Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The End

Thanks for everything.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chokebore - Black Black LP (1998)

Featured on Elementary Revolt's Blogosphere of the Week!

It's July, it's been cold and dreary all day, and I haven't updated for a bit.

Here today is an entry that I have been meaning to do for a while. Despite having only discovered them within the past couple years, Chokebore have quickly become a favorite of mine and definitely the "go-to" band for a while.

I can't think of one punk-related record that I've genuinely contemplated more than this one. Although somewhat poppy in its composition — tracks like "The Perfect Date” are rife with hooks — there are few happy moments to be found on this record. This record might sneak up on you. You might find solace in its desolation. If you find yourself relating to this music, there might be something wrong. A heavy, relentlessly sad album that is likely to stay with you for a while.

This was Punk In My Vitamins #22. Chokebore were previously associated with AmpRep. Troy was also in Dana Lynn. For fans of Unwound, Lowercase, and other heavy, noisy leaning slowcore. But really, you're not likely to find another band like this.

Chokebore - Black Black LP MediaFire

Friday, June 24, 2011

Steve Reich - Octet/Music for a Large Ensemble/Violin Phase LP (1980, ECM) [By Reich]

What is that phrase? "The show must go on." I suppose it does. Today, and in lieu of doing anything of any remote importance, I am sharing a recording of multiple Steve Reich works conducted by Reich. I was pleased to pick this from the stacks at a local chain's newest location nearby, mint and for the right price I might add. The recordings, especially Octet and Music for a Large Ensemble, seem to pick up where the infamous Music for 18 Musicians piece left off in terms of the minimalist style. That may be a deal breaker for those who become adamantly reluctant at the thought of minimalism. As a disclaimer, you are unlikely to enjoy these works if you did not enjoy 18 Musicians. Admittedly, as much as I enjoy and admire Reich's superb phasing technique, it can become onerous during casual listening. In terms of minimalism and in the frame of casual listening, unless the piece grabs me within the opening phrase I can become turned off. I think similar can be said for most listeners, and especially those uninitiated or otherwise unfamiliar with the style. Also, listening to Vile's "Solution" and then Reich's "Violin Phase" immediately thereafter is a difficult transition.

Pontificating complete. Now I am going to discuss the music... wait, don't go. As previously stated, Music for a Large Ensemble can be considered the third continuation of Reich's preceding "Music for..." works. The piece contains four sections, each with concise phrases that are augmented throughout and then shortened through diminution. The piece uses what is apparently the largest ensemble that Reich had ever used at the time, twenty-nine musicians if you include the Reich's piano as well. Prior to this recording, the original piece went through a small evolution (or devolution depending on your opinion): it was shrunk from twenty-one minutes to sixteen after a section was removed; instruments were added and removed; and finally, the piece was played faster than originally intended. According to the extensive liner notes, each section is in an arch form which is notated as (A*B*C*B*A). This is probably my favorite piece on the record, and is one which I assume casual listeners will enjoy most for its lovely, violin-led opening phrase. It is a mostly bright work with a relaxing atmosphere and themes similar to 18 Musicians. This is a valid introduction to the composer, and a vital listen for all.

Violin Phase is the oldest piece on this record, both in terms of age and technique. The piece was written in 1967 and is a prime example of phasing. It is written for one violin, but requires that the musician play against three recordings of himself. The musician slowly plays ahead of the tapes, and patterns are both formed and found. The piece sounds ancient when juxtaposed against the other two recordings, and rightly so as it is over a decade older than them. The fifteen-minute piece can quickly become monotonous for casual listeners. It is more interesting than it is enjoyable; it is something to admire as expression and an art I suppose. It is nonetheless a great introduction to Reich's phasing.

Octet sounds similar to Reich's "Music for" works and is simply radiating with his touch. It is a beautiful piece blooming from two pianos, which are complemented with the lingering, nearly invariable strings and a propulsive wind section mostly dominated by flute and clarinet. I know I said Large Ensemble was my favorite here, but in terms of energy... well, I guess it's a tie really. Octet carries on with the same themes and motivations, but focuses on wind rather than percussion. Enjoyable recording and also nice place to start with the composer.

It seems that the recordings on this record are somewhat unpopular, perhaps permanently overshadowed by Reich's magnum opus which has already been mentioned far too many times in this entry. Whether you have heard Reich before or not, there are bright moments to be discovered here. I would say that these recordings, apart from Violin Phase, are a kinder introduction to Reich if you are entirely unfamiliar with him. That is my opinion anyway.

This was released on ECM Records and has the potential for a takedown notice.

Steve Reich - Octet/Music for a Large Ensemble/Violin Phase MediaFire

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chas Smith - Santa Fe 10" (1982)

Although not a critical item on my wantlist, I was happy to cross this one off when I had the opportunity to buy it earlier this year. A somewhat hard-to-find name among experimentalists, Chas Smith is a Los Angeles-based artist whose ambient output I cherish. His album, An Hour out of Desert Center, is one I often return to. This 10", Santa Fe, was his first record.

Santa Fe differs from Smith's later work in two ways. His later work departs from the minimal, curiously retro, barebones ambient zones he composes on Santa Fe; those approaches, methods and themes are present his later work, just in a more sophisticated way. The second difference is the common instrumentation used on this record. Comparatively, anyway: while a pedal steel guitar and 12-string dobro are the only instruments used on this record, Smith's later work mostly involves elaborate, self-invented instruments, some with the most notably colorful names ("Guitarzilla").  His work is reminiscent of PartchYoung, and Stars of the Lid.

