does relate...), as from the final weekend of July onward its an onslaught of killer international talent coming your way! Starting with the biggest Splendour to date (Mogwai, Kanye, The Kills, Warpaint, Dananananaykroyd, Elbow, Modest Mouse, Pulp), the gigs keep on hitting - Jim Ward, Times New Viking, Jason Simon (Dead Meadow), Wet Hair, LA Vampires, Russian Circles, Monster Magnet doing Dopes To Infinity in its entirety, Sebadoh...does it get any better?

Actually, damn straight it does! Intermingled in all that awesomeness are two tours put on by Handsome Tours that Im going schoolgirl-giddy over. First up at the beginning of September we will be blasted away by the incendiary Texan act ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. Having completed seventh album Tao Of The Dead earlier this year to much rapturous acclaim, Conrad Keely, Jason Reece and co will bring their extremely physical live show to the Hi Fi Bar on September 9, featuring snarling refrains, fervent stage diving, epic anthemic jams; multiple instrument changes and the odd bout of stage destruction, all punctuated by flailing limbs and Keely and Reece’s ping-pong vocal exchanges and hooks in overdrive. You can get your tickets here for what could possibly be THE show of 2011...

But Handsome wont let you off that easy. Brisbane's world class Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) is closing out their Surrealism: The Poetry Of Dreams exhibition (NOW do you get the pic above???) with mystical psych mainliners Akron/Family! Their latest foray into longplayerdom, S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT was possibly their best album yet, continuing pushing genre boundaries with a leery sense of abandon. Imagine watching Mullholland Drive, looking at pieces by Man Ray and Salvador Dali, then seeing these brilliant freak rockers blow you into hyperspace! Its happening all right, on Friday September 30 - get your tix here. This one is stupidly cheap too, only $21.50, so expect these to fly out the window like toasters with wings.

AND - both gigs are on Fridays, so losing your shit is mandatory! SOOOOOOOOO good...

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Weight Of The Sun
Akron/Family - So It Goes

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Bewildered Brilliance

It's been a while since south England label Art Is Hard threw something our way, but then I realised that it was I that dropped the ball! Southampton band Bewilder actually released their EP This Isn't Life, It's Just Stuff - and again the release is something special. Its a interesting release in itself, full of post rock flourishes, woozy dream pop dreams, and references to Uncle Buck and Dwight Schrute - what more could you want? How about the physical stuff, then? Only 20 clear cut lathe finished vinyl pieces were made, but there was also CDs in a hand stamped envelope case. Both forms of the release are accompanied by a zine put together by the band and their close friends featuring short stories, photos and drawings. Nice right? Check out the price then - the vinyl is around 8 squid, whilst the CD is only 2.50! Nuts! You can get it here and here. Digitally, you can snag it for free here - guys, you just keep on giving.

Bewilder - I Wasn't Going To But You Kinda Talked Into It
Bewilder - Would You Like To Talk About A Possible Lunch Trade?

White Heat Purofies

Hail your luck stars, Londoners! Tonight those fine fellows over at White Heat are putting on one hell of a show. Hailing from "a maelstrom of reinvention, reckless idealism, and rainbow-chasing" known as Los Angeles, psych poppers Puro Instinct are hitting Madame JoJo's with locals Echo Lake (who're also launching their single) and No Climate. Puro Instinct used to room with the inimitable Ariel Pink, and the man himself pops up on the track below. Plus, the fact that Puro Instinct are made up by Piper Kaplan, 24, and his 16 year old sister Skylar! They are damned ace, and this should be one killer show. As always, there are tix on the door, just over a fiver, so do yourself a favour and GET THERE!!!

Puro Instinct - Stilyagi (ft Ariel Pink)

Heavenly Snipes From Mr Bronx

The debut album of one of the most intriguing supergroups to come together in some time is getting ever closer - and you can have a taste of another track from it! Below is an embed code for a widget to download 'Bronx Sniper' by Mister Heavenly, taken from 'Out Of Love' released via Sub Pop next month. Mister Heavenly is Nick (Islands/ Unicorns), Ryan (Man Man) and Joe (Modest Mouse). You've heard 'Pineapple Girl' before here - and you can grab it again below if you missed it. Let us know what you think...

