Monday, March 20, 2017

I just can't quit you (this week, anyway)

Hey! Girlpool was signed to Anti- and they're now using drums and this video was filmed in Echo Park and features the mouthy chick from French Vanilla as the other ginger. Can't help but be reminded of the time Patrice O'Neal said that white people love feeling bad.

This man-trio from Cardiff called Disjoy played their first gig with the excellent Diät about one year ago, since un-becoming Luvv, and made a record in the last few months which is meant to see the light of day any moment now. This is the best impression of Killing Joke you might ever run across, and that's meant as a compliment.

Here's the first song off the second record by Alex Napping, which comes out in May. They are a-okay with turtlenecks and are the not-exactly-solo project of Alex Cohen, who made this thing last summer and recently left Austin.

Neville Staple's not dying!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Received two spring-appropriate submissions from Sweden's PNKSLM (Punk Slime) Records; the first is just about a perfect sequel to the Concretes, and to an extent, Up Against the Legends, about half a generation later, called Hater. The Malmö band only formed a year ago, and singer Caroline Landahl sings with a casual, reluctant quality that one might use if she weren't quite used to being center stage. There's a bit of Victoria Bergsman in her, and possibly a touch of Harriet Wheeler as well. Perhaps this is imagined, but it always seems to be the case with Swedish pop bands that there's a limit to how much cheer they're capable of, and there's a certain cloud over this full-length debut, which is lovely and otherwise boasts a breadth of energy and emotion.

Purchase You Tried, and give last year's Radius a go.


And then there is ShitKid, 24-year old Åsa Söderqvist, whose "Sugar Town" is not a cover of the Nancy Sinatra classic but musically something of an update on the Budget Girls, and--Jesus Christ, she would have been a great fit for Damaged Goods twenty years ago. Would almost conclude that the above theory about melancholy Swedes has already been disproven, except she's been photographed in a trench coat. 

Purchase EP 2.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Warping and bending

Years after he put out this fantastic record as Olivier Daysoul, Olivier St. Louis has put out a stunning new EP, and in the span of two songs he jumps from smoothly singing, "The way you wear them heels make a grown man cry" to a kitschy piece that harks back to '70s funk. He's also got quite the impressive/ridiculous/ambitious beard! He'll be at the Regent Theater in Los Angeles this May, with Oddisee (who produced that great 2010 record of his).

Purchase Ever Since the Fall

Received a beautiful submission from Richmond, Virginia, called Vivian Fantasy, a lo-fi dream pop act and the musical alter ego of Danny Bozella. Serial Experiments 1: Pink Witch bends all over the place, and within it, you might hear everything from finger-tapping to jingling bells to the warping of cassette tape. It even sounds pink. Vivian Fantasy, meet your new best friends, Los Angeles' Winter and Chicago's Warik.

Purchase Serial Experiments 1: Pink Witch


The newest EP from Boston's Free Pizza came out last summer but is worth a mention, particularly as they've just made a video for "Slipping." Berlin, DE is miles better than 2014's Boston, MA, and a step in a more focused direction. It might build nostalgia for a pre-internet world, when lyrics might have been wacky and goofy but totally without irony or with a naive sort of humor, much in the way Jonathan Richman is goofy but completely pure, or the way a foreign-born songwriter might approach lyrics with the limited vocabulary to sing only what is absolutely intended. Nothing here is overdone, nothing.

"Maybe if I didn't care/maybe if I went upstairs/this water would fucking boil/but I sit here staring at the fire/'cause there's nothing I would rather see/than this water already boiling."

Purchase Berlin, DE

Monday, February 27, 2017

Under perfect control...Exploded View

While I might have spent years previous allowing a range of emotions to dictate my listening choices, I find myself craving, in 2017, nothing but music that is aggressively passionate. I want something that sounds dangerous and keeps me on my toes and makes me want to cry out with whomever is playing the means to the message, and so I've essentially spent the last two months listening nonstop to Iceage and Nina Simone.

