Category Archives: tympanogram

New track: Deerhoof – "The Trouble with Candyhands"

(Originally posted on Tympanogram on August 7, 2012)

Deerhoof - "Breakup Song"
Deerhoof – “Breakup Song”

Everyone’s favorite San Francisco based fun-time art-pop band, Deerhoof, are preparing to release a follow up to 2011?s Deerhoof Vs. Evil with Breakup Song due in stores on September 4th via Polyvinyl.

They have released a typically quirkily named track, “The Trouble With Candyhands” on the Polyvinyl Soundcloud page that provides us with a short glimpse of their ever evolving sound. The addition of staccato brass adds a bit of a danceable salsa flair to the typically frenetic sound of the band. The guitars are dialed back significantly but Greg Saunier continues to carve intricate, shifting rhythms right through the heart of the song with Satomi’s high falsetto soaring sweetly above the foundation. You can hear snippets from the entire album by popping a token in the Jingletron. Based on this first listen it sounds like Deerhoof are placing a little more emphasis on their electronic leanings that started to show a bit more on Deerhoof Vs. Evil.

With a new album comes a new tour and Deerhoof are ferocious live, so check them out when they come to a town near you. And if you are in Portland, OR for their show (with the equally amazing Buke and Gase opening) I’ll let you buy me a few beers.

You can buy “Breakup Song” from Polyvinyl here.

Find Deerhoof:  Tour | Facebook | Polyvinyl

New track: Thee Oh Sees – "Lupine Dominus"

(Originally posted to Tympanogram on July 31, 2012)

Thee Oh Sees - "Putrifiers II"
Thee Oh Sees – “Putrifiers II”

I was in Chicago a few weeks ago for the Pitchfork Music Festival, which is always a great place to scope out the music that everyone else is already excited by, but I have somehow missed the boat on. It’s a good way of forcing myself to get obsessed with new things, and this year was definitely good for that.

I’m sure I’ve come across tracks by Thee Oh Sees recently, but so many things tend to get lost in the shuffle when you listen to so much music. The point here is that sometimes it takes a band to kick your ass thoroughly live to get you to understand how worth your time their music is. The most recent album by Thee Oh Sees is last years excellent Carrion Crawler/The Dream, but I’m urging you – no – pleading, begging and demanding that you see this band live. Sure the recordings are great, but I think that I’m adding my own memories of the two live performances I caught in Chicago. The albums aren’t able to really capture all of the energy, and to be honest the tempi are significantly slower on all of their recordings than live versions. It would be impossible to sum up their sound in a short post, but let’s just go with this: noisy, psychedelic garage rock not unlike Ty Segall or White Fence but with catchier hooks and more space-echo.

Thankfully they also have a new album coming out on In The Red on September 11 called Putrifiers II. They recently released a track from it, “Lupine Dominus”, that is noisy and bass driven like so many songs off their previous efforts like Carrion Crawler/The Dream and Help. John Dwyer’s crazed vocals take more of a back seat to Brigid Dawson’s, but the track still manages to showcase their hypnotic and reverberant sound. Check it out, and check out everything you can by them, many of their recent efforts are available on Spotify.  They are also all over the country on tour throughout the summer, so be absolutely sure that you check them out.

[audio:|titles=Thee Oh Sees – “Lupine Dominus”]

Check out Thee Oh Sees: Web | Facebook 

Catch them on tour:
08/03/2012 Pickathon Happy Valley OR
08/04/2012 Pickathon Happy Valley OR
08/05/2012 Woodsist Festival Big Sur CA
08/11/2012 Outside Lands Festival San Francisco CA
09/09/2012 El Rey Los Angeles CA  w/Sic Alps + The Mallard
09/10/2012 Bar Pink San Diego CA  w/Sic Alps
09/11/2012 Bunkhouse Las Vegas NV w/Ty Segall
09/13/2012 Gothic Theater Denver CO w/Ty Segall
09/14/2012 ACM @UCO Oklahoma City OK  w/Ty Segall
09/15/2012 La Zona Rosa Austin TX  w/Ty Segall
09/18/2012 Goat Farm Atlanta GA w/Ty Segall
09/19/2012 The Bottletree Birmingham AL w/Ty Segall
09/20/2012 Zombie Shop Nashville TN w/Ty Segall
09/21/2012 Strange Matter Richmond VA  w/Ty Segall
09/22/2012 The Well (Wick) Brooklyn NY w/Ty Segall
09/23/2012 ATP Asbury Park NJ  
09/25/2012 Town Ballroom Bufffalo NY w/Ty Segall
09/26/2012 The Hoxton Toronto ON w/Ty Segall
09/29/2012 High Noon Saloon Madison WI  w/Ty Segall
09/30/2012 Turf Club St. Paul MN  w/Ty Segall
10/02/2012 VFW Missoula MT w/Sic Alps
10/03/2012 Broken City Calgary AB w/Sic Alps
10/04/2012 Broken City Calgary AB w/Sic Alps
10/06/2012 Rickshaw Theater Vancouver BC w/Sic Alps
10/07/2012 Neptune Seattle WA  w/Sic Alps