As with nearly everything else I write about, I am able to boil this entry down to wondering why this artist isn't more well-known. Interestingly, Smith has contributed to numerous film scores, including The Shawshank Redemption and American Beauty. Smith has also performed on recordings written by Harold Budd. That's an impressive pedigree.

This is a wonderful debut record from a genuinely talented composer. Recommended for fans of the Big Four, other ambient artists, and experimental music in general.

This was Cold Blue #E7. Cold Blue is a veteran California ambient and minimalism label that is still active. If you're still curious about Chas Smith or L.A. experimental music, do check out "L.A. Mantra", a 1983 compilation released by Trance Port that features examples of the Los Angeles underground at the time. Chas Smith's "October '68" is featured on that compilation.

Chas Smith - Santa Fe 10" MediaFire
Chas Smith - Website

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bill Nelson - The Two-Fold Aspect of Everything 2xLP (1984)

Some time ago, I discussed another Bill Nelson related project called Red Noise. That project received some attention, but not nearly as much as the eponymous artist's solo work. For those unfamiliar, here is a bit of a bio: Bill Nelson is a prominent English new wave artist that was active all through the 1980s. He led a band called Be-Bop Deluxe, later led Red Noise, and eventually decided on a solo career in electronic music. Despite releasing countless - seriously, countless - records, Nelson remained a mostly reclusive musician, no doubt due to his poor relationship with major labels. He released most of his records on his own label, Cocteau Records, likely named after Jean Cocteau, of whom Nelson was a big fan.

Bill Nelson has quickly become a favorite of mine over the past couple years. Nelson is overtly a guitarist, although his music could easily be described as synth-pop. The music featured in this compilation rarely meanders - straight-forward, propulsive pop right down to the core. His version of the guitar-synth hybrid sound always keeps me coming back, not to mention every track he does is endlessly catchy. And although Nelson remains pretty obscure, he has a diehard fanbase keeping his music alive. He still performs today, too.

This may or may not be a good introduction to Bill Nelson for those who haven't heard his music before. Many of these songs are remixes and alternate versions, facts that may color one's perception of this music. Nonetheless, this is highly recommended for fans of new wave and synthpop music.

Bill Nelson - The Two-Fold Aspect of Everything 2xLP MediaFire

Monday, June 6, 2011

Intermission

Normally I am not one to advertise, but here goes a lapse in that behavior.

I created a Facebook page for The Thinner the Air. If you are so inclined, feel free to visit the page here. I don't have a personal Facebook page, and as such it's mostly alien territory to me. However, social networking seems like the primary vehicle for spreading the word about something. I have realized that, despite writing here for close four years, I still don't get as many hits as I'd like. Granted, 95% of the time that isn't the point for me, but even so I would like to get as much readers and feedback as possible.

With that said, thanks for reading. I thoroughly enjoy writing these entries and have no plans to stop as long as vinyl is still being pressed.

Ryan

Facebook Page

Bitch Magnet - Umber LP (1989)

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Seeing as how there are multiple entries about Seam here at The Thinner the Air, it's pertinent to discuss Sooyoung's heavier-hitting past for the fans and uninitiated alike. Bitch Magnet formed in the late 80s and played a post-hardcore-esque sound similar to bands like Squirrel Bait and Bastro: similar guitar tone, aggressive bass lines... essentially that Midwestern sound. I've seen other interesting comparisons, too, from Jawbox to Big Black. (P.S.: Bitch Magnet's Star Booty EP was produced by Albini.) Myself, I've always considered Bitch Magnet to be a like heavier Seam — dark and contemplative, yet still melodic and catchy.

It's shocking that this project received as little attention as it did, although I attribute that to the comparatively small labels (Communion, Glitterhouse, Roman Candle, Waterfront) that they released their records on. I was surprised to find that Umber was released in 1989, but the heavy "intellectual" indie sound was evolving at that time. For example, a compilation called Human Music, released by Homestead Records the year before Umber, is a favorite of mine and a prime example of the eclecticism of late 80s independent music. Lots of creativity and experimentation. As far as Bitch Magnet goes, it's a cornerstone post-hardcore record. But you can decide for yourself.

Members went on to Bastro, Don Cabellero, Walt Mink, and Gastr del Sol. My copy was Communion #12; it's beat up, written on, and now yours to mutually enjoy.

Incidentally, Bitch Magnet are reuniting for All Tomorrow's Parties this year.

Bitch Magnet - Umber LP
MediaFire

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Creeping Nobodies - Augurs & Auspices LP (2007)

I am inadvertently a shill for Canadian bands I guess. Or maybe it's just the Toronto scene, given that I have at least two other entries concerning bands from there. It's not so much that I favor the city over other places - in fact, having been to Toronto, I'd say I prefer the easternmost section of chilly Ontario to its metropolitan bits. And I don't think it's a difference of talent in comparison to American bands. It's just that music I've heard come out of Toronto, and Canada in general, seems to have a mind all its own - a narrow-yet-sophisticated approach that sets Canadian artists apart. Maybe? Or maybe this is all just posturing and I should get down to the subject matter.

