Every few months or so, I remember to check in on Geographic North and whatever they’ve been up to. Almost everything they put out is worth your attention, especially if you’re the type who looks up obscure releases from Kranky’s back catalog to hear something new and interesting.
You may not recognize Jefre Cantu-Ledesma by name, but between his time in bands like Tarental, The Alps, and The Holy See (just to name a few) and running Root Strata Records, he’s probably had his fingerprints on something that’s graced your ears at some point in the last decade. His pairing up with Geographic North is the definition of a no-brainer, and In Summer fits snuggly into the label’s catalog, right in between Danny Paul Grody’s entry into the Sketch for Winter series and Arp’s latest opus. The whole thing is mighty warm for a release that can be filed under “ambient”, and “Love’s Refrain” is the perfect modus operandi to open up the album… errrr… cassette.
Jock Gang specialize in a sound that is far harder to pull off than it sounds. That’s probably why Women are still so highly regarded years after breaking up. This is definitely more Androgynous Mind than it is Preoccupations (nee Viet Cong), and at times reminds me of what a GSL-released 45 might sound like played at 33RPM. Dig that guitar tone, too.
Jock Gang’s EP is out now via Pep Talk. I’m excited to hear what they can do over the course of a full album.
This one is capital-P Pleasant and now I want to jump in my car and drive somewhere sunny and warm. Molly Burch started stockpiling goodwill when Captured Tracks released her Downhearted 7″ over the summer, and “Try” is the first track released from her upcoming debut LP Please Be Mine. It almost makes too much sense that Burch is labelmates with fellow soft-psych goodnik charmers Widowspeak, doesn’t it?
Score another one for Athens, GA, a town that’s been taking victory laps for damn near three decades now. Muuy Biien are patient enough to lurch and screech through “Another Chore”. No chorus, no bridge, just pulsing bass. Age of Uncertainty came out on Autumn Tone late last month and the band is streaming the whole thing over at their Soundcloud, so go check it out.
Ever wondered what The Gun Club would’ve sounded like if they went full-on shit life? I’ve got a gift for you. Goat Girl seem to specialize in dirgey, twangy post-punk that calls to mind fellow Brits Girl’s Names or Crystal Stilts when they’re on one of their Paisley Undereground kicks instead of a VU bender. Rough Trade put this song out on a 7″ over month ago, and if it’s good enough for them, it sure as hell should be good enough for you. See also: B-side Scum.
Right, then, back at it. I’m gonna spend the next week or so getting caught up on some stuff I’ve been meaning to share, but never quite got around to, uh, opening up this page and posting, I suppose. We’ll see where things go from there. Maybe Jim (who posts more regularly over at Isotria Blaring, which I can only assume you’ve already bookmarked) and I can throw together some end of the year lists for y’all. I’ve also got some work scheduled in Montreal and NYC over the next month or so, so maybe I can get self indulgent and share whatever music-related BS I get myself into along the way, too…
Enough streaming of my conscious, though. Let’s move on to the tunes, people. First off is “Soon”, by a band I know next to nothing about… Hell I can’t even tell you what their name is with any degree of certainty. It looks like their Soundcloud and Twitter pages are registered under Yuragi Yura, so let’s go with that. I can tell you for sure that “Soon” will lead off the band’s n i g h t l i f e e p. due out just after Christmas. If anybody wants to fill me in on what’s going on here between now and then, it’d be much appreciated. This tune rips once it gets going.
PS: Drunk Radio Shower incoming on 12/3. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
A few months ago, I watched Whitney amble admirably through a majority of the tracks off of their debut Light Upon the Lake to a midday beer festival crowd in Columbus, OH. The album had already gotten a ton of hype from the blogosphere/Pitchfork/etc…, so it was a bit strange to see them scheduled so early in the day. In hindsight, though, it makes perfect sense.
Light Upon the Lake is the Laurel Canyon and Ventura Highway by way of Chicago’s suburbs. Whitney formed from the ashes of the Smith Westerns, and while their glammy garage racket would never be confused with, say, Flipper, there was some punk undercurrent bubbling below the surface. That’s now long gone, and it’s for the better. Whitney is, for lack of a better term, dad rock. And that’s the entire reason they’ve found such success. Maybe that’s because a majority of the Napster generation are mothers and fathers now. I can still occasionally throw on Converge and recall my teenage angst. Other days, after conference calls and investment meetings and other vaguely adultish shit, I’m glad to shut off and bliss out to, you know, pleasant music on the ride home. And that’s exactly what Whitney is: songs you can sway along to in the mid afternoon at a music festival. Sunshine rock. My girlfriend doesn’t know what the hell Best New Music means, but she’s glad when “Golden Days” comes on during a roadtrip.