Mister Heavenly - Pineapple Girl

Nikko Down The Road

I saw a very impressive Brisbane act a few weeks ago called Nikko - you can read my review (albeit for a different publication) here. They are a beguiling band - a dark colonial folk band with serious post rock underpinnings. They are about to embark on their first tour in well over 6 months, which is exciting times for anyone in Australia keen to see invigorating acts that are outside the considered norm. It all kicks off with a Brisbane show at Sun Distortion Studios (2/24 Corunna Street, Albion) on Thursday, the 21st before heading south for dates in Newcastle and Sydney It looks to be a great show all round too - seeing as it's the Split zine launch, with great supports (Let Me Down Jungleman, Gently (SYD), Epithets and Idylls). The following shows in Newcastle and Sydney are free too, so if you're nearby and want to be blown away, check out their website for the deets.

VIDEO VACUUM - Cults, Keep On Dancins, Future Islands, Vandaveer

Hey kids! Who wants to watch some stuff and listen to some stuff so that you can avoid doing stuff? Me too! So...

Not much can be said about this stupidly huge track - the fact that the band keeps flogging it, and it's still as infectious as it was last year, is nigh on miraculous - but Cults have finally endeavoured to put out a video for 'Go Outside'. Excellently based on the Jim Jones religious cult massacre, get prepared to collectively lose your shit...

Go Outside, by Cults from Boing Boing on Vimeo.

Shit, I peaked too soon! How do you top that? But slowing down with a distinctly country tinged number by Brisbane's own The Keep On Dancins, that's how! This is off their debut album The End Of Everything, which is really something special - I will be bringing you more from that soon...

that is sweet, no? It's now time to ratchet the fun times back up again. Who better than Baltimore's own Future Islands? No one, that's who. This is the leading single gfrom their Thrill Jockey 7" release, which has already sold out! Excited? Yep.

Future Islands - Before the Bridge from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

And to finish it off, this slick video for Washington's own Vandaveer's newie, 'The Great Gray'. Very The Road, Book Of Eli, end of times stuff - yet understated, bluesy folk? The juxtaposition suits it so (thanks Crash Avenue for this one...)


Monday 18 July 2011

Fidlar In The Drink

“Fuck it dog, life’s a risk” – the full extended name (and inevitable mantra) of one of the sloppiest bands to come out of LA this year, FIDLAR. Its garage punk rock that revels in drinking, skating, surfing, and all other fun things one can do without actually getting caught up in the real world. This DIYDUI 7" just makes me wanna drop all preconceptions and drop out of life - kinda what Ive done the past twelve months, really, just with a truckload more pot, and beer bongs. I really love this - and trust me, you will too. They played a show recently with Bleached and Crystal Antlers, so they will be surfing their way into a shithole venue near you soon, espousing their slacker wisdoms - be sure to join in.

You can buy DIYDUI here on the White Iris store - it's well worth it, and it's only a fiver!

FIDLAR - Max Can't Surf

Hits From The Box #27 - Cracking Nuts

Sorry about the lateness of this week's Hits From The Box - I decided to treat myself after a weekend of marking, essay writing and reviewing to an afternoon of beers and listening to vinyl at my friends' place. Kids, Hoodoo Gurus, homemade pizzas, Pixies, Fred Negro, Wipers - ah, it was a special time. There was a fair amount of time spent cracking macadamia nuts with their son, who for today will be known as C-Man. The C-Man and I had a good thing going - I did the cracking with a rock, he did the peeling and occasional eating. It is the epitome of a good afternoon slash evening without dipping into debauchery, which is always a nice change of pace...So yeah, that took up my day. I guess Im not that sorry...but here is your fix, regardless!

