Last week was my birthday, and I celebrated by going vinyl-crazy. Most of these I bought myself but my lovely girlfriend purchased me the Deer Tick album. Descriptions after the jump.
I went to Bumbershoot yesterday and had an awesome time. Highlights were Thee Oh Sees, Doug Loves Movies, and The Kills. I also came away with this badass Agalloch West Coast tour poster (despite the lack of metal bands playing that day) -
The artist’s name is David V. D’Andrea and he is based in Portland. Here is his site. I was immediately drawn to his style, and I realized I had actually bought a shirt from him a few years ago at the Pitchfork festival. He has done posters for plenty of fantastic bands including Black Mountain, Graveyard, Grails, and Wovenhand. If I had more money I would buy all of these.
Basemint are a four-piece garage rock band from the Pacific Northwest. Their “No Retro” 7″ is coming out on K Records’ International Pop Underground series, which has previously released titles by Built to Spill, Beat Happening, etc. “No Retro” isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but you could certainly do worse. Calvin Johnson guests on the b-side which is cool, but not exactly uncommon for K releases. Overall it’s catchy and fun and garagey so check it out. Hopefully a full length will come soon, but until then it looks like, “Basemint are scheduled to return to the Dub Narcotic Studio very soon to finish their second International Pop Underground 45, “Hail Mary”.”
Listen to “No Retro”
The “No Retro” 7″ comes out via K Records’ International Pop Underground series May 24th.
New York-based Krallice are one of my favorite black metal bands. Black metal, from its inception 20 some years ago up until today, is one of the most challenging, misunderstood, and flat out crazy genres of music. Most of the craziness (murders, church burnings) comes from the Norwegian scene in the ’90s. More recently, black metal bands have been cropping up in the United States. Some attempt to copy the black metal stylings of the original Norwegian bands, but the bands that are pushing the genre today are the ones that bring a more unique approach to the table. Bands like Nachmystium from Chicago or Wolves in the Throne Room from Olympia have introduced psychedelic and folk elements to the traditionally noise-only oriented formula.
This brings me to Krallice. Krallice is awesome. Their second album, Dimensional Bleedthrough, was progressive, mathy, and plenty noisy. It took them two years to follow it up, but it was worth the wait. Steregum premiered the track “The Clearing,” which opens with shoegaze guitar before bursting into glorious black metal riffs. Diotima came out yesterday, but it was available to stream on NPR a week ago. I give NPR a lot of credit for stepping out of its normal programming. Also, the write-up on the album is great. The album is a great step forward for the band, and it will be interesting to see how finicky black metal enthusiasts deal with the proggy nature of the album and the fact that it was featured on NPR.
Listen to “The Clearing”
Apache Dropout are three dudes from Bloomington making psychedelic garage rock. Most of what I have read about them compare them to Spacemen 3, Velvet Underground, and The Stooges. Lofty comparisons, but the album delivers. I would also throw in some newer drugged out teenage ennui-repping bands like the Black Lips and Thee Oh Sees. Also, Paul Mahern of The Zero Boys (whom I interviewed a while back) helped engineer the album.
Listen to the first half of the album:
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Apache Dropout is out now on LP via Family Vineyard
Cass McCombs is a singer-songwriter that has been compared to the likes of Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and Leonard Cohen. Those comparisons are a bit misleading, however, as McCombs tends to wander off the beaten path more than the aforementioned songwriter titans (the last six minutes of PREfection are just noise).
On his fifth LP, Wit’s End, McCombs lays down his most melancholy material to date. There is no “Dreams Come True Girl” on this album. That being said, McCombs is still an amazing songwriter and imagery in songs like “The Lonely Doll” easily make this album a frontrunner for best of the year. Also, “County Line” is without a doubt my favorite song so far this year.
Listen to “County Line”
Wit’s End will be out 4/26/11 on CD/LP/Cassette via Domino
My first introduction to Swedish musicians was with The Hives back in high school. Then later, Tallest Man on Earth, Jens Lekman, and the list goes on. Lately I have found an even smaller niche in Sweden’s musical output; classic rock revival. First I was introduced to Witchcraft, who have their Black Sabbath imitation down pat, and then came Graveyard. Their first album is a decent effort. It has a driving classic rock sound, but lacks any stand-out guitar hooks. Hisingen Blues is one of those rare follow-up albums that takes everything good about the first release and builds upon it. This album has hooks, psychedelic tinges, doom sections, pretty much everything you would expect from a Mountain/Black Sabbath mashup band. Swedish people know what is up, as Graveyard outsold Britney Spears when Hisingen Blues was released in Sweden.
Normally I don’t post straight up rock ‘n roll but I have been blasting this album for a month, and sometimes you just need to rock.
Check out this album teaser from Nuclear Blast:
Hisengen Blues has been out in Europe for a while and was released yesterday in the US on CD/LP via Nuclear Blast
Bass Drum of Death is 2 dudes from Mississippi who make loud garage rock and probably do their fair share of drugs. They sound like a mixture of San Francisco garage and Nashville punk, borrowing the pop sensibility of Ty Segall mixed with the heaviness of Jeff the Brotherhood. Also, I’m a sucker for 2 piece bands, especially ones that make more noise than most four part bands. Also, they backed up Odd Future.
Listen to “Young Pros” from GB City
GB City is out now on CD/LP via Fat Possum
I understand that with the sheer amount of music coming out, plenty will fall through the cracks and be forgotten. Still, it amazes me how musicians like Richard Swift haven’t experienced more mainstream success. As my buddy Chad would say, Swift has his hands in many soups. Singer, songwriter, filmmaker, and multi-instrumentalist, Swift is at his best when singing self-deprecating love songs (although his experimental work as Instruments of Science and Technology is worth a listen as well).
“Lady Luck” is the last song from his 2009 full-length, The Atlantic Ocean. It works more of a Frankie Valli feeling than Swift’s usual Nilsson vibe, which might be why it was stuck on the end of the album. Either way, the track is fantastic and the album is solid.
The Atlantic Ocean is out now on CD/LP via Secretly Canadian