Tag Archives: records

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.

Stream: Xerox – “Revision”

Punk rock jams out of Iowa City? Who knew? Well, now you do. Xerox recently released their debut on Hard Art Records, and “Revision” is the first track that has been made available and it’s a good one. They may be from the midwest, but they are definitely bringing their best sneering English attitude for this one.

The arrangement and verse/chorus/verse structure straddles the line between straight up punk rock and something a little more pop oriented. The crystal clear production and tight ensemble work really takes this out of the realm of the usual ultra-gritty, quick and dirty live sound and into the realm of the polished. Not too polished, let’s not get crazy here.

Clear cut guitar, no feedback squealing throughout every silence like we’re so used to hearing by this point. But the track is no less powerful in spite of it’s more clean and clear nature. This is still firmly rooted in the tenets of punk, but why can’t you find a good balance between greater accessibility within the greater aesthetic. Especially interesting is the way the song builds up right to the end with 16th note snare hits over top of muted guitar strings that seems to point to the development of a new section, but only serves to drive the track to its end.

Check out the track above and head over to Hard Art Records to grab a copy and hear all six tracks of the band’s debut EP.

Stream: Nothing – “Guilty of Everything”

Add another band to the list of “ungoogle-able bands.” They’re in good company though. I mean, Women is one of my favorite bands of all time and they are tricky/impossible to do a google search on.

So many thoughts and memories came rushing to mind as soon as I started listening to this Nothing album. Shoegaze is, to start off generally, one of the first and most noticeable characteristics of Nothing’s sound.  But it’s not all just a My Bloody Valentine cloud of distortion. Inside that wall is a concentrated core that contains so many recognizable elements.

Hum, The Smashing Pumpkins, Longwave, all of these emerge from Nothing (the more I mention the band by name the more it sounds like I am making some lofty philosophical statement: “they all emerge from Nothing.” Or maybe it would be better to say “they all emerge from the sound of Nothing.”)

The hushed vocals, thick power chords, persistent focus on one long drawn out harmony like the band is carving a path through a thick, dense fog, all coming out of the shoegaze tradition. But, this isn’t a bad thing. No bands are out there really doing the same thing. I suppose We Were Promised Jetpacks is going for an approximation of the same aesthetic, but really the details are quite different. Nothing re-presents shoegaze in much the same way that Yuck re-presented grunge with their first album.

“Guilty of Everything” is dark in tone, which is unavoidable given the parameters. There is something slightly sinister, or at least ominous about that combination of relaxed, whispered vocals and a barrage of loud guitars. One can’t help but have a visceral reaction. You get pulled into the music listening intently to the vocal, which in turn results in getting lost inside the sound of that barrage of guitars.

And the quieter moments shouldn’t be overlooked. I’m reminded of some of the more introspective moments on “Siamese Dream” like “Mayonnaise”  or the end of “Hummer,” throughout the titular track of this album. Moments that work to just pull the listener in with ringing open strings that cut through the wall of guitars; feedback that squeals uncontrollably for a few seconds in the background–it’s all here. Another distinct connection comes in the form of “You’d Prefer an Astronaut” era Hum that comes out loud and clear on “Dig” (listen to “Little Dipper” below to compare).

“Guilty of Everything” is certainly an entrancing debut that will resonate strongly with listeners who grew up listening The Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine, but I’m sure it will also manage to draw a new crowd that may have missed the chance to experience those bands when they were first around (and not a shell of their former selves like they are today). Nothing still has a few shows coming up in March, while their debut album is set for release on March 4th through Relapse Records. Check the links below to pre-order the album and to connect with the band all over the internet.


Upcoming shows:

Mar 12 Austin, TX Relapse SXSW Showcase @ Dirty Dog

Mar 16 Dallas, TX Spillover Music Fest @ Club Dada & Three Links w/ Ty Segal

Album review: Psychedelic Horseshit – "Laced"

For those of you out there that feel like White Fence’s release “Is Growing Faith” was a little too “mainstream” and accessible, you’ll be happy to know that Psychedelic Horseshit’s latest release, “Laced” is neither of those things.

Psychedelic Horseshit is a DIY recording project that has created an album so loose and gritty sounding that it is barely held together to the end. The vocal delivery is drawled in a lazy monotone with barely an attempt at creating a melody. In place of the vocal melody there are off kilter rhythmic accents that carry the listener from line to line. After repeated listens, which is highly suggested, one will begin to pick out the more lucid, memorable bits and songs that really seem to “click” in a way.

The album opens up with sounds emerging from a trippy haze, like the sound effects that an educational video might use to characterize an acid trip while warning against it.  It seems to be welcoming us to the trip as it were. The album captures the raw idea of the songs presented, and seems to celebrate the idea of spontaneity and instant composition.

“French Coutryside” is full of ideas that are layered one on top of the other while “I Hate the Beach” and “Revolution Wavers” features extended synth breaks that close out the tracks. Now that the listener has been invited to go on this trip with the band they need to allow themselves to be taken away in the trance that is created by layer upon layer of scratchy synth lines and loose drumming.

The title track seems to be the best attempt at a “catchy pop tune”, though I use that term in the loosest possible sense. The electronic sounds hold the song together despite the ancillary drum machine beat. Everything else sways in and out of the beat. “Automatic Writing” is the thinnest and simplest track on “Laced”. It borders upon straight up ambient music with lush synth tones casting down simple, long waves of sound that are occasionally permeated with an ultra-high pitched sound that could have been right out of a 1980’s sci-fi flick.

Psychedelic Horseshit - "Laced:
Psychedelic Horseshit - "Laced:

Bongo rhythms permeate nearly every track, adding an extra layer of stoned college bro drum-circle atmosphere to the tracks. Out of tune guitar accompanies several tracks, furthering the feeling of an impromptu jam session that becomes the common thread tying all of the songs together.

Tracks like “Laced” and “Another Side” are among the more accessible on the album, the latter of which does its best Bob Dylan with a wild harmonica interlude and simple 2 chord structure. “Making Out” is the most emotionally moving of the tracks thanks to an ascending vocal line that challenges the singer’s range. Spastic bongo work accompanies the track for the duration.

The vocal delivery, and really the entire ethos that seems to be behind this album can be explained by comparing it to early Beck. Remember when Beck was a “Loser”, back in his freak folk, California stoner/surfer/beach bum slacker days? The delivery here is very similar to that. It’s sort of off the cuff, without a care, but the singer’s actual voice is more comparable to Conor Oberst or Patrick Stickles.

Psychedelic Horseshit’s “Laced” captures that moment of spontaneity  in an improv session where a band is just getting together to bounce ideas off of each other. Those improvisatory, experimental tunes are balanced against worked out songs like the title track. One gets the idea after listening that Psychedelic Horseshit isn’t too concerned with being commercially successful. They seem to be more focused on producing lo-fi, home recorded jams that capture the realm that lies somewhere between improv, forethought and total collapse.

The album is out now worldwide. You can purchase your copy HERE.

[audio:http://quartertonality.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/07-Another-Side.mp3|titles=Psychedeclic Horseshit – Another Side]