Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Deep Sea Goes - Épater Le Bourgeois

Its good to see that there are still people that have not succumbed to the last ten years of music and that are still able to record a strain of pure emotion in the form of three minute blitzkrieg-style tracks that make up The Deep Sea Goes new EP. This record is packed with sounds that could have come from any number of groups that are hailed today as punk legends. The parts are simple, the vocals slightly out of tune a good portion of the time, and enough distortion to satiate any Ramones junky.

The overall sound of this album is deliciously lo-fi and the vocals are reminiscent of late nineties hardcore and punk standards. The musicianship on this album shows an authentic disregard for most dynamic levels, but in that disregard they convince the listener of their musical purpose, or lack thereof. This group could have been absolutely praised about ten or fifteen years ago, but today their sound might incline listeners to write off this band as a relic of a genre that has all but died. That would be a serious mistake, as these guys show a real talent for songwriting and a taste for progressiveness that doesn't over power their music. Check these guys out!

8.7/10 more information at www.thedeepseagoes.com

Helvitica is the Perfume of the City - Swallowing Stars

Helvetica is the Perfume of the City is the new group featuring Phil Todd, Ben Reynolds, Andy Jarvis, and David Hayward. Their new full-length is a collection of live recordings from various performances around England. It is chock-full of beautifully dense drones and almost meditative percussion. The performances are recorded exceptionally well and stand as a powerful statement for the direction of drone music.

Ben Reynolds, who is the most widely recognized musician featured, plays with subtlety and restraint, demonstrating a distinct musical wisdom. However, it becomes apparent in the first track alone that this album is not a "Ben Reynolds Band" album of any sort and that he is playing among musical peers who share similar wisdom in their crafting of the dense textures and timbres in this recording. This album is very strong and is one to pick up if you want to hear the future of drone music.

9/10 more information and ordering at www.labelledamesansmerci.com

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lanterns - Lughnasadh

Lanterns is a relatively new group that recently released an album on the Philadelphia label, Peasant Magik. The album is entitled Lughnasadh and features three tracks of moderate to long length. The group definitely has some unique vibes with a heavy influence of Indian Raga that seems to be permeating a good deal of experimental music these days.

The three tracks on this album are very well thought out and make good use of gradually developing elements. The drones elements are dark and organic with a nice sense of space. The music varies between very busy and very sparse movements and keeps the listener interested via many amorphous textures throughout the music. Overall, this album is quite well done.

7.5/10 more information and ordering at www.peasantmagik.net

Monday, October 8, 2007

By The End of Tonight/Tera Melos - Complex Full of Phantoms

By the End of Tonight and Tera Melos have had a common date with destiny for some time now. Their seemingly dissimilar brands of music have attracted many common fans and it was only a matter of time before these angular, complex bands collided to put out something as good as "Complex Full of Phantoms". The contributions from both bands feature their best material yet, which is certainly an accomplishment.

The material from BTEOT is their darkest, most complex songwriting yet. The same could be said for Tera Melos as well. Both bands have really outdone their previous selves with this record. The only thing to do now is to pray for a tour!

9/10 more information and ordering at www.temporaryresidence.com

The Drift - Ceiling Sky

The Drift have just taken the common courtesy of releasing all of their tracks previously available only on the archaic (albeit better sounding) vinyl format onto a convenient 5" CD. This means that the songs I only dreamed of driving to before are now a very real possibility. For those who don't know, The Drift is a jazz outfit that formed out of the California music monolith Tarentel. Their music is probably one of the best, most interesting things going on in jazz today.

The cyclical trumpet coupled with the fine-tuned use of drone and noise leads to a unique blend of influences within the jazz idiom. The album ends with the two tracks off of the RMXS 12" featuring remixes by Four Tet and Sybarite. This is a must have for any fans of the Drift as well as someone bored with the same stuff coming from the typical jazz sources these days.

8.9/10 more information and ordering at www.temporaryresidence.com

Sleeping People - Growing

Sleeping People have woken up from a strange dream and recorded their excursion via mathy, instrumental madness that transcends any of their previous work. This album explodes from the very beginning and pretty much refuses to give the listener any option but to follow the band into their dream, which is a good thing. This album is strange without alienating the listener, angular without cutting your ears, and any other clever euphemism I could contrive for avoiding the pitfalls of typical instrumental music.

This album avoids the so-called "sophomore slump" and, in fact, completely obliterates it. The music is mature, driving and damn catchy. The album starts out pulling you along and doesn't let up until Rob Crow shows up randomly and seals the deal on your musical addiction. Check this out if you are ready to wake up.

8.9/10 more information and ordering at www.temporaryresidence.com

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Lazarus - Hawk Medicine

Lazarus started out as the solo project from ex-Tarentel member Trevor Montgomery, and has now exploded into a full band and a spectacular new album entitled "Hawk Medicine". After collaborations with The Papercuts and tours with Grizzly Bear, Lazarus has unleashed another album of either greater brilliance than any of his past solo efforts. His expansion to a full band could not have come at a better time, as its been a while since we've heard any new stuff from Trevor, who's been "hiding" on tours with EITS and the Castanets.

The new album is simply breathtaking in its scope and production. Montgomery's voice on this album is simply monumental, its just as likely that you hear these songs coming from mountains as from a person. The entire album is a trip into another man's soul, in fact you feel as if you're parting with a piece of yourself as the album ends. This album is a diamond in the rough, simply trouncing any preconceived notions of the singer-songwriter genre. GET THIS!

9/10 more information and ordering at www.temporaryresidence.com

Don't Mess With Texas - Los Dias De Junio

Don't Mess With Texas is NOT a George Bush tribute band, as the name may lead you to conclude. Don't Mess With Texas is a group of fine Croatian musicians with a unique sense of humor. Their latest album "Los Dias De Junio" is a spectacular collection of post-rock masterpieces successfully blending the breadth and scope of GY!BE with the straightforward writing of Don Caballero without sounding generic. The production and recording of the album are very successful as well, with a great bit of attention on the atmospheric sound that makes this band well worth listening to.

