Monday, December 31, 2012

The year's favorites! 2012 is finally over.

I haven't pulled together a "top albums of the year" list in a while because it's been a couple of years since I've gotten altogether excited about new music. I'm a bit of a luddite and though I'm fortunate enough to see all sorts of music come to me via email, there's something about the anticipation of a new record's release when you're responsible for finding your own entertainment, and it's easy to take music for granted when it's coming to you in droves each week, all sorts of publicists throwing Bandcamp links at you and saying, "Check out this single! Best single of the year!"

This year I was largely underwhelmed by music, but the records I loved, I really loved, and kept on repeat until year's end (and counting). That said, it felt ridiculous to narrow down to a top five or ten, so there's an arbitrary number of favorites here.

Grass Widow - Internal Logic

Grass Widow is at once a pre-AIDS B-52s and a pre-Christianity/motherhood Raincoats. They're an all-female trio from San Francisco who'd sound perfectly at home in London in 1979, but they don't bear the weight of sounding trendy and repetitive. And they harmonize.

Bry Webb - Provider

It was a bit devastating when Constantines took an indefinite hiatus after celebrating their ten-year anniversary; as it turned out, frontman/guitarist Bry Webb had just become a first-time father to Asa (for whom this album's opening track is named), and separately, could no longer handle the strain of touring. Webb has been a phenomenal lyricist and all-around songwriter since the Constantines' first record, and it seemed to me a waste that he'd disappear into domestic life, even if family is, sort of, you know, worthwhile. He took up construction, and then Feist made him come out of hiding. Thanks, Feist.

In 2011, his debut solo record was born, and in October 2012, it finally saw an American release. Provider is stunning, and unfortunately received a really, really quiet release; while songs like "You Are a Conductor" and "I Will Not Sing a Hateful Song" usually got pushed to the conclusion of those otherwise hard Constantines records, Provider is a tribute to the side of Webb that is all heart and empathy. It had me weeping on first listen, and it's the ideal record to fall asleep to. (Also have a look at Webb's gorgeously written blog and read about his European travels here.) If I could tell you to buy one record from 2012, this would have to be the one.

Will Stratton - Post-Empire

I'm actually going to put this in a category quite similar to Bry Webb's Provider; Will Stratton released Post-Empire several months prior to a cancer diagnosis (and much like Webb, is an excellent writer even outside the context of music, a skill well-documented on his website). Though he was healthy during its release (and is expected to fully recover), there's an enormously melancholy tone throughout Post-Empire that hadn't entirely been realized on his previous records. It sounds very much like the changing of seasons --  "When You Let Your Hair Down To Your Shoulder" is the friskiness of the first falling leaf, while "Colt New Marine" leads the record into a cold, cold winter, and "At the Table of the Styx" sees snow melting for the spring. And he accomplishes this much as an aside to his voice; he's the rare songwriter who captures a complete mood through music alone.

When Lhasa de Sela wrote her final record, it was largely about her acceptance of death -- she was losing a battle with cancer and knew it, and the record conveyed that devastation. Stratton is obviously faring much better than she had, and Post-Empire is not about illness. But a complete listen to Lhasa would leave me heartbroken and sapped of energy; it had stopped me in my tracks and forced me to listen, and I left the record feeling all the weight of the world. And that's how I feel when I listen to Post-Empire. It is an experience, and it's his best to date.

(Also, his treatment is nearly complete, but if you appreciate his music, please buy one of his records or make a donation to his medical fund.)

Is/Is - III

This Minneapolis band shares its bassist with Gospel Gossip, and I'm always a bit surprised when I see photos of them, because they look like young adults in their late teens but play with the confidence of, and sing like, properly-aged women. This record is the perfect soundtrack for the quintessential bad girl, and is dark, smoky, and grungy. They also like Mazzy Star, as they should. One of the only rock records I loved this year.

Jherek Bischoff - Composed

I became a big fan of Seattle trio the Dead Science while living in Washington nearly a decade ago; singer/guitarist Sam Mickens eventually wandered off to Brooklyn and started his own projects, and drummer Nick Tamburro got married (sure, I e-stalk). But Jherek Bischoff, previously off in the background with his standup bass, made a BIG ASS DEBUT this year with an orchestral performance in Manhattan, featuring all sorts of guests, like Mirah and David Byrne and Carla Bozulich. A recorded version just happened to follow. Composed is a big, beautiful springtime record, and the songs themselves have such lasting potential that, while the vocalists chosen did a marvelous job, new vocalists could be switched in, and the songs would sound equally as grand, as though they were selections from a classic musical.

Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel [...]

It feels like something of a copout to name a favorite in something that's sold at every Whole Foods checkstand. Fiona's nothing new to discover, and sure, she's tried very hard to make herself sound like a nutter and then dispute such in the press. But the once-moody singer has evolved into a brilliant songwriter; she's no longer precocious, as she was on Tidal, and The Idler Wheel didn't feel like the major production that Extraordinary Machine seemed to be. She's finally found herself, and she's become a wholly relatable lyricist who no longer dwells on her heartbreak and lack of social skills, but accepts what she is. She no longer exercises her vocabulary in her lyrics -- she merely means what she writes and writes what she means, even if it's to say Fuck you, Jonathan Ames, for adding me to a list. And hell, she'd make a great jazz singer, and this record might be the closest she's gotten to realizing this.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Aimee Bobruk plays Swanson and Valentino.

Also downloadable. From her album /ba.’brook/, out January 29.

