“The Last Plane Out” Thursday, March 15, 2012 

Damn. The new Gunn-Truscinski Duo album is incredible. An early candidate for album of the year for sure.

  • Xiu Xiu - “Dr. Troll” Knife Play (5RC)
  • Ruby Fray - “Penny” Pith (K) [new release]
  • Joelle Leandre/Phillip Greenlief - “1st Variation for Tenor Saxophone and Contrabass” That Overt Desire of Object (Relative Pitch) [new release]
  • Elsaffar/Modirzadeh - “Post-Idiomatic Blues/Cells A” Radif Suite (Pi)
  • Gunn-Truscinski Duo - “Ocean Parkway” Ocean Parkway (Three Lobed Recordings) [new release]
  • MV & EE with the Bummer Road - “Big Deal” Green Blues (Ecstatic Peace)
  • des_ark - “Coney Island Street Meat” Live at WXDU Vol. 3 (Paramnesia) [new release]
  • Kurt Vile - “Jesus Fever” Smoke Ring for My Halo (Matador)
  • Supreme Dicks - “Jack-O-Lantern” Breathing and Not Breathing (Jagjaguwar)
  • The Doozer - “Fen Drayton” Keep It Together (Woodsist) [new release]
  • Bowerbirds - “This Year” The Clearing (Dead Oceans) [new release]
  • Bristle - “Revolution” Bulletproof (Edgetone) [new release]
  • Fred Frith - “Elegie Electrique” All is Bright, but it is Not Day (Ambiances Magnetique)
  • Yair Yona - “Miss Fortune (Kaiser’s Eyes)” World Behind Curtains (Strange Attractors) [new release]
  • My Sexual Dad - “Take the Cartridge Out and Blow It” Shark (Not Not Fun)
  • Jeff & Jane Hudson - “Guatemala” Flesh (Captured Tracks/Dead Hearts) [new reissue]
  • Lid EMBA & BobCRANE - “Ryan’s Bender” We Substitute Radiance (Stick Figure)
  • Olekranon - “Listerga” Listerga (Inam) [new release]
  • Vijay Iyer Trio - “Little Pocket Size Demons” Accelerando (ACT) [new release]
  • Oren Ambarchi - “Passage” Audience of One (Touch) [new release]
  • Golden Calves - “The Hangman’s Hideous Son” Money Band + Century Band (Woodsist) [new reissue]

Jennifer Castle - Castlemusic (No Quarter)  

 

Toronto singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, Jennifer Castle, is probably best known for her vocal contributions to Fucked Up’s David Comes to Life and several Chinese Zodiac singles. However, she has also gained a reputation in Canada for her songwriting talents with her project Castlemusic. This is her first album that is receiving widespread distribution and also her first under her own name. In some ways, it almost feels like a counterpart to Wooden Wand’s Briarwood album- it has a similar mix of twang and psych elements. However, Castle replaces some of the grit and swagger with a more ethereal folk sort of feel- so expect elements of Neil Young’s Harvest and some MV+EE haze. The lyrics fall mostly into the melancholy and lovelorn category, and Castle’s vocals, sometimes ghostly and sometimes swaggering, fit the mood well. “Summer (For P.L.C.)” is lazy and gritty with awesome electric piano, guitar fuzz, and drone lurking in the background. “Misguided” features some awesome flute, organ, and vocal harmonies- it’s got a 60s British psych-folk vibe that is only hinted at on the rest of the album. “Poor as Him” sees Castle reaching for a Wanda Jackson sort of vibe- I think it works, but that might just be because I love the out-of-control tremolo on the guitar.

“The Last Plane Out” Thursday, March 8, 2012 

I don’t know how I survived so long without listening to Felix Obelix.