Overall this band is definitely worth checking out if you too are suffering from the recent slump in interesting post-rock. These guys are really impressive players and composers and their chemistry as players comes through the recording more than usual. This album is a welcome addition to the post-rock genre and music in general.

9/10 more information and ordering at www.moonleerecords.com

Prizzy Prizzy Please - s/t

Prizzy Prizzy Please is a mainstay of the Bloomington scene, being one of the most entertaining live acts around the town. Their debut half-length is an album that exceeds most expectations for a local self-release, in fact its surprising that these guys are not signed already. They are well on their way to redefining the fate of punk in to a respectable genre of music again. This is not some poppy, watered-down bullshit, this is finally a legitimate direction for music that has either been repeating itself or whose performers have been listening to too much N*Sync to remember what good music is like.

This album is not just good, its great. There is a scary amount of potential in the music on this disc. I won't be surprised to see these guys doing some really big things in the near future. People have been feeding on all of this ridiculous, unfulfilling music for so long, its about time they have a real meal.

9.5/10 more information at myspace.com/prizzyprizzyplease

Ajilvsga - Thorazine to Infinity

Ajilvsga has been very busy lately and is gaining momentum with upcoming releases on Type and Rite as well as a Digitalis Arts and Crafts release. This release just came out on Peasant Magik in a limited edition of seventy-five. For fans of their previous work, this release won't hold too many surprises, but to the new listener Ajilvsga is a surprisingly unique force in the noise scene today.

The two sides contain some harsh, amorphous pieces that owe an equal debt to distortion pedals and Indian Raga. These sludgy drones posses a haunting quality that is lost on much of the noise music going on today. Overall this would be a good addition to the collection of any fan of their previous work, or anyone interested in where the noise scene is going these days.

7/10 more information and ordering at http://peasantmagik.net

Monday, October 1, 2007

Fantastic Magic - Witch Choir

Fantastic Magic is a group that features some newer names unheard of, but perfectly welcome in the movement that has recently been gaining momentum with the infamous cdr labels and the resurrection of the tape culture from the 90's. On this tape from Abandon Ship Records, Fantastic Magic offers a unique melding of genres that will catch just about any listener by surprise in a very good way. There is a barrage of diversity that is unmatched in recent memory.

The tape starts out with what sounds like children singing, and from there the music explodes with uncountable surprises and developments as both sides go by painfully fast. This is a new development in the type of music most of the contributors normally play. The closest I can get to aptly describing the catchiness and weirdness is that this music is as screwed up as "pop" music could get while still being desirable.

9/10 more information at www.abandonshiprecords.com

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

6Majik9 - Sinister Kindness

6Majik9 is a musical project that comes from the owner of the Music Your Mind Will Love You imprint from Australia and one half of Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood, needless to say, but this record is pretty good and follows an impressive body of previous work. The first side of this tape is very haunting at times but also features the use of random wind instruments and a zither-sounding instrument to open the sound. The music is generally very free and meditative with a clear understanding of the concepts involved.

The creative use of feedback and delayed vocals add a chilling sensation to the music. Interestingly enough, about halfway into the first side, the group brings in some welcome variance with an almost Mars Volta-esque section, followed by more free drones and percussion that plays a big role through the end of the side. The second side is also very well done, but doesn't contain as much interest as the first. The side starts out pretty mellow and develops into a slightly chaotic montage with concentration on very harsh, high frequency sounds.

8.5/10 more information and ordering at abandonshiprecords.com

Capricorn Wings - Precenc

Capricorn Wings is a duo that falls into the same musical vein as (VxPxC) and The North Sea. They could very easily be lumped into the psych-folk genre and said to be more of the same, but there is some really creative music being made by these two musicians. There is an obvious drone/raga influence that permeates most of side A and a knack for using alternate sources for sounds such as vinyl and microphone feedback. The development of this side of the tape is very well paced and demonstrates a musical patience that is pretty uncommon in western music.

The second side of this tape is much more mystical sounding, and gets to even be a little ominous. The organ textures are extremely effective and add an interesting element to the mechanical sounding drone that dominates the mix as the piece develops. Overall this tape is pretty well recorded and contains some really good material. Definitely worth checking these guys out.

7/10 more information and ordering at abandonshiprecords.com

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thousands - Skinless/Boneless

Thousands is a self-proclaimed psych-folk supergroup centered around members of LA trio (VxPcC). This release lives up to their claim, building impressively to their already strong catalogue. This tape from Abandon Ship Records features two side-long pieces that demonstrate the versatility of this group in an improvised setting. This is one of the best things these guys have put out so far, its a little bit less free than some of their past work, but the focus is a welcome change.

Both of the pieces on the album are excellent, but "Boneless" is especially compelling with its creepy whistling and distant vocals that permeate the various sounds contained within the music. This album is definitely worth picking up if you've had any exposure to their earlier work or any of the related bands.

8.5/10 more information and ordering at http://abandonshiprecords.com

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Stone Burner - ABYDOS

Stone Burner is a collaboration between both members of Agilvsga and Grant Capes from (VxPxC). The result is a very focused collection of music that has been released on Abandon Ship Records. "ABYDOS" features some of the better work of all of those involved, possibly even raising the bar for the oodles of drone tapes out there. This music uses a lot of drone, but luckily the players involved have mastered the art of dynamics, often letting a softer drone highlight a different element in the music.

The tape is exceptionally well planned-out with the more percussion dominant tracks comprising side A and all of the guitar and noise pieces on the other. The recording quality, while not crystal clear the whole time, matches the music very well and complements the tape format as well. This tape is a solid release for any new musical venture, this trio certainly has a way of kicking things off.

8/10 more information and ordering at www.abandonshiprecords.com

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Orangeyellowred - Make an Ugly Friend

Orangeyellowred is a singer-songwriter from Marion, Indiana that started his recorded career late last year with the album "Make an Ugly Friend". Listening to this album for the first time, the opening track, "Vacation" will catch pretty much anyone who is used to the dime-a-dozen songwriter rather off-guard. His playing is solid, but his voice is what makes him stand out from most others. His singing style is unique and actually different, which is pretty rare these days. If you make it through the first track, which might be the weakest one on the album, the listening experience becomes very rewarding, the unique sound grows on you in a way only a few records have ever done.

