Friday, November 30, 2012

Technically they're pyramids, not triangles, but....

It's still a very cool video from the upcoming (Feb 19th) new Matmos album, The Marriage of True Minds.

Matmos - Very Large Green Triangles from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Red Clover Ghost

Another one from the slush pile that's really pretty good, a new self-titled from Red Clover Ghost, out of Virgina Beach. The band is made up of two identical twin brothers, Gibb and Clint Cockrum, who play a variety of traditional, acoustic instrument (lots of guitar, lots of banjo) and sing in very close, very pretty harmonies that, for some reason (not the banjo) reminds me of Elliott Smith. Anyway, I've been thoroughly enjoying the album which can be streamed in its entirety on Bandcamp.

There are also a couple of videos floating around

Not that into Ray Stinnett

My mildly distempered review of the long-lost folk album from a guitar player best known for his role in "Wooly Bully"...A&M shelved it because they got super, super busy with the Carpenters.

So, A Fire Somewhere is another long-lost 1970s folk album, full of dusty, half-remembered political posturing and dopey assumptions about peace and love. In its favor, Stinnett is an appealing figure, his wavery tenor freighted with warmth and sincerity. He’s a nice guy — that comes through full-blast — and he obviously means what he’s saying about man’s tracks in the sand (“Salty Haze”), the value of stopping all war (“Stop”) and the self-evident benefits of getting our thing together for freedom (“America”).

And yet, every song is a string of clichés and generalities. There’s nothing to think about, nothing to linger over. It’s enough to make you long for Dylan’s sidewise surreality or Phil Ochs’ specificity.

Here's the whole review

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I interviewed Mike Lee from Letting Up Despite Great Faults about a month ago and discovered that he loves the vocoder.

Here's the interview, up yesterday at Blurt.

DON’T LET UP NOW Letting Up Despite Great Faults
Nov 27, 2012

Mike Lee sits at the intersection of twee pop and technology.


"Vocorder." That's Mike Lee's favorite sound in Untogether (New Words), the second full-length from the L.A. born but currently Austin-based electro-pop band Letting up Despite Great Faults. It comes up twice, once in the single, "Bullet Proof Girl" and again in the closer "On Your Mark," and if you can't quite make it out, that's because Lee's bandmates -- keyboard player Annah Fisette, bassist Kent Zambrana and drummer Daniel Schmidt -- don't like it nearly as much as he does. They and the band's manager tried to convince Lee to ditch the robotic Kraut-into-prog-gish sound, but Lee only doubled it with untreated vocals.

"It's a cliche, but that's what's so great about it," Lee explains. "I've always been really attracted to that sound, because it's a kind of disguise. You can't make out who's singing."

It's also another example of the way that Letting Up Great Faults straddles the worlds of pop and electronics, pacing rain-on-windows twee-pop with booming programmed drums, lacing the bittersweet vulnerability of lo-fi guitar music with cerebral cut-and-paste. Lee learned to play guitar because of Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, but became fascinated with sampling after stumbling on DJ Shadow.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012


My review of the really pretty excellent Meat + Bone (the first JSBX album since 2004) is up today at Dusted. I obsess in it about the lone instrumental track, which is called "Zimgar."

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Meat + Bone
Mom and Pop

Meat + Bone, as the title suggests, is a stripped down, no frills return to basics for the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the first album for the band since 2004’s Damage. It focuses relentlessly on the Cramps-inspired, John Lee Hooker filtered, James Brown-loving, Elvis-nodding core of the JSBX aesthetic, without much detour, experiment or any guests at all. There’s a discipline, almost a rigor, to Meat + Bone which, despite its surface hedonism, can stop, pivot and roar to life again with the precision of a Formula One race car.

It’s an interesting move for a band that’s been on ice for eight years, not to replicate past successes, but to pull back the skin and nerves and try to find what gave them life. It’s not just that Meat + Bone sounds like JSBX in the old days (it does), but that it does this without being self-referential or studied. The main elements are all as before. There is the dual guitar interplay of Judah Bauer and Jon Spencer, one of them (often Spencer) taking up the sonic space where a bass should live, the other working higher up, in the bends and pull-offs and shifting intonations of electric blues. There is Russell Simins who plays with an impossible combination of ferocity and delicacy, rattling intricate syncopations out of snare and kick drum and cowbell, then thwacking the most basic hell of out the kit with a force that surely is hard on the drum heads. And finally, there is Jon Spencer, the singer, with his gut-shot yelps, his syllable-stretching howls, his vaguely menacing mutter of non sequitors, his lurid Elvis-y blues croons, his mad preacher, rolling-eye rants, all delivered with 100% self-conviction.