  • Estrogen Highs - “Ever” For All I Know 7” (Southpaw) [new release]
  • Spatula - “Adhesive Sky” Medium Planers and Matchers (Jesus Christ)
  • Dismemberment Plan - “Soon to be Ex-Quaker” ”!” (Desoto)
  • Organos - “First Night” Concha (self-released) [new release]
  • Really Red - “War Sucks” Rest in Pain (CIA) [Red Crayola cover]
  • The Wipers - “Let’s Go Let’s Go Away” Is This Real? (Sub Pop)
  • Tim Foljahn - “Song for an Age of Extinction” Songs for an Age of Extinction (Kiam) [new release]
  • King Crimson - “In the Wake of Poseidon (including Libra’s Theme)” In the Wake of Poseidon (Atlantic)
  • Jennifer Castle - “Misguided” Castlemusic (No Quarter) [new release]
  • jphono1 - “Weed Machine” Living is Easy (Potluck) [new release]
  • Mr. Dorgan and Laura Cromwell - “Red Hook Cook Book” Providence (Gutbrain)
  • Ergo - “The Widening Gyre” If Not Inertia (Cuneiform) [new release]
  • Nerve City - “Runaway” Sleepwalker EP (Sacred Bones)
  • Jealousy - “Night Stalking” Viles (Moniker) [new release]
  • Pointless Orchestra - “89.3KHz/Sec.” Approaching Totality (Without Fear)
  • Grouper - “Atone” Dream Loss (Yellow Electric) [new release]
  • Ernesto Diaz-Infante & Chris Forsythe - “Pulled Wires” Wires and Wooden Boxes (Evolving Ear)
  • Felix Obelix - “Gleanings on Bee Culture” The Tick of the Clock, the Beat in the Chest (Pox World Empire)
  • Those Lavender Whales - “Tomahawk of Praise” Tomahawk of Praise (Fork & Spoon) [new release]
  • Kendl Winter - “The Time it Takes” The Mechanics of Hovering Flight (K) [new release]
  • Joel RL Phelps and the Downer Trio - “Our Mother the Mountain” Inland Empires EP (Moneyshot) [Townes Van Zandt cover]
  • Kihnoua - “Less Than a Wind” Unauthorized Caprices (Not Two)
  • Trio M - “The Promised Land” The Guest House (Enja) [new release]
  • Matthew Shipp Trio - “Alternative Aspects” Elastic Aspects (Thirsty Ear) [new release]

Expo 70Journey Through Astral Projection (Immune)

Justin Wright has been using his hugely prolific Expo 70 project to create psychedelic/drone/kosmische soundscapes for the past decade. On this release, his second on Immune Records, he teams up with Matt Hill (Umberto) to produce a swirling mass of lo-fi psychedelia. The duo creates washes of synthesizer, guitar, Hammond organ, and tape noise over primitive drum machine tracks to produce a blown-out, meditative haze. The comparisons to classic krautrock are apt, but the lo-fi trashiness and hints of black noise add a whole ‘nother textural element- it’s warm, immersive, and tactile. Check out “Seven Serpents” for waves of totally apocalyptic Hammond organ sounds- about half the track is unaccompanied Hammond meandering, but it sounds absolutely cataclysmic. “Growing Mushrooms of Potency” features a chaotic combination of agitated electronic percussion and swirling, bleeping synthesizers panning disorientingly around the stereo spectrum- it’s psych chaos. Excellent stuff!

Vaura – Selenelion (Wierd)

This is the debut album by New Yorks’ hybrid-metal band, Vaura (featuring members of Dysrhythmia, Gorguts, Secret Chiefs 3, and others). It was produced by Colin Marston of Krallice, and it features an atypical blend of black metal, Chicago post-rock, psychedelic drone, and lo-fi new wave (the only nod to the typical Wierd Records oeuvre). It sort of feels like a subgenre waiting for a name, and like most things associated with Krallice and New York metal, it will probably be pretty controversial with more traditional metalheads. It took me a few spins to figure out what the band was going for, and there are still some uneven spots (the mid-tempo slog of “En/Soph” for instance). I definitely prefer the louder/noisier/blacker tracks to the more melodic ones, as they feel a bit more developed. You could start with “The Emanation”, which transitions from a wall of distorted guitar into a frenetic black metal influenced section and then back out into a 4AD-esque ending with more melodic vocals. Or you could try “Obsidian Damascene Sun”, which starts of with Locrian-influenced drone, moves through a moody/gothy middle section, and then works in some off-kilter stoner metal riffs in the end. Very interesting stuff, definitely worth exploring.

Really Red - Rest in Pain (CIA)

Along with The Dicks, MDC, and Big Boys, Houston’s Really Red were one of the bands that brought punk and hardcore to Texas and gave it a uniquely Texas sound. Starting in 1979, they released a string of awesome 7” records on their own CIA label, and then disbanded in 1984/85. This final LP was released after the band had broken up, and while it isn’t quite as blistering as their early singles, it’s an excellent document of what made the band so unique. While obviously influenced by bands like D.O.A., Negative Approach, and East Coast straightedge, Really Red also always had an element of the Houston garage scene that preceded them (e.g. Red Crayola, 13th Floor Elevators, Bubble Puppy), giving them a uniquely freaked-out quality. It’s also worth noting that, while the band was by no means straight edge, they had a Minor Threat-esque work ethic when it came to practicing- band members describe marathon rehearsals where single songs would stretch into 20-minute jams. All of this stuff is present here, and it’s awesome. “Youth Culture For Sale” and “Let the Night Roar (With Us)” both sound a little bit like a meatier, sloppier version of the Minutemen, without sounding derivative of that band. “Hang ‘Em High”  and “Nobody Rules!”  are more straightforward ‘80s hardcore sounding tracks, but with a buzzy, fraying quality that the band seems to have mastered by this point. The high point of the record might be their cover of Red Crayola’s “War Sucks”, which demonstrates the band’s ability to stretch out and also feels oddly predictive of Washington, DC’s Revolution Summer sound.