The Creeping Nobodies were mentioned to me some time ago in passing. I neglected to look them up immediately, just as I still haven't looked into their related acts like Sick Lipstick, These United States, Martyrs and Parts Unknown. I think there was just a certain sound being thrown around in Toronto during the early 2000s. Anyway, it just so happened that I found their last full-length, Augurs & Auspices, at Amoeba for the right price. As good a time as any to check out the, let's say, complicated, Ex-like if not for the production post-punky sounds of this 2000s quartet (or quintet by this time.) Before I wrote this, I went out on a limb and predicted, having not listened to the album since I bought it, that it had a Zs feel to it. Although I wasn't completely off, especially when the Nobodies' compositions stretch out for such generous spans of time, I wasn't correct. A somewhat uneven mix of familiar no wave of new and olde (Liars, other NYC-related bands) and post-punk influences seem to make up their sound - and wouldn't you know it, they formed as a result of a tribute performance to The Fall. But what do I really think? Dissonance, uncertainty, contempt, anxiousness - these are all words that come to mind when listening to this. Most songs start off with simple ideas and jam around them for the remainder of the song, a formula that, believe me, sounds better in practice than it does on paper. If any of the namedropping in this entry hasn't spoiled your appetite for the evening, you're bound to enjoy this.

This was Deleted Art #24. Maybe it's out of print.

The Creeping Nobodies - Augurs & Auspices MediaFire

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

V/A - Escondido, CA Compilation 7" (2001)

Have about four and a half minutes? That's how long it will take you to listen to this six-song compilation featuring four powerviolence bands out of Escondido, CA. I think I got this for free... honestly, I don't remember how or when I got a copy of this record. I don't remember being stoked though. It sounds how it looks: quick and sloppy. Two songs from each band, all of them true to form and under a minute. Bands featured are Crippled Monguloid, Charmburgler, Losin' Fusion, and perhaps most interesting to some, DisreantiyouthhellchristbastardassmanX. The latter band is the only one I could ever find any information on for various reasons; I was only reminded of this band and compilation after reading a story about the vocalist cutting himself open and covering a venue floor with blood. In any case, here you go: a very obscure and limited edition compilation from the sweaty ankle of California.

This was released on Thrashbot Records and Tapes in 2001. Thrashbot had a website on GeoCities that is obviously gone now. There were apparently 200 of these records made. Sit down with a hot cup of tea, dim the lights, light a fire in your fireplace and enjoy.

V/A - Econdido, CA Compilation 7"
MediaFire

Monday, May 30, 2011

Franco Battiato - Clic LP [UK VERSION] (1974)

A big name in synth and avant-garde, Franco Battiato is a veteran in numerous forms of expression. He is perhaps best known for his first LP, Fetus, a cornerstone release for prog and synth-based music. Tonight, I share with you his fourth album, Clic, a mostly instrumental album touching on a variety of textures, sounds, themes, moods and interestingly an about face in songwriting. Franco's early work is often aligned with progressive-related genres, however this album branches out noticeably. Perhaps taking cues from Brian Eno (for what it's worth, Here Come the Warm Jets was released the same year) and other ambient artists active at the time, Franco uses a plethora of synths and drones to create tranquil atmospheres reminiscent of, well, 70s synth in general. He is not without his psych influence either, touching on psych-out themes throughout the only predominately vocalized track "No U Turn," which among its peculiar bursts of oddity features various operatic voices including his own crooning throughout the track. Apart from that, the album is overtly ambient in theme. Fans of current synth artists are sure to notice similarities here.

It should be duly noted that this is ripped from the UK version, that is the 1974 Island Records pressing. The original, Italian pressing it a great deal different from this one.

Franco Battiato - Clic LP MediaFire

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Venus Cures All - LBS 2x7" (1995?)

Every town, big or small, has pockets of creativity congregating together. Sometimes those pockets bloom and their talent halfway immortalizes them. Other times, they're mostly overlooked or short-lived (bet you're tired of hearing me say those words, huh) and leave only vague traces of their existence. Here tonight is such case, specifically one from Toronto that I was lucky to find even one webpage on. Granted, it was their label Wavelength's website, but sometimes not even that pops up... Venus Cures All formed after the break-up of another Toronto band called Chicken Milk. The bio I found made references to Drive Like Jehu as far as similar sound goes, and actually that's pretty dead on. It's funny, I got this home, started playing it at 45 rather than 33, and instantly heard unabashed late 90s emo vibes flowing through the room. "Wow," I thought, "quick, melodic bursts, super catchy, this is great." Then the chipmunk vocals came in and I was admittedly disappointed, turned down the speed. But not to worry, the record was made in such a way that it's worthwhile at both speeds. Definite Jehu, alt. rock and emo vibes all strewn together beautifully. I'll break it down how I see it: Jehu in instrumentation, alt in vocals, emo in... phew, all that melancholy attitude. At least that's how it is on the first 7". Once you get to the second, it's a little more complicated. On the first side, the songwriting becomes a lot more elongated with lengthy verses and an emphasis on a heavy tone, but the second second side first has a dissonant, Unwound or EVOL-era Sonic Youth feel with a pop leaning, and then a return to the themes found on the first record. Yeah... all over the place, just like my perspective.

Man, I should also say that this record is really falling apart. The sleeve is beautiful - fancy parchment with brilliant golden silk screening, or maybe something even fancier - but it's threadbare as they come. The sleeve just barely hanging on to each side by the corner... In any case, I saw it and thought "looks pretty emo."

Like I said, information was scarce. This band seemed to be deeply involved in the Toronto punk scene during the late 90's, and they apparently broke up around 1997. They have this double 7", a CD and possibly a compilation track to show for themselves. The band covers Mission of Burma's "That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate" if you're into that. This was a split release between Wavelength and Aural Borealis. After a little more digging around, I saw that they opened for Seam once; all the more reason to enjoy them if you ask me. In the liner notes, the band politely suggests that you crank the treble to 10 prior to putting this on... It's out of my hands.

