Saturday, October 31, 2015

TRUPA TRUPA
“Headache” C60
(Blue Tapes)


 
So, I checked out Trupa Trupa’s Facebook page for some info on them and, scrolling down, realized I don’t speak Polish, though there was a snapshot of a write-up in some printed periodical or other where their name was at the top and the Engrish words “Grizzly Bear” stood out in the middle, clear as day. I then said to myself, “These guys could do a lot worse than sound like that.”

Trupa Trupa do not sound like that (like, like, at all), though there are plenty of buried keyboards and reverb drenched guitars and breathily cooed vocals to go around. There are a good many Beatle-esque themes (you can’t avoid it if you’re any good at pop music, right?) as well as some psychy Beach Bois harmonies, and, my favorite, moments including flirting with Syd Barrett’s quirky ghost(s), which, really, is easily just as good as being a li’l derivative of the GB. Honestly, most of these songs would do well on American college radio, the few unfitting ones being too dissonant/chanty for pop sensibilities, but still, pretty decent.

Both sentimental and heavy, somewhere betwixt the three popular flavors of grunge, classic rock, and emo, I bet that if I heard these guys in my teens, I’d have euphorically shat my pants. I hope you still shop at thrift stores.

and/or


- - Jacob An Kittenplan

Friday, October 30, 2015

More Thoughts from Elizabeth Ann Knott,
An All American Teenage Girl




Album/Mixtape name: The Idle Hour Club
Artist/Composer: The Idle Hour Club

Comments: The Idle Hour Club establishes a throughly excellent tape with variations in tone, sound, and voice. Although alone the vocals would be considered a tad jarring, the vocals mix excellently with songs such as "Astatine" and "Daylite". This would be a good mix to put on when working or trying to get something done and done well.

Rating: 8/10




Album/Mixtape name: Holy Hills
Artist/Composer: J Power/ PSILAB

Comments: A haunting, ethereal mix. With gently floating chords and noises with no leading vocal, this isn't your average mix. The sounds induce meditation and intellectual stimulation but this isn't something you can listen to actively and keep your focus. For those looking for background music or something to chill to.

Rating: 5/10





Album/Mixtape name: Ah God
Artist/Composer: Ah God

Comments: Reasonably well put together, grunge and 60's influences as indicated by the hippie themes on the cover. However, there is one thing that marked this tape as unusual - The tape has an overlying static or grumbling noise. This isn't due to tape damage, this coincides musically with the under track, producing a filthy grunge sound. Overall interesting listen.

Download link for "Ah God":
bandcamp.com/yum : Type in rert-5g3
Rating: 7/10





Album/Mixtape name: The Jigsaw Seen
Artist/Composer: Have A Wonderful Day

Comments: Excellent mix : The artists of "Have A Wonderful Day" beautifully mixed Beatles, Grunge influences, and even a little Beach Boys into these 3 incredible tracks. It's rare to find a diamond in the rough like this amoung so many other superficial bands, but The Jigsaw Seen really has displayed supreme musical quality. (Yes, i'm still humming "We Women")


Example of music:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q9PiFsHA7k

Rating: 9.5/10




Album/Mixtape name: Dream Journal
Artist/Composer: Lilac

Comments: While the tracks are a little aimless, Lilac conveys a very etheral, calming tone overall. These tracks blend together excellently, each having their own touch without being too different from one another. I could compare this style to Pink Floyd. The most interesting things I noticed about the tape was the opera influences so excellently sewn into the fabric of songs.

Listen more: bandcamp.com/yum
Type in: dsc5-bcy3

Rating: 7.5/10


-- Elizabeth Ann Knott

Thursday, October 29, 2015

TOMATO FACE - Live (Third Ham Records) and Demo (Third Ham Records)



What if Keith Morris and Les Claypool made an art rock band together? What if Keith decided not to scream as much but to rap about food and whatever else popped into his head instead? I’m sure out there in the bowels of the internet, the fan fiction written by an overzealous weirdo exists. But if you don’t feel like digging for it just listen to Tomato Face.

Does that sound like the type of thing that turns you, the reader, on? Why am I asking so many questions? Stream samples from both tapes below.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

ATOP “777” C45 (Wood Between Worlds)



There’s just so much back story here it’s hard to know where to begin. ATOP is Akkad the Orphic Priest, aka M. C. McPhail, an electronic ambient experimental synthesizer guru indebted to the school of the Kosmische. But that doesn’t even scratch the surface. Akkad is a character in Monsieur by Lawrence Durrell, which I haven’t read, because I’ve just heard of it right this second! Many of you may be feeling a similar wave of immersion fear, an anxiety that you’re about to be out of your element. That fear is correct, and warranted. Read on.

