Friday, July 25, 2014
I’m just writing to say you’ve gone and done it again. This single from The Memories is damn impressive. I can't just chalk this up to luck anymore, now I realize you know exactly what you’re doing. When I win the lottery (this is a legal and binding statement I am making of my own free will) Randy you tell me what you need. What dollar amount you want to expand your operation with full lengths, box sets, subscription series, presses. I love everything you've put out and it’s no accident. I would hate to see finances hold you and your motherfucking records back in any way.
On this laid back jam, “American Summer" they can't even be bothered to hit that snare with real effort, the sunglasses are on and shirts off. The chorus is noodle filled guitars and this has me reaching for Nodzzz, the band mind you, and their cut off jeans in the kiddie swimming pool diving into the six inches of sonic glue. This is that scene in the coming of age movie where the lead jumps off the diving board and drifts to the bottom of the pool in slow motion. That sad and beautiful pause. The rhythm takes a turn at the end but its nothing you can't handle. "Creamsicle" has a scuzzy bass line and those vocals get smeared across the top like a knife full of junkyard-fi. Sounds like an Ariel Pink rhythm with a Real Estate vibe, the best kind of home recorded stuff, goofy but in that intimate place - like a creamsicle which is DEFINITELY a metaphor they make no secret about that. "Dream About You" could be a lost Art Museums track, the heavy, cheap and off rhythm gated snare with a sitar stringed instrument singing about a party in LA. Just like those guys to make this somber light pop about something mundane and do it with the craziest flying colors. This kind of pop that doesn't try and ends up the absolute best stuff. Literally the audio equivalent of a inflatable easy chair with a cup holder full of booze.
On B-Side’s "High You Can't Buy" the jangle has some Natural Child leanings and they get right into handclaps and heavy reverb in that glamy garage way. A Little bit of synth or they warped these guitars right into the '80s along with this warbly solo. This must be their experimental side. Cheap Time covering the Drive soundtrack. "Natural Beauty" has an acoustic? They can officially do anything. Such a wussy song, their high falsetto and tapped percussion won't wake the neighbors. Matthew Melton should talk to these guys about opening for him. It’s all here, weird experimental recording process and sick tight pop garage stuff about the dumbest things that will make everyone jealous. “Wake and Bake (at Wakefield's)" sounds like a great coffee shop. The reverb clicks hitting the pickups and shiny glittering metallic acoustic strings. How can they get up early enough? A '50s burnout sock hop track, I love that combination with the whispering "don't you wanna wanna?” It's one thing to sound apathetic and young, but this is sincere as hell and killing it. They have to be old enough to know better. It's all pizza and video games but if you don’t do it like you mean it - we'll find out.
Get it from Randy Records.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
I've always looked to Kids Like You and Me in Boston to keep up with what's going on up there. Historically Boston has always seemed to foster a unique scene with bands like Mission Of Burma, The Pixies and Sebadoh and recently I’ve even put out records from locals Soccer Mom and Fat History Month. The two on this split, Nice Guys and Miami Doritos are both out of Allston and share garage-y noise and chaos on this one from your Boston area authorities, KLYAM.
On the insert it says ‘turn up the heat and roll a joint, that's the secret recipe’ on Nice Guys’ “Jamaican Vacation”. A high electric melody pierces through the lousy haze while this other guitar joins with it's own heavy distortion’s rough edges and blunt as hell. This blows in swinging all over, crazy and totally blind, arms flailing. The entire band needs a mic to counter the heavy jagged changes of riffs and slow, deliberate growls and cymbal bashing, noise is driving this. Guitars and drums, no bass allowed. The track creeps faster and faster towards an inevitable collapse. Ragged and spent. "Medical Envy" throws open the dank on huge windmill riffs and a delayed echo reverb wrapping chords around metallic hits from the drum section again. This psych arrangement is interrupted by a bashing count off and I think the lyrics are jealous of someone that can buy medical marijuana. Don't worry buddy I think there's an amendment coming and we can end up like Idiocracy. This is even more aggressive than the other track but that high melody is back and I mean high from second hand smoke. Snotty and blown out vocals, the guitars both wade through heavy sludge rock broken up by string breaking bendy solo's. The verse melody further devolves and the chorus becomes more insistent. It all ends in feedback and the power going out. Nothing left to chance.
Miami Doritos "Price 2 Pay" I think those two words go together perfectly and so does this wiry low end hum that threatens to turn to feedback, wrangled by some unknown assailant. It slowly gets banged into submission and the tonal quality on this side is like Psychedelic Horseshit and the guitar burps drown out these already peaking vocals. Riffs bleed together in a lone low end southern metal freakout. Sort of bluesy but terrifying in how little it actually gives you to hold on to. What weird cabin in the woods did this come out of? For “Rush Hour/Piss Take" the bleeding amps and the snare actually break through the crunch and hiss and buried vocals try to hold things together. It breaks for a second and they hold onto sustain like some kind of punk tightrope, how they even hear each other in this sort of Cramps punk voodoo sound is a mystery. Muddy and loud, I wonder if this is a live recording or are they this insane when settling down for a studio session?
