As we’ve seen before, there is currently no shortage of great music coming out of Chicago. After Twin Peaks released my favorite album of 2013 I’ve continued searching out what else the city has to offer and as such I just happened upon this newest release by Ne-hi.
In a nutshell their sound is pretty close to that of Beach Fossils’ first EP with hints of surf-rock, a shading of reverb soaked guitars, and a touch of lower-fi production. Ne-hi’s songs tend toward the more hook-laden end of the spectrum, pushing pretty close to anthem status with some of their more exuberant songs like “Turncoat.” The vibe of a live performance is captured particularly well on that track, brought out by the production.
Every song is filled with the kind of sunny melodies that make a good summertime mix-tape. And with that sunny, reverb-soaked-ness comes the suggestion of the West Coast sound of the early 60s with their carefree vocal harmonies and jangling guitars. Some moments seem to come straight out of the San Francisco pop song writing guide, while others are more related to the experimental East Coast scene. Strains of Real Estate make their appearance throughout some of Ne-hi’s more downtempo material.
Closing song, “Sun Bleed,” takes a beautifully unexpected turn at the end, leaning way back into the groove and tacking onto it a coda of soaring vocals awash in crash cymbals and high harmonies.
The album is available as a 12″ LP from Manic Static right now, as well as through Bandcamp as a download. After listening to the entire thing above (highly recommended) you can check out the video for album opener “Since I’ve Been Thinking,” also above.
First up is a track off the new 2×7″ from Sacred Product. “Ride Back,” with its demented minor-mode descending guitar line and a background of noise that sharply cuts in and out resembles in a lot of ways the sound of Sebadoh. The lackadaisical vocals, tossed of nonchalantly and similar in style to Thurston Moore in some of the earlier Sonic Youth releases. The one-part structure upon which it is built makes use of extensive repeated motives, but spaces them out to create shifting layers of musical material throughout. Basically, the track manages to sound slightly evil due to the disjunct motion of the harmonies, while holding to reliable repeated gestures that smooth over the entire track.
You can stream another track below that comes from an earlier EP, released through Albert’s Basement as a cassette release limited to 100 copies. This track is “Iron Coffin” and comes from a similar approach with a thicker layer of sludge laid over top. A significantly Lowered tuning adds to the distortion and sludge as the song plods through 7+ minutes of single-part structure.
And finally “Tram and Train” can be heard below, also displaying an affinity for the krautrock/garage-rock aesthetic.
“Wastex” is available as a double 7″ and the EP is probably not available anymore, but you can head to Albert’s Basement facebook page to find some other cool stuff.
Tuesday: More music from the endlessly prolific Ty Segall. This tune coming from his latest project, Fuzz. The 7″ single also features a track by CCR Headcleaner with all proceeds from digital download sales going to help music education programs in schools.
I know that I have mentioned before of my recent conversion over to the cult of the cassette tape. This has lead to some great discoveries, of course forcing me to ask the question, “What have I been keeping myself from for the past couple of years?”
It was through another tape purchase that I discovered the band Chat Logs. Maybe part of my love for this batch of songs is partly because of the element of surprise. I wasn’t planning on buying this album, didn’t even know that it existed, and now I have it here with me
What I got was an aggressive bass assault with grinding guitars and menacing vocals. The perpetual, circular bass-line of “Eat Your Heart Out” is intermittently interrupted by a heavily echoed, distorted and pitch shifted guitar that’s doing it’s best interpretation of a blues break, but is run through a experimental noise-rock filter. And many of the songs take on a similar structure, with persistent bass holding everything together while the guitars and vocals buzz, screech and echo all around it.
“Am I Right, Or Am I Right?” clocks in at just over 19 minutes with its 4 tracks, the perfect EP length. Personal favorite “Mooks” is mostly instrumental (or at least has a lengthy instrumental break in the middle) with a great winding lead guitar line that sounds like a more unrestrained Constantines track.
The album is available now through Already Dead Records and Tapes, a limited run, specialty press label run out of Chicago that is absolutely worth checking out for fans of sometimes obscure, experimental, electronic, hard-edged garage and all other genres in between.
Ultra distorted, lo-fi psych punk. That just about sums it up.
If you know anything about Purling Hiss, and Permanent Records that originally put this album out back in ’09, it’s that they are both synonymous with fuzzed out, lo-fi (sometimes to an extreme) psych/stoner garage rock.
This recording is overblown, in the red nearly the entire time, really capturing the energy and immediacy of a debut release. Since this album came out 5 years ago Purling Hiss has gone on to release tons of stuff on other labels like Woodsist and Drag City to name a few. Purling Hiss has gone from the solo project of Mike Polizze to becoming a full-fledged band, jamming non-stop on endless tours across the country.