Album review: Red Alder – "Hyper Vertical"

(Originally posted to on July 10, 2012)

Red Alder - "Hyper Vertical"
Red Alder – “Hyper Vertical”

Kelsie Brown has been releasing a steady stream of quiet, ethereal bedroom pop on her bandcamp page under the name Red Alder for over a year. Last week, on June 24, she announced that an entire album’s worth of older tracks were going to be released, and this is that album.

Though the songs aren’t meant to fit together to create a cohesive album – as they are lo-fi demos for the most part going as far back as 2005 – the general style and atmosphere of each track is very similar throughout. A piano awash in reverb builds over the top of vocals that are simultaneously whispering and shouting to be heard on “So Gracefully”, perhaps the most well formed of this collection as far as pop structure is concerned. Despite these songs not being thought of as forming an album “In Rain I Sat Alone and Waited” does seem to pick up where “So Gracefully” leaves off melodically. Synth tones overlap, accumulating a cloud of dissonance before disappearing into the night.

Another instrumental, “Untitled 2?, draws similarities to Erik Satie’s solo piano works. The simplicity of two repeated chords with a wandering, melancholic melody over top sounds uses the Gymnopédies and Gnossienne of Satie as starting points. And in “Two,” Brown’s voice cries out in occasional dissonance against the gentle piano texture.

This collection is available now on the Red Alder bandcamp page for any price you’d like. Though no performances are listed at this time, if you are in the Seattle area keep your eyes out for a possible show in the future.

Find Red Alder on: Facebook | Soundcloud | Bandcamp


New track: Chelsea Light Moving – "Burroughs"

(Originally posted to Tympanogram on June 26, 2012)

Chelsea Light Moving
Chelsea Light Moving

As a Sonic Youth obsessive, I take it as my duty to inform everyone that Thurston Moore has formed another new project. The name of this new venture is Chelsea Light Moving and they popped up out of nowhere late last week on the Matador Matablog.

Thankfully the band sounds like they are interested in more of the late Sonic Youth aesthetic than they are in the solo Thurston Moore sound. The track, “Burroughs,” comes off sounding like a B-side for The Eternal or Rather Ripped, with an upbeat and noisy verse, sharp guitar stabs, and an extended exploratory coda. This track captures the energy that I believe is missing from Thurston’s Demolished Thoughts effort. It sounds raw, exciting, and it doesn’t even matter to me that this is probably the millionth track attributed to the influence of William S. Burroughs that Moore has penned.

The band is rounded out by Keith Wood on guitar, Samara Lubelski on bass, and drummer John Maloney. According to the Matador press release the track was recorded and mixed May 18-20, 2012, by Justin Pizzoferrato at Sonelab, Easthampton, MA. And there are some (very few) dates posted for Thurston, with no mention if it is him appearing with solo material or with new Chelsea Light Moving tracks. We are promised another track in a week though, so be sure to check back and grab that one as well.

[audio:|titles=Chelsea Light Moving – Burroughs] Chelsea Light Moving  | Blog
Upcoming Thurston Moore US dates:
June 24 – Missoula, MT  The Top Hat
June 27 – Bouler, CO  Boulder Theater
June 29 – Denver, CO  Larimer Lounge

Album review: Japandroids – "Celebration Rock"

(Originally posted to Tympanogram on June 12, 2012)

Japandroids - "Celebration Rock"
Japandroids – “Celebration Rock”

When a band sort of falls off the radar for a little bit it’s natural to feel worried. In today’s musical climate a band only stays relevant for as long as they can pump out song after song and album after album. It’s even more worrisome when a band like Japandroids – a band so exciting, energetic, and original, and with such a talent for writing catchy, shout-along choruses – seems to be puttering to a standstill.  The Vancouver pair seemed to be disappearing into memories, stretching themselves thin touring 475 days a year, and leaving us hanging with spare singles and cover songs to tide us over.

The problem with such an approach is that the expectation for something truly epic, something that will exceed all previous efforts increases exponentially. And this is the part of the post where I let you know what you are hoping: they have.

On Celebration Rock Brian King’s voice is a little bit more crackly and weather-worn, no doubt the result of all of the aforementioned touring, but all of the energy and shouts are still there; not only are they still there, they are surprisingly better, more earnest, and more filled with joy. After Post-Nothing I think we all figured that it was safe to assume that there was no way this band could continue on in the same manner. In order to remain relevant, they would have to try to do something different, branch out, and add things to their sound. Well, here’s Japandroids proving us wrong.