Ty Segall - Twins

Admittedly, I miss the Ty Segall I was first introduced to in 2008: a fuzzed-out one-man band somewhat recalling Hasil Adkins or Mark Sultan, screaming his head off and instinctively keeping time on his kick drum. His eponymous release from that year, released on Castle Face, quite effectively grasped the energy of his solo live sets, and perhaps not coincidentally, would kick off a span of releases whose styles and frequency would nearly mimic the evolution of various projects by friend and label mate John Dwyer. 

Segall quickly adopted a backing band and began to organize his songs a bit. And not only has his name since become synonymous with the word “prolific,” but his insatiable need to write and release new music has led him to release records with White Fence and the Ty Segall Band in 2012, in addition to Twins, his first solo release since 2011's marvelous Goodbye Bread. While Slaughterhouse, his record with the Ty Segall Band, was more along the lines of the sped-up garage rock to which he'd become accustomed, his collaboration with White Fence helped push his current release, Twins, toward a direction of psych rock that was ever-so-popular throughout the Los Angeles music scene in 2006 and 2007, and though a good record in its own right, is a couple years behind the bandwagon.

Twins is somewhat scattered, demonstrative of the variety of music Segall seems to have floating about his head, and his need to spit it all out in the form of frequent releases. “The Hill,” on which Oh Sees token lady Brigid Dawson lends introductory vocals, is Segall's best impression of the Beatles' “Tomorrow Never Knows,” and “Thank God for Sinners,” “Who Are You,” and “Gold on the Shore” are extensions of his work with White Fence from this past spring, slow and psychedelic, a bit more chill than I'd like from Segall. But “Would You Be My Love,” quite possibly a highlight for the record, is a retro love song, simple and sloppily performed, a welcome bridge between the Ty Segall of four years ago and now. Twins is neither Segall's best record nor a throwaway collection, but a realized desire to draw out everything released prior. And it wouldn't be fair to ask more of him at this point – he set his own bar, quite high, early on, and he'll have many opportunities to release his best work.

Purchase Twins

Daughn Gibson - All Hell

As Daughn Gibson, Josh Martin has drawn comparisons to Stephin Merritt, Bill Callahan, Arthur Russell, Scott Walker, Lee Hazlewood [...][...][...]. He is at once all of these and none of these, and while he brings the old country up to date via Apple (see “Tiffany Lou,” which cites television’s Cops and, musically, resembles cLOUDDEAD’s “Pop Song” quite strongly), what separates him from the aforementioned list is a baritone teetering on cartoonish, a voice he toys with now and then, as with “The Day You Were Born,” which, embarrassingly, sounds like nothing more than a didgeridoo over falling rain.

It seems unlikely that he’d fall into friendship with and get signed by childhood friend Matt Korvette, of Pennsylvania sludge band Pissed Jeans (and label White Denim), at least until finding that Martin once drummed for stoner rock band Pearls and Brass, a group somewhat well-aligned with Pissed Jeans. As Daughn Gibson he has been taken for a musical mastermind, and though certain points of All Hell would appear to place him as a musician who sees the fun in sound for sound’s sake, it is only upon watching him perform that he in fact appears completely humorless; he is not so much the brilliant innovator as he is the man who discovered his capabilities somewhat late in his career and now, quite intentionally, seeks to be perceived as the dry genius. 

The title track on the record is, in spite of all said, a highlight, and finds Martin snarling his way through somewhat macho lyricism layered over a musical noir - were he to stay on this route, he might find himself a junior Mike Patton, capable of toying with sound for sound’s sake and crooning in a way that is unthinkably male, but perhaps more genuinely him. As he stands, however, Martin sounds an ambiguous parody, best embodied by a line in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: “Is [s]he or isn’t [s]he?”

Purchase All Hell

Sunday, December 2, 2012

An Interview! With Juval Haring of Vaadat Charigim.

After a bit of dialogue back and forth with Juval Haring of Tel Aviv's Vaadat Charigim (translation: Exceptions Committee), Haring offered to participate in an interview regarding the current conflict between Israel and Palestine and its relationship to the music scene of which he is a part. After an eight-day period of airstrikes over Gaza, a back-and-forth between Israel and Hamas, Egypt announced a ceasefire; however, Ahram Online reports that twelve rockets were fired into Israel mere hours after the declaration of the ceasefire. CNN reported on Nov. 25 that more than 160 Palestinians and six Israelis had died during the period of conflict.

Interview questions were submitted to Haring on Nov. 24, while Egypt and the U.S. were still in the process of developing a ceasefire agreement.

Choir Croak Out Them Goodies: Last week, we had spoken a bit, and you said that there were threats of bus bombings, which was frightening to you because you commute to work on a packed bus. Three days after you told me about these threats, Tel Aviv experienced a bus bombing, the first bombing there in six years. How close were you and your friends/bandmates to that explosion? Most of the violence has been centered around Gaza but has last week's Tel Aviv bombing created any new fear for you at home?

Juval Haring: I was far away but my sister was a few hundred meters from it. It definitely makes you think about things. I was sitting at work on some project, in an office, you know, with office stuff...then someone said there was a bus bombing. I kinda didn't wanna sit there anymore. I wanted to be somewhere else, with people I love.

CC: There is a lot of debate in the U.S. about whether the Israeli airstrikes over Gaza are acts of terrorism against Palestinians, or retaliation/self-defense in response to Hamas rocket fire. Since you are in Israel, can you explain the violence between Hamas and Israel for the U.S. audience? We only know what we read in newspapers and online, but it might be helpful to understand from the point of view of someone who lives in Israel, closer to the violence, even if you are not a part of it.