What, you never read my live review of JSBX from a couple of weeks ago? I'll give you one more chance.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Black Moth Super Rainbow

I've got another interview up at PopMatters, this one with Tobacco, the auteur behind Black Moth Super Rainbow.

Transcending Logic: An Interview with Black Moth Super Rainbow

By Jennifer Kelly 26 November 2012

“Black Moth Super Rainbow is not drug music,” says Tobacco, the main singer and songwriter behind one of indie rock’s trippiest sounding bands. “If you want to use it to enhance your experiences, that’s fine, but I get kind of bothered sometimes when everyone’s so quick to credit drugs for making this stuff.”

Black Moth Super Rainbow has been making its candy-colored, vocoder-filtered, Rhodes-and-synthesizer-shimmering psych since the mid-00s, emerging, appropriately enough (at least in lepidopteral terms), from another band called satanstompingcaterpillars.
The band’s third album Dandelion Gum was the break out, pulling in giddily positive reviews and, er, a bunch of drug references. I myself, writing for PopMatters, opined that “Dandelion Gum is one of those records that makes you feel like you’re high, even when you’re not, like you’re on the verge of shambolic visions, even if you’re taking out the trash, like there’s an ineffable order to the universe, even when all signs point to chaos. ”

The association with contraband has dogged Black Moth Super Rainbow through its sprawling collaboration with the Octopus Project, its Dave Fridmann-helmed Eating Us and, now, the band’s fifth album, Cobra Juicy. Tobacco, who goes by the name of Thomas Fec in the real world, has just gotten back from a six-mile bike ride when we talk. He says that he gets more out of cycling and running and hanging out with friends than from any artificial substance. He doesn’t even take drugs.

Tobacco is fine with the idea of alternate realities. In fact, he explains his band’s use of nicknames (Seven Fields of Aphelion, Iffernaut, etc.), masks, film, and costumes as a way of creating a self-contained musical universe. “I just never wanted music to be attached to a person. I just wanted it to be its own world, with its own visuals and names,” he says.

But, Tobacco maintains, it is not a world that you need a pill, a joint or any other kind of chemical assistance to enter. “People just don’t want to use their imagination,” he says. “The easiest thing is, ‘Ah, it’s just drugs.’ Then you don’t have to think about it. But it has nothing to do with it.”


Kind of disturbing, this video for "Windshield Smasher"

I like "Hairspray Heart" the best anyway.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ex Cops

I'm not going to say I can't get enough of that rain on windows, wistfully romantic, guitar strumming pop, but I've got a little more room for it now that Pains of Being Pure at Heart has moved along. So why not Ex-Cops, a relatively new project from Bryan Harding, who used to front Hymns, and Amalie Bruun of Minks.

Here's the first single, which has been kicking around for most of 2012, but what the hell?

The debut full length, called True Hallucinations is out in January on Other Music.

I won my age group in two separate races this weekend, which says more about stubborn-ness than speed, but anyways...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Give these girls a turkey sandwich

We had a really nice, very quiet holiday, and hope you did the same.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More long-form ambience from Oneida

I've got a review of Oneida's latest, A List of the Burning Mountains up at Blurt now.

I really liked it, though it's not as immediately accessible as their earlier stuff.

A List of the Burning Mountains

Oneida's psych masters have been experimenting with long-form, unconventionally structured atmospherics lately, gradually stripping out the motorik chug of their earlier material and diving into the measureless vastness of deep space rock. A List of the Burning Mountains advances the argument considerably with two side-long experiments in altered perception.