The insert of this thing will keep you busy for days. This 8 x 10 xerox was painstakingly doodled in study hall for weeks. Every character is represented.
Get this from Klyam Records in Fluorescent Lime or mixed color.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
My friend Tim called me one night to tell me about Life Stinks. I ordered the full length from SS Records. There’s scuzzy pop garage about smoking weed and playing video games and then there’s the darker more sinister side in Life Stinks. Sounding like walking in on an underground biker party, it’s trashy, loose and dirty lie Buck Biloxi or the Mayyors - RIP.
A-Side's "Portraits" opens on feedback and that empty room sound, its as raw as anything you could have dug up at the salvation army on a hand labeled cassette. Banging away at a tambourine snare bash beat, the guitars are banished to the back of this, Chad (from the outdoorsmen) on vocals always with a sneering attitude, feeling like a dark chant to the heavens. He’s not complaining just letting the universe know he's still down here and won't be pushed around. A brutish force cutting in scythe paths not a wussy surgical knife. Cut things down quick and get this thing cleared out. A punk psych in its hypnotic beat and background shredding hiss guitars. This guy actually has things to say and they aren't just fucking around being drunken jerks making noise. Loose but not sloppy. Angry not stupid.
Just listened to the sound cloud not sure what’s on the B-Side but I like these guys a lot.
Get it from Total Punk Records. Colors? Packaging? These guys don't need it.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
I love when a band is really going for it. When they completely commit to a highly produced, labored over version of their style it can result in everything from Keep it Like a Secret to Before Today. This reissue from The Rockers was originally released in 1977 and were clearly looking to nail this to charts next to Foreigner and Boston in the Top 40 of the late ‘70s.
A-Side’s “I Want To Tell You" comes off like a weird Fleetwood mac punk sound, lots of harmony, but REALLY produced. They get a little jump in this chord change and the bassline is crazily off on its own in the way where he knows what he's doing a little too much, looking for ways to free jazz a near solo between verses. All around crazy skill level. Bass lines flying up the fretboard in it’s insanely exhausting way. Like Dwight Twilley but really aware of where they want to end up. Poppy as hell, a sugar bomb that is even better since no one has ever heard this. "Comeback" has a warbly electric start that introduces a bunch of sitar sounding guitars. The lead vocal is really enthusiastic about getting this person to come back and he knows he's good trying to sound super sexy with shades of Mike Rep. It turns into a sunday '70s summer jam, the next verse bringing in chunky muted distortion. It's over the top in a glam way but aiming for the very top of the pops. Like Donnie and Joe Emerson covered in sincerity. A CCR or Fogerty sound straight from the era, a real lost gem that will leave you wondering how these guys got this sound, a studio mystery lost to the ages.
A-Side (another one, well they weren’t wrong, how do you decide on the better side?) "Don't leave me tonight" has a faster Cars doubled up guitar sound. A hyper tempo with those random changes with such a clean sound in pure bubblegum pop, no part of the garage here, they go straight for the arena. You can't imagine a band with one single starting out would go right to this place. Reminding me of the Resonars or Adam Widener, I hope those guys check this out, it gets almost psych in how blindingly gleaming and sparkly it is. How they crafted this stuff informed by the radio of the '70s and then luck or environment never managed to get more than a few hundred of these out there.
"Understanding" goes right for the typical themes, nothing new there, baby, losing or getting someone back, its all in this instrumentation. More of that Cars slightly manic power pop sound. John Rock on vocals really nails this over the top chorus. You can almost see them choreographing their stage show and getting pyrotechnics involved from the beginning. Like this Zig Zags video.
Out of stock from Cheap Rewards, check the usual distro's.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Progressive rock is not something I think would still be explored in 2014, but Schnauser on Fruits De Mer Records is reworking the form on two covers for this single. It's the first release on Fruits from the four piece out of Bristol UK and they must have something to prove choosing a track from Yes, "Astral Traveller" and "As Long As He Lies Perfectly Still" from the Soft Machine.
A-Side's Yes cover "Astral Traveller" opens on a phaser wah powered wakka wakka guitar riff that fades into a harsh treble organ and the psych part for me comes from these vocals. This could be early Lilys in it's extreme changes and shifting eq'd vocals back and forth across the channels, pure English psych like the Earlies. Aable to hit the high stuff for those angelic harmonies in bizarre timings coming from all kinds of directions, they give this original a crazy carnival farfia and warped electric, dragging the rock tempo back into this kaleidoscope of melodies like pressing the different voice buttons on a casio as it plays through the demo. An exercise in how many different ways they can arrange this thing, some kind of math-psych can that be a thing? Is that what prof rock is? Crisp and pushing all the bent sounds to their current technical limits. Make no mistake they won't let you think this is from any other time period then today.