Every song is well written and the album gets better the longer you listen, simply because you forget the weirdness of the voice, actually grow comfortable with it and by the end of the album, you begin to wonder if you always haven't listened to music this way. I cannot stress enough the truly rewarding nature of the listening experience attached to this album. Definitely a great album to pick up if you're not afraid of owning a singer-songwriter album that doesn't sound like another damn Jack Johnson album.

9/10 more information and ordering at www.crossroadsofamericarecords.com

Away With Vega/Husband & Wife - Split EP

Another release from the prolific Indiana indie rock scene features two bands from the southern half of the state, Husband & Wife from Bloomington, and Marion heroes Away With Vega. This one is a bit older, but definitely still worth picking up. The songs featured on this release are some of the best from each band and is either unreleased or a completely unique version to the EP. Away with Vega has two songs, "A Baby Boy Sleeps", originally from their album of the same name, and "Make your Muscles" a track that was originally for their full-length "Recovery". Husband & Wife offers two tracks originally from their album "Operation:Surgery", "Battlecab Dramatica" and "The Irons, New Lion" as well as a cover of Away With Vega's "Aurora and Tithonus".

This release is definitely a solid record and would serve as a great introduction to either band. The bands complement each other in a way that is rather uncommon these days, bearing the musical benefits that bands get from long associations and many nights sharing the stage. The vibe from this record is infectious and will have a spot in your head, replaying a maddening number of times, but really with this music playing in your head, going crazy doesn't sound so bad.

8/10 more information and ordering at husband-wife.net

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Husband and Wife - Operation:Surgery/Tour EP

Husband and Wife is a band from Bloomington, Indiana that has been playing emotive, driving rock for some years now throughout the Midwest and beyond. Their sincere sound and captivating live shows have earned them quite a name among the strange and sheltered scenes around Indiana. They have been very busy over the last year with two releases on the label Crossroads of America, run by the band's singer. They released their latest full-length, "Operation:Surgery" late last year and this year released a tour EP with some reworked versions of earlier material.

Both of these releases are dense in a way that there is just a huge amount of emotional force going into these songs without making the listener contemplate an early demise. Songs about life, love, sadness, and happiness are complemented by some very talented instrumental work from the entire band. Operation:Surgery not only offers great songs, but has some complex musical figures that give testimony to the fact that these guys can play their instruments quite well. For fans of rainy days and colored leaves in the fall.

9/10 more information and ordering at http://corssroadsofamericarecords.com

Igor - Solo View

Igor Grigoriev is a Los Angeles-based composer who s a member of the free jazz ensemble, The OGOGO. He has been very active in the Avant-Garde scene there for quite a while and is also an avid soloist, blending elements of jazz and classical with a significant amount of atonal chaos. His latest effort, "Solo View" is a collection of compositions that range from chaotic noise pieces to a few more tame guitar works.

Listening to the album straight through, the first half seems to be significantly more chaotic and much harder to listen to than the second half, which is much more coherent in nature and more clearly shows Igor's talent for composition. The tonal side of his compositional style lends itself much better to his impressive chops while the atonal chaos sounds forced from the screaming amp. However, Igor does do a really good job of making his instrument emulate other instruments throughout the disc. Overall, this would be a good addition to any collection of guitar-based art-music. He certainly pushes the limits with what is sonically possible, albeit at times sacrificing some elements of musicality.

7/10 More information and ordering at www.myspace.com/ogogoigor

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Dirty Projectors - Rise Above

The Dirty Projectors are a band that recently signed to Dead Oceans, a new label from Bloomington, Indiana. Their new album "Ride Above" drops tomorrow. After a couple of releases on some smaller labels and a ton of touring, this band is starting to make a name for themselves and this album will serve to grab some serious attention in the music world. Their unique blend of spastic guitars and hyped-up group vocals is a sound that is both fun and mind-bending.

About ten seconds into the first track on this album, it becomes apparent that you are listening to something significantly different from the current indie-pop mantra. With a healthy dose of dual guitar interplay and creative percussion, The Dirty Projectors have created a diverse collection of musically engaging songs. It takes quite a songwriter to get polyrhythms and musical lunacy stuck in your head for any extended period of time, but this is exactly what they have accomplished with "Rise Above". this album is bound to be loved by previous fans, and fans of Hella and Animal Collective as well.

8.5/10 More information and ordering at www.deadoceans.com and www.myspace.com/dirtyprojectors

Monday, September 3, 2007


Rodeo Ruby Love is a prolific group from Bloomington, Indiana. Driven by the songwriting ability of guitarist/vocalist Zachary Melton, and complemented by a varying ensemble of musicians that both flesh out the musical arrangements, and bring the ideas to life, this group has put out a trio of discs over the course of late last year and early this year that demonstrates the progress of the musical Midwest. The songs are as endearing as they are catchy, and as honest as they are fun. There is an unmistakable tone of the genuineness in the words on each of the albums, leading to a refreshingly simple listening experience.

Rodeo Ruby Love has a lot of potential going for them, both musically and geographically, with the scene in Bloomington really thriving these days. This group is bound to go as far as they really want. Its really only a matter of time.

Select Discography and quick ratings:
"Your Love Has Made Everything Beautiful" XRA 002 8/10
"What Loneliness can do to You" XRA 007 8.5/10
"Honest to God" XRA 008 8/10
more information and ordering at http://crossroadsofamericarecords.com

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Prints - s/t

Hailing from LA, Prints is a pop duo that has sprung up seemingly from nowhere and released a brilliantly fun and even a little but absurd album on Temporary Residence, one of my personal favorite labels. At its core the music on this album, while structurally creative and sophisticated, is born from the beauty of simplicity. As a result, the songs on this album are not only dangerously catchy, but just plain fun without the day-care, sing-songy bullshit.

