Tag Archives: rock

Coastal Car – “Lossless”

I’ve had Coastal Car’s “Lossless” on repeat for the past couple of weeks now and I don’t think that I’ll be getting sick of it any time soon. “Lossless” is an album full of perfect bedroom pop tunes. Think Yuck crossed with Carseat Headrest and that will put you pretty close to what is going on aesthetically here.

There’s more than that though. The harmonies and guitar work on “all i wanna do” shows a hint of Pixies, while the guitar harmonies on that track and “trade centre way” are reminiscent of Rogue Wave. Every song really captures a relaxed approach to songwriting; with one part flowing seamlessly into the next, effortlessly.

The latter half of “Lossless” moves from the folk-ish “halfway” to the layered, delicate guitar work of instrumental “belong reprise,” one of the album’s highlights. That track seems to beg for lyrics, while simultaneously sounding like a song that you can’t quite place. It’s like the interwoven melodies are lodged in the collective unconscious, begging to be let out yet not being able to quite come to fruition.

Album closer “f u n” perfectly encapsulates everything presented throughout the album. It’s another perfectly crafted, and catchy-as-hell bedroom pop song. Like the words that don’t exist on “belong reprise,” I can’t quite put my finger on what images are being conjured up in my mind as I listen, but they do seem like fond remembrances. I’m just going to have to continue listening until I figure it out.

Lossless” is available digitally, with a limited number of cassettes still available from Already Dead Tapes & Records. You can check their bandcamp for this and a whole slew of other great albums.

 

 

Hello Ocho – “Hello Ocho”

It’s always pretty exciting when a band comes out with an album that is so expansive in its vision that even after listening to the first four tracks you still don’t have much of an idea of what the band is really about. Each track gives you another glimpse into what is possible, and only then can you start to appreciate what is really going on here.

Hello Ocho’s self-titled album actually came out in 2013, and features 13 songs nearly impossible to place into one single genre. I guess we could use the catch-all “psychedelic,” but that doesn’t really make an effort toward clarifying what is really going on here. Songs like “Stickin’ to the Sheets” are created out of a single idea that continually grows over a persistent foundational pulse like what you would expect from kraut-rock inspired minimalist rock. It’s rhythmically driven, and concerned primarily with its propulsion than it is with sticking to a typical, strict song structure.

We immediately shift from the more or less psychedelic, kraut-rock-yness of “Stickin’ to the Sheets” to the bluesy vocal melodies of “Song Gafe’.” There is a considerable amount of focus on the structure here, with an emphasis on more or less refrain based vocals and a pretty catchy hook. Although, that all starts to fall away eventually as the song comes to a close.

From here on out the album becomes a bit more of an instrumental exploration. “Fandancy” and “Charles Romanson” are a bit more experimental, but they are followed by the Animal Collective-ish sound of “Whomp.” Sure, that one is pretty experimental too, but there are also elements of great melodic thinking going on too; once again we’re focusing more on the melodic line here than the structure itself. There are catchy hooks, but somehow outside of the context of a pop-tune format. This works though, it works its strange magic, as everything shifts from one idea to the next, balancing melodic craftsmanship with psychedelic experimentalism along the way.

Hello Ocho’s self-titled album came out in 2013, but there are still copies available in vinyl, both clear and black, available from the Hello Ocho bandcamp page. They also have a bit of a teaser for an upcoming release “In Portuguese,” with a 2 minute sample of a funky, electronic freak out. You can check that one out below. Head to their bandcamp page to get a copy of their self-titled album on vinyl, or as a digital download.

The Cigarette Bums – “Goofs on the Loose”

The Cigarette Bums are pretty much encapsulate the default sound that I’m looking for when I’m searching out new bands to write about here. It’s brash garage rock that’s disjointed (but not too disjointed); it’s not polished, and most importantly it’s just fun to listen to. Recordings like this that are mostly just a live performance lend to them a sense of excitement. Sometimes things sound like they’re about to fall apart, but somehow something manages to keep it all together despite itself. And I can’t help but say a little something about almost every track, because there is just so much good stuff on here.

“Goofs on the Loose” is a collection of tracks that walk the line between old school punk with shouted vocals that are not as concerned with intelligibility and tunefulness as they are with rapid fire shouts from behind a wall of noise. The important thing is that the songs are loud and fast,

“Dick in the Dirt” opens with something resembling the eerie arpeggiation of The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” before going ahead with a very “In a Gadda Da Vida” influenced riff. That tune becomes somewhat of the basis of the song, buried back there amongst the noise and thrash, with The Cigarette Bums seeming to offer up variations on a theme of Iron Butterfly.