On a surprisingly vital side note, the title of this release proved difficult to pin down. One spyware-ridden page claimed "Paradise by the Highway," but another said "L.B.S.," which makes more sense considering that's on the back sleeve. After an eeny, meeny, miny, moe session with myself, I chose the latter. Incidentally, check out this radio station's playlist for June of '95 in which this record was featured. Just about encapsulates this sound and era, I'd say.

P.S.: Shortly after finishing this entry, I went to slip the record back into its plastic sleeve only to have that last corner piece I mentioned earlier rip... Rest in two pieces.

Venus Cures All - S/T 2x7" MediaFire

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fearless Iranians From Hell - Die For Allah (1987)

In light of recent events (yeah... why not), here tonight is a largely overlooked Texas band, led by an Iranian immigrant, from Berkeley's Boner Records label. About two years ago, I lucked out and picked up this Fearless Iranians From Hell LP, as well their second LP Holy War (which people seem to like more than this one), from a hole in the wall shop after a couple months of seeing it and several price markdowns. At one point, both were being sold for an upwards of $75 respectively. Ridiculous, actually. Even more ridiculous is, again, how utterly overlooked this band is, given their sound being similar to other satirical, more popular crossover thrash of the 80s and beyond, although I think they lean toward hardcore more than anything. It is perhaps for that reason that I favor this band over most other crossover bands, never mind the pop leanings present in their songwriting as well. If you haven't already figured it out, these are Americans pointing out the flawed relationship between U.S. and Iran through blatantly satirical songwriting (see OPEC.) A small step above songs about pizza and weed, wouldn't you say? Just kidding. The band no doubt sought to spark reaction and thought through their music, and what reactions they did accrue:
We were attacked by police, protesters, skinheads, right-wing radio hosts, left-wing college boy bands who were too caught up in their seriousness to get what we were doing, gangs, religious organizations, promoters...hell, Fearless Iranians From Hell album covers were even featured in PTA slide-shows portraying the evils of rock 'n' roll. Mission accomplished. (source)
Sorry about the hiccups, I tried.

Fearless Iranians From Hell - Die For Allah MediaFire

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New Sweet Breath - Go Away 7" (1996)

A quick single from this very overlooked lo-fi indie band out of Seattle. New Sweet Breath were one of many nobody bands that migrated to Seattle in the 90s to play music. And like so many of those bands, they went virtually unnoticed despite several singles, EPs and three full-length albums (incidentally, the second of which I recently picked up, still sealed.) Already beautiful praised in the blogosphere, here tonight is their second single, which is over before you hit the play button again. No kidding, "Go Away" is a zippy expressway to yr skull... well, what I mean is, it's catchy and melodic like any good single is, although rife with distortion and fuzzy goodness. The flip side is a little heavier and maintains the band's noisy, melodic charm throughout its two minutes. The aforementioned blog noted a similarity to Husker Du, a comparison some may not take lightly but one that I can agree with. Really, though, if you're any sort of fan of any 90s indie, like along the lines of early Superchunk or Built to Spill even, you're bound to enjoy this band as well. I have nearly all of this band's singles, but if you're eager, head over to Willfully Obscure and snatch them up.

New Sweet Breath - Go Away 7" MediaFire

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Milkways - Milkways LP (1978)

Tonight, here is a real treat and one of my favorites: the sole LP of French space disco band Milkways. Disregarding tenets of corniness and evidently shirts as well, this mysterious trio, whose members go unnamed, composed these eight smooth and dreamy synth-based jams and drifted into the void. This is ripped from an original copy of the record, which was later repressed as "Galactic Reaction" in the early 80's. "Dance in the Milkway" and "Astroport" are definite standouts, but the album as a whole is a certified gem of the genre, which was as short-lived and niche-y as other obvious European subgenres. All in all, though, if you're a fan of synthesizer music. this is potentially a new favorite for you; regrettably, the specific instruments used on the record aren't listed anywhere. I am aware this has been blogged before, but I am hoping to expose this to an otherwise unsuspecting audience. Really, if you're reading this and don't already know what it is, I encourage you to give it at least one listen.

I should also note that while the last two tracks are tracks in and of themselves, it was difficult to discern when the tracks split. As such, I combined the two; you likely will be unable to tell the difference. Admittedly, though, this is just laziness: the length of both tracks are plastered all over the record.

Milkways - Milkways LP MediaFire

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Answer Lies/Tulsa Split 7" (2007)

The writing on the price sticker more or less sums this split up: "Bay Area Hickey Worship vs. Desert Fastcore." A bargain at any price under two dollars, this split features a bipolar mix: The Answer Lies busts out four aggressive DIY hardcore on their side, while Tulsa slow down the tempo and the mood with three punk-leaning, heart-bleeding "folk punk" tunes. The cover features an overgrown tostada laying waste, which was drawn by Mitch Clem (oooooh, fancy.) Great stuff all around! Might be out of print, but I know my copy is from the second pressing. Don't know why there is a hiccup near the end of the Answer Lies side. Looks like you can still get copies from Interpunk... so... there's that...

The Answer Lies/Tulsa Split 7" MediaFire

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Neo Cons - S/T 7" (2011)

After a long, coffee- and frustration-fueled excursion into the world of hardware drivers and support forums, I managed to trick my computer into doing what I wanted it to do. In other words, I am able to rip records again! On a side note, I managed to rack up more followers just letting this blog fester than I ever did updating frequently - 'sup with that, eh?

