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Wckr Spgt - Top Down [CS; Unread]
A treat to have longtime forgotten above ground independent non-punk anti-college rock band Wckr Spgt hit the funny pages. A band with a history as long as Milton Berle’s film reel, Wckr Spgt unveil a quick five song EP to sedate the masses revved up on Robin Thicke and Daft Punk singles (it’s still the Summer of 2013 for me!). It’s the sort of Sentridoh, Ass Ponys, and any relative slow-motion pre-alternatively named movement of slacker rock that isn’t oh-so-lazy as it seems. Highlight is “Damn it, You’re Holding Me Back” which is a half-assed assault thrust upon an unnamed subject with which we’re all too familiar. “Clones” is an Alice Cooper cover that certainly seems more at home in a time capsule now than it did in 1980. Funny how that works….

…anyway, yeah. I forgot where all this was going. I feel like Wckr Spgt’s eh attitude has translated to my own lack of motivation or is that the Generation X DNA bubbling up in me. Apathy fits us all so well, but don’t allow it to make you miss Top Down.

Wckr Spgt - Top Down [CS; Unread]

A treat to have longtime forgotten above ground independent non-punk anti-college rock band Wckr Spgt hit the funny pages. A band with a history as long as Milton Berle’s film reel, Wckr Spgt unveil a quick five song EP to sedate the masses revved up on Robin Thicke and Daft Punk singles (it’s still the Summer of 2013 for me!). It’s the sort of Sentridoh, Ass Ponys, and any relative slow-motion pre-alternatively named movement of slacker rock that isn’t oh-so-lazy as it seems. Highlight is “Damn it, You’re Holding Me Back” which is a half-assed assault thrust upon an unnamed subject with which we’re all too familiar. “Clones” is an Alice Cooper cover that certainly seems more at home in a time capsule now than it did in 1980. Funny how that works….

…anyway, yeah. I forgot where all this was going. I feel like Wckr Spgt’s eh attitude has translated to my own lack of motivation or is that the Generation X DNA bubbling up in me. Apathy fits us all so well, but don’t allow it to make you miss Top Down.

L.A. Lungs - Rrest [LP; Debacle]
L.A. Lungs are no stranger to Debacle, but they still seem quite the stranger to the Northwest’s overarching music scene. As the band continues to grower a bit more dark in their compositions–slightly (m)aligned to a certain Seattle based scene that some wish wasn’t ancient history–the Pacific NW is branching out but even the most disparate sound has some sort of sunshine behind it as a response to all those people who tell you, “Oh it rains a lot out there.” HINT: Valparaiso, IN and Houston, TX get more annual rain than most of the big, supposed rainy cities ‘out there’. Which may explain why Rrest sounds so bitter, as if L.A. Lungs were tired of the constant heckles and bad conversation starters. Granted, naming yourselves L.A. Lungs and hailing from Olympia, you’re bound to get a fair share by default (like this review). This long winded thought now put to screen, it should be noted that as sinister as Rrest Side A may get, it does break down the clouds and produce a bit of sunlight. But just enough to make sure you don’t truly sink into Seasonal Affective Disorder. Just in case you were going to completely snap out of your sad daze and drive down the coast to Northern California, Side B will bring you back to the supposed gloom. HINT: ‘Out there’.

L.A. Lungs - Rrest [LP; Debacle]

L.A. Lungs are no stranger to Debacle, but they still seem quite the stranger to the Northwest’s overarching music scene. As the band continues to grower a bit more dark in their compositions–slightly (m)aligned to a certain Seattle based scene that some wish wasn’t ancient history–the Pacific NW is branching out but even the most disparate sound has some sort of sunshine behind it as a response to all those people who tell you, “Oh it rains a lot out there.” HINT: Valparaiso, IN and Houston, TX get more annual rain than most of the big, supposed rainy cities ‘out there’. Which may explain why Rrest sounds so bitter, as if L.A. Lungs were tired of the constant heckles and bad conversation starters. Granted, naming yourselves L.A. Lungs and hailing from Olympia, you’re bound to get a fair share by default (like this review). This long winded thought now put to screen, it should be noted that as sinister as Rrest Side A may get, it does break down the clouds and produce a bit of sunlight. But just enough to make sure you don’t truly sink into Seasonal Affective Disorder. Just in case you were going to completely snap out of your sad daze and drive down the coast to Northern California, Side B will bring you back to the supposed gloom. HINT: ‘Out there’.

Tom Carter - Numinal Entry [Halatern, etc.; 2014]
The lasting myth of Tom Carter is mammoth, even as forces opposed to its existence work to dwarf the impact. Yet a history as rich and a career as long as Carter’s trumps any chance of that happening; his is a canon too devastatingly rare to be ignored.

Numinal Entry is just the latest addition, hot off the heels of the impressively vast ruminations of Four Infernal Rivers with NNCK member Pat Murano. It only seems fitting his newest solo foray into the same netherworld would involve NNCK (Numinal Entry was released via Keith Connolly’s Halatern, etc. label).

I hesitate to call Numinal Entry a continuation of the themes present on Four Infernal Rivers but the divinity of both is hard to ignore. FIR is a fierce recitation of what Carter witnessed from his not-so distant sick bed; the belly of Hades splayed before him. Numinal Entry is far more serene, the passing from the red into the white. Side A’s “In Us” is bumpy and frayed, the nerves of a man who has seen what selling one’s soul to the underground affords. It’s a noisy bit of peace, the last grasp of a bitter old god unsuccessful in catching his prey. “Numinous,” swallows the B-side, Carter surrendering to the graceful glow that awaited his anxious journey to find it a sensual retreat. The worry is gone and a return to the real world, where we all can bask in the wine and roses of our lives no matter how poor, fractured, or flea-bitten.

Whether Carter’s crisis of health has truly informed his recent output is of little concern, though it does help to shade the titles and expositions of guitar-as-painting. What is known is that Carter has unlimited reserves on tap, capturing originality and disseminating for a largely unappreciative world. But like any true great artist, his will be a collection much appreciated when each of us expires and generations to come bare witness to his journey.

Tom Carter - Numinal Entry [Halatern, etc.; 2014]

The lasting myth of Tom Carter is mammoth, even as forces opposed to its existence work to dwarf the impact. Yet a history as rich and a career as long as Carter’s trumps any chance of that happening; his is a canon too devastatingly rare to be ignored.

Numinal Entry is just the latest addition, hot off the heels of the impressively vast ruminations of Four Infernal Rivers with NNCK member Pat Murano. It only seems fitting his newest solo foray into the same netherworld would involve NNCK (Numinal Entry was released via Keith Connolly’s Halatern, etc. label).

I hesitate to call Numinal Entry a continuation of the themes present on Four Infernal Rivers but the divinity of both is hard to ignore. FIR is a fierce recitation of what Carter witnessed from his not-so distant sick bed; the belly of Hades splayed before him. Numinal Entry is far more serene, the passing from the red into the white. Side A’s “In Us” is bumpy and frayed, the nerves of a man who has seen what selling one’s soul to the underground affords. It’s a noisy bit of peace, the last grasp of a bitter old god unsuccessful in catching his prey. “Numinous,” swallows the B-side, Carter surrendering to the graceful glow that awaited his anxious journey to find it a sensual retreat. The worry is gone and a return to the real world, where we all can bask in the wine and roses of our lives no matter how poor, fractured, or flea-bitten.

Whether Carter’s crisis of health has truly informed his recent output is of little concern, though it does help to shade the titles and expositions of guitar-as-painting. What is known is that Carter has unlimited reserves on tap, capturing originality and disseminating for a largely unappreciative world. But like any true great artist, his will be a collection much appreciated when each of us expires and generations to come bare witness to his journey.

Karl Fousek - Codicil [CS; Adhesive Sounds]
As fans of experimental music, we’re often told we’re snobbish and unable to embrace traditional pop values. Of course it’s a silly argument. I mean, we all grew up on pop and it still informs listening habits in some regard, to ignore it is to cut off your nose to spite your face levels of cliched arrogance. Thankfully Karl Fousek proves those shit sprayers wrong with his latest, Codicil. It’s a warbling synthetic stroke of smartness that showcases that pop elements are a universal filter for all things new. Despite the drunken melodies within, Codicil balances itself miraculously like the girls two sheets deep that compose themselves to nail the Electric Slide at the reception. Perhaps a bit too cliched? Nonetheless, that’s the raw beauty of Fousek’s experimentation. Despite the source material, turns out repeating ideas with the inherent crest and thump of synthesizer creates quite the rhythmic pop.