Celebration Rock is comprised of 8 songs that fly by in a frenzy, never letting up for a second. The album opens and closes with the sound of fireworks, and every song is propelled forward like it’s been shot out of a cannon. The steady drumbeat of “The Nights of Wine and Roses” fades in, and King can hardly contain his excitement as the guitar enters the mix, swaying a bit against David Prowse’s solid backbeat. Things pick up from there, building until the bottom suddenly falls out, and the pair’s most jubilant string of interjections is extended over the following thirty seconds.

Usually I would say that a good album needs to have a shape to it – the ups, the downs, the entire emotional landscape, you know. Albums need to take us on a journey and allow us to get lost as listeners. But with Celebration Rock, there is absolutely no room for complaint. Japandroids is rocking harder than ever before; they are clearly excited by their music, and they are unapologetic for it. Every single song is comprised of hooks that seem so effortlessly strung together. Between the energy, the hooks, and the nostalgic impact of the lyrics, it’s easy to get lost in Japandroids’ oeuvre. The songs sound new and familiar, capturing the fleeting idea of reminiscence that we all find ourselves feeling from time to time.

The album also features one of the most fantastic one-two rock punches in recent memory, placing “Younger Us” and “The House That Heaven Built” one after the other, the latter of which is a standout track among an album of standout tracks.

The pair is currently on tour, but from what I have heard tickets are selling incredibly fast, and with good reason. Seeing a Japandroids show is a great experience, and one that comes highly recommended. Check their website to see if they are coming to a town near you, and to order the album for yourself.

[audio:|titles=The House That Heaven Built]

Connect with JPNDRDS // Facebook | web |

UPDATE: The album is currently (TODAY!) available as a $3 download on Amazon. Go get it!


New track: Cuff the Duke – "The Diamond Sea" (Sonic Youth cover)

Originally posted to Tympanogram on March 14, 2012)

Cuff the Duke - "In Our Time"
Cuff the Duke - "In Our Time"

I’m beside myself with joy right now. Sheer joy. Cuff the Duke is an amazing band from Toronto, and as is the case with too many great Canadian bands, they are quite often overlooked by American blogs. Cuff the Duke has released 5 albums since 2002, each increasingly better than the last. The most recent, Morning Comes, is the first part of a 2 part album, and was released in October of 2011. Produced by Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor, the album delivers all of their tuneful songwriting that finds the perfect balance of rock crunch and country twang, not to mention the soulful singing of Wayne Petti.

I would highly recommend checking out all of their albums, especially the newest one and their 2010 album Way Down Here (my pick that year for best album).

Their cover of Sonic Youth’s “Diamond Sea” has recently surfaced on Soundcloud, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that the results are simple stunning. The band manages to capture the affecting atmosphere of the famous Washing Machine closing track while sanding down the edges and making it all their own. They don’t change anything drastically, instead great care is taken to delicately insert their own unique sound while still managing to sound surprisingly like the original. You can listen to the track and download it below.

Connect with Cuff the Duke // web | Facebook | Myspace | Twitter
[audio:|titles=The Diamond Sea]

New album: Alta Mira – "I am the Salt"

Alta Mira
Alta Mira

I jokingly tweeted that I should send an e-mail to bands if I’m able to listen to their entire album or EP without losing interest. Hey, we get sent a lot of music and unfortunately that means the music gets judged by how quickly it can grab us, and hold our attention. I’m not sure if the other guys would completely agree with me or not, so I’ll just say that that is true for me.

Last week Albany, NY band Alta Mira quietly sent me a link to their Soundcloud and Bandcamp sites, and I listened. After that I listened again, and as I write this I am listening yet again. It’s crafty pop music that is catchy and more on the quieter side at times, while more on the dance side at others. The mix is clean, and the tunes are solid on their forthcoming album entitled I Am The Salt.

Of the tracks available on their Bandcamp page, “Organ Anthem” opens up in the middle, when the vocals drop out, and just builds and builds before the driving and echoed guitar pulls us back in again. It’s probably my favorite of the 3 tracks available, and good on them for ending the release on a track that makes me want more. That’s the way to do it. Bands take note! The first track “Good Enough” makes me think of The Shins, but with perhaps a bit more layering and rhythmic drive.

It looks like they are already garnering some attention from reviewers from their previous EP from 2007 and a self-titled LP from 2009, so the only thing left for you to do is to check out their tracks. The full 10 song LP “I am the Salt” is slated for release on March 31st. You can download the first single, “Good Enough” below, and stream a couple more at their Bandcamp page.

[audio:|titles=Good Enough]

Connect with Alta Mira // Facebook | Myspace | web | Bandcamp