Here is a long overdue treat for the sound-starved. I was unaware of this record's release prior to seeing it pop up in a Katorga Works distro update a couple months ago, a fact which I am ashamed to admit given Neo Cons have been opening up punk shows in the Bay Area since... well, near the beginning of last year, I think. I neglected to pick up their demo in hopes that it would eventually be sold in distros as well, but it was my own fault for not throwing the band a few bucks directly.

I did have the pleasure of seeing Neo Cons recently on School Jerks' stop in the Bay Area in February of this year. Mind blowing performance: an energetic vocalist with a snarkiness to boot, groovy bass lines, simple riffs with inherent melodics, loud loud loud - everything no one would expect out of an opener and more.

This record complements those sentiments: six crunchy hardcore jams that keep it simple, but certainly not primitive. I don't know if this is still available (edit: it is), but below is a link to the band's blog if you want to get in touch.

It's May and there's ice coming out of the sky in California.

Neo Cons - S/T 7" Mediafire
Neo Cons - Blogspot
Neo Cons - Buy It

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Here's the deal: I recently upgraded to Windows 7 and since then my ripping procedure has been defunct. The process and sound card I used is incompatible with Windows 7, and as such I have been unable to update. I realize this isn't a terribly popular blog, but I do regret not updating regularly. And as of this entry, it has been over a month since I have shared anything.

So, until I buy a new sound card, this blog is more or less on hiatus. I still get at least 300 hits a week here, so I know people are coming and/or coming back whether or not they're silent about it. While I am still very eager to continue writing here, I just don't have the means to share.

If you're still reading, I will be back soon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Changeling - Into Great Peace (2007)

Okay, well, here is another woozy drone one for you sleepyheads. This Changeling c20 was put out by Not Not Fun in 2007. There were 200 made. This has been previously blogged, but not discussed. That will not change by much by my hand either. Departing a bit from the typical psych-drone tape music found on NNF (no hate intended), this is a great meditative zone that incidentally sounds strikingly like its album art. Layered synths and guitar drones, making for a great, existential evening. A lot of this sort of thing came out around this time, but this was always a standout for me, hence why I own it. This is was a project of Roy Tatum, who has also been involved in Quintana Roo. I don't know if this psuedonym is still active. I didn't rip this because I am slipping up.

Changeling - Into Great Peace MediaFire

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nath Family - Sounds of the Indian Snake Charmer Vol. 2 (2006)

While we're on the subject, here is another gifted one courtesy of Illinois, USA. If you're a connoisseur of aesthetic analyzing, you'll probably be able to guess that this one also came from Hanson. This is the second volume of what was apparently a hit piece of music recorded by Aaron Dilloway when he supposedly spent some time with "a family of snake charmers in Nepal." In a sense, this could be called a field recording, but let's not be hasty; while discussing this, a close friend suggested "travel recording" as a more accurate label, if you really would like one. A worthy release of genuine folk music from Kirtipur, it is a live recording of an impromptu snake charming show put on for Dilloway. Fascinating and enjoyable music.

Nath Family - Sounds of the Indian Snake Charmer Vol. 2 MediaFire

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spine Scavenger - Spine Scavenger CS (2005)

Just last night was I inadvertently reminded that I even have a copy of this. My copy was gifted to me by an old pen pal from Illinois a few years ago, so I have her to thank for this one I suppose. Of course that was long after this Spine Scavenger tape was released on Hanson, but it is nonetheless relevant that I include it. What she sent from Illinois is an interesting side-project of Aaron Dilloway that vastly precedes his current work, which I haven't heard lately and likely will not venture to. This tape, in addition to a simultaneously released "full-length" entitled The Lodge (also courtesy of Hanson), was the pseudonyms first recorded output. Half noise, half sound experiments, half found sound. That's three halves, which is far and away more than anyone could bargain for. Interesting modulation somewhere along the line. You should listen to it once and then listen to it again at the same time and place next week, and then ponder where your life is going. I suppose that it should also be noted that Hanson is/was run by Aaron himself.

Spine Scavenger - Spine Scavenger CS MediaFire

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Brave Irene - S/T EP (2011)

Although the headlines currently tell of a collapsing planet, the world could never be so dark as to disallow a new poppy Rose Melberg project. Avid readers of this blog (all two of you) are no doubt unfamiliar with Rose and my fanboy affection for her music. So you (the two of you) could only imagine my surprise to find that her latest fronted project, Vancouver-based Brave Irene, recently dropped their debut EP on Slumberland. No disappointment to be found in this record, which is a bold throwback to the best 90's twee, early Slumberland and K stuff. With artists like Rose, it's difficult not to use their name as a buzzword to speak lovingly of and promote their bands, but this all-girl quintet pull their collective weight and drive each song in their own way. The label noted the Flying Nun vibes going on with the keyboardist Jessica Wilkin, and they're not far off. Another pop banger with signature Melberg songwriting and nods to her past projects (surprisingly, Gaze are the first to come to my mind.)

I have a feeling this will sell out in a minute, so frolic over to Slumberland and get yourself a copy.

Brave Irene - S/T EP Mediafire
Buy it

Hesitation Wounds - Demo (2010)

"No frills" hardcore from the Bay Area to tag along with the likes of Yadokai and Vaccuum. It sounds like punk music and maybe you'll like it. There are five songs on this cassette and they are fast as well as loud, which makes sense. I can't hear what the vocalist is saying and you won't be able to either. Contrary to my previous entry, my wimpy cassette player sweated this seven-minute punishment out and with not much to show for it. I e-mailed this person to get a copy, so you should do the same. They are playing with Condominium this week.