“The Last Plane Out” Thursday, March 1, 2012 

Groove in the first hour, blistering noise in the second hour. That’s how it’s supposed to go, right? Anyway, I got to play “No Sir, I’m Not a Christian” by Terry Malts, which is my favorite right about now.

  • Terry Malts - “No Sir, I’m Not a Christian” Killing Time (Slumberland) [new release]
  • Minutemen - “No One” Ballot Result (SST)
  • Afrika Bambaataa Zulu Nation Cosmic Force - “Zulu Nation Throwdown” Looking for the Perfect Beat 1980-1985 (Tommy Boy)
  • K.S. Chithra - “Vaa Veliye” K.S. Chithra (B-Music/Finders Keepers) [new reissue]
  • Kosmonautentram - “Stolze Menschen” Berlin Super 80: Music Underground West Berlin 1978-1984 (Monitorpop/Crippled Dick Hotwax) [new reissue]
  • Chumbawumba - ” Rappoport’s Testament: I Never Gave Up” Snap! (Agit-Prop)
  • Escort - “Karawane” Escort (Escort) [new release]
  • Chicago Underground Duo - “Age of Energy” Age of Energy (Northern-Spy) [new release]
  • Suzanne Ciani - “Princess with Orange Feet” Lixiviation (B-Music/Finders Keepers) [new reissue]
  • Volapuk - “La Feu du Tigre” La Feu du Tigre (Cuneiform)
  • Charlie Haden - “War Orphans” Liberation Music Orchestra (Impulse!)
  • AYCH - “As the Crow Flies” As the Crow Flies (Relative Pitch) [new release]
  • Albatrosh - “Fifths” Yonkers (Rune Grammafon) [new release]
  • King Blood - “Black Money” Eyewash Silver (Permanent)
  • Vaura - “Obsidian Damascene Sun” Selenion (Wierd) [new release]
  • Krallice - “Inhume” Diotima (Profound Lore) [new release]
  • Gore - “USA is Calling” Hart Gore (Southern Lord)
  • Pop. 1280 - “New Electronix” The Horror (Sacred Bones) [new release]
  • Voivod - “Hell Driver” To the Death 1984 (Alternative Tentacles) [new reissue]
  • Breadwinner - “Knighton” The Burner (Merge)
  • Crusades - “Anchors” New Year Repeat (Volcom) [new release]

“The Last Plane Out” Thursday, February 23, 2012

I think I may have relied on compilations too much this week. Still, a good show for international pop.

  • Traffic Sound - “Yellow Sea Days” Virgin (Munster) [new reissue]
  • Coxhill/Miller - “God Song” The Story So Far… Oh Really? (Cuneiform) [Robert Wyatt cover]
  • Pholidor - “Oyo Elengi Motema” Roots of O.K. Jazz: Congo Classics, 1955-1956 (Crammed Discs)
  • Harlem River Drive - “Harlem River Drive Theme” Nu Yorica! Culture Clash in New York City: Experiments in Latin Music 1970-1977 (Soul Jazz)
  • Lizzy Mercier Descloux - “WaWa” New York Noise (Soul Jazz)
  • La Coeur - “Bye, Bye City” Groove Club Vol. 1: La Confiserie Magique (Lion/Martyrs of Pop) [new reissue]
  • Juanita y Los Feos - “La Bomba Del Islami” Pesadilla Adulta (Munster) [new release]
  • Ringers - “You Gotta Try” Back to Peru: The Most Complete Compilation of Peruvian Underground, 1964-1974 (Vampi Soul)
  • La Barra de Chocolate - “Viste?” La Barra de Chocolate (Munster) [new reissue]
  • The Mallard - “Mansion” Yes On Blood (Castle Face) [new release]
  • Baris Manco & Mogollar - ” Binboganin Kizi” Istanbul 70: Psych, Disco, Folk Classics (Nublu) [new reissue]
  • Vic Chesnutt - “Over” North Star Deserter (Constellation)
  • Sofia Talvik - “The War” The Owls Are Not What They Seem (self-released) [new release]
  • Jack Rose - “Woodpiles on the Side of the Road” Luck in the Valley (Thrill Jockey)
  • Mark Kroos - “The Demons Were Gone” Radio Promo Disc (self-released) [new release]
  • Billy Childish - ” Skip Off School” I Am the Billy Childish (Sub Pop)
  • The Reactions - “Marianne” Saturday’s Gone Wild (Cheap Rewards) [new release]
  • Flesh Eaters - “Cry Baby Killer” No Questions Asked (Atavistic)
  • Opposite Sex - “Hamish and Chips” Opposite Sex (Fishrider) [new release]
  • Des Ark - “Girls Get Ruff” Don’t Rock the Boat, Sink the Fucker (Lovitt)
  • Aux Assembly - “Air” Knife Culture: Buried Melbourne (Sabbatical) [new release]
  • John Fahey - “In Christ There is No East or West” The Legend of Blind Joe Death (Takoma)
  • Expo 70 - “Trajectory Rhythms” Journey Through Astral Projection (Immune) [new release]