The opening salvo sifts the sounds of rock - heavily distorted guitar, rampant tonally-varied drumming - through a chilly electronic filter, creating a meditative, wholly beautiful tranquility in noise. "Side B" waxes comparatively lyrical, its tonal washes trembling, blossoming and soothing, its space cruiser blips and vibrations shimmering, while Kid Millions, the anchor, the main color and the clear protagonist, punches and weaves in fractious, off-kilter drum fills. There's a sense of wonder here, of journey, of discovery, but not much conventional forward motion or even a recognizable time signature. A band that started with Can's hypnotic propulsion has ended up floating in Tangerine Dream's weightless free formity, but it's gorgeous stuff.



That time of year again...

1. Shearwater, Animal Joy (Sub Pop)
2. Sharon van Etten, Tramp (Jagjaguwar)
3. Mark Lanegan, Blues Funeral (4AD)
4. Dan Melchior, The Backward Path (Northern Spy)
5. Calexico, Algiers (Anti-)
6. Damian Jurado, Maraqopa (Secretly Canadian)
7. TheeSatisfaction, Awe Natural (Sub Pop)
8. Dirty Three, Towards the Low Sun (Drag City)
9. Various Artists, Oh Michael, Look What You’ve Done (Tompkins Square)
10. Spider Bags, Shake My Head (Odessa)

also the next ten
11. Ty Segall and White Fence, Wet Hair (Drag City)
12. Grass Widow, Internal Logic (HLR)
13. Red River Dialect, Awellupontheway (Lono)
14. Japandroids, Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)
15. Sic Alps, Sic Alps (Drag City)
16. Rangda, Formerly Extinct (Drag City)
17. Easter Island, Frightened (Self-Released)
18. Cheap Time, Wallpaper Music (In the Red)
19. Six Organs of Admittance, Ascent, (Drag City)
20. Bob Mould, Silver Age (Merge)

1. Cleaners from Venus, Blow Away Your Troubles/On Any Normal
Monday/Midnight Cleaners (Captured Tracks)
2. Royal Trux, Accelerator (Drag City)
3. Cravats, Double Volume: Cravats in Toyland (Overground)
4. Charles Mingus, Jazz Workshop Concerts: 1965-1966 (Mosaic)
5. Annette Peacock, I'm the One (Light in the Attic)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Vex Ruffin

Really liking this stark, minimal cassette tape from Vex Ruffin. It's called Same Thing Tomorrow and it's very spare and DIY and dark, sort of lo-fi Suicide crossed with Dalek. Anyway, good stuff. It's out on Stone's Throw, which, in addition to the usual bio/one-sheet, has posted a hand-written "Ten Random Things about Vex Ruffin" which doesn't read very clearly when I try to post the image, so I've typed it out for you.

Ten Random Things about Vex Ruffin
1. I love basketball. When I was a kid, my dream was to play in the NBA like Hakeem Olajuwan.
2. I'm an early bird. I wake up at 7 a.m. every day.
3. When I first started making music, I wanted to be like Madlib but instead I turned out to be something else. Beastmaster!
4. I get really grumpy when I'm hungry and tired. Beastmaster!
5. I don't know how to play the guitar. I just do the one finger string thing.
6. In high school, my favorites were the Cure and DMX.
7. None of my friends listen to rock and roll.
8. My dream is to tour the world with my band.
9. A lot of people don't get me, maybe because I'm a Beastmaster.
10. I never was a handy man but I was good at breaking things. Alpha male.

Friday, November 16, 2012


The best of the current crop of neo-shoe gaze, reviewed in Blurt print, but also up on line now...

Tender New Signs
(Mexican Summer)

Tamaryn, the dream pop singer from New Zealand (and lately San Francisco), takes another slow dive through atmospherics in this second album, teaming again with her long-time producer/guitarist Rex John Shelverton to build luminous textures of sound. You could sink into the Tamaryn aesthetic like a soft pillow, so enveloping, so welcoming and gentle the sound, yet these are not formless exercises in texture. No, all nine of these slow-moving cuts are built on actual melodies, simple enough to stick right away, radiant enough to hang like this album's overtones, well after they are finished.

Tender New Signs is meant for all-the-way-through listening, preferably horizontal, preferably with headphones, yet a couple of the songs stand out. "I'm Gone," the opener, shimmers like rainbows atop a puddle slicked with oil, yet there's structure under the glow. "No Exits" brings the vocals up, adding a bit of warming vibrato in to Tamaryn's weightless, disembodied style. Behind her, around her, guitar chords crash and break like ocean surf, as in nature, even the violence radiates serenity.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Angel Olsen

This lady's got a really interesting, arresting voice, which I may have gone slightly over the top in trying to describe...the review's from today's Dusted.