Karl Fousek - Codicil [CS; Adhesive Sounds]

As fans of experimental music, we’re often told we’re snobbish and unable to embrace traditional pop values. Of course it’s a silly argument. I mean, we all grew up on pop and it still informs listening habits in some regard, to ignore it is to cut off your nose to spite your face levels of cliched arrogance. Thankfully Karl Fousek proves those shit sprayers wrong with his latest, Codicil. It’s a warbling synthetic stroke of smartness that showcases that pop elements are a universal filter for all things new. Despite the drunken melodies within, Codicil balances itself miraculously like the girls two sheets deep that compose themselves to nail the Electric Slide at the reception. Perhaps a bit too cliched? Nonetheless, that’s the raw beauty of Fousek’s experimentation. Despite the source material, turns out repeating ideas with the inherent crest and thump of synthesizer creates quite the rhythmic pop.

Fat Creeps - Must Be Nice [LP/CS; Sophomore Lounge/Gnar Tapes]
Somewhere along the line, rock and roll was thrown in the trash. Maybe it was just a crowd too tired to fight for forward momentum after its bastardization in the late ’90s or the fragmentation of the consumer base was not worth chasing. Neither are my concern, because be damned those who would rather glue their radio dials and iPod play buttons down on a playlist of extinct sounds. We all have our retro listening habits but those who can’t lend an ear to what’s happening now, I have no time for you. Neither do Fat Creeps by the sound of it. The Boston trio may remind historians how awesome the Boston music scene was 20-30 years ago but rather than retreating to old Dinosaur and Throwing Muses cassettes, Fat Creeps forge forward with a splendid blend of that old patriotic cause of fighting fossilized rock and roll with new energies and ideas. Must Be Nice carries a hint of the familiar (the use of hook-laden, radio friendly melodies) but there’s a roughness around the edges that isn’t going to go away with sleeker production and years of road polish. Rather, Must Be Nice works best under the weariness of Gracie and Mariam; an eye cast to the past and how it all went wrong. Poppy songs carry a burden throughout, cautious of what will happen to them should the mandibles of classic rock come crashing through to destroy the will and ravage the flesh of the newly born. Fat Creeps will not be devoured by its parentage even as it heeds its warnings. But sometimes the kids have to steal the car keys and make a run for it. Those kids trapped in the amber of Amherst 30 years ago understand.

Fat Creeps - Must Be Nice [LP/CS; Sophomore Lounge/Gnar Tapes]

Somewhere along the line, rock and roll was thrown in the trash. Maybe it was just a crowd too tired to fight for forward momentum after its bastardization in the late ’90s or the fragmentation of the consumer base was not worth chasing. Neither are my concern, because be damned those who would rather glue their radio dials and iPod play buttons down on a playlist of extinct sounds. We all have our retro listening habits but those who can’t lend an ear to what’s happening now, I have no time for you. Neither do Fat Creeps by the sound of it. The Boston trio may remind historians how awesome the Boston music scene was 20-30 years ago but rather than retreating to old Dinosaur and Throwing Muses cassettes, Fat Creeps forge forward with a splendid blend of that old patriotic cause of fighting fossilized rock and roll with new energies and ideas. Must Be Nice carries a hint of the familiar (the use of hook-laden, radio friendly melodies) but there’s a roughness around the edges that isn’t going to go away with sleeker production and years of road polish. Rather, Must Be Nice works best under the weariness of Gracie and Mariam; an eye cast to the past and how it all went wrong. Poppy songs carry a burden throughout, cautious of what will happen to them should the mandibles of classic rock come crashing through to destroy the will and ravage the flesh of the newly born. Fat Creeps will not be devoured by its parentage even as it heeds its warnings. But sometimes the kids have to steal the car keys and make a run for it. Those kids trapped in the amber of Amherst 30 years ago understand.

Sacred Product - Wastex [2x7-inch; Quemada]
Another Melbourne hello from the happy doom of Lynton Denovan. A regular of ol’ Quemada with day job band Satanic Rockers, it’s here as Sacred Product that Lynton lives up to the devilish billing. More beholden to the noisy neighbors across the Tasman Sea, Sacred Product is a splendid blend of punk nuance and art school fuckery. The face first vocal tracks create an archaic feel reminiscent of the best Gary Wilson non-starters, but it’s instrumental free-for-all “Sonic Country” that grabs first. But as you switch back and forth, you’ll come to love the snotty pop of “Tram and Train” that punctuates the varied din of this double 7-inch. Lynton is already littering the world with Sacred Product but this may be the best small slice yet.

Sacred Product - Wastex [2x7-inch; Quemada]

Another Melbourne hello from the happy doom of Lynton Denovan. A regular of ol’ Quemada with day job band Satanic Rockers, it’s here as Sacred Product that Lynton lives up to the devilish billing. More beholden to the noisy neighbors across the Tasman Sea, Sacred Product is a splendid blend of punk nuance and art school fuckery. The face first vocal tracks create an archaic feel reminiscent of the best Gary Wilson non-starters, but it’s instrumental free-for-all “Sonic Country” that grabs first. But as you switch back and forth, you’ll come to love the snotty pop of “Tram and Train” that punctuates the varied din of this double 7-inch. Lynton is already littering the world with Sacred Product but this may be the best small slice yet.

Dick Diver - New Name Blues [7-inch; Fruits & Flowers]
I wish I could say I’ve been to Melbourne, gripping all these records on my travels like a master of old. But globalization maintains its stranglehold. So I sit on my couch and just wait for awesome labels near and far to import the good shit. And this is seriously good, courtesy of Dick Diver. Though I felt cheated noticing the inclusion of a cover on a two-song 7-inch, my dark cloud quickly lifted upon listening to “Lonely Life” and remembering that some of the world’s best songs are covers. The beautiful pop explosion of the title track almost brought back the anger but then I listened to the whole 7-inch for a few hours straight and couldn’t do anything other than smile. Where is our Dick Diver, I might say if this were a closed off country fearsome of immigration and anything remotely different. But then I think about the British Invasion, and that other British Invasion, and then the Britpop invasion, and I hope that maybe we’re in the throes of an Australian invasion. I certainly wouldn’t mind more Parramatta Eels matches on my television. Maybe the NFL would adopt some AFL practices (hehe, behinds!). And we will sit in the summer heat, baking away to the loving rotations of this Dick Diver 7-inch because we have all been besieged.

Dick Diver - New Name Blues [7-inch; Fruits & Flowers]

I wish I could say I’ve been to Melbourne, gripping all these records on my travels like a master of old. But globalization maintains its stranglehold. So I sit on my couch and just wait for awesome labels near and far to import the good shit. And this is seriously good, courtesy of Dick Diver. Though I felt cheated noticing the inclusion of a cover on a two-song 7-inch, my dark cloud quickly lifted upon listening to “Lonely Life” and remembering that some of the world’s best songs are covers. The beautiful pop explosion of the title track almost brought back the anger but then I listened to the whole 7-inch for a few hours straight and couldn’t do anything other than smile. Where is our Dick Diver, I might say if this were a closed off country fearsome of immigration and anything remotely different. But then I think about the British Invasion, and that other British Invasion, and then the Britpop invasion, and I hope that maybe we’re in the throes of an Australian invasion. I certainly wouldn’t mind more Parramatta Eels matches on my television. Maybe the NFL would adopt some AFL practices (hehe, behinds!). And we will sit in the summer heat, baking away to the loving rotations of this Dick Diver 7-inch because we have all been besieged.

Eye - Winterwork [LP; Nyali]
Pairing nicely with my first reading of Erewhon Calling, New Zealand’s Eye are a fantastic microcosm of a never ending well of inspiration from an island nation barely 4 million strong. Even as the socioeconomic forces threaten to envelope most of us in a wet blanket of commonality, there are those in New Zealand’s noisiest recesses–as there are tribal communities and castaways deep within unexplored continental jungles and frozen tundras–that have eschewed our new formality to continue exploring the outlier and asinine. Winterwork is such an LP and thank the no wave deconstructionists of yore for such a blessed gem. Though hesitant to apply the same fundamentals and acting principles behind Eye that were at work for no wavers of a certain era, the idea that music is a continuing waterfall that needs a few barrel jumpers in its flow to cause a rethink is evident in the retro-evolution at work within the trio’s frosty distortion. The tumult of our swollen society, turns out, is heard by those in isolation as coloring. No matter how cut off by appearances, something in the magnetic field carries those vibrations. Winterwork is such an interpretation; the music of the last stop between civilization and antarctic quarantine. So now that we know the source of their power, now we must find how its harnessed. Eye is giving no discernible clues, true guardians of a noise knowledge best left to those unfazed by our power suit culture overlap. With only 250 copies in existence, however, you can bet someone will lust to turn this rarity into a commodity.