Franco Falsini - Cold Nose (Spectrum Spools)

Vintage ambient-psych goodness! Cold Nose was the solo debut of Italian multi-instrumentalist/producer Franco Falsini, formerly of prog-/space-rock outfit, Sensations Fix. It was originally released on Polydor in 1975 as the soundtrack for a now-forgotten movie, and is now being reissued on Editions Mego imprint, Spectrum Spools. It features three long compositions of layered synthesizer and guitar that bring to mind the ambient, gauzy psychedelic sounds of Cluster, the guitar-synth interplay of Fripp & Eno, and the recent work of Mark McGuire. There’s also a fun/cheesy 70s science-fiction soundtrack element to it, especially when the Falsini fires up the wah pedal (I enjoy this element, but your mileage may vary). “Cold Nose 2” is a good place to start- the guitars and synthesizers are swirly and tactile, but the melody also brings plenty of dramatic tension. It definitely sounds like something that could have come from a late-Tom Baker/early-Peter Davison episode of Doctor Who. The other two tracks are also excellent, but slightly longer and slightly less approachable. It’s all great stuff!

Fucked Up - Year of the Tiger (Matador)
Following a 2011 that saw their triumphant, but flawed, David Comes to Life named Spin’s album of the year, Fucked Up return with another entry in their ‘Chinese Zodiac’ series. As expected, the A-side “Year of the Tiger” is a 15-minute hardcore/pop/prog/drone opus. Interestingly, following a year where the band flirted with overexposure, this is probably the most easily accessible ‘Chinese Zodiac’ A-side yet. It’s built on a foundation that can be best described as mid-tempo, pompous, 1980s pop- seriously, this is the closest that Fucked Up has ever come to sounding like Marillion. True to form, however, this backbone is adorned with layers of snarling and howling guitars and Damian Abraham’s iconic howl. Jim Jarmusch provides some weirdo narration, while Katie Stelmanis (Austra) and Annie-Claude Deschênes (Duchess Says) provide melodic counterpoint to Abraham’s vocals. It’s all very grandiose, and even my inner prog-nerd said, “No! Too much!” during my first listen, but after multiple listens it has really grown on me. The B-side “ONNO” is an entirely different animal (almost as if the band completely separated their pop and drone tendencies for this release). It’s a long-form instrumental psych drone featuring mountains of guitars, an incessantly haunting synth melody, and electronically processed drums. I’m not sure who to compare it to. Oneida? Neu!? Heavy Winged? In any case, it’s completely awesome, maybe better than the A-side.

Fucked Up - Year of the Tiger (Matador)

Following a 2011 that saw their triumphant, but flawed, David Comes to Life named Spin’s album of the year, Fucked Up return with another entry in their ‘Chinese Zodiac’ series. As expected, the A-side “Year of the Tiger” is a 15-minute hardcore/pop/prog/drone opus. Interestingly, following a year where the band flirted with overexposure, this is probably the most easily accessible ‘Chinese Zodiac’ A-side yet. It’s built on a foundation that can be best described as mid-tempo, pompous, 1980s pop- seriously, this is the closest that Fucked Up has ever come to sounding like Marillion. True to form, however, this backbone is adorned with layers of snarling and howling guitars and Damian Abraham’s iconic howl. Jim Jarmusch provides some weirdo narration, while Katie Stelmanis (Austra) and Annie-Claude Deschênes (Duchess Says) provide melodic counterpoint to Abraham’s vocals. It’s all very grandiose, and even my inner prog-nerd said, “No! Too much!” during my first listen, but after multiple listens it has really grown on me. The B-side “ONNO” is an entirely different animal (almost as if the band completely separated their pop and drone tendencies for this release). It’s a long-form instrumental psych drone featuring mountains of guitars, an incessantly haunting synth melody, and electronically processed drums. I’m not sure who to compare it to. Oneida? Neu!? Heavy Winged? In any case, it’s completely awesome, maybe better than the A-side.