The feel of the album is lighthearted enough to crack even the most obstinate anti-pop music lovers out there. In all likelihood, if your idea of fun involves something other than violence then you will probably enjoy this album to at least a moderate degree. The vocals are fun, the lyrics are quirky, and the interplay between the musicians both instrumentally and vocally is superb.

Temporary Residence seems to have it out to rebuild the long lost establishment of when there was real music that could play on a radio. Prints and label-mate Rob Crow could serve to reclaim a genre that has been long lost to out generation.

9.5/10 More information and ordering at www.temporaryresidence.com

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fridge - The Sun

Its been quite a long time since the sounds of Fridge have been sneaking into my head at unexpected times, but now those subtle moments if musical sublimity are slowly starting to creep back with the release of The Sun. The sound on this album peels back the layers of a group centered around the fun of music and offers us something deeper. The music is focused, relaxed, and transparent. Listening to this album for the first time was similar to finding shoes that were just the right size the first time.

The production on this album was just as amazing as the music, which is to be expected when you have the likes of Four-Tet and Adem as part of your band. The sound of the album does a great job of maintaining a huge sense of space. This album is just plain comfortable. Overall, let's just hope it doesn't take this long to make the next one.

8.5/10 More information and ordering at www.temporaryresidence.com

Monday, August 27, 2007

Grails - Burning off Impurities

If you take a look at the TRL website, you'll see that Jeremy DeVine says that this album brings the first real change to their genre in ten years. Seeing as Jeremy has been one of the biggest supporters of instrumental music, that is one huge claim to back up. After listening to this album a few times and being absolutely astounded, I'm starting to agree with him. Grails' latest, Burning off Impurities, is a downright masterpiece.

The textures utilized and the feelings that the music evokes are deep, subtle, and gargantuan in scope. This band may have finally succeeded GY!BE as a legitimate face and leader for the future of the "post-rock" genre. This album goes way beyond the music that has been coming out lately though, bringing subtle changes, dense drones, and ethnic complexity in the mix Grails has formed something truly phenomenal. Bringing sounds that have been hidden deep in dusty basements for years to the public view at last.
9.7/10 More information and ordering at www.temporaryresidence.com

Mono - Gone

Gone is a collection of rare EP's released over recent years by the formidable Japanese group, Mono. These include several split releases, a previously Japan-only release, and the band;s contribution to the elusive Travels in Constants series. This release is truly a preset for anyone familiar with Mono in the past few years. Hearing their sound progress from the music through the years brings the work of this group into great perspective.

The music on this collection is diverse and well-produced throughout. From the opening, "Finlandia" to the closing "Little Boy" the impact of this band is beautiful, cinematic, and heartfelt. The one downfall is that we had to wait so long to hear it, but now that its here, who's complaining?
9/10 More information and ordering at www.temporaryresidence.com

Rob Crow - Up

Rob Crow has just released the second single from the album I Hate You Rob Crow, Up. This new song and the three others (not on the album) are further reinforcing the already huge critical acclaim he has been getting from across the country and beyond. I, for one, am not going to stop them. The new single was one of my favorite off of the album and the unreleased ones are just as ridiculously catchy.

The sensibility of the musicianship and sensitivity to fun are nearly unmatched. Rob Crow has truly outdone himself on both this single and the full-length. It sounds nice, it looks fun, and it might even taste good if you take a nice bite out of it.
My advice, go get it if you like to enjoy what you're listening to.
9/10 More information and ordering at www.temporaryresidence.com

Maserati - Inventions for the New Season

Maserati is a band from Atlanta, Georgia that not only omits the usual presence of a vocalist but goes so far as to condemn it on their website. Their latest, Inventions for the new Season, is an impressive mix of typical post-rock material with nice sense of groove to back it up. The CD is enjoyable from beginning to end from the most part but a few places, including the introduction, seemed to get a bit repetitive.

The album does sound really good though. The production amply captures each voice of the band while giving the music a lot of space to breathe. it is also hard to deny the skill this group has in blending a genre that has become all-too-serious with some serious fun. Overall this album is especially good for anyone hating vocalists and tired of the same old cinematic post-rock.
8/10 more information and ordering at www.temporaryresidence.com

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dan Marriner - Below the Seas

Dan Marriner is a new name to me, as a listener, and I am clueless as to what he has done in the past. Presently though he has been putting his efforts into a collection of evocative, creative songs that goes beyond the largely contrived nature of the all-but-dead singer-songwriter genre. The deep smoky voice is accompanied by creative guitar and sparse use of other instruments and sounds that usually reserved for for ambient music. The tone of the guitar itself on this album is earthy, organic, and serves to give the music a dense sense of purpose and repose.

The songs contained within Below the Seas are varied and serve well to represent a musician that goes beyond saying what he wants to say and moving on. There seems to be attention to details outside of the voice and guitar that make this album particularly enjoyable. Overall, it is apparent that there is at least one person making up for the tired bullshit that singer-songwriters have been throwing at us for years, and his recompense is more than welcome.

You can find more information on Dan Marriner and his work at http://www.myspace.com/unofficialcharacter


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Nathamuni Brothers - Madras 1974

The Nathanumi Brothers were a pair of performers in the classical Indian music tradition that switched from the original clarinets of the country to the E flat Albert, or western standard clarinet. This document is a truly unique collection of music that demonstrates the magic that can occur when different musical cultures draw on each other. The band consists of the clarinetists, a brass section and a superb percussion section. The drum work on this album is simply breathtaking at times, providing a wealth of musical momentum upon which the group surely drew.

Musically, the most rewarding part of the album is the interplay between all of the instruments. The virtuoso performances from the players do not overshadow the value this ensemble had as a collective unit. The only problem with this document is that the songs chosen may sound repetitive to the first-time listener of Indian Music.
9/10 more information and ordering at museumfire.com

Phoenix Bodies - Too Much Information

Phoenix Bodies is an Indianapolis based band that has been serving up an intense brew of noisy grind-core for some time now. The music is harsh and fast but still maintains a pervading sense of the fun that is being had while these performers command the stage. The drummer on this collection drives the band with a keen sense of focused intensity. The result being an amazingly consistent sound and vibe through the plethora of live and studio tracks that make up this album.