You have to understand that there are "regular people" who would really just like to go on with their regular lives, and there are politicians/organizations of sorts who have bigger agendas they are trying to promote. Me and everyone I know, Jewish or Arab, are regular people. A lot of people get carried away into other people's "agendas," thinking those agendas are their own, but I stay away from all the noise and just keep with the regular folk who try to lead a normal life. For us, the violence is a terrible thing because it ignites "big" ideas in people's heads. Those ideas turn into more violence and more rationalizations. You've seen the opening sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey...I don't think I need to explain.

CC: You seem to be against violence on both sides of the Gaza conflict, and it should be pointed out that not everyone who lives in Israel is in favor of airstrikes on Israel's behalf. This is similar to the way many liberal Americans did not support the U.S.'s war in Iraq and do not wish for the rest of the world to view us poorly because of the violence our government has prompted abroad on our behalf. Israel and Palestine have civilians creating violence or protesting against it, just as America has civilians supporting or protesting against our wars. From what you know, are people in Tel Aviv mostly attempting to stay out of the violence and remain neutral, or are they generally pro-Israel?

JH: I, and many other people I know, try to be pro-people, which basically means that underneath all these political powers conflicting in the middle east, there is a wide variety of suffering, be it Tel Avivians afraid of a missile, Israelis from the south who suffer regular missile attacks, or people in Gaza who are also bombed on a regular basis. I think being attentive to what is humane and caring for your fellow man is more important than being pro-Israel or pro-Palestine. These are metaphysical concepts. Your concern as a human being should be to this world, and the people who live and suffer in it. There is so much trouble in the sphere of everyday life, why should I worry myself with ideals? 

CC: Your band, Vaadat Charigim, has a single out called "Odisea," and the lyrics remind me very much of the Smiths' song "There is a Light and it Never Goes Out." Except your song is much more tragic because it looks for something meaningful outside of the violence that really is occurring around you. How has the violence around you generally affected your lyrics or your band's style of music?

It was written during the first wave of social protests. I was living in Berlin and was feeling far away from it all. From what my friends had told me it sounded like some kind of "Summer of '69" sort of thing. A youth utopia. Odisea is like a journey in the other direction. Like a fast forward from the love generation to the grey eighties. It's a song about an imaginative world's end, using local Tel Avivian symbols as a point of reference. Shopping centers collapsing into themselves, Central Bus stations turning into a black cloud that swallows the "White City" (Tel Aviv's alternate name). 

CC: There are bands in countries like Sweden, where the musicians speak both English and their native language, but choose to write songs in English to make themselves more marketable outside of their home country. You speak both English and Hebrew but your songs are all in Hebrew. What made you decide to stick with your native language?

I sort of feel like English is embarrassing for me to sing in. It used to be like a mask for me, I think. Now this mask feels silly. I don't need it anymore. I don't need to be successful abroad. I don't need to be understood.  I only need to remain free and focused and full of passion.

CC: Your previous band, TV Buddhas, had moved to Berlin for a couple of years. What caused you to move to Berlin and what caused you to return to Tel Aviv? Is TV Buddhas going to be on hiatus while Vaadat Charigim sees the release of its debut record, or have you broken up?

We might go on tour with [TV Buddhas] end of spring [2013]. TV Buddhas is my wife [Mickey Triest], and me, and her brother [Uri Triest]. This will live for as long as we do. We are living back in Israel because this is what we need to do right now. We might go back to Europe. Then again we might not. I dream of a house with land. We'll see where we end up.

CC: A lot of fantastic music has come out of terrible political events or conservative leadership -- much of the best British and American punk rock, for instance, came from England being led by Margaret Thatcher, and the U.S. being run by Ronald Reagan. A great deal of protest music came as a response to the wars begun by George W. Bush. If there is a successful ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, do you think there will eventually be less music and art in Israel to be inspired by the need for protest? 

Israel is a shitty and exciting little place 24/7. This war is ongoing. This is our life no matter what's currently on the news. Anywhere thoughtful people live, they will be a minority, and they will make great art, because they will feel like outsiders. 

CC: Your band is part of a community of peaceful protesters in Tel Aviv. What bands or poets or artists should we know about in the U.S.?

JH: You should check a great poetry magazine called Maayan. Also, a few great bands like Ashkara Metim ("totally dead"), Love Grenade, and Bela Tar.

CC: Thank you, Juval!

JH: Thanks!

Vaadat Charigim will be performing in Tel Aviv on Dec. 22. Tickets can be found here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spider Fever!

Currently posted at Your Flesh is my review of the full-length debut from Spider Fever, a San Diego-based Swami Records supergroup of sorts, featuring members of Rocket from the Crypt/The Sultans, The Heartaches, and The Widows. Not only has this become one of my favorite rock records of the year, but giving it a long chain of repeat listens has served to remind me of how much I've been missing Rocket from the Crypt, and while this debut is marvelous in its own right, it makes a great lead-in to Live From Camp X-Ray, should you have the opportunity to sit down for a lengthy listening session.

Purchase Spider Fever

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Yet another by Vaadat Charigim, and a much-anticipated new bit from Will Stratton.

While Israel is busy retaliating against Hamas, apparently continuing a long chain of airstrikes, Tel Aviv's Vaadat Charigim keeps on releasing new singles in anticipation of their debut record, due in early 2013. The world must go on, right? Follow them here, or download "The World is Long Lost," linked below.