Eye - Winterwork [LP; Nyali]

Pairing nicely with my first reading of Erewhon Calling, New Zealand’s Eye are a fantastic microcosm of a never ending well of inspiration from an island nation barely 4 million strong. Even as the socioeconomic forces threaten to envelope most of us in a wet blanket of commonality, there are those in New Zealand’s noisiest recesses–as there are tribal communities and castaways deep within unexplored continental jungles and frozen tundras–that have eschewed our new formality to continue exploring the outlier and asinine. Winterwork is such an LP and thank the no wave deconstructionists of yore for such a blessed gem. Though hesitant to apply the same fundamentals and acting principles behind Eye that were at work for no wavers of a certain era, the idea that music is a continuing waterfall that needs a few barrel jumpers in its flow to cause a rethink is evident in the retro-evolution at work within the trio’s frosty distortion. The tumult of our swollen society, turns out, is heard by those in isolation as coloring. No matter how cut off by appearances, something in the magnetic field carries those vibrations. Winterwork is such an interpretation; the music of the last stop between civilization and antarctic quarantine. So now that we know the source of their power, now we must find how its harnessed. Eye is giving no discernible clues, true guardians of a noise knowledge best left to those unfazed by our power suit culture overlap. With only 250 copies in existence, however, you can bet someone will lust to turn this rarity into a commodity.

King Tears Bat Trip - King Tears Bat Trip [LP; Debacle]
With no less than four percussionists, a tenor sax and the lone guitarist being outfit binder Luke Bergman, the intimidation factor of King Tears Bat Trip’s debut self-titled is immediate. The ability to actual swallow and digest two long compositions (one per side) on a psychedelic picture disc which hypnotizes and scares with each rotation…it’s a large order for even the most ironed stomach avant noise gourmand. Yet the rhythm of all these drums is a different animal from the throwaway spice of ‘tribal’. Not to say that us whiteys won’t immediately claim such an identifier for lack of a better term, but when you let the drums hit your intestines (in the midst of “Elevenogram”) you’ll find it like a fine bourbon that has a sting in the throat but a welcomed warmth as it spreads throughout the body. Soon your stomach becomes your libido, the drums as sexual as they are a soothing drone. Lip service also is deserving to Neil Welch’s tenor saxophone, which is unafraid to be the main course as necessitated but works best when it is often paired with the whole of the album’s breakneck rhythms. What KTBT’s self-titled amounts to is immensely fancy plating with a down home, comfort food taste. Behind all the fancy pageantry and ferocious distortion are recognizable melodies that will fill your belly and nourish the soul.

King Tears Bat Trip - King Tears Bat Trip [LP; Debacle]

With no less than four percussionists, a tenor sax and the lone guitarist being outfit binder Luke Bergman, the intimidation factor of King Tears Bat Trip’s debut self-titled is immediate. The ability to actual swallow and digest two long compositions (one per side) on a psychedelic picture disc which hypnotizes and scares with each rotation…it’s a large order for even the most ironed stomach avant noise gourmand. Yet the rhythm of all these drums is a different animal from the throwaway spice of ‘tribal’. Not to say that us whiteys won’t immediately claim such an identifier for lack of a better term, but when you let the drums hit your intestines (in the midst of “Elevenogram”) you’ll find it like a fine bourbon that has a sting in the throat but a welcomed warmth as it spreads throughout the body. Soon your stomach becomes your libido, the drums as sexual as they are a soothing drone. Lip service also is deserving to Neil Welch’s tenor saxophone, which is unafraid to be the main course as necessitated but works best when it is often paired with the whole of the album’s breakneck rhythms. What KTBT’s self-titled amounts to is immensely fancy plating with a down home, comfort food taste. Behind all the fancy pageantry and ferocious distortion are recognizable melodies that will fill your belly and nourish the soul.

Honey Radar - Scorpions Bought Me Breakfast [5-inch; Third Uncle]
First: make sure your record player can accommodate odd inches. Second: make sure your record player can accommodate odd speeds. Third: throw logic aside and just make it work.

That’s the best way to get to the one minute of creamy centered goodness offered from the latest art piece on lathe offered up by Third Uncle. The Indiana label that plays with strange artifacts in limited quantities once more thrusts a weird Honey Radar masterpiece onto us and though it will take us 10 minutes to play a one minute song, it’s well worth it. “Scorpions Bought Me Breakfast” is another preview before a promised full length from Honey Radar but in the mean time we will just bask in the simple pleasures of its quirky melody and quick run time. I’d tell you run just as quickly to pick this up but lucky you, all copies have vanished which means the 10 minutes of set-up is reduced to turning on your internet enabled electronic device and listening it to right here after you read this review.

…And finished.

Honey Radar - Scorpions Bought Me Breakfast [5-inch; Third Uncle]

First: make sure your record player can accommodate odd inches. Second: make sure your record player can accommodate odd speeds. Third: throw logic aside and just make it work.

That’s the best way to get to the one minute of creamy centered goodness offered from the latest art piece on lathe offered up by Third Uncle. The Indiana label that plays with strange artifacts in limited quantities once more thrusts a weird Honey Radar masterpiece onto us and though it will take us 10 minutes to play a one minute song, it’s well worth it. “Scorpions Bought Me Breakfast” is another preview before a promised full length from Honey Radar but in the mean time we will just bask in the simple pleasures of its quirky melody and quick run time. I’d tell you run just as quickly to pick this up but lucky you, all copies have vanished which means the 10 minutes of set-up is reduced to turning on your internet enabled electronic device and listening it to right here after you read this review.

…And finished.

Will Simmons & the Upholsters - Innuendo: The Italian Way [LP; Unread]
Remember when The Spin Doctors and their brand of funk-pop was popular? How about the roaring jazz influence of Squirrel Nut Zippers? The ska-drenched punk of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones? Have you erased all evidence from your music collection of such transgressions on retro-fitted sentiments? Thankfully Will Simmons and the fellas of the Upholsters don’t care for convention or trend. Though Innuendo shares little influence with any of the above, they do share a moxie for playing their own brand of Italian-inflected pop without a care to the world of drones, beats, and confessional ballads happening around them. Though the Spaghetti Western sincerity may fall between the cracks, the bravery to perform it in defiance of an indeterminable audience makes Innuendo all the more catchy and brazen. It adds to its depth and a further appreciation for the musicianship involved. The backing horns, the classic rock guitar stylings, and breezy drum fills – it’s refreshing. So make sure you poor yourself a tall glass of Innuendo and dust off those hidden relics of music past. You may have sold those neglected CDs long ago but the memories contained therein are still fresh in your memory. One dalliance with Will Simmons will guarantee it.

Will Simmons & the Upholsters - Innuendo: The Italian Way [LP; Unread]

Remember when The Spin Doctors and their brand of funk-pop was popular? How about the roaring jazz influence of Squirrel Nut Zippers? The ska-drenched punk of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones? Have you erased all evidence from your music collection of such transgressions on retro-fitted sentiments? Thankfully Will Simmons and the fellas of the Upholsters don’t care for convention or trend. Though Innuendo shares little influence with any of the above, they do share a moxie for playing their own brand of Italian-inflected pop without a care to the world of drones, beats, and confessional ballads happening around them. Though the Spaghetti Western sincerity may fall between the cracks, the bravery to perform it in defiance of an indeterminable audience makes Innuendo all the more catchy and brazen. It adds to its depth and a further appreciation for the musicianship involved. The backing horns, the classic rock guitar stylings, and breezy drum fills – it’s refreshing. So make sure you poor yourself a tall glass of Innuendo and dust off those hidden relics of music past. You may have sold those neglected CDs long ago but the memories contained therein are still fresh in your memory. One dalliance with Will Simmons will guarantee it.

Chauchat - Wreckage [CS; Unread]
Being pulled in all directions by an album is what makes for compelling re-listens. Chauchat is such a rare find, unafraid to blend an acoustic pop song into longer, looping sound collages that have little in common beyond the creator of said melodic plays. It unfolds like a Facebook meme where faceless individuals hold up signs prophetically declaring you should drop everything and do what you love, no matter the consequences. It’s likely those same people would have ejected Chauchat’s tape at the first electronic tear of “Organ Trap.” There is something to be said for abandoning doubt and embracing dreams, also know that the grind of pushing through an obstacle not of your own choosing has its rewards. To those of you who change your dreams to run away from the inevitable, Chauchat is not your savior. Wreckage will test your patience and make you wonder what is truly distinguishable between pop music and avant-garde experimentation. It’s likely a bigger gap than most of us would care to admit but in that abysmal silence, Chauchat fills the void with the broken promises and shattered dreams of those unwilling to see anything through. A meme is no more a motivational cause than the actual pursuit of a purposeful life. Wreckage is purposeful music.