Angel Olsen
Halfway Home

Angel Olsen was the behind-the-scenes heroine of Bonnie Prince Billy’s last album, Wolfroy Comes to Town, her voice a luminous aura, a down-home cackle, a blues-y scrape and roll, a sacred harp harmony around Oldham’s cracked tenor. Here, on her second solo album (counting limited-release, cassette-only Strange Cacti from 2011), she brings that instrument out in front, singing 11 emotionally-freighted original songs, with the merest hint of instrumentation — strummed guitar, terse bass, occasional drums and pump organ.

Olsen’s vocal technique is unorthodox, guttural, nearly feral at times. She has evidently never had a singing lesson, and that’s not a complaint, because her wildness is utterly compelling. She often starts in a matter of fact way, murmuring breathy melodies against a backdrop of guitar picking. Her “Acrobat,” Halfway Home’s first song, circles in waltz-time, its melody (not too different from Delibes’s “Waltz from Copelia”) side-stepping up the scale, her voice quiet, fresh and unshowy. It sounds like she is standing next to you, maybe to one side, with her breath tickling your ear. Yet, as she rounds the first verse, her voice turns unpredictable, flickering up octaves like a wildfire catching. “I want to be the bed you mess,” she confides, finding a cavernous physicality in her girlish voice, a hollowed, animal-like, bluesy sound that goes straight to your spine and sets off a tingle. There’s something exciting about the way she sings, something predatory and dangerous about the way she soars up into a high note, seizes it, still wiggling with vibrato, and drags it back to earth.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jessica Pratt

Tim Presley from White Fence has his own label now. It's called Birth, and I believe that the first release is a self-titled debut from SF singer songwriter Jessica Pratt which is very, very good. I'd say that Pratt falls somewhere between Joanna Newsom and Dolly Parton, which is to say she's got a lovely little catch in her voice and her new album a lot. Here are a couple of soundclouds to get you started.

By the way, there's an opera singer in NYC called Jessica Pratt, but I am pretty sure they are not the same Jessica Pratt. (You should check out all the Jennifer Kellys on the web, some of them dead....)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It moves

So, you have to watch this video (of Autre Ne Veut's single "Counting") very carefully to see the slow, subtle changes in the painting, and in fact, the first time you notice that the picture is moving, you are not even sure (or at least I wasn't) that is really is. Anyway, interesting video, not so sure about the song.

The album, if you want it, is out next February on Software Records.

The UV Race - Unknown Pleasures by RSTB

Love these guys, new record out, love to hear more of it...for now, here's the free mp3 pinched from Raven Sings the Blues

The UV Race - Unknown Pleasures by RSTB

Golden Void

The extremely, borderline objectionably Sabbath-y Golden Void debut, reviewed last week at Dusted.

Golden Void
Golden Void
Thrill Jockey

Golden Void is named after a Hawkwind song, a guitar and synthesizer freak out from 1975’s Warrior on the Edge of Time, the same album, coincidentally, that provided the name for Lemmy Kilmister’s post-Hawkwind gig (ahem, “Mötorhead”). It’s not a bad point of reference for this excess-loving band of psychedelicists. TrouserPress’s Jim Green enumerates Hawkwind’s virtues as “that gargantuan and impenetrable pre-metal/hardcore drone, those great riffs, that inexorable drive to destinations unknown.” He could just as well be talking about Golden Void.

Yet Golden Void filters 1970s metal-prog bravado through a West Coast underground psych lens, slipping languid blues-tripping guitar solos between monstrous, wall-to-wall riffs, finding a droning center in the most violent onslaughts. Isaiah Mitchell, once of Earthless, gets to sing here, floating an eerie, heavily-echoed, fundamentally serene tenor over lurching, sawed off guitar salvos. Cream’s Jack Bruce is probably the classic model for what he’s doing vocally, the coolness, the trippiness, the nearly crooning gentleness against blistered distortion, but you can hear younger guys like Matt Reed from Mount Carmel and Joel Winter (formerly of Pearls and Brass) trying a similar alchemy. There are some very nice, absolutely nailed harmonic bits in these songs, too, especially the two at the end, “The Curve” and “Atlantis.” The drum-bass-guitar sound is loud, leaning from 1970s hard rock into metal, but the singing is near folky and strikingly melodic.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Pollard’s Who-like aggression and Kinks-like whimsy

GBV's third album of 2012 is pretty damned good...