With thirty-seven track on the CD and an accompanying DVD, Too Much Information is a truly massive collection of material. It remains entertaining throughout and although it can seem a bit repetitive (with thirty-seven tracks who wouldn't?) this album is really a solid body of work.
8/10 more information and ordering at phoenixbodies.com

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Daitro - Laisser Vivre Les Squelettes

Daitro is a French hardcore band that has been touring the U.S. extensively this summer. Their latest full-length offering, "Laisser Vivre Les Squelettes" is an impressive album offering more than many other bands in the same vein. The opening of the album is excellent with a sense of urgency that permeates their heavy sound, and the overall song writing is impressive.

Their approach to the music is mature in a performance respect, and it is clear they have spent ample time with their respective instruments. The weak spot for this album was that some parts were simply unoriginal. The band does show a potential to take their music to a new level of creativity if they continue their work. Overall, the album is definitely worth checking out if you're maybe a little tired of the material we've been pumping out here in the States.

7/10 More information and ordering at http://daitro.com

Genghis Tron - Triple Black Diamond Tour EP

Genghis Tron is certainly a horse of a different color. With the inclusion of a sequencer in lieu of a human (which is sadly being done more commonly these days), and a musical precision that is matched by very few in their genre. It becomes very clear from the outset of the record that this band is a musical force to be reckoned with. The live tracks that being the album are so flawless that you being to question whether or not the liner notes are lying.

Following the live tracks are a few compositions and remixes that manifest the band's talent that goes beyond normal rock-band standards. They have produced a set of songs that show a real compositional thought process.

Now, as for the sequencer, normally I would condemn a band for using a sequencer and omitting a drummer but the programming on this album is complex, diverse, and work to achieve a sound that a real drum set cannot always deliver. Their taste for sounds on this ep is impeccable and makes up for their lack of sticks in the back.

9/10 more information and ordering at GenghisTron.com

Friday, August 17, 2007

Graf Orlock - Destination Time Tomorrow

After a solid performance at this year's Dudefest in Indianapolis, I was excited to hear what Graf Orlock put together for their latest album. This album opens with the first of many (perhaps too many) movie samples. The following music, though, is focused, propulsive and features excellent musical control. They are especially effective in the use of dual vocalists, with their respective parts meshing well.

Over all, the music has some thrash and grind tendencies with out getting so out of control as to lose the musical integrity. The production is lacking in parts and sounds generic for much of the album. This band certainly has a lot going on, and is likely to do well in the future. My personal favorite part is the final track featuring a cover of the Jurassic Park theme.
8/10 More information and ordering at www.graforlock.com

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Antique Brothers - Vol 3 Hospital Daze

One of my personal favorite psych-folk duos has done it again. With this volume, the brothers take their sound to more even organic realms. The sound for this album is focused, spacious, and sprawling all at the same time. The drum work on this album is probably the best and most tasteful for any of their music so far. The varied instrumentation helps create a dense cohesive whole.

Over all, this album is extremely strong and demonstrates the musical talent of these two six-string explorers. From chant-like vocals to the deep sound of "Swamps of Glory", this album has something for just about everyone. A sublime listening experience.
9/10 More information and ordering at www.digitalisindustries.com

Monday, August 13, 2007

Kheta Hotem - Winter Solstice (Foxglove 160)

My first encounter with Kheta Hotem, Winter Solstice, has left me torn between my usually open outlook on music and my annoyance at the number of ideas flying around at random throughout this particular recording. The opening track alone is enough to drive all but the most veteran listener up the wall. With a noise-jazz cacophony rivaling the most crazed modern jazz, this recording still seems to lack any musical direction, leaving most listeners unsatisfied.

The album does improve moderately after the first track but is mostly similar material with varying instrumentation and feels. The last track is the strongest by far sounding like some sort of Native American chant, although it seems to drag on a bit in the end. This release is certainly unique, but it may take a few more tries to get it quite right.
5/10 More information and ordering at www.digitalisindustries.com

Barn Owl - s/t (Foxglove 158)

Barn Owl is a group with which I'm not too familiar. This is the first recording I've heard from them and I now hope it is not the last. The sound on this album is dense, organic and, at times, strewn with elements of darkness and mystery. Although instrumental psych-folk can often be repetitive, Barn Own do a remarkable job of pulling the listener into their world if six-string mystique.

This CDR is full of compelling guitar work, and it is apparent from the opening track and beyond that the musicians involved have a keen ear for instrumentation and arranging. The work is at time reminiscent of recent work by guitar gurus Mike Tamburo and Matt McDowell, bringing to the table a shared attraction to the power of drones. Cinematic, intimate at times, a must have for the disciples of the new drone mantra.
9/10 More information and ordering at www.digitalisindustries.com

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Hey everyone, I apologize for all of the delays in some of the reviews. I have at least nine going up later today, I promise, so hold tight. Also if you sent me vinyl, I just got a new needle for my turntable, so I will be focusing on that in the next few days. Thanks fr your patience.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Vuneny - V2

The second full length from Bosnian band Vuneny is an electronic opus that is engaging from the beginning to the end. With complex rhythms and driving synth work, V2 is full of compelling material that demands the listener's attention throughout the entire work. The sound is dense, multi-layered, and just plain good.

The impeccable production and recording work on this album helps to amply represent the compositional complexity and talent that drives Vuneny. This music could definitely be used for a soundtrack of some sort. With the diversity of music on this album and the real talent this band has exhibited on this release, this band could definitely go places with their music. For fans of electronic music and good music in general.

8/10 More information and ordering at www.moonleerecords.com and www.vuneny.org

COG - Course Over Ground

COG is a Croatian trio that boldly blends rock, noise, and electronic music. This music is very well composed with intricate instrumentation driving the songs on the album. This music has an edginess that is lacking from most math-rock today. The electronic textures and sounds on this album are very well placed and serve to demonstrate the musical maturity of this band.