Vaadat Charigim - The World is Long Lost (MP3)


Meanwhile, the amazing and brilliant Will Lulofs (stage name: Will Stratton), who boasts several fantastic folk albums (including one of my favorites from this year), has been fighting stage three cancer at the age of 25; while he's expected, luckily, to pull through without a hitch -- though perhaps several rounds of chemo doesn't quite qualify as "without a hitch" -- his family's started an account to help pay off his medical bills. They've hit the $20,000 mark but, you know, the American healthcare system.

Donate to Will Stratton's cancer fund here.

And check out the demo he's made between rounds of chemo:

If you haven't had a listen to his marvelous 2012 record, this is its daring opening track:

VSS Re-release...

Short-lived hardcore synth band the VSS gets a reissue of their only full-length record, fifteen years after its release; all of their seven-inch records are being compiled as 25:37 and released as a double LP in combination with Nervous Circuits. Out on Sargent House on November 27. This shit's real sexy. Proof down below:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bambi Lee Savage returns!

Fans of noir, select PJ Harvey/John Parish projects (read: the ones shrouded in mystery), and Lovage may very well love the upcoming record by Bambi Lee Savage. Savage, who once dabbled in audio engineering and has a history of recording with Mick Harvey (guitarist in each of Nick Cave's bands and co-producer of several marvelous PJ Harvey records), is breathy, ambiguously campy, and conquers topics like prostitution in a manner that is very Pulp Fiction.

Pre-order Darkness Overshadowed, out November 13.

Stream the record's first single, "Oh Loneliness."

Next-a month!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween is approaching!'s time for a new Halloween mix!!!

1. Bob McFadden and Dor - The Mummy
2. Kate Bush - Waking the Witch
3. The Cramps - Zombie Dance
4. Dead Moon - Walking on My Grave
5. Electro-Tones - Ghost Train
6. The Fall - I'm a Mummy 
7. Five Blobs - The Blob
8. Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs - Devil Do
9. The Hives - I'm a Wicked One
10. Ken Nordine - Strollin' Spooks
11. Les Savy Fav - Poltergeist
12. Murder City Devils - Demon Brother
13. Thee Oh Sees - Sucks Blood
14. Old Time Relijun - Daemon Meeting
15. PJ Harvey - Meet Ze Monsta (live)
16. Screaming Lord Sutch - She's Fallen in Love with the Monster Man
17. Subway Sect - Watching the Devil
18. The Gun Club - Ghost on the Highway
19. The Symbols - Do the Zombie

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Vaadat Charigim is being awfully strategic about the pacing of their singles.

An excuse to post more Vaadat Charigim, then. Here's "Where it Ends." All of their lyrics are in Hebrew; I've done my best with Google Translate:

Can not remember where you started
Can not remember where over
These take you up
Then down
It all starts from scratch

Revelers went home
The streets are empty so
Think about it every night
What could
And how to start from scratch

Climbing through Jaffa
Climb it
Scared of something you forgot
Then he remembered
Forgot where it ends

Gospel Gossip - Atlantic Blue

This is the most marvelous release to arrive in my inbox this week. Gospel Gossip is a Minnesota-based trio resembling the good stuff that came out of the early '90s. Frontlady Sarah Nienaber recalls a young Aimee Mann, and several years prior, with the Drift EP of 2009, helped make Gospel Gossip something of a hark back to Tanya Donnelly-fronted Belly, this wonderful mess of guitar thrash and drone at once, all the beauty of Nienaber's feminine vocals balanced by crushing drums. Gospel Gossip would've fit beautifully on a playlist in 1993.

Drift was more of a rock release than the Atlantic Blue EP, which is reverb-heavy and quite dreamy, the appropriate shoegaze soundtrack to what could be one of several fond memories. It is the romanticism of Orange Juice with the backbone of Throwing Muses, and would serve well as the setting for the final dance of the night at that shitty, shitty prom you've been weeping through. Oh, the emotion this music stirs!

The best part of Gospel Gossip? Nienaber is also the bass player for Is/Is, another band for whom I've declared my love on this very site. As for the other guys, for what it's worth, their drummer's a web developer by day, and their bass player is, so the story goes, a silver fox.

What's missing from this performance?

Oh! Now I remember. Sexual Chocolate, where have you gone?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Marika Hackman - Lithium

Marika Hackman is an unbearably young British singer-songwriter with a free EP of covers currently available on her personal website. This Nirvana cover is so wrong, and won't appeal to original fans, but it is well done and very much of the present (read: there are many artists out there who sound just like her. But she's achieved what she's sought to achieve.). Her EP also features a nicely done cover of Dusty Springfield's "Spooky," and might appeal to fans of Sarah Blasko or Emiliana Torrini.

Also, she's yet to become well-known in the U.S. and she's already hawking Burberry shit in the UK.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Crash and the Coots!

This is so strange.

And it came from this.

English label Heart Throb records will be releasing their debut cassette, the John Coles Park EP, on October 15, as well as a digital version on October 29. It's available fuckin' now.

The Baaaaabies.

New track out by the Babies (still apparently known as "that side project of Cassie Ramone from Vivian Girls"). Second record Our House on the Hill will be out on November 13, and there's a TOUR (!) to follow.