Seeing as Marching Church's Telling It Like It Is made for a natural follow-up to Iceage's Plowing Into the Field of Love, it fit the criteria for early 2017 quite nicely, and of course led me down a spiral of records under Sacred Bones. Which is how we came to Exploded View, on six months' delay after the release of their excellent debut.

To an extent, Exploded View is dangerous the way Portishead was dangerous -- which makes sense, given the involvement of Geoff Barrow on Anika's solo record from 2010, and the lasting influence he may have had. You might hear all sorts of influences on this album, from the obvious Portishead recall on opener "Lost Illusions" to, strangely, Suburban Lawns on spooky surf number "Disco Glove." Anika's head voice isn't unlike that of Su Tissue at her most focused, only the music behind her is cold, spacey, at times militant, and quintessentially German.

She's backed by a great group of Mexico City-based producers, including Martin Thulin, who recorded the last Crocodiles record shortly after Exploded View. Had Broadcast not already had a run, it might be an accurate guess to say that any of their kitschy, mod, fantastic records could have been the next step beyond this icy debut from Exploded View.

Monday, February 20, 2017

She's yours, she's yours!

I've no doubt that Molly Burch is earning comparisons to all the others: Angel Olson, Zooey Deschanel within the bounds of She & Him, La Sera's Katy Goodman, or any other adorable, quirky, retro, sweetly singing millennial who apparently has enviable bangs, an accompanying guitar in hand (whether her own or someone else's), and is followed by a rainbow of reverb. We're still only a few years past the girl group trend, and this shift toward the solo act was a natural next step.

The obvious now stated, Burch sings the way women sing in Los Angeles at present, and Please Be Mine is the type of adorable, quirky, retro almost-country album about heartbreak that could only be made by someone who has spent a significant amount of time in Los Angeles. But this isn't an irritating collection of same-old as characterized by the adjectives above; Burch's voice is at its best when it shows guts, has a bit of ballsiness to it, and it'd be nice to hear this coming out of everyone in that group, the others. And for this, she has a versatility that could one day see her sharing similarities with anyone from Aldous Harding to Courtney Barnett. Please Be Mine is an easy record to listen to, but there are so many directions for her to turn from here, and I'll be eagerly watching.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Taking a break from the same ole

How often does the drummer come out from behind his or her kit? Oh. Yes, well. Looking forward to the second album by drummer/producer Karriem Riggins, set for February 24. These are some spiffy instrumentals to start with.

In November, Greg Grease of ZULUZULUU put out a gorgeous EP that's soothing, heavy on bass, and lyrically relevant, if not heartbreaking. This is understanding freedom.

"I ain't trying to stay broke in the cycle/We just wanna live free and die old"

"Will I make it to the morning/am I still breathing/or lose my life for petty tickets/
I was only speeding"

Last year's mF deM was a free collection of MF DOOM tracks borrowed by deM atlaS (Christ, remember when the token crazy girl in junior high used to type in alternating upper- and lower-case letters on AIM?) He paired decently, though he's by far the most energetic man on this page, and perhaps the type of guy that Greg Grease is speaking to. Sorry, deM. Last month, deM atlaS put out a new song that has more...chill. And though I admittedly haven't thought about Rhymesayers in something like ten years, he's given reason to reconsider the label and give them another look and listen.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Monday, February 6, 2017

None of them are American

Brazil's Boogarins are one of the better live acts circling about right now, and they'll be in Los Angeles this Friday with fellow Brazilian Samira Winter, whose (local) band Winter is also a marvelous live act. Lots of hair, lots of weed, surely, and if the Bootleg Theater gets it right, lots of lights. If you're nowhere near L.A. or have better things to do, they just put out this assembled live EP and were kind enough to match donations to the ACLU while Bandcamp donated their sales on Friday.

This is an old thing, at least in the context of music, but it's a beautiful old thing. Forever-crush Bry Webb and fellow former Constantine Will Kidman recorded this cover and released it last fall. One day, he'll return to the U.S. One day.

