Archive for the ‘rock’ tag
Between 2007-2011, Purling Hiss frontman and the group’s one-time singular creative force , Mike Polizze, recorded the cassette Paisley Montage. Now, the Philadelphia-based group is re-releasing the distorted tape into the digital realm. Bully for you, because the just dropped track “Gitar Damage, Pt. 1” is the kind of delicious, cacophanous, mess of guitar and juvenile percussion that seperates Pink Floyd fans from Barrett devotees. Also obvious here is some reverence for the likes of R. Stevie Moore and his neophyte-meets-savant guitar tones. Paisley Montage was recorded in basements and bathrooms around Philadelphia, and I get the impression that the tape will have a wide variety of distorted and otherwise fragmented sonic styles. What an exciting prospect, especially given the strength of “Gitar Damage, Pt. 1” (is there a part 2???? we’ll find out soon enough).
“Ex Teenager”, the latest from Switzerland’s Disco Doom, is effusive indie rock’s equivalent to an elbow in the face. With only a single warning breath, the song blasts in with guitars that sound like they could shatter Antarctic permafrost. A strange composite of LA lo-fi and prog-rock highbrow, “Ex Teenager” shifts itself swiftly from straightforward post-psych rocker to a wedge of somersaulting guitars that remind me of Microcastle-era Deerhunter. “Ex Teengaer” is a fast and fantastic combination of two different schools of rock music bombasticity, coming dangerously close to sounding like Ariel Pink being possessed by Syd Barrett.
Listening to “Hawk Bones” by Athens, GA trio Bambara feels like having a mountain of sand and seawater dropped on you by a hurricane. The song swarms through apocalyptic guitars and wild keyboard arpeggiations while Reid Bateh unleashes a despicable squall of vocals. The inclusion of twangy guitar harmonics kind of makes “Hawk Bones” sound like Deathklok as told by David Lynch. Bambara’s debut LP Dreamviolence is out August 27.
Some new soulful electronic sounds from big band Extra Curricular. The band plays live instruments in addition to electronic elements and live vocals – creating a fusion of rock, electronic, and soul music. This is their latest single, and its already getting big ups from listeners. Check it out, along with the groovy-as-hell b-side “Robin Hood” down below.
“Valentine’s Day” is the best song on David Bowie’s The Next Day, and since this is Bowie we’re talking about, the school shooting anthem was actually a pretty obvious candidate for a music video. There isn’t anything as overwhelmingly provocative here as there was in the videos for “The Stars (are out Tonight)” or “The Next Day.” There doesn’t need to be: we have David Bowie sitting on a stool in an empty building, playing one of those headless guitars that looks like a Rock Band prop. As the video progresses, Bowie’s facial expressions and manic gesticulations build from casual and performative to bloodthirsty and demented. Eventually, you might start to wonder if that’s a guitar he’s holding at all…
Watch for the gleeful violence in Bowie’s delivery of the second “It’s in his scrawny hands.” Terrifying stuff.
Before I begin this review, I’d like to file a professional complaint against the members of Deerhunter, Deer Tick, and Deerhoof. There are too many of you. Figure it out, guys. Someone needs to be Beer Tick or Fearhoof or something.
Deerhunter is a strange confluence of things. Songwriterly noise-rock that’s both mellow and ecstatic, melodic and dissonant, old and new, electric and acoustic; Bradford Cox and company can’t seem to settle on one sound. In other bands this might sound precious or distracting, but Deerhunter manages to pull of the melange without phoniness or stale retro stylization. Monomania sounds live, raw, crackling with energy. Bradford yowls and screeches and drawls with the best of them, and the band is right there with him – Cox and (second? other-?) guitarist Lockett Pundt (he of Lotus Plaza fame) lead a blues-inflected down-home psychobilly free-for-all.
Album single “Monomania” highlights many of the best elements of the record: an extended, chant-oriented vamp allows the band to expose its barest psychedelic fantasies to the audience, and they do so in increasingly violent fashion as the song crescendos into a final crashing accent before guitars fade into what sounds curiously like a field-recorded lawnmower. “Pensacola” channels hillbilly rock’n'roll of the ’50s and ’60s with a Dylan-goes-bananas twist, pulsing and shimmering with analog distortion and a good handful of mentions to “the Delta.” Opener “Neon Junkyard” and mid-record favorite “Blue Agent” putter along at slightly lower velocities, but even here, Deerhunter manages to create a pleasantly scenic journey.
Of course there are times when the journey turns into a bit of a ramble, but it’s hard to complain. Even when the band loses their way, it’s still fun to watch. Give it a spin.
4 / 5 bars
Deerhunter – “Neon Junkyard”
Deerhunter – “Back to the Middle”
Deerhunter – “Pensacola”
Is it fair to say that there hasn’t been a more popular time for 90s-sounding indie rock than right now, including the actual 90s? It seems every month obscure records that may have had heavy rotation at some college radio for a month but are now mostly forgotten are being dug up and reissued to enthusiastic kids who barely remember Bill Clinton in office. I’m not one to complain about it though, especially if we keep getting gems like Silkworm’s “Couldn’t You Wait?” which will be reissued by Comedy Minus One this fall.
Last week I wrote about the beautiful, subtle music of James Blake. This week I am writing about the Thermals, who are almost exactly Blake’s opposite: blasty, condensed, driving pop-punk. Blake is from England and the Atlantic Ocean; the Thermals are from Portland and the Pacific. Blake’s music is full of complex chords and strange percussion, while the Thermals hammer away on power chords and crash cymbals. Blake is quiet and the Thermals are loud as fuck. Take your pick, I suppose.
Or don’t. Desperate Ground, the band’s new record, is refreshing in its urgency, and the whole record pulsates with a sort of pubescent urge to yell. Ground’s energy is palpable and catchy without being mundane or saccharine. The band imbues punk aesthetics with singer-songwriter sensibilities. Desperate Ground is ecstatic music, a manic, marathon cry to heaving chests and sleepless nights, screaming out against
The lyrics of singer and guitarist Hutch Harris are an immediate presence on the record. Harris sounds like a screechy John Darnielle, hopped up on a dozen cups of coffee and itching for a fight, calling out posers and weaklings in a manner not unlike a friendlier Henry Rollins. Harris and bassist Kathy Foster fly threw strings of straight-staccato power-chord riffs, their axes chugging along in speedy unity. Though they play the same chords, it is Foster’s playing is more charismatic, less flashy, and better anchored – she and drummer Westin Glass share a rhythmic connection that does much to accentuate the album’s weighty feel. Glass is the band’s propeller, Foster the rudder, and Harris the mad captain.
The record is peppy and vigorous from its balls-out start (“Born to Kill”) through a balanced middle section (“The Sword By My Side”) all the way to its gutpunching conclusion (“Our Love Survives”). The Thermals have still got it, and you better believe they’re not giving it up to the likes of you.
The Thermals – Born to Kill
The Thermals – The Sword by My Side