Nov 13 - Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory
Nov 14 - New Haven -  CTBAR
Nov 15 - Montreal QC - Il Motore
Nov 16 - Toronto, ON - Silver Dollar
Nov 17 - Detroit, MI - Garden Bowl
Nov 18 - Chicago, IL - Schuba's
Nov 20 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th St Entry
Nov 21 - Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews
Nov 23 - Kansas City, MO - Riot Room
Nov 24 - Denver, CO - Hi Dive
Nov 25 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
Nov 26 - Boise, ID - Neurolux
Nov 28 - Portland, OR - Holocene
Nov 29 - Vancouver, BC - Media Club
Nov 30 - Seattle, WA - TBD
Dec 01 - Olympia, WA - The Northern
Dec 03 - Reno, CA - Holland Project
Dec 05 - Oakland, CA - 1-2-3-4 Go Records
Dec 06 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
Dec 07 - Santa Cruz, CA - Crepe Place
Dec 09 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
Dec 10 - San Diego, CA - Soda Bar
Dec 12 - El Paso, TX - Lowbrow Saloon
Dec 14 - Austin, TX - The Mohawk
Dec 15 - Dallas, TX - Bryan St Tavern
Dec 16 - Memphis, TN - Hi Tone Cafe
Dec 17 - Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
Dec 18 - Atlanta, GA - 529
Dec 19 - Durham, NC - The Pinhook
Dec 20 - Richmond, VA - Strange Matter
Dec 21 - Washington, DC - Comet Ping Pong
Dec 22 - Philadelphia, PA - TBD

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lazily describing the Zig Zags.

The Zig Zags recently came to L.A., and they've got a brand spankin' new seven-inch out for "Monster Wizard," which you can hear above and purchase here. It's a limited release of 300. The lazy thing to do would be to compare them to the Stooges and MC5, but I'd like to go out on a limb and describe them as mid-'70s-style, guitar-driven stoner rock. Will also please fans of Oneida and the Melvins.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vaadat Charigim - Witches and Demos

Another beauty from Vaadat Charigim, out of Tel Aviv. Every blogger under the sun is attempting to make sense of their Hebrew lyrics via Google Translate, myself included, but the band's best quality is that they're able to capture a mood even in spite of any wall in communication between speakers and non-speakers of the language. And that is why I will promote the hell out of anything they release.

That said - while they don't capture that vibrant, romantic '80s quality of those previously posted tracks, here are their demos:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cat Power - Sun

My review of the newest Cat Power record has been posted at Your Flesh, and friends, it must be said that Sun is both marvelous and a great change of pace for Chan Marshall. While I'm not wild about the awkward transition in tracks that concludes the record (and yes, I know we indie folk have a tendency to praise any efforts of genre fusion as though it's never been done), the album is overall a musical experiment gone right, as well as a demonstration of self- and world-awareness. Really do recommend it.


Order a bundle from FatCat!

Don't forget to register to vote! And make sure your ID is current!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Average news pertaining to the Twilight Sad.

I'm sorry. I despise remixes so, so much, and this Liars remix of the Twilight Sad's "Nil" is no exception, much as I love both in their own right.

But I'm posting this to let you know of the Twilight Sad remix album arriving November 20 on FatCat.

The tracklist for the album is as follows:

1. Sick (Brokenchord Remix)
2. Sick (Com Truise Remix)
3. Nil (Liars Remix)
4. Not Sleeping (Tom Furse Dub mix)
5. Alphabet (Instrumental) (JD Twitch/ Optimo Remix)
6. Not Sleeping (Warsnare Remix)
7. Nil (Breton Remix)
8. Alphabet (Ambassadeurs Remix)
9. Sick (Brokenchord Remix 2)

I'm also posting this to lead into a mention of their upcoming tour with Errors, which unfortunately does not include the west coast...

11/5  - New York, NY:  Music Hall of Williamsburg
11/6 - Hamden, CT: The Space
11/7 - Philadelphia, PA: Johnny Brenda's
11/8 - Washington, DC: The Rock and Roll Hotel
11/9 - Durham, NC: Casbah
11/10 - Atlanta, GA: The Masquerade - Hell
11/13 - Austin, TX: Red 7
11/14 - Dallas, TX: Club Dada
111/5 - Kansas City, MO: Record Bar
11/16 - Chicago, IL: Empty Bottle
11/17 - Cleveland, OH: Grog Shop
11/18 - Toronto, ON: Horseshoe Tavern
11/20 - Alston, MA: Great Scott

Micachu's coming!

Micachu and the Shapes

Moon Pearl, Sara Lov

Sun, September 23, 2012

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Bootleg Bar - Los Angeles

Monday, September 17, 2012

Beware! 2012 will be the year of thee yikes.

Happy Tuesday, friends. Today, I've got a track by Philadelphia's LE Yikes SURF CLUB, fronted by Gary Viteri (of Dirty Tactics, who would've fared quite well in 2004 but showed up a bit late). LE Yikes SURF CLUB is a fast and dirty garage rock band that, in all truth, resembles numerous others from the last five or six years, a trend surely aided by the initial excitement of Black Lips' arrival an approximate decade ago.

They've got this new EP out, Yikes, and it consists of rock n' roll that's well-suited to Viteri's youthful nag -- lo-fi and quick, with an intro borrowed from Joy Division's "Shadowplay" ("No Thanks") and a carefree energy that could just as easily be demonstrative of origins in Los Angeles or San Diego as Philly. Unfortunately, everyone's gonna try to compare them to Fidlar.

Purchase a limited edition cassette and CD pairing for $5.50! Limited pressing of 100, and includes stickers and buttons.

You don't like things that stick to other things? The digital album is available here.


New Wanda! Out October 9! Pre-order here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Decent band. Terrible name. See them on tour!

