Category Archives: Soundcloud

Alessandro Cortini – “Scappa”

Alessandro Cortini has just released his “Forse 3” double-LP, which is the third and final installment of a trilogy of “Forse” double-LPs, through Important Records. “Scappa” is the third track on the album, and was composed–like everything else in the Forse double-LP trilogy, on a Buchla Music Easel.

The track unfolds slowly, across nearly the entirety of its 10 minutes, unveiling a beautiful, long melodic line little by little, that dovetails its end to its beginning to create a perpetually growing looped line. Delicate pulsations give this otherwise mostly ambient affair an added dimension, providing a regularity of sorts, or something more for the listener to grab onto in order to orient themselves within the piece. Other timbres are allowed to take shape underneath the main legato melody line, with deep bass fuzz that calls to mind Tim Hecker’s “Ravedeath 1972.”

Personally, I am most impressed and fascinated by the way that Cortini manages to create a work based on a compositional scheme of a consistently growing structure. The amount of forethought, nuance, and technique that needs to go into creating a successful long-form work of this nature can not be underestimated. Creating an idea that slowly develops, and builds up enough momentum to propel the work while remaining engaging the entire time is easy to do wrong. However, when it is pulled off, as it is here, the results are typically awe-inspiring.

It’s truly a breathtaking track, and I would imagine that the entire rest of the 4-sided affair will deliver in exactly the same way. “Forse 3” is available as an extremely limited double-album, and you would probably be smart to grab this now, as the first two installments of the Forse trilogy have long since sold out.

Cloud – “Zen Summer”

Typically when we listen to an album from front to back it’s because we want to be taken on a journey. Things need to be held together with a common thread, while at the same time differentiating themselves from one another significantly enough that we want to keep listening without tuning out. I think that, for me at least, this is the ideal of what an album should be. Unfortunately, that is no easy task for any artist.

Cloud, the recording project of on Tyler Taormina, does manage to do just that though. Across the expansive album that is “Zen Summer” we are taken to several different but interconnected places. From the all out rock of “Sunshine Psych” that moves nicely into the piano ballad buried beneath a wall of noise that is “Mantra One.”

And on “Mantra One” Taormina’s voice calls to mind that of Panda Bear. Even some of the same melodic nuances are there, fitting in perfectly amongst the glitchy electronics and backwards looping guitar tracks. Naturally this track flows neatly right into “Luana,” creating a suite of more or less piano based pop tunes.

Later with “Electrical Smile” the guitar begins to play a bit more of a central role, with its slow slide-guitar descending glissando connecting each of the harmony changes. Continuing through the next phase of the title track breaks everything down to ambiance, while “Tastes Bad” continues to place the focus on the guitar. In my opinion though, the best track of this section of the album, and the best track on the album, is “Sleepy Giant Speak.”

The sound of “Sleepy Giant Speak” combines all the elements of the album to this point; the octave jumping melodic contours, the fuzzed out wall of guitar noise, and the gentle piano just barely heard through it all. “Sleepy Giant Speak” manages to capture the feeling of continual expansion, striving toward some distant goal. It’s great to hear that song, and all the tracks on “Zen Summer” really, continually reach for that distant goal because it makes us all want to continue listening and to continue on that journey through the album.

“Zen Summer” was released on Paper Trail Records back in April, but is still available on very limited yellow vinyl that can be found on Paper Trail’s bandcamp page.

Premiere: Roladex – “We R”

Here’s another band that I’ve covered before, Roladex, coming at us once again from a label that I’ve come to know and love, Medical Records. The label is celebrating their 5th birthday with a pretty substantial double LP retrospective called “Synesthesia: The First Five Years.”

What Medical Records has put together is basically 3 sides that serve as a collection of re-issues of what they consider to be their best tracks, with a 4th side comprised of several new Medical Records artists covering some of their favorite reissue tracks. The 5 year anniversary release also happens to be the label’s 50th release in total. So to celebrate we’re premiering a track from the 4th side of the LP by Roladex with their cover of the Charisma Track “We R.”

Roladex’s sound lends itself perfectly to the track–at once picking up where Kraftwerk left off while adding elements of later proponents of the analog/new wavey synth sound The Human League. It’s that mixture of catchiness and emotion with the somewhat unaffecting, staid synth sound.

You can check out the album in its entirety below from Medical Records’ bandcamp page. You can also order the album, due out on June 11th, on limited edition gatefold 160g colored vinyl. Lots of great stuff on here so check it out below.

 

 

So Stressed – “The Unlawful Trade of Greco-Roman Art”

So Stressed’s album “The Unlawful Trade of Greco-Roman Art” is out now on Honor Press.

Honor Press, by the way, is the label founded by Perfect Pussy singer Meredith Graves. And like Perfect Pussy, So Stressed is hitting us with some hardcore punk, straight to the point with no extra filler.

That isn’t to say that So Stressed can’t change things up a little too. Their rhythm section is pretty insane, actually. Take a listen to “Apple Hill,” for example. The way the drums stretch out the phrases, playing with the time, giving the song a malleability and looseness that eschews the more or less traditional 4-on-the-floor punk backbone. Sure, the song starts out simply enough, but even the guitars have a few tricks up their sleeves right from the outset. The riff seems to dodge all expectations, tracing a pretty jagged path that refuses to fit in any typical harmonic or rhythmic structure. This is a pretty finely crafted tune.