Guided by Voices
The Bears for Lunch
Guided by Voices Industries

The old school line-up of Guided by Voices – that’s Bob Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Greg Demos, Mitch Mitchell and Kevin Fennell – started its second run only two years ago, for the Matador 21st Birthday Concert in 2010. The Bears for Lunch is the third album since this configuration’s mid-1990s break, and also the third of 2012. That’s a remarkably fast restart. Just for comparison, it took Mission of Burma five years to add three new albums to their catalogue, and Big Dipper and Gang of Four have released just one since reforming.

Of course, Pollard-related projects are, almost by definition, insanely prolific, so the real question is not how many songs the reconfigured band can record, but how good they are. The answer: pretty good, and almost surely getting better. The Bears for Lunch is a far more solid affair than Let’s Go Eat the Factory, balancing Pollard’s Who-like aggression and Kinks-like whimsy in punchy, melodically memorable songs. There are fewer throwaways and sound experiments this time. (I’d nominate “Military Dance School Dismissal” for fast-forward, but it’s the only one that springs to mind.) The band is more assured, too, crisp and almost tight by this beery outfit’s standards. Even the sound is more professional, capturing wavery harmonies and fuzzed-out guitar lines with unusual clarity.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mingus wall to wall

I've been listening to the six-disc set of Charles Mingus' Jazz Workshop Concerts: 1964-1965 lately, and I'm not going to pretend that I have anything very intelligent to say about it, except that it's wonderful and you should check it out if you like jazz or bass or, I don't know, music?

Here's some background from Mark Medwin's really excellent review of the set:

As I understand it, the Jazz Workshop was as much a philosophy as an ensemble, necessitating the constant exploration and reconfiguration of whatever music Mingus handed to his musicians. A good portion of the set’s success is in its presentation of live performances in a concentrated chronological space, allowing those reconfigurations to be heard in context. The seven discs span the 16 months from April 1964 through September of 1965. In the booklet notes, Sue Mingus and Brian Priestly discuss the concerns and projects that were coming to a point of culmination, realized or not, during this protracted period. Mingus was still smarting from the strange and disastrous 1962 Town Hall concert, at which he had attempted to record portions of the epic large-ensemble work we now know as Epitaph. His April 1964 return to the venue, the first of the concerts presented here and taking up the first and second discs, finds him in collaboration with what might have been his most sympathetic group, the sextet including Eric Dolphy and Clifford Jordan on winds, the underappreciated Johnny Coles on trumpet, Jaki Byard in the piano chair, and Danny Richmond (the one constant in these performances) on drums. Mingus would take this group to Europe that same month for a series of concerts, and we can hear their Concertgebouw date on the third and fourth discs. Unfortunately, partly due to Dolphy’s death in July, this group would not last to take part in Mingus’s huge triumph at the Monterey Jazz Festival the following September, occupying the fifth disc. A year later, at the same festival and almost to the day, the scene was very different, with scheduling problems causing a much smaller audience and a vastly reduced set time, and we now get to hear the mere half-hour’s worth of frustrated musical vision on the sixth disc. The box set ends resiliently with a May 1965 concert in Minneapolis, during which Mingus denounces major labels, in effect biting the hand that was not feeding him what he’d earned.

There's also a lot of information about the sessions and players at the label site.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hot and Cold

A bit late on this, a new album from the Montreal-born, Beijing-based duo Hot & Cold, who crank repetitive, Krautish grooves that fall somewhere between Wooden Shjips, Suicide and the Fall...really good stuff. The album's called Border Area, it's been out since the summer on Moniker Records.

You can stream the whole thing at the Bandcamp site.

Friday, November 9, 2012

It's been a pretty good week for things getting's my review of the Cairo Gang's The Corner Man, up since yesterday at Blurt.