09/14  Austin, TX @ Red 7 *
09/15  San Antonio, TX @ The Ten Eleven *
09/16  El Paso, TX @ Low Brow Palace *
09/17  Tempe, AZ @ Rogue Bar *
09/18  Phoenix, AZ @ Revolver Records *
09/19  Los Angeles, CA @ Silverlake Lounge *
09/20  San Diego, CA @ Bar Pink *
09/22  Oakland, CA @ 1234 Records *
09/23  San Francisco, CA @ Milk Bar *
09/25  Eugene, OR @ TBA *
09/26  Portland, OR @ Boom Bap *
09/28  Portland, OR @ The Know *
09/29  Spokane, WA @ Mootsy's *
09/30  Missoula, MT @ Zoo City Apparel *
10/01  Boise, ID @ The Crux *
10/02  Salt Lake City, UT @ The Shred Shed *
10/03  Albuquerque, NM @ Winning Coffee *
10/04  Norman, OK @ The Deli *
10/05  Ft. Worth, TX @ Lola's *

* w/ Feuding Fathers

Redd Kross - Researching the Blues

Your Flesh recently posted my review of the newest Redd Kross record; these guys are cheery and make for a funny interview, but in sum, Researching the Blues somewhat suffers from Kate Bush Syndrome. What is this, you ask? Kate Bush took a long hiatus between The Red Shoes and Aerial, and given such, Aerial was a decent record but sounded dated because it picked up in 2005 where her 1993 record had left off. The fifteen-year difference between the last two Redd Kross album mimics this issue quite thoroughly. Researching the Blues is a fun record, surely, but...well, compare them to what they once were, and to what music was in 1997.

What they are:

What they once were (gripe I might, but dare to call this anything less than perfect):

PAWS. Me-ow.

More good things from the other side of the world! FatCat, known for signing marvelous Scottish bands, has recently acquired the Glasgow band PAWS, and PAWS not only have a debut record coming out on October 9 (look for the LP Cokefloat!), but they've got a couple live sessions that are readily available for viewing. The first is a new FatCat session and the second is a Toad session, recorded an approximate year ago by Matthew over at Song, by Toad. Matthew's been slowly building an empire from within his home, and PAWS complemented his fireplace façade quite nicely.

Vaadat Charigim/Exceptions Committee

Very recently received a submission called "Odisea," the newest single off what will be a debut record from Vaadat Charigim, of Tel Aviv. It's 80s-tacular and will appeal to fans of Slumberland Records, or perhaps bands like Crocodiles, the Smiths, or Echo and the Bunnymen.

Given such, it should be said that Vaadat Charigim follow the 1980s New Romantic tradition of following tragedy with poetry. The world is doomed? Let us close our eyes and kiss the world goodbye! It's cliche, and it's beautiful. They make what many bands in the U.S. and U.K. have been making for years, but they've got a better sense of humor.

Presumably, most of you don't speak Hebrew - luckily, the band had the foresight to send along a translation of their lyrics, so here they shall be included:

When the missles will fall in the streets of Tel Aviv
What will we wear
And what music will we be into
And how will we pass the time till then?

When the shopping mall will collapse into intself
And the city within a city will fade with it

Please, please, please, please, kiss me at the end of the world

When the missles will fall on central station,
The black city will rise in the air
And swallow the white

If we are all doomed to die in a giant blast wave
Let's live today as if it's yesterday

Please, please, please, please, kiss me at the end of the world

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Ariel Pink!

Eight years ago, Ariel Pink was the weirdo that Animal Collective had "discovered," the guy who probably could've gotten a job with Cinefamily, sifting through odd tapes and merging them in whatever ways he deemed fit. Before that, he was Ariel Rosenberg, a Jewish kid growing up in Pico-Robertson, listening to Bauhaus and allegedly relishing life as a loner at Beverly Hills High. Now he seems to be an "it-guy" in Los Angeles. Even NPR cares! Only took him till his mid-30s.

Remember Pink's odd live appearance in 2009?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Melvins - Freak Puke

Why, hello. I've got a review of that swell Melvins Lite record that came out at the start of summer posted at Your Flesh; it's quite nice, even jazzy, and a welcome break from standard Melvins fare. Which I like. But, you know. And other inarticulate things.

They're coming to your state! No, really - they're touring for 51 days straight, one show in each state plus Washington, D.C., starting with Anchorage, Alaska on September 5. Check all tour dates here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Support Letha Rodman Melchior's recovery!

Hi, friends. Today I'm sharing the text from an untouched press release because it's worded better than anything I'd be able to say about the situation at hand. There's a marvelous musician named Dan Melchior (he once made a pretty swell album with Holly Golightly, for one). Melchior's wife Letha, a musician in her own right, wound up with a bout of cancer two years ago, and because she lacks health insurance, she's relied on donations and the proceeds of benefit concerts to support her medical bills. Yes, there are artists of all types who've relied on donations when they couldn't afford health insurance and found themselves ill - comedian Rick Shapiro and Gossip frontwoman Beth Ditto, for two. And yes, if there were ever a case for a government-funded health care system in the U.S., or at very least, the healthcare subsidies that are going to take effect in 2014, this is it.

But this isn't about politics. Dan Melchior has an album coming out September 11 on Northern Spy, and Northern Spy will be donating all proceeds of the album's first pressing to the couple in support of their bills and her medical expenses. Not only would it help ensure the treatment necessary for her recovery, but Dan Melchior's a solid musician, so I'd be suggesting that you buy this record even if it weren't for his wife's cause.

Follow Letha's cancer progress and treatment by visiting her blog. As of July 17, she'd written that her cancer was thus far in her chest, lungs, and possibly her small intestine. She is also being treated for a more recently found brain tumor. In other words, she needs all the funding she can get for any sort of treatment she can get.

Please help by donating to the Melchior PayPal fund. They've got a lot of people behind them, rooting for Letha.

Purchase The Backward Path.