So Akkad is part of this “secret society” that I’ll less generously but still generously refer to as a “cult.” Neophytes become adepts, adepts are killed once they reach the highest form of human consciousness, an act referred to as a great gift within the teachings of the group. It’s kind of like Logan’s Run but with a much more arbitrary endpoint. Ever see Lord of Illusions with Scott Bakula? The cult of Nix was the one that had that pet baboon for, I don’t know, intimidation? This cult sounds like that one, although the music made as ATOP sounds nothing like what’s in my head as I picture the everyday rigors of blood ritualistic life.

Nope. ATOP makes music that would easily fit the Constellation Tatsu mold, meditative, cosmic, and divine. “The Need to Belong Parts 1 & 2” takes up the entirety of side A, 23 minutes of gently shifting interstellar particles, dense with energy and meaning. Side B begins with “View and Vision,” as inviting and graceful in its ambient drift as any synth composition is likely to be, and at only 5:38, a great entry point for newbies. Play “View and Vision” for your friends at parties! They’re likely to shut it off and be angry at you, sure, but it’s because you’re at a party, and 777 isn’t Big Willie Style. Tell them you’ll play it for them later. “The Cosmic Battle” features what can only be galactic war drums, or at least it’s the percussion of your pursuers as they come to kill you. Look what you did, achieving higher consciousness! Why would you do that? It’s dangerous!

Perfect for headphones, ideal for meditation, 777 is a great entry into the modern synthesizer/Kosmische catalog. Beware the expanding of your mind, for it will truly happen, and when it does, you’ll need to watch your back. Or not, if you’re crazy enough to think your demise is a good thing. But trust me, it’s not! I’ve been to the other side and it’s … weird.


--Ryan Masteller


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

THE DIANE PLAINS
“Somnambulist EP” C27
(Tenderly Surrender)



If you’ve read me before, and I know you have, you know I have a tendency to go off on a tangent or something before I get to the point of actually reviewing whatever release it is I happen to be writing about that day. I’m here to tell you, those days are past. I’m a new man, one who narrows the focus, cuts to the chase, and tells you exactly what you want to hear before I even get to the second paragraph. I know your time is precious – you have a lot on your mind (hey, we all do), and the last thing I want you to do is get bogged down in some sort of personal exercise on my part! Wouldn’t that be super annoying? It would, wouldn’t it!

… Oh crap.

Uh, I did it again. Let’s reboot.

This tape = dream pop.

There, see? I can change. Brevity suits me. And to be slightly more long-winded than that, although not very long-winded at all in the end, I have to say that I’m really enjoying Somnambulist, an EP by The Diane Plains released in a very limited quantity on Tenderly Surrender at the end of July. Elizabeth Maycox of the good ol’ U of K (that’s the UK) records as The Diane Plains, which she did mostly by herself from 2011 to 2013, with the exception of Ewen (one name, like Madonna) on drums. It was “recorded and mixed in various bedrooms, garages, bathrooms and mountains in the UK and India,” so you know this was an absolute labor of love.

It shows. This is really good dream pop, and although I’m not sure there’s such a thing as really bad dream pop, the relevance of its existence is beside the point. (I imagine that some dream pop is bad, but I honestly don’t know. Somebody please give me an example of the bad. I do want to reiterate that The Diane Plains is most squarely in the “good” quadrant of whatever dream pop diagram you’re drawing, even if every other quadrant is minuscule by comparison. By that I mean, holy sweet Moses, I love this tape, this little ol’ EP from Ms. Maycox of the UK. I say this now to avoid shoving my head further into this rabbit hole that will most certainly turn out to be my own behind.)

The guitar is gauzy, the bass fuzzy, the synths and organs fully texturized. Ewen’s solid behind the kit, and that’s good, because you don’t want someone too flashy back there. The vibe is squarely Cocteau Twins, Lush, Slowdive. A modern comparison could be Sea Oleena. This is music for being young in the UK, enjoying newfound freedom but realizing that you live in a gloomy place. (I LOVE the UK, btw.) You tool around on your scooter, etc., popping into pubs now and then. I know what they do – I’ve seen God Help the Girl. (Loved it.) Somnambulist predates God Help the Girl. Stuart Murdoch has probably learned a thing or two from Elizabeth Maycox. Well, if he hasn’t, he’d pick up this tape right away if he was smart.