The entire album crashes in like a whirlwind, refusing to let up for even a second. “Sleep Wave,” coming in toward the end of the album gets close to anthemic with it’s shouts of “there is nothing out here for you anymore!” that somehow manage to come through across the top of some serious guitar feedback and the, by this time, expected pummeling of the drums. Every track is a multi-layered affair, demanding multiple listens to pick up on all the tiny details etched into the album. “Covered in Hair” even wanders into some pretty experimental territory, breaking away from the non-stop aural assault in order to explore some new sounds and ambience for a few minutes.

The video below is for the first single off the album “Merv King & The Phantoms,” a song that makes the most of its minute and forty second playing time, packing enough energy and ideas to fill a song three times as long. These dudes are definitely jamming econo. Check out the video, and head over to Honor Press to order the album immediately. The album is available in a variety of beautifully packaged formats (LP/limited edition clear LP/Cassette/CD/Digital Download).

“The Unlawful Trade of Greco-Roman Art” is quite the statement for not only the band, but for Honor Press. What a great way to start a label. Here’s to hoping for many more like this.

Westkust – “Last Forever”

Apparently I’m putting together a summer mixtape, because I keep coming across gems like this that I just have to post about. Westkust is a band from Gothenburg, Sweden and they’ve captured perfectly that sun-soaked careless summer vacation vibe. Catchy, soaring melodies backed with that hazy, shoegaze type of guitar-as-wall-of-noise thing that I’m pretty sure that we are all quite familiar with by now.

The latest single, “Dishwasher,” is a perfect exemplar for the rest of the album. A little surfy, a little poppy, a little shoegazey, a pretty fun tune all around. The dual vocal is a pretty underused effect in my opinion, and in this song it just fits so perfectly with Julia Bjernelind’s voice creating a smoother more legato counterbalance to Gustav Andersson’s slightly more clipped delivery. Both vocals combined manage to capture that blurry photograph memory of years past feeling, with the incessantly upbeat rhythm section refusing to let those good memories fade to melancholy. There’s a really crunchy guitar noise in there in between the verses that gives us a little bit of something unexpected too, which is always appreciated.

The other songs that the band has released ahead of their full-length–which will be available digitally at the end of June, and as a physical release on vinyl July 7th–continue the same trajectory with as many sunny and fun songs crammed onto one album as possible. You can check out “Summer 3D” and “Weekends” below courtesy of the band’s own soundcloud page.

The album, “Last Forever,” is set to be released by Run For Cover Records. You can also check out some of the bands previous material, like the now sold out “Junk EP” over on their soundcloud page as well. You can pre-order the album here.

Last Sons of Krypton – “Teenage Trash”

They definitely don’t make ’em like this anymore (though I sincerely wish they did). This is gritty, pure garage-rock/punk energy and abandon, and it’s just gotten a proper release from Certified PR records. The album is stocked with tracks from early demos, some unreleased tracks and a few alternate versions of their material. It’s twenty-tracks of noisy-as-hell, blown out old-school punk. To my ear I am picking up on, maybe, some Dead Kennedy’s in that they may be thrashing about, but still with a focus on melody to at least a certain extent. Combine that with the overbearing feedback and noise of Terry Malts and maybe The Homostupids and I think you’re most of the way there.

“Air Raid” is a one-and-a-half minute blast of live thrash that plows through a couple breakneck verses and shouted choruses. The guitars can hardly keep still, inserting Sonic Youth-like asides in between lyrics all before the entire thing comes crashing to a halt.

Meanwhile, “It Hurts” takes a play out of the old-school rock and pop book, taking something that would probably sound like an outtake from the Rocky Horror soundtrack and turning it into garage-rock mayhem.

Turn it up. If you don’t have two blown speakers by the time you are reading this then you are doing something wrong.

You can buy the album from Certified PR Records here. The vinyl run was limited to 525 on virgin black vinyl. It’s only $13! That’s a steal! Head over there and check it out, and head over to Certified PR on soundcloud to check out what else they have cooking up.

Stream: Best Friends – “If You Think Too Much Your Brain Will Fall Out”/”Shred Til You’re Dead”

I think it was back in the summer of 2009 that I was absolutely addicted to the Beach Fossils first EP. It was a collection of songs that just made total sense for the time. Their music managed to capture what I loved so much about the first Real Estate album that was somewhat lost on subsequent Real Estate releases. Something about that sound.

I happened upon Best Friends and immediately recognized the same sound that I have been looking for every summer, and they seem to capture it on every song.  The track “If You Think Too Much Your Brain Will Fall Out” is an instantly catchy tune that packs a lot of punch and a super catchy melody within a compact 2 minute more or less punk surf rock format.

When I started writing this post I was having a really hard time deciding which tune I was going to put first, and after flipping it back and forth a few times I decided on “Shred Til You’re Dead” first, so I can only hope and pray that people are reading this far and play the next tune, “If You Think Too Much Your Brain Will Fall Out.” The guitar tone on “Shred Til You’re Dead” is what really gets me here. I could be wrong, but whenever I hear tone like this I picture a Telecaster playing through a Twin Reverb. Who knows, but it’s a great tone however it’s made.

 

There really is no winning, because this next track is really great too. The band has been releasing these as a steady stream of singles, but if they were to put all these together it would make one hell of an EP. This next one comes from their single “Happy Anniversary” b/w “Nosebleeds.” The songs here are a little bit extended, which is a good thing, because these guys have hooks for days.

So listen to all of these. Listen to them over and over again. Head to their soundcloud page and just let every track play right in a row. After that throw a few bucks their way (or £ as the case may be, being that the band hails from Sheffield in the UK) for some downloads, as all their vinyl is currently sold out.  And, if you want to get in the holiday mood, you can check out their cover of “Wonderful Christmastime” that’s also on their soundcloud page.