Chauchat - Wreckage [CS; Unread]

Being pulled in all directions by an album is what makes for compelling re-listens. Chauchat is such a rare find, unafraid to blend an acoustic pop song into longer, looping sound collages that have little in common beyond the creator of said melodic plays. It unfolds like a Facebook meme where faceless individuals hold up signs prophetically declaring you should drop everything and do what you love, no matter the consequences. It’s likely those same people would have ejected Chauchat’s tape at the first electronic tear of “Organ Trap.” There is something to be said for abandoning doubt and embracing dreams, also know that the grind of pushing through an obstacle not of your own choosing has its rewards. To those of you who change your dreams to run away from the inevitable, Chauchat is not your savior. Wreckage will test your patience and make you wonder what is truly distinguishable between pop music and avant-garde experimentation. It’s likely a bigger gap than most of us would care to admit but in that abysmal silence, Chauchat fills the void with the broken promises and shattered dreams of those unwilling to see anything through. A meme is no more a motivational cause than the actual pursuit of a purposeful life. Wreckage is purposeful music.

Roachclip - Calmer in this Town [7-inch; Quemada]
Quemada is one of a few reliable sources on new Australian jamz, so surprise of all surprises they turn right around and release a 7-inch from Detroit band Roachclip. I’m sure some acid-laced parallel between the abandoned burrows of the Motor City and the vast wasteland of the Outback could be had, but let’s just focus on the similar aesthetic easy to recognize: rock and roll. Unfortunately the fun runs out after just two songs, requiring an intermission to lift oneself from the comfy confines of the couch to the turntable and back. But the trip will be filled with a repeat visit of A-side “Masters Den” echoing in your hollow skull because that’s what good rock does. It eats your brain and turns it into goo for manipulation (so maybe don’t play these songs backwards). B-side “Cast of Clowns” is Midwestern to its core; that sly bridge between garage rock and tape manipulation that is lost between the ’70s and ’10s much like you’ll be on the return leg to the couch. What was I doing? Wasn’t someone here with me? Why can I only remember these two songs? Let it wash over you like bong water.

Roachclip - Calmer in this Town [7-inch; Quemada]

Quemada is one of a few reliable sources on new Australian jamz, so surprise of all surprises they turn right around and release a 7-inch from Detroit band Roachclip. I’m sure some acid-laced parallel between the abandoned burrows of the Motor City and the vast wasteland of the Outback could be had, but let’s just focus on the similar aesthetic easy to recognize: rock and roll. Unfortunately the fun runs out after just two songs, requiring an intermission to lift oneself from the comfy confines of the couch to the turntable and back. But the trip will be filled with a repeat visit of A-side “Masters Den” echoing in your hollow skull because that’s what good rock does. It eats your brain and turns it into goo for manipulation (so maybe don’t play these songs backwards). B-side “Cast of Clowns” is Midwestern to its core; that sly bridge between garage rock and tape manipulation that is lost between the ’70s and ’10s much like you’ll be on the return leg to the couch. What was I doing? Wasn’t someone here with me? Why can I only remember these two songs? Let it wash over you like bong water.

Symbol - Online Architecture [CS/LP; Holodeck]
In a classic episode of Seinfeld, Elaine is troubled by a sidler. The cankerous man is able to subtly sneak in and out of situations, only to be noticed at the best of times. Enter Online Architecture, an equally daring feat of music that finds its way into the most prosperous situations at the most ideal of circumstances. Yet unlike the problem that plagued Elaine, Symbol is the beauteous weekly gal pal for the titular character. She, an heiress to a collection of valuable toys, will not let Jerry touch or play with them. So he covets and paws at them lost in a loop of adolescent weirdness. It’s an ugly side of beauty – trying to attain the unattainable. Ironic considering Symbol is the moniker of This Will Destroy You’s Chris Royal King. Online Architecture is a destroyer. It plays with your emotions, inserting itself into situations when you are least prepared; placing itself as protector to a wealthy prize you are unfit to hold. So you plot and scheme, further degrading yourself and others all in pursuit of something you should never have. Best get your tape or LP now because soon you may find yourself in a situation comedy premise where your new girlfriend has the wickedest record collection, complete with Online Architecture, and you’ll have to distract her with copious amounts of turkey and wine to possess it in your wretched little hands.

Symbol - Online Architecture [CS/LP; Holodeck]

In a classic episode of Seinfeld, Elaine is troubled by a sidler. The cankerous man is able to subtly sneak in and out of situations, only to be noticed at the best of times. Enter Online Architecture, an equally daring feat of music that finds its way into the most prosperous situations at the most ideal of circumstances. Yet unlike the problem that plagued Elaine, Symbol is the beauteous weekly gal pal for the titular character. She, an heiress to a collection of valuable toys, will not let Jerry touch or play with them. So he covets and paws at them lost in a loop of adolescent weirdness. It’s an ugly side of beauty – trying to attain the unattainable. Ironic considering Symbol is the moniker of This Will Destroy You’s Chris Royal King. Online Architecture is a destroyer. It plays with your emotions, inserting itself into situations when you are least prepared; placing itself as protector to a wealthy prize you are unfit to hold. So you plot and scheme, further degrading yourself and others all in pursuit of something you should never have. Best get your tape or LP now because soon you may find yourself in a situation comedy premise where your new girlfriend has the wickedest record collection, complete with Online Architecture, and you’ll have to distract her with copious amounts of turkey and wine to possess it in your wretched little hands.

Taiga Remains - Works for Cassette [LP; Helen Scarsdale Agency]
The peaceful sleep of retirement. It beacons a youthful culture, sown up by dreams of striking it rich and living off the royalties. Once it was oil, then it was jewels and ore, now it’s internet start-ups. As far as music is concerned, retirement is akin to losing massive touring revenue. I mean, Mick Jagger’s gotta pay upkeep for all those model girlfriends. So it’s a shame to see Alex Cobb laying to rest Taiga Remains. Whether this moment also implies planting his hypnotic drones six feet under is a concern because that lucrative stadium tour when he’s well into his Sixties seems so far away and who knows if we’ll have the money to pay for the front row. Is this truly the music that will span a new generation of Yuppies? Unlikely, for it is far too contemplative and real. When one chases money, they find that they are insecure in what they accumulate. It’s lifestyle fulfillment that becomes nightmarish to maintain. The nightmare of Cobb is that strengthened by inspiration, he must put down Taiga Remains to pursue his new muse. So we bid adieu with a golden parachute of his best cassette-based work now on a rotund vinyl disc. It’s no $40 million pile o’ cash or even an inscribed watch but Taiga Remains is clearly too old for this shit. Thankfully we are not, as this last bit of mellow gold helps the rest of us slog through the daily grind of thankless peers, endless jobs, and tireless commitment to not being like those money hungry tycoons who can’t wait to throw away millions for a moment in the lap of luxury. As Cobb entails within this last (revisited) breath, there is no price for a memory and a happy ending. And a good recording on tape sounds just as warm and low key on vinyl.

Taiga Remains - Works for Cassette [LP; Helen Scarsdale Agency]

The peaceful sleep of retirement. It beacons a youthful culture, sown up by dreams of striking it rich and living off the royalties. Once it was oil, then it was jewels and ore, now it’s internet start-ups. As far as music is concerned, retirement is akin to losing massive touring revenue. I mean, Mick Jagger’s gotta pay upkeep for all those model girlfriends. So it’s a shame to see Alex Cobb laying to rest Taiga Remains. Whether this moment also implies planting his hypnotic drones six feet under is a concern because that lucrative stadium tour when he’s well into his Sixties seems so far away and who knows if we’ll have the money to pay for the front row. Is this truly the music that will span a new generation of Yuppies? Unlikely, for it is far too contemplative and real. When one chases money, they find that they are insecure in what they accumulate. It’s lifestyle fulfillment that becomes nightmarish to maintain. The nightmare of Cobb is that strengthened by inspiration, he must put down Taiga Remains to pursue his new muse. So we bid adieu with a golden parachute of his best cassette-based work now on a rotund vinyl disc. It’s no $40 million pile o’ cash or even an inscribed watch but Taiga Remains is clearly too old for this shit. Thankfully we are not, as this last bit of mellow gold helps the rest of us slog through the daily grind of thankless peers, endless jobs, and tireless commitment to not being like those money hungry tycoons who can’t wait to throw away millions for a moment in the lap of luxury. As Cobb entails within this last (revisited) breath, there is no price for a memory and a happy ending. And a good recording on tape sounds just as warm and low key on vinyl.