From Northern Spy:

No one chooses when to get sick. If we could, most of us would be better off getting sick in 2014.

Our dear friend, artist and composer Letha Rodman Melchior was diagnosed with breast cancer and melanoma in 2010, and the drug trials she needs to stay alive are not covered by her insurance. She can’t afford to get the care her doctors are prescribing and for thousands of Americans with serious illness this is the reality--the choice between putting your family into massive debt or going without the treatments that may save you. In 2014, when The Affordable Care Act goes into effect, not only will health care providers be required to stop denying people better health coverage because of pre-existing conditions, but they’ll also be required to pay for the exact drug trials Letha is being subscribed. While the politicians debate about repealing the already lacking support systems for the poor, people’s lives are falling through the cracks. Actually, Letha is one of the lucky ones. The artist community around her has stepped up with countless benefit concerts and financial donations so she could get by financially up until now, and that makes us wonder what it is like for people that aren’t semi-famous underground artist-types.

It turns out that Letha’s husband is famous too. Guitarist and composer Dan Melchior has put out more records than anyone we know and if you don’t know who he is, then you’re either in your early twenties or way too mainstream to be reading this press release. Dan quit his day job to take care of Letha two years ago and since then it’s been just the two of them and their parakeet Glen shacked up in a little house in Durham, North Carolina trying to heal. Between countless trips to the doctor, Dan has managed to record some new music and even has a new record coming out on Northern Spy September 11th that is dedicated to his wife. It’s called The Backward Path and the album is an outright, unapologetic love letter--as moving a love letter as you have ever read. The songs show Dan in the depth of longing, longing for sleep, peace and health to come to his life again. A ton of amazing musicians helped make the album too. C. Spencer Yeh plays some violin on it. Haley L. Fohr from Circuit des Yeux sings, Anthony Allman from Dan’s Un das Menace band plays some keyboards, Ela Orleans adds some vocals, keyboards and guitar, and Sam Hillmer from Zs screams his saxophone over the top.

Northern Spy is donating all profits from the sale of the first pressing of The Backward Path to help pay for Letha’s ongoing health care costs and we hope to sell a lot of them. You can help by buying one, right now. Tell everybody you know to buy one too.

You can also send donations directly to Letha here, or if you are looking for tax-deduction, our sister company, the not-for-profit Jump Arts is also taking donations for Letha’s recovery. Make your tax-deductible donation by credit card here or send a check to Jump Arts - 39 Hawthorne Street, Brooklyn, NY 11225. Jump Arts is registered with the Department of Charities and is a 501 (c) 3 tax exempt organization that supports artists in their personal and professional development. All funds collected go directly to Letha or to paying her medical bills.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Osian Rhys

Received a gorgeous track by Welsh singer-songwriter Osian Rhys this week; "A oes 'na le (i oeri gwres fy nghalon)" is the B-side to Rhys' debut single, called "Long Time Gone," which will be out on Backwater Records on August 24. Unfortunately, I can't make much sense of Welsh, and Google Translate tells me that the title translates to "Is There a Place (to Cool the Heat of My Heart)," so I'll take it. Also quite unfortunately, there's little, so little on Rhys (even his label's got nothing listed), that all I can do is let you know that this pair of fantastic songs exists, and that Rhys will be touring the UK following the release of his single.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm throwing some videos at you!

New Soft Pack album comes out September 25!

Brand new Animal Raps video. A bunny! Sexy nipples. Sexy carrots. A bunny!

Bloods sound like every other band that's made garage rock in the last 45 years but the stuff never becomes unfun.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Meursault!

New Meursault single came out and it's BEAUUUUUTIFUL. Order their third studio album, Something for the Weakened, at Song, By Toad.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bill Nye would've had a field day with this guy.

Craft Spells - Gallery

While I’m wont to complain that Gallery is a mere continuation of 2011′s mediocre debut, Idle Labor, it’s miles better, in fact, tearing away from the band’s imitation of the faux glamour and tired beats that ran rampant in the 80s, instead delving into the dreamy new romantic quality of pop that, well, ran rampant in the 80s. The 1980s have been back since, what, 2003? And they refuse to go away, thanks to bands like Craft Spells, who are young enough to have missed both the original decade and the first wave of the revival, and want to get in on romanticizing a period when it was cool to be flashy and rich and a little verbose, and sort out all the features on your keyboard.
Craft Spells’ full-length would’ve fared better using songs like “From the Morning Heat” or “You Should Close the Door” as jumping points, each founded in early shoegaze, or pop music typical of the Slumberland label. Instead, it resembled, for the most part, an amateur experiment in sounding lonely and British. But Gallery finds core member Justin Vallesteros doing his best New Order with songs that are catchy, lush, consistent in tempo. The lack of a live drummer makes this recording little more than a dreamy wall of sound with no real high or low, and though the potential for dullness is there, this quality makes the collection fluid and consistently of a particular mood. He’s a few years behind on his trend, and at this point it would be refreshing to find a band that doesn’t regurgitate the highlights of another decade, but to his credit, Vallesteros was still in high school when the 80s made their comeback in music, and in catching up, he regurgitates the decade well.

(Original post:

Craft Spells - Still Left With Me
Purchase Gallery

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Psychic Paramount is coming!

Holy shit! The Psychic Paramount's finally coming to Los Angeles! This happens once every few years. Go to the Satellite (former Spaceland) on July 27. Details here.

Fooled by a white guy!

Adorable English band Little Comets came out with the EP Jennifer and Other Stories earlier this month, and then released this lovely acoustic version of "Language is Over."