Here's an LA bedroom pop project that I found to be pretty ace. So Many Wizards have just dropped their latest 7", Inner City/Best Friends, on a limited edition 70 gram colored vinyl pressing on boutique label, Seven Inch Project. The songs reflect the contrasts realized during Nima Kazerouni’s move from the Los Angeles suburbs to the city. “Inner City” draws from the changes in pollution, poverty, noise and the paranoid uneasiness Kazerouni first experienced. "Best Friends” was written afterwards and further depicts this experience, but in the carefree sense of being able to find pockets of calm within the chaos and the general acceptance and deep appreciation for living in L.A. Together, the two songs strike a balance between anxiety and calm, city and nature. These tracks are incredibly polished, if somewhat sugary for my musically diabetic tastes, yet it somehow succeeds to win me over. Maybe its the Ponytail leanings in Inner City'; maybe its the infectious groove that permeates 'Best Friends'. Whatever it is, this is a band well worth getting into, the 7" is available here.

So Many Wizards - Inner City
So Many Wizards - Best Friends

Manhattan are an irreverent four piece from Dublin, Ireland, who have very little in the way of info on the World Wide Web, other than the usual skulduggery of meeting over a love of Green Skittles, listing their genre as "Sexual Tyrannosaurus", firing the brass section for being a brass section...but I have to say I really warmed to their music. They have some nifty covers in their repertoire which you will be hearing about shortly, but their original stuff ain't half bad either. They are just finding their feet - the below track is a demo - yet this kidding kids are worth a shot...or five.

Manhattan - Hypnotise

Killed By 9V Batteries are a bunch of Austrian noise-boys have just released their second single from upcoming LP The Crux - 'Worst Of Total Anarchy'. Its a nice laid back groover, languid yet with the slightest angle of urgency to keep you on your toes - it even has the slightest Bradford Cox vibe. Apparently the band formed after attempting to score the lead singer's short film. Apparently the music bug latched on instead, and here they are, three albums in. Apparently they are more known for their distorted power pop rackets. Apparently Ive used a lot of apparentlys. I can say this - I like this song, and will be giving the album a spin come the tail end of September.

Killed By 9V Batteries - Worst Of Total Anarchy

UK act Films Of Colour have slowly built up buzz over the past year or so through all the usual channels, yet I never really felt the connection. I will say that the release of the Capital 7" offers a darker side to their art-rock leanings, which shows a glimmer of hope for their evolution into a band that I might get excited about. Of special note is the B-Side 'Persinette' - a real lurker, it is extremely polished fare, with a Thom Yorke of yesteryear like howl in the bottom third accompanied by Ride-aping guitars - all of which warms the cockles.

Films Of Colour - Persinette

Here is the new single from Minnesota doods Sleeping In The Aviary, coming from their upcoming album You & Me, Ghost (out September 6 on Science Of Sound Records). It's their fourth, yet this is my first bit of their cherry (innuendo semi-intended). It has a fantastic crunch in the guitar, a fat vibrating bassline, and some real urgency wrapped up in an innate sense of fun - this is not meant to be taken seriously. Think...Weezer. Ahem, I meant to say old, GOOD Weezer. It bears those pop trademarks with distinctive kudos given to the kids of the 60s who knew that rock and roll wasn't evil, and the girls were into it, but didn't necessarily know it was sexy either. Good times! (And their website kills...)

Sleeping In The Aviary - Talking Out Of Turn

Finally, we have the math rock leaning psych shakers Courtesy Tier. I just love the rolling rhythm that the drummer instills here, underpinning the dexterous, honey drenched guitar here - it's as if a bunch of Southern moonshiners brought up on Lynard Skynard got stuck in a tour van for weeks with a Sargent House sample tape jammed in the deck.Courtesy Tier is always a surprise, sometimes even to themselves. The NY based duo are ready to launch The Resolution on your arses - you may as well let em.

Courtesy Tier - Rescue Me

Happy Monday!

Human Eye In The Sky

Sacred Bones have been at the zenith of labels that in the past two years create a oft deserved fervour for every release they produce. Alongside labels such as Thrill Jockey, In The Red and Hydra Head, SB are passionate about their music, creating beautifully packaged physical copies (all with a common format so that it is like collecting an entire collection, rather than buying disparate albums) whilst also refusing to break the budget.