Hesitation Wounds - Demo MediaFire
or
Bandcamp

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Field of Hats - Ancillaries 2xCS (2008)

Howdy-ho. Whether or not "you" have missed my incessant updating (was it ever incessant to begin with?) is besides any point I will attempt to make in this update. Instead, I will jump straight to the music, which I'm sure you will enjoy.

I came upon this Field of Hats release not long after it was put it out by Arable in 2008. True to small-time psych-drone form, there were only 50 made, but I was lucky enough to snag a copy from the artist himself not long before they sold out. In my opinion, his later works haven't topped this release: this is slow-burning, contemplative drone for the deserted. The second track in particular, "Votary," has consistently remained one of my favorite tracks from its genre. It is a satisfying experience every time, but for reasons perhaps uncharacteristic of bare bones drone: the track is a mounting cacophony rather than a sparse meditation. The other three tracks are contradictory to "Votary" in that they are more typical, although they are nonetheless effective. Still, I think that "Votary" could be a release of itself and stand on its own.

Because my wimpy tape deck leaves something to be desired, I did not rip this particular release myself. Oh, mighty, fallen, etc.

Field of Hats - Ancillaries 2xCS MediaFire

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The One AM Radio - Loose Ends: Rare & Unreleased Tracks (2009)

As always, apologies for the lack of updates. Something is amiss in my existence and I find it necessary to concentrate my time and energy on other preoccupations. To tide you over, here is a companion post to the One AM Radio single that I shared some time ago. If my memory serves me well, this package was created in 2009 prior to the band's/man's tour that year. Utterly, characteristically sparse recordings that are most likely to appeal to longtime fans of the band than the causal meandering reader. The CD includes various covers, some more interesting than others, that I will leave you to ponder yourself. There were 55 of these CDs made. I am looking into my turntable problem and I hope to return to your respective worlds shortly.

The One AM Radio - Loose Ends: Rare & Unreleased Tracks
MediaFire

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Compound Red/Sidekick Kato 7" (1997)

This record is one I recently described as being a "dollar bin ripper," and I think you will agree even if you don't admit it to anyone. It is a split between two somewhat obscure Midwest emo bands, Sidekick Kato being from Illinois and Compound Red being from Wisconsin. Both tracks are an agreeable blend of heavy and melodic punk music, a sound that was (seemingly) characteristic of the genre at the time. Not much else to say about this, as I think it's been passed around quite a bit; this is just a replacement for the record I was originally going to share, which is too dusty to rip properly.

Compound Red/Sidekick Kato 7" MediaFire

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Seam - Hey Latasha b/w Mellow Noise U.S.A. (1995)

A little over a year ago, I started this blog back up on a bored whim after realizing that I had accrued a reasonable collection of music that I hadn't adequately perused. One hundred posts later, with 300-400+ views weekly and thousands of downloads, I'm pleased to see that this archive still serves its purpose for others as well as for myself. I hope to continue providing music and other forms of expression to anyone who may pass through this place. Thanks!

Here is a Seam record I was missing from that megapost a while back. I hadn't actually heard these recordings prior to acquiring it, so this was a treat for me as well. One of the discography's more overlooked singles, this was released in by Che Trading in 1995. The single is reminiscent of their Pace Is Glacial work: a prominently pop arrangement not without the Seam trademark melancholy. The B side is another story, a track that is an about face in its overt experimentation: a fuzzy, percussive track relying on peculiar loops and sparse guitar work. Unexpected, but nonetheless enjoyable.

Seam - Hey Latasha b/w Mellow Noise U.S.A. 7" MediaFire

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

V/A - And Now Live From Toronto... The Last Pogo (1979)

Here's a cool one from Canada. This Bomb Records compilation showcases a few of what I assume were heavyweight punk acts in Toronto at the time. All of these songs were recorded live at a venue called "The Horseshoe," during what seems to be the venue's last show. The compilation is the de facto soundtrack to an eponymous documentary by Colin Brunton. Bands include The Everglades, The Mods, Cardboard Brains, Drastic Measures, The Secrets and more. A seemingly obscure record with a heaping of 77; it's apparently a classic and a shining example of 70's punk in Canada. Great stuff, enjoy!

V/A - And Now Live From Toronto... The Last Pogo MediaFire

Sunday, February 20, 2011

MX-80 Sound - Someday You'll Be King 7" (1980)

Apologies for the lapse in updates. My stereo receiver was malfunctioning for whatever reason, so I was unable to rip any records without a harsh buzz accompaniment. To make up for it, I will try to update every day this week.

Here is a band that needs no introduction, Bloomington's own MX-80 Sound. This second single comes from their second full-length Out of the Tunnel, so maybe you could download it for the fantastic B. This was released on Ralph Records. Great, mostly overlooked post-punk.

My 100th entry is coming up soon... trying to figure something special I'll do it for it, if anything.

MX-80 Sound - Someday You'll Be King 7" MediaFire

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Buellton - Avenue of the Flags (2001)

Now here's something from 2001 that's thoroughly worth a damn!