“Almost Washed My Hair” lays out an 8 minute guitar solo over static harmony that explores almost every classic rock guitar idiom known to man while simultaneously slicing through squeals of feedback and an incessant wash crash cymbals. “Montage Mountain” takes the noise element up a few hundred notches, with guitars bleating and screaming wildly, trying to find their place. Both tunes stretch on for what seems like an indefinite period, again, just a noise, feedback jam session. And I didn’t even bring up the track “Purple Hiss,” the longest on the album, clocking in at 14 and a half minutes.
And now that we have a better idea of what Purling Hiss sounds like in their current incarnation-specifically a Sabbath influenced, stoner rock guitar riffage band-it’s interesting to be able to hear where that all started. Head on over to the Permanent Records site to grab one of the limited edition cassettes or vinyl while you can, as I’m sure they aren’t going to last very long. If you miss out, you can still head to their bandcamp and get in on the download.
I used to consider myself to be firmly in the camp of anti-tape. I just couldn’t understand why it was that people were bringing back such a (thankfully) dead medium. The angle that I was looking at was, well there is a reason that I always buy stuff on vinyl and it’s because it sounds better and is a more authentic representation of the actual music than a digital representation from a CD or mp3. It seemed to me that recording stuff to tape was simply an effort of creating nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake, and it just seemed completely backwards.
Not long ago, though, I was reading about how the community that has sprung up around creating tapes considers them to be an act of rebellion of sorts. It’s much cheaper and easier to distribute tapes than it is to record vinyl, and it doesn’t require nearly as much technology as is required to create digital files. That is something that I can get down with. If it is a means for more people to get their music out there, and in a medium that is tangible, then how could anyone not support that. I think what finally sold me was when I got a pair of tapes from Crash Symbols. Sure, the nostalgia is there, but the tapes and the artwork for Julie’s Haircut and Exotic Club are so captivating. How could I not love it? What is going to happen though is that bigger bands are going to try to cash in on this, creating tapes for no reason other than “they seem to be getting more popular.”
Well, this isn’t about me. I was just pointed in the direction of a label, Already Dead Tapes & Records, and discovered that it’s a pretty good place to poke around. According to the site Already Dead Tapes was founded by Joshua Tabbia and Sean Hartman. The label is run by Joshua Tabbia, Sean Hartman, Ray Jackson and Alex Borozan and they are a DIY record label releasing cassettes, vinyl and fine art in small editions.
What specifically brought me to the site was a tape by mchtnchts. “The Spoiled West and its Freshly Minted Infants” is a fresh blast of noise from bent circuits and analog sources from a pair of musicians from the Bay Area. There’s a sample on the page. Make sure you act quick though, the release is limited to 40 tapes…well, 39 tapes.
Looking around a little more there’s some bouncy garage rock from Panda Kid’s “Summetry” 12″. I think they are from Italy. I feel like Italian indie rock is stalking me, or maybe it’s the other way around. That one is pretty fantastic and worth a listen. They end up sounding like a roughed up Beach Fossils in some ways, with similarly breezy and carefree aesthetic, though taken to some strange dark places at times. Only 30 of those available. And then there is the art-rock weirdness and bass heaviness of Comfort Food’s “Dr. Faizan’s Feel Good Brain Pills” tape. Both great and for very different reasons.
Have fun checking out all the stuff on Already Dead’s site. To get to the bandcamp pages for the bands, just click on the “i” next to the play button on each page. I have yet to come across something not worth hearing. Follow the links below and check out the bandcamp pages linked above. All of these releases are extremely limited, so if you are thinking that you want to get something, you’d better grab it while you can. Otherwise, grabbing the albums digitally on bandcamp might be a good contingency plan, but I think supporting this great small-edition label is definitely the best way to go.
As I continue to play through all of my favorite releases of the year, trying to put together some sort of end of year compilation, the release that I come back to almost every day is Twin Peaks’ debut LP “Sunken.” I think that I’m going to have to say definitively that that is my favorite release of the year. My one complaint about “Sunken,” though, is that it’s way too short, but I guess that this tiny little single can tide me over until 2014 with its expansive 4 minutes and 17 seconds of material. I’m just going to consider these two songs as “Sunken” bonus tracks.
Both “Flavor” and “Come Bother Me” are considerably more poppy, and considerably less washy/reverbed out. You can take a quick listen to both the tracks above, and then you can head over to the bandcamp page to drop $1 on a download, or send it as a last minute gift.
According to the bandcamp site the single was released on cassette via Tripp Tapes this past Friday, December 20th with a 7″ via Jeffery Drag Records coming soon.
You can buy “Sunken” over here on CD, vinyl, or as a digital download. Check out the video for “Stand In the Sand” off of that album below.