“Bums will Always (The Revolution is Over??)!!!” sports a very obvious Big Lebowski reference in the title and contains that quote in the track, which like the opening track “Nigel’s Journey Through the Terrestrial Plane” is more of a clever diversion than it is a proper song.

After that, though, things start to get really interesting. “Sunrise Over Garbage Field” sounds like Ennio Morricone re-imagined by a garage surf-rock band. I could see this as easily fitting into a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack, with it’s galloping rhythm section and Western twang.

“Stoned to the Bone” moves right on back to proper punk rock thrash, with a power-chord heavy chromatic riff that focuses primarily on two chords. Keep it simple, noisy, and straight ahead. At this point it’s still impossible to even try to figure out what any of the lyrics are, but it also doesn’t seem to matter as you’re bound to be singing along by now regardless.

After one last diversion with “SMTP Sax” we get what I think is the stand-out track on the album, “Don’t Mess Around (With Me).” It’s more developed than anything else on the album, with extended instrumental sections brilliantly dovetailed at the end. The track even tips a little bit to the psychedelic end, which leads perfectly into the opening of closing track, “Strange” which later pays homage to the Rolling Stones.

Looks like I’m getting out way ahead of this one, as the release date says September 8th. Why it’s going to be another 3 months I haven’t got a clue, but until then you can check it out on bandcamp. They do have a limited (very limited) cassette out right now called “Holy Smokes” that you can get from their bandcamp page.

The band also has some gigs planned in L.A., which are shown below:
Jul 06
Silverlake Lounge
Los Angeles, CA
Jul 13
Silverlake Lounge
Los Angeles, CA
Jul 20
Silverlake Lounge
Los Angeles, CA
Jul 27
Silverlake Lounge
Los Angeles, CA

Sprïng – “Levvee”

Last year I posted about the new album by Vancouver’s Sprïng. That album, “Celebrations,” went on to become one of my most listened to albums of 2014. The combination of rock and prog elements with pop melodies and wickedly amazing musicianship was definitely a nice surprise.

As it turns out, not very long after I heard about and wrote about Sprïng, they happened to be coming through town. I checked them out and am still so glad that I did. Recounting the show to my friend a few days later I was sure to relay all the details to him in order to make him suitably jealous and angry that he wasn’t here to catch the show. What I heard and saw was actually pretty stunning. The songs all translated really well live, and seeing the band pull off the musical acrobatics necessary to get through their very unique approach left my jaw on the floor.

A few months ago they sent out a link for this new video for the song “Levvee.” It’s another exciting rush of rush of energy from the Canadian quartet. Plenty of dense textures, “OK Computer”-era guitar tones, and jagged edges all with an understated vocal floating over top. It’s a really great and catchy tune, but no news on a new album from what I can tell. I’m taking this video to mean that at least they are working on stuff and that we’ll have something new coming our way very soon. I seriously don’t understand how everyone is not talking about this band. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Until then, you can check out “Celebrations” on Sprïng’s bandcamp page, and watch the stop-motion video for “Levvee” above.

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.

Video: Swami John Reis and The Blind Shake – “Brown Room”

Swami John Reis and the Blind Shake “Brown Room” from Bryan Johnson on Vimeo.

Swami John Reis and the Blind Shake have teamed up to make “Modern Surf Classics” that pays tribute to classic surf rock albums by offering up modern takes in the form of 13 original tracks.

I don’t think I had ever really thought about it before, but placing the Blind Shake into the realm of surf-rock actually makes a whole lot of sense. Their brand of hyper-energetic, stomping, stuttering garage-rock isn’t that far removed. Their liberal use of reverb and scordatura places them, at the very least, in the same timbral category.

“Brown Room” starts off acoustically, but it isn’t long before the reverbed lead line comes in, moving through a few short riffs that cruise along at a relaxed pace. If you are familiar with Real Estate’s first album you’ll appreciate the sound that they’re going for here. The video complements the track nicely with that haze of nostalgia on the surface of every frame, dulled colors and slight blur accenting footage of surfers taking to the waves.

It would be remiss of me to not mention the great Picardy Third that closes out the track. It’s a nice touch.

“Modern Surf Classics” is set for release on January 27, 2015. The album can be pre-ordered right now, and will be made available on CD/LP/MP3 and FLAC formats.