Buellton were a band that remain as much as a mystery to me as they are to most. For a band evidently doomed to obscurity, they crafted an album so wonderful that it is as carefully heard as it was created. Avenue of the Flags certainly didn't hit me the first time around, and it in fact took about a week of repeated listens to wrap my head around just what about it kept it afloat. At first, one may find the piece amateurish, with occasionally, admittedly predictable songwriting paired with equally ho-hum lyrics ("The Flow", "What Do You Suppose" immediately come to mind.) What I find sets this album apart from other early-2000's indie rock churned out during the era is their thoroughly original approach to pairing alt. country (if you'll forgive the term) tendencies with slowcore themes and Pavement-esque riffs. There is seldom a moment in this album that isn't somber, but despite their subject matter being so melancholy, Buellton keep one listening with catchy, varied sadcore with unique textures and techniques. It's interesting to me how every song retains its sadness while simultaneously jumping from country twangs, pop chorus lines, and slow-burning slowcore contemplations. Avenue of the Flags has a little something for (almost) everyone, really. I encourage multiple listens if it doesn't stick the first time. While some slowcore bands stick to a beaten horse with one trick in its mouth, Buellton embraced many influences and sounds, and created a multifaceted full-length built to envelop you. You know how it rains during the summer sometimes? That's exactly how this album feels.

With all this said, I own every Seam record ever made. Buellton were John Nygren, Erik Herzog, Andrew Giacumakis, and Tad Wagner.

Buellton - Avenue of the Flags MediaFire

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

34 Satellite - Stop (2001)

Seeing as how my stereo receiver is currently in revolt, I find it pertinent to share a CD instead. I think I actually picked this up a couple years after it was released, in the bargain bin. 34 Satellite were a Colorado quartet that had another full-length in addition to this one. Their music was put out entirely on Hideaway Records. I don't know anything about the band and I practically forgot I even owned this until I dug it out of my drawers. Definite "radio music" vibes going on here, but there are little tinges of spacey, shoegazey images thrown in to mix it up. The first few songs are somewhat interesting, if not rife with cliches, but the formula seems to be rehashed throughout the album. Other than that, mix R.E.M. with the Replacements and this is the most likely result; I mean, look at the release date! This is one of those entries posted purely for the purpose of archival, if you want to know the real truth... It has its moments, though. Similarly, maybe you'll also occasionally like it.

34 Satellite - Stop MediaFire

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Peter Morris & Tom Stanswick - Time & Motion (1983)

Another Red Bus Music Library rarity. The dominating composer of these demonstrations is Peter Morris, but one Tom Stanswick provides tracks eighteen through twenty. This particular archive tractors us back to terrestrial habits with impellent themes of routine, nine-to-five and ephemeral time. No specific information could be located for either composers, although Mr. Morris may have been from Belgium and Mr. Stanswick apparently composed two other releases on the exponentially more popular Coloursound Library.

Peter Morris & Tom Stanswick - Time & Motion MediaFire

Monday, January 31, 2011

Niner - Zero 7" (1999)

A long day spent scraping the mold off the dollar bins three years ago accrued me this obscurity. Niner were a band that might have been from San Francisco. Visalian Records put out this 7", and it is for certain that they were from San Francisco. A website says the following about the label: "San Francisco indie. Home of The Cave-Ins, Cosigner, Mathew Tea, Niner, and The Playroom." Information about this band could not be found, hence the entry. Punk music with fast tempos and melancholy themes. There are probably a lot of these floating around in the same stacks.

Niner - Zero 7" MediaFire

Friday, January 28, 2011

Red 40 - Discography (1999)

Surely not an unfamiliar sight to most, but Red 40 still seem to a band that is perpetually under the radar. I just recently picked up this discography CD after having the MP3s for easily a few years. I'm genuinely at a loss for anything coherent or fresh to say about this band that hasn't already been said before. This is not groundbreaking music, and any fan of Jawbreaker (a band which I more or less abhor incidentally) will immediately hear the influence they had on this band. The lyrics are longing, juvenile and rife with adolescent desperation. And the frontman, Ben Nichols, went onto to form Lucero... I'll let you draw your own conclusions. What I'm saying is, this has its drawbacks... but how much more catchy can this get! This stuff will get in your head and stick around past the afternoon, perhaps even later. It's apparent to me that these songs were written while Nichols was relatively young, or young enough to warrant lyrics so painful (pun intended), and probably going through a transitional period in his life (read as puberty).

With all that said, about halfway through the CD you'll probably turn it off. I find that their niche unfortunately becomes tired near the end. The first half is worth a at least a couple listens though. If you didn't figure it out, this was a pop-punk, Jawbreaker-influenced band from Little Rock and the predecessor to a more successful band, Lucero. This discography CD was issued twice, my copy being from the re-release. It is out of print and hard to come by - like all of this band's output - but there are a few copies on eBay as of this posting. For anyone reading who still has this, grab this if you want a higher bitrate; I was able to replace my 128kbs MP3s with this. Highly recommended!

Red 40 - Discography MediaFire

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Alexander Goldscheider - Themes For a One Man Band Vol 1 (1983)

Taking a break from the deluge of punk records in the "to jam" pile to share this library synth obscurity. London's Red Bus Music Library (full name being the Red Bus Music Library Limited) were one of many mystery library labels from UK; a quick search turns up little specific information. However, this composer's identity is a little less dubious. Dr. Alexander Goldscheider is a composer from Czechoslovakia who popularized the use of synthesizers in that country during the late 1970's. What seems to be his first effort, Themes For a One Man Band Vol 1 precedes a semi-illustrious musical career, one in which Goldschieder cut various songs for use in film, television and radio broadcast. An example of his more popular work is below - a clip from a Czech hit-parade entitled Hitsarada:



This LP is a fine, comparatively less obscure example of European library synth. Its sub-title, if you cannot read it from the photo, says "Pop and classic images of space." And images they are, as Goldschieder lifts the listener through the multifaceted galaxy in a series of demonstrative compositions, propulsive as they are ethereal. Upbeat and occasionally sparse recordings for your next trip to Saturn.