Wckr Spgt - Top Down [CS; Unread]
A treat to have longtime forgotten above ground independent non-punk anti-college rock band Wckr Spgt hit the funny pages. A band with a history as long as Milton Berle’s film reel, Wckr Spgt unveil a quick five song EP to sedate the masses revved up on Robin Thicke and Daft Punk singles (it’s still the Summer of 2013 for me!). It’s the sort of Sentridoh, Ass Ponys, and any relative slow-motion pre-alternatively named movement of slacker rock that isn’t oh-so-lazy as it seems. Highlight is “Damn it, You’re Holding Me Back” which is a half-assed assault thrust upon an unnamed subject with which we’re all too familiar. “Clones” is an Alice Cooper cover that certainly seems more at home in a time capsule now than it did in 1980. Funny how that works….

…anyway, yeah. I forgot where all this was going. I feel like Wckr Spgt’s eh attitude has translated to my own lack of motivation or is that the Generation X DNA bubbling up in me. Apathy fits us all so well, but don’t allow it to make you miss Top Down.

Wckr Spgt - Top Down [CS; Unread]

A treat to have longtime forgotten above ground independent non-punk anti-college rock band Wckr Spgt hit the funny pages. A band with a history as long as Milton Berle’s film reel, Wckr Spgt unveil a quick five song EP to sedate the masses revved up on Robin Thicke and Daft Punk singles (it’s still the Summer of 2013 for me!). It’s the sort of Sentridoh, Ass Ponys, and any relative slow-motion pre-alternatively named movement of slacker rock that isn’t oh-so-lazy as it seems. Highlight is “Damn it, You’re Holding Me Back” which is a half-assed assault thrust upon an unnamed subject with which we’re all too familiar. “Clones” is an Alice Cooper cover that certainly seems more at home in a time capsule now than it did in 1980. Funny how that works….

…anyway, yeah. I forgot where all this was going. I feel like Wckr Spgt’s eh attitude has translated to my own lack of motivation or is that the Generation X DNA bubbling up in me. Apathy fits us all so well, but don’t allow it to make you miss Top Down.

L.A. Lungs - Rrest [LP; Debacle]
L.A. Lungs are no stranger to Debacle, but they still seem quite the stranger to the Northwest’s overarching music scene. As the band continues to grower a bit more dark in their compositions–slightly (m)aligned to a certain Seattle based scene that some wish wasn’t ancient history–the Pacific NW is branching out but even the most disparate sound has some sort of sunshine behind it as a response to all those people who tell you, “Oh it rains a lot out there.” HINT: Valparaiso, IN and Houston, TX get more annual rain than most of the big, supposed rainy cities ‘out there’. Which may explain why Rrest sounds so bitter, as if L.A. Lungs were tired of the constant heckles and bad conversation starters. Granted, naming yourselves L.A. Lungs and hailing from Olympia, you’re bound to get a fair share by default (like this review). This long winded thought now put to screen, it should be noted that as sinister as Rrest Side A may get, it does break down the clouds and produce a bit of sunlight. But just enough to make sure you don’t truly sink into Seasonal Affective Disorder. Just in case you were going to completely snap out of your sad daze and drive down the coast to Northern California, Side B will bring you back to the supposed gloom. HINT: ‘Out there’.

L.A. Lungs - Rrest [LP; Debacle]

L.A. Lungs are no stranger to Debacle, but they still seem quite the stranger to the Northwest’s overarching music scene. As the band continues to grower a bit more dark in their compositions–slightly (m)aligned to a certain Seattle based scene that some wish wasn’t ancient history–the Pacific NW is branching out but even the most disparate sound has some sort of sunshine behind it as a response to all those people who tell you, “Oh it rains a lot out there.” HINT: Valparaiso, IN and Houston, TX get more annual rain than most of the big, supposed rainy cities ‘out there’. Which may explain why Rrest sounds so bitter, as if L.A. Lungs were tired of the constant heckles and bad conversation starters. Granted, naming yourselves L.A. Lungs and hailing from Olympia, you’re bound to get a fair share by default (like this review). This long winded thought now put to screen, it should be noted that as sinister as Rrest Side A may get, it does break down the clouds and produce a bit of sunlight. But just enough to make sure you don’t truly sink into Seasonal Affective Disorder. Just in case you were going to completely snap out of your sad daze and drive down the coast to Northern California, Side B will bring you back to the supposed gloom. HINT: ‘Out there’.

Tom Carter - Numinal Entry [Halatern, etc.; 2014]
The lasting myth of Tom Carter is mammoth, even as forces opposed to its existence work to dwarf the impact. Yet a history as rich and a career as long as Carter’s trumps any chance of that happening; his is a canon too devastatingly rare to be ignored.

Numinal Entry is just the latest addition, hot off the heels of the impressively vast ruminations of Four Infernal Rivers with NNCK member Pat Murano. It only seems fitting his newest solo foray into the same netherworld would involve NNCK (Numinal Entry was released via Keith Connolly’s Halatern, etc. label).

I hesitate to call Numinal Entry a continuation of the themes present on Four Infernal Rivers but the divinity of both is hard to ignore. FIR is a fierce recitation of what Carter witnessed from his not-so distant sick bed; the belly of Hades splayed before him. Numinal Entry is far more serene, the passing from the red into the white. Side A’s “In Us” is bumpy and frayed, the nerves of a man who has seen what selling one’s soul to the underground affords. It’s a noisy bit of peace, the last grasp of a bitter old god unsuccessful in catching his prey. “Numinous,” swallows the B-side, Carter surrendering to the graceful glow that awaited his anxious journey to find it a sensual retreat. The worry is gone and a return to the real world, where we all can bask in the wine and roses of our lives no matter how poor, fractured, or flea-bitten.

Whether Carter’s crisis of health has truly informed his recent output is of little concern, though it does help to shade the titles and expositions of guitar-as-painting. What is known is that Carter has unlimited reserves on tap, capturing originality and disseminating for a largely unappreciative world. But like any true great artist, his will be a collection much appreciated when each of us expires and generations to come bare witness to his journey.

Tom Carter - Numinal Entry [Halatern, etc.; 2014]

The lasting myth of Tom Carter is mammoth, even as forces opposed to its existence work to dwarf the impact. Yet a history as rich and a career as long as Carter’s trumps any chance of that happening; his is a canon too devastatingly rare to be ignored.

Numinal Entry is just the latest addition, hot off the heels of the impressively vast ruminations of Four Infernal Rivers with NNCK member Pat Murano. It only seems fitting his newest solo foray into the same netherworld would involve NNCK (Numinal Entry was released via Keith Connolly’s Halatern, etc. label).

I hesitate to call Numinal Entry a continuation of the themes present on Four Infernal Rivers but the divinity of both is hard to ignore. FIR is a fierce recitation of what Carter witnessed from his not-so distant sick bed; the belly of Hades splayed before him. Numinal Entry is far more serene, the passing from the red into the white. Side A’s “In Us” is bumpy and frayed, the nerves of a man who has seen what selling one’s soul to the underground affords. It’s a noisy bit of peace, the last grasp of a bitter old god unsuccessful in catching his prey. “Numinous,” swallows the B-side, Carter surrendering to the graceful glow that awaited his anxious journey to find it a sensual retreat. The worry is gone and a return to the real world, where we all can bask in the wine and roses of our lives no matter how poor, fractured, or flea-bitten.

Whether Carter’s crisis of health has truly informed his recent output is of little concern, though it does help to shade the titles and expositions of guitar-as-painting. What is known is that Carter has unlimited reserves on tap, capturing originality and disseminating for a largely unappreciative world. But like any true great artist, his will be a collection much appreciated when each of us expires and generations to come bare witness to his journey.

Karl Fousek - Codicil [CS; Adhesive Sounds]
As fans of experimental music, we’re often told we’re snobbish and unable to embrace traditional pop values. Of course it’s a silly argument. I mean, we all grew up on pop and it still informs listening habits in some regard, to ignore it is to cut off your nose to spite your face levels of cliched arrogance. Thankfully Karl Fousek proves those shit sprayers wrong with his latest, Codicil. It’s a warbling synthetic stroke of smartness that showcases that pop elements are a universal filter for all things new. Despite the drunken melodies within, Codicil balances itself miraculously like the girls two sheets deep that compose themselves to nail the Electric Slide at the reception. Perhaps a bit too cliched? Nonetheless, that’s the raw beauty of Fousek’s experimentation. Despite the source material, turns out repeating ideas with the inherent crest and thump of synthesizer creates quite the rhythmic pop.

