In case you missed it, Allo Darlin’ threw in the towel earlier this year in just about the most drama free breakup one could ask for. “Hymn on the 45” serves as just about the most appropriate swan song the band could leave on. Just like the rest of their output, it skirts emotion and longing in a nuanced and, dare I say, mature way that betrays genre signifiers like “twee” and “indie-pop”. Listen above for their triumphant coda, and don’t forget to revisit everything else the Darlins have graced us with over the years.
The standout track on a standout album from a standout label. I love how the bass seems to spend the entire three and a half minutes here trying to hurtle away from the rest of the band’s lockstep groove, but their regimented Nico-cum-Joy Division-cum-Kraftwerk plod keeps pulling it back in.
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?
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.
Sorry for the silence. Evolving through my emo mess. There is a new Lou Barlow EP out though, and that is a good way to break the silence. With some understated over emotional music. Obviously.
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 saving us all (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.