(Do forgive an error in the tags - I tagged the date as 1986, when in fact this record was released in 1983.)

Alexander Goldscheider - Themes For a One Man Band Vol 1
MediaFire

Monday, January 17, 2011

Totsugeki Sensya - Chain of Tragedy EP (2011)

Okay, I couldn't wait another day to share this one as well. Japan's Totsugeki Sensya (apparently translates into English as Attack Tank) have been a band since 1998 or earlier, and yet it seems so little due attention has been paid to them. I, too, had never heard them until this five-song EP, which I've played over and over again since I received it. The package also came with their first EP, also on Lengua Armada, which I'm tempted to share alongside this at some point. This is a perpetually hasty affair, with the signature Japanese tone and little hooks to be found. The music is simple down to its lyrics, which were written in English just broken enough to be coherent. It's my opinion that the lyrics are frivolous, as they've been written one million times for the two million years ("We are killed by the system as it stands / Resist the system right now.") Whatever. One of my favorites from the bunch.

Totsugeki Sensya - Chain of Tragedy EP MediaFire
Totsugeki Sensya - Chain of Tragedy EP Buy It

Criaturas - Arañas en el Corazon (2011)

Continuing with the new Lengua Armada releases, today I'm sharing the new Criaturas EP. This is yet another Austin-based hardcore band that released a demo sometime last year that, unlike the Vaccuum demo, I haven't heard and didn't notice. That's okay, this four-song slab of catchy punk music makes up for that. There have been many interesting bands and sounds coming out of Texas for the past couple years, and it seems this band is no exception to that. "Harsh," "ferocious," "fast," other assorted adjectives. This band has members of Deskonocidos and the vocalist screeches harmoniously in Spanish. The end.

Criaturas - Arañas en el Corazon MediaFire
Criaturas - Arañas en el Corazon Buy It

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Vaccuum - Vaccuum EP (2011)


I'm back from vacation, and happy to announce that I came home to a package from Lengua Armada, chock full of their latest round of releases. The first new record of theirs I'll be sharing is the one I was most excited about: the five-song Vaccuum EP. Includes re-recordings of songs from their demo. A very loud, occasionally upbeat, consistently angry round of hardcore from the Bay Area. I thoroughly enjoyed the "blasted-out" (oof), unrelenting guitar tone present in every song; there are moments when you can't hear a thing apart from the guitar. The EP is an improvement over the demo, but also sounds like more of the same (which isn't necessarily bad.) Turn up your volume and give it a shot.

This is now sold out from the label, and only distro copies are still available. Click the link at the bottom to snag the last of them.

Vaccuum - Vaccuum EP MediaFire
Vaccuum - Vaccuum EP Buy It

Friday, January 7, 2011

Manipulation - 2 EP (2010)

Okay, okay, one more. This is the newest release from Chicago's Manipulation, whose first 7" I shared back in April. I'm pleased to say that their new record shows improvement in leaps and bounds. Not much else to say, too busy packing. I did not rip this one, and instead will be sharing the download code version. This is currently available in every applicable way, so there is no reason not to buy a copy yourself. Okay, now I'm leaving. Enjoy.

Manipulation - 2 EP MediaFire
Manipulation - 2 EP Buy It

Thursday, January 6, 2011

On Holiday

Hello,

I wanted to let anyone who may pass through know that I will not be updating until the week of January 16, as I will be on vacation all next week. Consider the recent quick succession of entries as compensation for that, as well as my otherwise infrequent updating routine.

Thanks for reading,
Ryan

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

V/A The Way Things Change #6 (2002)

The conclusion to this 2001-2002 pop series. Great tracks from Putney Swope, All Girl Summer Fun Band and Rocketship. If I ever got a hold of volume five, I'll be sure to share that as well.

V/A The Way Things Change #6 MediaFire

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

V/A The Way Things Change #4 (2002)

Probably my second favorite of the series, as nearly every band is a standout: Second Story Man, Six Cents and Natalie, Casino Ashtrays (Laura Watling!), and The Lucksmiths. All twee, all the time.

V/A The Way Things Change #4
MediaFire

P.S.: Check out these Smiths boots, released during the waning days of 2010!

Monday, January 3, 2011

V/A The Way Things Change #3 (2001)

Third volume in the series. Obvious names are Mirah and The Cannanes. Less acoustic, perhaps a little more electric than the previous volume. Figurine, Cannanes and Mirah's tracks were composed around programmed electronics and keyboards. Low fidelity for the whole family.

V/A The Way Things Change #3
MediaFire

Saturday, January 1, 2011

V/A The Way Things Change #1 (2001)

A while ago, I promised to finish sharing the remainder of this singles series. Well, I'm going to do just that for the next few days, but very reluctantly. I never managed to grab a copy of the fifth in the series, so there will be a gaping hole where it should be. Regardless, pop fans of all shapes and sizes, enjoy!

The first volume in Red Square's "The Way Things Change" compilation features the likes of Jen Turrell and Stewart Anderson of Boyracer fame and Calvin Johnson of fame-fame. There was a little hiccup on the Calvin Johnson track, sorry.

V/A The Way Things Change #1 MediaFire