Karl Fousek - Codicil [CS; Adhesive Sounds]

As fans of experimental music, we’re often told we’re snobbish and unable to embrace traditional pop values. Of course it’s a silly argument. I mean, we all grew up on pop and it still informs listening habits in some regard, to ignore it is to cut off your nose to spite your face levels of cliched arrogance. Thankfully Karl Fousek proves those shit sprayers wrong with his latest, Codicil. It’s a warbling synthetic stroke of smartness that showcases that pop elements are a universal filter for all things new. Despite the drunken melodies within, Codicil balances itself miraculously like the girls two sheets deep that compose themselves to nail the Electric Slide at the reception. Perhaps a bit too cliched? Nonetheless, that’s the raw beauty of Fousek’s experimentation. Despite the source material, turns out repeating ideas with the inherent crest and thump of synthesizer creates quite the rhythmic pop.

Fat Creeps - Must Be Nice [LP/CS; Sophomore Lounge/Gnar Tapes]
Somewhere along the line, rock and roll was thrown in the trash. Maybe it was just a crowd too tired to fight for forward momentum after its bastardization in the late ’90s or the fragmentation of the consumer base was not worth chasing. Neither are my concern, because be damned those who would rather glue their radio dials and iPod play buttons down on a playlist of extinct sounds. We all have our retro listening habits but those who can’t lend an ear to what’s happening now, I have no time for you. Neither do Fat Creeps by the sound of it. The Boston trio may remind historians how awesome the Boston music scene was 20-30 years ago but rather than retreating to old Dinosaur and Throwing Muses cassettes, Fat Creeps forge forward with a splendid blend of that old patriotic cause of fighting fossilized rock and roll with new energies and ideas. Must Be Nice carries a hint of the familiar (the use of hook-laden, radio friendly melodies) but there’s a roughness around the edges that isn’t going to go away with sleeker production and years of road polish. Rather, Must Be Nice works best under the weariness of Gracie and Mariam; an eye cast to the past and how it all went wrong. Poppy songs carry a burden throughout, cautious of what will happen to them should the mandibles of classic rock come crashing through to destroy the will and ravage the flesh of the newly born. Fat Creeps will not be devoured by its parentage even as it heeds its warnings. But sometimes the kids have to steal the car keys and make a run for it. Those kids trapped in the amber of Amherst 30 years ago understand.

Fat Creeps - Must Be Nice [LP/CS; Sophomore Lounge/Gnar Tapes]

Somewhere along the line, rock and roll was thrown in the trash. Maybe it was just a crowd too tired to fight for forward momentum after its bastardization in the late ’90s or the fragmentation of the consumer base was not worth chasing. Neither are my concern, because be damned those who would rather glue their radio dials and iPod play buttons down on a playlist of extinct sounds. We all have our retro listening habits but those who can’t lend an ear to what’s happening now, I have no time for you. Neither do Fat Creeps by the sound of it. The Boston trio may remind historians how awesome the Boston music scene was 20-30 years ago but rather than retreating to old Dinosaur and Throwing Muses cassettes, Fat Creeps forge forward with a splendid blend of that old patriotic cause of fighting fossilized rock and roll with new energies and ideas. Must Be Nice carries a hint of the familiar (the use of hook-laden, radio friendly melodies) but there’s a roughness around the edges that isn’t going to go away with sleeker production and years of road polish. Rather, Must Be Nice works best under the weariness of Gracie and Mariam; an eye cast to the past and how it all went wrong. Poppy songs carry a burden throughout, cautious of what will happen to them should the mandibles of classic rock come crashing through to destroy the will and ravage the flesh of the newly born. Fat Creeps will not be devoured by its parentage even as it heeds its warnings. But sometimes the kids have to steal the car keys and make a run for it. Those kids trapped in the amber of Amherst 30 years ago understand.

Sacred Product - Wastex [2x7-inch; Quemada]
Another Melbourne hello from the happy doom of Lynton Denovan. A regular of ol’ Quemada with day job band Satanic Rockers, it’s here as Sacred Product that Lynton lives up to the devilish billing. More beholden to the noisy neighbors across the Tasman Sea, Sacred Product is a splendid blend of punk nuance and art school fuckery. The face first vocal tracks create an archaic feel reminiscent of the best Gary Wilson non-starters, but it’s instrumental free-for-all “Sonic Country” that grabs first. But as you switch back and forth, you’ll come to love the snotty pop of “Tram and Train” that punctuates the varied din of this double 7-inch. Lynton is already littering the world with Sacred Product but this may be the best small slice yet.

Sacred Product - Wastex [2x7-inch; Quemada]

Another Melbourne hello from the happy doom of Lynton Denovan. A regular of ol’ Quemada with day job band Satanic Rockers, it’s here as Sacred Product that Lynton lives up to the devilish billing. More beholden to the noisy neighbors across the Tasman Sea, Sacred Product is a splendid blend of punk nuance and art school fuckery. The face first vocal tracks create an archaic feel reminiscent of the best Gary Wilson non-starters, but it’s instrumental free-for-all “Sonic Country” that grabs first. But as you switch back and forth, you’ll come to love the snotty pop of “Tram and Train” that punctuates the varied din of this double 7-inch. Lynton is already littering the world with Sacred Product but this may be the best small slice yet.

Dick Diver - New Name Blues [7-inch; Fruits & Flowers]
I wish I could say I’ve been to Melbourne, gripping all these records on my travels like a master of old. But globalization maintains its stranglehold. So I sit on my couch and just wait for awesome labels near and far to import the good shit. And this is seriously good, courtesy of Dick Diver. Though I felt cheated noticing the inclusion of a cover on a two-song 7-inch, my dark cloud quickly lifted upon listening to “Lonely Life” and remembering that some of the world’s best songs are covers. The beautiful pop explosion of the title track almost brought back the anger but then I listened to the whole 7-inch for a few hours straight and couldn’t do anything other than smile. Where is our Dick Diver, I might say if this were a closed off country fearsome of immigration and anything remotely different. But then I think about the British Invasion, and that other British Invasion, and then the Britpop invasion, and I hope that maybe we’re in the throes of an Australian invasion. I certainly wouldn’t mind more Parramatta Eels matches on my television. Maybe the NFL would adopt some AFL practices (hehe, behinds!). And we will sit in the summer heat, baking away to the loving rotations of this Dick Diver 7-inch because we have all been besieged.

Dick Diver - New Name Blues [7-inch; Fruits & Flowers]

I wish I could say I’ve been to Melbourne, gripping all these records on my travels like a master of old. But globalization maintains its stranglehold. So I sit on my couch and just wait for awesome labels near and far to import the good shit. And this is seriously good, courtesy of Dick Diver. Though I felt cheated noticing the inclusion of a cover on a two-song 7-inch, my dark cloud quickly lifted upon listening to “Lonely Life” and remembering that some of the world’s best songs are covers. The beautiful pop explosion of the title track almost brought back the anger but then I listened to the whole 7-inch for a few hours straight and couldn’t do anything other than smile. Where is our Dick Diver, I might say if this were a closed off country fearsome of immigration and anything remotely different. But then I think about the British Invasion, and that other British Invasion, and then the Britpop invasion, and I hope that maybe we’re in the throes of an Australian invasion. I certainly wouldn’t mind more Parramatta Eels matches on my television. Maybe the NFL would adopt some AFL practices (hehe, behinds!). And we will sit in the summer heat, baking away to the loving rotations of this Dick Diver 7-inch because we have all been besieged.

Eye - Winterwork [LP; Nyali]
Pairing nicely with my first reading of Erewhon Calling, New Zealand’s Eye are a fantastic microcosm of a never ending well of inspiration from an island nation barely 4 million strong. Even as the socioeconomic forces threaten to envelope most of us in a wet blanket of commonality, there are those in New Zealand’s noisiest recesses–as there are tribal communities and castaways deep within unexplored continental jungles and frozen tundras–that have eschewed our new formality to continue exploring the outlier and asinine. Winterwork is such an LP and thank the no wave deconstructionists of yore for such a blessed gem. Though hesitant to apply the same fundamentals and acting principles behind Eye that were at work for no wavers of a certain era, the idea that music is a continuing waterfall that needs a few barrel jumpers in its flow to cause a rethink is evident in the retro-evolution at work within the trio’s frosty distortion. The tumult of our swollen society, turns out, is heard by those in isolation as coloring. No matter how cut off by appearances, something in the magnetic field carries those vibrations. Winterwork is such an interpretation; the music of the last stop between civilization and antarctic quarantine. So now that we know the source of their power, now we must find how its harnessed. Eye is giving no discernible clues, true guardians of a noise knowledge best left to those unfazed by our power suit culture overlap. With only 250 copies in existence, however, you can bet someone will lust to turn this rarity into a commodity.