The Soft Machine cover "As Long As He Lies Perfectly Still" on the B-Side deceptively opens on organic powered acoustics and lower tempo bass. Like early Beck it's got that same kind of heavy historic knowledge and skill while applying it to his wacky interpretation of 'psych' from the outside. A little bit funky jumping from effect to effect, measure to measure, a heavy ride cymbal and massive wah to chorus to phaser, whir the vocal manages amazingly in both of these cases to hold the tracks together in tone. A warm fuzzy distortion extends to the horizon and the vocal washes off into sustain with a complex wah keyboard solo? Too much psych to even sift through really taking every last hint from that history leaving themselves time for huge plateaus even on the length of a single. Thought out and played to a perfect T.
No CD's and no digital downloads from Fruits De Mer Records. Sold out at the source, but check their distro links page here.
Samples of a previous album on their Facebook page.
Friday, July 18, 2014
You wake up one morning and - hallelujah there's a new single from Paul Messis on 13 O'Clock Records out of Austin. I had no idea Paul has been working on another single of completely new material, "Nightmares" and "Penny Arcade" sounding even more polished and contemporary then Case Closed. Still heavy on vocal harmony and his pitch perfect recreation of late '60s psych rock sounds down to the particular reverb on this tight snare.
Every time I'm in the mood for this contemporary psych rock, I put on anything from Paul and I'm surprised at how perfect he can do it. A-Side's "Nightmares" is another fantastic track in the impossible to sort list. I shouldn't even question it, it's happened so many times now. His records have stayed close to the turntable for months now, they've gotten me to revisit The Kinks, The Zombies and 13th Floor Elevators for clues as to how we got here. Heavy, warm distorted reverb strums open into his complex electric finger style and vocal harmonies. The drum sound is perfect as usual, like playing in a tiny cave down the street sound. You haven't heard snare rolls like this since Flowers it's that careful an ear. The whole package is perfection. I don't remember Paul sounding so young previously, I wouldn't have blindly categorized this for a later release, it sounds like he did away with most of the effect on the vocal and played it straight with a slight reverb and taking control of this position. The sign of of a more confident songwriter and it's about time. Delivered in an ultra-pop garage style with swirly solo's planted for a moment of pause to reconsider the welcome drop back to dense pop. The lyric that could have applied to the late '60s is transposed to today with the same results. Making a nightmare sound this good isn't easy and to be honest almost defeats the point. The curse of his gleaming pop.
B-Side's "Penny Arcade" has a warm tremolo electric opening which seems to be something of his trademark; a sort of misdirection so when the track gets going it's always a shockingly massive sound and the harmony is a perfect homage to the era and looking completely forward. On this side he's taken it easy a bit and started to examine those relationships that are just as hard as the world's problems. A harmonica tears open the garage sound and the drums on this one have a thicker, lower end kick because all of these tracks aren't ever overly anchored in the past and consistently reinvent that classic sound. He's able to craft that perfect under three minute psych pop track with loose laid back sincerity that's infinitely listenable. It comes natural is what I'm saying. As complex and mysteriously dense it's still down to earth - but I'm over thinking this in a way that Paul wouldn't be OK with. 'What is this guy going on about?". You have to take time and let both sides sink in the way a good single should do.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
I had to interrupt regular posting to spread the word about an incredible breakthrough in lathe cutting from Mike at PIAPTK records. Mike texted me photos of this ten inch one evening and I don't think the reality completely hit me until this morning. There are five tracks on this 10" lathe cut in olympic circles that continue to play straight through the grooves on the other tracks. You have to cycle through the five 'center' holes to hear each separate track. Each song is effected by the other tracks, the best part being that this could only be done in this format and by someone with pretty intense lathe cutting skill. That would be mind blowing enough but Dimitri Manos, the electronic manipulator from Dr. Dog has composed the tracks to incorporate this chirp as the songs cut through one another and the tracks end in locked grooves.
No samples of this anywhere but this sells itself, a completely unique one of a kind artifact that - oh yea - is a record that plays music. It's hard not to frame this thing and hang it on the wall.
This is a PREORDER - Will not ship until around August 1st.
This is by far my favorite record I've ever made. It is the product of many hours of experimentation, measurements, blind luck, and dumb jokes being made real by sheer force of will.
This is, however, no longer a joke. This is a real 5 holed record that plays.
This Six "Sided" 10" record is composed of six distinct groove rings. Each side has a Venn Diagram of Groove in the middle and a short ring on the outside of the 10". As the grooves of the Venn Diagram cross, they make a little chirping sound. They will usually not skip, but you may need to adjust your tonearm weight and anti-skating a little. Dimitri specifically composed a 16 minute sound collage with this chirp in mind.
Each Great Six Sider 10" is somewhat unique, in that the rings were cut using an unspecific portion of Dimtri's composition and were then locked off into locked grooves when the ring ends. No rings or locked grooves are the same.
Mike also says this is only the beginning future shapes and they get more insane from here. I worry about him.
GET IT OVER HERE.