In November, Song, by Toad had the good sense to put out a brief new record by Meursault (Neil Pennycook's Supermoon project may have been short-lived). So here's a song off it. Quite nice. As the label's Matthew Young calls it, it's #not fucking folktronica. Useful tag, as they've essentially eliminated the electronic whatsits several years later. Here's "By Gaslight," which reminds a bit of Clearlake or Doves (remember 2005?).

Well, look at this poor timing. There's already a Meursault full-length LP headed for release later this month. They're getting quite decent at cover art. Here's a piece of that, then.

Sam Wisternoff has made his way through these pages over the last ten years, under the name SJ Esau, and though he's previously made exciting stuff that sounds like no other, he can also boast that he never makes the same record twice, and now he has something a bit more soothing and piano-based, in collaboration, under the name Landslide Purist. Get Your Hopes Down came out in December.

And something from the always-thoughtful Vaadat Charigim, who recorded in Tel Aviv a peek at their next album, expected to arrive this year. If you look closely you'll see Dan Bloch's nod to Froth, courtesy of a past tour stop in Los Angeles.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Tuning in

It's been quiet the last ten days, as we [yes, the royal "we"] have spent our few free hours marching, reading, and writing letters to members of Congress, as well as whoever has the unfortunate task of reviewing correspondence sent via In the span of a single week, the U.S. has been thrown into a state of disarray, and we've already sucked the rest of the world into our messy whirlpool of intolerance and unrest.

Given all there is to be concerned with at present, it seems silly to go on posting music like it's business as usual. But the truth is that we need to be excited about music right now. Art is the ultimate form of free speech; it allows you to speak in protest, to share insight, to educate and encourage further research. It might've been a song that taught you about a part of the world you didn't know existed, explained a part of history that got skipped over in your high school textbook, or addressed a current event head-on in a way that the media couldn't begin to touch. And when a song can't teach you all you need to know in the span of four minutes, it can spark a reaction of urgency and make you eager to read up.

Moreover, art keeps us sane. We need to protest what is not right, and we need to stay informed. But we are nothing without our health, and we cannot build up the energy to speak loudly if we don't shut off the switch now and then, giving ourselves the chance to quietly listen and stimulate that need to speak loudly. The music posted here, this week, next week, next year, will not always be politically relevant, but taking the time to listen to what's here, or elsewhere, is a chance to enjoy what someone else has taken the time to create, and frankly, anyone who contributes to our well-being or creates a product that brings us happiness, or challenges us, is doing their part. Let's shut ourselves off for a few minutes a day to let those creators do their part. And let's continue to buy their work so they can keep creating.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Slipping into 2017 after the bell's rung

Hey! There's a new Pile record coming! A Hairshirt of Purpose comes out on Exploding in Sound on March 31 and there's going to be a tour this spring and Pile's finally coming to the west coast. Tour dates are on their Bandcamp page, as is a lovely deal to get eight downloads of their releases for $45. Thanks again, Exploding in Sound.

Tenth Court is a label out of Brisbane that's been boasting a small but mighty lineup over the last few years (see: Wireheads), and it's really delightful to see them representing bands like Pious Faults, who have the energy to put out a quick, concise, energetic punk album that keeps it tidy, in the vein of Wire's Pink Flag but with perhaps more blatant masculinity. At fewer than six minutes, one might even be inclined to call this self-titled EP a rip-off at $3 (terrible cents-to-seconds ratio when you can purchase a four-minute song for a dollar in most cases, wink), but it's just such a fun little listen.

Haven't received too many submissions from the Netherlands over the last decade, so ladyband Dakota is a nice start. The Amsterdam-based band might appeal to fans of Feist or Jay Som or Warpaint, and they're being marked as "Cali dream pop" (a rather trite genre if you actually do live in Southern Cali, made more so by the fact that no one who lives here calls it Cali). But the Leda EP gets more and more hazy and dreamy as it goes on, which is just how an album should progress, and these few songs are sung sweetly.

New Cherry Glazerrrrrrrrrr. And there's a humping scene filmed in the bathroom at Two Boots.

Really, though, this video is everything we need this month.