--Ryan Masteller


Monday, October 26, 2015

SHRIMPER TAPES 2015
SEBADOH “KCRtroubleU”
COUNTERFEIT BLANKS (comp)



Ya’man people be dubbin that oxcide all over the times. People been stealin and dubbin them tapes all through the 1970s - - before the handheld cassette pushers like my father dubbed up them 8 tracks, my man. hell yes. My daddy, he taught me that the 8 track and cassette tape was worth its weight in gold. He showed me on winter days while the barracuda was a warmin up – you could take that tape out of the player and use it to scrape the frost from your windshield. Put it back in. good to go.

Yeah, folks been dubbin all over them tapes. Takin and makin and fakin. Sure you had so many sprouting up and dishing out…the good will…all over those years. Some people was not even people if not for that chunk and clutch and whir. I am sure many a band in 1970 who spent their hard earned paper route cash might have bought an 8 track recorder, dubbed up some bucket brigade…spilled those over to the cassette when they was old enough to fuck, to make the opposites swoon. Sure sure sure sure.

For me, I got a dubbin when I was old enough to push play/rec. dubbing random sounds, parody plays, fake radio shows, etc. at some point I learned if you put a piece of scotch tape over the record head you could multi-track on that fischer-price. And then at some point I hollowed out a old school text book and hid my smokes & firecrackers in there. Around THAT time, I found out about a small label in California called SHRIMPER. Do I need to write anything about said label on this fuckin webpage? I would hope not. But in these dubbed days I may have to sprout clout.

Your daddy don’t know no SHRIMPER. Your mommy dun neither. Was / is SHRIMPER “underground”? hell, I don’t know. Its all heaven in my eyes. Yet I still feel I have to type (badly)this  to let you fine folks know who be reading this, what the hell I am trying to convey.  Sure things like this been done in the past, and I for one am not gonna go there. Im also not the most privy to things before my time. I collect cassettes, and I know a lot of old 80s labels, and even back to the late 70s, but my base of knowledge lies firm in the 1990s. that’s just the cards I was delt. I love it all, but I especially love me some SHRIMPER ‘und such!

SO NOW – here you go. Two brand new tapes from a label of utmost importance! Yeah, I said it. The tapes dwindled in the late 90s from this one man label operation, but always steadfast, SHRIMPER pushed on…a good 3-4 records a year, sometimes more. It wasn’t till last year a few new tapes started showing up. (and no, there aint no web sight. And there aint even no mailorder – seek and find is the only method – corner store friends, and water cooler gabber) I for one, who proudly still listens to all my SHRIMPER tapes from time to time (suggestion box / winky dog / more soul / dance till you stop – the list goes on forever!) am glad as all gasses that new tapes bubbled up, and like 15 years stalled, still - - - - PURE SHRIMPER PRODUCT.

SEBADOH – KCRtroubleU – is a live on the air recording session, complete with cover art / liner notes that are barely visible. It begins with some verbal exchanges, and falls into NOT disarray, but some real nice performance. Its culled from circa 1999 I think – a time I am not TOO familiar with sebadoh, but you have some hefty rendition of song, warts and all. There is a dialog of failure, but I don’t really see it. There is use of random / odd instrumentation, but barlow and co. follow through pretty well if my ears hear and are the ears I been born with. All in all pretty great studio fraction of hate and love. It sums up all unicycle like. Peddeling grand.

****

COUNTERFEIT BLANKS – A SHRIMPER COMPILATION – 25 year compilation of billowing solid gold. Could be longer in my book, but you get a good 30-ish mins, with unreleased material from the likes of : Calexico / liz gilbert / the babies / john davis / refrigerator / dump / franklin bruno / WCKR SPGT / paste / woods / simon joyner…HIGHLIGHTS??? I cant go there…wait… how about a sun setting on an old field in summer…with dying brush? Oh, or maybe  a stick laying barren in the snow against a piece of rotting wood, with the red lead paint stripping away from it? How about the old folk gathering together with the young in a smoke filled VFW while an orchestra plays? How about stories…songs…sometimes cassettes of this nature hurt to try to figure out. Sometimes the figuring out is the only way to really, really know what it is you love. Sometimes you have to figure things out for yourself.

Find and buy. If you have a will, you will.


-c. fischer