With vocals similar to American band Mewithoutyou and structure similar to Damiera, this release is aurally exciting and diverse, with each song displaying different sides to the writing of this group. The production and recording of this album reflect the strength of the band and helps to capture the plethora of sounds used in the music. Over all it is very apparent that the folks over at Moonlee Records knew what they were doing when they signed this band. I'm sure we'll be hearing more from these guys stateside soon.
9/10 More information and ordering at www.moonleerecords.com

Friday, August 3, 2007

Belly Boat - Dear Robert Hanoy

Belly Boat is a inde-pop duo who recently put out a full-length album on California's Not Not Fun records. Their main instrumentation consists of piano and accordion, which dominates a good portion of the album. The rest of the album is mostly driven by the unique vocals and found sounds recorded from varying sources. Over all the album's production is lo-fi, most likely for aesthetic reasons as the musical ideas have no major problems coming through the mix.

As for the music within this disc, this would be an excellent choice for any fans of Joanna Newsom, as the vocals sound very similar and the songwriting is very conducive to the type of nasally vocals this duo produces. As for fans of more "normal" music this album can be almost annoying after a few songs, with the vocal sound being anything but conventional. As for the songs in general, it is very apparent that these two have a real ear for song structure and flow. This album represents the unique talents of this band really well. This is definitely worth checking out if you want to get a break from the typical indie-pop mantra and expand your aural palette.

7/10 More information and ordering at www.notnotfun.com

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bilk - This Bilk is Radioactive

Bilk is a Croatian band that recently released their debut full-length on the impressive Moonlee Records. This album is nothing short of phenomenal. The production is impeccable, the cd having been recorded at the renown Kozmo Studio. The drums on this release bear a great resemblance to the sound from The Jazz Mandolin Project's "Jungle Tango", and the overall velocity of the music is similar as well. From the opening synth line to the closing drum hit, this album is alive with electro-rock vigor.

With moments as diverse as any album in the last few years, this trio goes through genres ranging from electronica, to jazz, even some dub reggae moments, then they turn those genres on their heads blazing through them with driving beats and assertive synthesizer and guitar work. For a debut, Bilk will surely be turning some heads in the near future as this album features a musical maturity that is not easily ignored. This could be the new standard for European bands to look to.
9.8/10 More information and ordering at www.moonleerecords.com and www.bilkspace.com

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pelican - City of Echoes

Pelican has been one of the main authorities in the instrumental rock genre for some years now and their new release "City of Echoes" only serves to reassert the commanding sontrol of instruments and songwriting that have helped gather their loyal fan-base. "City of Echoes" is driven by the familiar distorted guitar that drenches most of their other recordings, having become their signature sound. The tone is dense and organic, ebbing between triumphant melodies and warnings of impending doom.

With this album, Pelican has established themselves as masters of their craft. This album contains melodies as memorable as Explosions in the Sky, but the comparisons rightly stop there. This album is an engaging, dense work of mature songcraft. The tempo for most of this album is relatively fast compared to other recent instumental releases by bands such as Mono. They abandon drawn-out cinematic build and stick to songs that are immediately catchy and work to draw the listener into the cycles of guitar-driven melody. This is their strongest work yet showing that this genre still has a lot more to offer and to teach the rest of the rock music scene.
9.2/10 More information on Pelican can be found at www.pelicansong.com and www.hydrahead.com

Monday, July 30, 2007

From The Headline - s/t EP

From The Headine is a hard working band from Wisconsin that has been playing shows throughout the Midwest and beyond for some time now. Their debut recording has been a long time in coming, but thankfully it has been well worth the wait. From the Headline is a band that has immense pop appeal while still playing well enough to impress even the most pop-wary music fans.

The songs on this six-track EP are both catchy and refined. Showing influences rangeing from pop to latin, From the Headline have a real talent for writing great songs. With time they could even redeem the often boring pop genre. The album was impeccably recorded and features great production. The packaging of this release is also especially stunning. It features a digipack with an outer sleeve. This unusual configuration works brilliantly to render this release as nice visually as it is aurally. This music is for anyone wishing the radio would play real music.
9/10 Check these guys out at www.myspace.com/fromtheheadline
Also a side note to any label who happens to read this, SIGN THESE GUYS, you won't regret it.

TheAnti - Tour EP

TheAnti is a duo from Indiana who have been touring and stirring up quite a ruckus with their brand of tight, aggressive rock. Their most recent recorded output is a Tour Ep, which has eleven tracks, technically qualifying it as a full-length but who really cares anyway? Their songwriting is straight forward with an experimental flair that includes the use of the infamous Korg Kaoss Pad. This cd is a collection of diverse material rangeing from noisy jams to acoustic songs sans drums and noise.

Most of these songs are well written with influences from many sources, most notably The Mars Volta. In fact, track 5 could almost be seen as a Mars Volta rip-off, with processed guitars and vocals reminiscient of their sound. Apart from that, however, this album is a solid work of skilled songcraft. This is one band definitely worth checking out.

7/10 You can contact this band at http://www.myspace.com/theantiesspace Please do, they could use your support.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pulga - Pulga Loves You

Pulga is the duo formed by Italian Saxophonist Valerio Cosi and Texan musician Niwi (The Mighty Acts of God). This release has been highly anticipated by fans of both of these musicians and has been put out by the impresive Fire Museum Records. The cd starts out with a track that shifts between gentle drone and chaotic jam. The chemistry between these two musicians is made very clear from the outset of the album.
As the cd continues on, their sound begins to take shape and develop into a cyclic pattern between chaos and sublimity. this contiues through until the eighteen minute closer, "Raga Pulga". by far the strongest track on the album bringing together the talent of both musicians as adept muli-instrumentalists and an almost cinematesque build of tension. This track makes the cd worth buying alone, not to mention the other tacks which are also superb. Over all this release would be a more than welcome addition to any collection of instrumental, experimental music. Certain to be an underground legend in the near future.
9/10 More information and purchasing can be done at www.museumfire.com

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Burnt Hills - Cloud Nine

This is the first I've heard from Burnt Hills, and is another release from the lovely Tape Drift imprint. I had no real idea what to expect from this release but I should say that I enjoyed what I heard. This band has a lot of members, nearly ten, and most play multiple instruments on this recording. The first few tracks contained what sounded like controlled cacaphony. The sound at the beginning had guitars, lots of them. I couldn't quite tell exactly how many were going at once, but it was certainly more than just rhythm and lead. The walls of distorted guitar and driving rhythms of multiple drummers kept the music more focused than it might have been otherwise. The percussionists stayed together remarkably well and steered the band in a direction that recalled many noisy Mars Volta bootlegs as well as Tarentel, albeit much more chaotic.