Eye - Winterwork [LP; Nyali]

Pairing nicely with my first reading of Erewhon Calling, New Zealand’s Eye are a fantastic microcosm of a never ending well of inspiration from an island nation barely 4 million strong. Even as the socioeconomic forces threaten to envelope most of us in a wet blanket of commonality, there are those in New Zealand’s noisiest recesses–as there are tribal communities and castaways deep within unexplored continental jungles and frozen tundras–that have eschewed our new formality to continue exploring the outlier and asinine. Winterwork is such an LP and thank the no wave deconstructionists of yore for such a blessed gem. Though hesitant to apply the same fundamentals and acting principles behind Eye that were at work for no wavers of a certain era, the idea that music is a continuing waterfall that needs a few barrel jumpers in its flow to cause a rethink is evident in the retro-evolution at work within the trio’s frosty distortion. The tumult of our swollen society, turns out, is heard by those in isolation as coloring. No matter how cut off by appearances, something in the magnetic field carries those vibrations. Winterwork is such an interpretation; the music of the last stop between civilization and antarctic quarantine. So now that we know the source of their power, now we must find how its harnessed. Eye is giving no discernible clues, true guardians of a noise knowledge best left to those unfazed by our power suit culture overlap. With only 250 copies in existence, however, you can bet someone will lust to turn this rarity into a commodity.

King Tears Bat Trip - King Tears Bat Trip [LP; Debacle]
With no less than four percussionists, a tenor sax and the lone guitarist being outfit binder Luke Bergman, the intimidation factor of King Tears Bat Trip’s debut self-titled is immediate. The ability to actual swallow and digest two long compositions (one per side) on a psychedelic picture disc which hypnotizes and scares with each rotation…it’s a large order for even the most ironed stomach avant noise gourmand. Yet the rhythm of all these drums is a different animal from the throwaway spice of ‘tribal’. Not to say that us whiteys won’t immediately claim such an identifier for lack of a better term, but when you let the drums hit your intestines (in the midst of “Elevenogram”) you’ll find it like a fine bourbon that has a sting in the throat but a welcomed warmth as it spreads throughout the body. Soon your stomach becomes your libido, the drums as sexual as they are a soothing drone. Lip service also is deserving to Neil Welch’s tenor saxophone, which is unafraid to be the main course as necessitated but works best when it is often paired with the whole of the album’s breakneck rhythms. What KTBT’s self-titled amounts to is immensely fancy plating with a down home, comfort food taste. Behind all the fancy pageantry and ferocious distortion are recognizable melodies that will fill your belly and nourish the soul.

King Tears Bat Trip - King Tears Bat Trip [LP; Debacle]

With no less than four percussionists, a tenor sax and the lone guitarist being outfit binder Luke Bergman, the intimidation factor of King Tears Bat Trip’s debut self-titled is immediate. The ability to actual swallow and digest two long compositions (one per side) on a psychedelic picture disc which hypnotizes and scares with each rotation…it’s a large order for even the most ironed stomach avant noise gourmand. Yet the rhythm of all these drums is a different animal from the throwaway spice of ‘tribal’. Not to say that us whiteys won’t immediately claim such an identifier for lack of a better term, but when you let the drums hit your intestines (in the midst of “Elevenogram”) you’ll find it like a fine bourbon that has a sting in the throat but a welcomed warmth as it spreads throughout the body. Soon your stomach becomes your libido, the drums as sexual as they are a soothing drone. Lip service also is deserving to Neil Welch’s tenor saxophone, which is unafraid to be the main course as necessitated but works best when it is often paired with the whole of the album’s breakneck rhythms. What KTBT’s self-titled amounts to is immensely fancy plating with a down home, comfort food taste. Behind all the fancy pageantry and ferocious distortion are recognizable melodies that will fill your belly and nourish the soul.

Honey Radar - Scorpions Bought Me Breakfast [5-inch; Third Uncle]
First: make sure your record player can accommodate odd inches. Second: make sure your record player can accommodate odd speeds. Third: throw logic aside and just make it work.

That’s the best way to get to the one minute of creamy centered goodness offered from the latest art piece on lathe offered up by Third Uncle. The Indiana label that plays with strange artifacts in limited quantities once more thrusts a weird Honey Radar masterpiece onto us and though it will take us 10 minutes to play a one minute song, it’s well worth it. “Scorpions Bought Me Breakfast” is another preview before a promised full length from Honey Radar but in the mean time we will just bask in the simple pleasures of its quirky melody and quick run time. I’d tell you run just as quickly to pick this up but lucky you, all copies have vanished which means the 10 minutes of set-up is reduced to turning on your internet enabled electronic device and listening it to right here after you read this review.

…And finished.

Honey Radar - Scorpions Bought Me Breakfast [5-inch; Third Uncle]

First: make sure your record player can accommodate odd inches. Second: make sure your record player can accommodate odd speeds. Third: throw logic aside and just make it work.

That’s the best way to get to the one minute of creamy centered goodness offered from the latest art piece on lathe offered up by Third Uncle. The Indiana label that plays with strange artifacts in limited quantities once more thrusts a weird Honey Radar masterpiece onto us and though it will take us 10 minutes to play a one minute song, it’s well worth it. “Scorpions Bought Me Breakfast” is another preview before a promised full length from Honey Radar but in the mean time we will just bask in the simple pleasures of its quirky melody and quick run time. I’d tell you run just as quickly to pick this up but lucky you, all copies have vanished which means the 10 minutes of set-up is reduced to turning on your internet enabled electronic device and listening it to right here after you read this review.

…And finished.

Will Simmons & the Upholsters - Innuendo: The Italian Way [LP; Unread]
Remember when The Spin Doctors and their brand of funk-pop was popular? How about the roaring jazz influence of Squirrel Nut Zippers? The ska-drenched punk of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones? Have you erased all evidence from your music collection of such transgressions on retro-fitted sentiments? Thankfully Will Simmons and the fellas of the Upholsters don’t care for convention or trend. Though Innuendo shares little influence with any of the above, they do share a moxie for playing their own brand of Italian-inflected pop without a care to the world of drones, beats, and confessional ballads happening around them. Though the Spaghetti Western sincerity may fall between the cracks, the bravery to perform it in defiance of an indeterminable audience makes Innuendo all the more catchy and brazen. It adds to its depth and a further appreciation for the musicianship involved. The backing horns, the classic rock guitar stylings, and breezy drum fills – it’s refreshing. So make sure you poor yourself a tall glass of Innuendo and dust off those hidden relics of music past. You may have sold those neglected CDs long ago but the memories contained therein are still fresh in your memory. One dalliance with Will Simmons will guarantee it.

Will Simmons & the Upholsters - Innuendo: The Italian Way [LP; Unread]

Remember when The Spin Doctors and their brand of funk-pop was popular? How about the roaring jazz influence of Squirrel Nut Zippers? The ska-drenched punk of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones? Have you erased all evidence from your music collection of such transgressions on retro-fitted sentiments? Thankfully Will Simmons and the fellas of the Upholsters don’t care for convention or trend. Though Innuendo shares little influence with any of the above, they do share a moxie for playing their own brand of Italian-inflected pop without a care to the world of drones, beats, and confessional ballads happening around them. Though the Spaghetti Western sincerity may fall between the cracks, the bravery to perform it in defiance of an indeterminable audience makes Innuendo all the more catchy and brazen. It adds to its depth and a further appreciation for the musicianship involved. The backing horns, the classic rock guitar stylings, and breezy drum fills – it’s refreshing. So make sure you poor yourself a tall glass of Innuendo and dust off those hidden relics of music past. You may have sold those neglected CDs long ago but the memories contained therein are still fresh in your memory. One dalliance with Will Simmons will guarantee it.

Chauchat - Wreckage [CS; Unread]
Being pulled in all directions by an album is what makes for compelling re-listens. Chauchat is such a rare find, unafraid to blend an acoustic pop song into longer, looping sound collages that have little in common beyond the creator of said melodic plays. It unfolds like a Facebook meme where faceless individuals hold up signs prophetically declaring you should drop everything and do what you love, no matter the consequences. It’s likely those same people would have ejected Chauchat’s tape at the first electronic tear of “Organ Trap.” There is something to be said for abandoning doubt and embracing dreams, also know that the grind of pushing through an obstacle not of your own choosing has its rewards. To those of you who change your dreams to run away from the inevitable, Chauchat is not your savior. Wreckage will test your patience and make you wonder what is truly distinguishable between pop music and avant-garde experimentation. It’s likely a bigger gap than most of us would care to admit but in that abysmal silence, Chauchat fills the void with the broken promises and shattered dreams of those unwilling to see anything through. A meme is no more a motivational cause than the actual pursuit of a purposeful life. Wreckage is purposeful music.