The Corner Man
(Empty Cellar)

Emmett Kelly has haunted a good many corners of the American-into-indie world, touring with the OCS (back when Dwyer spelled it like that) and the Fall, playing back-up for Beth Orton and Will Oldham. The Corner Man, his fourth recording as The Cairo Gang, falls not too far from Oldham's neighborhood, offering a hushed and understated folk music, spare until it turns lush, quiet until it blasts off and hemmed in until it vaults off into unexpected directions.


I would also like to point out a really excellent article on Questlove from the Roots in the current New Yorker. One of my favorite things about having DSL is being able to watch Fallon once in a while -- and a big part of that is the Roots as backing band.

Anyway, really good article, I wish more people took writing about music and musicians as seriously.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Evanescent atmospheres in motion...the new Martin Eden

Athena turned out to be a big nothing up here, not even a trace of snow, not that I'm complaining. Anyway, we've got a couple of easy non-5:30 a.m. days coming up because Sean's school has parent teacher conferences, so yay for that. We had a really nice dinner last night for my birthday, hanger steak, potatoes, asparagus and carrot cake. I don't think I really care about presents (though I got some good ones, the new Martin Amis novel, a pair of badly needed running shoes, socks, tee-shirts, etc.) as long as I get carrot cake.

So that was that, another year, and I put up a new photo last night just for truth in advertising. (More or's the most flattering one of about three.)

Meanwhile, I have a review of the new Martin Eden up at Dusted, which you can read right here.

Martin Eden
Dedicate Function

Eluvium’s ambient landscapes have always shimmered from one horizon to another, their gorgeous, shifting textures of piano, synthesizer, treated guitar and other unclassifiable sounds seeming to exist outside time and space. Tracks like “Zerthis Was a Shivering Human Image” (from 2003’s Lambent Material) had a beginning and an end, but no sense of progress between these poles. Cooper’s compositions floated, hovered, flickered and decayed, but they did not stride purposefully into the next moment. Even his last, vocal-tethered album, Similes, diffused song structure into limpid pools. “How does the motion make me last?” he asked on that album, contrasting the eternality of the spirit with the ceaseless business of the physical body. But his songs, however beautiful, were more about stillness than motion, more about transcending the cadences of heartbeat and breath than harnessing them. Martin Eden, Cooper’s new solo enterprise, sets evanescent atmospheres into motion, adding a locomotive beat to what has been, in Eluvium, a timeless stasis.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A fevered, desperate intensity

Report: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Live in MA



"A fervid, desperate intensity": November 1 at the Iron Horse in Northampton, operating in the long shadow of Hurricane Sandy, the boys decide it's time to fuck some shit up - and deal with that damned black mold, too.

Photos & Text By Jennifer Kelly

Two days after Sandy, leaving friends and family in cold, dark, water-less apartments, Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion made its own heat in Northampton, MA. Toting two battered guitars, antediluvian tube amps, a much-punished drum kit and a Theremin, JSBX railed against black mold, encouraged the world to take its pants off, (somewhat contradictorily) extolled the virtues of bellbottoms and generally raised the roof. Perhaps because of the difficulty factor (god knows how they managed to gas up the tour van), this was an unusually charged show, celebrating rock ‘n roll in the face of disaster with a fervid, desperate intensity. 

Thanks to Pop Catastrophe for documenting the experience.  

We did it

I could not possibly be happier about the outcome of last night's election. We won the popular vote by a slim but unarguable margin, demolished the electoral college, held the senate and made some significant improvements in the house (see Custer/Shea-Porter in my neck of the woods).

Plus it's my birthday!

Have a nice day.

Music stuff coming in a little bit.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ty Segall Day

So who has loved Ty Segall longer and more publicly than me?

Not Dave Letterman, who just caught on this week. (But cool that he did.)

My Ty reviews so far;

Dusted -- Ty Segall, Ty Segall
Dusted -- Ty Segall and White Fence, Wet Hair
Dusted -- Ty Segall, Melted
Blurt -- Ty Segall Slaughterhouse
Blurt -- Ty Segall, Lemons

An interview I wrote for the Quietus, but they never ran it, so I posted it on my blog.

A Twins-related interview for Blurt.