This band stays pretty consistent throughout this cd and they seems to communicate well musically even with so many musicians contributing to the chaos. There are times in the cd that sound unfocused, but these are mere fleeting moments in comparison to the rest of the whole. This release would be a great addition to any fan of "Ghetto Beats on the Surface of the Sun" by Tarentel or to jam music in general.

8/10 This release may be purchased at www.tapedrift.com

Sunday, July 22, 2007

(VxPxC) - Lizard in the Spring

For anyone that has ever heard anything by (VxPxC), the word 'focused' doesn't usually come into play with a lot of their music. With new material being recorded by this band weekly, this California trio put out a lot of music at a rate that would make most artists' head spin. All of the music is completely improvised and most often falls within the borders of the ever-growing psych-folk genre. Lizard in the Spring however is rich, dense, and even catchy at times. This release could very well change the way this band is viewed by listeners of their other work.

Lizard in the Spring is an unusually throrough album for improvised music. This release also incorporates a heavier amount of vocals than much of their recent work, adding a new aspect to the music that, at times, ties the music together very well. The harmonic and melodic drones that saturate much of the album have a way of fleshing out the the sound of the band that unifies the release and creates a cinematesque sense of space and depth. Other than a few vocal parts that clash with the music occasionally, improvisation has not really sounded this rehearsed in a while. This is an essential addition to any collection of improvised music, and would be a great starting point for listeners not yet prepared to completely abandon the foundations of "normal music".

9.5/10 This release can be ordered from www.tapedrift.com

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Century Plants - Sound System Sound

Century Plants is the duo comprised of Eric Hardiman and Ray Hare, the former being the mind behind the new label Tape Drift on which this cd was released. This release comprises of two half-hour long improvisations from April. This new label has done a really nice job with the packaging and presentation of this and the other releases from the catalogue. All of the releases so far are encased in black clamshells with wraparound covers and interesting artowork on each one.

Sound System Sound is an hour long onslaught of distorted guitar that starts with a bluesy tinge and continues on with a plethora of musical ideas that seem to appear and disappear through a thick haze of distortion and fuzz that pays as much tribute to the elemental as to the industrial. The music contained herein cantains both fuzz-drenched melodic improvisation and blistering atonal squall, blending themselves to create a musical behemoth that is both intimidating and accessable. The only problem with the release was a certain amount of inconsistency in some of the musical ideas, sometimes it sounded as if the pair could not resolutely decide what direction the music was meant to take, but then again that is sometimes the beauty of improvisational music.

8/10 This release can be ordered from www.tapedrift.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bjerga/Iversen - Electric Tranquilizer

This being my first aural exposure to the prolific Norwegian duo of Bjerga/Iversen, I had no real idea of what to expect apart from reviews and other articles that have popped up recently highlighting them. I must say that I was, on the whole, pretty impressed by their most recent release on Peasant Magik. These two operate within the drone medium utilizing guitars for the bulk of their sounds and creating soundscapes that remain interesting and varied throughout most of both sides.

This cassette has two side-long pieces that vary significantly from each other, possibly due in part to the two year span between the recording dates of each piece. Side A was the more ethereal and enjoyable of the two pieces and aptly demonstrated a clear musical idea which tended to drift along at an indeterminable pace, ebbing and flowing throughout the fifteen minute side it occupies.

Side B however was more mechanical in both tone and tambre choices as well as musical communication and seemed to get a bit monotonous a few minutes into the track. Nevertheless the piece does pick up a little direction and momentum in the second half before coming to a nice, almost glacial halt. Over all I would say that this tape is a nice starting point for anyone not yet exposed to the experimental culture that seems to be growing in Norway right now, and is an interesting portrait of the duo and their progresion over the last few years that would be interesting for fans if their other work.

7/10 This tape may be purchased from www.peasantmagik.net

Monday, July 16, 2007

Weather Exposed Skeleton Music - An Axe Through All This

I have to admit that upon recieving this tape from Peasant Magik the name seemed to hint at something much darker and noisier than what was actually contained on the two sides of the cassette in question. I was pleasantly surprised to find an album of songs that were not only well crafted but managed to fill the void between the current trend in improvisational experimental music (which can sometimes be very frustrating to litsten to on a regular basis) and more conventionally thought out music. The guitar melodies and hazy atmospheres that dominate most of this tape are both pleasant to hear and intricate enough to keep the attention of the more demanding listener.

Whether you are looking for a good album to which to space out or music to aurally dissect during a spare half an hour, this tape would be a nice addition to any collection.
8/10 This tape can be ordered from PeasantMagik.net

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

48 Minutes of aural bliss from Tarentel's Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - The Garden of Forking Paths

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is apparently very busy. He runs the fantastic Rootsrata imprint, maintains numerous musical projects including The Alps, The Holy See, and most notably Tarentel. he has been making solo music as well for quite some time, originally under the moniker Colophon. He has most recently released a cd on Japan's Spekk records, a label I was not really aware of before listening to this release.

After hearing all of his other projects and their diversity, I had no real idea of what to expect from a solo outing. I was simply stunned. The attention to detail of sound and structure on this cd is nothing short of fantastic. Moving away from the longer pieces that his projects like Holy See and Tarentel at times are known for, Ledesma crafts a collection of short zen-like pieces for guitar, harmonium and other soothing instruments. Flowing without being repetitive, he maturely crafts each song to carry a consistent aura and mood throughout the duration of the album.