Twin Peaks, on the other hand, just put out the album I feel like the Smith Westerns were always striving for. There is a slight (very slight) edge to things. But all of those distorted guitars are still playing major chords, and there’s a lot more going on around them then typical garage rock: the brass in “Cold Lips”, the Clemonsesque sax in “Keep it Together”, and the swinging piano rhythm of “Getting Better” are just a few examples. There’s enough nods to the 60’s and 70’s here to betray the fact that none of the band’s members are past college age yet.
Stereogum pretty much nailed it with this headline and the phrase “triumphantly choogle”. The internet certainly hasn’t done away with presumption. Quite the opposite, of course. But it has certainly made it possible to explore the gray areas around the Americas and the Eagles of the world with fewer repercussions than there would have been if this happened when rock and roll was savingusall (whoops!) in the mid-90’s. I, for one, am glad there are bands finally dipping their toes into these particular waters.
It’s been a minute since I’ve heard anything from Erik Kowalski, AKA Casino vs. Japan. No worries, though, since he’s about to drop 80 new tracks (no, not a typo) of blissful ambiance in the form of Frozen Geometry. The entire thing will be out via double cassette (good news for you ’02 Optima owners still squeezing some life out of your tape decks) on 10/21, but you can head on over to CvsJ’s bandcamp to preview five different tracks right now. Some bands would call that an EP’s worth of music, but you’ll still have 75 other songs to look forward to in late October.
So, as readers may not know, we do this thing called Drunk Radio Shower where we pick a country and listen to music from that country and drunkenly comment on the music (for better or worse). But we’re only able to do that every couple of months and we enjoy the excuse to discover new music (to us) from varied places around the globe. So here is a new thing where we do a post, maybe once or twice a month, where we pick randomly pick a country, and our contributors go out and research and pick a favorite track/band to share. The dice have been rolled, and for issue #1 it’s Uruguay.
July 26, 2016 @ 01:16 PM
Jim here with my pick for Uruguay. After much deliberation and listening I settled on the eclectic mix that is Power Chocolatin Experimento. First of all, solid name. And interesting mix of sounds. Some metal-esque guitars. Sometimes punk and sometimes indie pop. Some Pink Floyd-esque stuff. Some jazz fusion. And all well done. A really great mix of sounds.
And I had a couple of other close choices. I really liked the indie minimalism of hombre común.
And I liked this from Oneill too. Though technically tagged as pop punk I really liked it. I don’t think it’s really pop punk at all. More indie.
August 14, 2016 @ 05:24 PM
Matt here checking in with my pick, as Delouners rides two chords and some Black Lips attitude in “Family”, the title track to an album they put out just about this time last year.
And since that only took up two minutes of your time, here’s some bonus tunes: Los Shakers and Los Mockers seem to have formed some type of Uruguayan Beatles vs. Stones rivalry soon after the British Invasion swept across the pond, though I’d argue that the latter band had more of an Animals vibe about them. Judge for yourself below.
August 14, 2016 @ 07:13 PM
and now, it’s time for david to make his Uruguay choice! my listening, during an unusually busy august, has been more spread out in multiple casual backgroundish hearings, rather than any concerted effort to find *the* one band or song. it turned out, though, that i kept coming back to one of the first bands i’d found: Laura y los Branigan.
the minor key melodies, soft but driving female vocals, and ever-building rhythmic intensity (and, really, probably the reverb and echo-y delay) bring me back to my college days, listening to 1999-ish radiohead or portishead, or any other -head, really. it’s the music that got me to branch out into other styles, to look for something new that i might like but not yet know; and what better kickoff of a series meant to force us to do just that?
August 14, 2016 @ 09:30 PM
My pick is Carmen Sandiego. They are essentially español Belle and Sebastian. Good for a pensive hungover radio shower (i.e. late summer). Here is their video for Agustín from 2010’s Joven Edad :
The album’s lyrics are pretty solid, with themes including promiscuous Christians, Tamagotchi, and that garden variety subsect of gremlin boyfriends with a penchant for belching the alphabet. Worth translating.
While their latest Ciudad Dormitorio came out in 2013, they still seem pretty active, so if you’re around Montevideo on September 3 go check them out !
August 14, 2016 @ 09:45 PM
OK Sam again with a song for when you and your dildo are just tryna go to the discotheque…