Chauchat - Wreckage [CS; Unread]

Being pulled in all directions by an album is what makes for compelling re-listens. Chauchat is such a rare find, unafraid to blend an acoustic pop song into longer, looping sound collages that have little in common beyond the creator of said melodic plays. It unfolds like a Facebook meme where faceless individuals hold up signs prophetically declaring you should drop everything and do what you love, no matter the consequences. It’s likely those same people would have ejected Chauchat’s tape at the first electronic tear of “Organ Trap.” There is something to be said for abandoning doubt and embracing dreams, also know that the grind of pushing through an obstacle not of your own choosing has its rewards. To those of you who change your dreams to run away from the inevitable, Chauchat is not your savior. Wreckage will test your patience and make you wonder what is truly distinguishable between pop music and avant-garde experimentation. It’s likely a bigger gap than most of us would care to admit but in that abysmal silence, Chauchat fills the void with the broken promises and shattered dreams of those unwilling to see anything through. A meme is no more a motivational cause than the actual pursuit of a purposeful life. Wreckage is purposeful music.

Roachclip - Calmer in this Town [7-inch; Quemada]
Quemada is one of a few reliable sources on new Australian jamz, so surprise of all surprises they turn right around and release a 7-inch from Detroit band Roachclip. I’m sure some acid-laced parallel between the abandoned burrows of the Motor City and the vast wasteland of the Outback could be had, but let’s just focus on the similar aesthetic easy to recognize: rock and roll. Unfortunately the fun runs out after just two songs, requiring an intermission to lift oneself from the comfy confines of the couch to the turntable and back. But the trip will be filled with a repeat visit of A-side “Masters Den” echoing in your hollow skull because that’s what good rock does. It eats your brain and turns it into goo for manipulation (so maybe don’t play these songs backwards). B-side “Cast of Clowns” is Midwestern to its core; that sly bridge between garage rock and tape manipulation that is lost between the ’70s and ’10s much like you’ll be on the return leg to the couch. What was I doing? Wasn’t someone here with me? Why can I only remember these two songs? Let it wash over you like bong water.

Roachclip - Calmer in this Town [7-inch; Quemada]

Quemada is one of a few reliable sources on new Australian jamz, so surprise of all surprises they turn right around and release a 7-inch from Detroit band Roachclip. I’m sure some acid-laced parallel between the abandoned burrows of the Motor City and the vast wasteland of the Outback could be had, but let’s just focus on the similar aesthetic easy to recognize: rock and roll. Unfortunately the fun runs out after just two songs, requiring an intermission to lift oneself from the comfy confines of the couch to the turntable and back. But the trip will be filled with a repeat visit of A-side “Masters Den” echoing in your hollow skull because that’s what good rock does. It eats your brain and turns it into goo for manipulation (so maybe don’t play these songs backwards). B-side “Cast of Clowns” is Midwestern to its core; that sly bridge between garage rock and tape manipulation that is lost between the ’70s and ’10s much like you’ll be on the return leg to the couch. What was I doing? Wasn’t someone here with me? Why can I only remember these two songs? Let it wash over you like bong water.

Symbol - Online Architecture [CS/LP; Holodeck]
In a classic episode of Seinfeld, Elaine is troubled by a sidler. The cankerous man is able to subtly sneak in and out of situations, only to be noticed at the best of times. Enter Online Architecture, an equally daring feat of music that finds its way into the most prosperous situations at the most ideal of circumstances. Yet unlike the problem that plagued Elaine, Symbol is the beauteous weekly gal pal for the titular character. She, an heiress to a collection of valuable toys, will not let Jerry touch or play with them. So he covets and paws at them lost in a loop of adolescent weirdness. It’s an ugly side of beauty – trying to attain the unattainable. Ironic considering Symbol is the moniker of This Will Destroy You’s Chris Royal King. Online Architecture is a destroyer. It plays with your emotions, inserting itself into situations when you are least prepared; placing itself as protector to a wealthy prize you are unfit to hold. So you plot and scheme, further degrading yourself and others all in pursuit of something you should never have. Best get your tape or LP now because soon you may find yourself in a situation comedy premise where your new girlfriend has the wickedest record collection, complete with Online Architecture, and you’ll have to distract her with copious amounts of turkey and wine to possess it in your wretched little hands.

Symbol - Online Architecture [CS/LP; Holodeck]

In a classic episode of Seinfeld, Elaine is troubled by a sidler. The cankerous man is able to subtly sneak in and out of situations, only to be noticed at the best of times. Enter Online Architecture, an equally daring feat of music that finds its way into the most prosperous situations at the most ideal of circumstances. Yet unlike the problem that plagued Elaine, Symbol is the beauteous weekly gal pal for the titular character. She, an heiress to a collection of valuable toys, will not let Jerry touch or play with them. So he covets and paws at them lost in a loop of adolescent weirdness. It’s an ugly side of beauty – trying to attain the unattainable. Ironic considering Symbol is the moniker of This Will Destroy You’s Chris Royal King. Online Architecture is a destroyer. It plays with your emotions, inserting itself into situations when you are least prepared; placing itself as protector to a wealthy prize you are unfit to hold. So you plot and scheme, further degrading yourself and others all in pursuit of something you should never have. Best get your tape or LP now because soon you may find yourself in a situation comedy premise where your new girlfriend has the wickedest record collection, complete with Online Architecture, and you’ll have to distract her with copious amounts of turkey and wine to possess it in your wretched little hands.

Taiga Remains - Works for Cassette [LP; Helen Scarsdale Agency]
The peaceful sleep of retirement. It beacons a youthful culture, sown up by dreams of striking it rich and living off the royalties. Once it was oil, then it was jewels and ore, now it’s internet start-ups. As far as music is concerned, retirement is akin to losing massive touring revenue. I mean, Mick Jagger’s gotta pay upkeep for all those model girlfriends. So it’s a shame to see Alex Cobb laying to rest Taiga Remains. Whether this moment also implies planting his hypnotic drones six feet under is a concern because that lucrative stadium tour when he’s well into his Sixties seems so far away and who knows if we’ll have the money to pay for the front row. Is this truly the music that will span a new generation of Yuppies? Unlikely, for it is far too contemplative and real. When one chases money, they find that they are insecure in what they accumulate. It’s lifestyle fulfillment that becomes nightmarish to maintain. The nightmare of Cobb is that strengthened by inspiration, he must put down Taiga Remains to pursue his new muse. So we bid adieu with a golden parachute of his best cassette-based work now on a rotund vinyl disc. It’s no $40 million pile o’ cash or even an inscribed watch but Taiga Remains is clearly too old for this shit. Thankfully we are not, as this last bit of mellow gold helps the rest of us slog through the daily grind of thankless peers, endless jobs, and tireless commitment to not being like those money hungry tycoons who can’t wait to throw away millions for a moment in the lap of luxury. As Cobb entails within this last (revisited) breath, there is no price for a memory and a happy ending. And a good recording on tape sounds just as warm and low key on vinyl.

Taiga Remains - Works for Cassette [LP; Helen Scarsdale Agency]

The peaceful sleep of retirement. It beacons a youthful culture, sown up by dreams of striking it rich and living off the royalties. Once it was oil, then it was jewels and ore, now it’s internet start-ups. As far as music is concerned, retirement is akin to losing massive touring revenue. I mean, Mick Jagger’s gotta pay upkeep for all those model girlfriends. So it’s a shame to see Alex Cobb laying to rest Taiga Remains. Whether this moment also implies planting his hypnotic drones six feet under is a concern because that lucrative stadium tour when he’s well into his Sixties seems so far away and who knows if we’ll have the money to pay for the front row. Is this truly the music that will span a new generation of Yuppies? Unlikely, for it is far too contemplative and real. When one chases money, they find that they are insecure in what they accumulate. It’s lifestyle fulfillment that becomes nightmarish to maintain. The nightmare of Cobb is that strengthened by inspiration, he must put down Taiga Remains to pursue his new muse. So we bid adieu with a golden parachute of his best cassette-based work now on a rotund vinyl disc. It’s no $40 million pile o’ cash or even an inscribed watch but Taiga Remains is clearly too old for this shit. Thankfully we are not, as this last bit of mellow gold helps the rest of us slog through the daily grind of thankless peers, endless jobs, and tireless commitment to not being like those money hungry tycoons who can’t wait to throw away millions for a moment in the lap of luxury. As Cobb entails within this last (revisited) breath, there is no price for a memory and a happy ending. And a good recording on tape sounds just as warm and low key on vinyl.

About:

Justin Spicer is a pop culture critic, writer and editor. He manages Tiny Mix Tapes' Cerberus section. He has written columns for KEXP, Ad Hoc, Impose, and SSG Music. His work has been published by The Village Voice, Brainwashed, and extinct websites and print publications across the globe. This website is a collection of many of Justin's articles, reviews, and features. You can contact him via the links in the side menu or ignore all of this completely.

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