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Summer Break!

Hi. We are offline for a summer break. We’ll return in a couple of weeks with recharged batteries.

Still thirsty for new music? Check out our Recommended New Music (2022) and Dusted (featuring the finest covers of 2022) playlists on Spotify. Or check out awesome blogs like Faster and Louder, Janglepophub, & onetwoxu.

See ya soon. Have a great Summer!

New album: Ben Woods || Dispeller

Some releases you have to experience in a live setting to fully “get.” I’ve been at countless shows where I left with a better appreciation or understanding for a new record. This also applies to Ben Woods sophomore album Dispeller which is out today, although I haven’t seen him perform in real life yet.

When I received the advanced stream of the record, I did not know what to think. It simply was too far from what I normally listen to. But then Woods released a short film with three live performances that changed how I feel about the record – watch the 15-minute video below, I particularly like the middle song (Hovering At Home) starting around 6:52. It starts slowly and timid, but explodes at the 8:08 mark in the coolest way.

The short film is beautifully directed and showcases the complexities, the layers and labour of love that went into the songs on Dispeller. Having watched the video, I’m listening to the record with fresh ears. I still don’t know how to describe it though. The press release talks about the New Zealand artist leaning “comfortably into intuition and abstraction,” and “experimenting with the disparate and the disharmonious.” But I’m not sure if that helps. I think Ben Woods’ music is just meant to be experienced – in the morning with some coffee, or during late night walks.


Dispeller is out today via Shrimper Records (U.S.), Meritorio Records (Spain/EU), and Melted Ice Cream (N-Z).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Meritorio Records

New album: Abel Natürlich || Smug

Geertruida, a record label from the Northern coastal province in the Netherlands, provides the perfect metaphor for Abel Natürlich’s debut record Smug: “A restless theme park ride.” It’s probably the weirdest thing I actually enjoyed lately.

THERE IS JUST SO MUCH GOING ON! That was my first impression. Smug is a kind of record that intentionally overstimulates. And musically it’s all over the place. There is a chiptune element to most of the songs, there are egg punk parts, there definitely is some baroque pop to the record – the vocal melodies strangely remind me of The Zombies’ Odessey And Oracle.

About that theme park metaphor. Smug sounds more like a really dense theme park than a specific ride. Let’s say each of the songs has a lot of rides that are all hectic and unpredictable. The waiting time in between? Minimal.

Bring your own food and drinks. Smug is out now through Geertruida Records.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Ross Storm || The Meridian

Instrumental music that is a blend of “prog & math rock, with notes of jazz and post-punk” is not something I expected to like. But somehow I’ve been enjoying The Meridian by Storm Ross quite a lot. Apparently, it’s already Ross’ fourth release on Already Dead Tapes, but relative to previous releases it’s more of a team effort. On The Meridian, Ross is joined by Yuma Uesaka on tenor sax and Skeleton Birds bandmates Jeremy and Jonathan Edwards on bass and drums respectively.

According to Ross, this is some of his best work to date. And although I’m unfamiliar with his previous output, I’m taking his word for it. The Meridian is as exciting as it is hypnotic, and as vibrant and colorful as the album art. These are no bedtime instrumentals to make you fall asleep, nor will they provide a relaxed start to your day. But I expect the songs on The Meridian to keep you fully awake at work. In fact, I’m pretty sure A/B testing will show The Meridian will significantly raise your focus, productivity and quality of your day.

The Meridian is out now on Tape at Already Dead Tapes.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Gus Englehorn || Dungeon Master

The album title and cover photo should have been a warning, but I listened to Gus Englehorn’s new LP Dungeon Master without prejudice. It turned out to be the strangest and most disturbing release of recent times, but in a good, mesmerizing way that won’t let you go. As the label states: “An outsider opus that sparkles with Dada spirit — a playful juxtaposition of isolation, alienation and mildish OCD. Surprising, paranoid, and studded with synths and strings, deeper than a cellar and blunter than a club.” The Alaskan singer-songwriter/guitarist, based in Montréal, Québec, plays avant-garde garage pop, surreal and dark but also captivating and intriguing. I assume recording these 10 songs was an adequate way for Englehorn to deal with his ups and downs, great that he’s sharing that musical process with us. If you don’t want to dream restlessly, you shouldn’t play this just before going to sleep.