They've got a second full length album, Life is Elsewhere, coming out August 20, and it's available for pre-order here.


So, I saw that "first-wave Slumberland Records band Lorelei" was coming out with their first record since 1994 - it'll be Enterprising Sidewalks, out August 16 - and I thought, "Michael Stock will be all over this."

Ah! But he's ahead of things, per usual. And Lorelei will be part of the Part Time Punks Shoegaze Festival lineup, set for tomorrow at the Echoplex in Echo Park.

Tour dates:
Sat 6/23 - Hemlock Tavern, San Francisco. $8, 9PM. 
Sun 6/24 - The Echoplex, Los Angeles. PART TIME PUNKS Shoegaze Festival. $18, 4PM. 
Mon 6/25 - Soda Bar, San Diego. $7, 8:30PM. 
Thurs 7/19 - Glasslands, Brooklyn, NY. $10, 8:30PM. 
Fri 8/17 - Black Cat, Washington, DC. $10, 8:30PM. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Go see Speedy Ortiz on tour.

If there's a ??? listed, they need booking help, in which case you can email them at

Tues 6/19 Northampton, MA: King Street Manor w/ Bunny's A Swine, Zebu, Two Inch Astronaut
Friday 6/22 Philadelphia, PA: Dane Fallon Fest @ The IHOP Estate (early); Level Room w/ UGH God, Cavale, With Knives, Vaporats, Snagwing (late)
Saturday 6/23 Baltimore, MD: Golden West w/ Roomrunner, Daughn Gibson
Sunday 6/24 Richmond, VA: Church of Abraham w/ Sundials, Gunboat (mems. Young Adult Fiction), Billy Raygun, Bad Mammals
Monday 6/25 Durham, NC: Motorco Music Hall w/ Joy in Red
Tuesday 6/26 Asheville, NC: The Get Down w/ Free Lunch, Machiavillains, Psychic Blood
Wednesday 6/27 Macon, GA: Roasted Cafe w/ Trufflelina
Thursday 6/28 Tallahassee, FL: Lil Rock w/ Duck, Little Brother, Duck!, USAHoles (Arkansas Fest)
Friday 6/29 Gainesville, FL: The Atlantic Night Spot w/ Flat Lands, Sons of Young, Deputy
Saturday 6/30 Orlando, FL: The Peacock Room w/ The Mother Machine, Yogurt Smoothness, Psychic Blood
Sunday 7/1 Atlanta, GA: Sriracha House w/ Ricer, Sycophants
Monday 7/2 Mobile, AL: Alabama Music Box w/ Daikaiju
Tuesday 7/3 New Orleans, LA: ???
Wednesday 7/4 Houston, TX: The Cornerstone w/ Daphne, Wales, Hounds, Neptunes Explode
Thursday 7/5 Austin, TX: Frontier Bar w/ Bad Chapters, Watch Out For Rockets
Friday 7/6 Denton, TX: ???
Saturday 7/7 Norman, OK: The Opolis w/ Sonic Violence, Chud
Sunday 7/8 Albuquerque, NM: The Alamo w/ Pitch & Bark, Tree Motel
Monday 7/9 Flagstaff, AZ: ???
Tuesday 7/10 San Diego, CA: Tin Can Alehouse w/ Big Wilson River, Bagdad
Wednesday 7/11 Los Angeles, CA: The Smell w/ LA Font, Tennis System, The Withers
Thursday 7/12 Los Angeles, CA: McWorld w/ Snow Wite
Friday 7/13 San Francisco, CA: The Stork Club w/ Greater Sirens, Hazel's Wart
Saturday 7/14 San Francisco, CA: Dolores Park Cafe w/ Human Machines, Stars Are Projectors
Sunday 7/15 Eugene, OR: BBQ party w/ Soccer Babes
Monday 7/16 Portland, OR: Laughing Horse Books w/ Lunge, Wild Moth, Tyrants
Tuesday 7/17 Olympia, WA: ???
Wednesday 7/18 Seattle, WA: Funhouse w/ Haunted Horses, Spray Paint, Stickers
Thursday 7/19 Spokane, WA: w/ Ultra Peach, Jesus or Genome
Friday 7/20 Missoula, MT: VFW
Saturday 7/21 Salt Lake City, UT: Kilby Court w/ Cuddleslut, Moccosai, One Way Life
Sunday 7/22 Denver, CO: The Denver Post Underground Music Showcase
Monday 7/23 Fort Collins, CO: Gnu Gallery w/ Spray Paint
Tuesday 7/24 Omaha, NE: Farnam House
Wednesday 7/25 Iowa City, IA
Thursday 7/26 Minneapolis, MN: Cause
Friday 7/27 Madison, WI: w/ Slow Loris
Saturday 7/28 Chicago, IL: w/ Geronimo, The Pop Tarts, Melon Boat
Sunday 7/29 Kalamazoo, MI: Milhouse w/ Crash City Saints
Monday 7/30 Detroit, MI: Trumbullplexx w/ Cloud Rat, Esper
Tuesday 7/31 Cleveland, OH: ???
Wednesday 8/1 Pittsburgh, PA: Draw Us Lines Presents (@ Brillobox) w/ Pet Clinic, Legs Like Tree Trunks
Thursday 8/2 DC: ???
Friday 8/3 Brooklyn, NY: Shea Stadium w/ Porches, Mail the Horse
Saturday 8/4 Allston, MA: Wacky Kastle w/ Vegans, Grass is Green, Pile, Fat History Month
Sunday 8/5 New Hampshire
Monday 8/6 Northampton, MA: w/ California X