Wednesday, May 27, 2009


With an equal affinity for minimalism, repetition, relentlessness, and abrasive noise, Health's self-titled debut opens with a distant drone that ever so slowly becomes audible, very likely to get the listener to turn up the volume searching for the song, then pummels the unsuspecting over the head with a blunt blast of keys and drums. "Heaven" then drops into a volcano-worshipping tribal groove complete with mondo-distorto guitar and wordless chants that recalls Liars at their most primal. The album continues on for a total of 11 songs in 28 minutes combining equal parts Liars' caveman conceptualism, Trans Am's frayed Motorik, and This Heat's noisy-yet-groovin' absurdity, cramming it all into a spazzy SoCal art-punk blender set on frappé. These mostly instrumental (unless you count mumbling, chanting, shouting and screaming) sketches are alternately assaultive and soothing, luring the listener into a hypnotic catatonia then jarring the senses with pulsating blasts of static. It may be some sort of shock therapy disguised as music, but whatever it is, it's captivating.- Brian Way

Health [2007]


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Monday, May 18, 2009

El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez Lopez- Cryptomnesia [2009]

Released on Cinco de Mayo, Cryptomnesia (defined as "inadvertent plagiarism") is the first of three recordings done in 2006 by El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, a side project of the guitarist and producer of the Mars Volta. Rodriguez-Lopez enlisted the talents of bandmate Juan Alderete on bass and Zach Hill and Jonathan Hischke of Hella on drums and synth bass, respectively, along with Mars Volta frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala for lyrics and vocals on eight of the album's 11 cuts. Rodriguez-Lopez has been prolific since the middle of the aughts, issuing no less than ten previous recordings on various labels since 2004! While the most recent ones have revealed a more experimental and formal compositional bent and elaborate production, this earlier material is no less wildly creative and daring, though it can be seen as a much more logical extension of the Mars Volta's musical adventures than as something with his own complete musical stamp on it, as his more recent recordings have been. Cryptomnesia is a tough, rugged, and wildly ambitious set of far-reaching -- sometimes overly so -- compositions reflecting the rapid growth of one of the new century's most genuinely talented and visionary musicians.- Thom Jurek

Cryptomnesia [2009]
Warren Oates


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Chapterhouse- Whirpool [1991]

Victim of a double whammy -- caught in the already building backlash to the shoegazer scene at home and completely ignored in the States, as was just about anything else British -- once Nevermind and Ten hit the charts Chapterhouse's album debut could have, and should have, won a bigger name for itself. At once more dance-flirting and garage-punky than most recordings by other My Bloody Valentine obsessives that emerged in the early '90s, though suffering the same underplaying in the vocal department, Whirlpool builds nicely on the three earlier EP releases with a similar sense of "what the hey -- if it works, try it." As an album, it doesn't per se connect as a unified piece -- the final track listing comes from a variety of recording sessions with a large number of producers and remixers, including Robin Guthrie, Stephen Hague, John Fryer and Ralph Jezzard. As a collection of mostly killer tracks, though, this is mighty fine.- Ned Raggett

Whirpool [1991]


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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Black Moth Super Rainbow- Dandelion Gum [2007]

Black Moth Super Rainbow has constructed a unique and impressive sound that takes the best elements of bedroom techno, DayGlo indie pop, and anything-goes maximum pop and rolls them up into a glittering ball of melody and invention. Most all of their songs are built on a tipsy foundation of lo-fi drums, bass, and the occasional guitar, then plastered over by all manner of tinny junk-shop synths and topped by vocals fed through the cheapest sounding vocoder on earth. Dandelion Gum is the perfection of that sound; each song is a perfectly crafted chunk of organic synth pop insanity.- Tim Sendra

Dandelion Gum [2007]

Forever Heavy

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Deerhunter- Fluorescent Grey EP [2007]

Kranky is putting out the Fluorescent Grey EP, a set of four intensely focused songs recorded while the album was being mixed. Though clearer and less abrasive than Cryptograms musically, the new EP foregrounds lead singer Bradford Cox's morbidly erotic lyrics about the body's inevitable decomposition-- to him, a psychosexual puzzle-- much as the full-length smothered its gorgeous melodies in effects-laden squall and instrumental ambience. Whether Fluorescent Grey is meant to serve as an epilogue (as its press release maintains) or prologue, the disc is a triumphant document of a stubbornly visionary young band with the world still spread out before them.- Pitchfork

Fluorescent Grey EP [2007]

Like New


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Monday, May 11, 2009

Crystal Antlers - Tentacles [2009]

Crystal Antlers formed in January 2006 in Long Beach, California. Creating their own blend of psychedelic, punk, & soul, the band quickly became local favorites among a broad range of rock fans. They’ve released two limited 7”s on small labels & recently released their first EP with producer Ikey Owens (Mars Volta/Free Moral Agents). Crystal Antlers issued their debut record, EP, in June 2008.



Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lovvers - Think [2008]

Lovvers are an alternative rock band from Nottingham, England. The band formed in MAY 2006 and made their live debut a few weeks later. Their sound is a chaotic mixture of fractured guitar and mangled vocals, redolent of early 90s US acts such as Scratch Acid and Drive Like Jehu. The group features a former member of The Murder of Rosa Luxembourg. Although the band is still in its infancy critical reception has been very positive, with website Drowned in Sound mentioning the group in its feature “Tips for 2007.“[1] The band’s first release was the ‘Lovvers’ EP on vinyl by Johnson Family Records, which included four of the five songs found on the CD/R distributed at live shows. Their next release ‘Near Enough For Jazz/Special Needs’ is also on Johnson Family and available in July. The band have toured with Blood Red Shoes, as well as playing shows with Blood On The Wall, Parts and Labor, Big Business, Awesome Color, Foals, BARR, Help She Can’t Swim and An Albatross.



Passion Pit - Manners [2009]

The Boston, MA-based Passion Pit began as a one-man project of singer and songwriter Michael Angelakos to produce a Valentine's Day gift for his girlfriend. The gift, an EP entitled Chunk of Change, soon wound up in the hands of friends and acquaintances, who were enthralled with the work. Eventually, Passion Pit became not only a vehicle for the romantic expressions of Angelakos heart but a full-fledged band — at least for live gigs — and opened for a number of well-known artists including Death Cab for Cutie. This momentum led to label interest, and in 2008 the Frenchkiss label picked up Chunk of Change for re-release, even going so far as to tack on two bonus tracks. A full-length from Passion Pit was in the planning stages and a 2009 release date was said to be in the cards. - AMG


(Link Updated)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Q And Not U- No Kill No Beep Beep [2000]

Quirk-ass posturing matched with infectious D.C. backbeat and overly catchy singsong/shoutfests comes together as one of the best aggressive indie pop albums to see the light of day in many years. Q & Not U offer a take on the classic D.C. sound by bending its rules a bit, making things more infectious and fun to listen to than the Dischord world is used to. Their minor melodies and to-the-throat rhythmic drive, matched with an aesthetic sense that offers no cliché, offer more replay value than many of this band's peers, such as the other 2000-era Dischord addition, Faraquet. Shows are know to turn to dance parties in quite a hurry. Buy this for the enjoyment of technical spazz pop that few can produce with such tact. -Blake Butler

No Kill No Beep Beep [2000]

P.S. Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat and Fugazi produced the album.

Line In The Sand


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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Burial & Four Tet- 12" [2009]

Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet, is all about collaboration, so it's not a surprise that he teamed with shadowy English dubstep crossover Burial, aka William Bevan. The results, "Moth" and "Wolf Cub," arrive in a black sleeve and pressed onto a slab of 12" vinyl with a black label. The lack of information's a nice touch in this day and age of over-information, so in that spirit, it feels right to let you jump right into the sounds: "Moth" finds Reichian Gamelan giving way to wooden percussion and subtle background pitch/vocal smears, with an echoing spaciousness that remains throughout. "Wolf Cub" digs into a deeper, stutter-stopping, chiming/ringing/thumping club zone. Both are super mellow: A thoroughly enjoyable mind-meld bearing the fingerprints of both makers, but that also manages to lead them someplace new. -Stereogum

Wolf Cub

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TV on the Radio- Young Liars EP [2003]

Despite their connections to the New York rock scene -- the band is based in Brooklyn's Williamsburg district and keyboardist/sound manipulator David Andrew Sitek has produced releases by the Liars and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- TV on the Radio's debut EP, Young Liars, is difficult to place, musically or geographically speaking. The angular, arty feel that informs the bands that Sitek has worked with is evident in TV on the Radio's music too, but in a cool, implosive way; combined with the keyboards and electronics that make up the backbone of their songs and Tunde Adebimpe's richly melancholy vocals, they don't sound like any other band out there. Elements of electronica, post-rock, film music, even spirituals and traditional African vocal music combine and recombine throughout Young Liars' five songs so organically that it's clear that TV on the Radio isn't striving to be "eclectic" or "atmospheric": the band is simply using their naturally diverse elements and influences to create something wholly distinctive. More promising than most full-length debuts, Young Liars needs to be heard by anyone who values smart, challenging music. - Heather Phares

Young Liars [2003]
Young Liars

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sharpen Your Teeth [2002]

The story behind Sharpen Your Teeth is odd yet plausible: a mentally unstable character named Edgar Graham (calling himself Ugly Casanova) met up with Modest Mouse, followed them around on tour, recorded some songs, gave the recordings to labels, and then mysteriously disappeared. Songs on tapes discovered by Sub Pop were later recorded by Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse in hopes that Grahamwould resurface. The first solo record from the singer/guitarist, Sharpen Your Teeth, cuts into raw indie rock with spells of country and folk, while allowing Brock to explore a varying scope of sounds. He gets help from Brian Deck (whose production credits include Tortoise and the Sea and Cake), Tim Rutili of Red, Red Meat and Pall Jenkins of the Black Heart Procession. Ranging from heartfelt acoustic numbers ("Cat Faces") to outright bizarreness with grating vocals ("Diamonds on the Face of Evil"), there's no doubt that the mood sometimes coincides with the enigmatic Graham.- Kenyon Hopkin