Dungeon Master is out now digitally, on cassette, CD and vinyl LP trough Secret City Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Secret City

New EP: The Pagans S.O.H || Le Coq EP

And now for something completely different, something for which the term eclectic was coined. The Pagans S.O.H (Shepherds of Humanity) fuse elements of hip-hop, funk, punk, ska, metal, jazz, gospel, and reggae to create a cool and fun vibe, somewhat reminiscent of the crossover sound of bands like OPM, Jaya The Cat, and Dog Eat Dog 25 years ago. They rock, but also show their funky and psychedelic side. The UK 4-piece – Marcus Lesycsyznski-Hall (vocals), Daragh Guest (guitar), Conor Hodgkiss (drums), and Nathaniel Hellier-Allport (bass) – released Le Coq EP, featuring 3 previously released singles – Banananah (2018), Pagan Pilgrimage (2019), and The Pagans Are Alive (2020) – plus brand new song Cocky. All great tracks, with delicious raps and danceable riffs – a little crazy, but above all energetic and exciting. Want more of this too? The next EP will follow in the fall.

Le Coq EP is out now digitally, on cassette and CD trough Rare Vitamin Records. “Music to actually hold in your hands and take possession of” – not available on Spotify. (Coincidentally, I was listening to 1986 compilation Buried Alive by US punk band Pagans earlier this week, but as far as I know, despite the naming similarities, it’s unrelated.)

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

#1000

Let’s keep this short. This is our 1000th post. Which is kind of surreal, because it feels like we’ve only just begun.

Here’s to the next 1000 posts. And what better way to celebrate by rocking out to the song that probably best describes what we’re trying to do here.

Thanks for reading, thanks for listening. And to all the artists we’ve covered: thanks for the tunes!

New EP: Foyer Red || Zigzag Wombat

Brooklynites Elana Riordan, Marco Ocampo and Mitch Myers make up Foyer Red, a band unafraid of playing at different frequencies and wandering untrodden paths. If you think Zigzag Wombat is kind of a weird title, wait until you hear the complex controlled chaos that is Foyer Red’s music. I am absolutely infatuated with EP opener Fribbe, a song that opens with 35 seconds of a jazz trumpet, but then transcends into a weirdly effective mix of mathcore and tweepunk. Perhaps Twee Math is the best description of the six songs on Zigzag Wombat. Fribbe alone is worth the purchase of this EP, but the other songs offer just as much excitement.

Zigzag Wombat is the perfect remedy for cynical music fans complaining about the lack of surprise or innovative ideas in present day guitar music. For those less cynical, Foyer Red offers a reminder of the rush of discovering exciting new music and why it always pays off to keep hunting for new music.



Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Gimme 5! Nakia & Simon Black (The Sound Station) Share 5 Must Own Records

Photo by Rachel Yas

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share 5 records THEY love.

Here is a love story. Two strangers coincidentally end up in the same apartment building in Atlanta. They are introduced by a mutual friend who invites them to jam and rock out together. They instantly bond and become best buddies over a shared love for Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Love with Arthur Lee, Howlin Wolf, T. Rex, We Five, The Beach Boys, Captain Beefheart and many many others. They both recognize they are falling in love, but don’t want to mess up their good musical chemistry. Those two strangers are Nakia and Simon Black, who ultimately decided to take that leap anyway. To this day, they have zero regrets.

What about that musical chemistry in Nakia and Simon’s band The Sound Station? As evidenced by their two songs on a  2020 split single for Outro Records, it never left. Give Your Lovin’ To Me is an absolute blast, and Things Will Never Be The Same is another killer track. Kafadan Kontak picked up the two songs to promote it online, and the band received rave reviews. The songs of Sound Station are the kind of nuggets you’d expect on your favorite greasy garage rock-‘n’-roll compilation. Fortunately, a new Sound Station record is in the making.  “We’re going back to the Jazzcats studio with Jonny Bell to record an album’s worth of material. In the meantime, this summer, we are releasing 3 previously recorded early versions of our songs to streaming platforms that we will re-record for the album release,” Nakia explains. The first of that trilogy has just been put online. It’s called Down To The City and is a teaser of good things to come. [post continues below]


Gimme 5! Jake Sprecher (Terry Malts, Smokescreens & Jonathan Richman) Shares His Top 5 Quarantine Albums That Sound Absolutely Nothing Like His New Project The Wind-Ups

Photo by Beth LaBerge

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share 5 records THEY love.

This week’s Gimme 5 features a multitalented artist who plays (or has played)  with Terry Malts, Smokescreens, Beehive and Jonathan Richman of the Modern Lovers. I am talking about Jake Sprecher, who made good use of his Covid induced boredom by purchasing a TASCAM 388 and recording a new solo bedroom-project as The Wind-Ups. The result is Try Not To Think, a 19 minute powerpop masterpiece  disguised as lo-fi garagepunk record. Of his previous bands, Try Not To Think is sonically nearest to the early Terry Malts stuff: just as infectious but louder and slightly slower paced. The songs have that deceptive songwriting quality that can easily be misinterpreted as simplism. In truth, it takes skill to write songs that are this straightforward and yet so memorable. To give you an idea, listen to the two prematurely released tracks off the record: Lockdown and Too Many Bibles. I’ll write a longer review near its June 18 release date – spoiler: there are a lot of killer tracks on this one. [post continues below]

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