The latest release to grace my presence from the Sacred Bones stable is from Detroit's Human Eye, whose split single with Sex Beet we thoroughly enjoyed. They Came From The Sky continues the warped, loud as hell fuzzfest that they alluded to there, but with more volume, zaniness and, bizarrely, more accessible. This loud, Comets On Fire-esque proto-punk with sci-fi allusions works really well here - an aural equivalent of a 50s B-movie double bill at the local drive in. At times utterly insane, it is this balls to the wall, devil may care attitude to the tropes of punk that make this album all the more exciting. And despite the lyrics erring on the side of absurdity, Human Eye prove that you can lead the old punk horse to water, lace it with stupidly addictive hallucinogenics and make the fucker drink it.

You can get They Came From The Sky here - but be warned, it will fry your brain.

Human Eye - Junkyard Heart
Human Eye - They Came From The Sky

Saturday 16 July 2011

Living Beyond Music For Milk

I heard about Washington malcontents Milk Music initially through good friend and soon to be bro Si, yet it was my sister that really harnessed me onto latest release Beyond Living. Not because whatever she likes is golden (although you could say that about me too - but then you'd be lying), but I just didn't see what the fuss was all about. In fact, after the first listen I felt as nonplussed as I did when I saw Yuck play for the first time, before their album - and in their instance, first impressions fucking last. Yet making such a presumption is harsh, so I gave the LP (out on Perennial Records) a second listen. Thank God I did, as Beyond Living is as infectiously accessible as any of the 90s slacker elite that the trio aim to espouse (or even further back, if you'll pardon the Wipers references. Furthermore, on tracks such as the titular song there is fast, powerful, sloppy yet imminently lovable fun to be had. They arent interested in fashions or trends, or even playing really well - the proof is in the unabashed passion for having a good time. They even have time to close with an instrumental - as if appealing to me personally. And it is 'The Burning Light' that has me immediately scrabbling to spin this again, and again...six track at under twenty minutes is nowhere near enough. There is nothing off about this band - in fact, the more you have of it, the better it is for you.

Get Beyond Living here.

Milk Music - Beyond Living
Milk Music - The Burning Light

Friday 15 July 2011

Friday Cover Up - Suuning With Fugazi

Fugazi is a bit of a cover reference point here on Planet Fugazi...ahem, Masala, what with last week's their mash up with Wu Tang and now Suuns. The Canadian four-piece give 'Long Division' a go, adding some glitches to their fairly faithful rendition, and thankfully remember to carry the one.

Suuns - Long Division (Fugazi cover)

Juffage Shows Us His Weakness

I was initially turned on to Juffage - AKA Jeff T. Smith, a solo sound artist and multi-instrumentalist from Leeds, via Chicago, Illinois - through a comment by Loud & Quiet that referred them in the same breath as Mogwai. Now, I wouldn't go down that road - but there is some early Ratatat, some tribal rhythms of the likes of Lightning Bolt and Holy Fuck in the mix, and some of that bizarre anti-folk wizardry that Akron/Family steep their sounds in. Enough touchstones to give him a listen - and to embrace him. Because what we have here is something that, despite the possible attractions to influences, is inherently warm and unique. He utilizes live looping and multitasking of drums, vocals, basses, guitars, keys, omnichord, clarinet, melodica, and manipulated cassettes, all into something that is evocative and yet strangely organic.

His new album Semicircle takes his distinctive larger-than-life performance style to an even grander scale, adding even more instruments to the mix. This debut is both defiantly experimental and unashamedly pop-oriented, with neither feature seeming out of place or at war with the other. We need more of this - seriously.

Semicircle is out now through London label Function Records (Maybeshewill, Shield Your Eyes, Cats Cats and Cats, Nitkowski).