If you haven't already, listen to Ty and go vote.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dan Melchior's Backward Path

Nov 05, 2012

On the harrowing yet hauntingly beautiful The Backward Path, Melchior pays tribute to his wife Letha while trying to make sense of the impermanence of life.


"This album is for Letha," says the back cover of The Backward Path (Northern Spy), the most personal and introspective Dan Melchior album yet. Letha, if you haven't been following along, is Melchior's wife and sometime band member, who has been struggling with cancer these last couple of years. The two of them have been engaged in a draining battle against health insurers and medical establishments, drug providers and the deadly disease itself. There is a very good article about exactly how daunting the last two years have been for them at Indy Week, and if, after reading it, you feel that you want to help, there is a PayPal account set up to defray Letha's medical expenses.


You can stream the whole thing at Spy Records...but buy it, it's really good and they need the money.

Rangda feature at PopMatters

This is probably my favorite piece (of my own) for 2012. Really good record, too.

Just Don’t Call Them a Super-Group: The Rangda Interview
By Jennifer Kelly 5 November 2012

All three members of Rangda—that’s Sun City Girls’ Richard Bishop, Six Organs of Admittance’s Ben Chasny and free-jazz drumming legend Chris Corsano—have their own claims to “super-ness”, at least in pure musical ability. Just check out Bishop’s blur-speed, ethnically-tuned bouts of picking, Chasny’s hallucinatory arcs of psychedelic folk, or Corsano’s manic, chaotic yet totally-in-control percussive wizardry. Still all three palpably bristle when you bring up the term “super group”.

“It’s pretty ridiculous,” says Chasny, when asked about a phrase usually associated with unit shifters like Asia, Chickenfoot and the Travelling Wilburies. “That is a term generally given to bloated rock stars. You never hear that with jazz—‘Oh! That was Miles Davis’s super group!’ No, you just note the people playing.”

“Super groups are always kind of less than the sum of their parts,” says Corsano, noting that these ensembles are often put together with more of an eye towards commercial impact than artistry. “Rangda totally wasn’t that,” he adds. “It was Ben saying ‘I’ve played with Chris, and I’d like to play with him more. And I’ve played with Rick and I want to play with him more.’ I think that’s how every band should get together.”

Yet while Rangda may have started as the casual confluence of three major talents, it has evolved through touring and a second album. Formerly Extinct, released in September 2012 on Drag City, shows the threesome evolving from a fearsomely talented pick-up band into a living, breathing, continuing entity. We spoke to all three members about Rangda’s beginnings, their egalitarian approach to sharing leads, and their emergence as one of the most interesting part-time gigs in indie rock.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Blue Hawaii

A Braids offshoots' delicate, ethereal dance-electronic music has recently snuck up on me. on first listen it sounds like literally nothing, just washes of pastel colored sound and diffident, altered female vocals, but give it a listen or three and it starts to take hold, little shards of hard rhythm glinting out of gauzy drapings...I kinda like it.

Anyway the band is called Blue Hawaii, its two main partners are Raphaelle Standell-Preston (of Braids) and Alex Cowan, and their album #2, Untogether is coming early next year on Arbutus records.

Here is "In Two"

Friday, November 2, 2012

JSBX live

Still recovering from an emotionally-charged, post-Sandy JSBX show last night (in which all three of the band left family behind in dark, cold, electricity-less NYC).

More later on this, meanwhile..."Black Mold" was apparently written about Hurricane Irene but it's at least as relevant now. Disturbing video, eh?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wonder Revolution

You'd think that a band that puts "wonder" and "revolution" next to one another, right there in the name of the group, would be pretty loud and in-your-face and celebratory. But actually, the Wonder Revolution, out of Kansas, is kind of a quiet outfit, spinning gossamer textures of shoegaze out of altered guitars, faraway voices and dreamy, drone-y keyboards. The band is a big one, collecting the talents of people from lots of bands that you might know about if you lived in Kansas (well, okay, I know about the Appleseed Cast, but none of the others, Paper Airplanes, Francis Moss, Solagett, The Music Wrong). The songs are full of natural, often night-time imagery (look at that cover), and they're calm and restful...without necessarily putting you to sleep.

The latest album (their third) is called Firefly and it's out on something called Air House Records on December 11th.

Check out the title track. Why not?