Buy this if you enjoy music that can take you on a journey without raising your heartbeat to an unhealthy level. For fans of his other work, instrumental compositions, and lazy river rides.
9/10 available from www.spekk.net

also check out Jefre's label Rootstrata at rootstrata.com

"Music Your Mind Will Love You" blesses us with a new cdr from The Holy See

The Holy See is comprised of Jefre Cantu-Ladesma and Jim Redd of San Fransisco legends Tarentel. My only other exposure to this particular project was on the release "f***ing physics" earlier this year on Foxglove.

In listening to this release, and this band in general, one must enter into it with a certain openness to the harsh soundscape that often surrounds the otherwise accessible musical ideas within. Having to find this state of mind, however, sometimes detracts from the overall musical listening experience.

This release is one track, about thirty-three minutes long and is quite possibly even harsher than the foxglove cdr mentioned earlier. "untitled" is quite possibly the most musically mature material this band has released, though. The sounds chosen and timbres utilized varied and diversified the piece while still operating within the walls of feedback that largely govern their original, albeit brutal, sound. (Brutal is not always bad, especially in this case.)

One of the most pleasing aspects of this album is the inclusion of sounds that recall more contemplative music, with guitars sounding like chimes, and washes of fuzz ridden feedback imitating breezes. The Holy See create a sense of space that seems a contradiction upon first listen, but begins to grow on the listener after a few times. At times it becomes similar to meditating in a sandstorm. In fact if you're not careful you might find yourself almost being soothed by the near-hellish sounds within.

Overall, this release was both interesting and engaging and deserves some more widespread attention. This project is certainly headed in a good direction musically and promises to hold an exciting place in music later down the road.

7/10 this may be purchased from the good people at Music Your Mind Will Love You http://mymwly.blogspot.com

Monday, July 9, 2007

Peasant Magik cont. (The Latest from Pillars of Heaven)

I'm currently waiting for some new material from several labels that I have been in contact with in regards to this site and I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those that have agreed to send material so far.

Right now I have the latest Pillars of Heaven, label owner Salvatore Giorgi's solo project, tape, "Silver Tusks Vol. 1," so I am going to review it.

Just as before, the packaging for this tape shows a lot of effort, and is as asthetically pleasing to the eye as to the ear. The tape begins with a subtle pulsing section that, like any post minimalist music, reminded me of Steve Reich. He executes this well though and the timbres and sound sources chosen for the tape not only flow together but tend to create a bed of sound soft enough to rest many a drone-tired ear. Don't get me wrong, this is drone music, but it is pleasant enough to the ear to nearly attain the soothingness of a lullaby of sorts (albeit a bit strange for most children).

POH sticks to sounds pleasant enough for just about anyone remotely interested in drone music, but threatens to alienate inexperienced listeners at times. Throughout the tape POH demonstrates a sound that is both unique and mature and, if approached similarly in the future, will only get better. His use of shimmering tones coming from what sounds like an organ and guitar make this release an exellent buy for fans of drone, ambient and just people who enjoy spacing out every once in a while.
8/10 This title may be purchased from http://peasantmagik.net

Thursday, July 5, 2007


If you would like to send material please send to this address

Hawaiian Winter Music Reviews
c/o Rob Funkhouser
1611 Sherri Way
Richmond, IN 47374

Two Stunning Releases from Peasant Magik

These two releases are some of the first I've heard from the Philadelphia label Peasant Magik. The first thing that one willl notice with these two cassettes are packaged very nicely. Salvatore Giorgi, the brain behind the whole operation, has put a lot of effort into presenting his label's music in a professional, sharp-looking way. Okay, onto the music;

The first tape with which I started was Gallows "The White Lodge". This is the first music I've heard from this band and I must say that I'm pretty impressed. The tape opens with a piece that incorporates elements of 50's sci-fi soundtracks into an otherwise average drone/noise piece. Luckily, Gallows sticks to noise that is largely musical in nature. The intrigue of the first track and the gentle swells of harmonic feedback and other unknown sounds played in reverse on the second track are more than enough to keep me interested to the end of the tape. The third track is not a let down either, it serves as a kind of capstone to the rest of the release. The ominous sounding drones on this piece are complemented with more beautiful swells of harmonic bliss and a repeating rhythmic loop that at times serves to give the listener a more grouned feeling of movement and direction. Overall, i would encourage anyone even remotely interested in experimental music to give this tape, and band a try.
8/10 This release is in an edition of fifty and my be ordered from http://peasantmagik.net

The second tape I delved into was a self titled tape by Blown Doors. This release is a bit darker than the Gallows cassette but falls into roughly the same noise/drone genre, although genres never seem to do music justice. The vein of noise this group chosses for the first side is mostly static, even organic drones and noises. The band creatively uses reverb and other effects to create a nice sense of space within a relatively dense soundscape. Toward the end of the first side, there are sounds that can be vaguely recognized as guitar and maybe even a bass as well, run through a cornicopia of noisy pedals and placed against other harsher noise. At the very end of the track, the noise reaches its harshest and ends in a cacophony of sorts. The second side begins with a handclap and mysterious, almost industrial type drone that contrast nicely with the static bombast of side A. This side of the tape definitely conveys a sense of urgency not present in the other piece, or in many noise recordings in general. The haunting harmonies of the feedback are very effective and even catchy, especially if you've been listening to noise recordings for a period of time. This piece seems to be riddled with organ and most certainly guitar, which could be the main culprit behind this entire tape. The swells in Phobos, the title of side B, are nearly stunning in their music breadth and depth.
8/10 This release is in a sadly small edition of twenty-five and may also be ordered from http://peasantmagik.net

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

We're Ready!

Alright everyone, I've been meaning to start this for a really long time, so here it is. To some the idea of another review site might just seem ridiculous, but lets face it, there is a ton of music out there that is not getting heard and could use some extra exposure.
I'll be starting with some new ones from the good man Salvatore over at Peasant Magik. i will have these reviews up later tonight.

Rob F.