Juffage - My Weakness

Thursday 14 July 2011

Papal Nods At Gnod

Ah, Gnod. Ive been espousing the dark temptations that these UK drone psych rockers offer for a while now, and here they are again, giving us decidedly fucked up shit on Ingnodwetrust (through Rocket Recordings). A perfect way to round out our Thursday of incredibly warped musak, Ingnodwetrust (great album title, by the way!) is as volatile, warped and incendiary as anything else that has come to pass from their LSD-addled loins. The weird thing about this two track behemoth (yep, I say that phrase again - Expo 70 doesnt have a monopoly over it!) is how clear the production it is, and how fucked up it insists on still sounding. There is so much skewed effects and samples melted into the soundscapes here that it arrests any train of thought and forcibly wrestles you into their own world, one where pleasure and pain are indistinguishable. There is some decidedly Italo disco darkwave meanderings laced in this release, which tells you how far out we are treading here. And the papal imagery reminds me of Ken Russell's The Devils in its blatant controversial and yet flippant adherence. I will admit that many of you will abhor Gnod and their kind. Fair dues too. However, if you are just a smidge adventurous and dip the toe in the murky, oily waters. Don't expect to come back from this trip - or to even want to.

Pick up Ingnodwetrust (as well as a plethora of other spaced out releases, including the stellar Gnod split with White Hills!) here.

Gnod -Tony's First Communion

Expo '70 On A Predictably Unpredictable Trajectory

Expo 70 has never done anything by halves, continually dishing out his brand of droning guitar explorations with an astonishing rate of consistency. A solo project of Kansas City-ite Justin Wright, Expo 70 lurk around the outer realm of psych rock yet deserves to be further in the sunlight - even if its the wan, sickly kind. Latest release Inaudible Bicoastal Trajectory (out through Aguirre Records) is a two track behemoth, offering menacing drum machine, synth devilry and vibrating guitar thrums that intends to rend your world asunder - and succeeds unequivocally. The best part about this release is that it is a live performance, something that I struggled to fathom. Yeah, its drone, its Expo 70, its life as Wright knows it - yet I find it absolutely compelling, and another example of just how great this guy is.

Buy Inaudible Bicoastal Trajectory (along with all other Expo 70 gear) from his store here.

Expo 70 - Hypnotic Brain Cloud Float

Old Volcanoes Warm The Brain

Whether its my dislocation from the London scene since my sudden departure to Brisbane some six months ago, but I hadn’t heard much at all of note of Warm Brains, the solo project of Rory Atwell (Test Icicles, KASMs). Atwell has proven his worth as a producer of late, working his DIY grungey aesthetics on SM faves Male Bonding, Fair Ohs, Cold Pumas and Veronica Falls amongst others. Yet here he is, refusing to sit idle, releasing his debut album Old Volcanoes (August 1 on Marshall Teller Records).

Loud & Quiet Magazine’s claims that he is wasted behind the mixing desk is a debatable one, but he sure has a talent in his own right as a musician. What this album showcases is a knack for slacker noise pop that not only matches its current contemporaries, but hints at the type of longevity that some of the genre’s innovators lacked, especially when considering the fact that Atwell wrote, performed and produced all of the tracks unaided other than some vocal collaborations (and seeing the vocal talent - Roxanne from Veronica Falls, Gemma from Trogons and Florence from Paradise – it’s easy to see why he roped these lasses in).

Its all very exciting, moreso when considering the promise of Warm Brains performances all over the UK this summer. Garnering help from Joe Ryan (Fair Ohs) and Anna Jones (Brothers), Atwell kicked off his plan for global domination on Saturday with their appearance at the Shoreditch 1-2-3-4 Festival, and are playing the following ace shows:

July 21st – The Garage, London (Islington) w/ Not Cool & Novella
July 31st – The Chameleon, Nottingham w/ Let’s Wrestle
August 3rd – album launch @ CAMP, London w/ Fair Ohs, Cold Pumas, Colours (plus both Male Bonding and Tom Vek will be DJing!)

Pre-order Old Volcanoes here.

Warm Brains – Marble Arch